Woman touching face in front of mirror

Jojoba Oil is Biocompatible with the Skin

There are only a handful of ingredients out there that are genuinely suitable for all skin types, and jojoba oil is one of these.

What makes this ingredient so great?

The fact that jojoba oil is biocompatible with the skin, meaning that the skin readily accepts it and puts it to good use.

What is Jojoba Oil? 

Jojoba oil is extracted from the seed of the jojoba plant – a shrub that is native to certain parts of southern USA and Mexico. Around 50% of the seed contains the oil, which looks like a thick golden liquid when it is pure, with a subtle nutty scent to it.

Although this liquid is referred to as an oil, it is technically a wax, making it even softer than a normal oil.

Unlike many of the other oils out there, from almond to safflower to squalene, jojoba oil is quite stable when it comes to resisting oxidation, making this a fantastic oil to incorporate into skin care products when you need them to have a longer shelf life.

Wondering what else the oil is used for?

Since the jojoba plant itself is quite slow and difficult to grow, jojoba oil is only really used for small-scale purposes.

Historically, it has been used by Native Americans to treat skin wounds and other similar conditions, and is now also currently being explored as an alternative sustainable fuel source.

The Biocompatibility of Jojoba Oil

So, what exactly does it mean when an ingredient is said to be biocompatible with the skin?

It basically means that the molecular structure of jojoba oil, along with the natural fats within it, are extremely similar to the oil that the skin naturally produces.

This means that, when jojoba oil is applied to the skin, the skin is tricked into thinking that this oil is actually its own sebum. This results in the skin absorbing much more of it, and at a much faster rate, than other ingredients.  

Jojoba is the only plant out there that creates an oil that is so similar to the skin’s natural sebum, making this ingredient rather special.

If you have oily skin, you are probably thinking…

Why would I want to be putting even more oil on my skin?

The idea of applying oil to oily skin may seem counter-intuitive at first, but hold on….

When you apply the oil and trick your skin into thinking that the oil is its own sebum, this then causes the skin to cut back on the amount of actual sebum that it is producing.

Intrigued?

Keep reading…

A Fantastic Anti-Acne Ingredient

Oily skin is also usually prone to breakouts. This is due to the excess oil settling in within the pores and mixing together with dead skin cells, dirt and other impurities. This then forms a clog, blocking up the entrance to the pores and resulting in inflammation, which manifests as a breakout.

Well, as mentioned above, jojoba oil quickly helps to rebalance the amount of sebum that your skin produces, leaving your skin significantly less oily.

Worried that the jojoba oil itself will clog your pores up?

Jojoba oil is noncomedogenic, meaning that it is unlikely to lead to clogged pores on its own.

There are a few other ways in which jojoba oil can help to treat and prevent acne too:

  • Antibacterial – the oil’s antibacterial qualities mean that it is able to destroy the acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin, preventing it from triggering a breakout. Don’t worry, research has shown that jojoba oil leaves all of the good bacteria alone, targeting just the bad ones instead
  • Anti-inflammatory – jojoba oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe irritated skin. Since acne is largely caused by inflammation, this goes a long way in preventing breakouts
  • Cleansing – many people don’t realize that jojoba oil boasts cleansing properties too. It is able to dissolve away any sebum that has been deposited within the pores, clearing the pores out and preventing blockages. This is all down to the fact that it can penetrate so deeply into the skin’s layers, thanks to its biocompatibility

How do you cleanse with jojoba oil?

Good question! Lots of skin and body products are infused with jojoba oil to enhance the cleansing properties, so all that sebum and clogged pores can be effectively and gently removed.

Are soaps infused with jojoba oil effective?

Resveralife soaps

These are soaps used for the skin on the body, and can be highly effective as an anti-acne measure, especially if you struggle with body acne. Resveralife recommends the Coco N’ Oats Soap and the Hemp Soap if you are looking for a swift, effective cleanse.

An Effective Sunscreen

Moisturizers are designed to support the skin’s protective barrier, enabling it to do its job better.

What does the skin’s barrier actually do?

It has two main responsibilities:

  • Keeping moisture in the skin by preventing it from evaporating
  • Blocking dirt, impurities and more from entering into the skin

Infographic on skin barrier function

Wondering why you need a moisturizer if your skin already does that on its own?

Because your skin’s outer protective layer is quite fragile and susceptible to damage. There are so many different factors out there that cause harm to this layer, from sun exposure and wind to pollution and certain cosmetic ingredients.

This then means that this protective barrier will not function as well as it should, resulting in everything from dryness to breakouts to other blemishes.

How does jojoba oil help with all of this?

Due to the fact that it is a waxy oil, jojoba oil forms its own protective layer over the surface of the skin. This enables it to perform both of the roles mentioned above, therefore effectively moisturizing the skin.

Helps to Treat Inflammatory Skin Conditions

The way in which jojoba oil can help to treat acne has already discussed, but there are other inflammatory skin conditions that this oil can be used for too…

Eczema and psoriasis are perfect examples of this.

Both of these skin conditions produce dry, itchy and sensitive areas on the skin, with those patches being highly susceptible to infections.

How does jojoba oil help?

Well, the way in which it forms a protective moisturizing layer over the surface of the skin helps with both the dryness as well as with preventing infections.

The oil also boasts antibacterial and antifungal properties. This means that the oil destroys any harmful bacteria and fungus it comes across, keeping infections at bay.

The oil’s anti-inflammatory properties help to soothe irritated skin, reducing inflammation enough for the skin to start healing.

Those who suffer from eczema and psoriasis also commonly deal with open skin wounds.

Again, jojoba oil can help with this too…

It is highly effective at speeding up wound healing. Research shows that, when the oil is applied to a wound, the skin cells in that area bind together so much more effectively, enabling them to heal faster and better. 

A Powerful Anti-Aging Ingredient 

Looking for a new ingredient to add to your anti-aging arsenal?

Jojoba oil may be just the thing…

A powerful anti-aging ingredient needs to be a good source of antioxidants.

Why?

Because each and every day, free radicals are created in the body. These are unstable molecules that are formed due to everything from exposure to the sun or pollution to exposure to certain chemicals or cosmetic ingredients.

What do these free radicals do?

They attack the cells and tissues that surround them, causing serious cumulative damage that then ends up permanently harming the DNA within your cells. Free radicals are responsible for everything from accelerated wrinkles to dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Wondering how you can stop free radicals from causing all of this damage?

With the use of antioxidants!

Antioxidants are pretty much the only thing that can neutralize free radicals. They turn them back into healthy molecules, where they can then function to support the skin, rather than attack it.

Jojoba oil contains quite a few different antioxidants, and in addition to neutralizing the free radicals in the body, they bring with them several other benefits too: 

  • Vitamin A – a powerful antioxidant that also stimulates skin cell turnover and provides the skin with a mild exfoliating effect. Vitamin A is one of the best anti-aging vitamins out there
  • Vitamin E – known for its healing properties, vitamin E is extremely effective at keeping the skin moisturized
  • Phenolic Compounds – protects the collagen and elastin in the skin, preventing them from being broken down

Speaking of collagen and elastin…

These two proteins are so important when it comes to the health and appearance of your skin. They are key components of your skin’s structure, giving your skin its firmness, smoothness and elasticity.

Both collagen and elastin are naturally produced by the skin, with the skin creating an abundance of this when it is young. However, as you progress through life, the amount of collagen and elastin that the skin produces decreases quite significantly. This is why fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin are such common symptoms of aging.

Infographic on collagen in the skin

Free radicals damage the collagen and elastin in the skin, so by making use of the antioxidants within jojoba oil, you are already taking steps when it comes to protecting these vital proteins.

However, jojoba oil can help with your collagen and elastin in other ways too…

Thanks to its many powerful antioxidants, jojoba oil is able to stimulate the skin’s production of collagen and elastin, speeding this back up. This is one of the most effective ways to tackle the visible signs of aging, as there aren’t really any topical ingredients out there that can match the effects that your skin’s own collagen and elastin have.

Using Jojoba Oil on Your Skin

Convinced that your skin would be able to benefit from the powers of jojoba oil?

