Stretch marks can be both frustrating and embarrassing given their scarred appearance — and can develop on both men and women. They are typically found on the thighs, hips, abdomen, breasts, lower back and upper arms.
Stretch marks form in the dermis of the skin, which is the thick layer of living tissue below the epidermis. When the dermis gets stretched for long periods of time, it can break down causing stretch marks — which can look like severe scarring — to develop.
Because the skin doesn’t return to its original state due to being stretched for an extended period of time, stretch marks most commonly appear after pregnancy, weight gain or weight loss. Stretch marks can begin with a purplish coloration eventually becoming glossy and developing a streaked look.
What can you do to prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks? While there are surgical methods that are often used, I instead recommend trying natural options right at home, including making your own stretch mark cream.
This DIY stretch mark cream provides incredible moisturizing and can even be used it as a hand cream. It’s composed of several beneficial ingredients, led by coconut oil for the skin. Coconut oil is able to penetrate your skin on a deeper level than your average product because of its low molecular weight and the way it bonds with proteins. (1)
The second key ingredient is raw shea butter, which is proven to help tissue cell regeneration and softening of the skin. The American Journal of Life Sciences reported a clinical study involving 30 volunteers in which shea butter diminished various signs of aging. (2)
Also, this stretch mark cream taps into the power of essential oils, such as lavender oil that acts as both an antimicrobial and antioxidant for the skin. Make sure to check with your physician before using any new ingredients if you are pregnant.
Homemade Stretch Mark Cream
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: Makes approximately 6–8 ounces
3 ounces unrefined coconut oil
¾ ounce unrefined cocoa butter
¾ ounce unrefined shea butter
3 tablespoons sweet almond oil
6 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vitamin E oil
20 drops lavender essential oil
20 drops cypress essential oil
10 drops grapefruit essential oil
10 drops helichrysum essential oil
Using a small sauce pan, melt the coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter and almond oil on very low heat.
Once oils are completely melted, mix in the water until oils and water are combined and smooth.
Remove from heat and continue to mix oil and water until mixture cools to room temperature developing a creamy consistency.
When the mixture is room temperature stir in the vitamin E oil, lavender, cypress, grapefruit and helichrysum essential oils.
Store cream in a dark glass container. If you use a clear glass container, store in a dark place.
How much do you spend a month on expensive skin care products and facials? Making this homemade facial oil at under $5 for a 2 oz bottle will give you better results for a fraction of the cost! Wrinkles, blotchiness, dark spots, and blemishes… BE GONE!
There’s no real secret here, as with all of my homemade moisturizers the trick is to use the correct oils for YOUR skin and that’s where I come in. I’ve done the research already, I’ve looked at many DIY face oil recipes using only natural oils, I’ve made lots of them and I’ll share the best ones below.
Why Make Your Own Homemade Facial Oil Recipes?
I almost tried to compare this to ‘store bought face oil’ but there really isn’t a comparable product available. These recipes are fresh, they haven’t been sitting on a store shelf for 2 years! But to give you some sort of a comparison, if you buy the store bought product containing commercial preservatives you would be paying over four times more than the cost of this facial oil recipe.
As I make DIY face oil recipes using only natural oils they have an 18 month shelf life. The oils can be expensive to buy up front but a little goes a long way, so once you have your supply it will save you a small fortune in the long run (more on the cost below).
These oils are 100% natural & pure, they should be the number one beneficial ingredient in all over the counter moisturizers. But unknown to the average shopper some manufacturers only use a little of the good expensive oils, they then mix in other fillers (cheaper oils). You only have to read the percentages to see proof of this. When we make our own recipes we have zero commercial restraints, we can use a larger percentage of the best oils to get full benefit for each application.
The volume in these recipes would normally last for a good couple of months. But because I make them myself and I don’t have to pay the large price tag of a store bought product I can afford to indulge a little… So I use them on my entire body once or twice a week!
Putting these homemade facial oils on your skin will not make it greasy, most of the time I use thin light oils that are easily absorbed by the skin, they are wonderfully nourishing and will hydrate your skin to the max.
How To Use This DIY Face Oil
You can use these face moisturizer recipes as often as you like, they can replace your homemade wrinkle cream all together or you can alternate between the two. You could use one of these homemade face oil combinations for overnight and use a moisturizing cream during the day or vice versa.
Remember to shake this facial oil before using, as you will see in the pictures the oils can divide.
Simply place a little of the oil on your forehead, nose, cheekbones and chin, then massage in. With your fingertips gently smooth the homemade face moisturizer over your face, using upward strokes massage the moisturizer into the neck, cheeks and forehead, and then in circles for around the eyes starting from the inner to the outer corners of the eyes.
This is very easy, all you need to do is decide upon a carrier oil or two and then mix this with a selection of essential oils.
Each of the homemade facial oil recipes below make around 50g which will just fit in a 2 oz airless bottle, it fills to the top without much room for going over. So if you are experimenting try to make sure your oils add up to around 50g or just under.
