Key Foods for a Heart-Healthy Life

In the fast-paced world of health and fitness, it seems like there’s a proclamation of new “superfood” every other week. Does it get confusing? We think so. Which is why we’ve narrowed it down to the top eight foods you should be consuming for your best heart (and life).

Leafy Greens

“Eat your greens” is a mantra that should definitely not be disregarded even in adulthood.

Green-hued veggies are among the healthiest foods you can feed your body.

And if you’re not sure where to start in this green sea of health, here is a simple primer on the most beneficial leafy greens.

Spinach, one of the most accessible and user-friendly leafy green is not only supremely tasty, but also great for your immunity, your skin, as well as your mental capabilities.

This is because this particular leafy green is absolutely loaded with all sorts of immunity-boosting minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. These include vitamins A, C and B6, but also beta-carotene, lutein, potassium, zinc and magnesium.

Bonus points: due to its mild flavor, spinach can be consumed fresh, which makes it easier to prepare and incorporate in your day-to-day meals.

Kale, an absolute favorite among wellness enthusiast, has earned it celebrity status for its incredible nutritional stats. Namely, kale is one of the richest sources of Vitamin K, which helps keep your bone healthy and promotes better calcium absorption.

Often overlooked but equally healthy are collard greens, which 

Leafy green nay-sayers might object to leafy greens, either because it might seem like they’re difficult to plan meals around or simply because their taste isn’t exactly palate-pleasing for everyone.

Luckily, both of these issues can be solved, and the only thing you’ll need is a good blender. Smoothies made with leafy greens are not only super quick and easy to make, they can also be made delicious by adding natural sweeteners like banana, mango, berries and other juicy fruits.

Citrus Fruit

Vitamin C is one of the most important components for preserving your health and enhancing your immunity.

As you probably already know, fruits like lemon, orange and grapefruit represent treasure troves of this powerful antioxidants.

Oranges are your first go-to for Vitamin C, but don’t forget about other citrus fruits like lemon and grapefruit.

Lemon, which due to its zesty flavor is best consumed in juice form, is known for its incredible detoxifying powers which can effectively flush out the pollutants that your body amasses in day-to-day life.

Nutrients found in lemon water can also promote healthier digestion, liver performance, but also reduce the visibility of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots on the skin.

And if you’re not in the mood for something that sour, you can always go for oranges, which also pack a punch when it comes to health benefits.

This wintertime favorite is laden with Vitamin C, which is crucial for shutting down free radicals that are causing oxidative damage to your cells. Through antioxidant activity, you are helping slow down aging processes and reinforcing your body’s natural protective capabilities. Also, improved consumption of antioxidants like Vitamins C means preventing cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cognitive degeneration.

Grapefruit has been a longtime favorite for people who are looking to shed pounds. Not only does the low calorie count make grapefruit an appealing diet-friendly snack, regular consumption of this citrus can promote your health in ways you couldn’t imagine.

For example, a grapefruit a day can help your body stave off a number of illnesses, including cancer, heart disease and kidney failure. Moreover, grapefruit can also boost your metabolism and contribute to lower insulin levels.

Fatty Fish

Even though the word “fat” carries a lot of negative connotation in the world of health and fitness, this doesn’t mean that all fats are automatically bad.

On the contrary, healthy fats are crucial for keeping your heart, your brain and other organs in your body healthy and shielded from diseases.

The only trick is to source these heart-healthy fats straight from nature.

And one of the principal sources of nature-derived fats is oily fish, which is often talked about when it comes to slowing down aging processes and enhancing immunity.

This is because certain creatures of the sea represent a rich source of Omega-3, powerful fatty acids.

The benefits of Omega-3 for your body are numerous: they promote healthy cardiovascular activity, enhance the performance of lung and the entire respiratory system and that can also help keep you mentally sharp.

On a more skin-deep level, regular consumption of these all natural fatty acids can contribute to a plumper, more glowing complexion.

If the benefits of Omega-3 peaked your interest, you might be wondering which particular fish to go with for your next meal if you want to replenish your body with this nutritional powerhouse.

To help you make that choice, here is the list of fish that contain high levels of Omega-3 acids:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Trout
  • Mackerel

When shopping for fish, try to go for the wild instead of the farmed ones, as they are more likely to contain lower levels of mercury and other harmful pollutants found in water.

Avocado

Avocado? That’s right, you can’t have a list of the healthiest food out there without mentioning the fruit that defined an entire generation.

So, what is it that makes this creamy green treat so appealing?

It might be the fact that avocado manages to combine a plethora of nutritional benefits while remaining supremely yummy at the same time.

And that’s not all; this Central American fruit is also super-easy to incorporate into our busy lifestyles due to its filling flavor and incredible versatility.

There are no limits to what you can do with a single avocado fruit in your kitchen: spread it on a piece of toast, chop it up in a salad, mash it in a guacamole or, simplest of all, toss it in a blender and call it a smoothie-energized day.

If you’re already sold on the idea of more avocado in your diet, you’d be pleased to hear that you will also get a number of health perks from it, as well.

For one, avocado is one of the richest sources of healthy, monosaturated fats, which are essential for keeping heart-related illnesses and other serious medical conditions at bay.

Moreover, avocados happen to contain plenty of carotenoid, which can improve both your vision and your brain function.

Another great thing about avocados is that they are jam-packed with proteins, which makes it an excellent dietary addition for anyone looking to lose weight, build muscle or tone their body.

Nuts

Now that we’re talking about protein rich-foods, it might be a good time to focus on nuts.

This food group is known for its powerful nutritional properties, and your body and immune system would certainly benefit from more of these bite-sized powerhouses in your day-to-day life.

For example, almonds – one of the most easily accessible nuts – is packed with health-restoring nutrients, including zinc, selenium, calcium and magnesium. Still, the most potent nutrient found in almonds is Vitamin E, which is known for its powerful reparative capabilities.

For something a little different, you can also try snacking on more walnuts. This tasty nut is jam-packed with nutrients that can rejuvenate your body in varied ways.

For example, walnuts are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can greatly contribute to cardiovascular health by stabilizing blood pressure and regulating cholesterol levels.

Moreover, walnuts are a treasure trove of antioxidants, which can reduce inhibit growth of malignant cells in the body.

One of the most convenient things about nuts is that they can be pretty much consumed anywhere and at any time. Because of this, walnuts, almonds, cashews and other nuts make for a great post-workout, mid-study or office snack. They can provide an instant sensation of fullness without stuffing your body with unnecessary salts and saturated fats.

Berries

When it comes to suppressing aging processes in your body, it’s crucial that you start consuming more antioxidants in your diet.

And the quickest shortcut to more of these body-rejuvenating components in your everyday life is simply more berries.

Now, don’t be fooled by their size – despite being bite-sized, berries manage to pack a punch when it comes to health-enhancing nutrients.

For example, blueberries, which can be a welcome addition to any smoothie or oat bowl, represent a treasure trove of flavonoids, a potent polyphenol that can be of immense value when it comes to fighting free radicals and reducing oxidative damage in your organs.

Furthermore, the antioxidants found in berries can enhance your cognitive and mental capabilities and stave off degenerative processes in the brain.

And if you’d like to add another berry to your diet, why not make it a blackberry? This summertime treat contains a host of good-for-you nutrients, including the immunity-boosting Vitamin C. In fact, one cup of blackberries a day will already supply you with half of your recommended daily intake of this powerful antioxidant.

Seeds

You’ve probably never given much thought to how much presence seeds have in your diet, but once you take into consideration their immense nutritional properties, we are positive you will be rushing to replenish your meals with chia, flax and other micro superfoods.

To start with, seeds represent a rich source of protein, a substance your body needs in order to regulate insulin and control blood cholesterol.

Moreover, these tiny nutritional powerhouses are loaded with healthy acids such as Omega-3, which means that they can improve your cardiovascular health and notably slow down aging processes in your body.

So, now that you are convinced in the immense health-related power of seeds, you might be wondering which one you should go with first? And how to include them in your meals, exactly?

One of the most hailed sees is flax or linseeds, in no small part because they represent a rich source of an Omega-3 acid called alpha-linoleic acid or ALA. Flaxseeds can be a welcome addition to your morning smoothies, as they can provide your AM meal with more body-energizing fiber and nutrients.

Chia seeds are also popular among the health-conscious crowd, largely because of the high doses of fiber and antioxidants they contain. When it comes to food preparation, chia seeds can be incredibly versatile: you can toss them into any smoothie or salad to add extra crunchiness. Alternatively, sprinkle them on top of your rice or pasta-based dishes for an extra fiber kick.

Sweet Potato

Carbs seems to be the bane of everyone’s existence when we’re talking about attempts at establishing a healthier way of life.

And yet, not all carbs have to be necessarily as evil as weight loss advice resources might make you think.

And one of the most satisfying, delicious sources of the good-for-you carbs is sweet potato, which contains high doses of valuable nutrients.

One of them is Vitamin B6, which can greatly diminish levels of homocysteine, a harmful substance that’s been connected to a number of degenerative diseases.

Sweet potatoes also contain high concentrations of Vitamin C, which can help rebuild your immune system and keep your organs strong in the fight against free radicals.

Thanks to its palate-pleasing, filling texture, sweet potato can be prepared in a number of different ways. You can lightly coat it with olive oil and seasoning of your choice, toss it into the over and – voila – you got yourself a serving of healthy chips.

Alternatively, boil your sweet potatoes and combine them with a bit of butter and thyme to create a tummy-filling mash. 

And there you have it – some of the healthiest ingredients you can start consuming as soon as today! Thanks to all these nature-derived vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, we are sure your body will feel younger, more energized and better equipped to stave off any nasty illnesses.

Young woman running in the city

The 7 Most Annoying Skin Issues for Athletic People

Do you exercise quite often?

While this is fantastic for your health, as well as for your skin in the long run, athletic people do tend to face a whole host of skin issues due to this increased physical activity.

From body acne to hyperpigmentation, here are 7 of the most common skin issues experienced by sporty people, along with ways in which you can avoid them.

Facial and Body Acne

Acne is frustrating enough to deal with on the face, but when it starts to develop on the body too, which is also known as bacne, this can be even harder to clear.

How does exercise lead to acne?

It all comes down to sweat…

When you exercise, your body releases sweat, which then builds up in your hair follicles, not only on your face but also your body. This clogs up the follicles, leading to inflammation and breakouts. Add to that the irritation from clothing, as well as any rubbing that your clothing has been doing, and you have the perfect recipe for a big breakout.

So, what’s the best way to avoid this acne?

Well, when it comes to facial and body acne, the methods are pretty much the same.

To begin with, make sure that you remove any sweaty workout clothing as soon as you are done, and take a cool shower immediately. To help unclog your hair follicles, use a cleanser that contains either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Can’t have a shower immediately after working out?

That’s ok, because you can simply use a salicylic acid face or body wipe instead, and then have a shower as soon as you are able to.

Don’t forget to also wear loose and breathable clothing, as this will help to prevent your clothing from irritating your skin and causing you to sweat more.

Not sure if your workout clothes are breathable or not?

These are some of the most breathable fabrics:

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Rayon 

Heat Rash

As you can guess from its name, heat rash is a rash that is caused by heat.

