13 Curcumin And Turmeric Benefits: An Impressive Healing Spice

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Turmeric is a spice belonging to the ginger family. It is commonly used in Asian food, such as curry. The vibrant yellow-orange color and zesty flavor make a delicious and healthful addition to a variety of dishes.

Curcumin is a yellow chemical produced by the turmeric plant. It is loaded with antioxidants!

Many studies show that turmeric is more effective than many prescription drugs. And, because turmeric is all-natural, it comes without the bothersome side effects of prescriptions.

Turmeric is one of the most impressive nutritional dietary supplements available. So read on to learn what makes this spice so unique.

13 Curcumin And Turmeric Benefits

1. A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

When our body experiences long-term inflammation it can lead to a host of diseases. In fact, it’s now believed that most Western chronic diseases involve ongoing inflammation. This includes cancer, metabolic disorders, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and many other diseases.

Amazingly, the curcumin in turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, as strong as effective as some pharmaceuticals without the side effects (1).

2. Can Help Prevent And Treat Cancer

Cancer is a horrible disease caused by out-of-control growth of abnormal cells.

Encouraging research studies show that curcumin may help prevent and treat different types of cancer. (2)

3. A Natural Painkiller

Results of a study in the European Journal of Pharmacology show that curcumin turns on the opioid systems in lab animals. This our body’s natural pain-killing response.

The U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research recommends that burn victims be treated with all-natural curcumin instead of addictive opioids. This trend away from prescription opioids is a very good one if you ask me.

4. May Reverse Depression Symptoms

In one study, curcumin was shown to be as effective as prozac in treating patients with depression. (4) And, once again, without the side effects.

Evidence also suggests curcumin increases the brain’s serotonin and dopamine levels. (5, 6).

5. A Natural Treatment For Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain, inflammation and stiffness in the joints.

In a study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2012, patients with rheumatoid arthritis were given curcumin. It was found to be more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug for treating their arthritis symptoms. (7)

6. May Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that destroys the memory. One feature of Alzheimer’s is the buildup of Amyloid plaques. Research shows curcumin can help wipe out these plaques. (8)

7. Lowers Heart Disease Risk

turmeric benefits
Curcumin my lower the risk of heart disease.

Heart disease kills more people worldwide than any other disease.

There are many things that contribute to it, but curcumin may help reverse some of these processes. (9)

The endothelium is the lining of the blood vessels. It is essential in maintaining proper blood pressure and blood clotting. Studies show that curcumin can improve endothelial function, which is essential in preventing heart disease. (10)

8. A Powerful Antioxidant

Antioxidants protect our bodies from damage caused by free radicals. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can counteract free radicals. (11)

Curcumin can also activate the body’s antioxidant-producing enzymes. (12)

9. Lower Blood Sugar And Reverse Diabetes

Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications published a study in 2009 out of Auburn University that found turmeric can help reverse Type 2 Diabetes.

Furthermore, the study noted that curcumin is 200 times more potent than Metformin (a leading diabetes medication) when it comes to initiating AMPK, which improves insulin sensitivity. (13)

10. Can Help Heal The Gut

Over time, taking prescription drugs can damage the stomach floral and intestinal lining causing a host of gastrointestinal issues.

A review of all the studies assessing curcumin’s ability to manage inflammatory bowel disease found many patients improved so dramatically by taking curcumin that they were able to stop taking prescription steroids they’d been taking prior. (14)

11. Regulates Cholesterol

A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that curcumin was as effective or more effective at treating symptoms of high cholesterol than Lipitor. (15)

12. Reduces Risk Of Childhood Leukemia

Children under 5 are more susceptible to leukemia. However, in Asian countries there is a lower incidence of leukemia, likely related to diet. For example, curry is a popular dish there and curry contains turmeric.

Research shows that consuming turmeric may reduce childhood leukemia (12).

13. May Increase Longevity

Because turmeric is rich in antioxidants and helps prevent and reverse many serious diseases, it may add years to your life (or life to your years).

Either way you look at it, turmeric and curcumin are great choices if you’re searching for an anti-aging supplement. So read on for info about how to get the most benefits from this amazing spice.

