Naturalife https://naturalife.org Natural Wellness Made Easy Wed, 21 Jun 2017 21:29:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 9 Incredible Health Benefits of Bone Broth https://naturalife.org/nutrition/bone-broth-health-benefits https://naturalife.org/nutrition/bone-broth-health-benefits#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 16:43:28 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=2509 Bone broth has an impressive list of health benefits thanks to its bio-available minerals and over 17 different amino acids.

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Bone broth has quickly become one of the most popular health-boosting additions to the kitchen table over the past 3-4 years.

But it’s not a new health fad.

In fact, throughout history societies have used bone broths extensively in their cooking.

From chicken soup to beef stew, bone broths were a staple of traditional diets in nearly every culture.

Bone broth was valued by traditional cultures because it’s packed with nutrients, easy to digest, rich in flavor, and loaded with restorative amino acids.

Preparing bone broths was also a way to use every part of the animal. So nothing was wasted.

In many ways, it’s a lost art. We’ve abandoned our traditional diet. And now it’s replaced with processed and packaged foods.

Only now, centuries later, are we realizing that there are significant health benefits to consuming bone broth.

Which is why this ancient technique is getting revived once again.

What is Bone Broth?

healthy beef bone broth

Bone broth, or stock, is made from boiling and then simmering bones, organs, marrow, ligaments, cartilage, and feet over a couple days.

Most recipes use an acid such as apple cider vinegar to help these components break down.

The slow simmer causes the bones and other components to release a wide range of healing compounds that we don’t normally get in our diet.

While it doesn’t sound very appetizing, the result is a tasty, yet nourishing broth.

What Makes Bone Broth So Healthy?

what makes bone broth so healthy infographicOur eating habits and farming techniques have dramatically changed since the pre-industrial era (before factories, mass-production, etc.).

Today it’s a lot less common to see people using the whole animal.

I bet if you mentioned liver or chicken feet to anyone, you’ll likely get a disgusted look in return.

That’s because we have strayed from our traditional cooking techniques. So it sounds alien.

The problem is, combined with unhealthy eating habits, many of us are severely deprived of nutrients that keep us healthy such as…

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    Gelatin

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    Chondroitin

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    Collagen

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    Proline

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    Glycine

All of which can be found in bone broth.

But that’s not all.

According to the researchers at the Weston A. Price Foundation, bone broth also contains minerals that are easily absorbed by your body (1).

Normally your body has a tough time getting minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sulphur, and phosphorus.

In bone broth, however, these minerals are readily absorbed by your digestive system.

With all the nutrients found in bone broth, it makes perfect sense that it delivers some impressive health benefits.

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1. Heals The Gut

how to restore your gut's health

There’s a seemingly endless list of substances today that can cause damage to your gut.

Between the pesticides in our food, overuse of antibiotics, and chemicals in processed foods, our gut is under attack more than ever.

Fortunately, the gelatin found in bone broth fantastic for healing the gut.

Gelatin heals the gut by repairing the intestinal lining and reducing inflammation caused by gut-related disease and food sensitivities.

One report in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, for example, found that gelatin can effectively boost intestinal health, integrity, and reduce intestinal inflammation (2).

Studies have also shown that people have digestive issues often have lower levels of collagen (3). And as you may recall, collagen is another component of bone broth.

2. Promotes Healthy Joints

a runner with healthy joints

The cartilage in your joints (along with some other structures) ensures your joints are well protected.

But this cartilage degrades as we age.

Over time, it can cause your bones to scrape up against one another every time you move. And as you could imagine, this causes a considerable amount of pain.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to give your body the materials it needs to repair and maintain your joints.

Bone broth is packed with substances that can help maintain your joints such as

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    Collagen

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    Chondroitin

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    Glucosamine

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    Gelatin

Collagen and chondroitin, for example, are some of the building blocks used to construct cartilage.

When you introduce these substances to the body, your joints can heal.

These joint-nurturing substances can make a big difference in your overall joint health and there’s evidence to prove it.

One study, for instance, tested the effects of collagen on the joint health of athletes (4).

After 24 weeks, the athletes noticed significant improvements in joint comfort and their athletic performance.

The study authors concluded that collagen is an effective way to support joint health and prevent joint deterioration.

3. Boosts the Immune System

woman who is sick lying on couch

What’s the number one food you crave when you’re feeling under the weather?

I bet it’s a warm bowl of chicken soup.

And it turns out there’s a real reason behind your chicken soup cravings: it boosts the immune system and soothes the gut.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center were curious if there was any truth behind the immune system and chicken soup connection (5).

To their surprise, they discovered that the amino acids (building blocks of protein) found in chicken broth could reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and boost the immune system.

In other words, bone broth can help you feel better and fight illness.

So it seems there’s a reason your body craves soup when you’re sick after all!

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4. Keeps Your Skin Looking Healthy and Young

woman with healthy skin

Collagen is a protein your body uses extensively to keep your skin healthy.

Without it, our skin would gradually lose elasticity and its healthy color. In other words, you would look older.

Normally our body can produce enough collagen to keep our skin healthy and wrinkle-free.

Well…until our 20th birthday at least.

According to the Scientific American, after the age of 20, our bodies produce “about 1 percent less collagen in the skin each year. As a result, the skin becomes thinner and more fragile with age” (6).

The good news is bone broth is packed with collagen.

And since most of us don’t eat collagen-rich foods, it makes bone broth the perfect remedy for aging skin.

5. Promotes Tissue Regeneration

group of people performing a deadlift in a fitness class

The cells and tissues in our bodies are constantly dying off as new cells take their place.

But sometimes our bodies have a hard time keeping up with producing enough new tissues and cells.

For example, if you completed an intense cardio or weight-lifting session at the gym, your body is going to need time to repair your muscles and several other tissues involved in the workout.

If your body lacks the required materials to repair the damaged tissue, it’s going to take a lot longer to recover from the workout.

Glutathione is one of those tissue repair materials, and bone broth is full of it.

One study featured in the US National Library of Medicine found that glutathione plays a critical role in creating new cells, protein & DNA synthesis, and keeping the immune system in tip-top shape (7).

Simply put, glutathione is a powerhouse in its ability to help the body regenerate new tissue.

6. Helps The Body Detoxify

infused water

Today’s world is riddled with toxins.

We’re constantly exposed to heavy metals like mercury, cancerous chemicals like glyphosate, and an overwhelming number of other toxins.

Our bodies have natural systems in place to isolate these toxins and rid them from the body.

But it can only handle so much.

And since toxins are hiding around every corner, our natural detox system gets easily overwhelmed. This is when toxins start to accumulate in the body and cause big problems.

Luckily, bone broth is a powerful detoxifier for several reasons

  • Helps the digestive system expel waste more efficiently
  • Improves your liver’s ability to filter toxins from the blood
  • Contains glycine which stimulates the production of glutathione—known as the body’s master antioxidant (8). Glycine also protects the liver from becoming oxygen starved, or hypoxia (9).
  • Glutathione is also needed for the liver’s detoxification process (phase II) which is important for preventing toxin accumulation (10).

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7. Boosts Brain Health

man basking in sunlight and he is energized

We use our brain for so much, but how often do we return the favor by giving it nutrients to thrive?

With a healthy brain, you can have a better memory, think more clearly, have stronger willpower, have monk-like focus, and much more.

I think it’s safe to say anyone would be happy to have more of these qualities (including myself).

Well, it turns out that bone broth has several compounds that can improve your brain’s functioning and mood.

Glycine, for example, is one of the most important inhibitory neurotransmitters.

Simply put, glycine can help cognitive performance, regulates how your brain uses energy, and some studies even suggested that glycine can dilate the micro vessels in the brain.

This means glycine can improve circulation in the brain (11).

Bone broth also contains chondroitin, which is shown to have an important role in regeneration and plasticity in the central nervous system (12).

In other words, chondroitin can help with learning and memory.

8. Combats Mental Illness and Helps You Sleep

insomnia

It’s possible that bone broth can help prevent or even cure mental illness. All thanks to its high glycine content.

There’s a ton of evidence out there on this, so I’m just going to summarize it for you here:

  • Glycine can help treat obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults (13).
  • Glycine is shown to reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia (14).
  • Depression is associated with decreased levels of glycine (15).

Glycine is ultimately associated with relaxation, and decreased anxiety.

That being said, it makes sense to learn that studies find that glycine supplementation can significantly improve the quality of your sleep (16).

9. Protects The Heart

healthy heart in hands

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States (16). That’s why eating foods that improve your heart health is a surefire way to extend your lifespan.

And bone broth is one of these foods.

In fact, studies indicate that glycine found in bone broth can significantly reduce the severity of heart attacks (17).

Glycine also counters the negative effects of methionine—found in meats and eggs.

When your diet is high in methionine-rich food, it can significantly increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, mental illness, and vitamin B deficiencies (18).

My point is, you can suffer from the effects of too much methionine if you don’t get enough glycine.

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Complete List of Bone Broth Nutrients

Bone broth is chock-full of nutrients including a host of minerals and 17 different amino acids. Both of which are responsible for its rejuvenating effects.

The exact nutrients found in bone broth can vary depending on the type of bones used, simmer time, and whether or not other ingredients are used.

I always suggest making your own unless you get a very high quality brand because it’s typically much richer in the following nutrients:

Arginine: An amino acid that’s essential for a healthy immune system and wound healing. It’s also needed for the production of growth hormone, liver cell regeneration, and the production of sperm.

Chondroitin & Glucosamine: Chondroitin and glucosamine are some of the components that make up cartilage, which is the structure that acts like a cushion between joints. They are also a component of tendons and ligaments. Since they are the building blocks of these structures, chondroitin and glucosamine can significantly improve the health of your joints. In fact, studies show that taking a chondroitin and glucosamine supplement can significantly reduce pain from arthritis and improve joint mobility (19). But I usually recommend bone broth since it’s much cheaper than these supplements.

Collagen: Collagen makes up for a whopping 30% of the protein in your body (20). It’s needed to build and preserve healthy cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone, and skin. Which is why you will often see collagen supplements for joints or promoting healthy skin—as you age, the level of collagen in your body decreases which can make your skin lose its youthful look.

Gelatin: When bones are simmered down to make bone broth, some of the collagen in the cartilage transforms (hydrolyzes) into gelatin. It acts very similar to collagen and it is the compound that’s responsible for the gelatinous consistency of broth or stock once it has cooled.

Glycine: Glycine is an amino acid (building block of protein) that makes up for more than a third of collagen. It also acts as a neurotransmitter, which are chemicals that help the brain with communication and signaling.

Glutamine: Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid. This means your body sometimes won’t produce enough of it on its own. It’s the most abundant amino acid in your blood and responsible for a wide range of functions including protein synthesis, maintaining a pH balance in your kidneys, a source of cellular energy, and much more.

Proline: Proline is another amino acid found in the structure of collagen. Your body is only able to produce proline in small amounts. So if you don’t get proline through your diet, you could be starving your body of this important amino acid. A deficiency may not cause a lot of issues, but it’s good to give your body everything it needs to run efficiently.

Bone marrow: Have you ever broken open a chicken bone or looked at the center of a beef bone? Inside you will see a deep red color substance. This is red bone marrow. It’s where new immune cells and red blood cells are manufactured. Towards the outside of the red bone marrow lies yellow bone marrow which contains healthy fats (21). Both red and yellow bone marrow are responsible for bone broth’s rich taste. Marrow is also associated with several health benefits including a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity-related cancers (22).

Minerals: Bone broth is full of minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Your body needs these minerals for a wide range of processes. Please note that bone broth won’t contain minerals unless it’s made with an acid such as apple cider vinegar.

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Where You Get Your Bone Broth Matters

Depending on how busy our life is, you can either buy pre-made bone broth or make it yourself.

Whichever decision you make, there’s a few rules you should always follow.

  • Bones must be organic and pasture-raised (wild-caught if you’re using fish bones).
  • If buying the broth, make sure it’s in glass or a BPA-free container.
  • Make sure it’s slow-simmered for at least 24 hours.
  • Use roasted bones rather than raw for broth. Raw bones will result in a disgusting broth in all honesty.

Where to Buy Bone Broth

If you’re a busy body and would prefer to just buy your bone broth, these are the brands I suggest:

Epic Bone Broth

They have a variety of flavors, although the jalapeño flavored one is a bit odd if you ask me. All the other flavors are absolutely delicious.

Kettle & Fire Broth

Kettle & Fire has both chicken and beef broth. The company is endorsed by many health experts and bloggers. It’s all organic and pasture raised.

Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Powder

If you’re one of the few people who can’t stomach bone broth, I highly recommend the protein powder by Ancient Nutrition.

How to Make Bone Broth

If you want to protect your wallet, I would recommend making your own bone broth.

To save even more money, I usually save the chicken or beef bones from every meal instead of buying the bones. So if I make a whole roasted chicken, I’ll save and freeze the carcass along with the bones.

Once I have enough bones to make a broth, I’m good to go.

Alright, I’ve done plenty of rambling in this post, so let’s get right to the recipes. A shout out to the Weston A. Price foundation for this recipe. I’m a huge fan of what they stand for.

Bone Broth Recipe

Chicken Stock / Broth

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings*
  • gizzards from one chicken (optional)
  • 2-4 chicken feet (optional)
  • 4 quarts cold filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley

Note: If you’re using the broth for a fast for issues like SIBO or leaky gut, I suggest NOT adding any vegetables or parsley. It won’t taste as good, but these vegetables have sugars which can defeat the purpose of a bone broth fast.


Instructions:

  1. If you haven’t already, roast the bones / chicken. If it’s just bones, roast them at 450°F for 15-20 minutes.
  2. If using a whole chicken, cut off the wings, and remove the neck, fat glands, and the gizzards. Cut neck and wings into several pieces.
  3. Place chicken into large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar, and all vegetables besides the parsley.
  4. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Bring to a boil and remove any “scum” that rises to the top.
  5. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 6-24 hours. Add parsley 10 minutes before removing it from the heat.
  6. If using whole chicken, remove the chicken and use it for other uses like sandwiches or chicken salad.
  7. Strain the stock to remove any particulates and place in the fridge. Once it cools, skim off the fat (I save this for cooking). Your stock is now ready to be consumed or used for tasty dishes!

