Your body is intricately designed to manage infection and injury; and inflammation is one of the ways it does this. But inflammation is meant to be a short term response, releasing immune cells to fight off infection and heal trauma. When this response doesn’t turn off for some reason, immune cells can remain in the system and begin to fight healthy actions like cell rejuvenation. This has a negative effect on your skin.
There are numerous possible internal causes of inflammation. These range from stress and hormonal imbalances to additives and artificial sweeteners, lack of exercise, food intolerance and allergy as well as a high sugar diet.
did you know?
Eating too much sugar or high-glycaemic food can lead to sugar molecules in your blood bonding to protein in your DNA. Over time, this process can affect collagen proteins by changing their flexibility or elasticity and shape.
External causes of inflammation include sun exposure, yeast or bacterial infections, pollution, smoking and some chemicals found in personal care products. All of these weaken collagen, clog pores and dilate your surface blood capillaries. This manifests as uneven skin tone, outbreaks, wrinkles and premature aging.
By boosting your body’s ability to eradicate free radicals, you can counteract the negative inflammatory response. Skin boosting antioxidants include vitamins C and E, Coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid, DMAE, cartenoids (these are phytonutrients found in red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables), bioflavanoids (from red wine and green tea)
Did you know?
Smoking is just about the worst thing you can do for your skin. Not only are cigarettes filled with toxins that wreak havoc inside your body, exposure to the smoke also has a ravaging affect on your skin externally. For you skin’s sake (and every other aspect of your health), make a plan to quit.
CHECK YOUR INPUT
What you put into your body has a profound effect on your health and that includes your skin health. Unfortunately there are many toxins to be found in ordinary food in today’s world – from pesticides to bacteria. Make healthy food choices by going for fresh as much as possible, and choose organic whenever you can to lessen your exposure to unwanted toxins. Avoid inflammatory food like sugar, refined flour and highly processed food.
Include food high in omega-3 fatty acids like oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and hemp oil. Supplementing with probiotics is also a good way to protect your skin from the inside – your gut contains healthy bacteria essential for the effective digestion and because of the environment we live in, this delicate balance can easily be disrupted.
Keep a store of snack-like food your skin will thank you for:
- Almonds - Are high in vitamin E and healthy fats. Snack on them alone or mix with yoghurt and berries for an antioxidant boost.
- Apricots - Juicily filled with skin cell promoting vitamin A are also a good source of fibre (needed for a healthy gut) and their nutrients are heart and eye protective as well.
- Chickpeas - Are a great source of protein, which is a building block for healthy skin. They’re also a versatile snack food, as you can eat them raw (soaked) in a salad, roasted or puréed into a dip.
- Oranges - Have a high vitamin C content, which is known to be skin protective, promoting collagen production. Coming up to winter, oranges will be available in abundance, get good doses of freshly squeezed and you’ll also be protecting yourself against colds and flu.
- Green Tea - Is highly antioxidant – brew it up as a delicious iced tea with mint and lemon, or drink hot for warm comfort.
- Brazil Nuts - Are high in selenium which protects your skin from sun damage. Snack on them raw, or crush into a nutrient-rich smoothie for your morning boost.
- Whole Grain - If you need to eat bread, choose whole grain only – niacin in whole grains helps inhibit inflammation.
SUPPLEMENT TO MAKE SURE YOU’RE FEEDING YOUR SKIN WITH THE RIGHT STUFF. HERE’S A LIST OF THE TOP FIVE NUTRIENTS YOU NEED FOR HEALTHY SKIN:
SILICA, ZINC, OMEGA-3S, SELENIUM, VITAMINS.
SUPPLEMENTING WITH VITAMIN A NEEDS TO BE DONE WITH CAUTION, AS IT CAN BE HARMFUL WHEN TAKEN IN EXCESS. BETA CAROTENE IS A PRECURSOR TO VITAMIN A, SO YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER SUPPLEMENTING WITH THAT INSTEAD.