HEALTH HEALTH AND FITNESS

Secrets to Clear Skin

Written by Tracy Kaye Holly

A remedy for skin health and more – one that is not often discussed!

I was recently minding my eight-month-old nephew, Connor, while his parents were on a weekend get-away. His mother left a detailed description of his day-to-day routine, including when he eats, sleeps, plays and bathes. She telephoned me the very first day to check up on her little boy, and the first thing she asked before even saying hello was, “Did he have a bowel movement?”

It made me wonder: why do we fall off our routines as we age? Babies and even pets have a routine for eating, sleeping and excreting waste! A daily life routine is important at any age for everyone. My routine changed when I returned to Vancouver recently from living abroad. Guess what happened to me? I was so busy with my hectic new schedule that I didn’t have time to go to the bathroom properly. This made me feel terribly sluggish and miserable. I also experienced headache and fatigue, and my skin was dull and rough where normally it’s soft and smooth.

Upon returning, I connected with friends and family whom I hadn’t seen for some time, and in a humorous way, I mentioned to them my dilemma of being too busy to for my regular routines. I learned that they, too, had similar problems associated with “lack of movement” in this area. No tight schedule is worth losing one’s health; if ignored, it’s just a matter of time before a myriad of health problems begin to rear their ugly heads due to irregularity.

It’s not something that gets discussed much, but you’d be surprised by how many people, young and old, men as well as women, have problems with irregular bowel movements. Having a bowel movement every day is essential to good overall health, including great skin. Some people experience only one bowel movement once every three days or longer. They think that is normal… but let me tell you, it is definitely not normal! If this is happening to you or someone you know, then it’s time to take a good look at your life routine before bigger health problems arise.

Training for Lack of Movement

It is certainly possible to train our bowels to become constipated. Healthy, regular bowel movements are stimulated by an involuntary process known as peristalsis. Food and waste material move along the entire length of the intestine by rhythmic contractions of intestinal smooth muscles; these contractions are called peristaltic movements. Since we can’t always “go” at the precise moment the natural urge strikes for whatever reason, we decide to turn it off. Over time this unnatural “holding in” damages the autonomic nervous system responsible for peristalsis, and eventually it disappears. Neglecting that natural signal will eventually cause one to strain at stool, progressively leading to conditions called “pressure disorders” including hiatus hernia, hemorrhoids, varicose veins and diverticulosis.

Losing the “urge” can lead to intestinal clogging, chronic constipation and diminished bowel efficiency. Such common health problems do not happen by accident. Many are caused at least partially by consuming unhealthy foods. People with problem skin more than likely have irregular bowel movements and use some sort of artificial chemical stimulant such as caffeine, nicotine or various drugs to evacuate body waste.

Help For Your Body and Skin

As we grow older, the body goes through a number of biological changes. Changes in hormone levels, particularly those associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle, are sometimes associated with symptoms of chronic constipation. The skin is the body’s largest eliminative organ. Healthy skin requires a strong and steady blood flow, as blood circulation nourishes skin cells and clears away debris.

Insufficient physical activity can cause constipation. Our bodies were meant to move. Twisting and crunching abdominal and core-related movements are ideal for stimulating peristalsis and functional bowel activity. Certain prescription and over the counter medications can cause constipation. Be very careful when using prescription medications, especially long term.

Drinking filtered water flushes toxins out of the body and keeps our skin looking clear and youthful. Our bodies are mostly water; lost water must be replenished on a daily basis. Make drinking at least two litres or more of filtered water part of your daily routine. If you are exercising routinely and sweating, drink more to compensate.

Consuming water-rich foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits is essential to experiencing a strong and steady blood flow, as the naturally occurring water, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients found in these natural whole foods all promote optimal blood circulation. Dark green vegetables are a fantastic food group for promoting healthy skin and frequent bowel movements. No other food group can match the chlorophyll content, purity, water content and pound-for-pound nutrient density.

The secret to clear skin is a clean colon, and there is help for those who suffer from chronic constipation. If you keep to a regular routine like babies and pets, over time your body will adjust.

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About the author

Tracy Kaye Holly

Tracy Holly is the Executive Director and public relations officer for the Cory Holly Institute and a Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor. She is a strong health & fitness activist and is a great believer in alternative natural medicine. She is the author of The Athlete's Cookbook, Sports Nutrition For Kids and lectures to women's groups, children groups and at trade shows on Health, Wellness and Staying Fit. 
 In addition to being a fantastic whole food cook, Tracy has an extensive and eclectic background in Ballroom and Latin dancing. She successfully competed for Canada on a professional level and also owned and operated Spartacus Athletic Club, a coed fitness facility located in East Vancouver, British Columbia.