Toxins enter the body through what we eat, drink, breathe in, and process in any way. Once inside, toxins overtax our immune system and detoxification system and leave us more vulnerable to illness — not ideal during cold and flu season, and especially not this year during a pandemic — and make us age a little faster, too.
1. Source Your Food Wisely<p>Try to stay away from packaged and processed foods that contain ingredients you can't pronounce, and instead reach for fresh food from natural sources. Aim to make vegetables more than 50% of your daily diet — their fiber is a great natural binder, and they're full of beneficial <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/the-case-of-the-missing-phytochemicals-and-how-to-get-them-back" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="">phytochemicals</a> — and minimize your red meat consumption.</p><p>Also, whenever practical, choose <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/how-to-eat-organic-without-spending-a-fortune" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">organic</a> over conventional products. That said, we know organic prices and accessibility can be an issue, so for help making strategic decisions, refer to the <a href="https://www.ewg.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Environmental Working Group</a> (EWG) "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen" lists:</p><h3>The Dirty Dozen:</h3><ol><li>Strawberries</li><li>Spinach</li><li>Kale</li><li>Nectarines</li><li>Apples</li><li>Grapes</li><li>Peaches</li><li>Cherries</li><li>Pears</li><li>Tomatoes</li><li>Celery</li><li>Potatoes</li><li>Raisins*</li></ol><p><em>(*While raisins aren't technically a fresh food, the EWG found that they are "one of the dirtiest produce commodities on the market — and even some organic raisins are contaminated.")</em></p><h3>The Clean Fifteen</h3><ol><li>Avocado</li><li>Sweet corn</li><li>Pineapple</li><li>Onion</li><li>Papaya</li><li>Frozen sweet peas</li><li>Eggplant</li><li>Asparagus</li><li>Cauliflower</li><li>Cantaloupe</li><li>Broccoli</li><li>Mushrooms</li><li>Cabbage</li><li>Honeydew</li><li>Kiwi</li></ol>
2. Consider Detoxifying and Immune-Boosting Herbs<p>There are a number of herbs and natural ingredients that can help support detoxification and immune health. Here are the ones at the top of Dr. Rawls' list:</p><p><span></span><strong>Chlorella:</strong> This nutrient-rich freshwater algae binds to toxins so they can be eliminated from your body more efficiently. Chlorella works particularly well for withdrawing heavy metals. Pure chlorella can be purchased in the form of bulk powder, tablets, or capsules.</p><p><strong><a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/milk-thistle" target="_blank">Milk Thistle</a>:</strong> It's been used for thousands of years to support a healthy liver, the primary organ responsible for detoxification.</p><p><strong>Dandelion:</strong> Known to help support liver function, research suggests <a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/dandelion-extract" target="_blank">dandelion</a> helps promote the body's natural detoxification and elimination processes.</p><p><strong>Bitters:</strong> <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/the-impressive-health-benefits-of-bitter-foods" target="_blank">Bitter</a> flavors are important to digestion — they stimulate the release of the saliva, enzymes, and bile that help break down your food. Include bitter herbs and foods in each meal, or take a botanical extract that blends bitter herbs like dandelion root, burdock root, orange peel, and gentian root</p><p><strong>Reishi mushroom:</strong> An extensively studied adaptogenic mushroom, <a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/reishi" target="_blank">reishi</a> has exceptional immunomodulating and antiviral properties. It helps normalize <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/are-you-inflammaging-how-to-stop-the-inflammation-that-speeds-up-aging" target="_blank">inflammatory</a> cytokines and promotes healthy immune response against threatening <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/the-immortal-life-of-your-microbiome" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">microbes</a>.</p><p><strong>Rhodiola:</strong> Another adaptogen, <a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/rhodiola" target="_blank">rhodiola</a> improves stress tolerance by reducing fatigue, supporting energy levels, and improving tissue oxygenation.</p><p><span></span><strong><a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/turmeric" target="_blank">Turmeric</a>:</strong> This popular spice is well loved for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.</p><p><strong>Shilajit:</strong> An herbo-mineral adaptogen, <a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/shilajit" target="_blank">shilajit</a> has a long history of use in traditional Indian medicine for longevity and strength. It's also an immunomodulator with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.</p><p><strong>Gotu Kola:</strong> Best known for improving memory and mood, <a href="https://vitalplan.com/ingredients/gotu-kola" target="_blank">gotu kola</a> is also great for promoting a normal response to inflammation, balancing stress hormones, and supporting circulation.</p>
3. Filter Your Water<p>Much of America's tap water has been shown to contain pollutants, so filtering what comes out of your kitchen sink is smart. To be sure you're using a filter that does the trick, keep these guidelines in mind:</p><ul><li>Look for a filter certified by NSF International or the Water Quality Association.</li><li>Choose one that removes the contaminants in your water (check your local drinking water quality report to see what's present).</li><li>Change your water filters on time.</li></ul>
4. Choose Safe and Effective Cleaning Supplies<p>When buying household cleaning products, don't bring home chemicals that could harm your health more than some of the microbes you're trying to get rid of. Fortunately, there are a number of products on the market that work safely; here are some ways to shop wisely:</p><ul><li>Look for the Green Seal, Ecologo, or Safer Choice (EPA) seals.</li><li>Opt for fragrance-free options.</li><li>Avoid triclosan and quaternary ammonium compounds or "quats." (One tactic is to choose products that don't advertise as "antibacterial.")</li><li>Consult the EWG's list of <a href="https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2020/03/16-effective-and-safe-products-guard-against-coronavirus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">safe and effective products</a> for guarding against coronavirus.</li></ul>
5. Opt for Non-Toxic Beauty and Personal Care Products<p>There are a lot of claims made on beauty and self-care products these days, but words alone, like "natural," "organic," "non-toxic," "clean," "green," and "eco-friendly," don't mean a thing — they aren't backed by any sort of regulatory or certification processes. Instead, to find non-toxic products you trust, you have to do a little research.</p><p>Start by checking reputable ratings databases like <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Skin Deep</a> (EWG) and <a href="https://www.thinkdirtyapp.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Think Dirty</a>. Another good bet: Look for reliable third-party certifications on products labels, including:</p><ul><li>USDA Organic</li><li>EWG Verified</li><li>Made Safe</li><li>NSF/ANSI 305</li><li>Natural Products Association Certified</li><li>Whole Foods Market Premium Body Care</li></ul>
6. Get Outside<p>One more reason to <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/how-to-feel-great-and-boost-longevity-in-just-17-minutes-a-day" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="">get outdoors</a> beyond combatting cabin fever: The air in natural environments is generally much cleaner than indoor air. For one, outdoor air contains ⅔ less carbon dioxide, high levels of which negatively affect our productivity, <a href="https://vitalplan.com/blog/natural-sleep-aids" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="">sleep</a>, and more.</p><p>Forest air in particular contains phytoncides, organic compounds emitted by trees and plants that have been shown to boost our immune system function, plus plants in general help neutralize toxic substances in the air. Forests, open spaces, and open water are also rich in negative ions, which reduce inflammation.</p><p>So take your pick of natural environs, and get out there as often as possible — while still maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, of course.</p>
