Is it Safe to Lose 10 Pounds in One Week?

The short answer is yes but only under certain circumstances. Starving yourself for a week might result in short term results but it is dangerous and generally the weight will pile back on anyway. Crash or starvation diets can have negative effects on your mind, leading to eat disorders.  Let’s talk about the healthiest ways for you to lose weight fast.

Rules for Losing Weight Fast

There are constraints around who can successfully lose 10 pounds in a week:

  1. Have excessive weight to lose
  2. Moderate fitness levels
  3. Have the time to dedicate

Have the Excessive Weight

If you are already lean – it is impossible to lose 10 pounds in a week. You must have enough extra weight for your body to shed. For those carrying more fat, this is a great way to kick start weight loss but don’t expect these results week after week.

Moderate Fitness Levels

Exercise is necessary for fast weight loss so you will need to be able to handle general cardio and resistance training.

Having the Time to Dedicate

Time constraints are a factor in weight gain itself – we are tired and stressed from our busy lives so we don’t exercise and we don’t eat properly. In order to drop the pounds, you need to prioritize your weight loss goals by having time to cook and work out.

How Do I Lose The Weight?

A right mixture of diet and exercise is the key. You’ll need to work out every day and eat in a calorie deficit to achieve the goal.

In terms of your diet:

  • Stay away from simple carbohydrates. This helps you flush extra water from your system which reduces bloating and weight. Simple carbohydrates also cause blood sugar spikes, releasing the insulin hormone which in turn encourages fat storage.
  • Start the day with a glass of warm water and lemon juice. This will wake up your metabolism. Pair that with a simple meal of fruit.
  • Drink black coffee. This works to suppress your appetite and can also rev up your metabolism.
  • Eat lean proteins. It will help fill you up for longer without the extra calories in fat. It is also muscle-sparing so your weight loss will come mainly from water and fat.

Exercise helps you burn more calories than you are eating – creating that deficit that allows you to lose weight. Here are some exercise tips:

  • Walk everywhere. Moving around more often will keep your metabolism humming along rather than being sedentary for long periods of the day. The extra exercise will help you drop the pounds.
  • Lift weights. Heavy resistance training will burn more calories than reps with lighter weights. It will see a lift in metabolism even hours after your workout. While heavy resistance training over time will lead to weight gain – it is healthy muscle weight not pounds of fat.
  • Don’t over-exercise. While you need to exercise everyday to achieve the weight loss goal, listen to your body and don’t over tax yourself.

weight loss infographic

source for featured image

8 Anti Aging Herbs and Nutrients

Are you looking to maintain a youthful appearance but want to keep up a natural skin care regime?

Herbs have been used for their anti-aging benefits across centuries of natural medicine. Herbs can boost your immune system; improve regeneration of your cells, increase blood circulation, and increase organ functions – all of which improve your overall health and can reverse the visible signs of aging.

anti aging herbs

 

Here are the best natural herbs and nutrients for anti aging.

Bilberry are closely related to blueberries and are also rich with antioxidants making this berry a potent anti aging medicine. It is also helpful in preserving vision by preventing certain degenerative eye diseases.

Garlic is a powerful anti bacterial and anti viral agent. However a little known fact is that it can help reduce overall cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.

 

In terms of specific anti-aging benefits, raw garlic helps combat wrinkles. It does so because raw garlic contains a compound called allicin. This is produced during the crushing of raw garlic and is touted as powerful antioxidants. Raw garlic is also packed with vitamin C – more than twice that of tomatoes. Vitamin C keeps your skin healthy by supporting collagen production.

Ginseng (Panax ginseng): In Chinese culture, ginseng is called the Fountain of Youth. It’s one of the most popular herbal treatments in the world because of its wealth of benefits. This herb can tone the skin; improve your appetite and digestion. Studies have found that ginseng can improve memory. One study used 52 healthy volunteers aged between 40 – 60 years old. Those in the active group received 200mg of ginseng. They saw an improvement in performance of working memory at the 3 hour mark compared to those in the control group.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba): One of the effects of aging is decreased brain functions. Ginkgo has been scientifically proven to increase blood flow to the brain. Research in Europe has shown that ginkgo improves alertness and social interactions of those with Alzheimer’s disease as well as other types of dementia. You can supplement with 60 – 240 mg ginkgo extract daily.

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense): This herb is rich in the mineral silicon which is used in the body for joint health, as well as skin and strong bones. This mineral tends to decline with age. A horsetail supplement gives the body a store of silicon to use in forming skin, bones, cartilage and other connective tissues.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum): Your liver is a complex organ that have more than five hundred functions. This includes the processing and filtering of toxins out of the blood. Milk thistle contains an active ingredients called Silymarin which stimulates the regeneration of liver cells to keep the organ healthy and functioning. A supplement of 140mg per day will work to protect and repair your liver.

