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Blog posts of '2013' 'July'

Learn How to Protect the Health of Your Skin the All-Natural Way


Learn How to Protect the Health of Your Skin the All-Natural WayThere are many obstacles we often forget about when it comes to skin care. Toxins in the air, makeup, diet, sun exposure, and many more all contribute to an unhealthy environment that demands protection for your skin. But where does the best protection begin? There are many cleansers, face-washes, and other products that claim to support healthy skin, but the best protection naturally starts on the inside.

Where to Start?

Vitamins. Minerals. Nutrients. These three words are used in a lot of claims about health. But did you know that skin protection starts with these very same supplements? Essential vitamins like vitamin C can support healthy skin by aiding the growth and repair of skin tissues. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, helping to fight free radicals and protect your skin from oxidative damage. Vitamin E is another antioxidant, like vitamin C, that can help protect your skin from free radical damage, as well as toxins in the air and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. It also helps regulate retinol (a form of vitamin A), which is an important component of skin care.

Retinol is used in many topical skin care agents and other anti-aging products because it is key to supporting healthy growth in skin cells. Studies have shown that when retinol is converted to retinoic acid it can help support youthful and radiant-looking skin by protecting the elastic fibers that keep skin taut as well as protecting against age spots and wrinkles. Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is another important and natural antioxidant found in the body that helps protect healthy cells from problems associated with later stages of life. Various factors like age, stress, and medications can cause CoQ10 levels in your body to drop, which can be associated with visible signs of aging that leave your skin cells more prone to free radical damage.

Knowledge and Balance Is Power

Like many areas concerning your health, it’s important to have knowledge of the cause of your problems—such as oxidative damage and lack of proper nutrients—before seeking out the appropriate supplements and products to help combat them. It’s easy to get caught up in the vast amount of products on the market for skin care these days. But in addition to providing topical protection for your skin, you also require natural agents like the aforementioned vitamins and nutrients that support the health of your skin, starting where it counts: on the inside. Everyone yearns for beautiful-looking skin that’s smooth and supple. With the proper knowhow and nutrition, you can take practical steps towards good skin health.



Stay Cool All Year Round by Staying Hydrated


Stay Cool All Year Round by Staying HydratedOne of the easiest ways of regulating your body temperature, boosting athletic performance, and detoxing your body doesn't involve special exercises or supplements—all you have to do is drink more water. Most people tend to pay more attention to hydration during the hot summer months, but dehydration doesn't only happen in the heat waves of summer; it can happen anytime of the year to anyone at any age. Staying hydrated supports your alertness and helps control your appetite. Water is also important for healthy skin, hair, and nails; controlling your heart rate and blood pressure; and supporting healthy kidney function, which is why it's important to monitor your fluid intake throughout your lifetime.

Creative Ways to Get Your Fluids

Given that the human body is about 60% water, it's little wonder why hydration is so vital to everyday health. As a general rule, most physicians and nutritionists recommend drinking eight, 8-ounce glasses (or 1.9 liters) of water daily. The Institute of Medicine has stated that a more accurate intake for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) while women should drink 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. Athletes and people who spend a lot of time outdoors require more fluids because of water loss through sweating. There are plenty of ways to stay hydrated without relying solely on water. Juices and sports drinks can help you maintain your fluid levels whilst providing added nutrients and electrolytes. Fruits such as watermelons, oranges, grapefruit, and honeydew also have high water content. However, sports drinks and fruit juices also contain sugar, so take them in moderation. If there's ever any doubt about the sugar or caloric content of a beverage, nothing beats water as your purest method of hydration.

A Drink for All Occasions

While humidity and summer heat make it vital for staying hydrated, replenishing your body's fluids is important all year round. Whether you're sitting at a desk in the middle of winter or exercising in the fall, your daily hydration is vital to remaining healthy. Similar to how dieters keep food logs to track their calories, you can keep a water log by storing a marked container of water in the refrigerator to keep track of how much water you've consumed each day. Keeping hydrated, while seemingly the simplest of tasks, can be easily forgotten and the signs of dehydration are not often obvious. Whether you're young, elderly, moderately active, or a professional sportsperson, keeping your body properly hydrated is an important task in supporting daily health.



