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Top Ten Reasons You Should Be Doing Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises, also called “pelvic floor exercises”, deserve special attention for the tremendous benefits they offer to the urinary and reproductive systems in both men and women.

They were first introduced in 1948 by Dr. Arnold Kegel, a gynecologist in Iowa who made advances in understanding the importance of the strength of a woman’s pelvic floor – the muscles and connective tissue of the pelvis.

Say the word “Kegel” and in-the-know middle schoolers everywhere will giggle, but this exercise habit is no laughing matter. There are amazing health benefits of doing Kegels, working wonders for men and women alike. Here are a few of the most convincing reasons to give Kegels a try:

1. You are probably one of those who could benefit from Kegels. A weakened pelvic floor is not an uncommon problem, and Kegels are designed specifically to strengthen that muscle group. Anything can lead to a weak pelvis, from abdominal surgery to a hip injury to chronic strain or fatigue. And I’ll say it again – men are not exempt from benefiting from Kegel exercises.

2. The stronger your pelvic floor is, the more supported your internal organs are. And the more supported your organs are, the better they function. Health in the pelvic organs is extremely important for a healthy body, as most of these organs are key parts of the body’s way of ridding itself of waste and toxins.

3. A stronger pelvis means less chance of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is something that can affect all people, and it probably affects more of us than most people realize. The older a person gets, the more susceptible he or she is to urinary incontinence. Do your Kegels now and save yourself a few trips down the adult diaper aisle later.

4. A stronger pelvis also means less chance of anal incontinence. Though this benefit pretty much speaks for itself, I will flourish it with a “ditto for #3.”

5. Disorders of the reproductive organs in both men and women can be prevented by Kegel exercises. Prolapse of the uterus in women and pain or swelling of the prostate in men are painful, potentially dangerous conditions that can be treated or avoided with the regular use of pelvic floor exercises.

6. Kegel exercises help strengthen the body during pregnancy, in preparation for childbirth.While this isn’t necessarily a universal benefit of Kegel exercises, childbearing women experience the benefits directly, and men have the indirect benefit of partners who are able to come through the final states of pregnancy and then childbirth with greater ease and less physical trauma. Everybody wins!

7. People with a stronger pelvic floor may have better sex. Men and women both are able to benefit from stronger muscles and better control “down there.” Men benefit from stronger erections and more control, and women may be more sensitive and have overall more enjoyable experiences.

8. A stronger pelvis means healthier hips. The muscle groups in and around the hips are critical for keeping that major bone structure straight. Hips that are out of alignment can lead to all sorts of structural and internal problems, from back pain and nerve damage to digestive issues. Because the hips are joined to the base of the spine, very few hip problems remain localized, and nearly any system in the body can be affected.

9. Having a stronger pelvic floor can prevent scary disorders. While the threat of pelvic organ prolapse, anismus, rectocele, and functional constipation probably haven’t kept you up at night, these are serious problems that these simple exercises can help to prevent.

10. Deliberately engaging a smaller, specific part of your body will keep you more in touch with your own health. When you are conscious and conscientious about one area of your health or your body, the benefits can become systemic. In other words, special attention in one area may spill over into special attention in other areas. And the more conscious and aware you are of your body, the better off you’ll be in the long run!

These are ten of the main benefits of doing Kegel exercises, though this list is by no means exhaustive. With the perks affecting both men and women, it’s a wonder that the practice of Kegels isn’t more widespread. Were you familiar with Kegels beforehand? Have you ever done the exercises regularly, and if so, did you notice any benefits?

To learn more about the benefits of Kegel exercises, check out these other great resources: Wikipedia and Livestrong.

Ten Hemp Seeds Side Effects and Benefits

Hemp seeds are an increasingly popular protein-packed dietary supplement lauded by natural health professionals and enthusiasts alike. As with any new health trend, caution is essential. You need to know the benefits and side effects of hemp seeds before you add them to your diet.


  1. Hemp Seeds Contain Healthy Fatty Acids

Hemp seeds contain a 3:1 balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids help promote cardiovascular health as well as possibly fight cancer. Both the British Journal of Cancer and the journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment released studies that suggest the THC in hemp seeds help the body fight off brain and breast cancer. These fatty acids also strengthen the immune system and balance inflammation levels in your body.