You have a few different options when it comes to using this ingredient…

The easiest way is by purchasing skin care products that already contain jojoba oil in their formulas.

Fortunately, there are several of these to choose from, ranging from serums to moisturizers to oils. All of these are quite effective, so long as they contain a high quality source of jojoba oil.

Jojoba oil

How do you know if the jojoba oil in a product is high quality?

Ideally, it should be cold-pressed. This means that it has been extracted with minimal use of heat, which then preserves all of the skin-boosting compounds within the oil. An organic oil would be even more beneficial, as this ensures that the oil contains the minimum amount of toxins.

Wondering if jojoba oil can be used pure on the skin?

Unlike many of the natural essential oils out there that cannot be used on the skin, it is safe for pure jojoba oil to be applied to the skin.

The oil can also be used as a carrier oil for other essential oils, meaning that you can dilute other pure oils with jojoba oil to create your own unique formula.

Does Jojoba Oil Have Any Side Effects? 

Jojoba oil is a hypoallergenic ingredient, meaning that it is safe to be used topically by all skin types, with little chance of it causing a negative reaction. It is even safe to be used around the eyes, which is why this ingredient is so popular when it comes to oil-based eye makeup removers.

Of course, there are always exceptions, and the possible side effects you might experience from using jojoba oil on your skin are:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Hives

Fortunately, these side effects are very rare, with most people able to use the ingredient without any problems at all.

However, if your skin is particularly sensitive with new ingredients, you would be best off performing a patch test first before using jojoba oil on your skin.

What is a patch test?

It simply requires you to apply a small amount of the product onto your inner arm, before waiting for 24 to 48 hours. If, after this time, there is no sign of any irritations or reactions, then that means that you are safe to continue using the product.

Jojoba oil really is such a universal ingredient, which sets it apart from many of the other ingredients that are commonly used in skin care. No matter your skin type or the skin concerns you may be dealing with, it is likely that jojoba oil would be able to benefit your skin in some way, making this an ingredient worth incorporating into your daily skin care routine.

Workout friends high-five each other, resting

Setting Realistic Workout Expectations

When it comes to working out, consistency is key. Pushing yourself too hard will only damage your motivation, making it far less likely that you will stick to a regular workout routine. 

This is why it is so important to set yourself realistic workout expectations, as this is what will give you the best results. 

How do you make sure that your aims and goals are realistic? 

Here are some tips: 

Smart Goals

When it comes to setting goals, SMART is an acronym that can really help you. 

What does SMART stand for? 

  • Specific – your goal should be clear and succinct. Read on for advice on choosing these specific goals 
  • Measurable – this basically means that you need to add a number to your goal. Make sure that there is a way to numerically track your progress 
  • Attainable – this is the tricky part. Your specific, measurable goal needs to be difficult enough to challenge and motivate you but attainable enough for you to actually achieve 
  • Realistic – make sure that your goal is realistic and relevant to you, and that it is the right time in your life to be putting your time and focus into achieving it 
  • Timely – give your goal a realistic deadline 

Infographic on SMART goals

Confused? 

An example would be “I will go running four days a week for an hour each time, so that I can lose 5% of my body weight in six weeks time.”

Choosing Realistic Goals and Expectations

For many people, especially those who are new to working out, the main goal tends to be weight loss. 

There is nothing wrong with this, but you do need to make sure that you are still being realistic…

How can you set a realistic weight loss goal? 

You need to first take into account your current weight, along with your body fat percentage. The heavier you are, and the more body fat you have, the faster you will be able to lose this. 

Once your body fat percentage and weight starts to decrease, it will then take you longer to lose the rest. 

For many people out there, a good expectation to aim for would be to lose about one percent of your body weight a week. 

How about for those who are trying to build muscle and strength? 

Well, as above, those who are new to strength training will make progress faster. 

Ideally, you should be able to add five pounds to the amount you lift each week. 

For those who are beginners, you could aim to increase your body weight by between 1% to 1.5% each year. Those who are intermediate lifters should aim for about 0.5%, while those who are experts should aim for around 0.25%. 

As you can see, there is quite a bit to take into account when setting your goal. You will need to do some research into making sure that your goal is a realistic one, so that you know that you will be able to achieve it. 

Measuring and Documenting Your Progress 

To begin with, you need to write your goals down. 

Why? 

Because not only does this make them more definite and real, but research shows that those who write down their workout plans and aims exercise around twice as much as those who do not. 

Once you get started with your workouts, it is important to keep monitoring your progress. This will go a long way when it comes to keeping you on track to accomplishing your goal. 

How should you monitor your progress?

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Keep a log book – your log book should contain the following information: your workout schedule, the actual exercises you have done, the amount of time you spent working out and numbers relating to your goal. This could be weight loss numbers, fitness levels, or anything else. Keeping track of your energy levels and your mood can also be beneficial 
  • Use an app – there are so many different workout apps out there that will help you to track your progress. Many of these can be accompanied by pieces of wearable technology, enabling you to obtain the highest in accuracy 

Checking watch and mobile phone app for workout statistics

  • Keep a calender – this is similar to a log book, but laying it all out on a calendar will make it easier to visually see your overall progress 
  • Take pictures – taking pictures throughout your workout journey will enable you to compare any aesthetic changes side by side. They will also provide you with extra motivation when it comes to continuing on to making improvements to your body. Posting these photos on a social media account can also help to keep you accountable when it comes to sticking to your aims and goals 

Sticking to Your Goals

For those of you who already regularly work out, you have likely had those days where you just can’t seem to muster up the motivation to exercise. 

Sticking to your workout goals can be tough, but here are a few tips to help you out: 

  • Reward yourself – set yourself mini goals and then reward yourself each time you achieve one of these. The rewards could be anything from a pampering spa session to a short break away, depending on how much motivation you need 
  • Keep your workout bag packed – this makes it easier to just “grab and go” before a workout, rather than having to waste time sorting through your belongings and packing your bag 
  • Work out with friends and family – this not only makes working out more enjoyable, but will also hold you more accountable to your goals 
  • Plan some form of exercise for each day – even if you only plan to work out in the gym four times a week, you should still try to plan an active exercise for the remaining days of the week. This could be as simple as a bike ride, a hike with the dog, or even an evening stroll around your neighborhood 
  • Go public – whether you simply announce your goals to your friends and family, or set up a social media account where you post your progress, putting your goals out there in the big wide world makes it much harder to ignore them when things are feeling difficult 
  • Work with a personal trainer – this will give you some extra motivation, while the advice given to you during your workout will help to make your workout even more effective 

Aligning Your Diet with Your Workout Goals 

You are likely already well aware of the fact that your diet will have a huge impact when it comes to achieving your workout goals.

Eating the right foods before your workout will give your body the energy it needs to really thrive and be active, while eating certain foods afterwards will help when it comes to building muscle and reducing fat. 

So, which foods should you be eating? 

Well, before a workout, try to eat foods that are low in fiber and fat, but contain a moderate amount of protein and carbohydrates. Stay away from anything fried, greasy or filled with sugar. 

Drinking plenty of fluids with your food is also important. 

Why? 

Because the water in these fluids acts as a cooling mechanism for your body, while also preventing it from becoming dehydrated. 

What about sports drinks? 

All you really need is water. However, if you tend to sweat quite a bit, or are working out in a humid environment, then a sports drink could be quite beneficial. Of course, if weight loss is your end goal, then make sure that the sports drink you choose does not contain too many calories. There are many diet versions of sports drinks available, so these may be better suited to you. 

What should you be eating after your workout? 

Ideally, you want to be eating foods that contain plenty of protein. This is what your muscles need in order to recover from all the exercise, as well as to grow. 

However, don’t go overboard…

Your body only needs about 10 to 20 grams of protein after a workout.

Do you struggle to stick to a healthy diet? 

