Tag Archives: Health

woman in grass

What’s a Holistic Approach to Skin Care?

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and is a true reflection of how healthy your body currently is. This means that any skin conditions that you experience could actually be a symptom of something else that is going on within your body.

Rather than simply treating specific symptoms with harsh, chemical-laden products, a holistic approach to skin care addresses any underlying root problems, treating your skin, as well as your body, from the inside out.  

While a holistic skin care approach may not offer the same quick fix that modern skin care provides, it will not only benefit your complexion in the long run, but will also give your overall health a huge boost.

Interested?

Here are a few steps that you can take to care for your skin in a more holistic way…

Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

When trying to think and live more holistically, you need to pay attention to the ingredients that you put into your body. By eating a healthy diet that is filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats, your skin will directly benefit, and it will not take long until you notice the improvements. 

So, what exactly should you be eating?

At least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, preferably ones of different colors.

Wondering why this matters?

Because different colored vegetables and fruits contain different antioxidants. For example, red vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, contain beta-carotene, while leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, contain lutein. Both of these are key antioxidants when it comes to skin health.

Another important element to your diet should be healthy fats, which work as an internal moisturizer for your skin. From oily fish to avocados to nuts, there are so many sources of essential fatty acids out there. Many of these also contain high amounts of vitamin E, which is another vital vitamin for the skin.

Do not forget about omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as both of these are essential, but your body is not able to produce them itself. These can be found in oily fish, as well as chia seeds, walnuts, linseeds and more. This is especially important for those who are suffering from inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.

Different foods can benefit your skin in different ways, so, if you suffer from a particular skin condition, it would be worth researching which foods you should be eating more of. For example, those suffering from hormonal acne should try eating more soya bean products, as these contain phyto-estrogens, which have a similar structure to oestrogen in the female body and help to prevent hormonal fluctuations. 

Have you ever wondered about taking oral supplements for your skin?

This would definitely fall under the holistic approach, as you would be treating your skin from within.

Here are a few supplements to consider:

  • Probiotics – these help to balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut, resulting in happy and healthy skin
  • Fish oil – contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) – another source of essential omegas

It helps to plan your diet and supplements ahead, so you won’t miss out on essential nutrients. Try making a weekly food plan that you can follow loosely. This way, you won’t have to worry about what best to eat when you’re rushing out the door.

planning ahead

Stay Hydrated

There are many who claim that staying internally hydrated makes no difference to your skin’s health and appearance, but this is not true…

Just like every other part of your body, your skin is made up of cells, and these cells consist primarily of water. Without enough water, the cells within your body will not be able to function to their full potential.

How does this manifest in your skin?

Through dry skin, which will feel quite tight and flaky.

Your body loses large amounts of water each day, and you need to be replacing this. Sadly, because your skin is on the outside of your body, water will travel to all of your other organs before it reaches your skin. This means that you really need to be drinking the maximum amount of water each day in order for your skin cells to really stay hydrated

How much do you need to be drinking?

About eight glasses a day. But don’t forget, teas and infused waters also count towards this, while giving you a boost of antioxidants at the same time. 

Avoid Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits

Unhealthy lifestyle habits are not only bad for your skin, but also your general health.

Do you smoke?

If so, you are likely aware of what this is doing to the inside of your body, but did you know that smoking is one of the worst habits that you could have for your skin?

Smoking basically suffocates the tissues within your skin, by preventing oxygen from reaching them. This leads to everything from damaged capillaries to an increase in free radicals, resulting in a wrinkled and sallow complexion.

quit smoking

Drinking too much alcohol can also have a severely detrimental effect on your skin. While you do not need to give this up completely, you should still strictly moderate your alcohol intake.

When you do decide to indulge in a drink, here are a few tips to ensure that you cause as little damage to your skin as possible:

  • Clear spirits on the rocks are the best option, as these will not have sugar, salt or anything else added to them
  • Red wine actually contains high levels of antioxidants, and can be good for you when consumed in moderation 
  • Drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink to dilute the amount of alcohol in your body

Regular Exercise

You probably already know that regular exercise is essential in order to maintain your physical and mental health, but did you know that regular exercise directly benefits the skin too?

