Mandelic Acid: An Essential and Gentle Skincare Ingredient

People use various over-the-counter skin care products to treat and combat dark spots, acne, wrinkles, dullness, and other skin care problems. While OTC products can include many ingredients, manufacturers use several core ingredients, including mandelic acid.

While experts agree that mandelic acid is beneficial, there is not much research supporting the specific advantages of this particular alpha hydroxy acid. Still, researchers tend to agree that the compound is gentle on the skin and is promising in treating skin texture, acne, hyperpigmentation, and premature aging.

Understanding the Origins of Mandelic Acid

Derived from almonds, specifically bitter almonds, mandelic acid is an AHA used primarily in treating acne. It differentiates itself from other AHAs by being gentle on the skin, limiting occurrences of irritation. As a gentler AHA, mandelic acid is an ideal ingredient for people with sensitive skin.

The acid is so gentle on the skin because it is among the most extensive AHA compounds. The size means mandelic acid has a slower penetration rate, resulting in less irritation.

Benefits of Mandelic Acid

Like other AHAs, mandelic acid is good for accelerated cellular turnover. The compound effectively exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells. By removing dead cells and exfoliating the skin, the compound helps speed up the body's natural turnover processes, meaning users end up with younger skin cells and a more youthful appearance.

Additionally, the helpful acid promotes collagen production. Collagen is the primary protein found in connective tissue and skin. The increase in collagen can help balance complexion and appearance; however, evidence of such changes is anecdotal.

Potential Uses of Mandelic Acid

While there are many potential uses for mandelic acid, it is primarily used for acne treatment. The AHA helps regulate sebum production, reduce inflammation, and unclog pores, all contributing factors to breakouts. In one study, researchers found that a chemical peel containing 45% mandelic acid was as effective as one using 30% salicylic acid. The study also found that mandelic acid had fewer side effects and was more effective in treating inflammatory acne.

For some, mandelic acid may also play a role in improving skin texture, reducing hyperpigmentation, and lessening fine lines and wrinkles. However, more conclusive research is needed in these particular areas.

Mandelic Acid Side Effects

Despite being gentle on the skin, mandelic acid can affect people in different ways. Many consumers using products containing mandelic acid will have no problems, but others might experience adverse side effects, such as:

  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Redness

Sometimes, the appearance of symptoms, especially after several days or weeks of use, results from overuse. Most side effects subside when you limit your use of the product. However, you should stop using the product and talk to your dermatologist if problems persist.

Mandelic acid is a promising and popular skincare ingredient. It is among the largest AHAs molecularly, slowing penetration and making it gentler on the skin. It is known to be effective in treating inflammatory acne and shows promise in treating hyperpigmentation, sun spots, and aging. While used in several OTC skincare treatments, consumers should consult their dermatologists before starting any new therapy.

This Is the Year of Zucchini!

Zucchini isn’t exactly America’s favorite veggie, but there are plenty of things to love about it. This slender, tender variety of squash provides many healthy nutrients. It also packs lots of flavor and freshness — if you know how to use it in dishes the right way.

A Source of Amazing Vitamins and Nutrients

The list of vitamins and minerals in a cup of zucchini reads like the label on a multivitamin bottle:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Thiamine
  • Copper

Just one cup of zucchini can give you around 10–15% of your daily needs for these vitamins. That’s pretty impressive for a relatively inexpensive veggie!

Heaven for Your Gut

Zucchini has plenty of water, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, which is excellent for gut health. Adding it to meals can make them easier for your body to digest. For some people, zucchini and other green veggies can alleviate the pain and inflammation of ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and other chronic digestive problems.

The Green (and Yellow) Antioxidant Powerhouse

Another reason to love zucchini’s nutrients is that many of them provide important antioxidants. For example, green and yellow zucchini are rich in carotenoids — the same family of antioxidants found in carrots. These compounds support and protect the body:

  • Eyes: Like carrots, zucchini are a great veggie for protecting your eyesight. This isn’t a myth. Beta-carotene and vitamin C can significantly reduce the risk of age-related vision loss and cataracts.
  • Bones: Vitamin K, magnesium and antioxidants in zucchini all work together to help you have stronger bones.
  • Prostate: While more research is needed, some studies suggest that zucchini seeds may help limit prostate enlargement.
  • Thyroid: Some scientists think that extracts from zucchini peels may support balanced thyroid hormones. If true, it could help your metabolism, energy levels and mood.
  • Cells: Some studies point to zucchini for helping prevent the growth of cancer or even destroying cancerous cells. A lot more research is needed to confirm this, but it’s a pretty impressive potential benefit for just adding colorful vegetables to your diet!

