Everyday foods could be contributing to your skins distress
A healthy diet, including undamaged Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s), is required to keep your skin healthy. However, there may be specific foods or additives, which may be contributing to your skin disorder.
Foods you eat everyday may be a problem
There are a number of foods that people eat daily which are known to contribute to skin problems. Sometimes people are born with an intolerance to these foods, but an intolerance can also suddenly appear, seemingly from nowhere, as a child gets older, or even in adulthood. Stress can be a contributing factor, as can an overload of environmental toxins and an inefficient digestive system.
- Gluten found in wheat, rye, and barley and to a much lesser extent in oats, is a protein that some people find very hard to digest. Found in ordinary bread, pasta, baked goods, and thousands of processed foods, it can be difficult to avoid. Due to one in ten people having gluten intolerance today, there are many excellent gluten-free foods available in health stores.
- Yeast, found in normal and gluten free varieties of bread, as well as other baked goods, can be a problem for some people. Yeast is also found in fermented foods, like vinegar and malt as well as mushrooms and alcohol. Some favorite foods like vegemite contain yeast extracts, as do monosodium glutamate (MSG) containing foods, canned and packet soups, and stock cubes, including some soya sauces. Unfortunately, sweet fruit feeds the yeast in the body, the overgrowth of which could be adding to skin problems. Therefore, avoiding any foods that contain yeast, as well as sweet fruit, may be necessary until the skin is healed, or until you know exactly which food is making the skin condition worse.
- Dairy milk is found in all dairy products as well as other processed foods, and can cause skin reactions, ranging from mild to severe. Replace cows milk with rice milk. If you have a powerful blender, and can eat nuts, you can also make nut milk, using almonds or cashews, cold water and a few ice cubes. Adding some vanilla adds a lovely subtle flavor. Some people have found that replacing cows milk, with goats milk is a good solution, and in this way they can still enjoy dairy products, like goats cheese and yoghurt.
- Soya is found in tofu, soya sauce and miso, as well as in many baked goods and other processed foods because it is a cheap filler, which saves manufacturers’ money.
Healthy foods that your skin may dislike
Some vegetables, especially tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and green capsicums cause skin flare-ups, and shellfish, oranges, eggs, strawberries, as well as other berries, apples and lemons are also trigger foods for some people. Certain spices as well as chocolate can cause skin flare-ups too. This is distressing for some people, as these foods are perceived as being healthy. However, your individual reaction will dictate whether one of, or a few of these foods are to be avoided.
Are some additives worse for your skin than others?
Additives found in processed and tinned foods, such as preservatives, colorants and flavorings, including MSG, can affect some people’s skin negatively. Some of the worst culprits for skin seem to be the colorants that contain the word -azo, and the preservatives that contain benzoates.
However, the following list contains the names of many of the additives, including the ones mentioned above, known to cause skin irritation. Although this list is not exhaustive and there may be other additives, not listed, that could also cause skin reactions, you can look out for these in foods you purchase. Some of these additives have been banned in the USA and the EU, while many of them are still used in Australia:
- Tartrazine (102)
- Quinolene yellow (104)
- Sunset yellow (110)
- Cochineal (120)
- Carmoisine (122)
- Amaranth (123)
- Ponceau (124)
- Erythrosine (127)
- Allura red (129)
- Brilliant blue (133)
- Green S (142)
- Fast green FCF (143)
- Carbon black (153)
- Brown HT (155)
- Annatto extracts (160b)
- Sorbates (201 – 203)
- Benzoates (210 – 218)
- Sulphur dioxide (220)
- Sodium sulphite (221)
- Sodium bisulphite (222)
- Sodium metabisulphate (223)
- Potassium metabisulphate (224)
- tert-Butylhydroquinone (319)
- Karaya gum (416)
- MSG (Monosodium Glutamate – 621) which is also disguised as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and yeast extract
- Disodium 5′ ribonucleotides (635)
- Calcium cyclamate or sodium cyclamate or cyclamate (952)
- Saccharin or calcium saccharin or sodium saccharin or potassium saccharin (954)
The take home lesson: read the labels of the food you buy! If there are too many ingredients that you can’t pronounce, put it back on the shelf and choose something else, closer to nature.