New research backs this up in a big way, showing that exercise can boost a person’s skin no matter what age they may be.

To begin with, exercise can really help with acne.

How?

It helps to bring toxins to the surface of your skin, preventing them from causing breakouts, so long as you wash them away as soon as you are done working out. Exercise also triggers the body to produce endorphins, which help to decrease the level of cortisol, the stress hormone that can often trigger acne, in your body. 

Here are a few of the other ways in which regular exercise will benefit your skin:

  • Causes blood vessels to dilate, resulting in a vibrant, energized appearance
  • Stimulates the body to produce more collagen, which is one of the main structural proteins in your skin
  • Encourages the body to sleep better at night, which is the time during which your skin repairs itself
  • Exercising outdoors puts you in the fresh air, boosting your endorphins even more

Quality Sleep Each Night

While you may think that your whole body is resting while you are asleep, this is not at all true…

As mentioned above, the time during which you are asleep is when your skin cells repair and regenerate, and often do this up to three times faster than they do during the day.

It begins at around 9pm, when you start to get sleepy…

Your skin does wind down a little at this time too, making the time between 9pm and 11pm the hours when your skin is best able to absorb topical products.

woman sleeping

Once you go to sleep, your body releases a hormone called HGH, otherwise known as the human growth hormone.

What does this do?

HGH is responsible for speeding up the rate at which your skin cells repair themselves, with cell production doubling, or even tripling, depending on your quality of sleep.

You likely already know whether or not you are getting quality sleep each night, by how tired you are during the day.

If you know you are not sleeping well enough, you need to do something to fix this.

Wondering what you can do?

Here are a few tips:

  • Create a calming bedtime routine, with everything from a hot bath and some chamomile tea to soft music and aromatherapy
  • Remove any electronic devices from your bedroom, as these emit a blue light that suppresses the melatonin in your body, which is responsible for helping you get to sleep 
  • Try breathing exercises to help relax your body and induce sleep 

Minimize Stress

Each time you feel stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, and this can severely affect the skin in a few different ways:

  • Causes glycation, which damages the collagen in your skin, resulting in wrinkles and fine lines
  • Causes dry skin by decreasing the skin’s production of hyaluronic acid and by damaging the skin’s natural protective barrier
  • Causes adrenaline to be produced, which decreases blood flow to the skin, robbing skin cells of essential nutrients
  • Prevents quality sleep, meaning skin cells cannot properly regenerate

So, what can you do about this?

There are so many ways in which you can reduce stress in your life. Give a few of these methods a try:

  • Breathing exercises and meditation
  • Physical activity
  • Socializing with friends and family
  • Having some “me time”
  • Writing your thoughts down in a journal
  • Listen to music
  • Get a massage
  • Spend time with animals
  • Spend time in nature
  • Do something creative, such as cooking or make some art 

woman lying in grass

There are so many other things that could be added to that list, but, as you can see, there are many ways in which you can tackle stress. Rather than letting it fester in your body and continue causing damage to your skin, and so much more, take proactive steps to reduce your stress, and therefore minimize the cortisol in your body.

A Healthy Sex Life

Sex is a natural part of life, and actually brings with it quite a few health benefits, many of which are related to the skin.

Here are a few of the ways in which a healthy sex life could help your complexion:

  • Improves blood circulation, meaning that more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the skin
  • Reduces cortisol levels in the body
  • Triggers HGH, the human growth hormone, which boosts skin elasticity
  • Improves the skin’s ability to absorb and make use of nutrients
  • Encourages quality sleep thanks to the oxytocin that floods the brain, therefore helping to boost skin health 

Make Holistic Choices With Your Cosmetics

There are so many skin and beauty products out there that are laden with harmful chemicals, and these are not something that you want on your skin and in your body when trying to care for your skin more holistically.

