A U G U S T 2018
20 Ayurvedic skin care High-tech workouts Hay fever relief
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6/18/18 4:10 PM
August 2018 vol. 14 no. 8
13 essential truths feature
Omega 3s support energy, metabolism, and more.
4 From the Editor’s Desk 8 Health Pulse
Essential oils and surgery • Probiotics may slow bone loss • Walking reduces stress • More
Explore the ways that companion animals add value to our lives.
18 The Goods 20 Supplement Spotlight Discover the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms.
22 Healthy Glow
Ayurveda holds the key to beautiful skin.
26 Sports Performance Get the latest on tech gadgets.
28 Herbal Healing
Beat back summer allergies.
30 Everyday Remedies
Fall asleep, stay asleep—naturally. Cover: Reishi
A source for news, information, and ideas for your healthy lifestyle. remedies-and-recipes.com
@RemediesRecipes August 2018
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from the editor ’s desk
Happy trails I am “low tech.” Sure, I’ve been using a computer since my earliest days in a newsroom 40 years ago, but I only started carrying a cell phone (occasionally) last year. My workout “equipment” rarely amounts to more than running shoes. But I got a kick out of Albert McKeon’s take on his newfound relationship with sports gadgets (“Re: Wired,” page 26). “I now have a new source of guilt,” Albert writes, referring to the notifications from his sports watch: “not meeting the day’s challenge.” The essay has a happy ending. And anything that gets us out the door and onto the trail (or the sidewalk) is a plus in my opinion. This issue of remedies ranges from those cutting-edge sports gadgets to the ancient tradition of Ayurveda. Jane Eklund explains the practice and explores how knowing your dosha can help you plan your skin care routine (“Ayurvedic Beauty,” page 22). I’ve followed up on Jane’s article from last month about the value of human social connections by recalling three special pets from my life (“Friends of Mine,” page 16). Research has shown that having pets brings about physical and emotional benefits that go far beyond tossing a ball with them. Blood pressure, anxiety levels, loneliness, self-esteem, and physical fitness all trend toward the better in people who have pets. It’s probably even better for you than a sports watch!
Chief Content Officer and Strategist Lynn Tryba Contributing Editors Lisa Fabian, Rich Wallace Editorial Assistant Kelli Ann Wilson Art Director Michelle Knapp Graphic Designer Ronna Rajaniemi Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service email@example.com Client Services Director—Retail Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Client Services Director—Advertising and Digital Ashley Dunk 800-677-8847 x190 Western Brand Promotions Director Shannon Dunn-Delgado 415-382-1665 Group Brand Promotions Director Bob Mucci 978-255-2062 Executive Director of Retail Sales and Marketing Anna Johnston (Anna.Johnston@TasteforLife.com) Retail Account Manager Kim Willard Founder and Chief Executive Officer T. James Connell
EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS, professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and director, Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University; Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, American Botanical Council, editor/publisher of HerbalGram, senior editor, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs; C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, research geochemist, author, Natural Asthma Relief and Prevent, Treat, and Reverse Diabetes; Steven Foster, photographer, herbalist, and senior author of three Peterson Field Guides, author of 101 Medicinal Herbs, A Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine and more, associate editor of HerbalGram, the journal of the American Botanical Council; John Neustadt, ND, founder of Montana Integrated Medicine, coauthor, A Revolution in Health Through Nutritional Biochemistry; Lisa Petty, RHN, RNCP, holistic nutrition consultant, author of Living Beauty and host of the health talk radio show Lisa Live; Dana Ullman, MPH, author of The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy and other titles on homeopathy; Marc Ullman, partner at Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, chairman, Legal Advisory Counsel, Natural Products Foundation; Amber Lynn Vitse, CN, is certified in Integrative Nutrition, a fusion bodyworker, and an Ayurvedic practitioner, and writes on health issues. remedies is published monthly by Taste for Life, 149 Emerald Street, Suite O, Keene, NH 03431, 603-283-0034 (fax 603-283-0141); ©2018 Connell Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. This magazine is not intended to provide medical advice on personal health conditions, nor to replace recommendations made by health professionals. The opinions expressed by contributors and sources quoted in articles are not necessarily those of the editor or the publisher. Advertisers and advertising agencies assume liability for all content of advertising and for any claims arising therefrom. Information appearing in remedies may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express permission of the publisher.