Wheatgerm and Vitamin E oil are both natural anti-oxidants which help preserve your oils even longer, although not compulsory I often include a small amount in my facial oil recipes. In particular Evening Primrose and Rosehip Seed which are both great for wrinkles have a shorter shelf life than some of the other oils.
The rest is up for experimentation…
Equipment & Ingredients:
Here’s what you will need to make face moisturizer recipes using only natural oils.
To show you how easy this is I’m making my favorite homemade facial oil (more recipes below), it’s a balanced facial oil recipe for mature skin. This blend helps to firm my skin and increase elasticity reducing small lines and wrinkles.
The Evening Primrose in this recipe is well know for its wonderful skin healing benefits.
The Avocado is an extremely rich oil comprising higher levels of Vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E.
Neroli essential oil is often referred to as the ‘God Of Essential Oils’. It can be expensive but it promotes healing of the skin, is suitable for all skin types especially mature skin and particularly good at healing scars and stretch marks.
Frankincense is another a very important skin healer that has many positive references going as far back as the Bible.
Cost Breakown For This Facial Oil:
Oil Ave Bulk Cost Per Gram/Drop Recipe Avacado $1 per oz 3.3 cents per gram 16g = $.53 Rice Bran Oil $1 per oz 3.3 cents per gram 20g = $.66 Evening Primrose $2.25 per oz 7.5 cents per gram 12g = $.90 Vitamin E $6 per oz 20 cents per gram 2g = $.40 Neroli $8 per ml (25 drops) 32 cents per drop 4dr = $1.28 Frankincense $2 per ml (25 drops) 8 cents per drop 4dr = $.32 Total Depends on Volume $4.09
Why Making This Makes Total Sense:
We have already discussed why this homemade facial oil of the highest quality, in a store you would pay more than 10 ten times this amount. As you can see the total Cost for my favorite homemade facial oil is $4.09 for a 2 oz bottle.
Granted it can be a sizeable outlay up front to buy your essential oils, a 5 ml bottle of Neroli (the God of all Essential Oils) can cost $30-$40 and Frankincense is around $10-$15. But it’s simple economics, a 5 ml bottle holds around 125 drops and has a shelf life of several years, you have enough here to make this recipe once per month for two years. And lets not forget you can also use these oils in so many other homemade beauty recipes.
When I first started I teamed up with a couple of friends to share essential oils, so we only had to pay a third of the cost. We then saved the cash we would have spent on over the counter products to fund future ingredients. I now have such a large collection that I’m making my own skin care recipes, bath products and soaps at a fraction of the cost.
The carrier oils are all sold in different quantities which makes demonstrating the initial outlay for these a little complicated. As an average we can take the cost of purchasing your carrier oils (which are cheaper the more you buy) at around $40. This will get you enough Evening Primrose and Avocado for a year and you will still have enough Rice Bran and Vitamin E left for the following year.
So the total cost to get you started making my facial oil can be between $90 and $150 depending on where you shop for your oils. But the second year will cost you just the $20 for Evening Primrose and Avocado, in the long run you will be way ahead.
Once you have your ingredients it only takes a few minutes to mix, and if you are making homemade gifts then it makes even more sense.
To me it’s just common sense to make my own facial oil!
Step 1. Using your digital scale, weigh all the ingredients into a small jug or bowl and stir them well.
Step 2. Pour the contents into a bottle and label it for your own reference.
Voilà, you now have a very cost effective, freshly prepared, preservative free facial oil… Enjoy!
My Deep Moisturizing Overnight Facial Oil
Here’s an excellent homemade facial oil for night time!
This is a wonderful skin balancing oil that’s suitable for all skin types. If you are suffering with dull or dry skin, then this overnight treatment is ideal for you.
If you have sensitive skin the Rosehip oil is one of the finest base oils you can use, and it is quickly absorbed into the skin without leaving any greasiness. It performs marvels upon scars and is a prevalent oil employed for the treatment of lines and wrinkles as well as premature ageing.
The Geranium essential oil balances out the sebum production and nourishes both dry and combination skin.
Jasmine is very hydrating, used in soaps, perfumes and many cosmetics for dry sensitive skin.
Rub this oil into warm, thoroughly cleansed skin before going to bed each night to allow the oil to be fully absorbed while you sleep for an ultra conditioning effect.
Best Oils To Choose For The Face
One of oil blends here may well be perfect for your skin, if not here’s a handy reference guide should you prefer a little experimenting.
Recipes For Other Skin Types
Antioxidant Facial Oil Recipe For Combination Skin
Great for all skin types especially combination skins due to the re-balancing properties of Jojoba. Sweet Almond oil is most commonly known for an ability to soften, soothe, and recondition the skin.
Apricot oil is a delightful and comparable to Sweet Almond, yet more suitable for delicate or prematurely aged skin. As mentioned earlier Avocado is an extremely rich oil comprising higher levels of Vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E.
