|Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health
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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates
IN THIS ISSUE:
1) SWEET ALMOND OIL FOR BETTER SKIN, HAIR AND OVERALL HEALTH
2) 3 UNIQUE VEGGIES THAT FIGHT ABDOMINAL FAT?
3) NATURAL REMEDIES FOR COLD AND FLU SEASON
1) SWEET ALMOND OIL FOR BETTER SKIN, HAIR AND OVERALL HEALTH
by Liivi Hess
Sweet almond oil is often mentioned in DIY cosmetics recipes, but what are its benefits? Turns out this popular oil is more than just a pretty face — it also holds promise for healthy cooking and cardiovascular wellness.
Almond oil has been used for millennia in Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean, where almond trees were first grown agriculturally. The people benefiting from this nourishing oil for generations didn’t need to analyze the particular vitamins and compounds contained within to know that it’s a superfood and an amazing natural cosmetic. Now modern science has been able to confirm that almond oil’s beneficial properties come from vitamin E, vitamin A, B vitamins, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
The unique blend of these compounds is what allows almond oil to provide so many therapeutic properties, such as:
~Anti-inflammatory: Almond oil reduces inflammation when it is applied to skin and also when it is consumed.
~Antioxidant: The vitamins in almond oil supply antioxidant action to protect cells from damage.
~Detoxifying: Almond oil supports the liver in eliminating toxins.
~Emollient: Almond oil is a natural emollient, which means it soothes the skin and helps it stay moist and flexible.
~Sclerosant: Almond oil can be used to minimize vein issues such as spider veins, hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
~Laxative: When used internally, almond oil has a gentle laxative action to promote regular elimination.
~Analgesic: Almond oil can be used as a mild pain reliever, so it makes a great massage oil for sore muscles.
~Cicatrizant: Thanks to the vitamins contained within, almond oil helps wounds
heal faster with less scarring.
Almond oil comes in two varieties: bitter and sweet. The bitter type is made from wild almonds, which naturally contain a potential toxin called amygdalin. Cultivated almonds have been bred to have a sweet taste and to eliminate the toxins; therefore, the oil from these almonds is called “sweet almond oil.” This is the type that is used for consumption and cosmetic applications.
Here are the best ways to make use of sweet almond oil in the kitchen, in the bathroom and in your makeup bag.
Sweet almond oil is amazing for practically every hair concern. A dry scalp or dandruff can be relieved with a few treatments of almond oil rubbed into the scalp. Hair can be treated with almond oil for shine, detangling and prevention of split ends. And thanks to the magnesium content, almond oil may help hair grow faster. Try doing a hot oil treatment with almond oil once per week —
simply warm up a few teaspoons of oil (depending on your hair length) and massage it on. Cover hair with a shower cap for two to three hours, then wash or rinse.
Gorgeous hair doesn’t stop there — try using a little bit of sweet almond oil combed into the eyelashes for a lengthening and strengthening treatment. This is best applied before bedtime to allow it to soak in overnight.
Almond oil is so gentle that it is the most recommended oil for babies. It absorbs well, making it the perfect oil for massage and for use after washing. The pleasant sweet and nutty aroma also makes almond oil an enjoyable choice.
The antioxidant capacity of almond oil means that it works to heal conditions such as dry and cracked skin, eczema and psoriasis, and dandruff. All you need to do is apply a small amount of pure almond oil, optionally combining it with a few drops of essential oil suitable for the condition, like
lavender or tea tree oil to soothe skin issues. The vitamin A content in almond oil may help fight acne, keratosis pilaris and rosacea.
Anti-aging and beauty
At The Alternative Daily, we are always putting food on our faces. The antioxidants in almond oil are ideal for protecting the skin from sun damage and reducing signs of aging. Using almond oil as a daily facial cleanser is a great way to remove dirt and debris without drying the skin.
If you want to try oil cleansing with almond oil, start by moistening the face with warm water to open the pores. Apply a small amount of oil and massage into the skin. If you wish to exfoliate, you can scrub a little bit with a soft natural bristle brush or facecloth. Let the oil sit for a minute or two, then gently rinse and pat dry. The perfect amount of oil will remain behind to leave your facial skin feeling moisturized and supple with a subtle glow.
Similarly, the oil can
be used as a make-up remover that leaves skin clean without over-drying. Lips and nails also enjoy getting a little bit of special treatment with sweet almond oil. Lips can be softened with a moisturising emollient treatment of almond oil mixed with honey, while cuticles and nails love to be massaged with a blend of sweet almond oil and shea butter. The same treatment is great for minimizing scars and stretch marks.
Although using pure and natural ingredients topically is important, we can also gain health and beauty benefits from consuming them.
Since almond oil is a mild laxative, adding a teaspoon to a smoothie can be a great way to gently cleanse the colon and promote regular elimination. The magnesium content may also help prevent cramping or pain in the digestive system and may relieve colic in babies.
Sweet almond oil is a heart-protective healthy fat. The monounsaturated fat content has been found
to lower harmful LDL cholesterol while raising healthy HDL cholesterol. Improving this ratio is said to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The minerals provided by almond oil help improve bone density to support a robust skeletal system. Other nutrients such as riboflavin, L-carnitine and phenylalanine are believed to improve memory and nervous system function.
How to choose the best almond oil
As always in shopping for healthy, natural products, it’s important to read the label and scrutinize the ingredients list. Check that you are buying 100 percent pure sweet almond oil, and that it is packaged in a dark bottle to prevent oxidation. Glass is the best packaging material to preserve freshness. Ideally, you will be able to find a brand that uses organically grown almonds and employs a cold-pressing process (without heat or solvents) to extract the oil.
