Foods to eat to battle dry skin
Published 10/02/2014 | 12:49
Dry skin is quite common at this time of year and the right dietary additions are as useful and effective as body lotions and moisturisers.
The best-known good-boosting nutrient is fat. The essential fats in food are processed internally and provide oils that regulate sebum production, and also seal in water. A diet that is rich in the good fats will lead to plump, moisturised skin - the sort of skin that one client recently described as 'dewy'.
There has been a lot of interest in omega 3 fats mostly found in fish, but great skin also requires the other omega fats, namely 6 and 9, which are found in nuts, seeds and their oils. However, as the British diet is generally rich in omega 6 and 9 we should be more conscious of getting more omega 3. Aside from oily fish, omega 3 is also found in grass-fed beef, some eggs, walnuts and purslane.
Increase your intake of good fats and you should notice the difference within a few weeks. Drizzle cooked vegetables with some flaxseed or walnut oil, or use almond oil for a base for a salad dressing. A perfect balance could be achieved from having fish too, so that you get a good variety of all the omega fats. There are some good combination oils that you can buy that have the ideal balance of omega 3, 6 and 9 oils in the ratio of 2:2:1, such as Udo's Choice, available in most health food stores and some supermarkets too.
Biotin is another nutrient that is required to combat dry skin. Available in romaine lettuce, peanuts, sweet potato and eggs, biotin helps regulate fatty acid metabolism to maintain levels in skin cells.
Sulphur and vitamin C are required for collagen synthesis, which helps maintain that plumped up look of well hydrated skin. Sulphur is found in onions, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, leeks and shallots, whilst vitamin C is found in sweet potato, kiwi, peppers and berries. Kale contains both sulphur and vitamin C, so a useful combination of the two nutrients.
Lastly, there's silica, a nutrient that is often overlooked possibly because there isn't a recommended daily intake. However, silica helps collagen formation and maintenance and also stimulates glycosaminoglycans, a type of amino acid which acts as a lubricant in the body, of which the best known is hyaluronic acid. Silica is found in apples, peppers, oats and cucumber.
Given that cucumber also contains biotin, a good skin-friendly main course might consist of steamed salmon, cucumber and kale topped with crushed walnuts.
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