7. Bring Nature Indoors<p>Plants are natural air purifiers, so bringing some plants indoors can help clear the air in your home. Here's a list of the top 10 air-purifying plants to consider:</p><ul><li>Areca palm</li><li>Lady palm</li><li>Bamboo palm</li><li>Rubber plant</li><li>Dracaena</li><li>English ivy</li><li>Dwarf date palm</li><li>Ficus</li><li>Boston fern</li><li>Peace lily</li></ul>
8. Drive Less, Move More<p>Staying off the roads decreases air pollution, and the fact that many of us are driving less these days is noticeably improving air quality. If your commute is on hold, try to translate some of your usual travel time into getting more physical activity, or sneak in more movement between other normal routines.</p><p>Exercise improves circulation, oxygenates your tissues, and enhances the work of the lymphatic system through muscle contractions — all of which make it easier to move toxins out of your body.</p>
9. Practice Forgiveness<p>Through the practice of gratitude, we stay centered and in the present moment. This allows us to move through situations from our heart. Take time to forgive someone or yourself for things in the past. When we forgive, we expand and open up to endless possibilities.</p>
10. Quit a Bad Habit<p>Are you a smoker? Pack rat? Chronically sleep-deprived? In a bad relationship? Toxins come into our lives in many forms. Consider if you're participating in any unhealthy patterns or holding onto anything that no longer serves you, and then find a way to limit those things in your life.</p>
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By Kyla Shea
When Danish scientist Henrik Dam fed a cholesterol-free diet to baby chicks in his lab about 90 years ago, he noticed excessive bleeding in some of them. It did not stop after he replaced the cholesterol. Dam ultimately concluded the bleeding was related to a "depletion of an anti-hemorrhagic compound," which he called vitamin K (for "koagulation," as spelled in Danish). For that discovery, Dam won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1943.
Why is vitamin K important?<p>Over the past few decades, scientists discovered vitamin K-dependent proteins in many tissues throughout the body. This suggests vitamin K <a href="https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.27930" target="_blank">has physiological roles</a> well beyond blood clotting. For example, in arterial tissue, proteins dependent on vitamin K can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.200402046" target="_blank">help prevent calcification</a>. This is critical, because arterial calcification can lead to heart attacks.</p><p><span></span>Without vitamin K, these proteins cannot prevent calcification. And because these proteins are present in cartilage and bone, we are also studying how these vitamin K-dependent proteins may be involved in osteoarthritis.</p><p>Just as there are several forms of B vitamins, there are also multiple forms of vitamin K. Scientists know of at least 12. Phylloquinone, also known as vitamin K1, is synthesized by plants. <a href="https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminK-HealthProfessional" target="_blank">Green leafy vegetables</a>, like spinach and collard greens, and vegetable oils, like soybean and canola oil, contain high amounts of phylloquinone.</p><p>Menaquinones, a class of vitamin K compounds also known as vitamin K2, are found in variable amounts in animal-based foods, such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.3945/cdn.117.000638" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">dairy foods</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1021/jf052400h" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">some meats</a>. Menaquinones are also produced by <a href="https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.nu.15.070195.002151" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intestinal microbiota</a>, although their nutritional value is uncertain.</p><p>Our lab has measured the amount of vitamin K in thousands of foods commonly consumed in North America. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this information is publicly available at the <a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">USDA's Food Data Central</a> website, the most comprehensive nutrition database in the world. Over 350,000 foods are profiled.</p>
What’s next?<p>A goal of our research is to establish a recommended dietary allowance for vitamin K. In North America, current dietary recommendations for vitamin K are referred to as "adequate intake," the amount assumed to <a href="https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/dri-glossary" target="_blank">ensure nutritional adequacy</a>. An adequate intake is set when insufficient scientific evidence exists to provide a more precise recommended dietary allowance. For men over 18, <a href="https://www.nap.edu/read/10026/chapter/7" target="_blank">the adequate intake for vitamin K</a> is 120 micrograms a day. For women, it is 90 micrograms a day. One cup of raw spinach contains 145 micrograms of phylloquinone. Patients who are taking warfarin need to consult with their healthcare professional for guidance on their vitamin K intakes.</p><p>Clotting abnormalities due to low dietary vitamin K intakes are extremely rare because nearly everyone consumes enough vitamin K in his or her diet to maintain normal coagulation. Although emerging evidence suggests low vitamin K intakes may influence health outcomes unrelated to coagulation, right now this evidence <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12102909" target="_blank">does not support the need to take vitamin K supplements</a>, even though they are on the market. Menaquinone supplements have become <a href="https://www.marketresearchfuture.com/reports/vitamin-k2-market-7495" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">particularly popular</a> because there are claims they <a href="https://www.vitamk7.com/hearth_benefits.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">have unique health benefits</a> that phylloquinone does not.</p><p>However it is very difficult <a href="https://doi.org/10.3945/an.113.004929" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">to isolate the effect</a> of a nutrient on a health outcome, and even more difficult to recommend supplement use based on the studies that have been done to date. Large clinical trials must be designed to address the question. These trials, which can cost millions, have not yet been conducted with vitamin K. The smaller trials that have been done do not meet the standards of scientific rigor required to promote vitamin K supplements at this time.</p><p>As our research continues, we strive for a better understanding of vitamin K's role in human health beyond coagulation. We want to know how much vitamin K is needed to protect against age-related disease and disability. However, until we have more robust evidence that supplements are needed, it is safer, and more enjoyable, to obtain vitamin K from food.<br></p><p><em>Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USDA.</em></p><p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kyla-shea-1184757" target="_blank">Kyla Shea</a>: Scientist I, Vitamin K Research Team at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Tufts University</em></p><p><em>Disclosure statement: </em><em>Kyla Shea receives or has received funding from the USDA, the National Institutes of Health, the Arthritis Foundation, the American Heart Association.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/vitamin-k-a-little-known-but-noteworthy-nutrient-152161" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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By Anne-Sophie Brändlin
If, this time last year, the world had been told it would spend much of the coming months in lockdown, few might have believed it. But that reality came, and it did so almost overnight, bringing with it a crashing end to the busy flow of life, which sees billions rushing from one appointment to the next without much time to think. Left to their own devices at home, people have had to find new ways to spend their time, and deal with anxiety and silence.
