Tag Archives: Eat Well

Balancing Your Skin’s pH

Woman floating

If you’re trying to get this “science of skincare” down, you may feel like you are revisiting your high school chemistry class with a slightly more positive attitude. Maybe you can learn something useful about your skin while you’re keeping your brain cells from degenerating. Some of the concepts may even be starting to sound familiar. You vaguely recall the phrase PH being tossed about. Are you wondering what that has to do with your skin? Here’s a little rundown on how it all balances out.

pH Levels and Your Skin
In short, pH is a measure of the acidity of a substance. To provide perspective, on a scale of 1-14, battery acid clocks in at 0, while a level of 14 indicates the most alkaline, or basic substances. Your skin should come in at about 4.5-5.5. The measurement is a little more acidic than basic. The larger percent of acidity helps skin retain moisture and fight bacteria, allergens, wind, and pollutants. Environmental factors and UV light can throw off your skin’s pH resulting in all sorts of reactions, including inflammation, dry skin, and even eczema. To keep skin in its best shape, you should try to make sure you’re keeping that number as close to its recommended PH level as possible.

Soap on hands

Soap Cleansers
Most of us grew up putting our faith in soap. It kept us clean, our mothers were always telling us to use it. Since when did it become the bad guy? The thing about soap is that it has a pH of about 9-11 which is really much too basic for your skin. The most alkaline cleansers are used for heavy duty cleaning; drain pipe cleaners have a pH level of about 14. Look for cleansers that say “pH balanced or “soap free” to make sure your skin is maintaining a healthy level of acidity.

Don’t Over Peel
Most people are results oriented, and peeling products give quick results; however, there can be such a thing as too much of a good thing. Peeling is intended to slough off dead skin, but once the dead skin is gone, you’re removing more than that. If you’re breaking out, or experiencing redness and inflammation, you should probably take it as a sign to slow down. You’re breaking down your skin’s defences.

Woman eating salad

Eat Well
You’re always hearing about how you are what you eat, so it should come as no surprise that it is no different when it comes to your pH level. Since what you consume is filtered through your skin cells when you sweat; sweat has a lot of influence on your pH level. Processed foods tend to be acidic, so you need to make sure your diet has a lot of dark leafy green veggies to keep your skin balanced and protected against breakouts.

Product pH Levels
The good news is that you really don’t have to do much math to keep your pH balanced. It’s not a case of trying to neutralize a breakout caused by a high acid level by using alkaline products; you’re likely to go in the opposite direction. Most of the math has been done for you. Just look for products with the same pH level recommended for your skin, between 4.5 and 5.5. If you want to figure out how much pH is in a product, you an purchase pH testing kits from the drugstore.

We hope you enjoyed your chemistry lesson for today. Let us know what you’re doing to keep your pH in check, Let us hear your comments and suggestions.

Understanding The Difference Between Natural and Organic Products

We’ve all heard the expressions about talking the talk and not walking the walk, but sometimes you can’t do one without the other. Take health food, for example. You may be totally sincere and earnest about your desire to eat well, but with all the confusing health food lingo, you may not be sure about what that means. Should you be looking for a prebiotic, a probiotic, a macrobiotic, or an antibiotic? Sometimes, it may seem easier to just eat junk food.

Well, before you abandon your good intentions, you may be surprised to know how easy it can be to master the basics. Here is a simple lesson on the difference between natural and organic products to help you navigate your way through health food lingo 101.

Woman purchasing produce

The Basics
When a food is labeled organic, it means that it has been produced, manufactured and handled in accordance with the USDA Organics Products Act. Natural food refers to food that is derived from animals and plants and has not been chemically altered or synthesized in any form. Hence, natural foods are not necessarily organic and organic foods are not necessarily classified as natural.

The preference for one over the other the other comes down to personal standards. Fans of natural foods believe that synthesis of food leads to a loss in nutritional property. Those who prefer organics want food free of pesticides, fertilizers, and preservatives.

The demand for organic food is greater than that for natural food because organic food is guaranteed by the government. While an act similar to the Organic Food Product Act has been proposed for natural foods, it has yet to be realized.

Certification Agencies
Most countries have certification bodies for organic foods, the most prominent of which is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Although The International Association of Natural Products (IANPP) champions certifications for naturals foods, it is not a certification body.

