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Senin, 12 Desember 2011

MEGA HEALTH - Relieving Seasonal Allergies

MEGA HEALTH - People who suffer from seasonal allergies would likely have a different response to the subtle changes between seasons. Instead of the usual happy anticipation, they would likely be tensed up and gearing for a whole new round of seasonal allergies, whether it’s that time when winter turns into spring or the cooling weather as summer turns into fall.

Seasonal allergies, faced by over 35 million Americans each year, are typically linked to pollen that makes their way from trees, flowers, grass, and plants, populating the air no matter where a person goes. Symptoms are fairly simple but hardly comfortable for the allergic person: wheezing, sneezing, runny nose, and red, itchy, and watery eyes are hardly welcome incidences on a daily basis.

Many allergy sufferers find relief only from over-the-counter drugs. However, more and more people are becoming more conscious about home remedies and would prefer natural ways of dealing with their symptoms. After all, drugs are known for having side effects, many of which may not yet have been studied adequately.

Doctors agree that nature-based remedies are a useful way of handling mild allergies, and may even be useful for more significant allergies. While some doctors may be more conservative, others believe that there are many possible treatments that are safe to try.

The following home remedies are recently causing a stir in terms of treating seasonal allergies:

1. Butterbur – This European herb has been shown to give impressive results in clinical tests. For example, one group of Swiss researchers tested one tablet of butterbur consumed four times a day and found it to be as effective in relieving symptoms of hay fever as a popular anti-histamine drug. The even better news is that the herb tablet did not give the expected drowsiness that usually comes with anti-histamines. Another study was done by some British researchers to test the effectiveness of the drug against symptoms of allergies to grass.
2. Freeze-dried nettles – This is another herbal supplement that some doctors recommend.
3. Goldenseal – This herb is known for being taken as a tonic. Most doctors recommend taking this with a saline nasal spray. Goldenseal has been known to have astringent as well as local antibacterial properties that help in the process of getting rid of seasonal allergy symptoms.
4. Saline nasal spray – More and more doctors are recommending a saline nasal spray for respiratory allergic symptoms. Saline simply means salt water, so basically the spray contains no other ingredient except sodium chloride mixed with water. It has been shown to be effective in washing out pollen as well as reducing or thinning mucous.
5. Grape seed extract – This nutrient occur naturally in many food items, and comes in especially abundant levels in red wine. This extract may be used as a supplement alongside vitamin C and give extremely helpful results in reducing symptoms of allergy.
6. Quercetin – This is a flavonoid compound which also occurs naturally in many food items. The compound is proven to control the release of histamines as well as other chemicals that trigger an allergic response.
7. Hot spicy food – Interestingly, home remedies for allergies are not limited to herbs and nutrients. Experts believe that spicy food helps in thinning mucous secretions and in clearing nasal passages. As such, you may be able to help relieve your allergy symptoms by using more cayenne pepper or hot ginger, or even by upping the onion and garlic you use in our cooking.

While these home remedies have been shown to be effective in treating seasonal allergies, experts point out that dealing with allergies not only include eating certain foods but also avoiding others. For example, when a certain food seems to cause stomach upset or occasional hives, it may be a good idea to steer clear of such food, particularly during season changes that cause you to be more sensitive to triggers. Among the foods that experts recommend avoiding if you happen to be allergic to weed pollen are bananas, cucumber, melons, chamomile, sunflower seeds, and herbal supplements with Echinacea, as these apparently make symptoms worse.

Lastly, you may opt to try an air filtration system in your home. This can help remove dust and irritating pollen from your personal space, thus giving you a better chance of avoiding seasonal allergies.

