Category Archives: Tips

Things You Should Do During Pregnancy

  • You Should Get Regular Medical Exams
    • One of the easiest and best ways to avoid problems and complications during pregnancy is to get regular medical exams from your doctor or midwife.
  • You Should Get the RDA (Reccomended Daily Allowance) for Folic Acid
    • By getting the proper amount of Folic Acid you significantly reduce your baby’s risk for spinal bifida. The current recommendation is 0.4 mg of folic acid daily.for more .
  • You Should Check Your Immunity to German Measles (Rubella)
    • German Measles (Rubella), if caught during pregnancy, can lead to miscarriages and fetal deformities. The best way to avoid this possibility is to be vaccinated for Rubella prior to getting pregnant.
  • You Should Take Prenatal Vitamins
    • Both you and your baby need plenty of vitamins during pregnancy, and by taking special prenatal vitamins you guarantee that you are getting everything you need. Getting the proper vitamins can also help you
  • You Should Eat Plenty of Protein
    • The RDA of protein for pregnant women is 75 grams but 100 grams is often recommended. Adequate protein is essential for the development of the baby (especially the brain) and may help protect against preeclampsia during pregnancy.
  • You Should Eat Well and Get Plenty of Exercise.
    • Your diet needs to include plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber and so on, just as it normally should. You also need to exercise and watch your weight as your normally would.
  • You Should Be Sure to Get Enough Fat in Your Diet
    • Fat and cholesteral, which you normally try to avoid, are important for absorbing the fat soluable vitamins (A,D,E, and K) and for strechable skin. Fat is also necessary for the developing baby brain. That does not mean you want to be over-consuming it, but you need to make sure you are getting enough. There are so many fat-free foods on the market today (fat free milk, butter, ice cream, meat, bread, cookies etc.), it is very easy to consume a fat-free diet without realizing it. 2 tablespoons of fat a day is recommended for pregnant women.
  • You Should Do Kegal Exercises
    • Weak kegal muscles can contribute to pain during birth, premature flexion of the baby’s head and a prolonged second stage. Childbirth can also weaken these muscles and cause discomfort afterwards. The following show how to do the kegal exercises.
  • You Should Use House Plants
    • A modern house is full ofhundreds of hidden chemicals that are emitted by paints and stains, carpet, particle board, household cleaners and so on. One of the best ways to filter and remove these chemicals is with house plants. Spider plants, for example, are known to be good at removing formaldehyde (which is quite common in paints).
  • You Should Focus on Your Child and Avoid Negative Thoughts and Actions
    • discusses pernatal bonding and the benefits of avoiding stress and negative thoughts.
  • You Should Take Care When Traveling
    • Traveling when pregnant requires some special considerations, especially when traveling to foreign countries.
  • You Should Talk to Your Doctor about Existing Conditions and Your Family History
    • If you have any pre-existing conditions, chronic problems or a family history of reproductive problems, you should let your doctor know about them so that he/she can take appropriate action. Pre-existing conditions include things such as diabetes, herpes (and other STDs), heart problems, epilepsy and high blood pressure.


7 Tips to Eating Healthy During Pregnancy

1. Don’t forget breakfast.

  • Try fortified ready-to-eat or cooked breakfast cereals with fruit. Fortified cereals have added nutrients, like calcium.
  • If you are feeling sick, start with whole wheat toast. Eat more food later in the morning.

2. Eat foods with fiber.

  • Choose a variety of vegetables and fruits, like carrots, cooked greens, bananas, and melon.
  • Eat plenty of beans and whole grains. Try brown rice or oatmeal.

3. Choose healthy snacks.

  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fruit
  • Whole grain crackers with fat-free or low-fat cheese

4. Take a prenatal vitamin with iron and folic acid every day.

Iron keeps your blood healthy. Folic acid helps prevent birth defects.

5. Eat up to 12 ounces a week (2 average meals) of fish or shellfish.

  • A 3-ounce serving is about the size of a deck of cards.
  • Avoid fish and shellfish with high levels of mercury. Don’t eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish.
  • If you eat tuna, choose canned light tuna. Albacore (white) tuna has more mercury.
  • Common fish that are low in mercury include shrimp, salmon, and catfish.

6. Stay away from soft cheeses and lunch meat.

Some foods may have bacteria that can hurt your baby. Don’t eat:

  • Soft cheeses like feta, Brie, and goat cheese
  • Uncooked or undercooked meats or fish (like sushi)
  • Lunch meats and hot dogs unless they are heated until steaming hot

7. Limit caffeine and avoid alcohol.

  • Drink decaffeinated coffee or tea.
  • Drink water or seltzer instead of soda.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.

5 Key Benefits of Swimming

Inspired by Adam Peaty’s gold medal-winning performance in the pool in Rio this summer? That’s great news for your health. Swimming is a great way to help you shed body fat and maintain a healthy weight, but the benefits don’t stop there. It will also help improve your resting heart rate and blood flow, relax your mind and build endurance – and with much lower impact on your joints than running, your risk of injury is lower too.

Hitting the pool to do some laps is one of the most effective cardio workouts because it keeps your heart rate high for long periods. It’s also a muscle workout, as the water provides consistent resistance as you power through the pool to work your arms, legs, glutes, core and back, building strength and endurance.

Taking a dip is perfect for shifting your bad mood too – a major study found that swimmers increased positivity by 35% after putting in some lengths. Swimming releases endorphins and relaxes your mind in a similar way to yoga – but with more intensity, the fitness benefits are much greater.

The best thing of all about swimming? It’s ideal for any level of fitness. Pools are split into fast and slow lanes, which means they cater for anyone – whether you’re just starting to get fit to or training for a triathlon. So dive in today.

1. Muscle toning

As water is 12 times as dense as air, swimming is a far more effective way of toning your muscles than any other form of cardiovascular exercise that you can do on land. When you swim you get the cardio part of your workout while also working on an even body tone. Working out in water provides a certain amount of water resistance, which has a similar effect as using a light weight on a resistance machine at the gym. However, submersion in water creates a more even, controlled resistance on the body so there’s no concern about having to count or equalise repetitions when it’s time for lifting. The amount of resistance involved will be relative to the force you are pushing the water with, which allows you to control how hard you’re working with ease.

2. Forces you to work on your breathing

There is a far higher level of moisture present in the air when you’re at a swimming pool in comparison to the dry air that you’ll experience at a gym. The moisture in the air makes it far easier to breath, perfect for those that suffer with asthma and find cardio in the gym or in the park that bit too hard on their lungs. Studies have shown that swimming can vastly improve asthma symptoms, even a whole year after your swimming routine stops. Swimming is not only beneficial to asthma sufferers however, it can also help to increase your lung volume and force you to learn better breathing techniques that can aid you when lifting weights or running.

