Dark Green and Leafy

Dear Reader,

As the year draws to a close, I find myself repeatedly reflecting to help myself map out a course for 2020. I always make New Year’s resolutions and I’m excited to finalize my list for the 2020. One thing that I would like to improve is my overall health. In particular, I want to maintain a healthier diet that includes colorful fruits and vegetables.

Sometimes, I feel like my body is an old gothic manor. My floorboards creak, the door hinges squeak, and the plumping is on the fritz. However, I am structurally sound. I do not have any major health concerns, but I feel like I would benefit from basic maintenance. Specifically, I would like to include more dark green, leafy vegetables into my diet. I came to this conclusion in a very superficial way. One morning, I looked into the mirror and decided I was no longer satisfied with the bags under my eyes. I looked up treatments and found a long list of topical creams and oils that I could apply to my face to fix the problem. However, these solutions did not satisfy me. To go back to the house metaphor, applying face cream to an underlying health concern would be like applying a new coat of paint to termite-invested wood.

I refocused my search on dark bags under the eyes to natural remedies and diet-based solutions. Through this line of inquiries, I learned that dark bags under the eyes can be a result of poor blood circulation. This immediately caught my attention, because I know that my blood circulation is not the best. My legs and arms tend to fall asleep quite quickly if awkwardly positioned and my toes and fingers freeze and lose feeling easily in the winter. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and circulation. Capillaries in the body can become weak and leak when vitamin K levels are low. When this happens to the capillaries around the eyes, it can result in a bruise-like discoloration, aka dark circles.

Apparently, there are a number of other vitamins that can negatively impact your skin health and worsen dark circles under the eyes when deficient. Reading about vitamins A, B12, C, E, as well as, iron, make me realize that simply up-ing my intake of dark leafy greens will not be enough to improve my overall health. In 2020, I will resolve to eat more fruits and vegetables and any other food that will do more than satisfy a fleeting craving. Although this resolution was born out of vanity, it gave me an overall better awareness of my health.  

Many of our general health complaints—acne, weak hair/ nails, dry skin, etc.—have some connection to our diets. For example, a high sugar diet will not only increase one’s risk of developing acne but can also cause inflammation and damage to the skin’s collagen. I guess this is a reminder to myself that the human body changes from the inside out. Eating healthily and living well will give us the best return on investment. Quick fixes like creams and makeup may only be covering up problems.

Our bodies are complex and sensitive systems. It is important to remember to take care of ourselves physically as well as mentally and emotionally. At the end of the day, it is our health that is most important. In that spirit, Dear Reader, I wish you a dark green and leafy new year.



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