In part one of our series, we considered factors affecting Aging Gracefully and BEAUTYfully® in the simplest foundational terms…Skincare Essentials. In part two, we discovered how Mind-body influencers impact our skin and overall health. And now, in our grand finale, part 3 in the series we take a close look at how are skin is affected by internal factors…this is the “Inside out” part of the BEAUTYful skin story.
7. Diet Schmiet
Paleo, South Beach….blah blah blah, on and on it goes. I have never subscribed to any particular diet, nor bought into a singular superfood. Fads come and go, but solid common sense and long standing best practices pass the test of time. Here is my KISS…Keep it Simple, Sexy ® “Diet”…just like skin care products, when it comes to food, its ALL about ingredients!
1. Organic whenever possible. And no, you don’t have to be THAT person at the restaurant because unless you are dining at True Foods, expectations should be set accordingly. If you keep to the 90/10 rule or at the very least 80/20 your body will thank you. Organic is the closest thing we have to purity in this crazy chemical world in which we live…I hear you say, “Maxine what IS Organic really”? In a nutshell, organic produce and other food ingredients are grown without using: pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or ionizing radiation. Animals producing meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are not been given antibiotics or growth hormones. Therefore, the main difference between organic and conventional food products are the chemicals involved during production and processing. It goes without saying that these chemicals not only are impacting our health, but also the environment. To read more about the ins and outs of organics and GMOs check out my other blogs: Eating Organic, A Cleanse of a Different Kind and Don’t Panic, It’s Organic.
2. If you can’t find organic, buy GMO. Bear in mind, unfortunately that the USDA does not require labeling of GMO produce, therefore, in order to steer clear of GMO’s, purchase organically-grown foods or items bearing the “Non-GMO Project Verified” label. Most processed food typically contains one or more ingredients derived from genetically engineered crops, staying away from food coming out of a box or can is the best game plan.
3. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration…Keep reading, this important topic deserves stand-alone attention.
4. Swimmy, not farm raised fish. Look for statements like “Fresh Caught”. Farm raised fish test very high for toxins…because, duh, they are swimming in their toilet…enough said.
5. For those who eat beef…stick with Grass-fed, Grass-finished. Cows were not built to eat corn. They have multiple stomachs to allow for chewing cud, regurgitation of said cud, and so on. Corn ferments in cows because it is not digested properly…enter E.coli. Many of you may have been offered beef tartar back in the day, I know I was, by my grandmother no less. We have done some strange things to our food today in an effort to feed the masses.
6. If you eat cheese…look for cheeses from European countries where GMOs, antibiotics and growth hormones are not part of the deal. Very easy to find at all grocery stores, Costco and Trader Joes. Alternatively, you can look for labeling stating that there are no growth hormones used, I have seen this labeling on American cheeses at Trader Joes.
7. Buy food that is as close to its natural state as possible, avoiding boxes, cans and bags. Processed foods are higher in additives and often salt and sweeteners, that are not healthy for us and its so hard to know what all those ingredients are. For example, did you know Lecithin found in many processed foods is made from soy? Also common, is Carrageenan, a low quality type of seaweed (which is theory should be very good for us) which causes gastrointestinal upset in many. When working with clients with sensitive or problematic skin, identifying foods causing inflammation in the gut becomes that much more difficult to identify given the weeding through ingredient decks to find what might be the underlying cause of the problem. Milling of grains and seeds like rice and quinoa should not be confused with processing, unless of course they are in a pre-seasoned mix. Gluten free pasta alternatives potentially are the single exception to green light processed foods, but remember to READ THE LABEL. Less is more when it comes to ingredients, and consideration of earlier points 1 & 2 always.
8. Eat your veggies! Many experts have always stipulated that eating fruits and vegetables is good for your body. A diet comprised heavily in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables can significantly improve the outlook of your skin and overall health. A recent study by Evolution and Human Behavior confirmed that eating a diet containing a broad range of fruits and vegetables, can greatly improve your skin, it was determined that eating fruits and vegetables had benefits on skin appearance within six weeks.
