Tag: Health

Traditional Latvian Ways To Fight Cold

Latvian Ways How To Fight Cold

Sources: David Wolfe and Tea Hippie

If you’ve been following me on Instagram and Facebook, you probably know that 1.6 years ago I moved to Latvia, where I currently reside. I find Latvia to be pretty similar to my home country Lithuania – the language is similar, the climate is similar and so is peoples mentality. Even though Lithuanians and Latvians tend to mock each other a bit, both countries are quite a fan of each other so my expectations of Latvia are probably more or less the same as if I lived in Lithuania. One of the fascinating things that I found here, however, is peoples tendency to “go back to their roots” – i.e. people proudly wear linen clothes, make and drink home-made teas, some families produce home-made kvass and cider and people pick linden and apples altogether to make some yummy, fragrant tea and a delicious apple pie. To me, Latvia is all about making stuff. It’s about creating stuff. So when it comes to cold, obviously, the best remedies are also (most likely) made by your own. If not by yourself or your family – then perhaps by your neighbor who was kind enough to give you a jar of honey for Christmas.

Here’s a short list of natural remedies that Latvians use once the first cold symptoms start showing off:

Herbal Teas

Probably every family has stored several kinds of family-picked dried herbs that serve as the number one panacea when the usual cold symptoms start kicking off. Tea nr.1 against cold in Latvia would definitely be kumelīte (eng: chamomile) with a drop of honey to brighten the day. Since chamomile is normally used in herbal medicine for a sore stomach and as a gentle sleeping aid, a soothing combination of chamomile tea and honey (see below) will definitely give you a better, lighter feeling.

Honey

As people start feeling sick in Latvia, you will normally find a big jar (~ 1-2kg) of honey not only on the kitchen tables at home, but in offices across the country, too. Honey is either added to the tea or eaten with a spoon as you start having sore throat. Honey is arguably the tastiest way to strengthen your body in times of need.

Riga’s Black Balsam

Riga’s Black Balsam is something that Latvians are very proud of. And there’s a very good reason to that as well: the balsam is a worldwide-known alcoholic beverage famous for its healing properties. The traditional recipe was created by a pharmacist living in Riga and the recipe is based on a composition of 24 different plants. The recipe of the balsam has been inherited by generations and is known by only 1 person at a time. Drink it either alone or mixed with blackcurrant juice. It’s probably one of the most pleasant ways to fight the first symptoms of cold, just make sure you limit the quantities! :)

Garlic

Even though garlic is not as tasty and pleasant as other earlier mentioned ways of fighting the symptoms, eating fresh garlic is purported to known out your flue due to allicin, a powerful compound obtained from garlic that can prevent attack by the common cold virus. Of the the best (and least frightening) ways of consuming fresh garlic is adding some crushed garlic in a carrot salad or adding some in your sandwich.

Cranberries

There is evidence that cranberries have a mild anti-bacterial effect in the body. And, although cranberries are not an antibiotic, they are loaded with vitamin C, which is essential to find the first cold symptoms.

Make sure to stay warm – drink plenty of hot liquids, eat clean and wear lots, lots, LOTS of sweaters to keep that flu away!

 

Easy Ways To Improve Your Health Right Now

 

Forget the excuses. Focusing on yourself, your own health and your well-being (both physical and psychical) is the best thing you can do. Regardless of how you feel now, you can always find 30 minutes (or less) to improve and maintain your health and well-being. Read on and note a few things to live a healthy lifestyle with virtually no effort or investment.

1. Drink More Water

It’s a fact: drinking water is simply essential to our being. It’s important to stay hydrated during the day not only to replenish the water we lose throughout the day, but also to manage diabetes and to keep your teeth and skin healthy. If you can’t force yourself to drink plain water try drinking lemon water instead: it’s a slightly tastier version that will give you glowing skin and will improve digestion.