3. Work out for longer with less stress on your body

As water has the handy habit of supporting your bodyweight, it serves as a great way for people with injuries or those suffering from obesity to get a good workout, without risk of over doing it and causing further physical issues. Swimming is also one of the few sports that doesn’t cause any stress to the skeletal system. When you workout in a pool you are far less likely to make contact with any hard surfaces that may put a strain on your body as all of your motions will be cushioned by the protective barrier of the water. Even better, if you’re swimming in a heated pool, the heat will loosen joints and muscles that will help prevent injuries during your workout.

4. Get flexible

When you’re at the gym you’ll tend to use isolation machines that work specific areas of the body, where as swimming allows you to use a lot of the bodies muscles at the same time. The strokes that utilise a wide arc such as front crawl target a lot of the arm muscles that are missed in basic exercises, while the scissoring movement made with your legs forces your body to use more of your leg muscles in a plethora of fluid motions. Swimming is also really helpful as a way to elongate and stretch out your whole body as you keep reaching further out with your strokes.

5.  Mental tranquility

Unsurprisingly the idea of endlessly running around a track or cycling on a stationary bike doesn’t appeal to a lot of people and can actually prove to be quite stressful. Swimming actually boosts endorphins in the body that increase feelings of wellbeing. Studies have shown that swimming produces the same “relaxation responses” as yoga, and the stretching and contracting of your muscles can heighten this experience. Not only does swimming increase relaxation chemicals, it is also highly conducive to meditation.

Tips on How to Strengthen Hair and Prevent Hair Loss

Learning how to strengthen hair is not difficult as long as you know how to spot the signs of weak hair. So hair that droops, thinning, limp or falling out should be attended to right away. Other signs of weak hair may include extreme dryness, excessive oiliness and split ends. While it can often be genetic, it could also be the result of several factors such as:

  • Childbirth
  • Contraceptives
  • Excessive air conditioning
  • Menopause
  • Poor diet
  • Extreme heat from hair styling tools
  • Pollution
  • Scalp infection caused by fungus
  • Chlorine in the water
  • Cancer treatments
  • Other medications
  • Salt water
  • Illness
  • Prolonged sun exposure

While a person may lose between a hundred and 150 hair strands daily, this is considered normal since most people have 100,000 plus hair strands on their scalp. Besides, new hair strands grow back in the place of the one which was lost, an ongoing process until middle age when hair re-growth slows down.

Find out how to strengthen your hair by having stronger follicles.

Diet and Healthy Hair

Your oil glands release sebum, or oil, into your hair’s follicles which are tiny sacs lined with numerous skin cells. Sebum protects and lubricates your hair. When these cells enter the sacs and get “lumped” together, it results in hair. That part of your hair that you see is called the hair shaft which is made of keratin, a kind of “dead” protein.

To strengthen the follicles, you must have a healthy diet since hair is directly derived from cells. Simply put, the health of your hair depends on your overall health.

There are several ways to strengthen your follicles but the best way is to do it the natural way. Below are some tips on how to strengthen hair naturally through changes you can make in your diet.

Want results faster? Check recommended soulution here


Hair Strengthening Through Diet

A deficiency in oxygen supply weakens hair follicles. Increase this supply by eating foods that contain iron because this nutrient facilitates the transport of oxygen to your hair’s follicles.

Foods like dark green and leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale, lean meat, and beans, lentils, and legumes are all rich sources of iron. Or you can take an iron supplement to meet this requirement.

Your diet should include the mineral zinc which helps strengthen follicles by binding proteins to build strong hair strands. Seafood such as shrimp, fish, oysters, lobster, and clams are good sources of zinc. This mineral supports your oil glands so they can protect your hair better, albeit go for a daily 11mg dose since too much zinc will interfere with your body’s absorption of other nutrients.

Have a variety of vegetables, healthy fats, and fruits in your diet to get your supply of vitamins E, A, C, and the B-complex family. Pick several different colors of vegetables and fruits such as carrots and oranges (orange), tomatoes and cranberries (red), Brussels sprouts and avocados (green), and bell peppers and pears (yellow) to eat a variety of them.

Consume foods rich in protein including eggs, turkey, lean meat, chicken, and low-fat dairy. Hair is built with protein and one sure way to ensure that you have an adequate supply of it in your system is to know how to strengthen hair naturally by eating other foods that have essential vitamins and minerals.

Minerals and Vitamins to Strengthen Hair

Vitamin C is especially helpful because it aids in the absorption of iron from other sources. Black currants, guavas, blueberries, papaya, sweet potatoes, kiwi fruits, and strawberries are all rich in this vitamin that helps produce collagen which is essential for strengthening capillaries that carry blood and oxygen to the hair’s shafts.
Another vitamin needed to produce sebum is vitamin A. Sebum is your hair’s natural conditioner to maintain scalp health. Without it, dryness and itchiness can occur in the scalp, cause it to break, become infected, and weaken your hair. Orange, yellow, and yellow-orange vegetables and fruits that are high in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, bell peppers, and oranges.

Yet another vitamin, vitamin E, can help protect your hair and your skin as well. Know how to strengthen hair roots by incorporating this powerhouse vitamin in your diet through almonds, silken tofu, salmon, sunflower seeds, shrimp, and squash, among others. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E is 15mg a day for adults.

Aside from zinc, copper is one mineral that can help strengthen hair shafts and retain the pigmentation of your hair. Copper deficiency leads to hair breakage and premature graying of hair. Foods rich in copper include poultry, lean red meat, nuts, eggs, and dark green and leafy vegetables. Herbs and spices that have copper include cumin, cloves, marjoram, curry, dill, tarragon, and thyme.

Selenium is another important mineral that helps prevent hair breakage as well as split ends and dandruff. Brazil nuts, lamb, and seafood such as shrimp, cod, sardines, fish, and tuna are rich sources of selenium. Vegetarians can opt for cottage cheese, garlic, white button and Shiitake mushrooms, brown rice, lima and pinto beans, Chia seeds, and oats for their selenium supply.

Heat and Weak Hair: A No-No

The heat from hot curlers, flat irons, blow-dryers, and curling irons further weaken your hair. Using a blow-dryer on hair that is completely wet, for instance, heats water that has remained in your hair cuticle, causing this to expand inside your hair and leave blisters or spaces inside hair fibers which weaken them. Additionally, these parched hair strands soak up air moisture and cause frizz.