In a way, its cause is similar to acne…

Again, it is your sweat that leads to this skin issue. When your sweat ducts become obstructed for whatever reason, it causes your sweat to leak on to your skin. The area around that leakage then becomes extremely inflamed, leading to the red prickly bumps known as heat rash.

How can heat rash be prevented?

Well, the solution is easier said than done…

The answer here is to keep your body cool at all times, which is, of course, quite difficult when working out. However, restricting the amount that you sweat is key, so it may be worth moving your work into an air-conditioned room on hot days, or saving your workout for the cooler early morning or evening air.

Just like with acne, keep your clothing light and breathable, to prevent it from rubbing against your skin.

Already have heat rash?

Here are a few tips to help you to clear it:

  • Make sure that you do not scratch at your rash, as this will only make it worse
  • Take an antihistamine to lower the inflammation in your body
  • Look for cooling sprays and creams, but make sure that these do not contain any fragrances or other harsh ingredients
  • Bathe your rash in cool water, adding in some colloidal oatmeal if the rash is especially itchy 

Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation can be caused by a number of different factors, with the main one being UV exposure, something that sporty people tend to experience much more of than those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

Not sure what hyperpigmentation is?

It refers to darker patches of skin, either on your face or your body.

Each time you expose your skin to the sun, your body produces more melanin, which is the pigment that gives your skin its color, and is responsible for suntans. Melanin is your body’s way of protecting itself against the sun’s rays, but sometimes melanin can be over-produced, leading to it clustering up under small areas of skin, which is why these patches appear darker than the rest.

How can you avoid this?

Well, seeing as it is likely due to sun exposure, the best way to avoid hyperpigmentation would be to ensure that you are using plenty of sun protection. Not only should you be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen each time you are out in the sun, but make use of physical sun protection methods too, such as hats, sunglasses and lightweight clothing.

You should also take care to stay out of the sun during its hottest hours. These are usually between 11am and 3pm, although it will vary depending on your location. Try to seek shade whenever possible, and give your body regular breaks from direct sunlight.

Sun Damage

If hyperpigmentation wasn’t bad enough, the sun also leads to other skin issues, which, again, is commonly experienced by athletic people and those who spend a large amount of time exercising outside.

What sort of skin issues does the sun cause?

Well, the first, and most common, is a sunburn.

While you may think that this is just a temporary problem, sunburns are actually much more serious than most people realize…

Did you know that five serious sunburns can increase your risk of developing a deadly form of skin cancer by 80%?

There are many ways in which you can make a sunburn easier, and less painful, to deal with, using products such as aloe vera and green tea. However, you would be far better off avoiding the sunburn to begin with, as this significantly reduces your cancer risk.

Another extremely common skin issue caused by sun exposure is premature aging…

If you have ever noticed an increase in wrinkles in those who regularly exercise outdoors, then it is likely that they have not been using adequate, if any, sun protection. 

The sun is responsible for up to 80% of skin aging, causing everything from wrinkles and fine lines to dark spots and dryness.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid all of this…

All you need to do, as mentioned above, is wear sunscreen each and every day.

Think you can skip out on your sunscreen because it’s cloudy outside, and you don’t plan on working out for too long?

The sun’s UV rays can not only penetrate through thick cloud, but also through glass, so even if you are working out indoors near a window, you will still need to wear sunscreen.

Artist illustration of UV rays penetrating layers of the skin

While a certain amount of sun exposure is good for your skin, your skin only needs 10 minutes of this a day in order to top up its vitamin D supplies. So, if your workout is going to be longer than ten minutes, which it likely will be if you are a sporty person, then definitely apply plenty of sunscreen beforehand.

When it comes to premature aging, make sure that you are already following an anti-aging skin care routine. Even if you are diligent about sun protection, you will likely still end up leaving your skin exposed at times by accident, so it is important to be using the right skin care products as a follow-up to this.

Athlete’s Foot

If you are already quite an athletic person, then you are likely already well aware of athlete’s foot.

However, for everyone else, this is a fungal infection that can be picked up from other people’s feet.

This does not mean that you need to be touching their feet…

Simply walking barefoot over public areas, such as in the changing rooms at the gym, can lead to this.

What does athlete’s foot look like?

It generally manifests as white scaly skin on the bottom and sides of your feet, with this being quite dry and sometimes itchy. It can also lead to a thicker and softer white skin developing in between your toes, before entering into your toenails and causing them to thicken and turn yellow.

Fortunately, this is another skin issue that is easy to avoid…

All you need to do is make sure that you are wearing sandals or flip flops when walking around public exercise areas.

Already have athlete’s foot?

You will likely need to make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist, as the best way to clear this is with a prescription anti-fungal cream. It takes a few weeks for the infection to clear, but make sure that you have it treated as soon as you notice it, because once it worsens, it is much harder to eradicate.

Dry Skin

For some, exercising regularly can lead to oily skin and acne, but for others, it can have the opposite effect.

Those who regularly exercise often end up showering more often, which is necessary in order to clear away the sweat from your skin.

This is no problem if your showers are quick and cool.

However, if you like to turn up the temperature and enjoy a leisurely steamy shower, this is when the problems arise…

Wondering what’s so bad about a hot shower?

The hot water strips away your skin’s natural oils, which are important for skin hydration.

Yes, your skin does produce more oils on its own, but if you have a hot shower too often, you will be stripping your oils away faster than your skin can replace them. 

What happens then?

Your skin ends up dry and dehydrated, with red, itchy and flaking patches.

As mentioned above, a shower after working out is essential, but the hot water isn’t.

The best way to prevent dry skin from developing is by keeping your showers as cool as you can handle, and make sure that you do not remain in the water for any more than ten minutes.

Don’t forget…

As soon as you are done in the shower, it is important to apply a layer of moisturizer, while your skin is still damp.

Why?

Because a moisturizer is designed to form a thin protective layer over the surface of your skin. This prevents moisture from evaporating, meaning that if you already have extra water on the surface of your skin, the only place for this to go is downwards into your skin.

Frequent Eczema Flare-Ups

While exercising doesn’t cause eczema, it does cause existing eczema to flare-up, and quite drastically too.

Why?

Due to the moisture and salt of your sweat. These both irritate the skin, which not only makes an eczema rash redder and more visible, but also more uncomfortable. With an increased itch, you will likely end up scratching or rubbing at the rash, which then, as you already know, makes the eczema even worse.

Want to know how to prevent eczema flare-ups when exercising?

Here are a few tips:

  • Keep wiping off any sweat while you are working out, but make sure to use a towel and not your shirt
  • Wear lightweight and breathable clothing so that your sweat can easily evaporate off your body, rather than being trapped on your skin
  • Take regular breaks to keep your body cool, and drink plenty of water too
  • Always shower immediately after working out 

If you are already experiencing an eczema flare-up…

Tone it down a bit when it comes to your workouts, taking this slower until your flare-up has calmed. This may mean walking instead of running, or doing some yoga instead of a sports class. 

While you may be tempted to ignore the problem and just carry on with your normal routine, this is only going to make your eczema worsen even more.

Make sure that you are keeping your skin well-moisturized, as those with eczema already have a damaged skin barrier, which a moisturizer will help to temporarily heal.

If your flare-up is especially severe, then visit your doctor for a more powerful treatment. 

While these skin issues can definitely be annoying, the benefits of exercising frequently and regularly far outweigh the problems that these skin problems bring. As long as you know how to avoid the issues that you seem to be most susceptible to, you will be well-equipped to keep being just as physically active as always.

Friends laughing while using a tablet

How Social Media Affects Your Life

Do you frequently use social media?

For the majority of people out there, the answer will be yes.

The next question is…

Have you ever thought about how this has actually affected your life over the years?

Social media has so many different effects on daily life, both positive as well as negative, and no matter how addicted you may be to your favorite social media platforms, it is important to still be aware of the impact that this is having.

Social Media Can Prevent Quality Sleep

When you can’t seem to fall asleep at night, are you guilty of often reaching for your phone and scrolling through social media sites?

This is extremely common, and is something that many people do as a way to wind down after a long day.

However, while you may think that this is harmless, it is actually having quite a detrimental impact on your sleep quality…

How?

Due to the blue light that is emitted by the electronic devices you use.

There are multiple studies out there that show that the blue light from LED screens interferes with your body’s production of melatonin, which is the hormone that tells your brain that it is time to fall asleep.

Without as much melatonin in your body, you end up being more alert, staying awake for longer than you otherwise would have.

Of course, there is an easy fix to this…

All you need to do is download an app that adapts your device’s screen to the time of day, meaning that it takes on a warm orange filter in the evenings. This is so much easier on the eyes, and will prevent your device’s blue light from keeping you up

While this may seem like a great solution, keep in mind that simply staring at any sort of screen will still trigger your brain to stay awake. If the blue light apps don’t seem to be working for you, you will likely be better off staying away from social media, along with any other electronic devices, for at least an hour before bed

Social Media Can Affect Your Self Esteem

Whether you openly admit it or not, you likely have a few insecurities, and this is something that everybody experiences in their life.

While this is completely normal, social media has the effect of exacerbating any insecurities, making you feel worse about them than you already did. 

In fact, a study carried out at the University of Copenhagen found that those who used social media regularly tended to suffer from Facebook envy.

What is Facebook envy?

Simply put, it refers to the feelings of jealousy that you feel after seeing all of the activities that your friends have been up to on social media.

On the other hand, those who abstained from using social media for a while reported that they felt much more satisfied with their lives, and considered their mental well-being to be quite high. 

Social Media Makes it Easier to Spread and Absorb Knowledge and Information

While the internet already made it so much easier for information to be shared, this became even more so after the rise of social media.

In just a few seconds, your message could be spread to people all across the globe, giving you quite the sense of power.

The upside to this is the fact that if you have an important message to share, you can easily do this.

However, there is also a downside to this too…

Fake news is a term that you have likely heard about quite a bit recently.

If you haven’t, the term fake news refers to a story that has been created to deliberately deceive its readers and spread misinformation.

Fake news spreads like wildfire on social media, with the more “likes” a story receives making others believe it even more.

The only way around this is for social media platforms to regulate the news that is posted, but this would, of course, end up leading to censorship, which defeats the purpose of social media to quite an extent. 

Want to keep yourself educated when it comes to fake news and misinformation?

Well, when you read a story that sounds doubtful, all you need to do is a quick Google search to find out more information from trustworthy sources, before making up your own mind about the situation.

When it comes down to it…

Don’t believe everything that you read on social media!

Social Media Can Hinder Real Life Social Interaction

You may think that you are an incredibly social person because of the hundreds, or even thousands, or friends you have on social media, as well as the fact that you are always communicating with many of them.

However, when it comes to real life social interaction, social media can actually hinder this quite a bit.

How many times have you been spending time with others, only for one or more of those people to be staring at their phone?

This is so common, and even if you personally are not guilty of it, chances are that you will notice this happening when visiting a restaurant, a bar or any other social setting.

Constantly staring at your phone, or even checking it periodically, takes your attention away from what is actually going on around you.

Social Media Can Also Promote Real Life Social Interaction

While social media does hinder real life interaction, it can also have the opposite effect…

Social media is a fantastic way to reconnect with old friends whom you have lost touch with, bringing you together once again and making it easier for you to meet up in real life.

