Home Blog Page 3

7 Natural Home Remedies for Weight Loss

6
weight loss natural remedies

According to the NIDDK, 33% of Americans are overweight (BMI over 25), 36% are obese (BMI over 30) and 6% are extremely obese (BMI over 40).

Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis and some cancers, and your risk increases with higher BMI (body mass index). If you’re overweight, shedding the excess body fat and keeping it off is one of the best ways to improve your health and longevity.

5 Sneaky Causes of Weight Gain

We’ve all heard the message that excess body fat is the result of eating too many calories and not getting enough exercise. If only it were that simple. Weight gain can also be due to factors in our diet and environment that we aren’t even aware of.

1. Environmental Chemicals

Many environmental chemicals have resulted in weight gain when tested on animals in low, non-toxic doses. Examples include heavy metals, solvents, coolants, pesticides and plastics (such as BPA, used in food and beverage containers).

Some of these chemicals known as endocrine disruptors can interfere with weight-controlling hormones. There is even evidence to suggest that exposure to environmental chemicals in the womb may be associated with obesity later in life.

2. Emulsifiers

Emulsifiers are chemicals which cause oil to mix with water. They are used in a wide range of processed foods including ice cream, mayonnaise, margarine, chocolate, bakery products and sausages.

A mouse study published in Nature found that emulsifiers alter gut bacteria, causing inflammation. Mice fed water containing emulsifiers became obese and developed metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that increase the risk of heart disease.

3. MSG

Although the flavor enhancer MSG (monosodium glutamate) is associated with Chinese restaurants, it is used by major fast-food chains and is also found in a variety of processed foods.

A study of 750 Chinese men and women found that those who used the most MSG in their cooking were nearly three times more likely to be overweight than those who didn’t use any. The increase in obesity risk was independent of physical activity and total calories consumed.

4. Artificial Sweeteners

Many people use sugar substitutes as a weight-loss aid, but these sweeteners may actually contribute to weight gain.

In a study published in Nature, scientists found that mice fed saccharin, sucralose or aspartame developed glucose intolerance, a metabolic condition associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. The artificial sweeteners altered the animals’ gut microbiomes towards a balance of bacteria associated with metabolic diseases.

In a follow-up study on 7 human volunteers, 4 became glucose intolerant after consuming the maximum recommended dose of saccharin for one week.

5. Low-Fat Foods

Gram for gram, fat has more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates, so people tend to assume that foods labeled ‘low fat’ are good for weight loss.

In a study published in the journal Appetite, researchers analyzed nutrition information for nearly 6000 foods and found that, overall, products with low-fat claims were not significantly lower in calories than their full-fat equivalents.

Low-fat foods may even lead people to consume extra calories. A study investigating the effects of different fats on satiety found that participants were less hungry two hours after eating regular muffins compared to fat-free muffins.

If you want to lose weight, it can help to avoid processed food, fast food and intensively farmed food. The production methods, containers and the ingredients could all increase your risk for obesity.

Remedies to Help You Lose Weight Naturally

Here are some science-backed methods to help you lose that stubborn weight naturally.

1. Drink Plenty of Water

drink water weight loss natural remedies

Drinking water boosts your metabolism due to a process known as water-induced thermogenesis. When you drink a glass of cold, or even room-temperature water, your system has to burn calories to heat it up to your body temperature (37 C).

In one study, scientists assessed the effect of drinking water by measuring subjects’ oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide production in a respiratory chamber. They found that 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30% in both men and women. The effect was sustained for over an hour. The researchers estimate that increasing water consumption by 1.5 liters daily would result in a loss of 17,400 calories or 5.3 lbs. of body fat over the course of a year.

Drinking a glass of water before every meal can be doubly beneficial because it fills you up so you’re not tempted to overeat.

In a trial published in the European Journal of Nutrition, 14 healthy young men were provided with breakfast and told they could eat as much as they wanted. Half of the men were instructed to drink a pint (568 ml) of water before the meal. The water group consumed significantly fewer calories. Questionnaires filled out by the participants showed that, compared to the control group, the water group experienced increased satisfaction and fullness and decreased hunger.

In a study published in the journal Obesity, 48 overweight adults aged 55-75 were given instructions for a low-calorie diet including meal plans and sample menus. Half of the participants were also given cases of bottled water and told to drink one 16-ounce bottle before each meal. Over the following 12 weeks, the water group showed a 44% greater weight loss than the non-water group.

Recommended:

2. Eat More Fiber

eat more fiber weight loss natural remedies

Fiber is plant material that resists digestion by humans. Insoluble fiber (also known as roughage) passes through your gut without being broken down. It adds bulk to food without adding any calories.

Soluble fiber travels to the large intestine where bacteria convert it into fatty acids which are used as an energy source. It dissolves in liquid and many types form a viscous gel in the gut which slows the emptying of the stomach, leading to prolonged feelings of fullness.

A review article summarizes the results of studies into the effects of fiber on energy intake and body composition. In studies of people on a calorie-controlled diet, fiber increases feelings of fullness following a meal and decreases subsequent hunger. In studies where participants could eat as much as they liked, eating an additional 14 grams of fiber per day resulted in an average 10% decrease in calories consumed and an average weight loss of four pounds over 3.8 months. Fiber has a greater effect on body weight for obese subjects compared with those of normal weight.

In a trial published in the journal Nutrients, 118 overweight adults were given either a supplement containing a combination of viscous soluble fibers or a control supplement made from rice flour. All participants were equipped with a mobile food recording app which provided the researchers with before-and-after images of all food consumed along with the time and place it was eaten. Measurement of participants’ height, weight and waist circumference were taken before and after the trial.

After 12-weeks of supplementation, the fiber granule group had a significant reduction in waist circumference, weight and BMI compared to the control group. Analysis of the mobile app data showed that they ate less often than before supplementation and reduced their intake of grain-based food.

Good sources of soluble fiber include

  • oats, barley and rye
  • pectin fruits such as apples, plums and oranges
  • root vegetables like carrots and potatoes
  • legumes including soybeans, kidney beans and lentils

Method: You can get more fiber in your diet simply by leaving the skin on vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and cucumber and fruits like apples and pears. While few people would want to eat an unpeeled piece of citrus fruit, you can zest the rind and use it in cooking. Don’t remove the fibrous membrane surrounding the fruit segments.

Recommended:

3. Cook with Coconut Oil

cook with coconut avocado oil weight loss natural remedies

Most vegetable or seed oils contain long-chain fatty acids which must be broken down in the intestines and transported to the blood to use as energy or storage in fat cells.

Coconut oil is the best source of medium-chain fatty acids which are delivered directly to the liver for use as an instant energy source. Research suggests that medium chain fatty acids can help promote weight loss by suppressing appetite and increasing metabolism.

In one study healthy men were randomly assigned to one of three high-fat diets that differed only in terms of the ratio of long-chain fatty acids to medium-chain fatty acids. They could eat as much as they liked of the foods they were offered. Food intake and total calories consumed were significantly lower on the diet with the highest amount of medium-chain fatty acids. The men in the high medium-chain fatty acid group even lost a little weight, whereas those in the other groups gained weight.

In a randomized controlled trial published in the journal Obesity, 24 overweight men were divided into two groups. One group were put on a weight-maintenance diet containing oils rich in medium-chain fatty acids. The other were given the same diet, but with olive oil (high in long-chain fatty acids). After four weeks on the diet and a four-week washout period the groups switched diets. The men’s body composition was assessed using an MRI scan before and after each four-week trial. Participants lost significantly more body fat on the medium-chain fatty acid diet, especially from the upper body.

A study on overweight women given coconut oil had similar results with a significant reduction in waist circumference.

Method: Coconut oil is very versatile. It can be used in place of vegetable oils for frying or roasting and substituted for butter or margarine in baking. You can even melt it and drizzle it over vegetables or seafood for added flavor.

All types of oil are high in calories, so remember that the idea is to use coconut oil instead of other fats, not in addition to them.

Recommended:

4. Have Soup for Lunch

soup for lunch weight loss natural remedies

If you take a meal of meat and vegetables, add water and blend it into soup, it will stave off hunger longer than eating the individual food components.

When you eat solid food along with a beverage, the liquid rapidly sieves out of the stomach, reducing its volume. If liquid is thickened with solids, it takes longer to digest, prolonging feelings of fullness.

In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, one group of volunteers were given a meal of chicken with vegetables along with a glass of water. Another were given the same ingredients served as a blended soup. At intervals over the next 3 hours both groups were asked to rate their sense of fullness on a scale from one-to-ten. The soup group felt significantly less hungry.

In a follow-up study, participants who ate the same meals underwent MRI scans so that researchers could examine the digestive process. The scans confirmed that the volume of stomach contents decreased more slowly after the soup meal than after the solid/liquid meal.

In another study, 24 women ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in a laboratory. Shortly before lunch, they were served either chicken rice casserole, chicken rice casserole with a glass of water or chicken rice soup made from the same ingredients. They could then eat as much as they liked from a lunch buffet. Those who ate the soup consumed significantly fewer calories at lunch than the other two groups and did not compensate by eating more calories at an all-you-can-eat dinner.

Method: For a quick and easy soup, boil two cups of water and add a stock cube. Add fresh or frozen chopped vegetables and simmer until soft or use leftover cooked vegetables. Throw in some chopped cooked chicken or ham. Puree with a stick blender until smooth and season to taste.

Recommended:

5. Drink Green Tea

drink green tea matcha powder weight loss natural remedies

Green tea is an especially rich source of antioxidants called catechins. It also contains caffeine. Both of these substances can increase metabolism, but when consumed together they have a synergistic effect. They help to boost levels of the hormone norepinephrine which signals fat cells to release stored fat into the bloodstream for use as energy.

In one study healthy subjects spent 24 hours in a respiratory chamber designed to measure their energy expenditure. They were given supplements containing either green tea extract, caffeine or a placebo. Those who consumed the green tea extract supplement burned significantly more calories than the control group. They also had significantly higher amounts of norepinephrine in their urine. Caffeine alone (in the same amount present in the green tea extract) did not increase fat burning.

The amount of catechins in a cup of green tea varies depending on the precise type of tea, the ratio of tea to water, and how long it is left to infuse. A large Chinese trial investigated the effects of consuming green tea with different amounts of catechins on body weight and composition. Researchers randomly assigned 182 overweight participants to four groups. Each group was given a different type of green tea ranging from a control drink with the catechins extracted to one with extra catechins added. Subjects drank 2 cups a day for 90 days.

Compared to the control group, the group drinking the extra high-catechin tea showed significant reductions in body weight, waist circumference and intra-abdominal fat. Groups drinking green tea with lower levels of catechins also lost body fat. The researchers concluded that daily consumption of 500–900 mg of green tea catechins can exert a positive effect on abdominal fat mass.

Method: An average cup of green tea contains around 180 mg of catechins, but this can vary depending on a number of factors. To boost the amount of catechins per cup, use a good brand of loose-leaf green tea. Bring the water to a rolling boil before pouring it over the leaves, then leave it to infuse for five minutes before straining.

Recommended:

6. Eat More Protein

eat more protein weight loss natural remedies

Protein takes longer to digest than fats or carbohydrates and process of digesting protein burns more calories.

In one study participants ate high protein or high carbohydrate meals. Their energy expenditure was measured two and a half hours later. Researchers found that subjects were burning twice as many calories following a protein meal as they did following a carbohydrate meal.

Protein is also more satiating than carbohydrates or fat. A study published in Obesity examined the effects of protein on appetite and satiety during weight loss. Overweight men were put on a 12-week low-calorie diet and randomized into two groups. One group was given a diet consisting of 25% protein and the other were given a diet with 14% protein. The men completed questionnaires every waking hour on selected days. Compared to the lower protein group, the high protein group felt fuller throughout the day, had less desire to eat at night and were less preoccupied with thoughts of food.

Since dietary protein both increases the metabolism and decreases appetite, eating more protein may allow you to lose weight without much effort.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 19 subjects were placed on a high protein diet (30% protein, 20% fat, and 50% carbohydrate) for 12 weeks. They were allowed to eat as much of the food provided as they wished, but were instructed to eat when they were hungry and stop eating when they were satisfied. They were also told to avoid making any conscious effort to modify their body weight. The participants spontaneously decreased their food intake by an average of 441 calories a day and lost an average of 10.8 pounds.

Method: Make high-protein foods the star of every meal and replace snacks like potato or corn chips (carbohydrate fried in fat) with protein foods like beef jerky, nuts or peanut butter.

Recommended:

7. Start the Day with Eggs

eat eggs breakfast weight loss natural remedies

If your usual breakfast consists of cereal or toast, switching to an egg breakfast could help you lose weight.

Many popular breakfast foods, like bagels, waffles and croissants are high in carbohydrates. They cause a sharp rise in blood sugar which triggers the body to produce the hormone insulin. Insulin lowers blood sugar levels, but simultaneously activates fat storage and prevents the body from using fat as energy.

A medium egg contains virtually no carbohydrates, 6.4 grams of high quality protein and 13 essential vitamins and minerals. Two medium eggs boiled or poached contain just 132 calories, making them a nutrition-packed natural breakfast choice for weight loss. In addition, eggs have a 50% greater satiety index compared to breakfast cereal or white bread so they help keep you feeling fuller longer.

In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 30 overweight women consumed either an egg-based or bagel-based breakfast containing the same number of calories. Three and a half hours later they were given lunch. In the meantime, they filled out questionnaires about fullness and food cravings. Those who had the egg breakfast reported significantly greater feelings of satiety and consumed significantly fewer calories both at lunch and over the following 36 hours.

In another study published in the International Journal of Obesity, overweight or obese men and women were assigned to eat a calorie-matched egg or bagel breakfast as part of a low calorie weight-loss diet. After eight weeks, in comparison to participants on the bagel diet, those on the egg diet showed a 65% greater weight loss, a 61% greater reduction in BMI and a 34% greater reduction in waist measurement. Cholesterol levels did not differ between the two groups.

Beginning in the 1970s, people were advised to limit their consumption of eggs due to concerns that dietary cholesterol would raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk for coronary artery disease. However, numerous population studies conducted in more recent years do not support this theory. A 2012 meta-analysis of previous research concluded that higher consumption of eggs is not associated with increased risk of heart disease or stroke.

Recommended:

When Diets Don’t Work

diets that do not work or last weight loss natural remedies

Most popular diets do allow people to lose weight in the short term (assuming they don’t cheat). But after ending the diet, people tend to gain the weight back or even put on extra pounds.

A review article looked at the long-term outcomes of low-calorie diets and found that up to two thirds of dieters regain more weight than they lost. The researchers concluded that there is little support for the idea that dieting leads to long-term weight loss or health benefits.

It could be possible that the type of people who go on diets are those with a genetic propensity towards putting on weight, making them more apt to regain it. A large twin study was devised to test this theory. Researchers tracked the weight and height of 4129 twins from the age of 16 to 25 and collected information about the number of times they had intentionally lost weight on a diet. When they compared pairs of genetically identical (monozygotic) twins, one of which who had dieted in the past and one who had never dieted, they found that dieting increased the risk for accelerated weight gain independent of genetic factors.

Any diet that is unsustainable in the long run is doomed to fail. No one can live on cabbage soup or grapefruit for the rest of their lives. Diets that rely on pre-packaged low-calorie meals or meal-replacement shakes take away the dieter’s own responsibly for making healthy choices. The eating habits that caused people to put on weight in the first place are usually resumed shortly after their weight-loss goal has been reached.

To lose weight and keep it off in the long-term, permanent lifestyle changes are a better approach than a temporary diet. Simply concentrate on eating more healthily, exercising and giving up bad habits.

Here are some examples of common-sense changes that can help with weight loss and weight maintenance.

  • Avoid processed foods and learn to make simple meals from fresh ingredients.
  • If you eat bread products made from white, refined flour, switch to wholegrain.
  • Don’t keep junk food in your cupboards or fridge.
  • Eliminate liquid calories from sugary drinks.
  • Avoid any foods that are battered or breaded and deep fried.
  • Choose foods without any added sugar.
  • If you’re a chocoholic, switch to a dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids.
  • Reserve half the room on your dinner plate for non-starchy vegetables.
  • Pay attention to ingredients, calories and nutrition information on labels.
  • Listen to your body: eat when you are hungry and stop when you’re full.
  • Spend less time sitting in front of screens and more time being physically active.

