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Top natural sweeteners that can replace sugar
March 09, 2017 03:59 AM
Most nutritionists are in agreement that sugar is very detrimental to your health and should be removed as much as possible from your diet. However, if you absolutely need something sweet in your meals then read on for information about five natural sweeteners that can replace sugar and you won't even know the difference. They are just as sweet as sugar and are easy to obtain. However, beware that overindulging in them can still be bad for your health.
"But if you can't survive without your dose of sweetness, we bring you some natural sweeteners that are way better than your white sugar."
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Mother Nature’s Best Secret is Grape Seed Extract
December 25, 2014 08:08 PM
Benefits of Grape Seed
Grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant, the benefits resemble a type of fountain of youth that invigorated individuals and improved cardiovascular health and improved weakened collagen levels. Research indicated that individuals who resided in France and consumed red wine enjoyed a longer lifespan due to consuming wine that possessed a high content of a type of flavonoid called proanthocyanidin.
High blood sugar damages the heart and hardens it resulting in heart attacks and heart disease. Researches uncovered a secret of grape seed extract; it activated a blocker at the gene level stopping the body from heart hardening. Turning on this element at the cellular level deep inside of the mitochondrial DNA of a human being has assisted diabetic cardiomyopathy. French grape seed extract has an amazing impact on the body with blood sugar levels.
Germ managing elements have been identified inside of grape seed extract; it is a powerful anti-candida, reducing harmful bacteria keeping it in a healthy balance. People that are overweight who take the extract find that they reduce their calorie intake naturally. Persons who suffer with Alzheimer’s disease, if they are given the extract improve and maintain a higher mental function. This extract is excellent for all parts of your body, boosting the immune function at all levels.
Health Benefits Of Almond Oil
March 07, 2014 04:04 PM
What is almond
Almonds are fruits of deciduous trees that are originally found in North Africa and Asia. There are two varieties of almonds, sweet and bitter. Sweet almonds can be used to produce essential oil, and extract. Almond extract is often used as an alternative to vanilla extracts in diabetic safe recipes. Bitter almonds contain a toxic amount of prussic acid that can be converted to cyanide during Refining, consequently prussic acid has to be leached out, before it can be suitable for human consumption.
Both bitter and sweet almond oil can be produced from two different almond trees. From the sweet almond tree, we produce sweet almond oil and an emulsion. From the bitter almond tree we produce the essential oil of almonds (it is nearly pure benzaldehyde), a less amount of fixed oil, and an emulsion that yields cyanide, and glucose.
Health Benefits Of Almond Oil
1. Skin- The two oils have different health benefits to the skin. Sweet almond oil is a good lubricant and is beneficial for sensitive, dry skin. It is composed of olein, glucosides, and linoleic acid. It also contains minerals, vitamins and protein, as a result it nourishes and revitalizes the skin. It is used as a carrier oil in face serums.
Its other benefits include:
Bitter almond oil as mentioned above is nearly 100% benzaldehyde, it does not contain any cyanide. It isn’t used in any direct way for skin care. It is used mainly because of its wonderful almond flavor or scent.
2. Hair- Sweet almond oil contains omega 6 fatty acids, which stimulates hair growth. It strengthens hair, nourishes the hair follicles, moisturizes the scalp, and prevents dandruff. It also makes hair thicker and stronger, as well as smoothing and nourishing hair cuticles.
3. Body- Sweet almond oil contains antioxidants that are useful in eliminating free radicals and toxins from the body. It assists digestion, aiding the assimilation of nutrients, and can be used to cure constipation. It contains mono-saturated fats and antioxidants that help in preventing heart disease. Sweet almond oil helps in maintaining the proper level of cholesterol by decreasing the level of LDL, and increasing the level of HDL in the body. It contains folic acid, which is important in preventing birth defects in pregnancy. It also contains phenylalanine and riboflavin that improve neurological function.
Wintergreen Oil- Used For Pain, Arthritis, Headaches and More
February 26, 2014 09:06 AM
What is wintergreen
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) is in the heather family of organic plants and is local to North America. It is a little evergreen herb that develops just something like 6 inches high with thin crawling stems. It has hanging white blossoms which are accompanied via red berries. Local Americans used to bite the stems to build respiratory limit. Early American pilgrims had their youngsters bite the leaves for some weeks each one spring to avoid tooth rot and throughout the American Revolution, it was a substitute for Black Tea. They so reveled in the essence that it has proceeded right up 'til today as the character of root brewskie, mulling over gum and toothpaste. The oil hails from steam Refining of the leaves and produces an in number, entering fragrance. The science of wintergreen is very nearly indistinguishable to that of birch .
