Can a Healthy Gut Really Help With Arthritis, Depression and Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Do you have problems with inflammation, anxiety or depression? Do you get sick a lot? It turns out that the real solution is to fix your gut, not to take endless pills.

Your Body Has a “Second Brain” — And It’s in Your Gut!

The expression “going with your gut” is more accurate than scientists ever suspected. Your digestive system has a staggering network of over 100 million nerve cells! This “second brain” is called the enteric nervous system (ENS) and it surrounds your entire gastrointestinal tract.

The ENS doesn’t help you play chess or calculate your taxes, but it does play a large role in emotional health. If something makes your digestive system feel bad, scientists believe the ENS triggers mood changes, such as depression, anxiety or irritability.

This is a huge discovery; it explains why so many people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) also have depression. Protecting your gut health may go a long way towards helping you feel happier, and lowering stress may help you avoid digestive problems.

The Key to a Stronger Immune System? That’s Right — Excellent Gut Health!

Have you ever thought of taking probiotics to boost your immune system? That’s exactly what you should be doing, according to many experts.

Healthy gut bacteria can improve immune cells throughout the body, increasing the amount of natural antibodies you have and strengthening mucus membranes that help trap invaders. One study found that Lactobacillus, a type of probiotic found in yogurt, helped reduce the amount of respiratory infections in children by almost 20%!


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


The Connection Between a "Leaky Gut" and Inflammation

In a healthy gut, positive microorganisms form a kind of protective wall over the lining of your GI tract. This helps in two big ways: lowering levels of inflammation-causing bacteria and preventing them from getting into your blood stream.

When your gut is out of whack — sometimes called “leaky gut syndrome” — unhealthy bacteria travel places they shouldn’t, provoking your immune system to attack. The problem appears to be even worse for people who have rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis. The combination makes inflammation much more severe than normal.

The opposite is also true. A balanced gut microbiome is good for fighting inflammation. It can make arthritis less painful and give you back a lot of your flexibility and mobility. And for the rest of us, good digestive health reduces the number of aches and pains we wake up with in the morning.

Your Shopping List for Amazing Gut Health

How can you take good care of your gut microbiome? The secret is to increase the amount of probiotics and prebiotics in your diet.

Probiotics are good bacteria. Probiotics add soldiers directly to your gut’s army of healthy microbes. Greek yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods have lots of probiotics. I like to take probiotic supplements, too, especially after finishing any kind of antibiotics.

Prebiotics are plant fibers that help good bacteria grow. They support your intestinal soldiers, promoting good digestion and providing food for hungry microbes. My favorite prebiotics are apples, bananas, leafy greens and whole grains.

A healthy gut helps you fight off harmful bacteria, viruses and allergies. It can help you get sick less often, and make symptoms less severe when you do catch a bug. Probiotics may even make vaccines more effective. Make great gut health a priority!

 

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11387176/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4006993/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connection

Eat Dark Chocolate To Boost Memory and Improve Mental Health

Does anyone really need an excuse to eat more chocolate? It is among the most cherished sweet treats known to all humankind. However, if prescribing chocolate as an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging superfood means that the world can indulge in the melted goodness of chocolate, so be it.

While it might sound like a bunch of hype and half-concocted excuses, there are several studies that address the legitimacy of chocolate consumption and some fairly staggering health benefits. For example, when you consume the right kind of chocolate routinely, you can experience cardiovascular health, reduced stress, and improved cognitive function. The remainder of this blog will dissect the reasons for chocolate's seemingly magical abilities and dive deeper into the treat's relationship with the brain.

Reason for Health Benefits From Chocolate

The health benefits of chocolate come from the cacao seeds that make up part of the candy's recipe. To experience the most benefit from chocolate consumption, you should look for bars labeled 70% cacao. The beneficial compounds found in cacao are called phytochemicals.

