Trouble Getting Some Zzzzzzs? Try These Sleep Aids

 

I’ve certainly had my share of sleep-deprived nights. For me, it’s usually not a matter of having trouble falling asleep, but waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get BACK to sleep.

Anyway, if you’re looking for some natural ways to help you get a better night’s rest, then I hope you find the following information helpful. I haven’t tried all the things listed here, but the ones I’ve used so far that seem to make a difference are magnesium and tart cherries, either freeze-dried or in juice concentrate form (be sure you buy organic, since cherries are one of the most pesticide-laden crops around). FYI, 8 oz of Montmorency tart cherry juice has 4 times the melatonin of other kinds of cherries, so that’s what I always look for. I keep meaning to try kiwis, since I really like them, but usually eat them in the morning, so I want to see what happens if I eat them before bed.

 

High sleep index foods

You’ve probably heard of tryptophan, the amino acid that many people blame for their lethargy after Thanksgiving dinner. The body converts tryptophan into neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and melatonin, that help us relax. As a result, tryptophan-rich foods help us feel sleepy. Turkey, hummuslentils and kelp are naturally high in tryptophan and contain many other beneficial nutrients.

*Bananas are also a great “sleep index” food: They contain tryptophan, potassium and magnesium, all of which are natural muscle relaxants. Cherries are a good source of melatonin, which can help us get more restful, reparative sleep.

And did you know that in one study, people who ate two kiwi fruits before bed got an extra hour of sleep at night? They woke up later and took less time to fall asleep.

Carbohydrate-rich foods are often excellent at promoting better sleep. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high-glycemic carbohydrates, which increase sugar levels rapidly, encourage sleep when eaten about four hours before bedtime. Jasmine rice, potatoescarrots, corn and honey are healthy options.

Calcium helps the brain use tryptophan to create melatonin. Specific food combinations, such as whole grain cereals and milkpeanut butter sandwiches, or cheese and crackers contain balanced amounts of calcium and carbohydrates. Calcium is also a natural muscle relaxant.

When to eat

Eating high sleep index foods calms the nervous system and triggers sleep-inducing hormones. But timing is everything. A large meal right before bedtime can interfere with sleep. Tryptophan takes at least an hour to reach the brain, so plan meals accordingly.

Avoid rich, high-fat foods close to bedtime. They require a lot of work to digest and may cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Also, moderate your beverages. Too many fluids will cause frequent trips to the bathroom during the night. In particular, caffeinated beverages stimulate the body and act as diuretics, a double whammy when trying to sleep.

Natural sleep aids

As noted, there is no shortage of sleep aids, either over the counter or by prescription. While these aids generally work in the short term, they come with a long list of detrimental side effects and can become habit-forming. In addition, these powerful drugs are known to interfere with a number of critical biological mechanisms. Remember, they’re not meant to be gentle, but rather to put you out like a light.

I recommend a combination of relaxing, non-habit-forming herbs: lemon balm, passionflower, vitamin B6 and small doses of melatonin, about 500 mcg, can be very helpful.

When taken together 15 minutes before bed, these herbs and nutrients help to promote a gentle state of relaxation and drowsiness. Even better, they help optimize the body’s natural repair processes during sleep. They also work to support numerous other areas of health and longevity as well.

One of the shortcomings of modern society is that every problem requires maximum response. But when it comes to healthy relaxation and restful sleep, you should take a softer, gentler approach.

High sleep index foods, together with calming supplements can help you relax, enjoy a restful sleep and wake feeling refreshed. Other excellent sleep-supportive measures include mindful relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing.

Getting a good night’s rest is one of the best things you can do for health and well-being. When you support your natural sleep rhythms and cycles with the right foods, supplements and healthy relaxation measures, you reap significant and noticeable benefits. In addition to greater physical energy, mental clarity and emotional balance, getting quality sleep each night results in stronger vitality and better overall health, naturally.

Source: http://easyhealthoptions.com/high-sleep-index-foods-nutrients-help-sleep-like-baby/

 

Turmeric milk, also called golden milk,  before bedtime is used by many people as a sleep aid (also see the link later in this post to the Self-help **blog on golden milk that includes a version where you don’t have to make a paste beforehand)……

Source : http://www.thepaleosecret.com/fbfreegift/morningdrinkfb/01/

**Also see this Self-help Health post on golden milk.

One of my favorite relaxation and sleep aids is lavender essential oil….rubbing a couple of drops on my hands and then inhaling, or dabbing on my wrists, temples or soles of my feed. Also, warm epsom salt soaks, and being careful of the amount of blue light I get at night by turning off the computer an hour or two before bedtime. I’ve also read where oranges, pineapples and passion flower tea are helpful. Chamomile tea is well-known for its relaxing, sleep-inducing quality, and the Mediterranean diet and olive oil are supposedly good for sleep, as well. And I read that most sleep disorders are connected to hormonal toxicity, so that’s something some people may need to address.

*And the peel of a banana apparently has 3 times as much magnesium as the fruit itself, which is probably why someone came up with a recipe for using “Banana Tea” as a sleep aid. All you do is wash a banana (be sure it’s organic), cut in half w/ peel on; cut off tips and boil 3 to 4 minutes in filtered/structured water, steep and drink the liquid. You can refrigerate the fruit  for use the next day in a smoothie (the peel is totally edible and high in nutrition, so you may try tossing that in, too), yogurt, oatmeal, or some other way.

And here’s some info about using magnolia tree bark as a remedy for stress and deeper sleep:

https://easyhealthoptions.com/tree-bark-less-stress-sleep-not-pillow/

Want more info? Here’s a in-depth post by Dr Joseph Mercola about sleep, the ramifications of not getting enough of it, best sleeping positions, and 50 ways to improve it, including eliminating EMFs, using 5-HTP and/or magnesium, going back to using incandescent bulbs, and more.

Related Self-help Heath posts:

9 Yoga Poses For Better Sleep

What’s Not To Love About Cherries?!

Spirit Gate: Heart 7 Acupoint For Anxiety, Insomnia And More

Stay tuned for a post on how raising the head of your bed a few inches can promote better sleep, as well as help with varicose veins, detox the brain, and more!

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

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Dandelion: The “Weed” With Multiple Health Benefits

Two years ago around spring time I was taking a walk and noticing all the dandelions and wishing I knew more about their beneficial properties, and lo and behold when I got home there was actually an article in my in-box about them. Talk about synchronicity! That started me doing more research and putting this post together, although I never got around to actually finishing it. But with spring just around the corner again, this seems like the perfect time to finally get it done. 

