Pairing pumpkin with the healing properties of raw honey and wondrous turmeric makes this pumpkin face mask a total power house for your face.
Pumpkin is good for so many things, on and off the table! This seasonal fruit is naturally loaded with vitamin A to smooth, vitamin C and antioxidants, all of which can help clear and brighten your skin. The enzymes found in pumpkin will help soften your face by removing dry and dead skin skin cells.
I left this mask on for about 15 minutes and did not experience any discomfort. If you have sensitive skin, or even if not, and start to feel uncomfortable with the mask, remove right away with cool water and pat dry. Some people are really sensitive to the enzymes in pumpkin when its applied to their skin so work slowly with this mask. Trying a small amount of the mask on your wrist ahead of time is a great way to gauge how sensitive or not your skin might be.
NOTE: Something to keep in mind with turmeric is that it can temporarily leave your skin tinted yellow, even just a little bit and when mixed with other ingredients. I’ve always had the best luck removing all of the yellow coloring when using a wash cloth. It takes an extra rinse or possibly two, but it will come off. The same might not be said for the yellow coming out of the wash cloth though, so do make sure to choose one that you don’t care as much about anymore.
½ to 1 teaspoon raw honey or ultra healing Manuka honey 1 tablespoon organic pumpkin puree 1 teaspoon turmeric
Mix these ingredients together until smooth. Wash your face ahead of time and allow your skin to dry on its own. Being careful of your eyes and hairline, apply a smooth layer over the rest of your face. Leave on 10-15 minutes then rinse with cool water and pat dry.
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fizkes/ShutterstockAs much as you fantasize about it, you're not going to lose 20 pounds in a week. Instead, you want to set realistic weight loss goals and then be prepared to stick with your diet plan for weeks, even months. "I tell clients that it takes four weeks to feel better, six weeks to see some differences, and really a full eight weeks to see a lot of changes and long-term results," says Phyl London, a Level IV Master Trainer specializing in Pilates and Group Exercise instruction who created Bodiphy®, a program that brings you through Pilates, Barre, strength, and alignment training. That means you need to stay on track even when the scale isn't budging—because it may start moving the following week! Don't miss how to jump-start weight loss.
Any diet works, as long as you stick with it
Uber Images/ShutterstockLow-carb or low-fat? Don't stress. A study published in JAMA found that what diet you choose really doesn't matter if you want to lose weight. What's more important is that you actually follow it. Weight-loss differences between popular diets like Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach, and Nutrisystem—which were all among those included in the study—are minimal. And they have similar levels of effectiveness, researchers found. Check out the weight loss secrets of people who lost 50-plus pounds and kept it off.
If you bite it, write it
Kiattipong/ShutterstockBefore you overhaul your eating habits, try one of our best weight-loss tips: Record everything you drink and eat. Take advantage of apps and website or use pen and paper. Note trouble spots, like that 3 p.m. candy bar or evening bowl of ice cream. "This is the single most important thing you can do when you're watching your calories," says Paige Waehner, a certified personal trainer and author of The About.com Guide to Getting in Shape. "I have so many clients who think they're eating healthfully, but writing down every bite makes you aware of those extra calories you eat without even realizing it. Just an extra handful of nuts could cost you more than 100 calories." Find out what a healthy diet will look like in 2018.
Tell everyone about your campaign
Rawpixel.com/ShutterstockDon't keep your weight-loss goals a secret. Improve your chances of weight-loss success by spreading the word to friends and family about your new diet. It will help motivate you and increase your accountability. "Almost no one succeeds without support from the people around them," says Malia Frey, MA, CPT, CHC, a health coach and personal trainer. "Asking for help is the most important part of your weight-loss program." Don't miss why your diet isn't working.
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Sweat the small stuff
Steve Cukrov/ShutterstockA free sample of pizza at the grocery store. A nibble of the cookies your colleague brought into work. A bite of your son's grilled cheese sandwich at the diner. Yes, it may just be a taste here and there but the calories from those BLTs—bites, licks, and tastes—really do add up. So, heed this weight-loss tip: If you're not hungry or a food is not on your meal plan, don't eat it.
Know your areas of weakness
Amarita/Shutterstock"Chocolate and ice cream can be in my house for days and I won't overeat them," says London. "But I can't have tortilla chips, pretzels, or pita chips in the house. Those are the kinds of foods that I'd overeat if I came home tired from a long day at work." Get rid of your triggers. Then, restock with healthy fare like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy foods. And make those healthy foods easy to eat by displaying them in a beautiful bowl on the counter or pre-chopping them and storing them in clear containers in the fridge. That's just one of the ways you can lose weight without a lick of exercise.
Don't pig out at dinner
Pressmaster/ShutterstockAfter a long hard day, most of us tuck into a large meal. However, multiple studies have found that this practice is linked to weight gain. When researchers had one group of people eat a bigger breakfast and smaller dinner, and another group eat the reverse, it was the big breakfast group that lost more weight. And people in the big dinner group actually ended up gaining weight. Check out the breakfast food that will keep you burning calories all day.
Andrey_Popov/ShutterstockSometimes what works best is what works best for you. "Don't assume that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that you should eat every three hours to curb hunger, or that you shouldn't eat past 7 p.m.," says Frey. "These diet guidelines don't work for everyone." Instead, she suggests that you create and follow a meal routine that accommodates you and your needs. "Getting proper nutrition is the goal. The schedule by which you meet those needs is up to you."
Brush your teeth earlier
VGstockstudio/ShutterstockHave you ever brushed your teeth and then had a sip of orange juice? The beverage probably tasted sour and not too pleasing to the palate. That can work to your advantage when you're trying to avoid post-dinner munching. Try brushing your teeth earlier in the evening instead of right before bedtime. "After you brush your teeth, it's much less likely that you'll find yourself snacking on empty calories later in the evening," says Pete McCall, host of the All About Fitness podcast, personal trainer, strength coach, educator, and author. For extra motivation, learn more about why it's bad to eat late at night.
Twin Sails/ShutterstockThe road to weight loss can be bumpy. Make the trip a bit smoother by finding someone you must be accountable to on your journey. "Support from others on a weight-loss journey helps tremendously," says Deb Gehringer, a CrossFit coach at Guerilla Fitness in Paramus, New Jersey. "You can share ideas, recipes, celebrate together, and complain together too." Just be sure to choose the right buddy for your journey. "We all have friends who are health saboteurs," says Dara Godfrey, MS, RD, a registered dietitian who works in private practice in New York City. "Try to always avoid dining experiences with them. Or, make sure to stand up for yourself when ordering something healthy."
Fill 'er up on water
Nils Z/ShutterstockDrinking ice-cold water can help you burn more calories throughout the day, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism—up to 490 calories a week! Other research shows that drinking water before a meal can help you eat less. And because there are so many other health benefits to staying hydrated, it's a good idea to keep tabs on how much you're guzzling down. Consider buying a reusable water bottle that's at least 20 fluid ounces. "That way you know exactly how much water it holds and you can refill it as many times as your body requires," says Alix Turoff, MS, RD, CDN, CPT. And water doesn't have to be boring. "Jazz it up by adding fresh lemon, cucumber, mint, or any other fruit or veggie. Not only does it make the water taste more interesting, but when you take the time to do something 'special,' you're more likely to drink the water." Here are some other things that happen to your body when you drink enough water.