The phytochemicals in cacao consist mainly of polyphenols and methylxanthines, which can be further broken down into flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, and theobromine. All of these chemicals and compounds contribute to the therapeutic effects, including:

  • Antioxidant intake
  • Blood vessel dilation
  • Reduction of insulin resistance
  • Regulation of body weight controlling genes
  • Inhibition of cancer growth
  • Prevention of blood clots
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Protection of nerve cells
  • Increased blood flow to the brain

Chocolate and Cognitive Function

The accumulation of flavonoids in the hippocampus, the learning and memory area of the brain, corresponds with an increase in blood flow, production of neurons, and the improved function of existing neurons. The flavonoids also protect neurons from free radicals and enhance neural connections.

A study in the medical journal, Hypertension, suggests the daily consumption of a chocolate beverage high in flavonoids is beneficial for elderly patients experiencing mild cognitive impairment. Other studies imply a single dose of dark chocolate can improve memory performance and cognitive function in healthy adults.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Chocolate and Mood

The compounds found in chocolate, specifically flavonoids and methylxanthines, contribute to chocolate's mood-enhancing effects. Several studies found that chocolate can improve mood. One study, focusing on the consumption of a daily dark chocolate drink with a high concentration of polyphenols, found that participants showed improvement in depression and anxiety conditions. Some evidence also suggests the routine consumption of chocolate can reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Dark Chocolate Versus Milk Chocolate

While there is no denying that milk chocolate is delicious, it does not offer the same benefits as dark chocolate. A dark chocolate bar with a high percentage of cocoa, at least 70%, will have plenty of phytochemicals, contributing to the mood-boosting and brain-improving effects. However, chocolate should only be enjoyed in moderation. You should aim for only one to two ounces per day or roughly 30 to 60 grams.

Other Foods With Beneficial Flavonoids

Chocolate is not the only food with brain-benefitting flavanoids. Several fruits and vegetables also contain the compounds that contribute to cognitive function:

  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Onions
  • Red Cabbage
  • Berries

You can also find flavonoids in red wine and certain teas. If you want to consume the healthiest diet for your brain, you might consider consulting with your primary doctor and a nutritionist.

Were you aware of the many benefit of chocolate, and if so, what do you find most surprising? Leave a comment below and keep the conversation going.

The Human Diet: Fish and Plants

While a diet filled with beef and poultry seems to be the norm in the US and many parts of the world, it is not the traditional omnivore diet. Beef, pork, and poultry products can lead to health issues, while the consumption of fish and plant-based proteins leads to health improvement. There are many reasons to switch from a more carnivorous diet to a pescetarian diet, but below are the most critical.

The Case Against Carnivores

People often make the argument that humans are designed to eat meat. You will indeed find canines in your mouth next to your incisors, and these sharp, pointed teeth are useful for tearing food. However, that is not an indication of a specific type of food, like red or white meat. 

People are not carnivores; they are omnivores. Carnivores typically have claws and several sharp pointed fangs for tearing and ripping flesh from muscle and bone. Meat eaters also have a shorter intestinal tract for quick digestion, and they lack pores for sweating, usually perspiring through the tongue.

As omnivores, the human body evolved to hunt for food during daylight, requiring pores for perspiration. Because the human diet traditionally consisted of fish and plants, the intestinal tract is longer allowing time to absorb and digest plant-based proteins.

A diet rich in fish and plant-based foods - fruits and vegetables - is healthier and more natural to the human system, making the pescetarian diet among the most traditional on the planet. Fish contains minerals and vitamins essential for health, requiring supplementation if you do not eat it. Cutting red meat from your diet does not require the same precaution, suggesting that red meats are not essential to the human diet.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Eating Fish Rather Than Meat Is Healthier

Unlike other meats, fish does not come into contact with harmful chemicals or pesticides on the journey to your table. It also contains a generous amount of vitamins and minerals that are incredibly beneficial to a person's overall health. For example, most of the iron your body requires can be found in a pescetarian diet, as can the required protein and the addition of omega-3 fatty acids.

Because of the complex combination of vitamins and minerals, fish is considered a powerhouse food, reducing the risks of stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer. A pescetarian diet's primary benefit is its dependence on the consumption of foods low in fats and oils but high in fiber.

The addition of fish to a primarily vegetarian diet is crucial to avoiding typical problems associated with strict veganism or vegetarianism, like iron deficiency or other forms of anemia. The consumption of fish helps to ensure adequate protein, iron, vitamin, and mineral levels in the diet, promoting well-rounded nutritional health.

