Health Benefits of Cucumbers

It is still unknown when cucumbers began to be used for pickling, but researchers have speculated that the gherkin variety of cucumber was developed from a native African plant. Spain was one of the countries during ancient times that started pickling cucumbers, since Roman emperors imported them from this Mediterranean country.

The health benefits of cucumber are not widely known in many cultures. The taste of fresh cucumber is somewhat bland in comparison to other squashes, but it’s thirst quenching, and the cooling quality of this squash is truly refreshing. Cucumbers often act as antioxidants when you consume them with barbecued and fried foods. You can also drink a glass full of cucumber, carrot or orange juice. This will not only give you its wholesome nutrient value, but it is also a unique tasty treat.

Cucumber benefits range from preventing acidity to keeping skin well-toned. Cucumber has high alkaline levels, thus regulating the body’s blood pH and neutralizing acidity. Patients with gastric issues should consume cucumbers frequently. It regulates blood pressure and contributes to the proper structure of connective tissues in our body, including those in the muscles, bones, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons. During the summer, cucumbers help to normalize body temperature. Cucumber juice is diuretic, so it is able to prevent kidney stones. Cucumbers also counter the effects of uric acid, which prevents inflammation in from conditions like arthritis, asthma, and gout. You will be quite surprised to know that this squash also promotes healthy hair growth and can treat skin ailments like psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

A Bright and Glowing Complexion

Cucumber is rich in silica, which is the essential component that aids in developing strong and healthy connective tissues in the muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bone. Doctors often recommend cucumber juice because of the silica content to create healthier and brighter skin. Cucumber’s high water content makes it naturally hydrating, and it is well known that moisture is the best friend to healthy skin, so why not acquire the hydration naturally? The extract of cucumbers is often used topically for treating various types of skin ailments, including sunburn and swelling under the eyes. Ascorbic acid and caffeic acid are the two vital compounds in cucumbers that prevent water loss from the body. These are some of the reasons why cucumbers are applied topically for various skin problems.

Prevents Constipation and Keeps Kidneys Healthy

Cucumbers are a perfect blend of both fiber and water. Therefore, it helps to protect your body from both constipation and kidney stones. By drinking cucumber juice, you can consume both fiber and water at the same time. Reports say that the majority of Americans prefer to have a cucumber rich salad regularly as it is a great way to increase your fiber intake. Cucumber is also a good source of vitamin C, silica, potassium and magnesium; which all have their own health benefits. Cucumbers have an extraordinary amount of water (about 96%) that is naturally purified, thus making the water content much higher in quality than ordinary water. Cucumber skin contains high levels of vitamin A, so you will gain more nutrition if you eat the entire thing, skin and all.

Controls Blood Pressure

The studies done at DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) consisted of people consuming foods high in magnesium, potassium, and fiber. The results were clear; their blood pressure lowered to to normal levels. The group eating a diet rich in these complexes along with the other foods on the diet like seafood, low fat dairy items, lean meat and poultry saw that their blood pressure fell by 5.5 points (systolic) over 3.0 points (diastolic).

Manage Diabetes

Cucumbers have been useful for diabetic patients for many years. Cucumbers possess a hormone required by the beta cells during insulin production. The Glycemic Index of cucumbers is actually zero. The presence of carbohydrates and their result on the body is measured by the quantity Glycemic Index. Every food item contains essential nutrients in different percentages. The carbohydrates contribute in raising the glucose level, however the carbohydrates present in the cucumber can be easily digested by diabetic patients. Thus, consumption of cucumbers keeps the glucose level in check. Nowadays, most commercial stores have cucumber supplements as spiny sea cucumber extract powder, which is very effective in combating the effects of diabetes.

Keeps the Body Healthy and Functioning

Cucumbers have excellent cleaning properties, and actively remove accumulated waste and toxins from your body. In many cases, cucumbers have been shown to be an effective treatment for arthritis since it removes uric acid. Since it aids in urine secretion, cucumber is considered a natural diuretic. Cucumbers are very good for optimizing urinary bladder, kidney, liver and pancreatic functions. Cucumber juice along with carrot juice is extremely effective for rheumatic conditions caused by excessive uric acid in the body. It is good for digestion, especially of proteins, and it controls blood pressure and diabetes mellitus. Drinking cucumber juice on a regular basis also helps to cure gout and eczema. If you are having lung or stomach problems, be sure to add cucumber to your diet. It also promotes muscle flexibility, while the magnesium content of cucumbers ensures proper blood circulation and relaxed nerves. Since cucumbers are so rich in minerals, it even prevents splitting of the nails on the fingers and toes.

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5 Powerful Things to Do for Yourself When You’re Sick – The Buddha Way

Getting sick is rarely, if ever fun for anyone, but we all get sick. You can cheat on your taxes, but you can’t cheat on sickness.

When we get sick, we all have a choice of how to work with illness. We can choose to be miserable or we can choose to learn about ourselves and grow from the experience. Since I have had such a hard time with the latter, I’ve investigated 5 ways to practice with illness.

1. Reflect on the benefit of health.

Often illness brings into focus what we wish we could be doing when we feel healthy.

Once, back when I was a pack-a-day smoker, I got food poisoning, and I remember the smell or thought of cigarettes made me feel so much worse. At that time I vowed not to smoke anymore. I felt the frailty of my body and I didn’t want to live a life that hurt my body. I saw how much I needed my body, how bad it felt to not be able to rely on it.

