The easiest way to improve your health – Drink More

Anyone who’s attempted to improve their health has heard the golden rule: drink more water.Drink water for your health

That sounds easy, right?

Even right now, I’ve got my water bottle sitting at my desk. Halfway through the workday, and I’ve already refilled it three times to stay properly hydrated, because apparently, this is key to my health. But why?

After digging through some research, I can tell you exactly why keeping your H2O levels in check is so important for your health.

Now grab a fresh glass of water and drink it down as I’ll reveal how you’re helping your body in more ways than you thought.

Why Water?

Water makes up about 60 percent of your total body weight, meaning your body really depends on the stuff. Actually, pretty much every system in your body relies on water to keep things running smoothly.

These functions include regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, protecting and moistening body organs and tissues, regulating digestion, carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, and dissolving nutrients and minerals to make them accessible to the body.

Maybe the most important function of water is helping out your kidneys. Body fluids transport waste in and out of cells, and the main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in your urine.

So drinking water regularly helps to flush out these toxins and lighten the workload for your kidneys. Without sufficient water intake, you’re not doing your kidneys any favors and actually putting yourself at a higher risk for kidney stones as a result of extended dehydration.

Speaking of dehydration, it’s something you really want to avoid. Obviously, it will diminish the processes mentioned above, but it can also throw off your electrolyte levels. This may cause muscle weakness or heart rhythm disturbances due to overly low or high levels of important chemicals like potassium and sodium.

If you want more radiant, glowing, perfect skin, guess what? Drink water.  If you are well hydrated it will show in your skin. It isn’t that the water plumps up your skin cells, but adequate water intake will help flush toxins out of your body through you kidneys, that means fewer toxins that wander around your body. Also, though not immediate, every cell in your body grows its healthiest with plentiful water, so your young skin cells which are just growing now, if they are as healthy as they can be, it will show when they make their way to the surface of your skin in 28-45 days.  Just like watering your lawn. You won’t see it in an hour, or a day, but wait a week.

How Much is Enough?

OK, you get it: water is super important. Now let’s talk about how much is enough.

You’ve probably heard the commonly used recommendation of eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. It’s not the worst guideline to stick with, but it might not be the best, either. Things like height, weight, food consumption, outside temperature, and physical activity all play into how much water an individual should consume.

The best way to determine your hydration level is to pay attention to your body. First of all, if you feel thirsty, that’s your body telling you it needs water, and you shouldn’t ignore it. Be mindful that if you’re always waiting until you feel thirsty, your body might already be partly dehydrated, so always try to address your thirst before you feel it.

Next, take a look at your urine. I know, it sounds a little gross, but it’s a really great indicator to tell if you’re sufficiently hydrated. When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color, and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.

Ways to Drink MoreWoman drinking water

Many of you might already know most of this information, but you still aren’t drinking enough water. Maybe you think the taste is boring or you’re forgetful. Heck, you might just be a little lazy.

When it comes down to it, these are all just excuses. Drinking water is vital to your health, and it’s an easy, inexpensive habit to adapt.

Take a look at some of these helpful tips to incorporate more water into your diet.

  • Before your morning coffee or tea, drink a glass of water right when you wake up to help replace fluids lost during your sleep.
  • Keep a water bottle with you throughout your day so that you have something tangible in front of you to remind you to keep sipping on water.
  • Add some natural flavor to your water with a slice of lime, lemon, or whatever your favorite fruit is.
  • Try to drink a glass of water before each meal to help keep you from overeating and help with the digestion of your food.
  • Most importantly, make a goal to replace soda, juice, and coffee with water whenever possible. Many times, these drinks are loaded with calories and sugar and can often dehydrate you. If you simply can’t go without, try to limit yourself to one non-water beverage each day.

There are a few cautions though.

