Buriti Fruit Oil, the Natural Moisturizing Amazon Essential Oil

It seems that you can’t enjoy the benefits of exotic fruit oils on your skin care unless you spend hundreds of dollars. Here at Annmarie Skin Care, however, you’ll find super fruits like buriti in your formulas for less than half the price!

This fruit oil is one of those exotic wonders from the Amazon Rainforest, a product of the buriti palm tree which is known by the natives as the “tree of life.” In a way, that’s what buriti fruit oil does for your skin­—bring it back to life!

Buriti Fruit

A Little Bit About the Ingredient Itself

Scientifically called Mauritia flexuosa, and also known as the moriche palm or ité palm, the buriti palm tree (pronounced bu-REE-chee) likes the swampy, wet tropical areas of South America, particularly in the Central Brazil and southern Amazon basin. It looks like most palm trees, with large leaves emanating from a rounded crown that’s typically around 35 meters (115 feet) high. Flowers are pale yellow blooms that typically come out from December to April.

The fruit of the buriti is shiny, round, and chestnut-colored, with a bright yellow, fleshy pulp inside. The flesh surrounds a hard edible nut, which is the seed of the plant. Traditionally the fruit was used as a food source, and is still used today to make beverages, preserves, and ice cream products.

Buriti Fruit Oil’s Benefits to the Skin

Like many rainforest oils, the oil extracted from the buriti fruit is used by natives. In particular, it’s used because of its calming, soothing, and reviving properties. It makes sense, as when you look at the nutrients in buriti oil, you can see how it benefits the skin:

  • Essential fatty acids: essential fatty acids—of which this oil is a rich source—help firm and tighten. This will help make your skin look more supple, but also provide moisture.
  • Vitamin E: This potent antioxidant protects the skin from environmental stressors.
  • Beta-carotene: Another powerful antioxidant, beta-carotene is known to protect. In fact, the oil is said to provide the richest known source of beta-carotene—even more than carrot seed oil.
  • Vitamin C: Buriti oil is a good source of vitamin C, which works with vitamin E to provide antioxidant protection, and is also helpful in the .

In addition to these benefits, this oil helps hold in deep hydration, and can help reduce the dryness of winter and mature skin, producing a more supple, softer look and feel.

Try It!

We’ve added buriti seed oil to the following products, where it provides superior protection while hydrating and moisturizing skin.

How do you enjoy buriti? Have you tried this fruit in your diet? Please share your tips.

* * *

Picture courtesy Eurico Zimbres via Wikimedia Commons.

Darin Ingels, ND, MT (ASCP), “Beta-Carotene and Other Carotenoids Protect Skin from Ultraviolet Damage,” Bastyr Center for Natural Health, http://www.bastyrcenter.org/content/view/410/.

The following post Buriti Fruit Oil, the Natural Moisturizing Amazon Essential Oil was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Sophie Uliano’s Healthy, Plant-Based Protein Bar Recipe

Guest post from Sophie Uliano

Breakfast … Ugh.

Potentially the most important, and most menacing meal of the day. If you’re anything like me, you’re mornings are CHAOTIC—feed the dogs, wake up my daughter, get dressed (a shower is a luxury), wake up my daughter AGAIN, walk the dogs, forcibly eject daughter from bed and into school clothes, find keys + purse, attempt to feed teenager and fail miserably… You get the picture. And it’s not always pretty.

So I am constantly on the hunt for quick (read: premade), nutritious breakfast options that will not only fill my daughter’s stomach, but keep her going for the morning. And truthfully, I got tired of feeding her endless, foil-wrapped bars from the grocery store. I wanted to make something myself, to control the ingredients but also because cooking is one of the ways I show my affection.

Enter the Healthy, Plant-Based Protein Bar Recipe.

I love this delicious, DIY Healthy Protein Bar. It’s perfect for breakfast, or as an any-time snack that you can eat on the go. The ingredients in this bar is designed to give you optimum, balanced nutrition – Protein, fiber, carbohydrates all in harmony to bring you a delicious breakfast option! It’s a great option for kids and teens too!


2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup protein powder
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup of raw virgin coconut oil
5 tbsp brown rice syrup
3 tbsp chia seeds


Preheat oven for 350 degrees F

Put oats, raw almonds, sunflower seeds, protein powder, chia seeds and coconut in a bowl.

