Health and Beauty in 2015
It’s January — the month to review the past year’s successes and failures and make New Year’s resolutions. If one of your resolutions is to look and feel great in 2015, you should consider improving your health and beauty through naturopathic medicine.
As I’m fond of pointing out, beauty and health are inextricably linked, and vibrant health confers a variety of beauty benefits: glowing skin, thick shiny hair, strong nails and clear, bright eyes. If you’re suffering from a persistent skin condition or lacking in overall vitality, consulting a naturopath may help you get to the root of the problem.
Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the whole person and addressing the underlying causes of ailments. It offers a comprehensive and individualized approach to improving health and treating illness, including skin conditions. Drawing from both modern medical research and ancient healing traditions, naturopathic doctors use natural substances to support the body’s ability to heal itself. Instead of masking symptoms, naturopathic medicine seeks to eliminate health problems by treating them at their source.
I recently spoke with Dr. Ryan Kneessi, a naturopathic physician based in Annapolis, who explained that since the skin is the largest organ of elimination in the human body, its condition mirrors the health of the inner body. The health and beauty of your skin is a reflection of your lifestyle: how you eat, what you eat and don’t eat, and the toxins and sunlight you’ve been exposed to all affect its appearance. Improving the skin involves healing the body from the inside — starting with the gut.
Many skin disorders originate in the gut, where 90 percent of the immune system resides. Kneessi finds that his patients’ skin problems, such as acne and eczema, frequently stem from a food allergy or intolerance — the most common of these being wheat and dairy. Eliminating these foods can often dramatically clear up a congested complexion or skin rash. A poor diet that’s nutritionally deficient and high in toxins can also trigger skin problems, as the overtaxed liver’s inability to filter out toxins causes the skin to erupt. A naturopath can help you remove the toxins from your diet and prescribe a plan to restore gut health and strengthen your immune system.
Following the naturopathic protocol of encouraging the body’s inherent healing abilities, Kneessi focuses on improving patients’ nutrition through diet, supplements and botanical extracts. He notes that his patients’ fatty acid profile often reveals an imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (an excessive amount of the former is typical of those subsisting on the Standard American Diet (S.A.D). This imbalance can have serious health consequences and has been linked to obesity and the development of conditions such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and cancer. Another undesirable effect of an overload of omega-6 fatty acid is accelerated skin aging, which can be countered by avoiding highly processed industrial vegetable oils (e.g., corn, cottonseed, and soybean, etc.,) and supplementing with omega-3-rich oils: krill oil, fish oil and flaxseed oil. Personally, my skin and hair have shown marked improvement since I started taking cod liver oil daily.
A naturopath can help you identify the sources of any skin or health problems you may be experiencing, recommend dietary and lifestyle changes and prescribe supplements that will get you back on track to look and feel fantastic in 2015.