squash food

Eat Well: Fall Squash Recipes

Pumpkin is actually a type of squash and it tends to steal the show during fall. However, other varieties of squash are just as delicious and versatile when it comes to fall cooking and baking. Our favorite squash recipes cover the basis from traditional, cozy classics such as a cream soup to zesty, Mediterranean-inspired spaghetti squash. Whip up these recipes for a delicious taste of fall.

Butternut Squash Cream Soup

Butternut Squash Cream Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
  • 6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons chopped yellow onions
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cubes chicken bouillon
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Saute butter and onion until tender in a large saucepan. Add squash, water, chicken bouillon cubes, marjoram and black and cayenne pepper. Bring everything to a boil and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. In one cup batches, puree the soup mix and cream cheese until smooth in blender or food processor. Return pureed soup to the saucepan and heat thoroughly, but do not allow to boil.

Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash

Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash seeded and halved lengthwise
  • 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Lightly grease a baking sheet and preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Place spaghetti squash cut side down on the greased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven until a sharp knife can be inserted with just a little resistance. This process usually takes about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside while allowing the spaghetti squash to cool. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent and tender then add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about two to five minutes. Finally, add tomatoes and olives and stir just until warmed through. Scoop the stringy pulp from the cooled spaghetti squash and place in a bowl. Add vegetables and feta cheese and toss together.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash peeled and cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss butternut squash, garlic, rosemary, olive oil and salt and pepper together until thoroughly mixed. Spread evenly into a large baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until squash is tender, caramelized and golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs acorn squash halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into ¾ inch slices
  • ¼ grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss squash slices with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, thyme sea salt and black pepper until evenly coated. Place slices on baking sheet and roast in oven until the squash slices are tender and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Squash is excellent during any time of the year, but it is particularly festive during the fall. Our favorite fall squash recipes only scratch the surface of what you can create using squash as your primary ingredient. Make a traditional Bolognese sauce for spaghetti squash or use butternut squash in place of yams for your Thanksgiving casserole. Gather your ingredients and your family and create a comforting fall squash meal tonight.

Baked apple

Eat Well: Fall Apple Recipes

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or so the saying goes. Apples are a healthy, delicious and versatile fruit that is absolutely perfect during the fall. Apple slices make a great snack, but there are so many interesting apple dishes you can make. All of the fall apple recipes here can be made using any type of apple depending upon the flavor you want to achieve. A Granny Smith apple will give you a tasty and tart flavor to your meal while a Jazz apple lends hints of citrus fruits. Experiment with different apples to find your perfect fall apple recipe.

Fruit and Curry Chicken Salad

Fruit and Curry Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast cooked
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 4 green onions sliced
  • 1 apple cored and diced
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ⅓ cup seedless grapes halved
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise

Shred (or dice) chicken breast. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Homemade Applesauce

Homemade Applesauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples cored and chopped
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cover. Cook over medium heat until apples are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool, then mash together.

Apple Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

Apple Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups cubed whole wheat bread
  • 3 ¾ cubed white bread
  • 1 pound ground turkey sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 apple cored and chopped
  • ¾ cup cranberries
  • 1 ¾ cup turkey stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. On a large baking sheet, spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer. Bake for five to seven minutes, until evenly toasted, in preheated oven. Remove from oven and transfer cubes to a large bowl. Cook sausage and onions over medium heat. Add celery, sage, rosemary and thyme and cook for several minutes to blend all flavors. Pour sausage and onion mixture on top of bread cubes. Add chopped apple and cranberries to the bowl and  mix. Drizzle turkey stock and melted butter over the baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove foil and cooked uncovered for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Apple Pecan Quinoa Salad

Apple Pecan Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large apple chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup pecan pieces

Add chicken broth and quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the saucepan and allow to cook until all broth is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, Dijon mustard, maple syrup and ground cinnamon. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired. Drizzle sauce over the quinoa and stir. Add apple and pecan pieces and cover saucepan. Allow the mixture to steam together until apples are slightly softened, about five to 10 minutes depending on your preferences.