Final Word

None of the methods listed here will result in the kind of rapid weight-loss associated with very low-calorie fad diets. On the other hand, they don’t involve starving yourself either.

Everyone’s bodies are a little bit different. You can try each method for a few weeks to see which ones best fit in with your routines and food preferences, and which ones make the most difference to your waistline.

13 Natural Home Remedies for Hormonal Imbalance

22
hormone imbalance menopause periods menses pms natural remedies

Ladies, every woman knows the signs of her menstrual cycle from beginning to end. You live with it just about every twenty-eight days from the age of twelve or so until your forties.

But what if the menstrual cycle isn’t twenty-eight days? What if a significant change hits you out of the blue? It is normal to have ups and downs in the levels of your hormones over the cycle, but large changes aren’t normal.

This could mean a hormonal imbalance.

In order for you to feel your best and to be healthy, a number of hormones in your bodies must work together. If one gets out of balance for whatever reason, the harmony of hormones working together disappears.

What Are Hormones?

hormones imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies balance

Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that have an effect on nearly every aspect of both men’s and women’s health. They are produced in the endocrine glands and control most body functions from telling you when you’re hungry, to the complexity of reproduction, to moods and emotions.

Glands and Their Functions

The endocrine system is the origin of hormones. There are several glands that release hormones that are crucial to women.

1. Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is sometimes called the controlling gland because it starts the cascade of hormones that ultimately end with the secretion of sex hormones. It does this by stimulating and controlling other glands.

2. Adrenal Glands

Adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and play a major role in the release of hormones that regulate the sex drive and cortisol (stress-fighting hormone).

3. Ovaries

The ovaries are the female sex glands. They secrete estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

4. Pancreas

The pancreas is the organ in the body that controls insulin secretion. Insulin, with its effects on blood sugar, is an important hormone for women’s health.

5. Thyroid and Pituitary

In addition to these other glands, the thyroid and pituitary play a part in hormone secretion and supply.

The thyroid gland creates thyroid hormones, which travels to all the organs and controls how the body uses food for energy. Your pituitary gland is referred to as the “master gland” because it tells all your other glands what to do.

Hormones and Their Functions

1. Progesterone

Progesterone readies the endometrium, or lining, of the uterus for a fertilized egg to be embedded. Generally, the endometrium thickens just before onset of your period, then sloughs off if an egg is not embedded.

Progesterone also dampens the muscle contractions that would reject an egg. If an egg is implanted, this hormone also stimulates the supply of blood to the endometrium in order to feed the growing fetus.

With high levels of progesterone, the woman will not ovulate, or produce eggs. Low progesterone levels will usually prevent pregnancy, and if you do get pregnant with low progesterone, you’re at greater risk of a miscarriage. Low progesterone also typically brings high levels of estrogen, leading to estrogen dominance.

2. Estrogen

Estrogen is the female hormone usually thought of first when the subject of hormones comes up. It is the primary hormone for women, initially responsible for directing the female body to grow to its physical form. It’s produced mostly by the ovaries, but also by the adrenal cortex in smaller amounts.

There are three common naturally occurring forms of this hormone: estrone, estradiol, and estriol.

Estrone is the weakest form of estrogen and can be found in women who go through menopause naturally and without hormone replacement therapy. After menopause, this is the only form of estrogen found in women. It’s the least frequently seen type of estrogen and is made in some amounts in fats and other tissues of the body.

Estradiol is the most potent form of estrogen and the one that produces the most effect. It is produced by the ovaries, but also can be converted from other hormones in the adrenal glands and the placenta. Estradiol has been implicated in several of the medical issues women can face. Endometriosis, fibroids, and possibly endometrial cancer can be made worse by high levels of estradiol.

Estriol is the third form of estrogen. It’s a waste product of the metabolism of estradiol. It only has effects on some of the estrogen receptors in the body. Only during pregnancy is it produced in any quantity.

3. Testosterone

Testosterone is usually considered a male hormone, but it is also produced by the ovaries. It is the hormone that stimulates the sex drive in both males and females.

If your level of testosterone is too high, it can lead to acne outbreaks, hair growth on unusual parts of the body, and loss of head hair. It can also lead to polycystic ovary syndrome (POS), a condition that can lead to infertility.

4. Pregnenolone

A hormone that isn’t as well-known as some of the others, but one that has a tremendous effect on women’s health is pregnenolone.

If all of the hormones that affect women’s health are thought of as a waterfall, pregnenolone would be at the top of the waterfall. It has been called the “mother hormone” by some researchers and clinicians because it is the hormone so many other hormones are made from.

Pregnenolone is made mostly in the adrenal glands from cholesterol. It is then synthesized into other hormones, like DHEA, estrogen, and testosterone. Some women take supplemental pregnenolone to ease some of the symptoms of menopause because sufficient levels are needed to maintain hormonal balance.

5. DHEA

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is synthesized from cholesterol and produced in your adrenal glands. It is also a forerunner hormone for estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Like pregnenolone, it’s considered a “mother hormone” because it fuels metabolism in the body. DHEA normally is highest in women in their 20’s, then declines until it’s 80% gone in their 70’s. While age-related decline of DHEA is normal, stress also significantly lowers DHEA.

There are a number of other hormones that are important to everyone’s health, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus only on those listed above. To a great extent, they’re considered the “female” hormones.

Symptoms of a Hormone Imbalance

There are many symptoms women experience when their hormones are imbalanced. The following are the most common:

1. Insomnia

insomnia hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Low progesterone levels may be behind your sleep problems. In addition to trying to sleep, you may also have trouble staying asleep or going back to sleep after waking up early (sometimes as early as 3 a.m.). Naturally, lack of sleep brings on other issues throughout the day as well.

2. Acne Breakouts

acne breakouts hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Period acne is different from the typical acne. It is more inflamed with red papules, and usually appears on the lower part of the face (jawline, chin, cheeks).

Ovaries are female glands that secrete hormones — estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. They are vital to our hormonal balances and development. Two weeks before menstruation, estrogen levels drops while the production of testosterone remains the same. Testosterone is mainly thought of as a male hormone but women produce it too, in smaller amounts. As this imbalance grows between the two hormones, testosterone causes the oil glands in our pores to produce more sebum.

During the second half of our periods, progesterone levels rise. Elevated levels of progesterone also increases oil production, but it also causes our pores to swell shut.

When you mix sensitive skin, oily skin, oil that is trapped inside inflamed pores, and bacteria, you get breakouts.

3. Foggy Thinking

Low levels of estrogen can lead to difficulty concentrating and remembering. This can occur during your period, in the time leading up to menopause (perimenopause), and in menopause itself. Abnormal cortisol levels, the hormone that helps fight the effects of stress, may play a part in this issue as well.

4. Cravings

cravings hormone imbalance pms periods menses menopause natural remedies balance

When lack of sleep due to hormonal imbalance is a problem, you may often crave sweets. Both males and females can fall prey to this craving. If salty foods are craved, it may be an indication of minerals being lost in urination and may indicate adrenal glands being under stress.

5. Digestive Issues

Flare-ups with digestive problems are common during periods. This may be because estrogen and progesterone levels vary during this time. Thyroid hormone may also play a part.

6. Feeling Tired

This can be a result of not sleeping well due to hormone imbalance. Night sweats and hot flashes interrupt sleep and may be due to low levels of estrogen. Insomnia may be due to progesterone being out of balance.

7. Mood Swings

Anxiety and depression alternating with elevated moods may be due to low testosterone levels.

8. Weight Gain

Gaining weight around the middle of the body is a common issue with women whose hormones are out of balance. Estrogen levels that are high can be a contributing factor. If progesterone levels are out of balance as well, this weight can be very hard to lose. Your thyroid may slow down metabolism, causing your pancreas to store fat around the middle.

9. Headaches & Migraines

Progesterone imbalance may be a factor if you have headaches and migraines during your periods or menopause.

10. Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

hot flashes night sweats headaches hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

The terrible duo of menopause. Every woman who has gone, or is going through menopause knows the discomfort of waking up in the middle of the night, covered in sweat. Or feeling like you’re completely burning up any time of the day or night for no reason. Estrogen levels much too high, combined with much too low progesterone levels are likely to be the culprits.

11. Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness is typically brought on by low levels of estrogen. This makes for painful intercourse and leads to relationship problems.

12. Breast Changes

Breast changes can be brought on by high levels of estrogen. Breast tenderness, lumps, fibroid tumors, and cysts can occur with high estrogen levels. Progesterone levels that are imbalanced can also lead to breast tenderness.

13. Loss of Libido

Low estrogen levels can cause you to lose interest in sex. Vaginal dryness and breast tenderness also adds to your lack of sexual interest.

14. Increased Likelihood of Infections

Estrogen levels that vary from too high to too low can make women more likely to get infections. High levels of estrogen may lead to multiple yeast infections, while low levels of estrogen may bring on urinary tract infections.

The Time of Your Life — Menopause

That time of life when massive changes are taking place in your body, including many hormonal imbalances. Some women seem to cruise through this time of change, while others suffer.

If you find yourself suffering through the “change of life,” it’s probably due to the hormone changes and imbalances more than anything else. But with sound, natural ways to re-balance your hormones, this time of your life can be a more free and pleasant time.

Let’s take a look at natural ways to deal with the hormone changes taking place in your bodies.

Treatment Options

1. Hormone Replacement Therapy

Since menopause is the typical time women have problems with hormones and imbalances, the first thing people think about as a treatment option is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is taking prescription medications to replace hormones, typically estrogen and progesterone, that are not being produced by the ovaries.

HRT has been seen as a risk in several serious health risks. The Women’s Health Initiative was a study begun in 1991 and scheduled to run for 15 years. It studied a large group of women of various ages and the effects of HRT.

The study was ended after 10 years because of the findings that suggested serious health issues. Some of those findings included:

  • The incidence of breast cancer increased in women who were taking estrogen plus progesterone.
  • Heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots in the lungs and legs were seen more often in women taking estrogen plus progesterone.
  • The number of women with fractures or colorectal cancer decreased when taking estrogen and progesterone together.

In general, the risks associated with HRT appear to be greater than the benefits associated with this replacement therapy. Another finding was that HRT seems to make mammograms less effective in early abnormality detections.

How to Balance Hormones Naturally

There are other options for dealing with the symptoms that come from imbalanced hormones. These options are more natural, utilizes natural foods, plant-based herbs, and supplements. They appear to be useful for reducing these symptoms, no matter what a woman’s age is.

Please consult with your healthcare provider before starting any of these supplements or before stopping any prescribed medications you may be currently taking.

The following suggestions for healthy foods and supplements can be helpful for balancing hormones, regardless of what age you begin having symptoms of imbalance.

1. Add Healthy Fats

add healthy fats hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Coconut oil, avocado, butter from grass-fed cows, and wild caught salmon are good sources of healthy fats. Various kinds of fats are used by your body to produce hormones. They also lower your inflammation risk, increase metabolism, and can lead to weight loss.

Recommended:

2. Balance Between Omega-3 & Omega-6

balance omega 3 and 6 hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Recently, there has been a big increase in inflammation and associated illnesses in the U.S. Much of this is due to an over-abundance of Omega-6 fatty acids (poultry, eggs, cereal, whole grain bread, hemp oil, vegetable oils, nuts) and not enough Omega-3 (mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, chia seeds, flax seeds, tuna, sardines, anchovies, egg yolk, walnuts).

One type of Omega-6 women should increase is GLA (gamma-linoleic acid). This can be found in supplement form or in hemp seeds. Some studies have shown GLA to support good levels of progesterone.

Recommended:

3. Limit Alcohol & Caffeine Intake

limit alcohol caffeine hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies lifestyle changes

Too much caffeine acts just like too little sleep. It ramps up the system, increases heart rate, improves alertness, and changes the way the brain uses hormones.

Too much alcohol adds to estrogen dominance, limits the functioning of the pancreas, and lowers testosterone levels.

4. Lifestyle Changes

lifestyle changes exercise hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

One effective way women can deal with imbalanced hormones is to reduce the amount of stress in their lives. Another is to increase exercise to an appropriate level.

Beneficial exercises include 45-minute workout sessions, circuit training (improves insulin response, increases testosterone and stimulating growth hormones), yoga (decreases adrenalin and boosts GABA, the calming neurotransmitter) and weight training (stimulates growth hormones).

Recommended:

5. Add Vitamins and Minerals

vitamins minerals hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Some of the vitamins women need in their diets to support healthy hormone levels include vitamin B6, vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium. These vitamins and minerals can be consumed as supplements or in foods like whole grains, nuts, legumes, vegetables, seafood, and poultry.

Recommended:

Herbs

Herbs also can be valuable in helping to balance hormones. There are basically two broad categories of herbs to be considered: phytoestrogenic and non-phytoestrogenic.

The phytoestrogenic herbs contain plant-based estrogen compounds. When these are eaten, they add plant-based estrogens to the body. This may lead the body to not produce estrogen of its own. While herbs can be beneficial in re-balancing hormones at any age, you must be careful in using phytoestrogenic herbs since they contain estrogen compounds.

Younger women who consume these herbs could actually add to their imbalance by ceasing to produce estrogen naturally. These types of herbs could be of more use for women who have at least started menopause.

6. Black Cohosh

black cohosh herb hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is one of the oldest phytoestrogenic herbs used to help balance hormones and battle the symptoms of menopause. This herb acts like estrogen in the body and relieves hot flashes. It is said to decrease inflammation often seen in hormone imbalance.

Black cohosh also helps regulate menstrual periods and relaxes the uterine muscles to help with menstrual cramps.

Recommended:

7. Ginkgo Biloba

ginkgo biloba herb hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Ginkgo biloba is also a phytoestrogenic herb that increase cognitive abilities. This can help women who suffer from memory lapses during menses or menopause. Non-phytoestrogenic herbs nourish and stimulate the pituitary and endocrine glands so they produce natural hormones better. These hormones are said to regulate estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels.

By stimulating and nourishing a woman’s own glands, these herbs appear to be safer to use than the phytoestrogenic herbs. Both menstruating and menopausal women may benefit from use of these herbs for hormonal imbalances.

Recommended:

8. Chasteberry

chasteberry herb hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Chasteberry, also known as vitex, is one of those herbs that doesn’t fall into a specific category. It is very effective in relieving symptoms of PMS and menopause. For menstruating women, chasteberry is great at reducing uterine fibroids, clearing up acne, improving fertility, treating endometriosis and amenorrhea, and increases lactation.  In menopause, vitex is highly effective against night insomnia, hot flashes, and anxiety.

Chasteberry creates a balance between progesterone and estrogen. It helps reduce tenderness and soreness of the breasts by regulating how much prolactin is secreted by the pituitary gland.

Recommended:

9. Ashwagandha

ashwagandha root herb hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Ashwagandha is a root herb that is said to help with sleep, cognitive functions, and sexual arousal. Improving sleep can be a general help in dealing with symptoms of hormone imbalance. This herb draws blood to the women’s reproductive organs and increases sexual drive and sensitivity. Ashwagandha can also help with hot flashes, depression, and anxiety.

Recommended:

10. Macafem

macafem root herb hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Macafem (Lepidium meyenii) is a root that contains unique alkaloids and has been used over 2000 years. Macafem contains numerous vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. These nutrients naturally improves the body’s endocrine system and supports the regulation of the hormonal system.

During menopause, estrogen levels drop, which can lead to night sweats, hot flashes, fatigue, depression and anxiety, mood swings, night insomnia, and low libido. Macafem is a non-phytoestrogenic herb that helps to relieve symptoms of menopause. It increases libido, balances hormones, and raises energy levels.

Recommended:

11. Rhodiola

rhodiola herb hormone imbalance menopause menses periods pms natural remedies

Rhodiola is another non-phytoestrogenic herb that works directly on the brain. It has some effect on the pituitary in the production of estrogen. It also helps the body handle stress more effectively, lowers cortisol, helps burn belly fat, increases focus and memory, ramps up energy levels, and fights mood disorders. If you take this supplement, make sure it is guaranteed Siberian-grown and has had exposure to some stress.

