Three Supplements or Herbs to Avoid During Pregnancy

Taking prenatal vitamins give your body folate and other important nutrients during your pregnancy. Some women may even take herbs. If you are pregnant, you should be careful when taking herbs. Research all about any herb before consuming them while you’re pregnant. Find out if it will be safe for you to consume if you are pregnant. Some women may have consumed herbs before they became pregnant to treat a certain condition and some women may take herbs to help them with their pregnancy. Below we will talk about some of the herbs, supplements, or food additives you should avoid during pregnancy to protect the health of your baby


Quinine: You can find quinine in many drinks such as tonic water. Tonic water is very popular for its unique bitter taste. One woman that drunk more than a liter of tonic water daily during her pregnancy gave birth to a baby that suffered withdrawal symptoms. The baby had nervous tremors within 24 hours of being born. The nervous tremors disappeared 2 months later. The federal institute for risk assessment in Germany stated that pregnant women should treat drinks with quinine in them as a medicinal product and avoid them during pregnancy for safety of the unborn baby. Even if the amount of quinine in a drink is a small amount still avoid it.

Ginseng: There are more than 20 components of ginseng. Researchers at the Chinese university of Hong Kong Prince of Wales hospital discovered that one of the components can be a possible concern for pregnant women. The researchers used rats to test the effectiveness of the component on fetal development. The researchers discovered that the rat embryonic development was affected. The higher the dose they gave the rats meant the higher the abnormalities.
In since the study was done on rats it may not have the same effects on humans. The component of ginseng the research studied was ginsenoside called Rb1. Ginseng has more than 20 ginsenosides and each one does different things.
One problem with researching components of herbs is that the whole herb extract may have a different effect than the single component. Because of this the results of the study should be treated cautiously especially due to the fact that the research is being tested on rats and not humans. For safety it is best to avoid ginseng during pregnancy.



Ginkgo Biloba: It is best to avoid ginkgo biloba while pregnant. One component of ginkgo biloba was found in the placenta of women who have consumed ginkgo biloba supplements according to researchers at Wayne state university in Detroit. That component is an alkaloid called colchicine which can be fatal if consumed in high doses. It has anti-inflammatory effects. Some research has discovered that colchicine can harm a developing fetus. When taking ginkgo supplements regularly during pregnancy colchicine can build up in the womb. Researchers state that there were no connections between ginkgo and complications. The study only focused on colchicine in the womb.

Message: Before taking any herbs or herbal supplements while pregnant always consult with your doctor first. Some herbs can be harmful to your unborn child. Although this article only mentions three herbs or herbal supplements to avoid while pregnant, keep in mind that there are much more herbs out there that you should avoid as well.

Top photo credit: Wild Quinine by cotinis

In text photo credit: Ginkgo biloba by marcleh

11 Top Super Healthy Foods and Beverages: Part Two

We have information on the top eleven wonderful and healthiest foods. You should try these foods and tell everyone about them. We mention foods from whole grains, nuts, legumes, beans, fruits, and vegetables. This is part two.

Walnuts: walnuts contain omega-3 fats. ¼ cup of walnuts provides 90% of omega-3s needed in one day. The health benefits of walnuts are improved cognitive function, cardiovascular protection, helps fight against cancer, immune system support, anti-inflammatory advantages that relates to rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis


Skim milk and yogurt: Skim milk has a great source of calcium, vitamin d, and k and promotes strong healthy bones. The nutrients in skim milk helps protect colon cells from cancer causing chemicals, migraine headaches, childhood obesity, bone loss, and premenstrual symptoms. Research shows that skim milk or yogurt can help adults lose weight. Yogurt includes essential nutrients such as zinc, protein, potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin B2, B5, and B12. The live bacterial cultures in yogurt provide health benefits that can help strengthen your immune system and can help increase longevity.

