The Surprising Truth About Carrageenan

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So, you are considering migrating to a more plant-based diet? Maybe you are even considering veganism? Whether or not you have fully committed to a diet change, you need to be cautious still. Often plant-based or all-natural dieting trends can seem healthy. However, some substances come from plants that we are just not meant to eat. Carrageenan is one of the more dangerous examples. It tops the list as one you should try to avoid because it is prevalent in many foods, and the exact science on what it does to our bodies is not fleshed out.

We will cover everything you need to know about Carrageenan. Like, where it comes from, the reported side effects on the body, and the common products that contain it. Ultimately it is up to you to decide what you put in your body. However, after reading more about this substance, you might think twice about picking up your favorite product from your local grocer.

What is Carrageenan?

Carrageenan has a name that makes it sound like some chemical concocted in a lab by some mad food scientist. However, it is a natural substance sourced from a red seaweed you can only find in the British Isles. Moreover, people who live there used in their cooking for centuries. Only recently has it become an additive in food products to thicken, preserve, and emulsify. Emulsify means to force two liquids that would naturally separate to mix. Most of your favorite dipping sauces or condiments like mustard, ketchup, ranch, and Italian dressing are all emulsified. Keep in mind that not all your favorite foods that are emulsified are going to contain Carrageenan. The emulsion process is common in cooking and does not always require the red seaweed from the British Isles.

Now, you will find Carrageenan in many plant-based products. Since it works as a thickening agent, it is becoming popular in the production of vegan ice cream, cheese, milk alternatives, and dairy-free yogurt. You can still find it in some non-vegan products. It is common in puddings, processed meats, jelly, and cheese. If you have some of these products in your home, it is likely that if you check the labels, at least one will contain Carrageenan. It’s prevalence in essential cooking products is part of the reason it can be dangerous.

Is Carrageenan really that dangerous?

Do not be fooled by its status as “naturally sourced” or “plant-based.” As an additive, Carrageenan can have serious health complications. Studies and reports link the substance to an increase in gastrointestinal inflammation, glucose intolerances, bloating, allergies, and in the worst-case scenario, colon cancer. When we talk about side effects like these, is checking ingredient labels in the grocery store not worth the time?

You could be saying, “I looked it up, and Carrageenan is approved by the FDA, so it should be safe?” The unfortunate answer is no. It is still not safe. That rating by the FDA is still quite controversial. There are two types of Carrageenan. It is undegraded and degraded. The degraded version is not authorized by the FDA because it contains carcinogens that are well known to cause cancer. However, a significant point of contention for many health experts is whether there is a difference between the versions? Experts still question the results of our stomach acid and the substance mixing. Some studies indicate that the undegraded version or supposed “safe one,” once broken down by our stomach acid, creates the same carcinogens as the version deemed unsafe for food use.

The reality is, given the possible side effects and the uncertainty regarding its “safe use,” your healthiest option is to avoid products that use it entirely. Until more scientists study what happens after Carrageenan enters our stomach acid, consuming it is not worth the risk. You are much safer reading ingredient labels and finding alternatives in your grocery store. Luckily there are tons of all-natural or plant-based products you can try when exploring a new diet.

Check ingredient labels and find your substitutes if necessary.

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If you want to avoid Carrageenan, it is easy. Read the ingredient labels the next time you go grocery shopping. They can be challenging to find. However, once you find the first list, you’ll know where to look on the packaging. The next time you go grocery shopping, you may find that many of your favorite products already don’t use this substance. However, on the off chance they do, no worries. There are plenty of quality substitutes. We recommend checking out the following brands as quality alternatives that are Carrageenan-free. They are also all plant-based and all-natural! Check out EdenSoy, Miyoko’s Creamery, Nancy’s Soy, and One Green Plant products. You cannot go wrong with any of these brands.

SOURCES USED:

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/why-avoid-carrageenan/

https://www.medicinenet.com/what_is_wrong_with_carrageenan/article.htm

https://greatist.com/health/carrageenan#how-to-avoid-it

 

10 Surprising Ways Chamomile Can Affect Your Health

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Today, the health industry is exploring every nook and cranny of the natural world to find products that work for everyone. Many of these are seemingly benign but actually possess incredible amounts of nutrients and other active ingredients which aid the immune and other systems. One of the most effective of these natural treatments is chamomile.

Chamomile is great because it includes several great oils like bisabolol oxides, biabolol, and matricin, as well as apigenin, which is a great anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. Chamomile is often used both externally and internally; the most popular ingestion method is oral, as chamomile tea has a pleasant flavor. It can also be used in a tincture form for many topical creams as well.

Chamomile is High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are extremely important because they aid in preventing cell damage. Free radicals from pollution and bad dietary habits can wreak havoc on many of the bodies’ systems, including the immune system, but chamomile helps fight off these free radicals and keeps your body in check.

Antioxidants like terpenoids are preserved well in alcohol and essential oils, such as chamomile. In addition, it possesses quercetin, apigenin, and patuletin, which can provide a litany of health benefits for your body, such as improved immune function and reduced inflammation.

Counter Stress and Depression

Chamomile helps to promote relaxation, which can often counter stress and anxiety. When people feel more relaxed and less prone to mounting stress, they often feel less anxious and depressed. It is one of the most popular ingredients used for aromatherapy because of the many benefits and boosts it gives your emotional wellbeing.

