Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu

elderberry-syrup-cold-fluCold and flu season is in full swing around the Northern hemisphere. When illness strikes, most people can’t just lay in bed until they’re feeling better, so they search for remedies to help them get better, faster.

Unfortunately, the side effects of pharmaceutical remedies for the cold and flu (like Tamiflu) are widely recognized. Due to the side effects, more and more people are turning to natural remedies for the cold and flu. Elderberry syrup is a long-time remedy that is becoming popular again.

If you haven’t heard of or tried elderberry syrup yet, elderberries (Sambucus nigra):

  • Help support the immune system
  • Are rich in antioxidant flavinoids and anthocyanin
  • Contain vitamins A, B and C
  • Encourage the discharge of mucus and phlegm from respiratory passages
  • Promote perspiration, which helps the body release toxins

There is even evidence that suggests elderberry extract (often referred to as elderberry syrup) can inactivate the flu virus. This means that elderberry extract has been shown to shorten the duration of the flu.

While you can make your own elderberry syrup at home, when you or your child is sick, you often just want a remedy right away, without any extra time or steps. Fortunately you can purchase prepared elderberry syrup that can help you shorten the length of the flu.

sambucolWhere to Buy Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup should be available for purchase at your local health food store, and some pharmacies carry it as well. You can also buy a variety of elderberry syrups and extracts online from Healthy Planet, such as Sambucol Black Elderberry Kids and Flora Sambu Elderberry.

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5 Reasons to Drink Kombucha

drink-kombuchaKombucha is quickly catching on as a popular beverage for health conscious people. You’ll find a wide range of brands to choose from at your local health food store, and many mainstream grocery stores also carry Kombucha now. But do you know what Kombucha is and why you should drink it?

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is essentially fermented sweet tea. It’s made by placing a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), often referred to as a Kombucha mushroom (even though it’s not actually a mushroom) into sweetened black and/or green tea.

After a period of time (usually one to two weeks), the SCOBY consumes the sugar in the tea, and transforms it into a tangy, naturally carbonated beverage. It is a great substitution for sugary beverages, like soda, because it has many reported health benefits.

5 Reasons to Drink Kombucha

Good Source of Probiotics

During the fermentation process, beneficial bacteria are created – making Kombucha a natural source of probiotics. If you’re trying to add more probiotics to your diet, Kombucha is a good choice.

Aids in Digestion

In addition to probiotics, which can improve digestion by balancing gut flora, Kombucha contains multiple beneficial organic acids that have been linked to better digestion.

Detoxification

The gluconic acid in Kombucha also cleanses and detoxes the liver. Probiotics and other enzymes found in Kombucha also promote detoxification of your system.

Immune Boosting

Kombucha is super rich in antioxidants, which helps to give your immune system a boost. Probiotics, like those found in Kombucha, have also been shown to improve your immune system since much of it is tied to gut health.

Energy Booster

Energy drink sales are a huge business. Unfortunately mainstream energy drinks can be harmful to your health. Thanks to a natural source of vitamin B6 as well as other B vitamins, Kombucha can give you a natural, sustained energy boost while providing many other health benefits.

yogi-kombuchaWhere to Buy Kombucha

As mentioned above, you can find Kombucha at your local health store and many mainstream grocery stores as well. In addition, Healthy Planet also carries Yogi Tea Green Tea with Kombucha.

Health Benefits of Kale

health-benefits-kaleIt is rare that we are lucky enough to find a food that tastes great, fills us up and hits a home run on the nutrition scale. When we do, we should celebrate it and add it as a regular part of our dietary menu. Kale is the latest popular green to take center stage for all the reasons mentioned above. In fact, kale is being touted as one of the best natural nutrition powerhouses in the produce department.

