Madeleine Shaw Tells Us What To Eat To Get Amazing Skin
The Debrief: Because now the Friday night booze glow has worn off, we could do with some extra help...
2016 has already been a big year for nutritionist Madeleine Shaw. She's just released her second recipe book Ready, Steady, Glow (the follow up to last years Get The Glow) and, on top of that, she's the Origins UK 2016 Glow Girl: an obvious fit when you consider her ethos of nurturing ourselves from the inside to get that ‘glow’ inside and out.
‘Our skin and diet are so linked. Just from a personal point of view, when I started to really eat well I think the first thing that changed for me was my skin,’ Madeleine tells me when we chat on the phone. ‘I think it makes it much more hydrated, more lively, it reduces blemishes. What you eat can make a huge difference.’
What’s more the skin absorbs a certain amount of what you actually put on it. ‘It absorbs about 70%. It’s actually really big, which is why I’m into natural skin care. I take a lot of time thinking about what I put into my body so thinking about what you’re putting on your skin is also important,’ Madeleine explains. ‘Obviously you couldn’t keep rubbing spinach on your skin and it be like you’re eating it, but it is getting in there so it does have some really powerful benefits for your skin.’
Which make sense considering Origins' latest launch, the By All Greens Foaming Deep Cleansing Mask, £32 which contains green tea, spirulina and spinach to help detox the skin. Madeleine created a smoothie recipe to go with it too, for the ultimate inside-out pairing. Seeing as Madeleine really knows her stuff, I asked for her top tips on eating your way to great skin and getting that coveted ‘glow.'
You know, this one:
Don’t be scared of fat!
'It’s such a terrible myth. Fats are so essential. It’s kind of what our brains are mostly made of. We need it for brain function, cell function, it doesn’t actually get stored as easily as fat in your body as things like sugars do; they store much easier. So actually, fat is quite a good source of energy. I’m not talking about drinking a litre of olive oil – it's in moderation. But I don’t think you need to feel so nervous, and use one of those spray oils. Europeans drench everything in oil and eat loads of fats; so it’s the quality of fat and you just need to remember to eat the right fats.'
Eating healthy fats will keep your skin moisturised
'I used to have really dry flaky skin, and then ever since I’ve made a really conscious effort to add more happy fats into my diet on a daily basis, I just don’t get that anymore at all. It’s much more moist, which is always nice. I think eating lots of healthy fats and stuff like that has made a big difference to my skin.
'Slowly add healthy fats to your diet: maybe have some eggs for breakfast, add an avocado into your lunch, sprinkle some nuts and seeds over your dinner. Just adding lots of good quality fats: seeds, nuts, fish, meat, oil, is a really a good way of getting them in.'
Zinc is great for acne
'I think with acne, zinc is the key mineral for it and is proven to really help with it. Things like pumpkin seeds or, if you want to be a bit more extravagant, oysters and shellfish. So maybe just throwing on a handful of pumpkin seeds onto your porridge every day.'
Anti-inflammatory foods will help eczema sufferers
'Eczema is about inflammation and irritation, so anti-inflammatory foods would be ginger. So maybe grating some ginger into a stir fry or boiling the kettle and add in ginger for ginger tea – that’s incredible as an anti-inflammatory.
'Then avoiding all the fun things! Refined sugar and wheat are quite inflammatory, and also dairy. I’m not anti-dairy, but for some people it can cause skin eruptions. I always say to people to take it out for two weeks and then if nothing changes, then it’s not causing any problem. But if your skin clears up and you bring it back in and it all comes back then you might be having a reaction to it. Two weeks is not too long so there’s lots of great alternatives that you can swap dairy for.'
If you want to cut down on sugar, start with your breakfast
'Instead of having a piece of toast or nothing at all and just a coffee, make sure you have something protein packed like eggs, or adding hemp seeds to your porridge – that’s going to help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Quite a lot of people have something quite sugary in the morning or nothing at all, and it just means you get this massive slump at 11 am which is when you’ll crave another coffee or something sweet. Having protein in the morning is going to keep your blood sugar levels really constant throughout the day; it helps with that 4pm slump as well.
'There are so many sugar alternatives out there too: honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar. It’s a really good way to make a simple swap in your day to day life.'
Antioxidants are definitely something we should think about
'Not everyone lives in big cities but if you do you’re exposed to so much pollution so it’s important to have some sort of antioxidant rich foods. These will protect you from the free radicals which can come from pollution or sun exposure and can cause the break -own of collagen, so you’re going to age faster. Basically preserving your skin, keeping it more youthful, keeping it more plump.
'Blueberries are a great source for antioxidants, but so are lots of other foods. I actually think the most potent antioxidant is turmeric. I love to put a little teaspoon in some almond milk with cinnamon or cardamon and have it as a warm drink, or use it in curries.
'If you’re eating pretty fresh then you don’t have to really worry. I do believe in eating in season, so blueberries are great, but maybe buy frozen ones in the winter that have been frozen in the summer. Try and get your antioxidants from vegetables that have been locally sourced rather than buying blueberries that have been shipped over.'
Gelatin powder is incredible for your skin
'This is kind of a weird one because it’s a little bit gross: it’s made from hooves and bone marrow, but that’s kind of like chicken stock which we’ve been eating forever. It comes in a powder with no flavor, and it’s so incredible for your skin. It’s basically like eating collagen and it’s much more natural than the other things on the market. You can add it into your smoothie, into your matcha latte because it’s unflavored. I know that George Norwood recommends it for hair, because again like skin it’s incredibly strengthening for your hair, it’s a really strong protein. I bet there will be a big wave of it coming through, I see it popping up more and more.
'If you’re vegan you’re not going to like it but it is incredibly good for you. I know there’s a lot of things like spirulina, that can mirror collagen but it’s definitely not as powerful.'
Alcohol is extremely dehydrating
'When you wake up after a big night and you feel like everything is dehydrated, you notice your skin’s dull. You see people age a lot more when they’re massive drinkers. So, yeah it does affect you a lot, but it’s a personal decision with alcohol. Obviously moderation is key.
'Try and drink water while you’re drinking, if you go one for one at least you’re rehydrating. Or getting home and making sure you’ve had a litre of water before you go to bed.'
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