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Cupping: Seeing Spots (On the Backs Of Athletes)?

Cupping is a 2,500-year-old Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique. TCM is a healing system of Eastern medicine that incorporates therapies that are in some cases millennia older. In addition to treating illness, TCM focuses on strengthening the body's defenses and enhancing its capacity for healing and maintaining health.

Cupping is one of TCM’s practices, and involves placing special cups filled with heated air on painful areas of the body. As the cups cool, the volume of air within them shrinks, creating suction on the skin that increases blood flow to the area. It can be used to:

  • Relieve aches and pains
  • Address respiratory problems
  • Ease coughs and wheezing
  • Improve circulation
  • Minimize menstrual symptoms

Cupping can leave bruises that can take a week or more to fade. Sessions should be done by a licensed acupuncturist, and typically last 10 to 15 minutes. Once the marks from the previous session have disappeared, treatment can be repeated.

Do You Know Why Mint Is So Healthy? Find Out!

Curious about using mint in your recipes? Mint (Mentha) is a perennial herb indigenous to Europe, with over 25 different species across the globe. One of the most common varieties is peppermint (Mentha aquatic), which is more potent and typically associated with culinary and medicinal use. 

Menthol, the active ingredient in mint that gives it its characteristic flavor, is more concentrated in peppermint (Mentha piperata) than in spearmint (Menthe spicata), and is considered an aid in digestion and a stomach-calmer. Oil of peppermint has also been used to stop the growth of bacterial, viral and fungal infections, and to address asthma, sinusitis, allergy-related colds and other respiratory issues. Nutritionally, peppermint is a good source of vitamins A and C, along with manganese, and copper.

Opt for fresh mint as it provides more flavor and look for leaves that are brightly colored. Wrap the mint leaves in a damp paper towel that loosely holds the leaves and place them in a sealed plastic bag. They should keep for several days in the fridge.

Here are some great recipes that incorporate mint: 
Minted Guacamole & Pomegranate
Honey Ginger Lemonade

Why You Should Add Fennel To Your Summer Herb List

Want to add a Mediterranean twist to your summer vegetables? Try fennel! This aromatic herb is part of the Umbellifereae family and native to areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and the Near East. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is related to parsley, carrots and dill, with a taste similar to that of anise or licorice. The bulb, stalks and green leaves are all edible, as are fennel seeds that come from the yellow flowers it produces.

Fennel offers a variety of nutrients - it:

  • Has a unique combination of phytonutrients including the flavonoidsquercetin and rutin
  • Is an excellent source of vitamin C, making it a good way to support a healthy immune system
  • Is a good source of fiber, folate and potassium.

Fennel has also been used to address backache, low libido, loss of appetite, and as a natural way to treat infantile colic. It is a well-known remedy for flatulence and other gastrointestinal issues as well. Topically, fennel has also been used to treat snakebites.

Since fennel can quickly lose flavor, it is best to eat it right after purchase. However, refrigeration in the vegetable crisper can preserve its taste for up to four days. You can extend the freshness of dried fennel seeds by storing them in an airtight container away from light and moisture for up to six months.

Try this light and delicious fennel recipe: 
Strawberry, Fennel, And Arugula Salad

Coriander: Summer Spice Of The Week

Derived from the seeds of the coriander plant (Coriandrum sativum), coriander is a culinary spice that is part of the parsley family. 

Coriander is notable for many health benefits, including:

It has also been used around the world to treat a variety of health concerns including digestive disorders, heatstroke, anxiety and insomnia. Nutritionally, coriander is a very good source of dietary fiber and calcium.

Depending on the form it is in, coriander can be kept for up to a year. Ground coriander should stay fresh for six months, but whole seeds should last about a year. Make sure that both coriander seeds and powder are stored in a tightly sealed glass container away from heat and light. Before grinding the seeds, consider soaking them in cold water for about ten minutes to help revive the essential oils.

Here are some delicious recipes with coriander to try: 
Chickpea & Broccoli Masala Curry
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Buying, Using And Storing Herbs: 4 Rules To Follow

Herbs and spices have a prominent position on my Anti-Inflammatory Diet Pyramid because these culinary staples offer not only flavor enhancement to foods, but some are also healthful compounds that can both lower disease risk and alleviate symptoms of existing health concerns.

When it comes to herbs and spices (herbs are typically the leafy, green portions of a plant, while spices are derived from other parts including seeds, berries, fruits, bark and roots), knowing how to buy and store them can help keep them fresher, longer. Use these tips: 

  1. Fresh is best when it comes to flavor. Growing your own herbs is not only cost effective, but offers up freshness to every meal. Even if you have no room for a vegetable garden, a few pots in a sunny window can produce a handful of herbs for you to use. If you simply can't grow them, take advantage of the fresh herbs that are now widely available in the produce section of most supermarkets and natural food stores.
  2. Dried herbs often suffer from muted flavors because the essential oils have volatized away. Two ways to encourage the flavor to return - crush with your fingers or a mortar and pestle just before cooking to release the oils that remain. You can also briefly sauté them with olive oil on low heat.
  3. If you do use dried herbs and spices, store them in tightly covered containers away from light, heat and moisture. Don't sprinkle from a container into a steaming pot - the steam will enter the container and degrade the spice over time. Instead, shake into your palm, away from the steam, before adding to the dish.
  4. Generally speaking, dried, ground herbs and spices are typically good for up to six months.

Is The “Lemon Water In The Morning” Craze Justified? Find Out!