There are many ingredients out there, from parabens to fragrances, that will do nothing but damage your skin. Take a look at the ingredients lists on the products that you already own, and decide whether or not they are actually benefiting your skin. 

You may be tempted to only opt for completely natural skin care products, but this would not be a good move.

Why?

In an ideal world, you would only be applying the freshest, most natural ingredients to your skin. But, when purchasing skin care products, formulas vary hugely from brand to brand, and just because a product contains natural ingredients does not mean that it will be effective.

Synthetic ingredients are also not always bad. Skin care companies spend years researching into new ingredients, many of which are ones that you would not be able to have access to on your own.

Try to aim for products that are as natural as possible, but do keep your own skin’s needs in mind. For example, if tea tree oil does not seem to be helping your acne, do not be afraid to move on to something stronger.

As you can see, a holistic approach to skin care encompasses every single aspect of your life. By following all of the tips mentioned above, you will be boosting your skin in so many different ways, and will no doubt notice an improved complexion in no time at all.

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!

What To Look For In Natural Cosmetics

Woman with flowers

Does it ever seem odd that we pointedly avoid buying foods with any vaguely chemical sounding ingredients, but we actively search for them in our cosmetic products? Breyer’s Ice Cream brags of containing only five simple ingredients, yet we persist in putting a veritable cocktail of synthetic chemicals on our faces. Although it is true that many of the manmade skincare ingredients have proven harmless and effective, there has to be a certain amount of wisdom in the belief that the best things for our bodies come from the same place as our bodies do: the earth. With that in mind, let’s talk natural cosmetics and take a look at what you can do to keep green while you look beautiful.

Scale Down
While there seems to be a myriad of products to address each skin issue individually, some of them really have very similar formulations. Eye creams, for example, vary very little in consistency from basic facial moisturizers. If you are trying to scale down on the number of chemicals you are putting on your face, limit the amounts of products you are putting on your face. Try to limit your skincare routine to the basic essentials: cleanser, moisturizer, toner, and broad spectrum sunscreen.

Organic beauty products

Choose Organic Beauty Products
Organic ingredients are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers which make them a healthier choice for both our planet and out bodies. Even better are botanicals grown employing biodynamic farming methods. These take the green mentality one step further by putting emphasis on the holistic relationship between plants, soil, and animals. The USDA National Organic Program has been certifying organic skincare products since 2003, and an increasing number of formulas are now bearing the organic seal. Biodynamically certified products feature the Demeter USA’s approval stamp.

Know What’s Really In “Natural” Products
Many companies market skincare by slapping the word “natural” on the label; however, the words “natural” and “all-natural” are not regulated terms. To be sure, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database site. This will tell you the level of toxicity in popular cosmetics products on a scale from 0 to 10.

No Fragrance
Besides the use of the word “natural” on product labels, federal law also overlooks the need for companies to state the toxic chemicals in a product’s fragrance mixture. Artificial fragrances can contain phthalates, which can trigger health problems and allergic reactions. Beware of products with “parfum” or “fragrance” on the label, as this could indicate hidden toxicity.

Healthy diet plan

Keep Healthy
Of course, a great way to get a natural glow without chemicals is by making sure you maintain healthy diet and exercise habits. Make a point to get the occasional workout in to keep the blood flowing to your skin, and eat plenty of healthy fats, like flaxseed and omega-3 fish oils, protein, fruits and complex carbohydrates.

Are you going natural with your cosmetics? Let us know how you’re greening up your routine. We love to hear it.

The Benefits Of Resveratrol

Wine and grapes

If you are a follower of Greek mythology, you may know that Greek gods were superior immortal exceptionally beautiful beings believed to have powers over controlling the world or some aspect of it. You probably also know that the Greek gods drank a lot of wine. Did anyone ever make a connection between the two? Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound found in red wine and grapes. It is said to promote longevity and offer a range of health benefits from promoting weight loss to combatting cancer. Could it help us achieve god-like status? You be the judge. Here are some of the benefits of resveratrol.