When You Eat Is Just as Important as What You Eat


When You Eat Is Just as Important as What You EatMany discussions around healthier eating place emphasis on the type and quality of food you should be consuming to get the most protein, vitamins, and minerals needed for good nutrition. What many people tend to overlook is that how often you eat can play an equally important role in helping you manage your weight and daily caloric intake. Currently, there are two schools of thought on how often a person should have meals. Some people abide by the traditional rule of three meals a day while others believe that eating six smaller meals can help you to better manage your food cravings and resist the urge to snack.

Whichever method you choose to abide by, here are some healthful tips to keep in mind to help you keep track of your calories and cravings for better nutrition.

  • Eat a healthy breakfast – Many people have a very light breakfast or in some cases, skip it completely. Breakfast provides vital calories that give you energy to start your day. Even if you take smaller meals, breakfast prevents you from feeling hungry throughout the morning so that you won't be tempted to overeat at your next meal.
  • Adjust your portions according to how often you eat – If you're a three-meal-a-day person, each meal—including breakfast—should make up one-third of your entire caloric intake (the average adult requires 1,500 to 2,200 calories per day). Smaller, more frequent meals can be less strenuous on your digestive system and help you to better regulate your blood sugar, cravings, and hunger. Whatever your eating schedule is, stick to what your body is used to.
  • Try to avoid letting yourself become hungry so that you don't overeat – Overeating burdens your digestive system and it can hurt your diet by creating an imbalance in your daily eating habits. Going for long stretches of not eating can encourage you to binge eat at your next meal, which is not a healthy pattern. If you must snack, choose healthier, low-calorie options such as fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, or a fat-free cup of yogurt.
  • Avoid eating dinner in front of the television – Many people wind down at the end of the day by eating dinner while watching their favorite TV shows. This can encourage you to eat “mindlessly” without really paying attention to your portion sizes.
  • Don't eat late at night – Late-night meals have been associated with weight challenges and sleeplessness because your stomach is still working to process your food instead of resting. Avoid eating after a certain time, but if you can't resist it, once again choose healthier snack options such as carrots or celery sticks with fat-free dressing as a dip, or fresh fruit.

Consistency is the key to achieving any goal, whether it's weight management, fitness, or healthier eating. By sticking to regular—and more nutritious—meals, you can balance your caloric intake and cravings more efficiently and make unhealthy snacking a thing of the past.



Taking Probiotics with Medications Can Be More Beneficial to Gut Health


Taking Probiotics with Medications Can Be More Beneficial to Gut HealthBad bacteria can negatively impact your health in a number of ways. While most bad bacteria can be dealt with by taking medications, most drugs aren't able to differentiate bad bacteria from the good bacteria that your digestive system needs to help break down foods, support your balance of healthy bacteria, and promote a healthy immune system. According to scientists at The Cochrane Collaboration, an international nonprofit health care organization, probiotic supplements could help replenish the good bacteria in your digestive system that are eliminated by some medications.

A Delicate Digestive Balance

The digestive system is a mini ecosystem within your body populated by good and bad bacteria. Harmful bacteria may enter your system through environmental exposure or ingestion, but the good bacteria that aid digestion usually overpower these bad bacteria. Researchers found that people who have taken medications are more susceptible to a type of bacterium called Clostridium difficile, which can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach discomfort. However, after reviewing data from 23 clinical trials involving 4,213 patients, they found that only 2% of patients who were given probiotics developed C. difficile-associated digestive symptoms.

Probiotics May Provide a Preemptive Strike

Dr. Bradley Johnston, who was part of the Cochrane research team, stated that evidence supported the theory that probiotics may be useful in promoting healthy digestion after administering medications. In his opinion, "Implementing the appropriate dose and strains of probiotics in hospitals could provide cost savings and improve quality of life." The review also showed that probiotics caused fewer unwanted side effects than the placebos, such as stomach discomfort and nausea. Although the study authors noted that additional research needed to be conducted to find out which probiotic strains worked best for specific symptoms, growing evidence shows that probiotics are not only useful against warding off bad bacteria, but are useful to everyday health as well.

Good Bacteria Comes in Many Forms

There are a number of probiotic supplements currently available such as yogurt, probiotic shakes, and tablets. Some of the newer tablets feature a special coating designed to dissolve in your large intestine so that the good bacteria are protected from your stomach acids on their way to your digestive system. Whatever form you choose, probiotics can be a valuable daily addition to your diet for continued good health.