The Health Benefits of Honey

Today I want to share with you the health benefits of honey.  IMG_20140428_112128_952

The process of bees making honey has always fascinated me. Here are some facts and tidbits about honeybees that I found very interesting and thought I’d share them with you before we get to the health benefits of honey.

  • Each honeybee colony contains a queen, drones and workers.
  • The queen in the largest bee in the colony, responsible solely for reproduction.
  • A productive queen can lay 3000 eggs in a single day.
  • Drones are males that have no stingers and mate with the queen.
  • Bees communicate by smell, vibrations, physical interaction and other bees pheromones.
  • The walls of a honeycomb are only 2/1000 of an inch thick, but can support 25 times their own weight.
  • Honeybees make the comb by chewing thin flakes of wax their bodies create and shapes them into a hexagonal shape forming the comb.
  • One square foot of honeycomb is made of 3 ounces of wax , providing room for 90 ounces of honey.

Pretty amazing stuff huh?  Now for the health benefits of honey.  Thanks to the website Mother Nature Network for the information below.  It is always much appreciated.

1.  Honey can help soothe coughing.  A 2007 study from Penn State College of Medicine that involved 139 children, found that buckwheat honey outperformed the cough suppressant, dextromethrophan (DM), in calming nighttime coughs in children and improving their sleep.  Another study published in Pediatrics included 270 children aged one to five with nighttime coughs due to simple colds;  in this study children who received two teaspoons of honey 30 minutes before bed coughed less frequently, less severely and were less likely to lose sleep due to the cough when compared to those who didn’t get honey.

2.  Honey has been found effective in treating wounds.  For the treatment of burn and wounds, WebMD notes:  Honey is applied directly or in a dressing which is usually changed every 24 to 48 hours.  When used directly 15-30 milligrams of honey has been applied every 12 to 48 hours, and covered with sterile gauze and bandages or polyurethane dressing.

3.  According to the National Honey Board, honey contains “small amounts of wide variety of vitamins and minerals including, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.” Honey 2 Thus, using honey instead of sugar provides you with more nutrients for your calories.

5.  The Mayo Clinic notes that honey may be a promising and inexpensive way to prevent low white blood cell count caused by chemotherapy.  In one small trail, 40 percent of cancer patients who were known to be at risk of neutropenia (very low blood count) had no further episodes of the condition after taking two teaspoons daily of therapeutic honey during chemotherapy.  More research is needed, but the remedy could hold great potential.

6.  In a study involving patients with chronic seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, the participants were asked to apply honey diluted with 10 percent warm water to their problem areas and leave it for three hours before rinsing with warm water.  In all of the patients, itching was relieved and scaling disappeared within one week.  Skin lesions were completely healed within two weeks, and patients showed subjective improvement in hair lossas well.  And when applied weekly thereafter for six months, patients showed no sign of relapse.

Now with all of that said about the health benefits.  There are a couple things to remember about honey.  1.  One tablespoon of honey has 64 calories so it should be eaten in moderation.  Although, when’s the last time you tried to eat a considerable amount of honey?  2.  Honey is not appropriate for children younger than 12 months because it can contain the bacteria that causes infant botulism.

The next time you’re at the store pick up some honey.  Try to buy local if possible, which can also help with seasonal allergies.  Also note that the darker the color of the honey the stronger and richer it will be.  Now check out these recipes that contain honey and happy healthy eating.

Honey Dip, to cut calories use low fat or fat free cream cheese in this recipe.  Looks like a great dip for apples and pears.

Honey Grilled Shrimp

Honey Peanut Granola

Honey Glazed Chicken

Foods That Cause Heartburn & Acid Reflux

Today I want to share with you some foods and a couple drinks that can cause heartburn.  Heartburn, if left untreated can lead to more serious problems,IMG_20140427_183743_861 so if you have frequent heartburn you may want to make an appointment with your doctor to check to see if it could be something more serious.

Since I’ve been eating better I rarely have heartburn anymore.  Before I changed my eating habits I would have heartburn from time to time and it was quite bothersome.  It would usually flair up at night when I was trying to sleep, and if you know me very well you know not to mess with my sleep…lol.

