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Try These Lifestyle Habits to Slow Aging

Woman touching her temples and looking into the mirror

Lifestyles that prevent aging don’t have to be lifestyles of the rich and famous. You don’t have to have own private yoga instructor or personal chef to slow the aging process. Nor do you need your own spa and steam room, or Botox injections delivered upon request. There are some lifestyle habits that we can easily get used to, and there are some that take getting used to.  Both can slow the aging process if we have the means or determination to adopt them.

The aging process is pretty relentless. There’s no way to stop it completely, but there are ways to slow it down a bit, and they don’t necessarily involve getting the Leaning Tower of Pisa to stop leaning. You don’t need to take drastic measures to slow down the aging process. There are small lifestyle changes you can make that go a long way. Want to check out some of them?

Here are some of the little ways to turn back the clock even as it’s going forward.

The Best Foods

Don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to “eat this not that.” However, we will tell you that eating a lot of processed food with high levels of sugar is not likely to do much in the way of helping you stay youthful. If slowing aging is your goal, you want to look for foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins to support healthy bones and skin and stave off damage from free radicals. Here are a few foods that fit the bill for your consideration:

  • Olive Oil

Behind every beautiful Italian woman, there is a good bottle of olive oil. The Italians not only eat this healthy fat in food, but they also slather it directly on their skin to keep it from aging prematurely. It also helps maintain good cholesterol levels.

  • Fish

Why are fish so smart? Because they go to school. Ok, maybe fish aren’t that smart, but fish has been called “brain food,” because of its fatty acid content. The DHA and EPA in fish keep your brain and nervous system functioning the way they should. Eat it once a day to stave off early dementia.

  • Beans

Here’s something to toot about. The fiber in beans helps digestion and lowers your chance of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Try to include them in your diet 3-4 times a week.

  • Berries

Young woman eating a bowl of berries

If berries aren’t the sexiest fruits on the planet, they’re definitely one of the richest in antioxidants. Berries stave off cancer and brain disease and they also happen to be just as beneficial frozen as they are at room temperature. Check your local grocer’s freezers for a berry good winter.

  • Veggies

Your mom always said you would thank her later for making you eat your veggies. She knew how youthful they would keep you in your adulthood.

With every color of veggie comes a different benefit. The dark leafy greens have Vitamin K for strong bones. The orange crew (sweet potatoes and carrots) have vitamin A to keep your eyes healthy and skin healthy while protecting against infection. The reds lower blood pressure, LDL levels and risk of prostate cancer.

  • Mediterranean Diet

Technically, the Mediterranean diet was brought to attention when doctors found it to be the cause of longevity and heart health among the Italians and French. Less scientifically, the Mediterranean diet was brought to attention when Americans were trying to find out the secret behind what was keeping those Italians and French looking so darn sexy and youthful.

Most commonly, the Mediterranean diet includes a lot of olive oil, vegetables, whole grains, and fish with just the right amount of red wine to keep your heart healthy. The diet also substitutes salt with spices and herbs to flavor food, which is key in preventing hypertension. It also lowers your risk of memory loss as well as some types of cancer.

The Best Exercise

If you found out that there were people who had cells that looked nine years younger than yours, it would probably have you wondering who their plastic surgeons were. Don’t bother asking, it’s likely they’ve been spotted more frequently at the gym than at the dermatologist office.

Exercise may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are scientific studies that say it can slow down the aging process. Apparently, it all has to do with telomere length. Telomeres are the DNA on either end of chromosomes. Think of the plastic tips on shoelaces for a visual. Just as the plastic tips protect the shoelaces from fraying, the telomeres protect the chromosomes responsible for cell division. Each cell divides the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cell can no longer divide and it dies a tragic death.

What’s the secret to keeping our telomeres long and lovely?  Doctors say exercise. A study appearing in the American Heart Association journal Circulation showed that middle-aged professional athletes who ran an average of fifty miles a week had longer telomeres than those who did not exercise regularly. The pros also had slower resting heart rates, lower blood pressure and less body fat.

Headed for the gym? If you are, here are a few aging pitfalls and the exercises that can help you avoid them.

