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Natural Health

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7/27/2015

Coconut water is an antioxidant-rich substance that helps remove toxins from the body. It can aid in maintaining proper blood flow and sugar levels. Since it works to keep your body healthy, you’ll also see this reflected in your physical appearance. Coconut water can also improve the health of your skin and hair. Add this healthful beverage to your diet to reap these awesome benefits.

coconut water

1. Aid Digestion

Coconut water can improve your digestion. If you have a healthy digestion, your body can eliminate waste and release toxins efficiently. Your digestive system supports your overall well-being because it helps break down the nutrients you get from the foods you eat. Anything that supports your digestive system is always good, and coconut water does that effectively.

2. Weight Loss

Obesity is one of the leading health issues in America. People are trying hard to lose weight. Coconut oil can help your weight loss endeavours. Since it acts as a diuretic, it is very effective in helping you lose weight. Coconut water also hydrates the body well.  If you’re properly hydrated, your body will store less fat.  It can help you lose excess water weight, which is very helpful if you are trying to shed a few pounds.

3. Balance Glucose

Coconut water has nutritional properties that help your body manage your blood sugar levels, which makes it great for diabetic patients. It has high fibers content, and it is an alkaline pH food, which makes it great for coping up with the acid-producing factors in the body.

Poor blood circulation is one of the effects of diabetes. Coconut water can improve blood circulation by widening blood vessels. This gives the patient relief from these problems. Abdominal weight gain is another effect of diabetes. Coconut water can help you avoid overeating. It is filled with essential salts, minerals and other nutrients. It also has no cholesterol.

4. Stimulate Hair Growth

Poor blood circulation is one of the leading causes for hair loss. Since coconut water can improve your blood circulation, it can also remedy problems with thinning hair. With the proper blood flow, your hair follicles will be stronger and the density of your hair will increase.

Coconut water also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that will protect your scalp from dandruff and lice, both of which hinder hair growth. If you massage your hair with coconut water every day, you can tame rough and unruly hair. It also has hydrating properties; serving as a natural conditioner it will make your hair smooth, shiny and extra-soft.

5. Anti-Aging

Drink coconut water on a regular basis to keep your skin fresh, glowing and healthy. Coconut water is rich in zinc, iodine, selenium, manganese, sulphur and boron. These elements protect your body from cell damage caused by toxins. This will keep your body and skin looking young and vibrant. Coconut water also has cytokinins, which are phytohormones that can protect your body from aging and cancer.

6. Blemish Buster

If you have acne problems, coconut water can easily become your best friend. It can help eliminate acne and blemishes, dark spots and wrinkles. Mix coconut water with 25 grams of turmeric paste, wash your face with this mixture to eliminate stubborn acne.

7. Skin Hydration

Dehydration is very common during the summer due to the heat. Your skin can easily get dry or rough. Since coconut water is an excellent hydrating agent, use it as a simple face rinse to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.


Vaileria Dennis is a health and beauty expert. She has written various articles on beauty and makeup. In recent years, she has had the opportunity to learn about food and nutrition. She is always excited to share her ideas related to personal care, beauty tips and skin science.




7/23/2015

It seems like everyone is watching their salt intake these days. But, should they? Maybe not. Here’s why you should fill your salt shaker with natural sea salt, and why you should be eating more, not less, of this wonderful mineral.

salt shaker

What You Need to Know About Refined Salt

Salt is sodium chloride. Commercial refined salt has had all, or nearly all, of its minerals stripped and is ground into tiny particles. Because heavily ground salt has a tendency to stick or clump, manufacturers add anti-caking agents so that it flows freely. Food-grade salt is 97 percent sodium chloride, with a small amount of iodine added.

Years ago, iodine deficiency was identified as an epidemic, so salt manufacturers began adding iodine to their table salt. It was a successful public health initiative and an important step toward minimizing iodine deficiency—something that results in hypothyroidism, mental retardation and other health problems.

