Sunday, 29 November 2015

Helpful Health Tips to Add To Your Knowledge

Knowledge is not only power, but also can also lead us to live better, healthier lives. Any knowledge that can impact our health is one worth knowing. Read closely, keep it close and please share with those you think should know.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

14 Convenient Uses for Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the world's oldest spices, that imparts a magnificent aroma to a wide variety of foods. But, besides its great taste and smell, cinnamon is also considered to have quite a variety of healing properties too. Many of its benefits derive from the spice's antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant prowess. You can smell it, ingest it, or apply it, either way, the health benefits of cinnamon are more than skin deep. These top 14 tips will get you going, and in the process, you may also be surprised to discover that this great spice has all kinds of ingenious uses too!

 In the Know: Learn to Identify Real Cinnamon

Before getting to its uses, here's a fact you may want to consider. Much of the cinnamon available  is not real cinnamon (Cinnamon Verum or Cinnamomum Zeylancium), it is Cassia. Cassia contains substances that have strong anticoagulant properties, which may be harmful to the liver when consumed in large quantities. It is easier to spot the difference between the two when buying cinnamon sticks. Though, it is a lot harder to identify real cinnamon in its powder form.

Here's how to spot the difference:

Cinnamon is a paler tan brown, as opposed to the reddish rust brown of cassia.
Cinnamon has a thin, paper-textured bark that forms multiple thin layers when rolled up. Cassia bark is thicker, forming just a few layers.
Cinnamon is more fragile, and can crumble a lot easier than cassia which is tough and a lot harder to grind.
Cinnamon has a delicate, sweeter aroma, whereas cassia is more pungent and full-bodied.
Cinnamon is very expensive in comparison to cassia, and it is a lot harder to obtain.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that there are no dramatic nutritional differences between the two and to actually notice the difference, you would need to consume it in large amounts. 

1. Use it Boost your Brain Power

Studies show that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory. It is the perfect spice to use when you are feeling out of focus. Carry a stick around with you and take a whiff every now and then. Alternatively, every morning, add a couple of dashes to your coffee or cereal - this will start your day off on a good note and will help you stay more focused and alert.

Sprinkle a couple of drops of cinnamon essential oil atop dry potpourri and place it in a small bowl, preferably somewhere that gets good ventilation - allowing the aroma to spread in the kitchen, near doorways , or atop the radiator. The room will carry with it a subtle hint of cinnamon, providing you with some year-round comfort.

3. Use it to Reduce Cholesterol

In a study conducted by the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, over a period of 40 days on a group of diabetic patients, each was given one-quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon daily, researchers observed that their triglycerides, cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels dropped.

4. Use it to Repel Moths

Cinnamon is great at warding off pesky moths. Just break 3 to 4 cinnamon sticks and combine them with 1/2 cup of whole cloves and 1/2 cup whole black peppercorns. Fill sachets with 1 tablespoon of the mixture and toss the sachets in your underwear drawer or hang them in your closets.

5. Use it to Treat Diabetes

The Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center also conducted a study on diabetic patients. In this study, the diabetic patients were given one-quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon over 40 days, after which, researchers observed that patients' blood sugar levels fell by as much as 30 percent. In another study, published by Fertility and Sterility in 2007, researchers gave half of their participants cinnamon extract, and the other half, a placebo. In 8 weeks, the women who took the cinnamon extract showed greatly reduced insulin, in comparison to the placebo group.

6. Use it to Promote Weight Loss

Due to cinnamon's effectiveness in reducing insulin resistance, research by the Human Nutrition Center at Tufts reports that cinnamon triples insulin's capacity to metabolize blood sugar. Therefore, the spice can reduce hunger and sugar cravings - leading to weight loss. Cinnamon is a particularly useful ingredient to have for anyone living with diabetes and finding it difficult to lose weight. 

7. Use it to Boost your Circulation

One of the health benefits of cinnamon is that it can be used to thin the blood, which in turn increases circulation throughout the body. This helps to reduce pain in troubled areas as well as supply oxygen to the blood cells. It is also a great dietary complement for heart attack survivors. 

8. Use it to Reduce Arthritis Pain

A 2008 study, published in the journal Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, researchers discovered that cinnamon slowed the breaking down of bones, ultimately reducing bone damage. 

