When it comes to feeding our skin, hair and nails, it’s far more complex than simply the products we choose to use topically. While beauty supplements have certainly grown in popularity, not all hair, skin and nail supplements are created equal.
For radiant, glowing skin and strong, lustrous hair, it’s essential to take care of your gut health first and look closely at the nutrients we’re consuming. Research continues to reveal the intimate link between our gut health and our skin, and at a core level, what we see in the mirror is a direct reflection of the state of our gut.
It makes sense then, that one of the key ways to support our skin, hair and nail health is to nourish ourselves from within.
Zinc: If you’re prone to inflammation or breakouts, loading up on zinc is essential as it can really assist with wound-healing. It’s also a nutrient that’s linked to strong, healthy hair and nails – as well as a healthy immune system – so a daily beauty supplement containing zinc, such as GLOW Inner Beauty Powder, can be of huge benefit.
Vitamin C: Adding vitamin C-rich foods and supplements to your diet is a simple way to boost the health of your skin, hair and nails. This essential nutrient helps to protect the body from oxidative damage and assists in the production of collagen, the protein responsible for maintaining our skin’s strength and elasticity. Whole fruits and veggies such as citrus, tomatoes, kiwifruit and papaya are rich sources, as is maqui berry (found in GLOW) which has the highest level of skin-protective antioxidants of all fruits.
Omega-3s: This essential fatty acid is found in abundance in chia seeds and oily fish such as salmon, and is an anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing powerhouse. Healthy fats are also vital for ensuring we stay hydrated, so if shiny, lustrous locks and dewy skin are what you’re after, supplement with essential fatty acids.
Prebiotics and probiotics: For our skin, hair and nails to be strong and healthy, we need the microflora in our gut to be in balance and both pre and probiotics play an integral part in this process. They literally nourish our gut with the goodness it needs to function optimally. But rather than opting for a stock-standard probiotic (which may only contain a few strains of good bacteria), beauty supplements such as GLOW Inner Beauty Powder contain a broad spectrum of probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, which have both been proven to boost gut health, combat inflammation in the skin and help protect against the effects of sun-damaged skin.
Finally, remember that it’s not only the nutrients and supplements we choose to consume that can have an effect on our gut health and that of our skin, hair and nails, but also what we choose to eliminate. Reduce your consumption of sugar, gluten, alcohol, dairy, refined carbohydrates and processed foods, which can often be foods that compromise gut health.
How do your nourish your skin from within?
As a brand, The Beauty Chef evolved very organically. Having experienced my own skin issues – suffering from eczema as a child – and witnessing the skin issues of my daughter as well, I quickly realised just how intimate the connection between our gut and skin really is.
For glowing skin, we need to first and foremost look at the state of our gut and nourish ourselves from within with nutrient-dense foods. Essentially, this is how my first product, GLOW Inner Beauty Powder, was born after I began experimenting in my own kitchen.
Created using 24 bio-fermented superfoods, prebiotics and probiotics, GLOW truly promotes radiant skin and perfectly illustrates our philosophy here at The Beauty Chef – that beauty begins in the belly.
As the range of products has evolved and expanded, this philosophy has remained at the core of what we do and all of the products are designed to work synergistically together so no matter where you are on your health and beauty journey, there’s a product designed to help you nourish yourself from within and address your specific skin concerns.
So, how are the three categories designed to work together?
Consisting of the GLOW and CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powders, these essentials products are designed to be the foundations of your inner beauty routine. If you were to think of them as topical skincare products, these would be your daily moisturiser. While both these probiotic-rich formulas promote radiant skin from within, CLEANSE is specifically designed for those who have congested skin and want to support their liver and digestion through a deeper detoxification process.
If the essentials range is your daily moisturiser, think of our boosts as your internal serums, working to target more specific skin concerns. We now have three inner beauty boosts in our range – COLLAGEN, ANTIOXIDANT and HYDRATION. For anyone concerned about skin texture or fine lines, COLLAGEN is designed to help keep skin plump, whereas ANTIOXIDANT is great for those with a complexion that’s stressed, looking a little dull or sun-damaged. If you’re looking to boost cellular hydration from the inside out, try HYDRATION.
