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Aug 26, 2010

WHY WATER MATTERS

Even healthy eaters often underestimate the importance of their water intake and wind up suffering from chronic, low-grade dehydration. Here are a few reasons good hydration is essential to good health:

ENERGY: Suboptimal hydration slows the activity of enzymes, including those responsible for producing energy, leading to feelings of fatigue. Even a slight reduction in hydration can lower metabolism and reduce your ability to exercise efficiently.

DIGESTION: Our bodies produce an average of 7 litres of digestive juices daily. When we don’t drink enough liquid, our secretions are more limited and the digestive process is inhibited. (Note that drinking too much water all at once, particularly with food, can also dilute digestive juices, reducing their efficacy and leading to indigestion.)

REGULARITY: As partially digested food passes through the colon, the colon absorbs excess liquid and transfers it to the bloodstream so that a stool of normal consistency is formed. When the body is low on water, it extracts too much liquid from the stool, which then becomes hard, dry and difficult to eliminate. Slowed elimination contributes to bodywide toxicity and inflammation.

BLOOD PRESSURE: When we are chronically dehydrated, our blood becomes thicker and more viscous. Additionally, in response to reduced overall blood volume, the blood vessels contract. To compensate for the increased vein-wall tension and increased blood viscosity, the body must work harder to push blood through the veins, resulting in elevated blood pressure.

STOMACH HEALTH: Under normal circumstances, the stomach secretes a layer of mucus (which is composed of 98 percent water) to prevent its mucus membranes from being destroyed by the highly acidic digestive fluid it produces. Chronic dehydration, though, impedes mucus production and may irritate and produce ulcers in the stomach lining.

RESPIRATION: The moist mucus membranes in the respiratory region are protective; however, in a state of chronic dehydration, they dry out and become vulnerable to attack from substances that might exist in inhaled air, such as dust and pollen.

ACID-ALKALINE BALANCE: Dehydration causes enzymatic slowdown, interrupting important biochemical transformations, with acidifying results at the cellular level. The acidification of the body’s internal cellular environment can be further worsened when excretory organs responsible for eliminating acids (e.g., the skin and kidneys) don’t have enough liquid to do their jobs properly. An overly acidic biochemical environment can give rise to a host of inflammatory health conditions, as well as yeast and fungus growth.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Feelings of thirst can be confused with hunger, both because eating can soothe thirst and also because dehydration-induced fatigue is often misinterpreted as a lack of fuel (e.g., sugar). Both dynamics can lead to false sensations of hunger, triggering overeating and weight gain. Inadequate hydration can also promote the storage of inflammatory toxins, which can also promote weight gain.

SKIN HEALTH: Dehydrated skin loses elasticity and has a dry, flaky appearance and texture. But dehydration can also lead to skin irritation and rashes, including conditions like eczema. We need to sweat about 24 ounces a day to properly dilute and transport the toxins being eliminated through our skin. When we are chronically dehydrated, the sweat becomes more concentrated and toxins aren’t removed from our systems as readily, which can lead to skin irritation and inflammation.

CHOLESTEROL: Cholesterol is an essential element in cell membrane construction. When we are in a state of chronic dehydration and too much liquid is removed from within the cell walls, the body tries to stop the loss by producing more cholesterol to shore up the cell membrane. Although the cholesterol protects the cell membrane from being so permeable, the overproduction introduces too much cholesterol into the bloodstream.

KIDNEY and URINARY HEALTH: When we don’t drink enough liquid, our kidneys struggle to flush water-soluble toxins from our system. When we don’t adequately dilute the toxins in our urine, the toxins irritate the urinary mucus membranes and create a germ and infection-friendly environment.

JOINT HEALTH: Dehydrated cartilage and ligaments are more brittle and prone to damage. Joints can also become painfully inflamed when irritants, usually toxins produced by the body and concentrated in our blood and cellular fluids, attack them, setting the stage for arthritis.