  • If you buy the disposable water bottles, don’t let them sit in your car and get hot. The heat will release chemicals from the plastic into the water.
  • Tap water is great for watering the lawn and showering, but not that great for dining in most US cities. Besides heavy metals which come from pipes and wells many cities add fluoride to the water. This is a powerful nuero-toxin.  To filter out all of the toxins, invest in a reverse-osmosis water filter. It will cost a couple hundred dollars and take an hour or two to install, but you’ll get the purest water available. If you look a the cost of bottled water you’ll save the cost of the RO filter many times over, plus you’ll keep all those plastic bottles out of the landfill.
  • If you have a good reverse osmosis water filter, then get a nice BPA free water bottle that you can refill throughout the day.
  • You can drink too much water, but it takes gallons. This can upset the electrolytes in your body. So don’t go excessively overboard.
  • Finally, what goes in must come out, so taper off the water as you approach bedtime so you don’t wake up several times during the night to go to the bathroom.

Finally, water is great for your diet!  Often when you feel hungry you’re actually thirsty. So when you feel like going for the Snickers bar, drink a glass of water, wait 10 minutes, and the urge to snack will probably be gone.

References:

webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

Want more beautiful skin? Then get out and exercise!

It’s hardly news that exercise is great for your heart, lungs, and mental outlook. Here’s another reason to get moving: Regular exercise is one of the keys to healthy skin.

People tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant.

If you have dermatological conditions such as acne, rosacea, or psoriasis, you may need to take special care to keep your skin protected while exercising. But don’t let skin problems prevent you from being active. Here’s why.

By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin . In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products and toxins, including free radicals, from working cells. Contrary to some claims, exercise doesn’t detoxify the skin. The job of neutralizing toxins belongs mostly to the liver. By increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system – it is cleansing your skin from the inside.

Exercise has also been shown to ease stress. By decreasing stress, some conditions that can be exacerbated by stress can show some improvement. Conditions that can improve when stress is reduced include acne and eczema. Although researchers are still investigating the link between stress and skin, studies show that the sebaceous glands, which produce oil in the skin, are influenced by stress hormones.

Regular exercise helps tone muscles, of course. That doesn’t have a direct affect on skin, dermatologists say. But firmer muscles definitely help you look better overall.

The Healthy Skin Workout

For all its many benefits, however, exercise can pose risks to your skin. Fortunately, protecting your skin is easy.

The main danger if you exercise outdoors is sun exposure. Sunburns increase skin cancer risk and can rapidly age the skin, erasing any benefits your skin might get from exercise. The key is to make sure you have optimal levels of vitamin D in your system. I you exercise in the winter outside in the northern hemisphere, then you won’t receive enough of the UVB rays to produce vitamin D, so put on the sunscreen otherwise the UBA rays, which cause cancer and age the skin will still make it through. In the summer though, put sunscreen on your face, but let your skin absorb the beneficial UVB rays on your legs, arms, and torso.

Don’t count of sunscreen alone to protect you, however. Sweating can remove the sunscreen that athletes put on and there is evidence that sweating actually increases the chance of burning. After athletes sweat, it takes 40% less UVA rays to burn than when they are not sweating.

Another skin problem that can arise during activity is chafing, which can cause rashes. For people prone to acne, the irritation and increased perspiration caused by tight-fitting workout clothes may lead to a form of acne aptly called acne mechanica. The two keys to prevention are to wear moisture-wicking clothing, such as bras and hats, to keep skin drier and cooler and to shower immediately after exercising. Wearing loose-fitting workout clothes can also help. Make sure your skin is clean before you work out to prevent clogged pores that lead to acne. Avoid wearing makeup when you exercise. After showering, apply a soothing skin moisturizer or powder to help prevent skin irritation.

Rx for Exercise-Related Skin Problems

Several other skin conditions can be exacerbated by physical activity, including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. That’s no reason not to exercise. The benefits of exercise outweigh any temporary problems it can cause. And there are simple strategies to prevent flare-ups when you work out.

