Men’s Health

A man’s body goes through many different changes throughout life. Following a healthy diet, exercise routine & mindfulness practice will help keep your body in balance and at ease.

Muscle Loss

Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade. Most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetimes.

One possible contributor to sarcopenia is the natural decline of testosterone, the hormone that stimulates protein synthesis and muscle growth. Think of testosterone as the fuel for your muscle-building fire. Therefore, the best means to build muscle mass, no matter your age, is progressive resistance training. With PRT, you gradually amp up your workout volume—weight, reps, and sets—as your strength and endurance improve. This constant challenging workout builds muscle and keeps you away from plateaus where you stop making gains.

Natural Ways to Boost Testosterone

  • Exercise & lift weights
  • Eating enough protein, fat and carbs
  • Minimize stress and cortisol levels
  • Get enough Vitamin D
  • Zinc, Vitamin B, Ashwagandha
  • Restful, high-quality sleep
  • Limit exposure to estrogen-like chemicals (BPA, parabens, plastic)

Relaxation Exercises: No one can avoid all stress, but you can counteract its detrimental effects by learning how to produce the relaxation response, a state of deep rest that is the polar opposite of the stress response. The relaxation response puts the brakes on stress and brings your body and mind back into a state of equilibrium.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: a two-step process in which you systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body. With regular practice, it gives you an intimate familiarity with what tension—as well as complete relaxation—feels like in different parts of the body.
    • Loosen clothing, take off your shoes, and get comfortable.
    • Take a few minutes to breathe in and out in slow, deep breaths.
    • When you’re ready, shift your attention to your right foot. Take a moment to focus on the way it feels.
    • Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10.
    • Relax your foot. Focus on the tension flowing away and how your foot feels as it becomes limp and loose.
    • Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
    • Shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
    • Move slowly up through your body, contracting and relaxing the different muscle groups.

Most Common Chronic Illness in Men: Heart Disease

Inflammation in the body creates a dangerous environment for your health. It can cause heart, liver, hormonal and prostate problems among other things.

How to lower your risk:

  1. Eat a diet high in fiber (see diagram below for food tips)
    1. Regular exercise
    1. Avoiding smoking & drinking alcohol
    1. Reduce stress (meditate, restorative exercise like yoga)
    1. Have healthy relationships

Healthy Eating for Prostate Health

  • Eat a 2:1 ratio of vegetables to fruits each day. Go for those with deep, bright color.
  • Choose whole-grain options.
  • Limit your consumption of red meat, including beef, pork, lamb, and goat, and processed meats, such as bologna and hot dogs. Fish, skinless poultry, beans, and eggs are healthier sources of protein. Opt for grass-fed, hormone free meat, dairy & eggs – they are the best source of protein because they provide the proper ratios of all the essential amino acids.
  • Choose healthful fats, such as olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), and avocados. Limit saturated fats from dairy and other animal products. Fats from dairy and animal products are healthy when the source is clean. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats), which are in many fast foods and packaged foods.
  • Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, such as sodas and many fruit juices. Eat sweets as an occasional treat if at all.
  • Cut down on salt. Choose foods low in sodium by reading and comparing food labels. Limit the use of canned, processed, and frozen foods. Use unprocessed salts like sea salt.
  • Watch portion sizes. Eat slowly, and stop eating when you are full.

Healthy Household Cleaning

The best-known cleaning products are also the ones laced heavily with harsh chemicals. Mr. Clean, Windex, Clorox — all effective, none organic or safe for the body. The problem with switching over to more eco-friendly cleaning products — ones that won’t coat your home with brain-cell-killing fumes — is that lots of brands claim to be “natural” or “organic.” But unlike the USDA-certified-organic stickers you can look for in a grocery store’s produce section, you won’t find any such federal regulation in the housekeeping aisle. (These kinds of companies aren’t even required to list their ingredients, meaning they can sneak in chemicals without mentioning them anywhere on the bottle.)

Some of the most dangerous toxins out there reside in our cleaning products, and we’re putting our health at risk by exposing ourselves to them on a daily basis. Researchers at the University of Washington tested a variety of popular household cleaning products, including air fresheners, all-purpose cleaners, soaps, laundry detergents, dish soap, dryer sheets, and fabric softeners, as well as personal care products like shampoos, deodorants, and lotions.