Grapeseed oil is outstanding because of its natural non-allergenic properties it is typically used as the base oil for ointments, creams and lotions. It is particularly good for skin types that don’t absorb oils very well, and it doesn’t leave a greasy feeling.
Castor oil has been used in Indian households for centuries now
Castor oil also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties
It can help in preventing acne breakouts to a great extent
Castor oil has been used in Indian households for centuries now. There is no denying the fact that it provides with a lot of skin benefits. Apart from being rich in fatty acids, minerals and nutrients, castor oil also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which can help in preventing acne breakouts to a great extent. Frequent acne breakouts can be quite annoying. Almost all of us wish to have a clear and glowing
skin. However, achieving the same is no less than a task these days as it requires a lot of attention and care. When it comes to acne, pollution and poor diet are the main culprits! If you wish to get rid of acne without using any chemical-based products, then it's time to bring castor oil to your rescue. Here's how you can use castor oil to get rid of
Step 1: Cleanse your face with a face cleanser to remove the extra oil and dirt. Massage it gently and focus on areas that are more prone to acne.
Cleanse your face with a face cleanser to remove the extra oil. Photo Credit: iStock
Step 2: The next step is to apply castor oil on your face. All you need is some slightly warm organic castor oil. Take a cotton ball and dip it in castor oil. Gently massage it all over your face in a circular motion. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes until your skin absorbs it fully.
Castor oil has been used in Indian households for centuries now
Step 3: Before washing your face, massage it gently. Then, with the help of lukewarm water, wash your face. Do not forget to moisture your face with a moisturizer or coconut oil. Repeat these steps on alternate days to see effective results.
Bring on these changes in your beauty regime to see effective results!
The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
Drinking red wine can ward-off cholesterol build-up resulting from eating red meat, say scientists. Harmful compounds from red meat form in the bloodstream, creating "bad" cholesterol that damages blood vessels and heightens cardiac risks. The researchers showed, however, that anti-oxidants in the wine known as polyphenols prevented these compounds from being absorbed into the bloodstream where they can cause harm, the "Journal of Functional Foods" reports. Ron Kohen, professor from the Institute of Drug Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said this may help to explain why red wine has frequently been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the "Telegraph". "Meat is rich in polyunsaturated fat and cholesterol. Our results could provide an explanation for the association between frequent meat consumption and increased risk in developing cardiovascular diseases. Including polyphenol rich products as an integral part of the meal significantly diminish these harmful effects," said Kohen. Over four days, the researchers fed a group of healthy volunteers a series of meals of dark turkey cutlets and asked them to avoid other meats and fish. A smaller group of the same individuals then repeated the four-day diet, accompanying each cutlet with the equivalent of a glass of red wine. The research showed that when the volunteers ate the meat alone, they had increased levels of a compound known as malondialdehyde in their bloodstream. They also showed greater levels of cholesterol that had been modified by malondialdehyde in their blood.
When they had the cutlets with red wine, however, the levels of modified cholesterol did not change and even fell in some cases.
Garlic is a traditionally used ingredient in the kitchen as it adds a distinctly strong flavour to the dish. Not only this, it is known to have medicinal properties that help heal various ailments. This wonder ingredient is more than just a flavour adding agent and medicine; it is known to be an excellent hair care ingredient. For all you people dealing with hair loss, garlic is the solution. Hair loss is essentially unnatural; it’s a sign of a deficiency or imbalance in the body. What is it that garlic has, which makes it an excellent hair growth natural ingredient? Let’s find out.
According to a study published in the Indian journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, application of five percent gel to areas where hair loss had taken place led to hair regrowth in the previously bald areas of the scalp, reduction in size of bald patches, and higher hair count numbers. As per the study, the sulphur and selenium contained in garlic can help fortify the structure of the hair shaft. Basically, it doesn’t only help re-grow hair, but also strengthens the existing hair.
Here are a few benefits of garlic for hair growth:
Garlic has anti-microbial properties that help kill germs and bacteria, which are responsible for causing damage to the scalp, further inhibiting hair growth.
Raw garlic is known to be rich in vitamin C content that is great for promoting hair-health. It also boosts collagen production that helps stimulate hair growth.
The presence of selenium content in garlic helps boost blood circulation for maximum nourishment.
It also helps cleanse hair follicles, strengthens them and prevents clogging, further curbing hair loss.
Garlic helps calm aggravated scalp and treats issues like dandruff.
Garlic for hair growth: Garlic has anti-microbial properties that help kill germs and bacteria
How to use garlic for hair growth?
Here are a few ways to use garlic for hair growth:
1. Garlic and honey for hair growth
Add minced garlic and honey in a bowl and mix them well. Apply this paste on your hair and scalp and leave it for about 30 minutes or more. Rinse it well with running water.
Garlic for hair growth: Raw garlic is known to be rich in vitamin C content that is great for promoting hair-health 2. Garlic and coconut oil to combat hair loss
Mix the minced garlic with mildly warm coconut oil. Massage the mixture into the scalp and hair and leave it for about 30 minutes before washing it off.
