Inflammation is a mechanism that shows that our body is fighting an infection. When an area is damaged by trauma or infected by a microorganism, it becomes inflamed and the body sends reinforcements like white blood cells and leukocytes to fight the infection. However, inflammation is damaging if left unresolved – and medications may have side effects – are these worth the pain they alleviate? Include the following in your diet and watch your inflammation subside without adverse effects.
1 – Raw Mushrooms
A favorite addition to soup, stir fry, and pasta, mushrooms have shown very potent anti-inflammatory activity when kept in their raw forms. A study by Gunawardena in 2014 revealed that White Button, Honey Brown, Shiitake, Enoki, and Oyster mushrooms were all promising on the anti-inflammatory front, inhibiting nitric oxide production, however these properties were lost during heating and cooking. 
You will often hear omega-3s as a healthy addition to your diet, primarily in improving cardiovascular health. But what exactly are omega-3 fatty acids? They are a naturally-occurring substance usually found in fish like tuna and salmon and have the ability to relieve chronic inflammation. They can be used to fight inflammation of blood vessels found in heart disease and inflammation of respiratory passages found in asthma and similar allergic conditions. 
Sources of omega-3s: fresh tuna, wild-caught salmon, halibut, herring, mackerel, oysters, sardines, trout, brussel sprouts, kale, mint, parsley, spinach, watercress
3 – Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, collard greens, and kale are rich in a variety of anti-oxidants and nutrients that help fight cellular damage. These properties make them an excellent addition to your diet in fighting inflammatory conditions like heart and metabolic disease and nutrition deficiencies. The nitrate content of leafy green vegetables even have direct effects on the body’s blood vessels, able to alleviate the symptoms of hypertension and cardiac problems. 
4 – Berries
Berries are not just delicious and full of vitamins, they have specific properties that help reduce inflammation in the body. Because they are chock-full of antioxidants like polyphenols and anthocyanins, they can battle the most common effects of chronic disease in humans – widespread or generalized inflammation. 
5 – Tea
Tea has been touted as the healthier alternative to coffee and energy drinks, able to boost alertness with added antioxidant properties. However, its benefits also include an ability to improve inflammation, particularly in mobility and metabolic diseases. Two recently published studies have shown tea to reduce inflammation found in subjects with diabetes and arthritis. 
6 – Fermented Food
Fermented food has developed a bad reputation in the US but it is a well-loved inclusion in most Asian countries’ fares. In fact, it has been well documented in recent research that fermented food is able to fight inflammation in heart disease, diabetes, chronic skin disease, and even neurologic disease. If anything, fermentation boots the benefits of a particular food product, making it healthier for consumption. 
7 – Garlic
Famous for its ability to battle chronic cardiovascular conditions, garlic’s cardioprotective powers lie in its high antioxidant content which fights vascular inflammation. Most heart and vascular conditions stem from chronic inflammation of the body’s blood vessels, which can become blocked or rupture. Raw or cooked, garlic is regarded as one of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can include in your diet. 
 Gunawardena, D., et. al. (2014). Anti-inflammatory effects of five commercially available mushroom species determined in lipopolysaccharide and interferon-γ activated murine macrophages. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24262531
 Skulas-Ray, A. (2015). Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammation: a perspective on the challenges of evaluating efficacy in clinical research. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25698680
 Miyata, J. & Arita, M. (2015). Role of omega-3 fatty acids and their metabolites in asthma and allergic diseases. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25572556
 Lidder, S. & Webb, A. (2013). Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22882425
 Tufts, H., et. al. (2015). Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway.Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Kenyan Leafy Green Vegetables, Wild Fruits, and Medicinal Plants with Potential Relevance for Kwashiorkor. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26236384
 Joseph, S., et. al. (2014). Berries: anti-inflammatory effects in humans. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24512603
 Heber, D., et. al. (2014). Green tea, black tea, and oolong tea polyphenols reduce visceral fat and inflammation in mice fed high-fat, high-sucrose obesogenic diets. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25031332
 Riegsecker, S., et. al. (2013). Potential benefits of green tea polyphenol EGCG in the prevention and treatment of vascular inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23871988
 Nestel, P., et. al. (2013). Effects of low-fat or full-fat fermented and non-fermented dairy foods on selected cardiovascular biomarkers in overweight adults. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23756569
 Selhub, E., Logan, A., Bested, A. (2014). Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24422720
 Lee, T., et. al. (2014). Dietary fermented soybean suppresses UVB-induced skin inflammation in hairless mice via regulation of the MAPK signaling pathway. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25144532
 Garcia-Diaz, D., Johnson, M. & de Mejia, E. (2015). Anthocyanins from fermented berry beverages inhibit inflammation-related adiposity response in vitro. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25079118
 Ho, S. & Su, M. (2014). Evaluating the anti-neuroinflammatory capacity of raw and steamed garlic as well as five organosulfur compounds. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25365295
Did you know that lemon peels are nutritional power houses? Seriously?
