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8 Best Natural Home Remedies For Constipation That Work Fast

constipation stomach pain bloated toilet

Most everyone will experience constipation in their lives. Constipation affects 63 million Americans, resulting in 6.3 million doctor visits each year. Although it’s not widely talked about, we all want better poop. According to the Bristol Stool Chart, an ideal poop is a type 4-6 (stool chart).

There are so many different medications, herbs, and gimmicks out there on the market today that claim to cure constipation. So how do we know which is the best method? Let me just first start off by saying, “stay away from laxatives.” Nowadays, everyone wants a quick fix with minimal work, which is why laxatives are so popular. But in reality, this 600 million dollar pharmaceutical industry is doing your body more harm than good.

What to Avoid During Constipation

So what do laxatives really do? Fat and calories are mostly all absorbed in the small intestine, so they are not affected as much. Laxatives cause the body to lose important water weight, essential vitamins, electrolytes and other minerals in the colon (large intestine).

Electrolytes are minerals that regulate every organ and roadmap of your body. Electrolytes include sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Laxatives can cause dangerous imbalances that can activate threatening emergencies such as seizures, sudden confusion, irregular heartbeats, severe muscle weakness, or chest pain.

There are three main types of laxatives:

  1. Osmotic laxatives pull important fluid into the intestines over a period of a few days. This pulls fluid into hard stools and turns the contents into diarrhea. This can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, painful cramping, and bloating.
  2. Stimulant laxatives are harsh chemicals that activate unnatural spasms and contractions of the lining of the colon. They work fast but they also cause diarrhea, dehydration, painful cramping, and bloating. Long term use can cause “lazy bowel syndrome”, which can lead to dependence on continual laxative use, just to have regular bowel movement.
  3. Bulk-Forming laxatives cause small hard stools to increase in mass. This might help the stool to move along more easily, but it can also cause more blockage. Adding more mass to an already clogged stool leads to painful passage, anal bleeding, and fecal impaction.

Another unusual culprit of constipation is fiber. Fiber is one of the main foods that people think of when trying to obtain a healthy digestive system. Against contrary belief, too much fiber can actually cause constipation, uncomfortable bloating, and painful gas pains.

Fiber is found in plant parts, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Fiber causes stools to become tough and bulky. Too much functional fiber can cause straining, tears along the inside of the intestinal tract, hemorrhoids, and anal lacerations (bleeding).

There are two types of fiber: Dietary Fiber and Functional or Isolated Fiber. Dietary fibers are naturally found in foods. Functional or Isolated fibers are unnaturally extracted from plants. Of course some fiber in our diet is good, but just don’t overdue it. Too much of any one thing is never good – everything in moderation.

Constipation usually isn’t life threatening. So why deal with it? First off, it’s uncomfortable and it can ruin a perfectly good day. It can also prevent your body from properly ridding of toxins, which can overtime lead to colorectal cancer or other gastrointestinal disorders. There are many different ways that blockage can be dealt with. Everyone’s body works differently, but if you find a few remedies that work best for you, you’ll be having rock star poop (type 4-6) in no time.

Let’s move onto some remedies that naturally help with constipation. Keep in mind that some of these remedies should be only used for 2-4 days, and no longer than 2 weeks at a time.

Natural Remedies For Constipation

1. Oils

organic coconut meat with raw unfiltered oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Caster Oil, Almond Oil, or Coconut Oil can be used to treat constipation fairly quickly. Oils lubricate the digestive tract and create a smoother passage through the colon due to its texture and consistency. Oils contain essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants (cancer fighting), and Omega-3 (brain food). They also stimulate the gallbladder to release bile. Bile then helps to break down the fats in our food.

Always try to get organic products to eliminate GMO’s (“genetically modified organisms”), MSG (monosodium glutamate) and other chemicals from entering your body. Organic oils contain pure oils, while others have a mix of pesticides, chemicals, artificial agents, and fillers of other cheaper oils.

Methods: 1-2 teaspoons once or twice a day (start slow and increase the amount if a low dose isn’t working). You can drink the oil by itself on an empty stomach, mix it with water, coffee, smoothies, juice, or sprinkled over salads. You can also mix in flax seeds to the oil for extremely effective results. Make sure not to take flax seed oil because it does not have the high amounts of dietary fiber that the seeds do.

If you tend to have a more sensitive stomach, try not to take oils on an empty stomach. It can cause queasiness and slight stomach pains when taken by itself. For babies with constipation or gas pains, mix 2 teaspoons of coconut oil with homemade formula.


2. Magnesium

magnesium capsule orange supplement vitamin

Magnesium is an important electrolyte. About half of our magnesium stores are in our bones, and the rest work on cell functions. It plays a huge role in regulating our muscles, heart rhythm, bowels, and immune system. Magnesium’s laxative effects are widely utilized by major drug companies. Magnesium supplements can relax the muscles in the intestines and attract water back into the colon.

As a daily bowel regulator, do not take more magnesium than what is recommended. An over abundance of electrolytes can cause serious disruptions to the body. It can also interfere with certain medications, such as diuretics, chemo drugs, and antibiotics. You should not take these supplements if you have kidney problems because like most drugs, magnesium is excreted through the kidneys. If sufficient excretion is not possible, you will be left with high levels of magnesium circulating in your body. Also, make sure the supplements are not mixed with calcium, which has constipating effects.

Method: Take a daily supplement of 300-400 milligrams at night with some water and expect to have a bowel movement by morning time.


3. Organic Blackstrap Molasses

blackstrap molasses thick sweet syrup jar

Blackstrap molasses is an older remedy for constipation. Molasses is made from boiled pure cane sugar. It has the lowest sugar content and the highest nutritional value out of all sugars. Molasses contains high doses of magnesium and potassium, which are two strong contenders in the battle against constipation.

Molasses works fairly quickly on hardened poop by drawing fluid into the bowels and moistening hard stool. Blackstrap molasses is alkaline (balances the pH value in the stomach) which allows the intestines to form proper stools and regulates digestion.

Some other nutrients you will find in blackstrap molasses are: manganese (regulates the nervous system), iron (blackstrap molasses’s iron does not cause constipation), calcium (helps to remove waste and other toxins from the colon), copper (rids the body of cancer causing free radicals), and vitamin B6 (regulates blood sugars, nerves, and brain function).

Method: Take 1-2 tablespoons by itself, mixed with warm water, organic apple cider vinegar, juice, or used as a sweetener for food. Make sure to use organic molasses to avoid ingesting sulfate. Use this remedy for a few weeks at a time.
For babies who have constipation or gas pains: try giving them 1 teaspoon of molasses mixed with 1 ounce of cooled boiled water, 3 times a day, right before regular feedings.


4. Probiotics

probiotics plain yogurt healthy

Probiotics are necessary for a healthy immune system. They are also a great and natural way to battle constipation. How does probiotics work on hard stool? Intestinal flora (good bacteria) is responsible for keeping stools loose and retaining moisture in the intestines. When your poop lacks healthy bacteria, it turns into rock hard pebbles.

A lot of times good bacterias are wiped out accidentally by things that are used to kill bad bacteria. These include: antibiotics (pill form, in our milk, meat, fish), surgeries, diarrhea (flushes out good and bad bacteria), colon cleanses, too much fiber (destroys bacterial membranes), protein deficiency (protein creates mucin which is needed to create intestinal mucous, where bacterial flora thrives).

Most commercial yogurts with advertised probiotics are usually not good substitutes. These yogurts go through a high-heat sterilization process during manufacturing, to create a longer shelf life. By the time they get to you, the active bacterias are usually “dead.” Probiotics are also a safe remedy for constipation for pregnant women.

Test your yogurt/pills to see if they contain live bacteria (probiotics): 
Supplies: 1 container (plastic or kitchenware) and milk (does not matter if it is whole milk or 1% milk).

  1. Testing Yogurt. Place your yogurt and milk (1:2 ratio) into one container. Wait 8-10 hours, or overnight. The live bacteria should have caused your yogurt to multiply and grow.
  2. Testing Probiotic Pills. Place 1/2 cup of milk into a container. Split open 2-3 pills and pour the contents into the milk. Mix well. Wait 8-10 hours, or overnight. The bacteria in the pills should have caused the milk to form curdles or clumps.


5. Flush Your System

fresh bottled drinking water to flush your system

As soon as you wake up, drink 2 full glasses of water on an empty stomach. Leave about 20-30 minutes in between your water and breakfast. If your constipation isn’t too bad, you should be on the toilet in about 30-60 minutes.

Everything slows down while you’re asleep and the sudden water intake stirs up your sleepy bowels. This method works best in the morning. Although this method works nicely, do not drink gallons and gallons of water throughout the day.

Contrary to popular belief, too much water can actually cause dehydration and constipation. The more water you drink, the more essential vitamins and minerals, such as Calcium and Magnesium (in all your bones, teeth, joints, and heart) and Potassium (key mineral responsible for keeping your stools moist and fluffy) are flushed away with your urine.

The more you drink, the more you’ll pee – causing a decrease in important electrolytes that are responsible for keeping your digestive system regular. This electrolyte imbalance causes your body to dehydrate, and the more dehydrated you are, the more water you’ll need to “quench the thirst”.

A study done in Japan in 2006 of 3,835 subjects, showed that constipation was not associated with low fiber or low water intake, but rather, it was associated with low magnesium intake and low intake of water from foods.


6. Massages/Acupuncture

acupuncture with back needles soothing massage therapy

Studies in The Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine have proven that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is highly effective in treating constipation. Blockage can be caused by a reduction in the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), excess cold, or excess heat in the body.

Qi (vital energy) is influenced by the two life forces – Ying and Yang. When these forces are interrupted or blocked, it effects the flow of one’s overall health. Go to a reputable acupuncturist or masseuse and ask them if they have a specialized therapy for digestion.

7. Go When Nature Calls

constipated go when nature calls don't hold it in blockage

If you have the urge to go, GO! Every time you wait and hold it in, your colon reabsorbs more and more fluid from your stool. This causes your poop to become hardened.

If you do not have access to a bathroom throughout the day, you can try to train your body to have a bowel movement around the same time everyday. For most people, this is usually at the beginning or end of the day.

8. Positions

squatty potty demonstration under the toilet white

The invention of the modern flush toilet is still fairly new. Most of the world still squats to poop. Some experts say that squatting reduces straining, anal fistulas, hemorrhoids, and constipation. Squatting helps the Puborectalis muscle to open, and allows for a more complete emptying.

Method: While sitting on the toilet, place stepping stools or large books under each foot. Prop your legs up on them as high as they will go, to mimic a squatting position. To achieve the most natural and most comfortable squatting position (while still having the comfort of sitting on the toilet seat), try using a Squatty Potty.

Squatty pottys comes in different heights, ranging from a beginner-level squatter to a more experienced squatter. When not in use, it slides neatly underneath the toilet seat and out of the way. Squatty pottys make a great gift – especially for people who would be too shy to buy one for themselves.

Final Word

Constipation may not seem like an urgent matter, but it is your body’s way of letting you know when something is not running right. It could also be an underlying warning to a bigger issue. Either way, don’t let constipation ruin your day by unconsciously slowing you down. Listen to your body, find a natural remedy that works for you, and let your system run its course. Constipation is not going to be fixed overnight, but with these remedies, you should be happily flushing in a few days.

16 Best Natural Home Remedies For Anxiety & Depression

anxiety disorder stress headache pain

We have all had some sort of stress in our lives. Stress is not inherently bad – it helps us learn how to cope and deal with difficult problems through trial and error. This experience gives us wisdom on how to battle even harder dilemmas as we get older.


Chronic stressors in our lives can turn into anxiety. Anxiety becomes a problem when it gets in the way of our everyday life, by causing dysfunction and a lot of suffering.

Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the United States. It affects over 40 million Americans at some point in their lives, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Most people develop symptoms before the age of 21, and 60% of sufferers are women.

Anxiety can come in many different forms. The most common types of anxiety are: Panic Disorder, Phobias, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Common symptoms that are associated with anxiety are: excessive worrying, sleep disturbances (staying awake, waking up with your mind racing, falling asleep), irrational fears, muscle tension, chronic indigestion, self-consciousness.

The most common types of anti-anxiety medications are called Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are tranquilizers. Of this class of drugs, the most prevalent types are Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan. The attractiveness about these medications are that they work fast — usually within 30 minutes. Benzodiazepines work fast and because of this, they are addicting. Never try to stop your medications suddenly, but slowly taper down the dosage while under the supervision of a licensed professional.

Tranquilizers and other anti-anxiety drugs are exactly like they sound — they replace your personality with a flat affect, emotional bluntness, and numbness. After long-term use, they can bring about extreme depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings.

More severe side effects are Mania, hostility and rage, aggressive or impulsive behavior, or hallucinations. They become additionally toxic to your body when mixed with other drugs, such as antihistamines. In patients over the age of 65, these medications can cause over-sedation, confusion, amnesia, loss of balance, and symptoms similar to dementia.


Depression occurs in 1 out of every 10 Americans at some point of their lives. According to the CDC, depression results in 41,149 suicides every year. Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States.

Common symptoms that are associated with depression are: feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities, appetite or weight changes, sleep changes, anger or irritability, loss of energy, self-loathing, reckless behavior.

The most common types of depression medications are SSRIs. In this group, the most frequently used are Prozac and Zoloft. Never stop taking your prescription medications suddenly, but rather, slowly taper down the dosage while under the supervision of a licensed professional.

There have also been numerous studies showing that more traffic accidents happen with people who are under the influence of prescription anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications. There are numerous pharmaceutical medications that can ease the mind, but it usually comes at a heavy price. The side effects from these prescriptions drugs are just nasty and harmful to the body.

Unfortunately, even with these available medications, there are no quick fixes to mental disorders. Instead of drowning your symptoms with tranquilizing drugs, it is much more important to take the time to get to know what the root cause of your illness is.

Natural Remedies for Anxiety & Depression

Below are some natural remedies that can help you (with or without the help of therapy and prescription medications) battle symptoms of mental disorders without any known adverse effects or addicting qualities.

Herbal Supplements

Natural herbs may take several weeks to take effect, so do not increase the dosage if results are not seen right away. If you have co-existing health problems, always consult with a physician before taking these supplements.

1. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) Supplements

neurotransmitter gaba supplements mechanism nerve ends

GABA is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter (transporter of messages between nerve ends) that is found in the brain. It regulates brain activity and muscle tone. GABA slows down excessive neuron firing that can cause mental health disorders.

GABA supplements work similarly to benzodiazepines and SSRIs. They reduce anxiety and depression by positively interacting with GABA receptors.

Caffeine and alcohol inhibits GABA, so if you suffer from a mental illness, try to limit or cut them out altogether.


2. Kava

kava root dried herb supplement

Kava is a natural supplement that is extracted from the herb Piper Methysticum. It is widely used by Pacific Islanders.

Kava activates GABA receptors in the brain, which calms neurological activity. It also causes deep muscle relaxation, aids in effective sleep, elevates mood, and regulates emotional activity.

Amazingly, Kava has no known adverse side effects. Some studies have noted rare cases of Kava impacting the liver, but it has yet to be fully proven.

Kava root can be boiled in water and used as a tea. It also comes in the forms of pills or liquid. The recommended daily dose is 60-120 milligrams, for no longer than 3 months at a time.


3. Passion Flower

passion flower bloomed beautiful purple and white flower

Passion Flower has been used for centuries by the Native Americans, Aztecs, Spaniards, and Europeans. This flower has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-depressive, and anti-anxiety properties.

Passion flower is also great at fighting against sleeplessness, nervousness, stress, neuralgia, and anxious tachycardia (racing heartbeat).

A plus side to this herb is that there are no known toxicity or negative medication interactions. Passion Flower comes in the form of teas, liquids, and pills.

Do not take this herb with other sedatives, and take it in moderation. Too much can cause a decrease in your heart rate and breathing. There is no standard recommended daily dose, but the quantity should be monitored carefully due to its sedative properties.


4. L-theanine

l theanine tea with leaves and flowers

L-theanine is one of the main amino acids found in green and black tea leaves. It helps the body to stay calm, focused, and decreases stress. It also raises the level of dopamine (promotes feelings of happiness and pleasure) and GABA (relaxing neurotransmitter).

L-theanine also uplifts mood, helps with ADHD symptoms, boosts focus and concentration, assists in effective sleep, detoxes the body, and even reduces cravings for nicotine – all without making you feel drowsy or jittery.

The recommended dose is 100-200 milligrams a day.


5. Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)

lemon balm with fresh and dried leaves

Lemon balm is an herb that has been used for centuries by the Greeks. It has been used for improving mood and agitation, bacterial fighting properties, stopping muscle spasms, aiding in effective sleep, enhancing attention and cognition, and calming mental health disorders.

This herb is also an old remedy used by the Europeans for alleviating pains from gas and bloating, vomiting, cold sores, earaches, headaches, and toothaches.

Lemon balm comes in the form of oils, teas, whole leaves, and liquid. The recommended dose is 2-3 teaspoons of the dried herb, or 4-5 fresh leaves per cup of water. If using a tincture, take 3-6 milliliters, up to 3 times a day.


