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Saunas Sessions: Are They Really Worth It or Just Hype?

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Are saunas really as great as many believe them to be or they’re surviving on just hype? We’ll find out. Sweating as therapy dates back to over 3,000 years ago.

Sweating was used for religious and wellness purposes by the Mayans of Central America. They were not the only ones who incorporated sweating as a healing technique; many cultures had their own practices of using heat for relaxation, ritual, and therapy.

Today, saunas are increasingly becoming popular and in Finland for example, nearly a third of all adults take the sessions regularly.

Are Saunas Worth The “Hype”?

Studies seem to agree with the widespread beliefs about their many benefits. A study of 1,631 heart attacks in Helsinki (most of the studies on sauna safety are from Finland, and this is not unconnected to the “sauna culture in the country”) revealed that less than 2% developed within 3 hours after a sauna session.

In a different study of 6,175 deaths that occurred in one year, less than 2% happened within 24 hours after a sauna session and even then, most were related to alcohol use.

In Canada, the results are equally in favor of saunas. In an investigation of sauna safety in 16 patients with documented heart diseases, none of the patients had chest pains, ECG changes and abnormal heart rhythms from both a 15-minute sauna session and a standard treadmill stress test. However, while heart scans of the participants did indicate impaired blood circulation to the heart muscles, the sauna-induced changes were shown to be milder than the treadmill-induced abnormalities.

The results of many other studies are similar. Sauna appears safe for people with heart disease and those without. Users are still advised to check with their doctors before using saunas. It is very likely that you will get approval from your doctor if you’re in relatively good health.

If on the other hand, you have a poorly functioning heart or any advanced heart or valve disease, your doctor will likely advise that you avoid the session.

       Sauna benefits

Saunas May Boost Your Mood

If you’re a regular sauna user, you may have noticed that you feel reinvigorated after a sauna. This is because saunas have been shown to increase the levels of feel-good hormones (endorphins). This may also explain why those with depression reportedly felt better and more relaxed after a sauna according to an Alternative Medicine Review paper.

Skin Cleansing

Our skins are our bodies’ major barricade against toxins from our environment. These toxins can sometimes accumulate and clog our pores. With induced heat and humidity of the sauna, bacteria, built-up sebum, and dead skin cells are pushed out through the pores. Many sauna users also believe that sweating in a sauna helps the skin retain its elasticity. There is however no conclusive clinical evidence on the claim.

Improved Circulation

The relaxation induced by a sauna session has been said to help the blood vessels expand. The effects are similar to a cardiovascular workout, and this means that regular sauna sessions may improve overall blood circulation.

It may also help your body better release toxins even when you’re not inside the sauna though are no conclusive clinical evidence on this too.

Fever Therapy

Saunas imitate fevers, our bodies’ natural immune response that functions to attack harmful microorganisms. Sauna heat temporarily raises the body’s temperature and help to cleanse it of invasive bacteria, viruses, and tumor cells like a fever would naturally try to do.

As A Recovery Aid

Saunas’ high heat releases endorphins (feel-good hormones) and these can have a mild but enjoyable tranquilizing effect. This effect helps to reduce the pain of muscle soreness after an intense physical workout or arthritic pain.

The increased blood flow from expanded blood vessels from the heat of the sauna speeds up the healing process by soothing aches and pains. Next time after a really intense physical exercise, a sauna session might be a good idea to help you relax and reduce muscle tension and soreness.

Saunas Can Help Burn Calories

There are so many claims by sauna vendors promoting infrared saunas as the ultimate weight loss tool. Granted, many users may burn a lot of calories from its use at first especially those in poor shape initially. However, saunas should only be treated as just one of the many tools or activities you can implement to burn unwanted calories.

On average, a moderately-weighing adult can sweat off about 500 grams in one sauna session, and the process consumes almost 300 calories.

Improved Memory

Not a lot of things can easily boost your memory or boost cognitive function in the elderly. Luckily for us, the sauna can. According to a study published in the journal Age and Ageing, men who sat in sauna multiple times in a week had 65% lesser risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer than those who were in them only once a week.

This is not very surprising. Earlier research found a connection between decreased blood flow to the brain to mental decline and dementia.