Creating an Awareness, One Breath at a Time<p>Though White says that doesn't mean living in constant state of bliss and harmony. Rather, it allows people to acknowledge why they might be feeling scared, overwhelmed, stressed or lonely. It can also prevent them from running away from those emotions and looking for distraction in alcohol, Netflix, food or spending sprees.</p><p><span></span>In short, White explains, traditions such as yoga and meditation help create an awareness of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-pandemic-linked-to-destruction-of-wildlife-and-worlds-ecosystems/a-53078480" target="_blank">what is happening in our world</a> and allow us to tackle difficult situations and our reactions to them.</p><p>"Our body response to big crisis situations, like climate change, and now the pandemic, is often to freeze, be numb and to run away," she said.</p><p>"The more we can connect with our body responses, the more we can tune into our own personal and collective responsibility to a crisis, whether it's the pandemic or climate change, without going into that trauma response."</p>
Overcoming Crises<p>The coronavirus pandemic and climate change are two of the biggest issues facing <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/the-time-has-come-for-humanity-to-go-through-its-next-evolution/a-53589043" target="_blank">humanity</a> at this point in history. Whether it's the global quest for a COVID-19 vaccine or the world pulling together to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/5-years-paris-climate-agreement/a-55901139" target="_blank">slash greenhouse gas emissions</a>, solutions to both require an effort from the international community.</p><p>This is where the ancient Indian concept of <em>Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam</em> comes in. Rooted in yoga, it means the world is one family and has to act as such. And in times of crisis, collaboration becomes more essential than ever.<br></p><p>"Yogis believe that all life is connected, that we are all one and should live in harmony with each other," said Alexander Bütow, who runs a yoga and meditation studio in Berlin.</p><p>"The problem is that many humans take themselves out of that and create divisions, groups, and start disconnecting — from themselves, from others, from the world around them. Once we stop this disconnect, we can overcome crises together."</p>
'We Are Part of Nature'<p>He, like others who practice regularly, sees meditation and yoga as a means to slowing down, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/philosopher-svenja-flassp%C3%B6hler-the-coronavirus-standstill-gives-us-a-space-to-think/a-52915769" target="_blank">emptying our minds </a> and calming our thoughts. And that, so the thinking goes, facilitates a connection not only to ourselves, but to the world around us.</p><p>"Every human being is intrinsically connected to every other human being and also to nature, animals, plants, everything on this planet. But you are often not aware of it because you are too busy with too many things. When that stops for a moment, when you calm down, you realize these connections," said A.G. Ramakrishnan, a professor for electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, who also researches in the fields of meditation and breathing exercises.</p><p>"The concept of yoga, for instance, is holistic. It teaches you that we can't live without others, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/how-do-we-change-peter-sloterdijk-environment-coronavirus-on-the-green-fence-climate-change/a-53533840" target="_blank">we cannot live without animals</a>, we cannot live without nature." Ramakrishnan continued.</p><p>Yet that, says Bütow, is not in keeping with the way we live.</p><p>"It has become a bad habit these days that we take ourselves out of nature. We are part of nature way more than we pretend to be. Nature is where we came from. But we have totally detached ourselves from that."</p><p>He says breathing exercises can help us reconnect, because through our breath we are in constant contact with the outside world.</p><p>"We just have to remember this connection, which will help us to see ourselves as part of nature."</p>
Slowing Down to Help the Planet<p>For many, the pandemic has also brought our mortality into sharp relief. It has served as a reminder that life as we know it is susceptible to massive disruption.</p><p>In restricting what we can do, where we can go and how we can keep ourselves occupied, it has also made our worlds smaller, forced us not only to slow down, but in many cases to take a genuine pause. And that, says Jenny White, can reap rewards.</p><p>"Once you give yourself that time to pause and breathe, you will become kinder and softer and more understanding when it comes to your own shortcomings and difficulties. And this will make you more compassionate and understanding when it comes to other people and their needs and ultimately also our planet's needs."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-planet-climate-awareness-mindfulness-animals-plants-yogis-breath/a-56162526" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649861943#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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By Alisha Moopen
As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic gains strength in many parts of the world, it is evident that the old normal has slipped, and a new sense of normalcy is setting in. This has been evident with the arrival of the work-from-home, study-from-home and socialize-from-home model, whenever possible.