6. Teas: Chamomile, Lavender, Catnip

chamomile tea with flowers and teabag

Chamomile is one of the oldest medicinal herbs. There have been many successful studies from around the world, proving the effects of Chamomile.

This herb is used to treat inflammation, cancer, cold and flu, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, eczema, hemorrhoids, osteoporosis, diabetes, sore throat, vaginitis, and wounds.

Inhalation of vaporized Chamomile essential oils are widely used to help ease anxiety, depression and insomnia.

The desired effects take place after a few weeks of daily use. Chamomile has no known adverse side effects and is non-habit forming. This herb can also be safely enjoyed as a tea or with aromatherapy.

For boosted effects, try adding lavender or Catnip to your teas or fragrances.


Vitamins & Minerals

Remember to get your blood levels checked during your annual physical to make sure that you are taking optimal dosages for your body. It is important to let your doctor know of any supplements you are taking.

7. Vitamin B Complex

vitamin b sunflower seeds

The Vitamin B Complex converts food into energy, keeps the central nervous system running properly, and preserves brain health. It also helps to maintain healthy hair, nails, eyes, skin, and liver. There are 8 different kinds of vitamin B’s and each one has a unique function.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – first discovered out of all the Vitamin B’s) builds up the immune system and helps us combat stress. It also forms adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which the cells use to make energy.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is responsible for the serotonin synthesis, which fights against depression. Niacin also improves circulation and decreases inflammation throughout the body.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) makes serotonin and norepinephrine, which affects mood and the production of melatonin (internal body clock). Serotonin and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters – chemicals that communicate signals from one nerve cell to another. Pyridoxine is also necessary for normal brain function and development.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) works closely together with Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) to make S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe builds up the immune system and improves mood and mental health. Cobalamin and Folic Acid keeps nerve cells healthy, utilizes iron to make red blood cells, and aids in the synthesis of DNA and RNA (your body’s genetic makeup).

Use the indicated dosage listed on the label or the prescribed amount by your doctor.


8. Magnesium

magnesium supplement capsules purple pill

A study published in the Medical Hypothesis in 2006 by Eby and Eby, stated that serious and suicidal depression could be caused by a magnesium deficiency. It could further cause a decrease in IQ and negatively influence addictions.

Low levels of magnesium and T4 levels also cause hypothyroidism, a known cause of depression and anxiety. This type of stress can then account for a further magnesium reduction, causing an endless cycle.

Postpartum depression is another argument relating to magnesium deficiency. It is caused by the fetus and placenta depleting large amounts of magnesium from its mother. Lactation is also known to be draining of vital vitamins and nutrients.

The article by Eby and Eby showcase numerous studies that reveal drastic improvements of depression and anxiety, from the treatment of monitored magnesium supplements. According to the article, the recommended dose is at least 400-600 milligrams per day, to enable positive effects on stress and prevention of neuronal calcium ion injury.


9. Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)

vitamin d3 foods plate examples

Vitamin D3 increases immunity, bone and heart health, and helps the body fight off cancerous cells. It is naturally produced by our bodies when it comes into contact with the sun’s UV rays.

Vitamin D3 also battles against seasonal anxiety and depression. Many people who live in urban areas are deficient, so it is crucial to get adequate amounts of supplements during the winter months, when sun exposure is reduced.

If you are deficient, your doctor will prescribe you an appropriate dosage. For maintenance purposes, a healthy dose of 2,000 IU per day is sufficient.

Make sure to take Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), and not Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which is the non-effective synthetic form.


10. Omega-3 (Fish Oil)

fish oil omega 3 supplements capsules

Fish oil contains Essential Fatty Acids (EFA). EFA’s are polyunsaturated fats derived from linolenic (Omega-3), linoleic (Omega-6), and oleic acids. These are essential fats (our body cannot produce them on its own) so it is crucial that they 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, meaning 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-3’s are effective at fighting depression and anger.

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


Alternative Therapies

11. Walks in Green Areas – “Forest Bathing”

greenery forest bathing nature walk dirt path

The effects of “Forest Bathing” have been widely researched in Japan and South Korea. These high stressed countries have the highest suicide rates in the world.

Other countries are adapting their therapies after they’ve seen successful declines in anxiety, depression, cortisol – stress hormone (by 12.4%), blood pressure (by 12 points), and increases in cancer fighting proteins and disease fighting Natural Killer (NK) immune cells (by 40%).

Qing Li, an immunologist in Japan also found that NK cells and anticancer proteins (granulysin, granzymes A and B, and perforin – cause tumor cells to self destruct) increased in the presence of Cypress tree oils and aromas, during a petri dish experiment.

This study also revealed that the effects of hiking a full day through natural woods or forests can last up to 7 days in our bodies.

When forest bathing, try not to bring your cellphones, headphones, or any other electronics. Anything that can distract you from taking in all of nature can decrease or negate the therapy effects.

Walking through greenery also helps increase in attention (great for children with ADHD), mood, short term memory, ability to sleep, and feeling less fatigued.

In urban settings where forests are hard to come by, hiking under trees, walking through parks or bodies of water, and gardening are also beneficial.

Check out these links to find a forest or park near you:

12. The 21-Minute Cure

exercise aerobics running in nature 21 minute cure

There have been many studies done on the effects of exercise, and its ability in reducing anxiety. Research has proven that exercising at least 21 minutes can release enough endorphins to decrease anxiety. The best type of cardio exercise to combat anxiety was found to be aerobics.

If you start working out and don’t feel any better from it right away, don’t give up! Effects from exercising usually takes place after an 8-week commitment. Exercise also helps with other symptoms – increasing alertness, concentration, and aiding against sleep disturbances.

Higher temperatures also relaxes the body, so if you can get away, take a vacation to somewhere tropical. But if you can’t take time off, spend a few hours at a local spa or sauna and unwind in a Jacuzzi or the steam rooms.

Pick any heart pumping exercise that interests you (e.g. running, swimming, speed walking, dancing) and work out at least 3-4 days a week.

If you don’t know where to start or can’t get to a gym, check out the links below for easy-to-follow 21 minute exercises:

13. Yoga

yoga exercise aerobics girl with pink mat

Research has shown that Yoga reduces levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the brain.

This meditative exercise is also recommended for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, headaches, asthma, depression, arthritis, obesity, and back pain. People with anxiety usually have other co-morbidities, so yoga is a good option to help tackle a few ailments at once.

Yoga works to flush out toxins through the skin (detox), increase focus, build confidence, and boost concentration.

There are different levels and types of yoga, so pick a class that best matches you. If you don’t like being in groups, or are self-conscious about working out in front of other people, try playing a yoga video (while following along) in the comfort of your own home.


14. Breathing Exercises

breathing exercise in nature meditation

The way you breathe may be contributing to your anxiety and panic attacks. Deep breathing exercises is also proven to improve your mood and stress level. There are two ways people breathe – chest breathing and abdominal breathing.

When people are anxious or have panic attacks, they tend to take shallow breaths that come from the chest, and not from the diaphragm (abdomen). This type of breathing prevents air from properly flowing through and oxygenating the body.

Try adapting these 3 breathing exercises to your daily routine to help decrease the frequency and severity of anxiety attacks. Note that these exercises may initially make your anxiety worse. If it does, stop, then try again the next day. Deep breathing exercises is also proven to improve your mood and stress level.

The goal is to get used to controlling your breathing so that if you do feel an attack coming on, you can use these exercises to de-escalate.

Breathing Exercises

  1. Deep breaths from the Abdomen (“4-7-7”). You can do this exercise laying down, sitting, or standing up. Go to a quiet area and place your hands on your abdomen. (This will help you focus on stomach-breathing and not chest-breathing). Inhale through your nose while keeping the shoulders relaxed. Your stomach should be expanding while your chest moves very little. Exhale slowly through pursed lips. While exhaling, you should hear a “whoosh” sound coming from your lips. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale slowly for 7 seconds. Repeat for several minutes.
  2. Accelerated Breathing (“Bellow Breaths”). Bellow Breaths is an exercise that incorporates fast and noisy breathing – at a rate of 30 breaths per minute. This causes a feeling of elation, followed by calmness. Do 3 inhale-and-exhale breath cycles per second. You should feel the abdomen moving quickly in and out. For the first time, only do up to 15 seconds. As you practice, slowly work your way up to a full minute.
  3. Counting Breaths. Counting breaths helps you focus on your breathing, while taking your focus away from whatever is making you anxious. Try to do 10 minutes of this type of breathing in a quiet place, as a form of meditation. Sit up with your spine straight and chin slightly tucked in. After one inhale-and-exhale, count one. After the next exhale, count 2, and so on, until 5. After 5 cycles, start a new round of 1-to-5.

15. Keep a Journal

journaling with leather journals

Keeping a journal is effective at relieving stress, improving emotional imbalances, and documenting your experiences and thoughts. There is no right or wrong way to journal.

Writing can help you to sort through thoughts and emotions you never even knew you had. Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend what you’re going through, and when you see it on paper, you can start to better understand them.

Writing down how you’re feeling provides an outlet for your emotions. Noting past traumas or hurt can help you release negative thoughts, and help you move onto a happier state. Journaling is also a good way to look back on your life’s journey.

The advantages of writing is that there are no rules – it just provides a creative way to express your thoughts and emotions.

Journals to help get you started when you just don’t know where to begin:

16. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol

too much coffee limit your caffeine and alcohol

If you’re prone to mental health disorders, it is best to stay away from caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system.

Although it increases concentration and alertness, it can exasperate symptoms for people with anxiety — such as rapid heart rates and sweaty palms. While cutting out the caffeine, remember that it is also in teas, chocolate, coffee, and sodas.

Alcohol works the opposite way of caffeine. It slows things down and causes a state of excitability and a feeling of euphoria. When consumed in large amounts, alcohol can cause rapid heart rates, low blood sugars, and increased feeling of anxiety.

These types of self-medicating measures can cause dependence on alcohol, and possibility to other drugs, such as marijuana. It is important to let your doctor know how much caffeine and alcohol you are drinking, and how frequently.

Final Word

If you suffer from a serious mental illness, you may need to take pharmaceutical medications and participate in therapy sessions. But if your symptoms are moderate, these natural home remedies can help start you on your path to finding your inner peace.

7 Best Natural Remedies & Treatment for PMS Relief

premenstrual syndrome pms natural remedies cramps pain bloating symptoms

premenstrual syndrome pms natural remedies cramps pain bloating symptoms

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a complex combination of emotional and physical symptoms that occur about 5-11 days before a woman starts her monthly period. The various complaints usually go away shortly after the start of menstruation.

PMS is very common. According to the Office on Women’s Health, 75% of women with regular menstrual cycles report unpleasant psychological or physical symptoms before their periods begin. Different women will experience different groups of symptoms which can range from mild to severe.

Physical PMS Symptoms

Emotional & Behavioral PMS Symptoms

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lethargy
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory lapses
  • Insomnia
  • Change in sexual desire
  • Crying spells
  • Angry outbursts
  • Social withdrawal

Causes of PMS

The causes of PMS are not fully understood, but seem to be related to the interaction between hormonal changes and brain neurotransmitters.

Levels of progesterone, estrogen and other reproductive hormones rise and fall throughout the menstrual cycle. These hormones are involved in regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which influences mood and behavior, and GABA, which calms anxiety. Cyclic fluctuations in hormone levels may cause changes in the brain which lead to PMS symptoms.

However, the hormone-neurotransmitter theory does not explain why some women experience debilitating PMS, while others only have mild to moderate symptoms and some are practically symptom-free. Since all menstruating women go through hormonal changes, nutrition and lifestyle most likely play a role in determining whether those changes will result in symptoms.

The good news for women who suffer from PMS is that many symptoms can be safely improved with natural remedies such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and exercise. Here are seven natural PMS remedies that have proven effective in scientific studies.

Natural Remedies for PMS

 1. Calcium

premenstrual syndrome pms symptoms calcium

Medical practitioners are advised to recommend calcium supplements as first-line therapy for women with mild to moderate PMS. Estrogen and other sex hormones can influence the absorption of calcium.

Research has shown that calcium levels in women fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, with the lowest levels in the two weeks before menstruation begins. Low calcium levels inhibit the release of neurotransmitters in the brain which may result in symptoms such as pain and mood swings. A diet rich in calcium can help to prevent PMS symptoms from developing.

A prospective case-control study followed 3,025 women who were free from PMS symptoms in 1991. Their intake of calcium was measured via food frequency questionnaires taken in 1991, 1995 and 1999. Over ten years of follow-up, 1,057 women developed PMS. The nutritional data revealed that dietary calcium was inversely associated with the incidence of PMS. Women with the highest intake of calcium significantly had decreased symptoms of PMS compared to those with the lowest.

In a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers screened women for PMS at 12 outpatient centers and enrolled 466 in a clinical trial. Participants were randomly assigned to receive 1,200 mg of calcium per day or a placebo for three menstrual cycles. The women rated 17 core PMS symptoms on a daily basis. By the second treatment cycle, the calcium group showed significantly lower symptom scores than the control group. By the third treatment cycle, participants who took calcium supplements had a 48% reduction in total symptom scores. They had significantly lower scores for all four categories of PMS symptoms measured: negative mood, water retention, food cravings and pain.

In a crossover trial, women at a hospital outpatient clinic were screened for PMS and 33 were enrolled in the study. Participants were randomly selected to receive either a 1,000 mg calcium supplement or a placebo daily for three months. They were then switched to the alternative treatment for another three months. During the six-month study, the women kept daily records of their symptoms. The data showed that 73% of women experienced fewer symptoms during the calcium treatment phase. Calcium significantly improved premenstrual symptoms of water retention, pain and negative mood. It also reduced period pain.

A review published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy evaluated studies published between 1967 and 1999 which focused on calcium for the management of premenstrual symptoms. The researchers concluded that calcium supplementation of 1,200–1,600 mg per day should be considered a sound treatment option for women with PMS. They noted that the dose of calcium could be adjusted downward in patients who consume large quantities of dietary calcium.

Method: If you regularly suffer from PMS symptoms, increase the amount of calcium in your diet or try taking a daily 1,200 mg calcium supplement.

Here are some examples of calcium rich foods:

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese – 566 mg
  • 1  3.75-ounce can sardines — 351 mg
  • 1 cup yogurt — 296 mg
  • 1 cup white beans — 131 mg
  • 1 cup cooked kale – 94 mg
  • 1 ounce roasted almonds – 75 mg


2. Vitamin D

premenstrual syndrome pms symptoms vitamin d

Research has shown that women who consume foods rich in vitamin D have a lower risk for PMS. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, so it may improve symptoms simply by boosting calcium levels. It may also help to balance hormones and improve the function of neurotransmitters.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts examined the relationship between vitamin D intake and premenstrual syndrome. Female students aged 18-30 filled in food frequency questionnaires and menstrual symptom questionnaires. A group of 44 women who met the standard criteria for PMS and a control group of 46 women without PMS symptoms were included in the case-control analysis. Higher intake of vitamin D from foods were linked to a significantly lower prevalence of PMS.

A randomized controlled trial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine investigated the effects of vitamin D on women with painful menstrual and premenstrual cramps. Researchers screened women at outpatient clinics and enrolled 40 participants with period pain in the study. The women were randomized into two groups. One group received a single high dose of vitamin D five days before the start of their periods. The other group received a placebo. After two months, the women who received vitamin D reported an average 41% decrease in pain. None of the women in the vitamin D group required medication to manage their pain, whereas 40% of those in the control group took anti-inflammatory drugs at least once over the course of the study.

An Italian study looked into the effects of vitamin D supplementation on adolescent girts with severe mood-related PMS symptoms. The girls, aged 15-21, all had low blood levels of vitamin D at the start of the study. They were randomly assigned to a group treated with a vitamin D supplement or a group given a placebo. After one month, the patients treated with supplements had blood levels of vitamin D within the normal range. At the end of the 4-month study, the vitamin D group had significantly lower scores for PMS symptoms of irritability, crying and sadness, anxiety and disturbed relationships. The control group had no changes in PMS symptom intensity.

Method: It’s difficult to get all the vitamin D you need from diet and sunlight alone, which is why many processed foods are fortified with the vitamin. Good natural food sources include oily fish, liver, mushrooms and eggs.

Since your body manufactures vitamin D in response to direct sunlight on the skin, you may get sufficient amounts if you live in a climate with year-round sunshine and spend time outdoors everyday. If you live in a climate with cold, dark winters, you are most likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency between October-March. A daily 10 mcg of vitamin D supplement could help restore healthy levels.


3. Magnesium

premenstrual syndrome pms symptoms magnesium

Only about a third of Americans meet the recommended daily intake for magnesium, an essential mineral present in every cell of the body.

Research has shown that women with PMS tend to have significantly lower levels of magnesium in their blood than women who don’t suffer from the condition. A number of studies have found that magnesium supplements can relieve a variety of PMS symptoms.

