Relax your way to trim and radiant!
While small amounts of stress activate autophagy (the body’s cellular detoxification process), mental stress and cortisol surges actually impair detox. That’s why natural-health expert Naomi Whittel advises pampering yourself to ease mental stress. Here, her feel-great strategies.
Perk up with “powerphenol” tea. Certain foods—including green tea, berries, cinnamon, citrus fruit, chocolate and wine— contain powerful antioxidants called polyphenols that dial up autophagy to repair cellular damage. While you can enjoy the anti-aging perks of these “powerphenols” by eating these foods (try the treats at left), Whittel also maximizes her daily intake by sipping tea that combines a few of nature’s top polyphenol sources, along with a dose of fat to help the body absorb the antioxidants efficiently. To make: Bring 11⁄2 cups of water to a boil.
Pour the water into a mug and add 1 Reserveage Nutrition AutophaTèa tea bag (available at Amazon.com). Steep for 3 minutes. Stir in 1 Tbs. of coconut oil. “From my very first cup, I was hooked,” shares Whittel, who suggests drinking up to four cups each day.
Brush your skin. “Dry-brushing stimulates circulation, which encourages waste to leave the body faster,” says Whittel, who uses her dry brush each morning. To try it at home:
Use a long-handled brush with firm bristles to make short, firm strokes on your legs, belly and arms, always brushing toward your heart. For best results, Whittel recommends brushing for about 10 minutes per day. And for even more anti-aging benefits, massage a DIY coffee scrub onto justbrushed skin in the shower once a week. The mix Whittel likes: 1 cup of coffee grounds, 3 Tbs. of sea salt and 6 Tbs. of coconut oil. Leftover scrub keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Unwind with heat. Researchers report that raising core body temperature triggers heat stress, another powerful autophagy activator, while also dialing back the emotional stress that can slow cellular detox. Using a steam room or sauna or taking a hot yoga class is an easy way to get the benefits, but you can also get the perks from a warm bath. Studies at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom show that taking a very hot bath for 20 minutes at least four times a week can help purge toxins, diminish wrinkles and rev metabolism. For a bigger boost, Whittel suggests adding 10 drops of bergamot essential oil to the bathwater—the oil is proven to activate autophagy and ease stress.
Drift off to “pink” noise. “Deep sleep is when your cells repair damage, eliminate toxins and renew themselves,” says Whittel—and research shows that getting more deep sleep slashes levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 45 percent. Despite the importance of deep sleep, most women over the age of 40 spend only 5 to 10 percent of the night in the crucial sleep state. Fortunately, scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago report that increasing time spent in the deep-sleep stage can be as easy as listening to pink noise at bedtime. “You’ve probably heard of white noise, which sounds like static,” explains Whittel. “Pink noise sounds more like rain falling.” To get the benefits, try the free SimplyNoise app on Apple and Android phones. It offers a variety of soothing sound options (including white and pink noise) to help you get your best sleep.