5 FOODS THAT ARE GREAT FOR YOUR SKIN

An average adult’s skin spans 21 square feet, weighs nine pounds, and contains more than 11 miles of blood vessels. As the largest human organ, having abnormal skin conditions are not only socially embarrassing, but are more often than not an indication of a problem occurring inside of the body.

A host of healthy, natural foods offer potent healing and preventative powers to remedy a wide range of skin troubles. If you want to reap some of these benefits, eat any of these 5 foods:

Blueberries

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Blueberries are high in antioxidants which target free radicals that can wreak havoc on skin cells. The antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant sources of nutrition) in blueberries neutralize DNA-damaging free radicals, reducing cell damage. When skin cells are protected from damage and disintegration, the skin looks younger for longer. Blueberries are also an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E and riboflavin.

Not only are blueberries great for you skin, but they could also reduce your risk of heart disease. [1]

Tomatoes

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Free radicals caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can be reduced just by eating tomatoes.[2] Tomatoes contain a high level of lycopene, which is a substance that is used in some of the more pricy facial cleansers that are available for purchase over-the-counter. To receive the most benefit for your skin, try eating cooked tomatoes to get a more concentrated lycopene level.

Carrots

carrots

There are numerous ‘superfoods’ that can give your skin a healthy, youthful appearance and even some color due to various compounds such as carotenoids (found in carrots). Skip the cancer-causing tanning booths, and instead, start eating your veggies. According to a study by University of Nottingham, carotenoids are a better way to naturally tint your skin while acting as free-radical scavengers so your skin will be more elastic and less wrinkled in appearance. [3]

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is a required nutrient for healthy skin. They also contain high levels of antioxidants, which as mentioned previously, prevent free radical damage of skin cells. Vitamin A is required for developing and maintaining skin cells, and a deficiency of the vitamin can cause dry skin. Carrots are also a superior source of fiber, biotin, vitamins K, C and B6, potassium and thiamine.

Olive Oil

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A study conducted by Dr. Niva Shapira from Tel Aviv University in Israel and Bob Kuklinski of Rockstock University in Germany found that olive oil, along with other components of a Mediterranean diet, may contribute to the prevention of malignant melanoma.  Malignant melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, may be slowed down by consumption of olive oil, which is rich in antioxidants.

The research showed that the body develops a resistance to the damaging rays of the sun due to carotenoids. Carotenoids are the color pigments found in fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, tomatoes, pumpkins and carrots. Olive oil has also been found to protect the skin against the damaging effects of UV rays. [4]

Olive oil is a common folk remedy for very dry skin; it is rich in essential fatty acids and effectively holds moisture to the skin without subsequently drying the skin out, which is a problem with many commercial moisturizers and creams. Olive oil is extremely high in Vitamin E which plays a big part in healthy skin. If olive oil is eaten raw it will promote healthy skin from the inside out. 

Sweet Potatoes

KartoffelnThe Crayola-colored orange in sweet potatoes comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A in your body and switches on DNA that’s in charge of producing new skin cells and shedding old ones. A regular influx of new cells keeps the surface of your skin smooth, fresh-looking and resistant to irritants and damage.

Foods That Promote Unhealthy Skin 

In addition to consuming these foods that are extremely beneficial to your skin, you should avoid certain foods that trigger bad skin reactions. Such ingredients include sugar, white flour, vegetable oils and fried foods, which are especially bad for the skin, since they can trap oil and bacteria beneath the skin, causing acne and other skin ailments. Consuming the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones can reveal beautiful, youthful-looking skin.

