Most of us are familiar with how stress can take a toll on our health, as it interferes with our mood, digestion, pain level, and even our ability to think clearly or to remember. Yet did you know that stress also has an impact on the production and effectiveness of collagen?
In fact, chronic stress weakens the ability of your skin’s collagen to do its job, which is to help keep your skin healthy, vibrant, elastic, and supple. In other words, collagen plays a significant role in avoiding wrinkles, lines, and sagging, all of which contribute to looking older.
Stress comes in many forms, be it financial worries, relationship woes, emotional challenges, poor sleep, nutritional deficiencies, chronic disease, and job-related burdens, among others. Demands of the holiday season often encompass several of these and other stressors, which means it’s important for you to acknowledge and recognize these attacks on your immune system and take steps to alleviate them before they get you down.
Collagen and cortisol
One of the main stress hormones is cortisol, and it plays a major role in skin health and aging. You should always remember, however, that stress, aging, and the presence of an autoimmune disease can alter the integrity and quantity of collagen in the skin. Stress, in particular, can impact the health of skin collagen by altering its production and breakdown, which means it is critical to find ways to manage stress.
Cortisol has been called “the enemy of collagen” by a nutritional biochemist named Shawn M. Talbott, PhD. Why? Because cortisol, which is found in the connective tissue in the tendons and skin, and collagen can be arch enemies when it comes to promoting your health. In fact, a confrontation between the two can result in acne, joint pain, anxiety, and many other responses since high cortisol is not a friend of your body.
Fortunately, you can take several steps to defeat this confrontational situation, such as:
- Boosting your intake of foods rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, such as fruits and vegetables, fatty fish such as tuna and salmon. Keep an eye out for these healthy foods when you are visiting the buffet table during the holiday season.
- Taking all-natural supplements that can complement or help you keep your daily intake of essential nutrients at a healthy level.
- Practicing stress-reducing activities such as meditation, visualization, tai chi, progressive relaxation, deep breathing, and exercise on a regular basis.
- Participating in activities that boost blood circulation and reduce stress such as walking, yoga, swimming, dance, tennis, and rebounding. Take time during the holidays to exercise!
- Reducing your dietary intake of trans fats, fried foods, processed foods, and other inflammatory items.
Cortisol has the ability to degrade collagen, which can result in the formation of wrinkles. Wrinkles are the result of the reduction and weakening of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. If you are in a state of chronic stress, it means your body is constantly being assaulted by cortisol, which makes it difficult for the skin to form collagen and to repair itself.
However, if you can lower your cortisol levels and boost your beta-endorphins (which are anti-inflammatories), you can reverse the damage you are doing to your skin. To raise your beta-endorphin levels, you should always get sufficient sleep, engage in safe sex often, and exercise regularly.
Along with lowering cortisol levels, you may want to find ways to increase collagen in your body. One way is to take collagen supplements, which are available as a powder, tablets, chews, and capsules. Another approach is to pay attention to certain lifestyle habits, such as those mentioned above. In addition, be sure to reduce or eliminate added sugar, avoid overexposure to the sun, maintain a diet high in antioxidants, stay physically active as much as possible, take probiotics to maintain gut health, and be sure not to skimp on vitamin C and zinc.
[Editor’s Note: With effective stress management, a supplemental form of collagen such as those from our sponsor NeoCell, can help you maintain younger looking skin.]
Kahan V et al. Stress, immunity and skin collagen integrity: evidence from animal models and clinical conditions. Brain Behavior, and Immunity 2009 Nov; 23(8): 1089-95
Petrucci K MD. What’s the connection between collagen and stress? Dr. Kellyann
Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that every person you pass on the street has an inner life as rich as your own?
Every single person is like you in many ways, and yet so beautifully complex and unique, with an immense breadth of feelings, fears, and experiences that have shaped them into who they are.
Every set of hands holding a coffee on your morning commute has wiped tears from a weary face, picked an outfit for an interview or date they hoped would change their life, and held someone else’s hand in a show of support—perhaps someone taking their final breath or bringing life into this world.
Every set of eyes cast downward, to avoid an awkward moment of connection, has witnessed cruelty so dark it terrified them, love so touching it changed them, and beauty so fleeting it reminded them to make the most of their short time on this earth.
And yet despite these universal experiences—the love, the joy, the loss, the pain—we are each a universe unto ourselves.