The effects of COVID-19 on workers' lives. Ipsos-World Economic Forum
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For many people, the holidays are rich with time-honored traditions like decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, caroling, cookie baking, and sipping from the unity cup. But there's another unofficial, official holiday tradition that spans all ages and beliefs and gives people across the world hope for a better tomorrow: the New Year's resolution.
Benefits of Chamomile Tea<p><strong>Sleep More Soundly</strong></p><p>Pick your grandmother's brain about the best way to fall asleep, and she might tell you to down a nice glass of warm milk. But if you consult with science, research shows that chamomile might be a better option. That's because it contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia and other sleep problems</a>.</p><p>Two research studies even confirmed the power of chamomile throughout the day and before bed. In one of those studies, postpartum women who drank chamomile for two weeks <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">experienced better sleep quality than the control group who didn't</a>. Another research effort measured how fast people could fall asleep. Those results illustrated that participants who consumed 270 milligrams of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198755/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">fell asleep 15 minutes faster than the control</a>. The chamomile group also had considerably fewer sleep disruptions. </p><p><strong>May Be Able to Keep Your Gut Healthy</strong></p><p>Though the following studies used rats as the subjects, research shows that chamomile can potentially play a beneficial role in digestive health. According to that research, the anti-inflammatory properties in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24463157" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">chamomile extract may be able to protect against diarrhea</a>. Additionally, chamomile may be an effective way to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177631/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stop the growth of bacteria in our stomachs that contribute to ulcers</a>.</p><p><strong>Reduces Stress and Anxiety</strong></p><p>Few things are more relaxing than curling up with a good cup of tea, so it's logical that chamomile tea can serve a stress reducer. While it lacks the potency of a pharmaceutical drug, long-term use of chamomile has been shown to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27912875" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">"significantly" reduce general anxiety disorders</a>. In general, chamomile can act almost like a sedative, and many people enjoy the tea because it puts them in a calm and relaxed state almost immediately. </p><p><strong>Boosts Immune Health</strong></p><p>Vitamin C and zinc are common over-the-counter supplements that people often turn to when they're hoping to avoid becoming sick. While scientists admit that more research must take place to prove chamomile's impact on preventing ailments like the common cold, the existing studies do show promise in this area. </p><p>One study had 14 participants drink five cups of the tea every day for two consecutive weeks. Throughout the study, researchers collected daily urine samples and tested the contents before and after the consumption of the tea. Drinking chamomile resulted in a significant increase in the levels of hippurate and glycine, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">both of which are known to increase antibacterial activity</a>. Inhaling steam from a pot of freshly brewed chamomile tea may also ease the symptoms of nasal congestion.</p><p><strong>Minimizes Menstrual Cramps</strong></p><p>This one may come as a surprise, particularly to readers who have tried every possible over-the-counter treatment to reduce period pain. Several research studies have proven that chamomile tea may be able to minimize the pain and cramps that occur during menstruation. Women in that same study also dealt with lower levels of anxiety that they typically felt because of menstrual cramps.</p><p><strong>Help Diabetes and Lower Blood Sugar</strong></p><p>For people with diabetes, regulating blood sugar levels can be a matter of life or death. And while chamomile will never replace prescription-strength drugs, it's believed that it can prevent an increase in blood sugar. A 2008 study on rats showed that chamomile could have a <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf8014365" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">moderate impact on the long-term risk of diabetes</a>.</p><p><strong>Might Improve Your Skin</strong></p><p>Ever wondered why there's been an influx of chamomile-infused cosmetic products? The reason why so many manufacturers now include chamomile in their lotions, soaps, and creams is because it <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5074766/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">acts as an anti-inflammatory on our skin</a>. That means it may be able to soothe the puffiness that plagues us as we age. Those same anti-inflammatory properties can be vital in restoring skin health after we've received a sunburn. </p><p>Before discarding your used chamomile tea bags, try chilling them and placing them over your eyes. Not only will this help with the puffiness, but it can drastically light the skin color around the eye.</p><p><strong>Help With Heart Health</strong></p><p>Some of the most beneficial antioxidants we put into our bodies are what are known as flavones, and chamomile tea is chock full of them. Flavones have the potential to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which, when elevated, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4814348/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">can lead to heart disease</a>.</p>
Why Everyone Is Drinking Chamomile Tea<p>Now that you know so much about the wonders of chamomile, it shouldn't come as a surprise why the tea is so popular with people of all ages. In addition to tasting great, chamomile offers up benefits that boost the health of body parts both inside and out. As you ponder your own New Year's resolutions, think about how healthy and natural vitamins, supplements, plants, and oils can help guide you on your own personal path to improvement. Happy New Year!</p>
Did you resolve to eat healthier this year but are unsure where to start?
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Essential oils have many health benefits, but anxiety management is where they really shine.