Everybody loves a fresh apple pie or a warm apple crisp, but these recipes give you unique ideas on how to use fall’s favorite fruit. Relax and enjoy a cozy autumn night with a plate of baked chicken and apple stuffing or enjoy the quinoa salad for lunch on a crisp fall day. Try different apples, fresh herbs or other spices to customize these recipes to your palate. Relax

Pumpkin recipes

Eat Well: Fall Pumpkin Recipes

When you think fall you think pumpkins and when you think pumpkins you think pie, cookies and lattes. While pumpkin pie is definitely a must-have for fall, we’ve rounded up three fall pumpkin recipes that use pumpkin in ways you might not have before. We’ve got a breakfast, lunch/dinner and dessert that are perfect for fall.

Pumpkin pancakes.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Start a cold weekend morning off with a cozy taste of fall.. These pumpkin pancakes are a treat for the whole family.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups milk or milk substitute
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt

In a bowl mix milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. When combined, add to the pumpkin mix and stir gently, just enough so that the two are combined. Heat a pan over medium heat and pour batter onto the pan using ¼ cup at a time. Brown on both sides and serve with your favorite topping. This recipe makes about 6- ¼ cup pancakes.

Pumpkin soup.

Pumpkin Soup
Warm dishes and the ubiquitous fall flavor are the perfect mixture for fall. Try this creamy soup to fill you up and keep you warm.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 ¾ cup fresh cubed pumpkin (use 1-inch cubes)
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • 2 whole black peppercorns

Bring chicken stock, cubed pumpkin, onion, garlic, thyme, peppercorns and salt to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Remove one cup of the mixture at a time and puree using a food processor or blender. Return all of the pureed soup into the original pot and bring to a boil once again. Reduce the heat to low once again and allow the pureed soup to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir in the heavy whipping cream, pour into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. This recipe makes about four servings of soup.

Pumpkin mousse.

Pumpkin Mousse
Everybody loves pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice cookies, but this easy mousse is a new and delicious way to serve pumpkin for dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 24 small marshmallows
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ⅓ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Begin by melting the butter in a large skillet. Stir in marshmallows, milk and pumpkin. Continue to stir frequently until melted, creamy and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Allow to cool completely for about 30 minutes. Combine confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream in a bowl, then beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled pumpkin mixture and spoon into serving dishes. Cover and place in the fridge until firm (around two hours).

There are so many amazing culinary uses for pumpkin, you just have to think a bit creatively. Make a savory pumpkin chili or whip up a pumpkin protein smoothie. Gather your family and test out our fall pumpkin recipes for a fun and filling meal.

Woman applying sunscreen

Protect Your Skin from UV Rays and Chemicals with Safer Sunscreen

Wearing sun protection everyday is crucial if you want to age gracefully and keep your skin healthy. However, you might be leery of using a sunblock every single day due to the potential damage they may cause. There are those who believe that sunscreen does more harm than good due to the chemicals it contains being absorbed into the skin. But, you may not have to choose between no sun protection and sunscreens that penetrate the skin. Researchers at Yale University have developed a sunscreen that remains on the surface of the skin, making sun protection safe and simple.

What are Sunscreens and How do They Work?
Sunscreens are products that combine various ingredients for the purpose of preventing UV rays from reaching your skin. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVB rays are primarily responsible for causing visible burns, while UVA rays cause deeper skin damage, leading to signs of premature aging such as wrinkly or saggy skin.

Sunscreens use SPF (sun protection factor) to indicate how well a sunscreen protects your skin against damage from UVB rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, SPF serves as a guide for how long you can safely expose yourself to the sun after applying sunscreen. “Here’s how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer – about five hours.”