Growing up I was taught that dandelions were weeds and part of my regular “chores” was to rid the front yard of them before the flowers got all “puff-bally” and turned to seed. After putting this post together, I am thankfully less clue-less 🙂 and amazed by the many uses dandelions have and consider us very fortunate to have them around. Often I’ll pick some leaves for a salad or the bright yellow flowers to add a little color to the room and them later use them in a tea. 

 

uses for dandelions

Dandelion – A Backyard Herb with Many Benefits

Did you know you’ve probably pulled, stomped or sprayed a natural superfood that grows in your backyard? Dandelion is mostly known as a backyard weed, but it has amazing nutrient qualities and health promoting properties.

All the parts of the plant can be used in various ways though the roots and leaves are the most commonly used as herbs. Who knew that this plant with puffy flowers that grant childhood wishes could offer so much benefit?

Dandelion Root and Leaves

Dandelion is a source of a variety of nutrients and the leaves and root contain Vitamins (like A, C, K and B-vitamins) as well as minerals (including magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and choline). The various parts of the plant have a long history of use as an herbal remedy, and every documented population in areas where it grows naturally has used it medicinally.

It also serves as an abundant natural food source, as all parts of the plant can be eaten. The root is often roasted and used in teas or consumed whole. The leaves make a great addition to salads or other dishes requiring greens and the flowers (while still yellow), can be eaten raw, cooked or even made into wine!

Traditional cultures have used dandelion to support digestive and hormone health and it was often consumed to support lactation or to help remedy issues like urinary tract infections.

Dandelion - a backyard herb with many benefits

Benefits of Dandelion

According to the How To Herb Book, this backyard superfood is beneficial in many ways, including:

Liver Support and Detoxification

Dandelion has been used for years by various cultures to support healthy liver function and natural detoxification in the body. Though it hasn’t been well studied, many people with hepatitis turn to it to help support the liver. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that:

In the past, roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, dandelion was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

Personal Note: Was just reading an article about Nick Polizzi’s 3 favorite herbs and dandelion made the list. Here’s part of what he wrote:

Its common name is a corruption of the French “Dent de Lion” or “lions tooth” – a reference to its jagged, toothlike leaves.

My friend and wild food expert, Daniel Vitalis, says that the herbs that our body needs the most tend to grow within a mile of us, just another way that mother earth looks out for her children.

To put it simply, dandelions are your liver’s best friend. Yes, your liver, the second largest organ in your body, which among many other duties serves as your body’s filter. If you have been eating “naughtily” and feel as though you have gunkily guk (my own scientific term) built up inside of you, the first course of action is to a) change your diet and b) nurture your liver so that it can process the toxins you’ve ingested and safely remove them from your system.

The best liver cleanser I know of is freshly brewed dandelion root tea. And I’m not alone in this theory. Folk healers and doctors were prescribing this long before our time. Another delicious way to promote liver health is to add dandelion greens to salads or sauté them alongside your protein.

Source: http://www.thesacredscience.com/3-ancient-medicines-that-already-live-in-your-home/

Female Health and Hormone Balance

Due to its high levels of various nutrients and potential ability to help support the body’s natural detoxification systems, dandelion is often used by those with hormone imbalance, urinary infection and recurrent mastitis. Though not well studied, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence from women who have used it to help remedy recurring UTIs or other infections.

Clearer Skin

Due to its natural magnesium and zinc content and its potential ability to support detoxification, dandelion is also know as being good for the skin. It can be used topically in applications like tinctures and poultices and many people also take it in capsule or tea form to help support healthy skin.

Good Source of Nutrients

Dandelion is a great source of many important vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and nutritive salts, which may help support blood health and increase iron absorption. I personally often add dried leaves to teas for a nutrient boost or use dandelion root in place of coffee.

Blood Sugar Balance

The University of Maryland Medical Center also reports that:

Preliminary animal studies suggest that dandelion may help normalize blood sugar levels and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL (good) cholesterol in diabetic mice. Researchers need to see if dandelion will work in people. A few animal studies also suggest that dandelion might help fight inflammation.

Uses of Dandelion Root and Leaves

Perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to remove this “backyard weed” if we were more familiar with the myriad of uses it has. The entire dandelion plant can be used and if you have a safe (non-sprayed) source in your yard or community, you can consider harvesting it yourself.

Here are some of the ways to use dandelion:

Coffee Substitute

Dandelion root is tougher and more hardy than the leaf and is often used in decoctions and tinctures for this reason. The powder is often added in coffee substitutes (my favorite is Dandy Blend). The root is considered a natural diuretic and is sometimes used for this purpose.

Poultices

Dandelion root and leaf are often listed as the ingredients of  teas and poultices for abscesses and sores, especially on the breast and in female health remedies as they can help support lactation and remedy urinary issues.

According to Mountain Rose Herbs:

Chopped dandelion root can be combined with myrrh to make a poultice for boils and abscesses, with honeysuckle flowers to make a tea to be drunk to treat boils and abscesses, with skullcap and/or chrysanthemum flowers to make a tea to be drunk to treat sore eyes, or with heal-all to treat hard phlegm in bronchitis. Can also be administered in capsule or extract form for convenience.

Dandelion Tea

The flower can be used to make tea and even to make some types of wine. The leaves and root can also be used in teas, though they have a stronger taste and are often combined with other synergistic herbs for flavor and increased nutrient absorption.

Salads and Greens

The leaves can be consumed fresh on a salad or in recipes as well as substituted for greens like kale and collards in recipes or cooking. The antioxidant rich leaves are the most diuretic part of the plant so while they can be consumed regularly, it is important to maintain hydration too.

Important Notes:

It is important to check with a doctor before taking this or any herb, especially in large amounts or if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Though it is generally considered safe, those allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies, or iodine may not be able to consume it.

Anyone who gathers dandelion from wild sources (like the backyard) should make sure that the area has not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides and that it does not come from an area where pets may have eliminated.

Source: http://wellnessmama.com/5680/dandelion-herb-profile/

 

 

And here’s more about how this powerhouse “weed” fights cancer……

 

A so-called “weed” growing right in your front and back yards could hold the key to being the most effective cancer-fighting compound in the world.

Previous research, as well as recent research from the University of Windsor in Canada, has found that dandelion root may be especially effective in treating and defeating cancer, and much more so than immune system-destroying chemotherapy.

As noted by the university in a press release, researchers are so sure that they have finally developed the correct dosage of the extract, that they are preparing clinical trials using a specially formulated dandelion tea.

Research director and biochemist Dr. Siyaram Pandey, Ph.D., of the University of Windsor, along with his fellow researchers, have shown successfully in the lab how the dandelion root extract causes cancer cells to go through apoptosis, or cell suicide, while leaving healthy cells intact.

