IS THERE TRUTH TO SUPERFOODS?
“Superfoods” – you might have seen this buzzword all around town and wondered what they are. Are they a new food group introduced to the food pyramid? Are they foods that have special healing powers? Well, not exactly. Unlike superheroes who have superhuman abilities, superfoods don’t actually have cool powers of magnetism, flight or mind-reading. In fact, superfoods are just foods – but known to be more nutritious, and with enhanced anti-oxidant benefits to the human body.
The idea behind superfoods is that they are certain foods that contain a large percentage of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants that are good for your body. “Superfoods” just became an easy term to refer to these foods that are chocked full of nutrients. They include a range of healthy foods such as greens, herbs, fruits, and nuts.
But adding superfoods to your routine is not just about swapping your pop tarts for a kale-and-spinach smoothie for breakfast. According to Mintel global food science analyst Stephanie Mattucci, “Superfoods are not only limited to food and drink, they are regularly springing up in the beauty, health and hygiene and pet food aisles as a result of today’s consumers becoming much more aware of what they are putting into and onto their bodies.”
Beauty brands are certainly jumping onto the bandwagon of supercharging their products with superfoods, from kale-packed nail polish to seaweed detox baths. Using products that contain superfoods in addition to consuming them in your daily diet seems to be the best 360-degree way of holistically incorporating superfoods into your life. Here are some superfoods to look out for that are quickly gaining popularity amongst informed consumers.
Cranberries make for the perfect snack because they are low in calories – did you know that a cup of cranberries contains only 45 calories? But they are also high in Vitamins C, A and K, and fibre. Cranberries are especially beneficial in preventing urinary tract infections because of their high level of antioxidants which stop bacteria from adhering to our urinary tract walls. In fact, in terms of disease-fighting antioxidants, cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable, even healthy greens like spinach and broccoli, and other berries like strawberries and raspberries.
Add cranberries to your life by:
- Tossing dried cranberries in with your breakfast cereal
- Drinking 100% fresh cranberry juice (not those with added sugar!)
- Including cranberries in your favourite homecooked dishes or baked goods
- Using Vagisil pH Plus Intimate Wash with natural cranberry extract for extra protection
We probably all dislike how turmeric leaves bright orange-yellow stains on our aprons, clothes, hands, everywhere! But guess what, other than make our curries extra yummy, turmeric also contains curcumin, which has medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It is known to not only block the free radicals in your body but also stimulates your body’s production of its own antioxidant defences. Turmeric is also known as the anti-cancer spice because research suggests that it can help slow cancer growth, make chemotherapy more effective, and help protect the body’s healthy cells from radiation therapy damage.
Add turmeric to your life by:
- Including it in your cooking with a little fat to help enhance your body’s absorption of curcumin
- Taking a curcumin supplement with BioPerine to boost absorption
- Applying a pinch of turmeric to minor cuts to help stop bleeding and disinfect the wound
- Using it on your skin, such as the Essano Superfoods Turmeric Certified Organic Reviving Facial Mask
Mm-mmm, we love cinnamon in our coffee, bread pudding, apple pie, muffins… the list goes on! But apart from its distinct flavour, cinnamon also packs a punch in terms of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties just like turmeric. It also has a positive effect on our metabolism, helping diabetics lower their blood sugar levels. It’s also great for our heart health since it lowers blood pressure, and LDL aka “the bad cholesterol”. There is also some evidence that cinnamon can be effective in cancer prevention and on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but more research is needed.
Add cinnamon to your life by:
- Looking out for the Ceylon variety, also known as “true” cinnamon, as opposed to the Cassia variety, which is more commonly found but in large doses may cause potential liver problems
- Applying topical ointments containing cinnamon for natural pain relief against arthritis
- Using cinnamon in your mouthwash to help fight nasty oral bacteria
- Detoxifying your skin by using the Essano Superfoods Certified Organic Cinnamon Revitalising Face Exfoliator
Kale is like the superstar of superfoods because it is jam-packed with everything your body needs! One cup of chopped kale delivers double your daily requirement of Vitamin A, and almost 700% for Vitamin K! And it doesn’t stop there, kale also boasts a truckload of other goodies like Vitamin C, calcium, manganese, potassium, copper, antioxidants, good fat and fibre. Kale contains compounds that work their anti-cancer magic by eliminating potential carcinogens from the body, protecting DNA damage and stimulating the self-destruction of cancerous cells. On the beauty front, kale does a superb job of fighting against harmful, collagen-destroying UV rays which leads to more wrinkles and fine lines. It’s also a diet food because it’s rich in thylakoids which tells your brain you’re full, so you don’t overeat.
Add kale into your life by:
- Trying out different recipes to add kale into your diet, such as soups and salads
- Making kale chips for a snack instead of reaching out for a pack of potato chips
- Blending it together with other superfoods and fruits in a smoothie
- Boosting your collagen production by applying the Essano Superfoods Certified Organic Kale Regenerating Night Crème
When we think of roses, we may think of romantic displays of rose bouquets especially in February, but the best part of the wild rose plant actually lies in its “hips” – rosehips, that is. The fruit that is left on the branches is rich in Vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K, and contains minerals like calcium, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium and zinc, amongst others! Like the other superfoods we have mentioned, rosehips are also beneficial against cancerous cells, free radicals, and diabetes. On top of that, rosehip also stimulates white blood cells which boosts your body’s immune system and promotes faster wound healing and skin recovery. Rosehip oil is rich in beta-carotene and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, and is often used to treat skin conditions like acne, dermatitis and eczema, as well as heal scarring and stretch marks. Studies have also shown rosehip to be beneficial against joint pain and obesity.
Add rosehip into your life by:
- Drinking rosehip tea, which can also help against dysmenorrhea or painful periods
- Taking rosehip supplements daily together with your meals
- Enjoying it in your syrups, jams, juices and marmalades
- Benefiting from its active repair power on your skin in the Essano Certified Organic Rosehip Oil
This month of April, we celebrate superfoods with a special e-store promotion: Receive a FREE Essano Superfoods Cinnamon Purifying Gel Cleanser worth $24.95 with any 2 Vagisil products purchased!
- Digital Team
5 THINGS TO PREPARE FOR THAT TIME OF THE MONTH
Crimson tide. Visit from your aunt. Lunar pains. Lady Flo. The red wedding (Note: Game of Thrones reference, sad one!). Whatever you call it, we all get it (assuming you’re a lady reading this article). And we all know we can get *a little* cranky when that time of the month rolls around, so it really helps to be prepared. Here are 5 things you’ll want within easy reach during any menstruation week.
1) A really trusty sanitary product
The last thing you want to do is have the peace of mind you get from using a sanitary product literally shattered by a very unwelcomed bloody explosion. Worst still if it’s so impactful it announces its presence to the public! Nooooooooo! I’m sure all of us have had that kind of nightmare at one time or another. Don’t let it happen in real life!
It’s weird considering that tampons and pads basically have but one job, you’d think they’d all function up to par. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and swapping out one brand for another not only becomes tiresome but leaves us with a very uneasy, unreliable feeling. We all just want something we can trust.
For a range of pads, liners and tampons that are safely and sustainably sourced and 100% organic and toxic-free, RAEL was launched in 2017 by three women, for women everywhere. RAEL sanitary products are made from organic cotton, which means no insecticide, fungicides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers are used on the cotton plants. This means completely chemical-free cotton, and a preservation of the ecosystem which hosts them. Conversely, conventional cotton (non-organic) is chock full of chemicals which can be toxic to your body. Especially when we’re talking about something that comes into close contact with your most sensitive, intimate parts of your body, you want the peace of mind that what you’re using is safe and natural.
2) The right intimate wash
Just as we use facial products for our face and body products on our body, likewise, body products are simply not safe or good for use on your intimate areas. You need special intimate washes that are specifically formulated for that area. Vagisil’s range of intimate washes get the job done effectively but most importantly are not harsh on your vulvar.
If you’re prone to getting yeast infections, for example, opt for the Vagisil pH Plus Intimate Wash with LactoPrebiotic and cranberry to support a healthy pH where you need it most. If odour is a concern, Vagisil Fresh Plus Intimate Wash is created with a patented Odour Control Technology – it’s never about masking odours with harmful chemical fragrances, it’s about doing what’s needed to prevent any nasty odours in the first place. Ladies with sensitive skin don’t have a thing to worry with Vagisil Clean Scent Intimate Wash (Sensitive Skin), specially infused with chamomile, aloe and vitamin E for a soothing feeling. And women who experience dryness can turn to Vagisil ProHydrate Plus Intimate Wash, with a unique blend of moisturisers designed for our intimate area.
