Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for November 8, 2010

Top 10 Superfoods for Fall

Top 10 Superfoods for Fall

I, for one, love the idea that there are superfoods–certain edibles that go the extra mile in terms of nutritional chutzpah. They may not leap tall buildings, but superfoods are purported to fight the evil villains of heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer and a host of other diseases. Blueberries, for example, have become a superfood darling for their powerful punch of antoxidants–and I have to say, they do seem pretty mighty to me.

That said, I think some of the trendy superfoods are stealing the spotlight from the true heart of the matter–from the everyday heroes. It seems to me that almost any grain or produce that is grown organically, unprocessed and prepared gently, has much to offer. Aside from just a listing of antioxidant values, I can’t see a list of ten superfoods that earn obvious rank. In fact, if you look at 10 “Top 10 Superfoods” lists, you will see that they vary widely.

The truth is, most good food from nature is pretty super. So with that in mind, I like taking a seasonal approach. Rather than debating the merits of acai berries over goji berries, I prefer to look at what’s in season, and work with the nutritional workhorses that I can get here and now. These are my favorites for fall, based primarily on nutritional variety and strength, but that also give me that primal, sensuous satisfaction that comes with eating what’s in season:

Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin
I am head over heels for these flavors come fall, and no wonder: The dark orange vegetable family outdoes all others in vitamin A content. Sweet potatoes are also packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. Other dark orange vegetable standouts include pumpkin, carrots, and butternut squash. For more, see 11 Ways to Use a Pumpkin.

Cruciferous Vegetables
Crucifers such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards and turnips contain indole alkaloids that may help prevent cancer. They are also high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Along with their fabulous flavor, once you get the hang of cooking them, they may have an added bonus: they may help bolster memory as you age. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that women who eat the most of these foods are the least likely to be forgetful.



Pomegranates
Pomegranates have very high antioxidant activity, offering brain and memory protection. And research shows that drinking pomegranate juice may help with lowering the risk for hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. Read Prime Time for Pomegranates for more.

Beets
The pigment that gives beets their super-beautiful fuschia depth-betacyanin-is also a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beets’ potential effectiveness against colon cancer, in particular, has been demonstrated in several studies. Beets are also particularly rich in the B vitamin folate.

The Alliums
Garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, chives and shallots contain sulfur compounds that may protect against heart disease and some cancers, they can all help the liver eliminate toxins and carcinogens.

Beans
An excellent source of protein, antioxidants, folic acid, potassium, dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates, beans are flavorful, nutritionally dense, inexpensive and versatile. Read about heirloom varieties and cooking tips.

Olive oil
Several large studies suggest that the monosaturated fat in olive oil is good for the heart. Olive oil lowers bad cholesterol levels and increases good cholesterol. It is high in antioxidants–and is one of the superstars of the Mediterranean diet. Recent research shows that heart-attack survivors on a Mediterranean diet had half the death rates of those on an ordinary low-fat diet.

Tea
The caffeine content in tea is useful for stimulating alertness, mood and motivation, but is also a rich source of the antioxidant called catechins. Studies suggest that catechins protect the artery walls against the damage that causes heart disease and prevents formation of blood clots. It also does wonders for the spirit on a cool autumn day. See 9 Reasons to Drink Green Tea Daily.

Red Wine or grape juice
Grapes provide vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B6–red grapes also contain powerful phytochemicals (especially phenolics) that may help decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. These phenolic compounds are housed mostly in the skin of the red grapes, which is what makes red wine red and dark grape juice red or purple. Resveratrol, a polyphenolic stilbene found in the skins of red fruits including grapes, may be responsible for some of the health benefits ascribed to the consumption of red wine. Resveratrol has been shown to have anti-oxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory activity.

By Melissa Beyer

Sauna Health Benefits & Tips

Sauna Health Benefits & Tips

 Sauna Health Benefits & Tips

For many of us a visit to a sauna is considered a spa-like luxury to be enjoyed on rare occasions as a special treat.  However, as long demonstrated by Finnish culture, saunas can be a regular part of our health regime, providing benefits beyond relaxation and an enhanced feeling of well-being (as if that wouldn’t be enough!)  Saunas are also more accessible than they once were and, in many places, can be found as close as your local gym.

