February 2019

Ease Your Headaches Naturally

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Ease Your Headaches Naturally

Anyone who’s ever had a headache (and that’s 90% of the entire population, according to some estimates) knows that they can range from nagging to debilitating. The most common type is a tension headache, a mild, constricting feeling around your head that’s often caused by holding your neck in a tight position. Migraines, on the other hand, tend to be both intense and recurring. Medication is one way to treat your discomfort, but there are also plenty of natural ways that can help relieve headaches.

Rest

Migraine headaches are often a sign that your body needs a break, says Elizabeth Loder, MD, chief of the headache and pain division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and President of the American Headache Society. “Many people are very busy and are reluctant to take the time, but if you consider the trade-off of spending 10 minutes to close the blinds, lie down, and relax when you feel a headache forming, that might be better use of your time than being incapacitated later on after it gets worse,” she says.

Eat Small, Frequent Meals

If you haven’t eaten anything in a while, that aching or fuzzy feeling may be a result of low blood sugar. In this case, eating something right away could nip the nagging sensation in the bud. Some research suggests that foods rich in magnesium, such as spinach, tofu, olive oil, or sunflower or pumpkin seeds, may be especially helpful.

Try Acupressure

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine practices, applying pressure to a point on the hand between the thumb and index finger can help achieve migraine relief. Simply squeeze the indentation between the two digits with the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand and massage in a circular motion for five minutes, then switch hands. “It’s certainly a harmless thing to try, and at the very least it’s a distraction from the pain,” says Dr. Loder, who adds that it may also he helpful to rub ice on this spot for a few minutes. You could also try acupuncture. The technique, which uses long needles inserted into the skin to stimulate trigger points throughout the body, has been shown to help prevent migraines as well as frequent tension-type headaches.

Stay Hydrated

Headache is one of the first signs of dehydration. To make sure you’re drinking enough fluids, try to consume them throughout the day, rather than just guzzling them down at meal times or during periods of heavy physical activity, suggests Dr. Green. Institute of Medicine guidelines say that adults should consume between 11 and 15 cups of water a day, but that also counts liquid from other sources—like low-calorie liquids (tea and skim or low-fat milk, for example) as well as fruits and vegetables. Even moderate coffee consumption contributes to your daily fluid intake; a 2014 study published in PLoS One debunked the long-standing theory that its caffeine content contributed to dehydration.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Being significantly overweight may increase a person’s chances of having recurring migraines, according to a 2013 study from Johns Hopkins University. The finding was especially true for women, white people, and those 50 and younger. “We also know that being obese can turn episodic headaches into chronic headaches,” says Dr. Green. “It’s one of the major risk factors we worry about.” Losing weight through diet and regular exercise—or keeping your weight healthy if you’re already there—can go a long way in preventing headaches from happening more frequently.

Take Computer Breaks

Eyestrain on its own isn’t usually a cause of bad headaches, says Dr. Loder, but she believes that spending long hours in front of a computer can make people more susceptible to them. “It hasn’t been well studied, but having talked with many patients, I believe that very prolonged and intense periods of mental concentration can contribute to headaches,” she says. Paying attention to ergonomics at your workspace can help reduce strain on the neck, she says, and taking frequent breaks—every 30 minutes or so, to stretch and look away from your computer screen—can reduce eyestrain and muscle stiffness.

Consider Vitamins

Some research has suggested that certain dietary supplements and vitamins may be helpful in preventing recurring headaches, although different options seem to work for different people. Daily doses of butterbur (also known as Petasites root) were shown to cut migraine frequency in half in one Albert Einstein College of Medicine study; similar results were also found for vitamin B2, or riboflavin, in a German clinical trial. Coenzyme Q10, a vitamin found in meats and seafood, and the mineral magnesium have also been shown to decrease headache frequency. Before taking any new supplement, however, talk to your doctor to be sure it’s safe for your specific medical situation.

Heartburn Relief

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Relieve Your Heartburn Naturally!

If you’ve ever experienced the burning pain of heartburn then I certainly don’t need to tell you that when this digestive dragon rears its ugly head your number one priority is quick and effective relief.

But what if you don’t want to take costly side-effect ridden prescription medications or load up on mainstream drugstore remedies that often do more harm than good?

The good news is that there are alternatives!

