Health

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Stuffy nose can accompany a variety of different ailments from allergies to the common cold to sinusitis. It’s generally not serious, though if it persists long term you may want to see a doctor. It is incredibly irritating though, and I know when my runny nose gets going, all I want to do is end it. How can we do it?

1. Hot soup.

People often swear by chicken soup specifically, but if you eat an exclusively plant-based diet, a nice, vegetable-dense veggie soup will do the trick. Soup helps moisturize the airways and thin phlegm, making it easier to expel. It also soothes sore throats. Having soup two or three times a day while stuffed up can help immensely.

2. Turmeric.

This one surprised me a bit! Turmeric has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties and helps get rid of phlegm by killing the bacteria that causes excessive mucus. It also helps threaten the immune system. Try these turmeric remedies:

  1. Add  teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of warm dairy/non-dairy milk. Drink it in the morning and eening.
  2. Take a half-teaspoon of turmeric with a glass of water three times daily.
  3. Add a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of salt to a glass of hot water and gargle with it every other hour or so.
3. Ginger.

Ginger is a decongestant and has been used as a home remedy to fight respiratory infections for thousands of years. It also helps ease an upset stomach if you’re feeling a little bit queasy. One way to take it is to add a tablespoon of ginger slices to one cup of boiled water. Steep it for a few minutes then add a teaspoon of honey. You can drink this as much as you want. You can also just chew raw ginger slices or add ginger to your food.

4. Lemon juice.

Lemon juice is one of my all time favorite ingredients. It helps your body digest food more effectively, it’s great for boosting your immune system and it’s loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. Lemon juice helps fight off infection, which is where its mucous-containing powers come into play. What you definitely don’t want to do is buy lemon juice from concentrate. Buy a fresh, organic lemon and juice it by squeezing it. You can add it to a glass of cold water or in your tea. Another option is to simply suck on a slice of lemon. Add a little bit of salt and pepper to soothe a sore throat and clear your sinuses.

5. Salt water.

Warm salt water treats phlegm by destroying the bacteria that may be causing it. It also helps soothe sore throat. Simply add a quarter teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle periodically throughout the day.

6. Plain old steam.

Steam inhalation helps clear your sinuses by making your phlegm runnier and easier to eliminate from your body. A couple times a day, take a hot shower. Use water as hot as you can stand it. Make it nice and steamy. Additionally, you can pour boiling water into a bowl and hold a towel over your head over the bowl. Breathe in deeply through your nose for 5 to 10 minutes. This helps loosen up the mucous.

With any luck, this’ll help you beat the phlegm!

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Getting up and going in the morning can be so difficult. If you’re like me, being late in the morning can be habitual. But here’s what I’ve learned over the years to keep myself on time.

1. Forget the snooze button.

Get it out of your head. Tell yourself before you fall asleep that you will wake up when the alarm goes off and you will not hit snooze. Say the words to yourself out loud.

2. Time your shower.

It’s so easy to stand in the shower for a half hour when you’re groggy in the morning. I love timing my shower. I do 5 minutes. Not only does it save me time, but my utility bill goes way down. Can’t lose!

3. Program your coffee pot.

Program it to start at a certain time of morning, say 5 minutes before your shower ends. This’ll save you time and get you on your way.

4. Set your clothes out the night before.

Seems pretty basic, right? Setting out your clothes the night before can save a ton of time on your morning prep time.

5. Prep your breakfast the night before.

Mix up some granola, yogurt, berries and honey and stick it in the fridge. Boom! Instant cold breakfast that’s healthy for you too.

6. Set yourself a timer.

Set a timer on your phone to go off the exact moment you need to be on the road and try to beat it every day.

7. Take note.

Leave yourself notes about what you need to grab, what you need to do before you leave, and any other details that you can’t skip over.

8. Be organized.

This ties in with #7. Stay organized! Have your briefcase ready. Know where your keys are. Charge your phone. Don’t slack. If you stay organized, you’ll save yourself a ton of time.

9. Use the commute to your advantage.

If you ride a bus, use that time to eat your breakfast. If you ride the train, do your makeup in transit. If you find yourself stuck in traffic, don’t look at your email. See what I did there? Safety first, ladies and gentleman.

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The sugar in soda can be addicting, similar to alcohol tobacco and drugs. It just feels good when you consume it. But like most addicting things, it can harm your good health long-term. More and more research is coming out to show the negative health effects of frequent consumption of soda. We tend to argue that you should enjoy everything in moderation. With soda, our recommendation is to enjoy it very rarely.