For rosacea sufferers, increased body temperature and the skin flushing that accompany exercise can cause flare-ups. The best strategy, dermatologists say, is to exercise in a cool environment. One of the best choices is swimming, since the water keeps skin cool even when you build up body temperature. Brisk walking in an air-conditioned mall or waiting until the cool of the evening to jog outside are other good options. If you do get flushed and overheated while exercising, apply cool compresses to problem areas of the skin immediately after your workout.

Eczema or psoriasis sufferers can also experience flare-ups after strenuous activity, usually caused by salt from perspiration. Apply a moisturizer before a workout to provide protection from sweat. Be especially careful to moisturize your arms and legs and areas with skin creases, such as underarms and groin. If possible, exercise in a cool environment to reduce perspiration and the need for showering after exercise. Washing too often can cause dryness and exacerbate eczema and psoriasis.

Physical activity can definitely pose a challenge, but in the long run it will pay off with a toned, better looking body, and more radiant skin.

How stress & bad food Wreak Havoc on Your Skin – and What to Do About It!

The Holidays are just barely behind us, but now comes the stress of the Christmas bills, we may still not be eating the best either. Stress is the last thing your body, and your skin, needs this time of year. Besides stress, there are other factors that can cause your skin to be dry, blemished, and dull.

Lack of sleep.

Sleep is very important to skin health, because it’s the only opportunity your skin gets to repair itself. No matter how many tasks you have to do, make sure you allow at least 7-8 hours for your skin to rejuvenate and heal from the barrages of the day.

What you can do – Ambian, Lunesta, and other sleeping pills aren’t the cure as they are addictive to one degree or another. Alcohol also doesn’t help as it may help you get to sleep, but then you wake up a few hours later from the sugar. Some things which do help and are healthy are:

  • Don’t eat within 3 hours of going to sleep. If you have a full stomach your body is putting energy towards digesting the meal, not repairing your body. You’l find you may sleep well, but you may not really feel refreshed.
  • Don’t consume caffeine in the afternoon or evening as it can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Even if it has been a hectic day, try to spend 30 minutes letting your brain wind down: Read, meditate, listen to soothing music, etc.
  • Dim your bedroom. The light from at TV or computer monitor is very harsh and stimulates your brain. Bathe your bedroom in soft warm light, think of a candle light. Your brain associates the reddish lights, like sunset, with approaching night and begins to produce melatonin. The harsh white/blue light from a TV, computer, laptop, tablet, and cell phone resembles daylight and tells your brain to stop producing melatonin and to wake up!!
  • Speaking of melatonin, it is the sleep hormone and take 0.5 to 2.0 mg and let it dissolve under your tongue and hour before you go to bed and you’ll find you’ll fall quickly to sleep. Melatonin is a strong antioxidant and is actually good for your skin too. Just use caution with over the counter melatonin as most of what is available comes from the pineal glands and retinas of cows and because they can’t get it 100% pure they have found fully intact viruses, like mad cow disease, in melatonin tablets. This is why melatonin is illegal in many countries. The brand of Melatonin I use and recommend  have developed a process to synthesize natural human melatonin in the lab so that it is 100% pure and no chance of any bovine viruses.

Bad food.

Although there is still debate on whether or not diet is linked directly to acne breakouts, the general consensus is that certain foods to certain people can trigger acne flare-ups, and that eating more healthy foods will only help your skin. However, remember that a pimple, papule, or cyst takes days, if not weeks to form and surface. So the results of an overload of candy, chocolate, fatty and salty foods that may contribute to a breakout will appear later in the month. If you want nice, clear skin during, and after, the holidays, try to balance your diet as much as possible, drink plenty of water, and avoid dairy if you can (it is the largest culprit of acne flare-ups). However, don”t be afraid to indulge every now and then; as long as you generally eat well and follow a skin care regimen, your skin will be fine.

In general foods which are High Glycemic, meaning that the rapidly raise your blood glucose levels, will also cause general inflammation which will show in your skin and can cause other damage in your body you can’t see. In general avoid white foods. For example, white flour, sugar, white rice, potatoes, etc. These foods are typically highly refined and in the case of flour and white rice, all the fiber and the nutritional parts have been stripped away and all that is left is the starchy part which is very quickly digested, absorbed, and turned to sugar. Not only are these foods bad for your skin, they also cause you to gain weight.