Here are some tips to follow to make it easier: 

  • Eat smaller meals, but eat these more frequently throughout the day. This will help to naturally raise your metabolism, enabling you to burn more calories in the end 
  • Give food prep a try. Sorting your meals from before will make it much easier to stick to a healthy diet 
  • Try not to skip meals. This may seem beneficial in the short run, but it only means that you are much more likely to over-eat during your next meal 
  • A journal that documents your diet will help you to eat healthier 

Keep Your Workouts Enjoyable

Working out can sometimes seem a bit tedious, and this only makes it so much harder to achieve your goals and expectations. 

The key here is to make sure that you are keeping your workouts fun and enjoyable. 

How? 

Well, to begin with, choose some exercises that you genuinely enjoy. For example, if you hate going to the gym, then coming up with a workout plan that revolves around the gym isn’t something that is going to fill you with excitement. 

In fact, working out outdoors can really give you a mental boost. Spending time in nature is extremely therapeutic, and you will likely find that you have a much clearer head after an outdoor workout. Research shows that exercising outdoors is much more effective at reducing feelings of stress than exercising indoors.

Yoga group in the park, morning

Try to keep mixing your workouts up, so that you aren’t doing the same exercises day in and day out. There are so many new and inventive exercises constantly being put out there, and trying something that you’ve never tried before will not only help in stimulating your body and muscles, but also your mind. 

This is especially the case for those who haven’t been seeing the results that they have been expecting. This could be a sign that the exercises you have chosen aren’t quite right for your goal, and it would be worth exploring other options. 

Listening to music while working out can also really be a game-changer…

Music has been shown to improve performance while also boosting motivation. 

Wondering if there is a particular genre of music you should be listening to? 

This all depends on the type of workout you are doing…

If you are warming up, something with a slightly slower tempo would be beneficial, while speed or endurance exercises would require a faster tune. 

There are many BPM (beats per minute) calculators online that can help you to work out the tempo of a particular song.

Here are some guidelines to follow: 

  • Warming up – 100 to 110 BPM
  • Stretching – 90 to 100 BPM 
  • Strength training – 110 to 120 BPM 
  • Endurance, agility and speed training – anything over 120 BPM 

Another way to make your workouts more fun is to exercise with someone else. As mentioned above, this also has the added advantage of giving you some extra motivation while also making you more accountable to your goals. 

Don’t have any friends or family who want to work out? 

That’s ok because there are plenty of workout groups that you can join. Whether you join a more informal workout meet-up or an actual class, working out with others will give you a support system that will make your workouts so much more enjoyable. 

Not only can it be difficult to decide upon workout expectations, but then you also have to make sure that you stick to your goals in order to actually achieve your expectations. This is why it is so important that any goals or expectations you set for yourself are realistic, as setting yourself up for success is key when it comes to successfully making progress with your workouts. 

Two glasses of coffee with cinnamon sticks

How to Spice Up Your Coffee This Holiday Season

The holidays are back and it’s time to spice up your beverages! That includes your regular cup of joe. Wondering how to do this? Fear not. From Moccocan spiced coffee to cinnamon brews, we have the best recipes for you to put the kick back into your caffeine hit.

Cinnamon Brew

This is a tasty coffee makeover that adds fragrance to your brew. The trick is to add powdered cinnamon to the coffee grounds before you start brewing. The end result is a warm spicy drink that will kickstart your morning.

Ingredients

  • For a 6-9 cup serving: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon will do. 
  • For a pour-over coffee: About 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon for every 16 ounces of water.

Instructions

  1. Mix the spice into the coffee grounds in the filter. For a more aromatic brew you can also add a little nutmeg into the brew; mix the nutmeg grounds and cinnamon in the ratio 1:1.
  2. Add sugar or cream and adjust to taste. A more exotic taste can also be achieved by substituting cinnamon with ginger grounds. You can also experiment with a mixture of cardamom and ground ginger for a more herbal taste.

Vanilla Syrup   

Vanilla is one of the easiest spices to come by. With a little know-how you can turn your coffee into flavored drinks using these beans. Vanilla extracts will do for either hot or cold coffee; it can also come in handy when brewing your own cappuccino or latte. 

Ingredients

Vanilla beans (one or several will do depending on your serving)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

The trick here is to dissolve vanilla (extract and the insides) in your sweeter before adding it to your coffee. 

  1. Split the bean long-ways and pour out the insides, scrape off to get every ounce of the creamy spice.
  2. Place the scrapped vanilla insides in a pan, add sugar and water. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved or turned into thick slurry. 
  3. Remove the creamy mixture from heat and add the vanilla extract to enhance the taste. Let the mixture cool down completely.
  4. Use a fine sieve to remove the beans’ fragments as you transfer the slurry into a serving (pourable) container. 
  5. Use the extract to your taste whenever you need to sweeten your coffee. 

The mixture can last for up to 2 weeks by keeping it cool it in a fridge 

Mint Syrup Coffee

Cold brew coffee with mint and sugar

Mint will not only flavor your drink but it will also leave your kitchen with a sweet, fresh fragrance. This delightful recipe calls for a herbal mint of your choosing. We recommend sprig leaves which are known to be highly concentrated with the minty aroma. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 sprig mint leaves

Instructions

  1. Heat the water to boil and add sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the leaves and let them steep in the mixture as it cool down. To get all the flavor by ensuring the leaves are completely submerged.
  3. After 3-5 hours, remove the leaves and store the liquid in a lidded container.
  4. Pour to taste whenever you crave a cup of coffee.

The mixture is good for up to a week if kept cold in a fridge.

Spiced Eggnog Coffee

Adding eggnog in your coffee will add a little over 100 calories to your drink, but the taste is well worth it. Take a cup of this creamy delight in the morning; this will do for most of your energy needs during the rest of the day.

Ingredients

  • A few teaspoons of eggnog
  • A pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the nog in a sauce pan and cook while stirring (do not let it boil)
  2. Add a pinch of nutmeg if you desire.
  3. Pour in a cup of black coffee and you are ready to go.

The drink can be taken with whipped cream for a more holiday feel

Moroccan Spiced Coffee

A touch of African coffee could be the warming up your body needs this holiday. This Moroccan brew ups your coffee’s flavor by adding a bit of peppery taste. Yes, that’s right… ground black pepper corns can be added to beverages. The brew is made spicier by adding freshly ground cardamom, cloves and cinnamon into the mix.

Ingredients

Ground coffee to your taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • A pinch of ground green cardamom seeds
  • 1 cup roasted coffee beans
  • Hot milk, sugar or cream as desired

Instructions

  1. Mix the freshly ground pepper, cardamom ginger, cloves and coffee beans in a blender. Whirl the mixture until it’s finely ground.
  2. Boil 4-5 cups of water.
  3. Pour milk in a saucepan and heat it but don’t let it boil.
  4. Pour the coffee plus spice mixture into the filter and pour the boiling water over it to extract the different flavors. Continue adding the water slowly allowing it to drip through the coffee grounds.
  5. When using a French press: pour the coffee plus spice mixture into the press pot. Pour in the boiling water and let the mixture steep for about 5 minutes. Bring the plunger down and serve.
  6. Add milk and sugar or cream as per your desire.

Spiced up White Coffee

Eggnog with cinnamon stick

A cup of white coffee can be made more enjoyable by adding a few simple spices. The recipe for this requires a one-time serving for a small gathering. Think of this recipe as a better alternative to chocolate flavored coffee. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves
  • A pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Instructions

  1. Warm the milk over medium heat (do not let it boil)
  2. Add the spices and stir to make a thick cream
  3. Whisk the mixture if you wish to make a light froth
  4. Pour the cream in a serving container and let your guest add it to their cups of black coffee.

The mixture will not last even when put in a refrigerator; serve all of it in one sitting.  

Almond Spiced Coffee Blend

Not everybody is up for milk; if you’re lactose intolerance or if you simply enjoy animal products, almond milk will do for a cup of creamy coffee. While you are it why not spice it up with a few ground flavors.

