Fitness Program for Your Skin
Skin care is more than just skin deep. Sure, you need to follow a daily skin care regime if you wish to have healthy, vibrant, youthful looking skin for as long as possible, but your skin will benefit much more if you take skin care a level deeper.
Part II of Fitness Program for Your Skin looks at what else you can do to positively affect the health and beauty of your skin.
Skin Care is More Then Skin Deep
Fitness Program for Your Skin (Part II)
In Part 1 of Skin Care: Fitness Program for Your Skin, we took a close look at how to implement a fitness program for your skin and the benefits this will provide for your skin. We focused on the direct approach by making the best use of skin care products and utilising a step-by-step program to care for our skin.
Part 2 we will look at additional things you can do to promote your skin’s fitness and over all health.
Water & Foods
We all know that if we do not drink enough water, our body will dehydrate and that by the time we get thirsty, we are actually already dehydrated and have a bit of catching up to do. The trick to a well hydrated body and skin is not to get to the point of where you actually start to feel thirsty.
If you’re already drinking at least 2.5 litres of water a day, you can skip this section, but if you are finding it difficult, you just might find some helpful tips on how you can get enough water each and every day in the following few paragraphs.
At the risk of repeating myself, our body will use 2-2.5 litters of water to perform its normal bodily functions (metabolism). It will do this whether we like it or not and if we do not provide our body with the necessary water to perform its vital functions, it will just take it from within the body tissues resulting in dehydration. Because the skin holds a high percentage of water, it is easy for the body to take it from our skin and use it else where, resulting in dry, dehydrated skin.
As the weather warms up, we perspire more and as a result need more water than usual. Also, if we exercise, the metabolism is increased and the consumption of water rises accordingly.
So, before we know it, our body will use up 2-3 litters of water without us even being aware of it. To compensate for this loss we need to consume at least the equivalent amount of water as our body is using and a little extra wouldn’t do astray. But how do we do this?
Well, one way is to start every day with drinking 500ml of water. Yes, I know, that sounds a lot to kick off the day with, but if you’re not used to drinking this amount of water in one hit, start with 300mls and work your way up. You’ll be surprised how quickly you will get used to drinking 500mls and even more. Now, you’ve only got 2000mls to go.
The next thing to do is to carry a drink bottle with you. If you travel to work by car, just sit the drink bottle in the centre console and at every red light (there are bound to be a few) take a sip or two.
If your drink bottle holds 500mls, your aim should be to have it empty by the time you get to work. Then do the same on the way home.
Now, you’ve consumed 1.5 litres and only have about 1-2 litres to go. So, while at the office, have your drink bottle standing next to you on your desk. Your aim now is to drink the first during the morning and a second one during the afternoon of your working day. Again if your bottle contains 500mls, you’ll have consumed another 1000mls during the day and are getting to your minimum amount of water required.
To get the extra, starting about 30min. after finishing your evening meal, have a final 500ml bottle sitting next to you and have a sip during the ad breaks, you’ll finish it in know time unless you’re watching the ABC or another non-commercial station.
After doing this for a while, you will actually feel the difference between the times when your body is getting enough water and when it’s not. You will start to automatically look for your water bottle and be amazed just how much more water you are dirking.
For some of you this will manifest itself in surprising improvements to your health - niggling pains, aches and other minor complaints will suddenly start to disappear. Your digestive system will actually work better and you may even feel a lift in energy levels.
What not to do
One thing you need to remember is that tea, coffee and alcohol will drive water from your body. So, for example if you have 500mls of water either shortly before or after you’ve been drinking coffee or tea, it won’t be long before you’ll need to make a pit-stop. So, be mindful of the power of tea and coffee...
Another factor you’ll need to keep in mind is that instead of water, you may choose to drink isotonic drinks such as Poweraide or a similar. These things contain quite a lot of sugar and therefore calories you may not wish to ad to your body. One or two over the course of a day is probably ok, but if you also add fruit juices and similar hydrating drinks instead of water, you could run the risk of increasing your weight. So, keep in mind that water is the best type of drink to have.
If you work at it a little, you will find that it is not as difficult as one might think to get plenty of water and not get dehydrated.
Foods to increase your skin’s fitness
No I am not going to suggest a diet. I am going to suggest a few simple things you can do to increase the nutrients in your food that will be of benefit to your skin.
So first what are the nutrients that your skin needs?
Beta-carotene (provitamin A)
It is an anti-oxidants, neutralise free radicals.
It is found in foods such as: Sweet Potato, Carrot, Kale, Mango, Turnip, Greens Spinach, raw; Papaya, Red Bell Pepper, Apricot, Cantaloupe, Fat Free Milk, Romaine, Eggs, Whole Milk, Raw Tomato, Broccoli, Green Bell Pepper, Orange, Parsley.
