Skin Food By Abigail James

Posted on May 25, 2017 by caro.parodi@kylebooks.com

MY FAVOURITE SKIN-LOVING SUPERFOODS

Adding superfoods to my daily diet – mixed into smoothies, cereals or home baking – is an easy way of making sure my family and I are getting enough good nutrients. The children are blissfully unaware that the cool-looking green powder is so amazing for their health!

• FLAXSEED AND CHIA both contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help plump the skin and reduce redness and inflammation. They’re real all-rounders!

• ACAI is a berry that originates from Brazil and is well known for its potent antioxidant properties. It’s therefore perfect for including in skincare programmes, as it supports overall skin health and prevents our collagen being broken down.

• SPIRULINA is a blue-green microscopic plant that has been around for billions of years. It contains a high vegan protein content of about 60 to 70 per cent and is very bioavailable, which means it’s easily absorbed by the body. Protein acts as the building blocks of healthy skin turnover and regeneration.

• CHLORELLA is a microalgae that contains a high concentration of chlorophyll. It’s high in zinc and vitamin B2, which help promote clear and radiant skin and also assists detoxification. A body with a lower toxic load is a body with fewer skin issues!

• BAOBAB is the fruit taken from the baobab tree and often comes in powdered form. It contains more vitamin C than oranges, as well as minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, which are all great for supporting collagen production and alkalising the body.

• SUPER CACAO is one of those ‘wow’ ingredients, as it contains key nutrients that support your whole body. It protects, repairs and prevents cell damage. With such a high level of cacao flavonols it benefits your skin by increasing blood flow and thus the level of nourishing nutrients it receives, to ensure that your complexion is truly glowing.

• MATCHA Comprises 100 per cent natural green tea leaves, ground into a fine powder that’s packed with lovely vitamins and minerals. In particular, it contains flavonoids, which protect skin from antioxidant damage and keep it looking youthful and clear!

• MORINGA brings an enormous number of benefits to the skin. It’s skyhigh in antioxidants, containing huge concentrations of vitamins and minerals.


FOOD ENEMIES of the SKIN

What to cut down on...

• REDUCE THE GLUTEN

A protein that’s found in foods containing wheat, barley and rye, it’s used as a thickening agent in many everyday foods such as sauces – so start reading those labels! I am gluten intolerant and Nanny James was coeliac.Gluten has been linked to many health issues as well as skin breakouts, patchy areas that look like hives, itchy skin rashes, bloating and puffiness – so if you’re concerned, I’d advise making an appointment with your GP. Start by steering clear of bread, pasta, biscuits, cake, crackers, couscous, rye bread and pizza.

• DITCH THE DAIRY

Humans are the only mammals that continue to consume milk past babyhood. Whilst I don’t want to discourage anyone from eating dairy in moderation, it’s best avoided if you suffer from acne and dry skin conditions. So that means cutting out milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. There are so many tasty milk alternatives, from almond, cashew and hazelnut milk to hemp, oat, rice and coconut, that you won’t feel deprived! There are several reasons why dairy and acne can’t be friends. Cow’s milk contains large enzymes that can be difficult to digest.

Goat’s milk is more in line with human milk, so is digested more easily. Modern-day dairy farming relies upon producing vast quantities of milk, and hormones are given to cows to do this. These are present in the milk which we consume on our cereal and cups of tea and coffee, and they affect our own hormonal balance. We’ve explored the acne/hormone connection in chapter four. Dairy also contains a number of protein molecules that may cause intolerances and fats that can produce substances called prostaglandins. These have an inflammatory effect and imbalance our reproductive hormones and blood-sugar levels. If you do want to drink proper milk, full-fat from organic, grass-fed cows is the best option. Whenever you remove something from your diet, you need to replace it with something else. So if you’re acne-prone and cut out dairy, or if you just want to reduce your intake consider other calcium-rich foods that you may find more delicious! So dine out on dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, watercress, spinach, chard, rocket and cabbage). Fill your supermarket trolley with broccoli, soft-boned fish such as tinned salmon, pilchards and anchovies, as well as nuts and seeds (especially almonds, Brazil nuts, sesame and sunflower seeds). Fruit has a higher sugar content than vegetables, so enjoy it in moderation. It doesn’t matter how many supplements you take, how effective your skin products are or how many facials you have, if you’re reacting to a food internally, you need to address the root cause.

• THE TELL-TALE SIGNS OF AN INTOLERANCE

If you’re not sure if you’re reacting to gluten, dairy or something else, the easiest way to find out the cause of your intolerance is to follow an elimination diet. Remove one thing at a time over the course of a month, then eat it again in a fairly high concentration. If your symptoms return within 72 hours, it’s likely you’re intolerant. Equally, should your symptoms disappear over the four-week period, it’s best to eliminate it from your diet.

• WINE O’CLOCK

We’ve all had a hangover and seen how grey and dehydrated our skin looks the next day. Alcohol is not only a sugar but it also interferes with our sleep and has a hugely dehydrating effect on our skin. So yes, enjoy a glass of wine, but adding to the liver’s toxic load is clearly not conducive to achieving a lovely youthful complexion. I’m often asked if red wine is better for us than other forms of alcohol. The answer is yes, because it contains a higher level of antioxidants. However, it’s also full of sulphate preservatives, which can cause internal inflammation. This is the reason why you may look flushed after a couple of glasses – and why it’s a definite no-no for people who suffer from rosacea. Think about having four alcohol-free days a week. If you know it's a key skin irritant, consider removing it from your diet completely. If you suffer from eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, opt for cleaner alcohols such as gin, vodka and tequila and mix them with soda or cranberry juice with lemon and lime instead of sweet fizzy mixers.

• I CAN STILL HAVE MY COFFEE, RIGHT?

Like alcohol, caffeine is broken down by enzymes in the liver. We all have different amounts of these enzymes, so it’s common to find that whilst some people can’t tolerate caffeine, others thrive on it. Caffeine is a stimulant and can put added pressure on our adrenals, which are the glands that control our response to stress. An overloaded adrenal gland uses up vital nutrients including B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium, which are skinboosting nutrients, so your skin isn’t getting enough of them to stay healthy and vibrant. My advice is to swap your cup of coffee for a matcha green tea or redbush tea – and yes, I know it doesn't taste the same! However, even though matcha and green tea contain caffeine, research shows that they have a calming effect on the body and don’t burden our adrenal glands.


Love Your Skin by Abigail James