Lemon Peels contain a spectrum of vitamins, minerals and fiber (things like calcium, potassium, and vitamin C) that can give your menu a nutritional boost. And even though you would have to consume large amounts of peel to glean significant nutritional benefits, it doesn’t hurt to throw in some peel when you can.
Remember, organic will be your best best when consuming the peel to avoid eating any pesticides.
2. Lemon Pepper
One of my favorite seasonings, and easy to make. Check out Lemon Pepper Seasoning by Simply Scratch.
3. Candied Lemon Peel
Um. Yum. What more do I need to say? I love this Candied Lemon Peel recipe by Luna Cafe.
4. Lemon Sugar
Doesn’t it just sound awesome? I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s definitely on my “to do” list. Check out this Lemon Sugar Recipe by Baking Bites.
5. Lemon Olive Oil
Give your olive oil a yummy makeover for a bright flavor. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started.
6. Lemon Extract
Sometimes I’m amazed at the things I never realized you could make yourself. Like this lemon extract.
8. Herb-Lemon Zest Butter
Another “what more do I need to say,” right? Get the recipe from bon appetit here.
9. Keep brown sugar soft
Adding some lemon peel (with traces of pulp and pith removed) to your brown sugar can help keep it moist and easy to use.
11. Get rid of ants and pests
Place small slices of lemon peel along thresholds, windowsills, door entrances, or near cracks or holes where ants or pests are lurking about. I haven’t tried this one yet (living on the third floor does have some advantages… no big ant problem where I live), but apparently ants do not like lemon and will not enter your home. Lemons are also effective against roaches and fleas.
12. Freshen your Fridge
Place a lemon peel or two inside your fridge to absorb smells and bring a bright citrus scent.
13. Trash Can Deodorizer
Throw a few lemon peels in the bottom of the can. This will also help absorb odors and keep things smelling fresh.
14. Simmering Stove Top Scents
This idea has been floating around pinterest for some time, and with good reason. You’ll make your house smell heavenly simply by adding lemon peels to simmering water. Throw in some cloves, cinnamon sticks, and orange peels. This adds a wonderful scent and humidifies the air.
15. Clean your tea kettle or coffee pot.
To clean mineral deposits in your tea kettle: Fill the kettle with water and add a handful of thin slices of lemon peel. Bring it to a boil then turn off the heat. Let is sit for an hour, drain, and rinse well.
To clean your coffee pot: Simply add your lemon peels with some ice and salt. Whirl everything around a minute or two and the dump and rinse.
16. Sanitize your cutting board.
Lemon’s natural acidity provides great antibacterial properties to home cleaning. After properly cleaning your cutting boards, rub the surface with half a lemon. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing.
18. Clean your microwave.
We don’t use our microwave much, but I wish I knew this secret back when I did! Add lemon rinds to a microwave-safe bowl filled halfway with water. Cook on high for five minutes, allowing the water to boil and the steam to condense on the walls and tops of the oven. Remove the hot bowl (carefully!) and wipe away the mess with a towel. Yes.
19. Deodorize the garbage disposal.
Use lemon peels to deodorize the garbage disposal and bring that amazing citrus smell to your kitchen. Fake lemon cleaners have nothing on the real thing. Simply put a peel or two down the disposal, flip the switch on (with the water running), and done.
