With winter’s cold wind blowing right now, you may only be dreaming of relaxing on a warm sandy beach, playing 18 holes on your favorite golf course or just puttering around the garden on a beautiful sunlit day. And spending time in the sun not only feels good, it’s good for you.
Your Body Needs Sunlight
No matter what the medical establishment and the sunscreen industry say, your body has a physical need for sunlight. You probably already know that your skin reacts to sunlight by making vitamin D. But you may not know just how beneficial vitamin D really is. Here’s just a sample of its clinically proven power.
* Elevates mood and boosts mental performance
* Prevents many types of cancers, including prostate, breast and ovarian
* Reduces the risk of melanoma
* Halts and even reverses the effects of bone diseases like rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis
* Relieves depression and lessens the symptoms of schizophrenia
* Enhances the function of your pancreas
* Increases insulin sensitivity and prevents diabetes
* Promotes weight reduction
* Provides more restful sleep
* Lends energy, vitality, and stamina
* Lowers blood pressure
* Brings high blood sugar levels down
* Lowers the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood
* Increases white blood cell activity and strengthens immunity
There’s no question that if you get sunburns often, you’re risking lasting damage to your skin, including melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. But it turns out that Nature’s got a weapon against sunburn that may outperform any sunscreen on the market. It halts the processes that lead to sunburn by nearly 80 percent.1 And unlike commercial skincare products, it’s completely safe and natural.
It unleashes your body’s natural healing power so that spending time in the sun won’t hurt you. It lasts for days, long after it’s been washed away. Even better – it works without blocking the sun’s rays.
You won’t have to worry about slathering artificial chemicals on your skin – and can reap all the health benefits of sunlight. And to find the source of the most powerful new ally in skin cancer prevention, you don’t have to look any further than the produce section at your local supermarket.
Meet Sulforaphane: Nature’s Powerful Cancer Fighter
Broccoli’s the simple vegetable that might cut into the $5 billion-a-year sunscreen industry’s profits someday.
There’s a naturally occurring chemical compound in broccoli called sulforaphane. It’s a potent antioxidant and cancer-fighter scientists stumbled on 15 years ago. It’s in kale, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, even brussels sprouts. (Turns out your mother was right when she told you to eat your brussels sprouts.)
Since it was first discovered, there’s been a mountain of clinical research proving sulforaphane’s power as an ironclad defense against many kinds of cancer, including cancers of the breast and prostate.2 But until recently, studies focused on it as something you’d get in foods or as a supplement. It hadn’t occurred to anyone to look at how sulforaphane might work if you used it like a lotion.
So a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University did just that. They started out with three-day-old broccoli sprouts, because the sprouts of the plant have 30-50 times more sulforaphane than the mature broccoli we’re used to seeing at the grocery store.
The Johns Hopkins team made a lotion with the broccoli sprout extract and applied it to the skin just like sunscreen, testing it on the skin of mice and on human volunteers. One of the keys to this particular study was that they exposed the skin to high intensity ultraviolet radiation for up to three days.
And that’s when something amazing happened. In the human volunteers, those who hadn’t been given lotion developed sunburns, including reddening and inflammation. But the other group saw a 40 percent reduction in sunburn on average, and nearly 80 percent in one case.
What’s more the lotion’s healing power lasted long after it had already been fully absorbed by the skin. In other words, the broccoli extract lotion practically eliminated sunburn under extreme conditions.
So how does it work?
Turn on Your “Sun-Protecting” Gene
Rather than “coating” the top layer of your skin like commercial sunscreen, the Johns Hopkins researchers found that their broccoli-sprout lotion actually goes straight into your skin cells. From there it fires up a number of processes that maintain robust skin health.
Overexposure to sunlight causes sunburn because the sun’s rays interact with oxygen to create molecules that can eventually damage the DNA in your skin cells. Over time, it causes them to die or become cancerous.
Sulforaphane has the power to guard DNA by turning on a set of skin-protection genes, like a key in an ignition. Once activated, they release chemicals called “phase 2 enzymes.” These enzymes neutralize the molecules that damage DNA. They also reduce inflammation, another painful symptom of sunburn.
So you can see how differently it works from sunscreen. It lets the sunlight in while sparking your skin’s natural healing power. Think of it as a kind of skin cream that works from the inside out.
Since it works without blocking the sun’s rays, broccoli-extract lotion has the potential to protect you from overexposure without robbing your body of the sun’s many health benefits.
It will probably be a while before broccoli extract lotion becomes available to the general public. (Among other things, they still need to figure out how to keep it from breaking down before it makes its way onto store shelves.)
Four Steps to “Sun-Living”
In the meantime, there’s plenty you can do to take advantage of the sun’s health-promoting power and protect yourself. Here are four simple steps you can take right now.
