Feed your skin the nutrients it needs to keep up with, or even ahead of the ageing process. It is a fact, that all skin ages over time; wrinkles, age spots & pigmentation are all a fact of life. But as we get older our ability to generate new cells slows down. ‘’Your body’s ability to create collagen begins to diminish in your 20s and by the time you reach your 50s you have lost up to a third”. Every cell in the human body contains proteins, the basic structure of which is a chain of amino acids. You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Proteins are also vital for growth and development.
Did you know; Collagen makes up to 20 - 30% of your body’s protein content?
So what can we eat to give it a helping hand? Hair, skin and nails are made of similar cells; proteins, keratin, collagen and elastin.Collagen, Keratin and elastin are proteins that keep the skin looking healthy so ensuring that you are getting these nutrients through your diet is vital to youthful skin, strong nails and shiny hair.
Protein foods are broken down into parts called Amino acids during digestion. The body needs amino acids in large enough quantities to maintain good health. Amino acids are found in animal sources such as meats, milk, fish, eggs and plant sources like soy beans, legumes, nut butters and some grains. A diet rich in meat, fish, eggs and dairy is a good start to get your protein, but in a world where we are encouraged to eat less meat, you could also consider a supplement.
Omegas 3 and 6 are unsaturated healthy fats, these make up the epidermis. If you diet is lacking in these essential fats it could be the reason for dry, itchy and even flaky skin. Good fats can be found in Avocado, nuts and olive oils. These good fats have the added benefit of anti-oxidant effects. Vitamins C & E are essential to the production of collagen that is produced naturally within the skin. These vitamins are an antioxidant as well as offering protection from damaging free radicals such as UV damage and improve resilience. Daily fruit and vegetables will help with levels of vitamin C – try kiwi fruit, strawberries, oranges and tomatoes.
Nails & Hair:
Iron can be particularly important as many, women in particular, can be iron deficient. The first sign of which can be as simple as tiredness, but if you also suffer from brittle nails, chapped lips and shedding more hair than normal, it might be time to make sure your intake of iron is optimum. Good sources of iron are red meat, leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli, nuts and seeds. Vitamins B2, B3 and B6 can have a detrimental effect on your skin. Itchy, flaky, inflamed, red patches can all be signs of a deficiency.
It is a commonly known fact that the majority of the UK population is vitamin D deficient. The current health guidelines state that you eat 250-500mg of omega 3 per day to rectify this. Salmon is rich in vitamin D as is all marine sourced omegas, but if fish is not your thing try almonds, walnuts, cashews and seeds. Avocado is a great source of vitamins B & E. Biotin, a type of B vitamin aids keratin development which is essential for strong, healthy hair.
And lastly Hydration.
Fluids are key to keeping your body healthy, detoxifying, as a source of energy, aiding concentration levels and is great for gut health. The daily recommended fluid intake is 3l for men and 2l for women, which does not include times when exertion through exercise and on hotter days when you naturally need more hydration.