How to eat chia seeds - Dr. Axe

What’s the best way to eat chia seeds? There are actually many ways! You can eat chia seeds whole, soaked or ground. Chia seeds taste somewhat nutty with a mild flavor overall and can easily be added whole to most dishes as a garnish. They can also be soaked to create all kinds of delicious recipes such as chia pudding, which is so tasty it’s hard to believe it’s healthy too.

These tiny yet mighty super seeds are loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that add a major boost to your diet. How much chia seeds should you eat a day? To take advantage of the unique health benefits of chia seeds, start slow with one ounce — or about two tablespoons — per day and increase your intake slowly to assess your tolerance.

Are you ready to find out how you can incorporate this powerful ingredient into your diet starting today, including how to eat chia seeds for weight loss?

How to Eat Chia Seeds

How is the best way to eat chia seeds? You have several options to choose from:

1. Whole

Do you need to soak chia seeds before eating? Can you eat chia seeds dry? You can eat them whole and dry. Unlike flax seeds, you don’t have to grind chia seeds to add tons of nutrients to your diet. You can eat them whole and still get a punch of extra energy and nutrients. If you’re wondering how to eat chia seeds raw, you can just eat a spoonful straight, but beware that they do tend to stick in your teeth. It’s also important to note that if you do choose to eat chia seeds whole, they can absorb water from your body during digestion, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated.

You can also add whole chia seeds to yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies and shakes as well as granola mixes, waffles and muffins. Whole chia seeds also make a great addition to a healthy dessert recipe to amp up the nutritional value of your final product. Making homemade bread? Try throwing in some whole chia seeds!

2. Soaked

There seems to be much debate as to whether you need to soak chia seeds before eating. Can you eat chia seeds without soaking them first? It won’t hurt to eat them straight, but if you soak them, then you “sprout” them, which releases the enzyme inhibitors that are used to protect the seed.

Not only does this make them much easier to digest, but it also helps increase the amount of nutrients your body is able to absorb. To get the most nutrients out of your food and to maximize the potential benefits of chia seeds, try soaking them before adding them to a recipe or smoothie. Either way, though, they’re still an excellent source of nutrition.

How to Soak Chia Seeds in Water

To soak chia seeds, simply mix them in a 1:10 ratio of chia to water and let them sit for between 30 minutes to two hours. This equates to about one and a half tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of water, and although it doesn’t have to be exact, you do want it to gel all the way and not be too watery. Soaked chia seeds can typically last for up to five days refrigerated.

How to Eat Chia Seeds with Water

Since chia seeds can hold up to 12 times their weight in water, soaking your chia seeds in water is a great way to prevent dehydration. You can combine chia seeds with water to make a natural energy drink like this No Sugar Lemon Chia Fresca. You can also mix chia seeds with water to create a vegan-friendly egg substitute for your baked goods and recipes.

Combining chia seeds with water and fruit is also an effective and healthy way to create a homemade jam!

How to Eat Chia Seeds with Milk

Many chia seed recipes give you some great ideas for how to eat chia seeds with milk. For example, you can combine chia seeds with whatever milk you prefer, such as goat milk or coconut milk, to create a delicious chia seed pudding. There are many variations on chia seed pudding using various milks and other nutrient-rich as well as tasty ingredients such as fresh fruit and vanilla extract. Combing chia seeds with a healthy milk results in such a satisfying and decadent final product that it’s hard to believe you’re eating something that is so good for you.

3. Ground

Another option is to grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder or blender to break down the hard outer shells before eating them. When pulverized, ground chia seeds can be used as a flour in most gluten-free recipes like pancakes, muffins, breads and even pastas. After grinding omega-3-rich seeds, it’s best to store them in a sealed, glass container in your refrigerator or freezer.

How to Eat Chia Seeds for Weight Loss

A top benefit of chia seeds is their potential ability to help with weight loss efforts or to maintain a healthy weight. Of course, they are not a magic ingredient that instantly makes you lose extra pounds, but their nutrition profile certainly lends them to be a smart addition to a diet aimed at a healthy waistline.

What is it about chia seeds that can make them helpful for weight loss? For starters, chia seeds are a top source of plant-based protein. Research shows that higher-protein diets have desirable effects on both appetite and body weight management. When is the best time to eat chia seeds for weight loss? You can eat them whenever you like, but including them at breakfast may be an especially helpful choice. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that consumption of a high-protein breakfast rich in foods like chia seeds may decrease levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger.

Chia seeds are also loaded with healthy fats and fiber too, which both help to keep you feeling full longer. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2015 demonstrates how making one dietary change — eating 30 grams of fiber each day — can boost weight loss while also lowering blood pressure and improving insulin response. If you’re wondering, “How much chia seeds should I eat to lose weight?” There is no well-studied or go-to amount, but two tablespoons contain about 12 grams of fiber which is 34–48 percent of many people’s daily fiber needs.

Final Thoughts on How to Eat Chia Seeds

  • Chia seed nutrition includes protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and important minerals like manganese, calcium and phosphorus.
  • When it comes to how much chia seeds to eat a day, about two tablespoons is a good place to start.
  • Regardless of whether you opt to enjoy these super seeds whole, ground, soaked or raw, there are so many delicious chia seed recipes to choose from, and it’s also easy to add chia seeds to granola, yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies.
  • Soaking chia seeds in water or some type of milk (such as coconut) creates a gel-like final product that is delicious, rich and satisfying.
  • Chia seeds are an awesome superfood addition to a healthy diet and may help with weight loss efforts.

Read Next: Top 10 Benefits of Flaxseed + How to Add Flaxseeds to Your Diet

The post How to Eat Chia Seeds: Whole, Ground, Soaked or Raw? appeared first on Dr. Axe.

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DIY loofah soaps with essential oils

Scrub a dub, exfoliate in the tub—or just about anywhere you wash! The only thing more fun than making these exfoliating DIY loofah soaps is using them. Place a couple by the sink for a refreshing hand wash or keep a few in the shower for smoother, more radiant skin from shoulders to heels!

Here’s how to craft your own DIY loofah soaps with essential oils—soft skin is only a few ingredients away!

Yield: About 15 soaps

Ingredients:Pine essential oil Cedarwood essential oil

3 natural loofah sponges about 5-6 inches long each

2 pounds clear glycerin soap

Soap dye

Essential oils—see our suggestions below

Round silicone molds about 3 inches in diameter


1. Cut the loofah sponge into 1-inch-wide disks and place in the mold, lying flat.

YL tip: Tie a string around your loofah before you place it in the mold. The string allows you to hang it from a hook in your shower, so you never drop the soap again!

2. Cut the glycerin soap into about 1-ounce squares. Put 2 squares in a microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until melted.

YL tip: Two squares make 1 soap. To make larger batches, melt more soap and add the proper amount of oil and dye to keep the ratios the same. We like making individual soaps so we can customize scents and colors.

3. Add 3-4 drops of soap dye and 3-4 drops of your favorite essential oil to the melted glycerin soap. Mix well.

4. Pour the glycerin soap mixture into the mold, fully covering the loofah sponge.

5. Repeat until all the loofahs are covered with glycerin soap. Let them dry for 2-3 hours, pop the soaps out of the mold, and lather up!

Why exfoliate?

Satin Facial Scrub MintWhen exfoliating, you’re removing the layer of dead skin cells sitting on top of your skin. Once those are gone, the lower layers can come to the surface, brightening the appearance of your skin.

But it’s about more than healthier-looking skin. Removing that layer of dead cells helps the skin better absorb products like serums and lotions. For silky-smooth skin, exfoliate 2-3 times a week and follow the treatment with a rich moisturizer like our Coconut-Lime Replenishing Body Butter. The combination of exfoliation and moisturization will help revitalize and rejuvenate the appearance of even the driest skin!

YL tip: The loofahs in these soaps are great exfoliators for your body, but they are too powerful for the delicate skin on your face. Leave that to our Satin Facial Scrub™!

Fun fact about loofahs

Wondering why we can use the term “all-natural” when talking about these exfoliation masters? It’s because they grow on trees! Loofahs, or luffas, are the product of the fully ripened fruit of the L. aegyptiaca or L. acutangula trees—a loofah a day keeps the dry skin away!

Sudsy scents we loveGrapefruit essential oilTangerine essential oil

Each DIY loofah soap calls for 3-4 drops of essential oil, so keep the blends simple. You can also scent your soaps with just one essential oil for a nice concentration of your favorite smell. If you like to mix and match oils, here are a few ideas:

If you love nothing more than relaxing in a nice, hot bath, try this DIY bubble bath next time you slip in for a soak. To make bath time more fun for kids, enlist the help of our DIY essential oil bath jellies.

What essential oils are you going to use to bring aromatic bliss to your bath or shower?

Share in the comments!


The post DIY loofah soaps with essential oils appeared first on Young Living Blog.

