Posts Tagged ‘Inflammation’

Natural Teeth Whiteners

One of my readers contacted me about natural teeth whiteners.   Great question!

We all want whiter teeth, especially as we age, and teeth whitening has become big business. According the ADA, bleaching is the most requested procedure among patients ages 40 to 60. Americans spend billions on over the counter whiteners too. For those of us who want an alternative to chemical whiteners, there are several do-it-yourself options.

  1. Baking Soda – Or sodium bicarbonate has been around for a long time and as been accepted by the American Dental Association since 1931. It reduces stains and plaque through its gentle polishing action, as well as deodorizes the mouth leaving a clean feeling.  Here’s how: Put a little baking soda on a wet toothbrush and brush normally; for extra whitening make a paste of 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of food grade hydrogen peroxide.
  1. Strawberry Tooth Brightener – Strawberries have a slight bleaching action and if used daily can help get rid of stains from tea, coffee or cigarettes.  Here’s how: Remove the stem and mash the strawberry into a pulp, dip your toothbrush into the pulp, brush normally, then rinse.
  1. Oil Pulling – Oil pulling is an Ayurveda remedy started in India thousands of years ago that uses oil to clean, detoxify, and nourish teeth and gums. Oil pulling removes excessive and bad bacteria from your mouth, which also helps with detoxification of the entire body. And it whitens teeth and makes your mouth feel clean.  Here’s how: swish a teaspoon or two of coconut oil (sesame oil or olive oil) for approximately 20 minutes. Spit it out and rinse with warm water.
  1. Activated Charcoal – I haven’t tried this remedy yet, but charcoal is being used in everything now from soaps to toothbrushes to towels due to its antimicrobial benefits. Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent porous substance that binds to tannins that stain and yellow teeth and pulls the toxins from the mouth to remove the stains.  Here’s how: Dip a clean wet toothbrush into the powdered charcoal and brush in small, gentle circles for 2 minutes. Spit and rinse well. (Be careful not to stain your sink!)
  1. Turmeric – Turmeric spice is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available and along with its numerous health benefits is reducing gum inflammation and teeth whitening.  Here’s how: Dip a wet toothbrush in 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder and brush as normal. Allow the turmeric to sit on your teeth for 3-5 minutes, then spit and rinse. Brush your teeth again using your regular toothpaste.  (It also can stain your sink.)

It’s important to remember that natural remedies take longer to work. So, give it a few weeks – you’ll be pleased with the results. Email me with which remedy (ies ) you like.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

Information compiled from: http://wellnessmama.com/35837/natural-teeth-whitening/, Baking Soda Bonanza, Peter A. Ciullo, Organic Body Care Recipes, Stephanie Tourles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have You Heard About the Health Benefits of This Ancient Spice?

Turmeric is finally getting the attention it deserves.

English: Turmeric root. Photo taken in Kent, O...

A member of the ginger family, this orange-colored spice is the main ingredient in curry and has been used for centuries in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cooking.  It’s also a remedy in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines and, along with ginger, is now being recognized as one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available.

Turmeric powder 薑黃粉

Turmeric’s main healthful ingredient is curcumin and Western practitioners are acknowledging its possible healing properties with the following:

  • Relieves inflammatory conditions like arthritis and joint pain
  • Promotes a healthy immune system
  • Supports overall brain health and memory function, helping to remove plaque and improve oxygen flow
  • Improves digestion and stomach aches
  • Powerful antioxidant properties which fight cancer-causing free radicals, reducing or preventing some of the damage
  • Kills parasites
  • Dissolves gallstones
  • Alleviates menstrual problems
  • Helps detoxify the liver
  • Helps promote healthy skin
  • Natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent and can clear infections

For non-medicinal uses, its potent orange color makes turmeric a great all natural dye.  Try it for tie-dyeing or dyeing Easter eggs! Ironically, it’s also used to whiten teeth.