Note: Using only garlic can be irritating to the skin as it packs a strong punch. Therefore, it is imperative to add something with it to reduce the chances of skin irritation. Also, do not use garlic essential oils. 3. Garlic oil or garlic infused oil We are not talking about garlic essential oil here, but garlic infused oil is completely different and much effective than essential oil. You can add garlic in any of the oils like olive and coconut oil and leave it overnight and apply the other day. You can also make garlic oil at home. 4. Garlic and ginger for hair growth Crush the garlic and ginger and blend them in to a paste. Now heat the paste in some carrier oil. Once the pulp starts turning brown, turn off the heat. Once the oil has cooled down, discard the pulp. Take the leftover oil and massage it on your scalp for 15 minutes. Now, cover the length of your hair in oil and sit for about 30 minutes before washing it off. How to make garlic oil at home for hair growth? Preparing garlic hair for growth at home can is an easy process. All you need to do is to mince a few cloves of garlic in either olive oil or coconut oil, depending on which one suits your hair. Now put it in a mason jar and store in a cool and dry place for at least a week. After a week’s time, you can use it on your tresses and watch garlic oil do wonders.
Go on and make your tresses shine and healthy with the trusted age-old remedy using this humble kitchen ingredient.
Barley is a grain commonly found in bread, beverages, and various cuisines of every culture. It is one of the most widely consumed grains in the entire world. Barley is high in fibre, has twice the protein and almost half the calories of oats as well as an important consideration for people with weight or dietary concerns. It is used for lowering blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and for promoting weight loss. It is also used for digestive complaints including diarrhea, stomach pain, and inflammatory bowel conditions. According to a new study conducted by St Michael's Hospital in Canada consuming barley as food or in food recipes can significantly reduce the levels of "bad cholesterol" that are associated with heart disease risk, suggesting that barley has similar cholesterol-lowering effects as oats. The review, published in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included 14 studies on clinical trials conducted in seven countries, including Canada.
The results showed that barley reduced by seven per cent both low-density lipoprotein, or LDL and non-high-density lipoprotein, or non-HDL. "The findings are most important for populations at high risk for cardiovascular disease, such as Type 2 diabetics, who have normal levels of LDL cholesterol but elevated levels of non-HDL or apolipoprotein B," said Scientist Vladimir Vuksan.
Barley has a lowering effect on the total bad cholesterol in high-risk individuals, but can also benefit people without high cholesterol. High cholesterol and diabetes are the major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Measuring non-HDL and or apoB — a lipoprotein that carries bad cholesterol through the blood, provides a more accurate assessment for heart disease risk, as they account for the total 'bad cholesterol' found in the blood.
Despite its benefits, barley is not as well established as some other health-recommended foods — such as oats, the researchers rued, adding that barley consumption by humans has fallen by 35 per cent in the last 10 years. According to Bangalore based Nutritionist Anju Sood, "Fibre increases the ability of your heart to do away with the bad cholesterol. Barley Water is a good source of fibre hence it is essential for patients who suffer from cholesterol problems. Moreover it is good for individuals who have a low water retention problem and is recommended to them." Inputs from ians
Keeping your oven clean is very important because the burnt, baked-on food can release carcinogens as it continues to burn. Off-the-shelf oven cleaners contain a lot of toxins and if it comes in contact with your skin, you could suffer, since it can eat through your skin.
Natural oven cleaning products and green cleaning products can help, but a little baking soda and vinegar may be all you need for a homemade oven cleaner. Still not convinced? Let’s dig into the “why” a little bit.
Lye and ammonia are commonly found in oven cleaners and will break through the skin, remove layers of skin and the fumes can easily make their way into your lungs. Beyond that, once you have cleaned the oven, guess what happens. Those fumes linger and get even worse when you use the oven the bake your next delicious pie. In fact, that pie will end up completely contaminated with those toxins! You may not taste it, but they are there. Research confirms that Easy-Off oven cleaner and Mr. Muscle oven and grill cleaner, for example, contain poisons that can cause difficulty in breathing due to the fumes as well as swelling in the throat. Some may experience severe pain in the throat, burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips or tongue and even vision impairment. The stomach and intestines may be affected with abdominal pain, blood in the stool, burns that develop holes in the esophagus, and vomiting with blood. Fainting, low blood pressure and organ damage can occur, and the skin may get burns and holes in it, in addition to general irritation. (1)
There are a few specific ingredients that are known to cause serious health issues, specifically asthma and damage to the reproductive system, such as monoethanolamine (MEA), glycol ethers and alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEs). (2)
Some others ingredients that you should be aware of are butane, diethylene glycol monobutyl ether (this is also found in many auto care products, at-home hair dyes, and stains or glosses for paint and wood products), monoethanolamine (MEA) and, as noted earlier, sodium hydroxide (lye). All of these ingredients can cause burns to eyes and skin upon contact, as well as burns to the mouth, throat and stomach if swallowed. (3) Butane is one of the more harmful volatile substances to inhale and can cause something called ‘sudden sniffing death’ — cardiac arrhythmia/arrest when person is stressed or does heavy exercise during or soon after being exposed to butane.
