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Beauty From Within

Clare Jones has the key to healthy skin, nails and hair

Written by . Published on October 24th 2011.


Beauty From Within

OPEN any women's magazine and you’ll be inundated with adverts and articles telling you how to deal with split ends, spots, wrinkles, bags under your eyes, dry skin, dull skin, oily skin, problem hair, and the list goes on.

Visit any department store or chemist and you will be bombarded with the beauty products the magazines have recommended including anti-oxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, exotic oils, hydrating formulas, ‘nourishment’ for hair, skin and nails.

Drink water 

But rather than applying all these good things externally, would we be better nourishing ourselves internally and allowing beauty to shine from within? Are there foods we could be eating that will really make a difference?

The trouble is, there's not much money to be made from say, selling more broccoli, so investment in research into the effect of the foods we are eating on our appearance is limited when compared to the millions invested in research into ingredients you put on your skin - for which the formulas can be patented and companies can reap big financial rewards.

However, given that what we eat provides the building blocks for our hair, skin and nails, there are some areas where changing what you are eating may well be a recipe for beauty success. Here are some suggestions for common problems:

  • Dry skin
    The outer layer of our skin is exposed to harsh weather conditions, such as sunlight and cold winds, as well as environmental pollutants and often quite damaging chemicals in toiletries and beauty products, so it's not surprising that the surface often feels dry or rough to the touch. As well as water, which plays an obvious role in keeping skin hydrated, our skin needs fats (yes - that's fats!) to help the cells retain water. Foods to choose are those that contain the ‘essential’ omega 3 and omega 6 fats, such as oily fish, nuts, seeds and their oils - try adding a homemade dressing to salads, using hemp, sunflower or walnut oil.

  • Weak nails
    Fingernails are made of similar cells to our skin, hard and packed closely together. When analysed, they contain fairly high concentrations of minerals such as calcium, selenium and potassium. Weak nails are often an indication that you are not getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet or that a problem with your digestion means you’re not absorbing them well. Try increasing vegetables in your diet, especially leafy greens such as kale and broccoli and take time to sit down and chew your food properly.

  • Spots, acne and oily skin
    An incredibly common problem and one of the most distressing too, the causes of these skin problems can be complex. Issues such as acne are often hormonal in nature and may need a more in-depth investigation but spots and oily skin may be linked to a diet that's high in sugary and processed foods and low in fruit and vegetables and water. Cut out the sugar and aim for 8-10 portions of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables per day.

  • Poor hair condition
    Hair is also made up of similar cells to the skin and is composed mainly of protein and minerals, so if your usually lustrous locks are lacking their shine, it may well be linked to the foods you are eating. As well as the foods mentioned above, try adding avocado to your salads and snack on pumpkin seeds and almonds. Choose whole grains, such as brown rice and wholemeal bread, as they are high in B vitamins, a shortage of which has been linked to premature greying.

Eat greens

    How quickly will I notice a difference?

    Well, Rome wasn't built in a day and the same is true of the renewal of different types of cells in the body. This is less of an overnight miracle cure and more of a long-term investment but, in today's economic climate, it's worth bearing in mind that the food ingredients described above are a lot cheaper than some of the 'miracle' cosmetics currently on the market. Here are some guidelines:

    • Skin
      The outer layer of our skin, called the epidermis, is itself made up of four layers and cells are formed in the innermost layer and work their way up to the top. The length of time this takes varies from person to person but, on average, it takes from 6-10 weeks to renew the outer layer, so it could take 2-3 months to notice a difference.

    • Nails
      Nail growth also varies from person to person and the rate of growth changes according to the seasons too. On average, fingernails grow 1mm per week (toenails are slightly slower) so, again, it may be 2-3 months before you notice a difference.
    • Hair
      It takes approximately 6 weeks to grow an inch of hair on our heads so how quickly you notice a difference will depend on how long your hair is. Remember, you won't be able to influence the health of the hair that is already grown.

    Avocado

     

    The advice given here is not intended to replace medical advice. Always consult your GP if you are concerned about your health.

    Clare Jones, BA(Hons), Dip ION, mBANT NTC & CNHC registered
    Nutritional Therapy . 

    If you would like to make an appointment for a personal nutrition consultation with Clare, please contact her on the above number or visit Clare’s website: www.clarejones-nutrition.co.uk

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