Ingredients

  • Almond milk to your taste
  • 2 teaspoons roasted ground coffee
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • A pinch of nutmeg and cardamom 

Instructions

  1. Add 8 cups of water to your coffee maker 
  2. Add coffee and the ground allspice 
  3. Brew as per machine instructions and use a paper filter to get rid of spice fragments
  4. Add almond milk and sweeter to taste 

Spiced Marmalade Coffee

Bring out the holiday cheer by making some fruit-spiced coffee. Orange marmalade in particular will add a citric-taste and sweet aroma to your brew. So the next time you are at the farmers’ market, be sure to pick up a few ripe oranges ready for marmalade coffee. Add some spices to your shopping list and let the holidays come to life.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup of marmalade
  • 3 cups of water

Instructions

  1. Mix the ground cloves, cinnamon and coffee and place them in your coffee filter. 
  2. Add the marmalade into the coffee in it semisolid form.
  3. Add water and let the mixture brew as per instructions.    
  4. Stir before serving to ensure that the marmalade is well dissolved and thoroughly blended 

Honey Spice Latte

A cup of latter with a small jar of honey

By combining several spices you can create a magical latte. In addition to sugar, add a little honey to your coffee. Honey is packed with amino acids and several other minerals that are extremely beneficial for your metabolism. If you have a sweet tooth you can add some molasses; this will also give the brew a richer texture and add on flavor. 

Ingredients  

  • 1/2 cup ground coffee
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of cloves

Instructions

  1. Mix the spices, sugar, honey, milk and molasses in a saucepan.
  2. Cook the mixture over medium heat while stirring for consistency (Do not let it boil). Remove from heat and blend the mixture for a few seconds until it’s foamy.
  3. Add the ground coffee to 5 cups of water in your coffee maker and brew as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Pour the coffee brew into five cups and divide the spicy mixture among them. 
  5. If whipped cream is your thing, use it to garnish this homemade latte.

Cinnamon Mocha Coffee

This is one of those brews that can be quite expensive at your local cafe. So instead of spending precious dollars over just a single cup, consider buying a few spices to brew a serving worth at least 5 cups. 

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cocoa 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Mix the sugar, milk, cocoa, and vanilla in a saucepan.
  2. Cook the slurry in medium heat for about 7 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the granules and milk get to blend completely. 
  3. Mix coffee and ground cinnamon in your coffee filter and 4 to 5 cups of water. Brew the mixture according to your liking or the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Serve the hot milk mixture and pour in the cinnamon spiced coffee 

Thia drink can be garnished with whipped cream or with a few cinnamon sticks.

Tips for Better Coffee

Using the recipes above you can whip up a few spices and really go beyond the ‘coffee with cream and sugar’ routine. However, to get the best out of your coffee brew, here are a few tips and tricks to spice it up further:

  • Make patterns on your latte; this is a fun way of getting people into the holiday mood. If a barista can do it, why not you?
  • It takes time for hot coffee to cool down, so when you are pressed for time, just make a ‘cold power’ brew.
  • Use ‘Robusta’ coffee when going for maximum caffeine brews – ‘Arabica’ packs about half the caffeine levels of the former.
  • When using ‘drip’ to make coffee, first run hot water through the coffeemaker to heat it up before you start brewing- this makes the end result more desirable.  
  • Prefer French press over drip coffee when you want a strong brew.

The Take-Away

You can make your coffee time more memorable by adopting the above recipes. These are coffee brewing methods that are meant to make your drink spicy, strong and flavored. Some of the spices that will help you in this include cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, peppercorn, cocoa and nutmeg. To enhance the taste of your brew, you can go with natural sweeteners such as honey and molasses. If minty is how you like your cup then try freshly ground green sprig leaves and to cap it all, consider making your coffee fruity by adding some orange marmalade.

Young beautiful woman looking in the mirror

All About Skin Thickness Explained

Many people think that they either have thin skin or thick skin, but did you know that your skin thickness varies around your body?

Not only that, but skin thickness also changes with age, significantly changing your appearance, making skin thickness a topic well worth knowing a bit more about!

What Exactly is the Difference Between Thin and Thick Skin?

The skin consists of three main layers:

  • Epidermis – provides protection against the world around you, preventing everything from bacteria and viruses to pollutants and water from entering your skin. It also helps to keep your skin’s moisture locked inside
  • Dermiscontains the hair follicles, sweat glands and connective tissue
  • Hypodermis – composed of fat and connective tissue

 

Within the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin, there are more layers to be found…

Thin skin contains four layers here, while thick skin contains five.

As you can imagine, this makes thin skin more vulnerable to damage than thick skin.

So, where on your body can you find thick and thin skin?

The Face

To put it simply, the skin on your face is much thinner than the skin on your body.

But, to make things slightly more complicated, different parts of your face will feature skin with a different thickness.

Let’s start with the skin around the eyes…

The skin here is up to ten times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face, which is why this area is usually the first to show visible signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. 

In addition to being thinner, the skin around the eyes, especially in the outer corners, is noticeably lacking in oil glands

Why does this matter?

Because oil glands are crucial when it comes to keeping the skin moisturized, preventing wrinkles and fine lines from developing.

So, how can you properly care for the skin around your eyes?

Here are a few tips:

  • Make use of antioxidants – make sure that the skin care products you use contain plenty of vitamins A, B, C and E, as well as beta-carotene and other antioxidants 
  • Keep it moisturizedmoisturizer gives your skin an additional layer of thickness and protection, making this especially important for areas of thin skin. Sodium hyaluronate is one of the best ingredients when it comes to hydrating this part of the face
  • Sun protectionbeing so thin, the skin around the eyes is highly susceptible to sun damage, so make sure that you are not only using a sun cream, but also wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat for added protection
  • Avoid squintingthis will only speed up the rate at which your fine lines and wrinkles develop
  • Be gentle – the skin around the eyes is delicate, so make sure that you are gentle when doing everything from removing makeup to cleansing. Don’t ever tug or pull at the skin here

Woman applying eye cream in front of mirror

Another part of your face where you will find thin skin is…

Your lips!

Yes, your lips consist of the same layers of skin as the rest of your face. The difference lies in the thickness of the epidermis, with the lips featuring an extremely thin epidermis.

Just like with the skin around your eyes, the skin on your lips does not contain any oil glands, with the only source of moisture here being the saliva from your mouth.

It goes without saying that the best way to give your lips some extra nourishment is by providing them with an additional moisture source, such as a hydrating lip balm. Try to find one that contains SPF, as the skin on your lips will experience UV damage just like the skin on the rest of your face and body.

The Neck and Chest

When it comes to the skin on your body, the skin on your neck and chest is the thinnest.

Again, just like the thin areas on the face, the neck and chest do not contain as many oil glands, meaning that both of these areas are highly prone to the visible signs of aging. Added to this is the fact that the neck undergoes so many different movements throughout the day, with all of these repeated motions leading to loose skin and wrinkling.

So, what can you do about this?

It’s actually quite simple…

All you need to do is extend your regular facial skin care routine downwards, so that you are covering your neck and your chest too.

Yes, this means everything from your cleanser to your exfoliant to your serum to your moisturizer, as the skin here needs all of this just as much as your face does.

The Hands

The hands are quite similar to the neck and chest, in that the skin here is quite thin.

This is why many people can instantly tell your real age just by looking at your hands.

Not only that, but the hands tend to be the part of the body that are always exposed to the sun, yet many tend to neglect this area when it comes to applying sunscreen. All of this sun exposure only leads to a breakdown in your skin’s collagen and elastin, making it even thinner than it was

How can you give the skin on your hands the care that it needs?

Moisturizing is key.

You likely wash your hands more often than you wash any other part of your body, but, each time you do, you are actually drying your hands out.

To counter this, make sure that you apply a layer of moisturizer or hand cream each time you wash your hands. Don’t worry about completely drying them either, because the cream will work so much better on damp skin.

Sun protection is also important. If you tend to forget this, try finding a hand cream that already contains SPF.

The Feet

While the actual soles of your feet may feature skin that is thick, the skin covering the rest of your feet is relatively delicate.

However, not only does it have to deal with its own fragile nature, but it also experiences so much wear and tear from the use of improperly fitting shoes.

In fact, 70% of foot problems are caused by ill-fitting shoes, and this definitely isn’t going to do your skin here any favors.

As you can imagine, the best way to prevent this is by making sure that your shoes fit you properly. Any quality shoe store will be more than happy to help you with this. 