Thanks to the website www.activebeat.com for the information below about common causes of heartburn and acid reflux.

So lets cover some of the most common foods and drinks that can cause heartburn.

1.  Alcohol can be a massive trigger for heartburn attacks.  Red wine and beer are particularly likely to cause acid reflux.  Alcohol relaxes your esophageal sphincter, allowing for stomach acid to creep up.  Drinking alcohol with a large meal is a recipe for disaster as it increases the risk of acid reflux.  If you enjoy a drink with your meal, eat smaller portions to minimize your risk of heartburn.

2.  Fried foods.  Fatty foods can be brutal for a person suffering from acid reflux.  While fried foods may look crispy, they retain a lot of the oil in the coating.  Foods high in fat take longer to digest, putting pressure on your stomach and esophagus.  This increases the risk of acid reflux due to the time your stomach stays full.  Instead of fried foods try grilling or poaching your meals.  This not only saves calories, but can protect you from heartburn.

3.  Spicy foods.  The effect of spicy food on heartburn is interesting.  Many people complain of massive heartburn after consuming a spicy dish, but other may find spicy food helps calm their chronic heartburn.  Spicy food can affect the acid levels in your stomach creating a more hostile environment that can promote acid reflux.  If you find spicy foods trigger heartburn then try reducing the heat and spiciness of those foods.

4.  Tomatoes, fresh or canned, can be a major trigger for heartburn.  While tomatoes are incredibly healthy vegetables, tomatoes are naturally high in acid.  This can upset your stomach, causing acid reflux as you digest your meal.  Be wary of tomatoes used in cooking.  A delicious pasta sauce could come back to haunt you later in the night.  Also consider condiments high in tomatoes and acid, such as ketchup and salsa.

5.  Oranges and other citrus fruits.  These fruits are high in acid content, which can lead to acid reflux.  Instead of citrus fruit, if you have problems with heartburn or acid reflux, instead go for high alkaline foods.  These include berries, apples, pears, bananas and melons.  If you do eat or drink citrus foods, try to get them in early during the day.  This will minimize the risk of heartburn, as many people experience while laying down in bed.

6.  Mint tea and candies are known to settle upset stomachs, but this herb can worsen heartburn.  The numbing effect of mind can relax your esophageal sphincter, letting stomach acid attack your esophagus.  If you are looking for natural heartburn treatments to replace mint, consider ginger.  Ginger is a natural nausea reducing food.  Enjoy ginger tea before bed to reduce your chance of overnight heartburn.

7.  Beef.  Beef that is higher in fat can cause heartburn.  Expensive cuts such as filet mignon, porterhouse, New York strip, and T-bone steaks are all high fat cuts of beef, so if you have problems with heartburn you may want to avoid these.  Instead try these cuts of beef; sirloin tip, top round, eye of round and top sirloin.  Low fat cuts of beef can be tough so marinate or stew the meats for best results.

8.  Coffee and caffeinated drinks.  Coffee and caffeinated drinks are high in acid, which can exacerbate heartburn and acid reflux.  Caffeine relaxes the esophageal sphincter which allows stomach acid to damage your throat.  If you think you have to drink coffee or caffeinated drinks, moderation is key and cut the caffeine early in the day.

9.  High fat cheeses.  These types of cheeses can relax your stomach and delay digestion.  This puts pressure on your esophageal sphincter and can let acid creep through.  High fat cheeses include cheddar, cream cheese, gouda, parmesan, and stilton.  Better choices for cheese, which are low in fat would be cottage cheese, ricotta, and other types of reduced fat cheeses.

Everybody is different so one of these may not affect you at all, while there may be something not on the list may affect you greatly.  This is by no means a comprehensive list.  These are just some that are more common among people.