  • Cardio

There may be a  special circle of hell where people are doomed to an afterlife spent running laps for eternity. Cardio can be punishing, to say the least, but it does have its rewards, especially in the anti-aging department. According to one study done at McMaster University, the overall skin composition of individuals over forty who did cardio regularly was comparable to that of 20 and 30-year-olds. Guess forty really is the new twenty.

  • Squats

You might not think bending at the knees would be one of the worst ways to slow down the aging process.  But experts say, hey if you’re squatting all the time, might as well learn to do it the right way. Ladies, turn your toes out when your squatting, men keep them pointed forward.

Squatting improves flexibility, builds muscle mass, and helps support bone health.

  • Tai Chi

How about incorporating something a little exotic into your routine? If you’re flirting with the idea of taking up martial arts, the antiaging effects of Tai chi might just be the deciding factor. Tai Chi is low-impact, so it puts less pressure on the joints and muscles than other more intense workouts. It helps to improve balance, cognitive focus, and sleep.

The Best Self-Care

Even if stress takes does take years off your life, by no means is the party over. The age-defying woman doesn’t sweat the small things.  She too busy singing karaoke and playing strip poker. She knows what it’s like to end the night with breakfast and to begin the day with chocolate cake and espresso. She takes time to treat herself and doesn’t let the petty stuff get the better of her.

Ok, so maybe she is a little extreme. The point is that a lot of keeping young has to do with taking time for yourself. It’s about staying in the moment and taking time to do the things that make you feel young. Here are a few healthier habits to help you keep happy and relaxed and age-defiant.

  • Meditation

Even if you can’t reach full-on zen, you can take some time each day to give your body mindful attention.  Try taking deep breaths, stretching out kinks, or use the body scan technique to relax each part of your body separately. You can even punctuate your day with a series of mini-meditations. Take:

  • One minute a day to become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations
  • One minute a day to focus attention on your breathing
  • One minute a day to check in on your body as a whole.
  • Invest in Good Skincare

Great looks starts with great skin, and there’s no better time to start investing in quality skincare than now. So how do you know which skincare to invest in?

  • If you’re concerned with fine lines and wrinkles, look for products with vitamins A and E, and hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
  • If you’e concerned with sagging skin, look for products with antioxidant-rich ingredients like vitamin A, resveratrol, green tea extract, and co-enzyme Q10, which all help to prevent oxidative damage in the body and the onset of visible signs of premature aging
  • If you’re concerned with dark spots and hyperpigmentation, look for products with vitamins A and C, and brightening acids like glycolic acid, azelaic acid, and kojic acid.

Not sure where to begin? The Resveratrol Cabernet Collection would be a good place to start. It’s packed with amazing botanical extracts for the skin to really boost the skin’s barrier, as well as antioxidants, peptides, resveratrol and vitamins to do everything from moisturizing and cleansing the skin, to plumping up the look of fine lines and restoring the skin’s gentle glow.

  • See Friends and Family

What happens when you see your family and friends? You laugh, you talk, and most importantly, you relieve a lot of stress, and not only the stress your mother gives you about not seeing her often enough. Seeing friends and family keeps you connected, and talking with them can be downright therapeutic. Schedule some time for a cuppa or night out with your bestie/ significant other/mom.

  • Sleep (Adequately)

Woman sleeping comfortably in bed

Sleep is the time when your body really turns back the clock. Once its lights out for you, all those antioxidants (like melatonin) go to work, the skin detoxes and cellular reparation begin.

One study showed that participants who didn’t sleep well showed more signs of aging, including fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and lack of skin elasticity than those who got the full 7-9. Those who enjoyed full nights of sleep were also were able to recover more easily from skin damage, such as sun and environmental toxins. 

Remember Your Sunscreen

In the purse of every age-defying woman, you will find sunscreen. The forms may be different, (lotion, foam, foam lotion, whipped lotion, spray, or gel – take your pick)- but the SPF formula is protection is always over 50 and the expiration date is always good.

Another thing about the age-defying woman is that she has a habit. Every morning, she applies the SPF ( tops of hands included), the size of a golf ball. During the day, she reapplies it regularly, at especially after she goes swimming or sweats a lot – even if the label says waterproof- she would rather be safe than sorry. She buys only broad spectrum to make sure it blocks out both UVA and UVB rays.