Volatile organic compounds are gases emitted from solids or liquids. They’re found in many household products, from paints and varnishes to cleaning products and disinfectants. The EPA states that some of the risks associated with VOCs are:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Some VOCs can cause cancer in animals, and some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans

In summary, this is what they found:

  • A whopping 133 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the products – even in those labeled ‘green’, ‘natural’ or ‘organic’.
  • On average, 17 VOCs were found in each product, with anywhere from 1-8 of those 17 chemicals being toxic or hazardous.
  • Nearly half of the products contained at least one of 24 carcinogenic air pollutants that have no safe exposure level, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Check out EWG.org or the “ThinkDirty” app to check the toxicity levels of your household cleaning items and beauty products!

“Clean” Cleaning Products

  • Green Works
  • Dr. Bronners Castile Soap
  • Ecos
  • Seventh Generation
  • Method
  • JR Watkins
  • Mrs. Meyers
  • Common Good

Making Your Own Cleaning Products

(use glass bottles if possible, essential oils optional)

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 2c water
  • 2tb castile soap

OR

  • 1c water
  • 1c white distilled vinegar
  • ½ lemon juiced

Deep-Cleaning Bathroom Cleaner

  • 1 2/3c baking soda
  • 1/2c liquid castile soap
  • 1/2c water
  • 2tbs white vinegar
  • 1. Mix baking soda and liquid soap in a bowl. Dilute with water and add the vinegar. Stir the mixture with a fork until any lumps have been dissolved. Pour the liquid into the bottle. Shake well before using.

Carpet Stains

  • 2bs salt dissolved in 1/2c white vinegar
  • Let the solution dry, then vacuum. For larger or darker stains, add 2 tablespoons borax to the mixture and use in the same way.

Glass & Mirror Cleaner

  • 1/2c rubbing/isopropyl alcohol
  • 1/3c white distilled vinegar
  • Distilled water
  • Add alcohol & vinegar to the bottle, then fill with water.

Laundry Stain & Spot Remover

  • 1 1/2c water
  • 1/4c liquid castile soap
  • 1/4c liquid vegetable glycerin
  • Treat spots immediately and let soak before tossing into the wash

Gnat Trap

Mix 3 parts apple cider vinegar and 1 part water in a shallow bowl. Add 3-4 drops of dish soap. The smell of the vinegar will attract them and the dish soap breaks the surface tension of the vinegar/water. Now when they land they are stuck.

http://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-natural-organic-cleaning-products.html

Muscle Strengthening & Stretching

Whether you’re a chronic sitter, a daily exerciser, or a weekend warrior, you probably know stretching is a critical habit. By sending blood flow to your muscles and helping your joints move through their full range of motion, stretching improves your posture and athletic performance while lowering your risk of pain and injury in everyday life.

If there’s one universal truth about stretching, it’s that we all should do it. Yet few of us actually do. By taking a few minutes in the morning and in the middle of your day to focus on stretching, it can make a world of difference not only with your flexibility but it can also help with mental clarity and anxiety.

In the AM, take 5-10 minutes to do these easy yet effective stretches IN BED!

Full-Body Stretch

On an inhale, reach your arms overhead, clasp your fingers together, flip your palms out toward the wall behind your head, and push your palms away from you. At the same time, reach your toes away from your arms, keeping your knees straight. Hold this fully stretched position for 5 counts, then exhale and release the stretch. Repeat 3 times total. This releases tightness throughout the entire body, which tends to accumulate during sleep. (1)

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Figure-Four Stretch

Cross your right foot over your left knee, making the shape of the number 4. Slowly bend your left knee up toward the ceiling, either keeping the left foot on your mattress or hugging it in toward your chest. Be sure to keep your right knee bent out to the right as you try to maintain this shape. Hold for 5 deep breaths, then switch sides. This stretch helps lubricate the hip joints, thighs, and glutes. (2)

Bed-to-Floor Stretch

Swing your feet over the side of the bed so that they touch the floor. Keeping your knees bent, hang your head and arms down to the floor, rounding your back over your knees. Let your head and arms dangle to the floor; hold for 5 breaths. This helps stretch the back and helps you wake up thanks to a fresh supply of oxygen to the brain. (3)

Supine Twist

From Knees-to-Chest Stretch, release your grip of your shins and let your arms fall out to a “T” shape on either side of your torso. Use your core to guide your legs over to rest on one side, keeping your knees bent and shoulders planted down into your mattress. If it’s easy on your neck, gaze toward the opposite side. Hold for 10 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side. Twists like this one awaken the body by increasing circulation and stretching the spinal muscles. (4)