3) Convenient cleaning wipes
One of the ickiest things about having your periods is feeling icky about it all day long. Nobody wants that feeling and we all wish we could truly clean ourselves with something that actually, well, leaves us feeling clean. With hypo+fresh Feminine Wipes it is actually possible. They are perfectly pH balanced and enriched with soothing chamomile, aloe, vitamins A and E, and are hypoallergenic, alcohol free, paraben free and soap free. They even come individually wrapped and are completely flushable for true convenience. Imagine, no more opening a pack of wipes to use one only to have the rest of the pack dry out in your handbag!
4) Heat pad for aches
Instead of groaning about those nasty cramps, put on a feel-good movie (no crying, preferably!), grab your favourite comfort foods, and stuff a heat pad on your abdomen. Heat therapy works so well when we get our periods because it opens up our blood vessels and allows blood and oxygen to flow more readily to the painful areas to reduce spams and relax muscles. Sure, a bowl of hot popcorn could work too but not if you munch it all down quickly!
Heat pads come in different forms – you can get a hot water bottle, a quick microwaveable pack, an electric heating pad that you can plug into your socket, or even one-time heat pads you can stick directly to your abdomen and wear under your clothes. Did you know, you can even make your own heat pads at home! All you need is a long sock, fill it up with rice, tie up the end, and heat in the microwave on high for about 60 seconds. Preferably you’ll want a sock that doesn’t smell!
5) Some bonus beauty products
Yes, we hate to admit it, but our moods go up and down and all around when we get our periods. We don’t feel so good, so pretty, or so confident. But did you know that behind the scenes, our skin is also going through similar rollercoaster dips and dives during your menstruation cycle? Your body goes through periods of high and low estrogen levels, which affects your skin’s condition. Simply put, more estrogen = beautiful skin; less estrogen and more androgen (that male hormone) = oilier skin.
Period days say goodbye to estrogen, meaning hello oily skin that makes us more prone to acne. So even if you don’t normally have clogged pores or puffy skin, you might experience these during your menstruation. It doesn’t mean that you have to change up your entire skincare routine every time it’s that time of the month, but you may want to include some extra helpers, such as pore cleaners, exfoliators, facial masks and anti-inflammatory products. For example, the essano™ Clear Complexion range is perfect for when your skin is producing more sebum and oil because it features plant-based BioDToxTM which will help control your sebum levels, clean out pores and wipe out the threat of period-time imperfections! The most important thing is to feel clean, beautiful and confident, on the inside and out!
- Digital Team
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: YEAST INFECTIONS
Every day we make a ton of decisions for our body, from what to wear to what we eat, to how much exercise we do. Yet there is one area we hardly ever think about until something “goes wrong”. Yep, we’re talking about that dreaded itch down there. And then suddenly, we find ourselves Googling “What are yeast infections and what can I do about this #*$%^@ itch?” Well, maybe without the swear words in the search box, but you’re sure thinking it!
Indeed, uncontrollable itch is one of the most common symptoms of a yeast infection, which affects something like 75% of women during their lifetime. You might have already experienced it, or you might even be going through it right now (sorry!). The best way to treat yeast infections is to get the basic knowledge right about what you’re dealing with.
SYMPTOMS OF YEAST INFECTIONS
Besides itch and irritation in the vagina and vulva, you might also feel a burning sensation, especially while peeing or during intercourse. You might feel pain and soreness when you sit or touch the area. If you take a small mirror and look closely, you might notice redness and swelling, or even what looks like a vaginal rash. One of the more telling signs of yeast infections is what’s left in your underwear – it is very commonly a thick, white, “cottage-cheese-like” vaginal discharge, though without any bad odour. There could also be some watery vaginal discharge. When a yeast infection gets bad, it might even lead to tears and cracks – which hurts as much as it sounds!
WHAT CAUSES YEAST INFECTIONS?
One thing that’s assuring to know is that yeast in itself is not actually an evil thing. In fact, our bodies all contain small amounts of yeast at any given time, with zero issues whatsoever. When our vaginal pH levels are normal and healthy, we enjoy a healthy balance of bacteria and yeast, and everything in under control. However, it is when our vaginal pH levels are out of whack that a fungus called candida albicans grows out of control and causes a yeast infection. It’s somewhat like yeast in baking – bread, pizza dough, baguettes – you need just the right amount of yeast; anything more is too much and will ruin your recipe!
