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Thursday
Jul092015

Help Minimize Allergies this Spring

Don’t let itchy eyes and a runny (or stuffed up) nose dominate your days this spring. Instead, try these natural tactics that can help keep allergies at bay. Start now to get ahead of the springtime allergy onslaught.

If sneezing and itchy eyes are affecting your day-to-day routine during specific times of the year, you may have seasonal allergies. The following natural approaches may have beneficial effects on your symptoms - give them a try:

  1. Take freeze-dried stinging nettles and butterbur. Both herbs may perform as well as antihistamines, without the drowsiness.
  2. Eliminate dairy and any products that contain the protein casein (to avoid potential immune-system irritation).
  3. Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids - they help combat inflammation caused by allergic reactions. Wild Alaskan salmon or high-quality fish oil supplements are good choices. The body can convert the fats in freshly ground flaxseeds to omega-3s, but the process is inefficient – fish oil is a far better source.
  4. Eat foods rich in quercetin. This bioflavonoid can help prevent the release of histamine. Citrus fruits, garlic, parsley, apples, broccoli and tea all contain quercetin.
  5. Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits, such as berries and cherries, to help modify the body's inflammatory response.
  6. Try nasal douching with a warm saline solution by using a Neti pot.
  7. Drink plenty of water to keep nasal passages hydrated and to help flush out your system.
  8. Consider acupuncture. Respiratory conditions, including sinusitis and asthma, can be relieved with acupuncture.
Tuesday
Jul072015

3 Ways to Prevent Memory Loss

If you worry about your memory as you get older, here’s good news: there are ways to help minimize memory loss. Find out what they are, and make them part of your daily routine!

Does it seem your memory is getting worse with every passing birthday? It happens to some extent to all of us as we age, but a growing body of medical evidence suggests that lifelong stimulation is the key to building and maintaining brain cells, slowing memory loss and possibly lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Research has found that doing interesting work (paid or volunteer), pursuing hobbies and engaging in an active social life can help. I recommend challenging yourself with music performance (playing or learning an instrument or singing), language lessons, learning a new computer program, or hunkering down with a good crossword puzzle. Be certain to try all of these with a smile - studies show that a positive emotional state is also good for your brain.

Remember that anything that makes you think in different ways is challenging for the brain and likely beneficial for your memory.

 

Monday
Jul062015

Meal Planning: Foods for Healthful Cooking Methods

For healthful meals, you need the right ingredients, but it does not stop there – the preparation methods factor in as well. Find out the four cooking methods Dr. Weil suggests, and the foods best suited for each!

These four cooking methods will help optimize the nutrients in your foods - and in some instances may help prevent unhealthy consequences. Use the following tips to maximize the nutritional benefits of foods, and use the food suggestions for your grocery list.

  1. Use marinades. Marinating meats (particularly chicken) may reduce the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) when grilling, which evidence shows may be carcinogenic. Garlic, rosemary, ginger and turmeric are all healthful spices to include in marinades – add them to your grocery list!
  2. Use a slow cooker. What you put in - fresh vegetables, lean proteins - is a big part of what makes a healthful meal, but the lower temperatures slow cookers use may help preserve nutrients that are otherwise lost when food is cooked rapidly at high heat. Dried beans lend themselves well to slow cookers – buy some for a vegetarian chili!
  3. When grilling, pre-cook meats on the stove or in the oven, and finish them off on the grill. Less time on the grill means fewer carcinogens in your meats. Try this with fish such as wild Alaskan salmon or black cod (also called sablefish).
Friday
Jul032015

A Way To Banish Cellulite?

A popular European spa treatment claims to be helpful in reducing cellulite. But is it true? Find out what the treatment is, and what Dr. Weil says about how well it works.

Dry brushing, long popular in Europe, is in vogue at American spas - and now there are plenty of products on the market to help you do it at home. But should you?