Woman holding sunscreen bottle

What is “Safer” Sunscreen?
There is some general concern that sunscreens may actually do more harm than good. Some claim that the use of sunscreen creates a vitamin D deficiency, though many dermatologists do not believe this to be true. The other concern regarding sunscreen is that the chemicals within the sunscreen are absorbed into the skin thus entering the bloodstream and having deleterious effects. Nano particles that are designed to reflect or absorb cancer-causing UV rays may cause hormonal problems if they enter into the bloodstream, and some believe that this actually increases the risk of skin cancer. The dilemma becomes determining whether sunscreen protects against or encourages skin cancer.

Researchers at Yale University set out to address the problem chemical absorption and have created a sunblock that uses nano particles that are bio-adhesive. This means that rather than sink into your skin, sunblock remains on the surface of your skin. To make this possible, researchers at Yale developed nano particles with a surface that is rich in aldehyde groups. Aldehyde groups are what allow these nano particles to stick to the skin, not penetrate beneath it. Michael Girardi, co-author of this study, explained the motive for the research and the results stating, “commercial chemical sunblock is protective against the direct hazards of ultraviolet damage of DNA, but might not be against the indirect ones. In fact, the indirect damage was worse when we used the commercial sunblock.”

What are the Benefits of “Safer” Sunscreen?
If larger particles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are used in sunblock, they do prevent the product from sinking into the skin. However, many people won’t use these sunblocks because they are a very opaque white color. With the new Yale sunblock, there are nano particles (which makes the sunscreen transparent) that merely stick to the skin’s surface as opposed to going deeper. Major benefits of this new sunblock are:

  1. Does not penetrate into the skin or enter the bloodstream
  2. Is waterproof
  3. Is transparent.

When you protect yourself from ultraviolet light, you maintain healthy, youthful skin. With this promising development from Yale University, you can wear your sunblock each day without worrying about any damage that the chemicals may do to your body. Add sunscreen to your daily routine and apply about 20 minutes before heading out the door. Use about one ounce (the size of a standard shot glass) of the product and if you are going to be in the sun constantly, reapply every two hours or after immersing yourself in water.

Woman making a quick dinner

Get Dinner Out in a Flash

Your life is busy and your time is precious. It can be so tempting to go and pick up a pizza or head to a drive-thru for a fast meal, but you could spend the time it takes to do those things making a super fast and healthy meal at home. Healthy cooking can be incredibly time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Our four tips to get dinner on the table in a flash help you minimize the amount of time required to cook dinner while maximizing the health benefits of your meals.

Salad bar.

Visit the Salad Bar
Your local grocery store’s salad bar is a great place to visit, but perhaps not for the reason you’re thinking. Sure, you can grab a quick meal to go, but we have another idea in mind. Chopping, peeling and dicing vegetables can be super time consuming and you may not need the equivalent of an entire bell pepper or head of broccoli. To save time, and money on wasted produce, head to the salad bar. Select what you need, diced onions, radish slices, shredded carrots and take that home so your fruit or veggies are completely ready to cook when you arrive home.

Stock Up on Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
It’s always a good idea to have some frozen vegetables on hand for quick, healthy meals. Perhaps the greatest benefit of frozen vegetables, besides the fact that you don’t have to spend time peeling, chopping or dicing, is the variety they offer. Rather than just having steamed broccoli, you can buy a bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower, or peas with carrots as opposed to one or the other. There are also great blends of vegetables that can help you throw together a meal that is super healthy and tastes like it took hours. Look for frozen vegetables labeled like “stir fry blend” or “soup blend” to get all kinds of vegetables without having to take up tons of freezer space. Frozen berries and other fruits are perfect for an after dinner (or breakfast) smoothie and eliminate the need to add ice to the other ingredients.

Woman using a microwave.

Use Your Microwave
Nearly every home has a microwave that is used to reheat last night’s leftovers or to make a fast bowl of soup. However, you can use the microwave to your advantage and help get dinner out quickly. One of the greatest ways to use the microwave is as a speedier way to prepare veggies for a side dish. Food companies now make plenty of “steam in a bag” veggie options that let you fresh vegetables in a flash. Grab a bag of green beans or cauliflower and put them in the microwave for anywhere from two to three minutes. The rawer a vegetable is, the more nutrients there are so be sure not to microwave vegetables until they’re mushy. You can also make fast baked regular or sweet potatoes. While using a traditional oven can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, using your microwave cuts the time in half with the average time being about 20 minutes for baked potatoes.