Add coconut oil and rice syrup, and coat well

Place mixture in a greased baking pan and press well

Bake for 25 minutes!

Sophie Uliano is a New York Times bestselling author, TV host and wellness advocate! She strives to be a voice of reason in the wellness world, #MoreSmoothies #LessWooWoo. Visit SophieUliano.com to check out Sophie’s DIYs, recipes, reviews and articles!

The following post Sophie Uliano’s Healthy, Plant-Based Protein Bar Recipe was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Why You’re Having Menopause Symptoms (Plus 8 Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes)

Lightning Photo by Layne LawsonEvery woman on our beautiful planet, if she’s lucky enough, goes through something of a second puberty. Her sex hormones fluctuate before dropping off, keeping her at a comfortable, even stasis so that she can fulfill the later-life duties of wise-woman and keeper of peace amongst her tribe.

For some women, it’s a graceful transition from mother to crone on the wheel of life but for others it’s roller coaster of menopause symptoms from emotional distress to hot flashes to insomnia and back around again. It can cause a cycle of stress and pain (and heat) that leaves a woman uncomfortable and unable to step into the new role they’re being asked to play on their journey.

What Causes Menopause Symptoms?

Simply put, hormonal imbalance. Our bodies run on them—and not just sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol and happiness hormones like serotonin and dopamine are totally involved with every step of a woman’s journey, including (and especially) their final change of life.

Our bodies have a finite amount of energy and a lot of the chemical precursors to different types of hormones are the same. For instance, the precursor to progesterone (the sex hormone that balances estrogen throughout a woman’s cycle) is the same as the precursor to cortisol—that’s why women with high levels of stress often have irregular periods.

During menopause and perimenopause, the female body is on a course to lower estrogen over time but it can come with a few months (or sometimes years) where a cycle has high estrogen levels too. There are a lot of reasons for this—transitional periods always have their ups and down—but stress and happiness can play a pretty big factor in the smoothness of this shifting and resettling time because her body is trying to find a hormonal balance.

When a woman feels happy and her body is producing serotonin and dopamine she’s more likely to feel relaxed. In a relaxed state, our digestive system and elimination organs are able to heal and process waste better. Since estrogen is changed and broken down by the liver, taking time for relaxation and building happiness is an important part of any woman’s cycle—but it’s especially important during the early stages of menopause.

When our bodies have stress hormones coursing through them, we’re using our energies towards fight or flight, which means that we don’t have all of the energy we need for our elimination systems to be fully functioning. This means that those hormones, especially excess estrogen, that need to be broken down so they can be removed from our bodies stay in circulation. For a woman going through menopause, that can cause all sorts of symptoms.

One common symptom stands out for us because it seems like it shows up in every conversation around menopause, hot flashes. We reached out to a few of our wise-women friends and compiled their tips on how they dealt with the heat.

8 Tips for Hot Flashes


Shatavari. This ally is specific for the peri and menopausal woman. It’s a cooling herb that is also an adaptogen so not only will it help cool you down with daily use, it is nourishing and helps the body handle stress over time. The best, and easiest, way to take shatavari is in a powder form. Add it to your smoothie, your tea, your oatmeal, anything—just a tablespoon a day keeps the hot flashes at bay.

Ginseng. This is another adaptogenic herb. It’s used to ease tension, which can cause the hot flashes that many women work with during menopause. Ginseng makes a nice, strong tea or a tincture for the woman on the go.

Vitex. This herb is wonderful for helping control progesterone levels. It helps to balance hormonal levels to keep you more even-keeled over time and reduce hot flashes from the root cause. The best way to take vitex is as a tea a couple of times a day. This is a gentle herb that is really powerful. Often times it’s one of those friends that you don’t really notice the effects of until you’ve stopped taking it.

Eat Cooling Foods

If you’re hot, find a way to cool down. Your mouth is the gateway to your body, so cooling foods can be really helpful here. Salads, smoothies, and iced beverages are great—plus these are part of a whole foods diet that your body can process easily, without having to go into overdrive.

Avoid Warming Foods

It may be obvious if we’re suggesting to eat cooling foods that we would suggest to not eat warming ones, but avoiding a food group is a lot different than adding one to your diet. Don’t put ginger on your salad, and keep the cayenne and jalapenos out of your homemade nachos.
Try to cut back on red wine and steer clear of the classic hot-headed alcohol drinks like whiskey and scotch.