Unfortunately as soon as I felt better I forgot what I knew when I was really sick. Being sick gives us the chance to reflect on the value of health and what you want to do with your life energy when you do feel better. People who are in hospitals only have time to sit around and watch TV; is that what you want to do with your free time?

We only have so many hours and days of health. How can we use each hour of our lives to benefit the people we love the most?

2. Take time to do little things.

Write letters, reorganize your closet, or read a book of poetry. We often take small simple tasks for granted. Their simplicity can seem too easy for us when we are in the midst of a busy life, but when we are sick they might be at just the right pace for us.

I tend to “veg” in front of the TV, but reading that book I’ve been meaning to finish or writing an email to my sister wouldn’t take much energy either.

Sickness makes us slow down, so it’s a great time to do the simple things. We can use this change of pace to change perspective.

3. Reflect on the frailty of life.

So let’s face it: We aren’t going to be here forever. There is no way to avoid old age, sickness, and death. Our willingness to acknowledge impermanence can either bring anxiety or help us focus on what we want to do with our lives.

Being sick is a great time to reflect on the meaning of our lives. Sickness can be a wake up call to remind us that we aren’t made of Teflon. Alas, all sorts of stuff sticks to us in life and it’s up to us what we want to work to let go of.

What principles do you want to adhere to in life and what small things could you let slide? If you only had a year to live, what would you do with the time you have left? If someone you care about got sick, what would you want to say to that person? Why are you waiting?

Sickness reminds us of the frailty and preciousness of this life. It brings into focus that we can never know when things will change for us. We can greet this truth with fear and annoyance, or we can greet it with gratitude for the wisdom it brings us.

4. Let others take care of you.

If you are like me, you are often in the role of caring for others. Many people get stuck in the role of the capable and strong person, especially the kinds of people that read blogs about mindfulness and self-improvement.

I have often said of myself, that I make a very bad patient. I can sometimes think that if I’m not the capable one, people won’t want to be around me. Somehow, if I need them instead of them needing me, that will be the end of our connection.

You may have had this thought process that arises for you when you are sick, or need to ask for help. Maybe when you were growing up asking for help was met with accusations of selfishness, or perhaps not met at all.

No matter what the situation, it’s important to remember that letting others help us is a wonderful gift to give.

Just reflect on how good it feels to help someone we care about. Being sick is a great time to practice asking for and receiving the help and care of others. This can be especially true if we express gratitude to those helping in a way that doesn’t involve a sense of guilt or discomfort with their offering.

Accepting help authentically and expressing gratitude whole-heartedly, helps us remember how both parities benefit from the exchange of kindness.

5. Reprioritize self-care.

When we are not receiving help from others, being sick is a great time to learn the value of taking care of ourselves. Sometimes when I am sick, I can trace back to the imbalance that may have led to the illness. We often push ourselves very hard either out of desire or obligation.

This pushing can work on occasion, but each time we get out of balance we risk falling into ill health: by becoming sick, overwhelmed, or injured. We get so busy that forget about the essential art of taking care of ourselves. Illness is one way we can be called back to value of this art.

Being sick is a great time to give ourselves permission for self-care. It’s a time to get in touch with what we find soothing. It’s a time for long baths and hot tea, for listening to the rain and curling up underneath a blanket, for eating soup and reading a good book.

All of the little pleasures that we have a hard time finding time for can be enjoyed (hopefully without guilt) when we are sick.

Of course you don’t have to wait to be sick to reflect and engage in any of these illness practices. These are all nourishing practices to engage in no matter what the state of your health.


AloeVera and It’s use for Health

History and Folkore

The paintings of Aloe Vera plants found on the temple and tomb walls of ancient Egypt reflect that mans relationship with this plant dates back to around or before 4,000 B.C.

However, it was the Greek and Roman physicians, Dioscorides and Pliny around 60 AD, that have provided us with the most detailed documentation of Aloe Vera’s wide array of applications. These noted medics used the plant to heal wounds and Skin abrasions, insect bites, boils, bruises, chapping, sore throat, bleeding gums, haemorrhoids, dysentery as well as a purgative.

Not only that, but legends have it that two of the most alluring Egyptian queens, Nefertiti and Cleopatra, relied on Aloe Vera to maintain their unlined and youthful complexions by both drinking the juice and bathing in it!

Aloe Vera – The Plant

Aloe Vera, possibly the most widely used healing and beautifying plant in the history of mankind, is a most remarkable plant. Looking more like a cactus and growing in dry surroundings, it actually belongs to the lily family. It can survive long periods of drought by shutting down its pores to prevent water loss, keeping it moist and cool while other plants wilt. When cut or damaged Aloe Vera’s healing powers become immediately apparent as it closes off any damaged areas as well as forming a protective covering over the wound ensuring the plant continues to thrive. Such properties have earned Aloe Vera the reputation as a powerful healer of both the inner and outer body.

Growing best in tropical climates Aloe flourishes in the heat and there are, in fact, over 275 different species to be found. However it is the genus Aloe Vera barbadensis miller, meaning the “true Aloe” that is considered to be the most medicinal and is the variety found in most Aloe Vera juice capsules and gels. The leaves of this particular genus form a tight rosette, within which are juicy fillets of clear jelly that contain over I00 vitamins, minerals, enzymes and plant compounds that are essential for cell growth and renewal.


