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Tips for Summertime Health and Youth

Spring 2013

Summer is here, and, as always, we are looking for ways to protect us and to buy the best products to help us stay healthy and youthful.

Luckily, there are things we can do to combat the environmental issues of summer (sun, heat, wind) without spending a lot of money. Looking and feeling marvelous comes from within!

I spend a lot of time in tropical climates where Bain de Soleil is not readily available, so I am happy to share some tricks and tips:

Maintain the integrity of your skin. Your skin is the biggest organ in your body and composed mostly of water. It is made of cushioning strands of collagen and elastin. Within this cushioning, your skins cells contain natural chemicals which make up your Natural Moisturizing Factor, or NMF. Water binds itself to your NMF, which then in turn hydrates your skin. The production and health of your NMF is what makes your skin well balanced and enable it to perform all of its vital functions; especially keeping you from overheating.


Hydrate! Dehydration and dry wrinkled skin go hand in hand. The biggest thing you can do at any time of year is to drink lots of water. Average recommendation is at least eight glasses per day (two quarts). But not all waters are equal. A lot of water can be acidic and can cause increased oxidative stress on the body. I would recommend San Pellegrino, Evian or Fiji water, which are more pH balanced.

  • Your body will absorb water much more efficiently if it is at room temperature or just slightly cold. You will notice that it actually quenches your thirst better as well.
  • Limit your intake of foods very high in sodium, as they will naturally draw water from your body, possibly contributing to dehydration. These foods include chips, fast food and many packaged foods -- canned soups, frozen pizza, processed meat and canned vegetables. Also go lightly on condiments high in sodium as well, including soy sauce and teriyaki.
  • Remember that drinking alcohol, coffee and smoking can put oxidative stress on the skin, which in turn makes the skin prone to dehydration and wrinkles as well.

Eat light with fruits and vegetables high in electrolytes and water. Examples are melons, berries, oranges, peaches, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, and cucumbers.

Stock up on omega-fatty acids by adding salmon, mackerel, almonds, walnuts and flaxseed to your diet, which will give your skin that fresh, dewy glow.

Avoid prolonged exposure to wind and nightly air conditioning. Your skin regenerates itself at night when you are sleeping and A/C sucks any moisture out of the air.

Combine that with lack of sleep and your skin will soon start to show the early signs of aging combined with puffy eyes.

Take supplements like vitamin E and C and Lysine (1000mg/d) will help your skin's cells hold more moisture and elasticity.

Start drinking tea instead of coffee. You can still get your morning buzz, but without the "afternoon" blood sugar crash that coffee inflicts. A good choice is green tea, which contains catechins and potent antioxidants along with the water to keep skin hydrated.

JoAnna LaForce, R.Ph., C.G.P., is a clinical consultant pharmacist. She graduated from the University of Southern California and Idaho State University School of Pharmacy in 1975 and is board certified in geriatric pharmacy. She worked for Kindred Pharmacy Services in Santa Barbara, California, 1994 to 2006. Her duties included review of drug regimens of patients in convalescent hospitals and assisted living centers, interdisciplinary meetings and reviews with physicians, nurses and other health professionals, and education to nursing staff and nurses' aides, social service personnel, and physicians. She has also provided pain management consulting for hospice patients for the past twenty years. JoAnna is currently clinical director of The Farmacy® West Hollywood, The Farmacy® Venice and The Farmacy® Westwood. The Farmacies are organic medicine centers that provide natural healing products and herbs, including medical cannabis. They are staffed by licensed acupuncturists, herbalists, massage therapists, and licensed nutritionists. She oversees all clinical aspects, including quality control and standards of operation.

This article was provided by Being Alive. It is a part of the publication Being Alive Newsletter. Visit Being Alive's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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