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It's OK to let loose sometimes, if you prepare
Africa Studio/Shutterstock"In a perfect world, you'd be able to plan each meal to ensure that you stay on track," says Allison Tibbs, a San Francisco-based personal trainer and healthy lifestyle coach. "However, life happens." She explains that if you know that you're going out for apps and drinks tomorrow night, make sure that your breakfast, snacks, and lunches for that day and the day after are extra healthy. "This way, you won't have to worry too much about your evening festivities," she adds. "If you're doing your best to eat on track most of the time, one night out won't sabotage your hard work."
It pays to become a label pro
Ekaterina_Minaeva/ShutterstockKristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN, manager of wellness nutrition services at Cleveland Clinic, says that when choosing foods to buy, first review a label's ingredients and the numbers that are important to you—including fiber, protein, calories, sodium, sugar, and fat content. "Avoid looking at the front of the product," says Kirkpatrick. "That area contains only smoke-and-mirrors marketing to cajole you into purchasing a product." If you see words like low fat, natural, healthy, and diet on a product, be wary, she says. "Foods that actually fit all these descriptions, like an apple, don't need to sell themselves." Just make sure to avoid these mistakes when reading nutritional labels.
Go ahead, think about candy
Brent Hofacker/ShutterstockYou heard that right! Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that by fantasizing about your favorite treats, your actual consumption of that treat may be reduced—because your brain has already "experienced" them on some level. So, feel free to daydream about the chocolate-caramel bar or gummy bears you saw at the grocery store checkout line. Just don't buy them!
Cheat meals don't have to wreck your diet
veryulissa/ShutterstockIf you eat healthfully most of the time, an indulgence here or there doesn't have to be bad for you, says Nadia Murdock, fitness expert and coach. If you're craving a burger, have one without the guilt. "Eat only half the bun and ditch the fatty condiments like mayo and ketchup, which pack on a lot of sugar," she says. The same rule goes for cocktails, she says. Enjoy some of your favorites while staying on track. "If you love white wine, add seltzer for a white wine spritzer," Murdock says. "You still can enjoy a glass—with half the calories."
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Train your eye
Timolina/ShutterstockLearn how to eyeball proper portion sizes. First, educate yourself on the right portions for the foods you eat on a regular basis, suggests Waehner. You can use tools such as plates with markings for portions of proteins, fruits, and vegetables. "It's a lot of work, but try it for a week," she says. "You'll be surprised by how much you eat and that you can usually satisfy your hunger with less food." Take our portion distortion quiz to test your ability to ID proper portion sizes.
Snacking isn't all bad
ff-photo/ShutterstockSnacking—when done correctly—can actually help you lose weight. You heard that right! "I like to snack on 100-calorie packs of pistachios," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area. "The shells provide a visual cue of the amount that you've eaten, which may help you stop noshing before you have extra servings." Shelling the nuts also helps slow down your eating. In one preliminary study in Appetite, volunteers eating in-shell pistachios consumed 41 percent fewer calories than people snacking on the shelled version. And here's how you can eat larger portions and still lose weight!
Everyone has lapses—but what’s the difference between those who can recover, and who can’t? When researchers looked at the successful weight losers in the National Weight Control Registry, and compared them to some who’d regained back some of their weight after one or two years, they found that even a small weight gain was hard to reverse: those who’d regained the most weight were the least likely to be able to take it off again. That’s extra incentive for you to act quickly on a relapse—and also to keep weighing yourself regularly. (If you can’t seem to face the scale and have stopped weighing yourself, it’s time to do something. First get on the scale and confront the reality. Start weighing yourself every day, at the same time. A growing body of research supports daily weigh-ins as a method to avoid weight gain or regain.)
It’s a good idea to designate a “red flag” weight—say, 3 to 5 pounds above your weight goal. If you see that weight on the scale, consider it a signal that you need to act immediately with a “back on track” strategy.
1. Step back and ask, “What happened?” Look objectively at what brought on the lapse.
2. Calm down. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself, “One slip-up does not make me a failure.”
3. Renew your vows. Remind yourself of how far you have come, and how disappointed you’ll be if this one slip-up undoes all your hard work.
4. Learn from it. Think about what pushed you to your lapse (your food diary notes can help). What can you do differently next time?
5. Implement your “back on track” strategy right away.
6. Call for backup. Ask for help from those people who are supportive and who want you to succeed.
Kissairis Munoz November 14, 2017 November 14, 2017
As the weather gets cooler, our natural inclination is to stay inside. Cozy fires, comfort food and the sweet elasticity of sweatpants — why brave the outdoors?
As it turns out, we aren’t. Did you know that us Americans spend 90 percent of our lives indoors? (1) Between commuting to and from our jobs, spending 8+ hours a day working and going about our normal daily business, we see nature more on our TVs than we do in real life.
Not only is that a depressing statistic, but there are real health benefits of being outdoors that we’re missing out on when we’re confined to our homes and office buildings. From improving our moods to feeling more chill, being outdoors is something we all could use more of.
6 Health Benefits of Being Outdoors
1. Breathe better air
Between pollution, seasonal allergies and creepy crawlies outside, some of us would prefer staying inside as often as possible. But if you thought you’re breathing better air inside, I hate to break it to you: indoor air pollution can be up to 10 times worse than what you’re inhaling outdoors.
Most of us think of pollution as factory smoke or car exhaust, but indoor air pollution means our homes are loaded with it too, and often at levels significantly higher than what you’d find outside. (2) Inadequate ventilation, paints, chemicals from household and personal products and mold all contribute. So if you need to get a breath of fresh air, it’s time to head outside.
2. Soak up that vitamin D
One of the most common deficiencies among American adults is a vitamin D deficiency. What makes the vitamin different from most of the ones we need is that our bodies actually produce most of the vitamin D we need, instead of relying on the foods we eat to supply it. Our bodies convert the sunshine we soak up into chemicals that turn it into the vitamin D we all know and love.
However, if we don’t get outdoors enough, our body struggles to get enough sunshine to make vitamin D. Whenever possible, try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected time in the sun each day and reap the health benefits of being outdoors.
3. Help counteract seasonal affective disorder
While this might apply only for half of the year, it’s a big one. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that strikes in early autumn and worsens in the winter. While researchers aren’t sure what causes it exactly, a lack of light and vitamin D is suspected to play a role.
Even if you don’t have SAD, a lack of natural light during cooler weather can really affect your mood. (3) Mitigate the effects and increase your vitamin D intake at the same time by heading outside.
4. Indulge in forest bathing
No, it doesn’t involve an outdoor shower. It’s closer to camping. But forest bathing, or forest therapy, is based on the Japanese concept of Shinrin-yoku, which emphasizes spending time away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and embracing nature.
The Japanese, already wise with their Okinawa diet, are on to something. Getting into nature can boost activity of a type of white blood cell that helps fight infection and tumor cells. (4) It also help lower your blood pressure and reduce stress, something we can all use. (5)
5. Ease anxiety
Feeling anxious about something? Taking a stroll outside can help. Researchers have found that just being outdoors in nature can improve your overall feelings of well-being and reduce anxiety. (6) Escaping the indoors and heading outside can also boost creative juices — it’s a reason why walking meetings are becoming more popular.
