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Sunday, 24 September 2006 09:54

Beauty is NOT Skin Deep

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Take a moment and think of someone you know who has a vibrant glow in their countenance and a life-giving gleam in their eye. Perhaps they’re not the fittest or even the hottest person you’ve ever met, but something about them sparkles with life. What sets them apart?
Many people have a healthy glow at 30, but how do you stay shining at 50? You can pay big bucks for liposuction, butt lifts, face lifts, and any other lift that promises to defy gravity, but after a few years, your bank account will be sagging.

Not everyone seeks to beautify themselves through surgeries or injections, but there is one thing every possessor of true beauty has in common, and that is HEALTH. I guarantee that any human being who can turn heads at 50 is healthy on the inside, not just toned, tucked, and tanned on the outside.
Youth and genetics can cut you a lot of slack in your 20s and 30s, but over a lifetime, what you choose to ingest will slowly sculpt your entire being. For some of us, that’s bad news, but here’s the good news: the body has an incredible capacity to heal itself, and is just waiting for you to start feeding it the nutritional tools necessary for transformation.

The Largest Organ in Your Body
Let’s talk about the effects of aging on the largest organ in your body, otherwise known as your skin. About 70 percent of the dermal and epidermal skin layers are made of collagen fibers which form a network that makes healthy skin elastic and smooth.
Silica (silicon) is one nutrient essential for the production of collagen, which in turn stimulates the activation of “fibroblasts.” Fibroblasts are a type of cell resident in skin, ligaments, and cartilage.
As we age, the number of fibroblasts in the skin start to decline causing wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots. So how do we go about supplementing our aging body’s need for fibroblast-friendly nutrients? I wish I could tell you that just eating more fruits and vegetables would do the trick, but the silica-rich produce your grandparents once ate is not at all like the denatured foods found in the grocery stores of today. But by adding a silica-rich herb called “horsetail” to your daily diet, you can reclaim some of the nutritional value that has been misplaced by modern agriculture.

Antioxidants to the Rescue
Did you know that fruits and vegetables also play a crucial part in fighting off the damage caused by free radicals? A free radical is simply a waste product generated during the body’s production of energy. Every human being produces millions of free radicals every second, and antioxidants act like the guys in white hats who go charging into the crowd of outlaws (free radicals) to render them harmless.
As we age, the amount of antioxidants needed to keep our bodies cleansed of free radicals greatly increases. Without antioxidants, free radicals can create over 50 different disorders in the human body, including cancer, heart attack, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, and Alzheimer’s.
It’s estimated that there are more than 4,000 components in food that act as antioxidants, but the most well-known studies have focused on vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and selenium. Foods scoring high in an antioxidant analysis (ORAC, short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) have been found to protect cells and their components from oxidative damage.
Studies have also shown that eating foods high on the ORAC scale can raise the antioxidant power of human blood from 10-25 percent, and ingesting combinations of nutrients may have a greater affect than taking a nutrient all by itself. What does this vital piece of information tell us? To eat a diet rich in 5-10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

What Makes Skin Beautiful?
I recommend changing your skin from within by eating a diet rich in antioxidants and nutrient-dense foods, and supplementing your diet with Omega-3 fish oil, which can help to alleviate the appearance of dry skin caused by environmental pollutants and aging.
Remember that life-giving sparkle I talked about in the beginning of this article? Well, Omegas-3’s are not only beneficial for your skin, but they also strengthen your bones and inhibit inflammation, thereby enabling you to stay active and limber throughout the aging process. This essential fatty acid is also a major component of cell membranes, which help to strengthen the elasticity of your blood vessels and enable your body to maintain healthy circulation. So if you’re looking to recover that long-lost bounce in your step, make this supplement part of your daily regimen.
Good natural sources of Omega-3 are salmon, sardines, or cod liver oil, but if you’re not craving a bowl of sardines for breakfast, you can ingest this fatty acid in capsule or liquid form. A group of scientists recently suggested that you should take 2850 mg of Omega-3 per day, made up of 2200 mg of ALA (Alpha-Linoleic Acid) and 650 mg of combined DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid).
Eating foods that contain high amounts of B vitamins (found in fish, chicken, meat, beans, wheat germ, bran, barley, eggs, brewer’s yeast, vegetables and avocados) can also help maintain a more youthful appearance. Try adding a time released B Complex, especially when you’re overworked or stressed.
Lecithin (also known as phosphatidylcholine) is one of the unsung heroes in the quest for healthy skin. Without lecithin (which makes up 65 percent of your cell membranes), your membranes can harden and the flow of vital nutrients in and out of the cells can be significantly slowed. Lecithin has also been found to stop harmful chemicals from attaching themselves to skin cells, and so can improve the visual appearance of dull skin.
If that isn’t enough, lecithin also increases the absorption of vitamin A, which aids in the production of acetylcholine in the brain and adrenal glands. Without an adequate supply of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, our brains capacity for focus and attention will gradually diminish as our bodies undergo the stress of aging.

