Healthy eating: Susan Jane White on food for your skin
Stock up on food for your skin, such as this omega butter, says Susan Jane White, and you'll soon see it shine
Feeding your body poorly only encourages it to plot revenge. Did you know that our skin is the largest excretory organ of the body? Pimples, dull skin and parched patches are all warning signals that our body isn't happy. That something is amiss. Should you choose to ignore these blatant sirens, symptoms only worsen.
So what can we do to ensure that our skin behaves? My advice is to feed your cells, and your cells will feed you. Luckily for us, our skin rejuvenates every four weeks. This means that what you eat today can and will have an effect on your appearance this time next month.
If your skin is regularly distressed, start stocking your kitchen with turmeric, garlic, ginger, mackerel, wild salmon, sardines, herring, linseed and chia, a nutritious South American seed. Your skin will respond to these foods' anti-inflammatory compounds, which help to fight itchy skin, redness, hives and swelling.
According to Ian Marber, director of London's Food Doctor Clinic, the most crucial nutrients for fabulous skin are vitamin C, protein and omega fats. The mineral zinc is a close contender for its ability to heal damaged skin.
While good-quality protein is required to build new skin and rejuvenate that youthful glow, the over-consumption of red meat can lead to skin problems for many. Have a look at hemp. Its seeds are a complete source of first-class protein, iron, fibre, essential fatty acids and tastiness.
Virginia Harvest is an Irish brand that has cleverly crushed hemp seeds into a fine, naturally sweet powder. This powder makes a great alternative protein drink to those dodgy sports shakes peddled to teenagers. Yes, it comes from the same plant species as marijuana but it is entirely legal and non-psychoactive, I'm afraid. Order it through your local health-food store. You'll also spot Linwoods's range of seeds at the supermarket, including the shelled hemp necessary for the recipe below.
Omega Parsley Butter
This recipe specifically combines pumpkin seed's rich dose of zinc, lemon's vitamin C, hemp's protein, essential omega fats from seeds, and parsley's stock of chlorophyll. In other words, a real beauty bullet.
You will need:
1 small garlic clove
1/2 unwaxed lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon hemp-seed or linseed oil
Bunch of parsley
3 tablespoons hemp seeds
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1/2 teaspoon good-quality sea salt
Mince the garlic, or grate it with the teeny-tiny part of your grater. Follow with the lemon rind. Squeeze the lemon's juice and add it together with the extra virgin olive oil and the hemp-seed or linseed oil, whichever you are using. Finely chop the parsley, add, and give everything a jolly good whizz in the blender with the remaining ingredients -- the hemp seeds, the pumpkin seeds, the sunflower seeds and the sea salt -- until smooth.
Store in a scrupulously clean jam jar, with an extra drizzle of olive oil on top. In theory, it should keep for two weeks in the fridge. In practice, well, that's another thing. Super tasty spread on avocados, oatcakes, sliced cucumber, tomato, breadsticks or Sunday's roast chicken.