“This is fantastic news,” Pandey said. “We’ve been waiting for this announcement for a long time and now it is real.”

The February 2015 announcement has special meaning for a project that was dedicated to the memory of Kevin Couvillon, who lost a three-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia in November 2010, the university said.

Destroying cancer cells within two days

The following year, his parents, Dave and Donna Couvillon, made a large contribution to Dr. Pandey’s research on natural extracts and potential cancer treatments.

“We strongly feel that Kevin would want us to continue to fight against cancer so that others would be spared such a cruel fate,” said Donna Couvillon. “Natural medicine allows one’s own immune system to be part of healing process and we wholeheartedly support this endeavour and the excellent research done by this team.”

The university press release stated further:

The dandelion root formula in use in the Pandey lab is about five times more concentrated than the extract that can be purchased over the counter and has been proven to kill leukemia, melanoma and pancreatic cancer cells in lab mice.

Caroline Hamm, an oncologist at the Windsor Regional Cancer Center, made an application to Health Canada in 2012 to proceed to human clinical trials

“This is huge, such a big. accomplishment,” says Dave Couvillon. “To see it happening is the first step and now we need to keep our fingers crossed that they get the right kind of results and we’re confident they will.”

The website Healthy Solutions reported last month that the trials found that cancer cells were destroyed within 48 hours.

From the University of Windsor’s Dandelion Root Project website:

Since the commencement of this project, we have been able to successfully assess the effect of a simple water extract of dandelion root in various human cancer cell types, in the lab and we have observed its effectiveness against human T cell leukemia, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, pancreatic and colon cancers, with no toxicity to non-cancer cells. Furthermore, these efficacy studies have been confirmed in animal models (mice) that have been transplanted with human colon cancer cells.

Additional health benefits

Clinical trials were opened to 30 patients, all of whom had already exhausted all other cancer treatment options.

As we have reported, dandelions have other health benefits as well:

The dandelion greens contain extremely important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium, folate, magnesium and manganese. They may contribute up to 535% of the suggested daily intake of vitamin K, not to mention over 110% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. It is believed that some of its flavonoids such as zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin have specific healing properties. Zeaxanthin seems to provide protection for the retina when confronted by the sun’s UV rays, while cryptoxanthin can potentially defend the body against the development of mouth and lung cancer cells.

Source: http://complete-health-and-happiness.com/clinical-trials-to-begin-dandelion-root-far-more-effective-in-fighting-cancer-cells-than-chemotherapy/l

For more on dandelion’s cancer-killing properties go here.

A short excerpt from a newsletter by Underground Health Reporter about using dandelion instead of prescription drugs for indigestion and blood cancer:

 Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid do the exact opposite of what you want them to do.  They reduce stomach acid!  Long-term use of PPIs may result in mineral and nutrient depletion and cause serious illnesses, including…

  • Pneumonia
  • Bone loss
  • Hip fractures
  • Infection with Clostridium difficile, a harmful intestinal bacteria

If you or someone you love frequently suffers from heartburn or indigestion, turn away from PPIs and look to bitter herbs instead.  Bitters such as dandelion and chicory stimulate the production of stomach acid and other digestive juices.

Dandelion For Digestion

The bitter flavor of dandelion amps up saliva production, which helps neutralize stomach acid.  Dandelion is also anti-inflammatory, meaning it can further soothe heartburn.  Herbalists also recommend dandelion as a treatment for arthritis, gout, diabetes, cancer, and liver issues.

You can eat the greens raw in a salad, cook the greens and/or the root, blend them in your green smoothie… you can even make a coffee substitute.  When using as a tincture, take 10-20 drops of dandelion extract at the start of a meal.

The common garden weed Taraxacum officinale is public enemy #1 to homeowners who want a nice lawn …

But instead of spraying these bright yellow flowers with herbicides when they first pop up in spring, you may be better served by pulling them out by the root and eating them.

While most folks spray or pull these yard invaders, a select, savvy few eat dandelion leaves in salads and stir fries, fry the flowers and eat them as snacks, and even enjoy dandelion wine and tea.

In fact, the reason we even have these flowers in American lawns is because Europeans brought them over to use their leaves as salad greens!

They’re also rich in antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and pacify raging free radicals for better overall health.

In modern medicine, dandelion flowers and leaves have been shown to protect skin from damage caused by the sun’s UVB radiation.

These leaf and flower extracts also stimulate glutathione, an important antioxidant used in cell generation.

Dandelion root is most commonly taken as a tea, which you can make yourself by drying and food-processing the root.

New Research on Dandelions and blood cancer underway…..

Most recently, the University of Windsor received approval to continue in a game-changing Phase One human trial … one that could change how mainstream medicine views alternative and complementary cancer treatments forever.

Very soon, 30 people with end-stage blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, who have had no success with conventional treatments, will help the world discover whether a super-potent dandelion tea has the power to save lives.

The dandelion root tea is formulated by Calgary-based natural health products company AOR Inc.

AOR spent about 18 months creating this potent therapeutic tea. The end product is a milled, extracted and freeze-dried dandelion root the color of mustard.

It is six to ten times more powerful than what’s available at a health food or drug store – or in your backyard. The AOR creation is not intended to be used as a supplement or like ordinary tea, but is being tested specifically for its ability to induce apoptosis in cancer cells.4

Health Canada approved the partnership between the University of Windsor and AOR in 2013, and trials are beginning in the next few months, according to our information.

The goal of Phase One trials, being the first of four, are to test the treatment in a small group for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range and to identify any and all side effects.

It will most likely be another year to 18 months before the results are in.

If it works, the researchers will move onto Phase Two trials.

Even though it’ll be a while before a dandelion root-based cancer treatment is available in the marketplace, it’s very exciting that these natural remedies are being taken seriously as medical treatments.

And you don’t have to wait to start enjoying your own gourmet dandelion creations … and take advantage of their health-boosting properties.

If you or someone you know is undergoing cancer treatments, it could be worth trying dandelion tea to relieve symptoms of nausea and to aid in eliminating toxins and waste from your body.

If you’re interested in trying it, do check with your doctor (hopefully one who supports natural treatments). Dandelion root is powerful and you want to avoid any unexpected interactions or side effects.

It’s so easy to make your own tea: just clean the roots and dry them out for a few days. You can process them in a blender and put them into empty teabags, or just steep the roots in water.

You can also purchase high quality dandelion root tea from your favorite health store or retailer. Some farmer’s markets sell dandelions as well.