1. Find an all-natural sunscreen.
Most people don’t know this – even many dermatologists – but sunscreen not only offers no real protection against skin cancers from overexposure to the sun. In fact, it can actually cause cancer. Here’s a short list of some of the artificial, carcinogenic compounds widely used by the sunscreen industry:
|Cancer-causing Chemicals in
|PABA (also known as octyl-dimethy and padimate-O)||When exposed to sunlight, it attacks DNA and causes genetic mutation.|
|Octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC)||Toxic to and can kill cells.|
|Octyl-dimethyl-PABA (OD-PABA)Benzophenone-3 (Bp-3)
4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC).
|Mimics estrogens, causing disruption of real hormone and stimulates cancer cells to grow|
What’s more, there’s never been any evidence that sunscreens prevent the most serious kinds of skin cancer. A recent study published in the prestigious Lancet Journal found that while sunscreen may protect against two of the three most common skin cancers, there’s no conclusive evidence showing it protects against melanoma, the most lethal type.1
I’m currently working on producing an all-natural sunscreen with none of the harmful chemicals found in commercial sunscreens. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready to go.
2. Get your skin-healthy nutrients, especially antioxidants.
While sunlight is definitely good for your skin, overexposure to sun may cause some free-radical damage. The good news is antioxidants are powerful free-radical “scavengers.” They not only prevent skin damage, they can actually reverse the effects of aging from long-term sun exposure.
For your skin, these three supplements in particular are important every day: Vitamin C (1,000 mg), CoQ10 (100 mg) and vitamin E (400 IEU). They’re inexpensive and readily available in most health-food stores.
You also can ramp up the antioxidant content in your diet. Look for foods rich in vitamins E, C and A. Here are a few of the best foods for your skin:
|Citrus fruit – oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, etc.||Up to 70 mg/serving of vitamin C – builds collagen, reduces inflammation, protects cells|
|Cantaloupe||29 mg/serving of vitamin C|
|Guava||165 mg/serving of vitamin C|
|Kiwifruit||162 mg/serving of vitamin C|
|Eggs||140 micrograms (mcg)/serving vitamin A – powerful antioxidant that helps maintain healthy cells|
|Plain Yogurt||35 mcg/serving of vitamin A|
|Chicken Liver||11,000 mcg/serving of vitamin A|
|Almonds||11 IU/serving of vitamin E – beneficial to skin health, prevents skin cell damage|
|Peanut Butter||6 IU/serving of vitamin E|
|Cooked Spinach||2.5 IU/serving of vitamin E|
|Beef||3.4 mg/serving CoQ10 – important antioxidant and a building block of the body’s tissues|
|Sardines||7.3 mg/serving of CoQ10|
And by the way, even without the extract, you can still get those phase 2 enzymes by eating broccoli or broccoli sprouts, which are widely available in many supermarkets.
As always, I encourage you to buy locally grown organic, free-range, grass-fed and minimally processed foods whenever possible.
3. Get outside and enjoy the sun every day – even in winter!
A recent study published in Anticancer Research found that just by getting a little sunlight every day – about 20 minutes for fair-skinned folks, and two to four times that much for those with dark skin – you can reduce the risk of 16 types of cancer in both men and women.2
4. Try natural lotions that truly promote skin health.
Look for all-natural lotions with vitamins E or C. Vitamin C is especially good for your skin. It’s been clinically proven to protect you from overexposure to both UV-A and UV-B rays, reduce the appearance of age spots, and reduce inflammation in the skin.3
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1 Lautenschlager, et al, “Photoprotection,” Lancet 2007; 370(9586):528-537
2 Grant, W.B. et al, “The association of solar ultraviolet B (UVB) with reducing risk of cancer: multifactorial ecologic analysis of geographic variation in age-adjusted cancer mortality rates,” Anticancer Research 2006; 26:2687-2700
3 Farris, P.K., “Topical vitamin C: a useful agent for treating photoaging and other dermatological conditions,” Dermatologic Surgery 2005;31(7 pt 2): 814-17
This quote by Henry Ford has always struck a chord with me:
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
Your future is in your hands … you get to decide what you want. And the great thing is, you can get there if you think you can.
The first step is to have a positive outlook. You can make changes in your life just like I did! And one of the fun ways I see what I want so clearly is with a vision board. They are the coolest things! Here’s mine.
It has pictures of everything I want out of my career, my love life and even my home. And I added inspirational quotes about happiness, joy, excitement, freedom, balance – everything I want to feel every day.
It was super fun to make. While I was creating it, I could feel the positivity radiating from my mind and my body. And you know what? Over the years, I’ve gotten most of what I wanted. And I’m on my way to getting everything else in the near future. I just know it!
You can use a vision board for all parts of your life, and especially your fitness goals. My very good friend Elisa dropped 60 lbs. with help from her vision board.