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probiotics can reduce bone loss For the first time, a probiotic supplement has been shown to reduce bone loss in older women. “Older women are the group in society most at risk of osteoporosis and fractures,” said geriatrics professor Mattias Lorentzon, MD, PhD. He led a year-long study of 70 women ages 75 to 80 who had low bone mineral density. They received supplemental Lactobacillus reuteri 6475 or a placebo. CT scan measurements at the beginning and end of the study showed that the supplement group lost only half as much bone as the control group. “Today there are effective medications administered to treat osteoporosis, but because bone fragility is rarely detected before the first fracture, there is a pressing need for preventive treatments,” said Dr. Lorentzon. Lactobacillus reuteri 6475 is naturally found in the human gastrointestinal tract. Similar strains are available in supplements. “Lactobacillus reuteri Reduces Bone Loss in Older Women with Low Bone Mineral Density” by A.G. Nilsson et al., Journal of Internal Medicine, 6/21/18 l “Probiotics Can Protect the Skeletons of Older Women,” University of Gothenburg, 6/21/18
essential oils may make surgery safer Coating medical devices with certain plant extracts could prevent millions of infections, according to Australian researchers. The extracts appear to reduce bacterial activity and “biofilms” when converted into polymer coatings for the devices. In the US, more than 17 million such infections occur each year, according to researcher Mohan Jacob, PhD, of James Cook University. “It’s thought that about 80 percent of worldwide surgery-associated infections may be related to biofilm formation,” Dr. Jacob said. He added that the polymers are derived from essential oils and herbal extracts, and said “they have relatively powerful broad-spectrum antibacterial activities.” Tea tree oil is among the extracts being studied. “Essential Oils to Fight Bacterial Infections,” James Cook University, 6/7/18
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walk away stress? College students reported being less stressed while they were on their feet and moving. The benefits were even greater if they were mindful of their breathing and their surroundings. “It can be difficult to ask people to spend a lot of time doing moderate or vigorous activity by going to the gym or out for a run, especially if they feel stressed,” said researcher Chih-Hsiang Yang. “But if they don’t need to change their everyday behavior, and can instead try to change their state of mind by becoming more mindful, they can probably see this beneficial effect.” A group of Penn State students were randomly prompted by a mobile phone app eight times a day to answer questions about their current activity and state of mind. The researchers determined that when participants were more active or mindful than usual, they had less stress. The benefits increased when the students were both mindful and active. “Mindful Movement May Help Lower Stress, Anxiety,” Penn State University, 6/21/18
weight loss curbs AFib A 10 percent weight loss and some lifestyle changes can reverse the progression of atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a new study. “AF is a progressive disease in which initial, short, intermittent symptoms develop into more sustained forms of the condition,” said lead author Melissa Middeldorp, PhD. “Obesity and lifestyle factors are associated with its progression.” A group of overweight or obese people lost varying amounts of weight as part of the study. “People who lost weight experienced fewer symptoms, required less treatment, and had better outcomes,” said Dr. Middeldorp. She added that some participants stopped experiencing AF entirely. AF is a leading cause of stroke. Symptoms include chest pain, a racing or unusual heartbeat, and shortness of breath. “Prevention and Regressive Effect of Weight-Loss and Risk Factor Modification on Atrial Fibrillation . . .” by M.E. Middeldorp et al., Europace, 6/14/18 l “Weight Loss Reverses Heart Condition in Obesity Sufferers,” University of Adelaide, 6/20/18
kids’ supplement use rising The use of alternative medicines has doubled among American children and teens over the past 15 years, according to a new study in JAMA Pediatrics. The biggest increases are among omega-3 fatty acids and melatonin. Herbal products and other nutraceuticals are also up. The study found that about one-third of kids take a dietary supplement. “Use of Alternative Medicines Has Doubled Among Kids, Especially Teens,” University of Illinois at Chicago, 6/18/18
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By Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH
essential truths Omega-3 essential fatty acids are vital for health
Just as you need protein and carbohydrates, you also need to get certain fats from your diet every day. These healthy fats provide you with energy, play a role in your metabolism, and support cell growth, all of which are important for hormones, skin, bones, and reproductive health. But that doesn’t mean that any fats will do. August 2018
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“The best fats for your body come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish,” explains Stella Metsovas, a clinical nutritionist and author of Wild Mediterranean (Penguin Random House, 2017).