9. Use it as a Light Bulb Diffuser

As odd as it may seem, cinnamon can be used as a light bulb diffuser to bring its scent to a room. All you need to do is add one drop of cinnamon essential oil on a cool light bulb. When you turn the lights on, the heat from the bulb will emanate the aroma throughout the room.

10. Use it to Treat Bladder Infections

Consuming cinnamon will reduce (or help you avoid) urinary tract infections and bladder infections. Cinnamon packs an anti-bacterial and antifungal punch, and it is also a diuretic, contributing to urinary discharge. 

11. Use it to Treat Insect Bites

To help alleviate the pain and itching of an insect bite, apply a mixture of cinnamon and honey. The duo will disinfect the infected area, moisturize the skin and heal it.

12. Use it to Relieve Cold and Flu

This use of cinnamon is pretty well known, especially across East Asia and Europe. To treat a cold or flu, it is usually combined with ginger.

13. Use it to Sooth Stomach Pain

To relieve a stomachache, combine honey and cinnamon. These two ingredients are packed with antifungal and antibacterial properties, helping to treat ulcers, as well as reducing gas in the stomach.

14. Use it to Prevent Food from Spoiling

Adding cinnamon helps to prevent the spoiling of food. It does so by delaying bacterial growth.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Many Benefits of Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt is the little known mineral that can fix just about anything. Named after the spring in Surrey, England, in which it was found, this mineral can be ingested or applied topically. Its chemical name is magnesium sulfate, and this natural remedy offers many health benefits and is something everybody should keep in their medicine cabinet.

Aches and pains

1. Body stress: Soak in a warm tub and add Epsom salts. When the salt is dissolved in the water, it is readily absorbed through the skin.  The magnesium ions can help with stress, as they promote serotonin production and lessen adrenaline’s impact. Magnesium also helps with the energy cell production, reducing restlessness and anxiety.

2. Pain and cramping: A long soak can also offer relief to pained muscles and inflamed joints. The therapeutic salt bath also works at soothing abdominal cramps, tension headaches, and tired feet.

3. Constipation: When ingested, Epsom salts also moonlight as saline laxatives. You can drink a cup of warm water with two tablespoons of salt dissolved in it to sooth constipation. However, it is not recommended that you use this remedy more than once per day and it's best to consult your doctor if symptoms persist.
Medical purposes

4. Clean arteries: Epsom salts offer relief to the health of your arteries by decreasing inflammation and protecting your arteries' elasticity. This can help improve your circulation and ward off cardiovascular illness, with less risk of clots, plaque buildup, and arterial wall damage. To reap the benefits, soak in a bath of Epsom salts three to four times a week.

5. Blood sugar regulator: Both the magnesium and sulfate in Epsom salts help the body produce and use insulin better. With regular oral or transdermal Epsom salt intake your blood sugar can be better regulated, resulting in improved daily energy levels and a lowered risk for diabetes.

6. Nerve function: Epsom salts facilitate many enzymatic functions. Their positive effects on the body include regulating fluid retention in cells and using calcium to transmit chemical signals in the nervous system.

7. Healthy feet: Not only will soaking your feet in Epsom salts relieve those daily aches and pains, but it also can treat athlete’s foot, reducing the itching and burning, and help heal toe nail fungal infections.

First aid

8. Splinters: Loosen a splinter by soaking the inflicted body part in warm water with Epsom salts. The mineral acts as an anti-inflammatory around the wound and will soften the splinter, allowing for easy removal.

9. Sprains and bruises: Adding two cups of the salt to a warm bath can help alleviate inflammation and pain caused by sprains and bruises. Soak in the tub and the pain will soon be lessened.

Beauty routine

10. Exfoliate the skin: Take a handful of the salt and rub it gently over damp skin, to remove dead skin cells. Your skin will be left looking healthier and feeling soft. This method is suitable for your hands, feet and any other skin areas that need exfoliating.

11. Face cleanser: Add a teaspoon of Epsom salts to your regular cleanser or make your own clarifying treatment with this recipe:
Chop a ripe tomato finely and mix it with a pureed egg white.

Add to this half a teaspoon of vitamin B5 powder, 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel, 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts and a few drops of thyme essential oil.

Apply this mixture to your face and leave it on for 15 minutes.
Rinse it off with lukewarm water.

