The Benefits of Pumpkin for Your Skin

The Benefits of Pumpkin for Your Skin

Ah, Autumn. Also known as Pumpkin Spice season. Every year around this time, pumpkin-flavored everything makes its annual appearance. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, even pumpkin chili hits the shelves of stores and restaurants.  

While you are likely familiar with all of the ways to eat this versatile veggie, did you know pumpkin also greatly benefits the skin?  

It Starts with Super Ingredients

From the seeds to the flesh, pumpkins are loaded with nutrients that are helpful for the skin. Since pumpkin has a small molecular structure, it can penetrate deep into the skin. These nutrients do everything from hydrating to repairing damage from the inside out. Some of the beneficial enzymes and vitamins in pumpkin include:

 

  • Alpha hydroxy acids
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Beta-carotene
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Awesome Anti-Aging Benefits

Pumpkins contain enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids that break down dead skin cells. By removing dead skin cells, normal cell regeneration speeds up. This has a smoothing and brightening effect, resulting in glowing skin.

Pumpkin enzymes are plentiful in antioxidant-rich vitamins A and C. These amazing ingredients refine and soothe the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. 

A derivative of vitamin A, beta-carotene, boosts collagen production to help minimize wrinkles. Beta-carotene also helps to reverse UV damage and improve uneven skin pigmentation. So, if you have any dark spots or freckles, pumpkin is the superfood for you. 

Because of its high content of magnesium, zinc, and antioxidants, the pumpkin seed oil is especially useful in preventing the signs of aging. It promotes moisture retention and improves the skin’s elasticity.  

Fights Free Radicals

Free radicals are skin-damaging molecules in our environment: light, smog, cigarette smoke, and fried foods – just to name a few. They speed up the aging process and may even be linked to cancer.

The vitamin C and beta-carotene in pumpkin works to combat free radicals. Both nutrients reverse UV damage and counteract free radical effects on the skin.

Using pumpkin to fight free radicals is easy. Make a simple pumpkin puree mask by spreading it onto your skin and allowing it to sit for 30 minutes.

Solves Skin Problems

Pumpkins have powerful acne-fighting and oil regulating properties. Thanks to a potent combination of zinc, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, you can ditch the zits.

Along with potassium and magnesium, zinc regulates oil production in the skin. This removes those obnoxious, overly oily and dry areas. Zinc also works in tandem with vitamin E to fight acne breakouts and improve skin tone. At the same time, anti-inflammatory vitamin A minimizes acne scarring.

Zinc, vitamin E, and omega 3- and 6- fatty acids are especially concentrated in pumpkin seeds. Simply eating these seeds is a great way to reap their many benefits. Roast pumpkin seeds at home (it’s super easy!) and then enjoy them on their own or sprinkled into yogurt or trail mix.

Hair Regrowth

Hair-Loss-or-Thinning

Pumpkin can also help with hair loss or thinning. It is full of minerals like potassium and zinc which work to keep hair healthy and promote re-growth.

Pumpkin is also a good source of folate, a B vitamin that helps improve blood circulation which stimulates hair growth.

Fight Dry Skin

Fight-Dry-Skin

Pumpkin has the power to penetrate deep into skin to provide many benefits. It’s full of the antioxidants, Vitamin A and Vitamin C, that both help to soften and soothe dry skin. Pumpkin also boosts collagen production which keeps skin from looking cracked and scaly.

If you want to protect your skin from becoming dry, pumpkin will do the trick. It’s are rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E that nourish the skin and fight free radicals.

Bonus – Recipes Packed Full of Pumpkin

Recipes-for-Pumpkin

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Ingredients

1/2 c. Warm Whole Milk (105ºF)
1/4 c. Honey, Divided
2 1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1/4 c. Salted Butter, Melted
1 can (15 Oz. Size) Canned Pumpkin (Not Pumpkin Pie Filling Or Mix)
1 Large Egg
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
5 c. All-purpose Flour, Or More As Needed

Directions

Place warm milk and 1 teaspoon of the honey in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top. Allow to activate for 5 minutes.

Place milk mixture and remaining ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed for 15 minutes. You can add more flour if dough is extremely wet, but dough should be quite sticky and won’t clean the sides of the bowl completely.

Scrape dough into a large, generously greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Scoop dough out onto a piece of parchment paper or a greased work surface. Divide dough into 15 to 24 pieces, depending on how large of rolls you prefer. Using buttered hands, shape the pieces into balls by first pinching the edges into the center, then rolling the ball on your work surface to create surface tension. Place in a greased 13×9-inch pan or 10- to 12-inch cast iron skillet.

Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until the rolls fill the pan, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Half an hour before the rolls are done proofing, preheat oven to 375° F. Bake risen rolls for 25–30 minutes, or until golden and an instant read thermometer registers 200° F when inserted into the center of one of the rolls.

Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack to cool further. Serve warm or at room temperature (with butter, of course!).

Pumpkin-Hard Cider Cheese Dip

Ingredients

4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 12-ounce bottle hard cider
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh chives, for topping

Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and garlic; cook, stirring, until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cider, pumpkin puree, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pie spice and cayenne until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Gradually whisk in the cream cheese and cheddar until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer the dip to a bowl, top with the bacon and chives.

Serve with sliced apples or raisin-nut bread.

Pumpkins are much more than just recipe ingredients or decorations. They also have amazing skincare benefits. Reversing the signs of aging, fighting acne, and improving skin texture are just some of the powers pumpkins hold. This October, before tossing your jack-o-lantern, consider using the remains for the benefit of your skin.

While pumpkin may be the perfect fruit for your complexion and health, it may not be enough. Whether you’re looking for a brighter glow or ways to get rid of wrinkles, contact us. At NJVVC we sell professional skincare products that will have you looking like a younger, happier you.

Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published on January 30, 2019. It has been updated to include additional information.

12 Simple Ways to Improve Circulation

12 Simple Ways to Improve Circulation

Your circulatory system is your body’s method of distributing both nutrients and oxygen. It also functions to clean your body, whisking away carbon dioxide and waste products from all areas. It is very important to keep your blood circulating well so that your body gets all the support it needs to survive. Which is why we have compiled a list of the simplest ways to improve circulation and stay healthy.

The symptoms of poor circulation can vary. Some people experience slight tingling in their extremities, while others might develop varicose veins in their legs. Whatever the symptoms, inadequate blood flow is a major risk factor for issues like heart attacks, strokes, and even amputation of limbs.

Proper circulation is vital for one’s health, and can also prevent varicose veins. If you’re worried about your circulation or experience pain or coldness in certain areas, you should contact your doctor immediately, as this may be indicative of poor blood flow. With these tips in mind, it is easier than ever to prevent and improve poor circulation to keep yourself healthy.

Take a Walk

Poor circulation can be a problem for those who stand for extended periods of time at work. In this position, the blood simply is not recirculating adequately in the body, and it can result in extreme pain in the legs and feet. According to this study, the simple act of walking every day can dramatically increase the circulation throughout your body.

If you find yourself standing for too long, or remaining sedentary for any reason, find a friend, go for a walk, and get that blood moving. A simple exercise like walking is enough to stretch your muscles and restore blood flow.

Stop Smoking

It’s no secret that smoking cigarettes leads to a host of health problems. Not least among them is the fact that cigarettes are extremely damaging to cardiovascular health. Smoking causes swelling of the wrists and ankles. It damages your cells on a molecular level and can increase the risk of blood clots.

Cigarettes kill 140,000 people in America because of their impact on cardiovascular health. Quitting cigarettes is one of the best things you can do to ensure your vital organs receive an increased amount of oxygenated blood.

Try Swedish Massage

A therapeutic Swedish massage, available at most spas, is a luxurious getaway for your body and mind. Though relaxation is tied to healthier blood flow, massage therapy has been shown to increase local blood circulation and lymphatic flow. Trained massage therapists know how to increase your circulation through specialty strokes throughout the session.