Exposure to the elements

Whether your winter vacations are white and cozy or sandy and sunny, the weather – heat and cold – affects your skin, especially sensitive areas on your face. Cold weather strips your skin of moisture, while hot weather can bring about an overproduction of oil in your skin, as well as too much sun exposure. Both of these problems can be solved with one product – a moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher. Your skin will be hydrated and protected from any type of weather that comes your way this winter.

Skin care: Five tips for healthy skin

Good skin care — including sun protection and gentle cleansing — can keep your skin healthy and glowing for years to come.

Don’t have time for intensive skin care? Pamper yourself with the basics. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay the natural aging process and prevent many skin problems. Get started with these five no-nonsense tips.

1. Protect yourself from the sun

The most important way to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, freckles, age spots and rough, dry skin. Sun exposure can also cause more-serious problems, such as skin cancer. For the most complete sun protection:
  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. You might also opt for special sun-protective clothing, which is specifically designed to block ultraviolet rays while keeping you cool and comfortable.
  • Use sunscreen when you’re in the sun. Apply generous amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, after heavy sweating or after being in water.

2. Don’t smoke

Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients, such as vitamin A, that are important to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — may contribute to wrinkles.
If you smoke, the best way to protect your skin is to quit. Ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.

3. Treat your skin gently

Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin, so keep it gentle:
  • Limit bath time. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time, and use warm — rather than hot — water.
  • Avoid strong soaps. Strong soaps can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild cleansers.
  • Shave carefully. To protect and lubricate your skin, apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it. Of course laser hair removal eliminates the need for shaving daily.
  • Pat dry. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin.
  • Moisturize dry skin. Find a moisturizer that fits your skin type and makes your skin look and feel soft. We recommend a skin health line we carry in our salon. It is free of all chemical preservatives as well as free from “Natural” preservatives which are safe, yet irritating to skin such as tea tree oil, lavender, etc.

4. Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. The association between diet and acne is clear — research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and a broad spectrum of antioxidants and low in fats and carbohydrates may promote younger looking skin.

5. Manage stress

Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin — and a healthy state of mind — take steps to manage your stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. The results may be more dramatic than you expect.

There really is Beauty Sleep.

When the lights go out our body begins to produce Melatonin – Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone. In humans, melatonin is produced in several tissues, including the brain (pineal gland), retina, and GI tract. In the brain, melatonin synthesis is stimulated by darkness. Once synthesized, it enters the blood stream and acts as an endocrine hormone involved in sleep regulation and a number of other cyclical physiological functions. Daily biological rhythms thought to be influenced by melatonin include activity/sleep, core body temperature, immune function, antioxidant defenses, blood pressure, feeding, and glucose regulation.

We’ve all heard of taking melatonin to help with jet lag or to help fall asleep. As we age we produce less melatonin which could be one reason why it seems to be harder to get a good nights sleep as we age.

Besides helping us sleep melatonin plays a key role in rejuvenating the skin through its interactions with major skin cells such as keratinocytes and fibroblasts. Melatonin protects keratinocytes against cell death, while stimulating the growth of fibroblasts. Fibroblasts produce the essential proteins collagen and elastin, which provide structural support for the skin. As we age, these fibroblast cells start to develop dramatic mitochondrial dysfunction, rendering them less able to produce enough energy to fulfill their role in supporting the skin. This is borne out in animal research showing that a deficiency in melatonin reduced skin thickness, increases lipid peroxidation, and induces skin degenerative changes – all of which have been shown to be improved with melatonin.

Oral melatonin passes from the small intestine to the liver where most of it is processed and becomes inactive. I recommend a brand of pharmaceutical grade melatonin which is dissolved in the mouth where it is absorbed directly into the blood unaltered by the liver.

