Most of your skin’s health and its ability to react to stress, damage, and the environment rely more on your lifestyle than what you slather on the outside. We treat each part of the body as distinct and separate, buying different products for our hands, face, feet, and bodies. This is how the medical, pharmaceutical, and beauty product worlds see us, as just specific parts that require attention.
Your face is not you alone, neither is your foot or your kidney. The heart is not the only part requiring attention when blood pressure starts climbing. The individual parts of the body are all interconnected, tied together with countless cells that are all relying on you to feed them well so they can be their best. It shouldn’t surprise you that the same things you should do to improve heart health, control weight, and lower your risk for developing diseases are the same things you should do for better skin.
That’s right; you may know where this is headed. You need to exercise, get enough sleep, and eat healthier. If any aspect of your health is suffering, it means your body as a whole is suffering and these three simple things will help minimize or eliminate the cause.
Exercise does wonders for the entire body. It improves heart function; keeps veins young, elastic, and fit; and improves how cells burn energy. It increases circulation efficiency which keeps the cells furthest from the heart, like the skin, well nourished. Exercise also helps the body flush away toxins and oily residue that cause clogs, blemishes, and damage.
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We’ve all heard of beauty sleep. This isn’t just something made up by some coy actress in the 1950’s. Beauty and sleep are tied together. Sleep lets your body recover from the stress and mayhem of the day. It is a time to renew and conserve energy. The body produces growth hormones during sleep to facilitate the use of amino acids as they repair bone, muscle, and tissues, including the skin. During sleep, the skin’s metabolic activities actually rise as it fixes the damage that builds up during the day.
Foods are the building blocks that our bodies use to grow, develop, and repair. Healthy, plant-based foods provide the energy and nutrients to do so. If we aren’t eating well, we’re starving our cells or at the very least not giving them the proper tools they need to function at their best. Here are a few of the top foods to keep you looking young and your skin at its finest.
Almonds are packed with vitamin E, an antioxidant that defends against sun damage. Nuts also help us maintain healthy weight. Those who eat several servings a week are less likely to gain extra pounds.
Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids that erase blemishes, soften wrinkles, and help keep the skin hydrated and supple.
Lycopene, the compound that gives tomatoes their rich color, is a powerful antioxidant that eliminates skin-aging free radicals from ultraviolet exposure. Fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids also color our skin with a healthful glow.
Watermelon is a great source of hydration, hence the name, but also another good source of lycopene.
These orange tubers are packed with carotenoids and vitamin C which boost collagen production. Collagen controls the strength, firmness, and flexibility of the skin.
Citrus are another good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C also fights inflammation.
Red bell peppers contain more vitamin C than an orange, along with other antioxidants. The spicier peppers come packed with capsaicin, a compound that improves circulation and promotes the release of toxins from the skin.
Spinach is rich in folate, a B vitamin that aids in the repair of DNA and may reduce the risk of skin cancer. Greens like spinach, kale, turnip greens, dandelion leaves, broccoli, and asparagus all are rich in vitamin A, iron, and vitamin K. Iron aids circulation by carrying vital oxygen while vitamin K may help prevent varicose veins.
Olive and Safflower Oils
The omega 6 fatty acids in these oils keep skin supple. Use them in moderation though as they are also calorie-dense.
Another oil that is great for skin both internally and externally. It provides some sun protection, fights bacteria, and helps soften skin.
These seeds are rich in selenium which preserves elastin to keep skin smooth and tight. Selenium acts as an antioxidant too. Sunflower seeds also contain vitamin E which works well with selenium to enhance the effects of both.
These are another vitamin C rich fruit that may also lower the risks of skin cancer.
Sesame seeds contain zinc which can reduce the oily sebum that leads to clogged pores.
These roots are filled with vitamin A from carotenoids. Vitamin A prevents the overproduction of skin cells which can lead to clogged pores and skin cancer.
The flavanols in chocolate act as antioxidants, provide sun protection, and reduce the roughness of skin for healthier appearance and feel.
Whole grains are rich in B vitamins that assist cells in processing fats to hydrate and revitalize skin. The complex carbohydrates mixed with fiber in whole grains are digested and absorbed slowly and don’t create sugar spikes that contribute to acne. Refined and processed sugars do and should be avoided.
Apples contain quercetin, an antioxidant in the peel that protects against sun damage.
Protein is vital to the elasticity of your skin. You need a decent amount of balanced amino acids coming in each day. Plant-based protein powders, like Classic Plus, can make this as easy as enjoying a delicious smoothie.
There’s more to consider than just what we eat. Avoid smoking and prolonged exposure to the sun. These both damage the skin and make it age faster. About ten to twenty minutes of sun a day is healthy as it creates vitamin D, a powerful antioxidant and anti-carcinogen, but you should wear sunscreen if you plan on being in the sun longer than that. Avoid stimulants like refined sugar and caffeine. These upset hormone balances and mess with circulation. They also make it difficult for the body to get the rest it needs to repair.