While society typically focuses on how we can enhance our beauty from the outside, the piece of the puzzle that is missing is what’s on the inside. Did you know that the health on the inside dictates our beauty on the outside? Yep, you heard that right. Our appearance is greatly controlled by what is happening inside of the body. Everything from how our hair and nails grow, to how our skin looks and feels, to even the clarity of our eyes – it’s all dependent on how well our body functions. That means that the healthier our organ systems are, the better we digest and process our food, and the more we take care of our inner body, the more radiant we will look on the outside. That is why today is all about maximizing our inner health so that it shows. Shows in our clear eyes, soft and glistening hair, strong nails, and glowing flawless skin. And how are we going to achieve this? Through the 9 key tools to enhance beauty from the inside out.
One of the most surprising (and fun!) things I have learned from Chinese medicine is how each of our organ/gland systems is related to an external feature. For example, the health of the hair and nails are related to the kidneys, the skin is rooted in the digestive and hormonal system, and the eyes are a reflection of the liver. If any of these systems or organs are not functioning properly, whether due to nutritional deficiency, infection, stress or toxicity, our external features suffer. So in order to obtain the beauty we strive for on the outside, we must support the body from the inside using the 9 key tools. This is the true secret and root of capturing beauty so that you have the confidence you need to go completely au naturel.
*If you have more serious skin issues related to hormone imbalance or digestive disorders, or suffer from chronic acne, psoriasis or eczema, consider following my Cleanse for Clear Skin. This is a program designed to aid in the healing of long-term or more stubborn skin conditions.
9 Key Tools to Enhance Beauty from the Inside Out
Drink Enough Water
Are you drinking enough water? Are you really sure about that? Most of us are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it. That is because drinking any caffeinated beverage further dehydrates you, and drinking non-water beverages do not count towards your daily total. And why is this so important? Because your skin is made up of 70% water, and without adequate water your skin’s structure doesn’t hold up as it should. 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. So, if you want tight and plump skin, drink your water. You will be amazed at how many fine lines are actually just a manifestation of dehydration.
Let’s do it: Figure out how much water you should be drinking daily using my water calculator. Each body is different based on height and weight, as well as environment and exercise, so make sure you are drinking what is right for you.
Eat a Handful of Goji Berries a Day
Have you heard of goji berries? They are a little red berry that are enjoyed dried just like a raisin. The reason that they have become such a popular snack food here in the US is because they offer profound health benefits. So profound in fact, that they are classified as a tonic herb in Chinese Medicine. So what does this has to do with beauty? Well, goji berries are a powerful liver tonic.
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. By strengthening the liver, goji berries benefit the eyes and vision by clearing obstructions and allowing energy to flow freely to them. In addition, 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). So if you wanted to know the secret to clear eyes, here it is, a healthy liver.
One other very important reason to eat goji berries daily for your liver health is to improve hormone balance. The liver is the master organ that helps to convert and produce hormones. Without a liver that functions properly it is near to impossible to have the ideal hormone balance. Hormones play a huge role in clear skin, so make sure to eat your gojis!
Let’s do it: While goji berries can be found at most stores ranging from Whole Foods Market to even HomeGoods, my personal favorite is the Goji Berries by Dragon Herbs. They are the only company that have figured out the secret to making these berries exceptionally moist and delicious… well worth the extra shipping charge in my book! Can’t stand the taste? Grab a bottle of this Goji Berry supplement instead. No excuses here!
Add some Heat with Cayenne Pepper
Familiar with the burning sensation that follows a spicy meal? How about that heat rising? Cayenne pepper has a high concentration of a compound called capsaicin that stimulates blood flow in the body. It is priciselly this mechanism that causes the heat to rise to the face as well as the lips. That is why adding cayenne pepper to your meals is a quick and easy way to get those a bright-red, lip-stained color sans lipstick. Another bonus is that spicy foods such as cayenne can help to plump the lips upon contact, giving that bee-stung appearance.
Let’s do it: Try adding cayenne to your lunch salads, grain bowls, roasted veggies and even eggs. Luckily it goes with so many foods, so get creative!
Drink Aloe Juice
While you’ve most likely used aloe for a nasty sunburn, aloe has far more benefits than just treating the skin. Aloe is actually one of the best natural remedies for healing the inside too. Aloe heals the intestinal lining, promotes normal bowel movements, and strengthens the immune system and calms inflammation. And how is this connected to how you look? Because digestion and inflammation directly relates to how clear your skin appears. 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, which is why drinking aloe juice daily is so essential.
