Tag Archives: Vitamins

Nutrients You Might Be Missing from Your Vegan Diet

woman with salad
No matter what your take on veganism is, you have to give vegans credit. They gave up cheese for this. That means they can’t walk into the Cheesecake Factory and order a slice of White Chocolate Mousse. They can’t walk into a Pizza Hut and order the stuffed crust. They can’t munch on cheese doodles while watching the game, they can’t get a cheeseburger at MacDonald’s and they can’t eat those cheese doodles stuffed with more cheese. So good for them, you may say. Who needs to put all that junk in their bodies? Well, while it’s safe to say most of us could live safely, and probably for a much longer time, without ever eating the aforementioned for the rest of their lives, there is some proof that a vegan diet may be lacking in certain nutrients and not just cheese. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you get what you need while maintaining the lifestyle you choose.

Vitamin B 12
Known as the energy vitamin, your body needs B 12 for blood formation, energy production, reproductive health and DNA synthesis. Signs of Vitamin B12 deficiencies include fatigue, impaired function of the brain and megaloblastic anemia. It has also been associated with neurological and psychiatric disorders like an Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
If you are a hardcore vegan, Nori Seaweed and tempeh both contain small amounts of vitamin B12. If you do not eat these foods regularly, you should take a B-12 supplement to make sure you’re getting all the energy you need.

Woman with vitamin D3
Vitamin D3
You may have heard of Vitamin D3 as the steroid hormone you get from sun exposure. However, what you may not know is that it’s also involved in the machinery of all the cells and tissues in your body and is crucial for disease prevention Although sun exposure is the best way of getting Vitamin D, researchers are now finding that some foods contain some pretty meaningful amounts of it. It is estimated that the average adult in the central United States gets about 1,500 – 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D from food; specifically meat, egg yolk and fatty fish. However, even if you do eat these foods, most of your vitamin D does come from sunlight and, if you are not a fan of the sun, without a Vitamin D supplement, deficiency is all but guaranteed. So if sun is not your thing,make sure to stock up on the D supplements.

Animal-Based Omega-3 DHA
Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega 3 fat found in animals like krill and fish necessary for heart health and brain function. In addition, pregnant women with DHA deficiencies put their children at risk for developmental problems. Although plant based omega-3 fats can be found, it takes a combination of them to get a sufficient amount of DHA. If you’re determined to get your DHA from plants, try combining hemp and flax with krill oil, an animal based omega-3 with an antioxidant 48 percent more potent than fish oil. It is also sustainable and eco- friendly.

Heme Iron
Although iron is found in plant and animal foods, heme iron is found only in meat, usually red meat. The iron found in plants is not absorbed well by the body, which can increase the risk of anemia for vegetarians and vegans. If you need to supplement with heme iron, a safe form is carbonyl iron, as opposed to the often toxic ferrous sulfate.

Sulfur
Meat and fish are the only ways to get the amino acids you need to produce protein. Without animal protein, you increase your risk of sulfur deficiency. Sulfur is vital for the activity of enzymes and proteins. If you don’t have a sufficient amount, it can affect joints, bones, metabolic processes and connective tissue. A 2012 study showed that low intake of sulfur by vegans and vegetarians can result in increased risk of heart attack and cardiovascular diseases. If you are a staunch adversary of meat, seek your sulfur in coconut and olive oil. If you are looking to supplement, Methylsufonylmethane or MSM is the organic form of sulfur, naturally found in plants.

If veganism is part of your way of life, let us know about it. Do you miss cheese? We want to hear your struggle.

The Calcium – Vitamin D Combo Explained

Calcium and vitamin D

It has been said that beauty and is in the bones and, surely, there is truth in this saying  After all, it is the skull that is responsible for the shape of the face,  one of the most valued and obsessed over parts of our body.   Bones also make movement possible, allowing us to perform our all important exercise routines and to walk with ease and grace. Indeed, where would we be without these all-important tenants of the body?  We would be shapeless sacks of flesh.  Imagine how we would look in our jeans!  We should also note that bones are responsible for protecting our vital organs and sheltering our reproductive organs. But, while we are singing the praises of bones, we should also note that, if we want our bones to continue to keep us healthy and beautiful, we need to make sure they get plenty of calcium and, in order to make sure that calcium does its job,  it  needs to be paired with vitamin D.

