“Drink more water” is practically always at the top of the list for anyone pursuing a healthier lifestyle. But many people don’t enjoy drinking plain water, so we’re always looking for tricks to make the hydration habit easier to keep up.
An embarrassing runny nose can seem to strike at the most inconvenient moment. You have probably found yourself minding your own business when suddenly your nose begins to drip like a broken faucet, and you think to yourself, “Where are the damn tissues!?”, which inevitably sends you scrambling to the restroom in a flurry of nose activity. A runny nose isn’t just a symptom of looming sickness. It can also be a result of the foods you eat or even unknown allergies that you may have. A nose can run for all sorts of reasons, including infections, allergies, and irritants.
While it may sound counterproductive to eat fat to lose fat, coconut oil is an exceedingly healthy exception.
By now, you probably know at least one person who can’t live without having a jar of the stuff in the kitchen at all times, and there’s a very good reason for that. I don’t ever let myself run out of this tropical treasure!
For years, many people were under the impression that all fats were bad, but scientific research has revealed that simply isn’t true. All you need to do is take a look at the rather shocking statistics related to the skyrocketing epidemic of obesity in the U.S., and many other places throughout the world, to see that those astounding numbers began increasing just about the same time fat-free diets became popular.
The big difference between healthy and unhealthy fats
While some people still think the best way to lose fat is to avoid fatty foods, in reality, eating the right kind of fat will actually help melt that fat away. I am not talking about going to the McDonald’s drive-thru and ordering a couple of Big Macs and fries, of course. There’s a big difference between that and healthy fats found in unrefined, organic coconut oil.
So yes, that friend, coworker, neighbor or family member you know who is always touting the benefits of coconut oil is right: everyone should have a jar of organic coconut oil in their kitchen. While it offers a wide range of uses and benefits, one of the very best is to help eliminate stubborn body fat. Some health experts believe about 20 percent of our ability to lose excess fat is related to how much you exercise and other lifestyle factors, while about 80 percent of the is determined by what we eat. Eating more coconut oil and less junk or unhealthy foods can be the difference you need to achieve the body changes you desire.
Coconut oil is filled with MCTs or medium chain triglycerides. MCTs are burned as energy, instead of being turned into extra flab. Extra virgin, organic coconut oil is rich in lauric acid and caprylic acid, compounds that are well-known to be utilized for quick energy. They’re also great for boosting the immune system to prevent you from becoming ill – when you aren’t sick, you’ll naturally be more active too. The more active you are, the more calories you’ll bun and the less flab you’ll have.
The research behind coconut oil tells the truth
Countless research has been conducted on the benefits of coconut oil and its ability to help one lose fat. Research in 2009, published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats was able to help people lose belly fat – even without a reduction in calorie consumption. Other research, also conducted in 2009 and published in the journal Lipids, tested the effects of consuming either two tablespoons of soybean oil or two tablespoons of coconut oil on women over a month. At the end of the period, the experts discovered that the women who took the coconut oil experienced a reduction in belly fat. Those who consumed soybean oil had an increase in belly fat. In addition to belly fat loss, the coconut oil consumers experienced a rise in HDL (the “good” cholesterol), while those who ate soybean oil saw an increase in LDL (or “bad” cholesterol) and a decrease in HDL cholesterol.
Research from Brazil looked at the weight loss connection between women who regularly ate coconut oil and discovered that it reduced abdominal obesity. A 1985 study, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health demonstrated that just a single injection of capric acid (an essential component in coconut oil) resulted in “initially rapid, then a gradual decrease in food consumption and a parallel loss of body weight” in male rats. The experts discovered the reason behind this too. The capric acid provided a dramatic improvement in thyroid functioning, lowering the resting heart rate and aiding the body in burning fat for energy.
Have you ever visited the South Pacific? If you have, you probably noticed that people there tend to eat lots of coconuts, and coconut oil, but the majority tend to be trim and healthy. This is further proof that even though coconut oil contains fat, it’s the unhealthy polyunsaturated fats that aren’t found in nature that lead to an increase in fat, and those stubborn pounds. Things like cookies, packaged cakes, pastries and the like. Those processed foods are what are truly linked to not only our skyrocketing obesity problem but all sorts of other ailments.
Healthy fats like coconut oil reduce in-between meal hunger pangs
There’s another reason that eating foods that contain healthy fats like coconut oil can help you lose fat. They help keep you feeling full and satisfied longer as compared to other foods. It helps to curb those in-between meal hunger pangs and cravings for foods that aren’t so healthy, which allow you to naturally lose weight because you’re consuming fewer calories.
An important caveat to keep in mind
One thing that you should always keep in mind is that if you take in too many calories without burning them off, you’re not going to lose weight. That means that if you’re consuming a certain amount of calories and add coconut oil on top of what you’re already eating, you’re probably going to gain and not lose weight. Most people probably aren’t counting calories and only budgeting a certain amount of calories/food per day, so in those cases, adding coconut oil to your diet is likely to help reduce your appetite so that you’ll take in fewer calories overall.
What this means is that it’s NOT about adding fat calories to your current diet, but replacing other, less-healthy cooking fats like vegetable oil with coconut oil. You could also switch out things like processed creamer for coconut oil in your coffee. Coconut oil can tolerate high temperatures without being damaged, and it can add a tasty tropical flavor to dishes like vegetable stir-fry, eggs or fried fish.
Tamanu oil is a precious, exotic oil that’s derived from the tamanu nut, grown on Ati trees which are native to the South Pacific. The tree itself, scientifically known as Calophyllum inophyllum, was discovered thousands of years ago by native Tahitians, while the oil has been around for centuries, used to help heal a wide range of skin conditions. In fact, it’s remained an essential part of tropical cultures in this part of the world.
