Monday, April 17, 2017

11 Reasons To Eat Cherries


Cherries



In the 1600s settlers brought cherry trees to America, and for good reason. Cherries, bright red, juicy and delicious, are so much more than just a sweet treat. It turns out, they’re packed full of beneficial nutrients and may even prevent certain diseases. Here’s why you should include cherries in your diet — every day!

1. Fights damaging free radicals

The dark red color of cherries comes from their high concentration of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants. Both sweet and tart cherries supply these beneficial antioxidants, although tart cherries contain more. Antioxidants help prevent cellular damage — the road to cancer, aging and many diseases. That means by eating antioxidant-rich foods like cherries you can replace free radicals in the body before they damage cells. In fact, even the antioxidants found in cherry juice and dried cherries, sweetened and unsweetened, are similar to fresh cherries. While frozen and canned cherries are somewhat lower in antioxidants, they’re still significant, suggests the American Institute for Cancer Research.

2. Helps relieve osteoarthritis

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Cherries For Arthritis Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, occurs when the cartilage between the bones and the joint wears down. Without the protective cushion of cartilage, bones rub together. The pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis can be debilitating, with many reaching for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) for relief. Unfortunately, for those who need pain relief often, NSAIDS can wreak havoc on the body. Side effects can include gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure and kidney problems. That’s a high price to pay, particularly if you can find similar pain relief in drinking cherry juice.
A study on osteoarthritis assessed the value of tart cherry juice in treating pain and other features of knee osteoarthritis. Researchers evaluated 58 non-diabetic patients with osteoarthritis who drank two eight-ounce bottles of tart cherry juice daily for six weeks. Tart cherry juice provided symptom relief for patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis.

3. Promotes heart health

Cherries might actually be better than drugs for cardiovascular benefits, according to animal studies from the University of Michigan. Apparently, tart cherries can reduce the risk of stroke. Drugs called PPAR agonists, which help regulate fat and glucose, were considered promising for patients with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that link to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But, studies have shown that long-term use of PPAR drugs can also increase the risk of stroke. Research now suggests that tart cherries provide similar cardiovascular benefits as the prescribed medications. In addition, tart cherries also reduce the risk of stroke, even when taken with other drugs.

4. Reduces muscle pain

Cherries For Muscle Pain
Drinking tart cherry juice may have a significant impact on reducing muscle damage and pain during strenuous exercise. Endurance athletes often use NSAIDs during competition to prevent or reduce pain. But we now know how dangerous NSAIDS can be for some people.
So, the Oregon Health & Science University’s department of medicine studied the effects of tart cherries on athletes for pain management. Marathon runners drank tart cherry juice or a placebo drink twice daily for seven days before their race. While both groups experienced pain, those who drank the cherry juice had significantly less post-run muscle pain.  

5. Reduces cancer-causing carcinogens

Substances in tart cherries can reduce the formation of carcinogens that develop from the charring of meat, like hamburgers. But carcinogens in any form has the potential to cause cancer. Carcinogen exposure can come through inhalation, ingestion or absorption. Carcinogens affect DNA, causing dangerous changes at the cellular level. These changes can lead to abnormal cell growth with the potential to metastasize or spread to other parts of the body.
Interestingly, researchers at Michigan State University decided to add tart cherries to ground beef patties. Adding cherries to hamburger meat not only retards spoilage but also reduces the formation of suspected cancer-causing compounds. These compounds are known as HAAs (heterocyclic aromatic amines). Researchers found that burgers containing 15 percent fat and 11.5 percent tart cherries had “significantly” fewer HAAs when pan fried. Meanwhile, cherry burgers have become increasingly popular on school lunch menus in 16 states throughout the U.S.

6. Helps you sleep better

Cherries For Better Sleep
If trying to drift off to sleep seems like a nightmare, then cherries could be the answer. Tart cherry juice contains high levels of phytochemicals, including melatonin. Researchers at Northumbria University in the UK collected 20 volunteers for a sleep study. Some consumed tart cherry juice concentrate, while others consumed a placebo, for seven days. The study found that those who consumed cherry juice showed total melatonin content significantly elevated.
Melatonin is a hormone created by the pineal gland. It helps control sleep and wake cycles. Drinking cherry juice leads to significantly more time spent in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency. The study suggests that tart cherry juice can improve sleeping patterns and help people improve disruptive sleep patterns.

7. Improves eyesight

Most people know that carrots are good for the eyes thanks to beta-carotene. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, which is an important nutrient for eye health. But did you know that cherries also contain beta-carotene? While there’s less beta-carotene in cherries than carrots, there’s 19 times more beta-carotene in cherries than blueberries. That’s pretty remarkable, and a sound argument why a varied whole food diet is so important for overall health.