Lye, one of the main ingredients, is so powerful that it can decompose carcasses! Sodium or potassium hydroxide is used to break down the tissue of animal carcasses and even deceased humans. That’s pretty scary. And because it’s cheap, it’s found in tons of household cleaners. (4)
Some ovens contain a self-cleaning feature, and this can definitely help you avoid dangerous toxins. However, you still need to make sure you are following the directions carefully when using the feature since it can produce carbon monoxide, especially if there is a lot of baked on food in your oven.
I know plenty of people who prefer to avoid the self-cleaning feature and clean their ovens with my homemade oven cleaner instead. However, if you decide to use the self-cleaning feature, the North Texas Poison Center recommends leaving the home during the self-cleaning cycle because the Teflon coating inside the oven can release fumes when at high temperatures. The self-cleaning feature usually takes the oven to about 600 degrees — high enough to release those fumes. If inhaled, the fumes can cause flu-like symptoms and difficulty breathing. And don’t forget your pet! Pets can also experience these problems, too. (5)
Homemade Oven Cleaner
You will need the following:
a pastry brush or similar
First, take out the oven racks. You will need to clean them separately in your sink.
Place the castile soap and baking soda into your bowl and mix. Castile soap is a favorite of mine since it’s made with pure, chemical-free ingredients. It can gently wash your face, provide sparkling window cleaning results or offer a good scrub for the tub! For now, let’s focus on oven cleaning.
Baking soda is another great ingredient for oven cleaning, offering the abrasive texture to help remove stubborn baked-on food. You can even add a little baking soda to your dish washing cycle to help clean your dishes. Baking soda is a nahcolite, containing sodium bicarbonate, which is what helps with the cleansing process.
Now add the vinegar and orange essential oil and blend, adding water until you get a nice, thick paste-like consistency. Vinegar is antibacterial and makes for a perfect household cleaning product. Orange essential oil is a great addition, not only for a nice scent, but it’s also antibacterial and contains powerful antimicrobial compounds called terpenes.
Let’s apply this homemade oven cleaner! Using your pastry brush, brush on the homemade oven cleaner until you have coated the entire surface. Allow it to sit for about 6–8 hours or overnight works well. It will foam up just a bit, which is normal.
After you have allowed it to do its work, it’s time to wipe it clean. Using another bowl filled with water, take your sponge and begin wiping the oven to reveal the clean surface. Use the bowl of water to clean the sponge each time you wipe, but you may need to change the water a few times.
Homemade Oven Cleaner
Total Time: 3 minutes
Serves: 1 application
2 tablespoons castile liquid soap
1⅓ cup baking soda
6 drops orange essential oil (optional)
¼ cup organic white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
In a glass bowl, blend all ingredients, using the water to help form a thick paste.
Brush onto the oven surface until completely coated.
Allow it to sit for about 8 hours or overnight.
Wear your gloves and wipe clean using a sponge and clean water.
In the language of nutrition, it's very easy to get your wires crossed. Master cleanses, detox diets, low-carb diets, high-protein diets and the like usually lead to more questions than answers. So how do you sift through them all? This piece is the first in a series of articles where I attempt to translate the prevalent beliefs or attitudes towards particular foods or diets. Today, I get up close and personal with a hot new fad – clean eating.
In a nutshell, clean eating is less of a diet and more of a movement. The idea is to eat 'farm to table' or to make sure your ingredients are as fresh as they can get. In other words, processed foods are off the table. You opt for fresh vegetables, fresh meat, fresh dairy, and consequently, a fresh problem: how do you access fresh food all the time?
For nutritionists, clean eating is the ultimate 'happily ever after' where the freshest foods meet the healthiest cooking techniques. To start off, eliminate processed meats, store-bought sugary treats, refined and polished grains, ready-to-eat meals and precooked foods.
A more pragmatic way to eat clean food is to try cleaner eating… cleaner than what you are used to right now. It will benefit your body beyond your imagination.
Another way is to cook the food as fresh as possible. So cook food you've bought today, especially, meats and fish. Stock smaller quantities of the same foods and make sure you use them as fast as possible. Do not store for long. Wilting leaves
sitting forlornly in your fridge for days will not have any nutritional value.
Third, keep in mind that the focus is not on perfection but on relative success. In the process of eliminating processed foods, you are cooking with fresh foods, and it's an important step.
by Pooja Makhija Consulting Nutritionist & Clinical Dietician
Do you feel as though you could really do with more zinc in your diet? In this article, Beauty and Tips takes a look at the best sources for this key nutrient.