The final category consists of two complementary products to support your lifestyle concerns. Our BODY Inner Beauty Powder is a protein-rich supplement designed to bring the body back into balance and boost your metabolism, while SLEEP Inner Powder helps combat restlessness and relieve symptoms of mild anxiety. Just as you would apply your night cream, sipping on SLEEP before you head to bed is a great ritual to wind down and prepare the body for rest.
Have you got an inner beauty routine?
Breakfast should always be celebrated and these coconut crepes are pure comfort. With a subtle hint of rosewater and COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost to promote skin radiance, this breakfast will nourish you inside and out.
Looking for more recipe inspiration? Download our FREE Belly Beautiful e-Book, filled with snack and smoothie recipes for inner and outer beauty.
Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef, has a focus on inner and outer wellbeing, with all-round happiness at the heart of her business. Here, she shares her entrepreneurial spirit and viewpoint on motherhood, accompanied by gorgeous model daughter Jeet.
You head up your own business, The Beauty Chef, and are also a devoted mother of two – to Otis and Jeet – it must be difficult at times to find balance. Can you describe your viewpoint on motherhood?
“Motherhood is powerful and all encompassing. There is a big part of my brain that is completely dedicated to thinking about my children – happy for them, worried about them, thinking of how I can help them, what they should do next. And then the biggest part of my heart is completely devoted to them, too. Sometimes my heart feels bursting with happiness and pride and other times it hurts if they are in pain. It is both a passion and a job and the greatest responsibility of all, but it is by far the most rewarding role I’ve ever had. I love the quote: “It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary – it’s an act of infinite optimism,” by Gilda Radner.
Can you share a favourite memory with your daughter?
“When Jeet was little we had a cubby house in our backyard and it was called The Super Yum Café. Jeet would spend hours making things in there and serving them up to us – she was always creating concoctions – of sticks, twigs and other inedible things. She was very funny and had really curly hair with dimples, she was so cute. My favourite memories are doing creative things with her, making things, she was always in her element being creative and still is.”
What is the greatest lesson your children have taught you?
“To be patient, open-minded, to practise gratitude and to pick my battles. And that as long as they are happy and healthy, nothing else really matters.”
Describe your personal style, which pieces are you drawn to?
“I am drawn to pieces that are simple, but beautiful and well made. I prefer to invest in a few good pieces that will last a long time. I love natural fabrics from an aesthetic and tactile perspective. I like how they look, the natural detail in their fibres and also how they feel on my skin and that they breathe – especially in summer.”
Have you taken style cues from your daughter over the years, do you share a similar approach to style?
“Jeet has a very acute eye when it comes to fashion, design and art and also she has golden ears for music. She is very cool and so occasionally I will pick up on something that she is wearing, but then I must ask her, “Am I too old to wear or do that?” and she generally says – “No, I think it would look great, Mum”. I really value her advice and opinions. She is clever and intuitive when it comes to many things including fashion. She and I are similar in that we are not afraid to be individuals when it comes to self-expression.”
Lastly, what is your idea of perfect happiness?
“My idea of perfect happiness right now is when my family are all together eating a homemade meal on a beautiful sunny day and I know that each and every one of them are in a good place, physically, mentally and emotionally and I can soak all of that up, be in the moment, and feel absolute joy.”
Can you share a favourite memory with your mum?
“When we both lay face and body down on the gravel pavement on the Bondi promenade from a head over heels crash from doubling up on my scooter. We both lay there, immobile, mutually staring into each others eyes with extreme embarrassment, love and deep deep empathy. We went down together and back up.”
What inspires you most about your mum?
“She’s a cool mum, not an ordinary mum. She’s gracefully ambitious, strong, annoyingly intelligent, her unconditional love, generosity and her Benjamin Button beauty.”
What is the great lesson your mum has taught you?
“Be grateful, it’s okay to say no, and to always be inspired.”
Describe your personal style, which pieces are you drawn to?
“I’m always in a pair of jeans. I love anything baggy and comfy. I love wearing boy’s sportswear, baggy shirts, big jumpers and vintage clothes.”
