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Breathe Easy: 6 Natural Remedies to relieve Nasal Congestion
Everyone knows how annoying a stuffy nose can be. The difficulty in breathing even affects your sleep and day to day work. Nasal passages are blocked when the virus causing cold leads to inflammation of the tissues in the nasal cavity. Thankfully there are some simple and non-expensive home remedies that can be used to relieve a blocked nose.
Here are some natural remedies to get rid of nasal congestion during winter months:
1. Garlic :
Garlic is useful in relieving a blocked nose. In addition, it’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal nature helps to fight with cold virus. You can either chew on 2-3 cloves of whole garlic or boil the cloves in one cup of water and drink the concoction.
2. Apple cider vinegar:
In addition to numerous other health benefits, apple cider vinegar can also help relieve a blocked nose. Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon honey in a cup of water. Drink this at least 2-3 times a day to clear congestion.
Basil or tulsi is also a great treatment for blocked nose. You can chew on a few leaves at night before going to sleep and in the morning. It is a very effective solution for not only relieving congestion but also to treat other conditions of cold like sore throat and cough.
4. Eucalyptus oil:
Eucalyptus oil is highly beneficial for those suffering from nasal congestion due to its decongestant and anti-inflammatory properties. Put one or two drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a fresh handkerchief and inhale the aroma. Do this few times a day. Alternatively, you can add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil on your pillow so you can get the benefits of this oil while sleeping.
5. Methi seeds:
Methi is a very good natural ingredient to treat nasal congestion, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps to cleanse the mucous membranes. The heat and moisture from methi tea will help in thinning of mucus.
Mix one or two teaspoons of crushed methi seeds in a glass of water. Boil the solution. Strain and drink it while it is warm. Repeat two or three times a day until you get complete relief from the problem.
6. Lemon tea:
A tea made of hot water, lemon, and honey is one of the best stuffy nose relievers and you should try it if you’re looking to quickly get rid of a stuffy nose. To make this simple tea, just boil a cup of water, add the juice from one fresh lemon, and mix in two tablespoons of honey. Drink this up as many times a day as you would like to get rid of your stuffy nose and help you feel better.
So, go ahead and try these effective remedies to breathe easy this winter season. Stay healthy, stay happy!
Partied hard this diwali? 5 detox drinks to get back on track!
Detoxifying your body every now and then is a good way to help cleanse your system and to get rid of toxins. Having detox drinks is a good idea after a festive season or once you are back from a vacation. Since you may have indulged a bit too much over that time, detox drinks help your body get back in shape. Detox drinks also help your body shed the excess fat.
Here are some detox drinks that you can try:
1. Watermelon and mint water
Watermelon is a great detoxifying agent, it contains an amino acid called citrulline which helps rid the body of the toxin ammonia. Flavoring water, which also helps flush out the body's toxins and makes the liver and kidneys job a little bit easier, with watermelon and mint is a great way to detox. Mint adds a great flavor to your drink and it helps with digestion by enabling the flow of bile to the gallbladder and small intestine, which breaks down fats. You can also add a squeeze of lime for a bit of zing. Leave the mix overnight and drink the detox nectar with cubes of ice the next day.
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2. Cucumber and lime water
Cucumber also has citrulline but less than that of watermelon. Add to this lime juice and wedges of lime, which are important for bowel regulation and treating heartburn and gas. Mint is another key ingredient to this water mixture for added flavor and digestive relief.
3. Lemon and ginger
The best detox drink for when you wake up first thing is either warm or cool water with lemon and ginger. Just grate some ginger into a cup of water and squeeze in some lemon. Lemon is a natural detoxifying agent and ginger helps boost your metabolism. You can see why drinking this first thing in the am makes the most sense, it kick starts your system and gets your body ready for the day.
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4. Avocado and cucumber smoothie
This smoothie is rich with essentials oils and detoxifying goodness. Blend avocado cucumber, fresh basil, a pinch of salt together for a great boost to your digestive system, metabolism and kidneys. If you feel like it, throw in a few nuts particularly almonds, which are great for your liver, for added flavor. Rest assured this green drink may not look appetizing but its full of healthy benefits for your body.
5. White tea
We all know that a fat build up in your body lowers your metabolism and adversely affects your cholesterol levels. White tea is a great detoxifying agent because it serves two key functions it helps the body break down fat and prevents the body from forming new fat cells.
So, go ahead and give these drinks a try and help your body cleanse naturally. Stay healthy, stay happy!
Make diwali healthier: try these 6 healthy desserts!
Diwali is an ancient indian festival and the most awaited one at that. Be it bursting crackers, meeting relatives or savoring mouth-watering sweets, everyone has a special reason to make merry during diwali every state of india celebrates this festival of lights with its own special dessert recipes. In an attempt to avoid overindulgence, here are some healthy sweets and desserts that you can try this festive season:
1. Sesame seeds laddoo
- for a change, you can avoid the boondi laddoos this diwali and instead opt for sesame which is a rich source of calcium and magnesium.
- this laddoo is prepared by dry roasting the sesame seeds and then grinding them to a powdery texture along with sugar and cardamom powder.
- you can replace sugar with jaggery which is a healthier option too. Add roasted peanut chunks to the laddoos for a crunchy twist.
2. Pumpkin delight
- forget the calorie-rich kheer and choose pumpkin this season to add the extra fibre and goodness of vitamin a to your pumpkin payasam.
- you can make this dessert using all healthy ingredients like mashed pumpkin, milk, sago, cardamom powder and a pinch of saffron.
3. Ragi treat
- why not embrace ragi as your favorite cereal and make some mouth-watering delicacy out of it.
- ragi or finger millet is known for its high protein and mineral content.
- combine ragi with the grand flavors of saffron and cardamom, roasted peanuts and dried coconut and you can make some healthy and delicious barfi.
- add jaggery for the sweetness. You can easily replace the usual high calorie kaju barfis with this delicious treat.
4. Coconut macaroons
- some delicious macaroons can be baked with the healthiest ingredients like coconut, eggs, vanilla essence and sugar to taste and absolutely no oil content.
- once out of the oven, they have a hard texture and equally chewy feel from the inside.
- they make the best choice for an evening snack and are filled with goodness of coconut which help in digestion and also add a glow to your skin.
5. Date laddoos
dates (khajoor) are known for their iron content. Try to rope in the vitamins and minerals of dates to use them for ladoos instead of using besan (gram flour).
- in this recipe, dates are mashed till soft, heated in a pan with little coconut oil and then sesame powder is added to them while kneading them into a dough.
- add pieces of roasted cashew and cardamom powder to the kneaded dough for the flavor. When ready, roll them over sesame seeds for both the look and the taste.
- this is yet another treat for your sweet tooth without the harmful effects of either sugar or ghee (clarified butter)
6. Oats barfi
- when it comes to health, none can forget the ubiquitous oats. From breakfast to snacks, oats are the perfect choice for the health freak.
- this diwali make your favorite barfi with oats, anjeer (fig), dates, pistachios and flax seeds.
- use a little coconut oil in a pan and heat the mashed dates and coarsely ground roasted oats.
- add the other ingredients with a pinch of saffron and spread the dough it out in a flat dish.
- cut them into sizes you love and relish them with family.
Enjoy this diwali with your favorite sweets but without the sense of guilt with these exotic yet healthy recipes. Happy diwali!
Did you know barley water is good for kidney stones?
Barley (jau), a member of grass family, is a cereal that has been cultivated for over 13, 000 years. Packed with carbohydrates (78%), fat (1%), protein (10%) and water (10%), barley is a rich source of essential nutrients, dietary fiber, vitamins such as niacin, manganese, phosphorus and vitamin B6.
With several health benefits to its name, barley water is termed as the elixir to good health. It has been found to be beneficial in reducing chances of heart disease, soothing bowels, reducing blood cholesterol levels, improving blood sugar regulation in the body and acts as nutritive broth for fever, cold and cough. Additionally, studies support that barley water has also been found to play an integral role in maintaining renal health.
What is a renal stone?
A renal stone is a solid stony piece consisting of crystal forming substances in the urinary tract. They are usually formed when the urine is abundant in substances such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid and lack substances that inhibit their accumulation. While small kidney stones can pass through the urinary system without any symptoms, a stone larger than 5 mm can result in blockages in the urinary tract causing severe pain in the back and lower abdomen.
What causes renal stones?
- A family history for stones, lack of adequate water in the body, high BMI, excessive intake of diets rich in protein, sodium and sugar have been found to be some of the common causes for stone formation.
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- Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel syndrome and renal tubular acidosis have also been found to alter the digestion of calcium.
How does barley water aid the dissolution of renal stones?
Studies show that regular use of barley water can dissolve and eliminate existing kidney stones and prevent the occurrence of stones and other kidney problems. Use of diuretics either natural or synthetic can help speed up the expulsion of the stone.
Diuretic in nature, barley water helps to flush toxins from the kidneys by creating bladder pressure and increasing the frequency of urination.
- It helps maintain the PH levels in the body, making it alkaline, preventing various urinary tract issues, including kidney stones.
- The vitamin B6 and magnesium in barley helps break down the masses of toxic calcium oxalate (primary cause for stones) in the kidney.
Dietary fiber in barley reduces the amount of calcium that is excreted by the body through urine, restoring renal health and cleansing the kidneys.
Ways to prepare barley water:
- Boil 1 litre of water with a tablespoon of barley pearls and boil on a low flame for about 30 minutes or until the water has reduced to half.
- Strain and cool this mix and drink it through the day.
- Add lemon juice or honey to make the mix tasty
Regular use of barley water ensures that the renal system is hydrated, healthy and free of depositions such as renal stones. So, go ahead and add this elixir to your diet to ensure a healthy renal system and a healthier you. Eat healthy, stay healthy!
5 practical ways to manage constipation
Constipation is one of the most common health problems. Unhealthy eating practices, inadequate sleep, sedentary lifestyle and stressful life are some of the common triggers for constipation.