Thousands of healing benefits from using Aloe Vera are now well documented. Many doctors around the world are actively using Aloe Vera either alongside or as an alternative to conventional treatments where orthodox medicines have failed.

Aloe Vera has been described as a potent natural product which the body recognises. With its synergistic mix of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes it can be a very powerful force which helps the body heal itself.

Extensive scientific research in the United States and the former Soviet Union has been conducted to determine the pharmacological basis of Aloe Vera. Hundreds of these scientific studies and journals were reviewed by Dr Bill Coats R.Ph. who then reported in his book “The Silent Healer – A modern study of Aloe Vera shows that Aloe Vera has the following properties:

  • Anti-inflammatory – counteracts or suppresses the inflammatory process.
  • Analgesic – relieves pain deep beneath the surface.
  • Anti-pruritic – relieves itching.
  • ‘Humectant – moisturises, promoting retention of water in skin(in tissue.
  • ‘Proteolytic – enzymatically dissolves and digests damaged or dead tissue cells enhancing the process of healing.
  • ‘Regenerative – stimulates the growth of skin cells.
  • ‘Antipyretic – relieves the heat of burns, inflammation and fever.
  • ‘Absorbefacient – promotes absorption through tissues.
  • ‘Fungistatic – inhibits the growth of fungi.
  • ‘Vi rustatic – inhibits replication of viruses.
  • ‘Detoxifying – helps cleanse and purify the body.
  • ‘Bacteriostatic – inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria.

More recently, in 1992,1 C Pittman wrote a short review and summary of the stimulatory nature of Aloe Vera on the immune system whereby he ~ concluded – “Acemannan, (a polysaccharide fraction found in Aloe) has direct effects on the immune system, activating and stimulating -macrophages, monocytes, antibodies and T-cells.”

The immune system of the stomach is one of the body’s first lines of defence against sicitness, so a healthy immune system leads to a better state of health.

Magical Ingredients

Aloe Vera’s survival characteristics mean that, unlike other plants, its root system is not the primary mechanism for food and water storage. Instead it is the gel inside the leaves that is rich in nutrition and water which is Aloe Vera’s lifeblood. In fact the plant can be uprooted and live for months on its internal supply of water, nutrients and enzymes. It is this storehouse of over 100 essential minerals, enzymes, vitamins, lipids, amino acids and other active compounds, 5 of which are exclusive to the wide array of Aloe Vera, that gives medicinal applications which often seem too good to be true.

How can Aloe Vera be referred to as an active detoxifying agent, a powerful immune system stimulant, an anti-inflammatory, an analgesic, a stimulator of cell growth, a ‘issue healer, an antiseptic, a rich source of nutrients and an aid to digestion – and be all of these simultaneously? It is Aloe Vera’s natural blend of nutrients working synergistically that helps explain the beneficial effects attributed to it, as well as its “homeostatic nature” or ability to bring about balance (which is why it can help one person with constipation and another with diarrhoea).

According to a leading U.S. Nutritionist Dr Bruce Hendendal, the key to Aloe Vera’s power is the abundance of a particular nutrient, mocopolysaccharides (MPS), long chain sugars which are the body’s building blocks. We manufacture these ourselves, in great quantities during our first decade of life after which we become more reliant on outside sources.

Few plants are a richer source than Aloe Vera

Natural Health practitioners believe a lack of MPS creates a leaky gut wall which lets through toxins and other large food molecules, overloading our liver and detoxification processes, and ultimately leading to allergies, inflammation, dry and scaly skin conditions and digestive disorders.

While there is no scientific analysis to fully explain the exceptional healing and curative properties ascribed to Aloe Vera, one thing all researchers agree upon is that it has no single active principal, but works synergistically to stimulate the natural healing mechanisms of the body.

Aloe Vera is rich in enzymes, often missing in today’s over-processed foods. Taken internally Aloe Vera juice appears to improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients, as well as elimination.

The inner gel is deeply penetrating, working first on the digestive system and then on other systems, gradually helping the body flush out impurities and toxins and restoring balance to both overworked and sluggish areas.

In time, good health starts to show on on the outside with reports of increased energy and improved skin condition.

Growing Aloe Vera

While Aloe Vera likes a warm climate it will grow in almost any sunny spot with good draining soil and plants can be purchased in most garden centers.


5 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

High blood pressure is one of the most preventable conditions.

But it plays a contributing role in more than 15% of deaths in the United States, according to a new Harvard study. Although it causes no symptoms, high blood pressure boosts the risks of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. 28% of Americans have high blood pressure and don’t know it, according to the American Heart Association. If you haven’t had yours checked in 2 years, see a doctor.

While medication can lower blood pressure, it may cause side effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia. Fortunately, most people can bring down their blood pressure naturally without medication. First, get to a healthy weigh, then try these strategies to reduce the risk of heart disease.

1. Go for power walks

Hypertensive patients who went for fitness walks at a brisk pace lowered pressure by almost 8 mmhg over 6 mmhg. Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn’t work as hard to pump blood. Get a vigorous cardio workout of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Try increasing speed or distance so you keep challenging your ticker.