As a result, the age-defying woman is not likely to develop wrinkles, moles or sagging skin. She also at less of a risk for melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Apparently, a little sunscreen can go a long way. The good news is that we can all be the age-defying woman. All it takes is a little sunscreen. Pop some in your purse and apply it diligently to bring out your inner age-defying persona.

What Not to Do

Unfortunately, for almost every does in life, there is an equal and opposite don’t. Even if adopt every beneficial anti-aging lifestyle habit out there, one false move could undo the advantages easily. Here are a few habits that you should steer clear of so all your hard work pays off.

  • Smoke

Purse strings from puffing, eye wrinkles from squinting – whoever called smoking a glamourous habit?  The good news is that your body is the damage is actually reversible! Right after you quit smoking your blood pressure and circulation will begin making their ways back to normal and your risk of cancer will miraculously decrease. Talk about turning back the clock!

  • Slouch

Just because you’re not a teenager anymore doesn’t mean you’re immune to slouching. Not only is it unattractive  (unless you’re an emo musician), slouching can cause a host of health problems like headaches, back pain, and pulled muscles. It also puts musculoskeletal stress on your vertebrae and the disks between them.

Posture check infographic

Check your posture by standing against the wall with your head, shoulder blades, and buttocks touching it. Your feet should be 2-4 inches away from the wall. Run the palm of your hand along the space at your lower back. If your posture is correct, your hand should fit perfectly. If you have more space, it means your pushing out your hips and stomach too much. Contract your abs and back up to the wall. Not enough space, you’re too far forward and you need to pull your shoulders back.

  • Over-Drink

Drinking is a privilege that comes with age. Unfortunately indulging in that privilege excessively can come with more age. While the occasional glass of red wine can be quite beneficial (lowers heart attack risk, cholesterol, and risk of dementia), drinking too much can be quite detrimental (premature wrinkles, collagen loss, redness, dehydration, and puffiness). The recommendation for women is no more than one drink a day, two for guys.  Aim for that to keep the aging process slow and the lifestyle balanced.

 

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Flat(er) Belly Secrets

Closeup of woman's flat abs

If you thought crunches were the answer to getting a flat belly, it’s definitely time for you to think again. While abdominal workouts are an important part of keeping your belly flat, there are other things you can, and should be, doing to reduce bloat and bulge in your midsection. Keep reading to find out flat(er) belly secrets that really will help keep you trim and slim.

Reduce Stress

Anxiety and stress aren’t just health issues of the mind, they affect other parts of your body as well, and your stomach is one of the hardest hit. Stress and anxiety produce extra cortisol, which is a hormone that encourages your body to store fat. According to Jacob Seidell, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Public Health in the Netherlands, cortisol not only prompts the body to store fat, but it seems to direct this fat straight to your stomach. Take time every day to do deep-belly breathing. Inhale for a count of five, then exhale for a count of 10 and try to do this for at least five minutes every day.

Practice Good Posture

Turns out, your mom had some pretty good reasons for telling you to sit up straight, and one of those is that you can instantly look slimmer. Experts say that the simple act of standing tall can instantly make you appear up to five pounds lighter. You also want to avoid slumping in your chair, because this will accentuate and exaggerate the appearance of your stomach making you look heavier than you are.

Write it Down

There are certain foods and ingredients that are common bloat culprits like sugar and sodium, but you may have some other triggers that can cause your stomach to appear puffy. Patricia Bannan, author of Eat When the Time is Right, suggests keeping a food journal to keep track of what you are actually eating. She also recommends taking your journaling a bit further by writing down how your stomach is feeling after you eat to try and figure out if there are any foods that trigger your stomach to swell or bloat.

When it comes to having a flat belly, you know that eating well and exercising are crucial, but there are other things you can do to keep your stomach flat. Include fresh produce, fiber and whole grains in your diet, drink plenty of water and use the above tips to get a flat(er) belly.

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Habits of Women with Good Skin

Smiling young woman

Women with great skin. Is it all genetics?  Are some women just born with a rare gene that guarantees flawless complexion? If so, can it be cloned? The truth is, while many women with great skin are blessed by nature, there’s usually a certain amount of nurture that accompanies it. So until there’s solid evidence for excellent-skin genetics, here are some steps you can add to your routine to get your friends wondering how you do it.

