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Learn which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticides

by Jess Zimmerman

 The Environmental Working Group has released an updated list of the Dirty Dozen, the fruits and vegetables with the worst pesticide levels. Drumroll please:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

If you can, it’s worth shelling out a little extra for the organic versions of these. You can offset it by pinching your pennies on the Clean Fifteen, the produce with the lowest pesticide levels:

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

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Natural Home Remedies and Beauty Purposes of Castor Oil

By Marshall Warshack

You will find bottles of castor oil in health stores and maybe in your grandmother’s medicine cabinet. However, it behooves us well to own a bottle as well. Why? Castor oil, a very pale yellow liquid extracted from the castor seeds of Ricinus Communis, is one of the most useful plant oils. Castor oil comes in different grades and is used as food additives, in cosmetics, in flavorings, as a mold inhibitor and in pharmaceuticals. Castor oil has a long history of medicinal uses both internally and externally, treating conditions ranging from arthritis to genital warts. But it is not all old wives’ tales and grandma’s “cure-all.”  The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has categorized castor oil as “generally recognized as safe and effective” for over-the-counter use as a laxative and undecylenic acid, a castor oil derivative is also FDA-approved for over-the-counter use on skin disorders or problems.

Just what make castor oil such a health heavyweight? Castor oil is rich in Ricinoleic acid which exerts anti-inflammatory effects and is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal as well. In addition, its high levels of unsaturated fatty acids have antioxidant properties.  Like magic potion, you just need one bottle of castor oil– it yields many health and beauty purposes as listed below:

  • Beautiful skin

Is your skin dragging your appearance down with wrinkles and age spots? Age can get the better of you but you can get the better of the situation with this easy ritual: apply a thin layer of castor oil to face before going to sleep. Castor oil is a natural rich emollient and its molecular weight makes it easier to penetrate into the stratum corneum (a fancy word for the outermost layer of the epiderm). Dermatologists will tell you that a healthy stratum corneum makes healthy youthful looking skin. Do this religiously and earn top marks for beautiful skin. This ritual will also reduce appearance of age spots (brought about by sun damage and the aging process) and produce suppler skin.

  • Skin Infections

Castor oil’s antimicrobial properties are put to good use when you need to fight skin infections. Do you have abrasion, acne, dry skin, boils, warts, chronic itching, inflamed skin, sunburned skin or even stretch marks? Don’t despair—soak a cotton ball with castor oil and apply to skin in the morning and at night. If the area is small (for example a wart), soak a band-aid in castor oil before applying. Just that easy!

  • Beautiful Full Hair

How’s your crown of glory? Is it a source of pride or do you wish bald is the perennial fashion statement? If thinning hair is your problem, here’s help. Castor oil has the uncanny ability to encourage hair growth. Some even claim it can grow longer eye-lashes! While these claims are not based on solid scientific evidence, users of castor oil to promote hair growth have reported favorable returns for their hair diligence. If you’re thinking of using castor oil to bring back the glory, here’s how:

Since castor oil can be thick, dilute it with lighter oil like sweet almond oil or avocado oil. Apply to scalp, rub it in gently and wrap your hair with a plastic cap or towel. Leave it on for half an hour or longer. Shampoo off, making sure the scalp is clean. Repeat it once a week.

Another bonus to this castor oil routine–castor oil’s rich omega-3 fatty acids is a rich moisturizer and your hair will also look nourished and silky. Now, your hair can rival those shampoo girls you see (and may be envious before) in commercials. Move over!

  • Arthritis

Arthritis can get you down—sore joints, aching muscles and inflamed nerves can make you life miserable. Rub the misery away with some castor oil help. Because castor oil is anti-inflammatory, consider massaging sore areas with castor oil. Alternatively, use a castor oil pack. You can easy make this yourself or purchase a kit. To begin, make a castor oil pad—fold a flannel cloth 3 or 4 times over. Soak folded cloth with castor oil and placed it on affected joint or area. Cover the cloth with a plastic wrap and place a hot water bottle or heating pad over it. Leave it on for 45 minutes to an hour, once a day. To reuse castor oil pad, put it in a Ziploc bad and refrigerate.

Castor oil pack is also good for treating colds, cysts, flu and ulcers. Reputedly, it can also simulate liver, relieve pain, reduce inflammation and stimulate the lymphatic system. Yes, the wonders never cease….