AGEING: The normal ageing process involves a gradual loss of cell volume and an imbalance of the extracellular and intracellular fluids. This loss of cellular water can be accelerated when we don’t ingest enough liquids, or when our cell membranes aren’t capable of maintaining a proper fluid balance.
Related: Hydration Tips 
Related: Common Myths about Dehydration

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Posted: Aug 26, 2010 6:49pm
Nov 18, 2009

Fixes for 6 Common Skin Problems
Fixes for 6 Common Skin Problems
posted in Care2 by Mel, selected from Natural Solutions magazine Nov 16, 2009 (Rona Berg)
-------------------------------------------------
Because the skin connects to every system in the body, when something gets out of whack inside, it shows up on your face. How to improve your skin's tone, texture, health?
   - Reduce Stress
   - Take Omega-3
   - Sleep at least 7 hours nightly 
   - Eat a healthy diet rich in Antioxidants
 
(Stephanie Tourles, Organic Body Care Recipes).

Six common problems & effective ways to look your best.
---------------------------------
PUFFINESS, DARK CIRCLES
These two conditions “go hand in hand... Both stem from a lack of circulation. Puffiness is caused by fluid that collects and doesn’t move with the lymphatic flow, and dark circles indicate a need to stimulate your blood circulation.
Contributing factors:
  - genetic inheritance
  - too many late nights spent staring at the computer
  - alcohol
  - salty foods
  - allergies
  - stress
  - poor diet
  - inflammation in the nasal area
(can weaken the blood vessels, which may leak and cause what appear to be bruises under the eyes).
Solution: you need to get your blood circulating and your lymph fluid flowing... a gentle under-eye massage each night. Apply eye gel instead of cream if you have pouchy eyes–and be sure to chill it in the fridge beforehand.
Good ingredients to look for...

- green tea or vitamin K, which strengthen the blood vessels;
- calendula or chamomile to reduce swelling; 
- gotu kola to stimulate circulation.
Apply gel with your ring finger (it exerts the least pressure), and gently massage in clockwise, circular motions from the edges of the “bruise” toward the eye.
Do-It-Yourself: Steep two cups of green tea for five minutes, and then remove the tea bags and chill them briefly in the freezer. Pour the tea itself into an ice cube tray and freeze. Squeeze the excess water out of the chilled tea bags, lie down, and place them on the under-eye area for 10 minutes. And the tea ice cubes? When you wake up puffy-eyed but in a hurry, pop out a cube and run it over the area before you dash out the door.
--------------------------------------
BLACKHEADS and Chin Breakouts
The nose, chin, and forehead (aka the “T-zone&rdquo have more oil glands than anywhere else on your body. So if you have oily skin, the T-zone will be your problem area–especially when you have your period. And because the pores on your nose can be large relative to those on the rest of your face, they’re prone to blackheads when oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria become trapped in them.
Hormones trigger most chin breakouts–especially during pregnancy, an irregular menstrual cycle, or perimenopause, or when taking birth-control pills. 
Solution: To banish blackheads, exfoliate regularly, using a natural abrasive scrub two to three times a week. But handle with care...scrubs can sometimes tear at the edges of your pores, and end up spreading the bacteria around. Wet your face and gently press–don’t rub!–the scrub on your nose and T-zone, using the same light pressure you use to shave your legs.
Could it be your cell phone?
sometimes, clearing up your chin can be as simple as cleaning your cell phone–especially if you’re only breaking out on one side. When oil and bacteria accumulate on your phone, they can get pressed into your skin and clog your pores.
Do-It-Yourself: Sprinkle a quarter-size dab of baking soda into your palm. Moisten with a few drops of warm water, gently press into your face to exfoliate, and rinse.
Inside-Out Beauty: Your chin may also break out if your digestive system is out of balance. The jawline and chin correspond to the intestinal region in Chinese medicine.
  - probiotics, in supplements, yogurt, many fermented foods
  - 6-8 glasses of water, daily.
-----------------------------------
CHAPPED LIPS
The delicate tissue on the lips, easily chapped and prone to bacterial infection, is vulnerable in any weather. Wind and winter chill sap moisture from the lips, but so does exposure to the sun, surf, and chlorinated swimming pools. Many conventional lip balms contain petrolatum-based ingredients like mineral oil that appear slick and emollient, but because the skin can’t absorb them–the molecules are too big–they don’t actually condition or heal chapped lips. In fact, they just lie on the surface, creating an impermeable barrier that can actually clog the skin and lead to breakouts and bacterial infections. Instead, look for natural moisturizers like shea butter - beeswax - sweet almond oil - jojoba oil -  hempseed oil, all of which actually penetrate the skin.
If you’re prone to breakouts or bumps on the lips, look for lip balms with antibacterial essential oils like rosemary - mint and avoid camphor because it can dry the lips.
Aloe vera soothes chapped skin, and menthol can numb the pain if your lips are severely chapped.
Do-It-Yourself:
Mix a dab of honey with a bit of brown sugar. Apply to lips and gently massage back and forth with an old toothbrush. Sugar is a naturally abrasive exfoliant, and honey contains an exfoliating enzyme, as well as a mild antiseptic that kills bacteria and a natural humectant that helps the skin retain moisture.
----------------------------------------
DRY, FLAKY SKIN
Flaking on the cheeks, hairline, and brows may come from common dermatitis, or it could signal the presence of eczema, which can be a little harder to treat. Flaking is an inflammatory response to something that’s aggravating the body. Among the likely reasons:
- extreme weather - food allergies - chemical ingredients prone to generating an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) in the skin, like those found in
heavy fragrances, laundry detergents, or harsh shampoos
. Any of these can shorten the life cycle of skin cells and lead to a buildup of dead skin, resulting in dryness, irritation, and flakes. Stress and age can also aggravate the problem. As we get older, our skin naturally becomes drier. The skin cells oxidize, and the cell walls can’t hold moisture like they once did. That’s why aging skin dehydrates, loses firmness, and starts to wrinkle. (Exposing unprotected skin to the sun can cause premature wrinkling, of course, because nothing oxidizes skin cells like those tanning UV rays.) Instead of heavy creams or lotions, look to moisturizing seed oils (pomegranate, rosehip, and grapeseed), which are light and thus move easily into the skin.
   - POMEGRANATE SEED OIL contains linolenic acid
    
