Tag Archives: antioxidants

6 Benefits of the Goji Berry: A Tiny, Totally Awesome Fruit

Small, slightly sweet, and packed with antioxidants, the goji berry packs so many benefits that it may just be your new favorite fruit. It’s been used for centuries around the world as a dietary supplement. But the benefits of this unassuming little fruit go beyond the diet, and some of the health benefits might surprise you.

The Healthy Goji Berry: Small But Powerful

We have other favorite fruits at Soap Hope, but the goji berry just might top our list. A goji berry is about the size of the tip of your pinky finger. This fruit is a member of the nightshade family of plants — an important family of flowering plants that range from annual and perennial herbs to vines, shrubs, and trees. The bright, orange-red berry is mostly commonly grown in China, but can also be found in increasing frequency in countries like the Canada and the United States.

Occasionally referred to as wolf berries, they are often damaged during picking. As a result, you’ll often be able to find goji berries in a dried form as a way to preserve them. The most common dietary uses for goji berries are eating the dried fruit or drinking them as a fruit juice. When it comes to goji berries and skin care, the oil from the berries is extracted and used because of its high concentration of minerals and essential amino acids, as we’ll explain below.

6 Benefits of the Berry

This infographic highlights six benefits of the goji berry, including: as a natural remedy for diabetes, immune system boost, healthy & glowing skin, reducing fatigue, antioxidant properties, and amino acid powerhouse.

1) Natural Remedy

Goji berries have been used as natural remedies for diabetes, hypertension, and even malaria. That’s because this little fruit is a natural antioxidant and full of nutrients that support bodily functions.

Antioxidants counteract the chemicals caused by free radicals, substances that occur naturally in our body. When free radicals are produced in excess, it can cause cell damage.

From WebMD: “Chinese research has shown a standardised dose of goji berry extract given over a month-long trial helped boost levels of protective antioxidant liver enzymes, and reduced by-products of oxidative damage in the blood by almost 10%.”

2) Immune System Boost

Because of its antioxidant superpowers, goji berries can help boost your immune system and its functions. The berries also contain vitamin A, which supports your body’s ability to fight off sickness.

3) Healthy, Glowing Skin

Many have praised the goji berry for its anti-aging potential. The fruit contains 11 of the 22 essential dietary trace minerals, including calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc, along with amino acids. All of these vitamins and nutrients make the goji berry a powerhouse of skin care. This berry supports skin hydration and improves the tone of your skin.

4) Lighten Up the Mood

For many years, goji berry has been used in tonics or as an extract to improve mood and overall well-being. Goji berries contain complex starches (Lycium barbarum polysaccharides) which benefit immune function and reduce fatigue.

5) Aging Gracefully

The goji berry has a reputation for preserving long life. In China’s first herbal encyclopedia, “Shen Nong’s Materia Medica,” the goji was deemed a “superior tonic.” People used the berry in teas and tonics to strengthen the liver, purify the blood, protect healthy vision, and promote higher energy.

While there is not yet enough medical research to support the goji berry as a “fountain of youth,” the antioxidant properties, amino acids, and vitamins contained in the berry all support healthier bodily functions and even protect against age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.

6) Overall Powerhouse

The goji berry contains essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are important for the growth and recovery of muscle tissue. While our bodies can make some of these building blocks (called non-essential amino acids), we have to obtain others (essential amino acids) from food or supplements, like the goji.

Small Berry, Big Benefits

All of these amazing properties make the tiny goji berry a powerful addition to any health or skin care regimen.

Natural ingredients like the goji berry deliver so many benefits to the human body. So, it’s no wonder we look for them in our skin and health care products here at Soap Hope.

(It’s important to note that the goji berry isn’t for everyone — people who use blood thinners or other medication could have a negative reaction. You should consult with your doctor first before trying any kind of natural remedy.)

Is this your first time learning about the goji berry? If so, what questions do you have for us?

What is in Coconut Oil? 5 Things that Make it So Good

It seems like every few years there’s a new buzzworthy ingredient in natural health and beauty products, like argan oil and rosemary. The popular ingredient these days appears to be coconut oil. But what is in coconut oil that makes it so good for your face and skin?

I’ve heard that “coconut oil is the new duct tape; it fixes everything.” And while you may not be able to fix a broken bumper with it, coconut oil is being buzzed about for very good reason.

It’s touted as the ideal ingredient for lustrous hair, luminous skin, strong nails, and healthy digestion. In this article, we’ll focus on the benefits of coconut oil for your skin.

So, What is in Coconut Oil?

Much has been said about the benefits of coconut oil as a dietary supplement, but its benefits go beyond only internal. Here’s a quick breakdown of the naturally occurring elements of coconut oil that make it beneficial to the human body in so many ways:

  1. Antioxidant properties of Vitamin E contribute to healthy skin growth and renewal, and aids in prevention of premature aging.
  2. Proteins aid in cellular health and tissue repair, improving healing time of damaged tissues and ensuring healthy cell replacement rates.
  3. The natural pH balance of raw coconut oil is 7.3, a near perfect balance for the human body.
  4. The type of fatty acids in coconut oil, Medium Chain Triglycerides, are more easily digested and used by the body than other types of more common fatty acids.
  5. Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial, making it an excellent cleansing agent for the skin.

They’re Even Better Together

All of the elements in coconut oil make this natural ingredient a fantastic health and beauty aid all by itself. But in combination with other natural, gentle elements like exfoliating scrubs or other moisturizing agents, the complimentary effects can be greatly enhanced:

  • With a body scrub or exfoliant, the natural oils aid in clearing skin and pores of sebum and increase cell regeneration for healthy, glowing skin.
  • In a moisturizer, coconut oil offers deep hydration very similar to the natural oils in our skin. It also helps to soothe and prevent dry, cracked skin, and heal acne.
  • In hair products, coconut oil moisturizes and hydrates, adding luster and shine back to dry, damaged hair.
If you’re ready to add coconut oil to your health and beauty regimen, check out our favorites from Deep Steep’s collection of coconut based products.

As an added bonus, here is a wonderful DIY Coconut Oil Hair Treatment, courtesy of Hair Love on Pinterest:

Deep Conditioning Coconut Oil Hair Treatment

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

The Many Health Benefits of Rosemary (Pt. 2)

A couple weeks ago, we waxed poetic about the many benefits that rosemary brings to the table. If you missed out, click here and feel free to catch up on things.

Back? Good. Now that you’re here, we can go over even MORE advantages to using rosemary.

Rosemary – An Awesome Antioxidant

Rosemary is an antioxidant, rather than a preservative.

Technically, a preservative is a synthetic chemical that prevents decay and spoilage. An antioxidant is a naturally occurring element that helps to slow oxidation, which causes decay, spoilage and cellular breakdown.

Rosemary contains over a dozen antioxidant elements, including vitamin E, which makes it extremely useful in preserving organic products.

Synthetic preservatives will help a product last longer but can be dangerous to your health. Antioxidants slow the process of decay and spoilage without harming you or the environment; in fact, antioxidants are extremely beneficial to your health.

All About Oxidation – How It Affects Your Food, Body and Soap

Knowing about cellular breakdown is not just for chemists; oxidation affects us on a daily basis and has serious health implications.

WARNING: SCIENCE AHEAD.

atom with electronsTo start with, atoms need an even number of electrons to maintain stability, which allows whatever material they compose (organic or mineral) to function properly.

During the oxidation process, light and oxygen come in contact with an atom, which causes it to lose an electron and become unstable. Unstable atoms with an odd number of electrons are called free radicals, the kind of elements that cause decomposition and decay.

The term “free radicals” is often used when talking about the health benefits of pomegranate juice or green tea. On a chemical level, free radicals are like atomic thieves. To become stable again with an even number of electrons, the free radical must steal an electron from another atom. This causes a chain reaction of unstable atoms stealing from each other.

In organic matter, these unstable atoms can cause an entire cell to die, leaving leftover unstable atoms whizzing around to wreak havoc on an ever increasing number of other atoms.

This process causes organic material to decompose and eventually spoil. The oxidation of oils (called lipid oxidation) in all-natural soap can cause it to disintegrate and lose its cleansing and rejuvenating effects – unless a natural ingredient like rosemary is added to stop the process.