In fact, chamomile can also provide relief to other stress-related maladies, such as headaches and insomnia. Vapors travel directly to the brain during aromatherapy and can greatly aid the body and mind quickly.

Chamomile can Soothe Your Digestion

In addition to providing great benefits to the mind, it can also soothe the body. Digestive issues such as indigestion, diarrhea, and bloating can be soothed with a frequent ingestion or inhalation of chamomile.

Children and other young people can also be safety given chamomile if they’re having colic or digestive discomfort as well. If you have children who are susceptible to frequent stomachaches and nausea, you can try providing them with a dose to soothe them. Chamomile soothes stomachs because of anodyne compounds with antispasmodic properties.

Provide Pain Relief

Many in the health industry refer to chamomile as herbal aspirin because of the effective and rapid pain relief it can provide to the body. Many home remedies for pain include chamomile because it’s simple to use and can be added to most remedies to enhance flavor and reinforce the pain relief properties of the remedy.

You can use it on its own or choose to mix it in with other ingredients depending on your type and severity of pain. Chamomile is a great remedy if you have irritated skin, a swollen face, or a toothache, in addition to other forms of persistent pain. Those with back pain or arthritis also use chamomile often because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

 

chamomile tea, chamomile, chamomile tea benefits, chamomile flowerChamomile can Help Aid Congestion

If you’re often congested, you should consider taking a healthy dose of chamomile every two to three days. It can help clear your congestion and keep your sinuses in check, which means winters and summers won’t be as unbearable.

The sinuses can easily flare up and keep you in immense pain, but chamomile will help relax your sinuses and keep your congestion to a minimum. It is often a natural ingredient in nasal sprays for this very purpose, as it prevents a rapid and severe build-up of mucus in those who ingest it. Drinking the tea can also ease the pain and severity of a cold because of the soothing vapors.

Benefits Your Skin

Many people around the globe suffer from irritated and itchy skin. There are many skin remedies offered by the beauty industry, but if you want something that’s effective while being affordable and natural, you should try chamomile. It can help swollen, red, itchy, or irritated skin safely and naturally.

It is often used as a soothing remedy to many types of burns, bruises, canker sores, and wounds. Even if your skin is fine, you can still use chamomile to erase fine lines and wrinkles. This works so effectively because of the many antioxidants found within it, which have been shown to reduce skin irritation and redness.

Chamomile for Oral Health

Having oral pain, such as an achy tooth or another form of pain in the mouth, can be incredibly irritating and frustrating. Simply gurgling chamomile can help with this oral pain, as many of the natural vitamins and minerals can soothe an achy mouth.

You can also ingest it to help with infection and other factors of an achy mouth. If you don’t want to gargle it straight, you can also mix it with essential oil and water to help ease the taste and pain.

Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Finally, chamomile can be used to keep your heart healthy and ticking longer and stronger. The many flavonoids found within are great for heart health because they help prevent heart disease.

Other Benefits

It can also be used to soothe hemorrhoids, eye infections, and menstrual cramps.

5 Amazing Facts About Coffee

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Do you look forward to your morning coffee? If so, that may not be a bad thing! Coffee has been stigmatized in our society as something unhealthy or something that should be avoided. Though this may be true for the fancy and sugary coffee drinks like iced mocha lattes, plain coffee itself actually has numerous health benefits.

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks around the world. As such, researchers have dug deep to look at the components of coffee and how they can affect our health. Several research studies have actually suggested that coffee can very much be a part of a healthy lifestyle and can even help reduce your chances of developing certain health conditions and enhance your health. In this article, we’ll explore the many health benefits of coffee.

Nutrients in Coffee

Though coffee is often mislabeled as unhealthy, coffee actually contains several great nutrients. An average cup of coffee contains about 11% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, 6% of the daily recommended value of vitamin B5, 3% of the recommended value of manganese and potassium, and 2% of the daily recommended value of vitamin B3 and magnesium. While these may seem low or insignificant, many coffee drinkers tend to drink several cups throughout the day, which can be beneficial in obtaining good levels of these important nutrients.

Energy

This is one health benefit you can see within a short time frame of drinking coffee: more energy. The caffeine contents in coffee can wake you up, thereby increasing your mental clarity and encouraging more productivity. Coffee, when consumed in moderation, can safely be used for this purpose. The caffeine content in coffee quickly absorbs into your bloodstream, which then travels to your brain. In turn, you’re left with that feeling of an increased mood and clarity. Though caffeine can be a dangerous stimulant when overused and relied upon, consuming a moderate amount of coffee regularly can help increase your productivity levels.

The energy-consuming coffee gives your body is not limited to brain function, though. You may also benefit from increased physical performance after consuming coffee. Again, this is due to the caffeine content, which stimulates your nervous system to break down fat. This chemical reaction allows for fatty acids to be released, which your body can use for fuel in your physical activities. For this reason, many people use coffee or coffee-type beverages as a pre-workout before hitting the gym or performing physical activities. The “fight or flight” hormone that is activated during this process, known as adrenaline, helps you get pumped and increases your physical performance. When used in moderation, coffee can help you level up your workouts and get the most out of your physical activity.

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Reduces Risk of Cancer

Everywhere we turn, it seems another health product is claiming to help reduce your risk of developing cancer. While it can be difficult to incorporate all of these superfoods into your health and wellness routine, you’re likely to already be consuming coffee anyway! Evidence that coffee can help decrease the likelihood of developing certain types of cancers is still weak, though some studies suggest encouraging correlations. Research has been conducted specifically on colorectal and liver cancers. We are hopeful to learn more about the connection between cancer prevention and coffee in the coming years.

