It’s Summer Y’all! I love long summer days and the inherent relaxed vibe that summer season gives. Get-togethers with family and friends are more available, exercise becomes fun instead of a chore and delicious fruits and vegetables are abundant at the farmers markets.
Get ready to learn all things SKIN in this newsletter. Learn how best to take care of your skin during this summer season. Why….it’s hard! In the summer we get more exposure to sun, chlorine and chemicals (examples bug-spray and sun-screen) and we tend to become easily dehydrated which is very hard on the skin.
The Skin is the largest organ of the body. It is composed of three layers the dermis, the epidermis and the hypodermis. The epidermis makes skin cells, protects and gives color; the dermis brings blood to the skin and makes sweat, oil and hair; the hypodermis attaches the muscle to the bones, stores fat and controls body temperature.
Some fun facts about the skin:
- the average person’s skin covers an area of 2 square meters.
- skin accounts for about 15% of your body weight.
- the skin renews itself every 28 days.
- your skin has at least five different types of receptors that respond to pain and touch.
- the average person has about 300 million skin cells.
- a single square inch of skin has about 19 million cells and up to 300 sweat glands.
TAKING CARE: The Skin Microbiome
We are quite familiar now with the Gut Microbiome and how important it is to our overall health. With the use and overuse of antibiotics and pain medicines, an increase in C-Sections limiting the initial exposure to Mom’s beneficial bacteria, poor diets, high stress levels and the lack of outside exposure to soil and dirt we have challanged our gut-microbiomes. In previous articles I have mentioned ways to increase good bacteria for your gut microbiome such as probiotics, prebiotics, fermented foods, healthier sleep and stress managment.
The Skin Microbiome, just like the Gut Microbiome protects us from infections and dysbiosis by crowding out the “bad guys” and colonizing the “good guys”. Microbiomes are their own “ecosystem” so to speak. Your skin is home to more than 1,000 species of bacteria. The Skin keeps an acidic PH level which inhibits growth of dangerous pathogens, bacteria, fungus and viruses. The Skin Microbiome aids in keeping the skin barrier whole and hydrated, assists in healing of wounds and helps to protect against sun and allergens.
The skin is under constant assault from environmental agents, harsh cleansers and soaps, deodorants, chemical suncreens and even medications and cosmetics. Our obsession with cleanliness may be doing more harm than good for microbiota balance. Most skin problems (from acne to eczema) likely affect the skin microbiome and may be a result of changes to this ecosystem due to our modern lifestyle.
Here are several ways to help take care of your Skin Microbiome and encourage skin health:
- Drink plenty of water! Fluids are critical for skin health.
- Spend time outdoors doing activities like gardening and camping to get natural exposure to a variety of soil based organisms.
- To ensure you are getting a diverse colony of bacteria you can take a probiotic with a wide variety of soil based organisms
- Avoid antibacterial soaps & choose biome friendly soap. Use natural soaps that support the skin’s natural microbiome instead. Some examples are a natural liquid castile soap, goats milk soap and using natural oils such as coconut or jojoba, (as soap) to have on hand.
- Eliminate dryer sheets from your home. There are many reasons why and one is they can cause allergic dermatitis. http://www.naturallivingideas.com/dryer-sheets-dangers/
- Use natural fibers like cotton, linen and hemp instead of synthetic fibers which can harbor bacteria that are out of balance with the normal skin ecosystem.
- Sweat most certainly contributes to healthy skin bacteria. Sweat daily either during exercise or in a sauna or steam. Opening the sweat glands allows toxins to move out from the skin.
- Massage your skin (Abhyanga) with sesame, jojoba or coconut oil. These oils “feed” the skin.
- Dry brush your skin a few times a week before showering to improve blood and lymphatic flow, which in turn improves the look and texture of your skin.
- Body scrubs are great ways to remove dead skin and allow for new skin growth to come up and out clean and clear. I prefer salt scrubs to sugar as you get the benefit of the mineral content of salt.
JUNE’S NUTRITION CORNER: EATING FOR SKIN HEALTH
Have you ever heard of ORAC Values? These are antioxidant values of foods which are listed in ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) units. ORAC units was originally developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
You can browse foods alphabetically to find their ORAC values, or you can find the highest antioxidants and anti-aging “superfoods” sorted by their ORAC values – higher values imply a higher measured amount of in vitro antioxidant activity. Date of most recent update: January 16, 2018. https://www.superfoodly.com/orac-values/
Foods higher on the ORAC scale may be more effective at neutralizing free radicals, which may slow the oxidative processes and free radical damage that can contribute to age-related degeneration and disease. Note that the highest ORAC valued foods are “superfoods” spices and herbs. Is it a boost to overall nutrition and antioxidants when you cook with herbs and spices, so do yourself a favor and always add in some to your meals. Here is a great book on the properties and benefits of spices https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0751NRF46/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb . And try to incoorporate high ORAC foods like Spirulina and Chaga Mushrooms which you can find in powder and pill forms on Amazon.
