Month: October 2018

If you’ve heard that red wine is one of the healthiest of all alcoholic beverages, it’s for good reason.

Thanks to the antioxidants found in the skins of grapes from which it’s made, red wine has been widely publicized as being “healthful”. The kind of antioxidants found in red wine, like RESVERATROL, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Inflammation and oxidation are considered the root causes of most disease, so consuming antioxidant-rich foods is a key component in disease prevention.

Moderate consumption of red wine has been linked to improved heart health, along with other health benefits, like decreasing the risk of:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • diabetes
  • certain cancers
  • depression

Some of the buzz around red wine’s health benefits comes from its prominent role in the well-studied Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet includes lots of fruit, vegetables, fish, olive oil, and red wine, and is believed to contribute to a long lifespan and low incidences of heart disease and cancer among Mediterranean populations.

The health benefits of red wine are also thought to contribute to low rates of heart disease among the French, despite this population traditionally eating a diet high in saturated fat (think cheese, cream, and buttery croissants!).

How exactly does red wine improve heart health?

But, does a glass of red wine a day really keep the doctor away? Maybe.

Studies have linked regular consumption of red wine with the following positive outcomes:

  • increased HDL cholesterol (the good, protective kind)
  • lowered LDL cholesterol (the bad, inflammatory kind)
  • lowered triglycerides (fat or lipids found in the blood)
  • improved blood pressure
  • more stable blood sugar levels

High blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and undesirable cholesterol and triglyceride levels are all contributing factors in the development of more serious heart disease, like heart attacks and stroke.

Is red wine an essential part of a healthy diet?

The short answer is no.

If you aren’t a fan of wine or choose not to consume alcoholic beverages, there’s no reason to start drinking red wine for the sake of your health!

Plenty of other diet and lifestyle factors, like eating lots of fruits and vegetables, getting regular physical activity, not smoking, and managing stress can provide the same health benefits.

If you enjoy drinking wine, you should choose red varieties over white for the added antioxidants and health benefits. While white wine does contain some antioxidants from grapes, red wine contains much higher amounts.

Like any other alcoholic beverage, it’s also important to remember to limit wine consumption. The health benefits of red wine only apply when it is enjoyed in moderation. Surprise!

When consumed in excess, any alcoholic beverage can negatively impact your health, contributing to alcohol dependence, organ damage, and increased risk of several cancers.

A good rule of thumb for alcohol intake is to limit consumption to one (1) drink per day for women and one to two (1-2) drinks per day for men. The serving size for one standard glass of red wine is 4 oz.

Since the size of wine glasses can vary, use a liquid measuring cup to familiarize yourself with what a 4 oz pour of wine looks like. Then, stick to that serving size!

References

Healthline – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-wine-good-or-bad

Healthline – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-vs-white-wine

Time.com – http://time.com/4070762/red-wine-resveratrol-diabetes/

Whether you call them pimples, blemishes, or zits, ACNE is a common skin condition that can be a source of discomfort, frustration, and embarrassment for those who experience it.

There’s quite a lot of behind-the-scenes action happening in your body that contributes to the development of it.

What Is Acne?

Acne can occur at any age, but is often experienced during distinct phases of hormonal shifting, like adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. This is because fluctuating hormone levels can increase the amount of oil produced by the skin.

A bout of acne or even the appearance of a single pimple is the result of a buildup of oil, skin cells, and/or bacteria in the pores of the skin.

Causes of Acne

Studies have linked acne to:

  • Inflammation – the root cause of all disease
  • Compromised gut health (i.e. leaky gut, not enough good gut bacteria)
  • High blood sugar and unstable insulin levels
  • Hormonal imbalances

The foods you eat don’t usually directly cause breakouts, but can contribute to acne by promoting inflammation, impairing gut health, and spiking blood sugar and insulin levels.

Inflammatory foods include those high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Examples include:

  • White breads, pasta, and rice
  • Candy, baked goods, and other sweet desserts
  • Sweetened drinks, like soda
  • Fried foods
  • Hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and saturated fats found in margarines, processed foods, and many animal products

Refined carbohydrates (many of which are high glycemic index foods), contain little fibre and protein, which helps slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes.

Instead, these sugary foods are quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, causing blood sugar to climb and lots of insulin to be released.

Excess insulin can affect other hormones and cause too much oil to be made by the skin, resulting in those dreaded breakouts.

Typical Acne Treatments

Most people deal with breakouts on the surface, relying on topical cleansers, creams and lotions to treat their blemished skin as fast as possible.

However, relying solely on these types of treatments can result in a cycle of continuous breakouts and can delay complete healing of the skin.

‘Spot treatments’ are just that – they treat the symptom (the acne), but never address the underlying root cause.

Instead of reaching for the harsh topicals and concealer, try healing your skin from the inside out.

Treating Acne Holistically

It’s important to consider any foods you may be sensitive to and to try avoid or minimize those. Your immune system can react to certain foods, causing even more of an inflammatory response.

If you suspect your breakouts may be caused by a food sensitivity, consider testing or trying an elimination diet to identify the food trigger. This is best done under the guidance of a nutrition professional or healthcare practitioner.

Common food triggers include sugar, wheat, soy, and dairy (cow’s milk).

To heal skin and prevent future breakouts, focus on foods that contain plenty of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats like:

  • A variety of fruits and vegetables – the more colourful your diet, the better!
  • Nuts and seeds, especially flax & chia for the extra dose of omega-3 fats
  • Wild-caught salmon
  • Lean, grass fed meats
  • Whole grains & seeds, like quinoa, oats, and brown rice

COOL TIP: When a breakout occurs, you can use the same healing foods topically to help soothe, hydrate, and cleanse irritated skin.

The foods that are health-optimizing for your insides can also be soothing and calming for the outside!

References

Healthline – Foods that cause acne

Healthline – Anti-acne diet

Healthline – Symptoms of acne

Recipe:

Soothing DIY Acne Face Mask

Ingredients

¼ cup papaya, mashed

1 Tbsp oatmeal

1 tsp raw honey

Optional

2 – 4 drops tea tree oil (or combo tea tree and lavender)

How to prepare

Stir together ingredients in a small bowl. Apply to clean, dry skin (face, neck, shoulders, back – anywhere you have irritated, acneic skin).

Leave on 15-20 minutes, then rinse off completely, and pat dry. And voilà, happily refreshed skin.

* If you choose to “taste” your mask before slathering it on, do NOT ingest if you have added essential oils!