Brain Health

Did you know coffee may help in decreasing your risk of developing common neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia or Alzheimers? This may be linked to the caffeine content contained in coffee. One study conducted in Finland in Sweden followed a group for about 20 years that were frequent coffee drinkers (3 to 5 cups daily) and determined that they were 65% less likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases, as opposed to people who did not drink coffee.

Though researchers are still determining the mechanisms, it seems that caffeine intake may also be linked to a decreased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease that attacks the neurons in your brain. It is important to note that the caffeine in the coffee is thought to help reduce your risk, so be careful if you’re a frequent decaf coffee drinker. You may not be achieving the same health benefits. If you can enjoy your daily coffee, while also preventing these conditions, that’s surely a win in our book!

Protecting your Liver

Coffee may also help prevent your liver from damage. Your body’s liver is essential to good health. As such, protecting your liver is important as you age. Several studies have found that frequent coffee consumption may decrease the risk of developing liver conditions, such as cirrhosis.

The listed health benefits are only a few of the copious health benefits that moderate consumption of coffee can have. Be mindful of the amount of sugar and cream you consume when drinking coffee, as these can dampen the health effects within coffee itself.

 

 

 

6 Ways Chia Seeds Can Help You Live to 100

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Ch-ch-ch-CHIA! Remember the commercials for Chia Pets — the terra cotta animals that grew “fur” from chia seeds? While that fad has passed, people have started to realize that chia itself is no joke. Chia seeds are small yet mighty, packed full of nutrients. They’re perfect for adding to smoothies, topping your yogurt or cereal, or sprinkling on your salad. No matter how you use them, they offer some wonderful health benefits! Here’s why you should pick up some chia seeds on your next grocery run.

Mega-Fiber, Minimal Calories

Fiber is crucial to your overall gut health. Although your body doesn’t digest fiber, your gut’s microbiome — the beneficial bacteria in your intestine — will love it. They feed on it, growing their population. By consuming enough fiber, you ensure that your gut has enough probiotic microbes to efficiently break down your food.

Fiber also soaks up excess liquid and keeps things moving along, as it were. IF you struggle with bowel movements, you probably need more fiber in your diet.

Unfortunately, many fiber-rich foods are also high in carbohydrates. Your body converts carbs to sugar, which is normally a good thing. If you’re trying to lose weight, though, you definitely don’t want those extra carbs.

Chia contains just one digestible carb per 28 grams — 12 grams total, 11 of which are fiber. That high fiber content allows chia seeds to soak up liquid and expand in your stomach. This helps you feel fuller, absorb more nutrients from your food, and avoid sugar overload from excess carbohydrates.

Fiber also promotes cardiovascular health, both indirectly through weight loss and by lowering the amount of LDL — the bad cholesterols that impacts blood pressure.

In short, chia is a fiber-rich food that should absolutely be in your diet if you wish to lose weight, improve your gut health, or both.

Chia vs. Cancer

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, which prevent fats and proteins from breaking down. That’s what oxidation is, and when it happens too much in your cells, cancer can develop. The basic chemistry is that electrons detach from the molecules that drive your cellular function. These are called free radicals and they can tear apart cells and lead to cancerous growth.

Antioxidants intervene by reversing the oxidation process and keeping your cells intact. These days, we face unprecedented levels of exposure to UV and carcinogenic chemicals. Chia relies on antioxidants to protect its sensitive husk and oils. You can benefit from these cancer-fighting compounds by making chia a regular part of your diet.

Seeds For Smarts

While yes, chia seeds contain fat (they are seeds, after all), it’s the good kind of fat. Out of a single ounce’s 9 grams of fat, 5 are omega-3s, which boost cognitive power and protect your neurological system. Now, these omega-3s aren’t as easily converted to DHA as those found in fish, but every little bit counts.

Studies have also shown that omega-3s seem to lower cholesterol levels, blood vessel plaque, and your overall risk for cardiac disorders.

Chia is rich in vitamins B1, which creates helpful neurotransmitters, B2, which promotes energy production, and B3, which helps with cell communication and expression. Altogether, B vitamins keep your body ticking and your brain humming. So, if you need to focus on a project or ace that exam, toss a handful of chia into your snack to fuel your mind and body!

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Protein Power

Many people assume you can only get protein from meat. Nope! Despite being part of a plant, chia packs a punch. Its seeds are 14% protein, which means a single ounce of chia provides 4 grams of protein. You need 46-56 grams of protein per day, depending on your body composition and activity level, so a handful of chia in your smoothie is a great way to start your day or follow up a workout!

Protein also satisfies your appetite sooner, so again, look to chia as a beneficial food for a weight-loss program.

And of course, if you don’t eat meat, chia can be a great way to boost your protein intake in a plant-based diet.

Speaking of getting strong: An ounce of chia provides 30% of your recommended daily magnesium plus a helpful dose of potassium, both of which support bone health, muscle function, and energy. Keep your body strong and healthy with a dose of chia!

Bone-Building Benefits

Vegetarians will also appreciate chia’s impressive calcium content, which is proportionately higher than most dairy products. A single ounce of chia seeds contains 18% of your recommended daily calcium. By contrast, an ounce of milk provides just 3.45%. This makes chia a powerful bone-booster for people who don’t consume dairy, whether due to ethical concerns or lactose intolerance!