Have you taken style cues from your mum over the years, do you share a similar approach to style?
“My mum’s style has definitely inspired my jean obsession and feminine side of dressing. She always wears beautiful fabrics, mid-length loose dresses, turtleneck soft jumpers and textured coats. These items have influenced the way I dress quite a lot. Most of our arguments arise from me stealing her clothes.”
Lastly, what is your idea of perfect happiness?
“My idea of perfect happiness is embracing vulnerability, accepting change and embarking on as many experiences and adventures as possible.”
This interview originally appeared on Live With Us by Country Road.
Your skin keeps no secrets. As your largest – and most truthful – organ, your skin can reveal much about your inner health, hydration and stress levels, sleep quality, digestion, diet and rate of cellular ageing.
If you treat yourself well, your skin will reward you with a radiant, glowy complexion. Conversely, if you don’t nourish yourself, you skin will respond accordingly with a lacklustre, dull, congested or blemished appearance and fine lines and wrinkles.
To make matters worse, when you’re not getting enough nutrients from your diet, or suffering from poor digestion or long-term stress, your body diverts any available nutrients to vital organs, meaning your skin, hair and nails can suffer.
Your skin, however, is in constant conversation with you so it pays to listen – and look – closely. It will tell you loud and clear that it doesn’t like to be fed sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol or trans fats and processed foods. Instead, it loves to be nourished with beauty-boosting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and probiotics. These ingredients are all essential for cellular repair and rejuvenation. Remember, building beautiful skin begins deep below your dermis.
Essentially these skin-loving superheroes scavenge for free radicals which are caused by UV radiation, environmental pollution, toxins and as a by-product of your body’s own internal metabolic processes.
Free radicals cause inflammation, damage to your DNA, a breakdown of collagen and elastin (leading to wrinkles), as well as speeding up cellular ageing. That’s why it’s essential to get a daily dose of antioxidants to mop up free radicals and prevent oxidative damage.
Think brightly-coloured, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, avocados, green and black tea, onion, garlic, leeks, nuts, grains, seeds and legumes. The potent phytonutrients found in these plant foods provide their pigment and flavour. The darker the colour, the higher the antioxidant value or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC value). And, the more you eat, the happier your skin will be. Including a wide variety of plant foods every day also helps to cultivate a diverse microbiome.
The Beauty Chef’s GLOW Inner Beauty Powder is a scientifically formulated blend of 24 Certified Organic skin-loving, antioxidant-rich superfoods, scientifically formulated to promote collagen synthesis and support skin radiance. The formula is also bio-fermented using The Beauty Chef’s exclusive Flora Culture™ fermentation process to increase nutrient bioavailability and create a live, broad- spectrum probiotic for healthy gut function and glowing skin.
Cultivate glowing skin with these skin-loving vitamins…
A potent antioxidant that fights free radicals, promotes the growth of healthy new skin cells and strengthens skin, vitamin A also regulates sebum production which is why it’s used to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis. It can be found in cod liver oil, liver, egg yolks, organic grass-fed butter and vegetables containing carotenoids that convert to vitamin A in your body. Another good source is Dunaliella salina (a microalgaemicro-algae), a key ingredient in The Beauty Chef’s GLOW Inner Beauty Powder.
Also known as vitamin B3, niacin helps keep your skin soft, healthy and glowing. It’s essential for cell metabolism, cholesterol synthesis and can help relieve arthritic pain. Deficiencies can manifest as rashes or dermatitis. Good sources include beef, pork, chicken, turkey, liver, yeast, tuna, salmon, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, green peas, avocado and sunflower seeds.
Or Vitamin B5, supports new skin cell growth, wound healing and your body’s production of stress hormones and glutathione. Interestingly, chronic stress increases your B5 requirements. You can find it in most foods, especially egg yolks, whole grains, broccoli, mushrooms, avocado, sweet potato, liver, kidney, fish and chicken.
This water-soluble B vitamin is also known as B7 and helps protect skin cells from water loss, damage and regulates fatty acid metabolism. A scaly scalp, dandruff, hair loss, brittle nails, fatigue, dry skin and inflammation can all be signs you are not getting enough. Get a daily dose from egg yolks, beef, liver, salmon, avocado, almonds, walnuts, legumes, whole grains, nutritional yeast, milk and meat. Beneficial gut bacteria also synthesise biotin for you so maintaining a balanced microbiome helps, too.