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Knees-to-Chest

From a supine position, bend your knees until the soles of your feet are on the bed. Use your hands to draw one knee in toward your chest at a time, wrapping your arms around both shins. Relax your head on your pillow and hold this “self-hug” for 10 deep breaths, says Brooke Blocker, a yoga teacher in New York City. This stretch helps you gently wake up the low back and stimulate the mind and body, helping you feel ready to start your day. (5)

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Seated Forward Bend

Begin by lifting your torso upright from a reclined position. Keeping your legs straight, inhale and lengthen through your spine; as you exhale, start to walk your fingertips toward your feet. Keep lengthening your spine with your inhalation and sink a bit deeper into this seated forward fold with your exhalation. When you get to your farthest point, let your neck hang heavy toward your legs, releasing any tension. After 10 rounds of breath, slowly lift your torso back up. This forward bend is especially beneficial after resting all night and before standing or sitting all day, as it stretches the hamstrings, pelvis, and spine. (6)

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In the middle of your day, try these seated stretches!

Seated Spinal Twist

This is a great way to release the tension in your back that starts building up almost as soon as you sit down.

Sit on your chair sideways so that your shoulders and back are perpendicular to the back of the chair. Sit up straight, place your feet on the ground and place your hands on the back of the chair. Using your arms, twist, pulling yourself toward the chair. Switch the side of the chair you’re sitting on and repeat. This pose stretches out the spine, chest, and neck. Take approximately 8 to 10 breaths on each side. (1)

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Cat/Cow Stretch

Do you know one of the primary differences between feeling old and feeling young? Spinal flexibility. If you’re starting to move around the office like a rheumatic orangutan, this move can definitely help.

Sit up straight, place your feet flat on the floor, and rest the palms of your hands on top of your knees. Inhale, arch your back and look up, pulling your shoulders back as you do so. This will open up the whole front of the torso and neck. When you exhale, round your spine, pull the shoulders toward each other at the front of the body and drop your head toward your chest. This will stretch and open the back, shoulders, and neck. Do approximately 8 to 10 complete rounds. (2)

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Eagle Arms

This move will help take the burden of being a desk potato off of your shoulders and upper back.

While sitting, reach your arms straight out in front of you, keeping them parallel with your shoulders and shoulder-distance apart. Bend the left arm upward and sweep the right arm under it. Wrap your right arm around the left until you are able to grab the outside edge of the left arm or until you are able to clasp your palms together. Lift the elbows away toward the ceiling and pull your hands away from your face. Turn your head side-to-side. Repeat on the other side. This will stretch the muscles under the shoulder blades, the upper back, shoulders, and neck. Hold each side for approximately 8 to 10 breaths. (3)

3

Chest Opener

Another issue with desk jobs is that they tend to cause you to develop pretty tight chest and shoulder muscles. Thankfully, none of our avian friends are invoked for this position—you can stay right in your chair and do it.

Simply interlace your fingers behind you and place your arms on the top of your chair’s backrest. Drop your chin to your chest. Your chest, shoulders, and neck will appreciate it. Hold this pose for 8 to 10 breaths. (4)

4

Wrist & Fingers Stretch

Stand, place both hands on your desk, palms faced down, fingertips facing your body. To intensify the stretch, lean forward. Hold the stretch until you feel the tension release. (5)

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Neck Rolls

To give them relief, sit up straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Bring your chin toward your chest and roll the right ear to the right shoulder. To intensify the stretch, place your left hand on top of your right shoulder and place your right hand just above your left ear. Gently apply pressure with the hand on your head hand and breathe through the stretch. Take approximately 8 to 10 breaths, then switch to the other side. (6)

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https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise-stretching#beginner’s-stretches

https://www.prevention.com/fitness/g20490060/do-these-stretches-before-getting-out-of-bed/

Anti-Inflammatory Cooking

The anti-inflammatory diet is an eating plan designed to prevent or reduce low-grade chronic inflammation, a key risk factor in a host of health problems and several major diseases. The typical anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.

Often resulting from lifestyle factors like stress and a lack of exercise, chronic inflammation results when the immune system releases chemicals meant to combat injury and bacterial and virus infections, even when there are no apparent foreign invaders to fight off. These invaders often hide and can be found and handled through Nutrition Response Testing.