A pilot study assessed the efficacy and safety of a modified-release 250 mg magnesium tablet for improving PMS symptoms. Women aged 18-45 with PMS filled in a standardized menstrual distress questionnaire (MDQ). They were then given magnesium tablets over 3 menstrual cycles, beginning 20 days after the start of their last period and continuing until the start of their next period. After 3 months of magnesium treatment, the average total MDQ score decreased by 35%.

In a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 32 women with PMS completed an MDQ. They were then randomly assigned to receive either a 360 mg magnesium supplement or a placebo for 2 menstrual cycles. Magnesium treatment significantly affected both the total MDQ score and a cluster of scores related to negative mood. The researchers concluded that magnesium supplementation could be an effective treatment for premenstrual mood changes.

In a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health, 38 women were randomized to receive either 200 mg of magnesium daily or a placebo for 2 menstrual cycles. The women kept a daily record of their PMS symptoms, rating 22 items on a four-point scale. Magnesium treatment showed no effect compared to the placebo in the first month. However, in the second month the magnesium group showed significantly greater reduction of symptoms related to fluid retention including abdominal bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness and swelling of extremities.

A study published in the journal Headache evaluated the effects of magnesium supplements on 20 patients affected by premenstrual migraine. The women completed a menstrual distress questionnaire and were randomly assigned to receive a 360 mg magnesium supplement or a daily placebo between the 15th day of their cycle and the beginning of menstruation. After 2 months, women in the magnesium group showed lower pain scores and significantly fewer days with migraine headaches than the control group. Magnesium treatment also improved total MDQ scores.

Method: Women need about 270 mg of magnesium a day. Most people should be able to achieve this by eating a healthy varied diet with plenty of leafy greens. However, it could be worth trying a 200 mg daily supplement if you suffer from PMS. More than 400 mg of magnesium a day could cause side-effects such as diarrhea, nausea and cramps.

Here are some examples of magnesium rich foods.

  • 3 ounces 70% dark chocolate – 190 mg
  • 1 cup cooked spinach – 157 mg
  • 1 ounce roasted pumpkin seeds – 150 mg
  • 1 cup black beans — 150 mg
  • 1 cup cooked swiss chard — 150 mg
  • 1 ounce roasted almonds – 80 mg


 4. Chasteberry

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Chasteberry is an herbal remedy prepared from the berries of the chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus). It is a commonly recommended supplement for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome.

Chasteberry is thought to work by affecting levels of the hormone, progesterone. Blood progesterone levels tend to rise after ovulation and fall again before menstruation. PMS symptoms may be due to low or rapidly falling progesterone levels during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Chasteberry increases progesterone levels, helping to keep the estrogen-progesterone ratio in balance throughout the month.

A randomized controlled trial published in the BMJ examined the use of chasteberry for the treatment of PMS. Researchers recruited 178 women who were diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome at general medicine clinics. Half of the women received a daily 20 mg chasteberry fruit extract tablet and half received a daily placebo tablet.

After 3 menstrual cycles, the women underwent a full medical examination, laboratory tests and a self-assessment. Over half the women in the chasteberry group had a 50% or greater improvement in their PMS symptoms. Compared to those in the placebo group, they experienced significantly less mood alteration, anger, irritability, breast fullness and headache.

An Iranian study investigating the effectiveness of chasteberry as a PMS treatment had similar results.   Researchers assigned 62 women with PMS to receive either chasteberry extract or a placebo for the 6 days preceding the start of their menstrual periods. At the beginning of the study, and again after 6 cycles of treatment, the women rated their PMS symptoms on a 10-point scale. Those who took chasteberry extract had significant improvements in headache, nervousness, restlessness, depression, bloating and breast pain and swelling.

In a large clinical trial published in the Journal of Women’s Health and Gender-Based Medicine, 1,634 women with PMS filled in questionnaires about their symptoms. They were then treated with a commercial chasteberry supplement for 3 menstrual cycles. Following treatment, 93% of patients reported that their PMS symptoms had decreased or even ceased altogether. Chasteberry supplementation improved symptoms relating to depression, anxiety, craving and water retention. Of the physicians involved in the clinical trial, 85% rated the treatment as good or very good, and 81% of patients rated their health status as much or very much better.


5. St John’s Wort

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St John’s wort is widely recommended as an herbal treatment for depression. Research has shown that it is significantly more effective than fluoxetine (Prozac) in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Thus, it can also be used to treat emotional PMS symptoms such as depression, anxiety, mood-swings and irritability.

What is more surprising is that the herb also seems to improve physical symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness and cravings. St John’s wort is known to lower estrogen levels (hence the warning that it can reduce the effectiveness of contraceptive pills). It may improve physical symptoms of PMS by helping to maintain the estrogen-progesterone balance throughout the menstrual cycle.

In a randomized controlled trial, researchers from the University of Leeds investigated the effectiveness of St. John’s wort for the treatment of PMS. Researchers assigned 36 women diagnosed with PMS to receive either 900 mg of St. John’s wort supplements per day or identical placebo tablets. After 2 menstrual cycles, the women were all given placebo tablets for one wash-out cycle. Treatments were then crossed-over for a further 2 cycles, with the women who originally received placebos given St. John’s wort and vice-versa.

PMS symptoms were rated throughout the trial using a daily symptom report and questionnaires which measured anxiety, depression, aggression and impulsiveness. Blood tests were used to measure hormone levels. The researchers concluded that St. John’s wort was statistically superior to the placebo for improving physical and behavioral symptoms of PMS. However, they noted that further work was needed to determine whether a longer duration of treatment would improve pain and mood-related PMS symptoms.

St. John’s wort may be even more effective when combined with chasteberry. An Australian study investigated the effects of a combination herbal therapy for the management of PMS-like symptoms in perimenopausal women. Researchers randomly assigned 14 women to receive either a supplement containing St. John’s wort and chasteberry or a placebo twice a day. The women completed a menstrual symptoms questionnaire every 4 weeks during the 16-week trial.

Analysis of the data indicated that the herbal combination was superior to placebo for total menstrual symptoms scores and for subgroups of symptoms related to depression, cravings, anxiety and water-retention. Symptoms showed an upward trend of improvement throughout the trial for those receiving herbal therapy.


6. B Vitamins

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B vitamins may help prevent mood-related PMS symptoms by interacting with neurotransmitters in the brain. Riboflavin (B2) and vitamin B6 are needed to synthesize serotonin. Low serotonin levels can lead to anxiety, depression, cravings and headaches. Thiamine (B1) is required to generate GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that calms anxiety.

A case-control study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigated the link between dietary B vitamins and premenstrual syndrome. Researchers analyzed 10 years of data from 6,000 women involved in the Nurses’ Health Study II who were free from PMS at the starting point. At various intervals, the women filled in food-frequency questionnaires to estimate their usual dietary intake of 131 foods and supplements. They also completed questionnaires that asked about the presence of any of 26 PMS symptoms.

After 10 years, 1,057 women were clinically diagnosed with PMS and 1,968 women without PMS symptoms were confirmed as controls. Researchers found that a high dietary intake of thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2) were associated with a significantly lower risk of premenstrual syndrome. Women who consumed the most thiamine were 25% less likely to develop PMS than those who consumed the least. Women who consumed the most riboflavin reduced their risk for PMS by 35%.

Researchers from Oxford University conducted a trial to study the effects of vitamin B6 on PMS symptoms. The 32 women who entered into and completed the 7-month study had all experienced moderate to severe PMS symptoms during the previous year. The participants kept daily diaries which rated the severity of nine PMS symptoms on a scale of zero-to-three.

After completing the diary for one month, the women were randomized to receive either 50 mg of vitamin B6 or a placebo for three months. The treatments were then crossed over so that the placebo group took vitamin B6 and the vitamin B6 group took the placebo. Analysis of the diary data showed that vitamin B6 significantly improved PMS symptoms of depression, irritability and tiredness. However, it was not significantly better than the placebo at improving symptoms relating to pain and water retention.

Taking B6 together with magnesium may boost the effectiveness of both supplements. In a randomized controlled trial, researchers randomly assigned 44 women to one of four treatment groups: magnesium, vitamin B6, magnesium + vitamin B6 or placebo. Each day throughout the study, participants rated 30 menstrual symptoms on a 5-point scale. After one month, there was no significant difference in individual treatments, however the combination of 200 mg of magnesium plus 50 mg of vitamin B6 significantly reduced anxiety, nervous tension, irritability and mood swings.

Method: Ensure you get the necessary amount of B vitamins by eating a varied diet that includes plenty of green leafy vegetables. If you routinely suffer from mood-related PMS symptoms, consider supplementing with thiamine 100 mg, riboflavin 50 mg and B6 50 mg daily.


7. Exercise

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Endorphins, the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemicals decrease in the week before menstruation due to changes in sex hormones. This can contribute to emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression and also lowers the tolerance for physical discomfort. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins and can help to improve many symptoms of PMS.

A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research examined the effects of regular moderate exercise on mood and menstrual symptoms. A group of 97 female exercisers and a comparison group of 159 female non-exercisers completed menstrual distress questionnaires and a questionnaire specifically focused on emotions. The questionnaires were administered at three points during the menstrual cycle, including the premenstrual stage. The exercisers obtained significantly lower scores on negative mood, behavior changes, impaired concentration and pain.

An Iranian study investigated the effects of 8-weeks of regular aerobic exercise on premenstrual syndrome. The participants were 40 non-athlete female university students with a diagnosis of PMS.   The women recorded daily symptoms over four menstrual cycles. After two cycles, they were randomly divided into two groups. One group practiced aerobic exercise for 60 minutes three times a week with an experience trainer. The control group did not do any organized exercise.

PMS symptoms significantly improved in the exercise group compared to the control group. After four weeks, the women who did aerobic training had a 29% reduction in physical symptoms and a 33% reduction in psychological symptoms. After 8-weeks of regular exercise, their physical symptoms had improved by 65% and their psychological symptoms had improved by 52%.

Aerobic exercise isn’t the only activity that may be beneficial for PMS. One study looked at the effects of yoga on premenstrual symptoms in 64 female employees at a manufacturing plant. At the beginning and end of the study, the women filled in questionnaires about how menstrual symptoms affected their quality of life and rated 24 PMS symptoms on a 4-point scale.

All of the volunteers attended 50-minute yoga classes twice a week after work in the plant’s fitness center. After 12-weeks of yoga, the women reported deceased menstrual pain, decreased use of medication for menstrual pain, and decreased effects of menstrual pain on work. They also had improvement in symptoms of bloating, breast tenderness and cramps.


Final Word

If you suffer from PMS, you may want to perform your own personal experiment similar to some of the studies described above. Keep a PMS diary in which you record all your symptoms and rate their severity on a scale of 0-3.

After one month, begin taking vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements or start attending exercise classes. Continue to record your symptoms for the next 3 months. Compare your scores to those in the first month. If they’ve improved, you’ve found a remedy that works for you!

7 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil for Your Skin & Body

natural health benefits coconut oil raw virgin

natural health benefits coconut oil raw virgin

Coconut oil, once limited to specialist Asian food stores, is now widely available in health food stores, online and supermarkets. Its popularity is due to an increasing number of media reports concerning its health benefits.

While some of the health claims are based on anecdotal evidence, many are grounded in science. Indeed, coconut oil has several properties that set it apart from other vegetable oils.

Before we begin to examine these, it’s important to address the reasons that coconut oil was formally considered unhealthy. 

Saturated Fat – The Heart Disease Myth

Coconut oil is made up of several different types of fatty acids:

  • Lauric 48%
  • Myristic 16%
  • Palmitic 9.5%
  • Decanoic 8%
  • Caprylic 7%
  • Oleic 6.5%
  • Other 5%

All of these are saturated fats with the exception of oleic acid, making coconut oil around a 90% saturated fat. (For comparison, butter is 57% saturated fat and lard is 32% saturated fat.) For the last four decades, health authorities have advised the public to avoid saturated fats due to an unproven theory linking it to high cholesterol, heart disease and weight gain.

Ironically, as a result of the campaign demonizing saturated fats, the processed food industry and many individuals switched from natural saturated fats like butter to industrially produced trans fats – now known to raise levels of LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ and increase the risk of heart disease.

Current research is earnestly questioning the link between saturated fat and heart disease. An assessment published in the journal Nutrition uncovered several flaws in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee’s 2010 Report. The authors point out that the committee’s conclusions about saturated fat are based on an incomplete body of relevant science and science which is inaccurately represented or summarized.

Several very large meta-analyses have failed to find a link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease.   A 2015 systematic review published in the BMJ analyzed data from 50 studies examining links between dietary saturated fat and/or trans fats and various health outcomes.

Researchers concluded that saturated fats are not associated with all causes of mortality, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke or type 2 diabetes. In contrast, trans fats are associated with all causes of mortality, coronary heart disease and deaths from coronary heart disease.

A Different Type of Saturated Fat

The predominant form of fat in the standard Western diet is long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). These are absorbed into the blood stream and transported into cells to be metabolized or stored as body fat.

Coconut oil is primarily made up of medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs (also known as medium-chain fatty acids). Because MCTs have fewer carbon bonds than LCTs, they are processed differently. MCTs are transported directly to the liver where they are rapidly metabolized for energy.

Coconut oil contains two of the three MCTs found in food: lauric acid and caprylic acid. It is the best dietary source of MCTs, with about eight grams per tablespoon.

Research has shown that replacing dietary LCT with MCT causes a rise in energy expenditure and a lower body fat mass index. Evidence suggests that MCTs also help to reduce inflammation and protects the liver from toxins.

7 Science-Backed Benefits of Coconut Oil

1. Cuts Abdominal Fat

natural health benefits coconut oil abdominal waist belly fat circumference

Abdominal obesity, characterized by an apple-shaped figure or a beer belly, is a better predictor of an increased risk for disease than overall BMI.

The National Institutes of Health‘s obesity guidelines state that women with a waist circumference greater than 35 inches and men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches are at high risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil seems to particularly target abdominal fat.

In a randomized clinical trial, 40 abdominally obese women were put on a 12-week diet and exercise regime. One group received daily supplements containing soy bean oil and the other received coconut oil supplements. Both groups lost weight, but only the coconut oil group showed a significant reduction in waist circumference. The coconut oil group also had increased levels of HDL ‘good cholesterol’. In the soy bean oil group, LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ increased and HDL diminished.

A 6-month clinical trial examined the effects of coconut oil on 116 male and female patients with coronary artery disease. All of the participants were put on a cholesterol lowering diet. After a 3-month run-in period, one group of patients were given 13 ml of extra virgin coconut oil daily and the other continued with the diet as usual. The diet reduced body weight for both groups, however, the addition of coconut oil led to a significant reduction in waist circumference and a significant increase in HDL.


2. Raises Your HDL ‘Good Cholesterol’ Levels

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High density lipoprotein (HDL) is a protein that wraps around cholesterol in the cells and transports it to the liver for recycling. It helps maintain the inner walls of arteries by removing fat deposits that can lead to atherosclerosis.

High levels of HDL are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke. Coconut oil contains myristic acid which has been shown to raise levels of HDL, along with other fatty acids which have no effect on cholesterol.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 12 healthy men were served two diets which were identical except for the type of fat included. One diet contained 40% of calories from palmitic acid (the main component of palm oil) and one contained 40% of calories from myristic acid. After 3 weeks on one diet, the men took a 5-week break and then spent 3 weeks on the other diet. Blood tests showed that both diets had a similar effect on LDL and total cholesterol. However, the myristic acid diet raised HDL by 8% and lowered the ratio of LDL to HDL.

Another study conducted in the Philippines, where coconut oil is commonly used in cooking, examined its effects on cholesterol. A cohort of 1,839 women aged 35–69 filled in two 24-hour dietary questionnaires on consecutive days. Researches categorized their intake of coconut oil as low, medium or high. Blood tests showed that coconut oil did not elevate total cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

In pre-menopausal women, moderate or high coconut oil intake was associated with significantly higher HDL compared to women with low coconut oil intake.


3. Promotes Healthy Skin

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Coconut oil has several properties that can help improve your complexion. It is an emollient which increases skin hydration, making it an effective moisturizer for dry skin. It also acts as a natural sunscreen. The antibiotic properties of coconut oil can help to treat acne, speed skin healing and prevent infection.

Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin. Over-exposure to UV light is a major cause of wrinkles and premature skin aging. Spectrophotometer testing indicates that coconut oil blocks out about 20% of UV rays.

One study evaluated the UV absorption ability of 16 herbal oils in terms of sun protection factor (SPF) values. Olive oil came out on top with an SPF value of 7.5, but coconut oil was a close second with an SPF value of 7.1.

study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology investigated the therapeutic potential of lauric acid for treating acne.   Acne outbreaks are commonly triggered by an overgrowth of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria. Antibiotics such as benzoyl peroxide are widely prescribed for acne patients. Laboratory tests showed that lauric acid prevented the growth of P. acnes at concentrations 15 times lower than benzoyl peroxide and was not toxic to human sebaceous glands. In a follow-up study, researchers injected mouse ears with P. acnes. Application of lauric acid effectively decreased the number of acne-causing bacteria and reduced inflammation in the ear.