If you’re a daily drinker of soda, it may be hard to quit. But this is what happens when you do:

1. Your heart health almost immediately improves.

A study conducted by Harvard University in 2012 found that sweet, sugary drinks like soda increase the likeliness of chronic heart disease. Participants in the study who drank soda frequently were 20% more likely to have a heart attack. Another study from 2011 found that soda raises your blood pressure and the more you drink, the higher it gets.

2. Risk of chronic disease decreases.

The obesity epidemic is far, far from over in the United States. Soda is a direct contributor to the obesity epidemic. With obesity comes cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a heightened risk of other chronic diseases. Ditch soda and you’ll ditch some pounds too.

3. Improved reproductive health.

Some, not all, but some soda cans contain Bysphenol-A, or BPA. BPA is linked to an increased risk of cancer and impairment of the endocrine system. Numerous studies have shown the dangers of BPA, linking it to premature puberty and infertility as well. BPA has been found to increase your chance of breast cancer, prostate cancer, metabolic disorder, and type 2 diabetes.

4. Your kidneys will be in better shape.

Studies have indicated that drinking soda increases your risk of kidney disease that leads to the failure of your kidneys all together. Diet sodas do nothing to help your kidneys too. In fact, one study showed that women who drank diet soda every day had decreased liver function.

5. You’ll grow stronger bones.

This is a pretty well known fact of soda. It weakens your bones. By stopping, you improve your bone health and decrease the risk of osteoporosis. Strengthen your bones with high calcium foods and drinks like almond milk and broccoli.

6. You’ll get fewer bladder infections.

Soda is a diuretic, which causes you to urinate more frequently and more urgently. This urgency irritates your bladder and can cause bladder and urinary tract infections. Drink clear fluids like water or unsweetened juices to help your urinary tract stay clear and healthy.

7. You’ll have a brighter, whiter smile.

Soda ruins your teeth. Leaving soda on the shelf leads to better oral health. In a 2013 study, researchers found that a woman who drank 2 liters of diet soda every day for 3-5 years had the same level of tooth decay as a meth addict. Run a Google image search “meth mouth” to get a better idea of what we’re talking about. It’s pretty harsh.

8. Last but not least, your brain will be able to its job better.

Many people reach for the soda to get a caffeine and sugar boost to beat the midday fog. It helps for a little while, but ultimately the practice has a negative effect on your brain function. In one study, long-term consumption of sugar was found to lead to impaired learning and behavioral plasticity.

“We have investigated a potential mechanism by which a diet, similar in composition to the typical diet of most industrialized western societies rich in saturated fat and refined sugar (HFS), can influence brain structure and function via regulation of neurotrophins,” the authors of the study write.

Animals on a high sugar diet had less of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor which negatively impacted their ability to learn and remember things. Not only is it a great reason to not drink soda, but don’t let your children drink it either. 

That’s about what you can expect when you kick soda out of your cupboard.

Have you given up soda? Tell us your story in the comments below.

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I love a good nap, don’t you? It’s like taking a little time out of your day and just rebooting your brain. Aside from that, napping has far-reaching effects on your health. Shorter naps give you the best bang for your buck, ’ according to experts, but longer naps are good for you too.

Taking a quick 10-20 minute nap will boost your alertness. It’s like a perfect midday break at work. If you’re looking to improve your memory, try napping for an hour. Slow wave sleep helps with remembering everything from places to faces. Be warned, the hour-long nap may leave you groggy when you wake. A full cycle of sleep, which is 90 minutes long, helps improve procedural memory and creativity. Artists, take note!

Want to avoid very deep sleep? Nap sitting slightly upright. If you start having dreams while napping, it may be an indication that you aren’t sleeping enough. Give yourself eight hours of sleep every night. Consider sleeping a little bit longer if you’re under the age of 20.

Sara Mednick, an assistant psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, said the most useful nap depends on what the napper needs.

  • For a quick boost, she recommends a 10-to-20-minute nap.
  • For cognitive memory improvement, however, a 60-minute nap may be better, Dr. Mednick said. The downside: some grogginess upon waking.
  • Finally, a 90-minute nap will most likely turn into a full cycle of sleep, which aids creativity, emotional and procedural memory.

Sources

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This photoset is brought to you by Rehabs, an online community whose mission is to encourage people to get the help they need. These photos show how hard on you certain drugs can be, and how much of a toll substance abuse can take. It’s important to heed this warning. If you need help, get it now before it’s too late.