Eating Fish Versus Other Meats Benefits the Planet

A study by the Smithsonian Institute concluded the need for grazing areas for livestock farms requires the destruction of a land area equivalent to seven football fields, meaning that meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation. In the US, animal agriculture has led to the destruction of over 260 million acres of forest.

Livestock also contributes to waste and toxic emissions. Animal agriculture is responsible for the production of more than 130 times the excrement produced by the human race.

Are you a meat-eater? Is there anything that will change your mind, making you switch to pescetarianism? Leave a comment below and keep the conversation going.

Best Natural Sleep Aids

Remember the days when you slept like a baby and always woke up feeling refreshed and energized? The last time I slept that way was when I was a teenager. It seems like sleep has become more evasive the older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve had to “adult.” If you’re like me and you can’t seem to get enough shuteye at night no matter what you do, here are some of the best natural sleep aids I’ve discovered.

Valerian

This herbal medicine is made from a plant’s root. Though it’s not very well-known, it’s a great ingredient for achieving deep, restful sleep. If you have trouble finding it at your grocery store, look for it at your local health food store. Most people add it to tea and take it an hour or so before bedtime.

Though valerian is a great sleep aid, it may interact with some medications. So before you give it a try, talk to your doctor. You should also know that if you take valerian regularly, you shouldn’t suddenly stop taking it. Doing so can cause some anxiety or withdrawal symptoms (eek!)


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Chamomile

Chamomile flowers are some of my favorites because they’re so bright and cheerful. They look a lot like daisies. But as energetic as their appearance may be, these little flowers are very effective at helping you sleep. Chamomile tea promotes relaxation and can help you wind down in the hours leading up to bedtime. You may also find that drinking chamomile tea before bed improves your quality of sleep as well.

Just make sure you don’t consume more than the recommended dose. Taking too much chamomile may cause you to get nauseous or to throw up. You may also want to consult with your allergist or doctor before consuming if you have known allergies to flowers in the daisy family.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone your body naturally produces in the pineal gland. It helps control circadian rhythms so you sleep better. Unfortunately, some of us don’t seem to create sufficient melatonin to help us nod off at night. Taking anywhere between 1 and 5 mg of melatonin right before bed may help induce sleep.

If you decide to try melatonin, only use it for a maximum of two weeks. Using it longer than that could potentially hamper your ability to produce your own melatonin going forward. Some people may discover that melatonin helps them fall asleep quickly, but causes them to wake frequently in the night. Others may feel more depressed or irritable when using melatonin as a sleep aid. If these things happen to you, discontinue using melatonin products right away.

Lavender

Lavender is a highly fragrant plant that is used in many sleep aid products. It produces a calming effect and may help you fall asleep more easily at night. You can use lavender in a variety of ways. My favorite way is to dilute a few drops of lavender essential oil into a diffuser in my room. I turn the diffuser on at bedtime to enjoy the relaxing benefits of the fumes.

You can also put a few drops of diluted lavender oil right on your pillowcase. Some people even rub a little diluted lavender oil around their nose before going to bed. Just keep in mind that this is a very fragrant oil, so you only need a little bit.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral that helps boost heart and brain function. However, it may also help relax the body and mind so you can get a restful sleep. Studies show that insufficient levels of magnesium are associated with insomnia and troubled sleep. You can take magnesium in supplement form before bed to see if it helps you get more rest at night.

I love each of these sleep aids and alternate between them regularly. To find out which one works best for you, give each of them a try on different nights over the next few weeks. Happy sleeping!

5 Reasons You Should Not Use Q-Tips To Clean Your Ears

Otolaryngologists or ear, nose, and throat doctors often advise against the use of Q-tips or cotton swabs for cleaning ears. Despite the advice, many people still use these items to remove excess ear wax or dry up the water in the ear canal after a shower or summer swim. While it seems like a common practice, people do not realize the potential harm they are doing to their ears. If you currently use Q-tips or cotton swabs to clean your ears, consider the following five reasons you should stop.