Benefits of Eating Salt

Salt has many benefits for the body. For example, if you don’t consume enough salt, you may suffer from chronic, low-grade, inflammation. The body requires about 1.5 teaspoons of salt per day, or 8 grams. If this isn’t part of your diet, your body shifts into a sort of “emergency mode,” sparing sodium so that it can maintain fluid balance and blood pressure.

When this doesn’t work, an enzyme called renin and a hormone called aldosterone rise. This is what starts various chronic inflammatory processes.

A lack of salt can result in dehydration, as sodium and chloride are important electrolytes. Aside from adding flavor to your meals, you could make electrolyte drinks. A simple concoction of lime or lemon juice with salt added—and a little sugar—can help keep you energized.

Other benefits of drinking salt water include better sleep, improved detoxification, bone health, better skin health, lower blood sugar, reduction in muscle cramps, healthier veins and even weight loss.

Sea Salt and Trace Minerals

Natural sea salt contains all of the trace minerals that nature endowed it with. Processing of sea salt is usually minimal, with evaporation being the most popular method. As sea water is evaporated, the salt is left behind. It can then be cleaned of debris and packaged for sale.

Sea salt is usually not ground as finely as table salt because no fillers or anti-caking agents are added. Different sea salts offer different benefits in the form of mineral impurities. These impurities change the color and taste of the salt.

For example, a pink salt, like Himalayan salt, is mined in Pakistan and contains trace amounts of iron oxide—rust—which is responsible for its pink color. It also contains 84 different trace elements.

Grey salt may contain higher amounts of trace minerals, which account for its color. However, it also has higher water content, making it a “wet salt.” This makes it ideal for some cooking applications where finishing salt is desirable.

Natural Sea Salt vs. Refined Salt

The major difference between table salt and sea salt is the number of additives that are used in table salt. Iodine is also added to table salt, so if you’re worried about iodine deficiency, you should consider taking in more salt with iodine added.

If you’d rather not have additives, like anti-caking agents, or you prefer chunky salt to ground salt, opt for sea salt.

Don’t sweat the differences in minerals—there’s not much of a difference between table salt and sea salt in this respect. Buy salt based on the taste your prefer.

A Word of Warning: High Blood Pressure

A lot of doctors are still telling patients to lower their salt intake if they have high blood pressure. This is because some older studies suggest that excess salt consumption may raise blood pressure. However, newer studies show that high blood pressure may actually be due to insufficient potassium and magnesium levels.

Decreasing your sodium intake might help, but you might also need to increase your intake of fish, start a magnesium supplement or potassium supplement (contact your doctor before taking supplemental potassium), and eat more bananas.

At the end of the day, eating salt is something that you will enjoy and it’s good for you. Don’t shy away from it, and make sure that you’re getting at least 8 grams a day to maintain your body’s most basic needs.


Jenny Bennett is a dietician. She loves sharing her health insights on the web. Her articles appear on health and wellness websites.



7/20/2015

Essential oils are the tiny droplets contained in glands, glandular hairs, sacs or veins within various parts of a plant. These droplets are the essence or fragrant part of the plant, which are complex mixtures of naturally occurring chemicals that have a multi-faceted role within each plant. These oils can be used for physical and emotional healing via aromatherapy.

essential oil bottles

Each essential oil contains a unique set of benefits which the body and mind respond to. Essential oils enter our bloodstream through inhalation or absorption through skin. They then circulate throughout the body until they’re eliminated as perspiration and other bodily waste.

Discover how these five essential oils can aid in the healing process. All of the oils mentioned here are easily accessible and reasonably priced.

Lavender (Lavandula angustilfolia)

Balancing | Antiseptic | Antianxiety

Lavender essential oil is distilled from the flowers of the lavender plant. In small amounts lavender can calm, open sinuses, lift mood and repel some insects.

Applications: bath, diffuser, inhaler, massage, room mist, steam inhalation

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)

Respiration | Antibacterial | Antiviral

The essential oil of eucalyptus is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the tree. Use eucalyptus to open breathing passages, boost energy, relieve pain, as a disinfectant and repel insects.

Applications: bath, diffuser, inhaler, massage, room mist, steam inhalation

Orange (Citrus cinensis)

Tranquility | Antiseptic | Antianxiety

Orange essential oils are pressed from the peels. It has a calming effect, improves alertness and relieves emotional tension.

Applications: bath, diffuser, inhaler, massage, room mist

Peppermint (Mentha peperita)

Digestion | Antibacterial | Antiviral

The essential oil of peppermint is distilled from the whole plant. Peppermint is known to relieve nausea, open airways, increase alertness, reduce inflammation and repel insects.

Applications: diffuser, inhaler, spray mist and steam inhalation

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Basic-Aid | Antifungal | Anti-inflammatory

Tea tree essential oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the tree. It is often used to open sinuses, relieve pain, as a disinfectant and for healing minor abrasions.

Applications: bath, diffuser, inhaler, massage, room mist, steam inhalation

Ready to add these essential oils to your natural health routine, but aren't sure where to start? Diffusers and spritzes are some of the easiest ways to add the benefits of aromatherapy oils to daily life. Try these simple combinations that are perfect for summertime.


Video from YouTube content creator TiffyQuake.

This information is for educational purposes only. Dilute essential oils. Do not use internally. Keep out of the reach of children.


Desiree BellDesiree Bell is a natural lifestyle creator who explores, blogs, inspires and teaches people to be resourcefully creative. Find more inspiration on her blog.



7/17/2015

Doctor Frank KingArmed with a passion for natural health, real food and self-empowerment, doctor Frank King is working hard to help people take control of their health in his book The Healing Revolution: Eight Essentials to Awaken Abundant Life, Naturally. A naturopath and chiropractor, King started his first private practice in 1979 and is currently based in Asheville, North Carolina. Here, we’ve taken the time to ask him a few questions about his outlook on healing naturally and what it means to take control of your health.

Q: What empowered you to take control of your health?

A: Like anyone else, I have experienced obstacles throughout my life. Looking back at each crossroad along the way, I was able to connect the dots and see the bigger picture that natural health empowerment was the only way for me.

It began when I was just 5 years old. I had some health problems that kept me from living a childhood that every parent wants for their children. In fact, I was so weak and frail that my parents were worried that I might not survive. I was tired and lethargic all the time, and I couldn’t put any meat on my skinny bones. After many doctor’s visits, my parents took me to an unconventional doctor who was known to be successful with some of the more unusual cases. It didn’t take long for him to discover that my issue was severe food allergies! My parents changed my diet and I began experiencing results. My energy returned and I was able, for the first time, to run and play and keep up with the other kids. I gained confidence and became more competitive. I was finally able to become the kid that every parent wishes for their child, and all it took was an understanding of my body, food, and nature, and how they are designed to work together.

I’ve been practicing and teaching these natural health techniques and principles for the past 40 years. This knowledge, like all knowledge, is self-empowerment. I want everyone to enjoy abundant health. This is the foundation of what naturally became The Healing Revolution.

Q: What is The Healing Revolution?

A: The Healing Revolution is a mindset. It is about personal empowerment. It is about awakening the incredible healing powers within each person by balancing the eight essential areas of life: the human spirit, nutrition, water, sleep, fitness, nature, relationships and hands-on healing techniques. Once you recognize that the power is yours, following the eight essentials becomes natural. The key to understanding these essentials is found in the foundational truths of The Healing Revolution. Everything else builds upon the following truths.

• You are designed to live long and well.
• The power to heal is within you.
• There is no such thing as an incurable disease.
• You are a whole being: the health of your body, mind and spirit are intertwined.
• Your lifestyle choices have a significant impact upon your health and happiness.
• Many of today’s foods, activities and lifestyle choices inhibit your body’s ability to heal and restore itself.
• A natural lifestyle removes negative health inhibitors.
• A natural lifestyle frees the healing powers and potential within you.
• You need not work harder, but smarter, by making small changes in the Eight Essential areas.
• Your attitude will determine your altitude. To reach the highest heights, have an open mind and a positive attitude.
• Your body is the doctor and the healer.

Farmers Market 

Q: Our diet plays an important role in our overall health. What are some of your favorite health-boosting foods during the summer?

A: I believe the principles are the same, no matter the season.

• Eat fresh, whole, and organic foods whenever possible.
• Grow your own vegetables and fruits, based on what grows in your location. If it’s not feasible to have your own garden, take part in a community garden or local CSA, or shop at your local farmers market.
• Practice portion control by eating smaller meals more often. The summertime is a great time to enjoy the delicious simplicity of picking right off the vine. No cooking needed! Think blueberries, raspberries and melons.
• Eat fermented foods.
• Supplement your diet with my life-giving formula, called “Life Formula.” It is certified organic and contains 71 ingredients that support whole health nutrition and succeeds where our busy lives may sometimes keep us from getting all the nutrients our body needs.
• Drink more water. Oftentimes, when people feel they are hungry, they are really thirsty. Quenching thirst will often take away hunger.

Q: In your book you say that many people are dehydrated and don’t even know it. What are some of the health risks associated with not drinking enough water? How does diet play a role?

A: The third essential is water, but not just any water. Pure, spring water is my choice, and plenty of it. How do you know how much you should drink? Your body will tell you. Of course, we all get busy and sometimes don’t drink enough. How do you know if you’re dehydrated? Your body will tell you that, too. Try my three easy and free tests that you can do in your own home, or even at work:

1. Urine color: Urine may be deep yellow when you awake in the morning. Otherwise it should be clear to pale yellow. Darker urine is a sign of dehydration. (Unless you are taking “B” complex vitamins; then your urine will be more yellow.)

2. Skin pinch test: Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and hold for three seconds. Release. The ridge from the pinch should be gone in less than a second; otherwise you are likely dehydrated.

3. Tongue test: Take your index finger and rub the center of your tongue. It should feel smooth, like wet wax paper. If it feels rough, you are dehydrated.

Stationary Bike 

Q: In your book, you identify fitness as one of the eight essential areas people can fully integrate the whole mind, body and spirit. Do you have a fitness routine, and if so, what does it involve?

A: Fitness is one of my favorite essentials. And, believe it or not, I truly find that less is more. It’s all in your approach.

I begin with seven to 10 minutes a day of my “ETs” or “Energizing Techniques.” Then, all I need to do is 10 minutes of strength-training exercises, five days per week. These techniques include deep breathing, which is essential for oxygen (I call it Vitamin O) and blood flow in the body as well as lymphatic flow and digestive health. Quick bursts of maximum energy once or twice a week, doing sprints on foot or on a mobile or stationary bike, cause an increase in HGH, which is a naturally occurring chemical that keeps you young and vigorous. It is the fountain of youth! Read more about how deep breathing increases our oxygen intake in my blog.

The fitness chapter of my book comes with instructions on how to perform the ETs and other techniques that I developed from success with patience in over 40 years of practice. They are the most powerful fitness tools in The Healing Revolution. They revitalize and restore physical and mental health by using therapeutic postures, range of motion, breathing, stretching and contracting. They bring balance, coordination, muscle tone and strengthening of muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints, both extrinsically and intrinsically. Moreover, each muscle corresponds to an internal organ by way of acupuncture meridians and neural pathways, so your organ health is also improved by Energizing Techniques.


The Healing Revolution empowers everyone to reach their highest health potential and awaken their own abundant life. Find more free health education, how-to techniques and videos on the website, King Bio.



6/24/2015

Even if you can make a case for why another season is your favorite, there's no denying that summertime is simply delicious—sometimes literally, with local berries and farm-fresh tomatoes in the mix. But we all know it has a downside.