Do Some Yoga to Improve Circulation

Regular, gentle yoga is another pleasant alternative therapy for improving circulation. Studies have shown that certain yoga poses have proven beneficial for cardiovascular health, and offer a myriad of other health benefits as well.

The best part about yoga is that simple exercises and stretches can be safely done in the comfort of your own home, without expensive equipment or gym fees.

Put Those Feet Up

Aside from the fact that you deserve a break at the end of a long, exhausting day, there are legitimate health reasons to put your feet up daily. Gravity can cause fluids to build up in your lower limbs if you’re on your feet all day. Laying down with your feet elevated about six inches above your torso is a great way to reduce swelling.

Elevating your feet lets gravity help your blood flow establish a more natural rhythm, especially if you’ve spent a great portion of your day on your feet.

Decrease Stress

When you’re stressed out, your body produces higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which is linked to cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure. Studies have shown that stress significantly decreases the amount of oxygenated blood flow to the heart.

If you’re experiencing elevated levels of stress, it’s likely impacting your circulation. Try to focus on mediating that stress in your life. Whether you de-stress through hobby time, meditation, phone calls with friends, listening to music, or journaling, make sure you prioritize your peace of mind.

Losing Weight Will Improve Circulation

Like quitting smoking, losing weight takes a little more of a lifestyle change to implement. Weight gain restricts blood flow due to endothelial dysfunction, blocking circulation to the limbs. It’s been shown that having excess fat, especially belly fat, can make it more difficult for your abdominal arteries to expand. This means less blood flow throughout the rest of your body.

Losing weight can help take pressure off those arteries, and lead to better circulation.

Wear Compression Stockings or Socks

Compression stockings are long, tight socks that hug your lower legs and improve blood circulation. They counteract the tendency of blood to pool in the lower legs.  Compression socks squeeze your vein walls in such a way that the blood returns to the heart from the legs more easily. They help mimic the muscle movement created by walking even when you’re sitting still. This discourages stiffness and swelling, and is very useful for people who work long hours sitting at a desk.

Compression socks can be purchased in a variety of styles, fabrics, colors, and levels of compression. Some are designed for dress, casual, and sports, in open and closed toe. There are four main levels of compression from 8-15 mmHg to 30-40 mmHg. The lower the number, the milder the compression. People in many professions wear compression socks daily to improve circulation, and prevent leg fatigue and swelling.

Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Pomegranates and blueberries are great sources of antioxidants, which are thought to increase blood flow by neutralizing free radicals, which can damage your cells. Some other super foods to include in your diet to increase circulation are grapes, nuts, dark green veggies, sweet potatoes, beans and fish.

Wear the Right Clothes

Tight clothing prevents blood flow by placing pressure on the skin. Loose clothing allows blood to flow freely without restriction. Shoes that are too tight or at an odd angle (like high heels) force your feet into uncomfortable positions, causing swelling in the feet and ankles which restricts blood flow.

Choose clothes and shoes that are comfortable if you know you will be on your feet for long periods of time. Save those more form fitting clothes and high heels for date night or special occasions.

Don’t Cross Your Legs

Crossing your legs while sitting can restrict blood flow. Sitting with both feet flat on the ground helps prevent this. If you typically cross your legs, this can be a difficult habit to break, but it is highly recommended that you give it a try.

Crossing your legs not only hinders circulation but it can also lead to poor posture, back pain and leg stiffness.

Drink Water

Your body needs water to move nutrients and waste throughout the blood. It helps keep both your blood and skin cells hydrated so they can repair themselves efficiently. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems.

Keep water on hand and drink it regularly throughout the day. Drinking water will improve circulation, brain function and heart problems.

Poor circulation is a serious health threat that afflicts many Americans, but there are plenty of interventions to consider. If you have been giving extra thought to improving your circulation, the professionals at New Jersey Vein and Vascular Center can help answer questions about vascular health, blood flow, and varicose veins.

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