Impact of Smoking on Appearance

effects of smokingWe all know that smoking is bad for your health, but most people only think in terms of how it can cause damage to their respiratory and cardiovascular systems. The damage caused by smoking can however also extend outward to your appearance. The effects can range from short to long term,making it a good idea to quit the habit as soon as possible. Here are a few ways in which your appearance will suffer if you continue to indulge in tobacco smoking.

  • Damaged skin

Smokers suffer from damaged skin when they persist in the habit in several ways. Nicotine has a very negative effect on collagen, which is needed to support the elasticity of skin. The more you smoke, the more collagen is damaged and the saggier your skin becomes. This is even more vital where you may be a yoyo dieter who keeps fluctuating in weight.

Smoking also has a bad effect on complexion. Nicotine narrows blood vessels that deliver oxygen, moisture and nutrition to your skin. When less is being delivered due to damaged blood vessels, your complexion tends to suffer and skin problems like eczema, psoriasis and spots become more frequent a problem.

  • Bad teeth

The longer you smoke, the more your teeth become stained with nicotine. Yellow and brown colored teeth are not appealing on anyone. Not to mention that smokers tend to also be more vulnerable to periodontal disease. They more easily end up bleeding when brushing their teeth. With periodontal disease, there is also increased risk of teeth falling out. Your breath also tends to suffer and this can be particularly stressful on personal relationships if your partner does not smoke. The sooner you quit smoking the sooner you can get back to a healthier and pain free mouth.

  • Tired eyes

Smokers often develop dark circles and baggy skin around the eyes. This makes them look perpetually tired and older then they really are. This is due to a lack of sufficient blood circulation o the eye area. Exposure to smoke can also cause allergic reactions like dry eye and hay fever. The irritation to the eyelining can also lead to reddened eyes. Quitting smoking and consuming a vitamin rich diet can help reverse this effect.

  • General tiredness

The lack of adequate circulation and damage to your lungs will likely mean that even walking or running short distances will quickly exhaust you. If such little exertion makes you pant hard, then you end up appearing older and unhealthier than you should be. When you quit smoking and engage in a healthier lifestyle, you have more energy and can concentrate on work easily.

  • Stress

When you are stressed, you look it. Smoking leads to all manner of bad health. Smokers tend to feel more stressed when they go for medical checkups, and are told of medical problems that may be linked to their smoking. Issues such as infertility in men and women can be influenced by tobacco smoking. Even partners who are unhappy with the habit can lead to feelings of greater stress. More stress plus smoking tends to make people look more tired, aged and unhealthy. The only way to put a stop to this never-ending cycle is quitting the habit and slowly regaining good health.

This entry was posted on January 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm.

Infusing oils, the simple way

oil infusionTake a jar and fill it with herbs of your choice.

Fill the jar with oil of your choice. Be careful to not overfill it (leave some space below the top of the jar), just fill it enough (there should be at least one inch of oil above the herbs).

Keep closed the jar in a dark, warm place for three weeks. Occasionally shake the jar. Strain your oil and store it in a dark glass bottle. And that’s it!

On to “fine tuning” :) Should you choose dry or fresh herbs?
If in doubt – chose dry.

Fresh herbs contain water, therefore, your infusion could become moldy. Some herbs are already kind of dry, like immortelle (Helichrysum arenarium). Herbs like those can be placed in oil without drying, but to be on the safe side – chose dry herbs.

 What type of oil to choose?

Preferably food grade, cold pressed, organic. Temperature can damage some type of oils or degrade good ingredients in them, so cold pressed would be the best choice. If you can get your hands on one with controlled origin, the better.

 What oil to choose?

That depends on your preferences and current supply. Also, on herbs you’re choosing: some plants, like marigold (Calendula officinalis), that are prone to getting spoiled need to be placed in stable oils. The major ingredients in marigold are so sensitive that the plant has to be placed in stable oil, which is resistant to spoiling and high temperature. Like olive oil or sesame for instance.

After some time, you’ll probably discover the art of matching herbs with oils, based not just on their performance but on their usage too. For example, if you’re making infused oil that will be used on your eyes, you will probably use a light oil like apricot kernel oil. Should herbs be in one piece, crushed or fine grained? Well, that would depend on your preferences and the plant you’re using. Some of the plants are better to be grained, that way you get more from them. Then again, some herbs are just fine as they are. Crushing them a bit will make a better infusion.

 How much should a jar be filled with herbs?

According to some books and different schools, there should be 1 part of herbs to 6 or 10 parts of oil. Some prefer to fill the jar almost completely with herbs, but be careful: herbs should always be topped with oil. So to be on the safe side – there should always be at least one inch of oil over the herbs and one inch of free space to the top so you can shake ingredients in the jar.

What to do with leftovers after straining?

Use them as a peeling: they are already very oily, so all you have to do is add some more peeling ingredients, like salt or sugar, fine grained or coarse, to your choice. Keep in dark tinted bottles in a cold dark place to prolong usage and don’t forget to enjoy playing with combinations.