Most of the commercially sources of melatonin are from animal sources and the product quality is very inconsistent. The brand I recommend is not from animal sources and of exceptionally high quality.

Fish oil and healthy skin

Fish oil containing the Omega 3 essential fatty acid EPA helps to prevent wrinkles and can delay the aging process of the skin according to recent research published in the Journal of Lipid Research in 2005. Scientists have also found that fish oil containing EPA can limit the damage to the skin produced by overexposure to the sun and help to reduce the negative effect of UV rays. This has particular relevance when we consider the recent and dramatic rise in cases of skin cancers caused predominantly by exposure to the suns harmful rays.

Essential Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are known to play a critical role in promoting healthy skin. They help to regulate cellular function and maintain elasticity and suppleness in the skin. Consequently, a fatty acid deficiency will show up as skin problems. Most of us do not get enough of the Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet whereas Omega 6 fatty acids are in plentiful supply. Symptoms of Omega 3 fatty acid deficiency include skin problems like eczema, dandruff, dry and flaking skin and poor wound healing.

Three reasons why EPA is so beneficial to the skin?

  • EPA is known to reduce inflammation by helping the body to produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. These are hormone-like substances that are responsible for regulating all the cells in our body.
  • EPA helps to inhibit the production of androgens, which are hormones that influence the production of sebum in the hair follicle. Excess sebum production can lead to acne and other skin problems.
  • EPA helps to limit production of Arachidonic acid, which is responsible for pro-inflammatory responses in the body, high levels of which are found in people with inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis.

The Omega 3 fatty acids are ALA, EPA and DHA. Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is found in dark green leafy vegetables and algae. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can be found in oily fish such as salmon, herring, anchovies, mackerel and Tuna. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can also be found in oily fish. We can convert ALA to EPA and DHA but the conversion is very inefficient and dependent on a number of factors. However, we can convert EPA into DHA if we get enough EPA.

Supplementing with fish oil that contains EPA can alleviate the symptoms of skin disorders such as dry and flaky skin, psoriasis, eczema and acne as well as many other inflammatory skin conditions. However, it is important to choose a fish oil that is high in EPA as DHA has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of EPA.

Fish oil supplements can contain mercury. To be safe take only a pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement.

Fifteen facts you probably never knew about vitamin D and sunlight exposure.

Fifteen facts you probably never knew about vitamin D and sunlight exposure.

Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and even effects diabetes and obesity. Vitamin D is perhaps the single most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition. That’s probably because it’s free: your body makes it when sunlight touches your skin. Drug companies can’t sell you sunlight, so there’s no promotion of its health benefits. Truth is, most people don’t know the real story on vitamin D and health. So here’s an overview taken from an interview between Mike Adams and Dr. Michael Holick.

1. Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.
2. The healing rays of natural sunlight (that generate vitamin D in your skin) cannot penetrate glass. So you don’t generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or home.
3. It is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate vitamin D in your own body.
4. A person would have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels of vitamin D into their diet.
5. The further you live from the equator, the longer exposure you need to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Canada, the UK and most U.S. states are far from the equator.
6. People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 – 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D. That’s why prostate cancer is epidemic among black men — it’s a simple, but widespread, sunlight deficiency.
7. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering calcium supplements useless.
8. Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight: it takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body’s bones and nervous system.
9. Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. This is how sunscreen products actually cause disease — by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.
10. It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs.
11. If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now.
12. Vitamin D is “activated” in your body by your kidneys and liver before it can be used.
13. Having kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair your body’s ability to activate circulating vitamin D.
14. The sunscreen industry doesn’t want you to know that your body actually needs sunlight exposure because that realization would mean lower sales of sunscreen products.
15. Even though vitamin D is one of the most powerful healing chemicals in your body, your body makes it absolutely free. No prescription required.

On the issue of sunlight exposure, by the way, it turns out that super antioxidants greatly boost your body’s ability to handle sunlight without burning. Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful “internal sunscreens” and can allow you to stay under the sun twice as long without burning. Other powerful antioxidants with this ability include the superfruits like Acai, Pomegranates (POM Wonderful juice), blueberries, etc.