The tree produces a small yellow fruit that has a large nut kernel inside which is where the rich oil can be found – it’s not easy to obtain, as the nuts must first be laid out in the sun for up to two months, and kept away from moisture. As they dry, a dark, sticky oil appears on the surface which is then harvested and processed into tamanu oil.
Around the turn of the 20th century, news about tamanu oil and its ability to treat leprosy and relieve pain spread to the Western World, and by 1918, French scientists discovered its many beneficial topical uses, including the ability to help heal and regenerate skin. Despite its powerful properties, the expense and difficulty of transporting it to other regions outside of the South Pacific resulted in it being mostly forgotten for decades, until being rediscovered once again, right in the U.S.
The majority of tamanu oil’s health benefits have been attributed to its high level of beneficial fatty acids, including about one-third oleic acid, one-third linoleic acid and about 10% stearic and palmitic acid. The remainder is made up of benzoic acid, terpenes, lipids, saturated fats, and antioxidants. The oil is said to not only offer antioxidant properties but antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, analgesic and anti-neuralgic properties, among others.
So how can tamanu oil benefit your health and beauty?
Tamanu oil can help prevent premature aging, helping to battle those signs like wrinkles and fine lines, thanks to its high level of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which also function as antioxidants – that means that they’re able to seek out, find and neutralize free radicals. Free radicals can cause healthy cells to mutate, leading to chronic diseases like cancer, and they can also weaken the elasticity of skin, contribute to wrinkles and harm the skin’s own ability to regenerate. The important fatty acids found in the oil help to nourish and lubricate the skin to maintain firmness and elasticity.
Offering even more anti-aging benefits as well as the ability to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer, research from France has found that the oil is able to protect against UV-induced DNA damage and oxidative stress thanks to its biological UV filter which has an SPF range of 18 to 22. Interestingly, Polynesians used the oil on their skin to protect it from harsh sunlight, so long before scientists proved that it works, people in the South Pacific knew this by actually utilizing what they had naturally grown in the islands.
Healing Skin Problems
Tamanu oil is one of the best for healing skin conditions, including rashes and eczema, psoriasis as well as acne, sores, insect bites and other problems. It’s able to penetrate all three layers of the skin which allow its nourishing antimicrobial properties to work very effectively, getting to the root of the issue. It’s highly effective for fighting potential microbes that manifest at as those common skin disorders. The oil has been extensively studied, including research from
The Department of Biological Science and Technology, School of Pharmacy at China Medical University in Taiwan that was published in the journal Oncology. Experts confirmed its anti-inflammatory abilities and found that it was highly effective for numerous skin conditions.
A 2002 study showed that the oil offers an excellent inhibitory effect on bacterial growth, particularly on Propionibacterium acnes, which is an acne-causing germ, proving that it truly is outstanding for treating acne. It’s best used as a spot treatment using the following recipe as it can clog pores:
Add one drop of tea tree essential oil and one drop of tamanu oil to a cotton ball and dab it on the affected areas just before bedtime. Don’t rinse, allow it to penetrate overnight and then wash your face thoroughly in the morning.
Eliminating or Reducing the Appearance of Scars
Researchers have also discovered that tamanu oil stimulates the growth of new healthy tissue, in a process scientifically referred to as “cicatrization,” which is what makes it so healing. In 2002, a study by Beausoleil and Lehman published in The International Journal of Cosmetic Science, looked at its scar reducing the ability, which involved participants who had visible scars that were present for a least one year. The oil was applied daily for nine weeks and resulted in significant improvement in the appearance of the subjects’ scars. Their overall size has consistently decreased throughout the nine-week period, with their length diminishing by an average of 2.8mm, and their width by 1.2mm.
Fading Stretch Marks
One of the most common scars in women who’ve had children are stretch marks, something that can seem virtually impossible to eliminate, but just like tamanu oil can heal scars, it can also help to fade those stretch marks due to its powerful cell regeneration and renewal abilities.
If you have stretch marks, try making this DIY cream using tamanu oil:
- 1/4 cup shea butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp tamanu oil
- 7 drops lavender oil
- Add the shea butter and cocoa butter to a Pyrex measuring cup.
- Heat the water in a pot on the stove over medium-low. Gently place the measuring cup inside, making sure the water doesn’t get into the measuring cup.
- The water will gently melt the cocoa and shea butter. Once melted, remove from heat, allow the mixture to cool slightly and then add the tamanu oil.
- Place the measuring cup in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the cup and then add the lavender oil.
- Use a hand mixer to whip the partially solidified mixture until creamy.
- Rub the cream liberally over all stretch marks daily.
- Store the remaining cream in a clean, sterilized jar.
Healing Skin Injuries
Due to tamanu oil’s stimulant nature and antioxidant compounds, it’s also ideal for healing cuts, scrapes, bruises and other wounds. Its fatty acids and antioxidants help to stimulate the healing process of damaged cells, which helps to prevent or minimize the appearance of resulting scars. The Ancient Polynesians used tamanu oil to heal many different types of wounds, thanks to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing compounds that speed up the rate at which wounds heal.
You can gently apply tamanu oil on nicks, cuts and scrapes, bug bites, burns, sores and all sorts of other wounds using a cotton ball.
Tamanu oil doesn’t just help a wound heal faster, it can relieve the pain as well. In Fiji, the oil was traditionally used for relieving the pain of sciatica, shingles, neuralgia, rheumatism and leprous neuritis. It can be readily be applied to sore, painful joints, as well as the pain that results from an insect bite or sunburn, and you only need to apply a tiny amount to ease the discomfort.
Soothing Skin Irritations
In addition to its powerful healing and pain relieving abilities, tamanu oil is excellent for protecting the skin and soothing irritated areas, such as on the hands, feet or extremities and spots that tend to be prone to bacterial infection like the underarms. It’s cooling, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties all work to reduce the severity of the irritation.