A sauna is an enclosed room that is heated to a temperature between 170 and 230 degrees Fahrenheit by a wood stove, an electric heater, or infrared heater.  Finnish saunas are usually heated by wood stoves which can be splashed with water, relieving some of the dryness of the room.  Electric heater powered saunas can become extremely dry and consequently irritate the respiratory track. Saunas using infrared heaters create radiant heat that heats the body instead of the air and can causes greater sweating.  All saunas are usually lined with slatted wooden benches, providing a place for the heat bathers to sit or lay down, usually on a towel.

While in a sauna, skin temperature generally rises to 40°C (104°F) and internal body temperature rises to about 38°C (100.4°F).  The intense heat causes an increase in circulation and results in profuse sweating and a flushing out of impurities through the skin’s pores.  While additional health benefits have not been empirically confirmed, other benefits claimed by sauna lovers include relief from the pain and stiffness of arthritis, improved complexion over time, relief from the effects of Lyme disease, quicker recovery of sore muscles, and increased flexibility.

Saunas are not for everyone.  Individuals with high blood pressure or heart disease should consult their physician before deciding to sauna.  Also, pregnant women should be cautious with sauna use as there is concern over the impact of the rise in temperature on the fetus.  For pregnant women, more dangerous than saunas, however, is soaking in hot tubs.  Again, you can check with your doctor to decide what’s best for you.  Additional safety measures:

  • Limit time in sauna to 15-20 minutes — don’t fall asleep!
  • If at any point you feel light headed or unwell, exit the sauna.
  • Drink generous amounts of cool water before, during and after your sauna.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that may inhibit sweating and produce overheating before and after your sauna.
  • Do not sauna if you have a fever.
  • Remove jewelry before entering sauna.  Metal objects will heat up and can burn your skin.
posted by Terri Hall
(Leesa recommends Solo by Sunlight Sauna ~ 770-536-6061 / www.SweetHeatSaunas.com Contact Kathryn Crifasi to order your personal, portable sauna today!)

5 Ways to Detox Your Pet’s Space

5 Ways to Detox Your Pet’s Space

Regular vet check-ups, proper nutrition and exercise: You may already know these as best practices for keeping pets healthy and safe. But how much thought have you put into your pet’s day-to-day environment? Even if you’re an attentive owner, there may be dozens of potential pet hazards lurking in and around your household — some, like certain plants, might appear to be innocent, but they can be toxic when your furry friends come in contact with them. In 2009 alone, there were more than 195,000 cases managed by Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and that’s not accounting for the hundreds of thousands of incidents reported to other 24-hour help centers or emergency animal hospitals throughout the year. However, there are some ways to detox your pets’ favorite spots and make your home a safer place to be overall. Read on to learn how to get started.

1. Get a Green Thumb

While there are certain plants, such as poison ivy, that are well known for their dangerous qualities, other seemingly harmless greenery can also spell big trouble if your pet chews on or consumes them. This can be particularly troublesome if you have an outdoor cat that likes to wander beyond the scope of what you have control over. But managing what’s in your own yard is a good place to start. Plants for your pets to avoid include the following:

  • Lilies — Most lily varieties, including Easter and Tiger, can cause serious kidney damage in cats.
  • Sago palm — A pet that eats just a few sago palm seeds can experience vomiting, diarrhea and even liver failure.
  • Tulips — The bulb section of these flowers contain toxins that can create gastrointestinal irritation, impede the central nervous system, trigger convulsions and cause cardiac abnormalities.
  • Azaleas/Rhododendron — Eating these can bring about vomiting, drooling, diarrhea and in severe cases, coma and death.
  • Oleander — All parts of this plant are considered to be toxic to pets and can create a number of serious health issues, including abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.
  • Chrysanthemum — Depression and loss of coordination can develop if your pet eats any part of this plant.

Also, if you live in a condo or apartment complex, keep your pet off any areas marked with flags indicating recent pesticide treatment on landscaping. And don’t forget about potential indoor hazards, such as houseplants or cut flower arrangements, which you should keep out of reach as well.

2. Watch for Holiday Hazards

Seasonal events present a unique set of challenges for pet proofing your home. Winter holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah mean decorations like trees, tinsel, lights and candle-burning menorahs — all beautiful to look at, but hazardous to curious pets. Avoid the use of tinsel if possible (a swallow of this decoration can obstruct your pet’s digestive tract or worse), and be sure to regularly change water used for fresh trees, since stagnant H2O can breed bacteria, making it a nausea- and diarrhea-inducing cocktail for your pet.

