Outdoor Happens - by Elle Meager - Posted Oct 21, 2020
Jack of all trades, master of some. Precision editor, wild garden grower. Loves creating stuff. From food forests and survival gardens to soap and yoghurt. A girl on a farm with two kids and one husband (yep, just one - although another one would be handy). Weirdly enjoys fixing fences and digging holes. Qualified permaculture teacher and garden go-to.
The value that you get from gardening is much more than the vegetables your plot produces. It can be therapeutic, healthy, educational, communal, environmentally friendly, and good exercise. The vegetables you harvest are just the tip of the iceberg, gardening offers us “sow” much more.
It’s true: Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes! Here are 6 amazing benefits of gardening in your backyard.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is plant whose edible, medicinal, and utilitarian benefits typically surpass those of other wild species. In this video, we discuss all things stinging nettle — including proper identification, look-alikes, medicinal properties, and more!
Vitamin D is crucial for good health and many important bodily functions…
But in a society where processed foods are the norm and being indoors has hidden us from the sun’s rays; it’s even more important to pay attention.
Vitamin D plays a huge role in bone growth, immune function, cell growth, and many other bodily processes. But, sometimes we experience symptoms that clearly reflect a deficiency and you must be aware of them to prevent long term, serious health issues. (1, 2)
Now, Vitamin D is only available through limited foods like fatty fish (Salmon, sardines, mackerel), cheese, eggs, dark greens (Collard greens, spinach, kale) and beef liver. Sometimes it’s even added in certain foods like orange juice and milk.
But, most of the time getting it through food is not enough and we need supplements, plus sufficient time in the sun to maintain healthy levels. (2, 3)
But, if you’re not sure whether or not you’re getting enough Vitamin D, we’ve listed 7 areas to be aware of when it comes to the potential need to correct a deficiency.
First, though, let’s quickly go over the importance of supplementation and sun rays…
Vitamin D3 Supplementation and Sunshine
To make sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of Vitamin D, follow the recommendation of a minimum 600 International Units (IU) per day if you’re 70 and under, or 800 IU if age 71 and older. (3)
But, this is a conservative number with recent recommendations being even high, at 1,000-2,000 IU per day. But it really depends on your geographic location (Since sunshine varies), current state of health, and current Vitamin D levels. (2)
Now, you can get Vitamin D through multivitamins and/or just Vitamin D supplements.
And/or you can get Vitamin D through plenty of sunshine and Ultraviolet-B rays (UVB). But there’s no one-size-fits-all for the time needed in the sun since it really depends on your skin tone and current Vitamin D levels. However, getting at least 15 minutes of sun rays per day should be appropriate for most people. (4)
But, you don’t want to stay in the sun too long as this can cause skin damage and possibly cancer.
Here are 6 signs of possible Vitamin D deficiency…
The moringa tree — which also goes by the name drumstick tree or horseradish tree — is native to northern India in the Himalayas but is now grown in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The tree is easily cultivated, fast-growing, and drought resistant, making it a sustainable remedy in communities that struggle for food resources, like West Africa and Mexico. In countries like Senegal and Benin, moringa is used to treat malnutrition in children.
It’s also rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, and E, phosphorus, and dietary fiber.
Health benefits of moringa
Moringa has long been used in traditional medicine, where it’s known to treat over 300 diseases. While many people believe that the leaves of moringa are its most beneficial parts, in India, even the root bark is used in medicine.
In the review, the authors highlighted some of the known benefits of moringa.
Antidiabetic. Scientists found that moringa extracts act as an antidiabetic agent for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The antioxidants present in the leaves protect beta cells in the pancreas from oxidative stress, allowing them to produce much-needed insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. Researchers also found that the plant can benefit those with diabetes by preventing some of its complications, including retinopathy and nephropathy, to name a few.
Anticancer. There’s no question that cancer is a devastating disease, for both the sufferer and his family. According to the World Health Organization, more than 9 million people worldwide die from cancer every year, making it the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease. While conventional treatments exist, these can be expensive and have adverse effects. Multiple studies provide evidence that moringa leaves exhibit anticancer potential; scientists say that its ability to protect cells from oxidative damage also helps in preventing the abnormal spread of cancer cells in the body. Additionally, moringa can upregulate caspase 3 and 9, which are associated with programmed cell death in cancer cells.
Anti-inflammatory. While inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to infection, chronic inflammation is not. Inflammation that persists can be a precursor to other chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. According to researchers, moringa leaves, pods, and seeds are rich in isothiocyanates, which have potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Every part has its benefit
It’s worth noting that no part of the moringa tree is wasted, especially when it comes to health benefits and nutritional value.
The leaves are rich in fiber, fat, protein, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. They also have B-vitamins as well as essential amino acids. Studies show that moringa leaves can treat diseases like asthma, diarrhea, headaches, and eye and ear infections, thanks to the presence of flavonoids like quercetin. (Related: Moringa is a nutrient-dense superfood that protects you from oxidative damage.)
