It seems pretty obvious - what you put in your body has a direct effect on your skin health and your general wellbeing. However, unless you have been really sick, you can't measure the changes easily that can occur when you stick to a healthy routine. You need to stick to it in order to get better. We make healthy choices every day. From not having that third cup of coffee to eating chicken and vegetables instead of takeaway food. All these things contribute to how we feel physically and emotionally. Plus the way you look can directly effect your mental health as well.
In previous posts I mentioned that I have had trouble with my skin. As a teenager, then when I was sick and later on when I had a bout of dermatitis. I wish I knew what I know now about diet when I was a teenager struggling with my skin. The simple solution then was to go on antibiotics. There are a time and a place for antibiotics; however your skin can greatly benefit from healthy eating all year round.
I used diet to help cure my pustular acne from medication and stress when I was sick and I also used diet to help my recent bouts of dermatitis. My diet greatly improved my skin in both instances. However, it wasn't quick or easy. Exercise also helped both times. We all know sweating helps your skin and exercise can also help you to sleep better!
When I was sick I went to see a GP and he suggested I could have Leaky Gut Syndrome. I had never heard about it before. The "leaky gut syndrome" theory suggests that undigested food particles, bacterial toxins and germs can pass through the "leaky" gut wall and into the bloodstream, triggering the immune system and causing persistent inflammation throughout the body. Well I was certainly inflamed so I read up on it. Stress, drugs, toxins, food particles, pathogens and organ malfunction all contribute to an immune reaction causing you to feel bloated, tired, get headaches, have digestive issues and weight fluctuation as well as skin issues like rosacea and acne. The GP suggested I take probiotics, a liver support tablet and go on an anti-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammatory diet includes antioxidant foods, minerals and essential fatty acids. Foods that heal your body and satisfy your palate, you can remove the inflammation-causing offenders without feeling deprived. Examples of anti-inflammatory foods are:
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
2. Bok Choy
9. Bone Broth
11. Coconut Oil
12. Chia Seeds
14. Turmeric and
There is also a long list of things to avoid which include alcohol, saturated and trans fatty acids. Simple, refined sugars and carbohydrates are more inflammation-causing culprits. Limiting refined grains is an important factor in an anti-inflammatory diet as well. Whole grains should replace the refined carbohydrates, as truly whole grains are important sources of nutrition. I started on this diet, as well as making sure I had a simple, effective skin care routine and I slowly saw an improvement in my health and skin.
I read a book called The Healthy Skin Diet: Your Complete Guide To Beautiful Skin In Only 8 Weeks! by Karen Fischer which was a lot of help. Fischer seemed to have good advice for each skin disorder she covered, though some of the recipes she included were a bit far out for me. I didn't drink water with chlorophyll, for example, like she suggested. I just took on the suggestions that I could easily sustain. If you go on a diet that is too difficult to stick to, chances are you won't stay on it long enough to see an improvement!
I used the same principles when I started to develop a thing called perioral dermatitis. This condition is pretty common amongst females ages 15-45 years. It is characterised by groups of itchy or tender small red papules around your mouth, nose and eyes and it often gets wrongly diagnosed. Luckily I only had it around my chin. Perioral Dermatitis is pretty stubborn and I have learnt lots of tricks to deal with it which I would love to share with you in the coming articles on Set to Glow.
Karen Fischer has another book called The Eczema Diet which was very helpful too. I went to a dermatologist and did lots of research to work out what I could do to help my condition. I gave up coffee. Yes! I did. My hip pocket isn't missing it and it has helped my skin no end. Another tip that I have for any perioral dermatitis sufferers is to avoid fluoride toothpaste as well as making sure you wash your face AFTER you have cleaned your teeth. But more on that later!