Source: Young Living Blog

Omega-3 for dogs - Dr. Axe

You may already be familiar with the incredible omega-3 benefits for humans, but did you know that your four-legged furry friend may also get some major health boosts from these fatty acids? According to the American Kennel Club, benefits of omega-3 for dogs include:

  • Improves the condition of both skin and coat
  • Boosts energy and joint health
  • Balances the properties of omega-6 fatty acids
  • Acts as anti-inflammatory in various inflammation-related problems, including arthritis and allergies
  • Improves cognitive development in puppies and cognitive function in older dogs.

Let’s take a closer look at these impressive omega-3 benefits for dogs and also discuss the best omega-3 supplement options for your beloved pup.

Why Your Dog Needs Omega-3

Your canine gets its energy from three main sources: protein, carbohydrates and fats. Omega-3 fatty acids fall into the fat category, and fats are an essential part of any dog’s diet. Just like in humans, fats, including omega-3s, assist the body’s absorption of essential fat-soluble nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats also form cellular membranes, act as chemical messengers and play a major role in hormonal balance.

So is omega-3 good for dogs? It definitely can be helpful. Many dogs, like their owners, easily get enough omega-6 fatty acids in their diets, but unless an intentional effort is made, it can be more challenging for them to obtain omega-3s. The balance of omega-3 and 6 for dogs is key to optimal health.

Omega-3 fatty acids for dogs can be found in some pet foods but are often in very low amounts, if included at all. That’s why an omega-3 fatty acid supplement for dogs can be such a good idea.

5 Major Benefits of Omega-3 for Dogs

What are the benefits of omega-3 for dogs? Many experts believe the benefits are similar to human benefits and may include:

1. Decreases Inflammation

Inflammation is a major problem for pets just like it is for humans. Omega-3s are often given to dogs for their anti-inflammatory effects. This can benefit a number of conditions included on the list, such as arthritis, many skin-related problems and other inflammatory diseases.

2. Helps Arthritis and Joint Issues

Due to its anti-inflammatory ability, omega-3 for dogs is often a vet’s recommendations when a dog is struggling with inflammatory conditions like arthritis or other joint issues. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition demonstrates how omega-3 fatty acids can help dogs with naturally occurring osteoarthritis. For 13 weeks, the dogs were given a veterinary therapeutic diet high in omega-3 fatty acids from fish origin. Researchers compared these dogs to dogs given a regular diet. What did they find? In lame dogs with osteoarthritis, the diet rich in fish-derived omega-3s showed improvements in their locomotor disability and their performance of common daily activities.

3. Improves Skin and Coat Health

Omega-3s are very commonly given to dogs to improve the health of their skin and coats. Is there any science to that? A study published in 2014 in the Veterinary Journal evaluates the effects of essential fatty acids on 48 privately owned dogs of different breeds, ages and genders diagnosed with canine atopic dermatitis (CAD). The dogs were treated with a spot-on formulation containing essential fatty acids and essential oils or a placebo once weekly for a total of eight weeks.

Overall, the topical preparation containing essential fatty acids and essential oils was “a safe treatment and beneficial in ameliorating the clinical signs of CAD.” In addition, there were no adverse reactions. Generally speaking, many dog owners see less skin dryness and a shinier coat when they include omega-3s in their dogs’ diets.

4. Boosts Cognitive Function and Immune Health

A study of 48 beagle puppies released in 2012 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests that feeding weaned puppies a diet fortified with fish oils rich in DHA may boost several aspects of development, including cognitive learning and memory — as well as retinal and immune system function.

The puppies fed a high-DHA diet had better results for reversal task learning, visual contrast discrimination and early psychomotor performance compared to the moderate-DHA and low-DHA groups. The high-DHA group also had significantly higher anti-rabies antibodies one and two weeks after vaccination than the other groups.

5. Allergies

According to many experts, omega-3 for dogs with allergies is a must. Omega-3s top many supplement lists for itchy, allergy-plagued dogs, including one by Boulder Holistic Vet‘s Dr. Angie Krause, DVM. Krause writes:

Every dog should be on an omega 3 fatty acid supplement. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to help decrease inflammation and benefit organ function. For some itchy dogs, this all they need to drastically improve their itch. Giving your dog omega 3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the amount of steroids that it will take to eliminate biting, scratching and chewing.

Best Types of Omega-3 for Dogs

The best omega-3 supplements for dogs come in dark bottles that help discourage spoiling. Fish oil is a top choice as a source of omega-3s for dogs (as well as humans). The most natural and most easily absorbable form of fish oil is a natural triglyceride oil. If it’s not purified, it can contain contaminants so read product information and disclosures carefully. It’s best to avoid synthetic triglyceride oils because these are man-made (so not natural) and their absorption is the least best. The most high-grade fish oil products are wild-caught and often come from fish like anchovies, sardines and salmon.

Some of your omega-3 for dogs options include:

  • Omega-3 chews for dogs: These can be a great option that can be used in a treat fashion.
  • Omega-3 fish oil for dogs: Can be combined with dog food — most dogs enjoy fish oil and have no problem with having it added to their usual food.
  • Vegan omega-3 oil for dogs: This option comes from plant options and doesn’t come with any fishy scent.
  • Omega 3 6 9 for dogs: Includes all three varieties — omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 — of fatty acids in one place. Some vets may prefer this mixture over omega-3 alone, depending on the contents of your dog’s food as well as your dog’s health needs.

When deciding which omega-3 supplement is best for your dog, you may find this information from petMD helpful:

Vegetable oils including flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnut oil, and soybean oil can provide dogs with another omega 3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a precursor to EPA and DHA. However, dogs are not very good at transforming ALA into either EPA or DHA. Therefore, it is much more efficient to provide dogs with EPA and DHA directly. Good sources include cold water fish oils (e.g., salmon oil) and certain types of algal oil.

Omega-3 for Dogs Dosage and How to Get More Into Your Dog’s Diet

How many mg of omega-3 should I give my dog? If you’re wondering how much omega-3 for dogs is ideal, it depends upon several factors, including your dog’s age, weight and health status. Product packaging will likely include a recommended daily omega-3 dosage for dogs, but your best bet is to consult with your veterinarian to determine an ideal amount for your pet.

Many people ask: Can I give my dog omega-3 for humans? It’s often perfectly fine to give your dog an omega-3 supplement intended for humans, but check with your vet first, especially when it comes to a proper dosage of a product marketed and labeled for human use.

You can also add omega-3 foods into your dog’s diet and/or opt for dog food that contains omega 3-rich foods. What foods contain omega-3 for my dog? Top sources that are safe for dogs include fatty cold water fish like salmon, anchovies, sardines and trout.


It’s normal for fish oils to smell like fish, but they shouldn’t smell rancid. To avoid rancidity, store all omega-3 supplements for dogs away from heat and light.

It’s important to note that giving dogs too much fish oil can be problematic. An overdose of fish oil can cause unwanted side effects, including diarrhea, blood-clotting abnormalities, delayed wound healing, vitamin E deficiency, weight gain and altered immune system function. Fish oil can also interact with some mediations, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

Always check with your vet on the best type of omega-3 supplement for your dog as well as optimal dosage.

Final Thoughts

  • The best omega-3 for dogs is of the upmost quality. It should be in a dark bottle and have purity standards and full disclosure of the ingredients and sourcing.
  • Omega-3 liquid for dogs can easily be added to food, but chews are another popular option.
  • Similar to humans, omega-3 for dogs can be extremely beneficial. Health benefits of omega-3 for dogs may include:
    • Healthier skin and coat
    • Better energy and joint health
    • Anti-inflammatory effects that can improve problems like arthritis and allergies
    • Enhanced cognitive development in puppies and cognitive function in older dogs
  • An ideal omega-3 for dogs dosage depends upon your dog’s weight and health status. Speak with your vet about on an ideal daily dose for your pet.

Read Next: Collagen for Dogs & Other Pets: Top 5 Benefits + Recipes

The post Omega-3 for Dogs: What Are the Benefits of Omega-3 for Dogs? appeared first on Dr. Axe.

Source: dr axe

After a long, stressful day, sometimes there’s nothing more relaxing than a nice, hot bath. Essential oils are the perfect […]

The post Rest and Recover Bath Bomb Blend DIY appeared first on Plant Therapy Blog.

Source: plant therapy Blog

Bees provide a vital function to sustain life on Earth. Without their tireless service through the pollination of trees and crops, we would simply not be able to put food on the table. Through pollination, the simple transfer of grains of pollen from one plant to another, bees fertilize the flowers of crops and other plants, ensuring seed production.

Some plants rely on wind, others are self-pollinating, but most need the services of natural pollinators such as honey bees. In addition to providing benefit to the agricultural industry, they also pollinate wild plants and flowers, helping preserve natural forests and a wealth of flowering plants.

An indirect benefit of honey bees, yet a crucial one, are the wild plants they pollinate which feed numerous animal species. Loss of the honeybee would mean a collapse of the natural ecosystem, beginning with vegetation and ending with the animals that rely on this vegetation as a food supply, including humans.