8. Protects against gout

Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, is triggered by a crystallization of uric acid within the joints, causes excruciating pain and swelling. A study published in a journal of the American College of Rheumatology followed participants with gout for one year. Researchers documented 1,247 gout attacks from males, averaging 54 years of age. Ninety-two percent experienced gout at the joint at the base of the big toe. Thirty-five percent ate fresh cherries and two percent drank a cherry extract. Additionally, five percent consumed both fresh cherry fruit and cherry extract. The study found that those who consumed cherries reduced gout attacks by 35 percent. In fact, when combined with a uric-acid reducing drug, gout attacks reduced by a whopping 75 percent.

9. Promotes weight loss

Cherries For Weight Loss
Cherries may reduce triglycerides, fat mass and abdominal fat, suggests a study published in the Journal of Medical Food. Apparently, rats fed a high-fat diet mixed with tart cherry powder gained less weight than rats who didn’t receive cherries. In addition, the animals showed less inflammation, which has been linked to heart disease and diabetes. By consuming tart cherry juice, you reduce inflammation and lipids in the blood (which otherwise lead to heart conditions and weight gain).

10. Reduces inflammation

Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases, including obesity, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, thyroid issues and cancer. And cherries are one of the top anti-inflammatory foods. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition assessed 10 healthy women ages 22 to 40. After fasting overnight, the women ate two servings of sweet cherries. Blood and urine samples were taken before and after the cherries were consumed. The study found that cherries decreased inflammation, inhibited inflammatory pathways and lowered plasma urate.

11. High in potassium

Potassium plays a key role in providing minerals for bodily organs such as the heart, kidneys, brain and muscular tissues. Also known as an electrolyte, potassium helps to maintain a healthy balance of fluids in the body. Deficiency, while not uncommon, is often misdiagnosed. Symptoms may include muscle weakness, fatigue, constipation and faintness. But just one cup of cherries can fulfill nine percent of your recommended daily requirement of potassium. Potassium reduces your risk of stroke, improves hypertension and high blood pressure, reduces muscle cramping and improves muscle strength.
Cherries offer so many health benefits. In addition to the many reasons above, cherries are a high-fiber food and an excellent source of vitamin C. Sweet cherries also have a lower glycemic index of 22, and one cup contains only 87 calories. So the next time you’re hankering for a snack, grab a bowl of cherries!
— Katherine Marko

Epsom Salts will Reduce Inflammation, Energize Plants and More

epsom salt

Epsom salt may seem like an unlikely go-to home remedy, however, the more I learn about it, the more I want to keep it around—in my kitchen, bathroom and even my garden shed.

My first experience with Epsom salt was as a kid was when I sprained my ankle. My mom made me soak my foot in a warm bucket of water with the salt mixed in. She said it would reduce the swelling and help with mobility. Sure enough, it made my sore ankle feel much better, and I continued the ritual twice a day until my ankle was fully healed.
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I now know why this healing mixture was so effective. Epsom salt is actually not salt at all, but rather a mineral compound that is made from magnesium and sulfate. Both of these compounds are readily absorbed by the skin, which means they are accessible to the over 300 enzymes that are regulated by magnesium. This helps alleviate hardening of the arteries and improves muscle and nerve function. In addition to working overtime to reduce inflammation, here are 4 other ways I have found to put Epsom salt to work for me:
Plant Fertilizer
I am an avid gardener, so any natural way I can make my harvest more plentiful is exciting to me. Recently, I found that Epsom salt makes a wonderful fertilizer, not only for grass but also for potted plants and veggies. I simply sprinkle a little salt around the base of each plant once a week and water, and my plants look amazing. To make your grass greener, mix one cup of salt for every gallon of water and use a sprayer to cover your lawn. Repeat this once every two weeks throughout the growing season.
Dry Lip Conditioner
Living out west, my lips take a beating. To keep them looking and feeling their best, try a homemade Epsom salt lip exfoliator. Mix equal amounts of organic coconut oil and Epsom salts together. Spread over your lips and rub gently in a circular motion. Rinse with water and apply a thin layer of coconut oil when finished. Not only will this help to remove dry skin, but it will also protect your lips from damage caused by sun and wind.
epsom saltSunburned Skin
After a recent trip to sunny Florida, I found that Epsom salt came in very handy to soothe sore, sunburned skin. Simply mix 1 cup of salt in warm bath water and soak for about 15 minutes. Not only does the salt help reduce inflammation, but it also gently exfoliates skin and reduces peeling.
Poison Ivy
It is undoubtable that someone in my family has an up-close and personal encounter every year with poison ivy. Epsom salt is a great way to reduce the swelling and itch of this irritating condition and is also wonderful for mosquito bites and bee stings. Mix 2 tablespoons of salt with 1 cup of warm water. Soak a clean cloth in the mixture and hold on the affected area to remove pain, burning and itching.
Not only is Epsom salt a great alternative to a number of chemical-based products, but it is also inexpensive—that makes it extra great to me. Now, go out and get some and let us know what you use it for!
-Susan Patterson

Do This With Your Toes For Better Sleep

Stick your toes out to sleep better
When I think of toes and sleep, all I can focus on is the fact that they need to be covered by my blanket. I can’t sleep otherwise — or could I?
Perhaps it’s all built up in my head.  After years of covering my “little piggies,” I think that it’s become a habit that’s comforting. But am I sabotaging a good night’s rest? Are you quick to hide your feet under the covers as well? If so, you may want to support their midnight escape.

