Get that glow: How to adjust your nutrition for healthy glowing skin
Deep down, we all know that taking really good care of our skin is an act of self-love and an investment in ourselves. The bodies largest organ, each inch of skin is roughly made up of 19 million skin cells, 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes, and 1,000 nerve endings. So, with this in mind, it’s no wonder healthy skin isn’t just a given.
Regardless of gender, race or age, we will all encounter some form of skin condition at some point in our lives. Oily skin and acne are common conditions, with 95% of individuals experiencing this at some point in their lives, while dry skin and redness are also known as skincare problems.
Our natural reaction is to reach for the ever-expanding range of topical skin care products, but as the age-old adage suggests, you are what you eat – to ensure your digestive system (and skin) are in tip-top condition – it requires strict attention to be paid to the food that you are consuming.
Family GP and cosmetic doctor, Dr Kay explains, ‘’Our skin acts as a protective barrier against any harmful substances or germs entering the body. It is home to millions of bacteria, fungi and viruses that make up what is referred to as the microbiome. Similar to those in our gut, the microbiome is like a little ecosystem that plays an important role in our immune system and prevents harmful germs from entering our body. An imbalance in the skin’s microbiome can affect the overall health of our skin, and is linked to skin conditions like eczema, acne & dermatitis.’’
With this in mind, it’s time to take a further look.
The impact of sugar
It’s true – the sweet stuff is hard to avoid, but by being conscious about how much, as well as the type of sugar you are consuming through food and drink, you can lower your intake dramatically – and your skin will thank you for it.
Sugar can contribute towards a variety of skin conditions and can create an environment in which bad bacteria can thrive, often leading to digestive issues such as bloating and constipation. It can also lead to malabsorption, preventing your body from being able to soak up all of the vitamins and minerals that food can offer.
The digestive system is responsible for eliminating toxins, and when it experiences difficulties in doing so, it turns to the next organ that can help – the skin.
Your skin will still struggle to deal with the toxins which can result in redness, breakouts and episodes of eczema.
Laura Holland at social enterprise, Venner Nutrition, explains: “Sugar ages your skin by damaging collagen and elastin whilst also compromising natural antioxidant enzymes through a process called Glycation, which means the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins and produces harmful free radicals as a result.
“The visible effects of Glycation will usually begin to show around the age of 35, according to the British Journal of Dermatology, so reducing dietary sugar intake is vital if you’d like healthy, glowing skin.”
So, what do we do about it? You guessed it, consume less sugar. Fear not, there are plenty of low-sugar products around, like Lizi’s low-sugar cereal.
The difference between refined sugar and natural sugar
It’s common knowledge that there are some forms of sugar that are healthier than others, and in total, there are four to consider: glucose, fructose, sucrose and lactose.
Fructose and lactose are natural sugars that can be found in fruit and dairy foods. While if we are honest – this sugar itself isn’t necessarily beneficial, it comes parcelled in a food that is rich in fibre and full of vitamins and minerals, making it a far healthier way to enjoy a sweet snack, keeping your body healthy when the 3 pm slump rolls around. Fibre is crucial for a healthy digestive system, as well as keeping us feel satiated, meaning we don’t reach for quick-fix unhealthy foods – all good decisions when on the quest for clear, glowing skin.
Glucose and sucrose are considered ‘refined’ sugars, often extracted from cane sugar, or sugar beets. This type of sugar is added to a variety of foods in high doses, including items you perhaps hadn’t considered or labelled and marketed as ‘healthy’.
However, refined can be used to our advantage. Consumed before exercise, sugar can provide the burst of energy that allows us to exercise intensely, while consumed afterwards with protein, sugar raises insulin levels that play a role in muscle protein synthesis and repair post-workout.
Yes, water intake is still crucial
Sorry to be the ones to hammer this point home yet again but staying hydrated is essential in maintaining the skin’s elasticity whilst also preventing acne and flushing out toxins.
Dehydrated skin can feel dry, tight and look dull as well as showing up fine lines and wrinkles. A sufficient water intake can increase blood flow to the skin, keeping it moisturised, plumping out fine lines and regulating oil secretion.
How much water should you be drinking? Internal medicine physician and nutrition specialist Dr. Amy Lee recommends: “You should drink half of your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces but this is also dependent on your level of activity and water loss in a day.”
You don’t always have to keep it cold. We’d recommend starting your day with a glass of warm water in the morning. This helps aid digestion, help circulation, and overall assist our bodies in getting rid of toxins faster.
Make gradual changes and healthy swaps to your diet
Changing your nutrition and adjusting your eating habits can take time and persistence, so rather than cutting out sugar, gradually lowering your intake and making healthy swaps will be just as beneficial. Your skin will thank you for each step, and it won’t be long until you notice a difference – your skin will soon let you know that you are doing a good job.