Healthy Living Tip #22: Chemical Free Cleaning Products

Healthy living tip for this week is to remove all of the chemical cleaning products from your home and personal skin care products. Your health matters!

Healthy Living Tip: Chemical Free Cleaning Products

Using chemical free cleaning products in your home has numerous health benefits. Before you clean your house consider the following benefits of greening your cleaning routine. 

Health Benefits of Chemical Free Cleaning Products

  • Eczema: Toxins, pollutants, and allergens can all affect skin health. When toxins react with the largest organ in the body eczema and other skin irritations can develop. If you or a family member struggles with eczema or unexplained skin rashes remove all chemical laden cleaning products and skin care products from your home.
  • Allergies: The effects of chemicals in your home are two fold when it comes to allergies. One effect is creating an overly clean home. Antibacterial soaps, use of bleach, and other harsh chemicals found in cleaning products creates an overly sanitized home. There is a theory that removing all of the bacteria from our environment does not adequately build up immune systems in our young children thereby causing an allergy when they are exposed to dander and pollen as they grow. Secondly, simply using the chemicals found in cleaning products can cause allergies. Shortness of breathe, airway reactions, and rashes can all occur form exposure to the chemicals found in non-green cleaning supplies.
  • Eye and Airway Irritation: The fumes from harsh chemicals found in cleaning supplies can irritate the sensitive tissue in and around eyes and lungs. Some chemicals have even been linked to asthma in children, especially those used in schools. If a bottle warns of harmful damage if splashed in the eyes, that should raise huge red flags on their safety of that product. 
  • Poisoning: One child poisoned a year is far too many in my opinion. Unfortunately, 1.5 million children under the age of 20 are poisoned every year and many of those children die from the effects of the poison. 

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Healthy Living Tip #21: Elderberry

Healthy living tip, elderberry. Health Benefits of elderberry on your immune system. Help your immunity naturally.

Elderberry is from a fruit bearing shrub native to Europe and North America. In the past 20 years it has gained research attention for it’s antiviral, immune boosting properties, as well as possible weight loss effects.

Health Benefits of Elderberry

Immune Boosting

According to the “The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicines” authored by Michael Murray, ND only the blue and black elderberries possess the potent immune boosting properties. Rich in flavonoids, these natural compounds with antioxidant properties protect cells against damage and infection. Elderberry also contains vitamin A, B, high amounts of vitamin C and amino-acids. These nutrients boost your immune system and thereby can help you stay healthy and prevent diseases.

Fight Influenza

Two studies indicate that elderberry is more effective at fighting the influenza virus including H1N1 than a placebo and flu vaccines including tamiflu. The first study, published in the winter 1995 issue of “Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, New York” looked at influenza A and B in Panama 1993. This study found that of the 90 patients that contracted the flu virus were cured within 2 to 3 days when they regularly took elderberry versus the placebo group which required 6 days to recover from the virus. The second study, by B.Roschek, published in the July 2009 issue of “Phytochemistry” indicates that elderberry is comparable in efficacy to tamiflu and Amantadine for H1N1 viral infections.

Personally, my family and I take elderberry during cold and flu season to help boost our immune system and ward off viruses. Elderberry syrup is thick with a deep purple color and sweet-tart taste. 

Our favorite elderberry syrup is Gaia Herbs – Black Elderberry Syrup 5.4 oz

I hope you are enjoying my 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips series this month.

Medical Disclaimer

Healthy Living Tip #20: Fluoride

 

Fluoride is harmful to your health. Remove fluoride toothpaste and filter your drinking water because your health matters. Get more healthy living tip at AlexisMathews.com

Health Benefits of Avoiding Fluoride

Fluoride occurs naturally in many water sources across the country. Naturally occurring levels are very low and do not pose a threat to our health. According to the American Dental Association, flurried prevents tooth decay and helps build enamel.

However, when fluoride is added to water supplies and is not closely monitored or a break in the monitoring system occurs a toxic condition known as fluorosis can occur. This condition is characterized by brown spots on teeth. Thankfully fluorosis is largely cosmetic and does not pose a threat to heath.

Two health conditions that are serious and caused by fluoride however are skeletal issues and hyopthyroidism. High levels of fluoride can lead to skeletal fluorosis. In skeletal fluorosis fluoride builds up in and around bones which leads to pain, stiffness, and mobility issues. Water supplies must be closely monitored to prevent skeletal fluorosis in areas with naturally occurring high levels of fluroide.

