I spent my college days earning an income as a makeup artist for a luxury cosmetic brand. I traveled to upscale department stores and fancy events all across the Southeast, promoting skincare and makeup products. I contoured, highlighted and smoked out the eyes of women of all ages and ethnicities. And, although they each harbored a unique set of concerns and struggles, almost all of them had a specific commonality: They’d poke fun at their unhealthy eating or lifestyle habits only to, in the next breath, request that I make them “look as young and hot as possible.”
As though a makeup brush alone were a magic wand, capable of erasing all of their health-sabotaging indiscretions.
I was earning my degree in journalism, but had a vested interest in holistic healing and nutrition, enrolling in several upper level elective classes on the subject. I was absorbing so much about the art of keeping the body well, engulfed by my lectures in class and devouring books by night, and it began to sicken me that I was spending my work days layering these women in chemical-laden products I was sure would only serve to further contaminate their livers and kidneys – bringing about endocrine disruption over time.
I’d share my stance on the importance of feeding the cells with a healthy diet and lifestyle habits, recommending foods and herbs to try, doctors to research and websites to visit. But I was almost always met with a dismissive rebuttal about the sky-high cost of organic foods and supplements. It amazed me – these were the same women who were willing to drop $200 on a single night cream and $25 on a single tube of lipgloss – on top of expensive salon appointments, tanning packages and spa treatments.
The level of disconnect was unbelievable. I would always urge them to consider what holistic health experts have shouted for decades: What we feed our cells truly becomes a part of us, and will eventually be revealed in our appearance.
Below is a list of suggested foods, supplements and tips that are guaranteed to feed your beauty and youthfulness beyond anything a cream, potion or gadget will ever deliver.
Maintaining hormonal balance is essential to maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your skin clear, bright and hydrated, avoiding excessive bloating during your period and maintaining a positive outlook. Your hormones determine, in part, your body fat distribution. When there is an imbalance, you a experience not-so-beautiful mood disturbances.
So if you have been prescribed a birth control pill, only to watch as your skin erupted with an Everest of pimples, or witnessed copious amounts of your hair collect in the shower drain, you know this saga painfully well. Your hormonal health affects the quality of everything – from your mindset to your hair, your shape and your skin tone.
These understated berries are loaded with antioxidants and rank low on the glycemic scale. I’m most charmed, however, by their ability to stimulate the pituitary gland to increase the production of human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is essential to staying youthful and sparkling – in BMI, mental capacity and hair and skin quality – for as long as possible.
Evening Primrose Oil
The omega-6 content in evening primrose oil makes it a brain booster and hormone regulator, reducing brain fog and lessening bloating. An impressive source of GLA, research has shown that it reduces inflammation and assists in metabolic function as well. As a side effect, you may end up with glowing skin, thicker hair and milder menstrual cramps.
This adaptogenic plant has Incan roots, and is a friend to your entire endocrine system. Not only may it rev up your libido, it may also improve body fat distribution, increase egg quality, regulate your menstrual cycles and reduce the dreadful monthly breakouts. It is rich in amino acids, and contains essential minerals that nourish the thyroid, thereby preserving energy, metabolism and youthfulness.
Everything you see on the outside is a result of what is occurring on the inside. When there is imbalance in the gut, your outside will reflect that (oftentimes in the skin and under-eye area). In our antibiotic- and sugar-obsessed culture, we are experiencing a plethora of imbalances. Most of us are lacking in the proper colonization of gut-loving bacteria. But when we restore proper balance to your gut, the benefits become evident in our appearance.
This is one of the richest sources of healthy gut-loving bacteria on the planet. If you suffer from abdominal bloating and skin issues, you can only benefit from its consumption.
Not long ago, Dr. Mercola mailed a sauerkraut sample to a lab to have it analyzed for probiotic content, later reporting the impressive results to his listeners, saying, “We found in a four to six ounce serving of the fermented vegetables there were literally 10 trillion bacteria.”
And it’s easy to make. Simply add freshly sliced cabbage to a pot, top with some kosher salt and cover. The bacteria present on the surface of the cabbage leaves will ferment the vegetable’s natural sugars, transforming it into lactic acid, then – voila! – sauerkraut is born.
Inner Eco Probiotic Kefir
This Denver- based company makes their award-winning probiotic kefir drink from young green coconuts. Whereas most probiotic supplements contain billions of live and active cultures per dosage, this one contains trillions.
Most users report a significant reduction in abdominal bloating rather quickly, and a few boast a reduction in under-eye circles and hollowness (this area of the face is connected to digestion) as well as facial puffiness.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a most treasured beauty elixir. A potent source of lauric acid, it is powerfully anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and supportive of the thyroid gland. I consider it to be a fountain of radiance and wellness in a jar. I shave with it, rely on it to remove every trace of makeup effortlessly, use it as a pre-shampoo hair treatment, use it as the base for DIY creams and scrubs, and the list stretches on.
Nothing, however, is more important than the benefits I receive from consuming it. I bake with it, spread it on toast and muffins, and add it to smoothies and oatmeal. It tastes delicious and provides an energizing, therapeutic effect.
Wild Sockeye Salmon
Wild salmon, unlike farm-raised salmon, is a rich source of astaxanthin, owing the powerful antioxidant for its distinctive color. Astaxanthin is a beauty nutrient that can not only provide your skin with a peachy glow (ever wonder where pink flamingos get their gorgeous color?), it provides natural protection from the sun.
In his best-selling book, “Dr. Perricone’s 7 Secrets to Beauty, Health and Longevity,” Nicholas Perricone, M.D., also recommends that his readers head for the seafood counter if they wish to maintain a healthy weight. “Marine sourced omega 3-s cause the body to burn calories for immediate energy needs, before they are turned into hard-to-lose, inflammation-inducing abdominal fat. The metabolic magic trick means that we will end up carrying less weight,” he says.
Healthy Hydration & Nutrients
Cellular hydration is not just about guzzling water. You need to eat your water for lasting, sustainable hydration that not only supports your digestive, immune and musculoskeletal systems, but reveals itself in plump, smooth skin.
Bell peppers, celery, cucumber, spinach and zucchini are among the most hydrating vegetables, and cantaloupe, grapefruit, raspberries, strawberries and watermelon are the best fruit options.
Sweet potatoes may taste like candy, but there is no need to eat them with caution or guilt. In fact, they are one of the most optimal foods a diabetic can dine upon. Keeping one’s blood sugar in check is crucial to not only keeping one’s inflammation levels in control, but it also plays a role in body fat distribution. Eating sweet potatoes helps to regulate your body’s insulin levels, which may help to keep fat off of those not-so-lovely love handles.
Perhaps the coolest, quirkiest benefit the sweet potato possesses is not their potent beta-carotene content, but the presence of the enzyme catalase. You may or may not be familiar with this enzyme, but it has an incredibly anti-aging role. Catalase neutralizes hydrogen peroxide. If one produces large amounts of hydrogen peroxide but their body stops producing catalase, the result will be greying hair. This is why some people turn grey in their early 20’s, while others may not begin to grey until their 50’s. Have I just given you the secret to avoiding grey hair and staying as hot as possible for as long as possible? Maybe. Regardless, you need to curl up with a hot sweet potato.
And, while you’re at it, skip the butter and add a dollop of extra virgin coconut oil to your baked sweet potato. You’re welcome.