Recommended:

Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical hormones have been shown to be effective in helping women handle the imbalances of hormones that may occur. These are compounded substances made from natural ingredients and are, as the name implies, identical to human hormones.

This category of treatment options for hormone imbalance may be beneficial for women who are still menstruating as well as those who are in menopause. It’s important for you to consult with your healthcare professional before using them.

12. Bi-estrogen

Bi-estrogen has been shown to be helpful in alleviating vaginal dryness, making intercourse more comfortable, and in reducing UTIs. Estriol is the component of bi-estrogen that helps in this regard. Estradiol, the second ingredient, helps with vaginal dryness as well as night sweats and hot flashes, promotes sleep, and reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

13. Tri-estrogen

Tri-estrogen adds estrone to the combination of estriol and estradiol in bi-estrogen. This combination is frequently given to women who are of low normal or below normal weight.

Some mild side effects may be encountered with bio-identical hormones. These usually go away with an adjustment in dosage levels.

Final Word

Up to 80% of women may suffer from the symptoms associated with hormone imbalance at some time in their lives. Most women who go into menopause will have these symptoms, but it is possible for women as young as 18 to begin having some symptoms. If these occur only during the woman’s period, they will go away once the period is over. But a large number of women suffer these symptoms at other times in their cycle as well.

With the adverse effects possible with hormone replacement therapy as traditionally used, having alternative ways of handling these symptoms is valuable. Using herbal, food, and lifestyle changes to deal with hormone imbalance will not work immediately. Changes that come naturally take time. However, the benefits of natural approaches to hormone balancing are worth the time and effort.

10 Best Natural Home Remedies for Arthritis & Joint Pain Relief

6
arthritis natural remedies elderly seniors wrist hand joint pain

According to the CDC, arthritis affects approximately 23% of adults and 50% of those aged 65 and older.

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States. People with this disorder take more time off work due to illness or injury than those with any other medical condition.

Types of Arthritis

Arthritis is not a single disease, but a broad category of diseases that cause inflammation, pain and stiffness in the joints.

The Arthritis Foundation lists more than 60 conditions that fall under this term. The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that most often develops in middle age. Over time, stress on the joints can cause the smooth cartilage lining to break down and wear away. Without this cartilage cushion to protect it, bone rubs against bone resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and reduced mobility.

The joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis are the hands and weight-bearing joints including the hips, knees, feet and spine.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that tends to affect people aged 40 and over. It occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks the synovial tissue which lines the joint, causing it to become painfully inflamed. Over time, this inflammation can damage to your bone and cartilage.

Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the wrists and hands, causing pain, stiffness and swelling.

Other Arthritic Diseases

  • Gout – a painful condition caused by an accumulation of uric acid in the joints
  • Enteropathic arthritis – a type of arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease
  • Psoriatic arthritis – an inflammatory joint condition affecting people with psoriasis.
  • Fibromyalgia – a rheumatic disease associated with chronic pain and fatigue
  • Cervical spondylosis – a degenerative condition that affects the joints in the neck
  • Ankylosing spondylitis – an inflammatory condition that can cause joints in the spine to fuse together

Treating Arthritis

Treatments for arthritis aim to slow the progress of the disease, minimize inflammation and reduce pain.

Medications such as analgesics, corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed. In severe cases, joint replacement or bone realignment surgery may be recommended.

Arthritis sufferers have been treating their symptoms with natural home remedies for centuries. While Granny Clampett’s rheumatism moonshine may have had some strange side effects, the following home remedies are safe and effective.

1. Capsaicin

capsaicin cayenne chilli red hot spicy peppers arthritis natural remedies

Capsaicin is the substance that gives chili peppers their spicy heat. It works by depleting a neurotransmitter called Substance P. This protein transmits pain signals from nerve endings to the brain and helps to activate inflammation in the joints. Less Substance P results in less pain and inflammation.

Arthritis Research UK rated the effectiveness of 22 complementary medicines and found capsaicin the most effective for osteoarthritis, giving it a score of 5 out of 5. They also awarded it a green light for safety.

A meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology looked at three trials testing capsaicin gel as a treatment for osteoarthritis. It was found to be four times more effective than a placebo gel in improving joint pain and tenderness.

Capsaicin topical creams are available over the counter, but you can easily make your own capsaicin massage oil to treat your affected joints.

Method: Gently heat ½ cup of olive oil in a sauce pan and add two tablespoons of cayenne powder. Whisk until the powder is dissolved, allow to cool, and transfer to a glass jar. Rub the oil onto affected joints whenever arthritis pain flares up.

Recommended:

2. Eucalyptus Oil

eucalyptus oil leaves arthritis natural remedies

Eucalyptus oil can temporarily relieve joint pain and inflammation. The active ingredient in eucalyptus is menthol, which decreases pain by increasing skin temperature and blood flow. A commercial eucalyptus ointment is sold as a topical analgesic for arthritis.

Amazingly, arthritis sufferers can also experience the pain-relieving benefits of eucalyptus oil just by breathing it in. A Korean study investigated the effects of inhaling eucalyptus oil on patients who had undergone total knee replacement surgery due to severe osteoarthritis.

A total of 52 arthritic knee surgery patients were divided into two groups. A gauze pad coated with eucalyptus oil was positioned under the nose of patients in the experimental group for 30 minutes a day over a three-day period. The control group received the same treatment, but with a pad coated in almond oil.

Patients were asked to report their level of pain before and after the inhalation sessions using a ten-point scale. Pain scores decreased after inhalation in the eucalyptus group, whereas pain increased in the control group. Overall pain scores were also significantly lower in the eucalyptus oil group.

If you don’t want to balance a pad under your nose for 30 minutes, you can use eucalyptus oil in other ways to help reduce arthritic pain.

Method: Make an ointment by mixing ten drops of eucalyptus oil into about a tablespoon of petroleum jelly. Massage the mixture onto your painful joints as needed.

Or add a few drops to a hot bath to benefit from both the aroma and the topical effects.

Recommended:

3. Ginger

ginger root powder arthritis natural remedies

Ginger extract reduces the production of chemicals such as leukotrienes that promote joint inflammation. It also contains salicylates, which the body transforms into salicylic acid, the same pain-relieving substance found in aspirin. Salicylic acid binds to enzymes in the cells and stops them from producing prostaglandins, chemicals which promote inflammation and send pain signals to the brain.

A study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology evaluated the safety and efficacy of ginger extract in 247 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Participants were given either ginger capsules or placebo capsules twice a day for six months. Both groups were also allowed to take paracetamol only as needed to control their pain.

The patients taking the ginger capsules had a 63% reduction in knee pain compared to a 50% reduction for those taking the placebos – a statistically significant improvement. The ginger group had less knee pain when standing and walking and lower scores on an index used to measure osteoarthritis symptoms. Patients taking the ginger capsules also showed a greater reduction in paracetamol usage.

Ginger supplement capsules are widely available, but you could try to simply including more fresh ginger root into your diet. You can also enjoy ginger in a spicy, warming tea.

Method: Bring three cups of water to the boil in a saucepan. Add a heaping tablespoon of freshly grated ginger root. Simmer for ten minutes and strain. Sweeten to taste with honey or stevia.

Recommended:

4. Borage Seed Oil

borage seed oil flowers arthritis natural remedies

Borage is an herb native to the Mediterranean and used in a variety of European dishes. It also has a history of medicinal use.

Borage seed oil is the richest source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that helps to maintain the cell structure and function of joints and inhibits joint inflammation. A healthy young body can convert linolenic acid, found in many nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, to GLA. However, age, infection, disease and poor diet may interfere with this process.

Doctors at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of GLA in treating rheumatoid arthritis. One group of 28 patients were given 2.8 g of GLA every day for six months. The 28 patients in the placebo group were given identical capsules containing sunflower oil.

After six months, the GLA group showed a significant reduction in symptoms including joint swelling, joint tenderness, joint pain and degree of disability. The placebo group did not show significant improvement in any symptom category.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, it may be worth conducting your own six-month test of borage oil capsules. GPA can also be found in evening primrose oil and black currant seed oil. Small amounts can be obtained from oats or spirulina.

Recommended:

5. Indian Frankincense

indian frankincense gum resin boswellia tree arthritis natural remedies

Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrate) is gum resin from the bark of the Boswellia tree. It is a traditional remedy in Ayurvedic medicine. The Boswellic acids found in the resin inhibit enzymes and cytokines that trigger joint inflammation and the autoimmune response. They also help to prevent cartilage loss.

A trial published in the journal Phytomedicine investigated the efficacy of Indian Frankincense in treating patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Half of the 30 participants were given capsules containing Boswellia serrata extract and half were given placebo capsules. Compared to the control group, the Frankincense group had significant improvements in knee pain, knee flexibility, walking distance and frequency of swelling in the knee joint.

In another randomized controlled clinical trial, researchers compared the effects of Indian frankincense with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, valdecoxib. Over a six-month period, 66 patients with knee osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to receive either valdecoxib or Boswellia serrata extract capsules. Both groups showed a significant improvement in pain, stiffness and function.

The patients in the valdecoxib group had a reduction in symptoms after one month, whereas it took two months for the frankincense to have a similar effect.

Interestingly, the beneficial effects of the herbal supplement continued for a month after patients had stopped taking it. The effects of valdecoxib persisted only as long as the drug was taken regularly. The researchers speculate that, unlike anti-inflammatory medications, Indian frankincense may have an effect on the underlying pathology of arthritis.

When purchasing Indian frankincense or boswellia extract capsules, look for products containing at least 60% boswellic acids.

Recommended:

 6. Rosehip

rosehip red berries fruit tea arthritis natural remedies

Rosehips are rich in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Anthocyanins may also help to slow the progress of arthritis by blocking protein-digesting enzymes that break down cartilage.

A randomized trial published in the journal Phytomedicine examined the effect of a rose hip herbal remedy on 112 patients with osteoarthritis. Participants received either 5 g of the rosehip supplement or a placebo every day for three months.

In the rosehip group, 66% reported a significant reduction in pain, compared to 36% in the placebo group. The rosehip group also showed improvement in symptoms such as morning stiffness and significantly reduced their use of pain medication.

Another placebo-controlled trial looked specifically at the effects of rosehip on osteoarthritis symptoms in the dominant hand. An incredible 90% of patients taking a rosehip supplement showed a reduction in hand pain compared to 36% in the placebo group. The rosehip group also showed a significant reduction in stiffness and discomfort. As in the previous trial, they significantly reduced their consumption of painkilling drugs.

A variety of different rosehip tablets and capsules are available. You can also pick rosehips in late summer and consult online recipes to make your own rosehip jam, chutney, cordials and even fruit roll-ups. Rosehip tea is one of the easiest ways to consume this fresh fruit.

Method: Wash, top and tail your rosehips. Chop them up in a food processor. Add about a tablespoon of the puree to 3 cups of boiling water. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Strain and sweeten to taste.

Recommended:

7. Turmeric

turmeric curcumin root orange powder arthritis natural remedies

Turmeric is a vivid yellow spice used in Indian curries and other Asian dishes.

The active component in turmeric root is curcumin. This anti-inflammatory polyphenol works by inhibiting the activation of genes and production of proteins that trigger pain and swelling. A 2006 rodent study concluded that curcumin profoundly lessened joint inflammation and destruction.

A 2012 pilot study investigated the efficacy and safety of curcumin in 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients. The patients were randomized into three groups. One received curcumin supplements, another received the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Voltaren (diclofenac sodium) and a third group took a combination of the two.

Patients in the curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement in scores measuring disease activity, joint tenderness and swelling. All of these scores were significantly better than those for patients taking Voltaren alone.

Curcumin was also found to be safe and not associated with any adverse effects. None of the curcumin patients dropped out of the study due to side-effects, whereas 14% of those in the Voltaren group did.

Eating turmeric on its own will not give you the full benefits of curcumin because it is poorly absorbed by the body. However, research has shown that combining curcumin with piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, can increase its bioavailability by 2000%.

If you decide to use curcumin supplements, look for ones containing black pepper extract or other ingredients used to enhance bioavailability. If you use turmeric in your cooking, make your own spice mix to increase the absorbability of curcumin.

Method: Mix one teaspoon of ground black pepper into 1/4 cup of turmeric powder. Store in a labeled spice jar. Use whenever recipes call for turmeric.

Recommended:

8. Fish Oil

fish oil pills omega 3 fatty acids arthritis natural remedies

Arthritis Research UK gives fish oil a score of 5 out of 5 for effectiveness in treating rheumatoid arthritis. The omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish oil have strong anti-inflammatory properties which help to counteract the many inflammatory elements in a typical Western diet. Fish oil also contains vitamin D, necessary for building and repairing cartilage within the joints.

A review on the role of omega-3 in inflammation and auto-immune diseases identified 13 randomized controlled clinical trials that showed benefit from fish oil supplements in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It recommended that people with a genetic risk of developing the disease should include more omega-3 in their diets as a preventative measure.

A meta-analysis examining 10 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials concluded that there was a statistically significant improvement in joint tenderness and morning stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with fish oil supplements for three months.

Other trials have reported benefits including reduced joint pain, increased grip strength, reduced time to fatigue and decreased use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

You can increase your omega-3 intake simply by consuming more oily fish such as salmon, trout, herring, mackerel or sardines. If you’re not a fish-lover, you can choose one of the many fish oil supplements available online or in health food shops.

Recommended:

9. Moderate Intensity Exercise

moderate intensity workouts aerobic resistance exercise jogging elderly arthritis natural remedies

Many arthritis sufferers believe that exercise will aggravate joint pain, but the opposite is true. A lack of exercise weakens the muscles that support your bones, putting more stress on the joints which increases pain and stiffness.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, people with arthritis who exercise regularly have less pain, better function, increased energy and improved sleep. Many arthritis symptoms can be made worse by inactivity, including stiff joints, decreased pain tolerance, weak muscles and poor balance. The ACR guidelines indicate that exercise should be a mainstay of treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee and hip.

The Fitness Arthritis and Seniors Trial examined the effects of exercise on 439 knee osteoarthritis patients over the age of 60. The patients were randomly allocated to an aerobic exercise group, a resistance exercise group or a health education group. Each group attended a 3-month supervised program, followed by a 15-month home-based program.

Compared to patients in the health education group, patients in both of the exercise groups had significantly fewer disabilities, less pain and greater flexion strength. Physical performance was increased in all measures in the aerobics group and in all except stair-climbing in the resistance exercise group.

Safe forms of aerobic exercise for people with arthritis include walking, bicycling, aquatic exercise, aerobic dance and exercising on treadmills or elliptical trainers. Resistance exercise can begin with simply lifting limbs against gravity and progressing to using hand-held weights or elastic resistance bands. Tai chi or yoga can help with balance and coordination, reducing the risk for falls.

10. Weight Loss

weight loss joint pain overweight stress arthritis natural remedies

Being overweight is an important risk factor for arthritis in the knees, hips and hands.

Carrying excess weight puts stress on the knee and hip joints, which can break down cartilage and cause or exacerbate arthritis symptoms. Being just ten pounds overweight increases the force on the knee by approximately 40 pounds with every step you take.

Stress on the joints isn’t the only link between weight and arthritis; otherwise it would be hard to explain why overweight people are at higher risk for arthritis of the hand.

Fat cells release inflammatory chemicals called cytokines which play a role in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Concentrations of cytokines are elevated in obese individuals.

While gaining excess weight increases the risk of arthritis, losing it has the opposite effect. In a cohort study, researchers followed up 796 women to evaluate the effect of weight loss in preventing osteoarthritis of the knee. They found that a decrease in BMI of two units (approximately 11 pounds) over ten years lowered the odds of developing osteoarthritis by more than 50%.

Weight loss also improves symptoms in people who have already developed arthritis. A trial published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage assessed the effects of weight loss on 80 obese patients with knee osteoarthritis. The participants were divided into two groups. One group was put on a low-energy diet consisting of a nutrition powder mixed with water. The control group was put on an unsupervised diet with real food. After eight weeks, the low-energy dieters had lost significantly more weight.