There you go; some of the benefits you can enjoy from sauna use. But there are a few general precautions you should abide by whether you‘re dealing with a heart issue or not. Also, do well to consult your doctor if you have any health condition before use.

  • Don’t overstay in a sauna. For most people, 15 to 20 minutes of sauna is a reasonable limit
  • Avoid alcohol use before or right after the sauna
  • Gradually cool down afterward and replenish lost fluid by drinking 3 – 4 glasses of water
  • Sauna sessions are not recommended for both pregnant women and young children
  • If you have a fever or feel unwell, avoid using a sauna until you feel better.

Questions, thoughts on sauna use? Please share in the comments.

 

Dawn is a health and fitness enthusiast, a massage therapist and she also loves to write!

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Why Does My Scalp Itch? Common Causes Of Itchy Scalp

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Why does my scalp itch so much? What could be the cause? If you have a constantly itchy scalp, you may have wondered why and also tried some remedies recommended by family and friends. So, why does your scalp itch? What causes an itchy scalp?

An itchy scalp can be a nightmare for anyone. In extreme cases, it can be difficult to think about anything else. All you want to do is scratch and scratch until you get some relief. The worse part? Scratching often worsens the itch!

When many of us think of head itches, we tend to associate it with dandruff or ringworm. But this is not always the case. Head itches can have several causes and to successfully put a stop to it or even minimize the itch, you have to first know the exact cause of your scalp itch.

Below, I’ll outline some of the possible causes of your itchy scalp and also some of the things you can do to reduce or eliminate the itch.

Head Lice

We wrongly tend to associate head lice with poor hygiene. And this isn’t true at all. Head lice often seek for and thrive in clean hair so hygiene has nothing to do with it. Head lice attach to your scalp, feeding mostly on blood. If you look closely, you may spot some adult lice moving around your scalp or see them on a clear white paper when you comb your hair.

What you can do about head lice

Instead of regular shampoos, opt for anti-lice shampoos containing insecticides such as permethrin or pyrethrin. Follow the instructions on your product’s box to completely get rid of the lice. These shampoos are usually effective when used as directed.

Reaction To Hair Product

If your hair starts itching after you make a hair product change or introduce a new product, it could be due to an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the product. This condition is referred to as contact dermatitis. It is more common among people who frequently dye their hair and the cause most of the time is para-phenylenediamine (PPD) a chemical present in black hair dyes.

Shampoos, conditioners or any other hair product can also cause allergy and itch when it touches your scalp. If your scalp starts to itch after using a shampoo or a conditioner, you may be allergic to one or more ingredients in it.

What you can do

To stop the itchiness, you have to first identify the product causing the itch. If you have difficulty knowing the exact product, you can have a licensed dermatologist help you do it. He should be able to tell from experience the ingredients in your hair care products that may be causing the itch. And once he discovers which, do your part by eliminating such from your hair care products.

Scalp Ringworm

This scalp infection is caused by fungus.  Scalp ringworm can cause a severely itchy rash, pus-filled bumps, hair loss, and redness. If you think scalp ringworm might be the cause of your severe scalp itch, you can report your suspicion to your dermatologist.

You want to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment for ringworm as the infection often requires prescription medication to completely go away.

Scabies

Scabies is another common cause of scalp itch. It occurs when a bug called the human itch mite burrows into your scalp causing it to become very itchy. You will notice a rash of little bumps that itch intensely. In severe cases, the itch can keep you awake at night.

What you can do

Your dermatologist will check to make sure that your itch is truly being caused by scabies. If it is, you will need a prescription for proper treatment.

Folliculitis

The inflammation of the hair follicles, this condition in addition to itching can lead to temporary hair loss. It can be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.

What you can do

If your folliculitis is caused by a bacterial infection, it can be treated with antibiotics and if caused by a fungal infection, it can be treated with antifungal medication. However, ensure you get a proper diagnosis and then a prescription from a licensed dermatologist for proper treatment.

Alopecia Areata

This condition causes small patches of hair to fall out of your scalp. In some cases, it can also cause scalp itchiness. While it is still not very clear what triggers alopecia areata, many scientists believe that it may occur when a person’s immune system begins to attack their hair follicles.

