Young woman drinking orange juice

Try Vitamins To Stave Off Surgery

Plastic surgery. It seems more and more as if “Wow, how does she/he do it?” has given way to, “Where do you get your work done? However, even with the most unlikely suspects are taking the,” If you can’t beat ’em join ’em” attitude to going under the knife,” there are still a few downsides to plastic surgery: the expense, the permanent looks of surprise, the difficulty emoting, the batches- it seems safe to say there may still be a few reasons to hesitate. However, fortunately, there are some less drastic alternatives. If you’re one of the few determined to keep it real, here are some vitamins that may help you stave off aging naturally.

Vitamin C
That morning glass of OJ may be doing more than helping your immune system. Vitamin C is also great for collagen production and protection against sun damage. You can find it primarily in bell peppers, strawberries, guava, broccoli and citrus fruits. Try to get 100mgs of vitamin C daily, and if you’re looking for the fastest way to do that, Bell peppers are your best bets. The veggies contain 280 mg of the stuff, while oranges only contain 90.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is well known for its skin friendliness. A faithful guardian of the skin’s barrier, vitamin E protects the cell membrane, keeping harmful elements out while preventing helpful ones from leaving. It also works well with vitamin C. The two together make an excellent team for preventing UV damage. Vitamin E can be found in oatmeal, wheatgerm, nuts, seeds, and avocado.

woman with healthy food in the kitchen

Omega -3
Omega -3 is the vitamin that redefined the word “fat” This healthy fat keeps the skin hydrated and helps strengthen the cell membrane, keeping toxins out and protecting against sun damage. Omega-3 can be found in ground flax seeds, fatty fish, and walnuts. The best way to get your Omega -3 is by eating 3 to 5 ounces of fish 3 to 5 times weekly, or if fish isn’t your thing, you can get it in a fish oil supplement, but check with your doctor first, as these supplements have been known to cause the blood to thin.

Selenium
Selenium is a vitamin that maintains skin’s integrity and elasticity while protecting it from the sun. You can get selenium is seafood, wheat germ, and eggs. While you don’t really need a set amount each day, it’s a good idea to try and get some of this food into your diet.

Polyphenols
Drink a cup of green tea a day to get your polyphenols in. They have anti-aging benefits and have been shown in studies to exhibit properties which reduce the risk of sun-related cancers.

Beta Carotene
You might know beta carotene as that stuff that makes fruit orange. It does, and it’s also found in a lot of dark green produce. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, which is crucial for cell repair and growth. In case you’re colorblind, or otherwise incapable of recognizing orange and green fruits and veggies, here are a few for you; carrots, cantaloupe, swiss chard, pumpkins, kale, and spinach are all teeming with beta carotene. Try and get two servings a day of one of these.

What vitamins are you taking to keep your skin healthy the natural way? Let us know!

Woman holding up fresh beetroot

Vitamin Packed Fall Fruits and Veggies

Have you heard of the Super Sprowtz? You may have seen the colorful Sammy Spinach, Erica Eggplant, Oliver Onion , Colby Carrot and Suzy Sweet Pea singing, “If you’d like to eat healthy, put a veggie on it” to the tune of Beyonce’s, “Put A Ring On It.” in videos and on social media. The Super Sprowtz are the biggest thing to hit the produce industry since the “California Raisins.” Veggies and fruits as superheroes and rock stars is a no-brainer; they must be among one of the most powerful food sources, able to deliver vitamins and nutrients in a single bound. Let’s have a look at some of the superheroes of the fruit and veggie world.

Cranberries
Don’t let the size fool you. Cranberries deliver a punch of antioxidants. They will protect you from free age-related degeneration and free radical damage and save you from urinary tract infection, oral disease, and cancer. Pop some in your pancakes for a healthier breakfast.

Beets
Beets’ superpowers come from their stores of betaine and nitrate. They will fight off super villains like heart and liver and will staunchly support the blood flow to your brain and reduce the risk of dementia.

Kiwifruit
This furry superhero is known for its lung, eye and colon protecting nutrients. They may also help your supervision by preventing macular degeneration. Kiwi is also known for its high level of vitamin E which prevents cancer and also has been known to pack vitamin C, magnesium, copper and potassium.

