10 Food Practices for Perfect Skin

If you crave glamorous skin, your stomach may be just the solution you are looking for. Since skin condition is dependent on nutrient intake, it is crucial that you only eat what is good for it. When the body’s balance is off track, the skin is one of the first places to show signs of this. To establish a healthy skin-stomach connection, there are certain foods to avoid but a whole host of others that will leave your skin glowing, smooth, and wrinkle free.

1. Be Safe with Sugar

In a recent study published by the Journal of American Aging Association, it was discovered that those with high blood sugar levels appeared to look older than those with lower levels. How so? Well, as we all know, sugar can be detrimental for not only your teeth and weight, but for your skin, too. Too much sugar can cause inflammation and premature aging of the skin, a process known as glycation. The latter of these two conditions starts when sugar in the bloodstream hitches onto proteins and thus quickens the formation of AGEs (advanced glycation end products). These end products go on then to stimulate enzymes within the skin that break off elastic tissue and collagen. Consequently, this deterioration leads to sagging, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. To preserve your skin, it is best to limit your intake of sugar as much as you can.

Foods that have had sugar added to them should be avoided, such as baked goods, sugary cereals, and starches. Those with naturally occurring sugars, such as fruits, are a much healthier source. Sugar consumption also correlates with sugar levels. For example, having a piece of biscotti each day with your tea or coffee for a week is much safer than polishing off a handful of biscotti in one sitting. When you consume a bigger amount of sugar at one time, it disrupts insulin levels. What this all boils down to is that sugar, as is preached with liquor and other indulgences, should be used in moderation.

2. Fun in the Sun

It is generally known that sunscreen is a must when engaging in prolonged exposure in the sun. However, new research has shown that Asian ginseng has proven to be beneficial in protecting your skin from the sun. According to the Journal of Alternative and Contemporary Therapies, ginseng lessens the amount of damage caused by UV light while upping the amount of exposure needed before a sunburn results. Although this herb can be taken by mouth or applied directly onto the skin, sunscreen is still recommended.

3. Pro Probiotics

Did you know that there is a very strong connection between what goes on in the stomach and what surfaces on the skin? When the stomach’s natural flora becomes unbalanced due to factors such as infection, stress, or antibiotics, your skin may become prone to problems such as wrinkles, dullness, acne, psoriasis, and eczema. This all happens when toxic bacteria in the gut seeps through the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and travels throughout the body and up to the skin. Inflammation then occurs, thus forbidding the skin to act normally. To prevent this bacterial imbalance, probiotic supplements and certain foods may be taken such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and miso.

4. Try Prebiotics

Since we know that probiotics are microorganisms that maintain good health and improve the immune system, what then are prebiotics? Prebiotics are indigestible nutrients that promote the growth of good bacteria. As was mentioned before, skin problems can be directly related to problems with gut flora. To prevent this, eat prebiotic-rich foods such as bananas, whole grains, garlic, and onions. By stocking up on these foods, you will keep the lining of your gut constantly coated with good bacteria, therefore decreasing the chances that toxic substances will leak out and wreak havoc.

5. Sprinkle on Some Spice

Fight inflammation by adding anti-inflammatory spices such as cinnamon and ginger. Both these spices pack a punch of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that work to rid your skin of surface inflammation and facial puffiness.

6. Treat Yourself with Turmeric

In a recent study, it was discovered that when turmeric (also known as curcumin) supplementation is used either topically or orally, it increases photo protection in skin. To help prevent sun damage to your skin, add turmeric to your diet. The easiest way to do this is to cook with curry powder, as turmeric is a staple ingredient in it.

7. Omega-3s

Omega-3s are healthy fats that can do your skin a whole lot of good. Some of the richest sources of these fats are found in fish such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon. For those of us that are vegetarian or vegan, seeds such as chia and flax make for a swell substitute. By consuming omega-3s, you will not only moisturize your skin, but help protect it against skin cancer and sun damage. A single tablespoon of chia seeds or flaxseeds offers six times as much as the daily recommended amount of Omega-3s. These seeds enhance your diet by adding them to salads, smoothies, and oatmeal.