 which promotes cell turnover and skin regeneration;
   - ROSEHIP, APRICOT, CARROT SEED OIL for vitamins A and C,
     which strengthen and protect skin;
   - grapeseed oil - the antioxidant resveratrol
  - hempseed oil contains linoleic and linolenic acid, anti-inflammatory ingredients that soothe skin.
Do-It-Yourself: Put a few drops of olive oil, which is rich in antioxidants and high in polyphenols, into a small bowl of warm water. Press a washcloth soaked in this gentle mixture on the skin for a few minutes. It will stimulate circulation, lift off dead skin cells, and moisturize.
------------------------
HYPERPIGMENTATION
e.g. spots, splotches during pregnancy or as you enter your 40s. 
Excess MELANIN which causes hyperpigmentation, is triggered by:
-chronic sun exposure -major hormonal shifts (as in pregnancy - perimenopause - menopause).
Once you’ve got it, it’s hard to get rid of it.
Traditional treatments like glycolic acids and Retin-A are harsh. People tend to overuse them, which leads to thinning of the skin, and thin skin is hypersensitive and more susceptible to sun damage...can lead to more age spots and further hyperpigmentation. (Warning: Don’t use these treatments if you’re pregnant.)
Protect your skin from the damaging UV rays - use a sunscreen dailyjojoba oil is a natural sunscreen, with an SPF between 10 and 15.
To lighten and fade pigmented areas, apply a GREEN PAPAYA mask once or twice a week, and look for creams with lightening agents like LICORICE EXTRACT - MANDARIN or TANGERINE OIL - MULBERRY EXTRACT. Natural remedies for pigmentation problems can take a few months before they start to work, so remain patient.
Do-It-Yourself:  Apply PLAIN YOGURT to your face three to four times a week. The lactic acid in the yogurt is a natural exfoliant.
---------------------------------------------------
BLOTCHINESS or Broken Capillaries (cheeks)
For red, flushed, blotchy, sensitive skin, put the blame on heat and sun, alcohol, extremes of temperature, or spicy foods.
When the capillaries under the skin’s surface dilate, it can result in redness and flushing, the same things that trigger rosacea... prevention is the best cure.
Include OMEGA-3s (anti-inflammatories found in FISH OIL - FLAXSEED OIL - WALNUT OIL) in your diet to protect, moisturize, and soothe the skin.
Use face oils, hydrosols, and creams with soothing and hydrating CHAMOMILE - LAVENDER - ROSE - VITAMIN K.
Do-It-Yourself: Chill ALOE VERA gel in the refrigerator. Apply to clean skin like a mask to soothe and calm the skin. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water.
---------------------------------------------------------
Rona Berg is the author of Beauty: The New Basics and Fast Beauty: 1,000 Quick Fixes (Workman Publishing).
Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living -news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods and conscious living.