The process is similar for beef and fish stock, but if you want to learn how, go to the end of this article.

The Bottom Line

Bone broth is a nutrient-dense food packed with an impressive list of health benefits.

Unfortunately, you can’t just get any ordinary bone broth at to the store to take advantage of the health benefits. Most store-bought broths or stocks are filled with artificial flavorings, additives, and made with low quality ingredients.

There are, however, a few brands that do produce high-quality bone broth (I mentioned them a few sections up).

You can either get it from these brands or, make it yourself.

So what are you waiting for? Give bone broth a try and see the difference it can make in your life

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10 Ways Drinking Lemon Water Can Supercharge Your Day https://naturalife.org/nutrition/benefits-lemon-water https://naturalife.org/nutrition/benefits-lemon-water#respond Mon, 12 Jun 2017 15:15:32 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=2638 Lemon water is full of healthy and enriching nutrients that can help start your day on the right track so you can live your life to its fullest potential.

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Most of us are constantly looking for new ways to improve our health routine. One way that is so simple, yet underrated, is drinking warm lemon water.

While lemon water might not be the sexiest trend around, science has proved that there are many health benefits packed into this simple drink.

And best of all, we all can easily afford it. With a cost of about 25 cents, lemon water has an impressive benefit-to-cost ratio compared to other health drinks that could cost upwards of $8.

Lemon water is packed with many essential nutritional compounds like vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and citric acid (1).

These key nutrients play specific roles that can significantly increase your health and longevity in a number of ways.

1. Aids Digestion

water with lemonThere’s no denying that digestive aids are on the rise (2). From kombucha to probiotics, the demand is at an all-time high for natural remedies to treat digestive issues.

Surprisingly, most people do not know that lemons are natural laxatives–don’t worry it’s not like drinking prune juice or taking Exlax.

Lemons contain an organic compound called citric acid that stimulates the colon to remove waste from the body (3).

Lemons contain a very high concentration of citric acid compared to most citrus fruits and have thus been proven to be an excellent aid to digestion (4). So instead of costly digestive drinks, drinking some lemon water each morning can give your digestive system the kick start it needs.

2. Makes Your Skin Glow

happy woman with healthy skinWhile the holy grail to completely cure acne and wrinkles has yet to be discovered, lemon water is shown to help alleviate both symptoms.

You see, lemons are rich in vitamin c, which is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant.

Vitamin C and the other natural antioxidants in lemons help attack free radicals in our bodies.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that form in our body from food, medicine, water, and even the air we breathe.

The bad news is free radicals can cause significant harm to our bodies. In fact, free radicals are associated with a long list of diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. They are also one of the main causes of physical aging because they attack healthy cells.

So those wrinkles that you see in the mirror are caused by free radicals.

Luckily, lemon water helps protect skin against free radical damage (oxidation). As a result, lemon water can help maintain a healthy complexion (4).

The vitamin C found in lemons also increases collagen production (5). Collagen helps plump and tighten the skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

3. Boosts Immune System to Fight Common Colds

seasonal allergiesWhen you want to boost your immune system with vitamin C to fight off illness, what’s the first fruit that comes to mind?

Most people think of oranges.

There are, however,  plenty of other fruits that contain high amounts of vitamin C. And lemons are one of them.

Lemons contain almost as much vitamin C as oranges and have plenty of other natural compounds like bioflavoniods, potassium, and antioxidants.

These compounds will give your immune system the boost it needs to fight off illnesses like the common cold (6). Drinking warm water with lemon also helps the body absorb these vitamins, which increases the immune-boosting effects.

But there’s a catch.

Vitamin C only helps fight illness if you’re regularly consuming it before you get sick. That’s why it’s best to drink lemon water every morning. Not only will it decrease your chances of getting sick, but it can significantly reduce the duration of olds when you do catch one (7).

4. Freshens Your Breath

Skip the breath mint, and grab a lemon instead!

While it may come as a surprise, lemons are great at naturally freshening your breath.

The citric acid found in lemons has antibacterial properties that kill bacteria that cause bad breath.

Interestingly, saliva also helps destroy bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath (8). For instance, that infamous morning breath is caused by the lack of saliva in your mouth while sleeping.

When you wake up and drink lemon water, the tang of lemons stimulates saliva production. This is why drinking lemon water in the morning is a great way to freshen your breath.

Just be careful to not let lemon sit on your teeth too long because the acidity can lead to tooth decay. Also, don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking lemon water.

5. Stay Hydrated

infused waterWater is the most important nutrient the body needs.

While there’s been some debate over how much water a person needs to drink per day, we all can agree that drinking water is important.

Adding some lemon improves the taste of water which is really helpful for those who don’t enjoy drinking plain water. Plus, getting into the habit of drinking lemon water every day will help you reach your body’s daily water needs.

Which is helpful considering most of us don’t drink anywhere near enough water.

6. Speeds Up Workout Recovery

working out with TRX bandsLemon water is a fantastic post-workout drink.

Not only does lemon water help you hydrate after exercise, it also helps with recovery thanks to the powerful antioxidants in lemons.

As you workout, lactic acid builds up in your muscles and causes a burning sensation.

The more in shape you are, the less burning sensation there is because there’s a higher number of blood vessels in the bloodstream that help break down the lactic acid. (9).

Lemon water is a great to drink after a workout because it breaks down lactic acid which allows for you to train longer, get stronger, and recover faster.

Also, most sport drinks are high in calories and sugar. Lemon water is a great alternative because it has next to zero sugar.

7. Keeps Your Heart Healthy

healthy heart in handsAs we have already discussed, lemons are packed with vitamin c.

Among it’s many other benefits, vitamin C is shown to be a key nutrient in keeping your heart healthy.

In fact, people who have low levels of vitamin c are more prone to heart attacks, stroke, or peripheral artery disease (7).

While drinking lemon water because of its vitamin C content will not solely protect you against a heart attack, it does help protect your arteries against damage. Healthy arteries equals a healthy heart.

8. Enhances Your Mood

Doesn’t starting your morning with a warm cup of lemon water sound relaxing?

Mornings set the mood for the rest of the day and starting your’s off with warm lemon water helps calm the body and mind.

This sets the standard and enhances your mood for the rest of the day.

It has also been proven that simply smelling lemon can help increase your mood. Aromatherapists uses lemon extract as a naturally calming and clarifying scent. (10).

9. Weight Loss

Lemon water is not a miracle weight loss drug, but it can definitely aid in your weight loss journey.

A glass of warm lemon water in the morning helps you feel full longer and eat less later. It’s also a healthy substitute for other sugary drinks or coffee.

Lemon water also boosts your metabolism and burns extra calories. Based off a study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, one cup of warm water can increase your body’s internal temperature and metabolism (11). 

While it may not be as effective as burning 500 calories on the treadmill, lemon water can help reduce your calorie intake and boost your metabolism throughout the day.

10. Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones

The prevalence of kidney stones is increasing globally and if you are prone to them, lemon water is a great tactic to prevent new ones from forming.

Citric acid is shown to be a great aid against kidney stones (12). When ingested, citric acid is broken down and carried out of the body through urine. While in the urine, citric acid coats small kidney stones and prevents them from collecting other material and turning into larger stones.

So the more citric acid in urine, the less likely kidney stones will form (13).

How to Make Lemon Water

Now that you understand the importance of drinking lemon water, it’s time to show you how.

When: It can be drank anytime throughout the day, but it is best to drink lemon water first thing in the morning. This allows your body to absorb all the nutrients and use them throughout the day.

How: Only two ingredients are needed: water and organic lemons.

Option A: using whole lemons

Step 1: heat about 8oz of water to a low simmer.

Step 2: slice one whole, cleaned lemon.

Step 3: place the lemons and hot water into a cup.

Step 4: Brew for about 3 minutes.

Step 5: leave the lemons in the cup and drink. Use a straw if you want to prevent the acid from slowly degrading your tooth enamel.

Option B: using lemon essential oil

Another option is to buy consumable lemon essential oil on Amazon. The benefits to buying essential oil instead of whole lemons are

  • Longer shelf life than whole lemons.
  • Easily bought online and shipped to your house.
  • Saves you time from not having to cut lemons each morning.
  • Can be easily brought with you to make lemon water on the go.
  • See more about the benefits of lemon essential oil

Step 1: heat about 8oz of water to a low simmer.

Step 2: transfer water to cup and add about 3-5 drops of lemon essential oil.

Step 3: stir and drink.

The Bottom Line

There’s more to lemon than meets the eye.

Lemon water is full of enriching nutrients that can help start your day on the right track. Instead of spending a fortune on health drinks with 20+ ingredients that you can’t pronounce, stick to just two: lemons and water.

No matter how you cut it, lemon water is a simple and inexpensive way to improve your day and overall health.

About the Author

Trysh Sutton

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Trysh Sutton is a wife, mother, attorney, interior decorator, strategic leader and teacher. She runs a website called Pure Path Essential Oils, a naturopathic wellness company that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living. You can follow her on social media to learn more about the benefits of essential oils, and healthy living practices.

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7 Simple Ways to Boost Your Willpower https://naturalife.org/mind/boost-willpower https://naturalife.org/mind/boost-willpower#comments Thu, 25 May 2017 14:27:03 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=2452 Increasing your willpower and self-control is like training a muscle. Here are 7 ways you can effectively train it for more success in life.

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Willpower is the secret to success in life.

With enough willpower, you can have laser-like focus, accomplish any of your goals, and resist even the most tempting of indulgences.

Most people just assume it’s something you’re born with, like your hair or eye color.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Willpower is like a muscle. It can be trained, it gets fatigued, and with the right training, it can become strong. The only difference is willpower won’t turn any heads at the beach.

I should warn you though, training your willpower can be a challenging endeavor. It’s not much different than a fitness routine.

On the flip side, training your willpower can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It has the potential to improve your life in so many ways.

By training your willpower, you will…

  • Stick to your long-term goals with ease
  • Complete projects without distraction or procrastination
  • Resist temptations
  • Finally stick to your diet or fitness routine
  • Kick ass in life

If you’re like most people that have an out of shape willpower, maybe it’s time you invested in yourself. Bookmark this article, read it through, and dedicate yourself to one of the following willpower-boosters per month. You’ll be a completely new person in no time.

Meditate

meditation slows down how much you ageI’m sure by now you’ve heard how meditation can have profound benefits for your life.

Among these many benefits is meditation’s ability to boost your willpower.

In fact, meditation is so effective at boosting self-control that health psychologist Kelly McGonigal Ph.D. included meditation as an integral part of her course, “Science of Willpower” at Stanford University (1).

Practicing mindfulness meditation for a few minutes each day can actually boost willpower by building up gray matter in areas of the brain that regulate emotions and govern decision making. Paying attention to what’s happening in the moment, what’s going on in your body, your mind, and all around you, can make it easier to tune in to choices you make several hundred times a day…”

Kelly McGonigal isn’t the only one recognizing the power of meditation.

Studies have found that meditation can increase grey matter density in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the region of the brain responsible for self-control or willpower—among many other things (2).

In other words, simply by meditating every day, you can significantly improve your willpower. Considering meditation provides a host of additional health benefits like it’s ability to decrease stress and slow down aging, I couldn’t recommend it enough.

To get started, you can take a free meditation course here.

Or you can check out this guided meditation video:

Avoid Willpower Depletion

You only have a limited amount of willpower. While exercising your willpower can increase how much you have each day, it’s still a limited resource.

Think of it this way…

Weight lifting is a great way to build muscle. But you wouldn’t lift weights for an hour just before a long hiking trip. Your muscles would be too tired to enjoy the long hike.

Neither would you exercise every day of the week without a rest day.

The point is, it’s important to flex your willpower muscle to keep it in shape. But it’s also equally as important to give your willpower a break. Ideally, it’s best to strike a balance between the two.

Otherwise depleted willpower can result stress which inactivates your prefrontal cortex. This can result in uncontrollable mood swings and indulgences (e.g., unhealthy food). This is usually followed by a sense of defeat which can cause you to fall back on old unhealthy habits.

So if you’re not careful and try to take on too much at once, which depletes your willpower, it can result in a vicious cycle. It’s like running on fumes. Running on low willpower all the time is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure and never accomplish your goals.

the cycle of willpower depletionHere are some ways you can ensure you don’t burn out your willpower:

  1. Don’t take on too much at once. If you’re trying to change your diet, focus on that. Don’t try to start a new fitness plan, stop drinking coffee, and break your nail biting habit at the same time.
  2. Try your best to avoid heavy willpower depleting situations. For example, if you have a weak spot for doughnuts and know they’re usually in the breakroom, try to eat lunch somewhere else.
  3. Realize that nobody is perfect. Don’t beat yourself up too much for giving in. Willpower cultivation is a gradual process, so losing your self-control is expected. The goal is to decrease the frequency of losing control.

Journal

journaling in the BEST SELF journalI’ve never been a big fan of journaling. But all that changed once I tried the BEST SELF journal.

Once I started the BEST SELF journal and regular meditation, my willpower skyrocketed. I swear, these two things are the reason why I’m experiencing more personal success than I ever have in my life.

Like meditation, journaling gives you the unique opportunity to reflect on your day, personal goals, and much more.

For example, the BEST SELF journal has a section where you write down 3 things your grateful for. Every morning and every evening.  This is called gratitude journaling in the personal development world.

Countless studies have shown that gratitude journaling can have profound effects on your life (3). Specifically, it’s shown to significantly increase happiness, motivation, and general well-being.

Not only are these states of mind fantastic for your willpower, they also decrease the frequency of negative emotions which result in stress. And stress completely drains your willpower.

Master The Art of Building Good Habits

When it comes to willpower, having good habits is invaluable.

That’s because when you get stressed, you’re much more likely to fall back on old habits.

But if you build healthy habits, then when you do cave, it will be significantly less harmful.

For instance, people often fall back on alcohol at the end of a stressful day. But what if you trained yourself to take a 10-minute walk every time you had a stress craving for alcohol? It may not work at first, but over time if you stuck to it, your body would begin to crave that walk instead of that glass of wine.

It’s best to pick a stress reduction technique that resonates the most with you. Once you find something that works, give it a try every time stress makes you want to indulge in something.

Here are some ideas to get you going:

  • Get into adult coloring.
  • Play an instrument or anything else creative.
  • Exercise (going for a walk or weight lifting really helps me).
  • Listen to some relaxing music while taking deep breaths.
  • Talk it out to someone who really listens –just don’t rely on this one too much as they may grow tired of hearing you complain.
  • Drink herbal tea like holy basil –it’s an adaptogenic herb that helps you deal with stress.

Pick a few methods and see what works best for you. The more you strengthen these positive stress response habits, the more likely they will be there to catch you when you get majorly stressed out.

Be Yourself

Man on a mountain being himselfI realize that being your true self is much easier said than done.

The problem with hiding your true self is that it drains your willpower and energy.

Think about it.

The main reason why we act differently in certain situations is to fit in. To do this, we must quickly analyze what type of people we’re around. Then we must make an educated guess about what type of person these people will like. It’s an exhausting mental process.

On the other hand, when you don’t worry about what people think of you, there’s no wasted effort analyzing the people you’re with. Pull it off and you’ll find that people will like you more. That’s because you’ll be a better listener and radiate authenticity.

Like willpower, being yourself in social situations is a learned skill. That being said, here are some tips you can follow to make it a little easier:

  1. Don’t aim to please. If you have to act in any way that has the goal of improving someone else’s impression of you, stop. Instead, act from your values, not your intent to look better in another’s eyes.
  2. Be present. Don’t get possessed by that voice in your head. React to your environment without over analyzing.
  3. Take time to get to know yourself. Try to separate your values and aspirations from what people have pressured you to want. A classic example of this is going to college because everyone expects you to. College isn’t for everyone.
  4. Learn to appreciate your strengths and embrace your weaknesses. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses no matter how they may seem. Meditation helps with this process.

Be Strategic

strategic plays on a chess boardIf you approach things in life with strategy, life instantly becomes much easier.

And the same holds true for willpower.

For instance, if you have a hard time resisting chocolate during your work day, keep it out of sight. Somewhere far away from your sight. Otherwise, if your favorite chocolate bar sits there next to you all day, it will constantly drain your willpower.

If you still can’t manage to resist your go-to indulgence, use a time locking container. These nifty containers allow you to put your treats in a container that only unlocks after a set amount of time. So you can set it to, let’s say, 5 hours. That way you won’t be able to eat the snack until the timer is up.

For some people, a time locking container allows them to think about their treat considerably less because they know they can’t get it until the time is up.  It’s a fantastic way to conserve willpower.

Another essential strategy for preserving your willpower is planning.

I’ll give you an example of something I’ve had to do recently. I’m currently on what’s called an elimination diet. So my diet is VERY limited and I can’t drink any alcohol. This makes most social situations really tough.

To save my willpower, I plan to eat before these social gatherings. I’ll also bring a drink such as kombucha or seltzer so I can still drink something at social events with alcohol. It’s not as good as an ice-cold beer, but it still helps 😉.

Flex Your Willpower Muscle

child flexing superheroAlthough a lot of these tips will help boost your willpower, it’s important to always look for ways to improve yourself. In other words, always have a personal goal to work on.

And no, I’m not talking about setting goals to buy a new house or make more money. I’m talking about goals that will improve you.

To give you a better idea, here are some examples:

  • Meditate for 15 minutes every day for the next month
  • Try a 30-day no complaint challenge (it’s life changing)
  • Make a new fitness goal for self-love, not for superficial reasons
  • Read 1 self-improvement book per month (e.g., The Power of Now, The Four Hour Body, or The Willpower Instinct)
  • Learn how to play a new instrument –creative activities boost willpower too!

By constantly having a self-improvement goal you’re working on, it will flex your willpower muscle. It takes willpower to stick to a new goal and see it through. Plus, you will slowly build momentum and begin to crave activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul.

The Bottom Line

Having a strong willpower is essential if you want to live a healthy and successful life.

That’s because willpower affects nearly everything in your life. Without it, you lack the ability to resist every-day temptations, distractions, and the focus to be the person of your dreams.

But if you take the time to cultivate willpower, you can honestly accomplish anything—and I mean it.

So instead of saving for that new car or flat screen T.V, make an investment in yourself that will have a positive effect on your entire life. Dedicate a little amount of time each day to flex your willpower muscle. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Oh…and if you have any tips on how to boost willpower, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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10 Remarkable Health Benefits of Drinking Rooibos Tea https://naturalife.org/natural-remedies/rooibos-tea-benefits https://naturalife.org/natural-remedies/rooibos-tea-benefits#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 22:57:17 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=2408 Rooibos tea has a long list of health benefits due to its high concentration of antioxidants and nutrients. It's become a widely popular caffeine-free herbal tea.

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Rooibos is the new herbal tea you’ve been waiting for.

It has a sweet, yet earthy vanilla taste. It’s caffeine-free. And best of all, evidence is beginning to reveal it has a wide range of health benefits.

Something this good is destined to be your next favorite beverage.

What is Rooibos Tea?

Rooibos tea comes from the rooibos bush that’s only found on the slopes of the Cederberg Mountains in South Africa. The tea itself is made from the fermented pine needle-like leaves of the rooibos bush.

Locals have enjoyed rooibos tea for thousands of years. It had been a secret to the world until it was commercially sold in the 1900s.

Now, more than 100 years later, rooibos tea is becoming a tremendously popular herbal drink because of its divine taste and long list of health benefits.

Get Rooibos Tea Here

1. Fights Inflammation

Did you know that inflammation is the root cause of most disease?

And the unfortunate truth is, chronic inflammation is more common than ever. Between antibiotics destroying our immune system and gut health, unhealthy processed foods, and environmental toxins, we’re all suffering from the effects of chronic inflammation.

Luckily herbs like rooibos contain compounds that can effectively fight off unwanted inflammation.

That’s because rooibos tea contains three compounds called aspalathin, quercetin, and nothofagin. Studies have found that these compounds can significantly reduce inflammation in the body in more than 4 different ways (1).

Rooibos tea contains three powerful compounds that can significantly reduce inflammation.Click To Tweet

2. A Truly Powerful Antioxidant

Another frequent cause of chronic disease, like cancer or autoimmune disorders, is free radicals (2).

When unchecked, free radicals cause significant damage to cells along with their DNA. This is called oxidative damage.

Without getting too much into the nitty, gritty detail, preventing this oxidative damage is essential if you want to prevent chronic disease and physical aging.

This is where antioxidants come into play. Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

And rooibos is packed with antioxidants.

In fact, rooibos tea contains a whopping 50% more antioxidants than green tea (3).

Among these antioxidants are two polyphenols known for their powerful antioxidant effects in the body. Aspalathin and super oxide dismutase (4).

Studies show that these two antioxidants can protect your body from the harmful effects of free radicals. In doing so, rooibos tea can potentially help reduce the effects of aging and even prevent disease.

Rooibos tea contains three powerful compounds that can significantly reduce inflammation.Click To Tweet

3. Weight Loss Made Easier

If overeating is an issue for you, it’s possible that rooibos tea can make your weight loss goals easier.

A study published in Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, reported that consuming rooibos tea can increase the body’s leptin secretions (5).

Leptin, known as the satiety hormone, is responsible for signaling your brain you’ve had enough to eat. In other words, rooibos can suppress your food cravings.

That makes it a fantastic beverage to have after meals. Or you can drink it when you’re most prone to snacking like mid-day or in the evening.

The study also noted that rooibos can prevent new fat cells from forming and increase the rate at which fat cells metabolize. It’s just another way of saying rooibos can reduce how much fat you gain and shed it off at a faster rate.

Rooibos tea boosts your body's leptin secretions which can make you feel less hungry. Click To Tweet

4. May Prevent and Treat Diabetes

Remember how rooibos contains the polyphenol called aspalathin?

Besides having antioxidant effects, evidence suggests aspalathin could also have a positive impact on type 2 diabetes by regulating your blood sugar levels (6).

Aspalathin specifically,

has beneficial effects on glucose homeostasis in type 2 diabetes through stimulating glucose uptake in muscle tissues and insulin secretion from pancreatic beta-cells.”

This means aspalathin could prevent blood sugar spikes that can ultimately contribute to type 2 diabetes.

Another study by the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine concluded that rooibos has a significant therapeutic effect for the treatment and progression of diabetes (7).

But these studies were either done on rats or in vitro (test tube) scenarios, so there needs to be more studies on the subject to be sure.

Another study suggests that rooibos is not sufficient on its own as a treatment for diabetes (8). Since the results are mixed, it’s still possible that rooibos is helpful for the treatment and prevention of diabetes. It just may not be effective enough to be a standalone treatment.

5. Supports A Healthy Heart & Lowers Blood Pressure

healthy heart in handsRooibos can be especially beneficial to those of you who are prone to heart disease or have a family history of heart disease.

In fact, a popular human clinical trial discovered that rooibos tea can significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (9).

That’s because rooibos contains a bioactive flavonoid called chrysoeriol. This flavonoid has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure (10) and improve blood circulation.

Both of which are essential for a healthy heart.

There’s also evidence that drinking rooibos tea can significantly improve cholesterol levels. Studies have found that the regular consumption of rooibos tea can increase HDL cholesterol (the “good cholesterol) and decrease LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) in people who are overweight (11).

Studies found that rooibos tea can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseaseClick To Tweet

6. Strengthens Bones

Surprisingly enough, rooibos tea contains minerals that are essential for healthy bones and teeth.

These minerals include manganese, calcium, magnesium, and fluoride.

Manganese, for example,  stimulates specific enzymes in the body that are used to help build more bone and cartilage (12).

Some of these minerals also work synergistically for better absorption.  For instance, magnesium is required for your bones to absorb calcium. The relationship of magnesium and calcium for bone health is tremendously overlooked.

I mean, how many times have you heard “get magnesium in your diet for strong and healthy bones.” That rarely happens. Instead, we only hear about calcium. Magnesium is the unsung hero.

Drinking any tea, including rooibos, also stimulates osteoblast activity (13). In other words, it makes your bones stronger by telling certain cells in your body (osteoblasts) to reinforce your bones.

7. Allergy Relief

seasonal allergiesThe University of Maryland Medical Center claims quercetin, a polyphenol in rooibos, can prevent immune cells from releasing histamines (14).

Histamines are the chemicals that are released during an allergic reaction. They are the reason you get itchy, red, and swollen.

Unfortunately there haven’t been enough studies to test the actual effects of rooibos on allergies in humans. So far, studies have only tested the effects of quercetin on immune cells in vitro (meaning in a test tube).

So the best way to find out if rooibos can help your allergies is to try it out yourself. If you give it a try, put some local raw honey in your tea to give yourself an extra defensive boost against seasonal allergies.  Just please don’t go out and purposely trigger an allergic reaction to test rooibos…that wouldn’t be smart.

A chemical found in rooibos tea called quercetin can possibly reduce the severity of allergiesClick To Tweet

8. Unlike Most Tea, it Doesn’t Promote Kidney Stones

Most teas, like green or black, contain a compound called oxalic acid. It’s also found in chocolate, certain fruits, vegetables, and raw leafy greens.

Normally oxalic acid is naturally eliminated through your urine. But when you don’t drink enough water, consume too much sugar, and have a diet high in oxalic acid, oxalate crystals can form (15).

This is one of the most common causes of kidney stones.

But rooibos tea doesn’t contain oxalates. That’s why it’s a great alternative to green or black tea for those who are prone to getting kidney stones.

9. Promotes Healthy Skin

woman with healthy skinRooibos tea is an excellent source of alpha hydroxy acid—a compound rarely found in other foods.

Alpha hydroxy acid is commonly found in upper-end cosmetic products because it’s effective at reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

But chemically-derived alpha hydroxy acid can cause skin discoloration, irritation, and swelling. So I don’t advise using it.

When alpha hydroxy acid is in its natural form, however, it doesn’t have those undesirable side effects. That’s why if you’re looking to reduce wrinkles, it’s best to stick to rooibos tea or rooibos extracts in a skin cream.

And skin cream with rooibos is not just another sham cosmetic product.

One study, for example, found that a rooibos extract cream is effective at reducing skin wrinkles by up to 10% (16).

Considering the study was only conducted over a 28-day period, you could expect to see even better results if used longer.

Skin creams with rooibos tea can reduce skin wrinkles by 10% in less than a month. Click To Tweet

10. Better Sleep, Digestion, and Circulation

There are plenty of other health claims when it comes to rooibos. The most common are that rooibos improves sleep quality, digestion, and circulation.

While it’s possible that drinking rooibos can improve sleep quality because it contains magnesium and is a great caffeine-free alternative to normal tea, there’s no evidence that points either way.

People also claim that rooibos helps with digestive discomfort because it contains magnesium and potassium. But again, there’s not a scrap of evidence that supports or disproves this claim.

And lastly, there’s also some people who swear by using rooibos tea for circulatory issues like restless leg syndrome. Some evidence suggests quercetin in rooibos tea can help regulate the circulatory system (17). So there may be some truth to these claims.

So how can you tell if rooibos will benefit you?

Test it yourself!

Since there’s really no downfall to drinking rooibos tea in moderation, give it a try before bed or when you have digestive issues. If it works for you, then that’s all that matters.

How to Brew Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea should be brewed longer than most teas you’re used to because it contains a low amont of tannins. Brewing it longer allows more of the beneficial compounds to dissolve into the water. This isn’t possible with many other teas because the high concentration of tannins will make them taste bitter when brewed too long.

