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How your diet could be causing puffy under-eyes – and the foods to avoid

We have all tried the drugstore concoctions and expensive creams to try to eliminate our puffy under eye bags before a work meeting or dinner date – but the only way to help reduce puffiness and dark circles is to understand where it is stemming from.

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Whether it’s lack of sleep, stress or environment, your eyes can be sensitive to puffiness and dark circles. 

We have all tried the drugstore concoctions and expensive creams to try to eliminate our puffy under eye bags before a work meeting or dinner date – but the only way to help reduce puffiness and dark circles is to understand where it is stemming from. 

Roshni Patel, BSC (Hons) MCOptom reveals the truth behind bags under our eyes, the causes of them and some advice on how to help reduce them;

‘Bags under the eyes are commonly associated with a lack of sleep, and appear as mild swelling or puffiness under the eyes, primarily as a result of fluid accumulation. They are predominantly a cosmetic concern and rarely ever are a sign of a serious medical condition.’

‘Though the most recognisable and familiar is a lack of sleep, eye bags can result from a wide variety of different causes’.

1. Fluid retention

Fluid retention can become more of a problem as we age. The skin under the eyelid becomes thinner and can result in puffy eyes.

This can be especially more noticeable in the morning and can be prominent after having a salty meal, which causes greater fluid retention in the body. 

2. Allergies

Pollen, dust and pet allergies are a common reason why people suffer with puffy eye bags. If you are not sure which is causing it, you can get an appointment with your GP who may refer you to an allergy clinic. This will help determine the cause and hopefully reduce your exposure to the allergen. 

3. Smoking

Smoking can contribute towards puffy eye bags as the nicotine found in cigarettes disrupts sleep patterns. This does not only lead to tiredness but also a build up on fluids as your body has not had a chance to fully rest and restore. Smoking also breaks down skin’s elasticity and collagen production reduces which can cause the skin to look puffy or sag. 

4. A hereditary condition

Unfortunately for some, puffy under eyes is not to do with their outside environment but is a hereditary condition. Autoimmune conditions are also known to cause puffy under eyes. If you do have a family history of puffy under eye bags, people do find cold compresses in the morning or before you go out can reduce the appearance temporarily. 

5. Sun exposure

Much like when we burn, our bodies are defending our skin from further damage. If your eyes are suffering from too much sun exposure, then the natural response is inflammatory – this is your body’s way of trying to protect your eyes. Sun damage and excess heat commonly cause swelling and puffiness. 

6. Eczema

For those living with eczema, the winter air can make puffy eyes considerably worse – this is due to the dry air. Atopic dermatitis can occur, causing irritation around the eyes and eyelid, this can lead to puffiness as the skin’s natural defence mechanism is to protect your eyes. 

So, how can we remedy our puffy eye bags? 

  • Longer and more consistent sleep: lack of rest is the most common reason for eye bags, but sleeping efficiently with regular hours can contribute to a healthier lifestyle in general.
  • Use antihistamines: allergies can sometimes result in puffy eyes. By taking antihistamines, you can reduce the effects of the allergy, including puffiness.
  • Reduce stress: stress can lead to worse sleep and puffy eyes. Dealing with it with options like exercise and lifestyle decisions can help protect your mental health, and reduce the toll on your body.
  • Eat less salt and have more iron-rich food: salt encourages fluid retention in the body and can result in fluid build-up under the eyes. A reduction in salt intake may assist with reducing puffiness. For those that struggle with anemia, eating iron-rich foods may also help to reduce symptoms as they allow the increase of oxygen to reach the tissues in your body and avoid the appearance of dark circles.
  • Remember to take your makeup off before bed: After a long day, it’s important to wash your face and remove all makeup before going to sleep. Leaving eye makeup on overnight can irritate your eyes and as a result can increase your chances of infection which can make your eyes become red and puffy. 
  • Cold or caffeinated compress: caffeine and cold can both help to lessen the appearance of bags under the eyes. A cool green tea bag applied under the eyes may reduce puffiness.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake: Dehydration can lead to dark circles under your eyes and bags, so cutting out or reducing your intake of alcohol which contributes to dehydration may help relieve this appearance.
  • Use sun cream: sun exposure can accelerate the effects of ageing and ultimately lead to bags under the eyes as the tissues weaken. Use sun cream to protect your body from UV rays.
  • Include retinol cream in your everyday skin routine – Retinal is a cream that’s been used to tackle acne, aging, psoriasis and even certain cancers, and is an ingredient that is related to vitamin A. Retinal can help tackle eye bags as when applied to the skin it can improve collagen deficiency. It is typically applied as a cream gel or liquid form and is applied once a day.
  • Stay hydrated – dehydration can be a significant factor to experiencing under-eye bags. It’s important we are keeping our water levels replenished each day, with experts recommending drinking around 13 cups of fluids a day for men and 9 for women.