I hope you learned something from this post.  I know I did while writing it.  🙂

February Accountability Log

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February Accountability Log. Miles – 74.25

This month on my accountability log there were a few bumps in the road, but I still ended for the month with a total of 74.25 miles.  February only had 28 days so it was a short month, plus there were a few snow/ice days where the gym was closed.  Can I say again how ready I am for spring!  🙂

I have also been dealing with some pain in my right foot for a couple weeks and decided to take a break from the treadmill for five days at the end of the month.  I guess my feet aren’t use to all the walking I’ve been doing.

The pain is in the arch of my right foot.  It feels like it’s possibly strained, but I’m not a doctor so I can’t say for sure.  So far this month I have backed off on the extreme walking and slowed my pace.  I’ve been thinking I might try the elliptical machine  starting next week to see if that will take some of the pressure off my foot.  I don’t want to stop all together, but I can’t go on being in pain.  Stupid foot!  I wish I could take it off and just put a new one on.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

If anyone reading this could give me some pointers or suggestions on what to do to make the pain stop and go away I would really appreciate it.

Here are a couple links I found on helping with foot pain associated with exercise, some tips, etc.

Managing Sore Muscles and Joint Pain

Foot Pain

The Health Benefits of Ginger

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Ginger snacks I bought at the local health food store. YUM!

Today I wanted to share with you some of the health benefits of ginger.  Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to South Africa and the Caribbean.  The root of the ginger plant it was is cultivated and used.  I visited the local health food store a while back and picked up some ginger snacks.  They are sweet, but at the same time spicy.  I love them.  Another favorite of mine is Natural Brew Outrageous Ginger Ale, which is produced by Smuckers, of all companies.  If you haven’t tried it you should.  It is so good and taste nothing like the ginger ale you’re probably used to.  It is the “real deal.”

Below are some of the benefits of ginger.  Thanks to the following websites for the great information foodmatters.tv, and health.india.com 

1.  Ginger can help reduce gas…who knew?  It can also help reduce menstrual cramps in women.

2.  Had a large meal?  Eat some ginger.  Ginger improves absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients and aids in digestion and helps break down the proteins in your food.  Ginger protects your stomach against ulcers by promoting mucus secretion.

3.  Ginger can help with joint pain since it has anti-inflammatory properties.  Add some ginger essential oil to a bath to help soothe aching muscles and joints.

4.  Chewing on ginger can reduce nausea and vomiting.  According to studies, ginger can treat sensations of nausea following surgery, help with motion sickness, as well as seasickness.  It is also beneficial for nausea as a result of adverse effect of chemotherapy.

5.  Ginger’s antihistamine properties help in treating allergies.  It is also known to inhibit airway contraction and helps to stimulate the secretion of mucus.  It is the herb of choice for persistent cough and sore throat associated with colds.  A teaspoon of ginger juice with honey is effective against sore throat. And ginger tea is an all-time favorite to get rid of congestion in the throat and nose.

6.  Applying diluted ginger paste on the forehead is believed to relieve migraine headaches.  Here is a link that tells more about this remedy.  Ginger Headache Relief 

As you can see there are some great benefits to making ginger a part of your diet.  I encourage you to pick some up and enjoy it’s benefits.  All this blogging about ginger makes me want some ginger tea now.  I’ll have to pick some up the next time I’m at the health food store.

Cheers everyone and here’s to your good health!

The Benefits of St. John’s Wort

Today I wanted tell you about some of the benefits of St. John’s Wort.

First, some history about the plant.  St. John’s Wort is a yellow-flowering perennial herb indigenous to Europe, but has been introduced to many temperate areas around the world.  The herb’s scientific name is Hypericum perforatum.IMG_20140222_163942_177  Hypericum is derived from the Greek words hyper (above) and eikon (picture), in reference to the plant’s traditional use in warding off evil by hanging plants over a religious icon in the house during St. John’s day.  The species name perforatum refers to the presence of small oil glands in the leaves that look like windows, which can be seen when they are held against the light.  It’s common name, St. John’s Wort, comes from its traditional flowering and harvesting day which falls on St. John’s day, which is June 24.  St. John is believed by many in religious circles to be the man who baptized Jesus.

Now for some the benefits of taking or using St. John’s Wort, which can be taken as a tea or dried and powered and formed into tablets or put into capsules.  Thanks goes to herbslist.com and herbwisdom.com for the information below.  I am always thankful for the hard work and research of others.