Fight Off Body Odor and Fungus
Tamanu oil has a distinct nutty smell – a lot more pleasant than body odor, without a doubt. As a result, the oil can be used under the arms, as well as other areas of the body that tend to perspire a lot in order to reduce body odor. When used on the feet and toes, it can also help to eliminate a fungal infection, while also eliminating that awful foot odor.
If you have a fungal infection, tamanu oil is ideal for getting rid of it. Just place four drops of it along with a drop of oregano essential oil onto a cotton ball and dab it onto the affected areas. It’s best done following a shower. You may want to get in the habit of using it every time you shower – and, if it’s a nail fungus issue, leave the cotton ball with the oil solution on the affected nail, holding it with a band-aid. Change it out at least once per day.
Soothing a Diaper Rash
There’s nothing worse than seeing your child in pain, and a diaper rash can be incredibly painful. Thankfully, tamanu oil can help both your little one and you enjoy relief. It’s been shown to help heal a diaper rash in just a day, and sometimes even faster, all without one chemical compound. If you’re a new parent or know someone who is, this oil may be one of the best things you can stock up on, or give, not only because of its ability to heal diaper rash but to fight off those other rashes common in infants, like eczema. It’s pretty much a cure-all, with its natural, healthy constituents helping the skin to heal faster.
Right up there with a diaper rash is the pain of teething, and tamanu oil can help with that too. Combine just one drop of coconut oil and rub onto baby’s gums.
Strengthening the Immune System
As the oil is able to penetrate all three layers of the skin, it can also get into your bloodstream to help boost your immune system thanks to its high level of anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial compounds. It helps to fight against a wide range of pathogens along with environmental pollutants and irritations. Applying it serves as kind of an “immune system shield” for your skin, bolstering its first line of defense.
Improve the Health of Your Hair and Scalp
When it comes to promoting healthier hair and a healthier scalp, tamanu oil is ideal It provides moisture, restores shine, fights scalp fungal infections and reduces scalp inflammation. If your scalp is dry and flaky, this oil can come to the rescue due to its antifungal properties, which means no more dandruff and embarrassing flakes. As it can also penetrate through all three layers of the skin, it provides a significant amount of hydration too.
If your locks are dry and lifeless, tamanu oil can help with that too simply by running a bit through your hair and allow it to sit about an hour before washing. It helps to replace lost oils, leaving you with better moisturized, healthier looking, shinier hair.
Being able to see is something that lots of us take for granted – that is, until we start having trouble with it. Just imagine not being able to take in beautiful sights and all of their exquisite details, or simply to be able to read a book, or a menu at a restaurant? Our vision is essential to the quality of life, and taking steps to support healthy eyesight, and even improve it naturally can make a big difference in your overall happiness.
Poor vision doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of getting older. While eye diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma are common for older men and women, there are ways to decrease your risk and even improve your eyesight naturally. While some vision health experts swear that this is impossible and that only surgery, glasses or contacts can help, other professionals say that with time and dedication, there are things that can be done to naturally help you see better.
Don’t Forget to Give Your Eyes a Break
Staring at a computer screen all day results in dry eye and eye strain, which can even lead to the eyes aging prematurely. When you’re focused on that screen, you don’t tend to blink as often as you would when you’re doing something more active which tires the eye muscles, increases evaporation of eye fluid, and encourages dry eye along with eye strain.
Giving your eyes a break is an absolute must, so if you work at a computer, remind yourself to gaze around the room periodically in a different direction, and get up as often as you can – which is good for your overall health too.
This doesn’t only apply to staring at screens – reading for long periods, using dim or artificial light and not getting enough natural light isn’t good for your eyes either. All of these activities require giving your eyes a break regularly. In places like China, Japan, and Singapore where children tend to have high rates of vision problems, they also tend to focus on reading tiny print at an early age, studying indoors with artificial light. Research from the Australian National University discovered that eyesight problems were very common in East Asian nations, with as many as 90% of the adult population exhibiting signs nearsightedness.
Perform Eye Exercises
Eye exercises are important to help improve vision naturally too. For about five to 10 minutes every hour while you’re working at a computer or reading, look away or simply close your eyes. Pay attention to how often you blink and make an effort to blink regularly in order to relieve the strain of continuous focus. Rolling your eyes is actually an exercise for supporting eye health – all you have to do is look up, slowly circle them ten times clockwise and then ten times in the other direction, counterclockwise.
Another exercise recommended by holistic physicians is to place the eraser side of a pencil on your nose. Point the pencil at an object on the other side of the room, and then trace it using the point of the pencil, while keeping your eyes focused on the tip of the pencil.
Your Eyes Need Sunscreen Too
You probably lather sunscreen on your skin to protect it from burning in the sun, but do you protect your eyes from the sun too? Exposing your eyes to harmful UV and high-energy visible (HEV) rays will prematurely age and damage the eyes as well as the eyelids.
Being out in the sun for long periods of time without eye protection results in a sunburn of the surface of the eye, known as photokeratitis. It can also lead to macular degeneration, cataracts, or even cancer of the eyelid. Always wear sunglasses that block all UV rays and HEV rays when you go outside, even when it’s cloudy. Choose sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV protection, and when you’re outdoors in the sunshine for an extended period, a wide-brimmed hat for blocking damaging rays.
Eating a Healthy Diet to Support Vision From the Inside Out
If your diet consists of lots of processed foods and fast foods but lacks fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, proteins, etc., you aren’t doing your eyes any favors. Your body probably isn’t getting the nutrients it needs for optimal eye health. Just like all parts of your body, diet plays a big part in good vision.
To improve your vision naturally, fill your diet with a wide range of colorful, fresh and organic fruits and veggies like leafy greens. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as wild-caught salmon are essential too. Think bright yellow and orange vegetables like carrots, which are famous for supporting good vision.
Munching on carrots for better eye health isn’t a myth, Bugs Bunny’s favorite food is jam-packed with beta-carotene which has been found in scientific studies to help protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. Research in 2001 published by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study discovered that those who ate the most beta-carotene had a 40 percent lower risk of developing macular degeneration as compared to those who consumed little of this essential nutrient.