The health of my thyroid and your thyroid for that matter are near and dear to my heart. My healthy living journey got a huge kick start when I was diagnosed with thyroid nodules. My endocrinologist nor my general physician ever told me why I had developed nodules. I was left fearing for my health and the fate of my tiny little gland that plays a huge role in regulating hormones in my body. In researching thyroid nodules I’ve come to learn that I likely developed the nodules in response to hypothyroidism. My thyroid was underperforming therefore my thyroid responded and developed nodules to counter the low thyroid hormones. Equipped with this knowledge I am now incredibly careful to eliminate compounds and chemicals in my life that affect my thyroid and I would encourage you to do the same. According to a 2006 National Research Council study¹ fluoride is “an endocrine disruptor in the broad sense of altering normal endocrine function.” It is well established that fluoride has the ability to alter endocrine function. This altered function can involve your thyroid, parathyroid, and pineal glands, as well as your adrenals, pancreas, and pituitary. According to this article fluoride was used as an anti-thyroid drug in the first half of the 20th century. Seriously? Why are we being forced to drink or pay to filter our water so that we can eliminate fluoride in our water supply?

After reading these health related side effects of fluoride, please do your research and seriously consider eliminating this toxic anti-thyroid drug from your body.

 

1. National Research Council. 2006. Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards. National Academies Press: Washington, DC. 507 pp.

Healthy Living Tip #19: Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice has been used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), digestive health, and help fight cancer. Find out more health benefits of cranberry juice and other beneficial healthy living tips in my 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips series. AlexisMathews.com

Health Benefits of Cranberry Juice

With their deep, rich red color it is no surprise that cranberries are high in antioxidants.  Second only to blueberries in antioxidant capacity, a cup of cranberries has a total antioxidant capacity of 8,983. Antioxidants are responsible for fighting free radicals which may cause damage which leads to heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

Frozen cranberries are available year round while fresh cranberries are sold during the fall and winter months. While eating cranberries is an excellent option for enjoying the health benefits, most prefer the convenience of drinking cranberry juice.

Pure cranberry juice is the best choice when considering juice options, however pure cranberry juice can be quite tart in taste. Cranberry juice blends are very common just be careful to choose a blend that is low in sugar.

Prevents Urinary Tract Infections

According to this article, cranberry juice may help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women, particularly in those that are highly susceptible to these types of infections. Also according to the same article, a scientific study published n the Journal of Urology found that cranberry juice changes the structure of e.coli the main culprit in UTIs an prevents it from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract.

Promotes Digestive Health

In a May 2008 article in Nutrition, researchers found that cranberry juice slowed the growth of a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers and a risk factor for gastric cancer. This article show that cranberry juice is effective at preventing bacteria from attaching to the stomach wall and causing damage.  Cranberry juice also helps maintain the levels of beneficial bacteria, particularly in the mouth. The antioxidants in cranberry juice according to an article in the Journal of the American Dental Association may prevent periodontal disease. If oral bacteria can not stack to teeth and gums, periodontal disease will not develop.

Helps Fight Cancer

Numerous scientific studies including a June 1996 Plant Medica and The Journal of Nutrition indicate that the antioxidants in cranberry juice may help prevent certain types of cancers including prostate, lung, breast, colon and other tumors.

Lakewood Organic Cranberry Juice is my favorite brand of organic cranberry juice. There are numerous juice blends as well as pure cranberry juice available depending on your tastes.

I hope you are enjoying my 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips series.

Medical Disclaimer

Healthy Living Tip #18: Neti Pot

The neti pot is a nasal flushing device and a great addition to your healthy living medicine cabinet. Keep your sinuses clear and healthy with the neti pot. Alexis Mathews.com

Health Benefits of a Neti Pot

Millions of Americans suffer from sinus pain, pressure, and reoccurring infections each year. Unfortunately, time and time again those suffering from sinus problems turn to western medicine and prescription drugs to relieve their pain. A simple little device, known as a neti pot could save pain, suffering, infections, and unnecessary antibiotics every year.

The neti pot is a ceramic or plastic container that looks like a tea pot or genie lamp. When filled with a saline solution, the neti pot is highly effective at flushing the nasal passages and helping the body’s natural cleansing methods function better. Surgeries, allergies, and environmental irritants can clog the nasal passages and prevent the sinus cilia cells from clearing mucus and irritants naturally.

Many people that suffer from sinus pressure, pain, and infections are turning to neti pots to relieve their symptoms more often. Most use the neti pot on a regular basis, some even as frequently as daily to relieve their pain, congestion, and prevent infections. 

Biologically speaking, the neti pot works with the tiny hair-like cilia cells in the nasal and sinus cavities.  Cilia cells wave back and forth to move mucus back toward the throat or forward into the nose to be blown out. The saline solution in neti pots helps the increase the speed and efficiency of expelling mucus.

