Strawberries- The New Sunscreen?

Sunscreens and other sun-related products are considered some of the most important in skin care. A recent study has discovered a natural, less oily substance that possesses similar qualities: the strawberry.

The research team, comprised of both Italian and Spanish scientists, tested the effect of strawberry extract on human cell structures in concentrations of 0.05, 0.25 and 0.5 milligrams per milliliter. The study’s results proved that the anthocyanins, which are responsible for the red coloring in strawberries and other plants, protect the skin from UVA rays and reduce long-term skin damage from the sun.

“We have verified the protecting effect of strawberry extract against damage to skin cells caused by UVA rays,” said Maurizio Battino of the Universita Politecnia delle Marche.

“These aspects are of great importance as they provide protection for cell lines subject to conditions that can provoke cancer and other skin-related inflammatory and degenerative illnesses.”

Though the findings are undoubtedly significant, their everyday practicality is still under debate.

Sara Tulipani of the University of Barcelona explained:

“These compounds have important anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-tumor properties. At the moment the results act as the basis for future studies evaluating the ‘bioavailability’ and ‘bioactivity’ of anthocyanins in the dermis and epidermis layers of the human skin, whether by adding them to formulations  for external use of by ingesting the fruit itself.”

 

HIIT Exercise and Fitting Fitness Into a Busy Schedule

Many people recognize the necessity of exercise and its significant impact on an entire lifestyle, but have difficulty integrating it into their daily routine. One of the most common excuses is lack of time; how can a working mother, for example, fit a sufficient amount of exercise into her busy week?

Gretchen Reynolds, a physical education expert, addresses the issue. She recommends HIIT workouts,or high impact interval training, to solve this issue.

This approach to fitness requires a total of 20 minutes, three times a week. By focusing the body on quick, short bursts of intense training, it keeps energy levels high and calories burning for hours after the fact.

Here, Sean Patrick Farrell and Gretchen Reynolds present the method, and provide tips for beginners.

 

The Many Benefits of Honey

Everyone knows that honey is a healthy ingredient to add to your tea or salad…. What most people don’t understand is just how beneficial the substance really is.

Rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids, honey is very good for the skin. It also retains moisture thanks to its humectant properties, while remaining completely oil-free.

Interestingly, honey is also a highly effective acne fighter. When mixed with water, its components break down and react to form hydrogen peroxide, a natural antiseptic that increases the skin’s immunity and fights acne-causing bacteria. In addition, the substance contains strong anti-inflammatories, which can reduce the appearance of blemishes as they heal, and even minimize scars.

Honey can also be used to prevent skin issues, not only to treat them. Probiotics, the healthy bacteria found both in the body and outside it in foods like yogurt and miso, provide stiff competition for harmful bacteria. Honey contains prebiotics, complex carbohydrates that boost probiotic growth in the digestive system when eaten, and on the skin when applied directly. The skin’s probiotics are under constant stress from varying temperatures, moisture, invading bacteria, dirt and clogged pores. The prebiotic complex found in honey nurtures their growth and maintains a healthy balance of bacteria in the skin.

Lastly, honey, like green tea and argan oil, contains potent antioxidants such as caffeic acid and catechins. These help protect the body’s cells, boost healing and rejuvenation, and significantly slow down the aging process.

HIT Workouts: An All-Inclusive Exercise in 4 Minutes Flat

The general belief is that the best amount of exercise to get in a week is 150 hours. Many would claim that this suggestion is in the fact what keeps them overweight or unhealthy, since finding even an hour or two of free time during the day is no small feat.

An amazing solution to this issue is the HIT workout, or High Intensity Training. This miracle worker helps the body lower blood sugar levels, release fatty acids, and improves both aerobic and anaerobic aptitudes within minutes.

This 3-4 minute form of exercise is not new. One HIT routine was developed in the nineties by Dr. Tabata of the National Institute of Fitness and Sports. He dictated a workout that merely included eight 20-second bursts of high activity with a 10-second pause between each one. In total, such a workout would take less than four minutes.

HIT workouts consist of exercises like squats, pushups, sit ups, lunges, ‘the plank’, crunches and dips. Done in quick succession, these drills will leave the body aching, shaking, sore and continuously burning calories. The body will continue to burn fat and strengthen muscles long after you shower and continue with your day.

The benefits of the HIT workouts are endless. They are short and do not require equipment, can be done as many times a week as possible, burn fat and strengthen the muscles, circulatory system and respiratory system, alleviate stress, boost your mood and focus and improve sleep. There is no excuse; finding a total of four minutes every week is no chore.