What Is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant produced by some plants as a natural defense against stresses of the environment and is theorized to be able to do the same for humans. Antioxidants are compounds which have been shown to neutralize free radicals which cause aging, cancer, and heart disease. Although Japanese knotweed tops the list of plants with the highest content of resveratrol, a large amount is found in the skin of grapes. Resveratrol protects the grapes against sun damage and fungi disease, making red wine, produced with the grapes, a source of the antioxidant, although in an albeit small amount.

Woman drinking wine

Resveratrol and the French
Resveratrol is thought to be the cause of low rates of heart disease in France. Even with the French habits of smoking, coffee drinking, and the consumption of a high-fat diet, the incidence of heart disease remains low in the French population. The theory is that the resveratrol in the red wine the French consume counteracts the effects of poor health habits, and also contribute to the longevity of the French people.

How Does It Work?
Resveratrol helps to protect cell DNA and reverses the damage caused by free radicals leading to cancer, and aging.

Woman pondering

Benefits

  • Skin Care
    Research indicate that resveratrol can fight skin damage caused by UV light. A study publishes in the FASEB found that when directly applied to skin, resveratrol can protect against the effects of aging caused by sun exposure.
  • Weight Loss
    Scientific finding show that resveratrol can stimulate the production of adiponectin, which is a hormone throughout to fight obesity and insulin resistance. Animal based and test tube studies show that the compound can help to speed metabolism and slow down the formation of fat cells.
  • Brain Health
    A study published in the journal Neurology in 2015 showed that individuals suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease demonstrated small improvements in their self maintenance abilities after taken resveratrol supplements daily for a year.
  • Cancer
    A report from the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences reveal a number of studies suggesting that resveratrol may have anti cancer properties. A study on cell cultures revealed that resveratrol helped to slow the progression of breast cancer in its early stages, and prevented estrogen from reacting to DNA molecules and forming compounds associated with the beginnings of cancer.

Have you taken resveratrol or used it in your skin care products? Let us know what you think. Is resveratrol the new miracle antioxidant?

The Many Benefits of Vitamin A

In history, there have been many noteworthy firsts: the first baseball player to hit 50 home runs in a season, the first man to walk on the moon, the first talking movie, the first female Supreme Court justice, and the first vitamin to be discovered.

The first suspicions of Vitamin A’s powers were recognized by the ancient Egyptians, who realized night blindness could be treated by eating liver. But it wasn’t until its formal discovery in 1913 that it officially claimed the first letter of the alphabet for its name.

Since then, Vitamin A has been delighting acne-prone teens, wrinkle prone ladies, and fighting to protect humans from all sorts of symptoms of malnourishment and cancer. So, as we do with all famous firsts, let’s take a moment to commemorate. Here are some of the many benefits of Vitamin A.

 Eye Health

Vine-Vera-Healthy-Eyes
Beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A in plants, plays a vital role in the prevention of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness. An Age-Related Eye Disease Study sponsored by the National Eye Institute found that people at high risk for eye disease had a 25% reduced risk of macular degeneration when they took a daily multivitamin containing Vitamins A and C, zinc, and copper over a six-year period. Another showed that vitamin A drops were an effective treatment for dry eyes and that OTC eye drops containing vitamin A were as effective as expensive prescription formulas.

Immune Support
Vitamin A regulates genes involved in immune responses, which means it is a crucial component in fighting everything from the common cold to autoimmune diseases and cancer.

A London-based study showed that Vitamin A supplements reduced child mortality rates by 24% in low to middle-income families, while the deficiency in the vitamin made children more vulnerable to infections like the measles and diarrhea.

Fights Inflammation
The antioxidant properties in vitamin A can help fight free radicals in the body that causes cellular and tissue damage. Vitamin A prevents cells in the immune system from becoming overactive to food proteins, creating food alleges and inflammation.

