Want Clear, Firm Skin? Why You Should Skip Fried Foods

You might hear all the time that for beautiful looking skin, you should avoid fried foods and junk. But no one has ever really explained to you WHY there is a link between the two, so you keep heading to the drive-through for your fix.

Today, I’m going to explain to you why fried foods are the enemy when it comes to healthy skin. It’s all thanks to something called AGEs.

 

What Are AGEs?

AGEs stands for advanced glycation end products. This sounds complicated, so let me break it down into English. AGEs are when a protein or fat molecule bond with a sugar molecule. This bonding process is called glycation.

AGEs can be found both in foods and produced in the human body. The problem is, no matter what the source, AGEs aren’t really very healthy for our bodies.

 

How Do AGEs Affect Our Bodies?

 

AGEs have some pretty nasty side effects when they’re in our bodies. These include:

  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Interfering with blood pressure lowering mechanisms
  • Stiffening collagen by cross-linking the collagen together
  • Oxidating the ‘bad’ cholesterol LDL, making it more toxic to the body
  • Binding to cells and forcing them to create further inflammatory processes

Overall, AGEs act sort of like gate-crashers at a party. One or two doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, but when there’s a heap of them they trash the house and leave you to deal with the aftermath.

 

How Does This Impact On Skin?

 

There’s a few key side effects of AGEs that we want to consider when it comes to skin health – specifically inflammation, oxidative stress, and cross-linking collagen.

We’ve already chatted about the role of inflammation and oxidative stress in skin health, but here’s a quick recap.

Oxidative stress leads to greater strain on the liver, which means it can’t detoxify hormones and toxins, and that backlog can lead to break-outs and skin inflammation. Inflammation feeds into this by creating more oxidative stress and leading the body to produce more skin-inflaming Substance P.

Cross-linking collagen has serious long-term impacts on the skin though, as sometimes the cross-linking is irreversible. So what’s bad about cross-linking? When collagen is cross-linked, it becomes stiffer.

As we know, when skin is stiff, it’s less able to perform its job of protecting us, increasing the likelihood of skin tears, infection, break-outs and wrinkles. That’s right – AGEs are thought to be one of the number one causes of premature ageing.

 

What’s The Link Between AGEs And Fried Foods?

 

This is probably the easiest question to explain. AGEs are produced rapidly when high heats are involved, which means that fried foods are the number one source of dietary AGEs for us.

In particular, meat products tend to be most vulnerable to high heat cooking and can produce a lot of AGEs, which is why it might be best to skip the hot dogs and burgers.

 

How Can We Avoid The Damage Of AGEs?

 

The easiest way to avoid all of this chaos is to avoid fried foods. Yes, that includes deep fried foods from restaurants, take-outs and your own home. If you do fry a lot of your foods currently, try new cooking methods with lower temperatures or that include water, such as steaming or poaching.

 

However, it’s not always possible for everyone to avoid fried foods 100% of the time, so if you are going to indulge, there’s a few ways that you can reduce the potential damage.

 

Research shows that herbs such as rosemary and turmeric, as well as resveratrol and vitamin C, can all help to counteract the effects of AGEs. Marinating meats for at least 1 hour can also halve the number of AGEs produced.

So if you are going to cook yourself up a steak, make a marinade with red wine vinegar and rosemary, and serve with a side salad that contains orange slices or red peppers.

 

 

References

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002822310002385

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24614199

http://www.toukastress.jp/webj/article/2015/GS15-26.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10903896

http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajb/article/view/128737

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443905000153

 

Hydration: The Secret To Healthy Happy Skin

water-for-acne

Even though we all know water is good for us, it’s no shock to know that many people are chronically dehydrated. Between caffeine, alcohol, air conditioning and other lifestyle factors, most of us aren’t hitting our optimal hydration levels.

But did you know that water is not only essential generally, but a non-negotiable when it comes to firm, radiant and healthy skin? Here, we look at why drinking plenty of water daily is a core step to skin care.

 

Water In The Body

Water is one of the most essential nutrients for the human body. It is known as the ‘universal solvent’, and is involved in almost every single chemical reaction that takes place in our bodies every single day.

This means it is required for many essential processes, such as delivering nutrients to the cells, maintaining the balance of electricity in the body, removing toxins and waste and aiding in digestion.

We already know that digestion and detoxification are essential for skin health, so it’s only logical that water can boost the health of your skin indirectly by supporting these body functions. However, water also has a direct impact on the health of our skin as well.

 

Water In The Skin

To understand water in the skin, it’s important to understand why we have skin. Skin isn’t there just to look good – it’s there to help us survive by acting as a barrier against the outside world.

It protects us from outside pathogens such as bacteria, as well as from the damage of UV rays. It also helps us to maintain an ideal body temperature through functions such as the excretion of sweat during hot weather, sickness or exercise.

Skin cells contains around 30% water when hydrated, keeping the skin more flexible and resilient and allowing it to protect us more efficiently. Research has demonstrated that adequate hydration can actually thicken the skin, improving its ability to act as a barrier.

Just to make things complicated, sufficient water in the skin is actually needed to keep balanced levels of water in the body. The skin works to stop water from being leeched out of the body.

 

What Dehydration Looks Like

When we are dehydrated, our bodies slow down processes so that there is enough water for the ones important for survival. Brain function and concentration drops markedly, and we become lethargic and irritable.

When it comes to skin, water is pulled from the skin cells to support more vital functions of the body. In response, skin becomes tight, flaky and irritated, and loses elasticity, making us more prone to wrinkling and tearing.

Dehydration also throws out the balance of water and oil on the skin’s surface, causing excess sebum. This can mean a flare-up in acne and other skin conditions impacted by sebum levels.

 

What Hydration Looks Like

When we are hydrated properly, the body can function at optimal level. Skin is more flexible and elastic thanks to the higher water content of cells. Sebum will be balanced out by the water content, relieving outbreaks.

Research shows that high water levels also increase blood flow to the skin cells, keeping them healthier and more nourished. From a person’s perspective, hydration can leave skin feeling softer, smoother and better moisturized.

 

How Much To Drink?

So if hydration is so important, how much is enough? Unfortunately, that’s not an easy question to answer. The truth is, it’s different for everyone, depending on their individual biochemistry, lifestyle and health concerns.

The general equation many people recommend is that you should drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces as a guideline. This doesn’t factor in exercise or hotter climates, but it’s a good starting point, particularly if you haven’t been drinking much water before now.

From the Institute of Medicine, the guidelines on total fluid intake range from 75 to 100oz, however it’s important to note that this is fluid from all beverages.

The color of your urine can also be a good guideline – ideally you want it to be pale yellow or colorless, unless you’ve recently taken something like a B vitamin supplement that can change urine color.

 

A Note On Other Beverages

You might think that a guideline of ‘total fluid’ might include your hourly coffee fix or the cocktails on a Friday night. But unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way!

Beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol act as a diuretic. That means that they cause your body to excrete water from cells and out of the body, leaving you more dehydrated.

So if you do enjoy your morning coffee or a drink out with dinner, remember to add in an extra cup of water afterward to prevent you from dehydrating.
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Feel like you need some strategies on how to keep your fluid levels high throughout the day? Book in for a nutritional consultation, and we can create an effective plan for you to stay better hydrated.



 

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17352748
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-2494.2007.00366.x/abstract
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16827695/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12880413

Dairy: Your Acne’s Best Friend?

dairy and acne

 

Acne is a nightmare for many teenagers and increasing numbers of adults. But many people don’t understand the dietary links to acne. One of the most commonly ignored links is between acne and dairy products such as milk.

Here, I break down for you exactly what effect dairy has on your skin health, and why you might want to reconsider it.

 

What is acne?

Acne vulgaris, or simply acne, is a chronic skin disease where the hair follicles on the skin become blocked by dead skin cells and oil, or sebum, and often become infected. Severe acne can often lead to facial scarring.

Because of the impact on physical appearance, it can lead to self-esteem issues, anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts, particularly in teenagers. However, adults with acne also have a serious impact on general health and well-being, with acne often being a symptom of underlying issues. Read more about this here.

 
Why does acne occur?

On a cellular level, acne occurs due to a combination of factors all happening together. Firstly, the skin produces too much oil, or sebum, that pools in the follicle. Then the dead skin cells that usually fall off naturally remain trapped in the follicle, causing a blockage.

An opportunistic bacteria such as P. acnes takes advantage of the plugged up area and infects the skin. Finally, the infection causes local inflammation around the infected area, causing redness and heat.

So why do these processes happen? Generally, it’s to do with hormonal balance.