And while it might seem obvious to keep holiday treats like Halloween loot securely stored, since chocolate — especially baking chocolate — can be toxic for pets, any holiday meal (and really, any meal) may contain food or drink that can cause problems. Here are some items to watch out for:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Avocados
  • Coffee grounds
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Rising bread dough

Depending on the potency and amount consumed, all of these people foods can cause reactions like vomiting, diarrhea and damage to the nervous system in pets. Some items, including grapes and raisins, can even lead to massive health problems, ranging from kidney failure to death. Play it safe and keep leftovers in the fridge and off your pet’s plate, and make sure family members and guests know that sneaking nibbles to the four-legged friends in the household is a no-no as well.

3. Keep the Medicine Cabinet Contained

When used correctly by the person or pet it was originally prescribed for, medicine can bring great relief, but if it falls into the wrong hands — or paws — the consequences can be deadly. Use hard-to-reach cabinets for medication storage and consider installing latch locks, such as those used for baby-proofing purposes, as well. Also try to keep other health and beauty products safely out of sight and reach, including shampoo, lotions and makeup. If your pet does get into something, contact your vet or local animal hospital immediately, and when you take your pet in for emergency care, remember to bring along the container for whatever you believe the animal gulped down.

If a vet prescribes medication for your pet, cut down on the risk of an adverse reaction by asking upfront about any potential side effects to watch out for, and clarify whether there are any special storage needs (such as keeping the meds refrigerated) or procedures required (like always administering pills with food or at a certain time of day). Similarly, if you use any over-the-counter solutions on your pet, such as flea treatments, read labels carefully so you’re aware of any risks before administering.

4. Safely Select and Store Cleaning Supplies

As with medicine storage, it’s very important to store all cleaning and household products — including bleach, laundry detergent, garden or lawn treatments, paint and automotive supplies — under lock and key. If you don’t have a storage area that actually locks, baby safety latches can once again prove worthwhile for keeping your pet away from these potential hazards.

Also, be careful of using fragranced products, such as air fresheners and plug-ins, around the house. These may make your home smell nice, but they can irritate or burn your pet’s respiratory or gastrointestinal tract. If you can’t live without some sort of fragrance, you can try methods that are more pet-friendly and chemical-free, such as boiling cinnamon sticks in a pot of water on the stove to give the house a welcoming scent. In some cases, however, it may be best to look for products that are fragrance-free — for example, when it comes to products used to clean floors and carpets, since these are areas pets come into close contact with daily.

(Leesa recommends the Seventh Generation Cleaning products…  http://tinyurl.com/amazon7thgeneration)

5. Purify Pet Toys and Other Personal Items

Unlike children’s toys, there are no federal laws or standards for using lead or other toxins in the production of pet toys. So pay attention to what you are buying for your pet and where you’re buying it from — not just in terms of the store, but the manufacturer, since some of them farm out the actual production of pet items overseas.

How you care for your pets’ possessions matters, too. Play it safe and clean toys with a mild dish soap and water solution instead. Also, you can avoid creating potential skin, eye or respiratory irritation for your pet by using dye-free and fragrance-free laundry detergent to wash any pet bedding or blankets, especially if they have a tendency to chew on these items. Taking the time to put all of these precautions into place may seem like a lot of work, but it can help keep your pet safe and toxin-free and save you a tremendous amount of unnecessary worry, too.

By Sarah Grace McCandless

Health Benefits of Pumpkins for Dogs!

Health Benefits of Pumpkins for Dogs!

I live in the pumpkin capital of the country, Half Moon Bay, CA. and have always lived here with dogs. So I was surprised that it wasn’t until last month that I started reading about all of the health benefits of pumpkins for dogs. First I read on our Facebook page for Through a Dog’s Ear that pumpkin can help their digestive system (assuming they don’t eat a 1,535 lb. pumpkin in one sitting.) I checked the ingredients in Sanchez’s Great Life kibble and discovered that pumpkin is the fourth ingredient listed, even before squash, carrots, and papaya. Then I read a blog about the health benefits of pumpkins for dogs by Edie Jarolim, the author of Am I Boring My Dog? (a book I’d highly recommend for it’s educational value on all things dog combined with humor that will leave you in stitches). Her blog included fabulous advice from Veterinarians Laci and Jed Schaible about the health benefits of feeding pumpkin to dogs. Laci and Jed are co-founders of VetLive.com, a 24/7 service that affordably provides pet owners the inside info they need to effectively navigate the consumer side of the vet industry.

