Protect Your Skin From Within

excerpted from The Family Groove

Are your nails dry and brittle and your cuticles peeling? Does your skin look drab and dull? Do you look in the mirror and feel overall tired out and lackluster? Well, it may be that your skin is having a case of the “winter blues”!

With a combination of the cold weather that sucks moisture out of your skin, constant dishwashing, hand washing and usage of the alcohol-laden hand sanitizers (flu bug anyone?), and the dry air caused by our heating systems, our skin is literally parched and crying out for nourishment!

Although it is important to be cognizant of applying moisturizer frequently, purchasing a good humidifier, and wearing gloves during these cold, frost-bitten winter months, it is equally important to watch what you are putting into your body! The foods we eat and supplements we take can literally nourish and moisturize your skin from within!

Do you have enough healthy fats in your diet?

A client called me recently complaining of peeling nails and unhealthy looking skin. The first question I asked her was how many healthy fats she had in her diet. Of course, her answer was none! As I wrote about in a May article on The Family Groove, fat (at least the healthy mono and polyunsaturated fat) does not make us fat! Unfortunately, many of us have been led to believe it does. In the summer months, we may be able to get away with it but in the winter months our skin is just starved for nourishment!

What types of fats should I add to my diet?

You should be thoughtful about getting plenty of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats into your diet. Monounsaturated fats include olive oil, avocados, nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, pistachios and macadamia nuts, seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and (my favorite) chia seeds .

Polyunsaturated fats include salmon and other fatty cold-water fish such as mackerel and swordfish (watch mercury intake, though), flax seed and flax seed oil, hemp seeds and hemp seed oil.

Getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and trout, walnuts, legumes, sea vegetables such as kelp and seeds such as chia, hemp and flax seeds is essential as all of these healthy fats help us keep our skin well moisturized from within and help combat dry skin, peeling nails and dull hair!

In our house, I add avocados to salads, sandwiches, dressing, dips, soups and even smoothies! Believe it or not, avocados give a delicious taste to salad dressings and a smooth consistency to smoothies. I also sprinkle hemp seeds or walnuts (or some other nut or seed) over my salads, stir hemp seeds with berries into my yogurt, and sprinkle chia seeds over my morning cereal.

For clients looking to add more Omega 3’s to their diets in general, I also suggest that they add chia, hemp or flax seed or Udo’s oil to smoothies, pastas, salads, quinoa or other grains and really anything else they are making!

It’s not all about the fats! What else will help?

Aloe Vera

Adding aloe vera to your diet- especially during the cold, dry months- is a good first step to healing and moisturizing your skin, nails and hair! Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, and E, sulfur, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, fiber, amino acids, antioxidants, zinc, polysaccharides and sulfur!

Polysaccharides lubricate the skin and help stimulate collagen production. Zinc is essential for maintaining the collagen supply. And, the sulfer in aloe vera (closely related to MSM) has been known to help moisten and restore dried-out tissues such as wrinkles on the skin, collegen and other organs. Aloe vera also dissolves mucous in our intestines (not pretty but important if we want to reap all of the benefits of what we are oh, so, carefully eating!) leading to better assimilation of nutrients. The powerful cocktail, along with the antioxidants and other nutrients, results in supple, radiant looking skin!

I take a 1 oz. shot of aloe vera at night when I am on a juice fast to help my digestion and there is an immediate difference in how my skin looks and feels! This winter I am planning on adding aloe vera to my daily routine every night for extra protection! You can find aloe vera at any good health food storebut just make sure you buy the liquid one and not the gel that is used topically. Some add aloe vera into their smoothies but I find that it has a very strong taste and it is better to just down it like a wheatgrass shot but integrate it into your diet in a way that works for you!

Honey

Natural, raw honey is one of the most important healing foods to have in your pantry AND medicine cabinet! Honey is rich in antioxidants, minerals, probiotics, and enzymes. Not only does honey have antibacterial properties and is used to heal wounds, but it is also very moisturizing! Most of us have seen how every cosmetic company under the sun is adding honey to their moisturizers, soaps, bath gels and shampoos but what many don’t know is that when we ingest honey we get the same or even a greater benefit! Using honey regularly will help promote optimal skin health.

In our house, we use raw honey in recipes, on top of yogurt, on top of Ezekiel bread for breakfast or even in our smoothies! Buy raw honey, if you can as it has been processed less and is more nutritious!

Water

Drink more water! This is an easy suggestion and, in this very fortunate country, a relatively easy change to implement! Our bodies are comprised of 69% water and every organ in our body from our brain to our kidneys and liver to our skin- depends on water to function. Drinking enough water not only helps us flush toxins out of our system, but is also hydrating to our skin!

The recommended amount of water is 8 glasses a day however some experts claim that we need to drink half our body weight in ounces each day. For a 120 pound woman this would be almost eight 8 oz glasses of water per day and for a 200 pound male this would about twelve and a half 8 oz glasses. The amount you should drink also depends on how active you are, how many watery foods such as fruits, vegetables and soups you are eating (fruits contain approximately 85% water and vegetables slightly less so), and whether it is winter or summer.

I constantly have a bottle of purified water by my side and am careful to get most of my liquid consumption done towards the earlier part of the day. Don’t wait until you are “thirsty” to drink because by then you are dehydrated! Hydrating your body from within, hydrates your body from without!

Coconut water, butter and oils

A few years ago, many of you would have said…”what?” But, coconut products are becoming more and more prevalent. Drinking coconut water is one of my favorite suggestions for athletes or those who burn the candle at both ends with long workdays and/or late nights!

Not only is coconut water a low calorie “sports drink” option for restoring electrolytes and providing hydration, but it also is packed with nutrition. Coconut water contains all five essential electrolytes, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and calcium and is an ideal drink to replenish the body’s fluids after a strenuous workout! Again, hydrated body=hydrated skin!

Coconut butter, a medium-chain fatty acid, is another favorite suggestion for tired, dry looking skin, nails and hair. Like honey, coconut butter is an anti-viral and an ingredient very commonly found in many commercial lotions, soaps, and shampoos. When ingested, coconut butter helps moisturize our cells while rejuvenating oxidative tissue damage.

What else?

I would be remiss in not saying that you need to make sure your diet is high in nutrient-rich, antioxidant-rich foods such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries and, yes, even dark chocolate. Having enough dark leafy green vegetables in your diet would constitute an article in and of itself and anyone who knows me knows what an advocate I am for juicing! If you either add a juice to your daily routine or embark upon a juice fast, you will immediately see a difference in the quality of your skin. And, healthy skin= hydrated skin.

Bottom line is take the time to take care of yourself and be thoughtful to what you are putting into your body- it can make a big difference not only in your skin but also in your quality of life!

1 Comment

  • Leslie
    July 28th, 2014 at 7:50 am

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    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó….



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