The condition has been found to occur more in people with an autoimmune disorder or people with a family history of an autoimmune condition.

What you can do

Alopecia is a serious condition and you should not delay treating it. See a dermatologist if you notice symptoms such as hair loss and itching for proper diagnosis. Depending on the severity of your condition and the possible cause, you may get any of the following standard treatments for alopecia areata:

  • Antifungal medications
  • Immunotherapy
  • Steroids
  • Hair transplant
  • Finasteride (Propecia)
  • Minoxidil (Rogaine)

Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis is a common cause of scalp itch. With scalp psoriasis, you will notice reddish patches, flaking, and dryness on your scalp. The itch can also range from mild to severe.

While there are several treatments for this condition, you have to start by getting a diagnosis from your dermatologist. After that, you will get a prescription and lifestyle changes recommended if required to help you treat and manage the condition successfully.

Product Buildup

Our haircare products can sometimes cause buildup. This is especially true with products containing silicones. While they make your hair look better when used, they can dry out your hair making it dull and lifeless if not properly washed out.

Buildups can also make your scalp red, itchy and irritated because of how they affect your hair. For one, buildups lock-in irritants and allergens that ordinarily do not agree with the hair and scalp. And the longer they stay in due to poor hair washing habits, the more likely they will be to cause itching.

Also, with the buildup covering the top of your scalp, the scalp’s natural shedding rate may be affected causing more itching, scalp redness and dryness.

What you can do

Whenever you wash your hair, rinse out every trace of your hair products with clean water. If you have to use hair products containing silicone, remember that these are more likely to cause a buildup leading to itchiness. You want to be extra thorough when washing hair with these kinds of products.

Nerve Issues

If your scalp remains itchy in the absence of a rash or any other skin condition, then it may be a sign of a nerve problem.

This can be due to nerve damage from a disease or a problem with the way the nerves work. Scarring is a common cause of nerve damage. A scar that runs deep enough to cause hair loss and scalp injury may have also damaged the nerves.

What you can do

See a dermatologist for examination, diagnosis, and treatment.

Skin Cancer

While not as common as the other possible causes, skin cancer can cause your scalp to itch. Have a dermatologist examine your scalp. With his experience, your dermatologist should be able to tell whether the itchy areas in your scalp require further testing to rule out skin cancer.

Why Does My Scalp Itch Excessively? Conclusion

Our scalps can itch for a lot of reasons and thankfully, most of these causes can be resolved with simple medications, lifestyle and product changes.

Always seek a professional’s opinion and this is particularly important if you are also losing hair on your scalp or notice other symptoms co-existing with the itching. Once these issues are corrected, your hair should grow back and return to its former state over time.

Thoughts? Questions? Share in the comment section below.

 

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Debunked! 17 Acne Myths You Need To Stop Believing Now

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One of the commonest skin conditions, acne is associated with so many rumors. While some of them are absolute truths, most sadly are either half-truths or total untruths.

In this article, we’ll share 17 popular acne myths and why they’re simply just what they are; myths!

Read on!

Myth 1: Let your acne run its course

Not everyone with acne will outgrow it. For some, acne stops in their teenage years, just a few years after it begins, for some others, it goes into their twenties and even thirties. For the others, it never leaves even in their sixties.

With the right product and lifestyle, acne can be significantly managed. You just have to find a suitable product for your skin type and combine it with a healthier lifestyle.

Myth 2: Acne is caused by poor hygiene/dirt

While germs can be culpable for a lot of things, it does not cause acne. Acne starts deep in the pores. If your skin is acne-prone, it sheds up to five times more skin than normal pores.

Dirt and surface skin oil has nothing to do with it. You can wash your face multiple times a day and still develop acne.

Because it starts deep in the pores so one way you may be able to control it is by finding the right product that penetrates the pore to control it at the “root”.

Myth 3: Acne can be cured

You have to come to terms with this; there is no “cure” on the shelf for acne. If you’re like many, you may outgrow it, but this isn’t the case for everyone.

And even if you will grow out of it, you can’t tell exactly when it will happen. You may notice that your acne stopped on your fifth bottle of that really “magical” acne cream. While the cream may have helped, you may have only outgrown it.

