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We love Tamarind Fruit – But what about the Seed?

Most people know about Tamarind fruit in some form, in Tamarind juice, in Indian chutney or curry or in good old BBQ sauce… Tamarind fruit pulp is the base for what most of us know as Tamarind.  The pulp which is rich in Vitamins and minerals boasts a whole list of health benefits by itself, helping to regulate digestion, improving blood glucose levels, blood circulation and cholesterol.  But did you know that hidden inside that tangy-sticky fruit pulp of a whole Tamarind are seeds (3-12 per pod) packed with proteins, amino acids, essential fatty acids and minerals?  These little morsels of nutrition have surprising health benefits on their own!

For the Body:  Joint Relief & Other Benefits

Tamarind Seed holds great anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial benefits (1) when ingested.  Amongst its traditional uses is the treatment for joint pain and arthritis by ingesting roasted Tamarind Seed Powder.  Early research suggests that Tamarind Seed does indeed reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in joints, helping with pain and protecting bone and cartilage (2).

For Skin:  The Skin Hydration Optimizer

When applied to skin, Tamarind Seed Extract helps draw and bind vital hydration to the skin by feeding the skin’s natural moisturizing factor in the skin’s surface, similar to how Hyaluronic Acid does.  The genius lies in the molecular structure of Tamarind Seed Extract, which is able to penetrate the skin surface more deeply, resulting in deeper and more long-lasting hydration.  We use Tamarind Seed Extract in our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner, where it is combined with Hyaluronic Acid, Green, White & Black Tea and Rice Bran Extract to draw and bind vital hydration to the skin and feed the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF).

Make your own Tamarind Seed Powder!

While fresh whole Tamarind is now available in many Asian and Latin grocery stores in the US, Tamarind Seeds alone or Tamarind Seed Powder are not.  Fortunately, you can make your own Tamarind Seed Powder quite easily!

  1. Buy fresh whole Tamarind and save the seeds after eating the pulp as a snack or using it for cooking.  Wash and dry the seeds with a paper towel.
  2. Roast the seeds in the oven at 300 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively you can also roast them in a frying pain on low heat for about 5.  Let cool.
  3. Wrap the roasted seeds in a dish towel, place them on a thick wooden cutting board and roughly crush with a hammer. The kernels are very hard so you will need to use quite a bit of force.  When the Tamarind Seed cracks, the dark brown seed skin will come off, exposing the inner white seed.  Keep the brown skin.  It has nutrients as well!
  4. Grind the crushed kernels and seed skin in a coffee grinder until it is a fine powder. You will notice a nice, nutty aroma.
  5. Store in an airtight container. Keep cool and dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add 1 teaspoon of Tamarind Powder to your smoothie, juice or yogurt.  The powder does not actually dissolve in water, so I have found it easier to consume when it was suspended in a thicker medium like a smoothie or yogurt.

Enjoy experimenting!

Kombucha – Probiotic Goodness

Why do people drink kombucha or kefir or eat saurkraut or yogurt? Do you know what prebiotics or probiotics are?

Let’s start at the beginning

Microbes all around us, and for the longest time, the world thought that all microbes were bad. But that’s not necessarily the case. Microbes consist of bacteria, yeast, viruses, and other small cellular organisms. Mostly bacteria, they live on our skin, inside our airways, and our digestive system, working as first line defense  against pathogens or “foreign invaders” that might cause an infection or set off other reactions like inflammation.

The good, the bad and the ever changing

Each person acquires a personalized set of bacteria starting from birth but modifiable with time, called a microbiome, that sets the balance for their body, affecting the ways that person digests sugars or breaks down toxins (1), smells when they sweat, helps the body absorb essential fatty acids or make vitamin folate, and helps to repair the cells of the digestive system or help to regulate inflammation (2). These beneficial functions are usually from what we call good bacteria.

Bad bacteria can result in diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even obesity (3). Your body’s microbiome has a combination of good and bad bacteria, with bad bacteria in the minority. The bad bacteria can sometimes take over when your balanced microbiome changes either via stress, a course of antibiotics or even a change in diet (4).

