NUTS 4 HEALTH AND BEAUTY

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NUTS FOR HEALTH AND BEAUTY
Nuts and seeds are good for your health. But aside from filling a hunger gap with good fats, fiber and protein, they can help make skin supple, smooth and younger looking.

BEAUTY AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF ALMONDS
Almonds are packed full of fiber (something most of us lack), protein and essential fatty acids — all of which help promote a healthy heart and help reduce blood pressure, But an added bonus is that this nut’s essential fatty acids are known to help reduce swelling and inflammation. Nuts and seeds, particularly almonds, are a natural anti-inflammatory, so they also can help treat skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and eczema, So if you want to keep your breakouts to a minimum, munching on some almonds may help.

BEAUTY AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF PUMPKIN SEEDS
Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are the unsung beauty hero in the world of nuts and seeds. Packed full of vitamin E, zinc and magnesium, these seeds will keep your skin glowing, promote regeneration of skin cells and fight off bacteria that may lead to acne. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, It helps skin repair itself quickly. And zinc has long been a remedy for acne sufferers. Pumpkin seeds are also a protein powerhouse (about 5 grams in 1 ounce), which also can help with cell regeneration. Who could ask for more from such a tasty little seed?

BEAUTY AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF WALNUTS
The slightly bitter walnut can give your mood a boost with its abundance of fatty acids, which have shown to be critical to the brain’s nerve cells. A lack in fatty acids may lead to depression and mood disorders, Choosing 1/4 cup of walnuts for a snack can give you nearly 95 percent of your daily omega-3 requirements. These brain-friendly nuts are also full of B vitamins, which are particularly great for your skin. B vitamins help with stress management and mood, and and prevent skin disorders, Because a handful of walnuts can reduce stress, they can, in turn, keep those wrinkles and fine lines at bay.

BEAUTY AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF PECANS
A handful of pecans can help you meet your daily recommended fiber requirements, with about 2.7 grams of fiber in 1 ounce. And fiber can do wonders for your health. Fiber essentially takes out the garbage. It helps with the elimination of toxins and waste, It’s essential for a good digestive system and your beauty routine. Just think: All those toxins inside reflect your outside appearance. Your skin can suffer, causing breakouts, dullness and excess oil. So why wouldn’t you eat more fiber to look better, especially when it comes in the form of flavorful pecans?

BEAUTY AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF SUNFLOWER SEEDS
These tiny seeds boast some big benefits, despite their diminutive size. A handful of sunflower seeds can curb your hunger pangs for a couple of hours because they are loaded with protein. They also can prevent your mid-afternoon work meltdown. These seeds are a great source of magnesium, as well — a mineral shown to calm your nerves, muscles and blood vessels, which in turn means better blood flow to your skin. That’s a key element to youthful skin. Plus, with calm nerves, those frown lines won’t be appearing quite so quickly.

GUIDELINES FOR EATING NUTS AND SEEDS
Here are tips for incorporating nuts and seeds into your diet.

Nuts and seeds are best eaten raw and unsalted.
Store nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve freshness.
If you enjoy nuts and seeds roasted, roast them yourself in the oven.
If you can’t eat nuts and seeds without salt, buy them raw, roast them and sprinkle on a pinch of sea salt.
Nuts and seeds make a great addition to salads (instead of croutons), stir-fries and oatmeal.
Nut butters are easier to digest.
Although nuts and seeds offer many benefits, too much of this good thing can wreak havoc on your waistline and digestion. Stick to 1 to 2 ounces per day.

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Keratosis Pilaris & Treating it

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Keratosis pilaris (ker-uh-TOE-sis pih-LAIR-is) is a common skin condition that causes rough patches and small, acne-like bumps, usually on the arms, thighs, cheeks and buttocks. Keratosis pilaris bumps are usually white, sometimes red, and generally don’t hurt or itch. Keratosis pilaris can be frustrating because it’s difficult to treat. However, keratosis pilaris isn’t often serious.

Because keratosis pilaris affects 50% of the entire world’s population, this reaction isn’t surprising. KP is somewhat more common in children and adolescents; 50 to 80% of children have KP. Adults needn’t feel neglected. Keratosis pilaris affects 4 out of every 10 adults, too. Women are slightly more prone to developing keratosis pilaris. Most people with KP are unaware that not only is there a designated medical term for the condition, but that treatment exists.

Keratosis pilaris is hereditary, inherited as an autosomal dominant gene. This is similar to the brown versus blue eye color phenomenon. All it takes is a single gene from either parent to find oneself with less than perfectly smooth skin. But not everyone can point a finger at who’s to blame since only 30 to 50% of KP patients have a positive family history.

In general, keratosis pilaris is aesthetically displeasing, but medically harmless. It’s always possible that it might become more noticeable at puberty. It’s caused because excess skin cells build up around individual hair follicles. Sometimes, a hair is unable to reach the surface and becomes trapped beneath the debris. During puberty, this is an ideal set-up for triggering follicular acne. But more often than not, KP improves with age.

Keratosis pilaris creates havoc with the skin’s surface as a raised, rough, bumpy texture and uneven nutmeg-grater appearance forms. It is often quite noticeable. Inflammation within each hair follicle can cause embarrassing pinpoint red or brown polka dots to form beneath each miniature mound of keratin. Seasonal fluctuations can be seen with improvement more likely during the summer.

Controlling Your Outer Self
Since keratosis pilaris is genetically predetermined, it may not be curable but should be controllable. There is no reason to passively take a “wait and see” approach. After all, there’s no guarantee that you’ll outgrow it. And while most with KP may not realize there really is something they can do about it, KP can really traumatize some sufferers.

Treatment is all about smoothing away the bumps. Therapy can eliminate the bumps, improve the texture, eliminate acne-causing plugs, and improve the overall appearance. Chemical exfoliation needn’t be fraught with irritation, redness or discomfort.

Glycolic Acid
An array of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are utilized in a esthetician quest to smooth out keratosis pilaris. Glycolic and lactic acids work as chemical exfoliating agents.

Urea
Urea is one of those special little known ingredients used by esthetician to dramatically soften the crustiest of skin concerns. It is an awesome additive in improving the appearance of KP.

Vitamin A Treatments
Clients may turn to prescription vitamin A creams to help restore a smooth texture in recalcitrant cases, or as a way to help treat keratosis pilaris complicated by acne. Potent over-the-counter retinols (up to 1%) are another option. Overeager use won’t help hasten silky skin. Instead it can leave the skin parched, peeling and painful. A tiny dab every other night is more than adequate for beginners.

Immunomodulators
Since keratosis pilaris is often thought of as a manifestation of eczema, it stands to reason that new prescription medications may play a role in treating keratosis pilaris.

Scrubs, Rubs and Peels
It’s true that scrubbing at dry, bumpy skin can make it a tad smoother. But it doesn’t entirely smooth KP away. Nor does it eradicate the little pink polka dots. But incorporating a scrub, a series of microdermabrasions or even getting a chemical peel can certainly jumpstart your way to smoothness, especially as we get nearer to sleeveless weather. Just remember that since keratosis pilaris is a chronic condition, committing oneself to never-ending weekly sessions of more medically useful microdermabrasion or chemical peels rapidly adds up financially.

Treatment for keratosis pilaris is ongoing – if discontinued, skin begins reforming around hair follicles. Maintenance is the best way to maintain silky smooth skin. Letting your keratosis pilaris show is unnecessary and so easy to control. Get ready for sleeveless fashion.

Benefits of Yoga

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It’s no secret that yoga’s good for you, but many people simply look at yoga as something to use when they need to gain flexibility, improve their balance, or de-stress. Those are all yoga benefits, but the positive things you can gain from practicing yoga regularly extend far beyond those perks. Here are thirteen yoga benefits that may surprise you.

1. Stress Prevention and Relief

It’s probably not a surprise to you that you can mellow out with a yoga session after a rough day, but did you know that a daily yoga practice can actually decrease the likelihood that you’ll get stressed out in the first place? In a study, a yoga group and a control group took an exam. The yoga group had practiced yoga 35 minutes per day with a trained instructor for 12 weeks prior to the test. The yoga group didn’t have a significant increase in stress (based on heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure), but the control group did.

2. Improved Immunity

Similarly, yoga was shown to decrease postoperative stress in breast cancer patients, which led to a stronger immune system (no significant immune system depression after surgery) and better odds of a successful recovery from surgery. In this study, yoga was said to decrease anxiety and depression, too.

3. Improved Relationships

Yoga affects your mind and spirit in a way that has an effect on your relationships with others—your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends, and even strangers. When you feel more at peace, more in the moment, more in tune with everyone around you, you begin to notice things and interact with people in a much more positive and compassionate way. If yoga has given you more confidence (likely!), you’ll probably be more open to communicating your own thoughts, needs, and suggestions. Don’t be surprised if you not only begin strengthening your current relationships, but begin to attract new friends and acquaintances, too.

4. Ability to Stay in the Moment

Have you ever tried to hold a balancing pose while your mind was on dinner, the drama with your sister, or some issue at work you’ve been dealing with? You topple over, right? Yoga trains you to keep your mind focused and in the moment, and with enough practice, that ability bleeds over into all other areas of your life. You’ll be a more attentive friend because of it, and you may also find that you’re much more efficient in your daily life because you’re not slowing yourself down by letting your mind travel into the past or the future while you’re working on something else. In addition, you’ll really get to revel in those little moments of joy you might have otherwise missed, and those all add up to a happier you!

5. Ease of Making Better Food Choices (and Less Binge Eating)

Yoga lowers levels of cortisol and increases levels of serotonin in the body. When cortisol is up, you’re more likely to binge eat (aka stress eat!). When you practice yoga, you become more in tune with what your body really needs, not what it’s craving in order to fill a void, and you’ll be less likely to reach for a convenience food with no nutritional value. By calming yourself through yoga, you may find that you have fewer cravings overall anyway.

6. Increased Strength

This one may not come as a surprise, but for those of you who have never done yoga and think it’s easy or all about flexibility and balance, know that you can get incredibly strong from practicing yoga, too. (Also, it’s not exactly easy, per se, but anyone can do it—you can start anywhere and work your way up to challenges that require lots of strength, flexibility, and balance!)

7. Removal of Toxins

Yoga stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps to flush the toxins out. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your practice to ensure that those toxins that start moving get pushed all the way out of your body. Along with your regiment of digestive probiotics, your body will always feel lean and clean.

8. Pain Management

Yoga has been successfully used as a component of treatment for lower back pain. That may not come as a shock, since so much of yoga puts at least some attention on back strength and flexibility. However, yoga has also been used—with significant results—in other areas of pain management, like carpal tunnel syndrome, hand osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and joint pain in breast cancer survivors. In many cases, the yoga routines used in these studies were designed for the particular issue at hand, but often worked as a holistic approach anyway, alleviating much more than pain. For example, participants noticed a better grip (those with hand osteoporosis, in particular), better mood, less fatigue, a feeling of acceptance, and increased energy.

9. Protected Bone Density

You can do yoga for strong bones! Running and lifting weights at the gym aren’t the only way to avoid losing bone density as you age. Strength-bearing poses in yoga have the same effect in premenopausal women. Doing yoga now reduces the risk for osteoporosis later in life.

10. Improved Cardiovascular Health

Mindfulness-based stress reduction combines yoga and meditation and has been shown to lower stress, anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and BMI in patients with coronary heart disease.

You may also be surprised to know that you can actually get in a good cardiovascular workout. Yoga isn’t all about sitting still and taking deep breaths, or even holding poses for a long time while taking deep breaths. Some routines are pretty fast-paced and can get your heart rate up! And while you’re working on that, muscles all over your body are getting stronger, too, as you shift from one pose to the next.

11. Better Mood (Lowered Depression Risk)

As the breast cancer study mentioned above, yoga has the ability to alleviate depression and anxiety, boosting the quality of life for those who practice it. In addition, yoga could be recommended as a portion of the treatment for those suffering from depression. In a prison setting study, a 10-week yoga course decreased levels of depression and anxiety in inmates and workers. There was also a boost in their cognitive-behavioral performance.

Yoga has also been shown to help with the mood swings and other things that go along with menopause!

12. Improvement in Asthma

Yoga can actually benefit those who suffer from asthma. Deep-breathing exercises could increase the stamina of the lungs and allow people to get a better awareness of how they should be breathing, so when something goes awry, they notice earlier and can take care of it before the attack becomes dangerous.

13. Better Digestion

All those twists are good for more than flexibility! They stimulate your digestive tract, too, and make elimination easier. I recommend doing a few twists when you wake up in the morning just to rev everything up and ensure that you can start your day feeling lighter, not weighed down.

A Holistic Approach with Ongoing Benefits

You may have noticed that a lot of the surprising benefits of yoga came with a few extra positives attached, and several of the benefits listed here are interlinked. Yoga is a fantastic holistic approach to improving your mental, emotional, and physical health. A lot of the benefits you find on the mat also extend well beyond your session or even the hour or so after you’re done with your practice. When you practice yoga regularly, for example, you don’t get stressed out as easily and your perspective in general shifts to give you a happier, more positive outlook on life.

Gluten

Gluten sensitivity can trigger inflammation. If you’re sensitive (not the same as celiac disease or an allergy), the gluten in your food can irritate the inside and outside of the digestive tract, but it doesn’t actually destroy the intestinal wall the way Celiac disease does. The body thinks the gluten is an intruder (which, in reality it is), so it initiates an immune system response: inflammation. Inflammation doesn’t stay localized and only cause digestive discomfort. Instead, it spreads. And because there’s a link between gut health and your skin, acne appears.

Gluten Is Lurking in Foods You Shouldn’t Really Eat Anyway

You’ll generally lose weight and notice clearer skin when you skip the foods gluten is in simply because you’ll be eating less processed food and more whole fruits and vegetables that nourish your body. However, you will experience a decrease in inflammation and cravings for junk food may also subside. These benefits work in tandem with the superior diet to contribute to better skin and a naturally slimmer figure much more quickly and easily (and your results will be effortless to maintain!).

If you’re committed to avoiding gluten to at least give the gluten-free lifestyle a trial run, you should know that it shows up in some unexpected places, like:

Soy sauce (use tamari instead)
Some pickles (if malt vinegar was used)
Licorice
Veggie burgers (not all, but some. Check labels)
Processed grains (try to get oat groats or steel cut, and ones labeled as manufactured in a gluten-free facility)
Processed meats
Ice cream
Some soups, dressings, and sauces (including soy sauce)
Seitan (look out for this one!! It comes in some brand name forms now. Avoid it!)
Snack foods, like chips and crackers
Beer, unless specifically marked gluten-free
None of these have a beneficial place in a healthy diet when you’re purchasing the pre-packaged, processed version at the grocery store (like most soups, sauces, and dressings). If you want a burger without the meat, you can make your own alkaline grain burgers from millet and amaranth flour instead of taking a chance with the store-bought ones.

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7 Sneaky Ways Bacteria Gets n2 Your Beauty Products

You may know that you need to clean your makeup brushes once a week and toss your beauty products once they’re expired, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear when it comes to having bacteria in your products. Bacteria can be sneaky, and once it gets into your makeup, it can cause a slew of problems for your skin like acne, redness and infection.

To help you keep your cosmetics free of germs, we’re sharing seven sneaky ways that bacteria is getting into your makeup, and how to avoid it.

Using jars instead of tubes: If you’re using lotion that comes in a jar or tub as opposed to a tube, you’re putting bacteria into the product each time you dip in your fingers. The same goes for hair masks, exfoliators and anything that comes in a jar, but bacteria-filled lotion going onto your face can cause irritation, acne and redness. Go for a tube version of your favorite lotion, then go one step further to grab product with a cotton swap instead of your fingers.

Mascara pumping: Every time you pump mascara to “get more product on the brush,” you’re drying out the mascara, creating a dry, dark breeding ground for germs. Putting that mascara onto your wand and into your eye, then back and forth again, passes germs from your eye to the tube, where they’ll continue to live. Make sure you’re only using mascara for no longer than 3 months, and swirl the brush inside instead of pumping it up and down.

Sneezing while applying: It may be innocent, but if you sneeze around your makeup while applying, you’re immediately putting bacteria into any open container. If you feel a sneeze coming on (especially during mascara application, which can entirely ruin all your hard work), walk into another room to avoid sneezing on your products.

Reapplying lipstick after eating: This goes for any lip product, but if you immediately reapply your lipstick after eating food, you’re pressing left over food particles into your lips, and into the product itself. Bacteria can then live on the surface of lipstick, or inside the tube of lip gloss, which will eventually be spread onto your lips in the next application. Make sure you fully wipe off any food on your lips and if possible, brush your teeth, before reapplying lip color.

Sharing your products: This is especially true for eye makeup because your eyes are most susceptible to getting bacteria in them, but if you’re sharing any beauty products with your friends, you’re immediately putting any of their germs into your products and vice versa. Even if you’re out with your best friend and she forgot to bring her lip gloss in her clutch, don’t share. It never ends well.

Not cleaning your makeup bag: Even if you clean every product, brush and sponge in your makeup bag, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Your makeup bag needs to be cleaned out, and you should be doing this at least once a month. Either put it in the washing machine with your towels or in the dishwasher (this works really well if the bag is made of canvas) to get any loose, bacteria-laden products out of the bottom of the bag.

Double-dipping brushes: Yes, there are certain brushes that you should be using for each kind of makeup application, but in reality, many of us are guilty of using one brush for multiple products. If you use one brush to apply powder to your face, then dip it into your blush, you’re transferring any oils from your face into your blush compact, and then redistributing those oils onto your cheeks when you apply blush. Gross, right? Try using your fingers or separate brushes for each product, and remember to clean your brushes about once a week.

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5 Myths About Food and your Skin

The foods we eat can have a major impact on how we look—and I’m not just talking about how well we fit into our skinny jeans. For a dewy, gorgeous complexion, you’re going to want to watch your intake of certain munchies. But here’s the good news: Not all foods known for wreaking havoc on your skin actually deserve their bad reputations. And some foods that have stellar health points aren’t always the best for your face. Here, the truth about foods and your skin—and how to keep that gorgeous, glowy look for good.

MYTH: Chocolate leads to zits and acne
FACT: Not necessarily true. Pure chocolate contains a bevy of skin-beautifying antioxidants and feel-good compounds. However, chocolate that’s loaded with sugar and dairy can trigger a skin freakout.
Takeaway: Indulge in dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa and less sugar to treat your skin and body right. And less is more – enjoy a bite or two, not boatload.

MYTH: Fatty foods = ruddy, blotchy skin
FACT: We all know that not all fats are created equal, and it’s especially true when it comes to keeping skin clear and radiant. Nuts and seeds, olive oil and avocado are loaded with skin-beneficial oils and antioxidants like Vitamin E. That heaping plate of fries? Not so much. While saturated fat has been known to make skin angry, experts say that fat is less of a troublemaker for skin than processed foods (especially processed carbs) and sugars.
Takeaway: Opt for plant-based oils in their fresh form, and forgo saturated fat and the processed and fried stuff.

MYTH: Dairy ALWAYS does a body good
FACT: Milk and dairy are a great source of calcium, protein and Vitamin D, right? Yes, but dairy may also be a doozie for your skin. Some skincare experts say that components in milk that are related to testosterone hormones can cause oil glands to go into overdrive, setting the stage for skin upset.
Takeaway: If you’re having trouble with your complexion, try switching to non-dairy options like almond milk, hemp milk and soy milk as a nutrient-rich alternative to dairy. Or try goat and sheep dairy cheeses instead of cow dairy, which some say has less of an effect on skin.

MYTH: Caffeine leads to breakouts
FACT: The claim that caffeine causes acne and breakouts may have more bark than bite. Some experts say it doesn’t directly cause acne, but may aggravate existing conditions. But caffeine has its benefits too. Many caffeine-laden drinks, like coffee and black and green tea, are also loaded with antioxidants that can help defend skin from damage, particularly from the sun.
Takeaway: Drink caffeine in moderation to avoid messing with your beauty sleep (hello, undereye circles), and be sure to drink plenty of water to counteract the dehydrating effects of caffeinated drinks.

MYTH: Natural sweeteners aren’t as bad as refined sugars for the skin
FACT: Sugar is sugar (for the most part). And sugar has inflammatory effects, especially for the skin. Anything that spurs a blood sugar spike causes inflammation and accelerated aging. While some natural sweeteners don’t meddle with blood sugar status quo as much as straight up sugar, the fact is that most things that taste sweet are pretty high on the glycemic index and trigger skin-damaging effects.
Takeaway: Keep sugar (in any form) to a minimum. Opt for natural sweeteners like agave and honey, which are sweeter than sugar so you need less to satisfy your taste buds; or maple syrup, which is loaded with minerals and anti-inflammatory compounds to counter it’s sugary impacts.

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