Easy Steps to Summer Skin
by Dale Pinnock
Dale Pinnock, also known as the Medicinal Chef, shares top tips & tasty recipes sure to have your skin glowing this summer...
We all want clear glowing skin through the summer months. Whilst good skin care is of vital importance, many of us overlook the importance of what we eat and the impact it has on our appearance. There are a few dietary strategies we can implement to start looking fabulous fast.
Fat soluble antioxidants
We have all heard a million times that antioxidants are good for the skin. But often all antioxidants are clubbed together and we assume that they all benefit us in the same way. To benefit the skin, we need ones that are fat soluble as these will, by their very nature, diffuse out into the skin where they can protect it from damage and reduce inflammation. Go for foods that are naturally orange, red or yellow in colour to provide these.
One of the most important groups of nutrients for skin health are essential fatty acids, such as omega 3. These help to plump out the skin and help it to retain moisture. But most importantly they help to drastically improve any inflammatory issue on the skin. Problems like acne, eczema, and psoriasis for example all have inflammation at their core – this is what causes the redness. Omega 3 fatty acids provide the body with the building blocks it needs to create its own in-built anti-inflammatory compounds, which reduce redness and swelling in such conditions. Oily fish, nuts, seeds all provide these.
Minerals are often the forgotten and unsung nutritional heroes, and are vital for skin health. Sulphur found in onions and eggs help tighten the bonds between skin cells, giving a smoother skin. Zinc in shellfish and pumpkin seeds help to even out oil production and fight infection. Selenium in brazil nuts helps skin cells breakdown by products of free radical activity.
Spicy black bean & Jerusalem artichoke soup
This is quite a filling soup, and a great digestive tonic!
1 red onion - finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 stick of celery - finely chopped
3 Jerusalem artichokes
400g can of black beans - drained
Add the onion, garlic, and celery to a pan with a little olive oil, and sauté until the onion softens. At this point, add the Jerusalem artichokes, and the black beans, and add enough vegetable stock to just cover the ingredients. Simmer until the Jerusalem artichokes soften. Blend until smooth.
Black beans are definitely unsung heroes in the world of pulses. They are bursting to the hilt with nutrients and phytochemicals. Firstly, they are rich sources of the B vitamins, which help to support almost every aspect of skin physiology. They are also incredibly rich in zinc, which helps regulate oil production in the skin, and also support immunity which can help in managing infected skin lesions. However, black beans really come into their own when we look at their phytochemistry. The black pigment on their outer layer is actually made up of a complex of different anthocyanins. These are the same colour pigments that are found in red grapes, blueberries, acai berries etc. They include compounds such as delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. These compounds deliver some notable anti-inflammatory activity so can be a useful part of managing any inflammatory skin lesion.
Black beans also have a very high level of non soluble fibre. This is true of all beans and pulses, but the insoluble fibre in black beans is rather unique. This is because gut bacteria can easily ferment it down to create a substance called butyric acid. This magic compound has an almost rejuvenative effect on the gut wall, so can massively enhance elimination, plus the absorption of some nutrients. These two things combined will help to improve overall nutritional status, which can only aid the skin in functioning better as an organ.
These wonderful and unusual vegetables are another digestive dynamo. They contain special types of sugar, called fructo oligosaccharides and inulin, that work as a food source for the good bacteria in the gut. When gut flora feed on these vital sugars, they start to reproduce, further enhancing the strength of the good gut flora. This will then improve elimination and nutrient absorption.
Carrot, apple, beetroot & celery juice
This deeply coloured juice is incredibly potent. I know it may seem weird to a lot of you to drink vegetable juices with fruit juices, but I assure you, it is really tasty. The sweetness of the apple really comes through and takes your mind off the fact that there are veggies in there.
1 large carrot
1 large apple
1 small raw beetroot
2 sticks of celery
Simply run all ingredients through a juicer... and that’s it!
Carrots are a very dense source of beta carotene. This is of course the plant form of vitamin A, and the most powerful of the carotenoids – the fat soluble antioxidants. Just to give you an idea as to how well these compounds accumulate in the subcutaneous layer of the skin, there is actually a condition called hypercarotenemia. This is where the skin of people who eat a lot of carrots, will actually turn orange due to the sheer level of carotenoids that have accumulated in the skin. That’s proof!
Apples have a high vitamin C content, and also contain a powerful chemical called ellagic acid. This has well documented antioxidant properties and is believed by some to be an effective liver stimulant, helping in the detoxification process. The jury is still out on that one though.
Beetroot on the other hand does have a very powerful effect upon liver function. The deep purple colour pigment, so characteristic in beetroot, actually influences phase 2 detoxification in the liver, which can help to keep things on the inside clean. There are also a huge amount of fat soluble antioxidants in here.
Celery is a very rich source of so many minerals, including potassium, sodium and magnesium. These minerals help to keep the body hydrated. There is nothing worse for the overall appearance of the skin than dehydration. The minerals in celery make it a very hydrating juice. However, there is a dichotomy here. Celery also has a mild diuretic activity, meaning it increases urinary output. It has the ability to make the kidneys work a little harder, without overdoing it to the point where someone would get dehydrated.
Dale Pinnock is the author of a number of books - The Clear Skin Cookbook, Medicinal Cookery and his latest release, The Medicinal Chef. He has also made regular appearances on both radio and television. www.dalepinnock.com