Beta-carotene is also transformed into vitamin A in the liver, while vitamin A is converted in the retina to rhodopsin, a purple pigment that’s a must for good night vision. All you have to do is consume one medium-sized carrot and you’ll be getting roughly 210% of the average daily recommended amount of vitamin A.
Of course, carrots aren’t the only food that’s important for good eye health and improving your eyesight naturally. Other important foods to include in your diet include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow peppers
- Egg yolks
- Any kind of dark leafy greens
There are also foods that are rich in compounds like sulfur, lecithin, and cysteine that are important for preventing cataracts, like garlic, onions, capers, and shallots. Certain foods are especially known to improve vision and enhance eye health, such as goji berries, grapes, and blueberries, as well as foods that are rich in DHA fatty acids, including cod, wild-caught salmon, and mackerel.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, consuming holy basil juice, also known as tulsi, helps to protect the eyes from free radicals and environmental damage. It can even help prevent or reduce the risk of serious eye issues such as cataracts and other vision defects, and it’s also an effective natural treatment for glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Toxins can cause serious damage to your eyes, so even if you’re doing everything you can to improve your eyesight naturally if you smoke, are constantly exposed to polluted air., exhaust fumes and the like, you can be counteracting those good efforts. Smoking is associated with a long list of chronic illnesses and diseases, and that includes some serious eye disorders. If you smoke, stop – and, avoid secondhand smoke too, as well as all other forms of pollution.
Consuming processed foods that contain trans fats, like pastries, French fries, cookies and the like are also believed to interfere with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed for good vision. Trans fats have also been associated with macular degeneration.
We’ve often been told that whole wheat and other “whole grains” are healthy – in fact, it’spractically everywhere you look. Many people eat wheat or other gluten-filled foods at every meal. Perhaps starting their day with a breakfast cereal, following it up with a sandwich for lunch and pasta with bread at dinner. Not to mention all those in-between snacks like cookies and crackers.
The most famous problem with gluten is celiac disease, an autoimmune reaction provoked by gluten but treated simply by following a gluten-free diet. Most people know that celiac disease requires a total avoidance of all gluten. But a lot of people also think that if you don’t have celiac disease, you have nothing to worry about.
That’s actually not the reality, with much research conducted in recent years in regard to non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Many people have documented sensitivities to gluten that aren’t actually celiac disease.
You’ve probably read many articles or listened to experts who tout the benefits of eating wheat and other whole grains, so why would something that’s supposed to be so good actually is a bad thing? Dr. William Davis, who has long-researched wheat and called it the “perfect chronic poison,” explained to CBS This Morning that our modern wheat was created by genetic research in the 1960s and ‘70s,” noting that it has many new features that ancient wheat does not, including a new protein known as gliadin.
Even if you don’t have a gluten intolerance or full-blown celiac disease, there is still good reason to avoid gluten due to its harmful and addictive properties.
While eliminating gluten may seem impossible to do, with a little effort it can be accomplished, and before you know it you’ll start to feel much better. It won’t be long before it becomes an old habit. While the thought of a gluten-free diet may make you feel uncomfortable if your energy levels go up and symptoms of any chronic illness decrease or are even eliminated, odds are, you won’t even want to eat foods with gluten again.
But of course, you don’t want to fill your diet with processed, gluten-free foods, rather an abundance of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables as along with lean meats like grass-fed beef, free-range organic poultry and wild-caught salmon, along with things like healthy oils such as olive oil and coconut oil, nuts and seeds.
If you continue to eat gluten anyway, there are many ways it could be sabotaging your health, including the following.
Inflammation is the natural response of the immune system to an injury. You can see it firsthand when you accidentally cut yourself or get a splinter as the surrounded area quickly begins to turn red, and gets tender and swollen. That’s because the proteins in wheat and other gluten grains irritate the gut, kind of like a splinter, but digging into the lining of your gut rather than your skin, causing an inflammatory response.
One of the reasons that gluten is believed to lead to putting on the pounds is that it contains amylopectin A, which is converted to blood sugar and can increase blood sugar levels even higher than your typical candy bar. The cycle of eating it often causes dramatic highs and lows with blood sugar levels. Blood sugars are reduced, causing more hunger, than yet another wheat-based, gluten-filled product is eaten that subsequently results in increased blood sugar levels. When that gluten is removed, the appetite stimulant is gone – and the result is not being constantly hungry.
Gluten is also addictive. When it’s eaten, one feels a mild euphoria as it’s broken down into a collection of gluten-derived polypeptides that are released into the bloodstream. Eventually, they get into the brain and bind to its opiate receptors. By removing gluten foods from your diet, you’re likely to snack less and experience fewer cravings. A study from the University of Navarra in Spain found that consuming just three slices of white bread a day raised the risk of becoming overweight or obese by nearly 50%.
Gluten may have a key role in multiple chronic illnesses. Some of the most common include digestive disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s, and Celiac disease but it can also significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes, contribute to deteriorating mental health and even neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The odds of developing an autoimmune disease, including everything from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus to Hashimoto’s, are higher simply by consuming wheat, or gluten.
Compromising the digestive system
The proteins that are in gluten, found in wheat and many other whole grains, gliadin and glutenin, are broken down and sent through the intestines. The gut identified gliadin as a harmful substance, so it produces antibodies that attack it, which erode and destroy the microvilli in the large intestine that are tasked with absorbing nutrients. The microvilli that survive are covered in acidic wastes and the intestines become impact with bacteria, candida, yeast and undigested particles that compact the microvilli that remain and prevent further absorption of nutrients.
After repeated exposure to gluten-filled foods like wheat, eventually, holes start to emerge in the intestinal walls, otherwise known as “leaky gut,” which allows bacteria and undigested matter to enter the bloodstream. The gut has an essential role in overall health, and consuming gluten destroys it, which is likely why multiple studies have associated eating gluten directly with IBS and other digestive issues.