Calcium is a mineral that is naturally found in foods and is necessary for bone formation and maintenance.  Because our bodies don’t produce this mineral, it is vital that we obtain it from outside sources.  Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium from the stomach, hence the calcium vitamin D combination.  Used together, they can prevent calcium deficiencies and osteoporosis.  So how can we make sure that we are getting enough of both?

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation,  the recommended dosage of calcium for the average adult is between 1000-1300 milligrams daily.  It is generally higher for women over 50.  It is recommended that people get 200- 800 international units of Vitamin D.  You can find both these vitamins in supplement form, but be warned those of you who choose to go this route!!  You may avoid calories, but you will sacrifice benefits.  Synthetic supplements contain chemical binders, toxic preservatives, artificial fillers and even coal and tar derivatives!!  We are far better getting our calcium and Vitamin D from natural sources.  Some of the best food sources of calcium include okra, spinach, collards, kale, soybeans, white beans and OJ.  You can get your vitamin D from fatty fish (like tuna, mackerel, salmon), cheese, egg yolks, and beef liver.  Doctors also recommend exposure to sunlight as a way of getting your Daily Dose of D.

And, this just in!  To give the calcium and vitamin D a major boost, add Vitamin K!  According to Doctor Joseph Mercola, Vitamin K is a vitamin generally used in blood clotting.  However, it has been newly discovered that it can also move calcium around to the proper parts of your body, like your bones and teeth.  Although exact numbers have not been confirmed, it is recommended that a person gets 180 to 200 mgs. of Vitamin K per day.  K can be found in leafy, green vegetables.

So now your set!  You’ve got your calcium for strong bones, vitamin D to make sure the calcium is absorbed and Vitamin K to make sure it gets to the right place.  So go out and get your vitamins and be beautiful!!!

B Vitamins and Aging

We have more than enough to worry about as we age, so wouldn’t it be nice to solve at least one problem before it happens, or correct it if it already has? This probably sounds like a no-brainer, and with recent advances in medical knowledge, it’s even easier to arm yourself with information to make sure you age gracefully.

Not much was understood about the relationship between B vitamins and aging until somewhat recently, but it is becoming rather clear with recent discoveries that there is likely some kind of connection worth exploring.

Vitamins

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Age
One thing to be keenly aware of is that as you get up there in years, your body looses some of its ability to absorb and process vitamin B12 from your diet. This can lead to a number of symptoms, like anemia, (which often manifests as sluggishness, generalized weakness, and fatigue), muscle weakness, shakiness, incontinence, unsteady gait, low blood pressure, fatigue, cognitive problems (including poor memory), and mood disorders like depression, mood swings, etc. A vast majority of these symptoms, save for anemia, will generally be simply dismissed as “signs of aging.” This can be avoided by simply taking a vitamin B12 supplement.

B Vitamin Myths
The only solid evidence for a connection between B vitamins and aging is that our bodies grow less proficient at absorbing vitamin B12 as we grow older, and this should probably be corrected for. You should be skeptical of any other claims, such as purported links between overloading on B vitamins and improved skin appearance and health. In fact, overdosing on some B vitamins can cause serious side effects. Too much vitamin B-3 (Niacin) can cause skin flushing, pain, liver toxicity, and high blood sugar. Too much vitamin B-6 can cause nerve damage and skin lesions. Too much B-9 (aka Folate or Folic Acid) can cause kidney damage, and can mask the presence of a B-12 deficiency, if you have one. Too much vitamin B-12 can cause acne and rosacea in some. Of course, deficiencies have nasty side effects too, but taking way more than necessary is, as you can see, more harmful than helpful.

In short, definitely do take a vitamin B-12 supplement to prevent deficiency as you age, but don’t take more than 100% DV on B12 or any other B vitamins, or almost any vitamins, for that matter.

As ever, a healthy dose of doubt is always helpful in discerning fact from fiction, whether in skincare, overall health, or life in general. And when in doubt, see if you can find a consensus of expert opinion—which means a majority of experts are in agreement, not just one or two—and/or double-blind controlled-variable clinical studies. If you can’t find either, take the claim as an unknown possibility at best, and falsification at worst.

