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Beauty From the Inside Out

With Libby Weaver

Beauty From the Inside Out

When it comes to the old adage, you are what you eat, no statement is truer when it comes to our skin, hair and nails. No amount of smoke and mirror tactics can replace the gloss and shine that comes with the natural beauty of these features.

The key to creating truly spectacular skin, hair and nails is nourishment. Just because you eat a specific food or nutrient doesn't mean you get it. Much of sparkling health comes down to the way we absorb and utilise nutrients in our body. Therefore, the first step in great quality skin, hair and nails is outstanding digestion. To maximize digestive power and hence nutrient absorption, beginning the day with lemon juice and warm water is ideal. Secondly, including some raw foods in your diet in the way of fruits, vegetables and juices can also assist as they are all a great source of digestive enzymes that your body will use to maximize absorption.

The second step to beautiful skin, hair and nails involves including optimal amounts of essential fats in your diet. Fats are especially important for our skin and hair. They are an enormous part of how skin and hair are stay moist and lush as opposed to course and dry. Including oily fish, flaxseeds and walnuts can all make a difference in this department. It can also be practical to use an essential fatty acid supplement in the form of a liquid oil, as it can be difficult to eat enough of these foods to truly nourish our skin, hair and nails. Evening primrose oil is also a favourite of skin, hair and nails.

Skin, hair and nails are mostly made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. They also have minerals built in to their matrix. Including adequate protein in your diet is essential to skin, hair and nail quality and often very soft nails are the result of poor protein utilisation in the body.
Our bone health is reflected in our nails so when they are strong, smooth, unlined and unmarked, we can feel somewhat confident that our bones are in good shape. If however, our nails have some of these markings they can be used to highlight areas of our health that need attention. For example, white spots on our nails are indicative of a zinc deficiency while vertical ridges are typically a lack of calcium and/or magnesium. Horizontal fingernail lines are usually a sign of adrenal stress and they will grow out if the stress subsides. Spoon shaped nails or nails that grow upwards at the end, let us know that iron or vitamin B12 levels may be low. Brittle nails as well as pale nail beds are indicative of iron deficiency anaemia.

One governing principle that makes all the difference to the condition of our skin, hair and nails is that of alkalinity. In a nutshell, creating alkalinity in your body means basing your meals on vegetables, which are not only a wonderful source of the minerals that are so good for our skin, hair and nails, but they also don't drain our body stores of other minerals. For example, a meal not based on vegetables changes our blood chemistry so that hormones must be made that draw calcium and magnesium out of our bones (and nails and teeth) to even out the effect of the meal without vegetables. Do this for a few weeks and your body copes. Do this for half a lifetime and not only are your bones thinner, but your skin, hair and nails will lack vitality. You can increase your vegetable consumption, especially your greens, by juicing, making smoothies that contains vegies, and/or enjoying soups, stews, casseroles. Make more than half of your dinner plate vegies and you will be well on your way to beautiful skin, hair and nails.

If you observe that your skin, hair and nails are not in the shape you would like them to be, rather than (or perhaps as well as!) applying creams and pills and potions, consider that your body may simply be trying to draw your attention to an area of your health, that, if you altered, may make an enormous difference to your wellbeing. Although they can all look stunning, you can see they are also barometers for your wellbeing.

For more information, join Dr Libby for her powerful, informative and beloved Essential Women's Health Weekend May the 19th and 20th at Ellerslie Events Centre, Auckland. For more information about the weekend visit

For more information about this topic obtain your copy of Dr Libby's latest book, Rushing Woman's Syndrome available at and all leading bookstores.

(Broadcast: 4 June 2012)