Argan Oil

10 WONDERFUL and BENEFICIAL uses of Argan Oil for your hair and skin (3 minute read)

argan tree

Argan oil is from the Argan (Argania spinosa) tree endemic to southwestern Morocco. The fruit from the tree has an oleaginous kernel that has “argan oil” in it. I’m sure you’ve heard that it is known as “liquid gold” or “Moroccan miracle oil” and there are reasons for that. It has been used for centuries in Morocco as a cosmetic oil to maintain a fair complexion, to cure skin pimples and chicken pox scars. It is also used for culinary reasons to add a nut flavor. However, keep in mind that for cosmetic uses, it needs to be cold pressed versus roasted.

Argan opil

In this day and age and after many studies, we have found that there are many other uses for the “liquid gold”  or “Moroccan miracle oil,” as well.

Reasons to use Argan Oil

Acne – The triterpenoids naturally found in Argan oil have amazing health benefits for skin including the treatment of mild acne and acne-related scarring.

Psoriasis – Argan oil’s hydrating effects can make psoriasis feel better by adding much-needed moisture.

Eczema – Rubbing this into the skin after a shower will help lock in moisture and stop the itching.

Sun – Applying Argan oil can regenerate cells caused by UV damaged skin. It fades sun spots and heals dry skin that looks dry and leathery. Cancer – Compounds in Argan Oil are called triterpenoids. Triterpenoids are phytochemicals also known as isoprenoids. These are secondary metabolites. Many studies conducted have shown that metabolites are toxic to tumor growth.

Arthritis – Found to be particularly helpful with those that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis from the oil when massaged into the skin.

Hair – Argon Oil is well known to help dry hair. Use it overnight as an intense hair treatment or use it as a leave-in to help moisturize, during the day. It is great for split ends.

Skin – Argan Oil has approx. 80% fatty acids, which have been proven to erase crow’s feet and wrinkles by using it regularly which increases elasticity and by increasing the regenerative rate of healthy skin cells. So for an older woman for example, who have had your insides removed, it protects you from the sun, gives you elasticity, which promotes smoother skin and protects you from free radicals.

Burns and wounds – In a clinical study on rats, argan oil showed significant aid in burns and wounds.

Brittle fingernails – Rub some into your cuticles and fingernails to moisturize.

Antioxidant – Argan Oil has flavonoids and vitamin E which is incorporated into cell membranes, which protects them from oxidative damage. Flavonoids have shown potential in the treatment of breast, colon, prostate, pancreas, lung, and other related cancers.

argan nuts

What makes Argan oil so effective?

Tocopherols (Vitamin E) – organic chemical compounds

Fatty Acids – A large group of monobasic acids found in animals and plants.

Polyphenols / Ferulic Acid – Organic compounds containing more than one phenol group; responsible for the color and flavor of some fruits and vegetables; may have antioxidant properties.

Phytosterols – Plant sterols and stanols that inhibit the absorption of cholesterol from the small intestine and, in effect, lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in humans.

Triterpene – Any of various unsaturated hydrocarbons, C10H16, found in essential oils and oleoresins of plants such as conifers and used in organic syntheses.

Squalene – A hexaisoprenoid (triterpenoid) hydrocarbon; intermediate in the biosynthesis of cholesterol and other sterols and triterpenes; found in shark oil and in some plants.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3723062/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4321565/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3723062/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17524128

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182282/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/articles/26978857/

 

Pistachio

9 Surprising Facts About The Pistachio Nut

Pistachio

 

 

Pistachio Nuts were a common food since 6750 BC. They are a member of the cashew family and originate from Asia and the Middle East.

Pistachios are eaten whole, salted, roasted or fresh.  Pistachios are also used in ice cream, butter, and a paste.

Pistachios not only taste great but have nutrients carbohydrates, proteins, fats, dietary fiber, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, vitamin B-6, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin K.