Lentils and Black Beans: Lentils and black beans is a good source of fiber and can lower your cholesterol. The fiber helps maintain your blood sugar levels. Also lentils and black beans are high quality proteins and fat free with other minerals and B-Vitamins. Lentils and black beans fill you up without increasing your waist.
Salmon: Salmon is high in protein and omega-3 fats and low in saturated fat. Salmon is recommended twice a week and is considered a heart healthy food. Eat wild salmon instead of farm raised salmon. Studies show that farm raised salmon may cause cancer because it may have high levels of carcinogenic chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls.


Green tea and enhanced water: green tea contains beneficial phytonutrients and lower levels of caffeine than other teas. It is also a cancer fighter and has antioxidants that helps reduce cancer, periodontal disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and bacterial or viral infections to cardiovascular disease. A trend that’s out is water packed with vitamins and/or naturally sweetened fruit. Some of the enhanced water has a full supply of vitamin c and some have no artificial sweetener with a fruity taste.

The super healthy foods we just listed are worth eating or drinking and now that you know which foods and beverages are healthy, it’s time to go grocery shopping for your health.


Top photo credit: Walnuts by Jonas Tana

In text photo credit: Lentils by TheBazile

11 Top Super Healthy Foods and Beverages: Part One

We have information on the top eleven wonderful and healthiest foods. You should try these foods and tell everyone about them. We mention foods from whole grains, nuts, legumes, beans, fruits, and vegetables. This is part one.

Blueberries: This low calorie berry has the ability to destroy free radicals that can cause cancer. Blueberries have antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which improves the effects of vitamin c. These antioxidants may assists in preventing glaucoma, varicose veins, cataracts, heart disease, peptic ulcers, hemorrhoids, and cancer.
Cantaloupe: Almost all the vitamin A need in one day is provided by ¼ of cantaloupe. You get two nutrients at once in since the beta-carotene in cantaloupe converts to vitamin A. Both nutrients may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Cantaloupe is a wonderful source of vitamin C, which helps the immune system. Cantaloupe is also a great source of dietary fiber, folate, niacin, vitamin b6, and potassium, which assists in keeping up with good blood sugar levels and metabolism. Cantaloupe may help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes have an excellent source of dietary fiber, potassium, iron, manganese, copper, and Vitamin A, C, and B6. Sweet potatoes are great for people that smoke or second hand smoke because it can help prevent you from emphysema. For dessert you can eat sliced or cubed sweet potato without the skin with honey or syrup drizzled on top with a dash of cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin A, C, and K. Tomatoes can battle heart disease and cancers such as prostate, breast, colorectal, lung, pancreas, and endometrial. Tomato juice by itself may help reduce blood clotting. Fresh organic tomatoes give 3 times as much the cancer fighting carotenoid lycopene. Organic ketchup is better for you than nonorganic ketchup. When shopping for tomato sauces and pastes look for the ones that have the whole tomato including the skin/peels because you will absorb 75% more lycopene and almost twice the amount of beta-carotene.
Kale and Spinach: When considering green leafy vegetables, kale and spinach top the list. They are known for their cancer fighting and heart helping abilities. They provide Vitamin A and C. Spinach contains a lot of Vitamin k, it has almost 200% of the daily value, this helps decrease bone loss. Boiled kale has a good source of calcium with 25% per cup.
Whole grain and brown rice: When buying whole grain foods make sure its 100% whole grain. Check for the ingredients on the food package. To give an example, Look for whole wheat flour as one of the first ingredients in whole wheat bread. It’s not whole wheat bread if it’s not listed as such. Not only does wheat bran helps the body fight cancer but it also assists you in regulating your bowel movements. Brown rice is better and healthier than white rice. 50 to 90% of manganese, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin B1, B3, B6, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids we need are destroyed when turning brown rice or whole wheat flour into white flour or white rice. Even if white flour or white rice is enriched after being process, it is not the same thing as it was originally. 11 nutrients are lost and not replaced during the enrichment process. So eat up on your whole wheat and brown rice.
The super healthy foods we just listed are worth eating and now that you know which foods are healthy, it’s time to go grocery shopping for your health.