6. Practice your grounding
Have you heard of grounding, or earthing, before? It’s a way of connecting to the earth’s energy by going barefoot. Our feet draw in the earth’s electrical charges, allowing them to flow through us. The results are improved sleep, reduced inflammation and more time in nature — all wins. And of course, you need to be outside to connect with the earth; carpet or hardwood floors don’t have the same effects!
How to Spend More Time Outdoors
Struggling to figure out how you can add the health benefits of being outdoors into your lifestyle and spend more time outside? It’s not as difficult as you think.
Exercise outside. Take your yoga sessions to the backyard or skip the treadmill and visit the park instead.
Take a walk. Break up the mid-afternoon slump with a short walk outside, or go on a walk as you chat on the phone.
Eat outside. Enjoy a change of scenery and eat your meals outdoors.
Embrace seasonal activities. Cold outside? Play in the snow, head to the park or go for a brisk walk. Warm out? Try hiking or watching your favorite baseball team play.
So no matter what the season, it’s time to get off the couch and enjoy the great outdoors. Your health will thank you.
We all know sugary and fizzy drinks can wreak havoc on our health, and they are found everywhere. From TV commercials promoting diet soda to the enticing menu presented to us at our favorite restaurant, artificially sweetened drinks lie everywhere. The good news is there are healthy drinks out there, even if healthy beverage options may seem limited.
Thankfully, there are many more healthy drinks for you to choose from than you might think — so you won’t go astray from your health goals. These beverages can not only do your health great favors, but can spice up your palette so you won’t grow bored and throw in the towel to living a healthier lifestyle.
So what are the top 20 healthy drinks around, and what makes them so healthy? I’m glad you asked.
Hot chocolate, a popular and cozy drink enjoyed during the cold season, can actually do wonders for your health — if you chose the right chocolate, of course. Dark chocolate contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid precursor to serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for having a positive mood and feeling happy. Reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol and improved insulin sensitivity all have been associated with this tasty delight. (1)
2. Lemon Water
Lemons offer more than pleasant smells and sour flavor. The bright yellow fruit comes with potential uses from cleaning and scenting your house to improving your health. Add flavor to your water, help skin conditions, improve hair or add years to our life by utilizing the benefits of lemons. Of course, lemons are known for having high amounts of vitamin C, with a single lemon offering you approximately 51 percent to meet your daily vitamin C needs. (2)
3. Cranberry Juice
Most people think of cranberries as a delicious addition to holiday celebrations in the form of cranberry juice, sauces, stuffing and decorations. Cranberries are rich in health-promoting materials that are essential for all-around wellness. They’re known to store constituents that protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease, and that’s not even half of what cranberries are capable of. They can improve oxidative stress, inflammation and urinary antibacterial adhesion activity to prevent urinary tract infection. (3, 4)
4. Green Tea
Tea is the second most widely enjoyed beverage in the world behind only water. Green tea made from unfermented leaves reportedly contains the highest content of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, making it one of the top healthy drinks around. Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals, which are cell-damaging compounds that damage DNA and even cause cell death. Research points that free radicals contribute to the aging process, as well as the development of a number of medical conditions, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. (5)
Dandelions are everywhere, visibly present throughout most of the year. They make the ground healthy by restoring its mineral health to the depleted soil. Dandelion leaf is used for arthritis, gout, gastric headaches, edema and skin ailments — plus it’s excellent for detoxification due to its action on the liver. The whole plant, especially the roots, is roasted and can be used as a coffee substitute. The high inulin content, especially during the fall season, makes dandelion root a good food source for beneficial gut bacteria. (6)
6. Stinging Nettle Leaf Tea
If you’ve ever gone outside to gather stinging nettle leaves by mistake with your bare hands, you know it feels like you’re being attacked by a group of angry bees. Ouch! Despite it being painful to the touch, this underestimated plant is a powerhouse of benefits.
Stinging nettle is beneficial as a liver tonic and rejuvenator. It has supportive effects on circulation, the immune system, urinary tract, nervous system, respiratory tract, digestive tract and endocrine system. Its high magnesium content may be the reason for nettle tea’s ability to reduce leg and menstrual cramps.
7. Turmeric Tea
Turmeric has been rising quickly in popularity worldwide, especially the golden milk drink. Curcumin is one of the main active constituents in turmeric that gives it its benefits. It is commonly combined with bromelain or black pepper for increased absorption and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric has been long used in the Chinese and Indian medicine as an anticancer agent, protecting against wide variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, toothaches, rheumatoid arthritis, sprains and wounds.
8. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf tea has a long history in women’s health, particularly during pregnancy and labor to help prevent postpartum hemorrhage. Due to its drying effects of tannins, the leaves are used as a mouthwash in tonsillitis, diarrhea, skin conditions, abrasions and urinary tract infections. Red raspberry leaf is high in nutrients, including B vitamins, calcium and iron, which can help ward off all sorts of conditions. (7)
Thanks to the benefits of raspberry nutrition, red raspberry leaf tea joins the list of healthy drinks.
9. Watermelon Juice
Watermelon is a natural source of most powerful antioxidants. Perhaps no other fruit is as crunchy, thirst-quenching and hydrating than watermelon. It provides a good serving of vitamin C and vitamin A, particularly through its concentration of beta-carotene. The beautiful red color is a source of a potent carotene antioxidant known as lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Surprisingly, watermelon contains a higher concentration of lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable known. (8)
10. Parsley Juice
Parsley is a fairly small Mediterranean herb that leaves a nice presentation on your plate. Drinking parsley juice can decrease the risk of cancers, such as breast, prostate and skin cancer. The high amount of flavonoids, known as apigenin, makes it a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb. Folate in parsley encourages cardiovascular health by reducing pro-inflammatory homocysteine, and parsley offers protection from an extensive selection of disorders, including asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer and more.
11. Blueberry Juice
Blueberries are an excellent choice to add to your diet because they not only taste great, but they have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit. Blueberry drinks improve glucose control and decrease blood cholesterol, lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes later in life. Anthocyanin, an antioxidant found in blueberries, is a very effective immune builder and antibacterial agent to prevent infections.
Blueberries are surprisingly high in iron, and their vitamin C content reportedly improves night vision, helps build collagen and maintains healthy gums. A handful of blueberries consists of the recommended daily fiber intake to help keep your body regular, and the manganese helps the development of bone and converts carbohydrates and fat into energy. (9)
12. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherries contain high levels of phytochemicals, including melatonin, a hormone important in regulating sleep cycle. (10) Cherries also are an excellent source of phenolic compounds, known for their anti inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Phenolic compounds may help yield a protective effect to muscle damage and pain before and during strenuous exercise. (11)
13. Blackstrap Molasses Drink
Blackstrap molasses has a long tradition as a health food and remedy for all sorts of ailments, known for having a low amount of sugar and a high nutrient content. Blackstrap molasses drink is a good source of calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Mixing one tablespoon in water with lemon provides 70 percent of your daily iron requirement, making it the greatest plant-based source of iron available. It contains a small amount of the cancer-fighting mineral selenium as well and is a completely delicious and nutrient-dense sweetener. Look for unsulfured blackstrap molasses from organic sugar. (12)
14. Coconut Water
Is coconut water good for you? Yes, which is why it’s among this list of healthy drinks. It’s rich in carbohydrates, chloride, potassium and sodium and viewed as a hydrating drink of choice in various parts of the world. (13)
Kefir is a probiotic drink that provides that healthy gut bacteria. It, along with other probiotic drinks, promotes efficient digestion by achieving a healthy gut flora, fighting against pathogens and boosting energy levels. Probiotic drinks are “pre-digested” as the sugars in the beverage have been broken down, making them easier to digest creating less work for the pancreas which secretes digestive juices.