1. Removes the Waterproofing Layer

Earwax is not some gross bodily excretion. Granted, your body produces more than it needs at times, but it naturally pushes the excess out of the canal, where it can easily be removed with a tissue. One of the primary reasons your body produces earwax is to waterproof the ear canal, preventing water buildup. When you remove too much earwax, water can become trapped in the canal, possibly leading to infections.

2. Removes the Natural Antibiotic

Beyond protecting the ear from excess water or fluid buildups, earwax is a natural antibiotic. The wax has an acidic quality that can help prevent some infections, like swimmer’s ear. By stripping away the wax inside the ear, you open yourself up to potential conditions and problems. Many problems caused by the removal of too much wax can be linked to balance and health issues.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


3. Risk Ear Damage

People often reach for Q-tips and cotton swabs because they seem like the right size for the job. Unfortunately, these items are too small and allow too much access to the ear's sensitive and fragile areas. When you insert the cotton swab into your ear, losing sight of the tip, you are putting the swab too far into your ear. The eardrum is not as far into the canal as you might think, and any contact with this sensitive part of your ear can cause damage.

4. Causes Buildups

The use of cotton swabs can also lead to wax buildups in your ear. When you insert the swab into your ear, you likely force some earwax deeper into the canal. By moving wax back into the ear, you interfere with the wax's natural removal and movement process. Remember, your body will naturally push excess wax out of your ear, and you can remove that excess by draping a tissue over your finger and gently wiping it around the outer ear.

5. Potential Hearing Loss and Balance Problems

The use of Q-Tips can lead to severe damage. Most people will not experience significant trauma, but if the swab is pushed too far into the ear canal, it can puncture the eardrum. Just beneath the eardrum lies several tiny and fragile bones responsible for balance and transporting soundwaves. If the cotton swab is pushed too far into the ear with too much force, it is possible to suffer significant balance problems and hearing loss; though, neither is likely.

Do you use Q-Tips or cotton swabs to clean your ears? Has reading this blog changed your mind about the use of these items? Leave a comment below to contribute to the conversation.

Understanding Cupping Therapy and Its Potential Benefits

A popular holistic therapy, cupping has been around for thousands of years. As a traditional Chinese therapy, cupping uses cups strategically placed on the body to pull the tissues, muscle, and skin outward, relieving tension. Many professional athletes and famous personalities have pushed the practice into the public domain after showing up to events with alien-like suction marks on their backs and necks, sparking debate about the practice's efficacy.

Massage Versus Cupping

Traditionally, athletes used massage to relax muscles, relieve pain, and improve performance, but acupuncturists — those who typically perform cupping therapies — argue that cupping is a superior practice.  A massage therapist puts downward pressure on the body, potentially causing more discomfort rather than relief. Using glass, plastic, or another material, Cupping converts suction into outward directional force, like a vacuum, to relieve chronic pain.

Advantages of Cupping

Practitioners cannot share enough about the potential benefits of cupping therapy. People use the treatment to improve circulation, relieve pain, release tension, and increase the body's detoxification processes. However, beyond the physical advantages, proponents of the practice speak to mental health benefits, such as stress and anxiety relief. While there is limited research on most holistic treatments, many people who experience cupping provide glowing reviews, talking about it helped with their headaches, chronic pain, allergies, skin conditions, fatigue, and so much more.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Personal Experience

No one can tell you if cupping therapy will work for you, but from the moment those cups are placed on your back, you will know something is happening. The suction is almost instantaneous. While the experience is not painful for everyone, some people do say it hurts. Thankfully, if you feel any pain, you can tell the therapist, and they can relieve some of the pressure.

As the therapist removes the cups, there is a rush of relief—whether the release of the suction or the therapy working, you be the judge. However, there is no denying that you will leave the office feeling some relief.

Bruising Is Part of the Process

Not every person will experience bruising, but those that do will have them on average for up to a week. The marks can be subtle, or they can look like an ogre made out with your spine. It's a small price to pay if the therapy works, especially for those going through tremendous pain.

Duration of the Appointment and Frequency of Visits

The cupping process is not long, typically 15 to 30 minutes. The acupuncturists move pretty quickly after determining the correct placement for pain relief, and the cups do not need to sit on your body for very long.