The process of turning flower nectar into honey is one marvel happening in the beehive. Health benefits from bee products are significant, including bee propolis and royal jelly. However, it is important the products you consume are from a pesticide-free source as products created in the hive are concentrated.

Unfortunately, this becomes more difficult each year as more farmers use neonicotinoids pesticides. In one sampling collected around the world, researchers found 75 percent of honey collected were contaminated with neonicotinoids and 45 percent contained two or more pesticides.1

Honey, Pollen, Propolis and Royal Jelly

In this interview with Chris Kresser, Carly Stein, owner of Bee Keepers Natural, describes the variety of products produced by a healthy hive, the benefits to human health and the necessity for protecting the bee population.

The first product is honey, which is a source of food for the bees, providing the insect with necessary carbohydrates. The honey is rich in enzymes and minerals and raw honey is a powerful antioxidant with natural antiviral properties.

Bee pollen is a product many have been taking for years, and is the main source of protein for the bee, used to fuel their athletic endeavors each day of carrying almost half their body weight in flower pollen back to the hive. Bee pollen is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B and more protein per gram than any animal product. In essence it is an all-natural, food-based, bioavailable nutrient boost.2

Bees make propolis from tree resin and use it to line the hive as a natural immune system, protecting the insects inside from outside germs. Propolis contains over 300 natural and powerful compounds to support immunity. Bees also line the front entrance of the hive with propolis in order to decontaminate themselves before coming in.

If honey is the carbohydrates, pollen are the proteins and propolis is the immune system, then royal jelly is the superfood of the hive. This is the substance the hive uses to create the queen bee. Within the first three days of development, all larvae are fed royal jelly. Then only one larvae, destined to become the queen, will exclusively eat royal jelly.3

The queen grows significantly larger than the rest of the bees and may lay up to 1,500 eggs a day, while other females do not develop reproductive organs. She can live three to five years, as compared to regular foraging bees, which may live only six to eight weeks.

Royal jelly has been used cross-culturally for decades. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners use it to improve fertility and as a hormone stabilizer with known immune modulating properties. Western medicine, researchers have evaluated the effects it has on the brain, specifically on focus, memory and reducing the potential of dementia.

Effect of Royal Jelly on Brain Health

Nootropics are substances that may improve cognitive function, specifically executive function such as memory, creativity or motivation. They are sometimes called “smart drugs” as are used to improve mental performance and have gained popularity in a highly competitive society valuing speed and performance. Royal jelly is one of those substances.

Royal jelly is unique in that it contains proteins, sugars, fats and amino acids.4 However, it is the compound acetylcholine in the royal jelly that likely gives it its nootropic effects.

Acetylcholine is an abundant neurotransmitter, found in your central and peripheral nervous system. It helps to activate pain responses, regulates your endocrine system and rapid eye movement sleep function.5 Deficiencies can lead to myasthenia gravis, characterized by muscle weakness.

Although there are foods with an abundance of choline, a precursor to acetylcholine, royal jelly is the only food source containing acetylcholine. This essential nutrient is used by the brain in mood, mental alertness, concentration and memory functions, qualities that dim or are lost with cognitive impairment and dementia.

In fact, acetylcholine activity is a target of Alzheimer drugs that block the breakdown of this neurotransmitter to reduce symptoms.6 Royal jelly has a beneficial role in neural functioning and findings support the potential neuroprotective role of royal jelly.7

Oral administration of royal jelly in an animal model produced a promising avenue for ameliorating neuronal functioning through regeneration of hippocampal granule cells, necessary in the cognitive process.8

In a recent study evaluating the worldwide use of neonicotinoid pesticides and the link to the declining bee populations, researchers found the pesticides had an adverse effect on the acetylcholine the bees produced. The authors believe this is a new discovery of how the neurotoxic effects of the pesticides may be killing honeybees.9

Royal Jelly May Facilitate Stem Cell Research

Three days after a mammalian egg is fertilized, the inner cell mass can be isolated, containing embryonic stem cells designed to develop into a baby. Stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they have the ability to turn into any type of tissue in the mammal from which they came. Adult stem cells are multipotent, meaning they have the ability to form a subset of tissue but are limited.10 

In order for researchers to successfully use embryonic stem cells, they must be kept in their native state as long as possible. Since embryonic stem cells have the potential to grow into different cells serving specialized functions, they are valuable for research.

However, growing embryonic stem cells in the lab creates a challenge as their natural inclination is to quickly move out of their pluripotent state to differentiate. In a recent study11 by Stanford University scientists, the team found royalactin, also known as major royal jelly protein 1, could stop embryonic cell differentiation and keep the cells in their embryonic state for up to 20 generations in culture.

Normally, scientists use an inhibitor factor to prevent differentiation when grown in culture. The researchers also identified a protein with similar qualities found in mammals, which they named Regina. In their next step, the team plans to investigate whether this mammalian equivalent of royalactin has the ability to affect cell regeneration and wound healing in adult animals.12

Propolis, the Original Antibiotic

Stein calls propolis the original antibiotic, in reference to the strong association it has in supporting your immune system through antimicrobial action. Propolis has been used for thousands of years in folk medicine as an antimicrobial and antioxidant, and for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Through the inhibition of the activity of certain enzymes that synthesize glucans from sucrose, bee propolis has been found to prevent the formation of dental plaque.13 Propolis is also used for canker sores and infections caused by bacteria, including tuberculosis and upper respiratory tract infections triggered by viruses.14

Propolis has been used for cancer of the nose and throat, for warts and for the treatment of gastrointestinal problems, including H. pylori infections in people with peptic ulcer disease. Direct application to the skin may be used for wound cleansing, genital herpes, cold sores and minor burns.15

Studies have also found oral care with propolis as a mouthwash in individuals undergoing chemotherapy helps to improve oral health, reducing symptoms of oral mucositis, common in those undergoing chemotherapy.16

In a study17 where a suspension of propolis and zinc was given to children who had recurrent acute otitis media (ear infections), researchers found it significantly reduced the risk for new episodes. Propolis was also proven effective against microbes found in saliva samples from those suffering periodontitis, suggesting it may be used therapeutically to inhibit oral microbial growth.18

A study19 evaluating the efficacy of a natural propolis extract given in cases of acute and chronic rhinopharyngitis in children found it lowered the incidence and sometimes suppressed the viral microbial flora in the upper airways. Another study20 demonstrated propolis extract was an effective treatment against pancreatitis in animals.

Benefits From Propolis at Home

Due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, propolis may be used to:

  • Promote oral health — Propolis contains antibacterial properties, which may be beneficial for combating gingivitis and other oral problems stemming from the abundance of bacteria in your mouth. The added antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties from propolis may help speed healing of mouth sores and other oral infections.
  • Support skin health — Propolis may be used in dermatological products due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It also assists in wound healing by reducing free radical activity in the skin and promoting collagen production.21 Propolis ointments may be used to promote healing of cold sores, genital herpes and minor burns.
  • Combat infections — Propolis extracts may be taken to aid in recovering from giardiasis, H. pylori infection and oral thrush.

Contraindications and Side Effects

As a natural supplement, propolis and royal jelly are relatively safe for most people as they do not cause toxicity. However, certain contraindications stem from insufficient long-term studies and pre-existing allergies. If you fall into any of the categories below it would be best to avoid the use of these supplements.22

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women — Due to insufficient studies proving safety during pregnancy and while nursing, it would be best to avoid bee products to avoid potential complications.
  • Asthma — Certain compounds present in propolis may make asthma worse. If you have asthma, avoid propolis supplements and/or products.
  • Bleeding disorders — Patients with blood clotting problems should not use propolis as it may slow blood clotting, increasing your risk of excessive bleeding. Patients who will undergo surgery should also stop taking propolis a few weeks before their scheduled procedure.
  • Allergies to bee byproducts — People with allergies to bee products should avoid propolis, royal jelly, honey and bee pollen.

How You Can Help Improve the Bee Population

Entomologists around the world are tracking the rapidly declining number of insects, and are concerned by the data they're collecting. As noted by the distinguished Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, Ph.D.:23

"If all humankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed 10,000 years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos."

If you are unsure of how the collapse of bee colonies may affect you, consider when one Whole Food store removed all produce from plants dependent on pollinators, it ended up pulling 52 percent of its produce from the store shelves, including apples, lemons, onions, broccoli and melons.24

More than 700 bee species are headed toward extinction in North America, according to a report from the Center for Biological Diversity.25 A variety of factors influence this decline, not the least of which is the use of pesticides, which significantly alter the population’s growth, which I discussed in “Latest Major Threat to Bees and Trees.”

Over the 2015-2016 winter, more than 28 percent of bee colonies were lost, representing an increase of nearly 6 percent compared to the previous winter. To avoid harming bees and helping other pollinators visiting your garden, eliminate the use of toxic pesticides and lawn chemicals and instead opt for organic weed and pest control alternatives.