Diseases and conditions cause by vitamin D deficiency:

* Osteoporosis is commonly caused by a lack of vitamin D, which greatly impairs calcium absorption.
* Sufficient vitamin D prevents prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, depression, colon cancer and schizophrenia.
* “Rickets” is the name of a bone-wasting disease caused by vitamin D deficiency.
* Vitamin D deficiency may exacerbate type 2 diabetes and impair insulin production in the pancreas.
* Obesity impairs vitamin D utilization in the body, meaning obese people need twice as much vitamin D.
* Vitamin D is used around the world to treat Psoriasis.
* Vitamin D deficiency causes schizophrenia.
* Seasonal Affective Disorder is caused by a melatonin imbalance initiated by lack of exposure to sunlight.
* Chronic vitamin D deficiency is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia because its symptoms are so similar: muscle weakness, aches and pains.
* Your risk of developing serious diseases like diabetes and cancer is reduced 50% – 80% through simple, sensible exposure to natural sunlight 2-3 times each week.
* Infants who receive vitamin D supplementation (2000 units daily) have an 80% reduced risk of developing type 1 diabetes over the next twenty years.

Shocking Vitamin D deficiency statistics:

* 32% of doctors and med school students are vitamin D deficient.
* 40% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient.
* 42% of African American women of childbearing age are deficient in vitamin D.
* 48% of young girls (9-11 years old) are vitamin D deficient.
* Up to 60% of all hospital patients are vitamin D deficient.
* 76% of pregnant mothers are severely vitamin D deficient, causing widespread vitamin D deficiencies in their unborn children, which predisposes them to type 1 diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia later in life. 81% of the children born to these mothers were deficient.
* Up to 80% of nursing home patients are vitamin D deficient.

What you can do:
Sensible exposure to natural sunlight is the simplest, easiest and yet one of the most important strategies for improving your health. I urge you to read the book, “The UV Advantage” by Dr. Michael Holick to get the full story on natural sunlight. You can find this book at most local bookstores or through BN.com, Amazon.com, etc. Note: This is not a paid endorsement or an affiliate link. I recommend it because of its great importance in preventing chronic disease and enhancing health without drugs or surgery. This may be the single most important book on health you ever read. If more people understood this information, we could drastically reduce the rates of chronic disease in this country and around the world. Sunlight exposure is truly one of the most powerful healing therapies in the world, far surpassing the best efforts of today’s so-called “advanced medicine.” There is no drug, no surgical procedure, and no high-tech procedure that comes even close to the astonishing healing power of natural sunlight.

And you can get it free of charge. That’s why nobody’s promoting it, of course.
(Compiled by Mike Adams, based on an interview with Dr. Michael Holick, author, The UV Advantage)

Unfortunately most people can’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun, so supplements are available.

CoQ10 Improves Aging Skin Health

Did you know that aging skin is functionally anaerobic. Skin cell energy metabolism shifts to a predominantly non-mitochondrial pathway and is therefore functionally anaerobic with advancing age. Since coenzyme Q10 positively affects cell metabolism, it is is beneficial for human skin as it rapidly improves mitochondrial function in skin in vivo. In other worlds, taking Coenzyme Q10 will help your skin keep looking younger.

Want to imporve your skin? The Great Skin Diet

This article from Self Magazine shows you what to look for, and what foods to AVOID to improve your complexion. And to optimize the results from your diet, don’t forget to supplement with omega-3, coenzyme Q10 and grape seed extract and use skin care products that are safe for the skin!

The great-skin diet

All sorts of supplements, special eating plans and complexion drinks promise glowing skin from the inside out. But not everything that is being dished out is based on science. SELF digested the research and polled experts to determine which foods to add to your diet to truly benefit skin, which may be worth an occasional munch and which to pass up. Get ready to eat, drink and be beautiful!