Brewing Hot Rooibos Tea:

  1. Get ahold of some organic loose leaf rooibos tea. For every 8 oz. of water, add 1 tsp. or 2.3 g of tea leaves to a tea infuser. Place the tea infuser in your mug of choice.
  2. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
  3. Add the water to your mug with the tea infuser.
  4. Let the tea steep and cool for 5-10 minutes. Experiment with the steeping duration to achieve your ideal strength and aroma.

Brewing Iced Rooibos Tea:

  1. Double the amount of tea leaves used for hot tea. So that’s 2 tsp. or 4.6 g for every 8 oz. of water. I suggest making a large batch so you can store a bunch in the fridge to enjoy it all week.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the tea leaves into a mug. Let the tea steep in the hot water for at least 10 minutes. I like to wait longer so the tea has more time to cool.
  3. Place ice in a cup and pour tea over the ice. Immediately add raw organic honey if desired. Just note that if you put the tea into the cup while it’s still hot, the ice will immediately melt and just dilute the flavor of the tea.
  4. Store any excess tea in the fridge to enjoy later.

Rooibos Tea Warnings

Like anything in life, moderation is key. It’s all about balance.

And the same applies to rooibos tea.

One study, for example, found that high doses of rooibos tea over a long period of time can negatively impact fertility for men (16). That’s because rooibos can, in large amounts, alter the structure of sperm making them less efficient at their job. Large amounts may also harm liver and kidney function.

BUT the same study also reported that reasonable doses of rooibos tea can actually improve fertility. And another study suggests that rooibos tea can actually support liver health by promoting liver tissue regeneration (18).

This is a perfect example of how moderation is key—it’s never good to go overboard with anything.

My point is, rooibos tea is perfectly healthy if you drink it in moderation. Just don’t go drinking 4 cups a day for the next year.

If you have any of the following issues, however, you should consult your healthcare practitioner before adding rooibos tea to your diet

  • You have kidney or liver disease
  • Are on chemotherapy
  • Have a hormonal-based cancer

Is Rooibos Tea Estrogenic?

Some people also question whether rooibos tea is estrogenic, meaning it stimulates the production of estrogen in the body.

But despite the rumors that are floating around, there’s very little evidence that it has an estrogenic effect.

There’s only one study from 2006 that found some compounds in rooibos tea to have estrogenic activity. But this was tested in a test tube using an estrogen ELISA assay (19). So there’s no way of telling whether it has an estrogenic effect in the body.

Again, I think moderation is key when avoiding the negative effects of anything.

Where Do I Get Rooibos Tea?

Rooibos tea has become quite easy to find in recent years.

But whether you get it online or at your local health food store, I suggest always buying organic and fair trade.

If you want to save money, I also suggest getting loose leaf rooibos tea in bulk. It’s much cheaper in the long run. But if you don’t care or like the convenience of teabags, you can get rooibos tea bags on Amazon by clicking that link.

If you want to get bulk loose leaf tea, this is the brand of organic rooibos tea I like to get:

Get Rooibos Tea Here

The Bottom Line

Rooibos tea is a delicious drink that can be substituted for caffeinated or sweetened beverages. Evidence indicates that it may have several health benefits, primarily due to its high concentration of unique polyphenols and antioxidants.

But the research on the health benefits is still in its infancy. Considering it’s regarded as safe to consume for most people, it’s certainly worth a try. Plus, it’s a delicious herbal tea that makes a great substitute for caffeinated beverages.

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The Top 7 Most Effective Natural Antibiotics and How to Use Them https://naturalife.org/natural-remedies/best-natural-antibiotics https://naturalife.org/natural-remedies/best-natural-antibiotics#comments Thu, 04 May 2017 22:14:53 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=2319 Nature's 7 best natural antibiotics and how to use them for the best results so you don't have to ruin your health with prescriptions.

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Ever since drug-based antibiotics came around in the 1940s, natural antibiotics have taken the back seat.

Well… until recently that is. Now that we’ve come to realize drug-based antibiotics have some nasty side effects, the demand for natural antibiotics has exploded.

Every time you swallow a drug-based antibiotic, you cause significant harm to your digestive system by destroying the healthy bacteria in your gut.

This can result in

  • A weakened immune system
  • Gut-related diseases (such as Crohn’s)
  • Food sensitivities
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Chronic Inflammation

And it’s not like drug-based antibiotics damage the gut for a just few weeks.

The Journal Microbiology, claims that even a short course of antibiotics can cause undesirable changes in the gut microbiome that persist for up to 4 or more years! (1)

That being said, here’s an overview of the natural antibiotics I mention in this article. If you don’t feel like reading too much, just click on the natural antibiotic that interests you the most to jump to it.

Natural Antibiotic What It’s Best For
Manuka Honey Skin or oral infections, immune system boost
Oregano Oil Skin & sinus infections, foot & nail fungus
Garlic Colds, flu, ear infections, immune system boost
Cinnamon Fungal infections (candida, athlete’s foot), immune system boost
Fermented Foods Significantly improves immune system and gut health
Ginger Prevent foodborone illness, best when combined with other remedies
Pau D’ Arco Candida in the gut, viral & bacterial infections

Popping Antibiotics Like Candy

As you could imagine, the damage to your body increases with the amount of antibiotics you take.

Which is a huge concern since prescription antibiotics have become one of the most over-prescribed “medicines” today.

And there’s no sign it’s slowing down.

In fact, data from the CDC indicates that…

“1 of every 3 patients are given antibiotics when they aren’t even needed.”

This behavior is the main reason why antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or “superbugs,” have developed. And scientists can’t figure out how to fight them.

The bottom line is that drug-based antibiotics are causing a significant amount of harm. And their overuse is only making things worse.

Drug-based antibiotics should only be used as a last resort.

Most natural antibiotics, on the other hand, don’t cause harm to your digestive system (with a few exceptions). And they certainly aren’t over-prescribed.
So if you want to fight infection without destroying your health at the same time, here are the top 7 most powerful antibiotics backed by science.

1. Manuka Honey

Manuka honey  is one of the most unique and beneficial forms of honey on the planet— it’s like honey on steroids.

Among its many other health benefits, manuka honey has a powerful infection-fighting punch.

Unlike normal raw honey, manuka honey is made from bees that pollinate the Manuka bush.

The result is a honey rich in naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal, and dihydroxyacetone. This trifecta of substances is responsible for the potent antimicrobial properties of Manuka honey (2).

Studies have even found that manuka honey can kill off staph infections (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant superbug. Most drug-based antibiotics, on the other hand, are completely useless for treating MRSA.

How to use Manuka Honey

Primary Uses: Skin or oral infections (e.g., helps fight bacteria that causes plaque), general immune booster.

Manuka honey is primarily used topically (on the skin).

But since it’s honey, you can also eat it to give your immune system a boost. It’s the most delicious way to fight infection.

  • Skin Infections: Take a small dab and lather the honey on the infected area. Cover with gauze or a band aid.
  • Internal Immune Boost: If you notice people around you are getting sick or you recently caught a cold, you can take a tsp 1-2 times per day. This can help prevent you from getting sick in the first place or reduce the duration of your illness. I like to combine manuka honey with ginger and cinnamon to make it even more powerful.

I just wouldn’t suggest eating it every day for long periods of time since it would get expensive. Manuka honey is more medicine than food. Treat it like something you would put in your medicine cabinet.

Where Do I Buy Manuka Honey?

Like any supplements out there, the range of quality is massive. And since it’s really expensive, you want it to work, right?

I really dug deep into the research to find a high quality and high potency manuka honey. This is the brand I finally decided to use:

Get Manuka Honey Here

Warnings: Avoid getting the cheaper manuka honey brands with lower UMF ratings. They will be a complete waste of money. Also, don’t use while immune compromised unless it’s medical-grade.

2. Oregano Oil

oregano oil with fresh oreganoOregano oil is nothing like the herb you would put in your pasta sauce.

It’s a distilled extract of medicinal-grade oregano. Like manuka honey, it’s more of a medicine than a food.

Oregano oil contains two potent compounds called carvacrol and thymol. Both of which can fight off an impressive range of pathogens (harmful microbes).

Carvacrol, for example, is extensively studied for its antimicrobial effects. Over 1,000 studies have indicated that it can fight (3)

  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infections (like thrush which is caused by candida)
  • Viruses
  • Parasites
  • Allergies
  • Inflammation

The point is, oregano oil is one of the most powerful natural antibiotics on the planet.

Countless people have successfully treated foot / nail fungus, sinus infections, yeast infections, and even MRSA with oregano oil.

How Do I Use It?

Primary Uses: Skin infections, foot & nail fungus, sinus infections.

The way you use oregano oil will largely depend on what kind of infection you’re dealing with.

  • Foot or nail fungus: Put a few teaspoons of oregano oil in a tub of water and soak your feet in it. You can also dilute the oil by combining a drop of oregano oil with a teaspoon of coconut or cold-pressed olive oil. From here you can apply it to your nails or skin.
  • Sinus Infections: Put a few drops of oil into a big pot of steaming water and inhale the steam (be careful it’s not too hot). Alternatively, you can use a neti pot (just use one small drop) which works great when you’re too stuffy to breathe in steam.
  • Oral infections (like thrush): Dilute a drop of oregano oil with a teaspoon of cold-pressed coconut oil. Swish for a few minutes and rinse it out. Repeat 3-4 times a day.

Where Do I Get it?

Due to possible pesticide contamination, I always suggest going organic.

It’s also important to use the right oregano species. There are over 40 different species of oregano, and not all of them will have the medicinal effect you’re looking for.

The two most effective species are Origanum vulgare and Thymus capitatus. So the supplement should contain one of these species to get the best results.

That being said, here’s the best organic oregano oil brand I could find:

Get Oregano Oil Here

Warnings: Don’t use internally. It’s really powerful stuff so it can actually kill off some beneficial bacteria in your gut.

3. Garlic (extract)

garlic oil as a natural antibioticGarlic isn’t just a delicious vegetable to add to your meals. It’s also a powerful antibiotic that’s been used for thousands of years by cultures around the world.

And it turns out, these cultures were spot on for using garlic as an antibiotic.

One study, for example, found that an active substance in garlic (diallyl sulphide) is up to 100x more effective than antibiotics (4).

Pretty amazing, right?

Garlic is known to fight a wide range of infections including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even parasites (5).

But garlic doesn’t just kill infectious microbes. It also bolsters your immune system.

Studies have found that eating garlic on a daily basis can reduce the number of colds a person gets by 63% and reduce the duration of cold symptoms by up to 70% (6).

And unlike drug-based antibiotics, garlic provides a long list of additional health benefits including its ability to

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Prevent Alzheimer’s disease with antioxidants (7)
  • Boost athletic performance
  • Sulfur compounds bind to heavy metals (like lead or mercury) so they can be excreted from the body

But if you want to use garlic as an antibiotic, there’s a big catch…

How to Use It

Primary Uses: Internal, general colds, flu, ear infections, immune system booster

Cooking your garlic to add a flavor bomb to your food is perfectly fine. But if you want to use it medicinally, it needs to be raw.

That’s because when you cook or dry garlic, you destroy the ingredients that are responsible for its antibiotic effects.

To get all the antibiotic goodness from garlic, this is what I do…

  • For Skin Infections: Combine 1 tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil with 1 clove of crushed garlic. Place the garlic in the oil and let it sit for 30 minutes, then strain. Set in a cup that’s sitting in warm (NOT hot) water if you want it warmed. Place a few drops of the oil on the infected area. Alternatively you can dilute one drop of garlic essential oil in the tbsp. of coconut / olive oil.
  • For Ear Infections: According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, you can use the above garlic-infused oil to treat ear infections. Take the oil, slightly warm it and put a few drops in the affected ear(s) hourly. This will also help loosen up ear wax buildup.
  • To Boost The Immune System: Crush 1 clove of raw garlic. Crushing is better than chewing so your breath won’t be as bad and you won’t lose any friends with your rancid breath in the process ?. Swallow the garlic and you’re all set. Consume once per day.

Where Do I Get it?

It’s very important to make sure your garlic is from a safe source.

When selecting garlic at the store, I ensure it’s organic and that it’s not from China (they have very poor regulations).

I use the same guidelines when selecting a garlic oil to use. If you don’t want to shop around, this is what I use:

Get Garlic Oil Here

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the world’s oldest and most common spices (8).

But cinnamon isn’t just any ordinary spice as you may have guessed.

Science has shown that cinnamon can fight off a wide range of dangerous bacterial and fungal infections (10).

For example, one study found that cinnamon inhibits the growth and mycotoxin production of certain fungi (11).

This is just a highbrow way of saying, cinnamon kills off fungal infections and stops it from making compounds that cause disease or tissue damage.

Cinnamon is also well known for its countless medicinal benefits including its ability to treat

  • Acne caused by bacteria (9)
  • Oral infections & bad breath
  • Gut discomfort
  • Hemorrhaging

There’s really nothing bad to say about cinnamon. It’s delicious AND loaded with health benefits.

How to Use It

Primary Uses: Internal immune booster with powder, external with oil (namely fungal infections like candida or athlete’s foot), best used in combination with other natural antibiotics.

The way I use cinnamon to treat infections largely depends on where the infection is.

  • Skin-based infections: I use few drops of a high-quality ceylon cinnamon oil. I combine it with manuka honey and lather it on the infected area. This works really great because it’s a “wombo combo” of two different natural antibiotics.
  • Internal infections: For things like the cold or flu, I combine a high quality organic Ceylon cinnamon powder with manuka honey or regular raw organic honey. I use this combo twice a day when I notice people getting the cold or flu. This usually helps prevent me from getting sick. Or at the very least, it significantly decreases the length of my colds.

Where Do I Get it?

Whether you’re using cinnamon as a spice or medicine, you need to make sure it’s organic Ceylon cinnamon.

The most common form of cinnamon you find in stores (Cassia) has high levels of coumarin, which is a toxin that can cause liver damage for certain people (12).

So if you can’t find a quality source of organic Ceylon cinnamon locally, I would suggest finding a source online such as this one: 

Get Ceylon Cinnamon Here

5. Fermented Foods

fermented sauerkraut on a spoonI know…I know…fermented foods don’t directly have antibiotic effects.