 

Referance and Resources

[1] http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/eat-blueberries-and-strawberries-three-times-per-week

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11340098

[3] http://www.alumni.nottingham.ac.uk/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=2270

[4] http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-health-news/olive-oil-prevent-skin-cancer/10302

Wake-up Calls: 7 Ways to Boost Your Energy Without Caffeine

Guest Post By Lisa Palac 

For most, it happens in the late afternoon, usually between lunch and 6ish: that feeling of sluggish, low-energy brain-deadness that makes you want to call it quits for the day. Since that’s generally not an option, you reach for the next solution: the caffeine pick-me-up. Whether it’s coffee or tea or a yerba mate, many of us are in the habit of using caffeine to prop ourselves up during the draggiest part of the day. Of course, some of us—and you know who you are—go one step further and combine refined sugar and caffeine. Nothing like a Frappucino® and double fudge mini-donut to shake things up. It’s a slippery slope.

But what if you don’t want to be a Coffee Achiever? Maybe it’s getting in the way of sleep later that night. Or maybe you’ve done some research, weighed the pros and cons, and decided caffeine just isn’t your thing. How to break the cycle? Here are 7 healthy ways to pull yourself through an afternoon.

1. Get 15 minutes of exercise. Researchers at the University of Georgia found overwhelming evidence that regular exercise plays a significant role in increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue. “A lot of times when people are fatigued, the last thing they want to do is exercise,” said professor Patrick O’Connor, co-director of the UGA exercise psychology laboratory. “But if you’re physically inactive and fatigued, being just a bit more active will help.” Take a power walk, take a quick run, do 15 sun salutes. Walk up and down the office stairs for 15 minutes. Jump rope for 3 minutes, then walk. The more active you can be in these 15 minutes, the better. Activity increases circulation, and circulation transports oxygen throughout the body, which in turn boosts our energy level.

2. Start breathing deeply. Conscious breathing is, perhaps, the easiest way to energize your body and improve mental clarity, among many other benefits. Breathing deeply provides your body with the oxygen it needs to increase energy and alertness. Dr. Andrew Weil, who has written extensively on the restorative power of the breath, suggests “The Stimulating Breath” as an energy booster. (It’s basically a mini-version of Kundalini yoga’s “Breath of Fire.”) Close your mouth, and breathe forcefully and rapidly in and out of your nose for 15 seconds, then breathe naturally. Alternately, you can sit up straight, on a ball if possible, roll your shoulders back and breathe deeply for 10 minutes, pausing on the inhale and then again on the exhale, as a way to simply become aware of your breath.

3. Eat some almonds. Here’s the amazing thing about almonds: they’re rich in protein and they contain magnesium, a mineral that helps convert sugar into energy. Magnesium also helps with immune support, restful sleep, stress relief and heightens mood. The almond is often considered a superfood because it’s high in calcium and vitamin E with zero cholesterol. If you can’t/won’t eat almonds, try cashews, walnuts, or pecans. Nut butters are also a good way to mix up the textures, preferably unsalted. If almonds are too hard on your teeth, try soaking them in water overnight before you eat them. It softens them just enough.

4. Crank up the music. Listening to your favorite fast song gets you pumped up and gives you a quick burst of energy, right? The music works on several physiological levels. One, music can raise your endorphin level. Endorphins are the biochemicals produced by our brains that both relieve pain and increase our sense of happiness.They’re the same chemicals responsible for “the runner’s high,” the euphoric feeling you get after a great workout.

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Two, music boosts your energy level by increasing blood flow. Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore concluded that listening to your favorite music has a measurably positive effect on your cardiovascular system by expanding the inner lining of your blood vessels, which increases circulation.

**(Check out this months “TOP 10 WORKOUT SONGS“)**

5. Soak up the sun. Take a break and get out in the sunshine, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. The sun is a great source of vitamin D, a nutrient that’s essential for healthy bones and teeth, but research now suggests that vitamin D may help in preventing cancer, as well as regulating our moods, cognitive abilities, and energy levels. The sun also plays a huge role in our daily circadian rhythm, our body’s natural 24-hour sleep/awake cycle. When this cycle is thrown out of balance, it often leads to sleep loss and stress, which in turn leads to increased caffeine use.