Prebiotics &  Probiotics

Although more research is still needed, there are early signs that foods with good bacteria, like kombucha or yogurt with active cultures, can improve our health and our cells. The theory is that these foods with good bacteria can help to seed your digestive system with good bacteria. There is also research that feeding the good bacteria by eating prebiotic foods high in fiber humans cannot but bacteria can digest like onions, garlic, flax seeds, apples, bananas, oats, cocoa and konjac help to support the flourishing balance of good bacteria in your system.

And your Skin

So we have talked a lot about how microbes affect your health and your gut, but what does all of this do for your skin? Keep your skin healthy and hydrated so that the good bacteria can proliferate and fight off the bad bacteria while keeping your skin’s immune system functioning well. And if you’d rather drink your kombucha, then apply that sweet black tea ferment of organic acids, minerals, and amino acids to your skin in the form of Sweet Black Tea and Rice Moisturizer, Ginger Moisturizer, and Miracle Tea Eye Creme. Cheers!

Turmeric Bioavailability – Easy tricks to maximize its benefits

Turmeric is a key ingredient in Jamu, the ancient Indonesian herbal medicine.  Since the scientific community in European and American started taking an interest in this rhizome in the last 20th century, Turmeric has become one of the most studied herbs.  The key nutrient in Turmeric that has been shown anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and potential anti-cancer properties is Curcumin.  Unfortunately, the health benefits of Curcumin when ingested, cannot be fully realized because if poor bioavailability, meaning that Curcumin is quickly broken down and metabolized by the liver and intestinal walls before it can work its magic where needed.

The good news is that there are simple tricks to improve Curcumin’s bioavailability – tricks that can be done daily and easily as part of your regular diet:

1.Mix it with fat

Curcumin is fat soluble.  By combining or dissolving it with a fat, it is better absorbed into the bloodstream (1).  It’s easy:  Combine Turmeric with a heart-healthy oil in a vegetable stir fry.  Or add it to your smoothie together with coconut milk or full-fat kefir.

2.  Fresh Turmeric vs. dried Turmeric

Dried Turmeric powder is more widely available than the fresh rhizome, but fresh Turmeric actually has better “built-in” bioavailability (2) because is about 10% fat content.

3.  Heat it up

Bioavailability of Curcuma is even further improved, when Turmeric is lightly heated in oil (3), which is why Turmeric is ideal to incorporate into your daily cooking, whether it is a stir fry or a curry sauce.

4.  Add a dash of Black Pepper

Black pepper contains piperine, which blocks the body from rapidly metabolizing Curcumin.  In fact, consuming fresh black pepper together with Turmeric, can improve bioavailability of Curcumin by 2000% (4).

5.  Combine it with Quercetin-rich fruits & vegetables

Quercetin is an antioxidant that gives certain fruits and vegetables their dark, blue-ish color.  Research shows that Quercetin blocks an enzyme that would metabolizes Curcumin, thus making it more bioavailable (5).  Quercetin-rich foods include blueberries, red grapes, red onions, green tea but also red apples.

 

In Skincare – Proven Effective

Turmeric has a long tradition in Indonesian beauty rituals as well, most famously in the Lulur bridal spa treatment.  While it is an age old recipe to boost skin radiance and luminosity, there is a growing body of recent scientific evidence that underscores topical Turmeric’s benefits in helping prevent and reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, acne, and signs of premature aging such as irregular skin tone and sun damage.  When we at JUARA craft formulations, we draw our inspiration from Indonesian tradition, but we also ensure that we select botanicals that have been tested for efficacy and safety according to today’s standards.

Several of JUARA products are formulated with Turmeric, including our

Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum, Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask, Radiance Vitality Oil, Sweet Black Tea & Rice Moisturizer and Miracle Tea Complete Eye Creme, but also in body treatments such as our Kartini Body Oil.

To explore JUARA treatments that feature Turmeric and other active Jamu botanicals, click here.

Tea Synergy: The Benefits of Togetherness

Antioxidants are supposed to be good for us, and most of us try to consume antioxidants through food, drinks or supplements. But ever wonder if a specific form of antioxidant is better? Like if I love to drink tea, should I drink green, white or black tea? Or should I cut to the chase and load up on antioxidant supplements?

