Dr. Maximilian Schubert is the medical director at Vivamayr Altausee, a health and wellness centre that combines modern complementary medicine with traditional diagnostics and therapies. To learn more, please visit www.vivamayr.com
For many years, studies have clearly shown that the skin is a reflection of our inner organs and their processes. Nutrition and diet play a particularly important role as the gastrointestinal system influences skin conditions such as aging, inflammation and allergies. Interestingly, the “inner skin” of the gut – known as mucosa skin – also needs similar nutrients and has similar reactions as the skin on our bodies.
Which foods can benefit my skin?
Nutritional approaches to skin health range from preventative to therapeutic. Either way, it’s advisable to follow an individual, personalised diet; what shows a positive effect on one person, may not necessarily be as effective for another person. However, there are some frequently studied antioxidants such as carotenoids, tocopherols and flavonoids, as well as vitamins (A, C, D and E), essential Omega-3-Fatty Acids, some proteins and lactobacilli that have been referred to as agents capable of promoting skin health and beauty. They can be used both orally and topically. Foods rich in antioxidants such as fruits (especially berries), vegetables (such as artichokes and beets), herbs (including rosemary, parsley, basil), pulses, nuts and fish also increase the antioxidant level in your body, helping to reduce inflammation and protect from damage caused by free radicals.
Can food allergies cause skin conditions?
Those dealing with inflammatory conditions of the skin such as redness, sensitivity, breakouts and blemishes, or even more severe skin dysfunctions such as eczema, psoriasis or acne, often show various food allergies or intolerances. Indeed, by reducing or avoiding triggering ingredients and products completely, skin concerns can be minimised or disappear entirely. Common food intolerances associated with skin conditions include gluten, cow’s milk, soy, eggs, nuts, fish and shellfish. Others also show intolerances to histamine-associated foods such as aged cheeses, alcohol and smoked products, while caffeine and fructose can also have a negative impact on the skin for some individuals.
Reducing the intake of sugar and carbohydrates has also shown to improve certain skin conditions. In fact, refined or artificial sugar free diets have gained in popularity. It’s worth keeping in mind that results are not necessarily immediate – improvements from changes in diet and nutrition can take a minimum of three months.
DR. BARBARA STURM & DR. MAXIMILIAN DIGITAL MASTERCLASS: INFLAMMATION & DIET
Can the skin benefit from therapeutic approaches?
If inflammation has become chronic, certain herbs, minerals or vitamins in the form of supplements can have calming effects and substitute otherwise missing nutrients. Studies have shown that some of the particular vitamins and minerals affecting the skin include Zinc, Selenium, Boron, Iron, Mangan, Vitamins E, A, D, B6, B3, B5, Folate, Biotin, Coenzyme Q10, Silicium, Green Tea Extract and L-Glutamine.
If the detoxification function of the liver is impaired, different poisons and metabolites can accumulate in the body, ultimately effecting and harming our organs, including the skin. In this case, it is advisable to avoid products containing alcohol, fructose, caffeine and excessive protein, to name but a few. Other products – especially bitters like dandelion, ginger and artichokes – help support the liver’s functions.
How does acidity in the body affect the skin?
Increased acidity in the body from stress, lifestyle choices and eating habits can also cause inflammation. The human body produces its acids and toxins from its own metabolism; it is therefore our responsibility to supply the body with sufficient alkaline. Alkaline foods include vegetables and fruits; they should account for about two thirds of a regular diet. The remaining third will be made up of acid foods to supply the body with essential proteins (such as pulses, beans, meat, fish or dairy) as well as carbs.
To improve the overall function of our gut to absorb all the essential nutrients, reduce, eliminate or prevent its inflammation and simultaneously boost the detoxification capacity of the liver, a specific diet, fasting and detoxification period is advisable. At Vivamayr, the main principles of our therapy include:
- Cleansing of the gut
- Slow and conscious eating; profound chewing (40-60 times)
- Reducing or avoiding raw foods for a specific period
- Reducing or avoiding sugar and carbohydrates
- Avoiding individually tested intolerances
- Applying a very profound and holistic regime of not only what you eat, but especially how you eat
The views expressed in our ‘Opinion’ section are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the exact views of Dr. Barbara Sturm.