10 Tips for Healthy, Younger-Looking Skin

Wellness Blog Post Week 4: Healthy, Younger-Looking Skin!

We all want to feel better and perform better, but what about LOOK better?

Why wouldn’t we want out OUTSIDE to match our INSIDE? This week I am discussing a few easy tips to create younger, healthier looking skin.

10 Tips for Healthy Skin:

  1. Limit Sun Exposure: Your skin can get UV damage any time of year. As little as 10 minutes a day of UV exposure can cause visible wrinkles in just a matter of months. Choose a daily moisturizer with built-in sunscreen of at least SPF 30, and use NRF2-activating skincare to promote cellular healing from UV damage.
  • Vitamin D: Get early-morning sun exposure to replenish your vitamin D reserves. Stuck inside all day? You can take a vitamin D supplement, check out what dosage is right for you here.
  1. Reduce Stress: Simply put, stress shows on your skin. It’s not just a matter of undesirable frown lines. Cortisol, the stress hormone comes out to play during periods of prolonged pressure, can cause inflammation in the body, and that can break down collagen. In addition, cortisol can cause redness and acne flare-ups. So take the time to breathe deep, go for a walk or run—whatever calms you. Supplement with a NRF2 activator to naturally reduce cellular stress; I recommend Protandim, made of 5 common herbal ingredients that turns on your body’s antioxidant enzymes. Oh, yeah!
  1. Wash Away the Day: You’re likely to be aware of your skin in the morning as you’re getting ready for your day, but the most important time to give it attention is actually at night. The dirt and bacteria that settles in throughout the day, plus any leftover makeup, can clog pores and cause blemishes. Before you turn in for the night, use a gentle cleanser that will take the grime without stripping your skin’s natural oils.
  1. Nutrition is Key: “Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well. The healthier the foods are that you consume, the better your skin will look,” says Samantha Heller, MS, RD, a clinical nutritionist at NYU Medical Center in New York City.
  • Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums. The common link between these four foods is their high antioxidant content.
  • Consume Good Fats- Salmon, Walnuts, Canola Oil, and Flax Seed. These seemingly unrelated foods all deliver essential fatty acids, and thus are key foods for healthy skin.
  1. Hydrate: Missing the mark on your eight glasses a day isn’t the only thing that can affect your skin’s hydration. Dry air, harsh soaps, and skin care products that contain alcohol can also make you feel shriveled. So drink your water, and use a good moisturizer as soon as you cleanse. Covering up with a scarf or using a humidifier can also help keep moisture locked in.
  1. Don’t Smoke: Smoking, with many other harmful effects, also bring with it puffy eyes, skin infections, wrinkles, premature ageing and even skin cancer. Because smoking constricts the tiny blood vessels in the outer skin layers, less blood can get there to nourish the skin with oxygen and nutrients. Smoking can also damage collagen and elastin. Even the facial expressions used for smoking (puckering the lips, squinting the eyes to keep smoke out) can contribute to fine lines.
  1. Use Toner: Perhaps the most often skipped step of any skin care regimen, toner can make the biggest difference. The right toner can rejuvenate your skin and help even out skin tone. Be sure you look for one that’s not too harsh. A good toner will balance and brighten your skin. Try the Truescience Perfecting Lotion: A revolutionary, hybrid (toner + serum) lotion for smoother, radiant and brighter looking skin. This Nrf2-packed formula helps diminish discoloration and visibly improves skin tone.
  1. Stay Active: Your skin is no exception to the many benefits of regular exercise. Stick to a workout routine, and your skin is likely to firm up. That’s because cardiovascular workouts nourish your skin with oxygen and boost collagen production. So get your heart pumping and watch your skin snap into place.
  1. Stay Cool: It can be relaxing to sit back in a hot bath, but don’t do it all the time. Hot water removes oils from your skin. Shorter showers that are more on the warm side are gentler on skin and less likely to strip it of its own natural defenses against aging. Just ace these basics, and you’ll find that radiant skin you were meant to have.
  1. Don’t Forget Your Eyes: The delicate skin around your eyes can be the most susceptible to bags and wrinkles. A gentle eye cream or serum can be just the thing to naturally lift and tighten the eye area and give you a younger look. This stuff is the bomb! Truescience Eye Corrector Serum: Deeply moisturizing, this rich eye serum visibly tightens and firms upper eyelids to help with tired looking eyes. Got baggage? This serum diminishes puffiness above and below the eye, evens skin tone and dark circles that are visible signs of premature aging.

