10 Things You Should Never Do Before a Doctor Appointment—and 4 Things You Should

© Dima Sobko/Shutterstock

Don’t drink coffee before a blood pressure test

Your blood pressure will be probably be taken at a checkup, so avoid coffee right before your appointment: it could affect the results. “Using coffee or other caffeine such as energy drinks or colas within an hour of having your blood pressure measured can make the number artificially higher,” says James Dewar, MD, vice chairman of family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). “The same goes for tobacco products and over-the-counter decongestant medications.” Don’t miss everything you should know about coffee and high blood pressure.

Don’t eat a high-fat meal before getting blood drawn

You should also skip the fettucini alfredo before a regular blood workup. “If you wouldn’t normally have a high-fat meal, then don’t do it, so your physician can get an accurate picture of your health,” says Deepa Iyengar, MD, associate professor of family and community medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and an attending physician at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. Unusually large meals could skew test results. In fact, you may need to avoid eating in general. “If your blood work will include a measurement of cholesterol or other fats, it is best to avoid any calories for eight to ten hours before the test is drawn,” says Dr. Dewar. “Your blood sugar and certain fats in the blood called triglycerides can be increased for a bit after you eat.” And you may not have a choice: you’ll probably be told to fast and only drink water before a regular blood workup, says Dr. Iyengar

© Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Do drink lots of water before a physical

In general, it’s a good idea to hydrate before seeing the doc for a checkup. “Being well hydrated at the time of a physical will make your pulse and blood pressure at their best,” Dr. Dewar says. “If you are having blood work or urine testing done, being mildly dehydrated can cause artificial abnormalities in the testing that can confuse the results.” You do want the doctor to picture your normal lifestyle, but you should be drinking lots of water anyways.

Do eat as you normally would before a checkup

You don’t need to change your eating habits before an annual appointment, even if you want to seem healthy. “Your providers would like you to be honest and upfront about your lifestyle and diet so they can have an accurate history of your health and provide you with the best possible care,” says Gregory John Galbreath, MD, a PIH Health physician in Whittier, CA. After all, a few days of healthier eating probably won’t matter. “It takes a long time for a diet to change cholesterol and blood sugar, so a dietary change of a few days or meals isn’t going to do much,” Dr. Dewar says. Changes occur over the long term, so just eat healthy as often as you can. 

Read more about what to do or not do by clicking the link below.

Source Link: 10 Things You Should Never Do Before a Doctor Appointment—and 4 Things You Should (msn.com)

5 Breads Made From the Lowest Quality Ingredients

Despite what you may have been told in the past, you don’t have to give up bread in order to be healthy. If you don’t have a gluten intolerance or allergy, you can still consume it on a regular basis while simultaneously pursuing your specific health goals.

Bread is not the enemy, but it’s important to recognize that certain types are much lower quality than others. For example, many varieties of store-bought bread come packed with added sugars and preservatives to help it stay fresh on the shelf for long periods of time.

Continue reading to learn about some of the lowest-quality breads you may want to avoid next time you’re at the store. 

1. Wonder Bread Classic White

“White bread has all the nutrients processed out and is notoriously unhealthy. Additionally, this highly processed bread contains preservatives and other inflammatory ingredients,” says Morgyn Clair, MS, RDN, author at Fit Healthy Momma.

“If you do eat white bread or any other type of bread without having a digestive issue, then there is no need to avoid these products completely. However, when choosing between different types of breads, try to stick with those made with whole wheat flour instead of white flour so that you can feel better after eating them,” says Ronald Smith, RD.

2. Fran’s Thick Sliced Texas Toast

Texas toast is delicious, but buying packaged versions on grocery store shelves often leads to too many trans fats and sugar. According to Clair, this bread makes the list as one of the worst-quality choices. “This highly processed bread has tons of calories and very little fiber,” says Clair.

3. Pure Joy Cinnamon Bread

This cinnamon bread makes for a yummy treat, but you may want to think twice before making it a staple in your diet.

“This bread actually has frosting and lots of extra cinnamon sugar. I would treat this bread as a dessert and eat in very modest portions because there are over 240 calories in just one slice,” says Clair.

4. Marketside Vanilla Brioche

A slice of something like this vanilla brioche loaf may sound like a delicious way to start your day, but dietitians warn that you may want to only consume in moderation.

“This bread has more calories and sugar than many others. Generally, brioche-style bread has very little fiber and nutrients and is calorie-dense,” says Clair.

