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Natural Nigerian Easter Sales Nigeria Lagos

For a week, we are offering a generous 20% off all items in our Ahia.

Please place your order by sending your name, address and phone number to orders@naturalnigerian.com. As long as the item is in stock, we'll sell it!! You can order and pay right through the Easter Holiday (yes, we will answer your mails every single day, even through the weekend).

The only limitation to this order is that we while you can buy anything in the Tropic Isle range - shampoo, hair food, protein conditioner - you can only buy one bottle of the oil per order.

To qualify, you need to quote the code: EASTER20 in your order.

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Hibiscus promotes detoxification

Natural Nigerian Hibiscus Zobo

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Hibiscus calyx, which is commonly known in Nigeria as Zobo, is a rich source of nutrients that activate detoxification.  It literally contains thousands of health-promoting substances.  Of particular interest is a class of compounds called anthocyanins.  These compounds give hibiscus tea its characteristic red hue. Anthocyanins not only activate detoxification enzymes, but signal to cells to assemble more such machines.

Yes, hibiscus speaks to the body.  Nutrients are much more than just calories.  They carry information and instructions.  They initiate and inhibit numerous processes in the body.  The nutrients in Zobo initiate cleansing and regenerative processes.  Whereas the anti-nutrients in say soft drinks, initiate chronic inflammation and oxidative damage.

Hibiscus tea helps resolve metabolic syndrome 

Not surprisingly, hibiscus tea has been found to improve markers of metabolic syndrome.  What is metabolic syndrome?  It is a physiological state marked by the break down of insulin signaling.  This results in abnormally high levels of insulin that create disorder in the body.  Blood sugar and cholesterol levels spike.  Blood vessels harden and stiffen.  Chronic infections run wild as the immune system is subdued.  The liver becomes clogged with fat and cholesterol.  The brain fills up with non-functional, junk protein fibers.  And so on.

Metabolic syndrome is also a cluster of interrelated diseases.  That is, it is the root cause of a family of chronic diseases.  Many chronic diseases appear as if they have little in common.  What does type 2 diabetes have to do with heart disease?  Or kidney stones with cataracts?  Well, they have everything in common.  They are merely manifestations of an underlying disease process.  For example, hypertension, liver disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, glaucoma, dementia, and kidney disease are all impacted by defective insulin signaling (metabolic syndrome).

One way in which hibiscus helps resolve metabolic syndrome is that it promotes the excretion of uric acid.  Metabolic syndrome is associated with excess uric acid in the body.  As the body gradually detoxifies this and other metabolic wastes, the defect in insulin signaling also resolves.  And by so doing, hibiscus calyx helps to resolve the biggest killer of the modern age.

How to prepare hibiscus tea

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 Next week: We get an in-depth look at detoxification.

References: 
  1. C M Gurrola-Díaz, P M García-López, S Sánchez-Enríquez, R Troyo-Sanromán, I Andrade-González, J F Gómez-Leyva. “Effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract powder and preventive treatment (diet) on the lipid profiles of patients with metabolic syndrome”. Phytomedicine. 2010. Web
  2. H Mozaffari-Khosravi, B-A Jalali-Khanabadi, M Afkhami-Ardekani, F Fatehi, M Noori-Shadkam. “The effects of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on hypertension in patients with type II diabetes”. Journal of Human Hypertension. 2009. Web

Ezenwa Onwugbenu is a nutritional healer and public speaker on natural health matters. You can find out more about him and his passion for natural health and living on Creative Juices.

 

Lagos ladies, there is a Hair Salon Open house tomorrow in Lekki Phase 1. My friend, Natural Mane of Deepbrown Kinks who is Ah-mazing!! *sing song voice* with hair has spent some time working with this Salon to make sure that they can handle your hair.

To end her time there, she has convinced them to hold an Open house. Go in for a free hair consultation (you need to get in early if you want to have a good chat with Natural Mane) and to get your hair done at a discounted rates.

As with all things Natural Nigerian supports, it is for Relaxed and Naturals. We don't discriminate! :)

Natural Nigerian Nikki o

I get several questions and emails about which oils are more moisturizing than the others. The simple answer is that no oil is more moisturizing than the other. Reason being that Oils and Butters do not contain any moisture.

When you think of moisture, think about water. Moisture hydrates. Oils do not contain any moisture so they do not hydrate your skin or hair in anyway. In fact, Oils & Butters are described as being Anhydrous (lacking water).

Natural Nigerian Shea Butter

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What oils and butters do well is to trap moisture in your hair or skin depending on where you use it. The thing is, the moisture needs to be there in the first place. That it is why it is always advised that you apply your Butter/Oil straight away a shower when your body is still dewy. You hair should also be sealed with Oil/Butter right after it has been washed or spritzed with a water based liquid.

In the context above, we can begin to discuss which oil/butter will keep that moisture in longer than the other.

That is a post for another day!

* Shea Butter is sold in Ahia Natural Nigerian and can be delivered all over Nigeria. N1500 for 500g

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Four years ago, I moved job locations and into a new job role. My new position meant spending lots of time outdoors in the hot blazing sun. Not surprisingly, I have gotten progressively darker over time.

I did not realize how bad it was until I resumed wearing make-up this year (after a 5 year hiatus) and had to get powder/foundation that matched my skin color. In the past, I only wore a sheer pressed powder but this year I wanted to get creme foundation. I've done a comparison below.

Before and After

I know, right? Unbelievable.

Evidence number 2 of how much my complexion has changed is my older sister.

When we were kids, I was much lighter-complexioned than she was. She caught up a little when we were growing older but right now is shades lighter than I am. And no, folks, she uses no "lightening aids" - creams or pills. She does have a sedentary job that keeps her indoors plus she is so introverted these days that she spends most of her time indoors even when she is on vacation. But c'mmon! Shades lighter? I can't even use her foundation because I am browner than she is.

Apart from being driven by vanity, I was also alarmed for my skin health. We all know that too much sun exposure is bad and may even lead to other complications, cancer included. Obviously I had had a lot of sun exposure.

So what's a girl to do?

Well, I have started taking my sun protection very seriously. Where possible, I wear a hat and sunglasses when I go out in the sun. My floppy hat is a bargain $8 number from Walmart which I can fold and carry wherever I go. I love that I can fold it as I typically do not enter buildings wearing my hat or sunglasses. It is nice to know that I can fold the hat away and not worry about it getting out of shape.

The sunglasses not only add to my sun protection for my skin, but for my eyes as well - they keep me from squinting under the intensely bright sunshine. Suffering from myopia since childhood, I have a fair bit of lines around my eyes - a testament to all the squinting I did when I would inevitably misplace my glasses.

IMG_1202

See how well shaded the top of my face is? My head is turned up towards the light which is why the lower part of my face isn't shaded. Anyhoo, this gives a fair bit of insight into how a simple hat can provide protection.

It is surprising that we are not a hat wearing country - I cannot imagine why - given the amount of sunshine we get here - so I have gotten a lot of questions (and flack) about wearing a hat. Ranging from  "Are you on going to the Caribbean?" To plain ol' "Why are you wearing a hat?" I expected the questions and even the derisive comments I have been getting. I had Natural hair in this country before it was cool. I know that I can manage wearing a hat even though it is not popular. Another picture of me wearing my hat and shades here.

Concerned with the state of my skin, I decide that I had to up my topical aids. So, two weeks ago I also made myself a super moisturizing facial cream that is suitable for mature skin (meadaowfoam seed oil, rose hydrosol, rose essential oil e.t.c) and added Alpha Hydroxy Acids (lactic Acid, Citric Acid e.t.c) to a batch. I use the batch with A.H.A only at night.

Although I use it at night, the AHAs increase sun sensitivity which may lead to a sun burn so it is a happy coincidence that I am using it my hat and glasses. Naturally, I also use a full spectrum UVA and UVB protection Sunscreen.

I am not expecting any miracles nor am I going to lighten my skin...naturally or otherwise. This took years to happen so I know that I am going to have to give at least twice that time for full recovery, The important thing is that I have started today.

Photo on 19-09-2013 at 17.03 #2

Please introduce yourself (or like my Nigerian folks like to say, let us meet you!)

Hey! I'm Vanessa. I'm a British Afro-Caribbean in Lagos.  Wow that's a mouthful!

Have you always worn your hair natural?

I was natural till I was 18, then mostly relaxed, except for a couple of years in my early 20s.  My last relaxer was 2 years ago.

Photo on 18-08-2013 at 17.05

Afro

Has it been difficult maintaining it (e.g. people’s reactions, finding products, styling it, getting help with your hair)

The transition was the toughest, because I used to get stressed out of 2 months regrowth between relaxers so the first year was difficult.  People also had a tough time dealing with my transition – thinking I should stay relaxed because it looked better. But a few people were supportive.  I've always been okay with styling my own hair. I believe self help is the best help so unless I'm getting braided extensions, its all me, Baby!

Photo on 15-12-2013 at 14.14 #2

Hair swept to one side

Apart from returning to Natural Hair, have you incorporated a more natural/healthy lifestyle?

Yes – something I didn't expect, going natural made me look more at other areas where I use chemicals and replacing those with natural products for myself and my family. I'm even looking more at Vegetarian options. We have Veggie Wednesday in my house. It’s a journey.  I even have stepped back from a more consumerist lifestyle to supporting more local entrepreneurs and talent rather than wearing imported designer labels.

Do you think that there is a link? Would you have incorporated those changes if you had not gone natural?

There was definitely a link.  Going natural was a catalyst for a lot of things.  I think having relaxed hair creates a big disconnect as a woman and prevents you from seeing clearly other ways in which you use chemicals unnecessarily.

The key is a little makeup. It tells people, 'Look I meant to do this – okay!'

What is your current hair regimen?

Photo on 09-09-2013 at 14.18 #3

I'm trying to grow my hair – waist length dreaming – neck length living lol!  I spritz with aloe vera, water and coconut oil, daily.  I use Shea butter/Jamaican black castor oil to seal ends and keep my hair in twists unless I need to glam up. I avoid combs and blow drys unless it’s a special occasion.

How do you balance having natural hair and the need to be/look professional? 

It’s tough but it’s definitely possible to pull that rabbit out of the hat when you need to – even without prepping.  My go-tos are my Princess Leia braids daytime smarts and my French braid up the back for evening.  The key is a little makeup. It tells people, 'Look I meant to do this – okay!'

Do you have a healthy goal (hair, nutrition, exercise?)

I try to keep healthy not just for my hair.  I mean if you get sick its not going to help with hair growth. I take vitamins, calcium, silica and spirulina. I try to remember water.

Based on all you know now, what would you do for your children (male and female in terms of hair, nutrition, natural living as opposed to the way you were brought up e.t.c)?

I have boys so I like that I'm showing them how black women can celebrate their natural hair. I wouldn't want them to make women with natural hair feel inferior aesthetically.  I believe “show, don't tell” is the most powerful way to influence children.

Natural Nigerian Vanessa Banigo

Vanessa when her hair was relaxed

Any words of wisdom or advice for others?

Natural hair is not as scary as people think – I'm sure there's a Youtube video out there representing every hair type showcasing beautiful styles.  As you get to know your hair, it gets easier.  It’s also financially empowering – being happy with your looks leaves you with more money for other things.

Continue to see more pictures of Vanessa

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“The time, no doubt, has come for food, seeds, herbs, plants, sunlight, air, clean water, and yes, love, to assume once again their central place in medicine, which is to say, the art and science of facilitating self-healing within the human body.”

Sayer Ji

I believe we are in the beginnings of a paradigm shift.  For far too long, natural healing has been looked at with suspicion.  It has been perceived as lacking a scientific basis and being merely the province of hippies and witch doctors. However, there is a growing body of evidence that speaks of the remarkable healing properties of certain foods.

Ginger is nothing short of a nutritive powerhouse.  And thankfully, its medicinal properties have been extensively researched.  There are literally hundreds of scholarly articles that detail its usefulness in treating conditions as varied as viral respiratory infections, colon cancer, and arthritis.  So, let us examine just two of its applications in more detail.