A Perfect Carb Replacer

Now for one of the biggest reasons why this is the year of the zucchini: low-carb lifestyles! Zucchini has a firm texture and smooth taste that work great as a substitute for traditional carb-heavy staples. Instead of pasta, you can spiralize zucchini in seconds for flavorful Italian dishes.

Easy Veggies From Your Garden

Growing zucchini is a breeze. Just plant some seeds in a sunny spot, give them at least two inches of water each week, and enjoy the fruits… er, veggies of your labor in about 45 days. A good harvest will give you plenty of zucchini to share with friends, too.

Awesome Ways To Use Zucchini

If you’ve never eaten zucchini raw in salads, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Here are other irresistible meal ideas:

  • Tomato and zucchini salad with olive oil vinaigrette
  • Zucchini, carrot and cabbage slaw
  • Grilled halibut with lemon zucchini noodles
  • Grilled zucchini slices with olive oil and basil (side dish)
  • Sauteed shrimp and zucchini stir fry
  • Spicy zucchini with turmeric-ginger chicken
  • No-noodle zucchini lasagna
  • Zucchini au gratin with garlic, parmesan and pecorino

A word of advice: Don’t overcook! Just toss the zucchini in at the last minute, like you would with herbs or green onions.

The Necessity of Scalp Care

Most people concern themselves with hair care, finding the right shampoos, conditioners, and treatments, but scalp care often flies under their radar. The scalp is the foundation of healthy hair; however, more than that, the scalp is susceptible to problems, including:

  • Cysts
  • Irritation
  • Itchiness
  • Flakiness
  • Sun damage
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Pain

Scalp Hygiene, Hair Health, and Medical Conditions

The scalp and hair have a symbiotic relationship — if one is healthy, the other usually is. When the scalp is unhealthy, a person can experience different medical conditions, such as atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis. Both conditions can cause hair breakage, rough texture, hair loss, etc.

Atopic dermatitis is commonly known as eczema. The chronic condition causes itchy and red skin. While there are many potential causes of eczema, atopic dermatitis is often a reaction to hair care products like shampoos or dyes.

Seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff also causes redness and itchiness but can also be characterized by flakiness—dandruff results from dry skin buildup or oiliness.

Maintaining a healthy scalp is about knowing and adhering to proper scalp hygiene. If you experience scalp problems despite practicing good hygiene, consult with your primary care physician or a dermatologist.

Treating the Scalp and Common Conditions

While common, dandruff is a challenging condition to treat. Many over-the-counter products claim to treat the condition, but you must be careful about which items you choose. People are typically better served to consult their dermatologists or doctors for better and more practical remedies.

If you choose to go it alone and use OTC products, shampoos, or treatments, you will need to be selective. You will want to ensure the products have proper ingredients, including:

  • Selsun blue (selenium sulfide)
  • Salicylic acid
  • Dermazinc (pyrithione zinc)
  • Nizoral A-D (ketoconazole)
  • Tar

You do not need to use these products habitually. In fact, consumers should only use the items until the symptoms subside. Using certain products too often can nullify efficacy, meaning the items will not be as effective. Experts recommend alternating treatments every few months to avoid a loss of effectiveness.

If so, you can also try at-home remedies for treating the scalp. Some of the most effective treatments include:

  • Avoidance of styling products
  • Avoidance of products containing alcohol
  • Applying mineral oils to the scalp
  • Applying aloe vera to the scalp
  • Using tea tree oil in shampoo
  • Taking fish oil supplements

Promoting and Maintaining a Healthy Scalp

You may already have a healthy scalp, but that does not mean you are off the hook. Scalp health is an ongoing and ever-changing element. Adopting healthy practices is the only way to ensure or encourage continued health.