First, what’s the difference between the teas?

Tea, first introduced as a traditional medicine in Asia, is from the Camellia sinensis plant and can vary by processing steps: Green tea and white tea are non‐fermented and minimally or lightly oxidized while black tea is fully fermented and oxidized. (Herbal teas are any teas not made from Camellia sinensis.) The different processing results in different bioactive compounds. Green tea has flavan‐3‐ols (catechins), proanthocyanidins (tannins) and flavonols. Black tea contains theaflavins and thearubigins while white tea contains l‐theanine and gamma‐aminobutyric acid (GABA), among others. The health benefit of teas has been correlated with these bioactive compounds, which have anti‐inflammatory, anti‐diabetic and anti‐cancer activities.

Why does it matter that there are different antioxidants? Don’t they all do the same thing?

Antioxidants, produced by the body or ingested, are part of the body’s defense system against damaging free radicals that are formed during the body’s normal cellular processes or when exposed to UV radiation, pollution or stress, etc. Different antioxidants operate in different parts of cells and participate in different chemical processes throughout the body. Some antioxidants suppress the formation of free radicals, while others “scavenge” to remove the free radicals before they do damage, or work to repair damage once it has been done.

Synergy, A theory of the whole is better than the parts

So it makes sense that combining different teas and herbs with various bioactive components might have synergistic (or antagonistic) effects in their bioactive efforts. Synergy is based on the idea that using a whole plant containing a group of chemicals working together or a combination of plants is more beneficial than using a single compound to achieve a specific effect.  For example, the equal ratio of of black tea, black pepper (Piper nigrum), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) showed higher antioxidant activity compared to that of the individuals. Research on the combination of  green and black tea showed a stronger antimicrobial effect than alone.

Tradition in science

So perhaps that synergistic antioxidant and antimicrobial effect is the reason that people in Indonesia and Asia use a mixture of leftover teas to rinse their face. And that is why the JUARA Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner uses a combination of green, white and black teas for that synergistic antioxidant effect post a day of stress, tiredness and pollution. Oh wait, and I will have a tea with that! Any tea, please!

Candlenut: The Balanced Nut!

Candlenut holds a special place at JUARA.  Our very first JUARA product we launched was our popular Candlenut Body Creme, a.k.a. Bali in a Jar, which became an instant hit with customers, editors and estheticians alike.  By popular demand, many more Candlenut treasures followed.

But what exactly is Candlenut?  Rarely do you ever see it sold in a regular grocery store because its consumption is usually limited to the region where it is cultivated, mostly South East Asia and Hawaii.  It looks like an oversized macadamia nut or hazelnut.  Even though it is not widely known, Candlenut is probably one of the most versatile and healthy nuts out there, having been used for medicinal purposes, cooking as well as skincare for centuries.

Omega 6 & 3 Essential Fatty Acids:  The Ratio is Key

Like most nuts, Candlenut has a high oil content (70%).  What makes Candlenut special amongst its peers is its high content of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA).  And not only that, it has what is considered an ideal ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.  While both EFAs have health benefits, it has been shown that the typical Western diet is by far too rich in Omega 6 fatty acids relative to Omega 3 fatty acid consumption, leading to chronic inflammation.  Nobody knows what the ideal ratio exactly is, but current estimates state a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of anywhere between 1:1 and 4:1 as ideal.  It is estimated that people in developed countries reach a ratio of about 15:1.  It has been shown even higher in the typical American diet, where it reaches levels of 25:1 due to a high consumption of fast & processed foods and fried foods which are typically rich in Omega 6, and a low consumption of Omega 3-rich foods like fish and certain nuts and seeds.  Candlenut has a ratio of Omega 3 and 6 of about 1.7:1, which is considered in the ideal range.  As a comparison, Walnuts have a ratio of about 4:1, Pecans 22:1, Flax Seeds 1:4, Sunflower Seeds:  312:1, Corn Oil 46:1, Wild Salmon 1:12, Canned Tuna 1:30.

Other Health Benefits

Candlenut is also rich in saponin, flavonoid and polyphenols, plant compounds that have  anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting benefits as well as antibacterial effects.  Plus, it contains not only alpha tocopherol (the most familiar form of Vitamin E), but also gamma tocopherol, which works synergistically with alpha tocopherol to provide antioxidant protection.

Try it in Food!

In its native Indonesian and Malay, Candlenut is used in cooking as a thickener for curries and soups.  One easy way to incorporate Candlenuts is to roasted Candlenuts in the oven or frying pan, which brings out their aroma, before chopping or shaving them and sprinkling them over curry, soups or salad.

Try it on your Skin!

Candlenut is rich in EFA, the skincare benefits of which have been well documented.  EFAs help reduce inflammation, strengthens the skin’s own protective barrier, and Omega 6 essential fatty acid specifically helps acne-prone skin clear up clogged pores.  Candlenut’s boasting both Omega-3 and 6 as well as natural anti-microbial properties make it suitable for all skin types, ranging from dry to oily, including sensitive and acne-prone skin.

All of JUARA’s Candlenut products are formulated with Candlenut Oil, but we have added this precious oil to other treatments as well, including:

Kartini Body Oil – $58, 4 oz

The luxurious body oil fit for royalty (hence the name Kartini, named after a Princess who was also a big champion of women’s rights in Indonesia).  A truly nourishing blend of Candlenut, Plumeria, Passionfruit, Moringa and Turmeric Oil, with a silky, light-as-air texture with firming, brightening and softening benefits.

Coconut Illipe Hand & Nail Balm – $20. 2.5 oz

Pure relief and moisture for dry, hard-working hands, that stays on even after washing your hands.  A replenishing blend of oils and butters, plus soothing oat beta glucan and brightening algae Energy immediately comfort skin & cuticles.  Result:  Hands that are soft and smooth, never greasy.

Sweet Black Tea & Rice Facial Moisturizer – $60, 1.7 oz

Energy for dry, dull skin. “Kombucha”, nourishing botanical oils and our unique Radiant Complex hydrate, firm, smooth and boost skin luster.  The perfect daily moisturizer for normal to dry skin. 

Miracle Tea Complete Eye Crème – $53, 0.5 oz

This miracle worker gives the fragile skin around the eyes the whole TLC package:  It hydrates, smooths fine lines & wrinkles, reduces the look of dark circles and under-eye bags for a refreshed look!

Radiance Vitality Oil – $70, 1.0oz

The Queen of Face Oils (Face Oil of the Year, Self Magazine 2015) addresses all signs of aging with 12 pure plant oils and extracts by helping to firm, nourish, smooth and revitalize, with results you can see and feel after only one application.

Nourish your natural beauty all over with Candlenut in JUARA products here!

Love it all! Coconut Water vs. Milk vs. Oil

When I’m thirsty in Indonesia, the first thing I look for on the menu is a fresh young coconut. There’s really nothing that beats the clean, pure, and completely satisfying thirst quench that happens when the delicious juice fills your mouth. It’s a bit of a norm where I’m from, like in the same way that in a restaurant in the US you ask for an orange juice, if I’m in Indonesia at a local restaurant, I ask for a coconut.  
 
The coconut is a pretty standard ingredient of Indonesia used in very many different ways, for inside and out, beauty and health. One interesting tidbit is that Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of coconuts. We use the coconut fruit itself to make coconut milk for curries and desserts, the actual to grate as well and season to cook in savory dishes, or to roll little desserts in (called Kueh Basah – “wet cake”) and the water to drink. We use coconut oil in cooking, to eat as a health supplement, and to use in our hair to make it silky soft – and in the US, I also cook with the oil and milk, drink the water, and even use the oil in our JUARA products – like our JUARA Radiance Vitality Oil
 
There are so many uses for a coconut, but 3 main components we all talk about: the Oil, Water, Milk… do you know the difference in their health benefits? I’m curious myself!
 