The connection between temperature and sleepi

Being an avid outdoorswoman, I have been on a lot of camping trips. For some, I’ve had to hike several miles and canoe several more just to reach my site. If there’s one thing that I learned growing up, when you’re camping, you always bring extra socks and a warm hat. Why, you ask? Well, these are said to be two areas where your body rapidly loses heat. Scientists have since debunked the idea that you lose the most body heat through your head. But they have also verified that even a small amount lost through your face, hands or feet affects your core temperature. Meaning, our feet and toes can help us regulate the temperature of our internal body.
For those who struggle to fall asleep, and stay asleep for that matter, they’re often given tips about their environment — more specifically, room temperature. This is based on how your body changes temperature as you sleep and its effect on sleep quality.
Our bodies are highly efficient when it comes to internal temperature regulation, based on thermoregulation. This process helps us achieve homeostasis — or internal balance. When aiming to maintain an optimal internal temperature, our heart plays a major role, but so do our feet.

If you’re too warm, you can’t sleep properly

If you're too warm it can impact your sleep quality
Since your feet (and hands) are at your body’s extremities, they can release excessive heat. With the large surface area of feet, specialized blood vessels and lack of hair, they essentially alter the amount of blood flow. If you are too hot, these specialized blood vessels open up, allowing your feet to release heat, cooling down your body. Similarly, when your body temperature is normal, these blood vessels close.
Basically, if our body’s remain too warm, our brain does not effectively make the “switch” from being awake to being asleep. This results in crummy sleep and morning-after side effects. For those who do not achieve a good night’s rest as often as you’d like, you can relate to the range of mood-altering, cognitive effects you experience the next day. No, thank you!

Stick your toes outside of the blanket

Have you ever woken up and one leg has escaped the blanket? Were you tossing and turning, or were your trapped feet trying to escape the covers?
Of course, your feet do not have a “mind of their own.” But maybe they helped your brain out, ensuring that your body maintained an optimal temperature. As discussed, this connection comes down to the critical connection between temperature and sleep — more specifically, cool temperatures and optimal sleep.
As we fall into a deep slumber, our bodies often produce a fair amount of heat. Add your pajamas and comforter into the mix, and your body quickly becomes a little too hot for its own liking. Unconsciously, your feet then sneak outside the covers, allowing for heat to escape, increasing relaxation. Makes sense, right?
This is especially true when your room is warmer, particularly during the summer months. Based on a 24-hour period, during your normal circadian rhythm, sleep occurs when your core temperature drops by two to three degrees. This is why sleep experts often recommend a warm bath before bed, resulting in a slight temperature drop as you get out of the tub.

Optimal temperature is important for normal sleep

What’s really interesting is how modern sleep environments may affect sleep quality. In comparison to groups living in more natural environments, we do not experience the same daily cycle of temperature change. This was examined in a ground-breaking study, showcasing the importance of optimal temperatures for normal sleep.
This study, published in Current Biology, found that all humans appear to express core human sleep patterns. While studying groups of people from the Hadza of Tanzania, the San of Namibia, and the Tsimane of Bolivia, researchers found that although we share similar sleeping patterns, insomnia was rare among these groups.
In comparison, approximately 20 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia, so what’s going on here? Some believe that stress is what keeps so many of us up, which isn’t a far stretch. But researchers also believe that sleep temperature plays a vital role. More importantly, falling environmental temperature is integral to sleep.
Our modern lifestyles allow us to set the thermostat, maintaining a constant temperature. Even if that temperature is set below normal daytime levels, as recommended, a declining ambient temperature may be needed to achieve more consistent sleep-wake cycles. As the researchers stated, we may be disrupting ancient patterns, in relation to both light and temperature.

It’s not just our bodies that need to stay cool

A cooling pillow mat can help you sleep better
In order to achieve restorative sleep, our core temperature needs to be optimally controlled. And our brains also need to remain fairly cool. Those who suffer from insomnia, for instance, often experience increased metabolism in the brain’s frontal cortex.
Within one study, as reported by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, researchers found that a cooling cap helped those with insomnia. This study focused on the benefits of a process known as “cerebral hypothermia” and its effect on sleep quality. Researchers found that when wearing a cooling cap, subjects with insomnia slept nearly as well as healthy individuals without insomnia.
If you do struggle to fall asleep, you can source cooling pillow mats that help some individuals fall asleep. You can also try valerian root. It’s a popular alternative sleep remedy. If you lay awake worrying, start to practice effective stress management techniques during the day, including meditation.
The takeaway: Please do not underestimate the importance of quality sleep. From memory consolidation to tissue repair, this period is critical for our health. If you often awake in a sweat, start sleeping with your feet outside the covers — see if it helps! Remember, optimal sleep equals optimal health. After all, as the great Dalai Lama once said, “Sleep is the best meditation.”
— Krista Hillis

This Lemon, Ginger And Honey Cold And Flu Remedy Works

Natural flu remedy

I enjoy finding and using more natural remedies for different ailments. I am a pretty healthy person, but there are those times during cold and flu season that I can come down with a cold. We never know what we’re going to come in contact with when it comes to germs. That’s why I keep this recipe in the refrigerator so I can use it at the first signs of a cold or the flu.
This mix is easy to use when I’m feeling under the weather. I can get it out of the refrigerator, heat some water and add two to three tablespoons of the mix to my mug. It starts working right away when I start sipping it. I get quick relief from coughing due to the honey. It also soothes my sore throat and is a great cough suppressant. The lemon helps reduce inflammation. Ginger is great for settling upset stomachs, nausea and vomiting.

Cold and Flu Remedy Ingredients

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Lemon, ginger and honey cold and flu remedy Feature Photo
  • 3 lemons washed well and sliced thin
  • 6 inches of ginger peeled and sliced thin
  • Raw honey

Equipment

  • 12 oz mason jar with a lid

Instructions

1. Gather the ingredients and the mason jar.
Lemon, ginger and honey cold and flu remedy Photo 2
2. Wash the lemons and peel the ginger. Slice them very thin.
Lemon, ginger and honey cold anad flu remedy Photo 3
3. Layer the lemon and ginger alternately in the jar.
Lemon, ginger and honey cold and flu remedy Photo 4
4. Pour honey into the jar and allow it to settle over the lemon and ginger. Continue filling until the jar is filled to the top.
Lemon, ginger and honey cold and flu remedy PHoto 5
5. Seal the jar tightly and store in the refrigerator. The mix will start to turn into a thin jelly.
When needed, put two to three tablespoons of the mix in a mug with hot water. Make sure to get a few pieces of the lemon and the ginger as well. Allow it to steep for at least three to four minutes before taking a sip.
— Leilani Hampton

Salt Water Up Your Nose


I suspect that most of you have a regular personal hygiene routine. I’m guessing that you probably shower, brush your teeth, wash your face, brush your hair, and shave some part of your body on a regular basis. For all of the cleaning and grooming that we do, one of the dirtiest and most contaminated areas of our bodies often goes totally overlooked: the mucous membranes inside your nose.
The nasal passages act like an air filter, catching microscopic debris before it gets deep down into the lungs. That debris includes all sorts of airborne substances like dust, mold, pollen, and microorganisms like viruses and bacteria. The nasal passages and sinuses cavities do have a fairly effective self-cleaning system, whereby debris gets trapped in mucus which dries out, clumps up, and eventually falls out… or gets picked out. It’s ok to admit it… we all do it.
Before we go on, a quick fun fact: When speaking with patients about their bodies, it often helps to use medical or scientific words to help decrease awkwardness that people sometimes feel. However, other than “dried nasal mucus,” there is no fancy medical term for “booger.”
So, other than nose picking, and using a tissue when we have allergies or a cold, most of us never think to clean our nasal passages — but we should. It’s a very simple thing to run a bit of salt water through your nasal passages, and I’d suggest that this should become a regular part of your routine, right along with brushing your teeth and washing your face.
In many countries, using a “neti pot” to irrigate the nasal passages with salt water is a routine part of daily hygiene. All over the world, neti pots sit on bathroom counters right next to the soap and toothbrushes. In my practice, I frequently recommend nasal irrigation for a number of different upper respiratory problems.
Nasal irrigation tends to work best for the following conditions:
1) Chronic rhinosinusitis: This condition involves inflammation in the nasal passages and the sinuses with mucous discharge that can drip through the nose or back down the throat. We also use the term “chronic nasal congestion” to refer to nasal stuffiness without significant mucous discharge.
2) Viral rhinitis: This is the medical term for a common cold and all the unpleasant symptoms that go along with it.

