I’m a beauty and menopause guru – here’s what to eat to look a whole decade younger

By Staff 9 Min Read

A youth-boosting diet shouldn’t shy away from fat, especially during menopause says beauty and wellbeing guru Liz Earle. From snacking on cheese to salting your water in the morning, she shares her secrets to looking and feeling great in perimenopause, menopause and beyond

Midlife should be a time to thrive, not just survive – and the same can be said for our skin. I’m a beauty and menopause expert – author of new book A Better Second Half: Dial Back Your Age To Live A Longer, Healthier, Happier Life. At 61, I feel the best I ever have, and it shows on my face. I want that for every woman, and I’m here to tell you how it’s done. So much changes in our skin during perimenopause, menopause and beyond. One of the key things that happens is that we lose oestrogen, the thing that keeps it supple. We also lose collagen – around 1% a year from the age of 30 – that lovely springy supporting matrix that keeps skin cells plump and smooth.

Muscle too is in decline. We lose muscle tone from all over the body, but on the face that is the very thing supporting the skin, keeping it looking toned. Its loss is why we get skin sagging. Finally, we may have sun damage, which accelerates fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. It’s a whole cocktail of cumulative damage that starts to show up from your early 40s onward. But the good news is that there is plenty we can do about it. And acting now can turn back our beauty clock up to a decade.

How to get your best skin ever

My approach to skincare has always been two-pronged – what you put in the body in terms of diet, that feeds the skin cells from within, and also what we put onto the skin in terms of products. You have to do both to get it right.

THE MIDLIFE SKIN DIET

DON’T REMOVE FATS

One of the big dangers in midlife is stripping fats out of the diet. This is the very time we need them most – good healthy fats keep skin strong and supple. They are also the building blocks of hormones. Avoid low fat foods full stop. Reach instead for omega 3 fish oils, which can be taken as a supplement unless you fancy eating plenty of oily fish. Extra virgin olive oil is great too, and butter, which contains butyrate, an anti-inflammatory that helps to soothe the gut. A lot of skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis and eczema are inflammatory issues that stem from the gut/skin axis. Thereby by looking after our gut we can improve the look of our skin.

PRIORITISE PROTEIN

Our protein requirements go up as we age, so this is the time to really be looking at how much you have. Between one to two grams of protein per day per kilo of body weight is ideal. So if you’re a 60kg woman, you’ll be looking at around 120g per day. If you’re someone who exercises a lot, your need for protein will be higher. Prioritise protein on your plate, think about it before you put anything else on there, be it chicken breast, steak or anything else.

Breakfast is a great time to fill up on eggs, the most complete source of protein. You could also have full fat Greek yoghurt, or healthy fats like avocado on a bed of grains and tenderstem broccoli. A protein powder can be useful when you’re busy. I have a protein shake every day, because one scoop of protein powder tends to give you around 20g. You can mix it into a smoothie or yoghurt.

LIMIT SUGAR

I tend not to eat carbs in the morning because it can spike your blood sugar and keeping blood sugar stable is really important for your skin. Sugar is inflammatory and can trigger the process of glycation, which ages the skin. Think about small switches you can make elsewhere too, like swapping milk chocolate for dark, which has a lower sugar content.

SNACK WELL

I’m a big fan of snacking on cheese. Cheese is high in protein and some are also really good for gut bacteria, such as raw milk and goat milk cheeses. Elsewhere reach for fermented foods like kefir, which is like a supercharged yoghurt, packed with good, beneficial bacteria that will help to keep the gut calm. It’s a good source of protein too. Nuts and seeds are also useful. Have a couple of Brazil nuts a day, which contain the mineral selenium, a powerful antioxidant.

SALT YOUR WATER

Water is really good but electrolytes are even better, where you put your trace minerals into the water. I get up in the morning and put a pinch of sea or rock salt into my water. You’ll find it gives you a bit more energy, and is more hydrating than just plain water.

* A Better Second Half: Dial Back Your Age to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by Liz Earle (£22, Yellow Kite) is out now

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