Pomegranates
This is a wonder fruit if there ever was one. It boosts your cardiovascular system and kicks carcinogens in the butt.

Brussel sprouts and Cabbage
These daredevils are chock full of the powers of vitamins A and C and will deliver with high concentrations of glucosinolates faster than a speeding bullet.

Pumpkin
What would our group of avenging produce be without a super pumpkin? Hurling through the air bursting with alpha-linoleic acid, pumpkin seeds are known defenders against high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Pumpkins are also great sources of alpha and beta carotene to guarantee X-ray vision and cell growth with its alpha and beta carotene.

Pears
Maybe the Boy Wonder of the Superfruits, pears are not only full of antioxidants, they are also considered hypoallergenic because they are so unlikely to incite allergies. They’re also full of vitamin C and fiber to make constipation and other chronic diseases a thing of the past. Holy Smoke!

Apples
If pears are the Boy Wonder, apples are the Superman. They are packed with antioxidants to fight evil doers like chronic illness and can help to slow aging, how’s that for a superpower? Fuji apples are the stars of the apples family, with the highest amounts of phenolics and flavonoids.

How’s that for some super power? If you have any fruits or veggies to add to our list of superheros, let us know. What superpowers does your super fruit/veggie give you?

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 looking at pills

Pills to Live Longer?

Longevity and a slow or even stop to the aging process and the increased risk of diseases, wrinkling, and general decrepitude it tends to lead to have long since been an enduring obsession of the human race. If you could take a pill that would let you live longer, be happier, and look younger for longer, would you? For many, this is a given; the goal of a better, longer, happier life is so ubiquitous is may very well be a defining trait of collective human consciousness. And along those lines, there are many researchers and prodigious experts in various fields who are chasing after ways to slow, halt, or even reverse aging.

But how close are we? You may hear a variety of claims regarding life-extending and age-slowing miracle cures, but the sad truth is that if it sounds too good to be true (read: if it’s inconsistent with current well-substantiated medical knowledge and is not, itself backed up by solid research or a consensus of expert opinion), it probably is. Granted, when it comes to supplements for living longer, there is something to be said in edge cases at the very least, but it takes a lot of wading through hoaxes to find it.

Antioxidant Supplements
Antioxidants show some promise for helping slow aging according to the free-radical theory of aging. That said, aforementioned theory lacks a preponderance of evidence and therefore should probably be looked at as a “maybe, maybe not” sort of thing. Further, taking antioxidant supplements has been shown by a lot of well-documented and controlled studies lately to be entirely ineffectual, and maybe even harmful. Of course, that says nothing about obtaining antioxidants through your diet by, say, eating dark leafy greens and sipping red wine in careful moderation, which are, in fact, pretty healthy habits.

Human Growth Hormone
Touted by some snake oil vendors as an anti-aging solution, human growth hormone as a supplement has, in fact, been shown to accelerate aging, and should be avoided at all costs. This hormone is naturally occurring in our bodies and plays a role in growth and development. It is not only not necessary to supplement growth hormone, it’s potentially harmful and just a really bad idea.

Stem Cell Treatments
Stem cells show some promise for medical research, and their discovery was certainly a boon to researchers working on cracking the code of aging, but there are as of yet no reliable end-user applications for them on the market. If someone tries to sell you a “stem cell therapy” of any kind, stay far away.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
There’s good and bad news here. Bad news first: “overloading” on vitamins, which is often recommended for good health and extended youth, is not only entirely useless, it can in many cases be harmful, and depending on what vitamin you’re overloading and by how much, you can end up with anything from nausea to festering, ugly skin lesions. Please don’t do that to yourself.

So how about the good news? Well, while it’s always best to get vitamins and minerals from your diet, because it guarantees they’re easier for your body to absorb and utilize, taking a vitamin supplement (read: not overloading, just taking as much as you need; a.k.a. 100% daily value and never much over) can be pretty beneficial to your overall health, and therefore your chances of living longer and healthier.

