Friday, November 26, 2010

Seven herbs for indigestion

Seven herbs for indigestion. By Melissa Breyer
More from Care2 Green Living blog

Common causes for indigestion include overeating, eating too quickly, fatty or greasy foods, too much caffeine, too much alcohol, too much chocolate, nervousness, and emotional trauma. Translation: The holidays.

Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a term used to describe one or more symptoms including a feeling of fullness during a meal, uncomfortable fullness after a meal, and burning or pain in the upper abdomen; it may cause bloating, belching, and nausea. One thing is certain, it's no fun!

If that last wafer-thin mint has you cowering on the couch, you may want to try one of these natural aids for indigestion. Herbs have been used for millennia to treat any matter of ailments, and indigestion seems to be one woe that is well-suited for natural remedies.

Fennel / Fennel Seed
There is a reason Indian restaurants serve the fennel seed mix, Mukhwas, after dinner. Fennel seed has long been used to help fight gas, cramps, and acid indigestion, and to help ease spasms in the intestinal tract.

Fennel has a long history of use in both food and medicine. Traditionally, it is said to act as a carminative, which means that it helps the body expel gas and sooth indigestion. Fennel is also a common ingredient in "gripe water," a traditional (and very alcoholic, by the way) preparation used for treating infant colic.

Fennel leaves can be used to make tea. NYU Langone Medical Center says that a typical dose of fennel is 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of seeds per day.

Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and has been a favorite since the Middle Ages for reducing stress and anxiety, abetting sleep, sparking appetite, and easing indigestion.

These days, lemon balm is commonly mixed with other calming herbs to help promote relaxation. Evidence suggests that lemon balm, in combination with other herbs, may help treat indigestion -- although just soothing the stress alone can sometimes help with dyspepsia.

To reduce indigestion, flatulence, or bloating, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends:

Capsules: Take 300 - 500 mg dried lemon balm, 3 times daily or as needed.
Tea: 1.5 - 4.5 grams (1/4 - 1 teaspoonful) of dried lemon balm herb in hot water. Steep and drink up to 4 times daily.
Tincture: 2 - 3 mL (40 - 90 drops), 3 times daily

Turmeric is the little minx of the spice drawer -- super bright, spicy, and boasting a broad array of health claims. You may know it as the main spice in curry and the one which imparts that intense golden glow, but turmeric is also used for health remedies.

In traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used to aid digestion and liver function, relieve arthritis pain, and regulate menstruation. It has also traditionally been used for heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, and stomach bloating.

According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, turmeric's superpower comes in the form of the substance, curcumin, that, among other properties, may stimulate gallbladder contractions. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that 87% percent of the curcumin group experienced full or partial symptom relief from dyspepsia as compared to 53% of the placebo group.

The National Institutes of Health recommends a dosage of 500 mg of turmeric four times daily for dyspepsia.

Ginger has long been used as a medicine in Asian, Indian, and Arabic herbal traditions. In China, ginger has been used to aid all types of digestion disorders for more than 2,000 years. Fast-forward to modern medicine, and health care professionals still commonly recommend ginger to help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting. It is also used as a digestive aid for mild stomach upset.

Germany's Commission E has approved ginger as a treatment for indigestion and motion sickness. Curiously, while most anti-nausea drugs work on the brain and the inner ear, ginger seems to act directly on the stomach.

For most purposes, the standard dosage of powdered ginger is 1 to 4 g daily, divided into 2 to 4 doses per day. (To prevent motion sickness, you should aim to begin treatment 1 or 2 days before the trip and continue it throughout the period of travel.)

Artichoke Leaf
If you have ever wondered what in the world were those Italians thinking when they invented the artichoke aperitif liqueur, Cynar, here's you answer. In traditional European medicine, the leaves of the artichoke plant (not the leaves of the bud, which is the part that we eat) were used as a diuretic to stimulate the kidneys and as well as the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder; which plays a starring role in digestion.

Over the past century, much research has been done looking into the traditional medicinal uses of the artichoke plant; conclusions suggest that the plant does indeed stimulate the kidney and gallbladder. In the mid-20th century, Italian scientists isolated a compound from artichoke leaf called cynarin, which appeared to duplicate many of the effects of whole artichoke. Salute!

In 2003, a large study evaluated artichoke leaf as a treatment for dyspepsia; artichoke leaf extract proved significantly more effective than placebo for alleviating symptoms of functional dyspepsia. Germany's Commission E has authorized the use of artichoke leaf use for "dyspeptic problems" -- they recommend 6 grams of the dried herb or its equivalent per day, usually divided into 3 doses. Artichoke leaf extracts should be taken according to label instructions.

Peppermint is often used to soothe an upset stomach or to aid in digestion. Because of its subtle numbing effect, it has been used to treat everything from headaches, skin irritations, and anxiety to nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, and flatulence.

Peppermint oil seems to be helpful for a variety of conditions that involve spasm of the intestinal tract. Most studies have involved irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), for which peppermint oil has shown considerable promise.

Peppermint relaxes the muscles that struggle with digestive gas and improve the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. In studies on using peppermint to treat IBS, there seems to be a trend indicating mild effectiveness in the reduction of some symptoms, especially flatulence and abdominal pain and distension. However, if your symptoms of indigestion are related to a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, peppermint should not be used.

OK, this one is confusing: Doesn't spicy food cause stomach aches? According to the folks at NYU, evidence suggests that oral use of cayenne can reduce the pain of dyspepsia! Counter-intuitive, at best, but apparently hot peppers don't actually inflame the tissues they contact; in fact, hot peppers aren't even harmful for ulcers. Rather, they merely produce sensations similar to those caused by actual damage.

Oral use of capsaicin seems to reduce discomfort in the stomach. In a double-blind study, individuals with dyspepsia were given either 2.5 g daily of red pepper powder (divided up and taken prior to meals) or placebo for 5 weeks. By the third week of treatment, individuals taking red pepper were experiencing significant improvements in pain, bloating, and nausea as compared to placebo, and these relative improvements lasted through the end of the study.

For treatment of dyspepsia, cayenne may be taken at a dosage of 0.5 to 1.0 g three times daily (prior to meals).

For these and all herbs, do not exceed dosage recommendations, and be sure to consult with your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking any medication.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

50 Buzzwords You Shouldn't Use on Your Resume

50 Buzzwords You Shouldn't Use on Your Resume

You've written your resume. You poured a lot of effort into the page that will represent you, and you can't wait to distribute it far and wide.

Not so fast. Before you send that puppy out, check it for buzzwords. Like "team player." Or "detail-oriented." Or "accustomed to fast-paced environments."

Here's why you should avoid them: They're vague. They make your resume look like everyone else's. They're probably not among the keywords employers search for. They take up space on your resume that could be used for strong, concrete, specific examples of what you've accomplished, the work you've produced, and how hiring you would benefit your potential employer. Buzzwords are tired and overused, cliches that have lost their meaning over time.

Most importantly, every buzzword is a lost opportunity.

You want your resume to stand out. The best way to sell yourself is to show, don't tell. Explain your accomplishments rather than spouting them off in trite ways.

So check your resume for these boilerplate words and phrases. If you find them, replace them--or at the very least, elaborate upon them--with real-life, specific examples.

1. Team player

2. Detailed-oriented

[See 21 Secrets to Getting the Job.]

3. Proven track record of success

4. Experienced

5. Excellent communication skills

6. Leadership skills

7. Go-to person

8. Managed cross-functional teams

9. Exceptional organizational skills

10. Self-starter

11. Results-oriented professional

12. Bottom-line orientated

13. Works well with customers

14. Strong negotiation skills

15. Goal-oriented

16. People-person

17. Dynamic

[See How to Use a Job Rejection to Your Advantage.]

18. Innovative

19. Proven ability

20. Top-flight

21. Motivated

22. Bottom-line focused

23. Responsible for

24. Assisted with

25. Skilled problem solver

26. Accustomed to fast-paced environments

27. Strong work ethic

28. Works well with all levels of staff

29. Met (or exceeded) expectations

30. Savvy business professional

31. Strong presentation skills

32. Looking for a challenging opportunity

33. Cutting-edge

34. Multi-tasker

35. Proactive

36. Seasoned professional

37. Perfectionist

38. Highly skilled

39. Functioned as

40. Duties included

41. Actions encompassed

42. Best-in-class

43. Strategic thinker

44. Trustworthy

[For more career advice, visit U.S. News Careers.]

45. Flexible

46. Works well under pressure

47. Quick learner

48. Partnered with others

49. Results-focused

50. Out-of-the-box thinker

Finally, here's one more phrase you don't need to include on your resume: "References furnished upon request." It's assumed that you'll offer references if the employer asks, so don't clutter your resume with those unnecessary words.

