This week I was lucky enough to speak with the lovely Karen Fischer.
Karen Fischer is an Australian nutritionist who specialises in skin health and the author of five health books including The Eczema Diet, Younger Skin in 28 Days and the award-winning book The Healthy Skin Diet. Karen currently works at the Eczema Life Clinic in Sydney and she has a range of skin supplements launching early 2016.
For some healthy diet and lifestyle tips on how to get your skin glowing, please enjoy reading my interview with Karen below.
Why did you choose to specialise in skin health?
I love creating beauty - whether it be a nice home, lovely garden or healthy skin. Skin problems run in our family. During my teens and late 20s I suffered from chronic hand dermatitis and psoriasis - which was both stressful and embarrassing - and when my daughter was a baby she had severe eczema. By age two, Ayva's eczema had worsened as I had been relying on topical steroids (I have her what was prescribed for two years, and I had previously tried an elimination diet). So I finally developed my own diet and supplement routine for her and her eczema cleared up. For the past decade I've been working with skin disorder patients - I feel like I have no choice but to help them (and my own family) as skin disorders can be so painful.
What are your top 3 nutrition tips for anti-aging?
I am also deeply interesting in research on foods for keeping the skin young and healthy and I suggest the following:
1. Swap sugary foods for antioxidant-rich fruits including anthocyanin-rich berries. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidant flavonoids, they’re also nature’s sunscreen — a protective pigment giving fruits, vegetables (and some grains) their purple, blue, red or black hues. Think eggplant, cherries, blueberries, pomegranates, black rice and purple carrots. A German study found that diabetics who took a supplement of 600mg of anthocyanins daily for 2 months had a reduction in abnormal collagen production (collagen is the ‘glue’ that holds your skin together and helps it to look young and healthy).
2. Reduce AGEs in your diet. AGEs which stands for ‘advanced glycation end products’ are like sticky brown toffee that attach, or cross-link, to proteins in collagen and form the advanced glycation end products in your skin. This cross-linking stiffens collagen and elastin fibres and renders them incapable of easy repair. AGEs are rich in fried meats, butter, margarine and oils and burnt/charcoaled foods such as burnt toast. Eating sugar can also lead to AGEs formation. Another way AGEs can accumulate in the body is via UV radiation from the sun.
3. Non-dairy calcium is incredibly important for creating younger skin as calcium has a muscle tightening effect so it can help to firm sagging skin (along with an exercise routine and a healthy diet). Calcium is essential for any anti-cellulite program and it’s great for your bone health too. Adults need about 700mg of calcium from supplements if teamed with magnesium and vitamin D as they promote calcium absorption and reduce the need for mega-doses.
What are your top 3 lifestyle tips for anti-aging?
1. Wear a hat. It’s the easiest way to have younger skin over your lifetime.
2. Exercise daily to give your skin a healthy glow – it helps to improve blood flow which delivers skin-repairing nutrients to your skin.
3. Don’t smoke and limit alcohol intake – this is a no brainer but they can be addictive so do what you can to be free of unhealthy and addictive habits. Best tip is to manage stress and sleep more as stress and poor sleep make you crave “helpers” such as nicotine, caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
What do you believe are common dietary causes of acne and top 3 diet changes for reduced acne?
Too much of the wrong types of oils in the diet will cause oiliness of the skin and can trigger acne. Too much sugar is a problem too.
The top 3 dietary changes to reduce acne are:
1. Avoid oily foods which are common acne triggers: fatty meats, fried foods, margarine, almonds (including almond milk and almond oil), oil supplements such as flaxseed and EP, rice bran oil and other cooking oils (extra virgin olive oil is the exception as it does not increase skin oiliness).
2. Avoid refined sugar and high GI sugary foods – the glycemic index is the measure of how fast glucose from foods enters the bloodstream. High GI foods cause the hormone insulin to be released which can affect skin health and lead to type two diabetes. Avoid sugar and dried fruits such as dates (which has a GI higher than refined sugar) and favour low GI fruits including berries and papaya.
3. Avoid dairy products. Dairy consumption increases the risk of acne and researchers suspect this is due to the animal hormones and bioactive molecules found in milk products.
Please share your favourite recipe for glowing skin?
I love this simple salad recipe for glowing skin:
Alkalising Salad Dressing
- ¼ cup organic apple cider vinegar (not double strength)
- 1/3 cup quality oil (rice bran oil ifyou have eczema, or use extra virgin olive oil if you are prone to acne)
- ¼ cup rice malt syrup
Mix well in a jar and adjust taste. Use 1-2 teaspoons on a large leafy salad each day. If you have eczema, favour light green lettuces such as cos (romaine), iceberg, celery and cabbage.
Please tell readers about your Skin Friend supplement?
It’s the supplement that I prescribe to treat skin inflammation including eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. It will be available without prescription from Feb/March 2016.
To find out more, please visit Karen’s website: www.jolieeskin.com
Enjoy! Casey Dick | Passionate Dedicated Natural Nutritionist | Brisbane, Australia, Dietary Nutritionist, Healthy Body and Mind Advocate, Natural Hormone Balance & Healthy Weight Loss, Natural Skin Health