What Your Fingernails Say about Your Health

 

Your body has the amazing ability to offer insight into your health. So, the next time you’re concerned about your body, take a quick look at your fingernails.

 

Besides acting as a solid foundation for your next manicure, strong, healthy finger nails are often an indicator of good health.

 

On the flip side, weak, brittle, and discolored nails can be a major red flag that something is not functioning properly inside your body.

 

Keep reading to discover 6 things your fingernails can tell you about your health.

 

#1 Discolored Nails

 

For many people, nail color changes with age. Most commonly, nails become tinted with a yellow hue.  This is nothing to worry about.

 

If you notice a drastic change in nail color, typically from a healthy natural shade to a deep yellow color, your body may be struggling. One of two things might be happening.

 

First, your body is probably not getting the nutrients it needs to produce healthy cells that, in return, create healthy-looking nails.

 

Try adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet to ensure you’re getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients you need.

 

Second, your body could be suffering from the effects of exposure to harmful chemicals. The most common causes of this exposure come from smoking or using harsh chemical-based nail products.

 

The solution: quit smoking, and take a break from using nail products so your nails have a chance to heal.

 

#2 Clubbing

 

Nail clubbing occurs when the ends of your nails become curved and rounded.

 

Symptoms of nail clubbing include:

  • Fluctuation and softening of the nail bed.
  • Loss of the normal <165° angle between the nail bed and the fold (cuticula).
  • Increased convexity of the nail fold.
  • Thickening of the whole distal (end part of the) fingernail (resembling a drumstick).
  • Shiny aspect and striation of the nail and skin.

 

If you notice any of these symptoms, please immediately seek medical help. This could be a sign of kidney disease, which needs to be treated professionally.

 

#3 White Spots

 

Most often, white spots on nails are caused by minor trauma, such as hitting your nail bed on a table. It’s truly nothing to be concerned about.

 

However, if you notice large collections of white spots that suddenly appear on your nails, it might be due to a lack of calcium in your diet. Not to worry.

 

This problem is easily solvable. Talk to your doctor about adding a natural calcium supplement into your diet.

 

#4 Spoon Nails

 

Spoon nails, also known as Koilonychia, is a condition that causes a depression in your nail bed. This depression causes your fingers to look like little spoons.

 

If you notice your nail beds sinking in, it could be a sign of an iron deficiency.

 

To fix the problem, add more iron-rich foods into your diet, or have your doctor recommend an iron supplement.

 

In more severe cases, spoon nails can be an indication of musculoskeletal and kidney abnormalities. If you are concerned, please seek medical attention from your doctor immediately.

 

#5 Pitted Nails

 

Depressions, dents, and cracks in your nail beds are known as pitted nails.

 

Most often pitted nails are associated with psoriasis, an inflammatory disease that leads to scaly or red patches all over the body.

 

If you notice your nails are pitted, let your doctor know.

 

A quick examination is all it takes to diagnose psoriasis and get you on the road to recovery. Topical, oral, injected medications or light therapy can be used to fix the problem.

 

#6 Blue Nails

 

Blue nails, another form of nail discoloration, is a major red flag that your fingertips are not getting enough oxygen. This is commonly caused by respiratory disease and/or a vascular problem.

 

If your nails turn blue, it’s a good idea to have the oxygen levels in your blood tested.

This can easily be done at your doctor’s office.

 

Keep your nails, and the rest of your body, happy and healthy by consuming smoothies packed with the nutrition you need. Check out the recipes here.

3 Ways to Naturally Soothe Earaches

 

The ear canal is one of the most sensitive parts of the body.

 

Dull aches and sharp pains in this region can cause immense amounts of distraction, irritation, and discomfort.

 

Simply put, there is nothing fun about getting an earache.

 

It doesn’t matter how old, young, or healthy you are.

 

Earaches can happen to anyone at any time and are one of the most common reasons people visit their doctors.

 

The reason ear pain is so common is because it can be caused by a variety of different things.

 

Cavities, sinus infections, earwax, tonsillitis, and teeth grinding can all easily trigger earaches.

 

The good news is that there are a handful of ways you can treat earaches at home, ease the pain, and skip unnecessary and expensive trips to your physician.

