Drying Edible Flowers and Herbs

Edible flowers and some herbs can be delicate, but learning how to dry them properly can ensure you make the most of each harvest.

Some people swear by a commercial food dehydrator, but if you don’t want to go to the expense, there are simple ways to dry your flowers and herbs.

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Know What Is Safe to Eat

Safety first. Take the time to research what is safe to eat, and what it can be used for. In some cases, you can use the flowers, in others the leaves. Sometimes with herbs, you might be able to use the entire plant. There are many websites online with free information.

If you tend to have seasonal allergies, you might wish to avoid eating flowers. Most people should avoid eating the pollen, in order to avoid allergic reactions and to improve the taste of the flowers.

Good edible options include roses, mums, nasturtium, lavender and pansy.

Know What You Like

Edible flowers and herbs are very much a personal taste and preference. Think about the kind of herbs you use in your cooking these days, and how handy it might be to grow your own. As for flowers, check the descriptions of common edible flowers in relation to taste, whether they are sweet or savory, and so on. Then you can start planning your growing, harvesting and drying.

Choose Flowers and Herbs That Dry Well

Not all edible flowers and herbs dry well, so choose ones you know will be hardy enough to survive the process, and ones you use regularly.

Hang Them Upside Down

Hanging the flowers and herbs upside down on a rack in a cool, dry place will help preserve them. They should be completely dry when you start; that is, with no dew on them. You can tie them into loose bunches with some cotton thread and hang them by the thread from hooks. They will usually take four to seven days to dry completely.

Once they are dried, you can remove flowers, leaves and so on from the stems and harvest the edible parts of the plant. For flowers, cut them in half and clean out any pollen or other inedible parts.

Store your harvest in cool, dry containers. Be sure to label each one so you don’t get any surprises when you use them in cooking.

Using Your Own Oven

Set your oven to 140 degrees F. Line some cookie sheets with paper towels. Lay the herbs in a single row on the towels. Heat for about 30 minutes, then check on them and turn them over. Heat through for another 20 to 30 minutes, but do not allow them to burn, or else all their nutrients and their taste will be gone.

Trim the edible parts and store in a cool, dry place.

Keep Things Dry

No matter which method you use, be sure the flowers and herbs are completely dry before storing them. Otherwise, they will develop mildew and become useless.

Recipes

There are many recipes that call for dried herbs, so have fun experimenting. As for edible flowers, you will need to do some research, but you should be able to find a range of soups, stews, sauces, salads and desserts. Dried herbs are three times stronger in taste than fresh, so use sparingly.

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Why It Is Important to Drink Water to Assist in Healthy Eating

Water makes up over 70% of the human body. So it is no surprise that water is one of the most important things that the body can receive, especially when you are attempting to embark upon a healthy eating journey.

Water can help you to stay on track and focus on eating healthy and nourishing foods rather than falling back on the same processed junk that got us into an unhealthy mess in the first place.

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So what exactly is it important to drink water?

First of all, it helps to flush toxins out of the body. When we aren’t drinking enough water, it can be almost impossible for our bodies to get rid of the bad things that are accumulating inside us. It can cause infections and other complications. Fortunately, water helps to eradicate the things that contaminate our bodies so that we can begin to get healthy right away.

Another great reason to drink water is because if you want to be healthy, you have to be active as well. When you drink enough water, then you begin to realize that your body has far more energy than it used to have. Instead of being tired and fatigued all the time, you will have an abundant amount of focus and the ability to concentrate. This can be very important, especially if you are in school or you have an mentally or physically demanding job to do.

Even if you do not, walking around during your life with little energy is very dangerous and should be avoided. Make sure that you have water in your body so that it can help to nourish your brain and your body all at the same time.

Water also helps to support the immune system.

If you are prone to illness, then making sure that you drink enough water is one of the most surefire ways to guarantee that you are doing everything you can to support your immune system. Water is something that helps to boost this important aspect of our bodies so that we can help to brace ourselves against colds and flu’s, and heart disease. Water can even help you to eliminate the free radicals and toxins that can contribute to cancer. Getting rid of carcinogenic waste in our stomach is very important, and water helps us do just that.

If you are interested in the physical effects of drinking water, there are several benefits there as well. It can help to clear your skin, as your body is eliminating waste and other ways rather than through your pores. It can provide your body with a healthy glow and a soft texture.

Water is one of the most antiaging properties there is.

Not only that, but it is highly beneficial for your health and well-being. If you want to embark upon a journey of healthy eating, make sure you take water with your meals so that you can fully reap the benefits for yourself!

How to Make a Smoothie for Sleep!

A lot of people are starting to drink one smoothie or another,  because they’ve heard about their benefits online or from friends. The word is spreading fast that these amazing drinks not only taste great but also do wonders for our energy levels, our immune systems, our bones, our muscle and pretty much every other aspect of human health you can think of!

But what is less common is for people to be truly scientific in their formulation of their smoothies. Smoothies are good for you, yes, but it goes well beyond that. The way in which smoothies are good for you depend entirely on what you put in them and that means you can devise a smoothie with a specific goal once you know what all the ingredients do!

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To demonstrate this, here are a few ingredients that all have one particular benefit – they greatly enhance your sleep. You can combine a few of these with some other ingredients to make a generally healthy smoothie that will also boost your sleep

Cherries

Cherries are fantastic for enhancing sleep because they provide us with a natural source of melatonin. For those who don’t remember their high school biology, melatonin is the ‘sleep hormone’ that we produce in the brain when we’re ready for bed. The more of this you have, the sleepier you get and the deeper you sleep. Melatonin is what you get in a lot of the most powerful sleeping medications but by getting it from cherries, you can get it much more cheaply and without any of the unwanted side effects (like dependence!).