Bake discarded lemon peels until they darken. These create natural, fragrant firelighters. So cool, and just in time for grilling season!
21. Make drawer sachets.
Dry your lemon peels (either out in the sun or in a dehydrator) and place them inside of fabric sachets. Add spices, as desired such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and cardamom. Place in drawers to freshen.
22. Clean your stainless steel, polish your chrome, and make your copper shine!
This one was my favorite as we’ve had some nasty residue on our steak knives that I’ve been trying to get off for a while. Simply sprinkle some sea salt on the metal, and then use the lemon peel to scrub away any dirt, grime, or stains. Rinse and polish! This is one of my most common go-to uses for lemon peels.
23. Skin Brigthening Scrub
This will really perk your skin up. Go here to get the Skin Brightening Scrub recipe from Mommypotamus.
24. Nail Whitener
Whiten fingernails by rubbing with a lemon wedge.
25. Travel Sickness Cure
Suck on a slice of lemon to help you stop feeling nauseous.
26. Lighten age spots.
Here’s a fun use for a lemon peel: Many folk remedies suggest using lemon peel to help lighten age spots. Apply a small piece to the affected area and leave on for an hour. (I’d avoid too much sun exposure while it’s on your face.)
27. Soften dry elbows.
Use a half lemon sprinkled with baking soda on elbows; just place your elbow in the lemon and twist the lemon (as if you are juicing it) for several minutes. Rinse and dry.
28. Use as a skin tonic.
Lemon peels can be very lightly rubbed on your face for a nice skin tonic; then rinse (be careful around your eyes).
29. Make a sugar scrub.
Mix 1/2 a cup of sugar with finely chopped lemon peel and enough olive oil to make a paste. Wet your body in the shower, turn off the water, and massage the sugar mix all over your skin. Rinse off and bask in your smooth skin.
30. Make a scented humidifier.
If your home suffers from dry heat in the winter, you can put lemon peels in a pot of water and simmer on the lowest stove-top setting to humidify and scent the air. This is one of my favorite uses for lemon peels… especially during the holidays.
31. Make a foot soak.
Boil citrus rinds for several minutes. Allow to cool completely and strain. Add ¼ cup cow or almond milk, 2 tablespoons of cold pressed olive oil and a couple of drops of lemon essential oil. Soak feet for about 20 minutes and then pat dry to moisturize and soften feet.
The pomegranate has helped immensely in my weight loss and health improvement journey. There are a wide variety of positives associated with consumption of pomegranate fruit, juice and seeds. I’ve investigated six health benefits of pomegranate below.
Pomegranate aids in weight loss for many reasons (source). First and perhaps most important – pomegranate seeds are low in calories. One serving (about 3/4 cup) of seeds has only 83 calories, making them the perfect snack for people who are watching their weight.
Pomegranate seeds are also high in fiber, with one serving boasting 4 grams. Fiber is important for everyone, but especially those focused on weight loss because it will help you feel full longer. This means you will be less likely to overeat.
Pomegranate juice can decrease a man’s risk of impotency by helping manage arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is a condition in which blood vessels become blocked, causing many serious health effects including impotence. It is the high level of antioxidants found in pomegranates that helps with arteriosclerosis.
Pomegranates and pomegranate juice can also help treat and prevent prostate cancer. In trials, it has been found that pomegranate juice, because of its high phytochemical content, helps to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent it from metastasizing (source).
The pomegranate doesn’t discriminate – it just helps men and women in different ways! Pomegranate juice is very good for pregnant women. It contains important vitamins that expectant mothers need, including niacin, folic acid, potassium, calcium, and vitamin C, as well as iron and fiber (source).
Pomegranate juice can also help pregnant women by reducing cramps and sleep difficulty. It also helps the baby by increasing blood flow, decreasing his or her risk for brain damage.
For women, pomegranate juice prevents estrogen-responsive breast cancer cells from growing. The juice has a phytochemical inhibits aromatase, which is used to create estrogen, which in excess increases your risk of having breast cancer.
