10 Common Toxins in Cosmetics

Formulated to highlight features, accentuate the eyes, and lengthen lashes, cosmetics are designed to emphasize natural beauty. However, much of the makeup industry hides an ugly truth: those beauty products can be laced with toxins that undermine health.

The skin is the body’s largest organ, and while it acts as a physical barrier to keep us safe, it’s not an impenetrable shield. When you apply sunscreen, lotions, and makeup, ingredients readily pass through the skin and into the bloodstream. It’s an especially challenging issue since many women wear makeup and apply these types of products every day.

To help you navigate the unsafe world of cosmetics, check out the list of 10 of the most dangerous toxins commonly found in makeup. At the end, you’ll also see how to check your favorite products to make sure they’re safe.

1. Heavy Metals

Heavy metals can cause substantial damage and accumulate in your tissues. At higher doses, heavy metals can cause brain damage, cancer, and organ failure (1). At lower doses, they can contribute to inflammation, fatigue, and even cause your skin to age more quickly.

Many makeup products (including eye shadow, lipstick, and lip gloss) contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium, nickel, mercury, and chromium. A study conducted by Safe Cosmetics, for example, found that over 60% of lipsticks contain the toxic heavy metal lead (2).

2. Phthalates (Fragrance)

While a cosmetic company may label its ingredients, phthalates are often hiding under the vague description of “fragrance.” Found in perfume, lotions, or any product with added fragrance, phthalates are a type of hormone-disrupting chemical.

Numerous studies have linked phthalates to birth defects, breast cancer, a decreased IQ, obesity, autism, and neurological issues  (345). Check labels and avoid applying perfume to skin.

3. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives

Many beauty products contain formaldehyde-based preservatives which break down over time, releasing formaldehyde—a volatile organic compound (VOC) that’s known to cause cancer and asthma (67). If your cosmetics have a label, keep an eye out for chemicals such as DMDM hydantoin, bromopol, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, quaternium-15, and glyoxal. They’re most commonly in mascara and nail polish.

4. Polyethylene Glycols (PEGs)

Polyethylene glycols create the creamy texture we expect in many cosmetics as they are used as thickeners and softeners (8). For this reason, they are commonly found in hair mousse and lotions. These petroleum-based compounds may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane which can harm the nervous system and interfere with human development (9).

5. BHT & BHA

While these two chemical preservatives are banned in the European Union, they are still commonly used in the US, found in cosmetics including eyeliner, eyeshadows and other makeup (10). Numerous studies have found that these two chemicals are linked to cancer, hormone disruption, organ damage, and reproductive harm (1112). Much like heavy metals, they can accumulate in the body, leading to greater harm over time.

6. Siloxanes

Siloxanes are chemicals often used in cosmetics to soften, smooth, and moisten. For this reason, they are often found in deodorant and foundation. They are also used in hair products to help them dry more quickly.

Depending on how they’re modified in the lab, there’s evidence that siloxanes can disrupt your hormones, cause reproductive harm, damage the immune system, and reduce fertility (13). If there’s an ingredients label, look out for anything that ends in siloxane or methicone.

7. Octinoxate or Oxybenzone

Octinoxate and Oxybenzone are chemicals commonly used to filter UVB light from the sun and are usually found in sunscreens. This chemical is rapidly absorbed through the skin. Evidence suggests that exposure can disrupt your hormones and cripple the function of your thyroid (14).

8. P-Phenylenediamine (PPD)

This chemical can cause allergic reactions on the skin and damage the DNA of your cells. Over time, cellular DNA damage can cause cells to mutate into cancer cells (15). Since p-phenylenediamine is a common hair dye ingredient, scientists have observed a correlation between hair dye and multiple forms of cancer like ovarian, breast, and bladder (161718).

9. Carbon Black

This pigment is an ingredient used in many eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara products. Carbon black is made from the partial combustion of various carbon-containing materials. It gives eyeliner its flat black coloring. Exposure to this chemical is linked to cancer and organ toxicity (19). Pigments are also commonly contaminated with heavy metals such as lead.

10. Benzophenone

Commonly used to protect cosmetics from deteriorating due to sun exposure, this chemical is linked to hormone disruption, organ toxicity, and reproductive harm (2021).

Protecting Your Health

Given the vast quantity of ingredients used and huge range of cosmetic products on the market, it’s impossible to eliminate your exposure to every toxin. The good news is that awareness has grown about the issue of toxins in cosmetics, and there are resources you can use to reduce your exposure.

You can check the clean rating of your personal cosmetic products (or individual ingredients) on the EWG Skin Deep database. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is another valuable resource to avoid toxins in cosmetics.

Avoiding toxins is vital. But often, it’s not enough. If you’re like most people, you have already been using cosmetics for much of your life. Since many of the toxins found in cosmetics bioaccumulate, it’s important to detoxify or remove them from your body.

To support your body’s detoxification process, use natural mineral zeolite that has been cleansed and nanosized for cellular detox. A rare negatively-charged mineral, the zeolite Clinoptilolite binds to positively-charged toxins like a magnet, so toxins can be safely and gently flushed out of the body.

