Smiling woman in winter sweater

How to Boost Your Skin’s Winter Radiance

The winter months can quickly take their toll on your skin, zapping it of its radiance. 

Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can boost this back up, resulting in that vibrant winter glow you have always dreamed about. 

Use a Gentler Cleanser

In the warmer months, your skin’s sebaceous glands naturally produce more oil. However, this slows down in the winter. This, coupled with the fact that the dry air outside, as well as inside from artificial heating, is sucking away your skin’s moisture, means that you need to try to retain as much of your natural oils as possible.

Retaining your natural oils will give your skin the radiant glow you’re looking for.

What does this have to do with your cleanser? 

Well, a cleanser is designed to clear away dirt, makeup and, of course, oil from the skin. A stronger and more potent cleanser will do this to a greater extent, stripping away a large portion of the skin’s natural oils. 

In order to prevent that from happening, you need to switch to a gentler cleanser. 

Which cleansers are more gentle? 

Cream cleansers tend to be the best for the winter months, as they add moisture back into the skin while they cleanse. Cleansing oils can also be useful for dry skin, although those with oily skin may find these too heavy. 

Moisturize Your Skin While It Is Still Damp

Want to give your skin an instant boost of radiance? 

This trick is the way to do it, and it also benefits your skin so much. 

After cleansing your skin, whether this may be in the shower or otherwise, make sure that you do not rub your skin dry. Not only will this irritate and damage your skin, but you also need your skin to retain quite a bit of that extra moisture in order for this to work. 

Gently pat your skin with a soft towel to clear away excessive amounts of water, and then reach for your moisturizer. Apply this to your damp skin, gently massaging it in. 

Now, take a look in the mirror…

You will likely see that your skin has a glow to it that wasn’t there before. 

Why is this? 

It is all down to making the most of the way in which a moisturizer works…

While a moisturizer does deliver a small amount of moisture to the skin, its main role is to form a protective seal over the surface of the skin. This prevents the moisture that is already in and on the skin from evaporating, while stopping any impurities from easily entering into the skin. 

When you apply moisturizer to skin that is already damp, all of those extra water molecules end up trapped beneath the moisturizer’s protective layer. This then means that there is only one place for them to go, and that’s down into your skin.

Young woman applying moisturiser to face

This is why your skin instantly looks so much more radiant after moisturizer has been applied on damp skin. 

What should you be using to moisturize your skin? 

In the winter, you need a thicker, heavier and greasier moisturizer than you do in the summer. 

Plant butters and oils are perfect for this…

Make Use of Plant Butters and Oils

Plant butters and oils are incredibly nourishing for the skin, containing so many vital minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids and more. All of this will help your skin to battle through the harsh days of winter. 

Which plant butters and oils should you be using? 

Here are some of the best plant butters to use on your skin in the winter: 

  • Shea Butter – packed with vitamins A and E, as well as essential fatty acids and antioxidants, shea butter strengthens skin cells while protecting them from environmental damage. It also contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can significantly relieve dryness and itchiness. If you are looking for a way to protect your skin from windburn, shea butter is again worth considering 
  • Cocoa Butter – a great source of vitamin E, which heals and protects the skin, cocoa butter is packed with a number of other vitamins and antioxidants too. It hydrates and re-balances the skin, and has aromatherapy benefits too. Massaging this ingredient into the skin has been proven to improve the immune system and reduce feelings of stress
  • Mango Butter – known for its protective and moisturizing qualities, mango butter supports skin cells, preventing degeneration, while also giving the skin increased flexibility. It is great for treating some of the dry skin issues that often come with winter, from peeling and itching skin to eczema and roughness 

When it comes to the best plant oils to use on your skin in the winter, these are all worth considering: 