12. Loosen blackheads: You can use the salts to remove oil from your pores and dead skin cells. Exfoliate to remove any dead skin from around the blackheads. In half a cup of hot water, mix a teaspoon of Epsom salts with four drops of iodine, stirring until the salts are completely dissolved. Let the mixture cool down a bit and then massage this onto the blackheads. Let the treatment dry completely and then was your face with warm water, patting dry with a cloth.

13. Hair product buildup: Remove any excess hairspray or other styling products from you hair by mixing 1 cup of Epsom salt and 1 cup lemon juice into a gallon of water (3.8 liters). Let this solution sit for 24 hours before you start using it. Pour the concoction over your hair. Leave it in for 20 minutes and then wash and condition your hair after.

Around the house

14. Household hand wash: As an alternative to store-bought hand cleaners, mix Epsom salts with baby oil for soft and clean hands. Store in bottles and stash them next to the sinks in your home.

15. Gardening helper: You can use Epsom salts to help your garden grow. You can use it to fertilize plants and grass, facilitate plants nutrient absorption, prevent leaf curling, remove insects or stop a slug infestation.

16. Clean pots and pans: To treat really dirty dishes pour some Epsom salt into the water as it helps grime come off easier. The salt's abrasive texture helps loosen the food without leaving your pots and pans damaged.

17. Tile and grout cleaner: For an effective tile and grout dirt remover, mix equal parts Epsom salts and liquid dish detergent together. Scrub dirty or stained surfaces with this, allowing the mix to soak in for 2 minutes. The grime is loosened effortlessly. Rinse clean after.

18. Remove detergent buildup: Unwanted gunk builds up on the inside of your washing machine over time. Remove detergent buildup with Epsom salts to protect your washer and see it running efficiently. Run an empty cycle with hot water, a quart of white vinegar and a cup of Epsom salt. After a minute stop the cycle and let the solution soak for an hour.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Remedies for Nighttime Leg Cramps

 Addition to causing you searing pain, leg muscle cramps can wake you up in the middle of the night and disturb your sleep. Research has found that these spasms tend to increase during the summer season. Most of the time, this is caused by dehydration and the loss of electrolytes, which can cause spasms. Toxins from smoking and heavy alcohol consumption can also affect the balance of electrolytes in your body and increase the likelihood of cramping.
Natural Remedies You Can Try at Home.

Drink water or Gatorade before bed. Heavy exercise and low fluid intake can cause dehydration. Doctors recommend drinking water or electrolyte filled drinks like Gatorade before retiring to sleep. Water naturally relieves cramps and hydrates the muscles, while the mineral filled drinks ensure your electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium, are not depleted.

Place a bar of soap in bed. This strange old wives’ tale is surprisingly effective and medical authorities even endorse it. Place a bar of soap between the mattress and bottom sheet. Experts speculate that it might be effective due to the emissions from the soap, or the gentle pressure that it puts on the muscle when you randomly toss and turn during the night.

Stretching exercises. You don’t need to do a whole workout before bed, but 3 minutes of stretching can prevent mid-sleep leg cramp disturbances. You can try a standing calf stretch. Place one leg in front of the other and bend the knee while extending the back leg. You should feel a relieving pull in the muscle. If you are prone to cramping in the upper leg, try a hamstring stretch. Put your feet together and do a standing forward bend at the hips. Hold this pose for 20 seconds.

Potassium and magnesium. When your body has a mineral deficiency, it makes it difficult for the heart to push enough blood down to your legs. Magnesium regulates the muscle and nerve functions, blood pressure and blood sugar levels; while potassium has a similar function but also plays a part in water regulation. Combined together, these two minerals can encourage effective prevention against cramping and certain foods are rich in one or the other. Bananas are an easy and healthy source of potassium while magnesium can be found in nuts, lentils, and quinoa. It should be noted that if you have kidney problems, extra magnesium can exacerbate the condition.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Bring Natural Scents into Your Home - To make your home health

Like many other people, I enjoy entering a room that is filled with a tantalizing citrus scent or the fresh smell of pines. I used to spend a lot of money on room fresheners and perfumers, scented candles, and the s, but I’ve been reading about all the poisons they contain and realized that a pleasant odor is not worth my, and my family’s, health. Some of the chemicals in these aerosols have been linked to the onset of asthma and allergies.

