The Worst Sleep Position For Your Health

Most people know that the average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, but fewer people know the best way to sleep. What do you understand about sleep positions, and do you know yours? Many people don’t give too much thought to how they sleep, merely rolling around until they find a comfortable angle.

Did you know, though, that research does suggest that there is an optimal and suboptimal way to position your body for sleep? While some professionals disagree on the best position, mainly favoring either side or back sleepers, most researchers agree on the worst: The stomach.

How Did the Stomach Get a Bad Reputation?

For those who sleep on their stomachs, the low placement on the best position list might be upsetting. Many may scream foul, decrying the back as a terrible way to sleep. The back, while favored by chiropractors, does have its drawbacks. People with snoring problems or sleep apnea should not sleep on their back because it can worsen their existing issues. Professionals also do not recommend the back for people with acid reflux or sinus or allergy problems. However, despite these issues, the back does fair better than the stomach for most people.

Stomach sleepers risk injury every night they go to sleep. The neck and spine are not in a good resting position, and there is increased pressure on the joints. Plus, when sleeping on your stomach, how do you lay your head? Most people turn it to one side or the other, which only increases misalignment. Additionally, sleeping on the stomach does not bode well for people with sinus and allergy problems because congestion can worsen, making mouth breathing the only option, but depending on where your head is, your mouth is either blocked by the mattress or your windpipe is restricted from the angle of your neck.


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How Should You Sleep?

Side sleeping is often the preferred sleeping position among experts. It allows the individual to limit strain on the body while maintaining a neutral position. Therefore, you will often wake up feeling more rested and relaxed. However, the benefits of this position do not mean that it is free of any problems.

The diagonal from the hips to the knees can cause some discomfort, and the body may roll while sleeping, turning to either the back or the stomach position. Researchers suggest using a pillow or folded blanket between your knees and a body pillow along your back to counteract these problems. They also recommend placing a pillow in front of your stomach, preventing rolling forward.

What If You Cannot Sleep on Your Side?

For some people, the idea of sleeping on their side is impossible. There is nothing wrong with that. While there are health benefits to side sleeping, it is more important that you get and maintain seven to eight hours of sleep every night. True, sleeping on your stomach is the worst position, but if that is the only way you can sleep, try including things to make it more comfortable and healthy. For example, do not turn your head to either side; instead, use a thin pillow and lay completely flat. By keeping your body in line, you can reduce neck or back pain risk. Also, since you know that back and neck pain is typical, do exercises to strengthen these areas.

Do you sleep on your stomach? Leave a comment about it, and check out other blogs from the Smarter Science of Slim about sleep health.

Stomach Upset? 5 Soothing Teas To Sip That Will Ease Nausea Discomfort

Sipping a cup of soothing tea is one of the best ways to calm an upset stomach. There are a lot of teas that work, but I want to share five that you may not have tried before:

1. Ginger Tea

Ginger is one of the best teas for getting rid of nausea and stomach aches quickly. Many moms-to-be drink ginger tea as a remedy for morning sickness. My daughter did that when she was pregnant with her baby girl and it helped her a lot.

Another reason I recommend ginger tea is that it has lots of flavor. If you normally dislike herbal teas because they’re too “light,” ginger has a tangy pop of flavor you’ll love.

How to make ginger tea: Cut a piece of ginger a few inches long and peel it. Add this whole piece to boiling water and let it simmer for 3–5 minutes. If you want, add some honey for sweetness.


2. Peppermint Tea

The menthol in peppermint has a relaxing effect on intestinal muscles. This makes peppermint tea an excellent choice for cramps and stomach pain. Personally, I find that even just smelling the aroma of peppermint tea helps me get rid of nausea. Each time I take a sip, I breathe in the calming steam that rises from my cup.

How to make real peppermint tea: I love fresh peppermint. To make tea with fresh leaves, crush a handful of peppermint with the back of a spoon. Let it steep for around 7 minutes. You can either filter the leaves afterward or savor them.

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3. Fennel Tea

Fennel looks like a strange type of celery and it tastes similar to licorice or anise. When it comes to alleviating the different symptoms of upset stomach, fennel does it all. It can help with gas, bloating, heartburn, nausea, stomach pain, menstrual cramps and other digestive troubles. It even has antibacterial effects for the times when indigestion is because of a mild stomach infection.