Again, there are great programs and products out there that will help you manage the condition, just ensure you get the right one or register for the right programs.

Myth 4: Products need to hurt to be effective

Many acne sufferers wrongly believe that a product has to hurt or sting to know it is working on the acne. Wrong!

While acne is a condition that could use some “tough love” in the form of strong products to get it under control, using a very harsh product could have adverse effects on your skin. Some may even burn your skin. You’ll eventually be forced to stop the supposedly effective product when you’re no longer able to withstand it.

Picking the right product for your skin type can be difficult especially if you’re only just starting to deal with acne. But that doesn’t mean you should experiment with every or any product you find.

Seek professional help from a dermatologist; you would get recommended a product based on your skin type.

Myth 5: Toothpaste cures acne

People with acne may have heard this at some point. It is a myth you should not entertain no matter who or where it is coming from. While toothpaste might dry out a stubborn pimple quickly thanks to triclosan (an antimicrobial contained in toothpaste), it can worsen the condition of the skin.

Even if applying some on the affected areas helps to dry it out, it should not replace a regular anti-acne cream or medication.

Myth 6: Acne disappears in adulthood

As stated earlier, people outgrow acne differently; some as teens and some as adults. But that is not an assurance that it will disappear once you become an adult (if you aren’t already).

Adults can still be affected by acne in their 30s, 40s, and well into their 60s. It is not unusual at all and could be a result of several factors including changes in medications or hormones. Like regular acne, adult acne can be treated according to the skin type and with some lifestyle changes made.

Myth 7: Wash your face regularly to prevent acne

Just like the myth on hygiene, not a few people believe that washing your face several times a day prevents a breakout. Not true at all. Remember that acne starts deep in the pore and because the dead skin sheds faster than normal, it gets caught inside causing the acne lesion.

Myth 8: Acne is caused by foods like fries, sodas, and candies

While diet certainly plays a major role in our skin health, a not-so-healthy diet cannot “cause” acne. Studies have shown that sugar and processed meals could worsen acne, it is still not a root cause.

Think about it; if acne was a result of unhealthy eating habits, every sugar/processed food-loving person you know would have acne, but you probably know more than a few who are seemingly immune to breakouts.

Myth 9: Moisturizers will make you break out

Many people with acne avoid moisturizers as much as they can especially for use on their faces. Most have come to associate moisturizers with outbreaks and truth is; their fears are not unfounded. So many moisturizers on the market contain several pore-clogging properties.

It still doesn’t mean that moisturizers generally are bad news to acne-prone skin. Your skin is clearly sensitive so it’s only right that you start slowly with the strong products. You can build on it if need be as your skin gets used to them.

Also, ensure that any sunscreen/moisturizer you get is non-comedogenic that is; it will not clog your pores.

Myth 10: Acne is just a cosmetic disease

No one should be made to believe that acne is just a cosmetic or vanity issue. It is not; acne can cause permanent scarring, facial disfiguration and even infections in some cases. All of those can take a toll on anyone’s self-esteem leading to self-isolation and in some cases depression.

Myth 11: Benzoyl peroxide cures acne

BPO (benzoyl peroxide) may be effective as a preventative for acne. Even if you’re using it to spot treat, you’ll be missing the microcomedone; the root of the acne lesion inside the pore under the skin’s surface.

BPO’s effectiveness is best derived when used as an all-over treatment even on areas seemingly acne-free. This is because, it will reach beyond the surface of the skin, killing off the bacteria in the microcomedone.

Myth 12: Pimples heal faster when popped

On the contrary, popping pimples worsens the condition. It irritates the skin further, causing it to become inflamed from the germs in your finger and in many cases, also leave a scar behind. What’s more, you risk spreading bacteria to the surrounding area, aggravating your condition.

Myth 13: Only medication can truly treat acne

While some medications have been effective at curbing acne in some people, it is no guarantee that it will work for you.

There is no one size fits all with acne cure most of the time and it’s simply because the causes differ. Besides that, people have had some unpleasant side effects using these medications.

If you must use them, consult your doctor or dermatologist to set up a treatment plan designed for your condition after factors like your skin type and possible cause are considered. DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE!

