Aloe Vera – Why do we need it?

Aloe Vera comes from the Liliaceal family, where there are about 360 species. It is a cactus-like plant with yellow flowers that grows in hot, dry climates. It originated in Africa, and is now grown in warm climates around the world, like Asia, Europe and America. It is used in cosmetics, as well as for its medicinal properties. These products are made from the mucilaginous tissue in the center of the aloe vera leaf. The center of the leaf is bitter, yellow and commonly known as the sap, or juice of the aloe vera plant.

The medicinal uses of Aloe Vera include anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity, as well as, antibacterial and hypogylcaemic effects (Vogler, 1999). It contains many active elements, including, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids. The gel contains vitamins like, Vitamin A, C, and E, as well as Vitamin B1, niacin, B2, choline and folic acid (Nazir, 2017). The gel is used in the preparation of health drinks, and food products, like milk and ice cream. It is also used as a flavoring component or a preservative for various foods.

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Due to the plants high nutrient content, it has been shown to be very beneficial for the body. Here are a few of some of the valuable properties:

Arthritis:

Aloe Vera has been shown to repair arthritis-damaged tissue, since it contains analgesic, an anti-inflammatory agent (Nazir, 2017). It can be taken orally applied externally to help repair the damaged tissue and detoxify the area.  Likewise, it can help reduce pain associated with arthritis and swelling.

Heals Wounds:

Since Aloe Vera has many anti-bacterial properties, it has been shown to heal wounds. It has been used to dress wounds for centuries, reducing burns, restoring skin and pain. Research has shown that the juice seals the wounds while drawing blood to the wound, improving the healing properties.

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Immune System:

Aloe Vera has natural detoxifying properties that can cleanse the digestive system and circulatory system. This can help improve the absorption of nutrients and consequently improve the immune system. It has also been shown to inhibit free radicals.

Anti-aging:

Some properties in Aloe Vera helps bind moisture into the skin. Aloe stimulates fibroblast, which produces the collagen and elastin fibers making the skin more elastic, reducing wrinkles (Surjushe, 2008). It helps the skin stay moisturized for longer periods of time, while hardening skin cells and tightening pores. It has also been shown to have an anti-acne effect on the skin, due to the antibacterial properties.

 

 

References

Nazir, A. (2017). Health benefits of aloe vera: A wonder plant. International Journal of Chemical Studies. doi:10.7717/peerj.2589/fig-3
VOGLER, B. K. (october 1999). Aloe vera: A systematic review of its clinical effectiveness. British Journal of General Practice,. Retrieved from http://bjgp.org/content/bjgp/49/447/823.full.pdf
Surjushe, A., Vasani, R., & Saple, D. (2008). Aloe vera: A short review. Indian Journal of Dermatology, 53(4), 163. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.44785
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Supplements I Take Daily to Stay Fit and Healthy

  1. Multivitamin

    Multivitamins are great to take since they ensure that you get the vitamins and minerals you need to live a healthy life. It is difficult to consume all of the nutrients that are needed each day, so it is ideal to supplement it with a multivitamin.
    A variety of vitamins and minerals are needed for your body to complete each task. You lose nutrients when you sweat, stress, consume caffeine or alcohol and when you take certain prescriptions. Being deficient in a nutrient can cause many issues, like slowing down your metabolism or reducing the absorption of other nutrients that you are consuming daily.
    I usually take a chewable multivitamin, since they taste good, but there are many different kinds of multis, such as, whole food multivitamins or multivitamins that are good for genders or age groups.

  2. Vitamin D3

    Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, which promotes bone growth and the maintenance of phosphorus levels. Vitamin D is absorbed through strong sunlight, so many people are deficient in this vitamin, due to the fact that we do not spend as much time in the sunlight as we should. However, it is easy to take a vitamin d3 supplement daily.
    Vitamin D has also been shown to regulate mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  3. Milk Thistle

    Milk thistle is great for detoxifying and protecting the liver. It helps remove toxins from the body and processes healthy liver function. It comes from the Asteraceae plant family, which includes plants like sunflowers and daisies. It contains antioxidants like vitamin e and vitamin c.
    It has been shown to decrease damage to the liver caused by toxins like pollution and heavy metals. I feel that it also helps prevent hang overs.

  1. Vitamin B12

    Vitamin B12 is found in foods such as meat and eggs, so since I am a vegetarian, I take this supplement daily. It has been shown to help increase mood, energy level, memory skin and digestion. It also helps with metabolic functions, like DNA synthesis and hormonal balance.

  2. Mytrition Restorative Sleep:

    I have always had trouble sleeping since I have a busy mind. This supplement contains valerian root, l-theanine, Gaba, 5HTP and Melatonin to help you unwind and promote relaxation. I have tried many different sleep supplements, like melatonin, and I feel that this helps me fall asleep faster and wake up more energetic and ready to start the day.

  3. Collagen

    I always write about how much I love supplementing collagen. It is great for the hair, nails and skin. Your collagen production depletes as you age, so it is ideal to supplement it. It helps reduce wrinkles and supports digestion.

What supplements do you take daily? 

Beauty Items I Can’t Live Without

Growing up, I was never into makeup or doing my hair. I loved to play outside and get dirty, so I have come to love simple beauty items to keep my hair and skin soft and healthy.

  1. Noxema

    My grandma, mother and aunts have been using noxema since their teens and swear by it. So, of course, I use it to! It is an easy face wash that leaves you feeling clean and fresh. I use it every day and every night. It is my go to face wash and beats all of the new, expensive brands out there.