Milk

Milk is a great choice for your bed-time smoothie because it can make your sleep more restorative. That’s because milk contains healthy cholesterol and your body can use that to make testosterone. This is especially important for men because it helps with the formation of muscle – but for everyone it can be very helpful in healing. A lot of us also associate milk with bedtime from our youth and thus it can be very soothing.

Honey

Health and fitness guru Seth Rogen recommended honey for sleep based on his own observations and this trick quickly took the web by storm. The theory is that honey is a great choice because we need energy while we sleep, or else we wake up with low blood sugar and a headache to go along with it. Honey provides both fructose and sucrose – two sugars that are fast and slow acting. This means that you’ll get energy right at the start of your sleep and also later on when you’re deeper into it. Try adding a little honey to your milk smoothie and see!

Strawberries

Finally, strawberries are a good source of vitamin C and any source of vitamin C can greatly enhance your sleep. That’s because vitamin C is known to increase serotonin and your body converts serotonin into melatonin. Serotonin itself also happens to be good for your mood, meaning you can feel rested and de-stressed before you doze off!

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Ten Tips For A Natural Immune System Boost

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Cold and flu season is upon us. The first line of natural defense is to wash your hands often, and keep your work area clean by wiping it down with an alcohol solution.

In addition, now is a great time to start boosting your immune system. A weakened immune system leaves your body susceptible to every cold and flu virus, especially during the holiday season when you are in close contact with others, often moving between time zones and changing climates.

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So, how exactly do you go about boosting your immune system? There are a number of great methods. Below are ten recommendations that will boost your body’s immune system naturally.

Vitamin C: You are probably already aware of this reliable supplement. Your body cannot store vitamin C so it is dependent on your dietary intake. To make sure you are getting enough it is recommended to take 1,000 mg a day to fight off infection.

Goldenseal : You will find this remedy very effective in not only preventing infection but also reducing inflammation after you have a cough or flu symptoms.

Turmeric: This herb is a member of the Ginger family and also known as Curcuma. We have a good article on the UHR site on Turmeric along with a chicken recipe that uses this exotic spice. Animal research has shown this herb to be beneficial as an immune stimulant. Recommended dosage is 200 mg per day to support immune health.

Maitake: These mushrooms enhance immunity, and are especially effective in helping the body to inhibit cancer growth. Maitake appears to activate the immune response by stimulating the T- cells that are the body’s defense against viruses and cancer cells. Recommended dosage is 3-7 g per day.

Aloe Vera: Supplementation with Aloe Vera has been shown to be extremely effective in bolstering and balancing the immune system. Recommended dosage is a quarter glass of juice each morning. Take twice a day when you feel a cold or flu coming on.

L-Arginine: Is a non-essential amino acid that promotes wound healing and improves the immune response against bacteria, viruses and tumor cells. Levels of L-Arginine drop during periods of increased stress. Recommended dosage is 3-6 g per day.

Astragalus: Used for nearly 4000 years in traditional Chinese medicine. Early Chinese writings refer to it as “the superior tonic”. Astragalus is a favorite immune system builder among the natural health community. It is good for colds, immune- deficiency- related disorders, including AIDS, cancer, and tumors.

Black Tea: You may be able to boost your fight against the flu with black tea. In a recent study, people who gargled with a black tea extract solution twice per day showed a higher immunity to flu virus compared to the people who did not gargle with black tea. Black tea represents probably the single biggest source of flavonoids–a natural class of antioxidants that are found in many natural plant- derived foods.

Olive leaf: Olive leaf extract is a powerful tool in the fight to kill viruses such as the cold, herpes, and Epstein-Barr. Its power also extends to helping wipe out sinusitis and bronchitis, as well as reducing hypertension and cholesterol levels. The most important element in olive leaf extract is a compound called oleuropein. When purchasing this supplement, look for capsules standardized to 6 percent oleurpein. The recommended dose is 500 mg daily to fight an existing bacterial or viral infection.

Liquorice: Scientific studies have shown that liquorice stimulates immunity. Its ability to fight flu viruses and bacteria allows using it not only for treatment, but also for flu prevention during epidemics. Liquorice root should not be used in cases of high blood pressure, water retention, pregnancy or if on medication.

It is best to start thinking about immune health before you become ill with the cold or flu virus. Now is a great time to start improving your diet, learning to cope with stress and taking an inventory of the gaps in your diet to help decide which supplements will be of most benefit to you.

Here’s to your health!

 

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3 Ways You Can Boost Your Immune System And Stay

Would you like to boost your immune system so that you can stay healthy and well this year? Here are three basic steps you can take to ensure that your immune system is in tip-top shape.

Step One is to drink plenty of water. Your immune system requires lots of fresh, pure water to function properly. This is especially true if you are already sick, but drinking plenty of water can also help you stay well.

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A general rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divide it by two. You should drink at least that many fluid ounces of water per day. For example, a 150 pound man should drink at least 75 fluid ounces of water per day.

Step Two is to take the right supplements. Glyco-nutrients and phyto-nutrients are both essential supplements to take to boost your immune system. Other supplements proven to help your immune function are certain vitamins, antioxidants, colostrum, etc. As with all nutritional supplements, you’ll want to ensure that you take top-quality ones, so they will do your body some good.

Just throwing a scoop of glyco-nutrient powder in your meals can go a long way to ensuring your immune system is functioning properly.

Step Three is to eat a basic healthy diet. Avoid sugars and refined foods, as they depress your immune system. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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