Source: Cancer Defeated newsletter by Lee Euler, Editor

If you’re interested in making your own dandelion tea, here is a great recipe from Natural News Blogs, and here’s some good information about when and how to harvest dandelions that also includes a recipe for making a soup with them. 

p. s. A friend just told me that dandelion is not only good for your body, it is good for the earth as well. The root system drills through compacted soil, opening channels for rain, aeration, and earthworms; the deep roots bring calcium. I also meant to mention that bees like dandelions and they are an important food source for them, especially at certain times of the year. So having dandelions around is definitely a win-win-win situation!

Ever used dandelion? Please share about your experience in the comment section.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

A Simple Kick-ass Remedy For The Flu?!

 

Here’s a simple remedy to help with the flu from Dr. Kaayla T. Daniel. Wish I’d known about it a couple of months ago. At the time I used large amounts of vitamin C and a number of other natural remedies that helped, but it would have been interesting to give this protocol a try. I already have bone broth and use food grade diatomaceous earth on a regular basis, and have supplements that have grapefruit seed extract as part of the formula, but don’t have it by itself, so I plan to add that to my “first aid” health kit.

 

 

A Kick Ass Flu Remedy

There’s a major  flu epidemic out there. Even people who don’t ordinarily get sick have found themselves seriously ill this winter with incapacitating headaches, fevers, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and/or vomiting. It’s been so bad that people who say they would never see doctors, have been scared enough to head to hospital emergency rooms.

If that’s been you, this blog may give you the information you need to avoid a repeat episode. And if the flu hasn’t caught up with you yet, the suggestions in this blog can help you kick it back during the early stages.

This three-step protocol comes from my friend and colleague, Galen D. Knight, PhD, an independent researcher who has investigated the roles of vitalethine in immunological, infectious, autoimmune, and endocrine diseases. His flu protocol is simple, inexpensive and has worked for me and dozens of my clients and friends.

1. GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT

Start with a quality grapefruit seed extract.  My favorite brand is Wisdom of the Ages Advantage Liquid Concentrate.  You need less than a dropper full, which needs to be diluted about one to three with water. For an adult, this usually means about 15 drops in about a quarter cup of water.  Full-strength grapefruit seed extract will burn so keep it away from your eyes, ears and any mucous membranes.

The grapefruit seed extract alone may be sufficient, but you can also add St. John’s Wort, Elderberry syrup or other herbal and nutritional antivirals. Dr. Knight finds the ethanol forms to be the most effective and reports they can be added full strength without problems.

2. DIATOMACEOUS EARTH

Once you have successfully kept the grapefruit seed extract and the optional antiviral herbs down for half an hour, follow with a slurry of diatomaceous earth in water.  The dose is one tablespoon of food grade diatomaceous earth for every 100 pounds of body weight.  This product must be labeled “food grade” and suitable for human and pet use.  My favorite brand is Perma Guard Fossil Flour.  Another option is Wisdom of the Ages Toxiclenz, a product I’ve often recommended as part of detoxification programs.  It contains a mix of diatomaceous earth and inositol.

3. REST AND RECUPERATE

Allow your body to fully recover even if you start feeling better quickly.  Eat minimally but include lots of bone broth.  My absolute favorite ready-made broth is Lance Roll’s Flavor Chef.  No one does broth better than Lance.  And take care to get enough sleep, reduce stress and include fun in your life from now on!

WHAT TO EXPECT 

Many people find that symptoms such as dry heaves, vomiting and stomach upset are gone within an hour, provided this protocol is begun right away at the first onset of flu symptoms.

The antiviral herbs will help stop a sore throat.

The diatomaceous earth helps to absorb the often toxic die-offs created as the body fights the infection.

If the flu has already gone systemic in your body, it may take 24 to 48 hours to start seeing signs of recovery.  Don’t despair, as this is far better than being knocked out of circulation for a week or two.

Dr. Knight says his protocol has sometimes worked so quickly that people have set out for the doctor’s office only to recover en route, turn around and go home. “One can still go to the doctor if really concerned,” he says, “ but if started right away at the first signs of illness this often works so fast that you will be over it before you can make an appointment or go to urgent care and wait to see someone for help. Realize also, that when flu is epidemic, it is not a good time to sit in a waiting room full of hacking and coughing people.”

BE PREPARED 

Keep these natural remedies on hand as part of your natural first aid kit.  As Dr. Knight puts it, “It is very important to getting a jump on beating this before the flu pummels you and your family.”

Let me know how this works for you in the comments below.  And share your favorite tips too!

Source: http://drkaayladaniel.com/a-kick-ass-flu-remedy/?inf_contact_key=c2bb5d4d8eb06eb41ab370e52110c2c5b9e45d5d1599365fa1fd4693db91ad1e

And check out the power of quercetin for preventing and treating the flu, colds and other viral infections:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/02/26/quercetin-for-flu.aspx?

Related Self-help Health posts: Diatomaceous Earth: Great Multi-purpose Health Aid

Don’t Under-estimate The Power of Vitamin C

FYI, you can get vitamin C, quercetin, grapefruit seed extract, elderberry syrup, St John’s wort and other natural remedies at iHerb.com (use code CJG192 if you are a new customer and spend more than $40 and you will get money off your purchase). Plus, you can take advantage of their wonderful Trial Offer and Specials sections; there’s no sales tax, shipping is free on orders of $20 or more, and you get an extra 5% off on orders over $60.  

Vitacost.com is another one of my favorite on-line places to shop. Great discount prices, ever-expanding inventory, free shipping on $49 and up, and if you are a new customer and use the link on my website you will get a $10 off coupon with your first order of $25 or more. Woo-hoo! 

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Wondering About Which Flour To Use? Here’s A Great Resource!

 

This is one of the best sources I’ve found for having information about all the various flours available these days for those looking to get away from wheat. It does a good job of giving you an idea of how they affect your cooking/baking results, and the pluses and minuses of each option, so you can decide which ones will be best for your particular need. 

BTW, I think I have either cooked with our tasted products made with all the flours listed (including snack bars made with cricket flour :-))  except green banana flour. It’s great that we have so many more choices available these days!

 

Coconut Flour vs Almond Flour vs Hemp Flour vs Green Banana Flour vs Buckwheat Flour (and more)

 

Wheat Flour is Probably the Worst Flour for Health.  So What about Coconut Flour, Almond Flour, Hemp Flour, Cassava Flour, Buckwheat, Green Banana Flour, or Cricket Flour? Let’s Look at Alternative Gluten Free, Grain Free Flours for Comparison…

When I first began eating gluten free, there wasn’t much of a choice for alternative flours, except rice flour. I actually got used to using it, and was successful using it instead of wheat flour for most recipes. However, rice is a grain and a highly refined one at that, so I’ve begun to experiment with other non-grain, low-glycemic flours. All of them have differing nutrient qualities and different textures, so what works for one recipe, may not work for another. In addition, many flours, even if they are non-grain, can still be highly refined starch and therefore high glycemic. Not good! New types of flours are showing up everyday, so it’s hard to keep up, but here is a rundown of some of the top-selling Paleo, non-grain/gluten free flours.