 

Note: Although I suggest trying all-natural home remedies to ease your earache pain, it’s important to understand when it’s necessary to consult a professional.

 

If your ear pain is associated with a fever, bleeding, dizziness, or fatigue, please seek professional help.

 

For mild earaches, I recommend the following natural remedies.

 

Onions

 

The next time you’re faced with ear pain, reach into your pantry and grab an onion.

 

It might seem like an odd option, but the highly concentrated flavonoid quercetin has been proven as an effective and fast-acting anti-inflammatory.

 

This property allows it to reduce swelling in the ear canal and release painful pressure associated with earaches.

 

Simply cut an onion in half and gently warm it on your stovetop to release the natural oils in the vegetable.

 

Once the onion is cooled to a comfortable temperature, you can then place it directly on your ear or wrap it in a warm, moist cloth.

 

If an onion compress isn’t providing enough relief, it’s safe to place 3-5 drops of onion juice into your ear canal.

 

Garlic and Olive Oil

 

For centuries, people have used the powerful combination of garlic and olive oil to treat infections, aches, and pains. This combo is by far one of the best natural remedies for soothing painful earaches.

 

Garlic oil works as the active ingredient to knock out infection that is commonly the cause of ear pain. As garlic oil cleans the ear, olive oil uses its potent polyphenols to reduce inflammation.

 

Check out how you can make your own garlic and olive oil solution.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

 

Directions:

#1 Heat olive oil on stove.

#2 Simmer minced garlic in the oil for 20 minutes.

#3 Strain the oil to remove garlic pieces.

#4 Place two drops of warm oil in ear canal.

Recipe Source: http://wellnessmama.com/58936/garlic-olive-oil-for-ear-infection/

 

Essential Oil Earache Rub

 

If you’re worried about putting stuff inside your ears, an essential oil rub might be the best solution for you.

 

The following concoction of essential oils, including tea tree oil, olive oil, and lavender oil, are all packed with natural infection-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties.

 

Simply mix up a batch of the rub, and at the first sign of pain, massage the oil around the ear that’s causing you problems.

 

Learn how to make this essential oil ear rub recipe now.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

 

 Directions:

#1 Mix all ingredients and apply gently around your ear that’s in pain.

#2 Reapply as needed.

Recipe Source: http://commonsensehome.com/home-remedies-earaches/

 

Many of the ingredients that help reduce ear pain are also healthy to add into your daily diet. Discover some of our favorite recipes made with natural vegetables.

 

Essential Oils for Natural Stress Relief

 

Stress…it’s your body’s natural and physical reaction to everything going on in your life.

 

It impacts your central nervous system, endocrine system, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, digestive system, muscular system, and more.

 

And whether you like it or not, stress is going to affect you on a regular basis.

 

Because stress has such an impact on our lives, it’s important to learn how to control it, as well as find relief from it.

 

Thankfully, there are many ways you can naturally combat the negative toll it takes on your body.

 

One of the best ways to keep your stress levels in check is through the use of essential oils. Keep reading to discover how you can use some of my favorite essential oils for stress relief.

 

Lavender Oil

 

Lavender oil is one of the most universally used essential oils. You can’t go wrong with keeping a bottle of this fresh floral oil in your medicine cabinet.

 

Lavender oil’s earthy, fresh, and calming scent helps to balance both your physical and emotional stress levels.

 

This oil is safe to use in an oil infuser or can be brewed and consumed as lavender tea.

 

For a stronger effect, take a few whiffs of lavender oil straight from the bottle, or rub it on your wrists and temples.

 

Frankincense 

Due to its powerful stress-relieving properties and other health benefits, it’s no surprise that Frankincense was given as a gift for Kings. It’s been used for generations for stress relief aromatherapy.

 

The power behind frankincense comes from natural chemicals produced in the plant that send calming messages to your limbic system. These messages allow your body to relax and unwind.

 

One of the best ways to use Frankincense oil is to pour a few drops into a hot bath. Enjoy a long soak in the water, and watch as your stress washes away.

 

Chamomile

Chamomile is best known for its ability to naturally calm your nerves in order to help you relax and sleep. This all-natural nerve tonic can be used daily to keep you calm and collected.

 

Many people brew and drink Chamomile tea. It’s safe to consume and tastes delicious. As an added bonus, try adding a spoonful of honey for a boost of extra nutrients and sweet flavor.