Basically, dry brushing involves rubbing the skin with a dry, natural bristle brush. The process can be gentle or rough and may help slough off dead skin cells, but other claims for it are far-fetched: 

  • Cellulite reduction or elimination. There is no reason to believe this is true. Fat is arranged in large chambers separated from each other by membranes of connective tissue. If fat overflows these chambers as a person becomes overweight, or if the connective tissue slackens with age, the result is the classic pitting and bulging we have come to know as cellulite. But no massage or brushing technique has any significant effect on it.
  • Toxic elimination. The idea that dry brushing can eliminate up to a pound of toxins a day, as some proponents claim, is ridiculous. Under most circumstances, the body does a good job of cleansing and purifying itself. If you feel the need, you can help speed the removal of unwanted materials by drinking water throughout the day, using steam baths or saunas to promote sweating, adjusting diet and fiber intake to ensure regular eliminations and getting enough aerobic activity to stimulate faster breathing. In addition, taking the herbal remedy milk thistle supports normal, healthy liver metabolism, aiding its important role in detoxification.

I would take the health claims for dry brushing with a big grain of salt. If you enjoy it and believe it benefits you, there's no reason not to do it. But if you find that it irritates or inflames your skin, opt for a less abrasive spa treatment such as massage.

Thursday
Jul022015

The Benefits of Black Pepper

More than a zippy spice that accents bland foods, black pepper has legitimate health benefits as well. Find out what makes it worth an extra shake on your favorite foods, and try out the recipe!

Black pepper is the most popular spice in the world, and black, green and white peppercorns all come from the black pepper plant (Piper nigrum), native to Asia. Black pepper is the whole, partially ripened fruit; green is the unripe fruit; and white is the peeled seed.

Black pepper can provide you with serious health benefits: it is a proven antibacterial agent, and compounds in this spice help protect the integrity of DNA as well, making it a possible weapon against cancer.

Keep in mind that black pepper can irritate the GI tract, urinary tract, and prostate, and shouldn’t be consumed frequently in quantity.

Try adding some black pepper to the Tuscan Kale Salad recipe!

 

Tuesday
Jun302015

4 Ways To Promote Healthy Hair, Nails and Skin

Certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are important for healthy hair, nails and skin. Find out which ones provide the most benefit.

In addition to eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild Alaskan salmon and freshly ground flaxseed, and taking care to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 when needed with the goal of avoiding sunburn, certain supplements may help promote healthy hair, nails and skin. Consider the following:

  1. Evening Primrose Oil - nourishes skin, hair and joints by supplying essential omega-6 fatty acids.
  2. Omega-3 - provides the much-needed fatty acids EPA and DHA.
  3. Vitamin D - supports bone and immune health.
  4. Milk thistle - supports a healthy liver and provides natural antioxidant capabilities.
Monday
Jun292015

Why Men Should Eat More Veggies

Attention men: Need another reason to eat your vegetables? Find out what vegetables can do for your prostate – and ways to get more veggies into your diet!

Research indicates that men who eat plenty of soluble fiber have a lower risk of prostate cancer. Heart-healthy fiber can be found in fresh produce, steel cut or rolled oats and beans, but fiber from vegetables was shown to be the most beneficial for prostate health.

How to achieve this feat? Be adventurous! Replace meat with beans and hearty root vegetables in soup and casserole recipes; make a vegetable-based casserole the main dish at dinner; order a veggie pizza instead of a meat version; and include a fresh, organic vegetable salad with lunch and dinner. All taste good…and are good for you.

 

Friday
Jun262015

A Natural Way to Treat Bruises

If you or a family member tends to get scrapes or bruises from minor activities, consider bromelain. Find out where it comes from and what it can do.

The next time one of your family members gets a scrape or bruise, consider bromelain. This enzyme, extracted from the stem of the pineapple, is a great natural remedy for swelling, pain and bruising after a minor injury. Look for capsules of standardized extracts, and take on an empty stomach - at least 90 minutes before eating or three hours after. The adult dose is 200-400 mg three times per day and children can take half this amount. Be aware that bromelain can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals; discontinue use if you develop hives, rash or itching.

 

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