Chia is also rich in phosphorus, which may not be as famous as calcium but is just as important for healthy bones! One ounce of chia seeds provides 27% of your recommended daily phosphorus. Like calcium, phosphorus is most often found in meat and dairy products, although you can also obtain it from beans, legumes, and grains.

If you’re on a low-carb diet, have Alpha-gal, or are sensitive to tyramine, purine, or FODMAPS, you probably want to avoid meat, dairy, wheat, and legumes. Chia can be an excellent alternative.

Blood Sugar Stability

We all know the importance of regulating our blood sugar, especially for diabetics and those at-risk for diabetics. High-carb meals are known to cause blood sugar spikes. However, chia seems to modulate blood sugar levels by boosting insulin sensitivity. This means you can still enjoy your carbs — as long as your bread is sprinkled with chia seeds!

Ways to Use Chia

Chia may be nutrient-rich, but they’re also relatively tasteless. This is a good thing — it means you can add them to anything! Here are some ideas for incorporating chia into your diet:

  • Sprinkle on top of cereal, yogurt, or muesli.
  • Add them to your smoothie or milkshake.
  • Soak them in juice or milk to make a jelly topping for bagels, biscuits, or muffins.
  • Sprinkle on top of your stir-fry, roasted vegetables, or rice dishes.
  • Use as a substitute for eggs in baking.
  • Thicken sauces while adding some nutrients.

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Don’t go overboard, though: suddenly adding so much fiber to your diet can backfire! Nutritionists recommend about 20 grams of chia (1.5 tablespoons) twice a day to start. Always mix your chia seeds with liquid before you attempt to swallow them! They turn into a gel very quickly. Otherwise, be creative! Even a small amount of chia adds a nutritional boost to any of your meals or snacks.

 SOURCES USED:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/291334#tips

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1

https://www.thehealthy.com/nutrition/health-benefits-of-beans/

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/what-is-phosphorus

 

Spilling the Tea on All Things Green Tea

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Green tea has been promoted as a health superfood for many years. We’ve all heard the claims from protection against cancer, improved brain health, and so much more! But which one of these frequently touted health benefit claims are really true? Keep reading this article to learn more about the many ways green tea is thought to have powerful health benefits. After reading this article, you’ll see why so many people make it a daily habit to have a cup of green tea each and every day.  Not a tea drinker?  No worries, you can also take green tea as a supplement or incorporate green tea powder into your food.

What is Green Tea?

Before you can understand the many health benefits of green tea, it is critical to understand what it actually is. There are a variety of different teas that have several different origins. Green tea has the most flavonoids of any tea, which are powerful antioxidants that naturally occur. In this article, you will learn how antioxidants can have powerful health benefits.

Anxiety

Green tea contains several compounds which can improve and enhance brain function. L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, can help reduce anxiety by increasing the activity of GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that has many positive effects on reducing symptoms of anxiety. In addition, the L-theanine found within green tea can help increase your dopamine production and encourage the production of brain alpha waves.

When consuming your green tea, do not boil the water too hot. Warm water should suffice. This is because the catechins, or healthy chemicals found in green tea, can be harmed by having tea in water that is too hot. Another great tip is to add lemon to your green tea to not only enhance the taste, but also add a Vitamin C boost. The vitamin C from lemon helps the catechins in the green tea absorb easier in your body. When choosing green tea, be careful to choose a trusted brand with high-quality ingredients, as the nutrient levels in green tea can greatly vary from product to product.

Optimal Brain Function

Incorporating green tea into your health and wellness routine may also have preventative effects for your brain in the long term. Several studies have shown that catechin compounds found within green tea can protect neurons, which in turn could have an impact on lowering the risk of dementia with aging. This may also play a role in preventing other brain-related conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease.

The caffeine contained in green tea also acts like a stimulant, which in turn can help make tea drinkers feel more energetic, without the shakiness or jitters some people get after drinking a cup of coffee. Green tea is found to help increase productivity and reaction time of the brain, including some people reporting an increased mood.

Cancer

Green tea contains powerful antioxidants which may contribute to reducing cancer. While this research is not definitive, incorporating green tea into your lifestyle may have positive effects in preventing cancer. One thing to note is that adding dairy, such as milk or creamer, is not recommended to add to your green tea. This is because dairy can impact the powerful antioxidants found within the green tea.

There have been a wide variety of studies conducted relating to the effects of green tea on various types of cancer. One cancer study suggested that women who regularly consumed green tea had about a 20 to 30% lower risk of developing breast cancer, which is one of the most commonly occurring types of cancer in women. Another study suggested that drinking tea may help reduce the risk of developing prostate or colorectal cancer. While this is anecdotal findings, it is still quite encouraging to explore the many health benefits of green tea.

 

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Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes in our population is increasingly alarming, as it now affects approximately 1 in 10 Americans. Diabetes is a disease related to too high blood sugar levels, which causes issues with insulin sensitivity. One of the great health benefits of green tea is that it can help to improve insulin sensitivity and promote lower blood sugar levels. A meta-analysis conducted through the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) analyzed several studies with evidence that suggests tea drinkers had an 18% less risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Heart Health 

Drinking green tea may also help your heart. Cardiovascular conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, are some of the most commonly seen causes of death in the United States. The polyphenols contained in green tea may help to reduce blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and reduce mortality associated with heart conditions. Green tea may help improve your total cholesterol due to the powerful antioxidants it contains. The antioxidant protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which is one cause of heart disease. One study even indicates that people who regularly consume green tea may have up to a 31% lower risk of dying from heart disease.