Woman reading label

Food Labels
Manufacturers of organic foods must follow specified legal rules and regulations before labeling a food “organic.”
Natural food labels can be used freely by manufacturers.

Health Benefits
There is no evidence to back the belief that organic food is healthier than non-organic food. Preference for organic food is usually based on the idea that it is safer than conventional foods because it has not been exposed to chemicals. However, research suggests that organic food choices can lead to increased antioxidant intake and lower levels of exposure to toxic heavy metals.

People who choose natural foods, on the other hand, do so because they believe that the processing of food decreases its health benefits.

Price
Organic food has a higher price than non-organic food; natural food has a higher price than processed food.

Shelf Life
Organic food has a longer shelf life than natural food. Because natural food is subject to minimal processing, it tends to have a high water content which shortens shelf life.

organic food

Availability
Organic foods are sold in most major supermarkets and can be purchased at specialty stores and through online sources.

Natural foods are available at most stores that sell organic foods. Some stores specialize in natural foods. Many health food stores sell natural food items.

Has this cleared things up at all? Let us know where you stand. Are you Team Natural or Team Organic, or do you not have a pony in this race?

Signs That You’re Getting Too Much Protein

Protein. What could be wrong with protein? The word itself comes from the Greek “proteos” meaning the “first one” or “most important one.” Our life takes place in proteins! We store information in proteins! When we learn something, it involves changes in our proteins! We pass along our genes to the next generation by way of proteins. In fact, it seems that whenever we ask the question, “What makes this miraculous life changing event possible?” the answer invariably comes back, “Proteins” So we should get as much protein as we can. Right? Wrong.

Protein Facts
According to the Institutes of Medicine, the average adult should be getting about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily. This translates to about 46 grams per day for women and 56 for men. However, the latest report from the Department of Agriculture reveals that we are getting much more than that. Most recent statistics show that American women ages 20 and above get 68 grams of protein per day, while males of the same age get a whopping 98.9 grams.

Cooking eggs

What’s Wrong With Too Much Protein?
Of course protein is an essential part of our diet. It helps us to repair and build cells. We’ve always been taught the value of a high protein breakfast to keep us from unhealthy snacking throughout the day, and a new analysis reveals that high protein diets can lead to lower risk of stroke. However, it seems there can be too much of a good thing.

Marion Nestle, Ph.D, MPH and professor of Nutrition at NYU says, “Because Americans consume so much protein, and there is plenty in foods from both plant and animal sources, and there is no evidence of protein deficiency in the U.S. population, protein is a non-issue. Why make it into one? The only reason for doing so is marketing. Protein used as a marketing tool is about marketing, not health. The advantage for marketing purposes of protein over fat and carbohydrates is that it’s a positive message, not negative. Marketers don’t have to do anything other than mention protein to make people think it’s a health food.” However, although as Nestle points out, much of the research is “uncertain,” there are a few proven ill effects of two much protein.

Kidney Problems
Because kidneys are responsible fro filtering out waste products of digested protein, it is not surprising that high protein diets may put a strain on these organs. According to a 2003 study, this damage was noticeable only among people in the early kidney disease stages. The lack of significant symptom make it particularly dangerous, as noted by WebMD.

Weight gain

Weight Gain
If you’re upping the protein without cutting back on other things in your diet, you may notice the pounds packing on. A 2012 study showed that the weight gained by individuals assigned a high protein diet was no different than those assigned to a low protein one when the groups overate. However, as Time reported the gain in the high protein consumers was mostly due to lean body mass rather than fat.

Dehydration
Blood urea nitrogen is one of the waste products manufactured by the kidneys during the filtering process. Levels of blood urea nitrogen are used by physicians to evaluate function of the kidneys and are also a measure of a person’s hydration levels. A 2002 study reported an indirect relationship between hydration and protein intake. Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN, CNS says this is because the body needs more water in order to rid itself of the extra nitrogen. However, she allows that dehydration is not a reason to avoid increased protein intake, as long as it is accompanied by an increase in water intake.

Are you getting too much protein? Noticing the symptoms? Let us know what you think.

Avoid These Barriers To Healthy Living

Woman running

Does anyone out there really believe that supermodels eat fast food burgers? Although we are probably living in one of the most health-conscious time periods to date, we are still receiving mixed messages about what it means to be healthy. While it might be tempting to believe that the typical beer drinker has bright eyes and glowing skin, or that ice cream is a common nightly indulgence for the physically fit, quite often these examples would be more aptly place in the “too good to be true” files.

