Yacón……what is it and what do I do with it?

yacon_harvest2008

Well here’s another beauty that has escaped me.  The yacón. (pronounced ya-kon) In the Inca language, yacón means ‘water root’.

Another name for the yacón is Peruvian ground apple.  A perennial tuber grown in the ground, with a taste similar to a cross between celery and a Granny Smith apple and a touch of pear.  This little treat is naturally low in calories and high in fiber….and can’t we all use a little more fiber?  (is it me or does this sound suspiciously like Jicama?)

“The tubers and leaves contain high levels of inulin, a form of sugar humans  cannot easily break down, making it low in calories. Inulin also aids digestion  and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, while  inhibiting toxic bacteria. Recent research also has found that yacon tubers and  leaves are a good source of antioxidants.”(source)

Yacon_plant_(Smallanthus_sonchifolius)(via)

Yacón also benefits the bacteria in the intestinal tract and colon that boost the immune system and aid digestion, something else we need….digestion! This potential as a dietary aid and as a ‘sweet spot’ for diabetics has led to yacón being grown more widely, and thankfully in America!

Here’s what the Guardian News has to say:

“Yacón has a crunchy texture, slightly reminiscent of water chestnuts, and a sweet flavour, so it’s rather good simply peeled, sliced and eaten as a snack. It’s great in salads too, though its tendency to brown means that you should add it at the last minute, once everything else is assembled and ready to be dressed, or sprinkle with a little lemon juice to prevent it discolouring as it’s peeled (and do peel it, the skin can be a little bitter).

Yacón also has a delightful tendency to absorb sauces and dressings, which make it a fantastic vehicle for other flavours. Try it grated with carrots in a mustardy vinaigrette with a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, or in the traditional South American fruit salad, salpicón. Combine peeled, chopped yacón with chunks of pineapple, chopped papaya and mango and dress in freshly squeezed orange juice and a spritz of lemon.

You could also use yacón instead of apples in a Waldorf salad. Just peel and dice the yacón and toss it in lemon juice to stop it from going brown, then combine it in a bowl with chopped celery, some raisins and walnuts. Dress with mayonnaise thinned with a little sour cream and serve.”

You can purchase yacón in powder or slices HEREOr find it in syrup form HERE.

cha cha cha cherries!

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Oh yummy, yummy cherries!  It’s the sign of summer!!!

Yes, they are delicious but did you know can knock the socks off gout and also help in alleviating arthritis?

IT’S TRUE!

Just one cup of sweet or sour cherries contains about 130 calories and are a source of beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium.  There has even been research that has found the quercetin in cherries is linked to a reduced risk of coronary artery disease.  And they taste great!!

Here is some great news for those suffering with pain and swelling:

“In research published in 2004 at Johns Hopkins University, rats were injected  with either a solution containing tart cherries or a prescription non-steroidal  anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and exposed to either a heated surface or an  inflammatory agent. The tart cherries significantly reduced pain sensitivity and  at the highest dosage were as effective as the drug. The authors conclude that  tart cherries may have a beneficial role in inflammatory pain. In a 2001 study  at Michigan State University, the anthocyanins in cherries were found to be  equivalent to two common over-the-counter painkillers(also NSAIDs) for  inhibiting the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes associated with inflammation.” (source)
Cherry

Remember when buying cherries, look for plump, firm fruit with green stems.  Both sweet and sour cherries will spoil quickly.  Find them at your local farmers market since imported cherries aren’t as flavorful.   Unwashed fruit should keep in your refrigerator for up to a week.  Be sure to wash right before eating, since water can cause the cherry to split and soften.

YUMMY CHERRY TART

  • 9 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 ounces bar cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound fresh sweet cherries, such as Bing, pitted and halved
  • 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers and 2 tablespoons sugar until finely ground. Add butter, and process until combined. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using the base of a dry measuring cup, firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan. Bake until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add cream, and beat until soft peaks form; spread mixture in cooled crust. Scatter cherries on top.

