Do It Yourself Grapefruit Smoothing Skin Mask

Do It  Yourself Grapefruit Smoothing Skin Mask

More than just a delicious snack, grapefruit is rich in vitamin C. According to leading scientists, vitamin C can contribute to collagen production. Since collagen is responsible for the skin’s elasticity and firmness, skin treatments containing vitamin C help boost its appearance.

While grapefruit consumption has benefits ranging from weight loss to heart health, a topical application of this wholesome fruit  may tone the complexion, fight skin damage, reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin health. When applied to the face in the form of a mask, its citric-acid content has an exfoliating effect that removes dead skin cells.

Here’s how to make the Smoothing Grapefruit Mask:

Peel It

Cut the grapefruit in half, and peel one of the halves. Using a citrus zester, grate the skin, and place it in a blender along with the flesh.

Add and Mix Ingredients

Add an egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of oats and three to four drops of almond oil to the blender. Blend the mixture until a paste forms. To thicken the paste in case it is too runny, add flour as needed until you reach a thicker consistency.

Apply the Mixture

Transfer the mix into a bowl, and apply an even layer of it onto your face and necki. Be careful to avoid the eyes.

Let It Work Its Magic

Let the mask sit on the skin for approximately 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water. After your face dries, replenish the moisture in your skin by applying your favorite moisturizer.

With this simple recipe, you can cut, mix, apply and enjoy smoother skin.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Skin Care Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Ware, Megan and Helen Yuan; What Are the Health Benefits of Grapefruit? Medical News Today; accessed February 20, 2015

Pauling, Linus; How to Live Longer and Feel Better; Vitamin C Foundation; accessed February 20, 2015

Parker, Kimbry; How to Make a Grapefruit Facial Mask; LiveStrong; accessed February 20, 2015

Leave a Comment

Filed under Skin Health, Women's Health/Beauty Info

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Breakfast Cookies

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Breakfast Cookies
Photo and Recipe from Selena Sharpless of The Nutritious Kitchen Blog

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients
(makes 12 cookies)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine oat flour, cocoa powder, coffee grounds, baking powder and sea salt. Stir until fully combined.
  3. In a separate, microwave safe bowl, melt almond butter, maple syrup and apple sauce together for 20-30 seconds. Stir with a fork until the mixture is thick and fully combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until dough comes together. Fold in dark chocolate chunks then scoop out dough, about 2 Tbs. at a time, onto parchment lined baking dish. The dough will be thick and moist, that’s how the texture should be!
  5. Repeat this process until dough is used up and bake cookies for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt (if desired) and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before eating!
  6. Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Breakfast Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 12 cookies
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup oat flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbs. ground coffee
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • sea salt to taste
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 2 Tbs. apple sauce
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped (about 4 large squares)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine oat flour, cocoa powder, coffee grounds, baking powder and sea salt. Stir until fully combined.
  3. In a separate, microwave safe bowl, melt almond butter, maple syrup and apple sauce together for 20-30 seconds. Stir with a fork until the mixture is thick and fully combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until dough comes together. Fold in dark chocolate chunks then scoop out dough, about 2 Tbs. at a time, onto parchment lined baking dish. The dough will be thick and moist, that’s how the texture should be!
  5. Repeat this process until dough is used up and bake cookies for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt (if desired) and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before eating!
  6. Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Click here to check out a recipe for Blueberry Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies!

iHerb sells thousands of natural food items, everything from stevia to gluten free flours to much more!  Click here to take a look at our product offerings.  If  you’re new to iHerb, you can use Rewards Code WOW123 to get $10 off your first order with a minimum $40 purchase or $5 off orders less than $40.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Recipes

Drive Safer: The Dangers of Texting

Drive Safer: The Dangers of Texting

Taking eyes off the road is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was the cause of 18 percent of fatal accidents in 2012 — a total of 3,328 fatalities and more than 421,000 injuries. One of the most common types of distracted driving occurs when the driver is texting — although this statistic also encompasses activities like talking on the phone, eating and applying makeup. Read on to learn more about the dangers of texting and other types of phone use while driving.