By Beth Janes
From the October 2008 Issue

Proven complexion perfecters

Pile these on your plate. All pack nutrients essential for healthy skin.

Strawberries, citrus fruits, red peppers, broccoli

Beauty benefit: a smooth texture
Eat-right evidence: Vitamin C, plentiful in this produce, is vital for the production and formation of collagen, skin’s support structure, says Toby Amidor, R.D., director of nutrition for DietTV.com in New York City. And a strong support layer helps smooth what’s on top and prevent wrinkles, she says. Aim for: two 1-cup servings of fruit and 1 cup of red peppers and/or broccoli a day

Sunflower seeds and almonds

Beauty benefit: sun protection
Eat-right evidence: These seeds and nuts are loaded with vitamin E. Collectively, antioxidants act like an army, protecting skin from UV-spawned free radicals. But E is on the front lines; skin’s top layers contain high levels that guard cells’ outer membrane so cells stay healthy. Plus, strong membranes hold water in, keeping skin hydrated. Aim for: 2 tablespoons hulled seeds or 23 almonds daily

Dark orange, leafy green and red veggies

Beauty benefit: a fresh complexion
Eat-right evidence: Squash, sweet potatoes and spinach are full of the antioxidant beta-carotene. Your body converts it to vitamin A, which regulates cell production and turnover so skin’s surface is smooth, says Valori Treloar, M.D., coauthor of The Clear Skin Diet (Cumberland House Publishing). Carotenoids may also decrease skin’s sensitivity to sun. Aim for: three 1-cup servings a day

Fortified cereal, lean meat, pork, poultry, oysters

Beauty benefit: a youthful glow
Eat-right evidence: You’ll get zinc and iron, minerals key to skin functioning. Zinc contributes to cell production, plus natural cell sloughing, which keeps dullness at bay. Red blood cells need iron to carry oxygen to skin, helping give you a glow, says David Bank, M.D., a derm in Mount Kisco, New York. Aim for: 1 serving of cereal (a cup), 1 palm-sized serving of meat or poultry or 3 oysters per day

Water

Beauty benefit: dewy skin
Eat-right evidence: Skin cells contain mostly water, and if you’re dehydrated, skin will look and feel parched, too. But you needn’t chug 8 cups a day; University of Pennsylvania researchers found no studies to back up the recommendation. Simply ward off dehydration—and dryness—by drinking when you’re thirsty. Aim for: 6 cups a day. It’s a good starting point, says Keri Gans, R.D., of NYC.

Smart skin suggestions

New research hints at these foods’ beauty power, but effects aren’t totally proven yet. No need to wait, though; the goodies are part of a healthy diet.

Wild salmon, Atlantic mackerel, walnuts

Beauty benefit: fewer wrinkles
Eat-right evidence: These fish and nuts, plus fortified eggs, are bursting with omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation in the body caused by sun and stress. “Inflammation produces free radicals, and free radicals contribute to aging by attacking collagen,” says Susan Taylor, M.D., a dermatologist in Philadelphia. But research still needs to connect the dots definitively and show that the anti-inflammatory abilities of omega-3s translate to younger-looking skin, she says. One study did find that older people who consumed more fish and veggies over their life had fewer wrinkles than those who ate more meat, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reports. The research didn’t focus solely on fish, however; vegetables’ antioxidants, for example, may have been a factor. Aim for: two 5-ounce servings of fish per week; on other days, 1 oz of walnuts or 2 omega-3 eggs

Whole wheat and grains

Beauty benefit: clearer skin
Eat-right evidence: In the past, derms have maintained that unless you wipe greasy fingers on your face, food doesn’t cause zits. But some are rethinking the party line: Australian researchers found that a low-glycemic diet (more whole grains, protein and produce versus refined carbs such as white bread) may reduce acne. One explanation: Low-glycemic foods keep insulin steady, and refined carbs and sugar spike it. The surges may boost production of androgens, hormones that, when elevated, can cause zits. After 12 weeks of a low-glycemic diet, subjects’ pimple counts dropped 20 percent, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes. More studies are needed to prove the link, but no doctor will discourage you from eating whole grains and veggies! Aim for: 3 servings a day (one serving equals a slice of bread or 1/2 cup cooked grains)
Today’s special: gorgeous skin If your complexion could choose everything you ate for the day, here’s what would be on the menu, says Keri Gans, R.D., who put together this plan.

