Red, White and… Green?

Somewhere along the way you’ve probably heard that drinking tea is good for you. Well, it’s true! Here are some reasons why.

Because tea is made from leaves, herbs, roots, flowers and spices, it has beneficial health proprieties. Tea contains antioxidants, or polyphenols, which have been proved to reduce the risk of cancer, lower cholesterol levels, and prevent blood clotting. Studies have shown that tea may even protect tissues from tumor development. Because we drink tea, these antioxidants are easily and quickly absorbed.  Tea Plant

Green tea does contain caffeine, but much less than coffee. (According to the American Dietetic Association, a cup of tea contains an average of 40 mg of caffeine, compared to 85 mg as found in a cup of freshly brewed coffee.)

There is evidence that suggests that drinking green tea might help protect the skin from sun damage and sun burn, protecting our cells from damage. Regular green tea consumption is also associated with decreased bad cholesterol, increased good cholesterol and reduced free radical damage, promoting active detoxification.

Green tea has been consumed for thousands of years throughout Asia to promote longevity, improve mental function, and to prevent disease.

Black Tea leaves are fully fermented- they are the most processed and therefore the most intense in flavor. The health benefits include possible reduction of heart disease risk due to its partial prevention of cholesterol absorption. Black teas are good for blood sugar level and blood pressure regulation, for gingivitis and tooth decay prevention.

White Tea comes from the bud of the plant rather than the leaf and is, like Green Tea, unfermented and the least processed. The buds are withered and air-dried producing a light, clean and slightly sweet cup of tea. The antioxidants in white tea may help prevent cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes, and may even help slow down the aging process.

Herbal tea is any type of non-tea herbal infusion. While these teas don’t come from a tea leaf, they contain many medicinal proporities.Chamomile tea is calming and contains anti-microbial properties. Peppermint Tea works as a digestive aid, is antiviral and contains antibacterial properties. Hibiscus tea effects mood and blood pressure (a study found three cups a day lead to a reduction in systolic blood pressure)

Red or Rooibos tea, an herbal tea native to South Africa, is made from a bush containing needle-like leaves and colorful flowers. The “leaves” and twigs are washed, fermented and dried. This tea contains no caffeine and is lower in antioxidants, but does contain a relatively high level of vitamin C.

Following water, tea is the most popular beverage consumed in the world and it’s no wonder why!

Try it Iced: By now, the steamy summer weather has set in and a cup of hot tea probably sounds unbearable. Now is the perfect time to make a pitcher of your favorite tea, iced!  For those trying to shed pounds, skip the Frappuccino from Starbucks and try a flavorful, fruity iced tea blend. Tea is a low-calorie, refreshing option!

Summer Recipe:summertime iced tea 

Honeydew Green Tea

Brew up a pot of your favorite green tea and let it cool. In a pitcher, add chunks of honeydew melon, pealed ginger, wildflower honey and ice. (You might find it easier to sweeten the tea with honey while it’s still warm.) Enjoy!

 

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Allergy Season and Your Neck…

You may be wondering what the spine would have to do with allergy season?  A lot, in fact! We know that the brain is the master control center of our entire body… it controls every organ, tissue, muscle, and cell. The system by which the brain communicates with everything else is called the Nervous System, which is housed inside the spine. So, when the spine is out of alignment, our brain cannot communicate at 100% with the rest of the body.

In Chiropractic, we bring alignment to the spine to allow the optimal function of the Nervous System. You may be surprised to learn that the spine and Chiropractic isn’t just about back pain! Let’s take the example of having allergies and see how this system works.

The neck (cervical spine) is where the nerves that control our face/head are located. So when the brain wants to send the message to your sinuses, nose, eyes, and ears, that message must go in this order:

Brain > Nervous System> down the spine/neck > message arrives at the sinuses

And conversely, the messages from the sinuses, telling the brain that it’s having difficulty processing outside allergens, go in the opposite order back up to the brain.

If the neck is out of alignment, that message can’t get through. You might be wondering “well, my neck looks and feels normal – how bad could it be?” Studies show that the weight of a dime sitting on your skin will decrease a nerve’s ability to function from 100% to 40%. Meaning – when your brain sends the message to the sinuses to get rid of that congestion and mucus – it’s only working at 40%. As Chiropractors, this is what we do – we allow the Nervous System the opportunity to function optimally at 100%.

Studies also show that Chiropractic care boosts the overall immune system, making us less susceptible to getting sick. If you suffer from allergies, get sick each year, and have tension in your shoulders – I’d look to the spine as a potential cause of your suffering!

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Earth Day: My Adventures with Homemade Cleaning Products

For many years, I have dabbled in making my own household products. There has been one thing I have been avoiding doing though …. Making homemade laundry soap.  Well, I finally took the plunge and I wanted to share some tips, photos, and recipes with you all!

The biggest advantage, I think, to making homemade or more natural household projects is safety. There are way too many chemicals, perfumes, dyes, and unknown ingredients in the products we typically use. Find a label on something in your home right now – there’s probably a few ingredients in there that you can’t even pronounce! I like to know what I

put on my skin, on my countertops, on my clothes, and in the air I breathe. It’s also very cost-effective to make your own products.

Take a look at the two photos below. The one on the left is a piece of fabric sitting in liquid Tide….. all of the phosphates/chemicals have sunk to the bottom, and that will be deposited into our water system. On the right, is a natural company’s alternative to traditional laundry soap… the photo speaks for itself.