Another rodent study evaluated the effects of coconut oil on wound healing. Researchers found that rats whose wounds were treated with virgin coconut oil healed much faster than a control group whose wounds were untreated. Analysis of skin wounds showed that the coconut oil reduced markers of inflammation, increased antioxidant enzyme activities and encouraged collagen production.

Method: To moisturize your skin and protect it from the sun, wash your face, pat dry and apply coconut oil with your fingers. Wait for a minute or two to allow your skin to absorb the oil, then use a cotton ball to remove any shiny excess.

To treat acne, insect bites, and minor wounds or burns, dab a little coconut oil directly over the inflamed skin.


4. Treats Dermatitis

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Atopic dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that causes it to become dry, red, swollen and cracked. It affects approximately 10% of children under ten and 2% of adults.

People with atopic dermatitis are especially vulnerable to skin infections caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Coconut oil coats and penetrates the skin to moisturize it. The MCTs and antioxidants in the oil helps to reduce inflammation, while the lauric acid has antibacterial properties.

A randomized controlled trial examined the effects of topical virgin coconut oil on 117 pediatric patients with atopic dermatitis. The children, aged 1–13, were divided into two groups. Half received bottles of virgin coconut oil and half received bottles of mineral oil. Parents were instructed to apply the oil to their child’s skin twice a day for 8-weeks. In the coconut oil group, 47% of patients achieved moderate improvement in dermatitis symptoms and 46% showed an excellent response. In the mineral oil group, 34% showed moderate improvement and only 19% achieved an excellent response. Coconut oil was also significantly better than mineral oil at improving skin hydration and preventing water loss through the skin.

A trial published in the journal Dermatitis compared the effects of virgin coconut oil and virgin olive oil on dermatitis symptoms and Staphylococcus aureus infections. Adult atopic dermatitis patients were randomized to apply either virgin coconut oil or virgin olive oil twice daily to two non-infected sites on their skin. After 4-weeks, 5% of the coconut oil group tested positive for Staphylococcus aureus compared to 50% for the olive oil group. The coconut oil group also showed a greater improvement in dermatitis symptoms.


5. Improves Oral Health

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When coconut oil is used as a mouthwash, the lauric acid reacts with the alkalis in the saliva to form a soap-like substance which coats the teeth and reduces plaque adhesion.

Lauric acid also has antimicrobial properties. It can help to control oral bacteria including Streptococcus mutans, the most common cause of tooth decay.

In a study published in the Archives of Oral Biology, researchers compared the antibacterial effects of coconut oil to chlorhexidine, the active ingredient in antiseptic mouthwash. A total of 50 girls aged 8-12 were randomly assigned to use coconut oil or a chlorhexidine rinse after brushing their teeth in the morning. Under adult supervision, they were given 5-10 ml of the assigned solution and asked to swish it all throughout their mouths and to move it between their teeth. After 30 days, their plaque and saliva were tested for Streptococcus mutans. Coconut oil was just as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash in reducing oral bacteria.

A pilot study assessed the effects of coconut oil on plaque and gum disease. Researchers recruited 60 participants aged 16-18 with plaque-related gingivitis. The subjects were instructed to perform oil pulling with coconut oil every morning in addition to their usual oral hygiene routine. Participants underwent dental examinations at the start of the study and also after 7, 15 and 30 days. After one week of coconut oil pulling, there was a significant decrease in indices of plaque and gingivitis. After a month, the average gingivitis score decreased by 56% and the average plaque score decreased by 68%.

Method: Perform oil pulling as soon as you wake up, before brushing your teeth or eating. Put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth. Swish it around your entire oral cavity and push it between your teeth. After 15-20 minutes when your whole mouth is coated with oil, spit the remainder into the trash. (Do not spit it into your sink since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, and could block your drain.)


6. Reduces Inflammation

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Inflammation plays a role in a wide range of disorders including allergies, asthma, arthritis, eczema, inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular disease.

The standard Western diet, high in omega-6 grains and oils, promotes inflammation throughout the body. Coconut oil is low in omega-6 and the MCTs and antioxidants it contains have been shown to reduce inflammation.

In a laboratory study, researchers extracted polyphenols from virgin coconut oil and injected them into rats with induced arthritis. The solution reduced swelling along with a range of inflammation indicators. It also inhibited the expression of inflammatory genes. The researchers compared the effects of the coconut polyphenols to those of Indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug often prescribed for arthritis. The coconut oil solution was found to be more effective at reducing inflammation.

In a small study, 11 women were assigned to one of three diets. All had the same nutrient composition except for the fat and carbohydrate content and type of fatty acids.   The women were assigned to either a low-fat diet with coconut oil, a high-fat diet with coconut oil or a high fat diet containing a commercial margarine. The participants followed each diet for 3 weeks, ate normally for a week and then switched to another experimental diet. Blood tests showed the lowest levels of inflammation markers when women consumed the high fat coconut oil diet. The coconut oil diet was also associated with lower levels of an antigen linked to heart disease.


7. Protects Your Liver

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Rodent studies suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil may work synergistically with the MCTs to protect the liver from toxins. In one study, mice who were fed coconut oil after being exposed to a toxic drug used in chemotherapy, showed an increase in beneficial liver enzymes and a decrease in inflammatory liver markers.

In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, rats were divided into 8 treatment groups. Four groups were fed either a diet containing polyunsaturated corn oil or diets containing 10, 20 or 30% of calories from MCT oil.   The other four received the same diets with alcohol substituting for carbohydrates. After 70 days, markers of liver disease were assessed. As the amount of MCT saturated fat in the diet increased, all measures of alcohol-induced liver pathology, including fatty liver disease, were progressively reduced. There was an almost complete elimination of liver disease in the rats who consumed a diet with 30% MCT saturated fat.

In another rodent study, researchers investigated the protective effects of coconut oil against liver damage caused by an overdose of paracetamol (the active ingredient in painkillers such as Tylenol). The rats were pretreated with oral administration of a saline solution or different volumes of virgin coconut oil before being fed a toxic dose of the analgesic. Rats who received the largest dose of coconut oil showed a significant reduction in liver damage compared to the control group. The researchers theorize that the liver-protective effect of coconut oil is due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


Coconut Oil versus ‘Virgin’ Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

natural health benefits coconut oil soaps cleaning copra rbd

If you buy a product simply labeled ‘coconut oil’, it was most likely made from copra. Copra is a dried coconut product used for oil extraction and cattle feed. It is also processed into soaps and cleaning products.

Copra oil is referred to in the industry as RBD (refined, bleached and deodorized). These processes do not necessarily involve any toxic chemicals. Bleaching refers to filtering the oil through clay to remove impurities. Heat or steam is used to deodorize the oil.

Coconut oils labeled ‘expeller-pressed’ have been extracted mechanically, whereas oils without these words on the label have probably been extracted with chemical solvents.

The RDB process results in a bland-tasting coconut oil with very little odor. It also depletes some of the antioxidants. However, RBD oil retains its healthy MCTs and its full profile of fatty acids.


‘Virgin’ Coconut Oil

natural health benefits coconut oil raw organic pure virgin

The definition of ‘virgin’ or ‘extra virgin’ coconut oil varies by brand. There is no certification body that guarantees that coconut oil can only be labeled ‘virgin’ if it meets specific criteria. That said, the term ‘virgin’ generally indicates an oil is made from fresh coconut.

Most brands of ‘virgin’ coconut oil are mass-produced. Fresh coconut is dried and put through a hydraulic press. The extracted liquid is then passed through a high-speed centrifuge to separate the oil from the milk.

Virgin coconut oil labeled ‘wet milled’ skips the drying process and uses liquid pressed from chunks of fresh coconut meat.

Some virgin coconut oils are marked as ‘raw’, meaning that no heat was used in processing the oil. Although ‘raw’ coconut oil is marketed as a healthier option, the evidence actually points in the opposite direction.

A 2013 study published in Food Science and Biotechnology found that antioxidant activity in hot extracted virgin coconut oil was 80-87% compared to 65-70% for cold extracted virgin coconut oil and 35-45% for RBD coconut oil. The same study found that HDL cholesterol increased by approximately 21% in rats who were fed hot extracted virgin coconut oil for 30 days, but did not significantly increase in rats fed raw or RDB coconut oil.


The Verdict

If you’re using coconut oil for its health benefits, virgin coconut oil is probably worth paying more for. However, don’t let the hype convince you that raw virgin coconut oil is even better. When purchasing coconut oil, always read the label and do research online to find out how it was processed.

Keep in mind that, while the cheap coconut oil available at supermarkets may have been made using chemical solvents, the same is true for any commercial vegetable oil not labeled ‘cold pressed’ or ‘virgin’.

You’ll still get the beneficial effects of a low omega-6 oil with high levels of MCTs if you substitute cheap coconut oil for corn oil, soybean oil or sunflower oil.

Final Word

If you want to experiment with the benefits of coconut oil, keep a jar in your kitchen for culinary uses and another jar in your bathroom for skin care and oral health.

Because coconut oil is saturated, it can withstand high cooking temperatures. Use it instead of vegetable oils for frying, roasting and sautéing. Substitute coconut oil for butter or shortening in baking and pastry-making.

If you use a commercial moisturizer, try using coconut oil on your skin instead. If you use an antiseptic mouthwash, try oil pulling and see if it makes a difference.

Is Coffee Good for You? — 11 Health Benefits

coffee natural benefits cup beans health

coffee natural benefits cup beans health

According to a National Coffee Association survey, 59% of Americans drink a daily cup of coffee.   The beverage is so embedded in our culture that we tend to take it for granted. Coffee isn’t normally thought of as a superfood, but considering its many health benefits, it should be.

Coffee is rich in the antioxidant polyphenols which helps reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. A Norwegian study found that coffee contributed more antioxidants to the diet than fruit, tea, wine, cereals or vegetables.

Coffee also contains important nutrients including niacin, magnesium, manganese, potassium and pantothenic acid. Four cups of coffee a day will provide 44% of your recommended daily value of riboflavin (vitamin B2), which is needed for energy production and red blood cell formation.

While most people drink coffee for the stimulating effect of caffeine, it contains additional bioactive substances which may help protect the body from disease.


11 Surprising Health Benefits of Coffee

1. Protects Your Liver

coffee natural benefits chronic liver disease health

Numerous studies have shown that coffee consumption helps to lower the risk of liver disease and reduce the severity of chronic liver disease.

Scientists have yet to identify the precise mechanism for coffee’s protective effects on the liver. Caffeine alone doesn’t account for them. Coffee contains over 100 compounds and it’s possible that the synergistic effect of multiple compounds provides the liver health benefits.

2. Reduces the Risk for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

coffee natural benefits fatty liver disease

It is estimated that 40% of the US population currently meets the criteria for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is associated with obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

In a 2012 study, researchers used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, conducted between 2001 and 2008 to identify which dietary components were predictors of NAFLD. Out of a total of 18,550 participants, 1782 were diagnosed with NAFLD. Caffeine consumption was significantly higher in the control group without liver disease.

The researchers concluded that coffee may offer some protection against the development of NAFLD and that each extra cup could contribute to a lower risk for the condition.

3. Decreases Your Risk for Liver Cancer

coffee natural benefits liver cancer tumor health

According to the American Cancer Society, liver cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer mortality.

A meta-analysis of 16 epidemiological studies from Europe and Asia found that drinking one cup of coffee a day reduces the risk of liver cancer by 40% for both men and women. Drinking three or more cups per day reduces the risk by 50%.

The risk reduction associated with coffee was consistent regardless of alcohol consumption or history of liver disease.

4. Reduces the Risk for Cirrhosis

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Cirrhosis is fatal scarring of the liver caused by excessive alcohol consumption, hepatitis, immune disorders or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

A systematic review examined nine studies on coffee consumption and cirrhosis. After analyzing data from more than 430,00 participants, researchers estimated that drinking one cup of coffee a day was linked to a 22% lower risk of cirrhosis. The risk continued to drop for each additional cup of coffee consumed: 43% for two cups, 57% for three cups and 65% for four cups.

5. Helps You Achieve & Maintain a Healthy Weight

coffee natural benefits achieve maintain weight loss metabolism health

Caffeine is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter diet pills and supplements. It boosts the metabolism so you burn more calories, and may also reduce appetite. Drinking coffee (especially without cream, milk or sugar) could help with weight loss and weight maintenance.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers tested the effect of caffeine on metabolism in two groups of volunteers. The ‘lean’ group had no difficulty maintaining a normal weight. The ‘post-obese’ group could only maintain a normal weight by consciously controlling their food intake. Both groups relaxed in a room with a respirometer that measured their energy expenditure. They took 100 mg doses of caffeine (equivalent to one cup of coffee) every two hours over a 12-hour period. Caffeine increased the resting metabolic rate of both lean and post-obese volunteers by 3-4% and increased their energy expenditure by 8-11%. The lean subjects burned an extra 150 calories per day and the post-obese subjects burned an extra 79 calories.

A large long-term study examined how changes in caffeine intake effects body weight. Researchers followed up 18,417 men and 39,740 women for 12 years. Participants filled in food-frequency questionnaires every 2-4 years which asked about their consumption of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. When participants’ weight at the start of the study was compared to their weight 12 years later, those who had increased their consumption of caffeine had gained significantly less weight than those who had reduced their caffeine intake. The association between coffee and tea consumption and less weight gain was stronger in women who were overweight or less physically active.

A randomized, crossover study published in the journal Obesity examined the effect of coffee on appetite and calorie intake. Researchers recruited 16 normal weight and 17 overweight coffee-drinking volunteers. In a series of trials, the participants were given a breakfast snack along with either low-caffeine coffee, moderate-caffeine coffee or water. After 3 hours, they were allowed to help themselves at an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch. Participants were then asked to report their food intake for the rest of the day. Overweight individuals who drank the moderate-caffeine coffee ate significantly fewer calories at lunch than those who drank water or low-caffeine coffee and this effect was maintained throughout the day.

6. Lowers Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

coffee natural benefits type 2 diabetes sugar

According to the CDC, more than a third of US adults have pre-diabetes and 90% are not even aware they have it. Lifestyle changes can reduce the likelihood that they will go on to develop full-blown type 2 diabetes.

Several population studies have found that coffee drinkers have a lower risk for the disease. Scientists are still unsure which substances in coffee are responsible for its beneficial effect, but research has ruled out caffeine, along with magnesium and potassium.

A large cohort study published in Diabetes Care examined the effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on the risk of type 2 diabetes. Researchers followed up 88,259 American women aged 26–46 for 10 years. The participants filled in questionnaires about their beverage consumption at the beginning of the study and at 4-year intervals. Over the course of a decade, 1,263 participants developed type 2 diabetes. Analysis of the data showed that consuming two or more cups of coffee per day was associated with a substantially lower risk for developing diabetes. The association was similar for decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee and for instant and filtered coffee.

A systematic review published in JAMA examined 18 studies on coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes from populations around the world. Data from 457, 922 participants indicated that every additional cup of coffee consumed in a day was associated with a 5-10% reduction in the risk of diabetes. Those who drank an average of less than one cup a day reduced their risk by approximately 4% compared to those who drank none. Subjects who drank more than six cups of coffee reduced their risk by approximately 40%. Six of the studies analyzed in the review looked at the effects of decaffeinated coffee. The pooled data indicated that people who drank 3-4 cups of decaf per day lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by approximately one-third.

7. Declines the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia

coffee natural benefits alzheimers disease cognitive dementia brain

The caffeine in coffee is known to enhance short-term memory and cognition, and there is evidence to suggest that long-term caffeine consumption helps protect against cognitive decline and dementia.

The effects have been tested in mice bred to be genetically susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. Mice given caffeinated drinking water throughout their adult lives showed lower levels of the abnormal protein amyloid-beta in their brains and less memory impairment in old age. Old mice with Alzheimer’s disease exhibited lower amyloid-beta levels and memory improvement when treated with caffeine.

Researchers investigated the relationship between caffeine intake and dementia in postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. The participants filled in food frequency questionnaires that asked about coffee, tea, and cola consumption. The 6,467 who reported any level of caffeine intake were included in the study. The women were given annual assessments of cognitive function and during the course of the 10-year study, 388 received a diagnosis of probable dementia.   Women who consumed the highest levels of caffeine daily (approximately 2-3 cups of coffee) were significantly less likely to develop dementia or cognitive impairment compared with those consuming the lowest amounts (approximately 1-2 cups of black tea).

In a case-control study, researchers theorized that if caffeine protects against brain degeneration, people who eventually developed Alzheimer’s would have lower levels of caffeine consumption during the long period before diagnosis than those who remained healthy. They examined 20 years of data from 54 Alzheimer’s patients and a control group of cognitively normal people matched for age and sex. During the corresponding two decades of their lifetimes, the healthy control group had consumed more than twice as much caffeine as the Alzheimer’s patients. Caffeine intake was associated with a significantly lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease, even when other possible confounding variables were taken into account.

8. Reduces the Risk for Depression

coffee natural benefits depression dopamine

Several population studies have found that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop depression than those who don’t drink coffee. Although the mechanism isn’t entirely clear, the protective effect could be due to the way caffeine the affects brain.

The neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine regulate emotions and reactions to stress. Caffeine plays a role in the modulation of dopamine transmission and may also affect other neurotransmitters.

A large longitudinal study followed up 50,739 women for 10 years. All the participants were free of depressive symptoms at the start. At various intervals, the women filled in food frequency questionnaires that asked about their consumption of caffeinated and caffeine-free coffee, tea, and soft drinks. Over the course of the study, 2,607 cases of depression were identified. The researchers found that depression risk decreased with increasing caffeinated coffee consumption. Participants who drank four or more cups per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed than those who drank none. Decaffeinated coffee had no effect on depression risk.

In a 2015 meta-analysis, researchers obtained data from seven studies on the association between coffee and depression with a total of 330,677 participants and eight studies on the association between caffeine and depression with a total of 38,223 participants. They found that the risk of depression was lowered by 8% for each cup of coffee consumed per day. The link between caffeine consumption and depression risk was less straightforward, but consumption above 68 mg per day and below 509 mg per day led to a statistically significant decrease. An 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains approximately 100 mg of caffeine.

9. Lowers Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

coffee natural benefits colon colorectal cancer tumor health

A variety of compounds in coffee may help to prevent cancer, either individually or in combination. Polyphenols have antioxidant properties and laboratory studies have shown that they can reduce the growth of colon cancer cells.

Compounds called melanoidins, which are produced when coffee beans are roasted, inhibit enzymes that play a pivotal role in the development of colorectal cancer.

Researchers analyzed data from the Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer study to examine the association between coffee and the risk of colorectal cancer. All participants in the study completed food frequency questionnaires which detailed their daily intake of espresso, decaffeinated, instant and filtered coffee. The daily coffee daily intake from 5,145 colorectal cancer patients was compared with that of a control group of 4,097 individuals who did not have the disease. Researchers found that drinking 1-2 cups of coffee a day reduced the risk of colorectal cancer by 26% and more than two cups reduced the risk by up to 50%. The reduced risk was similar for all coffee types, including decaffeinated.

A prospective study of patients with stage III colon cancer examined the association between coffee drinking and cancer outcomes. Researchers analyzed data from 953 patients who had filled in diet and lifestyle questionnaires as part of a National Cancer Institute clinical trial which included questions about coffee consumption. Patients who reported consuming four or more cups of coffee a day experienced improved outcomes compared to people who drank none. They had a significantly lower risk of cancer recurrence as well as a significantly lower risk for death from cancer.

10. Lowers the Risk for Parkinson’s Disease

coffee natural benefits parkinsons disease dopamine shaking

The symptoms of Parkinson’s appear when levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine become too low. The standard drug treatment for Parkinson’s is L-dopa, which increases brain levels of dopamine.

Caffeine regulates dopamine release, and coffee drinkers are found to be less susceptible to the disease. Research on dopamine-deficient mice suggests that caffeine could be also used to treat some Parkinson’s symptoms.

In a study published in JAMA, researchers analyzed 30 years of follow-up data from 8,004 men enrolled in the Honolulu Heart Program. Information about coffee consumption was collected by a dietitian at the start of the study and through a food frequency questionnaire six years later. Diagnoses of Parkinson’s disease were identified from participants’ medical records. Researchers found that the incidence of Parkinson’s disease declined consistently with increased amounts of coffee consumption. The risk for Parkinson’s was 2-3 times greater for nondrinkers of coffee compared with coffee consumers and five times greater compared to men who drank 28 ounces of coffee or more per day.

A randomized controlled trial published in Neurology, tested caffeine as a treatment for symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers divided 61 Parkinson’s patients into two groups. One group received 100 mg of caffeine twice daily for three weeks and then 200 mg twice daily for the following three weeks. The control group were given a placebo. Somewhat surprisingly, the caffeine had no significant effect on daytime sleepiness. However, it did significantly improve motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as slowness of movements and muscle stiffness.

11. Increases Your Lifespan

coffee natural benefits increase lifespan young old age health

Coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk for most leading causes of mortality. The numerous biologically active compounds in coffee helps to ward off illness by reducing chronic inflammation, improving liver function and increasing insulin sensitivity. Coffee may also have other protective effects that are yet to be discovered.

A large prospective cohort study used data from 90,317 men and women to investigate the link between coffee consumption and overall mortality. None of the participants had a history of cancer or heart disease when they joined. All subjects completed food frequency questionnaires that asked about their coffee consumption in the previous 12 months. During an average nine years of follow-up, 8,718 participants died.

Individuals who drank 4-5 cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee daily had the lowest risk of death. Those who consumed 2-3 cups also had a lower risk of death than those who drank none. Coffee lowered the risk of death from heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, influenza and pneumonia.

An even larger study published in the New England Journal of Medicine had similar findings. Researchers examined the association between coffee drinking and mortality among 173,141 women and 229,119 men. Participants were aged 50-71 years old when the study began and free from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Their coffee consumption was assessed through a questionnaire. During the 14-year follow-up period, 33,731 men and 18,784 women died.

Compared with those who did not drink coffee, men who drank six or more cups per day had a 10% lower risk of death and women who drank six or more cups had a 15% lower risk. Researchers found that drinking coffee reduced the risk of death due to heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes and infections. It was even associated with a lower risk of dying from injuries and accidents.

How Much is Too Much Coffee?

coffee natural benefits too much cups drinks caffeine

Many of the studies cited above found that the more coffee people drank, the greater the health benefits. However, too much caffeine can result in negative side effects, and different people can tolerate different levels.

In fact, scientists have discovered a gene which lowers the body’s ability to break down caffeine following coffee consumption. Populations with this gene variation naturally tend to drink less coffee.

Listen to your body and cut down on coffee or switch to decaf if you experience any of following symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Jitteriness
  • Headache
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased heart rate

Keep in mind that what’s in your coffee can also negatively affect your health. The American Heart Association guidelines state that women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily and men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons. If you add sugar to coffee or buy coffee-shop drinks made with flavored syrups, you could easily exceed the recommended daily amount.

Final Word

If you like coffee for its taste and stimulating effects, go ahead and indulge with the knowledge that it’s a superfood, packed with antioxidants and other protective compounds.

But try to get your caffeine fix before 5 PM. An after-dinner coffee could affect your quality of sleep. If you experience any symptoms that could be linked to a caffeine overload, gradually reduce your intake until you find the level your body can tolerate.

7 Tips on How to Get Better Sleep

sleep better naturally natural remedies diy

sleep better naturally natural remedies diy


According to a survey conducted by the CDC, 35% of American adults reported getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night and 40% reported falling asleep unintentionally during the day in the preceding month.

Lack of sleep can lead to a variety of negative outcomes, including poor work performance, serious health problems and greater risk of accidents. Yet hectic modern lifestyles, technology and stress means many of us aren’t getting the sleep we need for optimal mental and physical health.

Health Benefits of Sleep

1. Lowers Risk of Heart Disease & Stroke

As you sleep, your blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate rise and fall. This process may be important for cardiovascular health.

A meta-analysis of 17 studies involving 517,440 participants concluded that people who slept 7-8 hours a night had the lowest risk for coronary heart disease and also showed an 11% increase in risk for those who got only 6 hours of sleep.

Another study of 86,329 postmenopausal women found that those with insomnia had a 38% greater risk of coronary heart disease and a 27% greater risk for cardiovascular disease.

2. Lowers Risk of Obesity & Diabetes

Sleep loss is a risk factor for obesity and diabetes. It causes an increase in the hunger-promoting hormone, ghrelin along with a decrease in the satiety hormone, leptin. It also decreases insulin sensitivity.

A study of 593 patients with a recent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes looked at the impact of sleep debt on weight and health. Sleep debt was defined as the difference between the amount of sleep on week nights and on weekends. Those who didn’t get enough sleep during the week were 72% more likely to be obese. For every 30 minutes of sleep debt, the risk of obesity increased by 18% and the risk of insulin resistance increased by 41%.

3. Lowers Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid protein fragments accumulate to form hard plaques between neurons in the brain. Research has shown that sleep deprivation increases amyloid plaque deposition.

In a Swedish longitudinal study, researchers followed 1,574 men from the age of 50 until the age of 90. At ages 50 and 70, they were asked whether they had trouble falling asleep, woke up during the early hours, or took sleeping pills. Cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s were noted from the participants’ medical records. Those who reported sleep disturbances had a 33% higher risk of developing dementia and a 51% higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Lowers Risk of Depression

A number of studies have shown that people with insomnia have a greater risk of developing depression. After the onset of depression, insomnia seems to perpetuate it. Interestingly, when patients with insomnia and depression are given cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI), their depression symptoms tend to improve.

In one randomized controlled trial of 37 patients with insomnia and depression, half of those who received CBTI were in clinical remission for both insomnia and depression after 8 weeks. None of the patients from the control group, who received treatment as usual, were in remission for insomnia and only one was in remission for depression.

5. Lowers Risk of Premature Death

A meta-analysis pooled data from 16 studies from the USA, UK, European and East Asian countries. It included 1,382,999 male and female participants who had filled out questionnaires about sleep duration. They were followed up to 25 years and 112,566 deaths were recorded. Those who slept less than 7 hours a night were 12% more likely to experience a premature death than those who consistently got 7-8 hours of sleep. These results were comparable between men and women and did not depend on age, socioeconomic status or geographic location.

7 Ways to Improve Your Quantity & Quality of Sleep

1. Optimize Your Bedroom for Sleep

sleep better natural remedies optimize bedroom temperature light noise

The right environment can help you fall asleep faster and wake less often during the night. If you have trouble sleeping, take steps to remedy anything that stimulates you, makes you uncomfortable or interferes with sleep.


Your sleeping brain continues to register and process sound. Noise can disturb your sleep, wake you up or cause you to switch from deep sleep to light sleep.

Nocturnal noise can also cause adverse physical reactions during sleep such as raise your blood pressure and increase levels of stress hormones.

Method: If you live on a busy city street and find it hard to sleep due to traffic and other environmental noise, invest in a white noise machine. The constant ambient sound helps to mask disturbing noises. Earplugs and an eye mask can also help you fall into a deeper sleep and stay asleep.



Exposure to light at night can reset the body’s clock and delay sleep. Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible. If streetlight comes through your curtains, put up blackout shades or blinds. Block any bright LED displays in your room before you go to bed. Use dim night lights in the hallway and bathroom so you don’t have to switch on ceiling lights if nature calls during the night.



Your body temperature naturally decreases during sleep. If your bedroom is too hot, it can affect the quantity and quality of your sleep.

MethodResearch suggests that a cool room between 60-65 degrees F (16 -19 C) will help keep your body at the right sleeping temperature. Be sure the covers you sleep under are the right thickness to keep you comfortable and not too warm. On hot summer nights, cool the room with a ceiling fan or a fan placed in front of an open window.

2. Say Goodnight to Electronic Screens

sleep better natural remedies cut out electronic screens before bed

The hormone melatonin regulates the sleep cycle and your biological clock. Under natural conditions, it begins to be released a few hours before bedtime in response to dim light or darkness.

The screens on electronic devices such as televisions, computers, smartphones and tablets emit short wavelength blue light which mimics the effects of daylight. Exposure to this light suppresses melatonin production, disrupting normal sleep patterns.

A study published in Sleep Medicine compared the effects of reading from an iPad or a print book. Participants slept in their own beds, wired up to a device called a polysomnogram which monitored their brain activity. They read from either a book or an iPad for 30-minutes before bedtime and filled in a sleepiness questionnaire before turning out the light. Reading from the iPad decreased reported sleepiness. It also delayed slow-wave deep sleep by approximately 30 minutes, and reduced slow wave activity throughout the night.

An internet-based study examined the correlation between smartphone use and the quality of sleep. Participants downloaded an app which continuously measured their screen-time over a 30-day period. They also filled in a survey about their sleep habits including their usual bedtime. Longer overall screen-time were associated with shorter sleep time and worse sleep-efficiency (the total time spent asleep compared to the total time spent in bed). Longer average screen-times during the hour before and after their usual bedtime were associated with taking more time to fall asleep, poor sleep quality and decreased sleep efficiency.

Researchers have been developing blue-light blocking devices designed to improve sleep. In one experiment subjects wore blue-light shield glasses or clear glasses while using a tablet 2 hours before sleep. Those wearing the blue-light shield produced significantly more melatonin, felt sleepier, fell asleep faster and had better sleep efficiency than the control group.

Blue-light blocking glasses and lightbulbs are available to purchase online. More recently smartphone apps have been designed to counteract the negative effects of blue light. These apps track local sunset times and automatically apply a red filter to the screen at night.

Method: To trigger melatonin production, keep house lighting dim after sunset. If you use electronic devices at night, invest in blue-light blocking technology. Aim to stop using all devices an hour before bedtime – this is a time for relaxation, not stimulation.


3. Exercise During the Day

sleep better natural remedies exercise during day morning

Exercise can improve both the quality and quantity of sleep. It helps to reset the body’s clock, increasing daytime alertness and sleepiness at night. It also promotes sleep by naturally reducing stress and anxiety. Research has shown that exercise increases both total sleep time and the amount of deep, slow wave sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll on sleep and exercise using a sample of 1,000 American adults. Participants were categorized as vigorous, moderate and light exercisers or non-exercisers. More than three-fourths of exercisers said their sleep quality was good in the past 2 weeks, compared to slightly more than half the non-exercisers. More than two-thirds of vigorous exercisers said they rarely or never had symptoms associated with insomnia. In contrast, half of the non-exercisers said they woke up during the night and nearly a fourth had trouble falling asleep almost every night.

A study published in JAMA looked at the effects of exercise on sleep in older adults. Subjects aged 50-76 who reported moderate sleep complaints were either assigned to a 16-week community-based exercise program or put on a waiting list. The exercise group did four 30-minute sessions a week of moderate activity such as low-impact aerobics or brisk walking. Before and after the exercise program, participants completed a standard questionnaire called the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Compared with the control group, the exercise group showed significant improvement in overall sleep scores as well as time taken to fall asleep, sleep quality and sleep duration.

In a study published in Sleep Medicine, 19 sedentary adults with chronic insomnia were put on a 6-month aerobic exercise program. They were asked to keep sleep diaries and fill in quality-of-life questionnaires. Their brain-wave activity during sleep were monitored with polysomnography before and after the exercise regime.

Long-term moderate exercise led to a significant decrease in the time it took to fall asleep and incidents of waking during the night. It also significantly increased sleep efficiency. Furthermore, the participants showed a decrease in measures of anxiety and depression. Those who exercised in the morning experienced the same benefits as those who exercised in the late afternoon.

Method: Aim for 30-minutes of exercise that speeds up your heart rate 4-5 times a week. Examples include brisk walking, jogging, biking, hill-climbing, swimming or dancing. When possible, exercise outdoors. Exposure to natural daylight will help to maintain the proper sleep/wake cycle. Don’t expect immediate results. Research suggests it may take up to 16-weeks of regular exercise to improve sleep quality on a nightly basis.


4. Set a Caffeine & Alcohol Curfew

sleep better natural remedies caffeine coffee alcohol curfew

Both caffeine and alcohol can adversely affect your sleep, even if consumed 6 hours before bedtime. If you want to sleep soundly through the night, don’t drink caffeine after 5 PM and limit yourself to one small alcoholic beverage.


People drink caffeinated beverages to help them stay awake and alert, so it’s no surprise that drinking caffeine at night can lead to insomnia. Caffeine can increase the time it takes to fall asleep and the number of episodes of nighttime wakefulness. It also reduces slow wave sleep in the early part of the sleep cycle and REM sleep in the later part.

In a randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, participants were given either a pill containing 400 mg of caffeine or a placebo pill at bedtime, 3 hours prior to bedtime, or 6 hours prior to bedtime. They went to bed wearing sleep-monitoring headbands. Caffeine taken at bedtime or 3 hours before reduced total sleep time by about an hour compared to the placebo and significantly increased the time it took to fall asleep. Taken 6 hours before bedtime, caffeine reduced sleep time by about 40 minutes and doubled the time it took to fall asleep.


Many people have a night cap before bedtime, and in fact, alcohol does decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and increases deep slow-wave sleep during the first half of the night. However, it also increases wakefulness in the second half of the night. Furthermore, it delays the onset of REM sleep and, at moderate and high doses, reduces the total amount of REM sleep. REM is the stage at which most dreams occur. It is thought to play a role in the consolidation of memories.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, healthy middle-aged men were given a moderate dose of alcohol 6 hours before bedtime. Total sleep time, sleep efficiency, stage 1 sleep and REM sleep were all reduced compared to a control condition where they drank mineral water. Participants also experienced twice as much wakefulness in the second half of the night. The intriguing aspect of this study is that, by the time they went to bed, all of the subjects had a breathalyzer reading of zero. Drinking alcohol disrupted their sleep even after it had been eliminated from their bodies.