Japanese Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato

Japanese sweet potatoes really do have amazing nutritional value. Sweet potatoes are a low-calorie food containing high levels of vitamin C and dietary fiber and is often touted as an excellent food to include in any weight loss regime. The Japanese sweet potato is usually a red or purple-skinned color on the outside with a yellow to white fleshy potato on the inside. They are usually approximately 5 inches long and weigh around 130 grams – all in all one potato contains just 113 calories. The potatoes are actually quite similar to American yams but possess a much sweeter taste. The biggest producers and consumers of Japanese sweet potatoes are Vietnam, China, Japan and India and additionally it is also commonly used as a thickener and flour substitute.

The potatoes are an excellent resource of vitamin A and one medium spud contains over 400% of your recommended daily allowance. Many individuals also include Japanese sweet potatoes in their diet for their high hyaluronic acid content which is known to help keep wrinkles at bay and keep the skin looking young.

Anti-Aging
Japanese sweet potatoes are notorious for their high levels of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has a remarkable ability to help keep our skin and tissues moist and is very effective in treating dry skin and fine wrinkles. We all possess hyaluronic acid in our bodies but as we age, levels of the compound begin to diminish, much like collagen in our skin. Hyaluronic acid maintains the skin’s elasticity and some studies have highlighted how it can even speed up healing times for wounds and scar tissue. Therefore, consuming Japanese sweet potatoes regularly would essentially help sustain hyaluronic acid levels, thereby delaying the aging process and keeping your appearance youthful.

Tissue Health
Hyaluronic acid is also abundant in cushioning and lubricating various parts of our bodies such as the eyes, joints and even heart valves. In this way, consuming Japanese sweet potatoes is also an excellent way of ensuring these parts of your body stay healthy and continue to function optimally.

Dietary Fiber
Japanese sweet potatoes contain approximately 27 grams of carbohydrates with approximately 4 grams being dietary fiber. All in all, this provides 16% of your daily recommended intake for fiber and therefore adding these potatoes to your meals is an easy and efficient way of staying in tip top condition and will ensure your bowel movements are healthy and regular.

Vitamins and Minerals
Japanese sweet potatoes are a valuable source of numerous vitamins essential for normal bodily functioning such as vitamins A, C, and E as well as B-6. One serving of potatoes contains 202% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and one average sized sweet potato has 30% of your vitamin C. Alongside this, the potatoes are also high in minerals such as potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. These vitamins and minerals act as vital antioxidants in the body and prevent cellular damage from harmful free-radicals.

Why Retinol is so Important for Anti-Aging

Retinol, while not a new skincare ingredient, is everywhere and pops up in products from potent antioxidant serums to foundations. The reason that retinol is everywhere? Because it works. Retinol is an incredibly effective skincare ingredient that fights the signs of aging and encourages skin to act in a younger, healthier way. Find out just what retinol is and why it is so important for anti-aging below.

Vitamin A chemical formula

What is Retinol?
Retinol is just another name for vitamin A and it can be broken down into more potent compounds that are referred to as retinoids. “Retinol is an extremely effective cell-communicating ingredient, which means it can literally connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell,” explains skincare expert Paula Begoun. Retinol is somewhat of an umbrella term and the vitamin A molecule is broken down into many derivatives of vitamin A that are known as retinoids. In a paper published on PubMed Central, a service of the US National Library of Medicine, the authors state that “retinoids are very well known to influence a variety of cellular processes, such as cellular growth and differentiation, cell surface alterations and immune modulation.” It is the influence that retinol and retinol derivatives have at the cellular level that are responsible for the immense anti-aging benefits of these ingredients.

How Does Retinol Counteract Aging?
“Retinol is an antioxidant, and thus can help interrupt the free-radical damage process that cause skin to look and act older. This action helps prevent wrinkling and increases collagen production,” says Begoun. In order to actually influence cell behavior, retinol has to undergo a process of breakdown and conversion. “Before retinol can successfully go to work in skin, it must be converted into it’s active form – all-trans retinoic acid. Once retinol has been applied to skin, enzymes in the skin break it down into all-trans retinoic acid, which then goes on to help regulate cell function,” notes Begoun.