Lack of energy
When the body has to digest foods with gluten, what happens is that during digestion, it is exposed to an enzyme in the stomach known as pepsin, and a stomach acid called hydrochloric acid, which degrades the gluten to a mix of polypeptides. The polypeptides can cross the blood-brain barrier that separates the bloodstream from the brain. When these wheat polypeptides enter the brain, they bind to the morphine receptor – the very receptor that opiate drugs bind to. That is what’s responsible for the “high” from eating, followed by the energy slump afterward.
Not only does a lack of energy often come with eating gluten foods, it immediately causes foggy thinking, mental and physical fatigue, and, it can even lead to a serious imbalance in the brain that can dramatically increase the risk of depression.
Rashes and other skin irritation
Multiple different skin conditions have been associated to consuming gluten, including dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes extremely itchy bumps or blisters that can appear on the knees, buttocks, along with the hairline or forearms near the elbows. Keratosis pilaris, a condition that results in white or red bumps, usually on the arms, thighs, cheeks, and buttocks, can also occur. Eczema has also been linked to a gluten intolerance.
Adrenal glands play a key role in sleep. They are responsible for relieving the different stresses your body encounters by releasing stress hormones. If you are gluten intolerant and eat foods containing gluten, the adrenal glands release hormones to relieve your inflamed intestine. Over time, adrenal glands can become fatigued and unable to produce enough stress hormones to manage your body’s stress. When your adrenal glands unable to control stress, your body is not able to remain in a steady comfortable state for sleep.
Going gluten-free when you have a sensitivity can certainly lower cholesterol as the body makes cholesterol to deal with inflammation. Eating gluten increases inflammation, hence, eating gluten equals high cholesterol.
Are you ready to go gluten-free?
Most of us have been using standard toothpaste our entire lives, along with a wide assortment of other chemical-filled personal care products.
According to the Environmental Working Group, industrial chemicals are basic ingredients in personal care products like toothpaste, with 12,500 unique chemical compounds in these items equating to approximately one of every seven of the 82,000 chemicals registered for use in the United States. They may contain carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers, and surfactants. And, the FDA doesn’t regulate or limit the use of chemicals in personal care products or require that all of the ingredients be listed on the label.
The Dangers of Fluoride
More than 95 percent of toothpaste sold in the U.S. contain fluoride today, with many supermarkets and drugstores carrying only a few, if any, non-fluoridated brands. There is a reason the FDA requires a poison warning on these fluoridated toothpastes – they come with a number of health risks, particularly for young children.
The risk that comes with ingesting fluoride toothpaste, which is bound to happen when you brush your teeth, if only in a small amount, including everything from skin rashes and tooth discoloration to digestive problems, impairment of glucose metabolisms and acute toxicity. Yet most traditional dentists still promote them, and clever marketers use cartoon-like packaging and sweet candy-like flavors to encourage kids to want to use these adult-strength toothpaste filled with fluoride.
The Harvard Public School of Health even states that “perhaps the most worrisome is preliminary research in lab animals suggesting that high levels of fluoride may be toxic to brain and nerve cells. And human epidemiological studies have identified possible links to learning, memory, and cognition deficits, though most of these studies have focused on populations with fluoride exposures higher than those typically provided by U.S. water supplies.”
Over the course of a lifetime, the average American uses about 20 gallons of toothpaste. Even if you spit most of it out, some of those chemicals are going to make their way into your bloodstream as the mouth is one of the most absorbent places in your entire body. This is why some medications are administered sublingually, or under your tongue.
Other Potentially Harmful Chemicals in Toothpaste
Fluoride isn’t the only concern with toothpaste by far, there are multiple other potentially harmful chemicals, including:
Artificial Sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners come with a long list of potentially hazardous effects. For example, aspartame has been linked to headaches, blurred vision, memory loss, personality changes, seizures, insomnia, skin rashes, muscle and joint pain and blindness, according to scientific studies.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Many toothpastes contain SLS, a surfactant which is a chemical that creates the foaming action. It’s been linked to canker sores and interferes with the functioning of taste buds in addition to being potentially contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic byproduct, as renowned holistic physician Dr. Mercola reports.
Triclosan. Some toothpastes, including Colgate Total, contain the chemical triclosan, an antibacterial ingredient that has been associated with endocrine disruption and concerns over antibiotic resistance. Chemicals that cause endocrine disruption can trigger all sorts of health issues, including certain types of cancer and is known to raise the risk of heart disease and heart failure, harm muscle function, alters levels of thyroid hormones and reproductive hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, increase infertility risk and contribute to the early onset of puberty.
Propylene glycol. This ingredient is used in antifreeze, paints, enamels, and airplane de-icers. The pharmaceutical-grade form also utilized in personal care products like toothpaste as a surfactant. If used every day, it’s been known to lead to damage to the central nervous system, heart, and liver. It can also cause skin irritation, especially in those with sensitive skin.
And that’s just the short list – there are many other potentially harmful chemicals in your typical store-bought toothpaste, but that should be more than enough to convince you to make your own.
You’ve got lots of options – here are seven ways to make a homemade toothpaste to help support your oral health without those nasty harmful side effects.
Coconut Oil, Baking Soda, and Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste
Coconut oil and tea tree oil both provide powerful antibacterial properties. The baking soda helps to neutralize the acid, whiten your teeth, and remove plaque and stains. To make it, all you need is the following ingredients:
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 5 drops tea tree oil
Combine the baking soda and coconut oil together first, until it forms a paste-like consistency, then add the tea tree oil. Dab it onto your toothbrush and brush as usual.