What Else Can You Do?
Simple. Eat a varied diet, with only very small portions of meat, mostly fruits, vegetables, and grains, and include plenty of dark, leafy greens. Exercise moderately but regularly, foster healthy relationships with those around you (communicate clearly and openly!), accept what you can’t change, and don’t be afraid to admit when you need help. Work on all the above, and you’ll be well on your way to a long, happy, healthy life.

Healthy colorful salad

Eat Well: Recipes High in Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential in order for your body to function healthily. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements says, “[v]itamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs work properly.” One of the other organs that vitamin A benefits is the largest organ of your body, the skin. Vitamin A is excellent for helping to treat acne and aging and it was the first retinoid to be approved by the FDA to effectively treat wrinkles. While vitamin A may help skin a bit more when applied topically, having some in your body certainly helps your skin and it provides essential functions for other areas of your body. Here are our three favorite fall recipes that are high in vitamin A.

Seared Sesame Tuna

Seared Sesame Tuna
Tuna is a good source of vitamin A. In a one ounce serving of tuna, you receive around 15% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A. This recipe calls for 6 oz tuna steaks, meaning that your seared sesame tuna accounts for over half of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tuna steaks (6 oz)
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (a sweet Japanese wine)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup black sesame seeds

Grab a small bowl and add soy sauce, sesame oil, raw honey and mirin together and divide into two equal parts. Pour one part into another bowl. Stir in rice wine vinegar and set aside. Spread black sesame seeds out on a plate. Brush soy sauce mixture onto the tuna steaks and press lightly into the sesame seeds. In a pan, heat olive oil on high heat. When very hot, place tuna steaks in the pan and sear each side for about 30 seconds (or longer depending on how you prefer your tuna cooked). Remove from pan and serve with the dipping sauce you set aside.

Roast Veggies

Harvest Vegetable Bake
This comforting dish combines three amazing sources of vitamin A. Just a one-cup serving of kale provides you with 354% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A. This recipe also calls for red bell peppers, sweet potatoes and squash which are all great dietary sources of vitamin A.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes diced
  • 2 red bell peppers diced
  • 1 small acorn squash diced
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 4 sprigs fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add olive oil and butter to a pan over medium heat. Allow butter to melt, then add the sweet potatoes, bell peppers, squash and shallot. Season with garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. When sweet potatoes are tender, stir in the chopped kale and sage. Continue to cook over medium heat for five more minutes, until kale is wilted.

Dried Apricot Jam

Dried Apricot Jam
Dried apricots can be enjoyed on their own, but for a bit of variety mix up this tasty jam that a perfect addition to your morning oatmeal of slice of toast. A half-cup serving of dried apricots contains 151% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin A.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ½ cups dried apricots
  • 4 ½ cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup stevia powder (or less depending on how sweet you want your jam)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 1.75 oz package powdered fruit pectin

Bring water to a boil and add dried apricots. Cook for 30 minutes, or until apricots are hydrated. Take the apricots and water and place in a food processor with vanilla bean paste. Working in small batches, blend until well combined but still slightly chunky. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the processed apricot mixture with pectin and cook just until boiling. Add stevia powder and lemon juice and boil until dissolved, about one to two minutes.

In a stock pot, sterilize jars and lids for canning for five minutes. Pack apricot jam into jars, leaving about ¼ inch of room at the top. Once jars are filled, run a butter knife along the inside to get rid of any air bubbles and remove any jam residue from the rims of the jars. Add lids and screw on rings. Place a rack in the bottom of the stock pot and fill about halfway with water. Bring water to a boil, then using a holder, place full jars on the rack. Leave space between each jar and if necessary pour more water into the stock pot, enough so that there is about one inch of water on top of the jars. Bring the water to a roaring boil, cover the pot and allow 10 minutes to process. Remove jars from the stock pot and allow to fully cool, about one hour. When cool, press the top of each lid down to ensure it is airtight for storage.

Carrots, bell peppers, squash, kale and other dark, leafy greens and tuna are all excellent sources of dietary vitamin A. You can whip up a simple kale salad for lunch and add some chopped bell peppers, carrots and sliced tuna on top. Eating for your body doesn’t have to be boring or difficult, these three fall recipes that are full of vitamin A are simple, delicious and nutritious.