By Natural Advocate | July 27, 2013 - 7:40 pm - Posted in Home Remedies

Turmeric is most well known as a spice that is heavily used in Lebanese and Indian food (at least in my corner of the world).  It has a distinct, earthy smell to it and a bright orange-yellow color that surely must mean it’s loaded with goodies since the more vividly colored a food is, it usually means it’s also healthier.

Not only is this spice delicious in certain foods or as part of a curry flavoring, it also has some very potent health benefits, mostly because it is a powerful antioxidant as well as a powerful anti-inflammatory spice.  The main reason behind its health benefits is the substance it contains called curcumin.  One study recently showed that turmeric can actually relieve pain and inflammation better than a dose of ibuprofen if dosed correctly.

The brightly pigmented spice was used as a dye for centuries, as well as a spice for cooking. Its colorful presentation really lends itself to saturating other things with color. I remember one time I made some fried up cubed potatoes with some turmeric in them and wow did they come out really yellow, and only from using a bit of the spice too!

Interestingly, turmeric can also be used topically as a skin brightener because it’s so brightly colored and complimentary to the skin.  Some women add this spice to their lotion or makeup to give their skin an extra glow, you just have to be careful because the consistency can come off a bit chalky if it’s not done right.

Turmeric has also been heavily implicated as a potent anti-cancer spice.  Because it is such a concentrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food, it can target some of the main underlying causes of cancer before they occur. Many cancers are caused or aggravated (start growing) because there is repeated inflammation in the area of the body where the cancer started.

Turmeric calms inflammation and cell irritation, which can help prevent healthy cells from mutating into cancerous cells that won’t stop dividing.  In addition, turmeric scrubs for free radicals, which lend themselves to cancer formation, so it acts like a free radical scavenger on a daily basis.

Also, it has been linked to faster wound healing and tissue preservation. So it may help keep skin cells healthy (hmm, I may start adding this to my face cream after all!)

Turmeric consumption has even been linked to a lower incidence of the scary memory-robbing disease alzheimers.  It may just be for the same reasons that it helps prevent cancers and keeps you healthy, it’s simply a “super spice”.



By Natural Advocate | June 1, 2013 - 8:33 am - Posted in Home Remedies

I think most of us have at least tried it.  We may have even heavily dabbled in it in college.  The things that are most often correlated with it are getting the munchies and paranoia, but also throw in a little relaxation and a carefree attitude as soon as it is inhaled, and those are pretty much the universal effects that marijuana has on most people.  This is why it is still one of the most popular recreational drugs in the world. 

There hasn’t really been a study conclusive that marijuana is physically addictive either, which gives common users the conviction that it’s not all that bad for them. Aside from the fact that you are burning your lungs with smoke and irritating the lung tissue, there are actually some that believe marijuana’s effects may have some health benefits.

It is actually used medically for pain relief in those that have serious health conditions. It also is used for cancer patients to help with the pain associated with cancer and the accompanying (unfortunately mostly toxic) treatments as well as to help increase the patient’s appetite so they can keep weight on while they’re battling cancer. This is often a challenge since most cancer patients lose serious weight and have problems feeling like they want to eat and mustering an appetite.

All of this may sound somewhat counterintuitive to what I’m going to talk about today. There is actually a study that shows marijuana may help balance the blood sugar by acting on receptors in the brain for blood glucose. People who smoke habitually have actually shown better insulin management as well as slimmer waistlines, which is counter to what we might imagine since one of the hallmarks of weed is getting the munchies.

Even though at the moment it may increase appetite, it also has the simultaneous effect of stabilizing blood sugar and allowing for better utilization of sugar and energy, which may help explain why frequent cannabis smokers tend to have much less obesity and tend to have a much better grip on their weight management. 

I witnessed this first hand in college. I noticed that my friends and acquaintances who were the most frequent smokers actually were the thinnest of all my friends.  Granted, we were all much younger then too, but even through the years if people kept up this habit, they always seemed to be the ones who never had a problem managing their weight.

Could this be a coincidence, or perhaps some other personality trait that happens to coincide with good weight management that also makes this population more likely to really love the effects of marijuana?   

Whatever the case may be, perhaps these findings really have a lot of bearing on the weight loss and obesity market, as well as the diabetes industry. It seems that the positive effects cannabis has on the blood sugar can have a plethora of good health benefits, and it’s not just temporary.  It may be isolated and used in some blockbuster drug some day for all we know. After all, aren’t most drugs just ripped off from plants found in nature? 

















By Natural Advocate | December 10, 2011 - 6:43 pm - Posted in Home Remedies

Have you ever noticed how you suddenly feel completely exhausted after you catch a cold or flu? It’s almost as if you instantly have no energy. You feel as though you could literally sleep all day long if it weren’t for the nagging list of to-do’s and household responsibilities, not to mention your career, tugging at you every second.

So, what we tend to do when we get sick and we still have our numerous responsibilities hanging over our head, is we gas up on caffeine, dose up on cough and cold medicine (the non drowsy kind of course), and generally plow through if we can.

But sometimes that’s really not what we should be doing. Our bodies are very smart. If they are constantly telling us we need sleep, then we probably do need it, or at the very least we need to see what is wrong and making us so tired all of the time.

Sleep is so vital to our body’s well being that we must have it or we will literally die, become sick or go crazy without it.  It is 100% required. It’s even more important when we are fighting off a cold or flu.  Why is it especially important when we are sick?