By choosing safer cosmetics, and detoxing the body, you may experience improved whole-body health

7 Ways to Stay Safe from Coronavirus

To date, more than 37 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, with over 1 million deaths, and tens of thousands of new coronavirus cases are emerging on a daily basis. Already more than 7.5 million cases have been confirmed within the United States with over 214,000 deaths. And health officials fear there is no end in sight (1).

On Monday, March 2, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Tom Frieden declared, “Never before has a new pathogen emerged and caused a global spread like this. It has the ability to cause enormous social and economic disruption.”

It doesn’t help that the new coronavirus was likely circulating undetected in the United States, possibly for weeks in February. Or that initial test kits from the CDC were flawed and limited in number, so cases may have slipped through the net (2).

On Tuesday, March 3, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the mortality rate of the virus was much higher than previous estimates, an alarming 3.4% (3). Finally, on Wednesday, March 11 the WHO declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.

While many cases (an estimated 80%) are mild, the number of severe and critical cases is very worrisome. Research shows people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are at the greatest risk.

Public health officials in the U.S. moved to try and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, with school closures, quarantines, and travel disruptions. Already some store shelves are empty of supplies. On Friday, March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency to free up resources and funds to fight the rapid spread of cases and the economic impact. And now, the United States is considered the epicenter of the pandemic with the most confirmed cases in the world.

Yes, this is a new virus, and there are a lot of unknowns for the days and months ahead. But there are also some tried and true strategies that can help you be prepared and stay safe. Here are 7 top virus protection tips.

1. Wash Your Hands

Like other viruses, many coronavirus infections may happen via what your hands came in contact with. Viral particles attach and stick to surfaces that we unconsciously touch – a door handle, a receipt, a coffee cup. And then we touch our faces, introducing the virus to our eyes, nose or mouth.

That’s why it’s vital to wash your hands often, with soap and water. Every time before you eat or drink, and really scrub them for about 20 seconds. And always before you touch your face. This simple step can greatly reduce your chances of viral transmission.

2. Get Enough Sleep

What does sleep have to do with staying safe from viruses? It’s simple… without enough restful sleep your immune system is depressed and more vulnerable to viruses, and research shows that includes coronaviruses.

A study published in the prestigious JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who had less than 7 hours of sleep were 3 times more likely to develop a cold—a type of coronavirus—than those who had 8+ hours a night (4).

If you find it difficult to get enough sleep, consider CBD Oil before bed, and try these strategies to get the best sleep of your life.

3. Avoid Sick People (Do Social Distancing)

If you don’t come in contact with people who have signs of respiratory illnesses, your chances of catching one are greatly reduced. That means not shaking hands or getting close to someone who is coughing or sneezing.

Right now, most people with the sniffles are unlikely to have the coronavirus, but it appears that people who do have COVID-19 can infect others even before they show symptoms. That means avoiding places with lots of people, and maintaining a safe distance when you are talking with someone. Social distancing is the key.

4. Manage Stress Levels

Life can be stressful enough on any given day. Add a new coronavirus into the mix and it’s hard not to worry that the world as we know it could end.

But using stress management techniques that work is vital. That’s because stress can weaken your immune system. In fact, researchers discovered that stress lowered all aspects of immunity, making it more likely you’ll get sick (5).

One of the best ways to keep calm is to include CBD-rich hemp oil in your day since cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to be effective against stress (6).

5. Eat More Fruits & Veggies

Most emergency supplies consist of canned tuna and processed soup. Sure, it’ll give you calories, but not much else. Now’s the time to invest a little extra in good quality nutrition.

Organic berries (stock up on frozen), and organic green veggies are nature’s multivitamins. They come complete with the right blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy.

Short on time and space? Superfood powders are a shortcut to boost intake due to the high number of veggies and low cost per serving. And research shows drinking an organic green juice every day has huge health benefits.

Adding a few extra canisters of Super Green Juice or Organic Super Protein to your supplies can give you dozens of nutrient-dense smoothies without taking up much shelf space.

6. Detox Daily with Zeolite

Toxins are one of the little-known ways that your immune system can underperform. Research shows that heavy metals such as lead can decrease the number of NK (natural killer) cells, lowering immunity (7).

Clinoptilolite zeolite is renowned for detoxing heavy metals, and a wide range of health benefits. Initial clinical research suggests that natural zeolite Clinoptilolite may also have antiviral properties. This research showed that Clinoptilolite zeolite inhibited viral proliferation of several types of viruses (8).

Zeolite has not been tested against coronaviruses, and currently there is no approved treatment for COVID-19. What we do know is that by removing toxins, the right zeolite can support your immune system and overall wellness.

7. Strengthen Your Immune System

The difference between a mild case of coronavirus and one that is more severe may very well come down to how someone’s immune system responds.

That’s why many of the previous steps speak to the importance of your own immune system being strong enough to evade and fight off any pathogens. Read our complete seasonal immunity guide here to stay healthy.

We’re in this together,

Chocolate Banana Popsicles

This decadent dark chocolate treat is so rich and creamy you won’t believe it is also non-dairy, full of superfoods, and only 180 calories a pop. Reward yourself with a dessert that tastes good and is good for you!