False advertising can encourage bad habits, and bad habits can become barriers to healthy living. If you are struggling to live healthily, here are some tips for avoiding some of the most common barriers.

Take Stock
One of the first steps to healthy living is to assess your current state of health. Make an appointment with the doctor and dentist to gauge your health. Have your BMI checked and make sure your waistline is not putting your health at risk.

Think about your physical activity. The CDC recommends at least two and a half hours of aerobic activity and two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises per week. How do you stack up?

Consider your social network and keep an eating journal. “The idea, says Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD, and nutritionist, “is to write it down without judgment. You can’t change what you’re not aware of.”

Eating healthy

Eating Healthy
Healthy eating requires the ability to take power over what you eat. The key, according to Williams, is saying, “I choose,” rather than, “I should.” So it’s, “I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables,” instead of, “I should be eating more fruits and vegetables.” Williams says. “it shows that you’re in control and making the right choice.

Another thing Williams recommends: leave guilt out of the equation. The doctor points out, “Usually, whenever someone feels guilty about something, it feeds right back to the behavior that they’re trying to get rid of. So if someone is an emotional eater and they say, ‘I know I shouldn’t be doing this,’ it implies more guilt and judgment on themselves; they feel worse, and they end up eating more.

Exercise More
Pick something you like to do. if you’re dreading cardio in the gym, go for a hike or take a dance class. Set weekly goals for physical activities and keep track of how much you do. Williams says, “Make the first goal so easy that you say, ‘I know I can do that.’ She recommends weekly checkpoints because they give more flexibility. If you miss one day, you can redeem yourself on the next. Williams often encourages you to reward yourself after being good all week with a visual reminder that you can look at often to celebrate your accomplishments.

Sleep better

Sleep Better
Common barriers to a good night’s sleep are computers and TVs before bedtime. Not only does the light from electronic devices trick your body into thinking its time to be up and about, computer activity and t.v viewing can be very stimulating, and not conducive to a peaceful rest.

Heavy exercise close to bedtime is another contributor to poor-quality sleep. Sleep medicine specialist Lisa Shives, MD says vigorous activity can heat the core temperature of the body and make sleep difficult. As a guideline, she says, “If you’re working up a sweat, you’re working too hard before bed.”

Improve Relationships
Although diet and exercise are big contributors for healthy living, social connections also play a major role. C. Nathan De Wall. assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky suggests looking for a person like you. “What really is important in terms of promoting relationship webbing is that you share a similar level of comfort in getting close to people. Feel people out in terms of, ‘Does this person seem like me in terms of wanting to be close to other people?”

DeWall also emphasizes the importance of having in-person relationships in these days of virtual online connections. He does not discourage social media relationships, but advises, “I think long term, having all your relationships online or virtual would probably be something that wouldn’t be as beneficial as having a mix.

Woman meditating

Cut Down on Stress
Stress is another big barrier to healthy living. Positive coping skills, like yoga and visualization can be very helpful in keeping stress levels to a minimum. Williams recommends handling stressful situations by burning off anger through exercise or allowing anger to dissipate in a quiet place.

Have you broken through barriers that were keeping you from living a healthy life? Tell us all about how you did it! We love to hear good stories!

Kale

10 Ways To Include Kale and Swiss Chard In Your Diet

You may be wondering why, if veggies like Swiss chard and kale have been around forever, why haven’t you heard much about them until recently? Well, the sad truth is that there was a time in history when these greens were considered the “ugly ducklings” of the vegetable family. While their better tasting relatives, like spinach and broccoli, were enjoying the limelight, kale and chard were consigned to a lesser position, largely ignored, until one day, their superfood powers were revealed.

Suddenly, they became all the rage. No one could consume these darlings quickly or often enough, and more and more new and innovative ways were found to incorporate them into meals and snacks. If you are among those who are see in kale and Swiss chard in a new light, here are ten ways you can give these veggies their proper due.

Veggie Soups
Healthy comfort food? Why not? Chop or puree some kale and Swiss chard into your next soup recipe.

kale chips

Kale Chips
Just remove the stem and center ribs and tear leaves into chip size pieces. Toss them with a little olive oil and sprinkle with herbs, salt or cumin. Bake at 300 until crisp.

Smoothies
Smoothies and green protein juices can be great sources for packing in nutrients. Add one or two handfuls of kale, Swiss chard, or spinach to your morning or afternoon concoction. However, you may want to keep in mind that juices do not provide the same fiber benefits as eating greens and drinking smoothies do, as juices tend to have high sugar content due to other added vegetables.

Green Veggies With Eggs
Not to be confused with green eggs and ham, green veggies can make a great addition to an egg scramble or frittata.

Green powder

Green Powders
Green powders contain a large variety of concentrated green veggies, and usually include plant algae like chlorella and spirulina. Look for organic green powders at health food stores and make sure to take into account what type of sweetener and how much sugar the powder contains. Try to keep sugar levels under five grams per serving.

Baked Goods
Fool your family, fool yourself. Puree some Swiss chard or kale into your muffins or brownies. According to Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, “You won’t even feel like you’re eating vegetables.”

Pasta
Cheryl Forbero, RD suggests foregoing the basil or pesto on your pasta for some heartier greens. You can even work them into your lasagna or pesto recipe, says Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD.

kale pizza

Pizza
Kale pizza anyone? Why not? After you finish heaping on the mozzarella, how about heaping on the greens? Drizzle with oil and vinegar and mangia!

Beans
Add texture and color to your bean dish with a few cups of chopped Swiss chard or kale. Just add it along with the garlic, onions and seasoning.

Stir-Fry
If your sautéing some beef, chicken or tofu, stir in some carrot, red pepper and Swiss chard stems. Then, remove from heat and stir in the leaves for a healthy and delicious stir fry.

How are you adding kale and Swiss chard to your diet? Let us know how your keeping healthy!

Food sources

As the Temps Rise, So Does Your Need for Vitamin D

Poor Vitamin D! It was a perfectly respectable vitamin until the Urban Dictionary perverted it into a sexual euphemism. Now one can barely mention the vitamin without the occasional titter from those familiar with what it means to “put the D in someone.” In fact, even Marks and Spencer has come under fire for their claims of “Putting the D In Bread,” sparking a social media frenzy by those who can’t keep their minds out of the proverbial gutter.

The more mature among us will know vitamin D as a valuable nutrient for managing calcium in the blood, and assisting with intercellular communication. You may also know that this vitamin is primarily derived from the sun. However, if the sun is not an option, due to inclement weather, or simply lack of exposure, there are some foods that may be more consistent options.

Tuna Fish
Canned tuna is probably the cheapest and most accessible source of seafood, and a 3 oz. contains 236 IU of vitamin D: more than half the daily requirement. Sandwich or salad, tuna’s got the D.

Eggnog

Eggnog
There is no wrong time for eggnog. One glass contains 25% of the RDA of vitamin D, thanks to its large egg content. However, you may want to keep the consumption down to a minimum to avoid a sugar overload.

Fortified Dairy
Although most dairy does not contain significant amounts of vitamin D, the federal government began to fortify milk in the 1930’s due to a widespread deficiency in the nutrient. A single cup of fortified milk will get you 34% of the recommended daily value, while a 6-ounce container of fortified yogurt will give you one fifth of the RDA.

Mackerel
If you’re looking to pick up some Vitamin D, mackerel is quite the catch. Not only does one four ounce portion contain an entire day’s worth of vitamin-D requirement, it also has lower levels of mercury and is at less of a risk of overfishing than other fish with a similar nutritional profile. Mackerel is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and protein. Catch it if you can!

Portobello mushroom

Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushroom crops are exposed to additional lighting that boosts the amount of vitamin D by a whopping 3,000 percent. The increase of vitamin D intake due to lighting has also been shown to be a cost-effective way of lowering depression.

Smoked Whitefish
Kosher deli connoisseurs will know this fish as a great accompaniment to bagels, but they may not know that half a cup of this brunch staple contains enough vitamin D to get you through your day, It is also naturally low in calories and fat, and rich in vitamin D, protein, and B vitamins.

Soy Milk
You may be drinking soy milk to address issues of lactose intolerance, but if its fortified, you are also getting a daily dose of D. Most brands contain about one-quarter of the daily requirement.

Orange juice

Fortified Orange Juice
You may know orange juice to be a valuable source of vitamin C, but with fortification it can also be a significant source of vitamin D, with one cup exceeding a quarter of the daily recommended intake.

How are you getting your D? Let us know! We love to hear it, especially the dirty stuff!

