Q. Dear Natalie, What are the best foods for our bodies during the summer?
A. Summer heat can often leave our bodies overheated and dehydrated; however, there are certain foods that can help reduce your core temperature and keep you hydrated during the hot summer months. Summer is the best time to increase your fruit and vegetable intake with fresh produce from local farmer's markets and organic grocery stores. Fresh fruit is a great way to rehydrate. It’s packed with water which helps keep you hydrated and cool in hot temperatures. Fruits, such as apples, pineapple, grapefruit and strawberries, all have a water content of 80 percent or higher. Watermelon, at 92 per cent, has the highest water content. Try adding fruits into your main meal by adding berries or apricots to salads, fruit to cereals, or even juicing fruit for a cool hydrating summer drink.
Vegetables are also full of water and fiber, which improve digestion and also stabilize blood sugar. The combination of fresh tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers has a high water content and can be a great addition to a sandwich or a salad. A popular refreshing meal in the summer is cool soup. It provides a nutritious summer meal. There are many cold soup recipes that use yogurt as a cooling ingredient. Although summer is the season for barbecues, remember to grill your meat in order to help remove excess fat. Try sticking to lean cuts of protein when you use your grill. Fresh fish, chicken and turkey are healthier options that still provide energy and protein with less saturated fat.
Q. I am suffering from vaginal dryness and I am only 34! I thought this was supposed to happen only during menopause?! Are there any herbs that can help enhance vaginal lubrication? Or any foods I should be eating? Thank you so much for your help.
A. To put your mind at ease, you have nothing to worry about. Women of all ages can experience vaginal dryness. Hormonal changes take place during various points in life, especially around the time of menstruation and this can affect vaginal lubrication. You can begin by including more fatty acids in your diet. Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include herring, salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout and mackerel. Other good sources of omega fatty acids include tofu, raw pumpkin, sunflower seeds, soybeans and walnuts.
My favorite treatment for vaginal dryness is the herb black cohosh; often sold as a dietary supplement to relieve menopausal symptoms. The journal ‘Maturitas’, published in 2003, proves that black cohosh has an estrogen-like effect on vaginal cells. One remedy for vaginal dryness is Cimicifuga Racemosa, which is in fact derived from Black Cohosh. The remedy is prescribed for women suffering from vaginal dryness and irritation, moodiness, depression, severe headaches--especially on the right side of the head and neck--and hot flashes. You can find Cimicifuga over-the-counter, at health-food stores and from homeopathic pharmacies.
Ginseng is another wonderful Chinese remedy used for a variety of ailments including vaginal dryness. Ginseng possesses properties similar to estrogen and may help keep vaginal walls supple. Finally it may be worth checking your vitamin A and E levels. Vitamin A supports the health of vaginal walls and can relieve vaginal dryness. It helps to maintain tissues, skin and mucous membranes. It works to protect the body against vaginal dryness by increasing low estrogen levels. The recommended daily amount is 15 mg. Topically you can apply vitamin E oil directly into the vagina. Vitamin E oil can also be used as a lubricant during sexual intercourse. You can apply vitamin E oil to the vaginal area once to twice a week to relieve vaginal dryness.
Q. What are the benefits of lavender oil?
A. Essential lavender oil is one of the most used oils and has many benefits. Lavender helps promote cell activity and regeneration which makes it an excellent remedy for burns. Lavender oil also has both antiseptic and antibiotic properties. Apply it to help treat cuts, scrapes and other wounds. Inhaling the oil also has wonderful healing effects. Using an oil burner, add a few drops of lavender oil with water and just as its antibiotic effects upon wounds, inhaling the oil can help anyone suffering from bronchitis or chest infection.
Essential lavender oil also provides benefits beyond the physical. Often the oil of choice for an aromatherapy massage, lavender helps reduce tension and stress, particularly used to improve mood it promotes a positive mental affect.
Perhaps most appropriate for the summer season, lavender can be used to protect clothes from the infestation of moths and other insects. I have frequently used lavender oil to prevent mosquito bites. As an insect repellent, do not apply lavender oil undiluted onto the skin. I suggest mixing lavender oil with eucalyptus oil or a base sunflower oil in a spray bottle.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.
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Natalie runs a clinic both in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem offering a wide range of natural treatment. Healing is achieved using homeopathy, reflexology, massage, flower remedies and nutritional wisdom.
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Someone Once Said: ‘Our health always seems much more valuable after we lose it’. Anonymous