Secrets to Glowing Winter Skin

When I did my blog planning two months ago and scheduled this week’s blog, I wrote “Winter Skin Care” because I wanted to share tips of how we can protect our skin during the cold and dry season. But then the strangest and beautiful thing happened.

On Saturday evening I went to the shop to get the latest fix of my favourite magazine, The South African Journal of Natural Medicine. I was actually late buying it (I should subscribe, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind whether to go digital or stay with print), so I just picked up a copy without scanning the contents and paid.

Imagine my surprise the following day when I sat down to read it ,only to discover that one of the main features of this month’s issue is “A-Z of winter Skin Care”. I got pretty excited to see that I am aligned with the current trends in natural health care and that I am sharing relevant information with you.

When I compared the draft I had already started to the full magazine article, I decided it’s best to share generously from the magazine. The article is written by Dr Leila Sadien who practices integrative medicine and integrative aesthetics and is one of South Africa’s top authorities on natural health and beauty.

Here are some of her recommendations to keep skin healthy during winter:

Antioxidants

Taking antioxidants topically and orally helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals which can cause cancer and inflammation and also protects us from the effects of  poor diets and lifestyle choices. Consuming and supplementing with Vitamins A, C and E is recommended to nourish the skin.

Vitamin D

We spend a lot of time indoors during winter. This deprives us of exposure to sunlight which means that less Vitamin D is manufactured by the body. Vitamin D deficiency can result in skin problems such as acne, rosacea and may accelerate aging and cause delayed healing and repair.

Humidifier

I had my first encounter with humidifiers when I moved to dry Johannesburg, they saved me. Humidifiers moisten dry air and help the skin say moisturised during the brutal and dry winter season. I bought one with a diffuser and used essential oils to infuse different scents depending on the mood I wanted to create. The humidity keeps the skin supple and glowing throughout winter. WINNING!

Lips

The skin on our lips is quite thin and has no oil glands to provide protection. It is therefore important to keep them well moisturised with a good lip balm and drinking lots of water.

Night time Routine

It’s easy to skip bedtime skin care in winter but don’t. Your skin need extra moisture as it regenerates throughout the night after being exposed to wind and drying hot air-conditioning at the office. I use a rich oil blend in winter which I make with a base of Argan oil.

Get more from her on this months issue of the magazine.

http://www.naturalmedicine.co.za/

In addition to the above, skin is a reflection of what is going on inside of you. When everything is in order, your skin glows, it does not matter how old you are. However, if you are not consuming nutrient dense food, or your body is not digesting and using those nutrients efficiently, it will show on the condition of your skin. Remember in this blog article Detoxification Simplified I explained that skin carries the toxic load when other organs are burdened so your skin reflects the internal state of your health.

Here is my top 3  internal weaponry for glowing winter skin:

  1. Good Fats

As if we need another reason to eat more avocados, comes a story of an 81 year old model who attributes her good skin to eating avocados and flax seed every day.

Good fats mainly come from monounsaturated (olive oil, avocados ,nuts, sunflower)and polyunsaturated fats (salmon, mackerel, flaxseed, sardines)  help the skin maintain its moisture balance and vitality. They provide omega3 and omega 6, essential fatty acids required to build healthy cell membranes.

They also provide a protective layer to the skin, helping it to stay hydrated plump.

  1. Silica

Good dietary sources of silica include whole grains and seeds like oats, flax and rice. The herb horsetail is rich in silica and can be purchased in capsule form. You can also consume bone broth for the benefit of your skin. Well-made bone broth is rich in gelatine, which benefits the skin.

Silica is a mineral that helps your body produce and more strengthen collagen and all the layers of the skin and connective tissue. You definitely want this weapon.

  1. Water

Drinking water can be challenging in winter but if you skimp on it, it will show on your skin. Water keeps your skin hydrated from the inside and helps plump up collagen and improve the look of your skin. Water also helps to remove removes toxins from so your skin does not become burdened.

If cold water is challenge, drink herbal tea made with lavender and other skin supporting herbs like horsetail, oat straw and nettles.

Furthermore, make time to exfoliate regularly to remove dull old skin. Did you know that skin regenerates every month?  Removing dead skin gives way to new skin giving you a glowing canvas to lather with a rich moisturising cream throughout winter.

Adding these tips to your skin care will ensure that come summer time,you will have healthy,glowing skin to bare.That is the point.