5. Soak in a Warm Bath Before Bed

sleep better natural remedies soak warm bath

Your body temperature naturally falls at night. The rapid loss of heat helps to trigger the onset of sleep and increases the amount of deep, slow-wave sleep. If you raise your temperature with a hot bath about 2 hours before bedtime, the cool-down period will help you to drop off more quickly after going to bed and sleep more soundly throughout the night.

In a study published in Chronobiology International, subjects lived in a laboratory and were allowed to choose their own bedtimes and wake-up times. Their core body temperature were monitored and EEG sensors attached to the scalp recorded the time of sleep onset. The closer the maximum rate of decline in body temperature occurred to either bedtime or sleep onset, the less wakefulness they was during the first hour of sleep.

In a small study, researchers tested the effects of baths on sleep. Six female volunteers sat in baths of warm or cool water for 90 minutes. The body temperature of those in the warm baths rose by an average of 1.8 degrees C. There were no body temperature changes for those in the cool baths. The participants’ sleep were monitored before and after the baths using EEG sensors. There were no changes in sleep for those who took cool baths. After warm baths, there were significant increases in bedtime sleepiness, slow wave sleep and deep sleep.

A systematic review analyzed studies on the effects of body temperature on sleep quality in elderly insomniacs. It concluded that passive body heating such as a 30-minute warm bath in the evening could raise body temperature and increase deep, slow-wave sleep. The elderly participants reported that they were able to sleep more quickly and got better sleep after a warm bath.

Method: Run a warm bath 2 hours before your usual bedtime and soak for 30 minutes. To enhance your relaxation, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the water. There is a growing body of evidence that inhaling the aroma of lavender improves quality of sleep.


6. Relax

sleep better natural remedies relax music muscle relaxation yoga

Stress and anxiety are common causes of insomnia. Anxious thoughts and worries can trigger the release of stress-hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones prepare the mind and body for ‘fight or flight’ by increasing arousal and alertness.

People who lose sleep due to anxiety can become caught in a vicious cycle because insufficient sleep makes them less able to cope with stressful situations and more prone to develop stress-related disorders. If you are unable to sleep due to stress, relaxation techniques that can slow a racing heart and distract you from your worries can help you fall asleep more quickly and increase your quality of sleep.

Music-Assisted Relaxation

Relaxing music can decrease anxiety, heart and respiratory rate and blood pressure. A meta-analysis of five clinical trials with a total of 170 participants found that music had a significant effect on the sleep quality of patients with sleep complaints.

A study of 94 young adults with sleep problems compared the effect of listening to classical music or listening to an audiobook for 45 minutes before bedtime. Music improved sleep quality and led to a decrease in depressive symptoms. The audiobook had no effect on sleep. Choose soft, slow music and listen in a dim room before going to bed or while lying in bed in the dark.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Muscle tension is part of the ‘fight or flight’ response associated with stress. Progressive muscle relaxation is a therapeutic technique often taught to patients with anxiety or those who have poor sleep quality due to illness. It involves tensing and relaxing one muscle group at a time and can be performed while lying in bed in the dark.

Method: Take a deep breath and curl your toes downward. Tense them for a few seconds, then relax them as you breathe out. Take another deep breath and pull your toes toward you to tighten your calf muscles. Hold for a few seconds, breathe out and relax.

Move up your body, tensing and releasing muscle groups as you inhale and exhale. Squeeze your thighs, clench your fists, tighten your biceps, squeeze your buttocks together, pull in your abdomen, tighten your chest, raise your shoulders, stretch your jaw, clench your eyes shut and raise your eyebrows.


Yoga lowers stress levels, calms the mind and relieves muscle tension. A study of older adults with insomnia found that yoga improved their sleep quality and sleep efficiency, reduced feelings of stress, depression and anxiety.

A randomized controlled trial involving staff nurses in a busy hospital found that yoga improved their sleep quality and reduced work-related stress.

Method: You can learn gentle yoga poses to help you sleep from online videos or DVDs and incorporate them into your wind-down bedtime routine. Many yoga poses can even be performed on your bed. Doing yoga while playing soothing music will allow you to benefit from both relaxation methods simultaneously.


7. Nap Efficiently

sleep better natural remedies nap afternoon ideal time

A nap can help you become more energetic, productive and creative. It can also decrease work-related stress and prevent burnout. The most beneficial type of nap is one in which you fall asleep quickly, sleep well for a brief time and wake up feeling alert and reinvigorated.

Nap in the Afternoon

Most people are naturally a bit drowsy in the afternoon between about 1:00-3:00 p.m. and find this is a good time to nap. There’s a biological reason for this tendency. The brain maintains a balance between the sleep drive and the circadian alerting system. The sleep drive increases throughout the day, but the alerting signal opposes it, keeping us awake. During the afternoon, the alerting signal struggles to compete with the strength of the sleep drive and we start to feel tired.

Researchers performed identical studies looking at the effects of napping at noon and at 2:00 p.m. In each study, participants who napped for 20 minutes were compared to a no-nap group. Both groups completed sleepiness and fatigue questionnaires and took mental performance tests. Brain activity and arousal levels were analyzed with an EEG scan. The noon-time nap helped to reduce sleepiness, but had no effect on test performance. The mid-afternoon nap showed an increase in both alertness and objective performance.

Aim For a 10-Minute Nap

There are five stages of sleep. Stage 1 is light sleep, from which we can be easily awakened. In stage 2 our brain waves slow down. Stages 3 and 4 are deep sleep, characterized by very slow delta brain waves. When you first fall asleep, stages one and two each last about 10 minutes. You can wake up from stage 1 feeling energized and alert. It takes a bit longer to recover from stage 2. If you sleep for more than 20 minutes and are woken from deep sleep, you’re likely to feeling sluggish and disoriented until brain wave activity speeds up again.

In one study, participants were restricted to 4-7 hours of sleep during the night. The following day they took either no nap, a 10-minute nap or a 30-minute nap. Their alertness and cognitive performance was measured before napping and at intervals of 5, 35 and 60 minutes after the naps. Those in the no-nap group showed either no change or a decrease in alertness and performance. Participants who took a 10-minute nap showed immediate improvement which was sustained across all three testing periods. After a 30-minute nap, subjects displayed signs of sleep inertia. Measures of alertness and performance initially declined, but began to recover by the end of the 60-minute test. Another study which simulated nightshift work also found that a 10-minute nap was more beneficial than a 30-minute nap.

Method: Plan to nap for 10 minutes at the same time and place every day. It may be difficult to fall asleep at first, but will become easier as your system adjusts to the routine.

If you take an afternoon nap in your car or a break room at work, consider setting the alarm on your smartphone and sleeping with headphones on. This will help block out noise. Wearing an eye mask will block out light and signal to others that you are intentionally napping.


Final Word

If you often have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, try these methods one at a time or in combination to find the ones that work best for you.

If you suffer from chronic insomnia, see a medical professional to rule out any underlying condition that may be causing it. Prescription sleeping pills can have unwanted side effects, so ask your doctor about alternatives such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Top 25 Health Benefits of Raw Natural Honey

benefits of honey raw organic natural remedies uses

benefits of honey raw organic natural remedies uses

Honey is a sweet thick syrup obtained from the honeycomb of bees. It is a staple found in most kitchens around the world.

Everyone knows that honey is a healthier alternative for sugar, but did you know that it is also packed with numerous health benefits? In fact, the use of honey to treat ailments have been traced back to several centuries ago!

In this article, we will unfold the unusual health benefits of honey, backed by science!

25 Health Benefits of Honey

1. Heals Wounds Rapidly

One of the most popular medicinal uses of honey is for rapid wound healing. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine shows that honey accelerates healing of postoperative wounds with minimal scarring. 

But how does a sweet sorghum like honey do this? Honey contains a glucose oxidase enzyme. It is essential for the production of hydrogen peroxide, which is a very potent antimicrobial compound. The acidity of honey also helps in killing bacteria that interfere with the wound healing process. As a result, wounds are able to heal faster, and the rate of infection decreases.

2. Soothes Throat Irritation and Cough

natural benefits of honey raw organic soothes cough throat remedies uses

Infections of the throat can be caused by viruses, sinus infections, allergies, and smoking. Honey is great to use against the common cold, and can be used to alleviate coughs and irritated throats. Buckwheat honey in particular is beneficial for soothing infected throats.

One study shows that a dose of honey is as effective as dextromethorphan, a common cough suppressant medication. 

3. Immunity Booster

If you think that only Vitamin C can help boost your immune system, think again! According to recent research, honey does it better. This naturally occurring sweetener can stimulate your immune system to fight against infections. It aids in the production of B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes, which are your body’s highly specialized defender cells.

Studies show that honey helps in the generation of cytokine, which are cell signalers. They signal to  your immune system when to fight off invading infections.

4. Improves Your Skin

natural benefits of honey raw organic improves skin face masks acne remedies uses

Did you know that honey is also good for your skin? Recent studies prove that the therapeutic effects of honey are the key to having a glowing complexion.

A mixture of honey and turmeric can be a natural and affordable alternative to your daily skin products. Moreover, adverse effects are next to nothing. Honey is gentle on almost every skin type. 

5. Lowers Blood Sugars

You might be skeptical as to how honey can lower blood sugars and prevent spikes since it is a sweetener.

An article published in 2014 shows that honey increases insulin levels in the blood while reducing serum glucose and fructosamine. Honey is also found to decrease levels of triglycerides and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), while increasing your good cholesterol (HDL). 

The article also explains that using honey in combination with anti-diabetic drugs yields more effective results. Respondents in this study experienced improvement in glycemic control and better antioxidant defenses. Since honey controls sugar spikes in your blood, it also helps to prevent macrovascular complications.

You should still limit the amounts of honey you have per day due to its high sugar content, but you don’t need to completely deprive yourself of it either. It’s just a matter of choosing the right sweetener. 

6. Helps You Sleep

These days most people, due to their hectic lifestyle, have difficulty sleeping. More often than not, they are resorting to sleeping pills and other drugs that may have damaging effects. 

Apparently, honey can turn your sleepless night into night a deep sleep. How? When you consume honey, your blood insulin levels rise. In return, it also triggers the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Your body then converts this into a chemical called melatonin. This naturally occurring compound is responsible for making you feel sleepy at night.

Instead of opting for a sleeping aid medication, why not sip on a warm cup of decaffeinated tea with honey before bedtime?

7. Anti-inflammatory Properties

Aside from its antimicrobial properties, various studies show that honey can decrease inflammation in the body.

One study tested several varieties of honey to check its capacity to reduce the presence of reactive oxygen. This type of oxygen contributes to inflammation. Results show that after applying honey to wounds, there was a notable reduction in the number of inflammatory cells. The study also reiterates that the variety and color of honey determines the extent of its healing value.

In addition, honey is also known to prevent natural allergies against pollen, dust, and grass. However, the exact compound that contributes to this medicinal effect of honey remains unknown. 

8. Fights Dandruff

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Are you embarrassed by the dry white flakes on your scalp? Have you tried several shampoos that claim to get rid of dandruff, only to have it come back in a few hours?

Good news — a simple solution of honey can be the cure you’ve been waiting for, as per a recent study. Simply apply diluted honey on your scalp and leave it in for a few hours. Do this everyday and your scalp will be flake-free again in no time.

In fact, you can apply this same honey solution even if you don’t have dandruff. It acts as a natural moisturizer to keep your hair soft and shiny. So feel free to lather up your hair with natural honey and make your crowning glory as beautiful as ever.

9. Treats Gastrointestinal Tract Diseases

Do you suffer from diarrhea, gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, or other such diseases? A teaspoon of honey-a-day could be the remedy you need. According to one article, honey can be used as a potent medicine against stomach diseases. A concoction of 5% concentration of honey significantly decreases the duration of diarrhea.

Adding honey to your oral rehydration solution can also be of great help. It increases the potassium level in your body, while keeping the sodium level within range.

Honey also helps repair damaged intestinal tissues and stimulates the growth of new ones. The study also shows that the oral administration of honey could reduce lesions in an ethanol damaged stomach.

10. Relieves Hangovers

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Hangovers are no fun and can ruin your entire day. One of the unusual wonders of honey is its ability to fight a hangover. The horrible hangover headache occurs from of your liver’s inability to process all the alcohol in your system. 

Consuming foods that contain natural fructose helps to speed up the process of oxidation of alcohol. As a result, your body can flush out the toxins at a faster rate. Although honey can help to relieve a hangover, you should still drink in moderation.

11. Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

A natural remedy against antibiotic resistant bacteria is honey! Antibiotics are used as backup agents in killing bacteria that our immune system cannot eradicate on its own. But some strains of bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics overtime. As a result, they continue to reproduce despite a high dose of antibiotics.

Medical grade honey can kill antibiotic resistant bacteria. There are several factors that contribute to this ability. It comes from its high osmolarity, due to its sugar concentration and its acidic pH value. Undiluted honey has a pH of around 3.2 to 4.5.

Lastly, the capability of honey to produce hydrogen peroxide contribute to its unique ability to fight against resistant bacteria. 

12. Treats Acne

Acne is a common skin condition among adolescent and adults. If your facial cream is not giving you the best results, try using honey!

There are two ways in which honey can help fight acne. First, you can incorporate it into your diet. Try using honey as a sweetener in your tea or adding it to your salad dressing. Another option is to apply the honey directly to the affected areas. Leave the mask on for a few minutes. Then rinse it off with warm water.

You can also prepare a mixture of cinnamon and honey for boosted antibacterial effects. Adding honey to your natural DIY face masks have proved to be beneficial against acne. 

13. Promotes a Healthy Nervous System

Honey is great for your nervous system. This study concludes that honey has a nootropic property — meaning it can enhance brain function. It helps in the development of the entire nervous system, especially in newborn babies.

Honey also contains a flavonoid called catechin. Research studies show that this element can delay memory regression due to old age.

Honey is also abundant in chrysin, another flavonoid that targets the central receptor of the brain. As a result, it can reduce the possibility of neuro-degeneration, dementia, and other conditions affecting your nervous system.

14. Increases Libido

Low libido is not healthy for a relationship. However, honey not only brings sweetness to your food, but it can also renews the warmth and excitement between you and your partner.

Honey is a natural aphrodisiacIn fact, Hippocrates himself is said to have prescribed his patients honey to increase their sex drive. So why settle for synthetic sex drive enhancers that come with nasty side effects? Try it out and go natural with honey!

15. Source of Natural Energy

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If you feel weak all the time and lack the energy to perform your day-to-day tasks, a simple dose of honey could bring you back up to speed.

Honey contains fructose and glucose. These simple sugars can be used as ready source of calories whenever your body feels depleted of energy. Since most of the sugars in honey are in its simplest form, they convert easily into your bloodstream. As a result, you get instant energy.

This medical wonder of honey benefits individuals with an active lifestyle, such as athletes. Aside from providing energy, it is also effective in maintaining muscle collagen. This is a stored form of carbohydrates that your body can tap into whenever necessary.

16. Treats Yeast Infections

A common problem amongst women is yeast infections, such as candidiasis. They can get it from various sources such as menstruation, poor hygiene, or a compromised immune system.

Symptoms of a yeast infection include itchiness of the vagina, discharge, and a foul smell. However, honey can easily put a stop to this condition. Honey contains flavonoids that can help combat fungal infections.

You can prepare a simple honey and yogurt mixture at home. Apply this directly around the vagina, once or twice a day. Leave the mixture applied for at least 10 minutes, then rinse completely. Forget about commercial feminine washes that costs a fortune. Instead, opt for a more affordable and natural option — honey.

17. Fights Against Certain Cancer Cells

The health benefits of honey don’t end at just treating simple infections and inflammation. In fact, one study shows that honey has positive effects against cancer cells. Honey’s anti-cancer properties function as a barrier against implantation tumors in oncological procedures. It is also shown to reduce fever after chemotherapy.

Honeys health benefits extend to leukemia patients. It is said to provide protection for children with suppressed immune systems due to leukemia. Research shows that honey is moderately effective against tumors. It is proven to be significantly effective in fighting against metastatic growth.

More studies are yet to confirm if it can help prevent cancer. This initial stage shows a promising result for a possible medical breakthrough.   

18. Treats Gum Disease

Gum disease can sometimes result in poor oral hygiene. It is caused by certain bacterias that grow inside your mouth. Eventually, these colonies will target your teeth, causing gum disease.

Due to its strong antimicrobial property, honey can be used as a potent remedy against gum disease, such as gingivitis and plaque. The secret once again lies in its capacity to produce hydrogen peroxide. This compound minimizes the growth of bacteria inside of your mouth.

If you run out of mouthwash, simply dilute honey with warm water and use it as a rinse substitute. Apparently, not all sweets are bad for your teeth! Use honey for better oral health.

19. Curbs Appetite

Did you know that a sweet condiment like honey may help you reduce weight? It may sound ironic since it is made up of sugars.

Studies show that honey reduces the level of leptin, a hormone found in the body. Leptin regulates your appetite and in turn, decreases your caloric intake. Certain studies also prove that honey may improve digestion. So the next time you feel like you can’t stop eating, try feasting on a teaspoon of honey. 