Out of all the nuts out there, pistachios contain the highest amounts of potassium, γ-tocopherol, vitamin K, phytosterols, and xanthophyll carotenoids.  Clinical studies suggest that pistachios help maintain healthy antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, glycemic control, and endothelial function. When consumed in moderation, pistachios may help control body weight because of their satiety and satiation effects and their reduced net metabolizable energy content.

In another study pistachios (roasted) have a lower fat content than any of the other nuts out there.

Health benefits of pistachios include aiding in

Type 2 diabetes – Pistachio nuts as a snack has beneficial effects on glycemic control, according to a study.

Heart Health – Pistachios have been studied for many years in reference to cardiovascular disease. Studies show a significant drop in cholesterol when consuming pistachios. Five published randomized cardiovascular trials have shown that pistachios promote heart-healthy blood lipid profiles.

Blood Pressure – Pistachios are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may reduce hyperglycemia and improve metabolism.

Weight loss – Researchers found that pistachios have satiety and satiation effects. Another study with individuals in a weight loss program demonstrated lower body mass index and triglyceride levels who consumed pistachios versus pretzels. Epidemiological studies have failed to find any association between nut or pistachio consumption and either weight gain or an increased risk of obesity

Cancer – Pistachios have vitamin E and other antioxidants in them may reduce the risk of cancer.

Absorbing Iron – A study conducted found that pistachios are high in copper, which helps the body absorb more iron therefore helping in not getting anemia.

Improved Digestion – In a study, they suggest pistachios have prebiotic characteristics and contain non-digestible food components such as dietary fiber, which remains in the gut and serve as food for naturally occurring bacteria.  Pistachios also contain phytochemicals that could modify microbiota composition. Foods with prebiotic properties may enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.

Fiber – A serving of about 1 ounce or 30 grams of pistachios contains about 3 grams of dietary fiber, more than enough to get your digestive tracts working at excellent capacity.

Erectile Dysfunction – Turkish researchers revealed results from a study that eating 3-1/2 ounces of pistachio nuts a day for 3 weeks led to improved sexual function in men with ED.

MInt

9 Healing Benefits of Mint

mint-2220631_640 (2)

Mint also is known as Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita) It is used in many culinary dishes, as well as, in soaps and cosmetics for aromatic reasons. It is grown throughout Europe and North America.

Mint has been used for thousands of years for many health purposes. Peppermint leaf is available in teas, capsules, and as a liquid extract.

Today researchers know that it aids in many things.

  1. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – A study found that taking peppermint enteric-coated capsules, may help in reducing pain associated with IBS (thought to relieve flatulence, abdominal pain, and distension).
  2. Digestive problemsStudies have shown that peppermint taken with caraway oil may help relieve indigestion. You can also drink peppermint tea, as many people do for indigestion.
  3. Asthma and the common cold – cold – Rubbing mint on your forehead, under the nose, and on your chest can relieve bronchial and respiratory disorders from the scent of peppermint. Rosmarinic acid is found in peppermint leaves which are helpful with inflammatory issues with people suffering from asthma.
  4. Headaches – Peppermint oil is also used topically for tension headaches (applied to the scalp) for fast headache relief.
  5. Reducing spasm during gastrointestinal procedures – A study conducted as a consequence of its relaxing properties on smooth muscle, peppermint oil has given, via enema, has been examined in two trials as a means to reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal spasm during the administration of barium enema and possibly during colonoscopy.
  6. Prostate Cancer – Peppermint contains menthol, which may inhibit the growth of prostate cancer.
  7. Stress – Peppermint oil is used in the bath (few drops) or as aromatherapy to have almost instant stress relief.
  8. Muscle Pain – Rub some peppermint oil on your sore or painful muscles or you can add some to your bath (few drops).
  9. Nausea – Peppermint oil can effectively help with nausea in general and people undergoing chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Cautions:

Possible side effects of peppermint oil include heartburn and allergic reactions like a headache, nausea, blurred vision and mouth sores. I mentioned above about enteric-coated to reduce the likeliness of heartburn. Do not take with antacids, as the coating on the enteric-coating can break down.