The seeds contain oleic acid and other fatty acids like linoleic, and behenic acids. They are also rich in tannins, phenolics, and other phytochemicals. Studies show that moringa seeds can help treat Crohn’s disease, arthritis, gout, cramps, and hyperthyroidism. Moringa seeds are also potent antimicrobial agents.
The root bark has alkaloids and minerals such as magnesium and calcium. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer activities. The alkaloid content of the root bark is responsible for both bioactivities and can even help in relaxing cardiac muscles.
The benefits of moringa extend beyond food and medicine. Its seeds are also pressed for their oil, which can be used in perfumes, cosmetics, and lubrication. In agriculture, moringa is highly valued for its ability to increase crop yield and eliminate heavy metals from water.
Add some spice to your emergency medical kit with cayenne peppers. This small but highly nutritious superfood packs a punch against various health problems. Some examples of its health benefits include the following:
Stopping a stuffy nose — Cayenne peppers are effective against nasal congestion due to the common colds, flu, and allergies. It contains capsaicin which breaks up and expels mucus from your sinuses. To enjoy this benefit, just add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to hot water and drink up. Do this three times a day to dilate blood vessels in your nose and drain your sinuses.
Suppressing fungal growth — The CAY-1 compounds in cayenne peppers have potent antifungal effects against 16 different strains of fungi. Moreover, it was shown to induce this effect without harming animal cells.
Relieving migraines — Capsaicin in cayenne reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical involved in the delivery of pain signals to the brain. This helps relieve migraine pain. In addition to this, capsaicin reduces platelet aggregation factor (PAF), which causes migraines by interfering with blood circulation in the head.
Promoting healthy digestion — Cayenne works as a natural digestive aid. It stimulates the production of digestive enzymes and gastric juices. As a result, the body finds it easier to metabolize food in your system. This superfood also helps with gas and bloating by stimulating the movement of the intestines. Moreover, the capsaicin in cayenne has been shown to protect against stomach ulcers.
Preventing dry mouth — Saliva is important for proper digestion and maintaining oral health. Unfortunately, some people don’t produce enough of it, which makes them have a dry mouth. By eating cayenne pepper, you can enhance the production of saliva.
Preventing blood clot formation — People with atherosclerosis have a high risk of forming blood clots. These can interfere with normal blood flow and increase the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Cayenne pepper works by enhancing fibrinolytic activity, which prevents blood clots from forming.
Alleviating joint pain — The pain-relieving property of capsaicin is also effective against joint pain and arthritis. But aside from this, capsaicin has potent anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate pain.
Promoting longevity — A study involving more than half a million people showed that people who consume spicy foods like cayenne pepper can increase their lifespan by 14 percent. This is possible because of the protective effects that cayenne peppers have against various health problems.
Supporting weight loss — Eating cayenne peppers during breakfast can reduce your appetite for the day. This helps reduce your calorie consumption, which consequently promotes weight loss. In addition to this, cayenne can boost metabolism and help burn off excess fat.
Enhancing heart health — Cayenne pepper is known for its ability to improve blood circulation. It is also effective against irregular heartbeat and palpitations. One study even showed that cayenne pepper can stop a heart attack in just 30 seconds.
Inhibiting the growth of cancer cells — The capsaicin in cayenne interferes with the different pathways involved in cancer cell growth. It has been observed to work against prostate, pancreatic, and skin cancer.
Pickling is a handy skill to have, especially when SHTF – and you don’t need expensive equipment or a large work area to start pickling. Pickling can easily extend the shelf life of many perishable food items like fruits or vegetables. (h/t to ApartmentPrepper.com.)
Pickling, one of the oldest methods of food preservation, involves submerging your food of choice in either a salt or vinegar brine to keep it from spoiling.
Here are some of the many benefits of pickling your own food:
Consuming pickled foods regularly is good for your overall well-being.
It’s a cost-effective way of preserving food.
Pickling food helps prevent bad bacteria from growing.
You can pickle the same food in different ways.
Brine and vinegar pickling
Controlled fermentation is encouraged in brine pickling, like when you make kimchi or sauerkraut. This allows beneficial bacteria to grow in the mixture and crowd out any bad bacteria that can make the food spoil. With brine pickling, you may notice that the flavor, look, and texture of the food changes. (Related: How to quickly pickle a variety of veggies.)
When you use vinegar to make pickles, its high acidity prevents most bacteria from growing in the food. Food pickled in vinegar remains preserved as long as it is submerged in the solution.
Kosher pickles are cucumbers preserved in a vinegar solution. Meanwhile, most dill pickles are preserved in brine. Dill pickles may include vinegar, but it is preserved in a mixture that includes dill and other pickling spices and salt.