8. Be a Green Machine

The greener your body is, the better it will be for your hair and skin. To do this, eat alkaline-forming foods such as lemons, apples, pears, kale, parsley, and almonds. By eating these foods, you can prevent your body from becoming too acidic, which occurs when your diet is unbalanced. When this happens, alkaline minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium become leached, which in turn retards the body’s natural detox functions. As a result, skin irritation increases and fewer toxins are rid from your skin. To read more on the subject, check out The Beauty Detox Solution, written by Los Angeles nutritionist Kimberly Snyder.

9. The Power of Purple

When it comes to natural beauty, purple is the way to go. Those antioxidant-rich foods which are best for your skin belong to anything in the shade of purple. Produce such as purple cabbage, blueberries, purple potatoes, raspberries, and purple cauliflower all contain significant amounts of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that boost circulation. Healthy circulation correlates with improved skin, since increased blood flow carries nutrients necessary in creating new cells, elastin, and collagen.

10. Less Dairy

Two recent studies in the European Journal of Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology claimed that there is a positive correlation between dairy products and acne production. Since there are sixty plus hormones within a single cup of milk (organic or commercial), it is not a surprise then that some of those androgens (steroid hormones) can increase acne breakouts and sebum production. In addition, dairy consumption triggers the production of insulin, which is known to cause acne. For those that desire to go dairy-less, it is important that they supplement their diets with vitamin D, alternative sources of calcium, and other vital nutrients found in milk.

Turning Back the Clock with Essential Oils

As we mature many changes take place in our bodies.  While the fine lines, wrinkles, aches, and pains become more and more noticeable, the changes that go unnoticed may be much more serious as they increase our vulnerability to disease and disability. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “aging” as “the process of growing old or showing signs of growing old.” However, in this day and age, we need to look at two distinct aging concepts: chronological age and biological age. The birth date indicated on a driver’s license is an example of chronological age, whereas biological age is related to vitality level and youthfulness regardless of birth date. For example, we have all met someone who may be seventy years old (chronological age) but acts, looks, and has the health of a fifty-five year old (biological age). What is your biological age and why does it matter?

Aging plays a key role in 90% of disease.  All diseases fall into four categories; the first three include 1) inherited genetic disease, 2) trauma, and 3) infectious disease; they account for only 10% of the cost for treating all disease in America. The fourth category of disease relates to aging and accounts for ninety percent of all health-care dollars – it is extraordinary care in the last two to three years of life. To address the slowing or reversing of the aging processes, we must look to lifestyle patterns and changes. Nutrition, detoxification, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction are simple steps that assist in changing the aging processes.

The good news is that aging can be easily and inexpensively addressed with essential oils.  Essential oils can be considered the lifeblood of the plant that support the body and can even be used for medicinal purposes.  While the benefits of essential oils are extensive, I will be covering five key areas related to aging.

1) Nutrition – This includes consuming and assimilating the right food to maintain a healthy weight, thrive, and extend your life-span. Keeping to a diet rich in organic vegetables and fruits, omega fatty acids, and limited in meats, similar to the Mediterranean diet, has proven to be the easiest and most productive diet program.

Essential oil recommendations to support nutrition:

In my opinion, the best packaged product for a daily supplement program is the doTERRA Lifelong Vitality program. doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality supplements are formulated with potent levels of essential nutrients and powerful metabolic factors for optimal health, energy, and longevity. Coupled with doTERRA’s CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils and a lifelong commitment to doTERRA’s wellness lifestyle, they naturally support a lifetime of looking, feeling, and living younger, longer.

2) Detoxification – This includes releasing the toxins and moving them out of the body. There are several avenues of elimination (sweat, bowels, bladder, breath, and saliva for example) and programs to assist in the toxin release (far infra-red sauna, colonics, adequate hydration, deep breathing exercises, and positive mental attitudes).

Essential oil recommendations to support detoxification:  doTERRA’s Slim & Sassy Metabolic Blend (they also have Slim & Sassy Trim Shakes to assist with calorie reduction).