Consuming zinc is kinda important. It plays a role in over 100 enzymatic reactions in your body and you need to consume a small amount of it each day in order to stay healthy. Zinc also works like an antioxidant, combating the damage done by free radicals, so that you don’t age too quickly. However, many of us don’t get enough zinc, and indeed zinc deficiency is now widely recognised for the problem that it is. Women are most a risk, because they generally need more zinc than men. Others at risk of a zinc deficiency include vegans and vegetarians, as well as alcoholics and even endurance athletes. The good news is that it’s easy enough to get an adequate amount of zinc into your system each day via your diet. Let’s take a look at 10 zinc rich foods to include in your diet.
Breakfast wouldn’t be breakfast without oatmeal. Just us? Can’t be! Oatmeal makes for an awesome breakfast. Not only is it one of amazing zinc rich foods – 6.2mg per 156g serving – but it’s also rich in fibre, which means that it’s a super satisfying way to kick start your day. Not just that but oatmeal is very versatile and can be mixed with quinoa, berries, seeds, coconut, honey and more. What a fine, hearty way to start your morning!
Oysters used to be a widely available, affordable working-class food before the outbreak of war in the first half of the 20th century in Europe. However, war and the subsequent food shortage changed all that. Once the war was over, oysters became scarce, their value rose and they became an expensive delicacy. They sure do taste like an expensive delicacy, too, and they’re also one of great zinc rich foods. In fact, just one medium oyster contains around 5.3mpg of zinc, which is really good! Oysters also contain lots of protein and they’re low in calories. Other good stuff they have include selenium, iron, vitamin B-12 and vitamin C.
If you’re a meat eater, lamb should be high up on your weekly grocery list, as not only does it taste great, it’s also an excellent source of zinc. Just a 113g serving of lamb contains 3.9mg of zinc, which is just over 25% of your daily recommended amount. Not bad, huh? Lamb is also a high quality protein, which means it provides you with lots of energy and can help to build muscle. It contains all the essential amino acids, including beta-alanine, an amino acid that boosts physical performance. Try roasted lamb or lamb chops to get your zinc fix.
Nuts and Seeds
If you still consume hardly any nuts and seeds, now’s the time to start adding them to your diet, as they are also one of amazing zinc rich foods. Nuts and seeds might be small and they might look relatively insignificant but they pack a massive punch. They’ve also got a crunch and compliment your smoothies, salads, yogurts or morning bowl of oatmeal. A handful of pine nuts or pumpkin seeds contains as much as 15% of your daily recommended amount of zinc. Pretty good, huh? There are lots of other options when it comes to nuts and seeds. Try the likes of peanuts, pecans and cashews for more low-fat, zinc-rich goodness.
Who knew that getting your zinc fix could be so indulgent? Dark chocolate needn’t be a guilty pleasure. In fact, it could even be termed a super food thanks to its antioxidant properties alone. And because a 100g serving of dark chocolate contains almost 10mg of zinc, you should aim to eat 2 squares per day.
There are lots of great cheeses on the market, with Swiss cheese being just one of them. It’s one of excellent zinc rich foods, with a 132g serving containing around 5.8mg of the essential mineral. Swiss cheese is also a really good source of calcium, and since many Americans are calcium deficient we could probably all do with finding more calcium sources. But perhaps the best thing about Swiss cheese is that it contains all the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein. There’s a caveat, however: Swiss cheese is also rich in bad fats, which means you shouldn’t over indulge. Just be careful!
Peas are not to everyone’s tastes, but if you happen to love ‘em, it’s time to eat more of them as a 160g serving contains around 13% of your daily recommended amount of zinc. As well zinc, peas should be consumed by weight watchers everywhere, because they contain barely any fat and zee cholesterol. They’re also super low in sodium. Go peas! All you need to do is add them to your soups or salads.
Like nuts and seeds, whole grains come with SO many health benefits that you should probably have added them to your diet by now. If you haven’t, there’s still time. Whole grains – which include the likes of quinoa and whole wheat bread – are also excellent zinc rich foods, they are also stuffed with all kinds of other minerals and vitamins. And because they contain fibre, they also leave you feeling satisfied for longer.
You can, of course, consume the whole egg, but if your usual practice is to eat the egg whites and leave the yolk, you’ll need to rethink that strategy, if you want to get more zinc into your diet. See, the zinc is in the yolk – about 5.6mg of it, in fact. But that’s not all; egg yolk also contains the likes of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A, D, E and K. The best way to get your egg yolk fix is to soft boil the egg and dip your bread in it. It’s scrumptious!
Mushrooms come in a variety of different types. All you need to do is pick a favourite because a single cup serving contains almost 10% of your daily recommended amount of zinc. Fantastic!
You can be genetically predisposed to an eating disorder
Considering eating disorders are incredibly common, you might be curious to know what causes these unhealthy relationships with food and mirrors in the first place. The long and the short answer is both your genetics and societal influences. "We say that genetics load the gun and environment pulls the trigger," explains Bonnie Brennan, the senior clinical director of Adult Services at Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado. "Genetic predisposition, though not necessary, can play a big part in the risk." A study in 2011 confirms that for white females, developing an eating disorder has a high degree of heritability. "More research is needed to determine the prevalence of eating disorders among those of different races and ethnicities, but we do see symptoms of eating disorders across all populations," Brennan adds.