But fermented foods are extremely important for a strong immune system (among many other things).

You see, fermented foods like sauerkraut or kombucha contain healthy bacteria. So when we eat fermented food, it boosts and preserves the beneficial bacteria in our gut—this is called our gut flora.

Our gut flora is destroyed by the pesticides in our food, antibiotics, alcohol, and NSAID drugs like Aspirin.

That’s why our gut needs to get an extra dose of healthy bacteria to stay healthy and function properly. But how does this relate to our immune system?

It’s estimated that up to 70% of our immune system is found in the gut. So when our gut flora is imbalanced (and believe me it is for most of us), our immune system becomes weak.

As a result, we get sick much easier and we’re more prone to autoimmune diseases like psoriasis.

Not only does it make sense, scientific studies have also validated the importance of fermented foods.

A scientific review by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for example, explored the evidence of how bacteria in the gut is essential for a strong immune system (13). They went on to explain

“Probiotic bacteria are shown to promote the endogenous host defense mechanisms…[and] stimulate nonspecific host resistance to microbial pathogens.”

This is just a nerdy way of saying, healthy bacteria can improve your body’s ability to fight off infection. And fermented foods are, hands-down, the best source of healthy bacteria you can get.

How to Use

Primary Uses: Supports a healthy immune system

This one is pretty straight forward.

Just aim to consume 2-3 different fermented foods every day to give your immune system a significant boost.

Some of the most popular fermented foods include

  • Kombucha (a great substitute for soda)
  • Sauerkraut & Kimchi
  • Kefir (I like coconut water kefir)
  • Fermented grains (like real sour dough)

You can make it yourself using lacto-fermentation. It’s a relatively simple process that takes 4-7 days. You can ferment basically anything. And it’s surprisingly tasty!

Where to Get it

You can buy fermented food in most grocery stores now. When I don’t have time to make it myself, I will usually buy kombucha, kimchi, or sauerkraut at the store.

If you can’t get ahold of or don’t have time to make fermented foods, the next best option is taking a high quality probiotic supplement.

Probiotics aren’t as ideal because they don’t provide a broad spectrum of healthy bacteria like fermented foods do. Because that’s what your gut needs.

To get the best of both worlds, I eat fermented foods AND take a probiotic as a form of insurance.

But not all probiotics out there are beneficial. And to be honest, most of them out there are crap. In the past, I spent a lot of time sifting through the different brands. One of the best probiotic brands I could find is called Primal Defense, by Garden of Life. It can be found here:

Get Your Probiotic Here

6. Ginger

Ginger is another promising natural antibiotic.

That’s because ginger contains natural compounds that can

  • Fight infections
  • Soothe digestive issues & discomfort
  • Relieve nausea
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Increases stomach acid to calm digestion after a meal (14)

These properties are the reason why raw ginger is always served with raw foods like sushi. It helps prevent foodborne illness.

Like garlic, ginger should be raw if you want to get the antibiotic effects from it.

But it’s not known if ginger is as effective compared to the other natural antibiotics I mentioned because it hasn’t been well studied.

In other words, we know ginger is an effective antibiotic, we just don’t know how effective it is against a broad spectrum of pathogens.

How to Use It

Primary Uses: Used in combination with other natural antibiotics to increase effectiveness, general immune & health booster.

Since there aren’t many studies on ginger, I prefer to use ginger in combination with other antibiotics to get better results.

For example, I will use raw honey with raw ginger and cinnamon to fight the flu. The added ginger really helps since it can alleviate nausea that comes with the flu.

Plus, raw ginger is rugged if you try to eat it by itself. So I like to combine it with other things to make it taste better.

Ginger is for internal use only. I don’t suggest using ginger extracts or anything like that on the skin because it can cause irritation.

Where to Get it

This one is also straightforward. Get organic ginger at the store.

From here you can freeze any excess ginger you have. When you’re feeling run down, just grate it using a metal grater. Then you can add the raw ginger to your salad dressings, Asian-inspired dishes, or anything else you think it may be good in. But remember, it should be raw or only very briefly cooked.

Alternatively, you can get the antibiotic benefits of ginger with ginger extract pills (I suggest this one) or ginger candy.

7. Pau d’ Arco

Pau d’ Arco is a medicinal tree bark from the rain forest of South America.

It’s thought to help with a wide range of health complications such as

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Pain
  • Fevers
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Ulcers

And of course, some evidence suggests Pau d’ Arco is effective at fighting viral, fungal, and bacterial infections.

Scientists believe a compound called beta-lapachone is responsible for Pau d’ Arco’s antimicrobial effects.

Evidence suggests beta-lapachone prevents viruses from replicating and it kills bacteria by inhibiting cellular respiration (15)(16).

Pau d’ Arco is also thought to be one of the best herbs to fight against candida overgrowths in the gut. Some even claim that Pau d’ Arco can reduce sugar cravings by fighting the candida overgrowth.

While Pau d’ Arco has compounds that may help with infections, there ultimately needs to be more studies to be sure.

How to Use It

Primary Uses: Fight fungal infections like candida in the gut.

Pau d’ Arco can be used externally with a tincture or internally with tablets.

Some people don’t tolerate it well, and get nauseous with larger doses. If you’re one of these people, just keep it for skin or oral infections (you can just spit it out).

People also seem to have a lot of success with using Pau d’ Arco for oral candida (thrush), skin conditions, and sore throats.

It’s NOT recommended for children, infants, and it can negatively interact with blood thinner medications.

As always, consult a healthcare practitioner before trying any of these natural alternatives.

Where To Get It

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you can get Pau d’ Arco in tablet, tea, or tincture form (14).

But it’s best to stay away from the teas since the chemicals that give Pau d’ Arco its medicinal effects don’t dissolve in water. In other words, Pau d’ Arco tea is a waste of your money.

So you’re left with a tincture or tablets. With these, you can just follow the instructions on the packaging.

I did some research, and the brand as seen below seems to have the best product out there. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best option for a tincture I could find.

Get Pau D’ Arco Here

Replenish Your Good Bacteria No Matter What

Sometimes even natural antibiotics can kill off beneficial bacteria (particularly the stronger ones).

And since there’s so many things we’re exposed to every day that kills off our gut flora, it’s important to constantly replenish the healthy bacteria.

This is best achieved through eating fermented foods at least 2-3 times per day. As a form of insurance, you can also take a high-quality probiotic.

Natural Antibiotics to Avoid

I created this list in a specific order. The first 1-3 natural antibiotics are the best, whereas the remedies lower in the list have the least amount of evidence supporting their effectiveness for fighting infections.

That being said, there are a lot of other natural antibiotics out there that should be downright avoided, despite their popularity.

Some of them simply aren’t effective, whereas others cause significantly more harm than they’re worth.

So here’s the list of natural antibiotics you should AVOID:

  • Colloidal Silver: Before refrigerators were invented, silver was used in foods like milk to prevent bacterial growth. It was even used to prevent the spread of certain diseases. Sure it works, but it’s never a good idea to expose your body to heavy metals. That’s just asking for health issues. The only time it’s useful is when all other alternatives fail to work or for short-duration topical uses.
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract: Again, this is another alternative that works considerably well, but there’s a big issue. Grapefruit Seed Extracts can contain harmful chemicals or additives like benzalkonium chloride and triclosan—synthetic preservatives. These preservatives are thought to be the real reason why Grapefruit Seed Extract has antibiotic effects.
  • Standard Store-Bought Honey: There’s a serious lack of regulation on honey products that aren’t raw. This means a large percentage of “honey” on the shelves contains things like heavy metals, antibiotics, and filler sweeteners such as corn syrup. The point is, store-bought honey can cause damage to your health and it will not fight infections (15).

The Bottom Line

There’s no denying that drug-based antibiotics are tremendously over-prescribed.

This misuse of antibiotics has led to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria and an unfathomable amount of damage to people’s gut.

While prescription antibiotics do have their place, it’s not always necessary to use them. Instead, it’s perfectly reasonable to use natural alternatives like manuka honey and garlic (oil).

Taking the natural approach will help prevent antibiotic resistant superbugs from developing. And most importantly, it will save your gut from a lot of unnecessary damage that can lead to serious disease down the road.

If you have tried natural antibiotics before, comment below to let me know what your favorite is! If you have anything to add to this list, that would be even better ?

The post The Top 7 Most Effective Natural Antibiotics and How to Use Them appeared first on Naturalife.

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Everything You Need to Know About Inflammation https://naturalife.org/health/everything-need-know-inflammation https://naturalife.org/health/everything-need-know-inflammation#respond Thu, 06 Apr 2017 15:05:30 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=2239 Understanding inflammation is essential if you want to live a healthy and disease-free life. This guide on inflammation is the best way to get started.

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We’ve all heard how inflammation is bad for you, right?

It can cause pain, disease, and countless other health issues.

Some scientists even claim that most disease would not exist without inflammation.

But that’s only half the story.

Inflammation is a natural response your body uses to protect itself, fight off infection, and speed up healing.

So you actually need a small amount of inflammation to survive.

If you were surprised to learn this, know you’re not alone. That’s because most of us don’t understand the basics of inflammation.

The problem is, sleazy companies take advantage of your limited understanding of inflammation. They sell anti-inflammatory substances that don’t work or only make things worse.

That’s why we must learn the basics of inflammation. To protect our health, future, and bank accounts.

So to help you out, I developed this complete guide to inflammation which will expose the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, you can click to jump to the section that interests you the most (although it may be a good idea to read the whole thing if you are serious about preventing or curing disease caused by inflammation).

What You Will Learn in This Article

Note: Click to jump to the section you’re interested in. 

What is Inflammation and How Does it Work?

Inflammation is your body’s way of dealing with an outside threat like stress, an infection, a toxic chemical, or even unhealthy food.

It’s a completely natural response that’s designed to protect your body.

Contrary to what most people are led to believe, inflammation isn’t all bad. It has a bad reputation because most information out there only focuses on the negative aspects of inflammation.

When body tissues (such as the skin) are injured or infected, the damaged cells release a cocktail of chemicals including histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins.

These chemicals activate proteins that take action to protect the body and begin the healing process.

The result is inflammation which can be experienced in number of ways:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Heat
  • Pain

The most important point you should get from this is that inflammation starts the healing process and helps the body remove damaged cells, irritants, and dangerous pathogens.

Unfortunately, we’re trained to immediately reduce inflammation when it shows up.

Rolled your ankle? We immediately are told to ice it.

Have a mild fever? We’re told to take medication to reduce it.

But Reducing Inflammation Isn’t Always The Best Choice

For example, let’s say you closed your fingers in the door. Ouch!

At this point most, people will immediately reach for an anti-inflammatory drug such as Ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation and pain.

In truth, when you reduce short-term (acute) inflammation, it may actually slow down the healing process.

Although Ibuprofen or aspirin might make your fingers “feel” better, it can increase the amount of time it takes for the injury to heal.

The same goes for fevers. A fever is one of the many ways your body naturally fights off infection. So when you reduce a mild fever, you could actually make your illness last longer.

You and your healthcare practitioner must be sure to not undermine the body’s natural healing process–unless inflammation is a threat to your health (such as an extreme fever or throat swelling), you may want to reconsider taking an anti-inflammatory drug for common injuries and illnesses.

This aspect of inflammation is overlooked all too often. So as you can see, it’s important to understand inflammation.

But now you’re faced with difficult question: how can you tell the difference between inflammation that is helpful versus harmful to your health?

These next sections will help you make that distinction.

What Are the Common Signs of Chronic Inflammation?

Unfortunately, the most indicative signs of chronic inflammation are disease itself.

There are some less severe signs of chronic inflammation (before it causes disease), but many people don’t notice or associate them with inflammation until it develops into disease.

Besides disease, common indicators of inflammation can include:

  • Swelling around the wrists or ankles
  • Problems with bloating, constipation, and gas
  •  Fatigue
  •  Itchy ears or eyes
  •  Joint pain or stiffness
  •  Constantly experience throat tickle or irritation
  •  Stuffy nose, sinus trouble, & excessive mucous
  •  Flushed (rosy) & puffy skin

I find that the best way to truly understand a concept is to provide real-life examples. So here’s an example of two completely different people that are at risk of developing an inflammatory disease:

Case 1:

Ben is a stressed out CEO of a shipping company, he works 80 hours a week, and a busy life outside of work. The past couple years he has gained 30 pounds and his doctor says his blood pressure is too high. Ben loves to indulge in cheeseburgers and a glass of whiskey at night to unwind from his long days at work. During his last doctor visit, he complained of ongoing pain in his joints and muscles.

Case 2:

Annie is recently had newborn baby who she routinely gets up in the night to feed. She considers herself to eat healthy sometimes but can’t break her habit of drinking soda. She also rarely gets the opportunity to exercise but assumes that is fine because she is at a healthy weight. The past month she has been getting skin rashes and constant diarrhea.

Both of these people live radically different lifestyles but both show strong indicators of chronic inflammation. Ben’s pain in his joints just might develop into rheumatoid arthritis if he does not change his lifestyle. Annie’s diarrhea may indicate a food sensitivity or development of a gut-related disease such as Crohn’s.

What Makes Chronic Inflammation Harmful?

“In a healthy situation, inflammation serves as a good friend to our body,” says Mansour Mohamadzadeh, PhD, director of the Center for Inflammation and Mucosal Immunology. “But if immune cells start to overreact, that inflammation can be totally directed against us.”

Inflammation is harmful when it becomes a long-term (chronic) reaction rather than a healthy temporary defense mechanism.

In other words, when inflammation persists longer than the body intended (usually anything longer than ~1 month), it begins to harm your body, sabotage your sleep, make weight loss more difficult, damage your gut, increase your risk of getting cancer and much more.

Simply put, it wreaks havoc on your body.

