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!

3 Surprising Foods for a Longer, Healthier and Happier Life

If you are what you eat, then choosing healthy foods is a no-brainer. What are the most important foods for feeling great and living longer? The answers may surprise you.

Legumes

It turns out that beans really are a magical “fruit,” but not for the reasons you think:

  • High in fiber: It only takes one cup of beans to give you over half of your daily fiber. Getting plenty of fiber is good for your digestive health, bowel movements and overall comfort.
  • Low in fat: Legumes have tons of protein and little fat. Adding beans, chickpeas or lentils to the menu can help you stay satisfied after mealtimes, a huge help for losing weight.
  • Rich in nutrients: Beans give you significant calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, folate and B vitamins. They also have a surprising amount of antioxidants that can potentially help protect the body from age-related diseases.
  • Great for your gut: Beans help the positive bacteria in your gut. That way, harmful bacteria have a harder time making you sick.

High-fiber foods such as beans may help prevent colon cancer and other cancers. Legumes can also lower your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, improving heart health. They make even help you avoid type 2 diabetes.

Berries (and Other Sweet Fruits)

For ages, Americans have had the idea that “sweet” equals “bad.” This is true in the case of junk food, but it’s not true for fruits. You never need to feel guilty about indulging your sweet tooth with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and other “sinfully” sweet fruits.

Even bananas, the number one fruit villain for the “It’s too sweet!” crowd, are perfectly fine for morning smoothies. The same goes for mangos, pineapples, papayas, grapes, dates and figs.

How can sweet fruits get away with breaking the “no sugar for life” secret handshake? Fiber. The high amount of fiber in fruit takes your body time to digest, meaning you don’t get the same rush of glucose or sugar crash of candy bars.

Plus, blueberries, grapes, pineapples and bananas give you tons of valuable nutrients that can help you live longer. Berries are especially rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, that helps your immune system, heart and brain. These nutrients can lower chronic inflammation, protect your memory and take great care of your arteries.

Healthy Fats

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “she's out of her mind!” How can fats ever be healthy? Well, some are.

Sure, greasy, fried foods are bad for you because manufacturers and fast-food restaurants choose cheap oils. On the other hand, many natural foods contain different types of fats, ones that your body loves:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Whole eggs
  • Cheese

Good fats such as omega-3s help your heart instead of hurting it. They’re amazing for lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and inflammation, reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke significantly.

The Benefits of Weird Superfoods

It’s no exaggeration to say that these superfoods can make you live longer. Many studies suggest that healthy foods have the power to add an extra 10 years to your life (or more)!

Making positive choices at the supermarket can also help you feel better overall. Enjoy amazing benefits for your mood, immune system, energy levels, mental focus and pain relief every day.

Intuition Versus Paranoia: How To Tell When Your Inner Voice Is Speaking

Many successful people refer to intuition as playing a significant role in their success, but what is intuition? Some people call it instinct, and others say it results from years of experience and education. However you define intuition, you cannot deny that instinct plays a role in the seemingly magical ability to understand without conscious reasoning.

For the people experiencing intuition, there is no logical explanation. The experience happens so quickly and effortlessly people shrug it off and go about their day. Still, intuition is significant and guides you through life and often towards goals, but it is not the only inherent feeling invoking your attention.

Paranoia can also influence a person's choices, but it often adversely affects decisions, leading people to pick safer, less prosperous routes for their lives. Success comes with risk, but you need to weigh the risks and listen to your inner voice. Which voice you listen to is pivotal to fulfillment and happiness in life.

Differentiating Between Intuition and Paranoia

Paranoia primarily deals with fear and mistrust. It correlates with previous experience but forces you to assume the worst about a situation or person. For example, if your sibling hurt you in the past and is trying to make amends now, paranoia will force you to question their motives and honesty. The emotional response can corrupt any potential you have for reconnecting.

Intuition is more hopeful and forgiving. It is a gentle voice giving you a nudge to examine a situation. While you may come to the same conclusion about avoiding an abusive sibling relationship, intuition leads to a more open analysis without fear enveloping the issue.

Paranoia is all-consuming and exhausting. Intuition is not. In essence, intuition combines healthy and analytical reasoning with emotional intelligence, whereas paranoia is like anxiety and chronic worry.