Peppermint (Metha peperita): Peppermint is readily available as a herbal tea. This drink is soothing and aids in digestion and intestinal problems that often arise when we age.

Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) This is a spice you might commonly think of as a flavoring to add to curries, soups or stews. The turmeric spice comes from the root curcuma long from the ginger family. It has been used for centuries as a powerful anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that turmeric is a safe way to reduce inflammation and works by inhibiting a number of molecules which cause inflammation. Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant which works to savage molecules called free radicals. These damage cell membranes and the DNA stored in cells and can even cause cell death.

While you can consume all these herbs and spices as part of a healthy, balanced diet – supplements are the best way to fill gaps in your diet and ensure you receive the best possible benefits.

If you are supplementing with the actual herb – fresh is best however dried herbs will do. A good tip is the more fragrant the herb, the stronger its benefits. Always keep your herbs in an airtight container out of direct sunlight to preserve them.

As always consult a qualified health professional before starting new herbal supplements.

Herbs And Spices To Help With Weight Loss

We use herbs and spices to give our meals a flavor boost but did you know that they also offer excellent health benefits? They are a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and hold unique medicinal properties.

All herbs and spices are plant materials which have unique properties and health benefits to offer. These benefits include anti inflammatory, anti aging and weight loss.

In fact herbs and spices are one of the most potent natural sources of antioxidants available. Polyphenol antioxidants can reduce inflammation by bonding free radicals in the body. There is potential for these antioxidants to have anti aging effects on the skin. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods found correlations between the phenol content in spices and its ability to inhibit glycation and the toxic end products which made phenols an effective preventer of heart disease and premature aging effects.

For example cinnamon has phenol levels of 18% of dry weight. Compare that to antioxidant super-food blueberries which have a phenol level of 5% of dry weight.

Certain herbs and spices can also help you maintain a healthy weight by boosting your metabolism and promoting weight loss.

See the list below for 10 great herbs and spices:

  1. Ginseng

Ginseng is a species of slow growing perennial plants. The herb we use is the fleshy root of this plant which is dried and used in teas, cooking or sometimes energy drinks. Ginseng’s benefits include boosting energy levels and speeding up your metabolism. The Panax Ginseng species has correlations with weight loss benefits. A study where obese, diabetic mice were given panax ginseng extracts for 12 days resulted in significant weight loss and an improvement in their insulin sensitivity.

  1. Cayenne Pepper

 Capsaicin is the compound that gives cayenne peppers its spicy flavor. This is a thermogenic substance which causes a temporary increase in your natural thermogensis process. This is where your body is burning through its energy stores to create heat – in other words, using your stored heat as energy to warm your body. Research suggests that the consumption of thermogenic foods can boost your metabolism by up to 5% and increase fat burn by up to 16%.

Spicy foods have also been known to trigger feelings of fullness and satiety meaning you will eat less, aiding in weight loss goals.

weight loss herbs

  1. Cinnamon

We’ve already discussed how cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant but this spice also has benefits from boosting your metabolism as well as blood sugar regulation.

Studies using cinnamon have found that it reduces blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterols and triglycerides in those with type two diabetes. Cinnamon was also found to increase glucose metabolism by 20 times to normal rate which is a significant indicator around your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. This is great news for diabetics who should consider eating cinnamon or taking a supplement to benefit their overall health.

Proper regulation of blood sugar helps with weight loss and maintenance as high blood sugars result in extra insulin in the blood. This promotes the storage of fat, particularly around the stomach area.

  1. Black Pepper 

 Black Pepper has a variety of health benefits. The main flavor of black pepper comes from a compound called piperine which also inhibits the formation of new fat cells. Black pepper also has the capsaicin compound that cayenne pepper has, which boosts your metabolism. Studies have shown that consumption of black pepper extracts have burnt as many calories as a 20 minute walk.

On top of those benefits, black pepper increases the bio-availability of nutrients in other foods. This refers to how well your body can absorb the various vitamin and minerals in your food so this makes black pepper a wonderfully healthy addition to your diet.

  1. Mustard

 The mustard plant is a species in the cruciferous family which also includes Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli. It’s the mustard seed holds the most valuable health benefits. Those seeds can boost your overall metabolic rate by 25% resulting in a more effective rate of burning calories. 3/5th’s of a teaspoon of mustard seeds each day can increase your calorie burned by 45 calories per hour.

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric is the yellow-orange colored spice often found in curry based dishes. The active compound in turmeric is called curcumin and holds a variety of health benefits. Studies have shown it reduces the formation of fat cells and tissues by stemming the blood vessels needed to build the fat tissue. Turmeric can help prevent body fat percentages and overall weight gain

The curcumin compound is also helpful in treating obesity related chronic illnesses like insulin resistance, hyperglycemia and other inflammatory symptoms. Curcumin interacts with specific proteins in certain cells to suppress transduction pathways in the body which can reverse the symptoms listed above. See here for the study source.

