There is a lot of hype out there about how to be beautiful. Well, let me just tell you right up front: YOU ARE ALREADY BEAUTIFUL!
He has made everything beautiful in its time…
See, you were made to be beautiful for your time here on earth! From birth to final breath, you are beautiful!
But…I know that you want something more than “existential” affirmation of your inherent perfection, so I have come up with a very short list of my Four FAVORITE Beauty Secrets.
Here they are, in no particular order:
- Nutrition (fruits, vegetables, berries).
- Sweat (exercise).
When you don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels rise. An interesting article on WebMD on the new field of “psychodermatology” has this to say about sleep and beauty.
“The mind and skin are connected on many different levels,” Mallin tells WebMD. “A lot of nerve endings are connected to the skin, which wraps around the organs, so as emotions are played out neurologically, they can be expressed through the skin just as stress can be expressed through gastrointestinal symptoms, increased anxiety, or hypertension.”
Take acne, for example. When you are tense, your body releases stress hormones including cortisol, which may increase the skin’s oil production, making you prone to pimples.
And, if you subscribe to the idea that brains = beauty (which I do) then you’ll find it interesting to note a study by Harrison, Horne, and Rothwell which concluded that 36 hours of sleep deprivation in young adults (average age 23 years) produces effects on the pre-frontal cortex similar to those found in normal, alert people aged about 60 years. Essentially, if you don’t get enough sleep, you can age your brain (at least the pre-frontal cortex) by about 40 years.
Okay…don’t yell at me for writing a three-in-one beauty secret. These “living foods” are super important for your skin, eyes, hair, nails, body composition and pretty much every other system in your body. There are at least 30 different studies specifically addressing the addition of a whole-food-based, fruit/vegetable/berry supplement to your diet. These studies found that adding this supplement to the diet can:
- improve gum health and diminish bleeding (in a periodontal study).
- maintain the normal, healthy elasticity of arteries, even after a high-fat meal;
- maintain normal levels of homocysteine, a waste product associated with heart health;
- and positively effect several other measures of vascular health.
- support key measures of immune system function in healthcare professionals with direct patient contact; in young law school students; in an elderly population; and in athletic men.
- DNA may become damaged and fragile when exposed to oxidative stress; antioxidants from fruits and vegetables can help maintain healthy DNA and
- protect DNA from oxidative stress.
- Antioxidants from fruits and vegetables fight oxidative stress and help you maintain optimal health.
- Numerous clinical studies report increased levels of key antioxidants in the bloodstream after supplementation.
- Oxidative stress can increase with certain activities, such as exercise. Multiple studies have found that fruits/vegetables/berries supplementation reduces oxidative stress from exercise.
- helps improve skin hydration, skin thickness, and circulation in skin capillaries (aka, makes you glow).
- supports a healthy inflammatory response.
- Chronic systemic inflammation is invisible and can contribute to an increased risk for developing chronic health conditions. Investigators at the University of South Carolina found supplementation significantly decreased levels of three key biomarkers of inflammation.
If you are reading this and you have not taken a drink of water in the last hour or so, you’re probably dehydrated. As a matter of fact, most Americans are chronically dehydrated. This chronic state of what I like to call “raisin-brain”, creates symptoms such as lethargy, nervousness, irritability and fatigue. So, if beauty is more than skin deep (which it is) and you are dehydrated, then your bad attitude and lack of energy is probably not helping you display your inner beauty…drink up and let your beauty shine!
Here is a great infographic that I wanted to share from the USGS Water Science School.
There have got to be about a BILLION benefits to exercise. But…if you’re looking for instant results, here are five benefits that you’ll notice immediately after (or while) you exercise:
- Improved mood! Get your body moving for about 20 minutes and your bad mood will naturally melt away!
- Better sleep. Sleep is a key ingredient in looking beautiful. But if you’re not able to sleep well, exercise can help you fall asleep faster and have more restful sleep so you can wake up refreshed and ready for another beautiful, blessed day!
- Boost your self-esteem. We all feel better when we look better. And even just telling someone that you got in a great workout feels great and can make you feel better about yourself. It is affirming and if you keep at it, your body composition will change and you’ll begin to really love the person in the mirror.
- Mental clarity. Ever feel distracted or feel like you have pea soup in your cranial cavity? When you exercise you initiate your body’s stress response – which in this case is a good thing. Your body’s systems wake up – including your brain – and so you are more aware of your surroundings and can focus more intently on the task at hand!
- Exercise is FUN! Don’t shake your head at me! I know motivating yourself to exercise is not-so-fun, but the act of physical movement can be VERY fun! Get the kids, grab your spouse, a co-worker or neighbor. Play some fun games. Challenge everyone to a healthy competition. Or, challenge yourself to do one more rep or lift more weight and keep track of your progress. Exercise is fun…you know it is!
Harrison, Y.; Horne, J. A.; Rothwell, A. (2000). Prefrontal neuropsychological effects of sleep deprivation in yough adults–a model for healthy aging? Journal of Sleep. 23. 8. p. 1067
*For research details on the effects of fruit/vegetable/berry supplementation, click here.