Attractiveness is more than skin deep. It begins deep inside our bodies, starting with bones and organs, and finishing with nails, hair and skin. It's the sparkling eye, the energetic step. Vitamins, minerals and other elements your body needs to build and maintain its structure contribute to outward beauty. But before you reach into your wallet to purchase an expensive jar of supplements, read on, as some of the most potent nutrients of the highest quality can be prepared right in your kitchen!
Bones provide the "chassis," or framework, for the face, jaw and body over which other tissues are positioned. Good nutrition strengthens bones. In persons who have been malnourished, often for years (osteoporosis, e.g.), good bone nutrition can help fortify bone to restore jaw structure, spare the teeth by increasing the bone density around roots, and improve the appearance of cheekbones. Good bone nutrition includes fat soluble vitamins (among the most publicized of these is vitamin D), minerals, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, collagen, silica, hyaluronic acid and other bone elements. Since it's hard to know how our bones are doing (unless your doctor runs tests) we can look to outward appearance for clues. Related signs of good bone nutrition include smooth, hard nails with white tips that do not crack or split, a natural “French manicure.” Dense (in contrast with translucent) pearly white teeth are another clue. Nutrients that build bones benefit other organs, including the skin. With good bone nutrition lips appear smoother and resist cracking, and collagen in skin can be spared, or rebuilt to fill the skin and soften wrinkles.
Healthy fats provide support for all of the organs of the body. These fats ensure the fat soluble vitamins D, A, K and E enter the system and can do their work to support the health and function of bones, brain and other organs. Fats can influence how our genetics are expressed (our phenotype); healthy fats make us look healthy. Complaints of dry eyes, flaky skin and scalp and cracks on lips and at the corners of the mouth suggest fatty acid deficiencies. Glossy hair; skin that is moist, somewhat waxy and water resistant (water beads up on the skin); clear, moist eyes and lips suggest a healthy fat intake. Fats also fade fine wrinkles.
A diet low in processed foods is age-defying. Processed foods most often consist of heat processed and baked goods (dry cereals, bread crusts, French fries, potato chips, e.g.). Foods like these acquire Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs) from a chemical reaction that occurs during heat processing. AGEs are chemicals that age you rapidly, making you look and feel old before your time. Moreover, they are capable of inflicting damage to every organ in the body. Processed foods are not the only source of AGEs. A diet high in carbohydrates, particularly sweets and starches, keeps blood sugars high in pre-diabetics and diabetics. About one in four American adults has pre-diabetes, and because it is silent many of us do not know we have it. When sugars linger in the blood stream they stick to proteins in cell membranes forming AGEs inside the body. The ravages of AGEs show up in the skin as wrinkles and sagging. More seriously, it is these AGEs that promote the most damaging diabetes side effects, such as blindness, deafness, heart attacks, stroke and kidney disease. All too often by the time a person is diagnosed with diabetes, diabetes-related organ damage from AGEs has already occurred.
Iron and Vitamin D push color and definition into the complexion. People who are anemic and/or iron deficient tend to appear pale and listless. Some have an unattractive grey pallor. The eyes seem distant and the spark of vitality is diminished. Although physically present, these folks can seem mentally absent from conversations and activities. Those fortunate enough to have sufficient vitamin D and iron (a state of health less and less common in modern times) exhibit slightly darker skin (a light “tan”) and a healthy glow, with rich skin tones. They are more attentive and energetic. Fortunately, both deficiencies are easily corrected. With the correction of vitamin D and/or iron deficiency the change in complexion, skin tones, lip color and energy levels can be remarkable, rejuvenating one’s appearance by as much as 10 years!
To look and feel your best, cultivate your inner spa. A balanced diet of whole foods is age-defying. Avoiding processed foods, refined foods, sweets and starches is first line in staying young.
For enhanced overall nourishment for bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, skin, hair, nails, the nervous system and other organs, daily bone broth (a type of soup stock) is an excellent choice. Among the myriad attributes of this vital tonic are its ability to increase energy. Broth can be prepared from fish, chicken, lamb, beef and other animals. More information with wonderful recipes can be found here:
For energy, well-being and a glowing complexion, ask your doctor to check your levels of vitamin D and iron. I use the following tests in my clinic:
Vitamin D: 25OHVitaminD and Serum Calcium
Iron: Ferritin and C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
Fresh (not oxidized), natural fats are an important part of a rejuvenating diet. Know your fats. More information on healthy fats can be found here: