Author Archives: Debi Calabrese

  • Top 5 Ways To Recover After Exercise

    Woman stretchingCongratulations! You’ve joined a gym or started a new fitness program. But did you know that what you do after your workout—especially in the first two hours—is almost as important as the exercise itself? Try these techniques to help your body recover more quickly and maximize the impact of your exercise.

    Rehydrate: Water is a simple choice for rehydration, and is fine for low-impact exercise under 45 minutes. But more intense exercise, or exercise performed in hot weather, requires that you replace fluids lost through sweat with electrolytes and sodium. Try Nuun’s U Natural Hydration Goji Berry Green Tea tablets for an easy do-it-yourself sports drink without added sugars.

    Replace Carbohydrates: Glycogen, stored in our muscles, fuels our bodies during exercise. That’s why it’s important to quickly replace lost glycogen during the “carbohydrate window” that occurs within 60 minutes after stopping—when muscles are converting carbohydrate-rich drinks and food into glycogen up to three times faster. In addition to eating carb-rich food, Boulder-based nutrition expert Julie McGinnis recommends L-Glutamine, an amino acid supplement that boosts the production of glycogen and helps us refuel. She likes Jarrow Formulas’ L-Glutamine Powder. TIP: Refueling in the first 15-30 minutes of the carbohydrate window is most effective.

    Add Protein: Along with carbs, protein is needed to repair the micro tears in muscles after workouts, especially weight-bearing exercises like running and weight lifting. Whey, a by-product of cheese production, is a good source of protein and is rich in branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which help repair muscles and prevent soreness, says Julie. One serving of Pharmaca’s Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder Drink is a quick, tasty way to get 15 g of protein. Fat-free chocolate milk is another good choice for protein and carb replacement, say researchers, since a 16 oz serving has about 15 g of protein and twice the carbs of plain milk. Vegetarians and vegans can turn to spirulina, an algae-based complete protein. (Find it in Health Force Nutritionals’ Spirulina Manna). TIP: Most experts recommend 10-20 g of protein after a workout.

    Treat sore muscles: Stretching for 15 minutes after your workout can prevent soreness, but in those times when you know you’ve done too much, topical treatments or warm baths can also help, Julie tells us. Arnica relieves pain and stiffness, and speeds recovery of bruises; Boericke & Tafel’s Arniflora Arnica Gel with 8% tincture of arnica Montana rubbed on four times a day will help reduce inflammation and pain. Warm baths are another good choice for soothing aches; Kneipp’s Arnica Joint & Muscle Mineral Bath Salts combine arnica, pine and thermal salts to relieve soreness.

    Take a break: As good as it feels to find your groove with your exercise program, it’s important to take a break to let muscles repair. Fitness coaches say that after 8-12 weeks, take a week off. That doesn’t mean going back to couch-potato status—instead, transition to a less intense exercise to keep you moving and flexible, like yoga, dancing or walking. You’ll come back to your favorite exercise renewed.

  • Healing Waters: 5 Ideas for Restorative Baths

    WaterLegsSometimes the simplest remedies—the ones that have worked for centuries—are the best. The ancient practice of “taking the waters,” what we now call hydrotherapy, works on two levels: The warm water provides a continuous heat source to our bodies, and gently massages as it circulates. And the addition of therapeutic salts, minerals and botanical oils assist in helping soak ailments away. Take advantage of the benefits of hydrotherapy with a few of our favorite add-ins.

    Repair sore muscles
    Weekend warriors (or really any of us who overwork our muscles) can appreciate the soothing properties of a warm soak. To release knots and ease sore muscles, try Kneipp’s Joint & Muscle Arnica Mineral Bath Salt, filled with thermal salts from a renowned underground sea in Germany, as well as arnica, pine and eucalyptus—essential oils known to reduce pain and inflammation. Another easy fix relies on Epsom salts: Add a cup or two of this magnesium-rich salt to bathwater for an easy do-it-yourself spa treatment for achiness.

