There are a lot of diets out there in the world today. If you ask anyone about what they want from a diet, you might hear that they want to lose weight quite often. Sometimes you might hear that they want to feel healthier. What about wanting to look great and have clear and glowing skin?
Is everyone’s skin the same? The answer is ‘no’. I’m not talking about skin symptoms which can be as varied as acne, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, excessive dryness, dermatitis and much more. You might not even have any of these, but what if I told you that in functional nutrition, the root of all this is pretty much the same. This also includes the same roots if you just want to look better. Who doesn’t want to look gorgeous?
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and is a reflection of what’s going on in there. You could address specific skin symptoms with topical creams, face masks, antibiotics or cover it up with the most expensive foundations, but nothing will make you look as stunning as having a great physiology within your body, where your skin looks fantastic no matter what you put on it. I know that you want this for yourself!
Gut health and your skin
Your gut is literally at the root of how your skin behaves, and it all begins with that great diet.
Addressing your gut is crucial, since your gut is at the centre of all health. Here is the first thing that I want you to understand. Not having digestive symptoms or distress is not necessarily a sign that you do not need to support your gut. I hear this time and time again, but supporting your gut is the way to look gorgeous. You can do this with lots of plant foods, healthy fats and clean proteins. If you are an omnivore and want great skin, stay with clean proteins like smaller fish, grass fed meat and free-range eggs, avoiding poultry.
If you are vegan, you could have low levels of collagen or collagen synthesising foods, then that can also prevent your skin from repairing itself. Make sure that you add enough vitamin C rich foods that support collagen synthesis. These include bell peppers, broccoli, oranges, lemons, kiwi, grapefruit, cantaloupe, goji berries, Incan berries, amla berries, dark green leafy vegetables like kale, tomatoes, guava, cherries, black currants, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and peas.
Try fermented foods
When it comes to fermented food, you might read a lot about the wonders of kombucha, kefir, yoghurt and sourdough bread, but what I want you to understand is that fermented foods themselves can be the reason that many people struggle with skin challenges. If you find your skin becoming red, more sensitive, or rashes, then it’s probably a sign that it does not work for you. This is because fermented foods are high in histamine.
Finally, your microbiome or the gut bacterial balance is critical to how your skin glows. This is also why kombucha can help if it works for you. If not, the best approach is a plant powered one, where eating large amounts of vegetables behave as prebiotics that are food for the good bacteria in your gut. Adding large portions of vegetables and some fruit also makes your diet high in antioxidants, helping your cells perform better and allowing your skin to shine!
Detox is critical
Your liver is the largest organ of detoxification in the body. Making sure that you don’t have constipation is another fantastic way to ensure that you have great skin and look beautiful. I’ll share a little secret with you. If your skin has a pasty, yellow undertone, it could be a sign that you need some support with detoxification.
If your body is not detoxifying through normal channels of detoxification, and constipation could be a sign of this, then chances are high that your body will try to detoxify via your skin. I know so many people who think that no such thing as detoxification exists.
This is a sign that you have to improve your detoxification, through drinking more water, through eating enough fibre, both soluble and insoluble, and having some herbal support. Soluble fibres soak up water, holding water in them and moving through your intestine, helping elimination. These include lady’s finger, gluten-free oats and chia seeds. Insoluble fibre helps your intestine to feed good bacteria and you can get them from whole grains, banana stem and lots of vegetables.
The power of turmeric
Your liver loves herbs. This is the reason that the age-old turmeric milk has gone abroad and ben rechristened as turmeric latte. If you incorporate turmeric raw, in coconut milk, it can support detoxification, lower inflammation and support grate skin health.
Herbs like amla can also do wonders for making your skin glow, and while you might not have access to fresh amla every day, you can always have amla powder and take a spoon with warm water each night.
Moving your body is an integral part of how you detoxify, as it supports lymphatic drainage, and improves liver health. Beyond all forms of exercise, is yoga, as it includes twists and abdominal forward and backward bends which stimulate the liver and improve blood circulation to your liver.
If you go for a yoga session and some other form of exercise, notice how beautiful you look after each one. Surya namaskars, with the repeated forward and backward bend, brings about wonderful stimulation to your liver, unlock all lymphatic stagnation and purge your system of toxic overload, leaving your skin glowing, and leaving you looking gorgeous. Now all you have to worry about is how to enjoy the unending compliments!