References:

http://www.lifevantage.com/blog/10-secrets-for-young-looking-skin/

http://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/top-tips-for-younger-looking-skin.htm

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/164494.php

http://www.prevention.com/beauty/beauty/7-steps-younger-looking-skin

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/expert-answers/hydrated-skin/faq-20058067

http://www.webmd.com/beauty/skin/skin-food

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/skin-care/art-20048237

Re-Cover Your Body’s Ability

Weekly Wellness Series: Blog Post 3 of 12

This week’s topic is RECOVERY [from workouts], and tips to increase rate of recovery. You’ll find an underlying focus on reducing inflammation, reducing stress, improving nutrition, and enhancing you body’s own protective and recuperative abilities.

Train Like an Elite: Quality Workouts AND Quality Recovery

-Who wants to spend more than 90 minutes at the gym? Not me! Even elite-level endurance athletes train for only 8-10 hours per week because they understand that to get the most out of their training, they have to push themselves hard for a shorter period of time with a specific goal in mind (speed, strength, endurance, or flexibility).

-Rest days are JUST as important are workdays. Dedicate at least one-day each week to rest your body, and allow muscles to repair and rebuild.

Pair Macronutrients Like a Pro

-After intense workouts you need to replenish your glycogen stores with quality carbohydrates. Don’t go reaching for the cookie jar! That will just set you in a sugar high, followed by a blood sugar crash. Avoid refined carbohydrates (baked goods, white pastas, white breads), and instead choose whole grains (quinoa, barley, amaranth) and whole grain products (quinoa pasta, sprouted breads).

-Consume your carbohydrates with lean protein sources and healthy fats. This slows the absorption of the sugars in the carbs, and reduces the inflammatory response and blood sugar spikes that carbohydrates cause when eaten alone.

Consume Healthy Fats: Eat more omega-3 fatty acids and less omega-6 fatty acids.

-High concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids are highly inflammatory. You can find omega-6 in vegetable oils, such as canola, soybean or corn.

-Eating more sources of omega-3 has shown to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and decrease risk of heart disease. Quality sources of omega-3 include: mackerel, wild salmon, tuna, shrimp, flaxseeds, walnuts, and Brussels sprouts.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

-Muscles are 80% water, and even a 1% change in body water can impair athletic performance AND recovery.

– Aim to consume 125-150% of estimated fluid loss during the 4-6 hours following your workout session.

– Add electrolytes to your regular beverages, or consume all-natural electrolyte drinks to promote efficient water absorption. Coconut water and NUUN are two electrolyte drink options I use for myself. If I am hydrating throughout the day I dilute the coconut water with 1-part plain water, but if I am using after a workout then I drink at full concentration.

Supplement Wisely: More Is NOT Always Better!

– Remember when I mentioned, “enhancing your body’s own protective and recuperative abilities?” This means assuring a high intake of nutrients and herbal extracts that activate natural survival and performance pathways in the body- including turmeric, milk thistle, green tea, ashwagandha, bacopa, New Zealand pine bark, quercetin, and theanine.

– Activating the Nrf2 pathway (with Protandim) is a built-in way to turn on your body’s own production of antioxidant enzymes and anti-inflammatory proteins. These enzymes are 1 million times more effective than Vitamin C at neutralizing free radicals and reducing cellular stress. A 2014 study shows that Vitamin C and E supplementation hampers cellular adaptation to endurance training in humans, while NRF2 activation through Protandim supplementation promotes cellular adaptation.

-Maintaining mental and physical performance during exercise (with Axio) is my secret weapon to getting into that feel-good “flow” state where energy, mood, and focus are at peak levels. This way I can get the most out of the 60-90 minutes I spend at the gym, and still have enough mental and physical energy to get all things done during the day.

 you-cant-ou-train-bad-nutrition-small


Resources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=84

http://bestfutureyou.com/2015/03/28/12-fitness-tips-from-the-worlds-fittest-ceo/

http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/eating-to-recover-how-and-what-to-eat-post-workout

http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/foods_that_build_muscle/Water_The_Muscle_Bath.php

http://nrf2science.com/studies.php

Hey Sleepy-head! I’m talking to you!

Wellness series blog post 2 of 12, and we are discussing one of my favorite topics: SLEEP!

An adequate amount of quality shut eye is crucial for optimal health and wellbeing. Lacking in zzz’s can lead to negative side effects, such as decreased mental alertness and concentration, increased risk of accidents and injuries, weight gain, decreased mood, suppressed immune function, and increased risk of chronic disease.