One of the best things you can do for your scalp is to avoid shampoos and conditioners with sulfates, alcohol, or fragrances. Certain ingredients in commercial beauty products can irritate the scalp, causing damage and promoting different conditions.

Additionally, do not overwash your hair. Most experts agree that you only need to wash your hair three to four times per week. Washing your hair more often can strip away natural oils, the same oils essential for a healthy scalp. Also, when shampooing your hair, massage the product into the hair, don't scrub. Massaging increases circulation and blood flow to the scalp.

A healthy scalp is vital to a healthy, full head of hair. Caring for your scalp can reduce the risks of specific conditions and improve hair feel, appearance, fullness, and thickness.

Carbonation and Gut Health

Over the past several years, research and studies provided insight into the gut-brain connection and the importance of gut health. A balanced microbiome can not only improve digestion and GI function, but it can also improve mental health and overall biological function.

Most people understand that water is the most beneficial beverage for their diet. The human body needs water to operate. Still, people like variety, and water is not the most diverse beverage on the planet. Many people turn to teas, coffee, and sodas for variety.

However, a new trend suggests drinking carbonated beverages for improved gut health. Some people even promote carbonated sodas. Is carbonation a solution for improved gut health, or is it only a fad and a pipe dream?

Carbonation and Gut Health

There are many benefits to drinking carbonated or sparkling water. According to some experts, carbonated water can improve digestion, swallowing, and feelings of fullness while reducing constipation.

Unfortunately, carbonated beverages can also result in bloating and belching. The drinks are made from dissolved carbon dioxide. The compound expands to a gas when it reaches the warm temperatures of the stomach and GI tract. The stomach expands to accommodate the gas, and belching occurs to release it.

Soda and Gut Health

There are many rumors about how soda can improve gut health or ease stomach ailments, but there is little truth to the speculation. Some studies suggest that drinking carbonated soda, such as Sprite, can help with digestion because of PH values.

In truth, carbonated sodas might cause indigestion and promote acid reflux. According to experts, carbonation leads to gastric distention, resulting in more pressure on the esophageal sphincter. Therefore, people who deal with acid reflux or heartburn should stay away from soda and other carbonated beverages.

Drinks That Promote Gut Health

If you are going to drink carbonated beverages, stick to water. If you are looking for beverages to support your overall gut health, consider one of the following:

  • Kombucha
  • Peppermint tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Fennel tea
  • Lemongrass tea
  • Coffee

The above beverages all offer more benefits than sodas. Soda is a sugar-sweetened drink, and it can result in increased risks of heart disease, metabolic disorders, and tooth decay.

Water Is the Superior Beverages

If you are looking for the most beneficial beverage, it is water, hands down. Water is free of any additives and chemicals or potentially damaging compounds.

Carbonated water can also provide benefits for digestion and diet. However, you must also be aware that carbonation can result in an upset stomach, bloating, and unwanted gas.

As for beverages that contribute to gut health, Kombucha — a fermented drink — is likely the most beneficial. However, you will also want to limit your intake of the drink.

Carbonation is not some magical potion that will heal an unhealthy or unbalanced gut microbiome. The carbonation can increase feelings of fullness and prevent constipation, but that does not mean it will improve gut health. As usual, the only way to promote health is with a healthy diet and exercise.

Lactic Acid: Definition and Advantages for Skin Care

With skincare, people are always in search of the next best thing. Consumers want dynamic and exciting new products to make them feel and look younger, the fountain of youth in a cream or shiny canister.

What many people do not realize is that the most effective skin care treatments and regimens have changed little in decades. One of the most effective cosmetic ingredients is lactic acid, and it has been helping to beautify skin since ancient Egyptian milk baths.

Defining Lactic Acid

An alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, contributes to the effectiveness of many over-the-counter skin care products and prescription and professional treatments. AHA is an effective tool in the removal of dead skin cells and the elimination or reduction of many skin imperfections, including:

  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Dark spots

Lactic acid occurs naturally in dairy products, and it is the compound that gives soured milk and yogurt its tang. While many people still indulge in traditional milk baths, the lactic acid found in most skin care products today is synthetic.