Generally wintergreen has been utilized for respiratory conditions however the essential utilize as of late has been as a part of liniments and treatments for bulky issues, for example, lumbago, sciatica, neuralgia, myalgia, and so on it is known for its capability to diminish bone agony.
The Health Benefits Of Cypress Oil
February 16, 2014 02:30 AM
What is cypress
Cypress oil is extracted from a plant animal types that is local to the Mediterranean district. The taxonomic name of the plant is Cupressus Sempervirens. It is an enduring bush, which develops to something like 28 meters in tallness and is described by a tapered shape and dim takes off. The oil is concentrated from the twigs and stems of the tree, through a procedure reputed to be steam Refining. Cypress oil justifies a wide show of health profits, and has been utilized since time immemorial to treat various sicknesses and health issue. Give us a chance to elucidate some of these profits.
Health Benefits of Cypress Oil
Diuretic – Cypress oil holds diuretic lands, which animate the excretory framework and thusly wipes out the gathered poisons from the form. If not uprooted, these poisons can prompt the onset of life undermining maladies and issue, which turn lethal with time. Cypress oil encourages the sound stream of pee and guarantees that all the advanced poisons in the figure are flushed out of the framework before they make inside confusions.
Circulation – Cypress oil has been discovered to be extremely gainful in controlling and pushing the productivity of the form's circulatory framework. The oil controls haemostatic and styptic lands, which empower the optimal conveyance of supplements all around the figure. The haemostatic lands held in the oil are a characteristic coagulant that accelerates the clotting of blood. The styptic lands avert the constriction of veins for standardized blood flow.
Cosmetic - Cypress oil has regenerative lands and has been discovered to be exceptionally restorative for the skin. It is extremely powerful in mending scars and appalling imprints brought on by pimple inflamation on the face. Its extraordinary astringent lands assistance lessen extreme sleekness in the skin. Skin contaminations, for example, perpetual pimple inflamation, which emerge because of the over emission of oil from the sebaceous organs can in this manner be regulated utilizing Cypress oil.
Pain Relief - Cypress oil is a common pain relieving and is extremely powerful in alleviating ache. The oil is adequately used to assuage constant ache initiated by ailment or osteoarthritis. Its pain relieving lands are upgraded when it is mixed with helichrysum.
Weight Loss – Cypress oil has been found to advertise weight reduction in ladies by lessening the gathering of cellulite in the form. Being a common diuretic, the oil invigorates and increments the recurrence of pee and thus flushes out the overabundance fats from the figure through the pee.
Detoxifier – Cypress oil is a common detoxifier. It disposes of the development of unsafe poisons in the form through discharge and sweat. In spite of the fact that overabundance sweat is destructive for the form, breaking into a sound sweat through activity has dependably been energized by M.d.s and health specialists for the support of great health. Cypress oil invigorates the sweat organs, consequently flushing out the poisons in the form through the pores of our skin.
The range of health profits inferred from Cypress oil had been known since medieval times when the Greeks and Assyrians misused its healing lands to treat an assortment of disquietudes. Today, analysts keep on disentangling its restorative uses and have made noteworthy revelations relating to the enthusiastic and mental health profits got from the use of this wonderful oil.
Please evade Cypress oil throughout pregnancy because of its circulatory and hormonal impacts. When you would like to utilize Cypress oil while you are pregnant please counsel a qualified proficient aromatherapist, as it might be particularly gainful in certain circumstances.
There are numerous modest, manufactured duplicates of sweet-smelling oils, yet these are not proposed for remedial utilization. For best comes about buy the most noteworthy quality oils you can conceivably find. Use confirmed natural fundamental oils, or oils that have been tried and are free from pesticide.
What Can Chromium Picolinate Do In The Body?
