Monday, January 23, 2017

College Planning

Pennsylvania House Of Representatives
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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

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


Rep. Margo Davidson


Rep. Margo Davidson
D-164th District
Delaware County


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?!”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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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