  1. Dandelions

Dandelions were once a popular edible plant, known for its nutritional benefits however it doesn’t tend to be eaten any more. You can actually eat all parts of the dandelion plant. The plant is extremely high in fiber, meaning it slows your digestion which helps you feel fuller for longer. This prevents overeating and helps with weight loss.

The Dandelion plant also contains therapeutic compounds like Taraxacin, Taracerin, inulin and levulin. These compounds are a diuretic and cleanse the liver.This plant is high in vitamins and minerals like beta carotene and vitamin K1 which normalize blood sugar and reduce cholesterol.

  1. Ginger

 Ginger is another spice which has thermogenic properties, like cayenne and black pepper. This can boost your metabolism and encourages higher caloric burn. Ginger can also help to soothe and relax your digestive tract, hence why we drink ginger teas when we have an upset stomach. Using this spice more regularly can help you with weight management.

  1. Cardamom

This is an aromatic spice with a spicy but slightly sweet flavor. It is popular in the Ayurveda system of holistic and natural healing originating from India. Once again this is a thermogenic herb to support your immune system.

  1. Cumin

Cumin is a delicious spice with a long history of medicinal uses. Cumin helps support your digestion and can improve glycemic control for those with type 2 diabetes.

Cumin inhibits weight gain because it is high in Phytosterols – a naturally occurring substance that is similar to cholesterol in its function and structure. Therefore it prevents the absorption of harmful cholesterols through your digestive tract. This is the reason given for its weight loss effect.

 

 

How To Easily Get Rid Of Cellulite

Getting rid of unsightly cellulite is something nearly all women want. Cellulite is the persistent subcutaneous fat which causes dimpling of the skin and affects up to 90% of women.

7-ways-to-reduce-cellulite-naturally

 

Image source

Cellulite is caused by:

  • Being overweight
  • Genetics
  • Toxicity in your body
  • Poor circulation
  • High levels of estrogen
  • Low skin elasticity.

This post is all about how to get rid of cellulite through diet and exercise. Remember, this will require discipline and patience but it will pay off in the end.

Step one – Fix your Diet

Some foods help improve your overall health and reduce instances of cellulite.

Foods rich in antioxidants are good for your overall health and will help with circulation, detoxification and the break-down of fats.

The following foods are extremely beneficial to your health as well as for reducing cellulite.

Chia Seeds – a power packed seed full of nutritional value like vitamin C, antioxidants and fatty acids. Chia seeds can reduce your appetite and so help with weight loss. Chia seeds are easy to find at your local grocery or health food store.

Avocado – While avocados have a high fat content, they contain essential healthy fats as well as a range of antioxidants and vitamins. That higher fat content also helps you stay fuller for longer, which is helpful for weight loss.

Apple Cider Vinegar – This is great for mixing into salad dressing, or drinking diluted in warm water. Apple cider vinegar is high in potassium, magnesium and calcium; these minerals help flush toxins from your body and help to reduce water retention from the thighs, hip and stomach.

Green Tea: You’ve probably already heard about the myriad of health properties. Green tea can help you lose weight,  it increases blood flow and will detoxify your body – all factors in reducing cellulite build up.

Leafy Green Vegetables; Think all those salad greens like spinach, kale and lettuce. These greens are high in fiber, rich in vitamins and necessary for overall health and weight loss. If you don’t like eating those greens, you can blend them into a breakfast smoothie with along with berries and coconut water for a super healthy start to your day.

Foods to avoid

The below list of foods are the main contributors to weight gain and are generally bad for your health. It is best to either avoid these all together or eat in moderation.

Dairy – Dairy is full of simple carbohydrates, which are treated like sugars after the digestion process. Modern farming practices result in dairy also contains added hormones and antibiotics which strain your livers detoxifying process. Your overall health will benefit from fewer dairy products in your diet.

Refined Sugar – Adding, refined sugar is toxic to the body. It is responsible for increased rates of obesity and the raft of diseases that come along with being overweight. The extra fat storage will cause a build-up of cellulite so it is best to avoid refined sugar as much as possible.

Processed food – highly processed and packaged foods are full of chemical additives which fill your body with toxins. Your body is flooded with inorganic compounds which plays havoc on your systems. Avoid these processed foods all together and replace them with fresh, organic whole food where possible.

Alcohol – Fills the body with toxins and will make your body more acidic further more alcohol reduces the positive effects of vitamin C, zinc and calcium in the body, thus reducing the effect of breaking down fats into fatty acids.