July 23, 2011 03:15 PM
It is inevitable that health awareness and protection are very vital. It is also very crucial for us to take necessary measures and precautions to boost our guards from elements that could pose harm and threat to our very delicate body. If we just take these things for granted, for sure, we will be paying for the consequences of our own actions. Fortunately, we are living in this generation where in many have already been discovered that we could utilize to help us achieve a health state that we have always wanted. Chromium Picolinate is one useful element that could help us control the blood sugar levels in our body. Therefore, it is deemed necessary especially for those that are suffering from diabetes mellitus.
Many experts would claim that Chromium is beneficial in reducing body fat as well as in improving muscle tone. With the array of benefits it is capable of offering the human body; its discovery could be considered as a miracle breakthrough in the field of medical science. However, there are still questions that lurk in the minds of many about chromium. Questions like “could chromium be the answer of our predicament with the very common diabetes mellitus?” Such question is surely expected because not all are fully aware about its importance therefore; its discovery is not yet wholly appreciated. Because of this, there is a great need to educate the populace about its benefits.
Chromium is an important trace mineral that is useful in the metabolism of carbohydrates hence; it could play a vital role in the regulation and metabolism of blood sugar. Other benefits of chromium would also include management of cholesterol, and hypertension. Chromium can be grasped from many food sources. But it is most abundant in true brewer’s yeast. The more common nutritional yeast though has chromium content but is not as high compared to that of a true brewer’s yeast. Chromium can also be found in grains and cereals. However, at the course of the Refining process, most of the said mineral is depleted and lost. Beers also contain small amounts of chromium.
Many individuals who have good knowledge about chromium would really agree about the above mentioned benefits. As a matter of fact, a lot of dieters and health conscious individuals could really testify about the benefits of chromium picolanate especially in improving muscle tone, fat metabolism, and blood glucose level control. At present, there are a growing number of people who are already enticed to take chromium picolinate because of the irrefutable benefits it offers. Needless to say, we are the culprits of our own actions. Whatever health state we would grasp is surely the result of the things that we have sow and invested for our health. If you do not want to suffer from dreadful consequences of your own doing then you have to give yourself the protection that you truly deserve.
Grab Some Chromium and fee the difference!
Soluble Fiber And Blood Sugar
July 10, 2009 12:02 PM
The first step to prevent the occurrence of hypoglycemia is to eliminate sugar and caffeine from your diet. Eliminating foods like candy, soda pop, doughnuts, sugary pastries, sugared cold cereals, and cookies. Substituting foods with whole grains, fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and supplementation of B vitamins, vitamin C, and chromium is recommended. In order to avoid stressing the endocrine system, the cold hard facts concerning hypoglycemia are that diet and life style must be altered.
Complex carbohydrates take more time to break down in the body, unlike simple refined foods, which helps to keep normal blood sugar levels for longer periods of time. It should also be known that metabolizing whole grains requires more chemical reactions than processing a bowl of sugary cereal. Increased research has shown that whole grains are the superior foods and offers the body a balanced mix of fiber, nutrients, and others. Our bodies were made to thrive on whole foods, not the fragmented, altered, and highly refined foods that a lot of us eat on a routine basis in order to increase energy but lack sustainability.
Nothing can be achieved in nature through fragments if it is going to be worthwhile. Only parts of the B vitamins are synthetically replaced out of all the B-complex vitamins that are removed from whole grain cereals before they are milled. This is probably one of the worst things we could possibly do, as these B vitamin imbalances create an unhealthy environment in the body. Many of the trace minerals are also lost from the Refining process. By adding white sugar and refined foods, you cut down severely on the vitamin B contents that are suppose to be found in your diet. Whole grains, nuts, and seeds have also been found to be rich in magnesium, zinc, and manganese. All of these are vital minerals for the prevention and treatment of hypoglycemia.
Many studies have found that diets that lack fiber can lead to diseases including hypoglycemia and diabetes. Dietary fiber includes components that make up the cell wall of plants that are not digestible. On the other hand, water soluble fiber seems to be the most beneficial for controlling blood sugar. This type of fiber includes mucilages, gums, hemicelluloses, and pectins, which are also found in a number of foods. This type of fiber slows down the absorption of sugar from the intestinal wall into the blood stream, helping to prevent wild insulin release (cause of low blood sugar). When this happens, the liver can take in more glucose at a more rapid pace, causing blood sugar levels to remain more normal. Water soluble fiber that is recommended for hypoglycemia is found in legumes, like beans, lentils, and split peas, oat bran; nuts, seeds; psyllium hulls; pears; apples; and most vegetables as well as in supplement form.