If you feel overwhelmed often, or if you feel scared constantly, contact a mental health professional. You can also talk to your primary care physician to discuss possible prescriptive treatments to calm paranoid thinking.

Strengthening Intuition for Improved Clarity and Mental Health

Intuition is subtle, but you can boost your mental antenna, increasing its clarity. Energy experts suggest using your body like an energy reader or meter. For example, in the sibling situation above, ask yourself if reconnecting with your sibling is in your best interest or if it is good for you. Pay attention to how your body responds. Is there a sense of contraction or tension? Do you feel lighter? Your body communicates uniquely, and you must learn to read its signals.

You can receive more precise signals from your body if you remove yourself from the immediate situation and get yourself someplace quiet. When you can sit in silence without distraction, it is easier to feel and acknowledge changes in your body.

Finally, meditation and mindfulness exercises are excellent ways to get more in tune with your intuition and body. Quiet and calm should help bolster the subtleness of intuition. If you experience overwhelming negative emotions, these are likely related to paranoia.

Intuition is not the loudest or most apparent. Paranoia is often overwhelming and chaotic. If you want to rely more on your intuition, you need to turn down the noise and listen to the signs of the body.

My Love Letter to Cranberries (Plus Recipes!)

When it comes to berries, strawberries and blueberries get all the love. Cranberries are like that eccentric cousin who only visits once a year. It's a shame because these vibrant berries have some phenomenal health benefits.

The Underappreciated Superfruit

At first glance, cranberries don’t look like a superfood. They’re mainly fiber, water and sugar. They have decent vitamin C, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Then, you look at the list of antioxidants in cranberries and your mind is blown away. Antioxidants are special substances that protect your cells, the building blocks for every part of your body: skin, heart, bones, eyes, nerves and more.

Few foods have as many different antioxidants as these bright red bombshells:

  • Peonidin
  • Ursolic acid
  • Quercetin
  • Myricetin
  • A-type proanthocyanidins

Some of these nutrients are only found in cranberries. Others are more abundant in cranberries than in other foods.

Delicious Health Benefits

Even if you never remember the scientific names of cranberry antioxidants, you’ll remember the amazing things they do.

Fighting Inflammation

Cranberries and cranberry juice contain potent antioxidants for fighting chronic inflammation. Other dark fruits, such as grapes, have these same anti-inflammatory compounds, but cranberries blow their numbers out of the water. Take that, blueberries.

By the way, the idea that only seniors have to worry about inflammation is a myth. Nearly 20% of middle-aged Americans have diabetes, and many others have arthritis, joint pain or heart problems. All in all, over half of Americans have some type of chronic inflammation.

Protecting Urinary Health

If you have urinary tract infections from time to time, give cranberries a try. Do you remember those A-type proanthocyanidins mentioned earlier?

It turns out that they’re really good at blocking the bacteria responsible for many UTIs. They make it harder for microbes to stick to your urinary tract or bladder.

Cranberry juice isn’t going to treat an infection, but it can significantly reduce your risk of getting a UTI. For recurring UTIs, cranberries were nearly as effective as medication, and they come without harsh side effects.

Supporting a Healthy Gut

Those same A-type whatchamacallits are also good for your digestive health. By making it harder for harmful microbes to take over your gut, cranberry antioxidants support a healthy digestive tract filled with good bacteria.

This may provide many benefits, from smoother bowel movements to improved mood. Some scientists think that cranberry juice can lower your risk of stomach cancer, colon cancer and ulcers. Take this with a grain of salt, though.

Tart and Sweet Treats

One way to enjoy cranberries in your diet is to drink cranberry juice, preferably one without added sugars. What if you're not exactly addicted to the dry flavor of cran? Some people dilute it in sparkling water for a refreshing drink that’s not too tart.

Add the power of cran to your favorite smoothies. Mix half a banana with 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries. Add 1/4 cup Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of your choice of berries. This refreshing breakfast smoothie gives you fiber and energy for the day.

Dried cranberries can supercharge “boring” health foods. Why eat plain oatmeal when you can spice it up with little red bundles of pure joy? Unsweetened cran raisins make tasty granola and trail mix to conquer your snack cravings.