No one has seen the exact combination of people and events you’ve seen. No one has heard the exact combination of sounds. Of the billions of people in this world, no one has your exact vantage point.
People may have traveled similar roads. People may have made similar choices. And some may carry the same labels—caretaker, artist, HSP, INFJ. But no one has experienced this world in the exact same way you have.
As a writer and an introvert, I probably spend more time than most in solitude. So when I see other people, I often look into them, not at them. Never do I do this more intensely than when I’m flying alone, to visit my family across the country or come back to my boyfriend and life in LA.
In that time between two worlds, everything that defines me in either space strips away. I feel almost as though I’m floating above it all, witnessing the people around me with a pure presence that’s harder to embody when immersed in the roles and responsibilities of everyday life.
I watch the way people move—quickly or slowly, with ease or with strain—and I wonder what fuels their energy or lethargy. If they’re enthusiastic and excited or sick and tired, and why.
I watch the way people interact with the people around them—effortlessly, as if it’s instinctive, or with reservation, as is often the case with me—and I wonder if this reflects their nature or just their state in a moment. Are they open? Are they scared? And why?
When I look closely I notice little things I’d surely miss if I were scrolling through Facebook or learning French through an app on my phone, as I’ve been doing as of late.
I notice people letting others go in front of them, lifting bags for those who are weaker, and making jokes to put anxious travelers at ease. If we’re paying attention we’ll often see these little moments when someone lets their guard down to do something kind and thoughtful for someone else.
We’ll also notice the worst of humanity—people rushing, pushing, condescending, and generally acting without regard for their impact on the people around them.
In that floating space, however, disconnected from my judging mind, I remember I’ve been both of those people. I’ve been giving, thoughtful, and kind, usually when I’ve felt my best about myself and my life. And though I’m loath to admit it, I’ve been thoughtless, rude, and inconsiderate, most often when I’ve been hurting.
It wasn’t because I meant to hurt anyone else. It was because I’d closed myself up into a little scab, where I could hold my pain tightly in my shaking arms, safe in the knowledge it would now be harder for anyone else to hurt me.
We all have our pains. And I’m guessing given the choice, we’d all prefer to be that energetic, open, kind person, moving through life with ease.
But a million and one tiny joys and hurts have led us to where we are in any given moment in time. And though I know we can all make choices about our perspective and attitude, I also know it can be hard.
In the floating space, I understand. I see people as reflections of me. And I feel love. The kind of love that recognizes the infinite diversity and sameness of human experience and makes me feel less alone in this big, sometimes scary world.
But planes take off and touch down, and eventually I’m back in familiar environments, and often a familiar space in my head. It’s hard sometimes to remember to see people with an open mind and heart. But I try. I stumble sometimes, but I remember when I can.
I think we’re all like that.
Everyone has an inner life as rich as our own. Everyone is running toward something and away from something else, holding onto something and struggling to let something else go. Everyone is trying, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. And I believe we’re all doing the best we can in each given moment in time.
You might not agree, and that’s fine. But believing this helps me be the best version of myself more often than not. The chaotic little universe inside me finds calm by understanding the chaos in you. I see you. I get you. I am you. And remembering that brings me peace.
About Lori Deschene
Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and redefine yourself. An avid film lover, she recently finished writing her first feature screenplay and would appreciate advice from anyone in the industry to help get this made. You can reach her at email (at) tinybuddha.com.
The post We’re All the Same Yet Different, and We’re All Doing the Best We Can appeared first on Tiny Buddha.
You know that feeling when you’re sick and you want your mom, but then you remember that you ARE THE MOM? Same here. Every year I brew up a batch of fire cider and elderberry syrup for immune support at the beginning of cold and flu season, and for the most part we dodge whatever’s going around.
Not always, though. Sometimes I slack when it comes to making sure we take the elderberry syrup and fire cider and someone comes down with a cold. When that happens, I head to our kitchen apothecary and mix up one of these tried-and-true remedies. If you’re looking for ways to support recovery naturally, here are some easy recipes to use next time something’s going around!
14 Natural Remedies For Cold And Flu Season
The cold and flu remedies below are supported by research and incorporate common kitchen ingredients you probably already have on hand, including healing herbs, spices, and honey.