Switch to Bubbles

For some women, champagne doesn’t impact their hot flashes the same way that red wine and harder alcohol does. If you’re going out with friends or having a nice night in, try bubbles. Hey, make it a fun fancy party. Pinkies out!


Burn off the heat. Get your blood pumping and your muscles working. Not only will this tire out your body, it will release those happy-making hormones we mentioned earlier so that when your workout is done you can calm down and relax yourself into a night sweats-free sleep.

Another pro-tip: take a cool shower after your workout

Fans are Friends

For a lot of women, hot flashes that happen at night are the worst. And once they start, there’s no telling whether the heat takes you to a sleepless night or a sweaty fever dream. Sleep with a fan on you and control the temperature in the bedroom. Keep it cool and dark so your body knows that’s time for resting and relaxation and that you are not hospitable to night sweats.

If you find that you’re waking up at the same time every night with the hot flashes, check out the Chinese organ wheel and see if it offers you any clues as to where you might want to focus your healing.

Work with Your Wardrobe

You never know when a hot flash will hit you but your friends and coworkers don’t need to know that. Choose outfits that let you wear layers—sleeveless tops with shawls and dusters let you dress for every kind of weather, internal and external. Loose flowing skirts are a best friend here, they let the air circulate around your legs and your midsection so you can stay airy.

Oh and two words: Strappy. Sandals. Keep your feel cool and you’ll stay cool.

The Biggest Tip: Embrace it.

You’re going through an amazing, natural transition. You’re wiser than ever before and you’ve made it through everything that you have come up against, you’ll find a way to beat the heat. Ultimately, it’s your choice to let it rule you or let it inspire you for the next step of your journey.

Do you have a tried and true method for dealing with hot flashes? Share it in the comments below!

The following post Why You’re Having Menopause Symptoms (Plus 8 Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Four Sigmatic is Why We Support the #ONSHROOMS Movement (and You Should Too)

We’ve talked about the healing properties of mushrooms before when we wrote about the benefits of reishi and when we let you into the world of adaptogens, but we haven’t been able to get information to you like this before—with a ready-made, easy to use product that you can take with you on the go.

It’s delicious, full of nutrients, and it increases your overall health with every sip. We add it to our coffee drinks on busy days for an extra power boost and we drink it on its own for a relaxing afternoon. Add a little bit of milk and drop the whole treat in the frother… oh man.

We’re thrilled to let you in on our favorite little office latte secret: Four Sigmatic Chaga Elixir. Actually, Four Sigmatic has a whole line of some of best sourced mushroom products out there (the mushroom coffee is another favorite around here) that we’ve kept stocked in the office for a while, so when our affiliate manager, Jasmine, met them at Paleo FX and they were interested in being featured in our We Heart program, we were beyond excited.

Four Sigmatic

Four Sigmatic is easiest described as a group of mushroom fanatics. The company is built entirely around the healing powers of mushrooms—those deep, immune boosting properties that help build energy reserves and give life to new power you didn’t know was in you.

Four Sigmatic has a pretty solid hashtag, #onshrooms, and not only do they stick by it, they basically define the meaning of what it is to be on mushrooms all day, everyday—the healthy way.

Four Sigmatic was started by a group of Finnish farm and forest humans (also known as the Finnish Funguys) who met in college and continued their journeys into corporate jobs. Through this work, they saw the culture of this fast-paced society sick of snake oil, sick of marketing for healthy superfoods and never living up to the hype, and realizing that people are just sick from over-processed synthetic foods and natural products that a/ weren’t so natural or b/ not actually effective.

The Finnish Funguys wanted to make a difference. To bring real, overlooked superfoods to people in a convenient way. They knew the lifestyle of the googleplex—instant gratification, fast-paced, myopic—and they wanted to create superfood formulas to serve the people in their network.

As an aside, we think that’s pretty cool, the truth is, when it comes to health and organics, it’s easy to share an awesome product with health-minded people because they’re looking for the benefits. It’s much more challenging to create or blend networks the way the Four Sigmatic is doing. They’re breaking into a culture of grab-and-go meals and quick, synthetic supplements with a product purely from nature that makes real, noticeable differences right away. This is definitely something we can get down with.

Anyways, so the Four Sigmatic gang had connected over the functional uses of mushrooms in college and the rest is pretty much history—Four Sigmatic was born.

