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How To Relieve Constipation Naturally

What is Constipation?

Constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints in the United States. The normal frequency of bowel movements varies widely from person to person, from once or more a day to three times a week. In general, however, you are likely constipated if you pass a hard, dry stool less than three times a week.

Constipation can also make you feel bloated and uncomfortable and you may find yourself straining during bowel movements.

Although constipation can affect anyone, it’s more common in women and in people over age 65.  It also tends to occur during pregnancy, after childbirth or surgery, with certain medications such as opioid pain relievers, and with some conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

Natural Remedies for Constipation

1) Fiber

A diet low in fiber may play a role in constipation. Insoluble fiber, which passes through the body almost unchanged, gives stools bulk and a soft texture, making them easier to pass.

Foods that are high in insoluble fiber include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Try wheat bran, brown rice, or whole grain bread.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the intestines. Prunes and figs can be added to breakfast or eaten as a snack.

Another option is to sprinkle one teaspoon of ground flaxseeds over any meal. They can be found in packages at the health food store or some grocery stores. They have a mild, nutty taste.

Fiber supplements are also available, the most popular being psyllium husk supplements such as Metamucil.

Add fiber to your diet gradually to avoid bloating and gas. Also, be sure to drink enough water otherwise fiber can have the opposite effect and be constipating.

2) Fluids

Making sure you drink enough fluids such as water may help some people with constipation. Fluids make bowel movements softer and easier to pass.

Watch your consumption of alcoholic beverages and caffeinated beverages such as coffee and cola drinks, which can be dehydrating.

3) Stimulant Laxatives

Many herbal laxatives and “dieter’s teas” are called stimulant laxatives, or anthranoid laxatives. They include herbs such as:

  • Cascara sagrada
  • Rhubarb
  • Aloe
  • Senna
  • Buckthorn

Some of these herbs, such as senna, are approved as over-the-counter treatments for constipation. Although they are meant to be short-term treatments, in reality, people can become dependent on them and use them for weeks, months, or even years at a time in order to have a daily bowel movement.

They should not be used for longer than a week unless under medical supervision. Prolonged use may cause the bowels to lose the ability to move on their own, and has been linked to chronic diarrhea, potassium depletion leading to muscle weakness and potentially dangerous irregular heart rhythms, and kidney or liver impairment.

4) Probiotics

Probiotics, such as lactobacillus acidophilus, are live microbial organisms that are naturally present in the digestive tract. Some of the ways they are thought to promote health include suppressing the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, improving immune function, enhancing the protective barrier of the digestive tract, and helping to produce vitamin K.

There is some preliminary evidence that probiotic supplements may improve constipation. For example, one study looked at the effect of a probiotic beverage containing a strain of beneficial bacteria called Lactobacillus casei Shirota (65 milliliters a day) or a placebo in people with chronic constipation. The probiotic drink resulted in significant improvement in severity of constipation and stool consistency.

Another study examined the effectiveness of another strain of probiotics on constipation in children and found no effect. Eighty four children between two and 16 years of age with constipation took lactulose (a laxative) plus a probiotic supplement containing lactobacillus GG or lactulose alone. After 12 and 24 weeks, lactobacillus was not more effective than lactulose alone at treating constipation.

5) Acupressure

Acupressure is a traditional healing practice that involves the application of finger pressure to specific acupuncture points on the body.

A point that is often recommended by acupuncturists for constipation is Large Intestine 4. Although it hasn’t been studied for constipation, it is a simple home remedy that may work for some people. The point is at the highest spot of the muscle between the thumb and index finger when they are brought close together. Caution: do not use this point if you are pregnant.

With your thumb or middle finger at a 90 degree angle to the skin, apply gradually increasing pressure. Hold for three minutes. The pressure should not be painful or uncomfortable.

6) Magnesium

A deficiency of the mineral magnesium may contribute to constipation. Magnesium is found naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and in supplements.