Changes in arthritis symptoms were measured using an osteoarthritis assessment tool called WOMAC which gives scores for pain, stiffness and limitation of function. The WOMAC index significantly improved for those on the low energy diet, but not in the control group. There was an average of 9.4% improvement in symptoms for every 1% of body fat lost. Researchers calculated that a 10% weight reduction would result in a 28% decline in the symptoms of knee arthritis.

Method: There are many different weight loss diets to choose from, but arthritis sufferers probably have the most to gain (and lose) from an anti-inflammatory diet. By eliminating inflammatory foods like sugar, refined flour and omega-6 vegetable oils, you could simultaneously lose weight and improve your arthritic symptoms.

Final Word

Don’t let arthritis limit your lifestyle! You can try these arthritis remedies one at a time to find out which works best for you, or experiment with various combinations of foods or supplements.

If you are overweight or live a sedentary lifestyle, a healthy eating plan and exercise program could make a big difference towards your arthritic symptoms. Try to find a type of exercise you enjoy doing and a diet that includes foods you enjoy eating.

23 Natural Home Remedies to Lower High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

42
high blood pressure hypertension natural remedies

So your doctor just told you that you have hypertension, a life long disease.

Now what?

What exactly is hypertension?

What caused this?

There are many ways you can naturally lower high blood pressure. It can be modified by consistent diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes.

According to the CDC, 29.1% of adults in the United States suffer from chronic high blood pressure (hypertension).

Hypertension is one of the “silent killer diseases.” A silent killer is a disease that produces minor or no obvious symptoms, but can cause death if not taken care of.

Other examples of silent killers are diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mesothelioma, obstructive sleep apnea, chronic viruses (Hepatitis B and C).

Hypertension, if not treated, can lead to heart disease. Heart disease is the number one silent killer disease. According to the American Hearth Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death today, which accounts for 17.3 millions death per year.

What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?

what is high blood pressure hypertension arteries flow natural remedies

Your blood pressure rises when your heart is forced to work extra hard. It can be raised temporarily and exasperated by anxiety and other stress factors. The medical term for chronic high blood pressure is hypertension.

Hypertension can lead to damage of the heart or to the vascular system. It is important to keep your pressure within a normal range so that your entire body can efficiently receive fresh oxygenated blood.

Every organ of the body needs oxygen in order to survive. Blood is pumped out of the heart and into the arteries. The blood then carries oxygen throughout the entire body. The deoxygenated blood returns to the heart to get re-oxygenated, and the cycle continues.

When the arteries of the heart become damaged, they are not as flexible. This could be caused by plaque blockage, cholesterol build-up, or scarring. Untreated, this damage can lead to heart attacks, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

what causes high blood pressure hypertension natural remedies headaches

No one knows why one person is more susceptible to hypertension than other people, but it is important to know what common risk factors are. Some risk factors are modifiable, while others are not. The good news is that hypertension can be managed.

Risk factors that can put people at risk for hypertension:

  • Family history of hypertension
  • African Americans
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • Diet high in sodium (salt), trans fat, saturated fat, and sugars
  • High consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth control pills
  • Comorbidities, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or gout
  • Age (the older you are, the higher your chances are of having hypertension)

Untreated hypertension can lead to permanent damage to your organs, heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), kidney failure, and other health problems.

How to Measure Blood Pressure

high blood pressure how to measure hypertension manual machine natural remedies

Blood pressure measures the amount of force it takes your heart to pump blood (systolic) outwards, and then to fill up while at rest (diastolic). The systolic number is the top part of the blood pressure reading and the diastolic is the bottom number.

The recommended blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg. Pre-hypertension is anything between 120/80 – 139/89 mm Hg. High blood pressure is anything equal to or above 140/90 mm Hg.

Along with lifestyle changes, there are many natural ways to lower high blood pressure. Try a few natural remedies to find the ones that best benefits your body.

23 Natural Remedies that Lower High Blood Pressure

1. Garlic

garlic cloves raw natural remedy to lower high blood pressure hypertension

Garlic is gaining more and more popularity for its use in lowering high blood pressure. This herb also has blood thinning properties which makes it great for improving overall cardiac health.

Garlic is also a natural diuretic — meaning it forces out excess sodium and water from the body, and into your urine. This effect takes pressure off of an overworked heart and decreases blood pressure.

Method: If the taste of garlic is too strong for you, popular odorless garlic supplements are also available.

  • If you cannot handle eating the entire clove raw, hold a slice of garlic in your mouth and try sucking on the juices for 15 minutes.
  • You can also finely mince 1-2 cloves of garlic, mix it into a glass of water, and drink it.
  • Another method is to take the finely minced pieces, put it on a piece of fruit, and cover it with honey.
  • Tip — try adding a few cloves to your smoothies.

Recommended:

2. Carrots

carrots raw fresh natural remedy to lower high blood pressure hypertension

Carrots contain high levels of antioxidants beta-carotene, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Antioxidants reduce the amount of cancer-causing free radicals in the body. They also protect against damage to blood vessels and cellular death.

Carrots are also high in the electrolyte, potassium. Potassium is great at keeping the fluid within the body balanced and normalizing blood pressure. Potassium positively counteracts the effects of sodium. Consumed in large amounts, sodium can negatively affect blood pressure.

Method: Drink 1-3 glasses of carrot juice a day. Make sure to buy organic and do not add any sugar.

Recommended:

3. Tomatoes

tomatoes fresh natural remedy lowers blood pressure hypertension

Tomatoes contain beta-carotene, vitamin E, potassium, and antioxidants — which are all great at lowering high blood pressure.

Tomatoes also contain lycopene, a chemical that gives it its rich red color. Lycopene has antioxidant effects that lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and prevents the build-up of fatty deposits in arteries (atherosclerosis). These buildups can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Method: Eat a cup of fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, or blended tomato juice, everyday. If you do not like the taste of tomatoes, try taking lycopene supplements. Avoid commercial tomato sauce, which contain high levels of sodium.

Recommended:

4. Celery

celery fresh raw natural remedy to lower high blood pressure hypertension

Celery seeds are widely used in the Chinese culture for lowering blood pressure. Specifically, the Chinese use celery seeds to lower high blood pressure of the liver.

Celery is a fibrous vegetable that also acts as a diuretic. Diuretics flushes out excess water from the heart and the body. This causes a decrease in blood pressure.

Method: Mix celery seeds into your tea, your cooking, or drink fresh celery juice — 3 times a day.

Recommended:

5. Pomegranate

pomegranate fresh fruit natural remedy to lower high blood pressure hypertension

Pomegranates not only are dense in nutrients, but are also high in antioxidants — specifically in tannins and anthocyanins. Pomegranates are fruits that have a hard shell and edible juicy red seeds.

Pomegranates contain phytochemicals, flavonoids, polyphenols, and punicalagin.

Phytochemicals naturally occur in plant foods that act as antioxidants and prevent damage to our cells. Antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenols fight against heart disease and cancers.

Punicalagin is a compound that is mostly responsible for the health benefits in pomegranates. It improves the functions of the heart and blood vessels, lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol, raises good (HDL) cholesterol, lowers high blood pressure, and reverses the effects of arterial blockage (atherosclerosis).

Pomegranates contain more antioxidants than red wine, berries, or even green tea.

Method: Add pomegranate seeds to your salad, or juice the seeds into a tasty drink.

Recommended:

6. Beets & Radishes

beets radishes fresh raw juice natural remedy to lower high blood pressure hypertension

Beets & radishes are under-appreciated and overlooked vegetables. Both beets and radishes are high in nitrates, which are great at lowering high blood pressure, by improving vasodilation.

Nitrates change into vasodilator nitric oxide after being ingested. Nitric acid dilates blood vessels, regulates blood pressure, decreases endothelial inflammation, and platelet aggregation.

Both the leaves and the roots of the radish lowers elevated blood pressures.

Method: Juice made out of beets or radishes are the best form of the vegetables, in lowering blood pressure. Drink a glass of blended beets or radishes juice, daily. Also, add fresh beets and radishes to any dish!

Recommended:

7. Sesame

sesame seeds oil natural remedy lowers blood pressure hypertension

Sesame oil contains omega-6s, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), Vitamin E, and sesamin, which are great for lowering blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Sesamin is a lignan compound in sesame oil that has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels. Sesame lignans reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the body.

PUFA and sesamin work together to relax the arterial wall and reduce blood pressure.

Method: Incorporate 1 ounce of sesame seeds or oil into your daily cooking, for at least 2 months.

Recommended:

8. Ginger

ginger fresh raw tea natural remedy to lower high blood pressure hypertension

Ginger has been used for centuries in Asian and Indian cultures, especially for its numerous health benefits. Ginger is great for preventing heart conditions, such as lowering blood pressure, decreasing cholesterol, and preventing blood clots.

Ginger decreases bad cholesterol (Low Density Lipoproteins), by preventing plaque build-up on arterial walls, that can lead to increased blood pressure.

Ginger also acts as a blood thinner, which prevents blood clots. Blood clots can prevent adequate blood flow throughout your body, leading to high blood pressure. Preventing blood clot formation can help reduce the prevalence of a heart attack or stroke.

Method: Add fresh ginger to your smoothies and juices, and try to incorporate ginger into your daily cooking.

Recommended:

9. Coconut Water

coconut water fresh raw hydrating natural remedy to lower high blood pressure hypertension

Coconut water is filled with potassium and magnesium electrolytes, which are good for the heart muscle.

Coconut water lowers blood pressure by acting as a potassium sparing diuretic. This removes the excess water from the body, while retaining vital potassium.

Coconut water is best when it is organic and bottled in its raw form.

Method: Drink 8 ounces of organic coconut water, 1-3 times a day. The effects are weight based, so if you are on the heavier side, drink more coconut water (3 times a day).

Recommended:

10. Cayenne Pepper (Capsaicin)

cayenne pepper capsaicin red powder natural remedy to lower high blood pressure hypertension

Cayenne pepper is a known vasodilator. It quickly expands blood vessels, which improves the flow of blood. Faster and more efficient flow takes pressure off of the arteries, thus decreasing your blood pressure.

Capsaicin is one of the major ingredients in red peppers. The spicier the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.

Cayenne pepper helps to create new red blood cells, improves blood structure, and aids in detoxing the blood. During detoxification, cayenne pepper is thought to also remove some plaque build-up off of the arterial walls.

Cayenne pepper is also known to stop bleeding fast. If you have a cut, try sprinkling some cayenne pepper over it.

Method: Recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon of organic cayenne pepper a day, and slowly work your way up to one teaspoon, 3 times a day. If the taste is too spicy for you, try taking capsaicin supplements.

Recommended:

11. Dark Chocolate (Caca0)

dark chocolate cacao natural remedy to lower high blood pressure hypertension

Dark chocolate is made from the seeds of the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) and is loaded with antioxidants (cancer fighting) — including polyphenols, flavonoids, catechins.

The cocoa tree seeds contain flavonoids, but more importantly, it is exceptionally high in its levels of flavanols.

Flavanols (Flavan-3-ol) are phytonutrients, which is known as plant-based nutrients. Not many other foods come close to the amount of flavanols that are found in cocoa seeds.

Flavanols are found in certain fruits, vegetables, teas, unprocessed grape juice, wine, and berries. Black teas and red wine in particular, are known to contain high levels of flavanols. Flavanols release a chemical known as nitric oxide (NO). This chemical is a free radical (cancer fighting) that is essential for intercellular health.

Activated nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, making it easier for the blood to circulate throughout the body. NO is absolutely necessary in maintaining a healthy body.

By keeping the blood vessels open, it allows the blood to efficiently carry vital oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. Dilated blood vessels decrease stress in the body. This in turn, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke or a heart attack.

Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate that is high in flavanols can actually reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, and maintains efficient blood circulation.

Other proven benefits of dark chocolate include: decreases bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol, protects again sun damage while smoothing the skin, boosts brain health, and provides essential vitamins and minerals.

Method: Make sure your dark chocolates or cocoa powders contain at least 50-80% of cocoa to reap the benefits of the flavanols. Just remember that the more cocoa content your chocolate contains, the more nutritious it is.

Recommended:

12. Cardamom

cardamom seeds for high blood pressure hypertension natural remedies herb

Cardamom is a spice that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda medicine. It is widely used for cardiac disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, renal problems, heart burn, and respiratory disorders.

Cardamom is also known for its antioxidant, gastro-protective, anti-spasmodic, antibacterial, anti-platelet aggregation, and anti-cancer properties.

Cardamom causes vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels) and allows blood to flow more easily, thus lowering blood pressure.

Method: Mix 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder with raw organic honey in a cup of warm filtered water. Drink twice a day.

Recommended:

13. Hibiscus Tea

hibiscus tea flower natural herbal remedy high blood pressure hypertension

Hibiscus is widely used around the world to manage blood pressure.

Hibiscus acts as a diuretic and flushes out all the excess fluid that is in your heart and in your tissues. This decreases the pressure on the arterial walls. Vessel walls are relaxed and blood volume is decreased, thus lowering your blood pressure.

A study performed in 2008 shows that 3 cups of hibiscus tea daily lowers systolic blood pressure (SBP) by 7 mm Hg, after only 6 weeks.

Method: Seep dried hibiscus leaves into a cup of hot filtered water. Add raw organic honey and lemon for taste.

Recommended:

14. Hawthorn

hawthorn red berries natural remedy lowers high blood pressure hypertension

For centuries, hawthorn has been used for cardiac, circulatory, and respiratory disorders. The berries of the plant has been specifically used to treat high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, chest pain, atherosclerosis, and heart failure.

Hawthorn also contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that destroys free radicals. Flavonoids help dilate blood vessels, improve the flow of blood, and protect against blood vessel damage.

Method: Drink hawthorn tea 1-3 times a day.

Recommended:

15. Cat’s Claw

cats claw herb yellow flowers natural herbal remedy high blood pressure hypertension

Cat’s claw (uncaria tomentosa) is a popular herb in China, South America, and Central America. It is widely used in China for the treatment of high blood pressure.

Cat’s claw lowers blood pressure by inducing vasodilation. Dilated blood vessels allows the blood to flow more easily. It also acts as a mild diuretic and rids the body of harmful excess fluid.

This herb contains tannins and flavanols. Flavanols release a chemical known as nitric oxide (NO). NO is a free radical (cancer fighting) that is essential for cellular health.

Activated NO dilates blood vessels, making it easier for the blood to circulate throughout the body.

By keeping the blood vessels open, blood is able to efficiently carry vital oxygen and nutrients all over the body. Dilated blood vessels decrease stress in the body, ultimately lowering blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Method: A typical daily dose of cat’s claw is 350 milligrams. Cat’s claw tea is also a good alternative.

Recommended:

16. Mistletoe

mistletoe herb red berries green leaves natural remedy lowers high blood pressure hypertension

Mistletoe is not the first thing that may come to one’s mind when thinking about lowering elevated blood pressures. There is a lot more to this plant than just being a beautiful holiday decoration.

Mistletoe boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, and helps treat cancer and hepatitis. Mistletoe extracts contains an active compound called alkaloids. Alkaloids lowers blood pressure by controlling nerve impulses along the heart and arterial walls.

The actions of mistletoe are gradual but have a long-lasting effect on blood pressure.

Method: Mistletoe can be harmful and poisonous if consumed raw and unprocessed. Always consult with a doctor before taking mistletoe extracts, to avoid hypotension (below normal blood pressure).

Recommended:

17. Turmeric (Curcumin)

turmeric curcumin root orange powder natural remedy high blood pressure hypertension

Curcumin is the main component of turmeric. Turmeric is one of the most studied spice in the world. It is known to significantly decrease inflammation throughout the body. By reducing inflammation, turmeric improves blood flow and improves cardiovascular function.

Turmeric can help remove some of the plaque build-up off arterial walls. Turmeric is also a natural blood thinner, which improves blood flow and thus, lowers blood pressure.

Method: Add turmeric powder to your favorite tea, and flavor it with ginger and raw organic honey. Turmeric capsules or tinctures are also available.

Recommended:

18. Omega-3 (Fatty Acids)

omega 3 fish oil fatty acids pills natural remedy high blood pressure hypertension

Omega-3 is great at lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Fish oil contains Essential Fatty Acids (EFA). EFAs are polyunsaturated fats derived from linolenic (Omega-3), linoleic (Omega-6), and oleic acids. These are essential fats, meaning that our bodies cannot produce them on its own. It is crucial that EFAs are obtained from our diet.