While Halloween is over, pumpkins are still plentiful and it’s not too late to stock up on canned pumpkins (without added sugar) for your pooches. While you should consult your veterinarian if any of these issues are persistent, read on for some tips from Veterinarians Laci and Jed Schaible that I learned when reading Edie’s interview with them.

1) Constipation: Pumpkin can be a very effective treatment for the occasional abnormal stool. (If your pet has regular GI issues, consult your veterinarian.) Pumpkins have a high water and fiber content and can act to hydrate the intestines and their contents when dogs are suffering from constipation. Start with 1 tsp for smaller dogs and 2 tsp for larger dogs at the first sign of constipation. The water and fibers will be absorbed by the dry stools in your dog’s intestines, and your pup should experience relief in a few hours.

2) Diarrhea: Pumpkin can also be used to treat diarrhea. The soluble fiber in pumpkins actually helps absorb excess water in the bowels that the body didn’t absorb properly, thereby helping to calm diarrhea. Start slowly, and adjust accordingly.

3) Urinary Health: Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants (good for overall healthy skin and fur), and the oils in pumpkins’ flesh and seeds are believed to support urinary health. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron, and may even reduce the likelihood your pet will develop cancer.

4) Weight Loss: Pumpkin is also recently gaining popularity as a supplement to a dog’s food to aid in weight loss. While it is true that it is a low-cal/low-fat/ filler that is high in fiber and will help keep your pet feeling full longer, you want to make sure that your pet is still getting the required nutrients that he or she needs. As with all diet changes, start slowly and gradually increase. If your pet is obese, contacting your vet to get a personalized diet plan so your pet is not losing too much weight too rapidly, or too little weight too slowly.

Raw, Cooked, or Canned?

Both raw and cooked pumpkin is safe for dogs. (If your dog has diabetes or chronic kidney disease, always ask your vet first.) As far as our healthy pooches go, seeds and flesh of fresh raw pumpkins are safe provided, of course, it’s not a rotten pumpkin that’s been sitting on the porch for four weeks. Pumpkin parts do go rancid very quickly! An easy way to have some handy dog treats around that will last 3-4 weeks is roasting plain seeds in the oven (see recipe below).

Leaves and stems however, are covered in sharp little hairs, which can irritate the mouth and gastrointestinal tract and cause tiny little cuts in the dog’s intestines. Make sure pumpkin patch field trips are 100 percent supervised.

Common sense tells us fresh is always better than canned because of fewer synthetic ingredients. If you choose to go with canned, make sure it doesn’t have added sugar. (Leesa recommends choosing organic pumpkin and if you choose canned pumpkin, make sure the can is BPA free!)

Quantity of Pumpkin:

According to the North American Companion Animal Formulary, the dose for a cat with constipation is 1 tsp per feeding. Small dogs can receive a comparable amount. For larger dogs, I would start with no more than 2 tsp with each meal. The giants may be able to tolerate up to 5 tsp with each meal. Adjust accordingly to your pet’s size. A warning sign you are overdoing it is if your pet’s stools become orange, larger than usual, and pudding-like in firmness. As far as seeds go, they are to be given in moderation, just like treats. With serious overfeeding, pumpkin seeds getting blocked in the colon has been reported.

Pumpkin Dog Treat Recipe:

1. Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings.

2. Place the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet that is lightly misted in non-stick cooking spray.

3. Bake at 325 F until toasted, for around 20-25 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes.

4. Cool and store in an air-tight container, and you have a great stock of natural dog treats.

Thank you to Drs. Laci and Jed Schaible for your contribution to this blog. And to Edie Jarolim for permission to re-post from her original blog on the topic.

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. By combining her passion for music with her love of dogs, she co-created Through a Dog’s Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to relieve anxiety issues in dogs. For the past 14 years, she has owned Lisa Spector’s Music School in Half Moon Bay, CA. She shares her home and her heart with her adorable Yellow Labrador, Sanchez, a career change dog from Guide Dogs for the Blind. Follow Lisa’s blog here.

Feel Great in a Flash! 16 Quick Tips for sounder sleep, a healthier heart, lower blood pressure, and more, from the new book by The Doctors

Feel Great in a Flash! 16 Quick Tips


Here, 16 smart solutions for sounder sleep, a healthier heart, lower blood pressure, and more, from the new book by The Doctors

Adapted from The Doctors’ 5-Minute Health Fixes, By the Editors of Prevention

 As hosts of the Emmy award–winning show The Doctors and as medical professionals with 78 years of experience under our  stethoscopes, we can tell you firsthand that you don’t need huge chunks of time to stay healthy. In fact, very small, quick moves–like getting (or giving) a back rub or drinking more water–can soothe little ailments today and protect your heart, brain, and entire body tomorrow.

