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Foods That Naturally Increase Your Estrogen Levels

vine vera banner presenting Foods That Naturally Increase Your Estrogen Levels

Unless you were lying under a rock for the past few decades, you probably know that the sun is one of the primary causes of aging skin. What you may not know, however, is that there’s something that ages your skin far faster and more irrevocably than even some of the most hardcore sun exposure. Loss of estrogen is the reason behind some of the least desirable effects of aging skin, and even more distressing, there is not a whole lot you can do to stop it. While hormone replacement is possible, the side effects associated with it are enough to make it a non-option, and it is likely that, until corporations find a viable treatment, we are not likely to hear much about possible ways to avoid it, but there are, and you can find them in your foods.

What Is Estrogen?
Estrogen is the hormone responsible for women’s reproductive health. As Dr. Ritika Samaddar explains, “It has a significant role in tissue functioning- specifically of the uterus, pituitary gland, and breasts.” In addition to playing a vital role in the development of reproductive organs, estrogen also affects bone density metabolism and fetal maturation during pregnancy and is a crucial part of growth and development.

The compound phytoestrogen is a nutrient found in plants that have similar functions to estrogen found in the body, and its intake has been shown to increase the level of estrogen in humans.

Benefits Of Estrogen Rich Food

Relief of Menopausal Symptoms
A study published in the ‘Menopause’ journal showed a significant difference in women with diets high in phytoestrogen and those with a lower level of the nutrient in terms of menopausal symptoms. Results showed phytoestrogen was capable of relieving hot flashes and vaginal dryness in menopausal women.

Prevents Ovarian and Breast Cancer Risk
In addition to relieving symptoms of menopause, estrogen rich foods contain antioxidant- like properties that help to remove oxidizing agents from the body. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that phytoestrogens can stimulate protein synthesis and are, therefore “strong candidates for natural cancer-protective compounds.”

Good For Skin and Hair
Dr. Simran Saini says phytoestrogen can add natural radiance to skin and hair and fight premature aging.

Prevents Osteoporoses
Estrogen is crucial for bone development, combining with calcium, vitamin D and other hormones in the rebuilding of bones. Studies suggest that phytoestrogen may have similar properties. In addition, a study in Women’s Health Initiative revealed that phytoestrogen may provide “cardiovascular protective effects” that are lacking in Hormone Replacement Therapy and better strategies for preventing bone loss need to be taken.

Prevents Strokes and Improves Heart Health
Studies show strokes to be the third most common causes of death in middle-aged women. A Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide suggests these statistics can be lowered by incorporation a daily tablespoon of flaxseed oil into the diets of women over the age of 50, who are likely candidates for strokes.

Estrogen Rich Foods
If you are thinking of getting serious about boosting your phytoestrogen intake, here are some of the best foods to do it with:

Flaxseed
When it comes to foods that contain phytoestrogen flaxseeds are at the top of the list. They improve liver function, prevent brittle nails, and skin dryness associated with lack of estrogen.

Soy Products
Oh say can you soy? Soybeans are a great source of phytoestrogen and one of the best foods for women in general. Soy milk, wheat flour, yogurt and soy dairy can all make great estrogen additions to your diet. They are low in calories, have almost no cholesterol, and researchers often point them out for their effectiveness in the prevention of breast cancer.

Walnuts
Walnuts are another effective source of phytoestrogen. Add some to your salads or eat them alone for a phytoestrogen-rich snack.

Dairy Products
Got milk? Milk, tofu, and paneer are all dairy products with a healthy amount of phytoestrogen, so be sure to include them in your diet to reap the benefits.

Sesame Seeds and Chickpeas
Packing a heavy punch when it comes to phytoestrogen sources, sesame seeds and chickpeas are a great addition to any health conscious diet. Hummus (made from chick peas) contains a whopping 993 micrograms of the stuff per hundred grams, so eat up for that estrogen surge!

How are you upping your estrogen levels? Let us know!

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?

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!

Add Cabbage Juice To Your Healthy Drink List

Some may say that the popularity of home juicers and food processors have brought out a bit of the mad scientist in us. Increasingly, the question seems to be not what you can put into these new contraptions, but what you can’t. Indeed, something in these new kitchen innovations have awakened our inner eighth grader, leaving very little off limits. Among the more eyebrow-raising to meet their fates in the juicer: cereal grasses, cucumbers, celery, potatoes and now, a new addition to the list; cabbage.

