Waking Up with Knee Pain? Here’s What Your Body’s Trying to Tell You

Once you’ve ruled out something like bruising from bumping into furniture on a late-night trip to the bathroom, you might start running through the list of other possible causes of knee pain to help determine your treatment options — and whether or not you’ll still be able to tackle the workout you had planned for today.

Image Credit: Anut21ng/iStock/GettyImages

Here, Joshua Goldman, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and associate clinical professor at UCLA, explains why you might wake up with knee pain and what to do when it happens.

1. You Have Runner’s Knee

An ache in the front of the knee and around your kneecap in the morning can be a sign of runner’s knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). It happens when the kneecap gets misaligned and no longer sits in the trochlear groove — the notch at the end of the femur bone.

This type of injury can result from overuse of the knee or under-conditioning of the hip and inner quadricep muscles. While PFPS is quite common in runners, it can also occur from many other sports and activities.

Fix It

Icing your knee before bed can reduce swelling and minimize overnight symptoms. You can treat persistent discomfort with the standard RICE method — which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation — by staying off the affected leg, applying ice at 20-minute intervals, wrapping it lightly with a bandage and elevating your knee above your heart whenever possible, according to the AAOS.

In the long term, physical therapy can correct any hip weakness or quadricep imbalance to help with recovery and prevent future injury.

2. You Have Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS for short, is similar in origin to runner’s knee. While this pain is more common ‌during‌ activity, it can also manifest as aching overnight.

The IT band is a thick, fibrous band of tissue that starts in the front of the hip, runs along the side of the thigh and anchors on the outside of the tibia (shin bone) below the knee, Dr. Goldman explains. If you have weak hip muscles, the IT band will overcompensate to try to stabilize the leg. As it does so, it can create friction over the front of the knee, which manifests as a sharp, stabbing pain.

Fix It

Knee pain from ITBS is treated with ice at the site of pain, stretching of the IT band and physical therapy to correct the hip weakness. Use a foam roller on the outer thigh before bed to help relax the IT band and prevent pain when you wake up.

3. You Have Osteoarthritis

As we reach middle age, we often see signs of cartilage degeneration in the knee from old injuries or genetic predispositions. This is called osteoarthritis, per the Cleveland Clinic.

It’s fairly normal to wake up with creaky joints, especially as we age. If your discomfort eases as you go about your morning routine, there’s no cause for further investigation. But, if your morning knee pain aches around the kneecap, along the joint line in the middle of the knee and on either side of the knee, it could be caused by osteoarthritis.

This pain is classically worse in the morning upon waking and improves over the course of the day as the joint “loosens up,” Dr. Goldman explains.

Fix It

Knee osteoarthritis can be diagnosed with an X-ray. While there is no “cure” for degenerative changes in the knee, there are several treatments that can help minimize symptoms including anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, hyaluronic acid injections, platelet-rich plasma injections and knee replacement surgery, Dr. Goldman says.

Lifestyle changes can help ease morning knee pain and keep you more comfortable throughout the day as well. Try these steps, from Rhode Island Hospitals and Health Services, to get the creaks out of your joints:

  • Circle your ankles
  • Extend your legs in bed
  • Bend at the knee and hip before getting out of bed
  • Follow up with a hot shower to ease your muscles
  • Add in periods of gentle activity throughout the day

Pay attention to what you eat, too: Certain foods can worsen inflammation or affect how easy it is to fall asleep if eaten too close to bedtime. Being mindful of your diet may help ease stiffness upon waking.

Tip

Dr. Goldman points out that hip osteoarthritis can masquerade as knee pain. If you are an older adult with normal knee X-rays, talk to your doctor about getting a hip X-ray as well.

4. You Tore Your Meniscus

If you wake up with a swollen knee that delivers a sharp pain when you step on it or twist it, you might be dealing with a torn meniscus — i.e., torn cartilage in the knee, Dr. Goldman says.

The meniscus — cartilage that serves as a shock absorber and cushion between the bones of your knee — is a commonly injured part of the knee. A tear can happen to anyone, regardless of fitness level, ability or age, from contact sports, a fall or even an awkward twist as you stand up from a chair.

Most often, you’ll hear a popping sound when it tears. But sometimes, you won’t notice the injury for two to three days, when it begins to swell or cause pain upon waking in the morning, according to the AAOS.

Fix It

If you suspect you might have a meniscal tear, apply ice and stay off the affected leg. If your mobility is limited or the pain and swelling increase, you’ll need to see an orthopedist.

An orthopedic visit will likely begin with a McMurray test, a series of manipulations of the leg to determine the areas of pain and discomfort, according to the Cleveland Clinic. This will likely be followed by an MRI or other imaging test.

