Danijela Unkovich is a qualified nutritionist, who is hugely passionate about educating others on the power that food and positive lifestyle changes have in restoring vitality, energy and in providing a healthier, more balanced life. Her blog www.heathyalways.co.nz and Instagram @heathyalways is a place where she shares healthy recipe ideas, nutritional ideas, and heath and wellness tips.
The foundation of a healthy complexion begins with what’s on our plate. A nutritious balanced diet will assist in diminishing wrinkles, revitalising dry and dull skin, controlling acne, and soothing inflammation. While more troubling issues are usually complex in nature, involving a variety of genetic, lifestyle and environment factors (such as UV damage or pollution), getting our diet right has the ability to dramatically influence the overall health and balance of our skin. After all, what we eat literally become us – approximately every five weeks the outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermis, replaces itself using the nutrients in our diet as its building blocks. By nourishing ourselves with good wholesome food, we supply our bodies with the materials needed to create head-to-toe healthy skin – and over-all health too!
Although a varied and nutritious diet will support overall skin health, there are a number of nutrients that play particular superstar roles. Get ready to eat your way to radiant skin!
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, are deemed “essential” as the body is unable to make them itself, and therefore they must be consumed through the foods we eat. In particular, omega-3 helps to reduce inflammation in the body, which may assist in decreasing the likelihood of inflammatory skin issues, such as rosacea and acne. Omega-3 also helps to improve the moisture content of the skin, aiding in skin flexibility and reducing overall dryness.
Sources of omega-3: oily fish like salmon, sardines and krill oil, and linseed and flaxseed oil.
Think of free-radicals as the baddies and antioxidants as the police. Free-radical damage is one of the worst offenders in contributing to skin aging – it causes what’s known as oxidative damage, which can accelerate aging through deterioration of our skins cell membranes and structural support system, leading to dull, damaged and aged skin. Antioxidants within our diets have the power to slow down or prevent free-radical damage from happening – the ultimate in preventative skincare! They’re abundant in colourful fruits and veggies, so aim to eat a colourful rainbow every day to get a good dose.
Sources of antioxidants: berries, avocado, leafy greens and citrus
You’re not what you eat, but rather what you digest and absorb. Digestive concerns are becoming commonplace in todays society, affecting our bodies ability to optimally digest and absorb the nutrients in our diet. Considering the important role of the digestive system, keeping a strong healthy gut is one of the most beneficial and therapeutic steps we can take in supporting skin health.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that occupy our digestive system and aid in balancing our digestive ecosystem, which can often be thrown out of equilibrium through drug and alcohol use, stress, antibiotics or heavily processed and refined foods. Probiotics support digestive and immune health, and are anti-inflammatory, assisting in the defence against certain inflammatory skin issues.
Sources of probiotics: probiotic supplements, yoghurt, kombucha tea, fermented foods e.g. miso soup or sauerkraut.