5. Sun Maid Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

And lastly, reaching for some packaged cinnamon raisin bread may be fine once and a while, but be careful if this is part of your daily routine.

“This bread has 8 grams added sugars and virtually no fiber or other nutrients. Also, there is not a lot of protein. Because of this, this bread is one of the worst-quality choices,” says Clair.

Article by Samantha Boesch for Eat This, Not That©

Source: 5 Breads Made From the Lowest Quality Ingredients (msn.com)

5 Best Fruits to Reduce Inflammation

The word inflammation has a bad reputation. It seems to be associated with negative consequences like pain, swelling, disease, or perhaps a byproduct of just general poor health. There are a couple of classifications of inflammation recognized in healthcare: acute and chronic inflammation, and there are some big differences between the two.

Acute inflammation is characterized by the healing of injured body tissue. Acute inflammation is short-term, lasting minutes to days, and is a result of injury, irritation, or infection. During recovery of this type of inflammatory process, signs like redness, swelling, heat, and soreness in the affected area might be apparent as damaged tissue is being addressed and new tissue is being synthesized. This is a normal physiologic response to the body’s exposure to physical stress and its subsequent necessary repair.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, as stated in this review in the British Journal of Nutrition, is an indicator of a failure to regulate homeostasis, thus contributing to the perpetuation and progression of disease. This is a result of a misfiring in the body’s physiologic response when there is no real trigger, but inflammation is still activated. Most chronic inflammation is systemic (not localized to just one area of the body) and is mild or “low-grade.” Chronic inflammation can become the root of many diseases, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.

One method of protection against inflammation is a nutrient-dense diet which includes an array of vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes (beans and peas), whole grains, and up to two servings a week of fish that supply omega-3 fats. Certain plant-based foods have been studied for their potential inflammatory-fighting benefits, including these top five anti-inflammatory fruits. Read on for more on how to eat healthy.

1. Cranberries

Cranberries don’t get nearly enough credit year-round. Instead, most cranberry intake is cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving or cranberry juice to defend against a urinary tract infection (UTI). Cranberries instead can be enjoyed frozen in a smoothie, dried in a trail mix, or fresh in a salad. Cranberries have a high content of bioactive compounds, which are associated with antioxidant activity. One primary bioactive compound in cranberries is a flavonoid called quercetin. These flavonoids have been studied for their role in decreasing inflammation, inhibiting the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries, and for their anti-cancer effects.

2. Oranges

Oranges, whether they be navel oranges or mandarins, contain hesperetin, a citrus flavonoid. Hesperetin offers protection against inflammation that can lead to neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and multiple sclerosis.

3. Blueberries

Blueberries are a recognizable fruit probably making its way into your breakfast routine via oatmeal, yogurt, or muffins. Now there is even more reason to include blueberries regularly in your diet: its inflammatory-reducing function may decrease insulin resistance, a hallmark of developing type 2 diabetes. A 2018 review in Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine suspects this could be attributed to blueberry’s “anthocyanin” content and its ability to alter certain hormones associated with the body’s use of glucose.

4. Grapefruit

Grapefruit, along with other fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges, is categorized as a citrus fruit. Naringin, a major compound found in tomatoes, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits, can suppress inflammatory reactions, as reported in a research article in Bioscience Reports in 2020. This occurs through naringin’s capability to reduce the effectiveness of pro-inflammatory “cytokines,” which are known to contribute to cell damage. Grapefruit also is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C, which are both key vitamins in immune function.

5. Strawberries

Strawberries are not only appreciated as a juicy, wholesome, summertime fruit but also a flavor that can make just about anything from desserts to beverages taste great. Keep up with consuming strawberries, but now armed with the knowledge that this fruit is exceptionally rich in a flavonoid called ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and can also boost protection against cancer.

Written by Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD for Eat This, Not That©

Source: 5 Best Fruits to Reduce Inflammation (msn.com)

8 Best Mosquito Repellent Plants to Keep Pests Away

By Christopher Michel  For Good Housekeeping

a vase filled with purple flowers: These mosquito repellent plants, from lavender and citronella to catnip and basil, will make your garden look stunning and keep pests at bay.© undefined undefined – Getty Images  These mosquito repellent plants, from lavender and citronella to catnip and basil, will make your garden look stunning and keep pests at bay.

Look, mosquitos are awful. They buzz in your ear, leave itchy red bites, and can even spread disease. No, thank you. The insects may be great food for birds and bats, but you definitely don’t want them hanging around your backyard (trust us, mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, and Zika aren’t health issues you want to explore personally). Fortunately, there are a few ways to repel mosquitos naturally, without the use of sprays.