Studies have shown that they can help alleviate symptoms constipation, yeast infection, diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, candida and ulcers. (14)
16. Plant-Based Milk
Are you allergic to cow’s milk and want another non-dairy choice? Plant-based beverages choices, such as almond, coconut, hemp, oat, quinoa and rice milk, may be for you. Almond milk has more vitamin E since it’s made from grounded almonds. Hemp milk made with ground, soaked hemp seeds and water, delivers a significant amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and protein. (15)
Coconut milk has monolaurin, a molecule responsible for antimicrobial properties. Oat milk is rich in fiber and iron and, like rice milk, higher in carbohydrates so these two plant-based milk choices are not the best option for those with diabetes. Choose fortified nondairy milk alternatives with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Look for unsweetened and reduced sugar options, and limit those with a significant amount of protein. (16)
17. Aloe Vera Juice
The gel of aloe vera has been used extensively in beauty products for years. It’s also been used internally to alleviate arthritis, constipation, coughs, diabetes, headaches and ulcers . One of the constituents, aloe-emodin, has been shown to possess potential anticancer properties as well. Add aloe vera to water, with lemon, and your favorite organic sweetener for a refreshing and tasty drink. (17)
18. Holy Basil Tea
In Ayurvesda, holy basil, or tulsi, is known as “the queen of herbs” and is recommended for conditions such as fever, cough, arthritis, ringworm, and insect, snake and scorpion bites. It’s a potent adaptogen, which are herbs to help your mind and body cope with physical and emotional stress.
Tulsi has been shown to prevent brain, kidney and liver injury by protecting against cellular damage caused by industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals and pesticides. In additional to protecting against toxic chemicals, holy basil has been shown to protect against the damaging effects of heavy metals as well. (18)
19. Green Vegetable Drinks
Dark green leafy vegetables are nutritious, offering a large amount of vitamins A, C, E and K. The abundant amount of antioxidants called carotenoids protect against cellular damage and help prevent development of many cancers. They also contain a high amount of calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium and potassium. Importantly, dark leafy vegetables have little carbohydrates, cholesterol and sodium. (19)
Dark leafy green drinks supply a significant amount of vitamin K, which helps prevent inflammation and protect bones against osteoporosis. Leafy vegetables may best your best choice when it comes to cancer prevention due to the high amounts of antioxidants. Studies have shown that eating two to three servings of dark leafy greens per week may help lower the risk of certain cancers, especially breast, skin and stomach. The significant amount of folate can help prevent birth defects and improve cardiovascular health as well. Folate is crucial for proper DNA repair and replication and may help reduce the risk of breast, cervical and lung cancers. (20)
Like kefir, kombucha is a fermented, probiotic drink that does wonders for your health. It’s been shown to help prevent disease, support a healthy gut, potentially improve mental state, benefit the lungs, fight bacteria, manage diabetes, support heart health and maintain a healthy liver.
Benefits of These Healthy Drinks
Replenish vitamins and minerals
Protect teeth and gums
1. Digestive Aid
When you drink healthy beverages, you get more of the nutritional value because they are in their liquid form, making it easier for you to digest and absorb nutrients. Your stomach won’t have to work as hard to break the food down and pull out the nutrients you need. Liquids skip the chewing process, and the beverage reaches your digestive system at a faster rate.
Probiotic drinks are beverages that have been through the fermentation process. Healthy bacteria found in your gut feed on the starch and sugar in the drink, making lactic acid. Fermentation has been shown to preserve nutrients, including B vitamins, beneficial enzymes and many strains of bacteria while breaking the beverage down into an easily digestible form. (21)
2. Replenish Vitamins and Minerals
Although drinking clean pure water alone is great in most cases, it doesn’t contain high levels of electrolytes and minerals to replenish what was lost during times of illness and strenuous exercise. Since the healthy drinks are at a liquid state, they can be easily digested, making the electrolytes and vitamins easily accessible to help avoid electrolyte imbalance.
Healthy drinks like coconut water may be useful as an oral rehydration therapy, replacing fluid loss in patients who suffer from severe dehydration. With high antioxidant properties, coconut water can help neutralize free radicals resulting from long hours of exercising. (22)
3. Skin Care
Healthy drinks with large amount of vitamin C, such as lemon water, have heaping amounts of antioxidants. In recent studies, vitamin C was found to be the most plentiful antioxidant in human skin, protecting the skin from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, serving as a co-factor for enzymes responsible for cross-linking and stabilizing collagen molecules. The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin C in healthy drinks may help with conditions like acne and rosacea. It can promote wound healing and prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation as well. (23)
4. Healthy Teeth and Gums
People lack the enzyme L-glucono-gamma lactone oxidase required for the proper synthesis of vitamin C; hence, they must acquire it from natural sources, such as healthy drinks that contain citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, strawberries, papaya and broccoli. Traditionally, vitamin C foods and drinks were carried by sailors on long journeys to avoid scurvy, a disease of bleeding gums.
Regular consumption of green tea may help your goal into having healthy teeth and gums. Research shows green tea may promote periodontal health by preventing bone loss, limiting growth of bacteria associated with periodontal disease and reducing inflammation. (24) The periodontal prevention effects of green tea has been credited by an antioxidant called catechin. Catechin may also help inhibit the acid-producing bacteria from causing dental caries. (25)
Healthy drinks are great way to feel and look healthier as they cleanse your body from harmful toxins. Healthy drinks are filled with powerful liver-cleansing, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients known to energize and rejuvenate. (26)
Herbs, such like dandelion, lemon and stinging nettle leaf, have high volatile bitter components, isolating toxins in the body and flushing them out. Bitters also help stimulate gastric juices to promote better digestion, absorption and transportation of toxins. (27)
Don’t be swayed by packaging pleasing to the eye or hidden words — be sure what you are buying is the real deal. When fruit juice is “100% pure fruit juice,” one serving size equals one cup or eight ounces. However, fruit juices lack dietary fiber, which is needed to help keep blood sugar levels at bay. In this case, it is best to incorporate dietary fiber in addition to consuming fruit juices to prevent unnecessary sugar spikes. Fruit juices labeled “cocktails” are beverages filled with sugar and artificial coloring, and most fruit juice is full of hidden, unhealthy additives. (28)
When it comes to soft drinks, they rank the top of the list of being the most unhealthy beverage out there. With tons of sugar and no nutritional value, soda can put you on the fast track of gaining weight, overeating, being dehydrated and developing dental caries.
Reaching for a commercial sports drink after exercise can put your weight-loss goals on hold. Sports drinks are filled with artificial sweeteners, sugar and other additives. Lemon water or coconut water are better options. (29)
Energy drinks are common among college students to pull an all-nighter and increase concentration before exams. Most energy drinks are loaded with caffeine and sugar, giving you a short burst of energy but eventually tanking your energy levels fast. (30)
If you are prescribed medication, you should not use curcumin or turmeric without first talking to your health care provider. Turmeric drinks may interfere with the action of blood-thinners, diabetic drugs, or NSAIDS.
