We know that the perfect foundation, or runway-ready mascara will improve our looks every time, but how can we get that elusive show-stopping glow sans makeup? It’s all about looking inside. Our appearance is greatly dictated by what is happening inside of the body. Everything from how our hair and nails grow, to how our skin looks and feels, and even the clarity of our eyes – it’s all dependent on how well our body functions.
Based on Chinese and integrative medicine, each of our organ/gland systems is related to an external feature. For example, the health of the skin is rooted in the digestive and hormonal system, the eyes are a reflection of the liver, and the hair and nails are related to the kidneys. If any of these systems or organs are not functioning properly, whether due to nutritional deficiency, infection, stress or toxicity, our external features suffer. Our goal then is to support our internal health in order to obtain the beauty we strive for on the outside. Makeup becomes a mere enhancement to our already vibrant and glowing features. Here are eleven unique ways to get the nutritional support and the confidence you need to go completely au naturel…
Want plump, tight, wrinkle-free skin? Then hydrate, and hydrate well. Water accounts for 70% of our cell’s mass, making water essential to their proper structure. Just like a raisin shrivels when dehydrated, and plumps up with hydrated, so does the skin. This is physiology at its most basic, and it is the foundation for beautiful skin.
Any food that is not properly digested and processed by the digestive tract becomes a toxin. These toxins lead to an immune reaction that manifests at the skin. Everything from acne and inflammation, to psoriasis and eczema, can occur as the body tries to rid itself of these toxins through the skin. Therefore, ensuring the health of the digestive tract is key. Aloe is one of the agents to do just that. Aloe heals the intestinal lining, promotes normal bowel movements, strengthens the immune system and calms inflammation, making it an essential tool for clear, smooth skin.
When there is an infection present, latent or active, the body is constantly trying to fight it. As a result, infectious toxic materials are constantly being circulated in the body. A main pathway of their elimination is through the skin. This may result in conditions such as cystic acne and red irritated skin. The best way to tackle bacterial or fungal infections is with garlic. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Therefore, consuming garlic regularly is key to clear and healthy skin.
The eyes are the window into the soul, so the clearer and whiter they are the better. In traditional Chinese health theory, the “liver” opens into the eyes and controls vision. Therefore, the health of the liver is key to the beauty of the eyes. Goji berries are utilized as a powerful liver tonic. Goji berries contain carotenoids that promote vitamin A production and provide important eye nutrients, including zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid that protects the health of the retina, and the pigment that coats the retina (the back wall of the eye). In addition, goji berries strengthen the liver, benefiting the eyes and vision by clearing obstructions and allowing energy to flow freely to them.
Stress, that time of the month, eating too much soy, or not sleeping well, are all things that lead to a skin outbreak, specifically around the chin and on the upper back. That is because all four wreak havoc on our hormones. The goal is to keep our hormones in balance despite these factors, which can be done with the help of the Andean superfood, maca. Maca is a root that has adaptogenic properties, meaning that it helps the body to overcome any stress whether physical or mental. It does this by strengthening the body, and keeping our hormones in harmony. So the path to clear skin, despite the ebbs and flows of modern life, is with the consumption of maca.
Fresh-pressed green juice that is made of dark leafy greens, cucumbers, celery and herbs contain the enzymes, vitamins and minerals needed for beautiful skin, hair and nails. Specifically, it contains potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, copper, B vitamins, and vitamin C, which are used as building blocks. It also contains vital antioxidants and enzymes that are used to protect the skin, hair and nails from environmental damage. So start your day with a large glass of fresh-pressed green juice, to give your body exactly what it needs to shine!
HE SHOU WU
Also known as “old black hair,” he shou wu is a tonic herb prized in Chinese medicine for its influence over the hair. When taken regularly it prevents hair loss, as well as the loss of color. It also strengthens both hair and nails, increasing their growth. It does this by tonifying the kidneys, and through its antioxidant content. He shou wu contains SOD (superoxide dismutase), an antioxidant known for its ability to protect our cells from damage, allowing the proper growth of the hair and nails.
If you have taken any type of hair and nails supplement before, then you have noticed they all contain biotin. Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that is needed by the body for healthy hair and nails. If deficient, hair loss occurs and the nails become brittle, making its supplementation into the diet key. Almonds happen to be very high in biotin, so make sure to include them into your diet regularly. Raw, unroasted almonds are best.
WILD SALMON OR CHIA SEEDS
Skin, hair and nail health are all dependent on nutrition, specifically the omega-3 essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are literally that which composes our cells, and without proper levels, the cells become weak and damaged. Essential fatty acids also reduce inflammation in the skin, and protect it from sun damage. They minimize photodamage and the potential thickening of the skin due to UV exposure. Essential fatty acids also prevent inflammation of the scalp and nail beds, which leads to retarded hair and nail growth, dandruff and hair loss. That is why eating foods rich in essential fatty acids, such as wild salmon or chia seeds, is so important.
The fastest way to get a youthful glow in your skin is with schizandra. Schizandra is a tonic herb known for its ability to improve the beauty of the skin. The daily consumption of schizandra protects the skin and dramatically improves its appearance. Due to the astringent quality of schizandra, the skin tends to hold its moisture, reducing the appearance of fine lines and imparting upon it an ageless radiance. It is amazing how fast acting schizandra can be, showing results in as short as one week’s time.
If you are looking for that bright-red, lip-stained color of your favorite lipstick, try amping up the heat of your dishes or beverages. Cayenne pepper has a high concentration of a substance called capsaicin that helps to stimulate blood flow in the body. By increasing blood flow, the natural color of the lips will darken, leaving you with that sought-after luscious red color. Another bonus is that spicy foods such as cayenne can help to plump the lips upon contact, giving that bee-stung appearance.