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Five Hust-Mave Herbs for Healing Your Body and Mind

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Mental health and physical health are so closely intertwined that properly addressing the ailments identified in one often requires also addressing potentially unidentified ailments in the other. In many cases, the most effective way to restore optimal health to both body and mind is to supplement with adaptogenic and other herbs that help balance both systems simultaneously and naturally, without causing harmful side-effects. Here are five must-have herbs that may be exactly what your body needs to achieve optimal mental and physical health:

1) Turmeric. Turmeric, the primary active component of which is curcumin, is one of the most clinically studied herbs today that contains powerful mind-body healing capacities. A common healing herb in both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric possesses a unique ability to ease and even cure systemic inflammation, which is a common cause of many chronic health conditions and autoimmune disorders that plague people today.

Because of its natural ability to normalize various bodily processes commonly aggravated by stress and other life factors, turmeric is considered to be one of the most powerful adaptogenic herbs that helps promote systemic balance and facilitate the healthy metabolism and assimilation of nutrients. By counteracting these disease-causing physical, chemical, and biological stressors, turmeric can effectively heal and protect against illnesses that affect both mind and body.

2) Ginger. Often under-appreciated because of its relative commonality as a food, ginger is another powerful healing herb that has been used the world over to prevent and heal diseases of all kinds. Some of ginger’s many benefits include its ability to settle a nervous or upset stomach, which for some people can lead to persistent mental anguish and disruption of other bodily functions. Raw ginger has long been consumed for its general calming effect, which can help promote general healing while staving off disease.

Ginger helps specifically improve digestion by aiding in the breakdown of proteins and fats, which in turn helps prevent gas, food buildup, and other negative conditions that can decrease immune function and trigger disease. Supplementing with ginger can also help lower blood pressure, ease morning sickness, and lower bad cholesterol levels.

3) Aloe vera. Like ginger, aloe vera possesses an incredible ability to ease nausea, improve digestion, cleanse the colon and digestive tract, and maintain healthy elimination and bowel function. Consuming aloe vera can also help ease inflammation and improve the oxygenation of blood, two benefits that for many people can make all the difference in promoting lasting health.

There are so many benefits to consuming aloe vera, in fact, that simply adding the gel or juice of this powerful, succulent plant into your daily dietary regimen can effectively remedy a whole host of physical and mental illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, kidney stones, ulcers, high blood pressure, nutrient deficiencies, constipation, diabetes, candida and other yeast infections, skin disorders, and cancer.

4) Tea tree oil. Typically used topically to heal various skin conditions and infections, tea tree oil is considered by many to be “nature’s miracle healer.” A highly-versatile, all-purpose healing oil, tea tree oil, which comes from the Melaleuca tree, is an exceptionally powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, curative, bactericidal, fungicidal, insecticidal, stimulating, and sudorific herb capable of treating many different physical and mental ailments.

Drinking Melaleuca tea, for instance, especially when blended with other beneficial herbs like rosemary, passion flower, hibiscus, and ginseng, can help calm and soothe the nerves while providing sustained energy and motivation. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a diffuser by itself or with other essential oils can also help clear the lungs and airways of harmful buildup, promote alertness, and boost general feelings of health and well-being.

5) Holy basil. Another powerful adaptogenic herb, holy basil is known to help elevate mood and spirit while calming the mind. Like ginseng and licorice, holy basil is said to enhance the mind-body-spirit connection by addressing the underlying health conditions afflicting each of these important human systems. Besides generally relieving stress and boosting immunity, holy basil helps fight chronic inflammation, boost energy levels, promote clarity of mind and thought, and improve digestion.

Known more commonly as tulsi, holy basil is also recognized for its ability to fight various allergies and allergy symptoms, which often lead to feelings of “brain fog” and mental incapacity. Individuals that supplement with holy basil, particularly in conjunction with other adaptogenic herbs, have found that they are able to breathe better, digest food better, think better, and generally feel better, regardless of their particular health conditions.

 

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The Benefits of Going Vegetarian

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Weight loss, a healthier heart, drastically reduced cancer risk and more…

With the proper planning and education, research shows that going vegetarian is an excellent step to improve and protect your health. By minimizing processed foods and emphasizing whole plant foods, vegetarians enjoy a more nutritious and far less toxic way of eating than the average. The bottom line: As a vegetarian, you will be better protected from a range of major diseases, take in more nutrients and potentially lose a lot of weight.

Weight loss

The high water content and fiber in plant foods is probably to thank for the weight loss that occurs when an omnivore becomes vegetarian. Overweight people typically lose 10 percent of their body weight when they switch to a vegetarian diet, and the body-mass index (BMI) of vegetarians is generally lower as well. Vegetarian diets have less saturated fat and are likely to contain less fat overall.