Another way to eat for the skin is by color of the food. You can always find high levels of antioxidants and nutrients in colorful food. Don’t judge a book by its cover, well you can judge food by its color! A very easy way to eat healthfully is to eat the colors of the rainbow daily. There is lycopene, beta-carotine, indoles, catechins, flavonoids, cryptoxanthins, anthocyanins, vitamin C and vitamin E in colorful foods. All which are powerful for skin health. What Color is Your Diet by Dr. David Gerber is a great reference book for “colorizing your diet”. https://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Your-David-Heber/dp/0060988622/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527851369&sr=8-1&keywords=what+color+is+your+diet
JUNE’S AYURVEDA/YOGA CORNER: MARMA THERAPY
I just completed a continuing education weekend studing the very effective and powerful technique – Marma Point Therapy – taught by my Ayurvedic Teacher/Doctor Dr. Shekar. Marma Point’s are vital energy points, (centers), in the body, (there are 107 points). Marma Point Massage promotes health and well-being by stimulating these energy pathways. Marma points are also addressed during an Ayurvedic Abyhanga massage, (which I reviewed in the last newsletter) and stretching through Yoga. By moving the skin, fascia and muscles you literally stimulate Marma points to help heal and detoxify organs and systems. You can do your own face and neck Marma Point therapy which:
- enhances lymphatic drainage;
- cures sinusitis problem;
- cures headache;
- helpful in acne and dull skin as it improves blood circulation;
- gives glowing and healthy skin.
If you are interested in learning face and neck Marma points this highlighted article below is chalk-full of information.
Two Ayurvedic herbs that are on the top of the ORAC list, and something to consider supplementing with are Triphila and Chyawanprash. Triphila is a wonderful tonic used mostly for detoxification and bowel tonification. Triphala is made of a blend of three fruits; amla berries, haritaki, and vibhitaki. Each of these tests out high for antioxidant content in their own right and when combined, are believed to offer synergistic benefits. https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/triphala-tablets-11/
Chyawanprash is a fruit jam and the most popular herbal formula in Ayurveda. The traditional recipe calls for 35 plant extracts, plus ghee and honey. Chyawanprash rejuvenates all tissues in the body, supports overall strength and energy, supports a healthy immune response, supports heart and respiratory health, tonifies the reproductive system and kindles digestive fire. https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/herbs/chyawanprash/
UPCOMING NOURISH YOUR HEALTH CLASSES
I do not have any classes scheduled in June as of yet, but please email or message me if you have any interest in my Clean Eating Program or Elimination Diet Program for yourself or a small group.
BUT….I do have HUGE NEWS! I am opening Maryville Yoga Shala in July! Maryville Yoga Shala will offer between 16-20 yoga classes a week taught by myself and four other dedicated, inspiring yoga teachers. The “Shala” will be a space in the community that will foster health and wellbeing while finding self-realization through practice and reflection. Maryville yogis can practice in a beautiful, safe space until their heart’s content! We will offer many types of yoga instruction, Bikram to Power and even Beginner’s Vinyasa.
Shala is a Sanskrit word that means “house, home or community”. It is my intention that this studio feels like home to those that choose to practice there. I am realizing a long-time dream in this venture and I would love to have you be a part of its birth and journey. Keep posted on Shala opening through social media https://www.facebook.com/maryvilleshala/ and the forthcoming website www.maryvilleyogashala.com
JUNE’S NOURISHING RECIPES
Tomatoe, Watermelon, Cucumber and Basil Salad
Ingredients: 1 small seedless watermelon, 2 lbs heirloom tomatoes, 2 kirby or other pickling cucumbers, 1/2 cup of goat or feta cheese (omit if dairy free), 3 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of white balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup finely chiffonade basil strands, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp white pepper.
Directions: Cut the rind away from the watermelon and then cut into 1 inch wedges. Slice the cucumbers and tomatoes in thin rounds. Toss the watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula, cheese, olive oil, vinegar and basil together in a large bowl. Season with sea salt and white pepper. Refrigerate 1-2 hrs and serve chilled.
Baby Arugula and Strawberry Salad
Ingredients: Dressing: 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil. Salad: 10 ounces baby arugula, 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced, ½ small red onion, sliced, 8 ounces feta cheese (omit to keep this vegan), 1/4 cup of pecans or walnuts.
Directions: Toast the nuts in a dry skillet until lightly browned and fragrance emits. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or a jar with a fitted lid. Whisk or shake until emulsified. In a large bowl, add the arugula and some of the dressing. Toss to coat the arugula. Add the remaining salad ingredients and more dressing. Toss gently.
Until July’s Nourishing Newsletter……
“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” translated to mean “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
Have a great month friends and enjoy your health!