You already know that consuming the right foods can increase the intake of minerals, vitamins and nutrients. But there are some out there that could also alleviate some of your most annoying daily problems, such as hiccups or even rashes such as eczema. While it is important to keep in mind that serious conditions require the attention of a doctor, it may not be painful to look for one of these 10 items the next time you have a minor health problem.
Ginger for menstrual cramps
Traditional Chinese medicine has relied on ginger for more than 2,000 years. “Ginger can improve blood flow and reduce inflammation in your muscles, including those in the uterus where cramps originate,” says Mary Rosser, MD, PhD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, New York.
In addition, a preliminary study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that ginger was as effective as ibuprofen in relieving menstrual pain (more research is needed). To make your time of the month a little more bearable, try preparing a cup of hot ginger tea.
Cranberries for urinary tract health
Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, a compound that repels bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs). “E. coli is one of the main offenders in the activation of an ITU,” says Dr. Rosser. “It has been shown that this substance prevents infection by preventing bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder.” If you already have a UTI, it is likely that cranberries do not cure it, but consuming them daily can help protect against future infections.
Dr. Rosser says that about 20% of women who get a urinary tract infection will get another one, so drinking one or two glasses a day with 20% pure cranberry juice will help prevent recurrence
Calcium-rich foods for PMS
Are you prone to irritability and mood swings before your period? You’re not alone. About 85% of women who menstruate experience at least one PMS symptom each month. The good news is that adjusting your diet could help decrease your symptoms. “It has been shown that people with premenstrual syndrome have lower blood calcium levels than those who do not,” says Dr. Rosser. The National Institutes of Health recommend that adults consume about 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. You probably already know that dairy products are rich in calcium, but so are almonds, broccoli, green leafy vegetables and sardines.
Oatmeal for eczema
Soothes itchy, inflamed skin with this breakfast food. Oatmeal relieves rashes because it is full of phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties. Create a relaxing bath by grinding 1/3 cup of plain oatmeal (no flavors!) In a fine powder with your blender; Pour the powder in warm water and mix evenly with your hands until the water has a milky color, suggests Kavita Mariwalla, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City. Another option: use 1/4 cup of oats and enough water to make a paste that can be applied directly to the skin for 10 minutes, she says.
Sea salt for dry skin
You do not need an expensive skin care product to treat rough patches on the knees, elbows and heels. A homemade sea salt scrub will work just as well. “Sea salt is a good exfoliant because it has thicker grains that do a good job of removing dry skin,” says Dr. Mariwalla. Simply mix a cup of sea salt with 1/2 cup of a light massage oil. “Use a bowl to make sure the mixture stays moist, like wet sand, and not dripping,” says Dr. Mariwalla. However, it is best to keep this scrub away from the most sensitive areas, such as the face and back of the arms. It can be rough on the skin that does not require as much exfoliation.
Cucumber for Puffy Eyes
Putting cold slices of cucumber over your eyes may seem a bit silly, but the beauty trick of old age really reduces swelling. The cucumbers, which are 95% water, offer a pleasant cooling sensation and the cold temperature causes the blood vessels to contract and reduce inflammation. And there is a reason why cucumbers in particular work even better than ice packs. “Cucumber slices are perfectly adapted to the contour of your eyes to help reduce swelling,” says Dr. Mariwalla. You will only have to leave them for 10 minutes to make the eyes look fresher.
Apples for heartburn
Avoid triggers such as soft drinks, high-fat meat and anything fried is the best way to deal with acid reflux. A food that you should keep in your diet: apples. “Apples have pectin, a soluble fiber that is really good at absorbing stomach acid,” says Dr. Andersen. In addition, the fruit contains two types of acid (malic and tartaric) that work to eliminate any juice that comes out of your stomach. “Buy red or gold organic apples that are sweeter than granny pies,” suggests Dr. Andersen. “Sweet apples are considered alkaline foods that work at the cellular level to restore pH balance and prevent GERD.
Turmeric for infections
Turmeric is revered in India as a “sacred powder” that can be used to prevent infections and treat wounds. That’s thanks to a compound called curcumin. “Foods with curcumin have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties so they can help with cleansing and healing,” says Dr. Andersen. If your kit has little antibiotic ointment, try applying a little turmeric to your cut or scratch, but only for minor or superficial wounds. Dr. Andersen suggests using half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a drop or two of water to make a paste, or if the wound still bleeds a little, you can apply the powder without water. After the area is dry, cover it with a bandage and let the healing begin.