In a small saucepan, combine jam and 1 teaspoon water; heat over low until liquefied, about 2 minutes. Using a pastry brush, dab cherries with glaze. Refrigerate tart at least 30 minutes or, covered, up to 1 day.  (from Everyday Food, June 2007)

cancer? let’s start with prevention…

Main sites of metastases for some common cance...
Main sites of metastases for some common cancer types. Primary cancers are denoted by “…cancer” and their main metastasis sites are denoted by “…metastases”. List of included entries and references is found on main image page in Commons: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cancer.  It’s here.  It doesn’t surface overnight, but is a long process that can take years to raise it’s ugly head.

Prevention is all about making sure we are eating as healthy as possible and staying away from cancer landmines.

Here are a few landmines that have the potential to make cancer cells grow and multiply:

  • SMOKING:  According to the National Cancer Institute, there are over 7000 chemicals in cigarette smoke with 250 being harmful.  Do you smoke? STOP.
  • ALCOHOL:  Excessive alcohol intake (more than 2 servings/day for men and 1 serving/day for women) has been linked to an increased risk of cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, rectum and liver.  Medical News Today says 15% of all breast cancer deaths may be linked to alcohol.  Drink AND smoke?  STOP.
  • RADIATION:  Not just limited to x-rays, microwaves and nuclear reactors, radiation is also the light that comes from the sun and the heat that comes off our bodies.  Leukemia, a type of cancer that is centered in bone marrow, is the most common radiation induced cancer.  Severe sunburns also increase the risk of developing cancer.  Still tanning? STOP.
  • HORMONES:  Some hormones help cancer to grow and spread, such as breast and prostate cancers.  The longer women are exposed to high levels of estrogen, the greater the risk of developing breast cancer.  Your physician can recommend a hormone receptor test to see if cancer cells are sensitive to hormones.

There are other factors that contribute to cancer such as processed and red meats, salty foods, or meats cooked at dangerously high temperatures.

REDUCE YOUR RISK OF CANCER

Mayo Clinic says try these 7 tips to reduce your risk of cancer!

  1. Don’t use tobacco

    Using any type of tobacco puts you on a collision course with cancer. Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, bladder, cervix and kidney. And chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. Even if you don’t use tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke might increase your risk of lung cancer.

  2. Eat a healthy diet

    Although making healthy selections at the grocery store and at mealtime can’t guarantee cancer prevention, it might help reduce your risk. Consider these guidelines:

    • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Base your diet on fruits, vegetables and other foods from plant sources — such as whole grains and beans.
    • Limit fat. Eat lighter and leaner by choosing fewer high-fat foods, particularly those from animal sources. High-fat diets tend to be higher in calories and might increase the risk of overweight or obesity — which can, in turn, increase cancer risk.
    • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. The risk of various types of cancer — including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver — increases with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active

Maintaining a healthy weight might lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney.

Physical activity counts, too. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own might lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.

Adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. But for substantial health benefits, strive to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine — and if you can do more, even better.

4.  Protect yourself from the sun

Skin cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer — and one of the most preventable. Try these tips:

  • Avoid midday sun. Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Stay in the shade. When you’re outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible. Sunglasses and a broad-rimmed hat help, too.
  • Cover exposed areas. Wear tightly woven, loosefitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Opt for bright or dark colors, which reflect more ultraviolet radiation than pastels or bleached cotton.
  • Don’t skimp on sunscreen. Use generous amounts of sunscreen when you’re outdoors, and reapply often.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. These are just as damaging as natural sunlight.

5.  Get immunized

Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Talk to your doctor about immunization against:

  • Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for certain high-risk adults — such as adults who are sexually active but not in a mutually monogamous relationship, people with sexually transmitted infections, intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and health care or public safety workers who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids.

Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and other genital cancers as well as squamous cell cancers of the head and neck. The HPV vaccine is available to both men and women age 26 or younger who didn’t have the vaccine as adolescents.