As a youth, I first heard of drugs like meth and heroin. “Not even once” was the slogan. I stayed away, but that slogan wasn’t enough for some people, young and old alike. Reading about how meth changed you, or how heroin held you in its addictive clutches and never let go didn’t stop many. These photos show what we all should have seen. From their first arrest to their most recent, it’s clear that body and mind were destroyed by these drugs.

The people photographed abused a variety of drugs, including meth, cocaine, heroin, and pain killers. I’m certain these people can tell you that you have to respect your body. Rehab offers all of the necessary tools to help you or someone you love get the help they need. Be warned, these are some intensely disturbing photos.

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Source: Rehabs

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Houseplants are a truly delightful addition to any home. They’re a great decoration, but they also have profound impacts besides just looking good. They create a relaxed ambiance in pretty any room of your home. According to a 2008 study, researchers found that hospital patients who had plants in their rooms reported much less stress than those who didn’t. That’s why we’ve compiled for you this useful guide to the 10 easiest houseplants to grow. Enjoy!

1. Aloe Vera, Aloe barbadensis miller

4432258122_dfa480573b_zImage: Tom Parnell

Aloe vera is one of my favorite plants to grow. They stay small if you keep them in a smaller pot but get much larger if you transfer them to a larger one. They’re succulents, so they don’t mind a little bit of neglect. Not just that, but they also have some medicinal properties. They’re good for detoxing the body when you add a bit to a smoothie or a juice, can be used to soothe the pain from cuts and burns on your body, and they’re also good for cleaning the air of pollutants. If your air quality is too poor, the plant will begin to show brown spots. Aloe vera enjoys warm, sunny conditions.

2. English ivy, Hedera helix

1392991207_2bc104ec8b_zImage: Aaron Gustafson

NASA found that the English Ivy is one of the most purifying houseplants you can have, but be warned! English ivy is extremely, extremely invasive in non-native environments. It makes a great houseplant and it’s seriously easy to grow, but keep it indoors in a pot if it doesn’t grow as a native plant in your area. It enjoys moderate temperatures and medium sunlight.

3. Rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis

12606763924_01d34b106c_zImage: Jnzl’s Public Domain Photo

Rubber trees are fast growing and easy to please. They thrive in dim, cool environments, making them one of the best houseplants for homes that don’t necessarily get a lot of direct sunlight. It’s a powerful air purifier that will leave your home a more relaxed, clean environment.

4. Peace lily, Spathiphyllum cochlearispathum

6782746608_75d5e26b03_zImage: Oliver Quinlan

The peace lily is a wonderful, easy to grow and impossible to kill houseplant that periodically sends up the gorgeous white flowers you see above. Like the aloe, it can get huge if you plant it in a larger pot, or will stay small in a smaller pot. They enjoy shade and cooler temperatures and help reduce the presence of various household toxins.

5. Snake plant, Sansevieria trifasciata

5620176368_c45de04ac4_zImage: woodleywonderworks

The snake plant is another easy to grow and hard to kill houseplant. They require little water or light to survive. They’re a great choice for a corner of your home that you often forget about. They’re a little bit different from most of your house plants. During the day, the plants absorb carbon dioxide, and at night, they exhale oxygen. This makes them a good choice for bedrooms too, as that oxygen released at night will help you sleep easier and wake up refreshed.

6. Bamboo palm, Chamaedorea

16404871208_7a96de6d1d_zImage: lukestehr

The bamboo palm also made NASA’s list of best air-purifying plants. It’s especially good at cleansing the air of benzene and trichloroethylene, but require a little more maintenance than the others listed here. They enjoy lots of water and need shade or indirect sunlight. This makes them a great candidate for the kitchen. I keep mine by the kitchen sink. Every time I clean my dishes, I’m reminded that it’s there and needs a squirt of water.

7. Philodendron, Philodendron bipinnatifidum

13526995503_0d13eba7c3_zImage: amanda tipton

Philodendron comes in tons of different varieties. Some have long, finger-like leaves. Others have holes in them. Some are rounded and some are even heart shaped. They’re a popular plant for the home. They’re easy to grow and care for. Like the English ivy, it’s great at absorbing formaldehyde and can last for decades if you take care of them well. They like moderate water and some sunlight, but not direct sun.

8. Spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum

7773287744_8bfdc820f9_zImage: Kirrus

I like to call the spider plant the “immortal” plant. The plant itself lasts for years and years when you properly take care of it. My mom had a spider plant when I was a kid that I think is still alive today. Their longevity isn’t just what makes them immortal. A mature spider plant will begin sending off chutes with baby spider plants on them. You can snip them, plant them in soil, and the next thing you know, you have a few dozen of them growing. This is what makes them one of the most common plants. Not only are they easy to grow, they’re effective at absorbing benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene. They enjoy shadier conditions and moderate amounts of water.

9. Dracaena, Dracaena braunii

8168423124_8d9f2f2c5d_zImage: Mauricio Mercadante

It’s not uncommon for a dracaena to grow to ceiling height, up to 15 feet tall, but they can be stunted by staying in a smaller pot. These beautiful plants are known for removing xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. They do like lots of sunlight and moderate water, however.

10. Golden pothos, Epipremnum aureum

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Image: Julie Jordan Scott

Last but certainly not lease is the nearly mythic indestructible golden pothos. It made NASA’s list for its ability to easily clear formaldehyde from our air and the things are seriously difficult to kill. They’re a vine, so they make great hanging baskets. They’ll grow and grow and grow until they’ve reached the floor. They like cool temperatures, low levels of light, and while they do enjoy plenty of water, they can take some serious neglect.

And that’s our list! These plants are all commonly available at nurseries, inexpensive,  and are very, very easy to grow. Which one is your favorite?

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I’m a lucky guy. I’ve rarely had any trouble with seasonal allergies. But everyone in my family has struggled with it year after year after year. Their runny nose, constant sneezing and itchy eyes – it stinks. Through them, I’ve been able to identify what works for them and share it with you. Here are my 10 tips for kicking the springtime allergies.

1. Check the daily pollen count.

This one’s easy. You can check the pollen count by clicking here. The pollen count describes the concentration of grains of pollen in a cubic meter of air. The count tends to be higher between 5:00am and 10:00am. If the pollen count if moderate or high, try to stay indoors. Wear a pollen mask when outdoors and sunglasses to protect your eyes. Or just sleep in.

2. Grab some antihistamines from the drug store.

A simple antihistamine tablet or nasal spray can help stop runny nose and itchy eyes. It’s best to use before you experience symptoms though. See #1. Decongestants can help cut down on the fluids that line your nose. You can also buy antihistamine eye drops if you have irritated eyes. If you’d like to skip the drug store, you can do things like sip apple cider vinegar, take lots of probiotics, flush your nose with a nasal irrigation, drink a nettle leaf tea, take a hot shower, breathe in eucalyptus oil, and even eat spicy food to help beat the allergies.

3. Don’t bring your shoes inside.

Your shoes could have tons of pollen on them, and you just track it right into your house if you don’t take your shoes off.

4. Change your ventilation filters regularly.

Your furnace filter should be changed every 6 weeks in winter. Make sure all filters in your home are changed often. Avoid use of fans if possible.

5. Keep windows closed and use your air conditioner.

Usually I recommend keeping windows open in the spring to let fresh air in, but if you suffer allergies, keep ‘em closed and turn on the AC. The filter in your air conditioner will help filter out pollen.

6. Dehumidify your home.

Humidity levels should be below 60% to decrease the growth of mold, which is another common allergen. Consider a dehumidifier in damp places, like restrooms.

7. Get rid of your rugs.

Pull the carpet, get rid of rugs, and vacuum your floors and furniture daily. Take down your drapes once a week and wash them.

8. Wash your bedding often.

Dust mites can cause allergies. Washing your bedding in 131 degree water kills all dust mites.

9. Get allergen-proof pillow cases and mattress covers.

This helps significantly decrease contact with dust mites and helps reduce asthma and allergies.

10. Wash up.

Wash your hands often and make sure your hair and any facial hair is clean. This helps keep bedding clean and wipes away any potential allergens.

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Uncovered recently in an old manuscript in the British Library was a thousand year old remedy for eye infections that has been proven to kill the superbug MRSA, or Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureas, an antibiotic-resistant superbug.

Dr. Christina Lee of the School of English at Nottingham University and an expert on Anglo-Saxon culture recreated the 10th century potion to test its strengths as an antibacterial remedy. The “eyesalve” as it’s called, calls for two species of Allium, which includes garlic, onions and leek, wine, and oxgall, or the bile from a cow’s stomach.

The method of implementation is incredibly specific. It calls for making the topical solution in a brass vessel, straining it to purify, and strictly must be left to sit for nine days before used medicinally. No one expected it to work, but it actually did. When tested, microbiologists were amazed to find that the salve cleared up styes and, incredibly enough, was effective against MRSA.

“We were genuinely astonished at the results of our experiments in the lab,” Dr Lee said of their findings.  “We believe modern research into disease can benefit from past responses and knowledge, which is largely contained in non-scientific writings.

“But the potential of these texts to contribute to addressing the challenges cannot be understood without the combined expertise of both the arts and science.”

Dr. Lee translated the cow bile recpie from Bald’s Leechbook, which came in the form of a leatherbound Old English manuscript. The Leechbook is thought to be among the world’s first medical textbooks and contains numerous Anglo-Saxon recipes for medicines, salves, and other types of treatments.

“Medieval leech books and herbaria contain many remedies designed to treat what are clearly bacterial infections, weeping wounds/sores, eye and throat infections, skin conditions such as erysipelas, leprosy and chest infections,” Dr Lee added.

On a personal note, my father passed away in part due to an incurable MRSA infection. Hearing that this remedy actually works is encouraging. Hopefully many lives can be saved.

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Oil pulling is a very old Ayurvedic practice people have done for thousands of years to improve overall health. In addition to brushing your teeth, you can simply swish it around in your mouth and it helps kill harmful bacteria and other organisms.

How is it done? Pretty easily. Like I said, you just swish a bit of coconut oil around in your mouth. I usually do it for about 15 – 20 minutes, but I’ve heard of others doing oil pulling for longer periods of time. Be sure to spit into the garbage as enough coconut oil will plug your plumbing.

  1. Reduces bad breath by killing gums disease. Coconut oil has antibacterial agents that help end gums disease which is a leading cause of bad breath. Coconut oil also helps defeat cavities.
  2. Coconut oil helps treat TMJ and jaw pain. Oil pulling is known to help strengthen the jaw and relieve TMJ and soreness in the jaw area. You might be sore from the swishing at first, but your jaw gets stronger.
  3. Coconut oil whitens your teeth.
  4. Coconut oil improves skin conditions. How does brushing with coconut oil help your skin? It helps remove toxins from your body through the mouth, thus decreasing the likeliness of breakouts.
  5. Coconut oil relieves headaches and migraines.
  6. Supports healthy kidneys and liver. By removing toxins from your bloodstream, coconut oil eases up the amount of work your kidneys and liver need to do.
  7. Coconut oil might alleviate asthma and congestion. The jury is still out a bit on this one. Some cases have shown coconut oil pulling to help clear up inflammation of the lungs that causes asthma, as well as clearing up bronchitis and congestion. Tread with caution regarding using it as a treatment for any serious disease.

Image credit: http://theseamanmom.com/homemade-toothpaste-with-peppermint-and-coconut-oil/

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1. Nestle.

Nestle produces a variety of popular products that range from baby foods to candy bars to bottled water. Most dangerous is the baby food, however. They use soy to replace breast milk in their formula and it’s basically 100% GMO soy beans. Good to know, right?

2. Hershey’s

Hershey’s relies on almost exclusively GMO ingredients, but they’ve also committed the sin of spending MILLIONS of dollars fighting GMO-labeling ballot initiatives. Not only do they use GMO ingredients, but they desperately want you to be in the dark about it.

3. Pepsi

Here’s something worth knowing: Pepsi owns Naked juice, and Naked is made from GMO produce, even though they label their juice as “all natural.” Of course, Pepsi has been smacked with a false advertising lawsuit.

4. General Mills

The company states:  “We do not use genetically modified ingredients in our flakes. Our main ingredients are always whole grain oats – never GMO oats. We use a small amount of cornstarch in the cooking process, and only a gram of sugar per serving. Our cornstarch is obtained from non-GMO corn, and we use pure cane sugar,” However, a large quantity of their ingredients do come from GMO crops and even the CEO has said he has no problem using biotech crops.

5. Kellogg’s

One of their biggest infractions is Kashi brand, which is made of 100% GMO corn, even though they brand it as “all natural.” Their marketing is fooling you. It’s all a scam, and that scam recently cost them $5 million in court. Ouch.

6. Coca-Cola

And we reach the center of the shrubbery maze. Nearly every product Coca-Cola sells contains not just high fructose corn syrup (that is made from GMO corn), but even their “Simply Orange Juice” brand juice contains GMO oranges. Like regular oranges aren’t good enough.

Of course, always do your research, read your labels, and make the healthiest decision for your family.

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