Coconut Flour

Coconut has been one of the popular, Paleo-style, low-glycemic substitutes for regular flour. And it is gluten free and grain free, and tends to be low-allergenic .It is high in fiber, and healthy fats, low carb, and generally low on the allergen list as well. Even though it is a flour, it still contains a decent amount of healthy saturated fats, that are easily and quickly metabolized for energy. Coconut flour is also considered low glycemic and because of its high fiber content, it is helpful in maintaining stable blood sugar. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition show that consuming products with coconut flour will help lower the glycemic impact of the food. However, if you are using it in cookies or other sweetened products, keep in mind, the other sugars will still affect blood sugar levels.

Downside of Coconut Flour – Coconut’s high fiber content can be either good or bad. Coconut flour has a lot of fiber, and much of that fiber comes in the form of inulin. Unfortunately, inulin is considered a FODMAP, which is a type of fiber that can set off digestive symptoms in certain types of people who are sensitive to it. The high fiber, combined with the heavier texture, means very filling, heavy baked goods. Coconut flour tends to ‘suck’ up a lot of the liquids in a recipe, so it generally works better if you make adjustments for the extra liquids, otherwise you may end up with a very dry crumbly texture. Coconut flour can be a bit expensive, but is less than some of the other alternative flours out there. Some people who are allergic to nuts, may also be allergic to coconut as well.  Because of the nature of coconut flour to suck up moisture, it’s generally best blended with a fattier flour like almond flour, and that blend usually creates more moist baked goods rather than coconut flour alone.

Almond Flour

Almond flour is great for those who want to be gluten and grain free, and also follow a low-carb diet. Almonds, like other nuts, are full of great nutrients like L-arginine, magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, and manganese, as well as mononunsaturated fats.

Almond meal or almond flour makes a great Paleo flour that is non-grain based. Almonds are healthy fats, nutrients, and fiber. Although almond flour is heavier, it doesn’t tend to soak up liquids like coconut flour and works well for cookies and other baked goods. Almond flour is low carb, even lower carb than coconut flour, so it’s perfect for a low carb or Paleo or ketogenic diet and is also great for diabetics to keep blood sugar stable. It also has a delicious crunchy texture and works well for coating things like chicken or fish.

Downside of Almond Flour – Almonds contain phytic acid which can be a gut irritant if you consume too much almond flour too often. Almond flour is also high in Omega 6 fats, which can be inflammatory (in excess), especially if you eat a lot of almonds and almond flour—and don’t balance it out with a sufficient amount of healthy Omega 3 fats. Almond flour definitely does NOT work if you have a nut allergy. And if you have a tendency to be sensitive to oxalates in food, almonds should be minimized.

Note on almond flour:  Since this flour is more fat-based, it tends to mix well for baking with drier flours like coconut flour or a few of the starchy flours like rice, cassava, or green banana.

Hemp Flour

Hemp flour and hemp seeds are not the same as marijuana, so no need to worry about getting high. This flour is made from hemp seeds, so is gluten free, grain free and low glycemic, but high in nutrition. Hemp contains all the amino acids and is a great protein source, along with healthy fats. Hemp seeds contain a large amount of Omega 3 fats, although a good part of the oil is removed to make it into flour. Hemp is also rich in vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin. Hemp flour makes great bread and baked goods. Hemp has no gluten and works well if you have any kind of nut allergy. Hemp flour is also full of fiber. Hemp has a delicious, nutty taste, even though it’s safe for those with nut allergies.

Downside of Hemp Flour – Hemp flour is generally greenish-brownish, so if you are making cookies or a cake, keep that mind—it may taste good, but the color may not look very appetizing. Hemp does not rise on its own, so it should be mixed with other flours, or used as a flatbread, pancakes, crackers, or for breading. Hemp flour is not cheap and sometimes harder to find.

Cassava Flour

I used to think Cassava flour and tapioca flour were the same things, but that is not actually true. While both come from the cassava root, which is also known as yucca or manioc, tapioca starch is actually a highly refined and processed powder extracted from cassava root that goes through a process of washing and pulping. The pulp is then squeezed to extract a starchy liquid, which is then dried and bleached, and the remaining powder is tapioca.

Cassava flour, on the other hand, comes from the whole root, simply peeled, dried and ground. This means it has more dietary fiber, and overall is a less refined, whole food flour. Cassava is full of vitamin C, great for healthy skin, the immune system and an anti-inflammatory.

Cassava flour is starting to become more and more popular as a great gluten-free, grain free flour, with a great versatile consistency similar to regular flour, which makes it a great substitute for regular wheat flour, unlike almond, coconut or hemp flours. It also has a very mild taste and texture, making it work on a 1:1 basis as a perfect substitute for wheat flour.

Downside of Cassava Flour – Unfortunately cassava flour is not low glycemic or low carbohydrate, although it is grain free. Cassava has a very high carbohydrate profile—in fact, it’s double the calories and carbohydrates as a sweet potato, meaning it could easily create insulin spikes and high blood sugar. Because of the higher carb content of this flour, it’s generally best used blended with a high fiber flour like coconut flour and/or a high fat flour like almond flour.

Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat actually contains neither wheat nor gluten, and is not a grain. Buckwheat is actually a seed that provides so many nutritional and antioxidant benefits that it is often considered a superfood. Buckwheat contains a wealth of B vitamins, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron, folate, and bioflanonoids such as rutin and quercetin which are known anti-inflammatory agents that help allergies, strengthen blood vessels and prevent blood clots. Buckwheat is a great source of protein, containing 12 amino acids. Buckwheat has more protein than rice, wheat, millet or corn.

Buckwheat has the added attraction of being low glycemic, keeping you full for longer and helping keep blood sugar levels low. This also makes it an ideal ‘fat-burning’ food. Studies found that when diabetic patients consumed buckwheat over a two-month period, they experienced a lowering in blood sugar and reduced insulin resistance without any form of medication. Buckwheat works well for baking breads, muffins, crepes, pancakes and other foods.

Downside of Buckwheat – It’s tough to find a downside to this superfood. It is relatively inexpensive, medium-carb, grain-free, gluten-free, low glycemic, full of protein and fiber and other super nutrients. It may be a bit heavy to use on its own for breads, but it’s not bad. The only downside is that it is a deep brown, making your baked goods dark-colored.