 Exercise to reduce cellulite

Exercise aids in weight loss and also helps to improve circulation throughout the body. The right exercises help build muscles tone problems areas like the stomach, thighs and hips.

Squats/lunges; these target your leg muscles – thigh, bottom and hips. Building muscle definition in these areas helps to smooth the appearance of your legs and reduce cellulite. Start out with small weights and perform the exercises in front of a mirror to make sure your form is correct to avoid injury. Make sure you seek advice from a trainer if you are new to squats and lunges.

Core Exercises; Working your mid section has so many benefits. You will build stronger abdominal muscles to improve digestion. It will build stronger back muscles, reducing your chance of back problems later in life.

Pushups or bench press; This type of exercise focuses on your back and arms. This can help you tone ‘flabby’ arms and well as improve posture and overall health.

 

How to Start A Skin Care Routine With Natural Ingredients

The Hidden Toxicity of Most Beauty Products

In our world of mass produced beauty products it is the unfortunate reality that everything from household cleaning to personal hygiene are made from synthetic ingredients which are either untested or are harmful.

Harmful chemicals include parabens which are known to be harmful. Parabens are a common ingredient in body wash, scrubs, shampoo and lotions. It’s typically included as a preservative but the build up of these chemical in our bodies can disrupt hormone function and has links to increased breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Other chemicals include synthetic colours which are extracted from petroleum or tar and fragrances which cause allergies and respiratory issues.

Many of these artificial skin care products contain hormone disruptors – or compounds which are not synthetic but act in the same manner as certain hormones produced naturally in our bodies. This has far-reaching implications for your health like disruption of the menstrual cycle and therefore fertility.

Using natural skin care is an excellent solution – it will work to beautify your skin as well as a long list of other benefits for your overall health like improvements to your immune system, better digestion, and more energy.

Why can we buy them if they aren’t safe?

There is actually very little government regulation for skin care or beauty products. In the U.S the law does not require cosmetic products and their ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market. This includes products which are applied directly to the skin. This is particularly concerning as we know the skin absorbs these chemicals.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oils have been used for hundreds of years to topically combat pimples, redness and general inflammatory responses occurring in the skin. Tea Tree oil is a known natural source of anti inflammatory, anti bacterial and anti fungal making it a popular and versatile skin care tool.

The essential oils come the Tea Tree plants are native to Australia and the main active anti microbial ingredients are terpene hydrocarbons, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. Researchers have noted that tea tree oils contain hundreds of different chemical components and hydrocarbons that are able to travel through air, absorb through the pores in the skin and through the mucus membranes which is how it delivers healing benefits. This makes tea tree one of the best home remedies for acne.

Coconut Oil

Labeled a super food – Coconut oil has benefits that include removing dead skin cells, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant properties, anti inflammatory uses, strengthen the skin against UV and improving the underlying epidermal tissue.

You can use coconut oil in your care routine to cleanse and moisturize as well as to remove makeup. Use just a thin amount of oil rubbed gently into the skin.

You can also supplement your diet with coconut oil as well which will benefit your overall health. Your skin is like other organs in the body which needs a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients, as well as having toxins and waste pulled away. So supporting your digestive function is important for the best possible skin health.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can be used as a toner to remove excess oils on the skin. It is also a naturally occurring anti bacterial so it will kill of acne causing microbes living on your skin to prevent breakouts.

People also consume diluted apple cider vinegar to improve gut health. Apple cider vinegars other benefits include acetic acid, vitamins such as potassium and magnesium which work together to boost liver function, balance bacteria in the digestive system and detoxify the body.

Sea Salt

You want to look for sea salts which are untreated in order to retain the natural minerals and nutrients like calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium present. These minerals are used by our skin cells and throughout our body and so sea salt is a good product to balance and restore the skin. It also contains anti inflammatory properties to sooth the skin, particularly breakouts. It also scrubs away dead skin cells, helps remove excessive oils and will help balance the production of oils.

You can make your own facial masks, scrubs and toners including sea salt. Making your own products is the best way to ensure you know exactly what you are applying to your body.

To make your own homemade scrub, mix two teaspoons of seat salt – or try pink Himalayan salt, with four teaspoons of raw honey. Rub gently into the skin and let it settle for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water. You can use this several times a week to clear blocked pores and reduce acne breakouts. If you find the salt is too rough on your skin, use sugar in the recipe as an alternative therapy.

Raw Honey

Raw honey has been used a natural remedy to prevent breakouts on the skin, moisturize the skin and hair, as an antiseptic to encourage healing and reduce scarring. It is a wonderful source of enzymes, vitamins, nutrients and skin boosting acids.

It is important to use raw honey as it is unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed unlike most honey you will find on the grocery store shelf. The unprocessed nature of raw honey means it retains all of its nutrients.

