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We have to go natural , there are many reasons why we might want to pay attention to what we eat.
Food is powerful stuff. Everyone has to eat. Food is not like medicine, it is medicine.
We especially need to pay attention when we are sick so we can help our bodies get the nutrients we need to heal.
There are many health benefits if we look at food as medicine. Here are some of the ways.
Beat bladder infections with blueberries
Eating 1 cup of blueberries daily, whether you opt for them fresh, frozen (nom nom nom)
or in juice form, can cut your risk of a urinary tract infection (UTIs) by 60 percent, according
to researchers at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. That’s because blueberries are loaded with tannins,
plant compounds that wrap around problem-causing bacteria in the bladder,
so they can’t get a toehold and create an infection, explains Amy Howell, Ph.D. a scientist at Rutgers University .
Relax painful muscles with peppermint
Suffering from tight, sore muscles? Stubborn knots can hang around for months if they aren’t properly treated,
says naturopath Mark Stengler, N.D., author of the book, The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies.
His advice: Three times each week, soak in a warm tub scented with 10 drops of peppermint oil. The warm water will relax your muscles,
while the peppermint oil will naturally soothe your nerves — a combo that can ease muscle cramping 25 percent more
effectively than over-the-counter painkillers, and cut the frequency of future flare-ups in half, says Stengler.
Make muscle pain a memory with ginger
When Danish researchers asked achy people to jazz up their diets with ginger, it eased muscle and joint pain,
swelling and stiffness for up to 63 percent of them within two months. Experts credit ginger’s potent compounds called gingerols,
which prevent the production of pain-triggering hormones.
The study-recommended dose: Add at least 1 teaspoon of dried ginger or 2 teaspoons of chopped ginger to meals daily.
Heal mouth sores with honey
Dab painful canker and cold sores with unpasteurized honey four times daily until these skin woes disappear,
and they’ll heal 43 percent faster than if you use a prescription cream, say researchers at the Dubai Specialized Medical Center in the United Arab Emirates .
Raw honey’s natural enzymes zap inflammation, destroy invading viruses and speed the healing of damaged tissues, say the study authors.
Fight breast pain with flax
In one recent study, adding 3 tablespoons of ground flax to their daily diet eased breast soreness for one in three women within 12 weeks.
Scientists credit flax’s phytoestrogens, natural plant compounds that prevent the estrogen spikes that can trigger breast pain. More good news:
You don’t have to be a master baker to sneak this healthy seed into your diet. Just sprinkle ground flax on oatmeal, yogurt,
applesauce or add it to smoothies and veggie dips.
Energize migraine medication with coffee
Prone to migraines? Try muscling-up your painkiller with a coffee chaser.
Whatever over-the-counter pain med you prefer, researchers at the National Headache Foundation
say washing it down with a strong 12- ounce cup of coffee will boost the effectiveness of your medication by
40 percent or more. Experts say caffeine stimulates the stomach lining to absorb painkillers more quickly and more effectively.
Tame leg cramps with tomato juice
At least one in five people regularly struggle with leg cramps. The culprit? Potassium deficiencies,
which occur when this mineral is flushed out by diuretics, caffeinated beverages or heavy perspiration during exercise.
But sip 10 ounces of potassium-rich tomato juice daily and you’ll not only speed your recovery, you’ll reduce
your risk of painful cramp flare-ups in as little as 10 days, say UCLA researchers.
Heal sinus problems with horseradish
Latest studies show sinusitis is the nation’s number one chronic health problem.
And this condition doesn’t just spur congestion and facial pain, it also makes sufferers six times more
likely to feel achy all-over. Horseradish to the rescue! According to German researchers, this eye-watering condiment
naturally revs up blood flow to the sinus cavities, helping to open and drain clogged sinuses and heal sinus infections more
quickly than decongestant sprays do. The study-recommended dose:
One teaspoon twice daily (either on its own, or used as a sandwich or meat topping) until symptoms clear.