  1. Hemp Seeds Produce Harmful Peroxides Under Intense Heat

Science suggests that hemp seeds possess many positive health benefits. That all changes over 121 degrees. At intense heats, the polyunsaturated fats in hemp seeds break down and turn into harmful peroxides. This is why hemp oil is not used for cooking over high heats. Take care to keep your hemp seeds out of direct sunlight and avoid leaving them in hot cars. Don’t put them in hot food or baked goods, and keep them out of the microwave.

  1. Hemp Seeds Are Packed With Protein

Hemp seeds contain a healthy serving of protein. The seeds are chock full of all 20 amino acids and all of the 9 essential amino acids our bodies depend on for smooth function. These proteins are essential for a healthy heart and diet and make a great addition to smoothies. Protein rich diets also promote healthy skin, hair, nails and body tissues.

  1. Hemp Oil Does Not Produce Mind Altering Effects

One side effect believed to be associated with hemp seed is a myth. Hemp seeds do not produce the mind-altering effects of marijuana and contain almost zero psychoactive elements. Taking hemp seeds even in large quantities will not get you high, although there is always a risk of some seeds coming into contact with other parts of the hemp plant during harvest. Those individuals hypersensitive to the effects of THC could possibly experience mild symptoms although it is unlikely.

  1. Hemp Seeds Are Rich In Fiber

Hemp seeds are high in soluble and insoluble fiber. This improves overall digestive health. Fiber helps you stay regular by providing dietary bulk. The roughage feeds the probiotic organisms in your gut, which further aids the digestive process. As an added benefit, a healthy digestive system boosts your immune system for better overall health – just from a few seeds! Fiber also helps you feel full, making it easier to lose weight.


  1. Hemp Seeds Can Cause Digestive Upset

The downside of all of these digestive benefits is that it takes the body a little while to adjust. Some users report upset stomachs and diarrhea. Too much fiber causes loose stools. Since everyone’s fiber needs are unique, the dose that works for your friend might be too much for you. Experiment with quantities until your digestive system adjusts.

  1. Hemp Seeds Are A Good Source Of GLA

GLA is a hormone-like substance found in hemp seeds that plays an important role in how your body functions. GLA helps your body regulate temperature, control inflammation, and contract smooth muscle, among other benefits. GLA fights arthritis and joint pain and helps with menstrual and premenstrual symptoms.

  1. Hemp Seeds Can Prevent Blood Clotting

Hemp seeds offer cardiovascular health benefits and reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Those benefits carry significant risk for individuals suffering from blood clotting deficiencies. Hemp seeds and oil products inhibit the anticoagulant properties of platelets. While this is helpful for healthy individuals or those with high blood pressure and cholesterol, it causes dangerous complications for patients with clotting disorders. Consult your doctor if you have a clotting disorder and are considering taking hemp seeds.

  1. Hemp Seeds Are A Good Source Of Vitamins And Minerals

Hemp seeds are a great source of vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy diet. Hemp seeds contain the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. Vitamins found in hemp seeds include vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitaminB3, vitamin B6, vitamin D and vitamin E.

  1. Hemp Seeds Could Cause Medication Interactions

Every dietary supplement carries the risk of a medication interaction. While so far no major interactions have been reported by health care professionals, it is always a good idea to run a new supplement by your preferred care provider just to be safe. Your provider can also help you determine a safe dosage and offer their professional insight about the efficacy of hemp seeds. Hemp seeds could be a natural way to improve your diet and your overall health. Now that you know the ten side effects and benefits of hemp seeds, make an informed choice about including hemp seeds in your daily diet.

Ten Coconut Oil Pulling Side Effects and Benefits

Oil pulling is an ancient medicinal technique that dates back over 3,000 years. In this technique, the user swishes a tablespoon of a natural oil like coconut oil in the mouth for approximately 20 minutes, then spits it out. This practice is reputed to help reduce oral health problems and even fight certain diseases.

Before you begin oral pulling, however, it is important to know the risks as well as the benefits. Here are ten coconut oil pulling side effects and benefits to help you decide if oil pulling is for you.  There are reasons why oil pulling is still widely in use today. Here are six to help you make your decision.