Is another anti-oxidant. It is essential for healthy hair and eyes, and is also important in the prevention and clearing of infections of the skin. Vitamin A counteracts dry skin, dandruff and wrinkle formation. It is needed for healthy blood circulation which gives a glow to the skin. Helps maintain smooth, soft disease-free skin; helps protect the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat lungs, which helps reduce our susceptibility to infections; protects against air pollutants and contaminants; helps improve eye sight and counteracts night-blindness; aids in bone and teeth formation; improves skin elasticity, moisture content and suppleness; and helps reverse the signs of photo-aging. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to eruptions or dry, coarse, wrinkled skin; dull and dry hair or dandruff; ridging or peeling fingernails; pimples or acne and visual fatigue.
Preformed Vitamin A and/or Carotene is found in: Meat, Chicken Liver, Cod Liver Oil, Cheese, certain green leafy vegetables, such as beet greens, spinach, and broccoli.
Vitamin E is also an anti-oxidant; Vitamin E helps form muscles and tissues to prevent wrinkles and premature aging of the skin due to oxidation. It helps prevent dry, dull skin, age spots, falling hair and dandruff. It improves circulation and healing of scars. Research has shown that large doses of vitamin E double healthy cell reproduction to slow the aging process and forestall premature wrinkling.
Vitamin E supplies oxygen to the blood, which is then carried to the heart and other organs, thus alleviating fatigue. It aids in bringing nourishment to cells; strengthens the capillary walls preventing the red blood cells from destructive poisons (free radicals); prevents and dissolves blood clots.
You will get Vitamin E from foods such as: Avocados, Carrots. Cheese: especially Parmesan, and Cheddar. Chickpeas, egg yolk, green leafy vegetables, legumes, margarine, meats/poultry/fish, nuts and nut oils, oatmeal, olives, parsnips, red peppers, seeds, soy products and soybeans, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watercress, wheat germ, all contain Vitamin E so you should have little difficulty in obtaining enough from your diet.
Vitamin C is a very powerful anti-oxidant; Vitamin C, in conjunction with protein, is necessary for the production of collagen - the glue that holds us and our skin together and circumvents sags or wrinkles. It regulates sebaceous glands to keep skin from drying out; helps prevent facial lines, wrinkles and spider veins.
Vitamin C is essential for the health of the hair, eyes and teeth, resistance to infection, healing of wounds and firm skin tissues. Vitamin C is believed to aid skin cells in repairing and reproducing themselves. It is also thought to stimulate production of collagen, enhancing skin smoothness and elasticity. This vitamin is excellent for skin showing signs of aging.
Vitamin C is found in: Acerola cherry, Kiwifruit, green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnips, green and other leafy vegetables, sweet and white potatoes, and Cantaloupe. Other excellent sources include papaya, mango, watermelon, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, red peppers, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and pineapples.
B-vitamins are vital for clear, luminous skin, youthful looks and for delaying greying of hair. They are essential for healthy skin, hair, and eyes. Studies show that 40 percent of dermatitis sufferers lack B vitamins. B vitamins also counteract stress, which has adverse effects on one's appearance.
Vit. B-complex is a complex of several important vitamins including B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin). Vitamin B1 is needed for nerve signal transmission. Vitamin B2 is needed for the metabolism of amino acids. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the production of many enzymes and chemical messengers (eg, neurotransmitters). Vitamin B12 is needed for red blood cell production and DNA synthesis.
You’ll find B-vitamins in: Whole grain cereals, wheat, Pulses, Nuts, Green leafy vegetables, Molasses, Meat, Liver, and Brewer's yeast.
Vitamin D is essential for healthy teeth, bones and nails as well as for the assimilation of calcium and phosphorus. It promotes healthy eyes, skin and teeth.
It is a vitamin found in foods such as fish, oysters, and dairy products. Also, there are enzymes in our skin that make vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. A little bit of sunshine is very good for you - more on that later.
Vitamin D is found in: Milk, Beef liver, Salmon, Tuna, Butter, Sprouted seeds.
Proteins are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's cells, tissues, and organs, and each protein has unique functions.
You’ll find proteins in: Avocados, Brewer's yeast, dried legumes, nuts, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, whole grain cereals.
Other Protein foods include: Fish, meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products, pulses, and wheat germ.
Calcium and Phosphorus work together for healthy teeth, hair, nails and bones. Calcium helps clear blemished skin and revitalizes lifeless, tired-looking skin.
Calcium is essential for a variety of bodily functions, such as neurotransmission, muscle contraction, and proper heart function.