    Relieve congestion
    Stuffy noses and clogged sinuses open up with eucalyptus oil and steam in a hot bath (or lukewarm if you have a fever). Pharmaca’s Bath Salts in Eucalyptus use eucalyptus essential oil, known for its anti-inflammatory and decongesting properties, and cineole, a component of eucalyptus oil, to reduce mucus production and loosen phlegm. For kids, try Alaffia’s Babies and Up Everyday Shea Butter Bubble Bath in Eucalyptus Mint for a soothing bubbly soak with eucalyptus and spearmint.

    Revive your spirit
    When exhaustion and stress overwhelm you, Boulder-based Esthetician Camille Capone recommends Little Moon’s Tired Old Ass Bath. Nerve-nourishing essential oils like rosemary, vetiver and eucalyptus, plus salts high in trace minerals and iron, rebalance your body and spirit. And if the name makes you laugh, that’s good, too!

    Relax your mind
    Lavender is one of the go-to essential oils that health practitioners use to induce calm, reduce anxiety and promote a sense of wellbeing. Ahava’s Lavender Bath Salt is Camille’s recommendation, as its highly mineralized Dead Sea salts smooth skin and natural lavender soothes the brain. To calm your mind before bedtime, or if you have trouble falling asleep, try Kneipp’s Deep Sleep Herbal Bath with Valerian and Hops, an aromatherapy treat that promotes drowsiness.

    Re-moisturize your skin
    Dry, flaky and rough skin gets a good dose of silky nourishment from the sweet almond oil found in Kneipp’s Good Health Almond Blossom Soft Skin Herbal Bath. And for a skin-hydrating botanical treatment, Camille recommends Dr. Hauschka’s Rose Nurturing Bath Essence, filled with pure rose extract and a blend of sweet almond, jojoba and avocado oils. The oils turn into a milky moisturizing bath and rose balances sensitive skin.

    Ask a Pharmaca practitioner for recommendations about transforming your next bath into a healing, restorative experience.

  • Wedding Beauty Countdown: 6 Months to Perfect Skin, Hair & Nails

    WeddingCouple’ve got the venue, photographer and dress all set, but don’t forget that glowing skin and shiny hair need advance planning, too. With wedding season just months away, here’s what to get started on now to get ready the big day.

    6 months: Get your hair and nails in shape

    Now’s the time to be sure your diet supports healthy hair and nails. Foods rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and zinc are key to fortifying the hair follicle, which leads to healthier hair. Salmon, nuts, legumes and yogurt are especially helpful, and biotin, a B vitamin found in peanuts and almonds, helps nails grow strong, too. For an extra boost, supplement your diet with Enzymatic Therapy’s Biotin Forte with Zinc and Pharmaca’s Omega-3 Clinical Strength Fish Oil.

    3 months: Shine the spotlight on skin

    Camera-ready skin needs to be smooth and glowing. This is the time to faithfully follow an exfoliation and moisturizing routine. Treat oily skin with a gentle exfoliator like evanhealy’s Lemongrass Facial Polish that deep cleans pores and reduces excess sebum and inflammation.

    Follow up with evanhealy’s Lemon Thyme Facial Tonic Hydrosol and Light Moisture Replenishing Fluid to balance and soften skin. Dry or mature skin can improve with weekly brightening treatments like Sanitas’ Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. This mask exfoliates with fresh organic pumpkin and moisturizes with powerful hyaluronic acid and squalane.

    It’s also a good time to experiment with self-tanning lotion so you can execute an expert sun-kissed look on the wedding day. The key to a streak-free finish? Gentle exfoliation before application of a self tanner. Try Weleda’s Birch Body Scrub to polish skin with natural plant wax pearls, then apply jane iredale’s Tantasia Self Tanner for natural-looking color (and no smelly self tanner scent!).