2. Breathe deeply

Slow breathing and meditative practices such as qigong, yoga, and tai chi decrease stress hormones, which elevate renin, a kidney enzyme that raises blood pressure. Try 5 minutes in the morning and at night. Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release all of your tension.

3. Pick potatoes

Loading up on potassium-rich fruits and vegetables is an important part of any blood pressure-lowering program, says Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medical. Aim for potassium levels of 2,000 to 4,000 mg a day, she says. Top sources of potassium-rich produce include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins.

4. Be salt smart

Certain groups of people—the elderly, African Americans, and those with a family history of high blood pressure—are more likely than others to have blood pressure that’s particularly salt (or sodium) sensitive. But because there’s no way to tell whether any one individual is sodium sensitive, everyone should lower his sodium intake, says Eva Obarzanek, PhD, a research nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. How far? To 1,500 mg daily, about half the average American intake, she says. (Half a teaspoon of salt contains about 1,200 mg of sodium.) Cutting sodium means more than going easy on the saltshaker, which contributes just 15% of the sodium in the typical American diet. Watch for sodium in processed foods, Obarzanek warns. That’s where most of the sodium in your diet comes from, she says. Season foods with spices, herbs, lemon, and salt-free seasoning blends.

5. Indulge in dark chocolate

Dark chocolate varieties contain flavanols that make blood vessels more elastic. In one study, 18% of patients who ate it every day saw blood pressure decrease. Have 1/2 ounce daily (make sure it contains at least 70% cocoa).


The Best Foods for Every Vitamin and Mineral

To keep itself running smoothly your body requires an array of essential nutrients, ranging from disease-fighting antioxidants to bone-building heavy metals. Although you can get many of these nutrients in a daily supplement, nearly all of them can also be found in the foods you eat—or should be eating—every day.

Want to get your vitamins and minerals the natural way? Our guide breaks down the best foods for 20 of the most important nutrients (and the accompanying recipes offer healthy and tasty ways to enjoy them).

Vitamin A

Why you need it: The vitamin A family plays a key role in immunity, reproductive behaviors, and especially vision. The A vitamins, which include beta-carotene, help the retina, cornea, and membranes of the eye to function properly.

Where to get it: The highest concentration of vitamin A is found in sweet potatoes; just one medium-sized baked sweet potato contains more than 28,000 international units (IU) of vitamin A, or 561% of your recommended daily value (DV). Beef liver, spinach, fish, milk, eggs, and carrots also are good sources.

Vitamin B6

Why you need it: Vitamin B6 is an umbrella term for six different compounds that have similar effects on the body. These compounds metabolize foods, help form hemoglobin (part of your red blood cells), stabilize blood sugar, and make antibodies that fight disease.

Where to get it: Fish, beef liver, and poultry are all good sources of B6, but the food richest in this vitamin—good news for vegetarians—is the chickpea, or garbanzo bean. One cup of canned chickpeas contains 1.1 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B6, or 55% of your DV.

Vitamin B12

Why you need it: Vitamin B12 is vital for healthy nervous-system function and for the formation of DNA and red blood cells. It helps guard against anemia, a blood condition that causes fatigue and weakness.

Where to get it: Animal products are your best bet for B12. Cooked clams have the highest concentration of any food, with 84 micrograms (mcg)—a whopping 1,402% of your DV—in just 3 ounces. (One milligram equals 1,000 micrograms.) Vitamin B12 also occurs naturally in beef liver, trout, salmon, and tuna, and is added to many breakfast cereals.

Vitamin C

Why you need it: Vitamin C is an important antioxidant, and it’s also a necessary ingredient in several key bodily processes, such as protein metabolism and the synthesis of neurotransmitters.

Where to get it: Most people think citrus when they think of vitamin C, but sweet red peppers actually contain more of the vitamin than any other food: 95 mg per serving (well ahead of oranges and just edging out orange juice, at 93 mg per serving). Other good sources include kiwi fruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe.


Why you need it: Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. More than 99% is stored in—and helps fortify—teeth and bones, while the remainder goes toward blood vessel and muscle function, cell communication, and hormone secretion.

Where to get it: Dairy products contain the highest amounts of naturally occurring calcium; plain low-fat yogurt leads the pack with 415 mg (42% DV) per serving. Dark, leafy greens (such as kale and Chinese cabbage) are another natural source of calcium, which can also be found in fortified fruit juices and cereals.

Vitamin D

Why you need it: Vitamin D, which our body generates on its own when our skin is exposed to sunlight, helps spur calcium absorption and bone growth. It’s also important for cell growth, immunity, and the reduction of inflammation.

Where to get it: Fatty fishes—including swordfish, salmon, and mackerel—are among the few naturally occurring dietary sources of vitamin D. (Cod liver oil is tops, with 1,360 IU per tablespoon, while swordfish is second with 566 IU, or 142% DV.) Most people tend to consume vitamin D via fortified foods such as milk, breakfast cereals, yogurt, and orange juice.

Vitamin E

Why you need it: Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from the harmful molecules known as free radicals. It’s important for immunity, and for healthy blood vessel function and clotting (such as occurs when you cut yourself).

Where to get it: While wheat germ oil packs more vitamin E than any other food source (20.3 mg per serving, or 100% DV), most people will find it easier to get their vitamin E from sunflower seeds (7.4 mg per ounce, 37% DV) or almonds (6.8 mg per ounce, 34% DV).