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Posted: Nov 18, 2009 3:30pm
Jul 30, 2009

10 THINGS YOUR SKIN SAYS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH
(from Care2's Healthy & Green Living)
If skin were merely a sausage casing for the rest of you, it wouldn't be nearly so useful, but your skin (being your body's largest organ) may be the first indicator of something happening.
.
PART a:
First Five Skin Conditions to Watch Out For:
.
1.  Yellowish skin, orange palms and soles

What it means:
Skin hues of carotenemia can be the result of an underactive thyroid gland — hypothyroidism — which causes increased levels of beta-carotene in the blood.
But orange-coloured skin from a diet heavy on carrot juice, carrots, sweet potato etc, isn't serious.
.
More clues of Hypothyroidism:
==> skin feels dry and cold, more pale than yellow
==> feeling tired, sluggish, weak, or achy
==> unexplained weight gain
==> women over 50 most often develop hypothyroidism
What to do: 
Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that can lead to such complications as heart problems, so a combination of skin changes plus fatigue warrants attention from a doctor.
.--------------------------------------
2.  Breaking out in hives in the sun
What it means
==> may have taken a photosensitizing drug (medication that causes increase in sensitivity to light). 
More clues:
==> rash is limited to sun-exposed areas
==> can feel worse and last longer than sunburn
==> affects both fair-skinned or dark-skinned
==> most common drugs involved: thiazide diuretics, antihistamines, tetracycline, tretinoin, and tricyclic antidepressants.
==> 2 different people can react quite differently to the same drug, and reactions may vary for an individual
What to do:
==> check labels of medications. e.g. “May cause chemical photosensitivity.”
==> use a high-SPF sunscreen/block (but be aware that this may not prevent the rash); wear sunglasses, a broad-rimmed hat, cover the skin, and limit sun exposure.
==> tell your doctor- a switch in medicines may prevent further rashes.
.-------------------------------------
3.  Long dark lines in the palm
What it means:
A deepening of the pigment in the creases of the palms or soles is a symptom of adrenal insufficiency, an endocrine disorder (Addison’s disease).
More clues:
==> Hyperpigmentation may be visible around other skin folds, scars, lips, knees, knuckles.
==> Low blood pressure; Salt craving
==> Affects men and women equally-most common between 30-50yrs
What to do:
==> mention this visible symptom to a doctor, as skin changes may be the first symptoms seen before an acute attack (pain, vomiting, dehydration, and loss of consciousness)
==> lab tests to measure cortisol provide a diagnosis.
.
4.  Large, dusky blue leg veins
What it means
Veins are not working properly when they're ropy, large and blue-to-purple. Venous disease (varicose veins) can be a mere cosmetic annoyance or can cause pain, cramping, and difficulty walking.
More clues: Varicose veins:
==> may be mistaken for spider veins (shallow small blue or red veins)
==> tend to be large, dark, raised, and 'twisted' 
==> are found in half of all people over age 50, esp. women
==> often first appear in pregnancy
What to do:
==> exercise, wear compression stockings, and avoid constricting postures to ease discomfort
==> if the veins cause pain or become warm and tender to the touch, tell your doctor- severe venous insufficiency can lead to dangerous blood clots.
==> treatments include sclerotherapy (injections) and surgery.
.
5.  Brownish spots on the shins
What it means:
The fronts of the legs along the shins tend to bang and bump into things... in diabetes, the damage to the capillaries and small blood vessels will cause them to leak when traumatized, leading to brown discoloration known as diabetic dermopathy.
More clues:
==> patches may be rough, almost scaly
==> tend to form ovals or circles
==
> they don’t hurt
==> open, unhealed sore on the foot
What to do
==> brownish spots aren't dangerous, no need for treatment
But it’s worth checking for other signs of diabetes i.e.
==> thirst, excessive urination, tiredness, or blurry vision.
------------------------------------------------------
to be continued in PART b

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Posted: Jul 30, 2009 11:47pm
Jul 27, 2009