6.  Avoid risky behaviorsAnother effective cancer prevention tactic is to avoid risky behaviors that can lead to infections that, in turn, might increase the risk of cancer. For example:

  • Practice safe sex. Limit your number of sexual partners, and use a condom when you have sex. The more sexual partners you have in your lifetime, the more likely you are to contract a sexually transmitted infection — such as HIV or HPV. People who have HIV or AIDS have a higher risk of cancer of the anus, liver and lung. HPV is most often associated with cervical cancer, but it might also increase the risk of cancer of the anus, penis, throat, vulva and vagina.
  • Don’t share needles. Sharing needles with an infected drug user can lead to HIV, as well as hepatitis B and hepatitis C — which can increase the risk of liver cancer. If you’re concerned about drug abuse or addiction, seek professional help.

7.   Get regular medical care

Regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, prostate, cervix and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful. Ask your doctor about the best cancer screening schedule for you.

Take cancer prevention into your own hands, starting today. The rewards will last a lifetime.

source:  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-prevention/CA00024/NSECTIONGROUP=2

sick and tired of being sick and tired?

tired1

Most of the foods we eat are obviously not good for you……no matter how good they taste.  Especially all these fun treats we have around the holidays!  These foods include sugar, trans fats, dairy products, fried foods, junk foods, carbonated drinks….oh the list goes on and on.

Turns out, when we eat these foods, we can’t stop – and that’s when we overeat and just never feel fully satisfied.

Why?

The reason  we feel tired, sluggish and bloated (but not satisfied) is because we are not getting enough nutrients from the foods we are eating!  We are filling ourselves with low-nutrient food and lots of chemicals.  Our digestive system is working overtime to process these foods and in the meantime, they have decided to stick around….for days…..undigested.  Ick.

Sugar, put down the sugar!!!

sugar-addiction

Says Dr. Oz, in his book, You on a Diet, “Simple sugars create a rebounding effect.  You’re feeling blah, so you eat a 3 Musketeers.  That sugar surge works like an electrical jolt, and you instantly feel more energy.  But less than two hours later, that energy surge (in the form of elevated blood sugar levels ) plummets, and then you feel blah again.  Your conclusion?  You must need another Musketeer!  That rebound effect can put your body in biological turmoil, where you eat to feel better, though what you’re eating is actually making you feel sluggish, so you swirl and swirl around, always feeling like you need to eat.”

What’s a person to do???

  • Eat a little fat 20 minutes before your meal (70 calories or so like 6 walnuts, or 12 almonds)
  • Fill up on fiber in the A.M. (think oatmeal, cereal, whole grains and fruit)
  • Change your plate (try using a smaller or kid’s version of a plate for smaller portions)
  • Slow down, turbo (take your time, put down your fork and chew, chew, chew)
  • Get spicy (add a little hot pepper or salsa to your food to increase your metabolism)

Start simple by eating a large salad.  Nix the croutons, heavy dressing and cheese.  Have fruit for a pick-me-up snack.  Add more veggies to your dinner, drink lots of water and YOU, my friend, are on your way to a healthier, happier YOU!

VegetableMyths_Spinach

Spirulina, the Protein Queen…..a crowning achievement…

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Spirulina….a lovely algae, no?  The Aztecs knew what was up, back in the 16th century and were known to mix it with chocolate.  Chocolate, people.  I’m already on board.

This is one bad (as in good) protein and here is why:

  • It contains the highest concentration of protein (by weight) of any food known.
  • Spirulina is the richest beta carotene food
  • It is the highest source of B12
  • A disease fighter
  • A blood builder
  • An immune system booster

Unlike animal foods, (which day by day I am talking myself out of) Spirulina is a pure, raw source of protein.  It does not have to be cooked and in fact, never should be cooked.  Yay!  Less cooking!

It is readily absorbed and can be easily blended into your favorite beverage, such as a smoothie, or juice.

Spirulina-Powder

According to herb wisdom, “every 10 grams of spirulina can supply up to 70% of the minimum daily requirements for iron, and about three to four times of minimum daily requirements for vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), B complex, D,and K. By itself, it does not contain vitamin C, but it helps maintain this vitamin’s potency.

