Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fight Cellulite the Natural Way.

Are those cellulite staring at you again? They tease you and taunt you to no end. They crunch up under your skin, forming milky ways up and down your thighs, your butt and even across your abdomen. Milky way may look magical, even spell-bounding up in the sky, splashed across the midnight canvas, but what are they doing on your skin?

What are they, anyway? They are deposits of fat that pushes up between the skin's dermal cells. But fret no, you can tame them, suggests UCLA professor, Howard Murad, M.D. with food. Yes, food!

Here are three favorites you can add to your grocery list:


Fresh cayenne pepper, chili pepper, chili powder or chili flakes. Spice your food with these "spicy" ladies. They are spicy because they contain a chemical, called capsaicin that can boost circulation and metabolism. They are notorious fat busters to boot. So blast the lumpy dimples with a dash of spice.


They make delicious orange julius. Or you can simply cut them into wedges and munch on them. What's the deal? They contain lecithin, which can help to strengthen skin cells,preventing the fat cells from making their appearance at the skin level.


Go nutty and your skin will be thankful. Nuts are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids which promote skin's elasticity. The more elastic your skin is, the smoother it gets. So, trade in your chips for some wholesome nuts...walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds...mix and match and enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sulfur Soap

Sulfur soaps? If you’re wondering what they are and what they are used for, here are some quick facts about sulfur soap.

What is Sulfur?

Sulfur is a yellow nonmetallic mineral found in nature. If you’re ever smelled rotten eggs, that’s the smell. It is the stuff found in gunpowder, in the manufacture of rubber products, such as tires, insecticides and pharmaceuticals. If you ever light a match, it’s the sulfur that produces the flame.

Sulfur Soaps
Sulfur is also used in the making of antiseptic, antibacterial soap to treat many skin conditions. It usually constituted about 10 percent of the soap. The rest of the soap is made of fragrance and neutral soap base. Certain agents may be added to the sulfur soaps to target certain skin conditions.

According to PubMed, sulfur has been utilized to treat various skin conditions for centuries. These include:

• Fungal infections
• Scabies
• Psoriasis
• Eczema
• Acne
• Seborrhoeic eczema
• Cutaneous disorders

How Does Sulfur Soap Works
Sulfur soap works as a topical salicylate. When it is applied to the affected area, it will cause the skin to swell and soften, making it easy to slouch or peel away the affected skin. In addition, sulfur has an active ingredient, kertolytic, that has antibacterial action.

Clears Acne
According to Mayo clinic sulfur soap may be used to treat acne. Such acne sulfur soaps usually have other active ingredients such salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or resorcinol. They work together to remove dead skin cells that are clogging the pores and by removing excess oil.

Treats Seborrheic Dermatitis
If you have red, scaly, itchy skin on the scalp and stubborn dandruff, you may have Seborrheic dermatitis. It can also affect face, upper chest, back and any oily areas of the body and is caused by a fungus. It is commonly referred to as cradle cap in infants. Although it is generally harmless, it can be annoying, embarrassing and uncomfortable. Using sulfur soap can reduce the amount of fungus since sulfur soap is antifungal.

Precaution to Take When Using Sulfur Soap
Before using sulfur soap, make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients found in the soap. Always consult your doctor if you’re not sure. Sulfur soap can be drying, so be sure to use a moisturizer in conjunction with sulfur soap use. There are also milder sulfur soaps with 3 percent sulfur content.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meditteranean Diet: Promote Brain Health

So much has been said about the Mediterranean diet. Its health claims include fighting heart diseases to preventing cancer to fighting weight gain. A 2007 study done in the United States found that people who consumed a Mediterranean diet lowered their risk of death from both heart disease and cancer.

Now, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health, found that Mediterranean diet may improve brain health. How so? They found that people who enjoy a Mediterranean diet were less likely to develop brain infarcts, small areas of dead tissues linked to thinking and memory. In this particular study, three groups of people were divided according to how closely they followed the Mediterranean diet. MRI brain scans were taken six years later to determine their brain health. They found that those who were closely following the Mediterranean diet were 36 percent less likely to have areas of brain damage than those who were least following the diet.

The study author, Nikolaos Scarmeas, MD, MSc of Columbia University Medical Center in New York makes this correlation, “The relationship between this type of brain damage and the Mediterranean diet was comparable with that of high blood pressure.” In other words, not eating a Mediterranean diet puts your brain at the same risk as having high blood pressure.
So, should you go Mediterranean? It certainly wouldn’t hurt.
The Mediterranean diet is easy on the palette—well-rounded, well-balanced meals that can potentially do wonders for your heart, brain and even skin. Here‘s to good health:

• Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Residents of Greece are known to enjoy nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Why should we settle for 5 servings?

• Whole grain goodness.
Instead of skipping carbs, the Mediterranean diet embraces them—but not just any carbs—whole grain carbs that not help to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol but recent studies have also showed that whole grains are good at staving off hunger (thereby promoting weight control).

• Drizzle the oil.
Olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, grapeseed oil—these are healthy monounsaturated oils that promote heart health. Drizzle them on your salads, and dip your bread in them instead of using butter/margarine.

• Nuts
Tasty nutty treats that help to fight bad cholesterol. Because they are incredibly rich in fats (albeit the good kind), eat only a handful each day.

• Eat More Fish
Eating fish once or twice a week, in place of meat can help cut back on the intake of saturated fats that are so inherently present in red meats. Cold-water fish also boasts high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that can help lower triglycerides and improve health of blood vessels.

• Herbs and Spices
Instead of salt and butter to bring out the flavor of foods, herbs and spices are used generously to flavor foods.