4 Natural Sweeteners That Are Healthier Than Sugar

A healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean cutting all sugar. Even medical experts recognize that there’s room for some sweetness in your daily routine. That said, too much sugar is bad for your heart, increases your risk of diabetes and adds quickly to your waistline. One tablespoon of refined sugar has 50 calories!

The Secret to Healthy Living With a Sweet Twist

One option to avoid empty calories is simply to lower the amount of added sugar you eat. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy, because many manufacturers add sugar to things you wouldn’t believe: spaghetti sauce, bread, bacon, ketchup, etc. Homemade meals are easier to keep low in sugar, though.

Another trick is replacing refined sugar with healthier alternatives that are naturally low in calories. You can’t go crazy with them, but you can have a sweeter life and lose weight at the same time.

The Healthiest Sugar Alternatives

If you think outside the box, it’s not as hard as you may think to reduce added sugars. These days, there are many natural sugar alternatives. Here are the best.

1. Fruit (Fresh or Frozen)

Ditch the sugar and choose these fruits instead the next time you want to sweeten smoothies or oatmeal. Opt for unsweetened cereal or natural yogurt and add fruit for sweetness. Try these delicious superstars:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Pineapple
  • Pears
  • Figs
  • Mangos
  • Cherries
  • Cantaloupe

Health professionals agree that natural sugars in fruit aren’t a problem for your health. You can enjoy them as much as you want. They provide a great source of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber, too. Frozen fruit is almost as rich in nutrients as fresh, so feel free to choose it if it’s less expensive or more convenient.

2. Applesauce (No Added Sugar)

Technically, applesauce is fruit, too, but you use it for sweetening different things. Fruit puree makes an excellent alternative to sugar for baked goods, adding both moisture and natural sweetness. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Cupcakes with strawberry puree
  • Banana bread with guava
  • Cheesecake with passion fruit puree
  • Pumpkin-apple coffee cake
  • Dark chocolate cake with raspberries
  • Carrot cake with pineapple puree
  • Real cherry pie
  • Strawberry-kiwi dessert pizza

3. Stevia

This natural sweetener comes from the leaves of a plant native to South America. Stevia doesn’t have any calories, and it doesn’t have the negative side effects of artificial sweeteners. If you’re worried about your wallet, you should know that a little goes a long way: Stevia is 450 times sweeter than sugar.

4. Monk Fruit Extract

Like stevia, monk fruit extract comes from leaves — in this case, from a Chinese plant. Monk fruit extract packs tons of sweetness into a zero-calorie package. It also doesn’t affect blood sugar, making it a good alternative for people who need to be careful with glucose levels.

A Balanced View of Sweet Treats

The key to good physical, emotional and mental health is balance. Sometimes, enjoying a slice of apple pie with family and friends is just what the doctor ordered for reducing stress. With the help of natural sugar alternatives, you can indulge your sweet tooth without feeling guilty.

6 Benefits of Avocado for Your Skin

As a superfood, people know avocado has several health benefits. However, the fruit is capable of much more than tasting delicious and contributing to overall health and nutrition. With its impressive list of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, avocado can bolster skin health, making it an effective addition to your skincare regimen.

The beauty industry is aware of the many benefits of avocado, which is why avocado oil is a primary ingredient in many skincare lines. The unique makeup of the fruit, including the incredible stores of vitamin A, C, and E, helps the oil penetrate the skin more efficiently than other oils. Also, avocados are high in healthy fats. The nutritional punch and concentration of avocados combine to create a powerful skincare ingredient that promotes several benefits.

1. Avocado Can Soothe Skin Irritation

According to researchers, avocados' fats, vitamins, and compounds help ease surface inflammation and skin irritation. The ingredients can also help repair the skin from chronic conditions like acne and eczema. Some studies also suggest that avocados can even out skin tones and improve chapped skin.

2. Avocados Reduce Acne and Breakouts

Avocado oil also has antimicrobial properties, meaning you can use it as a cleanser. Using products that contain avocado oil can reduce the number of breakouts you experience and their severity. Also, the ingredient can help moisturize the skin, providing a more supple texture.