There are also many events that are organized and promoted through social media, which you may otherwise have never heard of. These events bring together people with similar interests, enabling you to make so many more like-minded friends.

Not only that, but social media has been seen to be quite effective when it comes to promoting real life social interaction among introverted adolescents. It allows them to interact with others from the safety of their screen, which then builds up their confidence when it comes to real life interactions.

Social Media Can Encourage Cyberbullying

Have you heard of cyberbullying before?

This is a problem that is becoming increasingly common, and refers to bullying an individual by sending them intimidating messages.

Why is it becoming more and more common?

This is largely due to social media, and the way that these platforms make it so easy to involve yourself in someone else’s life.

This is especially the case with younger generations, as many do not realize just how hurtful their words and comments can be.

Social Media Can Be Extremely Entertaining

One of the great things about social media is the amount of entertainment it provides. This can be in many different forms, such as:

  • Watching videos
  • Looking at pictures
  • Playing games
  • Reading stories

Thanks to all of this, social media can sometimes  be a great way to relax and de-stress.

Social Media Keeps You Constantly Connected

There are many people that feel that being constantly connected is nothing but a positive, but this can actually have quite a detrimental effect on your mental health.

How?

Because of the pressure you face to always be available and quickly respond to others, and this can often make you feel as though you simply never have any time to relax.

Even when many try to disconnect, they end up feeling as though they are missing out on what is going on, and crave being back online again.

Social Media Makes It Easier for Small Businesses to Reach Customers

In the past, one of the biggest challenges that a small business would face is the lack of a marketing budget, and this would make it extremely difficult to reach new customers.

However, social media has turned this all around…

Even with a completely non-existent marketing budget, social media still gives you the opportunity to reach out to, connect with, and interact with new and existing customers, making it so much easier for you to build a reputable brand.

For many small businesses, social media is their sole form of marketing to begin with, and this is usually set up long before a business develops a website. 

Not only that, but advancements in social media enable users to make purchases directly through social media platforms, meaning that small business don’t need to even worry about setting up online shops anymore, saving so much time and money.

Social Media Encourages Multitasking

Are you guilty of checking social media sites while you are in the middle of doing something else?

This is something else that is extremely common, and ends up causing you to multitask.

This may sound great, as well as productive, but research shows that the human brain is not actually capable of multitasking. While you may think that you are doing multiple tasks at once, your brain is actually just switching from one to the other very rapidly, meaning that you are not fully concentrating on any one task.

Why does the brain do this?

It is likely due to the way in which humans evolved. In order to survive while hunting big animals, it became necessary for humans to put all of their focus on to one task, and this is one of the reasons as to why humans have become the dominant species in the world

So, while you may think that your brain can cope with constantly checking social media while you are working, keep in mind that this is actually preventing you from being as productive as you would be if you put social media away for a while.

Social Media Can Affect Your Job Prospects

Many people still do not realize just how often potential employers will check out your social media accounts. Why do they do this?

To find out more about you, of course!

Social media profiles can be extremely revealing, but, sometimes, the information that is revealed is not what you want your employer to know.

This makes it so important to be aware of every little thing you post or comment on, while also editing privacy settings to ensure that only the people you personally know have access to all of these details in your life.

Using Social Media Responsibly

While social media may have its downsides, there are definitely plenty of upsides that come with it too.

Wondering how to use social media in a way that impacts your life positively, rather than negatively?

There are several steps that you can take to do this, such as:

  • Be yourself – don’t try to be someone you aren’t when posting on social media. Stay honest and don’t lie or exaggerate
  • Watch what you postdon’t over-post every detail of your life, and keep in mind that everything you put on to the internet is permanent
  • The right frame of mindnever post on social media when you are angry, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Be aware of your friends on social mediait may be tempting to accept friend requests from just about everyone, but remember that all of those people will then be able to see so many details of your life
  • Privacy settings – every social media platform will have its own privacy settings, so make sure that you are aware of these

Social media really has spread all across the globe, with more than 2.3 billion people in the world being active social media users. While there is no denying that social media can have quite a few negative impacts on a person’s life, it does also have so many positive points too. The key is to use social media in a responsible way, and make sure that you do not allow it to dominate your life.

Happy smiling middle-age woman with short wavy hair

Keeping Your Skin Healthy At Every Age

It is no secret that as your body ages, your skin is going to go through quite a few changes, with your skin in your 20’s being extremely different to your skin in your 50’s.

This is why it is so important to keep adjusting your skin care routine as you progress through life, adopting different ingredients and techniques at each stage, as this will help to cater to your skin’s ever-changing needs.

Skin Care in Your 20’s

When you are in your 20’s, it may seem as though the firm and tight skin you have always known is going to last forever, but, unfortunately, this is not true.

In fact, your 20’s is when things begin to slow down in your skin…

In particular, cell turnover.

This is the rate at which your body sheds its old skin cells, to make way for new ones. In your teens and younger years, your cell turnover rate is every 14 days. However, as you progress through your 20’s, this declines to every 24 to 30 days.

Collagen is another key element of your skin that begins to decline in your mid-20’s.

What is collagen?

It is one of the building blocks of your skin, and is the protein that largely makes up your skin’s structure. Once you reach your mid-20’s, the rate at which the collagen in your body breaks down overtakes the rate at which you naturally produce new collagen.

This means that skin aging is not too far away…

So, what can you do about this?

Well, seeing as up to 90% of facial wrinkles are caused by the sun’s UV rays, wearing sun cream is essential. If you are not already doing this every day, then this is something to begin doing right now.

When it comes to your declining collagen production and slower cell turnover…

Start using a retinol product.

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, and is one of the most potent anti-aging ingredients out there, with one of its greatest benefits being the way in which it speeds up cell turnover. Not only that, but it also stimulates your natural collagen production, helping to increase this so that production once again outweighs breakdown.

Skin Care in Your 30’s

While you may have been completely confident in your skin in your 20’s, you are much more likely to experience a few panicked moments in relation to your skin in your 30’s.

This decade tends to be the one where you experience your first static lines and wrinkles.

These are lines that do not fade when your face is resting, and are usually due to the continued decrease of collagen in your body.

If you are not yet using a retinol product, then now is the time to start, for the same reasons as mentioned in the 20’s section before.

Another key component in your skin that begins to noticeably decline in your 30’s is hyaluronic acid.

You may have already noticed this ingredient in many skin care products out there, but do you know what it actually is?

Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that occurs naturally in the body, and can be found in so many different parts of the body. So, when your natural levels of hyaluronic acid begin to decline, it only makes sense to top these back up.

But what exactly does hyaluronic acid do for the skin?

Well, this ingredient is a humectant, meaning that it draws moisture from the air into its molecules and then holds this water there. Your skin then absorbs this moisture, helping it to stay hydrated for longer.

Hyaluronic acid can also help with:

  • Wrinkles
  • Sagging skin
  • A damaged skin barrier
  • Wound healing
  • UV damage

Hyaluronic acid can be found in everything, from serums to creams. The most effective tends to be a serum, as their thin consistency means that they are more easily absorbed by the skin.

When choosing a product, make sure that it contains at least 1% hyaluronic acid, as this is the amount needed in order for the ingredient to really have an impact. 

How else can you care for your skin in your 30’s?

By incorporating antioxidants into your skin care routine.

Your skin is constantly under attack from free radicals, which are caused by everything from sun exposure to pollution. Simply put, free radicals are atoms that are missing an electron. In order to “heal” themselves, they will try to steal electrons from nearby cells, thereby damaging those cells, as well as their DNA.

Free radicals are one of the primary causes of aging, which is why this is something worth focusing on.

How do antioxidants help?

They provide free radicals with the electron that they are missing, therefore healing them and stopping them from attacking other cells in the body.

So, which antioxidants should you be using?

In addition to retinol, give these a try:

  • Resveratrolthis is an antioxidant that comes from plant-based foods, such as red wine, blueberries and cacao beans, and provides so many benefits for the skin, from brightening to anti-inflammatory 
  • Vitamin Chelps to strengthen the skin, while calming and hydrating it

Don’t forget…

Antioxidants work best when used in conjunction with each other, so try adding multiple antioxidants to your skin care routine.

Skin Care in Your 40’s

Those light lines that you noticed appearing on your face in your 30’s will begin to deepen in your 40’s, making them much more noticeable.

All of the natural declines from your 30’s, such as collagen production and hyaluronic acid, continue on, with cell turnover also decreasing down to every 30 to 42 days. You will notice that your skin feels much less resilient, and that it does not “bounce back” in quite the same way anymore.

Another common skin change that many experience in their 40’s is dryness…

Wondering what causes this?

The outer layer of your skin consists of a protective barrier, whose role is not only to protect your skin from environmental damage, but also to retain moisture.

As the body ages, this barrier weakens, meaning that your skin experiences a far greater loss of moisture.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to deal with this, and this is by switching to a much richer and thicker moisturizer. You may also need to moisturize more frequently throughout the day, in order to compensate for the extra moisture loss.

Another skin issue that may arise in your 40’s is hyperpigmentation.

This is when melanin, which is the pigment that gives your skin its color, is over-produced in some areas of the skin, causing those areas to darken. This can vary greatly in terms of shape and size, as well as placement on the skin.

Here are a few tips on how to deal with this:

  • Use a sunscreen – UV exposure only encourages your skin to produce more melanin, which you are trying to prevent
  • Use a gentle chemical exfoliant this helps to speed up the cell renewal rate
  • Use a lightening cream such as one containing kojic acid or hydroquinone

One key ingredient that you should be using in your 40’s are ceramides…

These are naturally one of the main components of your skin’s surface, and are an integral part of your skin’s matrix and structure.

However, with age, the body’s natural production of ceramides declines, meaning that the skin then begins to lose its firm structure and supple surface.

Research shows that the topical use of ceramides can really help with this, improving suppleness, roughness, uniformity, hydration and overall glow

Skin Care in Your 50’s

Once you have gone through menopause, your skin will be experiencing even more drastic changes.

Due to the drop in estrogen levels, the skin becomes much thinner and more fragile, meaning that it is even less able to retain moisture

Not only that, but research shows that, in the first five years after menopause, 30% of your collagen is lost.

This may sound frightening, but there are still several steps that you can take to keep your skin looking youthful and healthy.

Begin by making sure that you are already following all of the tips mentioned in each section above. While you may not be able to reverse your skin’s changes, you will still be able to brighten and nourish the one you have, preventing the changes from worsening.

A multi-step skin care routine is vital, and this should be something that you follow each and every day.

Wondering what the multiple steps should consist of?

Here are some guidelines:

  • A cleanser – this should always be the first step of any skin care routine, as it allows subsequent products to easily penetrate into the skin and work much better
  • A tonerthis helps to rebalance your skin’s pH level, which is often disrupted through cleansing
  • Exfoliant/peelthis is important to keep the surface of your skin looking smooth and vibrant. It will also encourage your natural cell turnover
  • Masksthese can be used on a weekly basis to give your skin a deeper treatment. Look for masks that address your specific skin concerns, whether this may be hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, or dry skin
  • Eye serums and creamsthe skin around your eyes is so delicate, and eye products are formulated to be gentle enough to nourish and care for this area without harming it
  • Face serumsserums are thin and lightweight, meaning that they quickly and easily penetrate the skin. While they may not look much different to water, serums are actually packed with a high concentration of active ingredients, which is why they are so effective at tackling various skin issues
  • Moisturizeras mentioned above, the moisturizer you are using now should be rich, thick, and packed with antioxidants

Skin Care in Your 60’s and Beyond

If you have worked out a skin care routine that is working for your skin in your 50’s, then stick to it through your 60’s, adjusting and adding in individual products when needed.

