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Ask Elsa -- Tired skin?

Q My skin looks dull and grey without makeup, have you any diet tips that will help my skin look fresh and glowy?

A The health of the skin depends largely on the health of the major organs of elimination i.e. the bowels, liver and kidneys. So, supporting these organs will mean improving skin health from the inside out. Often it is difficult to see immediate results with regards to improving the quality of the skin. However, improving your diet, lifestyle and taking beneficial supplements will go a long way to addressing dull skin.

Increasing silica-rich foods in your diet is a good place to start. The mineral silica helps to strengthen the integrity of the skin, collagen and elastin while providing nourishing effects. Silica-rich foods include green leafy vegetables, celery, cucumbers, oats and onions. Alternatively, you may take a silica supplement in capsule form which can be purchased from health stores.

Ensure proper hydration and detoxification by drinking two litres of water per day and limit your tea/coffee consumption. Begin each day with a glass of warm water with a lemon squeezed in it, this helps cleanse the bowels and stimulate digestive and liver function for the day

Increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables you consume overall. An easy way to do this is to make a nutrient packed vegetable and fruit juice each day -- recipes can be found on my website.

Ensure that you are consuming adequate amounts of protein in your diet as protein contains the building blocks to create healthy skin. Protein-rich foods are red meat, fish, nuts, tofu, legumes, eggs, and poultry. You should also aim to eat oily fish twice per week and last, but not least, manage your stress levels and get quality sleep where possible.

Q I have very dry flaky scalp which doesn't seem to respond to any of the specialist shampoos, any suggestions?

A I would recommend that you take one to two teaspoons a day of Flaxseed oil. This can be found in health food stores and is also sold in capsule form. Also, you should increase the number of good fats in your diet from oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados and avoid the bad fats found in junk food.

Dry scalp may be a sign that circulation is blocked, so you could try massaging the scalp with sesame oil (available in most health food stores) for five to 10 minutes once a week. Wash it out in the shower.

If you have a shortage of zinc, selenium and vitamins E, C or B in your diet, then that can also contribute to dry scalp, so a balanced diet is essential. I would recommend taking a quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, also containing biotin.

Elsa Jones is a qualified nutritional therapist. She offers one-to-one consultations to treat your individual health concerns. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie