NEWSLETTER ITEMS

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Did You Know? On average, users check their phones 47 times each day and spend a combined total of 4 hours staring at the screen.

Unplugged - Recharge the Old-Fashioned Way

In today’s world, most of us find ourselves stuck in one mode: always on. We’re working more hours, sleeping less, and communicating through text, email, and social media on a seemingly nonstop basis. But just like our brains require sleep at night, they also require some downtime during the day. If you were to operate a car, a power tool, or any mechanical device for long periods of time without a break to cool down and perform maintenance, it would shudder to a stop and cease to function. Your brain needs to follow the same maintenance schedule, because the stress caused by sensory overload won’t just ruin your day—it can also ruin your health in countless ways.

  When your phone or tablet is low on power, you immediately reach for the charging cord. But when a human being's batteries are depleted, they should take the opposite route and unplug instead. Unplugging means spending a few minutes disconnecting from everything— including your devices, your coworkers, your family, your duties, and your normal routine—in order to destress, decompress, and prepare for the rest of the day’s tasks. These compact meditation sessions will help keep you healthy, happy, and alert, and they’re easy to achieve if you follow a few simple guidelines.

 

CHANGE THE SCENERY  When we take time off from our jobs, we don’t go to the office to do our lounging around; we do it on a sundrenched beach, a cruise ship, or some other place that’s vastly different from our normal working environment. The same holds true for the mini-vacations your brain needs each day. In other words, if you’ve been balancing spreadsheets at your desk all morning, a few minutes spent browsing the internet at the same desk chair isn’t much of a getaway.  Instead, alter your surroundings completely by visiting a nearby park, strolling beside a river or through a garden, or just setting up a “rehabilitation chair” under a tree. Seek out natural light and fresh air and, if possible, avoid any manmade noises. Babbling brooks and birdsongs are a plus, as science suggests that nature sounds have a calming, restorative effect on our psyches. And while a brisk jog or a hike through the woods has its benefits, strenuous activities like these aren’t the best choices during unplugging because your brain will be hard at work navigating the terrain instead of just kicking back and relaxing like it should.  
 

TAKE YOURSELF OFF THE GRID Unplugging is like taking a waking nap, and all the things that bother you when you’re trying to sleep will bother you during your unplugging session too. In order to properly recharge, put away your phone and all other devices. Even when you’re not talking or texting, simply having a phone nearby can be like standing in a room full of people due to the constant stream of emails, posts, tweets, shares, and likes. And speaking of people, be sure to avoid them during this time; unplugging is a solitary activity, and your brain—specifically your prefrontal cortex—needs a break from both conversation and multitasking to lower your anxiety levels and boost your ability to think clearly, logically, and rationally. The act of unplugging doesn’t need to be complex or extravagant. Depending on your location and the time of day, good choices include doing a few minutes of light stretching; taking a bath or shower in dim lighting or by candlelight; sinking down in your comfiest chair with a cup of herbal tea, a glass of sparkling water or
juice, or another nonstimulating beverage; sprawling beneath a tree and enjoying the show nature puts on; or lighting a scented candle or a stick of incense and lying on a sofa or floor mat for a few minutes of sweet-smelling stillness.   

 

DON’T PENCIL IT IN; USE A PERMANENT MARKER Many of us feel we should only take a break once we’ve finished our work, treating the downtime like a reward. But then the work takes longer because we’re overstressed, leaving us without any time to unplug and refresh. We end up working more hours than usual and need that break more than ever, but don’t allow ourselves to take it for fear of falling even further behind. The truth is, working longer hours doesn’t always produce better results. Studies have shown that taking short breaks during the workday not only improves focus and rebuilds energy, but also increases productivity. That means downtime should be a regularly scheduled part of your routine, just like your other important tasks. By adding this crucial element to your daily calendar, you’ll be able to face every duty, project, or challenge with a smile and a full battery.