3. Avocados Prevent Skin Damage

Most people know the sun's UV rays can harm their skin. The damage from too much sun exposure can include premature aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer. According to reports, the combination of vitamin C and E, along with other compounds in avocados, can protect your skin against oxidative stress, which is often a result of sun exposure and other environmental factors.

4. Avocados Can Improve Elasticity

A high intake of healthy fats, primarily monounsaturated fats, can help improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. A 2010 study looked at the relationship between diet and skin condition. The study of over 700 women examined the intake of micronutrients, including fats and antioxidants, to determine the effect on the skin, and the results were positive, suggesting improved elasticity.

5. Avocados Prevent Dry Skin and Brittle Hair and Nails

Avocado oil is a wonderful moisturizer and can benefit dry skin. The primary reason for this benefit is biotin. Biotin is part of the vitamin B complex and, when applied topically, prevents dry skin. The compound also contributes to the strength of hair and nails, meaning it can help treat or correct brittleness.

6. Avocados Improve Overall Skin Health

When looking for an avocado-based product to help with overall skin health, look for a topical product with cold-pressed avocado oil as a primary ingredient. Cold-pressed oil maintains an abundance of plant sterols, antioxidants, minerals, omega-9, and vitamins, including C and E. The combination of compounds, nutrients, and minerals increases collagen production and cell turnover and reduces inflammation.

Avocados are more than a superfood. The fruit is also a premier skin treatment and ingredient. If you have not yet used avocado-based skincare products, you should. Talk to your doctor before trying new products or supplements to learn how they might interact with your current health.

7 Body Language Cues That Signal Someone Is Manipulating You

Manipulators are quite skilled at getting what they want through subtle yet damaging actions. In many cases, a person can fall victim to manipulation without even realizing it until it's too late. This can occur in one's personal life, at work and in many other situations.

Safeguarding yourself against manipulators entails recognizing specific behaviors. Fortunately, many people use certain body language when attempting to get what they want, which can signal you to proceed with caution during interactions. Here are a few signs to look for.

1. Fidgeting

Body language provides lots of information on a person's inner mental state. Fidgeting indicates nervousness, which can occur for all sorts of reasons. When a person is normally composed but begins fidgeting during a tense conversation, it could mean that they're experiencing a great deal of pressure. And if the person is in the process of convincing you of something, ask yourself why they might feel that way.

2. Mirroring

Manipulators also want to put you at ease, as they know a relaxed person is more likely to do their bidding. This is the purpose of mirroring, which means they will use similar body language and positioning as you. This builds a false sense of trust and indicates the manipulator has much in common with their victim.

3. Invasion of Personal Space

Entering one's personal space is another method aimed at building trust. Like most people, you probably only allow close friends and family into your "zone". Manipulators know this and will try to mimic those trusting relationships by standing very close to you. If you're not sure, try this trick: take small steps backward to see if the person advances.

4. Excessive Blinking

The average person blinks about 15 to 20 times per minute in normal situations. While that number seems like quite a lot, underlying nervousness can greatly increase a person's rate of blinking. Excessive blinking can also be a sign that the person is working something out in their mind as they're speaking.

5. Shifting 

Manipulators will feign certain emotions in order to gain pity from the victim. Constantly shifting or changing positions can mean that a person is uncomfortable. In this case, the manipulator hopes that you will recognize their discomfort and do something to end it. The ultimate goal is that you agree with their wishes and do as they ask to hopefully end their "suffering".

6. Rubbing Hands or Neck

While it's a cliché, most manipulative people concoct plots to realize their goals. Because plots require mental energy, they may rub their hands together frequently as they gauge your reaction and adjust their approach. They may also rub other body parts, such as the backs of their necks or arms.

7. Prolonged Eye Contact

In addition to rapid, excessive blinking, some manipulators go in the other direction. In general, eye contact is good, as it indicates that you're dealing with a trustworthy individual. Manipulators recognize this as well, so they use prolonged eye contact to garner your confidence. They will also keep their eyes trained on you even after you look away, which lets them assess their strategy and whether it's working.

So, what should you do if you notice the above behaviors? Remember, you give manipulative people power by doing their bidding. You're allowed to say no to any request, no matter your relationship with the person or the role they play in your life.