How to make fennel tea: The easiest, and cheapest, way to make fennel tea is with 1–2 teaspoons of whole fennel seeds. First, crush them gently with the back of a spoon. Add them to 2 cups of water and let them boil for 2–3 minutes.


4. Lemon and Honey Tea

Citrus fruit has refreshing oils that calm nausea and vomiting. If fact, smelling a cut lemon may give you all the relief you need. I like the double combination of lemon scent and warm tea. Honey gives your digestive system some antibacterial help at the same time.

How to make fresh lemon and honey tea: Squeeze the juice from one medium or large lemon into a cup (about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice). Add 2 teaspoons of honey. Pour boiling water into this glass and stir the mixture until the honey dissolves.


5. Holy Basil (Tulsi) Tea

A newcomer in the U.S., holy basil is a sacred herb in India (called tulsi) that’s been used for thousands of years. This exotic relative of common basil helps to decrease stomach acid, protect the lining of your stomach, soothe nausea and even calm anxiety, all of which can help your tummy feel more comfortable.

How to make tulsi tea: Add 2–3 teaspoons of holy basil leaves or dried leaf powder to a cup of boiling water and let everything simmer for about 5 minutes.

Trust me, these 5 teas work wonders for an upset tummy. They’re pretty tasty and relaxing, too.

How to Make Recipes Bread-less

I’m learning that as I get older, my body doesn’t tolerate certain foods like it used to. One of those foods is bread. Unfortunately, bread is in almost all of my favorite recipes, so I was under the impression that I’d have to give up my most beloved dishes to get rid of the constant bloating and discomfort I was feeling. Have you found yourself in this sad situation before?

The good news is that you don’t have to give up all your favorite recipes after all! I’ve discovered I can still have all of my preferred foods if I make a few small adjustments to the recipes. Though they taste a little bit different, they are similar enough to keep me satisfied. Here are some of my favorite ways to make recipes bread-less.

Cauliflower Bread

Many people like to substitute cauliflower bread for regular wheat bread. The nice thing about this option is that you can find a variety of commercially produced cauliflower products, so you don’t have to make them at home if you don’t want to. Cauliflower makes great bread and pizza crusts. If making your own, you’ll first need to grate and cook the cauliflower. Then, you’ll mix it with bread, spices and cheese before baking. There are many different cauliflower bread and pizza crust recipes out there. Give one or more a try and see for yourself how versatile this white vegetable can be!

Portobello Mushrooms

OK, hear me out. If someone had told me just last month that I could use big Portobello mushrooms in place of bread in my favorite recipes, I would have laughed myself silly. So I don’t blame you if you’re rolling your eyes right now. All I’m asking is that you try it.

I made the juiciest turkey burgers last week, and I thought I would never be able to fully enjoy them without my signature buttered bread buns. Happily, I proved myself wrong! I grilled up two of the biggest Portobello mushrooms I’ve ever seen and used them as my buns. Let me tell you, the flavor was out of this world. It was one of the most delicious turkey burgers I have enjoyed in my lifetime. I like the taste of mushrooms normally, though. If you don’t, you may want to try one of my next suggested bread substitutes.


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Cloud Bread

Thanks to the current low-carb craze, there are several different low-carb bread recipes you can substitute for regular bread. One of my favorites is cloud bread. Though it looks a lot like puffy bread, it doesn’t include an ounce of wheat. In fact, its only ingredients are eggs, cream cheese, cream of tartar and some seasonings. That’s it! There are different variations to this recipe, so go online and give a few of them a try until you find the one that you like best.

Lettuce

Lettuce makes a great substitute for bread, and I’m not even pulling your leg! The key to using lettuce for your sandwiches and burgers is to choose large strips of lettuce. I prefer iceberg or butter lettuce varieties because they have a naturally cupped shape that holds food inside quite well. You can also use green lettuce and romaine lettuce. Simply put the ingredients you want into the center of the lettuce leaf, then roll or fold the leaf around the ingredients and enjoy! As long as the interior of your sandwich is nice and substantial, you won’t even notice the absence of bread.

While there is no substitute in the world that tastes just like bread, there are plenty of options that come close. My favorites are cloud bread and Portobello mushrooms, but your favorites may be completely different. Give each option a try until you discover your most preferred bread alternative.

Is Seltzer Water Actually Good for Hydrating?

When it comes to seltzer water, you either love it or hate it. There’s not much room for anything in-between. In my case, I love pouring a glass of seltzer water anytime I’m craving a soda. It gives me the same carbonated fulness I get from soda, but without the harmful flavorings or colorings.

I’ve also believed over the years that seltzer water is good for me and can help me stay hydrated. Well, I finally decided to see if my belief is based in fact or fiction. So I did a little research into the matter over the weekend. Here’s what I learned about seltzer water and its benefits.

What Seltzer Water Is and Isn’t

Seltzer water is sometimes confused with other types of carbonated waters. But it’s not the same thing as tonic water, club soda or sparkling mineral water. Each of these types of carbonated beverages look exactly the same, but they are created using different methods.

Seltzer water is the simplest of these four different types of carbonated water. It is created using only plain water carbonated with carbon dioxide.

Seltzer water is not sparkling mineral water, which is full of dissolved solids such as magnesium, potassium and sodium. It’s also not tonic water, which has a bitter flavor and contains sugar. Seltzer water most closely resembles club soda, but it doesn’t contain sodium citrate, disodium phosphate or sodium bicarbonate. It’s just plain water.


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Seltzer Water Benefits

The main benefit of seltzer water is that it gives you that nice, tingly feeling when you drink it. For people who don’t enjoy plain water (such as Yours Truly), seltzer water a great alternative to sugary soda.

If you’re at the movie theater and you have to choose between soda and seltzer water, go for the seltzer water! It’s much better for your body. It hydrates you just as much as regular water. In fact, it may help you stay even more hydrated, since you’re more likely to drink it throughout the day than you are to drink regular water.

Some research also shows that a carbonated drink of water may also improve your digestion and reduce constipation. When you get to be my age, any drink that can do those things is somewhat of a miracle!

Seltzer Water Drawbacks

Although it has a lot of benefits, seltzer water isn’t without its drawbacks. I know, I know. If you don’t want to hear about them, just stop reading at this point. But if you’re aware of the potential drawbacks of seltzer water, you can make a more informed decision about how much of it you want to consume on a daily basis.

Research suggests that seltzer water may increase ghrelin (a hunger hormone). The good news is that it seems to do so in men more than in women. So ladies, you may still be able to enjoy your carbonated water without adding inches to your waist.

Another drawback is that seltzer water is slightly acidic. It turns out that the reaction of water and carbon dioxide produces carbonic acid, which is a relatively weak acid. Still, seltzer water is much less acidic than sugary or sugar-free sodas. It is more acidic than plain water, though. For this reason, it may be wise to cut back a little on your seltzer water intake and try to drink more plain water when you can.

If you don’t like the flavor of plain water, try infusing natural flavors into it. You can buy a fancy infuser pitcher to do this, or you can simply chop up some berries and throw them in your glass. You’ll get a nice, subtle flavor that just might turn water into your new beverage of choice.

Can Negative Thoughts Increase Your Dementia Risk?

The vast majority of Americans have been touched by dementia in one way or another. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease — and experts predict that number will almost triple by 2050. Ask any older adult, and he or she will tell you that the fear of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is very real.

If you’re like me, you do what you can to reduce your risk of developing these conditions: You eat well, don’t smoke and keep your brain active with everything from podcasts to Sudoku. There’s one area of brain training that you may be overlooking, though, and that’s your attitude about aging itself.

The Link Between Negativity and Dementia

In 1996, a groundbreaking study found that people who viewed aging as a negative thing demonstrated a noticeable decline in the size of their hippocampus, a change that’s very closely linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The study, published in “Psychology and Aging,” followed a group of almost 160 participants for decades, asking them various survey questions and conducting 10 years’ worth of MRIs.

Later studies have found similar results: older adults who report negative attitudes about aging are more likely to have the telltale signs of Alzheimer’s disease in their brains, namely tangles and plaques.