  • Camellia Seed Oil – known for being a favorite among Japanese Geisha, camellia seed oil, along with its many antioxidants and nutrients, is easily absorbed by the skin. Unlike many other ingredients, it is able to make its way deep into the skin’s layers, where it then replenishes the skin and prevents moisture from evaporating 
  • Carrot Seed Oil – thanks to its high content of carotol, beta-carotene and vitamins A and E, carrot seed oil is fantastic for rejuvenating the skin and giving it a glow in the winter months. It quickly counters dryness and dehydration, while bring light enough for those with oily skin to use 
  • Cucumber Seed Oil – known for its gentle yet effective properties, cucumber seed oil is packed with phytosterols. These compounds have been proven to be able to restore the skin’s moisture balance, strengthen its protective barrier and improve its elasticity 
  • Jojoba Oil – one of the best oils for those with oily skin to use. Its molecular structure closely resembles that of the skin’s own sebum, tricking the skin into believing that it has produced the oil itself. This triggers it to adjust its own production of oil, slowing this down. This is a great way to deal with oily skin in the winter, instead of using harsh products that strip away too much of your skin’s natural oils

Stay Active

You may not think that the amount of exercise you do has any sort of direct effect on the radiance of your skin, but it really does…

Yes, it can be so tempting to stay wrapped up indoors in the warmth in the winter, but keeping your body active and moving is so important. 

Why? 

Well, to begin with, your blood flow naturally slows down in cold temperatures, due to the way in which the cold constricts your blood vessels. Exercise helps to speed your blood flow back up. This means that your skin cells are able to receive a greater amount of oxygen and other nutrients, enabling them to fully function. 

Since your blood flow is also responsible for carrying waste products away from your skin cells, this increases skin detoxification, which will enhance your skin’s glow.

There is nothing wrong with exercising indoors, and this is definitely better than not exercising at all. However, even if you keep the majority of your workouts indoors, try to spend at least one session a week exercising outdoors. This outdoor time is great for your skin, enabling it to get away from the dry indoor air. 

Two friends jogging in the woods

Plus, embracing the winter will really help you to beat any winter blues and appreciate all of the beauty that the season has to offer.

Make Sure that You Are Regularly Exfoliating 

You will likely notice more roughness and dryness on your skin in the winter months, and this is due to all of its moisture being sucked away into the dryness around you. 

This leaves your skin cells parched and flaky, which is not a good look to have! 

While exfoliation is important throughout the year, it becomes even more so in the winter. Exfoliation will quickly clear away any rough, dull, dry or dead skin cells, enabling the fresher, newer ones beneath to show through. 

Not only that, but exfoliation enables the rest of your skin care products to better penetrate into your skin’s layers, meaning that they are able to work to their full potential. 

How should you be exfoliating? 

Well, you have two main options: 

  • Physical Exfoliation – this makes use of abrasive materials that are physically rubbed across the skin in order to dislodge dirt, dead skin cells and excess oil 
  • Chemical Exfoliation – this makes use of chemicals that dissolve the glue-like substance that keep dead skin cells attached to the skin’s surface, enabling these to then be washed away 

So, which one is best for winter? 

Many would guess physical exfoliation, but that’s where you would be wrong…

The abrasive nature of physical exfoliation ends up causing quite a bit of friction against the skin. This irritates and damages it, and some abrasives can even end up creating micro-tears in the skin. 

On the other hand, chemical exfoliants work in a much gentler way, and there are different ones out there that are suitable for every skin type. 

Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid and tartaric acid, are great for dry and sensitive skin. However, make sure that you begin gradually, so that your skin has the chance to get accustomed to these new ingredients. 

For those with oily skin, beta hydroxy acids, such as salicylic acid, would be your best choice. This exfoliates deeper within the pores, helping to clear out the blockages that would have otherwise led to breakouts.

How often should you be exfoliating in the winter? 

This depends on your skin type…

Once a week is enough for those with dry or sensitive skin, while those with oily skin may need to increase this. 

Make sure that you aren’t tempted to over-exfoliate either… 

This can severely damage your skin’s protective layer, leaving you with redness, dryness, inflammation, sensitivities and more. 

Adjust Your Diet

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it only makes sense that the food you eat will have a direct impact on the health and appearance of your skin.

Your body, as well as your skin, has different nutritional needs in the winter than it does in the summer, and it is important to cater to these. 

Flat lay of healthy food on table

What should you be eating in the winter? 