    1 month: Make those makeup decisions

    Makeup experts like the estheticians at Pharmaca can help you choose the right products for a natural, picture-perfect look. Makeup primers, for example, can keep you shine free and extend the life of your makeup. Jane iredale’s Absence Oil Control Primer is a colorless base that prevents oiliness and your makeup from changing color throughout the day. For creaseless eye shadow, blend jane iredale’s Lid Primer in Canvas or their Eye Gloss in Pink Silk over the entire lid before applying eye shadow.

    And don’t forget to shape your brows! Get help from an esthetician at Pharmaca, or read more about strategies for creating the perfect arch.

    1 week: Put together your emergency kit

    Having a kit with your essentials nearby can ease some wedding day stress from last-minute snafus or makeup problems. Facial powder, concealer, lip gloss, deodorant, floss, an energy bar, safety pins and a mini sewing kit are all good ideas. Pack them all in a cute bag like Danica’s Ephemera Linen Cosmetic Bag. These bags are thoughtful gifts for your bridesmaids, too!

    1 day: Pamper

    Feeling a little jittery? Calming lavender to the rescue! Treat yourself to a relaxing bath with Pharmaca’s Lavender Bath Salts, or a luxurious hair treatment with John Masters’ Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner. A pampering way to put you in just the right mood.

    Wedding Day: Relax and enjoy the fruits of your preparation. Congrats!

  • Fall Makeup Trends: From Neutral to Noticeable!

    Woman with makeup brushIf your go-to makeup products are all in the neutral brown, taupe or beige family, fall is the right time to bring in a splash of on-trend color. Adding a shimmery metallic eyeliner, colorful eyeshadow or berry-toned lipstick can brighten sallow fall skin and move you out of the neutral zone. For everyday wearability, be sure to choose just one feature to highlight with color or shine and keep the rest neutral.

    Bold lips

    Rich berry shades are the right choice to complement this year’s fall fashion colors. “Jane iredale’s new PureMoist Lipstick in Katerina is a deep berry that looks good on all skin tones,” says Lauren Mohney, esthetician in Carlsbad. For a more casual look, Lauren likes jane iredale’s PureGloss Lip Gloss in Kir Royale, a sheer plummy berry shade that treats lips with avocado oil, moringa seed oil and natural fruit extracts.

    Vivid eyes

    Metallics and bright colors are a great way to make eyes pop this fall. ZuZu Luxe eyeliners add a touch of metallic sheen, and Lauren likes ZuZu’s Liquid Eyeliner in Luxor, which is a coppery bronze that complements green eyes; Black Pearl, a shimmery black with blue undertones best for blue eyes; and Nile, a peacock green liner that’s fantastic for brown eyes.

    Colorful eyeshadows are another on-trend look, and using highly blendable formulas make these brights surprisingly easy to wear, both day and night. For a flash of color try jane iredale’s Pure Pressed Eye Shadow in Red Carpet, teal blue Magic or vibrant Violet. A little applied close to the lash line (not the whole eyelid) and blended lightly upward works best. Color and metallic combine in W3LL People’s Elitist Mineral Shadow in Gilded Green, a sheer wash of green that can be layered for a more dramatic look.

    With vivid color or metallic shadows, finish with black or dark brown eyeliner and mascara to look polished.

    If you are unwaveringly faithful to your neutral brown eyeshadow, turn to mascara for your pop of color. Dr. Hauschka’s Volume Mascara in Aubergine or Royal Blue adds subtle interest and makes the whites of your eyes appear brighter.

    Luminous cheeks

    Glowing, luminous cheeks are important this fall and easy to incorporate into our beauty routine. Jane iredale’s 24-Karat Gold Dust in Champagne, Silver or Gold brings just the right glimmer to cheekbones when applied lightly with a fan brush. Or add 24-Karat Gold Dust to your regular cream blush for a subtle glow.

    Knock-out nails

    If makeup with color and shimmer are out of your comfort zone, try incorporating fall trends with nail color! Dark berry shades like SpaRitual’s Nail Lacquer in Tapestry or metallic browns like Deborah Lippmann’s Superstar are just right for fall. And if your favorite summer polish was sky blue, transition to fall with SpaRitual’s Oasis, a rich shimmery navy.