Dandelion drinks should be avoided when having conditions such as bile duct obstruction, acute gallbladder inflammation, acute gastrointestinal inflammation and intestinal blockage.
Final Thoughts on Healthy Drinks
Unhealthy drinks maybe shelved everywhere at your favorite grocery stores and restaurants, but healthy drinks are up and coming in popularity because many are taking an active role to better health.
There are a large variety of dark green leaf, organic fruit, tea and dark chocolate drink recipes that are not only delicious, but provide you with heaping health benefits.
If you want to improve your skin, go on a detox, replenish your electrolytes, healthy teeth and gums, and better digestion, healthy drinks will do the trick.
Unless you are juicing and making smoothies on your own, it is important to look at the nutritional value labels to ensure you are getting most of the fruit and vegetable and not purchasing drinks filled with sugar and artificial flavors.
If you were prescribed medication, consult your health care provider before consumption of some of the ingredients in healthy drinks as they can interact with your medication.
Peppermint, or pudina, has been used as one of the main ingredients to cure various health issues for many years like digestive problems and headaches. The reason behind peppermint being so unique and special is its compound called menthol, which gives peppermint its distinctive taste, smell and cooling sensation. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that peppermint is also used as a flavouring agent in food and drinks. However, peppermint is known to have more benefits when it is used in the form of oil. Pale yellowish in colour, peppermint oil is rich in iron, magnesium, minerals, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. But, when it comes to using peppermint oil to enhance your beauty, it is the best essential oil you can find. Let's take a look at how efficient is peppermint oil for hair growth:
1. Accelerates Hair Growth
If the number of lose strands on your hairbrush giving you a stressful time, then you must try peppermint oil on your hair. With its stimulating properties, the oil easily penetrates deep in the scalp and stimulates your hair follicles. Further, the oil helps increase the blood circulation in your scalp, which results in better growth of hair. 2. Solves Dry Scalp Problems
If your dry scalp irritates you, especially at night while sleeping, peppermint oil is a perfect solution for the same. Since it has excellent moisturising properties, regular use of peppermint oil will help in hydrating your dry scalp. All you need to do is to mix peppermint oil with any carrier oil like almond oil or olive oil and apply the mixture on your hair. Cover your head with a shower cap for 30 minutes and wash off with normal water. This will not only nourish your hair and scalp, but also moisturise it nicely.
If your dry scalp irritates you, especially at night while sleeping, peppermint oil is a perfect solution 3. Strengthens The Roots
Peppermint oil is rich in pulegone and mentone, which strengthens your hair roots and helps in preventing hair loss. You just need to apply peppermint oil directly on your scalp. Since peppermint oil has a little thick consistency, you can mix it with coconut oil as well.
Peppermint oil is rich in pulegone and mentone, which strengthens your hair roots 4. Helps In Treating Lice
Peppermint oil is known for its refreshing and fantastic fragrance, all thanks to menthol, which helps revitalise your hair and gives them a fresh look. However, this strong fragrance of peppermint oil suffocates the lice in your head and kills them completely. To get rid of lice, just apply peppermint oil at night before sleeping and wash your hair the next day. This will eventually solve your lice problem.
Now that you know the benefits of using peppermint oil to have flawless hair, tell us about your experience in the comment section below.
My diy anti-aging serum recipes are very intensive and highly concentrated, if you use one of these under your homemade moisturizer it will help it penetrate the skin. It will also boost hydration by forming a barrier to reduce water loss.
Why Make A Homemade Serum
DIY Serums are the hottest new skincare treatment in Europe right now and so they should be, these skin nourishing serums can slow down the early signs of ageing, soften the appearance of wrinkles, brighten, firm and hydrate the skin.
We are generally looking at making a serum for around ten percent of the cost over the counter. Yes, the oils can be expensive to buy up front but a little goes a long way, so once you have your supply it will save you a small fortune in the long run.
As I make face serum recipes using only natural oils they have an 18 month shelf life.
These oils are 100% natural & pure, they should be the number one beneficial ingredient in all over the counter moisturizers.
Before we start I would like to be clear that a serum should never replace your moisturizer, it’s designed to complement and help maximise the effectiveness of a moisturizer during my 3 step natural facial at home.
Commercial serums generally all contain silicone which is hotly debated right now. In my opinion, although they are not natural they are probably quite safe as long as they are used sparingly. Silicone is the ingredient that creates the smooth silky feeling you get from a commercial anti wrinkle serum as it glides over the skin so effortlessly.
I don’t use silicone as I feel that its not generally necessary to get a great result but if you are giving as a gift and want that extra special touch you might want to consider using a silicone. I would avoid the heavy ones and go for something like cyclomethicone which is available on Amazon.
Olive squalane is used throughout all of my diy ant-aging serums, its a great substitute for the commercial silicone used in most over the counter products. Its derived from Mediterranean olive oil, an excellent choice for face creams, eye treatments and serums.
Squalane is actually produced by our bodies when we are young and helps to protect and moisturize our skin. Olive squalane is often referred to as the ‘miracle that comes in a bottle’ or the ‘face lift in a bottle’ because of its wonderful skin conditioning properties, it glides across the skin and like silicone it feels nice and silky.
Olive squalane which is widely available on Amazon also acts an antibacterial helping to preserve your serum. It’s an excellent oil to have around and can be used to treat rashes and dried skin areas. It can be added to almost any cosmetic recipe to enhance it and also comes with a very good long shelf so it shouldn’t go to waste.
Making Your DIY Anti Aging Serum Recipes
All of my serum recipes have an 18 month self life and are quick and easy to make. They are all made from liquid ingredients and require no heating.
Each wrinkle serum recipe makes approx 50 grams which is just under 2 oz . Serums usually come in small quantities so 50 grams is a good amount to divide up into smaller bottles which is easier to store in your fridge to keep optimum for even longer.
I’ve divided mine into two separate 2 oz dropper bottles (or 2x 50ml). I may have been able to squeeze it all in to one 2 oz bottle but I wanted to leave a little extra space for the dropper and to be sure I that I don’t waste anything!
At least one of them will be for personal use and I’ll store the other bottle in the fridge until I need more or I will use it as a gift. If gifting I would consider using the airless serum bottles I found on Amazon for a better effect. Don’t throw out your glass bottles or jars as they can easily be sterilized and reused.
In the photos below I am making the cell renewal serum recipe.
My Cell Renewal Serum Recipe
This is my favorite homemade anti-aging serum, when I found this recipe it was promoted as being fantastic for dull, tired or more mature skin. And I wasn’t disappointed, I could actually feel the difference right away, but I was amazed at the change in my skin after using it for a few weeks!
Step 1. To mix the ingredients place a small empty bowl on your digital scale and set it to zero on grams.
Step 2. Start pouring the first ingredient and pour until it measures the required weight which is 35 grams of olive squalane.
Step 3. I then pour in the 10 grams of evening primrose oil taking the scale to 45g.
Step 4. Followed by 5 grams of avocado oil taking the scale to 50g.
