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Skin Health for the Cooler Months

Skin Health for the Cooler Months

As the weather cools off, our skin has different needs. The combination of dry, over-heated indoor rooms and freezing temperatures outside can do a number on even the hardiest complexions! Read on for a few tips to get beautiful, balanced skin from the inside out.

  • Keep your skin (and your mood) at their best by making sure to get a colorful variety of fruit and veg in your diet. Cool-weather greens like kale and broccoli are at their prime right now. Pomegranate and citrus fruits are also at their freshest, and both pack an antioxidant punch that will help keep your skin looking clear and healthy. Chilly weather can also lead to carb cravings, which can cause breakouts and rashes if indulged. Fight the urge to stuff yourself on starch or sugar by taking care of your body with fruit, plenty of water and a healthy amount of exercise.

  • Take care with hot showers and baths. Although it feels great especially when it’s cold out, hot water can dry your skin and hair out, leading to dullness. If you can’t live without your steamy shower, at least try a final rinse with cool water. This is a great all-natural way to close up your pores and prevent winter dryness from getting worse. Don’t forget the cool water after indulging in hot tubs or saunas, either. Another simple way to protect hair from split ends and other winter damage is to avoid washing it every day - try alternating days instead. Finally, in the winter months it’s important to apply a moisturiser to skin and the ends of hair as soon as you’re dry. Coconut oil is a great all-natural choice to nourish your skin without causing breakouts or irritation.   

  • Chapped lips are a common skincare problem this time of year. Smooth and repair your lips with a quick, all-natural overnight treatment: start with a simple scrub made from mixing a half-teaspoon of sugar with a few drops of coconut oil. After scrubbing off damaged and dry skin, follow with a thick application of raw shea butter or another plant-based moisturiser before you go to bed. In the future, protect this sensitive skin from both wind and sun damage with an all-natural lip balm that provides both antioxidants and sun protection; look for ingredients like vitamin C as well as an SPF rating on the packaging.        

  • Don’t forget the sunscreen. Just because the day is cool or cloudy doesn’t mean that the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays aren’t reaching you. In fact, cloudy weather can actually make sun damage more likely! If your skin has a tendency to be dry, you can knock both birds with one stone: every major skincare brand offers at least one day-use moisturiser with built-in SPF protection. If you aren’t in the habit of wearing daily sun cream, it’s never too late to start - even during cold weather. Your skin will thank you later!

And whatever you do during winter, just think of the accumulative effects of what you put in and on your body. A little bit of TLC now will have you feeling like you’re walking on clouds come spring and summer.

Author: Natalie Millis

Author: Natalie Millis

 

Seven Environmental Documentaries to Watch Now

Seven Environmental Documentaries to Watch Now

For all the curious Earth and nature-lovers out there, here’s a list of fantastic films that showcase the wonder of our world while discussing some of the most important issues of our times, and - perhaps most importantly - what can still be done. If you don’t already have a good reason to start practising a more eco-friendly lifestyle, you may find it on this list.

Blue, Directed by Karina Holden

Named for the way our planet looks from space, this documentary is about the most important life-giving force on earth: namely, our oceans. What once was imagined to be a vast, inexhaustible resource is now starting to show the strain of half a century of widespread industrial fishing and pollution. Exactly how much trouble are our oceans in and what can be done to avert a total collapse? Watch this startling film to find out.

Chasing Coral, Directed by Jeff Orlowski

Coral is the “rainforest” of the ocean: a place where some of the highest number of species exist together. Just like the Amazon, our planet’s corals are also in serious peril. This movie doesn’t just talk about the bleaching of the Great Barrier reef, however: it also captures the jaw-dropping beauty of these spots and offers the possibility that it might not be too late to save our corals.

Plastic China, Directed by Jiuliang Wang

This shocking story follows a family living next to a plastics recycling plant in China. With vivid imagery, you’ll see just how much of this stuff we’re dealing with not only in China, but on Earth as a whole. Spoiler alert: it’s not going away any time soon.

The Age of Consequences, Directed by Jared P. Scott

If you know people who won’t change their ways with traditional arguments about climate change, this might be the documentary to show them. Featuring political leaders like Madeline Albright, the story focuses on the politically and economically destabilising consequences of extreme weather and other by-products of climate change. The spectre of mass migration and war is just one of the reasons provided by this film for all of us to take action before it’s too late.  