Check out this list of diseases that are caused by inflammation to see for yourself:

Disease How it Happens
Allergies All sensitives cause inflammation which result in the symptoms (Ex: throat closing up)
Alzheimer’s Disease Chronic inflammation destroys brain cells
Autism Inflammatory cells cause autoimmune reactions in the brain which delays the development of the right hemisphere
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Chronic inflammation causes excessive muscle tension—shortens tendons in the forearm
Celiac disease Chronic immune inflammation damages intestines
Eczema Chronic inflammation of the gut & liver with poor detoxification
Fibromyalgia Inflamed connective tissue that is often food allergy-related. Worsened by nutritional imbalances.
Heart attack Chronic inflammation contributes to the thickening of artery walls


So when people are talk about inflammation in a negative way, they are usually referring to chronic inflammation.

What Causes Chronic Inflammation?

So we know that chronic inflammation is a threat to our health.

Now that we know which kind of inflammation is “the bad guy,” we can explore what causes it so we can prevent it.

An unhealthy diet, pesticides, stress, and food sensitivities are among the most common causes of chronic inflammation.

Processed foods, for example, contain substances that increase inflammation. So if you eat these foods on a normal basis, it will cause your body to become constantly inflamed.

To give you a better idea, here’s some common pro-inflammatory substances:

As you can see, some are surprising and others are not. If you already have chronic inflammation (or a disease caused by it) you really should consider eliminating these foods from your diet.

Natural Ways You Can Reduce Inflammation

Whether you think you have been living a pro-inflammatory lifestyle or already have an inflammatory-related disease, it is possible to turn your life around.

Here are 7 ways you can naturally reduce chronic inflammation:

1. Eat a Diet rich in Whole Foods

Whole foods are unprocessed foods—think brown rice versus white rice. When you switch to a whole-food diet, your diet becomes inherently anti-inflammatory. Whole foods are higher in fiber, typically contain fewer toxins, contain less sugar, and are packed with healthy anti-inflammatory chemicals called phytonutrients.

2. Eat Healthy Fats, not bad fats

Consume foods with healthy fats found in high quality cold-pressed organic olive oils, avocados, coconuts, and foods with omega-3s such as wild salmon.

Although saturated fat is a controversial topic, if you consume organic grass fed animal products in moderation it is actually considered to be healthy. That’s because grass fed meats have much more omega-3s than omega-6s compared to corn-fed meat.

3. Exercise Regularly

There is a large body of evidence out there that suggests regular exercise reduces inflammation. Exercise is the key to optimal health: it improves your mood, melts stress, strengthens your cardiovascular system, and improves immune function. The benefits are endless. Reducing inflammation is one of the many reasons why you should exercise daily whether it’s walking, lifting, yoga, or cycling.

4. Remember to Relax

Learning how to actively relax your mind and body on demand is an art as well as a critical skill to live a healthy life.

Since stress promotes inflammation, it would make sense that relaxing is an anti-inflammatory behavior right?

Studies have shown that relaxation actually reduces inflammation. Just like daily exercise, you should find a way to relax on a normal basis. Whether you choose to try yoga, meditation, take a few minutes to just breathe deeply or even a hot herbal bath, pick a healthy practice that helps you relax and unwind after a long day.

5. Avoid Foods You’re Sensitive To

If you haven’t already been tested, you should find out what foods you are sensitive to and stop eating those foods as soon as possible.

If you experience gas, diarrhea, constipation, or cramping, you could be unknowingly sensitive to something you are eating.

Food sensitivities can cause a wide range of unpleasant side effects. But the take home point is that you need to figure out which foods you’re allergic to because if eaten over a long period of time, they can cause serious damage to your body and cause inflammation.

If you are not sure what foods you may be allergic to, go to your doctor and get a  IgG food allergy test done or you can check out the dietary elimination challenge diet that is suggested by many naturopaths.

6. Heal Your Gut

Ever hear the saying that a healthy gut is the key to a healthy body and mind? Well it doesn’t get more accurate than that.

Without a healthy gut, you cannot absorb nutrients properly, your immune system will be compromised, and you might develop new food allergies.

A healthy gut will allow your body to control inflammation and have a much healthier body. It’s the foundation to health.

Almost anyone can benefit from  a healthier gut so here’s 10 ways to naturally improve your gut health.

7. Supplement

There are several supplements you can try to reduce inflammation.

Omega 3s, for example,  have been shown to significantly reduce inflammation.

So if you want to avoid or reduce chronic inflammation, you can consider taking a high quality fish oil supplement.

However I must warn you, it is extremely important to know what you are looking for when selecting a fish oil supplement because if you do not select the right product, it can actually cause more inflammation.

You can either click the “fish oil supplement” link to see my product suggestion or read the buyer’s guide for omega-3 supplements.

Other supplements that have been scientifically shown to reduce inflammation include turmeric (with bioperine) and rose-hips. Always be sure to consult your doctor before taking a supplement.

Ask Your Doctor to Test for Inflammatory Markers

If you want more concrete evidence of whether you have or are at risk for developing chronic inflammation, you can ask your doctor to test for inflammatory markers.

When you get your tests done, you doctor will be able to figure out whether or not you have a problem with inflammation. But sometimes these tests can give you false negatives. Meaning the test says you don’t have an issue with chronic inflammation, when it reality you do.

That’s why it’s best to play it safe and take measures to live an anti-inflammatory life.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, inflammation can be both helpful and harmful to your body. By understanding inflammation, you can make the distinction between when inflammation is beneficial and when inflammation is a red flag for disease.

Chronic, or long-term, inflammation should be avoided with a healthy diet and anti-inflammatory supplements if necessary.

What is your experience with inflammation? Has it caused any issues for you? If you reversed chronic inflammation, share your story so you can help others do the same. 

As always, this article was created with the intent to help others, so I hope you found it useful. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment below.

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Melt Away Headaches With Trigger Point Therapy https://naturalife.org/health/naturally-cure-headaches-trigger-points https://naturalife.org/health/naturally-cure-headaches-trigger-points#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 20:32:08 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=2172 Learn how to naturally cure your headaches using only your fingertips in a technique called trigger point therapy: the medication-free way to pain relief.

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Headaches suck.

They destroy your motivation and leave you feeling completely drained.

They’re not good for anything, except for maybe increasing your chances of getting a zombie role in the Walking Dead.

I know because I was plagued with 3-4 headaches a week. That’s until I learned how to cure them with an insanely effective technique called trigger point therapy.

Since then, trigger point therapy has been my go-to headache cure. And best of all, I can do it within the comfort of my own home.

I know headaches are a huge problem for a lot of you out there, so I figured I would share this little-known trick.

That way you can finally be headache free, without the need of medication.

The Unseen Culprit

During my work under a naturopathic doctor, about 95% of the patients who showed up for headaches or migraines had them as a result of muscle tension (tension headaches).

People are often unaware their headaches are caused by muscle tension because it’s not obvious to those who experience them.

As odd as it may sound, when a muscle tightens up it can cause pain in a completely different area.

So when your neck muscles are tense and can’t relax , it can cause pain on the top of your head, temples, or in the front of the head depending on which specific muscles are tense.

This is called referred pain.

The problem is, it’s easy to mistake referred muscle pain for a regular headache or migraine. That’s why so many people have tension headaches and don’t realize it.

Referred pain from tight muscles can be easily mistaken as a standard headache or migraine. Click To Tweet

How to Spot a Tension Headache

Tension headaches can cause a dull, or very painful, aching pain anywhere in the head, neck, or shoulders.  This pain is usually accompanied by a feeling of tightness or pressure in the same areas.

To be more specific, here are some of the most characteristic signs of a tension headache:

  • The level of pain changes as you move your head or shoulders.
  • You wake up with headaches or seem to get them when you are stressed out.
  • The muscles in your neck, shoulders, or upper back are sensitive to touch or pressure.
  • You spend a lot of time on your smart phone, on the computer, or have a job that requires you to sit all day or look in a single direction.
The Cure to Your Headaches is Literally at Your FingertipsClick To Tweet

Trigger Point Therapy for Tension Headaches

woman getting trigger point therapy on backYour muscles can get tight for a number of reasons including stress, a magnesium deficiency, or even a job with repetitive motions (e.g., office jobs).

When a muscle becomes tight, it can develop areas of high tension.  Most people know these areas as muscle “knots.”

Muscle knots feel almost like a hard lump sor ball of muscle. The fancy name for muscle knots is myofascial (muscle) trigger points. See where this is going?

Once you locate your muscle “knots” or trigger points, you can apply gentle and gradual pressure to them.

If done correctly, this pressure will eventually cause the trigger points and their associated muscle relax. When a trigger point releases, you can feel the tension melt away. It’s like a wave of relaxation.

So if you think you suffer from tension headaches, here are the 4 different trigger points you can learn to melt away your headaches all by yourself.

The great thing about learning how to relieve headaches using trigger points is that once you learn it, you can use the technique anytime and anywhere—there’s no need to depend on any medication or massage therapists.

So lets move on to step 1: finding the common trigger points.

Trigger Point 1: The Suboccipitals

The suboccipitals are 4 tiny muscles  located below the base of your skull near your two large neck muscles. They help move your head up and down. People who spend a long time looking down at their smartphones or hunched over their computer screens most of the day almost always have tension in their suboccipitals.

Similar behaviors can also  cause your psoas muscle to shorten which leads to lower-back pain.

When I was in college, I had to complete most of my work on a computer. As a result, I often had problems with suboccipital tension until I learned how to work on the trigger points and improve my posture.

How to Find the Suboccipitial Trigger Points

suboccipital trigger points with diagramFind the center of your spine on your neck and drag your fingers left or right until you feel a large neck muscle (upper trapezius).

It’s easier to find if you move your head up and down while trying to feel for the big band-like muscle.

Now follow the band of muscle all the way up to the base of your skull. When you are there, move your fingers slightly to the outside of the big muscle (away from the spine). You should be able to feel a small indent here. This is the area you want to remember.

Try to find it on the other side of your neck too.

These points are also called the Gates of Consciousness (GB 20) in acupuncture & acupressure. Once you locate your suboccipitals, you can feel around for any tenseness and locate any knots that may be causing your head pain.

Trigger Point 2: The Sternocleidomastoid (SCM)

The sternocleidomastoid, or SCM for short, is a long neck muscle that helps your head rotate. It also connects to your clavicle (collar bone) to help you breathe. The SCM is located on both sides of your neck.

When someone spends a lot of time in the head forward posture, it shortens and tenses the SCM. If this posture becomes a habit, the SCM will adapt and shorten (tighten).

A tight SCM can refer pain to the forehead, sinus, ear, near the eyebrows, or back of the head.

People with a tight SCM usually have jobs that involve a lot of sitting with poor posture.

How To Find SCM Trigger Points

sternocleidomastoid trigger point diagramThe SCM begins below your ears. If you turn your head in the opposite direction of the side you are feeling, you will find it faster.

It feels like a solid band of muscle. Once you find it, keep your head turned and follow it all the way down until you hit your clavicle.

You can then feel up and down SCM for any trigger points. Some of the common trigger points can be seen in the picture above.

Turn your head left and right while searching for trigger points—it makes things much easier for you. A common trigger point that I dealt with can be found about two fingers down from where your SCM meets your skull.

Sometimes my ear aches are caused by this trigger point.

Be careful with the SCM when you are massaging trigger points. There are small sensitive muscles in this area and the carotid arteries are very close to the SCM. So always massage gently, and never apply a lot of pressure to the trigger points. If you are unsure, let a professional such as a naturopath or physical therapist show you first.

Trigger Point 3: Upper Trapezius (Shoulders)

The trapezius, commonly called traps, is a large kite-shaped muscle that spans from your upper shoulders all the way down to the middle of your back.

The trapezius helps pull the shoulders up and stabilize the neck. Continuous slouching can cause the traps to tense up and form serious knots in your shoulders.

Tense shoulders can also start a chain reaction of muscle tension that leads up to your neck and suboccipitals.

A tight trapezius can refer pain to the back of the neck or ear, the temples, or even the back of the eye.

How To Find Upper Trapezius Trigger Points

upper trapezius trigger point diagramThe upper trapezius itself isn’t difficult to find. But it’s a big muscle so it may be hard to find the trigger points you are looking for.

Start by feeling for the highest point of your shoulders (where they meet your neck). From here you should easily feel a muscle “band.”

This band is really the top of your trapezius. Usually there are knots here, so it should be easy to find. Once you find the trigger points, you can feel the top of the muscle as it travels away from your neck into the bony part of your shoulders which is the top of your clavicle (acromial extremity).

Most of the trigger points will usually lie close to the base of your neck.

When you’re familiar with the area, explore and feel for trigger points. You can also use the image above as a guide to search for the most common trigger points

Trigger Point 4: The Rhomboids

The rhomboids are muscles that start at the middle of your spine and connect to the scapula.

These muscles help move the scapula and counter the pull from your pectorals (chest muscles). Much like the SCM, the rhomboids can become tight when you spend long periods of time in the head forward posture.

Tight rhomboids can also be caused by tense pectorals. Since the pecs and rhomboids counter one another, if the pecs are too tight, it will put more stress on the rhomboids and vice versa.

Unlike the other muscles described here, the rhomboids usually do not refer pain to another location.

Instead, pain is usually felt around the middle back and scapula. But tense rhomboids can cause other muscles in the area to tense up which causes a chain reaction of muscle tension that can lead up to the neck.

How to Find Rhomboid Trigger Points

rhomboid trigger point diagramThese may be the most difficult of the trigger points to find only because they are hard to reach on your own. But if you own a self-massage tool, rhomboid trigger points are much easier to release.

To find rhomboid trigger points, start by locating your scapula—typically as far as you can reach is where the rhomboids are unless you have poor flexibility.

Once you are there, just do your best to scan with your fingers between the scapula and your spine for any trigger points. If you find a spot that you can’t quite reach, you can also try laying on a tennis ball or golf ball and gently rolling on the spot.

Trigger Point Massage & Release

The technique you use to release trigger points or muscle knots is the most important thing you should learn from this article. When you first start, it may be difficult to find trigger points, but over time you will be able to pick them out right away.

