SLIDER

SURPRISING REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY

10.30.2018


Before running to a therapist or gulping a handful of Xanax, try this. Take two deep breaths. After oxygenating your brain for a few seconds, give this article a quick glance. You might be pleasantly surprised by how simple these proposed solutions are. Whether you deal with stress sporadically or continuously, these three tips are meant to empower you to take back control.

Be more mindful of what goes into your mouth. Switch out caffeinated drinks (espresso, soda and dark teas) for chamomile tea. Caffeine invokes anxiety attacks by triggering rapid heartbeat, sweat and nausea (Webmd article). Chamomile contains a compound called epigenin which is known to combat these symptoms by inducing relaxation and sleep, while alleviating signs of depression (Detroit news article). Instead of sugary desserts (simple carbs), treat yourself to a bowl of sweet potato fries (complex carbs). Fiber-rich complex carbohydrates stabilize the mood by evening sugar levels. Stop using toothpaste with fluoride. Overtime, fluoride can cause a buildup in the pineal gland, preventing it from producing enough melatonin. This hormone regulates wakefulness, allowing for a healthier sleep cycle. One particular brand that offers a wide range of fluoride free toothpastes is Kiss My Face. Taking control of your diet  and hygiene is one way to ward off unforeseen panic episodes.

Heal yourself at an energetic level. The ancient indian healing system of ayurveda also recommends sweet potatoes as a remedy, but for a vastly different reason. Root crops ground imbalanced vata energy. This imbalance is a common cause of anxiety (Yogi Surprise article). Our bodies hold the three energies of kapha (earth), pitta (fire, water) and vata (air). Keeping these three forces in check prevents persistent panic attacks. Ayurveda employs the strategic intake of herbs like turmeric, and choosing foods based on their cooling or warming energetic properties. Plot out a regimen based on your dosha/s by checking online resources like Goop. Consulting with an ayurvedic practitioner can give you more detailed insights on your unique make up.


Implement alternative techniques like yoga and meditation to supplement your recovery. Both methods utilize the breath to heal and strengthen. Proper use of various breathing methods can maintain emotional balance and improve mental clarity. It can also release muscle tension, relax the nervous system and regulate the heart (Conscious Lifestyle Mag article). Simultaneously caring for your body, mind and spirit creates an impenetrable shield to block distress.

The key to defeating mental and emotional turmoil is treating all aspects of yourself. We need to be willing to make changes in diet, lifestyle and mindset. It takes initiative to tackle it head on and diligence to keep it from coming back.

Photos by: Radu Florin & Eneko Urunuela

EXTEND YOUR LIFE BY FLOSSING

10.23.2018


This seemingly inconsequential ritual has surprising benefits. Medical research suggests that flossing impacts life expectancy in very unexpected ways. Find out why and how.

Most people see flossing as a tedious and unnecessary chore. Time and again, dentists implore their patients to make it a habit. Those who disagree shrug it off as another pointless task, except when they're trying to impress a date. Having a piece of spinach clinging between one's pearly whites might leave an unfavorable impression on a first encounter. 

This nightly ritual is an efficient way to maintain a cleaner mouth, free from food debris and bacteria. Dental floss can reach into the nooks and crannies between molars and incisors. A toothbrush isn't designed to penetrate such tiny spaces. Mouthwash can kill bacteria by chemical means but it relies on the mouth's gentle gargling motion. That's no match for the rigorous gliding action of flossing. It easily dislodges trapped particles of food. Flossing before or after brushing, ensures that the mouth is completely free from all food residue.

Leftover food particles from chewing attracts bacteria. These organisms release enzymes which over time, can start eating into bone, rendering the teeth vulnerable to infections. Bacteria thrive on sugars which is why sweets are the prime culprits for causing cavities that bore into the affected teeth. This bacterial proliferation can spread and infect other areas of the mouth. Such disorder can result in gum sensitivity and swelling. Poorly maintained oral health eventually leads to inflammation which is deemed the root cause of most diseases.

If gums feel inflamed and sensitive, this could signify the onset of gingivitis. Because gums are filled with vessels that carry blood everywhere, bacterial proliferation can spread throughout the vascular system which includes the heart. Microbial infection in blood vessels can lead to acute inflammation. This in turn, can lead to atherosclerosis which is the hardening of arteries. If the blood vessels in the heart become affected, it could lead to heart disease or stroke (Webmd article). In the United States, one in four deaths is attributed to heart disease (CDC article). This implies that flossing can indirectly lengthen life expectancy.

Another severe form of oral infection is periodontitis. Symptoms include the formation of pockets of pus. Doctors suspect a correlation between periodontitis and diabetes. Research suggests that periodontitis may be an indicator of the initial stages of diabetes. Those suffering from severe periodontitis are three times likely to also have diabetes. This would imply a complex interconnected mechanism in which once condition exacerbates the other. Poor oral hygiene has much more far-reaching effects than previously thought (The List article, BMJ article).

Furthermore, scientists are discovering that neglecting to floss has a direct relationship with memory loss and dementia. An eighteen year study with 5,500 participants indicates that subjects who suffer from dementia symptoms also have a high proliferation of gum disease-related bacteria in their brains. Doctors believe that these may have migrated from their mouths (Reuters article). This is evidence of how deeply intertwined the various systems in our body are.

Don't underestimate the power of good hygiene. Flossing might just be the silver bullet that many overlook. This three-minute task that we so often neglect to do is the simplest way to prevent numerous life-threatening conditions.

Photo by: Lesly Juarez

FIRST STEPS TO WEALTH BUILDING

10.16.2018


Looking to tame your current overspending? Realizing the urgency to save for retirement? Here are three easy steps to grow your sparse pennies into stacks of benjamins.