  • Superfood vs. Powerhouse Food: Why They're Not the Same Thing

    WatercressWe’ve been hearing about superfoods and superfruits for awhile—by now we know to stock up on kale and goji berries. Though these “super” labels are used often, many of them can be gimmicky catchphrases that don't have real scientific basis. Until now. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently developed a scientific classification scheme for vegetables and fruits that are jam-packed with nutrients and may reduce our risk of chronic disease. Here’s what you need to know about the proven heroes at your farmer's market or grocery store.

    What is a powerhouse food?

    The CDC defines Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables as naturally “nutrient-dense,” meaning they provide anywhere from 10 to 100 percent of our daily requirements of 17 beneficial nutrients: potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K. These nutrients are essential for protection against chronic disease.

    Which foods were tested?

    For obvious reasons, the CDC tested foods that scientists had already linked to prevention of heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The foods fell into five categories of fruits and vegetables: cruciferous, green leafy, yellow/orange, allium (onion family), citrus and berries.

    Watercress in, blueberries out?

    So which made the cut? Of the 47 fruits and vegetables tested, the cruciferous and leafy green veggies overwhelmingly came out on top. Surprisingly, raspberries, tangerines, cranberries, garlic, onion and blueberries did not make the list, even though they're rich in helpful antioxidants (so keep eating them!).

    Top 15 Powerhouse Fruits & Veggies

    Watercress 100.00 (wow!)
    Chinese cabbage 91.99
    Chard 89.27
    Beet greens 87.08
    Spinach 86.43
    Chicory 73.36
    Leaf lettuce 70.73
    Parsley 65.59
    Romaine lettuce 63.48
    Collard Greens 62.49
    Turnip Greens 62.12
    Mustard Greens 61.39
    Endive 60.44
    Chive 54.80
    Kale 49.07

    The next most powerful fruits and vegetables (with nutrient density ratings under 50) fall primarily into the yellow/orange category (red pepper, pumpkin, carrot, tomato and winter squash) and allium category (scallion, leek), followed by citrus (lemon, orange, lime and grapefruit) and berries (strawberry, blackberry).

    The Powerhouse list is a good starting point for choosing the veggies and fruits that give us the most bang for our buck. The CDC tested these foods in their raw state, and salads can be a great way to incorporate them into our diet. But cruciferous and leafy green vegetables are also a good addition to soups or stews, or simply sautéed.

    While the government's My Plate guidelines say fruits and veggies should make up 50 percent of each meal, don't forget about the important parts of a healthy diet—whole grains and lean proteins! Speak with a Pharmaca practitioner about other ways to get all the nutrients you need in your diet.

  • Coffee: Is it Really Good For Us?

    Young woman drinking tea at homeFor coffee drinkers, nothing beats the aroma and taste of a freshly brewed cuppa. Considering so many of us start the day with a cup or two, here are a few things to know about whether to imbibe or abstain?

    It’s full of antioxidants and nutrients.

    Coffee is a pretty complex drink, as it’s made up of hundred of compounds, from caffeine to vitamins and minerals. A single cup of coffee contains 11 percent of your daily recommended riboflavin (vitamin B2), and also has small amounts of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), magnesium, potassium and niacin.

    Coffee also contains powerful antioxidants called quinines that become more potent after the beans are roasted. And the antibacterial compound trigonelline in coffee has been shown to prevent cavities in black coffee drinkers.

    Coffee’s caffeine may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

    Alzheimer's research studies have shown that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day in midlife can slow down the start of the illness by up to 65 percent later in life. This is perhaps because caffeine blocks inflammation in the brain and suppresses the rise of amyloid plaques that are strongly linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Caffeine also slows the progression of Parkinson’s disease, and eases tremors by blocking certain receptors in the brain that cause symptoms.

    Coffee protects us against type 2 diabetes.

    Drinking more than four cups of coffee each day can help keep type 2 diabetes at bay, according to scientists at Harvard. Seems the antioxidants and minerals in coffee, including magnesium and chromium, help your body use insulin which controls blood sugar levels.

    Skip it if: You’re pregnant.

    Caffeine is the culprit here—it can go through the placenta and reach the fetus, and can keep you and your baby awake (it has also been linked to higher incidences of miscarriage). For pregnant women it may be better to reduce coffee consumption to one or two cups a day.

    Skip it if: You have trouble controlling high blood pressure.

    If you’re not a coffee drinker and you start, the first week or so of drinking it can raise your blood pressure significantly, though after a few weeks those readings usually go down. If you have a hard time controlling your hypertension, limit coffee intake or switch to decaf coffee.

    Skip it if: Your decaffeinated coffee is processed with solvents.

    There are a few ways to remove caffeine from coffee beans, and a common process uses the chemical solvent methylene chloride. Although the FDA has approved its use in decaffeinating coffee, this solvent’s side effects in higher exposures include headaches, dizziness and other central nervous system troubles. Instead, be sure your decaf coffee is processed by the Swiss water process, a chemical-free method that uses green coffee bean water and filters to remove nearly 100 percent of the caffeine.

  • Natural Perfumes: A Chemical-Free Fragrance Guide

    CheekyPerfumes often have such sweet, uplifting names...Happy, Heavenly, even Curious. That's why it may come as a surprise that most mass-marketed fragrances are formulated with toxic chemicals—ingredients that give these fragrances staying power or mimic a natural scent. But these ingredients are also linked to a host of health troubles, from asthma to hormone disruption. Here’s what you need to avoid and safe ways to add fragrance to your life.

    Avoid “fragrance” as a labeled ingredient

    This generic term is used by cosmetic and perfume companies and they are not required to disclose what ingredients actually make up their fragrances. Many mass-marketed perfumes include synthetic chemicals that are known allergens and sensitizers (chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, including asthma, wheezing, headaches and contact dermatitis).

    Avoid phthalates and parabens

    These chemicals are often added to perfume products to increase their staying power on your skin and in the bottle. But they’ve been linked to hormone disruption, breast cancer and reproductive toxicity—especially in teens, since they’re some of the largest consumers of fragranced personal care products.

    Avoid synthetic musk (including Nitro-Musk, Galaxolide and Tonalide)

    Musk is a common scent found in perfumes. Fragrance companies may say it’s a sexy animal scent, but its side effects are decidedly not sexy. Synthetic musk is a toxin that accumulates in our body, especially in fatty tissue and breast milk, and acts as a hormone disrupter.

    Use natural essential oils

    Natural essential oils are pure oils distilled from plants—flowers, leaves or seeds. These oils have distinct aromas like woody, spicy, green, herbal or floral. Here’s what you’ll smell with some of the common scent families.

    Woody or spicy aroma: stimulating, clearing, grounding
    Look for: clove, frankincense, cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver
    Try: Pacifica's Sandalwood Perfume Roll-On, a warm, velvety woodsy scent

    Green or herbal aroma: brisk, clean
    Look for: citrus, bergamot, eucalyptus, rosemary, chamomile, basil
    Try: Love & Toast's Gin Blossom Perfume, a fresh, crisp citrusy scent

    Floral aroma: sweet, serene, feminine
    Look for: lavender, rose, ylang ylang, neroli
    Try: Jurlique's Essence of Rose Roll-On Fragrance, a pure rose scent made from Gallic roses

    Make your own

    It’s also easy to make your own fragrance creations. For tips on scent combinations that work well, check out this guide to the aromatic blending of essential oils. Remember, some essential oils are skin irritants due to the high concentration of active compounds, so make sure to dilute them with a carrier oil or alcohol.

    Cologne

    15-20 drops of essential oil (in whatever combination of scents you like)
    2 tablespoons unflavored vodka (100 proof is best) or pure grain alcohol

    Pour alcohol in a glass bottle first, then add essential oil. Let it age for at least 2 days, and up to 1 month. Finally, dilute with 1 tablespoon distilled water.