The balanced ratio that is needed by our bodies of Omega-6 and Omega-3 is between 2:1-4:1. Due to the American diet, our ratios have become 10:1-30:1. Unfortunately, a large chunk of the population is lacking in Omega-3.

Omega-3 is important for decreasing inflammation throughout the body. Decreasing inflammation helps prevent heart disease, autoimmune diseases, stroke, and mental illnesses (inflammation of the brain). It is also well-known that Omega-3s are effective at fighting depression and anger.

Method: Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, trout, krill, canned tuna, and sardines contain a good amount of Omega-3. The daily recommended dose of Omega-3 is 1,000 milligrams.

Recommended:

19. Vitamin D

vitamin D sunlight sunshine absorbs natural remedy high blood pressure hypertension

Vitamin D is a “sun vitamin” that regulates over 200 genes. It is also responsible for proper cell growth and development. Usually 50-90% of vitamin D is absorbed by our bodies, directly from the sun. The remainder comes from our diet. Natural sources of Vitamin D can be found in eggs, fatty fish, fortified dairy and meats.

Since people are spending less and less time outdoors, vitamin D deficiency is on the rise and is affecting people worldwide. Over 1 billion people are deficient in vitamin D globally. Deficiency in this essential vitamin can lead to hypertension, as well as numerous other diseases — mental health illnesses, cancers, birth defects, autoimmune disorders.

A study published in 2014 shows that Vitamin D supplementation helps to lower high blood pressure. Vitamin D suppresses the hormone renin, which is similar to the effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. ACE inhibitors are popular prescribed antihypertensives.

Method: If you are going to take supplements, make sure to get D3 (cholecalciferol), and not D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D3 is the active form that our bodies can use. The recommended daily dose of Vitamin D3 is 2,000 IU.

Recommended:

20. CoQ10

coQ10 supplements natural heart remedy lowers high blood pressure hypertension

CoQ10 is a naturally occurring enzyme. It contains antioxidants that are good for maintaining cardiac health.

CoQ10 has been shown to decrease blood pressure and reduces the thickening of the heart muscle (hypertrophy).

There are no known side effects of CoQ10 since it naturally occurs in the body.

Method: According to Mayo Clinic, for the treatment of hypertension, take 60-360 milligrams daily for 8-12 weeks.

Recommended:

21. French Lavender

french lavender purple flowers natural remedy lowers high blood pressure hypertension

Lavender is a popular fragrance that is widely used as a relaxer of the mind, body and soul.

This herb is also known to help decrease your blood pressure and heart rate.

One study shows that aromatherapy with certain essential oils can lower blood pressure. Effective oils include blends of lavender, ylanglang, and vergamot. The recommended usage is once daily, for 4-weeks.

Method: Use lavender essential oils, or incorporate lavender into your baked foods and daily cooking.

Recommended:

22. Relax & Listen to (Classical) Music

relax listen classical music natural remedy lowers high blood pressure hypertension

Surprisingly, stress plays a huge role in cardiovascular disease.

Music has a calming effect and can be used as stress-relieving therapy. Music subconsciously affects our mood. The right type of music can have a positively calming effect and has been proven to lower blood pressure.

Listening to music for at least 30-minutes a day can lower blood pressure, slow down heart rate, and decrease anxiety.

One study shows that slower tempo classical music leads to a significant decrease in blood pressure, while rap, pop, jazz, and rock music have the opposite effect.

Method: Set aside some time everyday to just relax and listen to some Giuseppe Verdi or Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Recommended:

23. Exercise – Get Walking

exercise walking lowers high blood pressure hypertension

Being overweight puts extra pressure on your arterial walls and forces your heart to work harder 24/7. It also puts you at risk for developing other diseases, such as atherosclerosis, which can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke.

A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of having high blood pressure by 30 percent. Walking is the best exercise you can do for your entire body.

One study shows that light exercising (brisk walking or light jogging) aids in decreasing elevated blood pressure. Walking daily can also help you to go to sleep more easily, and stay asleep.

Method: The recommended amount of exercise is 30-minutes of aerobic activity, everyday.

Recommended:

Final Note

It’s important to keep your blood pressure at a normal range. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for hypertension. Just keep in mind that these natural remedies cannot lower your blood pressure alone. You still have to alter lifestyle choices that may be the direct cause of your hypertension.

Good diet and quality exercise are also important in lowering blood pressure. There are many natural remedies that can help lower your pressure — the trick is finding the remedies that work best for you.

Is Dark Chocolate Good For You? – Health Benefits of Cocoa

0
dark chocolate antioxidant health benefit flavonol cocoa anti-inflammatory

Chocolates is a perfect gift for everyone during the holiday season. Chocolates and other candies are the #1 gift given during Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day can be particularly difficult if you are trying to shed a few pounds, or are health conscious.

Do you love chocolate, but worried about packing on the pounds?

Are you health conscious and worried that chocolate is going to ruin your body?

Do you have an extreme sweet tooth and love chocolate?

If you’re someone who loves chocolate but does not want to compromise on health, try going dark!

Dark chocolate is proven to be beneficial towards health and is loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Dark chocolate is made from the seeds of the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) and is loaded with antioxidants (cancer fighting), including polyphenols, flavonoids, catechins.

History of Dark Chocolate

Cocoa has been around for centuries and can be dated back as far as 1600 BC. It was considered a “drink of gods”, hence the name Theobroma cacao. In Greek, the word theo means god, and broma means drink.

Flavanols

dark chocolate cocoa tree seeds health benefits flavanols flavonols

The cocoa tree seeds contain flavonoids but more importantly, it is exceptionally high in its levels of flavanols.

Flavanols (Flavan-3-ol) are phytonutrients, which is known as plant-based nutrients. Not many other foods come close to the amount of flavanols that are found in cocoa seeds.

Flavonoids can be further distinguished as flavonols, flavanols, flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, and anthocyanidins.

Flavanols are found in certain fruits, vegetables, teas, unprocessed grape juice, wine, and berries. Black teas and red wine in particular, are known to contain high levels of flavanols.

How Does Flavanols Work?

dark chocolate high blood pressure dilates blood vessels nitric oxide cholesterol stroke health benefits

Flavanols release a chemical known as nitric oxide (NO). This chemical is a free radical (cancer fighting) that is essential for intercellular health.

Activated nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, making it easier for the blood to circulate throughout the body. NO is absolutely necessary in maintaining a healthy body.

By keeping the blood vessels open, it allows the blood to efficiently carry vital oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. Dilated blood vessels decrease stress in the body and in turn, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke.

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate health benefits antioxidants anti-inflammatory flavonoids

Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate that is high in flavanols can actually reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, and maintain efficient blood circulation.

Other proven benefits of dark chocolate include: decreases bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol, protects again sun damage while smoothing the skin, boosts brain health, and provides essential vitamins and minerals.

Recommended:

Kuna Indian Population and Cocoa

dark chocolate benefits blood pressure kidneys cholesterol health antioxidants

The effects of cocoa were studied in the Kuna Indians, a population living on the coast of Panama. They consume incredible amounts of cocoa from their daily cooking.

Studies on this indigenous population have shown that they are one of the few cultures who show no increase in age-related blood pressure or kidney function decline. These effects were not seen in their city neighbors who do not eat as much flavanol containing foods.

Recommended:

Dark Chocolate is Beneficial for Athletes

dark chocolate health benefits working out athletes antioxidants stress cardio running

Due to the nitric oxide effects, cocoa flavanols are popular amongst athletes and other people who workout.

The decreased overall stress allows muscles to function better, endure extended physical stress during exercising, and increase the rate at which the body takes to repair damaged muscle tissue. This decreases the amount of soreness felt in between workouts.

Method:

  • Mix 1-2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder to your post-workout protein drink.

Recommended:

Dark Chocolate as an Anti-Depressant & Libido Stimulator

dark chocolate anti-depressant increase mood happy libido

Dark chocolate with high contents of cocoa is nature’s anti-depressant. The flavanols increases mood by raising the level of the pleasure neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, and phenylethylamine (PEA).

Phenylethylamine produces chemicals in the brain that is associated with falling in love. Cocoa also contains monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. MAO inhibitors cause an increase in dopamine and serotonin release.

Pharmaceutical companies who are well aware of these effects use MOA inhibitors in their anti-depressant medications. The neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin lifts mood, relaxes the body, and improves body stimulation. This in turn increases a person’s libido and promotes elevated moods.

Recommended:

Dark Chocolate for Skin Health

dark chocolate skin health sun protects against uv rays damage wrinkles

Cocoa flavanol is considered beneficial for skin health as well. In particular, one 12-week study shows that a regular consumption of cocoa flavanols has positive effects on facial wrinkles and elasticity.

Another study shows that flavanols protects against sun damage by UV rays and improves blood flow to the skin. Flavanols slows the progression of aging.

Recommended:

Choose Dark Over Milk Chocolate

dark chocolate over milk chocolate health benefits antioxidants flavonoids

Milk chocolate was found to contain the lowest amount of flavanols, while cocoa powder and dark chocolate contain the highest amount. So skip the milk chocolates this year and try dark chocolates and pure cocoa powders.

Final Word

Make sure your dark chocolates or cocoa powders contain at least 50-80% of cocoa to reap the numerous benefits of flavanols. Just remember that the more cocoa content a bar contains, the more nutritious it is.

Your significant other will be so touched that you thought of their health, as well as their palate.

6 Best Easy-to-Grow Plants for Your Indoor Herb Garden (Year-Round)

1
herbs fresh organic green bunches

Are you tired of buying expensive herbs from the supermarket, only to have them all wilt away in a few days?  

Looking for a cheaper way to eating organic herbs?

To make sure you have herbs that are organic and pesticide free, try growing them yourself. Luckily, most herbs are not high maintenance and you can easily grow them indoors.

Picking herbs that you know you will end up using will make taking care of them feel less like a chore.

Easy to Grow Indoor Herbs

1. Chives

chives herb fresh organic green stalks

Chives are hardy herbs that last throughout the winter and can be used in any dish. They can withstand cooler temperatures (as low as 55 degrees during the day) and love sunlight.

Chives are one of the few herbs that like its stems and soil to be moistened. Once a week sprinkle some water on the stems with a spray bottle.

Once your chives grow to at least 6 inches tall, you can give your herb a haircut. Harvest it with a scissor to avoid dislodging the roots. Make sure to leave at least 2 inches for the plant to regrow.

Store extra chives in the freezer, in ziplock bags. The entire plant is edible, so enjoy!

Recommended:

2. Oregano

oregano herb fresh green leaves

They also last well throughout the winter and can withstand cooler temperatures (as low as 55 degrees during the day).

Oregano prefers drier soil and lots of sunlight. Make sure the soil is completely dry between watering. Rotate your pot once a week to ensure adequate sunlight for your entire plant.

Do not pluck more than 1/2 the plant at a time. Try to avoid straining the stem while trimming its leaves – this could dislodge its roots.

Oregano grows faster the more frequently it gets haircuts. Your herb is ready for harvesting when it is at least 6 inches tall.

Recommended:

3. Parsley

parsley herb fresh green leaves

Parsley grows all year long and can withstand cooler temperatures. This herb likes moist areas, so the kitchen is a good place to grow them.

Rotate the plant and water once a week. You can start harvesting parsley when it is at least 6 inches. Make sure to leave at least 2 inches for regrowth.

You can use both the leaves and stems of the plant in your cooking. Make sure to trim the herb often to avoid toughness.

If you prefer parsley dried, cut off the stems and tie them (pictured above). Hang them upside down in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Recommended:

4. Lemongrass

lemongrass herb fresh green stalk and stems

Lemongrass is an easy herb to grow. You can buy some stalks from your local Asian supermarket. Make sure the stalks are long and the stems look healthy.

When you get home, place the stalks into a long glass or jar, filled with a few inches of water. The roots will start to grow on the bottom and green stems will grow from the top.

After about a week, you can plant the stalks in some soil–a few inches above the roots. After a few months, you should start to see blades of grass growing.

Make sure to rotate your plant once a week so that the entire plant receives sunlight.

You can harvest once the blades are at least 12 inches. Store extra lemongrass in ziplock bags, in the freezer.

Recommended:

5. Basil

basil herb fresh organic green leaves bunch

Basil is a little harder to grow during winter months. This herb likes warm and sunny environments.

Don’t forget to water and rotate the pot to ensure adequate sunlight for the entire plant. This herb is easiest to grow from a “starter plant” and transporting it to a larger pot.

Basil is ready to be harvested when it is at least 6 inches tall. The more you prune the leaves, the happier your herb will be.

If you prefer dried basil, cut off the stems and tie them (pictured above). Hang them upside down in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Recommended:

6. Aloe Vera

aloe vera whole plant fresh

Aloe vera is not an herb but it is so easy to grow and so useful for “first-aid” emergencies. It also purifies the air and can be used to soothe inflammation and burns.

Most aloe plants come potted already, so just make sure to upgrade to a larger pot size if they outgrow their starter ones. Aloe plants like sunlight and can easily be grown indoors.

Make sure that the soil is completely dry in between waterings – once a week at most. You can water them even less during the winter months.

If you need to use the stems, just break off a piece. Let the end of the stem dry up before cutting off another piece.

Recommended:

Tips on Starting Your Indoor Herb Garden

  • The bigger and deeper the pot, the better.
  • Try to keep each herb separate. Some plants are invasive and do not grow well with others.
  • If you do not have a green thumb, buy “starter” baby plants from nurseries or local stores. Make sure they have never been grown outdoors because you do not want to drastically change the environment of the herbs.
  • Use all-purpose soil to grow your plants. Do not pack the soil too tightly and aerate slightly. You can grind up eggshells and mix them into the soil as a fertilizer.
  • Use breathable pot, such as a Terra Cotta pot. The most important feature is that they must have drainage holes.
  • Turn your plant once a week so each side gets adequate amounts of sunlight.
  • Herbs are meant to be eaten. They will grow back the more you pluck them. If the stems are growing faster than the leaves, give them more sunlight.
  • If the tips of the plants start yellowing, it could mean that they are being overwatered. Stick you finger into the soil, towards the roots. If the soil is still wet, aerate the soil a bit, and make sure the soil is not packed too tightly.
  • Don’t harvest more than 50% of your herb at a time during winter months.
  • When harvesting, avoid tugging at the leaves. This can strain the entire plant and dislodge its roots.
  • If you can’t keep your plants near a window, try investing in indoor fluorescent grow light or a happy light.
  • Home starter kits are available for those who do not have a green thumb or easily forget to water their plants.

How to Water Your Herbs

  • Don’t overwater them. Herbs only require water about once a week. Get on a schedule and try to water your plants on the same day of the week, every week.
  • Make sure that the soil is completely dry before watering them again. If the soil stays too moist, the roots can rot and destroy your plant. Never let water stand in the saucer for a long period of time, as this can also lead to rotten roots.
  • Bring the plant to the sink and run the water until the soil is completely wet. Let the water completely drain. Repeat, let it drain, and bring it back to its saucer to catch any remaining water.
  • If the pot is too heavy to carry back and forth, make sure the saucer is large enough to contain all of the draining water.

Final Word

Did you also know that plants can oxygenate and purify the air that you breathe? Growing herbs is practical and functional, and can aesthetically spruce up your place.

It is healthier and cheaper to grow your own fresh herbs. This way, you can be sure that you are not ingesting any harmful pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides.

You can also give your extra herbs away as presents to friends and family if you grow more than you can handle!

6 Best Homemade DIY Face Masks for Acne – Recipes on How to Make

85
acne natural facial masks diy for problem prone skin

Did you know that the largest organ of the body is your skin?

Your epidermis (skin) your first line of protection against bacteria and viruses. Your skin keeps you cool in the heat and warm in the cold temperatures.

Your skin is also the first to let you know when something is not going right on the inside. The usual signs are acne, rashes, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, sores, bruising, moles.

By using natural DIY facial masks at home, you can minimize daily pollutants, bacteria, and other infections that may settle on your delicate skin.

