Saturday, February 16, 2019

Probiotics, Your Gut's Friends

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are a type of "friendly" bacteria in our gut. Research has found that having the right gut bacteria is linked to numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, enhanced immune function, healthier skin, and a reduced risk of many diseases

Why take probiotic supplements?

Probiotics are living microorganisms that, when ingested, provide numerous health benefits
Many people take probiotic supplements to ensure their gut has the necessary "friendly" bacteria as they do not eat enough of the foods that are known to have probiotic benefits (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi)

Probiotics might help fight disease.

Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies suggest that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills (such as IBS, irritable bowel syndrome), delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.

Research has been promising for the friendly bacteria. Potential benefits of probiotics have been seen in the treatment or prevention of:
  • diarrhea
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn's disease
  • H. pylori (the cause of ulcers)
  • vaginal infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • recurrence of bladder cancer
  • infection of the digestive tract caused by Clostridium difficile
  • pouchitis (a possible side effect of surgery that removes the colon)
  • eczema in children.

What is the difference between all the probiotics I can purchase?

Dozens of different probiotic bacteria offer health benefits. For example, one strain may fight against cavity-causing organisms in our mouths and don't need to survive a trip through our guts. Health benefits are strain-specific, and not all strains are necessarily useful, so you may want to consult a practitioner familiar with probiotics to discuss your options.

The most common groups include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each group comprises different species, and each species has many strains. Some supplements — known as broad-spectrum probiotics or multi-probiotics — combine different species in the same product.


Yakult uses Lactobacillus casei Shirota, a strain that has been unique to Yakult for over 80 years. The probiotic drink has a citrus taste and can be enjoyed chilled. I enjoy drinking Yakult and using it in smoothies ... and smoothie bowls (add one Yakult to my Smoothie Bowl Formula ... A Breakfast Staple Recipe).

Read more at:
Health Benefits of Taking Probiotics

Friday, February 8, 2019

Natural Lip Care

 Seasonal Changes and Personal Care

When the weather gets chilly, our skin tends to dry. To maintain your equilibrium, personal care routines need to be maintained and a few changes made. If you are like me, you find that in the the winter months your lips appear to crave more moisture. 

Vitamins and Lips

Lips have VERY SENSITIVE skin and depend on vitamins to keep them from drying and cracking. 

  • Include VITAMIN B-2 in your diet to maintain skin and lip health. Vitamin B-2 is found in dairy products, eggs, green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts and lean meats. A deficiency manifests itself through mouth or lip sores.
  • Include VITAMIN B-3 (niacin) in your diet to ward off dry, cracked lips, dermatitis and red, swollen tongue and mouth. Vitamin B-3 can be found in foods such as tuna, halibut, beef, pork, poultry, cereal grains, been, green leafy vegetables, and milk.
  • Include VITAMIN B-6 in your diet to ward off skin disorders, dermatitis and cracks at the corners of the mouth. Food sources of B-6 include meats, whole grains, legumes and green leafy vegetables.
  • Include VITAMIN A in your diet, but not TOO MUCH. An excess of Vitamin A is inked to dry skin and lips. Most people get enough Vitamin A from a diet that includes: dark-green leafy vegetables and yellow-orange fruits and vegetables, beef, calf and poultry liver, eggs and dairy products. Excess Vitamin Z often comes from supplements that provide your body with more than it needs.

Chapped Lips

Chapped lips often result from a combination of factors, from nutrient deficiencies, medications, and lifestyle habits, and tend to be exacerbated by chilly, dry temperatures. 
You can take steps to avoid chapped lips by:
  • Refraining from licking your lips ( it actually dries them out more)
  • Staying hydrated  
  • Using a humidifier if the inside of your home is dry
  • Applying moisturizer before you leave the house and before bed. Natural options include: olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, vitamin E, almond oil or cocoa butter 
  • Refraining from manufactured products that include dehydrating agents like menthol and artificial colors. 

Take steps to repair chapped lips through exfoliation. You can repair chapped lips by exfoliating prior to adding moisture. 
  • Exfoliating can be as simple as allowing your toothbrush to gently remove dead skin cells or as complicated as creating a paste to remove the cells. 
  • An exfoliating paste can be created with a combination of 1/2 a teaspoon of coconut oil and 1/2 a teaspoon of brown or white sugar. Combine the two in a bowl and rub on your lips in a small circular motion. Rinse with warm water and moisturize immediately.

Disclaimer: “Portions of this post were provided by New Hope Network. I am a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people.”

Dry Hands, Nails, and Cuticles No More

Natural Remedies for Dry Winter Skin

Our personal care routine changes as the weather changes. In the colder months our skin dries out and begins to crack more often than it does in the warmer months. This is a result of several factors such as: wind, cooler temperatures, and more time spent inside in "heated" rooms.  No matter where you live, there are noticeable seasonal changes, albeit some more drastic than others. Each of us needs to make some changes to our skin care routine as the seasons change (or as we travel to a different climate for business or pleasure).

Why Does our Skin Dry Out in Winter?

Research has indicated the cause of seasonal dry skin is simple: a lack of moisture and natural oils (ceramides - lipid molecules containing fatty acids) which the body doesn’t produce as readily in dry air conditions. “The winter weather disrupts your skin’s barrier function (the protective lipid layer and immune system), causing irritated, dry and cracked skin,” says “The Skin Saint” Holly Cutler, owner of Michigan skin care clinic, FACE.

Natural Remedies

Drink extra water
Extra hydration INSIDE your body will help OUTSIDE your body. Skin is our largest organ, hydration will help it function properly. Hydration not only benefits your skin, it also can boost your mood, help you focus, and help your digestive system. I start each day with hot water and lemon to detoxify my body.
Avoid EXTRA HOT showers
Yes, when it is cold outside a HOT shower can warm the body but it can also dry out your skin. Take a warm shower and then use a plant based moisturizer with Vitamin E to seal in your skin's moisture.

Moisturize with plant based products with skin-mimicking ingredients, such as glycolipids, fatty acids and ceramides.  Nutrient- and fatty acid–rich plant ingredients such as  calendula, avocado oil, chamomile, and castor seed oil are recommended for soothing, healing and hydrating 

Another up-and-comer for tackling severe dryness and irritation is cannabidiol (CBD), derived from the hemp plant. CBD is thought to manage inflammation when applied topically and contains vitamins A, C and E, along with a range of essential fatty acids.  

Dry Hands, Nails, and Cuticles No More

One strategy I have used for years to repair my dry feet also works for my hands. I apply a rich, plant-based cream every single night to my feet and put on a pair of socks to repair my feet (especially my dry heals) from the day. You can also do this with hand cream and gloves! Olive oil, beeswax, calendula, and shea butter are just a few of the ingredients to look for on ingredient lists to ensure you are getting a nourishing hand cream. Cuticles can also be nourished at the same time your hands are hydrated. Each night, you can soften your cuticles by applying jojoba, neem oil, or cocoa butter when you use your hand cream before you put on gloves. 

Nails need to be cared for just like your skin. Nails can be repaired through nutrition. Nails are made of keratin, a protein. According to Lisa Drayer, RD, author of The Beauty Diet (McGraw-Hill, 2009), one needs to obtain about 25% of their daily calories from protein. She suggests consuming a mix of protein sources to provide the most optimal range of amino acids to support strong nails. 

Disclaimer: Portions of this post was provided by New Hope Network. I am a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people.”