    Body Oil/Lotion

    15 drops of essential oil
    2-3 tablespoons of jojoba oil, almond oil or unscented body lotion.

    Blend and store your fragrance in a dark glass bottle.

    Explore the essential oils and natural fragrances at a Pharmaca near you!

  • Easy Switches for Naturally Healthy Teeth & Gums

    Good dental healthYou know the drill (or how to avoid one!) for good dental care: Brush, floss, rinse. But ingredients like fluoride or alcohol in many dental care products are potentially harmful. Here are a few natural ways to take care of your teeth and gums—and keep you smiling!

    No to: Fluoride
    Yes to: Xylitol

    Fluoride is added to dental products (and many public water supplies) because the American Dental Association says it helps remove the plaque that causes gum disease and tooth decay, and it helps strengthen tooth enamel. But there is a downside: according to the Fluoride Action Network, it has been linked to several illnesses, allergies and compromised thyroid functioning. Alarmingly, the FDA requires a “poison” label on fluoride toothpastes, due to its toxicity if even small amounts are ingested.

    Xylitol is a natural sweetener (look for xylitol made from birch bark), that actually stops the production of tooth-decaying acids and helps recalcify tooth enamel. Try Xlear's Spry Fluoride-Free Toothpaste with Xylitol that combines xylitol with bacteria-fighting aloe vera. For flossing, single-use Xylitol Antibacterial Cranberry Floss Sachets from Radius amp up protection from cavities with both xylitol and cranberry compounds that help stop bacteria from attaching to teeth.

    No to: Alcohol
    Yes to: Oxygen & Coconut Oil

    Mass-marketed mouth rinses rely on alcohol to fight bacteria in our mouths, but long-term use of these alcohol-based products has been linked to oral cancer. A safer way to keep acid-forming bacteria at bay is with oxygen, in the form of hydrogen peroxide. Essential Oxygen's Organic Brushing Rinse is free of alcohol, fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate to keep gums healthy, teeth white and breath fresh.

    Another way to rinse: “oil pulling," an ancient Ayurvedic technique that’s been in the news lately. Take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 10-20 minutes, then spit it out. Fans claim oil pulling draws harmful bacteria away from your teeth and gums and cleans much better than brushing alone.

    No to: Teeth Whitening Strips and Trays
    Yes to: Activated Charcoal

    Teeth whiteners often contain high concentrations of bleaching agents that can cause extreme tooth sensitivity—especially systems that use trays or strips to keep bleach on the teeth for 20 minutes or more. Instead, try brushing your teeth with activated charcoal. Take ½ teaspoon (or one capsule) and dissolve it in a small amount of water or coconut oil, then brush your teeth gently for 2 minutes. Your teeth will be black when brushing(!) but after spitting it out and rinsing you’ll see brighter teeth and tannin stains (coffee, wine, tea) gone.

    No to: Sugary & Starchy Snacks
    Yes to: Apples

    Granulated sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, and starchy foods mix with saliva forming an “acid bath” in our mouths that erodes tooth enamel. Instead, reach for an apple (nature’s toothbrush!), as it increases saliva flow and its astringent qualities help reduce the build-up of cavity-causing bacteria.

  • 5 Healthy Reasons to Eat More Nuts

    Mixed NutsIsn’t it great when one of our favorite snacks turns out to be good for us? Here’s why eating a handful of nuts every day isn't such a bad idea.

    1.     Nuts are heart healthy.

    Studies have shown that eating a small portion of nuts each day helps lower LDL cholesterol levels. Almonds and walnuts are two of the best for heart benefits, since walnuts are high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that slow the growth of plaque in our arteries, and almonds are full of good monounsaturated fats that improve blood cholesterol levels and stabilize heart rhythms.