Why is texting while driving so dangerous? Simply put, it takes your attention off the road, which greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll cause an accident.

Many who engage in this behavior rationalize it by saying that they are just glancing at the phone quickly. The fact is, though, that even taking your eyes away from the road for five seconds at 55 miles per hour means you’re traveling the length of a football field without looking at the road. Even if you are keeping your eyes on the road and glancing down quickly, this still causes a dangerous mental distraction.

Young people are especially at risk. Ten percent of fatal crashes caused by distracted driving involved those younger than age 20. According to some reports, 660,000 are texting and driving at any given moment in the United States. Twenty percent of teens and ten percent of adults admit to texting and driving, a behavior that triples your risk of getting in a car accident. Many municipalities now ticket for phone use while driving.

The bottom line? No text is worth your life. If you absolutely must contact someone while driving, use your phone’s voice recognition software — and keep your eyes on the road. Texting can be done by safely pulling over to the side of the road.

Looking for vitamins, herbal supplements and other alternatives to help you keep a healthy balance in your life? Check out the thousands of products we sell at iHerb.com. Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get  you $10 off any first time order with a $40 minimum purchase or $5 off any first time order less than $40.

References

Distraction.gov; The Official Government Website for Distracted Driving. Accessed Feb. 19, 2015

DWI: Driving While Intext-icated. Accessed Feb. 19, 2015

Federal Communications Commission. Texting while driving; Accessed Feb. 19, 2015

Don’t Text and Drive; “It’s up to me; “Verizon wireless; Accessed Feb. 22, 2015

Leave a Comment

Filed under Children's and Teen Health, Miscellaneous

The Benefits and Drawbacks of a High Protein Diet

The Benefits and Drawbacks of a High Protein Diet

Proteins build muscle, are the basis for many important amino acids and are used by the body in a very different fashion than fats or sugars. Fats must be digested, but can clog arteries and are absorbed by fat cells. Sugars spike blood sugar and result in rapid changes in metabolism and body chemistry. The body can break down lean protein and burn it for energy, but not the same way as carbs.

Weighing Risks and Benefits

The ideal behind a high protein diet is to promote muscle formation after exercise and to slow down the rate at which the body absorbs calories. The problem with a high protein diet is that the body needs fats, which contain essential amino acids not present in lean meat. The body needs to maintain a proper blood sugar level and must work harder without ready available carbs. Some sources of protein also contain carbs, which can help with blood sugar balance.

A Balanced Diet for Weight Loss

Vegetable oils are an excellent substitute for both sugar and animal fat, because they provide energy and are high in essential amino acids. Beans have lots of protein but also have a fair helping of carbs. The advantage of carbs from beans is that they also provide fiber.

Dieting to Stay Lean

Aging bodies need essential fatty acids, because these acids help to repair aging cells and help create healthy hormone levels. People in middle age and their golden years are often advised to avoid too much saturated fat and eat a variety of foods that contain vegetable oils, proteins and complex carbohydrates. Fish and poultry are high in protein and better than fattier meats, but pork and beef can be enjoyed occasionally for their flavor and nutritional value.

Click here to check iHerb’s selection of Protein Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Zelman, Kathleen M.; High-Protein Diets: Do They Work?; WebMD; Accessed Nov. 10, 2014

Preidt, Robert; High-Protein Diets in Middle Age Might Shorten Life Span; U.S. News & World Report; Accessed Nov. 10, 2014

Leave a Comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition and Weight Loss

What in the World is Gentian?

What in the World is Gentian?

While researching herbs and supplements, have you ever come across something and asked yourself, “what in the world is that?” This series of articles will give you insight about some of the lesser-known herbs currently available on the market. From there, you can decide whether it’s a natural remedy worthy of further exploration.

Today, it’s all about Gentian!

Gentian is not just a beautiful wildflower, but a medicinal herb as well. Not to be confused with gentian violet dye, the root and bark of this plant are known for several health-promoting properties.

