pumpkin-smoothieThis is a guest post by Brigid Creasey, who blogs at WholesomeMum


There’s no denying it … our appearance is the first thing that people judge us on.

In a world where image is deemed so important, looking good and feeling good are incredibly vital to our overall health and wellbeing.

Your blemished skin can leave you feeling incredibly self conscious, depressed, anxious, stressed and miserable.

So how do we change society’s obsession with our appearance?

Well, frankly, we can’t.

That’s not the major issue anyway.

You see, the health of our skin also provides us with an indication of our body’s overall health.

For example, blemished skin can be a warning of internal issues such as digestive problems, liver and kidney issues and elevated stress levels.

Like many health conditions there are three key things to consider:

  • Diet and lifestyle
  • Hormones
  • Digestive Gut health

So how can you improve the health of your skin?

Overhaul Your Eating Habits

Numerous studies have shown that there is a correlation between certain types of foods and their impact on our skin’s health and hormone levels.

Foods that are heavily processed and high on the glycemic index (GI) increase the body’s blood sugar levels and therefore insulin dependence. Elevated levels of insulin increase the production of the stress hormone cortosil which can lead to skin breakouts.

High insulin levels also impact on the glands and sex hormones that are responsible for the production and transportation of sebum.

Sebum is the oil our body produces.

When it becomes blocked by dead skin cells this can result in inflammation, redness and if bacteria is present can turn into pus filled pimples.

There is evidence to suggest that low-GI food may help some people with acne.

This is because food that is low on the glycemic index such as vegetables and wholefoods keep hormones in balance and fight inflammation.

One of the best things you can do for your overall health is to fuel your body with lots of wholefoods; particularly lean proteins, lots of different vegetables, fruits and wholegrains like brown rice and oats.

Paying particular attention to foods that are high in the following vitamins and minerals will also help:

  •  Vitamin A ensures that healthy skin generation is formed and is vital for maintaining skin health. Foods that are high in vitamin A include pumpkin, natural yoghurt, kale, sweet potato, mango, carrots and spinach.
  •  Vitamin E is well known for aiding skin recovery. It prevents scarring, promotes healing, protects cells from free-radical damage and reduces irritation. Foods that are high in Vitamin E include blueberries, nuts and oils, sunflower seeds, almonds and spinach.
  •  Vitamin C protects skin cells by aiding in the production of collagen and improves the firmness of your skin. It reduces inflammation and protects our immune system. Foods that are rich in Vitamin C include citrus, kale, mango and strawberries.
  •  Zinc aids in repairing the skin’s top layer, enhances the immune system, reduces inflammation and promotes healthy hormone levels. Foods that provide a source of zinc include almonds, spinach, nuts, sesame and pumpkin seeds.
  •  Selenium helps regulate hormones, has antioxidant properties which aid in neutralising reactive free radicals which can cause damage on the skin and anit-inflammatory properties especially when combines with Vitamin E and A. The Brazil nut is one of the richest sources of selenium with 2 nuts providing well in excess of the recommended daily intake for adults (>60micrograms/day)
  •  Omega 3 fatty acids boosts skin health by encouraging the thinning of the oily sebum that blocks pores. Foods containing omega 3 fatty acids include oily fish, almonds, avocado, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, kale and hazelnuts.

De-Stress

Stress has so many flow on effects to our overall health.

The health of our skin is no exception.

When we are stressed our bodies release more of the hormones that control the production and transportation of oil onto the skin.
I know managing your stress levels isn’t easy.

Especially when your skin isn’t looking it’s best.

Practicing daily meditation and deep breathing techniques, getting regular exercise and ensuring you are having a minimum of 8 hours sleep each night will do wonders for your stress levels and help balance out your hormones.

Both of which are vital for achieving a healthy body, skin and positive mental health.

Look After Your Digestive System

There is a lot of evidence proving that incorporating lots of probiotic foods into your diet can assist your body in fighting against skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and other skin disorders.

Probiotics and their role in digestion have the ability to influence blood sugar levels, inflammation, stress, hormone levels and moods. All of which are important in combating various skin conditions.

So start including lots of unsweetened natural yoghurt, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir milk into your diet or consider taking a supplement.

My Top 11 Drinks For Healthy Glowing Skin

1. Water

Water (duh!) is such a vital nutrient to the life of every cell in our body.

Given our skin is essentially made up of cells, hydration is definitely the key for optimal skin health.

2. Lemon Water

In addition to keeping our bodies well hydrated by drinking lots of water, adding the juice from half a lemon to your water provides vitamin C and fibre to aid with digestion, flush out toxins and improve the health of your skin.

3. Green Tea

The antioxidants made available in green tea help to eliminate harmful free –radicals which have adverse effects on the health of our body’s cells.

Some studies have found that drinking green tea lowers the levels of hormones which contribute to causing acne.

4. Nettle Tea

Similar to green tea, the antioxidants and vitamins made available by drinking nettle tea have numerous benefits to your skins health and overall body by aiding in digestion, detoxifying the kidneys and reducing inflammation.

5. Carrot Juice

Get juicing!

The beta-cartones which convert to vitamin A (essential for healthy skin regenerating) in our body are found in yellow/orange coloured fuits and vegetables.

So be sure to include carrots, pumpkin, mangoes, oranges and sweet potato into your diet. Try this recipe…
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Serves 2

Ingredients
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cm knob ginger, peeled
1 cm knob turmeric, peeled
1 orange, peeled and quartered
½ cup ice
1 cup water

Method

Place all ingredients in a high powered food processor or blender and blend on high speed until well combined.
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6. Beet Juice

Beets are a root vegetable that are packed full of antioxidants that aid in naturally detoxifying unwanted substances in our body.
They are also high in vitamins essential for healthy skin and reducing inflammation.
This juice is refreshing and delicious.
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Serves 2

Ingredients
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 apple, cored and roughly chopped
1 orange, peeled and roughly chopped
2cm piece of ginger, peeled
3-4 baby beets (or 1-2 beets)
small handful of mint
½ cup ice
1 cup water

Method

Place all ingredients in a high powered food processor or blender and blend on high speed until well combined.

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7. Berry Smoothie

Berries are packed full of antioxidants that boost the vitality and health of your skin.

While green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for skin health.

This berry smoothie will put a smile on your face 
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Serves 2

Ingredients
1 cup mixed blueberries and strawberries
1 banana
1 handful of spinach or kale
½ cup natural probiotic yohurt
4 brazil nuts
2 tsp honey (optional)
1-2 cup water (depending on your desired consistency)

Method

Place all ingredients in a high powered food processor or blender and blend on high speed until well combined.

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8. Mint Choc Smoothie

mint choc smoothieThis is my favourite way to start the day.

Avocado provides a great source of healthy omega 3 fatty acids that aid in our body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients when eaten with other foods.

Rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, avocados have anti-inflammatory benefits and protect your cells from free-radical damage, boosting your skins vitality.

What’s even better is that this smoothie tastes so decadently good, you’ll be tricked into thinking its a little bit naughty!
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Serves 2

Ingredients
1 ripe avocado
1 large banana
1 big handful of spinach or kale
4 Brazil nuts
1 small handful fresh mint leaves
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
4 dates
½ cup rolled oats
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 cups water

Method

Place all ingredients in a high powered food processor or blender and blend on high speed until well combined.

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9. Green Smoothie

Brazil nuts provide the richest source of selenium compared with any other food.

Selenium helps regulate hormones and has antioxidant properties which aid in neutralising reactive free radicals which can cause damage on the skin.

When combined with green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale, brazil nuts provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for skin health and provide anti-inflammatory properties.

Don’t be put off by the colour (it looks gross), this smoothie is seriously tasty!
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Serves 2

Ingredients
1 ripe avocado
1 large banana
1 big handful of spinach or kale
4 Brazil nuts
½ zucchini
4 dates (or sweetener of choice)
2cm knob ginger
½ cup rolled oats
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 cups water

Method

Place all ingredients in a high powered food processor or blender and blend on high speed until well combined.

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10. Nut Milk (Pick your favourite…hazelnut, brazil nut, almonds)

Nuts contain the healthy omega 3 fatty acids and are a great source of Vitamin E both of which help fight inflammation and promote healthy skin.

Nut milks are a great alternative to dairy milk which for some people can actually worsen acne.

Don’t waste your hard earned cash on prepackaged nut milks (which often have artificial sweetners and preservatives added).

Nut milk is soooo simple to make at home!
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Makes 1 L
Ingredients
1 cup nuts of choice
1 L water

Method

Soak nuts in cold water overnight.
Drain and rinse nuts under cold water.
Place nuts and 1L water in a high powered food processor or blender and blend on high speed until well combined.
Place a cheese cloth/muslin inside a jug and pour nut milk into it. Gently squeeze the cloth to remove as much moisture from the nut meal as possible. The remaining nut meal can be dehydrated and used to make cookies later (seriously, do this!).

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11. Pumpkin Sweet Potato Spicy Smoothie

Ok, so this one sounds a little weird, but stick with me.

Turmeric is such an underrated spice.

It has so many health benefits due to its high amounts of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, antibactierial and antimicrobial properties and phytonutrients.

This smoothie has just the right amount of sweet and spice!
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Serves 2

Ingredients
1 cup total pumpkin and/or sweet potato puree
1 cm knob turmeric, peeled
4 brazil nuts
½ cup natural probiotic yoghurt
1 large ripe banana
1 tsp honey
1 ½ cups water

Method

Place all ingredients in a high powered food processor or blender and blend on high speed until well combined.


Brigid CreaseyBrigid Creasey is The Wholesome Mum to two gorgeous daughters, Lilly and Georgie and wife to handsome, funny Carl.

Since becoming a Mum, Brigid is particularly passionate about nourishing her family with healthy food and sharing her wholefood recipes and health information with her WholesomeMum blog community.

Her aim is to teach you how to get the most out of your life by eating wholesome healthy food, exercising and doing the things you love.