3) Allergic rhinosinusitis:
This refers to inflammation in the upper respiratory tract that is triggered by allergic exposure to airborne particulates.
The salt water solution floods the nasal cavities with water, and flushes out the particles that have accumulated there. This safe and simple process can give people significant relief. I’ve seen it help congested people breathe easy for the first time in years.
A study testing the effectiveness of nasal irrigation on chronic and recurrent sinusitis was recently published in the journal CMAJ. In this study, researchers put nearly 900 people with chronic or recurrent sinusitis on a treatment plan consisting of either “usual care,” nasal irrigation, steam inhalation, or a combination of steam inhalation and nasal irrigation. Researchers followed up with the patients after three and six months to assess changes to their symptoms.
The data demonstrated that compared to other interventions, nasal irrigation led to improvement in sinus symptoms. It also led sinusitis patients to use less over-the-counter medications, and appeared to decrease doctor visits for sinus related symptoms. Clearly, this ancient practice, still relatively unknown in the Western world, can offer some noteworthy benefits.
Making your own saline nasal irrigation solution at home couldn’t be simpler. Start with a cup of lukewarm water (distilled is preferred), and add ¼ teaspoon of finely ground, non-iodized salt. Many people like to add a punch of baking soda, as well. That’s it.
The solution is typically made on the spot, right in the neti pot itself. You can find an inexpensive one at your local pharmacy. In fact, right next to the neti pots, you’ll also see boxes of pre-packaged salt solutions that make the saline preparation even easier. Once you have your neti pot full of saline, you’re ready to irrigate:
– Stand at the the sink and lean forward, holding the neti pot in one hand.
– Tilt your head to one side and tuck your chin toward your chest.
– Position the spout of the net pot into the nostril and allow the solution to flow up into the nasal passage.
– Keep your mouth open… and stay calm. You can breathe through your mouth even as the saline flows through your nose.
– Continue to pour the solution until you feel it draining from the opposite side.
– Blow your nose gently into the sink to flush out any remaining saline.
– Repeat on the opposite side.
Now, if this sounds horrifying to you, it’s because you probably hate the feeling of getting water up your nose. Many people have had bad experiences with that in pools, lakes, or the ocean as a child. But never fear… irrigating your nasal passages feels nothing like getting water up your nose. Getting water up your nose unexpectedly is very unpleasant. Nasal irrigation is not uncomfortable. You can breathe during the process, and it’s actually very refreshing. It also does a great job of cleaning infectious organisms, mucus, and allergens out of your nose. So, if you have a chronic nasal congestion, allergies, or a cold… get yourself a neti pot and give it a try!
– Dr. Joshua Levitt

Monday, January 23, 2017

College Planning



Pennsylvania House Of Representatives
Stay Informed Photos Visit My Website Contact Me

 
 
Dear Neighbor,

You are cordially invited to my College Planning Fair from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26 at First Presbyterian Church of Lansdowne, 140 N. Lansdowne Ave. in Lansdowne.

At the College Planning Fair, students and parents will learn about saving for college, and will receive information about and assistance in completing applications for colleges and financial aid, which is more important than ever, thanks to increasing tuition at colleges and universities.

The event will include presenters from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the state Treasurer's Office, as well as representatives from several local colleges.

The PHEAA presenter will provide step-by-step instructions on how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. That application is a mandatory first step for most federal, state, local and individual college grants. The Treasurer's Office presenter will discuss college savings programs.

If you are interested in attending, please register by calling my office at (610) 259-7016 or by emailing mmcgrory@pahouse.net.

It is never too late or too early to start saving or preparing for college. I hope to see you there!

Sincerely,

Rep. Margo Davidson
 

 
 
 


Rep. Margo Davidson
D-164th District
Delaware County
website




 

PA House of Representatives Democratic Caucus
 




 

 
 
 

Drink Apple Cider Vinegar At Night To Stop Leg Cramps, Lower Blood Sugar And More

Drink apple cider vinegar at night for health benefits


Last night, I made a big bowl of quick-pickled beets alongside some homemade falafels — so good! Whenever I’m aiming to quickly “pickle” cabbage, radishes or whatever else is on the menu, apple cider vinegar is always my right-hand man.
Being someone who drinks boatloads of kombucha, I’m fond of vinegar-based foods — but it wasn’t always that way. As I introduced new foods into my diet and significantly changed my eating habits, foods that were once a “no thank-you” are now a “yes please!”
If I were to tell you to drink a wee bit of apple cider vinegar at night, would you think I was going a bit overboard? If so, I can completely relate. I would have never shot back vinegar four to five years ago, but now it’s exciting knowing I can consciously make the choice to better my  health. Here’s the exciting part — you can too!

Apple cider vinegar is a treat for the body

Research regarding the use of apple cider vinegar for positive health is well-documented. From weight loss to diabetes, this sour-tasting liquid is a natural remedy that should be included in everyone’s health regimen. More specifically, consume apple cider vinegar before bed each night.
Not only will a “bedtime drink” encourage new, healthy habits, but it will also promote fullness. This is ideal for individuals who tend to snack at night. It promotes sustainable weight loss and optimal health. If you’re not convinced, here is how a daily intake of apple cider vinegar can benefit your health, starting today.
Exclusive: Everyday Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar

Balances blood sugar

Unfortunately, diabetes has continued to affect the lives of millions. In 2012, nearly 30 million Americans were living with diabetes‚ with more than eight million undiagnosed cases. Each year, the number of Americans diagnosed with this condition increases by 1.4 million — and this issue continues to grow.
Based on its ability to lower post-meal and fasting glucose levels, this nightly regimen is highly recommended for those suffering from this disease. More importantly, consuming apple cider vinegar before bed can reduce next-morning fasting glucose levels.
Within one key study, published in Diabetes Care, researchers focused on healthy adults, diabetics and pre-diabetics. They found that apple cider vinegar improved glucose readings across all three groups. After consuming less than an ounce, researchers observed noticeable effects after consuming a white bagel and orange juice, in comparison to when subjects consumed the same meal but drank a placebo.
The individuals with pre-diabetes improved glucose levels by nearly 50 percent. Those with diabetes reduced their blood glucose concentration by 25 percent. With that being said, you do not need to be a diabetic to benefit from improved blood sugar levels. As you better control fluctuating blood glucose levels, you support a longer life span.