If you find that the process works for you, you can get it done three times per week. However, most people recommend waiting for the bruises to heal before attempting another session. You can speak to your therapist to determine the proper schedule for your needs.

Cupping therapy is nothing new; although, it is currently trending. The Chinese have been using cupping therapy for centuries, along with several other holistic practices. While there is no guarantee the therapy will work for you, it might be worth it, especially for those suffering from chronic pain. What do you think about the practice? Will you give it a try? Leave a comment below.

Are Antioxidants Just a Scam?

In the 1990s, scientists discovered that cell damage from free radicals (called oxidation) increased the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and many other conditions. Some vitamins are able to neutralize free radicals and slow down oxidation. They’re called antioxidants. Lately, some scientists have been saying that this whole antioxidant thing is just a myth. What’s the truth?

Are Vitamins and Antioxidants a Waste of Money?

It’s true that antioxidants aren’t a magic bullet to cure all your problems. They can help, but you have to know how to use them:

  1. You need the right amount of antioxidants, no more and no less: Some supplements give you crazy amounts of antioxidants, like 5,000 times your daily needs. This is a waste, because your body doesn’t need that much. In fact, too much of certain vitamins (vitamin A, for example) can hurt instead of help.
  2. Antioxidants are more effective when you’re running low: If you’re already getting plenty of vitamin C from the fruits and veggies you eat, you’re not going to see much difference by taking vitamin C supplements. Antioxidants are more helpful for people who aren’t getting enough nutrients, like people who are too busy to cook every day.
  3. Your body needs help absorbing antioxidants: Some vitamin supplements appear in forms that your body can’t process. That’s like buying a box of healthy cereal but not being able to eat it because you can’t get the packaging open. For example, high-quality turmeric supplements need extra ingredients (such as black pepper extract) to help your body increase vitamin absorption naturally.

Try to get most of your antioxidants from fresh fruit and veggies. These sources are great because they provide many different antioxidants that support and reinforce each other. If you know you’re not getting enough fresh fruit, focus on supplements that also contain lots of complimentary antioxidants, such as turmeric, ginger and moringa.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Are the Articles Saying Antioxidants Are a Scam Wrong?

What about those scientists claiming antioxidants are a myth? Many of these articles are wrong or misleading:

  • Drug companies don’t pay for honest research into natural foods: Pharmaceutical companies obviously don’t want you taking cheaper antioxidants when they can charge you thousands of dollars for drugs. Who are the real scam artists?
  • Some scientists twist things: Obviously, if you study the effects of vitamin C on healthy people, you’re not going to see much difference. The whole point is to see if antioxidants can make a difference for people who aren’t getting enough vitamins normally.
  • Lab studies are misleading: Many studies cited as proof that antioxidants are a myth use data from test tubes (cells in a jar), not actual human beings. I can’t even tell you how misleading that is.
  • Most studies are small and short: You obviously can’t see the benefits of antioxidants for protecting the heart, brain, joints and kidneys in a one-week study. How about checking the effects after a few months, instead?

To be honest, most of these articles make me laugh. One claimed that vitamin C doesn’t help your body at all. Except I’ve seen the results myself EVERY TIME I’VE EVER BEEN SICK. I can say the same thing about garlic, ginger, turmeric, moringa and chicken soup. The bottom line? Listen to your body, not some scientist who’s probably getting his paycheck from a drug company that wants to sell you insulin for $300.

Considering the Pros and Cons of a Bidet Before Purchase

How often do you change your bathroom routine? For most people, bathroom habits don’t change much from their early years, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. Recently, there has been a significant rise in interest for the bidet, a bathroom accessory with several variations and benefits.

Understanding Bidet Designs

A bidet is a sanitation tool for personal cleaning. Rather than using toilet paper, a person uses the stream of water produced by the bidet to clean their hindquarters. The bidet comes in three iterations: standalone, modern, and shower.

The standalone bidet resembles a second toilet in the bathroom but without a toilet seat. Also, a traditional design includes a faucet, so a more accurate depiction is a sink toilet. Facing toward or away from the tap, you straddle the bidet and rinse your rear.

Modern bidets are attachments to your existing toilet. You will have several buttons on the side of the seat, and when pressed, a wand will emerge from under the seat to spray your hiney.