As you age, the effects of sun damage become more visible and apparent in the forms of discoloration or sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles and larger pores. Retinol, when converted to retinoic acid, is able to influence cells that fight against these signs of aging. Although retinol can’t reduce large pores caused by genetics, it is able to decrease pore size that occurs as a result of sun damage. In addition, retinol promotes an increase in substances that enhance and improve the skin’s structural elements, meaning your skin is strengthened, and retinol is also helpful at stimulating collagen production which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinol is available in a variety of forms and can be found in cosmetic products that are readily available. There are also prescription strength retinol products that are used both for acne and aging. Before beginning a retinol regime, it’s important to know that retinol can cause sensitivity and irritation and it often takes some time before your skin gets used to this ingredient. Consulting with a dermatologist or doctor is a great way to know what concentration of retinol would be most beneficial. While there is no single ingredient that magically solves aging concerns, when retinol is used with other quality ingredients and products, it is an incredibly effective ingredient that helps skin look and act younger.

What are Carotenoids?

The food you eat does so much more than taste good. One of the most amazing ingredients you can add to your diet are carotenoids. These antioxidant promote eye and skin health as well as providing protection from certain cancers. Our comprehensive guide tells you just what carotenoids are, what they do for you and how you can add some to your diet.

Carrots on a wooden table

What are Carotenoids?
Carotenoids are plant pigments that your body converts into vitamin A. These plant pigments are responsible for the bright red, orange or yellow hue found in fruits and vegetables and are a class of plant pigments known as phytonutrients. Brightly colored red, orange and yellow are not the only fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids. In fact, kale is one of the greatest sources of dietary vitamin A but the chlorophyll in the plant masks the signature red, orange or yellow color of the vegetable. Generally speaking for both bright vegetables and dark, leafy greens, the deeper in color the fruit or vegetable is, the higher the concentration of carotenoids is.

Carotenoids include:

  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Gamma-carotene
  • Cyptoxanthin
  • Beta-zeacarotene
  • Lycopene
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Lutein
  • Capsanthin
  • Canthaxanith

Of these carotenoids, the highest concentration of vitamin A is beta-carotene but the others are just as important. Even those carotenoids that are not converted into vitamin A in the body like lycopene, lutein and capsanthin, are beneficial to your health in that they have incredible cancer-fighting powers. There is ample research to suggest that lycopene, while not a source of vitamin A, helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

What do Carotenoids do?
While some carotenoids are effective at fighting cancer, they are also a valuable preventive tool. Research regarding beta-carotene, the carotenoid with the greatest amount of vitamin A, shows that those who eat foods rich in beta-carotene have a lower risk of developing lung cancer, even among smokers. The study also indicated that the maximum benefits were seen when beta-carotene was provided in the form of plants and vegetables as opposed to taking a vitamin A supplement. In fact three research studies that involved 169,000 participants, of whom many were smokers, the beta-carotene supplement actually increased rates of lung cancer. However, lutein, lycopene and alpha-carotene showed significant protection against lung cancer.

Experts believe that the variation in carotenoid protection is dependent upon when you take carotenoids. For instance, if you take beta-carotene prior to cells undergoing any pre-cancerous changes, beta-carotene reduces the likelihood that mutations will take place due to the antioxidant actions this carotenoid provides. Conversely, taking a beta-carotene supplement after the mutation of cells suggests that beta-carotene may protect the mutated cells from being destroyed by your body.

In addition to fighting cancer, carotenoids that are converted into vitamin A provide your body with important health benefits. One of the most important uses for vitamin A is eye health. The old maxim that carrots are good for your eyes really is rooted in fact. Vitamin A is essential for eye health and preventing vision loss. Your heart also received health benefits from carotenoids, particularly when combined with vitamins E and C. The carotenoid beta-carotene has also been shown to protect the skin against environmental damage and toxins due to its antioxidant properties.

How do you get Carotenoids?
Now that you know why it is so important to get carotenoids into your body, you probably want to know how you can do that. Some of the very best dietary sources of carotenoids include:

  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Beef liver
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggs

Eating a diet rich in carotenoids is an excellent thing to do for your overall health and you can easily incorporate these foods into your diet. While experts recommend dietary carotenoid as the most beneficial for your body, there are certainly dietary supplements available if you are concerned you aren’t receiving enough from your food. Stock up on these fruits and veggies to keep your eyes, heart and cells healthy in addition to getting the healthiest skin of your life.