Try adding more of these foods into your diet: 

  • Oily fish – these are packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as vitamin D, all of which help to protect and nourish the skin during the winter 
  • Avocados – one of the best sources of vitamin E, avocados heal and protect the skin from within 
  • Sweet potatoes and winter squash – high in vitamins A and C, these vegetables help to increase skin cell regeneration and protect the skin from aging 
  • Cocoa – contains specific flavonoids and antioxidants that help to improve skin texture and increase blood flow to the skin, therefore nourishing it with more nutrients and oxygen 
  • Bell peppers – vitamin C not only boosts the immune system, which is why it is often recommended for winter colds, but it also provides potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin. While citrus fruits are great for obtaining vitamin C, bell peppers actually contain three times the amount of vitamin C as an orange, making this the vegetable to eat more of

Anything you should stay away from? 

Yes. Stay clear of alcohol, sugar and excess salt in the winter, along with any other foods that lead to dehydration. Your body needs to retain all of the moisture it can in the winter, especially if you want your skin to look radiant. 

The winter months can be tough on your skin, but there are plenty of steps that you can take to restore your skin’s natural radiance. From knowing which ingredients to use topically to understanding the best skin care techniques for the colder season, these tips will give your skin a beautifully rosy winter glow. 

Woman eating dessert

Are You Ready To Go Sugar Free?

At a time when sugar added to processed food is blamed for a large part of the obesity epidemic in America today, it is hard to imagine any publication seriously advising us to consume more of it. In fact, the health conscious among us are probably more concerned with avoiding it. Going sugar-free is a big step, but if you would like to explore the possibility, here are some tips that may help create a sugar-free diet plan.

No Sweetened Drinks
Did you know a 12 oz soft drink can contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar? Cutting soda from your diet can significantly reduce your sugar level. In addition, it’s probably a good idea to stay away from candy, even if it is sugar free. These options often contain toxic sweeteners, the exceptions being those sweetened with stevia.

No Packaged Food
Even packaged organic products can contain relatively large amounts of sugar. You’ll probably do best by tossing these foods in the bin and not buying any more of them to resist temptation. Instead, make snacks at home, like hot cereal, eggs, toast, or homemade muffins. Fruits and veggies are also healthy options. It may be extra work, but think of how much money you will save to buy those really fabulous Christmas gifts!

Be Careful When Eating Out
Even if you choose a salad, beware, sugar abounds in salad dressings.When at a restaurant, grilled meats and roasted vegetables are probably your best bets for keeping sugar levels down.

Eat lots of Veggies and Protein
In the book, “The Mood Cure,” author Julie Ross recommends not only cutting out refined foods, but also adding good ones. She advises that you aim for 20-30 grams of protein at every meal and four to five cups of vegetables daily. Eating regular healthy meals will make you less likely to reach for that extra cookie or donut.

The two Teaspoons of Sugar Rule
If you’re finding it difficult to go completely cold turkey, you may want to start by using unrefined sweeteners like raw honey, pure maple syrup of coconut sugar. These contain vitamins and minerals and are less harmful to the body. They are also less addictive than regular sugar and have a much less significant effect on blood sugar levels. Dr. Nancy Appleton, author of “Suicide by Sugar,” found that you can allow yourself two teaspoons of sugar two to three times a day and still remain healthy. So if you’re really craving that extra sweetness, try adding a little honey to your tea or yogurt.

Do you think you’re ready for a sugar free diet plan? Let us know how you did with it! We would love to hear from all of you brave souls!

Woman eating bowl of healthy fruit

You Should Eat More Bananas

It has been said that you should never make eye contact with another person while eating a banana. That really says a lot about bananas. Despite its physical disadvantage, not to mention a very short shelf life, bananas still rise. Perhaps it is because they have a thick skin? (ha) Joke about them as we may, bananas continue to be one of the most beloved and most importantly traded food in the world. So what is it about the yellow fruit that makes it so widely cherished? Is it the wonderful taste? The low maintenance? The ability to go so well with ice cream? Perhaps all of the above and perhaps some of the following health benefits of bananas:

Potassium
Bananas are loaded with potassium. That means they can counteract the negative effects of sodium on blood pressure and maintain heart function, lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack. In fact, even the US Food and Drug Administration has to concede that banana’s ability to regulate blood pressure is far more powerful that of any drug that produce. According to research conducted by the American Heart Association, bananas can cut the risk of stroll by 20%.