Consider growing your own pollinator-friendly plants from organic untreated seeds. Stein points out when you support growers who are growing the right way, using pesticide-free alternatives, it makes a difference. Support your local farmers who are choosing organic, pesticide-free agricultural practices.

Maintaining a hive in your own garden requires only about an hour of your time each week and you'll benefit from your own homegrown, raw honey. Additionally, you can provide your backyard bees with water, as bees get thirsty too. Add a bowl of water surrounded by rocks and mulch so the bees have something to perch on and drink.

Source: mercola rss

When farm animals are used for meats, people often think of flank steaks, rib roasts, T-bones or sirloin. But when the stomach lining is removed to cook dinner, the product is called tripe. It’s comparable to other organ meats such as liver, heart and kidneys, which also offer valuable nutrients.

It’s true that most tripe, which is actually a muscle meat, is derived from cows, but it can also come from sheep, lambs, goats, ducks, chickens or pigs, which is sometimes called “paunch,” which explains another term: offal, not to be confused with the word used synonymously with waste or excrement.

Eaten all over the world, tripe is one of the most common organ meats and requires a slow cooking method for optimal tenderness, but, as The Daily Meal observes, “even then, the chewy texture is an acquired taste.”1 When it comes from a cow, it’s usually from one of the first three of the cow’s four stomachs, each one serving a different function and four “very different” types of tripe:

“Chamber one is called the rumen, and its tripe is called blanket or flat tripe. Chamber two is called the reticulum, and its tripe, honeycomb tripe, is the most common. Chamber three is the omasum, and its tripe is called book tripe; chamber four, the abomasum, gives us the least-commonly used tripe: reed tripe.”2

Famous dishes from around the world feature tripe, such as andouille, a coarsely-ground smoked pork sausage popular in Louisiana’s Cajun population. In France, it’s a gray-colored dish made with tripe and pig intestines. Traditional cuisine in Florence, Italy, includes a slowly-braised Florentine dipping sandwich known as a lampredotto, aka tripe sandwich.

There are several versions of an authentic and somewhat labor-intensive Mexican dish called menudo, aka spicy tripe soup. One features pig’s feet or hominy or both, according to The Spruce Eats.3 A red-colored version is made using dried chilies. It’s also served with tostadas or tortillas to make bolillos.

Menudo soup has the distinction of being served following late-night celebrations such as weddings or holidays as a “cure” for a hangover. According to Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette, Turkey’s version of menudo is known as iskembe corbasi, made with garlic, lemon and spices.4

Similar soups made from tripe around the world are called chakna in India, dobrada in Portugal, paklay in the Philippines and flaczki in Poland. What all these cultures and countries have in common is that tripe, for many, is a deliciously savory and often nostalgic comfort food.

The Unique Nutrition Profile of Tripe

A 3-ounce serving of tripe contains over 10 micrograms of selenium (15 percent of the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI)), which your cells rely on (along with zinc) for optimal thyroid function, enzyme activity and DNA production. The National Institutes of Health (NIH)5 identifies selenium as an antioxidant that protects against disease-causing free radicals. Livestrong also notes:

“Zinc is a mineral that’s also important for healthy skin, healing of wounds and growth. It's found all over your body — in bones, teeth, hair, skin, liver, muscle and white blood cells …

Another trace mineral in tripe is iron … needed by your body for the production of hemoglobin, the component of red blood cells that carries oxygen to your body’s tissues. Iron is also a vital component in muscle cells and necessary for the formation of many enzymes in your body.”6

Phosphorus is another essential mineral in tripe that works with zinc to nourish your cell membranes. More specifically, phosphorus helps make up phospholipids or fats in these cell membranes. Meanwhile, zinc is part of the makeup of the proteins in your cell membranes. Both zinc and phosphorus support healthy cell communication and have singular jobs as well: Phosphorus nourishes your bones and teeth, while zinc supports immune function.7

You’ll also find several B vitamins in tripe, such as niacin, folate and B12 (aka cobalamin), significant in converting homocysteine to methionine, largely responsible for producing new proteins in your body. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine8 notes that too much homocysteine in your bloodstream could increase your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Inadequate B12 intake could cause pernicious anemia, which can cause numbness or tingling in your hands and feet, a smooth and tender tongue, weight loss and weakness.

As a source of choline, beef tripe provides 220 milligrams (mg) in a 4-ounce serving, which is 52 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for women and 40 percent for men. Choline produces compounds essential for tissue function; in fact, lipids containing choline comprise your cell membranes while aiding in cell communication,9 while acetylcholine made from choline stimulates healthy brain function.

Tripe for Weight Loss?

There may even be benefits of eating tripe for people looking to lose weight. With its modicum of carbohydrates, it provides a viable option for your weight-loss plan, as “a low-carb diet lowers insulin levels, which causes the body to burn stored fat for energy and ultimately leads to weight loss,” according to the Mayo Clinic.10 Three ounces of tripe contain 80 calories and just 1.7 grams of carbs.

The Public Health Collaboration11 conducted a randomized, controlled clinical trial during which low-carb diets were compared with low-fat diets, and participants on the low-carb diets lost significantly more weight. In addition, the choline content in tripe helps your body metabolize fats, preventing an accumulation of fat in your liver.

Tripe is an economical source of protein, delivering 10 grams — more than 20 percent of the DRI — in each 3-ounce serving. Tripe also has far less fat compared with the same amount of beef steak, which has 14.5 grams instead of the 3.4 grams from tripe, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.12 Livestrong also notes:

“Protein is a filling nutrient because it slows down the emptying of food from your stomach after you eat, so that you may feel less hungry for the next meal. This may help explain why some high-protein diets appear more effective for weight loss than low-protein diets.”13

Further, a large European study published in the New England Journal of Medicine14 notes that even a modest increase in lean protein combined with a modest reduction in your glycemic index was found to be a healthy way to help with weight loss and maintain a healthy weight.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Tripe

How could tripe be included in a healthy meal plan? Like nearly any other food, tripe can be healthy or harmful depending entirely on how it’s prepared and what it’s served with. Instead of frying it, try healthier preparations such as pressure cooking or poaching. Many people boil it, especially in soups, to make a filling meal that vegetables and herbs can be added to. Pickling it in vinegar is another popular way of preparing tripe.

The best tripe “cuts” are described as dense with a chewy texture, but not as rubbery as stewed calamari. The flavor is mild, and one reason it’s a popular addition to so many dishes is that the meat and the broth that accompanies it absorb the essence of the vegetables, spices and herbs it’s cooked with.

If you’re used to preparing tripe using the boiling method, which requires cooking slowly for long periods, or if you have no idea what to do with it, one way to slow-cook beef tripe is in a pressure cooker. In the featured video, professional chef Cristian Feher explains that of the four stomachs in beef, honeycomb tripe is considered “choice” or premium.

One thing to keep in mind is that once you cook tripe, it shrinks by around 50 to 60 percent. Feher adds 4 cups of water to 3 or 4 pounds of tripe, fresh ground black pepper and a generous amount of sea salt or Himalayan salt. “It tastes absolutely amazing,” Feher says. He adds that you should drain the tripe, as the water it’s cooked in will contain the impurities.

“From here, you can go in all sorts of directions,” he says, recommending a recipe known as mondongo, a Dominican-style tripe stew made with beef tripe, onion, garlic, peppers, carrots, potatoes, tomato sauce and cilantro, per the instructions on Smart Little Cookie.15 Here’s another tasty possibility inspired by The Spruce Eats.16

Caribbean Beef Tripe Soup


  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas (soaked overnight)
  • 2 teaspoons grass fed butter or ghee
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (divided)
  • 2 pounds grass fed cow tripe, cut into pieces
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups water (plus more to create soup)
  • 1 pound pumpkin or calabaza squash, cut into large chunks
  • 2 pounds green plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 6 to 8 okra


  1. To prepare, soak 1/2 cup of yellow split peas overnight.
  2. Rinse the tripe well. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker or stock pot, add the onions and sauté until they're translucent (two to three minutes). Add 3 sprigs of thyme and sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add the tripe, salt and pepper and sauté for four minutes, then add 6 cups water and stir.
  4. Cover the pressure cooker and cook for 45 to 50 minutes. (Time begins from the first whistle.) If using a stockpot, cover it and cook for two to three hours.
  5. Release pressure cooker valve to let out steam and open the pressure cooker. Add the pumpkin, plantains and the remaining thyme, and cook until the plantains are almost melting, with the lid open.
  6. Add the okra, cover and cook for six to eight minutes.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Stir and serve.

Like most other dishes, tripe soup can be tweaked with favorite ingredients to make the finished product your own, whether it’s spicy or more of a broth than a stew. As The Spruce Eats notes, “Some cooks add carrots, green olives or raisins, while others prefer garlic.”17

One more thing: Use organic, grass fed meat whenever possible, and that includes tripe. Remember that it’s not the whole stomach you’re eating when you serve tripe, but just the lining of the stomach.