How To Use Turmeric

turmeric benefits
Curcumin is used to flavor many dishes, including this vegetable curry.
  1. Add it to your food. Popular in curry dishes, it’s also a great way to spice up soups, eggs, meat and veggie dishes.
  2. Take it as a supplement. I recommend taking one with black pepper, which contains piperine. The piperine greatly enhances the absorption of the turmeric, like as much as 2000%. Here’s an example of a turmeric curcumin supplement with piperine.
  3. Drink turmeric tea. Here’s a simple recipe, courtesy of realsimple.com:

 Replace the water with coconut or almond milk if you prefer, and modify according to taste, adding spices such as cinnamon, ginger or cayenne and natural sweeteners.

  • 1-2 cups of boiling water
  • Add 1-2 teaspoon of ground or freshly-grated turmeric (preferably USDA certified organic to avoid contaminants and pesticides) to the boiling water. If too strong, use less turmeric. Simmer for about 10 minutes along with any additional spices. If using freshly-grated turmeric, simmer for a few minutes longer.
  • Strain the tea into a cup and add lemon, milk or honey to taste.

The Takeaway

In closing, turmeric has some awesome health benefits such as reversing diabetes and depression, preventing Alzheimer’s, cancer, childhood Leukemia, and managing cholesterol and pain just to name a few. It’s also easy to take as a supplement or use to flavor your food or beverages.

I hope you enjoyed reading about curcumin and turmeric benefits because it really is an amazing spice!

Also, if you liked this you may want to check out:

Finally, this post contains affiliate links. You can read our Affiliate Policy here.


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16 Vital Facts About Lyme Disease: A National Epidemic

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People are talking more about Lyme disease lately. And with good reason.

A bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi causes Lyme. The bacterium is a spiral-shaped spirochete. Try saying that 5 times fast.

But joking aside, Lyme disease is no joking matter. In fact, it’s a serious topic for any of the millions who have it or have had it.

It is a world-wide disease and it has been reported in all 50 states.

So, here are 10 essential facts about Lyme disease–what you need to know:

Facts About Lyme Disease

  1. Lyme disease is a national epidemic. Over 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year according to the CDC. This is 10 times more than previously reported. Furthermore, Lyme is under-diagnosed and under-reported.
  2. It is called “The Great Imitator”. This is because it can mimic other conditions such as arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, Bells Palsy, ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, MS, ADD, Lupus and others.
  3. Less than 50% of Lyme disease patients recall a tick bite. The ticks are often the size of a poppy seed and go undetected. (1)
  4. Less than 50% of Lyme disease patients recall a rash. Despite what you may have heard, many people never get a bulls-eye rash. Some may experience other types of rashes, but many don’t recall a rash at all. (2)
  5. Lyme disease affects 6 times more people in the U.S. than HIV/AIDS, yet it receives less than 1% of the funding. And Lyme is nearly twice as common as breast cancer. Yet insurance doesn’t cover long-term treatment for chronically ill Lyme patients. So they have to pay out-of-pocket for expensive treatments. As a result, many cannot work anymore and have lost their homes simply trying to pay for proper medical care. Something is very wrong with this picture.

    facts about Lyme disease
    Ticks can be as small as a poppy seed.
  6. According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne disease in the U.S. Vectors include ticks, mosquitoes, flies, parasites, sandflies, fleas and freshwater snails.
  7. Anyone can get Lyme disease. But children and those with lower immune function are the among the most susceptible. People exposed to mold, parasites and systemic infection are also vulnerable.
  8. There are 5 subspecies of Borrelia Burgdorferi (the Lyme spirochete), over 100 strains in the U.S., and 300 strains worldwide. (3) And the really crazy thing is that these spirochetes are adapting to the environment. They can actually change forms to evade antibiotics. The different forms include cyst form, cell-wall-deficient form and spirochete form.
  9. The number of cases of Lyme reported annually has increased nearly 25-fold since national surveillance started in 1982. (4) And that doesn’t even include all the unreported cases.
  10. Lyme disease is transmitted by a tick bite. Ticks are everywhere. They know no borders. So if you are sick and have Lyme disease symptoms please go to a Lyme-literate doctor. Here is a link to help you find a doctor who specializes in treating patients with Lyme disease. Also, spirochetes were found in mosquitoes and horse flies, according to Willie Burgdorfer, the man who discovered Lyme disease. However, they don’t yet know the rate of transmission. (5)
  11.  The most commonly given test for Lyme is the ELISA test. But, it is unreliable and misses 35% of culture-proven Lyme disease. (6) Currently, the most sensitive test is the IgG and ImG Western Blot tests, available through IGeneX Lab in Palo Alto. www.igenex.com.
  12. People who often spend time outdoors are more likely to get Lyme. If you spend time working outside in the grass or woods apply a natural tick-repellent before going out. And make sure to be extra vigilant to check for ticks when you come inside. Also it’s best to remove your clothes as soon as you come in and wash and dry them. Finally, check thoroughly for ticks before taking a shower. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s so much better than the alternative.
  13. Test for other tick-borne illnesses too. Examples of these co-infections include: Babesia, Tularemia, Anaplasma, Bartonella, Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick Fever and Ehrlichia. If any of these or others are present and left untreated it reduces the chances of successful Lyme disease treatment. (7)
  14. No studies show 30 days of antibiotic treatment cure chronic Lyme disease. According to ilads.org, “Short treatment courses have resulted in upwards of a 40% relapse rate, especially if treatment is delayed.” (8)
  15. When first getting bit, common symptoms include: flu-like symptoms, headaches, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, muscle pain, vision problems, nausea, loss of appetite, swollen glands, rashes, neck stiffness and pain, trouble sleeping, chills, sweats. You may want to read The Signs, Symptoms And Stages Of Lyme Disease for more details.   
  16. Lyme can cause long-term complications when it’s untreated. And, unfortunately, the average Lyme disease patient sees 5 different doctors over the course of about 2 years before being diagnosed. This was my experience too. By this time, the disease has done tremendous damage to the body and patients often end up having long-term health problems. (9)  At this point it is called Chronic Lyme Disease, or sometimes called Late Persistent Lyme Disease. Symptoms include:
  • Extreme exhaustion not relieved by sleeping or resting
  • Inability to control facial muscles
  • Heart problems, such as pericarditis
  • Tingling and numbness of the hands and feet
  • Arthritis, often in the larger joints, such as the knees
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Confusion
    facts about Lyme disease
    Failure to treat Lyme promptly can cause damage to the brain, joints and nervous system. This is the most serious stage, Chronic Lyme Disease, or Late Persistent Lyme Disease
  • Difficulty thinking or reasoning
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Tremor
  • Sensitivity to sound, light and smells
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Mood swings, depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Migrating joint and muscle pain
  • Vertigo
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Vision difficulties
  • Weight gain or loss
  • “Air hunger”
  • Pain in the chest or ribs
  • “Heart block”
  • Neck pain, stiffness and cracking
  • Night sweats
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Heart murmur or valve prolapse
  • Light-headedness, dizziness
  • Menstrual irregularity

The Takeaway

Lyme disease is a serious, debilitating disease. And it’s essential to know the facts. I hope this has helped you learn more about Lyme disease so you can protect yourself and your family.

Do you know anyone with Lyme disease? Please share your thoughts and experiences below. I love hearing from you and will reply to your comments as quickly as possible.

Also, for more about Lyme disease you may want to check out:

Finally, the information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem.

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5 Good Reasons To Drink Coffee Every Day For Better Health

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By contributing author– Rudy Caretti (biography below)

“So, you love coffee? You are not the only one. Fortunately, an everyday dose of coffee in the right quantity is attributed to various health benefits.

5 Reasons To Drink Coffee Every Day

1. Coffee helps you perform better during workouts.

You may already know, but most supplements taken by athletes contain coffee extracts such as caffeine. There is a scientific reason behind this. Caffeine has several effects on the human system that causes one to do better during physical activity. When taken 30 minutes before any physical activity, black coffee promotes the release of endorphins. These hormones are responsible for our happy moods and adrenaline. These two hormones cause the body to respond positively to any training, leading to better results.

Besides, caffeine alters the way the nervous system responds to pain. This causes the body to endure more strenuous reasons to drink coffeesituations. In this case, your muscles will tolerate longer sessions of intensive endurance- and strength-building exercises.

In a nutshell, caffeine can propel one to train harder, thus improving their results. No wonder scientific research has found coffee can improve athletic performance by about 11-12%.

2. It is loaded with minerals and antioxidants.

The red berry is one food substance packed with many essential nutrients. If you prepare your cup rightly, you are sure to ingest these into your body.

Also, some of the nutrients obtained by drinking coffee include:

  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • niacin
  • riboflavin
  • pantothenic acid

Coffee also contains more antioxidants than a single serving of fruits and vegetables combined.

3. Coffee can keep diseases at bay.

Research shows coffee can help keep dangerous diseases away. Some of these diseases have claimed the lives of many people. Others do not have any known cure. Luckily, one can lower their chances of contracting such ailments by drinking coffee. Some of the said ailments are listed below.