A moisturizer or foot cream can also really help to keep the skin here moisturized.

But don’t forget…

Just because the soles of your feet have thick skin, this doesn’t mean that you can completely neglect them.

The skin here contains no oil glands, meaning that it is prone to dryness.

Sun damage can also take a toll here, often without people even realizing.

So, why not give your entire foot some TLC each week?

Give this indulgent foot routine a try:

  • A foot soak – either in a small tub or a bath, add in some Epsom salts, colloidal oatmeal, jojoba oil, and a few drops of your favorite essential oils, before soaking your feet for around ten minutes 
  • Exfoliateuse a pumice stone to gently give your feet a rub
  • Moisturizemake sure that you apply a layer of moisturizer while your feet are still slightly damp. To make sure that it doesn’t rub off, try slipping on a pair of thin cotton socks
  • Oilif your feet are especially dry and are cracking, a layer of a moisturizing oil, such as olive, coconut, or safflower, can really help

The Elbows and Knees

The elbows and knees experience quite a bit of friction, since they are usually rubbing against something.

This is fine when you are younger, but, as you age, skin cell turnover declines, meaning that your older skin cells remain on the surface of your skin for longer.

This means that the rough and discolored skin cells on your elbows and knees, caused by all of the extra friction, build up, leading to the appearance of thicker skin around these joints. The skin here can also often look and feel dull and rough.

So, what can you do about this?

Exfoliation, especially with hydroxy acids, can really help. These acids will dissolve away the glue-like substance that is holding the dead skin cells to your elbows and knees, allowing this rough and discolored skin to simply be washed away.

What you will be left with are the fresh and new skin cells beneath.

While they may look radiant and new, don’t forget that they are also extremely vulnerable to the elements, especially the sun. Sun protection is always important, but it becomes even more so after you have exfoliated.

Keeping the area moisturized is also key. Look for a rich and thick moisturizer that contains urea and hyaluronic acid, as these ingredients will really help to hydrate the skin.

If you are already using a retinol product on your face, try using this on your elbows and knees too.

Why?

Because the retinol will not only exfoliate the skin here, but will also increase collagen production and keep the skin smooth and firm.

Skin Thickness Changes with Age

Even though parts of your skin may already be quite thin, your skin thickness actually changes with age, with your skin becoming even thinner the older you get.

Illustration of young versus aged skin

Why does this happen?

Due to several different factors, such as a breakdown in collagen and elastin, along with a decrease in oil production.

In fact, after the age of 20, a person produces around 1% less collagen in their skin each year.

If this sounds frightening, don’t worry just yet…

There are actually several different ingredients out there that can not only help to prevent thinning skin, but can also help to thicken thin skin back up.

INGREDIENTS TO PREVENT AND TREAT THINNING SKIN

Here are just a few of the ingredients that you can turn to if you are worried about thinning skin:

  • Retinol – a potent derivative of vitamin A, retinol has been proven to thicken both the epidermis as well as the dermis. It also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin within the dermis
  • Hydroxy Acidsboth alpha and beta hydroxy acids are exfoliants, meaning that they clear away the top layer of skin. While this may seem as though it is thinning your skin, the act of exfoliation actually sends a signal to the epidermis to produce more skin cells. By exfoliating regularly, your epidermis will soon naturally thicken up 
  • Vitamin Cextremely effective at boosting natural collagen production, while its antioxidant properties help to protect skin cells from environmental damage
  • Vitamin Eworks hand in hand with vitamin C, magnifying the way in which it works
  • Plant Oilsthese can give your skin the nourishment it needs to thrive, while protecting it from environmental damage. Look for oils high in oleic acid, as this will contain extra antioxidant properties. Oils to consider include avocado, camellia seed, olive, and apricot kernel 
  • Peptidespeptides are basically mini proteins, and, when applied topically, they send a signal to your skin to produce more collagen
  • Hyaluronic Acida humectant that draws moisture from the air into the skin, therefore hydrating it and plumping it up, giving it an immediately thicker and healthier appearance

Now that you understand how skin thickness varies around the body, you will be able to take the necessary steps when it comes to protecting areas of thin skin. These areas are extremely delicate and fragile, and if you want to delay the onslaught of skin aging for as long as possible, learning how to properly care for your skin is key.

15 Fun Ways To Move More

Keeping fit is very important.

Why?

For a number of reasons, such as:

  • It helps to keep your weight under control
  • It prevents certain health conditions, such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, different types of cancer and more
  • It boosts your mood, thanks to the way in which it triggers your brain to release feel-good chemicals
  • It increases your energy levels
  • It boosts brain function
  • It improves digestion and gut health
  • It promotes better sleep

Don’t enjoy exercising?

This is actually quite common, but it only means that you haven’t yet found the right physical activity for you.

If you need some inspiration, here are 15 fun ways to get moving more:

Cook Yourself a Meal

Did you know that you can combine the time you spend cooking yourself a meal in your kitchen with a workout?

You are probably wondering how…

Well, there are a few ways in which you can go about doing this:

  • Enthusiastically wiping down your counters will burn 200 calories an hour
  • Putting away any gadgets, and doing things like mashing potatoes or kneading dough by hand, will really use some muscles
  • Use your counter-tops to do a few push-ups
  • Perform a squat each time you load something in the dishwasher
  • Wash your dishes by hand

Not only will all of this give your body some exercise, but you’ll also end up with a tasty meal at the end of it. Just make sure that it is something healthy, so that you don’t undo all of the hard work you have just done! 

Doga

Never quite taken to the idea of yoga?

You might change your mind if you can bring your pooch with you…

Doga, which refers to doing yoga with a dog, is becoming increasingly popular, because not only is this a great way for people to keep fit, but their dogs benefit too.

Having your dog with you also makes the whole experience so much more fun, as well as social, since pooches are such a great ice breaker when it comes to meeting new people.

There are doga classes held all over the world, but if you would like to give doga a try from the comfort of your own home first, you will find several tutorials online that will help the two of you to get started. 

Geocaching

If you used to love treasure hunts as a child, then geocaching may be right up your street.

Never heard of it before?

All you need to do is download a geocaching app on your smartphone, and then pick a set of GPS coordinates in your area. Follow these coordinates to find the geocache, which is a hidden marker or container at that location, but can be just about any shape or size.

What do you do once you find the geocache?

Open it up and sign the logbook. Some geocaches also have small gifts within them. However, the rule of the game is that if you take something, you need to replace this with a small item or gift of your own

Once you are done, put the geocache back in the same place that you found it. You can then share your experience via the app if you desire.

There are geocaches hidden in 190 countries around the world, with millions to be found, so you will never be short of new adventures to have.

Pole Dancing

Pole dancing as a workout has become so popular, with these moves offering up a fun way to stay active.

The best way to begin is by signing yourself up for a pole dancing class, as these will take you through the basic moves that you need to know.

Wondering how pole dancing benefits your body?

In a number of ways, such as:

Thanks to how popular pole dancing classes have become, these are now available in so many different countries, with competitive rates.

Horseback Riding

For those who love animals, especially horses, horseback riding seems like a no-brainer when it comes to keeping fit.

Even if you have never ridden before, this is such an easy hobby to pick up.

Just be warned…

Horse riding can become extremely addictive!

Want to know how to get started?

Look for a riding center or stables near you, and then see what sort of lessons they offer. You will usually be able to choose between private lessons or group sessions. Both of these have their advantages, so opting for a mix of both would probably be best.

Circus Workouts

The circus is always so exciting and awe-inspiring.

If you love the circus, why not bring some of that energy and excitement into your own life?

You are probably wondering how to do this…

Many gyms around the world now offer circus-inspired workouts.

What do these involve?

A wide mix of activities, from juggling and trapeze work to tumbling and jumps.

Just one thing to keep in mind…

Make sure that the gym you choose uses equipment that has been modified for beginners.

Community Trash Pick-Ups

Passionate about environmental causes?

That same drive can also help you to get moving more.

How?

You have likely heard of, or even participated in, community trash pick-ups. These are basically when people from the community get together to clear up trash from a certain area, whether this may be a park, a beach, a forest, or any other natural setting.

