We have all noticed our skin becoming clearer and more youthful, developing that “yoga glow”. Here is a bit more of the science of how it works.
Sweating is a powerfully cleansing for the body. The humid environment, provided by the hot room, causes pores to widen. This allows bacteria and waste products to be flushed out, helping to prevent blackheads and other acne symptoms, keeping skin clear and fresh.
The heat in Bikram Yoga also increases circulation. Tiny blood vessels, called capillaries, also dilate, enabling blood to bring oxygen and vital nutrients to the skin’s surface. This instantly makes the skin look more vibrant by creating that rosy healthy glow.
Yoga helps slows down the aging process in many ways, helping to prevent heart disease, alleviate arthritis and keep joints supple. Studies have also shown that yoga helps to combat bones density decreases in women over 50, as well as making muscles stronger and tighter.
Collagen is the protein from which around 90 percent of skin tissues are made. As you lose collagen throughout the aging process, your skin loses some of its elasticity and firmness. It also gets thinner, which eventually leads to sagging. Cortisol is the principle hormone produced when we experience stress and is one of the biggest culprits in the breakdown of collagen as we grow older.
Cortisol induced collagen loss is one of the key mechanisms of the deterioration of the skin over time. A great deal of research has shown that yoga reduces cortisol levels in the body, thus helping to reduce the onset of lines and wrinkles and slowing down the ageing of the skin.
Foods to help boost collagen production:
• Oily fish, flaxseeds, nuts, avocados –rich in omega oils.
• Berries – high in antioxidants.
• Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale – all full of vitamin C and lutein.
• Shellfish, red meat and some drinking water- natural sources of copper.
• Red veggies like tomatoes, beetroot and peppers- contain vitamin A and lycopene, an antioxidant that protects skin from the sun
• egg whites, meat, cheese- all good sources of protein. Egg whites also contain proline
• Soy and other beans– contain protein, genistein and hydraulic acid
• CHOCOLATE – only in moderation I am afraid
Things to avoid
• Excess sugar