Do you have other tips and tricks up your sleeve for winter-proofing your skin? I’d love to hear them. Drop a comment and share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Ways to Eat Well at Work

If you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle, the office can be a mine field of temptations that can derail the best health plan.What,with catered boardroom meetings,constant deadlines and after work ‘network’ sessions,the office can be you health’s worst enemy.

Alarming statistics show that the health status of workers has been rapidly deteriorating in the last few years due to the rise of chronic lifestyle diseases. Chronic lifestyle diseases, also known as Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), are described as ‘a group of diseases that share similar risk factors as a result of exposure, over many decades, to unhealthy diets, smoking, lack of exercise and possibly stress.” These lifestyle behaviours result in risk factors of obesity, high blood pressure, tobacco addiction, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. These in turn lead to a range of diseases that can cause to strokes, heart attacks, tobacco and nutrition induced cancers.

Obesity has been identified as a major contributor to the South African health crisis and mounting health care costs. More attention needs to be given to eating healthy food and staying active, especially around busy work schedules.

The main NCDs in South Africa include diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, mental disorders and cardiovascular diseases.

Nobody wants to be a statistic. Instead of following the crowds,why not be leader in making your workplace healthy?

Here are some 8 tips that will help you overcome workplace temptations:

1.Cook extra food at home so you can pack a lunch to work.

Of course this will be easy if you are already cooking healthy meals for supper.When you are unprepared,it will seem like your whole office is plotting against you. Between on and off site meetings,Jane’s birthday and Sipho’s promotion,even the most disciplined clean eater may fall into temptation. But if you have your own stash,it’s easy to say no.

2. Re-purpose your meals.

Eating left overs can be boring.In fact it is an absolute no-no for some people but I love left overs-especially stews-the following morning. They make life easy.

Did you have roast chicken for supper? Pack a chicken salad for lunch or a add some peppers and pineapple and make a wrap.

3.Upgrade you snack stash.

Replace your unhealthy snacks with nutrition dense options like nuts,trail mix, fruits,vegetable chips and brown rice cakes.

4. Load up on water.

Drinking water should be the easiest thing to do yet most people battle with it.Our palettes have been trained to favour sweetened drinks which provide us with empty calories.If you want a little sweetness and flavour,  skip shop bought flavoured water and enhance the taste of plain purified water by adding fruits and herbs.

Citrus infused water

If you battle to drink water during the day, try this:

Fill up a 1.2-2 lt container with water and put it on your desk with a glass next to it.Since it’s right in front of your face,chances are no matter how busy you get, you will not forget to drink it.If you still forget,set a reminder to drink a glass every hour or you can even download to help remind you . There is no excuse

4. Avoid the vending machine.

Ever noticed how seeing a vending machine makes you want something? If idle snacking is your thing,stay away from the vending machine like it is a deadly plague. It is easy to fool yourself into thinking that a small chocolate is harmless.However a small chocolate every single day can cause serious harm.

Is it possible to ask your vending machine company to offer healthy snacks? I have seen a few around.It can be done.

5. Be selective at the canteen.

Break times are more than just for eating. They are a time to connect and socialise with colleagues, so it may be impossible to avoid canteen. So what can you do? If you are not carrying your lunch,be selective  with the food you get at the canteen. Don’t skip the vegetables and salads.

Can you request that your canteen provide healthier options?

6. Walk away from your desk.

One of the most unhealthy habits office workers have is eating at the desk while busy with other tasks. Mindless eating is one the leading contributing factors to obesity.

Ideally you should move away from your desk every 30 min for a light stretch and movement.Lunchtime is also a good time to do this. Take your eyes away from the computer and focus on your food. Stand up and walk around to get some fresh air instead of the stuffy air conditioned air circulating in your office.

7. Get some sun.

Closely related to moving during the day is actually moving out of the office building. Recent research results shows that office workers are among those at high risk on Vitamin D deficiency.I find it quite sad that most South Africans are Vitamin D deficient.How do we explain that to someone from Iceland? We get close to 300 days of sunshine yet we hardly spend it absorbing nature’s number 1 source of energy.

Use your lunch break to catch some sun-even a few minutes will be worthwhile.In the article How do I get the Vitamin D my body needs,the Vitamin D Council explains how time of day,season and colour of your skin impact on your vitamin D synthesis. Read it so you can understand how to get the maximum benefits with none of the risks.