The first family The primary essential fats to pay attention to are in a family called omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega 3s, which are abundant in oily, coldwater fish such as sardines, mackerel, and salmon, as well as nuts and seeds and organic grass-fed butter (from cows or goats), are a major reason why the oft-touted Mediterranean diet keeps people so healthy. The main omega 3s are EPA and DHA. So many parts of your body put omega 3s to work, but there is a hierarchy of sorts. The brain, liver, and several other organs get first dibs on the body’s supply of essential fatty acids, which means that the skin and hair (which also need them) can be the first places that their lack is noticeable, since these places are lowest on the priority list.
We’re falling short Unfortunately, in the United States, the typical Western diet comes up short on omega 3s. We’re hugely deficient in them. At the same time, Western diets are typically packed with omega-6 fatty acids, since these are found in many processed foods. When a body has too many omega 6s and not enough omega 3s, the risks for a wide variety of diseases go up, Metsovas says, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory conditions. Conversely, getting enough omega 3s brings huge health benefits. The well-documented perks from plentiful omega 3s include: • Lower risk of heart disease • Less joint pain • Better vision in older adults (e.g., reduced risks of macular degeneration and glaucoma) • Clearer memory in older years • Healthier babies (especially regarding vision and brain development) • Reduced risk of postpartum depression • Less painful menstrual cycles • Lower levels of anxiety • Stronger immune system
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Turning down the heat Most of the benefits from omega 3s can be traced to their powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Many of the most significant health plagues—think heart disease, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease—originate with uncontrolled inflammation in the body. Omega 3s dampen this inflammation, which keeps you healthier in the long run. “These days, the average American eats a ratio of 15:1 or even 17:1 when it comes to the omega 6s ratio to omega 3s,” Metsovas shared. “This is a huge problem since the ideal balance for good health is actually around 4:1.” Clearly, most people need to cut back on omega 6s and add more omega 3s in order to get their ratio into a healthy zone. Some researchers are just starting to widen the field to consider other omega fats, including omega 7s and 9s. While there are some interesting benefits emerging with these two fatty acids, the body of research is quite small, compared to the mountain of evidence showing head-totoe benefits from omega 3s.
Supplement sense A daily supplement of omega 3s from fish oil can make sense for anyone who doesn’t get enough healthy fats from food sources. You can also consider non-fish sources of omega 3s, such as flaxseed oil.
Looking for more guidance about how much to supplement? The Global Organization for EPA+DHA recommends that adults consume 500 milligrams (mg) daily of EPA and DHA, which is in line with many international guidelines. Pregnant and lactating women should aim for at least 300 mg per day, with at least 200 mg of that being DHA. For those who already have heartrelated issues, the American Heart Association recommends increasing to 1,000 mg EPA and DHA daily. Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH, has been a health journalist for more than two decades. She is the author of Life After Baby: Rediscovering and Reclaiming Your Healthy Pizzazz (Basic Health Publications, 2012).