If you have been caring for your skin well throughout your life, then, by the time you reach your 60’s, you will be able to tell what your skin does and does not need.

One example of a product that you may want to add into your routine at this stage in life is targeted wrinkle creams. These are potent formulas that come with a small applicator that enables you to directly apply them to each wrinkle.

Of course, skin care is internal as well as external, and caring for your skin from within can really help to maintain a healthy glow throughout your later years.

How can you care for your skin from within?

Here are a few tips:

  • Diet – make sure that you are consuming a healthy diet, filled with plenty of fresh, whole foods, and with a minimum amount of processed foods 
  • Sleepadequate quality sleep is so important, although you may find that you need slightly less sleep as you age
  • Exerciseexercise is one of the best things that you can do for your skin, no matter what age you may be
  • Stressstress leads to nothing but problems in the skin, so try to find some stress management techniques that work well for you

By understanding the changes that your skin goes through as your body ages, you will be able to provide it with exactly what it needs. From the preventative steps that you can take in your 20’s, to the healthy lifestyle changes you can make in your later years, it is well worth taking the time to keep your skin healthy, no matter what age you may be.

 

Young woman stressed and rubbing her forehead

The Best Ways to Relieve Stress at Any Time

In the short term, stress isn’t such a big deal, and can actually help when it comes to meeting goals and challenges, urging you to act in a more efficient way.

However, chronic stress can really cause some problems…

This is when you experience stress over a longer period of time, whether this may be weeks or months. This can really damage your health in several different ways, including:

  • Lowering the function of your immune system
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches and irritability
  • Flare-ups in autoimmune diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Increased cardiovascular risks 

With 70% of Americans claiming to feel stressed on a daily basis, learning how to tackle and deal with stress could really make a huge difference to the general health of many people. 

Want to know how to go about reducing your stress levels?

Here are a few of the best ways…

Do Some Exercise

It has been proven time and time again that those who exercise on a regular basis are likely to experience less stress and anxiety than people who do not.

Why is this?

For a few different reasons, such as:

  • Lowered stress hormones – exercise lowers the levels of cortisol in the body, while triggering the release of endorphins, which are chemicals that help you to feel happy
  • Improves sleepthis then helps to reduce stress
  • Improves self-esteem this can really help with anxiety

Don’t have time for a long workout?

There are many ways in which you can quickly squeeze some exercise into just ten minutes of your day, although you should then do this twice a day for best results.

Try doing some squats or standing push-ups while cooking meals in the kitchen, or spend five to ten minutes a day climbing stairs.

If you drive quite often, try parking further away than where you would usually park, so that you have to walk for five to ten minutes.

Even while you are sat down watching TV, you can still be exercising…

Jog on the spot during commercial breaks, or use small weights to do some leg exercises while you are sitting.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises are actually one of the most effective ways to instantly lower your stress levels.

When you breathe in a deep and relaxed way, even if you are forcing yourself to do this, it sends a signal to your brain to calm down. Your brain then sends this same signal to all of the different parts of your body, and, before you know it, you will feel so much less stressed and more relaxed. 

Want to give this a try right now?

All you need to do is:

  • Place your tongue behind your upper front teeth
  • Breathe in through your nose quietly, for a count of four
  • Hold this breath in for a count of seven
  • Exhale completely, forcing your mouth to make a whoosh sound while doing so, for a count of eight

You should then repeat these steps four more times

Spend Quality Time With an Animal

Did you know that science has proven that spending quality time with an animal can decrease stress in a few different ways?

Some may find this hard to believe, but it is true.

Just physically being around an animal, even if you are just watching a fish in an aquarium, decreases your blood pressure. Petting them will magnify this effect.

Animals can also help the way your body responds to stressful situations in the first place, reducing the amount of stress that you actually experience. 

Take a Natural Supplement

There are some supplements that can really help to keep stress levels low.

These include:

  • St. John’s Wort lifts the mood and helps you to look at situations in a more positive light
  • Rhodiola Rosea shown to reduce stress and lift the mood, which is why it has long since been used by athletes in Russia
  • Magnesiummagnesium deficiencies are extremely common, even though magnesium promotes relaxation while regulating the way in which the body responds to stressful situations
  • Valerian Roota herb that is commonly used to treat stress, anxiety and insomnia, and has been proven to help reduce blood pressure and heart rate 

Since supplements are not regulated by the FDA, you do need to ensure that you purchase any supplements from a reliable source, and only use high quality products.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has been used since ancient times as a stress reliever, and can really be quite effective.

Not quite sure what aromatherapy is exactly?

It makes use of aromatic plant oils, such as essential oils, as well as other aromatic plant compounds to boost both physical and psychological well-being.

Plants can be extremely powerful, and many people respond well to scents, making aromatherapy worth a try.

Want to give it a go?

The easiest way to get started is by using essential oils. The best oils for stress relief are:

  • Lavenderwhen this is rubbed on the skin, it enters the bloodstream in just five minutes, reducing stress and agitation and boosting mental concentration
  • Cedarwoodhas a calming effect on the mind, while triggering the brain to release serotonin, which helps to stabilize the mood
  • Limerefreshing and uplifting, lime can really help with stress and anxiety caused by grief or sadness
  • Rosepromotes tranquillity in the body while boosting self-esteem and helping with depression
  • Orangea study carried out in Japan showed that patients taking orange oil for stress and depression were able to reduce their intake of antidepressant medications
  • Sandalwoodhas a therapeutic effect on the brain, helping to balance your emotions 

Wondering how to actually use these oils?

Some can be applied directly to the skin and then inhaled, although others will need to be mixed with a carrier oil, so make sure to thoroughly research the oils you choose to use.

Alternatively, place the oils in a diffuser, or sprinkle a few drops in a bath or shower.

Drink Some Tea

There is quite a bit of research out there that shows just how effective drinking tea can be when it comes to relieving stress.

Different studies prove different things, from the way in which drinking black tea can lower the levels of the stress hormone in their body to those who drink tea being able to de-stress much quicker than those who do not.

Just about all types of tea will have this effect, but you do need to be drinking it on a regular basis in order to experience these results.

Chew Some Gum

Don’t like tea?

Try chewing some gum instead.

This is actually something that has been done for centuries, with even the Ancient Mayans and Greeks chewing on tree sap. This practice was introduced to settlers, after which it spread all over the world, resulting in the modern day chewing gum we know today.

Wondering how chewing gum can help with stress?

Research suggests that chewing gum is able to reduce the levels of cortisol in the body, leaving you feeling less stressed. It also helps to wake your brain up, keeping you feeling more alert and perceptive, meaning that you will be much better equipped to deal with stressors that come your way. 

If you find that this helps you…

You need to make sure that you do not rely on this stress-relieving method completely.

Why?

Because people who chew gum for stress tend to bite down harder on the gum each time they chew, and chew much more aggressively. This can then lead to jaw problems, which can get quite serious. 

Write It Down

The next time you are feeling stressed, try writing about it.

Keeping a journal is actually quite a meditative practice, and can help to reduce stress and its symptoms.

Not sure what to write about?

Write about the stressors you are currently experiencing, noting everything from what triggered the stressful situation to who you were with and how you feel, both physically and emotionally.

By doing this on a regular basis, you will be able to identify new patterns in your stressors, and may even be able to find a way to tackle these directly.

Give Someone a Hug

This may sound too easy to be effective, but giving somebody a hug can really help to relieve stress.

How?

Because hugging triggers your body to release oxytocin, a hormone that helps to promote relaxation in the mind, while boosting your mood and making you feel so much more positive about stressful situations.

Try to hug your loved ones multiple times a day to really take advantage of this.

Laugh

Laughing can be a fantastic way to relieve stress

You are probably thinking…

“I don’t feel like laughing when I’m feeling stressed!”

Even forcing yourself to laugh can make a huge difference.

How?

In a few different ways, such as:

  • By directly reducing cortisol levels
  • By bringing more oxygen into your body and into all of your organs
  • By relaxing your muscles to emphasize tension-relief

Give Yoga a Try

A study carried out on people experiencing chronic stress discovered that yoga was able to help relieve stress in 85% of subjects.

Yoga not only relaxes the body, but it relaxes the mind too, helping it to slow down.

It also encourages effective breathing, which, as mentioned above in the section on breathing exercises, can be so effective in reducing stress and its symptoms.

Already a fan of yoga?

Give some of these poses a try for the best stress-relieving effects:

    • Wide-legged forward bend
    • Low lunge pose
    • Standing forward bend
    • Garland pose
    • Legs up the wall
    • Bound angle pose 

Listen to Calming Music

It has long since been known that music can have such a relaxing effect on the body, and science has now proved this.

Listening to music can really help to promote relaxation within the body, not only lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, but also the amount of cortisol in your body.

Wondering what you should be listening to for maximum stress-relieving benefits?

Any type of music that you enjoy can help, but, for best results, slow-paced and instrumental music is ideal. Give classical, Native American and Celtic music a try, but make sure you pick something that you actually enjoy the sound of.

Eat Stress-Busting Foods

You are likely already aware of how the foods that you eat have a direct impact on your body, and this applies to the stress that you are feeling too.

There are many ways in which certain foods can help to relieve stress, such as:

  • Complex carbsfoods such as whole grain bread and oatmeal encourage the brain to produce more serotonin, giving your body a steady supply of this feel-good chemical
  • Fruits high in vitamin Cfruits such as oranges, lemons and strawberries help to reduce cortisol levels in the body while strengthening the immune system, all thanks to their vitamin C content
  • Leafy greens packed with magnesium, leafy greens can help to reduce stress-related symptoms
  • Avocadosthese are high in potassium, with half an avocado containing more potassium than a whole medium-sized banana. Potassium can really help to lower blood pressure, but be sure not to overdo it with the avocados, as they are also quite high in calories

Stress can really have such a negative effect on your life, which is why it is important to tackle this head on and keep your stress levels under control. The next time you find yourself feeling stressed, give a few of these stress-relieving tips a try to see what works best for you.

 

Goji berries in a wooden bowl

The Vitamin Truth About Berries

If you’ve been paying any attention to the world of health and wellness, maybe you noticed how there isn’t a single health enthusiast out there who isn’t raving about the all-healing power of berries. From hearty oatmeal to colorful fruit bowls to body-charging smoothies, it seems berries have been finding their way into every health-conscious meal plan.

So, how are berries supposed to help our health and beauty, exactly?

Well, these bite-sized nutrients are nature’s very own stockpile of vitamins, which hold a number of immunity-boosting properties that can contribute to your overall well-being. By regularly supplying your body with vitamins, you can help ensure all your vital organs are functioning properly.

Moreover, having more vitamins in your diet doesn’t hurt on the beauty front, either. You heard that right – munching on berries can help you achieve healthy-looking skin, hair and even nails! Read on to find out exactly how.

Strawberries Are a Treasure Trove of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is the undisputable star among body-boosting nutrients.