8. Be the leader.

Why not set an example and bring healthy treats to work and share with your colleagues on special occasions? Show them that healthy eating does not mean boring.

On the next ‘bring and share'(potluck) bring something tasteful and healthy.No-not a green salad.Put some effort into it,you will be surprised how much options there are. Do you want ideas? Checkout my Pinterest Guilt Free Desserts board for healthy desserts ideas if you are leaning towards the sweet stuff.

These are just a few tips you can start using now to ensure you and your colleagues enjoy a workplace that enables and supports your healthy living efforts.After all,a healthy body houses a healthy mind and that has a direct impact to your productivity at work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Cauliflower Steaks

Face it, steamed cauliflower is boring.Even cauliflower in cheese sauce can get old soon. Inspired by nutritionist and author Jessica Sepel’s Curried Cauliflower recipe,I created this Spicy Cauliflower Steaks recipe. Using full flavoured coconut oil added something extra to this simple recipe but you can use odourless if you prefer.  I like to add this spicy cauliflower to my wraps. You can serve it as a side dish or add to a roasted vegetable salad or even on it’s own.

Spicy Cauliflower Steaks

1 cauliflower head,cut into thick steaks

1/2 tsp tumeric

1tsp mixed masala (medium)

Coconut oil,melted

Himalayan Salt,to taste

Method

1. Pre heat oven to 180c

2.Place the cut cauliflower on roasting pan lined with parchment paper.

3.Sprinkle cauliflower with salt.

4.Add the spices to the melted coconut oil.

5. Drizzle oil over the cauliflower and toss to coat it well.

6. Bake for 20-25 min until tender and golden.Serve hot or cold.

 

 

 

5 Health Tests All Men Should Take

Most men,like the men around me, often neglect health screenings that could save their lives.Screening tests are a simple way to detect hidden disease in otherwise healthy looking and feeling people.

Take these five tests as a start so you can have control of your health and to also assess your risk for future medical problems.

1. BMI

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement based on your height and weight used to determine if you are overweight. Excess weight increases your risk for cardio vascular diseases.

A BMI ranging between 18-25 is considered to be acceptable and healthy in adults. How to calculate your BMI:

  1. Weight (kg) 6 divided by Height (m) and then
  2. Take the above value and divide by height= BMI

e.g 60kg/1.68m =35.71

35.77/1.68 =21.25

You can also calculate your BMI here.

A BMI under 18 is considered underweight whilst a BMI of 26-30 is overweight and over 30 is obese respectively.

By making healthy food choices and adopting healthy lifestyle practices, you can keep your weight within the acceptable range.

2. Blood Pressure

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) is one of the most common yet easily preventable cardio vascular conditions. High blood pressure can lead to even more serious conditions like stroke, kidney failure and heart disease.

Healthy blood pressure is 120/80.The first number is systolic pressure which refers to the amount of pressure in our arteries during contraction of the heart muscles. The next value measures the pressure when the heart is at a resting state, in between heart beats. It is called diastolic pressure.

BP reading higher than 120/80 mm Hg will need frequent monitoring as it may indicate susceptibility to hypertension.

In a past post, 7 things to know about HYPERTENSION,I shared simple tips and steps you can take to keep your blood pressure in check.

3.Diabetes

Make blood glucose levels testing, part of your regular health screening. A finger prick screening can give you an idea of how your sugar levels are, however, diabetes screening requires more than a single test. Enquire about fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and haemoglobin A1C blood test.

Blood glucose levels tend to vary depending on the time of the day (which closely links to meal times). Normal blood glucose readings, for non-diabetics in fasting state, are between 4 -7mmol/l.

High blood glucose levels can damage the blood vessel of the heart leading to much more serious conditions like heart attacks, angina or heart failure.

4.Cholesterol

From age 35 regular cholesterol screenings are recommended. In fact, it is recommended that everyone from age 20 upwards should have their cholesterol measured once every five years.

Cholesterol measurements test the levels of:

HDL- Good Cholesterol

LDL-Bad Cholesterol

Triglycerides

You want your total cholesterol reading to be below 200mg/dl.

This overall reading should not be confused with triglycerides level which should stay well below 150mg/dl. High triglycerides increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

5. Colorectal Cancer

If you are over 50 you should get a colonoscopy. Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of death from cancer in men. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you should not wait until you are 50.

