The foods you should be eating for sparkling skin and a healthy gut

From oysters to bone broth and aloe vera: The foods you should be eating for radiant skin, a healthy heart and sparkling eyes

  • Australian nutritionist Lee Holmes has spoken to FEMAIL about her go-to foods 
  • Different areas of the body require certain nutrients from specific foods  
  • Here, she reveals the best foods for the digestive system/gut and the heart 
  • She also shares the ideal foods for healthy skin, sparkling eyes and luscious lips 

With new ‘must-try’ diets flooding the internet every day, millions of men and women around the world have developed unhealthy and destructive relationships with food. 

So to help people take a step backwards and understand the benefits of different foods for different areas of the body, Australian nutritionist Lee Holmes has shared some of her top tips.

From sparkling eyes to radiant skin and a healthy heart, here Ms Holmes speaks to FEMAIL about the popular and little known foods to consider as part of your diet and the many benefits of a well balanced gut. 

From sparkling eyes to radiant skin and a healthy heart, here Lee Holmes (pictured) speaks to FEMAIL about the popular and little known foods to consider as part of your diet

WHAT TO EAT FOR: GLOWING SKIN 

‘It is easy to forget that your skin is actually an organ; in fact, it’s your body’s largest organ,’ Ms Holmes, the author of Supercharge Your Gut, said.

‘Our skin is part of the integumentary system, which also consists of your hair and nails and its main function is to act as a physical, chemical and antimicrobial barrier. 

‘The condition of your skin can say a lot about your health and common skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis can actually be a sign that your gut isn’t functioning properly.’

Ms Holmes said one of the most important things to consider for healthy skin is to have a supported and nourished inside. The following foods can assist:  

‘It is easy to forget that your skin is actually an organ; in fact, it’s your body’s largest organ,’ Ms Holmes, the author of Supercharge Your Gut, said

Salmon: This is a wonder food full of Omega-3’s, it boosts the glow, suppleness, thickness and radiance of your skin.

Flaxseeds: These can help prevent dry skin and reduce the severity of psoriasis or eczema. They are high in fibre and omega-3’s, flaxseed will keep your skin plumped and smooth. 

Almonds: These contain Vitamin E and can help protect your skin from damaging UV rays; they’re also an easy nibble when you’re running around.

Blueberries: The powerful antioxidants in blueberries helps fight the free radicals in your body that may otherwise damage your skin.

Oysters: These don’t just crank up your sex drive, the zinc prevalent in oysters can help fight breakouts and clear up dry skin.

This is a wonder food full of Omega-3’s, it boosts the glow, suppleness, thickness and radiance of your skin

Dark leafy greens: These deliver a huge amount of Vitamin A, which supports the turnover and production of new skin cells. Greens to include in your diet are spinach, romaine, lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard. Try to eat at least two cups a day if you can manage it. 

Garlic: The antioxidant components of garlic can protect the skin against damage caused by oxidation, and environmental stress and therefore prevents skin from becoming elasticized and wrinkly. Make garlic chips or add to roasts or raw in dressings.

Cacao powder: It’s loaded with anti-oxidants, magnesium and iron for skin circulation.

Water: Water is key to hydrated skin. Water helps keep the skin moist and can reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Try to have between two and four litres of water a day.

These deliver a huge amount of Vitamin A, which supports the turnover and production of new skin cells. Greens to include in your diet are spinach, romaine, lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard. Try to eat at least two cups a day if you can manage it

Brazil nuts: These are high in selenium, which can help protect the skin from free radicals which can cause wrinkles, and dry skin. Don’t go too nuts though – you only need about three Brazil nuts a day to reach your selenium intake!

Mangoes and papayas: These delicious fruits are full of vitamins C and E, flavonoids and beta-carotene for lovely clear skin. 

Tomatoes: If sun damage is a problem for you, then the lycopene in tomatoes can help protects your skin against further sun damage.

Mussels: These are a great source of protein, vitamins B and C, folate and zinc for healthy skin and hair!

WHAT TO EAT FOR: A HEALTHY DIGESTIVE SYSTEM/GUT 

What are the worst things to eat for your gut?

Poor gut health accelerates the ageing process as the absorption and metabolism of nutrients in the body are compromised.

 For example, the antioxidants in blueberries are not available to fight against wrinkle-forming free radicals nor is the Vitamin C in lemons present for collagen production. 

Common triggers to poor gut health are:

· Smoking

· Alcohol

· Refined sugars

· Gluten

· Preservatives and additives 

· Coffee

· Hydrogenated fats

‘Your gut flora have been shown to influence sebum production as well as the fatty acid composition of the sebum,’ Ms Holmes said. 

‘Signals sent from your gut flora can communicate with the bacteria on your skin and research is beginning to show these interactions have a major influence on skin conditions such as dryness, collagen production and other skin irritations.

‘When it comes to healing the gut and improving the skin it’s all about your vegetable consumption. Not only are vegetables rich in fibre that feed your good bacteria, but they have a ton of vitamins and minerals that are going to help build healthy skin, as well as antioxidants that will help fight free radicals.’

Some of the best foods include berries, citrus fruits and pineapple, green tea or dandelion tea, tomatoes and leafy greens.