 

Vanilla

 

The soft, sweet, and inviting smell of vanilla has been proven to relieve anxiety and reduce stress. The rich aroma creates a tranquil and soothing environment. It also stimulates mental clarity.

 

Believe it or not, vanilla is thought to be a powerful force against stress as it is the closest in fragrance and flavor to mothers’ milk.

 

Relax and soak up the stress-relieving properties of vanilla by infusing the oil or rubbing vanilla oil on your wrists and neck. It’s also safe, and delicious, to consume vanilla.

 

Simply purchase organic vanilla bean pods and mix the beans into your desired beverage.

 

I hope that you can implement some of these essential oils into your life as a natural way to relieve the effects of stress you experience.

 

However, if you’re suffering from extreme amounts of stress that are making you ill or unable to function, I advise that you immediately seek help from your doctor.

 

Nature provides us with many different natural remedies to mental, emotional, and physical health problems people experience on a regular basis.

Check out this post on the super plant aloe vera and learn how to incorporate it into your daily routine.

3 All-Natural Uses for Tea Tree Oil

 

 

Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is pressed from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, a plant native to Southeast Queensland and the Northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia.

 

And it’s quickly becoming one of the most commonly used essential oils around.

 

The oil gives off a fresh, revitalizing scent, and can be used for a plethora of medical and skin care needs.

 

It’s ability to act as a powerful natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, balsamic, expectorant, fungicide, and insecticide certainly earns this natural plant-based oil a coveted spot in many people’s medicine cabinets.

 

Keep reading to discover my 3 favorite all-natural uses of tea tree oil.

 

Tea Tree Oil Is a Natural Antiseptic

 

In the 1920s, a chemist named Arthur Penfold spent time exploring the molecular properties, structures, and chemical makeup of tea tree oil.

 

During his studies in photochemistry, he found that tea tree oil appeared extremely promising due to its powerful antiseptic properties.

 

Since his findings in the 20s, tea tree oil has been used widely around the world as a topical natural antiseptic.

 

It’s an effective antiseptic because it’s composed of terpene hydrocarbons, mainly monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and their associated alcohols.

 

All of these things work together to disinfect and fight germs.

 

A great way to use tea tree oil as an antiseptic is to turn it into a hand sanitizer. Check out the recipe below.

 

What you will need: 

  • 25-30 drops of tea tree oil
  • 9 drops of lavender oil
  • 9 drops of clove oil
  • 1 tablespoon of witch hazel (optional)
  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces) aloe vera gel
  • A small container
  • A bowl

Directions:

  1. In a bowl place 9 drops each of lavender and clove oil, and 25-30 drops of tea tree oil.
  1. Stir these together and add 16 tablespoons (8 ounces) of aloe vera gel and 1 tablespoon of witch hazel.
  1. Blend everything together, and store out of direct sunlight in a cool place for up to 1 month.

Recipe Source: http://everydayroots.com/diy-hand-sanitizer

 

Tea Tree Oil Makes an Effective Natural Cleaning Product

 

I’ve covered how tea tree oil works as a powerful antiseptic. That being said, it’s not only good for your body…it also makes for a great household cleaning product.

 

The next time you clean your kitchen or bathroom, pull out your tea tree essential oils. Not only will this oil leave your home sparkly and clean, but it will also leave your air scented with the fresh and invigorating aroma of tea tree oil.

 

Check out this recipe for an all-purpose tea tree oil cleaning product…

 

What you will need:

  • 15 drops tea tree oil
  • 1 quart warm water
  • 1 spray bottle

Directions:

  1. Mix tea tree oil and warm water in spray bottle.
  1. Spray on surfaces that need to be cleaned.

Recipe Source: http://www.motherearthliving.com/healthy-home/green-living/uses-for-tea-tree-oil-zmhz14jazpit.aspx

 

Tea Tree Oil Naturally Repels Bugs

 

Much like store-bought cleaners, bug repellents tend to be loaded with harmful chemicals that can negatively impact both your health and the environment.

 

The good news is that you can create a powerful bug repellent without all the harsh ingredients using tea tree oil and a few other all-natural ingredients.

 

Yea tree oil makes wonderful a bug spray because pests, such as ticks and mosquitoes, are repelled by the natural scent of the oil.

