Winter Skin Care

Winter Skin Care
Dry-SkinThe cold, clear days of winter may bring a rosy glow to the cheeks, but they also cause a tight dryness of the skin of the face, hands and legs. For some people the skin is just tight and itchy, while for others it may become flakey or cracked.

“As soon as you turn the heat on indoors, the skin starts to dry out,” Bonnie LaPlante, and esthetician with the Canyon Ranch Resort explains. “it doesn’t matter if you heat your home using oil, wood or electricity. The skin gets dry.” If you are familiar with this condition, you may want to consult a specialist. If the condition is persistent, a doctor may be able to provide you with an effective, medicated treatment. If your condition does not require a physician, you may want to try to moisturize more often. For the winter months, use a moisturizer that is oil-based, as opposed to water-based. For your face, be sure to choose an oil that is “nonclogging,” to avoid acne and clogged pores. Sunscreen is also very important during the winter months, as the glare from the snow, and even UV rays that are trapped below the clouds, can damage your skin. Don’t underestimate the sun’s power during the winter. You should also try to exfoliate your skin at least twice a week. Use a loofah or something similar to remove dead skin cells and enable new ones to grow. Be sure to drink lots of water. During the winter, people often forget the importance of drinking water, and get dehydrated. This has a direct effect on a person’s health.

Genetic Code of Wild Strawberries Cracked

wild-strawberryScientists have cracked the genetic codes of wild strawberries, as well as a certain type of cacao used to make chocolate. The new information should help breeders develop better varieties of mainstream crops.

“Because farmers have been crossbreeding and hybridizing food crops for centuries to improve traits, they tend to have large complicated genomes but the wild strawberry’s is relatively small so we can get access to all of these useful genes comparatively easily,” said Dan Sargent of BBSRC Crop Science Initiative.

Todd Mockler of Oregon State University explained that “this will accelerate research that will lead to improved crops, particularly commercial strawberries. It could lead to fruit that resists pests, smells better, tolerates heat, requires less fertilizer, has a longer shelf life, tastes better and has an improved appearance.”

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Pumpkin-soupNothing is more tasty and cozy than a bowl of fresh, steaming soup on a cold winter evening. Instead of making plain old vegetable or chicken soup, why not try something completely different? Here is a great recipe for a healthy, delicious pumpkin soup, perfect for the season:
¾ cup of water
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (eight ounces) pumpkin puree
1 cup unsalted vegetable broth
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup fat-free milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 green onion, chopped
In a large pan, heat ¼ cup of water over medium heat, and add onion. Cook until tender. Add the remaining water, pumpkin, broth, cinnamon and nutmeg, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for five minutes, and then stir in milk. Do not boil again. Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle with pepper and green onion. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Anemia is a relatively common condition, one which causes weakness and fatigue due to lack of iron in the blood. There are other, less common types of anemia as well, such as pernicious anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency.
vitamin-B12This deficiency can be caused by lack of the vitamin in the diet, or the inability of the body to absorb it once it is consumed. Vegans and vegetarians are the most likely to lack this vitamin, as it is found primarily in animal products such as meat and eggs. The vitamin is water soluble, and must be ingested daily in order to avoid deficiency. When the body is unable to absorb the vitamin, it is often a result of a condition in the small intestine, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or surgery. Intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach, is necessary for the absorption of the vitamin. A lack of this protein may be a result of a surgical procedure, an autoimmune response or a hereditary inability to produce it.

Vitamin B12 is involved in many processes in the body, mainly the production of red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells as a result of B12 deficiency can lead to a serious complication called pernicious anemia. The most common symptoms of vitamin b12 deficiency include very pale skin, shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, a sore or tingly tongue, cold extremities and heart palpitations. The deficiency can also affect the gastrointestinal tract and result in an enlarged liver, nausea, heartburn, abdominal bloating, loss of appetite and weight loss. If the condition is left untreated, it can result in nerve damage as well, which can be identified by numbness and tingling in the extremities, unsteadiness, confusion, depression, memory loss and dementia.

Shea Butter Found to Be Hypoallergenic

Shea butter can be found in a huge number of materials, ranging from diaper cream to types of paper. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers shea nuts (from which the butter is made) to be tree nuts- potential allergens.

The proteins in peanuts and other tree nuts are what cause the allergic reaction. In people who are allergic, the immune system considers the proteins to be dangerous and launches an attack, resulting in an allergic reaction. These can be both mild and severe, the latter often resulting in the failure of airways. Around two million Americans are allergic to some type of tree nut, but the number of allergy-linked deaths is small; around twelve each year.

The issue of shea butter arose when a pediatrician named Dr. Kanwaljit K. Chawla questioned the safety of most baby products. “I was looking up baby products and realized that many of the ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ products contained shea butter, including wipes, diaper creams, baby lotion and nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers. I saw that the FDA listed shea nut as something to avoid if you are allergic to tree nuts, but shea is in everything. How is it possible to avoid it?” She explained.

The nuts are mostly fat, but the doctor and her colleagues decided to run a few tests. They extracted the miniscule amount of protein found in shea nuts, and added it to blood samples taken from a number of people with known tree-nut allergies. The immune system did not respond, implying that although shea nuts should in theory trigger an allergic reaction, the immune system does not recognize it as a nut protein.