What Are Essential Oils?<p>Essential oils are extracted from the roots, stems, flowers, leaves, and bark of certain plants.</p><p>Their therapeutic compounds can promote relaxation, improve mood, reduce anxiety, and ameliorate depression.</p>
How Essential Oils May Help Anxiety<p>Most compounds have to be digested or injected in order to enter the bloodstream.</p><p>However, the phytochemicals in essential oils, like linalool and linalyl acetate, are small enough to pass through the skin and nasal cavities.</p><p>From there, they can readily travel across the blood-brain barrier to potentially relieve anxiety.</p><p>People with anxiety often have concurrent digestive issues that inhibit nutrient absorption, making essential oils an especially valuable treatment.</p>
How to Use Essential Oils for Anxiety<p>Essential oils can be ingested, applied topically, or inhaled.</p><p>Aromatherapy massage, however, can provide particularly fast-acting relief.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18753801" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2008 study</a> found that aromatherapy hand massages with a blend of bergamot, lavender, and frankincense can effectively reduce anxiety, pain, and depression in hospice patients better than regular massage alone. The essential oil blend contained a 1.5 percent dilution of essential oils, using sweet almond oil as a carrier oil. </p><p>Carrier oils like almond, coconut, and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/how-is-hemp-oil-made/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hemp seed oil</a> can spread the essential oil across a wider surface area and extend its aromatic effects.</p><p>However, oral lavender oil can be effective as well.</p><p>A 2009 study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19382124" target="_blank"><em>Human Psychopharmacology</em></a> found that oral lavender oil capsules can reduce anxiety in participants watching stressful film clips.</p>
4 Best Essential Oils for Anxiety<p>Essential oils can reduce stress hormone production and boost calming neurotransmitters.</p><p>Here's a closer look at the four best essential oils for anxiety:</p><p><strong>1. Lavender</strong></p><p>Lavender is the queen of anti-anxiety oils, and there's a mountain of evidence to prove it.</p><p>Over the years, lavender essential oil has been studied as a treatment for wounds, burns, and seizures, but recent research suggests that it may also have potent anti-anxiety, mood stabilizing, and sedative effects.</p><p>It can also be consumed as a lavender tea.</p><p>Here's what the research as to say about lavender essential oil for anxiety:</p><ul><li>According to a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2013 meta-analysis</a>, lavender may promote the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA and reduce glutamate, which tends to be overactive in anxious individuals. </li><li>A 2012 study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22402245/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Phytomedicine</em></a> found that lavender may reduce anxiety by acting on acetylcholine: the primary neurotransmitter involved with higher thinking. </li><li>Inhaled <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12112282/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">lavender may target the limbic system</a> by targeting the hippocampus and amygdala: the emotional center of the brain.</li><li><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17291597" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Animal studies</a> show that inhaled lavender can reduce cortisol: the main hormone linked to chronic stress and anxiety. </li><li>In a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24456909" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2014 human study</a>, researchers determined that oral lavender oil can outperform the prescription anxiolytic paroxetine in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).</li></ul><p>Although the FDA <em>does not</em> officially recognize lavender oil as a treatment for anxiety disorders, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5437114/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">European Medicines Agency</a> (EMA) does.</p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26247152" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Recent research</a> shows that lavender oil may also reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and slow heart rate.</p><p><strong>2. Bergamot</strong></p><p>Bergamot is another widely-researched essential oil that may reduce anxiety, pain, stress, and inflammation.</p><p>According to a 2011 rodent study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21105176" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Phytotherapy Research</em></a>, "Both BEO [bergamot essential oil] and diazepam [prescription medication] exhibited anxiolytic-like behaviors and attenuated HPA axis activity by reducing the corticosterone response to stress.</p><p>In other words, bergamot treated stress and anxiety by calming the stress response.</p><p>Human studies are also promising.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5434918/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2017 pilot study</a> found that bergamot oil aromatherapy can enhance positive feelings in the waiting room of a mental health treatment center.</p><p><strong>3. Rose</strong></p><p>Studies show that rose essential oil may balance hormones, reduce stress, and treat anxiety.</p><p>Here's what the research has to say about the health benefits of rose essential oil:</p><ul><li>In a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17693981" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2007 Japanese study</a>, rose oil aromatherapy effectively reduced cortisol levels in both female and male volunteers. Plus, it decreased testosterone in women but had no effect on testosterone in men.</li><li>According to a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5111093/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2016 clinical trial</a>, patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment may experience reduced anxiety with rose oil aromatherapy. </li><li>On a similar note, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5511972/#B23" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2014 study</a> indicates that inhaling rose oil may increase feelings of comfort by inhibiting neurotransmitter activity in the prefrontal cortex. </li><li>According to another <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270653/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2014 study</a>, rose oil foot baths can be significantly more effective at reducing anxiety than regular foot baths.</li></ul><p>Rose essential oil also contains eugenol: one of the strongest antioxidants in the world.</p><p><strong>4. Chamomile</strong></p><p>Chamomile tea is widely used as a natural sleep aid, and that's because the plant contains several therapeutic phytochemicals, including the soothing compound chamazulene.</p><p>These properties also make chamomile well-suited for reducing stress and anxiety.</p><p>Both chamomile aromatherapy and oral chamomile appear to be equally effective.</p><p>In one <a href="https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/040310.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2009 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study</a>, researchers at Pennsylvania State University tested the effects of oral chamomile capsules on 57 patients with mild generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).</p><p>Compared to the placebo, participants experienced a statistically significant reduction in anxiety symptoms.</p><p>According to the study's authors, "These results suggest that chamomile may have modest benefits for some people with mild to moderate GAD."</p><p>At the same time, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6428160/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2013 aromatherapy study</a> found a significant difference in the anxiety scores between the chamomile group and the control group.</p><p>To top it all off, chamomile contains several terpenes and flavonoids that may treat gastrointestinal inflammation and reduce pain.</p>
What to Know Before Using Essential Oils for Anxiety<p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6428160/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Other anti-anxiety oils</a> to check out include, sage, frankincense, geranium, and orange oil.</p><p>It's also a good notion to never ingest essential oils without first making sure they're food-grade. Many oils are manufactured with synthetic perfumes that can upset and irritate the stomach.</p><p>If you have a history of serious medical conditions or are currently taking prescription drugs, make sure to consult a specialist before adding essential oils to your regular health practice.</p><p>All in all, many people have found aromatherapy and other essential oil applications to be very beneficial in the reduction of anxiety — and you might too.</p><p><em>Justin Fowler-Lindner, a former EMT turned freelance writer, spends his days popping supplements and soaking up the sun in tropical destinations around the world.</em></p>
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Over-the-counter cough syrups and cough drops only mask symptoms, and that means your cough could return at any time. Instead of hoping for the best, you can use holistic treatments that target the underlying cause of even the worst coughs.
