5 UV-Fighting Foods for Inside Out Sun Protection

5 UV-Fighting Foods for Inside Out Sun Protection

Did you know that UV rays from the sun can damage skin cell’s deoxyribonucleic acid, better known as DNA? This can lead to wrinkles, rough skin, skin sagging, brown spots, and skin cancer. You may seek out topical sunscreens as one way to protect the skin from UV damage, but not only do they not provide complete protection, many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that can actually increase your risk of cancer. The safety of natural mineral sunscreens even cause some concern. Fortunately, eating certain foods can increase your skin’s defenses against the sun in a safe way. “Sunscreen foods” contain antioxidants that neutralize the effects of UV rays, preventing skin damage, and can actually help repair existing skin damage. By eating the right foods, you can look younger and have healthier skin. Here are the top 5 foods to eat to protect your skin:

Green Tea: Green tea is rich in polyphenols (potent antioxidants). Research has shown that people who drink green tea have less skin color changes after sun exposure, softer skin, better skin elasticity, and better blood flow to the skin versus people who do not drink green tea. And, a 2011 study published in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications journal found that EGCG (a type of catechin) in green tea prevents a type of skin cancer called melanoma by inhibiting genes that activate inflammation.Drink at least a cup of green tea a day to get skin protection benefits.

Tomato Paste: Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, the phytonutrient that gives tomatoes their bright red color. This phytonutrient protects tomatoes from shriveling up under the sun while on the vine, and it also protects human skin from UV damage. You can get lycopene from eating raw tomatoes, but you get a higher concentration of it by eating tomato paste. Although research has found that people who eat 5 tablespoons of tomato paste a day have 33 percent increased protection from the sun versus people who do not eat tomato paste, I do not know of anyone who will find this appetizing. Therefore, it may be more pleasing to the palate to simply take lycopene supplements, found in health food stores, to boost your daily intake. Eating all-natural ketchup and spaghetti sauce will, also, do the trick.

Raspberries: As mentioned above, UV exposure leads to wrinkles, skin roughness, and a reduction in skin elasticity also causing the production of MMP (matrix metalloproteinase enzymes), which breaks down collagen in the skin. Raspberries contain an antioxidant called ellagic acid, which blocks the production of MMP enzymes. These vitamin C-rich berries help fight off DNA damage to skin cells.

Dark Chocolate: Not milk chocolate! Dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols that protect the skin from UV damages. Researchers found that people who ate dark chocolate could stay in the sun twice as long without sunburn than those who did not eat dark chocolate. The key is to look for dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa for the most skin protection.

Walnuts: Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation in the skin after exposure to UV rays and help preserve the body’s ability to fight off skin cancer. It is best to eat a handful of raw, organic walnuts a day to boost your body’s skin cancer fighting abilities.

For best results, eat some of these sun-damage-fighting foods on a daily basis. Besides the UV protection benefits, they also contain nutrients and antioxidants that benefit your entire body, so it’s a win-win!

Have you found a natural alternative to protect your skin from the sun? If so, please share in the comments, below.

7 Must-Have Foods for Natural Beauty Treatments

7 Must-Have Foods for Natural Beauty Treatments

Harsh chemicals and unnatural ingredients do not have to be included when treating yourself to a nourishing spa treatment! Skin problems, such as dry skin or acne, can be treated with some of the most effective and natural remedies created at home with just a few ingredients from your kitchen.  I’m constantly mixing up some concoction of foods in the kitchen to use in the bathroom for any part of my skin! The best part is, these foods are not expensive, they are not hard to find, they are the most beneficial for your skin, and you most likely already have on them on had because of their very common ingredients.

So, the next time you make a trip to the grocery store, add these 7 foods to your shopping cart for some at home pampering! Continue reading

5 Reasons Why Summer Is Good For Your Heart

5 Reasons Why Summer Is Good For Your Heart

The lazy, hazy days of summer are good for your heart — but not because we tend to be lazier or hazier. Quite the opposite. Seasonal changes bring changes to our lifestyles, and summer just happens to be the season where we live a bit healthier. Here are 5 reasons why summer is especially good for aging hearts.

