Nutrition Nuggets for health skin and wellness

Regular readers know that stress affects our skin. When we are stressed, sleep can be difficult, disturbed or we can’t get to sleep at all! Try these sleep-inducing foods when you’re too stressed to nod off. Lorraine Perretta the Head of Nutrition at the Advanced Nutrition Programme, which we stock at Ginger Tree has shared these nutrition nuggets with us.

TURKEY: contains the amino acid tryptophan, which increases the production of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin. Tryptophan can take an hour to take effect, so plan night time snacks accordingly.

NUTS & SEEDS: These contain tryptophan as well as calcium which promotes melatonin. Snack on these during the day or include them in your evening meal.

FRUIT: The sleep-including effects of certain fruits such as kiwis, raspberries, goji berries, tomatoes and tart cherries is thought to be down to their melatonin content, a brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Bananas, pineapples and oranges are also great sources.

CHAMOMILE TEA: The calming effects of this herbal tea are well known. It’s a rich source of apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in yoour brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.

ALMONDS: These provide a solid dose of magnesium, promoting sleep and muscle relaxation.

COMPLEX CARBS: Skip the white bread, refined pasta and sugary, baked goods as their de-stablizing effect on blood sugar can impair sleep. Wholegrains such as oatmeal or wholemeal bread with nut butter are all great alternative choices.


Stress SOS

I don’t think there are many people who would argue against the view that official statistics show that stress levels are on the increase. Whilst a lot is said about stress and its negative effects on our physical and mental well being, often the effects of stress on the skin is overlooked.

Stressed skin can be red, irritated, reactive, subject to breakouts and premature ageing

Psychological stress arises when we feel that the pressure we’re under exceeds our ability to cope with it. The Hypothalamus, a tiny control tower in the brain, triggers the release of hormones e.g. adrenaline, cortisol and is part of our primal fight or flight response.

In the modern world the issue is that this response and therefore levels of hormones released is disproportionate to what’s required. The second part of the problem is when these excess hormones levels do not return to normal. Instead they flood the system with excessive stress hormones and this excess has been linked to heart problem, high blood pressure, strokes and even cancer. It may also cause weight gain, affect the balance of good bacteria in the gut, compromise the immune system and cause hair loss.

Stress has been shown to increase INFLAMMATION, which is bad news for the skin. In moderation inflammation is a good thing because it helps the body kill viruses and bacteria, but like the stress hormones, the body’s response can be disproportionate and can exacerbate inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema.

Problem skin is very sensitive to stress. I have seen for myself when breakouts on my clients with acne are considerably worse prior to a major event like, sitting exams or getting married, moving house etc.,

The stress hormone cortisol stimulates sebum production and this aggravates problematic skin which is already suffering from an imbalance in sebum levels. A neuropeptide called Substance P is also released when we are stressed and can cause breakouts.

To make things worse, often emotional eating will play a part when we are stressed. The Mental Health Foundation study stated that 46% of participants ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress. 29% reported that they started drinking or increased their drinking and 16% said they started or increased their smoking. All of this is bad news for the skin

High sugar, refined carbohydrates trigger a condition called Collagen Glycation – this means the sugar molecules bond to the proteins in the skin and form Advanced Glycation End products which cases the collagen fibres to become stiffer and less elastic leading to wrinkles.

If we increase our consumption of stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine drinks to help us stay awake because stress is giving us sleepless nights, then the sad fact is the skin will become dehydrated and dark circles might start to appear.

So these are some of the visible effects of stress on our skin. But there’s also changes going on at a cellular level. Stress has been shown to shorten telomeres, the protective “ends” at the tip of each chromosome which protect DNA, similar to the plastic bits at the end of a shoelace. Shorter telomeres have been linked to a shorter lifespan. When telemores are too short, the cell either dies or becomes pro-inflammatory, which accelerates the ageing process along with its associated health risks.

Stress can impede the skin’s barrier functions (i.e. our protective mechanisms within the skin to keep water in and bacteria out) and this means our skin will be slow to heal in the event of a wound. One piece of research found that high stress levels meant a wound took 24% longer to heal.

We the rise of self help apps such as Calm, YouTube relaxation videos and music, yoga, massage plus other holistic treatments and becoming more conscious of our own stress levels and what triggers them are key to helping us not only understand our stress, but also to manage it.

Appropriate skin care, treatments and supplementation can support our journey through stressful times. If you’d like to learn more then book your skin consultation with me at Ginger Tree


The Rise of Problem Skin

When looking at skin concerns, it appears that overall, both men and women are paying more attention to the ‘what’ and the ‘how to resolve it’. A recent study of 92 dermatology clinics found a 200% rise in the number of adults seeking specialist acne treatment (whatclinic.com).

Read More


Sleep, Stress & Your Skin

Sleep, Stress and Your Skin –A Vital Link to Skin Health

Stress, depression, anxiety, looking after family or sick family member, all lead to a lack of sleep, which in turn affects our skin health.

Stress generates free radical damage leading to oxidative stress (clickhere for more information on antioxidants) which causes our cells to be deprived of essential nutrients like Oxygen. Without oxygen our cells can’t rebuild, regenerate or heal leading to cellular damage, early cell death, causing skin complaints and premature ageing on the skin.

Read More


Why Should I Double Cleanse?

This is a question my clients often ask me and there are a number of reasons why I would always recommend double cleansing as part of your skincare routine.

One reason that double cleansing is so important is that if you don’t clean your face properly everything else you do as part of your skincare routine will suffer. This is literally the single most important stage in your routine, so take some time to do this properly and your skin will thank you! It also means when you apply your moisturisers and serums your skin is makeup free and they can work their magic!Read More


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