The first question we asked when it came to writing about Four Sigmatic (and really when we’re writing about anyone else) was, “how do they source their products?” Because ASC is very conscious about how we source our own ingredients, we search for companies that have similar practices with respect to our planet. We were especially curious when it came to Four Sigmatic because many of the mushrooms they use for their coffees and elixirs grow naturally on trees in forests and are sensitive to over-harvesting.

We were really happy to find out that Four Sigmatic has an amazing process that keeps the mushroom populations safe while still really diving into the deep benefits that the mushrooms offer.

The Process

Four Sigmatic cares about the process from the harvest all the way to the customer’s hands.

It Starts with a Mushroom

Four Sigmatic uses the fruiting body of the mushrooms to make their products—many mushroom companies use just the mycelium, or the roots, which doesn’t offer the same benefits as the actual mushroom does.

So step one is the harvest. They work with farms and forests to make sure they can meet demands and take care of the planet. Some mushrooms can’t be grown on farms and do grow slowly so with those fruiting bodies, they never take the entire mushroom, only the outer layers, so that the mushroom can continue to produce.

They do their best to keep their mushrooms, when they can farm them, to as natural of a habitat as possible—letting them grow slowly on wood rather than in a lab with mycelium.

Double Extraction

This is the part that makes me really excited. (Warning: health nerd alert.) The Four Sigmatic team uses a double extraction process, which I talked about in the reishi article linked above, because mushrooms have healing properties that span different types of cellular activity.

Some of those properties are water soluble but some, like immune-boosting polysaccharides, aren’t. So to get the full spectrum mushroom love, they need to be extracted by water and an additional medium (usually that means an alcohol extraction process) to make sure that they health benefits fully bioavailable for us.

But this product is essentially then, a mushroom tincture—which is wonderful but it isn’t convenient. So they realigned with their mission of super convenience superfood and went farther.

Spray Drying

They push the mushroom liquid extract into an evaporation tank, like a big dehydrator and most of the liquid is removed and the extract becomes super concentrated—but it still leaves it kind of sludgy. So they use a really high-tech spray drier, where they essentially blow hot air from a highly pressurized system until the rest of the moisture is gone.

This leaves a dry powder that can be easily hydrated.


The mushrooms are really potent and pretty bitter, so the Four Sigmatic team worked to make their powdered drinks healthy and tasty. They use other adaptogenic ingredients like Eleuthero and add herbs like rose hips and peppermint to boost the vitamin content along with making it taste a bit better.


From the creation stage it goes directly into the package. The rest is all about getting it into your hands and educating the public about the magic of mushrooms. They even have a free online course called the Mushroom Academy dedicated to learning about medicinal mushrooms and what they can do for our bodies. How amazing is that!

The Mushrooms

The four main mushrooms that Four Sigmatic uses in their blends are Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Mane. When we met with the Four Sigmatic team, we wanted to offer the Chaga Elixir as a giveaway for our community because it’s one of our favorites, but we also wanted to share some information about the benefits of their favorite mushrooms.


This is one of the mushrooms that just can’t be grown in a lab and has to be harvested straight from the forest. Four Sigmatic harvests pieces from birch trees and only the sclerotium, the tough part of the mushroom that falls off when it’s done growing, gets used in the process so that the mushroom can continue growing.

Chaga is a super supportive for immune function and our elimination systems. It has high antioxidant content and offers a boost of energy to the consistent user.

Lion’s Mane

In the wild, lion’s mane mushroom grows on trees although it can be grown in a lab with mycelium, the Four Sigmatic farms grows it on wood to keep it as pure and concentrated as it grows in the wild.

Lion’s mane mushroom helps to support cognitive functioning with long-term use by actually helping the body to create stronger connections between neurons in the brain. It helps to slow brain cell deterioration for increased memory and concentration.


This mushroom is an amazing example of the intelligence that exists in the wild. The typical way that it grows is through spores that imbed themselves into the brains of insects, like ants, and then drives the ants to seek high ground so that it can get to the nutrients and sunlight it needs to fruit. That’s a bit morbid for the Four Sigmatic crew, so they found a way to keep it vegan with their farm. So don’t worry, no ants were harmed in the making of their cordyceps products.

