Skin -our beauty depends on its health and glow. More and more people are finding out that our skin and its related problems and cures depend largely on what you eat. Read on to know what advice a doctor has in store for you.
Skin, where would we be without it? Not only does it keep our insides in, it protects us from infection, radiation and dehydration, keeps us warm and makes us look good. While we are very aware of our “outside skin”, the “inside skin” of the lungs and digestive tract is less’ talked about. This skin covers a large area. This entire surface is replaced every 20 days, and its condition depends largely on what you eat. Problems such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, acne and excessively oily, dry or wrinkly skin are a good indication that you are either not eating optimally or are exposing your skin to something it does not like. Before examining these conditions and their prevention, here are & a few facts that are worth knowing.
Our skin has two layers, the inner or lower of that is called the dermis. It contains dermal cells (from which all skin cells originate), plus a network of blood vessels, glands and nerve endings. The outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, consists of dermal cells which lose moisture as they move towards the surface of the skin, becoming flatter, harder and more concentrated. The skin’s surface is an overlapping mesh of these dead epidermal cells that flake off and are continually replaced. They are a major constituent of household dust.
The dermis consists largely of collagen, which gives the skin its strength and structure. Woven with- in it are elastin fibers that give the skin its elasticity. Collagen makes up 70% of skin and 20% of the entire body.
Nutrition is fundamentally involved at every stage of skin development. Starting with the dermis, collagen is made when vitamin C converts the amino acid proline into hydroxyproline. No vitamin C, no collagen. The flexibility of collagen and elastin fibers reduces in time due to damage caused by free radicals. This damage is limited by antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E selenium and many others.
Vitamin A helps to control the rate of keratin accumulation in the skin. A lack of this vitamin can therefore result in dry, rough skin. The membranes of skin cells are made from essential fats. A lack of essential fats makes these cells dry out too quickly, resulting in dry skin with an excessive need of moisturizers. The health of skin cells depends on sufficient zinc, which is needed for accurate production of new generations of skin cells. Lack of zinc leads to stretch marks and poor healing and is associated with a wide variety of skin problems from acne to eczema. Skin cells also produce a chemical, which in the presence of sunlight is converted into vitamin D, which is needed to maintain the calcium balance of the body. So in many ways what you eat today, you wear tomorrow.
The following good dietary guidelines are especially important for people with skin problems. Limit coffee, tea, sugar and saturated fat (as in meat and dairy products), and increase your intake of fresh fruit, vegetable, water, herb teas and diluted juices. It is also well worth taking good all around food supplements, multivitamins and mineral supplements, plus at least 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day.
Factors to consider: Excess fat blocks the skin pores. High-hista- mine types produce more sebum, an oily secretion in the skin. Vitamin A deficiency produces skin congestion through over-keratinization of skin cells. Vitamin A and Zinc deficiency leads to lowered ability to fight infection, as does lack of beneficial bacteria (often through over-use of antibiotics).
Advisable Diet: Low-fat, low sugar diet with lots of water, fresh fruit and vegetables. Foods high water-content are beneficial.
Supplements: Vitamin A, Zinc, vitamin c all other antioxidants, Niacin for skin flushing, Vitamin E for wound healing.
Factors to consider: Excess saturated fat or fat based toxins render fat cells immobile. If you strictly avoid dietary sources of saturated fat and eat only sources of essential oils, fat cells decongest and become softer. The body takes in many toxins for example pesticide residues, which are hard to get rid of. These are dumped in fat cells to keep them away from vital organs. Hard fat and fat based toxins can be eliminated by improving the circulation. Circulation to and from fat cells is stimulated by high water content while lymphatic drainage is achieved by massage, movement, exercise and skin brushing.
Advisable Diet: A strictly non-saturated fat diet, which means no meat or dairy products. Essential fatty acids can be acquired from seeds. Drink lots of water and eat plenty of high water-content foods such as fruit and vegetables, all organic. Apples are particularly good for eliminating cellulite. The pectin found in apples, carrots and other fruit and vegetables is an important photochemical that strengthens the immune and detoxification systems of the body. Consider a three day apple fast or eat only organic apples one day a week.
Supplements: Lecithin granules, hydroxycitric acid, high dose vita- min C and Niacin.
Factors to consider: Food allergy, lack of essential fatty acids, hormonal imbalance such as progesterone deficiency or estrogen dominance.
Advisable Diet: Test for food allergy (wheat and dairy the most common). Ensure a high intake of seed and their oils, plenty of water and water rich foods (fruits and vegetables).
Supplements: Essential oils such as flax and evening primrose or borage oil. Vitamin 86, biotin, zinc and magnesium.
Factors to consider: Dermatitis liter- ally means skin inflammation, and is similar to eczema. The term is used when the primary cause appears to be a contact allergy. Consider all possibilities such as metals in jewelry, watches etc, and other causes could be perfumes or cosmetics, detergents in regular soaps, laundry soap and shampoos. Where there is a contact allergy there is often a food allergy too. Common culprits are dairy products and wheat. Sometimes a. combination of eating an allergy- provoking food and contact with an external allergen is needed for symptoms to develop. Another factor that makes dermatitis more likely is a lack of essential fatty acids from seeds and their oils, which turn into anti inflammatory prostaglandins in the body.
Their formation is blocked if you eat too much saturated fat or fired food, or lack certain key vitamins and minerals. The skin is also a route that the body can use to get rid of toxins. One kind of dermatitis called acrodermatitis, is particularly caused by zinc deficiency and responds exceptionally well to zinc supplementation.
Advisable Diet: Keep it low in saturated fat, eat sufficient essential fats, and very little meat or dairy products. Stay mainly vegetarian, although fish is all right. Test for dairy or wheat allergy, if suspected, by avoiding these foods for a couple of weeks and seeing if there is any improvement.
Supplements: Essential oils such as evening primrose or borage oil; vitamin 86, biotin, zinc and magnesium plus anti oxidant vitamin 86.
Factors to consider: Same as for dermatitis. Most common contributory factors are the combination of a food allergy (most often wheat or dairy) and a lack of essential fatty acids from seeds and their cold-pressed oils, low meat and dairy, mainly vegan. Fish is all right. Test for dairy and wheat allergy, if suspected, by avoiding these foods for a set period. . Supplements: Essential oils such as flax and evening primrose or borage oil; vitamin 86, biotin, zinc and magnesium, plus antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.
Factors to consider: Possible disturbed water balance due to essential fatty acid deficiency, poor intake, of water or lack of vitamin A.
Advisable Diet: Should be low in saturated fat, high inessential fatty acids (from seeds and their oils). Drink at least one quart of water a day and eat plenty of water-rich foods. Coffee and tea should be limited.
Supplements: Essential oils such as flax, borage and evening primrose oil, vitamin A, vitamin E.