Bug bites, sunburn, dry skin, rashes and those annoying summer colds can all combine to land on the side of Team Winter. But help may be closer than you think, and doesn't require a trip to the pharmacy. Instead, hit up the farmers market, or maybe even your own garden. Soothe summer concerns with some of nature's top performers.

plantain

Soothe Insect Bites

Summer evenings are the stuff of nostalgia and yearning, but the reality can be less than lovely if you become the main course during a humid, bug-infested night. Fortunately, herbal remedies are abundant.

For insect bites, turn to fresh basil or plantain (which looks like a weed, but is definitely a power-packed remedy). Chew on a leaf and then apply it directly to the bite. Basil tends to be the better flavor, since plantain can be slightly bitter and grassy, but most likely, you'll find the weedy choice in the wild. Chewing helps to release each plant's anti-inflammatory properties, and the relief should be immediate.

oregano

Ease Rashes and Itching

Dry, irritated skin is a frequent summer complaint, thanks to hiking with bare legs, swimming in lake water, or just soaking up the skin-drying sunshine. If you're looking for a quick remedy, grab some oregano or thyme.

By mashing the fresh leaves into a paste and sprinkling in a bit of oatmeal and a few drops of water, you'll have a perfect quick fix for irritated skin. If you have any oregano left over, make tea, let cool, and spray on pets as a flea killer and anti-itch treatment. If you've opted for thyme, put the leaves and stems into a jar filled with vodka as a preservative; let sit overnight, and you'll have an anti-fungal wound wash for scrapes and minor cuts.

If you're dealing with dandruff or an itchy scalp because of sunshine and pool time, opt for fresh rosemary as a hair rinse. Just pour some boiling water over leaves and stems, let steep for at least 15 minutes (ideally longer, to increase strength), let cool and then pour over hair after shampooing.

stinging nettle

Get Allergy Relief

Much like plantain, stinging nettles are usually found through foraging, but they're cropping up more often at farmers markets, and make a tasty addition to pesto—plus, they pack a surprisingly high amount of protein.

But what they're known for most is allergy relief. Pick them using gloves (they weren't kidding when they named them "stinging") and dry the leaves for a week or so to create a truly soothing tea. If the concoction tastes a bit too bland or grassy for you, throw in some dried mint, which will also help as an energy booster to fight allergy fatigue.

In general, summer herbs are fantastically abundant, and it's likely that you'll have plenty available, whether you've picked some up at the farmers market or grow them yourself. So, use some for divine summer dishes, and save the rest for medicinal remedies. Maybe this will turn out to be your favorite season after all.


Elizabeth Millard is the author of Backyard Pharmacy: Growing Medicinal Plants in Your Own Yard. She and her partner Karla have an organic farm, Bossy Acres, in northern Minnesota.



6/15/2015

tongue

Tongue scraping is the Ayurvedic oral care practice that helps to remove bacteria, food debris, toxins and dead cells from the tongue’s surface. When our flora is balanced, these bacteria that live on the tongue help protect against oral health issues. Clinical studies have confirmed that using a tongue scraper on a daily basis reduces the bacteria that cause bad breath.

I scrape my tongue every day upon rising religiously. Why?

• When you sleep your body works hard to detox your entire system. Your digestive system pushes toxins to the top of your tongue, kindly asking you to take out the trash, meaning scrape the gunk off. You don’t want to re-ingest it! Scraping first thing in the morning clears the toxins improving your over all health and immune system.

• Things taste way better with a clean tongue.

• It really does keep breath smelling fresh!

tongue scrapers
Banyan Botanicals stainless tongue scraper (left) and Dr. Tungs scraper (right). Photo by Shar Veda.

I forgot my Banyan Botanicals ($8) tongue scraper last week on my trip to southern California to visit my cousin. After the second day, I could not stand the way my mouth tasted without scraping in the morning. Yuck! So I bought a Dr. Tungs ($7) scraper at Whole Foods.

The Dr. Tungs scraper, featured here with pink handles, cut my tongue on the first go—ouch! It’s much sharper and fatter than Banyan’s streamlined stainless steel scraper.  Although Banyan Botanicals’ scraper is a little more expensive, it is well worth the extra money spent.