Spirulina is rich in gamma-linolenic acid or GLA, a compound found in breast milk that helps develop healthier babies. Moreover, with its high digestibility, spirulina has been proven to fight malnutrition in impoverished communities by helping the body absorb nutrients when it has lost its ability to absorb normal forms of food.

Another health benefit of spirulina is that it stimulates beneficial flora like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in your digestive tract to promote healthy digestion and proper bowel function. It acts as a natural cleanser by eliminating mercury and other deadly toxins commonly ingested by the body.”

Ok, so let’s get down to taste.  It is a deep green, slightly blue dry algae powder.  Have you ever been in a bait store?  You know, with your grandpa to go fishing…..well, it sorta smells like that.  Fish. In a wet sock. 

You want to be sure that it has a ‘fresh’ smell.  I’ve heard that bad spirulina smells sour or rancid.  Now that, my friends will be hard to tell.  You should speak to a qualified person at your health-food store….and not the temporary Christmas help….you are going to want good quality spirulina.  Or a better option is to check out David Wolfe and read about his incredible knowledge when it comes to superfoods and nutrition.  You will be ASSURED to get the best quality, organic superfoods!  The website will tell you where you can purchase his products or you can go straight to http://www.longevitywarehouse.com/

Look for it to be sold like this:

  • powder (dried)
  • powder (with lecithin)
  • tablets (what I take…with orange juice to get ’em down)
  • protein powder products
  • blue pigment extracts
  • raw spirulina chocolate bars and spirulina energy bars

I usually add spirulina to my smoothies to mask the taste, when I am using the powder.   I am throwing spinach, kale, blueberries, acai berries, raspberries, banana, and cacao nibs in my blender.  A little spirulina tossed in cannot be tasted….just don’t obsess over it and think of the fabulous benefits!

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mistletoe curing cancer? is it almost christmas??

mistletoe bunch

When you think of Mistletoe, do you think of cancer?  No?  Well, this might change your mind!

You can certainly find mistletoe in the United States, but it’s the species found in Europe that is being used in treatment for cancer, inflammatory conditions and AIDS.

Rudolph Steiner, an Austrian Swiss physician, first used this in 1920 and founded the Society for Cancer Research.  The leaves and  twigs are used when making this herbal extract,  but not the berries, so replace your centerpiece.

mistletoe

The mistletoe preparations are used to stimulate the immune system, kill cancer cells, and help to reduce tumor size.  It’s also been said to reduce the pain and side effects of chemotherapy in some cancer patients.

A typical course can last several months to a year.  The doses are increased according to the patient’s condition.  Usually given by injection, it can also be given orally depending on the particular cancer.

“Mistletoe extracts are promoted as a remedy for numerous types of cancer, including cancer of the cervix, ovaries, breast, stomach, colon, lung, and as a treatment for leukemia, sarcoma, and lymphoma.

Promoters also claim mistletoe can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, relax spasms, and relieve symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. It is further claimed to have sedative effects and is promoted to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy”, says Cancer.org.

Bottom line:  Is this in your backyard?  No, but I was able to find a list of doctors that are currently using this form of treatment!

Sources:

http://www.cancure.org/iscador_mistletoe.htm

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/mistletoe

hey, maca……………rena

Maca…..maca root…..Peruvian ginseng….Andes Aphrodisiac (Yikes!)

We’ve talked about many different superfoods and supplements  (remember What the heck is Moringa?) but today’s lesson, my children, is about maca. 

The Quechua people, descendants of the Incans, have grown this superfood  at super high altitudes!  Imagine trying to harvest your crop at 10,000 feet above sea level!  Legend says that during the Incan days, the warriors would consume maca before entering into battle to make them strong.  However, (close your ears, children) after they conquered the city they were prohibited from using it to protect the women from (gasp!) excessive sexual desires of the men!  Let’s move on….

Maca was so freaking fantastic during the pre- and post-Spanish times that it was used as currency.  (Didn’t the crazy Mayans use the cacao for currency?)

 Maca has the ability to balance and stabilize the body’s glandular-hormonal system, nervous system, cardiovascular system and musculature, says David Wolfe in his book, Superfoods.  Many people say that it cures fatigue, infertility, menopause symptoms (holla!), and the treatment of cancer.  It’s often sold in pill, liquid or the most popular, powder.