Better digestion

Fiber, the indigestible matter that gives structure to plant foods, is essential for speeding waste out of the body. Virtually all whole plant foods have a positive impact on digestion. Animal foods, on the other hand, contain no fiber and move sluggishly through the digestive system. This results in constipation and putrefaction of meat in the digestive tract, letting harmful bacteria linger.

A healthier heart

Fiber has another health benefit – reducing cholesterol. One type, soluble fiber, actually pulls cholesterol out of the body. Vegetarians also have a head start on healthy cholesterol, since plant foods don’t contain any. As a result, cholesterol levels in vegetarians are typically 40 points lower than those of omnivores. Blood pressure is also lower overall, suggesting that vegetarians have a 20-40 percent reduced risk of heart disease and a 30-60 percent reduced risk of stroke. In fact, an analysis of five studies concluded that vegetarians have a 34 percent reduced risk of dying from a heart attack compared to omnivores.

Slowed aging

High antioxidant content in many plant foods like berries and raw chocolate combats the cellular damage caused by unstable oxygen molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals, which are ingested from cooked foods and polluted air (among other sources), are one of the main causes of aging. A diet high in whole and fresh foods can actually turn back the clock by knocking these down.

Reduced risk of cancer

One of the best reasons to go vegetarian is this: Vegetarians have a 40 percent reduced risk of getting cancer. There are several explanations for this statistic. Vegetarians tend to be thinner, and obesity in particular is associated with increased cancer risk. The high fiber content of plant foods speeds waste through your system, which cuts the risk of colon cancer. And diets high in fat and animal foods spike cancer risk, especially that of breast cancer, through their action on hormones.

A less toxic body

Since animals concentrate the toxins they ingest in their tissues, meat and milk is much higher in toxins than plant foods are. Wild fish contain alarming amounts of mercury; the FDA recommends eating fish only 2-3 times per week. And the EPA reports that 95 percent of human exposure to dioxin, a dangerous toxin, comes from consuming meat, fish and dairy. Animal foods are also often high in pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones.

Sources for this article include:

 

  • http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/dxmarkers
  • http://healthluv.com
  • http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/
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Sufficient Sleep is Essential to Fuel Weight Loss Efforts

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We all understand the importance of sleeping seven to nine hours each night to allow for adequate cellular housekeeping, as the body metabolizes and synthesizes enzymes and proteins that are critical to our survival. In the past, a sound sleep has been shown to lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes and dementia in direct relationship to the number of hours slept each evening.

Canadian researchers publishing the Canadian Medical Association Journal have released the result of a study showing that adequate sleep is an important part of a weight loss plan and should be added to the recommended mix of diet and exercise. In addition to lowering caloric intake and increasing physical activity, the research team led by Dr. Jean-Phillippe Chaput of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa has provided sufficient evidence to show that inadequate sleep is an independent risk factor for overweight and obesity.

Scientists determined that lack of sleep increases the stimulus to consume more food and increases appetite-regulating hormones. Dr. Chaput explained “The solution to weight loss is not as simple as eat less, move more, sleep more… however, an accumulating body of evidence suggests that sleeping habits should not be overlooked when prescribing a weight-reduction program to a patient with obesity.”

Seven to nine hours of sleep are needed daily to aid weight loss efforts

Many different factors affect body weight including predisposition to handling stress, depression and genetic individuality. Adequate and sound sleep can improve or eliminate each of these risk factors, and can also regulate the hormones leptin and ghrelin to lower food cravings and naturally promote a normal weight range. Naturally, reducing or eliminating insulin-producing processed carbohydrate foods and cutting sugar from the diet are necessary to stimulate weight loss in many people.

The authors of this study did not provide an exact mechanism to explain how adequate sleep assists weight loss, but they did explain that a lack of sleep affects the parts of the brain that control pleasure eating. Further, the scientists indicate that levels of the hormones leptin, ghrelin, cortisol and orexin, all of which are involved in appetite or eating, are affected by lack of sleep.

Dr. Chaput concluded “An accumulating body of evidence suggests that sleeping habits should not be overlooked when prescribing a weight-reduction program to a patient with obesity.” Continuing research studies validate the critical importance of a sound night’s sleep of between seven and nine hours each night to protect against chronic disease and to aid weight management efforts.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917123926.htm
http://www.calgaryherald.com
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-09/cmaj-ash091112.php

 

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Replace Mood Busters in Your Diet with Mood Boosters

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Remember the joy swell up inside when you simply went to the ice cream shop for your favorite cone on a hot sunny day? Isn’t it funny how you suddenly feel at peace when you sit back and let pure milk chocolate slowly melt on your tongue?

