A Year of 21 Days: Beauty (Day 9- Stress)

March 9, 2013

Proverbs 31:18

She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

A Proverbs 31 woman plans ahead; she’s not surprised (or at least not for long) by emergencies and unexpected events.  Turns out a beautiful woman plans ahead, too.

Planning ahead reduces stress.  Stress is one of the biggest destroyers of beauty and youth.  Planning ahead can’t remove stress entirely (and a complete lack of stress, ironically enough, is as unhealthy as too much), but it can cut it down immensely.

In my reading, I’m learning about T-cells (part of the immune system) and how they affect aging.  As we get older, we produce more memory T-cells, which remember the body’s responses to stress, infection, and invaders.  We simultaenously produce fewer naive T-cells, which enable us to attack new invaders.  Because of this, although our bodies still defend against known disease and infection, it has a harder time with each new one.  Stress acts in the same way, especially long-term, unrelenting stress, per the University of Chicago.

Planning ahead will keep stress managable.  If you plan your days (with room for adjustments), then you already know what you’ll be doing all day and surprises don’t hit as hard.  When you plan your menus, food choices are less stressful.  Likewise, if you plan for emergencies, you are better prepared to deal with it in a calm, not stressful, manners.

When you stress, your body goes through oxidative stress: the number of reactive free radicals produced by body processes such as  breathing or cellular functions exceeds the number of antioxidant  molecules capable of neutralizing the free radicals.  Over time, this damages the body.

The body itself produces antioxidants, provided it has enough manganese, copper, zinc, and other minerals to do so.  We can assist our body by eating foods rich in antioxidants (scientists generally concur that natural food sources are far more effective than supplements).  Foods like blueberries, pomegranates, walnuts, apples, spinach, sweet potatoes, green tea, almonds, and, yes, vices like coffee, red wine, and dark chocolate, are all rich in antioxidants.  Help your body out by eating these foods on a regular basis.

We can’t actually stop aging, nor can we truly reverse it, but we can do a lot of things to make aging go slowly.  The sooner you start, the better opportunity for it to take effect.

 

Here is a modified version of this recipe to get a huge antioxidant boost from a smoothie:

  • 8 oz almond milk (vanilla or plain)
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate powder/cocoa (not processed with alkali)
  • 1/2 c blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 c leafy greens (spinach/ kale)
  • 1/4 c applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 2-3 ice cubes (optional)

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and serve.  Makes 1 large serving ~200 calories.

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