20. Relieves Eczema

natural benefits of honey raw organic eczema dry skin itchy remedies uses

Eczema is a serious skin condition that can impact ones quality of life. This condition is characterized by the inflammation of the outer layer of skin. As a result, your skin becomes dry and flaky. Honey can relieve dry skin, canker sores, and bleeding gums.

Try combining honey with lime, cinnamon and warm water. Drink this concoction daily for the best results. In addition, you can also add 1-2 teaspoons of  apple cider vinegar to your concoction for added benefits.

You can also apply honey directly to the affected areas. Be sure to always use organic raw honey. You can expect to see changes after a few weeks.

21. Cures Eye Diseases

Indians were the first to use honey for eye diseases. It helps prevent scarring of the cornea that can stem from measles.

One study showed the effects of honey which involved 102 subjects with various eye diseases. They applied honey in the form of an ointment under their lower eyelid. The results showed improvements in 85% of the subjects. There were no deterioration in condition for any of the subjects since the start of the treatment.

Honey for treating eye cases is best used in a diluted form. Mixing water and honey 50% by volume would be an ideal preparation. Manuka honey is ideal for eye remedies. 

22. Source of Important Vitamins and Minerals

If you think that honey is just sugar, think again. Honey is also a great source of vital vitamins and minerals. The nutrients vary depending on which flower the nectar was taken from. 

Almost all types of honey contain a substantial amount of vitamin C, riboflavin (B2), vitamin B6, niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and iron.

Honey also contains calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, fluoride, copper and zinc. This makes honey a much more favorable option than just regular sugar.

23. Excellent Source of Antioxidants

Your body needs tons of daily antioxidants to fight off cancerous cells. Antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation or deterioration of human cells. Manuka honey in particular is known to be an excellent source of antioxidants.

Certain varieties of Manuka honey contain phenolic compounds. These compounds are very important in reducing free radicals, which are damaging to the human body.

In addition, Manuka honey can remove scavenge wastes. The presence of methyl syringate allows it to protect the body against oxidative damage. Similarly, it can also significantly reduce DNA damage and regulate the peroxidase activity in the liver.

24. Regulates Lipids (Cholesterol)

Having high levels of lipids (cholesterol) can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Honey can be used instead of regular sugar, for a healthy heart. Aside from regulating your appetite and glycemic index, honey can also help keep your lipids under control. 

In one study, respondents were asked to take honey for 15 consecutive days. The results showed a significant decrease of lipids and plasma glucose levels.

25. Anti-Viral Properties

Can you imagine using honey to treat viral infections like herpes? One study showed positive results in treating herpetic lesions on the labia and genitals.

The study compared the effects of honey and acyclovir treatments. Honey proved to have better results, with no side effects. On the other hand, those who used acyclovir experienced itchiness. In addition, honey also helped in the management of pain and symptoms of labial herpes and genital wounds.

Final Word

Who would have thought that Winnie the Pooh’s all time favorite snack held a ton of health benefits? Get on board and start your honey-packed health regimen today. After all, it’s affordable, accessible, and healthier. Just be sure to buy organic raw honey for the best results.

Have you tried using honey as a natural home remedy before? Share it with us by leaving your comments below.


14 Best Natural Home Remedies for Migraine & Headache Relief

migraine chronic headaches pain natural remedies

migraine chronic headaches pain natural remedies
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 1 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches and migraines everyday!

Migraine sufferers take double the amount of prescription medications, and 91% of the people affected have to miss work during attacks. They also have to visit the emergency room twice as many times than those who do not suffer from serious headaches.

Different Kinds of Headaches

There are three basic kinds of headaches: tension headache, cluster headache, and migraines.

1. Tension Headache

Tension headaches are the most common type and are caused by constricted muscles in the head and the neck. This headache is characterized by a dull pressure or tightness on both sides of the head and neck.

2. Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches are sharp, severe, and come on rapidly. These headaches are focused around the eyes, and last from a few minutes to a few hours. Common symptoms are eye irritation and nasal congestion.

3. Migraine

A migraine is a primary headache disorder. Migraine pain is brought upon by continuous constriction and expansion of the blood vessels in the head.

Migraines are usually characterized by a pulsating one-sided pain, and can last anywhere from a few hours, up to a few days. Migraines are accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to your senses, and increased pain from daily activities.

Common triggers for migraines include: stress, inadequate sleep, smoking, alcohol, bright lights, loud noises, improper nutrition, dehydration, and hormone imbalances.

A headache is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong or deficient within your system. If your headache is a result of a chronic health condition, you need to visit your doctor to further discuss what’s going on.

I’m sure all you want to do when you have a killer headache is to pop a painkiller, but natural remedies can work just as fast and efficiently, without the side effects of painkillers.

There are natural ways available that can help diminish the pain from chronic headaches and migraines.

Natural remedies can be used to safely alleviate the pains associated with headaches. These remedies can be used alone, or in conjunction with other natural reliefs and therapies.

1. Oils – Peppermint, Lavender, Thyme & Rosemary Essential Oils (EO)

essential oils natural remedies chronic headaches migraines peppermint lavender thyme rosemary
Carrier oils are derived from the fatty part of vegetables (seeds, kernel, nuts). Essential oils (EO) are derived from the bark, root, and leaves of the plant.

If undiluted (without a carrier oil) EO’s are applied directly to the skin, the aromatics can cause severe irritation, such as burns or rashes. It is best to mix essential oils with a carrier oil, such as Jojoba, Almond, or fractionated coconut oil.


Another great natural analgesic is the peppermint plant. It contains menthol, which provides a cooling and tingling sensation as it alleviates the pain.

This organic compound is also useful for its anti-spasmodic, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint can also be used as a mood stabilizer, or an insect deterrent.


Lavender is known for its anti-inflammatory characteristics, and its ability to dilate blood vessels. This explains why lavender is so commonly used for alleviating pain.


Rosemary & Thyme
Rosemary and thyme contains carvacrol. Carvacrol is a substance that acts like a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDS), but without the added side effects.

Essential oils and NSAID drugs, such as Advil, take about the same amount of time to relieve pain, but NSAIDS are known to cause damage to your stomach and bowels. NSAIDS can cause internal bleeding and painful ulcers.


Method for EOs: Solution: mix 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil and 1-4 drops of an EO into a container (or a roll-on-bottle). Start with only 1 drop, if it is your first time using an EO.

Depending on where the pain is, use a cotton swab to dab this mixture onto your temples, forehead, or the nape of your neck.

Lotion: mix an unscented lotion with 3-6 drops (per ounce of lotion) of an EO.

Foot Bath: add 1-3 drops of your EO into a bucket of hot water. Soak your feet in the water. The heat relaxes you and draws the blood from your head, into your feet. This is a great remedy for relieving head tension.

Aromatherapy: Add 2 drops of your EO to either a tissue or boiling water. Inhale.

2. Ginger Tea

fresh raw ginger root tea headaches migraines natural remedies
Ginger contains over 200 powerful substances in its oils and has been around for over 2,000 years.

Among many uses, ginger calms muscle contractions and inflammation, which is great for combating migraine pains.

This root is also good for increasing appetite, decreasing nausea and vomiting, protecting the stomach lining from alcohol and NSAIDS, and preventing GI ulcers.

Methods: Wash and peel off the brown skin and boil the sliced up root with some lemon, and lemon rind. Lightly sweeten with honey, or add sliced pear while making the tea, for taste. Boil for 30 minutes. Inhale the delicious smell of the drink and enjoy.


3. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

apple cider vinegar organic fresh apples headaches migraines natural remedies
A lot of severe headaches are caused by dehydration. To efficiently re-hydrate your body, try boosting your water with extra vitamins and minerals.

An easy way to do this is to add organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) to your daily water. Organic ACV is packed with: beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium, calcium, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, fruit acids and pectin.

This natural option is more efficient and healthier than popular sports drinks, which are loaded with sugar and chemicals.

Apple cider vinegar also balances your body’s acid and alkaline levels. This equilibrium is essential for preventing and combating migraines.

Don’t overdo the water though! Drinking too much water can actually suck the essential vitamins and minerals out of your bones and blood, and cause them to be excreted out with your urine.

Method: Mix 2 tablespoons of organic ACV with 24 ounces of water. Add honey for taste. If you cannot tolerate 2 tablespoons in the beginning (which most people cannot), start off with only 1 teaspoon, and then slowly work your way up to 2 tablespoons.


4. Magnesium

magnesium supplements chronic headaches migraines natural remedies increases gaba
Magnesium is responsible for over 300 metabolic reactions that go on in the body. One of these reactions is regulating serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter known to be involved during the start of a migraine. Low levels of magnesium have been associated with migraine headaches.

In 1996, a study was performed on 81 subjects who took 600 milligrams of Magnesium Citrate for 12 weeks. Participants who took magnesium reduced their frequency of migraines by almost 50%.

You can also get magnesium from natural food sources. Foods that contain high levels of magnesium are: green leafy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, bananas, and seafood.

Method: The recommended daily dose of Magnesium is 400-600 milligrams. If you start experiencing diarrhea, stop the magnesium for a few days, and continue taking a lower dose.


5. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

vitamin b2 riboflavin walnuts eggplant cheese bread pine nuts tea leaves headaches migraines natural remedies
Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, is essential for growth, production of red blood cells, and creating energy for the body. A deficiency in riboflavin can cause migraines.

Vitamin B2 is proven to lowers the frequency and severity of headaches. This vitamin is naturally found in green leafy vegetables, liver, legumes, eggs, and dairy products.

Method: If you cannot get enough from food alone, the recommended daily dose for Vitamin B2 supplements are 400 milligrams.


6. CoQ10

coq10 supplements chronic headaches migraines natural remedies
CoQ10 is a natural compound made in the body that is used for cell growth and protecting against cell damage. It is also a vital element in the mitochondrial electron transport chain.

A study published by Neurology showed that CoQ10 was superior to a placebo in preventing migraines. CoQ10 was tested on a group of 43 patients, while another group received a placebo. Fifty percent of patients who took CoQ10 reported significantly reduced frequency of headaches compared to only 14 percent of those who took the placebo.

CoQ10 has been extensively studied for the treatment of mitochondrial disorders such as: migraines, Parkinson’s Disease, heart disease, type II Diabetes, and other conditions. CoQ10 can be taken to help lower blood pressure and blood sugars. The dosage of CoQ10 used in the study was 100 mg, 3 times a day.

Looking for natural sources of CoQ10? CoQ10 naturally occurs in soybean and canola oil, chicken, herring, mackerel, beef, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, strawberries, roasted peanuts and pistachio, and sesame seeds.

Method: The recommended daily dose of CoQ10, by migraine specialists, is 300 milligrams. Soft gel capsules tend to be more effective than powders or tablets.

Keep in mind that CoQ10 may interacts with, or decrease the potency of other medications and supplements, so speak with your doctor to find out if this supplement is right for you.


7. Feverfew

feverfew herb white yellow flowers headaches migraines natural remedies
Feverfew is part of the sunflower family, and is naturally grown in Europe, North America, and Australia. Feverfew is useful in preventing migraines, due to parthenolide — a substance that helps to stop muscle spasms.

This herb is also used in treatments of arthritis, lowering blood pressure, stomach problems, and improving digestion and kidney function.

A great benefit of feverfew is that overtime, it treats the cause of the pain, rather than just masking the migraine symptoms. In the long run, it may be more effective than NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

The way that feverfew treats headaches is by controlling the inflammation of constricted and spastic blood vessels in the brain.

There are more benefits in using feverfew to prevent the onset of migraines, rather than for the treatment of active headaches.

Method: Feverfew needs to be taken daily for a few weeks, before its effects on migraines will become noticeable. The recommended daily dose is 250 milligrams. Consult your doctor prior to using if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


8. Butterbur

butterbur sprouts green seeds buds headaches migraines natural remedies
Butterbur has been used as a natural remedy for over 2,000 years. It can be used as an effective remedy for migraines, asthma, gastric disorders, and seasonal and environmental allergies — all without the added bonus of nasty pharmaceutical side effects.

This remarkable root extract has been widely used in Germany since 1988 and is now available in the United States. Butterbur works as an anti-inflammatory agent and a muscle relaxant, particularly in the cerebral blood vessels.

A study performed in 2004 showed a 48% decline in migraines, after a 4-month period of butterbur use.

Method: The recommended dose of butterbur is 50-75 milligrams, twice a day, for 4-months.


9. Cold or Hot Compress

warm hot cold compress wet towel forehead headaches migraines natural remedies
Coldness constricts blood vessels and reduces inflammation, while heat increases blood flow. Alternating between hot and cold temperatures increases blood flow, oxygenation, and circulation.

Hydrotherapy uses this science to treat migraine pain by manipulating cerebral blood flow. This easy therapy is commonly done by simultaneously placing the feet in a hot bath, while applying ice to the head, or the back of the neck.

Method: Place a cold compress or an ice pack to the base of the skull. At the same time, dunk your feet in hot water.


10. Avoid Electronics

avoid electronics computers phones tablets televisions headaches migraines natural remedies
We live in a world where technology is everywhere, and is being used by people of all ages.

There isn’t a moment when we are not looking at our phones, televisions, computers, tablets, kindles, and other “smart” devices. To avoid eyestrain and headaches, take a break from these devices, and get up every 15-minutes.

Migraines can come from not-so-obvious causes, such as bad posture, a stagnant lifestyle, neck tension, and inadequate or improper sleep.

Keep your electronic devices at eye level to avoid bad posture and neck tension. Get outside as much as you can and breathe in the fresh outdoor air.

Also avoid using your electronic devices before bedtime, especially in the dark. This can mess up your internal clock, and delay you from getting efficient and adequate sleep.

Method: Put down your electronic device. Slowly roll your shoulders in a backwards circular motion, and stretch your neck from side-to-side.

11. Avoid Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

avoid msg monosodium glutamate headaches migraines natural remedies
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is widely used in many food products that we consume on a regular basis.

MSG is added to packaged foods and marinades to enhance food flavoring, at a cheaper price. It is frequently used in Chinese takeout, ramen noodles, and numerous other prepackaged foods.

MSG can trigger a massive headache, especially if you have food sensitivities. MSG, like aspartame, excessively fires off brain nerves, causing neurological toxicity. What makes matters worse, is that MSG is highly addictive!

Chronic intake of this food additive is linked to many diseases such as: fibromyalgia, obesity, fatty liver and liver toxicity, high blood sugars, asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, neurological brain disorders, digestive disorders, and metabolic syndrome.

Be aware that MSG can be disguised as over 40 different ingredient names. It can be disguised as: Glutamate, anything “hydrolyzed”, yeast extract, gelatin, soy protein, whey protein, soy sauce. The best thing to do when trying to avoid additives, is to learn how to read food labels.  

12. Sleep

proper sleeping positions sleeping puppy headaches migraines natural remedies
Making sure to get adequate and efficient sleep can help prevent the onset of a migraine.

Proper sleeping positions are also very important. Make sure your pillow is not too high or too low. Improper sleeping positions can induce stress, neck strain, and inadequate air supply.

Method: A great pillow that comes in different sizes is the Tempur-Pedic neck pillow. For a deep REM-sleep, try also using earplugs (Mack’s Silicone Earplugs) and an eye mask.

13. Exercise

exercise running get moving headaches migraines natural remedies
Exercise is great at preventing the onset of a migraine, but it’s important to listen to what your body needs at the moment. Don’t exercise when you currently have a migraine attack, because it can aggravate the severity of the headache even more.

Regular physical aerobic exercise is good at preventing frequency and severity of future migraine attacks.

Exercise also improves your overall quality of health, improves sleep, and decreases stress. When you get moving, your body releases endorphins (pain controlling neurotransmitters) and enkephalins (anti-depressant chemicals).

Method: Choose a type of aerobic exercise that you enjoy such as swimming, brisk walking, jogging, dancing, or biking. Mix it up a bit and say goodbye to future headaches!

14. Acupressure Massage

acupressure massage hand tissue massage pressure points headaches migraines natural remedies
Acupressure massage is an ancient Eastern Medicine therapy that is still widely used today. Acupressure treatment focuses on pressure points on the body to relieve pain.

Method: Squeeze the webbed skin between your 1st and 2nd fingers. Massage for 5 minutes, then switch hands. You can also do this technique on your feet. Also, try massaging your temples and the base of the skull (back of the neck).

Final Word

Don’t let a migraine get you down. There are many natural remedies that work extremely well.

You can try multiple remedies at a time, or just find one that works best for you. Get started now and save those sick days for another day!

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath (Halitosis) Naturally – 9 Remedies & Cures

bad breath halitosis how to get rid of naturally remedies

bad breath halitosis how to get rid of naturally remedies

Do you always have to carry gum or candy with you because you’re worried about your breath?

Are you scared of speaking to people because of your breath?

No matter how much you brush, you can’t seem to shake the bad breath?

Bad breath can ruin your day and chronic bad breath can ruin your social life. Many people suffer from this problem and it can create psychological and self-esteem disadvantages. Bad breath is usually caused by something going on inside the oral cavity.