How Coughing Works<p>Have you ever wondered what's actually going on inside the body when you make that awful coughing sound?</p><p>Here's what's really happening:</p><ol><li>You take a gasp of air.</li><li>The glottis covers the windpipe.</li><li>The respiratory muscles contract.</li><li>Pressure builds in the airway.</li><li>The glottis bursts open and…you cough!</li></ol>
What Causes Coughing?<p>Coughing happens when you need to expel an irritant or cope with symptoms of a respiratory infection.</p><p>Acute coughing is coughing that lasts less than three weeks. This includes brief coughing fits and reactions to short-term respiratory infections. Acute coughs are typically "dry," meaning there's no mucus in the airway.</p><p>Chronic coughing, however, is coughing that lasts eight weeks or longer and requires professional medical intervention. These coughs are typically "wet" and are characterized by heavy phlegm and mucus production as a response to inflammation in the lungs.</p><p>Common causes of chronic cough include:</p><ul><li>Allergies</li><li>Viral infections (bronchitis, pneumonia, cold, flu)</li><li>GERD (acid reflux disease)</li><li>Asthma</li><li>Pulmonary fibrosis</li><li>Sinus infection (due to persistent nasal drip)</li></ul><p>Chronic coughing may also be caused by a reaction to certain medications like ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers, which can irritate nerve endings in the throat.</p>
5 Home Remedies for Cough<p>From therapeutic essential oils to immune-boosting foods, here are five of the top natural remedies for cough:</p><p><strong>1. Essential Oils</strong></p><p><a href="Essential oils">Essential oils</a> are extracted from the roots, stems, flowers, and leaves of various medicinal plants. Most essential oils have a broad spectrum of antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which can be ideal for fighting infection and treating the underlying causes of coughing.</p><p>Some essential oils, however, can also relax the muscles of the respiratory system and help expel mucus. Eucalyptus, <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/peppermint-essential-oil/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">peppermint</a>, and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/rosemary-essential-oil/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">rosemary</a> are some of the best essential oils for colds and coughs.</p><p>Research suggests that these three essential oils can have many benefits, including the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7827436" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduction in frequency of coughs</a>, relief from scratchy throats and congestion, as well as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15719688" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduced inflammation and mucus production</a>.</p><p><strong>How to Use Essential Oils for Cough</strong></p><p>You can add a few drops of essential oil to any hot shower, which will incorporate the oil with the steam and open up your sinuses for less irritation and coughing. Additionally, you can make your own essential oil vapor rub by mixing 1-2 drops of essential oil with half a teaspoon of coconut or <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/the-best-mct-oils/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">MCT oil</a>. Apply this DIY vapor rub to the chest and back of the neck for fast-acting relief.</p><p><strong>2. Raw Honey</strong></p><p>Raw honey's immune-boosting antioxidants and antimicrobial effects are perfect when it comes to finding a home remedy for coughing. According to a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3223897/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2011 meta-analysis</a>, researchers think that raw honey may treat coughs by reducing inflammation and relieving irritation.</p><p>In a 2007 study published in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18056558" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine</a>, honey was tested against the cough-suppressing medication dextromethorphan in children with nighttime coughing. The honey group experienced a greater reduction in coughing than the dextromethorphan group. </p><p>To make your own DIY honey elixir, mix 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey in a cup of warm water with a few drops of lemon juice. However, if you are trying to alleviate coughing in children, you should not give raw honey to any child under one year of age <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/botulism/prevention.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">due to the risk of infant botulism</a>.</p><p><strong>3. Marshmallow Root</strong></p><p>Marshmallow root extract has long been used in Germany as a main ingredient in natural cough remedies. It has a high mucilage content, which eases coughing by coating the throat with a thick, gluey substance.</p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16391481" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">One small study</a> found that an herbal cough medicine containing marshmallow root, thyme, and ivy can effectively relieve coughing caused by respiratory tract infections in humans after just 12 days of treatment.</p><p>In a 2018 study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30064132" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Complementary Medicine Research</a>, consumers reported on the efficacy of marshmallow root syrup as a treatment for irritative cough. The majority of participants reported a significant reduction in dry cough symptoms within 10 minutes of administration.</p><p><strong>4. Gargle Salt Water</strong></p><p>This simple, natural remedy for coughing is great for soothing a sore throat as well. Gargling salt water has been shown to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16242593" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduce respiratory infections up to 40 percent</a>, and can lessen the need to cough by reducing phlegm and mucus in the throat.</p><p>Mix a teaspoon of salt with 8oz of hot water. Stir the mixture until the salt has fully dissolved. Make sure the water isn't too hot, then take a swig of the salt water and gargle for 15 to 30 seconds. After this, you can spit out the salt water, and repeat three times a day.</p><p><strong>5. Eat Right</strong></p><p>Eating immune-boosting foods can be extremely beneficial in preventing and fighting off a cough, and here are some of the best foods for supporting immunity, reducing inflammation, and thinning mucus:</p><ul><li><strong>Probiotic foods</strong>: If you get frequent, recurring coughs, you may be more susceptible to illness due to a weakened gut lining. <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/the-best-probiotic-supplements/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Probiotics</a> like kombucha, coconut kefir, apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, and kimchi can reinforce the gut lining and fortify the immune system.</li><li><strong>Bone broth:</strong> Drinking hot bone broth made from chicken or beef cartilage can thin the mucus and help repair the gut lining with <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/the-best-collagen-powders/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">collagen</a>.</li><li><strong>Ginger root:</strong> <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/the-best-ginger-supplements/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ginger</a> contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds like zingibain and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3604064/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may relax the muscles in the upper airway that control coughing</a>.</li><li><strong>Stay Hydrated: </strong>This may seem like a no-brainer, but in order to be fully cough-resistant, you'll have to drink plenty of fluids. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3223897/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies show</a> that staying hydrated is essential to the treatment of coughs, and it may also soften mucosal secretions and help clear the airway.</li></ul>
Other Helpful Tips for Relieving a Cough at Home<p>As you seek to use home remedies for cough relief, you'll also want to avoid pro-inflammatory foods like gluten, sugar, soda, fruit juice, dairy, hydrogenated oils, and processed foods.</p><p>If your nasal passages are congested, irritation from nasal drip can make your cough worse. If this is the case, you may want to try using a neti pot, which can flush out irritants and thin the mucus.</p><p>If you experience persistent coughing for longer than eight weeks, we recommend seeing a doctor for medical advice and treatment. At-home remedies are a great way to alleviate common cold or flu symptoms, but more serious complications may arise that require professional treatment.</p>
The holidays can be overwhelming for many people. With shopping lists to check off, holiday dinners to cook and visitors to make room for, it's usually an eventful time of year. But in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, herbal supplements help you stay calm, cool and collected. Whether you're trying to avoid the in-laws or learning how to make a new meal for the first time, you can stay prepared with the best herbs for stress.