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A simple cure for fibroids 

Fibroids are solid growths that occur on the outside, inside, or within the wall of the womb.  These growths often appear in groups and are composed of a mix of muscle and a cartilage-like substance. They are also very common.  About 30 percent of all women get fibroids by age thirty-five and almost 80 percent of women will have fibroids by age fifty.

In most cases, they do not cause any problems at all.  However, some fibroids, depending on size and location, can cause heavy vaginal bleeding, abdominal or back pain, urinary problems, and constipation.  Also, fibroids that bulge into the womb may make it difficult to conceive or to sustain a full-term pregnancy.

The root cause of fibroids is a physiological state known as estrogen dominance.  Simply put, there is too much estrogen and estrogen-like compounds circulating in the body.  I must place a special emphasis on estrogen-like substances.  These synthetic chemicals disrupt the fine hormonal balance in the female body.   And are major drivers of fibroids, irregular menstruation, endometriosis, anovulation, breast and ovarian cancer, to name a few.  Two major sources of these toxins are canned foods and commercial milk.

Ginger helps to resolve estrogen dominance through various means.  One important way is that it optimizes liver function.  The liver manages the levels of hormones circulating in the body and mops up any excesses.  However, the liver can be overwhelmed by the high amounts of estrogen-like compounds in many processed foods.  Ginger assists the liver in detoxifying this toxic barrage.

Once you address estrogen dominance, fibroids shrink and dissolve.  A powerful tonic can be prepared from ginger and beetroot.  You grind one tablespoon of finely chopped ginger and one tablespoon of finely chopped beetroot in a blender with a cup of water.  You drink this twice a day.  In a few weeks, you will begin to see dramatic results.

A diabetic’s best friend

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is expanding rapidly on a global scale.  In some developed countries, one in ten people are diabetic.  In the United States, it is estimated that one in three people will become diabetic by 2030.  A similar, if less dramatic, trajectory is also predicted for developing countries.  In short, the future is diabetic.

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It is normal to dislike aging and to yearn for lost youthfulness.  This is a part of our shared human experience, and has cut across numerous cultures through the ages.

Thankfully, there are practical steps you can take to slow, and even reverse, the aging of skin.  And this process will rejuvenate much more than your skin.  Aging is a whole body process.  Its reversal is also a whole body process.  But first of all, it is useful to understand what aging is.

Natural Nigerian Smooth Skin Aging Nigeria Source

What is aging? 

Aging is basically damage to proteins.  It is the gradual accumulation of irreversible damage to proteins.  Proteins are the most dynamic molecules in the body.  Proteins are the scaffold of the body, giving it form and structure.  Proteins are also molecular machines, assembling themselves in numerous ways to enable life.  In short, life is proteins acting on other relatively inert molecules (e.g. fat, cholesterol, DNA, carbohydrates, minerals, etc).

The aging of skin is caused by damage to the proteins that make it up.  Namely structural proteins like collagen and elastin.  As these proteins are irreversibly damaged, skin progressively falls apart.  It becomes saggy, wrinkly, spotty, fragile and dull.

The damage that drives aging could come from various sources.  Minor sources could range from noxious fumes from a petrol generator to weak radiation from your cell phone.  However, these are largely peripheral.  There are two main drivers of aging: oxidation and glycation.  And the secret to rejuvenating skin is to take steps to manage these two processes.  Let us examine each in turn.

What is oxidation?

Oxidation is the damage that results from energy generation in the body.  Life requires energy.  However, energy generation is not a clean process.  There is a continuous, low-level of protein damage that is unavoidable.  It is a part of being alive.  That is, the very processes required for life creates damage that ultimately ends life.  This is the circle of life.  This is also why immortality in the human body is impossible.  I find it all quite poetic.

A useful analogy is a diesel generator.  It uses diesel and oxygen to generate useful electrical energy.  But this process also generates harmful waste gases that pollute the air.  The cells in your body use food and oxygen to generate chemical energy.  But this process also generates harmful oxidants that damage the body.