  2. Pond’s Skin Care

    My family also loves Ponds. It is easy to use and leaves your face feeling smooth and moisturized. I never had much acne, so this moisturizer is perfect for my skin. It delivers deep moisture and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  3. Jojoba oil

    My new favorite hair moisturizer. I use a couple of drops after the shower to keep my hair smooth. Jojoba oil comes from the seed of the simmondsia chinesis (jojoba) plant. It is found in southern Arizona, California and northwestern Mexico. You can also use it on your skin, but I only use it on my hair right now. It has been shown to be a home remedy for acne and prevents razor burn. It replenishes moisture and improves texture in your hair, while getting rid of dry scalp and dandruff.

  1. Collagen

    Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. It gives our skin elasticity, preventing wrinkles. Since collagen production slows down as we age, it is important to take collagen to prevent wrinkles, keep our nails strong and hair healthy. So of course, I take collagen every morning. I am still testing out my favorite brand of collagen, but I can be found in powder form, tablets and even shots. It helps prevent wrinkles, while also keeping your digestive system healthy.

Lovely Life

Sorry, I haven’t been writing as much as usual…

I have been in a rut lately and having a hard time getting out of it. I am struggling with money, which is affecting my social life, and ability to pay for rent, food and other necessities. The ants are already starting to infest my home, even though it is still snowing. I keep trying to stay positive throughout all of this and reminding myself that it will all get better soon.

On the bright side, I have recently gotten a promotion at work, which has helped me stay more focused and motivated. My new job entails more research, which I love. My main goal is to work in nutrition research helping low income people, but for now I am trying to enjoy my career path and see where I end up.

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I live across the street from the beach at the jersey shore, so I have been finding a lot of seaglass on my weekend runs and walks on the beach. I have decided to open an etsy account selling wire wrapped seaglass pendants. I only have a few pendants right now, but you can see my etsy store HERE

If you have any creative ideas that I can do with my seaglass, let me know!

 

What are Adaptogens

Adaptogens are natural substances, like herbs, that work to regulate certain hormones and balance the body. They can help to increase the body’s resistance to physical, biological, emotional, and environmental stressors and promote normal physiologic function (Duke,1).  These herbs have been used for thousands of years for their natural health benefits, like boosting the immune system, restoring balance, managing weight, increasing physical endurance, as well as mental focus and mood.

Adaptogens grow in various environments, such as high altitude, rugged mountain regions, extreme cold, low oxygen and other stressful conditions. Many types grow in China, India, Korea, and Russia, while others are native to Europe and North America. Some are ready to harvest in a year, while others take years to mature to have the medicinal properties that they are used for.

4 Popular Adaptogens:

  1. Panax Ginseng: (AKA Asian Ginseng)
    Panax Ginseng grows in the mountainous forests of eastern Manchuria, northern China, and Korea. It is almost extinct in the wild. This type of adaptogen is used to improve calmness and memory performance. Some research states that it can help lower blood sugar levels.
  2. Astragalus:
    Astragalus is native to china and is grown in full sun and sandy soil with low nitrogen levels. It is used in Chinese medicine to decrease stress hormones and improve the stress response. It has also been shown to boost immunity. Many studies show that it can boost cortisol levels, allowing the body to respond better to types of stress. Today, it is commonly used for lack of appetite, organ prolapse, fatigue and wasting and thirsting syndrome. It is also used to enhance the immune system, preventing colds, and other illnesses.
  3. Cordyceps:
    Cordyceps is a type of fungus that grows on the Himalaya Mountains in Tibet and Bhutan. It is rare to find. They are high in antioxidants and contains immune-enhancing properties. It is now used to treat illnesses associated with the kidneys. It is also used to treat infertility in men and women, frequent urination, night sweats, dizziness and fatigue.
  4. Holy Basil:
    It is found throughout the lowlands of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Southern China and Malaysia. It is known for its antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant and antiviral properties. It is also a diuretic, and galactogogue.
References
Winston, D., & Maimes, S. (2007). Adaptogens: herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

 

Easy Veggie Chips!

This recipe is very easy and you can use a variety of vegetables! I used beets, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Veggie Chips

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5 potatoes or vegetable of choice
2 tbsp olive oil (or oil of choice)
1 tbsp salt
Seasoning of choice

Slice vegetables thin and place in a bowl and add oil, salt and seasoning of choice. I used garlic powder and pepper. Place in air fryer and cook for 20 minutes or until they are hard like chips. Make sure to shake the basket every 5-10 minutes. Take them out of air fryer and toss with salt and seasoning. 

Enjoy!

Everything You Need to Know About Eating Organic

Eating organic has been an on going trend for many reasons. To some, it means eating healthier, while to others it is a life style. Organic foods are free of pesticides, chemicals, and harmful fertilizers. They are not genetically modified or altered in anyway. The livestock are raised with out added antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic livestock are given organic feed and have access to the outdoors. To prevent diseases with the livestock, they are rotated, given a healthy diet and natural methods are used to avoid the spread of diseases if it does occur.og.jpg

Benefits:

  • Organic food does not contain harmful pesticides, fungicides, antibiotic or other harmful chemicals.
  • Sustainable agriculture is better for the environment. It reduces soil erosion, increases soil richness and conserves water. It also keeps small farms in business and supports local businesses.
  • Organic food is usually fresher since they do not contain pesticides. They do not last, as long with out the pesticides and preservatives, so they are usually local.

Since purchasing organic food is fairly expensive, it is more important to purchase some produce organic rather than others. Some types of conventional produce have a higher percentage of pesticides than others, so it is ideal to purchase them organic. I have provided a list of produce that is important to purchase organic.

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Produce to Buy Organic:

Apples
Kale
Summer Squash/ Zucchini
Cherries
Snap peas
Peaches/Nectarines
Spinach
Hot Peppers/Sweet Bell Peppers
Strawberries
Celery
Cucumbers
Grapes
Tomatoes
Meat
Corn
Soy Products