I’m at the point where I catch myself pressing on a trigger point intuitively without even being aware of it.

But it took time and practice to get to that point. To get the best results, here’s the technique you should follow when working on trigger points:

  1. Scan the muscle with your fingers and find a trigger point. They usually feel like a tight “ball” of muscle and are tender to touch.
  2. Lightly apply pressure to the trigger point while taking deep breaths (the breathing is important).
  3. Slowly increase the amount of pressure on the trigger point. If it causes too much pain, ease off a little. It’s best to apply pressure until discomfort. Once the discomfort subsides, gradually apply more pressure. Continue to repeat this process.
  4. You eventually should feel the trigger point “melt” away.
  5. Scan the nearby area to see if the trigger point moved—sometimes those darn trigger points will try to run away from you.
  6. If a trigger point is stubborn, try moving the area that engages the muscle while pressing on the point until you feel like trigger point is exposed or more prominent. For example, when working on my suboccipitals, I move my head in all different directions while pressing on a trigger point until I find the most sensitive position and work on it from there.
  7. Work your way through all the trigger points you find and through the muscles I mentioned. Feel free to explore other areas. Eventually your intuition will guide you as it does with me.
  8. Hopefully you are now headache free (or will be within 15-20 minutes). Remember that it takes practice to get good at this–you may not get great results on your first try. 

The only downfall to this is, if your significant other discovers your new skill, you can be sure he / she will take full advantage of it 😉

Prevention is Key

While trigger point therapy can provide substantial relief from tension headaches, it’s important to figure out the root cause—otherwise your muscles will just tighten up weeks after you release them. For many (like myself), it was my posture, stress, and a magnesium deficiency that was causing my muscles to tighten up.

To determine if posture is the issue,  think about how you spend the majority of your time.

If it involves sitting or looking in one direction for prolonged periods, your posture may be the issue.

To avoid muscle tension caused by posture, try to walk around every 30 minutes or so (using a tomato timer helps).

Regular movement prevents muscles from staying in a shortened state for too long (this causes muscle tension problems).

Above all, make sure you have good posture while you are at your job, computer, looking at your phone, etc.

There is definitely a lot more to know about this subject, so please feel free to comment below with any questions or suggestions that you may have. After all, this a community that is meant to help you heal.

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How to Create a Nutrition Plan You’ll Actually Like https://naturalife.org/nutrition/nutrition-plan-made-easy https://naturalife.org/nutrition/nutrition-plan-made-easy#respond Thu, 02 Feb 2017 22:17:42 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=2133 Learn to make a meal plan that you will like and finally stick to. Healthy eating shouldn't be hard, it should be an enjoyable journey to self improvement.

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Staying healthy is more than just exercising.

It’s also about eating right.

That can be pretty hard when you’re just starting your health journey. After all, we’re bombarded by processed food and sugar at every turn. Even the healthiest person will sometimes fall prey to unhealthy food cravings.

So what can you do to stick to healthier eating choices?

Forget About Calories

While almost every diet plan out there will urge you to count calories, if you’re just starting off, try not to pressure yourself too much. You’ve probably seen the phrase “based on a 2,000-calorie diet.” The truth is the FDA chose this number because it was as close as they could get to the average amount most people need to maintain their weight.

The truth is, your ideal intake is based on your age, gender, ethnicity and physical activity levels.

Also realize that when you eat fewer calories, it can leave you feeling hungry throughout the day. This often leads to snacking on junk food because that’s what we naturally reach for when our body is wanting calories.

The point is, cutting calories only leads to frustration and discouragement. That’s why so many people drop their meal plan or dietary goals in a few months.

The bottom line:

Don't focus on calories. Focus on the quality of the food you eat instead--it's much easier. Click To Tweet

Replace Processed Foods with Whole Foods

Remove the temptation to reach for a bag of chips at home by getting rid of them altogether.

Instead, replace it with something else that can curb your salty or crunchy craving.

Want something sweet? Reach for some fruit instead of cookies.

Or if you’re a soda lover, add fresh fruit to seltzer water or give kombucha a try.

But don’t try to completely overhaul your diet all at once.

The best way to stick to your nutrition plan is to phase processed foods out slowly.

If you try to take on too much at once, it will get overwhelming and there’s a higher chance you will fall back onto your old eating habits.

Knowing exactly what you replace your processed foods with can also be confusing and intimidating.

The general rule of thumb is to make your diet include as many whole foods as possible (e.g., brown rice, sweet potatoes with the skin, carrots, or cabbage).

Simply put, avoid food with long ingredient lists or foods that are made in factories.

But why are whole foods better than processed foods?  

Whole foods make a HUGE difference. In fact, nutrition experts have even created massive books on the subject because they’re such an important part of a healthy diet (if you’re interested in the topic, I highly recommend this book on whole foods).

Whole foods also provide a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and proteins essential to your diet.

When food is processed, it’s stripped of these nutrients.

Whole foods are also rich in fiber. As a result, your body must work harder to break the food down. This helps you feel full longer and stabilizes your blood sugar levels.

Processed foods, on the other hand, get quickly digested by your body and cause your blood sugar levels to spike. You then get hungry more quickly (this is why so many people eat too many calories) and experience an energy crash due to the blood sugar spike.

The bottom line:

Gradually phase out the unhealthy foods in your diet rather than changing everything at once. Click To Tweet

Meal Plan

The best way to stick to your nutrition plan?

Cook your own food.

Of course, not everyone has the time to spend on making a home-cooked meal every day. With the right tools, though, it is possible to have something healthy on hand. For example, a slow cooker is a great option for people who have no time to cook after work.

Cooking in bulk is another big time saver. In other words, cook a few meals ahead of time on a day off and store them in the freezer or fridge.

That way you’ll have plenty of options for the whole week, and all you need to do is reheat them.

If you don’t want to eat the same food for the whole week, consider partial bulk cooking. For example, cook a lot of chicken for the week and then use it in different recipes such as chicken noodle soup, chicken salad, etc.

If you know what meals your making, you can even cut all your veggies and herbs ahead of time. Just store them in mason jars or glass Pyrex containers.

The more you plan ahead, the easier it will be to eat healthily.

You can even cook while you travel. Rather than stay at a hotel, consider renting out an Airbnb. This way you have access to a kitchen.

Thanks to the internet coupled with a Virtual Private Network, you can also access your favorite recipes and videos anywhere in the world.

The bottom line:

Planning ahead makes healthy eating much easier and more time-efficient.Click To Tweet

Have a Support System

Whether it’s your family or friends, having people around with the same goals is always a good motivator.

You can compare notes, swap recipes, and be each other’s rock when things get tough. The more you surround yourself with people who are on the same path, the easier it will be for you to stick to your plans.

The trick here is to make sure the people you live with know your goal and respect it, whether that means joining you on your journey or simply removing junk food from the common areas.

If you don’t have someone close to you who can act as a support, join a group. There are likely many people near you who want to eat healthier. If there isn’t a group, try forming one. Or if you don’t do well in those situations, there are also many websites and forums you can join to get advice and feedback.

The bottom line:

When you have a health goal, let your friends and family know so they don't unknowingly sabotage it. Click To Tweet

Don’t Feel Guilty

There will be times when your willpower crumbles or when you can’t avoid partaking in decadent food. But don’t beat yourself up over it.

There’s nothing that demotivates people more than feeling guilt over a slipup.

Rather than dwell on what you did, consider how you can do better for the future. And if it’s because you were celebrating a major event, focus on the happiness of the event rather than that cookie or bowl of ice cream you ate.

Also, remember you don’t have to cut out all treats.

It could even be beneficial to include some cheats in your nutrition plan. This way you don’t feel you’re sacrificing too much, and you can plan these days around upcoming events such as birthdays, holidays and other celebrations.

Sticking to your nutrition plan can be difficult, but if you take it slow, understand your personality and time limitations, you should be able to transition smoothly into a more healthful lifestyle.

How do you stay on track with your nutrition plan? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Cassie is a freelance tech writer. When she’s not tapping away at the computer, she enjoys whipping up healthy homemade meals for her family. She loves how technology has made it even easier to lead a healthy lifestyle wherever she is.

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13 Powerful Natural Remedies for More Energy https://naturalife.org/natural-remedies/remedies-increase-energy-fight-fatigue https://naturalife.org/natural-remedies/remedies-increase-energy-fight-fatigue#comments Fri, 16 Dec 2016 15:05:56 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=2023 The 13 most powerful home remedies you can use to skyrocket your energy, focus, and stamina without a crash. Don't let fatigue hold you back.

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Do you find yourself constantly tired?

Is it a struggle to complete ordinary tasks because you feel so utterly exhausted every day?

Maybe you’re here because coffee doesn’t do the trick anymore.

The truth is, you’re not alone.

But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life controlled by fatigue.

Fortunately, there are several natural substances that can give you sustained energy and focus throughout the day–with no caffeine crash.

There was a time in my life when I was plagued with chronic fatigue. It was miserable.

Eventually I got fed up and decided to dig deep into research and experiment with my findings. The result was this list of 13 insanely effective home remedies to naturally boost your energy.

I figured I should share this list with the world since it was so helpful with increasing my energy.

So if you’re fed up with fatigue and want to bring some color back into your life, give one (or more) of these remedies a shot:

1. Rhodiola Rosea

rhodiola rosea can help fight off fatigueRhodiola is without a doubt among my top 10 most favorite herbs. Sometimes called rose root, rhodoila can help your body deal with stress, cure depression, and even regulate your hormones.

But rhodiola is best known for its ability to increase your energy and endurance.

You see, rhodiola is what we call an adaptogen. This means it helps your body adapt to any stresses that throw it off balance.

According to several studies, rhodiola can make your body more resistant to mental and physical stress. In doing so, it rhodiola can help you maintain energy throughout the day.

Think about it…

When you have a stressful day at work, you will naturally feel exhausted and drained. Rhodiola helps you bounce back from these every-day stresses so you can fight off fatigue longer than normal. If stress-induced fatigue is your issue, you may want to pick up a  quality rhodiola supplement and give it a try!

2. Wheatgrass Shot (Juice)

wheatgrass juice gives your body a concentrated burst of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and chlorophyllHave that sluggish can’t-get-out-of-bed feeling? A shot of wheatgrass juice can give you the kick of energy you need to get yourself going.

I find that many people who try wheatgrass juice for the first time, feel a surge of “clean” energy.

This is because wheat grass juice is an effective way to deliver oxygen into your bloodstream. Wheatgrass also provides a concentrated burst of nutrients to your body including iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, chlorophyll, and vitamins A, C, and E.

3. Cordyceps

cordyceps can significantly increase your energy by promoting the production of ATP and testosteroneCordyceps are a parasitic fungus that grow on the surface of high altitude caterpillars—pretty wild right?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has used cordyceps for centuries. They valued it for its ability restore the body from illness.

Today most cordyceps are produced in labs. Thankfully this makes it  affordable and environmentally friendly.

Scientific studies reveal that cordyceps can significantly improve your energy by increasing your body’s ATP and testosterone production. And yes, women need testosterone too.

As an added bonus, cordyceps can also improve how efficiently your body uses oxygen. Better management of oxygen means more energy for you.

Cordyceps are the real deal.

Just ask the Chinese Olympic Athletes who broke five world running records at the 1993 Olympic games. Authorities were suspicious of their remarkable speed and had them tested for drugs. They were clean, but the Chinese athletes did admit the secret to their performance was an extract of cordyceps.

4. Schisandra Berry

schisandra berry can improve mental and physical enduranceI stumbled across Schisandra berry after digging deep into my research—it is not well-known but it packs a promising energy punch.

Schisandra berry is native to northeast China and some parts of Russia. The berries are typically dried in the sun and used in supplements. But schisandra is rarely used in foods due to its peculiar taste because it is said to contain all 5 flavor profiles: sweet, salty, bitter, and pungent.

In addition to its energy-boosting properties, schisandra has a long list of uses and benefits.

That’s why schisandra is such a powerful adaptogen for energy.

In fact, multiple Russian studies suggest that schisandra berry increases mental performance, physical endurance, reduces fatigue, and makes the body more resistant to stress. No wonder why Schisandra is thought to be so valuable.

So if you want to improve your energy and endurance, a schisandra berry supplement might give you the spark you need.

5. Ashwagandha

ashwagandha eliminates fatigue by supporting the adrenal and thyroid glandsAshwagandha (root), also known as Indian ginseng, is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. It provides numerous vitality-boosting benefits to both your body and mind. In the past, Ashwagandha was used to treat a range of conditions including immune issues, neurological disorders, and even hair loss.

But where Ashwagandha shines is in its ability to boost your energy. Ashwagandha supports our body’s two most important regulators of our energy: our adrenals and thyroid.

Our adrenal glands play a massive role in how much energy we have—they are like the work horses of the body.

Too much stress can cause adrenal fatigue which leads to insomnia, weight gain, and extreme sluggishness. Ashwagandha keeps our adrenal glands (and it’s hormones) balanced and healthy. That way, our body can be at its fullest energetic potential.

When our thyroid hormones are out of balance, extreme fatigue can also become an issue. Ashwagandha helps regulate our thyroid hormones so our body can do a better job at maintaining a normal level of energy throughout the day.

In short, Ashwagandha supplements can help ensure that your body stays healthy and energized by balancing your hormones.

6. Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero root)

studies suggest siberian ginseng can boost your energy, and physical / sexual performanceEastern countries such as China and Russia have medicinally used Siberian ginseng for hundreds of years.

Siberian ginseng was traditionally used to increase energy, longevity, and vitality. Once again, it turns out that the traditional medicine systems were on point.

Like rhodiola, Siberian ginseng is an adaptogen that contains natural compounds which can improve the health of your adrenal glands. Scientific studies have suggested that Siberian ginseng can enhance your energy and improve physical, mental, and sexual performance.  Studies have also found that Siberian ginseng can strengthen your immune system.

Just be sure to note that Siberian ginseng is different than Asian or American ginseng. They have slightly different properties.