Vine-Vera-Vitamin A-Fights

Intake of the vitamin can also reduce the risk of certain food allergies altogether. The decrease levels of inflammation have been linked to lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Supports Health and Growth of Skin cells
Vitamin A is needed for skin regrowth, wound healing and plays a powerful role in skin cancer prevention. It is also necessary for a good complexion, fight acne and improve the overall health of the skin. Vitamin A produces collagen, which can keep lines and wrinkles from appearing as well as contributing to healthy hair.

 Prevents Cancer
A study at the University of York showed the intake of vitamin A can treat several forms of cancer because it is able to control malignant cells in the body. Retinoic acid (a vitamin A derivative) plays a significant role in cell differentiation, development, and treatment of cancer.

It has been credited with suppressing breast, lung, prostate, bladder, ovarian, and cystic cancer and has been linked to the reduction of melanoma and hepatoma. Most recently, researchers have discovered evidence suggesting that the molecular mechanisms found in the acid may have an effect on the fates of cancer cells.

Where do you get your vitamin A from? Tell us what supplements, foods, or topical treatments provide you with nature’s first vitamin.

Surprising Foods With Benefits

Can life possibly get better? First, you find out you can practically live on a diet of stuffed grape leaves and Greek yogurt, and then you find out that dark chocolate can fight free radical damage. At this rate, you’re certain that one day you’ll read a report touting the health benefits of donuts. Unfortunately, if you are counting on this article to be the bearer of that news, you may be sadly disappointed. However, although the perks of fried dough have yet to be discovered, there are some other foods that, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out, are both delicious and nutritious. Here are a few foods with benefits.

Hair
cheese

Cheese
Need a good excuse for ordering extra cheese on that pizza? According to Beautyflash.co.uk, cheese is rich in nutrients that can promote the growth of a long healthy mane.

Oysters
Is it the oysters or is it how good your hair looks? Oysters are rich in zinc which helps strengthen the protein structures in hair follicles, encouraging thick, healthy hair.

Poultry
Keep that head of hair lustrous by eating some poultry. Lack of protein causes the body to ration the protein, which may mean less of it goes to your hair, causing potential hair loss. Eating protein-rich poultry can help counter the damage.

Skin
Avocado and Yogurt

Soy Beans
The high protein and mineral content in soy beans make it a great food for reducing blemishes and evening out skin tone.

Avocados
The healthy fats in this wonderful fruit can help keep your skin plump and moisturized while protecting it from sun damage.

Greek Yogurt
Want to reduce those wrinkles? Get some Greek in you. (Greek yogurt, that is). This protein-packed superfood can make skin firmer and more resistant to wrinkles and lines.

Teeth
green tea

Green Tea
It may be green, but it will keep your teeth white. Studies show that green tea reduces plaque, lower the acidity of saliva, and controls bacteria levels. Research suggests that drinking green tea will make you less prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

Cheese
Now there’s a real reason to say “cheese.’ Cheese is a great source of calcium, which is one of the most vital nutrients for supporting healthy teeth. The gooey stuff is also believed to play a role in raising the pH in your mouth, reducing likelihood of tooth decay.

Strawberries
These beauties contain malic acid, a natural cleanser with enamel whitening abilities.

Nails
Chia seeds and borccoli

Mackerel
The omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel is a great way to put an end to dry and brittle nails.

Chia Seeds
Not only are these seeds packed full of protein, calcium, and magnesium, they also support the production of collagen in your body, helping your nails stay strong and fortified.

Broccoli
If growing long nails is on your list of goals, you should start eating your broccoli. With the aid of an amino acid called cysteine and the benefits of protein, this green veggie may be your key to a perfect 10.

If you’ve got a food that you would like to find out surprising health benefits about, well, we can’t really guarantee it; but, if you’ve been pleasantly surprised to find out your favorite food may be satisfying more than your taste buds, we’d love to know! Tell us what you’re loving to eat and all the fringe benefits that you’re getting while doing it.

