Beauty Sleep: More than Just a Figure of Speech!

There’s always a reason not to get enough sleep. You have too much work to do, there’s a good movie on TV, you need to go to the gym, you haven’t done your grocery shopping… the list goes on. We often forego sleep and accept that getting done whatever we need to do is worth the price of being tired the next day. What most of us don’t factor in when we make this decision is that losing sleep has many more effects on our bodies than just leaving us feeling tired.

Having a good night’s sleep is not only key to staying physically and mentally healthy, but also to maintaining our dashing good looks! Adequate sleep is as important for your overall health as diet and exercise, and is also vital for preventing dreaded weight gain and wrinkles. A lot of people struggle with getting better sleep because of insomnia, and turn to sleeping pills to usurp this problem. Unfortunately, sleeping pills can further contribute to health problems, which is why we recommend a non-addictive natural health supplement like femMED sleep.

The average adult needs between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night in order to keep their metabolism functioning properly. Lack of sleep causes a simultaneous decrease in a hormone called leptin, and an increase in the hormone ghrelin. Leptin is responsible for controlling your appetite, and ghrelin stimulates appetite. An increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin forges a powerful and unfortunate bond that leads to an increased appetite and a resulting weight-gain.

A recent study also showed that people who are sleep-deprived tend to eat more sweet and starchy foods, which is a further contributor to weight gain and obesity. Our brains are fuelled by glucose, and so when we are lacking sleep it becomes natural to crave carbohydrates.

Clearly this combination of many factors indicates that if we want to prevent unnecessary weight gain, then sleep is key! But on top of its involvement in controlling weight, sleep also plays a role in our skin’s composition.

Do you ever wake up in the morning after a bad night’s sleep and look in the mirror to find more wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes? You’re not alone! While we’re sleeping, the body focuses on repair and recovery, and this includes preparing our skin for the next day. When we don’t sleep, this repair doesn’t happen.

Without adequate sleep, there is an increase in the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for breaking down the body’s skin cells and decreasing the human growth hormone. In function, the human growth hormone is the opposite of cortisol. It builds up and results in thicker skin and a more youthful appearance overall. When there is an increase in cortisol and a decrease in the human growth hormone, as is caused by inadequate sleep, wrinkles will be evident sooner than they should be! Sleep will remedy this, but there are also supplements to improve your skin’s overall health.

Next time you’re thinking about skipping out on sleep to get something done, remember that it’s probably not the best idea! If you’re really struggling to get the recommended amount of sleep in your schedule, check out these tips which might contribute to you getting a better sleep. We need a good night’s rest to optimize our health inside and out.

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Is Coconut Oil the Newest Fad or is There Something To It?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that coconut oil is the new ‘must-have’ product in your home. It boasts an array of benefits which span from the bathroom to the kitchen, and it seems almost too good to be true. People have been asking me whether it’s just a fad, but it looks like coconut oil is definitely here to stay!

The truth is coconut oil has been used for thousands of years in other cultures. It is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medical system of India, as well as in many other traditional health practices.

We’re a couple of millennia late to the party, but it’s better late than never! Here are some of the reasons why you should invite coconut oil into your life:

 

It’s Great for Cooking! 

  • It’s a terrific substitute for butter or margarine because it is solid at room temperature.
  • Because of its high smoking temperature, it’s great for baking, stir frying and roasting (unlike olive oil).
  • Unlike butter, it is ideal for vegans.
  • It is extremely stable and resistant to oxidation, which lends itself to a shelf life of up to 2 years!
  • Coconut is classified as a seed or a fruit so people with tree nut allergies generally do not have to worry about allergic responses.

It Keeps You Gorgeous!