  1. Coconut Oil Is Anti-bacterial And Anti-microbial

Coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-microbial properties for a two-in-one oral rinse solution. Unlike other oils, coconut oil contains lauric acid, a naturally anti-microbial acid that helps eliminate harmful bacteria and microbes in your mouth and body. Lauric acid and the antibacterial properties of coconut oil help control enveloped viruses, fungi, yeast, and bacteria, keeping your mouth and body healthy. Coconut oil even helps fight Clostridium difficile, the most common cause of antibiotic-resistant diarrhea acquired in hospitals worldwide.

  1. Coconut Oil Helps Reduce Plaque

Nothing replaces brushing for plaque elimination, but swishing coconut oil could reduce harmful plaque buildup. The swishing action loosens food particles and plaque, and the coconut oil helps break down the plaque further.

  1. Coconut Oil Protects Against Gingivitis

Studies show that the anti-bacterial properties in coconut oil that help reduce plaque also help protect against the gum disease gingivitis. This disease is usually the result of poor oral hygiene, which means that using a rinse like coconut oil to help keep your mouth healthy also reduces your risk of gingivitis.

  1. Coconut Oil Improves Bad Breath

Halitosis, or bad breath, is often the result of poor oral hygiene combined with several microorganisms that cause the condition. Traditional Indian medicine techniques treated this condition with oil pulling. More recently,scientists performed studies that suggest that oil pulling is just as effective as the conventional method of therapy, a chlorhexidine mouthwash, in treating halitosis.

  1. Coconut Oil Relieves Dryness Of Throat And Mouth

Coconut oil is a natural way to treat dryness of the mouth and throat, including the condition dry mouth. Many medications list dry mouth as a side effect. The moisturizing properties of natural oils like coconut oil reduce the symptoms while also moistening lips and throat.

  1. Coconut Oil Strengthens Teeth

The plaque reducing, gingivitis fighting and antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties of coconut oil lead to healthier, stronger teeth. Combined with the moisturizing properties that help fight dry mouth and its associated tooth decay, coconut oil might just be what is missing from your oral hygiene routine. There are no serious side effects associated with coconut oil pulling. That said, here are a few things to keep in mind.


  1. Coconut Oil Does Not Replace Oral Hygiene Habits

Perhaps the most concerning side effect that oil pullers develop is the belief that oil pulling replaces traditional hygiene practices. Scientific studies indicate that coconut oil is as effective or more effective than oral mouthwashes. That does not mean users can stop brushing and flossing their teeth. Manual brushing and flossing are still the best ways to reduce plaque, gingivitis, and the microorganisms that cause bad breath.

  1. Coconut Pulling Oils Are Not Always Tested For Purity

Using a food grade, organic oil or a coconut oil specifically geared towards oil pulling is probably safe. However, oil pulling is not a practice endorsed by traditional medicine and so is not regulated in the same way as other oral health products. Coconut oils used for pulling can contain harmful additives as the oils are not evaluated by an independent agency specifically for pulling. This is not something that should overly concern pullers. Purchasing food grade, organic oils is safer than using coconut oil without these labels. Just be sure to do a little research about the manufacturer.

  1. Coconut Oil Can Cause Stomach Upset And Diarrhea

Some oil pullers report feelings of nausea and diarrhea after using coconut oil. While this side effect is not well documented, it is also not surprising. Individuals with sensitive stomachs or digestive problems should consult their physician before attempting oil pulling. So far this side effect had not led to any reported complications. To reduce the risk, start by swishing oil in your mouth for five minutes at a time instead of the full 20.

  1. Pulling Can Cause Liquid Pneumonia

Swishing any liquid in your mouth for long periods of time carries the risk of liquid pneumonia, known in the medical community as aspiration pneumonia. This condition results from the inhalation of a foreign matter like food or liquid into your lungs. This causes a bacterial infection which is often harder to treat than the more common strains of pneumonia. To prevent this side effect, take care when oil pulling not to inhale any liquid. If you do, consult your physician immediately. Now that you know the side effects and benefits of coconut oil pulling, decide for yourself if coconut oil pulling is right for you.

How To Get Rid Of Blackheads Fast (On Nose, Chin & Ears)

The blackhead. So tiny yet so very detrimental to the appearance of good skin. Blackheads appear because of a variety of factors, including age, skin hygiene, and stress. Blackheads are commonly caused by a buildup of skin cells Makeup and other debris in the pores of the face, primarily in the t-zone. These can show up most commonly on your nose, chin, ears, back and other parts of the body.