Tools That You’ll Need To Go Gluten-Free

When you go gluten-free, cleaning out your fridge and pantry is only the first step. In order to truly rid yourself of the scourge of gluten, you’ll need to replace cookware and kitchen utensils as well. All porous surfaces can be harbingers of tiny amounts of gluten, and that may be enough to make you sick. If you want to truly rid yourself of gluten, here are some new tools you may need.

cutting board

Cutting Boards
It is probably close to impossible that your cutting board is free of scratches, and as is the case with your cookware, scratched surfaces equal gluten hideouts. Make sure to replace all cutting boards and use them only in gluten-free recipes.

Toaster
Since the toaster is probably the appliance in your kitchen most likely to come into contact with bread, it is not surprising that it should top your list as one of the first to go. If you are avoiding gluten, it is crucial to buy yourself a new one of these, and also make sure that you never allow gluten bread to enter your new replacement.

Silicone Spatulas
What do you get when you flip a gluten pancake? A gluten covered spatula. You might want to get colored spatulas to separate yours from those of your gluten eating house-mates, but make sure to label them anyway. It only takes one bad pancake flip to contaminate your entire spatula, so better be safe than sorry.

Woman with wooden spoon

Wooden Spoons
Wood is another porous gluten trapping material, therefore all wooden cookware will need gluten-free replacements. If you live with roommates who are not cooking gluten-free, be sure to label your items to avoid contamination.

Rolling Pin
If you’ve got your Grandma’s rolling pin, you might want to keep it in the closet for sentimental reasons, but you’ll want to get another one to roll out the dough for your gluten-free breads and pizzas.

Baking Sheets and Muffin Tins
The scratches in your non-stick baking sheets and muffin tins will be sure to test positive for traces of gluten. While stainless steel sheets and tins may not pose as serious a threat, make sure to give them a thorough scrubbing, especially in the corners.

non-stick pan

Non-Stick Pans
It’s the scratches in the non-stick pans which trap the gluten, and, if you possess non-stick pans, you probably are aware of the likelihood of their being scratched. Even the smallest scratches are enough to warrant disposal. Stainless steel or aluminum pans without non-stick coating do not present a risk, as long as they are washed well to root out any food residue.

Colander
Unfortunately, a used colander is beyond salvaging from the ravages of gluten, so hopefully your not too attached to yours. The gluten from pasta sticks inside the holes, no matter how diligently you clean. If you’ve got an old colander, replace it.

Let us know how you’re managing post-gluten life. We want to hear your advice on parting with your prized kitchen utensils and appliances.

Benefits of Adding Lemon and Lemon Peel To Your Diet

lemon peel

Nowadays, when life hands you lemons, there are a myriad of beneficial things you can do with them, and making lemonade does not even come near the top of the list. Here are just some of the ways adding lemons and lemon peels to your diet can help improve your health.

Benefits of Using the Whole Lemon

More Vitamins
Lemon peels contain 5 to 10 times more vitamin than the lemon juice alone. If you’re discarding the peel, you’re discarding loads of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, calcium, beta-carotene, potassium, and magnesium.

Fights Cancer
If you’re thinking of doing a lemon juice cleanse, it may be more effective if you include the peel. Lemon peels help to eradicate the toxic elements in your body, including the carcinogenic ones. The peel contains salvestrol Q40 and limonene, components which are fierce defenders against the cancerous cells in your body. In addition, the flavonoids in the zest of the lemon can also be effective in stopping cancer cells from multiplying.

Additionally, a study reveals that drinking hot tea with lemon peel can help to prevent the development of colon, breast, and skin cancers.

Woman cutting up lemon

Boosts Bone Health
Because lemon peels contain loads of calcium and vitamin C, including them in your diet can help prevent bone conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and inflammatory polyarthritis.