The Vitamin D we get from the sun improves our cholesterol.

A study from Brazil found last year that our “bad” cholesterol levels, known as LDL, trend about 8 percent higher in the winter than the summer and our “good” cholesterol, called HDL, tends to increase by about 5 percent. Seasonal cholesterol changes vary in parts of the United States and Europe where there are more dramatic seasonal weather changes (read: Californians may be on to something here.)

Here’s why: Continue reading

4 Ways to Naturally Cure Allergies

4 Ways to Naturally Cure Allergies

Early summer is one of my favorite times of year. With all the sunshine and greenery, it’s hard not to be in a good mood! Unfortunately, with spring flowers come spring allergies. If you’re all too familiar with the itchy eyes, sneezing, and stuffiness that are the telltale signs of spring allergies, there may be a way for you to reduce your symptoms without taking prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Before you stop taking allergy medications to give these natural remedies a try, be sure to have your doctor run a test to see what you are allergic too. This will help you determine the best way to treat your symptoms. Continue reading

7 Things You Didn’t Know About…Seaweed

7 Things You Didn’t Know About…Seaweed

The idea of eating seaweed might sound a bit odd, but if you’ve ever had sushi before, then you’ve already done it! The black paper-like sheet that holds your fish and rice together, called nori, is just one of the many types of edible seaweeds.

Nori comes from Japan, as does hijiki, arame, wakame, and kombu, while the Philippines gives us crunchy guso, and Korea provides gim. There are actually over 400 seaweed varieties in the world, but these are some of the most popular.

They may have exotic names and come from faraway lands, but seaweed is a healthful food you don’t want to exclude from your regular diet. Loaded with minerals and antioxidants, it can be used in a variety of dishes, from seaweed soup and sushi to salads and grain dishes.

Despite its popularity in Asian countries, seaweed is not typically found outside of Japanese restaurants here in the US. So, I think it’s safe to say most people don’t know a lot about seaweed. Check out these 7 surprising facts about seaweed, and impress your friends the next time you go out for sushi!  Continue reading

This Essential Nutrient Is Making Its Mark

This Essential Nutrient Is Making Its Mark

What Is CoQIO?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQIO) is a vitamin-like nutrient synthesized by the body and essential to energy production. There are two forms: subiquinone and ubiquinol. “Our cells simply cannot function without CoQ10,” says natural health expert Michael T. Murray, ND.

Do You need more?

People most in need of CoQ10 are those with cardiovascular disease; studies have shown that the energizing nutrient helps to reduce blood pressure, stop blood vessel damage, and strengthen the heart muscle. Also, statin drugs (used to treat high cholesterol) deplete the body’s CoQ10—it’s vital to replenish CoQ10 with a supplement while taking statins. Some research suggests a benefit for those with Parkinson’s disease as well.

More Health Benefits

CoQ10, which is a powerful antioxidant, helps to stabilize mood, increase energy, boost muscle recovery after exercise, enhance immune function, and ease inflammation, migraines, gum disease, and fibromyalgia symptoms.

Tidbit: Taking CoQ10 supplements for at least three months was shown to improve overall sperm health, according to a study in the journal Andrologia.

Supplement Options

Choose from softgel, capsule, chewable, and liquid/emulsion forms. Some supplement experts believe that ubiquinol is better absorbed than ubiquinone. Recent innovations in supplement manufacturing, however, have helped to enhance ubiquinone’s bioavailability.

Dosage Guidelines

A typical dosage is 90-150 mg daily; however, you can use 300-600 mg daily (in divided doses) if addressing a particular health issue (e g., congestive heart failure). Always take CoQ10, a fatsoluble nutrient, with a tiny bit of fat (e.g., 1-2 tsp. coconut oil) for better absorption.

Boost Your CoQ10 Levels Naturally

Eat Sardines:They’re a food source of CoQIO. Look for wild caught, freshly packed products.