History

Gentian is named for the Illyrian King Gentius who discovered the plant’s medicinal qualities. Gentian grows in almost every temperate area of the globe. The root of the plant is a popular flavoring for drinks, most notably Angostura Bitters.

Uses

Gentian extract is used for a variety of health problems. It is commonly given for digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting and gastritis. European soft drinks made with gentian are popular home remedies for gastrointestinal distress and gastritis. The roots are sometimes made into a poultice that is applied to skin for a variety of disorders from heat rash to cancer. Combined with other herbs, gentian is believed by some people to help cure malaria. Although the traditional uses for gentian are diverse, its exact mechanism is not known. It is believed to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to key areas of the body.

Cautions

There are a few cautions you should know before using gentian. First, it has a very similar appearance to a few poisonous flowers, so making extracts and tinctures at home is not advised. Its effects on fetuses and infants are unknown, so it shouldn’t be used by pregnant women or breastfeeding women. In addition, it may lower blood pressure and thus should not be used by people with hypotension.

Gentian is only beginning to gain favor as a remedy in the United States. However, this little flower and its roots have been a favorite natural remedy in Europe and many parts of the world for centuries.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Gentian Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Editors; Gentian; WebMD; Accessed February 5, 2015

Jepson, W. L.; A Manual of the Flowering Plants of California; Accessed February 5, 2015

Leave a Comment

Filed under Herbs and Supplements

The Dangers of Too Much Sugar

The Dangers of Too Much Sugar

While eating a little sugar is no problem, eating too much sugar is one of the worst things you can do to your health. Average Americans eat about 130 pounds of sugar a year, or about 650 calories from sugar daily, mostly from sugary soft drinks and junk food. A high sugar diet is a leading cause of serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and a suppressed immune system. It can also lead to tooth decay and ruin your dental health. Cutting your sugar intake down to approximately 100 to 150 calories a day is a terrific first step toward renewed vigor and health.

Sugar over-consumption may lead to Type 2 diabetes, but the connection to heart disease is less clear. When you eat sugar, your body converts it to either glucose or fructose. Your liver converts excess fructose to triglycerides. Elevated triglycerides can lead to heart disease and stroke. Consuming excess sugar can cause constantly elevated insulin levels and metabolic syndrome, potential precursors to cancer. Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death worldwide. In general, cutting down on the sweet stuff increases your chances of living a healthy life.

Sugar contains empty calories — so called because there are no nutritional benefits in sugar. Many studies show the connection between a high sugar diet and weight gain. When you eat sugar, your body converts it to glucose and fructose. If you don’t use up the energy from the glucose and fructose, your liver converts the excess fructose to triglycerides, a fat that is then stored around your waist, hips and thighs. High sugar eaters, both children and adults, are more likely to become obese. Over-consuming sugar puts you on the road to weight gain, impaired dental health and risk of serious disease.

Sugar consumption can suppresses the immune system for hours, a risk you may not want to take during flu season. Your immune system works hard to keep you safe from flu and the common cold, but drinking a sugary soda can temporarily impair its functioning. People who get 16% of their diet from sugar are constantly at risk of a bacterial or virus infection. Cutting soft drinks totally out of your diet is probably the most important step you could take to improve your health.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of healthier sweetener options! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Jacob, Aglaee; Damaging Effects of Too Much Sugar in the Diet; SFGate; accessed November 9, 2014

Zerbe, Leah; 11 Weird Things Sugar’s Doing to Your Body; Prevention; accessed November 9, 2014

Gunnars, Kris; 10 Disturbing Reasons Why Sugar is Bad for You; Authority Nutrition; accessed November 9, 2014

Klamer, Holly; High Sugar Side Effects; LiveStrong; accessed November 9, 2014

Leave a Comment

Filed under Food (Benefits, Cooking and Nutrition)

Building Heart Health with Exercise

Building Heart Health with Exercise

Exercise is an important part of keeping your heart healthy. Your heart is a muscle and, like all muscles, needs exercise to stay strong. In addition, exercise has other benefits for your heart. It can help you maintain a healthy weight and low blood pressure. Exercise is good for your cardiovascular system as a whole.

