12 Ways to Eat Healthy During The Holidays

People eating roasted chicken and drinking red wine at Christmas dinner

You can enjoy the time spent with loved ones without sabotaging your health goals.

The Christmas season often involves reconnecting with family and friends over high-fat, high-calorie goodies, leaving you feeling guilty once the season ends.

You can enjoy the time spent with loved ones without sabotaging your health goals. It takes conscious effort and some self-control, but you’ll be glad when the holidays are over that you got through the festivities without kicking your diet to the curb.

 

  1. Don’t think that you are saving calories when you skip breakfast. It helps to keep hunger at bay and reduces the chance of over indulging in high-calorie snacks between meals.

 

  1. Don’t skip meals to compensate for over indulgence the night before. Getting back on track with your healthy eating plans is vital to ensure you get the nutrients your body needs throughout the

 

  1. Offer to bring a scrumptious salad or vegetable side dish to the festivities. That way, you know there will be something healthy and diet friendly on the table.

 

  1. Take along a healthy, easy-to-carry snack to munch on between the main meals. (An orange, a banana or a bag of nuts will do).

 

  1. Join in the conversation and socialize as you eat – it will slow down your consumption and give your body enough time to signal when it is full.

 

  1. Choose lean meat (turkey or ham) and vegetables before the fatty and sugary options. Leave those for seconds when you’re already partially full and less likely to overdo it.

 

  1. Prevent spikes in your blood sugar level by having a healthy snack or small meal every three to four hours, instead of eating a single large meal.

 

  1. Have antioxidant rich green tea with your dessert (or in place of it). It’s good for you and fills you up so you are less likely to take that second slice of pie.

 

  1. Choose red wine for the great phytochemicals they contain or carbonated water with a slice of lime and a few mint leaves, instead of sugary cocktails loaded with calories.

 

  1. If you consume alcohol, ensure you eat regular meals to help your body better cope with its effects. Also, alternate your alcoholic beverage with a non-alcoholic one to lessen your intake.

 

  1. Socialize away from the buffet table, so you are less likely to become a victim of recreational eating.

 

  1. Fit physical activity into your days to use up some of the extra calories you’re consuming. This can be an exercise routine, a leisurely walk or playing with the children.

 

Conclusion

Moderation is the key to enjoying the happy holidays – so go ahead and try the not-so-healthy stuff on the table– just don’t get stuffed.

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Acupuncture – An Effective Treatment for Arthritis

Normal and Osteoarthritis Hip Images

There are over 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions affecting over 50 million people. While the pain and discomfort from arthritis can severely impact the quality of life for arthritis sufferers, acupuncture is an effective method of treating certain types of arthritis and its symptoms.

Related: Acupuncture Treatment for Hip Pain

Common Types Of Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in joints is worn away by bones rubbing together. It results in pain which may become chronic, swelling, redness and stiffness in the joints which eventually lose strength. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include family history, obesity, age and previous injuries.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the body’s immune system attacking joints causing them to become inflamed and eroded. This can lead to damage to other body parts, such as the eyes and lungs. Rheumatoid arthritis is triggered by genetic factors and environmental conditions such as smoking.
  • Infectious arthritis occurs when joint inflammation is caused by microorganisms (bacteria, viruses or fungi). These enter the body as a result of food poisoning, a sexually transmitted disease or a blood-to-blood infection such as hepatitis-C. Infectious arthritis is often cleared up with the use of antibiotics, but it can become chronic.
  • Metabolic arthritis, also called gout, is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. The acid crystallizes in the joints causing sudden, excruciating and debilitating pain, often in the big toe, but also in the heel, ankle, hand, wrist and elbow.

 

Acupuncture Treatment for Arthritis

Acupuncture views the flow of energy (or Qi) in the body as vital to health and wellness. Qi flows along meridians in the body and it is when that flow is interrupted or blocked that illness such as arthritis develops. Acupuncture targets the specific symptoms that arise in each individual’s case of the disease.