Use the Correct Cleanser

According to dermatologist Ava Shamban, “For oil or acne-prone skin, a salicylic gel or benzoyl peroxide works great.  For dry, mature skin, use either a moisturizing glycolic, or a milky cleanser.  For skin with brown spots or melanoma, use a brightening wash, such as an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser.”

Drink the Right Liquids

While green juice may be one of the more suspicious looking beverages, it is also one of the most beneficial to your skin. Skincare facialist Joanna Vargas recommends drinking, “a shot of chlorophyll every morning to brighten, oxygenate and hydrate your skin.”  She adds, “Drinking chlorophyll also helps drain puffiness by stimulating the lymphatic system, so it’s also good for cellulite.”

Where can you get this magic elixir? Chlorophyll supplements can be found in the aisles of pharmacies and health food stores.

Sleep Well

Easier said than done? Perhaps, but even if you can’t get a full eight hours, silk pillowcases may make a difference.  Jesleen Ahluwalia, MD, says, “The material glides easily and prevents creasing and wrinkles.”

Wear Sunscreen Every Day

Sunscreen is not just for the beach! Dr. Debbie Palmer, New York dermatologist says, “We need to protect our skin even when we’re driving a car, flying in an airplane, or running errands.  It’s the daily UV exposure that contributes to the visible signs of aging.”  Experts recommend a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more, reapplied every couple of hours.

Moisturize Day and Night

Dr. Janet Pystowsky, MD says, “The best times to moisturize are right after you get out of the shower and right before you go to bed.” She also recommends avoiding heavily fragranced and harsh products to avoid irritation.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Omega -3 fatty acids are known to boost hydration and protect the natural moisture barrier of your skin. Flax seeds and walnuts are rich in omega-3. Also, be sure to eat foods with a low glycemic index, avoiding simple and complex carbohydrates to maintain a healthy glow.

Exfoliate Regularly

Dead skin cells can leave skin looking dull.  Dr. Mona Gohara says, “We lose 50 million skin cells a day, and without a little extra nudge, they may hang around, leaving the skin looking sullen.”  Gohara recommends that you use a pH neutral exfoliator to give dead cells that extra push.  Also, remember that exfoliation does not stop with the face. The skin on your body needs exfoliation as well.

Are you a woman with good skin?  What are your habits?  We’re dying to know!

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Get More Sleep, Exercise and Sun

Woman enjoying the sunset at the beach

It is easy to feel less happy and more anxious as winter drags on. The dreary weather and dark days leave many people feeling depressed, but there are things that you can do to fight these feelings. There are three simple things that you can do right now that will boost your feelings of happiness and provide benefits to your overall health: get more sleep, more exercise and more sun. Keep reading to find out why these activities benefit your health and how you can increase your happiness with more sleep, exercise and sun.

Sleep

One of the most important things that you can do for your health, physical and emotional, is to get enough sleep. Your body needs rest in order to function properly and if you deprive it of sleep, there are more serious consequences than being exhausted the next day. People who get too little sleep are more susceptible to health conditions like higher blood pressure, obesity and increased anxiety, but too much sleep has been linked to other cardiovascular conditions and even premature death. The magic number of hours that the average healthy adult needs per night is seven to nine hours according to the National Sleep Foundation.

To get truly restful sleep, experts recommend keeping your bedroom as electronics-free as possible. Leave the television and Blu-ray player in your living room and if you need background noise, invest in a white noise machine. If you have to have your phone on you, try turning it off at night or put it in a “do not disturb” mode before going to bed. Try to form a routine that will help you wind down at the end of the day, like turning the TV off an hour before bed and read a book or take the time to prepare a cup of tea, so that your body receives signals that it is time to calm down and prepare for rest.

Exercise

Experts recommend that you get 45 minutes of activity (or 30 if you are a beginner) and/or exercise daily to maintain optimal fitness. This number can seem daunting when your schedule is packed full of things you have to get done, but you don’t have to complete all of your exercise at one time. In fact, one study showed that women who exercised in short 10 minutes bursts a few times a day lost more weight and exercised more consistently than women who exercised for 20 to 40 minutes at a time.