Blueberries and Other Fruits Linked to Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

A recent study has found a tentative link between blueberries, apples and pears and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Fruits such as these contain flavonoids, a compound which has been associated with other health benefits as well, such as lower risk of cancer and heart disease.

An Pan, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, said “People who ate a higher amount of blueberries or apples tended to have a low risk of type 2 diabetes.” He was careful to state, however, that the study’s findings do not prove that the fruits prevent diabetes.

The research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A similar study, published last year, claimed that foods rich in flavonoids, including fruits, vegetables and grains, lowered the risk of high blood pressure as well.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It is often noninsulin-dependent. This condition usually develops slowly, over long periods of time. Those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are often overweight, or elderly. Genetics, family history, lack of physical activity and a poor diet are some of the leading causes of this condition.

Diabetes can lead to increased levels of sugar in the blood, which is called hyperglycemia. Though fruit sugars, found in all fruits, raise glucose levels dramatically, the fibers and pectin they contain may in fact have diabetes-related health benefits.

Dr. Loren Greene, a professor of medicine not involved in the study added that the research “argues very nicely for the consumption of whole fruit rather than fruit juices.”

Spring Cleaning (For Your Skin)

 

Spring is arriving and with it an awakened urge to revamp your image and general lifestyle. The first step to freshening up your look is giving your skin a boost. The skin is the largest organ of the body, and it serves as a barrier between internal systems and the body’s surroundings. Which implies, of course, that the skin is exposed to harsh conditions such as heat, sunlight, wind etc.

Winter is an especially rough season for the skin, because the conditions vary greatly. You walk from indoor central heating into frigid, harsh air, stripping your skin of moisture and reducing its flexibility. Though the face is often the most sensitive, the entire body can become dull, dry, and itchy. Winter is also a time of comfort food and very little exercise, which also affects the skin and the body as a whole.

How can you fix it?

Now that spring approaches, there are a few things you can do to help your skin renew itself. The first is exfoliation.

Emma Hardie, a celebrity facialist, explains: “The skin, like all our organs, slows down during winter as the body conserves energy. The decrease in cell renewal can give the complexion a rough, lifeless appearance.”

Exfoliation means removing the layer of dead skin cells and encouraging the growth of a newer, healthier layer. Dermatologists suggest chemical exfoliants such as glycolic and salicylic acid. Many face washes and shower gels include these ingredients. Others prefer mechanical exfoliants, such as loofahs, sponges and other shower accessories that remove dead skin with their rough surfaces. Many soaps and creams come with small grains, or beads, which work in a way similar to loofahs. These often combine both mechanical and chemical exfoliants. Baking soda can be added to a regular shower gel and achieves the same result.

Next, be sure to moisturize. Many people underestimate the power of moisturizer, but the right formula can be the key element to a clear, healthy complexion. If your skin is oily and prone to blemishes, be sure to choose a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that is absorbed quickly. Always use a formula that serves as protection from the sun’s UV rays, and protect your eyes with sunglasses as well. The long months without sun exposure can result in a certain sensitivity, and it is important to ease your skin back into the sun in a gradual manner.

Third, the season’s cold temperatures result in slower blood circulation. This can make the skin look pale, dull, and sometimes even gives it a bluish tinge, which is especially common around the eyes. Any kind of exercise can stimulate blood flow and boost circulation, which spreads oxygen to the cells and helps eliminate toxins and inflammation. Facial massage is also an option, according to many face specialists.

Paolo Lai, a facial reflexologist of Neville Hair and Beauty, said “Massaging the face for a few minutes a day can instantly reduce puffiness and banish dullness.

“Using your middle and index finger, firmly massage the skin and underlying muscles in circles. Work upwards and outwards, starting at the chin and moving towards the forehead.”

Lastly, keep an eye on nutrition. Starches and sugars are common winter foods, but they do little for your skin, energy levels, metabolism, immune system, and general health.

Nutritionist Susie Perry Debice recommends stocking up on seasonal fruits and vegetables.

“Stock up on vitmamin C-rich greens to boost the formation of fresh collagen. Cabbage and kale are also in season- their sulphur content helps cleanse the system and restore vitality,” Perry Debice said. Berries, strawberries, and other produce are rich in antioxidants, while omega 3-rich foods will boost the skin from within. Seaweed and green tea are also face-brightening solutions.

And, though it was mentioned before, EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE. The overall health benefits of exercise are overwhelming and too broad to list here. But remember: the healthier the body, the healthier the skin.