Top photo credit: cantaloupe by Royalty-free image

In text photo credit: Sweet Potatoes by Wally Hartshorn

Top tips to be successful with your healthy New Year resolution goals

Every year many people come up with their own New Year resolutions. Health decisions are among others at the top of the list. We hear anything from eat healthier, get into shape, quit smoking, exercise more often, and stay on diet. Despite all the goals we make for ourselves, we never seem to reach them and some of us never seem to start them.
Professionals state that the reason many people do not succeed with their resolution goals is because the resolutions are not planned out or at least not strategically planned. Below we will provide tips that will assist you in accomplishing your health goals for the New Year.

* Be realistic with your goals and stay dedicated to them. Staying committed to your goals is the important motivational factor that keeps you on the right path to completing your resolution goals. On the other hand establishing unrealistic goals such as lose 30 pounds in one to two weeks of eating healthy, can easily fail. Make sure your New Year resolutions goals are realistic and reasonable.

* Keeping up with your goals can be difficult, but make sure you make your resolution goals easy to complete. Make your New Year goal easier by implementing other or new materials. For example, instead of using a hand juicer to juice your fruits and vegetables try investing in an electronic juicer to make your work easier and more efficient. This will save you time and you will have more time to spend on your other resolution goals. Another example would be, if you are trying to quit smoking try implementing products such as gum and patches that will help you wean off of smoking easier. Despite what your new year resolution goals are just stay dedicated to them, be realistic, and never give up.

Top photo credit: New Years Eve in Central Park by Hans J. Hansen

In text photo credit: Happy New Year by Ängsbacka

Enhance Your Health with a Natural Colon Cleanse

You can benefit from a natural colon cleanse if you have constipation. It is common for hard materials made of a combination of fecal matter and mucous to become impacted on the inside walls of the intestines and colon. This can cause health problems. Nutrients will have a difficult time absorbing into the bloodstream from the intestines. This can cause someone to feel depressed, tired, and bloated.

A colon cleanse softens and removes the hardened material. Basically an herbal cleanse is a natural version of a laxative. Cascara sagrada bark, aloe Vera leaf, and fenugreek seed are herbs that help the body move waste through the system. Many times these herbs are found in herbal formulations for constipation. Fennel seed which assist with gas and cramps; and peppermint, which aids digestion are herbs that supports the laxative effect. Besides laxative herbs a colon cleanse is most likely to have herbs like dandelion root or red clover which cleanse the urinary tract and the blood to cleanse the whole system of toxins. It’s unfortunate that herbs can be as harsh to the system as laxatives.
Another type of natural colon cleanser involves an oxygen based formula that has a chemical reaction with the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. The chemical reaction causes the fecal matter to liquefy into liquid and gas so it can be released easily. One of the differences between herbal colon cleanse and oxygen based natural colon cleanse is that herbal cleanse will cause you to expel dark rubbery stools with the consistency of tire tread. Oxygen cleanser will cause you to expel liquid or soft stools.

Eat fiber in addition to a natural colon cleanse. The fiber can be in the form of psyllium seed husk, bran, prunes and other natural foods. It’s good to add fiber to your diet if you have constipation any way. However eating fiber alone will not complete your colon cleanse, but you should still eat your fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and eat less unhealthy foods. Enemas can also be included with colon cleansing. You might be told that it’s best to have an enema on a day you do not defecate during your natural colon cleanse. Your goal can be to have 3 to 4 bowel movements on any given day, which can happen if you pick an oxygen based cleanse.
Eliminating fecal substance from the colon eliminates a lot of toxins from the system. Removing toxins from the system is very beneficial. This can cause more energy, clearer skin, less headaches, improved allergy symptoms and much more. Results can vary from person to person, but many people report benefits from doing a colon cleanse.

Top photo credit: P1300440 by Hella Delicious

In text photo credit: Aloe vera x arborescens – leaves by tonrulkens

Three Health Benefits of White Tea

Everyone is talking about the health benefits of white tea. There are several benefits of white tea and we will take a look at some of those benefits. First let’s explain what white tea is. White tea is made from the unripe tea leaves that are picked before the buds have opened fully on the plant. The name comes from the silver fuzz that covers the buds, this turns the tea white as it dries up. There are different varieties of white tea which depends on the amount of leaves to buds that is used in each mix. For example, the white peony has one bud for every two leaves in its mix. The silver needle, which is the best is made from only the down buds and are picked within two days during early spring. Now that we explained a little about white tea, it’s time to talk about some of the benefits a person can receive from using white tea.