Spinach for Healthy Skin

It’s not easy being green. So how is it that spinach carries it off with such aplomb? Sure, spinach has had its defenders over the years, Popeye topping the list, not to mention culinary greats who used the green leafy vegetable to create such dishes as spinach soufflé, spinach lasagna, and countless versions of spinach salad. But, considering its unappetizing appearance, you could say spinach has done very well for itself. Besides being hailed for its high antioxidant and nutrient content, spinach is also receiving props for its ability to help maintain healthy skin. Here’s how you can use spinach to keep your skin smooth and radiant.

Bowl of green spinach

Nutritional Value
Spinach contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which aids skin repair and slows cancer cells.

  • Vitamin A: One cup of cooked spinach contains 943 mcg of this vitamin, which is 105% of the daily recommended allowance, RDA, for men and 135% of the RDA for adult females.
  • Vitamin C: This antioxidant is crucial for skin cell repair and growth. Because vitamin C is not stored in the body, it must be provided by your daily diet. A cup of cooled spinach will give adult men 17.6 mg or 20% of the RDA of vitamin C, while it will give women 23%.
  • Iron: Iron is a component of hemoglobin, which is a protein found in red blood cells responsible for supplying oxygen to the tissues. You can find 6.5 mg of iron in a cup of cooked spinach which is equivalent to 81% of the RDA for men, and 36% of the RDA for women.
  • Magnesium: One cup of cooked spinach will provide you with 157mg magnesium, approximately 49% of the RDA for adult females and 37% for adult males. Magnesium is known for its ability to heal wounds and infections on the skin.

For Acne
Spinach can be used as a face mask or in juice from to help acne-prone skin. To make the mask, blend spinach and mix with water. Apply it to your face and let sit for about twenty minutes before rinsing. While making the juice requires a bit more effort, it is often the preferred method of obtaining the full benefits of the vegetable. Mix a half tomato with one carrot, one celery, a quarter of a cucumber, held a cup of cabbage, one green onion, half a red pepper, and a handful of spinach. Blend a drink daily.

Spinach juice

Anti-Aging
Spinach is a goldmine of antioxidants. Antioxidants are crucial for destroying damaging free radicals which cause premature aging. The regular consumption of this leafy green will help to slow down skin degeneration and make skin radiant.

Additionally, spinach has a high water content. One cup of cooked spinach provides 5 ounces of water to keep skin cells hydrated and is crucial to cell function. Spinach also contains iron and vitamin C to boost collagen synthesis. Collagen is a protein required for muscle and skin elasticity.

Skin Repair
The vitamin A in spinach helps to keep skin toned and smooth, while the vitamin C helps to rejuvenate skin cells. These vitamins, along with iron, also support collagen levels essential for skin repair.

Improves Complexion
Folate and vitamin K are both found in spinach and can reduce the prevalence of dry skin, acne, and stretch marks, minimizing bruising and dark circles. The high vitamin content in the leafy green can also relieve itchy, dry skin, leaving you a radiant complexion.

Mixed spinach

Experts recommend eating cooked spinach as opposed to raw for better nutrition digestion. Cooking spinach also eliminates the effects of oxalic acid, which interferes with the body’s absorption of calcium. Liquid forms of spinach are especially effective when combined with other vegetables.

Spinach Face Mask
To get the benefits of spinach for your skin, try this natural recipe:

Mix five or six fresh spinach leaves with 1 tablespoon of raw honey ( manuka honey is recommended.) Add two tablespoons of lemon juice. Dilute with water is your skin is sensitive to lemon. The mixture will be sticky. Apply mask to clean face. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Repeat for smooth skin tone.

Do you eat your spinach right down to the finish? If so, let us know how your skin is doing! We love to hear from you!

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.

Allergies and Clear Skin

April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring puffy, itchy and watery eyes, constantly runny noses and the inability to stop sneezing. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies every year. Also known as hay fever and allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies can be majorly uncomfortable to deal with and in some instances, they can wreak havoc on your skin as well. If you suffer from seasonal allergies that cause your skin to be problematic, try the three tips below to both deal with allergies and to keep your skin clear.