Since our food choices influence the level of inflammation in our bodies, the anti-inflammatory diet is helpful to curb chronic inflammation and help prevent or treat the following conditions: allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, gout, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stroke, Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Lisa has found that concentrating on flavors creates delicious dishes. Instead of automatically adding salt, when tasting what you’re cooking, ask yourself “what flavor is missing?” Is it…

  • Salty
  • Sweet
  • Bitter
  • Sour

Here are some suggestions for adding these flavors to your dish:

  • Salty: sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, Herbamare (Dr. Lisa’s favorite)
  • Sour: apple cider vinegar (with “the mother”), lemon, lime
  • Sweet: (In small amounts) onions, garlic, orange, apple, honey
  • Bitter: horseradish, dark leafy greens

General Tips:

  • Aim for a variety
  • Include as much fresh food as possible
  • Minimize your consumption of processed and fast foods
  • Eliminate sugars from your diet, especially artificial sweeteners
  • Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables in all parts of the color spectrum
  • Choose organic whenever possible
  • Focus on eating lots of dark leafy greens
  • Drink tea instead of coffee (black, green, herbal)
  • Focus on water consumption
  • Eat twice as many vegetables as fruits
  • Meats should be grass-fed
  • Stay away from juices
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils (margarine, peanut, corn, cottonseed, vegetable)
  • Try to include good carbohydrates, fat, and protein at each meal

Foods to Focus on:

  • Berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Avocados
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dark leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, collards)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts)
  • Beans (red beans, pinto beans, black beans)
  • Whole grains (oats and brown rice)
  • Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)

Herbs & Spices & Add-ins

  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • For sweeteners – raw local honey, grade B maple syrup, Sucanat

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Wild-caught oily fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies)
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Eggs

Most Inflammatory Foods to AVOID:

  • Low-quality grains & gluten
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Processed meats
  • Sugar
  • Bad hydrogenated fats

Meal Ideas:

Breakfast foods: breakfast smoothie, chia bowl, oatmeal.

Lunch: salad with quinoa and vegetables, soup, grilled salmon. Use lettuce wraps instead of tortillas.

Snacks: fresh blueberry fruit salad, apples, and nut butter, walnuts, chia seed pudding, guacamole.

Beverages: ginger turmeric tea, golden milk, green juice, green smoothie, herbal tea, turmeric tea, green tea.

If you would like to learn more about how to keep an anti-inflammatory diet, give us a call at 410-717-6610.

Sources:
https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet-pyramid/dr-weils-anti-inflammatory-diet/
https://www.verywellhealth.com/anti-inflammatory-diet-88752

Skin Health

Your skin is your body’s largest and fastest-growing organ. It has many roles in the maintenance of life and health but also has many potential problems. There are many layers that make up your skin, the epidermis being the outermost. It takes about 28 days for a layer of skin to work its way up to the outer surface.

The basic day-to-day functions of the skin include:

  • Works as a barrier, protecting against water loss as well as physical and chemical injury
  • Helps fight off bacteria, viruses, allergens, toxins and carcinogens through the parts of or immune system that exist in our skin
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Protects us from UV radiation by producing melanin
  • Gives us a sense of touch
  • Is involved with producing Vitamin D
  • Heals wounds

Like the gut, the skin is home to over a trillion organisms at any given time, including thousands of species of bacteria as well as viruses and fungi. These all serve a purpose and are important for proper balance. Like the gut, when the balance is altered, it can create problems. Generally, when there is an outbreak with the skin, there is an underlying internal issue. Oftentimes the skin takes over when the liver is overloaded and cannot detoxify properly.

The skin is under constant assault from environmental agents, harsh cleansers and soaps, deodorants, and even medications and cosmetics. Our obsession with cleanliness may be doing more harm than good for microbiota balance on the skin.

A healthy skin microbiome appears to begin during and shortly after birth with a flurry of immune activity. Unfortunately, many of the modern practices surrounding birth may have a dramatic and unfortunate impact on gut bacteria. The wide use of antibiotics for mom during labor (and for mom and baby after birth) may have some big unintended consequences. This could be a part of the reason we are seeing a rise in skin-related disorders.

In conclusion, gut health is extremely important when it comes to skin issues. Almost 90% of our immune system is within the gut. Focusing on healing and nurturing your gut will usually help with certain skin issues.