Fights muscle cramps

Drink apple cider vinegar at night to prevent leg cramps
Whether you’re going to bed with leg or menstrual cramps, apple cider vinegar can work a treat. For those who suffer from leg cramps, for instance, this can be caused by a number of factors. Perhaps it a nutrient deficiency, such as a lack of potassium — an essential mineral for muscle health.
Potassium-rich apple cider vinegar can close this nutritional gap. It reduces one’s risk of developing muscle cramps, while alleviating the pain associated with pre-existing cramps. The same is true for those awful monthly menstrual cramps. An increased intake of calcium and potassium help relax the muscles within the uterus.

Sheds those stubborn pounds

We are currently facing an epidemic that is one of the key driving forces behind a large spectrum of diseases. With so many trendy diets and weight-loss fads, you need to ask yourself this: if these “solutions” truly worked, why are so many individuals still struggling with their weight?
There is no better alternative than a healthy, balanced lifestyle — starting with your diet. When you actually make the choice to change what you put in your body, results will follow. In addition to more local, organic produce, nuts, seeds and probiotic-rich foods, apple cider vinegar can help you further your weight loss efforts.
As mentioned above, this natural remedy helps regulate blood glucose levels. In turn, it will help control cravings and enhance satiety. Within one study, researchers studied the main component of vinegar — acetic acid. The researchers found that after consuming 15 or 30 milliliters of vinegar daily for 12 weeks, symptoms of metabolic syndrome improved.
Overall, in comparison to the placebo group, both vinegar groups experienced a reduction in body weight. They also reduced body mass index, decreased both visceral fat and waist circumference and lowered levels of serum triglycerides. Researchers concluded that daily intake could reduce obesity and prevent metabolic complications.

Soothes a sore throat

Drink apple cider vinegar at night to soothe a sore throat
Nothing is worse than a sore, scratchy throat. Luckily, when you become ill, apple cider vinegar can come to your rescue. Far too often, as soon as symptoms surface, individuals rush to their local pharmacy for some good old fashion over-the-counter medication. More often than not, these drugs only mask symptoms, increasing your risk of adverse effects.
Apple cider vinegar offers potent antibacterial properties, helping you target an irritated and inflamed throat. Not only will gargling with apple cider vinegar target problematic bacteria, but when consumed, this remedy can help restore an optimal pH in the body.
The next time you have a sore throat, if you don’t want to drink vinegar, combine one to two tablespoons with water. Gargle this combination, helping to naturally disinfect your mouth and throat. If you’re going to take this route, gargling with warm salt water can also help.

Which apple cider vinegar should I choose?

Like any product on the market, there’s always an array of options — so which do you choose?
Of course, the price tag often influences a buyer’s decision, but when it comes to something like apple cider vinegar, splurge for a higher-quality option. The first thing to look for is raw and organic. Next, pay attention to the bottle. Go for glass, since plastic packaging can leach into the vinegar itself.
If you see something funky floating around on the bottom, that’s good! This is what’s called “the mother.” It is a direct result of fermentation. This is what offers key enzymes and live bacteria, supporting your gut health. In turn, it supports your overall well-being. On that note, make sure the vinegar is unpasteurized, which ensures that healthy bacteria survives.

Start the new year off right with this new habit

It’s a new year, so why not take this opportunity to truly improve your health? Baby steps quickly turn into leaps and bounds, trust me on that one. As you begin to incorporate new, healthy habits, they will become normal aspects of your everyday life.
Starting tonight, dilute one tablespoon in a large glass of water. You can also incorporate it into your nighttime tea. Regardless how you approach this new regimen, get it down the hatch and start reaping the rewards!

— Krista Hillis

Drink This Chilean Tea To Cleanse Your Liver And More


Boldo tea from Chile can cleanse your liver and more

Medicinal teas have experienced a boom in recent years. Green tea, chamomile tea, chaga tea, rooibos tea — they’ve all had their moment in the alternative health spotlight. But what about a little old something called boldo tea?
Boldo tea certainly deserves its moment in the sunshine. Grown in the central regions of Chile, boldo is characterized by broad leaves and small, round fruit. Small beginnings, but boldo may just be the next big thing in the medicinal tea world.
Boldo has a unique, mildly bitter taste, which as we know often indicates the therapeutic properties of certain foods. It can be sipped by itself or blended with another popular South American drink called yerba mate. It has long been recognized as healthy in the southern regions of South America after a Chilean shepherd purportedly discovered that the health of his flock significantly improved after grazing on boldo leaves. Since that point, people have used the tea of this humble bush to ensure anything from healthy digestion to improved liver function. Here are seven health benefits of boldo tea that will have you shouting, “where is my cup of boldo?!”