A big life change can evoke an eating disorder
You might not realize you have a predisposition to anorexia or binge eating (especially if your parents never discussed their struggles with you) until something life-altering or impactful happens to you (aka a trigger). "Those at higher risk may also be struggling with other mental health and substance use problems, stressors, or exposure to activities that emphasize size and weight. We also see eating disorders develop in response to life stage changes such as puberty, going to college, mid-life challenges, and loss of relationships," Brennan notes. Here are the things substance abuse counselors desperately want you to know.
It's not just anorexia that's deadly
Though anorexia is most commonly reported on in the media, there are several types of body dysmorphia (unhealthy relationships with body image) that can impact your health and spirit. Anorexia is classically defined as someone who severely restricts their caloric intake—either by not eating or exercising heavily to burn off what is perceived as fat. Bulimia is when a person goes through a rollercoaster of binge eating, followed by purging—making themselves throw up or have diarrhea. Exercise-orexia is what it sounds like: being overly obsessed with getting fit and creating an ideal physique. Orthorexia is a condition of being hyper-focused on eating only the healthiest, cleanest foods. Another less well-known disorder is binge eating, in which you scarf down more than what's comfortable, with no control over your actions. (Here's what's happening in your body when you binge.) All of these conditions can be life threatening and dangerous, and they all have similar warning signs.
Sign #1: You think about food all the time
iStock/AlijaTake a moment and reflect on the past few hours of your day. Whether you were spending time with pals, running errands, or working, what thoughts consumed your mind? Brennan says that when food is at the forefront of your consciousness nearly all the time, you could be heading down an unhealthy road. "The more time you spend thinking about food, how you are going to eat it and prepare it, and what you might do to make up for eating behaviors that you have determined are unacceptable, the more likely this could be a silent sign of an eating disorder," she explains. If you're anxious about how much mental energy you're dedicating to calories, nutritional value, and food quantity, consider recording how often these thoughts come along. You can bring this information to your doctor, who can help you understand how to control and reduce these instances.
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Sign #2: Success at dieting makes you feel confident
iStock/yulkapopkovaBrennan says that a high percentage of patients at the Eating Recovery Center reported that trying out a diet and seeing results was what caused their eating disorder to begin. While it might seem harmless to eat healthier and shed pounds (especially if you're prepping for an important event or have packed on some winter weight), it's less about the physical act of dropping pounds, and more about how it makes you feel, and how you define yourself as a person. "Often what starts as an innocent attempt to diet or eat healthy can kickstart an eating disorder, as the individual quickly finds that their new behavior 'solves other problems,' such as increasing peer acceptance, soothing anxiety, or getting attention in a new way," Brennan explains. Check these signs of an anxiety disorder, to rule out that potential trigger.
Sign #3: You're avoiding dealing with something big
iStock/ljubaphotoNo matter how rosy your life appears to your friends on Facebook, part of being a human is enduring the natural ups and downs of life. However, if you've recently experienced a death in the family, a scary car accident, or even a disappointing breakup, you might be inclined to skip through the recovery steps and instead, focus on something you feel you can control. "Often, our thoughts serve as a way to focus our headspace away from other things that may be painful, such as grief, conflict, worries, trauma, and stress," Brennan says. "Do yourself the favor of finding a safe place to begin to talk about these concerns, and help to prevent your mind from protecting you by continuing to fuel eating-disordered thinking." Some of these stress-busting strategies may help.
Sign #4: You scrutinize every nutritional label
iStock/svanhornYou want to make sure you're not eating overly processed foods riddled with unnecessary added sugar or chemicals. But if you're spending hours looking over ingredients in the grocery store, you might be developing a dangerous obsession. "At Eating Recovery Center we emphasize normalized eating and learning to have a balance of all food groups," Brennan explains. People with orthorexia, in an innocent attempt to be a healthy eater, start to eliminate more and more foods they perceive as "bad," and will only allow themselves to eat "good" foods. But when you begin to give whole groups of food a positive or negative connotation, you often miss out on essential ingredients and nutrients that your body needs to function properly. "Our bodies are not meant to follow rigid, prescribed diets for long periods of time," Brennan says, "and have evolved over time to need certain combinations of nutrients to keep us going and keep us healthy."
Sign #5: You're getting increasingly rigid about food choices
iStock/webphotographeerIf you always modify your food order at restaurants to the point that it raises eyebrows with your friends, it might be time to reexamine your motivation. The stricter you become with what you eat, the less enjoyment you get out of your meal. "Especially if they start to experience extreme weight loss, an individual can become more and more rigid about food choices, to the point where they may not be able to eat socially without bringing their own food or even start to judge and criticize their kids, family and friends for their food choices," Brennan says. "If this sounds like you, you may want to seek guidance and consultation from a dietician about your nutritional needs and how to balance your diet."
