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The quality of our skin is always the most important indicator of determining our health.  There are many ways you can knock some years off that skin.  Diet and exercise have always been buzzwords doctors and health enthusiasts preach to us in regards to weight.  But did you know both diet and exercise have a direct correlation to the quality of your skin?  

One of the keys to the healthy skin is to have proper blood circulation throughout your body.  Exercise naturally increases this blood flow, which in effect nourishes the skin cells and keeps them healthy.  Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin says “Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin.  In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells.”  In essence, the increase in blood flow helps flush cellular debris and cleanses your skin from within.

While exercise can definitely keep your skin looking healthier and younger, one still has to wonder about the skin’s biggest enemy… the sun.  Luckily, there are a few ways we can combat the sun’s rays while still exercising.  The simplest fix you might ask? Workout early in the morning before 10 am or when the sun is going down after 4 pm.  Another easy fix is to wear sunscreen or clothes that cover the body.  While sunscreen may seem like the answer, it is often removed when one sweats. Wearing workout attire that covers the body can again solve this problem.  It may get a little hot but hey, at least you’re trying to keep your skin healthy!

Another important benefit from exercising is the psychological component.  Exercising produces endorphins (hormones that create pleasure) which cause less stress and anxiety for the person.  “Stress reduction and endorphins help decrease cortisol and other acne-provoking hormones that occur naturally when you are under stress,” says Dr. Pilest a board certified dermatologist.  This endorphin release combined with the increased blood flow gives the skin a glowing look.  While some may believe “He or she is glowing” might just be an expression, science, and exercise again proves them wrong.

Skin that appears to glow is actually the result of your body producing a heavy quantity of oxygenated blood.  When we workout, the skin is filled with oxygenated blood vessels that lie close to the skin’s surface.  In effect, our skin looks glowing hours after we finish working out.

Diet is another buzzword where half of those reading will immediately tune out. But eating right keeps your skin looking younger.  Strawberries, olive oil, green tea, pumpkin, and pomegranate are all products that should be on your next grocery list.  These foods have various ingredients that fight wrinkles to keep your skin smooth.  Strawberries contain vitamin C that according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people with a high intake of vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin than others.

In addition, olive oil is a skin cleanser that has been used by the ancient Romans.  The Romans would massage the oil onto their skins to reduce inflammation and gain the oil’s antioxidants.  While you probably won’t be rubbing this on your skin anytime soon, it can still be implemented in your diet to achieve softer skin.

You may want to consider eating Greek yogurt and fruit in the morning.  Greek yogurt contains double the protein of normal yogurt.  The high protein you get from dairy keeps the skin firmer and less vulnerable to wrinkles.  The fruit, specifically strawberries or pomegranates, contain polyphenol antioxidants.  These antioxidants prevent wrinkles and maintain a healthy blood flow.  Think you discovered the new breakfast of champions?  With the combination of proper diet, exercise, and protection of skin, your skin will be looking fresher than ever.