Chocolate Banana Popsicle Recipe

(makes 6)
6 Popsicle Molds and Sticks
1 scoop Super Green Juice powder
3 ripe bananas
1 can of organic coconut milk (lite)
1 tbsp (tablespoon) coconut oil
2 tbsp of raw, organic honey (opt for maple syrup for vegan)
2 tbsp unsweetened organic cocoa powder
6 dates
Dash of vanilla

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Blend 2 bananas, coconut milk, dates, honey, coconut oil and a dash of vanilla together. Set aside ½ cup of this mixture.
  • To the main liquid, add a scoop of Super Green Juice, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and blend well.
  • Fill up the Popsicle molds about 1/3 with the chocolate mixture.
  • Chop the third banana into small slices, and add it to the molds along with the mixture you have set aside.
  • Top up all the molds with the remainder of the chocolate mixture, leaving a little room for the popsicles to expand during freezing.
  • Freeze and enjoy!

The Good Inside

Decadent and dark, cocoa powder may boost endorphins, the feel-good factor for mood. Plus it is heart-healthy and supports healthy blood pressure.

Banana adds a smooth creamy texture, a hint of sweetness, and a bump of potassium to replenish minerals. Coconut is tasty and comes with MCTs, medium-chain triglycerides that help promote fat loss, especially around the belly area.

Deliciously sweet dates are full of fiber to aid digestion, deliver natural vitamin A and contain over a dozen minerals. Raw honey is a superfood sweetener. It’s a potent mix of fructose, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids that acts as an antioxidant.

A scoop of Super Green Juice powder provides 44 organic superfoods full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, and plant protein.

Each Chocolate Banana Popsicle satisfies your sweet tooth while nourishing your body with healthy superfoods!

Recipe by Jen Hulett. Touchstone Essentials’ Chief Creative Officer takes her creativity into the kitchen to create tasty recipes full of goodness.

8 Tips to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

When you think about it, the lungs are incredible organs. From the moment of birth, they never stop working. In adulthood, the average person takes anywhere between 12 and 20 breaths per minute. That’s over 17,000 breaths per day. Each inhale brings in precious oxygen that gets transported to almost every single cell of the body.

Despite how important the lungs are, it’s easy to take them for granted, until something goes wrong or a respiratory illness puts them at risk.

While one of the most obvious ways to take good care of your lungs is to not smoke or vape, there are many ways you can support and maintain lung function so that your lungs can support you through a long and healthy life.

1. Stay Active

Regular physical activity is one of the best strategies to keep your lungs healthy and strong. When you exercise, your cells require more oxygen to produce energy in the form of ATP. To deal with the increased demand for oxygen, you breathe faster and your heart rate increases.

Regular exercise gradually causes your lungs and cardiovascular system to adapt. The lungs get better at expanding and muscles that help you breathe get stronger (1). In turn, these changes make your lungs more efficient at taking in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.

And you don’t have to be a top athlete to reap these benefits, any activity that gets you moving and elevates your heart rate will make a difference.

2. Get More Food-Based Antioxidants

Oxidative stress is a nemesis of good health. It plays a large role in nearly every disease, accelerates physical aging, degrades healthy cells, and it can trigger cell mutations. What does this have to do with lung health?

Unknowingly, you constantly inhale invisible environmental pollutants present in the air outside and in your home. Many of these pollutants cause oxidative damage when they come into contact with your lung cells (2).

As such, it’s essential that you keep oxidative damage under control. Getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet is one of the best ways to protect your lungs from oxidative damage. This means you should eat a wide variety of organic fruits, veggies and herbs.

If you find you have a difficult time getting 7 to 9 servings of organic vegetables every day, a green juice powder can give you a much-needed boost.

3. Practice Breathing Exercises

Similar to regular physical activity, breathing exercises can dramatically improve the efficiency of your lungs. While there are many types of breathing exercises out there, diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, is a good place to start.

This exercise specifically engages and trains the diaphragm, the primary muscle that allows you to breathe. Practicing this technique can improve how much air you move per breath (3). To get started, follow these steps:

  • Relax your shoulders and sit somewhere that’s comfortable.
  • Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose for 2-3 seconds. Feel the air move into your lungs and pay close attention to the expansion of your stomach. The goal here is to get your stomach to expand more than your chest.
  • Breathe out for 2-3 seconds through pursed lips while pressing on your abdomen. Do a set of ten of these breaths.

For more advanced breathing exercises, especially if you are facing an infection, you can follow the recommendations of this emergency room doctor from the UK for getting more air into the base of your lungs.

4. Detoxify Your Body

Not only do toxins trigger oxidative damage as they travel through the body, toxic heavy metals can increase your risk of heart disease, impair memory and cognitive function, and damage your immune system.

But that’s not all. Researchers have found that long-term exposure to toxins in air pollution can impact lung health, increasing your risk for respiratory inflammation, asthma, chronic bronchitis and pneumonia (4).

It’s one of many reasons why it’s important to detoxify your body and remove toxins that have accumulated over the years. One of the easiest and most effective ways to detoxify the whole body is to use natural mineral zeolite.

5. Drink Plenty of Water

Most experts recommend you should drink around eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (8 x 8). When you’re physically active or outside in hot temperatures you may need to drink even more.

Your body needs water for countless physiologic functions, including proper lung function. Drinking enough water helps encourage a moist environment in your respiratory system.