Magnesium is needed for normal muscle function, including intestinal muscles. One recent study examined the intake of magnesium with constipation in 3835 women. Low magnesium intake was associated with constipation.

Other Tips

  • Engage in regular physical activity. Not getting enough physical activity can lead to constipation.
  • Don’t put off the urge. The longer you delay when the urge to have a bowel movement strikes, the more water gets absorbed from stool and the harder it becomes to have a bowel movement.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

The Healing Effects of Cherries

The Benefits of Cherries

Health Benefits of Cherries

Cherries like many other fruits are packed with antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body and may help prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as slow the aging process. Perhaps you’ve heard about the controversy between the FDA and the cherry industry and wondered what the fuss was about. Are cherries not as healthy to eat as you thought they were? Should you stop eating cherries? The answer is no.

The controversy is over certain health claims made by the cherry industry and those who sell products containing or made from cherries such as pills, capsules, and juice—and not the health benefits of cherries. While numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the health benefits of cherries, the FDA says that makers of products containing cherries cannot claim that their products prevent, treat, or cure a specific disease such as gout or cancer. The FDA says that these types of claims imply that cherries are “drugs” that cure a disease—without the backing of controlled double-blind clinical trials.

For the general population however, the bottom line is that there’s no reason not to eat cherries. There are two types of cherries, sweet and tart or sour cherries. The most popular type of sweet cherry is the Bing cherry, which is sold fresh in the grocery store. Tart or sour cherries are canned and used in pies, dried into fruit snacks, and made into juice concentrate. Like most other fruits, cherries are fat-free, low in calories and sodium, and high in certain minerals and vitamins such as potassium, Vitamin C, and B-complex vitamins.

Most of the scientific research has centered on the health benefits of tart cherries. Sweet and tart cherries contain pigments called anthocyanins, antioxidants that give cherries their dark red color. Tart cherries are among the top fruits as far as antioxidant levels go. Tart cherry juice and dried tart cherries are even higher in antioxidants than blueberries and more powerful than Vitamin E. Anthocyanins have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and according to the American Chemical Society, eating 20 tart cherries (or drinking the equivalent in juice concentrate) a day could provide the same pain relief that aspirin or ibuprofen do.

Researchers in Texas recently discovered that tart cherries contain high levels of melatonin; an antioxidant and substance produced naturally by the body that is thought to help slow the aging process as well as fight jetlag and regulate sleep. Eating tart cherries, particularly Montmorency tart cherries, can actually increase the levels of melatonin in the body.

Although many of the studies concerning cherries are preliminary and require additional research, the health benefits of eating cherries, both tart and sweet, and drinking cherry juice concentrate are indeed many. Cherries are a potential source of treatment for diabetes achieved by lowering blood sugar levels, may help prevent colon cancer, significantly reduce pain due to muscle damage, provide relief from the pain of gout and arthritis, and lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, a contributing factor in heart disease and strokes.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Maple syrup compounds help fight diabetes & cancer

(NaturalNews) Put down the corn syrup-laden Aunt Jemima and reach for some 100 percent pure maple syrup. New research recently presented at the 241st annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, Calif., highlights the amazing health benefits of maple syrup, including its ability to help treat diabetes and prevent the onset of cancer.

Navindra Seeram and her colleagues from the University of Rhode Island last year discovered that maple syrup contains 20 unique health-promoting compounds, 13 of which have never before been identified in maple syrup. And according to a release from United Press International, five of the compounds identified have never been previously identified in nature at all.

“I continue to say that nature is the best chemist, and that maple syrup is becoming a champion food when it comes to the number and variety of beneficial compounds found it in,” said Seeram in a statement. “It’s important to note that in our laboratory research we found that several of these compounds possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to fight cancer, diabetes and bacterial illnesses.”

Maple syrup is already known for being rich in vitamins and minerals, but now it has become clear that the natural sweetener is loaded with a host of powerful, disease-fighting antioxidants. And among maple syrup’s various health-promoting compounds is a newly-identified one the team named Quebecol, which is a compound uniquely created when Maple tree sap is boiled and turned into syrup.