First, you’ll want to make your outdoor living areas less friendly to mosquito eggs by getting rid of any standing water (including the water in clogged rain gutters, birdbaths, and flower pots). You should also cut back any high grass or brush that creates cool, shady, or damp spots that mosquitos favor.

Alternately, you can use the power of scent to help you out. Certain strong smells can both hide the scent of people (something that attracts mosquitos) and prevent the bugs from wanting to get close enough to bite you. This is why DEET bug sprays and citronella candles sell like hotcakes in the summer. There are also several mosquito-repellent plants with strong scents that humans find pleasant and mosquitos hate. The aroma needs to be in the air around you, at the very least, but ideally on your skin.

To get the maximum effect of these natural mosquito repellent plants, crush herb leaves in your hands to release their perfume and essential oils, and then rub the leaves and their oils over your skin.

NOTE: Some of these plants may cause skin irritation. If you have dry or sensitive, you should avoid using them. You should not use if you are allergic to any of these plants, and you should always do a patch test on a small section of your skin before using.

Lemon Balm

a close up of a garden: Lemon Balm Plant© Nicholas Kostin – Getty Images Lemon Balm Plant

This member of the mint family has white flowers and a gentle lemony scent, as well as some healing properties. Lemon balm is particularly good at keeping mosquitos away, but it’s also a fast grower, so be careful when planting it in your garden. It does well if you plant it in a pot on your patio, or other outdoor areas.


a close up of a tree surrounded by green leaves: Catmint - Catnip Plant- Catswort - Nepeta Cataria© Zen Rial – Getty Images Catmint – Catnip Plant- Catswort – Nepeta Cataria

This fragrant mint cousin contains a natural chemical called nepetalactone, which is both a feline attractant and a useful insect repellent. Though if you’re not interested in a bunch of cats moving into the area, skip this one and move onto a different plant.


a close up of a green plant: USA, California, San Benito County, Basil plant, close up detail of leaves© WIN-Initiative – Getty Images USA, California, San Benito County, Basil plant, close up detail of leaves

A 2009 study showed that the essential oil from this delicious staple from your indoor herb garden is toxic to mosquito larvae. Grow this amazing plant around any natural water sources, such as a pond, and it may control the rate of eggs being laid.


a group of purple flowers: France, Provence, lavender fields© Westend61 – Getty Images France, Provence, lavender fields

Lavender can repel flying insects like mosquitos, moths, and flies. The flower’s perfume is well-known, and while it will scent the air, the most effective way to use it for pest control is to rub the plant on your skin to release its oils.


a close up of a green plant: bunch of fresh mint leaves on dark slate background© Oleksii Polishchuk – Getty Images bunch of fresh mint leaves on dark slate background

In its concentrated form, peppermint is sometimes used as an insect repellent, and its oil has been shown to repel the adults and kill the larvae and eggs of several species.

Citrosum (a.k.a. Mosquito Plant)

a close up of a flower: macro closeup of hot pink purple white flowers of Pelargonium graveolens citrosum cintronella mosquito repellent sweet scented old fashion rose geranium plant against green leaves background© LegART – Getty Images macro closeup of hot pink purple white flowers of Pelargonium graveolens citrosum cintronella mosquito repellent sweet scented old fashion rose geranium plant against green leaves background

This perennial is actually marketed as a “mosquito plant,” and sometimes referred to as the citronella plant primarily due to its strong citronella scent. Unfortunately, though it’s the most heavily marketed, there’s some research that suggests it’s also the least effective garden plant at mosquito control. Still, there are some benefits to be had from rubbing the crushed leaves on your skin, and if there’s nothing else around, it will provide some protection.

Sage and Rosemary

a close up of a green plant: Close-up of sage growing in garden© Norma Murace Melia / EyeEm – Getty Images Close-up of sage growing in garden

If you’re planning to gather around a fire, try burning a little sage or rosemary. The incense these plants give off when they burn not only smells good but is unpleasant enough to most species of insects that it’ll repel them — as long as you’re near the smoke.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/home-and-garden/8-best-mosquito-repellent-plants-to-keep-pests-away-from-your-garden/ar-BB16dQb3?ocid=msedgntp



This fruit can help reduce your stress levels naturally—here are 5 ways to use it

Wouldn’t it be great if a magical food existed that could miraculously make you feel like you just got an at-home massage? While that unicorn unfortunately doesn’t exist, a certain red fruit comes close.

