Category Archives: Health

The benefit of using coconut oil on your hair


Hair follows a specific growth cycle with three phases:

Anagen – This is the growth phase. The longer a hair remains in the Anagen phase the longer it will grow – this depends on genetics but it can last 2-6 years.
Catagen – This is a transitional phase that hair goes into once Anagen phase has ended. The hair follicle will shrink, the papilla detaches and the hair is no longer attached to its ‘life supply’ of nutrients. Hair is no longer growing.
Telogen – Also known as the resting phase. The follicle remains dormant and the hair will be anchored in place. Depending on the strength of the follicle, it will eventually soften and the hair will eventually break free and shed.

The phases run simultaneously so some hairs on your head will be in the Anagen phase and others in Telogen. For each hair strand, the Anagen phase should start again once the Telogen phase is complete, but some people may experience a longer Telogen phase meaning hair is shedding but no new hair is growing. This may result in thinning of the hair, so what we want to do is effectively ‘jump-start’ the Anagen phase and encourage the growth phase to begin.
Hot water strips the hair of moisture and weakens hair strands making it more perceptible to breakage.

Make sure you are washing your hair with lukewarm water and not hot water. You want to open the hair cuticles to clean your scalp which lukewarm water will do, then close the cuticles which will help reduce hair loss and frizz so ensure you finish washing your hair with a blast of cold water.

Cut down using a hair dryer or heating tongs every day. Heat can weaken your hair so even just going an extra day without using a hairdryer or tongs can dramatically improve the condition of your hair. Ideally gently towel-dry your hair until it is around 60% dry and then use the hairdryer on a medium setting.

Coconut Oil
Comprised mainly of smaller medium-chain fatty acids, this 100% natural oil is able to penetrate more deeply and faster than other conditioners. A tub of coconut oil which can be bought at your local pharmacy will last you a few months and it is packed with vitamins and fatty acids to help nourish your hair.

The numerous benefits of using coconut oil on your hair include:
• Stimulates hair growth by penetrating deep into the follicles
• Provides amazing moisturisation for dry hair
• Adds shine to hair
• Reduces protein loss in your hair – the only oil to do this
• Contains anti-bacterial properties to soothe an itchy or flaky scalp

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Hyperglycemia – High blood glucose


Blood glucose is another name for blood sugar. When carbohydrates and sweets are eaten, they are turned into glucose in the body. At this point, they are either used for energy immediately or stored away for energy later. When blood glucose levels elevate, it is usually the result of insulin not being released sufficiently from the pancreas, as is the case with diabetes. A high level of glucose is also commonly called hyperglycemia, and symptoms that can be seen with it include blurry vision, extreme thirst and having to take many trips to the bathroom. When blood glucose levels are high, there are various ways to cure the problem.

The body uses the stored form of of glucose, called glycogen, for energy when it is exercising. Doing weight training, running, cycling, swimming or any form of cardiovascular exercise can help lower glucose levels. Even 30 minutes of walking a day can be beneficial.

Foods that are both high in saturated fat and sugar can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels, and should be avoided. Some examples of these are fast foods, processed baked goods, cakes and sweets.

The glycemic index is a table that shows how fast a carbohydrate is absorbed into the blood stream. Foods that are high on this index are called simple carbs and foods that are low are called complex carbs. Complex carbs are low because they have a high amount of fiber in them, which can keep blood glucose levels stabilized. This is the type of carbohydrate that should be consumed. Some examples are fruits such as oranges, apples and cherries, oat bran and oatmeal.

Beverages can also cause blood glucose levels to be high. Some examples of these are fizzy drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened teas and sweetened coffee drinks. In place of these beverages, water should be consumed. It has no calories or sugar, and it helps to flush impurities from the body. According to the Institute of Medicine, women should consume 2.7 liters a day and men should consume 3.7 liters a day.

Other than adjustments in food, there are also various supplements that can be taken to control high blood glucose. They help with the breakdown of carbs in the body, and they also help with insulin release and storage. Some of these include chromium, cinnamon, zinc and ginseng.