Kamis, 08 Desember 2011

MEGA HEALTH - Acne and Oily Skin Care Tips

MEGA HEALTH - If you have oily skin, you are likely prone to acne as well. This is just one of the disadvantages of having this skin type. Other downsides are having visibly larger pores and the embarrassing shine on the nose, forehead and cheeks, also known as the T-zone. Summertime is the worst season for someone who has oily skin hence the appropriate skin care regimen is needed to keep excess oil at bay. The right products are also needed to prevent acne from developing. In the following paragraphs, you will learn tips for proper acne and oily skin care. Finding the right facial wash is a must for someone who has oily and acne-prone skin. Skin experts advise the use of a gentle cleanser that is oil-free and formulated with 2 percent salicylic acid to fight acne. This ingredient works by unclogging the pores with oil and dirt without leaving the skin dry. Remember to pick out a cream-type cleanser for the cold season and a foaming cleanser during the hot season. Cleanse your face twice a day, in the morning and evening. If acne leaves your skin reddish, you can use Aloe Vera gel as a natural facial cleanser. It is effective in reducing skin redness and contains natural ingredients that can treat pimples quickly. The next step to an acne and oily skincare regimen is toning and moisturizing. Be careful in using products on oily skin type because harsh products can leave the skin dry. You don’t want this to happen because once the skin misses on moisture, the sebaceous glands will act double time to produce more sebum. So, to avoid this from happening, learn to treat your skin well by avoiding alcohol-based toners, hyrdroquinone and mineral oil. Serum or light lotion should be used as moisturizers for oily skin. Oil-free, water-based and hypoallergenic preparations are also recommended as to not leave the skin oilier. If there is a moisturizer brand that has acne-fighting formulations and SPF15 or higher, then that would be hitting two birds with one stone. Exfoliation is also essential in keeping the skin shine and blemish free. Large pores, excess oil, dirt and dead skin cells are the perfect ingredients for pimples. Exfoliating your skin once or twice a week can clear pores with dead skin cells and stimulates new cells to form. Remember to use a gentle exfoliating scrub and be careful around blemishes as to not irritate and inflame your face all the more. After this, go ahead and pamper yourself with a facial mask. A deep-cleansing, clay-based mask can help tighten the pores, absorb excess oil and make your skin feel refreshed. Moving on to makeup, a lot of women know how to care for oily and blemish-prone face but most of them fall short in choosing the right makeup for their skin type. For oily skin, using liquid foundation is not a good idea. Especially under the hot weather, oil-based liquid foundations will easily melt. If your face is oily and you don’t want to end up with blemished skin, it’s best if you use oil-free makeup like tinted moisturizers and mineral makeup. For a just-pinched look that lasts a long time, a powder or gel blush does the trick. Be sure to cleanse your face completely from makeup before retiring to bed. Blotting paper is one of the niftiest beauty inventions. Use these to blot your face everytime you feel that you’re already shining with oil. It works well in touching up your makeup without smudging it. It is also better if you wear your makeup light to keep it from caking in the middle of the day. Another beauty trick to make your cosmetics intact all day and night is to use a makeup setting spray. Spray some on just before leaving the house. Lastly, use acne spot treatments only if you have seasonal acne. Otherwise, consult a trusted dermatologist for prescription acne medication to address severe acne problems. Be careful in using acne treatments because most of them are too strong. It can also make the skin dry and sun sensitive so be sure to follow instructions carefully (acne medications are usually applied minimally and at night) and apply sunblock lotion. Following these helpful tips will ensure skin that is glowing with health and not with too much oil.