Since it is considered a superfood, it can be used over a long period of time without any harmful side effects.  Most people just use one tablespoon of the powder and add it to smoothies, (which is how I use it), nut milks, juices, coffee…or whatever your little heart desires.  I think it has a slightly malted flavor and some use only as flour, since it can have somewhat of a bitter aftertaste.

Some say to eat it raw….which is how I use it in a beverage, but others have said that  Maca MUST be eaten pre-cooked (gelatinized) to obtain all the therapeutic benefits and to keep the digestion problems at bay.  The Peruvians may have done it for thousands of years, but that doesn’t make it safe…or even tasty.

Bottom line?  Lots of benefits, no harmful side effects (when taken as directed).   If you’re going into battle, you might try some in your morning coffee….but when you conquer the city…leave it alone….leave the women alone.

Soursop from the Graviola tree…..cancer killer or just forbidden fruit?

Have you heard of the Graviola Tree?  Or it’s english name, soursop?

Here is a verrry controversial topic that has this Brazilian fruit being touted by some as a cancer killer’ !!

Here is what is being tossed around the web

“10000 times stronger killer of Cancer than Chemo”.. do share it.. can save many lives, fill up hopes and build confidence in the patients…

The Sour Sop or the fruit from the graviola tree is a miraculous natural cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than Chemo. Why are we not aware of this? Its because some big corporation want to make back their money spent on years of research by trying to make a synthetic version of it for sale. So, since you know it now you can help a friend in need by letting him know or just drink some sour sop juice yourself as prevention from time to time. The taste is not bad after all. It’s completely natural and definitely has no side effects. If you have the space, plant one in your garden. The other parts of the tree are also useful.

The next time you have a fruit juice, ask for a sour sop.

The truth is stunningly simple: Deep within the Amazon Rainforest grows a tree that could literally revolutionize what you, your   doctor, and the rest of the world thinks about cancer treatment and chances   of survival. The future has never looked more promising.

Research shows that with extracts from this miraculous tree it now may be   possible to: * Attack cancer safely and effectively with an all-natural therapy   that   does not cause extreme nausea,    weight loss   and hair loss * Protect your immune system and avoid deadly infections * Feel stronger and healthier throughout the course of the treatment * Boost your energy and improve your outlook on life.

The source of this information is just as stunning: It comes from one of   America ‘s largest drug manufacturers, the fruit of over 20 laboratory tests   conducted since the 1970′s! What those tests revealed was nothing short of   mind numbing… Extracts from the tree were shown to:

* Effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 types of cancer,   including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer. * The tree compounds proved to be up to 10,000 times stronger in slowing the   growth of cancer cells than Adriamycin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic   drug! * What’s more, unlike chemotherapy, the compound extracted from the Graviola tree selectively hunts down and kills only cancer cells.  It does not harm healthy cells!

The amazing anti-cancer properties of the Graviola tree have been extensively   researched–so why haven’t you heard anything about it? If Graviola extract   is as half as promising as it appears to be–why doesn’t every single   oncologist at every major hospital insist on using it on all his or her   patients?

The spine-chilling answer illustrates just how easily our health–and for   many, our very lives(!)–are controlled by money and power.

Graviola–the plant that worked too well.

One of America’s biggest billion-dollar drug makers began a search for a  cancer cure and their research centered on Graviola, a legendary healing tree   from the Amazon Rainforest. 

The company had one huge problem with the Graviola tree–it’s completely   natural, and so, under federal law, not patentable. There’s no way to make   serious profits from it.

It turns out the drug company invested nearly seven years trying to synthesize two of the Graviola tree’s most powerful anti-cancer ingredients.   If they could isolate and produce man-made clones of what makes the Graviola   so potent, they’d be able to patent it and make their money back. Alas, they  hit a brick wall. The original simply could not be replicated. There was no way the company could protect its profits–or even make back the millions it  poured into research.