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Sign #6: You are obsessed with how much you weigh
iStock/UriluxThere are so many numbers that arguably matter more than how much you weigh—your resting heart rate and your cholesterol level, to name a few. So if you have a sudden, paralyzing, hyper-focused viewpoint on those numbers by your toes, you may be developing what Brennan calls a dysfunctional relationship with the scale. "Do you find that you are secretly weighing yourself more often than normal? Is your mood for the day dramatically changed by the number on the scale? This could be a silent sign of an eating disorder developing," she explains. "Judging oneself by the number on the scale leads the brain to troubleshoot ways to change that number, such as modifying food intake or getting more exercise. It is troubling to see a number you don't want to see day after day." These are the pros and cons of stepping on the scale every day.
Sign #7: You're starting to use laxatives to drop weight
iStock/jaker5000Laxatives can be helpful occasionally for people with digestive problems; they're not meant as a weight-loss aid. "Laxatives, cleanses, diuretics, diet pills, etc. are often abused by people who are desperate to see the number on the scale go down. If you find yourself in a codependent relationship with your scale, try putting it away or having a friend store it for you for a while," Brennan says. "If you need to weigh yourself in order to follow medical advice, talk with your provider about alternatives to having a scale in the home, such as using a gym or a pharmacy one time per week." Or, if you can, take out the number completely by suggesting a blind weight, which Brennan describes as "stepping on a scale backwards and having a professional record your weight without your seeing." It can be very freeing to have your day start without they tyranny of the number on the scale.
Sign #8: You eat until you're stuffed, and you can't stop
iStock/rab-bitJust as someone who is struggling with anorexia-like symptoms cuts way back on what they eat, another person who battles overeating might not be able to stop. "Believe me, there is nothing wrong with comfort food, and all of us eat more than is comfortable from time to time," Brennan says. "However, if you find yourself repeating a pattern of planning on eating to the point of being stuffed or if you are experiencing a loss of control with eating, it could be a silent sign of the beginning of binge eating disorder." You might turn to this habit during high-stress times, when you need to quell your worries and anxieties. "Foods, especially sugary, carbohydrate-rich sweets and snacks, can give one a rush of pleasure and sense of comfort and calm," Brennan says. Many of us may have had well-meaning parents soothe us when we were children with sweets and sugar when we were fussy, so it sets a pattern that's easy to fall back on later in life. Brennan recommends experimenting with healthy self-care behaviors such as a warm bath or sauna, using a weighted blanket, cuddling with a favorite pet, or trying a restorative yoga practice such as yin yoga or yoga nidra. See how naturally calm people avoid toxic stress.
Sign #9: You berate yourself if you don't work out every day
iStock/SrdjanPavRegular exercise is essential for ideal health, and doctors recommend at least 3 to 4 workout sessions a week. But if you find yourself freaking out when you miss leg day at the gym, you might be developing an unhealthy attachment to your fitness regimen. "There is no doubt that a regular exercise practice is healthy and can help alleviate stress and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. However, when hitting the gym or going for that 20-mile bike ride is trumping other important life events, it may be time to consider that a problem is developing," Brennan says. "If you are doing things like skipping your kids' dance recital, turning down social invitations, or feeling compelled to go exercise during your work day or in the middle of the night, you may be developing a compulsive relationship with exercise. This can lead to eating disorders and dangerous weight loss, poor nutrition, fragile bones, and injuries." If this is you, see a sports psychologist and dietician who specializes in sports nutrition to help you get on a balanced movement plan.
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Sign #10: You follow "thinspiration" Instagram accounts
iStock/Hocus-Focus-StudioIt's never been easier (or encouraged) to follow the lives of celebrities. You can see what nearly any model or actress is doing at any hour of the day via their social media accounts, and while it might be interesting, it could also create some pretty negative and damaging expectations for what your body should look like. And it's not only celebs. Social media influencers with the so-called "perfect body" can be dangerous to follow too. "Social media sites that post Thinspo and Fitspo media images and messages meant to inspire thinness and fitness, can lure people into the spiral of feeling less than and ashamed for not being thin or fit enough," Brennan says. Unfollow these accounts so you won't be constantly tempted and pressured to change who you are. Read more about how to have a healthy relationship with social media.
Sign #11: You're feeling ashamed of yourself
iStock/elenaleonovaRepeat after us: Never, ever shame yourself about your relationship with food and your body. "All coping skills serve the function of helping us to survive tough times, and sometimes these coping skills can also become problems, whether it's in the form of food, exercise, substance use, or working, to name a few," Brennan says. "Try to assess and consider the function your behavior is serving, and seek help from professionals and your support system." For additional information about Eating Recovery Center, call 877-789-5758, email [email protected], or visit eatingrecoverycenter.com to speak with a clinician who can guide you.