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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!

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?

Prevent Wrinkles On Your Chest and Neck

In “Gravity,” a video installation Michael Haussman, the artist, asked his subjects were to jump on a trampoline while he shot a video. He edited in post-production, steadying the subjects in the frame so that they appeared to stay still while their fat and muscles remained in motion, The result suggests a time-lapse aging, in which the subject’s body seems to age about thirty years in 15 seconds. It shows us how the aging process alters perception, changing the flawless to the flawed sometimes in a matter of very little time.

Woman smiling

Gravity: it’s skin’s biggest downfall, and causes even the most taught bodies to sag and wrinkle. However, while we can’t fight the gravity, we can fight the effects. Here are some ways to prevent wrinkles on the neck and chest.

Types of Wrinkles
With the aging process, you may begin to notice loose crepey skin and wrinkles on your chest and neck areas. Although some of this can be attributed to loss of collagen, environmental factors are largely to blame. According to AgingSkin.Net, 90-95% of all lines, wrinkles and discolorations are due to sun exposure.

While chest and neck wrinkles usually appear with age, “necklace lines,” characterized by horizontal lines on your neck can start in your twenties, or even as early as childhood. Loose and saggy skin is more often associated with age.

Reasons
There are several hypotheses as to the cause of aging on the neck and chest. One theory, suggested by Skintour.com, is that chest wrinkles are a result of sleeping position. Impression lines caused by sheets and blankets that faded quickly when you were young, may become a little less temporary as you age, due to loss of elasticity.

Treatment
Laser treatments, chemical peels and botox injections are all options for treating skin on the chest and neck. A study conducted by the Brazilian Center for Studies in Dermatology found that injecting Poly-L-Lactic acid or PLLA into the neck and chest could also improve the appearance of wrinkles. Adjusting your sleep position from your side to your back may be another option, as are breast pads and pillows.

Product
It is important to realize that most skin products are not just for your face. When you cleanse your face, be sure to include your neck, as should be the case with toners, moisturizers, masks, and scrubs. Look especially for skin care products containing antioxidants to fight damaging free radicals.

Moisturize
Never underestimate the power of a good moisturizer. Note that your neck and chest have fewer oil glands than your face, and are more prone to dryness and irritation. Moisturizers help maintain elasticity and plumpness for ease of mobility and a smoother appearance.

Sun Exposure
Protecting exposed skin from the sun is important to everyone, regardless of skin condition, Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, with 5 to 10 % titanium and zinc on law exposed skin, neck and chest included.

What do you do to prevent wrinkles on your neck and chest? Let us know!

Vitamin A Derivatives That Improve Skin Texture, Tone, and Color

As is the case with many of the best discoveries, the use of vitamin A as a wrinkle control agent happened largely by accident. It all began in the laboratories of Dr. Albert Kligman in the 1960’s when the controversial dermatologist began to experiment on prisoners with a vitamin A derivative called tretinoin as an acne treatment. Imagine the delight of the incarcerated men to discover not only the disappearance of their acne, but a noticeable decrease in wrinkles and smoother skin tones!

Woman applying vitamin A on her skin

Vitamin A and its derivatives have often been referred to as the “gold standard of skin care,” a paragon of excellence against which all other skin care products can be measured. If you are thinking of incorporating some vitamin A into your routine, here are some things you may want to know.

Retinoids
Retinoids are also known as the generic term for tretinoin, retin-A, or differin, and are available only by prescription. They are absorbed directly into the skin cells which makes them highly effective against hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and acne.

The downside of this miracle cream is its likelihood to cause skin irritation. Retinoids are often associated with redness and peeling and require adjustment to the dosage to combat these side effects. The key with these products is keeping the applied amount to a minimum. A pea-sized amount should be enough for the whole face, and a larger quantity is unnecessary.

Retinol
Retinol is vitamin A in its pure form and is an over the counter alternative to harsher retinoids. While the conversion to retinoic acid will decrease the potency of the retinol, it should still be effective enough to bring noticeable results. Although retinol may trigger minor irritation, side effects should generally subside over time as the skin grows more accustomed to the treatment.