Cabbage

Cabbages
Why cabbages, you might ask? They don’t seem to be too high on anyone’s favorite food list, and even smell a little funny, but it turns out, cabbages can do the body a surprising amount of good.

Cabbage is low in saturated fats and cholesterol and is also rich in vitamins such as B6, C, K, and folate. It also has a high fiber content and contains protein, calcium, phosphorous, and omega -6 fatty acids. However, it is not the nutritional content of cabbage that makes it so impressive, rather it is the health benefits.

Health Benefits of Cabbage

Fights Cancer
Cabbage juice contains isocyanate, known for its ability to prevent great, stomach, prostate, lung and colon cancer. It also contains sulforaphane, which blocks carcinogens. For these reasons, it is often prescribed to patients recovering from cancer.

Controls Ulcers
In addition to having cancer-fighting properties, cabbage juice is also effective in controlling peptic ulcers. The juice of the cruciferous veggie contains glutamine, which is a type of amino acid associated with the promotion of cellular growth it the stomach, and may aid in helping peptic ulcers to repair itself.

Cabbage juice

Weight Control
Because cabbage juice is beneficial to the digestive system, it is known to aid in weight loss, converting sugar and carbs into energy, rather than fat.

Heart Disease
Cabbage contains omega -6 fatty acids. Although once believed to block arteries, the American Heart Association has now found Omega-6s to be heart healthy and recommends that individuals get 5-10% go their daily calorie intake from these fatty acids.

Fights Anemia
Anemia is characterized by a decrease in red blood cells in the bloodstream, resulting in feelings of fatigue and exhaustion. The folic acid in cabbage juice has been shown to help generate new red blood cells vital to anemia sufferers. Cabbage is also rich in Vitamin C, which assists in the body’s absorption of iron.

Skin Care
Cabbages are rich in phytochemicals, like alpha and beta-carotene and contain the retinol equivalent of vitamin A. The antioxidant properties in these nutrients cam destroy free radicals that damage skin cells and age skin and are probably a better source of skincare than many products available on the market today.

Let us know if you’ve tried cabbage juice? What do you think? Is it the next must have smoothie ingredient?

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.

Foods That Improve Joint and Tissue Health

Although many products claim to relieve joint pain, many do so without relieving the cause underlying the pain. The result is that the sufferer continues to put pressure on their joints unknowingly, continuing to do further harm. While certain supplements may relieve pain in the short term, it takes an average of 4 to 8 weeks to rebuild bodily tissue using good nutrition. This is why a steady diet plan is crucial when it comes to improving joint and tissue health.

Fatty fish

Fatty Fish
When it comes to keeping joints functioning, it’s all about the Omega-3s. Omega- 3 fatty acids, such as are found in halibut, tuna, salmon, herring, and sardines, can help lower inflammation levels and ease painful arthritis symptoms. These bone healthy nutrients work to lower overactive immune responses that can cause the degeneration of tissue, easing joint movement. Consuming significant amounts of omega-3s can also reduce the need for anti-inflammatory medication.

Dairy
Although dairy products may not be for everyone, they do contain large supplies of calcium, which is necessary for bone health. According to the American Association for Bone Health, calcium not only prevents bone loss, but also preserves the bone mass you currently have, bolstering joint health and flexibility. You can add calcium to your diet with the addition of soft cheeses, like ricotta, cream and cottage cheese, hard cheeses, like cheddar, Colby, and Parmesan, and low or nonfat milk, yogurt, and ice cream.

Whole Grains
Whole grains are rich in fiber, which helps lower levels of the harmful c-reactive protein that causes high levels of inflammation in the body, specifically the joints. Whole wheat, barley, quinoa, triticale, and oats are all whole grain rich food options.

Whole grains

Orange Fruit
As is the case with most fruit, the darker or brighter the hue, the higher the level of antioxidant. Bright orange fruits are known to be rich in beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A which helps reduce inflammation, says the American Association for Bone Health. Add to that a high vitamin C content and you have a food perfect for fighting bone loss while supplying dietary fibers. Your best fruity weapons against joint pain include mangoes, oranges, cantaloupe, and papaya.