Let’s take a look at the less visible consequences of sleep deprivation:

1. Increased Cellular Stress

– In everyday activities, you are exposed to various internal (by-products from cellular processes) and external (toxins, pollutants, and chemicals) stressors. These stressors create tiny free radicals, which sole purpose is to wreck havoc, resulting in cellular damage. While you sleep, your body works to repair this free radical damage throughout the body. Without sleep, the build up of free radicals leads to damage within your cells, and though the effects may go unnoticed for some time… the long-term effects could lead to permanent damage to your health.

2. Decreased Brain Function

– Contrary to popular belief, your brain is in super active mode while you sleep. One vital role of sleep is allowing the brain to create, solidify and consolidate memories from events that day. These bits and pieces of info are processed and transferred from short-term to long-term memory in our sleep (consolidation). In addition to making memories, the brain is also working to clear out dangerous toxins that have accumulated through everyday life. Therefore, without proper sleep, you are preventing your brain from performing important housekeeping tasks that are necessary for optional functioning.

3. Hormonal Imbalances

During waking hours your body releases hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon) essential for maintaining homeostasis. When you sleep, levels of these hormones drop and your body starts releasing a set of hormones that are involved in growth and repair processes. Without adequate sleep, we are exposed to higher and prolonged levels of daytime hormones which have been shown to have widespread negative effects on the body, including: blood sugar imbalances, increased muscle protein breakdown, elevated blood pressure, lowered immune function, and increased inflammation.

Struggling to maintain a healthy weight? Hormones regulating appetite are profoundly influenced by sleep duration. Surprise surprise! Inadequate sleep is associated with reductions in leptin (hormone for appetite suppressant) and elevations in ghrelin (hormone for appetite stimulation). This imbalance results in increased feelings of hunger, and likely overeating.


How can you improve your snooze?

  1. Try catching a few more hours of sleep each night. (Obviously!) Get ready for bed (and ready to sleep!) 15 minutes earlier every couple days to move your bedtime up.
  2. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends and on vacation. This helps to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
  3. Monitor your intake before bedtime. Avoid eating too much or too little, try to reduce the amount you drink before bed, and limit your intake of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol right before you go to sleep. Both caffeine and nicotine have stimulatory effects and though alcohol may make you sleepy initially, it can disrupt your sleep later in the night.
  4. Make your bedroom more sleep friendly. Reduce noise or create background noise with a fan, and keep your room cool and dark. Turn off your electronics (including your smart phone!). The blue light from electronics stimulates your mind and can suppress melatonin production, a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle.
  5. Increase your physical activity. Exercise is associated with better quality sleep., but avoid exercising too close to bedtime as it may leave you too energized to fall asleep.

But let’s get real, making time for eight hours in your day for uninterrupted shut-eye isn’t always possible. So, let’s discuss what you CAN do to reduce the less visible side effects of sleep loss, and keep your body working at an optimal level.

1. Try taking an NRF2-activating supplement, like Protandim, that is formulated to combat cellular stress.

– Protandim repairs damaged cells by activating cellular anti-stress genes and increasing production of internal protective enzymes and proteins.

-Protandim helps the brain recharge. Those powerful protective enzymes and proteins (i.e., SOD, catalase, & glutathione peroxidase) work to clear out toxins in the brain, which may reduce wear and tear on the brain that is linked to impaired learning and memory.

-Protandim supports the adrenal and thyroid glands, two key players in regulating hormonal balance, and helps regulate hormones involved in many functions including: the stress response, energy metabolism, immune function, and blood pressure.

Experience and learn more about Protandim HERE.

2. Try taking an all-natural, multi-dimensional energy product, like Axio, that not only provides a physical boost of energy, but also improves mental clarity.

-Axio is an anti-fatigue, non-stimulant energy drink. Axio works by blocking the activity of a neuromodulator (i.e., adenosine) that makes you feel tired, and stimulating the release of hormones (i.e., adrenaline) that enhance mental alertness and increase energy levels.

-Axio increases the transmission of neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, acetylcholine, & serotonin) involved in the regulation of mood and emotional stability.

-Axio helps boost cellular protection, promotes normal brain and nervous system function, and helps improve learning performance, focus, and mental acuity.

Experience and learn more about Axio HERE.

