Burdock Root: Evidence Based Benefits and Side Effects

What is burdock root?

Burdock is an herbaceous plant of the genus Arctium which carries essential medicinal value. Grown as a short biennial, the root, leaf and seed of Burdock are used for treatment of a host of ailments. In Asia and some parts of US, burdock root is used as an edible food product. The plant is widespread across Europe and Northern Asia. The herbal root possesses strong antioxidant activity which is apparently more than the commonly-used vegetables and fruits. It is scientifically known as Arctium lappa but has other names like Bardana, Arctium minus, Beggar’s Butons and Burr Seed. In some countries, dandelion and burdock is consumed as a commercial drink. Continue reading “Burdock Root: Evidence Based Benefits and Side Effects”

10 Lifestyle Changes to Tackle Diabetes

Diabetes has raised as a top chronic illness, especially among the city dwellers, in the past few decades. People having this terrible condition are exposed to serious health risks, causing damage to heart, kidneys, nerve endings and retinas which are quite difficult to rectify. Yet, diabetes can be controlled by making certain changes to lifestyle, thus enabling a person to lead a healthy life.

1. Know the type of diabetes

Know your diabetes, whether you are suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Identify your condition well so that you are aware of where you stand and how much effort should be exerted to keep the chronic ailment under control. Do not take diabetes lightly. Make plans to live with the condition without allowing it to dictate your life.

diabetes-lifestyle

2. Avoid problematic foods

Avoid foods that can aggravate the diabetic condition. Lessen your calorie intake, saturated fatty foods, sugar, Trans fat and salt. Soft drinks, pastries, pizzas, pasta, hot dogs and other types of fast food should be avoided as much as possible. Carbohydrates have a big role to play in maintenance of blood sugar levels. Avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread, polished rice etc.

3. Take balanced diet

Eat healthy food with balanced diet that provides you enough amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Choose your carbohydrates wisely. Eat food that contains slow release carbohydrates which are also known as high fiber complex carbohydrates. Include fresh vegetables and fruits in your meals. Do not skip meals. Try to consume at least 3 meals and 1-2 snacks in between.

4. Reduce obesity

Obesity has been one of the main contributors to type 2 diabetes. Keeping weight under control will not only help in combating diabetes, but will contribute to overall improvement of health of a person. Losing even 5-10% of overall body weight can make a huge difference in reducing the onset of type 2 diabetes among high risk people.

5. Exercise regularly

Exercise is an important part tackling diabetes. Exercising regularly will help in losing weight; moreover it will facilitate the body to use insulin effectively to convert glucose into energy cells. When the skeletal muscles are used, it will take the blood sugar out of the blood stream.

6. Be stress free

Stress has direct and indirect effect on diabetes. On one hand, a person under stress may pick up unhealthy lifestyle and habits that can increase blood sugar level; on the other hand stress hormones will directly increase the blood sugar level. Relaxation, adequate sleep and being stress free can keep diabetes under control.

7. Quit smoking

People who smoke tend to have higher levels of blood sugar, thus making it a daunting task for the medical personnel to keep diabetes under control. Nicotine can increase the risk of developing diabetes in non-diabetic people.

8. Give up drinking

Consumption of alcohol is known to aggravate complications related to diabetes. If giving up alcohol is not possible than reducing intake and choosing the right drinks which comes with fewer calories and carbohydrates would help.

9. Take care of your heart and kidneys

Keep an eye on heart and kidneys, as diabetes is a leading cause of heart and kidney failure. A high percentage of deaths in diabetic patients are related to heart diseases.

10. Monitor your sugar levels

Plan you check ups and monitor blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure so that you know how much your diabetes is under control. Knowing the condition of your body will help you plan accordingly. You can see the effects of your lifestyle changes on your health, which will further boost your enthusiasm.

Top 10 Healthy Drinks to Beat the Summer Heat

During the summer, the sales of soft drinks shoots up to the sky, as the modern generation rushes to drink them in gallons to quench their thirst. Unfortunately, not many of them realize the ill effects of these drinks on their health. There are many healthy drinks that are delicious, that quench the thirst effectively and also have various health benefits in bonus. Let’s have a look at some of these most popular healthy drinks for summer.