From heart health to optimal brain function, drinking green tea is an inexpensive and healthy habit for almost everyone to try. In the coming years, more green tea-related research could reveal even more powerful health benefits we don’t even know yet!

5 Bizarre Peppermint Facts You Need to Know

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Did you know peppermint is actually a hybrid type of plant? The herb with a minty fresh after-taste is an aromatic plant that is created from the blending of two other types of mint, known as watermint and spearmint. While originally from Europe, peppermint is now cultivated in many different parts of the world.

Many of us associate a specific smell and taste with peppermint. This is because peppermint is widely used in a variety of soaps, candies, teas, fragrances, and much more. The oil from the peppermint is extracted and used in these types of products. While you may associate peppermint with candy canes or peppermint patties, peppermint can actually be used in a variety of forms to promote natural health. Peppermint is both a cost-effective and natural option for those looking to try holistic approaches to alleviate symptoms associated with health conditions.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the many health forms and health benefits of peppermint.

Different Forms of Peppermint

As mentioned above, peppermint is used in a variety of different food or health and beauty items. Peppermint can come in either fresh or dried leaves, which are often used in various foods or herbal teas. Peppermint can also come in essential oil form, which is generally used in products such as creams, lotions, or tinctures. One other form of peppermint available is via capsules. The capsules can be taken to help alleviate symptoms associated with certain medical conditions.

 

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Health Benefits of Peppermint

  1. Skin Conditions- Peppermint has successfully helped provide relief for symptoms associated with certain skin conditions for many people. This is due to its ability to help calm skin irritation or itchiness and reduce patches of redness. To use, rub peppermint oil that has been diluted for topical use into the affected area. While this is not proven, it is a natural remedy worth trying if you’re experiencing any type of skin irritation.
  2. Helps in Cold & Flu Season- Peppermint contains several chemical components, which include menthol as the primary ingredient. Menthol makes up approximately 41% of the chemical makeup of peppermint. Menthol is both a decongestant and an expectorant, which are things often seen in cold & flu medications. If you’re looking for a natural cold and flu remedy, peppermint can help due to its natural menthol content. The menthol in peppermint has been shown to help shrink swollen membranes inside your nasal passages and loosen and bring up mucus from the lungs.
  3. Nausea- Another health benefit of peppermint is that it is often used to soothe the stomach for people who have an upset stomach from certain medical conditions. Oftentimes, patients who are undergoing chemotherapy experience episodes of serious nausea and vomiting. Some studies have suggested that peppermint can have a profound effect on reducing the intensity and number of nausea-related events in cancer patients. Many cancer patients choose to opt for natural relief such as peppermint to aid in their nausea. Peppermint oil can also be used for natural relief for nausea caused by other conditions, such as pregnancy nausea. However, this is still undergoing research to evaluate its effectiveness.
  4. Digestive Conditions- irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most commonly seen digestive conditions in the U.S, with approximately 10 to 15% of the U.S population impacted. Several studies have documented a positive association between peppermint oil and the relief of symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, such as bloating, abdominal pain, or gas. Many people with IBS choose to try enteric-coated peppermint capsules, which are capsules that are specifically designed with a protective coating that allows the peppermint oil to transit through the stomach to the small intestine before it is released.

For those with general indigestion, peppermint oil may also be effective in calming the stomach during flare-ups. This may be because of peppermint oils’ ability to improve the flow of bile and calm stomach muscles. However, check with your doctor before trying peppermint capsules if you have GERD, as peppermint oil can worsen symptoms in people with specific digestive conditions.

  1. Headaches & Migraines- Suffering from chronic headaches that just don’t seem to go away? Give peppermint oil a try as a natural remedy for headache and migraine relief. While still fairly new research, some studies have shown that peppermint oil can help encourage relaxation of the smooth muscles in your forehead to help relieve tension headaches. One interesting study even showed that peppermint oil may even be as effective as Tylenol for pain relief associated with headaches.

From relief of digestive problems to encouraging healthy skin, peppermint oil has a wide variety of important health benefits. Try incorporating peppermint into your wellness routine today to see for yourself some of its amazing holistic benefits! Plus the added benefit of minty fresh breath!

Think Turmeric Is Too Good to Be True? We Have News for You

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You probably know turmeric as the bright yellow spice in your cabinet with a peppery and slightly bitter taste. What you may not know is that aside from adding flavour to your curry, turmeric has a wide array of health and wellness benefits. An herb native to South Asia but grown all over the world, turmeric is used in many different ways. Because of its natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, its medical uses to fight disease, aging, and other ailments are myriad. Below you’ll find some of the incredible health benefits of turmeric.

 1.Turmeric Is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory

 The active ingredient within turmeric is called curcumin. Curcumin has proven anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it blocks the action of inflammatory molecules within the body. While inflammation is a necessary immune response wherein chemicals from your white blood cells ward off unwelcome invaders such as infections or foreign bodies, it can have detrimental long-term effects, including heart disease and cancer. Curcumin has been shown to have positive effects for people suffering from several inflammatory diseases.