Raw honey has been used as a particualry good homemade natural anti-acne skin care product. Its very simple to use, for a cleanser take a teaspoon of honey and warm in your hands. Gently spread onto your face and leave for up to 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. You can also soothe dry skin by adding two cups of honey to a bath, relax in the water for 15 minutes and then add one cup of baking soda to your water and soak for a further 15 minutes.

Another use is on the dressing for burns or wounds, treating bacterial infections, healing dandruff, diaper rash and more – all due to the antimicrobial makeup of raw honey.

 

 

How To Make Your Boobs Grow Bigger Naturally With The Help Of 10 Special Tips

You’re desperate to know how to make your boobs bigger naturally, because you refuse to go under the knife. There are lots of ways you can achieve your goal, and nothing is more effective than natural creams and pills due to the special ingredients they contain.

You’ll start seeing your boobs getting bigger quickly, and today we’re going to look at supplemental and natural ways you can maximize their effectiveness. If you’re still going through puberty, wondering how do breasts grow quicker shouldn’t concern you. The following special tips are only for those who need extra help.

1 – Start To Massage Your Breasts Daily

This is where the natural breast enlargement creams have an advantage over pills, because you’ll be able to use them while carrying out this simple exercise. The cream will be absorbed into your breasts quicker, plus you’ll also help allow more blood flow into them. The latter will then give you an extra kick because it will allow your hormones to be used more effectively. A quick 5 minute massage when you wake up or before you go to bed with a little cream in your hands will work wonders.

2 – Stop Wearing Your Bras All The Time

Why do you need to know how to grow your boobs bigger naturally when you’re ruining their size all on your own? Did you know women who don’t wear bras have nipples 7 millimeters higher up, so their breast are already a lot more perky?  There is a study showing that bras do more harm than good! If your boobs stick out more than they drop down, they’ll look bigger once you’ve increased their actual size. Don’t run away and throw out all of your bras, but don’t assume you need to wear them all the time.

3 – Stick To A Healthy Body Weight

You see a lot of models with low body fat and large breasts, but you’ll find they’re keeping a dark secret. They’ve went under the knife and they’re too afraid to tell you. It’s perfectly fine to lose a little weight, but when you drop underneath a certain level of body fat you can guarantee your boobs will get smaller. After all, they’re comprised of fat in the first place, so don’t become fixated with trying to lose as much weight as possible.

4 – Eat More Foods Rich In Estrogen

You’ll find a lot of the pills and creams out there will contain extracts of food sources containing estrogen-boosting properties, but you can easily incorporate more into a healthy diet. Soy, flax seeds, garlic, and pumpkin are only some of the foods you’ll be able to enjoy, and each one of them contains more health benefits than simply helping your boobs to grow. If that all sounds too complicated, there is nothing wrong with introducing them into your diet in pill form.

5 – Do The Opposite With Testosterone-Rich Foods

If foods rich in estrogen will help your boobs to grow naturally, the exact opposite could be said of testosterone. It’s what female bodybuilders will be injecting if you see them on the stage looking too manly for your liking. Chips, white rice, and baked goods are some of the guilty foods. It doesn’t mean you should cut them out completely, because you don’t want to deprive yourself of anything. Just reduce the amount you eat if you’re interested in your boobs getting bigger.

6 – Buy Lots Of Fruits And Vegetables

It’s common to see people preaching the benefits of more fruits and vegetables in a diet, yet for some reason nothing ever really changes. If only you knew the positive effects all of the vitamins, minerals, anthocyanins, and antioxidants could have on your ability to add to the size of your breasts. They’re one of the easiest things to add to any diet because they can be eaten as snacks, but make sure you eat a variety of them and not just your favorite one or two.

7 – Eat More Protein And Healthy Fats

A big reason why you might have smaller breasts than you want is because you avoid fats thinking they’re bad for you, but in reality they are great for your body as long as you’re eating the right ones. Stick to monounsaturated fats like the ones found in cheeses, nuts, and avocados because they’re better for your breasts. Make sure you’re eating enough protein too, because a lot of women don’t. The next few reasons we’ll look at are why this is a good idea.

8 – Drop And Do Push Ups In The Morning

Can you do many push ups at the moment? Even if you can’t, you can do them easily if you drop down to your knees. If you really hate them a chest machine at the gym will work too, as long as you’re building the muscles underneath your boobs. What do you think will happen as soon as your chest muscles begin to grow? The majority of women will say they’ll look like a man, but they’ll actually push your breasts out even further making them appear larger.

9 – Join A Yoga Or Pilates Class

Even if you want your boobs to grow bigger naturally, you might not be prepared to lift weights like a man. Even though it’s technically a bad choice, there is no shame in refusing to do something you’ve been led to believe is wrong all your life. Instead, I’d suggest any woman who feels this way should join a yoga or Pilates class instead. Some of those poses are more difficult than they look, and they’ll be able to create the stimulus to help grow your boobs.