Lowers Cholesterol
High levels of “bad cholesterol” are often linked to cardiovascular disease. The polyphenol flavonoids in lemon peels will help the lower the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels in your body. In addition, Vitamins C and P will clear blood vessels, decreasing or preventing the risk of developing related conditions such as heart disease, diabetic heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Including Lemon Peel In Your Diet
So now that you know how great lemon peel is for you, you’re probably wondering how you can make it a little more palatable. Here are a few ideas for including lemon peel in your recipes.

Lemon Pickle
Widely found in Indian households, including a little lemon pickle in your diet is a great way to get the health benefits of the lemon zest.

lemon cake

Cakes and Pies
Scrape a little lemon peel into cakes and pies to enhance flavor before baking and add some to give the icing on top a tangy flavor.

Candied Lemon Peels
Making candied lemon peels is a fun and easy way to reap the lemon peel benefits. Boil the peel in some water to reduce bitterness. Extract peel and addict to a pot of sugar and hot water. Simmer until peels soften. Sprinkle sugar on top and let them dry for a day or two.

So, when life hands you lemons. eat them whole, or at least, eat the whole thing. Let us know how you’re including lemons and their peels in your diet.

Natural Ingredients That Stimulate Healthy Cell Formation

These days, when the word “cell” is mentioned, most of us are likely to think “phone.” While many of us may argue that cell phones are vital to our well being, there are other kinds of cells that are probably just a little more important. These are the cells in your body; the fundamental units of life form which all your organs and tissues are made.

Like most of our cell phones, the cells of the body are in constant communication with one another, responding to the signals they receive from your environment. If the cells cannot operate efficiently, tissues and organs can breakdown, resulting in a host of health conditions. In order to keep these cells functioning properly you need to keep yourself well nourished. Here are some healthy ingredients you need to ensure that these very important cells continue to serve you well.

whole grains

Whole Grain
Whole foods contain the fullest variety of nutrients, which makes whole grains one of the most complete food sources for healthy cell formation. The three main parts of the whole grain each serve a different purpose, and provide a different complement of vitamins and minerals. The protective bran guards the sprout from sun damage; the germ contains a high level of micronutrients from the vitamin E family, while the endosperm contains the lowest level of nutrients and serves mostly to provide calories for the sprout. While all three parts are used in whole grain food, refined products, such as white bread, use only the endosperm, or starch component of the grain.

Fats and Cell Formation
The fats you eat have a major influence on your cells. As a matter of fact, they become your cell membranes. Unsaturated fats, like the omega-3s in fish and nuts, are needed to give your cell membranes their shape and the ability to communicate with one another. While trans fatty acids, or saturated fats, also become part of your cells membrane, they are less able to respond to signals and can cause cell membranes to become brittle.

Cereals, vegetables, fruits, and grains also have fats to protect cell membrane from damage. These include tocopherals and are found in highest amounts in wheat germ oil, carotenoids, such as beta-carotene in carrots, vitamin C from citrus fruits, and lycopene in tomatoes.

eggs and meat

DNA
DNA is the part of your cell which stores your genetic information, and it is vital that you take steps to make sure its integrity is not compromised. When the structure of DNA breaks down, the body becomes not only unable to produce proteins for proper cell function, but it may cause mutations that lead to cancer. While fats are an integral part of protecting the DNA, it is also important to maintain adequate levels of protein, choline, inositol, carotenoids, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E.

Healthy DNA also requires an adequate intakes of vitamin B12 and folate, which are involved with repair and replication of DNA. Eggs, meat, fish and dairy are all rich in vitamin B12, while high levels of folate are found in eggs, grains, and green vegetables.

Organic Foods
Since agricultural chemicals are know to damage the function and structure if cells, organically grown foods are recommended to promote healthy cell formation. Studies show that pesticides can overstimulate enzymes which can be a cause of inflammation, and a contributing factor to psoriasis and atherosclerosis,
Organic foods can also minimize DNA degradation. Test tube studies show that agricultural chemicals can lead to genetic mutations leading to the development of cancer and have a negative effect on the production of energy.

Are you keeping your cells healthy? Let us know what you’re eating to keep your cells in tip top shape!

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?