Even if you aren’t well-versed in health and wellness trends, you probably already know that Vitamin C can do wonders for improving your immune system.

However, the benefits of upping your Vitamin C intake go way beyond that.

For example, did you know that a regular consumption of this Vitamin can also improve your eyesight, fade your age spots and relieve stress?

And that’s only the beginning.

First of all, Vitamin C can be your best friend when you want to fight off those pesky symptoms of common cold, such as sore throat, coughing and fatigue.

Upping your Vitamin C intake will boost your immunity and help your body in the fight against damaging infections.

Consuming foods with high Vitamin C concentration can also be beneficial for keeping more serious illnesses at bay.

Increased stress levels can also deplete Vitamin C levels in your body, so redressing the balance may help with reducing stress-related symptoms such as over-irritability, fatigue and lack of sleep.

When it comes to beauty benefits, Vitamin C is crucial for the production of collagen, that special little substance that keeps your complexion plump and glowing.

By upping your daily Vitamin C intake, you can help smooth out fine lines, wrinkles, but also minimize dark spots and other symptoms of hyperpigmentation on your skin.

Moreover, Vitamin C can reverse the negative effects caused by free radicals and protect it from additional damage causes by UV rays, pollution and other kinds of harmful environmental factors.

So, how do you make sure you are getting enough of this magic Vitamin C in your day-to-day meals?

We have some good news for you: berries are packed with this immunity-pepping antioxidant.

b, everyone’s favorite springtime treat, make for a great source of this body-healing vitamin.

One serving (a cup) of this palate-pleasing treat contains 80 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is around the exact amount of prescribed daily intake.

Raspberries and blueberries are also rich in Vitamin C. To create a trifecta of this illness-fighting vitamin, combine a handful od strawberries, raspberries and blueberries into a delicious fruit bowl.

Vitamin K Found in Blueberries is a Powerful Antioxidant

Vitamin K might have been flying under the radar in the past, but these days, all the health freaks are raving about it.

Why is this the case?

Well, this essential vitamin helps keep your body strong on several fronts.

For example, this nutrient can improve the functioning of your cardiovascular system. Since it can promote blood clotting, it is crucial for your body to be replenished with this vitamin in order to be able to heal from bleeding or bruising.

One of the most well-known benefits of Vitamin K is that it can strengthen your bones, and it does so by boosting the amount of protein needed to preserve bone calcium.

Optimal Vitamin K intake can help prevent occurrence of medical conditions such as osteoporosis and bone fracture.

Furthermore, increasing the presence of Vitamin K in your diet can help relieve PMS symptoms such as cramps and other types of discomfort. It can also help with excessive bleeding during periods.

In combination with other vitamins (such as A, C and D), Vitamin K can also help fight off the bacteria that accumulates on your teeth and gum. As a result, it can be effective in warding off tooth decay, cavities and various gum diseases.

One fruit that is especially loaded with vitamin K is blueberry.

A cup of these tiny nutritional powerhouses can contain up to 28.6 micrograms of Vitamin K, which is more than a third or prescribed daily intake.

And when it comes to introducing blueberries into your day-to-day meals – it’s as easy as it sounds.

You can carry a pack of this delicious fruit with you and snack on the go whenever you feel like a pick-me-up at work or after gym.

Blueberries can also be a great way to infuse your breakfast with the precious Vitamin K – simply throw them in your favorite oat meal and cereal and your dish will instantly become charged with antioxidants.

They can also add a kick of vitamins into your smoothies. They work well for sweetening more bitter ingredients like spinach or kale.

And in you need further inspiration, here’s an idea for a healthy smoothie where blueberry is the star ingredient.

In a blender, combine the following:

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup almond milk

Mix until you achieve a smooth consistency. Voila, you’ve just made an ideal snack to kick-start your body and up your Vitamin K intake.

Vitamin A is Abundant in Acai Berries

It is a well-known fact Vitamin A can be incredibly beneficial for eye health and good vision.

However, not many people know this component is directly or indirectly tied to regular functioning of all the vital organs in the body.

This is because Vitamin A has powerful antioxidant properties, which can assist your body in the purging of free radicals, those harmful agents that cause genetic damage to your cells and trigger a host of medical conditions.

Furthermore, optimal Vitamin A intake can fortify your immunity, which means your body will be better equipped to ward off various illnesses.

Vitamin A can be found in certain animal products, as well as plant-based food, in which case it’s known as beta carotene. 

And one ingredient that is especially rich in this organ-pepping vitamin is the acai berry, a dark-hued fruit that hails from the Amazon region.

Because of its notable medicinal powers, this tropical berry has been consumed by the native people of Brazil for centuries.

Recently, it has become increasingly popular in health and wellness-conscious circles, which hail it as the new superfood du jour.

And for good reason, too: not only does the acai berry have numerous benefits for your body, it can also improve the appearance of your skin.

Due to high concentration of Vitamin A and other antioxidants, frequent consumption of acai berry can stave off various ailments, improve your digestion and cardiovascular activity and boost your energy levels.

When it comes to skin, the active ingredients found in acai berry can help reverse symptoms of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.

The vitamins concentrated in this Amazonian treat can also reinforce skin’s protective barrier, which will help protect it from harmful environmental factors, such as the sun, pollution, harsh weather, etc. 

Due to its rich, slightly bitter flavor, acai berry work well in combination with slightly sweeter ingredients.

It can be added to healthy dessert alternatives when you’re looking to add a punch of antioxidants to your after-meal treats.

The easiest way to consume the Brazilian berry is simply to throw it in a smoothie or breakfast bowl.

For added sweetness, chop up a banana or an apple, so your concoction isn’t too bitter.

Vitamin E in Blackberries Has Immense Reparative Properties

When it comes to reversing aging processes, one antioxidant in particular can be incredibly helpful: Vitamin E.

To begin with, this component can be notably beneficial for your cardiovascular system.

Vitamin E can help balance cholesterol levels and reduce chances of it oxidizing, as well as preventing thickening of the arteries.

Because of its powerful antioxidant properties, Vitamin E can effectively help in the fight against free radicals. This will in turn reduce chances of your body developing all kinds of medical issues, from common ailments to more serious conditions.

Having more Vitamin E in your diet can also transform your skin, hair and nails – making them healthier and more resistant to outside harms.

Due to its reparative powers, Vitamin E can help rejuvenate and heal damaged and irritated skin. Since Vitamin E is potent at accelerating cell regeneration, it can be used to treat sunburnt skin, scars and eczema.

Frequent consumption of this antioxidant will also boost hair growth, but also make your strands thicker and better equipped to fight off environmental damage. It can also do wonders for an itchy, flaky scalp.

And if you’re looking for ways to increase your daily intake of this powerful nutrient, you can always go down the easy road and take supplements.

However, to get the real deal, you should know that this vitamin can only be found in plant-based foods.

Luckily, berries represent one of the richest sources of Vitamin E. 

Blackberries in particular pack a punch when it comes to Vitamin E concentration: one cup contains about 1.68 milligrams of this powerful antioxidant.

When it comes to meal ideas, blackberries can be consumed on their own and make for a great snack when you’re on the run.

However, if your mind the slightly sour flavor, you can always combine them with sweeter fruit (like mango or papaya, which also contain high concentration of Vitamin E) to make a delicious, antioxidant-packed smoothie.

You can also add blackberries to your favorite oatmeal or throw them in a fruit salad.

Other berries that contain high concentration of Vitamin E include:

  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries

These mini bombs of antioxidants are bountiful during warm, sunny seasons and will make for a refreshing meal during scorching summer days.

Goji Berries are Rich in B Complex Vitamins

By B complex vitamins, people usually refer to the following compounds:

  • B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6 (pyridoxine)
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B9 (folic acid)
  • B12 (cobalamin)

And you’ll be delighted to hear that goji berries, a nutritious fruit that originates form Asia, contain even four of these super-charging agents, including vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B12.

And each of these has its own set of benefits for your health and your body.

For example, Vitamin B1 contributes to healthy digestive tract, but can also improve your nervous system, as well as skin, eyes and hair.

On the other hand, riboflavin or Vitamin B2 helps prevent cognitive decline, and it can also minimize symptoms of depression.

Vitamin B12 found in goji berries is one of the most important components for the healthy functioning of your organs. Regular Vitamin B12 consumption will keep energy levels high, but also regulate your mood.

This particular vitamin also reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Since goji berries are still somewhat mysterious to the casual health food enthusiast, you might be wondering how you can include them in your day-to-day meals.

Luckily, this task is a lot easier than you think!

Just like any other berry, goji can be a welcome addition into various health-oriented meals, including smoothies, breakfast bowls or oat meals.

It can also be consumed on its own; however, if you’re looking to pack a punch of antioxidants, combine your goji berries with a handful of nuts like almonds, cashews or walnuts.

Have you been convinced of berries’ immense vitamin powers yet? Next time you find yourself at the fresh produce section, make sure to stock up on these super-charging nuggets. Your body will soon be thanking you!

Young blonde woman checking skin in mirror

Dehydrated Skin? Try These Easy Tips

Dehydrated skin can lead to so many different skin problems, from premature aging to a dull and rough complexion, making this an issue worth dealing with as soon as possible.

Not sure where to begin?

Here are 12 tips to help you to treat your dehydrated skin.

What’s the Difference Between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin?

Many people often think of dry and dehydrated skin as being the same thing, but this is not at all the case.

Wondering what the difference is?

The main difference is that dehydrated skin lacks water, while dry skin lacks oil.

Since water and oil are so different, you need to know for sure whether your skin is dry or dehydrated before you begin treating the problem.

Here are a few more details about each condition:

  • Dry Skin – becomes more prevalent with age, due to the skin’s natural lipid barrier decreasing. Symptoms include redness, itchiness and ashy areas, especially for those with a darker skin tone
  • Dehydrated Skincan be caused by a number of factors, such as not drinking enough water, sun exposure, and indoor heating or cooling systems. Symptoms include tightness, a scaly, rough or flaky texture, and the appearance of smaller pores 

If you think your skin may be dry rather than dehydrated, then you will need to look for ways in which you can counter that.

Make Sure That You Are Drinking Enough Water

Do you drink around eight glasses of water a day?

If your answer is no, then this could be one of the reasons as to why your skin is dehydrated.

All of the organs in your body need water in order to properly function, and each time you drink some water, this gets distributed to the organs that need it the most. These usually tend to be the vital organs, and the skin is last on the list, meaning that it often misses out when it comes to this dose of hydration.

However, while many may recommend drinking more that the recommended amount of water a day, this will actually not benefit dehydrated skin, unless you do feel thirsty. Any excess water will only end up being flushed out of your system, and not much of this will actually reach the skin.

To keep your skin at its healthiest, try to drink around eight glasses of water a day, or more if you are overly active.

Eat More Moisture-Rich Foods

As mentioned above, water that you drink ends up being directed to your vital organs first, meaning that your skin can sometimes miss out.

So how do you ensure that your skin is hydrated from within?

By eating moisture-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables. 

These contain water, but in a more structured form, and rather than flushing out your system in the way that a glass of water would do, moisture-rich foods provide your body with long-lasting hydration. This water is released into your body slowly, making it more likely that your skin will receive some of this hydration. 

Wondering which fruits and vegetables contain the most moisture?