This mushroom is a total internal immune driver. It’s the kind of friend that is always there for you in the background. There’s no need for an overt spike in energy or a total overdrive of brain activity. Cordyceps works silently in the background to help you find your own power and offering to help strengthen you in places where you need a bit of support.


Reishi is known as the mushroom of immortality. It can be grown in a lab now, and typically is, but Four Sigmatic does it differently than your typical mushroom crew. They know that a mushroom’s ideal nutrients come from their natural habitat, and that in centuries past reishi was a rarity found among the trees deep in forests that see four seasons, so they grow their reishi on fresh cut linden logs rather than growing them purely from mycelium.

It was worshipped by our ancestors and it isn’t treated any differently at Four Sigmatic. This mushroom is an immune booster that has an affinity to liver, kidney, and adrenal support. With long-term use this mushroom can help create a healthy body and a clear mind by allowing your body to relax into itself, which increases your ability to get a great sleep.


Click here to check out more from Four Sigmatic—take their classes, read about mushrooms, join the #onshrooms movement.

Do you have a favorite Four Sigmatic Mushroom Blend? Let us know in the comments below!

We Heart

We share transparent companies with integrity, that we’ve fully vetted because we believe we’re all stronger when we work together to create a cohesive Earth-based, sustainable society.

Do you know of a company you think fits with our values? Write into us and we’ll get the eco-friendly party started!

The following post Four Sigmatic is Why We Support the #ONSHROOMS Movement (and You Should Too) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Be Happy, Lose Weight, In That Order

Contributed by our good friend, Debra Atkinson

Austin Schmid

If you’re used to thinking exercise equals burn calories and lose weight, you’re thinking the traditional way we’ve been taught for decades. We know that exercise has a positive effect on weight loss but it turns out there’s more to it.

Exercise can, and should, be a part of your weight loss for happiness plan. What if you didn’t just get happier when you lost weight, you lost weight when you got happier? The truth is, you do.

When you feel happy, you have a better self-image and a better who—that’s who you are being and how you show up. That is, you show up differently at work, in social situations, and most likely where you make choices about what’s good for your health and goals. You have more drive toward self-preservation and away from self-sabotage.

You’re less likely to seek mood-boosting foods high in fat and high sugar if you’re happy already. Let’s face it you know the molten lava cake isn’t going to help your weight loss efforts anyways.

Creating an Environment for Weight Loss

Serotonin is our feel-good friend—it’s a large part of neurochemistry that creates happiness. You can boost your serotonin by being outdoors in sunlight, venting with friends, or exercising—that’s true whether or not the exercise is a killer boot camp that leaves you whimpering or an easy stroll around the neighborhood.

This happiness, is potentially more responsible for weight loss than is the number of calories you burn or how much fat you used for fuel during or in the post oxygen consumption after exercise.

Say you went to boot camp to torch 700 calories in an hour. You hate it, but you’re desperate to lose weight. Your friend goes meandering around the lake with a couple other gal pals only exerting hard enough to get breathless because they’re laughing so hard and in the end loses more weight than you. Sure, a lot of factors might come into play, but there’s plenty of evidence that loving what you do is good for your health, and your waistline.

Most notably, when you’re happy you’re more likely to stay committed to things you know you ought to do. If you are choosing exercise that you enjoy while you’re doing it (whether or not it burns the most calories), it helps to improve your hormone balance so you can create an environment conducive to weight loss.

I have a client, Jennifer, with significant weight to lose. She’s not happy about her current weight and health status but she’s happy overall with who she is, which makes it easy for her to stay on track. Being happy with herself and being committed to health habits has contributed to her 75-pound weight loss in the last year, even though she has to get up at 4am regularly to get to the gym before work starts at 7:30am.

Another client, Mary (name change for confidentiality), is feeling overwhelmed and consumed with stress over changes in her life. Though she has much less weight to lose, she is staying focused on the problems and challenges rather than the opportunities. She’s quick to eat out and choose something that isn’t what she committed to doing for her body, or to skip the gym in favor of workaholic tendencies.

If you’re more like Jennifer lucky you. Keep feeding that happiness by regularly expressing gratitude and choosing exercise you love to do.

If instead you’re more like Mary, you’re not stuck. Realizing you may have a little “half empty” attitude is the first step. Here are a few other steps that you want to include daily if you’re fighting off a case of bad circumstances in your life right now.