Homemade Face Mask Ingredients

  • Aloe Vera (plant or juice) is an anti-inflammatory agent that is full of anti-oxidants.
  • Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) is an anti-microbial and anti-fungal agent. It dries up excess oil, while gently exfoliating.
  • Cinnamon is a natural anti-microbial agent.
  • Coconut Oil and Olive Oil have anti-microbial and moisturizing effects.
  • Green Tea Powder is an antioxidant powerhouse. It also acts as an anti-microbial agent and decreases inflammation.
  • Honey is nature’s powerful antibiotic.
  • Lemon Juice acts as an astringent and dries out excess oil.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar is alkalizing, which balances out the pH levels of the body.
  • Papaya removes dead skin cells and decreases inflammation.
  • Greek Yogurt (or Raw Milk — do not use skim products) contains acid and fat. The acid is antibacterial, while the fats are moisturizing.
  • Sugar is a gentle exfoliant that gets rid of dead skin cell buildup and unclogs pores.
  • Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Higher quality turmeric can stain clothes, but does not stain the face.

Before Applying Masks

steam water from bowl draped towel to open pores naturally

Before you apply a mask, make sure your skin is thoroughly clean and your pores are open. The best ways of doing this is to take a shower or use steam to clean and open pores.

  1. Boil a pot of filtered water.
  2. Transfer the water to a large bowl and let it cool down for 1-2 minutes.
  3. When the water is not too hot, place your face over the bowl and cover your head and the bowl with a towel for 5-10 minutes.

Naturally Clean Your Skin With Homemade Face Masks

Natural DIY facial masks for acne problem skin spa treatment

1. Green Tea, Honey, Lemon, Sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of green tea (tea bag or Matcha green tea)
  • 1 tablespoons of raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar (preferably brown)

Mix all the ingredients and apply the paste over your face — excluding the eyes, mouth, and eyebrows. Rub the paste over the face for 1-2 minutes in a slow and circular movement. Leave on for 10-15 minutes.

While rinsing off with warm water, use a washcloth for added exfoliating effects.

Recommended:

2. Baking Soda, Honey, Coconut/Olive Oil

  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut/olive oil

Mix all the ingredients and apply the paste over your face — excluding the eyes, mouth, and eyebrows. Rub the paste over the face for 1-2 minutes in a slow and circular movement. Leave on for 10-15 minutes.

While rinsing off with warm water, use a washcloth for added exfoliating effects.

Recommended:

3. Turmeric, Raw Milk/Greek Yogurt, Honey

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons of raw milk/greek yogurt (full fat, unflavored)
  • 1 teaspoon of raw honey

Mix all the ingredients and apply the paste over your face — excluding the eyes, mouth, and eyebrows. Use a makeup brush or cotton balls to apply the paste and to avoid staining your fingers. Leave the mask on for 10-15 minutes.

Tip: Make sure to lay paper towels around the sink to catch any spills.

Remove with a cotton ball or washcloth. If there is a yellow tint remaining, you can remove with diluted apple cider vinegar mixed with water, or a gentle toner.

Recommended:

4. Cinnamon, Honey, Aloe Vera

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (preferably ceylon)
  • 3 teaspoons of raw honey
  • 1 inch of fresh aloe vera plant (only the inside gel) or 2 teaspoon of aloe vera juice

Mix all the ingredients and apply the paste over your face — excluding the eyes, mouth, and eyebrows. Rub the paste over the face for 1 minute, in a slow and circular movement. Leave on for 10 minutes.

This mask is good for removing blackheads. Do not use this mask if you have sensitive skin. If you feel an intolerable burning sensation, wash it off right away.

Recommended:

5. Apple Cider Vinegar, Honey, Baking Soda

  • 1 teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Mix all the ingredients and apply the paste over your face — excluding the eyes, mouth, and eyebrows. Leave this mask on for 10-15 minutes.

While rinsing off with warm water, use a washcloth for added exfoliating effects.

Recommended:

6. Papaya, Honey, Lemon, Coconut/Olive Oil

  • 2 tablespoons of mashed up fresh papaya (no seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon of raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut/olive oil

Mix all the ingredients and apply the paste over your face — excluding the eyes, mouth, and eyebrows. Leave this mask on for 10-15 minutes.

While rinsing off with warm water, use a washcloth for added exfoliating effects.

Recommended:

How to Clean Your Skin From the Inside

1. Drink Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for centuries for various disinfectant and antimicrobial purposes.

Some of the uses of this vinegar are: anti-microbial, anti-fungal, increases immunity and fights cancer, stimulates weight loss, decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke, lowers cholesterol, maintains blood sugar, and clears up acne.

ACV also prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus in the digestive tract. This is important because 80% of our immune system is in our GI system.

Method: Mix in 1 teaspoons of ACV into a cup of warm water. You can squeeze in a wedge of lemon (vitamin C). Add a dash of ceylon cinnamon powder (antiseptic) and raw organic honey (antimicrobial).

Drink up to 3 times a day for smoother and clearer skin.

Recommended:

2. Take Probiotics

When we do not have enough “good bacteria” or probiotics, in our system, pathogens take over and leave us susceptible to disease, cancers, and illnesses.

Live beneficial microbes in the digestive tract makes up our immune system. These good bacterias prevent the invasion of pathogens that make us sick.

They also improve digestion, prevent constipation, synthesize Vitamin K, and keep a balanced pH level (a plus for acne sufferers).

A lot of times, our healthy bacterias are accidentally wiped out by procedures that are intended to get rid of bad bacteria. These include: antibiotics (pill form, in our milk, meat, poultry, fish), recent surgeries, diarrhea (flushes out good and bad bacteria altogether), colon cleanses, too much fiber (destroys bacterial membranes), protein deficiency (protein creates mucin which is needed to create intestinal mucous — where bacterial flora thrive).

Method: Make sure to take probiotic-containing foods all-year-round. Naturally occurring foods can be found in: water or milk Kefir, Kombucha drinks, non-commercial unflavored yogurt, fermented foods, sauerkraut.

Quality probiotic capsules can also be found at your local health food store or online.

Recommended:

Other Things to Keep in Mind

  1. Watch What You Eat. What you put into your body is just as important as what you on your body. Try to stay away from foods that are processed, contain chemicals, toxins, GMO (genetically modified), MSG (monosodium glutamate) and gluten (if you have sensitivities). Whatever is put on your skin is absorbed directly into the body.
  2. Clean Your Pillowcase And Sheets. Daily pollutants, dead skin cells, and oils can gather on your bedding. Constant contact with dirty bedding can irritate your gentle skin and cause clogged pores.
  3. Don’t Pick At Your Face. Picking can spread the infections from your pimples to other parts of your face. It can also lead to scarring and dark spots.

Final Word

Find a mask that works best for you. For different effects, you can alternate between masks every couple of days. With continued use, you should start seeing improvements from acne, dry or oily skin, and dark spots.

Remember to treat your outsides as well as you would your insides, and you should be having naturally glowing skin in no time!

18 Best Natural Home Remedies for Heartburn & Acid Reflux Relief

8
heartburn acid reflux gerd burning chest pain nausea

heartburn acid reflux gerd burning chest pain nausea

Have you ever felt a burning sensation in your chest or felt nauseous after eating a heavy meal?

Chronic heartburn is a diagnosis known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Heartburn is indigestion that is caused by stomach acid that has flown back up into the esophagus. Other common symptoms include burping, flatulence, and hiccuping.

Acid reflux is actually caused by your stomach not having enough acid and an overload of the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria.

When your stomach doesn’t have enough acid, it churns violently to digest the food to compensate for the little acid that it does have. During this process, the stomach content spills upwards, towards the esophagus.

The stomach has two “doors”, or sphincter, that keeps the acid in their place. The one on top of the stomach is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and the bottom one is called the pyloric valve.

What to Avoid During Acid Reflux

There are tons of medications available now without a prescription. Acid reflux medications are among the world’s top selling drugs, and accounts for billions of dollars in sales annually!

Overall, GERD affects 33% of the population in the United States, and 44% have symptoms at least once a month.

Before you pop an antacid, know that you are causing more harm to your body than good. The damage is not worth the quick fix of being able to eat whatever you want.

Antacids were never created to be given out like candy. Initially, they were prescribed for people who were greatly suffering from severe ulcers.

What kind of harm are these acid blockers doing to our bodies? These medications decrease the acid that is causing the reflux, but your stomach actually needs this acid to keep the rest of your body balanced.

The acid breaks down protein and food, activates digestive enzymes in the small intestine, prevents toxic overgrowth of bacteria, and aids in absorption of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B12.

Without proper acid production, your body can go through vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It can also cause acidic blood (cancer causing), leading to irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, dementia, anemia, fatigue, osteoporosis, fractures, and more.

Factors That Cause Heartburn (Acid Reflux)

Acid reflux can be caused by certain foods and lifestyle choices. Types of food to avoid are: fried, spicy, citrus, coffee, alcohol, processed, raw foods, excessive fiber, and hard to digest foods.

Lifestyles that contribute to heartburn are: smoking and drinking, obesity, sedentary lives, food sensitivities and allergies, and stress.

Find out what factors aggravate your heartburn and remove them to help alleviate your symptoms.

Below are some natural remedies to treat heartburn without having to pop another antacid.

Natural Remedies for Heartburn

1. Yellow Mustard

yellow mustard spoonful small seeds with green leaves

Vinegar, zinc, and turmeric (stimulates digestion) in mustard neutralizes the acid in the stomach.

Mustard is an alkalizing food (balances the body’s pH levels) that is slightly acidic. The exact reason on how yellow mustard works on acid reflux is unknown, but it works, and it works fast!

Method: Eat 1 teaspoon of yellow mustard. If the mustard taste is too strong, you can wash it down with some warm water or eat it with a saltine cracker.

The heartburn may initially feel worse, but after a few minutes the symptoms should subside.

Recommended:

2. Probiotics

probiotics fresh white yogurt unflavored live good bacteria

The more probiotics you have throughout your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the better your digestive system will function.

Taking probiotics daily allows nutrients and food to be digested properly. It also decreases the amount of harmful H. pylori (heartburn causing) bacteria you have in your system.

Probiotics help replenish the bacteria that is lost, due to other medications that you may be taking. “Good bacteria” balances the natural beneficial flora in the small intestine. This prevents the bloating and gas build up that can cause food to back up into the stomach.

Probiotics not only works on symptoms of acid reflux, but it also deals with the root cause of it. It may take a few weeks to get your GI tract back in working order, so continue taking it consistently everyday for best results.

Method: Make sure to take probiotic-containing foods year round. Naturally occurring foods can be found in: water or milk Kefir, kombucha drinks, non-commercial unflavored yogurts, fermented foods, sauerkraut.

Quality probiotic capsules can also be found at your local health food store or online.

Recommended:

3. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

bragg organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar glass jar

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) boosts our immune system and decreases the amount of acid reflux causing bacteria in our gut. The vinegar also stimulates acid production in the stomach, which causes efficient digestion of our food.

ACV is an alkalizing food, which balances the body’s pH level. 7.4 (slightly alkaline) is the ideal state you want your body to be  in, to be able to fight off microbes and cancerous cells. There are home kits that can easily test the pH level of your water, food, saliva, or urine.

Buy organic, raw, unfiltered vinegar, and make sure it comes in a glass bottle. Plastic bottles can cause toxins to leech into the vinegar. On a plus side, apple cider vinegar is safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Method: Drink 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and wash it down with water. Try holding it in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. This stimulates the saliva production and initiates the stomach in producing digestive acid.

If 1 teaspoon is too much (the smell can be overwhelming at first), you can start off by placing 4 drops of vinegar directly onto your tongue for fast results.

Recommended

4. Baking Soda

baking soda spoonful into water

Baking soda (also known as Sodium Bicarbonate) is another quick fix for heartburn.

It’s good at quickly neutralizing the pH levels in your stomach and aids in faster digestion.

Method: Drink 1 teaspoon mixed with room temperature or warm water. Do this every other day, for a month.

Recommended:

5. Calcium

calcium milk cheese cottage cheese yogurt fresh dairy

Calcium is a popular and well known remedy for GERD. It is one of the main ingredient used in many of the over-the-counter antacids.

Calcium is needed to keep a good pH balance and to help aid in proper digestion.

Magnesium and Vitamin D is important when it comes to calcium because they are needed to properly absorb calcium into the body. So make sure you take these supplements daily, along with your calcium.

Method: Take 1,000 milligrams of calcium orotate (the most effective form of calcium) supplements per day, with at least 2000 IU’s of Vitamin D3.

Recommended:

6. Almonds

almonds whole brown bag raw

Almonds are an ancient Middle Eastern remedy for ulcers. Almonds are high in oil content which soothes the acid in the stomach. The high fiber content of the nut aids digestion.

Organic almond milk is also a good alternative to the raw nut. You can also mix oatmeal, almond milk, and bananas for a powerhouse effect. This meal is great for breakfast for adults and kids.

Method: Eat 4-5 raw almonds after each meal. If your heartburn is severe, eat a handful of almonds. The effects should take place in about 30 minutes.

Recommended:

7. Fennel Seeds

fennel seeds brown unmilled spoonful

Fennel is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. It has been used widely around the world to aid in digestion.

Fennel contains a compound called Anethole, which relaxes the stomach and prevents spasms and flatulence.

Fennel seed is safe for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children. The seed is known to increase breast milk in nursing mothers, while fennel water is often used to treat colicky newborn babies.

Method: After a meal, try some fennel tea–seeped from the seeds.

Or just chew 1 teaspoon of whole seeds slowly after your meal.

Recommended:

8. Aloe Vera Juice

aloe vera fresh plant stem and gel slices

Aloe Vera is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Aloe is great for burns, wounds, wrinkles, canker sores, constipation, and maintaining blood sugars.

This miracle plant contains loads of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. When ingested, aloe soothes the inflamed esophagus and stomach lining from damage caused by stomach acid.

Method: Drink 2-3 ounces of aloe vera juice 15-20 minutes before meals.

Mix aloe juice with 8 ounces of coconut water and any fresh fruit juice.

Recommended:

9. Pickles & Pickle Juice

pickles green fresh juice in bowl

Pickles and its juices act fast on heartburn. The vinegar content helps to neutralize stomach pH levels within minutes.

Pickles and are great at kicking aside acid reflux symptoms, especially for women who are pregnant and breast feeding.

Method: Eat a few pickles or drink pickle juice during active heartburn. Your heartburn should go away in 10-15 minutes.

Recommended:

Fruits & Vegetables

Vegetables and fruits (except for citrus fruits) are a great way to combat heartburn symptoms.

Who knew that our own refrigerators could also our medicine cabinets?

Celery, apples, papaya, banana, and cabbage are some of the known foods that soothe the stomach.

10. Celery

celery fresh green stalks with leaves

Celery has a naturally alkaline pH. It also has a mildly sedative property that soothes the stomach muscles.

11. Apples

apples red fresh juicy fresh fruit

Apples contain tartaric and malic acid, which balances the stomach’s pH level. It also contains pectic, a natural fiber source that promotes proper digestion.

The saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is true, especially when it comes to heartburn. When you feel an attack coming on, take 5 bites of an apple.

12. Papaya

papaya fresh sliced fruit orange with seedsPapaya contains papain, an effective protein and carbohydrate dissolving enzyme.

Papain is also used to speed up metabolism, decrease inflammation, and treat constipation.

13. Bananas

ripe yellow bananas batch teal background

Bananas coat the lining of the stomach, ease spasms, and have a natural antacid response. Bananas have a high content of fiber and vitamin B.

Vitamin B calms the stomach muscles and stops the stomach from churning acid violently.

On a side note, bananas are also useful at combating high blood pressure and preventing strokes due to its high potassium and low sodium content.

14. Cabbage

cabbage patch fresh green batches

Cabbage reduces inflammation and kills the H. pylori bacteria that causes heartburn and other GI problems.

Fermented cabbage (kimchee) and other fermented foods (non-store bought coleslaw or sauerkraut) are also recommended remedies for heartburn.

Method: Mix raw cabbage, banana, apple slices, purified water, and natural unflavored probiotic yogurt into a blender. Drink quickly.