A person's optimal fiber intake should be somewhere between 35 to 50 grams each day. Unfortunately, most of us rarely come close to this ideal. Fiber is also extremely important for controlling appetite and weight gain. Additionally, it is great for regularity, which is intrinsically linked to the health of the rest of our body systems. Fortunately, soluble fiber is available at your local health food store at reasonable prices. Fiber supplements can boost ones fiber intake to the needed 35 – 50 gram per day dose needed to maintain a healthier body.
Echinacea Purpurea Root
June 17, 2008 06:38 PM
There are nine known species of Echinacea native to the United States and southern Canada. The most commonly used and most potent of them is Echinacea purpurea.
Other common names for Echinacea are purple coneflower, American coneflower and coneflower. The plants contain large heads of flowers that bloom in early to late summer.
In North America, Native Americans used Echinacea more than any other herb for its healing properties. For Europeans and Americans, it was believed to aid in curing Anthrax and snakebites as well as contain antimicrobial properties.
Echinacea is well known for its abilities to boost the immune system and to help fight infections. It is also widely used to prevent infections, colds and the flu. In lesser known medicinal practices, it is used to treat wounds and such skin problems as acne and boils. Some studies have shown that Echinacea has been effective in treating upper respiratory infections.
The whole Echinacea plant is used for treating various indications. Fresh or dried, the plant and roots are used to make teas, extracts, juices or external salves, creams and ointments. As a general rule, the fresh-pressed juice of the Echinacea plant is most effective in treating colds in children. In adults, both the root and herb in combination are most effective.
When taken at the first signs of a cold, Echinacea has been found to reduce the length and severity of cold symptoms. Be aware that Echinacea is not a one-dose fix-it remedy. Begin taking recommended doses at the first signs of a cold. Subsequent doses should be taken regularly, according to the product label, until all symptoms have disappeared.
Unfortunately, many herbal preparations can vary in effectiveness due to a lack of systematic extraction and Refining. It is best to research the manufacturers of herbal products to find out how they cultivate and store their herbs. Their methods will cause the chemical compositions to vary greatly. The different parts of the plant that are used vary widely in their chemical makeup as well. One part may be extremely useful as an antimicrobial, while another may stimulate stronger reactions from the immune system. Other factors that may affect the quality of the product you purchase are:
* Species * Plant part * Extraction method * Contamination * Adulteration
Side Effects and Warnings:
When taken orally (by mouth), Echinacea usually does not produce any side effects. In rare cases, some people have experienced allergic reactions and side effects that include:
* Rashes or dermatitis * Pruritus (itching) * An increase in asthma symptoms * Anaphylaxis (life threatening allergic reaction) * Hepatoxicity * Nausea * Dizziness * Dyspnea (difficulty breathing)
All of these symptoms tend to be mild and infrequent. If you suffer from asthma symptoms, you should probably avoid using echinacea. In most cases the most common side effects are gastrointestinal in nature, such as gas or mild cramping. People are much more likely to experience side effects if they are allergic to other plants in the daisy family. These plants include:
* Ragweed * Chrysanthemums * Marigolds * Daisies
Use of Echinacea in children younger than 12 years is not recommended due to lack of sufficient data to support safety. It is also not recommended for use in pregnant or nursing women.
Echinacea should not be used if you have progressive systematic or auto-immune disorders, connective tissue disorders or other diseases that may be related to these. It should not be taken if you are taking immune-suppressants and heap-toxic drugs. It may also interfere with anesthesia.
It is important to communicate with your health care providers. Be sure they are aware of any alternative herbs or other substances you are using and what their purpose is in your daily diet.
Coconut Oil May Help Promote Healthy Thyroid and Digestive Function
November 01, 2007 09:49 AM
Coconut is extracted from coconuts, the coconut palm often being called the tree of life and for good reason. However, its benefits were lost to America for many years due to the politics of the vegetable oil industry claiming that all saturated fats are bad. This is not based on scientific or medical fact, and coconut oil was recently rediscovered in the USA, and the health benefits enjoyed by the rest of the world are once again available to Americans.
Coconut palms grow in most tropical climates such as Southern California and Florida, the Philippines and the Caribbean. Refined coconuts oils are mass produced and much of the beneficial nutrients are lost by the Refining process. Virgin coconut oil is by far the better form, though is a slower process. It is generally obtained by shredding and dry milling the meat, and then cold pressing to produce the milk. The milk is fermented for a day or so and the separated oil collected.