Stand your ground with a polite but firm no. If the person refuses to accept your answer, remove yourself from the situation. When it comes to working environments, involve managers or human resources staff if you feel bullied or harassed. By being assertive, you can command respect and fight off any manipulators who cross your path.

Is Thermal Wellness Worth Your Time?

Temperature is nothing new to wellness therapy. The use of hot and cold to treat conditions like illness, muscle soreness, stress, and tension is a common practice dating back hundreds of years. People have often found comfort, relaxation, or relief in saunas or ice baths, so why is it that thermal wellness is suddenly a new fad term full of promise.

Much of the hype surrounds the advances in science and technology that allow for temperature manipulation, meaning that people can change their body temperature to achieve specific mental and physical health goals with a wearable device. However, before diving into the efficacy of such technology, it is crucial to review the science.

Efficacy of Thermal Therapies

Before discussing how extreme temperature fluctuations can affect the body, it is necessary to understand the difference between positive and negative stress responses. A positive stress response helps improve muscle recovery, reduce inflammation, and reduce pain; a negative response works counter to those results.

Exposure to extreme temperatures in controlled settings is said to be a positive stress response. For example, cryotherapy is the process of exposing the body to subzero temperatures for only a few minutes at a time. The sudden and extreme exposure causes rapid and tremendous constriction of blood vessels. The constriction is followed by equally substantial dilation when the body is removed from the cold, improving oxygenation and circulation throughout the system. You can think of saunas and other infrared heat treatments as equally and hypothetically beneficial but working in reverse.

It is necessary to state that evidence to support the theories of extreme temperature treatments is limited. While supporters and even some physiologists see the potential and understand the likelihood for results, the actual body of research is slim, especially when considering these methods as treatments for inflammation, chronic pain, and vitality.

Modern Advances in Technology

While there is insufficient evidence to support extreme temperature therapies, researchers know that temperature plays a vital role in human processes. Newer tech is focusing on subtle temperature fluctuations, only a few degrees in any direction. 

For now, the primary focus is on improving the quality of sleep, as most adults do not get adequate rest. The devices range from full-size mattresses to wearable devices for the wrist.

By manipulating the body and brain into perceiving a room or bed to be hotter or colder than it is, tech brands claim to enrich sleep quality. If true, the tech is sure to be a great success but does research support the idea?

Wearable Tech and Temperature Manipulation

While there is plenty of enthusiasm around temperature manipulation, it is not something most people need to concern themselves with. As long as your body can maintain an average temperature between 97° and 99°, there is no profound benefit to deliberately putting stress on your body. For those suffering from heart or lung disease or who are pregnant, most physicians do not recommend putting any additional stress on the body because of the risk to your health.

While thermal manipulation or wellness is an interesting topic, it still requires research to prove the physical benefits. That being said, if you enjoy the sauna or feel that temperature changes improve your wellbeing, go ahead and try. However, always talk to your primary care physician before starting any new program or routine.

Do Essential Oil Diffusers Actually Do Anything for Your Health or Mood?

Wouldn't it be great if moms could squeeze in little bits of relaxation all day long? That’s what essential oil diffusers promise to do: create a positive, refreshing and energizing ambience that makes you happier and healthier. Do they work?

What Are Essential Oils and Diffusers?

Essential Oils

Essential oils are plant extracts. These natural compounds come from a variety of flowers, herbs, trees and other plants. Some of my favorites are tea tree, lavender, sandalwood, lemon and (of course) rose. Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy to promote wellbeing for body and emotions.

Essential Oil Diffusers

Essential oil diffusers deliver these plant scents into the air as aromatic molecules. That way you can smell relaxing aroma as you’re going about your daily activities. The tiny particles reach your nose’s receptors and send signals to your brain, especially to the area involved with emotions. Today's oil diffusers are similar to the air fresheners of yesteryear, but using comforting natural plant extracts instead of synthetic chemicals.

How Effective Are Essential Oils?

Do essential oils work? To be honest, scientists aren’t completely sure. Some research has shown that essential oils such as lavender can have benefits:

  • Relief from anxiety
  • Help with depression symptoms
  • Sleep quality improvements
  • Calming effects for dementia
  • Pain relief for osteoarthritis

In other words, aromatherapy may help your mood and emotional health, but scientists can’t confirm it. That's why doctors aren't actually writing prescriptions for lavender oil or tea tree oil.