  • Constipation

Not a pretty C word—in fact, if you ever had it—it’s convolution of your insides—got to go but can’t. FDA agrees that castor oil is a laxative and so, herein lies the cure—simply take a teaspoon of castor oil in the morning. Doesn’t sound too appetizing? Mix it with some orange juice, cranberry, prune juice to take away the bitter taste without compromising the laxative effects. Do not take it consecutively for 3 days—if it doesn’t help, it’s time to see your naturopathic doctor. Immediately!

  • Ringworm Treatment

Ringworm is characteristically marked with itchy ,red circular rash (hence the name) and it develops on the top layer of the skin. According to Mayo clinic, ringworm is a fungal infection (despite the name) and can be a stubborn condition to treat. Ringworm can also infect scalp and nails. Castor’s oil’s undecylenic acid is antifungal, which makes it an ideal treatment for ringworm. Rub castor oil on affected area and leave it overnight.

  • Eye Styes

When an eyelash follicle or an eyelid oil gland becomes blocked with excess oil, debris or bacteria, eye styes can formed. Eye styes can cause watery eyes, pain, tenderness, itching, redness, and sensitivity to light. It often appears as a reddish bump—not a pretty sight. To get rid of eye styes, apply a tiny drop of castor oil directly on stye 2 or 3 times a day.

This list is by no means complete but suffice to say, wow—castor oil can do all that? Yes, and more—castor oil not only promotes beauty but is a mighty force against certain medical ailments. However, always consult a doctor before self-medicating.

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10 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

by Sara Ryba, R.D., C.D.N.

Finding a healthy, affordable diet is definitely a challenge given the rapidly rising cost of groceries. It used to be that buying fresh, unprocessed foods would save you money, but that no longer is the case. According to Tufts University, the rise in cost of more nutritious food is beating the rate of inflation.

A recent study by The University of Washington concluded that lower-calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are far more expensive than sweets and snack foods, calorie for calorie. Sadly, this means that when people are watching their food budget, they may opt for higher-calorie, less-nutritious foods as a way to get by. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. Try these strategies for eating healthy on a budget.

1. Be prepared when shopping

Go over the grocery store’s weekly ad from the newspaper (or view online) as you prepare a meal plan and a detailed shopping list for the week. And remember, going shopping while hungry is sure to cost you an extra few dollars and calories.

2. Evaluate the food’s purpose

Before purchasing a food, consider where it is going to fit into your diet. Will this food be part of a meal, or a healthy snack? If the answer is “I’m not sure,” then leave it on the shelf. Only buy foods that clearly fit into your (or your family’s) meal plan, avoiding all “filler.”

3. When your store is running a sale on lean protein, buy extra

Take advantage of the sale by buying a few pounds of chicken breasts or fish. Then, at home, divide the protein into individual serving sizes and freeze it for up to three months.

4. Choose seasonal vegetables and fruits

Look for the cheapest fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle — which are most likely “in season” and best tasting. While it is tempting to buy berries in the winter or apples in the summer, you will pay a premium and likely not get a great-tasting product. When you see a good price on a particular fruit or vegetable, consider buying extra and freezing it. For example, fresh berries and broccoli will freeze quite well and last for months.

5. Don’t be afraid of frozen fruits and vegetables

Frozen produce is just as healthy as fresh, and will not spoil. They are also often less expensive, pound for pound, than fresh produce. I actually find that frozen spinach and broccoli are easier to prepare and tastier than fresh!

6. Avoid buying beverages

Drinks, especially those loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners, are not only unhealthy empty calories, but are also a drain on your wallet. Yes, even that expensive fruit juice should be omitted from your cart in favor of healthier and less expensive fresh fruit. Can’t skip the juice for the kids? Buy frozen concentrated juice and only serve once a day. If you want an alternative to water, look for the store brand of fruit-flavored, calorie-free seltzer water, or make your own herbal iced tea.

7. Take advantage of dry-goods groceries

Bulk dry goods such as beans, grains and oats are quite inexpensive while being super nutrient-dense. Opting for these unprocessed, bulk foods will save you a lot of money when compared to processed oatmeal packets or rice mixes. While you’re at it, see if you can buy your cereal in bulk packages or at the very least, choose the store brands.