Wash away pain injuries with water
Whether it’s your feet, your knees or your shoulders that are throbbing, experts at New York ’s Manhattan College ,
say you could kick-start your recovery in one week just by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Why? Experts say
water dilutes, and then helps flush out, histamine, a pain-triggering compound produced by injured tissues. “
Plus water is a key building block of the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones, your joints’ lubricating fluid, and the soft discs in your spine
,” adds Susan M. Kleiner, Ph.D., author of the book, The Good Mood Diet. “And when these tissues are well-hydrated, they
can move and glide over each other without causing pain.” One caveat: Be sure to measure your drinking glasses to find out how
large they really are before you start sipping, she says. Today’s juice glasses often hold more than 12 ounces, which means five servings could be enough to meet your daily goal.
Give your back some TLC with grapes
Got an achy back? Grapes could be the ticket to a speedy recovery. Recent studies at Ohio State University suggest eating a heaping cup
of grapes daily can relax tight blood vessels, significantly improving blood flow to damaged back tissues (and often within three hours
of enjoying the first bowl). That’s great news because your back’s vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs are completely dependent
on nearby blood vessels to bring them healing nutrients and oxygen, so improving blood flow is essential for healing damaged back tissue, says Stengler.
Prevent digestive upsets with pineapple
Got gas? One cup of fresh pineapple daily can cut painful bloating within 72 hours, say researchers at California ’s Stanford University .
That’s because pineapple is naturally packed with proteolytic enzymes, digestive aids that help speed the breakdown of pain-causing proteins
in the stomach and small intestine, say USDA researchers.
Soothe foot pain with salt
Experts say at least six million Americans develop painful ingrown toenails each year.
But regularly soaking ingrown nails in warm salt water baths can cure these painful infections within four days,
say scientists at California ’s Stanford University . The salt in the mix naturally nixes inflammation, plus it’s anti-bacterial,
so it quickly destroys the germs that cause swelling and pain. Just mix 1 teaspoon of salt into each cup of water,
heat to the warmest temperature that you can comfortably stand, and then soak the affected foot area for 20 minutes twice daily, until your infection subsides.
End endometrial pain with oats
The ticket to soothing endometriosis pain could be a daily bowl of oatmeal.
Endometriosis occurs when little bits of the uterine lining detach and grow outside of the uterus. Experts say these migrating
cells can turn menstruation into a misery, causing so much inflammation that they trigger severe cramping during your period, plus a
heavy ache that drags on all month long. Fortunately, scientists say opting for a diet rich in oats can help reduce endometrial pain
for up to 60 percent of women within six months. That’s because oats don’t contain gluten, a trouble-making protein that
triggers inflammation in many women, making endometriosis difficult to bear, explains Peter Green, M.D., professor of medicine at Colombia University .
Tame chronic pain with turmeric
Studies show turmeric, a popular East Indian spice, is actually three times more effective at easing
pain than aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, plus it can help relieve chronic pain for 50 percent of people
struggling with arthritis and even fibromyalgia, according to Cornell researchers. That’s because turmeric’s active ingredient,
curcumin, naturally shuts down cyclooxygenase 2, an enzyme that churns out a stream of pain-producing hormones,
explains nutrition researcher Julian Whitaker, M.D. and author of the book, Reversing Diabetes.
The study-recommended dose: Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of this spice daily onto any rice, poultry, meat or vegetable dish.
Prevent PMS with yogurt
Up to 80 percent of women will struggle with premenstrual syndrome and its uncomfortable symptoms,
report Yale researchers. The reason: Their nervous systems are sensitive to the ups and downs in estrogen and progesterone that occur naturally
every month. But snacking on 2 cups of yogurt a day can slash these symptoms by 48 percent, say researchers at New York ’s Columbia University .
“Yogurt is rich in calcium, a mineral that naturally calms the nervous system, preventing painful symptoms even when
hormones are in flux,” explains Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a professor of gynecology at Yale University .
Fight tummy troubles with fish
Indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases…if your belly always seems to be in an uproar,
try munching 18 ounces of fish weekly to ease your misery. Repeated studies show that the fatty acids in fish, called EPA and DHA,
can significantly reduce intestinal inflammation, cramping and belly pain and, in some cases, provide as much relief as corticosteroids
and other prescription meds. “EPA and DHA are powerful, natural, side effect-free anti-inflammatories, that can
dramatically improve the function of the entire gastrointestinal tract,” explains biological chemist Barry Sears, Ph.D.
, president of the Inflammation Research Foundation in Marblehead , MA . For best results, look for oily fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout and herring.