1. Lemonade

lemonade

Lemonade is one of the healthiest drinks to keep the body hydrated and cool. Just squeeze out some lemon juice, add water, sugar and pinch of salt to have the healthy refreshing drink which is loaded with vitamin C.

2. Mint Juice

mint-juice

Mint Juice is another cool drink which detoxifies body, aids digestion and is a rich source of vitamin C and B, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and other nutrients. It can be prepared by blending mint leaves with jaggery (coarse brown sugar) or sugar, water, cumin powder and lemon juice to a smooth paste and straining it.

3. Coconut Water

coconut-water

Tender coconut water is being promoted as a sports drink in many developing countries as it contains high amount of potassium and mineral. The nutritious wholesome cool water of coconut is low in amount of calories, carbohydrates and fats but is rich in antioxidants.

4. Mango Juice

mango-juice

Mangoes are the seasonal fruits of summer. The mango pulp can be blended smoothly and mixed with iced water to get fresh glass of mango juice. Better still; blend it with yogurt and castor sugar to prepare the delicious mango lassi, which is delectable rich food that can provide energy for children to enjoy their summer holidays to the fullest.

5. Apple Shake

apple-shake

Apple milkshake is an extremely tasty and healthy drink that not only quenches the thirst but provides the body with much required nourishment, with the natural goodness of apple and milk. Add a dash of vanilla to perk up the flavor.

6. Buttermilk

buttermilk

Buttermilk is the residue left after taking the butter from milk, therefore it is less in calories, and fat free; yet contains all the goodness of milk. A glass of chilled buttermilk can invigorate a lethargic body, filling it up with energy. Its slightly sour taste creates alertness. The probiotic food, supplies the body with healthy bacteria that aids digestion, boost immunity and provide nutrients besides keeping the body well hydrated.

7. Watermelon Juice

watermelon-juice

Watermelon, the favorite fruit of summer can be blended with lime juice and sweetener to not just quench thirst, but also to improve blood circulation, get sufficient amount of nutrients and prevent dehydration during the summer heat.

8. Sugarcane Juice

sugarcane-juice

The sweet sugarcane juice can be a heavenly drink to the parched throat; in addition it has great health benefits. Consisting healthy unrefined sugar, it can be consumed even by diabetics without any adverse effect on their health. Full of nutrition, it can supply the body with energy to keep going in the sweltering heat.

9. Green Tea

green-tea

Iced green tea can keep the body hydrated by reducing perspiration. Along with antioxidants, green tea provides EGCG which can increase the metabolism of the body to a great extent, which aids in weight loss.

10. Pineapple Juice

pineapple-juice

Pineapple juice comes with great aroma, taste and flavor that endear it to all. A glass of pineapple juice can meet nearly half the requirement of vitamin C by our body. Pineapple juice is also a rich source of manganese, potassium, calcium and vitamin B6.

Top 10 Alternative Medicine Systems and Therapies

Alternative medicine is considered a safer and natural approach to healing, which exists outside the realm of the mainstream allopathic or western medicine system. Alternative medicine makes use of various natural herbs, massage techniques, diets, and therapies not just to cure illnesses but also to prevent occurrence of various ailments. Many people opt for alternative medicine when mainstream medicine fails to address their issue effectively as in certain types of cancer, diabetes, allergies, or chronic back pain.

1. Homeopathy

Homeopathy was developed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, who based his therapy on two principles; the substance that can cause symptom in a healthy person can cure symptoms of sick person and the more the substance is diluted, the more potent it becomes. For 200 years homeopathy has been able to address various diseases successfully using pills or medicinal drops which are exclusively prepared with extracts of herbs and chemical substances.

alternative-medicine-systems

2. Ayurveda

Ayurveda means ‘science of life’ in Sanskrit. More than alternative medicine Ayurveda is a way of life which is aimed at improving mental, social, physical and spiritual well being of a person. It is the oldest existing system of medicine which was developed by ancient sages of India nearly 5000 years ago. Ayurveda tries to balance the life forces, as it believes that imbalance of these forces causes’ diseases.