Step 4. the last ingredient is the 4 drops of Neroli essential oil. Finish by pouring into your dropper bottles or airless pump bottle.
How To Use:
Remember to shake your serum well before using, as you can see in the picture below the oils can divide.
Apply all over your face then leave to settle for a couple of minutes before adding your homemade moisturizer.
Precious Oil Serum For Dry Skin
Packed full of wonderful anti ageing moisturizing loveliness. When creating a homemade serum I try to go with light oils that can penetrate the skin easily without greasiness that will still hold all the active ingredients deep within the skin.
Argon oil and Rose are so expensive that I thought about not including this recipe. But once you’ve tried this blend you will understand why I did, as this recipe as it makes a wonderful homemade gift for someone special.
Eye Area Serum
Use this around the eyes being careful not to get it in your eyes! You are better off storing this in 1 oz bottles as only a small amount is used each time.
Honey is a delicious and natural sweetener many of us are already familiar with. For those looking to eat fewer processed foods, honey may seem like a good natural choice as a sweetener, but first you must know that not all honey is created equal.
Most commercial honey sold in stores is heated to high temperatures and pasteurized, getting rid of most of the beneficial enzymes, antioxidants and other nutrients that are heat-sensitive.
Commercial honey has also had most of the pollen removed. Bee pollen is considered to be one of the most nutritionally complete foods available due to its high amino acid and antioxidant content.
Although most commercial honey is not beneficial to your health, raw honey has multiple health benefits. Raw honey is unheated, unprocessed and unpasteurized. Therefore, it is able to keep all of its nutrients intact, as they are not destroyed by processing.
Raw honey contains bee pollen, has a high content of antimicrobial agents and is full of antioxidants. It will generally have a honey comb included in the jar along with the honey.
Since it is not processed, it will usually crystalize easily and may not be in an easy to use liquid form. It will also usually not be clear, as we are used to with commercial honey, but may be a little cloudy due to the pollen and nutrient content.
The best way to buy raw honey is from a local honey producer in your area. Many larger farmer’s markets may have a honey stand which may offer raw honey. Raw honey will likely be more expensive than traditional honey, so be prepared. Make sure to ask questions about where the honey is sourced from and if it has been processed.
Types of Honey
There are several types of honey each with their own nutritional benefit and usage.
Manuka honey is a common natural healing agent that has been used for centuries as a topical antibiotic on wounds and acne. It can also be used for sore throats, colds, and other common ailments due to these properties. Other types of honey with antibacterial properties are eucalyptus and linden honey.
Acacia honey helps cleanse the liver and digestive tract.
Buckwheat honey, usually darker in color than its other counterparts, is full of antioxidants due to that deep color.
Neem honey has been used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes.
20 Uses for Honey in Natural Remedies
If you’re ready to incorporate raw honey into your diet, then check out these honey uses.
Improve digestion – Use a tablespoon or two to counteract indigestion since it doesn’t ferment in the stomach.
Relieve nausea – Mix honey with ginger and lemon juice to help counteract nausea.
Acne cure – It can be used as an affordable face cleanser to fight off acne, gentle on sensitive/all skin types. Take half a teaspoon, warm between hands and spread on face gently, leave on for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Exfoliator – Honey makes a great exfoliator! Use honey on dry winter skin by adding two cups of honey to a bath, soak for 15 minutes, then add one cup of baking soda for the final 15 minutes.
Improve diabetes – Consumption of raw honey can reduce risk of developing diabetes and help aid medication used to treat diabetes. Raw honey increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia. Add a little at a time and see how your blood sugar reacts to it.
Lower cholesterol – It can help reduce cholesterol and therefore decrease your risk for coronary artery disease.
Improve circulation – Raw honey makes your brain function optimally by strengthening the heart and improving blood circulation.
Antioxidant support – Consumption of raw honey increases plaque-fighting antioxidants.
Restore Sleep – Raw honey promotes restorative sleep. Add a tablespoon to warm milk to help increase melatonin and help you sleep.
Pre-biotic support – Raw honey is full of natural prebiotics which promote the growth of good bacteria in the intestine.
Improve allergies – If sourced locally, raw honey can help reduce seasonal allergies.
Lose weight – Substituting raw honey for white sugar can help in weight management
Moisturize – A spoonful of raw honey mixed with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon can be used as a hydrating lotion.
Hair mask – Raw honey hair mask can help boost shine, mix 1 tsp of raw honey with 5 cups of warm water, rinse thoroughly , air dry and style as usual.
Eczema relief – Use to treat mild eczema. Use it as a topical mixture of equal parts of honey and cinnamon.
Reduce inflammation – Raw honey has anti-inflammatory agents that can treat respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Heal wounds – Raw honey used topically can help quicken healing time for mild burns, wounds, rashes, and abrasions.
Cure UTI – Honey can help improve urinary tract infections due to its antibacterial properties.
Shampoo – Raw honey can cleanse and restore the health of your hair and scalp. Try this homemade shampoo recipe.
Relieve sore throat – Honey uses for sore throats is another fantastic remedy. Simply mix it with lemon essential oil and peppermint oil for fast acting benefits.
As you can see, there are many uses for honey in personal care products, as medicine, and of course, a way to naturally sweeten up your diet without the negative side effects of sugar. I recommend going to your local farmers market, health food store or buying raw honey online.
With so many great benefits, why not try adding a little raw honey to your diet?
From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more. Because Leaky Gut is so common, and such an enigma, I’m offering a free webinar on all things leaky gut. Click here to learn more about the webinar.
Other than the common sunburn treatment and the original medicine purpose, here are a few other things I found to be true that you can use Aloe Vera:
1. Massages : If you mix two tbsp. of Aloe Vera Gel, 1 tsp.organic lemon juice and 2 tbsp. of organic brown sugar you have made yourself a homemade massage lotion!
2. Protection against scarringand stretch marks : With regard to rougher patches, you can mix 2 cups of sea salt, 1 cup of organic coconut oil, 1 cup of aloe and 2 tbsp. of organic honey. If you rub this on scarring or stretch marks, it turns out it works just a good, if not better, than a pricey jar at your local store to help reduce the showing of marks.
3. Asthma : If you boil hot water and add the Aloe leaves, and inhale, it becomes a soothing vapor.
4. Acne : For anyone having any kind of pimple problem, you can apply pure gel on your pores and skin after washing your face or taking a shower. It will reduce the showing and eventually disappear.
5. Makeup Remover : As most of those removers you buy are harsh for your skins with chemicals, you can substitute it with Aloe Vera. Squeeze just a dollop of pure aloe gel onto a cotton ball and wipe away your makeup!
6. Shaving Cream : This was something new to me and I had to try it! Not only can you use Aloe with other ingredients to make it a DIY, but because it's an antibacterial and a good moisturizer, you can use it on its on in place of expensive shaving cream!
7. Eyebrows : As a lot of girls clearly judge other girls based on their eyebrows, a good trick is using Aloe. Dip a clean mascara wand ( you can get these individually at your local Sally's Supply) in some Aloe Vera gel, and sweep over stray brows. It's almost like hair spray but for your eye brows, except they don't get hard and sticky!