Why you need it: For pregnant women, folate—a type of B vitamin—can help prevent birth defects. For everyone else, it helps new tissues and proteins form.

Where to get it: Folate is found in a wide variety of foods, including dark leafy green vegetables, fruit, nuts, and dairy products. Beef liver has the highest concentration, but if liver’s not to your taste, spinach also has plenty: 131 mcg per half cup (boiled), or 33% of your DV. Folic acid, a man-made form of folate, is also added to many breads, cereals, and grains.


15 Ways to Get Whiter Teeth

If you’ve toyed with the idea of whitening your teeth but haven’t actually done the deed, consider this: “Since teeth naturally yellow as we age, whitening them will automatically make you look younger,” says Kim Harms, D.D.S., a practicing dentist and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. What’s more, a 2008 Columbia University study found that women with healthier-looking teeth earn more than those with less sparkling grins. Do you need any more reasons to get whiter teeth?

How whiteners work

All bleaching methods use peroxide–whether in gel, strip, or liquid form–to dissolve surface stains to whiten teeth, explains Debra Glassman, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in New York City. Teeth surfaces are made up of thousands of tiny dentinal tubules–hollow structures stacked horizontally, like thin straws. They’re extremely porous and ab­sorb pigments from food and drink. (Anything that can stain a white T-shirt can discolor your teeth, Glassman says.) Peroxide bubbles into the tubules and lightens those pigments.

Before you bleach

A first-timer should always consult her dentist before trying any tooth whitener, even an over-the-counter product, because not all teeth react to whitening the same way. Some types of dental work (like caps, crowns, and veneers) don’t take to lightening because peroxide can’t penetrate them. Stains caused by antibiotics, like tetracycline, are also tricky, because they can occur in the layers inside the tooth, which brighteners can’t reach. Your dentist will be able to advise you about the best method for you.

WH Tests It: At-Home Bleaching Slide Show

If you go to a pro

The whitening agents dentists use are up to three times more powerful than at-home versions, so you’ll see results faster than if you go solo. If you’re looking for a dramatic, fast solution, consider power whitening: First, a protective rubber guard or barrier gel is placed over your gums to help avoid possible sensitivity to peroxide. Then the teeth are coated with a bleaching agent and a light is aimed at them to activate the ingredients. The procedure takes about an hour, and costs $500 to $700.

A cheaper (but slower) option: Your dentist can custom-fit you with plastic dental trays, kind of like retainers, which you fill with a peroxide gel and wear at home. You could see brighter teeth within a few days, though some people need up to four weeks to see results. Oh yeah, and it’ll cost you $250 to $400.

No-tech tricks

If you’d rather pass on the peroxide, check out these other options to whiten your smile

Bring on the baking soda

The refrigerator deodorizer also removes discoloration on your teeth. The abrasive particles polish the surface while a chemical reaction between baking soda and water lightens stains, says Jonathan B. Levine, a cosmetic dentist in New York City. (Warning: You can damage your enamel with the scrubbing, so don’t do it more than once a week.) Just dip your toothbrush in the soda, or simply switch to a toothpaste that contains baking soda.

Feel the crunch

“Foods that are high in cellulose–a strong starchlike compound found in celery, carrots, and apples–act as natural abrasives, cleansing teeth and removing surface stains naturally,” says Jeff Golub-Evans, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in New York City. And greens such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce contain mineral compounds that form a film over the teeth, so pigments from other foods can’t stain.

Be a little shady

Want to make your teeth look fashionably white–without the work? “Stick with blue-based red and pink lipsticks or clothes in dark colors,” says Pia Lieb, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in New York City. Warm colors (yellow, orange, brown, warm shades of red) worn close to your mouth will only bring out the yellow in your teeth.


How much should I poop?

People tend to ask me how often they should poop, and it’s always after some small talk (or a couple of drinks) that this topic pops up. It’s always the questions of not only how often should I poop, but how long does it take to digest a meal, and when should I see a doctor? There are a lot of interesting answers that I think might shock most people…

How long does it take to digest a meal?

This is kind of a tough question because technically, you start digesting food with the saliva in your mouth, so you start digesting immediately. As the foodstuffs goes down your digestive track, that’s where the timing changes and depends on what you have eaten and how long it takes your body to break it down. As we all know, fats take a long time to digest and slow digestion time, because it is harder for your body to break down, hence why you feel fuller after eating fatty meal. Fiber, on the other hand, both soluble and insoluble, are pretty easy for the body to pass through, and they act as a filler when you drink lots of water, and help to bulk up your poop, and empty out the colon. Fibers can be in the form of flax, oats, wheats, and other grains or fruits, vegetables, etc. So truly? For the average meal, you are looking at about 20 hours from mouth to butt.

How often should I poop?

This is, again, very person dependent. So this can vary from people who poop every couple of days to those who poop multiple times a day. What’s important is that your poop is of a normal consistency, not really loose and or frothy, without the presence of blood, or oil. And, it is also very important that your poop isn’t too hard, or that you are constipated. On average, daily is how much most people poop. Again this can be affected by what you eat: high fats will slow you down, and fiber can help to make you bulk your stool but without plenty of water you might make yourself constipated, too many fruits or veggies high in vitamin C can make you poop too much. Also, vitamins can have an effect on our colons. For example, iron can cause significant constipation.