The acupuncturist will interview and examine you to determine your diet, lifestyle, the onset of the condition, your signs and symptoms. Upon diagnosis, an individualized treatment plan will be developed. This may incorporate treatment with different acupuncture points, herbs, and recommendations as to diet and lifestyle changes.

The acupuncture points to be treated may be at the site of discomfort, or elsewhere on the body along a related meridian. The placement of the needles, the length of time for which they remain in place and whether or not heat or electrical stimulation is applied, are all are carefully considered in order to remove blockages to the free flow of Qi.

Milder symptoms may be alleviated with the first few treatments, but chronic symptoms often require multiple, on-going treatments for a more noticeable relief. Treatments are typically administered once or twice a week.

You may no longer need to constantly suffer from the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. Acupuncture could provide relieve and restore wellness to persons affected by this disease.

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Improve Your Digestive Health with Acupuncture

Digestive system of humans, Male and Female Anatomy

Acupuncture can be an excellent choice to naturally treat digestive disorders and maintaining digestive health.

The digestive system runs downwards through almost the entire body.  Its tissues, glands and organs work closely together and with other organs throughout the body.

Problems in any part of the system can have negative consequences for the individual’s overall health.

What Digestive Health Means

Digestive health refers to efficiently processing nutrients and eliminating undigested material from the body. To do this, the digestive organs, which include the stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and intestines, must be functioning properly. Digestive health requires a nutritious and balanced diet, physical activity and maintenance of appropriate weight.

Factors that undermine digestive health include poor nutrition and eating habits, lack of activity, smoking and stress. Symptoms of digestive ill-health include indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain. Approximately 40% of people are experiencing at least one of these at any given time. Pharmacy remedies provide a short term relief, but quite often the symptoms return, and in some cases they become chronic. Digestive health problems are often warning signs of a serious illness elsewhere in the body.

Effects of Acupuncture on Digestive Health

Related: Acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The holistic approach of Chinese medicine is perhaps one of the reasons for acupuncture being so effective in regaining and maintaining digestive health. In addition to the needle treatment, the acupuncturist seeks to understand your lifestyle habits that impact your physical health.

Chinese medicine views the body as having 12 primary meridians and 8 extraordinary meridians. Energy or Qi must flow freely along these meridians to maintain a healthy balance within in the body’s systems. Acupuncture is the practice of promoting the flow of Qi by stimulating specific sets of 362 acupuncture points along the meridians.

To treat digestive problems, the acupuncturist may select points on the torso, and points that may seem unrelated to your digestive system (on the arms and legs, for instance). This is done in an effort to remove blockages along the meridians allowing health-giving Qi to flow. This promotes the smooth downward movement that is necessary in the digestive tract.

Chronic heartburn and other problems affecting the upper parts of the digestive system respond very well to acupuncture. Acupuncture enhances digestion and helps control secretion of stomach acids, thereby causing less acid to back-up into the esophagus. Furthermore, acupuncture lessens the perception of pain in the esophagus and GI tract.

Acupuncture helps the body to absorb nutrients and then to assimilate them. It also enhances the elimination of waste products.  In so doing, acupuncture plays a role in stemming the occurrence of digestion related issues such as anemia, loose bowels, constipation, bloating and excess weight. There might be a reduction in the instances of gallstones, kidney stones, autoimmune disorders and chronic inflammation.

Acupuncture can be an excellent choice to naturally treat digestive disorders and maintaining digestive health.

 

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Achieving Success

Apple Founder Steve Jobs Quotes

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” –Steve Jobs

In this article we will apply the Apple founder’s words, to the thing we each desire most in life – success.

 “… don’t waste (time) living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”

Do not try to copy someone else’s success story, since what they have achieved or hope to achieve defines them not you. The best approach for you to take is finding motivation in the philosophies, behaviors and attitudes of people you think of as successful. Identifying your personal success goal is crucial to achieving it, realizing you have attained it, and enjoying it.