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Contact Lenses – Questions and Answers


Can I store contact lenses in tap water?

No. Soft lenses must be stored in a disinfecting solution. Temporary storage in saline is allowed, but the lenses will have to be disinfected prior to the next use. Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses can be stored in tap water in an emergency, but will need to be cleaned and conditioned by soaking in an appropriate disinfecting solution prior to use.

Can I lose a lens behind my eye?

No. The conjunctiva, the fine, thin membrane that covers the sclera (white part) and inside of your eyelids is well attached to the side walls of the eye socket. Although you can not lose a lens, it can find its way up and under the upper lid and be pretty hard to locate. A soft lens can roll up and likewise be hard to find. Either way, if you flush your eye with water or saline, the lens should float out. In rare instances, a RGP lens may adhere by suction to the conjunctiva. First apply wetting solution to the lens and wait about a minute. Then try to move the lens while gently pressing on one edge. If that doesn’t work, you can try to very gently lift up under one edge to break the seal. Or go visit your optician. If a contact lens adheres repeatedly, it is not fitted correctly and should be replaced.

How can I tell if I have the lens in the wrong eye?

Alternately cover each eye with your hand. Do not simply squeeze your lids closed. Compare the vision. If one eye is noticeably better or worse, switch them and try again.

How can I tell if a soft lens is inside out?

(1) Place the lens on the tip of your finger facing upward, like a bowl. If when viewed from the side the edges of the bowl flare outward, it’s inside out. (2) Add saline, drop by drop to fill the bowl. If the edges begin to curl inwards, it’s the correct way.

My lens has a small tear in it which bother me. Should I replace it?

Never wear a lens that is obviously damaged, even if it feels okay. It could be causing damage to your eyes that might not be immediately apparent. And never wear a lens which is uncomfortable, causes pain or leaves your vision hazy or distorted.

How do I know when to dispose my disposable lenses?

As a basic rule, never sleep in lenses more than one week, or less, as prescribed by your optician. Dispose of them as recommended. Daily wear users should replace their lenses as recommended by their optician. Wearing your lenses past the recommended replacement interval may result in serious complications affecting your eye health and vision.

What kind of eye drops can I use when my eyes get dry?

You should use products specifically designed for use with the type of lenses you are wearing. Saline solution can be used with any contact lens. The re-wetting drops for RGP lenses are far more effective than saline and special soft lenses lubricating drops also work well. Drink more water to help with increasing your natural tear production. Unless directed to do so by your optician, do not use medicated eye drops as soft lenses may concentrate the drug and alter the effect,

How do I know which is the best solution for my lenses?

Do not mix and match contact lenses products. The chemicals used within any one care system are designed to be compatible. Using alternative products could create chemical reactions which could damage or discolour the lenses, irritate your eyes, or reduce the desired effect of the product.

Be careful to keep your lenses care products clean. Do not touch the tip of the bottles to any surface. If you do, quickly discard the next few drops. Always close the container with the original top immediately after use.


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Tips for Storing Your Vitamins


Refrigeration is not always best
It’s not a good idea to store vitamins in your refrigerator unless the bottle specifically instructs refrigeration. The logic for this is that every time you open a cold bottle to get your vitamin, you’re allowing condensation inside the bottle that can lead to vitamin deterioration.

If you prefer storing your vitamins in your refrigerator, then stash them in refrigeration for long-term use. You can store vitamins in bulk in your refrigerator, take out a one-month supply to store in your cabinet, and then close the refrigerated container until next month. This will minimize the number of times you’re opening the vitamin container and allowing condensation. Overall, it’s a much better idea to store your vitamins in a cool, dry, dark place. They will last significantly longer.

Keep vitamins in their original containers
Some vitamins come in dark glass bottles or opaque containers. They are packaged this way to minimize vitamin breakdown due to light. Some people like to transfer their vitamins from a dark bottle to a clear baggie or some other clear storage container for easy access. Generally, if a bottle is designed to reduce light exposure, then it’s better to take these vitamins directly from their original container in order to minimize their deterioration.