Here are some of the top moisture-rich foods out there:

  • Watermelon, Green Peppers and Strawberries – 92%  water
  • Cucumbers96% water, with most of this located in its skin
  • Iceberg Lettuce96% water
  • Celery95% water  
  • Cantaloupe90% water
  • Pineapples, Oranges and Raspberries87% water 

Make Use of Hydrating Skin Care Ingredients

There are so many different skin care ingredients out there, and each one will bring its own range of unique benefits to the skin.

When it comes to hydrating ingredients, there are plenty to choose from, but one of the most effective is definitely hyaluronic acid.

Never heard of this powerhouse before?

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning that it draws moisture from the air towards the skin. It is able to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, making it key when it comes to helping your skin to retain moisture.

Your skin naturally contains hyaluronic acid, but applying some more topically can make a huge difference. Look for this ingredient as part of a moisturizer or a serum for best results.

Other ingredients to look out for include:

  • Urea – has strong water-binding properties
  • Plant oilsimproves the skin’s water retention
  • Glycerine especially hydrating when used along with hyaluronic acid 
  • Ceramideshelps with the skin’s hydration balance
  • Niacinamidealso known as vitamin B3, this helps to heal and strengthen the skin’s barrier, preventing moisture loss

Stay Away From Dehydrating Skin Care Ingredients

While some ingredients are known for the way in which they hydrate the skin, others are infamous for being dehydrating.

If you already have dehydrated skin, then dehydrating skin care ingredients are the last things that you want to be applying to your skin.

These are a few of the ingredients that you should try to stay away from, at least until you have managed to treat your skin dehydration:

  • Alcohol
  • Fragrances
  • Harsh exfoliants  
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Salicylic acid

Make Use of Hydrating Face Masks

Face masks are designed to remain on the skin for an extended period of time, meaning that all of its active ingredients have enough time to properly penetrate your skin and work their magic.

Of course, there are so many different types of face masks out there, and not all of them are suitable for dehydrated skin. 

So, which ones do you go for?

Cream masks are great, because these are rich in oil and moisturizing ingredients, with many of them also containing hyaluronic acid.

Gel masks are also incredibly hydrating, especially since these tend to be infused with antioxidants, while sheet masks can also be beneficial, especially if you apply an extra layer of hyaluronic acid underneath the mask. 

Wondering which ingredients to look out for, as well as to avoid, when it comes to hydrating face masks?

The same ingredients mentioned above, as those apply to all skin care products.

Be Extremely Gentle With Your Skin

Dehydrated skin is usually a sign of some form of skin damage, meaning that you need to treat it just as gently as you would any of your other organs if they were to become damaged.

When touching your face, whether this may be to cleanse your skin or to apply a cream, allow your hands to smoothly glide over it, avoiding any scrubbing, rubbing or tugging motions.

Invest in a Humidifier

A humidifier and dehydrated skin go hand in hand, because this is something that can really help to add moisture back into your skin.

The optimum humidity level for your skin is around 55%. However, if you use central air in your home, this can bring the humidity level in your house down to 10%. As you can imagine, this is not good for dehydrated skin.

So, how does a humidifier help?

They work by adding water vapour into the air, therefore increasing the air’s moisture content, and therefore the humidity of a room. By increasing the air’s moisture levels, you then help to prevent it from pulling out moisture from your skin.

Wondering where to keep your new humidifier?

The best spot is usually in the bedroom.

Why?

Because the time during which you are asleep is when your skin cells are healing and regenerating, meaning that this is the time in which they require the right amount of moisture in order to properly function. The humidifier will help it with this, at the time when it needs it the most.

Can’t decide between a warm mist and a cool mist?

Experts recommended going for a warm mist, as this is much closer to the skin’s natural temperature. 

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Sun Protection

If you often neglect to wear sunscreen, then this could be one of the big causes of your dehydrated skin.

Exposing your unprotected skin to the sun for an extended period of time leads to water evaporating from your skin, leaving it dehydrated.

How do you prevent this from happening?

With the use of sunscreen.

When it comes to choosing a sunscreen for dehydrated skin…

Many find that the physical sunscreen formulas often exacerbate any flaky or scaly areas.

Why is this?

Because the mineral filters used in a physical sunscreen, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, also work as an astringent, meaning that they can have quite a drying effect. 

The best way around this is to either apply a layer of moisturizer on to your skin before applying a sunscreen, or opting for a chemical sunscreen formula instead.

Cleanse Your Skin Each Evening

Cleansing is actually extremely important for dehydrated skin.

Why?

Because if you do not remove the layer of dirt, dead skin cells, oil and more that settle on the surface of the skin throughout the day, any hydrating skin care products that you apply will not be able to properly penetrate into your skin.

Attractive woman washing face in mirror

Of course, with your skin being dehydrated, you do need to make sure that you opt for a gentle, moisturizing cleanser, staying away from foaming formulas.

Wondering why it is better to cleanse at night rather than in the morning?

Because this allows you to wash away all of the dirt from the day, while giving your skin the ingredients needed to help it with all of the work it does at night. If you cleanse immediately before going to bed, and sleep on a clean pillowcase, then your skin will still be clean in the morning.

Don’t be tempted to cleanse twice a day, as over-cleansing can cause even more problems for dehydrated skin.

Use Oil-Blotting Paper for Excess Oil

As mentioned above, over-cleansing your face can cause numerous problems, but what happens if your dehydrated skin is oily as well?

While it may be tempting to scrub at your face a few times a day, this will only lead to even more breakouts.

One easy way to clear your skin of excess oil throughout the day is to use blotting papers, as these gently remove the oil without damaging your skin in any way.

Give it a Month

You are likely tempted to try some of the new skin care ingredients or techniques mentioned above, but patience is key here…

It takes, on average, about 28 days for your skin regeneration cycle to go through one round, meaning that this is how long it takes for your old skin cells to be replaced by new ones. The older you are, the longer this takes.

This means that, when trying anything new on your skin, you need to give it at least a month before deciding whether or not it works.

Of course, if anything you are trying is clearly affecting your skin in a negative way, then you should cease this immediately.

Dehydrated skin can definitely be frustrating to deal with, but you need to make sure that you treat it with the care it requires, otherwise it will only get worse. From knowing which ingredients to avoid to providing moisture to your skin in different ways, these tips will help you to rehydrate your skin in no time at all.

11 Unusual Ways to Manage Stress

Between work, school and family obligations, it’s easy to crumble under the weight of our day-to-day lives.

And no matter how much you try to practice a healthy lifestyle and maintain a clear mind, you still can’t seem to catch a break.

Which is odd, because you already know all the well-established de-stressing mantras: eat less junk food, exercise more, drink at least eight glasses of water a day…

And while all of this is sound advice, something just hasn’t clicked for you yet.

Perhaps you need a fresh take on how to battle with everyday anxieties that are burdening you.

You’ve come to the right place, then!

We have prepared a list of unorthodox stress relievers that can reduce anxiety levels and help you achieve a calmer, more balanced everyday routine.

And if you’re curious to find out what they are, make sure to keep reading – who knows, you might just find the perfect stress-reliever for your needs!

Fill Out a Coloring Book

Did you notice that in recent years, bookstore shelves have been lined with a curiously large number of coloring books?

And not in the children’s section, either.

This is because adult coloring books have been shown to work wonders when it comes to reducing stress levels and practicing mindfulness.

You don’t need much – a simple book with sketches, a couple of coloring pencils and, voila, you’re ready to switch off and immerse yourself in a simple, yet rewarding activity that can take you mind off the everyday worries.

When it comes to designs, coloring books come in all formats and themes: mandalas, botany, architecture, etc.

So, whatever your preferred visuals are, you can rest assured there’s a coloring book out there ready to become your stress-reducing project.

Chew Gum

Humans have been chewing on various things to improve their mood for millennia, all the way from the Ancient Greeks to the Maya.

Why is this the case?

Well, studies have shown that chewing gum can be immensely effective in minimizing stress and contributing to a more balanced mental state.

Moreover, if your mouth is preoccupied with chewing gum, your brain becomes more awake and perceptive, which can be very helpful in those stressful situations when you have to stay alert and focused.

And if you want to keep it on the healthy side, make sure to stash yourself with sugar-free gum. This way, you won’t have to worry about extra calories or carbs while you’re getting your dose of stress relief.

Dance Away the Worries

“Dance like no one’s watching” might sound silly, but this advice can be golden when it comes to reducing stress.

Just like it’s the case with any other physical activity, dancing will help you break sweat and boost blood flow, which will then release the endorphins – neurotransmitters that help alleviate symptoms of stress. 

However, unlike the more traditional forms of exercise like running or going to the gym, we tend to consider dancing to be something fun and liberating.

Moreover, if your work or school entails stuffy environments and ultra-professional behavior, dancing can be a great outlet for releasing the goofier side of yourself.

Finally, if you decide to make dancing a regular occurrence in your life, not only will you reap its benefits for the mental state, but you will also improve flexibility, build muscle and increase your stamina.

Moreover, if you’re looking to shed a few extra pounds but dread going to the gym, regular dancing can be a great fitness substitute.

Cook Your Favorite Meal

Sometimes, stress can be exacerbated by poor dietary choices.

When we’re swamped with work and other tasks, we tend to go for the least healthy, instantly filling foods, which often tend to be loaded with processed carbs and sugars. 

And these two are never good news for stress.

A good plan to avoid situations like these is to set aside some time to cook a meal from scratch.

You can do this either for yourself or even for your loved ones.

Make a list of all the groceries you need, prepare your favorite healthy recipe and get cooking!

And if you need inspiration on what are the best ingredients for a body-soothing meal, look into incorporating one or more of the following ingredients into your dish:

  • Nuts
  • Fatty fish
  • Leafy greens
  • Avocado
  • Carrots

Take your time to focus on every step of the cooking process and try to do so without distractions.

This will help keep your mind occupied on the task at hand and hand keep you distracted from worries that could otherwise infest your thoughts.

Not only will a cooking session take your mind off day-to-day problems, you will also have a healthy, replenishing meal at the end of it.

Hang Out with Your Pet

Our furry companions can also be amazing when it comes to diminishing stress levels.

Giving your beloved cat or dog a belly rub can give you an instant jolt of endorphins and dopamines, which in turn reduce stress.

Not just that, but having a four-legged friend with you at all times can help make you feel less lonely in case you live on your own.

Plus, when you have another living being to take care of, chances are you won’t have time to dwell on your concerns 24/7.

Moreover, if you have a pet that requires regular walks, this also means you have a reason to go out in nature more often than people who don’t own animals.

And when you do that, your body is replenished with many nutrients that can help improve your overall mood and well-being.

Chat with a Friend

When we’re alone in our thoughts, our worries can only grow bigger and more tangled.

In order to avoid this vicious circle, it’s important to reach out to people around us.

That’s why it could be a good idea to ring your friend when you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed.

Having someone close to talk to will make you feel less alone and caught up in your own mind.

Moreover, verbalizing your problems out loud will help you put them into context and help view them more realistically.

On the other hand, you don’t even have to talk about all your problems and worries if you don’t feel like it.

A light, breezy convo can do wonders for improving your mood just as well.

For example, you can reminisce about fun or meaningful moments you’ve shared or exchange your favorite inside jokes.