Keep your hairstyling tools on low temperatures and increase their settings only when necessary. Apply heat protection conditioners before you style your hair so it can be protected from potential thermal damage. Always follow up with products infused with conditioners or protective oils to help seal in moisture for your hair follicles and hair roots.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do reduce your use of heated hairstyling tools and find other hairstyles to wear. Instead of blow-drying your hair and then using a curling iron to create waves every day, leave it as it is for one whole day, braid it loosely or have it in a ponytail. Remember to use some fortifying mousse or gel and bands without metal on them.

Don’t strain your hair strands with dreadlocks or if you absolutely must, ensure that you wear you hair this way only for a day or two. Switching hairstyles every other day can help avoid straining already weak hair. Another way you can strain your hair strands is by brushing them when they are wet. Use hair brushes with padded bristles or those made with animal hair like boar bristles.

Choose Products that Can Strengthen Your Hair

Alongside a healthy and hair-strengthening diet, there are hair-strengthening products that you can use. You just have to know how to choose them. Those labeled “anti-breakage,” “restorative,” “renewal” or “strengthening” are best because this means the product has ingredients which can help temporarily seal off existing split ends, moisturize, hydrate, repair, and thicken hair.

Shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products with ingredients that infuse proteins, amino acids, and other hair-strengthening substances are best to use. Avoid those which tend to dry out your hair. Use a conditioner that can penetrate deep into your scalp and moisturize it by hydrating your hair’s roots and follicles. Enhance conditioning by getting protein mask or hot oil treatments regularly.

Incidentally, overusing hair products to compensate for damaged hair should not be done because this can result in more damage to your hair. This means you should avoid any hair styling products that contain alcohol, for instance, as well as limiting the use of chemicals on your hair like hair dyes, bleach, and perm or straightening solutions.
These tend to dry out hair when used for a prolonged period of time, weaken hair fiber and may cause permanent damage to your hair. Counteract these chemicals by using products that contain stearyl alcohol that can strengthen weak hair and soften it at the same time. Use hair dye or coloring that is free from ammonia and has conditioning ingredients.

More Comprehensive Hair Treatments

Men who suffer from hair loss or baldness will be especially glad to know that there are some good products to strengthen hair available on the market such as Har Vokse or Provillus, which has been clinically proven to re-grow hair in men, fortified with natural ingredients that can help alleviate hair loss’ hormonal causes like androgenetic alopecia.

Few Extra Tips You Can Use to Strengthen Your Hair Even More

– Get Your Locks Trimmed Every 2-3 Weeks

Some people might think this is overkill (and expensive to boot). However, getting your hair trimmed at least a few centimeters every few weeks will keep it healthier and less prone to breakage and split ends. Most people are anot aware that about 80% of the adult population lack nutrients that support heathy hair growth. As a result, long hair tend to be brittle, hence the need to cut off the ends before their split and become problematic. This way you can maintain a healthy head of hair and prevent problems such as hair fall, split ends, and many others.

– Apply Coconut Oil on Your Hair Twice a Week

This regimen has a dual purpose, as it does not only strengthen hair strands, but it also makes your locks shinier and more manageable. IN fact, if you are looking to spend less money on hair maintenance, coconut oil is a great way to do so. The natural lubrication provides nourishment to the hair, from roots to tips, so it is just like a hot oil treatment for a fraction of the cost. In addition, the nutrients present in coconut oil prevents hair loss, especially for women with brittle, sensitive, or damaged hair.
Tip: Apply the coconut oil on your hair and let it sit for 10-15 minutes, preferably while covered in cellophane or a shower cap. This will ensure that the oil seeps into the hair fibers and conditions the scalp thoroughly as well.

– Use a Wide Toothed Comb When Brushing Wet Hair
Many people (mainly women) make the mistake of using a fine toothed comb when brushing their hair right after taking a shower. This is ill advised because it can cause the strands to break, especially if you used shampoo that caused the locks to tangle. A wide toothed comb carefully separates the strands without causing any damage at all so be sure to have at least two kinds of comb on your vanity.

– Make Your Own Hair Mask at Home

For thicker and stronger hair, there are a number of tricks you can use and most of them require very few ingredients that are readily available in your own kitchen. Here are some ideas for hair masks:

Avocado – The natural oils in this fruit are highly effective in keeping the hair and scalp healthy. All you need is one whole avocado, with the meat lightly mashed. Apply it onto the hair, including the roots, and it let sit for at least 20 minutes prior to rinsing with lukewarm water.

Carrot Juice – Using a juicer, extract carrot juice and place it in the fridge for a good 30 minutes to about an hour then apply directly to your hair. Beta carotene has been known to effectively strengthen hair strands and prevent hair loss.

Aloe Vera Extract – This regimen works best if you get the aloe extract fresh from the plant (as opposed to using bottled ones). Use as a mask and leave it to sit for at least 45 minutes before washing your hair.

8 Tips on How to Strengthen Weak Hair

Weak hair can take on many forms and is often noticeable to others. That said, weak hair can be a detriment to our fashion sense and self image. In some cases, it can even be an indicator of a medical concern. Not sure about your hair’s health and what to do about it? The pros at Matrix are here to give you a few tips on how to make weak hair stronger.

Diagnosing Weak Hair

Weak hair can be defined as limp, droopy, thin or falling out. Split ends, extreme dryness or excessive oiliness can all be signs of weak hair. It is often genetic, handed down from a parent, or it can be caused by hormonal factors such as menopause or childbirth, birth control pills or other medications, disease or illness, poor diet, stress, a fungal infection of the scalp or cancer treatments. Environmental impact from sun exposure, chlorine or salt water, air conditioning or heating and pollution can weaken hair.

It is normal to lose 100 to 150 hairs each day, but since most people have about 100,000 hairs on the head, this loss is not significant. When a hair is lost, a new one grows back in its place. This process continues until middle age, when hair re-growth slows down or stops.

Hair that is lost from breakage is not the same as normal loss. Hair that falls out naturally comes from the scalp, typically with the bulb attached. Breakage from weakness is when the hair breaks off below the scalp. While some breakage is normal, excessive breakage indicates weakened hair. Weak hair often shows itself as split ends, which can travel up the hair shaft and break off.


1. Use the Right Products to Avoid Further Damage to Weak Hair

A good stylist can help you detect and diagnose weak hair, and make recommendations on appropriate product usage. Using the best products for weak hair is essential to restoring troubled tresses. For weak, delicate hair, use a shampoo, conditioner and styling products that will reinforce the hair by infusing protein, amino acids and other strengthening properties.