Such oils are analyzed to contain over 50% lauric acid and high levels of phenolic antioxidants. Much higher than from refined oils. It is said to be the healthiest oil on earth. So why did the American authorities legislate against its use? It is because of the bad press received by saturated fats and oils.
You can have saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The majority of the fats and oils in our diet are composed of long chain fats and oils. The chain length refers to the length of the hydrocarbon chain, whether saturated or unsaturated. It is long chain saturated acids that are bad for your cardiovascular system, and that should be avoided. However, there are also short chain and medium chain fatty acids that are more easily metabolized by the body. Coconut oil consists predominantly of medium chain fatty acids that help to protect against heart disease and cholesterol rather than promote it.
The highest levels of medium chain fatty acids are found in coconut oils and palm kernel oils, and these are far more nutritious than the saturated long chain fatty acids found in animal fats and just about all vegetable fats. The main MCFA in coconut oil is lauric acid.
Lauric acid is generally regarded as being responsible for the vast majority of the health benefits of coconut oil. The only other source of this fatty acid other than coconut oil is in human breast milk. After absorption, lauric acid is metabolized into monolaurin that is the monoglyceride used by the human body to destroy viruses and microbes, and attack the fat coated viruses that cause such diseases as HIV. It destroys flu viruses, a number of dangerous bacteria and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
However, let’s have a look at some of the lesser known effects of coconut oil, such as its effects on the thyroid. Anything that blocks the efficient operation of the thyroid and secretion of the thyroid hormones can lead to excess estrogen in the body that can contribute to excessive blood cholesterol. There is a body of evidence that polyunsaturated fats and oils, such as soy, can have this effect is many people. When coconut oil is used instead, the medium chain fatty acids do not have the same effect, and those that are affected frequently find that their thyroid problem is cured and their blood cholesterol reduces.
This is not to infer that all hypothyroidism can be cured through the use of coconut oil, only those cases caused by consumption of excessive amounts of polyunsaturated fats. Although this is refuted by some medical practitioners that are against the use of supplements in general, it has been supported by medical evidence.
Coconut oil is also good for the digestion, and helps the cure of many digestive problems including Crohn’s Disease. It helps to build lipoproteins, fats and bile in the liver, the latter being essential for digestion. It helps to create a much healthier digestive tract that makes for generally better digestion and more efficient use of the foods you eat. Absorption of the nutrients is maximized and you feel altogether better in yourself when you take a small amount of coconut oil daily.
You can have sugar cravings for a number of reasons, and taking coconut oil can reduce these quickly and effectively, irrespective of their cause. The medium chain fatty acid breaks down and is rapidly metabolized to glucose thus providing a source of the energy your craving is telling you that you lack. It is very useful in reducing sugar cravings without you having to eat excess sugar that can create yeast problems.
If you replace the fats you are currently eating with coconut oil, it will not only act as an appetite suppressant but can also help you to lose weight. The fatty acids in coconut are absorbed immediately and converted to energy thus reducing your immediate need for food and hence your appetite. If you eat the saturated fat in coconut oil rather than the polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils, then you can lose weight.
Many of the benefits of coconut oil are due to the speed with which the lauric acid is absorbed and metabolized in comparison to the long chain polyunsaturated fats. It is the chain length of the hydrocarbon tail that is important here rather than the number of double bonds in that chain that determines the degree of unsaturation.
Make sure that it is virgin coconut that you use since that is the most nutritious form. Do not be misled by labels claiming the contents to be extra virgin oil, since that is a term borrowed from the olive oil industry, and there is no such thing as extra virgin in relation to coconut oil. Never use refined coconut oil since that will just as bad for you as other saturated oils. Not even ‘Extra Virgin Refined Coconut Oil’ in the mistaken belief that such a label must indicate that the oil is extra good. It does not – it simply indicates that the supplier is a charlatan deliberately trying to mislead you into paying a premium price for a useless product.
Coconut oil may promote a healthy thyroid and digestive function, and all the medical tests indicate that it does. People that use it regularly swear by it and if you have a problem that virgin coconut oil might help, then one thing is sure: it will certainly do you no harm, and all indications are that it will do you a lot of good.
