Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Show Your Skin Some Love!

The human skin is often known as "the largest organ of the human body". It has the largest surface area of all the body's organs. It also applies to weight, as skin weighs more than any single internal organ, accounting for about 15 percent of body weight. For the average adult human, the skin has a surface area of between 1.5-2.0 square meters, most of it is between 2-3 mm thick. The average square inch of skin holds about 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes, and more than a thousand nerve endings!  So what can you ladies and gentlemen do so that your precious skin doesn't start to look like last years luggage?  If you want to have the skin of a 5 year old and prevent your skin from looking like it has a crocodile complexion, then read on.

As my blog covers health and fitness through exercise and proper nutrition, I'm going to focus on a few of the best foods to feed your skin for looking and feeling great.  But before I go into some of the basics, there are two very simple things to avoid.  Your first step is to moderate the amount of direct sun exposure, and two is to stay far away from tobacco smoke. It doesn't matter if the cigarette belongs to someone else--you are breathing the same smoke they are. Steer clear or look like leather and stink like a horses saddle!  Ok, on with the guide to younger looking healthy skin.

The first and most important key to healthy looking skin is good hydration.  There's nothing better than pure, clean water to quench your body's thirst.  Most people are dehydrated. If your urine isn't clear, you are drinking too little water. This is hard on your kidneys, and can lead to painful stones and/or urinary tract infection. Plus, it causes your skin to be as flexible as leather and look about the same. Drink up! Alcohol dries the skin, so keep it off your skin and out of your diet for maximum skin protection. Sodas don't help. Their caffeine is dehydrating, as is their sodium and refined sugar.

Vitamin A is one of the most important components of skin health, and low-fat dairy and non-dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, goat milk and almond milk are a great place to get it. Reducing your intake of dairy will cut back on your levels of unhealthy saturated fat and lower cholesterol.  The skin-health assets in Green Tea are matchless. It has anti-inflammatory properties, protects the cell membrane, and sipping on this super drink can also boost your metabolism.

Another snack that is loaded with vitamin A are carrots, which helps balance the pH of your skin's surface, making it just acidic enough to fend off harmful bacteria. National Cancer Institute researchers found that people with the highest intakes of carotenoids—pigments that occur naturally in carrots—were six times less likely to develop skin cancer than those with the lower intakes, so start crunching your carrot sticks when the snack cravings strike.

The high-antioxidant content of blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries yield countless healthy-skin benefits. Not a fan of fleshy fruit? Artichokes, beans, prunes, and pecans are packed with the stuff as well.  Fruit provides your body with vital nutrients that help to fight infections, while repairing cells at the same time.


 The common healthy-skin ingredients in salmon, walnuts and flax seed are essential fatty acids, which not only block harmful irritants, but also act as the passageway for nutrients coming in and out, and for waste products to get in and out of the cell. The stronger that barrier is, the better your skin cells hold moisture, and the better looking and feeling your skin will be.

Good-quality healthy oils labeled cold pressed, expeller processed, or extra virgin, keep skin lubricated and looking and feeling healthier. But remember even healthy fat is high in calories, so limit yourself to two tablespoons a day.  Some suggestions include Olive Oil extra virgin, Coconut Oil extra virgin, Avocado, Flax seed Oil and Hemp Hearts.  Limit and or avoid as much as possible butter, margarine, lard and shortening.  These fats are artery clogging!

Studies show that even skin damaged by the sun may suffer fewer consequences if selenium mineral levels are high. So feed your skin some 100 percent fresh ground whole-wheat bread, muffins and other whole grains, such as rolled oats (NOT QUICK OATS), brown rice or wild Rice, quinoa, amaranth, barley, Millet and buckwheat.  Avoid refined grain products such as white rice, white flour, white bread, pasta (non-whole wheat varieties).  Turkey, tuna and Brazil nuts are also high in the mineral selenium, which plays a key role in the health of skin cells.

The tiny seeds of the sunflower are packed with the most natural vitamin E of any food around. And no antioxidant is better at slowing down the aging of skin cells to keep you looking younger longer. Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts and peanuts also contain the good, essential fats that actually help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  They really are natures perfect booster food packed with nutrients to keep your skin looking younger and feeling great.

Lastly, a good exercise program, consisting of both weights and aerobics will activate and rejuvenate the skin, while improving blood flow. Also, body sweat triggers production of sebum, which is the skin's own natural moisturizer.    Your journey to health and fitness and having great youthful looking and feeling skin begins with proper nutrition and exercise. It's not what you put on your skin, it's what you put on your plate and into your mouth that's important!  Decide, commit, succeed!

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