When taken orally peppermint oil appears to be safe in common doses. If you overtake peppermint oil, it can be toxic, so just be careful and make sure you know common doses.

Recommended daily allowance Adults: 0.2 to 0.4 mL of oil three times daily in enteric-coated capsules

Children older than eight years: 0.1 to 0.2 mL three times daily according to American Family Physician.

Like other essential oils, peppermint oil is highly concentrated. When the undiluted essential oil is used for health purposes, only a few drops are used.

Side effects of applying peppermint oil to the skin can include skin rashes and irritation. Peppermint oil should not be applied to the face or chest of infants or young children because serious side effects may occur if they inhale the menthol in the oil.

No harmful effects from studies of peppermint leaf tea have been reported. However, the long-term safety of consuming large amounts of peppermint leaf is unknown.

Uncategorized

17 Impressive Benefits of Rosemary(2 min read)

matt-montgomery-3790 (2)Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a fragrant perennial evergreen herb with needle-like leaves with white, pink, blue or purple flowers native to the Mediterranean. The name rosemary derives from the Latin ros meaning “dew” and marinus meaning “sea”, “sea dew.” Rosemary is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, along with many other herbs, such as oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender.  Rosemary is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6.

Rosemary has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes along with used in recipes for cooking.

For your hair, rubbing rosemary herb extractions over the scalp to stimulate the hair-bulbs, prevent premature baldness and dandruff.

Rosemary has been tested in clinical studies on the list below and has shown positive feedback from them.

Health Benefits of Rosemary

  • Improve mood
  • Relieve pain
  • Protect the immune system
  • Stimulate circulation
  • Detoxify the body
  • Bacterial infections
  • Premature aging
  • Skin conditions
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Memory and concentration
  • Digestion
  • Neurological
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Macular degeneration
  • Hair

Caution:  The essential oil of rosemary is not to be consumed. You can consume rosemary as we have for thousands of years in culinary aspects, but again, not as an essential oil. Don’t forget rosemary is in the mint family, so if you are allergic, be careful.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3624774/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736918/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20377818

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905473/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227022/

http://www.amd.org/macular-degeneration-research/clinical-trials-for-wet-amd/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133115/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23921795

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25002023

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3569896/

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Health Benefits from Bay Leaves

Bay Leaf Scrub (2)

Bay leaves(Laurus norbilis) refer to an aromatic smell from a few plants. Laurus nobilis is the most commonly used bay leave and is actually an evergreen tree or shrub and is native to the Mediterranean Region. It is important when using bay leaves, since there are many, to stick with the Laurus noblilis. Laurus noblilis is the only accepted bay leave that is used for medicinal purposes and the others could be toxic, according to experts. They state that is can cause damage the central nervous system and could ultimately cause respiratory distress.

Bay leaves contain a good source of folic acid, iron, and vitamin B6, nutrients that play an important role in the production of red blood cells and metabolism. Bay leaves also contain vitamin A, a nutrient necessary for the maintenance of normal vision, a healthy immune system, and cell growth.

The Laurus nobilis is one of my favorite things to use in stews and soups. If you were to eat it, it would be a very bitter taste, so remember it is more for the aromatic smell and is taken out of dishes before served.

Health benefits of bay leaves

DiabetesThe National Center of Biotechnology Information found that after a 30 day period, bay leaf decreased fasting serum glucose in people with type 2 diabetes ranging from 21 to 26% (Table1) after 20 days of eating 1-3grams per day.

They also found that bay leaves decrease serum cholesterol 32 to 40% in people with type 2 diabetes (Table2) after 30 days and more significant in people after 20 days.

In another test, the NCBI found that bay leaves decrease serum LDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes (Table3) and positive effects from bay leave increasing HDL cholesterol (Table4). Serum triglycerides were decreased in people with type 2 diabetes (Table5), as well.

Anti-microbial and Antioxidant-Bay leaf essential oil from white wormwood, rose scented geranium on fresh produce showed anti-microbial and antioxidant activity against Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli according to a study done by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Breast Cancer-A study conducted on breast cancer cell models when induced with bay leaf and fruit extracts showed cell death. Making bay leaves a potential natural agent for breast cancer therapy.