Keep vitamins away from humidity and heat
There’s a tendency to store vitamins in either the bathroom or the kitchen for easy access. These are actually not ideal locations because these rooms have higher humidity and heat levels than other rooms in the house. A bedroom drawer or linen closet would be a better location to preserve vitamin strength.

Beyond the Expiration Date
Stored properly, vitamins can last four or five years, although the conservative recommendation is that they can easily last two years. Taking vitamins beyond their expiration date is generally safe. The only difference is that you may lose potency over time, so taking extremely old vitamins may not give you the desired results that you’re trying to achieve. But in case you have doubts, some vitamins have been known to last 10 years or longer without losing their label strength.


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Symptoms relating to Neorotransmitter Imbalance


Neurotransmitters play a role in shaping who we are and how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. They influence our moods, memory and learning, self-esteem, anxiety levels, motivation, and more.

Below are listed a few of the most common symptoms which can be due to a neurotransmitter imbalance. Once correctly diagnosed, treatment can be achieved either through preferred natural methods, or from taking prescribed medication over a period of time.

Dopamine is the ‘pleasure and reward’ neurotransmitter. Symptoms of poor dopamine activity include:

Inability to self-motivate
Inability to start or finish tasks
Feelings of worthlessness
Feelings of hopelessness
Lose temper for minor reasons
Inability to handle stress
Anger and aggression while under stress
Desire to isolate oneself from others
Unexplained lack of concern for family and friends

Serotonin is the joy and well-being neurotransmitter. Symptoms of poor serotonin activity include:

Loss of pleasure in hobbies and interests
Feelings of inner rage and anger
Feelings of depression
Difficulty finding joy from life pleasures
Depression when it is cloudy or when there is lack of sunlight
Loss of enthusiasm for favorite activities
Not enjoying favorite foods
Not enjoying friendships and relationships
Unable to fall into deep restful sleep

GABA is the “calm and relaxed” neurotransmitter. Symptoms of poor GABA activity include:

Feelings of anxiousness or panic for no reason
Feelings of dread
Feelings of inner tension and inner excitability
Feelings of being overwhelmed for no reason
Restless mind
Hard to turn your mind off when you want to relax
Disorganized attention
Worry about things you never had thought of before

Acetylcholine is the learning and memory neurotransmitter. Symptoms of poor acetylcholine activity include:

Loss of visual and photographic memory
Loss of verbal memory
Memory lapses
Impaired creativity
Diminished comprehension
Difficulty calculating numbers
Difficulty recognizing objects and faces
Slowness of mental responsiveness
Difficulty with directions and spatial orientation

Dr. Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS, MNeuroSci
Wikpedia on Neurotransmitter

Personal Comment:
Over the past two months I have been able to naturally maintain a good balance in both dopamine and serotonin levels by incorporating into my lifestyle a healthier eating regime, which includes one day a week of fasting, and a schedule of listening, exercising and dancing to music on a daily basis. Natural light increases serotonin levels so even a daily short 30-60 minutes’ brisk walk into town is beneficial (weather permitting), and since this is exercise it also stimulates dopamine levels in the brain.

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Music makes you stronger

Cropped portrait man with earphones

It’s no secret that many people prefer to listen to music when they work out. But music doesn’t just make physical activity more pleasant — it actually makes our physical performance measurably better. When listening to music, people are able to hold heavy weights for longer than when they’re standing in silence. They can also complete sprints in smaller amounts of time and are even able to reduce their oxygen intake.

Similar to the time-perception effect we referenced above, one element is just plain old distraction. Obviously, if your mind is listening to music, it’s not thinking about how much your legs hurt or how much longer you’ve got to run before the treadmill makes that final beeping noise. But there’s much more to it than that.

First, there’s synchronicity. When you match your movements to a steady musical tempo, you spend less time and effort on the inefficient slowing down and speeding up that happens when you’re going by your own rhythm. Music also increases the incidence of “flow” states — states of meditation-like calm in which everything works right for an athlete and that is strongly linked to enhanced performance.

The best music to listen to is between 120-140 beats per minute, which also happens to be the standard tempo for upbeat dance music, meaning you’ll be increasing your immune system and helping you exercise at the same time.