2. Rest

As we all rush around madly trying to squeeze out as much as possible out of our every day lives, good rest is undoubtedly needed, too.  Your body, just like your mind, needs to rest and regain its powers. If you are a person who has a very active lifestyle, try dedicating at least half a day one a week for something you WANT (don’t have) to do: sleeping, watching TV, cooking or simply doing something what gives you and your body the biggest amount of joy and rest. Let yourself “recharge” so you can share your joy and positivity with others. Rest well to regain your energy and use it as a source of inspiration for creativity.

3. Schedule Your Workouts

Working out increases endorphins which can improve your mood significantly. Try finding a number of sports to find out what you prefer most – try running, jogging, yoga, aerobics or dancing. If you need some motivation try persuading your friend to go jogging at least once a week – it’ll be a nice beginning plus you’ll have somebody who will kick your a$$ when needed. If you don’t like working out, try doing some small things every day (or every second day) to improve your well-being: choose stairs over elevator,choose walking instead of taking a bus and an active dancing night in a nightclub with friends over an indoor party.

4. Eat Green

One of the best things you can do for your health is to simply eat more greens! Try adding more greens to your food which you’re used to eating: add some spinach to your salad, try kale for your smoothie and opt arugula in your sandwich. Your tummy will thank you.

5. Walk, Walk, Walk

Did you know that walking around 30 minutes a day will slash your risk of chronic disease? The American Diabetes Association says that walking lowers your blood sugar levels and the overall risk for diabetes. Not only that: walking every day improves your mood, strengthens your bones and muscles and improves your balance and coordination. It’s a free way to keep yourself healthy and happy – so why not give it a try? Choosing to walk to uni or work (if conditions allow) is already a first amazing choice you can do to keep yourself healthy.

6. Practice Power Naps

Adequate sleep (which is around 7-8 hours for an adult) is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. Good sleep can also benefit your heart, weight, mind and more. Scientists say that during sleep you can also strengthen memories or “practice” skills, which is the reason why people advice to take a nap after a long study period. In other words – if you happen to spend a few hours learning something new and you decide to take a break, take a nap break!

7. Improve Your Dental Health

Two simple yet underrated hygiene practices that you can improve immediately: flossing your teeth and rinsing your mouth. Keeping your gums clean will no only help you avoid bad breath, but will improve your long-term teeth and mouth health. It is recommended to both floss and rinse your mouth once per day, best in the evening.

8. Volunteer

Connecting with other people and making yourself useful is one of the best ways to feel happy. It will not only make you happy, but will (first and foremost) help others and community. Studies show that volunteering is good for your body and mind: people who donate their time feel more socially connected and feel less depressed and lonely. Researchers also claim that people who volunteer regularly have lower blood pressure and even live longer! Crazy, right?

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali

The 6 Amazing Benefits Of Lemon Water

Admit it – you’ve heard it from your mom and your grandmom – lemon water is a magical fluid that improves your digestion, rejuvenates your skin and overall, enhances your beauty. You have been familiar with information that lemon water does something good but have probably never been aware of actually that good is. After all, what’s the hype about? Malaysians are said to be the ones that have included lemon water in their daily health and beauty rituals and since the early days have known that drinking lemon water (i.e. plain fresh water with a twist of fresh lemon juice) is highly beneficial to your health if consumed continually. It does not require much – just an effort to make drinking fresh lemon water a habit – and you help yourself immensely. Here’s why:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/blackhole_eater/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/blackhole_eater/

Glowing skin

Thanks to the vitamin C in lemons, your skin reaps from benefits of you consuming the vitamin which assists in production of collagen. Consumer greater amounts of vitamin C translates into prevention of wrinkle formation.

Death to bad breath!

There is no way to avoid bad morning breath, however drinking lemon water during the daytime can combat the bacteria in your mouth and therefore lessen the potential for bad breath. Be careful not to over-consume lemon water and drink a little of pure water afterwards since lemons can also erode the enamel on your teeth (if left in big quantities in your mouth).

Improved digestion

Lemons contain pectin fibre which is very beneficial for colon health. aids digestion as the citric acid from lemons stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and digestion. Overall, it helps to reglate bowel movement and can also help relieve symptions such as heartburn and bloating.