3. Acupuncture

Developed by Chinese nearly 4000 years ago, acupuncture stimulates specific points with a needle to allow free flow of the energy Qi in the human body. The needles do not leave behind any marks or pain.

4. Chiropractic

Started by David Palmer in 1890’s chiropractic used manipulation or adjustment of spine, bone and tissue to cure ailments. The treatment involves no administration of medicines or drugs.

5. Biofeedback

In 1060’s Neal Miller demonstrated that autonomic nervous system can be trained to function as needed. Biofeedback made quick progress and today monitoring instruments are used to provide patients with information that they are unaware of and treat diseases like headaches, stress, addictions, insomnia, and high blood pressure effectively.

6. Unani

The name Unani is derived from Unan meaning Greece from where it originated. This system was widely adopted by Muslim doctors in South Asia who were known as Hakims. It is based on the humoral theory propagated by Hippocrates.

7. Reiki

Reiki meaning life force energy is known to have developed in Tibet and propagated by Japanese monk Mikao Usui in 1800’s. It is a hands-on healing therapy which channelizes universal life force which is present in living things to balance the life force energy of the body. It is said that blockage of this energy is what causes all types physical and mental ailments.

8. Hypnotherapy

The therapy makes use of hypnosis to reach subconscious mind of the patient to create awareness of being whole and complete. It takes the person to the inner world to bring forth changes in the body through mind, by altering thoughts, behaviors and attitude towards life.

9. Aromatherapy

A gift of Greeks to the world, Aromatherapy takes advantage of the therapeutic properties of essential oils extracted from herbs, flowers or trees to heal both body and mind. The essential oils also posses’ antibacterial, antiseptic and other healing properties which can be absorbed by the skin to provide relief.

10. Hydrotherapy

Water is main source of life on earth which Hydrotherapy uses to treat diseases. Though practiced by Greek physicians, it was Vincenz Priessnitz who popularized it in modern times. It has been proven excellent remedy for sprains, muscular fatigue and aches. Whirlpool baths, sitz baths and other buoyant mediums are used to move bodies easily without much stress.

Others

Apart from these, there are a number of other alternative therapies which include:

  • faith healing
  • sound therapy
  • music therapy
  • reflexology
  • vibrational healing
  • theta healing
  • placebo effect
  • thalassotherapy
  • magnet therapy
  • balneotherapy
  • yoga/meditation
  • Alexander technique
  • aquatic therapy
  • art therapy
  • astral projection
  • Bach flower remedies
  • Bates method
  • bee venom therapy
  • Bowen therapy
  • chelation therapy
  • cognitive therapy
  • colloidal gold
  • craniosacral therapy
  • crystal healing
  • dianetics
  • dolphin therapy
  • pranic healing
  • Feldenkrais method
  • cupping therapy
  • heat/thermotherapy
  • physiotherapy
  • psychotherapy
  • gua sha
  • guided imagery
  • holotropic breathing
  • inner child therapy
  • iridology
  • laughter therapy
  • light therapy
  • mckenzie method
  • Moxibustion
  • myotherapy
  • Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)
  • osteopathy
  • ozone therapy
  • prolotherapy
  • raindrop therapy
  • rolfing
  • shamanism
  • etc.

Top 10 Nutritious Foods to Include in Your Daily Diet

Eating nutritious diet will help a person live not just longer, but also a much healthier life without being troubled by various ailments, weight gain and other maladies. Food should be chosen not just for its taste but also for its various health benefits. You should do well to include a good variety of different items like pulses, fruits, green vegetables, etc. so as to get all types of nutrients that your body requires.

Here are some super foods you should include in your daily diet in order to stay fit and healthy.