Increased Energy
If you are an avid tennis watcher, you may just find your favorite player munching on a banana between sets. That’s because the banana’s natural sugar and soluble fiber provide for a slow stable energy release. Bananas have a glycemic index of about 52, which gives them enough of a kick to the system without spiking blood sugar. They also contain about 24 g of carbs which increases with the banana’s ripeness.

Skin Conditions
Did you know banana skin can be effective in treating psoriasis and acne? Just rub a freshly peeled inside of the peel over the affected area and allow your skin to absorb the residue. The fatty acids in bananas can relieve a large variety of skin conditions.
You can also use a banana peel treatment to heal warts. Just rub a piece of banana peel over the wart and tape it firmly in place. Leave it on overnight every night for a week or until the wart disappears.

Improved Mood
If you have reservations about turkey this holiday season, you can get your tryptophan kick from bananas. The human body converts tryptophan into serotonin, which helps reduce stress,raise levels of happiness, and help regulate sleep patterns.

Vitamin B6
Just one banana contains a full fifth of the daily does of B6. That’s good news because B6 creates hemoglobin for healthy blood. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels,synthesizing amino acids and producing antibodies to help boost your immune system.

If you believe in the health benefits of bananas, we would love to get your input. We can never hear enough about banana appeel (appeal-get it?) We love to hear from you as always!

Woman reading food label

Count Carbs To Manage Your Glucose Levels

Celia Rivenbank, author of “Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like A Skank: And Other Words Of Delicate Southern Wisdom, cites the derivation of the word carbohydrates as, “from the Latin, carbo, which means “yummy” and hydrates which means “cinnamon bun.” and allows that they “are not something I can eliminate or even drastically cut back on.” While many of us may echo this sentiment, food science dictates that the term carbohydrates represents any food that is rich in the complex carbohydrate starch, or simple carbohydrates like sugar. Put the two definitions together and you get bad news for someone who is trying to lower his or her glucose level.

When it comes to controlling blood glucose levels, counting carbohydrates works the best of any system, including counting calories and avoiding sugar. This is because carbohydrates are what are responsible for rising glucose levels right after meals. If you take insulin, counting carbs allows you to match the doses of insulin to the foods you eat, providing for greater dietary flexibility and countering post meal lows and highs. A study done by the Texas School of Allied Health sciences found that people who ate regulated amounts of carbohydrates lowered their blood glucose level by 55 ml/dl.

Carb Counting 101

Read Labels
Luckily, the FDA requires manufacturers to list nutritional information and ingredients on food labels, including carbohydrates. Total carbohydrate represents everything in the food that is carbohydrate including starch, fiber, sugar, and sugar alcohol. Look at the number next to the g (grams). The percentage that follows is not relevant to carb counting. For a most accurate reading, subtract the fiber grams from the carb count because fiber does not raise blood glucose and subtract half the grams of sugar alcohol because sugar alcohols affect glucose levels half as much as other carbs. Also, remember to adjust for servings.

Check Listings
If you are buying foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables that do not carry a label, printed and electronic nutrient listings are available in booklet form, as downloads and on the internet. They can also be downloaded to a personal digital assistant, so you can have access to nutritional information in grocery stores and restaurants.

Estimate Portions
Portion conversion is a method involving estimating the serving of food by comparing it to a common object. For example, you know that a cup of cooked pasta has about 40 grams off carbs. You estimate that the portion on your plate in 1 1/2 cup by comparing it to a 12 oz. soft drink can.

Here are some handy measuring devices: The fist of an average adult is equal to one cup, a child’s fist is equal to a half cup, a deck of cards is equal to 1/3 cup, and a 12 ounce soda can is equal to 1 1/2 cups. Of course, it this tool works best when you have the objects in front of you, but with practice, you will find that you can eyeball it down fairly accurately.