Weight loss

Plant fiber pectin, which is found in many fruits, gives you that full feeling and helps curb your appetite. For that reason, it is adviced to drink a tall glass of water with lemon half an hour before lunch – having done this you will ‘trick’ yourself to feel more full and will consume less food.

Stress-free life

Lemon may be best known for it’s high vitamin C concentration, but it’s also known because of potassium that helps with brain and nerve function. For a quick relief (especially in stressful and tense situations) lemon water is the best and cheapest option to calm yourself (and your emotions) down.

Detoxification

Lemon water cleanses the liver since lemons stimulate toxin release. Lemon also contains antioxidant called d-limonene (which is also found in oranges) and is mostly found in the peels of citrus fruits. The antioxidant d-limonene has been shown to activate enzymes in the liver. toxins, otherwise also called as harmful agents found in the environment. Since lemon helps flush out unwanted materials also due to the increased rate of urination in the body, toxins are released at a faster rate.

 

Ramadan Month – The Benefit Of Fasting

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar has long been associated with religious duties including a month of fasting. During the month of Ramadan, individuals do not consume any food or liquids during the bright period of the day, allowing themselves to eat and drink only when the sun is set. However, besides religious individuals fasting during Ramadan, there are also a number of individuals who choose to fast for health reasons. It is worth knowing however that by choosing some specific types of foods you can obtain health benefits – but only by fasting and preparing yourself before (and during) fasting

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jaikapoor/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jaikapoor/

Tranquility

There is an intense spiritual meaning to Ramadan for those who fast. Muslims during Ramadan practice generosity by being charitable and sharing wealth, time, and good attitude. During Ramadan individuals also invite strangers, usually homeless people to eat together after the twilight. All these habits, including generosity, build a feeling of peace, discipline, tranquility and self-satisfaction.

Improved blood fat levels

It has been proven that fasting lowers bad cholesterol levels and increases good levels, which protects heart. Such outcome can be explained by the change in eating habits: during Ramadan one cannot eat nor drink, which makes people carefully choose their meals during the allowed period of time, after the twilight. One should remember that simple carbohydrates, fats and starchy foods will result in early satiety, however will also sudden hunger afterwards. Therefore, a diet rich in complex carbohydrates and protein is very important. It is also advised to consume a generous amount of raw fruits and vegetables prior to fasting period to ‘prepare’ the body beforehand.

Worth mentioning that people with diabetes should talk to their doctors before fasting for long periods of time since the blood sugar during the Ramadan goes down.

May help overcome addictions

After all, during fasting the fasting person is expected to put more effort in practicing self-control and discipline. Addictions come in all forms and shapes. Therefore, during the fasting period one has a great opportunity to ditch them, as the fasting period will teach that it is not as hard to forgo an addiction as you may think.

Even though Ramadan does require effort and preparation, it may be the perfect opportunity to re-train yourself and get back on track of eating healthy, teaching tranquility and practicing generosity. Even if you are not religious yet wish to fast and cleanse your body (as well as mind) but have never done it before, it could be a good idea to start with a one-day no food and liquid fast once a week, extending the period up to three days or a week. The benefits of fasting are obvious – including better metabolism, peace and improved blood fat levels – as well as improved eating patterns or promoted longevity. The most important is to fast carefully by knowing your limits and choosing the right foods to consume when you can do so.

Bill Gates: “Sustainable Future Of Human Progress Depends On Meatless Future”

Meat consumption worldwide has doubled in the last 20 years and is expected to double yet again by 2050. This is happening due to growing economies as well as larger population. However, raising meat requires a lot of resources that could be directly used by the people. That’s why Bill Gates, the richest man on Earth, is supporting the movement and is sponsoring startups, that could provide people with meatless, vegan, yet protein-rich alternatives for the human kind.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dfid/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dfid/

Bill Gates states that over the past few years he has came across a few companies that are doing pioneering work on innovations that could change the world for the better.