Tea is incredibly soothing when you’re recovering from a cold or flu – the warmth promotes relaxation while the herbs and spices support immune function and ease discomfort. Here are some recipes using ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Lemon Ginger Tea Recipe
Ginger has been used for thousands of years to soothe tummy aches, nausea and indigestion. And according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it has also history of use for soothing “flu-like symptoms, headaches, and painful menstrual periods.” (UMMC) Lemons are also helpful because they’re rich in vitamin C, which supports immune function.
I love this lemon ginger tea with a twist, but the simple recipe below is also amazing for easing nausea and other cold and flu discomforts while supporting immune function.
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2-3 slices fresh ginger
- 1-2 lemon wedges
- raw honey to taste
Pour boiling water over the ginger and allow to steep for ten minutes, then strain and add in a squeeze of lemon. I also add in the lemon peel if it is organic. Sweeten the tea with honey before sipping on it.
Rosemary Or Thyme Tea Recipe
“Rosemary is highly antiviral and antibacterial,” says Clinical Herbalist Steve Sietos. “Everything you smell in that signature aroma is medicine.” According to Clinical Herbalist Arielle Hayat, the same is true of thyme. (Kessler)
- 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or thyme, de-stemmed
- 1 cup boiling water
- raw honey to taste
Pour boiling water over the rosemary/thyme and allow to steep for ten minutes, then strain and sweeten with honey before sipping on it.
If you don’t already have this herb in your pantry, you may want to consider stocking up. In this study, researchers found that flu patients who received elderberry syrup recovered about four days sooner than those who received a placebo.
In another study that had similar results, it was concluded that there were two reasons for the more rapid recovery. First, patients taking elderberry had higher anti-haemagglutination titers, meaning their immune system was functioning optimally. Second, they found that elderberry supports the body’s natural ability to inhibit neuraminidase, an enzyme that the virus uses to infect cells. (Kelly)
What you’ll need:
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 2-3 teaspoons dried elderberry
- Optional additions: 1 cinnamon stick or a few slices of fresh ginger
Golden Milk (Turmeric Tea)
Herbal Syrups And Honey
Kids love herbal honeys and syrups, making them one of the easiest remedies to get them to take. Here are a few of our favorites:
Homemade Cough Syrup
According to a study published in the medical journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, honey works better dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in store-bought cough syrup. The study also said children who took this “medicine” got more sleep than those who took OTC meds, and so did their parents. (Paul et. al.)
What you’ll need:
- 3/4 cup organic buckwheat honey, raw honey, or local honey
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-4 tablespoons organic lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar
Cinnamon And Raw Honey
Cinnamon has long been used in traditional medicine to support cold and flu recovery. According to Fundamentals of Microbiology, there is evidence to support its traditional use as an antimicrobial herb. Also, as mentioned above, honey has been shown to ease coughing, which can be very helpful if a cough is keeping you from getting much-needed sleep.
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Serve on a spoon or stirred into warm water.
As mentioned above, ginger has a history of use for “flu-like symptoms, headaches, and painful menstrual periods.” (UMMC)
I like to keep this ginger syrup on hand during the cold winter months along with other syrups, tinctures and teas that support the immune system. Suggestions for delicious ways to use it are in the post!
Elderberries are revered for their ability to support the immune system during cold and flu season, but they have other benefits, too! They contain flavonoids and anthocyanins, which:
* Help the body absorb vitamin C, which assists with collagen synthesis, immune response, etc.
* Support a balanced inflammatory response
* Encourage healthy respiratory function
Also, according to a study in Norway, patients given elderberry syrup felt better four days sooner than those who received a placebo.
Other Kitchen Remedies
The ingredients below make excellent additions to the recipes above.
According to Fundamentals of Microbiology, “Many research studies have identified a sulfur compound called allicin as one key to garlic’s antiseptic properties. When a raw garlic clove is crushed or chewed, allicin gives garlic its characteristic taste and smell. Laboratory studies using garlic suggest that this compound is responsible for combating the microbes causing the common cold, flu, sore throat, sinusitis, and bronchitis. The findings indicate that the compound blocks key enzymes that bacteria and viruses need to invade and damage host cells.” (emphasis mine)
To Use: Dice it and let it sit for 15 minutes as the therapeutic compound – allicin – activates. Swallow it on it’s own or mixed with raw honey or cough syrup.
This spice is rich in a compound called capsaicin which helps with flu/cold aches and pains by depleting the neurotransmitter “substance P,” which relays pain signals to the brain. (Tirado-Lee) It also dial up the body’s production of two anti-inflammatory agents – collagenase and prostaglandin – and has been found to reduce coughing, (Matucci-Cerinic et. al., Ternesten-Hasseus et. al.)