Myth 14: Stress causes acne

While stress can worsen acne, it has not been proven to cause it. According to studies, when you’re stressed, the hormone cortisol increases in your blood. This hormone, in turn, stimulates your oil glands causing it to increase its oil production thereby making your skin more susceptible to acne.

Myth 15: Acne is caused by an underlying health issue

This is true for some people, but it’s not the case for many others. If you have acne, don’t assume the worst. Observe the severity, and have a dermatologist look at it if you suspect an underlying cause.

Myth 16: Sex causes acne

Sexual activity is associated with elevated levels of androgens and androgens have been shown to cause acne. However, there is really no evidence to show sex is a cause. Not every person with acne is sexually active in the first place.

If you’re unsure of your acne’s true cause or causes, consult your dermatologist. Understanding the cause takes you a step closer to finding the right treatment for you.

Myth 17: Frequent exfoliation cures acne

No doubt, skin exfoliation is an essential part of any skincare routine. It should however not be overdone because you heard it could eliminate your acne. Frequently having your skin undergo abrasive and harsh “treatments” such as exfoliation can lead to dryness, skin irritation and tenderness – all of which could exacerbate your condition.

Know other acne myths? Share them in the comments!

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A Curvier You: The Right Foods For Butt Growth

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How can I get wider hips? How can I make my butt bigger? How do I increase my curves? These are just a few of the questions commonly asked by people looking to increase their butt size.

And yes, it is possible to increase your curves without surgery, pills, or butt pads. With nutrition and exercises for big butt, you’ll soon be on your way to a curvier rear. However, butt increase can take some time so, be patient and realistic with your expectations.

In this article, we’ll examine some of the best foods you can enjoy for a bigger, firmer and well-toned butt. For the best results, ensure you combine a good diet with the right glute activation techniques and exercises for butt growth.

Protein and the glutes

A high protein diet is crucial for butt growth. For one, our bodies consist mostly of protein and water, and how we turn out “shape-wise” can depend largely on our body’s protein levels. If you’re looking to grow your butt naturally with diet and exercise, you have to eat as much protein as your body needs. Probably more than you currently do today.

Thankfully, there are so many accessible and inexpensive protein sources you can include in your diet. And in this article, the protein sources we’ll list out are rich in clean, high-quality proteins and low saturated fats. All of which are important for your overall health even as you eat your way to a bigger butt.

These protein sources also boast important amino acids that are compatible with the cell components. When they are consumed, you’re generally healthier and with some exercises, those curves will surely come.

Balanced diet

While you need adequate amounts of top quality protein for butt growth, you need other nutrients. Carbohydrates, for example, is one nutrient you shouldn’t exclude from your diet in your quest to improve the butt muscle mass unless of course you are currently consuming too much of it.

Carbohydrate’s importance for cellular functions and as a source of energy for all activities cannot be overemphasized. Without the glucose from carbs, you’ll have no strength to think or workout. Plus, you need some fat on that butt!

So, include the essential oils and fats in your meals daily. They are vital for your overall wellbeing and muscular growth.

Drink enough water, aim for at least 1.5L of water per day.  No meal is truly balanced without water. Drink water and make green leafy vegetables and fruits a regular part of your diet.

Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can be derived from the foods on our list and they are essential for the role they play in our metabolism. These nutrients play a major role in influencing enzymes and hormones needed for digestion/assimilation of proteins/amino acids and in turn help in your quest for a bigger butt and wider hips.

Nuts and seeds are also beneficial foods for butt growth and should be a regular part of your diet.

Finally, avoid junk food for butt growth. While you need the fats and oils for your overall wellbeing and for the butt, you need to avoid getting them from junk food. They contain fats alright but usually the unhealthy kinds of fats and in excessive amounts.

If you’re looking to get a truly curvy body, you’ll need to make your own meals and enjoy it as well. This way, you’ll not only have control over your food’s content but you’ll also be able to select the right food needed by your body for the health benefits.

Foods for butt growth

Outlined below are foods you should include in your diet for a bigger, firmer and curvier derriere.