In general what foods constipate?

Dairy, cheeses, milk(unless you’re lactose intolerant)
Fast foods (high fat)
High sugar items (baked goods)
Breads and pastas (high starch)
Meat (beef and pork)
Processed proteins (pre-made meals with any form of protein- meat, soy, etc)

What foods can cause diarrhea?
Artificial fats and sweeteners
Spicy foods/peppers (capsaicin…the spice can cause GI irritation)
Acidic foods (such as citrus fruits- highly acidic and lots of vitamin C!)
Sulfur containing foods (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, garlic, onions)

When Should I See an HCP?

If you are having lots of gas and stool, are uncomfortable, or feel lots of urgency, you should talk to your HCP. Also, the opposite is true; if you are feeling bloated and full, and you goes days between having bowel movements, you should see someone. If you mix between having diarrhea and being constipated, you should talk to your HCP as well. Your issues could be diet related or you could have an undiagnosed medical issue. And, if you ever see blood in your stool you should go to see your HCP within a day or seek medical attention, it could be a sign of something much more significant. Basically, use your best judgement, but if it seems like your colon has a different schedule than everyone else, you might want to get it looked into, you might have an issue that a diet change or medication could help.

Honestly, eating a healthy diet with a good mix of proteins, veggies, fruit, and grains paired with drinking water and getting 30 minutes (a minimum) of exercise a day is the best way to keep YOUR colon functioning properly and making sure that your body is working optimally. I know this isn’t everyone’s favorite topic to bring up with their HCP or friends, but if you have concerns, bring it up…us HCP’s talk about poop all the time, I promise we can handle it!


How Often Should You Check Your…?

You probably know how often you can go between manicures, hair cuts, and bikini waxes, but it’s harder to remember when you’re due for certain health screenings. Plus, it seems like the suggested guidelines for common medical check-ups are constantly up for debate. Case in point: A recent study found that getting your blood pressure checked at every doctor’s visit may result in an inaccurate diagnosis for hypertension—not to mention unnecessary stress.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic looked at records for 68 patients with hypertension and 372 patients without high blood pressure. When they looked at the readings from every single appointment, they identified all 68 cases of hypertension, along with 110 mistaken diagnoses for people without high blood pressure. But when they just took one annual reading, the doctors still caught all but five cases of hypertension—and they cut the number of false positives by almost 50 percent.

So should you turn down the test the next time you see your doc? Not necessarily. After all, it’s a free, quick, and painless part of your check-up, says Donnica Moore, MD, author of Women’s Health For Life. That said, she stresses that guidelines should never be set in stone and that you and your doctor can make the best decision about scheduling certain tests more or less frequently than recommended. “That will be based on the guidelines, but also on your personal medical history, family history, and lifestyle and behavior choices,” says Moore.

Need a refresher course on your recommended screenings? Check out our fool-proof guide to help you remember what needs to be checked and when:

Once a Month Breast self-exam: Check your girls for unusual lumps or bumps monthly so you can stay on top of any changes, says Moore. The best time to do it is a few days after your period ends.

Skin self-exam: The Skin Cancer Foundation strongly recommends that you check out your body once a month for any new or unusual spots or marks. Just remember your ABCDEs: asymmetry, border irregularity, uneven color, diameter bigger than 6 mm, and evolving shape and size.

Every Six Months Dental check-up: Make sure to hit up the dentist’s chair twice a year for cleanings and other preventative maintenance, but you should only get dental X-rays on an as needed basis to prevent unnecessary exposure to radiation, according to the American Dental Association’s recommendations.

Once a Year Full physical exam: This annual check-up should include a height and weight check, a blood pressure screening, a clinical breast exam, and any blood tests your doctor deems necessary, says Moore. These may include tests for blood sugar, blood count, hormone levels, and other crucial markers.

Pap smear: If you’ve had three consecutive normal pap smears, are in a mutually monogamous relationship, and have no other risk factors, you could technically go three years between screenings, says Moore. However, most doctors still suggest women see their gynecologist once a year and get a pap smear while they’re there. Your pap tests for any changes or abnormalities in the cells in your cervix, which is a way to screen for cervical cancer, says Alyssa Dweck, MD, co-author of V is For Vagina. For women 21-29, any mild irregularities in the pap test will prompt an HPV test to check for the high-risk strains of the HPV virus, says Dweck. Other than that, you probably won’t get an HPV test until you’re 30. (See below for more info on HPV testing)

Pelvic exam: Even if you aren’t getting an annual pap smear, it’s important to visit your OB/GYN annually for a routine pelvic exam, where she’ll feel around for your uterus and ovaries, says Dweck. This is a way to check for fibroids, cysts or any pain or swelling that might indicate an infection.

HIV tests: Get tested annually at your doctor’s office or a health clinic, says Dweck. The most accurate screening is a still a blood test, though you may get a mouth swab in some cases.

Other STD tests: It’s recommended that sexually active women get tested for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea annually until age 25, says Dweck. These can be run off your pap or with a separate swab of your cervix. After age 25, it’s still recommended that you get tested regularly for the range of STDs—including hepatitis b and c, syphilis, and the lesser-known trichomoniasis—based on your own risk factors, which you should discuss with your doctor. Of course, it’s also a smart idea to get tested before you have a new sexual partner or if you have any usual symptoms.

