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10 Benefits Of Aloe Vera You Didn’t Know

10 Benefits Of Aloe Vera You Didn’t Know

Did you know aloe vera can help clear up acne? Or that the oral administration (i.e. aloe juice) of aloe vera may be a useful adjunct for lowering blood sugar in diabetic patients? It may even help prevent certain illnesses due to its incredible antioxidant activity.

When we think of aloe vera, the first thing that usually comes to our minds is using it to sooth and heal sun burns. However, these juicy, nutrient-rich plants are used all across the world in a variety of applications that can do wonders for your health. This makes complete sense when you learn that the plant contains over 75 different nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, phenolic compounds, amino acids, and so much more goodness for our health.

Below is a list of the ten benefits of aloe vera that you probably did not know about:

1. Preventing Illness

Aloe Vera plants contain surprisingly high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals (highly unstable, reactive molecules responsible for aging and cellular damage) in your body, neutralizing them and preventing those cells from exacerbating into diseases such as cancer.

Did you ever think that the age of your aloe vera plant would impact its effectiveness on your health? One very interesting study out of China found that the older the aloe vera plant (Aloe Barbadensis), the stronger the antioxidant/free radical scavenging activity! Specifically, the study found that three-year-old aloe vera extract exhibited the strongest radical scavenging activity of 72.19%, compared to two-year-old and four-year-old counterparts that were also tested (1). Basically, it suggests that Aloe Vera contains different active components and antioxidant active components to different degrees at various stages of development. So make sure to keep you aloe plant for a few years for optimal health benefits.

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2. Aids In Digestion

Aloe Vera contains eight specific enzymes that do miracles for digestion. Specifically, the enzymes contained in aloe vera help the breakdown of food sugars and fats, which ultimately aid digestion and enhance nutrient absorption. Some of these enzymes are called lipases and proteases, and their job is to break down foods and aid digestion.

3. Contains Essential Amino Acids

Did you know that aloe vera contains 19 of the 20 natural amino acids required by the human body? Naturally, our bodies only produce 12 of these essential amino acids. The remaining 8 amino acids (also known as “essential amino” acids) have to be consumed via food or drink. So next time you see an “aloe vera” drink in the store, it may not be a bad idea to have one now and again.

4. Aids In Glowing Skin

We have all heard of the miracles of “mineral makeup” by now, but you probably never would have thought that aloe contains 10 of the most important minerals for your skin {and it’s much cheaper than mineral makeup!}. The key minerals include calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, sodium and zinc. So it may not be a bad idea to put aloe vera gel/extract on your face before bed to get that fresh, lovely glow in the morning.

aloe juice2 - Copy

    5. Helps Cure Acne

    As previously mentioned, aloe contains an array of minerals, one of which is zinc. Zinc us often found in many natural vitamins and skin care products for improving blemishes. Applying aloe both topically and taking it orally can help with your acne. Zinc reduces the amount of natural oil, or sebum, produced in the skin. It may also help heal damaged skin around the acne that develops. Some research even suggests that acne formation is a result in part from lack of zinc in the diet.

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    aloe vera for skin

      6. Reduces Pain

      Aloe Vera contains many enzymes (proteins), but one in particular is responsible for helping reduce pain.  Its name is kinase, and it specifically helps reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin to reduce pain. There are other enzymes in aloe as well that digest all of the dead tissue in your wound, leaving more space for healing, but kinase is the most well known.

      7. Repairs Skin During Frostbite

      There’s nothing worse than having a direct or indirect injury from frostbite.  Overall, there are four stages of frost bite; (A) numbness and redness of the skin (B) swelling, ice formation, blisters, and release of a chemical called “thromboxsne” (pain releasing chemical and blood vessel constrictor) (C) damage extends to the subdermis (deepest layer of skin that attaches bone to skin, and supplies muscle tissue with blood vessels and nerves) (D) full tissue thickness resulting in blood loss and even gangrene. (2).Overall, aloe has been suggested to reduce the level of “thromboxane” (i.e. pain) and has been used clinically on this assumption to treat the more severe blisters where there is structural damage (3,4).

      One interesting clinical trial study found that topical application of aloe vera cream to humans resulted in a 68% full recovery for patients with tissue damage. Contrarily, only 33% of other patients fully healed that received other forms of treatments for tissue cellular damage from frostbite. Another shocking result from this study was that in the first group only 7% required an amputation, compared with the 33% in the second group (5).