Which one, you’re wondering? Sweet cherries—specifically, Northwest-grown sweet cherries. Thanks to being high in serotonin (studies show that not having enough serotonin may be linked to increased stress) summer’s favorite stone fruit could help you keep your cool, in more ways than one.

On the same note, a good night’s sleep never hurt anyone’s mood: “Cherries are naturally rich in melatonin, the chemical that helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and might even help to tame irritability,” says nutritionist and author Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN.

And stress-busting is just one of the benefits of sweet cherries. “Cherries have been shown to reduce inflammation which could play a role in promoting heart health and in helping speed up recovery after exercising,” she says.

Plus, one serving gives you three grams of fiber, which can help fuel gut bacteria and support a healthy immune system, Taub-Dix says. Cherries have also been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the body, and with their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may also help with symptoms of arthritis. Oh hey, super fruit.

Now that you know all about the benefits of sweet cherries, keep scrolling for five delicious ways to eat them.

benefits of sweet cherries

Double-down on baking

Odds are you’ve realized lately just how helpful stress-baking can be for your mood, and with cherries as a star ingredient, you can take the chill vibes one step further.

Add cherries to the stay-at-home dessert du jour with Taub-Dix’ Banana Cherry Berry Bread or take a stab at a classic cherry pie. Because they’re naturally sweet, cherries can sweeten all sorts of baked goods from bars to cobblers to crumbles without having to add much sugar, Taub-Dix says.

Dry cherries to enjoy later

While we all might wish sweet cherry season was longer than a few months, it is possible to enjoy them year-round. Simply dry cherries by cutting them in half, removing the pits, then bake them for at least six hours at 140 degrees, and you’ve got yourself a sweet, slightly sticky snack to eat plain, add to salads, or bake into your fave dish. Raisins, who?

Upgrade your snack plate

You might not think of cherries as a charcuterie board staple, but the stone fruit is a surprising element that can really take your smorgasbord-style snack or dinner to the next level. Taub-Dix pairs fresh cherries with ricotta cheese and chopped nuts for a delicious and filling snack (brb, drooling), which—thanks to all the cherries you’re going to dry—you can munch on through every season.

benefits of sweet cherries

DIY fresh jam

If you want a fresh, homemade yogurt or toast topper, just go the jam route. When you DIY your own cherry jelly, you control how much added sugar you put into your jar. File jam-making under your weekend plans—or, if you don’t have the time right now…

Freeze ’em for treats

“You can’t have too many cherries,” says Taub-Dix, who recently used frozen cherries to make this cherry-chia jam. “But if you do buy more than you can consume, you can pit and freeze cherries and use them in smoothies and jams well after their sweet season ends.”

Heads up: Cherry season is only a couple months (shorter than most fruits’), so stock up in July while you have the chance. That way, you’ll always have them on hand for a Cherry Lime Smoothie. Once you taste it, you’ll want to keep a bag of frozen cherries in your freezer for, like, ever.

Photos: Northwest Cherries

Article by Wellandgood.com

Why You Need To Add Blueberries To Your Diet

a close up of a rock
Pixaby image

Looking for an easy but healthy addition to your diet? You might want to try blueberries, and here’s why.

Blueberries: Why You Need Them In Your Diet

Now more than ever, we need to take good care of our bodies and follow a healthy diet as much as possible, what with pandemics and viruses coming here and there. Unfortunately, while there are literally no cons in following a healthy diet, it’s easier said than done for most people since a lot of them end up abandoning it or failing altogether.

But that doesn’t mean that we should stop trying. Taking little steps is a good strategy when it comes to having better health, and one such little step we can take is adding blueberries in our grocery list.

Small, unassuming, relatively cheap, blueberries are actually a healthy diet addition. Here’s why:

Full of Antioxidants

They may be small, but they pack quite a punch when it comes to antioxidant content. In fact, blueberries have more antioxidants than almost any other food, which your body can then use to fight free radicals and reduce the risk of many cancers and diseases.

Bone Health

Additionally, blueberries are also a good source of vitamin K, which works alongside calcium to ensure your bones are healthy and strong. In addition, vitamin K also plays a role in maintaining blood circulation and contributing to heart health.

Mental Aging

Per studies, eating blueberries has also been shown to help improve brain function in older individuals, even helping delay mental aging by over two years. Blueberries do this via their antioxidants, which help fight the free radicals that accelerate our brain’s aging processes, resulting in cognitive impairments.