Leafy Green Veggies
The dark green color not only makes them look more appealing, it also gives them their high concentrations of vitamins A and C which help fight bodily inflammation. Leafy green vegetables also contain fiber, which is not only naturally filling, but also fights joint inflammation. The American Association of Bone Health credits the vitamin K in green veggies for decreasing risk of fracture and bone loss and recommends the inclusion of Brussels sprouts, endive, spinach, kale, and collards for a joint healthy diet.

What do you eat to keep your joints and tissues strong and flexible? Let us know!

Wine and Other Heart Healthy Foods And Beverages

In Greek history, wine has always played a major role in sparking profound dialogue and wild sex. From the orgiastic Dionysian rituals to the philosophical discussions between Plato and Socrates, wine was just as openly exchanged as thoughts and bodily fluids. Indeed, the connection between wine, intense conversation, and physical pleasure seems to have held up through the years and cultures, but, in comparison to its history, the connection between wine and heart health is a rather new discovery.

In the past years, researcher have looked at foods and supplements to analyze the ideal components of a heart-healthy diet. Here are some heart healthy foods and beverages, wine included, that made the list.

Red Wine
Red Wine and Heart Health
Studies show that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have a lower risk of heart disease than nondrinkers, with further studies showing that red wine may actually offer extra health benefits. It contains flavonoids and resveratrol, which can limit hardening of the arteries.
In addition, according to the American Heart Association, one to two alcoholic drinks per day has been shown to increase “good” (HDL) cholesterol, while lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and may also reduce instances of blood clots.

Chocolate and Heart Health
The discovery that dark chocolate and cocoa are good for the heart is truly revelatory. Chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavanoids which keep blood vessels healthy and aids them in their ability to expand.

Those of who prefer white chocolate are less fortunate. While one study showed that eating dark chocolate daily reduced blood pressure and reduced LDL, no such benefits were found as a result of eating the white variety.

Fish Oil and Heart Health
Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that may help fight heart disease. According to the AHA, the best aquatic candidates for a healthy heart include lake trout, salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, and sardines.

Alice Lichtenstein, DSc and professor of nutrition science and policy, says that she has reviewed studies crediting fish oil with decreased instances of cardiovascular disease, concluding that those who eat more than two servings per week are at a lower risk level.

Cholesterol Lowering Foods
Certain foods contain plant sterols that are shown to decrease bad cholesterol. These include cholesterol lowering margarine, chocolate bars, yogurt, and some orange juices. However, although these products have been shown to lower cholesterol, they should be used in moderation as part of a heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat.

Veggies
Fruits and Vegetables and Heart Health
Lichtenstein says, “We’ve been very disappointed with supplements in general, especially with respect to cardiovascular disease.” She adds, “All the major vitamin E intervention studies have shown no significant effects.”

The solution? More fruits and veggies! Judith Levine, RD, MS advises eating ” a rainbow of fruits and veggies, incorporating reds, blues, greens, and orange/yellows for a well-balanced heart healthy diet.

What do you eat to keep your heart healthy? Let us know what tops your list of heart-healthy indulgences!

Natural Treatments For Depression

Recently, our nation mourned the loss of Carrie Fisher, known best for her role as the brave and beautiful Princess Leia of the Star Wars Hollywood movie franchise, and maybe almost as well known for maintaining a sense of humor in her ongoing fight against depression. Those who kept apprised of Fisher’s funeral arrangements will know of her request to have her ashes placed in an urn designed to resemble a giant Prozac pill. Fisher made no secret of her reliance on and gratitude for the part the pill played in helping the troubled star fight her emotional demons.

Smiling woman
While some find relief in medication, others may prefer a more natural route or simply want to supplement their prescription medicine with other treatments. Here are some tips that can help you feel better the natural way.

1. Start a Routine
One way depression can affect you is by decomposing the structure in your life. One day seems to turn into the next with little distinguishable difference. Ian Cook, MD and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA, advises his patients to set a daily schedule to help get back on track.

2. Set Goals
Depression often goes hand and hand with feelings of powerlessness. Lack of accomplishment can lower your self-esteem. Setting small goals for yourself may encourage you to do more. Cook advises starting small. “Make your goal something you can succeed at, like doing the dishes every other day.”