And more importantly, water prevents lung surfactant and mucus from becoming too thick (56). When these substances are too thick, it can make breathing more labored and difficult.

6. Consider Lung-Friendly Herbs

Studies have found that there are several herbs capable of improving respiratory health, including astragalus, peppermint and thyme.

Astragalus is used by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It may help prevent respiratory infections and act as an expectorant, meaning it can help clear mucus from the lungs (7).

Research suggests that peppermint may improve the ability of your lungs to inhale and exhale greater volumes of air. (8). And the herb thyme has been shown in animal studies to improve mucus clearance from airways and help the airways relax, which improves airflow to the lungs (9).

7. Drink Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols. One of the polyphenols in green tea is called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which evidence suggests is protective of lung cells (10).

Green tea also contains a compound called theophylline. This compound acts as a bronchodilator, meaning it opens up the airways (11). The caffeine found in green tea is also suggested to provide a similar effect (12).

So, adding green tea to your morning ritual, or using an organic green tea supplement is a good strategy to support your respiratory health.

8. Clean Your Home’s Air

Most indoor air is saturated with toxins. That’s because furniture, upholstery, and carpeting may all contain toxic particles which degrade and break down over time. They become a part of your home’s dust and circulate in the air, irritating lung tissue and causing oxidative damage.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to take steps to improve the quality of your home’s air, including considering a home air filter. You can also place plants throughout the house. They are both decorative and cleanse the air of certain toxins such as formaldehyde (13).

If you live in an area with clean outdoor air, open up your windows from time to time and let some fresh air in. And avoid chemical air fresheners as these often contain toxic chemicals that disrupt hormones, cause oxidative damage, and damage cells (14). Instead, opt for an essential oil diffuser.

8 Tips to Support Lung Health

The Bottom Line

With every breath you take, you rely on your lungs to bring vital oxygen throughout the body. Fortunately, there are a variety of steps you can take to support healthy lungs. From staying active and doing breathing exercises, to detoxifying the body and eating antioxidant-rich foods, you can optimize your respiratory well-being and breathe easier.

8 Nutrients Essential for a Healthy Heart

Nutrients Essential for a Healthy Heart

Your heart works around the clock, pumping nutrients and precious oxygen to your body’s tissues. It never takes a break. For the average adult, it beats a whopping 115,000 times and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day (1).

Which is why it’s important that you do anything in your power to ensure it stays healthy. Especially considering the fact that heart disease is the single most common cause of death worldwide (2).

Living a heart-friendly lifestyle involves regular exercise, not smoking, and controlling your stress levels. Just as important as what you do, is what you eat.

Scientists have discovered that your heart needs specific nutrients to stay healthy…

1. Plant-Based Antioxidants

Antioxidants play a critical role in keeping your heart healthy because they protect your body from one of the most common causes of heart disease: the oxidation of cholesterol (3).

When cholesterol oxidizes, it causes fatty plaque to build up on the walls of your arteries, which can result in increased blood pressure and an increased risk of a heart attack.

The key is to consume plant-based antioxidants. Studies using synthetic vitamins—what you’ll find in most multivitamins—show no benefit, while antioxidants from fruits, veggies and herbs are shown to be protective (4).

One of the best ways to get more antioxidants in your diet is to add an organic green juice to your daily routine. Sprinkle some antioxidant-rich berries in for an added heart-healthy boost.

2. Essential Fatty Acids

Researchers have found your body needs a balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. The problem is, most people get far too many omega-6s from processed foods.

This results in increased inflammation, a higher risk of obesity, and an increased risk of heart disease (56). To remedy this issue, it’s important to get plenty of omega-3s from wild fish, flax seeds or chia seeds (7).

Perhaps surprisingly, you’ll want to avoid fish oil. While eating fish is good for you, most fish oils are highly refined and can easily turn rancid, which makes them pro-inflammatory in the body.

In fact, a complete review of 20 fish oil studies by the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that taking fish oil had no heart-health benefits (8). Stick to wild fish or plant omegas for a healthy heart.

3. Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is an enzyme found in almost every cell in the body.  It’s an antioxidant, it helps cells generate energy, and delivers a wide range of heart benefits.

According to a study published by the College of Pharmacy and the Department of Medicine in Canada, “CoQ10 has significant potential for cardiovascular [disease] prevention as a standalone nutritional supplement.” (9)

CoQ10 is especially important for anyone taking cholesterol lowering medication. That’s because the class of drugs known as statins block your body’s production of the essential enzyme.

Plant sources of CoQ10 include spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and legumes. Leafy greens also have the added benefit of reactivating CoQ10 in the body.

4. Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide (N.O.) is a signaling molecule that helps your cells communicate and blood vessels expand. As you grow older, your body gets less efficient at making it and relies more on external sources.

Nitric oxide plays an important role in healthy blood pressure, improved blood flow, energy levels and better athletic performance (10).

Consequently, it’s a good idea to help replenish your body’s nitric oxide levels if you are over 40. You can increase your N.O. levels through nitrate-rich plants including leafy greens, beets and even (dark) chocolate.

5. Magnesium

When it comes to heart-healthy nutrients, magnesium is the most overlooked. But that doesn’t mean it’s less important.

Evidence suggests that magnesium has a direct effect on the ability of your blood vessels to relax (11). So, when you’re deficient in magnesium, it can result in higher blood pressure.

