Jess Fisk of Eatwise Nutrition
6th July 2019
“Science backs up what we already know – the food choices we make can strongly impact the health and vibrancy of our skin,” says nutritionist Jess Fisk, of Eatwise Nutrition. “From antioxidants in fruit and veggies to nutrients in red meat, our body needs a varied yet balanced diet to perform at its best.”
We sat down for a chat with Jess to learn more about key nutrients and their relationship with skin health, and how making a few purposeful changes to what we eat can boost our skin’s vitality.
Here are her insider tips for healthy, youthful, glowing skin (you can thank us later!)…
Vitamin A is one of the most widely acknowledged nutrients for healthy skin and is a powerful ally in the fight against problem or acne-prone skin.
“The best foods for skin health are often the ‘unsexy’ foods,” says Jess. “For example, one of the best sources of vitamin A (and many other nutrients) is liver. Adding liver to your diet is such an easy way to boost your vitamin intake – simply slice lambs fry into a chilli con carne style meal or whip up a chicken liver pate.
“Retinol is our animal source of vitamin A, which is very powerful. Plant sources of vitamin A aren’t as bioavailable, which means you need to eat a lot of one vegetable to get the same vitamin hit that the animal source offers.”
Where to get it
The most vitamin A-rich foods are liver, kidney, cream, butter and egg yolks.
“Cod liver oil is also extremely rich in vitamin A, so it’s amazing for skin! It’s one of the best sources of essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and is basically a more intense version of fatty fish. It’s super hydrating, so if you’ve got dry skin, I recommend trying it. It’s also rich in Vitamin D which is interesting. This vitamin, which acts more like a hormone, is required for healthy bones and improving mood. While we get most of it from sunlight, we can get a small percent from foods like fatty fish, eggs and dairy.”
Skin cells are particularly dependent on zinc’s powerful properties, with the top layer of our skin having higher concentrated levels of the mineral than the lower layers. Studies suggest zinc has the power to reduce acne, too.
“Zinc is another important skin food,” says Jess. “This essential mineral plays a massive part in the immune function, and it’s great for skin because it helps with the proper structure of proteins and cell membranes, improves wound healing, has anti-inflammatory properties and protects against UV radiation.”
Where to get it
“Zinc is found in a wide variety of food including meat, legumes, nuts and seeds. Oysters are an incredible source of zinc, so is other shellfish. Zinc is best absorbed from animal sources because it’s not bound to phytates, like it is in plant sources.”
Plant sources of zinc, like pumpkin seeds, nuts and legumes, are less bioavailable because the zinc bound to phytates if not properly prepared by soaking (which is why you might see some people soak their seeds and nuts before eating!).
“We should be able to get enough zinc from our diet, but it can be tough in this day and age – which is where supplements can help. A multi-vitamin doesn’t often have a high enough dose, so if you’re short on zinc, it’s a good idea to take a quality zinc supplement for a solid period of time to get your stores up.”
This one speaks for itself.
“Our body is made up of 70 percent water and most of us aren’t drinking near enough,” says Jess. “If you’re eating processed food, loaded with salt and sugar, your body is only further dehydrated. Try to eat real whole foods and drink loads of water daily – especially if you’re exercising.”
When it comes to achieving beautiful skin, collagen is almost a buzz word – and rightly so. Collagen provides skin with structure, protects organs and promotes skin elasticity.
“We lose one percent of collagen per year as we age, and as a result, our skin becomes thinner, dehydrated and loses its glow.”
Where to get it
“Again, the best sources of collagen aren’t the sexiest – we’re talking animal bone broth!” Jess explains. “The good news is it’s super easy to make. Simply get the slow cooker out, load it with vegetables, bones and tougher cuts of meat and you’ll soon have a pot of collagen goodness simmering.”
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps reduce skin inflammation and irregular pigmentation while promoting healthy collagen production.
Increasing the amount of vitamin C in your diet can improve skin health and promote faster healing. This vitamin is also a key ally against ageing – studies have also shown that diets high in vitamin C are associated with better skin appearance and less wrinkling. So, if you want youthful skin for years to come, start upping your vitamin C intake – stat!
Where to get it:
“Vitamin C is everywhere, if you know where to look,” says Jess. “The best sources are bell peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, kiwifruit, citrus fruits, strawberries and even fresh herbs such as basil, thyme and parsley. Try to ‘eat the rainbow’ and your skin will thank you!”