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The Skinny on Skin

January 3, 2012

Michigan Blueberries

During the summer, we worry about getting too much sun exposure, but what about this time of year?  We probably don’t get enough to synthesize vitamin D through exposure to UV light.  That’s why they put vitamin D in our milk.  but if you can get out there and soak up some rays–for about 20 minutes a day–go for it!

But what about skin cancer?  Some studies show we can prevent it by eating foods rich in antioxidants.  These are protective molecules that help your body to fight off free-radical damage from sun exposure.  Foods that come in all the colors of the rainbow.  Blueberries, red and black raspberries, watermelon, oranges, all the lovely varieties of peppers, eggplant, apples, pineapple, green tea, even coffee!  It seems that the greater the  intensity of the color of your produce, the better for you.

But did you know that stress management can also help boost your skin’s resilience to the UV rays?  When we are under chronic stress, all our natural defenses are compromised, including our ability to combat the free radicals that come with sun exposure.  So, Yoga is not just good for maintaining strength and flexibility, but is good for your skin too!

Another boon to your skin is the practice of pranayama, especially the bellows breath, bhastrika.  So next time you can spend some time in the sun, find a quiet place and do a few rounds of deep breathing, and you’ll get twice the benefit!

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