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7 Unexpected Benefits and Usage of Aloe Vera

7 Unexpected Benefits and Usage of Aloe Vera

When people hear about aloe, they often will think immediately of the bottle of green gel that gets brought out every time someone has a sunburn.  While aloe is indeed a fantastic topical aid, treating red and peeling skin isn’t the only purpose this incredible plant serves.

Having been used medicinally for thousands of years, aloe can be traced back to ancient Egypt where pictures of the plant appear on pyramids and alongside the Pharaohs buried within.  Due to it’s ability to remedy so many maladies, aloe was once referred to as “the plant of immortality”.  To this day the plant is often grown, purchased, and used to treat a wide variety of issues.

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Let’s take a look at seven scientifically based benefits that this gift from nature can provide.

1. Aloe Vera Provides Antioxidant and Antibacterial Properties

Aloe contains a family of substances known as polyphenols which are converted into powerful antioxidants for the body.  For this reason, more and more people are adding aloe vera juice to their occasional diet.  Thought to help rid the digestive tract of toxins and impurities, the juice, which looks and tastes just like water, can be purchased at most health food stores.  Drinking just a cup of the juice can provide a powerful punch of antioxidants to the human body which can help fight off harmful bacteria.

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2.  Aloe Vera Juice Reduces Plaque

Don’t enjoy swishing with the powerful and chemically laden mouthwashes on the market?  Opt for a mouthful of aloe vera juice instead.  It may taste like water, but according to dental studies, aloe vera juice has reaped the same benefits of some of the strongest brands of mouthwash on the market.

The antibacterial properties of aloe kill off Steptococcus mutans and Candida albicans that are found in the mouth and can lead to plaque and tartar if not treated. The alkalizing properties of the plant are beneficial to prevent hair loss. Aloe vera can help to bring the scalp and hair’s pH to a more desirable level and free the skin from extensive sebum, which can suffocate hair follicles, causing thinning and brittleness of hair.

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3. Aloe Vera Can Relieve Canker Sores

The next time you have a painful canker sore in your mouth, instead of reaching for a tube of dental medicine that often doesn’t bring lasting relief, try an aloe patch instead.  In a study performed on 180 people with recurrent mouth ulcers, the aloe patch was proven to effectively reduce the size and symptoms of the sores.  If you don’t have a patch on hand, rubbing the plant’s gel directly on the sore will yield the same results.

4. Aloe Vera Provides Quick Relief to Burns

The FDA approved aloe vera as a powerful burn ointment back in 1959 and while many people use it for sunburns, they often forget about aloe when they obtain burns of another nature.  Compared to conventional medicine, studies have shown time and time again that aloe reduces the healing time of burns by up to 9 days.  Bypass the pharmaceuticals and reach for the aloe gel for fast relief when treating burns.

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5. Aloe Vera Improves the Efficiency of The Cardiovascular System

This powerful plant has the ability to reduce blood pressure by oxygenating the blood and helps reduce cholesterol due to its rich choline content.  Aloe has properties that allow for more efficient dilation of the blood vessels.  Whether taken in liquid or capsule form, or even applied topically, using aloe on a regular basis gives an extra boost to your hard working cardiovascular system.

6. Aloe Vera Can Be Used as a Regular Part of Your Skin Routine

Whether treating acne or attempting to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, aloe can help restore your skin’s vitality and improve the look and luster of your body’s largest organ. Used often for it’s soothing properties, aloe can be applied on sensitive or inflamed patches of skin, and can be applied after shaving to treat bumps or ingrown hairs. Due to it’s high water content, aloe can also be used to rehydrate skin, which will result in a glowing and radiant complexion. Even if you do not apply it directly, you can purchase lotion with aloe added to it.

7. Aloe Vera Helps Increase Vitamin Absorption

In a study conducted by the University of California’s Davis Medical Center, aloe vera was proven to help the body absorb vitamin C and B12. In this day and age, with food genetically modified and altered, often times our bodies cannot fully absorb the nutrients we ingest.  This can lead to malnutrition, which in turn leads to a host of bodily ailments and diseases. Using Aloe to increase absorption of important vitamins such as vitamin C and B12 can help the body function more efficiently and prevent malabsorption.

Sometimes nature’s miracles aren’t in test tubes or fancy bottles lining the pharmacy, but growing in our yards or in pots on a window sill.  Aloe vera is such a versatile and powerful plant that it has withstood vigorous testing by the FDA and proven time and time again that it is in a league of its own when it comes to medicine.  Whether you choose to grow your own plant or simply purchase it in the bottled form, aloe vera should be a part of your garden, grocery list, and regular routine.

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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

“Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. When tiredness is persistent, however — when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get— it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here’re some of the most common causes of fatigue:

1. Dehydration

If you want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions.

If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energising oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

You cannot cure this crash with caffeine – the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

2. Lack Of Exercise

A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of our everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

3. A Poor Diet

The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by pizza or cheese.

Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

4. Skipping Breakfast

Physician Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advises that eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

Ingesting food signals to your brain that there is enough food available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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Some great ideas for a healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

Or if meal-prepping isn’t your think, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit: 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

5. Poor Quality Of Sleep

We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed. But did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is.

TO feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time. And before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to prepare for a restful night.

Read more about how to develop a routine that will get you better sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

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6. Sleep Apnea (A Person’s Airways Get Blocked off While They Are Asleep)

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while they are asleep. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing as well as the use of a special breathing machine to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

7. Depression

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating.

Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling and lifestyle changes like stress management to help manage this condition. You can take a look at these 15 Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness.

Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

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8. Hypothyroidism

If a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce adequate levels of these important hormones— and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain and feeling cold all the time.

Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills like Synthroid. Check here for signs of having a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

9. Anemia

People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements or B-12 shots.

While here are some drinks you can try to relieve symptoms of Anemia, it’s best to do a blood test and consult your doctor in case of any hidden medical conditions.

10. Cancer

While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surround tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

Diagnosis is usually by biopsy and treatment often focusses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery— and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

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