Add a dash to hot tea to ease discomfort, or mix it with honey (to help with coughing) and Vitamin C rich lemon juice to taste.
Other Remedies That May Help
- Bone broth and homemade chicken soup
- Nasopure bottle – It’s basically a neti pot that’s easier for kids to use. During cold and flu season it assists the body with moving out mucus that has captured bacteria, dust, etc.
- Fire Cider – I love my fire cider recipe, but if you’re already feeling bad you probably don’t want to wait 2-4 weeks for it to be ready. Fortunately, you can buy pre-made Fire Tonic on Amazon and get it with in 1 or 2 days if you have Amazon Prime or choose expedited shipping.
- Salt Sock For Earaches
You can also find several more ideas for supporting cold and flu recovery in this post.
Do you have a favorite tried-and-true cold and flu remedy? Please share it below!
Continue reading 14 Tried And True Remedies For Cold And Flu Season…
Many of us wait for the “perfect time” with our health, nutrition, and fitness. But this all-or-nothing thinking — as in, “If I don’t do this perfectly then it’s awful!” — rarely gets us “all.” It usually gets us “nothing.”
Are you waiting for the “perfect time” to start eating better, or exercising, or finally getting in shape?
Are you putting off that dream trip, or a new project, or that skill you’ve been meaning to learn?
If so, some of these phrases may sound familiar:
When I get a different job.
When things are less busy.
When I find a workout partner.
When I find the right equipment.
When I feel less awkward in the gym.
When I lose 20 lbs.
When I get the right workout routine.
When my fridge is full of the right foods.
Tomorrow. Next week. Never.
Human beings are always “waiting for the perfect time.” But why?
For many, it’s a great distraction and justification. It helps us avoid the real—and risky—work of doing.
For others, perfectionism and avoidance serve as strong armor against potential embarrassment, criticism, and failure.
“I could ___ but ___” keeps us safe from pain.
Unfortunately, it’s also what keeps us from growing, thriving, and being who we know we have the potential to be.
That’s why all-or-nothing thinking—If I don’t do this perfectly then it’s worthless—rarely gets us “all.”
It usually gets us “nothing.”
There is no perfect time. There never will be.
Oh sure, there might be some magic moment in your fitness journey where the universe comes together… and you’re wearing your favorite t-shirt… plus your extra-comfy sneakers… and that song you love comes on… and your body is full of exuberant, bubbling energy… and your favorite piece of gym equipment is free (in fact the gym is empty today, hooray!)… and you bang out a set of ten reps like the angels are hoisting the barbell for you.
But that magic moment will be one in the zillion other less-magic moments that make up your real life.
Indeed, if we are talking about a moment as, say, approximately ten seconds long, that means you have somewhere between 2,398,377,600 to 2,556,165,600 potential moments in your life.
Which means that a single perfect moment is, well, a very very very small part of the whole thing.
Yes, celebrate that perfect moment when it comes. But sure as heck don’t wait for it.
Take your moments. Make your moments.
Just so you know, nobody is going to give you any moments. You have to take moments.
Hunt them. Chase them. Make them happen.
Scratch and gouge moments out of other times. Chip off tiny flakes of moments from the monolith of your day. Use your teeth if you must—bite off mouthfuls of those moments.
You are holding the chisel and the pickaxe. You are the miner of your moments.
This frustrates us, of course.
It shouldn’t be this way, we think. Everyone else’s moments just… come to them. Everyone else has enough time. Enough money. Enough motivation. Enough information.
But it is this way. For everyone.
This is how it is, with moments. Moments resist expectations like water resists the intrusion of oil.
However, there is a perfect moment. There is actually always a perfect moment.
That perfect moment is now.
Here. Today. The living, breathing sliver of time that you have in this precise second.
Because that is all you ever have: right now.
Just start. At the beginning.
Here is another secret. You don’t have to actually work to get to the next moment.
All you have to do is start.
And then, moments will keep moving, as moments do.
One moment will stack on top of another and before you know it, you’ll have arrived at your destination.
“But I can’t!” You say. “I can’t get started! That is the problem, you see!”
No, it’s not. If you can’t get started, you’re just jumping too far ahead.
You’re not starting with starting. You are trying to start somewhere in an imaginary middle.
For instance, let’s say you choose to start with reading about nutrition.