This, in turn, can significantly increase your risk of a heart attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 7 of every 10 people having their first heart attack have high blood pressure (12).

Since magnesium deficiencies are exceptionally common, this is a nutrient you don’t want to brush off. Boost your magnesium intake with almonds, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds and spinach.

6.  Curcumin (Turmeric Root)

Curcumin, the primary active compound in turmeric, has a number of benefits that make it incredibly healthy for your heart (13).

Numerous studies have found that curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, it fights inflammation, and it also supports the function of the endothelium, the lining of blood vessels, thereby supporting healthy blood pressure (14).

Collectively, these properties make curcumin an essential part of any heart-healthy diet. Just be aware that curcumin has low bioavailability.

Combine turmeric with black pepper when adding it to recipes to boost absorption or take a supplement with turmeric with essential fatty acids to increase absorption.

7. Sulforaphane

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain a compound called sulforaphane. These veggies can help the body detoxify toxins, and are strongly associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer (15). 

How does this keep your heart healthy? Well, when toxins from the environment get into your body, they cause oxidative damage which can compromise the cells in your arteries and heart.

But sulforaphane can rapidly remove toxins found in air pollution, such as benzene, thereby helping to protect the heart from its damaging effects (16).

In addition to broccoli, other foods that contain sulforaphane are cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy.

If you have a hard time stomaching these types of veggies, you can get a supplement that contains sulforaphane instead.

8. Folate

Folate is a mineral that’s often associated with maternal health. But healthy prenatal development is far from its only benefit.

Folate helps decrease the amount of homocysteine in your blood. Which is important because when homocysteine levels get too high, studies have found that it significantly increases the risk of heart disease (17).

Rather than the synthetic folic acid found in most multivitamins, aim to get the natural variety (folate) which is found in beans, asparagus, and leafy greens such as spinach, and kale.

One of the easiest and most economical ways to get many of these heart-healthy nutrients is to drink a green juice every day. Pick one with a variety of leafy greens, veggies and antioxidant-rich fruits and you’ll give your heart the natural vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs.

Your heart works tirelessly over the years. Keep it ticking in a healthy way by exercising regularly, managing stress, and making sure you get some of these essential nutrients every day. They might be just what you need to keep the beat going for a long and healthy life.

5 Surprising Health Benefits of Love

Benefits of Love

No matter if you’re in a relationship or are single, love is an essential part of a happy and healthy life. Whether it’s family, friends or other close relationships, strong connections can lead to some surprising health benefits.

And while new love may make your heart skip a beat, true health benefits come from love that is built on a feeling of being valued and respected. Those strong connections and sense of belonging can be found in relationships with a partner, parent or good friend.

See the five surprising ways that love can benefit your health, and take time to strengthen your relationships or even build new ones. In doing so, you’ll be nourishing a healthy, love-filled life.

1. Enjoy a Happier Life

It may seem obvious, but if your life is full of love, then it will likely be full of happiness. They go hand-in-hand. In fact, one study found that families who have a strong connection and social support system (love) are significantly happier. The study also noted that family income had no effect on happiness. So the old adage, “money can’t buy you love” could be changed to “you don’t need money to have love.”

2. Live a Longer Life

A growing body of research reveals that (happily) married people live longer. One study, for example, evaluated almost 6,000 people and found that people who have never been married have a significantly shorter lifespan. But this doesn’t mean you must be married to extend your life. The point is; love is about mutual support. Those with a strong social support system have protective health benefits that support a long life.

3. Fewer Colds & Flu

Because supportive relationships can reduce stress, your immune system may be better able to fight off invaders that can make you sick. A landmark paper conducted by Carnegie Mellon University researchers showed that those who had positive emotions were better able to fight off the cold and influenza viruses.

4. Better Blood Pressure

Surprisingly enough, love can also lower your blood pressure. One study, for example, compared the blood pressures of single, happily married, and unhappily married people. While those who were happily married had the best blood pressure averages, those who were unhappily married had the worst blood pressure of all the test subjects. Being single and having a healthy social network also led to good results.

5. Healthier Eating Habits

Another factor that can play into the connection between love and health is the “contagion” effect. Scientists have discovered we are strongly influenced by those we are closest to. This effect is so strong that we’ll adopt those behaviors, whether it’s going to the gym or walking around the block. And if someone close to you starts a good habit such as eating more fruits and veggies, you’re more likely to as well. Healthy is contagious.

As humans, we have an inherent need to feel connected, respected, and valued by other people. Love is essential to health and happiness.

Heavy Metals Exposure and Heart Disease

Heavy Metal Exposure and Heart Disease

Heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, and lead are well-known to be extremely toxic to your body. Countless studies have found they can damage brain cells, cause organ toxicity, accelerate physical aging, and even increase the risk of cancer by damaging your DNA (1).

But now, new research is surfacing that indicates heavy metal exposure could significantly increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Heavy Metals & Heart Disease

Epidemiologists, or scientists who study disease within populations of people, have become increasingly concerned over the link between heavy metals and heart disease.

One meta-analysis conducted by a group of epidemiologists evaluated over 37 different studies on the topic. They concluded that exposure to arsenic, lead, cadmium, and copper is associated with an increased risk of CVD and coronary heart disease (2).