Advantages of Lactic Acid for the Skin

Lactic acid is vital to the exfoliation process. The AHA dissolves the bond between healthy skin cells and dull, old, or dead cells. The compound accelerates cellular turnover while stimulating cell renewal, helping to replace removed cells with healthier ones.

The exfoliation process helps brighten a person's complexion while producing a softer and smoother appearance. When people use lactic acid-based products regularly, they can experience fundamental changes without the harsh effects of other hydroxy acids.

Other AHAs can provide similar benefits to lactic acid, but they can also dehydrate the skin. However, lactic acid contains glycolic and mandelic acid, which help maintain and improve the skin's natural moisture factor. Other benefits of lactic acid include:

  • Reduced signs of aging
  • Reduction of sunspots
  • Reduced bumpiness

Potential Side Effects

While lactic acid sounds like the perfect skincare ingredient, it does come with some side effects. For example, users might experience sun sensitivity or mild skin irritation. When using products containing lactic acid, you want to watch for:

  • Dryness
  • Peeling
  • Swelling
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Burning

Some users will experience mild redness, itching, and burning sensations after the initial use but do not experience them on later uses. If the adverse symptoms are moderate or severe, wash the product off immediately.

Dermatologists also recommend that people using lactic acid products use it in combination with sunscreen. You should use SPF 30 or better to protect against sunburn and damage. It is also essential to use sun protection on cloudy days. Failing to use an appropriate sunscreen can eliminate the benefits of lactic acid.

Should You Use Lactic Acid Products?

Whether you choose products containing lactic acid is up to you. Lactic acid is among the least volatile of all AHAs, but the ingredient will not work for all skin types. Before using any new skincare products, talk to your dermatologist or primary care physician.

Lactic acid is one of the oldest known skincare ingredients, but it is also one of the most effective. There is no need to reinvent the wheel of skincare products constantly. Sometimes, the tried-and-true ingredients are all you need.

My Favorite Healthy Simple Quiche Recipes (Kid Approved!)

A quiche is a delicious egg dish that combines crispy pastry crust, velvety eggs and irresistible ingredients such as meats, cheeses and veggies. It works perfectly for breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch or dinner, and you can switch up the fillings easily for extra flair. Here are two of my favorite (read: simple and fast) quiche recipes to enjoy as a family or to entertain company.

My Absolute Fave: Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Quiche

The caramelized onions in this quiche give it a touch of smoky sweetness. If your kids aren't big fans of mushrooms, you can go with spinach instead.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of breadstick dough
  • 3 egg whites, large
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 cup skim or 1% milk
  • 1 1/4 cups feta cheese
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms (button, shiitake, cremini, etc.)
  • 1 cup spinach, drained and dry (optional)
  • 2 cups frozen hash browns (diced potatoes), thawed
  • 3 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbs chopped garlic (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions

  1. In a large nonstick frying pan, add olive oil. If using mushrooms, start by sautéing them for about 8 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Next, sauté onions, salt and sugar on medium heat. Keep cooking until almost caramelized, about 30 minutes. Stir periodically. Add garlic and potatoes near the end and cook for about five minutes.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the crust. Unroll the breadstick dough into strips on a flat surface. Starting with one strip, create a spiral pattern. Keep going by adding the next strip and pinching the ends together. You should have a large, even circle. You can roll out more if needed. After letting the dough rest for 10 minutes, add it to a pie plate with cooking spray.
  5. Add the sauteed onions, potatoes and mushrooms to the pie plate. Add spinach if using. Mix egg whites, eggs, milk and crumbled feta cheese, and pour over the other fillings.
  6. Bake quiche at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Place foil on crust to prevent burning after 50 minutes. Serve and enjoy! I usually wait about 10 minutes before serving, so the custard is firm.

The Crustless Recipe: Smoked Turkey Quiche

To me, what makes a quiche special is the crust, which is why I listed the other recipe first. That said, there are times when you're too busy to fuss with crust.

With this recipe, follow the same overall directions, but use different fillings: 3/4 cup smoked turkey ham, 3/4 cup Swiss cheese, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and 1 cup baby spinach.

To prevent sticking, coat the pie pan with cooking spray and add a layer of Swiss cheese (about 1/4 cup) before you add the other ingredients. This fast and phenomenal crustless quiche takes about an hour from prep to table. It's a favorite of kids, too.

