Nourish Skin with Essential Fatty Acids
What is an Essential Fatty Acid?Essential fatty acids are the building blocks of the dietary fat we consume. When fat is consumed, it is broken down by chewing and is emulsified by salivary enzymes, it is then swallowed, taken in by the stomach where the food is broken down further. The food we have swallowed then goes through to the small intestine where fat digestion occurs, as bile is secreted via the bile duct. It is there that the body breaks down dietary fats into fatty acids, which your body then takes into the blood stream and utilises to make healthy glowing skin!
Where do we get Essential Fatty Acids from in the Diet?Essential fatty acids are found in a wide range of nourishing foods. Dietary fats are broken down into groups such as the ones below:
- Monounsaturated fatty acids - Foods made up of monounsaturated fatty acids include nuts such as brazil nuts and almonds, as well as avocado.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids - Foods containing polyunsaturated fatty acids include seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds as well as walnuts and flax seed oil.
- Omega 3 and 6 - Sources of Omega 3 and 6 include fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines as well as chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds.
How can consuming foods with Essential Fatty Acids Change my skin?Consuming foods with essential fatty acids assists you to maintain healthy skin through:
- The maintenance of cell wall integrity, preventing dry, cracked, and dull skin.
- Assisting in the prevention of inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and cystic acne. Inflammation in the skin presents as redness, swelling, painful cystic acne, and cracking. Anti-inflammatory foods such as the ones mentioned above help to prevent the presentation of these symptoms.
- Boosting collagen production, minimising fine lines, wrinkles.
- Increases elasticity and improves the skins ability to retain moisture, keeping skin looking hydrated and minimising sagging, and wrinkles.
Are there any foods I’m eating that could be making my skin worse?Inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, cystic acne, ulcers, burns and cracking sore skin can all be exacerbated by consuming inflammatory foods. Foods that accelerate inflammation include:
- Sugary foods such as sweets, cakes and biscuits
- Processed food containing refined sugars, oils and excess salt such as fried takeaway foods and potato chips
- Excessive red meat
- Yang B, et al. Effect of dietary supplementation with sea buckthorn seed and pulp oils on the fatty composition of skin glycerophospholipids of patients with Atopic Dermatitis. Jour Nutr BioChem 2000; Vol. 11, 338-340.
- Fischer, K. (2011). The healthy skin diet. Wollombi, N.S.W.: Exisle Publishing.