Buy a Whole Chicken
No, seriously. Many grocery stores offer either fried chicken pieces of an entire rotisserie chicken and the latter can be a super time saver for meals. Remove the skin before using the chicken to keep things healthier and dice/cut up what you need for your meal. Shred a few strips of chicken off, grab a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables and you’ve got a homemade, healthy stir fry in a fraction of the time that it would take to cook the diced vegetables and raw chicken, then cook the chicken and finally to add the veggies and let them cook.

Another way to get a healthy dinner done in a flash is to spend time on the weekends preparing everything you’ll need for a meal and then sticking it in the fridge or freezer. For instance, cut and cook your chicken strips and slice up some peppers, onions, carrots and broccoli while the chicken cools. Place all of your ingredients into a plastic bag and pop in the freezer. Take out when you’re ready to make dinner sometime later in the week. Cooking healthy may seem overwhelming, but there are some easy shortcuts that make it less daunting and still delicious.

Skin care terms

Skin Care Terms Defined

With the number of skin care and beauty products available, it is super easy to get confused and bewildered by wording on the labels. Cosmetic products make claims that are nothing short of miraculous, and if you aren’t sure what the skin care terms mean, buying these products can lead to wasted money and headaches. Here, we’ve rounded up 15 of the most common skin care terms and defined them so you won’t feel lost or frustrated the next time you need skin care products.

Acne
Acne is the term used to describe a blemish or pimple on the skin. Acne can occur at any age and is most commonly found in people with oily skin types. Severe acne may cause cysts or abscesses.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Naturally occurring acids found primarily in cane sugar and citrus fruits. Types of AHAs include citric acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and pyruvic acid. Often used as exfoliating agents due to their ability to loosen skin cells on the surface of the skin. AHAs also help to retain moisture in the skin.

Antioxidant
Substances that fight free-radicals. Antioxidants counteract free-radicals by bonding to the damaging compounds into non-damaging compounds. They also may turn damaging compounds into cell-repairing compounds. Antioxidants are also an important factor in new collagen growth.

Barrier/Barrier Function
A paper-thin layer at the top of the skin that is responsible for protective functions. Barrier function refers to the skin’s ability to prevent penetration by microorganisms and chemicals that may cause damage or circulate into the bloodstream. This skin also reduces the amount of water lost.

Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)
More commonly referred to as salicylic acid, beta-hydroxy acids are used primarily to treat acne. BHAs have antimicrobial features and can penetrate into pores. Because BHAs can penetrate pores, it exfoliates both surface skin and the inside of pores.

Broad Spectrum Sunscreen/Sun Protection
A sunscreen or sun protection product labeled as broad spectrum means that it contains active ingredients that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrated into deeper layers of the skin than UVB rays, making them more likely to cause premature aging. UVB rays are responsible for visible burns.

Comedogenic
A skin care product that includes one or more ingredients known to increase the accumulation of dead skin cells within follicles. This leads to the formation of blackheads and general acne flare-ups.

Dermatologically Tested
Products that have undergone clinical laboratory tests conducted of an independent or third-party dermatologist.

Exfoliants
Skin care products designed to break down the accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.

Free Radicals
Created when oxygen produces by-products during normal cellular metabolism. The reactive oxygen “steals” electrons from proteins, DNA and the membranes of cells resulting in damaged tissue.

Hypoallergenic
Describes products that were tested by third-party clinical laboratories and were shown to not create new allergic reactions.

Non-Acnegenic
Products that do not cause acne. Non-comedogenic refers to products that do not cause the pores to become clogged.

Sebum
Oil that is produced by glands in the middle layer of skin.

Sun Protection Factor
Numbers that refer to the effectiveness of a sunscreen to protect against UVB rays. To determine what SPF if appropriate, take the number of minutes it takes to burn without sunscreen and multiply it by the SPF factor. The result indicates the maximum amount of time for sun exposure before it must be reapplied.