Finally, a shower bidet is a toilet attachment resembling a shower wand. Once you do your business, you take the wand down from its wall mount and clean yourself.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Benefits of Using Bidets

Records exist about the bidet as far back as 1726, but despite the history, many people are unfamiliar or feel icky thinking about the device. However, there are several advantages to using a bidet, some that extend the personal experience.

  • Hygiene:

Bidets are undeniably more sanitary than toilet paper or wipes. Even the most hygienic person will likely leave behind particles or bits that can lead to odor, infection, or irritation. A bidet sprays the area, washing away any remnants, making it a fantastic tool for older people or those who do not have the flexibility to clean themselves effectively.

  • Environment:

Over 36 billion rolls of toilet paper go to waste every year. Using a bidet can reduce that number significantly. Bidets limit the number of rolls needed and thereby the number of trees used for creating a product responsible for eliminating an estimated 27,000 trees daily.

  • Plumbing:

If you use a bidet correctly, the device rinses away the waste. Using toilet paper to dry your hind parts is unnecessary; instead, use small cloth towels and put them in the hamper after each use. By eliminating toilet paper usage, you limit environmental impact, and you ensure you have clear and clear pipes in your home.

Negatives of Using Bidets

Bidets have several pros, but that does not mean they are without any cons. Several negatives of using a bidet include:

  • Infections:

For the females out there, wiping is not a willy-nilly process. Cleaning yourself involves limiting exposure to certain sensitive and vulnerable areas. Unfortunately, if a bidet is not measured correctly, it can lead to overspray and the spread of fecal matter, which can lead to feminine infections.

  • Installation:

While some modern bidets install quickly without significant required changes to your existing bathroom or plumbing, others might need a renovation or bathroom overhaul, especially if looking for a standalone system. Make sure your budget can afford the potential costs.

  • Learning curve:

While the bidet is a straightforward and simplistic device, it still requires practice and patience. Bidet noobs will probably experience overspray and wet clothes. The only advice is to practice and have a spare pair of underwear and pants nearby.

The bidet is a useful and, in some respects, a traditional bathroom tool. However, despite its age, not everyone will enjoy the pressure washing of their rear. What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Good for Whitening Teeth?

I’ll be the first to say that charcoal toothpaste looks kind of cool. After all, it’s as jet black as wearing a pair of sunglasses at night. Before you squeeze this supposedly miraculous toothpaste onto your toothbrush, however, it’s smart to learn more. Does charcoal toothpaste actually whiten teeth? Does it damage tooth enamel?

What’s With All the Hype Around Activated Charcoal Toothpaste?

These days, activated charcoal is being used in everything from beauty creams to digestive cleanses. It’s a great absorbent, so the theory is that it acts like a magnet that captures bacteria, germs, toxins and other contaminants. At least in part, there is scientific support for this idea since activated charcoal is used in hospital emergency rooms to treat problems such as drug overdose.

Where things get a little shady (no pun intended) is that charcoal toothpaste manufacturers claim it can have the same effect on tooth stains. They say charcoal whitening toothpastes “absorb” stains and leave your teeth sparkling white.

Does Charcoal Toothpaste Really Whiten Your Teeth?

Activated charcoal can help remove surface stains from teeth. This is all about the abrasion. Charcoal toothpaste can scrub away the dark film left by coffee stains, tobacco stains and other stains outside the teeth.

What charcoal whitening toothpaste can’t do is change the color of your actual teeth. If you have naturally darker teeth or age-related staining, charcoal won’t change a thing. For that, you would need a professional bleaching solution for teeth whitening.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Does Charcoal Toothpaste Hurt Your Teeth?