15. Chewing Gum

chewing gum helps heartburn

Chewing gum produces saliva and activates the digestive process.

This is an unnatural digestion simulator and should only be used as a quick fix.

Recommended:

16. Gingerginger raw freshly sliced

Ginger has been used for over 5,000 years by the Indians and the Chinese to treat different ailments. Ginger has been used for helping numerous gastrointestinal disorders.

Gingerols is the main active ingredient found in ginger that give this root its many health benefits.

This ancient root is known to destroy the H. pylori bacteria, decrease inflammation, minimize nausea, and calm the stomach muscles.

Recommended:

Lifestyle Changes

17. Stay Upright & Sleep On Your Left Side

sleep upright and on your left side for better digestion and less heartburn

Try not to eat 2-3 hours before you go to sleep.

When you do lay down, turn onto your left side. This position does not allow stomach acid to empty back into the esophagus.

18. Eat Smaller Meals & Chew Longer

smaller meals more frequent meals less heartburn

It’s harder for your stomach to digest larger meals. It has to work that much harder to break everything down at once. If your stomach is full, there is more of a chance that acid can be tossed back up the esophagus.

Chew slowly and more frequently before swallowing. Digestion begins in the mouth. The more you help your body from the beginning, the easier it’ll be later on.

Final Word

Natural remedies have little to no known side effects. Most of these remedies can be found right in your own kitchen.

Different methods work better for different people, so if one method doesn’t work for you, don’t fret, and try another one. A lifetime free from heartburn pain is worth a few trial and errors.

21 Best Natural Home Remedies For the Cold, Cough & Flu

16
cold flu cough natural remedies runny nose headaches fever chills

With winter coming up, it’s only right to talk about the inevitable fevers, runny noses, and just being miserably sick.

Do you always find yourself getting a cold or the flu a few time every year? 

Do you feel like your immune system is always on vacation?

The common cold that plagues us year after year is right around the corner. If you live in an urban area, you know that avoiding sick people in tight areas (subway, buses, apartment buildings, skyscrapers, department stores) is near to impossible.

The #1 defense system to staying germ-free is hand washing!

Plain ol’ soap and water is more than enough to wash off all those pesky germs. It also prevents transmission of germs from other people to yourself.

You touch so many things all throughout the day – your phone, the subway pole, ATM buttons, door handles, keyboards, money, pens. This allows for germs to be passed on from person to person every millisecond! Gross.

If your immune system is even the tiniest bit compromised, the cold virus will find you and take full advantage. Chronic stress, a poor diet, and other factors weaken the immune system.

Herbs, vitamins, and minerals from around the world have been used for centuries to alleviate the symptoms of the common cold, cough, and flu.

When you’re sick, you are probably used to reaching for the nearest OTC medications in weakness and desperation. But OTC meds all have nasty side effects and can harm your body in the long run.

They also don’t work that well. Why?

It’s because OTC meds are designed to mask the symptoms, and not deal with what is making you sick in the first place.

What if you gave mother nature a chance to let its natural vitamins and herbs alleviate your worst symptoms–with little to no known side effects?

You can find some examples below for natural remedies that really work. You can use more than one at a time, to find what best works for you. The good news is, you can use these remedies year round (even when you’re not sick) as a preventative measure!

Tip: Get a few of these remedies ahead of time. That way, if you do get sick, you don’t have to drag yourself outside in the cold, to the drugstore.

Remedies For the Cold, Cough & Flu

1. Probiotics

probiotics natural white plain yogurt jars
Your own immune system is your first line of defense in fighting a cold or the flu.

When we do not have enough “good bacteria” in our system, pathogens take over and leave us susceptible to disease, cancers, and disorders.

80% of our immune system is found in our digestive system, so it is vital to maintain appropriate levels of probiotics in our gastro-intestinal system.

Live beneficial microbes in the digestive tract makes up a health gut. These good bacterias prevent an invasion of pathogens that make us sick. They also improve digestion, prevent constipation, synthesize Vitamin K, and keep a balanced pH level.

A lot of times, our beneficial microbes are accidentally wiped out by procedures that are intended to get rid of bad bacteria. These include: antibiotics (pill form, in our milk, meat, poultry, fish), recent surgeries, diarrhea (flushes out good and bad bacteria altogether), colon cleanses, too much fiber (destroys bacterial membranes), protein deficiency (protein creates mucin which is needed to create intestinal mucous – where bacterial flora thrive).

Method: Make sure to take probiotic-containing foods year round. Naturally occurring foods can be found in: water or milk Kefir, kombucha drinks, non-commercial unflavored yogurts, fermented foods, sauerkraut.

Quality probiotic capsules can also be found at your local health food store or online.

Recommended:

2. Chlorella

chlorella blue green algae superfood immune system cold flu cough natural remedy phytonutrients chlorophyll

Chlorella is a nutrient dense superfood. It is a blue-green algae that is packed with phytonutrients, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorous, biotin, magnesium, Vitamins A, C, E, complete vitamin B-complex and several amino acids.

Chlorella also increases the levels of (Ig) A antibody levels in the body. A study published in 2010 by the Plant Foods for Human Nutrition shows a direct correlation between chlorella and increased levels of (Ig) A antibodies in the body.

In this study, women who consumed chlorella pyerenoidsa supplements had significantly higher amounts of (Ig) A antibody concentrations in their breast milk than women who were not taking chlorella. This indicates that the women producing more (Ig) A in their bodies.

When the influenza virus comes into contact with your (Ig) A antibodies, it contains the cold and influenza virus and immediately stops it from spreading and infection the surrounding cells.

Chlorella not only protects you, but it also makes your immune system stronger.

Recommended:

3. Echinacea

echinacea pink flowers dried loose leaves tea
Echinacea is a North American coneflower that is widely used in the United States and Germany.

Studies show that echinacea can reduce inflammation, relieve pain, boost the immune system, and prevent the cold and influenza virus from replicating itself in your body.

Echinacea also has known anti-viral, antibacterial, and blood cleansing properties. The way it fights off the cold and the flu is by increasing levels of properdin.

Properdin is one of the chemicals in the body responsible for fighting off bacteria and viruses. A study found that echinacea can reduce your chances of catching a cold by 60%, and shorten the length of a cold by 1-4 days.

Method: Echinacea comes in the form of tinctures, capsules, or teas.

I find that the pure tincture forms work the best. At the very first sign of a cold, mix 2 dropperfuls of the tincture into a cup of water to prevent further onset. Repeat up to three times a day.

Recommended:

4. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

bragg organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar glass jar
Organic apple cider vinegar’s (ACV) antibacterial and antiviral properties kill the microbes that cause sore throats. It also helps to loosen up and expel excess mucous from the chest that makes it hard to breathe.

ACV contains prebiotic inulin–which builds up the immune system and sends out fighting white blood cells.

ACV also helps to balance our body’s pH levels. The acidity and alkalinity of a food is measured using a pH scale.

The pH scale runs from 0-14 (zero being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline). The optimal blood pH level is closest to 7.4 (slightly more alkaline). There are home kits that can easily test the pH levels of your water, food, saliva, or urine.

A balanced body is less appealing for bacteria or cancer cells to thrive.

Method: Mix in 2 teaspoons of ACV into a cup of pure filtered warm water. You can squeeze in a wedge of lemon (vitamin C). Add a dash of ceylon cinnamon powder (antiseptic). Mix in raw organic honey (soothe sore throats). Drink up to 3 times a day.

Recommended:

5. Olive Leaf Extract (OLE)

olive leaf extract green leaves black olives
Olive leaf extract (OLE) is known for its ability to increase energy, fight cancer cells, lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars, improve cardiac health, antiviral and antibacterial properties, antioxidant effects, and boost the immune system.

OLE was used as a medicinal herb by the ancient Egyptians. In the 1800s, the green olive leaves were used as a treatment for malaria.

Oleuropein is a polyphenol in olive leaf extract that protects against mental decline, maintains blood sugars, improves symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and prevents cancer.

Oleuropein can also encircle tumor cells and prevent it from replicating, growing, and moving. A study published in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications in 2005, showed spontaneous tumors that disappeared after 9-12 days in mice who were given oleuropein.

Method: The recommended dose is 500 milligrams, once a day. OLE comes in capsules or tea form.

Make sure the capsules contain Oleuropein.

Recommended:

6. Cayenne Pepper (Capsaicin)

cayenne spicy red peppers dried powder
Considered a miracle herb, cayenne pepper is used to alleviate intestinal ulcers and heartburn, relieve joint and muscle pain (capsaicin is an active ingredient in many OTC meds).

For a common cold, cayenne pepper can be used to break through congestion and warm your body, while decreasing inflammation. Cayenne pepper contains high levels of vitamin C, which is great for colds and the flu.

Cayenne pepper is also known to boost metabolism, open nasal passageways for congestion, maintain blood sugars, soothe psoriasis symptoms, increase blood circulation, lower blood pressure, quicken blood clotting (good for nose bleeds or any other internal bleeding), and decrease the effects of heart disease.

Capsaicin is one of the major ingredients in red peppers. The spicier the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.

Capsaicin works by inhibiting substance P–a chemical in the body that is involved in inflammation. Substance P communicates pain, heart disease, and other disorders with the body.

Capsaicin cream is commonly used to soothe arthritic aches and pains and open wounds.

Capsaicin is also used to treat heart attacks, halt internal bleeding, and slow tumor growths (particularly in prostate cancers).

Dr. John Christopher, a herbal physician, has healed patients with heart attacks and internal hemorrhaging instantly with a tablespoon of cayenne pepper mixed with warm water.

A study published in the Journal, Cancer Research in 2006, showed that capsaicin has the ability to kill cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death). Cayenne pepper powder causes instant efficient blood flow and circulation.

Capsule form of this pepper is considered to be not as effective as the powdered form. Cayenne pepper is rated according to its heat index. Start of by taking 40,000 SCUs, and eventually up to 90,000 SCUs.

Method: Recommended dosage is one teaspoon of organic cayenne pepper a day, and slowly work your way up to one teaspoon, 3 times a day.

Recommended:

7. Turmeric

turmeric herb fresh roots orange powder
Turmeric is one of the most studied spices on this planet. The main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is treasured for its disease preventing and tumor fighting abilities.

Numerous studies have also shown turmeric to be great at improving heart health, expediting wound healing (while reducing scar tissue), relieving arthritis inflammation, reducing risks of Alzheimer’s Disease, decreasing symptoms of allergies, defending against depression, rebuilding muscle tissue, and treating gastric disorders. It is even a great and natural teeth whitener.

Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric, in addition to honey, have been widely used to treat the common cold, coughs, headaches, sore throats, and congestion. There are a few ways to enjoy turmeric.

Method: (Drink) Add turmeric powder to your favorite tea, and flavor it with ginger and raw organic honey.
(Syrup) Sprinkle ground turmeric into a spoonful of raw organic honey. This method is good at soothing an infected throat.
(Paste) Add some filtered water to ground turmeric. Rub the ointment onto inflamed joints or insect bites. This paste is also useful for whitening teeth and to soothe eczema or dermatitis.

Recommended:

8. Green Tea

green tea matcha fresh powder drink
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. It is the staple drink of Japan, and the Japanese have some of the longest known life spans.

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006, showed that green tea can actually prolong your life by decreasing the prevalence of heart disease and stroke.

Green tea has six different kinds of antioxidants that differ based on which part of the plant it comes from (stems, bud, leaf). The distinctive mix of antioxidants make this tea an effective antiviral drink.

Some compounds that make this tea great are chlorophyll (blood cleanser), and a super antioxidant mix – Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), flavonoids and catechins (reduces free radicals), theophylline (opens up the airway), and L-theanine (boosts energy and decreases anxiety and depression).

Overall, green tea is great for your health and immune system. Green tea is also great for improving brain function, increasing metabolism and physical performance, lowering risk of cancer and dementia, killing bacteria, improving dental health, and maintaining blood sugars.

Method: If you don’t already sip a cup everyday, you should consider adding it to your daily routine.

Mix 1 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder into warm filtered water. Enjoy!

Recommended:

9. Ginseng

ginseng fresh root and slices
Ginseng is an herb used in The Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 2,000 years.

It keeps the body tough by increasing the immune system against bacteria and viruses. It is also used to maintain blood sugars and diminishes the risk of certain cancers.

A study published by The Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2005, found that ginseng extracts increased the immune response and prompted the body to send out more natural killer (NK) cells during a microbial invasion.

Ginseng also improves the ability to persevere during stress. In 1950, a Russian scientist, I.I. Brekhman, reported that ginseng strengthens the body to endure physical tension, combat disease, and increase mental sharpness.

Panax ginseng (better known as Korean, Asian, or even Red Ginseng), is traditionally known as the true ginseng because of the types of ginsenosides (active ingredient in the herb) it contains.

The forms of ginsenocide best equipped for medicinal purposes is available in higher quantities in Asian ginseng.

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) consists more of the ginsenocides that are better suited to handle and endure stress.

Method: If you are using ginseng to boost your immunity against a cold or flu, use 400 milligrams of Panax ginseng daily for up to four months.

If you are using this herb as a daily preventative measure, the recommended dose is 100 milligrams, twice a day.

Overdosing on ginseng can be harmful to your help and it also interferes with a lot of pharmaceutical drugs. Let your doctor know of any herbs or supplements you are taking.

Recommended:

10. Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra)

elderberry tree with fresh leaves and blackberries
Elderberry is used as an antioxidant, anti-microbial, and a heart disease and stroke fighter.

The flower is used for upper respiratory infections, allergies, relieving arthritic pain, as an antiseptic mouthwash, treating gram positive and gram negative infections, and as a diuretic and laxative.

A study published in the BioMed Central’s Journal in 2011, found that Elderberry was effective in defending against influenza, certain bacterial Gram Positive and Gram Negative infections, and MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus), the hospital acquired infections.

Elderberries has over twice the amount of Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity (cancer fighting compound) than blueberries or cranberries. This herb also improves circulation, and minimizes risk for heart disease and stroke.

A study published in 2004, showed that elderberry protects the inside layer of blood vessels from stress.

Anthocyanins (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that also gives food it’s rich coloring), from the berry is absorbed directly in the blood vessel, providing a stronger and healthier barrier. This chain reaction decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The Blackberry Elderberry is the only species of the Sambucus family that is not poisonous. Elderberry refers to the name of a shrub.

The berries and the flowers (Elder Flower) are the only portions used for medicinal purposes, and the berries must be cooked before use.  The leaves, bark, and roots are toxic and should be avoided.

Method: Edible elderberry is available in different forms: syrup, lozenges, and tea. The recommended dose differs depending on the form you are using.

If you are trying to combat a cold, cough, or flu, use elderberry within the first 48 hours of any symptoms.

Recommended:

11. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Globulus)

eucalyptus herb fresh green leaves
Eucalyptus is one of the world’s most important herbs. The leaves come from tall evergreen trees that originated in Australia and Tasmania.

The benefits from eucalyptus’s essential oils or tea leaves are endless. The oils are used to treat infections, pain, anxiety, cancer, diabetes, digestive problems, dermatitis, asthma, upper respiratory infections, mastitis, sore throat, colds, flus, spasms, leprosy, encephalitis.

A study was published in The Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical BioMedicine in 2012, showed that E. Globulus’s natural antibiotic effect was strong enough to combat the gram negative bacteria (E. coli), as well as gram positive bacteria (S. aureus).

E. coli and S. aureus are infections that can be life threatening for people with weakened immune systems, due to its resilience against antibiotics.

Method: You can use Eucalyptus’s essential oils for topical use, a humidifier additive, a spray, or aromatherapy use.

Recommended:

12. Goldenseal

goldenseal herb with fresh green leaves and white flowers
Goldenseal has antiseptic properties and boosts the immune system by activating the spleen. The spleen hosts many of your defense fighting cells.

Goldenseal contains Berberine, which activates macrophages–specialized white blood cells that attack bacteria, viruses, fungi, and cancer cells.

Method: Recommended dose is 10-15 drops, 2 to 3 times daily, for up to 10 days.

Recommended:

13. Garlic & Onion

garlic cloves white sliced onions scallions
Garlic and onions are packed with antioxidants. They are a powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal weapon against the common cold or the flu.