Go to a New Place

Feeling sluggish and anxious can sometimes be a result of lack of movement and stale surroundings.

A change of environment can greatly improve your spirits and make you feel more productive and alerts.

This doesn’t mean you have to book an expensive trip or go miles away from your home.

Simple things like taking a different route to work or visiting a park or neighborhood in your city you’ve never been to before can also do the trick.

Spending time in unfamiliar environments will provide visual and mental stimulus for your brain. This will in turn help relieve stress and divert your attention to other things in your surroundings.

Moreover, if you decide to do a nature jaunt, this can also help boost your mood. Relaxing amidst greenery can calm the nerves, while the sun can replenish your body with Vitamin D, which can help lift your spirits when you’re feeling depressed and sluggish.

Sing, Sing, Sing

Stress can often become worse over time because we keep it buttoned up and hidden away from the eyes (and ears) of the world.

And if you’re not a particularly assertive or outspoken person, chances are you rarely speak up about things that concern or irritate you in your everyday dealings.

Did you know that singing can be a great way to release all the things you never get to verbalize?

It’s no wonder why so many nights out and business dinners often end in karaoke bars and rooms.

And if you feel too self-conscious to just start shouting at the top of your lungs in front of your family or housemates, you can do so when they’re out the house or while you’re in the shower.

Having your own mini-karaoke session in the bathroom or in your car can help you expel all the negative emotions you’ve been building up and start the day fresh.

Give Yourself a Facial

After a stressful day at work, in school or running errands, you just want to shut off from the world and unwind in the comfort of your home.

Why not elevate your relaxation to new heights and give yourself a little spa treatment?

This doesn’t have to be anything fancy; for example, a simple facial treatment can do wonders to relax your muscles and help you clear your thoughts.

Start off your mini-spa treatments by taking the day off with an oil or balm cleanser.

Once you wipe away all the makeup and daily grime, add another pump of your favorite face oil and start rubbing it into your face.

In the process, give yourself a face massage by moving the tips of your fingers in small, circular motions around your face.

Focus on your temples, your brow bone, center of the forehead and the jaw muscles, which tend to be very tense when we are stressed.

Once you’re finished with your face massage, treat yourself to a nourishing sheet mask infused with green tea, Aloe Vera or any other soothing nutrients.

Just slap one on and let it work its magic while you catch up on your favorite TV show.

If you want to treat yourself in the morning before work, you can also use pre-made ice cubes enriched with cucumber slices to awaken your skin and perk up your complexion.

Have a Glass of Orange Juice

In those moments when you’re feeling acute bouts of stress or anxiety, a refreshing glass of orange juice can do wonders for balancing your mood.

To make your own stress-annihilating drink, grab a couple of oranges and soften them up by rolling the fruit against a hard surface.

Cut them in half and squeeze them into a glass. Take a spoon and scrape off the pulp, then add it to your juice for more texture, fullness and nutrients. 

Your freshly squeezed citrusy concoction will be packed with Vitamin C, which can help diminish cortisol (stress) levels.

Not only will this zesty drink soothe your taste buds and calm your mind, it can also boost your immunity and even brighten up your skin.

Not only will this zesty drink soothe your taste buds and calm your mind, it can also boost your immunity and even brighten up your skin.

Sounds like an all-around win!

De-Clutter Your Office or Apartment

Sometimes, the cause for stress can lie in our immediate environment.

Think about it: how can you have an unencumbered, organized mind if your room or office space is a complete mess?

That’s why you might want to set aside some time to tackle the clutter and arrange your belongings in the most optimal way.

Not only will this help establish a clean canvas for your work or day-to-day life, the act of cleaning itself can have great therapeutic benefits for your mind and body.

To make the most out de-cluttering, arrange your things in such a way that all the items you use daily are easily accessible. Store the things that aren’t used as often in compartmentalized spaces. Finally, donate or get rid of all the things you absolutely don’t need anymore.

Freeing up your living and working space from unnecessary things will help you focus on the stuff that really matters. 

Arranging your apartment and office is not only liberating, it will also make you more productive and at ease.

Just make sure to maintain the order and you won’t ever have to worry about unwanted clutter in your life.

Hopefully, these tips can help you make the first steps towards clearing your mind and beating stress once and for all. With some luck, you will finally be able to have a fulfilling, worry-free daily routine.

Woman enjoying blueberries in a bowl

6 Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

Other than sunny weather and longer days, spring also brings about all kinds of fresh produce that is either hard to find or simply non-existent during rest of the year.

With the abundance of body-boosting, delicious dietary options, there’s no more excuse to revert to old, damaging food habits.

And to give you some ideas on how to overhaul your diet, we have prepared this guide with essential tips on how to use the sunny season to your advantage and, over time, build healthy habits that you can adhere to during the rest of the year, as well.

Introduce High-fiber Meals

In the springtime, we tend to be more active and spend more time outdoors.

This, is turn, causes us to reach for food items that will please our palates and fuel our body.

And if you’re the type of person who isn’t exactly health-conscious, you may end up gravitating towards instantly filling foods laden with processed carbs and sugars.

Sure, these might feel gratifying short-term, but if you want to build a satisfying, health-oriented diet, then you might want to ditch these processed baddies and go for energizing, fiber-rich options.

What are fibers and why should you include more of them in your meals, you ask?

Fibers are the kind of carbohydrates your body doesn’t digest. Since fiber itself has zero calories and helps boost digestive system, it should be an essential component in every though-out diet plan.

Luckily, foods that are high in fiber are plentiful come spring, which is why this is the perfect moment to load up your plate with these energizing nutrients.

Among the foods that contain high level of fiber are oatmeal, barley, as well as various kinds of legumes.

Fresh green peas are one of most delicious spring foods which are not only super-easy to prepare, but also chock-full of body-fueling fibers.

You can mix your peas with other springtime veggies and cook over garlic and olive oil. Alternatively, you can add them to your favorite pasta or blend them into a delicious puree as a side.

Lentil is another legume rich in fiber, which is also incredibly satisfying and belly-filling. To make your lentils extra-tasty, turn them into a basil-infused soup or mash them with some lemon juice and a couple of garlic cloves for a delicious spread.

If you are looking for a more breakfast-friendly option, you can always equip your kitchen with a box of bran flakes, which are one of the most readily-available sources of fiber. And if the taste of this fiber-rich cereal doesn’t fill you up with excitement, you can always combine it with your favorite leafy greens or fruit and blend it into a mouthwatering smoothie.

Learn to Love Leafy Greens

If you’re looking for the easiest and quickest way to increase your daily dosage of various health-charging nutrients, then leafy greens should be at the very top of your list.

These dietary superheroes are packed with a plethora of vitamins, minerals and other goodies that will not only improve your immunity and overall wellbeing, but also contribute to a healthier appearance of skin, nails and hair. Win-win!

Plus, you’ll be pleased to hear that springtime is when leafy greens reign supreme. 

Leafy green rookies might want to ease their way into their new routine by going for a veggie with a more milder, versatile taste.

Baby spinach is the perfect starter-level leafy green. It can go into any food combo, from omelets to stir-fries to smoothies. Moreover, it has a subtle, refreshing taste, so you won’t have to worry about it overpowering the rest of your meal.

More advanced leafy greens aficionados can enrich their day-to-day meals with a bona fide celebrity among superfoods – kale. This leafy green has become wildly popular in the health and wellness sphere – for good reason, too: it contains high concentration of Vitamin K, which can shield your body from all kinds of illness.

Stir-fried kale in a pan

Even though kale is slightly more bitter in taste than baby spinach, you should have no problems including it into your daily meal prep – it can be blanched, sautéed, baked or blended!

Finally, seasoned leafy green lovers might want to go for something more challenging this spring. If you haven’t done so already, why not try stepping up your veggie game by introducing collard greens into your diet?

These nutritional powerhouses are often overlooked in favor of more accessible leafy greens, possibly because of their somewhat earthy tang and chewy texture.

However, if you know how to prepare them, collard greens can be just as delicious and health-boosting as any other leaf vegetable.

One of the easiest way to soften them up and bring out the flavor is to cook them in a broth with other veggies of your choice. Alternatively, you can drizzle a bit of olive oil over a hot pan and sauté your greens with a couple of crushed and chopped garlic cloves.

Try Out Energy-boosting Snacks

Once gloomy winter days come to an end, you will inevitably feel inspired to spend more time outdoors and on your feet.

And planning meals while you’re busy running errands and catching up with friends might prove to be a little bit challenging.

What’s more, if you don’t have a clear of idea what you’re going to eat and when, you might end up reaching for the least healthy options when you’re running low on fuel.

That’s why it’s very important to always keep body-energizing snacks at hand, which you can nibble on wherever you go.

And if you want to go down the healthy road, spring is the ideal time to start introducing healthy, straight-from-nature snacks that your body will be thanking you for.

One of the most convenient and energizing snacks are nuts and seeds.

They are easy to carry around and whip out whenever you’re feeling peckish.

What’s more, they are packed with a host of healthy nutrients that will replenish your body without adding extra pounds (when consumed in moderation).

One of the most readily available and healthy nuts are almonds, which have many body-boosting properties. A handful of almonds a day can help reduce bad cholesterol and help with high blood pressure.

On the other hand, if you’re more of a pistachio fan, you’ll be pleased to hear that these nuts contain high levels of antioxidants, especially potassium, which are incredibly beneficial for the nervous system.

Cashews can also be a great option for midday snacking, as they can help strengthen your bones and improve your overall immune system.

Fruit and Berries Over Processed Sugar

Most of us know that processed sugars are a definite no-go when it comes to building a healthy diet routine.

And while it’s pretty obvious that your standard candy and soda is loaded with added sugar, sometimes these high-calorie baddies are not that easy to spot.

For example, added sugars could be hiding in your favorite granola bar or that salad dressing you always use in your meals.

Luckily, thanks to the appropriate food labeling, it’s easier to identify those extra sugars found in our everyday groceries.

However, if you want to take the healthy route, spring is the right time to start satisfying your sugar cravings with deserts that have come straight from nature.

In the spring, nature becomes abundant with juicy, delicious fruit which can be a great replacement for your standard go-to treats.

One of the healthiest choices to satisfy your sweet tooth are berries. These bite-sized, vitamin-laden goodies are not only good for you body, they are also super-easy to get a hold of during sun-filled spring days.

Variety of berries in a measuring spoon

For example, strawberries – everyone’s favorite fruit of the season – are not only rich in various health-boosting nutrients, they also contain very few calories, making them a great choice for people looking to shed a few pounds.

Blueberries are also plentiful in spring, and make for a great addition to any smoothie or fruit salad. What’s more, blueberries are packed with phytochemicals, flavonoids and antioxidants which are essential for improving the immune system.

Put More Veggies on Your Plate

If your meals aren’t usually packed with vegetables, spring is the ideal time to change that for the better.

This season brings all kinds of tasty, health-boosting produce which will not only contribute to your overall well-being, it will also make you want to try out more creative, exciting meal options.

All you need to go to the green market and pack your grocery bags with all those delicious spring veggies.

And if you’re not really sure where to start, here are some of the most satisfying, palate-enticing spring superstars that you can incorporate into your spring meals with little to no effort.

One of the most popular springtime veggies is asparagus, a green stalk rich in iron, calcium, as well as vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6.