Though it comes in supplement form, (consult your doctor before consuming supplements) it’s best to use it as a spice.  I try to add it daily to my diet, which is easy now that I discovered this delicious recipe for turmeric tea from 101 Cookbooks.  You’ll be surprised how good it is.

Turmeric Tea

Turmeric tends to stain anything it comes into contact with, so be careful.

1/3 cup / 80 ml good, raw honey
2 1/2 teaspoons dried turmeric
lemon
lots of freshly ground black pepper (helps with absorption)

Work the turmeric into the honey until it forms a paste. You can keep this on hand, in a jar, for whenever you’d like a cup. For each cup of tea, place a heaping teaspoon of the turmeric paste in the bottom of a mug. Pour hot (but not boiling water) into the mug, and stir well to dissolve the turmeric paste. Add a big squeeze of juice from a lemon, and a good amount of black pepper. Enjoy! Stir now and then as you drink so all the good stuff doesn’t settle to the bottom, or top off with more hot water as you drink it.

Sprinkling turmeric on vegetables or in dressings is another good way to add this versatile and healthy spice to your diet.  Make sure you buy organic turmeric free from pesticides, heavy metals, artificial colors and lead.  The USDA recently recalled the brand Pran due to high lead content

Get healthy and stay healthy with turmeric!

Information compiled from http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/the-amazing-health-benefits-of-turmeric, http://www.top10homeremedies.com/kitchen-ingredients/10-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html, http://www.101cookbooks.com/,and The Okinawa Program by Bradley J. Willcox M.D.,D. Craig Willcox, Ph.D & Makoto Suzuki, M.D.

 

 

 

 

Have You Become a Chia Head?

Chia Pet Sequence

Chia Pet Sequence (Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall)

 Remember the chia heads and pets that were popular several years ago?  You planted chia seeds in a doll planter and grass grew on top of the head. Well, it turns out that the same chia seeds are a very beneficial dietary supplement!

Chia seeds are a sacred Aztec and Mayan seed and have been a staple in their diet for centuries.  Native to South America, chia seeds are rich in   nutrients and anti-oxidants.

English: Chia (Salvia columbariae) seeds Franç...

There is much talk today about the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids in one’s diet.  I like getting Omega-3’s from a variety of animal and plant sources and chia seeds are one of the richest plant sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA).  Omega-3’s reduce inflammation and high cholesterol, help support normal cardiovascular function and enhance cognitive performance.

Many people’s diets are low in fiber.  Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber with 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons, or one-third of the daily recommended intake.  Fiber is essential to support normal functioning of the digestive system and can help lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation.

Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants with more antioxidant activity than blueberries. Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer.  This high antioxidant profile gives chia seeds a long shelf life; they can last almost two years without refrigeration.

Chia seeds are also high in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese.  They can be digested whole and do not need to be ground to obtain their nutritional benefits.

Another important benefit?  Chia seeds are gluten-free and gluten allergies are a growing problem today.   My husband has even noticed his hair has become fuller after adding chia seeds to his diet.

How do you eat this nutritional powerhouse?  I add them to my smoothie in the morning, but you can sprinkle them on yogurt, cereal or even in salads.  They can be added to baked goods or simply enjoyed as a snack.   Chia seeds are satiating too due to their high fiber content, protein and gelling action when mixed with liquids.  My smoothie holds me easily until lunch. One tablespoon daily is the suggested serving. You can buy chia seeds at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and natural food stores.    photo-1

So become a chia head – you’ll be healthier for it!

Information compiled from: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/top-10-health-benefits-chia-seeds-6962.html and spectrum essentials.

 

Natural Remedies for Insect Bites

Ah, summer is here at last and so are the mosquitoes.  After a very rainy spring, they are out in full force.