Breakfast

  • 1 cup whole-grain, fortified cereal such as Total
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries or 1 medium grapefruit
  • 1 cup green tea

Lunch

  • Grilled chicken sandwich
  • 5 oz chicken breast
  • 2 slices whole-grain bread
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 1 leaf lettuce
  • 1/8 of avocado
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 medium apple

Dinner

  • 5 oz wild salmon
  • Spinach salad
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • Toss with 1 tbsp each olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato

Snacks/dessert

  • 8 oz nonfat plain yogurt or 1 part-skim string cheese
  • 1 oz sunflower seeds
  • 1 small orange or 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 oz dark chocolate or 1 glass red wine

Beauty treat or trouble?

Guess if the following foods are good or bad for your skin—and find out the reasons why.

Sweets

Trouble Chowing candy and other sugary snacks may make you feel like a kid, but it’s likely aging you. The rush of glucose into your bloodstream sets off a process known as glycation, in which sugars attach to proteins and form advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These molecules naturally build up in skin as you get older, but the more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you have. Bad news: They cross-link with collagen and elastin fibers, making the normally resilient tissues weak or inflexible, Dr. Bank says. And skin that doesn’t bounce back easily leads to wrinkles and sagging. In fact, the study showing fish lovers had fewer wrinkles revealed the opposite for those with a sweet tooth.

Dark chocolate

Treat Although there might be some truth to the claims that sugar-laden chocolate contributes to acne (and wrinkles), the high-quality, dark variety—70 percent or more cocoa—may actually be good for your skin. Preliminary studies found that cocoa’s flavonols (a potent type of antioxidant) can help increase blood flow, supply skin with oxygen, improve skin hydration and reduce sun sensitivity. But dark chocolate is high in calories, so treat yourself to only 1 oz a day.

Milk

Trouble Got acne? Milk may not be doing your skin good. Three new studies have found a connection between teens’ milk intake and pimples. This could potentially translate to adults; however, it’s not been proven. More research is under way, but the probable explanation is hormone-related. Androgens naturally found in milk (even organic versions without added hormones) may add to a drinker’s own level of androgens, which are associated with oily skin and acne. Milk also raises insulin levels and contains growth factors that act like insulin, Dr. Treloar says. Both may lower the production of molecules that bind to and deactivate hormones—meaning there may be more free-roaming androgens able to cause pimples. It’s too early to prescribe a dairy ban for anyone zit-plagued. But it may be worth experimenting with a milk-free diet if you have excessive, stubborn breakouts, Dr. Treloar says. (Be sure, however, to take a calcium supplement with vitamin D.)

Spicy foods

Trouble Rosacea sufferers know to avoid five-alarm meals. But if you have fair, sun-damaged skin, hot-and-spicy foods may lead to the condition or to a red, blotchy complexion. “UV exposure weakens blood vessel walls. If your skin then repeatedly flushes, which swells vessels, they may not be able to shrink back down,” Dr. Treloar says.

Wine

Treat Reds are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that help fight skin-damaging free radicals. But sip no more than one glass a day, says Katherine Brooking, R.D., of NYC. Excessive alcohol halts your body’s release of its antidiuretic hormone. As a result, you make extra visits to the ladies’ room and end up not only feeling dehydrated, but having skin that looks dry, with a dull tone and more visible wrinkles. So enjoy wine in moderation—and make a toast to great skin!

What if you can’t get all the right foods every day? Then a high quality pharmaceutical grade supplement which provides optimal levels of all the essential nutrients should be part of your daily diet.