10 – Push Your Palms In Together

Here is a quick little exercise to work your chest and get the blood pumping, but you’ll notice it’s different from the rest because you can do it anywhere. Some people might be thinking you can do push ups anywhere too, but try doing this at your desk when you’re at work and you’ll realize you are wrong. Simply sit down and touch the palms of your hands together in front of your body and push as hard as you can for 10 seconds. Do this as often as you want during the day.

Everything Will Eventually Begin To Grow

You know how to make your boobs bigger naturally, but it doesn’t mean you need to use everything we’ve talked about today. The ingredients in pills and creams will do most of the work, so these are merely bonus tips. The reason I mention this is because introducing all of them into your life would be quite a feat, so it would be better if you stuck to the ones you think sound the best. Make sure you’re using a good handful of them, and it won’t be long before you have a good handful of something else if you know what I mean.

Herbal Skin Care Routine

Our skin is our largest organ and will absorb what we apply to it. Most commercial skin care products are packed with chemicals which might feel good on your skin in the short term but have terrible long term effects.

These artificial ingredients will absorb into your body and can build up over time. Often the continuing effects of these chemicals in the body have not been extensively studied.

Luckily, there are natural, easy and inexpensive options to take care of your skin so you can avoid those harmful chemicals.

Oily Skin

Using natural products to care for your skin will reduce oil production over time. Here are some natural ways to remove excess oil to prevent breakouts.

Exfoliate – combine equal parts olive or almond oil and sea salt for a natural scrub to wash away dead skin and remove impurities.

Cleanse – Oil cleansing is a popular method. Oil cleansing is the process of using a combination of natural oils to cleanse and balance your skin and its oil production. It works through dissolving the hardened skin oils and impurities that are stuck in your pores.

By using the right oils you will cleanse your pores of the dirt and bacteria trapped in the sebum inside them. You will be replacing dirty oil with natural oils rich in vitamins and minerals to protect and nourish your skin. See here for more details.

Those of you with more oily skin will need to use a higher ratio of castor oils to other oils to stop your skin being too oily in the transition between chemical and natural cleansing.

Moisturize/tone– If you have oily skin, you will need less moisturizing as your skin adjusts – you will find the natural oils from cleansing will be adequate. If you are finding your skin is a little dry, a thin layer of coconut oil is good. Coconut oil is made from the meat of the coconut that is rich vitamin E. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that both protects and repairs your skin.

If you find your skin is holding onto too much oil, diluted apple cider vinegar wiped gently across problem areas will do the trick. Store a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water in the fridge as your go to toner.

Normal or Combination Skin

Those with skin which is not oily or particularly dry will adjust quickly to a natural skin care routine.

Exfoliate – Use a homemade sugar scrub. Try one of these recipes. Sugar is beneficial for your skin because the small particles of the sugar are gentle on your skin as well as being a form of natural humectants making it hydrating. Brown sugar is softer than granulated sugars and so are better for the sensitive areas like the face and neck while raw sugar are larger and more suitable for the body.

Cleanse – Oil cleansing is excellent for balancing normal or combination skin. Mix ¼ cup of castor oil with ¾ cup of olive or almond oil.

Moisturise/tone– A dab of coconut oil or shea butter will work as a nice natural moisturizer when needed. Other options are these natural lotion bars or try making your own homemade lotion. If you aren’t making your own, check the label for chemical additives and choose organic products wherever you can.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is problematic because it causes itchiness, flaking and can rapidly age you. If you have dry skin, you will benefit immediately from natural skin care routines that use oil based cleansing. Often these oils will help your skin balance its oil production and prevent the initial dryness from occurring.

Exfoliate – Be very gently with exfoliating this type of skin as it is already very sensitive. Use a mild sugar scrub and do not apply vigorously. This will help loosen the dead skin and dirt from the skin without causing damage.

Cleanse – As castor oil is more drying than the others, it is recommended to only use a very small amount. Blend a tablespoon of castor oil into ¼ cup of olive or almond oils as your cleanser.

Moisturise/tone– Dry skin will likely need to be moisturized, at least during the first few weeks of the natural cleansing routine as your skin settles in. The best option is the natural, chemical free whipped shea butter. This is a fat extracted from the shea tree and is often shaped into lotions, bars, balms and skin care products. Just watch out for additives.

Natural-Skin-Care-Recipes infographic

 

 

8 Effective Herbs For Faster Hair Growth And Health

While most hair loss is associated with men in their mid to late stage of life, hair thinning or loss is more common than you think. Women and men of all ages can experience hair thinning and balding as well. Our hair is important part of our appearance and hair loss can cause confidence and self esteem issues but there are herbal supplements you can take to counter your hair loss problems.