Eye exams: The American Optometric Association recommends eye exams at least once every two years, though annual exams are suggested for anyone with current vision problems (if you wear glasses or contacts, that includes you).

Every Other Year Skin cancer screening: Skin cancer is a huge issue for women in their twenties, so see your dermatologist before your biennial appointment if you notice any suspicious marks, says Moore.

Slightly Less Often HPV test: At age 30, women should start getting an HPV test with their pap every five years, says Dweck. Luckily, it’s relatively quick and painless since the test uses the same cervical swab as your pap. Prior to age 30, you should not be getting tested regularly for HPV unless you have an abnormal pap, since strains of the disease are so common in younger woman and they typically go away on their own, says Dweck.

Cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood count: Your doctor will want to check these at least once in your twenties and once in your thirties, though some physicians give a guideline of testing them once every five years, says Moore.

Thyroid test: Starting at age 35, it’s recommended that you check your thyroid levels via a blood test and have them re-tested ever five years after that, says Moore.

Down the Road* Colonoscopy: This test should come right around your 50th birthday, unless your family history warrants an earlier screening, says Moore. If you have a first-degree relative with colon cancer, it’s recommended that you start your screening 10 years before their age at diagnosis.

Diabetes screening: Routine diabetes screenings (which involve a blood sugar test) start at age 50 and should be done once every three years, says Dweck.

Mammograms: At 40, you’ll want to start scheduling annual mammograms, though your doctor may recommended screening earlier if you have a family history, says Dweck.

*For women in their 20s and 30s

Only As Needed Don’t be shocked if your doctor orders a blood test outside of these general guidelines, since many health checks are done on an as-needed basis. Things like your hormone levels, blood sugar, vitamin D levels, and iron deficiencies can all be seen in a blood test and may be ordered if you come in with certain symptoms, says Dweck.


Sore throat: what you need to know

Sore throat is very common and is usually caused by infection with any one of a large number of viruses or less commonly bacteria.

Occasionally, sore throat can have other causes such as allergies, excessively dry air (e.g. from air conditioning), irritants (e.g. tobacco smoke, pollution), voice strain or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (where acid from the stomach rises into the gullet).

Many illnesses ranging from the common cold to glandular fever cause sore throat as a symptom.

A sore throat may be accompanied by sniffles, a cough and feeling weak and feverish.

If bacteria or viruses infect the tissues at the back and sides of the throat, the body produces antibodies to fight off the infection. This process may cause the lymph nodes (‘glands’) in the neck to swell and become tender.

Most people are over the infection within 7 days; many people find that their sore throat goes away much sooner than this.
Sore throat treatments

Give your body a hand to heal itself by trying the following.

  • Resting as much as you can. Take time off work and do not send your child to school or pre-school if they have a sore throat.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids (don’t worry if you don’t not feel like eating much for a couple of days). Children and adults may find ice-blocks refreshing.
  • Drinking warm water with honey and lemon can be soothing for a sore throat.
  • Gargling with a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of salt in it at least twice a day (older children and adults only).
  • Taking medicines to control the pain and fever.

Pain relief for sore throat

Pain relief for sore throats should be considered. Pain relief will allow you to eat and drink more comfortably and has the added benefit of reducing fever if this is a problem.

Paracetamol, paracetamol combined with codeine, or codeine combined with aspirin, or aspirin alone can help relieve the pain of a sore throat. Medicines containing aspirin must not be used by children under 16 years who have a fever, especially if the child also has symptoms of influenza or chicken pox. This is because aspirin can cause a serious condition called Reye syndrome in children.

Your doctor may also recommend ibuprofen, a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). People with peptic or duodenal ulcers, bleeding conditions or who are taking anti-coagulant medicine should not take ibuprofen or aspirin.
Antibiotics and sore throat

Most people do not need antibiotics for sore throats, as the majority are caused by viruses (which are not affected by antibiotics).

Antibiotics can help shorten the duration of symptoms in certain cases, for example if it’s suspected that you have a specific bacterial infection. However, antibiotics are associated with side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea and rash. Your doctor will weigh up the pros and cons of antibiotics in your particular case.

If your doctor does prescribe antibiotics, make sure you complete the whole course, even if your symptoms clear up before you have finished the antibiotics. This reduces the risk in the community of bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotics.
When to see your doctor

Seek immediate medical attention if you or your child have any of the following symptoms, which could indicate a life-threatening condition:

  • difficulty breathing or noisy breathing;
  • neck stiffness rather than throat pain;
  • a lot of difficulty swallowing water or saliva;
  • a muffled voice;
  • drooling;
  • a rash or bruising; or
  • signs and symptoms of dehydration, such as sunken eyes or passing less urine than usual.
  • You should also see a doctor if you or your child have any of the following:

    • a high fever for 48 hours or longer;
    • no easing of the sore throat after 7 days (adults) or 2 days (children);
    • ear pain; or
    • other medical problems which affect how your body can heal itself, such as diabetes or immune disorders.

    In these circumstances, your doctor will examine you and may do blood tests or a throat swab (a cotton swab is brushed over the back of your throat and examined for bacteria in the laboratory) to establish whether antibiotics may be necessary.