FORMS OF STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:51 PM
FORMS OF STEVIA
Stevia has traditionally been used in either a powder or raw liquid form. Powdered forms can either be crude green or fine and white. Powders come in bulk or in tea bags. White stevia powder is the most common type and usually has more sweetening power than other forms. Countries like Japan use a filler substance along with stevia powder in order to give it more substance and make it easier to package. Powdered forms can be somewhat difficult to measure, although they are considered quite practical. Liquid formulas which are often brown in color frequently add other compounds to counteract bitterness. Alcohol based extracts are also available, as well as new concentrated liquid varieties. White stevia powder is the most popular form of the sweetener, although the leaf, ground or whole, can be purchased loose or in tea bags. Fresh leaves can be chewed but they are not practical for sweetening other foods. Dried leaves can used used for teas or in tea blends. Stevia tablets are also available for those who want to use the herb as a therapeutic rather than sweetening agent. Ground stevia can be sprinkled over cereals, salads, and other ready-toserve foods. (NOTE: Stevia powders can vary in their sweetening strength, which is determined to a great degree by the Refining process and the plant quality.) If you choose to buy stevia leaves, they can widely vary in their quality and content depending on their cultivation and environmental conditions. The stevioside and rebaudidoside contents can also differ and bacterial or fungal contamination can be a problem. For this reason purchase stevia products only from reliable sources. Buying stevia in white powder or liquid extract forms from reliable distributors is also recommended.
Stevioside is the most powe rful form of the stevia glycoside and is usually available in either a white powder or liquid extract. It is the isolated glycoside form of stevia and is used specifically for its sweetening ability and not for any therapeutic applications. Japanese consumers use stevioside extensively.
In the Clear - Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations
June 12, 2005 02:13 PM
In the Clear by Dianne Drucker Energy Times, August 3, 2003
Your skin needs protection even as it offers itself as your body's first line of defense against the outside world. Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations during its daily encounters with stray microorganisms, streams of ultraviolet light and a barrage of pollutants.
Tending to your skin, keeping a clear complexion while safeguarding your well-being, requires proper feeding, watering and tender, loving care.
Your skin not only has to protect you, it has to look good while doing it. Unfortunately, much can go wrong with skin. One of the most common skin irregularities is the acne that often arises when pores clog and inflammation creates unsightly blemishes.
While conventional medicine has long insisted that your chances of developing pimples are unrelated to what you feed your body and your skin, recent studies are calling that accepted wisdom into question.
Research in the Archives of Dermatology (12/02) argues that today's pimples are linked to what you ate yesterday. Skin scientists now suspect that the typical American diet, filled with refined foods, sugars and simple starches, causes the exaggerated release of insulin and related secretions that foment pimples and blemishes.
The evidence: When researchers spent two years combing through the rainforests of New Guinea and trekking to remote parts of Paraguay, they took a close look at indigenous people's faces and couldn't find a single pimple. The inhabitants of these isolated areas eat homegrown food and wild game. They've never eaten crackers or cookies from a box or slurped a milkshake through a straw. And they've never had to cope with embarrassing acne.
The researchers concluded that no refined foods meant no blemishes.
Refining the Pimple Process
According to this latest theory, pimples can start when your digestive tract quickly absorbs refined, starchy carbohydrates from white bread or potatoes or sugary soft drinks. These foods are ranked at or near the top of the so-called glycemic index. That means that these foodstuffs cause your blood sugar to climb rapidly, the process that the glycemic index measures.
That rise in blood sugar causes the release of insulin from your pancreas into your bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone-like substance, helps cells soak up the excess sugar circulating in your blood. However, along with insulin, another substance, is also released. These two chemicals boost the production of testosterone, the male hormone that, in turn, can cause the skin to overproduce sebum, an oily goo that plugs up pores and gives birth to acne. (Previous research has already established the causal relationship of testosterone to pimples.)
Lorain Cordain, PhD, a health professor at Colorado State University and lead researcher in this study, points out that more than 80% of the grains we eat are highly refined and cause significant blood sugar increases, a factor that makes skin break out. In addition, he says, teens are especially susceptible to pimples because they are growing rapidly and, as a result, tend to be insulin resistant. Insulin resistance means it takes more insulin to persuade cells to take sugar out of the blood. This condition consequently results in even larger amounts of insulin being released and more skin blemishes being created.