My takeaway from all of this research? We need to change the way we think about growing older, and there’s no time to waste.


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2 Fun Ways To Maintain a Positive Attitude About Aging

Keeping a healthy outlook on life as you grow older is vital to your overall health. Here are two of my favorite ways to boost your spirits about being a senior.

Stay Social

It’s tempting to become more reclusive as you age, especially if you live with chronic health conditions that make mobility more difficult now than it was at age 30 or if you’ve lost a partner to death or divorce.

The thing is, staying part of your community, any community, is great for your mental health. While regular trips out and about are ideal, connecting with friends and acquaintances online provides plenty of wellness benefits, too.

Stumped for ways to get social? Give these a try:

  • Meet friends for a regular dinner and/or drinks date

  • Join or start a book club

  • Get involved at your church

  • Stump for a political candidate

  • Volunteer at your public library

  • Take an exercise class

  • Take an art class

While meeting new people and ditching your pajama pants can be hard, it’s important that you do. By putting yourself out there, you’re boosting your brain health!

Keep Your Stress Low

If you’re like most older adults, you’re enjoying a decreased level of responsibility. Your kids are grown. Maybe you’re retired or only working part-time. In short, you likely have more time to yourself than ever.

Embrace it! Instead of feeling isolated because your sons live across the country or you no longer go to the office every morning, feel liberated, and use that free time to slow down and do what you love. You’ve earned it.

It’s also important. Doing what you enjoy, whether that’s painting, taking a long walk or spending the whole day watching Tom Hanks movies, keeps your stress low. Lowering your stress lowers your risk of developing an incredibly wide array of chronic conditions and illnesses, including dementia.

When your stress level rises, which it’s bound to do from time to time, it’s important that you release that stress healthily. Meditation is certainly one way to do that, but tapping into your favorite iPad game and enjoying the fact that nobody’s going to ask you to wash a basketball uniform is good, too.

Growing older is no picnic, but it is a feast of wisdom and surprises. Lower your dementia risk and improve your overall health by learning to roll with the changes and focus on the perks of being a senior.

Staying Hydrated: Why It Matters and How It Prevents Pain

Did you know that one of the best secrets to preventing pain is completely free? It’s something that all of us have right at home: good old H2O!

The Connection Between Staying Hydrated and Alleviating Pain

Your body already has a lot of built-in pain relievers working for you. Some of these systems are designed to get rid of harmful substances, and others contribute to healthy joints by building cartilage. Special brain chemicals called endorphins calm pain naturally and make you feel happier. Water plays a big role in all of these systems.

H2O helps with pain relief in five main ways:

  • Lubricating the right tissues

  • Getting rid of toxins and pain-causing substances

  • Delivering nutrients throughout the body

  • Stimulating the production of pain-calming endorphins

  • Keeping joints healthy

Staying hydrated can help to reduce inflammation in your knees, ankles, toes, shoulders, neck, elbows and wrists. Water lubricates and cushions all of your joints, keeping them as comfortable as possible. Drinking plenty of water also protects your nerves and spinal cord.

Painful Conditions That Benefit When You Drink More Water

Everyone needs water to stay happy and healthy, but this miracle liquid is especially important if you have chronic pain conditions:

  • Gout: Getting plenty of water can help prevent gout attacks. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why this is helpful, but it can make a big difference. Water appears to help your body clear out excess uric acid.

  • Migraines: Dehydration is a common trigger of migraine headaches.

  • Other headaches: When you’re running low on water, it can cause a dehydration headache, a pulsating or throbbing aching on both sides of the head.

  • Kidney stones: Not getting enough water can lead to the formation of these painful stones in some people. Staying hydrated reduces your risk significantly.

  • Arthritis: Did you know that about 60% of cartilage is made of water? Staying hydrated is essential for slowing down cartilage damage and preventing friction pain.

Water isn’t a magic painkiller, but staying hydrated is an essential part of pain relief. Make sure to get your 8 glasses a day if you experience any of these conditions frequently.


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Other Benefits of Drinking Enough Water

Getting plenty of water is actually one of the most important things you can do for your health. The benefits of H2O go way beyond pain relief. It supports natural weight loss, good digestive health and healthy blood sugar control. It keeps your skin looking radiant and nourished. Water is even related to higher energy levels and a positive mood!