More important things to consider in your search for healthy skin
- Cut down or even better eliminate refined sugars and carbohydrates such as lollies/candy, cookies and crisps. This includes soft drinks or soda, even if they are artificially sweetened. These processed foods are especially damaging to skin, as they are deficient in nutrients and cause cellular damage.
- Never use shelf stable cooking oils – the ones found in the ‘golden oil aisles’ of supermarkets. They are cheap, damaged oils that promote ill health on every level, including poor quality skin. Rather use organic butter, or coconut oil to quickly and lightly saut food OCCASIONALLY – deep-frying your food is no good for healthy skin, body or brain.
- Water is the primary compound in the body, and fat is the second. If you don’t drink enough water your entire body will be battling to cope with the transfer of nutrients and oxygen to cells, regulating body temperature, breathing optimally, removing waste, cushioning joints and keeping the brain hydrated. Drink 300ml for every 10kg/20lbs you weigh
You need enough protein to gain and maintain healthy skin
Protein is required by the body to produce collagen and elastin, which hold cells together, and is especially important for producing and maintaining skin cells. As skin cells are replaced every 24 hours, enough protein is required to keep your skin strong and healthy. And the right fats work together with protein to ensure healthy cell membranes and healthy skin.
If you are a vegetarian you may not be getting enough protein in your diet, which is essential for healthy skin. Combine legumes, such as peas, lentils, chickpeas, barlotti, kidney and cannelini beans with whole grains, such as rice, if you are a vegetarian. Eat more quinoa, a very nutritious, protein-rich seed, used as a grain, which cooks in about 20 minutes. Consume nuts and seeds as your snacks during the day. Reconsider eating soya as a protein replacement.
What about protein powders?
If you are using a protein powder as a daily supplement, you need to be aware of the fact that most – if not all – protein powders have a large amount of free form glutamate and aspartate. These are two amino acids that can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to them, as they are ‘excitatory’ amino acids. They are similar to MSG and Aspartame, both substances that have been linked to a variety of serious health challenges and are best avoided.
Other important points to keep in mind about the oil blend and your skin
Although the oil blend will improve the quality of your skin, it may not stop your skin from reacting to a food that distresses it.
Some people notice a difference in the quality of their skin, and an improvement in their eczema after consuming the oil blend for a short period of time. Others may need to consume the oil blend for six months or longer, before noticing an improvement. Everyone is unique, but avoiding certain foods can hasten healing.
Skin nutrients you have to supply in your diet too
Although your skin, as well as your body and brain, need the right fats and oils to stay healthy and perform optimally, you also have to provide other important nutrients too. A good multivitamin and mineral supplement, as well as a separate zinc and vitamin C and E supplement can help your skin heal. Recent research has also discovered that Vitamin D has a very important role to play in skin health, especially healing skin conditions like eczema. A digestive enzyme with each meal, and a probiotic after your meal, can both contribute to improved skin health because they help your digestive system to work more efficiently. These digestive supplements will help your skin to use the nutrients you’re eating, for healing.
Can you ‘grow out of’ eczema and other skin ailments?
It is worth mentioning here that there are children that seem to grow out of their eczema, only to have it reappear when they become teenagers. The explanation for this seems to be related to hormonal changes, coupled to the subsequent demand for extra nutrients, an essential one being the Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) found in the oil blend. Ensuring the addition of the oil blend, the removal of foods that pose a risk to skin health, and adding extra nutrients with a good multi- vitamin and mineral will go a far way to ensuring not only skin health, but also general well being for your teenager.
In summary, it may take some time to pinpoint the specific foods or additive/s that could be adding to your skin flare-ups. Keep a food diary for a few weeks to see if you can pinpoint what food or additive/s could be increasing your skins reactivity. It may take up to 6 months or longer, for the oil blend to saturate your skin cells with the right fats, and to pinpoint what specific food or additive is contributing to your skin challenges. However, healthy, glowing skin is possible!