Anti-Fungal Effect
Studies indicated that white tea has an anti-fungal effect on chrysogenum, penicillium, and saccharomyces cerervisiae. In the presence of white tea extract chrysogenum, penicillium, and saccharomyces cerervisiae were completely inactivated.
Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Viral Effects
Research conducted at pace university discovered that white tea extract may hinder the growth of bacteria that can cause streptococcus infections, staphylococcus infections, dental carries, and pneumonia. It was also discovered that white tea is more effective than green tea when it comes to inactivating bacterial viruses and it has an anti-viral effect on human pathogenic viruses.

Cell Damage Protection and Skin Cancer
Scientists have discovered that white tea extract can provide protection against the Langerhans cell destruction. Not only did the extract protected the skin after it was exposed to sunlight but also the immune system was restored as well. The DNA damage that happens to cells after sunlight exposure was limited also. The white tea extract anti-oxidant properties may be the reason for it being so effective. The extract may provide you with anti-aging benefits.
From reading the above information you now know three benefits of white tea that can help you live a happier and healthier life.

Top photo credit: white tea by Marntzu cook

In text photo credit: White Tea by u m a m i

Palm Oil Is a Healthy Oil

In since U.S. food manufacturers have to now label the trans-fat content in their foods, some have decided to switch to healthier oils such as coconut and palm. This change is for the better. It will be wonderful if more and more food manufacturers do this as well.

There are some people that don’t know palm oil is a healthy saturated fat. Just like coconut oil, palm oil has been mistaken for being unhealthy for a long time. In actuality palm oil is a really healthy saturated fat. Both oils have been included in the diets of tropical people for thousands of years and helped people to stay healthy and lean for years. Just like coconut oil, palm oil is excellent for frying and baking. It is also very solid and stable at room temperature, therefore it do not need hydrogenation and does not have Trans fatty acids. Trans fat is bad for you, so you should avoid it. According to Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD, of the Weston A. Price Foundation, palm oil is a healthy and natural fat consisted of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.

After soy oil, palm oil is the second greatest utilized dietary oil in the world. It is healthier for the body than soy oil. Palm oil doesn’t come from the same palm tree as coconuts. In Africa a palm tree produces small fruits that contain the palm oil. In its original or unprocessed state palm oil is a reddish orange color and a rich source of carotenes and Vitamin E. For some people it can take a little time getting used to unprocessed palm oil because of its strong taste. When palm oil is processed it has the flavor removed and some it’s nutrients. Even if it’s processed it is still better for the body than canola or soy oil.
Switching to palm or coconut oil is better for you. Look for food products that contain non-hydrogenated palm or coconut oil or you can make your own healthy foods with these oils.

Top photo credit: Jukwa Village Palm Oil Production, Ghana by oneVillage Initiative

In text photo credit: Jukwa Village Palm Oil Production, Ghana by oneVillage Initiative

Foods to Buy for Healthy Eating

If you are eating healthy or want to start eating healthy you should start writing a shopping list, plan, organize, and create a menu; Doing these things will help you save money, time, and stick to healthy recipes. You will have to go grocery shopping regularly in since healthier foods tend to have a more limited shelf life. Visiting health food stores can help you meet other health-conscious people.

Healthy eating can consist of fresh and or organic foods with no or gentle cooking methods without depleting food of its nutrients or adding any artificial foods. Most of the time when you eat healthy you have to cook your own food, because you can’t just go out and buy takeout food or fast food in since they are not healthy for the most part. With all the new kitchen appliances and gadgets we have today, cooking food yourself should be easier than before and fun. Below we will provide some of the products that you should include on your shopping lists for healthy eating.


Vegetables: Eat all your vegetables while they are still young. This is when they are tender. You can find some of the best vegetables at fresh food markets or health food stores. Grocery stores that are not health food stores usually sell vegetables that are genetically modified or have been picked while they are green and later ripened in boxes when being delivered to places long distance. Brightly colored vegetables and sprouts contain the most antioxidants and vitamins.

