Tag Archives: Coconut

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!

What’s Great About the Kitavan Diet

Let’s take a moment to travel to a timeless, magical place; a place where the water is crystal clear and telecommunication is non-existent. A remote idyllic tropical island, of coral reefs, of Skull Caves, Orchid Gardens, and smiling faces. Welcome to Kitava Island, off the coast of Papua, New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. While many find the quaintness of the island its most charming attraction, others may argue that Kitava is way ahead of its time. You see, Kitava, New Guinea may not be a leader in technology, but they do have something far superior and way ahead of the times as compared to most other places in the world. It has the Kitavan Diet.

Kitavan diet

Kitavan Diet
Perhaps the most noticeable thing about the Kitavans is what they don’t have; there is practically no diabetes, acne, cardiovascular disease, dementia, or blood pressure difficulty. What they do have, however, is an abundance of food. But, despite this abundance, they do not suffer from obesity, and they all have low diastolic blood pressure.

Research finds that the good health in Kitava is due to the local foods. Fresh fruit, tubers, coconut, and fish make up a good percentage of the Kitavan diet, with an extremely low consumption of Western food. The diet is also virtually absent of dairy products, coffee, tea, and alcohol, and contains very little margarine, oils, sugars, grain, and cereals. The most commonly eaten tubers are yam, sweet potato, cassava and taro, while banana, papaya, guava, pineapple, watermelon, and mango top the list of fruits. The fat intake is low, and most of the fat that is consumed is saturated fat or omega-3 fat from seafood.

Foods with Low GI
Another thing common to the foods found in the Kitavan diet is their low rating on the glycemic index, a measure of the ability of food with carbohydrates to raise glucose, or blood sugar, levels. A diet rich in high GI foods can tax the body, leading to excess body weight, heart disease, increase of diabetic symptoms, high cholesterol levels, and lack of energy. Tubers, which play a large part in the Kitavan diet, are among the islander’s primary source of carbohydrates and have a relatively low GI rating.

Sweet potato

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C and beta carotene, both known to be powerful antioxidants which protect against aging and cancer. They are also known to increase levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone which offers health benefits to diabetics and pre -diabetics and may also protect against atherogenesis, the abnormal formation of fat deposits within the arteries; this would explain the low incidence of heart disease and diabetes on the island.

Coconuts
Besides having anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, the triglycerides in coconut may promote weight loss. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic disorders found that coconuts increased calorie burn and decreased storage of fat in overweight men. Another study found that the fat consumed in coconut oil could increase the metabolism of fat and calorie expenditure in women.

Coconut

The Kitavan Diet and Acne
In 1990, Swedish general practitioner, Steffan Lindeberg, performed health examinations on more than a thousand Kitavans, age 10 years and older, with 25% of the subjects age 15 to 25 and found not a single case of acne. This is likely attributable to lifestyle and diet, rather than genetic factors, since Pacific Islanders with similar ethnic backgrounds living in more westernized societies were found to have a higher prevalence of acne.

What do you think about the Kitavan diet? Have we got something here? Weigh in with your opinions. We value them highly.

Coconut Five Ways

Coconut is a surprisingly versatile food with many potential benefits and uses. You’re probably familiar with coconut oil, or have at least heard of it, and maybe you’ve even heard of or had some coconut water before, but what about coconut milk, meat, or flour? Each has its uses, and they can all be used in cooking and baking to replace other common ingredients. Let’s discuss how to get the best use out of coconut regardless of the form it comes in.

Coconut oil

Oil
Far and away the most well-known form of processed coconut product, coconut oil is a thick, translucent white fat that’s solid at room temperature, and becomes a colorless liquid if heated. It is a saturated fat, meaning you should take care not to over-indulge, but using it to replace vegetable or canola oil in cooking and baking or adding a tablespoon to smoothies, cocoa, or even coffee is perfectly fine, just treat it with the same caution as any other fat, and use in moderation.

Coconut oil does contain some antioxidants, but the amount is negligible and infinitesimal compared to a single glass of red wine or any variety of darker fruits. Coconut oil does also contain the “good” kind of cholesterol that helps clean arteries, but it also contains plenty of the “bad” kind that clogs arteries, and at best, the effect cancels out. In short, coconut oil has advantages over other oils if you’re going to use oil anyway, but don’t eat gobs of it just because it’s marginally more healthy.

That said, outside of its use in cooking, it’s excellent on your hair and skin. Just rub a moderate amount in wet hair or a small amount on your hands, face, and anywhere else that needs some moisturization. It will absorb quickly and leave your skin and hair silky smooth.

Coconut water

Water
Coconut water is often hailed as a health drink due to its high potassium and electrolyte content, low sugar and fat and cholesterol free status. Coconut water is the liquid trapped in the center of the coconut and has a sweet, nutty taste. It is much better than a lot of sugary sports drinks and sodas due to its comparatively low sugar content, but it does contain 60 calories per serving, which can add up. Ultimately, it does have health benefits, but they are often exaggerated greatly.

Meat
Coconut meat is high in manganese, iron, phosphorous, and zinc, essential minerals you need to function. It does, however, contain a lot of fat and carbohydrates, so use with caution. Shredded coconut meat can be used as a dessert topper and a breading for fried shrimp or chicken, among other delicious uses.

Flour
Not flour in the typical sense, coconut “flour” is a grain-free powder that can be used to replace wheat flour in most recipes, and is naturally gluten-free, a useful trait for those with actual gluten sensitivity, though gluten-free foods have no health benefits for those with no gluten sensitivity. Because it is made from coconut meat, coconut oil is relatively high in carbohydrates and fat, but it also contains a healthy dose of fiber and protein, so use in moderation in place of flower for a nice boost, but, as is becoming the running theme in this article, don’t overdo it.

Coconut milk

Milk
Coconut milk is made from the firm white meat of the coconut. It is high in calcium and offers a good alternative to dairy milk for anyone who’s lactose intolerant or just doesn’t like dairy milk for one reason or another. Coconut milk itself contains a large amount of coconut oil, and its health benefits—and drawbacks—are almost identical as a result. Have a cut or two a day, no problem, but don’t overdo it.