When there are too many androgens – hormones including testosterone and its varied forms – in the body, excess sebum is produced. Androgen balance, like many hormones, depends on how well your liver is functioning, so is easily affected by diet. Androgens can also be affected by blood sugar levels, with fluctuations causing increased production of testosterone.

There is also a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) that is a primary cause in acne. This hormone can also lead to excess sebum production, as well as further throwing out the balance of androgens. IGF-1 is known to be influenced by a number of factors, including nutrition.

In people who are not sensitive to androgens or who have very low levels of IGF-1, acne basically does not occur. So it’s safe to say that these two hormones working together are the reason behind acne.

Although it’s suggested that genetics make up a lot of the reason behind acne and that there aren’t really any links to diet, the truth may be a bit more complex than that. It may be that acne sufferers simply inherit tendencies to deal with diet-related triggers such as these hormones and blood sugar fluctuations less efficiently.

 
How does dairy affect acne?

Put simply, dairy foods tend to stimulate a much greater fluctuation in blood sugar levels than they should based solely off their carbohydrate content.

This means that instead of a small spike, your blood sugar jumps on a massive rollercoaster every time you consume dairy. This can increase your testosterone levels significantly and contribute to the acne cycle.

Dairy is also thought to directly increase the levels of IGF-1 produced by the liver, which would increase the likelihood of acne significantly.

It’s still debated whether hormones in dairy foods directly impact the hormone levels in our bodies, but even if they don’t add to the overall level, they do lead to higher production.

So essentially, dairy creates the perfect storm of increasing levels of testosterone and IGF-1, priming your skin for acne.

Research is starting to support these links between dairy and acne, with multiple observational studies suggesting a strong association between the two.

A 2008 study looked at the diets of over 4000 boys and found that those who drank the most skim milk had the highest occurrence of acne in the group. Interestingly, the link was not as strong for full-fat milk, which suggests that, in boys, the major issue with dairy consumption is blood sugar related.

A similar 2005 study studied over 6000 girls and found a link between acne occurring and all types of milk. This difference could be due to teenage girls being more sensitive to hormone fluctuations, so even small spikes in blood sugars or small amounts of hormone ingestion could cause skin issues.

 

How should I eat to control acne?

A nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet that supports gut health is your best bet. However, everyone’s ideal diet is a bit different, and it’s important that your diet makes up for any nutrients you were getting from dairy foods.

If you’re serious about reducing the effects of acne, you can make an appointment for a personalized health plan.

 

 

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391699/
https://escholarship.org/uc/item/77b9s0z8
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40257-013-0042-8

http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/18/5/1333

http://www.cancersupportinternational.com/CID%20Diet%20Acne.pdf

Skin Problems? Go With Your Gut

Many people these days battle with skin conditions, and with little relief in sight. They try miracle cream after miracle cream, but the results just don’t show. The thing is that skin issues don’t usually start on the skin itself. They start much deeper – in the gut.

Sound crazy? It might seem so at first, but there are dozens of ways that the two can impact on each other that you may never have considered. Let’s have a look at some of the ways that the gut and skin are connected.

Gut and Skin LinksGut Skin Connection

Nutrients

In order for the skin to be at optimal health, it needs certain nutrients. From fatty acids and amino acids to antioxidants and vitamins, they all need to be at good levels for your skin to protect you from the elements and stay firm and clear.

So where will these nutrients come from? From our food, through the gut of course. But if your gut isn’t digesting properly, or if it’s dealing with issues that require the same nutrients in high amounts, your skin will miss out.

That’s when the skin becomes vulnerable and can develop all sorts of issues, from acne to eczema.

Liver

The gut and skin have a very important friend in common – the liver. The liver detoxifies all sorts of chemicals, hormones and other toxins that your body encounters and no longer needs.

But when the gut starts producing toxins thanks to poorly digested food or the wrong types of bacteria taking root, the liver starts to strain to keep up.

Toxins are far more important to get rid of than hormones, so the liver prioritizes and you end up with far too many hormones circulating.

If that strain worsens, some of the toxins won’t be detoxified properly, and instead the body will try to excrete them through the channels of elimination – including your skin.

Bacteria

We now know that we are host to millions of bacteria that make their home in the gut. But did you know that your bacteria directly affect your skin health?

The types of bacteria present in your gut affect the production of Substance P, a substance that is implicated in many skin conditions. If the gut has too few good bacteria and too many bad, more substance P will be produced and more inflammation will occur.