Blood Pressure and Heart Health

The same antioxidants we just mentioned can also help lower and regulate our blood pressure, which in turn makes the 24/7 job of our heart a little more easier. In fact, research shows that regular intake of anthocyanins (the main antioxidant in blueberries) can reduce heart attack risk by 32 percent.

Weight Loss

High in fiber and water, blueberries are also a great weight loss snack since they only have 40 calories per half a cup.

By Jan Cortes for Medical Daily


7 Deadly Health Mistakes People Make After Age 50

a man smiling for the camera: shutterstock_475640833

© Ljupco Smokovski / Shutterstock_475640833


As we age, our health risks increase. After all, none of us is going to live forever. However, we all can improve the odds of a longer, more healthful life simply by avoiding the following deadly health mistakes people tend to make after age 50.  One note: Consult your doctor before undertaking some of the practices suggested in this article.

1. Letting social connections dwindle

Loneliness can kill. A 2018 study found that isolation may double a person’s risk of dying of cardiovascular disease.

The National Institute on Aging also notes that social isolation is linked to increased risk of depression, cognitive decline, obesity and a weakened immune system.

Men are at greater risk of suffering from social isolation. As we reported in “8 Surprising Facts That Nobody Tells You About Retirement,” a survey found just 48% of retired men living alone were very satisfied with the number of friends they had.

By contrast, 71% of retired women living alone were very satisfied with their number of social connections.

So, keep the ties that bind securely fastened as you move through your golden years.

2. Continuing to eat high-sodium foods

In most Western countries, individual blood pressure readings tend to rise with age, but in other nations, this does not happen. Why not?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says residents of the latter group of nations consume diets that are lower in salt.

About 90% of the sodium we consume comes from salt. In addition, 90% of Americans ages 2 and older consume too much sodium.

Reduce your sodium intake, and your blood pressure should fall within a couple of weeks, helping to lower your risk of deadly heart disease and stroke, the CDC says.

3. Putting off colorectal cancer screening

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, recommends that all adults 50 to 75 schedule colorectal cancer screening. (For adults who are older than 75, whether to screen is a more individualized decision, as risks and benefits can vary.)

Screening can find precancerous polyps, which are the main source of colorectal cancer. Screening also can find the disease itself in its early stages, when it is most treatable.

4. Skipping a daily aspirin

Not everyone over 50 should take an aspirin every day. But it can make sense for those with certain potentially life-threatening health conditions. According to the Mayo Clinic:

“The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends daily aspirin therapy if you’re age 50 to 59, you’re not at increased bleeding risk, and you have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke of 10 percent or greater over the next 10 years.”

Taking aspirin makes blood platelets less “sticky,” helping to prevent the clots that lead to heart attacks and strokes, explains Harvard Medical School.

The Mayo Clinic says people ages 60 to 69 should talk to their doctor before starting a daily aspirin regimen. It also notes that more study is needed before recommending daily aspirin to people outside these age groups.

5. Avoiding the weight room

As we age, the risk of the bone disease osteoporosis increases. About 10 million people have osteoporosis, and another 44 million have low bone density, which puts them at risk for the disease, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

If you have osteoporosis, your bones are weaker and at greater risk of breaking. Some of these breaks — such as a hip fracture — can be life-threatening. Nearly one-quarter of people 50 and older die within a year of fracturing a hip.

Women are especially at risk for osteoporosis. In fact, 1 in 2 women will break a bone due to osteoporosis — which occurs more often in women than a heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.

Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is key to preventing osteoporosis. Also, weight-bearing exercise is an overlooked way to strengthen bones.

Using free weights, resistance bands or even your own body weight to exercise not only will strengthen muscles, but also can help you maintain bone density as you age.

6. Drinking too little water

Everyone knows hydration is important — but is it really a matter of life and death?

Yes. And children and older adults are most at risk for the most devastating consequences of dehydration.

The Mayo Clinic notes that older adults carry a lower volume of water in their bodies. In addition, they are more likely to take medications that boost the risk of dehydration. Finally, their sense of thirst is less acute, making it easy for them to forget the need to drink.

Severe dehydration can lead to:

  • Life-threatening heatstroke
  • Urinary and kidney problems
  • Seizures
  • Hypovolemic shock (low blood volume shock)

How much fluid do you need each day? It varies. However, as a general rule, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine give the following suggestions:

  • 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

Note that about of 20% of daily fluid intake typically comes from food.

The risk of dehydration increases significantly as you age, so get in the hydration habit now.

