Here at WIMH we’re always looking for miracle products to save us from our skin, hair and nail woes. We’ll primp, buff and gloss ourselves pretty, but it’s important to remember that the issues on the outside are often a reflection of what’s going on inside. Rather than treating splitting nails, dry hair or blotchy skin with a quick fix, it’s better and healthier to adopt long-term solutions to make sure your body is getting everything it needs to be as beautiful as it could be on the outside.
Brands such as Perricone MD have created their own lines of supplements to maximise the efficacy of topical products (in fact, we spotted the brand’s Omega 3 supplement in Beauty Editor Alexandra Friend’s bag). We spoke to the wonderful Margo Maronne, founder of The Organic Pharmacy and original expert on natural health and beauty, who gave us some great advice to make sure we’re getting all the nutrients we need to look and feel 100%. Read on for Margo’s tips:
A basic component of skin, hair and nails – which are all made of protein – is keratin. Keratin, Margo explained, is made of amino acids, which are needed for the construction and repair of new body tissue. Crucially, there are eight essential amino acids that our bodies don’t produce so it’s vital to get enough from a protein-rich diet.
Amino acids are also important for mood and well-being – the amino acid tryptophan helps to produce serotonin, also known as the ‘happy hormone’, and several other neurotransmitters that can elevate moods and lower depression and fatigue.
Dietary sources: eggs, dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.), lean meat, fish, chicken, turkey, pulses (beans, lentils), nuts and seeds. High-quality protein powders are also a good dietary supplement.
Silica is another important component of skin, hair and nails. Silica produces collagen, which is synonymous with plump skin and anti-ageing, and our natural reserves get depleted as we get older. As well as keeping us looking youthful, silica helps to build strong bones and protects against degenerative disorders such as osteoporosis.
Margo strongly advocated the virtue of organic foods. Plants grown in non-organic soil may absorb undesirable minerals and chemicals; organic food, however, is likely to benefit from fertile, mineral-rich soil that will make the food itself more nutritious.
Dietary sources: whole grains, leafy greens, sea vegetables, onions, cucumber
Essential Fatty Acids
“We must feed skin from the inside; internal moisture is very important,” says Margo, with an emphasis on cutting out animal (saturated) fats and replacing them with good fats. EFAs, particularly Omega-3s, are ‘good’ fats and, like amino acids, aren’t produced by the human body therefore need to be derived from food sources. EFAs keep cells functioning healthily, resulting in plumper, clearer skin and reduced cellulite, and support our cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems.
Dietary sources: seeds (flax, hemp, sesame), nuts (walnut, brazil), avocados, coconuts, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)
We know you might be tired of hearing the ‘d’-word – we wouldn’t bring it up if it wasn’t important! According to Margo, “Detox is so important to give the body a good cleanse – for most people, around four times a year.” To maintain cleansing eating habits throughout the year, incorporate detoxifying foods – “anything green” – into your daily diet.
Dietary sources: apples, avocados, cabbage, romaine lettuce, spinach, celery, cranberries, garlic, grapefruit, kale, lemons, watercress, oatmeal, seaweed
While it’s important to try to meet our nutritional requirements through food, Margo also feels that “our hectic lifestyles need much more nutrients than we can get… We need extra vitamins to help our bodies cope with our environment and lifestyle.” Especially for people in the UK, Margo feels that we lack natural sources of Vitamin D (ie. the Sun!) and factors like stress, pollution and exercise can heavily deplete our reserves so we should consider a supplement to support a healthy diet and lifestyle. You might want to try:
We’d love to hear what supplements you take – tell us on our Facebook poll