How does this wonderful liquid help you slim your tummy? For one thing, it can calm sugar cravings. Drinking water with meals helps you avoid overeating. You feel satisfied with smaller portions.

Water also benefits your digestive system. Eating lots of fiber is important for all of us, but it doesn’t do much unless you also stay hydrated. Plus, water helps you eliminate toxins from your body without any extreme cleanses.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

I know that it’s not always easy to stay hydrated. During the winter, you’re probably not always inclined to reach for a glass of cold water. Other times, you may simply forget to drink enough.

One thing that helps me to look forward to drinking water is adding fresh fruit: lemon, orange, strawberries, cranberries or blueberries. To avoid forgetting, I follow the habit of drinking one glass of water each time I eat a meal or grab a snack. Tea counts too, so a cup at night helps!

Is Black Seed Oil the Key to Weight Loss?

There are a lot of claims that black seed oil is the next weight-loss “miracle” you need if you want to stay slim. Believers will tell you that it “melts” fat and “instantly” gives you a perfect waistline. How much of the hype is true?

What Is Black Seed Oil?

Black seed oil comes from a flowering plant called Nigella sativa. Some natural health stores refer to this plant as black caraway, black cumin or Roman coriander, but it’s not related to traditional cumin or caraway at all. When pressed, these tiny black seeds release an aromatic, peppery oil.

How Effective Is Black Seed Oil for Weight Loss?

It’s time for the million-dollar question: Does black seed oil really work for losing weight? The answer is yes, but there’s a catch.

According to a few studies, black seed oil can significantly reduce the body-mass index and waist size of people who are overweight. So far, so good. It helps you drop those extra pounds and slims your belly.

However, this research measured weight loss in groups who were also eating a low-calorie diet. The people taking black seed oil burned more fat compared to the other group, but everyone in the study was eating healthy food. This means that black seed oil can enhance your weight loss efforts, but you also need to follow a smart diet.

Why Is Black Seed Oil Good for Weight Loss?

Scientists still aren’t sure how black seed oil helps with weight loss. One possibility is that its natural compounds give your metabolism a boost for faster fat burning. It’s also possible that black seed oil reduces cravings for junk food, making it easier to eat less and choose healthy foods.


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What Other Health Benefits Does Black Seed Oil Have?

Black seeds have been used for their medicinal properties for a long time. So, if you want to try this oil for slimming your waistline, you may get other benefits, too. Black seed oil is rich in antioxidants, making it good for overall health:

  • Reduces blood pressure

  • Lowers cholesterol

  • Improves blood sugar levels

  • Prevents bloating

  • Helps digestive function

Important studies have shown that black seed oil can help people who type 2 diabetes to balance their blood sugar levels. By lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, the antioxidants in black seed oil can help protect your heart.


How Safe Is Black Seed Oil?

More research is needed, but taking the equivalent of 1 teaspoon a day for several months doesn’t appear to have harmful side effects. However, black seed oil may interfere with medications such as beta blockers. If you take prescription medicine, always check with your doctor before taking supplements.

How Do You Use Black Seed Oil?

If you’re excited about trying black seed oil, getting started is pretty easy. You can either take it as a supplement or use it with meals.

Soft gel supplements provide about 2–3 grams of oil per day. Some people take 1 teaspoon of oil directly. When used in meals, you can add 2–4 tablespoons without problems.

Personally, I like to use black seed oil in salad dressing. It has a spicy, strong flavor similar to fennel. I mix it with lemon juice or Dijon mustard for a healthy vinaigrette. You can toss this tasty dressing with spinach, romaine, arugula, radishes, carrots and other fresh veggies.

How To Prevent Crow’s Feet (Without Those Expensive Creams)

In some ways, crow’s feet are a sign that you’ve lived your life right. Moments of genuine happiness cause the muscles around your eyes to contract, which is what people mean when they talk about your “eyes smiling.” A lifetime of laughing and smiling will eventually create these fine wrinkles. Still, wrinkles don’t make any woman happy. How can you prevent crow’s feet?

