Having a youthful look takes more than just a good skincare routine. Maintaining radiant and glowing skin comes from within and while genetics do play a part in how we age, so do positive and healthy lifestyle choices. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with wellness and clean living expert Julie McClure who revealed her 9 tricks for looking and feeling young. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Keep Inflammation at Bay
According to McClure, "Our external appearance (radiant skin, wrinkles, etc.) is typically a strong reflection of our internal health. With inflammation being the root cause of pre-mature aging and disease, an anti-inflammatory diet is key to feeling and looking (and staying) youthful. Shifting to an anti-inflammatory diet would involve incorporating an abundance of organic leafy greens and vegetables, avocados, mushrooms, healthy oils (cold-pressed olive oil), high-antioxidant foods and superfoods (e.g., camu camu berry powder, wild blueberries, organic berries) into your daily diet and staying well hydrated (e.g., two liters or more of filtered water per day). In addition, limiting pro-inflammatory foods and beverages such as cookies, crackers, processed meats&foods, fast food (trans fats), added sugar (of all kinds, including maple syrup and honey), sodas, high-sugar content juices, and alcohol. When low inflammation levels are maintained in the body, everything functions better. This in turn is reflected in our skin and our overall physical appearance over the long-term!"
McClure says, "Proper hydration is essential for practically all aspects in keeping the body running! Adequate hydration supports all metabolic processes, ensures cells are happy, and that oxygen and nutrients are reaching cells while toxins are removed."
"Antioxidants combat oxidative damage that occurs through processed foods, environmental exposures (pesticides, chemicals, and pollution), many of which have an impact on premature aging and hormonal health," McClure states. "Several antioxidants provide the skin with hydration and revitalize skin. Some of the best antioxidants for skin health include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B3, CoQ10, and Resveratrol."
Limit Your Sugar Intake
McClure reminds us that, "Sugar wreaks havoc on the immune system, dysregulates blood sugar levels, worsens mood, increases weight and impacts overall feelings of wellness and vitality. Keeping added sugars to a minimum is key for looking and feeling your best."
Balance Your Hormones
McClure explains, "Radiant skin occurs from the inside out! Balanced hormones = more luminous skin. To help balance your hormones, both low inflammatory levels as well as a healthy gut are critical. To help achieve a healthy gut biome, incorporate gut-healthy fermented foods into your diet (kimchi, sauerkraut) and a daily probiotic (choose a high-quality multi-strain probiotic). Ensuring that your body has adequate levels of antioxidants, vitamins&nutrients such as Zinc, Vitamin C as well as a therapeutic dose of clean collagen will produce more youthful and clear looking skin over the months and years. Although what you put on your skin matters, hormonal balance starts from within. As such, just as you can't out workout a bad diet, you can't apply a topical solution for internal/hormone-induced breakouts and rosacea."
Reduce/Minimize Your Toxic Load
"Many common products found in your home, body products, and makeup are known as 'endocrine disruptors,' McClure states."When these particles get into your body, they interact with the endocrine system (the hormonal system) and negatively impact your hormones. One of the most common endocrine disruptors is BPA, which is commonly found in water bottles and has a similar structure to estrogen. It can bind to estrogen receptors and has been linked to breast cancer and obesity. To limit BPA, you should choose 'BPA-free' plastics as well as reduce your consumption of canned foods (which are often lined with BPA). You can substitute canned foods with more fresh food. Other ways to reduce endocrine disruptors and environmental toxins include drinking filtered water, having an air purifier so that your house's air is always clean (e.g., I love IQ Air's products), avoid mold, stop wearing synthetic perfumes and using air fresheners, and use non-toxic/chemical-free clean beauty and body products."
According to McClure, "Moving your body every day, for at least 20-30 minutes, is key to feeling and looking your best! Exercise improves insulin sensitivity, which controls how the body uses carbohydrates found in food and impacts the way energy in the body is used. In other words, if you do not process carbs effectively (because of low insulin sensitivity), you are not only prone to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, but you will also be more prone to weight gain and bloating. A single bout of exercise can increase insulin sensitivity for at least 16 hours post exercise. Lastly, regular exercise helps to calm your nervous system and manage stress more effectively (which has long-lasting health&beauty benefits!)."
McClure says, "It's hard to get through the day if you can't sleep through the night. Quantity and quality of sleep is essential for numerous biological systems and processes. Sleep is key for maintaining metabolism, blood sugar regulation, reducing fat, reducing your risk of heart disease, and mood. One of the many important functions of sleep is that cortisol (the stress hormone) returns to baseline when you sleep, which helps to flush your brain of toxins and replenish your energy stores so that you can get through the next day with ease."
Effective Stress Management
"Stress has been linked to worsening skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne as well as hair loss, " McClure explains. "Given the brain-skin connection (like the gut-brain connection), stress can show up on your skin as it negatively impacts skin health. It's very common to experience a dull complexion and/or breakouts during periods of stress (bringing you back to your teenage years… but not in a good way!). Specifically, when we are stressed, our bodies move into 'fight or flight' mode and the stress response increases our cortisol levels. This is proinflammatory to skin cells and can disrupt the epidermal layer of your skin (e.g., the protective layer of the skin). With chronic or intense bouts of stress, your skin will get irritated and skin conditions tend to worsen. As such, it's important to form healthy daily stress management habits that will lower your cortisol levels such as guided meditation, yoga, getting into and connecting with nature and moving your body. By managing your daily stress, you will help to keep your skin vibrant and your mood elevated (less anxiety&depression) so that you can truly radiate youth from the inside-out!" And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.