8. Feet : Lets be real girls, and guys, we all have that cracked feet/heel problem! I have tried tons of things on Pinterest for this and nothing seems to work. However, I did start using Johnsons Baby Lotion on my feet before bed and they felt softer and less cracked in the morning. Make sure you put it on again in the morning though! For another way, using Aloe Vera is a good alternative! Mix 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 4 tbsp aloe vera gel, and 1/2 cup unscented body lotion ( I use Aveeno) and rub all over your feet until well exfoliated. Sit for 10 mins then rinse with warm water!
9. Hair : Not only can Aloe help your hair grow, but it can also help with other issues as well. It relieves scalp itching, scalp redness and inflammation, adds strength to your hair, anti-fungal properties while alleviating dandruff and helps your hair retain water and moisture. Just like using it as shaving cream, you can take Aloe and rub it into your hair, and massaging it into your scalp, let it sit and then rinse! I usually let it sit for the same time it would take to shave my legs and then I would rinse.
Most aloe topical products at your local stores contain less than 1% – 10% aloe vera in creams, lotions, and other body products. Studies have shown that a minimum of 30% concentration of aloe is necessary to receive the benefits of aloe.
Lush, shiny, manageable and healthy hair can be yours, with coconut oil!
You can even clear out commercial conditioners, shine, and styling products, and replace them with this all-natural solution. Coconut oil is rich in anti-microbial properties, lauric acid, and medium-chain fatty acids that strengthen hair, condition the scalp, and help to regrow hair.
While I have supported the internal health benefits of coconut oil for quite sometime, it’s time to bring light to coconut oil’s other uses, one of which is using it as an all-natural, multi-tasking hair care product. Rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, the nourishing benefits coconut oil for hair keeps your hair strong, shiny and looking great!
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Hair
If your hair is dry and brittle, chances are you are not consuming enough fresh water. Water helps to keep the entire body hydrated, including hair and skin. As we age, hormone health plays a significant part in the health of hair as well.
Eat for your best hair health by including lots of healthy fats, drinking plenty of water, and using natural hair care products, including coconut oil for hair, instead of dangerous chemical laden shampoos, conditioners or styling agents.
Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, and has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. When used on hair, it improves scalp health, fights infections and fungus, supports hair growth, all while adding volume and shine without the common harmful chemicals.
If you look on the ingredient labels of many of your favorite cosmetics and hair products, you will find coconut oil listed. However, most cosmetics and hair products also contain other ingredients that can be harmful to your health, while actually damaging your hair and skin.
The harsh chemicals in commercial hair care products can leave your hair flat, dry, and damaged. Adding coconut oil in small amounts simply isn’t enough. So avoid traditional products and add coconut oil to your regimen along with your favorite natural organic shampoos and products.
While some of these healthier hair products may cost a little more, the good news is that food-grade coconut oil is safe, affordable, and can effectively replacemany hair care products in your cabinets.
5 Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Hair
Coconut oil is free of the scary chemicals that lurk in commercial hair products, and is an excellent conditioner, for all types of hair. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, coconut oil out performs sunflower oil and mineral oil, and is the only oil that reduces protein loss.(1) Avoid all beauty products that contain mineral oil, especially for children.
It is the protein loss in hair that leads to dryness and breakage. The lauric acid has a low molecular weight, and is able to actually penetrate the hair shaft, nourishing the hair with vitamins, minerals and the medium-chain fatty acids.
Coconut oil helps to prevent damage from combing and brushing, and it is safe to use on children. It can be used as a leave-in conditioner, or used as an intensive conditioner for a couple of hours, or overnight. The key to using all natural coconut oil as a leave-in hair conditioner, is finding the right amount for your hair. A little goes a long way.
For short hair, start with just a ¼ teaspoon, warmed in your palms. For longer, thicker hair, you may need up to a ½ tablespoon. You want to use sparingly on thinner hair, as it can weigh hair down if too much is used. Pay particular attention to ends and the shaft of the hair. Smooth through hair, and proceed to style as normal.
As an intensive conditioner to restore hair, after washing with a gentle natural shampoo, apply 1 teaspoon (for short hair), 2 teaspoons (for shoulder length hair) and 1 tablespoon (for long hair) after warming in the palm of your hands. Apply to hair shaft and ends, and then rub into scalp. Cover with a shower cap, and leave on for 1-2 hours, or overnight. Wash with gentle shampoo, and style as normal.
For dry or damaged hair, add a couple of drops of sandalwood essential oil and/or geranium essential oil for both leave-in and intensive coconut oil for hair conditioning treatments. These essential oils support moisture retention, and work to increase the moisturizing and conditioning effects of the coconut oil for hair.
2. Hair Growth
Coconut oil is a safe, effective, and reasonably priced solution if you have thinning hair. It can actually help grow hair, longer and thicker. The essential nutrients including the lauric acid, penetrates the hair shaft improving the overall health of the hair.
The health of hair is often a result of internal issues, and incorporating natural hair loss remedies will help. Foods high in Omega-3 fats, pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds, and green tea, and all help support healthy hair growth, from the inside out. Before trying prescription hair growth preparations that only work for 50% of individuals (2) and only works with continued use, modify your diet, and use coconut oil for hair conditioning and styling. The harsh chemicals can cause scalp irritation and even hair growth where hair is not desired.
HAIR GROWTH TREATMENT:
When massaged into the scalp, coconut oil helps to improve blood circulation, supporting hair growth. It is important to massage the coconut oil into the scalp with gentle pressure for 10 minutes, 3 or 4 times per week. If you want to just focus on scalp conditioning and hair growth, you will only need 1 teaspoon.
However, if you want the benefits of a deep conditioning, follow the steps above. Instead of using sandalwood essential oil, add 4 drops of rosemary essential oil, which is known to increase new hair growth over 20%. Rosemary oil also helps to increase circulation in the scalp, and when used with coconut oil can produce fantastic results.
After massaging the oils into the scalp for 10 minutes, place a shower cap on, and allow the heat of your body to work with the oils to improve scalp health. Follow with a gentle cleanser like my Homemade Rosemary Mint Shampoo. It smells great, and is gentle on all hair types.
Rich with vitamin K and vitamin E, coconut oil helps to reduce dandruff, and make hair follicles healthy. These treatments are not just for thinning hair; if you are experiencing hair fall while washing, brushing, or style, these treatments with essential oils can help.
People have used coconut oil for skin for hundreds of years to fight dandruff. This unsightly, and often itchy, condition can be caused by dry skin conditions, sensitivity to the harsh chemicals in hair care products, and commonly yeast-like fungal (Malassezia) infections.(3)
Coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acids including lauric acid and capric acid, have strong antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties that target the fungus and help to kill it as well as viruses and bacteria that may be lurking on your scalp.
Many prescription and over-the-counter dandruff shampoos can actually make dandruff worse, and don’t fix the root cause of the flakiness. If the problem is fungal, or if the problem is dry skin, topical applications of coconut oil will make a difference.
Many commercial shampooscontain chemicals that are harmful. These include parabens, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and many others. Dandruff shampoos are even worse, and contain ammonium laureth sulfate, magnesium aluminum silicate, and selenium sulfide.
And the majority of the time, these preparations simply do not work. The goal is to make the scalp healthier, free from fungus, and moisturized, to put an end to dandruff. Treating with coconut oil will not make dandruff go away overnight, but many can see results in just a week or so.