Here are several of the great health benefits of kale:
  • Kale is a virtually guilt free snack food. One serving offers up no fat at all, less than forty calories and plenty of fiber. This is the perfect recipe for success when it comes to healthy snacking.
  • All that fiber aids in digestion. If you have regularity problems, kale can help to ease the problem a great deal. It is a natural way to detox your body and keep your liver functioning at peak performance.
  • Kale is thought to help prevent cancer. This is because it is loaded with antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids. We are still learning about the benefits and their relationship to cancer, but it is clear that they help a great deal. Who would have guessed that a bowl of kale could help you fight off such a horrible thing?
  • Kale is a good food for those with asthma because of the cardiovascular benefits.
  • Vitamin K is another great benefit of eating kale. This wonder vitamin helps fight cancer, Alzheimer’s and even promotes healthy bones and tissue. The benefits of vitamin K seem to increase with each passing year and we may only know the half of it.
  • Kale is said to boost liver function, cell growth and iron levels – something that many people don’t get enough of.
  • Kale is an anti-inflammatory that is loaded with Omega-3s. These are known to help with all kinds of problems from autoimmune disorders to arthritis and bursitis. Omega 3s are wonderful for our health and Kale is a natural source.
  • Kale is thought to reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Kale has tons of vitamin A that helps with your skin and eyes.
  • The leafy green kale has a healthy dose of Vitamin C as well. While not as tasty as orange juice, it also lacks the sugar and other bad things you get in the juice. Each of them have their benefits.

While kale doesn’t get as much attention when you talk about leafy green veggies such as lettuce, it certainly deserves a place among the greatest veggies you can eat. Loaded with vitamins, minerals and tons of other goodies, kale will help you stay healthy and fit while still tickling your taste buds with a wonderful flavor. Give kale a place on your menu and the benefits will keep coming.

There are many ways you can enjoy kale. It is delicious in salads, soups and stir fries. Another way to enjoy it is in the form of kale chips! They make a great snack even kids enjoy.

kalechipsWhere to Buy Kale Chips

You can purchase kale chips at your local health food store. Healthy Planet also offers two brands of kale chips: Raw Vitality and Solar Raw Food. Pick up a bag today and start enjoying the many health benefits of kale chips.

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

reduce-stressStress is an unfortunate factor in modern life. Between long hours, trying to make ends meet and each of our individual challenges, the stress can really add up.

Rather than letting it mount to an attack, the key is preventing it in the first place. While we can’t remove all stressors in our lives, we can take steps to ensure stress doesn’t overtake our lives.

Here are 5 ways you can reduce stress in your life:

1. Eat a Healthful Diet

This may seem like common sense, but diet has a tremendous impact not only on our health, but also on our stress levels. Eat a balanced diet consisting of plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, pastured meat and other nutrient dense foods. By ensuring your body is getting the nutrients it needs, it will be better able to handle the stresses of daily life.

2. Exercise Regularly

Ensuring you get plenty of exercise also seems like a no brainer, but most people aren’t getting the recommended amount of regular exercise. By exercising regularly, you will be allowing your body to release endorphins, those “feel good” hormones that can naturally reduce stress. Great choices include yoga, walking, weight training and more.

3. Have Fun

So many of us spend our days working, taking care of the house and kids, making sure the bills get paid and all of the responsibilities of life. It’s so important to ensure you’re also having fun. Studies show that smiling and laughing can help reduce stress.

4. Practice Meditation

It’s hard for most of us to slow down and take the time to be mindful in our daily lives, let alone mediate. You can start by setting aside 5 minutes a day to meditate and increase that time by 1 minute per day (or week) until you’re up to your desired amount of time.

5. Take a Magnesium Supplement

Magnesium deficiency is a rampant issue. Since magnesium deficiency has been linked to increased stress, supplementing is important for most people. It’s the easiest and fastest way to get your magnesium levels up to an acceptable level. You can choose a liquid, capsule or powder supplement, or a topical application, but with an oral supplement, you want to look for a type of magnesium your body can easily assimilate like Magnesium Citrate.

natural-calmWhere to Buy Magnesium Supplements

Natural Calm is an excellent magnesium supplement that can be easily assimilated by your body. You can purchase it at your local health food store. It’s also available from Healthy Planet.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / freedigitalphotos.net

7 Benefits of Tamanu Oil

tamanu-oil-benefitsTamanu oil is an exciting natural oil found in Africa, India and Australia. Taken from the seeds of a large evergreen tree, tamanu oil is a topical agent that has been a part of medicinal traditions for ages.

Now, this wonderful oil is being used all over the world for a number of different health purposes. Generally applied directly to the skin, tamanu oil is thought to eliminate bacteria and reduce swelling and inflammation.

Here are seven great uses for tamanu oil:

  1. Psoriasis/Eczema – For those that suffer with psoriasis or eczema, tamanu oil is often a miracle oil. There are many people out there that swear by tamanu oil for getting rid of flare-ups and reducing the visual appearance from skin conditions.
  2. Pain Relief for Sciatica – This is a wonderful breakthrough in the battle for pain relief. Some people are forced to take dangerous pain medicines that are highly addicting. Now, tamanu oil is a replacement therapy for many with this horrible problem. It is also used for arthritis and other conditions.
  3. To Eliminate Stretch Marks/Scars – After pregnancy, women are always looking for ways to eliminate stretch marks. Tamanu oil is said to be effective both before and after your pregnancy in eliminating scars and stretch marks.
  4. Athlete’s Foot – This horrible, itchy affliction can be highly resistant to modern medicine and yet tamanu oil can often knock it out quickly. This powerful solution is a wonderful gift for any athlete or soldier on your list. 
  5. Acne and Pimples – Teens everywhere are looking for easy fixes for that huge pimple on the end of their noses. Wouldn’t it be nice to cure it with a natural oil? Tamanu oil is a great way to do just that. Many people use it as a regular regiment to keep their skin looking clean and refreshed.
  6. Burns – From sunburn to stove burns, tamanu oil is said to take the inflammation out of the burn. It also is supposed to help a great deal with pain and skin regeneration.
  7. Insect Bites – Mosquito bites, bee stings, bug bites and even spider bites are all painful and hard to treat. Tamanu oil is perfect for taking the edge off and treating the area. It slows the itching and takes a good amount of the sting out of the bite area.

Tamanu oil is a highly flexible treatment that is growing in popularity all the time.

new_roots_tamanu_oil_30mlWhere to Buy Tamanu Oil

Tamanu Oil can be purchased at your local health food store. This month Healthy Planet has New Roots Tamanu Oil on sale for just $7.99.


About the Author:

author

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering and founder of Green Moms Media, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family’s life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who’s willing to listen. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Why Vitamin D is More Important During Winter

winter-vitamin-dMost people know that vitamin D is an essential part of our nutrition, but few know why or how we get it. Sunshine helps in the production of vitamin D, so it follows that winter is a time of need for this essential nutrient. With less sunshine due to shorter days and cooler weather, winter can be a serious problem for people who are vitamin D deficient. In fact, it is thought that a lack of vitamin D contributes to such health issues as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, rickets and dementia, to name a few.

While some people are vitamin D deficient anyway, the winter season further affects vitamin D production in all of us. Here are some of the more prominent ways:

Shorter Days

If the days are shorter, as they are during the winter months, then you have less opportunity to be exposed to the sun’s beneficial rays. Studies have shown that shorter days means that you are outside less than usual.

Cloud Cover

When the winter season is upon us, clouds are a common occurrence due to weather patterns in many parts of the world. If it is cloudy, you are going to only get a portion of the vitamin D producing rays that you would on a bright day.

Poor Weather

Bad weather will be common during the winter season and cause plenty of people to stay indoors. If you are indoors, you have little to no chance of getting sunshine even if you are lucky enough to have the sun peek through.

Who is at risk?

People with darker skin are more likely to suffer from this problem. Additionally, those who are elderly or pregnant are susceptible as well. Anyone who is regularly avoiding the sun will be in a serious high-risk group for deficiency.

Despite the winter season, many people stay rich in vitamin D through summertime sunbathing. A very important factor is to keep sunblock on throughout. The sun can harm as quickly as it can heal. Still, a good sun bath can do wonders for your vitamin D reserve. Getting out when you can and enjoying the sun safely is a wonderful way to deal with this problem. Here are some other tips and tricks to boost your vitamin D production in the winter:

  • Take advantage of the sun when it does appear. The last thing you want to do is stay inside when you get the chance to be outside in the sunshine.
  • If you wish to eat your way there, you will have a tough time. Still, oily fish like mackerel and herring are the best sources available. Make sure you eat your share of these if you are vitamin D deficient.
  • Eggs and yogurts are particularly good sources of Vitamin D. The only item in the produce section that’s going to give you a dose of Vitamin D is mushrooms, so be sure to toss some in your cart.
  • If you’re not going to get enough Vitamin D production from the sun or from food alone (most of us won’t), oral supplements can be an effective choice.

Although vitamin D deficiency does not get as much attention as some other health or nutrient deficiencies, it is still an important one. During the winter season is when it likes to poke its ugly head up and get noticed.

Where to Buy Vitamin D Supplements

carlson-vitamin-dVitamin D supplements can be purchased at your local health food store. This month Healthy Planet has Carlson Vitamin D 1000 IU 100 Softgels on sale for just $3.99.