While all exercise is beneficial to your heart, a few types have more positive heart effects than others. Generally, the best exercises for heart health involve sustained low-impact activities along with shorter periods of intensive exercise that raise your heart rate.

Here are a few of our favorite heart-healthy exercises:

Hiking

Hiking is a great cardiovascular exercise. The varied terrain on most hikes ensures that you will encounter a variety of intensities, from flat ground to inclines. This gives you a workout with sustained movement as well as short intense periods. Hiking also improves balance, gives you lots of fresh air and is a fun way of getting the exercise you need.

Brisk Walking

If you don’t have access to good hiking paths, you still can get the heart-healthy exercise that you need. Whether on a treadmill or in your own neighborhood, push yourself to maintain a challenging pace. Brisk walking is easy on your joints so it is an ideal activity for all ages.

Swimming

Swimming pools, oceans and lakes are fun, but they can be sites of healthy activity as well. If the day is too hot to get outside, hop in the water for some exercise. As with walking, you need to maintain a good pace and challenge yourself. Getting your heart rate up will ensure that your heart is getting the exercise it needs to be strong over a lifetime.

These exercises all are low impact, fun, and good for your heart. If you have any concerns, talk to your health care provider before beginning an exercise regimen.

Click here to check out iHerb’s Heart Health Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Agatston, Arthur; 8 Best And Worst Exercises For Your Heart; Prevention.com; Accessed February 7, 2015

Editors; Exercise for a Healthy Heart; WebMD.com; Accessed February 7, 2015

Leave a Comment

Filed under Cholesterol, Heart and Hypertension Health, Fitness, Nutrition and Weight Loss

Sweet Potatoes Three Ways

Sweet Potatoes Three Ways

Sweet potatoes are a nutritious and versatile root vegetable. Depending on the variety, their flesh ranges from a pale, creamy yellow to a deep orange-red. Despite their name, they are only mildly sweet, so they go well with other vegetables.

Cook the Greens

Sweet potato greens are edible and are a common food in Asian countries. In fact, there are some varieties of sweet potato grown primarily for their leaves, with an added bonus of being able to harvest the tubers when the vines die back in the fall. Leaves are cooked by boiling, steaming or stir-frying. If you have room on a sunny windowsill, you can grow a sweet potato vine indoors and use the leaves any time of year.

Make a Pie

Sweet potato pie is served on traditional Thanksgiving tables all over the Southern U.S. The only thing that can make it any better is to combine it with pecans to create a sweet potato pecan pie. This scrumptious concoction of ingredients baked in a flaky pastry shell is the perfect exclamation point at the end of any Southern meal.

Serve as a Side Dish

Simple baked sweet potatoes have been served as a side dish for hundreds of years, but you can also get creative with this versatile veggie to add it to any meal. Try a nutritious breakfast of Roasted Sweet Potato and Kale with Poached Eggs, or add an order of sweet potato fries to your veggie burger at lunch. Grated raw sweet potatoes are wonderful as a carrot replacement in your dinner salad, or if you aren’t watching your calories, candied sliced sweet potatoes smothered in butter and brown sugar are a wonderful sweet treat with your evening meal.

No matter how you eat sweet potatoes, they pack a power nutritional punch loaded with vitamins, carotenoids and fiber. When you consider all the benefits, adding these beautiful and healthy veggies to your diet is a no-brainer.

iHerb sells thousands of natural food items, everything from stevia to gluten free flours to much more!  Click here to take a look at our product offerings.  If  you’re new to iHerb, you can use Rewards Code WOW123 to get $10 off your first order with a minimum $40 purchase or $5 off orders less than $40.

References

Sung, Esther; Cooking with Sweet Potato Greens; Epicurious; accessed February 9, 2015

Burros, Marian; Paul Prudhomme’s Sweet Potato Pecan Pie; NY Times; accessed February 9, 2015

Southern Baked Candied Yams Recipe; Divas Can Cook; accessed February 9, 2015

Szalay, Jessie; Sweet Potatoes: Health Benefits, Risks and Nutrition Facts; Live Science; accessed February 9, 2015

Leave a Comment

Filed under Food (Benefits, Cooking and Nutrition)

How Effective is the Measles Vaccine?