Green Banana Flour

One of the newer grain free, gluten free Paleo flour options, green banana flour is similar to cassava flour in how it’s used. This flour comes from dried, pulverized green banana slices and is common in many of the warmer, tropical regions of the world, like Central and South America It’s not very common yet, but it may become one of the more common flour substitutes in the future. Don’t be confused—this is not made from the sweet yellow bananas that are eaten as a fruit, this flour is made from green bananas, and is not sweet—nor does it taste like bananas. The flour has a delicious rich, nutty taste—nothing like bananas. It is a bit heavier though, so use less than you would regular flour. Plantains are rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B, and C.

While green bananas are a starchy food, the starch they contain is resistant starch, which helps to maintain blood sugar levels without an insulin spike, making them good for people who are trying to lose weight or fight diabetes. Resistant starch is not absorbed by the body, so it mostly just passes through your system. This is what makes banana flour lower glycemic, and not as fattening as other flours, as the body cannot absorb all the calories in this flour. Resistant starch is also an excellent prebiotic, which helps to feed and maintain a healthy microbiome, improving your mood, as well as your immune and digestive system.

Downside of Green Banana Flour – Can’t really find a downside of this flour either, it’s an awesome, low glycemic, non grain, gluten free substitute for wheat flour. The only thing is this flour is not white, its brownish green, and is heavier and denser than regular flour, so it may make your baked goods less pretty to the uneducated general public. It is also relatively difficult to find as of yet, and somewhat pricey also.

Cricket Flour

I had to add this one in! Yes, it’s real crickets it’s made from! While cricket flour is actually made from dried and roasted crickets, it is an amazing gluten free, non grain, high protein flour. It has three times the protein of a steak and twice as much as a piece of chicken! It’s also full of vitamins B2 and B12, iron and calcim. Still feeling squeamish? It doesn’t taste a bit like bugs, you cannot find eyeballs or wings or anything else gross in it. It has a nutty, mild taste and is ultimately much more sustainable than many other plant-based crops used for flour.

Downside of Cricket Flour — Well, you the know, the obvious, it’s from—crickets. But other than that, it’s a bit expensive, and it’s not something you see at the grocery store—yet.  But cricket flour is becoming more common, and I think it’s going to be big in the future.

My recommendations:

I’ve been gluten-free and mostly grain-free for the last 10 or more years, so I’ve had lots of chances to experiment with some of these flours. Almond flour or hemp flour is great for a heavier, healthier, more filling flour. They make great cookies. I love buckwheat for pancakes, muffins, waffles, etc. Cassava is a great alternative if you want a ‘pretty’ fluffier looking flour that bakes well and is a good substitute for regular flour, and is widely accepted, but it is high carb/high glycemic.

Other flours worth mentioning include garbanzo flour, oat flour, ground flax, rice flour, sorghum flour, amaranth, and teff flours. My best suggestion is to try a few in different recipes, combine some of them, experiment and enjoy!

Mike’s Note (from NutritionWatchDog.com):My personal experience is that it’s almost ALWAYS best to combine some of the alternative flours for the best texture.  For example, we make various muffin recipes using a mixture of equal parts coconut flour, almond flour, and green banana flour (or rice flour)… this works well because the higher fat content of the almond flour mixes well with the drier coconut flour, and then adding 1/3 of a starchy flour like green banana or rice flour finishes the blend perfectly, while still maintaining a much lower carb count and lower blood sugar impact.  Blending 2 or 3 of these alternative flours usually ends up having the best taste too, whether it’s muffins, pancakes, waffles, etc.

Source: http://thenutritionwatchdog.com/forget-about-grains-try-these-grain-free-flours-that-spike-fat-loss-and-improve-your-health

And here’s some additional options listed in an article by Scott O’Reilly on paleo flours:

  • Arrowroot flour. The name is derived from the fact that Central American Indians used this plant-based starch to heal poison arrow wounds. They also used it to aid digestion and boost vitality. Today, there’s evidence that arrowroot flour can boost immunity and improve digestion. You can use this flour as a thickener and as an alternative to cornstarch.
  • Tapioca starch. This is an inexpensive flour that can be used to make gravy, cupcakes, muffins and pancakes.
  • Tigernut flour. The name is something of a misnomer because this flour is derived from a plant root (not a nut) found in North Africa and the Mediterranean. It reportedly helps nurture your good bacteria.
  • Sweet potato flour is loaded with nutrients like vitamins A and K. It holds moisture well and is ideal if you’d like sweet-tasting waffles or cupcakes.

In general, each of the paleo flours tends to have their strengths and weaknesses. In most instances, you won’t be able to substitute them at a 1:1 ratio for white flour. However, combining paleo flours (which entails some trial and error) can help you achieve your desired culinary and wellness goals.

 

Related Self-help Health post: Cooking With Coconut Flour

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

3 Free Events + 11 Immune-boosting Soup Recipes = 14 Great Health Resources :-)

 

A quick post to let you know about several free upcoming events, plus at the end there’s a link to 11 healthy, immune-boosting recipes for winter soups that look awfully tasty…..

 

First, there’s the upcoming Winter of Wellness  free event taking place from January 16th through 20th……

The New Year is an ideal time to reflect on the previous year and to set goals for the year ahead. With the nightly news overflowing with chaotic stories, it’s all the more important that we take care of ourselves so that we’re better able to play a positive role in creating a world that works for all.

Self-care starts with supercharging your WHOLE being… body, mind, and soul. So I’m glad to announce that our annual Winter of Wellness program will run from January 16–20. This special event is an unparalleled health, healing, and wellness series offering leading-edge solutions to many of today’s personal health objectives.

Winter of Wellness features more than 40 top wellness experts ready to share their practical wisdom with you at no cost. Speakers include Donna Eden, David Crow, Arjun Das, Gregg Braden, Dawson Church, and David Wolfe. And a big thank you to Dr. Robyn Benson for creating such a powerful summit!

To register for free, click here.

 

The 2nd event is the premiere of a documentary that should prove very interesting and informative……

Logo

You’ve seen the recent news about astounding stories in these microscopic miracles. Years of research have brought us to this pivotal point in medicine— …the miracle of stem cell therapy, a powerful scientific breakthrough that captures and harnesses the stem cells in your own body and uses them to heal and rebuild damage done by disease, injury, and even aging. There has never been a more promising development in the medical field.

But in the meantime, Big Pharma and our own government is limiting our ability to use OUR OWN natural stem cells – and they are actively fighting to limit use of stem cell therapy.

It begs the question: WHY?…

This documentary will be bringing you the latest breaking news about what’s REALLY going on in the world of S-stem cells – and you’re invited to see it for free.

You can sign up here.

 

And here’s an event with a more esoteric bent designed to help you awaken your potential for self-healing,  longevity and super-perception. It’s happening tomorrow, but there will be a replay link, if you can’t make the live presentation…..