Karen Burns is the author of the illustrated career advice book The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, recently released by Running Press. She blogs at

Sunday, November 7, 2010

9 Bathroom Cleaning Problems Solved

9 Bathroom Cleaning Problems Solved.

by Reader's Digest Magazine

"My shower curtain is crawling with mildew"

Wash it with a bleach solution. Shower curtains can be tricky to clean because they are big and cumbersome. Getting rid of mildew, especially during damp weather, can be especially challenging. Here’s a solution that’s quick, easy, and low-cost: Pour 1gallon (3.7 liters) of warm water and 1⁄2 cup of household bleachinto a plastic bucket. With plastic gloves on, soak a sponge in this cleaning solution, give it a squeeze to avoid drips, and wipe. The mildew will vanish. Rinse using the showerhead.

2. "I’m ready to toss this filthy shower curtain liner"
Toss it in the washer. Don’t throw away your liner just because of mildew and dirt buildup. Extend its life by cleaning it in your washing machine. Set the machine on the gentle cycle with warmwater and 1 cup of regular laundry detergent or 1⁄2 cup of vinegar. Afterward, whirl it in your drier, set on Low Heat or Fluff, for about 20 minutes. Your liner will come out clean and wrinkle-free. Rehang it immediately.

3. "My brass fixtures look dull"
Polish them with baking soda and lemon juice. Don’t rush out to buy an expensive brass cleaner. Save time and money by making a paste with equal amounts of baking soda and lemon juice. Dip an old toothbrush in the mix and lightly scrub the fixtures. Let the solution dry a few minutes and then buff the fixtures with a clean cloth. They’ll look brand new.

4. "The nooks and crannies in my bathroom are hard to clean"
Use an old toothbrush. An old toothbrush is the perfect time-saving bathroom-cleaning tool. For example, you can use it to clean the tracks of your bathtub’s sliding glass doors. Simply spray bathroom cleaner on a paper towel and wrap the towel around the bristle end of the toothbrush. Then scoot the brush along the tracks to dislodge dirt. Or put the little bristles to work on the grime that collects around the rim of a bathroom sink. Once the bristles have loosened the dirt, just mop it up with a damp sponge.

5. "I hate those mineral deposits on my bathroom faucet"
Remove them with white vinegar. No one likes crusty white deposits on a faucet. Try this easy solution: Before you go to bed one night, head to your kitchen for a bottle of white vinegar and three paper towels. Saturate the towels in the white vinegar and wrap them around the faucet like a cocoon. In the morning, remove thetowels. Fill the basin with warm water, plus a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Dip an old toothbrush in the solution and scrub the faucet toremove the final bits of mineral deposit.

PLUS: How to Save on 8 Decoration Splurges

6. "I have scum buildup on shower doors."
Use furniture oil to prevent buildup. Cleaning soap scum off a shower door is a tough, time-consuming job. Try using lemon oil furniture polish as a barrier against the scummy buildup. The next time you clean the door, follow up by wiping it with furniture oil on a soft rag. Let the oil sit for two minutes and then polish off the excess with a dry cloth. The furniture polish will leave a slight film of oil that will act as a buffer against future soap scum. Using a shower squeegee (available at discount stores and supermarkets) after every shower will also discourage the buildup.

7. "My glass shower doors are filmy"
Clean them with vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Stubborn mineral buildup on glass shower doors is no competition for a few common household ingredients—white vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Spray vinegar on the door and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, create a paste with equal amounts of baking soda and salt. Use adamp sponge to rub this paste over the door; then rinse well.

8. "My bathroom grout is grungy with mildew"
Spray it with vinegar. Mildew on grout is no match for that miracle household cleaning dynamo called vinegar. Just pour somewhite vinegar into a container, dip in an old toothbrush, and scrub away at the mildew. Or pour the vinegar into a spray bottle, squirt it on the mildew, and let it sit for ten minutes. Rinse with water and apply the old toothbrush if necessary. Bleach is effective in removing mildew from tile grout. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts of household chloride bleach and water. Spray the grout, let it sit a few minutes, and then wipe with a clean white cotton cloth.

PLUS: 9 Fixes for Everyday Clutter

9. "Those nonslip bathtub stickers won’t peel off"
Loosen them with laundry presoak. You know the ones: They’re shaped like flowers and fish and are stuck on with industrial-strength adhesive. Instead of ruining the smooth surface of your tub trying to scrape them off, follow these simple steps for removing them: Carefully lift corners on each sticker using your fingernail or a plastic scraper. (Metal will scratch most tubs.) Spray the stickers with a good dose of laundry pretreatment product, such as Shout or Spray ’n Wash. Let the stickers soak in the spray for a few hours. This should loosen the stickers and allow you to peel them off. Wipe up any adhesive residue and the laundry spray. Clean and rinse the tub thoroughly.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

7 Best Bone-Building Foods

7 Best Bone-Building Foods

Women start to lose bone mass in their 30s. But a good diet will lower the risk of a weak skeleton. Here are 7 foods that are great for your main frame.
Click here for more.