 

How fortunate that the delightful aroma of this oil leaves our skin smelling fresh and clean, while at the same time keeping pests away!

 

Make your own tea tree oil bug repellent with this recipe.

 

What you will need:

  • 4 ounces boiled or distilled water
  • 4 ounces witch hazel
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin
  • 30-50 drops of tea tree oil

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients into spray bottle and mix.
  1. Use as a bug spray as needed.

Recipe Source: http://osanabar.com/15-uses-for-tea-tree-oil/

 

There are many natural oils you can substitute for chemical-based products.

 

Check out how to add mint oil into your daily routine.

How to Naturally Combat Iron Deficiencies

 

An iron deficiency, which can turn into iron deficiency anemia, occurs when your body doesn’t have enough of the iron mineral.

 

This mineral is essential for your body to make a protein called hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your body’s tissues.

 

When there isn’t enough hemoglobin in your blood stream, your body can’t get the amount of oxygen it needs…and that’s a problem.

 

The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia vary depending on how deprived your body is of iron.

 

Below are some common symptoms of iron deficiency:

  • A hunger for strange substances such as paper, ice, or dirt
  • Upward curvature of the nails, referred to as koilonychias
  • Soreness of the mouth with cracks at the corners
  • Muscle cramps

 

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please see your doctor immediately.

 

After you’ve visited your doctor and have been approved to naturally combat your iron deficiency, I recommend you try the following remedies:

 

Adjust Your Diet

 

You can easily increase your iron levels by adjusting your diet.

 

Most people turn to iron-dense leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables. These things are by far one of the best sources of iron you can possibly consume. Add some of the following veggies into your diet…

  • Red cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Beets
  • Alfalfa
  • Wheatgrass
  • Spinach
  • Vegetable tops
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomato juice
  • Black cherry and blackberry juice

 

If you eat meat, you can also incorporate different types of meat into your meal plan to up your iron levels. Here are a few things you can try…

  • Beef liver
  • Chicken liver
  • Clams
  • Oysters
  • Veal
  • Fish
  • Beef

 

Consume Non-Heme Iron

Plant foods supply non-heme iron. This type of iron has a different chemical structure, which makes it easier to absorb into your body. This is by far the best type of iron to consume.

 

The best sources of non-heme iron come from chicken liver, oysters, and beef liver, which supply approximately 11, 6, and 5 milligrams per serving.

 

The next best source of iron is from chuck beef, dark turkey meat, ground beef, and top sirloin, which also provide considerable amounts of non-heme iron.

 

Add these non-heme iron-packed foods into your meal plan, and your body will thank you.

 

Avoid Foods That Decrease Iron Absorption

 

You may be eating an iron-rich diet and still have an iron deficiency.

 

That’s because there are groups of foods that are notorious for blocking iron absorption. If you want to increase your iron levels, cut out the following things from your diet:

  • Dairy products
  • Soda
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • High-fiber foods

 

If you can’t give up any of those food items, try adding extra vitamin C into your diet. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better, which will lead to increased iron levels in your blood.

 

Cook Your Food in Cast Iron Pans

 

Believe it or not, you can add iron to your food by cooking it in a cast iron pot. As your food cooks, it absorbs tiny bits of iron from the cooking pan.

 

If you’re skeptical, check out this study (one of many that have been conducted around the world) by Runners Connect. It might sound a little crazy, but it’s a great way to add a little extra iron boost to everything you eat.

 

Cooking your own food is a great way to stay healthy.

 

Discover how learning to cook your own food can save your life.

How to Make Chemical-Free Sun Screen

 

Nothing beats a fun day out in the sun. It’s always good for your body to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.

 

Better yet, natural sun exposure is the best way to get your body the vitamin D it desperately needs to function and thrive.

 

While some sun exposure is an important element to keeping your body healthy, I do have to remind you to also be careful while outdoors.

 

Too much sun exposure can be dangerous and lead to burns, skin damage, and even cancer.

 

There’s a good chance that, like most people, you use sunscreen to protect yourself from getting too much sun. If you are, then I’m glad you’re taking your skin health seriously.

 

The one thing that worries me is the kind of sunscreen you are using.

