Getting married is such an important time of your life, and of course you want to look your best on your big day. Rather than view your big day as a weight loss target, harness your new found motivation to make real changes that will transform your health, long after the confetti has settled. For radiant and glowing skin, you might be surprised to know that the answer lies more in your digestive tract rather how much you're spending on face creams, as our digestive system is the main place where we absorb beauty nutrients from our foods, as well as the main place where we dispel toxins through elimination. If the digestive system isn't working optimally and struggles to eliminate toxins effectively, breakouts, eczema, redness and dull skin can ensue.
My top tips to get the glow for your big day include:
1. Ditch dairy, sugar, gluten & soy (at least temporarily)
Often skin conditions are caused by these sensitive foods which can lead to intestinal inflammation and affect your healthy gut flora and thus, overall digestion and skin. To see results you need to ensure you remove all traces of the food, a little bit of gluten has the same effect on your body than a lot and it can take up to three weeks for the symptoms to reside so you need to completely commit to see results.
2. Support your gut flora with probiotics
These ‘good bacteria’ live in our digestive tract and help balance our pH levels, allowing our bodies to absorb skin-benefiting nutrients and also help with the removal of wastes. You can find these beneficial probiotics in cultured vegetables, kefir, natural yoghurt and kombucha, or by taking a good quality probiotic supplement.
Skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Even mild dehydration will cause your skin to look dry, tired and slightly grey. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day, all fluids count towards your daily allowance but water is the best. If you work in an office, keep a large bottle of water on your desk to remind you to drink. Herbal, caffeine-free teas are great to mix things up. Try to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption as both can age the skin. I love to start the day with a warm glass of diluted raw apple cider vinegar as this cleanses and assists digestion.
4. Eat a whole foods diet
What you put in your body is arguably more important for your skin than what you put on it. Eating a whole food based diet, rich in vegetables and fruits, is the best way to promote your digestive tract and skin on the path to wellness. Beauty super nutrients include:
Vitamin C – a super antioxidant needed for a strong immune system and radiant skin. It is also essential in the production of collagen. The best sources of vitamin C are blueberries, broccoli, kiwi, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin E – protects skin from oxidative cell damage and supports healthy skin growth. Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, avocado, hazlenuts, collard greens, pine nuts and sunflower seeds.
Vitamin A – thickens and stimulates the skin, reducing wrinkles and increasing blood flow. It also helps to form new skin cells. Great sources include sweet potatoes, egg yolk, liver, meat and fish.
Zinc – involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands in the skin (which produce oil) and helps to repair skin damage and keep skin soft and supple. Zinc-rich foods include fish, lean red meat, whole grains, poultry, nuts, seeds and shellfish (especially oysters).
Selenium – another powerful antioxidant. It works alongside Vitamins E and C and is essential for the immune system, helping to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. One way to boost your intake is to eat Brazil nuts (just four nuts will provide the recommended daily dose). Other good sources are fish, shellfish, eggs, tomatoes and broccoli.
Silica – strengthens skin tissue and therefore hair and nails. Oats, leeks, green beans, strawberries, cucumbers, and mangoes are great wholefood sources.
Magnesium – this mineral detoxifies the skin, slows down the ageing process, and combats breakouts. Found most in dark leafy greens (like kale and spinach) as well as nuts and seeds.
Omega 3 – can reduce inflammation, promoting cell growth and nourishing our skin. Found in oily fish such as salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds.
5. Increase your protein
Your hair and skin are made from protein, which is necessary for tissue repair and for the construction of new tissue; remember skin cells are replaced every 24 days. In times of stress or illness more proteins are needed by the body, and beauty signs of deficiency include puffy bags under the eyes, split nails and hair falling out. The easiest way to ensure you get enough protein in your diet is to make sure every meal you have contains it. This doesn’t have to be in the form of animal protein, quinoa, lentils and legumes are also high in protein. My favourite tip for glowing skin is to add a scoop of collagen powder to your morning smoothie.
6. Move your body and manage your stress
Movement is essential to your digestive system’s function. By increasing your heart rate once a day you are helping circulate nutrients to your skin and push toxins out. Furthermore, certain stretches and yoga postures (such as seated spinal twists) can help promote elimination. Exercise also helps lower your stress levels, leading to healthier, younger looking skin.
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