A colonoscopy is relatively painless. The doctor will insert a tiny camera (colonoscope) in the anus, through the rectum to the colon so they can see the entire length of the colon. You do not need to be sedated for this procedure but it is highly recommended. The test takes about 30 minutes if all is clear.This test may be uncomfortable but the benefits far outweigh the discomfort as early detection can mean the difference between life and death.

Regular health screening should be part of your health care routine because any irregularities could be picked up early as they pose serious health problems. On top of these screenings, ensure that you practice healthy lifestyle habits that include regular exercise and consuming a largely plant based diet.

One other important area that is often neglected in men’s health is emotional health. Men, like women, face emotional challenges that can be crippling yet there seems to be less support geared towards men. We cannot continue to separate the physical from the emotional. We are all familiar with the socialisation that men should not show their emotions and we have seen and even experienced how badly that has turned out.

Reaching out for help when you feel overwhelmed with life’s challenges is not a sign of weakness but of great strength. It takes a lot of courage to lay bare your soul to another human however, a problem shared is really a problem halved. Do not be afraid to reach out. It may save your life.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Foods and Herbs for Enhanced Immunity

So, you’ve made the lifestyle suggestions I mentioned in the last post ,The Immune System:Your Inner Army, yet you still feel it’s not enough. You are right.
Let me get specific.
Before looking to your friendly pharmacist to help you prepare for the winter sniffles, visit your local supermarket or fruit and vegetable market. Stock up on these powerful immune boosters and make them part of your diet.

1. Citrus Fruit

Lemon fruit
Vitamin C has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect the immune cells from damage by infections. Research studies also found that Vitamin C speeds up healing and recovery.It is no coincidence that citrus fruits are abundant in winter.

Rather than taking a vitamin C supplement, reach for a variety of citrus fruits.
Other foods rich in Vitamin C include dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, red peppers, snap peas, berries, paw-paw, kiwi fruit and tomatoes.

2. Probiotic Rich Foods

It is now a well-known fact that 1/3 of our immune system lies in the gut. Therefore a healthy gut is one of our best defenses against infections.
Probiotics promote growth of good bacteria in our gut and help to stimulate the immune system,making your body less friendly to pathogens.

Probiotic rich foods include yoghurt, maas, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir and other naturally fermented foods and drinks.

3. Garlic

Garlic has strong antibacterial compounds because it is particularly rich in allicin, a compound thought to improve immune cell power to reduce infection.
Garlic reportedly has antibacterial and antiviral properties which makes it a champion in fighting bacterial and viral infections.
Eating 2-3 cloves of garlic per day may help boost the immune system helping you avoid infections or heal faster.

4. Ginger

Garlic and ginger are often used together in cooking for their taste yet they both possess powerful infection fighting compounds.
Ginger has a powerful compound called gingerol which is thought to lower the risk of infection. It has powerful anti-microbial properties which stops growth of certain bacteria.
To get both antibacterial and antiviral properties during a respiratory infection, ginger is at its most potent consumed raw.
I love cooking with ginger and it features quite prominently in my smoothies and juices.

5. Berries

Mixed berries on white backgroundDo you remember early in summer I encouraged you to freeze berries so you always have them handy? That’s because berries have very potent compounds called phylenols which fight viral and bacterial infections. Berries are also powerful antioxidants helping to fight free radicals.

6. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are rich in protein, fibre, Vitamins D, C and B, calcium and zinc. They also contain powerful immune boosting compounds which may help kick a nasty cold to the kerb.
Medicinal mushrooms (especially Shiitake, Maitake and Reishi) are known as immune modulator which means they balance and strengthen immune system function.They are useful  in preventing illness,balancing autoimmune and allergic conditions.

Mushrooms are best enjoyed cooked, in salads and they can even be made into teas and soups.

7. Coconut oil

Did you know that coconut oil has the same immune strengthening compound as the one found in breast milk?
Choose organic, unrefined, unbleached and non-GMO coconut oil to get the best benefits of lauric acid which is converted to powerful monolaurin, the immune boosting compound.

7. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal -all qualities you need from an infection fighter.
A generous sprinkling on the morning cereal or warm winter drink will not only warm your soul but will also improve circulation and boost your immunity.