 

Unfortunately, many store-bought sunscreen brands contain chemicals that in the long run can cause health problems.

 

Check out a few chemicals found in the majority of popular name-brand sunscreens:

 

  • Oxybenzone – This chemical is a penetration enhancer that helps the sunscreen penetrate the skin. The bad news is that it undergoes a chemical reaction when exposed to UV rays. When oxybenzone is absorbed by your skin, it can cause an eczema-like allergic reaction that can spread beyond the exposed area and last long after you’re out of the sun. Experts also suspect that oxybenzone disrupts hormones, which can throw off your endocrine system.

 

  • Octinoxate – This is one of the most common ingredients found in sunscreens with SPF. It’s readily absorbed by your skin and helps other ingredients to be absorbed as well. Hormone disruption is common with this chemical. It also produces menacing free radicals that can damage skin and cells.

 

  • Octocrylene – When this chemical is exposed to UV light, it absorbs the rays and produces oxygen radicals that can damage cells and cause mutations. It’s also toxic to the environment.

 

It’s clear that the sunscreen you pull of the shelf probably isn’t the safest option to help keep you protected.

 

That’s why I’d like to pass along one of my favorite recipes for making chemical-free sunscreen.

 

Use this all-natural sunscreen recipe, and you’ll never have to worry about harmful chemicals in your sunscreen again.

 

Chemical-Free Sunscreen Recipe

 

Ingredients:

 

½ cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)

 

¼ cup coconut oil (natural SPF 4)

 

¼ cup beeswax

 

2 tablespoons zinc oxide (This is a non-nano version that won’t be absorbed into the skin. Be careful not to inhale the powder).

 

Optional: up to 1 teaspoon red raspberry seed oil

 

Optional: up to 1 teaspoon carrot seed oil

 

Optional: up to 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil

 

Optional: 2 tablespoons shea butter (natural SPF 4-5)

 

Optional: essential oils, vanilla extract, or other natural extracts to suit your preference

 

Instructions:

 

  1. Combine ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint sized or larger glass jar. I have a mason jar that I keep just for making lotions and lotion bars, or you can even repurpose a glass jar used for pickles, olives, or other foods.

 

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.

 

  1. Put a lid on the jar loosely, and place the jar in the pan with the water.

 

  1. As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally to incorporate. When all ingredients are completely melted, add the zinc oxide, stir in well, and pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage.

 

  1. Small mason jars (pint size) are great for this. It will not pump well in a lotion pump!

 

  1. Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.

 

  1. Use as you would regular sunscreen. It’s best if it’s used within six months.

Recipe Source: http://wellnessmama.com/2558/homemade-sunscreen/

 

Learn more about how you can use natural ingredients to protect your body and improve your health, and check out this article on mint oil.

The Natural Benefits of Licorice Root

 

Licorice is commonly known as a type of gummy candy.

 

What you might not know is that licorice root, the plant that licorice flavoring comes from, also has many natural healing and health-related benefits.

 

It all began with the ancient Egyptians, who commonly used licorice, or Glycyrrhiza glabra as they called it, as a cure-all medicine.

 

Most often, the Egyptians would brew it and drink it as a tea.

 

Today, we still acknowledge the natural benefits of licorice root and how it can be used in our daily lives.

 

Keep reading to discover how you can use licorice root.

 

Cure an Upset Stomach

 

Just like the Egyptians, we commonly use licorice root as a cure for an upset stomach.

 

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, the glycyrrhizic acid found in licorice has been proven to soothe and heal a stomach suffering from food poisoning, stomach ulcers, and heartburn.

For stomach issues, licorice root is best consumed as a tea.

 

Check out this simple licorice tea recipe that you can make at home:

 

Ingredients

 

Water

 

Chopped Licorice Root

 

Directions

 

#1 Add one tablespoon of licorice root for every one cup of water, and bring the water to a boil.

 

#2 Simmer for 10 minutes.

 

#3 Enjoy!

 

 

Boost Immune System

 

Licorice is great for your immune system.

 

It enhances your immune system by boosting levels of interferon, a key immune system chemical that fights off attacking viruses.

 

As an added bonus, it also contains powerful antioxidants that keep your body healthy.

 

Add licorice into your diet by consuming it as a tea, or use chewable licorice supplements.