Neti Pot Use

The process is quite simple when using a neti pot. After preparing a simple saline solution of 2 cups lukewarm filtered, purified water and 1 teaspoon of salt the solution is added to the neti pot. Once filled, tilt your head at a 45 degree angle and place the spout of the neti pot in one nostril. Gently pour the saline solution, it will flow through your nasal cavity and out the opposite nostril. A bit of the saline solution may travel to your throat, simply spit it out. Be sure to blow your nose to remove any remaining saline solution before repeating the process in the opposite nostril.  Wash your neti pot and leave to air dry between uses.

If you are a chronic sufferer of sinus problems 3 times per week or as frequently as daily will help relieve your symptoms.

Side effects are rare and minor when they do occur. Nose bleeds or nasal irritation may occur. Reducing the frequency or concentration of salt in the saline solution will alleviate these minor side effects. To prevent infection, always use clean purified or bottled water.

 
This ceramic neti pot is my favorite and one that I use when the need arises. However, if you prefer a plastic neti pot the NeilMed NasaFlo Unbreakable Neti Pot with 50 Premixed Packets is a great choice.

 

Medical Disclaimer

Healthy Living Tip #17: Echinacea

Echinacea is an herb with numerous health benefits. Part of my 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips series.

Health Benefits of Echinacea

Echinacea is an herb that is used to primarily fight colds and upper respiratory infections. The leaves, flowers, and root can be used in making medicinals from this herb.

Echinacea Uses

According to research, echinacea is most effective in treating the symptoms of a cold rather than preventing an infection of the cold virus.

This beautiful flowering herb can also be used to help with the flu, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.

The chemicals in echinacea appear to have anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties which explains why this herb is also used to help with skin issues including burns, bee stings, and psoriasis. Echinacea may also help with yeast infections.

Immunity Booster

Researchers at UM found that echinacea has compounds that boost the immune system. Which explains why it can be used to treat pain, hormonal, inflammation, viruses and fungi.  Echinacea also has anti-septic properties which is why some use it to treat sore throats.

Echinacea Sources

As with all other herbs, essential oils, and natural alternatives be sure and source your products from a reputable and organic distributor. I use Mountain Rose Herbs for all of my essential oils, herbs, tinctures, and teas.

Echinacea is available in powder, dried herb, tea, tincture, and capsules. The freshest source is always better when considering adding herbs to your diet so capsules are the lowest on the list of preferred delivery methods.

Mountain Rose Herbs
Medical Disclaimer

Healthy Living Tip #16: Avocado

Avocados are rich in oil and heart health benefits. Join me for 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips. AlexisMathews.com

Health Benefits of Avocado

Avocados are the unsung fruit in the alternative health arena. Most people do not realize the full potential of an avocado and the positive impact it can have on their health. Packed with healthy oil, fiber, and vitamins avocado should be a regular in your daily diet.

Good Fat

Just half of an avocado has 10g of healthy fats. Of these 10 grams the majority of them are monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated along with polyunsaturated fats are called healthy fats because diets high in these fats are linked to many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease. The ratio of unsaturated to saturated fats in an avocado are similar to olive oil.

Superior Source of Fiber

Plant foods are typically high in fiber. An avocado however, is proportionally an excellent source of fiber. Containing 4.5 grams of fiber per half of an avocado, this accounts for 10-20% of the recommended adult daily fiber intake.

A Green Fruit

It is recommended for adults to consume four to six servings of fruit and vegetables every day. If you live a plant based lifestyle, of course these serving amounts will be much higher. Of these fruit servings, you can count an avocado toward your daily goal. As a nutrient dense fruit avocados are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate and potassium.

Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients, such as carotenoids, flavonoids and sterols found in plant foods, are being studied for their role in living a healthy life. The carotenoid lutein is found in avocados. Lutein is an antioxidant and may help prevent damage to the eyes as we age. Sterol compounds are also found naturally in avocados. Sterols can help maintain healthy blood lipid levels.

Healthy Uses

You can enjoy an avocado in more ways than just straight from the skin. The healthiest use for avocados is to use them in place of saturated fats in your diet. For example, smear avocado on your morning toast instead of margarine or butter. Also, use avocado on your sandwiches instead of cheese. Avocado is also amazing on salads instead of cheese or bacon bits.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil can be applied directly to the skin to soothe and heal skin and to treat thickening of the skin, gum infections, and arthritis. Avocado oil is used in combination with vitamin B12 for psoriasis. The fruit pulp is applied topically to promote growth and speed wound healing. 

Thank you for joining me for another healthy living tip in my 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips series. For more healthy living tips, you are invited to check out my Healthy Living pinterest board.