For more information, head to Lenstore at https://www.lenstore.co.uk/eyecare/bags-under-your-eyes.

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What you eat could contribute to your menstrual cramps

Roughly 90% of adolescent girls experience menstrual pain. Most use over-the-counter medicine to manage the pain but with limited positive results. Evidence has highlighted that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in processed foods, oil, and sugar reduce inflammation, a key contributor to menstrual pain.

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Despite the fact that menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) is the leading cause of school absences for adolescent girls, few girls seek treatment. An analysis of relevant studies suggests that diet may be a key contributor, specifically diets high in meat, oil, sugar, salt, and coffee, which have been shown to cause inflammation.

Roughly 90% of adolescent girls experience menstrual pain. Most use over-the-counter medicine to manage the pain but with limited positive results. Evidence has highlighted that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in processed foods, oil, and sugar reduce inflammation, a key contributor to menstrual pain.

This analysis was designed to study the effect of diet on menstrual pain and identify which foods contribute to it and which can reduce it. Research was conducted through a literature review that found multiple studies that examined dietary patterns that resulted in menstrual pain. In general terms, these studies found that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids reduce it. The muscles in the uterus contract because of prostaglandins, which are active in inflammatory responses. When measuring the Dietary Inflammatory Index, it was found that those on a vegan diet (that excluded animal fat) had the lowest rates of inflammation.

“Researching the effects of diet on menstrual pain started as a search to remedy the pain I personally experienced; I wanted to understand the science behind the association. Learning about different foods that increase and decrease inflammation, which subsequently increase or reduce menstrual pain, revealed that diet is one of the many contributors to health outcomes that is often overlooked. I am hopeful that this research can help those who menstruate reduce the pain they experience and shed light on the importance of holistic treatment options,” says Serah Sannoh, lead author of the poster presentation from Rutgers University.

“Since menstrual pain is a leading cause of school absenteeism for adolescent girls, it’s important to explore options that can minimize the pain. Something like diet modification could be a relatively simple solution that could provide substantial relief for them,” said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

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Cultivating well-being in today’s evolving digital world

Manulife invites Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz to share lessons amid digitalization at IMMAP DigiCon Valley 2022.

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As Filipinos navigate today’s evolving digital world and adjust to life-changing disruptions brought by the pandemic, Manulife shared key lessons on how to cope with changes and cultivate one’s overall well-being at this year’s DigiCon Valley 2022, the largest gathering of the digital marketing and advertising industry in the country organized by the Internet & Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP).

Headlining Manulife’s segment were Melissa Henson, Chief Marketing Officer of Manulife Philippines and Hidilyn Diaz, Olympic Gold Medalist and one of Manulife’s brand ambassadors, while actor and stand-up comedian Victor Anastacio served as the host.

At the DigiCon’s special segment, Henson and Diaz shared their insights and personal takeaways based on Manulife’s recently released study, “The Modern Filipino Family: Exploring Family Dynamics in the new normal.” The study aimed to understand how Filipino families adapted to the new normal, as hyper-digitalization has impacted relationships, and has been deeply imbued in everyday decisions at home and in family life.

Make time for self-care and mental wellness

Victor Anastacio started the discussion on the challenges Filipinos faced at the height of the pandemic. “Sobrang daming challenges ang kinaharap natin noong nagsimula ang pandemic – physical, emotional and financial challenges. Lahat ito nakaapekto sa ating pamilya, dahil sa maraming hindi pagkakaintindihan.”

These challenges still impact majority of Filipinos today. While people across generations have said that their well-being has improved compared to during the peak of the pandemic, Generation Zs expressed that they are still grappling with negative pandemic effects. Henson shared: “Our study found that 65% of Gen Zs are dealing with digital fatigue, prompting them to seek more offline interactions with friends and family. They also shared that they are sleep-deprived, developed unhealthy eating habits and have increased occurrence of stress, fatigue, and depression. These younger Filipinos may need further guidance on reacquainting themselves in the real world as they have spent most of their time online in the past two years.”

Younger Filipinos may also look to Generation X and millennials for inspiration and ideas on how to deal with stressors. “Gens X and Y have learned to focus on self-care, mental well-being, and personal development, which helped empower them despite the many changes they’ve had to weather,” Henson added. 