If you are monitoring your glucose level, we hope this has been helpful. Let us know how you do it! Good luck and good health! We love to hear from you, as always!

Woman eating healthy

You Should Be Thinking About Your Liver

If you ever Google the words, “Dear Liver,” you will find a lot of sad sacks apologizing for the havoc they have visited or are about to visit on their liver this or this past weekend. Poor livers! What have our livers done to deserve such shameful treatment? The liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body, processing everything you eat and drink and dutifully repackaging it for use or eliminating it. Why, we shouldn’t be taking these precious organs for granted, but rather we should be doing everything in our powers to protect them and treat them with the respect that they have surely earned! So how can you keep your liver healthy?

Eat Well
According to Timothy T. Nostrant, MD, one of the most important things you can do for your liver is to eat healthy. “Because the liver stores most of out nutrients… anything bad you consume will be associated with potential for damage.” The best diet for your liver consists of protein from plant based sources, and natural foods that are low in fat. Some of the most liver friendly foods include beans, lentil and legumes. Try not to eat too much meat and load up on fruits, veggies and whole grains instead. Aim for mono saturated and polyunsaturated fats as opposed to trans fats. Good sources of healthy fats include fatty fish, avocados, nuts, and pumpkin seeds. Limit your fat intake to 20% of your diet.

Exercise
Nostrant says, ” Obesity is linked to fatty liver disease,” which can cause scarring or cirrhosis of the liver, as well as liver cancer and liver failure. Exercise is an important part of keeping your weight under control. Nostrant advises those with weight problems to set a goal to lose 20% of their weight. Your liver will thank you.

Drinking too much
Limit Alcohol
Don’t give yourself a reason to apologize tomorrow. Even former drinkers are susceptible to liver damage showing up years after eliminating alcohol. G. Anton Decker, MD, advises cutting down to one drink a day for women and two for men. Also, beware of the over the counter pain reliever acetaminophen which can cause damage if taken in large quantities over a small amount of time. Avoid using IV drugs, having multiple sexual partners, abusing IV drugs and getting a tattoo or body piercing with unsterilized needles which have all been associated with hepatitis C.

Warning Signs
If your liver is not working correctly, fatigue is the most common symptom. Other signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice, nausea and decreased appetite.

Treatment Options
The most common liver diseases are fatty liver, viral hepatitis and genetic disease. If managed properly, however, they can be handled with a minimum of negative outcomes. Viral hepatitis is especially responsive to treatment and some people may be able to eliminate it entirely from their bodies.

If you are hurting your liver, you know who you are! Send in your confessions and New Year’s resolutions! We love to hear from you.

Woman eating healthy food

Earning Your Way To A Flat Belly

Anyone who has seen “Crazy Stupid Love” will remember the scene in which Emma Stone first sees Ryan Gosling shirtless. She takes one look at his washboard abs and says, “Seriously? It’s like your’e photoshopped!” Well, while we can’t all walk around looking like we’re photoshopped, we can take certain measures to tighten up our bellies. If you’re serious about losing the muffin top, read on!

Live Well

Focus On Your Whole Body
Many people believe they can crunch their way to a flat belly, but contrary to popular belief, crunches and sit-ups do not guarantee a svelte middle. That’s because belly bulge is not about lack of muscle, it’s about extra body fat. If you’re hoping to rival Beyonce’s midriff, you need to burn calories, not build muscle. The best way to do this is by developing a workout that impacts several muscle groups so you strengthen your entire body while burning those excess calories.

Woman planking
Work Your Core
In exercise lingo, planking is a term that refers to a move that practices balance, targets abdominal muscles, and strengthens your back and chest. To execute a plank, begin in a push- up position, but with your hands directly under your shoulders as opposed to outside your chest. Bring your feet together and balance on the balls of your feet and the palms. of your hands. Hold the position for as long as you can. If you like this one, you can move on to side plank, reverse plank, and even work your way up to plank-ups and plank twists!