7. Yerba Mate Tea

yerba mate provides a clean caffeine buzz without jittersAt first, I wasn’t sure if I should include yerba mate because it contains caffeine. But I decided to anyways because yerba mate really gives you a kick in the butt. The best part is yerba mate doesn’t make you crash or have the jitters like coffee does.

Yerba mate tea originates from South America. It’s prepared by steeping  the dried leaves and twigs in hot, but not boiling water. Traditionally, it’s consumed communally from a hollow gourd with a metal straw.

You can get a yerba mate gourd here. I prefer the gourd but a coffee mug would work just as well.

Those who have tried yerba mate tea swear by its promise of a “clean” caffeine-like buzz. Some claim that this difference is because instead of caffeine, Yerba mate contains a stereoisomer of caffeine called mateine. Whether that is truly the reason is unknown.

One way or another, yerba mate tea is a great option to give you more energy during the day if you drink it in moderation.

8. Spirulina

spirulina is a superfood that can bolster your energy and promote the growth of healthy bacteriaThe use of spirulina as a source of food dates all the way back to the Aztecs in the 16th century Mexico.

But spirulina may not be what you consider to be normal food.  Spirulina is actually a blue-green algae. It may sound a little weird, but you won’t regret trying it out.

This blue-green algae is a high-protein superfood—and that’s saying something because I don’t throw around that word often.

Spirulina powder can give you a considerable boost in energy, bolster your immune system, and even promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. A healthy gut is an essential part of living a fatigue-free life.

I’ve tried a lot of brands, but E3 Live frozen blue-green algae stands as one of the best spirulina supplements out there. E3 has unmatched quality and the spirulina is frozen to ensure it’s fresh as possible. It’s worth the extra money without a doubt.

9. Maca Root

maca root powder

Maca root is a superfood in its own right. It’s loaded with an impressive list of nutrients including vitamins B-1, B-2, C, and E, over 20 amino acids (protein), and several minerals such as zinc, copper, and magnesium.

In addition to maca root’s high nutrient density, it also has the ability to restore sexual, endocrine (hormonal), and mental health.

Several studies have suggested that maca root can

Most importantly, maca root can have a positive effect on your energy, stamina, and mood.

Scientists believe maca root can increase your energy because it stabilizes blood sugar levels and supports the pituitary gland (an essential gland for focus and energy).

It’s best to take maca root powder before exercise or first thing in the morning.

10. Reishi Mushroomreishi mushrooms can boost immune function and reduce fatigue

Reishi mushrooms are one of my wellness “secret weapons.”

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, reishi mushrooms were one of the most sought after tonics. Some even refer to reishi as the “Mushroom of Immortality” or “Mushroom of Spiritual Potency.”

Over the past several decades, countless studies demonstrated that reishi mushrooms offer unmatched protection against several diseases and illnesses including:

  • Inflammation
  • Fatigue (and chronic fatigue)
  • Liver disease
  • Food allergies and asthma
  • Digestive problems
  • Anxiety and depression

The list goes on and on.

The point is, reishi mushrooms can bolster your overall health and give you a significant boost in energy.

But, there’s a lot of poor quality reishi mushroom supplements out there–most of them are processed wrong or have a subpar potency. It took me a while to find a brand  that meets my standards, but this is the one I finally settled on (and still personally use today).

11. Apple Cider Vinegarapple cider vinegar can prevent cancer, regular blood sugar, give you more energy, and much more.

Apple cider vinegar has become part of my morning routine because it can fight off that initial grogginess when you wake up.

According to Dr. Mercola, the potassium and enzymes found naturally in apple cider vinegar help banish fatigue.

But heed my warning:

If you plan on giving apple cider vinegar a try, don’t buy any ordinary apple cider vinegar. A lot of products out there are simply apple juice with acetic acid–this is not apple cider vinegar!

What you want is a raw, organic, and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. You can easily find it at most stores or on Amazon. This will ensure you get the most health benefits from drinking it.

It’s best mixed with water so it doesn’t burn your throat on the way down.

12. ProbioticsAn unhealthy gut is one of the most common causes of chronic fatigue. Probiotics are a great way to keep your gut healthy.

Taking a probiotic supplement can significantly enhance your energy levels.

In fact, a recent study discovered that those who have reduced gut bacteria diversity (a poor balance of gut bacteria) were much more likely to experience chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s a condition marked by extreme, long-lasting fatigue.

With this evidence, it’s reasonable to believe that probiotics, which improve gut bacteria diversity, can reduce fatigue.

I suggest that everyone should take a probiotic because we live in a world that destroys our gut bacteria.

As it is with any supplements, you must be sure to pick out the right probiotics. A lot of probiotics are poorly designed so they don’t get past your stomach acid without getting destroyed. To avoid this issue, look for a delayed release & spore-forming probiotic such as this one.

Another way to get more probiotics into your diet is to consume fermented foods on a daily basis.

You may also want to consider eliminating refined sugar from your diet. A strain of unhealthy gut bacteria called candida albicans feeds on sugar. So when you have a high sugar diet, candida can take over the gut, kill off the good bacteria, and make it difficult for your body to digest and absorb nutrients.

13. Magnesium

It’s estimated that up to 80% of people are deficient in magnesium. This is mainly due to poor eating habits and crops grown in depleted soil.

Magnesium is a mineral that’s essential for muscle functioning, blood pressure regulation, and the absorption of calcium. It’s also used in over 300 different enzymatic processes in the body.

Your body relies on magnesium, so when you’re deficient in magnesium it can cause a wide range of issues including:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Muscle cramps, spasms, and soreness
  • Headaches
  • Chocolate cravings
  • Anxiety and insomnia

What’s sad is many people suffer from these symptoms and have no idea it’s caused by a lack of magnesium. The symptoms, however, are completely avoidable if you get magnesium into your diet. Or if you’re really deficient, a you might need a supplement to restore your magnesium levels.

If you think a magnesium deficiency is causing your fatigue, supplementing magnesium can make a significant difference.

Just be sure to only get magnesium glycinate or stearate. All other forms of magnesium aren’t absorbed well and are therefore a waste of money.

To get the most out of the supplement, take it at night because they can help you relax and sleep better.

Bonus: Vegetable Juice for More Energy

Whenever I feel like my body needs some green vegetables and a big jolt of energy, I take out my juicer and make a batch of fresh vegetable juice.

When you juice vegetables, it breaks down the plant fiber which allows your body to quickly absorb and digest the juice. As a result, you will notice a massive spike in clean energy after consuming vegetable juice.

Vegetable juices are ideal when you feel an illness coming on. It can stop an illness in its tracks.

I recommend that you avoid store bought vegetable juices. They are often loaded with sugar and harmful additives. It’s also important to always buy organic when juicing.

To make your juices even healthier, add a few drops of lemon juice and some ice. This will significantly reduce the oxidation that occurs from the heat in the blender.

If you’re short on time, you could try an organic green juice powder instead.

The Bottom Line

After spending a considerable amount of time researching and experimenting, these are the 13 most effective natural remedies for energy that I have found. Unlike many other lists out there, these remedies are backed by studies and/or actually work (in my experience).

If you are particularly fond of any of these energy-boosting remedies listed here or have any other suggestions, feel free to let me know by commenting below.

I would like to note that if you have extreme chronic fatigue, it’s likely there are some underlying health issues you are dealing with and you should consult your healthcare practitioner. You can also use these energy-boosting herbs to make life more bearable while you look for the underlying cause of your fatigue.

Always consult your doctor before trying any of these supplements to be sure it is safe for you and does not interact with any of your medications you are currently taking.

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Dangerous Chemicals Are Hiding In Your Household Products https://naturalife.org/natural-life/harmful-chemicals-cleaning-products https://naturalife.org/natural-life/harmful-chemicals-cleaning-products#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:24:26 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=2016 Did you know that standard cleaning and beauty products contain countless chemicals that can devastate your health? Here's how to avoid them.

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Most products on the market today contain a variety of toxic substances that can completely devastate your health.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), household cleaners and personal care products lack safety regulations.

As a result, manufacturers aren’t required to publish test data or notify consumers if their product contains harmful substances.

And these harmful substances shouldn’t be taken lightly.

They can destroy your body in a number of ways by causing cancer, disrupting your hormones, damaging your brain, and much more.

When government regulations or companies don’t protect our health, we must take responsibility and do the work ourselves by taking action:

  • Search for all the products you use at the EWG site or the EWG app. They have an amazing database that can tell you if your beauty or cleaning products are safe.
  • Read the labels. If a cleaning product is labeled “hazardous to humans” or “toxic to animals,” it’s best to avoid use.
  • Stick to brands that are well-known for producing safe products.

These steps are a great way to get started. But to truly protect yourself, you need to be aware of the most common household threats.

Detoxifying the Home

Detoxifying the home is as important as selecting healthy organic foods to protect and maintain your health.

To detox your home, start by taking a good look at the cleaning solutions, powders, and pastes under the sink. Replace these toxic substances with alternative safe and natural cleaners.

When in doubt, look to EWG to determine if a product is safe. Be careful though, some products which claim to be safe are anything but safe—so EWG is your best bet.

Household Cleaning Products

A large percentage of household cleaning products contain synthetic fragrances— including dish soaps, liquid hand washes, air fresheners, and paper products.

The problem is companies aren’t required to inform consumers about the ingredients in their fragrances.

If you see “fragrance” on a product label, it’s likely that the product contains a class of dangerous chemicals called phthalates.

Researchers have found that phthalate compounds can disrupt hormones (endocrine system), damage the reproductive system, and even cause cancer in humans and animals.

Most phthalate compounds are inhaled but it’s also possible for the skin to absorb them (e.g. using scented soap or shampoo).

Our skin has no protective safeguards from toxins and phthalates can easily pass through it.

Once absorbed through the skin, phthalates can pass directly to the body’s internal organs through the bloodstream.

And phthalates aren’t the only harmful chemicals found in standard cleaning products. The point here is to stress the importance of using safe cleaning products.

Also, don’t overlook household fragrances such as plugins or sprays. They are just as bad. There’s plenty of healthy alternative ways to scent your home.

One of the most popular ways, by far, is to use essential oil diffusers.

Dry-Cleaning Products

Spot removers, carpet and/or upholstery cleaners, and many dry-cleaning products contain perchloroethylene, or PERC.

According to environmental protection scientists, PERC is a neurotoxin and a likely carcinogen.

In fact, individuals who live in apartments located over dry cleaning businesses frequently report coordination loss, dizziness, and other troubling symptoms.

But how can you avoid PERC?

If home décor items, like drapes, or clothing bear the label “Dry Clean Only,” search for a wet cleaner. These cleaning providers use water-based solutions instead of chemical products containing PERC.

You can also try nontoxic alternatives at the natural foods store or apply liquid castile soap to stains before a gentle hand-washing.

If you must use a dry cleaner, be sure to ask them about the products they use.

Triclosan

Triclosan is one of the most prevalent antibacterial substances found in products. And due to its widespread use, it’s contamination can be seen everywhere.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, triclosan is found in municipal water supplies, human blood plasma, and newborn babies’ umbilical cord blood. It’s found in many antibacterial dish & hand soaps and it’s used by several consumer pharmaceutical companies’ personal care products.

Recently, the FDA reported that antimicrobials like triclosan don’t improve human health or prevent illness.

The overuse of chemicals like triclosan can even make bacteria resistant to other antibiotics needed to combat dangerous microbes.

Case and point: to keep you and your home healthy, avoid products with triclosan.

Ideally it’s best to avoid antibacterial soaps and sanitizers altogether. Although this may not be possible for those of you who work in a medical facility.

QUATS

QUATS, or quaternary ammonium compound substances, are frequently found in fabric softener products (liquids or sheets) and some “antibacterial” cleaning products.

QUATS have been shown to

  • irritate the skin
  • disrupt hormones
  • promote respiratory problems like asthma

To protect your household, don’t use traditional liquid fabric softeners or sheets.

Try natural vinegar instead.

Vinegar is nontoxic, removes residues from soaps in the rinse, and prevents static in the dryer. Just be sure to opt for white vinegar because apple cider or other vinegars may stain cloth.

To disinfect bedding or other items, add natural organic tea tree oil. You can also add lavender essential oil to the rinse cycle leaves wash smelling fresh.

Ammonia

Many cleaning or polishing agents used for bathroom, glass, or jewelry contain ammonia.

It’s commonly found in many commercial window cleaning agents because it evaporates and doesn’t streak.

The EPA says ammonia can negatively affect people who have asthma or others with breathing issues or lung problems. Also, people who use ammonia often are more prone to develop asthma or chronic bronchitis.

Instead of using products that contain ammonia, try vodka.  Surprisingly, vodka has the same cleaning and shining power on metals, mirrors, and ceramic surfaces.

Chlorine

Chlorine bleach has been an American cleaning staple for years. It’s used in toilet cleaning, laundry whitening, or mildew/mold removing agents.

Even if you don’t use chlorine at home, it’s possible to come into contact with chlorine in the municipal water supply or swimming pools.

Over time, chlorine can irritate the respiratory tract, destroy the delicate balance of your gut bacteria, or disrupt thyroid function.

Instead of chlorine polishing or scrubbing agents

  • try baking soda or Bon Ami powder
  • clean toilets with vinegar
  • wash/whiten clothes with white vinegar and/or borax powder.

You can also find chlorine-free bleach powders at the natural food store.

I would also highly suggest that you install a chlorine filter on both your kitchen and bathroom sinks to avoid chlorine exposure from water.

Oven Cleaners (Lye)

Standard oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide (also called lye) which can be dangerous to your health.

Sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns from contact exposure—this can be really bad if it comes into contact with your eyes.

Also, breathing in lye can cause a long-lasting sore throat.

Instead of lye, try cleaning the oven with a paste made from baking soda. It’s equally as effective and much safer.

 

Author:

Sally Wong is a natural health and green living author. She knows that eating healthy organic foods, drinking clean water, and getting enough exercise are just part of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping a healthy home goes hand-in-hand with the decision to live a healthy lifestyle. She has a personal blog about the health benefits of essential oils.

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