Let’s do it: Drink 2 oz. of aloe juice 1-2 times daily. The best times to drink aloe is first thing in the morning and right before bedtime. You can drink the aloe juice plain (in a shot glass is handy) or add it to a glass of water, smoothie or juice. Watch out for aloe juice that contains preservatives, artificial flavors and additives. I personally recommend Inner Aloe Juice by Lakewood.
Take a Maca Supplement
One of my favorite secret weapons for clearing skin is 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. And as we remember before, hormones are essential to clear skin.
Unfortunately stress is inevitable, either from work, family life, or not sleeping so well, which leads to skin outbreak, especially around the chin and upper back. The goal is to keep our hormones in balance despite these factors, which can be done with the help of the Andean superfood, maca.
Let’s do it: While adding a scoop of maca powder to your daily smoothies is helpful to some degree, if you really want to see the power of maca at work, then get serious and buy a supplement. The supplement Femmenessence MacaHarmony is incredbly effective at changing the physiology of the body and clearing up hormone and stress-related acne especially if it is related to PCOS or coming off of birth control pills. The best part is you will also notice an improvement in energy, quality sleep, mood and sex drive.
Eat your Omega-3 Fats: Chia Seeds, Walnuts + Wild Salmon
There is no shortage of benefits that come from eating omega-3 fatty acids. From improving heart health and keeping your mind sharp, to lowering risk for disease and cancer, omega-3 fatty acids are one nutrient to pay attention to. But specific to how we look on the outside, omega-3s do wonders! 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. Omega-3 fatty acids have the ability reduce inflammation in the skin, and protect it from sun damage. This is why omega-3 fats help keep an even skin tone, and are important for preventing sun spots and UV damage. Essential fatty acids also prevent inflammation of the scalp and nail beds, which leads to retarded hair and nail growth, dandruff and hair loss. So as you can see, eating a serving of omega-3 fats every day not only keeps your skin glowing, but also your hair and nails healthy. Talk about bang for your buck!
Let’s do this: Aim to eat one serving of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids daily. This may look like a piece of wild (not farm-raised) salmon, a couple tablespoons of chia seeds, or a handful of walnuts. If this isn’t possible for you, you can always pop a supplement (a great choice is EPA/DHA by Pure Encapsulations). In fact, omega-3 fatty acids is on my list of The 2 Most Important Supplements to Take Daily.
Drink Schizandra Berry Tea
Want to know the secret to obtaining a youthful glow? Schizandra berry. Schizandra is a tonic herb that has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine for its ability to improve the beauty of the skin. Schizandra’s magic is found in its astringent quality. By drinking schizandra, it helps the skin maintain its moisture, reducing the appearance of fine lines and imparting upon it an ageless radiance. It has always been very popular with the wealthy men and women of China, especially the women of the imperial court, because of its youth preserving and rejuvenating effects. It is amazing how fast acting schizandra can be, showing results in as short as one week’s time.
Let’s do it: Plan on drinking one cup of schizandra tea daily. I absolutely love this Schizandra powdered tea by Dragon Herbs since it has a slightly sweet yet tart taste and blends easily in water (no tea bags!).
Take He Shou Wu for Picture Perfect Hair
If there was one supplement that I could swear by for improving hair growth, texture and thickness, it would be the herb, he shou wu. This herb has worked like nothing I have ever seen before, restoring my hair growth after years of hormone imbalance from birth control and PCOS. So what is he shou wu exactly? 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. Ditch the choline and B vitamin supplements claiming to transform your hair, and go for this herb. You won’t be dissapointed.
Let’s do it: He shou wu can be found in powder form, but I personally like to take it in a comprehensive formula supplement. It is not the tastiest of all herbs, making it the perfect canditate for popping as a pill. The only supplement I would take is Hair and Nails by Dragon Herbs. Mixed with synergistic herbs, this formula is balanced and effective, and will give you the results you are looking for.
Eat a Handful of Almonds
Now for the simplest trick of all, eat some almonds. And why almonds? Because they contain a magic little vitamin called biotin. 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.
Let’s do it: Almonds are easy enough to incorporate in the diet, but in case you need some help, here are some ideas. Add some raw, unroasted almonds to a homemade trailmix, throw some sliced almonds into a salad, grain bowl or oatmeal, or grab a food bar that uses almonds or almond butter as a base. Simple as that!
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