Toxins
Substances that are irritating or poisonous and that lead to breakouts.

With these terms defined, your next trip to the beauty counter won’t be confusing or exasperating. You can pick your products with confidence that you know what they are and how they may affect your skin.

Woman eating an apple

Skin Benefits of Apples

You’ve heard it said that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and when it comes to your dermatologist this may have some truth. Apples contain tons of flavonoids, a diverse group of plant pigments with antioxidant properties, in addition to polyphenols and vitamins C and E. Learn how to use this delectable fruit for beautiful skin below.

Acne Treatment
One of the most buzzed about uses for apples in skincare is their ability to fight acne. Apples are full of water which is important because balanced hydration is a key component to clear skin. Additionally, apples are a source of dietary fiber and aid in healthy digestion, which also plays a role in healthy skin. Apples also contain vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps your skin fight further damage from free radicals. Eating apples or drinking natural, pure apple juice can help provide these anti-acne benefits. You can also make your own face mask by mashing half of an apple, adding milk cream and letting the mixture sit on your skin for 15-20 minutes. Keep reading to learn how to use apples as a toner for clearer skin.

Hydrates the Skin
We already told you that apples have a high water content and they also have vitamin E, an ingredient that helps keep skin soft and hydrated. You can hydrate your skin with apples by eating them, or you can do another DIY facial treatment for maximum moisture benefits. Thinly slice half of an apple and place these slices on your face. Leave them on your face until the slices are dry (this is a great time to take a bath, grab a book or catch up on your favorite TV shows). Added bonus, this apple facial treatment adds hydration to your skin, and also balances the oils on your face.

Brightens the Complexion
If you want to achieve that goddess glow, apples are your friend thanks to their levels of collagen and elastin. These two ingredients are essential for skin that looks plump, young and radiant. An apple mask (see the one we mention above for skin hydration) can help provide a youthful glow, and simply incorporating this fruit into your diet helps to brighten and lighten your complexion as well.

Natural Toner
Apples help stimulate blood circulation and they help tighten your skin as well. To use apples as a toner, either use raw apple pulp or grab a high-quality, unfiltered bottle of apple cider vinegar. Look for bottles that specify that the apple cider vinegar is raw, unfiltered and that it “contains the mother.” Simply wet a cotton ball or cotton pad with the apple cider vinegar and sweep over your face and neck.

It is important to mention that no food is meant to be a cure-all for any condition, though there are certainly health and skin benefits contained within them. Keeping apples around your house encourages you to eat healthier and provides you with a staple for DIY facial treatments. When eating the apples, be sure to leave skins on because that is where much of the nutritional benefits are contained. Have fun enjoying this fall food that elevates your health while improving your skin.

Woman holding a collagen drink in her hand.

What You Need to Know About Collagen Drinks

The beauty and skincare world never stops evolving and new products are introduced daily. While having options is awesome, sometimes it can also get overwhelming. How do you decide what products or ingredients are actually worth the money. Popular in Asia and Europe, collagen drinks are one of the most buzzed about beauty products right now.

What are Collagen Drinks?
Collagen drinks are essentially a collagen supplement in a liquid form. When it comes to the ingredients found in collagen drinks, that varies widely based on the manufacturer. Typically, either animal extract collagen or fish extract collagen are the source of collagen in drinks. Animal extract collagen generally comes from cows, chickens or pigs, so vegetarians will want to steer clear of supplements containing animal extract collagen. Fish extract collagen is regarded as the superior type of extract because it is believed that fish extract collagen is better absorbed by the body. The majority of collagen drinks are flavored to avoid an unpleasant taste.

Do Collagen Drinks Work?
In a word, maybe. There are differing opinions when it comes to the effectiveness of collagen drinks. Drinking a collagen supplement seems like a great way to add necessary collagen to your body. The general skepticism by experts is due to the fact that the collagen protein contained in the supplement will be broken down during the digestion process, which makes it impossible for that collagen to get to your skin. California based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Katie Rodan says, “[y]our body will break it down and use it for energy. Digestive enzymes are powerful, so the collagen won’t be absorbed into your bloodstream, meaning they won’t make it to your skin.”