Thank you for reading! Please email me with specific questions at mbrooksfit@gmail.com

Stay tuned for next week’s Wellness Series Blog Post… Recovery =)


References:

Cauter, E.V., Knutson, K., Leproult, R., and Spiegel, K. (2005). The impact of sleep deprivation on hormones and metabolism. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/502825.

Talbott, S. (2014). Deadly antioxidants.

Lisk, C. et al. (2013). Nrf2 activation: a potential strategy for the prevention of acute mountain sickness. Free Radic Biol Med 63: 264-273.

McEwen, B.S. (2006). Sleep deprivation as a neurobiologic and physiologic stressor. Metabolism Clinical and Experimental 55(2): S20-S23.

http://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/why-do-we-need-sleep

http://www.lifevantage.com/blog/sleep-deprivation/

Merck Manuals. (2013). Endocrine function. Retrieved fromhttp://www.merckmanuals.com/home/hormonal_and_metabolic_disorders

NIH. (2014). Brain basics: understanding sleep. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/understanding_sleep.htm.

Randall, M. (2011). The physiology of stress: cortisol and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Retrieved fromhttp://dujs.dartmouth.edu/fall-2010/the-physiology-of-stress-cortisol-and-the-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis#.VPfypS5iu28.

Say “Farewell” to Fatigue

Week 1 of my 12-week wellness series… Today’s Topic: ENERGY

Before we get into how we boost our day-to-day energy, let’s first talk about the symptoms and causes of fatigue.

How does fatigue show up in daily life?

Fatigue can be categorize in numerous ways. Most fatigue is only temporary and can be easily treated, but fatigue can also be chronic and rather challenging to treat [naturally]. In addition to temporary and chronic, fatigue can also be categorized into physical and metal types.

Firstly, fatigue can be mainly physical. For example, someone who does a one-mile swim for Ironman training program will be physically fatigue after the swim due to the lactic acid build-up in his/her muscles and the high physical exertion needed to complete the swim.

BUT, the majority of the time, fatigue in more mental. Mental, you say? Like in the brain?

YES! Mental fatigue is much more common in day-to-day life, and can show up in many different ways: lack of focus or mental clarity, lack of motivation, depression, irritability, stress and tension, inability to multi-task, and especially heavy BRAIN FOG.

Why, oh why, the fatigue?

I could go on and on about why people feel fatigued… but i won’t. INSTEAD, I will give you a few reasons why people feel fatigued [despite a clean diet and consistent exercise].

Reasons why fatigue hits:

– Less than 7 hours of sleep each night (this is the recommended amount for an average adults)

– Poor nutrition; consuming low-energy, low-nutrient, quick-burning foods.

– Consuming sleep aids and not allowing enough time for it to flush out of the system, or consuming high caffeine and high sugar foods that could give you an initial boost of energy… but who actually wants the jitters or difficulty falling asleep that follows?

– Dehydration: lack of fluid intake, especially water.

– Sedentary lifestyle, this effects everything! Work at a desk? Being hunched over a desk compresses the diaphragm muscles and reduces the volume of oxygen that one is able to breath in. The lack of oxygen contributes greatly to fatigue.

– Brian fog; that haziness that can show up in the afternoon… or really anytime in the day.

– Focusing in on one thing for too long may create mental fatigue, as well.

What can I do about it?

– Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, especially the days following a night of sleep deprivation (i.e. work deadlines). Pay attention to how your body feels after 5-6 hours of sleep versus 7-8 hours of sleep, your body will tell you what it needs.

– Drink more water to hydrate your brain cells. Water can help with short-term and long-term memory, mathematics, and overall focus. The average adult loses about 80 ounces of water each day by sweating, breathing, and eliminating wastes. If you are not getting close to an intake of 80 ounces of water (in food and drink) each day, then don’t expect to be at tip-top performance.

– Get moving! Exercise increases oxygen intake, and reduces tension and stress. Aim for 30-60 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise most days of the week to keep your energy levels in check.

– Take breaks. For every hour of work, take a 10-minute break to get up and move, read a blog or book, stretch, hydrate. That way, when you return back to your work, you will be able to refocus.

– Breathing exercises; these help to increase oxygen flow to the brain, reduce stress and create mindfulness.

– Eat for energy. Consume high-energy, slow-burning foods full of nutrients and variety. Stay away from white breads, pastas, and sugars. These all lead to a blood sugar spike, followed by a blood sugar (and energy) CRASH. Healthier options are sprouted breads, whole grain pastas, natural sugar substitutes (i.e. Stevia), high-fiber veggies, healthy fats and higher-protein foods to slow digestion down.