8. Avoid buying single-serving food items

Purchasing foods in single-serving quantities, such as chips, cookies, yogurt or cereal, will cost you at least 50 percent more. Instead, buy foods in larger quantities and then divide up the food contents into plastic bags or reusable containers.

9. Cut the commercial snack foods

As a mom, I know first hand how expensive brand-name (and cartoon-character) snack food can be. Explain to your family that these types of foods are not only unhealthy but are also pricey. Choose healthier, tasty snacks, such as air-popped popcorn (buy bulk corn kernels, not the microwave bags) and dried fruit.

10. Make your own nutritious soups, chilis and stews

Most of these recipes are chock full of healthy yet inexpensive ingredients, that will feed you and your family for many meals. You can even double your typical recipe and freeze half of it in individual containers for future last-minute meals. This is much cheaper and healthier than commercially prepared frozen dinners.

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6 Appetizers with more calories than an entree

When you sit down in a restaurant and order an app, you don’t expect it to equal or exceed the calories in a main meal. Unfortunately, many popular appetizers contain astronomically more calories, fat, and sodium than you should consume or the day, let alone in your pre-entrée nosh. What’s worse is that apps tend to be a shared experience, with three-or-more split between everyone at the table, so it’s easy to lose track of how much you actually eat. Our advice? When you’re dining out, skip the apps in favor of a small green salad and recreate these perennial favorites at home for a fraction of the calories and fat.


1. Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers These spicy stuffed poppers not only come at a high heat, they also come at a steep caloric cost. One plateful of these peppers tallies over 1,900 calories, 135 g of fat, and over 6,000 mg of sodium! (Yes, that’s right 6,000 mg of sodium.) You could have ordered 9 chicken enchiladas and still saved 36 g of fat and 2,000 mg of sodium.

Make it Yourself: Spicy Jalapeno Salsa We love spicy food: Not only does it pack a whole lot of flavor, the capsaicin found in chiles are known to kick your metabolism into high gear. Opt for this fiery jalapeno salsa instead of the fattening poppers: This version uses chili powder as well as jalapeno peppers to give this sauce a zesty punch. Plus, it amounts to under 10 calories per serving.


2. Boneless Buffalo Wings With Blue Cheese Stop trying to kid yourself that the celery stalk that comes with the basket of wings makes this starter a healthy choice: One order of these saucy snackers amounts to almost 1,500 calories and 4,590 mg of sodium. That’s the salt equivalent of gorging on over 2 large bags of potato chips before your main entrée.

Make it Yourself: Waistline-Friendly Buffalo Wings These wings have all the qualities you love—smoky and fiery chicken coated with a finger-licking-good sauce—but they come with a fraction of the calories, fat, and sodium. One serving of these has less than 220 calories and nearly a 10th of the sodium.

3. Stuffed Potato Skins While potato skins are not regarded as a typical healthy choice, these “loaded” appetizers may be far worse than you anticipated. The boat-like munchies are usually brimming with high-calorie and high-fat ingredients like sour cream, bacon, and a medley of melty cheeses, but all that indulgence comes at a price: One plate of these is 2,070 calories. It’s also got 135 g of fat, the equivalent of over a dozen chocolate donuts.

Make it Yourself: Spicy Potato Skins Baked potato? Check. Sour cream? Check. Cheddar? Check. Bacon? Yup, we’ve got that too. These creamy and delicious potato skins have every element of classic stuffed potato skins, plus a few added extras (like some chile peppers), but they have less than a fifth of the caloric cost.


4. Guacamole And Chips We absolutely love avocado: It’s got a rich, buttery taste, and it’s packed with belly-flattening MUFAs. Unfortunately, not all guacs are created equal. Some restaurant versions really pack on the calories and salt—one platter of chips and dip could amount to close to 1,400 calories and 84 g of fat, not to mention over 2,000 mg of sodium.

Make It Yourself: Guiltless Guacamole This unique recipe for guacamole cuts calories, fat, and sodium with one simple (and yummy) swap. This version is not only packed with MUFAs, but it’s brimming with vitamin A as well as folate.