    Health And Zen Shiats Part 2

    Our Shiatsu treatment :

    Shiatsu can bring relief from currently existing headache complete freedom from pain and migraine headaches. In addition, Shiatsu can be used preventively, especially in bracing headaches order not to allow complaints of goal. In acute headache is to clarify for the Shiatsu practitioner, whether a lying position is possible and desirable, if the head has to be stored increases, or whether a sitting position is preferred.

    The treatment begins, of course, always only in the center ( Hara ). Referring to the energy distribution as the first is the issue of the main working direction of importance that energy carried away from the head, or it has to be supplied.

    In energy – wealth and stagnation in the head, it is important to draw the energy down.

    In energy – emptiness, it is recommended to work upwards and towards the hands and even toning the head, ie to work stimulating and invigorating.

    Especially occiput, neck, shoulder and neck area are often areas where the energy flow is interrupted. Are these transitions blocked, head and body, thinking and feeling are no longer optimal in combination. It is necessary to work in these areas with a oöffnenden and space imaging focus. It is supportive, ” model ” to be in this work, ie simultaneously to open the corresponding zones in your body and relax.

    The full body treatment is the inclusion of other problems safely, associated with headache. This can, for example, stresses in the chest / heart area (eg not allowing emotional touches, make tight, have too little room to breathe, in a figurative sense). Also, shoulders, arms and hands may be associated with headache.

    The treatment of the feet is very soothing and analgesic in aktuen stage. The foot treatment draws the energy down. When working on the feet of the focus can be placed on a specific unblocking and opening in the neck area, for example, or energy can be drawn from the head toward Earth.

    If causes of headache exist in tension, compression and contraction, then shiatsu can offer as an overall focus relaxation, length and maximum aperture.

    The treatment of the head in the acute stage is delicate. When Jitsu pain the touch of your head is often not or only towards the end of the Shiatsu treatment possible. Sometimes sedating work may well be down. When Kyo – pain a deep, stimulating work on the head is usually very beneficial. The epoxy products of feedback to direct pressure on head points is advisable. Of course it is in Shiatsu (eg jammed anger) perceive the emotional vibrations and to respond to needs.


    Health And Zen Shiatsu

    Proper way of life is not detached from the world – ascetic nor substantive self-serving. The Buddha’s message was that we must learn to live together in joy, peace, happiness and harmony.A prerequisite for this is that we are suffering and its conditions and the possibilities of overcoming it really put us.For this purpose, called Buddha a number of essential prerequisites such as the following:

    As a daily exercise :

    The liberation from suffering is a way that requires daily practice. Negative habit energies that have impressed for many years in our thinking, feeling and acting are to transform. Fixed pattern ( biased viewpoints, harmful acts ), it is by self-observation to detect and replace with new, salutary. This requires will, attention, commitment and perseverance.


    Happiness is not a remote destination. Happiness is the way. Mindfulness is the key to happiness. This means our habit and to do everything quickly many things at once, give up and to free ourselves from constraints. We need to slow us down and get involved individually and intensively on any action – as in Shiatsu.

    Everyday activities such as eating, making phone calls and go become a daily mindfulness practice. It is true, they consciously and joyfully to make at leisure and celebrate like a ritual. If we succeed, every moment of eternity and a step towards spiritual healing.


    We need to keep coming back into the silence, calm the mind and to give yourself the space for peaceful and joyful serenity and introspection. Only in peace, it is possible to identify underlying causes clear and not to remain on the surface of the phenomena and the emotions. The silent contemplation leads to a broader understanding of the world and of their own circumstances.


    Proper healthy food for the fall

    Salad with orange segments

    The autumn has irrevocably taken hold. Suddenly colder and grayer, it is particularly important to gain energy naturally. Therefore, the correct and appropriate to the weather nutrition is especially important in these times. So how do you come with a lot of energy by eating right through the cold season and also avoid the Anfuttern of Herbst/Winterspeck.

    The energizers and autumn bacon Repeller

    In order to simultaneously take enough food energy, vitamin and zinc-rich foods are especially recommended. In addition, this protects our immune system and therefore our defenses. In addition, we retained the enjoyment of adequate vitamin-rich foods also before applying annoying autumn and winter pounds.

    Of vitamin C rich foods: currants, kiwis, oranges, grapefruits.
    On zinc -rich foods: shrimp, peanuts, corn, parmesan, beef.
    The holding room and diet after TCM – type

    When it is cold outside, it is more important to warm his body from the inside. The white and the TCM, which prescribes a diet according to the seasons. So is increasingly hot meals are brought to them in order to create the balance, highly recommended are for example soups in the cold season. But even against the frequently occurring diseases in October, such as sore throat or dry cough, the TCM has advice. Leberbefeuchtende and acidic, liver tonic foods should be consumed. These include oranges, lemons, plums, mushrooms, kiwi or chicken liver.

    The good-mood maker

    Not to our physical, but rather our mental constitution are these foods. If, in the autumn already times the risk in bad mood, called “Autumn Blues” to decay, for example, with the consumption of exotic fruits or foods that we associate with the summer in conjunction, the good humor returned. But even those that contain the happiness hormone serotonin, and stimulate its production by the substance tryptophan, have such a feel-good effect.


    Guide for choosing plastic surgery in London

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    The first thing that you have to keep in mind is that the plastic surgery in London, UK is well-thought-of. (more…)


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