Years ago, as I searched for solutions to my health problems, I felt like Sherlock Holmes tracking clues (with much less success). I found that while one clue seemed to make sense, another would throw everything out of whack.
Does feeling “out of whack” resonate with you?
For those of us with fibromyalgia and/or other chronic conditions, linking these clues can help us to piece together a picture of what wellness can look like. For a while, that picture might be fuzzy and out of focus, but further study and experience sharpens the picture into clear view.
The subject of Rebuilding Wellness has become a lifelong passion of mine. I enjoy sharing news of health and healing with everyone I meet. Because I’ve experienced a personal transformation of my own, it’s my joy to share this “sharpened view” of healing with others.
One point of discussion I’m particularly fond of is healing from the inside out. It may surprise you to know that the outside of the body provides many clues about what’s going on inside. Health clues can be found by analyzing the skin, hair, nails, eyes, and even the tongue. For example, skin color, elasticity, paleness, blotchiness, rashes, etc. can indicate all sorts of dysfunction that stems from an impaired digestive system. Because healthy foods are a vital part of the digestive healing process, it helps to know why they’re important.
Therefore, I’ve listed below just a few of the benefits of my favorite “healing from the inside out” foods:
Water – Yes, water is a nutrient. We know we should drink up, but why is it good for the skin? Water is a great detox! It flushes out toxins and wastes leaving our skin looking healthier and younger. Also, by staying properly hydrated on the inside, we’ll experience the added bonus of looking properly moisturized on the outside.
Dark Green Leafy Veggies – This wide category of foods provides outstanding health
benefits. Spinach, kale, broccoli, bok choy, and a wealth of mixed greens serve up powerful doses of Folate and Vitamins A, B’s, and C. They provide skin cell renewal benefits as well as energy and infection-fighting components.
Salmon –We hear a lot about the need for Omega-3 fats due to their ability to fight heart disease and prevent cancers. But if you’re looking for results you can see, salmon combats dry, flaky skin, dandruff, inflammation, and even helps to prevent sun damage to your skin. Consuming salmon, herring, mackerel, and anchovies regularly can be a great way to get plenty of these essential fatty acids into your diet.
Flax Seeds – If fish isn’t your favorite, or if you prefer more of a vegetarian lifestyle, flax seeds can also serve as a great source of Omega-3’s. Add flax seeds and/or oil to salads, smoothies, berries or your morning oatmeal. Essential fatty acids have even been known to unclog the pores of your skin preventing acne and other blemishes.
Avocados –Have you ever seen someone wearing an avocado facial mask? Avocados are wonderfully nourishing to the skin – both externally and internally. They contain healthy fats, fiber, and an abundance of hydrating and nourishing nutrients. Vitamins like Niacin and minerals such as Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, and Zinc all provide vibrant skin health benefits.
Green Tea – The medicinal benefits of tea have been studied for years. The catechins found in green tea, in particular, have been linked to skin cancer prevention as well as faster healing from skin problems. The antioxidant properties of tea are also reported to prevent premature aging, wrinkling, and sagging of skin. Some studies refer to topical application as well as drinking the tea.
Berries – Dark berries such as blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, and raspberries make a smart choice for those looking to lower their sugar intake. Glycation (the result of excess sugar in the body) is responsible for damage to the skin (dryness, stiffness, and loss of elasticity) among other things. The antioxidant compounds in berries reduce inflammation and the appearance of skin damage. They also play a vital role in the production of Collagen, a strong building component to healthy skin.
Dark Chocolate – Who knew healing could be so delicious? While too much of anything can be problematic, small amounts of dark chocolate can be wonderfully healing to the body. Look for varieties with a minimum of 60% cocoa and the least amount of sugar possible. Chocolate rich in minimally processed cocoa contains Flavanols, which are known to preserve blood vessel health. Keeping a healthy blood supply to the skin can keep you looking vibrant and youthful to say nothing of the smile a taste of rich, dark chocolate puts on your face!
Now that you know a bit more about how foods can help you heal from the inside out – become your own Sherlock Holmes! Make a point to browse your health food store’s produce department. Stop by your local farmer’s market and select vibrantly colored vegetables and fruits. Try new recipes at home with healthy fish, quality oils, nuts, and seeds. The benefits you’ll see in the mirror will match the benefits of how young these foods will make you feel. And the results? Absolutely transformational!
Sue Ingebretson, CHHC
Sue Ingebretson is an author, speaker, certified holistic health coach, and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. Her bestselling book, FibroWHYalgia: Why Rebuilding the Ten Root Causes of Chronic Illness Restores Chronic Wellness, details her own journey from illness to wellness. Learn more on her website: www.RebuildingWellness.com.