Why Your Skin Craves Vitamin A

Woman applying eye serum.

Vitamin A is an important ingredient if your want to have your skin looking healthy, radiant and clear. You may already be using products that contain vitamin A and you might not know it. Vitamin A is more commonly referred to as retinol when it comes to skin care. Below, check out what forms of vitamin A are available and why your skin craves this skin care ingredient.

Forms of Vitamin A
When it comes to vitamin A, there are three major derivatives and the terms are often used interchangeably. Although many use the terms to refer to vitamin A, there are subtle, but important differences.

Retinol – Retinol is the most widely recognized form of vitamin A and is readily available in cosmetic products. Retinol is the entire vitamin A molecule and as such, it can be broken down into a variety of potent compounds. Skin care experts explain, “[r]etinol is a cosmetic ingredient that any cosmetic company can include in its products. It does not require a prescription. Retinol is effective because when it gets absorbed in the skin, it gets broken down into retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is the compound which can affect your skin cells and their behavior.” Retinol is an excellent ingredient for helping your skin reduce signs of aging.

Retinoids – Retinoids are a class of chemical compounds that are derivatives of vitamin A or are closely related in chemical structure. Retinoids are primarily used in the treatment of acne and aging, but there are other skin conditions that benefit from the use of retinoids. Inflammatory skin disorders, psoriasis and photoaging are conditions that can benefit from the use of retinoids.

Tretinoin – Tretinoin is retinoic acid that is available in prescription form. The most frequent use for topical tretinoin prescriptions is acne control. This retinoic acid manages acne by promoting the peeling of skin to reveal newer, healthier skin. Additionally, tretinoin deep cleans and unclogs pores while also reducing sebum (oil) production. While tretinoin is usually used as an acne treatment, it is also the first retinoid approved by the FDA to treat wrinkles.

“All forms of retinol have similar, although not identical, functions and provide truly impressive results for skin, which explains their popularity in the world of skin care,” note experts.

How to Give Your Skin the Vitamin A it Craves
The first place to begin with making sure your skin is getting plenty of vitamin A is to include foods that are rich in vitamin A in your diet. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, romaine lettuce, dark, leafy greens such as kale and sweet red peppers are all foods that provide high amounts of vitamin A. Seafood like salmon, sturgeon, mackerel and oysters are also a great addition to your diet if you are looking to increase your vitamin A intake.

Next, using topical vitamin A products helps keep your skin looking and feeling happy. Many forms of vitamin A, retinol and its derivatives (retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde to name a few) are widely available in cosmetic products including face cleansers, toners, moisturizing creams, face masks and serums. For more serious skin problems, like severe acne, tretinoin and other retinoids are available in prescription form.

No single ingredient can magically cure all of your skin concerns, but vitamin A does provide many significant benefits. Vitamin A, in any form, gently exfoliates your skin, repairs the cellular structure of the epidermis and promotes healthy cellular membranes. It is important to note the while the benefits of vitamin A are undeniable, you should proceed with caution when beginning to use topical forms of vitamin A. Most people experience increased redness, flaking and irritated skin when first beginning a topical vitamin A regimen. Allow your skin to become used to the ingredient by using every other day at first and be sure that other products you’re putting on your face (cleanser, toners, etc…) are gentle on your skin to avoid increased irritation. Vitamin A is an important ingredient in a healthy skin care routine and is a widely available ingredient.

Skin Care Ingredients that Make Skin Happy

There are constant breakthroughs and improvements when it comes to skin care and it seems there’s always a hot new miracle ingredient. Some of these skin care ingredients are more of a fad than anything, but others are truly incredible ingredients. The three ingredients below have all been in the skin care spotlight for some time, and with good reasons. These skin care ingredients are staples for healthy, happy skin.

Hyaluronic acid chemical formula.

Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that occurs naturally in the body and it is responsible for the regulation of cell renewal and maintaining the moisture and elasticity of your skin. Skin care products that contain hyaluronic acid are beneficial to all skin types, but they may have the most profound effects on dry skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant and when applied topically, it not only adds moisture to the skin, but it creates a moisture barrier on the skin that keeps the moisture from leaving the skin. Because hyaluronic acid is able to hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, it is incredible for keeping skin hydrated. Recently, hyaluronic acid has been making news as the hot new injectable. When used as an injectable, hyaluronic acid smooths out wrinkles. While hyaluronic acid applied topically does help to “plump” and soften the appearance of wrinkles, the molecule is too large to fully penetrate into your skin and eliminate fine lines and wrinkles.