Source: mercola rss

1 In plants, this compound triggers the creation of beneficial nitric oxide. When obtained from processed meat, the same compound triggers creation of carcinogenic compounds in your body.

  • Sterols
  • Nitrates

    Nitrates from plants turn into beneficial nitric oxide in your body due to the presence of antioxidants, while nitrites from processed meat turn into carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds due to the presence of proteins and heme. Learn more.

  • Protein
  • Purines

2 The rollout of 5G wireless networks will:

  • Improve cellphone coverage and internet speeds without adding to EMF exposure
  • Decrease overall EMF exposure as it puts out less radiation
  • Dramatically increase exposure to harmful electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation

    5G will not replace current wireless technology but add to it, increasing overall EMF exposure exponentially. Learn more.

  • Result in similar EMF exposure as before as it simply replaces previous wireless technologies

3 Estimates suggest about half of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contributing to air pollution comes from:

  • Electric vehicles
  • Plastic waste
  • Fragrance manufacturing
  • Consumer products such as household cleansers

    Air quality evaluation in the Los Angeles area found the amount of VOCs released by consumer products is two to three times greater than previously estimated, and may account for as much as half of all VOC emissions — the other half coming from gasoline-driven cars. Learn more.

4 The following strategy has been scientifically validated as a way to boost health, happiness and life satisfaction:

  • Gratitude

    Practicing gratitude has been scientifically verified as a way to boost happiness and life satisfaction. It also benefits your mental and physical health. Learn more.

  • Narcissism
  • Light therapy
  • Taking nutritional supplements

5 The following strategy has been scientifically shown to reverse Type 2 diabetes in a matter of months, even if you've had diabetes for a decade:

  • Eating a low-fat diet
  • Fasting

    Research confirms that fasting can effectively reverse Type 2 diabetes in a relatively short amount of time. Fasting has also been shown to trigger the regeneration of the pancreas in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. Learn more.

  • Nutritional supplementation
  • Aerobic exercise

6 Which of the following industries is the largest user of groundwater, contributing to the draining of aquifers around the globe?

  • Chemical industry
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Industrial farming

    Water scarcity is getting worse around the world as aquifers are drained faster than they can be refilled. The most significant contributor to the problem is industrial farming, due to its heavy use of potable water for irrigation. Learn more.

  • Paper industry

7 Meditation has been scientifically shown to have a number of biological effects. The following is not one of them:

  • Stem cell production
  • Cellular regeneration
  • Telomere lengthening
  • Increases in height

    Meditation has been scientifically shown to have a number of biological effects, including the generation of stem cells, and regeneration of cells and telomeres. Learn more.


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30 Tips in 30 Days Designed to Help You Take Control of Your

This article is included in Dr. Mercola's All-Time Top 30 Health Tips series. Every day during the month of January, a new tip will be added that will help you take control of your health. Want to see the full list? Click here.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and the second most common intracellular cation1 (positively charged ion) after potassium. It's required for the healthy function of most cells in your body, but is especially important for your heart, kidneys and muscles.

According to one scientific review,2 which included studies dating as far back as 1937, low magnesium actually appears to be the greatest predictor of heart disease, and other recent research shows even subclinical magnesium deficiency can compromise your cardiovascular health.3

Low magnesium will also impede your cellular metabolic function and deteriorate mitochondrial function, and as a component necessary for the activation of vitamin D,4,5,6 magnesium deficiency may also hamper your ability to convert vitamin D from sun exposure and/or oral supplementation.

While the reasons for prioritizing magnesium could fill several books, here I'll review how it can benefit a few really common health problems and conditions, starting with its influence over vitamin D.

Magnesium Activates and Regulates Vitamin D

Two studies published last year have shed new light on the interactions between magnesium and vitamin D, warning that low magnesium impedes your body's ability to properly utilize vitamin D, even when it's present.7

As noted by Mohammed Razzaque, professor of pathology at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania, coauthor of the first study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in March 2018,8 "By consuming an optimal amount of magnesium, one may be able to lower the risks of vitamin D deficiency, and reduce the dependency on vitamin D supplements."

A second study,9 published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in December 2018, also concluded that your magnesium status plays an important role in your vitamin D status. Overall, people with high magnesium intake were less likely to have low vitamin D. They also had a lower mortality risk from cardiovascular disease and bowel cancer.

As explained by Dr. Qi Dai, professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the lead author of this study, "Magnesium deficiency shuts down the vitamin D synthesis and metabolism pathway."

What's more, magnesium was found to have a regulating effect, raising and lowering vitamin D based on baseline levels. In people who had a baseline vitamin D level of 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) or below, magnesium supplementation raised their vitamin D level. However, in those who started out with higher vitamin D levels (50 ng/mL or 125 nmol/L), magnesium supplementation lowered their vitamin D.

Magnesium Is Empirically Recommended for All Migraine Sufferers

According to some statistics,10 migraine is the third most prevalent illness in the world, affecting an estimated 1 billion people. Migraine attacks are typically recurring, of moderate to severe intensity, many times occurring only on one side of your head.

Along with throbbing, piercing or "burning" pain, other common symptoms include nausea, visual disturbances, dizziness, numbness in your extremities or face, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, smell and touch.11,12 While the root cause for migraines continues to be debated, certain nutritional deficiencies have been found to exacerbate the condition, and magnesium deficiency13,14,15 ranks high on this list, as does vitamin D deficiency.16,17

Research shows migraine sufferers are more likely to suffer from magnesium deficiency than non-migraineurs,18 and since magnesium administration is both easy and safe, researchers have noted that empiric treatment with a magnesium supplement is justified for all migraine sufferers.19

In one placebo-controlled study,20 daily intake of 600 milligrams of magnesium in the form of trimagnesium dicitrate for 12 weeks reduced the frequency of migraine attacks by nearly 42 percent, compared to less than 16 percent in the control group.

In many cases, receiving a high dose of magnesium can also abort an attack in progress. The most effective way to administer magnesium for migraine would be to get an intravenous (IV) infusion. Barring that option, magnesium threonate may be your best option for an oral supplement. It has superior absorbability compared to other forms of magnesium, and its superior ability to cross the blood-brain barrier makes it more likely to have a beneficial effect on your brain.

Magnesium More Effective Than Antidepressants for Depression

Another incredibly common health problem in which magnesium plays an important role is depression, as it acts as a catalyst for mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin. Research21 published in 2015 found a significant association between very low magnesium intake and depression, especially in younger adults.

Research22 published in PLOS ONE demonstrated magnesium supplementation improved mild-to-moderate depression in adults, with beneficial effects occurring within two weeks of treatment. In fact, the effects of magnesium were comparable to prescription SSRIs in terms of effectiveness, but without any of the side effects associated with these drugs.

Participants in the treatment group received a daily dose of 248 milligrams (mg) of elemental magnesium for six weeks, while controls received no treatment. According to the authors, "It works quickly and is well tolerated without the need for close monitoring for toxicity." Emily Tarleton, a graduate student in clinical and translational science and the bionutrition research manager of the University of Vermont's Clinical Research Center, told Science Daily:23

"This is the first randomized clinical trial looking at the effect of magnesium supplementation on symptoms of depression in U.S. adults. The results are very encouraging, given the great need for additional treatment options for depression, and our finding that magnesium supplementation provides a safe, fast and inexpensive approach to controlling depressive symptoms."

Magnesium Improves Brain Plasticity

Memory impairment occurs when the connections (synapses) between brain cells diminish. While many factors can come into play, magnesium is an important one. As noted by Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition:24

"It has now been discovered that magnesium is a critical player in the activation of nerve channels that are involved in synaptic plasticity. That means that magnesium is critical for the physiological events that are fundamental to the processes of learning and memory.

As it turns out, one form of magnesium, magnesium threonate, has the unique ability to permeate the brain and enhance the receptors that are involved in this process."

The specific brain benefits of magnesium threonate were demonstrated in a 2010 study25 published in the journal Neuron, which found this form of magnesium enhanced "learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory in rats." According to the authors, "Our findings suggest that an increase in brain magnesium enhances both short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation and improves learning and memory functions."

Magnesium Boosts Heart Health

Magnesium is also important for heart health. As explained by British cardiologist Dr. Sanjay Gupta,26 magnesium supports heart health via a number of different mechanisms. For starters, it combats inflammation, thereby helping prevent hardening of your arteries and high blood pressure.

It also improves blood flow by relaxing your arteries, and helps prevent your blood from thickening, allowing it to flow more smoothly. All of these basic effects are important for optimal heart function. Indeed, low magnesium has been linked to a higher risk for:

A recent paper in the Open Heart journal warns that even subclinical deficiency can lead to cardiovascular problems. According to the authors:30

"… 'Various studies have shown that at least 300 mg of magnesium must be supplemented to establish a significantly increased serum magnesium concentrations …' In other words, most people need an additional 300 mg of magnesium per day in order to lower their risk of developing numerous chronic diseases.

So while the recommended … recommended dietary allowance [RDA] for magnesium (between 300 and 420 mg /day for most people) may prevent frank magnesium deficiency, it is unlikely to provide optimal health and longevity, which should be the ultimate goal."

Magnesium Is Required for Hundreds of Biochemical Reactions

The importance of magnesium becomes even more evident when you consider it is involved in more than 600 different biochemical reactions in your body, which play important roles in:

Creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of your body31,32

Metabolism of calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorous, iron, sodium, hydrochloric acid, acetylcholine and nitric oxide, as well as 300 enzymes, and the activation of thiamine33

Vitamin D activation and regulation

DNA, RNA and protein synthesis and integrity,34 and the creation of chromosomes35

Mitochondrial function and health. Magnesium is required both for increasing the number of mitochondria in your cells and for increasing mitochondrial efficiency

Regulation of blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, which is important for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes36,37,38,39 (In one study,40 prediabetics with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by 71 percent)

Normalizing blood pressure

Detoxification, including the synthesis of glutathione, considered by many to be your body's most powerful antioxidant

Muscle and nerve function, including the action of your heart muscle

Antioxidant defense via a number of different mechanisms, including anti-inflammatory activity and support of endothelial and mitochondrial function41

Maintenance of ionic gradients — keeping intracellular sodium and calcium low and potassium high — and maintaining cellular and tissue integrity42

Catalyzing mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, which helps prevent anxiety and depression

Lowering the damage from electromagnetic fields (EMF) by blocking voltage gated calcium channels

Supporting healthy brain function. Magnesium acts as a buffer between neuron synapses, particularly those involved with cognitive functions (learning and memory).

Magnesium "sits" on the receptor without activating it, protecting the receptor from overactivation by other neurochemicals, especially glutamate, an excitotoxin that can harm your brain if it accumulates

Providing mental and physical relaxation; considered an important stress antidote43

Preventing headaches by relaxing blood vessels in your brain and acting as a calcium channel blocker44

Other Health Problems Associated With Magnesium Deficiency

Considering the widespread influence of magnesium, it's no great surprise that deficiency can snowball into significant health problems. In addition to what's already been mentioned, other common pathologies associated with magnesium deficiency include:45,46,47

Kidney and liver damage

Recurrent or persistent bacterial infections such as sinus, vaginal, middle ear, lung and throat infections due to low levels of nitric oxide

Fungal infections due to depressed immune function

Impotence (also associated with low nitric oxide levels)

Conditions associated with peroxynitrite damage, such as multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and Alzheimer's disease

Premenstrual syndrome, mood swings, aggression and anxiety

Impaired hearing


Muscle cramps and muscle weakness

Type 2 diabetes48,49 — Estimates suggest nearly half of all diabetics are magnesium deficient.50 Low magnesium levels also affect insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.51 High levels of insulin in the blood, common with insulin resistance, also lead to further loss of magnesium52

Increased risk of death from all causes — One 2016 meta-analysis53 found increasing magnesium intake by 100 mg per day lowered participants' all-cause mortality risk by 10 percent

Are You Deficient in Magnesium?

When it comes to measuring your magnesium level, keep in mind that a regular serum magnesium is a poor choice, as only 1 percent of the magnesium in your body is actually found in your bloodstream. Your best bet is to get an RBC magnesium test (which measures the amount of magnesium in your red blood cells) and track your signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

Checking your potassium and calcium levels can also be helpful, as low potassium and calcium are common laboratory signs of magnesium deficiency.54 Among the more common signs and symptoms of magnesium insufficiency are:55,56

Seizures; muscle spasms, especially "charley horses" or spasms in your calf muscle that happen when you stretch your leg, and/or eye twitches

Numbness or tingling in your extremities

Insulin resistance

High blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and/or coronary spasms

Increased number of headaches and/or migraines

Low energy, fatigue and/or loss of appetite

The Trousseau sign57 — To check for this sign, a blood pressure cuff is inflated around your arm. The pressure should be greater than your systolic blood pressure and maintained for three minutes.

By occluding the brachial artery in your arm, spasms in your hand and forearm muscles are induced. If you are magnesium deficient, the lack of blood flow will cause your wrist and metacarpophalangeal joint to flex and your fingers to adduct. For a picture of this hand/wrist position, see Wikipedia58

A more exhaustive list can be found in Dr. Carolyn Dean's blog post, "Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms,"59 which will give you a checklist to go through every few weeks. This will also help you gauge how much magnesium you need to resolve your deficiency symptoms.

Most People Can Benefit From Magnesium Supplementation

Unfortunately, magnesium insufficiency or deficiency are extremely common around the world, both among adults60 and teens,61 in part due to the fact that most people don't eat enough plant foods.

If you frequently eat processed foods, your risk of deficiency is magnified. However, even if you eat plenty of greens (magnesium is actually part of the chlorophyll molecule responsible for the plant's green color), you are unlikely to get enough, due to most foods being grown in mineral depleted soils.

Magnesium absorption is also dependent on having sufficient amounts of selenium, parathyroid hormone and vitamins B6 and D, and is hindered by excess ethanol, salt, coffee and phosphoric acid in soda.

Sweating, stress, lack of sleep, excessive menstruation, certain drugs (especially diuretics and proton-pump inhibitors) also deplete your body of magnesium.62 For these reasons, most people probably need to take supplemental magnesium. Taking a magnesium supplement is particularly advisable if you:63

Experience symptoms of insufficiency or deficiency64

Have hypertension

Engage in strenuous exercise on a regular basis. Research shows just six to 12 weeks of strenuous physical activity can result in magnesium deficiency,65 likely due to increased magnesium demand in your skeletal muscle

Are taking diuretics or medication for hypertension, especially thiazides, which have been shown to induce undetectable magnesium deficiency66 (while patients may have normal or even high serum magnesium, their bodies are actually depleted of magnesium)

Have had or are planning heart transplant or open heart surgery

Are at risk for or have had a heart attack, or if you experience ventricular arrhythmia

Are insulin resistant or diabetic (as this increases magnesium depletion)

Have congestive heart failure

How to Boost Your Magnesium Level

The RDA for magnesium is around 310 to 420 mg per day depending on your age and sex,67 but many experts believe you may need 600 to 900 mg per day.68 Personally, I believe many may benefit from amounts as high as 1 to 2 grams (1,000 to 2,000 mg) of elemental magnesium per day, as most of us have EMF exposures that simply cannot be mitigated, and the extra magnesium may help lower the damage from that exposure.

When it comes to oral supplementation, my personal preference is magnesium threonate, as it appears to be the most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria and blood-brain barrier. Other effective ways to boost your magnesium level include:

Taking Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths, as the magnesium will effectively absorb through your skin

Using a topical solution — I prepare a supersaturated solution of Epsom salt by dissolving 7 tablespoons of the salt into 6 ounces of water and heating it until all the salt has dissolved. I pour it into a dropper bottle and then apply it to my skin and rub fresh aloe leaves over it to dissolve it. This is an easy and inexpensive way to increase your magnesium and will allow you to get higher dosages into your body without having to deal with its laxative effects.

Magnesium can be taken with or without food. If you're also taking calcium, take them together. If you exercise regularly, consider taking your calcium and magnesium in a ratio of one part calcium to two parts magnesium with your pre-workout meal.

While the ideal ratio of magnesium to calcium is thought to be 1-to-1, most people get far more calcium than magnesium from their diet; hence, your need for supplemental magnesium may be two to three times greater than calcium.

Eat More Magnesium-Rich Foods

Last but not least, while you may still need magnesium supplementation (due to denatured soils), it would certainly be wise to try to get as much magnesium from your diet as possible. Dark-green leafy vegetables lead the pack when it comes to magnesium content, and juicing your greens is an excellent way to boost your intake. Greens with the highest magnesium levels include:


Swiss chard

Turnip greens

Beet greens

Collard greens


Brussel sprouts


Bok Choy

Romaine lettuce

Other foods that are particularly rich in magnesium include:69

Raw cacao nibs and/or unsweetened cocoa powder — One ounce (28.35 grams) or raw cacao nibs contain about 65 mg of magnesium.

Avocados — One cup of avocado on average (values differ depending on whether they come from California or Florida) contains about 44 mg of magnesium. Avocados are also a good source of potassium, which helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium.

Seeds and nuts — Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds score among the highest, with one-quarter cup providing an estimated 191 mg, 129 mg and 41 mg of magnesium respectively. Cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts are also good sources; one-fourth cup of cashews contains 89 mg of magnesium.

Herbs and spices — Herbs and spices pack lots of nutrients in small packages and this includes magnesium. Some of the most magnesium-rich varieties are coriander, chives, cumin seed, parsley, mustard seeds, fennel, basil and cloves.

Organic, raw grass fed yogurt and natto — Choose yogurt made from raw organic grass fed milk with no added sugars; 1 cup of natto yields 201 mg of magnesium.

Source: mercola rss

Start this year off strong with essential oils that can help keep your mind energized, focused, and ready to learn! […]

The post Essential Oils to Help with Mental Focus appeared first on Plant Therapy Blog.

Source: plant therapy Blog

While sanitation has been improving over the years as more and more information is found on foodborne diseases, millions of people still contract illnesses from wrongly prepared food products, be it from contaminated preparations or incorrect storage. One of the possible conditions is listeria infection, which is caused by the listeria monocytogenes bacterium.

While listeria infections are rare and do not affect a considerable number of the population, it is especially dangerous for pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals, such as the elderly. This article will primarily focus on what listeria is, its symptoms, causes and possible treatment options.

What Is Listeria Infection?

Listeria monocytogenes bacteria are abundant in numerous organic materials, such as soil, spoiling vegetation and animal manure. Once they come into contact with food and are consumed, these bacteria may cause considerable discomfort and even dangerous complications.1

Through evolution, listeria monocytogenes managed to develop a process that allows it to penetrate cell membranes and spread from cell to cell. However, studies show that the process by which the bacteria are spread is extremely crucial. Once this method of proliferation develops inside the human body, the bacteria may attack the central nervous and digestive systems.2

While the primary infection caused by the bacteria is called listeriosis, other independent conditions can stem from this, which include meningitis, intrauterine infection and encephalitis.3 It is often contracted from wrongly processed meats and animal products, as well as contaminated food crops. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 1,600 Americans get listeriosis every year, with about 260 patients eventually succumbing to the condition.4

But even if large numbers of people are exposed to the bacteria, only a few may start showing symptoms. These symptoms, however, fall under the "bimodal distribution of severity." This means that these infections either manifest as mild or severe — only in the extremes.5

Notable Listeria Infection Outbreaks

Outbreaks often occur when two or more people become infected by a foodborne disease from a specific food product. A serious listeria outbreak in the U.S. happened in 2011, stemming from contaminated cantaloupes from Jensen Farms.

While it is regarded as one of the worst outbreaks, infecting 147 people and causing 33 confirmed deaths,6 the worst outbreak in the world was in Africa in 2018, killing 189 people and sickening 982 as of March 2018. About 43 percent of the deaths were newborns infected during gestation, The New York Times said. This outbreak was traced to processed bologna.7

While the cause for the Jensen Farms outbreak is unclear, one of the purported origins was due to a dump truck used to transport cantaloupes to a cattle operation, which eventually contaminated the whole facility.8

The increase in fresh food cases of listeriosis, such as in the cantaloupe recall, shows that listeria infections are not limited to processed, refrigerated or unpasteurized foods. The hygiene in fruit and vegetable propagation may play a role in the massive number of listeria cases.

The most recent listeria outbreak that has affected Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom is actually ongoing. The reason for the outbreak was first traced to frozen corn, but it has since been found to be caused by other types of frozen vegetables. While the recalls have been set, the risk for listeria infections are still present until all the products are removed from the shelves.9

Is Raw Milk Undeservingly Demonized Because of Listeria Scares?

Raw milk is often one of the first food products that figure in the listeria warnings issued by the CDC. This is often accompanied by recommendations that pasteurized milk is the only dairy product safe for human consumption, as it supposedly removes all the risks of bacterial growth. Of course, these recommendations also leave out the fact that pasteurization kills off most of the beneficial enzymes and nutrients found in raw milk.

Aside from that, the warnings against raw milk are blown out of proportion in favor of pasteurized milk, and they also fail to say that the risk of getting a listeria infection in raw milk is almost equal to the risk in pasteurized milk, as these products may still be contaminated through improper handling.10 It all just boils down to the source and storage.

The problem is that most consumers are unaware that there are basically two types of raw milk. CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations) raw milk is the type of milk specifically produced to be put through the pasteurization process.

Quality control is incredibly lenient in this regard, as the milk goes through extremely harsh processes, to ensure that all types of bacteria are killed off. The second type is raw milk from pasture-raised cows and is required to reach strict standards to ensure safety and quality.11

This bias is appropriately put on display in the 2015 listeria outbreak caused by contaminated batches of Blue Bell Creameries ice cream. Today, Blue Bell Creameries is back in business after the deadly outbreak, while small organic farms are forced to close down operations completely after causing alleged "outbreaks."12

In fact, the Weston A. Price Foundation notes that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has attacked raw milk despite the absence of concrete proof that it has caused listeria outbreaks in the population in the past 40 years or so.13

3 Listeria Infection Symptoms to Look Out For

In non-pregnant individuals, a listeria infection may manifest in different ways, depending on the severity and the spread of the bacteria in the body. Because of the numerous conditions that may arise due to underlying listeriosis, the presence of the following problems may point to this infection:14

  • Febrile gastroenteritis — Listeria may cause gastroenteritis, a noninvasive syndrome. Some of its signs include diarrhea, fever, chills, abdominal pain and nausea.
  • Bacteremia — This refers to the presence of bacteria in the blood. Fever, a rapid heart rate and chills usually accompany this condition.
  • MeningitisIf the listeria bacteria reach the brain, symptoms like muscle aches, a stiff neck, loss of balance and confusion may arise.

If you start to suffer the symptoms above, seek medical help as soon as possible. This will help contain the infection and limit its spread to other systems in the body. This is especially important if you start suffering from psychological and cognitive function problems.

Listeria Infection Symptoms in Infants

While it is important that you remain vigilant of these symptoms at all times, the importance doubles when you're pregnant as it may endanger you and your child.15 There are two types of listeria infections in infants, and they differ depending on the onset of the condition: early-onset and late-onset.

Early-onset listeriosis is usually acquired from the mother, with the infant typically being diagnosed with sepsis within the 24 hours after birth. The cause of late-onset neonatal listeriosis, on the other hand, is unclear and may be because of external factors — it occurs rarely. Some of the symptoms of late-onset listeriosis may not be as straightforward as you'd want them to be, but they include:16

  • Irritability
  • Poor feeding
  • Fever

What Causes Listeria Infection?

Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogenic bacterium that commonly thrives in water, soil and some poultry and livestock products. Compared to other bacteria, listeria monocytogenes is much more resilient, surviving even in refrigerated or frozen conditions. The only surefire ways to remove this bacterium from food products is through cooking and pasteurization.17

If you're not entirely sure what types of foods you should be avoiding or limiting your intake of to drastically lower your risk of a listeria infection, here's a list:18

  • Ready-to-eat meats and hotdogs
  • Refrigerated meat spreads
  • Dairy products from untrustworthy sources
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood
  • Uncooked sprouts

Fresh vegetables and fruits may also cause listeria infections, especially if left unwashed. This is due to the possible contact between the fresh produce and animal manure, which is sometimes used in farming, and can contaminate groundwater sources like rivers and irrigation ditches used on the produce.

Listeria in Pregnancy

While listeria infection usually goes away on its own, this does not mean that it should be ignored in hopes that it will resolve on its own. This is especially important when you get listeriosis during pregnancy, as this opens you up to numerous dangerous side effects and complications. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to listeria infection because the hormone changes happening in their body may compromise their immune system.19

4 Possible Pregnancy Complications That May Arise Due to Listeria Infection

Pregnant women are 20 times more susceptible to this infection, which exposes them to a handful of dangerous complications in both their health and their unborn child's, with the child's being more severe.20 Some of the most common complications that pregnant women can suffer from include:

  • Stillbirths — One documented case of listeria infection causing a stillbirth was thoroughly discussed in the 1966 volume of the Journal of Clinical Pathology. In this specific case, the listeria infection was not apparent in the mother, aside for a slight fever. However, the stillborn child showed numerous evidence pointing to widespread listeria infection, which affected the lungs, spleen and liver.21
  • Miscarriages — The listeria bacteria can alter the placenta's ability to protect the unborn child. This may weaken both the fetus and the mother's reproductive tract, leading to miscarriages early in the pregnancy.22
  • Preterm labor — In a 1993 study in the Zeitschrift fur Geburtshilfe und Perinatologie, scientists found that seven strains of the bacteria had the ability to induce uterine contractions, increasing the risk of premature birth.23
  • Death of newborn — If the listeria infection occurs late into the pregnancy, there is a chance that the symptoms will start appearing in the child upon birth, usually starting with symptoms of meningitis. About 60 percent of babies with infected mothers are born premature. They typically start showing signs within 24 hours. Unfortunately, 20 to 60 percent of these neonatal cases die because of the infection.24

Listeria in the Elderly

Because of their compromised immune system function, caused by either old age or other external factors, the elderly are at a higher risk of suffering from listeriosis. In fact, more than half of the patients who suffer from listeriosis belong to the elderly population.25

In 2009, a rise in listeria infections amongst pensioners and the older generation was observed with the reason being that they were more likely to ignore the use-by dates on the packaging of their food products. In fact, a survey found that approximately 40 percent of the elderly population would knowingly eat dairy products up to three days past the use-by date.26 Their weaker immune system puts them at a higher risk of being more severely affected by the bacteria.