A doctor might prescribe the RICE method along with anti-inflammatory medication or possibly arthroscopic surgery, depending on the type and location of the injury.

5. You Tore a Ligament

If your knee locks or buckles and you have trouble supporting your weight when you stand, especially when you first get up out of bed in the morning but also throughout the day, it might be a sign of a significant tear in the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, per the Mayo Clinic.

If you suspect you have a torn knee ligament, immediately apply the RICE method and consult a doctor.

Fix It

A torn knee ligament can’t heal on its own and requires immediate medical attention. Follow-up treatments may include physical therapy or surgery.

Article by Cara Stevens for livestrong.com©

A Washing Hack That Gets Rid of Fruit Flies

Everyone knows the annoyances that are fruit flies.

© Provided by Metro

They show up in every corner of the home and manage to interrupt your daily tasks while they buzz around.

So, why do they come?

Well, fruit flies live up to their name by infesting homes with ripe, rotting, or decayed fruit and produce.

However, they also enjoy fermented items such as beer, liquor, and wine. They also breed and develop in drains, garbage disposals, trash cans, and mop buckets.

This means that at times, there is no escaping them.

Thankfully, one online guru has shared her hack to rid lingering fruit flies from your home.

Tonya Bee aka @thatcleanbee on TikTok took to the app to tell her followers the very simple method that has seen no fruit fly enter her home in years.

‘Best fruit fly hack,’ the professional cleaner notes in the clip.

Tonya explained that the best way to get rid of fruit flies is to wash bananas as soon as you get them home from the shop.

‘Fruit flies lay eggs on the bananas then you bring them into your house and they hatch and you have fruit flies,’ she added.

‘So make sure you wash them as soon as you get home.’

The simple hack costs absolutely nothing, and it had a lot of people praising Tonya.

‘Thank you! It was driving me CRAZY how were they coming into our house? Our house is very clean. This blew my mind,’ wrote one user.

Another wrote: ‘You’ve changed my life.’

While a third advised: ‘Also, pull your bananas apart so they aren’t in a bunch anymore, then wash them.

‘They like to lay the eggs up where the stems join!’

Thanks to:

Cleaning guru shares washing hack that gets rid of fruit flies (msn.com)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Hello readers, I’m back at it after a lengthy layoff. My first post on my return is one whose subject is quite important to me, breast cancer. Do you know someone afflicted with it? I do. So, what can you do about it?

Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women get breast cancer, and more than 40,000 women die from the disease. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women.

Because of personal and family medical history, some women are at higher risk for breast cancer. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.

 Here are the main breast cancer symptoms to watch out for.

Skin irritation or dimpling

A rough patch of skin that feels scaly or thicker than usual or skin that starts to dimple can signal breast cancer, says Joseph Weber, MD, a breast surgical oncologist at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. With some breast cancers, channels that go from the inside of the breast to the skin become blocked, resulting in skin changes that make the breast look like it’s covered with an orange peel.

Breast or nipple pain

Many things can cause pain in your breasts or nipples, like PMS, pregnancy, or even menopause. But if you notice persistent pain along with other breast cancer symptoms, it’s important to report the experience to your doctor—regardless of if it’s a sharp twinge or a dull ache.

breast cancer symptom pain

Nipple retraction

Some breast cancers will cause what’s called nipple inversion or retraction, in which the nipple turns inward. Typically, that’s because a mass is growing inside the breast and changes its shape, Dr. Weber explains. In the recent research, 7 percent of the women who were diagnosed with breast cancer reported nipple abnormalities.

Nipple discharge

Another possible nipple abnormality can be discharge that’s not breast milk. Nipple discharge is, thankfully, most often not cancer, but it’s important to see a doctor immediately if the discharge comes out without you touching or squeezing the nipple, especially if it’s bloody and only affecting one side.

Color or texture changes

This can include redness, darkening, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin. One type of breast cancer called Paget disease—a rare form that starts at your breast ducts and spreads to the nipple and areola—is often accompanied by a rash.

Swelling of all or part of a breast

Inflammatory breast cancer often starts with red, inflamed skin that swells as cancer cells clog the vessels that carry lymph fluid.

One bit of good news: fewer women are getting breast cancer than ever before. “Cancer is not an inevitability. Women have more control over the disease than they think,” says Margaret I. Cuomo, MD, author of A World Without Cancer. “Everything we do from the moment we wake—from what we eat and drink to whether or not we exercise and avoid BPA, parabens, and other carcinogenic chemicals—is a factor that can turn on or off the genetic switches in our bodies, including ones that could lead to cancer. The risk of many cancers, including breast cancer, can be significantly reduced by living a healthy lifestyle.”