“An Improvement of Cardiovascular Risk Factors by Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids” by H. Yanai et al., J Clin Med Res, 4/18 l “Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life” by D. Swanson et al., Adv Nutr, 1/12 l “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammatory Processes: From Molecules to Man” by P.C. Calder, Biochem Soc Trans, 10/17 l “Omega-3 and Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Dietary Sources, Metabolism, and Significance” by R.K. Saini and Y.S. Keum, Life Sci, 6/18 l “Therapeutic Potential of Omega-3 Fatty Acid-Derived Epoxyeicosanoids in Cardiovascular and Inflammatory Diseases” by W.H. Schunck et al., Pharmacol Ther, 3/18
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friends of mine how pets enhance our lives Timmy’s nights “Pets can serve as important sources of social and emotional support for ‘everyday people.’” —American Psychological Association We had only one pet when I was little, a near-feral male cat named Timmy. He offered affection by rubbing against our legs and accepting pats. He came inside for meals and at other random times, and he liked to sleep atop our basement refrigerator, where my dad kept cases of Rheingold beer. We had a bathroom in the basement, and my father used that space before daylight so he wouldn’t disturb the rest of the household. Timmy sometimes lay in wait. And leaped. From the top of the refrigerator to my bleary-eyed father’s back.
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Timmy had been a surprise Mother’s Day present from my brother Bill. Neither of my parents wanted him (the cat, not the brother), but how do you turn down a Mother’s Day gift? Timmy roamed the neighborhood most nights and was often emblazoned with scratches and bites from territorial battles with other cats. We figured that his wounds healed well enough on their own, so the only treatment he received was when he licked them. I loved Timmy. I’d stare out my window late at night toward the New York City skyline. Some nights I’d hear him yowling. Those suburbs weren’t wild, but my cat was. The idea of him slinking through dark yards and nabbing an occasional mouse gave me peace of mind because he was exerting his freedom. Yeah, I know. A loose, unneutered cat is a societal menace. Never taking a pet to a veterinarian is neglect. These days, my wife and I spend more on medical care for our dog than we do on ourselves. The Timmy model of pet ownership is bad. But Timmy wasn’t.
Lucy’s days “Pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious . . .” —Journal of Personality and Social Psychology “Very happy dog. She looks great!” That’s from a vet’s report from early 2014. Lucy was 14 years old and a constant source of joy. Twice a day, she would physically block me from sitting in my office chair because it was time to go to the park. In the car, she’d lean as far forward as she could, just to arrive a half second sooner. Every single trip to that park was the greatest thing that ever happened to Lucy, and a twice-daily reminder to me to savor every second. She could barely contain her enthusiasm in the three minutes it took to drive there. She’d sniff every inch of the path. Lucy was sweet, kind, and hilarious, but there were limits to her patience. She argued with me all the time, especially if I was eating dinner and she wasn’t. If she was left without attention for too
long (like, an hour), she’d give us signs. Subtle warnings. More than once she took a plastic bottle out of the recycling bin and left it in a prominent spot on the kitchen floor: Imagine what I could do if I really got angry. Not many months after that glowing vet’s report, Lucy began a brief but steady decline. Neuropathy. Weakness. Incontinence. We found a kind chiropractic veterinarian who helped her maintain some mobility and assured us that she was not in pain. On the day before Lucy died, I carried her down the steps so she could pee in the front yard. She hadn’t been farther than that for a few days, but she looked up and proudly limped toward the back yard. She shut her eyes and felt the warm sun on her muzzle, and happily sniffed the fresh air and the grass and the world. She knew what was coming very, very soon, even if we didn’t quite grasp it yet. She passed away in our arms early the next morning.
