Archived Articles - March 2015


Peppermint oil: Four surprising utilities
    Mar-05-2015

For several centuries, the oil obtained from the peppermint plant has been a vital element of several medications and there are sufficient reasons for this too. Peppermint oil is not only intense, but also highly aromatic. In addition to being an established analgesic, carminative and expectorant, peppermint oil possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties and, hence, it is widely used to treat gastrointestinal (GI) problems like indigestion as well as stomach spasms. However, this oil is used in mild doses for these purposes. There are an increasing number of evidences indicating that peppermint oil can also be used for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Generally, peppermint oil has been extensively used in the form of an internal medication. However, it also offers a number of cosmetic benefits; for instance, it is especially effectual in augmenting the health of our mouth, skin, hair and nails.

Four amazing uses of peppermint oil are discussed below.

Mouth care

Peppermint oil possesses antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. Therefore, it effectively kills several harmful microbes that may be present in our mouth and eventually lead to tooth decay. It has been found that menthol, an active element present in peppermint oil, is effective in treating foul breath.

You may use peppermint oil to prepare an effective mouthwash. Add three to four drops of the oil to a little amount of clean purified water and gargle with this solution for anything between 30 seconds and one minute. For best results, you may add one teaspoon of baking soda to the solution, as this will enhance its tooth whitening attributes.

Skin care

Individuals who want their skin to appear more youthful and healthy will find peppermint oil very beneficial. This oil is a proven astringent and possesses the ability to put off blockage of the skin pores. In fact, peppermint oil has been proven to be a very effectual natural therapy for acne. It contains elevated levels of menthol, which aids in keeping the skin cool and make the dull patches brighter. Applying peppermint oil to the face helps to cleanse the waste and dirt build-up.

A solution prepared by adding peppermint oil to water is ideal for external use on the skin all over the body. You may also add other ingredients beneficial for the health of the skin like aloe vera gel and apple cider vinegar to augment the potency of the solution.

Hair care

Many commercial shampoos and conditioners enclose peppermint oil as an active ingredient and there are important reasons for this. This oil possesses significant invigorating and regenerative actions, which may aid in alleviating scalp irritation, encourage new hair growth as well as revitalize the existing hair. In addition, application of peppermint oil to the scalp results in a cooling sensation, making the entire head feel stimulated and refreshed.

You can prepare an effective natural shampoo at home by blending peppermint oil (10 drops), olive oil (three tablespoons), baking soda (10 tablespoons), and aloe vera gel (6 ounces) with purified water (7 ounces). You can store this home-made shampoo in a bottle for use when necessary. It is much more nourishing compared to commercial shampoos and does not contain any chemicals that may deplete the natural oils from the hair.

Nail care

Many people across the world are affected by fungal nail infections like ringworm and athlete's foot. While such problems hardly ever raise medical concerns, they definitely are cosmetic problems and may be responsible for obstinate itching and other bothersome symptoms. Since peppermint oil possesses antifungal attributes, it can effectively deal with fungal nail infections. Just apply peppermint oil to the infected nails once or twice every day till the problem disappears.

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Five wonder foods for treating digestive problems
    Mar-12-2015

Irrespective of whether or not you are suffering from any digestive ailment, it is very likely that you may still be enduring some kind of intestinal problems. These days, we hardly consume uncontaminated, natural and live foods. As a result, we suffer from various deficiencies and these generally cause our gut to be raw as well as inflamed. You should know that this condition is actually a precursor of various types of diseases - several of them may turn out to be autoimmune diseases.

If you wish to keep your gut clean, you will require consuming some potent food that will facilitate repairing the damages caused by digestive diseases. At the same time, changing to whole foods that are beneficial for the gut will help in promoting our overall health. Below is a brief discussion on five such potent whole foods.

Aloe vera

Also referred to as the "lily of the desert", aloe vera is an exceptional herb. Traditionally, this plant has been used for topical application for treating open wounds, burn injuries, ulcers as well as infections. In recent times, aloe vera has gained in popularity owing to its ability to treat the above mentioned conditions even when they occur internally.

Aloe vera contains high concentrations of various types of enzymes, which are responsible for the herb's anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal attributes and also for its anti-inflammatory actions. In fact, aloe vera is extremely beneficial for people enduring digestive problems. Over the years, people have successfully used this herb for treating an assortment of health conditions affecting the gut. For instance, this herb is ideal for healing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers, colitis, Crohn's disease as well as other digestive problems. It is also effective for treating conditions like acid reflux, constipation, Candida infections and parasitic infections.

However, products containing aloe vera needs to be used with some caution, as a number of them enclose preservatives such as sodium benzoate, which is extremely detrimental for the lining inside the intestines.