Eczema
There are different forms of eczema (dermatitis) a person can suffer from, and an individual’s triggers are unique to their body. Some common forms of eczema include:

  • Atopic: the most common form, usually starts in childhood. Typically is accompanied with allergies & asthma.
    • Causes: genetics, dry skin, immune issues, environmental and food triggers
  • Contact: a reaction caused by substances you touch (allergen or irritant)
    • Causes: detergents, bleach, jewelry, latex, nickel, paint, plants, skin products, soaps, perfumes, solvents, smoke
  • Dyshidrotic: small blisters that form on the hands and feet
    • Causes: allergies, damp/sweaty hands, and feet, exposure to substances like nickel, cobalt or chromium salt, stress

Eczema symptoms include:

  • Dry scaly patches on the skin
  • Small bumps that open and weep when scratched
  • Redness and swelling
  • Burning of skin
  • Thickening of skin
  • Oozing & weeping
  • Gets worse with scratching

The most prescribed treatment is corticosteroids which can be helpful for short term acute conditions, but doctors usually do not recommend natural remedies to try first. Doctors often do not explain how to properly use these potentially harmful medications, leading to over-prescription and accidental abuse. 

Psoriasis

A chronic autoimmune condition that is a symptom of an imbalance in the gut. It causes the rapid buildup of skin cells. This buildup of cells causes scaling on the skin’s surface. Inflammation and redness around the scales are fairly common. Typical psoriatic scales are whitish-silver and develop in thick, red patches. Sometimes, these patches will crack and bleed.

Psoriasis is the result of a sped-up skin production process. Typically, skin cells grow deep in the skin and slowly rise to the surface. Eventually, they fall off. The typical life cycle of a skin cell is one month. In people with psoriasis, this production process may occur in just a few days. Because of this, skin cells don’t have time to fall off. This rapid overproduction leads to the buildup of skin cells.

Most people with psoriasis go through “cycles” of symptoms. The condition may cause severe symptoms for a few days or weeks, and then the symptoms may clear up and be almost unnoticeable. Then, in a few weeks or if made worse by a common psoriasis trigger, the condition may flare up again. Sometimes, symptoms of psoriasis disappear completely.

Natural Solutions

It is important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another, and sometimes what the skin can tolerate will change. “Natural” does not always work with people who have sensitive skin. Helpful natural treatment options include:

  • Avoiding triggers like allergens, soaps, detergents, animals
  • Taking healing baths using Epsom or dead sea salts, apple cider vinegar or garlic
  • Exercising (even gently like yoga or walking) will help the lymphatic system detox
  • Sweating can make rashes worse so be sure to rinse off quickly after exercise
  • Don’t use harsh soaps or antibacterials – when showering/bathing only use soap on your armpits & groin to avoid stripping the body of its natural oils
  • Good moisturizers – coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, Eucerin, Aveeno, Avene AD line, Elaj, Waxelene, Aquaphor, BeautyCounter, Moogoo – ALWAYS PATCH TEST – Usually the fewer ingredients the better.
  • Avoid scratching and keep nails trimmed short- use ice packs when itchy
  • Minimize stress with yoga and meditation
  • Avoid fragrances and dyes in detergents, cleansers
  • Get plenty of Vitamin D; UV therapy can be beneficial
  • Stick to an anti-inflammatory diet – known skin triggers include dairy, gluten, sugar, and sometimes nightshades.
  • Sometimes essential oils can help like tea tree, lavender, calendula. Be cautious when using essential oils on the skin and be sure to dilute in a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba
  • Check out EWG.org to find out how harmful or safe your bath & body products are

Acne

Acne appears when a pore in the skin clogs. This clog begins with dead skin cells. Normally, dead skin cells rise to the surface of the pore, and the body sheds the cells. When the body starts to make lots of sebum (see-bum), oil that keeps our skin from drying out, the dead skin cells can stick together inside the pore. Instead of rising to the surface, the cells become trapped inside the pore.

Sometimes bacteria that live on our skin, p. acnes, also get inside the clogged pore. Inside the pore, the bacteria have a perfect environment for multiplying very quickly. With loads of bacteria inside, the pore becomes inflamed (red and swollen). If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, an acne cyst or nodule appears.