Side Bend Stretch
This exercise won’t make the fat disappear, but it will bring blood and oxygen to this area which may help break down fat. Try to do this three times a day to stretch the upper back, triceps and abs. Bend to one side stretching your opposite arm over your head and then quickly stretch sides, bending the other way and raising the other arm. This should be done continuously for a total of 10 stretches on each side.

Eat Well

Woman eating berries
Beans

Not only do beans contain the best types of carbs, they are also full of resistant starch to help you burn fat after meals. Plus, they keep you feeling full.

Berries
These natural beauties are proven to stop fat cells from increasing in size and also help the cells release a hormone, called adiponectin, which lowers blood sugar and reduces inflammation.

Nuts
Research finds that eating nuts twice a week makes a person less likely to gain weight than their non-nut eating buddies.

Avoid Alcohol
If you drink, even occasionally, you know that alcohol is the ultimate nemesis of weight loss. The demon alcohol releases estrogen into the blood and excess estrogen means you’re more likely to hold on your excess weight. Plus, it lowers your inhibitions and hinders judgement, which means a late night feast may suddenly look more appealing.

Cut Down On Sodium and Drink More Water
If you’re looking to get rid of the bloat, you should keep your sodium intake down to 1,500 mgs a day and increase the amount of water you drink. Be sure to read food labels. Most processed foods contain alarming amounts of sodium. Cut down your levels to lower your water retention.

Now go out and flatten that belly and wait for those jaws to start droppin’! Let us know how it works for you; we love to hear it!

Flat lay of fresh salmon on wooden board

Choosing Sustainable Sources of Seafood

Gen Xers and Baby Boomers will probably remember the Starkist commercials that popularized Charlie the Tuna. Although he may have done wonders for the canned tuna company, Charlie was something of an anomaly. Why would a fish do a commercial for a product in which he would end up being the main ingredient!

Things have come quite a way since then. Millennials are more likely to celebrate the characters of “Finding Nemo” and “SpongeBob Squarepants,” all of whom have seemed to fare better than poor Charlie. In this day and age, it seems only natural that our environmental consciousness effect the way we represent, and eat, our fish. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of two servings of fish per week. But is there something you should know about our finned friends before digging in?

Why Eat Sustainable Seafood?
As the sea continues to boil, we are slowly but surely fishing our amphibious amigos into an early extinction. Scientists believe that by 2048, there will be only algae and jellyfish left; not very attractive options. And think, that’s only 38 years from now, in other words, many of us will live to see it. However, if you think that’s bad, what about people in Asia and coastal Africa for whom fish is the only option? What will they do after the fish apocalypse?

Even if this is not enough to get you to change your tune, let’s talk about toxins like PCBs and mercury. Toxins are more likely to be found in predatory fish like tuna, shark and salmon because the pollutants are more able to attach themselves to fatty skins and flesh and you certainly don’t want those swimming around your tummy.

If you’re wondering just how much America is effected by this, here are some ideas. Salmon and tuna are numbers two and three on the list of most popular American fish and shrimp, our number one choice is increasingly coming from central America and southeast Asia, both of which have unregulated environmental standards.

What Can You do?
Avoid big, predatory fish like tuna, shark, swordfish and salmon. They tend to live the longest and are more prone to attract toxins because of their older flesh. Exceptions include wild salmon from Alaska and small albacore tuna from British Colombia and the Pacific Northwest, both of which come from regulated fisheries. Eat fish which are smaller on the food chain. These include anchovies, clams, sardines, oysters and mussels. They live for a shorter amount of time, and reproduce more easily, increasing their resistance to the pressure of fishing.

Keep Your Options Open
To reduce the likelihood of exposure to pollutants, try to eat a variety of seafood rather than sticking to one type. Check for where the fish at the supermarket came from . If its from the US and Canada, it is likely to be safe, Central America could be dodgy and stay away from Asian fish. Of course, this does not guarantee that all North American fish is sustainable.

What to Avoid
Stay away from most ahi (bigeye and yellowfin tuna, as well as bluefish tuna, all of which are facing extinction. Steer clear of imported farmed shrimp and farmed salmon, commonly sold as Atlantic Salmon. Actual Atlantic salmon is no longer available as overcrowded conditions of Chilean salmon farms have lead to the spread of infectious viruses. Also avoid freshwater eel or aka unagi, which is 95% gone.