An unseen danger has quietly invaded my home and yours. Also our schools, workplaces, restaurants . . . 
.
Thanks to the chemical industry, a hazardous antibacterial compound called TRICLOSAN is now an ingredient in many household and personal care products.
.
No kidding!!! -- it's in your soaps, cleaners, toothpaste, cosmetics, clothing, and even your children’s toys.
.
Consumers have been tricked into thinking that triclosan can protect them from harmful bacteria - in reality triclosan is no more effective than ordinary soap and water... 
.
Triclosan contributes to life-threatening
and other harmful conditions, and 
has become so common that
it has shown up in blood, urine and
breast milk of people across the globe.
----------------------------------------------------
==> Triclosan hangs around in the environment where it 
mixes with other chemicals, forms more toxic substances
==> Triclosan contributes to the very real problem of
resistance to antibiotics and causes a range of human
and ecological health problems
==> Even people who do not use triclosan are exposed
to the chemical through food, water and household dust.
----------------------------------------------------
.
Triclosan kills most–but not all–of the bacteria it encounters.
The germs that survive triclosan emerge stronger, harder to kill.
.
----------------------------------------------------
.
WHAT IS TRICLOSAN?
.
== In the 1960s a chemical company Ciba invented triclosan
== In 1972, Ciba introduced triclosan into health care settings
== In the last decade, Ciba sold triclosan to household product manufacturers, who've created products using triclosan, claiming these products are healthier than other products
.
---------------------------------------------------
.
BENEFITS? THERE ARE NONE! 
.
'They' (marketing) say that products containing triclosan promote good health - but that's a lie. In 2005, an FDA advisory panel of experts voted 11 to one that antibacterial soaps were no more effective than regular soap and water in fighting infections.

-------------------------------------------
The AMA (American Medical Association) advised:
“There is little evidence to support the use of antimicrobials in consumer products" and that given the risk of antimicrobial resistance, “It may be prudent to avoid the use of antimicrobial agents in consumer products.”
-------------------------------------------------- 
.
TRICLOSAN'S ACTUAL THREATS TO YOUR HEALTH
.
==> allergies
==> affects reproduction
==> produces toxic chemicals e.g. dioxin and chloroform when it reacts with other chemicals- like the chlorine in water
==> irritates skin
==> causes cancer
==> disrupts thyroid hormone
.
TRICLOSAN'S THREATS TO ENVIRONMENT
.
==> toxic to algae, phytoplankton and other aquatic life
==> a common contaminant of streams and rivers
==> showing up in earthworms, even dolphins
==> likely to accumulate and spread through land and water food webs
.
--------------------------------------------------
IS IT JUST IN THE U.S.?
.
America doesn't restrict triclosan use in cosmetics, but Japan and Canada do.
.
The European Union classifies triclosan as an irritant, dangerous for the environment and very toxic to aquatic organisms, while public authorities in Denmark, Finland and Germany have issued statements advising consumers not to use antibacterial products.
.
--------------------------------------------------
EXAMPLES of PRODUCTS that CONTAIN TRICLOSAN:

Always check ingredients before you buy

Neutrogena Deep Clean Body Scrub Bar
Clean & Clear Oil Free Foaming Facial Cleanser
Lever 2000 Special Moisture Response Bar Soap, Antibacterial
Dawn Complete Antibacterial Dish Liquid
CVS Antibacterial Hand Soap
Ajax Antibacterial Dish Liquid
Dial Liquid Soap, Antibacterial Bar Soap
Colgate Total Toothpaste
Softsoap Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap
Right Guard Sport Deodorant
Cetaphil Gentle Antibacterial Cleansing Bar
Old Spice Red Zone, High Endurance and Classic Deodorants
Clearasil Daily Face Wash
Vaseline Intensive Care Antibacterial Hand Lotion

------------------------------------------------
Adapted from the articles The Trouble With Triclosan in Your Soap,by Melselected from Food & Water Watch Healthy & Green Living, Care2
and
What You Can Do About Triclosan
-------------------------------------------------
Related articles, websites:
Triclosan in Dolphins!
What’s Lurking in Your Soap?
Groups File Petition to FDA to Ban Triclosan
http://www.beyondpesticides.org/
http://abetterwaytoclean.com/?p=47


 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

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