Aside from its immune-boosting benefits, vitamin C is crucial for collagen synthesis, wound healing and healthy skin. It also helps to protect skin from free radical and sun damage. And, we need to ensure we get our daily dose! Good sources of vitamin C include kiwifruit, citrus, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, capsicum, coriander and parsley. Eat these foods raw or lightly cooked as vitamin C can be destroyed by high heat.
While not technically a vitamin but a hormone, vitamin D is produced when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) light from the sign. Food sources include fatty fish, cod liver oil, mushrooms, cheese and egg yolks. It is vital for skin repair, strong bones, new cell growth and immunity.
Another free radical fighter, this fat soluble vitamin helps to prevent inflammation and is secreted via sebum to help protect the skin’s surface. It’s found in foods such as leafy green, Brussels sprouts, avocado, almonds, hazelnuts and olive oil as well as The Beauty Chef’s ANTIOXIDANT Inner Beauty Boost.
This vitamin is an anti-ageing powerhouse that helps to keep the skin healthy and plump by inhibiting the calcification of elastin. It also protects against heart disease, supports healthy brain function and strong bones. Find it in lacto-fermented vegetables and other fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, natto and kefir.
What are your favourite skin-nourishing vitamins?
When we think about stress, we usually think of it as something that only happens in our heads. But truth be told, when we feel stressed, the bacteria in our gut feel it too.
In fact, your gut is engaged in a constant dialogue with your brain via the vagus nerve. Think of it as your internal information highway, delivering information from your brain to your gut and vice versa.
Stress activates two main pathways in the body; the pituitary-adrenal axis, which increases production of stress-regulating hormones, and the autonomic nervous system, responsible for regulating involuntary bodily functions such as blood pressure, heart rate and bowel function. Critically, both pathways can affect gut function via the 100 million nerve endings that lie within the bowel wall. This is known as the enteric nervous system and along with the brain, is collectively referred to as the “brain-gut axis”.
When it comes to gut health, what we choose to nourish our bodies with is only one piece of the puzzle. Stress has been closely linked to a number of gastrointestinal disorders including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Numerous studies have also shown a relationship between irritable bellies and irritable brains. Stress can also increase gut permeability, leading to Leaky Gut, slow digestion and throw the delicate balance of bacteria in the gut out of balance.
This dysbiosis can leave you feeling fatigued, foggy, anxious or even depressed. But interestingly, this connection works both ways. Research has shown that a well-balanced gut microbiota can have a positive effect on your moods, memory and cognition. And don’t forget, around 80 per cent of your immune system sits within your gut so maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria is super important for a healthy endocrine and immune system too.
One way to help keep your microbiome in balance is by including nutrient-dense wholefoods in your diet and ensuring you’re incorporating both pre and probiotics daily. While the therapeutic role of diet and probiotics in managing stress and gut disorders is ongoing, research has already shown that probiotics can help to prevent the development of stress-induced disorders in the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract.
But aside from diet, there are a few other lifestyle tweaks you can implement to better manage stress…
Did you know stress can lead to indigestion? It’s important, therefore, to pay even more attention to eating mindfully if you’re feeling under pressure. Taking the time to enjoy your meal away from your computer screen, phone and television will help you to focus better on your food. Also avoid eating with people who are stressed out themselves. Savour the taste, smell and texture of your food in order to stimulate the production of saliva which contains digestive enzymes that help to kick-start the digestion process, increasing nutrient absorption and availability.
Getting enough sleep is essential, both in terms of reducing stress and enhancing digestion. When you sleep your body produces important hormones including melatonin, which regulates your circadian rhythm (sleep and wake cycles) as well as protecting your cells against free radical damage. Interestingly, melatonin also has a protective effect against stress-induced lesions in the gastrointestinal tract so prioritising shut-eye is one simple way to manage stress. Practising an electronic sundown by switching off all screens at least an hour before bed, banning devices from your bedroom and enjoying a warm bedtime drink can all help you wind down in the evenings. The Beauty Chef’s SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder is a delicious, multi-tasking probiotic formula that helps combat sleeplessness, relieves anxiety, boosts antioxidant activity for skin repair and nourishes your gut while you sleep.
