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Ask A Nutritionist: On Food Supplements, Wellness and Skincare

When it comes to skin health – and wellness in general – Skin + Me are all being the best version of yourself. The key to achieving that? Simplifying your skincare routine with a targeted, personalised approach, being mindful of what you put into your body, some mood-boosting movement and a healthy dose of self-compassion.

In fact, we have lots in common with Zooki – the nutritional brand that tailors supplements to support your health and makes it easy to optimise your daily routine. We spoke to Zooki’s Head of Nutrition, Sarah Carolides to ask her more about her ‘whole-body approach’ to wellness that embraces everything from food, hydration and sleep to exercise, stress and even organisation.

Skin + Me: Tell us more about your role and what Zooki do?

Sarah: I’m the Head of Nutrition at Zooki which means I support the brand with the science behind what each ingredient does. I help the customers with educational articles and know-how about using the supplements and the specific issues they can affect. I also conduct webinars for our partners and clients on health topics and interview industry experts.

Skin + Me: What are your top three nutrition tips for everyone?

Sarah: Variety: Eat seasonal, eat fresh and eat different. Hydration: We need at least 2.5 litres of water a day to function properly. Look after your gut: Eat fermented foods daily if possible to keep the microbiome happy.

Skin + Me: What are the top macro and micronutrients people tend to be lacking in a modern diet?

Sarah: When it comes to macronutrients, women will often lack protein, especially as they age. The omega 3 essential fats are also frequently low as people need to eat oily fish or nuts and seeds to get enough. For micronutrients, magnesium and vitamin D are my top go-tos where nearly everyone is deficient.

Skin + Me: What’s the most common complaint you see through sub-optimal nutrition when customers come to you for support at Zooki?

Sarah: Energy levels and skin issues.

Skin + Me: Can you explain how Zooki works?

Sarah: Zooki is different from other similar products because it is highly absorbable. A lot of nutrients get into the body using something called Active Transport, which is when the body has to provide a vehicle to bind to the nutrient and take it through the gut wall into the bloodstream. Zooki products come with the vehicle already attached and ready to go, making them more absorbable.

Skin + Me: What are your three top nutrition tips for energy?

Sarah: Ditch the sugar to avoid blood sugar swings. Drink enough water – even a two per cent drop in hydration can lead to a 10 per cent drop in energy levels. Top up on essential micronutrients such as vitamin C which is depleted easily when you’re stressed or not sleeping well.

Skin + Me: What are your three top nutrition tips to maintain healthy skin?

Sarah: Load up on fresh veggies, especially dark green leafy ones for the zinc, minerals and phytonutrients. Drink water to keep the skin hydrated and plumped up. Consider a collagen supplement from your mid-20s onwards to support your own declining collagen production.

Skin + Me: What are your three top nutrition tips for pre, during and post-pregnancy?

Sarah: It’s really important here to eat as widely as possible to ensure you’re getting all the key nutrients for both mother and baby health. Ensure regular good protein sources, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Top up the omega-3 essential fat levels for the baby’s brain development and the mother’s hormones.

Skin + Me: What are your three top nutrition tips for ageing well and the menopause?

Sarah: Start taking a digestive enzyme as our own levels start to dwindle after the age of 40. You could be eating the best diet, but if you’re not absorbing the nutrients, it may be wasted. Top up on phytoestrogens such as flaxseeds, edamame, garlic and berries. Consider a collagen supplement to top up your collagen stores and stimulate your natural collagen production.

Skin + Me: What are the benefits of taking a supplement?

Sarah: It can be really hard to get all we need from diet alone, especially if we rely on convenience foods or produce that has been flown a long way and might be low in nutrients by the time we consume it. Also, if you are working on a particular health issue or goal, supplements can help to turn it around.

Skin + Me: What’s often misunderstood about taking supplements?

Sarah: How long you need to take them for – you won’t get results overnight, and that different brands can differ enormously in quality, absorbability and effectiveness.

Skin + Me: What’s your opinion on nutritionally complete (convenience powder-made) meals?

Sarah: They can be good for emergencies, but they will never supply the fibre or range of macronutrients that we need to function optimally.

Skin + Me: What are the origins of most of your supplements? Tell us more about their vegan and sustainability credentials.

Sarah: Our products are sourced from a variety of different origins as we work to achieve the highest quality formulations for each nutrient. 

We try to ensure our products are vegan-friendly where possible whilst still ensuring they are as effective as they can be. With this in mind, Vitamin C Zooki, Vitamin D Zooki and Turmeric Zooki are all vegan-friendly. Gut Biome Zooki and Glutathione Zooki both contain small traces of dairy from lactoferrin, while Collagen Zooki and Omega 3 Zooki are sourced from fish – so these four products are not suitable for vegans.

Skin + Me: If most people were to take one supplement, what would you recommend?

Sarah: In the UK, it would have to be vitamin D. Otherwise vitamin C is an extremely hard-working antioxidant. It’s an immunity and energy booster and supports great skin health.

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