Common Reasons for Hair Loss

There are plenty of reasons for hair loss in both men and women. Here are some of the more common reasons:

Hereditary or genetics – You can inheriting baldness or thinning hair from your family.

Hair Dyes – damaging your hair through the chemicals causing breakages.

Straightening and Curling Irons – Drying out and breaking the hair.

Poor nutrition – your diet is where you get your vitamins and minerals needed for bodily functions like replacing cells and growing hair

Thyroid Issues – When your hormones are out of balance, hair thinning or hair loss in patches can happen. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss.

Anaemia – This is where your body is struggling to carry oxygen in the blood so it goes into survival mode and functions like keeping your hair healthy and growing cease.

Menopause – Hair loss due to changes in your hormone levels is somewhat normal.

Pregnancy – during pregnancy your hair goes into its natural resting phase which is where hair loss occurs.

These and many other reasons can contribute to hair loss, but don’t fear – you can do something about it. Using herbal treatments are a natural way to treat hair loss without expensive products which are loaded with harmful chemicals, or drug therapies to assist in hair growth. Try the below herbs at home for a more safe, less expensive and healthier more natural method of stimulating hair growth, leaving you feeling confident and beautiful

  1. Peppermint

Peppermint works by stimulating the follicles and improving blood flow to the area. It also helps to bind the roots to your scalp. Peppermint oil is a good natural moisturizer, it also prevents dryness and itchiness. Peppermint oil helps to prevent dandruff and broken hair.

This study found that peppermint was successful at promoting hair growth without toxic side effects that some store bought hair regrowth products have. This study was conducted on mice and showed that the 3% solution of peppermint oil was the most successful hair growth tool in terms of dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth.

  1. Rosemary

This herb has been used for hundreds of years for hair loss and works best with olive oil. Combine the olive oil and rosemary and rub directly into the scalp. This helps give the follicles nourishment as well as preventing hair from going grey earlier. A popular method is the hot oil treatment, where the infused oil is warmed to allow it to penetrate deeper into the scalp to deliver its nourishing vitamins. A bonus of oil is that it will deep clean your pores and hair at the same time resulting in shiner, healthier looking hair.

  1. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is known for promoting hair growth. It stimulates blood circulation to the scalp so rubbing pure aloe onto the scalp routinely helps. Another way to apply aloe is to mix it with coconut milk for a soothing hair treatment. Aloe contains polysaccharides and glycoproteins, which can stimulate new skin growth. This may help to promote hair growth, especially if hair loss is due to something temporary such as stress or poor diet.

  1. Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is one of the best possible herbs for stopping hair loss. Stinging Nettle prevents the hormones which start the hair loss process. The best way is to take it as a supplement which is available at most health food stores. You can also use it as an oil by adding fresh stinging nettle leaves to a cup of olive oil. Allow it to steep for three weeks in a cool, dry place. You can apply this oil to your scalp regularly and you will notice increased hair growth in no time.

  1. Ginseng

This herb is best known for its support of the immune system and for cardiovascular health. Keeping a healthy immune system means your body won’t be using its resources to recover from illness. This way your body can focus on other functions like growing strong, healthy and long hair.

Ginseng supports cardiovascular health which improves blood flow. Having good circulation in your scalp is important to growth of healthy hair and preventing hair loss. This herb is available as a liquid, powder or capsule. Any way that you take it, up to 200mg is the recommended dose.

  1. Ginkgo Biloba

Use this herb supplement daily to correct deficiencies in the hair follicles. The up side is that this herb is also great for memory, brain function and general health.

  1. Horsetail

This is an ancient herb that helps strengthen hair thus preventing hair loss. It contains silica or silicon which not only makes your hair and bones stronger but helps to add shine and improve the texture of your hair. Horsetail also contains selenium which regulates hair growth.

Low stores of selenium leads to slow hair growth or even hair loss of taking a supplement can improve things.  A normal dose of horsetail is 300 mg taken three times a day either as a supplement or steeped in tea. You can also find shampoos and hair products enriched with this herb to support hair growth.

  1. Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto is a plant with small red berries which has been used as a food and medicine for hundreds of years. There is a compound called DHT that causes hair loss. Saw Palmetto has been found to block 5-aplha- redutase, which converts testosterone into DHT. Blocking this effectively prevents hair loss from occurring in the body. This herb can be mixed with stinging nettle for the best results. You can take Saw Palmetto by consuming the dried berries, in powder, liquid or capsule.

Here are some more;

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Keep Your Skin Youthful With These Healthy Foods

How can you achieve a youthful glow, fight the signs of aging and say goodbye to acne? Eating the right foods is holistically good for your body but the list of foods below have direct benefits to the health of your skin.