“It’s clear from our analysis that there’s a possible link between exposure to heavy metals or metalloids and risk of conditions such as heart disease, even at low doses—and the greater the exposure, the greater the risk,” explains Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, the lead scientist of the meta-analysis (3).

So not only can heavy metals promote the development of CVD, but there’s also what scientists call a dose-response relationship. In other words, the higher the exposure, the greater the risk. Even worse, researchers have found that the negative effects of heavy metals can occur with exposure levels well below what’s considered “safe” by many public health organizations (45).

This means you don’t need to be exposed to high levels of heavy metals to be at risk for CVD. Chronic, low-level exposure can also adversely affect your cardiovascular system. Which means the majority of the world’s population could be subjected to the damaging effects of heavy metals.

How Heavy Metals Can Damage the Heart

How Heavy Metals Can Cause Cardiovascular Harm

There are a variety of risk factors for heart disease, from family history to lifestyle. Here are three ways that heavy metals can damage the heart and contribute to cardiovascular disease.

1. Heavy Metals Contribute to Oxidative Stress

Cardiovascular disease often begins with atherosclerosis—the narrowing of arteries from the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol). In other words, one the primary causes of CVD is oxidative stress (6). 

One of the main ways in which heavy metals damage your body is through oxidative stress (7). By increasing oxidative stress, heavy metals can promote atherosclerosis, which leads to CVD (8).

Studies have also found that heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, and lead compromise your body’s ability to defend itself from oxidative stress. Heavy metals bind to and cripple glutathione—an antioxidant that serves as a powerful defense against oxidative stress (910). This leaves you much more vulnerable to the harmful cardiovascular effects of heavy metals.

2. Heavy Metals Trigger Inflammation

Arsenic, cadmium, and lead exposure can also cause chronic inflammation which plays a pivotal role in oxidative stress and CVD (1112).

In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, inflammation is a primary risk factor of CVD because it promotes atherosclerosis (13).

Many experts now believe that systemic inflammation is one of the biggest underlying causes of heart disease (more so than elevated cholesterol), and is a major risk factor for many diseases (14).

3. Heavy Metals Can Cause High Blood Pressure

Since the oxidative stress caused by heavy metals leads to fatty plaque deposits in the arteries, it can also significantly raise your blood pressure (15). High blood pressure, as you may know, can markedly increase your risk of developing heart disease or a heart attack (16).

Exposure to lead is a well-known culprit of raising blood pressure. Effects are seen with blood lead levels as low as 0.10 umol/L. And because lead is stored in bone, it is gradually released back in the body. This means that even childhood exposure to lead can have lasting effects (17).

Additionally, other studies have found that arsenic, antimony and tungsten exposure are associated with high blood pressure and CVD (181920). 

Read MoreHow Blueberries Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Common Sources of Heavy Metal Exposure

Since there are so many different ways in which heavy metals can promote heart disease, it makes them a huge concern; especially since it only takes small doses to experience the negative effects. Here are some of the most common ways you can be exposed to heart-damaging heavy metals:

  • Antimony: furniture, ceramics, gun powder, food, drinking water, and certain prescription drugs.
  • Arsenic: soil, crops, fertilizer, tobacco, drinking water, rice, cereals, and dairy products.
  • Cadmium: batteries, metal jewelry, chocolate, grains, second-hand cigarette smoke, fertilizer, and plastics.
  • Lead: old house paint, gun powder, batteries, drinking water, lipstick, lead-glazed ceramics, dust, imported canned foods.
  • Mercury: seafood, corn syrup, rice, beauty products, old dental fillings, and broken fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Tungstenair pollution, drinking water, food, and industrial pollution.

Minimizing the Risks of Heavy Metals

With all the sources of exposure out there, it’s impossible to completely eliminate heavy metals from your life. So how do you protect yourself? Try these strategies to potentially minimize the damaging effects of heavy metals.

Detox Accumulated Heavy Metals

When you’re exposed to heavy metals, they don’t just leave the body once the damage is done. Instead, they accumulate in your tissues where they can continuously wreak havoc on your health.

This is why detoxing heavy metals from the body is a popular strategy. Nano-sized natural liquid zeolite  can travel to where heavy metals tend to accumulate. From there, they bind to heavy metals like a magnet and escort them out of the body.

Fight Oxidative Stress with Antioxidants

Since most of the damage caused by heavy metals is the result of oxidative stress, getting plenty of food-based antioxidants in your diet is an excellent idea. Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative stress.

When you eat antioxidant-rich foods like berries, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables, you give your body a fighting chance against oxidative stress. This means antioxidants could minimize the adverse effects of heavy metals.

If you have a tough time getting enough antioxidant-rich foods in your diet on a regular basis, an organic green juice powder would be your best bet. You can also increase your intake of antioxidant-rich herbs.

The Bottom Line

Most people are well aware that low levels of physical exercise, high blood pressure, and genetics can impact your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) later on in life. But did you know that a growing body of evidence suggests that heavy metals can also increase your risk of CVD?

That’s because heavy metal exposure may contribute to high blood pressure, rampant oxidative stress and systemic inflammation in the body. This, in turn, causes a wide range of cardiovascular health complications like plaque buildups, high blood pressure, and even arterial dysfunction.