Not only will you be doing good for your local environment, but joining in on one of these sessions will also get you moving quite a bit, and will work out a number of different muscle groups in your body.

Trampolines

Many people equate trampolines with children, but more and more adults are turning to trampolines as a way to stay fit.

How does all of that jumping help your body?

Well, not only does it tighten and tone your core, but it also helps with calorie loss, and gives you a cardio workout that is just as effective as going for a run, but without stressing your joints in the way that running does. 

There are so many different moves that you can do on a trampoline, and plenty of classes that you can join to teach you how to do these.

One thing to remember…

While you may be tempted to get bouncing straight away, make sure that you warm up for a few minutes first, as this will prepare your muscles for the workout ahead. Cooling off for a few minutes once you are done is also just as important.

Exergaming  

If you love video games, then exergaming could be the perfect workout for you.

What is exergaming?

It refers to playing video games that encourage you to be physically active.

Research shows that many exergames can offer up the same health benefits as traditional exercise, and there are an increasing number of studies that continue to back up the many benefits that exergaming has. These include:

One big benefit to exergaming is that not only does it keep you moving, but it is also a form of entertainment, and is one that will likely easily keep you fully engaged.

There are exergames available on all video gaming platforms, from the Xbox to the Wii, and even on mobile devices, making this an easy hobby to pick up.

Play a Musical Instrument

You are probably wondering why playing a musical instrument is on a list of ways to move more…

This is because playing a musical instrument actually results in an increase in physical activity.

How?

Well, no matter what instrument you choose to play, you likely make full use of your arm and back muscles, not only while you are playing but also to hold your instrument up.

Certain instruments, such as the drums, will even give you a cardio workout!

Karaoke Workouts

Do you love to sing?

If so, you definitely need to give a karaoke workout a try.

These are usually found at cycling or spinning classes, with a television screen, complete with karaoke words and instructions, attached to each bike.

If you are quite picky about the type of music you enjoy, it would be worth checking out the song list before signing up to the class. Some instructors, in order to prevent students from getting too carried away, will only open up certain songs during each class.

If you have a friend with a karaoke system at home, that’s even better! This means that you can get a group of friends together to belt out your vocals.

High Heel Workouts

Yes, a high heel workout is exactly what it sounds like – working out in your high heels.

Wondering why you would want to do this?

Well, these workouts not only give you some exercise, but also teach you how to wear high heels safely.

When you are wearing a pair of heels, your center of gravity shifts to the front. These classes will teach you how to adjust your posture when this happens, so that you don’t cause any damage to your lower back or feet.

This will also help you to strengthen your lower leg and foot muscles, both of which will make a long day on your feet seem much less tiring.

Hula Hooping

Hula hooping has become quite trendy recently, with everyone from Kelly Osbourne to Michelle Obama giving it a go.

Hula hooping is a great way to give your body a workout, because not only does it strengthen your core, but it exercises other muscle groups too.

When it comes to weight loss…

You lose about seven calories a minute while hula hooping.

Think this doesn’t sound like much?

It’s actually more than what you would lose per minute when doing everything from walking briskly to aerobics to Pilates.

Never quite got the hang of hula hooping?

Here are a few tips:

  • Go for a heavier, rather than a lighter, hoop, as this makes it easier to build momentum
  • A bigger hoop will be easier, as this gives you more time to react to the movements necessary 

Cleaning Your House

Don’t have time to work out?

Try combining a workout with a house cleaning session instead.

While housework may be boring, giving your body a workout at the same time makes the task seem all the more valuable.

Wondering how to do this?

Here are some ideas:

  • Do squats or forward bends when putting items away 
  • Walk briskly up the stairs
  • Wash dishes to tone your arm muscles, making sure to do 20 repetitions per arm
  • Perform lunges while using your vacuum cleaner
  • Stretch your body and muscles while dusting
  • Iron for an hour, with a good posture, to burn around 150 calories
  • Blast some music and dance around the house while cleaning

Not only will you end up with well-worked muscles, but you will also be able to enjoy a clean house at the end of it all.

An Urban Workout

Do you live in an urban area?

There is no reason why you can’t use the urban environment around you to put together a fun workout.

How?

Begin by heading on over to your local playground…

The equipment that you will find here is ideal for pull-ups, while a picnic table is great for doing some tricep dips.

Found some spare tires?

These can be used for shoulder presses, while a park bench is perfect for push-ups.

Exercising definitely does not need to be boring. There are so many unique and fun ways out there to get your body moving more, so try being more creative when it comes to finding ways to stay physically fit.

Tired woman at her work desk

What’s Causing Your Daytime Fatigue?

Do you often find it difficult to stay awake and concentrate during the day?

If so, you could be suffering from daytime fatigue, which is often linked to another medical problem.

Here are nine different causes of daytime fatigue, as well as tips on what you can do about them.

Hypersomnia

Hypersomnia is a condition that refers to either:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • An excessive amount of time spent sleeping

If you have hypersomnia, you will likely find yourself falling asleep at random points during the day, even while you are talking or driving.

Hypersomnia is extremely common, affecting around 40% of people at some point in their lives. 

What causes hypersomnia?

Here are a few of the most common causes of the condition: 

  • Sleep disorders, which will be explained in more detail below
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • A head injury
  • Being overweight
  • Genetics
  • Depression and anxiety

So, if you have hypersomnia, what can you do about it?

You should first have this confirmed by your doctor, who will also be able to prescribe different drugs to help treat the condition.

You can also try to identify the cause of your hypersomnia, and then work to reverse this. For example, if it is caused by being overweight, losing weight can help, while changing your sleeping habits so that you get more sleep will prevent sleep deprivation from causing your hypersomnia.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is extremely common, and simply refers to a person not getting enough sleep

How much sleep is enough?

Experts recommend between seven to nine hours of sleep each night, although this does vary between individuals, and also changes with age.

While missing out on a couple of hours once in a while will not cause any harm, experiencing frequent bouts of sleep deprivation can definitely lead to daytime fatigue.

How can you overcome this?

The obvious answer would be…

Get more sleep!

Here are a few tips to help you to get more quality sleep:

  • Set a regular schedule – a regular sleep schedule will help to train your body clock into feeling tired at the same time each evening, while waking itself up at the same time each morning. Make sure that you stick to this schedule, even on the weekends
  • Stay away from caffeine or alcohol from late afternoon onwardsboth of these can hugely impact your sleep, as well as its quality
  • Don’t keep blue light-emitting electronics in your bedroomthe blue light that comes from the screens of these devices keeps your body awake for longer
  • Avoid daytime nappingeven if you feel tired during the day, avoid the temptation to nap, as this will only prevent you from falling asleep at the optimum time that night
  • Work out in the morningsyou may think that exercising would help you to fall asleep, but this actually raises the heart rate and triggers the release of adrenaline into your body, both of which will keep you awake. However, exercise done in the mornings, or even the afternoons, can actually help you to sleep better at night
  • Avoid eating two hours before bedthis sets your digestive system in motion, which can keep you awake

Infographic on how to get better sleep

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders cause you to frequently wake up during the night, which then interferes with the quality of your sleep, leading to you feeling chronically fatigued each day.

These are some of the most common sleep disorders:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea – the most common sleep disorder, affecting more than 20 million adults in the USA alone. This disorder consists of a blockage in the airways, meaning that the brain wakes itself up to send a signal to the respiratory system to continue functioning normally. This usually causes a person to stop breathing for about 10 to 20 seconds, and can occur hundreds of times throughout the night, without a person even realizing it
  • Narcolepsythis is an autoimmune disorder in which the brain is not able to properly control its sleep and wake cycles. This means that you experience the REM stage of sleep, which is when you are sleeping the deepest, at random points during the day
  • Restless Leg Syndromethis neurological disorder causes a person to feel an uncomfortable sensation in their legs, which leads to them moving their legs around to relieve this. Since this makes it difficult for a person to fall asleep, as well as stay asleep, the result is daytime fatigue

Treatments vary for each sleep disorder, and in some cases, especially for restless leg syndrome, these disorders can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. This makes it important to see a doctor if you think that you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. 