Don’t use a shampoo that will dry out hair, and when using a reinforcing conditioner, start at the roots and work the conditioner through to the ends. You can enhance conditioning by wrapping a hot towel or shower cap over your head to allow it to penetrate deeply into the hair follicles and shafts. A protein mask or deep conditioning treatment can also be beneficial to locks that have lost their strength.

Keep in mind, however, that the products we use on our hair can be overdone. You can have too much of a good thing, and excessive product usage over time causes damaged and weak hair. When hair is already damaged, compensating with more product can weigh it down, making weak hair look dull and rough. Avoid styling products that contain alcohol, for example, which can be drying to hair; and try to limit shampooing to every other day or even less frequently if your scalp doesn’t produce too much oil.

2. Take Care of Weak Hair by Limiting Chemical Use

Abusing and over-processing hair can lead to weak tresses. Ongoing use of strong chemicals through coloring, bleaching, straightening or permanents can damage hair fiber and make hair weak. When used too frequently or in too strong a dose, these chemicals can cause permanent damage, making weak hair dry and frizzy, with split ends and breakage the result. Counteract chemical warfare by using a shampoo and conditioner for damaged hair and intensive conditioning treatments. Look for styling products containing stearyl alcohol, a fatty alcohol that helps strengthen and soften weak hair.

For severely weakened hair, use a deep-conditioning protein treatment once a week or so. Apply the treatment all over hair that has been cleansed with a hydrating shampoo and leave it on overnight (wrap hair into a bun and sleep with a towel on your pillow). Rinse the treatment out in the morning.  When you do opt for haircolor, ask your stylist about conditioner-rich and ammonia-free professional formulas.

 3. Weak Hair Hates Heat: Don’t Play With Fire

Excessive heat from blow-dryers, hot curlers, curling irons and flat irons can cause weak hair and breakage. Using a too-hot blow-dryer on wet hair heats the water remaining under the hair’s cuticle and causes it to expand inside the hair, leaving spaces–or blisters –inside fibers, which weakens hair. These parched strands soak up moisture from the air, causing frizz.

Rather than fighting your natural texture, work with what you’ve got. For straight hair, enhance its health and shine by using cleansing and conditioning products specifically designed to create shine. For curly hair, use products created for wavy texture and scrunch the hair with your fingers to reduce frizz.

To nurse fried strands back to optimum health, use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner, then fortify with a strengthening product prior to styling. Keep styling tools set on low temps, apply heat protection products before styling with dryers or irons to protect from thermal damage and follow with finishing products that are infused with protective oils.


4. Strengthen Weak Hair by Switching Up Your Style

Change how you wear your hair every day: Wearing your hair down day after day can result in tangles and split ends. But ponytails, tight braids and dreadlocks can also stress tresses and cause weakening. Switch styles every day to avoid strain on weak hair and give your look a pick-me-up. When wearing hair down, use a strengthening shampoo, conditioner and styling products to protect weak hair. When wearing it up, use fortifying gel or mousse and hair-protecting elastics with no metal on them.

The friction of over brushing and wearing tight-fitting hats can also cause hair to weaken. Don’t get too zealous when brushing, and never brush wet hair. It’s best to use padded brushes and those with animal hair bristles on delicate locks. A good detangling spray will help defend weak hair while brushing. Spritz it on before combing through wet hair to ease strand stress.


5. The Frizz Factor, and How To Prevent Frizz

When frizziness is apparent, keeping hair trimmed can help prevent further damage and stop the splits from traveling up the hair shaft.

Using a keratin shampoo and conditioner can help restore protein to weak, damaged hair and help bring it back to good health. But remember, this won’t happen overnight; you’ll need to use it regularly to notice a difference.

After shampooing, there are a variety of weak hair serums and leave-in conditioners available to help tame frizz. When using oil-based serums, avoid putting them directly on your scalp, as it can become greasy and make the roots look oily.

When styling, choose finishing products that enhance smoothness and shine.


6. How To Treat Split-Ends: A Hair Divided is Not Happy and Healthy

There is no total cure for split ends, but as mentioned above, you can keep them at bay with a trim every six to eight weeks. For more temporary remedies, use a gentle shampoo and conditioner, and apply a treatment oil to just the tips of tresses. When styling, reinforcing products are best, as they help bond the ends together.

7.How To Care For Your Scalp: Hair Health Starts at the Top

When working to heal weak hair, the first line of defense is to start with the scalp. If your scalp is healthy, your hair will follow suit. Scalps can be dry and flaky or oily, but there are products designed to work with each type.

For dry scalps that feel tight or itchy, a moisturizing oil can be massaged into the scalp for five minutes before showering. A hair mask or deep conditioning treatment will help provide moisture to dry scalps and weak hair.

If your head is itchy and you are regularly finding flakes on your shoulders, you may have dandruff. Nothing kills a good look quicker than a shoulder covered in scalp snow, so if dandruff is a problem, research the variety of dandruff shampoos, conditioners and treatments on the market, or get a recommendation from your stylist or medical provider.


8. A Healthy Diet Helps Restore Weak Hair

Weak and thinning hair can be caused by what you do to your hair, but it can also be brought on by what you do to your body. An unhealthy diet, or too-low of a caloric intake (crash diet), can lead to hair falling out, as can endocrine disorders.

What you eat has an effect on the health of your hair and scalp. The nutrients from healthy food provide the energy that fuels hair growth. A diet that includes iron-rich protein feeds your scalp and hair by building strong keratin, the protein that strengthens hair, improves texture and stimulates growth. Consume lean meat, fish, low-fat cheeses, egg whites, spinach and soy to keep your head happy in more ways than one.  In between meals, snack on fruits, vegetables and grains.

Vitamins are also key to hair health. Vitamin C, or collagen, keeps blood vessels in the scalp healthy by supporting hair follicles. Vitamin C also helps you absorb iron from plant proteins. Biotin, an essential B vitamin, strengthens weak hair and improves its texture. Biotin is found in salmon, carrots, egg yolks and sardines. Vitamin supplements can help weak hair as well. Silica, a nutrient found in oats, rice, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage and sunflower seeds, supports growth of hair and nails, as does calcium, found in dairy products, fish and leafy greens.

Water is another essential for your body and your hair. Adequate hydration helps keep your body functioning like a well-oiled machine, and helps strengthen weak hair. It’s best to drink plenty of water throughout the day and evening.