Sorry Charlie! We really will be. If you have anything to contribute to the sustainable seafood conversation, let us know! We want to hear all your viewpoints!

Woman with pineapple

The Health Benefits of Pineapple

What can you say about a fruit that has its own social history? The pineapple has probably adorned more tabletops than a drunk in a bar. The reasons are obvious. After all, the pineapple just screams centerpiece, and comes complete with its own crowning glory. In colonial America, a hostess would rather be caught dead than without a pineapple at her dinner party. Guests to a house with a pineapple displayed on the table were ensured that the hostess spared no expense for the dining pleasure of her guests and could expect a feast not to be outdone. With a history like this, it would not be inaccurate to say that this crowned natural wonder is indeed the royalty of the fruit family.

But besides its rare beauty and sweetness, there are many other reasons the pineapple is worthy of celebration. Perhaps we should look at some of the incredible health benefits the pineapple offers.

Great For Weight Loss
Pineapples can keep you full longer than other foods because they pack a lot of water and fiber. Plus, they have fewer than 60 calories per half cup and help prevent tummy bloating.

Promotes Cell and Tissue Health
Pineapple increases synthesis of collagen. That means it will help your skin to stay youthful and firm and strengthen organs, bones, and skin. They also contain vitamin C that helps wounds to heal and protects the body from illness and infection.

Promotes Healthy Digestion
Pineapple packs in the fiber, which, according to experts, keeps your intestines healthy and protect against constipation, diarrhea, IBS and high blood pressure.

Good For Your Eyes
As a person’s age increases, so too does the risk of macular degeneration.The Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group found that vitamin C and betacarotene, both of which can be found in the spiked wonderfruit, can help to prevent or delay this and other age-related eye deficiencies.

Helps To Reduce Cold Symptoms
Although you may think it is only the vitamin C in pineapples which makes them so powerful in combating the common cold, it is also the content of bromelain. Bromelain is a special enzyme that has been shown by University of Maryland studies to reduce the phlegm and mucus that builds up in sinus cavities and respiratory tracts. In addition, pineapples contain properties to help reduce the inflammation of the airways associated with bronchitis.

Strengthens Your Gums
Pineapples have astringent properties that make your gums stronger and prevent your teeth from falling out. They also help to tighten tissue and tone the body, preventing hair loss, skin loosening and muscle weakness. So eat pineapples to keep those chompers chomping.

Beautiful, interesting and functional, what more can you want in a fruit? If you want to help us sing the praises of the pineapple, please send in comments and suggestions. We also welcome recipe ideas!

Woman drinking orange juice

Signs Of Vitamin Deficiencies

So here’s an interesting story. An American decides to live out his golden years in the tropics of Costa Rica. There he meets a German gentleman who owns a couple of acres about 10 miles away from the Pacific coast. A few months later, the American hears that the German gentleman was found singing at a bus stop, completely naked, emaciated, and sick and was promptly sent back to Germany to the waiting arms of his family to recover. How did this happen?

It turns out that the German had decided to put himself on a coconut water fast several months long. Upon examination, it was determined that not only was this man depleted of minerals, he also was suffering from a rather extreme vitamin B12 deficiency leading to hallucinations and psychosis. He was promptly pumped full of the vitamin he lacked and sent back to his tropical paradise to live out the rest of his days.

In these days of veganism, vegetarianism, cleanses and crash diets, vitamin deficiencies can be all too common, and, while you may not find yourself at the point of naked and singing at bus stops, you should be aware of some of the following signs alerting you that your vitamin intake is not where it should be.

Cracks Along the Corners of The Mouth
This can be a sign that you’re not getting enough zinc, B vitamin, iron or protein. Try putting some organic eggs and poultry in your diet, or try some wild caught Alaskan salmon, organic eggs and poultry or tahini. Also, get some vitamin C in there; it will help with iron absorption. Load up on the broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.