Garlic and onions contains allicin, a strong compound that appears shortly after it is sliced open, and before it is cooked.

Garlic – (Method): If you cannot handle eating the entire clove raw, you can hold a slice of garlic in your mouth and suck on the juices for 15 minutes.

You can also finely mince 1-2 cloves of garlic, mix it into a glass of water, and drink it.

Another method is to take the finely minced pieces and put it on a piece of fruit and cover it with honey. Honey is also soothing to the throat.

Onion – (Method): Try placing sliced onions around your house. It is believed to attract bacteria towards it while “cleansing the air”.

You can also steep raw sliced onions into honey and take spoonfuls the next day in intervals, like cough syrup.

Make sure to use more onions in your cooking when sick.

Recommended:

14. Vitamin D

vitamin d 3 coated pink pills packaged
Vitamin D is the only vitamin that is produced by our own bodies in sufficient amounts. The amount multiplies after exposure to sunlight.

The body can make all the Vitamin D it needs, following a 30-minute sunbathing session!

Vitamin D helps move calcium into the bones and also boosts our immune system. It does this by sending out neutrophils, monocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells to defend the body from intruding microbes.

Researchers have found a link to Vitamin D deficiency and influenza.

Multiple studies have found that Vitamin D blocks the replication of multiple strains of the flu and reduces the risk of the flu by 50%.

If you do not get at least 30 minutes of direct sunlight a day, it is best to eat a lot of foods rich in Vitamin D or take supplements.

Method: If you are going to take supplements, make sure to get D3 (cholecalciferol) and not D2 (ergocalciferol). The recommended daily dose is 2,000 IU.

Recommended:

15. Zinc

zinc zn green capsules
Zinc has been scientifically proven to decrease the symptoms of the common cold and flu.

Zinc is responsible for the proper functioning of over 3,000 proteins in the body. Zinc is also know to decrease blood pressure and maintain blood sugars.

Method: The recommended dose is at least 75 milligrams a day for the duration of the cold. Zinc is safe for pregnant and breast feeding women.

Recommended:

16. Ginger

ginger sliced roots and fresh tea
Ginger has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain relieving properties.

Ginger has long been used by Ayurveda (originated from India 3,000 years ago) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (older than 2,000 years) – two of the oldest medical systems in the world.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, ginger has the power to boost the immune system, warm the body, and rid the lungs and sinuses of toxins.

Ginger has the ability to treat respiratory illnesses such as coughs, upper respiratory infections, and asthma. Western medicine has also recently shown links between ginger and asthma relief.

The aroma of ginger is also pleasant enough to soothe the body and aid in digestion. Because of this, ginger is also great to keep handy for anyone who easily gets nauseous.

Method: Slice up 1 cup of fresh ginger (peeled), 1 lemon (with some rind), and 1 pear.

Place it in a pot of filtered water. Boil the water for at least one hour. Mix with raw organic honey (great at soothing sore throats), and enjoy!

Supplements are a great option as well if the taste of ginger is too strong for you.

Recommended:

17. Cinnamon

cinnamon powder and sticks
Cinnamon comes from the bark of small trees found in Asia and the Middle East. Is it one of the oldest spices known today. It has been used by the ancient Egyptians as medicine and was considered more precious than gold.

Although most people only think of cinnamon as a sweet holiday spice, it is actually packed with nutrients – manganese, calcium, and fiber.

Some of the benefits of this spice include: antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, controls blood sugar, improves colon health, protects against heart disease, and boosts brain function.

Another benefit of this herb is that it is naturally sweet and low in calories!

There are two different kind of cinnamon: Cassia Cinnamon (cheap and can be toxic if taken in large amounts – found in most supermarkets) and Ceylon Cinnamon (pure, sweeter, more nutrient dense).

Method: Mix with 1 teaspoon of raw organic honey (great for cold, flu, and coughs) with 1/4 teaspoon of organic ceylon cinnamon.

Take twice a day for the duration of your cold. You can also make a tea consisting of cinnamon, honey, lemon, and ginger.

Recommended:

18. Oregano Oil

pure oregano essential oil dropper and plant
Oregano is one of nature’s most powerful antibiotic.

Oregano oil contains terpene and carvacrol. These are natural chemicals that actively fight off bacteria, fungus, yeasts, parasites, and viruses.

One study done by the United States Department of Agriculture found that oregano oil has such a robust reaction against germs that it could efficiently kill off Salmonella and E. coli infections.

Method: Take 2-3 drops, three time a day, during the duration of your cold or flu.

Make sure to have a glass of water handy to wash it down with – it is not the tastiest oil in the world.

Certain oregano oils do not come diluted (potent), so it is advised to place 5-6 drops into an empty vegetarian capsule and take it 3 times a day, for the duration of the cold or flu.

Recommended:

19. Coconut Oil

coconut oil solid white meat
Coconut oil is nature’s most powerful antiviral compound. Coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which are digested differently and much quicker than other saturated fats.

MCTs go straight to the liver and is converted into energy or turned into ketones. They have positive effects on brain disorders such as seizures or Alzheimer’s Disease.

Coconut oil contains a large amount of lauric acid (also found in human breast milk) which is strong enough to kill harmful pathogens that cause life threatening infections.

The oil is effective in destroying viruses and bacteria that are found in the flu, measles, herpes, mononucleosis, liver disease, AIDS, lung infections, sinus infections, gonorrhea, gastric ulcers, ringworm, and toxic shock syndrome–just to name a few.

Coconut oil has the ability to kill off all the intruding pathogens, while doing no harm to our own healthy cells.

Saturated fats found in coconut oil can also maintain cholesterol. It lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol, while raising the HDL (good) cholesterol.

For weight watchers, coconut oil curbs the appetite, while increasing fat burning rates – especially around the abdomen area.

For external use, coconut oil is great for moisturizing the skin and hair, without clogging pores. It can also be used as a natural sunscreen (blocks 20% of harmful UV rays) and soothes sunburns.

Method: Take 1-2 tablespoons daily, year round to maintain a good immune system.

For best results, take two tablespoons daily at the first sign of a cold or flu.

Recommended:

20. Nasal Rinse

nasal rinse netty pot with saline salt water sinus irrigation

Nasal irrigation has been used for centuries and most likely originated from Indian Ayurveda medicine.

Nasal rinses are used to clear and unclog nasal passageways. Irrigation removes debris and irritants, while moisturizing and soothing inflamed mucous linings.

Methods: Mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 cup of warm filtered water, 6-8 drops of betadine.

Use a neti pot or a bulb syringe to rinse out each nostril with your solution. Repeat 3 times daily.

Add 1 drop of diluted oregano oil to your mix for added antimicrobial effect.

Recommended:

21. Foods to Avoid

fried unhealthy oily processed food
A high sugar diet can suppress the immune system, while causing even more inflammation throughout the body.

Fatty foods and processed/refined foods (hard to digest) and dairy products (produces excess mucous) should be avoided whenever you are feeling ill.

For optimal immune power you need to eat a diet that gives you lean proteins, broth based soups, teas, and bland or easy to digest foods.

Smokers are more susceptible at developing infections and are known to catch more colds than non-smokers. Smoking drags out the duration of a cold and causes harsher symptoms.

Final Word

There is no known cure for the common cold as of yet, but there are ways to battle the symptoms. If you want to avoid getting the cold, cough, or flu all together this season, you have to be proactive in caring for your immune system now.

It takes time and commitment to build up a strong immunity. If you do get sick, we wish you the speediest of recoveries, while using our natural home remedies.

Health Benefits & Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic With Mother)

6
bragg organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar in glass jar with the

Vinegar has been used for centuries for various disinfectant and antimicrobial purposes. The most widely used vinegar in the natural health world is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). ACV is one of the favorites and most universal when it comes to natural remedies.

Some of the uses of this vinegar are: anti-microbial, anti-fungal, increases immunity and fights cancer, stimulates weight loss, decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke, lowers cholesterol, and maintains blood sugar.

Apple cider vinegar is made in two steps. First, the apples are fermented with yeast. This process turns the natural sugars into alcohol. Then, the alcohol is fermented again, this time with bacteria. This process turns the apple alcohol into acetic acid.

Acetic acid is what gives vinegar its sour taste and pungent smell. ACV is made up of mostly acetic acid, and is where most of the health benefits come from. Small amounts of other acids found in vinegar are: malic acid and lactic acid.

If you’ve looked into organic apple cider at all, I’m sure you’ve heard of something called the “mother”.

What exactly is the “mother” in organic apple cider vinegar?

Well, the “mother” strands of protein in organic ACV consists of cellulose and acetic acid. These protein strands contain enzymes and beneficial bacteria that give the organic unfiltered vinegar its cloudy and cobweb-like appearance.

Some people believe the health benefits come from the “mother” strands, but there is no specific evidence to support this theory.

Apple cider vinegar is a very low caloric food (3 calories per tablespoon), but is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the nutrients include potassium, magnesium, fiber, amino acids, and antioxidants (cancer fighting).

The taste of vinegar is very off putting for most people. If you keep consistently drinking a small amount everyday, you will most definitely get used to it and be able to reap the benefits of this wonderful vinegar.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

apple cider vinegar detox bath remove toxins naturally for health

1. ACV Is a Good Anti-microbial and Anti-fungal Agent

Apple cider vinegar has been used to disinfect, preserve food, clear up acne, treat toe fungus, lice, warts, and inner ear infections. Vinegar has been shown to prevent E. Coli bacteria from growing and multiplying in food.

It also prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus in our digestive tract. This is important because 80% of our immune system is in our GI system.

2. ACV Maintains Blood Sugar and Prevents Sugar Spikes

Apple cider vinegar increases the efficiency of insulin in breaking down sugar during a high-carb meal. High blood sugars, if untreated, will lead to serious health problems that effects every single organ of the body.

So pretty much, everyone can benefit from keeping their sugar levels in check.

3. ACV Intake Increases Weight Loss

A study done in Japan  in 2009 showed that subjects who took apple cider vinegar everyday for 12 weeks lost weight. After a daily intake
of 1 tablespoon and 2 tablespoons, subjects lost 2.6 lbs and 3.7 lbs (respectively). Vinegar also increases the sense of satiety after meals for longer periods of time.

4. ACV Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke, While Lowering Cholesterol

Apple cider vinegar lowers triglycerides. Triglycerides causes fatty plaque along your arteries. This buildup can lead to a blockage of blood flow or a sudden rupture, causing a heart attacks or stroke.

Lowering of cholesterol is made possible by pectin, which is found in apples and its vinegar. Pectin is a complex carbohydrate, a soluble fiber.

Pectin has many beneficial health benefits. The way it works on cholesterol is that the LDL (bad cholesterol) binds itself to the pectin, and is then carried out of the body as waste.

5. ACV Fights Against Cancer and Builds Up Our Immune System

Apple cider vinegar is an alkalizing food that restores the alkaline/acid balance of our body. This is important because cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment.

A slightly more alkaline state is less inviting towards cancerous cells. A study done in 2004 showed evidence of vinegar killing cancerous cells and also shrinking the size of tumors.

Check out 20 Best Natural Home Remedies For the Cold, Cough & Flu.

Ways of Enjoying Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar ways to enjoy fresh apples drink

You can drink apple cider vinegar straight, mix it in teas, sprinkle it over food or salads, or apply it topically. For people who cannot stand the taste, there is a less effective pill form.

The recommended dose is 1-2 teaspoons a day. The more your body gets used to vinegar, you can drink up to 1-2 tablespoons a day.

After personally drinking ACV everyday for about 6 months, I’ve noticed less acne on my face, better bowel movements, less bloating, faster metabolism, soothes my sore throats, and decreases odors in my urine.

I drink about 2 teaspoons a day every night. I mix it with raw organic honey (to sweeten), ceylon cinnamon, and a dash of cayenne pepper cayenne pepper, and warm water.

Recommended:

Other Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

apples red fresh juicy fresh fruit

1. Helps Heartburn

Acid reflux is actually caused by your stomach not having enough acid. When your stomach doesn’t have enough acid, it churns violently to digest the food with the little acid that it does have.

During this process, the stomach spills content upwards towards the esophagus, causing heartburn.

Apple cider vinegar stimulates the saliva production and causes the stomach to produce adequate amounts of digestive acid. When your heartburn is acting up, drink 1 teaspoon of ACV.

If that’s too strong for you to stomach, try dropping 5-6 drops of ACV onto your tongue.

Check out 18 Best Natural Home Remedies for Heartburn & Acid Reflux Relief.

2. Gets Rid of Bad Breath

Apple cider vinegar gets rid of bad breath due to its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Mix 2 teaspoons of ACV to a cup of water, gargle.

3.Neutralizes the Smell of Stinky Urine

It can quickly decrease the odor of cat-smelling urine after drinking apple cider vinegar for a few days. You can also add it to your load of laundry to get rid of smells.

4. Gets Rid of Hiccups

Apple cider vinegar soothes the digestive tract by balancing the alkaline and acid properties of the body. Drink a teaspoon straight.

5. Use as a Natural Non-toxic Household Disinfectant

Mix 1:1 ratio of water and apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle. Then add 3-4 drops of your favorite essential oil to the mix.

6. Soothes a Sore Throat

Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, 1-2 teaspoon of raw organic honey (honey is also great at soothing sore throats), a dash of ceylon cinnamon (anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory), a dash of cayenne pepper (anti-microbial, regulates blood flow), hot water.

Let it cool down and drink the tea when it’s warm. It’s not good to drink hot liquids when your throat is already inflamed.

Recommended:

7. Use as Salad Dressing

You can add olive oil and apple cider vinegar to your favorite salad.

Recipe for Organic Salad Dressing:

  • 1 teaspoons of organic olive oil
  • 3 teaspoon of raw ACV
  • Add a dash of freshly grounded peppercorns
  • Add a dash of sea salt or pink himalayan salt to taste

Recommended:

8. Stops Pets From Biting Cords and Furniture

Rub some apple cider vinegar onto the tempting furniture. Repeat after a few days. ACV is not harmful to your pets. Some people even put ACV onto their pets skin to ward off pesky fleas.

9. Detoxes Your Body

First thing in the morning, drink an apple cider vinegar drink. Gulp down 2 teaspoons of ACV, mixed into some honey, and 1 tall glass of filtered water.

Afterwards, you should expect to have a bowel movement within 30 minutes. Drink once or twice a day, everyday for a healthier body.

Check out How to Detox & Cleanse Your Body Naturally – 4 Best Options.

10. Uses as a Facial Toner

Apple cider vinegar can be used as a facial toner or mixed into face masks. It improve the pH balance of your face and decreases acne.

Depending on how sensitive your skin is, add more or less ACV. Add 1 tablespoon of ACV to 1 cup of warm filtered water. Use this mix to lightly clean your face, with a cotton round.

Check out 6 Best Homemade DIY Face Masks for Acne – Recipes on How to Make.

11. Controls Hunger and Sugary Cravings, While Increasing Your Energy

Before lunch, mix 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into water and drink 10-15 minutes before your meal. This will improve digestion and keep you full for longer.

12. Use It in Your Bath

Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of Epsom Salt, and a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil to your bath water.

Check out 4 Best Natural Detox Bath Recipes & Salts.

13. Gets Rid of Dandruff

Mix 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar and water into a spray bottle. After shampooing your hair, spray this mix onto your scalp and let it sit for about 15 minutes, rinse. Repeat everyday until your dandruff problem goes away.

14. Gets Rid of Foot Odor

Kill fungal infections of the feet with an apple cider vinegar foot bath. Mix 1 cup of ACV into warm water and soak feet for 15-20 minutes.

15. Washes Fruits and Vegetables

Apple cider vinegar removes pesticides and harmful chemicals from your fruits and veggies. Add 2 tablespoons to a bowel of water, then add your fruits and veggies. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes.

Final Word

If you’ve decided to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your daily remedies, congratulations. Make sure your ACV is raw, organic, unfiltered, contains the “mother”, and comes in a glass bottle.

The most reputable brand of ACV is Bragg Apple Cider vinegar, Unfiltered Raw, Organic. ACV will not cure you from all your diseases but it does have great health benefits, without nasty side effects.

css.php