Beauty and Immunity – The Connecting Link That You Didn’t Know Existed
We’ve splurged on umpteen beauty products and given brands just the right kind of market they need to thrive in! Consumerism is at its peak, and the idea of looking beautiful is skewed towards having a fat bank balance. How many times have you heard your friend gush about a new concealer that blends with your face like your second skin? Remember the time you chanced upon an anti-aging cream ad in a magazine and wanted to try it immediately? Or the time you were toying with the idea of getting a laser treatment done to get rid of your pregnancy scars? Here’s a reality check!
The solution is not addressing just the problem; it’s addressing the root of the problem. Maybe what you should consider is building a strong immune system. Surprised? Well, here are 4 things you need to know about how immunity and beauty are interconnected:
- The Role Of The Lymphatic System
You may remember your doctor examining the lymph nodes on your neck during one of your regular health checkups. Well, that’s because the lymphatic system is one of the most important defense components of your immune system, which also reveals the first signs of an infection.
Lymph nodes contain a translucent liquid called lymph. This liquid circulates cells that fight disease and infections to different body parts. A blocked lymphatic system can lead to problems like buildup of cellulite, edema, and stretch marks. Enjoy a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber, known to promote lymphatic health. Stay physically active and stimulate your system with a lymphatic drainage massage regularly.
- Immunity And Male Attractiveness
It’s not only a man’s chiseled jawline or his deep baritone that makes him desirable. Findings of a research conducted at Abertay University, Scotland, suggest that men with high levels of testosterone, a hormone responsible for the masculine, sexual facial characteristics are found to be more attractive to women. The study measured the immune responses of 74 Latvian men to a hepatitis vaccine. It was concluded that men with better immune responses had higher testosterone levels, low levels of cortisol (stress hormone), and their pictures were rated higher by women on the attractiveness scale.
- Immunity And Hair Health
Many studies have found that erratic lifestyles and dietary habits can hamper immunity, which can in turn lead to hair falling out. This is especially true in the case of yeast infections like Candida, triggered due to a weakened immune system, which can cause severe hair loss. Sometimes even an overactive immune system can lead to conditions like alopecia areata and thyroid, which can cause hair loss. Though genetic transfer is one of the main causes of these autoimmune diseases, they can also be triggered by foods that contain high sugar, gluten, and quinoa as well as due to stress and toxic substances including pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
- Immunity And Skin Health
Don’t just blame your genes for the persistent acne that you’ve been battling all your life. Poor skin health can also be a sign of a weakened immune system. Dietary deficiencies of essential nutrients like vitamins A, B, C and E, zinc, arginine and phytonutrients can cause a drop in the levels of the infection-fighting white blood cells and thymic hormones, thereby making you susceptible to skin problems like acne and eczema.
Include foods like cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, seafood, and citrus fruits to improve your WBC count and ward off bacterial and fungal skin infections. It’s true that external beauty is reflective of a healthy mind and body. Make sure you enjoy a wholesome diet by including foods like garlic, carrot, leafy green veggies, berries, papaya, cumin seeds and fish in your diet and minimize your intake of processed foods.
Follow a set exercise routine everyday and stay active. It is also important that you get enough sleep and most essentially, stay stress free! All these factors collectively determine the health of your immune system. Stay strong, stay beautiful!
Why Do We Sleep? For More Reasons Than You May Think
Most of us spend about a third of our lives asleep, despite not really having an answer to the question, ‘why do we sleep?’ Now neuroscientists are realizing that sleep is more important than previously thought. They’re also realizing that the worn-out platitude, “you can sleep when you die,” is terrible advice, as that day will undoubtedly come sooner if you short yourself on a good night’s sleep.
According to most contemporary research, you should be getting around seven to eight hours of sleep every night, and if you think you can get by on fewer than that, there’s a really good chance you’re fooling yourself.
Why is Sleep Important?
While the exact mechanisms of sleep are still being studied, neuroscientists including Matthew Walker have made interesting learnings about what happens when we deprive ourselves of sleep and the impacts sleep (or lack thereof) has on society as a whole.
When we’re awake, Walker says that essentially, we’re causing low-level brain damage. By this, he is referring to the build-up of the sticky, toxic junk in our brain known as beta-amyloid. This accumulation of beta-amyloid has been found to correspond with the onset of Alzheimer’s, among many other adverse health effects correlated with a lack of sleep.
Sleep is beneficial as more than just a healing function; it also replenishes spent resources and regulates hormone levels that dictate our appetite, cognitive function, and motor skills. The two hormones that dictate whether we are hungry or full, ghrelin and leptin, have been observed to flare up and down, respectively, when we’re sleep deprived. This inevitably leads to an increase in hunger, but even worse, it leads our bodies to crave unhealthy and fattening foods — those heavy on carbs and light on greens. In fact, people who run on four to five hours of sleep per night tend to eat 200-300 more calories per day.
For men, sleep is an important regulator of hormones, most notably testosterone. Sleep-deprived males can have the same virility and strength as a man 10 years their senior. For women, a lack of sleep can lead to a significantly increased risk of breast cancer and drops in immune hormones.
According to Walker, just introducing a single night of just four hours of sleep among a normal eight-hour sleep schedule, can bring about a 70 percent drop in natural cancer-killing cells, the immune assassins that target malignant carcinogens. Every day our bodies produce these cells and others to fend off disease and maintain our health, and while a cat nap might make you feel refreshed, it won’t make up for the loss of these cells.