Shadow’s spirit “Animals can ameliorate the effects of potentially stressful life events . . . reduce levels of anxiety, loneliness, and depression.” —Deborah L. Wells, Animal Behaviour Centre, Queen’s University Belfast Shortly before Christmas in 2016, on the coldest night of the year in a Midwestern city, a woman called 9-1-1 to report that an injured dog was hobbling along in a blizzard. When police and a shelter volunteer arrived, they found the abandoned dog, half-buried in snow. When they gently lifted her up, they discovered four newborn puppies. The local papers and TV stations reported on the heartwarming story of the mama dog who kept her babies alive in the storm. She was dubbed “Mom of the Year” by People.com. We heard about her on the radio. Lucy had been gone for more than two years. I still said hello to her every morning. Wasn’t ready to displace her spirit in any way. My wife got in touch with the hero dog’s rescuers and foster home. Stayed in touch that winter, as the puppies found forever homes and Shadow didn’t. (Any shelter would tell you that’s common. Old dog, sick and injured . . . but puppies!) I’ll just say that Lucy continued to give us signs. Before long, we were flying west, renting a vehicle, driving home with a new companion. Shadow is no longer sick, she has puppy energy, and every second with her is a joy of its own. Studies say that having a pet can lengthen your life. Who knows? They certainly strengthen it, don’t they? —Rich Wallace “The Effects of Animals on Human Health and Well-Being” by D. L. Wells, Journal of Social Issues, 9/09 l “Friends with Benefits: On the Positive Consquences of Pet Ownership” by A.R. McConnell et al., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2011 l “The Truth About Cats and Dogs: Pets Are Good for Mental Health of ‘Everyday People,’” American Psychological Association, 4/11/11 l “‘Wonderful Mama’ Gives Birth to 4 Pups in Michigan Snowstorm” by Amy Jamieson, People.com, 12/14/16 l Personal communication: Lucy, Shadow, Timmy
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miraculous mushrooms explore their healing properties
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries by cultures around the world, especially in Asia and the Mediterranean— they were known as “Food of the Gods” in ancient Rome. Scientific research suggests that traditional healers were on to something, as many studies support the use of medicinal mushrooms in the treatment of everything from diabetes to cancer.
Let’s look at some of the health benefits of the most popular and promising medicinal mushrooms.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) has been traditionally used in Asia to increase energy, boost stamina and endurance, ease digestion, and encourage sleep. Scientists have found that cordyceps may improve memory and mood. Research also suggests that cordyceps may boost immunity and that it has anti-tumor properties.
Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) has been shown to improve cognition. One study found that subjects who took powdered lion’s mane performed significantly better on cognitive tests than a placebo group. Preliminary research also suggests that it may help the body regenerate nerve cells. Lion’s mane appears to contain nerve growth factors that actually help heal nerve damage. Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is bursting with medicinal benefits. Research suggests that these mushrooms may help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Maitake may also have anticancer, antiviral, and immunity-boosting effects.
TURKEY TAIL 20 remedies
Oyster (Pleurotus spp.) is not only tasty, but it is also packed with protein and B vitamins. Oyster mushrooms are a good source of lovastatin, which may help lower cholesterol. One study found that giant oyster mushroom extract may help manage Type 2 diabetes.
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Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is one of the most powerful medicinal mushrooms. It has earned the title “mushroom of immortality” due to its long history of use as a restorative and longevity-promoting tonic. Research indicates that reishi mushrooms may strengthen respiration and boost immunity and cardiovascular health.
Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are frequently used in cooking, but they have health-boosting properties too. They’ve been studied for their anticancer benefits, and they may be especially helpful for breast, gastric, and prostate cancers. Shiitake may also be useful for stamina and circulation, as well as arthritis, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) is frequently used in Asian countries to treat lung diseases and to boost immunity, especially in patients undergoing cancer treatment. Studies in Japan suggest that polysaccharide (the active ingredient in turkey tail mushrooms) may help cancer patients live longer and experience improved health. Chaga (Inonotous obliquus) isn’t actually a mushroom, but a sclerotium (a vegetative fungal growth) that grows on trees. It has anti-tumor benefits thanks to its high concentration of betulin and betulinic acid, compounds that it extracts from the birch trees it lives on. Chaga also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. —Kelli Ann Wilson
“Cancer Researchers Present Turkey Tail Findings in Japan,” 10/22/14; “FDA Approves Turkey Tail Trial for Cancer Patients,” 11/30/12, Bastyr University l “Effect of Medicinal Mushrooms on Blood Cells Under Conditions of Diabetes Mellitus” by T. Vitak et al., World J Diabetes, 5/15/17 l “The ‘Forbidden Fruit’ of Medicinal Mushrooms” by Elizabeth Landau, www.CNN.com, 11/30/16 l The Fungal Pharmacy by Robert Rogers ($29.95, North Atlantic Books, 2011) l “Giant Oyster Mushroom Pleurotus giganteus (Agaricomycetes) Enhances Adipocyte Differentiation and Glucose Uptake . . .” by P. Paravamsivam et al., 2016; “In Vitro and In Vivo Antidiabetic Evaluation of Selected CulinaryMedicinal Mushrooms” by V. Singh et al., Int J Med Mushrooms, 2017 l “Lion’s Mane: A Mushroom That Improves Your Memory . . . ?” by Paul Stamets, www.HuffingtonPost.com, 8/8/12 l Mushrooms for Health by Greg Marley ($15.95, Down East Books, 2009)
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ayurvedic beauty looking for your glow? first, find your dosha
What’s the best way to get the best skin? According to an ancient wellness practice, it’s all about figuring out your dosha. Ayurveda, which translates to “life knowledge” or “science of life” in Sanskrit, goes back thousands of years in India. A holistic approach guided by the mind-body connection, it’s based on the idea that wellness comes from a balance of mind, body, and soul. The way to achieve that balance is to first identify your dosha, or inner energy. There are three doshas–vata, pitta, and kapha–and people can be one type, a mixture of two, or, in rare cases, a blend of all three. Once you’ve identified yours, you can tailor your skin care (and other healthcare) regimens to it. To figure out whether you correspond to vata, pitta, or kapha, you can consult an ayurvedic practitioner, try an online test or two, or read up on ayurveda. Here’s a quick summary from www.VictoriaHealth.com.
VATA (AIR AND SPACE)
PITTA (FIRE AND WATER)
small, light, doesn’t gain weight easily
large, gains weight easily
thick, wavy, tends toward oily
fine and straight, usually sandy, red, or blonde
dry, rough with small pores
oily, large pores, acne-prone
fair, soft, sensitive; tendency to rashes, acne, liver spots, rosacea, or pigment disorders; sun-sensitive
easy to skip meals
good digestion; thirsty, likes cold food
little, but sound
WHEN IN BALANCE
tends to be imaginative, flexible, vibrant
affectionate, compassionate, and emotionally even-keeled
dynamic and passionate, intelligent, perceptive, and highly efficient
WHEN OUT OF BALANCE
tends to become tired, restless, worried
lethargic and complacent; may gain weight; skin looks dull and oily
tends to be over-critical of others; often too intense and competitive
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Next, work with your dosha when you’re caring for your skin. Vata skin is delicate, dry, and sometimes flaky, with premature wrinkles. Cleanse it with a gentle oil or balm. Look for moisturizing products that contain essential fatty acids: coconut, almond, sesame, and olive oils and shea butter and honey. Keep skin hydrated by making sure the diet contains plenty of healthy fats like nuts, avocados, and fatty fish. Kapha skin is smooth and moist, but can be prone to oiliness and clogged pores, and may be dull and pale. Use gentle cleansers for deep cleaning and exfoliation on alternate days. Look for light, nourishing moisturizers that contain energizing herbs including rosemary, yarrow, peppermint, lemon, orange, and sesame. Eat spicy foods that invigorate the skin: garlic, ginger, chili, and apple cider vinegar. Pitta skin is clear and glowing, but may sometimes be irritated. It’s