That can be a good start—if it keeps you moving on to the next moment.
But it is not a good start if it keeps you stuck in your chair, clicking through a blur of blogs and charts and plans and testimonials until it’s time for lights-out and you haven’t made a single good nutritional choice today.
So maybe, starting for you shouldn’t be reading.
It should be something else, like walking to the fridge and picking out a shiny fresh apple and eating it.
Or making a shopping list and putting it next to your car keys for tomorrow.
Or reading a menu from the restaurant you’re about to visit, and picking out the salad option in advance.
Starting means initiating action. Starting means committing to a choice of some kind or another. This is how you know it is a true start.
Starting is when you drop the coin into one pinball machine, not when you stand there looking at the all machines in the arcade, deciding which one to play.
Starting is when you lift up one foot and put it in front of the other, not when you stand there debating which road to take or wondering if you should have worn different shoes.
For some folks, starting needs to be an even smaller action. Starting might be just lifting the foot. Or shifting their weight to one leg.
Putting the first foot in front of the second foot might require some help. Which is OK.
As long as something is moving, that’s a start.
Push through. Embrace resistance.
Many people who are just starting out assume that because they feel resistance, they have failed.
That because broccoli tastes bitter when they first try it, and because they accidentally overcook it, they just can’t eat vegetables.
That because they forget the printed list of exercises on the kitchen table, they can’t work out once they get to the gym.
That because their legs ache on the ascent, they are not ready to climb that hill.
No. That’s just how it feels sometimes.
Starting will often feel like resistance, at least at first. Like grinding the brain’s gears.
Give it time. Resist the urge to press pause. Push through. It will switch tracks, eventually.
Remember: You don’t have to fight the resistance of the entire trip.
You just have to push through the resistance of the first few moments.
Get support. For now.
In order for a rocket to leave the earth, it has to fire extra-hard against gravity. It needs a boost.
In order for a heavy train to get moving, it might need an extra engine.
We can start—and stay moving—on our own. But it sure helps when someone gives us a push or a pull.
Someone who can call us on our procrastination and perfection. On our information-cruising and waffling.
Someone who can snap us out of our all-or-nothing trance with a gentle nudge and reminder.
For a while, we can even affix ourselves to this someone or something else, like hooking that extra engine to our front. As we go along, we can unhook superfluous cars that we realize are weighing us down. We grow lighter, leaner, more mobile.
Eventually, we don’t need that extra engine any more. Our train is now whizzing along just fine on its own. The scenery blurs past the windows and we are heading on a grand adventure.
But in the beginning, we had to start.
What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition
If you’re still “waiting for the perfect time”, try these tips to help you stop feeling stuck and start taking action.
1. Revise your expectations.
Recognize that there is no perfect time and there never will be.
There is only now.
2. Carve out time, even if it’s imperfect.
Nobody will give that time to you. You’ll need to take it. Give yourself permission to make yourself — and your fitness and health goals — a priority.
Find the time you need in your schedule. Don’t have time for an hour-long workout? No problem. How much time do you have? 20 minutes? 10 minutes? Work with what you’ve got.
Don’t expect things to go perfectly smoothly. Instead, anticipate and strategize. Ask yourself:
- What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?
- What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?
Instead of waiting for things to ‘slow down,’ start making something happen right now, in the middle of the mess.
3. Just start.
If you feel stuck, just do something. Anything.
Find the smallest possible thing you can do right now, in the next 5 minutes, and do it. Now you’ve started!
In PN Coaching, we concentrate on finding “5-minute actions.” Instead of coming up with the biggest, grandest scheme, think about what you could do in just 5 minutes to help move yourself — even just a tiny bit — in the direction of your goals. Then, go do it.
Remember: action is a “vote” in favor of a different, healthier, fitter life. Vote early, vote often.
4. Expect resistance.
It’s normal. Push through it. Resistance doesn’t mean this won’t work. It just means you’ve started.
You only have to get through this moment. This moment of starting will be the hardest. Luckily, it won’t last long.
5. Get support.
Let go of the concept of the lone hero. Instead, start building your support systems.
Whether it’s a friend or family member, workout buddy, or a coach, find someone to fire up your booster rockets until you can fly on your own.
Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?
Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.
That’s why we work closely with Precision Nutrition Coaching clients to help them lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.
It’s also why we work with health, fitness and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.
Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.
We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.
If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.
- You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
- You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.
If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.
[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].
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