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can be a major health booster. Forest bathing – or Shinrin-yoku, as the Japanese call it – lowers salivary levels of stress hormone, cortisol. It also reduces blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose and muscle tension. Nature can also upregulate our brain cognition, empathy and creativity as well as calming our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), helping to alleviate headaches, inflammation and depression.
Exercise produces feel-good neurochemicals known as endorphins, which effectively act as natural painkillers, improving sleep quality, reducing stress and stabilising your mood. A little goes a long way too and even five minutes of movement can have an anti-anxiety effect. When it comes to gut health, exercise also plays a key role in enhancing the number of beneficial microbial species and enriching microflora diversity.
Research has shown that keeping a daily gratitude journal can alter the neural pathways in the brain, increasing energy, focus and motivation. While more exploration needs to be done, studies suggest that people who are more grateful experience less stress, anxiety and depression, sleep better and have better relationship with others. Those who are more grateful also suffer from fewer aches and pains, enjoy better heart health and experience a slower rate of cellular ageing.
It’s no secret that meditation is good for our overall wellbeing, but researchers from Harvard have discovered that stress management techniques such as meditation can actually be beneficial for those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) too. The study revealed that elicitation of the relaxation response (a physiological state of deep rest that helps to manage our physical and emotional response to stress) helps to improve symptoms and keep stress and anxiety at bay.
What are some of the lifestyle tweaks you could implement today?
To give you a deeper insight into why fermented foods are so beneficial to our health – and our skin – we sat down with one of our microbiologists, Mike Bridges, to discuss the power of fermentation…
While the health benefits of fermented foods continue to receive more and more scientific attention, they’ve actually been part of our diet for thousands of years. Examples include yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles and miso. The health benefits of these foods are due to the combination of nutrients and ingredients being fermented (often in a more bioavailable form as the enzymes and beneficial bacteria are already hard at work, improving our ability to digest and absorb these nutrients), the natural compounds formed during the fermentation process and a mixture of active and inactive probiotic cells.
Aside from their nutritional properties however, fermented foods also play a key role in balancing our immune systems. Fermented foods contain live probiotics as well as the cell walls of the probiotics that have died during the fermentation process – and both of these interact with our immune systems in a way that promotes healthy immune function. This is particularly useful when our immune systems attack our healthy cells, leading to inflammation.
What stands GLOW apart is that it is a fermented food produced in a mixed fermentation, containing a broad spectrum of probiotics including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces boulardii. As these probiotics each flourish at a different stage of the fermentation process, the final product contains a mix of live cells, compounds produced during fermentation and cell wall material (the part that elicits an immune response).
The ingredients fermented include organic mung beans, organic brown rice, organic lentils, organic chickpeas, organic linseed, organic maqui berry, organic garnet plum, organic buckwheat, organic millet, Dunaliella salina algae, organic quinoa, organic chia seed, organic pepitas, organic sunflower seeds, ginger, green tea, lemon and turmeric – and the enzymes produced during fermentation assist in releasing the nutrients from these ingredients.
Put simply, during fermentation, oxygen is removed and so fermented foods become a rich source of antioxidants. Early in the fermentation process, the probiotic cells consume all the oxygen, resulting in an environment where antioxidant compounds are naturally produced. Our GLOW Inner Beauty Powder is harvested and dried through a process that minimises contact with air, allowing these compounds to be preserved. As oxidation is one of the major contributors to ageing, the consumption of antioxidants is able to help combat this.
Fermented foods such as GLOW Inner Beauty Powder are ideal for maintaining healthy skin as they provide nutrition through the careful selection and combination of organic foods, probiotics and cell wall material. It’s this unique blend that helps modulate the immune system, minimise inflammation and release antioxidant compounds to reduce ageing.
What’s remarkable is that even though fermented foods have been consumed for thousands of years, their amazing health benefits are only now starting to be fully understood.