Stretch marks. Ugh. They're a gosh darn nuisance, and affect many of us...but the good news? You could be your next meal away from bidding them farewell/adios/au revoir for good!
Firstly, let's spell out the science behind stretch marks. Stretch marks appear as streaky scars on the skin - reddy purple to begin with, and then silvery white over time - where over-stretching has occurred. The stretching causing these battle scars could be down to expansion of the tissue that lies beneath (which is why they're so common in pregnancy and rapid weight gain), or an inflammatory reaction within the actual skin.
Secondly: what the flip can we do about them? And, aside from regular moisturising, how can what we eat make a difference? Read on, friend.
P R O T E I N
Two of the most abundant proteins in our bodies are collagen and elastin. These bad boys help to improve the strength, tone and flexibility of our skin.
Up your daily intake of grass-fed meats and chicken, fish, eggs, legumes and nuts & seeds (opting for organic where possible), and supplement your consumption with an organic whey or fermented pea/brown rice protein powder if need be.
V I T A M I N C
Aside from keeping our immune levels topped to the brim, Vitamin C also works wonders for boosting our skin's collagen supplies. Good old Vit C helps to heal tissue and regenerate cells, too.
Vitamin C is found in abundance in citrus fruits, capsicums, bananas, parsley and strawberries.
Z I N C
Zinc is a godsend for skin in so many ways, but for preventing stretch marks for its ability to properly form elastin in our connective tissues.
Oysters, red meats, nuts (especially almonds, brazils and cashews) & seeds (especially sunflower and sesame) are all brilliant sources of Zinc, and should definitely be added to your anti stretch mark stockpile.
S I L I C A
Absolutely vital for healthy skin, silica helps to increase collagen production and skin hydration. It also works to improve the flexibility of the skin, making it less prone to over-stretching.
You'll find bananas, oats, leafy green veg, kelp, cucumber, celery, mango and buckwheat all fantastic Silica sources.
O M E G A 3
Omega 3s help to keep the skin soft, moist and supple, solving many skin problems for us. They are particularly helpful in protecting us against stretch marks, as they improve skin elasticity making skin less prone to tears.
Fish, fish oils, walnuts and flax seed oil are great dietary additions to ensure our Omega 3s are kept topped up.
G R E E N T E A
Green tea is famous for containing polyphenols - antioxidants responsible for helping to slow the body's breakdown of collagen, and regenerating ageing skin cells. It's possibly more famous, though, for its ability to boost our metabolism and aid weight loss.
All of the above will help to prevent stretching of the skin, so brew yourself a cuppa stat!
MY ANTI-STRETCH SMOOTHIE:
This green smoothie recipe is packed full of vitamins and nutrients essential for not only everyday health and vitality, but for helping to harness stretch mark prevention superpowers.
I N G R E D I E N T S
1 ½ cups ABC (almond, brazil & cashew) nut milk - you can find out how to make your own nut milk here
1 cup baby spinach
½ a mango
¼ a cucumber
1 celery stick
1 small handful of parsley
1 tablespoon flax seed oil
1 scoop of protein powder
lemon juice to taste
M E T H O D
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!
References: Metagenics, Wellbeing Magazine, Better Health Channel.