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Allowing your limbs to relax an be heavy isn't as elementary as it might seem. Since you can't relax what you can't feel, refining your body awareness is the first step to helping you let go. If stillness and support aren't enough to help you relax residual tonus (muscle contraction), sometimes gentle, rhythmic motion can help. Image courtesy of Advanced-Trainings.com.

Inviting Relaxation article by Til Luchau from Body Sense magazine

Have you ever been on the massage table and found it challenging to relax or let go? Maybe throughout the session your therapist gently asks you to "let your arm be heavy," "relax your neck," or "let me hold the weight of your leg." Try as you might, you're left wondering why you can't let the tension go.

STORING STRESS

Hands-on practitioners feel this "held stress" in your body as stiffness or a jerky resistance to movement. But for you, this not-letting-go might be hard to feel and, as a result, make it even harder for you to relax. This is not about structural, tissue-based stiffness, which hands-on work can also help shift. I'm referring here to your ability to sense and relax an at-rest muscle's residual muscle tension, or tonus. Your muscular tonus is reduced during sleep and is even lower under anesthesia, but much higher under physical tension or stress (1). One of the main factors influencing your ability to relax tonus in your body is body awareness. Here are some key body awareness points to be aware of:

  • Refining your body awareness is key to getting lasting results from manual therapy. By being a bodywork client, you've already made that important first step toward awareness of your body. It's as simple as listening to your bodily sensations. After all, if you don't notice that you're tense or tight, you can't relax.

  • Your body's tonus habits can seem slow to shift, but the refinements to body awareness that good hands-on

  • bodywork can bring are a great start. Awareness-based "homework"exercises, such as simply noticing and relaxing tense places in your body, can bridge the on-table massage experience to your everyday life.

  • Chronic stress and other sources of sympathetic (fight-or-flight) arousal can cause muscle tightness in several ways. Adrenaline, for example, can directly increase skeletal muscle tension and contractability (2). The good news for you is that hands-on bodywork has a well-documented ability to reduce stress and its detrimental effects (3).

  • Guarding due to past or anticipated pain is another common cause of difficulty in relaxing. When we've been hurt, we're naturally more protective of that part of our body. Your therapist can work with you to gently, sensitively, and patiently coax mobility back into those guarded areas; this can provide a kinesthetic "reset" for your nervous system's largely unconscious guarding reflexes. This takes communication, so don't ever hesitate to tell your therapist if a different pace, pressure, or approach might help you relax more.

  • Finally, there are medical and neurological conditions that can increase muscle tonus. These include stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, dementia, and upper motor neuron diseases. In almost all cases, it can be helpful to invite gentle mobility and awareness to your body, even when there's an underlying medical condition.

Relaxing is no small thing in the treatment room: it involves trust, awareness, communication, and more. Your therapist has a range of relaxation-tools to help increase body awareness and reduce tonus; these can make the difference between a good session and a life-changing one.

Notes: (1) G. Tinguely et al, "Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep with Low Muscle Tone as Marker of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Regulation," BMC Neuroscience 7 (2006): 2: Michael B. Dobson, Anaethesia at the District Hospital, 2nd ed. (Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2000). (2) C.D. Marsden and J.C. Meadows, "The Effect of Adrenaline on the Contraction of Human Muscle," Journal of Physiology 207, no. 2 (April 1970): 429-48. (3) A. Moraska et al., "Physiological Adjustments to Stress Measures Following Massage Therapy: A Review of the Literature," Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 7, no. 4 (2010): 409-18.

   Til Luchau is the author of Advanced Myofascial Techniques (Handspring Publishing, 2016), a Certified Advanced Rolfer, and a member of the Advanced-Trainings.com faculty, which offers online learning and in-person seminars throughout the United States and abroad.

When To Use Ice vs Heat

COLD is great for pain, especially pain that is the result of activity or overuse. A cold pack applied to the area for 7-10 minutes may actually numb the sensation of pain, bringing quick relief.