 

Protect Your Skin

 

Licorice is often used as a successful dermatological treatment due to its antibacterial properties.

 

These properties give it the power to keep skin clean, clear up bacterial and fungal infections, and even treat serious skin problems like eczema.

 

On top of its antibacterial properties, it can also help control redness, flushing, and other types of skin inflammation.

 

When used for cosmetic purposes, licorice is typically purchased in the form of a topical gel.

 

You can also find licorice oils that can be applied directly to the skin.

 

Cleanse Your Respiratory System

 

Licorice eases congestion and coughing during a cold by loosening and thinning the mucus in your chest.

 

This makes it easier to clear phlegm and mucus out of your airways.

 

In addition to clearing out your airways it also helps reduce bronchial spasms so you cough less.

 

When it comes to treating respiratory ailments, licorice root is typically consumed as an oral supplement.

 

It is, however, also beneficial to consume it as a tea.

 

Reduce Stress

 

Your adrenal glands, also known as stress glands, are the body’s response system for emotional, physical, or chemical stress.

 

And when your adrenal glands are constantly stressed out, they have a hard time producing cortisol, adrenaline, and other important hormones.

 

One of the primary active compounds in licorice root is glycyrrhizin.

 

This chemical helps naturally balance your body’s cortisol levels. When hormone levels are balanced, your stress levels lower.

 

A liquid licorice supplement is the most effective way to get your body the hormone-balancing nutrient it needs.

 

If you’re unable to take a supplement, try brewing a cup of licorice tea. As always, please check with your doctor before you start any new supplements.

 

There are many plants that offer natural health benefits. Learn more about Aloe Vera and how it can also help keep you healthy.

How to Naturally Regulate Your Appetite

 

It’s no surprise that many people have a difficult time controlling their weight.

 

In fact, a recent study found that 68.6% of our current adult population is classified as overweight or obese.

 

The worse part…obesity leads to an incredible amount of health problems including diabetes and heart disease.

 

While the above information is shocking, I’m here to tell you that there is something you can do about it.

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, overweight, or a healthy size. You can learn to naturally regulate your appetite so that you don’t fall victim to the habit of unhealthy overeating.

 

Keep reading to discover a few of my tips for safely and naturally regulating your appetite.

 

Dont Skip Meals

 

Part of regulating your appetite is ensuring that your body has the fuel it needs to steadily power you through your day.

 

It’s vital that you keep your blood sugar levels and hunger hormones stable.

 

You do this by making sure you eat 3 solid meals a day. And your mother was right; breakfast is by far the most important meal of the day.

 

Eating a hearty breakfast helps reduce levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.

 

This keeps you satisfied all morning and eliminates the need for you to consume extra snacks. 1-2 healthy snacks a day in between meals is good for you.

 

The key is to limit the number of snacks you consume and stay away from unhealthy processed options.

 

Drink Lots of Water

 

The next time you find yourself about to eat an extra snack, drink a glass of water instead.

 

Just one glass will get rid of the hungry growls in your stomach and keep you full until your next meal.

 

If you get bored with drinking plain old water all the time, try adding lemon or lime slices.

 

Mint is also a commonly used natural ingredient that tastes great and will liven up your drink.

 

Get Plenty of Sleep

 

Believe it or not, the amount of sleep you get impacts your appetite.

 

The reason is due to two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, that regulate your appetite.

 

These hormones work in a “checks and balances” system to control feelings of hunger and fullness. When you don’t get enough sleep, they don’t function properly.

 

I recommend that you do your best to get at least 7 hours of sleep at night to keep these hormones in check.

 

If you have a hard time sleeping at night, try and make time for a power nap during your day.

 

Keep Your Emotions in Check

 

Many people overeat as a way to compensate for their feelings.

 

The next time you pick up an extra snack, take a minute to think about whether you’re actually hungry or not. Chances are you might be stressed or upset about something.

 

Don’t worry if you’re an emotional eater. The next time you catch yourself eating your feelings try taking a walk.

 

Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of exercise to put yourself back on the right path.

 

Eat Nutritious Food

 

Meals and snacks that have little to no nutritional value will always leave you coming back for more.

 

Suppress your appetite by eating foods that provide your body with the energy it needs to function properly.

 

Make sure you have enough protein in your diet.