Fruits: It is best to buy seasonal fruits because exotic fruits have traveled long distances and ripened in their boxes and not on the trees. Local, fresh, naturally ripened and organic fruit are the best to buy.

Fish and Shellfish: The best fish to buy is unfrozen and fresh. Most of the fish you see in grocery stores that are not health food stores come from fish farms in which the fish are fed with artificial substances which can be unhealthy. Pink salmon and other popular fish will most likely come from a fish farm. Shellfish will be healthier. For example, shrimp does not live in chemically polluted water. When you boil mussels throw away the ones that do not open.

Meat: To be honest, it’s probably best to not eat meat at all in order to eat healthy; only because it’s difficult to find healthy meat that comes from a farmer that use healthy methods to ensure their meat is healthy. Many of the meats in grocery stores have a large amount of antibiotics and growth hormones. The best meat will come from small farms or organic farms.

Eggs: Buy free-range or organic eggs. Before buying them, make sure they are fresh.

Cheese: Cheese is rich in minerals and vitamins, although they are rich in fats as well. Buy fresh cheese only and try to eat it soon because fresh or gourmet cheese don’t last long.


Herbs: You can use herbs fresh or dried. You can plant and grow your own herbs and use them fresh. Also to preserve flavor you can buy whole spices/herbs and freshly ground them.

Grains: Eat whole grains and Whole wheat. Try not to eat refined grains or wheat because once it’s refined a lot of the ingredients are depleted. Rice may be the only exclusion because even if the rice grain shell is removed, many of the nutrients may remain in the rice grain.
Remember the saying, “you are what you eat”. So begin buying and eating healthy foods and have fun cooking healthy meals.


Top photo credit: Fresh fruit and vegetables by Mundoo

In text photo credit: Cheese School 101 by niallkennedy

Five Healthy Snacks to try

Snacks can be a healthy addition to living a healthy lifestyle. Healthy snacks can be counted towards the five a day target of fruits and vegetables and can provide additional nutrients to our bodies. Healthy snacks will help your nutrition and health and should be eaten between meals. It is recommended that healthy snacks should consist of fruit, nuts, vegetables, or cereal grains. It will cost you less than junk food that has little or no nutritional value and is not good for your health. Eating healthy snacks in addition to a good diet and exercise will lead to an improved well-being. Below are some ideas for healthy snacks that anyone can use from children to adults.

*Try eating fruit salad, in which you can combine your favorite fruit together for this snack such as apples, pear, kiwi, peaches, and mandarin oranges. This snack will help you reach your five a day fruits and vegetables

*Avocado has a great source of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C and E. Avocado also has folic acid, which is a very important vitamin for women that are pregnant. Cheese has a great source of calcium and whole meal bread is high in fiber. Try making yourself an avocado and cheese sandwich on whole meal bread.

*Try eating some dried banana chips. Bananas have a great source of potassium, Vitamin A and C. Dried banana chips for the most part are fried in coconut oil and coated with honey. Sometimes you can find dried banana chips in muesli, which is wonderful for a carbohydrate boost.


*As mentioned earlier, cheese is high in calcium and whole meal crackers are a good source of fiber. A very popular snack to try is cheese and crackers.

*Hummus has fiber and iron. Hummus is made from dried chickpeas, garlic, and sometimes made with tahini. Tahini is high in calcium and made from sesame seeds. Try eating hummus in pita bread.


Top photo credit: Grilled cheese sandwich with avocado and spinach <3 <3 by randy_adamczyk

In text photo credit: Day 272 – Banana chips by Karin Beil

Health and Disease in Nails

The nails protect the fingertips and help you grip things firmly. The nails are at the end of the fingertips on the dorsal surface. It contains a sturdy flexible keratinous nail plate originating from the nail matrix. Soft tissue called the nail bed lies underneath the nail plate. The nail fold or the cuticle is between the skin and the nail plate. A healthy normal nail is slightly pink and the surface is convex from side to side. On average finger nails grow 1 cm in 3 months and toe nails grow 1 cm in 24 months. The nails can help give the general health and hygiene of a person through its appearance, color, nature, and shape. Sometimes doctors may examine the nails to find out about possible diseases. An abnormal nail may be due to diseases or genetics. The cause of change in the nails can be from something simple or something that’s life threatening. An examination of the nails is needed for diagnosis. We discuss some abnormal findings and there possible causes for you to be aware.