Avocado

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats. This healthy fat contained in avocado is beneficial for the mass gain your backside needs. It is also rich potassium, fiber, amino acids and vitamins all of which are required for a bigger, curvier, and healthier butt.

You can enjoy avocado alone as a snack or combine with other healthy meals, the choice is yours. Just make sure you’re enjoying the goodness of this health-giving fruit.

Beans

The butt consists of muscles and one thing it requires to improve in mass is a good protein source. To increase your butt mass, you need to regularly enjoy a healthy serving of beans more than occasionally. Beans are good sources of plant protein and amino acids needed for building the butt muscle.

You may not be beans lover alright, but you really should try to take advantage of this protein source. Do it for your butt, it will thank you for it!

Sweet potato

One of the healthiest calorie sources, sweet potatoes can be instrumental for butt mass gain. If you’re looking to lose unhealthy stomach fat for a shapelier frame, this food is famed for that. For just the right fat on your rear and for an hourglass figure, include sweet potato in your diet.

Salmon

Another healthy fat source you should consume, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids among many others. You need the right kinds of fats for maximum butt gain and overall wellbeing. So, the next time you prepare your grocery list; don’t forget to include salmon in it.

Lentils

Lentils are also great for improving butt mass. This nutrient-rich food can be combined with other healthy foods or enjoyed alone. It is also a great replacement for brown and white rice if you need to cut down on your carb intake. Lentils boast healthy butt-building properties and you should really take advantage of it.

In just one cup of cooked lentils, you get up 17 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrates, two highly important nutrients for butt growth. One of the best things about lentils is the short amount of time it requires to cook. In just 15-20 minutes, you have a ready meal and on your way to a bigger rear.

Chicken

Chicken is not only a favorite for many for its taste; it is white meat and contains several of the nutrients you need for butt growth including protein and amino acids. You want to avoid meats high in unhealthy fats and build those butt muscles the healthy way and thankfully chicken is a great replacement.

Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is high in casein – the slow-digesting dairy protein essential for butt mass increase and strength. If cheese is already a regular part of your diet, then good, if it isn’t, you should consider including it.

Protein shakes

Unlike most solid foods that require some effort to eat/chew and also take time to break down and send absorbed by the muscles, protein shakes work super-fast.  You should consider adding highly nutritious shakes to your after-workout diet to aid in recovery and help you build the muscle mass.

Kale

Kale is packed with vitamins and minerals required to help boost your metabolism. Consuming kale in juice form or as a salad will help you shed fats in the wrong places, so you can finally build that curvy version of you and rock those skinny jeans with confidence.

Eggs

Another great protein source, eggs are rich in protein and amino acids, two very important nutrients for butt growth. They can be enjoyed in breakfasts before your workout and can also be consumed at any other time. However, because eggs are also high in calories, you want to make sure you don’t eat too much of them.

You can limit your egg consumption to two eggs per serving especially if you already have other quality protein sources in your diet.

Tomatoes

Vegetables should be a regular part of your butt growth diet. The fats and proteins are essential but vegetables like tomatoes are needed for truly balanced nutrition. To enhance the results of your butt workouts, your meals should consist mostly of a low-fat, high-protein and vitamin-rich diet.

Enjoy tomatoes as frequently as possible and in different forms; there are many tomato recipes you can try to make this vegetable a delight in your butt-building journey.

Oatmeal and fruit breakfast

An amazing breakfast option, this combination is low in fat and high in valuable nutrients that are needed for building the butt muscles after or before an intense butt workout session.

Quinoa

Quinoa is another nutrient-packed food on our list and can easily be a replacement for carb-rich grains such as white rice. In your butt-building journey and for your overall wellbeing, you want to stay away from as much processed foods as possible and stick with fresher options.

 

That said, these are just some of the foods you should include in your butt growth diet. There are many others; if it contains protein, antioxidants and not so high in fat, it should make your list. There are other factors you should look out for including their phytoestrogen/estrogen contents and these can be found in foods like soy and flaxseed.

Again, to see significant results, you need to combine a good diet with butt, hip and hamstring targeting exercises. Food, even the right ones can only do so much. Your help is required in terms of physical exercises to make the most of the diet.

Finally; be patient and set realistic goals!

 

 

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