  • Dry skin from the winter?  No problem! Coconut oil works wonders as a moisturizer, and can prevent dryness and flaking of skin.
  • It is a great anti-wrinkle cream because of its antioxidant properties. Apply coconut oil directly to your skin to soften the appearance of fine lines.
  • It can be used to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.  This is why it is often the first ingredient in soaps, creams, and lotions.
  • You can use it as massage oil, lip balm, and even to treat diaper rash!
  • It can be used as a hair mask, as it has healing and nourishing properties for dry and damaged hair. It can be heavy, so if your hair is on the thinner side just massage it lightly into the ends, and don’t forget to wash it out!
  • It is an amazing eye make-up remover.

It Helps Keep You Healthy!

  • It can help improve digestion and digestive problems including Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • The saturated fats in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties which can fight various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion.
  • Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid.  This is considered a healthy
    choice as studies show that lauric acid can raise your ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL)
    and lower the ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL).
  • Coconut oil also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
  • Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are small enough to be absorbed into the cells where they’re quickly converted to energy. Through this process insulin sensitivity is improved as there is no spike in blood sugar or insulin levels.

It Might Even Keep You Skinny!

  • The short and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil can help take off excess weight. These MCFAs are sent directly to the liver and immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as body fat.
  • Even Oprah is behind it! In September 2012 Oprah magazine cited two studies linking coconut oil to weight loss. Here are the specifics:

“A study published in the journal Lipids found that a small group of obese women who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil a day for 12 weeks saw their waistlines shrink, while women who consumed the same amount of soybean oil experienced no such change. And one of St-Onge’s studies, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed that overweight subjects who consumed medium-chain triglycerides as part of a diet program lost more weight and more abdominal fat than subjects who consumed olive oil.”

 Coconut Oil: Not Just a Fad!

I only keep two oils in my home; olive oil for salad dressings and low heating,
and coconut oil for everything else.

If you decide to purchase coconut oil, make sure it’s labeled virgin or extra virgin as they are produced from the first pressing of fresh, raw coconut without adding any chemicals.

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Eggs: Are They All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

Over the years, eggs have developed a bad rap. Some people had gone so far as to suggest that eggs should be removed completely from your diet because they are loaded with a dangerous amount of cholesterol even for a healthy heart. With new
scientific discoveries though, eggs are making a comeback. In fact, they seem
to have done a full 180 and are now being touted for all their health benefits.

While it is true that egg yolks contain cholesterol and may weakly affect blood cholesterol levels, it turns out they also contain nutrients that help lower the risk of
heart disease.

Eggs Contain:

Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 has been shown to help protect against
heart disease.
Choline This nutrient plays an important function for the
nervous system, helping to control memory and muscle support.
Vitamin D Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, which a lot of
North Americans lack in the winter.
Protein Eggs are a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids. Protein plays an essential role in building, maintaining, and replacing tissues in the body.

Over the years, eggs were ‘rumoured’ to be bad for the heart because they contain cholesterol. Recent research indicates, however, that blood cholesterol levels are more influenced by the saturated and trans-fats we eat rather than by the cholesterol in foods. This means that our bodies are not absorbing the cholesterol from foods at a rate even close to the extent that was thought in the past. On top of this, eggs contain Vitamin B12, which is one of the vitamins for heart health. This is a great natural supplement if you’re wondering how to prevent heart disease in women or men!

How much cholesterol do we need?
The recommended daily cholesterol intake for a healthy person is not more than 300 milligrams per day.  In healthy people, an egg a day will not increase the risk of heart disease and can be part of a healthy diet. Women with heart disease should limit dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day, but you can still have eggs up to 3 times per week.

One egg contains:

  • 185mg of cholesterol, all of which is found in the
    yolk
  •  5 grams of fat, most of which is the ‘good’ unsaturated fat and there is no trans-fat
  • 6 grams of protein

So what are your options if you suffer from heart disease and/or are trying to limit your eggs?
Have an omelet with one egg yolk and 3 egg whites. Egg whites are pure protein! You can add as many vegetables as you like.
Eggs are filling, inexpensive and easy to prepare, so start incorporating them into your diet!

By the way…What’s the difference between white eggs and brown eggs?
As it turns out, not a whole lot! Brown eggs come from brown hens, and white eggs come from white hens!

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