If the hair care tips listed in this article don’t help make your weak hair stronger and thicker, pay a visit to your doctor or dermatologist to rule out a medical condition.

6 Tips to Relieve Dry Skin Fast

When you have flaky, itchy, dry skin, you want fast relief. Easing your dry skin isn’t just about what you put on it. It also depends on how you clean your skin, the air around you, and even your clothes.

Try these six tips to soothe your dry skin.

1. Warm Yes, Hot No.

A steamy shower feels good, but that hot water is not a good idea for your dry skin, says dermatologist Andrea Lynn Cambio, MD.

The problem is that hot showers strip your body of its natural oil barrier, and you need that barrier to help trap moisture and keep your skin smooth and moist.

So dial down the temperature and don’t linger too long. Skin care experts recommend short, warm showers or baths that last no longer than 5 to 10 minutes.

Afterward, gently pat dry and moisturize your body.

2. Cleanse Gently.

Wash with a soapless cleanser when you shower. Cambio says gentle soaps that are free of fragrance are a great option. Products with deodorant or antibacterial additives can be harsh on skin.

You might also consider a cleanser that contains ceramides, says dermatologist Carolyn Jacob, MD. Ceramides are fatty molecules that make up the outer barrier of your skin. They help skin hold in moisture. Some skin care products use synthetic ceramides to replace those we lose with age.

Go easy on toners, peels, and other astringents made with alcohol, which is drying. When you exfoliate, don’t scrub too much or too hard, Jacob says. It can irritate and thicken skin.

3. Shave Smartly.

Shaving can irritate dry skin. As you shave unwanted hair, you’re also scraping off natural oils.

The best time to shave is after you shower, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Hairs are softer and more pliable after bathing, making shaving easier.

Always use a shaving cream or gel, and shave in the direction the hair is growing to protect your skin

Make sure the razor is sharp. A dull razor blade can cause additional irritation. Change your razor blades often. If you are using a blade you’ve used before, soak it in rubbing alcohol to clean it.

4. Cover Up.

Sun damage is one of the main causes behind dry skin, wrinkles, and roughness. You can help prevent that damage by wearing a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen year-round and dressing right.

In cool weather, Cambio says, be sure to “dress in layers to prevent overheating and perspiring excessively; both can irritate the skin.”

To prevent dry, chapped lips in winter, use a lip balm with SPF 15 sunscreen, and cover your lips with a scarf or a hat with a mask.

In summer, wear light, loose, long-sleeved shirts when out in the sun, and wear a 2-inch wide-brimmed hat to shade your neck, ears, and eyes.

5. Follow the Rules of Moisturizing.

The simplest moisturizing products can soothe dry skin. “Petroleum jelly makes a great moisturizer,” dermatologist Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, says. Or you can use mineral oil, a favorite cream, or lotion.

If you like a very rich moisturizer, look for one with shea butter, ceramides, stearic acid, or glycerin, Leslie Baumann, MD, director of the Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute at the University of Miami, says. “All are rich moisturizers that will help you replenish your skin barrier,” Baumann writes in her online article Winter Skin, where she also says she particularly loves glycerin.

Jacobs says that whichever product you choose, a consistent, smart moisturizing routine helps.

  • Wash with a non-soap liquid cleanser, preferably one with ceramides to replenish the skin’s outer layer.
  • Pat skin dry for less than 20 seconds.
  • Apply a thick moisturizer to slightly damp skin within minutes of bathing to trap in moisture.
  • Moisturize your hands every time you wash them so that evaporating water doesn’t draw even more moisture from your dry skin.

Finally, look for a cream with sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher to get the added benefit of sun protection. You can find moisturizing sunscreens as ointments, creams, gels, even sprays. The AAD suggests creams as your best bet for helping to combat dry skin.

6. Humidify in Winter.

Cold, dry air is a common cause of dry, irritated skin. Heating your house keeps you warm, but it also removes moisture from the air, which can make dry skin even more parched.

To replenish that missing moisture quickly and easily, use a humidifier in your bedroom, Cambio says. You can track humidity easily with an inexpensive humidity meter, called a hygrometer. Aim for indoor humidity of about 50%.

What are the dangers from using drugs

Some people think everyone who takes drugs will end up dead. Others seem to think that drug use is not dangerous at all. The truth is somewhere in between…

Drug use can never be 100 per cent safe but it is not always as dangerous as many people think. The dangers of drug use depend on drug, set and setting factors.

The drug bit is everything connected with the drug and how it is used. The set bit is everything connected with the person who is using the drugs. The setting bit is about what the person is doing at the time, where they are, the environment they live in etc.

The basic principle is that drug dangers are the result of interactions between drug, set and setting.

The drug

Drugs are not all the same. Different drugs have different dangers associated with them.

Some drugs (such as alcohol, heroin and tranquillisers) have a sedative effect which slow down the way the body and brain function. They can have a numbing effect that produces drowsiness if a lot is taken. Other drugs (such as amphetamine, cocaine, crack and ecstasy) have a stimulant effect giving a rush of energy and making people more alert. A third group of drugs (such as LSD and magic mushrooms and to a lesser extent cannabis and ecstasy) have a hallucinogenic effect. This means they tend to alter the way the user feels, sees, hears, tastes or smells.

Sedative drugs like alcohol and heroin can lead to fatal overdose if a lot is taken. They can also affect co-ordination making accidents more likely. Use of sedatives can also lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms while others drugs like cannabis cannot.

Stimulant drugs can produce anxiety or panic attacks particularly if taken in large quantities. They can also be particularly dangerous for people who have heart or blood pressure problems.

Hallucinogenic drugs sometimes produce very disturbing experiences and may lead to erratic or dangerous behaviour by the user, especially if they are already unstable. And of course some drugs are legal to use and others are not. Being arrested and getting a conviction can lead to all sorts of problems.