Pomegranate benefits your biggest external organ – the skin – as much as it does your internal organs. Pomegranate offers all kinds of benefits for the skin and overall appearance, including the following (source):
Pomegranate protects the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and dermis (second layer of the skin) by encouraging skin cell regeneration. This aids in the repair of tissues, promotes healing wounds, and encourages circulation to the skin.
Consuming pomegranate gives the skin compounds that help protect against free radicas, which in excess, can cause sun damage, cancer and sunburn. The oil from a pomegranate contains the antioxidant ellagic acid which helps inhibit skin tumors, protecting the body from skin cancer.
Pomegranates slow down the appearance of aging. They help prevent common signs including hyperpigmentation, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. Pomegranate also softens the skin and produces elastin and collagen, creating a more youthful appearance. Your skin will be firmer, smoother, and more youthful.
Pomegranate will help you put your best face forward. If your skin is dry, pomegranates can help, which is why their extract is often added to skin care products. Their molecular structure can penetrate deep into most skin types to add extra moisture.
If your skin is oily or combination, pomegranate can sooth acne breakouts while minimizing the scarring that can occur after a breakout.
Pomegranates don’t just provide vitamins for pregnant women. Everybody needs vitamins C and K, and pomegranates provide 17 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and 20 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin K (source).
Vitamin C is important for a healthy, functioning immune system, as well as fast wound healing, healthy gums, and the manufacture of collagen and elastin. It also enhances iron absorption. Vitamin K is crucial for strong, healthy bones and proper blood clotting.
For men and women who are trying to lose weight, it is especially important to make sure you are keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure in check. Pomegranate lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL (good cholesterol) (source).
Many overweight men and women also suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure) which can lead to a variety of problems, including heart disease, heart attacks, aneurysms, and kidney failure (source). Drinking just 1.7 ounces of pomegranate juice per day can lower blood pressure by as much as 5 percent.
Pomegranate can also decrease the risk for osteoarthritis by preventing cartilage deterioration, and it prevents plaque from building up in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure.
With so many great health benefits of pomegranate, everyone should try to include more in their diet. Some people avoid pomegranates because they are difficult to cut up and serve, but this video shows you how to do it easily:
Hibiscus skin benefits rotate around exfoliation, anti-aging and hair regrowth potential of this herb, while Hibiscus tea might help to keep heart attack away. Hibiscus flowers can be used for skin care, while leaves of this plant have been shown to promote hair growth.
The skin benefits of Hibiscus include:
How to use Hibiscus for skin and hair?
Hibiscus can be used as:
Hibiscus is irritant and might cause burning and redness in sensitive skin type. Unfortunately, it is unstable and absorption from skin surface is minimal. The cosmetic industry is spending thousands of Dollars on preparing Liposomal Preparation of Hibiscus that can be absorbed by your skin without irritation, a testimonial for Hibiscus skin benefits.
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You don't want things too spicy because spices such as cayenne can make you sweat and cause you to lose heat.
Cinnamon, cumin, paprika, nutmeg and allspice help increase the body's metabolism and generate heat.
Fats in general, such as coconut oil, keep the body warm through metabolizing.
Coconut oil can also be used as a moisturizer, which will prevent the body from losing heat through dry skin.
Ginger not only helps the body stay warm, but it also helps boost the immune and digestive systems.
Ginger can be used in salad dressings, soups and baked goods. You can even drink ginger in hot water.
4. Whole grains
Oatmeal isn't just a breakfast food. It can be used to add whole grains to dinner.
Eaten hot, rolled oats, brown rice, millet and other whole grains give immediate warmth and also provide needed complex carbohydrates to fuel the body's engine.
Grains are a good source of B vitamins and magnesium, which help the thyroid and adrenal glands better regulate the body's temperature during a time when they slow down from the colder weather.
5. Hot soups
Hot soups seem obviously for the coldest days, but the timing of the foods are important, too.
A salad, for instance, can be eaten during the afternoon when the body is at its warmest.