- Zinc: Eat plenty of zinc rich foods, zinc is essential for healthy skin including wound healing; it is also required for a healthy immune system. Zinc is available in raw nuts and seeds, pepitas and sunflower seeds are a great crunchy addition to your salad, mix them with walnuts and almonds for a snack. Also found in red meat, pâté, oysters, eggs, chicken, turkey, tahini and mushrooms.
- Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids: Eat plenty of vitamin C and bioflavonoid rich foods, these nutrients are required for a healthy immune system, wound healing and skin function. Found in berries, capsicum, citrus fruits, cabbage and broccoli. Focus on colourful fruits and vegetables; eat a rainbow!
- Gut Bacteria: Ensure you have a healthy microbiome. Your body is unable to access the vitamins and minerals from your food if you have the wrong balance of bacteria (dysbiosis). Some signs you have gut bacteria issues are: bloating or tummy troubles, a coated tongue, skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Having a healthy microbiome is essential for good health, including skin health; your microbiome is a large part of your immune system, it allows you to absorb nutrients from your food, reduces inflammation, removes toxins from the body and helps make brain neurotransmitters (sleep, mood etc).
Many common medications including antibiotics, antacids and the pill will put your bacteria out of balance, as will stress and a high carbohydrate and high sugar diet. Reduce your sugar and starchy carbohydrates, eat more prebiotic foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, full fat Greek yoghurt and lots of colourful vegies. Fixing gut bacteria can be challenging so see a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner if you are not getting results.
- Fats: Eat plenty of healthy fats, they feed the skin, reduce inflammation, remove toxins and your hormones are actually made from fats too so eating more fats can help to fix your hormonal issues! Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are great, avocado, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, eggs and raw nuts and seeds are good additions to the diet. Full fat dairy is also great.
- Protein: Ensure you have protein with each meal; a palm to hand sized serving is what most people require (palm for red meat, hand for white meat and vegetarian sources). Protein is an important building block of many tissues in the body including bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. It balances your blood sugar levels reducing cravings for sugar. Include fish, chicken, other meats, cheese, eggs, raw nuts and seeds and legumes in your diet.
- Hydration: Drink more water! At least 2 litres per day. Just look at what a grape looks like when you remove the water content, yes, that’s a sultana – enough said!
- Stress: Learn how to manage stress, if you learn how to respond to stress in a healthy way, you will be healthier overall. When we are in hurry and stressed all the time it negatively affects your ability to absorb nutrients, use calories, microbiome and immune system.
Fiona Kane, Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, Holistic Counsellor and Life Coach at the Informed Health Nutritional Wellbeing Centre