In 5 seconds you can…
Put the snuggle back in your marriage

Weave more small touches into conversations with your spouse, family, and friends–it’s another way to show loved ones how much they mean to you. Squeeze your spouse’s hand when you’re riding an elevator together, or rub your daughter’s back when you chat about her day. We’re cuddle bugs by nature–our endocrine systems release a cascade of positive pleasure chemicals when we receive a caring touch, making us feel more connected and content and less anxious. (One study found that waitresses who touched their customers even earned bigger tips.)

In 10 seconds you can…
Keep allergies at bay

Allergies often flare up first thing in the morning. If that’s the case for you, take your allergy meds at night so they’ll still be working come dawn. And because many allergy drugs cause drowsiness, what better time to lie back, relax, and let the remedy do its job?

In 15 seconds you can…
Outsmart indigestion

As many as 80% of heartburn sufferers experience symptoms at night. Steal back a good night’s sleep by fluffing up two pillows instead of one. In an Archives of Internal Medicine study, people who propped up their heads about 11 inches reduced their symptoms dramatically. Also, sleep on your left side and you’ll cut your heartburn risk in half–that’s because snoozing on your right side relaxes the muscle that keeps gastric acids in your stomach.

In 20 seconds you can…
Decrease your risk of heart disease and diabetes

When your meal contains protein, fiber, and even fat, your body’s insulin response slows, stabilizing your blood sugar. Munch bread with some butter or olive oil, or make a PB&J sandwich with more PB and less J. In one study of more than 32,000 women, those whose diets had the highest glycemic load (a measure of how quickly a food spikes your blood sugar) had more than twice the risk of heart disease compared with those whose diets had the lowest load.

In 30 seconds you can…
Lower your blood pressure

Six calming breaths in 30 seconds can reduce your systolic blood pressure by nearly 10 mmHg, Japanese research has found. Even occasional blood pressure spikes–like those during an insanely nonstop day–might put you at increased risk of stroke, according to a study in the Lancet.

In 40 seconds you can…
Cut a junk food craving

If you just can’t give up your soda–a known contributor to obesity–here’s one way to lessen the impact of all that sugar and phosphoric acid: Take a glass that’s twice as big as your can, pack it with ice, and then pour in the soda. It will last longer and, by the time you’re finished, you’ll have an extra helping of hydrating water as well. This works with any sweetened drink, such as iced tea or orange juice.

In 60 seconds you can…
Have a smarter doctor’s visit

Just left the doctor and–oops–forgot to ask about your achy knee or can’t remember what she said about calcium supplements? Don’t be afraid to call back after you leave or send an e-mail. Most doctors will be happy to address any lingering questions that slipped your mind.

In 90 seconds you can…
Sidestep a hangover

Of course, you shouldn’t drink to excess. But when an extra round or two is unavoidable, alternate a glass of water with every one of wine. Rehydrating minimizes alcohol’s diuretic effects, staving off headaches. You’ll also likely drink less alcohol overall because you’ll fill up on water.

In 2 minutes you can…
Head off a migraine

Pull those sticky notes off your computer and straighten that stack of papers on your desk. The same clutter that’s merely a nuisance to most of us can be downright painful to people who get migraines, say Scottish researchers. Office litter may provoke debilitating pain by overstimulating whole clusters of nerve cells, much the way an overused muscle will spasm. Even if you’re not migraine-prone, clearing away junk helps relieve stress and improve focus.

In 3 minutes you can…
Reduce bad cholesterol

Instead of bread crumbs to coat chicken breasts, chop up General Mills’ original Fiber One cereal for a nutrition-packed crunch. For every extra gram of soluble fiber in your diet–a 1/2-cup serving of Fiber One has 1 g–you can trim your LDL cholesterol by almost 2 mg/dL. Other sources include beans, peas, and citrus.

In 4 minutes you can…
Boost your brainpower

A known metabolism jump-starter, resistance training just once a week can improve your ability to resolve conflicts and focus your attention, a Canadian study has found. Luckily, you don’t need the gym; just use your own body weight. Do as many push-ups or crunches as you can during commercials while watching your favorite TV show, or lunge across your living room as you water your plants.