For the same reasoning it helps with exercising, it can also help with fighting fatigue, especially if you change up the music often. Studies have also shown that almost all music increases your mood, because it triggers a release of dopamine in both the dorsal and ventral striatum, regions of the brain which have long been associated with the response to pleasurable stimuli.

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Olive Oil aids Digestion

aceite_puente_5l_2 (Small)Olive oil has beneficial properties recommended for various digestive disorders.

When olive oil reaches the stomach it does not reduce the tonus of the muscular ring or sphincter at the base of the oesophagus. Because of this, it reduces the risk of the flow or reflux of food and gastric juice up from the stomach to the oesophagus.

Olive oil also partially inhibits gastric motility. As a result, the gastric content of the stomach is released more slowly and gradually into the duodenum, giving a greater sensation of “fullness”, and favouring the digestion and absorption of nutrients in the intestine.

One of the effects of olive oil on the hepato-biliary system is that it is a cholagogue, ensuring optimal bile drainage and full emptying of the gall bladder. Another effect is that it is cholecystokinetic, i.e. it stimulates the contraction of the gall bladder, which is extremely helpful in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the bile ducts. It stimulates the synthesis of bile salts in the liver and it increases the amount of cholesterol excreted by the liver.

In short, owing to its beneficial effect on the muscle tone and activity of the gall bladder, olive oil stimulates the digestion of lipids, because they are emulsified by the bile, and it prevents the onset of gallstones.

When consumed, olive oil produces a small amount of secretion by the pancreas, making this organ “work” little, but efficiently and enough to carry out all its digestive functions. Olive oil is recommended in diseases where pancreatic function has to be maintained, such as pancreas failure, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, malabsorption syndromes, etc.

Owing to the sitosterol it contains, olive oil partially prevents cholesterol absorption by the small intestine. It also stimulates the absorption of various nutrients (calcium, iron, magnesium, etc.).

Olive oil, therefore, is a fat that is digested and absorbed really well. It has choice properties and a mild laxative effect that helps to combat constipation and bad breath.

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Natural Mosquito Repellents

Avoid going outdoors during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

When dressing for the outdoors opt for white or light coloured clothing since mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours.

Mosquitoes are attracted to and breed in standing water. Regularly replace all standing water in birdbaths, ponds and unfiltered pools. Ensure that receptacles that could catch water have drainage.

Mosquitoes are known to be weak fliers that don’t have the strength to battle wind. Place fans in outdoor areas not just to keep cool but also to blow away biting insects.

Regularly check and repair all door and window screens for tears or holes that allow mosquitoes to enter into your home. Experts suggest putting mesh screening or hardware cloth over bathroom and other vent outlets on the roof to keep insects out.

When heading outside choose foods other than bananas and other high-potassium foods. Experts believe eating such foods attracts mosquitoes because they are attracted to the lactic acid given off after consuming potassium-rich foods.

Mosquitoes are naturally repelled by the smell of garlic; include it in summer menu planning. Experts suggest pinching a garlic clove and rubbing its juice over exposed skin!

There are several essential oils that deter flying pests. Natural insect repellents sold individually or in combination packs include citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, catnip, lavender and clove.

Remove overgrown vegetation from your outdoor area eliminating a desirable place for mosquitoes to rest.

Many people benefit from installing a bat house on their property to attract bats who are excellent mosquito catchers. For more information on building a bat house please visit Bat Conservation International where you can download a free copy of Bat House Handbook.


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Recognising the Sympthoms of a Stroke

A stroke is caused by a disruption of the blood supply to the brain. Brain cells starved of oxygen will die causing irreversible damage within three hours. Delay can result in death or major long-term disabilities; prompt action to get the blood flowing again quickly can prevent further brain damage and help someone make a full recovery.


The FAST test (Face Arms Speech Time) can help you to recognise the three main sympthoms of a stroke.

Face: Has the person’s face fallen on one side? Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

Arms: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?

Speech: Is their speech slurred?

Time: Time to call the Emergency Services immediately if you see one or more of the above sympthoms.

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