Colorectal Cancer-By incorporating Laurus nobilis into food has shown to protect against early events in Colorectal cancer according to a study from the CSIRO Preventative Health National Research Flagship, Food, and Nutritional Sciences, Werribee, Victoria, Australia.

Respiratory Health– A study found that the essential oil extracted from bay leaves and mixed into a salve and then rubbed on your chest can help clear up sinuses by loosening up phlegm.

 

 

 

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8 wonderful benefits of beets

Beets

 

Beetroot is rich in valuable nutrients and fiber-like protein, fiber, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C phosphorus, zinc, potassium, copper, and manganese, calcium, iron and high in nitrates. Beetroot is also rich in phytochemical compounds that include ascorbic acid, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and carotenoids. Beetroot also has highly bioactive pigments, known as betalains. Beets are known for having the most betalains in any vegetable. There are 2 categories of betalains.

  • Betacyanin  pigments are a red-violet color
  • Betaxanthin pigments are yellow-orange in color

Recent studies at the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI), have compelling evidence from studies that beetroot ingested offers beneficial physiological effects for improving hypertension, atherosclerosis dementia, and type 2 diabetes. Beets also are known for aiding in the list below:

  1. Lower blood pressure – Studies have shown that drinking the juice from beets lowers blood pressure in a matter of hours. The nitrates in beets turn into nitric oxide reduce and dilate your blood vessels enabling them to relax.
  2. Anti-cancer properties – The nitrates in the beets turn into nitric oxide(NO). clinical trials on NO show that it has antiproliferative properties that have a lot of potential in cancer therapeutics, which you can read more about here.
  3. Antioxidant – Betalains are potent as an antioxidant
  4. Detoxing – Betalains are shown to help in detoxing the body.
  5. Anti-inflammatory –  Betalains and beetroot extracts are potent anti-inflammatory agents.
  6. Boost Stamina- the NCBI conducted a test on 11 men and it proved that beetroot boosts stamina.
  7. Help your liver – In a study done beetroot juice has shown to decrease levels and activities of the majority of tested biochemical parameters, elevated by DMBA(carcinogen).
  8. Cognition – By increasing blood flow in older adults beet, high nitrates in beetroot have shown to improve cognition in the elderly.

 

 

 

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Sunscreen information and guidance

Sunscreen

Ultraviolet rays are responsible for a wide variety of effects on the skin. Acute responses to UVR are photo-damage, erythema, mutation, immunosuppression, synthesis of vitamin D and tanning. And chronic responses are photo-aging and photocarcinogenesis.

There are 3 types of ultraviolet (UV) rays, UVA, UVB, and UVC.

UVA rays are the ones that cause premature aging and photo-sensitivity. This UVR is not life threatening, but excessive time in the sun can lead to wrinkles, a leathery texture to your skin, hyperpigmentation (liver spots and aging spots) and sagging.

UVB rays are the rays that are out from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and are the ones most responsible for sunburn and skin cancer year round. At higher altitudes and reflective surfaces can increase UVB intensity.

UVC rays are the most damaging of the UV rays and are protected by the ozone layer and do not reach the earth’s surface.

Studies have shown that skin cancer is more prevalent in lighter skin individuals it does not discriminate on darker skin individuals. You should determine your skin type and what SPF you need.

There are 4 types of skin cancers.

Actinic Keratoses (AK) – Look like dry scaly patches.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) – Look like a flesh-colored, pearl-like bump or a pinkish patch of skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – Looks like a red firm bump, scaly patch, or a sore that heals and then reopens.

Malignant melanoma (deadliest) – Looks like a mole or suddenly appears as a new dark spot on the skin.