The Shift Network

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
5:30pm Pacific / 8:30pm Eastern / 1:30am Thursday UTC

On Wednesday, January 10th evolutionary leader, best-selling author and human potential pioneer Gregg Braden will share the new science that exposes the limiting beliefs we’ve held about who we are and where we come from when he presents, The New Human Story: Awakening Your Evolutionary Potential for Self-healing, Longevity & Super-perception.

In this mind-expanding mini-workshop with Gregg, you’ll find out how these new scientific discoveries have the potential to change the way you think about yourself, your relationship to your body, to others, to the earth, and even to God.

You’ll also discover:

  • How new discoveries have overturned 150 years of scientific thinking — and why that’s relevant to YOUR life story
  • How to tap into your innate capacity to leap beyond self-limiting thoughts and behaviors and step into the grandest vision of the life you once thought was beyond your reach
  • How to access your deep intuition on demand through heart-brain harmonization
  • How to enhance your ability to self-regulate so that you can choose to create a powerful immune response, activate longevity enzymes, and move into the gamma state at will to access deep levels of perception
  • How to work with your mirror neurons to open new doorways to accelerated learning

You can register for this FREE virtual event here!

 

And here’s the link I mentioned to the soup recipes from The Food Revolution……

bowl of winter soup

11 Healthy Vegan Winter Soup Recipes (Comforting and Immune-Boosting Ideas)

These healthy vegan winter soup recipes are delicious, nutritious, easy to make, and can be enjoyed by everyone. Whether you’re looking for immune-boosting soup ideas, detox soup recipes, or something to comfort and nourish you, these plant-based soups are sure to please.

Mmm, soup — the perfect nourishing meal for chilly days. Soup can be a soothing and comforting way to get through the long winter months. But finding healthy soup ideas that you and your family enjoy can be challenging.

The healthy vegan winter soup recipes listed below will warm you up on a blustery day, and they’ll also boost your immune system during cold and flu season.

Each recipe is made from whole plant foods and features a rainbow of vegetables, which is important for optimal health. These recipes can be enjoyed by everyone, whether they’re vegan or not — and they won’t miss the animal products!

Some of these soup ideas contain protein and fiber-rich beans, while others feature antioxidant-rich spices. Each one is full of flavor. Which one will you try first?

Go here for the recipes: https://foodrevolution.org/blog/healthy-vegan-winter-soup-recipes/

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Free 21-Day Yoga Challenge + Other Tips For A Healthier Holiday Season

 

I’ve always been a fan of yoga and I know how good it is for me, AND I always feel better after doing it. But I have to say it’s never been my forté, probably partly due to the fact that I don’t do it on a regular enough basis. Hopefully this free series that I just signed up for being offered by Wanderlust TV will help change that, plus get the new year off to a yoga-y good start. Want to join me? 

 

21-Day Yoga Challenge 2018: Vinyasa for Life

Vinyasa for Life with Schuyler Grant

Whether it’s your first or 500th downward facing dog, our 21-Day Yoga Challenge with Wanderlust co-founder Schuyler Grant gives you the building blocks for a lifelong, sustainable flow yoga practice.

Daily 20-minute classes alternate between workshops and juicy flows to apply what you’ve learned. We call this format Lab + Flow. Don’t worry, you’ll work up a sweat each day! Stabilize your core, align your spine, strengthen your shoulders, and learn how to carefully and artfully balance on your hands and feet.

By the end of three weeks you will have the tools to safely practice vinyasa yoga for life. Build a strong house for your soul to play in!

  • Combine a Lab day with its Flow day for a 45 minute practice.
  • Whether it’s your 1st or 500th down dog, the 21-Day Yoga Challenge is for you. It’s never too early to develop, or too late to revisit, tools to safely practice vinyasa yoga for life.
  • Each day you’ll receive an email with notes from Schuyler about the day’s flow and a link to the unlocked session. You can stream the class online, on Apple TV, and you can download the classes in the Wanderlust TV app for iPhone and iPad while the Challenge is live.

Sign up now for free! On January 1st the challenge will begin unlocking day-by-day.

And check out these previous Self-help Health posts that include ways to deal with holiday stress and the propensity for over-indulgence, plus a recipe for a holiday toddy and some DIY ideas :

Holiday Toddy For Terrific Health?

Ear Massage: Holiday De-stressor With Multiple Health Benefits

Use These Acupressure Points To Alleviate Holiday Stress And More!

Holiday Over-indulgence? Try This Digest Aid “Cocktail”

Smelly, But Good Holiday DIY Ideas 🙂

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Cranberries: They’re NOT Just For The Holidays!

 

I have to admit that I really didn’t know how good for you and powerful cranberries can be until reading this article. I knew they helped prevent UTIs and kidney stones, but didn’t know they have  FIVE times the antioxidant content of broccoli, and rank highest among most fruits and vegetables. They also protect against tooth decay, cancer, bad cholesterol and more. YEA!

So on Thanksgiving (and throughout the rest of the year!) eat up! And try the recipes given at the end of this post as a delicious way of getting more cranberries into your diet…..

 

Why YOU Should eat Cranberries All Year Long

I just picked up a bag of fresh cranberries at the store and started thinking about this amazing little round berry that is spotlighted this time of year. Turns out it has some truly amazing properties! These bright red, VERY tart berries, are related to blueberries,  and they, too, that they are packed with amazing antioxidants and super nutrients!

Native Americans actually ate cranberries cooked and sweetened with honey or maple syrup—the beginnings of the traditional cranberry sauce, as we know and love.  Cranberries were also used as a red dye, but more importantly–as a medicine, they were used as a poultice for wounds and for preventing infections. The powerful tannins in them help to contract the tissues and stop bleeding, and some of the compounds in cranberries also contain some powerful antibiotic effects as well.

Cranberries and Digestion

Cranberries and cranberry juice have a reputation for being helpful in preventing or treating urinary tract infections.  The most recent studies now suggest that this little red superberry is beneficial for the gastrointestinal tract, prevents cavities, helps prevent kidney stones, aids in recovery from strokes, prevents cancer, and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol.

Compounds in cranberry juice can actually disable the dangerous E. coli bacteria–even the antibiotic-resistant strains. E. coli, is actually a class of powerful microorganisms that are responsible for a wide variety of illnesses that can run the gamut from urinary and kidney infections, to gastroenteritis (nausea and vomiting), and even tooth decay. These bacteria are altered by particular tannins (called proanthocyanidins) that are found in cranberries. The tannins actually prevent the harmful bacteria from adhering to our cells in the body, which is the first step in any infection.