COCONUT WATER

This is the water found in the young coconut before it ripens into the coconut meat itself. Coconut water has a slightly sweet taste (so not sugar-free,) contains about 94% water and very little fat. It also contains electrolytes – important in helping your body maintain its proper fluid balance. It contains potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium, so next time you want to reach for that Gatorade, if coconut water is handy at the store, try for that instead! Last but not least, coconut water contains antioxidants that fight free radicals and hormone called cytokinins which help with anti-aging, so it’s a great overall health beverage that only has 45 calories a cup!
 

COCONUT MILK

Contrary to what some may think, coconut milk isn’t really a milk but water added to the grated coconut flesh. Leave it too long, and it will separate; the cream from the water – and the cream that rises to the top is also known as coconut cream. (Fun fact: Coconut milk can be made from boiling 1 part grated coconut with 1 part water. You can make coconut cream by boiling 3 parts grated coconut with 1 part water.)  It is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6, and contains minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. The interesting thing is that you hear good and bad things about coconut milk. It’s high in saturated fat (bad), however the specific fats in coconut also contain a fatty acid called Lauric acid that has several benefits which may include weight loss, and may also help protect your body from viruses and illnesses (good). So as with living a balanced healthy life, consume in moderation. 
 

COCONUT OIL

The oil is what you get when you press the fat out of the coconut meat. About 84% of the calories of coconut oil come from saturated fat, vs 14% of olive oil and 63% of butter. This is why coconut oil gets hard easily at room temperature. Neat factoid, right? However, the MCT fat in coconut oil (as well as the meat) actually has the benefit of boosting your HDL, aka your good cholesterol and being burned off as energy vs being stored like other saturated fats, though it doesn’t exactly lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) either. Repeating the moderation mantra, one should limit intake to about 13 grams a day, which is around 1 tablespoon. Cooking tip – Don’t fry or cook at high temperatures with coconut oil, as it has a smoke point of 350 degrees. (Likewise, butter and olive oil have similarly lower smoke points.) Frying has a temperature of about 350-400 degrees – so select other high-temperature tolerant oils for that, like avocado oil for best results and better health!
 

EASY HOLIDAY RECIPE

So – coconut is an all year treat – and my current obsession perfect for holidays – making my own coconut milk pumpkin spice latte! How? SUPER EASY: 
  • Combine 2 teaspoons of pumpkin puree from a can (like what you make pumpkin pies out of with 1 teaspoon of agave/sweetener and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir. 
  • Add to a hot cup of coffee – best be a stronger dark roast for a rich flavor; it just blends better with the pumpkin. Trader Joe’s has a great Gingerbread Coffee that’s just a dark roasted coffee blend mixed with holiday spices, but a good French roast will do too.  
  • Add the puree to the coffee and mix, add more sweetener as needed. 
  • Add warmed coconut milk (not from a can, but in the dairy-substitute section of milk, where the have Almond, Soy and other alternative milk) and stir. Enjoy!

Cinnamon: For Health & Holiday Cheers!

‘Tis the season for all things Cinnamon!  Ahhh…what would the holidays be without Cinnamon’s signature aroma.  Whether we’re talking aromatic cookies, spiced cakes or hearty stews, Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices, loved and revered around the world.  Its use originates as far back as Ancient Egypt as a key ingredient in the embalmment ritual.  While Cinnamon is readily available in regular grocery stores today, it was so highly prized and considered so precious in the past, it was a gift reserved only for royalty or deity.

Not surprisingly, like many popular spices, humans began using Cinnamon primarily for medicinal purposes first, before it became a popular flavoring agent.  Native to South Asia and South East Asia, Cinnamon has a long tradition in Jamu, Indonesia’s traditional herbal medicine.  What ancient healers have known all along, modern medicine has only begun to discover are the many health benefits of Cinnamon.

CHEERS UP YOUR METABOLISM

While Cinnamon has well-documented antimicrobial and antioxidant properties (…hence a key preservative-like ingredient when the Ancient Egyptians embalmed their kings & queens), a particularly exciting discovery has been that Cinnamon can improve metabolic diseases such as glucose intolerance, high cholesterol and triglycerides (1).  While more studies are necessary, in one study volunteers ate half a teaspoon of Cinnamon daily for 40 days, which cut their cholesterol by about 18% and blood sugar levels by 24% (2).  The theory is that Cinnamon increases insulin sensitivity while also reducing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a carbohydrate-rich meal.  And unless you have an allergy Cinnamon or liver disease, this spice can be consumed safely daily in food, drink or as part of a meal.