According to Dr. Cordain, eating low-glycemic foods like whole grains, vegetables, fish and lean meat should lower your risk of acne. These foods don't bump up blood sugar as much, to be released and, as a result, are kinder to your skin.
Aside from improving your skin condition by improving the food you eat, taking supplements to help the bacteria in your lower digestive tract may also clear up your undesirable dermatological developments. Eczema, a discomforting and embarrassing skin inflammation, is now believed to depend on the interaction between intestinal bacteria and your immune system.
According to research in Finland (The Lancet 2001; 357:1076), eczema may appear on your skin when your immune system, influenced by the gut's bacteria, misbehaves, using unnecessary inflammation to defend against a non-existent infection that it mistakenly believes threatens the skin.
Atopic eczema, a variety of eczema that often runs in families, has long been known to be linked to allergies and immune overreactions.
In looking into the fact that more and more people have been suffering eczema, scientists came to the disturbing conclusion that this increase may be at least partly attributed to our obsession with cleanliness.
When we are young, our immune systems learn the proper ways to fight off germs by interacting with the bacteria and viruses they encounter. But during the past ten years, so many of us (and our parents) have kept our houses so neurotically spic-and-span, according to the latest theory, that our immune systems are failing to develop the proper responses. So, like a bored, inexperienced security guard who imagines a threat when there is none, our immune defenses are going slightly haywire, causing the defensive inflammation of eczema even in the absence of real bacteriological invasions. The possible solution: Probiotic supplements of harmless bacteria like Lactobacillus GG. This bacteria, similar to the friendly bacteria that live in our large intestines, seems to calm immunity so that it is less likely to panic and start an unnecessary inflammation.
These supplements are so safe, medical researchers are now giving them to pregnant women and newborn babies. In the research in Finland, giving these probiotics to mothers and newborns cut the rate of infant atopic eczema in half. (Similar, live bacteria are also found in yogurt, although yogurt should not be fed to newborns.)
The skin on these children is benefiting for long periods of time. "Our findings show that the preventive effect of Lactobacillus GG on atopic eczema in at-risk children extends to the age of 4 years," notes Marko Kalliomäki, MD, author of the study.
Tea Tree Help
Further natural skin help can be had from Australia in the form of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). Long revered by the aborigines of this continent, tea tree oil was allegedly given its English name by British sea captain James Cook, who used the plant to make a tea that improved the flavor of beer.
But Australians have long used tea tree oil as an antiseptic. Its popularity increased during World War II, when, after it was used as a lubricant on heavy machinery, mechanics who got the oil on their hands noticed it fought skin infections. As pointed out in The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook (Three Rivers Press), "The essential oil of tea tree...contains a number of terpenes, of which terpinen-4-ol is believed to be responsible for its beneficial anti-infective activity." Terpenes are special, beneficial types of protein found in essential oils.
Tea tree is especially useful against skin outbreaks caused by fungus infections. Research in Australia shows that it can help quell athlete's foot (Austr Jrnl Derm 1992; 33:145) as effectively as some pharmaceutical preparations. Other research confirms that it can help quiet many different fungi that cause unsightly skin outbreaks (Skin Pharm 1996; 9:388). The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook recommends that "every household should keep some tea tree oil close at hand. It can be applied directly to skin irritations."
Revered by the pharaohs' healers in Egypt during the ancient age of the pyramids, and depended upon for centuries by the Greeks for a variety of medicinal purposes, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is still employed for a range of skin problems. This botanical helps ease abscesses, bruises or sunburn, and is included in many massage oils. (But never apply chamomile's undiluted essential oil to the skin.)
In addition, creams and sprays with chamomile are used to calm the nerves and nourish the skin. As an element in aromatherapy, chamomile, whose odor has been compared to apples, is well-known for soothing and rejuvenating the spirit. Explaining exactly how chamomile heals and calms has not been easy for scientists. Essential oils like chamomile contain so many different natural chemicals that exploring their holistic effect on the human body requires detailed analysis. As an aromatherapeutic agent, researchers believe chamomile and other essential oils may interact with the brain, activating glands that stimulate healing systems within the body. But that has yet to be proven.
What has been proven is that herbs like chamomile and tea tree, and natural treatments like probiotics, can make a big difference in keeping your skin healthy and clear. With their help, you can present your best face to the world.