Bacteria balance may also affect your amount of sebum production and the composition of the sebum, thanks to the impact on fatty acids and lipids.

Lymphatics

The lymphatics are a sort of waste removal system throughout your body. They flush out things like dead immune cells and toxins and keep your immune system primed and ready.

But when the lymphatic system is clogged up with toxins from the liver’s burden, or when the digestive system has used up most of the water thanks to bloating, the circulation of the body drops. All of those toxins have to go somewhere, so they exit nearby – onto the skin.

Hormones

So we know that hormone levels might get thrown out of balance thanks to the liver strain. But how does that affect the skin?

Sex hormones and stress hormones have all sorts of effects on the body. They can influence your blood sugar levels, your storage of fat, your thyroid function and the inflammation in your body.

All of these in turn can change your levels of sebum on the skin, the turnover rate of your skin cells, and the amount of toxins that need to be excreted through the skin.

Overall, excess hormones of any kind are a nightmare for your skin health, and they usually occur because of an issue in the gut.

Gut Conditions

There are hundreds of different gut conditions ranging from infectious to autoimmune, but when it comes to their impact skin health, there are a few core conditions to be aware of.



SIBO

SIBO, or small intestine bacterial overgrowth, occurs when the normal bacteria from the colon start to grow up into the small intestine, where they don’t belong. This happens when your body doesn’t move the bacteria down from the intestine into the colon properly.

The bacteria, who usually have access to mostly digested foods in the colon, start to ferment foods that aren’t digested yet and steal nutrients from you. This can then lead to leaky gut syndrome and begin a whole new host of problems.

Candida

Candida is the overgrowth of a type of yeast that is found in the gut, candida albicans. Normally the good gut bacteria keep the candida yeast well controlled.

But when the gut flora are weakened candida overgrows, it can damage your gut wall and release toxic substances that can significantly impair your immune system, cause widespread inflammation and make you feel very unwell.

The most common sign that distinguishes candida from other conditions is recurring oral or genital thrush.

Hypochlorhydria

Hypochlorhydria is a very long fancy word for low stomach acid. Thanks to popping antacids like candy combined with high stress lifestyles and nutrient-deficient diets, many people can’t produce enough stomach acid for their digestive needs.

This leads to an overgrowth of bad bacteria that can’t survive in acidic environments, contributing to development of dysbiosis and potential ulcerations.

It also reduces digestion of proteins and the nutrients found in protein, including essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids needed for healthy skin.


Dysbiosis

Dysbiosis is one of the key problems at the center of every digestive issue. It’s where the balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria is thrown out.

Bad bacteria release toxins into the gut that can damage the gut lining, as well as overtaking the good bacteria that would usually assist you in digesting your food and getting the most nutrition out of the food.

Leaky Gut

When the gut wall is weakened by toxins, bacteria or yeast, it causes increased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut syndrome.

The holes in the intestinal wall allow undigested food and foreign bodies through the wall before they are broken down properly. This alerts the immune system, and causes inflammation and an autoimmune response to try and protect the body.

Once the immune system is engaged, the body’s overall immunity drops, which combined with the inflammation can lead to a host of skin issues.

Causes of Gut Conditions

So why have all of these conditions seemingly popped up out of nowhere all of a sudden? It’s no coincidence – many of them have roots in our modern lifestyle. These are some of the most common causes behind them.

Antibiotics/Medications

The overuse of antibiotics and other medications has done a lot of damage to our guts. By treating every sniffle with antibiotics, as well as using steroids and hormonal pills, many people have stripped the good bacteria from their guts, leaving them inflamed and open to digestive issues.



Stress

Stress is toxic to the good bacteria of the gut. When stress occurs, the stress hormones and neurotransmitters that are released can rapidly alter the types of bacteria in the gut by increasing the virulence of some types, such as e. coli.

Stress reduces your ability to digest food properly, by down-regulating digestive enzymes, leaving you vulnerable and deprived of nutrients. The change in pH from lack of enzymes can also favor bad bacteria such as H. pylori alongside any bacteria found in the food you consume.

Lastly, stress can cause you to make poor food choices that further impact your gut health.



High GI diet

High carbohydrate and sugar diets can feed up the nastier inhabitants of your gut, including yeasts such as candida, as well as contributing to general inflammation and the load on your liver.