 

HEAT can loosen stiff tissues and be immensely relaxing, as long as there is no current inflammation; i.e., redness, swelling, hot to the touch, etc. If there is inflammation in the area, it is best to not use heat as it can make the inflammation, pain, and swelling worse.

 

We recommend CONTRAST THERAPY, in which you alternate both temperatures - again, as long as there is no inflammation present. Start by applying a cold pack. Most people begin feeling relief within 7-10 minutes, as the cold temperature starts to numb the pain signal from the nervous system and reduce sensitivity in the area. Leave in place for up to 20 minutes. Next, remove the cold pack and refreeze it; then, apply a hot pack and leave in place for up to 20 minutes. Finally, remove the hot pack and replace the cold pack for up to 20 minutes.

How does this cycle of alternating temperatures work? First, the cold begins by easing your pain.

Next, heat is used to essentially bring a fever to that part of the body. Hippocrates, the founder of Western medicine more than two thousand years ago said, "Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease.” The internal rise in temperature triggers a natural healing mechanism in which the body brings oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood and lymphatic fluid to the area. But we do not want to leave all this extra fluid, so we reapply cold to stimulate the body to flush the area of fluid, toxins, etc.; thereby, reducing edema and inflammation and completing the body’s innate healing cycle.

 

IMPORTANT NOTES:

- Never place a cold or hot pack directly on the skin. Always wrap the pack in a cloth, such as a towel or a pillow case, before applying to the body.

- Never leave a cold or hot pack in place for more than 20 minutes at a time. After 20 minutes, the nervous system “gets nervous” that the temperature might not regulate back to normal and will begin trying to reverse the effects of the treatment. Instead, alternate 10-20 minutes cold, then 10–20 minutes hot, and 10–20 minutes cold. If using cold only, alternate 10-20 minutes on, then 10-20 minutes off, and 10-20 minutes on.

 

- Always end your treatment with a cold pack. It’s not as important how many alternating cycles you do as it is how you end the cycles. You never want to leave the body feeling “feverish”. Instead, always complete the process with a cooling flush.

- Never use cooling or warming products, such as Kneipp Cooling Gel or Active Gel, Biofreeze, Prossage, etc., before placing cold or hot packs on the body. The combination of the product with the packs can intensify the cold and heat beyond the body’s comfort zone, resulting in pain and other undesirable effects. Instead, use your cold and hot packs first; then, allow the skin to return to normal a temperature before applying your analgesic.

Crawling for Fitness

As babies, we crawled until we were strong enough to stand, walk and run. Most of us never looked back, until now. Apparently, crawling is creeping into adulthood. Long used in physical therapy, scrambling around on all fours is increasingly showing up as a strength-builder in gyms and fitness classes.

   “When you crawl, you revisit mobility patterns you learned as a baby and press reset on your nervous system,” says Tim Anderson, founder of Original Strength, a training system that’s been

an advocate behind the crawling comeback. “Man is designed to be on two feet, but it’s good to crawl a little bit every day because it ties the body back together...”  

   Crawling proponents argue the exercise improves balance and mobility, boosts coordination, stabilizes and strengthens the core and engages the shoulders, abdominals, glutes, hips, quads and calves. Crawling for fitness isn’t as easy as the toddler set would lead you to believe. “You have keep your head up, breathe and crawl while keeping your pattern,” says Anderson. “It’s harder than it looks.”

   Anderson suggests clients start with a basic forward crawl — hands and knees on the ground and head level with the horizon. Once crawling forward is comfortable, play with moving backward and side to side with a contralateral movement — the right hand and left knee move together. Eventually you can lift your knees off the ground like a bear crawl, crawling on hands and feet or add resistance with a weight vest or by dragging something.

   * An interesting concept! We are certainly intrigued. Click here to read about the author's experience in a crawling fitness class and decide if it's something you would like to give a try!! If you do, let us know how it goes.

Healthy food means healthy cells, ensuring that the brain, heart, eyes, skin, muscles, and all other body parts receive exactly what they need to function properly.