1. Seeds

Our skeleton is largely made of calcium, but other minerals play a key role too. In fact, 50% of the body’s magnesium resides in our bones. Low levels are linked to fragile bones and calcium loss, research shows.

All seeds are good magnesium sources, but pumpkin seeds outshine the rest.

Here are a few ways to eat seeds:

•Measure a 1-ounce portion to take to work for an afternoon pick-me-up.

•Sprinkle a tablespoon or two onto your mixed green salad.

•Toss some with green beans or sautéed spinach.

Women start to lose bone mass in their 30s. But a good diet will lower the risk of a weak skeleton. Here are 7 foods that are great for your main frame. Plus, you can make up for diet deficiencies with supplements, but how much do you know about them? Test yourself with our quiz…

1. Seeds
Our skeleton is largely made of calcium, but other minerals play a key role too. In fact, 50% of the body’s magnesium resides in our bones. Low levels are linked to fragile bones and calcium loss, research shows.

All seeds are good magnesium sources, but pumpkin seeds outshine the rest.

Here are a few ways to eat seeds:

Measure a 1-ounce portion to take to work for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Sprinkle a tablespoon or two onto your mixed green salad.

Toss some with green beans or sautéed spinach.

2. Nuts
Bones aren’t hard and brittle; they’re living organs with live cells and fluids. Every day, bone cells break down and build up. That’s how they remain strong and heal after a break.

Walnuts – rich in alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid – decrease the rate of bone breakdown and keep bone formation constant, according to a 2007 Nutrition Journal study. Brazil nuts are also great sources of magnesium.

So grab a small handful for a snack or sprinkle a couple tablespoons into your oatmeal. Keep in mind that nuts are high-fat and high-calorie, so limit your daily serving to one ounce – about 1/4 cup.

Other foods with alpha linolenic acid include: flaxseed oil, ground flaxseeds, walnut oil, soybeans, soybean oil and canola oil.

3. Oysters
Long touted as an aphrodisiac, the oyster is our best source of zinc, a mineral important in immune function, normal growth, taste, smell, wound healing and dozens of enzymatic reactions in the body.

One of those chemical reactions aids in the formation of bone collagen, the protein framework of bones that makes them somewhat flexible.

Enjoy oysters steamed, boiled, baked and in stews. A word caution about raw oysters: They may be contaminated with the bacteria vibrio, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

4. Leafy Greens
Make green your new favorite color. Your salads and steamed greens are packed with bone-building nutrients, particularly calcium, magnesium and vitamin K.
Vitamin K is critical in forming bone proteins and cuts calcium loss in urine. Too little of this fat-soluble vitamin increases risk of hip fractures, research shows.

Just one cup of raw or a half-cup of cooked greens provides several times the recommended intake of 90 micrograms per day.

Here are a few ways to sneak some extra greens in today:

Add lettuce to your sandwiches. Even iceberg has vitamin K.

Slip spinach leaves between layers of noodles in homemade lasagna.

Start your dinner with a salad of spinach or mixed greens.

Try dandelion greens or Swiss chard for dinner.

5. Beans
Have beans for supper tonight, especially pinto, black, white and kidney beans. You’ll get another good boost of magnesium and even some calcium. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 2-1/2 cups of beans and other legumes (peas, lentils) weekly.
Bean-eaters reduce their risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity. Problem is, most people don’t know what to do with them. Here are a few ideas:

At the beginning of the week, open and rinse a can of beans, and store them in your refrigerator. Each night, toss a heaping spoonful into your mixed green salad.

Top nachos with red beans.

Mix any canned bean into vegetable soups.

Add black beans or kidney beans to pasta salads.

Instead of coleslaw or potato salad, take a bean salad to your next potluck supper.

6. Fish
When it comes to bones, calcium is nothing without vitamin D, which we need so our bodies can absorb calcium. As with vitamin K, vitamin D deficiency also is linked to hip fracture.

In fact, 50% of women with osteoporosis who were hospitalized for hip fracture had signs of vitamin D deficiency, according to a scientific review by the American Medical Association.

The best fish? Salmon. A small serving of salmon – only 3-1/2 ounces – gives you 90% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D. If you want a double-whammy of bone-building nutrients, don’t just look to fresh fish. Canned salmon provides vitamin D and calcium… as long as you eat the bones. (Don’t worry, they’re soft.)

7. Dairy
Many of us forget about milk once we outgrow crazy straws and strawberry powder, but bones don’t stop developing in our teens. We add bone mass even in our 20s, but only if we consume enough of the nutritional elements.

