Benefits of clean eating for healthy skin and hair

In Blog, Health, Nutrition, Podcasts, Vitamins & Minerals by Wendy Christien

Clean eating comprises a diet that is made up of foods that are as close to their natural state as possible and free of preservatives, additives or colorants. 

To keep our diets clean it helps when we make our meals from scratch so that we know what goes into them.

The primary reason for eating clean is that we can consume nutrient rich foods that have not been processed. A diet that is filled with synthetic ingredients, preservatives, dyes, unhealthy fats, sugars, sodium, chemicals, and additives is likely to make us unwell and accelerate aging which will show on our hair and skin.

Clean foods provide an array of nutrients that are necessary to help our bodies function optimally.

These include minerals, vitamins, proteins, and fats which help for weight management, improved heart and brain health, increased energy levels and a stronger immune system.

Foods and drinks to include are:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Proteins
  • Healthy fats
  • Water
  • Herbal teas

Foods and drinks to avoid:

  • Refined carbohydrates and added sugars
  • Processed foods
  • Too much coffee or alcohol – it’s dehydrating
  • Fizzy drinks

While our genetics determine what our hair and skin look like, our diet can certainly ensure that we can look and feel our best.

Consuming a clean diet ensures that we get all the nutrients our bodies need. When our diets are not so clean it can lead to nutritional deficiencies, weight gain and chronic disease.

While nutrients help the whole body, if we look specifically at those that benefit the healthy hair and skin, we can focus on the following:

Protein

Eggs are a great source of protein as well as the minerals biotin, zinc, and selenium. Among other things, insufficient protein in the diet can lead to hair loss.

Vitamin C

Berries, cherries, guavas, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, and sweet peppers are good sources of vitamin C and antioxidants that protect hair follicles from damage due to free radicals which are harmful compounds that accelerate aging.

Vitamin C is also necessary for the production of collagen which is important to maintain the elasticity of our skin and to prevent hair from breaking and becoming brittle. Vitamin C also helps for the absorption of iron.

Zinc 

Zinc is a mineral that helps to support hair growth and repair. Oysters and legumes are good sources of zinc. Taking too much zinc in supplement form can also cause hair loss so obtaining it from your diet is ideal.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is necessary to help moisturize the skin on the scalp. The natural oils that the scalp produces are necessary for healthy hair. Spinach is a good source of folate, iron and vitamins A and C. Sweet potato and other orange vegetables such as carrots and pumpkin are good sources of beta carotene which converts to Vitamin A.

Healthy Fats

Omega 3 fatty acids help to keep the skin plump and glowing. Regular intake of mackerel, salmon, tuna, and herring are ideal to increase omega 3 fatty acids.

Other healthy fats include avocado, olive oil, coconut oil and nuts & seeds. Avocados are a good source of Vitamin E which is an antioxidant that helps to reduce oxidative stress and neutralize free radicals that contribute to aging.

Water

Pure water is vital for a glowing skin and to ensure that we stay well hydrated. A dehydrated skin will look older than it is and without enough water we are not able to flush the toxins that build up in our bodies.

Apart from eating clean, healthy foods, exercise is also an important component for healthy skin and hair. Sweating induced by exercise accelerates detoxification. As blood flow improves, oxygen can move more freely though the body and the circulatory system can send white blood cells around the body to help the organs detoxify more effectively. Exercise helps the lungs, kidneys, intestines, lymphatic, and immune systems to be more efficient in the removal of toxins from the body.

A healthy diet, combined with enough exercise, will enhance the body’s natural defense mechanisms, and will clear out the toxins that build up. The result will be healthy, glowing skin and hair as well as great energy and a healthy immune system.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 5 August 2021 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am