But lifestyle choices, diet, stress levels and exercise all play a role in your overall chances of developing breast cancer — and they are in your hands.

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)

9 Things That Might Be Affecting Your Libido

We know the drill. You come home late after a long day, cook dinner, and basically just melt right into bed. Your partner, of course, was wishing for other plans. While most of us shrug this off to stress or exhaustion (which it can be!), there are other reasons you might not get as excited to get down to business tonight. It’s normal to not be in the mood every now and then (I mean, sometimes we just want to sleep!); however, when it becomes a consistent occurrence, there could be something deeper going on.

A low libido seriously sucks, but it’s something most of us will go through at some point. Instead of causing yourself more stress, we looked into all the reasons you’re not too keen on doing much in the bedroom right now — besides sleep.

1. Stress

We all know how it feels to get home and still have a to-do list. Whether you’re experiencing work, school, or personal stress, it’s easy to let that get into your head and discourage you from engaging in time with your partner.

Try one of these — might I add, wonderful — ways to reduce your day to day stress, so you and your partner can get back to it. You could also start adding some self-care to your routine, or if you’re feeling ~spicy~, treat yourself with a little me time. We promise you’ll feel renewed.

2. Certain medications

Antidepressants, some anti-anxiety medications, blood pressure medications, and more can have a low sex drive as a side effect. If you’ve started taking a new medication recently, look back at the list of side effects your pharmacist gave you (that you probably wanted to throw out and thought again that it might be important). If you think it’s impacting your life or your relationships, you can talk to your doctor about another option.  

3. Pregnancy or breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding cause a lot of changes to occur within your body. Your hormones are raging, which can cause fluctuations in your sex drive. One day you might want to go at it like rabbits, and another, you’re not interested at all. Understand that this is just a change in your body, and it won’t last forever.

Aside from your hormones, the other side effects of pregnancy can turn you off from sex. Nausea and fatigue in the first trimester just make sex uncomfortable — who wants to go at it when they feel sick!? Then, as your body grows and changes (woohoo! A baby!), traditional sex positions can feel kinda awkward, and women can sometimes be self-conscious about their pregnant bodies. Be kind to yourself, you’re about to birth another human into the world!

4. Lack of sleep

Along with stress, we completely understand. Whether you had a work report due at 8am, you had a scary dream (I watch too much AHS), or you stayed up reading (#guilty), you didn’t get your full eight hours last night. And that’s okay! It’s when you continuously forgo sleep that you start to notice a consistent decrease in your libido.

Try some lavender oil in your diffuser, turn off your electronics an hour before bed, or my personal favorite, give yourself a good Saturday morning to sleep until noon.

5. Negative body image

When you don’t feel comfortable or accepting of your body, it’s hard to want someone else to see you naked. Continued fear and self-consciousness when having sex is enough to make you never want to do it again. Yoga, meditation, or buying a cute new set of lingerie are all examples of ways you can start to gain a little confidence (and maybe feel a little sexier, too!).

6. Mental health issues

If you’re struggling with depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder included) or anxiety, it can significantly impact your sex drive. This can have to do with medication, issues with trust, anxiety and worry about your partner — the list goes on. Because there are so many ways mental illness can affect your libido, reach out to your doctor to discuss ways in which you can either bring it back or make it easier on yourself.

7. Relationship issues

You and your partner might have gotten in a fight recently, or you feel as though you can’t trust him or her. There are many different issues that you and your partner can experience that might lower your libido. If you’re experiencing conflict, talk with your partner openly and honestly. The conflict might be stressful and hard to deal with at first, but you’ll be grateful when it’s over and you and your partner feel closer than ever.

8. Conditions that make sex painful

Vulvodynia and endometriosis are known to cause painful sex, which can not really make you super excited to get in the sack, right? If you suffer with these conditions, talk to your doctor about treatments. You can also talk to your partner about different positions that might reduce or avoid pain. You deserve to feel good during sex, not uncomfortable!

9. Birth control

Again with the hormones! Birth control pills can sometimes lower the hormones in your body — like testosterone — that make you want to have sex. Luckily, there are alternatives, such as non-hormonal IUDs, condoms, and diaphragms. You could also talk with your doctor about trying a different birth control pill or option, like the NuvaRing.

Source: https://theeverygirl.com/9-things-that-might-be-affecting-your-libido/

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.

Catnip

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.

Basil

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.

Lavender

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.

Peppermint

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

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

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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

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/weightloss/why-you-need-to-add-blueberries-to-your-diet/ar-BB14S6Af?ocid=msedgntp