How Effective is the Measles Vaccine?

Vaccinations are a hot topic at the moment, taking center stage after more than a hundred years since development and distribution. One of the most talked about vaccines is for measles prevention, today given to infants and children in two stages — the first during 12 to 15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years of age. If you did not receive one as a child, there are adult versions available.

Measles is a disease that has been with America since its first reported case in 1657. Extremely infectious, an estimated 90% of people exposed to it get the disease unless they have either had it before or have been vaccinated. While survival rates are high, one out of every three sufferers live with a lifelong complication, such as hearing loss or seizures.

The disease was first isolated by Thomas Peebles in 1954, resulting in the first vaccination tests four years later. As time progressed, measles was all but eliminated with only 37 people suffering from it in 2004. Unfortunately, the anti-vaccination movement has led to an outbreak not seen in decades, leading to 644 reported cases in 2014. Due to an outbreak centered in Disneyland at the end of 2014, scientists are predicting a continued increase through 2015.

According to the NIH the vaccine is 100% effective when given at 15 months, although the statistics are slightly lower when given earlier. In 2000, the United States officially declared measles eliminated, with the only cases coming from foreign visitors or visits to foreign nations. There is no evidence linking autism to the measles vaccine as some people have asserted, but there are other side effects. The most common is fever, followed by rash and swollen glands. Rarer problems include seizure, joint pain, bleeding and a one per million chance of encephalitis.

Before the vaccine was introduced, more than three million cases of measles were reported every year. After its introduction, this number was eliminated by 99% — making it extremely successful in preventing the disease.

Click here to check out iHerb’s Children’s Health Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Measles Vaccination; CDC; accessed February 10, 2015

Measles; History of Vaccines; accessed February 10, 2015

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine; accessed February 10, 2015

2 Comments

Filed under Children's and Teen Health

What in the World is Wormwood?

What in the World is Wormwood?

While researching herbs and supplements, have you ever come across something and asked yourself, “what in the world is that?” This series of articles will give you insight about some of the lesser-known herbs currently available on the market. From there, you can decide whether it’s a natural remedy worthy of further exploration.

Today, it’s all about Wormwood!

Wormwood may not have a pretty name, but this herb is popular in the world of natural health. It has a variety of uses and a long history of being taken as a supplement for a variety of health issues.

History

Wormwood has been used for thousands of years to help with digestion in a variety of ways. It also has recreational uses. Wormwood might be most famous for its use in the famous alcoholic beverage absinthe. In addition, it is present in vermouth and several types of bitters. When combined with alcohol, it often has hallucinogenic effects. However, these effects do not occur when taken without alcohol, as a tonic, or an aid to digestion.

Uses

The active compound of wormwood, thujone, cleanses the liver and gallbladder while also reportedly killing worms and parasites. Wormwood is used in modern times to stimulate appetite, calm an upset stomach, reduce symptoms of gallbladder disease and stop intestinal cramping.

When taking wormwood to aid digestion, combine it with ginger, peppermint, and other herbs that gently settle the stomach. The combined effects are reported to be better than taking the herb alone.

Cautions

As with all herbal remedies, wormwood has a few cautions. It has not been studied in pregnant and breastfeeding women, so these women should not use it. The plant is similar to ragweed biochemically, so people who are allergic to ragweed should not take it. People with porphyria, kidney disease, or a history of seizures should talk to their medical provider before taking this supplement.

Wormwood has been used for centuries to potentially aid digestion and to rid the body of worms and parasites. Many people today are finding that it has a dramatic and safe effect on digestive disorders.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Wormwood Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order!

References

Editors; Wormwood; WebMD; Accessed February 7, 2015

Group, Edward; Harmful Organism Cleansing: The Benefits of Wormwood; GlobalHealingCenter.com; Accessed February 7, 2015

2 Comments

Filed under Herbs and Supplements