Now that you’re up to speed with all of the
awesome benefits of sweet almond oil, why not try incorporating it into your natural beauty regimen and even adding it to recipes. Find out more about natural beauty treatments and avoiding toxins.
Liivi is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and is training to become a doula. She inspires women to find peace and personal power by taking control of health and fertility naturally. Liivi‘s passion is ancestral nutrition and primal lifestyle design. She and her partner Will live between Toronto, Canada and Queenstown, New Zealand.
2) 3 UNIQUE VEGGIES THAT FIGHT ABDOMINAL FAT?
by Mike Geary
I bet you didn't know that there is a specific class of vegetables that contain very unique phytonutrients that actually help to fight against stubborn belly fat.
Let me explain what these unique vegetables are and why they help to burn stomach fat...
Chemicals that force
your body to hold onto belly fat
Something you may have never heard about is that certain chemicals in our food supply and our environment, such as pesticides, herbicides, and certain petrochemicals from air and water pollution, household cleaners, plastics, cosmetics, etc can react with your hormones and make your body store excess abdominal fat.
These harmful chemicals are known as xenoestrogens.
Xenoestrogens are chemicals that you are exposed to (and are hard to avoid in the modern world) that have an estrogenic effect in your body. Excess exposure to these can cause hormone balance disruptions for both men and women. So if you thought this article was just for the guys, these chemicals can wreak havoc in the body for both guys and gals.
These estrogenic chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis can stimulate your body to store belly fat, along with many other problems (including cancer risks in the
So here's where this specific class of vegetables comes in handy...
One of those cool tricks that I teach my clients that hire me for nutritional counselling is the use of cruciferous vegetables to help fight against stomach fat.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy, cabbage, etc. contain very specific and unique phytonutrients such as indole-3-carbinol (I3C) that help to fight against these estrogenic compounds...
And by fighting against these belly fat stimulating estrogenic chemicals, this is just 1 more step in helping you to win the battle against abdominal fat!
So there you go... just another excuse to do what mom always told you and eat more broccoli and cauliflower!
I've really learned to like brussells sprouts in the last year too... Melt a little grass-fed cheese on them and some garlic and they're great!
3) NATURAL REMEDIES FOR COLD AND FLU SEASON
by Amy Halloran
Often overlooked are the amazing preventative properties of certain natural remedies, which come without the unwanted side effects pharmaceutical drugs can incur.
According to naturopathy student Laurence Couture-Dubé, the biggest advantage of taking natural remedies as opposed to antibiotics is that these plants respect the homeostasis—the maintenance of balance and stability—of bodily functions. They strengthen and nourish the body so that it can heal itself through its own resources.
On the other hand, antibiotics, while often necessary in cases of emergency or chronic illness, kill all bacteria, some of which are good and strengthen the immune system.
Advil and Tylenol are also widely used as a response to the first symptoms of a cold or flu. However, these drugs take a toll on our liver and can
prevent the body’s natural defence mechanism of raising its temperature to kill intruding germs.
Some common conditions that the winter months bring are colds, the flu, sinus and ear infections and whooping cough. More serious infections include bronchitis and pneumonia.
Couture-Dubé, who is finishing her degree at L’Ecole d’Enseignement Supérieur de Naturopathie du Québec, is also a trained massage therapist and yoga teacher. She cites three categories of medicinal herbs key to naturally staying healthy in the winter months: toning, stimulating and pectoral.
Toning plants, such as cordyceps and astragalus, strengthen the immune system and can be taken all winter long.
Stimulating plants may be the ones most associated with cold prevention and include echinacea, elderberry and usnea. When taken, they activate the body to fight an oncoming cold. They should be taken upon the first appearance of symptoms and for a
maximum of one month, in order to avoid exhausting the immune system.
The three stimulating plants mentioned above are particularly effective in tincture form.
Pectoral plants heal the respiratory system. Thyme, marshmallow root and mullein are known to strengthen and soothe irritated respiratory tracts. They also kill germs, reduce coughing and clear up mucus.
Any medicinal plant must be taken often and diligently in order to fight infection. In order for them to be most effective, Couture- Dubé recommends taking them every day at the same hour. There are also other ways to stay healthy at this time of year.
“Sleep, plenty of water, warm feet, eating frugally and consuming the occasional vegetable broth are small things that we can do to get back on our feet as quickly as possible,” Couture-Dubé said.
Beside teas and tinctures as recipes for a healthy winter, essential oils can do wonders for congested lungs.
Eucalyptus, balsam fir and ravintsara are antiviral, warming and can act as an expectorant. Mix a few drops with water and spray around the room, or take one or two small drops and gently rub them on the affected area.
A workshop about alternative ways to survive the winter was held on Jan. 20 at the Concordia Greenhouse. Speaker Lisa- Francesca Lewak spoke extensively about healing the body by changing diets.
“If we warm ourselves from the inside, we will be hot on the outside,” she stated.
She encouraged consumption of warming foods, such as ginger, and the importance of avoiding raw, “cold” foods, such as salads, to stay healthy at this time of year. Also, she stressed that properly functioning kidneys are vital for good energy levels and are particularly under attack during the cold season.
Lewak recommended taking astragalus, nicknamed “the Great Protector,” for kidney health.
explore these natural alternatives to conventional drugs, Le Frigo Vert has many interesting medicinal herbs and supplements in stock, as well as l’Alchimiste en herbe and Carrefour Santé. Quebec-based companies Clef-des-champs, Botanica and St-Francis make blends of herbs to treat specific illnesses.
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It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge,
to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit,
and for that of your family.
You are the one responsible for your health.
You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health
matters. My views and advises are not intended to be a substitute for
conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes
in order to help your body heal itself.
If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.