TO TREAT DANDRUFF:
Essential oils including lavender, wintergreen, thyme, and tea tree, all help to fight fungus and yeast. For an intensive dandruff treatment, after washing hair, mix 2 teaspoons of coconut oil with 5 drops of one of the oils mentioned above, or a combination, and massage into the scalp.
Be sure to really work the mixture into the scalp, from neck to forehead, and behind the ears. Cover with a shower cap, and if possible sit in the sun for 20-30 minutes to increase the heat, or simply use a hair dryer on a low setting to heat the cap.
Remove cap, and wash with a gentle natural shampoo. Repeat this 2 to 3 times per week, or even more often, as desired. Like with the conditioning or hair growth treatment, you can leave it on overnight. Just be sure to wear the shower cap to avoid staining bed linens.
Yes, coconut oil is a great styling agent, and free from the dangerous chemicals in conventional hair care products! This is one of the most overlooked coconut oil for hair uses. Hair dryers, flat irons, hot rollers, and curling irons zap the moisture out of the hair shaft causing it to be brittle and prone to tangling.
Coconut oil helps to prevent this type of thermal damage, and when used in the proper amount for your hair length and texture, tames fly aways, frizz, and more. People with thick curly hair often fight frizz in humid climates. Coconut oil helps to tame the frizz, by penetrating into the curls. It can be applied throughout the day for touch-ups, just be sure to use it sparingly.
TO TAME FRIZZ:
Start with a tiny amount (1/4 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon) depending on hair, warming in palms. Smooth from root to tips, and blow dry and style as desired. It will take just a bit longer to dry your hair, but it will be soft, shiny, and manageable.
Disguise split ends, and nourish them at the same time by using just a tiny bit of coconut oil on just the ends.
TO PROTECT FROM THE SUN:
Hair, like skin, is prone to sun damage. Coconut oil is a natural sunscreen, with an SPF of 8.(4) If you are planning a day out in the sun, use it as a leave-in conditioner for all day protection. And, while you are at it, use it on exposed skin as well. Coconut oil is a safe and effective sunscreen for children and adults alike.
Detangling hair is a chore; and can often cause breakage. Coconut oil improves hair break stress by penetrating the hair shaft. (5) It also surrounds the hair, and makes it easier to remove knots after washing, or in the evenings. Smooth a small amount through hair, paying particular attention to tangled areas and damaged ends. Use a wide-tooth comb, starting from the bottom, and slowly work your way up.
Using coconut oil for hair regularly will improve the overall health of the hair, and help to prevent tangles. If tangled hair is a continuing problem, trimming the damage ends will help.
NOTE: If you have thin or fine hair, apply coconut oil sparingly to hair for styling. Also, do not apply it to the scalp as this can weigh down the hair.
5. Lice Prevention & Lice Treatment
One of the best uses of coconut oil for hair is in the treatment and prevention of lice! According to a study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics, combination of coconut oil and anise spray is more effective, than the commonly used prescription lice treatment permethrin.(6)
In fact, in the controlled study, the coconut oil based spray was 82% successful and the permethrin was only 42% successful, and 33 of the 50 participants reported scalp irritation when following the conventional treatment.
Another study published in the Israel Medical Association Journal found greater success, although they added ylang ylang oil to the coconut oil and anise oil combination. The treatment was successful in 92.3% of children and caused no serious side effects.(7)
Because coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft, and the scalp, it helps to repel lice and can keep their eggs from attaching to the hair. With the addition of essential oils including ylang ylang, tea tree, and anise, lice don’t have a chance.
To keep lice at bay, use coconut oil as mentioned above as a leave-in hair conditioner, or to detangle and style hair. If there is an infestation of lice, mix 3 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of each ylang ylang, anise, and tea tree oils. Double the recipe for longer hair; this should be enough for shoulder-length hair.
Apply the solution all over the scalp, massage in, and pulling through the ends. Comb through the hair with a fine toothcomb. Cover in a shower cap, and allow to sit for 2 hours. If possible, sit in the sun or use a hair dryer to periodically warm up the cap. Carefully remove shower cap, and seal in zip lock bag for disposal.
At the end of 2 hours, comb hair once again, prior to washing and rinsing thoroughly, twice. While hair is still wet, combine 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup water in a small spray bottle. Saturate the hair, spraying ½ the bottle on the scalp and hair. Lean over the sink and pour the remaining mixture over the hair, massaging lightly.
Rinse thoroughly and comb hair once again with a fine toothcomb. Follow with a light application of coconut oil, cover with a shower cap, or style as desired, and allow to remain on the hair until next washing.
As with most lice treatments, the process needs to be repeated every 5-10 days for a couple of weeks. This helps to ensure that all lice, and their eggs are eradicated. Between treatments, comb hair morning and night with a fine toothcomb, and use coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner.
As coconut oil both repels and kills lice, at the first notification of a lice outbreak, start using coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner.
Coconut Oil Hair Recipes
Coconut Oil Shampoo
Here is one of my favorite coconut oil shampoo recipes, that will leave your hair feeling soft and healthy. As every person’s hair is different, feel free to adjust the coconut oil level to suit your hair needs. For fine hair you may reduce the coconut oil amount as needed to 1/4 cup, and for thick dry or curly hair, you may need to increase this amount or add a few drops of avocado oil as well.
1 cup liquid castile soap
1/3 cup canned coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut oil
50-60 drops of favorite essential oils
Melt coconut oil and coconut milk together over very low heat, as to not damage any of the nutrients. Pour into a bottle with a secure lid, and top with the castile soap. Shake well. And then, shake some more. Add 50 drops of your favorite essential oils, and shake again.
Great essential oils for hair include lavender, wild orange, peppermint, lemongrass, rosemary, clary sage, and rosemary.
This shampoo will not be as thick as commercial shampoos; squeeze on hair directly from the bottle. Wash, and rinse well.
Coconut Oil Conditioner
2/3 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
1 tablespoon Jojoba oil
10 drops of your favorite essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a hand mixer until well combined. This may take several minutes. You want a smooth and creamy conditioner. In the shower, after washing hair with Coconut Oil Shampoo, use a teaspoon or two and smooth through hair. Allow to penetrate hair for the remainder of your shower, and rinse very well.
NOTE: If you color your hair, especially red, coconut oil may fade the color. For most hair types and colors, it will not.
BONUS: Coconut oil is a great base for natural hair colors as it penetrates the hair shaft. For darker hair, mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 cup of strong coffee, with 1 tablespoon of spent grounds, and apply to hair. Allow to sit for 45 – 60 minutes, the longer you leave it, the darker the results. Rinse well and style as desired.
For blonde hair, or to add subtle highlights, mix 1/2 cup of strong chamomile tea, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, and ¼ cup coconut oil in a blender until emulsified. Apply to hair and roots and cover with a shower cap. Sit in the sun, or use a hair dryer to keep the cap warm for 45 minutes to 75 minutes. Rinse well.
Shopping for Coconut Oil
Using coconut oil for hair is one of the best things you can do to avoid harmful chemicals that are in many commercial hair care products. Protect hair from the elements, keep it strong, nourished, shiny, and manageable by using coconut oil for conditioning, styling, hair growth, to get rid of dandruff, and treat lice.
Look for extra virgin organic coconut oil; when you open the jar, the aroma should remind you of fresh coconuts.