Since people have only really started using activated charcoal in toothpastes fairly recently, the jury is still out on what it may do to teeth. As a mom, however, there a few things about charcoal toothpaste that make me nervous:

  • Charcoal toothpaste is aggressive: You know how exfoliating soaps have a gritty feel to them? Toothpaste with activated charcoal is the same. The small charcoal particles can slowly wear down the enamel of teeth as your brush, potentially leaving your teeth more sensitive and vulnerable than normal.
  • Charcoal toothpaste doesn’t usually have any fluoride: Your teeth have fluoride, a mineral that helps to strengthen the hard enamel layer that protects them. Fluoride is good for your teeth, which is why it’s usually added to toothpastes. Unfortunately, many charcoal toothpastes don’t contain this important mineral.
  • Charcoal toothpaste can make it easier for cavities to appear: When you combine the harshness of activated charcoal with the loss of fluoride your teeth need, the result can be more tooth decay. I wouldn’t recommend that as a mom, and I really don’t want to visit the dentist more often for my own teeth either.
  • Charcoal particles can make some teeth look darker: Tiny charcoal particles can be difficult to remove completely. This can leave a black or gray outline around the edges of teeth. If your teeth have any tiny cracks, charcoal can get stuck inside, making the area more noticeable.
  • Activated charcoal can irritate your gums: If you have sensitive gums, you may not be happy to hear that charcoal can make them sore. What can happen is that the tiny particles can get stuck underneath your gums, repeatedly scratching them and triggering inflammation.

If you do decide to use charcoal toothpaste (hopefully a brand that does contain fluoride), don’t use it for everyday brushing. Only use it when you think your teeth need a deep cleaning. Try not to brush too aggressively. That way you can take good care of your precious enamel.

Does Crystal Therapy Really Work?

You hear so much talk about crystals these days, both good and bad. Some folks swear by them, while others claim their just a lot of new age nonsense. Still, you can't help but be curious when hearing all the positive stories about them.

The truth is, many people do experience benefits from crystals. They might not be able to do all the magical things people claim, like curing major illness or making your dream man fall in love with you, but they can give you a real boost spiritually and mentally when you know what you're doing with them.

Types of Therapeutic Crystals

Healing crystals are not one size fits all. There's actually a wide variety out there, each of which is associated with specific benefits:

Obsidian

Obsidian is said to have protective qualities. If you're feeling emotionally stifled or blocked, it can also help you release some of those built up emotions to achieve a sense of clarity. The stone can be identified by its glassy black color.

Turquoise

You're probably already familiar with turquoise jewelry, which is indeed quite eye catching. However, the stone offers more than just aesthetic appeal. It's also thought to bring balance to your mind and spirit, as well as having intense healing powers.

Moonstone

Looking for a new beginning? Then moonstone is your go-to crystal. It can also quell feelings of stress and anxiety, which far too many people struggle with these days. Moonstone has a sort of earthy look, with grayish-white coloring.

Rose Quartz

Pretty pink rose quartz has a strong association with love. If you're having trouble in any type of relationship, romantic or otherwise, ruminating with some rose quartz can bring you some peace. It can also help you build up the love you have for yourself.

Amethyst

Deep purple amethyst is known for its purifying qualities. It can also help you tap into a deeper spiritual nature. Its healing power is great for dispelling those negative thoughts rattling around your mind.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Tips for Using Healing Crystals

You basically have two options when using your healing crystals. Some people swear by wearing them on their bodies for all day protection through constant contact. Of course, not everyone is comfortable wearing jewelry, especially something like crystals. In this case, just carry them with you. Put them in your purse or pocket when you're out and about.

Before your crystals can do their thing, you must program them. I know what you're thinking, programming is something you do with a computer. What you're actually doing is associating your crystal with an intention. Hold the crystal in your hand and state what you wish to get from it: improved mental health, a better love life, greater self-confidence, whatever it might be. After stating your intention, be sure to thank the universe for the gift it's about to give you.

More intensive crystal therapy may be required if you're really struggling. In this case, do a crystal ritual each morning where you lay down to meditate with crystals on different parts of your body. Place crystals over your seven chakras, or energy centers on the body: base of the spine, lower abdomen, above the navel, over the heart, base of the throat, between the eyebrows, and the crown of the head.

Make sure crystals are also placed liberally throughout your home. Not only can they heal your mind and spirit, they can also make your living space feel more positive and nurturing. If you work from home, make sure there are quite a few hanging around your work desk!

The mind is a mysterious thing, and using crystals to achieve mindfulness is not as silly as it sounds. Also, having a little faith in something kind of whimsical never hurt anyone. Why not expand your mind and give it try?