  • Parkinson’s disease: According to Mayo Clinic, “Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually.” A 2002 report published in the Annals of Neurology showed those who drank java daily lowered their chances of suffering from Parkinson’s by 32% and 60%. This finding was unique to those who enjoyed caffeinated coffee only.
  • Diabetes II: A study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers looked at information collected over 4 years on people with diabetes II and some without. The study was divided into 3 sections. The researchers were interested in finding the relationship between type 2 diabetes and the kind of diet the study subjects were eating. The results showed that among the 7,269 subjects, the people who took at least one cup of coffee each day for those 4 years decreased their chances of developing diabetes II by 11%.
  • Cardiovascular diseases: Contrary to the popular belief that caffeine in coffee can lead to high blood pressure and consequently endanger your heart, research has shown the effect is dismal. Regular intake will not only cause the blood pressure risk to disappear, but also lower your chance of developing heart disease by 20%. This finding was upheld by a Korean study published in 2014. The study found that taking coffee in moderate amounts reduces one’s disposition to coronary artery calcium (CAC). CAC is a key indicator of possible cardiovascular disease.

With the burden of such ailments off your shoulders, you are likely to lead a long, healthy and happier life. No wonder, another benefit you could be enjoying by simply sipping your cup of Joe is the possibility to live longer.

4. It makes your skin and hair blossom.

As mentioned earlier, coffee is packed with many antioxidants and minerals which could help keep your skin healthier and glowing. When the body is getting rid of various toxins successfully, one part that is likely to blemish is your skin. Also, the vitamins and minerals cause your hair to grow faster. Also, did you know you can treat your hair with a cool brew of a strong pot of coffee to make it shiny, stronger and healthier?

reasons to drink coffee5. Coffee improves your mental health.

Good mental health is a result of a combination of several factors. However, the most important one is happiness. Most benefits of coffee discussed above work together to make you a happier person. In this regard, you are likely to enjoy better mental health. There are other ways, however, coffee could be good for your mental well-being.

Based on a 2011 Harvard study, people who enjoyed at least 4 cups of coffee daily lowered the risk of falling into depression by 20%. Depression is one of the many mental disorders that can deprive one the joy of leading a fulfilling life.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, coffee is a delicious beverage many of us enjoy each and every day. There are many reasons to drink coffee including health benefits for our skin, hair, mental health and disease prevention.

For more about coffee, you might like you check out: reasons to drink coffee


Author, Rudy Caretti, has more than 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, a passion that started in Italy within the family business and brought him to found Gimoka Coffee UK and G Coffee Pod with a group of friends, who share the same passion.

Since he roasted his first batch of coffee seeds as a teenager, he was fascinated by the many ways it can be processed to get the many distinctive flavors we all love.

As a coffee connoisseur, Rudy has always been aware of the vital role coffee plays in people’s social life. And he is especially active through the company’s social media and blog. He loves sharing his knowledge with readers around the world, writing and posting articles that range from the coffee brewing techniques to raising awareness of the importance of responsible production to help protect the rights of farmers and protect the environment.

Facebook | Twitter | Google+

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7 Tips For Coping With Chronic Illness

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This article was originally published on GriefLossHope.com, a website dedicated to sharing stories of grief and loss and giving hope and encouragement to help others who are going through similar situations.

Having a chronic illness can impact your life in countless ways. The life you knew before your illness may seem like a distant memory, especially when you’re dealing with many symptoms and concerns.

You could in constant pain and unable to get a good night’s sleep. You might have to quit your job and suffer financial problems.

Your appearance may change. Or you may look the same, making it even harder to explain your illness to the outside world. Your interpersonal relationships can change, when suddenly your spouse or loved one takes on the roll of caregiver.

All of these changes can cause stress and strong feelings of anxiety, fear and anger. Many people feel a lack of control and uncertainty about the future.

According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics a chronic disease lasts more than 3 months, cannot be prevented by a vaccine or cured by medicine, and does not disappear.

I have learned first hand what it’s like to have a chronic illness, beginning in the spring of 2012.

My Journey From Health To Chronic Illness

Before the illness I was healthy and active, a wife to my wonderful husband, mom to four amazing kids, teaching Special Education full-time at a local public school.

But, then I was bit by 2 tiny ticks and everything changed.

I initially became so sick with a mind-numbing headache and crippling nausea that I was in bed several days trying to recover. I was so weak I could barely walk. My coloring was pale and ashen. It felt like the worst case of the flu I’d ever experienced. I was so out of it that I don’t remember much from those few days.