MEGA HEALTH - Cystic Acne – Causes and Treatment

MEGA HEALTH - Cystic acne or what you call nodulocystic acne is the most serious form of acne vulgaris. Its main characteristics are swollen red pustules with pus and sore nodules that can be really painful. Acne scars are very common results of this type of acne once they are not treated properly through pricking and use of ineffective medications. It also requires a longer length of time to heal as compared to milder types of acne. It is usually mistaken as acne rosacea because of their similarity in appearance. Acne Rosacea is pimples and skin blemishes seen on the forehead, chin, cheeks and nose and is very distinguishable because of its reddish color and nodules. The difference between rosacea and cystic acne is that the former do not result from blackheads or whiteheads which the latter result from. Rosacea pimples are not extractable as well unlike blackheads and whiteheads. With cystic acne, there are three things to consider that when altogether may result to cystic acne. First are agitated oil glands that most acne-prone individuals have. Their sebaceous glands produce more oil than usual and soon enough clog pores, hence resulting to outbreaks when infected. Research shows that the sebum produced through oil glands of people with bad acne breakouts have high compositions of squalene and wax esters, and low composition of free fatty acid and linoleic acid. This setting allows the P. acnes bacteria (or Propionibacterium acnes) to proliferate fast. Second is increased production and reduced shedding of skin cells. Acne-prone individuals create more skin cells than the average person. However, when too many skin cells die, they need to be removed by the skin but this does not happen regularly. The result, dead skin cells block the follicles and result to clogged pores. Third is the increased amount of acne bacteria that happens when a pore gets blocked and oxygen is zapped out. This is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Although the skin has a certain number of P. acnes, once the bacteria explodes in number, pimples break out and the infection can spread to other pores through frequent touching of the face. P. acnes live on sebum and they create a substance that can damage the pore’s lining which result to redness and inflammation. Acne bacteria cannot be destroyed with regular face washing. Certain chemicals are recommended to be included in your skin care product to kill acne bacteria. Benzoyl Peroxide is on the top of the list. Others are tetracycline and antibiotics. Retinoids such as Accutane is also considered an effective treatment for severe acne like this one. It prevents scarring and is proven to treat ninety percent of serious problems of the skin. Also known as Isotretinoin, it is a doctor prescribed oral medicine that is advised to be continuously used for a period of five months and to be taken twice daily. What Accutane does is that it reduces the oil glands’ size thus making it produce smaller amounts of oil and lesser growth of bacteria. Another option in treating cystic acne is a cortisone shot. Steroidal cortisone shots are commonly used to treat severe skin conditions since it can successfully halt inflammation, expedite healing and stop the condition from resulting to unsightly acne scars. The hormone cortisone is produced by the body and works by reducing inflammation, but the amount released by the body is not sufficient when it comes to severe swelling of the skin because of nodulocystic acne. This is where steroid hormone shots come in. As explained earlier, cystic acne is not primarily caused by having poor hygiene but it is a condition caused by internal factors such as abnormal oil production and hormonal imbalance). This fact makes topical acne treatments futile when it comes to addressing this type of acne. Aside from the abovementioned acne treatments, another possible cure that may help improve the condition is multivitamins. Vitamin B5 and Zinc capsules for acne are vitamins that can help break down oil by limiting sebum production while improving the system’s metabolism of skin oil. Compared to Accutane, results may not be seen as fast and may not be as effective for others. Of course, do not fail to visit a licensed dermatologist who can give the right assessment and medication for your situation. Having patience and a good attitude can also help a person suffering from cystic acne build up their self-confidence as they wait for their skin to finally clear up.

Minggu, 13 November 2011

MEGA HEALTH - Food Choices for Maximum Energy

MEGA HEALTH - If you are not an athlete or a serious sports fanatic, you might think that food choices that give the maximum energy are not your main concern. However, if you are always on the go, you will actually find yourself yearning for more energy throughout the day, especially if you are still looking at the prospect of several hours of overtime and you already feel like hitting the sack. Most likely, you will think of getting another cup of coffee or downing an entire chocolate bar, thinking the extra sugar will give you the boost you need, and then wind up disappointed when it only manages to give you an energy boost for an hour or less.

The following food items are the best things you can opt for when you are in need of a serious energy boost:

1. Complex carbohydrates are actually better choices than simple carbohydrates like sugars and processed flour. Indeed, many people think candies and sugary juices will give them the energy they need, as seen by children who become hyperactive from too much sweets consumed in one sitting. However, these foods, along with pastries and baked goods that are high in white sugar may result in complications for your body’s processing of blood sugar, giving you overall low energy levels instead of the energy boost you are looking for. Instead of reaching for that chocolate bar, you will likely be better off finding foods that are high in complex carbohydrates; an example would be potatoes and sweet potatoes. Of course, French fries may be made of potatoes but taking much of them will spell added inches on your waist line, while also giving your heart added strain from the added fat. Baked potatoes will be the better option. In terms of breads, whole-wheat options are best, as they take longer to digest while giving you the energy you need.