The dangers of drug use will also depend on:

How much is taken. The more that is taken the greater the danger. Taking too much of a sedative drug can lead to a fatal overdose. Taking a large dose of a stimulant drug can lead to panic attacks or even in extreme cases, psychotic behaviour (where all sense of reality is lost). Taking a large dose of a hallucinogenic drug may lead to disturbing experiences. Taking a high dose of a many drugs can lead to a lack of co-ordination and increase the likelihood of accidents.
How often the drug is taken. The more often a drug is taken, the greater the risks to your health, particularly if the body hasn’t had time to recover. With some drugs a tolerance can develop and more needs to be taken in order to keep getting an effect. If heavy, frequent use is followed by a period of non-use tolerance levels drop. Taking the same amount of drug needed with high tolerance levels can bring on an overdose, especially with drugs like heroin. Not all drugs produce tolerance. LSD has its own safeguard against tolerance. If taken too frequently it just stops working. No matter how much is taken there will be no effect at all.
Other things in drugs. Many illegal drugs, especially in powder or pill form, have other drugs or substances mixed in with them. These can change the effect of the drugs and contribute to dangers.
Drug mixtures. Combining drugs can produce unpredictable and sometimes dangerous effects. In particular, mixtures of sedative drugs can be very dangerous. Many reported drug overdoses involve mixtures of alcohol and tranquillisers or opiates.
How a drug is taken. The method of use will influence the effect the drug has and its possible dangers. Injecting drugs has a very quick and intense effect. Snorting or inhaling drugs can also have a quick but slightly less intensive effect. Smoking drugs produces a slower, more subtle effect sometimes. The slowest effect of all is eating or drinking a drug.
Drug dangers also vary with the method used to take them:

Injecting is particularly risky because it is difficult to know how much is being taken. Injection also carries the risk of infection by blood borne diseases if any injecting equipment is shared. Highest profile recently has been given to HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, but there are also risks from Hepatitis B and C, another very serious blood borne disease.
Eating or drinking a drug can be risky if people take a lot in one go. The effects tend to be slow but once they come on it is too late to do anything about it. Examples are drinking too much alcohol in a short space of time or eating a lump of cannabis. In such cases people can suddenly feel very drunk or stoned and become very disorientated.
Snorting drugs like amphetamine or cocaine powder up the nose on a regular basis can lead to damage to the nasal membranes although this risk has sometimes been exaggerated.
There are more or less dangerous ways of inhaling solvents such as glues, gases and aerosols. Squirting solvents into a large plastic bag and then placing the bag over the head has lead to death by suffocation. Squirting aerosols or butane straight down the throat has lead to deaths through freezing of the airways. Squirting onto a rag or small bag then inhaling is not as dangerous.

Smoking a drug is a relatively less dangerous method of use although regular smoking can damage the respiratory system especially if the drug is smoked with tobacco, as is often the case with cannabis.

The set

The effects and dangers of drugs are influenced by many things. Personal factors involving the person who is using the drugs can be just as important as the drugs being used.

The drug experience and the expectations of the user are important. Many young people experimenting with drugs for the first time will be unsure about what to do or what to expect. This ignorance and lack of experience can itself be dangerous.

The mental or psychological state of the drug user is very important. The mood people are in when they take drugs influences the effects and dangers of drug use. If they are anxious, depressed or unstable they are more likely to have disturbing experiences when using drugs. They can become more anxious and disorientated, possibly aggressive, ‘freak out’ and do crazy things or take too much etc. As a general rule someone who is happy and stable is more likely to use more carefully and not be so badly affected.

Other things about the person which may effect drug dangers include:

If they have physical health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, epilepsy, diabetes, asthma or liver problems, drug use could be more dangerous and possibly make their health problem worse.
The drug users energy levels at the time of consuming drugs can also be important. If they are tired at the time of use then it may have a different or more extreme effect than if they are fresh and full of energy.
If the user has a low body weight the same amount of drugs may effect them more than heavier people. Also people who have eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia can find that drug use makes their eating difficulties even worse.
Males and females can experience drugs in different ways. This is both because of their different physical make up and the different way people view male and female drug use. On average women are of smaller body weight than men, have smaller livers as a proportion of body weight and a greater proportion of body fat. This means that, generally speaking, the same amount of drugs will have a greater effect on a woman than on a man. Obviously this will not apply with a much larger than average woman or a much smaller than average man.
The effects and risks of drug use are also influenced by attitudes towards men and women taking drugs. Women are often seen as doubly bad if they take drugs. Male drug use is often seen as more acceptable than that of women and mothers, in particular, come in for a lot of criticism if they use drugs. Male drug users who are parents are not usually seen in the same sort of way. Sexism can also affect the experience of drug use and drug risks.

The setting

The place where drugs are used and what people are doing at the time can influence how dangerous it is. For example, some young people take drugs in out-of-the-way places that are particularly dangerous like canal banks, near motorways, in derelict buildings etc. Accidents are much more likely in these places, especially if the user is intoxicated. Also if anything does go wrong, it is unlikely help will be at hand or that an ambulance could easily be called.

Even if the setting is not in itself inherently dangerous there may be other types of risks associated with the place of use. Using or taking drugs into school has led to substantial numbers of young people being expelled from school with drastic effects on their future careers.

Driving a car or riding a bicycle or operating machinery while on drugs, will greatly increase the risks of accidents.

Drug use can lower inhibitions, increasing the likelihood of sexual encounters. Safer sex – eg by using condoms – will be much more difficult if the person concerned is intoxicated. The risks of unwanted pregnancy, HIV (the virus that leads to AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections could be increased if people have sex while high on alcohol or drugs. Surveys have found that many young people have sexual encounters while under the influence of drugs, particularly alcohol and/or cannabis.

Another setting danger is that of people over-exerting themselves when using ecstasy. Ecstasy gives a buzz of energy and is often used in clubs while dancing non-stop for long periods. In some situations people have danced for hours without a break in hot, crowded environments. They run the risk of becoming dehydrated and getting heat exhaustion. In some cases this can be very dangerous and it has led to a number of deaths.

‘Chilling out’ – having a break from dancing, cooling off and sipping or drinking water or fruit juice at regular intervals (not alcohol as it further dehydrates the user) – reduces these risks.

In conclusion

There are many possible risks and dangers involved when using drugs. To fully understand potential risks and dangers you will need to think about drug, set and setting.

In addition people may experience problems with drug use because of other people’s perceptions and responses to them. Examples include conflict in family and other personal relationships, getting thrown out of school/ college or work, getting a criminal record, getting into debt to pay for drugs, violence associated with drug dealing etc.

How To Prevent A Heat Stroke And Stop It

With summer around the corner and erratic weather conditions becoming somewhat of the norm, heat waves are a more common occurrence these days. While it may seem like a good idea to spend the day outdoors, you may be at risk of heat-related illnesses. Your body has several ways to keep cool in order to prevent overheating, but sometimes this is not enough. When dealing with hot weather that you are not acclimatized to, try not to do what you normally would on a hot summer’s day. The reality is that a little too much of ‘fun in the sun’ can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

A heat stroke is the most severe type of heat-related illness that a person can experience. Overheating of the body (hyperthermia) results in 2 other types of heat-related illnesses before a heat stroke sets in. The first heat illness is heat cramps – the mildest form. It is then followed by heat exhaustion. If you do not make any attempt to cool down and get away from the source of heat, eventually a heat stroke will set in. At this point the body’s cooling mechanisms begin to fail and the body is in severe distress. It can lead to death unless you act quickly and properly.

