October 25, 2011
You’ve heard about how stress is taking it’s toll on your blood pressure, but did you know it affects your looks as well? Fortunately, you can counteract the effects of stress with some simple lifestyle changes.
When you get stressed out, your body starts producing more of the hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol can act like toxins and cause the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive, leading to inflammation, weight gain, free-radical formation and acne.vNews reporters have even begun to question if stress is turning President Barack Obama’s hair gray. Plus, there’s that cranky mood you just can seem to shake.
To combat stress internally and externally, try these steps:
• Get enough sleep. Aim for six to eight hours every night to help boost cell renewal.
• Just breath. A few calming breaths will help to put things into perspective and trigger relaxation cues that you vitally need.
• Fight off inflammation by eating a diet rich in antioxidants, especially brightly colored fruits and vegetables and heart-healthy fats like avocados, nuts and olive oil.
• Opt for products that target stress-induced beauty issues, like anti-stress oils.
September 26, 2011
Want to be a smarty pants? There’s a secret weapon to motivate your medulla: eating. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the food you eat can have benefits far beyond fueling your body. In addition to providing the energy you need, certain foods can amp up your brain power.
Explore the recesses of your refrigerator and you may find foods that science increasingly is crediting with being especially supportive for brain health. These edibles may improve memory, clarify thinking, delay cognitive decline and perhaps even ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent research shows that you may want to include the following on your shopping list more often for brain-strengthening nourishment:
- Apple juice and pomegranate juice
- Red grapes, cherries, apples, blueberries and strawberries
- Tea and cocoa
- Salmon and light tuna
- Soy foods
- Sunflower seeds, walnuts
- Vegetables, especially leafy greens
- Canola oil, olive oil
- Dark chocolate
When buying processed or packaged foods containing these ingredients, be sure to read the nutrition labels carefully. Some of these “good” foods may be prepared with high amounts of sugar, fat or salt added to them, resulting in too many calories or too much sodium in your diet. For healthful eating, choose fresh versions of these foods most often and prepare them with low-fat ingredients. Eat processed types in moderation.
For example, you can still get the benefits of pomegranate juice (which has sugar added to offset its tart flavor) by mixing one or two ounces into sparkling water as a spritzer. Cocoa made with nonfat milk gives your brain a boost without adding extra fat. And letting a small piece of dark chocolate melt slowly in your mouth prolongs your enjoyment while keeping your daily intake healthful (one ounce or less).
For brain health as well as overall health, be sure to avoid foods containing saturated fats or trans fats (check those nutrition labels!). Diets that are high in such fats are specifically related to declining brain capabilities.
July 5, 2011
If you love the white stuff — we’re talking sugar, folks — your sweet tooth could be making your skin sag, crinkle, and wrinkle before its time. Blame glycation. That’s what happens when sugar hits your bloodstream, gloms on to proteins, and forms the aptly named AGEs, or advanced glycation end products. AGEs are bad news for your skin. They damage the collagen and elastin fibers that keep it strong and supple.
While scientists aren’t ready to say “sugar causes wrinkles,” docs know from observing people with poorly managed diabetes what out-of-control blood sugar does to skin — and it isn’t pretty. Bluntly put, it causes “premature” aging.
That should be extra inspiration to skip the cakes, cookies, and sugary drinks and fill your plate with wrinkle fighters. Here’s even more: There is plenty of scientific proof that certain nutrients help nourish the fibers that keep skin stretchy and healthy, says Manhattan dermatologist Amy Wechsler, MD, RealAge expert and author of The Mind-Beauty Connection. Step right up to the beauty buffet and serve yourself this way:
- Cover half — yes, 50% — of your plate with fruits and veggies. The antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals in plants act like a dietary highway patrol, pulling over speeding free radicals before they can damage your skin’s collagen and elastin. You’ll also get loads of vitamin C this way (brightly colored produce is full of it). That’s great because C is essential for making new collagen.
- Then add extra flavor or crunch by topping your fruits and veggies with nuts, seeds, or a drizzle of olive oil. Nuts and seeds are full of vitamin E, an off-the-charts antioxidant. Since sunlight depletes vitamin E in skin, you need to continually replenish your supply, and the more you get from food — not supplements — the better. While that’s true in general, if there’s any chance you could get pregnant, taking big doses of E is a don’t. It’s linked to heart defects in newborns.
As for olive oil, its healthy fats help skin cells resist wrinkle-causing sun damage.
- Fill 25% of your plate with lean protein. Think fish, skinless white-meat poultry, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and tofu. All give you the good proteins your body needs to make new skin cells and keep up with its own antiaging skin repairs.
- Fill 25% of your plate with 100% whole grains. As in whole-wheat pasta, brown or wild rice, barley, any breads made from 100% whole grains, and more. Unlike the simple carbs in sugar, the complex carbs in whole grains are the kind your body and skin crave. Instead of triggering blood sugar spikes and forming brigades of aging AGEs, whole-grain carbs are full of fiber, which steadies blood sugar. Plus, the selenium and zinc in whole grains help harness the collagen- and elastin-damaging free radicals.
March 25, 2011
October 18, 2010
Some of the most common hair woes, like excessive oiliness or dryness, can be alleviated with a combination of the right foods and, of course, the right hair products. Since hair grows from a skin follicle, it’s inevitable that oil is produced. But just how much sebum ends up on your scalp and trickles down the strand is due to genetics, the condition of your scalp, and your intake of certain foods. While hormones play a part, hot and spicy foods can cause your body temperature to rise internally, which gets released through pores in the scalp. Another cause for oily hair is excess consumption of sugar and fat.Since oily hair is directly related to an oily scalp, it’s best to cut out any foods that encourage the overproduction of oil. You may want to try incorporating more raw foods and healthy oils into your diet to counteract the effects of saturated oils. Look to include foods like complex carbs, olive oil, sushi, fresh fruits and vegetables.Dry hair, on the other hand, can be due in part to a lack of vitamin A, which is essential to the induction of the genes that control the process called keratinization. If you’re not getting enough vitamin A or the right proportions of it, your hair can become dry.Load up on foods rich in essential fatty acids and healthy fats. Foods that are high in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, like linoleic acid, will ensure proper hydration to the hair. Fish like tuna, salmon and trout, as well as flaxseed and walnuts, are great choices. Stay away from processed foods, and make sure you drink one or two liters of water each day to keep hair supple.Keep in mind, any dietary changes will only affect new hair growth—chances are you won’t see a noticeable difference for at least three to six months.
September 29, 2010
August 17, 2010