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Posts Tagged ‘digestion’

I really love lemons. They add some fantastic flavor to so many dishes; they can be used as medicine, for healing, for cosmetic purposes, for cleaning, and even as insect repellent! I’ll give as brief a run down as I can on the many uses of this little ball of sunshine.

They were considered by the Romans as an antidote for many poisons and in folk medicine, they have always been a popular remedy for feverish chills and coughs. In modern Italy eating fresh lemons is believed, by many, to combat major epidemic infections.

Lemon can help relieve many digestion problems. Due to the digestive qualities of lemon, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon water regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and as a cleanser. It helps to tonify the heart and blood vessels. The intake of lemon water ensures smooth bowel movements thereby eliminating constipation and diarrhea. I love starting the day with a glass of purified room temperature water with half a fresh squeezed lemon added to it. It is the best mini-detox, helping to flush out toxins and give a fresh start to the day!

Lemon is also one of the best liver supports. Most people can use that, since our livers are one of the most overworked organs. A sluggish liver leads to digestive, skin and hormonal disorders.

Lemons are very rich in vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamins B1, B2 and B3, carotene (pro-vitamin A) and of course Vitamin C. Studies have repeatedly shown Vitamins C’s ability to boost the immune system, that’s why it’s so effective against colds and the flu.

For a sore throat, lemon mixed with warm water makes an excellent gargle.

Used topically, lemon can be effective as a natural antiseptic; the juice of lemon will destroy harmful bacteria found in cuts and other areas of infection. It also effectively relieves insect stings, and can be used to ease sunburn and skin rashes.

I personally love using lemon juice on my face. I squeeze some fresh lemon on a cotton pad, and wipe my face with it. I leave the juice on for a few minutes and then I rinse it off with water. Lemon contains enzymes which help to cleanse the skin of dead cells.

Lemon is also popular in traditional beauty treatments to whiten the skin and teeth, and to encourage freckles to fade.

Lemons are fantastic cleaning agents. They add such a nice, clean, fresh scent, are non-toxic, cheap and actually work really well. Lemon juice can be used on countertops, for bleaching purposes and for disinfecting. It can be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits. Lemon is also a great substance to clean and shine brass and copper.

And finally, rotten lemons can be used to repel ants from the house or garden. Amazing!

My favorite lemon salad dressing:

  • 1/4 cup cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp agave nectar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp dried herbs such as basil, oregano, or thyme
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients, keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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probioticsBy now I’m sure most people are familiar with the term ‘probiotics’. It seems to be popping up everywhere, and it’s become a very popular ingredient being added to just about anything these days. Probiotics are crucial to good health, but sadly it has become a big money making business, and the quality in most products is questionable.

To start off, probiotics are the beneficial bacteria normally present in the digestive tract. They are vital for proper digestion and proper bowel function, they help prevent the overgrowth of yeast and other undesirable microorganisms and pathogens, they manufacture B-vitamins and vitamin K, and they enhance immune function. We all have billions of these bacteria in our guts, misoand they are found naturally in fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, miso, tempeh, kimchi and sauerkraut. Most cultures eat some type of fermented food on a daily basis, thereby replenishing their stores. Sadly it is not common practice in our culture, and the products available to us are not always the ‘real deal’ – they do not contain actual live or active bacterial cells. It is important to consume probiotics because they get depleted easily. Probiotics can be negatively affected by the following:

  • Unhealthy diet, especially a diet that leads to regular indigestion.
  • Poor digestion of food from various causes and/or poor elimination of wastes.
  • Antibiotics
  • Chlorinated water
  • Stress, especially on-going stress negatively affects beneficial bacteria.
  • Other pharmaceuticals such as steroids and NSAIDS (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Radiation (i.e., x-rays)

As mentioned, certain fermented foods contain probiotics, but it’s important that it is clearly labeled as ‘Live’ or ‘Active’ cells. Most yogurts found in grocery stores today contain so few, if any, actual live bacteria by the time you consume them. They are also usually filled with sugars, thickening agents, and other undesirable ingredients. Keep in mind that it’s all a marketing ploy. The only yogurts I’d recommend to anyone are the unsweetened, plain varieties. All those drinkable or 14-day guarantee ones are a waste of money.yogurt

It is extremely important to choose carefully when selecting a probiotic supplement.  Most of the supplements on the market run anywhere from worthless to slightly useful.  Spending the extra time looking for the right product and spending a little extra money purchasing the right product will pay off in the long run.

When it comes to choosing a probiotic supplement, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Buy a single-strain probiotic. It may sound good on the label that there are multiple strains of bacteria in the probiotic, but it is not. Often one strain overpowers the other, rendering one of the strains ineffective. For example, strains of L. acidophilus and L. bulgaricus should not be put together as the L. bulgaricus would take over.  Some double-strain products with both L. acidophilus and B. bifidum are okay to use.
  • Number of Organisms: product should say on the label a guarantee of the number of viable organisms in the product.  It should conatin at least 10 billion organisms for a therapeutic dosage.  The label should ideally give a guarantee of the number of viable organisms at the expiration date since it will be less than the manufacture date
  • The product should always be kept refrigerated
  • A milk base is an ideal base for the organisms in a probiotics supplement.  Since this is such a small part of the diet, I believe it is okay to use a milk base *if* you do not have a negative reaction from the product.  If a milk base is used it is preferable that the product contain the DDS-1 strain of L. acidophilus which produces plenty of lactose to help digestion of the dairy.
  • The product should specify that it can survive the stomach digestive acids and the bile acids – enteric coating can be useful for this purpose.probiotics

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