There are many different ways you can introduce asparagus into your daily recipes; for example, sautéed with eggs for breakfast, thrown into a salad with other veggies and a few slices of of fresh mozzarella for lunch or post-workout snack, or grilled with a slice of salmon for an evening meal.

Brussel sprouts are also great for filling up your belly and supplying you with energy during sunny spring days. These bite-sized veggies are packed with Vitamin C, K and plenty of antioxidants. Fry them for a couple of minutes with a chili or two to give the sprouts a kick; alternatively, roast them with the rest of your favorite veggies for a more rich and smoky flavor.

Don’t Be Afraid of (Healthy) Fats

If you are new to the world of wellness, then seeing the words “healthy” and “fat” in the same sentence might feel odd to you.

But fats don’t have to be necessarily bad for you.

On the contrary – healthy, nature-derived fats are essential for achieving balanced eating habits.

Since fats are higher in calories than proteins and carbohydrates, they will keep you feeling full and sated for long periods of time.

The only trick is to stick to unsaturated, straight-out-of-nature fats and stay away from the nasty, processed stuff.

Fortunately, spring offers plenty of healthy fat options you can incorporate into your everyday meals.

As mentioned before, nuts are a great source of unsaturated fats and proteins; moreover, they make for a great snack in-between bigger meals.

Healthy nuts in two bowls

Another food that is not only supremely delicious, but also high in natural fats is avocado. This nutritious, versatile fruit that originates from Central America can be prepared in countless way. For a quick and easy option, simply scoop out your avocado and spread it on a slice of toasted bread. Alternatively, you can chop it up in your salad or add it to your smoothie for a richer, creamier texture and extra nourishment.

And for something a little more substantial, go for fatty fish. Mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines and other creatures of the sea are loaded with unsaturated fats, as well as hearth-healthy Omega-3 acids, which can help with a host of health issues, including blood fat, arthritis, asthma, depression and ADHD. On a more skin-deep level, these acids can contribute to a plump, wrinkle-free complexion.

Spring is also the ideal time to switch to extra virgin olive oil, which is another ingredient that’s chock-full of healthy acids. This staple of Mediterranean diet contains high doses of Vitamin E and K, as well as a number of antioxidants. You can use olive oil in cooking or simply drizzle it over your favorite breads, salads and veggies.

And with this, we are wrapping up out list of essential tips and tricks on how to make your diet healthier and more spring-friendly. Now you can go out and stock up on all these delicious, sun-soaked foods that will ensure your belly is full and your health is in check.

Woman checking skin in mirror

8 Easy Tips to Purify Your Skin

With everything from pollution to the food that you eat leading to the creation of toxins in your skin, it is so easy for your skin to become weighed down by all of these impurities.

To keep your complexion looking fresh and healthy, here are eight tips to follow to purify your skin, from both inside and out.

Cleanse Your Skin at the End of Each Day

Everyone is guilty of neglecting to cleanse their skin once in a while, but if you do this too often, this is a sure-fire way for impurities to build up on your skin.

Most people only need to properly cleanse their skin once a day, so save this for the evening. This gives you the chance to clear away all of the dirt, pollution, bacteria, sweat and more that will have settled on your skin throughout the course of the day.

Do not forget…

Once you have cleansed your skin, it is in quite a vulnerable state, so a layer of moisturizer immediately afterwards is essential. The moisturizer will form a barrier over the surface of your skin, preventing impurities from working their way into your skin’s layers.

This means that, in the morning, you only need to rinse your skin with water, rather than using a cleanser again.

Why shouldn’t you use a cleanser in the morning too?

Because over-cleansing can be almost as bad as not cleansing at all. Your skin needs its natural oils in order to thrive, and clearing these away too frequently will leave your skin red, irritated and damaged.

Unclog Those Pores

When impurities build up on your skin, they need somewhere to go, and the only place is into your pores.

For those who suffer from oily skin, this is especially challenging, as the impurities end up mixing with your skin’s natural oils and really affecting your complexion with acne and pimples.

Fortunately, there are quite a few ways in which you can unclog your pores and rid them of any impurities:

  • Pore strips these are made with bonding agents that act like a magnet, lifting away any dirt and toxins that have built up within your pores
  • Steam cleaning all you need to do is fill a bowl with boiling water, and then place your face over this, draping a towel over your head to keep the steam in. Do this for about ten minutes to open up your pores and give them a good cleanse. Add some essential oils to the water for added benefits
  • Exfoliation this should be done a couple of times a week to keep your pores clean. If you find that exfoliation does not seem to be working for you, try a different method of exfoliation 
  • Purifying face masks these will contain ingredients to help purify the skin, and are discussed in more detail below
  • Extractions this is a professional procedure that usually involves an esthetician manually clearing out your pores, using a set of metal tools 

Use Purifying Face Masks

From hydrating to anti-aging, there are so many different types of face masks out there, each designed to target specific skin issues. 

One type of face mask that you will often see is the purifying face mask.

These come in a variety of forms, from clay masks to sheet masks, so use whichever type you are most comfortable with.

Wondering how they work?

It all comes down to their active ingredients.

There are certain ingredients out there that have been proven to help extract impurities from the skin, and these are what tend to be used in purifying face masks.

Clay masks are usually the go-to mask type when it comes to purifying the skin, as they begin to work their magic in just a couple of minutes. They basically draw all of the toxins out of your skin, and also absorb excess oil.

They are fantastic for those with oily skin, but those with dry skin may find that their skin feels even drier afterwards. The key here is to really be diligent with the amount of time that you leave the mask on for, as leaving it on for too long can leave your skin dehydrated.  

Activated charcoal is another popular ingredient in purifying face masks.

What exactly does it do?

It binds to dirt and toxins in the skin, helping to pull them out, ready for you to wash away. It is also able to help treat acne, speed up skin healing, and can be used on the hair and scalp too. 

Algae is also extremely effective, because not only does it contain a wide range of antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which help the skin to detox, but it also adds moisture to the skin. This then plumps up the skin’s natural protective barrier, therefore preventing more impurities from settling into the skin.

Other common ingredients in purifying masks include lemon, tea tree oil, and coconut oil, all of which help to rid the skin of toxins.

Hydrate With Water

If you decide to only follow one of these tips, then this should be the one to choose.

Water is essential when it comes to purifying the body, and even a small amount of dehydration can result in a huge build up of toxins.

You should aim to drink at least eight glasses, or two litres, of water each day, and try to sip on this throughout the day, even if you are not feeling thirsty. 

Find it difficult to drink so much water?

Try infusing your water with some fruit, or give herbal teas a try, which are discussed in more detail in tip number six. 

Purify Your Skin Through Your Diet

Your diet directly affects your skin in several different ways. By consuming a diet that is rich in certain foods, you will be able to stimulate your skin’s natural detoxification process, encouraging purification. These same foods will also help to keep your blood healthy, and since your blood is your skin’s source of oxygen and nutrients, this can, again, have a huge impact.

So, what should you actually be eating?

Here are a few of the most popular purifying foods out there:

  • Garlic contains sulfur, which helps to purify the organs, including the skin
  • Leafy Greens greens such as kale, cabbage, and broccoli contain certain compounds that help the body to detox
  • Cilantro especially effective when it comes to purifying the skin of heavy metals
  • Apple Cider Vinegar keeps the blood clean but also contains antiseptic compounds, which help to fight infections within the body. ACV also naturally balance’s the skin’s pH levels, resulting in a healthy complexion
  • Beets a strong anti-inflammatory that purifies the body and boosts the immune system
  • Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a natural antioxidant that produces detoxifying enzymes within the body 

In addition to incorporating more purifying ingredients into your diet, you should also try to cut back on the amount of refined sugar, dairy, and fried and processed foods that you eat.

Why?

Because these are filled with impurities that are severely detrimental to your skin. It may not seem like it now, but once you take the steps necessary to improve your diet, you will definitely notice a huge improvement in your skin too. 

Drink 3 Cups of Herbal Tea a Day

There are so many herbs out there that have been proven to help purify the skin and body, but incorporating these into your diet can be challenging.

This is where herbal teas come in…

Infusing certain herbs into a tea gives you the opportunity to really make the most of the antioxidants that these herbs contain. 

Wondering which herbs will work best for your skin?

Here are a few to try:

  • Dandelion – this will have a diuretic effect, which significantly helps the liver to flush out toxins from the body
  • Burdock – when it comes to impurities that result in acne or boils, burdock can really help
  • Green tea – packed with antioxidants, green tea will also rejuvenate the skin
  • Green Nettle – this also has a diuretic effect, and will cleanse both the body and skin

Aim to drink around three cups of a herbal tea a day, especially if you are proactively trying to purify your skin in a set time frame.

Try Dry Brushing

From face masks to facial cleansers, many of the external skin-purifying methods tend to be focussed on the face.

But what about the rest of the body?

This is where dry brushing comes in…

This is an effective, inexpensive, and quick way in which you can purify the skin all over your body on a daily basis.

Never heard of dry brushing before?

It is a technique that has actually been used for centuries, mostly for the way in which it purifies the body and skin. It does this in numerous ways, from boosting circulation to stimulating the sweat glands, all of which help the skin to detox.

You do need to purchase a dry brush to do this, but these are generally inexpensive and widely available. Try to opt for a brush that has natural bristles, as these will be kinder on your skin.

Once you have your brush, begin at your feet and slowly work your way upwards, simply brushing your dry skin. Make sure that your strokes are always aimed towards your heart, and do not dry brush any parts of your skin that are cut or infected.

Woman dry brushing her legs

Dry brushing is best done right before you step into the shower, as this then enables you to wash away all of the impurities that you have dislodged.

Wondering how long it takes?

Well, in the beginning, it may take you about 15 minutes. But, once you get the hang of the technique, you should be able to dry brush your entire body in just five minutes

Want to try dry brushing your face too?

This can really help your complexion, but make sure that you purchase a dedicated facial dry brush. These will be made with softer bristles, which is essential since the skin on your face is much thinner, and more delicate, than the skin on your body, therefore much more susceptible to damage.

Enjoy A Purifying Bath

Purifying baths are exactly what they sound like…

They are a bath that is able to purify the skin, as well as the rest of the body.

How?

This all depends on the type of bath that you choose.

An Epsom salt bath is the most popular type of purifying bath out there. Epsom salts are actually a naturally occurring mineral compound, rather than an actual salt, and are packed with magnesium. Magnesium basically acts as a toxin repellent, flushing any impurities out of your skin cells.

Adding some bentonite clay to your bath can also help to purify your skin. Bentonite clay has a negative ionic charge, while the toxins in your skin tend to be positively charged. This means that the clay and the toxins end up bonded together, so, when you wash the clay away, you are also washing the toxins away.

Other ingredients that you can use in a detox bath include ginger, essential oils, sea salt, seaweed and apple cider vinegar

When running a purifying bath for yourself, make sure that you do not add any commercial products to the bath.

Why?

Because the majority of these will contain at least one type of chemical, and since you are purifying your skin, you want to keep unnatural chemicals as far away from it as possible.

Following these tips and taking the steps necessary to purify your skin can have a huge impact on your complexion.

You will likely notice that your skin develops a bright, healthy glow, and skin issues such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea and more will all be improved.

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