1. Apples

apples

As the old adage goes, an apple a day, keeps the doctor away. With their crunchy texture, delicious taste, and various health benefits, apples are desired by almost everyone. They are rich in antioxidants, which helps in building immunity of the body to fight diseases. They help in controlling heart diseases, obesity and other illnesses including cancers.

2. Oats

oats

Oats is one of those power foods that is consumed for its taste and health benefits. Being low in calorie but highly satiating, oats reduce craving for more food, provides fiber, thiamine, proteins, and lowers fats levels in the body. It is highly energizing and nutritious food which can keep you running for the whole day if consumed in the morning.

3. Sprouts

sprouts

Sprouts are highly nutritious food that are rich in protein, enzymes, vitamins and essential nutrients required for maintenance of good health. They are excellent for digestive tract, providing enough fiber for smooth functioning. Eating sprouts on regular basis can help in shedding those extra kilos.

4. Berries

berry

Berries are the super food that is high in fiber, phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They improve overall health and keep the body disease free. It helps in preventing cognitive decline coming naturally in old age, while keeping the mind alert and refreshed.

5. Sea Food

sea-food

Ocean is a primary source of easily digestible, high quality protein rich food that can supply our body with essential amino acids. It is rich in vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and selenium. It is excellent for heart and brain development.

6. Green Leafy Vegetables

leafy-vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are abundant everywhere, cheap and one of the healthiest food available to people. They are rich in phytonutrients, vitamins B, C, E, and K, minerals like calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and are highly nutritious. Green leafy vegetables are rich source of vitamin K which is not found in many foods we consume.

7. Eggs

eggs

Regular consumption of eggs can provide the body with nutrients, antioxidants, proteins and carbohydrates for its sustenance. Eggs are also source of choline which can help in prevention of breast cancer. Lutein and Zeaxanthin contained in egg yolks are good for eyes; in addition it can protect skin from UV radiations.

8. Nuts

nuts

Different nuts come with their own kind of health benefits, but all of them are rich in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Including nuts in daily diet improves bone health and skin condition. They also boost immunity and allow body to heal.

9. Broccoli

broccoli

A diet consisting of Broccoli provides the body with sulforaphane which can help in prevention of cancers by boosting the detoxifying enzymes in the body. It is rich in vitamin A, C, and K in addition to folic acid, calcium and fiber.

10. Yogurt

yogurt

Yogurt is a probiotic food that provides the body with healthy supply of good bacteria which is required for smooth functioning of the digestive system. Being a diary product yogurt will provide the body with animal protein, calcium, vitamins, potassium and magnesium in sufficient amount.

Whole Food Signatures: The Miracle of Nature

Nature has given clues to humans regarding the food they eat through patterns and symbols of the food that resemble an organ or a function. The ancient civilization of China, Native Americans and others believed that the shape, taste, aroma and color of the food had significant hints to its healing properties and health benefits. This was followed by Europeans in the 14th century. Later it was debunked as a myth, but now once again it is being considered an easy way to convey the message to people; since the signs are easy to remember and hence facilitates balanced diet.

1. Walnut for the brain

walnuts-for-brain

When opened the walnut looks like a brain, inclusive of the hemispheres, wrinkles and folds. Conveniently, walnuts are rich in omega3 fatty acids which are important for brain health. They also aid in development of neuron transmitters for functioning of brain.

2. Carrots for eyes

carrots-for-eyes

Carrots are loaded with vitamin A are excellent for eyes; could this be the reason that the sliced carrot looks like human eye with lines resembling the iris? Carrots increase blood flow to eyes thus improving their functioning to a great extent.

3. Tomatoes for the heart

tomatoes-for-heart

A ripe red tomato when cut shows it has 4 chambers just like a human heart. The color and the shape are indication that it is an excellent food for blood and heart and indeed, today scientific research has proven this as a fact.

4. Kidney beans for kidneys

kidney-beans-for-kidney

The kidney beans, named thus as they resemble human kidneys are now found to heal and boost the functioning of kidneys. Kidney beans contain various soluble and insoluble fibers which are low in fat, in addition to magnesium and potassium; the deficiency of which is known to cause kidney stones.