7. Not quitting smoking

Kicking the nicotine habit pays dividends at any age. Even if you are north of 50, you can still improve your health — and possibly save your life — by quitting now.

In fact, the improvements can be lightning fast. According to the American Cancer Society:

  • Your heart rate and blood pressure drop 20 minutes after quitting.
  • The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal 12 hours after quitting.
  • Circulation improves and your lung function increases two weeks to three months after quitting.

More improvements pile up over the next nine months. The upshot is that by one year after quitting, your excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a current smoker. Heart attack risk also drops dramatically.

This article was written by Chris Kissell for moneytalksnews.  For a free newsletter click:


10 Plants That Attract Dragonflies for Mosquito Control

Up Close of Dragonfly Sitting on Stick

Attracting dragonflies to your garden and backyard requires planting a diverse array of plants. Planting trees and shrubs around the perimeter of the yard will provide adequate hiding spots for young dragonflies. Blooming plants also attract pollinators (like butterflies, beetles, wasps, moths and other small flying insects) that dragonflies love to prey on. Water plants that grow near and within ponds are also highly sought out by dragonflies, but only if you’re willing to sacrifice a part of your yard with a pond (which wouldn’t be too bad, would it?).

Land Plants

While building a backyard pond is the best way to attract dragonflies as they mate and lay their eggs in water, you can still attract dragonflies through other means. Planting flowers that attract prey for dragonflies will bring them to your garden indirectly. Here are five plants you can grow to attract more dragonflies into your backyard.

1. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-Eyed Susan - Yellow Flower with Black Center
Image via scott1346 / Flickr

Black-eyed susans attract butterflies and other pollinators – a popular choice of the dragonfly (unfortunately so, but everyone has to eat!). These bright yellow wildflowers typically live for around two years in climates that remain warm for most of the year, and will die off once winter hits in cooler climates. They adapt well to nearly every type of soil and require full sunlight and regular watering to bloom.

2. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Swamp Milkweed - Pink Flower That Grow in Bunches with White Center
Image via Dan Mullen / Flickr

A cousin of the better-known common milkweed, swamp milkweed produces attractive white and pink flowers that come back every year (it’s a perennial!). They flowers are very showy and good for attracting dragonfly prey like butterflies, wasps and bees. As the name suggests, this plant grows best in moist, wetland areas. It likes wet, clay soil, but also prefers full sun.

3. Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

Joe-Pye Weed - Pale Pink and Purple Flowers
Image via liz west / Flickr

This attractive plant produces pale pink-purple flowers that last from mid-summer through fall. It attracts multitudes of butterflies and other pollinators like bees, which dragonflies love. These plants reach a height of anywhere between 3 and 12 feet, so they’re perfect for dragonflies that like tall perches. The flowers also come with a light vanilla fragrance that becomes more intense when crushed (who doesn’t want a yard that smells like vanilla?!). These plants grow in full or partial sunlight and occur naturally in moist woods or meadows. The dried roots and flowers of the Joe Pye weed can also be used to make a diuretic tea.

4. Meadow Sage (Salvia marcus)

meadow sage in field of yellow flowers
Image via United States Mission Geneva’s photostream / Flickr

Meadow sage is a beautiful perennial with eye-catching purple flowers that attract butterflies and other small insects. This flower loves full sun, but it can also do well in partial shade. The best growing location receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Once established, this plant does not need a lot of water. In fact, it can handle pretty well in drought conditions, but if scarcity of water does become a thing, make sure you give it a sip at least once a day.

5. White Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

This graceful perennial wildflower produces an abundance of huge, flat clusters about 5 inches across, packed with 20-25 creamy-white flowers. Their fern-like foliage is disease-resistant, and they attract bugs like butterflies and tiny parasitic wasps that dragonflies love. This plant thrives in full sun, in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils. The flower is loved by many, as it helps brighten the garden throughout summer. Plus, it’s easy to grow, so you don’t need a green thumb!

Pond/Shoreline Plants

Incorporating a pond into your backyard is also a good idea if you want dragonflies to return to your side of the neighborhood. Dragonflies spend two months to several years underwater, and water is a place they will return to time and time again. If you provide water, dragonflies will come to hunt, reproduce, perch, and play.

Aside from the water-dwelling plants listed below, you should also provide rocks around the pond, and around your garden in general. Rocks provide hiding place for dragonfly larvae as they grow and develop under water. While you’re waiting for plants to grow tall enough for dragonflies to perch on, you can place sticks around your pond. This will give them somewhere to land and take a rest. You can use sticks from nearby trees, or bamboo stakes for plants and vegetables.