What Are the Best Types of Essential Oil Diffusers?

There are many types of diffusers to choose from. Each has pros and cons, and you should look at the price tag, too:

  • Electric diffusers: You add essential oil to water and an electric fan disperses the air and oil droplets into the air.
  • Reed diffusers: Small sticks absorb essential oils from a jar and release them into the room naturally. This can take a while, but it’s silent. Reed diffusers are my favorites for the bedroom.
  • Ceramic diffusers: Terracotta or ceramic absorb and gradually release essential oil into the surrounding space. These diffusers don’t have much reach, so they’re best for a bathroom countertop, tub, or another small space.
  • Heat diffusers: Heating essential oils can change their chemical properties and take away therapeutic benefits. Skip these diffusers unless you’re only after the scent.
  • Ultrasonic diffusers: These high-tech devices use vibrations to create a fine mist of essential oils and water. These are great all-around diffusers for large spaces, and they can also humidify the air in dry homes.
  • Nebulizer diffusers: For fast dispersion you can smell throughout the house, nebulizers are hard to beat. I don’t like them personally because I’m always afraid of breaking the glass container. They also go through more essential oil than other options.

What's the Bottom Line for Essential Oil Diffusers?

My point of view is that you should find out whether essential oils work for you personally. Don’t believe crazy claims or miracle cures you read online. Try your favorite aromatic scents with an essential oil diffuser for a month or two. Write down how you feel at the beginning and compare again at the end. If you notice you feel less stressed or that you’re sleeping better at night, keep going!

The Benefits and Uses of Cica Cream

Centella Asiatica, or cica, is a common ingredient in psoriasis, eczema, wound and other treatments. Recently, the compound has been showing up in European pharmacies as a scar treatment and K-beauty products. People are now praising the ingredient as a solution for dry and sensitive skin, encouraging the manufacture of creams.

What Is Cica Cream?

You might see cica cream under several names, including tiger grass and gotu kola. Regardless of the name, it is an antioxidant-rich skin moisturizer. The actual ingredient — Centella Asiatica — is an herb native to Africa and Asia. Over the past several hundred years, it has been a primary component in traditional Asian medicine, used in creams and ointments for wound healing. Three thousand years ago, the herb was a folk medicine cure-all.

In the 19th century, the herb made its way into Western medicine as a treatment for superficial scratches and burns and psoriasis and eczema flare-ups. Now, you can find it in a variety of skin creams and sensitive skin care products. You might find the cream sold as asiaticoside cream or medecassoside cream because of its primary ingredients: Asiatic acid, asiaticoside and medecassoside acid.

How Does Cica Cream Work?

Centella Asiatica contains fatty acids, amino acids, phytochemicals and beta-carotene. The combination of all the nutrients produces a product with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, helping to calm inflammation and repair the skin. Also, some research suggests it can stimulate collagen production.

Several studies also point to cica cream as beneficial in treating psoriasis and eczema, acne, scars, wrinkles and dry and irritated skin. Despite the promising outcomes of various studies, the data is not conclusive. Most of the research involves animals, not people; there are currently no peer-reviewed or high-quality studies on the cream's advantages for treating acne, eczema or psoriasis.

How Do You Use Cica Cream?

Most cica creams only require you to wash your face and apply the cream; it is not a complicated process. However, some people are allergic to Centella Asiatica, which means testing a small spot on the skin before regular use is advisable. Also, you may want to ease into the everyday use of the cream. Some dermatologists recommend using the cream every other night and gradually working up to nightly use. Eventually, you can begin using the product twice per day as recommended.

Also, if you apply several other products to your skin, it is best to use those first, saving the cica cream for last. The cream essentially acts as a thicker moisturizing barrier. Dermatologists also recommend applying a layer of sunscreen on top of the cica cream as the final layer of skin protection.

Cica cream is not new; societies have used the primary ingredient for centuries to treat various skin conditions. Today, producers and medical professionals recommend using the product as a moisturizer but also encourage caution because some people may be allergic. If you would like to use cica cream, you might want to consult your dermatologist first. They can help you better understand if the cream is beneficial for your skin type.