8. Almonds

Almonds are rich in vitamin E which is key to a healthy immune system. Other nuts also provide good fats which can be powerful in fighting winter infections.
Consume about 20-40 a day to get the daily allowance of Vitamin E. Other foods rich in Vitamin E are avocados, sunflower seeds, and dark leafy greens.

9. Echinacea

This antiviral and antibacterial herb is the most researched herb, and most used,immune booster in Western medicine. Echinacea contains elements that increase the production of white blood cells,which we now know are the main defenses in our body.This herb is best taken at the onset of infection until it subsides. It is not suitable for long term use nor is it recommended if you have an autoimmune condition.

It is available in tablet,syrup and extract form.

10. Elderberry

Quercetin in elderberries is what makes them powerful infection fighters. It provides antioxidant,and anti-inflammatory effects which help with sinus pain and chronic fatigue that comes with a compromised immune system.
You can find elderberry tea, syrup or tablets.

Immune supporting foods and herbs can help the body fight off infection and relieve symptoms of colds and flu. Make these herbs and foods pat of your diet and experience improved immunity.

 

*Disclaimer:IN BODY IN MIND and its consultants do not diagnose disease. You should consult a Medical Doctor before undergoing any dietary or food supplement changes. Any recommendations you follow for changes in diet, including but not limited to the use of food supplements are entirely your responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Immune System: Your Inner Army

As the seasons shift to cold weather we hear a lot about ‘boosting’ the immune system to ward off colds and flu. The immune system is one of the hardest working systems in our bodies that ensures we are healthy enough to enjoy life. It can be likened to an army that protects the body against infectious invaders.

But what really is the Immune system? What does it do? How can we support it to ensure if functions optimally?

Your Immune Army

The immune system is a network of special cells, tissues and organs that work together to provide our bodies with defense against infections and foreign invaders.

Tonsils and the thymus make antibodies that tackle invaders and stop infection.

Lymph Nodes store immune cells that fight infection .Lymph Vessels transports lymph fluids, nutrients and waste between the body tissues and the bloodstream.

Bone marrow produces red and white blood cells that fight infection

The spleen filters the blood and removes old blood and, because it is rich in white blood cells, it destroys bacteria and foreign substances.

And lastly, one of the most important cells of the immune system are white blood cells which can be found circulating all over the body keeping watch for germs or substances that might attack the body.

Needless to say, this is one system we need to ensure is in tip top condition if we are to remain healthy.

Germs: Friends or Foe?

The mere mention of ‘germs’ freak a lot of people out. In fact we have done such a splendid job killing germs to a point where the immune system is left idle so it starts looking elsewhere to practice fighting. This is not good.  Some germ exposure is good. It trains our immune system so we do not get sick at every turn. So it might help us to ease off those anti-bacterial soaps ,sprays and even antibiotics which may also kill the good bacteria.

Boosting your Immunity

Avoid the following Immune Depressors:

  1. Sugar
  2. Fatty Food
  3. Alcohol
  4. Smoking
  5. Negative Stress
  6. Late Nights

Take the following Immune Boosting steps to decrease chances of getting ill and speed up recovery

  1. Exercise
  2. Consume more healthy food
  3. Switch to more nourishing drinks
  4. Increase your water intake
  5. Spend time outdoors and get Vitamin D and fresh air.
  6. Remember to wash your hands regularly
  7. Make time to rest.

These simple actions will go a long way in boosting your immunity and upping your feel good factor.Next we will talk about how you can fight reduced immunity with herbs and nutrition. Stay tuned.

Nutrivore Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Hypertension Day 2017

World Hypertension Day was first held in May 2005 and has become an annual event ever since. The purpose of the day is to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer, the modern epidemic.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure is elevated in the arteries. This means the heart has to work too hard to pump the blood through the system.

It is the leading risk factor for disease burden worldwide. Approximately 4 in 10 adults have raised blood pressure which often goes undiagnosed, but healthy attitudes can help combat hypertension.

An estimated 18% of deaths (9.4 million) and 162 million years of life lost world-wide were attributed to increased blood pressure in 2010. One half of blood pressure related disease occurs in people with higher levels of blood pressure even within the normal range. Hypertension now disproportionately impacts low and middle-income countries.

Source:http://www.gov.za/speeches/world-hypertension-day-2017-16-nov-2016-0931

Do you know that hypertension can be prevented and managed by following these simple and practical suggestions? Follow them and see the changes in your body.