About the Author:

author

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering and founder of Green Moms Media, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family’s life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who’s willing to listen. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

6 Little Known Uses for Coconut Oil

coconut-oil-usesBy now, you’ve probably heard about coconut oil and its many health benefits. Most people know it can be used for cooking, but did you know it has so many other uses?

Here are 6 ways you can use coconut oil that you may not have known before.

1. Skincare. Coconut oil makes a great moisturizer all on its own, or as a base to skincare recipes. It can also be used on its own as a lip balm. In addition, it’s very soothing for eczema prone skin.

2. Sun Protection. While summer is well behind us, that doesn’t mean we need to stop thinking about sun protection. If you live or vacation somewhere where it snows, you still need to be cautious and protect your skin as the sun’s rays reflect back from the snow to your skin. If you’ll just be outdoors for a short time, coconut oil may help prevent sunburn. If you do happen to get burned, coconut oil may speed healing and alleviate stinging. Don’t apply until your skin has cooled.

3. First Aid. Coconut oil makes a great base for many salves such as homemade vapor rub, poison ivy or basic first aid salves. Be sure to store coconut oil based salves in the refrigerator if you don’t add beeswax to harden them. In addition, coconut oil may be utilized as an essential oil carrier for your wintertime applications.

4. Natural Deodorant. If you’re looking for a natural deodorant alternative, give coconut oil a try. Just rub a small amount into your underarms. The winter months are a great time to give this a try.

5. Butter Replacement. More and more people are becoming intolerant to dairy, and are looking for alternatives. Coconut oil can be used as a butter replacement in most recipes.

6. Coffee Creamer.  If you’re going dairy free, give coconut oil a try in place of your coffee creamer. Just 1-2 teaspoons will give your coffee a rich, creamy flavor with a slight tropical aroma.

Where to  Buy Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be purchased at your local health food store. This month Healthy Planet has the Nutiva Coconut Oil (29 oz) on sale for just $11.99.


About the Author:

author

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering and founder of Green Moms Media, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family’s life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who’s willing to listen. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

5 Health Benefits of Chlorophyll

chlorophyllNot many people are aware of the fact that Chlorophyll is a powerhouse in the world of health and nutrition. This molecule that is found in plants is thought to be great for us on many levels. Molecularly similar to hemoglobin, chlorophyll is great at boosting our health in a direct way. You get chlorophyll naturally in plants and vegetables, but you can also now get it in liquid, pill and raw form.

Here are five good reasons to consider this as a normal part of your diet:

Chlorophyll is thought to boost your blood production

As we know, hemoglobin transports our oxygen around our body in our blood. Chlorophyll is molecularly similar with the exception of the center atom. Chlorophyll has magnesium instead of the iron found in hemoglobin. Other than this, they are thought to be the same. This means that chlorophyll can help with not only the quality of our red blood but the amount that we have as well.

Chlorophyll is a powerful weapon against arthritis

Any type of inflammation responds well to antioxidants, and chlorophyll is a powerful one. Arthritis is a well known inflammatory health problem but there are many more out there as well. Antioxidants help us in so many ways that virtually anyone can benefit from a boost in them. Just the boost in your immune system they provide can keep you from getting sick and help you battle when sickness breaks through your bodily defenses.

Chlorophyll can treat strong cases of bad breath

Nobody likes walking around with bad breath. Some folks suffer from a condition that makes it hard to combat. Most folks can brush their teeth and use mouthwash without much care of bad breath. If you suffer from bad breath that won’t seem to go away, doctors have prescribed liquid chlorophyll to treat it. Yes, it has been used as a deodorizer. That makes it a very flexible health aid.

Chlorophyll may help in the fight against cancer

Although the studies are still being done, there are almost certainly some benefits from taking chlorophyll if you suffer from cancer. The antioxidants mentioned above are one good reason, but the molecule is also known to fight against germs and eliminate toxins. Like most things, there are no absolutes where cancer and chlorophyll is concerned, but there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the possibilities.

Chlorophyll May Be an Appetite Suppressant

In the battle against weight loss, eating less calories and exercising can be a powerful combination. Although eating less is challenging, a healthy and natural appetite suppressant can make all the difference in the world. Chlorophyll is considered to be an appetite suppressant that is not only harmless, but carries many different health benefits as well.

Where to  Buy Chlorophyll

chlorophyllChlorophyll supplements can be purchased at your local health food store. This month Healthy Planet has the Land Art Chlorophyll 250 mL on sale for just $13.99.