(photos courtesy of Kathy Rosner)

Below is my recipe for laundry soap, and I find that it works just as well as “regular” products:

Mix all ingredients into a glass container:

3 cups Borax

2 cups Baking Soda

2 cups Washing Soda

1 bar of grated Fels Naptha Soap

In place of Fabric Softener (which is one of the most notoriously dangerous household products there are), I use ¼ cup of white distilled vinegar. It keeps your clothes soft and doesn’t leave a strange smell (I promise)!

Another simple laundry soap idea? Just use 1/4 cup liquid castile soap for each load.

If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into homemade products, at least consider using some safer, cost effective alternatives. For more information on alternative products, contact: Kathy Rosner (KrosMail@aol.com).

A Better Night’s Sleep

It’s no fun going through the day sleepy. Each hour drags on and getting motivated or being productive is nearly impossible when we’d rather be dreaming. What’s worse, for many, actually falling asleep at night is a struggle.

More than one-third of adults in the United States experience occasional sleep problems and one of every ten suffer from chronic insomnia. Many treat their insomnia with medications but this can be dangerous. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found that taking medications for insomnia or anxiety at least once a month increases your risk of death by 36%. This was a 12-year study that included over 14,000 people. Alarming!

These addictive drugs affect your reaction time, alertness and increase falls, inhibiting your central nervous system, thus affecting judgment and even increasing the risk of suicide. Not only that, this study found that insomnia medications aggravate breathing problems during sleep. But don’t panic, there’s rest for the weary that comes in the form of natural alternatives and implementing safe, healthy habits. Sleep disorders are common and serious…but their treatable!

Here are some simple ways to get to sleep easier and improve the quality of your sleep, so that you’re rested and ready to take on the day:

  1. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, herbal sleep remedies don’t have side-effects. Try a glass of chamomile tea (or a Sleepy Time blend) 15 minutes before bedtime. These teas contain natural sleep aids like valerian, lemon balm and passionflower.
  2. Try simple breathing exercises. Simple things like deep breathing, visualization and muscle relaxation can lower stress hormones and anxiety. You can download audible, guided instructions for these online.
  3. Get your exercise. Studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as prescription drugs for promoting restful sleep. Consistent exercise is essential for controlling stress, depression and healthy sleeping habits. If you exercise outdoors, you’ll be benefiting from the sun light, which regulates melatonin production needed for better sleep.
  4. Make your bedroom tranquil, like a spa. Clear away the clutter and make this room exclusively for sleep. Decorate with calming colors and fabrics and ban television and computers.
  5. Avoid food and caffeine. Plan not to eat at least three hours prior to bedtime. If you need an after dinner snack, have a small handful of almonds or a fresh fruit. Limit caffeine intake to the morning hours, and to two cups a day.
  6. Acupuncture and yoga have also been shown to improve the quality of sleep. Ask me more about this!

Did you know that reduced or not enough sleep has been associated with weight gain and obesity in both children and adults? Wow! So, not only is getting a good night’s sleep essential to functioning properly and performance, but it effects they way we look. O.K., time for bed!

*Always consult and health care professional before beginning or discontinuing any supplements or medications.

Lose your Stress and the Pounds will Follow

Research has found that chronic stress causes inflammation and insulin resistance in our bodies, either of which can cause you to gain weight. Over time, chronic stress can lead to a variety of health and emotional problems.

The good news? Reducing the stress in your life can both improve your well-being and work wonders for your waist line. With adequate sleep, proper nutrition and physical activity, you can counter the effects of stress. Adding nutritional supplements and herbs to this equation can help to alleviate the daily stresses that we constantly encounter.

Eleuthero, or Siberian ginseng, is an adaptogen- an herb that helps the body cope with stress. If your feeling worn out or frazzled, a very low dosage, in tincture form, can help calm you and give you a better nights sleep.

Stress can cause a spike in your blood sugar and cinnamon can help. Cinnamon aids your cells in becoming less insulin resistant and lowers blood cholesterol. Try it cooked in a curry dish, sprinkled over chai tea or in supplement form, as an extract.cinnamon for stress

Tulsi, or holy basil, has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory proprieties and its ability to boost your body’s innate defense against stress. Tulsi can be taken daily, in either tea or capsule form, during periods of stress.

Fish oil reduces the stress hormone cortisone, increasing lean muscle mass and decrease fat. Not only will fish oil lessen you stress response, but it can enhance brain function and fight depression. Make sure the fish oil your taking contains both DHA and EPA.

Chiropractic adjustments help to relieve pressure and tension in your body, reducing pain and inflammation, leaving you more relaxed. As chiropractors, we focus not only on the spine and nervous system, but we address emotional and nutritional areas that may be causing stress. Even your posture can be an unnecessary physical stressor that chiropractic can help correct.
yoga for stress

Try yoga! Yoga’s series of postures and controlled breathing exercises are a popular means of stress management and relaxation. Today, yoga classes teaching the art of breathing, meditation and posing are offered nearly everywhere. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety naturally. Don’t be surprised if you also notice an increase in your strength and flexibility!

So, the goal is to live well- not to be stick-thin and happy all the time, but alleviating the chronic stress that may be weighing down your life can lighten your load, physically and mentally. Let’s feel better, and look good doing it.

As always, be sure to see a health-care professional before beginning or discontinuing any type of treatment or health regimen.