Retinyl Palmitate
This combination of retinol and palmitic acid is one of the less effective vitamin A derivatives. While it does convert to retinoic acid, the process often takes so long that by the time it is completed, the product has lost most of its ability to affect the DNA of the cell. As a result, you would need a very high concentration of retinal palmitate to have significant effect, and most cosmetic companies who use it as a source of vitamin A usually do not put enough of it in their serums and creams to make a difference.
The bottom line: If retinyl palmitate is not combined with other vitamin A derivatives, it is almost useless.

Retinaldehyde
Retinaldehyde is a potent over the counter form of vitamin A which is commonly perceived to be the closest to retinoic acid without the irritating side effects. However, it is important to take note of content in your product. In order to be effective, a retinaldehyde concentration of 0.05% to 0.1% needs to be present. This is the equivalent of a 0.025 tretinoin. The biggest side effect of retinaldehyde will be the lightening of your purse. Most skin care products containing substantial amounts of the ingredient will be on the high-end side in price, so be prepared to pay for quality.

Other Advice
Be aware that vitamin A is not stable and tends to lose potency when it interacts with sunlight. Creams and serums are therefore best applied at night. Do not use a cleanser with retinoids, as the retinoids depend on contact with skin to achieve full benefit and should not be washed away. When purchasing retinoids, look for packaging that minimizes exposure to air and light which can affect the stability of the vitamin.

Let us know your choice when it comes to choosing Vitamin A derivatives. Which ones work best for you?

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!

The Benefits of Keratin for Hair and Nails

Portrait of woman

It is true that women will go to great lengths to achieve great lengths. There is little a woman won’t do in the pursuit of longer hair, nails, and lashes. She will glue, she will paint, she will invest, she will supplement, she will extend, she will photoshop. She will fight tooth and nail for nice teeth and strong nails, and she knows the value of a strong ally. Keratin is one of the toughest forms of biological mater. It gives the horse its hooves and the rhinoceros its horns. Why not use it to give you an extra edge?

What is Keratin?
Keratinocytes are living cells found in the skin that produce a protective layer that provides flexibility and strength and helps to keep water and other materials from getting to the skin. Keratin is the tough protein strand that provides these keratinocytes with their strength.

Keratin is found primarily in the skin, hair, tooth enamel and hair, and plays a role in protecting these body parts against harmful environmental factors. They allow hair and skin to be flexible and make nails, tooth enamel, and hooves of animals hard and strong.

Vegetables

Keratin Deficiency
Individuals with a keratin deficiency tend to experience slow hair growth, and the hair they already possess is usually weak and brittle. Lack of keratin may also cause weakness and discoloration of fingernails. While there are topical keratin treatments, the best sources for keratin, as is usually the case, are edible.

Fruits and Vegetables
Proteins from vegetable sources are absorbed in the body with the help of Vitamin C. This vitamin is also the basic building block of keratin. Peppers and Brussels sprouts are both rich in vitamin C, as are citrus fruits such as oranges and limes.
Biotin, or vitamin B7, is also a foundation for keratin building and plays a large role in the metabolism of proteins. Onions, cauliflower, and broccoli all have high concentrations of B7. Whole grains are another food source which encourages keratin generation.

Dairy

Meat and Dairy
Low fat dairy products contain amino acids that boost keratin production. Low-fat cheese, yogurt, and milk, will give your body a boost of keratin, as will meat. Fish, poultry, lean meats, animal liver and kidney are all protein rich meats that help to produce keratin.

Other Sources
There are also certain vitamins and minerals that are important for generation of keratin. Because of the high concentration of the protein found in sulfur, sulfur rich foods such as eggs, dried beans, kale and soybeans can all play a significant role in keratin development, as can beans, almonds and walnuts. Gelatin is a another food associated with increased keratin production, and can be found in frosted cereal, fruits jams, molded fruit salads and certain yogurts.

What do you think of keratin? Do you use it to your benefit? Let us know!