3) Exercise – This is critical to keep the body young. After age thirty, each of us experiences a decline in functional capacity of 0.75 percent to 1.0 percent per year. More than 48 million adults in the United States, who are otherwise healthy and able-bodied, can be classified as sedentary. The fluid motion of the joints and stretching of the muscles assist not only in strength and motion but to help in the detoxification processes. The old adage “If you don’t use it you will lose it,” can be changed to “If you don’t move it you will lose the ability to move it.”  As we age, heavy exercise may not be the best for everyone; however, gentle stretches on a daily basis or walking can do wonders for keeping the joints and muscles limber.

Essential oil recommendations to support exercise: Deep Blue blend (available as liquid, roll on or crème) to the muscles and/joints.

4) Sleep – This is a necessary and integral state that permits mental and physical restoration. Adequate restful sleep, like diet, exercise, and nutritional habits, is critical to good health. Lack of restful sleep can result in mental and physical health challenges. The National Sleep Foundation report that America is on the verge of a poor sleep epidemic. As a society, we are having more difficulty with getting to sleep, staying asleep, and waking refreshed.  Research has shown that people who slept less than six hours each night were more likely to gain weight, have a decreased immune response, increased inflammatory response, and increased stress responses/depression/anxiety.

Essential oil recommendations to support sleep: Serenity behind the ear, on the bottom of the feet, or on the pillow.

5) Stress management – Stress is probably the most powerful of the aging factors. “A hormone produced by the body when under stress, cortisol, is associated with a dozen or more serious degenerative diseases and has been found in some studies to be present in elevated levels in the last days of life.” (Klatz & Goldman 2003).  Stress in itself is not necessarily a negative thing. The term stress simply refers to any situation—physical, emotional, or both—that requires any bodily response more active than balanced. There are so many various evaluation systems available to become aware of the stressors and techniques to reduce the stress effects.

Essential oil recommendations to support stress management: Serenity to the back of the hand (to smell or on the collar of the shirt).

Not all essential oils are the same quality, and it is critical to use superior quality oils to insure the results described above.

Dr. Thompson is a licensed Chiropractor and also holds Doctorates in Naturopathy and Homeopathy. She can be contacted at  715 456-6734 during regular work hours.

Anti-Aging Herbal Steam

Lines, wrinkles, dark circles. We all will get them, try to fix them, and probably complain about them. But natural steam treatments can helps bring back your healthy glow. Moist heat helps hydrate your skin, boosts your circulation, and brings oxygen to your face. It also opens up your pores and de-clogs them.

“That’s a common misconception,” says Barbara Close, founder of New York’s Naturopathica Spa and author of Pure Skin: Organic Beauty Basics. “Pores don’t open and close — they’re a set size.” Steam loosens debris and softens skin, she says, so pores can unclog and appear less prominent.

Customize this treatment to your liking by adding dried flowers for irritation, fresh rosemary to balance oily skin, or fresh parsley to heal acne.

What you need:
1/3 cup dried lavender blossoms
1/3 cup dried calendula blossoms
4 to 5 drops geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens)

How-To:
1. Steep lavendar, calendula and any other herbs you choose in 2 cups of boiling water for 10 minutes.
2. Fill clean bathroom sink with very hot water. Add herbs to sink along with any essential oils you want to use.
3. Drape towel over your head over the steaming sink making sure you cover the entire sink to maintain steam level.  Hold head about 6 to 8 inches from the water for 3 to 5 minutes. If the water cools, add more hot water.
4. After steaming pat dry with a clean, fluffy towel.

A post facial massage is great for reviving mature skin. Add some drops of avocado oil to fingers and gently massage onto face with inward circles.

Caution: if you have broken skin avoid steam treatment as steam will further aggravate skin.

Adjustments For Health Throughout Life

by Judy Soborowicz

Time and scientific investigation have proven that many of the commonly accepted consequences of staying alive longer are not inevitable; it is possible to have both a maturing and highly functional body and mind. For example, until recently diseases such as osteoporosis and heart disease were believed to be a natural, inevitable process solely caused by the aging process. We now know that exercise and dietary influences dramatically reduce the incidence of both of these potentially fatal and disabling disease processes.