Natural Home Scents

How then, did people make their homes smell nice before the invention of air fresheners? The answer is a natural one: If you’ve ever baked bread at home, you remember the incredible aroma that spreads through the house. When you mow the lawn, there’s a delightful smell of cut grass that lingers in the yard.

So how do you enjoy a lovely smelling home for more than a couple of hours? By simmering certain combinations of fresh fruits, spices, and herbs.

What you’ll need: Fruits (citrus has the longest-lasting effect), herbs of your choice, fresh pine boughs, extracts, spices.

The basics:

To get the scents you want out of your choice of ingredients, you will need to combine them all and heat them up - this article will show you a few ways to do that.

1. Stove top: This is the most efficient way to prepare and activate the scents. All you need to do is combine the ingredients in a pot, cover them with water, bring it to a boil and then lower the heat and let the mixture simmer. Make sure to watch the pot from time to time – if the water evaporates, your ingredients will burn, which doesn’t smell so nice.

2. Slow cooker: Toss the ingredients into a small slow cooker and let it work its magic. It will keep your home smelling wonderfully for hours. Keep the cooker on low heat, and watch it from time to time to make sure that the water does not evaporate.

   3.Candle/teapot warmer: This method works for smaller rooms, giving off a subtle scent. (If you use extracts, you can get a stronger effect)


*These are just suggestions, feel free to experiment with your own combinations.

1. Oranges / Cinnamon / Cloves: A powerful combination that keeps the house smelling fall time. You can also add allspice and anise if you'd . This combo can be reused for several days.


1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks / 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
½ tablespoon whole cloves
1 anise star (optional)
½ tablespoon allspice (optional)

2. Lemon / Rosemary / Vanilla: Combine fresh oranges and rosemary with a few drops of vanilla extract to gain a powerful, fresh smell that will fill the house.


3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3. Lime / Thyme / Mint / Vanilla: Another fresh combination that makes your house smell summer days. The mint and lime keep the smell fresh and the vanilla adds a sweetness that relaxes and delights.


3 limes
3 sprigs fresh thyme
½ teaspoon mint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4. Orange / Ginger / Almond: These are scents of the Far East. You can use fresh or powdered ginger, and use almond extract for added nutty aroma.


1 orange (or peels from 2 oranges)
Ginger root, sliced / 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon almond extract

5. Pine or Cedar / Bay leaves / Nutmeg: The small aromatic twigs will make your home smell a forest, and grating some nutmeg will make the combination feel a nature stroll.


Handful of twigs (pine or cedar)
4 bay leaves
1 nutmeg (grate the outer layer into mixture)
Final piece of advice: Uncooked mixtures can be sealed in jars and kept in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. You can also freeze the mixture for even later use.
Natural Home Scents

Friday, 13 November 2015

15 Habits that Damage Our Healthy Kidneys

It's hard to notice when we do our kidneys damage. Even if 80% damaged, kidneys can still do their job, and so we rarely realize they're on their last leg. Often, even common daily habits can cause your kidneys continual damage, and when you finally discover something's wrong, it's too late.

Our kidneys are incredible organs that work very hard. By themselves, they absorb minerals and nutrients, produce hormones, act as a filter for toxins in our blood, produce our urine and maintain a normal acid to alkaline ratio. We cannot live without our kidneys functioning properly. The Chinese, for example, have looked at the kidneys as a site of essential life force for centuries.

If you're serious about looking after yourself, then taking care of your kidneys should be one of your primary concerns. If you want to make sure your kidneys thrive and continue to serve you in the coming years ahead, here's a helpful list of habits you should definitely avoid:

1. Drinking Sodas

A study conducted on employees working at Osaka University in Japan found that drinking 2 or more soda drinks a day (either diet or regular) may well be connected to a higher risk of kidney disease. The study included 12,000 people, and those who drank larger quantities of soda were found to have protein in their urine, which is one of the first signs of kidney damage. However, early detection can reverse the disease with proper treatment.

2. A Deficiency in Vitamin B6

The healthy function of our kidneys also depends on a healthy diet, especially one that contains certain nutrients. According to a study performed at the University of Maryland, a vitamin B6 deficiency increases the risk of the formation of kidney stones. For healthy kidney function, a person should have at least 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B6 in their food every day. The best sources for this vitamin are fish, beef liver, potatoes, starchy vegetables, chickpeas and non-citrus fruits.