It may sound silly, but junk food could actually be contributing to your bad moods and even be a factor in depression. Yep, even though it makes you feel so good right then, while you’re in the moment, you might wanna consider not enjoying that sweet next time.

There have been multiple studies conducted that cited there are links between eating junk food and depression. And the evidence just seems to be adding up. Researchers are actively trying to pinpoint exactly how and why it happens, but here’s what we already know…

Anu Ruusunen, from the University of Eastern Finland, brought forward her analysis on the Kuipio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. She believes that the participants in this population based study who strived to eat plenty of berries, fish, low fat cheese, veggies, fruit and whole grains were at a lower risk of depression. Not only for the time being or immediate future, but throughout the entire follow up time. Those who ate junk food such as high-sugar treats, hot dogs and chips weren’t so lucky.

It really was no surprise, though. Then, last year the Public Health Nutrition Journal published another study. This time, they actually gave definitive numbers. According to their findings, if you eat junk food then you have more than a 50 percent chance to develop symptoms related to depression. The more junk food you choose to eat, the higher the risk you have for depression.

To be fair, you need to keep in mind that these studies do not show a definitive link, a specific cause and effect reaction. They don’t know the how or the why – only the fact that it’s obvious something is going on here.

So for now, we think it’s a good idea just to start looking for alternative feel good goodies… those that will actually help you feel good all the time and overall instead of just for a few moments.

Here are just a few ways you can be proactive and start using mood-boosting foods instead of bringing yourself down with junk food that will almost certainly contribute to depression:

Get Enough Vitamin B

Other studies have clearly shown that a diet rich in Vitamin B can help prevent depression and mood-related disorders. Where do you get this from? Lean poultry and fish. If you prefer not to eat meat, then eat plenty of leafy green veggies like spinach.

Get Nutty

The majority of the time, nuts have lots of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that contributes to the production of serotonin: the good mood chemical in your brain. The best nuts to choose are almonds, peanuts and cashews (yum!)

Keep Vitamin D on Hand

Vitamin D supplements are one of the best ways to get this vitamin. Yes, you get it from the sun, but let’s be honest… most of us aren’t in the sun that much anymore.

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Savory Pork Roast Fits Your Diet but Tastes as if it’s from a Corner Bistro

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After you’re done bringing the winter clothes in from the shed, you should take a little trip to the grocery store (if needed) so you can try this amazingly mouth watering sage pork roast with white beans. It’s much easier than you might think and if you aren’t normally the one your family finds in the kitchen, they’ll be wondering where this came from!

This healthy pork roast recipe brings together the best of both worlds: a nutritious meal and decadent flavor. Just put this hearty meal in the slow cooker and when it’s done you’ll have a bistro-quality entree to display proudly on your kitchen table (or counter, or island or… well, wherever!).

But first, here are a few things to keep in mind…

  • Do NOT overcook it. Pork loin roast is of course, a cut that’s naturally lean (which is one reason we chose it). That’s great. And it comes out amazingly tender if cooked for six or seven hours (assuming you’re using a 1 1/2 to three pound roast as we suggest, which is optimal for a slow cooker)
  • If you can, use dry minced garlic vs. garlic powder or even freshly minced garlic. Why? Garlic powder is very fine, whereas the minced version is much more coarse. It stands up to the test of time in the slow cooker and the flavor really comes through.

Ingredients:

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(Serves 6)

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 TBS soy sauce (use reduced or low sodium if you can)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dry minced garlic
  • 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • 2 15.8 cans of Great Northern beans (use reduced or low sodium, rinse and drain them)
  • 1 14.5 oz can of no salt or low salt diced tomatoes (don’t discard the juice!)
  • 2 TBS fresh sage minced (keep a few sprigs for the visuals – garnishing is important, right?)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 roast of course! We recommend about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds

In a medium sized slow cooker, put your carrots and onions in. Put your roast in next. In a bowl, mix together your olive oil and soy sauce to create a marinade of sorts and brush it on the roast. Be sure you get both sides. In a bowl, mix the garlic, pepper and rubbed sage and sprinkle on the roast. Lastly, put the tomatoes and beans on top. Cover and let it cook for six or seven hours.

When you remove it from the slow cooker, cover with foil and let it rest for ten minutes. Stir the lemon juice and minced fresh sage into the beans (don’t put these in until the roast is done and removed). Spoon it into a deep serving platter. Slice your roast against the grain and place on top of the beans you put in the platter. Garnish!

Per serving: 341 calories (19 percent from fat), 7 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 51 milligrams cholesterol, 37 grams carbohydrates, 32 grams protein, 160 milligrams sodium, 9 grams dietary fiber.

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