Last week, I sat down with the founder of organic beauty brand Pai Skincare, Sarah Brown, to find out the benefits of applying superfood-infused products. Now, it’s time to look at why including these much talked-about foods in your diet is the way forward for ultimate health and a glowing complexion.
Superfoods To Eat
In the foodie corner, we have Alice Mackintosh. Renowned on the London wellness scene as a nutritionist at the prestigious Food Doctor clinic on Harley Street, Alice is the ultimate authority on all things food.
So when it came to superfoods, first and foremost, I was keen to find out what she considers the term to mean. “Something edible that somehow surpasses regular food status, owing to its exceptionally high nutrient content,” she replies. “To me, it should contain a plethora of goodness from different sources; vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds.”
Turning our attention to whether applying them or consuming them is most effective for reaping maximum benefits, Alice points out that this will vary depending what benefit you are hoping to gain, saying for example, “Your liver is highly unlikely to benefit from a superfood applied topically, but it may enhance the skin due to the direct contact.”
She continues, “In general though, research shows the most benefits are gained when these things are consumed. Consider, for example, that the skin isn’t able to absorb 100% of what is applied, so whilst you may get the benefits of some of the nutrients, you are unlikely to get them all. Given that the beauty of superfoods is that they supply almost all the systems of the body, it seems a shame to miss out.”
Now for the science bit…
“New cells are produced deep in the dermis, while the cells on the surface of the skin are often coming towards the end of their life,” Alice explains. “So when it comes to anti-aging and glowing skin, you need to support cell synthesis before they move to the surface by supplying them with nutrients. Collagen is also located in the dermis of the skin and its production will rely on a good supply of nutrients in the blood supply.”
“Imbalanced hormones, poor digestion, low immunity and ineffective liver function can all impact on how the skin looks,” she continues, “The key is to support everything together in order to prevent the skin being negatively affected. Superfoods are a wonderful way to do this because their goodness infuses the whole body with the nutrients it needs to function.”
That being said, Alice does not dismiss the health and skin benefits of good, effective skincare. “Superfoods such as Aloe Vera and turmeric have been applied topically to the skin for many, many years and have been shown to do a lot of good.”
So does Alice opt for superfood-infused skincare as well as enjoying them on her plate? “I use products free of chemical nasties such as parabens, and also make an effort to choose those with herbs such as lavender and Aloe Vera that have been shown to help support the skin.”
Before I go, I can’t help but ask for Alice’s top superfoods for ultimate health. Alongside Aloe Vera, she lists blue green algae (“one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet”), goji berries, hemp seeds and acai seeds; also adding, “In general, raw is best as heating things up and processing too much can destroy nutrients. Also, some seeds such as chia and flaxseed tend to deliver more nutrients when they are ground up as we don’t digest them sufficiently otherwise.”
Having looked at both sides of the argument, I think the answer is clear; a balance of both. Look for superfood-infused skincare products such as Pai Skincare; rich in pomegranate and avocado oils to keep skin healthy and glowing. And include as many superfoods in your diet as possible, particularly if they’re raw.
words by Zoe Louise Cronk