Holiday Stress, Cortisol and You<p>While the holiday season is a cheerful time to spend with friends and family, it is also one of the most stressful times of the year. With all of the added pressure related to finances, traveling and family commitments, your health can suffer.</p><p>Ultimately, the body ends up produces too many stress hormones, which elevates blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. At the same time, glucose is released into the bloodstream, digestion slows and the immune system becomes suppressed. Over time, this can lead to increased anxiety, hormone imbalances, sickness and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/natural-ways-to-restore-gut-health/" target="_blank">gut health issues</a>.</p><p>In the end, many of these complications are linked to cortisol, whose job it is to regulate several essential functions, including:</p><ul><li>Keeping you alert</li><li>Preventing brain fog</li><li>Reducing inflammation</li><li>Promoting healing</li><li>Burning fat for energy</li><li>Controlling blood pressure</li><li>Supporting memory</li></ul><p>With cortisol levels out of control, it's easy to see how holiday stress can make you feel scattered, tired and overwhelmed. Luckily, the right herbs for stress may offer you some relief.</p>
9 Herbs for Holiday Stress<p>Many of the best herbs for stress are adaptogens, which reduce cortisol, normalize bacteria levels and affect stress in a variety of ways. Others are familiar teas and essential oils that work to calm the mind and body.</p><p>The best herbs to reduce holiday stress are:</p><p><strong>1. Ashwagandha</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/the-best-ashwagandha-supplements/" target="_blank">Ashwagandha</a> has been widely studied for its effects on stress tolerance and cortisol production.</p><p>In one 2012 human study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine</em></a>, 64 test adults with a history of chronic stress were treated with either ashwagandha extract or a placebo for 60 days. According to the study's authors, "The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration of full-spectrum <em>Ashwagandha</em> root extract safely and effectively improves an individual's resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life."</p><p>This herbal supplement can also help with <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/natural-stress-relief/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">chronic stress</a>, which if left untreated can lead to hormone imbalances throughout the body, including the thyroid. A <a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2017.0183" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2018 human study</a> found that supplementing with ashwagandha for eight weeks can help regulate thyroid levels in patients with underactive thyroids.</p><p>To top it all off, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13880208209083282" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">animal studies</a> show that ashwagandha can prevent weight gain due to chronic stress, as well as prevent stress-related gastric ulcers. </p><p><strong>2. Astragalus Root</strong></p><p>Astragalus is an adaptogenic herb that's been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to support the immune system and guard against stress. Now, modern research is beginning to support these claims.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16282615" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2005 animal study</a> found that astragalus root can decrease stress hormones and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/cbd-oil-for-inflammation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduce inflammation</a> in piglets. At the same time, a 2019 study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745106/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine</em></a> found that astragalus root can boost antioxidant levels and support immunity in sheep.</p><p><strong>3. Chamomile</strong></p><p>Nothing takes the edge off of holiday stress like a hot cup of tea, and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/anxiety/the-benefits-and-uses-of-chamomile/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">chamomile</a> is just the tea for the job.</p><p>For starters, it's full of potent antioxidants like flavonoids and terpenes to help you fend off colds. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies also show</a> that chamomile tea can <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/natural-sleep-aids/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">improve sleep quality</a> and relieve depression in postpartum women. Quality sleep is important for reducing stress and chamomile is an ideal way to unwind and catch some Z's. Chamomile essential oil can also have stress reducing benefits when used in aromatherapy diffusers.</p>
Other Ways to Avoid Holiday Stress<p>The holidays have a stressful side that many of us know all too well. When your head is spinning with family events, shopping and gift wrapping, plus your bank account is dwindling, stress can get the best of you. This can take a toll on your sleep quality, mental health, and general well being, but natural herbs can help combat holiday stress when it's at its worst.</p><p>In addition to taking natural herbal supplements, other practices like mindful meditation, exercise and healthy eating (even though it may be hard to do during the holidays) can be great ways to stay stress-free during the holiday season.</p>
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Many people fear they will pack on pounds during the holiday season because of the abundance of indulgent dishes and tasty treats served at dinners, parties, and work events.