3. Exercise
Exercise boosts those natural happy chemicals in your body called endorphins; and the results can have immediate as well as long term effects. According to Cook, regular exercise can even cause the brain to rewire itself in a positive way. Even walking a few times a week can make a difference.

4. Sleep Well
Lack of sleep can be a vicious cycle. Depressing thoughts can make it hard to sleep and getting too little sleep can lead to more depression. Try to improve sleep habits by keeping a regular sleep schedule and taking distractions like the computer and TV out of the bedroom.

Woman eating salad
5. Eat Well
Although there is no “feel good” diet, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of what you eat, especially if you tend to overeat when you’re depressed. Cook says there is evidence that food containing omega-3 acids, like tuna and salmon, and folic acids, like avocado and spinach can be beneficial in warding off depression.

6. Supplements
Cook says, ” There’s promising evidence for certain supplements for depression. Folic acid, SAMe, and fish oil all may be effective in fighting depression. However, more research needs to be done in this area and you should always check with a doctor before starting a supplemental regimen.

7. Try Something New
Changing things up may be a good way to get out of a depressive rut. Cook explains, “When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in our brain. Trying something new alters the levels of dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment and learning.” Pick up a book, or sign up for a class that interests you.

8. Have Fun
The obvious way to fight depression? Enjoy yourself! And, in case you’ve forgotten how to do that, Cook says, it’s “just a symptom of depression” and you need to fight it off. Try to plan things you used to enjoy, like going out with friends. Who knows? Life may start to feel fun again!

How do you keep the doldrums away? Let us know! We love to hear it!

Add Some Avocado Oil To Your Diet

Life seems to be getting better. First, olive oil becomes the new superfood, and Italian food is back on the menu. Then, we find out dark chocolate has antioxidants and our afternoon snack got a lot more interesting, But now, a true star has emerged, avocado oil, and indeed, it may be the happiest thing to happen to food thus far.

When scientist David Fairchild declared avocados to be, “the veritable fruit of paradise,” he literally said a mouthful. The avocado is in no way your usual fruit. It is full of healthy fat and produces oil. Avocado oil may not be as popular as olive oil, but it is certainly just as chockfull of health benefits and every bit as tasty.

avocado oil
Lowers Blood Pressure
The mono saturated fats in avocado oil can lower blood pressure naturally when used as a replacement for transfats and saturated fats in your diet. According to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, partially substituting carbohydrates with mono saturated fats and protein can improve lipid levels, lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular disease.

Eases Arthritis Pain
ASU is an extract made from a combination of soybean and avocado extract which has recently received prescription drug status in France as a treatment for knee and hip osteoarthritis. In Denmark, ASU is used as a dietary supplement for its anti inflammatory properties and ability to stimulate growth and repair of cartilage.

Benefits Skin Problems Like Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common skin problem causing the buildup of dead skin cells. A study published in Dermatology proved a B12 cream with avocado oil to be effective as a topical treatment for psoriasis. Patients using the oil for 12 weeks showed regular improvement during the study period. This is a significant finding, as most psoriasis medications are associated with side effects. Avocado oil may offer a risk free alternative.

Lowers Cholesterol and Improves Heart Health
Because it is high in content of monounsaturated oleic acid, avocado oil has the ability to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease by raising the body’s “good” cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. Monosaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid have also been shown in clinical studies to reduce risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as factors affecting formation of blood clots and insulin sensitivity.

Avocado Oil Uses
Boosts Absorption of Nutrients

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that avocado oil can also help to increase the body’s absorption of carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants that depend on healthy fats for absorption. Dietary carotenoids are thought to have numerous health benefits, including the ability to decrease risk of cancers and eye disease.

Using Avocado Oil
When purchasing avocado oil, make sure the oil is 100% pure, for the healthiest and highest quality. It can be used in the same way olive pile is used, that is as a dressing on a salad or sandwich, or to roast or sautee foods. Avocado oil is also known for its regenerative properties and can used in hair to moisturize and improve texture and in skincare for eye makefup removal, dry cuticles, and cracked heels and wrinkle reduction.

Have you tried avocado oil yet? Let us know how you used it, whether on your skin or in your food!