Woman sneezing

Treat Allergies
If you want your clear skin back, you will need to treat your allergies properly. “Seasonal allergies cause the skin to swell and take on a yellowish hue due to the seepage of serum from the bloodstream into the skin. As a result, your eyes can become puffy, and, in some cases, skin can become red and flaky,” says Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD Ph.D., director of Dermatology and Laser Surgery Private Practice in New York City, New York. “Seasonal allergies are due to pollen, which becomes airborne in spring and summer, so it can affect any part of the body, including the skin. I recommend allergy sufferers take quercetin as an herbal remedy or Allegra as an antihistamine to relieve symptoms.”

Care for Your Skin
When seasonal allergies make your skin red and flaky, you need to treat your skin gently because irritating products or ingredients will only cause further damage to your skin. “When your skin is (i.e. red and flaky), you can develop reactions to topical cosmetic ingredients, so you’ll need to focus on building up the skin barrier. I’d recommend seeing your dermatologist; I’ve found that a prescription to EpiCeram as a barrier builder to be particularly effective,” says Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas. You want to be sure that you are using products that contain ingredients that restore, repair and strengthen your skin’s natural barrier. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalene and ceramides to give your barrier a boost and restore your clear skin. “If you suffer from seasonal allergies, I recommend that you avoid products that contain fragrances and/or toxic preservatives such as parabens and/or propylene glycol. These are high on the list of allergens that can irritate your skin,” advises Alexiades-Armenakas.

blueberries

Eat Well
In addition to treating your allergies and repairing your skin’s barrier, eating foods that promote clear skin can help to keep your skin healthy and happy. Wellness expert, Dr. Frank Lipman, says “sugar, dairy and gluten are the biggest foods that affect skin,” and urges those seeking clear skin to significantly reduce or eliminate these foods from their diets. Instead, he says that “avocados, kale, walnuts (or nuts), wild salmon, blueberries – all the superfoods…” are the foods you want to include in your clear skin diet.

Allergies are annoying and uncomfortable, more so when they target your skin. By treating your allergies with the proper medications, you can reduce the amount of damage seasonal allergies do to your skin. Focus on eating well and using skin care products and ingredients that calm irritated skin and repair your moisture barrier to keep your skin clear during allergy season.

Spinach for Healthy Skin

Woman sipping green juice

Spinach is an incredibly nutrient dense vegetable that also happens to taste great. It is also a super versatile ingredient to keep in your kitchen because it can make an amazingly fresh salad just as easily as it can supercharge your smoothie. Saturday, March 26th, is National Spinach Day and what better way to celebrate than fixing your favorite spinach recipes. If you need further reasons to grab a bunch of this leafy green, check out the skin benefits that spinach has.

Hydration
Spinach contains an astounding amount of water, and keeping your body hydrated benefits your skin. Just a one cup serving of spinach contains 164 grams of water, which is the equivalent to five ounces! Your skin cells need water in order to function properly and without this water, your skin is more prone to wrinkles, dryness and dullness.

Anti-Aging
Free radical damage and loss of collagen and elastin have significant impacts on how your skin ages. As you age, your natural collagen production slows down, and your skin loses some of the support that keeps it firm and smooth. Spinach contains beneficial vitamin A, which possesses some serious antioxidant power. In a one cup serving of spinach, your receive 943 micrograms of vitamin A, which is more than the daily recommended value for the average healthy adult.

Under-Eye Darkness
There are many factors that contribute to dark circles under your eyes, some of which you can control and others you cannot. Your genes play a role in whether or not you have dark circles as do things like alcohol consumption and lack of sleep. Vitamin K is a powerhouse at combating dark circles because it encourages healthy blood circulation, strengthens blood vessels and promotes blood clotting, all of which help diminish dark circles. Vitamin K can also help clear your skin and it reduces inflammation in the body and skin. One cup of spinach gives you 900 micrograms of vitamin K, which is 10 times the daily recommended value for a healthy adult female.

Skin Repair
Another potent antioxidant contained in spinach is the anti-aging powerhouse, vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, which as we mentioned early is crucial to keeping your skin looking and acting young. Collagen, in turn, is required to manufacture new, young and healthy skin cells. You can get 18 milligrams of vitamin C in a one cup serving of spinach, which is almost 25 percent of the recommended daily value for a healthy adult female.

Spinach is one of the greatest superfoods you can include in your diet. Not only does it benefit your skin, but it has amazing benefits for your overall health as well. Celebrate National Spinach Day on March 26th by enjoying your favorite dishes that incorporate spinach; your skin will thank you.