Nutrients

Boldo tea contains a wide range of health-promoting phytochemicals, including camphor, limonene, boldine, coumarin and beta-pinene. These naturally-occurring nutrients belong to a group of compounds called antioxidants, a term which I’m sure you’re very familiar with. As you know, antioxidants prevent and even reverse damage to your cells caused by the oxidative activity of free radicals.

Inflammation

Boldo essential oil has long been used as a potent anti-inflammatory treatment, meaning boldo tea can provide the same (if slightly diluted) anti-inflammatory effects. Boldo tea can be used to treat various forms of inflammation, including that of the liver, stomach, intestines and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. If you live an inflammatory lifestyle, which you almost certainly do if you eat a typical Western diet or live a typical American life, you may want to get your hands on some boldo tea.

Infection

Boldo leaves are thought to contain natural compounds that inhibit microbial activity. This means that they can help to treat and prevent infections both on the surface of your skin and inside your digestive system. This antimicrobial effect has earned boldo tea a reputation for parasite control. It is believed to be effective against worms and other parasites living in the gastrointestinal tract. Boldo tea can also be used to treat colds, syphilis and gonorrhea.

Digestion

Boldo tea can help digestion
Boldo tea can be used to treat anything from mild indigestion to food poisoning. Under normal operating conditions, boldo tea can help to stimulate the secretion of bile from the liver. In turn, this speeds up breakdown and metabolization of food in the stomach. This ensures that you process your meals efficiently and that there’s a reduction in stationary food in the stomach. The result is a lower risk of digestive issues, such as gas, bloating and heartburn.
The leaves of the boldo tree also provide a mild antispasmodic effect on the stomach as well. This makes it a great choice for naturally alleviating stomach cramps and general intestinal irritation caused by an overactive or inflamed bowel muscle. Combined with its mild laxative effect, boldo tea can promote or restore healthy bowel function.
At the other end of the spectrum, the antimicrobial effect of boldo can even ward off or diminish the symptoms of conditions like diarrhea, vomiting and food poisoning. Sipping away on a strong cup of boldo may help to kill off the bacteria or virus causing your stomach problems. At the same time, it can help to keep you hydrated and provide a range of vitamins and minerals.

Joint pain

Boldo tea is a mild stimulant, meaning it stimulates blood circulation and thereby aids in the healing of painful aches around joints and tendons. The essential oil of boldo leaves has historically been used as a topical treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of chronic joint pain. By ingesting the distillate of boldo leaves in the form of a tea, you may provide your aching joints with some much-needed relief.

Immunity

Boldo tea can help boost immunity
Boldo tea is a natural immune booster. The antimicrobial effect of the boldo leaves assists your immune system in knocking off and eliminating harmful bacteria from the body. In this way, the tea leaves relieve pressure from your already overloaded immune system. Boldo tea has also been shown to provide anti-inflammatory and antipyretic abilities, thus helping to diminish fevers associated with the flu and colds. The high concentration of certain antioxidants in boldo leaves, namely boldine and catechin, can also give your immune system a welcome reprieve. They reduce cell damage and thereby lower risk of cellular infection.

Diuretic

Boldo tea may increase urination in both frequency and quantity. This makes it a mild diuretic, helping to prevent the buildup of uric acid in the body. It also eliminates excess sodium, water and bile that can otherwise accumulate and cause harm. Adequate frequency of urination can help to regulate blood pressure, enhance appetite, aid digestion and prevent the formation of gases in the gastrointestinal tract.

Research on boldo tea

Unfortunately, because boldo is relatively new to the Western world, there have been few scientific studies to back many of the health claims associated with this curious plant. There is, however, considerable anecdotal evidence, the majority of which is overwhelmingly positive. More research will certainly uncover a wide range of beneficial uses for boldo leaves and tea. With this in mind, however, always treat new foods, such as boldo, with a measure of caution. If in doubt, check with your health practitioner first. And don’t go glugging back cups of boldo tea like there’s no tomorrow!

Getting your hands on some boldo

Boldo tea has many health benefits
Because boldo is so new to America and many other Western countries, you may have some difficulty locating a good batch of boldo tea. Don’t expect to stroll into your local supermarket or health food store and see it sitting there on the shelves — it may be a few more years before that happens!
Luckily, however, there’s always online shopping. Most large online herb and supplement retailers stock boldo tea, but don’t just settle for any old boldo. Do your research and seek out manufacturers with a solid reputation. If possible, find a certified organic brand to ensure you’re not ingesting all manner of sprays and harmful chemicals with your tea. Look at reviews from other buyers and keep your eyes peeled for certifications such as USDA Organic. All boldos are not created equal!