The True Cost, Directed by Andrew Morgan

How do fast-fashion powerhouses like H&M get their clothes to stores so cheaply? While many of us may have a vague idea about “sweatshops”, this doco takes the viewer on an unflinching journey through the lifespan of trendy clothes. Follow this season’s fashions from the runway through your closet and finally into the rubbish bin. Watch it and you may never be able to enter a cheap clothing store without thinking about the dark side to our throwaway clothing culture.

Before the Flood, Directed by Fisher Stevens

If you want eyewitness testimony to how climate change is affecting every corner of the globe, look no further than this timely documentary. Possibly most famous because it was produced by US film superstar Leonardo DiCaprio, the film deserves to be taken seriously on its own merits. The footage took over three years to film across dozens of countries. Besides discussing the problem, Before the Flood also does something crucial: it outlines concrete steps that can be taken to help build the social and political will it will take to avert climate disaster.

The Breakthrough in Renewable Energy, Directed by Martijn Kieft

Although it’s not exactly creatively titled, if you’re looking for something with a slightly more upcast tone, this doco by Netherlands group is a great way to end this list. It’s all about the growing viability of renewable energy. You see, the main barrier - that of economic cost - is finally shifting away from traditional non-renewables like coal and gas and politicians are taking notice! Among other nations, Australia’s journey towards a more earth-friendly tomorrow is featured.  

Author: Natalie Millis

Author: Natalie Millis

 

Açai Berries: What’s all the Hype About?

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Açai Berries: What’s all the Hype About?

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The popularity of Açai berry products has been growing for the last few years. If you’re considering making Açai part of your diet, learn what science has to say about this superfood—and how to get the best benefits for yourself!

Açai (pronounced “Ah-Say-Ee”) is a purple, olive-sized fruit that grows on a type of palm tree in the Amazon rainforest.  Açai has been traditionally used by indigenous people for a variety of health concerns and celebrated for its energy-giving, healing properties. Besides being packed with colorful phytonutrients that provide its record-setting antioxidant properties, Açai fruit is a source of healthy omega-3 fats and dietary fibre, too.

 

As knowledge of Açai fruit has gone mainstream, its benefits have been explored both as a health-boosting supplement and a skin-care ingredient. Research has focused especially on Açai’s possible usefulness in aiding weight loss, but other benefits of the fruit may include improvement of: immune system function, heart disease and high cholesterol, arthritis and other inflammation-related disorders. A promising study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2011[1] showed that subjects who took Açai pulp daily showed improvement in fasting levels of glucose, insulin and cholesterol - all important parts of healthy weight loss. Preliminary studies have also shown that Açai may help prevent tumors from being formed[2] and could even help kill cancer cells[3]. The same powerful antioxidant properties that make Açai such a superfood can also have brightening, wrinkle-reducing benefits when applied to the skin.

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Like many natural supplements, the benefits of Açai depend greatly on the quality of the product and packaging. When antioxidant properties of Açai were compared to other berries, fresh Açai had some of the highest scores recorded. This means Açai out-performed other nutritional powerhouses like blackberries, blueberries and strawberries! Unfortunately, the antioxidant power of Açai is seriously reduced if it is not processed and stored correctly. Improper storage and packaging can lead to a huge drop in the free radical “scavenging” capabilities, which translates into a reduction in health benefits[4]. This is why anyone who wants to experience the benefits of Açai should take the time to find a high-quality product. Flash-freezing the berry has found to be the best way to retain its nutrition; when Açai is transported fresh or in powdered form, its antioxidant properties actually drop below other berries! Therefore, to get the maximum benefit from this wonder food, a flash-frozen product is the best choice—unless you’re able to travel to the Amazon rainforest yourself.

 

Speaking of the Amazon rainforest, the recent popularity of Açai berries has been a mixed blessing for communities that have traditionally relied on the fruit as a staple food. In many areas, demand has raised prices significantly, making Açai more difficult for local people to buy. Therefore, investing in a fair-trade Açai product is an excellent way to get maximum health benefits for yourself while not harming the original discoverers of this miraculous superfood.


[1] https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-10-45

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25329001

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24886139

[4] http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0609779

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Author: Natalie Millis

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