Depression

Depression is much more common than you would think…

Around 300 million people around the world, including 16.2 million adults in the USA, have depression. It is also believed that around 15% of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lives. 

What does this have to do with daytime fatigue?

Research shows that people with depression are much more likely to experience daytime fatigue. Not only that, but people who already have daytime fatigue are much more likely to end up depressed.

As you can see, this results in a vicious circle that can be difficult to break out of.

When it comes to treating depression…

There are many treatment options out there, depending on the severity of your depression. This is something that only a professional can advise you on, so make sure that you speak to a doctor if you think that you may be depressed.

Too Much Caffeine

Coffee is commonly drunk to help people stay awake and alert, but, sometimes, it can have the opposite effect.

While a cup or two won’t do any harm, drinking too much caffeine can lead to:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • A jittery feeling
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

What happens once the caffeine wears off?

You end up “crashing”, resulting in you feeling completely fatigued.

What can you do about this?

Well, let’s begin by what you shouldn’t do…

Drinking even more coffee in order to overcome this would be the worst way to deal with the problem.  

Instead, try to cut back on the amount of caffeine you drink.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to completely cut caffeine out of your life, because this will only leave you with withdrawal symptoms.

Try slowly weaning yourself off the coffee, as well as any other caffeinated drinks. Replace these with water or other drinks, so that you are consuming less caffeine each day.

A Poor Diet

The food that you eat fuels your body, so it only makes sense that your body will feel weak and tired if it is not being fed with the right nutrients.

Let’s begin with the most important meal of the day…

Breakfast!

So many people out there skip breakfast, not realizing just how crucial this meal is.

Why is it so important?

Because the food that you eat for breakfast helps to wake your body up, giving your metabolism a kick start for the day. Without breakfast, your energy levels will be lacking from the start of the day.

If you don’t have time for breakfast, or are simply too tired early in the mornings…

Try putting a small grab-and-go morning snack together the night before, and then slowly build up your new breakfast habit to encompass larger and more filling meals.

Now on to the rest of the food you eat…

Try to avoid large and heavy meals during the day, as these can often leave you feeling bloated and lethargic.

Make sure that your diet is a balanced one, featuring plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, nuts and seeds. 

Why is this important?

Because if you eat processed, high-sugar foods instead, this causes a spike in your blood sugar levels. Once this drops back down, it leaves you feeling fatigued and low.

Premenstrual Syndrome

PMS manifests differently in every single woman out there.

For many, daytime fatigue is one of the symptoms, and this is actually extremely common.

Your body produces a hormone called melatonin, which helps it to regulate its sleep cycles. During your premenstrual phase, as well as your menstrual phase, melatonin levels fluctuate, often decreasing. This then keeps you up at night, making you feel fatigued during the day.

Not only that, but the hormonal changes during your premenstrual phase can lead to an increase in the amount of deep sleep that you experience. However, this occurs during the day as well as the night, causing you to feel tired and sluggish.

Dehydration

Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated?

This is a condition that affects millions of people, even though it is so easily prevented.

How does this relate to daytime fatigue?

Because research shows that dehydration is the number one cause of midday fatigue.

How does dehydration cause this?

Due to the way in which a lack of water causes your blood pressure to drop. This then leads to headaches, fatigue and a loss of concentration. 

How much water should you be drinking each day?

This varies, not only depending on your weight but also your activity levels through the day. A good amount to aim for would be around two liters a day, but don’t forget that you will also be getting a small chunk of this from the food that you eat, especially if your diet is high in fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Can’t seem to drink enough water during the day?

Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Mix up a pitcher of fruit-infused water to give your water some extra flavor
  • Try to drink a full cup of water before every meal
  • Download an app to help you to track how much water you are drinking, as well as setting alarms to remind you to drink some water
  • If you are drinking a sugar-filled drink, try diluting this down with some water
  • Install a water filter, as this can help your water to taste better
  • Mae sure that you drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume

Remember…

If you are feeling thirsty, then this means that you are already dehydrated.

A Sedentary Lifestyle

More and more people are experiencing a sedentary lifestyle these days, and this is actually a common cause behind daytime fatigue.

How are the two connected?

Well, the lack of physical activity leads to your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems de-conditioning, while also depressing your mood. Both of these can then result in daytime fatigue.

There is so much research out there that backs up the way in which exercise is able to help reverse daytime fatigue, making this something well worth trying.

Hate the idea of exercise?

Physical activity doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours in the gym.

If you really think about it, you are guaranteed to be able to find some form of physical activity that appeals to you. Whether this may be a dance class, a group dog walk, a visit to the beach, a gardening session, or even blasting some music at home and dancing around the house, any activity that gets you up and moving regularly can help you to feel less fatigued during the day.

Daytime fatigue is extremely common, but so frustrating to deal with due to the way in which it impacts everyday life. In order to overcome your daytime fatigue, spend some time working out the cause of it, as treating the root issue will be the most effective way to deal with the problem.

Woman eating healthy salad

Habits That Help You Maintain Healthy Vision

By now most of us know: pretty = healthy. If you want pretty skin, you need to make sure we have a fully stocked beauty arsenal. If you want a rock solid body, you better make sure you’re hitting the gym and not the vending machine. If you want shampoo commercial hair, you need to make sure the hot oil treatment is on hand. The same goes for our eyes. If you want to keep those peepers clear and gorgeous, you need to keep them healthy; the only question is, how do you know whether your giving them the care they need? It might surprise you to know that there may be a few things you’re doing that are actually hurting those pretty eyes, and here are some of them. Read on to learn what not to do if you want to keep your eyes healthy for a good long time.

Sleeping in Contacts

If you heard about the woman whose eye examination revealed 27 contact lenses in her eyes, you probably know that sleeping in contacts is not such a great idea. While there are two types of contacts that the FDA has approved for overnight wear, New York optometrist, Deeba Chaudri warns that even these can be risky.  According to a study by the American Academy of Ophthamology, the risk of developing a corneal ulcer is multiplied by 10 or 15 times in extended wear contact lens users, compared to those who wear contacts only during the day.

Don’t Rub Your Eyes

Your mama always told you not to do it. The professionals concur. Says Chaudri, “Sometimes your eyes itch and you have to rub, but it’s best to keep the lid closed and only touch the outside of the eye.” Rubbing your eyes too hard can lead to inflammation and broken blood vessels, not to mention, eyes are a breeding ground of bacteria, so, “If you shake someone’s hand and then you rub your eyes, you’re transmitting those germs and there’s a good chance you can catch whatever cold he’s got.”

Get Annual Eye Exams

Even if your vision is 20/20, you should still see an eye doctor once a year. Chaudri says, “It’s about getting your overall eye health checked out: There are no pain receptors behind the eye, so if you have a broken blood vessel or a tumor back there, you would otherwise not know it until it starts to interfere with your vision, or worse.”

Staring At Devices

Looking at phones and computers is a tough habit to break, but focusing on anything for too long a time can cause eye strain and headaches. Chaudri advises following the 20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes looking at the screen, take a 20 second break, look into the distance, focus your eyes on something else, and make a conscientious effort to blink, you may have been staring for a long time without realizing it.

Applying Eyeliner to the Waterline

Even though the look may pop up in a few fashion magazines, applying liner to the inside of the lower lashes can come with a risk. According to Chaudri, “When you put liner inside your eye, you’re mixing it with your tears.” If you have contacts in, your lenses can get coated with makeup particles that prevent your eyes from getting ample amounts of oxygen. If you’re not wearing contacts, those makeup particles can bring infection causing germs into your eyes. Liquid liners are the worst offenders because the applicator tube can harbor bacteria. Soft pencils are safer because they are continually being worn down to expose a new tip.

What are you doing to keep your eyes healthy and beautiful? Let us know what healthy eye tips you swear by.