Shar VedaShar Veda is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, Yoga Therapist, and herbalist living in Ashland, Oregon. She works with at risk teen-aged girls and offers compassionate health and lifestyle counseling anywhere in the world via Skype and or the good old-fashioned telephone. Shar has had the great gift of studying with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for nearly 20 years. However, it was her adopted grandma, Doe (English-American and Blackfoot Native), who instilled within her profound appreciation for the supreme power of loving touch, healing arts, and world family. Visit her website for a video, full bio, and photos or find her on Facebook!

 





6/10/2015

Not everyone who works out wants to spend more time at the gym if they can help it, which means that you have to pinpoint some smart ways to get the most out of every visit and hone your exercise routine for top results in the shortest time possible. If you learn the secrets of savvy workouts, it is perfectly possible to create a highly effective and efficient exercise routine which could take just thirty minutes, a few times a week.

The issue that many regular gym attendees have to contend with is that it's easy for your progress to plateau. When that happens, you may not get the results you're used to, which is why you may want to shake things up and work to boost the effectiveness of your routine. Please note, the tips and suggestions here are given based on the assumption that you already have an established workout routine and aren't diving in at the deep end. As you will know, fitness levels take time to rise and you have to build up your training regimen. Avoid trying to do too much too soon.

workout

Limit Workout Time

It might go against conventional thinking to suggest that spending less time at the gym for each workout session might improve your fitness levels, but after about 30 minutes of solid exercise the benefits of continuing start to diminish.

If you are spending more than 30 minutes working out, it’s likely that the intensity of your workout will be lower. Instead, try to work at a higher level of intensity for a shorter period of time.

Interval Intensity

If you‘re a regular at the gym, you’ve probably memorized your treadmill workout. At this point you may not be challenging your body as much as you used to during those familiar high-intensity spurts such as a sprint routine.

If you’re not finding the workout as exhausting, or difficult, as it used to be, mix things up by extending those intense intervals, increasing your speed and even shortening your recovery period in order to challenge your body once again.

Raise the Bar

The same scenario applies to strength training. You need to keep challenging your muscles when it comes to the amount of weight you are lifting.

As your strength improves, performing reps becomes easier and this often means that it takes longer to exhaust the muscles you’re targeting. If you aren’t feeling the fatigue after 10 reps like you used to, raise the bar and go with a heavier dumbbell. Heavier weights will decrease the amount of time you spend on weights, but if you don’t feel you’re ready to increase in weight, add more reps at the lower weight to continue challenging muscles.

pull-ups

Add Compound Exercises

If your current workout involves isolated muscle exercises like bicep curls, a great way to maximize your efficiency and reduce your workout time is to add a few compound exercises. These exercises target multiple muscle groups at the same time, so with a just a few of the right moves you could actually get a full-body workout in half the time.

Some great compound exercises that are worth incorporating into your routine include:

• Deadlifts
• Lunges
• Push-ups
• Squats
• Pull-ups
• Dips

Change Your Routine Regularly

If you stick to the same workout routine for any period of time, your body will start to adjust to the stress level. When that happens you won’t be getting as effective of a workout as you could be, or once did.

Mix up your routine to keep your body and mind interested in the task ahead. For strength training, look to change your routine about every couple of weeks. As for cardio, it is often better to cross-train rather than only running for every workout.

More Effective Circuits

There’s a common mistake when it comes to circuits: Many people tend to do multiple sets of the same exercise without a rest period between sets.

The problem with this approach? It doesn’t allow a sufficient recovery period for your muscles, which means that your workout isn’t as effective as it could be.

Try a different approach which involves doing multiple exercises in each set. This will enable you to achieve a more effective circuit where you don’t necessarily rest between exercises, but do give each muscle group a rest and take a small break between sets.

The end result is that you will get a great cardio workout while also doing your strength training, which will definitely boost the effectiveness and efficiency of your regular workout routine.


Lisa B. Sims is a fitness coach. She loves sharing her insights with others by posting online. Her articles appear mostly on health and fitness websites.






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