Listeria Treatment: How Can This Infection Be Treated?

Listeria infection treatment largely depends on the severity of the symptoms and the immune strength of the patient. In mild cases, treatment is not required, as the symptoms usually go away on their own. In fact, healthy children, teenagers and adults don't require any type of treatment as their immune systems are efficient enough.

However, because of the risks that listeriosis poses on pregnant women, the elderly and immunosuppressed, these patients often require immediate treatment. While the conventional medical route when it comes to listeria infections is through antibiotics, there are also natural ways that you can help your body recover, such as:

  • Ingest garlic shoot juice — A 2006 study found that a 5 percent concentration of garlic shoot juice had an inhibitory effect on Listeria monocytogenes proliferation. Under the microscope, lysis of both the cytoplasm and cell wall in the bacteria was observed.27
  • Stay hydrated — It's important that you replenish your body's fluid levels to avoid dehydration, as vomiting and diarrhea usually accompany listeriosis. This will help your body recuperate much faster as it will not need to compensate for dehydration. Aside from drinking water, you can try sucking on some ice chips or sipping bone broth.28

Some of the most common antibiotics prescribed for this infection are:

  • Ampicillin is often prescribed alone or in conjunction with other antibiotics, including gentamicin. This antibiotic mainly works by rendering the bacteria unable to create an effective cell wall, eventually leading to their death.29
  • Gentamicin, which is usually administered through injections, is an antibiotic that targets various types of bacteria by inhibiting protein production. This eventually messes up the bacteria's overall processes they need to survive.30

While antibiotics may be the conventional route for the treatment of listeria, it's important that you are aware of the numerous risks of side effects that they pose. In mild cases, antibiotics may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. In severe cases, they may cause allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock, which may lead to death.31

If it is absolutely necessary for you to take antibiotics, you can help your body maintain balance by taking probiotics or sporebiotics, which will keep the good bacteria in your gut balanced, as antibiotics cannot differentiate between good and bad bacteria. If you're not familiar with sporebiotic supplements, these are made up of bacillus spores and may help reestablish the gut microbiome and enhance your overall immune function.

Listeria Treatment for Pregnant Mothers

Because of pregnant women's sensitive condition, listeriosis treatment during pregnancy is essential to ensure both the safety of the mother and unborn child. During the onset of the infection, listeriosis may cause vomiting and diarrhea, which may cause excessive loss of water from the body, leading to dehydration. This may cause weakness and other health repercussions.32

If a pregnant woman starts showing signs and symptoms of listeriosis, treatment and testing are often given simultaneously to deal with the presumptive infection as soon as possible. Listeria diagnosis usually consists of blood tests and a placental culture in the event of a delivery. If the tests come back negative, thorough evaluation should be done to determine whether the antibiotics prescribed should be continued for safety.33

Listeria Prevention

Like other infections that stem from food contamination, listeria prevention mainly depends on hygiene and the quality of the food that you are ingesting. While listeria infections may be rare, this does not mean that you can ignore caution and expose yourself to the risk of contracting an infection. To make it easier for you, here are a few tips you can follow to drastically decrease your infection risk:34

  • Avoid drinking dairy products from untrusted sources — While health agencies vilify raw dairy products because they supposedly increase your risk of bacterial infections, the same agencies also fail to note that pasteurized dairy has almost the same risks of contamination with different strains of bacteria as raw dairy. When buying dairy products, it's important that you only get them from trustworthy sources to ensure you're getting the highest quality.
  • Wash utensils and kitchen tools used to handle raw or uncooked ingredients — Avoid interchangeably using utensils between raw foods that are going to be cooked with foods that are going to be eaten fresh.
  • Make sure to separate uncooked meats from vegetables, fruits and cooked foods — Properly storing your food inside the refrigerator may significantly reduce the risk of listeria from getting into foods that do not require cooking.
  • Thoroughly cook meats and other ingredients, and avoid consuming half-cooked or poorly cooked food — Make sure that all your meals are properly and sufficiently cooked, preferably in clean and hygienic environments.
  • Eat ready-to-eat foods immediately, avoiding prolonged exposure to air — While you might be tempted to leave your food unattended and get back to it when time permits, this is a surefire way for listeria bacteria to get into your food.

However, because of the unpredictable way that this type of bacteria spreads from food or other materials, it's important that you strengthen your immune system to combat this infection. Your body's immune response plays an important role in regulating the severity of the infection and its spread in your various systems. Immunocompromised patients manifest worse symptoms because the bacteria easily enter their bloodstream, leading to sepsis.

If you want to nip listeria at the root, you can start with strengthening your immune response through various natural practices, including:

  • If you smoke, stopIn a 2017 study from the Oncotarget journal, cigarette smoking was found to negatively affect innate and adaptive immunity, exposing you to a greater risk of infections, cancers and other diseases. Ironically, while smoking may weaken your immune system, it may also increase autoimmunity risk.35
  • Eat a healthy diet — Numerous vitamins and minerals play a direct role in promoting immune function, including vitamins A, C, D and zinc. Ensuring that your diet has plenty of these nutrients may help shield you or at least significantly reduce your risk of contracting different diseases and infections.36
  • Exercise regularly — Physical activity may influence the immune system as regular exercise was found to provide a certain protective effect. However, it's important that you know your limits as overexertion may lead to an opposite effect.37
  • Get adequate sleep — In a 2015 study from the Journal of Immunology Research, researchers noted that sleep influences the body's ability to fight off infections and other illnesses. They found that lack of sleep significantly dampens the body's immune function.38

4 Side Effects or Complications of Listeriosis

While the infection itself brings patients a handful of painful symptoms, listeriosis, if left undiagnosed and untreated, may also expose you to these complications:

  • Neonatal sepsis — In the event that the mother becomes infected prepartum, the unborn child is at high risk of suffering bacterial septicemia. This may cause respiratory distress, an enlarged liver and decreased muscle tone. The prompt diagnosis and treatment of this complication is crucial to decrease the risk of mortality.39
  • Meningitis — The Listeria monocytogenes bacterium is one of the leading causes of meningitis in the population, trailing behind Streptococcus pneumonia and Neisseria meningitides bacteria.40 Symptoms of meningitis include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, muscle pain and confusion. In the later parts of the infection, patients may suffer from seizures and fall into a coma.41
  • Brain abscesses — While extremely rare, the listeria monocytogenes bacteria can cause brain abscesses. When the infection becomes widespread, it may reach the brain, allowing pus to accumulate in certain parts of the brain.42
  • Listerial endocarditis — In 7.5 percent of the cases of listeria infection, the bacteria manage to make their way to the heart. This causes inflammation in the heart tissue. About half of the patients who suffer from this end up dying.43

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Listeria Infection

Q: How common is listeria in pregnancy?

A: About 17 percent of pregnant women fall victim to listeria infections annually, exposing them to numerous risks.44

Q: How is listeria treated?

A: Conventional treatment for listeria is through antibiotics, such as gentamicin and ampicillin. However, these medications also come with numerous risks and side effects, including nausea, vomiting and dangerous allergic reactions. It's important to know that there are natural ways to combat this infection, including maintaining a good level of hydration and using garlic shoot juice.45

Q: How does listeria get into food?

A: Listeria may contaminate foods if they are incorrectly stored or if ready-to-eat foods are exposed to contaminated materials or utensils used to prepare uncooked food.

Q: How long does a listeria infection last?

A: The duration of a listeria infection depends on the severity and length of the incubation period. Symptoms of listeria may start to show up between two and 70 days after exposure. 

Q: Is listeria contagious?

A: Listeria is mainly contracted from contaminated food and water. It cannot be transmitted from person to person through proximity.

Q: How do you test for listeria?

A: A listeria infection may be diagnosed through various tests, including blood and spinal fluid. If a pregnant mother shows symptoms of listeriosis and there are no other subsequent conditions that may be causing them, testing and treatment may be given at the same time.

Q: How do you get listeria?

A: You can get listeria from a variety of sources, including contaminated ready-to-eat food products, refrigerated meats and dairy products. While the listeria bacterium is purely foodborne, transmission is possible between the mother and the unborn child.46

Q: How common is listeria?

A: Listeria is present in a lot of foods, specifically those stored in refrigerated environments, like deli meats and ready-to-eat sandwiches.

Q: What temperature kills listeria?

A: The listeria bacteria can be killed off in temperatures greater than 65 degrees Celsius or 149 degrees Fahrenheit.47

Q: Does cooking kill listeria?

A: Listeria is one of the hardest bacteria to kill because it cannot die in low or freezing temperatures. The good news is that listeria can be killed off by cooking, specifically in temperatures higher than 149 degrees Fahrenheit. But while cooking can kill it off, cooked food can be contaminated during storage.

Source: mercola rss