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Promoting Beauty With Food and Drink

By: Jonathan Selzer, PhD
Posted: June 29, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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One of the immune system’s most powerful tools to fight infections is inflammation. Some of the characteristics of the inflammation process include increased blood flow to the target site, migration of the immune system cells to the area, increased free radical production, destruction of normal tissue and production of scar tissue. All this is critical to fighting infection and disease. However, if the inflammation lingers, it can become chronic and dangerous. Aging promotes inflammation, inflammation promotes premature aging and beauty starts to fade. It is a vicious cycle.

There are many botanical extracts that inhibit inflammation. Green tea is one of the most powerful and has been studied more than any other natural product for its anti-inflammatory properties.4, 5 The superfruits all have varying amounts of anti-inflammation power, and acai, pomegranate and grape are among the most potent.

Detoxification is critical

Toxic substances enter the body every day by way of air, food, water, medications and even the products of a normal metabolism. If left to wallow about the body, they will cause damage to many organs and the immune system, and will eventually make a person look and feel tired, old and worn out. For example: Smoking causes the buildup of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the blood. The ROS stimulates bad collagenase and elastase, which break down the skin’s structural matrix causing the formation of wrinkles.

Enzyme systems exist in the liver that specialize in breaking down these toxins into less harmful substances. It is important to get rid of all that waste material and, in order to do so, healthy liver, kidneys and intestines are needed. There are some very powerful herbs that support the health of these organs and promote detoxification, including medicinal mushrooms, such as reishi, maitake, shiitake and cordyceps; milk thistle, which is rich in silymarin; green and white tea; and mangosteen. By keeping your liver working at optimum efficiency, you can help slow down the aging process.

Microcirculation

There is no need to stockpile food if you cannot deliver it to the hungry. The same is true for your skin; an abundant nutrient supply will help keep skin cells healthy and vitalized. Your microcirculation is responsible for bringing nutrients to the cells and carrying away the waste materials; providing a supply of oxygen; and removing the carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, the circulation to skin cells decreases with age. There are herbs that, when ingested, help support microcirculation. These include green tea, kudzu root, lotus leaf, acai berry, grape, mangosteen and blueberry. By supporting nourishment and detoxification of the skin cells, you can help suppress premature aging, wrinkles and weary-looking skin.

Collagen and elastin