Eating Well

Why Proper Nutrition is the Basis of Self-Care  article by Lynn Parentini in Skin Deep Magazine

We've all heard the analogy that putting food in your body is like filling your car with gas - without fuel, your body won't function. But cars don't run on gas alone; they also need oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, and other part-specific elements to keep every component in working order. And since you would never wait until your car runs out of gas or your engine seizes up before you give it what it needs, you should adopt a similar maintenance schedule for your physiology.

CHECKING UNDER THE HOOD

When we haven't eaten for a while, our stomach contracts. That painful pinch causes both physical and mental discomfort, which typically goes away once our belly is full again. But while

our stomach craves the food itself, the other parts of our body crave what's in the food: the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and other nutrients that contribute to overall wellness.  

   Your digestive system acts as a master mechanic to break down food, process it, and then absorb essential nutrients into the bloodstream so they can be transported wherever they are needed. Your body then uses these nutrients to created and maintain healthy cells, which are the building blocks our organs and tissues are made from. Healthy food means healthy cells, ensuring that the brain, heart, eyes, skin, muscles, and all other body parts receive exactly what they need to function properly.

RULES OF THE ROAD  

Putting the right things in your body is important, but your instructions don't end there. If humans came with owner's manuals, they would clearly state that the various nutrients we all need should be added in proper amounts, at the proper times, and in the proper ways.

   Different body parts rely on different nutrients, and doctors agree that these should come from food rather than supplements. Most people know that milk and other dairy products build strong bones, but plenty of other foods offer specific advantages as well. For example, grapefruit and lemon are both good for the liver, while coconuts, walnuts, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna help keep the brain in tip-top shape. Sweet potatoes can keep skin and hair looking young, and eggs and lean beef help maintain muscle mass. Guilty pleasures like red wine and dark chocolate also have their place in your diet since they are beneficial to the heart.

   Once you've decided what to eat, focus on how and when you'll eat it. Even healthy foods can wreak havoc on your system if you overindulge in them, so it's a good idea to follow government-recommended dietary guidelines based on your age, weight, and level of activity. Also try to focus on eating large meals early in the day, then tapering off to smaller amounts as bedtime approaches. Experts agree that eating a large but healthy breakfast offers many benefits, while eating late in the evening can lead to weight gain, restless sleep, and other problems.

KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL

Sticking to a nutritional plan that not only keeps us full but also keeps us functional sometimes seems like an impossible task with today's hectic schedules. Eating right - and at the right times - requires both planning and discipline, but remember that you're in the driver's seat when it comes to adopting and maintaining those healthy eating habits. Once you do, you'll find  yourself not only getting where you need to go, but also enjoying the ride.

Food Trivia

* The average person eats roughly 1,996 pounds of food each year - nearly a full ton.

* Honey is the only ready-to-eat food that never spoils. Even a thousand-year-old

   pot of the sweet stuff could still be enjoyed without any risk.

* The United States produces 12.2 billion pounds of cheese each year, second only to

   the combined countries forming the European Union.

Helpful Links

Dietary Guidelines: https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietary-guidelines

Portion Size Guide: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/portion-distortion.htm

MyPlate (USDA-recommended dietary guidelines): www.choosemyplate.gov

Wrist Relief

article from Body Sense Magazine

​Oh, those aching wrists. A long day on the computer, repetitive movements in your job, and inflammation from pregnancy, weight gain, or weather can make your wrists and forearms scream in pain. Here are a few simple Active Isolated Stretches (based on the principle of short, repeated movements) to help ease the hurt.

TIP: Heat can lessen hand stiffness and cold is great for hand pain that is a result of activity or overuse. From submerging your hands in a bowl of uncooked heated rice, to holding small freezable gel pads, find the remedy that works best for your pain and use it!

Wrist Extention Begin with your arm fully outstretched in front of you and your hand palm-side up. With your opposite hand grasp your outstretched fingers and hand, and gently pull down toward the floor, extending your wrist. Hold for 1-2 seconds, release, and repeat. The movement should be slow, gentle, and rhythmical.