Take an honest look at your life and where you want it to go. Determine what ultimate success means to you and how you can go about reaching it. You may need to break it down into smaller achievements to help you envision its attainment. Write it down!  Seeing your desired success goal on paper makes it more tangible, taking the idea out of your head and setting its actualization into motion. But, it is not cast in stone. Expect and accept that you will need to tweak it here and there as time and experiences pass by. Many successful people note that when they review their successes, it is the journey to success that they treasure most.

 “Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

This is not suggesting that you should shut out the world and ignore the input of others. On the contrary, you must share your desired success goal with those around as they can provide valuable encouragement and help you to remain focused. You must have the presence of mind to weigh their suggestions and discard those that do not mesh with what you are hoping to achieve and how you wish to achieve it. Do not ignore your inner voice reminding you of what you have set out to achieve. Ultimately, your success depends on how strongly you believe in it.

Conclusion

You cannot follow someone else to your success, but at the same time the road to success is best traveled in the company of a strong supportive group of family and friends. Welcome the support they offer but be confident in the choices you have made.

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10 Good Reasons To Keep Garlic Handy

Whole and peeled garlic

Throughout history, garlic’s strong aroma and flavors have made it an essential part of the cuisine of many countries, and an integral part of maintaining good health. Put the exceptional benefits of this powerful herb to work for you.

Garlic is known for its many uses in food preparation and for its many health benefits.

It is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and a sulfur compound called Allicin, believed responsible for most of its health effects.

Trace amounts of other vital nutrients can also be found in garlic, and the reputed bad breath effect of garlic can be avoided with garlic supplements which are just as effective as raw garlic.

Health Benefits Of Garlic

  1. Garlic treats acne scars, skin diseases, and allergies and is a natural topical treatment to remove blemishes.
  2. Garlic boosts the body’s metabolism of iron. Its sulfur compounds help increase the production of ferroportin, a protein that allows stored iron to leave the cells becoming available where needed.
  3. Garlic’s high sulfur content also contains the hair-making protein keratin. It stimulates strengthening and growth of hair, making it an effective treatment for hair loss.
  4. Studies have shown that a daily garlic supplement can help fight the onset and effects of the common cold by as much as 63 percent.
  5. A long-standing practice is the topical use of garlic to treat fungal infections. There is scientific evidence to support this use for fungal infections including ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot.
  6. Garlic helps relaxation of smooth muscles and widening of blood vessels, lowering the risk of high blood pressure. Its active compounds are comparable to the effects of prescribed drugs.
  7. Garlic supplementation can improve athletic performance. Not only was it used by ancient cultures to alleviate fatigue and enhance endurance of laborers, but it was also given to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece.
  8. Garlic is a heart healthy supplement, lowering the risk of heart disease by reducing levels of total LDL cholesterol. Additionally, it improves the body’s ability to dissolve blood clots that could potentially block arteries and lead to heart attacks.
  9. Garlic’s nutrients help to ensure bone health. For example, the manganese contains enzymes and antioxidants that assist the formation of bones and connective tissues. It also facilitates bone metabolism, and calcium absorption.
  10. Garlic is known to boost the function of the immune system, adding to general good health. Here are a few suggestions to help you incorporate this dynamic herb into your food preparation.

Getting More Garlic In Your Diet

  • Quick and easy hummus dip – purée fresh garlic, canned garbanzo beans, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Steamed spinach – sauté with garlic, adding fresh lemon juice for a zesty delight.
  • Tasty garlic mashed potatoes – purée roasted garlic, cooked potatoes and olive oil.
  • Add garlic to any and all of your sauces and soups.

Throughout history, garlic’s strong aroma and flavors have made it an essential part of the cuisine of many countries, and an integral part of maintaining good health. Put the exceptional benefits of this powerful herb to work for you. 