2. Proteins go best for a heavy breakfast and lunch. Protein-rich food, like meat, eggs, fish, poultry, nuts, and seeds, are enough to give you the energy you need for the tasks throughout the day. As such, you would be wise to stock up on them early in the day, instead of waiting for the time when you are already sluggish and craving sweets! Just be sure to pick lean cuts of meat, and opt for your poultry and fish without the skin, as they do nothing but give you added fat.

3. Listen to your mom’s voice telling you to finish your vegetables. Hands-down, green leafy veggies are still the winner when it comes to giving you the energy you need. This is because they are usually rich in magnesium as well as B vitamins. You can pick from spinach, broccoli, beet greens, mustard greens, or just about any green leafy thing that grows in the ground. With this in mind, you can actually enjoy your salad greens with greater gusto.

4. Be sure you get plenty of water. Everyone knows the daily requirement of 8 glasses of water, but if you are doing plenty of energy-sapping tasks, feel free to down more than that. While you may opt for sugary sodas and juices when doing heavy tasks, water will actually do you the greater good, as it helps in waking you up and actually answers thirst much better than the former. Sugary drinks will only make you feel more sluggish and even increase your thirst. Experts recommend getting a drink of water, preferably in room temperature, whenever you feel a sense of mental fogginess, or when fatigue starts to sink in. Cold water has been shown to slow down digestion, so it would be best to take your water in room temperature instead.

These food choices will likely help you maximize your energy, especially when you need it the most. However, it is not limited to the times when you are already desperate for an energy boost; if you can develop these healthy eating habits on a regular basis, you will find that your energy levels are maximized that you would not even need the extra boost for the extra working hours on special days, as you would have plenty of energy stocked away for those times!

MEGA HEALTH - Foods that Help Relieve Stress

MEGA HEALTH - Perhaps you find it funny to see women portrayed as needing a tub of ice cream or an entire plate of chocolate cake to cope with a stressful situation, especially things involving the emotions, such as a breakup. These foods are typically known as “comfort food,” and men who have never eaten out of stress find it hard to understand the logic. In fact, they are quick to write it off as a simple food craving masked behind an impression of “need” for coping.

But do you know that food can indeed play a role in how your body responds to stress? There is such a thing as foods that relieve stress. Typically, these foods contain vitamins and minerals or components that help stimulate the production of serotonin. This hormone works to regulate a person’s mood and consequently helps relieve stress. For example, magnesium and B vitamins play a critical role in producing serotonin, while zinc can help fight off some of the ill effects of stress. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant to help get rid of the free radicals that are produced during stress.

The following foods are good choices to munch on when you are under a lot of stress:

1. Almonds are nuts that are high in B vitamins, magnesium, and vitamin E. This means you not only get a boost of serotonin to regulate your mood, you will also have a way to fight off the ill effects caused by your stress. Of course, almonds are also high in fat, so generally, you will have to keep your intake to a few handfuls at a time, as eating too many of them every time you are stressed might translate to some extra pounds that will in turn contribute to your stress levels!

2. Fish is a good food to eat during stressful times, as they are packed with B vitamins, especially B6 and B12, which are well-known for fighting stress. Instead of wolfing down a plate of pizza, you can opt for a tuna salad or tuna sandwich, or perhaps grilled mackerel or salmon. Although it might not sound like a tasty treat to soothe your broken heart, your overall disposition will lead you thanking this fishy meal in the long run.

3. Broccoli is another food that will surely benefit you. Not only is it known for helping fight cancer, the folic acid it contains also helps ward off stress. In fact, folic acid is known not only to relieve stress but also to fight off panic, anxiety, as well as depression.