Exercise provides so many health benefits, one of which is alleviating depression and anxiety. When it comes to sneaking exercise into your day, you are limited only by your imagination. Take your dog for a walk around the block, use some time from your lunch break to walk the stairs or do five to 10 minutes of jumping jacks several times a day.

Sun

You know that when it comes to signs of aging, it’s important to avoid overexposing yourself to the sun, but it is important to get some sunlight in your day. Your brain releases hormones in response to light and to darkness: serotonin is released due to light and melatonin is released when it is dark. Serotonin is a hormone in the brain that triggers happy thoughts and elevates your mood, and serotonin can create feelings of focus and calm. To see positive results from sunlight, experts recommend spending at least 5 to 15 minutes in the sun two to three times per week. Remember that while sun exposure does have positive benefits to your mood, it is important to get it in moderation and to always wear sunscreen prior to any UV exposure.

Don’t let the winter blues get you down, fight back! Aim to sleep for seven to nine hours every night – including weekends, because your body appreciates sticking to the routine – and make sure to spend some time in the sun and moving your body.

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Avoid Lifestyle Choices That Can Damage Skin

Young woman shielding her face from the sun

Quite often, we don’t believe that we’ve erred until the consequences become undeniable. We don’t accept that we’ve made poor lifestyle choices until the evidence is literally, all over our faces. However, there are precautions we can take and dietary changes we can make to ensure that our skin does not bear the burden of our sins.  Here are a few of those:

Protect Your Skin From the Sun

The feeling of sun on your skin can be a most welcome sensation, but a lifetime of exposure to the sun can cause age spots, wrinkles and increase the possibility of skin cancer.  For the most thorough protection:

  • Use Sunscreen: To prevent skin damage apply a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 every two hours, or more if you’re perspiring or swimming.
  • Stay in the Shade: Stay away from the sun between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, when its rays are most intense.
  • Protective Clothing: The best sun protection wardrobe consists of long pants, tightly woven long sleeved shirts and wide brimmed hats. Laundry additives can also be used to give clothing added ultraviolet protection while some clothing is designed specifically to block ultraviolet rays.

No Smoking

Cigarette smoke is among the most common contributors to aging skin.  Smoking constricts the blood vessels in the skin’s outermost layer, robbing it of vital nutrients and oxygen.  Smoking is also damaging to collagen and elastin, the fibers responsible for giving your skin elasticity and strength.  Also, the continuous pursing of the lips and squinting of the eyes associated with smoking can cause wrinkles to appear. If you’re a smoker, quitting is the best way to protect your skin.

Be Gentle

Although cleansing and shaving may be parts of your pampering routine, they can also be rather harsh on your skin.  Here are some tips for keeping skin care gentle.Shorter Bath Time: Long showers under hot water can strip natural oils from your skin.

  • Shower Time: Keep bath and shower time down and use lukewarm water rather than hot.
  • Use Mild Soap: Harsh detergents and soap rob skin of oils. Avoid this by choosing mild cleansers.
  • Shave Carefully: Always prepare skin by applying a lubricating lotion cream or gel prior to shaving.  Use a sharp clean razor and shave in the same direction your hair grows.
  • Pat Dry: Pat skin dry gently with a bowl after bathing, allowing some moisture to remain on your skin.
  • Moisturize: Use a moisturizer tailored to your skin type; consider one which incorporates an SPF for daily use.

Eat Well

Although a link between a diet and acne has yet to be found, research suggests that a vitamin C rich diet low in refined and processed carbohydrates and low in saturated fats can help skin to maintain a youthful appearance.  Eat a diet of vegetables, whole grains, fruits and lean proteins to keep looking and feeling your best.

Stress Management

Stress is a known trigger for skin inflammation and breakout.  Manage stress levels by setting limits on your responsibilities and setting time aside for the things you enjoy.

How do you keep relaxed, healthy and beautiful?  We want to know!

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Sleep More, Eat Better, Exercise Daily

Woman stretching in the gym

Sleep more, eat better, and exercise.  If health is the new religion, this is the Holy Trinity, and our body is our temple.  In order to say feeling and looking great, we need to create a balance of all three.  Here are some ways we can incorporate all three into our lives to stay happy and healthy.

Sleep

We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep.  Without it, your mind and body won’t work as effectively as it might otherwise. When you work out, you break muscles by putting stress on them, which makes them stronger, but to do this, you need to give your body adequate recovery time.