Tips for Preventing Crow’s Feet Wrinkles

1. Wear Sunglasses

Squinting a lot from intense sunlight can contribute to premature crow’s feet wrinkles. At the same time, UV damage from the sun’s rays hurts your skin. Give your eyes a well-deserved rest by wearing sunglasses every time you go outside, including in winter (UV rays are still strong on overcast days). For maximum protection, choose sunglasses with 100% protection against UVA and UVB.

2. Put on Sunscreen Every Time You Leave the House

The more sun exposure you get around your eyes, the more potential damage your skin has to deal with. In fact, too much sunlight is one of the most common — and most preventable — causes of wrinkles and aging. UV rays make the skin’s layers less elastic.

I know it’s tempting to skip putting on sunscreen when you’re just running to the store  or taking care of errands, but your skin needs it. Something with SPF 30 is fine. As an added bonus, sunscreen protects your whole face from premature wrinkles, not just your eyes.


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3. Relax More

Another common cause of crow’s feet is stress. Frequent anxiety makes you frown, and stress also provokes headaches. When you have a headache, you probably shut your eyes tightly when the pain is bad. If this happens a lot, you can end up with deep forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet.

The solution? Make time every day to relax. Whether you’re a successful entrepreneur or an amazing mom, you deserve to take at least 15–30 minutes for yourself. Listen to calming music, read something inspiring, massage your feet, watch the hummingbirds in your garden or take a steamy shower.

Natural Ways To Reduce the Appearance of Crow’s Feet

As I said at the beginning, laughing and smiling also contribute to crow’s feet, so there’s no way to avoid them completely. With some TLC, however, you can make unwanted wrinkles less noticeable. Here are my favorite tips for hiding crow’s feet:

  • Apply: Facials made with natural ingredients can deliver wrinkle-reducing enzymes and vitamins directly to your skin. Cucumber slices, shea butter, coconut oil, fresh aloe vera gel, avocado puree and mashed papaya are all great choices.

  • Exfoliate: Dead skin cells make wrinkles look deeper than they really are. A gentle exfoliation with cinnamon and honey (once a week) can smooth your skin and make crow’s feet thinner.

  • Sleep: While you sleep, your body repairs the damage from UV rays and produces new collagen for healthy skin. Beauty sleep really is a thing.

  • Eat: Make sure you’re getting plenty of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins in your diet. Your skin depends on these nutrients to prevent sun damage, improve natural hydration and create collagen. When your body has lots of antioxidants, it heals better.

These simple steps for taking care of the delicate skin around your eyes have a bigger effect than most women realize for reducing crow’s feet. You may not be able to completely avoid wrinkles, but you can slow down the aging process and keep your skin nourished and healthy.

Are You Eating the 4 Best Foods for a Healthy Immune System?

One of the most import factors in a healthy immune system is your diet. Eating plenty of vitamin-rich foods can strengthen your defenses against germs. Try these four natural-health superstars:

1. Citrus Fruits

Tangy oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons and limes are a delicious way to make meals more exciting. They also give your immune system a lot of vitamin C, one of the most important vitamins for staying healthy. Vitamin C increases production of white blood cells, giving you a tiny army that searches for and destroys viruses.

Easy Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette Recipe

The next time you make a salad, instead of pouring ranch dressing on it, make your own refreshing citrus vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (lemon juice works also)

  • 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

All you have to do is stir these ingredients together and pour them on your favorite salad.

2. Oysters

Low on zinc? Oysters and other shellfish are a great source of this immune-boosting mineral. Zinc helps the immune system function correctly.

3. Red and Green Bell Peppers

Did you know that bell peppers have even more vitamin C than oranges? They also give your immune system extra vitamin A, an antioxidant. Vitamin A helps build your immune system and makes it react more quickly to infections.

Tip: To get the most nutrients possible, keep these colorful veggies tender and crisp. Enjoy them fresh in salads, sauté them in stir fries or char them lightly on the grill.

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4. Ginger and Garlic

Garlic and ginger are a dynamic duo for enhancing your immune response. Garlic has powerful medicinal properties. Adding fresh garlic to your meals won’t prevent you from getting sick, but it may speed up your recovery.