This debris is trapped under the oils produced by the face, and they oxidize turning black. This gives the blackhead Signature appearance. They are easy to get, but tricky to get rid of. Fortunately, recent studies have given us effective methods to get rid of blackheads quickly and painlessly. Here are five simple steps to get rid of blackheads on your nose, chin, ears quickly and effectively:

Keep Your Face Clean! A face clean of dead skin cells and debris is less likely to develop blackheads. This doesn’t mean that you should scrub your face vigorously multiple times a day. Dermatologists recommend that you wash your face with mild soap twice a day at the most.  It is important not to over wash your face as this can stimulate the production of sebum, or the facial oil that can cause blackheads to appear. Make sure that you also thoroughly clean your face after wearing makeup, so as not to wear any to bed. This can cause makeup particles to seep into your pores, clogging them further.

Most Cleansers on the market today are very harsh. However you can find more natural alternative at farmer’s markets, organic boutiques and made by large natural skin product companies like LUSH.

Gently Exfoliate Exfoliation should be an important part of any beauty regime. It promotes new cell growth, clears away dirt and debris, and helps stimulate collagen build up to prevent the appearance of premature age lines.  With regards to blackheads, It helps keep clogged pores open wide so that oxygen can get into the deeper parts of the pore, eliminating the safe environment for bacteria to thrive.

Many over-the-counter scrubs are considered too harsh by dermatological standards to be effective for weekly use. You can create your own mild scrubbing agents by using at-home ingredients. For instance, you can choose any coarse powdered substance in your kitchen pantry to create the base for a good scrub. Sugar, Cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, even baking powder are all considered great scrubbing agents that have benefits for your skin. Add a lubricating ingredient to the coarse scrubbing ingredient like olive oil, milk, buttermilk, or coconut oil and you have a complete facial scrub. Be sure to apply your scrub to a clean face in circular motions, being careful not to damage your skin.

Keep Your Pillow Case Fresh The last thing you want after making sure that your face is clean and exfoliated is to put it on a dirty pillow at night. By changing out your pillowcase weekly, you can keep blackheads at bay because you will be eliminating leftover dead skin cells and facial oils that accumulate on your pillowcase.

Steam Cleaning There is a reason that facials are so effective. Aside from employing creams with scrubs and active enzymes, facial procedures use a method of steam cleaning. Applying steam to the face gently and gradually allows the pores to open, making them easier to unclog. It also allows the skin to take in hydration, which can reduce the skin’s natural response to produce oil when dehydrated.  Can’t afford a fancy facial? User your shower to turn your bathroom into a steamy paradise. Make sure to stay in the stream for at least ten minutes for maximum results.

Stop Squeezing! The natural response to an abundance of blackheads for many people is to immediately take their fingers and begins squishing their skin, squeezing and forcing the debris and bacteria out of the pores until the blackheads disappear. In reality, this is probably the most counter-intuitive thing you can do because it can damage your facial tissue. Squeezing blackheads can deposit germs from your fingers into the pores of your face, creating an even more contaminated environment in your skin. When this happens, more than blackheads can emerge. Plus you may also experience sores, whiteheads, or even painful sebaceous cysts underneath the skin. These can all result from manually squeezing blackheads. No matter what kind of acne you are experiencing, squeezing is never the answer.

You now have some great resources at your disposal to get rid of blackhead troubles without ever resorting to squeezing. If your skin must be manually manipulated to eliminate blackheads or other acne, make sure you have a dermatologist do it. This is the only way to ensure that you do not get a skin infection.

Best Natural Sunscreen For Faces with Sensitive Skin

We all know how important it is to protect ourselves from the sun.  Things like harmful UVA and UVB rays can cause sunburns, sun spots, and even lead to more serious issues like skin cancer.  Sunscreen is a must when it comes to spending time outside in the sun, but unfortunately, for those of us with sensitive skin, this is an issue.

Many sunscreen formulas can be harsh or irritating to people who have extremely sensitive skin, especially on their face.  Unnatural ingredients, toxins, and other things can be in the formula of sunscreen and these can cause rashes, dry skin, and clogged pores.  You can break out or even have an allergic reaction if you don’t choose your sunscreen carefully. Read more →