It works because when you surround yourself with images and words of what you want to have, who you want to be, and what you want to look like, you change your life from just a bunch of dreams and desires to really match your visions. Remember, if you think you can, you can!
Ready to make your own board, and your own future? Awesome … let’s get creative!
1. I used a corkboard so I can change it around as much as I want, but poster board works great. A magnetic whiteboard would work just fine, too.
2. To help me visualize, I get a bunch of magazines, newspapers and pictures. You can find used magazines at libraries and all kinds of waiting rooms like hair salons, doctors’ offices and places where you take your car for service – anywhere! Just make sure you ask permission to take them first, hehehe.
3. You need a good pair of scissors or a cutting board.
4. And you’ve got to have some glue, thumbtacks or magnets.
When you’re ready to get started, put on your favorite music for inspiration. You don’t have to be in a good mood to begin your vision board. It’s so uplifting that it will definitely raise your mood if you’re feeling low. But being in a great mood will probably enhance your creativity that much more.
Step 1: Look through your magazines, newspapers and pictures for images, words or phrases that represent your goals, dreams or desires.
Step 2: Lay your cut-outs on your board, but don’t attach them yet. This is your chance to be creative. You can spread everything out totally at random, or you can group things … by category, by feeling, by season, by color … do whatever feels right.
Step 3: Glue or tack your cut-outs to the board. Add something extra like ribbons, glitter or anything else that makes you feel good about what you see.
Step 4: Hang your amazing vision board somewhere you’ll look at it a lot … not just walk by, but really look. Is that your bedroom? The kitchen? Maybe even your bathroom wall? Seeing it often will help keep you motivated.
Your Health and Fitness Specialist,
|[Ed. Note: Yarixa Ferrao, a.k.a. Coach Yari is a Certified Personal Trainer (NASM) and an expert in functional training, fat reduction, sports performance and cellulite. Coach Yari is the founder of Get Fit in 6, a 6-week life transformation program for both men and women in Delray Beach, Florida. You can visit her at www.getfitin6.com.]|
I’ve been a fan of Dr. Sears’ teachings since way before we started working together. As I’ve become more aware, I’ve gotten really careful about what I eat and what I use in and on my body.
But trying to find healthy beauty products is difficult …
Go take a look at the ingredients on the labels of all those lotions, creams, deodorants and other products you’re using. I guarantee you’ll see stuff like alcohol, mineral oils, petroleum, and a whole lot of other unpronounceable junk. Those ingredients can be absolutely dangerous.
If you don’t know it yet, becoming aware of the ingredients in these products is one of the smartest things you can ever do. These days I always read the labels and I can tell you, it’s downright scary!
The last time I was up at Walmart, I checked out the facial cleansers, and get this. Out of 15 facial cleansers, not a single one of them was free of harmful ingredients.
There were even a couple of products where these nasty chemicals were the second and third ingredients listed, which means there’s an awful lot of them in the product … and very little of what’s good for you.
Some of the stuff might even say “natural” or “organic” on the label. But don’t be fooled.
One of the facial cleansers I looked at said, “Helps naturally brighten skin.” When I checked the label, I found out it contained seven dangerous chemicals. And four of them were known cancer-causing agents!
There was also a “natural” cleanser made with 100 percent natural green tea. That sounded really good until I read the label. Sure, it had natural green tea, but it was also filled with gasoline distillates and carcinogens. That pretty much makes it useless, doesn’t it?
One of the smartest things you can do for your health is to become aware of what to look out for when you shop:
1. Read the labels before you make your selection.
2. Avoid products that contain parabens. You can easily spot these in the ingredient listing as any long word that ends with “paraben.” They mess with your hormones and can cause cancer.
3. Watch out for propylene glycol, ethylene glycol and polyethylene glycol (PEG.) These are all found in degreasing agents – oven cleaners and the like. You definitely don’t want to put them on your precious skin.
4. A lot of products contain mineral oil, paraffin and petrolatum. These are all gasoline distillates that coat your skin like plastic and clog your pores.
5. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient on the bottle, chances are you probably shouldn’t be using it.
6. Just because a product says it’s natural or contains natural ingredients, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. So don’t take the label’s word for it … you still need to read the label yourself and look for anything I listed above.
It took me a while to nail down some fantastically nutritious products. Healthy skin is no longer a mystery. I can now feed my skin the way I do my body. I have become satisfied with my choices, and my skin looks amazing.
Regardless of change, there is one constant… we all want to look hot! Beauty is as beauty does.
Keep on Stylin’!
|[Ed. Note: Anesta Dawkins is Owner and Founder of Salon Hottie in West Palm Beach, Florida, and is an accomplished hairstylist, platform artist, and instructor. With over 20 years’ experience in the industry and a satisfied network of clients, Anesta is dedicated to keeping you current with the latest and most innovative products in the beauty industry.]|