1. Hygiene:
It very easy to tell if a nail is unhygienic. Dirt under the nails can cause the ingestion of pathogens when you eat. Improper nail cutting can cause worm problems in children. If worms crawl in the anal orifice children may scratch the area which can lodge the ova of worms under the nails and can be consumed when eating. Sharp nails can also worsen a skin disease through scratching and can accidentally cause small wounds, when a person accidentally scratches themselves.
2. Color of nails
• Nails are pale in anemia
• Leuconychia is when the nails are white or have white spots. This is seen in nephrotic syndrome and chronic renal failure.
• White nails is also seen in hypoalbuminemia as in cirrhosis and kidney disorders.
• Discoloration in nails can be caused by certain drugs such as antibiotics, sulpha group, anti-malarial and etc.
• Fungal infection can cause black discoloration in nails.
• Pseudomonas infection can cause black or green nails.
• Vasculitis can cause nail bed infarction, especially in SLE and polyarteritis.
• Splinter hemorrhages in subacute bacterial endocarditis, rheumatoid arthritis, trauma, and collagen vascular diseases can cause red dots in nails.
• Blunt injury can cause hemorrhage and causes blue/black discoloration.
• Kidney diseases and decreased adrenal activity can cause brown nails.
• Wilsons disease can cause blue semicircles in the nails.
• Jaundice and psoriasis can cause the nails to become yellow or yellowish. Also when the blood supply decreases the nails can become yellow.
• Yellow nail syndrome causes all nails to become yellowish with pleural effusion.


3. Shape of nails:
Clubbing is when the angle between the nail base and the skin is eradicated and the tissues at the base of the nail are thickened. The fingertip becomes bulbous (rounded or swollen) and looks like the end of a drumstick. The nail becomes more convex or curved. If the condition becomes worse the nail can look like a parrot beak. Causes of clubbing can be from severe chronic cyanosis, Congenital Injuries, Heart diseases like fallot tetralogy, subacute bacterial endocarditis and etc. Lung diseases like empyema, bronchiectasis, carcinoma of bronchus and pulmonary tuberculosis and abdominal diseases like crohn’s disease, polyposis of colon, ulcerative colitis, cirrhosis of the liver and etc.

Koilonychia is when the nails become concave like a spoon. The nails become soft, thin and brittle. The normal convexity of the nail will be replaced with concavity. Koilonychia can be seen on nails of people with iron deficiency anemia.

Raynaud’s disease can cause Longitudinal ridging in nails.

Dermatomyositis can cause ragged Cuticles.

Nail fold telangiectasia is a sign of dermatomyositis , SLE, and systemic sclerosis.

4. Structure and consistency
• Fungal infection of the nail can cause discoloration, deformity, abnormal brittleness, and hypertrophy.
• Thimble pitting of the nails can be the result of acute eczema, psoriasis, and alopecia areata.
• Paronychia is the inflammation of the cuticle or nail fold.
• Onycholysis is the separation of the nail from the nail bed seen in psoriasis, infection, and after taking tetracyclines (antibiotics).
• lichen planus, epidermolysis bullosa can cause nail destruction
• Missing nail is seen in nail patella syndrome, which can be hereditary.
• Nails can become brittle in gangrene and raynaud’s disease.
• Nail falling is seen in fungal infection, psoriasis and thyroid diseases.

5. Growth

The growth of nails is affected by decrease in blood supply and severe illness. When the disease goes away the growth starts up again which results in transverse ridges known as beau’s lines, which can help you determine illness.

Top photo credit: Nails by matsuyuki

In text photo credit: Fingers by fortinbras