What about energy drinks/supplements?

Things to avoid when choosing an energy drink/supplement:

– SUGAR! Talk about sugar-high… A 16 ounce can of RockStar Punched Guava has 78 grams of sugar, that’s more than 15 spoonfuls of sugar. Companies use glucose, sucrose, fructose, and high-fructose corn syrup on the ingredients label to make it harder to figure out how much total sugar you’re actually drinking. Too much sugar send your body into shock, stressing-out your pancreas and jacking up your insulin production.

– The potential for a terrible crash. Stay away from stimulant-based energy drinks, these give you a quick burst of energy until you fell like you are falling off the energy cliff (CRASH!). These products typically leave you feeling worse than before you consumed them.

– Artificial ingredients, such as colors, sweeteners and flavors. Why stuff your body full of chemical dyes, artificial sweeteners, and lab-created flavorings? Artificial colors have lead to adverse reactions, including migraines. Artificial sweeteners are [on average] 1,000 times more sweet than sugar and leave you with an aggressive sweet tooth. And, fake raspberry will never taste better than real raspberry. Period.

– Too much caffeine, leading you to jitter territory. Even natural caffeine sources, such as guarana, can over-stress the body with jitters.

– Avoid pre-mixed energy drinks. Choose all-natural energy drinks that come in a powdered form. This allows you to control the type of water you are consuming, and helps reduce waste in landfills.

Here are a few natural options to add to your nutrition toolbox for a healthy buzz:

– Find your feel-good flow with Axio all-natural energy drinks, formulated by elite athlete and nutritional biochemist Shawn Talbott, PhD. Some of the key ingredients include green tea, New Zealand pine bark, L-theanine and quercetin. They are naturally flavored, naturally colored, and naturally sweetened with Stevia (low calorie). I personally drink 2 of these daily for a dose of brain food, steady energy during my workouts, and crystal clear focus throughout the day.

– Get your morning buzz with the South American tea called Yerba Mate. This tea has a higher caffeine content than other teas, enough to replace your morning cup of coffee. This tea can be brewed or even found in many meal replacement options. I like starting my morning with the RAW Yerba Mate Meal Replacement, especially as a healthy breakfast option when I travel.

– If you feel like you cannot make it to lunchtime without taking a nap, try a rhodiola supplement. This natural plant extract helps to multiply energy molecules. Choose a supplement that has rhodiola as the main ingredient, start with a 100 mg per day (can increase to 200 mg), and keep an eye out for artificial ingredients or fillers. Make sure your supplements are certified by the NSF to know that what you are taking is safe.


Resources:

http://www.ehow.com/how_4495093_maintain-mental-focus.html

http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201010/why-your-brain-needs-water

http://www.waterbenefitshealth.com/water-and-brain.html

http://www.lifevantage.com/blog/the-9-biggest-mistakes-inside-most-energy-drinks/

http://bestfutureyou.com/2015/03/28/12-fitness-tips-from-the-worlds-fittest-ceo/

http://www.doctoroz.com/slideshow/energy-boosters?gallery=true&page=1

http://www.diet-blog.com/07/the_7_most_sugar_filled_drinks.php

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelhennessey/2012/08/27/living-in-color-the-potential-dangers-of-artificial-dyes/

New Beginnings on mbrooksfit!

Hello fabulous mbrooksfit followers! Thank you all for your unwavering support with my blog! I am so grateful and know that I couldn’t do it without all of you!

As for new beginnings, I will be amping things up on mbrooksfit over the next few months! Beginning this week I will releasing a 12-week series of blog posts featuring popular (and not-so-popular) nutrition, wellness and fitness topics. Example topics include: sleep, recovery, longevity, hydration, energy, and many more! If you have a specific topic you would like to read about, email me at mbrooksfit@gmail.com. Unfortunately I cannot address every topic if more than 12 come in, but I will do my best to honor you requests!!!

Each Monday I will release a new post, so subscribe to my blog now so you do not miss out on any helpful information! Share my blog with your friends so they can join in on all the goodness, too!

Week 1 Topic: Energy (Monday 4/6/15)

-How fatigue shows up throughout the day.

-Reasons why we feel fatigued.

-Safe ways to increase our energy.

I am super excited to start this 12-week series! Please feel free to reach out with questions, comments or feedback!

bunny-header

I wish you all a Happy Easter and a Happy Passover weekend! Enjoy this special time with your family and friends, and try not to overdo it with the chocolate bunnies! =)