Free radicals are especially harmful because they cause this chain reaction of electron thievery and cellular death in human systems as well – the results of which include cancer and premature aging.

Antioxidants like rosemary stop the chain reaction of oxidation by “donating” one of their own electrons to the free radicals, which keeps atoms stable and cells healthy.

For this reason antioxidants are attributed with the ability to increase product shelf life, prevent cancer, lengthen life spans and slow aging.

Next time you buy pomegranate juice at the grocery store or order rosemary products from Soap Hope, you’ll know why antioxidants receive so much attention.

Antioxidants and Skin Care

In order to keep every ingredient all-natural, soap makers use antioxidants like rosemary. All-natural soap products contain essential plant oils, olive or coconut oil, or goat’s milk, which means they contain lipids, leaving them vulnerable to oxidation.

hand washingFor longer product shelf life in all-natural products, an antioxidant is a powerful alternative to synthetic preservatives. When used as preserving ingredient, antioxidants like rosemary are used in small extract amounts.

Applying products topically can affect your internal systems as well; what is good on the body is good in the body.

That’s why we’re such big fans of ingredients like rosemary in our products. Here are a few of our favorites!

 

 

 

The Many Health Benefits of Rosemary You Need to Know About

Rosemary’s uses date back as far as 500 BC in Greece and Rome, when it was commonly used to stimulate and strengthen memory. Throughout centuries the fragrant herb has been used in various mystical and religious applications.

While these uses are less commonly employed today, many of the historical uses of rosemary have carried into modern times.

The Many Uses of Rosemary

Promoting healthy skin and hair: Rosemary contains riboflavin (vitamin B2) which is part of what makes it a stimulant. When applied to skin and hair it aids in the regeneration of healthy cells. Using rosemary in shampoo encourages faster-growing and stronger hair. When soap or body wash made with rosemary is used skin tends to look and feel younger. Rosemary is also an astringent, which aids in maintaining the buoyancy of skin.

Inciting memory and increasing mental activity: Certain research indicates that rosemary helps to prevent the breakdown of neurotransmitters in the brain. In a study conducted by Dr. Mark Moss of the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, results showed that workers in rosemary-infused cubicles exhibited better long-term memory and reported feeling more alert than those in untreated cubicles. For this property, Rosemary has been nicknamed the “herb of remembrance.”

Detoxifying: Rosemary’s antiseptic properties help remove toxins from your skin and hair.

Healing: Rosemary also has anti-inflammatory properties, which help heal skin conditions such as acne, eczema and dermatitis. It is also known to ease puffiness or swelling.

The Importance of Antioxidants

Rosemary is perhaps best known for its preservative qualities as an antioxidant.

The plant and its essential oils have been used as natural “preservatives” for centuries, most commonly for meat and other food products. Today it is also widely used as a protecting element in all-natural body care products.

For the same reasons antioxidants are useful as preserving elements in all-natural products, they are also useful for keeping your body healthy. When applied topically, rosemary’s antioxidizing abilities can keep your skin, hair and body looking and feeling young.

Antioxidants are known to “preserve” youth and although the aging process is inevitable, there are ways in which antioxidants maintain health and protect your body from harmful external elements:

  • Stimulate cell growth: Help hair grow faster and stronger and are even known to slow premature graying
  • Protects skin: Shield skin from UV rays to prevent skin damage, keeping skin looking young for longer
  • Stimulate circulation: Aid in lowering blood pressure
    Incite memory and slows memory loss: The alerting scent of rosemary can promote mental stimulation
  • Slow onset of Alzheimer’s: Research conducted by Dr. James Duke, former researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, indicates that the dozen antioxidants in rosemary can slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Detoxifies: Many clinical studies have demonstrated strong links between chemical carcinogens and cancer. Research conducted by Dr. Keith Singletary at the University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition indicates that the antioxidants in rosemary have significant impact on the removal of chemical carcinogens.

To help you remember all of these great benefits, we came up with this handy infographic to share with your friends!

Rosemary Health Benefits (1)

 

 

Want more rosemary in your skin care routine? Check out these great products from Soap Hope that include all of the benefits we’ve talked about!

Please note that another version of this post was published previously on our website.