Here are five plants that can be grown in and around ponds or other bodies of water to attract dragonflies to live a more permanent lifestyle in your yard.

6. Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)

Arrowhead or Duck Potato - Tiny white flowers with yellow centers
Image via Eleanor / Flickr

Arrowhead, or duck-potato, is a colony-forming, aquatic perennial, that rises above water level to a height of three feet. The leaves are arrowhead shaped, hence the name, and comes with tiny white flowers with yellow centers that grow from the top of the stem. This marsh plant is often used by adult dragonflies to hang out; they also work as egg-laying sites. The easiest way to plant an arrowhead is by using the tuber of the plant and pushing it into the underwater soil in spring (with the growing tip facing up). Since plants tend to float when you put them in the underwater soil, you have to figure out a way to weight them down (like with rocks). It’s okay if the leaves are completely submerged, as they will quickly grow to reach the surface.

7. Wild Celery (Vallisneria americana)

Wild Celery - grass that grows in streams and ponds
Image via Fredlyfish4 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Wild celery is a useful tape grass that provides excellent aquatic habitat for dragonflies. It is a fully submerged plant that will grow to the water surface, making it a great place for adult dragonflies to deposit their eggs onto. Being a submergent, wild celery needs to be planted where there will be at least 18 inches of water at all times. The sunlight will have to filter down to the tubers in the spring to germinate them. If you can get your hand on some wild celery tubers, place them in a cheesecloth with some mud or stones, and put them at the base of your pond. The mud and stones will help keep everything stuck to the bottom while the wild celery takes root. Be careful not to break off the sprouts on the tubers, and they will not re-sprout if broken off.

8. Water Horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile)

Horsetail - Long tall green swamp and pond plant with black striations
Image via ClatieK / Flickr

Water horsetail is an emergent plant that is a combination of a submerged and floating plant. They are rooted on the pond floor, but they also feature stems that rise out of the water. Dragonfly larvae use water horsetail to make their way to the pond surface once they have reached their adult phase. Horsetails are grown from nursery plants, not seed. Plant horsetail rhizomes about two inches below the soil on the edge of your pond or water area. Once they are established, they can withstand short periods of dry weather. It is happy to grow in part shade or full sun.

9. Cattail (Typha latifolia)

Bull Rush or Cattail - Long creek/water plants that have a long stem and brown poof at the top
Image via Chris Jones / Flickr

Cattails, or bull rushes, thrive in moist soil and do best in swampy marshy areas. They are used as areas for adult dragonflies to hang out, but they also work as egg-laying sites. Cattails thrive in bright locations, so avoid planting them in shady areas. As with most water plants, growing cattails from their rhizome is most effective. Plant some cattail rhizomes in your pond margin, and voila – you’ve got cattails! These plants are very hardy, so they’re fairly easy to transplant if you happen to find a few in a ditch somewhere and want to translocate them to the pond in your garden.

10. Water Lily

Water lily - white flower with yellow center that grows on top or near lily pads
Image via SharDan2 / Flickr

Floating plants like water lilies make the perfect egg-laying spot for adult dragonflies. Water lilies can be grown from tubers planted in pots beneath the water’s surface. The plant will then send up stems with rounded leaves and star-shaped blossoms that float on the surface. Adding in rocks will help keep the plant submerged.

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Why Stress-Baking and Cleaning Make You Less Anxious

You’re not the only one who finds #quarantinebaking so soothing. Turns out, it has a lot to do with the neuroscience of mindful meditation.

pink macaroons on a purple seamless

Photograph: Getty Images

A Wired.com article written by Sara Harrison

It turns out that homekeeping and self-care activities like meditating, cooking, cleaning, and even just stocking the pantry can help stop cycles of anxiety and depression by changing how the human brain self-regulates. Here’s why stress-baking or cleaning feels so good, neurologically speaking.

When humans perceive a threat or stressor, our amygdala—a small region of the brain associated with facilitating fear, anxiety, and emotion—jumps into gear and becomes more active. This activation can have physical consequences, too. Sometimes people who are anxious report feeling short of breath or have an increased heart rate. That’s because the amygdala is also involved in regulating our blood pressure, breathing, and heart. So when the amygdala gets going, those systems do too.

Activities like taking a bike ride or stress-baking a pan of cookies give people a sense of accomplishment and control. While they’re exercising or cooking, they can focus on the smaller tasks at hand and take a break from stressors like social media or the news. Gollan says these activities don’t have to be big projects. Just opening the window and enjoying the breeze, or taking a break with a good cup of coffee, count too.