1.  In ancient Rome, St. John’s Wort was used to heal deep wounds such as sword cuts. It was also widely used for burns, bruises, sores and sprains.

2.  Throughout history St. John’s Wort has also been used for stomach troubles, coughs, insomnia, nervous exhaustion, lung problems and especially as an anti-depressant to treat mild to moderate depression and seasonal depression.

3.  In the last 20 years or so, St. John’s Wort has become a popular remedy for depression.  In Germany it is the number one treatment for depression and has been extensively studied by Commission E, the scientific advisory panel to the German government.  It contains several chemicals, including hypericin, hyperforin, and pseudohypericin, which are thought to be the major sources of antidepressant activity.

4.  St. John’s wort has also been studied for the treatment of other emotional disorders such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), menopausal mood swings, and premenstrual syndrome.

As you can see St. John’s Wort is more of a remedy for emotional and psychological problems, but when the plant is made into a salve it can be used to treat cuts, burns, scrapes and bruises.

I am a natural or herbal remedy type person.  Plants and herbs come from the earth and are produced with the help of mother nature.  I am not a trusting person when it comes to synthetic or man-made drugs.  I don’t trust them as much as I do natural or herbal medicines.  I would encourage everyone to do more research and find out about natural cures and remedies when you are sick or have problems instead of relying or depending on man made drugs.  Nature is always better, in my opinion, than anything man-made.

The Benefits of Ginseng

Today I want to go over some of the benefits of Ginseng.  Ginseng is another herbal supplement, like Echinacea that helps with boosting the immune system, but in doing some research on the different types of Ginseng I found that it can be used to help with other health problems as well.

Ginseng is found only in the Northern Hemisphere,IMG_20140222_164003_446 in North America and in eastern Asia, which have cooler climates.  The roots of a Ginseng plant are more desirable than the leaves, which don’t contain as much medicinal value.  Although the leaves can be used when making some kinds of Ginseng tea. 

Thanks to the following sites newsmax.com and herbslist.net for the following information regarding the many benefits of Ginseng.

Here are some of the benefits from making Ginseng a part of life.

1.  Studies on American Ginseng have found that taking Ginseng may improve blood sugar control by creating sugar-lowering effects in fasting and after-meal blood sugar levels.  The effect was noticed even in average blood sugar levels over a three-month period.

2.  An extract from the ginseng berry is believed to be effective against obesity and helpful with weight control.  Ginseng tea works as a natural appetite suppressant.

3.  Ginseng is believed to benefit a persons stamina and helps boost energy levels.  It helps athletes use oxygen more effectively, and it is believed to regulate metabolism, which can increase energy levels.  Consumption of ginseng can also help athletes lower their recovery time and reduce stress.  In addition, ginseng tea can act as a stimulant for the brain cells and help improve concentration and thinking ability.

4.  Consuming ginseng tea can help men lessen the symptoms of sex related conditions like erectile dysfunction.  Korean Red Ginseng has long been used to stimulate male sexual function.  However, be sure to discuss this with your doctor before taking; ginseng may interact with other drugs or cause allergic reactions.

5.  Young women who suffer from menstrual cramps and distress are advised to drink American Ginseng Tea.  It is also believed to lessen stomach pain associated with menstruation.

Along with these benefits various types of Ginseng have been studied and have shown to help with the following conditions or problems:  strengthens and stimulates the central nervous system, improves the functioning of the immune system, helps control diabetes, reduces stress and fatigue, reduces cholesterol levels, helps to treat confusion and headaches, helps treat high and low blood pressure, helps to relieve insomnia, helps to relieve chest congestion and can reduce the symptoms of anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.

As you can see there are many uses for Ginseng.  It is one of the most widely studied herbs because of the many benefits it can have on the human body.  I encourage you to make Ginseng a part of your life.  It works for me and it just might work for you. 