Using baking soda is also effective for keeping your teeth whiter and shinier. To make your own whitening toothpaste, all you need to do is mix the coconut oil and a little baking soda into a paste as per the previous recipe, and then add one drop of peppermint essential oil. Up the effectiveness and get them extra white by adding a fresh, mashed strawberry. With this recipe, allow the mixture to remain on your teeth as long as you can before rinsing.
Bentonite Clay Toothpaste
Bentonite clay is great for keeping teeth polished and it also offers antibacterial properties to help eliminate plaque and other common issues. Simply combine coconut oil, a bit of sea salt and bentonite clay with filtered water to create your desired texture. You can add a drop of peppermint essential oil for flavor too.
Most kids are picky about what they put in their mouth, so try this effective recipe for your little ones:
- 1/3 cup coconut oil soft but not melted
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp bentonite clay
- 1/4 tsp liquid stevia
- 7 drops sweet orange essential oil
Combine the coconut oil, baking soda, and clay together in a bowl and mix well. Then add remaining ingredients and mix again.
Cinnamon DIY Toothpaste
Most DIY toothpastes contain similar ingredients with various essential oils so you have a choice of flavor, like this one. Simply combine about a half cup of softened coconut oil with two to three tablespoons baking soda depending on the desired texture. Then mix in two small packets of stevia powder and 15 drops of cinnamon essential oil.
Spearmint provides a refreshing minty taste and aroma and makes toothpaste more effective due to its outstanding antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. Combine 3 parts baking soda to 1 part coconut oil to achieve a creamy texture, then add 5 drops of spearmint essential oil.
Activated Charcoal Toothpaste
At first, activated charcoal will make your teeth and mouth very black. It will help pull toxins from the mouth and removes stains, yet it will rinse away quickly, leaving your teeth clean and smooth as if you’ve just had a professional cleaning. After doing this a few times, they’ll be noticeably whiter too.
Mix a la small amount of activated charcoal powder with enough water to achieve a consistency that’s thick enough so that it will stay on your toothbrush. Dip your toothbrush into this mixture and then brush your teeth as normal, rinsing thoroughly afterward.
The Japanese are well-known for leaving their shoes at the door. In fact, it’s the norm in most Asian countries as well as throughout Scandinavia, yet in Europe and the U.S., other than Hawaii, most people keep their shoes on when they enter their home or someone else’s.
We really need to work on changing that, as shoes can bring a host of nasty things into your home, causing all sorts of problems. The next time you step inside, think about these reminders as to why those shoes need to come off.
Herbicides and Pesticides are Tracked In
When you’re outside, your shoes collect all sorts of substances, including herbicides and pesticides that can lead to health issues. A government-funded study published in Environmental Science & Technology found that weed killers, pesticides, herbicides and the like applied to one’s lawn or garden can be tracked into homes by people up to a week after treatment. Rooms with carpeted floors, as compared to bare floor areas by the researchers, generally had a higher level of tracked-in 2,4-D, the journal reported
Homes with bare floor entryways tended to have the highest levels of the chemical in carpeted living rooms and bedrooms. In homes that had carpeted entryways, levels were higher there than in other parts of the house. That exposure can result in minor skin rashes or gastrointestinal upset, and the risk is much greater for infants and toddlers who often crawl or lie on the floor. The expert noted that the bottom line was that tracking in these potentially harmful compounds can be easily limited simply by consistently remove outdoor shoes at the door.
Researchers at the University of Houston discovered that roughly 40% of shoes they tested carried “C.diff” bacterium or Clostridium difficile, nasty spores that can cause symptoms that range from diarrhea to fatal infection and are difficult to treat. The bacteria was found not only on the soles of shoes, but throughout the household, in floor dust, surfaces, toilets, and countertops. If one develops an infection caused by C.diff, it’s very hard to treat as it’s resistant to the majority of antibiotics, which can cause it to proliferate. It attacks intestinal linings which leads to colitis – and, those bacteria can survive for days or even weeks on your shoes.
In another study from the University of Arizona, researchers assessed the quantity of bacteria and found over 420,000 different units that included nine different strains that can cause an infection in the lungs, eyes, and stomach, including E.coli, which makes up about a third of all bacteria. While most are relatively harmless, there are some nasty ones too that can lead to severe intestinal problems, causing diarrhea and vomiting, and in rare cases, meningitis. The experts also discovered Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria, which is known to cause urinary infections as well as significant damage to the lungs, leading to pneumonia. This bacteria has a high fatality rate at 50%, and in those who are suffering from alcoholism, it’s as high as 100%.
Keeping Things Clean
It’s not just for health reasons that you and everyone in your household should remove their shoes. While bacteria on your sneakers is invisible to the naked eye, things like dust, dirt and other debris are not, and those are all easily carried on your shoes. While it may not be toxic, it can quickly make your home dirty after time out on the trail, at the park, or even just walking city streets. By leaving your shoes at the door, your house will be much cleaner and healthier.
Preventing Damaged Floors
The soles of shoes are often abrasive or contain sharp edges that can cause damage to your floors. By not wearing shoes in the house it will be easier to maintain your floors and keep them lasting longer due to reduced wear and tear, and it limits the continuous need to vacuum and shampoo carpets. Not only will your house be cleaner and healthier, you’re likely to save money too.
Being a Better Neighbor
If you live in an apartment or another multi-home complex, your neighbors will be happier if you leave those shoes at the door, whether your home is carpeted or has hardwood floors. That’s because wearing socks or slippers keeps the sounds of feet shuffling across the floor to a minimum.
Making an Easier Transition From Work to Home
The Japanese have often noted that one of the reasons, in addition to health and cleanliness for removing shoes before entering a home, is it signals a transition from busyness to relaxation. You slip out of your shoes you’ve been wearing all day, and into cozy socks or soft slippers, as part of a relaxing ritual that allows your mind to let go of the cares of the day and the outside world.