In 5 minutes you can…
Make your mood soar

Go ahead, toot your own horn. When people were asked to track kindnesses they showed others, their own happiness skyrocketed. Leave a more-than-generous tip for waitstaff or let someone cut in front of you in line at the supermarket. Jot down your good deeds every evening, and you may act more kindly simply to lengthen your list. But that’s okay. According to researchers, you can become happier and more grateful by paying attention to how nice you are.

In 7 minutes you can…
Prolong your life

Instead of sitting when you poke around on Facebook, stand up and perch your laptop on a high countertop. A recent Australian study found that every hour of television people watched each day (trolling the Internet is an equally sedentary activity) increased their risk of dying from heart disease by 18%. Alternate standing and sitting while you’re online or watching TV, and you can eliminate the risk.

In 10 Minutes You Can…
Recover from a mild burn

Putting butter on a burn (an old wives’ tale) is a bad idea: It can trap the heat, causing discomfort and even infection. Another mistake is icing immediately–it’s as caustic as heat. Instead, submerge the area in cool water for 10 to 15 minutes, then treat with a cool compress. Apply aloe vera or antibiotic cream, then cover with a nonstick bandage.

In 12 Minutes You Can…
Prevent Alzheimer’s

Ask yourself, If I could change one thing about the world, what would it be? People with a strong purpose in life are 2-1/2 times more likely to ward off Alzheimer’s disease; research also shows they tend to be less depressed too. Answer the question quickly, with your gut reaction, then brainstorm five ways to help make that change at a local level.

In 15 minutes you can…
Stave off a heart attack

When on a tight budget, it’s easy to postpone vacations. But people with a higher risk of heart disease who take a trip every year are 32% less likely to die from their condition. Research a quick weekend getaway online, and consider it a health investment: Spending money on an experience actually makes you happier than splurging on a “thing” like a new flat-screen TV. Even better, these positive emotions prolong the heart-healthy effect.

Adapted from: THE DOCTORS 5-MINUTE HEALTH FIXES © 2010 by Stage 29 Productions. Permission granted by Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.


Rodale.com is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. Rodale.com focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice. Rodale.com features a Daily Newsletter, and provides simple, powerful tools including Recipe Finder and Home Remedy Finder to help audiences improve their health and their environment. Rodale.com also includes “Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen,” a personal blog where Editor-in-Chief and Rodale, Inc. CEO and Chairman Maria Rodale is “Cooking Up Trouble, Dishing Out Advice.”

3 Herbs to Boost Your Lungs

3 Herbs to Boost Your Lungs


Our lungs work overtime for us every day, ensuring that we have sufficient oxygen to power every bodily function.  With increasing levels of pollution in our air and our tendency to breathe shallowly, it can be helpful to give our lungs a boost.  Breathing deeper is the first step.  Additionally, you can give your lungs a boost with herbs.  Here are a few of my picks:

Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot has been traditionally by Native Americans for thousands of years to strengthen the lungs.  It clears out excess mucus from the lungs and bronchial tubes.  It soothes the mucus membranes in the lungs, and has been shown in research to assist with asthma, coughs, bronchitis, and other lung ailments.  Coltsfoot is available in dried form for tea or as an alcohol extract known as a tincture.

Elecampane

Elecampane has been used by Native Americans for many years to clear out excess mucus that impairs lung function. It is known as a natural antibacterial agent for the lungs, helping to lessen infection particularly for people who are prone to lung infections like bronchitis.  Herbal practitioners often recommend one teaspoon of the herb per cup of boiling water, drunk three times daily for two to three weeks but elecampane is also available in tincture format for ease.

Mullein

Both the flowers and the leaves of the mullein plant are used to make an herbal extract that helps strengthen the lungs.  Mullein is used by herbal practitioners to clear excess mucus from the lungs, cleanse the bronchial tubes, and reduce inflammation that is present in the respiratory tract.  A tea can be made from one teaspoon of the dried herb to one cup of boiled water.  Alternatively, you can take a tincture form of this herb.

This information is provided for educational purposes only.  As with all herbal remedies, it is best to consult a qualified herbal practitioner before using these or any other herb to treat serious health conditions.  Consult an herbal practitioner if you are pregnant or nursing before using any herbs.

Adapted with permission from the best-selling book, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan by Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM.

Michelle Schoffro Cook, BSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, is an international best-selling and seven-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Phytozyme Cure and HealthSmart News. Learn more at www.DrMichelleCook.com.

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