While the general consensus seems to be that these drinks aren’t anything more than hype, there are some that truly believe collagen drinks can work. Dr. Stefanie Williams, medical director at European Dermatology London, was once a non-believer, but has since changed her mind. “Like many others, I thought the collagen would simply be digested and broken down before it entered the bloodstream and never reach the skin.” After reviewing data regarding collagen drinks, she was a believer. “After the molecule is broken down, the fragments are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed through the entire body, including the skin, where small fragments remain for up to 14 days. [C]ollagen drinks…actually work by persuading our bodies to synthesize new collagen.”

Should You Sip Your Way to Better Skin?
While Dr. Williams was definitely persuaded by research, most dermatologists and other skin experts say that collagen drinks are not worth the money, but that doesn’t mean that you should discount all collagen supplements. A study published by the Natural Medicine Journal, proved that women who took collagen for six months had improved hyperpigmentation and percentages of pores.

Ultimately, more research is required before definitively saying one way or the other whether collagen drinks are effective or not. The data thus far is certainly promising and may eventually change the way aging skin is treated, but for now, it’s safer to stick with a healthy diet and taking great care of your skin, including remembering sunscreen every day. If you want to boost your collagen production, add fish, dark green vegetables, red vegetables and berries to your diet.

It’s always difficult to determine what new beauty and skincare trends actually work and which ones are completely bogus. For collagen drinks the jury is still out as to whether or not these are more hyped up than helpful. Increasing collagen does lead to healthier, more supple skin and diminished fine lines and wrinkles but collagen drinks may not be the most effective way to do so.

Jars of pickles.

Fermented Foods – Why They Are So Good for You

You’ve probably heard a lot about fermented foods or seen some for sale at your local grocery or health food store. While the name doesn’t necessarily suggest appetizing eats, fermented foods are an excellent source of probiotics and aren’t as daunting as they may seem at first. Foods like pickles, sauerkraut and yogurt are all fermented foods that are easy, and delicious, to eat. But why eat fermented foods? Read on to find out exactly what you’re eating and why it benefits your body.

What are Fermented Foods?
During the process of fermentation, whether for beer or yogurt, yeast or bacteria feed on the natural sugars present in the food. These microorganisms create compounds such as alcohol or lactic acid that help in preserving the food. Fermented foods also gets filled with helpful enzymes and ‘friendly’ bacteria such as the ones found in probiotic products. This good bacteria works in a ways that “predigests” certain food compounds that your body may have difficulty with. Your body ends up better able to absorb the nutrients in foods and makes it easier to for your gut to process.

Why Fermented Foods?
Probiotics – There’s a reason that probiotics get so much attention; they are incredibly beneficial to your body as a whole. When you eat or drink fermented foods, your body receives good bacteria that goes right to work in your digestive system. As mentioned above, these bacteria aid in digestion and they also balance the bacteria levels in your digestive system.This leads to improved bowel health and helps strengthen the immune system.

Nutrient Absorption – While a healthy diet provides you with the essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs, sometimes it is difficult for your body to absorb these nutrients. Properly balanced bacteria levels in your gut and the right amount of digestive enzymes significantly improves your body’s ability to absorb the vital nutrients from the foods you eat.

Weight Control – This benefit of fermented foods is not completely confirmed at this time. A study that was published in the International Journal of Obesity found that some types of probiotics promote weight loss. However, it’s best not to rely on the probiotics in fermented foods as a weight control measure because that same research also discovered other strains of probiotics actually encouraged weight gain.

DIY Friendly – Eating well can get expensive, but you don’t have to shell out tons of money on fermented foods, you can easily make them yourself. In fact, homemade fermented foods are most likely much better for you than store bought. When you make your own fermented foods, you are able to control the amount of salt that goes into the food, which is one traditional drawback of savory fermented foods. You also save money by not heading to the grocery store as much (fermented foods are an excellent way to preserve foods) and you may be able to cut out any probiotic supplements you may take.