While it may seem like an insignificant thing to do, incorporating habits like this into your day helps you to feel more calm, slowing down and become more connected to your body as well as the environment. It basically signals your psyche that you’re now entering a sacred space, and it creates an energy of sanctity. It makes your home a healthy sanctuary, where you can easily unwind and relax your mind.
Ways To Change Your Old Habit
If you’ve been in the habit of wearing your shoes at home and allowing your guests to do the same, you can make the transition easier in a number of ways, including providing an appealing, practical spot for everyone to leave their outdoor shoes. A wide range of attractive options are available these days, whether you want a beautiful, handcrafted piece made of solid mahogany to keep indoors in your entryway, or something outside on your porch. Or, you could always keep it simple by using any type of basket or a cheap shoe rack. Either way, that will make it easier for everyone to remember to do it before eventually, it becomes an ingrained habit.
You may also want to inform your guests about your shoes-off preference in a kind, gentle way that adds to the look of your home’s entrance. A simple engraved stone that says, “Please, kindly remove your shoes,” or a sign with a similar statement is a great way to accomplish that and keep all of that nasty debris out of your home.
Cinnamon has a sweet and spicy aroma that conjures up a distinct mixture of exoticness and familiarity, perhaps because it comes from the Far East. It also has a fabulous flavor and often brings pleasant memories of apple pies and holiday fun. The Bible even mentions it as a “choice spice,” while the Egyptians recorded their extensive use of it in Ebers Papyrus, a medical text dating to around 1550 BC.
Cinnamon is not only great for baking and adding a wonderful scent to candles and the like, but it’s long been used in Ayurvedic medicine as an antimicrobial substance, for treating a wide range of conditions, including diabetes, headaches, malaria, menopausal problems, digestive issues, sinus congestion, intestinal infections and gynecological disorders and more.
This wonderful spice also has quite a few rather interesting uses you probably aren’t familiar with.
If you want to highlight those fabulous cheekbones without spending an arm and a leg on a pricey cosmetic, you can use cinnamon to make a great homemade bronzer. There are no measurements, as you’ll need to customize the amounts according to your particular skin and the color that best suits you. Use more cornstarch for a lighter shade, and more cocoa powder for a darker shade. Combine cinnamon, cocoa powder, and cornstarch, and then add plain, unscented lotion. Mix well and store in a lidded jar.
Fight Off Bacteria
Researchers from Kansas City University demonstrated that cinnamon is effective for fighting bacteria, including salmonella and campylobacter after experts performed tests on unpasteurized apple juice. They discovered that just a teaspoon of the space added to the juice managed to kill 99.5 percent of the bacteria within three days. When adding spices to raw ground beef and sausage, they found that cinnamon, along with cloves and garlic were the most potent when it came to killing off E.coli.
As these bacteria are known to cause intestinal infections, you can use cinnamon to fight them off. Add cinnamon to all sorts of foods and beverages, including your morning coffee and in smoothies, and drink cinnamon tea as well. To make a tea, boil eight ounces water and then add one teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Allow it to continue to boil for one minute and then remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to sit for 8 to 10 minutes before drinking.
Stimulate Hair Growth
Cinnamon can even make your hair grow faster when combined with honey. It stimulates the scalp as well as increasing hair growth. It’s believed to work as the cinnamon helps to improve blood circulation in the scalp which in turn improves the flow of nutrient-rich blood to the hair follicles.
To use cinnamon for this purpose, combine a tablespoon each of cinnamon and raw, organic honey. Once the ingredients are thoroughly combined, add about one cup extra-virgin olive oil to form a paste-like consistency. Use a comb so that you can move your hair out of the way and apply a generous layer of the mixture onto your scalp. Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes and then shampoo and condition as you normally would.
Halt a Cough and Ease Congestion
Cinnamon is considered a warming expectorant and is highly effective for reducing congestion and phlegm in the lungs, which can help to halt a cough in its tracks. Combined with other ingredients, including other spices, raw honey, and apple cider vinegar, creates an especially powerful elixir that may be even more potent than a commercial cough medicine.
Here’s how to make this outstanding natural cough elixir.
- 1 tbsp raw, organic and unfiltered, apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp filtered water
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 tbsp raw, organic honey
- A small glass jar with a lid
- Melt the honey by placing it in a small glass bowl. Put the bowl into a larger container filled with hot water. Don’t melt it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- In the small glass jar, add the apple cider vinegar and water, and then the cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and garlic. Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously until well-combined.
- Add the melted honey to the jar and shake again to combine.
- When you’re ready to use it, take one to two tablespoons. If it’s used within three days, there’s no need for refrigeration.
Get Rid of Ants
Instead of using toxic, chemical-filled sprays or other chemical repellents to fight off an ant problem, you can use cinnamon. All you have to do is sprinkle it across and around areas you notice them invading, including in cracks, crevices, and windowsills. When they run into it, they turn around and head the other way. Plus, it makes your home smell great all day. Another option is to dip cotton balls into cinnamon essential oil and then strategically place them around your house. Either option is believed to disrupt the pheromone trail that the insects rely on to navigate.
Take a Cinnamon Detox Bath
If you’ve recently been ill or are dealing with an illness now, soaking in a cinnamon bath can help warm the body, relieve congestion and act as a detox. A cinnamon bath is something that’s been used for centuries as a part of spiritual purification in many cultural traditions for eliminating toxins in the body, helping to cleanse, invigorate and even lift one’s mood. On a cold day, it’s a fabulous way to help fight the chill.
You can use either ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks. Place three cinnamon sticks into a running bath, or use about one-quarter of ground cinnamon placed into a cheesecloth and then drop it into the warm water.
Eliminate Scratches and Scuffs
While it may seem impossible to get rid of scratches and scuffs on wood furniture, cinnamon can help. Just rub a pinch of ground cinnamon onto the affected area, and watch it disappear.
Make Learning Easier
The smell of cinnamon can even be used to help boost your memory and cognitive function. When you’re learning a new language or another skill or studying for a test, sip cinnamon tea by following the recipe noted earlier, or keep a little bottle of cinnamon essential with you and occasionally take a good whiff.