WHAT LEADS TO A YEAST OVERGROWTH?
What then could possibly cause this unbalance? Some common causes include the use of antibiotics, diabetes, immune system disorders, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, menopause, or on birth control pills or hormonal therapy, or incorrect douching.
SHOULD I GO TO THE DOCTOR?
It depends. If you know it is a yeast infection, or you’ve been treated for one before, you can easily get antifungal treatments over the counter at any pharmacy. However, if you are unsure, it is still best to get a doctor’s opinion, as yeast infections can sometimes be confused with bacterial vaginosis (a bacterial overgrowth instead of a yeast overgrowth, and which causes a thin discharge with a fish-like odour, instead of a thick white discharge) or even trichomoniasis (trich) which is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite. Knowing exactly what you’re experiencing is always the first step towards getting the right treatment for your condition. Also, if you are experiencing recurring yeast infections, extensive tears and cracks, or you suffer from other symptoms that are not so common of yeast infections, please see a doctor or a gynaecologist!
HOW CAN I PREVENT YEAST INFECTIONS?
While yeast infections do not go away on their own without the right treatment, there is much you can do to keep your vaginal environment at a healthy level. For example, keeping your vaginal area dry is of the utmost importance. Avoid wearing tight underwear, stockings, pants, jeans, leggings (or jeggings!) if they increase moisture in your genital area. Wear cotton underwear, change pantyliners often, and do not stay in wet swimsuits or workout clothes for long. Avoid certain feminine products that could affect the pH levels – including certain douches which remove the good bacteria you need to protect from a yeast overgrowth, bubble baths, bath bombs, vaginal sprays, scented tampons and such.
The best way to maintain an optimal pH is not to use any product that isn’t made specifically with the pH levels of your intimate area in mind. Normal body washes and soap are made for only your body, not your genital area in particular. Washing such a delicate area requires a special pH balanced wash, such as Vagisil’s pH Plus Intimate Wash. Yes, it might be a little bit of a hassle to have to change products for different areas but think of all the pain and discomfort you’re avoiding in the long run by keeping yeast infections at bay! You’re welcome!
- Digital Team
The Talk About Talc
A baby’s soft skin. The smell of lilies in the field. Talcum powder. Things you usually associate with freshness. Except, did you know, that one of those three things might actually be harmful to you instead of good?
Since the first two are simply undeniably amazing things in this world, we’re talking about talcum powder here. Starting from about five years ago, a popular baby powder manufacturing company started coming under fire in thousands of lawsuits where women allegedly developed ovarian cancer after using their talc-based powder as a part of their daily feminine hygiene routine.
Since then, studies have also reported a link, albeit not a significant one, between women using talc and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
But hold up, you might say, just what is talc? Is the problem with talc or talcum powder?
Talc is actually a mineral found in nature. Talc rocks are crushed and milled to create a fine powder which has great benefits such as absorbing excess moisture and smoothening out friction. Naturally, us humans have found ways to harness these benefits by adding talc to their cosmetic and personal care products – including talcum powder or baby powder. (Fun fact, talc actually first came onto the market in 1894 to make medicated bandages less irritating on skin!)
While many governing and research bodies haven’t been able to come to a solid conclusion of whether or not using talc will lead to ovarian cancer, the idea is that because talc powder is made up of such finely-ground particles, when applied to a woman’s genital area, it can easily travel up the mucus membranes to one’s uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, causing inflammation that could possibly eventually lead to cancer.
For this reason, it has always been recommended that parents use baby powder only on a baby’s bum and away from their face as talc can easily be inhaled, leading to irritation, sinus problems, inflammation and even chronic lung conditions.
So while this will remain a hot topic for some time with no sure conclusion, the question marks surrounding talc – and the fact they don’t surround its alternative, cornstarch – might be real enough to set off a cautious exclamation mark in our minds. When it comes to the best vaginal health, the best and safest way is still to remain talc-free.
Promo! This October, purchase any item from the Vagisil e-store and get a FREE Vagisil Feminine Intimate Powder – talc-free!
- Andy Ong
Balance is key
- Digital Team
9 Things You Need To Know About Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is not just a symptom of menopause. It’s a very common problem experienced by plenty of women. If you look to your left and right, it’s likely one of you women has experienced the itchiness, irritation, burning and pain of vaginal dryness. But it’s not something you should suffer in silence. Find out more about vaginal dryness and what you can do about it.
- Digital Team