GOOD FOR SKIN INSIDE & OUT

A healthy glucose metabolism is crucial for healthy skin from the inside since high blood sugar causes inflammation and premature aging in the skin in a process called “glycation”.  What about applying Cinnamon  topically?  Cinnamon is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, which makes it a great ingredient to prevent skin aging.  Its antimicrobial properties also help break-out prone skin, where proliferation of acne bacteria cause acne blemishes.  JUARA Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Oil-Free Moisturizer combines anti-aging, oil-control and break-out-fighting benefits all in one refreshing gel-crème that contains a potent Jamu combination of Kombucha, Ginger and Cinnamon plus Hyaluronic Acid.

EASY TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE

Having gone through gestational diabetes and fluctuating blood sugar issues myself, I try to stick to a balanced diet that avoids blood sugar spikes and dips. Cinnamon has become part of my daily ritual – not just in my skincare.  A dash on my morning oatmeal combined with nuts and apples – delicious!  A dash in a cup of Ginger Tea – so soothing!  And in the occasional cookie to indulge…because it’s all about balance!

Body Shaping Ginger – Eat it up or Massage it in!

When winter holiday cheer arrives, the weight gain blues often follow. Did you know that January 2nd is often the fattest day of the average American – gaining an average of 5-10 pounds over the lovely holidays? Who can help it? – less outdoor time, hearty meals with desserts, (oh, desserts!) and shorter sun-filled days inducing sleepy appetite gains. Good news though, the good earth has blessed us with slimming GINGER filled with powerhouse anti-inflammatory gingerols. Although the weight gain is a natural byproduct of the seasons, and we tend to lose most of it once spring arrives, having a little help along the way in the form of ginger certainly doesn’t hurt.

EAT IT UP

One research study showed that the consumption of just 2 grams of ginger (1 teaspoon of ground ginger) a day for 12 weeks significantly decreased body mass index (BMI) (1). And this was a gold standard human, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study. Not a BMI fan, ginger was also shown in gold standard meta-analyses to significantly decrease weight loss. (2) Yay- support for the idea that consumption of a simple natural earth provided ingredient can make a change. Ginger tea for winter, yum AND easy! Even the powder works, not just the fresh root. Plus, ginger helps to ease that indigestion we all get from too much holiday food by helping to empty the stomach faster. (3)

MASSAGE IT IN

Ginger is a major Jamu ingredient. And that traditional use for its well known benefits, is now supported by science, not just for ingestion, but topically too. JUARA’s Ginger Coffee Firming Treatment smooths and firms orange peel thighs, post baby stretch marks, and flabby underarm wings. Although I always remind my children (and myself) that beauty is who you are, not how you look, a little help from ginger never hurts.

This winter, I have a plan – 1 teaspoon of ground ginger tea a day, and Coffee Ginger Firming Treatment for …pretty much, all over!

Acne in your 40s: 4 Ways to Fight it Naturally

Is that a pimple in my wrinkle? Does my concealer even hide that topography? Acne at 40…REALLY?  Is my future going to be filled with time spent hiding mountain ranges and molehills on my face.  Maybe I should delve into the art of living incognito with big sunglasses and scarf wrapping. Then I realized that fear is no way to live, it would probably be easier to figure out what are the causes of adult acne and how do I fight it naturally?

STRESS

We all have deadlines, people to take care of, errands, relationship woes, etc. It’s surprising I don’t have more acne if I think about my daily life. But did you know that with stress comes the adrenal hormone cortisol, and with cortisol comes a little bit of testosterone that in women can cause oil gland overactivity?

Resist: Meta-analysis  shows that yoga asanas decrease cortisol production. And meditation practice decreases your body’s physiologic response to stress.

