Our nutritional state can hugely affect many aspects of our health and wellbeing, but did you know that billions of women are actually deficient in many key nutrients? Often when we experience problems with our skin, it’s Mother Nature’s way of telling us that we need to adjust or improve our nutrition. Here’s five tell-tale signs that all may not be right, and my top tips for eating your way to healthier, happier skin:
Dry skin is often associated with a lack of essential fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
The solution: Try increasing the amount of green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and oily fish in your diet to help encourage healthy cell growth, increase your skin’s natural lubrication, and protect against free radicals.
Pimples on the upper arms and thighs can occur if you are deficient in essential fatty acids and vitamin E, which are necessary for soft, smooth skin.
The solution: Up your intake of unsalted nuts and seeds, which provide good levels of vitamin E; and oily fish, which are rich in essential fatty acids like Omega-3.
A pasty complexion can be caused by anaemia, where red blood cell levels are too low due to a lack of iron. Anaemia is common amongst women who have heavy periods, and those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and might not be getting enough iron and vitamin B12.
The solution: Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and nuts and seeds, which are a good source of iron, along with cereals and soya products that have been fortified with iron and folic acid. Lean meat and eggs are good sources of vitamin B12, and if you are vegetarian or vegan, consider a vitamin B complex supplement.
Cracking at the corners of the mouth or eyes is associated with low levels of iron and vitamins B2 and B6, making vegetarians, vegans, and women with heavy periods most susceptible to this skin condition.
The Solution: Increase your intake of iron from meat (if you eat it) and non-meat sources, along with B vitamins, which are found in whole grains, eggs, meat, and dairy products, and consider supplementing iron and B vitamins.
Red, greasy skin can be hormone related and often worsens in the run-up to your period.
Solution: Take a good-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement containing high levels of B vitamins and zinc, which can help reduce the amount of oil your skin produces. Avoid saturated fats, red meat, and full-fat dairy products, and keep refined carbohydrates (like sugar, white bread, and flour) to a minimum as these trigger oil production.
What we eat can truly influence how we look and feel, so if you’re suffering with skin problems, now is the time to reset your approach to nutrition. Although it may realistically take several months to fully reap the benefits, by persisting you can take back control of your skin health and improve your sense of wellbeing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maryon Stewart is a renowned healthcare expert and author who is often referred to as the pioneer of the natural menopause movement. She is the author of numerous self-help books, writes regularly for newspapers and magazines, including The Daily Mail and The Guardian, and has hosted her own TV and radio shows.
For more information, visit www.maryonstewart.com.