In his book Aging with Grace, David Snowdon describes the findings of The Nun Study. Many of the findings of this longitudinal study on aging nuns related to small changes that could be made daily, to preserve the health of our brain as we age. For me this book is an affirmation that there is not a single structure included in our physical makeup, which is immune to the positive affect of small changes, at any age.

As a chiropractor, my primary concern is with the structure that supports and protects our brain and allows us to move, play, and maintain our independence in all stages of our lives. I will occasionally hear a patient comment about an ache or pain and follow it with a dismissal similar to ‘I guess it’s just arthritis, I am getting old.’ True, the most common form of arthritis can cause devastating changes to joints, but do these devastating changes have everything to do with age? The aging process as it occurs, happens slowly in the body as a whole. What is the reason then, that a person is able to have arthritis swelling and aches and pains in one knee and not the other? Why does the arthritis occur in one or two areas of the body, and leave large areas untouched?

Injuries cause certain joints to ‘feel older’ more quickly relative to non-injured joints. This belief may be the simple and well-accepted answer; however it is well known that mobilizing an aging arthritic joint improves function and reduces pain. When we make small adjustments to body mechanics, nerve flow, and strength, we improve overall function and our response to injury and aging.

If your shoulder is inflamed and hurting, maybe you have had treatment with cortisone or other therapies with no long lasting relief. Perhaps you have begun to consider surgery as your only and last option. If avoiding the expense, recovery time, and possible complications that accompany surgery are important to you, you should be aware that a potent treatment approach without the use of cortisone or surgery does exist. The chiropractic approach to determine if small beneficial adjustments can be made includes an evaluation of walking patterns and reflex changes in functional nerve patterns. If your friends say you slump or hitch when you walk, this could be an indicator your spinal nerves, which work to stabilize your spine, shoulders, and hips in a highly evolved functional pattern, are not performing to their potential. Small changes to this system without the use of drugs or surgery can be made. The view of the body as a dynamic healing structure, which has evolved to efficiently promote movement and survival, is the new science. Our brains and nerve systems are vitally important not only for the expression of fullness of life today, but also for the enjoyment of life tomorrow.

Judy Soborowicz practices chiropractic and nutrition at Active Health along with her husband John. She enjoys writing, researching, and lecturing on topics concerning chiropractic, healthcare, and experience gained along the way.

Aging with Grace and Beauty

by Patricia Wickman

Ayurveda, the “Science of Life,” maps out a crystalline clear path to aging gracefully. Ayurveda is the traditional folk medicine from India and has been practiced for over 6,000 years. A system with that sort of longevity promises added years and quality of life for all. While it is true that time stops for no one and death is certain, there are key aspects of life that are in our control. Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners encourage people to pace themselves in order to avoid high stress levels and burnout. Life is like a river and there are areas of rivers where the water rushes, creating rapids. Living life in the rapids may provide a short time of exhilaration, but living every moment in this way will eventually exhaust one’s body, mind, and spirit.

There are areas of rivers where the water is flowing peacefully and there exists a nice balance between what is coming in and what is moving out. Making sure that your input equals your output is a simple Ayurvedic truth that will enhance your enjoyment of life and prevent the manifestation of disease. This idea of input and output is most observable in your digestive system. This is why one’s diet is the number one method of self-care in Ayurvedic medicine. Radiant health and slow aging starts with what you are in-gesting day-to-day. It also begins with having lifestyle habits that encourage ideal functioning of digestive organs such as your liver, pancreas, small intestine and colon.