Ginger is an herb that can neutralize microbes. It increases some of the main lines of defense your body has against infections. This spicy root is packed with nutrients and antioxidants, so it’s not surprising that ginger is so good for you.

Zesty Garlic-Ginger Chicken Soup Recipe

Remember the chicken soup your mother used to make when you were sick with a cold? This is the same thing only even better for your immune system:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic

  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger

  • 1 large red onion, chopped

  • 2 pounds skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into pieces

  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots

  • 1 cup mushrooms

  • 4 cups organic chicken broth

  • 6 cups water

Sauté fresh garlic, ginger and onion in a large pan with olive oil. Cook for 3 minutes.

Add the chicken, water, chicken broth, mushrooms and carrots. After bringing the liquid to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 30–60 minutes. Add salt to taste, along with extra garlic and ginger if you want additional zing.

Enjoy a bowl of soup while it’s pleasantly warm.

The Importance of Good Nutrition for a Healthy Immune System

According to Harvard Medical School, senior adults have a higher chance of getting sick than younger people. This may be because the body produces fewer immune cells. It may also be from vitamin deficiencies. Whatever the cause, as you age, you need to stay focused on eating nutritious superfoods. Healthy foods enhance your immune system and take care of the rest of your body, too.

5 Supplements To Soothe Stress and Ease Anxiety

Supplements

Stress and anxiety can take a major toll on your physical and mental well-being and adversely affect your overall quality of life. The good news is that, while there is no magic pill for mental disorders, there are healthy and natural ways to reduce the symptoms and achieve Zen-like calm. When you pair regular exercise, good eating habits and adequate sleep with the right supplements, you can effectively combat stress and enjoy a more carefree way of living.

5 Best Vitamins and Supplements for Stress and Anxiety

If you’re serious about combatting stress naturally, give the following five supplements a try. Though the names of some are difficult to pronounce, each comes with very real, proven benefits.

Melatonin

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is key to combatting the effects of stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, individuals who live with either know that good sleep is hard to come by. What’s more is that insufficient sleep can exacerbate the symptoms of stress and anxiety, creating a vicious cycle.

Several studies show that melatonin — which is a hormone the human body naturally produces to regulate sleep-wake cycles — improves the overall quality of sleep in individuals who have primary sleep disorders. Moreover, it helps to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and increases total sleep time.

Rhodiola Rosea

If your stress stems from or causes chronic fatigue or burnout, rhodiola rosea may help. Rhodiola is a natural, non-toxic herb grown in the mountainous regions of Asia and Russia. It contains properties proven to stimulate the stress response system. Short and long-term studies show that 400 mg of rhodiola extract can help improve symptoms of chronic fatigue — such as issues with concentration, short-term memory and sleep — in as little as one week. As use continued, the symptoms continued to decline. A longer study revealed relief of symptoms such as irritability, exhaustion and anxiety.


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Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, or Withania somnifera, is an herb native to India, where citizens have been using it for its soothing properties for millennia. Like with rhodiola, ashwagandha is believed to enhance the body’s ability to resile physical and mental stress. Per one study, supplement with this herb resulted in reduced levels of anxiety, stress and depression, and even reduced morning cortisol levels by as much as 23%. The results of several other studies found that individuals who used the supplement regularly scored better on stress tests.

L-theanine

Though difficult to pronounce, L-theanine is actually quite common and found in many green teas. The amino acid is commonly touted for its ability to relieve stress and promote relaxation without causing any sedative effects. Moreover, a review of 21 studies reveals that drinking green tea with L-theanine correlates directly to improved memory and attention.

L-theanine is effective on its own, too. Per the findings of one study, supplementing 200 mg of the substance daily reduces common measures of stress, including heart rate.

Glycine

Glycine is another amino acid with stress-relieving effects. Studies show that glycine encourages a good night’s sleep by calming the brain and lowering the body’s core temperature. Findings from a few different studies reveal that just 3 grams of glycine before bedtime lead to increased awareness and decreased fatigue the next day and better overall quality of sleep.

The Bottom Line

Supplements are a great way to relieve the effects of stress and anxiety and reduce the frequency of attacks. If either impacts your overall quality of life, give one of the above five supplements a try.