Dr Libby Weaver on how to eat your­self beau­ti­ful

While creams and serums are un­de­ni­ably ad­vanced these days, there’s no doubt that beauty be­gins on your plate. In her new book, holis­tic nutri­tion ex­pert Dr Libby Weaver (PhD) de­codes what it is we need to eat for gen­eral well­be­ing, and helps us un­derst

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When most peo­ple think about im­prov­ing their ap­pear­ance, they usu­ally fo­cus on a prod­uct: some kind of ‘quick fix’. Yet when you con­sider that the skin cells on your face are a small per­cent­age of the to­tal num­ber of cells in the whole body, it seems crazy that we don’t spend more time get­ting the ma­jor­ity of our cells func­tion­ing op­ti­mally.

Beauty re­ally is an in­side job. How of­ten do you stop to con­sider that your outer layer is merely a re­flec­tion of inner pro­cesses, com­pletely re­liant on the health of the 50 tril­lion cells that you are made of? And the health of those cells is in­flu­enced by ev­ery­thing from the food you eat and the nu­tri­ents present or miss­ing from your blood, to the hor­mones and mes­sages your body makes based on whether your thoughts are fear­ful or loving. Think about that.

I wrote my lat­est book, What Am I Sup­posed to Eat?, to help peo­ple get back in touch with their nu­tri­tional needs and to help them feel em­pow­ered to make food de­ci­sions that sup­port their health — in­clud­ing the outer re­flec­tions. Your body is your best ev­i­dence for what works for you and what doesn’t. While it doesn’t have a voice, it will let you know with symptoms whether or not your choices sup­port its best func­tion. Many of these symptoms are vis­i­ble on the out­side. I can­not en­cour­age you enough to go within and ex­plore whether your body might be ask­ing you to eat, drink, move, think, breathe, be­lieve, or per­ceive in a new way. You will know if it is. You may not like the an­swer, but the an­swer is there.

You have prob­a­bly no­ticed that cer­tain nu­tri­ents ap­pear in sk­in­care for top­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tion. I am a fan, how­ever, of sup­ply­ing all the body’s cells with nu­tri­ents so that they can be dis­trib­uted where they need to go, in­clud­ing nour­ish­ing your skin.

When it comes to real food and the benefits it of­fers us, for me they are all su­per

foods — each has its own unique com­bi­na­tion of nu­tri­tional value to of­fer you. Here is a list of a few key ‘beauty foods’ and their beauty benefits.


Kale is a won­der­ful source of the beauty vi­ta­mins A, C and E, which have po­tent anti-age­ing prop­er­ties and help pro­mote healthy new cell growth. It is also loaded with min­er­als, such as mag­ne­sium and cal­cium, which skin needs to be healthy; these min­er­als are also crit­i­cal to our abil­ity to re­lax. Mag­ne­sium is con­sid­ered to be the “min­eral of beauty” in tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine. It is the fourth most abun­dant min­eral in the body, with about 50 per­cent be­ing found in our bones. This ex­plains the con­nec­tion be­tween mag­ne­sium and bone den­sity. What we don’t read as much about are the other 300 or more bio­chem­i­cal re­ac­tions oc­cur­ring in the body for which mag­ne­sium is an es­sen­tial co­fac­tor, mean­ing the re­ac­tions in­side your body don’t hap­pen ef­fi­ciently with­out it. Un­for­tu­nately, due to poor di­etary habits such as a lack of veg­etable in­take, too much pro­cessed food and caf­feine, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drug use, and nu­tri­ent-de­pleted soils, many peo­ple to­day are de­fi­cient in this es­sen­tial min­eral. Given the role mag­ne­sium plays in the proper func­tion­ing of nearly all of the sys­tems of the body, this can have se­ri­ous health and, there­fore, beauty con­se­quences. The health benefits of op­ti­mal mag­ne­sium in­take in­clude great en­ergy (or a re­duc­tion in fa­tigue), bal­anced elec­trolytes, which are es­sen­tial for hy­dra­tion and beau­ti­ful skin, proper mus­cle and ner­vous-sys­tem func­tion­ing, good pro­tein syn­the­sis, and the main­te­nance of strong bones. What a min­eral!