• Red Wine
Red wine is celebrated in the Mediterranean diet. When consumed in moderation (no more than 5 ounces for women and 10 ounces for men), antioxidant-rich red wine has an aspirin-like effect, reducing the blood’s ability to clot.

What’s for dinner tonight? Some broiled salmon, a slice of whole-grain rosemary artisan baked bread, a side of greens seasoned with olive oil and spices, some slices of fresh fruit and a glass of red wine—doesn’t sound too shabby and a great way to stay healthy and alert.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Moderation: Key to Better Health

Are you constantly worried about your health? Do you beat yourself up because you couldn’t squeeze in the half an hour of workout? Are you constantly checking calories profile on the backs of boxes? Do you carry a journal detailing everything you eat? Or didn’t eat? Are you paranoid just because you have just enjoyed that delectable chocolate cheesecake? Do you lose sleep over your sleeping patterns? The list can go on and on…and on.

If you’re too hung up on health and the myriad of health solutions that have been dished out by health experts, books, the media and talk-show hosts, even your own berating voice—breathe! A new book out on the market, Live a Little! Breaking the Rules Won’t Break Your Health, gives you permission to relax and take this health thing in your stride. The authors, Dr. Love, clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and co-author, Alice D. Domar, a Harvard professor and senior staff psychologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center contend that perfect health is a myth and that attaining health is easier than you think.

Good health, even optimal health is within reach. In one simple all-compassing concept?—moderation. The happy M word sums up the new liberating concept to avoid extremes. Punishing yourself into shape or letting yourself go because you feel overwhelmed by your health conditions can backfire—both extremes carry inherent health problems. Dr. Love pointed out that people who are obese or underweight have higher mortality rates. She says, “The goal is to be healthy and have as good of a quality of life as you can have. It’s not to be thin.”

What does this advice translate to in practical terms? It’s alright to slip sometimes in your quest for good health, just as long as you don’t slide down the slippery slopes of letting yourself go. If that sounds too nebulous --let’s explore some practical ways.

Don’t be afraid to eat the full-cream ice-cream and the dark chocolate shavings on top. Instead of a full meal later, try some vegetable soup beefed up with whole grains like barley or red beans. It satisfies your need for food without a whole lot of calories. If you need some protein, opt for low-fat lean meat like fish or chicken. So, what’s the bottom line?—balance your food choices—offset your high-calorie foods with low-calorie foods. Foods like vegetables, whole grain, and fruits can fill you up without hefty calories count.

What about exercise? Exercising for long periods of time or pushing your body to accomplish great physical acts may produce a healthy body but what if you can’t put in the time or the effort? Again the above health experts say—relax and go for the middle ground. . If you miss your morning workout—don’t sweat it-- make up for it by parking your car a distance from where you are going and let your legs do the work. Many people equate exercise with equipment or gadget or even a building. Truth is, exercise can be done anywhere, anytime. Example: If you’re waiting for the water to heat up before a shower, do a few squats or jog in place. If you’re stuck in traffic—do some tummy crunches. These may be little attempts but they do add up.

Practice moderation and you will find that you’re happier. Good health is not a magic number or a perceived state of ideal. Good health is general well-being and it is more attainable through realistic goals and moderate measures. Not constantly stressing over your health conditions can produce another health benefit—less stress hormones and in the long run, more health dividends.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cherry: Nature's Pain-Killer?

Cherries can be sweet or delightfully tart. They can be eaten fresh or used in cooking. If you enjoy cherries, you’re in luck. Various researches point to the many health benefits of the cherry fruit. These delicious treats are resplendent in antioxidants, well-known for capturing damaging free radicals to prevent cellular damage. They are famously low in saturated fats and sodium and high in dietary fiber. They also boost high levels of melatonin, another antioxidant often used as a sleeping aid and they also exert anti-inflammatory properties. With so many health qualities attached, what’s not to like about cherries?

Pain in any form or shape can be debilitating and compromise your quality of life. Often, people medicate pain with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen). If you experience adverse effects from taking these synthetic pain-killers or found very little relief—consider cherries. Researchers from Michigan State University uncovered promising findings when they isolated the various components of cherries. They found that the antioxidant properties of tart cherry are more superior when compared to vitamin E, vitamin C and synthetic antioxidants. In addition they offer more anti-inflammatory effects than aspirin.

What makes cherries’ antioxidants so powerful? You can attribute it to the power of the bright color found in cherries, courtesy of a group of powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. Muralee Nair, one of the lead professors involved in the research revealed this astounding finding: “Twenty cherries provide 25 milligrams of anthocyanins, which help to shut down the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation in the first place, so cherries can prevent and treat many kinds of pain.” This pain ameliorating effects of cherries has relief implication for other forms of rheumatoid and arthritic conditions. In addition, he pointed out that anthocyanins may also protect artery walls from plaque buildup and heart diseases.

Exactly what kind of pain relief? To begin with, researchers at the Baylor Research Institute found that cherries offer osteoarthritic pain relief. They found that more than half of the patients involved in the study reported significant improvement in pain and function of impacted joints after taking tart cherry pills for eight weeks. This is especially good news for the 21 millions of Americans grappling with osteoarthritis.

Mayo clinic also reported how cherries may be used to moderate pain caused by gout, another common form of arthritis, often associated with sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints, especially the joint at the base of the big toe. High level of uric acid is often blamed for gout and studies have shown that cherries can lower uric acid. Mayo clinic suggests that adding cherries together with other anthocyanin-infused fruits like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and grapes may be a good way to supplement your gout treatment.

Cherries can be found in your local supermarkets—fresh, dried, frozen, in juice form or concentrate—they are very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. Make them a part of your diet. Eat them as snacks, in trail mix, as desserts, in smoothies, in cereals or used them in baking. Taking cherry extract supplements is another alternative.