    2.     Nuts can help us breathe better.

    Nuts that are high in vitamin E, like almonds and hazelnuts, help improve lung function. The oil in nuts is anti-inflammatory and helps reduce mucus production, so they're a great thing to include during allergy and cold seasons.

    3.     Nuts (just a handful!) fill us up.

    Nuts make a great snack because they are high in protein and fiber. Choose nuts that are low in calories and saturated fats. Almonds, for example, are high in protein and low in fat: a ¼ cup serving has about 160 calories and 4 g of fiber. Cashews and pistachios are good low-cal choices, too. Just eat macadamia nuts and pecans in moderation, as these have the highest amount of saturated fats and calories.

    4.     Peanuts count.

    Although technically a legume, peanuts offer many of the same benefits as tree nuts. In addition to being a good source of protein and fiber, peanuts have high levels of vitamins E and B, as well as antioxidants such as resveratrol (which helps reduce diabetes risk and heart disease) and p-coumaric acid (a beneficial probiotic that helps digestion). Dry-roasted (or boiled!) without salt are the ones to choose, as these have fewer calories and lower sodium.

    5.     Nuts are easy to add to our diet.

    Here are a few easy ways to incorporate more nuts.

    • Pick up Pharmaca's healthy nut mixes for ready-made nutrition! Try our Antioxidant Trail Mix, a blend of almonds, walnuts, pecans, cherries, cranberries, apples, cashews and peanuts. Gorp with Chocolate is another favorite, featuring peanuts, raisins and chocolate gems. Or go for straight nuts with Raw Almonds or Organic Raw Cashews.
    • Add nuts to salads. A sprinkle of nuts offers an extra protein boost even to pre-made salads.
    • Try incorporating the best of a Mediterranean diet (fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts) and add nuts to whole grain pasta dishes or sautéed greens like spinach or broccoli.
    • Use nut flours in soups or stews, or to replace white flour in baking recipes.
    • Make a quick, tasty dessert.  A quick recipe? Chopped bananas, honey, a sprinkle of almonds and walnuts, and a dash of cinnamon.

    Tell us: What's your favorite way to eat nuts?

  • Why Sugar and Glycation May Be Keeping You From Youthful Skin

    WomanonBedWe’ve heard rumblings about the dangers of refined sugar for awhile now. It’s linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It’s addictive, has no nutritional value and might make us fat. Need one more reason to avoid the stuff? Glycation: The process by which sugar can cause wrinkles and sagging skin.

    Simply put, glycation is the process that happens in our bodies when sugar hooks up with proteins. Normally, sugar is converted to fuel for our bodies. But when we eat too many sugar-laden foods, excess sugar molecules find proteins and fats to latch onto, creating abnormalities called Advanced Glycation End products (AGE). These AGEs cause collagen and elastin proteins in our skin to lose flexibility and weaken. The result? Sagging, dull and wrinkly skin.

    We can slow down glycation and help repair the damage with diet changes and targeted skin care products. Here’s how to fight glycation from both the inside and the outside.

    Slow glycation with a healthy diet.

    • Eat less (or no) refined sugar.
    • Say no to high-fructose corn syrup (it speeds up glycation to 10 times the rate of simple glucose!).
    • Stick with good carbohydrates like brown rice and whole wheat products. They produce less glucose and they’re absorbed more slowly so your body isn’t bombarded with excess sugar.
    • Avoid highly processed food that’s full of refined sugars.
    • Get lots of fiber, especially from raw vegetables—it helps absorb AGEs.
    • Choose low-fat dairy products and eat more fish like salmon, tuna and sardines. (Studies show high fat red meats and cheeses produce more AGEs.)
    • Try carnosine supplements (like Jarrow Formulas' L-Carnosine), a potent anti-aging, antioxidant amino acid that helps protect against AGE buildup.

    Use glycation-targeted skin care products.
    After age 35 glycation really speeds up, making it a good time to switch to anti-aging products that hydrate, firm and detoxify.

    Ask a Pharmaca practitioner about other anti-aging skin care products that might help in your skin's fight against glycation.

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