Popular strategies to protect yourself from the negative effects of heavy metals include detoxifying with zeolite, getting plenty of antioxidants to combat oxidative stress.

5 Ways CBD Oil Can Help You Lose Weight

Reaching your ideal weight can be a huge challenge. At times, it might even seem impossible. People often hold this perspective on weight loss because they can’t seem to succeed despite their best efforts. Rest assured, if you’re one of these people, the problem isn’t you. The problem lies in your strategy.

Just like with evidence-based strategies to get a lean tummy, more often than not, weight loss is about the little evidence-based habits that add up to profound change.

If you’re already working on healthy habits, CBD Oil may tip the scales in your favor thanks to five key benefits that support weight loss.

1. CBD Oil May Help You Burn More Calories

Research suggests that the cannabidiol (CBD) in hemp can affect your metabolism, which could make it much easier to shed unwanted pounds.

One Korean study published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry discovered that CBD can affect specific proteins and genes in such a way that promotes lipolysis and reduces lipogenesis. In other words, CBD both promoted the breakdown of fat cells and discouraged the generation of new fat cells (1).

But that’s not all. The Korean researchers also discovered that CBD can modulate the body’s metabolism by promoting fat browning. A process where white fat is converted into brown fat. Why does that matter?

White fat is the type of fat that stores lots of energy. It forms when you consume too many calories and don’t exercise enough. You know, it’s the stuff you wish would go away when looking in the mirror. Brown fat, however, has a high number of mitochondria. This type of fat actually burns calories and can help you maintain a lean, healthy weight (2).

2. CBD Oil May Ease Temporary Inflammation

Inflammation and carrying excess weight often go hand-in-hand. This association is well-established in the scientific community. In fact, a simple search in the US National Library of Medicine results in over 10,000 articles on the topic (S). Without getting into the nitty-gritty science of this relationship, here’s a quick overview of some popular studies:

  • Elevated inflammatory markers are often associated with future weight gain (3).
  • Inflammation begins in fat cells themselves. As fat mass expands, inflammation proportionally increases (4).
  • Inflammation causes insulin resistance (5), which in turn can promote obesity (6).

With this in mind, it makes sense that managing inflammation could help you maintain a healthy weight. This is where CBD oil comes into play. Researchers have found that the CBD in hemp may ease temporary inflammation by targeting α3 glycine receptors in the body (7).

The strong relationship between inflammation and weight gain is also why scientists have proposed that diets high in anti-inflammatory foods could help treat obesity (8).

3. CBD Oil May Improve Sleep Quality

When you’re looking to lose weight, sleep is probably the last thing you would think of, but it shouldn’t be. That’s because studies have found that decreased sleep duration and quality are associated with weight gain (910). In some cases, it also increases the risk of obesity.

Experts believe this happens for several reasons. One of them being that reduced sleep duration and quality results in more fatigue. Less energy throughout the day means you will be less likely to exercise. Other studies have found that sleep deprivation can cause fluctuations in the hormones leptin and ghrelin which can increase your appetite (11).

Since poor sleep quality and deprivation can increase your weight, it makes sense to do the opposite: improve the quality of your sleep. CBD Oil may be the answer. Research has found that the CBD in hemp can have a positive impact on your sleep.

One systematic review, for example, found that CBD was effective at treating the symptoms of insomnia (12). That means CBD shows promise for reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, preventing disrupted sleep or nighttime waking, and improving daytime tiredness.

4. CBD Oil May Melt Away Stress

Stress is another important component of maintaining a healthy weight that people often overlook. Every time you get stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. In small doses, this is fine. But if you’re constantly stressed out, this chronic release of cortisol can cause you to gain a considerable amount of weight. One study even found that elevated cortisol levels from chronic stress can increase the accumulation of fat around your midsection (13).

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) also plays an important role in stress adaptation—or how you cope with stress (14). Cannabinoids such as CBD bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system to balance the body. And research shows that CBD can significantly decrease the levels of cortisol in the body to help reduce the effects of stress (15).

5. CBD Oil May Reduce Oxidative Stress

The cannabinoids, including CBD, in hemp are also known to be powerful antioxidants (16). This means they can protect your body from oxidative stress. Why does this matter? Adipose tissue, or fat cells, can ramp up the body’s production of reactive oxygen species, or ROS (17). In turn, these ROS can cause oxidative stress and promote inflammation (18), which can result in weight gain.

In theory, this means the more weight you carry, the harder it is to lose. All thanks to oxidative stress. To drive this point further, studies have even shown that diets high in antioxidants have positive effects on weight loss (1920). Which is why antioxidant-rich hemp oil may help with weight loss.

The Bottom Line

CBD Oil is becoming an increasingly popular dietary supplement due to the growing body of scientific research that supports its benefits. This article specifically focused on the evidence supporting CBD oil’s ability to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Research suggests CBD oil does this by boosting your metabolism, promoting fat browning, easing temporary inflammation, improving sleep quality, reducing stress, and acting as an antioxidant in the body. All of this suggests that CBD Oil may have multiple benefits for your waistline.