5 Tips to Boost Happiness

Drink water. Stay hydrated to keep energy high. Think about it. When was the last time you were drained of energy and felt happy at the same time? Tired and happy, yes, but likely when your energy drops you tend to feel a little blue.

Get grounded. You don’t have to meditate but get outdoors and do something simple. It could be yoga on your deck or a walk, ideally in green grass. City walk if you must but make your way to green space if possible for something called forest bathing. It increases a sense of peace and calm. Reducing stress and regaining a centered feeling will help you regain that happiness factor that in turn makes you take better care of yourself.

Circulate. Do a headstand, stretch, find another reason to take that walk, but you need to get oxygen delivered to all your extremities and take a few deeper breaths now and then.

Eat chocolate. Going for high fat isn’t always bad. In fact, walnuts, and avocados are also known to support brain-boosting chemicals that cause feelings of happiness or at least move your needle from more anxious to more happy.

Get a hug. The cuddle hormone, oxytocin, is another feel-good catalyst. Sex is really helpful but you don’t honestly have to take it that far. Hug another person or even a pet to reduce anxiety and increase happiness.

Happy now? When someone asks you that next time, answer for real! If you are chances are your scale will reflect it too.







The following post Be Happy, Lose Weight, In That Order was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

10 Tips to Reduce Your Blood Pressure Naturally (and Regain Your Youthful Glow)

If you’ve ever wondered if healthy skin and a healthy body are related, wonder no more. According to a recent study, women who have younger looking faces have lower blood pressure and could live longer than those who don’t.

A recent study found that women who looked younger typically had lower blood pressure.

What the Study Discovered

Researchers from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, as well as industry scientists from the company Unilever, observed over 250 women, with an average age of 63 years. They then split the participants into two groups based on whether they had a high or low risk of heart disease. They also assessed the youthfulness of the participants by analyzing facial appearance and evaluating the wrinkles on their inner arms.

Results showed:

  • Women placed in the lowest heart disease risk group looked two years younger than those in the other group, based on photos of their faces.
  • Researchers identified blood pressure as the driving link between cardiovascular risk and perceived age.
  • The feature in the face that blood pressure was linked to was not wrinkles, but what we call “sagging” or “bagging” of the skin.
  • This is the first time that we have found a correlation between low blood pressure and youthful good looks.
  • Researchers also found that participants with an extended life expectancy looked younger with less skin wrinkling compare to another group with the same age. They concluded that life expectancy could be predicted just by observing the aging process of the skin.

How High Blood Pressure May Affect Skin

How might blood pressure change your appearance? What we think of as “blood pressure” is a measurement that shows the force of the blood flow against the walls of the blood vessels each time the heart beats. If this pressure gets high and stays high over time, it creates the following injuries:

  • Over stretches the blood vessels, making them more prone to rupture, which can lead to strokes
  • Causes tiny tears that leave scar tissue; this tissue can then catch debris like cholesterol, leading to plaque buildup and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke

These damaging effects can impair blood flow to the skin, which can cause your body to age faster.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is also associated with sleep deficiency, stress, high triglyceride levels and increased blood sugar levels—all of which can lead to skin damage and hyperpigmentation.

What to Do to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

The main takeaway from this study is that making healthy lifestyle chenages may not only make you feel better, but look better, too. We’ve long suspected this to be true, but it’s exciting to have a scientific study confirm it.

“It is hoped the results of the study will encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to regular monitor important health parameters such as blood pressure as the study shows that these factors not only impact health, but can also affect physical appearance,” said Dr. Diana Van-Heemst from Leiden University Medical Center.

If you’re concerned about blood pressure and want to keep it low for your health and your youthful appearance, consider these tips:

  1. Test: Get your blood pressure tested at least once a year. Normal is 120/80 or less.
  2. Eat healthy: That means more fruits and vegetables and less fatty, sugary foods. Watch your sodium intake, as well.
  3. Exercise: Regular exercise helps lower high blood pressure. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is important in managing blood pressure.
  4. Lower stress: Yoga, tai chi, meditation, daily walks, journaling, and music therapy can help you manage stress. Learning to relax helps keep your blood pressure in the normal range.
  5. Limit alcohol: Drinking too much can raise blood pressure levels.
  6. Quit smoking: Tobacco is linked with raising blood pressure to unhealthy levels.
  7. Cut back on caffeine: Drinking caffeinated beverages can cause a spike in your blood pressure. So far, scientists aren’t sure if it’s only temporary or lasting. You can test yourself about 30 minutes after drinking a cup of coffee. If your blood pressure increases by 5-10 points, you may need to cut back on caffeine.
  8. CoQ10: Some studies have indicated that CoQ10 supplements may help reduce high blood pressure. Try about 100 mg per day.
  9. Try herbs & spices: Hawthorn has been found in some studies to help reduce blood pressure, as has cinnamon and garlic. Your holistic practitioner will be able to check out your tests and give you just the right formula.
  10. Try vitamins: Calcium, potassium, and magnesium are important in maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. All have been found to help reduce high blood pressure but if you’re supplementing, make sure that you’re doing it under the guidance of a qualified physician.
What do you think of this study? Please share your thoughts.


The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 68, Issue 2, 1 February 2013, Pages 145–152, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/gls154

“Women who have younger looking faces have lower blood pressure and could live longer,” Mail Online, November 6, 2013, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2489636/Women-younger-looking-faces-lower-blood-pressure-live-longer.html?ico=health%5Eheadlines.

The following post 10 Tips to Reduce Your Blood Pressure Naturally (and Regain Your Youthful Glow) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

3 Ancient Health Practices that Make Your Beauty Shine

Thomas Kelley Image

Imagine you’re sitting comfortably in the forest, tending the fire outside your home, listening to the night sounds around you. You smell fresh air, smoke, maybe the after-leavings of a fresh-caught dinner that you spent the day gathering, and you’re surrounded by the laughter of your entire tribe.

What are you feeling? Calm? Do you feel connected to your environment and grateful for the treats from our planet? Good. That’s how our ancestors lived their lives, and that’s what we want to talk about today.

They hunted and gathered, built their shelters, tended their fires, and supported each other. While beauty wasn’t their top priority, staying health was and we know now that beauty and attraction are largely interconnected with our health.

It makes sense, right? Our ancestors had to further our species, and the best way to do that is to carry on the strongest, healthiest genes. This type of natural selection is two-fold in our species. On the one hand, the strongest humans survived challenges like temperature, weather, famine, disease, and long periods of travel over unknown terrain. On the other hand, we’re inclined to find the healthiest humans the most attractive.

We have keen senses of smell that help us to find a mate and to tell if that match is ill (think about it, you can smell a sickness) and our eyes are trained to find beauty in symmetry. In our evolving eye, a symmetrical person is without obvious deformity, likely has healthy genes and is more likely to survive the hardships of living. In ancient times, your beauty was pragmatic, and that made it essential.

While this isn’t of immediate concern in our current climate of existence (apocalypse pending), it certainly mattered very much just a few hundred years ago—and real evolution takes time.

So how did our ancestors stay at the tip-top of health and keep their beauty up? Here’s a few ways that the ancients took care of their bodies and consequently, let their inner beauty shine.


This is the first true form of healing. Because the ancestors were an active bunch, they had sore muscles. How natural is it to rub your calves after a long day hiking? Or create a sensual experience with a partner through mutual massage?

That’s because it’s in your genes.

Massage is a wonderful tool to help keep your body calm, it relaxes your muscles and lets you release tension so that you can keep on that workout or move without pain. It also has the ability to move and release stuck energies in the body, both physically and emotionally. It can release toxins that our bodies have been storing and allow us to stimulate and remove things we don’t need.

When our muscles are tense, or we’re feeling stuck emotionally, we can be holding ourselves back from owning our radiant beauty. Our ancestors were much more in tune with the energies of their entire tribe than we tend to be today, and they knew that a body under duress doesn’t work at its full potential, and can’t reach its optimal beauty.

Regular Massage At Home

The most common thing I hear when I suggest regular massage to my clients is that it’s too expensive. And yes, the cost can be a huge barrier for a lot of people to get into a regular massage therapy practice, but this is actually really easy to supplement at home.

You can trade with a friend or partner. This is really fun because it’s a learning experience for both of you. Everyone has a different massage style and different needs. You can ask where they’re sore and practice pushing different ways and at different levels of pressure. Just make sure you’re openly communicating about the massage and the healing so you both get what you need.

No partner? No problem. Rolling out kinks on a foam roller can really do the trick, or there are all sorts of easy at-home massage devices at your local sports store (somehow I always end up in that section). An even less expensive tip?