Many studies have demonstrated that the proper balance of gut bacteria may be the key to enjoying a longer, healthier life. What we put into our gut is essential for wellness. Without a proper balance of gut bacteria, it can even increase the odds of developing certain types of cancer, and recent research has found that it also has a link to anxiety.
Healthy, “good bacteria,” have a number of essential roles when it comes to health, both physically and mentally, and in recent years more scientists have become intrigued as to the idea that there could be an especially powerful connection between the brain and gut bacteria.
How gut bacteria affect our mental and physical health
We now know that bacteria living in the gut have a rather bizarre influence over one’s mood, depression, and other aspects, but it’s been unclear as to just how these bacteria seem to have kind of a “remote control” ability over the brain. Recent research in rodents published in the journal Microbiome has suggested that these gut microbes may alter the inventory of molecules, known as microRNAs, helping to keep the cells in working order by managing the production of protein in areas of the brain that are involved in controlling anxiety.
Other research from neurobiologists at Oxford University, offered more evidence of the link between mental health and gut bacteria, finding that prebiotic supplements designed to boost healthy bacteria in the GI tract may provide anti-anxiety effects, actually altering the way that people process emotional information.
What Prebiotics Are
You’re probably at least familiar with the term probiotics. While those consist of strains of good bacteria, prebiotics are carbohydrates that serve as nourishment for those healthy bacteria, acting as “food” for the good bacteria already in the gut. The researchers also discovered that individuals who took prebiotics had reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol which has been linked to both depression and anxiety.
Prebiotics are a kind of non-digestible fiber compound by definition. Similar to other high fiber foods, prebiotic compounds like the type found in jicama, onions, garlic, dandelion and Jerusalem artichokes, pass through the upper part of the GI tract where they remain undigested as they’re unable to be broken down. Once they pass through the small intestine and move on to the colon, they’re fermented by gut microflora.
As those prebiotics make their way through the stomach without being broken down via digestive enzymes or gastric acids, they can positively affect the digestive tract and organs by becoming nutrient sources for those good bacteria in your gut.
Why Most Have Us Have Excess Unhealthy Gut Bacteria
Many of us have far too many unhealthy gut bacteria which can lead to a host of health problems, including anxiety. Why? Most of our ancestors traditionally consumed fermented and raw foods, which contained lots of beneficial bacteria. The problem that we see today usually comes from consuming too many “junk” or processed foods, particularly sugar, as it disrupts the normally healthy composition of the gut. That good bacteria is pasteurized, irradiated, and frequently processed beyond recognition. That results in much of our modern foods leading to an abundance of “bad,” harmful bacteria which ultimately lead to them taking over the good healthy bacteria.
So how do you fix the problem?
Prebiotic foods are still mostly underappreciated, and because the health of our gut is so closely linked to other functions throughout the body, you need both probiotics and prebiotics in order to fight off excess inflammation, increase the overall risk of disease, and prevent mental health issues like anxiety too.
So first, make sure you’re getting enough probiotics, which you may already be doing, including foods like:
- Plain, organic Greek yogurt (only choose yogurt with two ingredients: milk and live yogurt cultures to avoid potentially harmful additives including sugar and artificial sweeteners).
- Sauerkraut (all fermented foods are considered outstanding sources of probiotics)
- Kefir (kind of like a drinkable yogurt, made from kefir grains and especially rich in probiotics)
- Pickles (all you need is a tablespoon or a single strip each day – avoid types with added sugar, dyes or preservatives
Prebiotics are primarily found in certain types of vegetables, as well as some whole grains, honey and sources of resistant starch such as under-ripe bananas.
These are some of the best foods for getting your prebiotics:
Asparagus. Asparagus is loaded with fiber, folate and other B vitamins and even contains some protein, with 4 grams per 8 stalks. It’s an easy way to get your prebiotics as you can eat it sauteed, grilled or even toss it into a smoothie.
Onions. Use them more often by adding them to stews, sauces, soups and the like and even tossing them onto the grill with other items. They’re a cheap tasty way to flavor your food and improve your digestion as they also contain a natural source of inulin that the gut uses to increase good bacteria. They’re also jam-packed with antioxidants.
Dandelion Greens. Use dandelion greens by chopping them up and adding them into a salad, or tossing them in a smoothie. They’re high in vitamin A in the form of the antioxidant carotenoid, AKA beta-carotene, as well as vitamin C. They’re an especially good source of calcium and iron, along with a host of other minerals like copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. They even contain more protein per serving them spinach, with the greens themselves providing all essential amino acids. Plus, the roots contain inulin and luteolin, which are known to help regulate blood sugar as well as taraxacin.
Garlic. Garlic is an excellent source of inulin in addition to serving as a powerful antibacterial agent. It helps to kick out the bad bacteria and feed the good ones. Use it as often as you can by adding it to a stir-fry, into sauces and soups, dips or a homemade hummus.
Beans. Beans are a particularly strong way to boost digestion as they’re filled with oligosaccharides that feed healthy gut bacteria, which can actually be a problem for some, especially if you aren’t a regular bean eater. The best way to add them to your diet is slowly, and be sure to soak them overnight and cook them extremely well, almost to the point of being overdone. or add them slowly to your diet a day so your body can adapt.
Other Important Steps to Take
In addition to consuming both prebiotics and probiotics, it’s important to practice other healthy lifestyle habits too, including:
- Getting regular exercise
- Avoiding processed “junk” foods, including fast food, and limiting sugar intake
- Limit alcohol intake
- Incorporating stress-relief practices into your daily routine such as meditation or deep breathing
- Reducing exposure to toxins by taking actions like avoiding cigarette smoke and using natural cleaning products rather than chemical-filled cleansers.
- Only taking antibiotics when absolutely necessary