  • Reasons to wear sunscreen:
  • Decreases your risk of getting skin cancer
  • Protects your skin from sunburn
  • It sets an example for children
  • The ozone layer is depleting
  • Keeps your skin tone even
  • Keeps you looking young

Skincancer.org suggest applying sunscreen frequently, not going out into the sun with certain medications and many other interesting facts.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2671032/#R5

https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/types-of-skin-cancer

http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/the-skin-cancer-foundations-guide-to-sunscreens

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The reasons Magnesium is so important

Magnesium rich foods

Magnesium is a mineral that is in more than 300 enzyme systems that adjust diverse biochemical reactions in our bodies which include normal muscle and nerve function, protein synthesis, cell signaling, building strong bones, keeping a healthy immune system and maintaining heart rhythm.

With processed foods and not whole foods people are realizing that their bodies are deficient in magnesium and are turning to foods and supplements to correct the issue. And with all the pesticides that are used in conventional farming, our soil is being depleted of magnesium. Farming is not what it used to be, so people are looking for alternatives to help get the nutrients they need through supplements and organic whole foods.

Calcium is a BIG contributor to being magnesium deficient. We were brought up concerned about getting enough calcium, but they should have educated us more on the mix of the two. Without getting too scientific on you, let me explain. If your body has too much calcium and not enough magnesium, then the calcium builds up in the cells. Which is called calcification. If you can’t get rid of the calcification, you’re headed to more health problems.

We know that low levels of magnesium have been linked to hereditary heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, clogged arteries, high blood pressure, stroke, agitation, anxiety disorders, irritability, low blood pressure, confusion, muscle spasm and weakness, hyperventilation, insomnia, restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep disorders, poor nail growth, seizures, nausea and vomiting.

In a study from the University of Oregon, they state that deficiency in healthy individuals who are consuming a healthy diet is rare because of the magnesium-rich in plants and animal foods. They also state, that our kidneys are able to limit urinary excretion of magnesium when intake is low. Studies on the elderly show low intakes of dietary magnesium because with age it is harder for our bodies to absorb and interestingly enough our urinary magnesium excretion tends to increase with age. In clinical studies, they state that magnesium is hard for our bodies to absorb and suggest taking calcium with it and what the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

Dietary Supplements

Magnesium supplements come in different forms like magnesium citrate, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium lactate because it absorbs more completely and is more bioavailable than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate.

People who suffer from hyperthyroidism (high levels), kidney disease, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis, diabetes and taking diuretics can have difficulties absorbing magnesium because of medicine they take.  The University of Oregon says that when taking a medication there can be a loss of absorption when taking drugs such as Digoxin (heart medication), nitrofurantoin (antibiotic) and other malaria drugs and interferes with drug effectiveness. People taking the drug Bisphosphonates for osteoporosis should be taken separately, 2 hours apart. The University of Oregon has drug interaction information regarding antibiotics oral anticoagulants, chlorpromazine (a tranquilizer) and more.

Foods that are rich in magnesium:

  • Tofu
  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Wheat bran
  • Brazil nuts
  • Soybean flour
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Pumpkin and squash seeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Black walnuts

 

Foods that also have dietary sources of magnesium:

  • Peanuts
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Oat flour
  • Beet greens
  • Spinach
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Shredded wheat
  • Bran cereals
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Baked potatoes (with skin)
  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa powder

Herbs, spices and seaweed also have magnesium:

  • Dill weed
  • Celery seed
  • Sage
  • Dried mustard
  • Cumin seed
  • Tarragon
  • Marjoram
  • Basil
  • Agar seaweed
  • Coriander
  • Fennel seed
  • Poppy seed

Things that aid in the loss of magnesium:

  • Drinking too much sugar, caffeine, soda and alcohol
  • Eating too much sodium (salt)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Prolonged stress
  • Heavy menstrual periods

Symptoms of deficiency of magnesium may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disorders
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle spasm and weakness
  • Hyperventilation
  • Poor nail growth

Always talk to your doctor when taking magnesium supplements with other medications or over the counter drugs as they can interact and cause nausea, vomiting, severely lowered blood pressure, confusion, diarrhea, slowed heart rate, respiratory paralysis, and deficiencies of other minerals, coma, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest and death.