Peptides
Peptides are a cell-communicating skincare ingredients. These segments of active proteins alert your skin to act in particular ways, one of which is to signal the skin to increase production of elastin. Elastin keeps your skin plump and gives it its ability to bounce back. Additionally, peptides are beneficial in helping skin heal itself after an injury or wound. Peptides are an important anti-aging ingredient that can help minimize the appearance of wrinkles because one of the things they can communicate to cells is the signal to relax facial muscles. They also are helpful in stimulating collagen production, helping to fight fine lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin A chemical formula.

Retinol
Retinol is an active form of the vitamin A molecule and it is one of the greatest skin care ingredients that you can use. This vitamin A derivative is a powerful exfoliant that encourages your skin to shed layers to turn over younger, healthier skin cells. The use of retinols as a skin care ingredient can improve skin firmness, reverse visible signs of sun and environmental damage, reduce hyperpigmentation and dark circles, treat acne and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to those amazing benefits, retinols also increase natural production of hyaluronic acid and collagen, which keeps skin smooth and supple. When buying products containing retinol, it’s important to pay attention to the packaging. Light and air can degrade retinols, so look for opaque packaging with a pump to preserve its integrity.

These skincare ingredients are beneficial to all skin types and they are most effective when used as part of a healthy skincare routine. Be sure to cleanse your face, tone (if necessary) and hydrate frequently. Drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet will also significantly improve your skin, making these skincare ingredients even more effective. Look for products that contain these ingredients to keep your skin radiant, glowing and happy.

Why You Need to Know About Ghee

You’ve probably seen ghee popping up everywhere as a healthy source of fat, but what is it?

Ghee

What is Ghee?
Ghee, very simply put, is clarified butter. Ghee is clarified butter that was produced using either cow or buffalo milk. So, what makes ghee different than butter? The clarification process makes all the difference. A majority of the clarified butters are made by removing milk solids in their early steps, while ghee differentiates itself by continuing to simmer with milk solids to give the final product a distinguished taste. As the butter melts, the milk solids contained within the butter separate and the result is a golden liquid that when cooled will be ghee.

How to Make Ghee
Perhaps the greatest thing about this amazing healthy source of fat is that you can make it in your own kitchen. Sure, many health foods promise that you can make a version in your kitchen (homemade almond milk) but then they end up requiring extensive time, tools and sometimes money. Ghee can be made using products and supplies you already have on hand and is done in less than 20 minutes. To make ghee all you will need is a stick of unsalted butter, a saucepan, a strainer, cheesecloth and a container where you can place the finished ghee. Give your health a boost by following these super simple steps for making ghee.

  • Place the unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Heat the unsalted butter over medium heat until it is completely melted.
  • When the butter is completely melted, reduce the heat to low and allow your melted butter to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You will see foam or bubbles appear on the surface on the melted butter and at the end of the time, you’ll be able to actually see milk solids among the golden liquid.
  • Line your strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and place over the container that you planning on using for ghee and wait about two to three minutes before straining.
  • Strain the butter. You will see the solids that remain in the cheesecloth and the golden liquid in your container is your homemade ghee.

You can purchase ghee from some specialty or health food stores, but it is so easy to make at home that you might as well do it yourself. Plus, making ghee at home is way cheaper than buying it.

Why Eat Ghee?
So now you know what ghee is and how you can make it for yourself, but why would you? As a healthy source of fat, ghee has quite a few exciting health benefits. Some of the most awesome benefits are –