Animals are not the most efficient food source since in order to produce 1kg of meat, it requires 15,000 liters of water and 27kgs of CO2. Plant-based food is better for the environment since we need less space, water and CO2 to produce it. Livestock actually account for 18-51% of global greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. Besides, once eating plant-based products, one gets the needed protein directly from the product, since meat eaters only get 4% of protein that an animal has consumed. And, most importantly, a change from animal to plant-based diet directly impact animal welfare.

It is said that food scientists are able to create healthy plant-based egg, chicken and other animal proteins. Besides, they will taste alike. Currently, companies like Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek Foods are experimenting with the new ways of producing meatless products.

 

For more information please visit Bill Gates’ website: http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Features/Future-of-Food 

Overeating? A Guide To Proper Consumption

Fancy dishes, inviting smells and pleasant tastes on holidays followed by an extreme workout program in January in a nearby gym. Sounds familiar? It is said that an average person usually earns 1-2 kgs after Christmas. And even though Christmas has just passed, there’s a week left until one more celebration – New Years, which will also be celebrated with food and alcoholic drinks. Learn how to consume less in order to get rid of guilt and abundance of calories. 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlottedownie/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlottedownie/

1. Water, please!

You might have heard that a glass of water before the dish “kills” appetite. Not too far from true – if you drink a glass of water before eating it will help your stomach prepare for the food and will improve your digestion. In case you cannot/do not want to consume water, you can also consume a small bowl of light soup before the main dish.

2. Smaller plates

It is proven that we basically know how much should we consume according to the size of the plate. In order to trick yourself into eating less, ask for a smaller plate. Filling your plate completely (even though it’s a small plate) will make you think it is a larger serving than it actually is.

3. Start with light dishes

Try consuming something light as a starter: a piece of fruit or a healthy, fat-free salad, which will improve your digestion so that you would not have the “heavy” feeling after you finish your main dish. When trying out appetizers, stick to healthier options, such as healthy salads, fish and prawns.

4. Use 80/20 rule

That is probably the most realistic regime which will help you maintain weight. The rule implies two things: that you should consume healthy foods about 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time; as well as that you should be 80% full and would stop eating before filling yourself completely (and gaining extra calories).

5. More veggies and less meat

It’s usually all the little “extras” that pile up on the calories, such as grilled sausages, bacon or fat sauce. Try consuming more vegetables and less meat. When eating meat, chew longer than you would usually do so that your mouth could produce more saliva which would help you digest “big” dishes faster.

6. Remove the skin of the turkey/chicken

The skin of chicken and/or turkey is the major contributor of saturated fat and cholesterol. Do so in order to minimize the amount of far you consume. If possible, eat the breast as it is the leanest portion of poultry.

7. Enjoy alcohol moderately

Alcohol, especially liqueur and cocktails contain a lot of (unnecessary) calories. Alcohol provides little nutritional value and therefore is generally considered to be a source of “empty” calories which only promote weight gain. If you feel like consuming alcohol yet keeping your diet, stick to light beer and champagne. Keep that in mind if you do not want to gain extra fat after your winter holidays.

8. Leave leftovers

It might seem impolite and inappropriate, but feel free to leave leftovers. No one is going to punish you for the food you cannot or do not want to consume.

9. Walk it off

Don’t be a couch potato. I know, we all get lazy during Christmas and New Years and the only thing we dream of is a cozy nap and yummy food. Make a bit of effort: if you’re with your friends and/or family, suggest them to go for a walk in a neighborhood. You will definitely enjoy a nice chat while burning extra calories. If no one is up for that yet the family has a dog, walk a dog.

10. Play with the kids

If you happen to be in a family having small kids, play with them. Make a small break from talking to your family and simply go and run around with the kids. Not only will they appreciate you enjoying their company, but you will also burn quite a number of calories!
According to the Guardian, the chances of gaining weight after Christmas is high: well, keep that in mind at least for the New Year feast, Happy New Year!