Unexplained Symptoms

When I had recovered enough to go to the doctor I asked him about Lyme disease. At this time I didn’t know much about it, other than it was a tick-borne illness.

The doctor asked if I’d traveled to the northeastern United States, but the furthest I’d been that direction was North Carolina. He then told me, “You can’t get Lyme disease in Missouri”. He said I had “tick fever”.

Tests were not ordered. Prescriptions were not written.

The doctor told me it would take time, but I would feel better eventually.

But in the months between the tick bites and my eventual Lyme disease diagnosis (18 months later) I felt like I had the flu nearly every day.

As a teacher, I was around children all day. Inevitably, I came into contact with many germs on a daily basis.

I was exposed to many illnesses over the years due to having four children of our own. And I didn’t remember getting sick so often. In fact, my resistance to illness had always been strong.

So I initially thought perhaps I was getting sick a lot due to exposure to all the germs I came into contact with . I usually just pushed through my illness knowing my family and students were depending on me. I figured I’d improve with time.

But, as the weeks and months passed, I began to experience other concerning symptoms I couldn’t ignore. An unrelenting pain began coursing throughout my entire body. The pain was so strong and constant I couldn’t sleep.

I felt exhausted all the time, had trouble breathing, and experienced frequent, intense migraines.

Lethargy and extreme weakness became the norm.

I developed a heart murmur and had frequent heart palpitations, even while lying in bed.

Memory Problems And More

And I started forgetting things and stumbling for the words I wanted to say. The brain fog was so great at times it was starting to worry me.

I was driving one morning and came upon a traffic light feeling confused. As I sat at the intersection a few seconds, I struggled to remember whether the green or red light meant to stop or go. The driver behind me showed frustration with my indecision. He started honking for me to go.

Also, I recall getting lost a few times when I was driving.  And I started calling our children by the wrong names.

I wondered if I was getting Alzheimer’s.

During these 18 months leading up to my diagnosis I went to multiple doctors including several specialists. They gave me a variety of tests and innumerable blood work all in an effort to figure out what was wrong with me.

I was placed in a Holter monitor for 36 hours to test for heart problems.

My doctor ordered months of Physical Therapy due to muscle weakness and wasting. I had lost 20 pounds in a short time for no apparent reason.

My doctor and Physical Therapist expressed concerns about Multiple Sclerosis. Thankfully, I was tested and MS was ruled out.

Searching For Answerscoping with chronic illness

I was diagnosed eventually with multiple chronic and autoimmune conditions including:

  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
  • Tularemia (another tick-borne illness)

I had multiple allergic reactions to a variety of foods, ran a fever nearly every day and would get hives and strange rashes on my face, neck and torso (where the tick bites occurred).

I developed mild dyslexia for a time and had difficulty reading numbers. As an avid reader I developed a great frustration when reading text.

Around the same time I started having twitching and tremors in my hands, arms, legs and abdomen.

I recall one time when I had been bedridden for several days, running a high fever and missing several days of work.

I could barely walk anymore without extreme effort and felt as though I was dying.

And I didn’t understand why all of this was happening. I had always been so healthy before the tick bites.

I wanted to find out the root cause of my illness. But each time I went to the doctor, it seemed like they only wanted to treat my myriad of symptoms. It was incredibly frustrating.

But I knew everything had to be related to the tick bites. And I persisted in sharing this with my doctors until they listened and gave me the recommended tests.

Psychological Stages Of Chronic Pain And Illness

According to Jennifer Martin, PsyD, there are Seven Psychological Stages of Chronic Pain and Illness:

  • Denial
  • Pleading, Bargaining and Desperation
  • Anger
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Loss of Self and Confusion
  • Re-evaluation of Life, Roles and Goals
  • Acceptance

I found myself going through these stages, sometimes between two or three at a time.

Questioning God

At this point I started losing hope in ever finding out what was wrong with me.  And I began questioning God.

I asked Him, “God, if you truly love me then why is this happening to me and my family?” I felt confused, angry and forgotten.

I’m humbled to admit I reached this low point in my life journey. I never would have predicted that I’d one day question the very existence of the God I’d believed in and loved as long as I could remember.

Nevertheless, it’s part of my story, and I want to be real. 

Facing my health crisis tested my limits. And I was confronted with my mortality.