Medical Disclaimer

Healthy Living Tip #15: Garlic

Health benefits of garlic include immune system boost, anti-fungal, and anti-baterial. Come discover other health living tips in my 31 Days of Healthy Living Series. AlexisMathews.com

Health Benefits of Garlic

Garlic has long been a popular herb to add to recipes for the flavor and smell that it adds to favorite dishes. Few people however realize the health benefits that fresh or supplemental garlic can provide. Over the years, garlic has long been used as an herbal medicine to treat a variety of conditions.

Heart and Blood System

Garlic is used to treat a wide variety of heart and blood system conditions including:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease
  • heart attack
  • atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)

Immune System Support

Taking garlic supplements or eat garlic can reduce your risk of catching a cold virus as well as help you feel better faster when you do get sick. Other immune system support conditions include:

  • fever
  • coughs
  • headaches
  • stomach ache
  • sinus congestion
  • asthma
  • stress
  • fatigue
  • diabetes
  • gout
  • health liver function

Anti-Fungal Properties

Garlic is a warm herb, meaning it warms the body so it also follows that garlic would be effective as an anti-fungal medicine. Some people use garlic oil on their skin to treat fungal infection, warts, corns, rung woe, athlete’s foot, and other skin irritation issues.

Other Health Benefits of Garlic

Other lesser known health benefits of garlic include preventing tick bites, snake bites, diarrhea, bacterial infections, and some types of cancer. Some also use garlic to treat an enlarged prostrate.

Garlic can be taken in a capsule form or fresh/raw in your favorite recipes.

My family and I enjoy the health benefits of garlic in a variety of forms including the following: 

Pharmax Garlic Freeze Dried – 90 Vegetarian Capsules

Organic Garlic Oil

GARLIC BULB (3 Pack), FRESH CALIFORNIA SOFTNECK GARLIC BULB FOR PLANTING AND GROWING YOUR OWN GARLIC

Medical Disclaimer

Health Living Tip #14: Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree essential oil has numerous health benefits including healing ear infections, skin irritations, acne, and disinfecting the home. Join me for more healthy living tips in my 31 Days of healthy living tips series. AlexisMathews.com

Tea tree essential oil is derived from the tea tree in the swampy area of the southeastern Australian coast. Tea tree oil is most commonly applied to the skin for a variety of health conditions. As with other essential oils, tea tree should not be taken internally. Much like oregano oil, tea tree oil is very versatile and a must have in your natural health first aid kit. Tea tree oil has a very unique smell, one that makes this oil easy to identify even in an unlabeled amber bottle.

Health Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

1. Helps with Infections

When applied topically, tea tree oil can help with a number of infections. Most commonly use for acne issues, tea tree oil is also helpful in treating lice, nail fungal infections, athlete’s foot, and ringworm. 

2. Antiseptic

When used topically, tea tree oil can treat skin abrasions, burns, insect bites, boils, and ear infections. Tea tree oil is one of the few oils that can safely be applied neat, that is directly on the skin without dilution in a carrier oil. 

Personally, I use tea tree oil most often to treat and prevent ear infections in my children as well as prevent infections in the ever occurring akin abrasions. Tea tree oil is one of the few oils that I purchase in a large volume because of the frequency with which it is used. 

There no known side effects or drug interactions with tea tree oil.

Medical Disclaimer

Healthy Living Tip #13: Arnica

Healthy Living Tip Arnica 

Arnica is a well known pain relieving homeopathic source in the alternative medicine community. Arnica is used for swelling, bruising, arthritis pain, sunburns, and skin irritations. 

In nature, arnica is a flower that appears similar to a daisy with bright yellow flowers and is found in wooded areas of North America as well as southern Russia, and Europe.

Health Benefits of Arnica

Arnica is used to increase circulation and treat bruising, pain and swelling caused by minor injuries. Arnica contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds and is available from most natural health stores. You can find arnica in gel, ointment, cream, or homeopathic tablet forms. The most common form of arnica application is externally using the cream, gel, or ointment. While arnica can be taken internally, be cautious in only taking homeopathic tablets as they are dosed correctly for internal use.

Boiron arnica is my favorite source for this natural pain reliever. They sell the gel, cream, ointment, and homeopathic tablets.

Typical uses for arnica include:

  • muscle sprain
  • arthritis
  • muscle soreness
  • muscle swelling
  • insect bites
  • circulatory issues
  • bruising
  • sunburn

In my family we use arnica so often that I have a bottle of the cream in every bathroom as well as the kitchen. The homeopathic tablets are in my purse, numerous vials in the kitchen, and at least a couple in my bathroom. With a large family there is always someone that has a muscle pain for one reason or another. I also know massage therapists who use arnica on their clients to reduce muscle pain after a deep tissue massage.

If you’ve never tried arnica, I highly recommend adding a bottle of the cream and a homeopathic vial to your arsenal of natural remedies.

 Medical Disclaimer