6. Take a power nap. Cornell psychology professor James Maas coined the term “power nap” in his 1997 book, Power Sleep. In it, he recommends the daytime nap as a healthy, even necessary activity—but only if you don’t have trouble falling asleep at night.

sleep-weight

He also believes they are most effective when you take them at the same time every day, which is usually about 8 hours after you wake. Maas says 15 to 30 minutes is the optimal amount of time for a nap; any longer and you’ll enter a deep sleep which can leave you feeling groggy. He also provides these nap tips:

  • Turn off the lights, close the door, and get rid of other distractions.

  • Lying down on a couch, or chair with your feet up, is ideal, but any position including head down on your desk will do.

  • Set an alarm, so you can nap worry-free.

7. Take a Scottish shower. It’s what James Bond does, and look at the energy that guy has. In the Ian Fleming novels, Bond’s showers start out hot but finish with icy cold invigorating water. Commonly known as the Scottish shower, the idea is that alternating between hot and cold water improves cardiovascular circulation, which leads to feeling energized.

Head shower

Beyond youthful vigor, practitioners of the Scottish shower claim it keeps them younger-looking, too. In addition, researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine found that short cold showers might even help relieve depression. If you want to give it a try, it’s simple: Spend four minutes in a hot shower, then slowly decrease the amount of hot water, until it’s pure cold. Enjoy the chill for at least two minutes.

If caffeine is your habit, it will require a bit of effort to replace it with other ways to lively up yourself. But the first step is simply becoming aware of all the other effective options available to you. And now you know. Welcome to your new, jitter-free, energized, oxygen-rich world.

My Top 10 Workout Songs June 2012

Music, the language of the soul, is as old as humanity. The therapeutic benefits of music can be traced back in time to ancient shamanistic rituals. Music, as tool of healing was recognized in the writings of Aristotle, Pythagoras and Plato. They believed that it can influence physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being and improve quality of life. In fact, there have been many recent studies that show if you listen to music while exercising, your brain will probably work better too.

Here is my top 10 workout songs as of June 2012, enjoy!

#10 Two Door Cinema Club – “Something Good Can Work For You”: A catchy chorus that eventually falls into a rhythm-vocal shout interchange which makes it fun to pump iron to. This Irish band has a sound that is clean and catchy, with rhythms that are effortlessly danceable.

#9 Foster The People – “Don’t Stop (Color On The Wall)”: FTP are polished indie-electro at it’s finest. This song in particular was written from the perspective of a child with it’s quirky and fun lyrics. It brings me back to my childhood days which is why I love it.

#8 Phoenix – “1901”: This awesome French band have been known to create effortless pop-rock songs. I’m a big fan of synths; this track has a pronounced amount of them. You may have heard this song during a Cadillac commercial.

#7 Metric – “Help I’m Alive”: Big hooks, bursting chorus, and slick synths; this is why I love working out to this song.

#6 The Naked & Famous – “Young Blood”: Exploding with energy, this song sounds like the love child of Passion Pit and MGMT. I saw them perform live last March; they totally impressed me. Check this New Zealand band out!

#5 The Submarines – “1940 AmpLive Remix”: This song gets my hyped with it’s funky bass beats and a mid-high progressive guitar rift that speaks emotion of the song.

#4 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Gold Lion”: “It’s gutsy, bruised, womb-warm, simultaneously tender and defiant, and just about as sprawling as you can get– NME.

#3 The Kooks  – “Sway”: This track is an epic rock ballad that get’s me pumped up during my workouts. It has a slow and delicate build-up, leading to an intense, passionate chorus.

#2 Funeral Suits – “All Those Friendly People”: This synth-heavy track has been a go to during my workouts. “Shared love of epic, distorted guitars, blistering harmonious pop, art rock and electronica”, which they claim to on their biography; I’d say that’s an accurate description. Check these guys out.

#1 The Shoes – “Time To Dance (Extended Video Edit): Here is one of those songs that when you first hear it you automatically start stomping your feet, and want to know who sings it; it’s that catchy! The music video is disturbingly brilliant as Jake Gyllenhaal goes around murdering hipsters. Make sure to check it out.

You can view, listen and subscribe to my entire SHREDFAT workout playlist below. How cool is that!