Sleep also restores attentiveness and brain function and can boost your daily productivity and effectiveness.  Try to get 8-10 hours a night. Getting less than this can hinder a person’s ability to lose weight.

According to a 1999 University of Chicago study, restricting sleep of healthy young adults to four hours a night was enough to produce insulin and glucose characteristics similar to those of diabetics. Although four hours may seem a bit extreme, it is not uncommon to see such links between lack of sleep and obesity, so be sure to get those zzz’s in.

Eat

When hunger strikes, the most convenient options are often not the most healthy, and sometimes convenience is a priority, but beware.  Journalist and nutritionist Rob Friedman cites a study reporting that participants who ate more fruits and vegetables and decreased fat intake were “happier, more engaged and more creative” than their less healthy counterparts.

The common misconception about food is that we think of it as “fuel”. According to Friedman, food is less predictable and what you eat can affect you in different ways so you need to “eat smart.”

Try to moderate the amount of sugar and caffeine in your diet, eat lean sources of protein and replace sweets with whole grain carbohydrates and fruits.  Drink plenty of water and make sure you get your key nutrients.

Exercise

Current studies show that exercising four to five times weekly for thirty minutes is best, however even ten minute energy walks can be effective for increasing energy levels and improving mood. Try to schedule regular exercise into your routine each day and try to do a variety of exercises to target different muscles and to keep from getting bored.

Although exercise is always beneficial, proper timing may help to optimize the benefits.  Because exercise speeds the metabolism it may be a good idea to get in a good workout at the start of the day, but exercising right before bedtime may interfere with sleep.  Sleep experts advise exercise in at least three hours before you turn in for the night and say the best time for exercise is actually late afternoon. This is because body temperature can take up to six hours to begin to drop after exercising.  Since cooler body temperatures are best for the onset of sleep, late afternoon exercise provides the proper amount of time for a cool down.

What do you think? Are good nutrition, a balanced diet and adequate sleep the three golden rules for staying healthy?  Let us know how you do it!  We love to hear it.

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Drink This for Great Skin

Young red-headed woman drinking red wine in the kitchen

While we are all aware of the many creams and surgery options available on the market to make our skin look more youthful, maintaining a healthy diet is also an important part of skin care. And it’s not just about what you eat, it’s about what you drink. Dr. Frank Lipman, MD, Founder of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center explains, “The nutrients in a juice get into the bloodstream more quickly than if you were to eat the fruits and vegetables on their own. Your skin is a mirror of your internal state, so if you’re healthy and clean on the inside, your skin cells will be more visibly nourished on the outside.” With that in mind, let’s take a look at some beverage options for healthier skin.

Red Wine

Research now indicates that proanthocyanidins, or the antioxidants found in red grapes can prevent oxidative reactions in your skin. Oxidative reactions often stem from sun exposure and it can damage and kills cells increasing the risk of sunburn, wrinkles and even skin cancer. However, keep in mind, the recommended cap on alcoholic beverages is one a day for women and two for men.

Coffee

A 2011 study from the Harvard Medical School found that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma (the most common type of nonmelanoma skin cancer) than those who do not…. and the more you drink, the higher your resistance. Those who drank 3 cups a day lowered their risk by 20% in women and 9% in men. Researcher Fengju Song, PhD offers that the caffeine in the coffee may help reduce potentially cancerous UV damaged cells by stimulating them to die off naturally.

Green Tea

According to the Journal of Nutrition, women who drank 4 cups of green tea a day for 12 weeks, lowered their risk of sunburn by 20%. It was also reported that these women increased their skin density and elasticity, resulting in a younger appearance. A 2011 study showed that the powerful antioxidants in the tea, called catechins, absorb UV light to protect the skin.

Green Juice with Kale

Dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian, M.D. at Schwieger Dermatology Group recommends kale as an amazing multi vitamin for skin. “It has Vitamin A (also found in anti-aging creams such as retinol) and helps promote cell growth and healthy cell turnover, getting rid of the older dull skin. Then there’s vitamin C and copper which are the foundation for collagen, and keep skin strong and able to heal itself properly.

Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice is another beverage recommended by Nazarian. She calls it a “super juice of sorts”, going on to say that it contains a huge amount of antioxidants and polyphenols, over twice as much that of green tea. This is beneficial in the nurturing of fibroblasts in the skin which produce collagen. More collagen means less fine lines and wrinkles. “The density of antioxidants found in pomegranate juice also improves the tone of skin,” says Nazarian.

Do you drink juice to improve your skin health? What juices do you find work the best?

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Wake Up with Clear Skin

Woman waking up in clean spacious white room

Breakouts are so annoying! There are many of us who fear looking into the mirror every morning because they are afraid that a new pimple may appear. Well, for those people, there are ways to make that morning routine less stressful. Here are some great ways to wake up to clearer skin.

Across the board, one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent morning breakouts is by washing your face before you go to sleep. For best results, wash your face a few hours before bedtime. If you wait until you’re tired, you’re more likely to blow it off and then toxins and dirt will stay on your skin all night. Also, nighttime is the best time to treat your skin. Dermatologist Laurie Polis of NYC says, “At night there is more blood flow to the skin’s surface and there’s nothing else on your face to interfere with absorption.”

Diet is also an important factor in keeping skin clear. Here are a few tips to a healthy diet that will lead to clearer skin.

Cut Back on Sugar

This is definitely challenging since sugar is in almost everything we eat. However, it is recommended to keep sugar intake to 2 to 4 servings of the fructose found in fruit. Avoid sugars in refined carbohydrates and candy aisle sweets which can exacerbate acne.

Eat Antioxidant Rich Foods

Antioxidants help prevent acne by circumventing free radical damage that harms the skin and immune system. They also help the skin by inhibiting external toxins from penetrating the living dermal layer. Foods rich in antioxidants include blueberries, pecans, dark chocolate, pecans and kidney beans. 

Avoid Processed Foods

Not all processed food is bad but they do tend to contain more sugars, fats and salts than we need while fresh ingredients can be healthier without being full of preservatives and additives. If you are acne prone, it is encouraged you buy fresh ingredients so you can make food at home, but if you are buying processed foods, read the labels carefully.

Health writer Augusta Falletta also recommends incorporating the following into your routines to prevent oil from getting into pores and causing breakouts:

  • Change pillowcases once a week to avoid oil buildup from hair, hair products and sweat from getting into skin.
  • Touching and picking at your face can also lead to spreading the oil and bacteria into pores, not to mention the risk of infection and scarring.
  • You should also clean makeup brushes every two weeks or so. The amount of product and bacteria build up that can happen is frightening and the longer you wait between cleanings, the more you are risking bacteria build up on your skin. It is recommended you use antibacterial soap and warm water to clean brushes, and lay flat to avoid warping.

So are you acne prone? What do you find works best to keep breakouts at bay? Have these methods worked for you?

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Mood Boosting Ideas

Woman enjoying a cup of tea

If the winter weather has you feeling down and you feel like these dreary days will never end, then you could probably use a mood boost. There are so many ways that you can create a happier day for yourself, relieve stress and alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression, that it was hard for us to choose just 10. Keep reading to find out what our favorite mood-boosting ideas and activities are and how you can use them to lift yourself up.

Write

Writing can help bring clarity to your current situation, so if you are feeling confused about your feelings, keeping a journal can help you sort the situation out. Another way you can write daily to boost your mood is to keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down two to three things that happened that day that you enjoyed or were particularly grateful for.

Grab a Drink

No, don’t head to the bar in the name of a mood lift. Instead, head to your kitchen to make a cup of tea. Green tea contains chemicals that fight depression and anxiety, as well as a healthy dose of antioxidants. You could also drink some hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice, because the scent of lemons can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Sleep

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep, particularly where your mood is concerned. Without enough sleep, you experience feelings of fatigue and exhaustion in addition to irritability and anxiety. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that the average healthy adult gets between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, even on the weekends.

Color

You may have noticed that during the past year adult coloring books have become increasingly available and popular. Sitting down with a coloring book and some gel pens or colored pencils can help you to calm down and relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.

Snack Well

Sometimes when your emotions are high, you crave for junk food and when you give in, you end up feeling even worse than you did before. The next time you crave for those potato chips, grab a handful of walnuts instead. Sure, they may not taste anything like potato chips, but they keep you full and feeling satisfied. Additionally, walnuts help boost your mood naturally by affecting the neurotransmitter, serotonin.