 

Protein-packed veggies, chicken, and fish naturally boost mental alertness, control appetite, and help you to regulate your metabolism.

 

Other natural foods, such as sweet potatoes, berries, mushrooms, nuts, and dark chocolate, contain plant sugars which are released slowly thanks to their fiber content.

 

These are great choices to add into your diet because the slow release keeps your blood sugar levels up and your hunger satisfied.

 

As a general rule of thumb, eat fresh foods, not processed.

 

Try out a few of these delicious grilled veggie recipes to add some extra nutrition into your diet.

5 Grilled Vegetable Recipes to Try This Summer

 

 

Vegetables are vital elements of a healthy diet. They provide important nutrients you need to live.

 

Here are a few key veggie facts:

  • Contain no cholesterol.
  • Contain potassium that helps lower blood pressure.
  • Are rich in vitamins A, C, and E that keep your eyes and skin healthy, provide essential fatty acids, and help heal cuts and wounds as well as helping iron absorption.
  • Contain folic acid that is an essential part in red blood cell formation.
  • Have a large amount of fiber that helps reduce cholesterol, reduces heart disease, promotes proper bowel function, and helps to make you feel fuller with less calories.

 

Since veggies are so important, it’s recommended that both men and women should consume 2 1/2 to 3 cups of them per day. That’s a lot of veggies to add into your meal plan!

 

And if you’re someone who gets burned out eating the same veggies day after day—or struggles incorporating them into your diet because you dislike the taste— it can be a challenge to get your daily serving.

 

I suggest trying out a few of the following grilled vegetable recipes to add some tasty new dishes into your routine…

Open-Face Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Ingredients:

Source: http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,50400000129280,00.html

Source: http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,50400000129280,00.html

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grill grates

4 1/2-inch-thick slices country bread

2 6-inch sprigs fresh rosemary

1 small clove garlic, sliced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 cup part-skim ricotta

4 cups mixed grilled vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes

Directions:

#1 Grill bread and rosemary, turning often, until rosemary is lightly charred and bread has grill marks, about 1 minute for rosemary and 2 minutes for bread.

#2 Strip leaves from rosemary; set aside 2 tsp. Purée garlic, remaining rosemary, vinegar, and oil in a blender until smooth.

#3 Top bread slices with ricotta and vegetables. Spoon vinaigrette over and sprinkle with reserved rosemary.

 

Grilled Mushrooms

Ingredients:

Source: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/contest-winning-grilled-mushrooms

Source: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/contest-winning-grilled-mushrooms

1/2-pound medium fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:

#1 Thread mushrooms on four metal or soaked wooden skewers. Combine butter, dill, and garlic salt; brush over mushrooms.

#2 Grill over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until tender, basting and turning every 5 minutes.

 

Grilled Garlic Artichokes

Ingredients:

Source=hub%20recipe&referringId=16540&referringContentType=recipe%20hub

Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/57899/grilled-garlic-artichokes/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringId=16540&referringContentType=recipe%20hub

2 large artichokes

1 lemon, quartered

3/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

#1 Fill a large bowl with cold water. Squeeze the juice from one lemon wedge into the water. Trim the tops from the artichokes, then cut in half lengthwise, and place halves into the bowl of lemon water to prevent them from turning brown.

#2 Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat.

#3 Add artichokes to boiling water, and cook for about 15 minutes. Drain. Squeeze the remaining lemon wedges into a medium bowl. Stir in the olive oil and garlic, and season with salt and pepper.

#4 Brush the artichokes with a coating of the garlic dip, and place them on the preheated grill. Grill the artichokes for 5 to 10 minutes, basting with dip and turning frequently, until the tips are a little charred. Serve immediately with the remaining dip.

 

Grilled Romaine

Ingredients:

Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/222720/grilled-romaine/

Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/222720/grilled-romaine/

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 head romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise

1 tablespoon steak seasoning

1 lemon, juiced

Directions:

#1 Preheat grill for medium heat. Drizzle olive oil over romaine lettuce and season with steak seasoning.

#2 Place lettuce cut side-down on preheated grill. Cook until lettuce is slightly wilted and charred, about 5 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice to serve.