Symptoms of constipation include two or less than two bowel movements in a week, hard and dry stools, bloating and feeling of fullness. In severe cases of constipation, you may also have small amount of blood in your stool due to bleeding hemorrhoids.
Some of the common causes of constipation are lack of fiber rich diet, lack of exercises and physical activity, immobility due to age and illness and overuse and persistent use of laxatives. Constipation may also be another symptom of health disorders such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, hypercalcemia and irritable bowel syndrome.
Ways to manage constipation:
Here are five effective ways to prevent and treat constipation:
1. Exercise regularly
-follow an exercise regimen which may include a combination of several activities such as weight bearing exercise, muscle strengthening exercises, running, walking, jogging and physical exercises.
- these exercises stimulate the bowel movements regularly and help to keep the body healthy.
- brisk walking and aerobic exercises has also been found to stimulate and aid the bowel movement.
- if you have an option of taking the elevator or the stairs, opt for stairs. This will keep you mobile during your work hours.
2. Increase dietary fiber
- correction of the dietary intake is the key to prevent constipation. It is recommended to take naturally available fibrous vegetables and fruits than to aid the diet with supplementary fiber.
- increase the intake of fiber rich vegetables such as beans, bran cereals, brown rice, raw fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. It is recommended to have close to 20-35 grams of fiber daily.
- make sure you add salads to your meals. Include sprouts, carrots, leafy vegetables and fruits in your salads.
- in case of consistent constipation, avoid intake of processed foods and beverages such as cheese, dairy products, meat and packaged foods
3. Increase fluid intake
- drink water (6-8 glasses) throughout the day. This will improve the bowel movement significantly.
warm water during the daytime also helps in increasing the excretion of stools during constipation.
4. Opt for lifestyle changes
- changes in the lifestyle such as having a balanced diet, regular exercises and optimum sleep can significantly help constipation.
- fix a regular time during the day for the bowel movement. It helps the body to follow a routine.
5. Try natural remedies
- in case of chronic constipation, take herbal laxatives such as isabgol and triphala with warm water before going to sleep. They will improve bowel movement and aid the excretion process
- studies suggest that castor oil, due to its laxative properties, was found to relieve constipation significantly. Due to its instant effects, it is recommended that it is not consumed orally before going to bed. Instead it is advised to take it in the daytime.
- there are broadly two types of herbal stimulants (bulk forming stimulants and stimulant laxatives) for relieving constipation.
- commonly used bulk forming laxatives include, fenugreek, flaxseeds and barley. Commonly used stimulant herbs include aloe and senna. However, these herbal laxatives are advised to be used in less potency. Therefore one must consult a doctor before opting for these remedies.
In case your symptoms persist, you can try some over the counter laxatives. However make sure your body does not become dependent on these options. Consistent use of laxatives can deplete the food off essential nutrients in severe cases, consult a doctor who can further evaluate the problem and suggest medications. Stay healthy, stay happy!
6 effective ways to manage period pain
Although menstrual cycles or monthly periods are a normal physiological process, they can sometimes be accompanied by pain and excessive cramping and can affect your quality of life. While the pain is usually tolerable and goes away in a day or two, it can be worse on some occasions. Here are some effective ways to handle period pain:
1. Use a heating pad
You can place a heating pad or a hot water bottle over your lower abdominal area to help in relieving pain. Heat is quite helpful in easing the cramping and reducing the intensity of pain.
2. Massage with essential oils
Massaging with certain aromatic essential oils is also an effective way to relieve menstrual cramps. These include lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, clary sage oil and marjoram oil. Massage your lower back and abdomen with these oils for best results. You can massage at around bedtime for a restful sleep and relief from cramping.
This might come as a surprise but exercise helps to release the pain relieving chemicals called endorphins. Experts suggest that women who exercise regularly often have less menstrual pain. To prevent cramps in the future, make exercise a part of your lifestyle.
4. Have herbal teas
Certain teas help in reducing the intensity of period pain and cramping. These include peppermint tea, cinnamon tea, ginger tea, chamomile tea and tulsi tea. You can add any of these teas during your periods for easing the pain and cramps.
5. Take a pain killer
You can take pain medications to relieve cramps. These include paracetamol, mefenamic acid and other analgesics. Paracetamol is an over the counter medicine but for others you will need a prescription from a doctor. It is best to take these medications as soon as bleeding or cramping starts. Painkillers can however cause side effects like acidity, gastritis and even stomach ulcers if taken too frequently.
6. Try pain relief patches
These are subcutaneous skin patches that can be applied directly over the skin. They are purely herbal and contain eucalyptus oil and menthol, both of which help in reducing cramping and relaxing the muscles. These patches release the ingredients in a controlled manner, thereby maintaining their levels in the blood stream throughout the day. This helps in ensuring long lasting action. They are easily available as over the counter medications. The advantages of these patches are that they are 100% herbal, are extremely easy to use and are free from side effects that can occur by popping painkillers on a regular basis.
So, go ahead and try these pain relieving therapies and enjoy pain free periods. Stay healthy, stay happy!