5. Bananas for smile

bananas-for-smile

It is amazing to look at the banana that resembles a human smile. Bananas contain a rare protein tryptophan, which converts into a chemical neurotransmitter serotonin on digestion. Serotonin is a mood enhancer which can fight anxiety and depression. What a hint!

6. Avocado for reproductive health

avocados-for-reproductive-health

Avocado can be considered a reproduction fruit. It has lot of connections to the human reproduction organs. It takes 9 months to grow from blossom to fully ripened fruit, always grows in pairs resembling testicles. It is also similar to womb and cervix of the female. Eating avocados balances hormones and reduces risk of cervical cancer.

7. Beetroots for blood

beetroots-for-blood

Beetroots are recommended for anemic people as they are packed with nutrients and iron which is an essential constituent to produce red blood cells. The beetroot juice which is one of the healthiest drinks to increase blood count looks exactly like blood.

8. Grapefruit, orange and citrus for breast health

oranges-for-breast-health

Stagnation of lymph in the breasts leads to breast cysts, fibroadenoma and breast cancer. Fruits like grapefruits, oranges and citruses which resemble the mammary glands improve the breast health by providing much needed vitamin C and boosting the circulation of blood and lymph in the mammary glands.

9. Figs for male fertility

figs-for-male-fertility

Figs grow in pair and contain small seeds which are considered to resemble the male reproduction system. Nutritional guides suggest that figs indeed increase the quantity and motility of the human male sperm. It is often used to treat sterile males.

10. Ginger for stomach

ginger-for-stomach

Raw ginger roots often bear a resemblance to human stomach. Since ancient times, ginger has been used to treat various digestive problems and stomach ache. Chinese and Indians have used the ginger root to treat nausea, upset stomach and morning sickness for more than 3,000 years now.

Top 10 Essential Oils with Medicinal Benefits

Essential oils have great medicinal benefits as they contain the essence of herbs and flowers in concentrated form. Some essential oils are inhaled, while some are applied to skin whereas some of them are even safe to be consumed for health benefits. So, which are the most popular essential oils and how should they be used? We have listed below the best essential oils with great medicinal properties along with their uses:

1. Lavender Oil

lavender-oil

Lavender is a gentle essential oil that can be used without being diluted. It has soothing aroma that can calm high strung nerves. The antibacterial property of lavender will help fight germs and heal bacterial infections, wounds and acnes. When consumed in required quantities, it aids digestion, cures headaches, reduces high blood pressure and heals respiratory problems.

2. Peppermint Oil

peppermint-oil

Peppermint is used in mouth fresheners for the lingering pleasant scent in leaves behind on breath. Peppermint essential oil is great healer of stomach ailments, itching, muscular stress and congestion. It is great remedy for PMS symptoms and also great for students as it is known to increase concentration and memorizing.

3. Eucalyptus Oil

eucalyptus-oil

The colorless Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil has been used for medicinal purposes for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antispasmodic properties. It is also a great decongestant which heals respiratory problems. The distinct odor of the oil has made it popular among aroma therapists who use it to soothe aching muscles, relieve headaches, cold, coughs and other benefits.

4. Sandalwood Oil

sandalwood-oil

The exotic aroma of sandalwood has given it a sacred status among many religions especially in India and Japan where it is a part of prayer and worship. It is also widely used in production of cosmetics and perfumes. It is used to treat mental disorders, skin ailments, acnes, digestive disorders, coughs and nervousness.

5. Tea Tree Oil

tea-tree-oil

The camphor like scent and various benefits of tea tree oil has seen an increase in its production in past 6 decades. Though it is not consumed orally, the application of tea tree essential oil is known to heal bacterial, fungal and viral infections more effectively than many over the counter medicines. In addition it is a great stimulator of immune system. It is widely used in cleaning products.

6. Lemon Oil

lemon-oil

Packed with strong citrus flavor, the lemon essential oil is also an antioxidant that can build immunity of the body against diseases. The lemon is sought for its health benefits as much for its invigorating and enriching flavor. It is excellent for skin, clearing it of scars and blemishes.