2.Turmeric May Grow Your Brain

 While turmeric’s distinctive yellow color adds vibrancy to any dish, its components are also food for your brain. Curcumin may increase brain levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, a protein which plays a role in memory and learning. Decreased levels of BDNF have been shown in patients with depression and Alzheimer’s. While studies showing the positive benefits of curcumin to brain development have mainly been done on animals, they are certainly promising for humans as well.

3.Curcumin Is a Powerful Antioxidant

 You may have heard of the benefits of antioxidants – but what do they actually do? Antioxidants protect your body against free radicals, which are unstable molecules that react with other healthy components in your body, like fatty acids, proteins, and DNA. These reactions can accelerate harmful processes in your body, such as aging and illness. The structure of curcumin in turmeric allows it to neutralize these harmful free radicals and thus promote your overall health.

4.Curcumin Fights Multiple Forms of Arthritis

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is a great tool in reducing the pain, stiffness, and inflammation associated with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, the most common forms of arthritis. As recently as August 2021, a study showed that patients suffering from osteoarthritis taking a 1000 mg mixture including 75% curcumin exhibited a significant improvement in physical function compared to a control group. Similar results were also found in a group suffering from swollen joints due to rheumatoid arthritis.

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5.Turmeric and Curcumin Have Anti-Cancer Benefits

 There have been many studies of turmeric in patients with various types of cancer, both taken orally and as a topical treatment. Overall, its anti-inflammatory property is useful because cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth, and research in mice has shown turmeric can be effective in slowing this growth. In addition to fighting cancerous cells, benefits have also been shown in reducing the various symptoms and ailments that come along with cancer and its treatments. Turmeric and curcumin have also shown potential as preventative for certain cancers. Oftentimes for the specific treatment of these symptoms, additional supplements may be needed to help the body better absorb the curcumin.

6.Turmeric May Promote Healthy Skin

In addition to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, curcumin is also antimicrobial, meaning it reduces growth of certain types of bacteria. This is good news for your skin. While more research is needed to prove long-term effectiveness, preliminary studies showed a statistically significant improvement in skin conditions including acne, alopecia, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and vitiligo with topical and oral use of turmeric and curcumin.

7.Turmeric Can Protect You from Heart Disease

 It’s widely known that heart disease is the number one cause of death around the world. While many different factors contribute to heart disease, curcumin has shown a positive effect in improving the health of the membrane that covers the inside of your heart and blood vessels, helping to regulate blood pressure. In one study, taking curcumin was as effective in a certain group of women as 8 weeks of aerobic exercise. While more research should be done, these are promising results showing the potential for curcumin in the treatment and prevention of heart disease.

 https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/turmeric

https://www.nuffieldhealth.com/article/the-health-benefits-of-turmeric

https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/scientific-health-benefits-turmeric-curcumin/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric#TOC_TITLE_HDR_7

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27213821/

 

11 Fascinating Reasons People Like Star Anise

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For many of us, as we age, it’s important for us to be more conscious of what we allow into our bodies. Overall health and wellness have proven extremely necessary as we attempt to ward off conditions that can cause severe health scares and limit our time with family. In today’s climate, the pandemic has taught us how precious every moment we are able to spend with loved ones is.

That’s why it’s important to increase our familiarity with herbs and spices that are not just tasteful in our dishes but are also exceptionally good for our health. Star Anise is one of those spices. In this post, we’ll look at what star anise is and share the many health benefits it brings.

What is Star Anise?

Star Anise is a spice that comes from the fruit Illicium Verum, an evergreen shrub from China. It’s named for the star-shaped pods from which the spice seeds are harvested and has a flavor similar to licorice.

Star Anise dates back 3,000 years and makes up the popular “five-spice” powder mix used in China. In addition to enhancing sweet and savory dishes, Star Anise also has a long history in traditional oriental medicine. It also has many health benefits.

Health Benefits of Star Anise

Star Anise has many active compounds that contribute to an extensive list of health benefits. These benefits lead to the following health improvements:

  1. Boosts Appearance of Skin
  2. Improves the Immune System
  3. Supports Respiratory Health
  4. Helps Improve Sleep
  5. Improves Circulation
  6. Fights Fungus
  7. Aids Digestion
  8. Effects Hormones
  9. Minimizes Risk of Cancer
  10. Helps With Diabetes
  11. Promotes Bone Health

Boosts Appearance of Skin

Star Anise has a high level of antioxidants that help promote the elimination of free radicals throughout the body. That helps to minimize the appearance of wrinkles on the skin, boosts skin elasticity, and covers up old scars and blemishes. Your skin will look young and vibrant.

Improves the Immune System

In today’s pandemic, it’s always good to know a product you can take that will improve the immune system. Star Anise is such a product. Star Anise has been used to treat stomach bacterial infections. But it’s mostly known for being effective against a number of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. That makes it a very important product in the pharmaceutical industry.

Supports Respiratory Health

Star Anise helps support respiratory health and may just be the cure for a cough, sore throat, or early signs of flu. It may be able to sort out the inflammation and neutralize the underlying infection before symptoms get worse.

Helps Improve Sleep

It’s been found that Star Anise has sedative properties that help to stimulate the release of certain neurotransmitters that induce relaxation and sleep. That makes the spice a good remedy for anyone who has insomnia or who regularly has trouble sleeping.

