Luscious skin

by Fanny Vandenhende, Naturopath N.D.

According to naturopathy, we believe that the skin reflects what goes on inside our body. For instance, tiredness can translate into dull skin. A high intake of sugar or fat can trigger acne and red patches on the skin.

So, in order to have glowing, healthy skin, we must start by taking care of our body from the inside out. 

Sleep allows skin cells to regenerate properly which explains why skin looks fresh when you wake up. Getting to bed before midnight is physiologically more replenishing since the amount of cortisol in our body is at its lowest (to then steadily be released after midnight). But regardless, it’s important to listen to our own biological clock and get enough hours of sleep (between 7 and 8 hours per night).

A Healthy Diet

A healthy and varied diet provides the essential nutrients needed to maintain our skin’s health. Here are a few of my favorite foods that promote lovely skin:

Coconut oil

When applied on the skin, virgin coconut oil has a hydrating effect. It also has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, allowing it to fight skin infections. Also, thanks to its saturated fatty acids, it penetrates the skin better than other natural oils like that of avocado or emu. Coconut oil is highly versatile and can be applied on the entire body, from hair to lips (these needing special care during the rough winter months), as well as for cooking many dishes.

Coconut oil

Kale

Considered a superfood, thanks to its high vitamin and mineral content, kale is a great ally for our skin. Vitamin C found in kale promotes the production of collagen, which in turn stimulates the skin barrier of the epidermis and helps to keep it hydrated.

Avocado

A recent study shows that the avocado is rich in vitamins A, D and E and has the ability to accelerate the scaring of skin wounds.1 Vitamin D reduces skin inflammation and activates immunity cells that ensure the proper defense of the epidermis. Vitamin A fights the appearance of acne pimples by limiting sebum production.

An excellent way of preventing acne is to consume foods that are rich in vitamin A or beta-carotene, its precursor. We find this vitamin in avocado, carrots, pumpkins, dried apricots, mangos, kakis, spinach and tomatoes. 

Just like these two vitamins, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that ensures the protection of the skin against free radicals. The latter damage skin cells causing wrinkles, red spots, brown aging marks, etc.

Matcha powder

A study found in the The Journal of Nutrition established a link between the consumption of green tea and skin health. Over a period of 12 weeks in which 60 women drank a green tea beverage every day, it was observed that the amount of oxygen and blood at the surface of the skin increased considerably thanks to catechins, antioxidant molecules contained in the drink. Matcha powder is bright green, a good indicator of its concentration of antioxidants. Obtained by grinding green tea leaves, matcha contains 40% catechins, versus the traditional green tea which contains only 5 to 10%.

Matcha can be infused in water or milk and consumed one to three times a day.  

Hemp seeds

These yummy little hazelnut-tasting seeds are exceptionally rich in anti-aging nutrients. They contain a high dose of copper, which stimulates the creation of collagen, our tissue’s and organs’ glue. Collagen ensures the skin’s hydration, suppleness and resistance.

Hemp seeds are also a good source of zinc, which has an antimicrobial effect on the skin and protects from cellular damage done by UV rays. 

Drink water

Quick reminder: water!

Skin cells being made up of 70% water, hydrating ourselves regularly throughout the day allows to maintain the quality of our cells. The recommended intake is 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day, and more if we take on a physical activity. Water gives the skin a supple and firm appearance. Dehydrated skin has a tendency to be dry and wrinkly.

Here you have it! Some good foods to treat your skin and your taste buds too!

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References:

1. Nayak BSRaju SSChalapathi Rao AV. Wound healing activity of Persea americana (avocado) fruit: a preclinical study on rats. J Wound Care. 2008 Mar;17(3):123-6.

2. Fisher GJ, Datta SC, Talwar HS, Wang ZQ, Varani J, Kang S, Voorhees JJ. Molecular basis of sun-induced premature skin ageing and retinoid antagonism. Nature. 1996;379:335–339.

3. Campos PM, Goncalves GM, Gaspar LR. In vitro antioxidant activity and in vivo efficacy of topical formulations containing vitamin C and its derivatives studied by non-invasive methods. Skin Res Technol. 2008;14:376–380.

4. Viljoen JM, Cowley A, du Preez J, Gerber M, du Plessis J. Penetration enhancing effects of selected natural oils utilized in topical dosage forms. Drug Dev Ind Pharm. 2015 Dec;41(12):2045-54.

5. Heinrich U, Moore CE, De Spirt S, Tronnier H, Stahl W. Green tea polyphenols provide photoprotection, increase microcirculation, and modulate skin properties of women. J Nutr. 2011 Jun;141(6):1202-8.

Fanny Vandenhende, Naturopath N.D.
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Fanny Vandenhende, Naturopath N.D.

Fanny Vandenhende, naturopath ND, is passionate about naturopathy, an alternative medicine that aims to restore health through natural methods. A graduate of ÉESNQ (École d’enseignement supérieur de naturopathie du Québec), she is currently continuing her training and also practicing at the Clinique Mille Mains, found in the Montreal neighbourhood of Villeray.

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