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Benefits Of Acupuncture During Pregnancy

Benefits Of Acupuncture During Pregnancy

Acupuncture helps to relieve a host of symptoms, assists with labor, and even aids in correcting a breech presentation

Many scientific studies have been conducted to verify the benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy.

They have found that acupuncture can be a safe and worthwhile complementary treatment during pregnancy.

For pregnancy, acupuncture helps to relieve a host of symptoms, assists with labor, and even aids in correcting a breech presentation.

Acupuncture And Pregnancy

  • Fertility – Acupuncture is helpful even before you are pregnant. Whether alone or with assisted reproductive technologies, it can improve the chances of you becoming pregnant.
  • Gastrointestinal upsets – Most women prefer acupuncture over medication, with vomiting and nausea related to morning sickness showing improvements from the first session. It also alleviates heartburn and constipation.
  • Pain and swelling – Acupuncture can help significantly to ease pain in the lower back, pelvic pain, swelling in the legs and carpal tunnel syndrome, all common during the second and third trimesters.
  • Breech position – Acupuncture (in conjunction with moxibustion) relaxes the muscles in the uterus and abdomen, as it controls the movements of the uterus. This creates the ideal conditions for the baby to turn.
  • Sleep problems and fatigue – Getting sufficient sleep is one of the biggest challenges in pregnancy. Acupuncture can help pregnant women get more restful and rejuvenating sleep. It also increases fuel production and energy levels, helping women cope with the physical toll of pregnancy.
  • Stress, mild to moderate depression, and headaches – Here, acupuncture provides a safe alternative to medication. It significantly reduces stress and anxiety during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Depression, which affects nearly a quarter of pregnant women, can also be alleviated with acupuncture, as can the occurrence of pregnancy-induced headaches.
  • Labor induction and shortening the length of labor – Acupuncture can be used to prepare the mother’s body for labor and delivery. It is also effective at reducing the length of labor and lessening the need for medical interventions.
  • Postnatal – Acupuncture assists physical and mental recovery after delivery, preventing fatigue and mood swings. It can improve blood circulation, leading to improved breast milk supply. Other postpartum issues commonly treated with acupuncture are urination difficulty, abdominal cramps, bleeding, hair loss, fever, night sweats and mastitis.

While acupuncture is not a substitute for Western prenatal medical care, it offers many benefits as a complementary treatment.

Related link: Research Studies of Acupuncture on Pregnancy Related Issues

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6 Great Health Benefits Of Ginger

6 Great Health Benefits of Ginger

Here is a look at 6 ways in which ginger can help to improve health, and some simple ways in which you can incorporate ginger into your diet.

Ginger, an underground stem or rhizome has been used for many centuries as food and medicine. It contains natural oils, the most active being gingerol, known for its superior anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Well known as an effective natural remedy for nausea, ginger is also a remedy for several other conditions. Here is a look at 6 ways in which ginger can help to improve health, and some simple ways in which you can incorporate ginger into your diet.

Health Benefits

  1. Ginger reduces nausea and vomiting due to morning sickness, chemotherapy treatments, sea sickness and postoperative upset. Ginger’s chemicals work primarily in the stomach and intestines, as well as in the brain and nervous system creating their anti-nausea effect.
  2. Ginger alleviates pain and inflammation, it is proven helpful in managing osteoarthritis, headaches and menstrual cramps. Ginger also eases pain in the stomach, chest and lower back. Pain caused by muscle soreness and upper respiratory tract infections may similarly be improved with the use of ginger.
  3. Fresh ginger eaten just before a meal opens the appetite then activates digestive juices for the breakdown of food and release of essential nutrients. The absorption and assimilation of these nutrients is likewise improved with ginger.
  4. Ginger has a warming effect that stimulates microcirculation – the flow of blood in the smallest vessels of the body. This accounts for its use to clear nose and throat congestion and in the treatment of conditions such as sinusitis.
  5. Abdominal cramps, bloating and flatulence may all be relieved with ginger. Some antacid, laxative and anti-gas medications contain one of the chemicals found in ginger as an active ingredient.
  6. Ginger inhibits the growth of several types of bacteria, thus helping in the fight against infections. It has been shown effective against bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontitis. It also inhibits the salmonella virus which causes diarrhea and the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) with mild, cold-like symptoms.