Get a couple of tennis balls and put them in an old sock. I (shamelessly) stole a couple of tennis balls from my dog’s stash and put them into a sock that lost its mate. Oh man, can I tell you how good that feels between my shoulder blades after an upper body workout? Or how about those abductor muscles of the leg after a bike ride—I lay right on my make-shift massager and work out those kinks. Seriously, try it.


Fire is the most important thing to a tribe—it could literally mean life or death for everyone. Since the earliest humans were nomads, many ancient gatherings would have a specific fire-bearer (and often times a back up) to make sure to get their flame from one home to the next, never letting the flame die out.

They also had great respect for our planet and understood the destruction that a run-away fire could cause. So when a tribe moved on, they put out the flames, many times with its most effective rival, water. You see where I’m going with this right? Putting out a fire with water makes steam.

That steam heals and our ancestors knew it right away. Even now there are whole schools of healing dedicated to the healing powers of steam bathing but back then they were just feeling it opening their lungs, burrowing into their skin, and helping them sweat out toxins.

They felt it so strongly that they created whole ceremonies to smoke and steam. They built shelters with a center hole, created a fire in the center and let it burn to coals, then they slowly poured water over the coals to create steam. They added herbs to the coals that filled the air with good-smelling healing powers.

Steam bath at home

Luckily, you don’t have to work so hard to build a shelter to hold your steam. (Though if you wanted to do that, could you send an invite?) This is a really simple health and beauty ritual that will keep your skin lively and beautiful by opening your pores and letting you fully release the toxins in your skin along with breathing steam deeply into the lungs, which can help clean out those deep pockets where today’s air pollution and environmental stressors can get stuck.

What you need:

  • A pot of boiling/simmering water
  • A towel
  • Herbs or essential oils of your choice

Put the water on to boil.
If you’re using dry herbs for your steam, you can place these into your pot but if you’re using essential oils, you’ll want to wait until your water is steaming because the heat will burn off the oils pretty quickly.
When your water is simmering or boiling (depending on the amount of steam you like) put the towel over your head and over the pot—just be careful not to burn your face or catch the towel on fire.
Breathe in and out steadily, slowly, and fully for a few minutes—I like to try for two minutes, then five minutes, then ten (I never make it to ten, but it feels great to try). Remember that this is a way to relax so if you’re struggling or uncomfortable, try backing away or turning the temperature down.

After your steam, be gentle with your skin, your pores are open and your skin will be sensitive. Usually a nice cold rinse is all you’ll need.

A few awesome herbs or essential oils to add to your steam:

Mint. It smells so good and helps take the steam deep into your lungs to help break up stuck gunk. Mint has cleansing properties that can sink deeply into pores and help clarify skin.
Eucalyptus. This is an ultimate steam herb. Eucalyptus is super cleansing and it has a scent that stimulates and invigorates everything it touches. This is especially lovely if you have a chest cold.
Lavender. Cleansing and calming, lavender is the plant ally with the most to offer in a steam that’s opening your pores. It’s a true aromatherapeutic experience that leaves you relaxed and comfortable after a long day.


Those of you that love the outdoors already know this, but the nomadic lifestyle can get a little muddy. By the end of a day hike in the wet season, there’s a good chance you’re covered in the stuff so imagine that you’re living outside—being covered in Earth was part of our ancestor’s lifestyle.

They purposefully used mud to protect from the sun and as a salve for wounds but there was an additional benefit of the mud that they might not have realized—it kept their skin shining, toxin free, and beautiful.

Using mud in skin care helps to pull toxins from the skin and soak up extra natural oils. Natural muds and clays are also exfoliating and add much needed minerals to the skin, offering a flawless finish and extra protection from the environment.

Mud Masks

I’m not telling you to go outside and roll in the mud or to cover yourself in clay for your sun protection on a hike (unless you’re into that kind of thing) but I am telling you to exfoliate and use a mud mask pretty regularly, especially if you have oily skin.

If you have oily skin, you want to exfoliate every couple of days with a product like the Kaolin Micro Exfoliant to help polish and give you a soft feel to your face. Follow it with a timeless product like the Purifying Mud Mask and you can feel like you’re one with your ancestors.

What’s your favorite ancient beauty secret? Let us know in the comments below!

The following post 3 Ancient Health Practices that Make Your Beauty Shine was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.