Fermented Food List
Before you head to your local supermarket, be aware that most traditional fermented foods on the shelves, like pickles and sauerkraut, have probiotic bacteria. As Tuft’s University explains, “[m]ost fermented foods you can buy in supermarket jars or cans have been pasteurized and cooked at high heat, killing any friendly bacteria.”

Still, there are foods available that you can pick up on your next trip to the grocery store. Here are some of our favorite fermented foods.

  • Tempeh – Tempeh is made from naturally fermented soybeans and is a great source of protein for those who don’t eat meat because it contains all the essential amino acids.
  • Sauerkraut – One of the easiest DIY fermented foods, sauerkraut is made using just cabbage, water and salt.
  • Yogurt – If you choose to buy rather than make your own yogurt, be sure you are buying products labeled with “contains live and active cultures” to get the benefit of probiotics.
  • Kimchi – This fermented food is like sauerkrauts spicy brother and is a great way to add intense flavor to meals.
  • Pickles – Another easy DIY fermented food, pickles are great for a quick and healthy snack.

The idea of eating fermented foods may be a bit daunting, but starting slowly you may find you prefer eating these foods over others. Yogurt or kefir, a fermented milk drink, are great ways to start trying fermented foods. Add your own fresh fruit or whole grains for a complete breakfast. Use tempeh in place of meat or serve sauerkraut as a tasty side dish. There are tons of ways to incorporate fermented foods into your diet and your body, and you, will be glad that you did.

Woman taking a shower and shampooing her hair

Why You Shouldn't Shower Daily

You may shower to wake you up in the morning or help you wind down at night and you probably look forward to doing so. Chances are you also do this on a daily basis. You may want to rethink your daily shower, as dermatologists deem doing so as potentially harmful to your skin. Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a Boston dermatologist, says “[w]e over bathe in this country and that’s really important to realize. A lot of the reason we do it is because of societal norms.” So, should you skip your daily cleansing ritual? Not necessarily. Resveralife researched the thoughts behind not showering each and every day and how to properly shower to protect your skin from damage.

Why Skip Showers
Dr. Casey Carlos, assistant professor of medicine in the division of dermatology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, says “[p]eople don’t realize that the skin does a pretty good job of cleaning itself.” Still, our inclination is to do it ourselves daily in the shower. Carlos and other dermatologists advice showering less to keep skin at its healthiest.

How to Shower
You know how to shower; you’ve been doing it since you were a kid, but dermatologists suggest that perhaps it’s how you shower that does the most damage to your skin. The first thing you should be doing is lowering the temperature of the water. Hot showers may feel soothing and relaxing, but they also add to the damage your skin suffers in the shower. Use warm, not hot, water when you shower.

Your natural inclination is to step into the shower and lather up everything from your hair to the tips of your feet. “It’s the hardest thing to get people to use soap only where they need it,” says Dr. Casey Carlos. Soap is designed to remove oils from the skin, and sometimes it can do too good of a job. Using soap only on areas that need it (armpits, feet, and groin area) can help minimize the damage that showering does.

And, if you’re still washing your hair every day, you might want to give that up too. Shampoo, like soap, strips your hair of natural oils. If you must shampoo, use a gentle shampoo only at the roots of the hair because it will rinse down into the ends of your hair and clean them. Condition the mid to ends of your hair to avoid irritating the scalp with unnecessary heavy products.

Once out of the shower, moisturize immediately. Adding moisture back into the skin while it is still damp helps your skin to better absorb moisturizing products.

It may feel completely unnatural to not shower or shampoo daily, but you will get used to it. If you want to protect your skin but absolutely must have water to do so, consider taking a warm bath in between shower days. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes in warm water then moisturize afterward. Post workout use, refreshing pre-moistened cloths to keep yourself feeling fresh. Skipping your daily shower helps strengthen and take care of your skin.