I now believe that God was testing my faith throughout my illness. Sometimes I kept my eyes on Him, and sometimes I was stubborn and went my own way.

Isn’t it amazing how we can learn so much from the past, but when we’re living in the moment it isn’t always that clear? (At least this has been my experience)

He Was With Me All Along

Lately God has shown me how He was there for me, even when I was living through the most painful days.

I see now how He has been with me every step of the way, when I was crying out to Him for help and healing — and even when it seemed like God was being silent.

As God reveals Himself to me I see now that part of my story is a renewed faith in Him and hope for His plans for my future.

 I love, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (or what you’re going through), for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you (emphasis mine)” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

I’m thankful He promised “He will never leave you nor forsake you”. I love what Jon Bloom says about our human perceptions:

And when we feel forsaken by God we are not forsaken (Hebrews 13:5). We are simply called to trust the promise more than the perception.

coping with chronic illnessIn the midst of the trials, and despite His faithfulness to me and our family, I still felt alone much of the time. I learned this is common for people confronting chronic pain or illness.

I believe God was and is saying to me , “Take up your cross and follow me…(no matter what) (emphasis mine)” (Matthew 16:24).

I may be a slow learner, but I’m so thankful for His grace and patience with me through it all. And I’m looking forward to what He’s going to do in the coming years. He continues to bring beauty from ashes.

My illness has taught me to take time to slow down (although this is still a challenge). I’m learning to refocus my priorities. For me, this includes prayer and having real, meaningful conversations with the people I love.

I hope you will learn from my mistakes and be encouraged in whatever challenges you experience in life.

coping with chronic illnessTips For Coping With Chronic Illness

1. Educate Yourself

Read, study and learn as much as you can about your condition or disease. While doctors are highly trained professionals, please conduct your own research before believing everything you hear.

I’m pleased with the team of doctors managing my medical care and treatment. If you aren’t happy with the level of care you receive consider getting a second opinion or switching doctors.

Before I have an appointment I make a list of questions to ask the doctor. This helps me be more efficient, prioritizing my essential questions first to make sure they’re addressed.

Also, consider using the internet to research. Sometimes the internet gets a bad reputation for providing hokey information. But, if you search medically reputable websites, I’ve found you can learn so much useful information.

I’m a bit of a research nerd, so this process is actually fun for me. If you’re not sure what sites can be trusted, you may want to ask your doctor for recommendations.

2. Express Gratitude

Say “thank you” to your loved ones, friends, and family. Being chronically ill isn’t easy for them either, especially if they are taking on more responsibility.

My dear husband has helped take our children to multiple practices and events. This is in addition to his full-time job as a High School Principal.  It is  difficult for him to see me sick. But he cares for me throughout my most difficult days. I’m forever grateful to him for his love and support.

In addition to expressing gratitude to others, I recommend keeping a Gratitude Journal. I try to jot down one or two things I’m thankful for.

Sometimes I’ll write down a favorite verse, Motivational Quote or Power Phrase. I can come back later and read what I’ve written for encouragement and reflection.

3. Do Not Let Your Illness Define You

You can take charge and manage your disease instead of letting it define you. In the midst of chronic illness, do not lose your identity.

Face your fears. Take one day at a time.

Don’t give into the temptation to have a pity party.

Instead, reframe your negative thoughts.

Think of a way to help someone else, even if you are bedridden. Maybe you could text or call an old friend or loved one who is facing their own crisis. Strive to be an encouragement to others.

Keep moving forward.

4. Give Yourself Grace

A wise friend gave me this advice when I was in the throes of my Lyme battle. I was trying to keep up with my duties as a wife, mom, daughter and friend.

But it was not possible for me to maintain the level of busyness I’d been accustomed to my entire life.

I had to learn to give myself grace. When feelings of guilt would creep in (because I was not able to do many of the things I did when I was healthy) I had to remind myself of this. I had to find a new normal.

Releasing myself from the pressure of being a do-it-all wife and mom allowed me to focus on what was really important.

5. Make Healthy Choices

Follow a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

If necessary, lose weight. (17 Ways To Lose Weight Faster can help you get started.)

Get fresh air and soak up the sun to increase vitamin D production. Exercise, if possible, to keep your body strong and flexible.

coping with chronic illnessConsider using essential oils as a natural treatment for pain and insomnia.

Learn how coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and other natural ingredients can help improve your health.

Look into intermittent fasting and find out if it might help you with symptoms.

