This is a guest post by Chelsea Gross, CTNC
When it comes to skin health, what’s happening on the outside is often a reflection of what’s going on in the inside.
Often, our first inclination is to treat from the outside, in. We’re a society of the quick-fix and we can’t help but turn to pills, products and potions guaranteeing fast-action. But unfortunately, much of the time those things don’t work or are too abrasive and can even make our health and symptoms worse.
I always recommend making the effort to heal, treat and balance from the inside, out.
About 70% of our immune system lives in our gut so eating inflammatory foods, processed foods and foods you may have a sensitivity to can cause an immune response which may show up on our skin.
From breakouts and acne to psoriasis and keratosis pilaris — it all can be connected to what we’re eating and the effect on our gut. And this can affect whether our skin is glowing and healthy.
When I start working with someone on their diet, I recommend eating lots of anti-inflammatory foods to calm the inflammatory response that could be causing unwanted symptoms. So get ready to calm, heal and glow from the inside out with my 3 favorite anti-inflammatory foods!
Omega‑3 Rich Foods
Omega‑3’s are EFA’s — which stands for essential fatty acids. And they’re just this- essential!
Known for their powerful anti-inflammatory properties, I recommend making them a priority in your diet, especially since they’re also specifically very supportive for glowing, healthy skin .
Favorite sources of omega‑3’s:
- Wild-caught fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, oysters and sardines
- Grass-fed animal fats (grass-fed beef, pasture-raised eggs and grass-fed butter or ghee (clarified butter))
- Nuts and seed oils (walnuts, flaxseed oil and chia seeds (please note that plant sources of omega‑3’s contain the ALA form of omega‑3 and have to be converted to the usable form, EPA and DHA which animal sources already contain!))
Why are omega‑3’s so anti-inflammatory? Most of us are getting a far higher dose of omega‑6’s in our diets instead of omega‑3’s since they’re in grains and vegetable oils, like canola and soybean oil — found in almost all packaged foods. For most Americans their omega‑6:omega‑3 ratio is likely 20:1 or 30:1 instead of the idea 2:1 or 3:1. This great imbalance causes inflammation in our bodies. So load up on those omega‑3’s and take note of a likely reduction in inflammation and improved skin health.
Inflammation is not always noticeable! You can’t always feel inflammation, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t happening systemically.
Like I mentioned earlier, gut health is a big factor in our overall health and if you keep your gut health balanced, your skin is likely to reflect that. Probiotics are the good type of bacteria in our gut. In order to prevent food sensitives, have a strong immune system and have healthy skin- you want to have a balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Unfortunately, inflammatory and processed foods, antibiotic use and stress all kill off our good gut bugs. Due to this, we need to build back that beneficial bacteria. This is done through either probiotic supplementation (which I’m a big fan of) and/or probiotic rich foods.
Favorite sources of probiotics:
- Kombucha (fermented teas)
- Sauerkraut and kimchi (fermented vegetables like cabbage, beets and carrots)
- Kefir (a fermented milk drink or coconut, goat or sheep kefir)
I recommend trying out different kinds of probiotics and see what you like best. A little bit goes a long way and varying them up can be helpful. The more diversity, the better!
Ah, my favorite! What is collagen? Collagen is actually the most abundant protein in our bodies and it’s what gives our skin strength and elasticity. As we age, collagen production naturally begins to slow down. Thankfully, collagen-rich foods are becoming increasingly popular and much more available.
“Double-blind, placebo-controlled studies investigating the anti-aging properties of collagen have found that 2.5–5 grams of collagen hydrolysate used among women ages 35–55 once daily for eight weeks significantly improved skin elasticity, skin moisture, transepidermal water loss (dryness) and skin roughness, all with little to no side effects. (1)
Favorite sources of collagen:
- Collagen Hydrolysate (flavorless and odorless powder that absorbs in hot and cold liquid. Great in coffee, tea, soups, stews, baking and more. Two favorite brands are “Great Lakes” and “Vital Proteins”)
- Bone Broth (a slow cooked broth full of collagen, vitamins and minerals that are leached from grass-fed bones and made into a delicious, healing and therapeutic broth. Great to simply sip on or use in cooking and soups. I love the brand ossogoodbones.com or you can make your own using this recipe!)
- Bone Broth Protein (most protein powders are made of soy, whey and have added sugar but this one clean, jam-packed with nutrition and tastes great. I add this to my smoothies and it comes in a variety of delicious flavors. My favorite is the chocolate!)
As you can see there are tons of ways to heal, treat and soothe your skin from the inside, out. Increasing your consumption of anti-inflammatory foods is a great place to start.
I hope these ideas were helpful for you and that you implement some of these powerful foods. I’m here if you have any questions or need any more help in figuring out what foods work for YOU and your body!
Chelsea Gross is a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach and owns her own 1:1 holistic nutrition coaching business, nutritionwithchelsea.com where she also blogs and creates real-food recipes. Chelsea helps women break free from restriction, dieting and deprivation- and find the way of eating (and living!) that works for them so they can ditch the wagon for good, and feel confident in their choices and bodies. After overcoming years of challenges with disordered eating, depression, digestive issues and chronic pain she leads with vulnerability and honesty so her clients know they are not alone. Through real-food nutrition, lifestyle and mindset shifts, Chelsea works closely with women to get to the root of their health concerns and create permanent change.