A primarily plant based diet is rich in micronutrients, minerals, anti-oxidants, free-radical scavengers and even helps boost our own natural SPF capacity… though not an excuse to skin your zinc- based SPF!! Fruits and veggies also support cell growth and repair resulting in glowing happy skin!
8. Hydration…much more than just water
For optimal skin and overall health, we know we need to drink plenty of water. What you may not know, is that the recommended baseline for water consumption is to drink half your body weight in ounces, daily. Additionally, it is also important to minimize skin dehydrators like alcohol, caffeine (limit coffee to a cup a day), sodas (take these out of your vocabulary altogether!), scented skin care products, and saunas. These skin dehydrators, as well as exercise, especially in warmer weather, are factors requiring water consumption to be increased beyond the recommended water consumption baseline.
But skin hydration is two-fold. Our bodies not only require hydration from water consumption, but also from Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). They are called “essential” because our body cannot manufacture them and must therefore be consumed. Using that definition, water, too, can be considered essential and technically a supplement. EFAs fall into two categories: omega 6 (O6) and omega 3 (O3).
The standard American Diet (SAD) typically consists of too much O6 and too little O3. The recommended intake of O6 to O3 for anti-aging is a 1:1 ratio, yet the average intake is closer to a 12:1 ratio. This imbalance leads to an inflammatory state. Dietary deficiency in the balance of fatty acids results in scaly and flaky skin, weakened capillaries, slower wound healing, and dry skin.
Omega 6. Dietary O6 fats come from most vegetable oils, poultry, nuts, seeds and grains.
Omega 3. Dietary O3 fats are found in fatty fish and fish oil, flaxseed and walnuts (in much lower levels). To meet the required O6 to O3 ratio, I strongly recommend supplementation with quality fish oils.
Available at SkinRevision are Non-GMO caps containing 1125 EPA/875 DHA/150 other 3…Total Omega 3s 2150mg from anchovies & sardines, not big fish oils known to contain more heavy metals/pollutants, rosemary extract is used as a preservative, natural lemon flavor, and are Friend of the Sea Certified.
9. Hormone Balancing
Nearly 30 million people (90% being women) have thyroid disease, many of them undiagnosed. The thyroid is the body’s regulator of all of our other hormones, if it is out of whack, chances are good that other endocrine glands’ function may be impacted as well. Because of the link between the thyroid and EVERY cell in the body, any disease is possible once thyroid function is compromised. In regards to skin health; dryness, eczema, rashes and accelerated dermal aging such as wrinkles and skin thinning, are frequently associated with poor thyroid function. Given the “commonness” of thyroid disease, I routinely recommend clients to verify thyroid health and state of affairs of overall hormone performance via blood work prescribed and reviewed by a Functional Medicine Practitioner, to verify if support is required for any of the members of the endocrine system.
10. Smoking and Skin
Unless you are living under a rock, you are well versed in the dangers of smoking relating to overall health. Specific to skin are two primary considerations. The first, unlike exercise which benefits the skin by bringing oxygen and nutrition body-wide and including the skin via increased circulation, smoking has the exact opposite effect. Hemoglobin, a red protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood is capable of bonding to 4 oxygen molecules. Carbon monoxide, a result of smoking, can take the place of oxygen in the hemoglobin which ultimately deprives skin and other organs necessary oxygen for optimal health. Secondly, the chemicals entering the body as a result of smoking effect the levels of vitamin C in the body, since Warrior Vitamin C’s job in the body is to fight off oxidation and free radicals. The net net of a decrease in viable Vitamin C is a reduction in collagen, the infrastructure support of our skin. Vitamin C is a collagen booster in the skin both internally and topically via skincare products. For these two reasons it is clear to see why smokers have “smokers skin”…dull from lack of oxygen and wrinkly from decreasing collagenShare