This entry was posted on December 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm.

EBOLA: THE DREADED DISEASE

EbolaEbola is also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever and it is a disease that affects people and it is caused by the Ebola virus. Most people have the wrong notion concerning this disease in that it is spread through the air droplets. Research has shown that there is no evidence to prove that the disease can be spread through sneezing or coughing. This disease is spread through direct contact of the body fluids of an infected person and this includes blood, saliva, urine, feces. The virus is not spread through the air but larger droplets like sprays or splashes from the respiratory tract of the infected person can be infectious. It is advisable for the people who are taking care of Ebola patients to adhere to contact, droplet and standard precautions in order to prevent the transmission of the disease. This can be done by wearing protective equipments like gloves, aprons, goggles and regular hand washing.

The incubation period of Ebola virus disease is 2-21 days. This is the period between the time one gets the infection and the time the symptoms appear. Human beings are not able to transmit the infection until their bodies start presenting with the symptoms. The first symptoms when one has been infected with the virus include muscle pain, fever, fatigue, sore throat and headache. This is usually followed by symptoms like diarrhea, impaired liver and kidney function, rash, vomiting. This can also be accompanies by bleeding from the body orifices and this can present as blood in stool, vomit, sputum and bleeding from the gums.

Can Ebola be spread through air droplets?

For an individual to be infected with Ebola, one has to get in direct contact with the virus. The body fluids will include diarrhea, vomit, sweat, semen, urine, blood, breast milk from an infected person and this can gain entry in another person through the nose, mouth and eyes. The virus can also gain entry when there is a cut on the skin or through sexual contact with an infected person.

This can take place when one is splashed with droplets or when one comes in direct contact with these body fluids from the infected person. The health care providers who take care of patients in the hospital set up or family members who are sick with the disease are at an increased risk of getting infected.

How to protect yourself from being infected

It is advisable to wash hands often with water and soap. In case, these are not available, one can use a hand sanitizer that is alcohol based.

It is advisable to avoid close contact with the sick patients even in cases where the patient is a close relative.

The health care providers are encouraged to avoid touching the nose, eyes and the mouth as these increases the risk of transmission.

It is advisable to clean thoroughly and disinfect the areas that are commonly touched. This includes surfaces like the bathroom and toilet because some germs can stay on them for hours and this increases the transmission.

This entry was posted on October 15, 2014 at 5:06 pm.

Eating Your Way To Healthy Skin

healthy skin foodsThe skin is the largest organ of the body and it is only natural that what you consume will have a strong influence on its health. The healthier a diet you maintain, the better-looking skin you will have. There are however certain foods that offer key benefits that should not be missed out on, no matter your age. Some will nourish the skin while others will protect it from the damaging effects of the sun. Ensuring a varied diet that offers these foods and the beneficial nutrients they pass on is the best way to guarantee youthful looking skin.

  1. Strawberries – strawberries are a very rich source of vitamin C that is helpful in protecting the skin from free radicals that can damage collage and encourage the appearance of wrinkles. It also helps to alleviate age related skin dryness. Eating this and other foods high in vitamin C is advisable. You can also indulge in a natural berry facial mask weekly.
  2. Green Tea – this is perhaps the healthiest source of antioxidants that are proven to help limit the damaging effects of aging on skin. Research has also shown the regular consumption of green tea may help reduce the risk of skin cancer. It is recommended that you add a squeeze of lemon to your tea to help bolster the antioxidant power.
  3. Tomatoes – tomatoes contain the carotenoid lycopene. Studies have shown that it is very useful in preventing sunburn. A similar effect was also noted for those who consumed large amounts of carrots. Studies have however indicated that this protection is only arrived at though consumption of dietary tomatoes and carrots, and not their supplements.
  4. Olive Oil – olive oil contains strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are very beneficial to skin. Not only do antioxidants help in combating the damaging effects of free radicals. The anti-inflammatory properties can help alleviate acne and other skin irritations. You can ingest it as part of your diet or make use of topical skin products containing it.
  5. Tofu – tofu is a rich source of isoflavones. Scientists believe that isoflavones help to build up protective collagen in skin cells. With stronger collagen the skin becomes more resistant to sun damage and wrinkling. Those that consume a diet containing tofu have been found to have smoother blemish free skin.
  6. Corn – corn and other foods like egg yolks are high in the carotenoid lutein. Like lycopene, this carotenoid is useful in preventing UV ray damage and is believed to also promote eye health. Even when out of season, corn can still provide this same benefit from frozen packs. Research has shown that corn is frozen right after harvesting when its nutrient value is at its highest.
  7. Water – hydration is essential to healthy skin so ensuring you ingest plenty of water is advisable. While eight glasses is the recommended amount, you still add to this quotient by drinking soups, drinking tea and eating fresh fruit and vegetables. Moisture rich food and beverages can help, but where possible, try to drink some hard water, which is usually rich in minerals.
This entry was posted on September 15, 2014 at 5:05 pm.

