How to guides

How to…nourish your skin with nuts

Nuts - mixed

Nuts are an essential part of your diet and contain a whole variety of micro-nutrients that are important not only for the health of your body and organs – but provide essential nourishment for your skin. I have picked out some of the nut superstars and below interviewed Nicholas Perricone, MD for the inside story on why nuts are so good for the skin.

Brazil nuts – just four nuts provide over 100 per cent of your RDA. Selenium protects the body from free radicals that can cause premature ageing

Walnuts – contain Omega-3 fats that strengthen the membranes of your skin cells, locking in moisture and nutrients that keep it plump and glowing and keeping out toxins that can damage skin cells

Almonds – rich in Vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant helping to protect skin cells from UV light and other environmental factors that generate cell-damaging free radicals

Hazelnuts – a potent source of Vitamin E and packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), and folates

Nuts - hazelnuts circle

Doctor’s orders

I spoke to Nicholas Perricone, MD, a dermatologist and nutritionist who has written extensively on health, nutrition and skin.

He began by saying, “Nuts are rich in protein which is not only important for maintaining skin’s suppleness, but they also contain magnesium, a mineral that is critical in the process of converting sugar into energy. Research suggests magnesium deficiency can lead to low energy. Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are great options”

The health benefits of nuts is really quite extraordinary, they deliver healthy oils, micro-nutrients and essential fatty acids that are not always easily found in other foods. Dr Perricone elaborates about the complex benefits.

“As a dermatologist, I believe that the essential fatty acids are vitally important to beautiful skin.   Chia seed is one of the richest vegetable sources and possesses an ideal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio to keep the skin soft, supple, and youthful.  Cold-pressed, extra virgin chia oil, especially when combined with fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients including Vitamin E, Vitamin A, pro-Vitamin B5, Co Enzyme Q10 and Vitamin C ester delivers superior nourishment & hydration from rich omega 3 fatty acids and rapidly transforms skin to a visibly vibrant, glowing and more healthy complexion.”

Nuts and seeds, whilst healthy should be enjoyed in moderation, a little goes a long way and they can, in large quantities be fattening and oversupply the skin. The key is to eat a variety of nuts throughout the day.

There are ones that do stand out and should be included in your daily dietary intake.

Dr Perricone recommends the following nuts and seeds because they are the highest in either omega-3 or omega-9 (monounsaturated) fatty acids. He says, “Both fatty acids are heart-healthy; omega-3s are powerful anti-inflammatory agents as well. The fatty acid content of each nut or seed is expressed here as a percentage of its total fat content (note: The percentage figures provided are averages, as the fatty acid content of nuts and seeds varies considerably among data sources):

Nuts - almonds

Highest in omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acids:

Macadamia (50 percent), pecans (45 percent), almonds (42 percent), filberts (38%), pistachios (35 percent), Brazil nuts (32 percent), peanuts (23 percent), sesame seeds (21 percent). Note: Unlike most nuts, pistachios are high in antioxidant carotenoids

Highest in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids:

Flaxseed (50 percent), walnuts (8 percent), pumpkin seed (7 percent)

So, it’s time to get nutty. There are so many ways to include nuts into your diet, you can add them to your breakfast, like in my Bircher muesli recipe here , you can snack on them in the morning or afternoon as a pick-me-up or add sprinkle them on a salad for dinner.