By Dr Sivuyile Madikana (Herbalife NAB Southern Africa)
We’ve all heard the saying, you are what you eat? Well as the years go by, this is something I’ve gotten to understand more clearly. Good skin starts in the gut. The skin is the largest organ in the body, making up about 16% of total body mass. When stretched out, it could fit about half the size of a tennis court. As such, it is important that we take care of this organ, which plays a vital role in protecting the body from environmental stressors like radiation, pollution, the sun and microbial germs. It also helps regulate body temperature, which is important to one’s survival and stores water, fat, vitamin D etc.
So, you can imagine, with such vital functions – there is a lot at stake. Another function of skin that people spend lots of money working on, is appearance. A youthful and clear skin appearance at that. There are a number of things we can do, especially in eating correctly, that will add a lifetime of change in how we look. But more importantly, how we feel and perceive ourselves. There are also habits that we can let go off in the pursuit of better skin to ensure we grow in radiance. Here are my six habits and tips to good skin.
The body is made up of 60% water and it is essential for us to provide ourselves with the right amount of hydration. We always hear that there is a set number of cups needed a day in order to keep hydrated – literature suggests that we need about 8- 12 cups of water a day. However, it’s important to remember there are many sources of water that we consume, such as high content water items like watermelons, oranges, strawberries etc. And these should be counted in our daily water calculations.
Flax seeds are seeds that are rich in an Omega-3 fatty acid called Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). They are good for the skin as they reduce the harmful effects of Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation from the sun, smoking and pollution. They also help with dry skin and lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Tri-Blend Select, a great vegan option, is a good source of organic flax seeds and fibre. When flax seeds are pressed, they can produce what we call flax seed oil, which is great for making the skin smoother and more supple.
Who would have thought that Kiwis contained more vitamin C than oranges? Kiwis are a powerful source of Vitamin C. They help the skin keep fresh and stay looking younger. This is because Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant which helps clean up free radicals that damage the skin. It also helps with the hydration of the skin and boosting collagen production. More kiwis for everyone
An oldie but a goodie. Green tea contains polyphenols – which are a family of naturally occurring organic compounds from plants. Plant polyphenols from green tea leaves have anti-oxidant and other anti-inflammatory properties, which help prevent oxidative stress caused by environmental damage. They reduce signs of ageing and fine lines as well. Herbalife’s Instant Herbal Beverage is infused with black and green tea extracts – and gives the full set of compounds contained in green tea.
Now it goes without saying that smoking has harmful effects on one’s overall health, but it also negatively affects the skin. There is an already causal link established between smoking and cancer. Tobacco, which is contained in cigarettes causes oxidative stress and poor oxygen supply to the skin. It also degrades collagen contained in skin, directly loosening the skin’s firmness leading to a dull and sagging appearance.
Use sunscreen always! That’s the golden rule. It is one of the healthiest things you can do for your skin. The sun contains different forms of UV radiation that can be harmful to your body and causes what we called photo ageing – which is the premature ageing of skin due to exposure to UV light. Getting sunscreen with adequate protection from UVA and UVB is critical. So, it is critical to wear an adequate amount of sunscreen, even when its cloudy and make sure to apply it appropriately and timely (at least 20 minutes before leaving the house).