Diaz agreed and emphasized that caring for one’s mental health has a tangible impact on one’s physical well-being too. “When I started training for the Tokyo Olympics, I needed to condition my mind that I could win at hindi ako nag-iisa sa pag-abot ng pangarap na ito. Naging malaking part ng aking preparations ang mental training at eventually, ang ‘”ma-manifest” ko na makakuha ng gold medal.”

Learn to seek help when needed

According to Manulife’s study, more Filipinos have also explored various financial products during the pandemic. In the past 12 months, among those surveyed, 25% of Generation X and 33% of Millennials bought insurance products online, while 41% of Generation Z expressed a desire to purchase insurance in the next 12 months. To guide them in their financial journey and make more informed decisions, Henson emphasized the importance of seeking expert advice to help sift through the overwhelming wealth of information available.

“Seeing how more Filipinos are exploring various financial channels to diversify their portfolios is a good sign that they are actively seeking ways to grow their wealth. However, we will need to double down our efforts to provide them expert financial guidance, so they’ll also understand how to balance risk and reward,” Henson said. “Seeking advice from a financial advisor is one way to help Filipinos get a clearer picture of their financial goals and find ways to achieve them while being conscious of their risk appetites to yield better returns.”

To achieve the historic Olympic gold medal, Diaz also underscored the importance of asking for help, by having people around you whom you can rely on for support. “There is a team behind my success. Hindi ko kakayanin ito ng mag-isa. I needed the support of Team HD, Manulife, at ng aking mga kababayan.

Life has no guarantees, but we can get ahead of uncertainty

The pandemic showed how fast things can change, and Filipinos must be ready to keep up with the pace as it can accelerate further. Such mindset and attitude transcend to Filipinos’ heightened desire for protection and security. “The interest in insurance products and life protection increased during the pandemic because Filipinos became hyper aware of the physical and financial impact of falling ill, and the broader impact of other financial challenges. However, this has been a reactive stance. The power of insurance and financial planning is that it helps us prepare for the unexpected before it happens, so we continue to encourage and empower Filipinos to embrace the value of planning ahead and being financially prepared,” said Henson.

To help Filipinos better prepare for uncertainty, Manulife launched a series of flexible and highly customizable financial solutions that can be tailor-fit depending on needs and budget — HealthFlex, which provides protection coverage for critical illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, and stroke; and FutureBoost, which gives additional rewards on top of insurance protection coverage so Filipinos can grow their wealth simultaneously.

As change is inevitable and developments can be beyond our control, Henson noted that it helps to live by an attitude of lifelong learning. “We are all learning creatures. We always find ways to retool ourselves to better cope with the changes in our environment, which is crucial to making us more resilient.”

Diaz added that just as essential is acquiring knowledge on how to plan ahead. “Having a strong foundation sa kung paano mag-plano para ma-achieve ang financial goals ay crucial para sa kinabukasan natin. Mahalaga na maging mas aware ka sa mga financial options available as early as possible para mas maintindihan ang mga kailangang gawin to achieve your goals. Once you decide to grow your investments, you’ll be more consistent with your decisions to make every day better.”

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Pfizer had no idea if mRNA vaccine would prevent COVID-19 transmission

Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company expected to become a $100 billion giant this year thanks to COVID-19 drug and vaccine, has admitted that it actually had no idea if its mRNA vaccine would prevent transmission of the coronavirus when they released the same.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi from Unsplash.com

Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company expected to become a $100 billion giant this year thanks to COVID-19 drug and vaccine, has admitted that it actually had no idea if its mRNA vaccine would prevent transmission of the coronavirus when they released the same.

One of Pfizer’s top executives, the company’s president of international development markets, Janine Small, stated this when she testified before the COVID committee of the European Parliament. Small was there in place of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla who tested positive for COVID-19 again.

In the exchange that happened in the committee hearing, a Dutch member of the European Parliament asked Small if there is evidence from Pfizer that showed that the vaccine it developed would prevent transmission prior to its wide release in late 2020.

“Was the Pfizer COVID vaccine tested on stopping the transmission of the virus before it entered the market? If not, please say it clearly. If yes, are you willing to share the data with this committee?” the member of parliament specifically asked.

The executive answered: “Regarding the question around, did we know about stopping immunization before it entered the market? No.”

Small added that “we had to really move at the speed of science to really understand what is taking place in the market. And from that point of view, we had to do everything at risk.”

The Dutch politician said that messaging in the past focused on getting vaccinated to one does not spread COVID-19. “If you don’t get vaccinated, you’re anti-social! This is what the Dutch prime minister and health minister told us. You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself, but also for others — you do it for all of society. That’s what they said. Today, this turns out to be complete nonsense.”

The politician said he found the revelations “shocking, even criminal.”

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