There is a text that dates to the mid-first millennium called the Chandogya Upanishad. In it is the following thread of wisdom:

• Ahara suddhau sattva-suddhih
• Sattva-suddhau dhruva smrtih
• Smrti-lambhe sarva-granthinam vipra-moksah

“From purity of food comes purity of mind, from purity of mind comes constant remembrance of God, and from constant remembrance of God one becomes free from all bondage — one becomes liberated. A clear mirror alone can reflect the face. So purity, Sattva-Suddhi, is stressed again and again by all the mystics and saints of the world.”

http://www.eng.vedanta.ru/library/gokulananda/purification_of_body_and_mind.php

Ayurvedic nutrition is not one-size-fits-all and is based on the tri-doshic theory (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). There is a spate of Ayurvedic websites that explain this in depth. Here are some general Ayurvedic healthy eating guidelines that will help you stay younger longer and enhance your inner and outer beauty:

I. Stop taking in toxins:

Toxins are considered to be those foods that clog the channels of the body and/or create a nutritional deficit (think paying for things with credit cards)

a. Processed, refined, canned, boxed foods.

b. Foods containing refined sugar, trans-fatty acids, non-organic foods, leftovers, artificial sweeteners, tap water (with chlorine), soda, caffeine, high acidic foods, nightshades, alcohol, foods containing MSG.

II. Get rid of the toxins you have:

a. Maintain a healthy digestive fire (metabolism). Use spice mixes in foods, teas, etc. and use probiotics in an educated way.

b. Eat regular meals; don’t skip meals; don’t snack too much.

c. Maintain proper elimination of wastes through daily bowel movements, appropriate urination, appropriate sweating (do not use antiperspirants containing aluminum).

d. Eat cleansing foods and drinks (hot water, cumin/coriander/fennel tea, ginger tea, stewed apples and pears, sufficient fiber, daikon radish, cilantro).

e. Have an Ayurvedic practitioner guide you through an appropriate cleansing for your situation and constitution.

f. Consume your food with mindfulness and confidence. We lose nutrients from our food because we do not chew it properly — we are different than boa constrictors. We have absorption problems when we eat while we are in sympathetic nervous system arousal (fight or flight). Coffee and chocolate both put our nervous systems into fight or flight mode.

III. Repair the damage caused by accumulated toxins:

a. This is for when your collection of symptoms has a name such as eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, insomnia, sinus infection, urinary tract infection, etc.

b. This now requires specific diet, lifestyle, and herbs per condition.

In addition to diet, Ayurveda encompasses other methods of anti-aging practices such as conscious breathing (pranayama), yoga, herbal treatments, body therapies, and more. No matter your age, sex, religion, or race, it is never too late to incorporate Ayurveda. If you are a person living in the rapids, today is the day for you to float to more peaceful waters and start savoring life. Life is valuable. Life is precious. Claim the joy that is rightfully yours.

Patricia Wickman is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Certified Panchakarma Technician and Registered Yoga Teacher. She loves people and enjoys inspiring individuals to perceive their beauty and potential. She lives in Eau Claire, WI with her husband and two children. She owns Radiant Living Yoga and Ayur-veda, LLC. For more information visit: www.rlyaa.com.

General Meal Guidelines

Breakfast (moderate)
It is essential that people with high air (Vata) or fire (Pitta) eat breakfast
Grains — Oatmeal, oat bran, rice bran, cream of rice, quinoa, barley, whole grains
Fruit-Stewed apple or pear with clove, cinnamon, cardamom
Dried fruit in hot cereal — raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.
Nuts and seeds — almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, etc.
Liquid — Whole milk (if you are concerned with fat, dilute whole milk with water), almond milk, rice milk

Lunch
Grains — Alternate grains (rice, quinoa, couscous, barley, millet, amaranth, buckwheat)
Veggies — At least one in each of the following categories:
Cruciferous: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
Colored (sweet): carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, parsnips
Dark, leafy greens: kale, Swiss chard, collards, spinach, dandelion
Other: zucchini, green beans, okra, etc.
Special veggies: daikon, cilantro, bitter melon
Proteins — chicken, fish, small beans, lentils, paneer (Indian fresh cheese)
Probiotic — Lassi (2 T. plain yogurt in 1 T. water) Have with meal.

Dinner (Lightest meal of the day)
Similar to lunch. Can eat flat bread instead of grain.

(Inspired by notes taken in workshops with Patricia Layton and Vaidya Mishra)