Improves Circulation

A teaspoon of Star Anise contains 13% of your daily recommended amount of iron. This will help boost red blood cells production, which increases energy levels by promoting circulation and proper oxygenation of the body’s extremities.

star anise substitute, star anise pods, what is star aniseFights Fungus

Star Anise has powerful anti-fungal properties and is a remedy for Athlete’s foot, ringworm, Candida, and similar strains.

Aids Digestion

Eating Star Anise fruits after meals have proven effective in helping food to properly digest. It also helps relieve bloating and excess flatulence and easing cramping. It also improves the bacterial balance in the gut for high nutrient uptake efficiency.

Effects Hormones

Star Anise has been proven to impact the balancing nature of both women and men. Star Anise can provide an energy boost and increase the sex drive in men and regulate menstrual cycles, control mood swings, and other hormone-driven side effects of menstruation in women.

Minimizes Risk of Cancer

Star Anise has a diverse range of antioxidants that affect oxidative stress in the body. Its immune-supporting properties help to lower the risk of mutagenic effects that lead to cancer cells and the formation of tumors in the body.

Helps With Diabetes

Star Anise has been proven to normalize blood sugar levels. The spice is low on the glycemic index with a good amount of powerful antioxidants that affect blood sugar levels.

Promotes Bone Health

The antioxidants in Star Anise have been known to improve organ and tissue function, including bone function. Star Anise is a good source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin K, which all contribute to strengthening our bones.

How To Use Star Anise

Star Anise can be used in different ways, either as a ground or the whole form. It’s used in other spice mixes, like five-spice powder. That is a popular blend in many cultures. The unique licorice flavor of the spice makes it a welcome addition to both sweet and savory dishes. It’s effective in soups, broths, sauces, and curries. Hot tea is also a popular way the spice can be used. The tea is brewed around the world and is trusted as a quick remedy for several respiratory conditions, including gastrointestinal distress, and hormonal imbalances.

 

 

7 Surprising Ways Mangoes Can Affect Your Health

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Did you know that there are around 300 varieties of mangoes? Mangoes (Mangifera indica) are the world’s most popular tropical fruit, and for a good reason; they are juicy and succulent, with a variety of flavors to choose from. Although mangos are present in nearly every corner of the world, their origin is traced all the way back to India around 5000 years ago. And up until today, India has been the leading producer of the fruit.

The word mango, on the other hand, comes from the Portuguese word manga, which the name Portuguese gave to the fruit when they came in Kerala for the spice trade in the 1400s.

Mangos are consumed in a variety of ways. They can be eaten unripe when they are green on the inside and taste sour. Ripe mangoes can be eaten straight from the tree, blended into a thick, smooth orange juice, or dried and enjoyed as a snack.

Apart from being delicious and relatively inexpensive compared to other fruits, the mango is also extremely nutritious and packed with several health advantages, which is one of the reasons it is regularly ascribed to as the king of fruits. The following are some reasons to increase your mango consumption.

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Rejuvenate The Skin

Vitamin C is especially vital for healthy skin and is used in serums. However, skincare starts with what you eat, and mangoes are high in vitamin C, which can help you attain glowing skin. Vitamin C has a plethora of skin-benefiting properties. It primarily stimulates collagen production. Collagen is essential for enhancing skin elasticity, firming your skin, and slowing the aging process by minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. One mango a day, it seems, will help your skin look much younger.

Increases Immunity

Nothing is more fundamental than the body’s ability to tackle infections. Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant, assisting the body in fighting bacteria and diseases. Also, research indicates that vitamin C plays a vital role in the rapid healing of wounds and injuries. Moreover, it aids in the rejuvenation of the bones, teeth, and cartilage.

Enhancement Of Intestinal Health

Apart from vitamin C, mangoes are high in fiber, which aids in digestion, combats constipation, and promotes regular bowel movements. According to a pilot study conducted by Texas A&M University in 2018, the natural fiber found in mangoes works far better and has longer-lasting advantages even than fiber supplements. Therefore, rather than wasting money on laxatives, why not stock up more mangoes?

Assists In Weight Loss

Mangoes aid in weight loss, factual or just a myth. While this is true, mangoes are not a miraculous fat burner. Like the majority of fruits, Mangoes are immensely low in calories and still maintain a feeling of fullness for an extended period. Being full with food will assist you to avoid binge eating unhealthy foods that are far too high in calories.

To Boost Eye Health

Do you have the impression that your vision has recently deteriorated? Maybe you’re deficient in vitamin A. The ‘king of fruits is high in vitamin A, which is necessary for good eye health. Vitamin A can aid you in improving your vision in a variety of ways. One, it helps in the management of eye inflammations and infections; two, it boosts the cornea membranes work properly, preventing your eyes from drying out; and, last but not least, it assists in the prevention of vision impairment by delaying myopia progression.

Good For The Heart

As demonstrated above, the polyphenols in mangoes assist in lowering inflammation throughout the body, including the heart. Inflammation can impair the heart’s ability to execute its primary function of pumping blood to the rest of the body. Additionally, they can create irregular cardiac rhythms, which can result in serious heart problems. Also, mangoes aid in the prevention of heart disease associated with obesity through weight loss.