Studies suggest that behavioral activation can help reregulate brain activity much the way mindful meditation does, by engaging the prefrontal cortex.

Many people already find repetitive chores like washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, or chopping vegetables to be a kind of meditative practice, their own way of quieting the mind. Culinary therapies for grief and anxiety have started appearing across the country, and some evidence is emerging that it does work, though the neuroscience is still not well examined. Julie Ohana runs a practice called Culinary Art Therapy, where she uses cooking to help clients improve communication, manage stress, and improve self-esteem. She wasn’t at all surprised to recently find that her local grocery store in Michigan was completely out of flour and yeast. “The idea of cooking, and baking in particular, really requires a certain level of mindfulness, of putting aside everything else that’s going on around you and being present in the moment,” Ohana says.

Right now, being forced to focus on kneading, mixing, and measuring is particularly important. And there’s a certain practicality to this kind of mindful task. “We all need to eat,” Ohana says. “Why not really put your all into that dish you’re cooking and really get everything out of it that you can?”



Why I Drink Hot Lemon Water Daily | Hello Nutritarian

Why I Drink Hot Lemon Water Daily Medical Medium Health Benefits How Not to Die Dr Greger Chef AJ Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge SOS Free Vegan What the Health


In Anthony William’s book Medical Medium Life Changing Foods, we get further confirmation that lemons (and limes) are the real-deal when it comes to superior nutrition, mineral bio-availability, and organ detoxification.

Here’s what lemons (and limes) can do according to William’s work:

  • ultra-hydrating and electrolyte-producing because they’re a top source of mineral salts and trace mineral salts, containing bioavailable sodium
  • most highly absorbable vitamin C
  • they contain specialized phytochemicals called limenoids that bond together vitamin C and calcium creating alkalinity in the body that helps prevent the growth of almost every type of cancer
  • cleanse the liver, kidneys, spleen, thyroid and gallbladder
  • they purge the many toxins we accumulate from exposure to plastics, synthetic chemicals, radiation, and poor food choices

So, what’s happened to me over the past year that I’ve been sipping on hot lemon water?

I feel pretty darn magnificent.

Now there’s a lot of things at work making me feel that way, most important of which is nutritional excellence following a nutritarian lifestyle.  But I absolutely know that the increased circulation I’m getting from my morning hot lemon water has helped me release even more fat this year.

I’ve never been a coffee drinker but I can attest to the fact that hot lemon water wakes me up in the morning with a tart pucker and is infinitely more enjoyable than hot water alone.

But probably the most interesting bit of information I discovered in researching my daily hot lemon water practice is this:

“Once detoxification has drawn the gunk out of your cells and tissues (your liver does much of its work overnight), it needs to be flushed out when you wake up–otherwise, those toxins settle back in.  Lemon or lime water is more beneficial for this process than plain water, because filtration has often taken the life out of drinking water, and these citrus stars reawaken its healing abilities.”

– Anthony Williams, Medical Medium Life Changing Foods

How to Make Hot Lemon Water Health Benefits Easy Recipe Medical Medium
4.34 from 6 votes


Simple Hot Lemon Water

Cultivate this simple, cheap and effective habit to increase your circulation and over-all health.  Here’s an easy recipe to get you started!


  • 1/2 to 1 lemon
  • 8 to 10 ounces water


  1. Heat water over stove top or in a microwave-safe mug until just before a rolling boil.  For microwave, about 120 seconds on high.

  2. While water is heating juice the lemon.  Use 1/2 lemon if you weigh less than 150 pounds use the whole lemon if you weigh more than 150 pounds.

  3. Pour lemon juice into mug with hot water and stir well.  Drink with the temperature as hot as possible.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

You can use lime juice instead of lemon juice, if you prefer, and still retain most of the health benefits (the only question would be DNA-damage repair properties).

I like to batch-prep my lemon juice for the week.  Buy a 1-pound bag of lemons for the week and juice at once.  If you follow this approach you’ll want to add 2 tbsp. as the equivalent for 1 whole lemon.  And 1 tbsp. as the equivalent for 1/2 lemon.

Lemon or lime juice will last for 2 months (or more) when properly stored in a glass Mason jar in the fridge.

Right bout now you might have some questions about coffee or tea, if so you can read up my FAQs here to learn more about those topics when you’re following the nutritarian lifestyle.

Did you find this article to be helpful for you?  Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Let’s live better together!
xo, Kristen