‘Pineapple is a wonderful fruit to lighten and even out skin tone plus it contains the enzyme bromelain, which can aid in the digestion of proteins,’ she said.  

Try Lee’s Pan-fried Pineapple with Mint and Coconut Yoghurt for a healthy gut

You’ll love my Pan-fried Pineapple with Mint and Coconut Yoghurt recipe, a simply luscious blend of caramelised sweetness and coconut yoghurt.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

6 pineapple wedges, skin removed

zest and juice of 1 lime

250 g (9 oz/1 cup) coconut yoghurt

mint leaves, to garnish

Method

Melt the coconut oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the pineapple, drizzle with the lime juice and cook for 4–5 minutes

on each side, or until golden brown. Serve warm, with coconut yoghurt, garnished with the mint and lime zest. 

Others include:  

Aloe vera: This also has many soothing properties and it can be used to decongest the lymphatic system and eliminate impurities in the body. Aloe’s hydrating powers heal the skin from within and promote the growth of collagen. Aloe Vera juice is especially beneficial for digestion and elimination as it cleanses and refreshes.

Carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato: What do these three vegetables all have in common? Yes, they’re orange but that’s not the only thing. They’re also high in vitamin A. Vitamin A can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and brown spots. It’s basically like a modern-day fairy godmother for fine lines and skin damage. Just be careful to not eat too much of the orange stuff because your hands may turn to the colour of your food!

Bone broth: Adding this to your diet can also help both the gut and your skin due to the natural source of collagen. Not only will collagen soothe and repair the lining of your gut but also help form the tissues found in the skin, providing strength, smoothness, elasticity and giving a youthful appearance.

Adding bone broth to your diet can also help both the gut and your skin due to the natural source of collagen

WHAT TO EAT FOR: A HEALTHY HEART 

What are the benefits of sardines?

They are rich in Vitamin B12 and loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

They can also make your wallet happy because they’re an inexpensive meal to bring the table. 

A can of sardines in extra virgin oil will set you back about $1.80 AUD. Hair, skin and nails benefit too; sardines are one of the most powerful beauty boosters because their omega-3 content benefits the circulatory system, hydrating the skin, and helping you to avoid incoming wrinkles. 

‘The best way to approach heart health is with a level of diversity in the diet. Just imagine eating the rainbow and mixing up your food choices daily,’ Ms Holmes said. 

‘Some researchers say that 70 per cent of heart disease cases can be prevented with the right kinds of foods.’

These are the foods to consider adding to your diet for optimal heart health:  

Sardines: They may not immediately strike you as a health food, but these little guys are sky high in mood boosting and heart happy omega-3 fatty acids which can increase the good cholesterol levels in your body. According to the Mayo clinic they can help reduce the risk of sudden heart attacks in people who have experienced previous attacks. 

They may not immediately strike you as a health food, but these little guys are sky high in mood boosting and heart happy omega-3 fatty acids which can increase the good cholesterol levels in your body

Walnuts: These also contain omega-3 fatty acids, and high levels of good quality antioxidants. Antioxidants protect cells against damage caused by free radicals which can play a role in heart disease. All you need is a handful a day!

Avocado: You can actually gain all of the benefits of avocado just from eating it! Avocados are high in vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin B and plenty of amino acids to nourish and moisturise your skin and they are also great for heart health with their fatty acid profile. 

Lee’s Ginger-Seared Tuna with Avocado Pea and Mint Smash is a delicious heart healthy meal

WHAT TO EAT FOR: SPARKLING EYES AND BEAUTIFUL LIPS 

These are a number of foods and drinks that Ms Holmes swears by for the eyes, lips and a general healthy glow. 

Kiwi fruit: There’s nothing better than seeing a kiwi fruit in the middle of a fruit salad. Kiwi fruits are high in vitamin C, collagen, Omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids which can help fight sun damage, skin diseases and reduce dryness. Defeat your dark circles by finely slicing a kiwi over the eyes for 5-10 minutes. Then, remove the slices and wash your face with normal water. If you do this every day, your dark circles will start to disappear. Magic!

Grass-fed beef: This is rich in iron to beat dark circles under eyes and a pale complexion and eggs are another good source of iron too!

Kiwi fruits are high in vitamin C, collagen, Omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids which can help fight sun damage, skin diseases and reduce dryness

Lee Holmes’s new book, Supercharge Your Gut, is out now and costs $35. For more information, please click here 

Kale: This is a green goddess loaded with lutein for healthy eyes so include this into your diet for sparkling eyes.

Pumpkin seeds: If you want to add some crunch to your life, pumpkin seeds may be the answer you’re looking for. Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are high in a beautiful, but sadly, often forgotten, mineral called Zinc. Zinc can help treat acne, infections and aging skin. They’re also high in amino acids and will help boost serotonin, the happy hormone, so you can be shining that beautiful smile and luscious lips all summer long.

Turmeric: Not only can turmeric fight acne and breakouts, it can also add a youthful glow to your skin. Turmeric is a great antiseptic and is high in both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Whilst turmeric lattes are all the go at the moment, don’t forget turmeric is a great addition to any curry, soup, stir-fry and even scrambled eggs.  

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