Bone broth

This is an excellent substance for treating as well as sealing the gut. However, it is only effective when prepared from skeletons of animals that have been fed unpolluted and healthy diets, especially organic foods. It is easy for the body to digest bone broth, which encloses several nutrients that restore the health of the gut.

Gelatin is one of the main nutrients contained in bone broth. Gelatin protects as well as repairs the digestive tract's mucosal lining and, at the same time, helps in digesting the ingested nutrients. In addition, bone broth encloses elevated concentrations of amino acids like glycine and proline, which possess potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Coconut kaffir

Fermented coconut water, which is also known as coconut kaffir, is a probiotic, which is rich in enzymes. Drinking this beverage encourages a robust bacterial balance in the gut, besides helping to rinse the liver. Drinking coconut kaffir also augments hydration, in addition to re-colonizing the gut as well as the mucous membranes with various favourable bacterial micro floras.

Coconut kaffir also encloses helpful yeasts that hunt pathogenic yeasts like Candida and destroy them in our body, thereby cleaning, reinforcing and purifying the walls of the intestines. As a result, the intestinal walls become further resistant to damaging pathogens such as E.coli, parasites and salmonella. In addition, coconut kaffir aids the gut to absorb nutrients and improves the use of specific trace minerals as well as B-vitamins.

Flaxseed tea

The tea prepared from flaxseed is an exceptional herbal remedy for the colon, particularly when a person is suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or leaky gut syndrome. Flaxseed tea is a wonderful source of soluble dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. All these nutrients have an anti-inflammatory effect and lubricate the digestive tract.

Flaxseed tea also helps us to get rid of problems related to whole flaxseed consumption and the body can digest it more easily compared to a flaxseed meal. In fact, whole flaxseeds do not digest properly. Flaxseed tea can be prepared by adding one tablespoon of flaxseed to 12 oz of boiling water and allow the herb to steep for the night. Filter the liquid and drink it in the morning.

Red cabbage

Red cabbage contains a valuable nutrient called glutamine, which is vital for our digestive system. Glutamine not only helps to put off a leaky gut as well as restores the health of the gut. It has been found that glutamine is especially beneficial for people enduring Crohn's disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It has been found that among all vegetables, red cabbage contains the highest concentration of glutamine in the form of L-glutamine. A wonderful way of taking this nutrient is by juicing or fermenting red cabbage. You may ferment the juice of red cabbage and add apple cider vinegar to the juice with a view to enhance the amount of enzymes as well as beneficial bacteria, which facilitates the body to absorb amino acids along with other different nutrients more easily.

It is important to recognize the precise problems before they reach an advanced stage. What often becomes difficult is dealing with the main problem in restoring the health of the gut. The best thing you can do to avoid such a problem is to check if you have a Candida infection. For instance, you may undertake the Spit Test to ascertain if the menacing condition is on the verge of afflicting your overall health. Subsequently, take measures to eliminate Candida and restore the balance of the environment inside your body.

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Natural foods high in protein content
    Mar-18-2015

Basically, protein is a macronutrient. In other words, protein is a group of macro or large complex biological molecules that comprise the foundation of the tissues in any living organism. These molecule groups usually contain one or several long chains or sequences of amino acid residues and they perform numerous essential functions inside our bodies, counting facilitating growth, repairing cells, ensuing the proper functioning of the immune system and many other roles.

People suffering from protein deficiency usually experience exhaustion, sluggish healing, muscle atrophy (wasting of muscles) as well as other undesirable symptoms. Hence, it is crucial for everyone to incorporate sufficient amount of protein in our diets with a view to maintain optimal health. So, which are the foods that contain maximum protein? While there are different opinions on this subject, it has been found that ingesting the foods discussed below help in providing us with the utmost protein-calorie ratio.

Best protein sources:

Eggs

These are among the best sources of protein, especially for vegetarians. Precisely speaking one large egg encloses 6 grams of protein, most of which is contained in the white portion referred to as albumin. Nevertheless, one should also eat the egg yolk, because it contains other necessary nutrients like carotenoids, which help to promote eye sight, zeaxanthin and lutein.

Chicken

Bodybuilders find chicken very valuable and there is certainly a good reason for this. Consuming an average-sized chicken breast provides our body with 17 grams of protein, which is a huge amount. This makes chicken one of the most protein-rich foods available. In addition to the breast, even the thighs and legs of a chicken are loaded with protein, in addition to large amounts of other nutrients like vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus and the trace mineral selenium.

However, it needs to be emphasized that meat of chicken that have been bred on organic farms is healthier compared to others. If you continue to consume non-organic chicken, be sure to get rid of the meat's skin, as it contains most of the toxins.

Fish

Nearly all types of fish are a wonderful protein source, but tuna, salmon, halibut and snapper also seem to be especially rich in this macronutrient. One fillet of each of these fish encloses about 22 grams of protein. On the other hand, one fillet of 22 grams of cod, sole, perch, flounder and tilapia encloses about 17 grams to 21 grams of protein. In addition to protein, fish also contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the health of our brain and heart. Fish also contains calcium, riboflavin, vitamin D, and magnesium.