4. Eating whole grain pasta or rice is also a great way to combat stress. Carbohydrates actually help boost levels of serotonin, which explains why many women who pig out on ice cream during a season of heartbreak find it strangely soothing and calming. Of course, whole grain carbohydrates will be the best choice, as simple carbs, especially sugars, only give you a temporary boost—which, unfortunately, is followed by a dip. Also, simple carbs will also result in more weight gain, giving you more things to stress about after a while.

5. Believe it or not, sushi is also a great stress reliever for more reasons that one: sushi comes with fish, which already have high levels of B vitamins. In addition to that, the seaweed used in these rolls is rich in magnesium and also comes laden with pantothenic acid, which contributes greatly to the health of one’s adrenal glands. These glands are crucial when it comes to managing stress.

6. Milk is another food that helps improve one’s disposition, thanks to its high levels of B vitamins. Cottage cheese is another dairy product that contains high levels of B vitamins.

7. Cantaloupe is also a good choice, thanks to its high levels of vitamin C. This vitamin also plays a vital role in fighting stress, as the presence of this vitamin in the adrenal glands tends to be depleted during prolonged stressful periods.

8. Beef contains high levels of B vitamins, zinc, and iron, giving you reason to enjoy that huge steak. Still, you will need to pay attention to the saturated fat it contains, too, which means you can only enjoy beef to a certain extent, preferably with the leanest cuts available.

From these choices, you can likely find a new game plan to use during your next stress breakdown, and you will definitely enjoy a quicker pickup compared to your usual list of comfort food!

MEGA HEALTH - Introduction to Stretch Marks

MEGA HEALTH - Properly called as striae, stretch marks are a skin problem that many men and women face today. Stretch marks are actually considered as a form of scarring that happens when the second layer of the skin, which is the dermis, is stretched or expanded beyond its limits. There are several areas in the body where stretch marks may appear but usually in body parts where there is a large fat deposit such as the thigh, the buttocks, the legs, the belly, and the breasts. Stretch marks may appear reddish in color especially when it is newly formed, however, their visibility may gradually decrease over time. While stretch marks are generally harmless, many people, especially women prefer to have them removed as they can alter the appearance of body parts where they appear.

There are many theories as to why stretch marks are formed, and while most people think they are a result of rapid weight gain and weight loss (which is also partly true), studies suggest that they are actually a result of hormonal fluctuations. These hormonal fluctuations usually occur when a person gains weight during puberty and among women, during pregnancy. For men, stretch marks may develop as a result of muscle mass gain when body building. When there is a sudden change in weight, the glucocortisoid hormones in the body may affect the production of collagen and production in the skin. And since these two are what mainly gives the skin form and structure, the skin may lose support and begin to sag when collagen and elastin production is disturbed, thus, the development of stretch marks.

Again, stretch marks are not considered a harmful condition and will in no way ever produce a negative effect to the health. However, since they are too unsightly to look at sometimes, many people choose to have them gotten out of the way. While there are those who believe stretch marks can be removed naturally, many still prefer to opt for the fast and easy way, which is through surgery. One of the most common form of surgery for stretch marks is the Laser stretch mark removal. In this conventional procedure, stretch marks are removed through the use of a laser beam that zaps the damaged skin tissues. This may be a very quick solution for stretch marks but can also rather be expensive.

Another method is microdermabrasion. Just like in laser surgery, stretch marks are blasted in this procedure, only that aluminum oxide crystals are used instead of laser beams. Finally, there’s Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck as many people prefer to call it. This procedure is actually a form of plastic surgery designed to get rid of stretch marks by removing excess fat from within the belly area or abdomen. Once all the excess fat have been removed, the skin in the tummy is then “tucked” or sutured back into place.

