Balance – Healthy skin

Definition

As the old saying goes, ‘True beauty comes from within.’ And it really is true! Healthy, smooth, rosy skin is not only an aesthetic ideal, but also an indication of a healthy body. A lack of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, along with oxidative stress and/or inflammatory processes which constantly take place in our bodies, are often reflected in a blemished or uneven complexion. Maintaining a varied, balanced diet provides the body with all the essential building blocks that it needs to get to or sustain radiant and healthy skin.

Symptoms

The skin is one of the human body’s largest as well as one of its most sensitive organs. Factors such as mild mental disorders, stress or a poor daily intake of nutrients can cause the skin’s natural balance of oil and moisture to become unbalanced. This is frequently outwardly manifested by dry, itchy or cracked skin. Furthermore, redness or small recurrent sores can affect our overall feeling of well-being. In cases of dry skin, the skin’s surface usually becomes rough and scaly. It loses its elasticity, which leads to fine lines and wrinkles. Often times dry skin begins to feel tight. The symptoms are worsened still by scratching irritated regions in an attempt to relieve itching. This can lead to small tears or sores which, worst case scenario, could become infected, eventually causing at least partially irreparable skin damage as or leaving unsightly scars.

Causes

Skin problems can result from a variety of causes. Our skin cells renew themselves every four to six weeks. As we age, our hormone levels change which causes this process to become considerably slower. Women’s menstrual cycles also take a toll on their dermatological health. Furthermore, external influences such as extreme cold or heat, too much exposure to the sun, frequent showers, the wrong toiletries, smoking, and environmental factors take their effects on our skin. Besides the innumerable external influences which can leave their mark on our complexion, our inner balance plays a very important role too. Making sure that one gets an adequate intake of fluid and eats a balanced diet is especially important for healthy skin, since the body needs the correct right building blocks in order to maintain its complex structure.

Natural remedies and their effects

Our skin protects us from external influences, stores nutrients, and provides a barrier against toxins. This array of important functions can only be fulfilled by healthy skin. Thus, it is of vital necessity that the skin receives a proper supply of protein and fat along with vitamins and minerals through the bloodstream. Eating a balanced and varied diet ensures that every layer of our skin receives the nutrients it needs.

Essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids are necessary for the structure of healthy cells. The body is unable to manufacture them on its own, so they must be supplied through food. The reason for this is that in our cell membranes the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids does not only affect the structure of the cell, but also its function. An ideal source of healthy, polyunsaturated fatty acids can be found in particularly electron-rich, natural, gently pressed, vegetable oils. Many of these contain a variety of healthy fatty acids which - when ingested in the proper combination - can have a beneficial effect on complexion. Hence, it is critically important to compensate for a lack of polyunsaturated fatty acids through dietary supplementation. Simultaneously, unhealthy fats such as trans fats, as well as an excess of omega-6 fatty acids, should be avoided. Instead, healthy fatty acids such as ALA which is found in flax seed oil and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) found in borage seed oil can be used to supplement a varied, balanced lacto-vegetarian wholefood diet.

Quality counts!

When selecting a source of healthy fatty acids, its quality is paramount. Only then - as Dr. Johanna Budwig pointed out again and again – can our cells receive the full benefits of the electron richness found in the oils. A great importance must be attached to the selection of the seeds, the crop rotation, the extraction, and any further processing. Therefore, Dr. Johanna Budwig clearly defined and documented quality standards. For the extraction of oil, she developed a very gentle process, the "Original Dr. Budwig pressing method" – which is still known under that name today.

Good health through good fats

In the Western world, most people suffer from undernourishment or malnutrition. Mainly harmful types of fats are consumed excessively. At the same time, not enough quality, healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids are being ingested. This increases the risk of developing a host of diseases which affect our civilization and is also commonly reflected in our complexions.

Compensating for a lack of healthy fats though a healthy and balanced diet has a beneficial effect on many of these same diseases.

Protein keeps skin in shape

Essential amino acids - the building blocks of protein - keep skin and hair robust and support their fortification. When dietary protein is lacking, the connective tissue in our bodies begins to sag for lack of collagen and elastin. Good sources of protein are fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, such as cottage cheese, along with legumes, soy products, whole grains, nuts, and vegetables.

For a healthy start to the day

The Budwig cream developed by Dr. Budwig combines valuable flax seed oil with quark (cottage cheese may serve as a substitute). Flax seed oil contains a high proportion of the vegetable omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. Quark, however, is rich in sulfur amino acids. Together these ingredients form a strong unit: the positively charged amino acids from the quark and the negatively charged fatty acids from flax seed attract one another. In this unit, the quark acts as an "omega-3 protector." The omega-3 fatty acids from the flax seed oil are protected from oxidation and thereby able to enter the human body to a large extent unchanged and, therefore, are much more available for use by our cells and their membranes. For people with skin problems, dietary supplementation with flax seed oil compositions such as high-grade borage oil is recommended.

Take good care of your digestive tract!

Whether our cells actually benefit from the food we consume each day, depends largely on our intestinal health. The decisive factor is our intestines’ ability to absorb the nutrients that we eat. Dr. Johanna Budwig, thus, recommended daily consumption of fresh sauerkraut juice or sour milk to maintain our intestines and their intestinal flora. Furthermore, the regular consumption of dietary fiber plays an important role in healthy bowel function. Therefore, an integral part our daily diet should include 1-2 tablespoons of shredded and fortified flax seed, blended into a Budwig cream, made of quark and flax seed oil, or in Muttersaft (pure, unfiltered, unsweetened first-press juice of a fruit or berry) such as Fermentgold.

Borage seed oil as a source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA)

Borage seed oil is obtained from the seeds of the borage plant. The most noteworthy feature of this oil is its high content of GLA. With a content of over 20 %, borage seed oil makes a perfect, natural source of this valuable and healthy fatty acid.

GLA belongs to the group of omega-6 fatty acids. This polyunsaturated fatty acid is particularly important for skin and mucous membranes as well as for many metabolic processes in the human body. The body is capable of synthesizing small quantities of GLA from linoleic acid. However, in some people, this conversion process may be disrupted by, for example, an enzyme deficiency. This may result various afflictions of the skin, such as dry skin, scaly and itchy skin, dermatitis, eczema, etc. In cases such as these, ingesting borage seed oil daily can have a soothing effect.

 

At the same time, factors such as stress, pollution, alcohol, among a host of others, can cause our skin to become dry and cracked. Signs of aging become visible earlier. Once again, the regular intake of GLA improves skin condition visibly.

Skin hydration

The entire surface of our skin is protected by a layer of hydrolipidic film. It consists mainly of sweat, sebum and water and its primary function is to provide the skin with an external barrier which defends it against bacteria. It also helps the skin to retain its moisture and suppleness. If the moisture and lipid content of the top layer of skin is damaged, it results in dry skin. In order to replenish it and restore skin to its former plump, firm state, plenty of liquid - at least 1.5 - 2 liters a day – must be consumed. (Mineral) water and unsweetened teas provide mineral-rich and low-calorie sources. Green tea is highly recommended and is characterized by its high content of cathechins, namely epigallocatechin gallate, to which cytoprotective properties have been attributed.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals are important for many metabolic processes. For our skin, skin vitamins A, C, E, coenzyme Q10 and zinc - aptly called skin vitamins - are indispensable.