In the summer, the Okanagan is truly one of the most beautiful places to be. The lakes, mountains, vineyards, and of course warm, sunny days, all call us to spend more time out of doors. Hiking, golfing, swimming, biking, walking along the beach, all fantastic activities that get us out and moving while at the same time allowing us to soak up a much-needed dose of Vitamin D after a long winter.
Vitamin D is necessary to regulate calcium and phosphorous levels vital for maintaining bone strength, something definitely lacking as we continue to see so many seniors with osteoporosis. Although supplements are available and sometimes necessary, Vitamin D ideally is absorbed naturally through the skin. That said, we all know too much sun is dangerous and can in fact be quite damaging both from a beauty as well as a health perspective. It's in our body's best interest to not only protect our skin on the outside, but nourish it on the inside as well.
The skin is our body's largest organ. It covers about 22 square feet and weighs around 8 lbs. Skin helps the body regulate temperature, protects us from the elements, and permits sensations of touch; it is also one of the easiest entry points for toxins. The condition of our skin provides insight into our internal health, and given that skin has literally wrapped itself around every part of us, it's important we know how to properly take care of it, inside and out.
The body operates in a triage fashion. Whenever sickness, disease or injury occurs, all nutrients needed to fight off disease, reduce oxidative stress and keep vital organs functioning properly for survival, are supplied first. When those needs are met, nutrients are doled out in order of importance based on what the body needs to live and function. Way down in that triage line are things like muscles, bones, nails, hair and skin. Ever notice how the colour, texture, vibrancy, etc., of your skin looks when you have the flu? And those sore, aching muscles? That's your body cutting the supply line of nutrients to the non-essentials and redirecting them to where they are needed most at that time. Imagine how much it diverts for more serious health issues.
Just like an apple that wrinkles, oxidizes and turns brown, our cells oxidize more rapidly over time, aging us more quickly. The many once-plentiful building blocks needed for health become depleted. Antioxidants and collagen are two such building blocks.
Think of antioxidants as the lemon juice for that apple. Just as lemon keeps the apple from browning, antioxidants reduce internal inflammation and slow down oxidative stress. This in turn slows down the aging process – inside and out.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is found in our muscles, bones, blood vessels, digestive system, hair, nails and skin. We lose 30 percent of collagen every decade after age 30. As collagen is responsible for skin strength and elasticity, low stores leave skin weak, loose, flabby and subject to wrinkles.
By replacing collagen the benefits are two-fold. Overall health improves, thereby increasing immune function and energy levels while at the same time lowering the risk for lifestyle diseases. As we replenish the antioxidants and collagen that's been depleted, there's enough nutrients to go around resulting in smoother, firmer, younger-looking skin.
Everything we put on our skin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and must pass through the liver. Unfortunately, most people are unaware that their products are either
a) laden with toxins or b) simply masking the skin rather than restoring it. In order for topical products to be restorative and truly rejuvenate the skin, they must contain growth factors. Growth factors work at a cellular level causing skin cells to repair, regenerate, and restore naturally resulting in healthier, firmer, brighter, more youthful looking skin.
To recap, the three most important things in achieving healthier, younger-looking skin are;
1. Increasing antioxidants to decrease oxidative stress
2. Replenishing lost collagen
3. Using a skin care line that contains growth factors.
Antioxidants that are bio-available (readily absorbed) such as Metagenics proprietary Vitamin C, omegas in Carlson's cold water fish oil, and MonaVie juice blend of 19 fruits, all work to reduce internal inflammation and oxidative stress, thereby helping to slow down cellular aging. And we know that the healthier we are on the inside, the better our skin is on the outside.
When adding collagen, aim for at least 5000mg per day. Hydrolyzed, non-synthetic collagen consumed as a liquid is best. Naara with TruMarine is just that, along with extra vitamins, mineral, amino acids and fibre.
Skin products containing growth factors will be noted on the packaging or described on the company's website. One of the most effective and safe is APT-200 (Advanced Polypeptide Technology) derived from adult stem cells, encouraging cells to repair, regrow and rejuvenate. The Luminesce line is unique as each product from cleanser to serum contains APT-200. More growth factors applied means faster, better results.
Now that you've turned back the clock inside and out, don't forget to protect that youthful glow by choosing the right sunscreen. Both Badger and Tropical Vanilla by Eminence are free of nasties, use zinc as the active ingredient and have an SPF of 30. Eminence also contains botanicals to nourish while it protects.
This summer as you're outside soaking up the Vitamin D, slather on the zinc sunscreen, mix up a few collagen drinks on ice for the patio and don't forget to use a cleanser with growth factors to wash before bedtime. Small changes, when done consistently over time, will result in a healthier, more beautiful you.
Nutritionist & Fitness Coach (IBNFC)
Tania, owner/founder of FIT Nutrition, is a global nutritionist and fitness coach, fitness instructor, workshop facilitator, educator, speaker, writer and success creator. Tania is currently one of only five health professionals licensed and certified in Canada to coach a proven, three-phase program providing education on the importance of blood sugar stabilization, not dieting. For more information go to fuelignitethrive.com