Tag Archives: Butter

The Best Plant Extracts For Skin

Usually, when we think of the plights of ancient civilization, acne does not top our list. However, that does not mean skincare was not a problem for our forebears. After all, if there was a sun, was there not sun damage and, if there were pregnancies, were there not stretch marks? While we can pretty much assume our forefathers and mothers all battled with skin issues, there is a noticeable absence of the mention of benzoyl peroxide and hyaluronic acid in the history books. So what did our ancestors use to ensure skin health before the advent of “science-based skincare?” Plant extracts. And if they worked back then, shouldn’t they work now?

Let’s take a moment to investigate the best plant-based extracts for your skin that are still available.

Aloe vera

Aloe Vera
This extract has been around since time immemorial. Best known as a remedy for irritation and minor burns, this desert plant is known for its ability to fight bacteria, protect skin cells from damage, soften skin, and rebuild new tissue. Aloe is an ideal ingredient for mature skin and improves collagen levels when ingested or applied topically.

Tea Tree Oil
Ideal for moisturizing and cleansing, tea tree oils reduces sebum production in the sebaceous glands and reduces the amount of bacteria that cause blemishes to form. Its antiseptic properties make it an effective healer, it is known for its ability to safely remove dead cells from the skin and decrease the appearance of wrinkles.

Shea
Shea butter evens skin tone and protects and moisturizes the skin and scalp without clogging pores. Extracted from the nut of the West African karate tree, shea butter is naturally rich in vitamins A and E and helps restore elasticity to the skin and soothe irritation.

Shea butter

Olive Oil
Hailed as a skin care remedy by the ancient Egyptians, olive oil is still regarded as one of the most effective natural oils for skin care. It has been associated with everything from aiding in digestion to acne prevention and anti-aging. The words “Extra virgin” or “cold pressed” on the label should indicate that the olive oil contained within is the purest of all extract and have more nutritional components to improve skin appearance, but beware falsely labelled products!

Avocado
One of the finest extracts found in nature, the oil from the avocado is an extract long found in face masks, bath oils, and cleansing cream. Avocados are rich in vitamin A, which is effective at removing dead skin cells and contain amino acids which protect skin against environmental damage.

Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is known for the ability to reduce scars and is often recommended by surgeons to patients to reduce evidence of surgery incisions. It is credited with boosting collagen in the skin and reducing stretch marks and the appearance of wrinkles and frown lines. Cocoa butter is an active ingredient in most moisturizers and is useful in combatting rough skin where dryness is common.
Cocoa butter

Coconut Oil
Great for both hair and skin care, coconut oil is an effective moisturizer for dry skin and scalp. It can also delay the appearance of wrinkles and has been proven to be effective in the treatments of psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. The antioxidant properties of the coconut prevent premature aging and degenerative disease and it is available in a variety of skin care products, such as lotions, soaps, and creams.

Do you know of any plant extracts we haven’t mentioned that do wonders for your skin? Let us know your favorites. We’re all ears!

Cooking Healthy: Butter VS Coconut Oil

To keep yourself at your healthiest and happiest, it is important to eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Maintaining a healthy eating plan can seem a bit overwhelming. Maybe you know what to look for in the produce aisle or the dairy section, but you aren’t sure what to do with it when you get home. The way in which you prepare your meals is as important as the ingredients you select. Both butter and coconut oil are popular cooking substances, but which one is the healthier option? Vine Vera did a bit of research to help you decide whether you should be cooking with butter or with coconut oil.

Nutritional Information
In a one tablespoon serving, coconut oil has 117 calories, 14 grams of total fat and 12 grams of saturated fat. A one tablespoon serving of unsalted butter contains 102 calories, 12 grams of total fat and 7 grams of saturated fats. The percentage of fat from saturated fat in coconut oil is 86% whereas the percentage of fat from saturated fat in butter is 58%.

Based on the numbers alone, it appears that butter would be the healthier choice when it comes to cooking. However, there are more factors to consider when deciding on whether to cook with coconut oil or butter.

Butter and coconut oil for cooking

Benefits of Coconut Oil and Butter
Saturated fats are composed of building blocks known as saturated fatty acids. Lauric, stearic, palmitic and myristic acids are all types of saturated fatty acids. Some of the saturated fatty acids in both butter and coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids, which may be less likely to be stored in the body as fat tissue than other types of fatty acids. Because medium-chain fatty acids are broken down differently in the body, they may even help you lose weight when used in moderation.

The main saturated fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, which boosts level of HDL (the good) cholesterol and that may help neutralize the risk of having heart disease. Although lauric acid raises helpful HDL levels, it also does raise the levels of LDL (the bad) cholesterol as well.

The primary saturated fatty acid in butter palmitic acid, but it also contains a small amount conjugated linoleic acid. Linoleic  acid is thought to help revitalize your metabolism and may have other health benefits. Butter also contains a good amount of vitamins A, D and K2. Vitamin K2 is a heart-friendly vitamin that is associated with a lower level of plaque buildup in the arteries.

Which One is Healthier for Cooking?
When it comes to whether one is better than the other for cooking, the answer is neither. While both coconut oil and butter have positive benefits and potentially negative aspects, neither are particularly harmful or helpful. Canola or olive oils are a healthier choice for cooking, but when used in moderation coconut oil and butter are tasty ways to prepare your foods.

As with all things, moderation really is the key. While neither butter nor coconut oil is particularly healthy as a cooking agent, neither of them are things to completely avoid in the kitchen. Use coconut oil in dishes with bold and exotic flavors, such as a Thai curry or use unsalted butter to make a tasty omelet for breakfast. Used sparingly, both coconut oil and butter can be a part of a healthy and balanced diet.