The Secret to a Simple Yet Amazing Quiche

Some people feel a little intimidated by quiche. In reality, as long as you follow the recipe, you shouldn't run into any problems.

The secret to a fluffy, creamy quiche is to pay attention to the ratio of eggs to dairy in the mixture. Independently of the other ingredients, you always want in the vicinity of 1/2 cup dairy for every large egg you use.

If you're watching the calories, feel free to swap whole milk with 2% milk, half-and-half, or a mixture. What matters is the total amount of dairy versus egg amount. That way, your quiche stays silky smooth.

Supplement and Prescription Interactions: 4 Supplements To Avoid

Many people take supplements to ensure they meet nutritional guidelines. Often, you can take supplements, such as a multivitamin, without little concern. Still, many people take supplements while taking prescription medications. While potential interactions are rare, several supplements do not mix well with medications.

Before taking any supplement, you should talk to your doctor, even if you are not on any medications. However, talking with your physician is more crucial when taking a prescription. There are at least four supplements you should avoid when taking specific medications.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric is an ancient spice. Many nutritionists and researchers praise the supplement for a few reasons, including:

  • Improved memory 
  • Reduced inflammation 
  • Decreased risk of heart disease

Unfortunately, turmeric also possesses anticoagulant effects. If you take a blood thinner, you want to avoid turmeric because it can result in internal bleeding. You should also avoid vitamin E and Ginkgo Biloba, two supplements that can also thin the blood.

Still, experts explain that turmeric is still acceptable to use in foods and cooking. Doctors and researchers do not believe herbs and spices have much effect on the body when used in foods.

2. St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort comes from a flowering shrub that is native to Europe. The supplement is often praised for its ability to treat moderate or mild depression. Additionally, many women use it to reduce symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes.

Despite the usefulness and potential effectiveness of the supplement, St. John's Wort does not mix well with many prescriptions. Some of the many medications the supplement interacts with include:

  • omeprazole 
  • alprazolam 
  • Birth control pills 
  • Hormone replacement therapies 
  • Some statins 
  • Some antihistamines 
  • Paxlovid

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a common nutrient in various foods. A person can meet all vitamin C requirements by consuming:

  • Broccoli 
  • Strawberries 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Oranges 
  • Kiwi 
  • Bell peppers 
  • Kale 
  • Snow peas

Despite the number of natural sources of vitamin C, many people still take supplements. Supplements are popular because people believe the additional vitamin C can ward off the common cold and reduce the risk of cancer.

Unfortunately, high-dose vitamin C supplements can interfere with some forms of chemotherapy. Additionally, the supplements can disrupt the effectiveness of niacin and statins. Some people will also experience a disruption in estrogen levels.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics are essentially good bacteria that make up the gut microbiome. People take probiotic supplements to restore balance to the microbiome and aid digestion. Still, while probiotic supplements might be good for most people, they can interfere with certain medications, specifically antibiotics.

Doctors strongly recommend that patients stay away from probiotic supplements when taking antibiotics. More specifically, physicians tell patients not to take a probiotic supplement within two hours of taking their medication.

Supplements can help you maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Still, taking the wrong supplement can result in problematic interactions with your prescriptions. Your primary care physician should know what you are taking, including supplements. If you feel that some nutrients are missing or lacking in your diet, your doctor can point you toward safe and effective supplements or foods that can help without risking your health.

Your Sunscreen Selection Could Hurt the Coral Reefs

Everyone knows the sun's UV rays are harmful. The common knowledge of sun damage will propel the sun care market to reach $25 billion by 2024. Unfortunately, while protective, sunscreen products can also damage the environment, specifically the reefs.

Experts estimate that nearly 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in the ocean annually. The tonnage results from swimmers and excess product rinsed down drains. Additionally, some sunscreens come in aerosol forms. The overspray from aerosols ends up on sandy beaches and washed into the oceans with changing tides.