Wrist Supination With your arm bent at a 90* angle, and your hand extended palm-up in front of you, use your opposite hand to grasp the outer (thumb-side) edge of your hand from underneath. Gently rotate your hand away from you to stretch the tissues. Hold for 1-2 seconds, release, and repeat. Slow and deliberate movements are necessary here.

Wrist Flexion Fully stretch your arm out in front of you, elbow straight, and hand extended, palm-side down. With your opposite hand grasp your outstretched fingers and back of the hand to gently pull them down toward the floor, flexing your wrist. Hold for 1-2 seconds, release, and repeat. The movement should be slow, gentle, and rhythmical.

Wrist Pronation With your arm bent at a 90* angle, and your hand extended palm-down in front of you, use your opposite hand to grasp the outer (pinky-side) edge of your hand. Gently rotate your hand toward you to stretch the tissues. Hold for 1-2 seconds, release, and repeat. Make your movements slow and deliberate and change your active hand's positioning to find the best stretch.

from MARCH 2018

Tech Face

We already know that smart devices can cause issues like forward head posture (FHP), text thumb, and cell-phone elbow; but some experts also suggest they can cause premature aging of your skin. The culprit may be high-energy visible (HEV) light, which is naturally occurring but also pours out of the screens of devices like smartphones, computers, and tablets.

   A study from the University hospital of Nice, France, found that HEV created pronounced hyperpigmentation of the skin that lasted up to three months. Other experts link the blue light from smartphones to sagging skin and photoaging. To read the full study, click here.

Spring Cleaning is Good for the Body Too

As the weather outside turns nicer, brighter, and fresher, we long for the same changes in other areas of our life. We deep clean, we plant gardens, we update our wardrobe, we make new plans. Shouldn't we do the same for our skin? Yes! Spring cleaning is good for the body too, not just the house and yard.

   We recommend receiving facial, body, and massage treatments at least once every three months. The changing of the seasons can place high demands on our bodies that we are not even aware of at times. Differences in sunlight, temperature, humidity, barometric pressures, etc. all affect us in subtle and not so subtle ways. Making regular treatments part of your healthy lifestyle can contribute to better well-being and aging.

Massage Reduces Cancer-Related Fatigue

A recent study published in the medical journal Cancer found that Swedish massage therapy, delivered over the course of six weeks to breast cancer patients, provided a significant reduction in their cancer-related fatigue (CRF). CRF is a persistent, exhausting condition affecting approximately one-third of cancer survivors.

   The study, conducted by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, enrolled 66 female state 0-III posttreatment breast cancer survivors who had received surgery and radiation and/or chemotherapy/chemo-prevention. The participants, who were unfamiliar with massage therapy, were given a weekly 45-minute Swedish massage by licensed massage therapists over the course of

six weeks. The recipients reported they experienced "clinically meaningful" improvement in their CRF as a result of the massage therapy. While still in early-trail phase, this research ha significant implications for cancer patients going forward. For more information, read the full study here.

It's Simply a Bad Idea

Tanning Bed Use Continues to Persist Despite Warnings  article by Karrie Osborn in Body Sense Magazine

With spring break travels upon us, many teens and young adults are flocking to the tanning bed salon for some "color" before heading off on their beach vacations. But did you know that doing so can increase your risk of skin cancer by nearly 60%?

   According to the American Academy of Dermatology, everyone who climbs into an indoor tanning bed faces an increased risk of skin cancer. But that tanning habit can have even more dire consequences for young people. Research shows that using indoor tanning beds before age 35 can

increase your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59 %, and this risk increases with each use.  

One significant issue of concern is that 45% of those who start tanning before age 16 do so with a family member. And recent studies have found that fathers, parents who had used indoor tanning devices themselves, and those who reported they had never received skin cancer prevention counseling from their child's doctor were less likely to believe that indoor tanning was harmful.