5. Beef Nachos  It’s hard to resist the tempting call of layers of tortilla chips, melted nacho cheese, onions, peppers, and juicy beef. But you would be all the wiser to stray from this fattening app tower: One plate has 1,700 calories and over 3,500 mg of sodium.

Make it Yourself: Cheesy Nachos Hold the beef with your nachos: That simple skip will cut a ton of calories, and you won’t be left wondering, “Where’s the beef?” This recipe, complete with blue corn chips and a layer of cheese, comes in under 250 calories per serving.


6. Chicken Strips Ordering an individually sized chicken appetizer may make you believe that you are playing it safe when it comes to keeping your eye on your waistline. Think again. A single serving of sesame chicken strips amounts to more than half of your day’s calories and over 2,600 mg of salt.

Make it Yourself: Parmesan Chicken Strips Try these breaded Parmesan chicken strips instead: They’ve got that scrumptious crunch and a rich, cheesy coating with one plateful tallying up to a mere 167 calories.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and 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

Natural Remedies For Oily and Dry Skin

 This Blog Topic is per request of one of our awesome FB Fanpage members  JoAnne Hodge-Hood.

 

Home Remedy Treatments for Oily Skin

Did you know that some problem skin treatments are so harsh they actually make the skin oilier?

All skin types need to be nourished. But some acne or oily skin treatments are stripping the skin from its natural oil and dehydrating it. The skin then reacts with producing more oil to protect itself creating a vicious circle of hash treatment and more oily skin.  The skin needs to be cleansed and nourished. Keep on reading to find out how you can treat your oily skin naturally.

Keep skin squeaky clean. As anyone with oily skin knows, the oilier the skin, the dirtier the skin looks and feels. To help combat this feeling, it’s important to keep the skin clean by washing it at least twice a day. Some doctors recommend detergent-type soap. You might even try adding a drop or two of dishwashing detergent to your regular soap; the extra kick will act as a solvent for the oil. However, other dermatologists say detergent soaps are just too harsh even for oily facial skin, recommending instead twice-daily cleansing with a glycerin soap. If you try a detergent soap and find it too irritating for your skin, try the glycerin variety, generally available over the counter in the skin-care aisle of most drugstores.

Try aloe vera. Apply aloe vera gel (available in many drugstores as well as health-food stores) to your face to absorb oil and clear out pores. Dab the gel onto your face two to three times a day (especially after washing), then let it dry. The gel will feel more refreshing if it’s cool, so keep it in the refrigerator.

Wipe with astringents. Wiping the oily parts of the face with witch hazel or lemon juice. Witch Hazel is so gentle that it can be used on nearly any type of skin. The tannin content in witch hazel has strong astringent as well as antioxidant properties. These astringent properties are cleansing to the skin, while minimizing the size of skin pores. Unlike many harsh commercial acne formulations, it is gentle and non-drying when used to tone and cleanse acne-infected or acne-prone skin

Carry tissues. Even if you don’t have an astringent with you, paper facial tissues can help soak up excess oils in a pinch. You can also purchase special oil-absorbing tissues at the cosmetics counter that are very effective in removing excess oil between cleansings.

Chill out with cold water rinses. If you don’t want to apply chemicals to your skin, simply splashing your face with cold water and blotting it dry a couple of times a day can help remove some excess oil.

Ban moisturizers. While advertisements are forever urging women to apply facial moisturizers, oily-skinned folks shouldn’t use them — their skin is already doing a more than adequate job of keeping itself supple and warding off dryness. Applying a sunscreen to the face before going outdoors in daylight is still a very good idea, however; check labels for products that are designed for oily skin or that are noncomedogenic (meaning they’ll be less likely to plug up pores, which is especially important for oily skin that is already more susceptible to acne blemishes).

Make a scrub. Giving your face a very light scrub can remove excess surface oil. Try this almond honey scrub: Mix a small amount of almond meal (ground almonds) with honey. Then gently massage (don’t scrub) the paste onto your skin with a hot washcloth. Rinse thoroughly. You can also make a scrub from oatmeal mixed with aloe vera. Rub gently onto the skin, leave on for 15 minutes, then wash off thoroughly. If you suffer from acne on your face, however, you should probably skip the scrub, since it can aggravate your already-irritated skin.