The Elixir of Life
Now let’s discuss the miracle cure. The priceless elixir of life that flows from the fountain of youth. Certainly it must be incredibly rare, terribly expensive, bottled in the French Alps or gathered on the eastern slopes of Tibet? Nope. It’s water. Plain old colorless, odorless, inexpensive water, the same today as it was 10,000 years ago. And yet nothing modern technology has ever formulated can even compare with its life-giving properties. There is no other substance on earth that can give your skin the ageless glow of health.
Did you know your body is 50-70 percent water (depending on your age), and you can lose up to three liters of water daily through the simple processes of sweating, breathing, and urinating (you can lose up to three liters an hour when you exercise!)? Replenishing our bodies with water is an absolute priority for good health, so my advice is to drink 64 to 80 oz of water or herbal tea throughout the day.
Because water has a neutral pH balance of 7.0, drinking a lot of it can keep your bloodstream pH balance close to the desired norm of 7.4. Research shows that unless the body's pH level is slightly alkaline, the body can’t heal itself, nor can it properly assimilate all the vitamins and minerals from food and supplements.
The average American eats significant amounts of acid-forming food. A diet full of meat, processed food, and sugar can throw your body’s pH balance way off. The perfect antidote to acidosis is 5-10 daily servings of alkaline-friendly fruits and vegetables (a slice of lemon in your water helps, too).

Maybe Your Mother Was Right
Sleep is not idle time; sleep is the regeneration of your mortal body. While you are sleeping your body is producing HGH (human growth hormone), which stimulates the growth of all your cells and tissues. While you are sleeping, your hair is growing, your furrowed brow is relaxing, your tense muscles are unwinding, your world-weary brain is unloading, your skin is breathing a sigh of relief, and your body has temporarily laid down its burden.
Sleep is a priceless gift, so don’t sell it short. And when you wake up refreshed and renewed, add some movement into your daily regimen in order to stimulate your circulation, soothe your jangled nerves, increase your life span by as much as two years and tune your spirit to the Zippity Doo Dah channel.
Okay, the rest is up to you, but just remember; ageless beauty is an inside job, so try spending a little less time detailing your chassis and a little more effort tuning your engine!
Skin is the largest organ in your body and its health and vibrancy often hinge on the pH balance in your body. Take this quick quiz to see if you’re taking care of this vital organ (and keeping yourself young and healthy-looking).

pH Quiz: Give yourself a score of 1 for “Yes” and 0 for “No”

_____ 1. I’ve experienced sudden weight gain, but haven’t changed my eating, exercising habits.

_____ 2. I eat pasta, bread, or other products made with flour daily.

_____ 3. I feel I have excessive stress in my life right now.

_____ 4. I typically have no more than one or two servings of fruits or vegetables every day.

_____ 5. I’m noticing constipation.

_____ 6. I drink less than eight glasses of water each day.

_____ 7. I eat red meat every day.

_____ 8. I take asthma medications.

_____ 9. I feel more tired than usual.

_____ 10. I notice more skin blemishes than what’s “normal” for me (or I’ve developed rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis).

_____ 11. I often feel mentally confused.

_____ 12. I drink more than two soft drinks every day (diet or regular).

_____ 13. I enjoy a cocktail four to five times a week.

_____ 14. I get frequent colds (more than one or two each year).

_____ 15. I take aspirin several times a week.

_____ 16. I need my sugar fix every day; I have a candy bar, pastry, or some other sweet.

_____ 17. I feel (or people tell me) that I look older than my real age.

_____ 18. I notice I have chronic aches.

_____ 19. My kidneys have weakened resulting in more bathroom visits than before.

_____ 20. I experience bowel movements once a week (or less).

Scoring. Add up all of your 1’s you gave yourself. If you scored:

0 to 5: Good Job! Keep up the good work. You’re probably doing many of the right things, ensuring your body and skin stay healthy, young, and vibrant!

5 to 10: Not bad, but you’re slipping a little. You’re at risk of having your pH out of balance, something called “mild acidosis.” Start to take action now to reverse the premature aging process and keep your body healthy!

10+: Uh-oh. Time to put the brakes on this needless and rapid aging process. You’re probably experiencing many of the signs of a body that is out of pH balance. Aside from older-looking skin, you’re at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney stones, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and a host of many other unhealthy conditions.


How do I get my pH back in balance?
1. Add a hefty dose of alkaline-forming foods like a rainbow of fruits and vegetables daily.
2. Manage your stress. Take time to relax, unwind, or meditate.
3. Cleanse your body systems regularly. Try herbs like milk thistle for the liver, dandelions for the kidneys or take a day and eat nothing but fresh, raw fruit.
4. Drink eight or more glasses of pure water daily.
Tip: How much water is “enough” for you? A good rule of thumb is to take your body weight, divide it in half and drink that amount of water in ounces.

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