There are several precautions you can take to repel mosquitoes, like using a safe, non-toxic personal repellant, covering your arms and legs at dusk when the mosquitoes come out, avoid keeping standing water around in birdbaths or buckets, and placing certain aromatic plants like scented geraniums, marigolds or rosemary on your patio or deck or in your garden to help repel them.  But, even with these precautions, most of us will usually get bitten, and some people more than others.  I know I am a mosquito magnet – my husband says when he is with me, he never gets bitten!  So, what non-toxic relief can you get for those nasty, itchy, inflamed bites?  Lots!  Below is a list of common household products, which relieve itching and help to heal the bite.

  • Toothpaste (peppermint works best)
  • Mouthwash – soak a cotton ball and dab it on the bite.  An antiseptic mouthwash will prevent bites from becoming infected.
  • Salt – Moisten first then rub table salt on the area.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Witch Hazel – Make a paste out of witch hazel and baking soda. Or just  baking soda and water (works for bee stings too!)
  • Aloe relieves the itch and heals the wound.
  • Lemon is good when you just have to scratch.  Cut it in half and use the pulp side.  Helps reduce the chance of infection from scratching.
  • Deodorant – Rub on immediately after getting the bite to reduce inflammation.
  • Lavender, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, basil, thyme or neem base essential oils (just a drop or two) reduce inflammation and prevent infection.  Apply to affected areas several times a day.  photo-3
  • Garlic salt and seasoning salt mixed with an equal amount of water.
  • An ice cube applied directly to the bite will numb the pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Mud – if you are outdoors without access to the above mentioned cures, a bit of dirt and water mixed together is effective at relieving irritation and reducing swelling.

Each remedy works better for some people than others.  When you get your next bite, try some and let me know which remedies work for you.  

Information compiled from www.home-remedy.org, Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles and www.care2.com/greenliving/7-ways-to-treat-bug-bites.

BE HEALTHY!

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m a firm believer in learning from other people’s expertise, experiences, wisdom and even well founded opinions.  This weekend I attended Be Healthy Boston, a 2-day urban wellness retreat with keynote sessions and workshops.   It was fabulous! Renowned doctors, naturopaths, nutritionists, physical therapists, psychologists, architects, designers, chefs, musicians, yoga instructors and green living experts, shared their knowledge with eager people who wanted a healthier lifestyle. I’d like to share some of this knowledge with you.

One main message was empowerment.  The resources to manage your own health and well-being are plentiful – we are lucky in the Boston area to have access to so many health care professionals of all levels – and there is no lack of information on the Internet.

One session that I especially enjoyed was “Food as Medicine” given by Dr. Mark Mincolla, a nutritional and natural health therapist who has transformed the lives of thousands of patients over the past 30 years.  He spoke extensively about inflammation, the root of many diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, and others, and how we can control chronic inflammation through diet, exercise and stress reduction.   Dr. Mincolla suggests trying an anti-inflammatory diet for three weeks (give yourself a break on the weekends if it seems impossible) just to see if you feel any difference, which consists of:  fatty fish like salmon, vegetables, fruits, legumes, brown rice (whole grains), olive oil, soy, tofu, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and yeast-free bread.  Eliminate inflammatory foods such as dairy, wheat, egg yolks, fatty red meats, sugar and alcohol. The anti-inflammatory foods, high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, are an extremely important part of disease prevention and overall health. I urge you to read more about inflammation or visit his website maxhealing.com to better understand the inflammation/disease connection.  Check out his NECN program called “You Are What You Eat”.

I have long been an advocate of prevention and maintaining a healthy immune system through diet, especially in this time of virulent and unusual germs and viruses.  It’s exciting the medical community, the media and programs such as Be Healthy Boston focus on taking charge of your own life and embracing wellness.  As Dr. Mincolla says, “the best medicine is the medicine you will never need to take.”

An irony of all ironies – I picked up a flu bug from the Be Healthy Boston retreat!  Life is funny….

Some information compile from “Food is Medicine” by Dr. Mark Mincolla.