Masque it. Masques applied to the face can reduce oiliness. Clay masques are available, or you can mix Bentonite Clay with a little water to make a paste. Apply to the face and leave on for about 20 minutes before thoroughly rinsing off.

Use water-based cosmetics. Better yet, learn to live without makeup — or at least without foundation — since it will simply add to and trap the oil against your skin and set the stage for blemishes. If you feel you must use makeup, choose water-based products over oil-based types, and opt for spot concealers rather than coating your entire face. In general, stick with powder or gel blushers, and avoid cream foundations.

Pull your hair back. It’s best to keep hair away from the face if you are having issues with your skin. Often oily hair and oily skin go together.

Don’t touch.
Keep your hands off your face during the day. Hands deliver excess oil and dirt.

These simple, effective strategies can make all the difference in your complexion. Still, sometimes a person needs a little extra help. Go to the next page to learn natural home remedies that you can find in your very own kitchen.

Home Remedy Treatments for Dry Skin

Dry Skin looks dull, particularly on the cheeks and around the eyes. There may be tiny expression outline on these spots and at the comers of the mouth.  Dry skin is the effect of lack of water in your skin-not oil. Dry skin can be transformed into a healthy skin by natural home remedies. The home remedies found below are easy to locate in your own home kitchen, and will relieve you from some of the discomfort that comes from dry skin.

From the Home Remedies Cupboard

Baking soda. Instead of using an abrasive dishwashing cleanser, try sprinkling skin-friendly baking soda in your dishwater. Baking soda is also a skin-friendly alternative to jumping in a hot shower. Try a sponge bath using 4 tablespoons baking soda to 1 quart water. A baking soda soak is a folk remedy to relieve itching. Add 1 cup baking soda to a tub of hot water. Soak for 30 minutes and air dry.

Cornstarch.
You may think cornstarch can only be used to thicken your gravy, but it’s also useful in easing itchy, dry skin. Sprinkle a handful in the bathtub and have a soak.

Oatmeal.
Adding instant oatmeal to your bath will soothe your skin. The oats are packed with vitamin E, a nutrient vital to healthy skin. Oatmeal is also used as a folk remedy for treating dry, chapped hands. Rub your hands with wet oatmeal instead of soap. Dry your hands with a towel, then rub them with dry oatmeal.

Epsom Salt.
Massage a handful of epsom salt onto wet skin after a shower or bath. It will remove dry skin and make your skin smooth.

Olive oil. Coating yourself with olive oil may make you feel like a Italian Salad, but your skin will love you. In fact, experts say that any oil, from olives to sunflower  offers relief from dry skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar. Try this folk remedy for chapped hands: Wash and dry hands thoroughly, then apply apple cider vinegar. Put on a pair of soft gloves and leave them on overnight.

Do Remember

Be cool. Take lukewarm or cool showers. This may not sound very appealing if you like lounging in the hot steam, but your skin will thank you. Hot water draws out skin’s valuable oils, which will dry out your skin.

Natural Soap For Dry SkinBe selective about soap.
Pretty, perfume-laden soap may look and smell nice, but it can leave your skin screaming. Try soaps with fat or oil in them. Liquid soaps tend to be milder than bar soaps.

Douse while you’re still damp
. Slathering natural lotion, cocoa butter or shea butter on damp skin is your best bet for retaining moisture. When you get out of the bath or shower, pat, don’t rub, to get rid of just enough water so you don’t leave a wet trail to the sink. Then spread on your lotion or oil while you’ve still got droplets clinging to your skin. This will help seal in the moisture.

Avoid alcohol.
That means both the kind you drink and the kind you use to cleanse. Drinking alcohol can cause your body to soak up water from skin. Limit yourself to no more than 2 ounces a day to keep your skin healthy. Alcohol-based cleansing products (such as astringents) dry out your skin, too. It’s best to skip them altogether.

Watch the sun
. You put your wet tennies outside to dry out. Well, just as the sun evaporates moisture from your water-soaked shoes, it evaporates moisture from your skin. Though a little bit of that evaporation is healthy (sweat evaporating keeps you cool when you exercise), too much can be a problem. So protect your skin by wearing sunscreen and moisturizing lotions if you spend lots of time in the sun.

Just a few simple home remedies could have you feeling smooth in no time, and ready to take on the worst the sun and wind can throw at you.

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