On the other hand, these days, it is unfortunate that all types of fish are not safe for consumption. This is mainly because of the continuing pollution of the oceans. In order to keep the risk from toxics at a minimum level, when ever possible, you should consume fish caught from the Atlantic Ocean.

Beef

Despite containing an inferior protein-calorie ratio compared to white meat, all types of red meat are also rich in protein. For instance, one T-bone steak provides us with approximately 19 grams of protein, in addition to large quantities of bio-available zinc, iron and vitamin B12. Processed beef products like beef jerky also enclose reasonable quantities of protein.

Pork

Pork is also rich in protein content. For instance, one pork chop supplies us with about 33 grams of protein, which is in excess of 50 percent of our recommended daily intake of this macronutrient for adult men (56 grams) and adult women (46 grams). Different pork items like bacon, ham, and pork roast also contain reasonable amounts of protein.

For good reasons, pigs are generally considered to be unclean animals. Pigs are able to digest their food in only four hours in comparison to 24 hours taken by ruminant animals. In addition, pigs also do not have sweat glands, which are essential for detoxification - making these animals one of the most harmful living beings. Hence, it is necessary that you always purchase pork from organic farms with repute.

Greek yogurt

A serving of 8-ounce Greek yogurt provides our body with as much as 23 grams of protein. This makes Greek yogurt the most protein rich product among all diary products. Moreover, when the whey content is removed from Greek yogurt by staining, it becomes a wonderful probiotics source. It is advisable that whenever possible you should always consume unsweetened, organic brands of Greek yogurt.

There are several other foods that are excellent sources of proteins. These foods include legumes, seeds, nuts, chlorella, spirulina, unprocessed cheeses, and specific gluten-free grains like quinoa and buckwheat.

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Prevention and natural remedies for skin tags
    Mar-26-2015

When we age, most of us usually develop skin tags, which are more common in obese or overweight people. In addition, skin tags are also common among the elderly and people who are diabetic or in a pre-diabetic state. The fact is that almost half of the entire population will develop one or several skin tags by middle age. Some of the factors responsible for increasing cases of skin tags include genetics, use of steroids, pregnancy and HPV virus.

What are skin tags?

Precisely speaking, skin tags (acrochordons) are little growths on the skin generally occurring in places where there is friction between skins, for instance the skin folds, eye lids, neck, underarms, under breasts or groin. Skin tags can grow up to 1/2 inch in width - not larger compared to an apple seed. Often, skin tags remain attached to the body by means of a skin "stalk", which is smaller compared to the tag. Usually, skin tags have the same color of the skin, but sometimes, they can also be somewhat darker.

Basically, skin tags are benign or non-malignant skin tumours, which usually do not cause any problems unless their manifestation is disturbing or if they do not occur in places where rubbing of the skin results in discomfort or makes shaving problematic. Nevertheless, skin tags can rarely be related to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome or Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome.

Conventional treatment for skin tags

Usually, the treatment of skin tags involves removing them through burning, freezing or surgery (only by clipping or cutting).

Alternate treatment for skin tags

As far as natural treatment of skin tags is concerned, all types are not the same. Several types of natural treatments result in skin tags to become dry and drop off. On the other hand, several others do not go away easily and it may take anything between weeks and months for the natural treatment to yield the desired results. Moreover, some natural remedies need to be applied a number of times daily.

There are a number of substances that can be applied externally to get rid of skin tags. Among the various options, use of castor oil appears to be easiest, in addition to not causing tissue irritation around the affected region. Before applying castor oil, ensure you rinse and dry the affected area. Ideally, it should be applied at least five times daily.

Similarly, you can apply lemon juice, dandelion juice, and apple cider vinegar in the same manner. Irrespective of what you are applying, it should be applied several times daily. If you are using oregano oil, you need to blend it with carrier oil such as coconut oil in a ratio of 1:2. For instance mix two drops of oregano oil with four drops of carrier oil. On the other hand, if you are using tea tree oil, blend it with some drops of water.

Garlic is also effective for getting rid of skin tags. You should either apply garlic as a sliver (slice) with a bandage or a garlic paste. However, you should know that several people complain of skin irritation and a burning sensation.

Interestingly, banana peel is also a good natural remedy for skin tags. Cut a piece of banana peel, place it on a skin tag using a tape and allow it to remain overnight. The inside of the banana peel should touch the affected skin area.

Nearly all of the natural remedies mentioned above are effective for treating skin tags, but you should apply them meticulously if you wish to have the desired results.

The chances are high that people having skin tags may also be pre-diabetic or have already been found to be suffering from type II diabetes. At the same time, you may be harassed due to weight problems.


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