While many people opt to start their day with a cup of coffee or tea, drinking warm water with lemon juice first thing in the morning - before consuming anything else - may have benefits. A glass of lemon water may:

  • Help With Hydration. Since our bodies go about seven to eight hours without any water overnight, it's essential to drink water first thing in the morning to avoid dehydration. For those who find water boring, lemon juice provides a tasty addition to help stay hydrated.
  • Provide An Immunity Boost. A citrus fruit, lemons are a great source of vitamin C, helping to keep the immune system strong.
  • Rejuvenate Your Skin. The vitamin C lemon juice provides can also help to repair and regenerate tissues, and is essential for synthesis of collagen, a protein that is the chief component of skin.
  • Enhance Your Mood. The scent of a lemon has been found to reduce stress levels, improve moods, and reduce agitation - all good reasons to start the morning off with fresh citrus.

While there is no solid evidence to support lemon water's weight loss claims, there is certainly no downside to starting your day with it. Likely any benefit in the weight department will be more due to how you spend the rest of the day.

Lemons are available year-round, in both sour (Eureka and Lisbon) and sweeter (Meyer) varieties. Look for a lemon that is heavy for its size, which indicates less skin and more flesh. The peel should have a finely grained texture and be fully yellow.

 

6 Reasons It May Seem Like You Are Always Hungry

Even if you just ate a meal, you can still feel hungry soon afterwards. Although an uptick in appetite is common after a big workout or during pregnancy, it might be worth understanding why you might be feeling constant hunger throughout the day. Read about six hidden causes of hunger that might be affecting you: 

  1. Not Getting Enough Sleep. Among many other side effects, sleep deprivation disrupts the production of the appetite regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin.
  2. Dehydration. With hunger and thirst both regulated in the same part of the hypothalamus, mild dehydration can trick your brain into thinking its hungry. Try drinking a glass of water and waiting 15 to 20 minutes to see if you're still hungry. A sparkling version or club soda may provide even greater satisfaction and less hunger.
  3. Stress. When the body is under stress, the system increases production of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. With the system thinking it is under attack and in need of energy, your appetite kicks into overdrive. Manage your stress with alternative methods like meditation to prevent feeling unnecessary hunger. 
  4. Eating Too Fast. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that you're full. Remind yourself to eat slowly and savor the food you are eating, allowing your brain time to register fullness.
  5. Eating Too Many Refined Carbs. Rapidly converted into blood sugar, refined carbs cause corresponding rises and falls in insulin levels, which can lead to feelings of extreme hunger for more sugary carbs. Instead of giving up all carbs, opt for minimally processed carbs such as whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. 
  6. Not Getting Enough Fat Or Protein. Unsaturated fat (such as the fats in avocados, olive oil, and nuts) and protein can help you feel fuller, longer. Refer to my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid for suggested serving amounts for healthy fats and protein.

Healthy Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Looking for a quick and easy dessert to whip up?

The Dr. Weil staff loves this True Food Kitchen Chocolate Pudding recipe because it is not only delicious, but also vegan friendly and gluten-free!

Packed with potent antioxidants from dark chocolate and cocoa, this dessert makes a great addition to a barbecue and is a healthy treat that kids will also enjoy. Try this recipe and let us know how you like it!

Dr. Weil’s Favorite Foods: Asian Mushrooms


Beneath their humble exteriors, mushrooms are packed with healthy benefits. Many edible species contain polysaccharides - powerful anticancer compounds - which appear to boost both the activity and number of the body's natural-killer cells.

The fungi listed below are readily available in grocery or Asian specialty stores, and are good sources of polysaccharides. They are all delicious as well, so you can begin adding these mushrooms to your diet as ingredients in favorite recipes, or as a separate dish. In addition, if you've been diagnosed with cancer or are at high risk for it, Dr. Weil recommends supplementing with extracts from one or more of these medicinal mushrooms. Combining several species may be even more helpful.  

  1. Enoki (Flammulina veluptipes). Japanese farmers who grow (and regularly eat) this mushroom have unusually low rates of cancer, perhaps because enoki contains a compound called flammulin that has significant anti-tumor properties.
  2. Maitake (Grifola frondosa). According to Japanese research, this mushroom shows strong anti-cancer activity; it may also help fight viruses, boost immunity, and lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
  3. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum). This mushroom appears to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors and boost immune function. Perhaps that's why the Chinese and Japanese consider it a longevity food.
  4. Royal sun agaricus (Agaricus blazei).  Oncologists in both Japan and Brazil use this mushroom in treatment protocols. It may have significant anti-tumor action. 
  5. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes). Growing in popularity, this mushroom is now found in many supermarkets. That's good news, since it appears to have the ability to fight cancerous tumors.
  6. Zhu ling (Polyporus umbellatus). This mushroom may be particularly useful in the fight against lung cancer: There's evidence that it helps stimulate the body's immune response against lung tumors. It may also help counteract the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

4 Healthy Snacks That Can Ruin Your Teeth

When it comes to protecting your teeth, twice-daily brushing and flossing is the best route, along with consistent dental exams. But you may also want to moderate certain foods that may be harmful to your teeth. 

  • Unsweetened Dried Fruit: While raisins, figs, and dried apricots can be a more healthful snack option than a candy bar, they're still high in sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Enjoy them in moderation and try opting for the fresh version as much as possible. 
  • Banana and Sweet Potato Chips: Although sweet potato and banana chips are a healthier alternative to regular potato chips, the similar texture can still wreak havoc on your teeth. Due to their texture, chips are processed as sugar when digested. Additionally, food particles from these carbs tend to linger by sticking in the grooves of teeth, creating a breeding ground for acid.
  • Popcorn: Plain popcorn itself is a healthy, low-calorie, whole grain food with four grams of fiber per three cups. Much like chips, however, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse because the hard texture can potentially break your teeth.
  • Citrus Fruits: Although fruits such as oranges, kiwis, lemons, and grapefruit are great sources of vitamin C, they are also high in enamel-damaging acid. Enjoy citrus fruits in moderation to minimize their impact on your teeth.