Adding Ginger To Your Diet

  • The flavors in ginger work well with seafood, oranges, pork and apples but you will find its unique flavor enhancing a wide selection of other dishes.
  • Add fresh ginger to smoothies or juice.
  • Spice up a salad or stir fry and add zesty flavor to your next fish recipe with fresh or dried ginger.
  • Grate ginger to make some soothing ginger tea, or simply steep fresh ginger in boiling water.
  • Add chopped crystallized ginger to a batch of muffins infusing them with its peppery flavor and hint of lemon.

Ginger has been a constant factor in both food preparation and many medicinal treatments for centuries. It can be easily included in any diet to take a full advantage of its many wonderful properties.

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Health Benefits Of The Echinacea Plant

Health Benefits of Echineacea Plant

All species of the Echinacea plant (also called American Coneflower, Black Sampson and Black Susan) are native to North America. All parts of the plant are seen to have medicinal value and are available in extracts, juices, teas, tinctures, tablets, capsules and ointments.

Description

A perennial herb of the daisy family, its nine species grow to 1 to 2 feet (20 to 30 centimeters). Commonly called purple coneflowers, the Echinacea blooms large showy heads of composite pink to purple flowers. The name derives from the prickly scales in the conical dark brown to red seed heads that resemble the spines on a hedgehog or sea urchin.

History

The Native Americans used Echinacea as a traditional herbal remedy more than 400 years ago to treat infections and wounds, and as a universal ‘cure-all’. Settlers adopted the use of the Echinacea and it became widely accepted and utilized. The introduction of antibiotics and lack of scientific evidence to back its value led to a steep decline in its use.

Recently, the Echinacea has regained popularity, in part because some antibiotics are shown as losing their effectiveness against particular types of bacteria. Additionally, there is a new up-trend in using traditional remedies to maintain wellness.

Uses And Benefits

The three commonly used Echinacea species are the Narrow-leaf Coneflower, the Pale Purple Coneflower and the Purple Coneflower or Eastern Purple Coneflower. Medicines are made from the flowers, leaves and roots of one, two or a combination of the three species.

The Echinacea is thought to help decrease inflammation; relieve pain; stimulate the immune system; exhibit hormonal and antioxidant effects; and directly act against yeast and other types of fungi. These properties account for the long list of uses to which the plant is applied.

Uses include fighting infections – usually the common cold, the flu and other upper respiratory infections, where it is thought to reduce symptoms, such as sore throat, cough and fever. Gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections and ear infections are also treated by Echinacea. Other infections treated with this herb are urinary tract infections, and vaginal yeast infections.

It alleviates chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), rheumatism, migraines, acid indigestion, dizziness, rattlesnake bites, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Skin applications treat boils, abscesses, skin wounds, burns, eczema, psoriasis, skin damage due to UV radiation, bee stings, and hemorrhoids.

Preliminary studies suggest Echinacea may help inhibit colon tumors when combined with cichoric acid.

Side Effects

Many intensive reviews have shown that Echinacea by-products do not usually present side effects. In the rare cases when side effects were observed, they were both mild and reversible.

Conclusion

Traditional use and scientific studies have shown the versatility and usefulness of the Echinacea plant. Professional herbalists, however, feel that we have yet to tap into the full potential of this amazing plant.

Echinacea plant (American Coneflower, Black Sampson or Black Susan)

ECHINACEA ANGUSTIFOLIA DC. Botanischer Garten der Universität Innsbruck, Austria

 

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