Apple Cider Vinegar & it’s Benefits

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Apple cider vinegar is my new obsession. I recently began taking apple cider vinegar shots a few times a day for a quick and effective energy burst. However, I’ve since discovered so many other useful ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar (ACV) into my daily routine.

It’s effective for pretty much anything—your skin, your hair, your house, and even your pets can benefit from its qualities. Raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized, apple cider vinegar is so much more than a salad dressing!

1. Apple cider vinegar can detoxify your home.

It’s made from apple juice and is fermented to hard apple cider. It’s then fermented a second time to become apple cider vinegar. By using ACV in lieu of other products, we instantly decrease the consumption of unnatural chemicals in our homes and daily lives.

2. It can make your hair shine.

Apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse for your hair after shampooing, and will boost your hair’s body and shine. I recommend recycling an old shampoo bottle, then filling it with 1/2 a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a cup of cold water. Pour the solution through your hair after shampooing several times a week for dramatic results.

3. Natural apple cider vinegar regulates the pH of your skin.

Dilute ACV with two parts water, and spread the concoction over your face with a cotton ball to replace your current toner. You can do this at night after washing, and in the morning before you apply your moisturizer. A dab of apple cider vinegar can also be left on the skin overnight to fade age spots or acne scars.

It’s also a recommended agent for warts. For warts, soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, then fasten the cotton ball over the wart with a Band-Aid overnight. The skin may swell some as it reacts with the solution. However, the wart will fall off. Once it falls off, the treatment should be continued for a few more days, to make sure the wart doesn’t return.

4. It can remove stains from teeth.

Rub teeth directly with apple cider vinegar, and rinse with water.

5. It can soothe sunburnt skin.

Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath, and soak for 10 minutes to eliminate discomfort from sunburn.

6. Apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural aftershave.

Fill a bottle with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, and shake before applying to the face.

7. It’s an all-natural massage treatment.

Rubbing apple cider vinegar on your hands and feet will give massage-like benefits and relief to tired hands and feet.

8. Apple cider vinegar can aid in weight loss.

For daily weight management, add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to 16 ounces of water. This concoction can be sipped throughout the day. Data shows some limited, yet significant, weight loss benefits from sustained daily intake of acetic acid (which is a main ingredient in apple cider vinegar).

In a 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, it was found that subjects that consumed acetic acid for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides. Triglycerides contribute to the bad cholesterol that we want to avoid.

9. Apple cider vinegar will balance your entire inner body system.

The body constantly strives to achieve a state of equilibrium. Apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level. Research shows that higher acid levels (lower pH level) leads to a lack of energy and higher incidences of infection. Hence, my desire to sip some a few times a day for a natural boost of energy.

10. It can help you detox.

As part of balancing the body’s pH, apple cider vinegar creates an overall detoxification of the body. Research shows that it can help stimulate cardiovascular circulation and help detoxify the liver.

11. ACV is great for your lymphatic system.

This miracle vinegar helps to break up mucous throughout the body and cleanse the lymph nodes. Believe it or not, research suggests that apple cider vinegar can help with allergies because of its ability to reduce mucous and sinus congestion. When reducing the effects of allergies, it can also help stave off sinus infections and their related symptoms, such as sore throats and headaches.

12. It can help your body get rid of candida.

This vinegar is rich in natural enzymes that can help rid your body of candida—yeasts that are attributed to thrush in humans. Candida also is blamed for creating symptoms of fatigue, poor memory, sugar cravings, and yeast infections.

13. ACV can help you reduce heartburn.

Though it might seem like an oxymoron to treat stomach acid with an acid-containing vinegar, there is research suggesting that apple cider vinegar works by correcting low acid, hence reducing heartburn. Natural remedy experts say you should begin to feel relief very shortly after taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar followed by a glass of water. Note that apple cider vinegar will not give relief if you have an ulcer.

14. The use of apple cider vinegar is effective in repelling fleas on your pets.

One part vinegar and one part water can be sprayed on your pets fur and rubbed in generously to the skin. Saturate the entire coat, and continue every day for a few days to a week. Any flea infestation will surely be gone.

15. It’s an all-natural room freshener.

Apple cider vinegar will clean your toilets and leave your bathroom smelling like apples! Just pour apple cider vinegar into the toilet, and allow it to sit overnight. It can also be used in dishwashers as a substitute for dish detergent. Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup water, and you can use this solution to clean microwaves, kitchen surfaces, windows, glasses and mirrors, too.

As you can see, apple cider vinegar is a miracle product that cab be used in a multitude of ways. I highly recommend its use!

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Body Scrub

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What are the benefits of a body scrub?
Exfoliation is one of the primary keys to a healthy skin. The removal of coarse skin and dead cells allows for better penetration of products such as oils and lotions, leaving the skin soft & smooth. All Body Scrub recipes help to remove dead cells from your skin, allowing new cells to grow. A scrub can be really invigorating as well, and improve the circulation of blood and lymph to the surface of the skin, helping to fight cellulite and improve your skin tone.

A body scrub also forms the basis of other body treatments:
* it prepares your skin for an even tan
* it opens the pores and wakens the skin before a body treatment
* the oils used can relax or stimulate your senses ready for any similarly-focused treatment that you might be having afterwards.

SALT SCRUB INSTRUCTIONS

YOU WILL NEED:
1. refined sea salt (about 1-2 cups per scrub)
2. oil to cover
3. potentially: dedicated pajamas & towel
4. good, strong cleanser for the tub

Get yourself some refined sea salt (in the bulk area – usually about .50/#) and sunflower or safflower oil. (Any oil will do, these are simply nice and cheap! If you run cold or tend toward stagnancy, inertia, or lack of motivation, raw sesame oil is a great choice, too.) Add the two in a jar or bowl, stopping at toothpaste consistency. Start with just a little bit, unless you want to make a lot to keep for later. (It will keep, so feel free – a mason jar is great for storage and looks nice, too.)
Stand in the tub as it fills (to contain the mess), take a handful of the mixture and scrub your skin, working in the direction of your venous return and lymph flow – from your feet towards your heart, then from your hands towards your heart. Keep scrubbing one area until the skin turns pink, then move on to the next area. (The pinkness indicates circulation.) Once you’re done scrubbing your whole body, soak in the tub – oil, salt, and all. The oil will penetrate your skin deeply (with the water and heat) and the salt, as it dissolves in the water, will pull toxins from your body. Hence: nourishing and detoxifying.
Do not soap off – if you’re feeling over-oily, just rinse a little off in the shower. (Make sure to have a dedicated pair of PJs and a towel for the purpose – after a few scrubs your clothes will get a little oily. Also be sure to clean the tub/shower with hot hot hot water after – vinegar and baking soda or bon ami also help.)
Salt scrubs increase lymph flow and circulation, hydrate the tissues and nerves. (In instances where lymphatic stagnancy is present, they can often contribute to weight loss.) They also aid motivation, groundedness and healthy boundaries.

Do not use the body scrub too often because frequent scrubbing can damage the young skin layer once the dead skin is off the body surface. You can use a body scrub once every week or two. Also remember to use a very gentle body scrub in case you have a dry skin. Also be very careful during winter when too much scrubbing can damage already dry skin.

Healthy Thanksgiving

6 Superfoods for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an excellent time to add seasonal super foods to your holiday plate to help offset some of the damage caused by high-glycemic indulgences, prevent inflammation, support cellular repair and keep skin glowing during the holiday season. Here are some of my favorite super foods that I include on my Thanksgiving table:

1. Cranberries
These tart little berries are not only delicious and should be enjoyed year round, but are also ranked among the fruits and vegetables richest in antioxidants. They are packed with health-promoting properties and beauty benefits that prevent fine lines and wrinkle damage.
Benefits:
Research shows that water-soluble polyphenol antioxidants in cranberries provide substantial protection against free radical damage to cell membranes (the outer boundaries of the cells). This is key, because a reduction in the number of free radicals in the cell membrane will result in a reduction in the number of free radicals available to damage the cell membrane. Translation? Less damage to skin and other organ systems, and a younger and healthier you.
Thanksgiving Tip:
Instead of buying canned cranberry sauce make your own. Here is one of my favorite quick and easy recipes.
Cranberry Sauce
12 oz. package of fresh cranberries
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup raw honey
Zest of one organic orange
Preparation
Place berries and juice in saucepan and cook over high heat until berries begin to pop. Stir continuously to prevent sticking. Add desired amount of raw honey to sweeten as berries gel. When everything is completely dissolved add orange zest. Refrigerate to chill.

2. Winter Squash and Pumpkins
As a dermatologist, I am particularly delighted with the fact that carotenoids neutralize free radicals in the skin, preventing the resulting inflammatory cascade that damages cells and accelerates the internal aging process – which manifest externally as wrinkles.
Benefits:
Carotenoid-rich foods have powerful benefits that help reverse UV damage, block sunlight-induced inflammation, improve skin texture and promote skin renewal.
Thanksgiving Tip:
I like to steam or bake pumpkins and save the seeds to roast and serve as a healthy appetizer. The seeds are rich in antioxidants, act as natural anti-inflammatories and protect against the free radical-initiated inflammation that causes cellular damage.

3. Ginger
To many of us, our sole relationship with ginger was our childhood fondness for ginger bread. Little did we realize that ginger is actually a powerful anti-aging remedy; with many health benefits and a long medicinal tradition throughout the East.
Benefits:
Ginger reduces excess stomach acid and minimizes upset stomachs. It greatly aids in digestion of protein, it is clinically proven as an anti-nausea remedy effective in treating both motion and morning sickness and is an effective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.
Thanksgiving Tip:
Fresh ginger root is a wonderful addition to vegetables, soups, squash or pumpkin dishes—it is a versatile ingredient that can enhance just about every meal.

4. Turmeric
Turmeric is an Indian curry spice with an ancient history of medicinal use against inflammation. This delicious spice is a close cousin to ginger, and has been used for millennia to flavor, color, and preserve foods.
Benefits:
Like alpha lipoic acid, curcumin, the active constituent of Turmeric, enhances the liver’s ability to eliminate dangerous, carcinogenic toxins and inhibits the pro-inflammatory actions that lead to inflammation-related micro scarring of collagen, which in turn produces wrinkles. Turmeric sensitizes the body’s cortisol receptor sites, and its anti-inflammatory properties are considered comparable to those of the body’s own cortisone-type hormones. We must keep our cortisol levels low to prevent accelerated aging of all organ systems—including the skin.
Thanksgiving Tip:
Add curry powder to deviled eggs or make a curry with leftover turkey and vegetables. The curry powder contains turmeric. Curcumin is one of the active constituents in turmeric and has both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

5. Cinnamon
This aromatic tree bark has been prized for centuries in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines for its myriad of health benefits.
Benefits:
The mere scent of cinnamon enhances the brain’s cognitive processing, including attention, memory, and visual-motor speed. Cinnamon also stimulates insulin receptors and inhibits an enzyme that inactivates them, thereby increasing cells’ ability to use glucose. Thus, cinnamon may significantly help people with adult onset diabetes normalize their blood sugar levels. Less than half a teaspoon per day of cinnamon reduces blood sugar levels in persons with adult onset diabetes.
Thanksgiving Tip:
Add a cinnamon stick to your tea or sprinkle it on baked winter squash, sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie to provide blood sugar lowering benefits and provide superior antioxidant protection.

6. The Allium Family
Garlic is a superstar member of the allium family, which also contains onions, leeks, chives, leeks, shallots, and scallions. Garlic contains a special compound known as allicin, which must be crushed to be activated. Cooking pretty much destroys allicin; so use raw, crushed garlic to maximize health benefits.
Benefits:
Garlic has the ability to lower total cholesterol while raising the HDL (good) cholesterol, provides antifungal and anti-bacterial protection, reduces the risk of blood clots- the leading cause of stroke and heart attack, lowers blood pressure and lessens the risk of atheriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Thanksgiving Tip:
Add garlic or any member of the allium family to your savory Thanksgiving dishes to enhance flavor and increase antioxidant health benefits.

I wish you and your families a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.

Food Cravings? Here Is What Your Body Really Wants.

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If you crave this…. What you really need is… And here are healthy foods that have it:

Chocolate. Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits

Sweets. Chromium Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, calves liver,
Carbon Fresh fruits
Phosphorus Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains
Sulfur Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage
Tryptophan Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach

Bread, toast. Nitrogen High protein foods: fish, meat, nuts, beans

Oily snacks,
fatty foods. Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame

Coffee or tea. Phosphorous Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes
Sulfur Egg yolks, red peppers, muscle protein, garlic, onion, cruciferous vegetables
NaCl (salt) Sea salt, apple cider vinegar (on salad)
Iron Meat, fish and poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries

Alcohol,
recreational drugs. Protein Meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, nuts
Avenin Granola, oatmeal
Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Glutamine Supplement glutamine powder for withdrawal, raw cabbage juice
Potassium Sun-dried black olives, potato peel broth, seaweed, bitter greens

Chewing
ice. Iron Meat, fish, poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries

Burned food. Carbon Fresh fruits

Soda and other
carbonated drinks. Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame

Salty foods. Chloride Raw goat milk, fish, unrefined sea salt

Acid foods. Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits

Preference for
liquids
rather than solids. Water Flavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.

Preference for
solids rather
than liquids. Water You have been so dehydrated for so long that
you have lost your thirst. Flavor water with lemon or lime.
You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.

Cool drinks. Manganese Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries

Pre-menstrual
cravings. Zinc Red meats (especially organ meats), seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables

General
overeating. Silicon Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches
Tryptophan Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
Tyrosine Vitamin C supplements or orange, green, red fruits and vegetables

Lack of appetite. Vitamin B1 Nuts, seeds, beans, liver and other organ meats
Vitamin B3 Tuna, halibut, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, seeds and legumes
Manganese Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
Chloride Raw goat milk, unrefined sea salt

Tobacco. Silicon Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches
Tyrosine Vitamin C supplements or orange, green and red fruits and vegetables

Spa Facials vs Medical Facials

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They may help instill a sense of relaxation but treating yourself to regular facials is also essential to maintaining a regular pattern of exfoliation and healthy skin. When the skin is properly and frequently exfoliated, the normal rate of cell turnover ensues, which translates to softer skin that is more even in tone, less prone to breakouts and shows fewer signs of aging.

Spa Facials vs Medical Facials. What’s the Difference?
Facials are offered almost everywhere, from salons and luxury spas to dermatologists’ and plastic surgeons’ offices. So, what are the differences between them—and how do you know which you’ll best benefit from?

The Spa Facial

If you choose to have a facial done at a spa, expect more of a relaxing and pampering experience. Skin problems can be tackled, but the ingredients are more comforting and soothing. And while they can be effective, they may not be as strong or medically-based as what you can get at a doctor’s office.

Steam is Used
A steam-emitting machine is positioned close to the skin to “open up” pores and soften oil that has hardened within them. “Steam prepares the skin for extractions,” says celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas. “But some skin types are too sensitive for it. And if not done properly, it can cause extreme redness and even burn the skin.”

More Pampering
For those who want added indulgence, spa facials can be complemented by other stress-relieving treatments—think a neck, hand or foot massage and even aromatherapy—and further enhanced by a luxurious ambience.

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The Medical Facial

Medical facials are not considered luxurious or pampering, but more like a hard-core workout for the skin; they give extra attention to serious skin problems and focus on deep exfoliation. “Medical facials are great for those with specific skin concerns who need a clinical approach to get the results they want,” says Boca Raton, FL, medical aesthetician Cheryl Staurowsky.

Use Different Ingredients and Modalities
Stronger concentrations and prescription-strength ingredients, like retinoids and hydroquinone can be used, as well as light and laser treatments, more aggressive peels and microdermabrasion.

Steam is Not Always Used
“Some clinicians like using alphahydroxy acids to soften the sebum and 
cellular buildup, as opposed to steam, making extractions easier and less traumatizing to the skin,” says Staurowsky.

Done Under the Supervision of a Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist
“Licensed aestheticians are well-trained in their craft and extremely knowledgeable about skin care. They should always be on hand to treat any problems, should they arise,” says Studio City, CA, dermatologist Gene Rubinstein, MD.

The Power of Grapefruit

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With its distinct flavor, the powerful taste of grapefruit is not for everyone. But with its high nutritional content and refreshing scent, more and more people are touting the ingredient as a skin-care secret. But what is it about the fruit that benefits the skin?

Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, grapefruit extract applied topically can provide an array of anti-aging benefits like evening skin tone and fighting off free radicals. When eaten, it provides the body with important nutrients essential for healthy skin.

“Internally, grapefruit is a great example of a fruit that is loaded with skin-protective antioxidants and also has a high water content, which helps keep your skin’s barrier (the outer layer) hydrated and more resistant to wrinkle-causing free-radical damage from the sun and daily pollution,” says Los Angeles dermatologist, Howard Murad, MD. “A great benefit of grapefruit is that it promotes the production of collagen, thus making the skin more plump and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, keeping the skin looking younger and more supple.”

“Grapefruit has excellent astringent and exfoliating properties that are perfect for oily or acne-prone skin,” says Washington, DC, dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD. “It also increases the pH of the skin, which may reduce acne,” adds Dr. Murad. But when it comes to those suffering from rosacea, citrus may not be the answer. “Certain citrusy fruits such as grapefruit may irritate the condition. It’s important to identify the foods that affect you by tracking what you eat and evaluate how your skin reacts during the few hours after consumption,” says Dr. Murad.

Be careful using and eating grapefruit if you take prescription medication. There are several drugs that can have life-threatening consequences when combined with even the smallest hint of grapefruit.

Collagen Producing Foods

Collagen is essential for young-looking skin because it gives structure to our skin cells. But, as we age, the body produces less of it, since naturally occurring enzymes break collagen down, in turn, causing the skin to thin, lose fullness and form wrinkles. The sun, pollution, free radicals and smoke are also responsible for disintegrating collagen.

While the body is constantly creating new collagen to repair what’s been damaged, around age 35, collagen production naturally begins to taper off, and the quality of collagen is not as good as in years past. The good news? In addition to topical products, and treatments, food is a great way to naturally boost collagen in the skin. “Stimulating collagen with at-home topical products, in-office treatments and proper lifestyle choices helps the skin maintain its strength, resiliency and volume,” says Madison, WI, facial plastic surgeon Richard C. Parfitt, MD.

Flip through this gallery to see the best foods to restore, regenerate and repair damaged collagen. Get out your pen. It’s time to make an anti-aging shopping list.

Fish
Creates stronger cells: “Fish like tuna and salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acid,” says New York nutritionist Brook Alpert. Skin cells are surrounded by a fatty membrane that protects them. When the cells are healthy, they are able to support the structure of the skin.

Red vegetables
Pump up sun protection: Tomatoes, peppers and beets contain the antioxidant lycopene. “Lycopene acts as a natural sunblock, protecting the skin from damage while increasing collagen levels,” says Alpert.

Dark green vegetables
Rev up collagen production: Rich in vitamin C, dark green vegetables like spinach and kale can rev up collagen production. In topical products, “vitamin C has antioxidizing properties that stabilize the messenger enzymes that break collagen down. It also protects against free radicals to prevent weak collagen,” says Orlando, FL, dermatologist Dr. Dimitry Palceski.

Orange Vegetables
Restore and regenerate: Vegetables that are orange in color, like carrots and sweet potatoes, are rich in vitamin A, which restores and regenerates damaged collagen.

Berries
Ward off damage: Blackberries and raspberries scavenge free radicals while simultaneously increasing collagen levels.

Soy
Blocks aging: Whether sources from soy milk, cheese or tofu, soy contains genistein (plant hormones that serve as antioxidants), which prompts collagen production and helps to block enzymes, like MMPs that can age the skin.

White Tea
Supports structure: According to research conducted by Kingston University and Neal’s Yard Remedies, white tea may protect the structural proteins of the skin, specifically collagen. It’s believed to prevent enzyme activity that breaks down collagen, contributing to lines and wrinkles.

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