6. Be An Advocate For Your Health

This is one of the most essential things I’ve learned. When I was going through the most serious, painful time of my illness no one could tell me what was going on.

The doctors and specialists prescribed multiple prescriptions (many of which I never took). One suggested watching a video about walking. They told me to get a massage, get more rest, eat a gluten-free diet etc.

They meant well, but their suggestions didn’t address the root cause of my illness.

Thankfully, (albeit 18 months later) I tested positive for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illness co-infections.

This was a turning point in my illness.

We felt relieved to have an explanation why my body was deteriorating. Even though no one wants to hear they have a chronic illness, we finally knew what we were dealing with. And that helped bring peace to the situation.

7. Seek Support

Building a support system is vital. Talking with supportive family and close friends can help. You might consider joining a support group or message board where people who have the same condition share experiences and hopes for the future.

I have a few friends who have Lyme disease. We communicate via Facebook, email and talking on the phone. We share our progress and treatments that have helped and encourage each other.

If you’d like to learn more about my story you may want to read:

Also, you may like to read about The Spoon Theory in Chronic Illness: What’s A Spoonie Anyway?

Can you relate to any of the Psychological Stages Of Chronic Illness And Pain?

Do you have more tips for dealing with chronic pain and illness? Please leave your comments below. I love hearing from you!

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9 Surprising Benefits Of Lemon Water

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Lemons have some pretty amazing health benefits.

They contain Vitamin C, which is like a turbo-booster for the immune system. They are also high in fiber and antioxidants.

Lemon Water Nutrition Facts

benefits of lemon water
Drinking lemon water is refreshing and healthy.

One cup of fresh lemon juice in a glass of water has:

  • 61 calories
  • 6 grams sugar
  • 3 grams protein
  • 0 grams fat
  • 1 gram fiber (4 percent DV)
  • 112 milligrams vitamin C (a whopping 187 % DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams thiamine (5 percent DV)
  • 303 milligrams potassium (9 percent DV)
  • 31.7 micrograms folate (8 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (6 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams copper (4 percent DV)
  • 14.6 milligrams magnesium (4 percent DV)
  • 0.4 milligrams vitamin E (2 percent DV)

Health Benefits Of Lemon Water

1. Healthy Weight

Lemons contain a type of soluble fiber called pectin. Pectin is found in fruit and can help you feel full longer because it expands in your stomach.

Some animal studies show that plant compounds in lemon extracts may prevent weight gain (1).

2. Prevent Kidney Stones

Citric acid is a plant compound found in lemons which may help prevent kidney stones from forming (2).

3. Healthier Skin

The antioxidants in lemons fight damage caused by free radicals, which gives the skin an incredible glow from within. If you’ve ever used a vitamin C serum on your face, you know what I’m talking about.

The vitamin C also helps the body produce collagen, which helps smooth out wrinkles (3).

4. Protect Against Anemia

benefits of lemon water
9 Surprising Benefits Of Lemon Water Infographic

Anemia is often related to an iron deficiency. Drinking lemon water can help enhance the body’s ability to absorb iron from food (4).

If you have iron deficiency anemia, you may want to try drinking lemon water when eating iron-rich foods.

5. Improve Digestive Health

D-Limonene is a plant compound found in lemon peel. It is what gives lemons their delightful, fresh scent.

It also helps calm an upset stomach, and can relieve reflux and heartburn symptoms (5).

6. Reduce Risk Of Cancer

The d-limonene and hesperidin plant compounds found in lemons may help reduce the risk of many types of cancer (6, 7).

7.  Heart Health

The most common cause of death throughout the world is cardiovascular disease. This includes both strokes and heart attacks.

Did you know low vitamin C levels in the blood are a risk factor for stroke (7)?

But, consuming fruits high in vitamin C can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease (8).

In addition, the fiber in citrus fruits was shown to decrease cholesterol levels (9).

8. Boosts The Immune System

The vitamin C found in lemons was shown to enhance the immune system (10).

9. Boosts Energy Level And Mood

Lemons are known as a natural energizer. Who (with the exception of a small child), couldn’t use more energy?

Vitamin B6 includes a group of vitamins which help convert food to energy (11).

Plus, lemon essential oil can ease stress and boost your mood (12). You can simply smell the oil or apply it to your neck, wrists or hands to experience the effects.

  • Please note, if you have sensitive skin you may want to dilute the oil (with olive, coconut, or another favorite carrier oil) to prevent irritation.

Drinking Lemon Water

Drinking lemon water is a simple way to enjoy the health benefits of lemons.