Get Out Of The Sun

Directly sunlight on a hot day can raise the body temperature significantly compared to being in the shade. Even though your body has several mechanisms to cool down, there can be a point when the heat and sun is overwhelming. If you are suffering from even the mildest symptoms of a heat-related illness then you need to get out of the sun immediately. It is better to move indoors where you will be sufficiently shielded from direct sunlight. But if this is not possible then resting in the shade may suffice.

Cool Down The Room

Ideally you should get into an air conditioned room if you suspect that you may have any heat illness. Do not be concerned with the sudden change in temperature from the heat outside to the cold indoors. Your body is already in distress if you are suffering with a heat-related illness and the change from hot to cold is of little consequence. More than anything your body will start responding positively to the change in temperature and may be able to stabilize before the more serious effects of a heat stroke occur.

Remove All Clothing

Remember that sweating decreases or even stops altogether with more severe heat-related illnesses like a heat stroke. Even the lightest clothing can be an impediment when your body is trying to cool down. Remove as much of your clothing as possible in a public place. If you are indoors and have sufficient privacy then take off all your clothes. By exposing your skin to the environment, it will allow your body to dissipate as much heat as it can into the air.

Spray The Body

Spraying yourself with water is one way of cooling down to prevent a heat stroke. It can also be a life-saving measure when a heat stroke has set in and you cannot take more drastic steps to cool down fast. Since sweating stops in later stages of heat illness, a fine mist of water can have a similar effect to perspiration. In order to cool down, the blood vessels in the skin dilate to allow internal heat to reach the surface and the skin surface becomes moist from sweat. Evaporation of this sweat carries heat away with it. Spraying yourself with a fine mist of water works on the same principle to cool down the body. A cold shower may be even more effective.

Immerse In Cold Water

Water has the propensity to absorb significant amounts of heat. And with a heat stroke, the colder the water the better. Placing a person with a heat stroke or just before it starts, into a bath of cold water can make the difference between life and death. Fill up a bath with cold water and try to place ice in the bath tub if possible. Ice should never be applied directly on the skin but in the water instead. It can lower the body temperature more quickly than other measures but ensure that a person’s body temperature is not dropping too low in the process. Never leave a person with a suspected heat stroke along in a bath tub full of water.

Use Ice Packs

Ice packs are another convenient way of cooling down quickly. Since ice should not be applied directly to the skin, an ice pack is the best alternative to get ice as close to the skin as possible where a cold water bath is not possible. Any frost that may be on an ice pack should first be washed or wiped away before applying it to the skin.Emergency medical personnel will also use a cooling blanket to cover a person. It is not intended to retain heat but rather to keep the air around a person cool with the help of the ice pack.

Do Not Stand Or Walk

Physical activity requires energy and heat is produced in the process. This is the last thing you would want. Sit still or even lie down flat to reduce the body’s heat production. Walking and even standing requires the use of the muscles and in the process energy is expended and heat is produced. Never run if you feel the symptoms of a heat stroke or even a milder heat illness. Rather walk to shade or a cool place. Running generates a significant amount of heat and while it may get you to a cool place quicker, it can be even more detrimental in the end.

Avoid Warm Drinks

A person with a heat stroke may be shivering. Sometimes this is incorrectly perceived by others as the core body temperature being lower than normal. However, that is not the case. Shivering produces more heat. For this reason a doctor may prescribe medication to a heat stroke patient in order to stop shivering. Trying to warm the person up to counteract the shivering is one of the biggest mistakes in preventing a heat stroke or trying to stop it. Warm drinks are not going to help. In fact the heat compounds the problem once the drink is consumed. If a person can swallow and asks for a drink, rather give them as much cool water as possible.

Call A Doctor ASAP

A heat stroke should be treated as a medical emergency. Even though the measures above are very effective in preventing a heat stroke or minimizing the consequences, medical attention is still necessary. Any person with a heat stroke should be rushed to the emergency room. If this is not possible, then the steps listed above to cool down a person should be immediately undertaken until emergency medical personnel or a doctor can report to the scene. Trying to manage a heat stroke at home without professional medical help can make the difference between life and death

10 Most Effective Ways To Remove Acne Scars & Pimple Marks

For many acne sufferers, the prospect of living blemish-free can easily lead to a medicine cabinet full of chemical creams and oral medications. While these treatments may offer immediate and powerful results, they also tend to carry a long list of side-effects. For those who desire a safe alternative to get rid of the scars left behind from pimples and acne, try some of these clever natural solutions.

1. Aloe Vera

Fresh aloe vera gel is a potent source of vitamins which can help to heal skin and fade scars. Aloe is gentle, so you won’t have to worry about further damaging or irritating skin. Also, because aloe is such a wonderful natural moisturizer, it will leave your skin looking and feeling softer and healthier.

While aloe vera gel may be found in any drug store or pharmacy, fresh organic aloe is best. Potted aloe plants are easy to find and require almost no maintenance to grow even without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Should you choose to use fresh aloe to combat your acne scars, just break off a small piece of one leaf, peel away the outer flesh to expose the gel, and massage gently into your skin. For best results, let the gel soak in for at least thirty minutes before washing it off. If you don’t have a readily available aloe plant, then you can purchase organic aloe vera gel from here.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a common household item with literally hundreds of uses, including the ability to help heal scars. Baking soda is composed of sodium bicarbonate crystals which gently exfoliate skin when used as a cleansing scrub. Just mix a few teaspoons of baking soda with enough water to form a thick paste then massage into skin where scars are present. Once applied, you should leave the mixture on for a minute or two. This will allow the soda to cleanse pores and help prevent further blemishes. After a couple of minutes, wash your face in lukewarm water and apply a good natural moisturizer like rose hip seed, jojoba, coconut, or olive oil.

Do this about once every other day for great results!

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is at the top of the list when it comes to natural moisturizers with healing properties. Scoop about a quarter of a teaspoon of organic virgin coconut oil (this is the best brand available to buy) into the palm of your hand and let it melt as it comes up to body temperature. With your fingertips, massage oil directly onto scarred skin and let it soak in. There is no need to wash coconut oil away as the vitamins and essential fatty acids will continue to work and improve skin health as long as you wear it. However, if the oil is too heavy for your comfort, leave it on for at least thirty minutes before removing with an all-natural cleanser.