Scaly Red Rash and Hair Loss
If you suffer these symptoms, you may have a biotin deficiency. While the body needs biotin to metabolize fats, amino acids, and carbohydrates, it is probably most known for its ability to strengthen nails and hair and is also a key ingredient in most hair, skin and nail vitamin formulas and shampoos. If you’re looking to get some biotin from your food, cook up some raw egg white or down the whole egg raw. Eating raw egg whites alone can actually lead to a biotin deficiency.

Acne-like Bumps on Your Arms, Thighs, and Buttocks
These can be signs that you need more essential omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins D and A. You can get omega-3 in anchovies and sardines or in a krill oil supplement. Vitamin A can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and red bell peppers; and vitamin D can be obtained through safe exposure to the sun.

Numbness of Hands and Feet
Other signs of B-vitamin deficiency, tingling and prickling in the feet and hands are caused by the effects of the deficiency on the peripheral nerves and can include depression fatigue, anemia and hormone imbalance. If your feet are tingling, try to down some asparagus, spinach, organic eggs and poultry, or grass fed beef.

Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps can be caused by a lack of magnesium, potassium and calcium. Combat this with some hazelnuts, squash, leafy greens, apples and broccoli.

Let the tale be a precautionary one. Take these steps now to avoid vitamin deficiency or risk public embarrassment. If you have any stories or advice about vitamin deficiencies or public embarrassment for that matter, we would love to hear from you! Feel free to send in comments and stories.

Woman with strawberries in the grass

Avoid Dehydration With These Foods

Italian Tenor Enrico Caruso once said,” Watermelon- It’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.” Any of us that has stuck his or her face into a huge hunk of watermelon will realize the truth of this statement. Indeed, watermelon is a very versatile fruit and, while it is up for debate how well watermelon functions as a facial wash, it definitely provides quenches our thirst and satiates our hunger at the same time.

The importance of hydration is undeniable. Water keeps our bodies functioning properly, and aids in digestion, elimination and physical performance and we are often reminded of the daily goal of eight glasses a day. But while drinking water is not without its benefits, eating it may be even better. Says Dr. Howard Murad, associate clinic professor of medicine at the University of California, “There’s nothing wrong with drinking water, but if we don’t improve the capacity to get it into our cells and keep it there, it goes straight down the toilet without doing us any good.” He argues that the water you eat is different because it is attached to other molecules which help it to enter cells more easily and stay there for a long enough amount of time to be of use. So, what foods can we eat and drink?

Woman with watermelon

1.Watermelon
Caruso didn’t pick this one for no good reason. Although watermelon contains 92% water, it’s the salt, magnesium, and calcium content of this fruit that make it perfect for rehydrating. It’s also a great source of vitamins A and C.

2.Celery
Not just for dipping! Celery sticks are comprised of about 95% water and are high in fiber, vitamin K and potassium. Says Dr. Rachel Berman, registered dietitian, “they’re no packed with nutrients, but that’s also because they’re not calorie dense.” So, you can keep your mouth busy all day for a low calorie fix!

3. Strawberries
Always a beautiful addition to a salad or dessert, strawberries are the wateriest of all berries weighing in at a whopping 92% water and are also packed with Vitamin C and water.

4. Cucumbers
Fans of the movie “Spinal Tap” will remember this vegetable as responsible for setting off the metal detector at an airport when bassist, Derek Smalls, stuffed a foil wrapped one in his pants. Indeed, cucumbers have a plethora of uses. But whether, you eat them, use them on your skin, or shove them down your trousers, they are made up of 96% water, have no cholesterol or fat and are high in iron, vitamin K and vitamin B6.

Woman with spinach
5. Lettuce

Although ice berg lettuce claims a 96% water content, it is not the nutritional champ of the green and leafy veggies. Spinach, butter head and romaine lettuces are a little more heavy weight when it comes to packing a nutritional punch.

In closing, according to Berman, eight glasses is only part of the picture, She recommends 11 cups for women and 15 for men, but, keep in mind, 20% of that should come from food. So start eating your water and let us know how you get your daily water allowance every day. We love to get your input!