  • Aids Digestion – The components of ghee can actually improve your digestive functioning. Ghee contains butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, which your digestive tract uses for energy and to support a healthy intestinal wall. Additionally, this fatty acid helps reduce inflammation, which is an important part of healthy digestive function.
  • Weight Loss – Okay, so eating ghee by the spoonful will not help you lose weight. While ghee is a healthier option than butter, it is still butter and has a high saturated fat content. Consumed in moderation, however, ghee produced from the butter of grass-fed cows contains linolenic acid which can aid your weight loss efforts.
  • Vitamins – A one tablespoon serving of ghee contains approximately 15% of your daily requirement of vitamin A. Ghee is also rich in other fat soluble vitamins like D, E and K.
  • No Casein – Those who have a lactose intolerance will be pleased to hear that ghee may be a great substitution. The proteins responsible for lactose intolerance, particularly casein, are found in the milk solids. Because ghee separates the solids from the rest of the butter, only healthy butter fats remain in the final product.
  • Enhances Flexibility – Flexibility is a huge asset when it comes to physical activity, especially if you love Pilates or yoga. Ghee has properties that lubricate your joints, which results in an increase in flexibility.

The benefits of ghee are so worth the 20 minutes that it takes to make your own. Not only does this healthy fat benefit your body, but it also keeps for a much longer time than regular butter. In fact, if you store ghee in an air-tight container, it can last for up to three months meaning you don’t have to constantly be melting and simmering your butter. Ghee also makes for a great cooking oil because it has a higher smoke point than regular butter or oils such as olive and coconut. Lastly, you should give ghee a try because it tastes great. Ghee often features a slightly nutty flavor, giving your food natural flavor. With all of these benefits, it’s not hard to see why ghee is making a huge name for itself as a healthy dietary source of fat.

Level Up Your Skin Care Ingredients

The various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your skin needs to be it’s healthiest come in a variety of forms. For instance, retinol (vitamin A) comes in many forms ranging from retinyl palmitate to tretinoin. Figuring out which form of a specific ingredient you need is tricky business, and ultimately will depend on your skin and it’s needs. However, we have a bit of a guide here that explains the different forms of ingredients and how they may, or may not, be what you want to look for in your skin care.

Chemical formula of Vitamin A on a blackboard

Vitamin A
Vitamin A, or retinol, has long been considered one of the most effective skin care ingredients in the fight against aging. Additionally, there are numerous acne treatments that harness the power of retinol. According to skin experts, retinol can be broken into certain potent compounds known as retinoids. Vitamin A, retinol and retinoids are terms that are usually used interchangeably, but each has its own regulations and distinctions. Retinol is labeled as a cosmetic ingredient and can be used in any formulations. The other forms of retinol that are rated as cosmetic-grade and can therefore be used in any formulation include retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate and retinaldehyde.

Which one is right for you? It depends on your skin and your needs. Basically, in order to be effective retinol must be broken down into retinoic acid to be most effective to your skin. Retinoids, then, must be broken down from retinyl acetate to retinol to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid in these forms are mostly used in over-the-counter skin products. For severe skin issues, consult a doctor or dermatologist about the use of prescrition retinoids such as adapalene, tazarotene and tretinoin.

Sliced oranges.

Vitamin C
Another vitamin with tons of skin benefits is vitamin C. The “best” form of vitamin C is ascorbic acid (or L-ascorbic acid). Perhaps because this form of vitamin C has the most research on skin benefits, this is the form of vitamin C that most frequently appears in well-formulated skin care products. Ascorbic acid helps produce new and younger looking skin and fades problems like sun damage or post-acne marks.

Other forms of vitamin C include ascorbyl palmitate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, retinyl ascorbate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphates. These are all derivatives of vitamin C that come with their own unique benefits, but largely include the repair and protection of free radical damage.

Chemical formula of vitamin B3.

Vitamin B
There are many types of vitamin B that are included in skin care and beauty products, many of which are used to treat specific skin care concerns. Vitamin B3 is also known as nicotinic acid and niacinamide and is a form of vitamin B to look into if you require skin care that focuses on anti-aging properties.

Vitamin B5 is another common ingredient in skin care and is also referred to as pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid may help with acne issues and has been proven to provide hydration and healing properties to the skin. Panthenol is the alcohol form of pantothenic acid and is a frequent addition to beauty formulas for its humectant properties. It improves the barrier function of the skin and helps improve the cells responsible for creating collagen.

The cosmetic and beauty industry is an ever-changing business always featuring new technology and improved ingredients. Ultimately, the forms of ingredients that you desire will depend on the needs your skin has. However, with a little help from Vine Vera, you can get started on discerning what ingredient forms are best for you.