Preparation

As with most teas, preparing a cup of boldo tea is a simple affair. Place one teabag in a cup of water that is just below boiling temperature. You should be able to quickly dip your finger in the water without immediately scalding it. Cover with a saucer or something flat and heat-resistant, and leave to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Allowing the tea bag to steep for longer will obviously make for a stronger brew. If the bitterness becomes too much, add in some raw honey once the tea cools in order to sweeten things up.
Because boldo is a stimulant, stick to lower doses and don’t drink it on a regular basis. Your cup of boldo should be an occasional healthy treat, not a go-to daily beverage. Enjoy!
Liivi Hess

New Research Reveals How Brussels Sprouts And Walnuts May Combat Alzheimer’s

A new study shows that Brussels sprouts and walnuts may help those with Alzheimer's Feature photo
If you’re not already eating Brussels sprouts and walnuts, now may be a great time to a start. Researchers believe that the vitamin A and antioxidants contained in these foods may fend off the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

The impact of Alzheimer’s disease

Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease. It’s the most common form of dementia and currently affects more than 5.4 million Americans, typically those who are over the age of 65. The Alzheimer’s Association says the disease is frequently characterized by loss of memory, changes in behavior and reduced ability to complete daily tasks.
When someone you love has Alzheimer’s, it can feel like they are slowly fading away or losing their personality. The disease can have an enormous impact on families and caregivers — both financially and emotionally. Here are some of the early symptoms of the condition:
  • Memory loss
  • Mood changes
  • Poor judgement
  • Misplacing items
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Reduced problem-solving ability
  • Irritability, depression or paranoia
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Trouble with vision and spatial relationships
  • Struggles with vocabulary and keeping a conversation going
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease with no known cure, but research has indicated a clear connection between lifestyle, diet and neurological function.

Brussels sprouts and the brain

Vitamin A in Brussels sprouts may combat dementia
Researchers have already explored the relationship between supplementation and Alzheimer’s disease, with positive results. In several studies, researchers have found that vitamin C, vitamin E and antioxidants can reduce the chance of developing the disease. And if you already have it, the right foods and lifestyle can slow the progress of cognitive decline.
Inspired by the rich vitamin content of Brussels sprouts and its effects on the brain, researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland are creating a “supercharged” version of vitamin A. Scientists hope that the synthetic substance will treat a number of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s. If all goes well, human trials will begin in two years.
Here’s how it works: When you eat foods containing vitamin A — like Brussels sprouts — it is converted into retinoic acid by the body. It then interacts with receptors in the brain and works with the central nervous system. Researchers believe retinoic acid boosts the number of neurons and the connections between them, positively affecting neurological and psychiatric issues.
“When we eat brussel sprouts, it increases the amount of this acid in the brain,” said Professor Peter McCaffery of the University of Aberdeen to the Evening Times. “We are basically trying to create a massively amplified version of what vitamin A already does for the body.  

Walnuts also protect brain health

Walnuts and Brussels sprouds may fight off dementia
Brussel sprouts and other vitamin A-rich foods may not be the only answer. Recently an international team of researchers in India made a link between eating a handful of walnuts a day and slowing the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. The group found that the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of walnuts may also help prevent new cases of Alzheimer’s from developing in healthy individuals.
In a prior study, researchers found that walnut extract provides protective effects against oxidative stress and cell death. More specifically, walnuts inhibited amyloid-beta fibrillization, a beta-induced oxidative stress which causes damage to the brain. In this most recent study, researchers discovered that walnuts provided to mice had beneficial effects on memory, learning skills and even anxiety.
Dr. Abha Chauhan, head of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, said the preliminary findings look promising. “Oxidative damage and inflammation are two prominent features in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and many other neurodegenerative diseases,” he told the Hindustan Times. “Walnuts are very rich in anti-inflammatory components and antioxidants.”
To get the brain-boosting benefits of walnuts, try to eat a handful or a 1/4 cup every day. That’s the amount of walnuts that researchers used to find positive results in their study.

Eating well to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

A new study shows that Brussels sprouts may help those with Alzheimer's


It can be heartbreaking to watch someone you love forget important memories or how to do things on their own — but there is hope. One way to reduce the risk of dementia and slow its progress is by eating foods that ease oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. The Alzheimer’s Society recommends the Mediterranean diet, full of fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Here are some other recommended foods to try:
  • Olive oil: polyphenols improve learning and memory
  • Coconut oil: ketones provide an energy source for brain cells
  • Salmon: omega-3 fatty acids reduce risk of age-related cognitive decline
  • Turmeric: curcumin provides anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body
  • Beans: protein and fiber help to keep your mind sharp when eaten every other day
  • Nuts and berries: healthy fats and antioxidants help protect the brain, according to the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay)
  • Carrots, spinach, broccoli, collards, tomatoes, sprouts: all rich in vitamin A, which the body converts into retinoic acid
If you’re trying to protect brain health, there are some food items you should avoid. These include fast food, processed food, white flour, refined sugar, cheese, butter and red meat. In excessive amounts, these foods increase inflammation, oxidative stress and cell death in the body — the sworn enemies of dementia.
Remember: proactivity is always better than reactivity. Once dangerous diseases take hold, it can be difficult (if not impossible) to reverse them. It’s important to do whatever you can to make sure you’re sufficiently nourished with whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods. Eat well — your body and mind will thank you for it, now and into the future.
— Hilary Lebow

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