I typically add the juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon to a large glass of water. You can also add a bit of honey if you like.

You can drink lemon water lukewarm, or even cold if you prefer.

Special Considerations

Lemons are highly acidic and can eat away at the tooth enamel. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help prevent this from happening.

  • Always dilute lemon juice by adding water.
  • Drink lemon water first thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth. The bacteria present on your teeth will help protect the enamel. (Sounds gross, but it works!)
  • Consider drinking it through a straw to lessen contact with teeth.
  • After drinking lemon water, rinse your teeth with baking soda.

Other Uses For Lemons

Lemons are great for cleaning and deodorizing your kitchen. And who doesn’t love that all-natural fresh, clean scent?

Or clean your tarnished silverware with a drop of lemon essential oil on a rag.

Whiten your teeth using a mixture of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, baking soda and coconut oil. Apply the mixture to your toothbrush or simply use a clean finger to apply to the teeth. Leave this on your teeth for 2 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

(For more about natural teeth whitening you may want to read 81 Uses For Coconut Oil.)

benefits of lemon waterThe Takeaway

Considering all the health benefits of lemon water, is any wonder so many of us are using lemon essential oil or drinking lemon water?

Please let me know if you’ve noticed any of these benefits of lemon water. You can leave your comments below. I love hearing from you!

Also, if you liked this article, you may enjoy reading:

Finally, you may want to watch this brief video about more of the health benefits of drinking lemon water:

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Body Image: You’ve Always Been Beautiful

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Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

When you think of things that are beautiful what, or who, do you think of?

Maybe,

  • the beach
  • the sunset
  • a lovely bouquet of flowers
  • a bride on her wedding day
  • a blanket of pure, white snow covering as far as the eye can see
  • a vibrant painting
  • a waterfall
  • the Grand Canyon
  • early morning light
  • butterflies
  • the view from atop a mountain
  • a desert
  • a dessert (see what I did there?)
  • a starry night
  • fall leaves
  • a rugged landscape

And the list goes on and on. Beauty is such a relative term. We each have our own idea about what is beautiful.

Words Of Wisdom

As a girl I remember my sweet Mom once telling me, “Beauty is as beauty does”.

body image
My Mom and Me

I’ve passed this advice along to our daughters, and remind them that true beauty comes from what’s inside our heart.

But, if you have teenagers, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It’s not an easy concept to encourage a healthy body image to a young person who is growing up in our culture. This becomes especially true when they become more mobile and get social media accounts.

Obsessing about outward appearances can be quite discouraging and damaging to our self concept, young and old alike. It can make us feel that we’ll never quite measure up to the airbrushed photos that we see everywhere. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Years ago, body image was an issue mostly girls and women dealt with, but it’s becoming more prevalent with boys and men now.

Media Overload

The belief that “beauty comes from the inside” is completely opposite from the messages we’re bombarded with daily.

From photo-shopped magazine covers and newspaper ads, to TV commercials and movies–It’s incredibly challenging to teach this concept to girls (and boys) when we are inundated (courtesy of our culture) with YouTube videos, our nations strange obsession with celebrities, selfies and plastic surgery.

Where Does True Beauty Come From?

In Psalms it says “Those who look to Him (God) are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

Ultimately, I believe God is the only one who can make me into a truly beautiful person. And I’m definitely a work in progress!

I’m thankful that no matter how badly I mess up, He can bring beauty from ashes. 

He can bring good out of the bad in our crazy, mixed-up world.

I truly believe everyone is beautiful in their own special way. But so many people, men and women alike, believe the lies we’ve been taught from our appearance-obsessed society.

body imageWe were created for a purpose that is so much greater than simply being a certain size, or having the perfect hair, makeup, shoes, abs, biceps, skin, face, eyes…et cetera, et cetera.

I’m certainly not saying there’s anything wrong with improving our appearance, dressing nicely or looking put together. I’m into fashion and love to wear the latest trends as much as the next girl (when I’m not working from home in yoga pants and t-shirts).

We can also make positive changes by working out and eating healthy, whole foods. We can use natural remedies, such as coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Or sculpt our bodies by lifting weights. We can also lose weight or lower our body fat.

These things can make us healthier and even fit into our favorite pair of  jeans more easily or give us a longer life expectancy.

But, they don’t change the beauty that’s inside us.

I hope you know you’re beautiful!

What do you think about the media and it’s influence on body image? Please share your thoughts below in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!

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