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No matter your age, your skin is an important factor in your life. Whether you can’t seem to rid your skin of acne or are wondering when those fine lines and wrinkles popped up, we’ve got the all of the information to help you get the clear skin you’ve been looking for.
Did you know that your skin is an organ? It is actually the largest organ in your body. Because it is so large and because it has a direct connection to your lifestyle (what you eat, how much you exercise, other environmental factors), your skin can be tricky to handle. It is the first line of defense from the elements and is responsible for the transfer of nutrients into your body, and the removal of toxins.
You could be doing everything “perfectly” – like eating the right foods, drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep and staying on top of your skin care routine – but you still find yourself dealing with breakouts, dry skin or other issues. There are a few things you should know about the factors that impact your skin, both beneficially and negatively.
How free radicals impact your skin.
Free radicals are simply the scavengers that cause damage to your cells. Factors like fried foods, alcohol, tobacco, sun exposure, smoking and pollutants are the main culprits that have been shown in numerous studies to increase the free radicals in our bodies.
Limiting your exposure to free radicals may be an important first step in protecting your skin. To do this, you’ll want to protect it using mineral-based sunscreens, limiting your alcohol intake, and cutting down on sugar and processed foods. You may also want to turn to pomegranates! According to former Director of Nutrition for InVite® Health, Nicole Crane, BS, NTP, “Pomegranates, whether fresh or in extract form, can really pack a punch! They are rich in protective antioxidants and collagen-boosting Vitamin C, which plays a major role in the creation of new, healthy skin cells. Ellegic acid, an active constituent of pomegranates, have been shown to combat inflammation and collagen breakdown, helping to protect the skin from sun damage and offer protection against wrinkles and older looking skin.”
Antioxidants and clear skin.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘antioxidants’ more times than you can count, but what are they? Antioxidants are found in all living things – plants, animals and humans all contain them. They are the natural method in which our body protects us against free radicals. Antioxidants help ward off cell damage. They are released from the foods we eat through our digestive tract, then they move into the bloodstream, and finally into our cells.
This is no different for our skin. There are a a few notable antioxidants that are beneficial, including carotenoids like lutein and lycopene. Carotenoids are yellow, orange and red pigments that are found in fruits and vegetables and they play an important role in protecting our skin from sun damage and sunburn. Nicole Crane explains, “They have the potential to neutralize free radicals that create inflammation and damage. Lycopene is found in the skin of tomatoes. When it comes to the skin, tomatoes and the lycopene they contain pack a powerful punch against sunburns and aging skin.” Turn to carotenoids for healthy, clear skin.
Collagen Reigns Supreme.
Think of collagen are your skin’s number one support system. It is the amino acid that forms connective fibers, which are necessary for maintaining the strength and structure of your skin cells. It is also the most abundant protein in the body. Seventy percent of our skin is made up of collagen; but the older we get, the less we make! This can lead to sagging, wrinkled skin.
But not all Collagen is created equal! Collagen type 1 and type 3 are essential in the repair and support of our connective and structural tissues. Together, these forms are the most abundant types of collagen found in the body. A non-GMO hydrolyzed collagen powder supplement can be highly beneficial for your hair, skin and nails but also for your joints and muscles.
Questions about clear skin? Leave a comment below to speak with a certified nutritionist.
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Ouch! You stub your toe on your bedpost for the hundredth time. Almost instantly, the redness, pain, swelling and heat wash over your toe. These four symptoms are the classic and predictable signs of acute inflammation, and they serve a very important purpose. When you stub your toe, cut your finger, or overwork yourself at the gym, the body responds with acute inflammation. This type of inflammation is a healthy, normal part of the healing process; it is how the body heals itself and it is essential to maintain your health.
Harmful Inflammation is Chronic Inflammation
But there is another type of inflammation that does not go away after the pain subsides. Chronic inflammatory diseases can take years to finally show its symptoms as, in many cases, it starts to impact your body at a microscopic level and it isn’t an isolated problem. Chronic inflammation goes hand in hand with other issues like oxidative damage, making it hard to forecast.
There are a few things that can cause inflammation to flare up –
- Toxins in the environment
- Prescription drugs and antibiotics
- Chronic stress
- Lack of sleep
- Your diet, including heavily-processed, sugary foods
Silent But Deadly
Signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation can sometimes be obvious (like with fatigue and pain). Other times, it can take symptoms years before they manifest.
Make an appointment with your primary doctor for a physical exam and speak with him/her about your risk of obesity and high blood pressure, especially if you are noticing dark circles around the eyes, skin rashes and increased waist circumference, according to Vincent M. Pedre, M.D.
“Your blood work can also provide your doctor with insight into hidden inflammation. Be sure to test for C-reactive protein (CRP), which are able to predict issues with your heart. CRP is a protein your liver makes. When levels are elevated, your body is harboring inflammation.”
How to Fight Inflammation
One of the most common culprits of chronic inflammation is actually what you eat. But this is good news! You have the powder to change your diet immediately and start fueling your body with what it needs to get back on track.
When searching for healthy food options, be sure to watch out for “friendly” labels! Foods including vegetable oils, grain-fed meats, hydrogenated fats, trans fat, gluten, diet, sugar, genetically-modified crops, processed foods may look healthy and appealing, but are actually inflammatory foods.
An anti-inflammatory diet includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids – wild-caught dish, walnuts, avocado, and flax seeds. “These foods limit inflammation, while supporting a healthy gut. Other great sources include extra-virgin coconut and olive oils, grass-fed beef, and sprouted nuts and seeds,” reports Dr. Pedre.