Exercise: In one recent study from the journal Biogerontology, researchers found that higher physical activity among seniors was associated with higher blood levels of CoQ10, says Murray.

Are You Low in CoQ10?

Some possible signs that you need more CoQio:

  • Blood sugar regulation problems
  • Gingivitis/poor gum health
  • Heart problems, including angina and arrhythmia
  • High blood pressure
  • Statin drug use, particularly with achy joints/muscles and fatigue
  • Stomach ulcers
Source: Better Nutrition
7 Top Tips for Feeling More Energetic!

7 Top Tips for Feeling More Energetic!

Do you sometimes have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Are you waking up in the middle of the night or before your alarm goes off? It’s important for you to understand what’s causing your sleep struggles, and use tips like the ones below to prepare for a restful night.

Getting enough sleep has a positive domino effect on our health; our bodies are in restore and rejuvenation mode while we’re sleeping; this can help us heal from illnesses and reduce aches and pains in our joints or muscles, for example. Deep sleep also helps reduce stress and anxiety, so we have more energy the next day.

And speaking of the next day, have you ever noticed that you’re hungrier when you’re tired? Research shows our appetite can increase up to 25% when we’re feeling exhausted, and many of us often turn to caffeine or sugar (or both) to give us a boost of energy. And that begins a roller-coaster of bursts of energy followed by energy crashes. That’s right – not getting enough sleep can actually cause us to gain weight or make it harder for us to lose weight.

Tonight, why not start some of these healthy sleep rituals?

Give yourself a bedtime. What’s your bedtime? Just like kids, we benefit when we have a consistent sleep time, because our bodies anticipate and respond to routine.

Close the kitchen. Make your last meal two to three hours before bedtime, so your body has a chance to digest the food. Digestion is a lot of physical activity – not what you want to be doing while you sleep!

Shut down electronics 30 minutes before bedtime. Turn off the TV, the laptop, the tablet, the Xbox, the PlayStation, your smartphone…did I miss anything? According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), all of these devices can hinder your ability to sleep. One reason, explains the NSF, is that these devices emit blue light, “which our brains interpret as daylight. Blue light actually suppresses melatonin, a hormone that supports circadian rhythm and that should begin to increase when you are preparing for sleep.” So when you’re on your tablet or phone at night, your brain thinks it’s daytime. That can make it harder to fall asleep.

Set your smartphone to the “do not disturb” setting. In addition to the blue light, sending nighttime emails, scrolling through Facebook or posting on Instagram right before bedtime might be stressing you out or making your mind race. You’re not alone – NSF research shows that 71 percent of people sleep either holding their smartphone, having it in bed with them, or having it on their nightstand. Instead, place your smartphone where it is not within arm’s reach, and set it to “do not disturb” for the seven to eight hours of sleep you should be getting. Note: If you don’t want to miss a call from certain people – say you have elderly parents or kids at college — you can set your smartphone to allow calls and texts from select contacts. Everything else can wait until morning! The best option would be to not sleep with any electronics in your bedroom, at all!!!

Create a relaxing ritual. Very few people fall asleep the minute their head hits the pillow. Instead, you may want to create some rituals that tell your body you’re shutting down for the night. Try a warm bath with lavender essential oil. You can also listen to some relaxing music or do some deep breathing, restorative yoga, and/or meditation.

Dark = Deep. How many little electronic lights are glowing in your bedroom once the lamps and overhead lights are off? The darker you can make your room, the more restorative your sleep can be, because the darkness releases the sleep hormone, melatonin. Cover up those little lights with black electric tape or turn them face down or toward the wall. You might also try light-blocking curtains if light streams in from outside.

Help your hormones with a sleep mask. If your room is still bright, try wearing a sleep mask. It creates the total darkness our bodies need to release melatonin and get a healthier night’s sleep. I always recommend the softest sleep mask you can find, with natural fibers. It may not be attractive, but if it helps you sleep, you will feel and look your best with more energy. And that’s a beautiful thing!

I’d love to hear how your sleep improves with these tips, and which ones are most helpful to you. Feel free to share on my Facebook page – just not right before bedtime!

Sweet dreams!

Want to learn more about creating a healthier life? Schedule a consultation with me!

Visit my website and “CONTACT” me, and let’s talk about your unique challenges, health concerns and goals. I would love to help get you started on the path to your BEST SELF!

8 Ways To Use Coconut Oil for Your Skin

8 Ways To Use Coconut Oil for Your Skin

Whether it’s dry skin, sensitive skin, oily skin or normal skin, this smooth, slick, tropical-smelling elixir will help make your skin supple and sumptuous.

Coconut oil’s main fat is lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid that positively impacts cholesterol levels. It also contains vitamins E and K, and iron, and has both antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties.

What really takes the (coconut) cake is that it’s super affordable. Check out these 8 ways to use coconut oil for your skin:

Continue reading

10 Earth Day Tips

10 Earth Day Tips

Today is Earth Day! It’s an annual event that takes place on April 22nd. Organized and founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, and first celebrated in 1970 focused on the United States, it was taken internationally in 1990. Earth Day events in more than 193 countries are now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

What can you do to make a difference on this day, and perhaps continually? Here are 10 tips to get you started:

  1. Make today a meatless day! Everything we eat has an environmental footprint – it takes land, water and energy to grow crops and raise livestock. The World Resources Institute has calculated the greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing a gram of edible protein of various foods. And, what they found was that foods such as beans, fish, nuts and egg have the lowest impact. Take the pledge to not eat meat one day a week and become a part of the Meatless Monday movement!
  2. Plant a tree! Planting trees is one of the easiest and most important ways to fight climate change. Deforestation contributes to species extinction, poverty, and is responsible for up to 15% of the global greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. ONE DOLLAR = ONE TREE. Make a donation, here!
  3. Stop using disposable plastic! Unfortunately, only about ten percent of plastic produced each year to make bags, bottles, packages, and other commodities for people all over the world is properly recycled and reused. The rest ends up as waste in landfills or as litter in our natural environment. Take the pledge to switch to sustainable alternatives, such as glass or stainless steel, and reduce the amount of disposable plastic you use!
  4. Limit your conventional produce intake! Conventionally grown produce are high in organophosphate pesticides (including RoundUp). Buy organic whenever possible! Avoid the fruits and vegetables on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list. Stick to the Clean 15!
  5. Drink filtered water! Tap water is high in contaminants such as mercury, chloramine, ammonia, fluoride, lead, nitrates, nitrites and many others.
  6. Stop using air fresheners! Phthalates and 1,4-Dichlorobenzene are chemicals found in air fresheners to cause birth defects, increase rates of asthma, lung damage and cancer
  7. Check your bathroom! Harmful ingredients in toothpastes and liquid soaps, such as anti-bacterials and triclosan (a pesticide), have been linked to increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Read the label and choose healthier alternatives from your local health food store.
  8. Get rid of CFLs! Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury. When broken, you must handle and dispose of with care. If you must use them make sure there is no danger of breaking near children. Opt for LEDs (light emitting diode) instead.
  9. Watch out for foam furniture! Foam products (like stuffed furniture and mattresses) are often treated with toxic fire retardants, so keep them well covered. And, don’t “protect” your fabrics and carpets with sprayed on chemical coatings – simply clean spills quickly.
  10. Lookout for lead! If your home was built before 1978, it probably contains lead paint. Choose low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and always paint with the windows open for good ventilation.
Sources: Earth Day Network, National Public Radio, Environmental Working Group
Is Salt Causing Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease?

Is Salt Causing Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease?

We’ve long known that too much salt in your diet is a bad thing. The overconsumption of sodium, unfortunately common in the Standard American Diet of fast food and highly processed packaged goods, has been strongly linked to high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.

Now there’s even more reason to ditch the canned soup and frozen meals in favor of fresh, whole foods: several new studies show that too much salt can contribute to Continue reading