Prevents Cancer

Although there is no elaborate cure for cancer, there are ways that can help lower the chances of acquiring the horrible disease, one of which is a healthy diet. Mangiferin, a type of polyphenol, is abundant in mangoes. Mango polyphenols have been found to be quite promising in current cancer treatment studies. They have been shown to reduce inflammation, protect cells from oxidative stress, and inhibit or kill cancer cells, including leukemia. In addition, mango polyphenols have been shown to have the capacity to lessen oxidative stress,

The most often asked questions regarding mangoes are how much is too much and who should avoid them. Could this luscious fruit have any adverse effects? Yes, like with many foods, mangoes should be consumed in moderation, especially by persons with high blood sugar levels. This is because mangoes contain a high sugar content, which may aggravate diabetes.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-mango

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-mango#1

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275921

https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/8-incredible-benefits-of-mangoes-the-king-of-fruits-1833145

 

Shh! Don’t Share This Insider Secret : House Plants Remove Toxins

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In the past year, most of us have spent more time indoors and many of us will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Because of this, it’s more important than ever to improve our healthy indoor air quality.  One of the ways we can do this is with indoor house plants.

Photosynthesis is the key

Plants are essential to human life, and we have a symbiotic relationship with.  As we learned in elementary school, plants sustain themselves through a process called photosynthesis, in which they take in sunlight, water, nutrients and carbon dioxide, and give off water vapor and fresh oxygen, which humans then inhale and we in turn exhale carbon dioxide.  During photosynthesis, plants can also remove toxins from the air we breathe.  This can be imagined as a sort of pumping action, in which contaminated air is pulled down into the soil and around a plant’s roots, where the air is then converted into food for the plant.  The oxygen emitted from the plant has been filtered of certain toxins.

Research results

NASA has been studying this process for some time in the hopes of finding ways to detoxify air in spacecraft during long-duration space missions.  NASA has performed many experiments on this, the first of which was published in 1989, and the results have shown that plants are capable of effectively scrubbing the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene.  In fact, studies have been underway to design plant-based indoor air-quality filters that can be incorporated into heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.  Further studies concluded that microorganisms found in the soil of potted plants can also help with cleaning indoor air.  While separate studies have claimed that although house plants do improve air quality, they do so at a very slow rate, and the conditions must be controlled to a level that is not realistic in the average home, there seems to be sufficient evidence to conclude that plants can help purify our in-home air, and they provide the side benefits of adding some natural beauty to our indoor living spaces and helping to brighten our mood.

Based on the collective findings of this plants-as-air filters research to date, some scientists are advocating that house plants are effective natural purifiers.  In fact, larger plants with larger leaves are more effective in this process of pumping in air, cleansing it, and giving off clean oxygen.  Former NASA scientist turned private air quality consultant Bill Wolverton, who led the 1989 study described above, reports that, “The amount of leaf surface area influences the rate of air purification.”  So, the bigger and leafier the plant, the better it will be at this air cleansing process.

Wolverton says that expensive testing would be required to accurately determine how many and what size plants would be needed to clean a room’s air of its contaminants, but he has recommended at least two “good sized” plants per 100 square feet of space in your home.  His first recommendation is the Golden Pothos because of its popularity and ease to grow it.  Below are descriptions of just a few additional plants you may want to consider if you are thinking about adding them to your home to help improve your indoor air quality.

Air-purifying plants

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Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) – NASA’s studies found this beautiful evergreen to be most efficient at removing airborne toxins.  Considered to be easy to care for, it is popular because of its minimal little water or light requirements (and should be kept from direct sunlight for this reason).  Just place a Peace Lily in a dark corner, water it once per week, and it will purify the air around it.  However, one considerable downside of this plant is that it is mildly toxic to both humans and pets.  If swallowed, medical assistance should be sought immediately.

Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) – Often called the Golden Pothos and native to the Solomon Islands, it can be found all over the world.  Comprised of small heart-shaped leaves growing from evergreen vines, this houseplant is often sold in hanging baskets.  It is best kept near a window, out of direct sunlight, and its soil should contain plenty of moisture.  Very easy to care for, it also looks good in your home, and is one of the more effective at purifying the air of toxins.  However, as with the Peace Lily, the Devil’s Ivy is also toxic when eaten, especially to pets, and side effects often begin with vomiting, so consult your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet may have ingested it.

Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii) – Also called the Reed Palm, the Bamboo Palm’s has tall, slender trunks that resemble bamboo, and its deep green, leafy foliage can bring a tropical flair to any interior (or exterior) space.  It’s not picky about conditions and can thrive in part sun or shade and is effective at filtering several cancer-causing toxins.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum) – Growing about 1 to 2 feet tall, with its wide, thick leaves that have a beautify, fiery combination of red and green, the Chinese Evergreen is easy to care for and thrives in low to medium sunlight.  It helps to purify the air, but as with the other plants described above, it contains an irritant that can be toxic, especially to pets.

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) – Often called the Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, this a perennial evergreen that can absorb a range of toxins including all those described above.  Native to Western Africa, it is now found all over the world and can survive in low light conditions for long lengths of time but does prefer bright sun—just don’t overwater its soil for too long.  Again, this plant can be toxic to pets if ingested.

In summary

Studies have shown the house plants can help purify indoor air of toxins, improving the quality of the air in our homes.  There are many plants that not only help filter nearby air but are also easy to care for and give our homes added natural beauty.

SOURCES USED: 

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20080003913

https://time.com/5105027/indoor-plants-air-quality/

https://www.hgtv.com/design/remodel/interior-remodel/10-best-plants-for-cleaning-indoor-air-pictures