Well, our bodies actually produce more of a hormone called cortisol when we don’t get enough sleep. Cortisol can actually impact our ability to fend off bugs that don’t belong in the human body.  It also leads to less quality sleep, which just furthers the cycle of sickness and inability to fight off foreign invaders.

When we fall asleep, it’s almost as if our body goes in to mending mode. All of the beating up, the enviromental toxins, the mental exhaustion, the exposure to numerous germs and bacteria that can make us sick – that all takes a heck of a lot of work for the human body to do all day every day.

Sleeping is our body’s way of catching up and taking a breather. It is when the immune system gets to recharge, along with all the other bodily functions.  Without sleep, we simply cannot fight off colds and flus the same way.

If you are having trouble sleeping, try taking a relaxant such as kava tea, chamomile tea, or a melatonin supplement. These are all natural ways to help the body relax and get a full night of restful and rejuvenating sleep to help your body shake off sickness faster.

By Natural Advocate | October 29, 2011 - 10:16 pm - Posted in Home Remedies, Natural and Herbal Treatments

Home remedies, or natural ways of dealing with everyday physical discomforts and health and beauty issues, have been around and passed down through generations.  Some do not have a lot of value and others are really effective.

One issue that bothers both men and women is drying of the skin from colder weather outdoors and dry heat from furnaces inside.  Often, your skin can become itchy, also, from colder weather dryness.  One simple remedy to counteract this is to put a chlorine filter on your shower head.  For those of us who use a bathtub instead of a shower, you can use a faucet filter.

Dechlorinating  filters for showers are available online or from home improvement stores.  The principle behind this home remedy is to remove the drying agent, chlorine, from your water source used for bathing.  Many people see vast improvement in their skin moisture in winter from using this remedy.

Another minor, yet annoying, health issue is picking up a foot fungus from pedicures or from using public showering facilities.  One remedy for this malady is soaking your feet in a foot soaking tub with tea tree oil added.

Tea tree oil is an essential oil with a camphor type of aroma.  Tea tree oil can be found at natural food stores, certain grocery stores and online.  This has proved to be effective for many people that have tried it with success.

Another problem that plagues both men and women is excessive hair loss beyond the usual few strands you naturally lose with brushing or combing your hair.  This can result in noticeably thinning hair.  Try a supplement with biotin.

Most supplements that say they are for the hair, skin and nails have a high dose of biotin in them.  You may not see a difference right away and may have to wait two to three months to see the results.  These kinds of supplements can be found in health food stores or drugstores and can be good for those with hair loss problems or thinning hair.

In the unfortunate event of an injury, you may want to put a cold ice pack to the injured area.  You may not have an ice pack readily available.  You can use a bag of frozen peas from your freezer instead of an ice pack.  Make sure you wrap it in a towel, however, so it won’t be too cold on your skin.  The peas should stay frozen a long time so you should find this to be effective.

Here’s a delicious home healthy recipe.  Many people love chocolate and know it is high in antioxidants yet they want to avoid the calories associated with chocolate.  You can make your own hot chocolate by using unprocessed cocoa powder, stevia, which is an herb used for sweetening, and unsweetened almond milk.

Heat this mixture up and you’ll have a guilt-free cup of hot chocolate that is healthy and loaded with antioxidants.  If you are bothered by insomnia, try using lavender oil or lemon oil added to your bath before bedtime.

Another way to use this remedy is to put it in a spray bottle with water and lightly mist it on your pillow. Lavender oil and lemon oil have a relaxing effect that is conducive to sleep.  These remedies have been tried and true for many people and are economical without any bad effects.

By Natural Advocate | August 17, 2011 - 6:49 pm - Posted in Home Remedies

Acid reflux is a disorder, basically, of the esophagus. What happens is, the the circular muscle that is supposed to block food from coming back up the esophagus after being partially digested has a sort of dysfunction.  It is too weak or just dysfunctional and cannot block the food from coming back up, which is primarily acid.

The more acidic the food is that you eat, the more acid you will “regurgitate” if you have acid reflux.  So, it follows logic that eating the right foods that have a balanced pH level would help you with acid reflux. Essentially, eating the right diet in and of itself acts as a sort of remedy for acid reflux by not putting the acidic stuff in the stomach that is so easy to come back up and give an unpleasant sensation in the esophagus.

We’ve all experienced acid reflux at some point, but some people suffer from it on a regular basis. I have it occasionally, and I notice that if I eat very acidic foods or a lot of butter or cream or any other rich fat, I have it a lot worse. Sometimes, it almost looks as if I’ve thrown up, so much food comes up!

Well, a chef is aiming to help people ease their issues with this common problem without medication. Instead, he has created a cook book together with a specialist in acid reflux. The recipes in the book focus on lower pH foods that don’t cause so much acid reflux.

The author notes however, that it’s not always just high fat foods that cause acid reflux, and the symptoms of acid reflux, like mine, which is gagging food or liquid back up, are not always the same for every person either. Acid reflux can also be a temporary condition brought about by things like pregnancy, stress, and other temporary conditions as well.

Things that can cause acid reflux include very hot (spice-wise) foods, wine and alcohols, deep fried foods, heavy cream sauces, onions, citrus fruits and more.  So you can see, it varies widely per person.

The recipes in the book are really more based on pH balancing the foods though, so you could still have some foods that are considered “high acid” in there, but they are counterbalanced with foods that help to neutralize the effects of the acid.

I can say that modifying diet is much better than being a slave to taking medication for the rest of your life for your acid reflux, so it may be worth a look if you suffer from this annoying condition.

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