      8. Anti-Cancer Activity

      We all know aloe’s incredible ability to heal wounds, reduce pain and help clear skin, but did you know some researchers have found it to be an incredible active agent for tumor prevention? Although the research is still not complete as to whether or not aloe actually suppresses cancer, one study and set of results from Japan really stood out (6). The study surveyed a large group of lung cancer and smoking patients in Japan and found that the ingestion of aloe ‘juice’, presumably the gel, prevented pulmonary carcinogenesis (cancer in respiratory area) and was said to also prevent stomach and colon cancer (6).

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      9. Hair Growth

      Aloe Vera activates new hair growth along with the growth of already existing hair follicles by increasing the blood circulation to the scalp. Aloe Vera contains a kind of enzyme that helps in new hair growth for some people. It also cleanses the scalp by balancing the pH level of the scalp. When the scalp is clean and blood circulation to the scalp is good, nothing can stop the proper and faster hair growth.

      10. Reduces Blood Sugar

      Diabetes is a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism characterized by a lowered insulin secretion (i.e. your body’s pancreas has a hard time converting sugar into energy). However, the causes, symptoms and treatments are varied and need to be carefully distinguished. However, one interesting study really stood out and deemed aloe useful for diabetes sufferers, or those who have trouble controlling sugar cravings/blood sugar. The study involved over 3000 “mildly” diabetic Indian patients and found a reduction in blood sugar levels in 90% of the cases after the patients were fed with bread that had incorporated aloe gel (7).

      Decreased wound healing is also a common symptom associated with diabetes. Aloe vera gel has even been found to have great inflammation-reducing properties in chemically induced diabetic mice {pretty cool!}. In a later trial, both excision and incision wounds in chemically induced diabetic rats healed more rapidly after both oral or topical applications of aloe gel when compared to another traditional chemical used for wound reduction in diabetics. (8)

      As you can now see, aloe vera plants pack a lot of benefits in their skinny little leafs. Refreshing, cleansing, healing, invigorating and detoxifying, aloe vera can make a great addition to your home life and improve your health.

      References

      (1) Yun, H., Juan, X., and Qiuhui, H., 2003. Evaluation of Antioxidant Potential of Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) Extract. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 51 (26), 7788-7791.

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      (2) McCauley, R.L., Heggers, J.P., Robson, M.C., 1990. Frostbite. Methods to minimize tissue loss. Postgraduate Medicine 88, 73-77.

      (3) Raine, T.J., London, M.D., Goluch, L., Heggers, J.P., Robson, M.C., 1980. Antiprostaglandins and antithromboxanes for treatment of frostbite. American College of Surgeons 1980 Surgical Forum 31, 557-559.

      (4) McCauley, R.L., Hing, D.N., Robson, M.C., Heggers, J.P, 1983. Frostbite injuries: a rational approach based on the pathophysiology. Journal of Tramua 23, 143-147.

      (5) Heggers, J.O., Pilllips, L.G., McCauley, R.L., Robson, M.C., 1990. Frostbite: experimental and clinical evaluations of treatment. Journal of Wilderness Medicine 1, 27-32.

      (6) Sakai, R., 1989. Epidemiologic survey on lunch cancer with respect to cigarette smoking and plant diet. Japanese Journal of Cancer Research 80, 513-520.

      (7) Agarwal, O.P., 1985. Prevention of atheromatous heart disease. Angiology 36, 485-492.

      (8) Davis, R.H., Maro, N.P., 1989. Aloe vera and gibberllin. Anti inflammatory activity in diabetes. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association 79, 24-26.

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      Last Updated on January 17, 2019

      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

      In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

      Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

      Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

      Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

      Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

      The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

      There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

      How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

      According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

      Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

      Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

      The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

      Listen carefully:

      We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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      The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

      Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

      8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

      There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

      Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

      1. Pray Daily

      You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

      When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

      Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

      Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

      2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

      A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

      By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

      Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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      If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

      This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

      How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

      3. Smile Often

      Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

      Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

      Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

      The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

      4. Organize Your Working Desk

      A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

      When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

      Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

      Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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      5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

      I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

      Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

      What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

      6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

      God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

      I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

      I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

      7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

      You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

      How do you do that? This is my formula:

      First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

      If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

      If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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      If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

      Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

      8. Go Exercise

      Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

      The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

      You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

      12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

      The Bottom Line

      It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

      It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

      Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

      More Resources About Mindfulness

      Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

      Reference

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