easily sunburned, and can have freckles and moles— and blocked pores on the forehead, nose, and chin. Choose skin care products with ingredients designed to calm, balance, and hydrate. Good options are coconut, sunflower, grape seed, lavender, rose, tea tree, neem, sandalwood, and thyme. Eat plenty of cooling foods like cucumber, zucchini, watermelon, pears, and cantaloupe. —Jane Eklund “Ayurvedic Beauty” by Jo Fairley, www.VictoriaHealth.com l “Our Dosha Test Will Help You Find the Right Food and Beauty Regimen: Everything You Need to Know About Working Ayurveda into Your Beauty Routine” by George Driver, Elle India, http://elle.in, 5/15/18 l “What Is Ayurveda? The Tips, Skin Care Quiz & Massage Techniques” by Gregory Allen, www.GlamourMagazine.co.uk, 9/12/17
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pondering the sports-gadget market
Every hour on the hour I’m reminded to stand. If I haven’t exercised by midafternoon, I’m again reminded to get off my butt. Who’s always in my ear? Well, I can’t afford a personal trainer, but I did splurge $429 for an Apple Watch. Leery of overusing technology, I won’t deny that a digital watch is a duplicative item because I already own a smartphone. My Apple Watch, after all, operates in sync with my iPhone. Initially, I couldn’t justify why I bought the watch. I got it only because it looked cool. I felt guilty as soon as I left the Apple Store. Within days, I’d realized that the watch has real value and would improve my health and outlook on exercise. As a 48-year-old freelance writer and the father of two young children, I’m busy. I not only don’t have time to spend an hour at a gym, but I’ve also skipped exercising at home for a few years now. I’m lucky to have a beautiful nature trail alongside my house, but some days I just look at it from my window in between paragraphs of a story. The Apple Watch monitors how often I stand, how much I move, and how frequently I exercise. Three overlaying broken rings move to form a closed circle to measure my progress, and the watch sends notifications when I’m not close to closing the rings. I now have a new source of guilt: not meeting the day’s challenge. But I’m feeling healthier and realize that most days I do indeed have time to exercise, even enough for a brisk walk. If I can do it, so can you. Here are some tech gadgets that are motivating others and may prompt you to exercise too. 26 remedies
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Pick your smartwatch Smartwatches are popular for their functionality and fashion, particularly because they’re not obtrusive while exercising. The Apple Watch works with third-party fitness apps, allowing me to also track how restfully (or restlessly) I sleep and how many miles I run. But Apple doesn’t have a corner on the market. Polar’s M600 smartwatch gets great reviews for tracking daily workouts, steps, sleep, heart rate, and calories, and at around $300 it costs less than an Apple Watch. Fitbit’s Versa and Ionic have both earned the praise of tech observers for their fitness features and long battery life.
Wearables for everything There are all types of wearable devices that have a narrower focus than the typically costlier smartwatches. Fitbit was among the first activity and fitness trackers, monitoring everything from aerobic exercise to yoga. But the market has since exploded with niche wearables. Consider Amigo’s fitness bracelets. With one on your wrist and another on your ankle, you can more closely track your movements. Not to be outdone, a smart sock by Sensoria uses, yes, sensors to gauge your running mechanics.
Choose your smartbottle It’s not just watches and socks that are “smart.” Several companies offer cups and bottles that use technology to measure how much you drink. Obviously, hydration is key to proper exercise. Ozmo’s smartbottle is catching attention for how it vibrates as a reminder to drink. It displays how many more gulps are needed to reach your goal, which can be set on fitness apps that connect, via Bluetooth, the bottle to your smartphone.
Enjoy a Slow Meal Eating quickly can make you eat more, and it certainly isn’t good for digestion. If you’re looking to eat well before and after exercising, take some bites with HAPIfork by Slow Control. A built-in accelerometer tracks hand motion to measure the time between bites. It will vibrate if you’re eating too quickly. —Albert McKeon August 2018
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heal hay fever relief for summer allergies
Summer is here! The grass is green, the sky is clear, the air is . . . full of allergens. Hay fever can zap the fun from your summer adventures, but nature can be both the source of our sneezes and our relief.