“Quebecol has a unique chemical structure or skeleton never before identified in nature,” Seeram said. “There is beneficial and interesting chemistry going on when the boiling process occurs. I believe the heat forms this unique compound.”

In its current work, the team also found that certain antioxidant phenolic compounds in maple syrup inhibit carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes associated with the onset of type-2 diabetes. So while maple syrup may typically be considered a sugary threat to diabetes, the new research seems to indicate otherwise.

Seeram’s work, which was funded by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, is set to be published in the Journal of Functional Foods.

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Follow Our Guide to Healthy Recipes for Diabetics (Type 1 & Type 2)

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

The Health Benefits of Peppermint Tea

The Health Benefits of Peppermint TeaPeppermint tea is abundantly found as a wild herb in many parts of Europe. It is widely used for the manufacture of a variety of things like candies, ice cream, chewing gum, soaps and shampoos. But it is most commonly used for making peppermint tea. This tea is made by bringing natural spring water or distilled water, boil it and pour it over fresh peppermint leaves. This is then allowed to steep for about seven minutes. The strong minty flavor and aroma of this tea is because of high concentration of menthol present the peppermint plant. Peppermint tea is very beneficial to the health of its users. The benefits include:

1.Helps to cure problems of the stomach.
Peppermint is considered as a stomach healer. Intake of peppermint tea helps to cure problems of the stomach like frequent diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach aches and nausea. Peppermint tea is preferred over other forms of peppermint and is mostly used to relieve stomach related problems.

2.Helps to enhance body immunity.
Peppermint tea helps to relieve symptoms of common cold and flu. It contains healthy vitamins, such as Vitamin B, and minerals like potassium Peppermint Tice Tea -  Health Benefitsand calcium. Ma combination of all these nutrients in peppermint tea helps improve the general immunity and resistance of the body. Intake of this tea helps to control mild attack of respiratory diseases like asthma and prevent future illnesses due to viral or bacterial attacks.

3.Helps to reduce levels of stress.
The aroma and flavor of peppermint helps to relieve mental stress. Conditions of mental stress hamper good sleep during the night. Intake of peppermint tea helps to improve such conditions and results in better sleep.

4.Treats problems of bad breath.
People suffering from problems of bad breath can benefit form peppermint tea. Experience of many people has proved that regular and continuous use of peppermint tea can remove the problem of bad breath permanently.

5.Helps in weight loss.
Regular intake of peppermint tea helps to reduce appetite. Crave for food intake is thus reduced helping in weight loss.

6.Helps to alleviate many other common ailments.
Intake of peppermint tea helps to treat muscle aches, chronic pain, controls flatulence and helps to treat diverticular disorders.

Peppermint tea is easily available at all stores and is affordable for all. So the next time you prepare your grocery, remember the many health benefits of peppermint tea and add it to you list.

 How Prepare Peppermint Tea

Preparing peppermint tea using dried peppermint leaves (if you have your own peppermint plant, lay the leaves on a tray and let them dry in the sun for 24-48 hours until they become crunchy):

  • add 2 tablespoons of dried leaves to a cup of hot water
  • cover
  • steep for 10-20 minutes
  • strain

To enjoy the health benefits of peppermint tea even more, add a little honey or freshly squeezed lemon juice to your tea.

To store fresh peppermint, wrap the leaves in a damp paper towel, place in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator. This will keep it fresh for a few days.

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For a list of other herbs and their benefits please visit our herbal directory here – http://www.celestialhealing.net/herbal_guide.htm

ADD and ADHD- The Natural Cure

How to naturally, safely and “easily” Help Kids with ADD and ADHD

The first thing that needs to be understood is that the label of ADD and ADHD comes from a list of symptoms. And there are different causes for each symptom for each person. Said another way, every kid with the label of ADD or ADHD has different reasons why they got they label. So trying to treat “the ADD or ADHD” with one cure, whether natural or with drugs is never going to work.