In fact there are a number of proven all-natural home remedies that will have you dousing the flames of your heartburn in no time. Here are five of my favorites:

1. Ginger is proven to be one of the most powerful natural remedies for heartburn. Drinking warn ginger tea should help alleviate heartburn in two different ways. First ginger has the capacity to absorb acid from the stomach and second it has nerve-calming effects. Furthermore, ginger is a harmless natural herb with a broad dosage range. In other words it’s safe to consume it regularly to prevent your heartburn from recurring.

2. Aloe vera juice is widely used in Europe as a natural home remedy to ease heartburn. This green juice is highly alkaline, thus it can neutralize excess of stomach acid. The natural juice, with no additives, can been used to calm an irritated esophagus. However, moderation is key here. High doses of aloe vera juice can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain and electrolyte imbalance.

3. Cabbage juice is an oldie but a goodie when it comes to preventing recurring heartburn pain. The juice is a natural anti-inflammatory and is a source of lactic acid making it a natural for all kinds of digestive troubles. You can easily make the juice in your blender or juicer in your own kitchen just check a search engine like Google for a number of easy to follow recipes. To get the best results drink the juice in the morning on empty stomach.

4. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a natural antacid. In fact it’s among the oldest and most well known home remedies for heartburn. It can act rapidly to neutralize excess acid in the stomach giving almost instant relief from heartburn pain. Try about a half a tablespoon dissolved in a glass of water. If you find this dosage doesn’t work as effectively as you would like increase the amount of baking soda you use next time.

5. It may at first seem counter intuitive but many heartburn sufferers swear by apple cider vinegar as a highly effective method of heartburn relief. The reason it works is that for a number of sufferers the problem is not excess stomach acid but too little stomach acid. To give this one a try simply stir about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into 1/2 cup of water. However be prepared to stop taking it if you turn out to be someone who does suffer from excess acid and you don’t find relief or even feel more pain.

Remember, everyone is unique therefore individuals will respond differently to each remedy. An approach that works wonders for a friend might not work as well for you. Therefore, be prepared to experiment a bit to find out what the best solutions are for you.

By: Jenny Thompson

Natural Blood Pressure Tips

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Need Help Lowering High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can damage your heart. It affects one in three people in the US and 1 billion people worldwide. If left uncontrolled, it raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.

But there’s good news. There are a number of things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally, even without medication.

Here are 5 natural ways to combat high blood pressure:

1. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure. Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries. In fact, 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, per week can help lower blood pressure and improve your heart health.

Bottom Line: Walking just 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. More exercise helps reduce it even further.

2. Salt intake is high around the world. In large part, this is due to processed and prepared foods. For this reason, many public health efforts are aimed at lowering salt in the food industry. In many studies, salt has been linked to high blood pressure and heart events, like stroke.

Bottom Line: Most guidelines for lowering blood pressure recommend lowering sodium intake. However, that recommendation might make the most sense for people who are salt-sensitive.

3. Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases around the world. While some research has suggested that low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart, those benefits may be offset by negative effects. In the US, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. If you drink more than that, cut back.

Bottom Line: Drinking alcohol in any quantity may raise your blood pressure. Limit your drinking to no more than one drink a day for women, two for men.

4. Potassium is an important mineral. It helps your body get rid of sodium and ease pressure on your blood vessels. Modern diets have increased most people’s sodium intake while decreasing potassium intake. To get a better balance of potassium to sodium in your diet, focus on eating fewer processed foods and more fresh, whole foods.

Bottom Line: Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium, can help lower blood pressure.

5. If you’ve ever downed a cup of coffee before you’ve had your blood pressure taken, you’ll know that caffeine causes an instant boost. However, there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that drinking caffeine regularly can cause a lasting increase. In fact, people who drink caffeinated coffee and tea tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, than those who don’t. Caffeine may have a stronger effect on people who don’t consume it regularly. If you suspect you’re caffeine-sensitive, cut back to see if it lowers your blood pressure.

Bottom Line: Caffeine can cause a short-term spike in blood pressure, although for many people it does not cause a lasting increase.

Take Home Message:

High blood pressure affects a large proportion of the world’s population. While drugs are one way to treat the condition, there are many other natural techniques that can help. Controlling your blood pressure through the methods in this article may, ultimately, help you lower your risk of heart disease.

Article By Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD