Wellness: The Skin Diet By Celia Ellenberg

Wellness Wednesday
Beauty - foods for healthy skin

At Visual Therapy, we’re all about Mind, Body, and Soul. As we work with clients to line up their optimal wardrobes and help them to be the best version of themselves, we’re huge believers that it’s not the dress, but what’s in the dress that matters. And even though clothes can help you feel like a movie star, there’s something that needs to be taken care of first on a deeper level. Welcome to “Wellness Wednesdays”: our weekly feature to bring you tips for a healthy, whole and fulfilled life. 

When it comes to having a gorgeous complexion, you truly are what you eat. Beauty writer Celia Ellenberg revealed in Net-a-Porter’s The Edit how to eat your way to a healthy complexion, from wrinkle-fighting spices to immune-boosting veg. If you’re looking to take it one step further, book an appointment with aesthetician and holistic health councelor Fabricio Ormonde, our secret weapon here at VT. 


The enemy: “The biggest cause of wrinkles and skin aging is inflammation,” says noted naturopath Dr Andrew Weil, a consultant for skincare brand Origins and director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. While inflammation is a natural bodily response and a signal of a healthy immune system, it can lead to dry skin, fine lines and the loss of elasticity and collagen in the skin when triggered by food-based nutritional imbalances.

The remedy: “The idea is to add natural anti-inflammatories to your diet to counteract this damage,” says Elizabeth Peyton-Jones, a London-based naturopath and herbalist. She recommends adding small doses of raw ginger and turmeric to your diet, which can actually mimic the anti-inflammatory properties of drugs such as ibuprofen.


The enemy: Oxidation – the process of oxygen interacting with cells in the body – could be
another culprit behind a bout of spots, as the stress inflicted on cells can effect the celluar renewal process and framework of skin, leading to wrinkles and sagging. “Oxidation is normal in the body – we all breathe,” says Peyton-Jones. “But the problem is that we eat things that cause oxidative stress, the main culprits being the chemicals and hydrogenated fats found in processed foods.” While the body has its own mechanisms for minimizing this stress, it can wreak havoc on your complexion.

The remedy: Antioxidants bolster your natural defenses. “Eat color. Anything with color contains antioxidants,” says Peyton-Jones, suggesting the particularly potent adzuki bean. We love the adzuki bean and date brownie recipe in her book, Eat Yourself Young.


The enemy: Going gluten-free may be a big health trend, but gluten – a protein found in grains – is only really a problem if you have celiac disease, an abnormal immune response that damages the small intestine. “Sugar is a bigger problem,” says Dr Andrew Weil. “The big concern about sugar is fructose, which can disrupt metabolism and get stored as fat.” This manifests itself in the body as acne- and wrinkle-causing inflammation.

The remedy: “You don’t have to live without sugar, just make smart choices: start by swapping sugary beverages with sparkling water and unsweetened teas,” explains Weil. “Also, agave syrup is almost 78 percent fructose, making maple syrup, at about 35 percent fructose, a better alternative.”



The enemy: ‘Gut flora’ is a buzz phrase making its way around wellness circles of late. Nurturing the delicate balance of good bacteria in your gut, which allows for optimal digestion and immune response, is an increasingly popular field of study. “Your gut has to be robust to keep your immune levels up,” says Peyton-Jones. “If your gut is not in balance, it’s not assimilating your vitamins and minerals properly, which will effect the way you look and feel.”

The remedy: Increase your intake of prebiotics and probiotics. Peyton-Jones recommends prebiotics, specialized plant fibers in foods like onions and beetroot that nourish your gut’s good bacteria, while Weil stresses the importance of probiotics, found in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, pickles and miso.


The enemy: Substituting known skin aggressors like sugar and
dairy with alternative sweeteners or soy products is not necessarily the ticket to a clear complexion. “Be careful not to jump on the substitution trend. Some are great, some not so great,” says Dr Alejandro Junger, founder of the LA-based Clean Program, which advocates Dr Junger’s Clean Cleanse and book, Clean Eats.

The remedy: “You need to give things time to prove themselves before you adopt,” advises Junger. The most useful course of action is to go on an elimination diet to cut out ‘toxic triggers’, before adding them slowly back in to see what is causing your skin to act out. “Sometimes, it’s more important to know what not to eat than to know what to eat,” he explains.

Read the original story on Net-a-Porter’s online magazine, The Edit.