1. Brussels Sprout Slaw With Manchego<p>Brussels sprouts are nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetables that offer an abundance of health benefits. For example, Brussels sprouts are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants including kaempferol, which has been shown to provide neuroprotective, anticancer, and heart health promoting effects (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21428901" target="_blank">1</a>).</p><p>Even though this vegetable is highly nutritious, many people don't like the taste of Brussels sprouts, especially when they develop a mushy texture after being cooked.</p><p>To make a holiday side dish that everyone will love, try out this <a href="https://www.wellplated.com/brussels-sprouts-slaw/" target="_blank">Brussels sprout slaw recipe</a> that combines crispy, raw Brussels sprouts with other tasty ingredients like almonds and manchego cheese.</p>
2. Paleo Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stuffing<p>While traditional bread-based stuffing recipes are usually delicious, they can be high in calories and full of ingredients that aren't good for overall health.</p><p>For a nutritious spin on traditional stuffing, try out <a href="https://fedandfit.com/paleo-sweet-potato-cranberry-stuffing/" target="_blank">this inventive recipe</a> that uses sweet potatoes instead of bread as a base. Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients including vitamin C and provitamin A and provide an excellent source of filling fiber.</p><p>Leave out the sausage and add legumes for a punch of plant-based protein for a vegetarian-friendly version.</p>
3. Cauliflower Butternut Squash and Sage Mash<p>If you're looking for a tasty side dish, try this <a href="https://therealfoodrds.com/cauliflower-butternut-squash-mash/" target="_blank">flavorful mash recipe</a> that uses cauliflower and butternut squash as stand-ins for regular old potatoes.</p><p>Both cauliflower and butternut squash offer an abundance of nutrients that can benefit health in many ways. They are both teeming with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber — which can help boost the health of your digestive system (<a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/407887/nutrients" target="_blank">2</a>, <a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/527023/nutrients" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">3</a>).</p><p>Sage not only adds flavor to this mash, but it boosts the health benefits thanks to the abundance of powerful plant compounds contained within its pleasant-tasting leaves including flavonoid antioxidants and essential oils (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003706/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">4</a>).</p>
4. Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash<p>Acorn squash are small in size and make a perfect vessel for a nutritious stuffing mixture when cut in half and roasted. Acorn squash are loaded with carotenoid antioxidants like beta-carotene, which may provide immune-boosting effects and enhance the health of the eyes, heart, and brain (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29885291" target="_blank">5</a>).</p><p>Quinoa, on the other hand, is a highly nutritious, gluten-free pseudo-cereal that's packed with plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024323/" target="_blank">6</a>).</p><p>Try this recipe for <a href="https://detoxinista.com/stuffed-acorn-squash-vegan-quinoa-stuffing/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">quinoa stuffed acorn squash</a> to impress even the most hard-to-please dinner guests.</p>
5. Harvest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes<p>This recipe for <a href="https://www.foodfaithfitness.com/harvest-paleo-vegan-stuffed-sweet-potatoes/" target="_blank">stuffed sweet potatoes</a> makes an excellent side dish to bring to holiday dinners and can also be used to make a quick, hearty meal for you and your family on cold winter nights.</p><p>To make this recipe more filling, add an additional source of protein such as fried eggs, roast chicken, or chickpeas.</p><p>The cranberries and Bartlett pears add a subtle hint of sweetness while the walnuts provide a crunchy texture. Leave out the maple syrup to reduce your added sugar intake and create a more savory tasting stuffed sweet potato.</p>
6. Parmesan Crusted Delicata Squash Rings<p>Unlike most holiday appetizers, this recipe for <a href="https://thetoastedpinenut.com/parmesan-crusted-delicata-squash-rings/" target="_blank">parmesan crusted delicata squash</a> is both delicious and nutritious.</p><p>Delicata squash have a sweet, nutty flavor and are high in many nutrients, including provitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium — a mineral essential for blood pressure regulation, muscle function, and nerve transmission (<a href="https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/" target="_blank">7</a>, <a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/602407/nutrients" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">8</a>).</p><p>Sprinkle the finished product with fresh, chopped herbs like basil and oregano and serve with a no-sugar-added marinara dipping sauce for a super healthy holiday side dish.</p>
7. Herb Stuffed Mushrooms<p>Mushrooms are packed with health-promoting nutrients like B vitamins, copper, and potassium. They are especially high in selenium, a mineral that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body and plays essential roles in DNA synthesis and hormone metabolism (<a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/342623/nutrients" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">9</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295066/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">10</a>).</p><p><a href="https://iheartumami.com/herb-stuffed-mushrooms/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">This recipe loads mushroom caps</a> with a mixture of almond flour, sun-dried tomatoes, nutritional yeast, and fresh herbs like parsley and mint, all of which provide a number of benefits.</p><p>For example, nutritional yeast adds a boost of B vitamins while the fresh herbs offer a wide array of potent plant compounds that can help boost overall health (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30651162" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">11</a>).</p>
8. Kale Salad With Apples and Cheddar<p>There's no doubt that kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat, providing over 100% of the daily value for vitamin K1, provitamin A, and vitamin C in just one cup. It's also a great source of manganese, a mineral that's important for the health of the skeletal and immune systems (<a href="https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Manganese-HealthProfessional/" target="_blank">12</a>, <a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/511764/nutrients" target="_blank">13</a>).</p><p>Pairing kale with tart apples, chopped almonds, and creamy cheddar cheese creates a flavor combination that is sure to wow your holiday guests.</p><p><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/well/healthy-recipes/recipes/kale-salad-with-apples-cheddar-and-toasted-almonds-or-pine-nuts" target="_blank">When following this recipe</a>, be sure to finely chop your kale to make it tender and pleasing to eat.</p>
9. Crockpot Rosemary, Carrot, and Parsnip Mash<p>Having a crockpot makes creating healthy holiday side dishes a breeze. This <a href="https://www.cottercrunch.com/crock-pot-rosemary-carrot-parsnip-mash-paleo/" target="_blank">super nutritious recipe</a> combines carrots, parsnips, and rosemary to create a delectable mash.</p><p>Parsnips make an excellent substitute for potatoes and are chock full of nutrients including vitamin C and folate—a B vitamin that's critical for fetal development and the production of red blood cells and DNA (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648733/" target="_blank">14</a>).</p><p>Carrots are also a nutritious choice, providing a dose of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3550877/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">15</a>).</p>
10. Garlic Roasted Broccoli<p>This <a href="https://paleogrubs.com/roasted-broccoli-recipe" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">garlic roasted broccoli recipe</a> combines two of the most nutritious foods you can eat into one mouthwatering side dish.</p><p>Fresh garlic is a concentrated source of sulfur compounds including allicin and ajoene, which may provide anticancer, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic effects according to scientific research (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">16</a>).</p><p>Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that's a hit with adults and children alike. This tasty vegetable is a concentrated source of folate, magnesium, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, provitamin A, and vitamin K1 (<a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/486511/nutrients" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">17</a>).</p><p>Broccoli also contains a wide array of antioxidants such as kaempferol, quercetin, and sulforaphane, all of which offer an abundance of health-promoting effects (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103733/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">18</a>).</p>
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By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.