How to slow oxidation

I suppose you have heard of antioxidants.  A group of compounds found in fruits and vegetables.  And that they are very good for you.  Have you ever wondered why?  As the name suggests, antioxidants neutralize oxidants.  They mop up any excess of harmful oxidants in the body.  They are essential for life and health.  They minimize the damage associated with simply being alive.

In the same vein, antioxidants protect the proteins in your skin.  When you shield these proteins from damage for long enough, some of them can be repaired.  This is skin rejuvenation.

Raw vegetable juice is the best source of antioxidants.  You can mix and match a wide array to find out what is most palatable to you.  I like carrots, beet root, spinach, and some pineapple to sweeten.  Vegetable juicing is without question the most important intervention in reversing the effects of skin aging.  And your whole body will thank you for it.

Another useful thing is lime and ginger tea.  You add a teaspoon of freshly chopped ginger to a cup of hot water.  Then add the juice of two freshly squeezed limes.  This combination is an antioxidant powerhouse.

...refined sugar is not so sweet after all.  It is the nutrient equivalent of battery acid.

What is glycation?

Glycation is damage caused by sugar in the body.  Sugar has two lives.  On the one hand, it is a critical source of energy and an important raw material in the body.  On the other hand, sugar tends to break down into highly toxic compounds that react with proteins throughout the body.  A glycated protein cannot be repaired.

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In many ways, modern life is an exercise in being continuously overwhelmed.  There are so many things that draw upon our time and resources.  And all these things must be attended to.  I often feel like I am on a treadmill that keeps turning faster.  I have to run that much harder and faster to remain in the same place.  And there is no getting off said treadmill.  To stop is to fall through the cracks.

In the midst of it all, we have to make out time to nourish and fuel our bodies.  However, how many of us can regularly set aside time to prepare wholesome meals from scratch?  This is a challenge for many people.  Life leaves us so drained physically, emotionally, and psychologically that cooking meals oftentimes is a low priority.  Instead, we rely on convenience foods like instant noodles. After all, it ticks so many of the right boxes.  It is affordable, time-saving, and tasty.  Plus, it is such as versatile meal.  You can have noodles and egg; noodles and fried plantain; noodles and sausage; noodles and bread; and on and on.  It is the proverbial Swiss Army knife of the modern diet.

Fresh_ramen_noodle_001

However, there is a dark side to instant noodles.  It is no hyperbole to say that instant noodles destroy health.   In this post, I would like to explore some of the ways regular consumption of instant noodles negatively affects the body.

Regular consumption of instant noodles leads to multiple nutrient deficiencies

A major problem with instant noodles is the fact that it is made from white flour.  White flour is essentially pure starch.  Many essential nutrients are lost when wheat is processed into white flour:

  • Fiber: 95% lost
  • Iron: 84% lost
  • Folate: 59% lost
  • Vitamin E: 95% lost
  • Vitamin B6: 87% lost

And the list goes on and on.  It is truly a massacre.  But what does it all mean? The loss of such high amounts of nutrients creates real problems for the body.  All processes in the body, from movement to digestion to breathing to thinking involve a long list of vitamins and minerals.  Food is supposed to provide us with a daily top up of these substances.  When our diet does not provide this the body is able to compensate for a while by drawing down on it stores.  It draws some calcium and phosphorus from the bones; some potassium and magnesium from the heart and other muscles; some vitamin A and E from the liver; some essential fatty acids from the brain; and so on.  However, this is not sustainable.  Something has to give and the result is an expanding list of nutrient deficiencies.

Instant noodles essentially strip  the body of nutrients.  There is a vicious circle.  The more you eat the more deficient you become.  These deficiencies drive multiple disease processes.  Take for example magnesium.  Magnesium is critical for the relaxation of blood vessels.  A deficiency in magnesium causes elevated blood pressure (hypertension).  Or take potassium.  Potassium is critical for stomach acid formation.  Low stomach acid leads to bacterial overgrowth in your bowels.  This causes all sorts of issues like heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, constipation, and so on.

Please note that fortification is largely a sham.  Adding synthetic nutrients to a depleted food is a far cry from whole foods.  Most of these so-called vitamins are synthesized from petrochemicals and the body rapidly excretes these toxins.

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