Once we reach menopause and begin to lose estrogen, our bones lose calcium more rapidly than at any other time in our lives. Here again, calcium and vitamin D can help delay the loss of bone mass.

Milk is a good source of vitamin D because it is fortified. Cheese, yogurt and ice cream generally aren’t; they contain little vitamin D. Drink nonfat or 1% milk; the others have high saturated fat and cholesterol content. Pour a nice cold glass and enjoy – with or without a cookie.

More Dos and Don’ts for Strong Bones

Do eat fruits and veggies. Higher consumption means greater bone mineral density. Researchers can’t say why, but fruits and vegetables are loaded with an array of nutrients that build strong bones.

Do exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Weight-bearing exercises like running, dancing and lifting weights stress your bones in a good way. This signals your body to make more bone cells.
Don’t drink too much. Alcohol can inhibit the formation of new bone cells.

Don’t drink cola. Regular cola drinkers have lower bone mineral density than women who rarely drink cola.

Don’t smoke. The more you smoke, the greater your risk of a fracture.

Don’t worry about caffeine – if you get enough calcium. Drink caffeine and you’ll lose more calcium in your urine 1-3 hours afterward. Drinking more than 2-3 cups of coffee per day is associated with bone loss in postmenopausal women when their calcium intake is inadequate.

Aim for 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily – the equivalent of four cups of milk or yogurt – if you’ve hit menopause. Otherwise, 1,000 mg should do.

6 Diet Rules You Can Break

6 Diet Rules You Can Break!
By Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.

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Health Topics »It’s no secret that the number one diet “rule to live by” is this: to lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than you burn over an extended period of time. Beyond that, the rules of weight loss are actually a lot more flexible than you might think (and, as you probably know from personal experience, what works for one person may not work for another). Here are six universal diet truths that, as it turns out, aren’t always true.

1.You Must Exercise To Lose Weight. Controlling calories and food intake is key to shedding unwanted pounds (much more so than exercise). If you’re not able to be active or just can’t commit to a regular workout schedule, you can still lose weight without exercising if you carefully monitor your food intake. Of course, being physically active provides a whole host of health benefits outside of weight management, and for this reason I highly encourage everyone to incorporate fitness into their lifestyle. But if you absolutely can’t or won’t exercise, know that it’s still possible to achieve your weight loss goals.

2.Only Weigh Yourself Once Per Week. There is no “one size fits all” rule with weighing. Some people do better with daily weigh-ins and others with no scale at all; it’s really a personal choice. If you find that daily or weekly visits to the bathroom scale help you stay accountable, by all means, maintain your usual routine. If tracking your numbers tends to make you obsess a bit, you can always gauge your weight loss by taking occasional measurements or noting changes in your clothing size.

3.Dessert is a No-No. As long as you account for the calories, dessert is perfectly okay—whether it’s berries, cookies, or a slice of rich, fudgy chocolate cake. Some dieters that I’ve counseled like to build in one portion-controlled treat per day—maybe two cookies or a low-fat ice cream pop. Others prefer to save up their “discretionary calories” and splurge on one decadent dessert per week from a restaurant or bakery. Whatever your preferred strategy, it is definitely possible to satisfy a sweet tooth without derailing your diet.

4.Portion Control Everything You Eat. Not true! You can overeat non-starchy vegetables to your heart’s content, as long as you prepare them in healthful ways. Non-starchy vegetables—like leafy greens, cucumbers, carrots, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower and green beans—are incredibly low in calories, thanks to their high water and fiber content. They’ll fill you up and displace more caloric foods…and ultimately help you lose weight by eating more!

5.Never Skip Breakfast (it’s the most important meal of day.) Some people are just not naturally conditioned to be early morning eaters, and that’s completely understandable. There’s no reason to force yourself into eating breakfast if you’re not hungry, as long as you’re not having a problem with overeating later in the day. Instead, have a meal or mid-morning snack later on, when your appetite finally kicks in.

6.Salads Are Your Best Bet For Losing Weight. Sadly, some salads are actually more caloric than a loaded burger with a side of fries…those certainly won’t do you any favors on the scale. And if you hate salads and they leave you feeling completely unsatisfied, they can actually be counterproductive. If you view these diet staples as bland, boring “rabbit food”, you certainly shouldn’t feel obligated to include them in your meal plan. Find more interesting lunch and dinner options that excite your taste buds and satisfy your appetite. You’ll stick with your diet longer if you’re enjoying what you’re eating.

For more tips on losing weight, visit and follow Joy on Facebook and Twitter.