While sunscreen is essential to maintaining healthy skin, several brands are toxic to marine life. Some governments are working on laws to ban the use of toxic sunscreens. Currently, the primary locations working on bans include:

  • Hawaii 
  • Key west 
  • US Virgin Islands 
  • Palau 
  • Bonaire

The banishment of specific sunscreens is to protect fragile marine life, primarily coral reefs. To some tourists, the banishment of particular products is extreme, but to the local governments, it is essential.

What's the Fuss About Sunscreen? 

The two primary types of sunscreens include mineral (physical) and chemical. A physical sunscreen sits atop the surface of your skin, creating a reflective barrier. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays using synthetic compounds. Both products present challenges and hazards to coral reefs and other marine life.

Chemical sunscreens contain harmful compounds, including Oxybenzone, an ingredient found in more than 3,500 products. The compounds used in chemical sun care products result in several problems, including:

  • DNA damage to corals 
  • Abnormal growth and deformities 
  • Coral bleaching

Additionally, researchers conclude that sunscreen is a contributing factor to coral's increased susceptibility to diseases. In the Caribbean Sea, sunscreen contributes to the prevalence of Stony Coral Tissue Loss disease.

Mineral sunscreens may contain nanoparticles so small they absorb into marine life. Even at lower concentrations, the minerals are toxic, resulting in stress and premature death.

What Can You Do To Protect the Reefs and Marine Life?

The easiest way to protect the oceans and marine life is to avoid using toxic sunscreens. That advice is counter to things you have likely heard, but activity in the sun is safe in small doses. You will want to stay in the shade and cover your skin with adequate protection. Additionally, avoid outdoor activity between 10 am and 2 pm because these are the hours of the harshest UV rays.

When you need to wear sunscreen, research the products you use. You will want to avoid aerosols and products with harmful chemicals, specifically:

  • Octinoxate 
  • Oxybenzone 
  • Octocrylene 
  • Benzophenone-1 
  • Benzophenone-8 
  • 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor 
  • OD-PABA 
  • 3-Benzylidene camphor

When choosing a mineral sunscreen, look for one with zinc or titanium oxide. Additionally, you want to find non-nano products.

Finally, look for products that are certified safe for marine life. For example, look for labels with the Protect Land + Sea Certification.

Coral reefs and marine life need your help to survive and thrive. Ensure the products you use and support also support a healthy world for all living things. Also, spread the word about sunscreen products. Every voice can make a difference and help achieve a better world.

Coconut: The Benefits and Why You Should Eat More

The product of the coconut palm tree, the coconut, is a tasty and nutritious fruit. You can find coconut in various forms in grocery stores, including:

  • Water 
  • Milk 
  • Meat 
  • Oil

While native to Southeast Asia, the coconut tree is naturally widespread, and its fruit is globally sourced. From the plant's flavor to its increasing culinary uses, coconut is becoming a global dietary sensation. However, dieters only recently began to appreciate the fruit for its various benefits.

Nutritional Advantages of Coconut 

Coconut is not like other fruits. Many fruits are high in carbs and low in fat, but coconut is the opposite. Additionally, the hard-shelled fruit contains protein, minerals, and B vitamins. Some of the minerals of value found in coconuts include:

  • Manganese 
  • Copper 
  • Iron

The minerals found in coconuts are vital to bone health and metabolism. Specifically, the mineral manganese helps in the digestion of cholesterol, carbohydrates, and proteins. Also, copper and iron help produce selenium and red blood cells.

Finally, the fat in coconuts is healthier than other fats. The type of fat is a form of medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs provide a rapid form of energy that is absorbed and converted directly from the small intestine. More research is necessary to understand the specific benefits of MCTs.

Surprising Benefits of Coconut

Besides the nutritional advantages of coconut, there are other benefits to consider. Coconut oil is one of the most versatile substances, with uses as skin moisturizers and hair conditioners. Still, the fruit itself has three interesting benefits that are often overlooked.

1. Antioxidants

While many benefits of coconut are hypothetical, one thing is true: coconuts contain powerful antioxidants. Coconut meat can protect cells against oxidative stress because it contains phenolic compounds, specifically:

  • Caffeic acid 
  • Gallic acid 
  • P-coumaric acid 
  • Salicylic acid 

The specific antioxidants in coconut are polyphenol antioxidants. Coconut antioxidants can protect against cellular damage and chronic disease.