Drink Green Tea for Improved Health

green teaGreen tea is an incredibly accessible drink. It’s one of the few types of food that is cheap, readily available, and absolutely fantastic for your health. The antioxidants present in green tea are in high quantity which reduce the risk of disease, as well as its stimulating effects.

Catechins (Polyphenol)
Making up 30 percent of the weight of a dry tea leaf, Catechins are the main player in formulating the healthy makeup of green tea. Evidence shows that these substances help prevent such diseases as Alzheimer’s and heart disease, helping to lower blood pressure. These Catechins have been proven to improve antioxidant defense in your immune system. If you are regularly ingesting theses substances everyday your immune system will strengthen.

L-Theanine
Theanine is a substance that improves your overall mood in helping to reduce anxiety. This substance especially works well with focus when consumed with caffeine. Theanine has been proven to benefit patients who suffer from schizophrenia. Theanine can be are great way to take off the edge before things like job interviews, and social events you may feel nervous for. Green tea can help with this.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficient individuals are people who may not be getting out in the sun enough. In the modern world we live in today, there are certainly these types of individuals. While its best not to neglect mother nature, consumption of green tea can help with this problem.

Vitamin B1 & B12
These vitamins again are vital for antioxitants growth and strengthening the immune system. B1 helps to create new cells. Also, if you are on a heavy carbohydrate diet, this is necessary to help break down those complex carbs. So drink some green tea with your next couple slices of pizza and your food should digest a bit better. In addition, B12 will help rebuild new muscle and facilitate the carrying of protein throughout your blood. B12 has been proven to be deficient in the elderly throughout the world.

Iron
Iron is another substance that modern day individuals, especiall the elderly, have found deficiencies in. Iron can help with brain function and muscle growth, so if you are hitting the gym and studying (looking at you college kids!) this might be a good substance to get a whole lot of. Pour yourself a cup of green tea before that big cram session.

Magnesium
Magnesium is essential for great bone structure and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. This mineral can be deadly if your body is facing a deficiency, so it is always best to find sources of food and drink that contain this crucial mineral. It is mostly found in meats, but having a cup of Japanese green tea can always help your body’s magnesium levels. Adding a bcaa supplement can be a good cocktail for muscle building.

In all, the effects of Green tea are outstanding on long term health and vitality. If you are a regular coffee drinker, or use caffeine to maintain a certain energy level and focus during the day, you really may want to make the switch to green tea, or at least consider incorporating it into your every day diet.

This entry was posted on August 15, 2014 at 4:59 pm.

Do You Drink Milk Regularly? What You Must Know

MilkMilk and milk products are full of healthy nutrients. Milk contains 18 of 22 important nutrients that are necessary for the building of skeleton including calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus. But there is always a concern whether to drink raw milk or pasteurized milk, and how much quantity one must consume.

Pasteurized or Raw Milk – Which One is Better?

According to the old myths, milk is the best when it is raw; however, drinking raw milk is associated with the diverse adverse health effects. In the United States, more than 1500 people got sick because of the use of raw milk from the year 1993 to 2006, reported Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People believe that heating milk reduces important nutrients of the milk, but in reality pasteurization only kills dangerous bacteria that are responsible for causing diseases; bacteria common in unpasteurized raw milk are E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. CDC considers unpasteurized milk 150 times more dangerous in causing foodborne disease than the pasteurized milk.

Pasteurization does not reduce nutritional value of the milk; also, it does not cause lactose intolerance. People who are allergic to milk must not consume milk in any form – pasteurized and unpasteurized both types may harm them. So when you go to select milk and its products, go for pasteurized ones.

How Much Quantity To Take?

High intake of milk can produce adverse health effects than producing desirable impacts. Milk is rich in D-galactose. In animals, it has been found that even low doses of D-galactose can:

  • Induce oxidative stress damage
  • Lead to early aging
  • Decrease body immunity
  • Cause chronic inflammation
  • Link with neurodegeneration

When there is 5% lactose in the milk by concentration, D-galactose accounts for 5 grams in one glass of milk. The changes caused by D-galactose may lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, cancer, sarcopenia and age related bone loss.

Taking milk in the fermented form can be of great importance as it is known that lactose and galactose content in the substances are low. Cheese and fermented dairy products are known to have beneficial impact on heart. High milk intake can also lead to the development of diabetes.

A study was conducted to determine the effects of milk intake in men and women. The study found that mortality ratio increased in the women who took three or more glasses of milk a day than the woman who consumed less than a single milk glass. It was also seen that increased milk consumption was not associated with the decrease in any fracture. It was found that increased milk intake led to the increase in inflammatory bio-markers of urine and blood.

Conclusion:

Milk is full of nutrients but if you are consuming these essential vitamins, minerals and protein from other sources than consuming three or more glasses of milk in a day will not prove beneficial for you instead it will produce adverse effects on the body. It is not a magic food that you have always considered. So talk to the food experts before setting your daily milk consumption limits.

This entry was posted on July 15, 2014 at 5:03 pm.