Causes of Bad Breath (Halitosis)

bad breath causes halitosis how to get rid of naturally

The biggest culprits of bad breath are usually caused by a coated tongue, cavities, poor oral hygiene, gingivitis, odor causing foods, periodontitis, or a combination of any of the above.

Other common causes of bad breath are malnutrition, diabetes, chronic dry mouth, stress, certain medications, infections and a decreased immune system, and gastrointestinal disorders.

When your body does not get the proper nutrients, it breaks down fats into ketones, which causes a fruity odor. The start of digestion begins in the mouth, by your salivary glands. A decrease is saliva causes bad breath because saliva carries antimicrobial agents.

Our mouths produce about 3 pints of saliva everyday. The job of saliva is to aid in digestion, carry essential calcium and phosphorus to build strong teeth, and to fight against harmful bacteria that cause gum and periodontal diseases.

Certain foods, spices, drinks, and chemicals can cause temporary bad breath. Onions, garlic, curries, alcohol, coffee, cigarettes are popular offenders.

What is Halitosis?

bad breath halitosis causes how to get rid of naturally remedies

The medical term for bad breath is called Halitosis.

According to a study published in the OA Dentistry journal, gum and periodontal disease affects 92.9% of the worldwide population. Halitosis within the general population affects 22-50%.

Taking care of your oral problems is important because it can ruin the quality of your life.

The mouth is home to hundreds of different kinds of bacteria. Certain harmful bacteria can cause odors. As our saliva starts to digest the food that enters our mouths, several noxious substances arises, leading to halitosis.

Odors arise from the overgrowth of proteolytic, anaerobic gram-negative bacteria that hides inside the crevices of the mouth and tongue.

Home Remedies & Cures for Bad Breath

There are many different causes of bad breath. That is why it is important to find out what is actually causing your condition. Whatever the cause is, there are natural ways to get rid of it.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

apple cider vinegar with mother organic for bad breath halitosis get rid of naturally

Apple cider vinegar has many anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that can kill odor-causing bacteria. It can also break down plaque that harbors many bacteria that cause bad breath.

Bad breath can be caused by GI diseases, such as ulcers, heartburn, lactose intolerance, and gluten allergies. ACV is a great natural remedy for gastrointestinal (GI) diseases.

Check out other Health Benefits & Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic With Mother).

Method: (Gargle) Mix 1 teaspoon of ACV with 1 cup of pure filtered water. Swish mixture around the mouth for a few minutes, then gargle. Be sure not to swallow the mixture.

(Drink) Mix 1 tablespoon of ACV into a large glass of pure filtered water, drink. For added health benefits and enhanced taste, add 1 teaspoon of ceylon cinnamon and raw organic honey.


2. Baking Soda

baking soda water gargle rinse bad breath halitosis get rid of naturally

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

Baking soda contains anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that makes it hard for harmful bacteria to stick around.

Sodium bicarbonate is also great for whitening teeth, but it can cause corrosion if left on for too long. Always rinse baking soda off after use. Baking soda is also good at neutralizing the pH levels in your body and aids in faster digestion.

Method: (Gargle) Mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 cup of warm filtered water, gargle.

(Drink) Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with pure filtered water, drink. Do this every other day, for a month.

(Brush) After brushing normally, add a little baking soda to your toothbrush. Brush for 2 minutes, then rinse out your mouth.


3. Fennel Seeds

fennel seeds for bad breath halitosis how to get rid of naturally

Fennel seeds are widely used in India for freshening the mouth. Fennel contains anti-microbial properties that fights against bad breath. It is also used to aid in digestion.

Fennel contains a compound called Anethole, which relaxes the stomach and prevents spasms and flatulence. Fennel water is also often used in colicky babies.

Method: (Tea) After a meal, try some fennel tea — make by seeping crushed seeds in hot water.

(Chew) Chew 1 teaspoon of whole seeds slowly after your meal.


4. Herbs

fresh peppermint parsley herbs for bad breath halitosis how to get rid of naturally

Herbs are aromatic, nutritious, flavorful, and contains chlorophyll. Chlorophyll in green plants is a powerful and natural deodorizer. Chewing on herbs helps stimulate bacteria-fighting saliva.

The effects of chlorophyll as a deodorizer do not last long. Herbs as a natural odor killer is a good remedy if you are looking for a quick fix.

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

Method: (Chew) After meals, chew on fresh peppermint, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, basil, mint or cilantro leaves, instead of gum.

5. Lemons

fresh lemons citrus fruits acid vitamin c for bad breath halitosis how to get rid of naturally

Lemons and other citrus fruits are great at combating problematic odor-causing bacteria, due to their strong anti-microbial properties.

Lemons (especially the rinds) contain acids and vitamin c that keep the growth of bacteria under control. They prevent the colonization of bacteria and excess mucous from forming on your tongue and gum line.

Method: (Chew) Chew on a piece of lemon or a clean orange rind. Eat after meals or throughout the day for a burst of freshening flavor.

(Drink) Squeeze fresh lemon into a large glass of pure filtered water. Drink every morning, upon waking.

6. Cinnamon

cinnamon ceylon ground powder sticks for bad breath halitosis how to get rid of naturally

Cinnamon releases essential oils that are great at killing harmful bacteria. This spice is found to contain a component called aldehyde, which is great at keeping noxious bacteria at bay.

Some other benefits of cinnamon include: antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, controls blood sugar, improves colon health, protects against heart disease, and boosts brain function. Another benefit of this spice 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: (Drink) Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to your favorite drinks (water, coffee, tea).


7. Oil Pulling – Coconut Oil

coconut oil for oil pulling oral health teeth bad breath halitosis swishing how to get rid of naturally

Oil pulling has been used for thousands of years and originated from ancient Ayurvedic medicine. Oil pulling is basically a detoxification of your mouth.

Oil pulling is performed by swishing a tablespoon of oil around in the mouth for 20 minutes. This process sucks out toxins that are buildup in the mouth, and creates a clean environment.

This oil practice is usually performed with sesame or coconut oil. Organic, raw, unfiltered coconut oil has strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.

Coconut oil is effective at reducing effects of gingivitis, cavities, plaque buildup, yellowing of teeth, and odor-causing bacteria.

Coconut oil contains lauric acid and produces monolaurin when digested. Both lauric acid and monolaurin are powerful agents against harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi.


  • Swish 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth, as soon as you wake up.
  • Make sure to oil pull before you eat, drink, or brush.
  • Slowly swish for 15-20 minutes, without swallowing any of the oil.
  • Spit out the oil into a garbage can (not the sink).
  • Rinse out your mouth with warm water. For added antimicrobial effects, try rinsing with sea salt water or pink himalayan salt water.
  • Brush your teeth like normal.
  • Repeat process 2-3 times a week.


8. Raw Fruits & Vegetables

raw healthy fruits vegetables for bad breath halitosis natures toothbrush get rid of naturally

Raw fruits and vegetables are nature’s natural toothbrush. They contain antimicrobial properties that naturally kill bad breath.

They also contain fibrous particles that scrub and clean your teeth surfaces.

Method: (Eat) Carry some raw fruits and veggies to snack on, or to eat after meals.

9. Brush Properly

brush properly bad breath halitosis get rid of naturally

Your tongue harbors hundreds of odor-causing bacteria. Make sure you rigorously brush the yellow or white coating off the top of your tongue. This nasty film is usually caused by inflammation and infection.

When brushing your teeth, make sure you also get the inner and outer sides as well. Don’t forget to brush the roof and sides of your mouth afterwards.

If you have dentures, always remove them every night. Clean your teeth, gums, tongue, and the roof and sides of your mouth.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it is a good idea to change your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed.

Toothbrushes can house numerous microorganisms. These organisms can cause oral or systemic infections. Allow toothbrush bristles to fully dry before transporting, and try not to use covers if possible.

Once a week, soak your brushes in hydrogen peroxide to kill off excess bacteria. Never share toothbrushes, even with your family.


Final Note

These remedies are all natural and safe in treating bad breath. Repeat them regularly and feel free to mix and match remedies.

Finding the cause of your condition is always more important than treating individual symptoms. Get a teeth cleaning by your dentist every 6 months. Also, don’t forget to brush and floss at least twice a day.

What Are Probiotics – Best Health Benefits, Foods & Supplements

probiotics natural yogurt plain unflavored

probiotics natural yogurt plain unflavored

What does a healthy digestive system have to do with our overall health?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), 60-70 million Americans are affected by a digestive disease. The United States spends over $100 billion each year on digestive disorders.

Digestive diseases can lead to weakened immune systems, mental health disorders, and neurological diseases.

Other health issues that are affected by digestive disorders include thyroid imbalances, joint pain, skin disorders, chronic fatigue, autism, ADHD, and numerous other disorders.

What Are Probiotics?

probiotics supplements capsules good bacteria

So how do probiotics fit into all of this?

Probiotics are microorganisms that are beneficial to the host that it lives in and provides numerous health benefits. Probiotics are naturally produced from bacterial fermentation and can be found in foods and supplements.

What Do Probiotics Do for You?

Microorganisms helps perform many important functions in our body. Probiotics helps to:

  • Produce vitamin B-12, butyrate, and vitamin K2.
  • Protect the lining of our gut, fight against harmful invaders, and keep our immune systems strong.
  • Stimulate the secretion of IgA and regulatory T fighter cells.


Probiotics Naturally Found in Foods

probiotics naturally occurring foods good bacteria yogurt

Probiotics that naturally occur in foods are most active and valuable. Some examples of naturally occurring foods are:

  • Kefir — water, milk, or coconut
  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh (fermented Indonesian soybeans)
  • Natto (fermented Japanese soybeans)
  • Kvass (fermented alcoholic Russian drink made from rye flour or malt)
  • Miso (fermented Japanese soybeans)
  • Kombucha (fermented sweet tea made with cultures from yeast and bacteria)
  • Kimchi (fermented korean cabbage)
  • Raw cheese (unpasteurized goat or sheep’s milk)


How Can We Prevent Probiotics From Being Wiped Out?

Everyone, including children can benefit from probiotics. A lot of times, our beneficial microbes are accidentally wiped out by systems that are intended to get rid of bad bacteria.

Some of these reasons include:

  • Antibiotics — pill form, in our milk, meat, poultry, fish
  • Recent surgeries
  • Diarrhea — flushes out good and bad bacteria altogether
  • Colon cleanses
  • Excessive fiber — destroys bacterial membranes
  • Protein deficiency. Protein creates mucin which is needed to create intestinal mucous. This is also where bacterial flora thrive
  • Tap water — contains chlorine and fluoride
  • Foods that contain GMO and MSG ingredients
  • Mental health imbalances and stress

Try to eliminate these probiotic killers and supplement your body with naturally grown foods that are fermented and contain probiotics.

A healthy gut helps our body to fight against diseases and cancer-causing cells. 80 percent 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.

Making sure you have a healthy digestive tract is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health.

Gut Health

gut health stomach ache probiotics natural flora

There are dozens of different strands of probiotics that are beneficial to our health. The most common groups are called Lactobacillus (lactic acid) and Bifidobacterium.

Our digestive system contains hundreds of microorganisms that include bacteria, yeast, and viruses. Collectively they are called “gut flora”.

There are millions of microorganisms all throughout your body and a majority of them reside inside the gut or large intestine (colon).

Our digestive system contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. A healthy ratio of good to bad bacteria in our system should equal around 85:15 percent; respectively.

Probiotic’s Impact on Health

Most of the bacterias that are inside our bodies are advantageous and help keep the body strong and healthy.

Probiotics maintain an efficient digestive system, powerful immune system, healthy weight loss, and clearer skin.

1. Weight Loss

weight loss with probiotics natural flora good bacteria

There have been many studies that have concluded to the fact that obese people have different bacteria in their GI tract. Microbes that obese people have in their guts are different from the bacteria that is found in lean people!

Certain bacterias can be advantageous and can help us lose that stubborn weight.

Studies have shown that certain probiotics can aid in weight loss and decrease belly fat. In 2013, one study showed that the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri helped people lose 8.5 percent of their belly fat, over a 12-week period.

2. Digestive Health

constipation stomach pain bloated toilet

Millions of Americans are affected by digestive disorders, such as diarrhea, constipation, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gas, bloating, and other conditions.

Studies have shown that probiotics are great at relieving diarrhea that is commonly associated with antibiotic use.

Antibiotics kill a lot of the healthy bacteria that is in our system, causing stomach pains, infections, nausea, GI bleeds and ulcers, and acid reflux. It is important to take probiotics while you are on these medications.

Probiotics are also necessary for preventing constipation. Intestinal flora (good bacteria) is responsible for retaining moisture in the intestines and keeping stools nice and loose. When your poop lacks healthy bacteria, it turns into rock hard pebbles.

Probiotics is also a safe remedy for pregnant women and children who are constipated.

Check out 8 Best Natural Home Remedies for Constipation that Work Fast.

3. Cold, Cough & Flu

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Your immune system is your first line of defense in fighting a cold, cough, or flu. When we do not have enough “good bacteria” in our system, pathogens take over and leave us susceptible to disease, cancers, and disorders.

Live beneficial microbes in the digestive tract make up a health gut. These good bacterias prevent invasions of pathogens that make us sick, such as candida and H. pylori.

They also improve digestion, prevent constipation, synthesize Vitamin K and Vitamin B, and keep a balanced blood pH level.

The more probiotics you have throughout your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the stronger your immune system will be. Probiotics is also a proven and safe natural remedy for preventing upper respiratory infections in children.

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

4. Heartburn

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Taking probiotics daily allows nutrients and foods to be digested properly. It also decreases the amount of harmful H. pylori (heartburn causing) bacteria that is lingering in our system.

Probiotics also help replenish the good bacteria that is lost due to medications you may be taking. If you tend to get an upset stomach or acid reflux from harsh medications, make sure to take probiotics along with your pills.

Probiotics balance the pH level of the flora found in our small intestine. This prevents bloating and gas build up that can cause food to regurgitate back into the stomach.

Probiotics not only works on the 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 your probiotics consistently everyday for best results.

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

5. Skin Health

skin health disorders probiotics natural good bacteria gut health

Our gut health is surprisingly closely linked to our skin appearance.

There is increased evidence that probiotics can be used to prevent and treat inflammation and other disorders of our skin.

Some examples of atopic dermatitis that can benefit from probiotic use are acne, rosacea, and eczema.

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

Potential Side Effects of Probiotics

If you are new to taking probiotics, start slow. Probiotics can initially cause bloating and discomfort. This is also a good sign that it is working.

The good bacteria starts eating away at the yeast build up that is left on the walls of your intestines. This can lead to gas and bloating for a few days.

For supplements, try taking only half the recommended dose, every other day, for a week. Then slowly work your way up to everyday, and then eventually, take the full dose.

Another possible side effect of probiotics is diarrhea, especially if you take too much too soon. Try lowering the dose and frequency if this problem arises. If this doesn’t work, consider switching to another brand of probiotics.

How to Pick the Best Probiotics

probiotics pick the right one good bacteria supplements

Different strains are responsible for different health benefits. Dr. Williams does a great job at explaining the different probiotic species and strains.

Consuming wide ranges of probiotics is important in reaping all the different benefits. The first go-to source of probiotics is naturally occurring foods. If you do not have easy access to these types of foods, quality supplements are a great substitution.

The first step in picking the best probiotic supplement is to learn how to read the label. Some important facts to keep in mind when buying supplements:

  • Buy from a reputable brand that contain strains like bacillus coagulans, lactobacillus rhamnosus, lactobacillus acidophilussaccharomyces boulardii, bacillus subtilis, or other longer-surviving probiotic. You want probiotics that will survive past your stomach.
  • Make sure the colony forming units (CFUs) is a high number, such as 15-100 billion.
  • Quality supplements should contain at least 10-30 different strains.

Yogurts that Contain Probiotics

A lot of yogurts are advertised as metabolism-boosting or probiotic-filled. Most often, yogurts are filled with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and other harmful ingredients. Get familiar with yogurt labels.

Popular commercial yogurts go through a high-heat sterilization process during manufacturing, to create a longer shelf life. By the time they get to you, the “active” cultures or probiotics are usually already dead and are no longer favorable.

Test your yogurt or tablets to see if they contain live bacteria (probiotics):

Supplies: 1 container (plastic or kitchenware) and milk (does not matter if it is whole milk or 1% milk).

  1. Testing Yogurt. Place your yogurt and milk (1:2 ratio) into one container. Wait 8-10 hours, or overnight. The live bacteria should have caused your yogurt to multiply and grow.
  2. Testing Probiotic Pills. Place 1/2 cup of milk into a container. Split open 2-3 pills and pour the contents into the milk. Mix well. Wait 8-10 hours, or overnight. The bacteria in the pills should have caused the milk to form curdles or clumps.

Final Word

Probiotics have been around for centuries. Almost every single culture contains foods that are fermented. Recently, there has been a surge of new research that is being done on the health benefits of probiotics. It is widely accepted and is encouraged for people of all ages.

Probiotics may be able to help prevent and treat different illnesses. Make sure to consume lots of foods that naturally contain probiotics. Probiotics are perfectly safe and extremely beneficial — for you and your little ones.