The only thing you can do is add to the kid’s health and remove some of the common major contributing factors.

Some of the common major contributing factors to ADD and ADHD

  1. Sugar
  2. Allergies
  3. Food and Toxin Sensitivities
  4. Dehydration
  5. Home Environment
  6. (one that many parents hate to hear and often deny) Parenting

The average American “eats” over 300 lbs of refined carbohydrates – my definition of sugar. And since I don’t eat any, some people must eat 600 lbs.

Have you ever seen a kid on a “sugar high”? what happens? They act just about like every kid with the label of ADD and ADHD.

What many parents do not realize is all the disguises that sugar comes hidden in:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Juice
  • Ketchup
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pizza
  • Frozen food
  • Canned and Frozen vegetables
  • Canned and Frozen fruit
  • Almost anything in a jar
  • Almost anything in a can

Along with the obvious ones:

  • Ice cream
  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Cookies
  • Chocolate
  • Most treat

And just about everything you buy in the grocery store. If you read the labels, the actual written out ingredients, not the white and black lined label that really tells you nothing, but the fine print label you have to look for. If you read that label on everything you buy you will see how refined carbohydrates are added to almost literally EVERYTHING you buy.

Why — because anything that rhymes with “gross” is a form of sugar. Glucose, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, fructose, and a couple others like corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc.

Allergies and food and toxin sensitivities are pretty much one in the same when it comes to kids with ADD and ADHD

The artificial colors, flavors and preservatives that are in most grocery store foods are the biggest culprit in this category.

In some kids these “toxins” are literally causing an “allergic reaction” of the behaviors often diagnosed as ADD and ADHD.

When you switch the child to a completely natural diet (organic) and free of man made junk, it is a huge step forward in having a “normally” behaving child again.

Dehydration is another huge contributing factor. The reason why this is so true is because the only thing that counts as water is water. Soda, kool-aide, pop, juice, sports drinks and everything that has anything added to it the body does not process and use the same as good old fashioned water.

So if your child (or you for that matter) is not drinking water as your main source of liquids, you are dehydrated.

Why does dehydration contribute to ADD or ADHD?

Let me ask you a question. What would happen if you through a toaster plugged into the wall into the bath with you? You would get a “nice” shock because electricity travels through water.

What does your brain and nerves control in your body?

EVERYTHING!!!!

And your brain and nerves are 80% water which is literally what the electrical impulses of the brain travel down.

So if there is a shortage of water, the “proper” messages are going to be jittered, scrambled and jumpy, just like the behavior of kids often diagnosed with ADD and ADHD.

Home environment and parenting.

There is this culture in Central America that has very little to no contact with the outside world. And one of the most interesting things about them, I find, is how they raise their kids. They never yell, they never have to punish them, and the kids always do what they are told/asked.

Upon questioning this group they ask them, how is that possible? And the answer they give is simple. We don’t’ ask them not to be a child. Have you ever seen a kid not be a kid? Have you ever seen a bird, not be a bird? If you just allow a kid to be a kid, they will always be perfect as a kid.

Said another way, it is our social conditioning that kids rebel against. It is in their nature to be kids. It has been for millions of years. When you/we ask them to not be a kid it is like asking a rabbit not to jump.

You wouldn’t think of asking a bird not to fly or a cat not to meow. That is what they do. That is who they are. And if you do ask that, well, good luck and have fun.

The same goes or kids. Kids have more energy because they still have more health in their bucket. They have more freedom and less fears and inhibitions stopping them. They are not concerned with how the other people in the grocery store will judge them. They don’t care about what their friends think. (until they get older and model the behavior of needing to “look good”) They are kids. Accept that they are kids and allow them to be kids and a lot of the ADD and ADHD behavior goes away.

Coupled with increasing their health and eliminating some of the other major contributing factors I talked about above, Ritalin can become a thing of the past.

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www.healingpowerhour.com