Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? It contains sweat glands, hair follicles, nerve endings, oil glands and pain and heat receptors! Many factors can affect the health of our skin from age, genes, climate, pollution, diet, gut health, toxicity, stress and hormones. Of course you can help your skin externally but did you know many skin issues such as acne, spots, eczema may be associated with a sluggish liver, struggling digestive system, food intolerances or lower levels of “friendly” gut bacteria.

Here are some tips for Healthy Skin:
• Drink plenty water! Yes so important for good skin health. Also try a mini morning cleanse with some warm water and a slice or 2 of fresh lemon.
• Fibre rich foods – oats, fruit and veg, wholegrain rice etc help keep the bowel healthy, prevent constipation thus supporting the health of your skin by removing wastes.
• Eat lots of antioxidant rich foods such as fruit, vegetables and choose a rainbow colour. Antioxidants help protect our skin from damage from chemicals, pollution, sunlight, smoke and toxins. Antioxidants can also slow down the formation of wrinkles! So do foods rich in beta-carotene such as sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, red or orange peppers, kale and spinach.
• Eat plenty healthy fats such as oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout and herring. Avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, flaxseed oil and flaxseeds. These fats help keep our skin supple and hydrated.
• Vitamin E rich foods such as almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkins seeds, eggs, brown rice and oats help to keep the skin elastic and supple.
• Vitamin C rich foods support skin health, repair damage and help collagen production. They can include berries, broccoli, melon, kiwi, cauliflower, tomatoes, peas, oranges, apricots, spinach and potatoes. Lean meats such as turkey help collagen production too.
• The mineral zinc is essential for skin health and skin healing and is found in foods such as lean meat, fish, eggs, beans lentils and brown rice and pumpkin seeds.
• Reduce sugary foods and drinks (sugar ages our skin), deep fried foods, junk foods, fatty meats, fizzy drinks and too much alcohol or caffeine. These foods dehydrate the body and clog the skin and do not provide essential nutrients needed for the health of your skin.
• Exercise helps eliminate toxins and increase blood flow which aids skin health
• Dry skin brushing (a long handled dry bristle brush from healthfood shops or chemists) helps to cleanse and exfoliate the skin and lymphatic system. Skin brushing opens up the pores, allowing the body to breathe thus eliminating wastes and stimulating circulation. Brush the skin before a bath or shower for approx. 4-5 mins. Pass over the body in clean sweeps in long stroking movements, always in the direction of the heart. Feel the benefits of softer, more supple skin!
• Avocado mask- mash an avocado and add a few drops lemon juice to prevent colouring. Mix well and add a tsp runny honey. Apply and leave as long as possible, this will help soften, moisten and nourish your skin.

Spinach Pumpkin Seed Energy Balls From Greatest.com (sorry about the overseas measurements!)

1dl or 100ml or 0.4 cup mixed nuts
1 dl or 100ml or 0.4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 dl or 100ml or 0.4 cup dates
1 handful of spinach
3 tbsp cocoa
a pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients in a blender. If the mixture seems too dry, mix in a little water. Roll dough into balls and dip the balls into pumpkin seeds if desired. Store in the refrigerator.

Anne xx