This throws out the equilibrium and leaves your good bacteria unable to balance out the bad guys.

Low fiber diet

Similarly, a low fiber diet means that the intake of soluble fiber and prebiotic foods are too low.

This can lead to the good gut bacteria having insufficient fuel to establish and maintain themselves, and allowing more toxic bad bacteria to colonize the gut instead.



Underlying issues/intolerances

Underlying intolerances can have a major impact on the gut health and cause further digestive issues.

If there is an undiagnosed intolerance, or even celiac disease, the gut will become inflamed whenever someone consumes the problematic food.

This stresses the body, reduces digestion of nutrients and disrupts the good gut bacteria.

Alcohol/smoking/drug use

Alcohol, smoking and drug use all have a negative impact on the gut flora and general state of wellbeing thanks to the strain they put on the liver and the increase in inflammation.

The increase in oxidative stress from these toxins can leave the gut stripped and open to developing issues.

Signs Of Gut Conditions

Wondering if you might have a digestive issue at the root of your skin problems? Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of the conditions we’ve discussed.

Digestive

There are numerous digestive signs and symptoms you might notice if you have an underlying condition.

Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, undigested food in stools, any significant change in stool color, stomach pain and heaviness after eating are just a few of the more common signs that you may notice.

Skin

Skin issues are another obvious sign that something is awry in the gut. From general inflammation and redness to rashes, breakouts and up to severe acne, most skin symptoms have a gut component.

Energy

Low energy or energy fluctuations are very common signs of a digestive issue. Because the body is so reliant on nutrients to provide oxygen to cells and balance blood sugar levels, poor digestive function can lead to a number of deficiencies and accompanying conditions such as anemia and insulin resistance.

Other Signs

Other signs and symptoms of a digestive issue could include increasing intolerances and sensitivites to food and non-food items such as perfume and makeup, runny nose and sneezing, poor immune function, fluctuating moods, any issues related to the menstrual cycle, poor concentration and brain fog.

Chronic yeast infections, either oral or genital, are also very common when candida is an issue.

Testing

Suspect you might have a digestive issue based on your signs and symptoms and health history? Luckily many conditions now have specific testing available.

For stool testing, food sensitivity testing and blood tests, you can make an appointment and discuss your concerns and to arrange testing to be performed. This includes testing for candida, H. pylori and general problematic bacteria.

If further testing is required, you may be provided with a referral to a trusted doctor.

Why Start With The Gut?

So if you have a skin issue, and it’s what you’re most concerned with, why should you start with a gut repairing treatment program?

There’s several reason why the gut is the most logical starting point.

Increased nutrient absorption

When you are dealing with any sort of health condition, you need reparative nutrients to alleviate the problem.

By starting your treatment in the gut, you’re ensuring that you are getting the maximum absorption of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are required to heal your skin.



Reduced inflammation

The gut is one of the major barriers exposed to outside pathogens and foreign bodies. But when it’s not at optimal strength, it can become a major source of inflammation that can spread throughout the body.

By healing the gut as your first step, you reduce the inflammation levels in your body, which then reduces the inflammation of the skin.

Reduced stress on liver

When unhealthy, the gut can cause a major strain on the liver’s detoxification systems. This strain can cause a backup of other things that need to be detoxified, such as hormones, and can throw out the delicate equilibrium needed for skin health.

When you address any digestive issues first, you reduce the liver’s burden, which allows it to properly process excess hormones and bring them back into balance.

Improved well-being

By increasing nutrients and reducing stress on the body, the healing of the gut can lead to many other improvements, including improvement in mood, energy levels and immune function.

These changes can help you to heal your skin – with better energy levels you are more likely to commit to your daily skin-care routine instead of flopping into bed. With a better mood, you’re less likely to become overly stressed about your skin, leading to fewer stress hormones. With better immune function your blemishes are less likely to become infected.
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Think that healing the gut might be your ticket to beautiful, clear healthy skin? Make an appointment today by clicking here.

 

References
http://www.jpp.krakow.pl/journal/archive/12_11/pdf/591_12_11_article.pdf
http://gutpathogens.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1757-4749-3-1
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00441-010-1050-0
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Bienenstock/publication/41188190_Is_there_a_’gut-brain-skin_axis’/links/54626c180cf2c0c6aec1b1fe.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20965806
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21281494
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20965806