Surgical procedures for stretch marks are very popular and are preferred by many men and women. However, there are those who find such methods too expensive and too risky. For that reason, home remedies for stretch marks were developed. Among the most common stretch marks home remedies include stretch marks creams and lotions, aloe vera gel, shea butter, and cocoa butter. There are also those who try chemical peels for removing stretch marks, however, most medical experts do not advise them since their effectiveness is only limited to the outer layer of the skin. Furthermore, experts suggest that if you want to treat stretch marks effectively, you have to use a product that has the capability of penetrating deep into the skin and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Otherwise, do not waste your money on commercial products that do not deliver what they promise.

Aside from surgical procedures and home remedies, other effective ways in dealing with stretch marks are regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. While there is no proof whether certain foods can contribute to the elimination of stretch marks or not, eating the right foods that help control your weight will definitely help as well as performing firming exercises such as brisk walking, cycling, and many more.

MEGA HEALTH - Revitalize Your Skin with Papaya

MEGA HEALTH - You will notice that many skin care products today contain papaya. That’s because this common fruit has more to offer you than its delicious taste. Papaya is actually rich in vitamins and nutrients that are essential for the repair of damaged skin cells and is therefore a very effective way to get rid of the early signs of aging such as wrinkles and blemishes. One of the most well-known benefits of papaya to the skin is that helps whiten dark spots; that’s why you often see it contained in skin whitening soap and creams. But do you know that papaya also has the ability to help tighten the skin and eliminate skin sagging and wrinkling? That’s right. That’s why more and more people today who are looking for natural skincare solutions are turning to this wonderful fruit.

Papaya may not be as tasty as other fruits that you know but is nonetheless packed with antioxidants that makes it a natural beauty product. The fruit is very rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant known for its ability to boost collagen and elastin production. Both collagen and elastin are what compose the skin’s structure, but as you grow old, production of these two elements slow down, causing your skin to sag and become dull. With the help of a powerful antioxidant like vitamin C from papaya, the production of these two are enhanced, giving your skin its natural glow once again.

Two other popular vitamins you will find in papaya are vitamins A and E. As we all know, vitamin A is vital for the health of the eyes, but do you know that it is essential for your skin’s health as well? Vitamin A comes in the form of beta-carotene in papaya, and when consumed, it helps curb the negative of UV rays in your skin. Vitamin E on the other hand is a well-known moisturizer, and is also a very popular anti-aging component. These three vitamins alone are enough to take care of the free radicals that destroy skin cells and cause the skin to age prematurely.

It’s not only the papaya that has the ability to revitalize the skin. Even the sap of the fruit contains an enzyme that experts consider to be a natural skin exfoliator. This enzyme is called papain. Papain is a form of pepsin that is commonly found in fruits and vegetables. Generally, papain is given to people who are suffering from digestive problems. However, the enzymes amazing exploits do not end to treating stomach aches and indigestion. Today, there are many skincare products that contain this ingredient especially lotions and topical creams.

That is because papain has the ability to boost the skin’s process of eliminating dead skin cells. When skin cells die, the skin pushes them to the epidermis to slough them off. However, when there is a huge amount of these dead skin cells covering the surface of the skin, the skin will begin to appear dry and dull. That’s where exfoliation comes in. While the skin has a natural way of exfoliating, it is sometimes not enough to get rid of all the dead skin cells, that is why ingredients like papain are needed to help loosen dead cells and get rid of them.

Nowadays, the most common use of papaya is as a skin whitener. It seems that each time a new skin whitening product comes out, you can expect that product to contain papaya as one of its main ingredients. Again, it is the enzyme papain that is believed to be the major component of papaya that helps in skin whitening. However, experts agree that vitamins A, C, and E also play a major part not just in improving the skin’s complexion but also helping it become softer and smoother.

We all know that the health benefits of papaya are not limited to the improvement of the skin’s health. For ages now, papaya has been used as cure for digestive problems. It is also known to improve cardiovascular health and boost the immune system with its rich content of B vitamins, vitamin K, fiber, folate acid, magnesium, and potassium. But above all else, papaya, whether taken as a dessert or applied to the skin as part of a skin care product can surely help revitalize your skin’s health.