 

 

Pesto-Topped Grilled Summer Squash

Ingredients:

Source:http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/pesto_topped_grilled_summer_squash.html

Source:http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/pesto_topped_grilled_summer_squash.html

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 medium summer squash, (about 1 pound), sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick

Canola or olive oil cooking spray

Directions:

#1 Preheat grill to medium-high.

#2 Combine basil, pine nuts, oil, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl.

#3 Coat both sides of squash slices with cooking spray. Grill the squash until browned and tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve topped with the pesto.

 

Start on the path to a healthier life and incorporate these recipes into your diet. In the meantime, learn more about veggie nutrition here. 

Mint Essential Oil: Top Health Benefits

 

 

Open your kitchen cabinet, and you’ll probably find a bottle of mint oil extract.

 

It’s a common flavoring used for baking, especially around the holiday season.

 

What a lot of people don’t know is that mint essential oil provides numerous health benefits.

 

Mint oil is one of hundreds of different types of essential oils, and is by far one of the most popular.

 

It’s been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes, as well as for its spiritually and emotionally uplifting properties.

 

The oil is extracted through a careful steam distillation and cold-pressing process.

 

Because of this process, the oil is far more powerful than the mint plant from which it is extracted.

 

This is what gives natural mint oil the ability to soothe and heal.

 

I recommend using natural mint oil because of its holistic medicinal properties.

 

Don’t let common ailments such as muscle pain, upset stomach, and sunburn keep you feeling down.

 

Instead, check out some common problems you can solve by using mint oil.

 

Muscle Pain Relief

 

Mint oil has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic properties.

 

This powerful combo makes it the perfect oil for soothing muscle aches and pains.

 

It also works well to get rid of painful muscle spasms.

 

How to Use It

 

Make a hot or cold mint oil compress to relieve your pain. Simply add 2 drops of oil to a pint of either warm or cold water.

 

Then use a compress cloth, dip it into the water/oil mixture, and hold the compress on the painful area.

 

For more intense pain, you can apply one drop of mint oil and massage it into your skin around the inflamed and painful area.

 

Upset Stomach Relief

 

Ease a nauseous stomach with mint oil. It works thanks to its calming and numbing effect.

 

Once ingested, mint relaxes your stomach muscles, which helps elevate the feeling of a queasy tummy.

 

How to Use It

 

This remedy works well when you mix 2 to 3 drops of mint oil into a cup of tea. Be sure to slowly sip the tea so you don’t upset your stomach further.

 

If tea isn’t your thing, place one drop of mint oil on your tongue, and then press it to the roof of your mouth.

 

Let it absorb into your system.

 

Last but not least, if you don’t feel you can ingest anything, place a few drops of the oil on your wrists and temples.

 

Inhale the scent of the oil consistently. It should provide some relief.

 

Natural Bug Repellant

 

Bugs don’t care for the smell of mint. That makes mint oil a wonderful deterrent against mosquitoes and flying insects.

 

As an added benefit, mint is a natural cooling agent and will help you stay cool while outside.

 

How to Use It

 

Easily make bug spray by adding 10 to 15 drops of mint oil into a spray bottle with 12 ounces of water.

 

If the bugs are still biting, rub a few drops of the undiluted oil on your forearms, legs, and neck.

 

Sunburn Relief

 

Mint oil is an all-natural coolant. This coolant helps lower the temperature of your skin, which provides relief from painful burns.

 

It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it the perfect oil to use when sunburn causes irritation on your skin.

 

How to Use It

 

Start with  ½ cup of melted coconut oil. Add in 10-15 drops of mint oil. Stir together and apply it to your skin like lotion.

 

Natural Energizer

 

The smell of mint stimulates your senses.

 

It enhances the focus of your brain and provides clarity to your thinking. It’s an all-natural energizer that awakens both your body and mind.

 

How to Use It

 

Smelling mint stimulates the trigeminal nerve, and improves your energy levels.

 

Enjoy the smell of mint by brewing a cup of mint tea, adding a few drops of the oil into your bath or shower, or simply rubbing a few drops onto your neck or wrists.

 

There are many things you can do with mint oil to improve your health and take care of your body naturally.

 

Please note though, that mint oil is not a substitute for proper medical care.

 

If you are experiencing extreme pain, exhaustion, or any other ailment, see your doctor immediately.

 

Check out more tips for naturally soothing aches, pains, and common problems here.