Shop

It may seem odd to include shopping on a list of positive ways to boost your mood, but if you spend wisely, shopping really can lift your mood. Researchers surveyed shoppers at a mall and found that those that bought experiences – a great meal, concert tickets or tickets to the movies – were far more satisfied than shoppers who spent their money purchasing items like shoes and clothes.

Head Outside

We already discussed that sunlight helps to keep your mood high all day, but sunlight isn’t the only benefit to going outdoors. Breathing in fresh air is refreshing for your body and provides most people with an instant lift, and being around nature and greenery can significantly improve your mood as well as increase productivity and mental clarity.

Clean Up

Clutter can make you feel way worse about yourself and your current situation, because it reminds you that you aren’t taking care of things you should be and this can make you feel like a failure. Simply reorganizing papers on your desk of folding clothes rather than throwing them on the floor can go a long way in helping you feel like you’re taking control, which boosts your mood.

Open the Blinds

When you first wake up in the morning, open your curtains and start your day off with some sunlight. “Brightening up your bedroom when you wake up helps you feel happier all day,” says Michael Terman, Ph. D. and the director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center.

Hang Out With Your Furry Friends

A study conducted by the University of Missouri – Columbia noted that people who spent just 15 minutes a day petting a dog experienced the release of the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. In addition to increasing these “happy” hormones, petting a dog was also linked with a reduction in the stress hormone, cortisol. Studies using kittens found the same result, so it doesn’t seem to matter if you are a dog or a cat person.

Keeping a smile on your face can help bust you out of a bad mood, and sometimes looking at a situation differently is all you need to get through it. Practice these 10 mood-boosting ideas any time you need a little bit more happiness and peace in your life.

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Preventing Foot Problems

Woman taking off her heels and massaging her feet on the sidewalk

Pay Attention to Your Feet

The number one thing you can do to prevent foot problems is to simply pay attention to your feet. Several ways you can give your feet the attention and care they deserve include:

  • Check Them Out – It seems obvious, but many people don’t really look at their feet. Give your feet a quick check and look for any blisters, cracked skin, cuts or sores. These are often minor problems, but it if these issues are related to your nerves or circulation, they could indicate larger problems.

  • Cleanse and Moisturize – It’s important to take the time to actually cleanse your feet every day, and adding moisture does more for your feet than make them look smoother in sandals. When you have dry, cracked skin on your feet, you are more vulnerable to infection, so it’s best to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.

  • Clean Socks – Experts at the Arthritis Foundation advise wearing socks to prevent food problems saying, “always wear socks or hose with your shoes to help protect your feet and reduce friction, which can cause blisters.”

Wear Sensible Shoes

Yes, your three-inch pointy-toe heels look amazing, but to prevent foot problems you want to limit the amount of time you spend in shoes that don’t provide your feet with support. High heels do far more than putting pressure on the balls of your feet, they actually change the makeup of your feet. “A three-inch heel causes pressure seven times your body weight. This changes the pattern of (cushioning) fat on the bottom of your foot,” says Dr. Marlene Reid, former president of the American Association for Women Podiatrists. That doesn’t mean you have to forgo all heels forever, but be sure to take a break from them every now and then. Additionally, look for platform shoes that raise both your heel and your toe for better cushioning.

Exercise

Foot exercises help keep your feet strong and flexible, and will help to prevent foot problems. The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following foot exercises:

  • Toe Pull – Place a rubber band around all five toes and then spread your toes. Hold for five seconds and repeat 10 times per foot.

  • Big-Toe Stretch – Put your rubber band around your big toes, then pull your toes away from each other towards your other toes. Hold for five seconds and repeat 10 times

  • Achilles Stretch – Lean against a wall with your palms flat on the wall and place one foot forward, and one foot back. Keeping your heels on the floor, lean forward and feel the pull in your Achilles tendon and calf. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat three times.

You don’t have to spend hours each week working out your feet or buffing them to perfection, but be sure that you are taking the time to properly care for your feet. Paying attention to your feet and giving them the care they require helps to prevent future foot problems. Be good to your feet, and they will be good to you.