2. Blood Sugar Control

Because coconuts are high in fat and fiber and low in carbohydrates, the fruit may help control blood sugar levels. The high fiber content of coconut meat can slow digestion and possibly improve insulin levels, which can help people manage blood sugar levels. However, not all reports are as praising, with some research suggesting coconut fat can increase long-term insulin resistance. Essentially, more research is needed to understand how coconut and its products can help with blood sugar control.

3. Antibacterial Properties

Some research indicates that coconut oil can inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. For example, one study showed that when coconut oil was added to test tubes with Staphylococcus aureus, the oil slowed or eliminated further bacterial growth. Several similar studies seem to perpetuate the idea of coconut oil as an antibacterial agent, but more research is necessary for proof of concept for human use.

How To Incorporate More Coconut Into Your Diet 

Incorporating more coconut into your diet need not be difficult. Several easy ways to incorporate the beneficial fruit include:

  • Shredded coconut  
  • Coconut flour 
  • Flaked or shaved coconut 
  • Coconut oil

Coconut is a healthy and often underrated fruit. The combination of healthy fat, fiber, and low carbs makes it an incredible addition to any diet. Still, before incorporating new foods into your diet or making significant changes, you should consult your primary care physician.

My Favorite Avocado Toast Toppings

Avocado is arguably one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. It also tastes amazing and has the creamiest texture, which is why I’m constantly looking for new ways to eat it. Every time you indulge in avocado, you get a mouth full of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Avocados are shown to improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and minimize the risk of chronic health issues such as coronary heart disease. Did I mention they’re also delicious?

But I understand that some people don’t necessarily enjoy the flavor of avocado by itself. If you’ve been searching for ways to eat this incredible food while masking the way it tastes, I recommend avocado toast with toppings. Depending on the type and amount of toppings you use, you may not even taste the avocado at all! Here are some of my favorite avocado toast toppings for you to try.

Turmeric and Sea Salt

Turmeric is one of my preferred spices because it is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a really great flavor when combined with the mild taste of avocado. I love to sprinkle copious amounts of turmeric on my avocado toast, then finish it all off with a pinch of sea salt. It’s such a simple combination, but the flavors are all very complementary to each other.

Sprouts and Other Fresh Veggies

Sprouts are highly nutritious and easily added to a wide variety of dishes. Though I don’t like the flavor of sprouts by themselves, I love them on avocado toast. I usually stick with alfalfa sprouts because I’m familiar with them and know what they taste like, but feel free to branch out and try a variety of sprout types on your avocado toast.

I also like to slice fresh vegetables very thin and use them to garnish my avocado toast. Right now, some of my favorites are radishes and cucumbers. Next week I might try jicama and carrots.

Sunflower Seeds and Slivered Almonds

If you like to add a little crunch to your toast to balance out the creaminess of the avocado, try adding a teaspoon of sunflower seeds or slivered almonds. Seeds and nuts taste great with avocado, so feel free to experiment with a few different types until you discover your favorite combination!

Fruits

It may seem strange, but fruit and avocados make a great combination. Avocadoes are fruits, after all! My favorite fruit to put on avocado toast is a banana. I slice it thinly and only use about ½ of the banana, then save the rest for later. Sliced figs also taste surprisingly good on avocado toast.

Roasted Potato Cubes

If you’re like me, you think potatoes can go with practically any dish. I especially love roasted potatoes and add them to my avocado toast quite frequently. I simply dice or slice them small enough to fit nicely on my avocado toast. Yummy!

Eggs

Eggs are such a versatile food, and they pair well with avocado toast. I have topped my avocado toast with scrambled eggs, hardboiled egg slices, poached eggs, and fried eggs. They all taste incredible! You’ll only need to prepare one egg per piece of avocado toast.

Nutritional Yeast

If you have never tried nutritional yeast as a topping, you’re missing out. Nutritional yeast is incredibly healthy and contains all nine essential amino acids. It also offers up to 3 grams of protein per tablespoon. But the thing I like most about nutritional yeast is that it tastes similar to cheese. Yes, really! Sprinkle it on top of your avocado toast for a subtle cheesy flavor.

I’m excited for you to try these different avocado toast toppings. Some of them may become your favorite toppings, too!