7. Basil Oil

basil-oil

Basil essential oil has been used since ancient times for treating digestive disorders, respiratory problems, fever, cold, cough and even snake bites. The basil aroma was also known to attract perfect mate for a person. It has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties which can be used to relax aching muscles.

8. Rosemary Oil

rosemary-oil

For those having problem with central nervous system, Rosemary essential oil is a blessing as it has ability to clear the mind, creating alertness and stimulating it’s functioning to a great extent. It can enhance memory, cure headaches, intestinal infection, varicose veins and diarrhea. In addition it helps to stop hair fall.

9. Chamomile Oil

chamomile-oil

One of the most sought after properties of chamomile essential oil has been its ability to relax body and mind, providing a soothing and calming effect. It is extensively used in aroma therapy to cure insomnia, headaches, chest congestion, anxiety, and menstrual problems.

10. Ylang Ylang Oil

ylang-ylang-oil

Ylang Ylang essential oil is great remedy for depression, anxiety, grief and extreme uncontrollable anger. Herbalists claim that just sniffing the aroma of Ylang Ylang essential oil can calm a violent person. It is also used as aphrodisiac.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Drinking Water

There is a proverb that says ‘All the important things in your life are free’. One of the best examples of this is water, which is the most precious food you can consume. Our body including the muscles, bones and blood contains water and our body consists nearly 70% of this life force. Being a very vital component, drinking plenty of plain water has lots of health benefits. Here are some of the major ones.

1. Removes toxins

Drinking ample amount of water is the best way to flush out toxins from body. Water is also required to keep the digestive tract functioning properly and prevent constipation. Water softens stools and helps in evacuation. The function of kidney is also highly dependent on water. Blood urea nitrogen is a water-soluble toxin that can be flushed out of body by intake of water.

2. Helps weight loss

water-drinking-benefitsPeople who eat when they are thirsty are highly known to gain weight whereas people who drink water when they are hungry before eating something can lose that extra kilo’s easily. Pure water has 0% calories, is a metabolism booster and is known to remove extra fat from the body effectively.

3. Essential for cognitive functioning

Since 90% of our brain is made of water, dehydration leads to loss of focus, ability to think, and concentration on a task. Drinking water is important to remain alert, energized and work effectively.

4. Good for skin

Water is essential for healthy, youthful skin. It replenishes skin tissues, helps in removal of dead cells, increases suppleness and moisturizes the skin thus keeping it fresh, healthy and smooth. Water decreases wrinkles, crow’s feet and fine lines from the skin effectively. Unlike many skin products that take months to show effect, water can make difference to the skin within a week.

5. Prevents headache

Water may not be solution to all types of headaches, but it is a proven fact that not drinking enough water leads to headaches.

6. Reduces the risk of cancer

Drinking plenty of water every day, keeps the digestive tract functioning smoothly which reduces the risk of colon cancer by nearly 45%. The removal of toxins and effective functioning of bladder reduces the occurrence of bladder cancer by 50% among people who are known to drink sufficient amount of water. Keeping the body well hydrated will reduce risk of other types of cancers too.

7. Keeps the heart healthy

Water is known to reduce risks of heart attacks and improve the cardiac health to a great extent. Scientific research has found that heart ailment is prevalent among people who drink less than 2 glasses of water per day, whereas it is less in those who consume more than a liter of water every day.

8. Prevents cramps and sprains

A well hydrated body does not suffer from cramps and sprains as water keeps muscles and joints lubricated, so that they function smoothly.

9. Regulates body temperature

Water is essential for functioning of cells and for regulation of body temperature. Water absorbs body temperature to convert itself into sweat and evaporate, thus helping in thermoregulation.

10. Promotes overall good health

Water increases the immunity of the body against diseases, increases metabolism rate, distributes nutrients, protects all vital internal organs, thus increasing overall good health in a person. For this reason doctors often recommend their patients to take sufficient amount of water when prescribing medicines.