The Benefits of Echinacea

Today I wanted to share with you some of the benefits of taking Echinacea. IMG_20140222_163923_844 It is sold over the counter, so no prescription is needed.  Echinacea is available as teas, liquid extracts, a dried herb and as capsules or tablets.  Information for the blog today has been provided by medicalnewstoday.com and 3fatchicks.com.

For those of you who don’t know, Echinacea comes from one or more of three types of Coneflowers; Echinacea angustifolia, commonly called the Narrow Leaf Coneflower, Echinacea pallida, commonly called the Pale Purple Coneflower and Echinacea purpurea, commonly called the Eastern purple Coneflower.

Echinacea is a perennial plant meaning it reoccurs every year.  It is approximately one to two feet tall when mature. It is slightly spiky and has large purple to pink flowers, depending on the species. The center of the flower has a seed head (cone), which is also spiky and dark brown to red in color.

So the question is; Does Echinacea have any effect on catching colds or reducing symptoms of a cold?  Studies have produced conflicting results, but I myself know that taking Echinacea works for me.  “Knock on wood,” I haven’t been sick with a cold in I can’t remember when.  I believe this is due in part from taking Echinacea, which is said to help boost immune health.

One study included scientists from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy who reviewed over a dozen studies on the effects of Echinacea on people’s risk of catching a cold.  They concluded that Echinacea can reduce a person’s chances of catching a cold by approximately 58 percent.  They also found that the popular herbal remedy reduces the length of time a cold lasts by 1.4 days. They published their findings in The Lancet Infections Diseases (July 2007 edition).

Another study from the Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine (December 2010 issue) that Echinacea has no significant impact on the common cold and only reduces the duration of symptoms by half a day at the most.

I myself believe the first study is true for me.  Echinacea works for me, but as most people know, what works for some people doesn’t work for others.

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Echinacea is flower form, taken last summer in my parent’s yard.

Below are some of the benefits, I found online, for taking or using Echinacea.  Thanks to 3fatchicks.com for the following information.  It is much appreciated.

1.  Echinacea strengthens your immune system by stimulating the production of T-cells. It also increases the ability of your white cells to fend off pathogenic invaders.  A compound known as echinacein, found in echinacea, helps keep germs from penetrating healthy cells, so that viruses and bacteria don’t take hold in your body.

2.  Echinacea helps protect your healthy cells from invasion by bacteria and viruses, even if you apply the herb topically.  This means you can use it to keep cuts and scratches from getting infected.  Not only will it keep the wound from getting infected, but it will speed the healing process.

3.  Some illnesses in which echinacea supplements may be particularly effective include:  Urinary tract infection, sore throat pain, enlarged lymph glands, upper respiratory infection, enlarged prostate, vaginal yeast infections, bronchitis, hay fever, sinusitis, ear infections, gingivitis and canker sores.

4.  Topically applied, echinacea can help speed wound healing, so it’s often used for the treatment of slow-healing wounds.  It also helps to relieve the pain of the wound and can protect slow-healing wounds from infection.  Echinacea is also frequently used as a hemorrhoid remedy, and is often added to over-the-counter hemorrhoid medications.

I encourage you to give Echinacea a try since we still have a few more weeks of winter left, which means the cold and flu season isn’t over yet.

Remedies For Tired, Sore and Aching Feet

IMG_20140214_183529_744Since I’ve started walking 6 days a week my feet have been a bit sore.  I bought some news insoles for my shoes a couple weeks ago and they helped some, but I decided a foot soak may be good option as well.

I went to Walmart earlier this week and found an amazing product that has done wonders for my feet.  It’s called Johnson’s Foot Soap.  The company is based out of White Plains, New York, and has been around since 1870.  The box says it soothes tired, aching feet, softens corns and calluses and relieves itching and burning.  I don’t have a problem with either of the latter, but my feet have been sore due to all the walking I’ve been putting in.

The results from using Johnson’s Foot Soap; amazing!  After soaking my feet and rinsing them it feels as though I have had new feet attached to my body.  Such an amazing product and I highly recommend it if you have sore or tired feet.

Here are some other remedies for sore, tired, and aching feet.

Home Remedies for Foot Pain