Known as the body’s “master” antioxidant, glutathione (GSH) combats free radicals and helps support immunity, the gastrointestinal and nervous systems, and more. Your body is most vulnerable to oxidative insult when you wake up—especially if you had a drink the night before, since the body uses glutathione stores to metabolize alcohol, says Lise Alschuler, ND, author of Five to Thrive (Active Interest Media, 2011). A low-nutrient breakfast of coffee and toast will send levels even lower, making this a great time to supplement with glutathione’s precursors, glutamine or N-acetylcysteine (NAC).
2. Moisturize and protect
Every morning, address the two most important skin care concerns—moisturizing and UV protection—by applying one dual-action natural cream.
Look for a product with nourishing oils, protective antioxidants, and minerals zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to fight UVA and UVB rays. If you plan on spending more than 10 minutes in the sun, make sure you also use an SPF 30, or a moisturizer that includes an SPF 30.
3. Sleep tight
Sure, you feel better, but it’s no myth you’ll look better too when you get sufficient rest. Why? When you’re anxious or not getting enough sleep, cortisol, the “stress hormone,” increases and attacks collagen—the important protein that keeps your skin taut. But during sleep, your body produces human growth hormone (HGH), which rebuilds and rejuvenates skin cells. Aim for eight quality hours nightly. If that’s not feasible: Tack on an extra half-hour per week, squeeze in 20-minute naps when you can, and exercise regularly to improve circulation and release stress-fighting endorphins.
4. Focus on cooking technique
Minimize damage from advanced glycation end products (these distort skin’s collagen) by boiling, steaming, poaching, or stewing your foods. “We don’t say, ‘never enjoy a grilled food,’” says Alan Logan, ND, coauthor of Your Skin, Younger (Cumberland House, 2010). But something as simple as poaching an egg, rather than frying it, can make a significant difference in AGE levels. In fact, high water content in the Japanese diet may be one reason why Japanese people tend to have fewer visible aging signs than Caucasians, says Logan.
5. Take skin-supportive supplements
What you put into your body is just as important as what you put on it. In addition to loading up on water- and nutrient-dense foods, supplement with collagen, a protein found in our connective tissues that helps keep skin wrinkle-free, and hyaluronic acid (HA), the hydrating sponge-like substance that provides skin with elasticity and moisture, to support a youthful complexion. As we age, we experience the loss of both, making supplementation important. Learn more about collagen from sponsor BioCell.