Calming CBD Minty Hot Chocolate

When it’s cold outside, hot chocolate is a comforting way to warm your spirits and your insides. And with calming CBD Oil in every delicious sip, our minty chocolate elixir is sure to give you back your glow.
Packed with organic goodness, our vegan hot chocolate recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth, and help you slay stress. Drink in the morning for a better way to start your day, or in the evening hours to warm up chilly nights.

Calming CBD Minty Hot Chocolate

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) organic unsweetened plant-based milk (pea or oat is creamiest)
  • 1 organic pure mint tea bag (we like Numi Moroccan Mint)
  • ½ tsp. organic cocoa powder (add more for extra chocolate flavor)
  • 1 tsp. organic maple syrup
  • Dash of organic plant-based creamer (we prefer coconut)
  • 1 dropperful (1 mL) of Calm Premium CBD Oil (25mg CBD)

Instructions

Pour the cup of milk in a small saucepan, then add the mint tea bag (wrap the string around handle) and heat on stove. Remove from heat before it boils, swirl milk around pan and let the tea bag steep for 5 minutes to infuse the milk with natural mint flavor.

Remove tea bag and into the milk whisk ½ teaspoon (or more to your taste) of cocoa powder, along with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup. Pour minty hot chocolate into a mug and stir in 1 dropperful of Calm Premium CBD Oil for 25mg of minty calming CBD. Sit back and enjoy!

Rich in flavor and soothing superfoods, our minty hot chocolate helps to ease the stresses of everyday life. Mint is recognized for its ability to soothe digestive distress, while cannabidiol (CBD) Oil is renowned for how it calms stress. Together, they create a cozy and healthy comfort food.

7 Effective Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

Tips for holiday stress management

There are plenty of things to love about the holiday season. But the holiday season isn’t all cupcakes and unicorns for everyone, especially since many people may be spending the holidays apart. Whether you have a socially-distanced gathering, or organize a large Zoom feast, it can all add to holiday stress.

Things don’t have to be that way though. With some simple tips, you can minimize dreaded holiday stress and savor the holidays, no matter what they look like this year.

1. Have Realistic Expectations

The holidays aren’t about perfection, and things probably won’t be the same compared to years past, so abandon any sky-high expectations you might have. They’re not worth the disappointment.

Instead, try to distill any plans down to what matters most, and focus on one or two special activities. Then, strive to live in the present moment. Enjoy the things that are right in front of you as they unfold.

2. Keep Up Your Self-Care Routine

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” –Old Zen Proverb

Self-care is essential, especially when you’re too busy for it. When your schedule is overflowing it’s easy to cut corners on self-care, but making time for the things that refresh and rejuvenate your spirit are essential.

A good self-care routine is an antidote for stress. But if it seems impossible to cut back on a packed day, consider adding CBD Oil to your routine, to help ease the effects of stress.

3. Exercise (Even Just a Little)

Speaking of self-care, regular exercise is an essential part of stress reduction, especially during the holiday season, helping to maintain a healthy mood.

In fact, according to Michael Otto, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Boston University, “usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.” This means you’ll feel better and be more resilient to stress, even if you only have time to go for a short walk (1).

Furthermore, exercise can also help improve the quality of your sleep, enhance your energy levels, and encourage mental alertness. All of which are great ways to gain the edge you need during your busy holiday season.

4. Get Some Sun (or Sunshine Vitamin)

Sunlight triggers a release of serotonin in the body—the hormone that’s associated with an elevated mood, tranquility, and focus (2). This means you will be less likely to get overwhelmed with stress.

Plus, sunlight is one of the best ways to get vitamin D, an essential nutrient for fighting off stress effects (3). However, the sun can be in short supply over the holidays and northern latitudes make it next to impossible to make vitamin D. So, opt for a plant-based vitamin D supplement to get your sunshine vitamin.

5. Take Care of Your Immune System

Stress can decimate your immune system, at a time when you need it most. So, protect yourself by bolstering your immune system. Stronger natural immunity makes it less likely you’ll get sick. Some of the best ways to take care of your immune system include:

6. Remember to Breathe (Deeply)

One of the best tactics to quickly melt away stress is to stop whatever you’re doing and take several deep breaths. Focus all of your attention on these breaths. Nothing else. Continue until you feel that stress has lost some of its grip over you.

Remarkably, scientists have found that this simple strategy is exceptionally effective. One study, for example, found that deep breathing can drastically improve your mood and reduce stress (4). Deep breathing was also found to lower cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.

7. Unplug & Recharge

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your phone can cause a surprising amount of stress with its constant notifications. Research shows the average Apple phone user checks their phone up to 80 times per day!

According to David Greenfield, Ph.D., founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, “smartphones put us in an ever-increasing state of hyper-vigilance, where we’re always feeling compelled to check our calls, texts, social media alerts, email, and more. This keeps the adrenals constantly activated and cortisol levels elevated.”

Try setting aside blocks of time each day to turn off your phone, especially at meals and before bed. You may be surprised at how much it has an effect on your peace of mind once you get past the constant urge to check your phone.

Plus, taking breaks from technology can also boost your sleep quality, improve your mental wellbeing, and help increase your motivation.

The holidays should be a time for loved ones, and immersing yourself in positive energy and relaxation. But this busy time can create a lot of holiday stress. Use these strategies to reduce the effects of stress, so you can have a happy and healthy holiday.