If your immune system goes haywire when exposed to pollen and other nonthreatening allergens, consider these helpful herbs. Your swollen eyes, runny nose, muddled mind, and sore throat will thank you.
Natural relief Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) acts as a mild antihistamine, reducing inflammation. It’s available as a liquid extract and other supplement forms and is often combined with other anti-allergy herbs. Because it blooms at the same time as ragweed, goldenrod (Solidago spp.) is frequently, but incorrectly, blamed for causing allergy symptoms. Goldenrod helps to drain sinus congestion and thin mucus. This is another antihistamine herb that blends well with nettle. Goldenrod can be taken as a tincture or brewed as a tea. Petadolex is an extract of butterbur (Petasites hybridus) that has had the livertoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids removed. In clinical studies, it has performed as well as Zyrtec and Allegra, without drowsy side effects.
Be clear Try moistening nasal passages with sprays or washes. Saline sprays or xylitol sprays help liquefy secretions, eliminating buildup. They also reduce inflammation, decrease postnasal drip, and flush mucus and allergens from your nose. Using a neti pot can bring about the same effects. Herbs that help with removing excess mucus—barberry (Berberis spp.), Oregon grape root (Mahonia spp.), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), and coptis (Coptis spp.)—can be added to a neti wash to fight sinusitis and sinus infections.
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Be scent-sible In a recent study, an aromatherapy blend significantly relieved allergy symptoms. Patients were instructed to pour a mix of almond, sandalwood, frankincense, and ravensara oils onto a fragrance pad, sit comfortably about 12 inches from the pad, and inhale the fragrance with normal breathing for five minutes twice a day. A control group used only the almond oil. All participants suffered from perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR), which is triggered by allergens in the environment and causes sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, and consequent sleep disruption. None had used aromatherapy before, and none were currently taking any medication for their allergies. After eight days of aromatherapy treatment, the researchers concluded that the blended oils “alleviated subjective symptoms, improved the disease-specific quality of life, and reduced fatigue among adult patients with PAR.”
—remedies staff “Allergic Rhinitis,” University of Maryland Medical Center, www.umm.edu l Body into Balance by Maria Noël Groves ($24.95, Storey, 2016) l “Complementary Therapies in Allergic Rhinitis” by I. Sayin et al., ISRN Allergy, 11/13 l “Dear Allergy Sufferers: Don’t Blame Goldenrod” by Tom Oder, Mother Nature Network, www.mnn.com, 9/29/14 l “Nettle Extract (Urtica dioica) Affects Key Receptors and Enzymes Associated with Allergic Rhinitis” by B. Roschek Jr. et al., Phytotherapy Research, 1/12/09 l “Re: Aromatherapy with Ravensara, Frankincense, and Sandalwood Reduces Symptoms of Perennial Allergic Rhinitis” by Heather S. Oliff, PhD, http://cms.HerbalGram.org, 4/14/17
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e ve r y d a y r e m e d i e s
insomnia What is it? Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. What causes it? Stress, illness, discomfort, medications, environmental issues such as noise or light, changes in normal sleep schedule.
Homeopathy: Arnica, Belladonna, Bryonia,
Calcarea carb., Coffea, Gelsemium, Ignatia, Pulsatilla, Rhus tox, Sulphur.
Herbal Therapy: California poppy, catnip, chamomile, hops, lemon balm, passionflower, valerian root.
Supplements: Calcium, melatonin, magnesium,
Food: Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and heavy meals late in the day; try bananas, dates, figs, milk, tuna, turkey, or yogurt.
Lifestyle: Exercise regularly; avoid naps; work on
vitamin B complex, vitamin C, zinc.
controlling stress; use a sleeping mask or ear plugs; develop a bedtime routine.
The Complete Homeopathic Resource for Common Illnesses by Dennis Chernin, MD, MPH ($29.95, North Atlantic Books, 2006) l “An Overview of Insomnia,” www. WebMD.com, 1/17/17 l Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC ($29.95, Penguin Group/Avery, 2006)
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