Fighting Viruses

Cranberries are also pretty powerful fighting viruses—something that antibiotics just can’t touch. Antibiotics can only fight bacteria. When researchers exposed three different viral species of E. coli and the GI-related rotavirus SA-11, to commercially available cranberry juice, the viruses were all completely neutralized. This type of response, however, is dose-dependent, and you have to drink at least 20% unsweetened, undiluted cranberry juice (Phytomedicine, January, 2007).

You know that probiotics are great for gastrointestinal health, but did you know that cranberries also benefit the healthy probiotics that grow in your digestive tract, while killing off more harmful bacteria such as Listeria (responsible for food poisoning) and h.pylori (responsible for gastric ulcers).

Also published in this same journal was a study noting that compounds isolated from cranberry juice actually prevent the major cause of tooth decay.  Of course, if you eat cranberries loaded with sugar, you will defeat that benefit, since sugar is responsible for the growth of tooth decay. Only blueberries had the same benefits, but their protection was much weaker.

Cranberries contain quinic acid, which is an acidic compound that is not broken down in the body, but actually comes out unchanged through the urine. Quinic acid causes urine to become slightly acidic, which is sufficient to prevent kidney stones from forming. In patients who have recurrent kidney stones, cranberry juice has been shown to reduce and break down calcium in the urine by more than 50%, and calcium is the primary substance of kidney stones.

Cholesterol and Antioxidants

Cranberries have also been shown to have a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), and increased HDL cholesterol. In one study, participants’ HDL increased an average of 10% after drinking three glasses of cranberry juice per day–an increase that corresponds to about a 40% reduction in heart disease.

In this same study, subjects’ overall antioxidant levels increased by as much as 121% after three servings of juice per day. Increased antioxidant levels are associated with a decreased risk of cancers, aging, Alzheimer’s, and many other diseases, as well as heart disease. Cranberries also improve blood vessel function, so they can help individuals who already have atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries).

These pretty, red, phyto-chemical powerhouses are packed with 5 times the antioxidant content of broccoli, and rank highest among most fruits and vegetables. Compared to 19 other common fruits, cranberries were found to contain the highest level of antioxidant phenols and the highest free-radical scavenging capacity of all of them! Cranberries were followed by by apples, red grapes, strawberries, pineapples, bananas, peaches, lemons, oranges pears and grapefruits.

Cranberries and Cancer

Several newly discovered substances in cranberries have been found to be toxic to a cancer tumor cells—including lung, cervical, prostate, breast and leukemia cancers. The same Cornell study that confirmed cranberries as having high levels of antioxidants also found that cranberries had the strongest ability to stop the spread of cancer cells, as well as stopping tumor growth.

Cranberries have a pretty short season—they are harvested between Labor Day and Halloween and show up in your grocery store around October through the end of December. Fresh cranberries, which contain the highest levels of nutrients and phytochemicals, arrive just in time to add their bright red festive hue, tart tangy flavor and numerous health benefits to holiday meals. When cranberry season is over, cranberries are available as cranberry juice, or dried or frozen.

How To Choose Cranberries

Choose fresh plump cranberries, deep red in color, that are firm to the touch.

Firmness is a primary indicator of quality and freshness. The deeper red their color, the more highly concentrated the healthy phytochemical compounds.

Fresh cranberries have more antioxidants than dried; organic undiluted cranberry juice contains a high amount of the beneficial compounds, and bottled cranberry drinks and cranberry cocktails with added sugars or low calorie sweeteners contain the least—plus you want to avoid the sugar and corn syrup added to these!  If you choose unsweetened cranberry juice, you can just add stevia to make it sweeter, but without the added sugar.

Fresh cranberries can be stored in your refrigerator or freezer for a few months. Once frozen, cranberries keep for over a year. Once thawed, frozen berries will be quite soft and should be used immediately in smoothies, pies or other dishes.

Dried cranberries are sold in many grocery stores as snacks. Look for dried cranberries without added sugars or oils if possible. For cancer prevention, it’s better to eat whole cranberries, not just the cranberry juice.

You can take advantage of cranberries’ tartness by substituting them for vinegar or lemon juice when dressing your green salads. Toss the greens with a little olive oil then add a handful of raw chopped cranberries. You can easily increase your intake by simply topping off a cup of yogurt or green salad with a half cup of cranberries—or try tossing them into your smoothie, or sprinkling over your cereal.

For an easy-to-make salad that will immediately become a favorite, place 2 cups fresh berries in your food processor, along with ½ cup of fresh pineapple chunks, a quartered skinned orange, an organic sweet apple (such as one of the Delicious variety) and a handful or two of walnuts or pecans. Blend till well mixed but still chunky. Dice 3-4 stalks of celery, add to the cranberry mixture and stir till just combined.

For a delicious drink, combine unsweetened organic cranberry juice with your favorite fruit juice and sparkling mineral water for a refreshing spritzer. If this is too tart, try it with a touch of stevia added as sweetener. Sprinkle a handful of dried cranberries over a bowl of hot oatmeal, barley, or any cold cereal.

Try this awesome recipe below for dinner…It’s amazing!

Grilled Salmon with Fresh Cranberry Salsa

In a scene straight out of the TV cooking show series, “Chopped” I was looking to make something tasty for dinner and being in a hurry, I decided to just use what I could find in the fridge.

Hmm…an orange, cilantro, some fresh cranberries, and a piece of frozen wild caught coho salmon. Ok!

I decided to make salsa out of the cranberries and serve it with the salmon. I was delighted with how good it was! You will be too, when you try this recipe.

The tart taste of the fresh cranberries mixes with the sweetness of the orange and picks up the flavor of the salmon in a fresh new way. Your taste buds will be absolutely delighted!

Ingredients

  • 2-4 wild caught salmon fillets (sockeye salmon is great with this-it has a firmer texture and sweeter taste)
  • Jerk seasoning (I used a pre-made powdered rub)
  • 1 cup (or so) fresh cranberries, chopped with a knife, or lightly processed in food processor
  • ½ small red onion
  • 1-2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 orange, tangerine or blood orange, sectioned and cut in pieces
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Hot pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2-4 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp or so honey or maple syrup, to taste
  • Sea salt

Directions

Chop cranberries, and mix with orange, onion, lime, cilantro and hot pepper flakes. Season the salmon with jerk seasoningand grill or broil till tender and flaky.  Serve topped with cranberry mixture. Enjoy!  Serves 2-4.

If you want an amazing healthy dessert treat made with cranberries, try this recipe:

White chocolate bark with cranberries & pistachios

And here’s a recipe below from Danette May on how to make healthier lower-sugar cranberry sauce that tastes great:

cranberry sauce in a bowl

Link to recipe: Healthier lower sugar cranberry sauce


Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.