Saving money starts in your head. First, identify those costly temptations. Did beauty youtubers compel you to buy a barely noticeable highlighter or a second cleanser? Don't underestimate the power of those tiny Costco finger food samples. You'll be walking out with three boxes of mini quiches. The key is to avoid these enticements. Much like going to the gym, training your brain to spend wisely will get easier over time.

Secondly, make sure your money has a comfortable place to stay. Find a bank that yields interest, a place where your money can grow. Online banks like Marcus by Goldman Sachs, American Express and Ally have the highest interest rates and the lowest fees. These online banks also offer services that help you manage your money better. Automated payments, mobile check deposit, and access to your credit score are among the many offerings that can help you save. These are much better banking options than the traditional brick and mortar institutions. Check out Nerdwallet's website for the best banks and financial products.

The third and last step is saving for your future self. Retirement is inevitable regardless of how far away it may seem right now. Start putting away money in your retirement account. These accounts keep your money invested in stocks, bonds and funds in order to make it grow large enough for the time you retire. Unlike brokerage accounts, retirement accounts won't significantly reduce your earnings through taxes and fees. Your money grows tax deferred over time.

Having an account with the word Roth means you will be taxed up front but not upon withdrawal. However if you are under 59 1/2, you will have to pay taxes on your earnings. If you see 401k in your account name, it means you have a company sponsored account. Employers can choose to add free money, matching a specific percentage of your contributions. Retirement accounts have so many benefits that people tend to overlook. Be sure to max out how much you contribute before considering alternative investments.

If you have extra money after maxing out your retirement account, think about purchasing index funds. These are a type of mutual fund that tracks a specific index. One popular index is the Standard and Poor's 500. It tracks 500 of the top companies in the United States. These index funds have low fees because they are not actively managed by people. They automatically mimic the index they track. It never hurts to put extra money to work as long as it is done wisely.


Regardless of how far along you are in your money journey, keep in mind that it takes time, patience and diligence to be financially free. It is not something that happens overnight so don't feel pressured. Like everything else, money management just needs to be done one baby step at a time.

Photos by: Steve Johnson & Sharon McCutcheon

AN ENTIRE BEAUTY REGIMEN IN A BOTTLE

10.09.2018


On the hunt for a simple ingredient to replace your bottles of chemical-laden skin care products? Tired of implementing the twelve-step, triple cleansing, double serum method, after a fifteen hour work day? Yep, you still have leftover mascara on the outside corners of your eyes. Look no further.

Rosehip oil is considered one of the most effective multi-purpose ingredients. This plant-based oil is extracted from the seeds of tiny fruits that develop inside roses. It has a unique pear-like shape, which makes it look like it has protruding hips, hence the name rosehip.


The precious amber-colored liquid is adept in killing acne-causing bacteria, thanks to its antimicrobial properties. Rosehip's phenolic compounds kill bacteria while its antioxidants, vitamin C and E, scavenge for free-radicals. This is essentially the dream team when faced with adult breakouts. One group of chemicals enables the skin to fight off unwanted acne that's been camping out on your face, while the other crew battles the free-radicals that initiate the aging process by breaking down cells. It's like having a great defense with an equally superb offense, all packed into tiny little droplets of potent plant extracts.

This workhorse also takes care of the persistent scars after the acne bacteria has left the premises. It evens out spots and dark patches with the aid of a flavonoid (plant pigment) called quercetin and vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Both agents lighten the skin by inhibiting tyrosinase activity. Hydroquinone, a topical treatment prescribed by doctors, treats melasma in a similar manner. However, the more natural alternatives don't expose the user to risky side effects like hydroquinone does. These include skin irritation and severe discoloration. Using rosehip essential oil is a safer way to heal dark spots without causing any additional harm (U.S. National Library of Medicine articleInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences).

Rosehip also refines the skin's texture and heals injuries by encouraging cell turnover. It attributes these unique qualities to one ingredient, tretinoic acid. This is the active ingredient found in Retin-A. Dermatologists prescribe Retin-A for healing acne, smoothing wrinkles and healing old scars. As Retin-A's distant all-natural cousin, this liquid gold is extremely effective in delivering visible results (research article).

Unlike Retin-A, rosehip oil is extremely gentle. It doesn't cause peeling, swelling or redness. The essential oil is emollient but not comedogenic. It is especially soothing for those with sensitive skin. The lipid composition of this oil conforms to the needs of those looking to treat an imbalance in sebum production. Rosehip is abundant in linoleic acid which oily acne-prone skin is deficient in. Unlike most face oils, it is low in oleic acid which stimulates an overproduction of acne-causing sebum. Its rebalancing composition shrinks clogged pores and restores the skin back to health (Byrdie article). This dry oil absorbs more quickly because of its lipid structure and watery consistency. This soothing but effective wonder is an ideal daily moisturizer for those with temperamental skin.

My favorite brand of rosehip oil is Trilogy, which is available at Wholefoods. Different brands use different strains of this oil. They all come in different shades of yellow and with varying viscosity. Trilogy's exquisite rosehip oil comes in a deeper shade of amber with a rich woodsy crisp smell.  It is the finest quality face oil that I've tried.

Using clever marketing and advertising tactics, the beauty industry cunningly tries to convince us that we need a million concoctions, with mile long ingredient lists, in order to get a flawless complexion. We forget that mother nature makes the purest and most potent plant-derived extracts, that heal and protect us without the added harmful chemicals. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on exfoliating acids, moisturizers, and skin brightening serums, pick up a tiny bottle of rosehip oil. 

Photo by: Christin Hume & Pixabay
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