   "While it's not surprising that parents who have tanned themselves would have favorable attitudes toward their children's indoor tanning, it's important for all parents to understand the dangers of tanning at a young age and communicate those dangers to their children," says board-certified dermatologist Maryam Asgari, MD, MPH, FAAD, an associate professor in the department of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the department of population medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

   "If you avoid tanning beds, especially when you are young, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging in the future," Asgari says.

What Does the Label 'Chemical-Free' Really Mean?

In recent years, cosmetic products have begun touting many labels to assist consumers in finding healthier products; for instance: natural, preservative-free, and organic. However, all the different claims can become confusing and perhaps a bit misleading. Take as an example, one of the newest labels to enter the market - "chemical-free". What does that mean exactly? Isn't everything made of chemicals?

   Note this interesting and very enlightening explanation from Mark Lees, PhD, MS, CIDESCO. "There is no such thing as 'chemical-free.' Everything in the universe is made of chemicals,

including the human body, which contains many chemical elements: carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, sodium, phosphorus, and even chlorine. Every human body function is possible because of biochemical reactions. Plants are no different. They grow and reproduce and have benefits to the skin because they are complexes of many chemical components."

   What is the take-away here? That just because a product claims to be 'chemical-free', it does not necessarily mean that it is healthier than one that does not include those words on its label. Perhaps the claim itself could potentially cast doubt on the product's legitimacy since, in fact, it is not scientifically accurate. Might we be led to believe that what is more important is marketing to the masses and not a product that is actually better for us? So instead of placing too much stock in a marketing label, take a look at the actual product ingredients. If you are unsure of what something is, do some research. Admittedly, though, we live in a world where an abundance of information can be found on almost any subject; and sometimes it can be overwhelming to sift through truth vs. fiction and fact vs. opinion. Or the information we find can be somewhat misleading, as in the case of 'chemical-free.' What then? Perhaps you could ask someone who has been trained in the field of products you are considering, such as your skin-care specialist. At Blue Diamond Body and Skin Spa, our Licensed Esthetician Christy would be happy to assist you in finding the perfect products to fit your needs, goals, and values. Don't hesitate to contact her with any product questions or skin-care concerns. She can be reached by phone/text at (501) 350-0488, by email at info@bluediamondbodyandskin.com, or by our website contact form.

Skin Cleanse Smoothie

1 cup    Unsweetened Almond Milk

1 cup    Baby Spinach Leaves

1 large  Banana, ripe, chopped into large

   chunks and frozen

1 cup    Blueberries, frozen

1 tbsp   Almond Butter

1 tbsp   Chia Seeds

1/2 tsp Cinnamon, ground

2-3       Ice Cubes

Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Serves 2.

Clean Up Your Skin...and Your Diet

article by Alex Caspero in Body Sense Magazine

Being mindful of what you put on your plate is important to your skin's health. Sure, genetics and lifestyle play a part, but your diet is one of the most controllable of the environmental factors that cause skin damage. You can begin to clean up your diet, and your skin, with these three foods.

1. Almonds: Loaded with vitamin E and monounsaturated fat, these healthy nuts help skin stay supple by keeping cell membranes hydrated.

2. Blueberries: Rich in antioxidants, this berry helps combat oxidative damage caused by pollution, pesticides, and UV radiation.

3. Spinach: In addition to being a rich source of antioxidants, spinach also contains folate, which can help reduce skin cancer risk by repairing the DNA in sun-damaged cells.

Now, put them all together for a great Spring clean-up smoothie for the body.

The Sleep Solution: 7 Tips for Good Zzzzs

article by Jennie Hastings from Body Sense Magazine

When it comes to taking care of ourselves, getting enough sleep is one of the best things we can do. Sleep is extremely important to our overall health. Many important physiological processes that heal and balance the body take place while we sleep. Science has also shown that while we sleep, the brain filters through the information we took in during the day, strengthening the connections for important information, while letting go of what is unnecessary. During sleep, the heart rate slows, respiration slows, and blood pressure drops. This slowdown takes pressure off the body, allowing it to rejuvenate.

​ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Knowing how important our sleep is, what can we do to support it? Start with these 7 tips:

  1. Get on a regular schedule. The body has an internal clock and thrives when we do routine things (eating, sleeping, working) at about the same time each day.

  2. Going to bed early enough to enter deep sleep before midnight is extremely beneficial, so get in bed by 10:00 or 10:30pm at the latest.

  3. Physical exercise during the day is a great way to support sleep. Just make sure your body has enough time to wind down before bed.

  4. Refrain from, or limit, caffeine, and try not to go to bed either very hungry or very full.

  5. Create a ritual before bed that helps you wind down - maybe a shower, reading, or some stretching.

  6. Try to avoid too much contact with technology right before going to sleep.

  7. If racing thoughts are what keep you up at night, keep a notebook beside your bed. If you begin to notice you can't let go of a particular thought, write it down. Tell your mind, "Thank you. I've taken note of that. I will pick it up again in the morning. For now, it is time to rest." Be kind, yet firm, with your mind.

Super Skin

5 superfoods that can revive your complexion

article by Alex Caspero from Skin Deep Magazine

What we eat has a direct effect on our skin, and eating a healthy diet full of good fats, antioxidants, and vitamin C can mean the difference between a glowing complexion and a tired one. Here are five superfoods packed with nutrients that directly benefit your skin, as well as some favorite ways to enjoy them.

FATTY FISH

Oily fish, like salmon, sardines, and tuna, are packed full of omega-3 good-for-you fat that also does wonders for your skin. These polyunsaturated fatty acids protect the skin from sun exposure, repair damaged skin, and keep skin cells hydrated, allowing your complexion to look supple and soft. Not a fan of fish? No problem; consider adding in an omega-3 supplement instead.

POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND JUICE

Antioxidants are one of the most important factors in maintaining beautiful skin, and eating pomegranate seeds (or drinking their juice) is a yummy way to get them. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, which contributes to aging skin by damaging collagen, causing dry skin and wrinkles. Throw 100 percent pomegranate juice into your morning smoothie or toss pomegranate seeds on salads and yogurt.

TURMERIC

Turmeric is great for skin due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation on the body can lead to puffy skin the short term and wrinkles and aged skin in the long term. Adding a daily dose of turmeric (either fresh or dried) can help relieve inflammation, keeping skin looking fresher and younger. Swap out your morning coffee for a turmeric-infused golden latte as a daily dose of this superfood.

AVOCADOS

Avocados are high in poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids, which help regenerate damaged skin cells and reduce redness. Their omega-9s add moisture to the epidermis, giving you a noticeably hydrated-looking complexion. Avocados also contain carotenoids, an antioxidant that helps your skin maintain water content and elasticity. For a healthy-skin swap, enjoy avocados almost anywhere you'd enjoy butter or cheese: on toast, on salads, in quesadillas, in chocolate mousse, and as a chili topping.

LEMONS

Lemons, and all citrus fruits, are packed with vitamin C, which can neutralize free radicals and help make collagen and elastin. Although lemons taste acidic, once ingested, lemons help alkalize the blood and balance our bodies' pH level. For the average person, the body is too acidic, thanks to a diet heavy in alcohol, sugar, coffee, and processed foods. When pH levels aren't balanced, skin can become sensitive and dry. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to water, salad dressings, and to brighten the flavor of most dishes.

Massage Alleviates Muscle Soreness After Exercise

A recent report published in Frontiers in Physiology found that massage therapy decreases muscle soreness after strenuous exercise. In a systematic review and meta-analysis, researches evaluated the effects of massage therapy on alleviating delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and muscle performance after strenuous exercise.

 

Researchers found that muscle soreness decreased significantly for participants who received massage intervention after heavy exercise compared with those who had no intervention. Massage therapy also improved muscle maximal isometric force and peak torque.

 

The findings suggest that massage therapy after strenuous exercise could be effective for alleviating DOMS and improving muscle performance. To read the full study, click here.