Calcium is found in: Milk products, whole wheat, leafy vegetables, Salmon, Sardines, shellfish, Soybeans, Sunflower seeds, Walnuts, Oranges, and Lemons.
Phosphorus is a mineral vital to energy production. It helps build bone and form cell membranes and genetic material.
Phosphorus is found in: Dairy products, egg yolks, fish, poultry, meats, grains, cereals, nuts, fruit juices, and milk.
Chromium improves circulation for healthy skin and hair. It plays a role in glucose metabolism and is considered essential in trace amounts in nutrition.
Chromium is found in: Brewer's yeast, cheese, corn oil, liver, clams, meat, and whole grains.
Iodine promotes healthy hair, nails, skin, and teeth. It is an element that is necessary for the body to make thyroid hormone. It is found in shellfish and iodised salt.
Iodine is contained in: Iodised salt, Kelp, Onions, Seafood, Vegetable oils.
Iron is essential for healthy nails, skin colour, and hair growth.
Iron is found in: Egg yolks, blackstrap molasses, dark leafy greens, dried fruits and legumes, lean meat, liver, and whole wheat.
Magnesium is required to prevent skin disorders. A mineral used by the body to help maintain muscles, nerves, and bones. It is also used in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
Magnesium is found in: Almonds, apples, apricots, bananas, bran, corn, dairy products, figs, grapefruit and lemons, meats, raw leafy greens, Soybeans.
Manganese helps to maintain healthy hair. This micronutrient activates one or more enzymes in fatty acid synthesis; it also activates the enzymes responsible for DNA and RNA production. Closely associated with copper and zinc.
Manganese is found in: bananas, beets, bran, coffee, egg yolks, leafy greens, legumes, nuts, pineapple, whole grains and tea.
Selenium maintains skin elasticity. It helps prevent and correct dandruff. Selenium is an essential trace mineral. Selenium activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer.
Selenium is a nutrient found in: Asparagus, bran, broccoli, chicken, egg yolks, milk, onions, red meat, seafood, tomatoes, and whole grains.
Sulphur helps maintain healthy hair, nails, and skin. It also prevents dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
An important mineral component of vitamin B1 and of several essential amino acids. Sulphur is particularly necessary for the body's production of collagen, which helps to form connective tissue. Sulphur is also a component of keratin, the chief ingredient in hair, skin, and nails. By controlling bacteria and exfoliating the skin, sulphur is a popular acne treatment. Sulphur is thought to dissolve the top layer of dry, dead cells and slow down oil-gland activity.
Sulphur is found in: Bran, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cheese, clams, eggs, fish, mushrooms, nuts, peas and beans, and wheat germ.
Zinc aids in the formation of collagen. It helps prevent wrinkles, dry skin and stretch marks, and promotes blemish healing. Zinc prevents hair loss, and brittle or spotted nails. Without enough zinc a deficiency of Vitamin A can occur even though the intake of that vitamin appears adequate.
It is a mineral that is vital to many biological functions such as immune resistance, wound healing, digestion, reproduction, physical growth, diabetes control, taste and smell. More than 300 enzymes in the human body require zinc for proper functioning.
Zinc is found in: Brewer's yeast, eggs, lean red meat, seafood, legumes, mushrooms, non-fat dry milk, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, shellfish (oysters), spinach, and whole grains.
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid. It may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and myocardial infarction (severe form of heart attacks) by lowering triglyceride levels and blood pressure and preventing the formation of life-threatening thrombi.
You can find natural sources of Omega 3 in Oily Fish eg: Salmon, Tuna and some others. Omega 3 is also contained in Flax seeds, walnuts, and canola oil.
Omega 6 is another essential fatty acid (should be combined in equal portions with Omega 3's).
It is contained in: Cereals, eggs, poultry, most vegetable oils, whole-grain breads, and margarine.
There is one final consideration when it comes to the food you eat, make sure the foods are processed as little as possible. That means the fresher the better, raw rather than cooked, steamed rather than fried, etc. Just remember the KISS formula - Keeping It Simple Succeeds...
Putting it all together
Topical Skin Care
In Part I we took a step-by-step look at implementing a fitness program for your skin using natural skin care products. We discussed the importance of each of these steps and how they will benefit your skin.
Internal Skin Care
Part II of this article series looked several other factors, including the need for water, and the types of foods that are beneficial to the skin.
To achieve the best possible level of healthy, vibrant and youthful looking skin, you need to implement all of the program aspects, from using the skin care products to drinking sufficient amounts of water and eating the right foods.
You can read Part II - Skin Care: Fitness Program for Your Skin (Part I) here.
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