The food that we eat affects every organ in our body, and we often forget that our skin is the largest organ in the body and our first line of defence.
Before we start worrying about what we are putting onto our skin, we should be thinking what we are putting into our bodies – and into our skin. Any good diet will work wonders for your skin regardless of what food you eat, but there are a number of vitamins and minerals that are key to glowing skin.
Last week I was invited to the Garnier pop-up to share my tips on how to achieve healthy hair, skin, and nails, through nutrition.
To celebrate the launch of the new Maple Healer hair-care range, Garnier Ultimate Blends created a unique 3 day pop-up at ‘The Blends’ Room, in Soho. Throughout the course of the 3 days visitors had the opportunity to attend a variety of health and wellbeing workshops and talks, have their hair braided at the braid station and create their very own personalised message on a bottle of Garnier Ultimate Blends.
For my talk, I discussed how our diet can have impact our hair, skin, and nails. This is a topic I discuss in much more detail in the book but for today I want to discuss antioxidants.
I’m sure you’ve heard, or read, about antioxidants and how they’re good for us. You may have heard that certain foods are full of antioxidants, or you may have heard that they protect us against free radicals.
But what actually are antioxidants? and what in the world is a free radical, and why is it bad?, or is it bad?
Antioxidants and free radicals are both molecules which are found naturally in the body. Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable molecules because they have one unpaired electron, and electrons like to be in pairs. So they scavenge the body for another molecule to steal an electron from. This can start a chain reaction of free radical formation as one steals from another. The formation of free radicals in the body is a natural occurrence and is actually important for our immune and inflammatory response – especially to neutralise viruses and bacteria. However, high levels of free radicals can cause damage to healthy cells.
Free radicals may be formed naturally in the body, but also as a result of environmental triggers such as; UV radiation, smoking, drugs, and through our diet.
Oxidative stress is the term we use when the production of free radicals goes beyond the protective defences in the body. Oxidative stress has been associated with skin ageing and also the development of a number of disease states such as cancer and heart disease.
However, the human body is has its own defence mechanism to neutralise free radicals. This is where antioxidants come in.
Antioxidants are capable of stabilizing, or deactivating, free radicals before they attack cells. We create them naturally in the body but we can also we can get them through our diet. There are certain vitamins and minerals that act as antioxidants. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, and are among the most commonly studied dietary antioxidants.The best way to ensure you’re getting enough of these antioxidants is by boosting your diet with a selection of colourful fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and good quality oils.
If you’re interested to hear more about antioxidants, and how our diet can impact our hair, skin and nails, then check out my book THE FOOD MEDIC which is available to pre-order now. In addition to discussing skin health, I also look at the impact of nutrition on our cardiovascular, brain, and gut health.
Photography by Jon Payne