4. Cucumber

Cucumbers are a popular ingredient in facial treatments for good reason. This vegetable is not only super hydrating, cucumber also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium – all of which are great for your skin. To use this treatment for healing acne scars just pick up an organic cucumber from your local market, cut off a few thin slices, and lay them over your scarred skin. After about thirty minutes, discard the cucumber slices and rinse your face with cool water. Repeat daily as desired.

5. Honey

Another natural moisturizer which can help heal scars is honey. It is best to use raw honey, not the processed kind found on the shelves of most chain grocery stores. To obtain the best quality, try your local farmer’s market or this is a good option available on Amazon. Once you’ve gotten the good stuff, simply massage a small amount of honey over your scars and let this wonder of nature work its magic. You can also mix about a teaspoon of ground cinnamon per two tablespoons of honey for added pore-cleansing power. Use this treatment as often and for as long as you like.

6. Lemon

Lemon juice is a natural alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that can be used to fade scars, promote healing, and revitalize skin. Simply squeeze the juice from one organic lemon into a small bowl. You can use this treatment undiluted or mixed with water if you have sensitive skin. Dab juice over scars with a cotton ball and let it dry completely. Then rinse your face with cool water and follow up with a natural moisturizer. Repeat this treatment once every two or three days.

Remember that lemon juice will make skin more sensitive to UV radiation, so it’s best to avoid direct sunlight for a while after using this treatment.

7. Potato Juice

Vitamin- and mineral-rich potato is another vegetable which is great for skin health and healing. Use the juice of a fresh organic potato to fade acne and pimple scars by cutting off a few thin slices and applying them directly to affected areas. Alternately, you can cut thicker slices and apply the juice by massaging them over scars. For best results, leave potato juice on your skin for at least fifteen minutes before rinsing off with warm water. You can do this up to once per day.

8. Rose Hip Seed Oil

Rose hip seed oil is in a class by itself when it comes to promoting naturally healthy skin. For maximum health benefits, be sure to use organic cold-pressed oil. Apply this light-weight, non-greasy treatment once or twice each day to reap the benefits of its essential fatty acids and high concentration of trans-retinoic acid – a natural form of vitamin A found in rose hip seeds. Try this 100% organic rose hip seed oil in conjunction with a derma roller to heal scars even faster!

9. Sugar Scrub

For a more therapeutic way to heal acne scars, make yourself a homemade sugar scrub. Sugar cane contains glycolic acid, another alpha hydroxy acid that removes dead skin and promotes cell regeneration. Simply mix raw organic cane sugar with virgin olive oil at a two-to-one ratio then add several drops of organic lemon juice until your scrub is workable, but not too watery. Apply sugar scrub to scars about once every two or three days. Leave on for about fifteen minutes and remember to follow up with a good natural moisturizer!

10. Vitamin E

Probably the easiest way to use vitamin E for healing scars is to simply puncture the end of a gel capsule and squeeze the contents onto your fingertip. Apply the oil directly to scarred skin or mix it into your daily moisturizer to help heal acne and pimple scars faster.

6 Ways to Reduce Period Pain

Do you dread your monthly cycle due to painful cramps? Many women suffer from painful periods, unaware of the effective natural remedies that can make their periods more comfortable. In my practice as an acupuncturist, I’ve seen many patients go from taking maximum doses of ibuprofen or acetaminophen during their periods to using little or none at all, just by implementing a few simple strategies.

You may wonder why you have to suffer through cramps in the first place. The explanation lies in the fact that your uterus must shed its natural lining each month–a job that requires your uterine muscle to contract. As it contracts, blood vessels that supply the uterus become constricted, which reduces blood flow and results in pain. For some women, the hormonal changes that trigger menstruation may be more pronounced, causing the uterus to contract overzealously–and more painfully.

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, excessive menstrual pain is considered a condition of “stagnation.” Stagnation refers to a lack of energy (in this case, blood) flowing through an organ. With menstrual cramps, stagnation is thought to lodge in the lower abdomen and become irritated or activated when the body tries to start shedding tissue.

To address the excess contraction and constriction that cause painful periods, try the following tips. The idea is to help regulate blood flow in the lower abdomen, normalize smooth muscle contraction, and reduce cramps.  You can try them one at a time and see which approach works best for you, or you can try them all together to achieve maximum effect.

1. Supplement Yourself

Take calcium and magnesium supplements throughout the month, as these nutrients work in concert to aid muscle relaxation. You should aim for a total of about 1000mg of calcium daily, and up to 500mg of magnesium daily.  If you experience loose stools, reduce the dose. (Note: we recommend you use calcium citrate, because it tends to be more easily absorbed into the system than calcium carbonate.)

2. Try a Tea

Raspberry leaf is considered to be a mild uterine tonic. Try a cup of raspberry leaf tea each day throughout the month. It is available at Whole Foods by the company Traditional Medicinals. Keep in mind you are looking for the herbal tea, not raspberry-flavored black tea!

3. Eat More Greens

Dark leafy greens are a dietary source of magnesium, calcium, and countless other micronutrients.  These nutrients are essential for mediating muscle contractions. In Chinese dietary therapy, dark green vegetables are also considered to be mildly cleansing, which is what the body needs in a “stagnation” condition. Some greens such as dandelion greens (very bitter, but very helpful) also have a mild diuretic effect, which reduces bloating.

4. Cut Down on Coffee

Caffeine, especially from coffee, is a well-known vasoconstrictor – it makes blood vessels constrict.  Indeed, it may cause the vessels that feed the uterus to tighten more than they do in non-coffee drinkers.  If you’re a diehard coffee drinker and can’t cut it out entirely, try avoiding it just in the week before your period and see if you notice a change.

5. Use a Heating Pad

A heating pad or hot water bottle is a simple, tried and true way to reduce muscle spasms.

6. Try Acupuncture

Certain acupuncture points are thought to regulate blood flow through the abdominal cavity and relax the nervous system, which can help calm muscular contractions. Studies show that acupuncture is just as effective as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines for reducing pain.

In addition to pain relief, don’t be surprised if these changes also lead to better digestion, better sleep, and a steadier mood.  However, if these measures aren’t enough to improve your quality of life, an acupuncturist or naturopath can offer you further refinement of natural strategies.

Also, keep in mind that excessively painful menstruation can be a sign of a more serious underlying medical issue, such as endometriosis, a uterine infection, or a problem with the uterine anatomy. Don’t forget to consult your primary care provider to make sure these possibilities are addressed, especially if you just can’t seem to get your pain under control.