Nuclear family enjoying dinner together

The Profile Of A Healthy TV Dinner

The original frozen dinners were literal recipes for disaster. Take the fact that they were first introduced  in the 1950’s when a nutritious dinner was defined by meatloaf and mashed potatoes with pie for desert. Add to that the fact that they catered to bachelors, whose main goals of eating were to fill their stomachs. Then, consider that the food had to be preserved, which adds a boatload of sodium to the equation. Put it all together, and you get a 1,040 calorie chicken pot pie, with 62 grams of fat, 26 grams of saturated fat, 1,480 mgs of sodium, and 14 grams of sugar.

As you may have guessed, there has been an appropriate amount of backlash. With the increased knowledge of nutrition, it comes as no surprise that sooner or later someone was likely to come up with a slightly more balanced way of preparing dinner instantly. Here are some of the kindler, more gentler versions of the original enemy of the artery.

Chicken and Harissa Chickpeas

The ingredient list in this meal is so healthy, you might start feeling stronger just thinking about it.  This North African option blends chicken, broccoli, butternut squash, chickpeas, brown jasmine rice and kale, topped with harissa, a spicy paste consisting of garlic, hot chili peppers, coriander, and caraway seeds, known to blast away fat. Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives the sauce its kick, is a proven appetite suppressant and metabolism booster, and the regular consumption of the caraway seed is associated with weight loss as well.

Quinoa Bowls

You may not know how to pronounce it, but you have probably seen quinoa popping up on restaurant menus and in health food stores quite a lot recently. Why are the bowls popular? They provide an easy way to combine flavors and spices with protein, healthy grains, and produce. The South American inspired quinoa bowl mixes meat free proteins, such as black beans, and red quinoa, for a meat free answer to high protein.

The Profile Of A Healthy TV Dinner

Thai Stir Fry

With all the new super foods on the market, tofu almost seems to get taken for granted. However, its still a very healthy option and can be the basis of a smart frozen dinner choice. Try an organic heat and eat, mixing tofu with a rainbow of veggies, including carrots, cabbage, broccoli, jalapeños, zucchini, and hot pepper for a low fat, high protein boost.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Ravioli in the microwave! How revolutionary! These protein and vitamin A filled ravs are stuffed with ricotta and butternut squash, and topped with kale, roasted tomatoes, and a sage garlic and lemon sauce. Wait til you tell your coworkers what was on the menu at your house last night!

Black Bean and Mango Bowl

This is an exotic combo for a frozen dinner. The entree is served on a bed of whole grain and sesame pilaf, comprised of brown rice oats rye, red wheat, barley, and sesame seeds. Top that with black beans, peppers, carrots and roasted onions, and you’ve got a bowl loaded with fiber and protein. Add some mango, ginger, and other seasonings, and you have preservatives that keeps the sodium content down for better heart health.

What is your best frozen dinner recipe? Let us know how you do health in front of the TV!

Smiling woman undergoing mammography

Guidelines For Female Mammography

You’re a big girl now. You pick out your own clothes in the morning, you make your own lunch, you go to sleep when you want to, and you book your own doctor’s appointments – but that’s not to say you have no questions about them. If you’re nearing the age of 40, you’re probably wondering if you should be booking your first mammogram, and with the conflicting information from medical groups, you may wish that someone would make the decision for you. If you’re nearing 40 and are a little confused about the issue of when to get your first mammogram, here are some guidelines that may provide some clarity.

When Should I Start Getting Mammograms?

The best course of action in deciding whether or not to get a mammogram is to check with a doctor. He will take your age, family, and other things into account to determine whether a mammogram is something you need to have done sooner rather than later.

The Conflict

If you look at the advice from medical groups, you will find a lot of conflicting information. While the American Cancer Society has been urging women for years to start having mammograms at 40, it is now recommending women to starts at 45, or 40 if the patient prefers. The American College of  Obstetricians and Gynecologist are holding fast at 40, while the US Preventative Services Task Force are saying women can put mammograms off until 50.

Who’s Right?

Therese Bevers, MD says there are pros and cons to starting early and upsides and downsides to waiting a few years. Here are some of the things you may want to consider in determining when to get your first mammogram.

False positives

A false positive means that a mammogram shows something that looks suspicious, but turns out to be harmless. This is more likely to happen in younger women. Premenopausal women tend to have dense breasts which can make mammograms difficult to read, and getting called back for another mammogram can be very stressful.

Earlier testing also means more cancers can be found. Although that may seem like a good thing, some cancers grow so slowly that there unlikely to affect you, however, doctors may not be able to tell which ones will turn to be problematic, and which will not. This can result in women seeking and receiving cancer treatment they really don’t need.

Early Detection

The biggest upside of starting your mammographies at 40 is that you are less likely to die of breast cancer, which is why Beavers still urges women to start at 40 and get checked on a yearly basis.

Weighing the Pros And Cons

In trying to decide whether or not to start your breast examinations at 40, ask yourself how you would feel if you got a false positive. One survey found that one-third of women would be willing to deal with false positives if it meant avoiding breast cancer.

Also, consider how you would feel if you ended up receiving cancer treatment you didn’t need. One study showed that as many as ten women may be getting over diagnosed for each avoided death.

You also may want to take into account whether or not there is a family history of breast cancer. If breast cancer is common in your family, you may want to start having the checks even earlier than 40.

However, even if breast cancer is not a genetic concern for you, it is still important to have mammograms done. Cancer doctor Dennis Citrin, MB, Ph.D. says, “Eighty-five percent of all breast cancers are not related to a specific gene mutation,” and adds that women who get mammograms regularly are 20% less likely to die from breast cancer.

What do you think? Should you start getting mammograms at 40, or is it better to wait?

Woman preparing kimchi in clear jars

This Side Dish Is Great For Your Health

Sauerkraut. It may be thought of as cole slaw’s less appreciated distant cousin. Both are made from sliced cabbage, yet, it may be said that sauerkraut takes a more acquired taste. However, that’s not to say the sour side dish does not have its own cult following. Dyed in the wool New Yorkers couldn’t imagine their beloved Reuben sandwich without the distinctive taste of the fermented cabbage, and a baseball game just wouldn’t be the same without a tangy heap of the condiment topping traditional the hot dog. It may not surprise you to know, that there may be a reason for the less favorable comparison the less favorable comparison to cole slaw.
Although both dishes are vegetable based, cole slaw is smothered in processed mayonnaise, whereas coleslaw get its taste from more natural sources, which actually, makes it surprisingly good for you. Here are some of the reasons sauerkraut may be giving coleslaw a run for the money/

  • Sauerkraut is Packed With Vitamins

Sauerkraut is packed with vitamin C, a vital antioxidant that joins forces with vitamin K, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous to give sauerkraut its vitamin packed punch. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which helps the body defend itself from stress and damage from free radicals. Vitamin K is know to support healthy clotting of bloods, while fermentation makes minerals easier for the body to absorb.

  • Sauerkraut Is Good For Digestion

Sauerkraut is a probiotic, which means it contains beneficial bacteria that help to protect against toxins and less beneficial bacteria. In other words, probiotics fuel the good bacteria in the gut to improve digestive health, which can lessen bloating, diarrhea, gas, constipation and even symptoms linked to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

  • Sauerkraut can Assist In Weight Loss

Fiber filled and low in calories, sauerkraut can make you feel full longer which makes it a perfect snack for in between meals and an excellent aid in weight control. Its tangy potent taste also stays around for a while to keep taste buds satisfied, and at only 15 calories in two thirds a cup, it would be hard to gain a significant amount of weight on a sauerkraut diet.

  • Sauerkraut Can Reduce Alzheimer’s

Studies show a link between gut health and brain health. In fact, a recent study done by Lund University in Sweden found that unhealthy flora in the intestines can speed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Additional research on mice showed that probiotics have a positive effect on the memory.

  • Sauerkraut is Heart Healthy

Researchers have found that sauerkraut reduces triglyceride and cholesterol levels while boosting antioxidant levels that help to rid the body of oxidative agents that can damage the blood vessels and heart. The fiber in sauerkraut helps rid the walls of the arteries and blood vessels of cholesterol by forming a bond with the fats and cholesterol and removing them from the body, resulting in lower cholesterol absorption by the bloodstream.

What ways are you finding to include more sauerkraut in your diet? Let us know your best sauerkraut recipes!

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