As the dream of huge profits evaporated, their testing on Graviola came to a screeching halt.  Even worse, the company shelved the entire project and chose not to publish the findings of its research!”

Wikipedia says soursop may be effective in treating infections and some forms of cancer, but the data is lacking.

What do I think?  Well, I would advise people not to believe this blindly, but consult a doctor or oncologist before putting ALL your marbles in one bag…………….but it is worth watching!

thought about a macrobiotic diet lately?

Hmmm…..the macrobiotic diet.  I’ve heard of it but had always associated it with hippies….maybe chained to a tree.  Turns out, it’s one of the healthiest way of eating and has been practiced throughout history.  It’s based on nutritional balance  and is a flexible pattern of eating that differs according to climate, environment, condition of health, sex, age, activity level and personal need.

Well!  That means it could be slightly different for each person, depending on the season and environment.  So what can I  eat?

The Standart Microbiotic Diet consists of:

  • Whole grains and grain products
  • Soups
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Sea vegetables
  • Fish and seafood
  • Fruit
  • Pickles
  • Nuts and Seeds

There are more guidelines to the macrobiotic way of life (read: hippie) that might keep someone from adopting the entire lifestyle because of these things to avoid:

  • Most exotic and rare woods
  • Aluminum
  • Non-recyclable plastics and packaging
  • Treated non-stick pans and cookware
  • Formica
  • Animal products
  • Copper
  • Products containing lead
  • Disposable products
  • Recyclable plastics
  • Enamelware
  • Alloys other than stainless steel
  • electronic kitchenware

So, if you’re not ready to get rid of your oven, microwave, ziplocs and Tupperware…you might just want to follow the diet by incorporating these healthy foods each day.  Also throw in a LOT of spring water and teas.

You can get more info on the microbiotic diet HERE.

Eating healthier makes good sense and helps you to shine from the inside out!!

arthritis and me….not a joint venture…

What exactly is arthritis?  It is the inflammation of one or more joints and it comes in a wide variety of forms.   Each kind of arthritis cause symptoms of pain, swelling, stiffness and the restriction of movement…and  I don’t like it one bit.

Wondering if your pain is related to arthritis?  Try this checklist via Arthritis.com:

  • Do you have pain in one or more joints?
  • Do you have swelling in one or more joints?
  • Do you have stiffness in your joints, especially after not moving for an extended period of time (e.g., moving in the morning)?
  • Do you have pain or discomfort in a joint that has a history of injury?

Not only are there different kinds of arthritis, but there are also different causes too!

  • Heredity
  • Age
  • Overuse of a joint
  • Injury
  • Infection
Most people that suffer from arthritis turn to expensive creams and prescriptions to deal with the pain, however, natural alternatives can make it easier to live with since there is no real cure.
Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that relieves discomfort by blocking neurotransmitters that transmit pain sensations, says Balch in “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” While cayenne is available as an oral supplement, it can be used topically. Mix cayenne powder with wintergreen oil to make a paste; apply it around affected joints. Cayenne powder can also be used in a poultice by adding enough warm water to make it into a paste. Spread the paste on a cloth and apply it to the joint.
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Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs can be used to obtain relief from arthritis pain, says Balch. Place castor oil in a shallow pan. Dip a piece of cheesecloth into the oil, until it is saturated. Wrap the cloth around the painful joint. Cover it with plastic wrap so that the oil does not come off on clothes or furniture. Wrap a heating pad around the pad to keep it warm. Castor oil packs can be used for up to two hours at a time.
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Low Impact Exercise
Low-impact exercise helps strengthen bones, reduce inflammation and slow the deterioration of joint tissue, says Balch. Choose exercises that do not place excessive stress on the joints. Swimming, bicycle riding, yoga, Tai chi and walking can all help reduce the pain caused by arthritis. Start out with 10 to 20 minutes of exercise at a time; gradually build up to 30 minutes. Exercise at least three times a week for optimal benefits.
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Bottom line?  Eating the right foods, exercising and reducing stress are all good ways to limit the pain associated with arthritis.  Find a good doctor and start feeling better today!