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The Best Foods For Beautiful Skin: Expert Advice

By Megan Bedford

The Best Foods For Beautiful Skin: Expert Advice
The market for products promising glowing skin, strong nails and lush locks is abundant. But what if the answer was in your refrigerator or pantry all along?

Adding the latest beauty products to your cart and hoping for the best? How about having a rethink about what’s on your plate too?

The importance of inner health has always been important for our general wellbeing but it’s also gaining more respect in the journey to better skin, hair and nails. But be warned, there’s no true ‘quick’ fix. Like many things, results take time and effort.

“There is such a huge focus on topical skincare, which has its place too, but if we’re not getting enough nutrients or digesting our food properly due to poor gut health, our skin literally starves,” says Carla Oates, founder of pioneering supplement company The Beauty Chef. She points out this can affect skin’s elasticity and collagen production and result in dull, lacklustre skin with poor tone. It’s part of the reason she originally developed her line back in 2009, offering bio-fermented, probiotic wholefood powders and elixirs for gut health, glowing skin and wellbeing.

“Ignoring inner nutrition completely is the mistake I most often see people making. The skin, hair and nails are the last places to receive nutrients, as they go to more important organs first, so everyday nutrition and healthy digestion is key.”

While supplementation makes things easy, vitamin-rich, whole foods as well as probiotic fermented foods are a combination experts like Oates say are important to prioritise.

Supplemented smoothies

One way to get the goods? The return of the smoothie, now in not-so-humble form. The dense drink has recently returned to popularity thanks in part to buzzy Los Angeles health food store Erewhon’s collaboration with star Hailey Bieber to offer an astoundingly sought-after (and eye-wateringly pricey) ‘Glaze Skin Smoothie’. Recreated around the globe, it nods to the desire for healthy skin-boosting ingredients in an easy to consume form, containing a blend of almond milk, coconut cream, fresh strawberries, avocado, dates and maple syrup along with the addition of
collagen, hyaluronic acid and sea moss supplements in the mix.


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Oates, who has recreated the famous drink with a similar recipe including The Beauty Chef’s Deep Marine Collagen powder, says because she’s long worked to help others recognise the connection between nutrition and our skin, any trend that helps to spread awareness is great.

“However, it’s still important to look at the ingredients and make sure that what you’re drinking and blitzing together is of high quality and benefit, “ she says, pointing out they should be consumed alongside a diverse range of wholefoods daily.

Eat clean and green

According to belle époque nutrition’s Dr Sarah Mitchell Weston, a PhD in Human Nutrition and registered nutritionist, skin and nail quality benefits from a diet with plenty of
protein and plants, so she recommends a varied and plant-forward diet.

“I do not necessarily mean a diet devoid of animal products, but with an emphasis on plants,” she explains, saying the combination provides amino acids and micronutrients.

She highlights the benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet in particular, with plenty of vegetables, seafood, legumes and nuts. As for things we consume that can be detrimental to our appearance? You won’t be surprised to hear the usual suspects are on her list.

“High sugar and alcohol intake can cause significant damage to the skin,” Mitchell Weston confirms. “High sugar intake is actually one of the main contributors to breakdown of collagen in the skin.”

A busy life and eating on the go can also mean a reliance on highly processed convenience foods with little to offer nutritionally. The solution, she says, is being consistent and being prepared. “If you are neither of these things, you’ll often find yourself eating on the run,” she says. “Get organised, have a weekly food plan in place, and make sure most of your meals are plant and protein rich. And drink your water!”

Prioritise probiotics

The importance of a healthy gut has become part of the wellness conversation in recent years, and if things are out of whack, they could be showing on your skin.

Typical signs of poor gut health tend to be related to the digestive system and include chronic bloating, changes in stool consistency and frequency, and/or heartburn, but they can also impact your appearance.

“Many studies have shown a two-way relationship between the gut and skin associated with Gastrointestinal (GI) health and skin homeostasis, aka the gut-skin axis,” says Mitchell Weston, explaining the gut produces an array of bioactive compounds that influence skin conditions through their metabolic activity and immunological impact.

“It’s not uncommon for people with gut disorders such as IBS to also suffer from inflammatory skin conditions too.”

To help, she recommends consuming foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics like fermented foods and high fibre plant-foods .

“Prebiotics basically act as a fertiliser for your probiotics and gut microbiome, so are absolutely necessary for gut health.”

Consider collagen

Oates and Mitchell Weston are both fans of supplementing with collagen to replenish the body’s natural stores.

Collagen formation is important for healthy connective tissue, skin function and structure, including skin hydration and firmness, but as we age this process begins to slow. Mitchell Weston, who created her own brand of collagen under the brand Prochaine, says it’s worth considering what the product is made of and the other ingredients included.

“We chose fish-derived collagen as it is a more sustainable choice and smaller molecular size for better absorption compared to bovine collagen.”

Taking supplements and vitamins can also be a ‘when I remember’ affair, so we like Oates’ new approach to collagen from The Beauty Chef. Plumpers Collagen Chewables come in large tablet form. It means you can leave on your desk or in the car and take when life allows. There are three flavours, each intended to support collagen production, skin elasticity and hydration.

QUICK TIPS: What to add to your diet for beautiful skin

Nutritionist Dr Sarah Mitchell Weston’s suggests these foods for supporting beautiful skin:

  • Hydrating foods rich in phytonutrients: veggies, fruits and meals such as smoothies and soups.
  • Foods containing omega 3’s DHA, EPA, ALA such as fatty fish, seafood, algae, nuts, and seeds.
  • Foods with zinc and collagen such as animal protein.
  • Foods rich in probiotics: yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kaffir.
  • Foods rich in prebiotics: Typically high fibre plant foods. Prebiotics basically act as a fertiliser for your probiotics and gut microbiome, so are absolutely necessary for gut health. And gut health is integral to skin health.


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