Natural Solutions

  • Use a gentle cleanser but do NOT over-cleanse – apple cider vinegar, honey, coconut oil
  • Use fragrance-free products that do not contain harmful chemicals
  • Use healing masks to hydrate and soothe the skin
  • Exfoliate regularly with natural items like sea salt, brown sugar, and oatmeal.
  • Avoid too much sun exposure
  • Eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet

 

FACE MASK FUN

  • Always try to get fresh & organic ingredients when applying produce to the skin
  • Honey – always buy organic! Manuka Honey (4x more nutritious than regular honey, get UMF 10+) – helps treat acne. Eczema, MRSA, burns, heal wounds
  • Bentonite clay – helps detoxify pores, reduce acne, clear redness, heal poison ivy, eczema & heal wounds
  • Vitamin E Oil – use sparingly, good for excessive dryness, antioxidant & anti-inflammatory
  • Before applying mask, use a warm washcloth on face to open pores
  • Avoid putting mask over eyes, lips & eyebrows
  • Leave masks on for about 15-20 minutes

Dry Skin

Avocado Mask – Mash ½ ripe avocado with 2 tbs honey

Coconut & Honey Mask – 2 tbs virgin coconut oil & ¼ cup honey blended

Oily Skin

Fruit Mask – 1 ripe banana, 1 tbs honey, 1 tbs lemon juice

Aloe & Honey Mask – 2 tbs aloe vera, 1 tbs honey

Combination

Avocado & Coconut Oil Mask – ½ ripe avocado & 1 tbs coconut oil

Honey & Lemon Mask – 2 tbs honey, 1 tbs lemon juice

Acne

Cucumber Mask – Blend ½ cucumber w/ 1tbs honey (1 tsp bentonite clay optional) (sit for 20 min)

ACV, Honey & Clay Mask – 1 tsp ACV, 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp clay

AFTERCARE:

After using a facemask, a sea salt spray or 1tsp ACV diluted in 1 cup cool water will work as great toners to lock-in effects.

Cholesterol: Myths & Truths

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese. If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood to form plaque which sticks to the walls of your arteries.

In our bodies, cholesterol serves three main purposes:

  • It aids in the production of sex hormones.
  • It’s a building block for human tissues.
  • It assists in bile production in the liver.

Myth: Cholesterol is BAD

Truth: Cholesterol is Necessary

There are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol to and from cells—low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

  • HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is called the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body. Your liver then removes the excess cholesterol from your body.
  • LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. It is called the “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level can lead to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. There are two types of LDL cholesterol; fluffy and dense. Dense LDL is actually the one that is more harmful.

What causes high cholesterol?

The most common causes of high cholesterol are your genetics and living an unhealthy lifestyle. This can include:

  • Unhealthy eating habits, such as eating lots of bad fats and sugar. Trans fat is in some fried and processed foods. Eating these fats can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Lack of physical activity, with lots of sitting and little exercise. This lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol, especially in women. It also raises your LDL cholesterol.
  • Genetics play a bigger role in your cholesterol than your diet does, as your genetics impact how effectively your liver regulates cholesterol to a healthy level.

Myth: You Should Eat as Little Cholesterol as Possible

Truth: You Should Eat Good Quality Saturated Fats

Healthy, cholesterol-rich foods are actually good for your body. Good quality saturated fat is healthful, it can be found in some meats, fish, eggs & dairy products. Most of your cholesterol is produced from within the body, so foods with cholesterol aren’t likely to transform your body’s cholesterol levels. Therefore, eating cholesterol-rich foods may not affect the cholesterol that’s already in your bloodstream.

Focus on eating foods with good fats, and avoid foods with high levels of trans fats, which raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol. Foods with high levels of trans fats include:

  • Sweet pastries, such as cake, donuts, and cookies
  • Sugar
  • Fried food
  • Margarine
  • Processed & packaged foods
  • Fast foods

These foods may contribute to obesity, which can increase your risk of heart disease and other health conditions.

Foods with healthy fats that can lower LDL and raise your HDL cholesterol include:

  • Olive oil
  • Legumes and beans
  • Nuts
  • Fatty fish
  • Whole grains
  • Avocado
  • Grass-fed meats
  • Eggs

Myth: High Cholesterol Causes Heart Disease & Heart Attacks

Truth: Inflammation Causes Heart Disease & Heart Attacks

Multiple studies show that people with heart disease or those who experience heart attacks often have normal cholesterol levels. Rather, your triglycerides to HDL cholesterol ratio may play a role in increasing or decreasing your risk for heart disease.

More so than cholesterol, inflammation plays a bigger role in causing heart disease. When the lining of your arteries is injured, it becomes inflamed. With a repeated injury, LDL cholesterol can get trapped, creating a dangerous buildup that can turn into plaque. Inflammation is caused by sugar, poor diets, lack of exercise, lack of nutrients, & a stressful lifestyle.