HORMONES

Perimenopause, post pregnancy, and pre-period (did you know that women over 33 are more likely to get pre-period pimples?), along with hormone related health issues like PCOS all affect hormone levels and thus increase oil production, pore clogging, inflammation then pimples.

Retaliate: Use non-stripping cleansers along with salicylic acid treatments that exfoliate gently to unclog pores. Then follow with oil-free, inflammation fighting moisturizers. Finding the balance in your skin is key. And see your doctor for the health issues.

FOOD and ENVIRONMENT

I don’t mean fried foods and chocolate, but sugar.  Sugar increases your insulin which has been found to also bump up the oil provoking hormones. Although the link between pollution and acne is still being established, there’s no denying that the particulates of pollution are probably not good for your skin.

Resist: Cut out high glycemic foods. Not sure what causes that insulin high, check out the estimated glycemic load of your foods.

SKINCARE ROUTINE

Overwashing, as in more than twice a day, or harsh cleansers and exfoliants can dry out skin and cause overproduction of oil. And with aging and sun damage, the collagen of your skin breaks down and pores become bigger making them easier to clog.

Retaliate: Exfoliate gently and regularly to remove the build up of dead skin cells. Gentle cleansers with oil free or non-comedogenic moisturizers keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Boost that healthy skin with collagen building, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory actives.

Knowing that pimples are just a normal part of life make having them much easier. Also knowing there are a few ways I can control breakouts by changing some things in my daily life make me freakout less. All in all, these problems and solutions are manageable and easy to employ.  Maybe now my mountain will turn back into that molehill. Do you have any other tips for managing breakouts?

4 Fast Facts to Add Ginger to Your Diet!

 Ever since I learned that ginger is one of only a few spices that has proven anti-inflammatory benefits after consumption. I have been avidly trying to figure out how to add it, and it’s other anti-inflammatory spice friends into my cooking. Don’t like reading articles, watch this video. So let’s get to the point. Why is it exciting to add ginger to your food regimen?

1.It’s anti-inflammatory…

Not sure what’s great about being anti-inflammatory? It means that when your body faces stress or pain – ginger can help stop it. It’s been shown to be effective against osteoarthritis, muscle pain and soreness and even pro-inflammatory cancers like colon, ovarian, or pancreatic.

 

2.  It’s an anti-oxidant!

By now, we all know anti-oxidants help slow down aging or damage of our cells, but ginger’s 6-gingerol’s antioxidant ability is posited for being the reason ginger helps to slow down cognitive decline or even improve brain function in some.

3.  It can help with nausea, menstrual pain, stomach discomfort etc.

1-1.5 grams was shown to be as effective as medication against sea sickness, morning sickness, and pain from the menstrual cycle.

4.  It may be slimming!

Ginger activates the same slimming pathway as sleeping in a cold room or eating capsaicin in peppers. How cold? 62 F degrees cold. Cayenne pepper, like ginger, increases energy expenditure by activating brown fat tissue which helps to burn calories and thus lose weight.

Don’t get me started on the budding research showing ginger’s effects on diabetes and heart disease risk factors.

Convinced?!? Let’s do this!

Tips on how to use ginger…

  1. Crush it! Release the juices and increase the surface area. If you like the spiciness of ginger, but don’t want to eat it, take a large piece and crush it with the side of your knife, sharp side away from you of course. Then you can use the piece of ginger for soups, sautéing, etc. but fish it out since it’s still one big chunk.
  2. Add a chunk to your morning smoothie – wakes up your senses and potentially keeps that blood sugar down. My smoothie this morning: banana, apple, fingertip of ginger, strawberries, and kale with cold brewed hibiscus green tea and crushed flax seeds.
  3. Remove the skin with the side of a spoon. Then grate, julienne or mince it. Use it to make tea, spice up soup, add it to almost every stir fry, or brighten up anything sweet. Or try making ginger beer – a probiotic gingery drink!
  4. No fresh ginger? Or don’t want to bother with the root? (I buy mine in bulk and freeze it), ground ginger from the spice rack works too. Ginger tea is just 1/4 teaspoon with hot water, and a touch of honey.

I hope you find more ways and reasons to keep Ginger around! Please share your tricks!