Belinda Kirkpatrick's secrets to ultimate skin health
We are more aware than ever these days about the impact of our everyday health on our lives, mood and bodies. With our very busy routines it can be easy to fall into bad habits, but with spring having definitely sprung, our attention is being turned towards our dietary health. We decided to ask our favorite naturopath and founder of The Seed Concept, Belinda Kirkpatrick for her secrets to ultimate skin health and how to make big changes to your health by regulating what you put on your fork.
We’ve heard that the appearance of our skin can often be linked to our diet – is this true, and if so, can you briefly explain to us how our diet can affect our skin?
A healthy diet can provide nutrients to support good skin health and regular cell turnover, leading to a cleaner, brighter complexion. It can also provide daily antioxidants to help protect the skin from environmental damage and assist with slowing down the aging process.
On the other hand, a more unhealthy diet with fewer vegetables and more sugar can create inflammation and accelerate the aging process. This type of diet can also affect liver function which is often reflected in the skin.
Can excessive sugar consumption contribute to skin aging, and if yes, how so?
Absolutely! Sugar really is the enemy of beautiful skin! Sugar created inflammation and break down collagen and elastin which help to keep the skin soft and supple. Sugar also increases the excretion of many essential nutrients such as zinc which helps to promote healthy skin. Sugar creates dehydration which can leave skin dull and flaky.
What are some of the best foods women can eat to boost their skin health and encourage a glowing complexion, and why are these foods so great for our skin?
It is essential to eat a balance of protein (for repair), good fats (for hydration) and fresh vegetables (for antioxidants) with each meal and most snacks. Be sure to always include foods such as salmon, avocado, chia seeds, almonds, broccoli, kale, blueberries, turmeric, and lemon.
Why are essential fatty acids (EFAs) so important to our skin’s health, and what foods can we eat to boost your intake of EFAs?
Essential fatty acids (particularly omega 3’s), help to reduce inflammation, improve skin hydration and provide a balance of healthy of moisture which can help with dry or oily skin. Skin cells which are rich in EFA’s are more supple and less prone to breakouts and damage. A diet rich in salmon, sardines, trout, flaxseeds, chia seeds, brazil nuts and walnuts will help to keep your omega 3’s topped up but you may want to consider a good quality supplement if your intake of these food is low.
Are there any foods that women should avoid if they want glowing skin? Why are these foods problematic for our skin?
Definitely avoid all added sugars, vegetable oils, and fried foods. The oils used in vegetable oils and frying are pro-inflammatory and quite damaging to skin and hormones. For those suffering from breakouts, also consider avoiding dairy which can also create inflammation and worsen acne.
Are there any foods that are particularly good in terms of anti-aging properties for our skin?
Bone broth is a great source of anti-wrinkle collagen
Antioxidant foods including goji berries, acai powder, raw cacao and turmeric
An abundance of fresh vegetables every day to reduce inflammation
Good protein sources for cell turnover with each meal including eggs, fish, chicken, meats, hummus, tahini and legumes.
Does the amount of water we drink on a daily basis affect how our skin looks and why/why not?
Absolutely! Dehydrated skin can look dull and flaky while well-hydrated skin can look plump and fresh. You should be aiming to drink at least 30ml x (your body weight) of filtered water and/or herbal teas. For example, if you weigh 65kg, you should be aiming to drink around 2L water daily. Nettle or dandelion leaf tea are perfect choices for glowing skin! Don’t forget that every cup of caffeinated tea, coffee or alcohol you drink equates to minus one cup of water!
As a nutritionist and naturopath, a healthy diet must play a big role in your life – can you give us a run-down on what you would eat and drink on a typical day (in spring/summer)?
A typical (not very exciting!) day for me might include:
BF: 2 x boiled or scrambled eggs with avocado, tomato, spinach and kimchee (I am firmly addicted to fermented veggies at the moment!)
Lunch: Its nearly ALWAYS leftovers from the night before (it’s the easiest way to eat well during the day!)
Afternoon snack: A homemade bliss ball (recipe below) OR apple with almond butter OR carrot and hummus
Dinner: Baked salmon OR grilled chicken with some baked sweet potato and steamed veggies (usually carrot, beans, broccoli, cauliflower) drizzled with olive oil and topped with fresh parsley
Lots of water and herbal teas (and always a dandelion chai!)
Belinda’s Bliss Balls
1/2 cup pitted dates (soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes before using) – I usually use around 5 x Medjool dates)
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup cashews
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup almonds
2 tablespoons 100% almond butter (or any nut butter)
2 tablespoons raw cacao
1 tablespoon water
Desiccated coconut or sesame seeds for rolling
Add all ingredients into the food processor and combine until all the nuts are fully crushed and it becomes an even consistency. Add a few drops of extra water if mixture doesn’t stick when pressed together.
With your hands, roll into small, firm balls and then roll in the desiccated coconut. It usually makes around 18 small balls (meaning that there is only 1/3 of a date in each ball!)
Store in the fridge or freezer.