 3. Smoking

Perhaps not surprisingly, smoking has been linked to arthrosclerosis - the narrowing and hardening of blood vessels - which influences the blood supply going to all the major organs, including the kidneys. According to a study published in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, just 2 cigarettes a day are enough to double the number of endothelial cells (the cells that line our blood vessel walls) present in your bloodstream. This is a sign of arterial damage.

In addition, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology references a number of different studies conducted in the last decade that link smoking to decreased kidney function.

4. Lack of Exercise

Another good way of protecting your kidneys is to get some exercise. A comprehensive study published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that postmenopausal women who exercised had 31% (!) less risk of developing kidney stones.

5. Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is what helps our body to properly absorb and assimilate calcium. If we don't get enough magnesium, we get overloaded in calcium and, once again, develop kidney stones. To prevent this from happening, add some leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts or beans to your diet. Another good source of magnesium is fresh avocados.

6. Disrupted Sleep

I just love a good night's sleep and, as it turns out, so do my kidneys. According to Science Daily, a chronic disruption in our sleep can cause kidney disease. According to Dr. Michael Sole, Cardiologist and Professor of Medicine and Physiology at the University of Toronto, kidney tissues get renewed during the night while we're sleeping, so when we can't sleep without constant interruptions, the kidneys suffer direct damage.

7. Not Drinking Enough Water

One of the most important things for our kidneys is for them to get hydrated enough to perform their functions. If we don't get enough water in our system, toxins start accumulating in our blood because there isn't enough fluid to take them through the kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation recommends drinking at least 10-12 glasses of water every day. An easy way to check if you're drinking enough is to make sure your urine is a light color or clear. If it's dark, you're not drinking enough. You can check the color of your urine with this helpful guide.

8. Not Emptying Your Bladder Fast Enough  

When you hear the call to pee, you should listen to it. Obviously we're not always at a place where we can pee right away, but if you 'hold it in' on a regular basis, it will increase the pressure of urine on your kidneys, which can lead to renal failure or incontinence.

9. Having Too Much Sodium in Our Diet

Salt is an important nutrient, but a disaster when taken in excessive amounts. Over-consumption of sodium will raise your blood pressure and put a lot of strain on your kidneys. We recommend limiting yourselves to no more than 5.8 grams (0.2 ounces) of salt per day. So put down that salt shaker!

10. Consuming Too Much Caffeine

We usually drink more caffeine than we think we do. There's coffee, tea, soft drinks and sodas - before you know it, your body is full of caffeine every day, which causes your blood pressure to shoot through the roof and your kidneys to suffer damage.

11. Abusing Pain-Killers

Many of us have a daily routine of taking medications. When we suffer from pain, our first reaction is usually to swallow a pill. They do help the pain, but you should think twice before taking too many. All pharmaceutical drugs have side effects, and many of them cause kidney or liver damage. Check out some natural painkillers you can find or make at home. That said, some drugs SHOULD be taken, which brings us to my next point...

12. Not Taking Certain Drugs You Need to

If you suffer from high blood pressure and/or type 2 diabetes, two very common conditions these days, you will probably also suffer kidney damage. Don't leave these conditions untreated and take your daily meds to reduce your blood pressure and control your insulin levels. Without them, you're almost guaranteed to suffer kidney damage.
13. Consuming Too Much Protein  

According to a study conducted at Harvard University, an overdose of protein in our diet can cause our kidneys damage. When we digest protein, our body produces a byproduct - ammonia. Ammonia is a toxin that your already-hardworking kidneys need to neutralize. This means that the more protein we consume, the harder we work our kidneys, which can eventually lead to kidney failure.

14. Not Treating Common Infections

We all get lazy sometimes and ignore a simple cold or a flu, which can push our body to the brink of exhaustion. Studies have shown, however, that people who do not rest or treat their infections often end up with kidney disease.

15. Consuming Too Much Alcohol

Now this is a no brainer. The toxins in alcohol not only damage the liver, many believe, but they are also something your kidneys simply hate to deal with. According to Kidney Health Australia and the American Kidney Fund, one good way of avoiding kidney failure is drinking alcohol in moderation.