This is a won­der­ful source of omega-3, which damp­ens down in­flam­ma­tion in the body and also helps keep skin mois­turised.

Oily fish is our main di­etary source of the omega-3 fats eicos­apen­taenoic acid (EPA) and do­cosa­hex­aenoic acid (DHA), the health benefits of which have been well doc­u­mented. They have pow­er­ful anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties, mak­ing them highly ben­e­fi­cial to the skin. They take up res­i­dence in the mem­brane (out­side layer) of the cell and are able to ex­ert their an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory ef­fects and keep the cells flex­i­ble. Due to their phys­i­cal struc­ture (which con­tains dou­ble bonds), they them­selves ox­i­dise eas­ily and are best con­sumed with an an­tiox­i­dant-rich diet. Sar­dines and salmon (sus­tain­ably caught) are great oily fish op­tions, both rich in omega-3 fatty acids.


Ki­wifruit is a rich source of vi­ta­min C and an­tiox­i­dants. Vi­ta­min C does so many won­der­ful things for our health and beauty. It is highly ef­fec­tive at re­duc­ing free-rad­i­cal dam­age, such as that caused by over­ex­po­sure to the sun. Free rad­i­cals con­sume col­la­gen and elastin, pro­mot­ing wrin­kles and other signs of pre­ma­ture age­ing. Vi­ta­min C is also in­volved in the pro­duc­tion of col­la­gen — the elas­tic tis­sue that is found in the skin, lig­a­ments, ten­dons, car­ti­lage, and blood ves­sels — not just the preven­tion of its break­down. The health of your hair also de­pends on vi­ta­min C, as it sup­ports the blood ves­sels that feed the hair fol­li­cles and is crit­i­cal for cir­cu­la­tion to the scalp.


Sun­flower seeds are a good source of vi­ta­min E, a pro­tec­tive an­tiox­i­dant that helps skin glow. Vi­ta­min E also helps to re­new skin cells, mak­ing them stronger by re­duc­ing ox­ida­tive stress. When the body ex­pe­ri­ences ox­ida­tive stress, cells can be­come weak, and your skin may look dull. An op­ti­mal in­take of vi­ta­min E may also help re­duce the ap­pear­ance of wrin­kles. Sun­flower seeds also con­tain zinc, which keeps your skin, hair, and eyes healthy, and is crit­i­cal for wound heal­ing and scar preven­tion. This min­eral is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for acne suf­fer­ers. Zinc con­trols the pro­duc­tion of oil in the skin, and it also helps bal­ance some of the hor­mones that can be in­volved in driving acne. Zinc is a su­per­star nu­tri­ent that con­trib­utes to hun­dreds of pro­cesses in­side your body, plenty of which are re­flected on the out­side. It is re­quired for proper im­mune-sys­tem func­tion, as well as for the main­te­nance of vi­sion, taste, and smell. It is es­sen­tial to the cre­ation of over 300 en­zymes nec­es­sary for you to have great di­ges­tion, the foun­da­tion of all health and beauty. Zinc even nour­ishes the scalp, help­ing to main­tain the in­tegrity and strength of hair. Low zinc lev­els have been linked with hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. It can be dif­fi­cult to con­sume enough zinc each day, so in ad­di­tion to seeds, sup­ple­ment your di­etary in­take with a qual­ity, food-based sup­ple­ment.

The an­tiox­i­dants in ki­wifruit have also been shown to help pro­tect against can­cer and heart dis­ease.

Dr Libby Weaver PhD is a best-sell­ing au­thor, speaker, and nu­tri­tional bio­chemist. Her new book and 11th ti­tle, What Am I Sup­posed to Eat?,

RRP $39.99, is avail­able from www.dr­libby.com.

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