Food that is beneficial for your skin

Olive Oil

A 2012 study analyzed the diet of 1264 women tracked their consumption of olive oil compared to signs of aging. Women with a higher consumption of olive oil – more than 2 teaspoons a day saw 31% fewer aging sings compared to women who ate less than 1 teaspoon. This is because about 75% of the fat in olive oil are monounsaturated fatty acids which can play a part in keeping skin youthful. The antioxidant polipehnols also exsist in olive oil which reduce harmful free radicals in the body.

Yellow Bell Peppers

The British Journal of Nutritional released a study which found that people who ate more than 250 grams of green and yellow vegetables had fewer wrinkles, especially in the crow’s feet area around the eyes in comparison to those who ate less than 69 grams. The average yellow bell pepper is 190 grams and contain the antioxidants which fight aging free radicals and can support the health of your skin and your overall body.

Dark Chocolate

This delicious treat is also great for your complexion. Dark chocolate holds cocoa flavanols which are an excellent antioxidant. This helps to hydrate the skin and improve circulation. A study focusing on women who drank a mixture containing cocoa powder high in flavanol resulted in a reduction of skin roughness and scaliness compared to a control group.

This was the equilivant of 3.5 ounces of chocolate however keep in mind, this is very high in calories. However chocolate usually is loaded with refined sugar, the healthiest way is to go for cacao powder and mix it with a healthy sweetener or add it to your smoothie.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes can provide sun protection benefits. Sun damage is a one of the largest contributors to premature skin aging. A study in 2008 concluded that people who consumed 5 tablespoons of tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over 12 weeks had a 33% higher protection from sunburn compared to a control group who only ate the dose of olive oil.

Tomatoes have high levels of the antioxidant lycopene, especially in cooked tomatoes which helps improve the skins natural SPF. However this is not a replacement for actually using sunscreen but rather a boost to your skins natural defenses.

Fish

Fish high is omega-3 fatty acids should be on your menu. Sardines in particular pack 1.5 grams of omega-3’s in just a 3.5 ounce serve making it one of the best choices. Salmon is another plentiful source of this helpful fat. It helps your skin by reducing inflammation – often a main driver for acne.

Green Tea

In 2011 there was a study published in the Journal of Nutrition which found those who drank a beverage with green tea polyphenols each day for 12 weeks resulted in more elastic and smooth skin, as well as up to 25% less sun damage when exposed to UV light compared to the control group. Green tea is high in antioxidants like EGCG which also helps boost blood flow and therefore better delivery of nutrients to the skin to improve your complexion.

Oatmeal

Not only is it a whole grain, oatmeal is a highly nutritious breakfast, it also provides great benefits for your skin. Refined sugars and simple carbs increase insulin levels in your blood stream and increase production of a hormone called androgens. These hormones cause your sebaceous glands to secrete more oil, trapping dirt in the pores and causing imperfections. Switching to complex carbs like whole grain oatmeal helps balance your blood sugar and reduce those hormones in your body for a clear complexion.

Kale

This superfood is one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin which are nutrients that work to absorb neutralize free radicals caused from UV light. One cup of kale also provides you with more than 100% of your daily intake for vitamin C and A which both help to firm the skin.

Orange Peel

The University of Arizona studied people who said they ate plenty of citrus fruit, juice and peels. Those who ate peels had a 33% less likelihood of having squamous cell carcinoma while the juice and fruit did not have an effect. They credit the limonene which is a compound found in the oil of the peel to offer UV protection.

Walnuts

This is a nut that is expectionally high in omega-3’s, which offers a meat-free source of this fatty acid. Walnuts contain an certain omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid. A deficiency in this particular fat can result in eczema, or a form of dry, scaly skin.

Grass feed beef

High in protein at 30 grams per 3.5 ounce serving, grass feed beef helps your skin by providing the building blocks for collagen and elastin tissues. These keep skin tight and prevent wrinkles.

Water

Water obviously works to keep you hydrated which in turn keeps your skin plump and youthful. Being in the habit of drinking water also means you will avoid excess sugars found in other drinks like juice or soda’s. When your blood sugars get too high, sugar can attach to proteins in collagen which cause the skin to sag and wrinkle.

Almond Milk

This is the perfect alternative to dairy. Dairy is highly inflammatory so it can aggravate acne, rashes and aging. Non dairy, non-sweetened milks like almond milk are a better option.

Soy

An option for vegetarians is soy. A study which gave a small group of middle aged Japanese women 40mg of aglycone, which is a compound in soy saw they have fewer fine lines and better skin elasticity within the 12 week study than the control group.

The aglycone contained isoflavone which can stop collagen from breaking down in the body which is an effective way to prevent sagging and wrinkles. You can eat the same amount of isoflavones in 3 ounces of tempeh, 6 ounces of tofu or 1 ounce of dry toasted soybeans.

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