About the Author:

author

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering and founder of Green Moms Media, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family’s life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who’s willing to listen. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Is Krill Oil the New Omega-3?

krill-oil-omega-3By now, you’ve probably heard about the importance of supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids. While fish oil is probably the most popular and well-known form of Omega-3 supplementation, there is a new kid on the block: Krill Oil.

Krill oil is derived from Antarctic krill (a shrimp-like creature that inhabits the frigid waters of the Antarctic Ocean). Since Krill are at the very bottom of the food chain, they don’t accumulate unsafe levels of mercury, heavy metals or other toxins like many fish do.

Not only is Krill oil a safer choice than fish oil, it also has many health benefits. In fact, it may be 48 times more potent than fish oil!

Some of the health benefits of Krill Oil include:
  • Some research suggests that your body can absorb the Omega-3 fatty acids in krill oil more easily than from plants or fish oil.
  • Krill oil also contains astaxanthin, a very potent antioxidant that may be able to fight multiple free radicals at the same time. Astaxanthin also makes krill oil much less susceptible to oxidation than fish oil.
  • One study discovered that krill oil could assist women in managing the emotional symptoms of PMS and reducing the pain associated with their periods.
  • Like fish oil, krill oil can reduce arthritis stiffness and pain within 1-2 weeks.
  • Krill oil may enhance cognitive abilities, improve memory and reduce depressions.
  • Taking 1-1.5 grams of krill oil each day may reduce total cholesterol and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol as well as increase “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
  • Other studies indicate that krill oil may be beneficial in managing high blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke and preventing skin cancer.

Please note, you should not take krill oil if you are allergic to shellfish or if you take blood thinners. Consult your physician if you have questions.

innokrillWhere to Buy Krill Oil

You should be able to find krill oil at your local health food store. You can also find krill oil on the Healthy Planet website. They are currently offering a 1-2 month supply of Inno-Vite Inno-Krill supplements for $56.99.

Sources

http://inhealth.cnn.com/eating-for-heart-health/7-potential-benefits-of-krill-oil/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/26/how-can-this-oil-help-you-beat-these-24-common-diseases.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1172-KRILL%20OIL.aspx?activeIngredientId=1172&activeIngredientName=KRILL%20OIL

Image courtesy of Uwe Kils [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


About the Author:

author

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering and founder of Green Moms Media, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family’s life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who’s willing to listen. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Quinoa: Whole Grains for a Gluten-Free Diet

quinoaGluten free diets are becoming more and more prevalent and more people are diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. One of the challenges most people face when switching to a gluten free diet is figuring out what to eat.

With wheat, barley and rye off limits, do you know which grains are safe for a gluten free diet? One of the most popular gluten free grains, besides rice, is quinoa.

Quinoa is gluten-free, 100% whole grain (or rather the seed of a beet relative) that was first cultivated more than 7,000 years ago near the equator in South America. It was the staple grain in the Inca, Maya and other Native American cultures for centuries. In the Quechua language, quinoa means “Mother Grain.”

In recent decades, quinoa has again become popular for its superior nutrition, mild flavor and convenience in cooking. Versatile, it can be substituted for any grain, used whole as a hot cereal or ground into flour. It adds wonderful moisture to baked goods.

The most commonly available forms of quinoa are red, black and white. White cooks up fluffier whereas red and black quinoa are crunchier and the grains don’t stick together as much.

A healthy gluten free grain choice, quinoa offers the perfect ratio of all nine amino acids that are essential to human nutrition. Quinoa also provides a nice dose of fiber and iron.

Cooking quinoa takes less time than cooking white rice (only 12-15 minutes), so it’s a delicious alternative to having the same grain over an over again.

red-quinoaWhere to Buy Quinoa

You should be able to find quinoa at your local health food store (or even at many conventional grocery stores). This month, Healthy Planet also offers Eden Organics Red Quinoa for only $7.99! This red quinoa is a rare pasankalla variety organically grown on family plots at 12,500 feet in the Andes.

Sources

http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/healthy_cooking_101_basics_techniques/5_facts_about_quinoa_nutrition_and_cooking_quinoa

http://www.rd.com/food/recipes-cooking/what-is-quinoa-and-how-do-you-cook-with-it/


About the Author:

author

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering and founder of Green Moms Media, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family’s life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who’s willing to listen. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.