FOCUS: Ways to Live Healthier (June 18)


Many of the helpful hints on living are taken from Woman’s World. Today, I will share helpful hints for your home and for your every day living.  Most of this information is easy to do and there is little cost for the ideas.  Did you know that banana peels can revitalize wood?  Banana peels contain potassium, citric acid and salicylic acid which work together as a gentle cleaner for natural, porous wood and leather.  The peel also contains a natural wax which helps to seal the wood and leather to keep them supple.  Abe Navas, general manager of Emily’s Maids in Dallas, says to take a banana peel and rub the inside of the peel on the surface you are cleaning then buff it using a soft cloth.  Do not forget to eat the banana which helps to keep your potassium in place, especially if you take a diuretic.

Pots and pans can be rust proofed by rubbing a potato peel on them.  The potato peel is also good to rub on knives, baking pans and cast-iron cookware.  Potatoes are a natural enemy of rust because they contain oxalic acid, the ingredient in store-bought rust cleaners.  This information comes from Cyrus Bedwyr of FantasticServices.com. Be sure to rinse and dry your items. 

If your stainless appliances, faucets and cutlery are looking a bit spotty, use a cucumber peel which contains mildly alkaline potassium, which helps draw out dirt and tannins that tarnish steel surfaces.  The peel is also good to remove fingerprint marks plus the cucumber leaves your kitchen smelling fresh, says Elizabeth Cannon, owner of Two Maids & A Mop from North Carolina. 

One last idea for cleaning comes from Kait Schulhof of ACleanBee.com. Kait says that using the oil of oranges will deodorize even the smelliest garbage disposal.  Just toss a few orange rinds in and run the disposal.  She also suggests lemon peels make an unbeatable glass cleaner.  Just fill a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar and add a few lemon peels and leave them to infuse for one week.  Now you have a spray to clean and shine your shower doors, and windows. The acids from the vinegar combine with the oils in the lemon peels to cut through soap scum and mildew, leaving glass clean and streak free.  Using these ideas saves money and has little danger of the added ingredients often used to clean with.

Reap plumper tomatoes with an eggshell sprinkle.  Tomatoes and peppers need calcium to stay healthy and keep their skin from cracking, says Todd Heff from BigBlogOfGardening.com. “You can infuse your soil with calcium by sprinkling one crushed eggshell around the base of plants. Calcium from the shell will seep into the soil, strengthening plants from the bottom up.” You can also keep your plants in the “green” of health without resorting to pricey fertilizer.  Here is an idea for all the coffee grounds you have from left over coffee. Add about one cup of coffee grounds to your compost. Coffee grounds are magical because they are rich in nitrogen, a key element to many plant functions, including chlorophyll production.

Here is information to make you healthier.  Ladies, do you have what is called age spots? Fade these age spots with pineapple. “Pineapple’s brightening vitamin C and exfoliating enzymes work together to break down discoloration,” says Ali Tobia, aesthetician at Just Ageless med spa in New York City.  Use pineapple with sour cream (its lactic acid whisks away dead discolored skin) so spots disappear even faster.  Try a blend of ¼ cup of pineapple chunks and 1 Tbs. of sour cream.  Rub onto spots and rinse after 5 minutes.

Here is an idea for those who do not use make up.  If you do not use make up, rub a sliced cherry onto your lips and cheeks for a rose-toned tint. Now that summer is here, soothe a sunburn with watermelon.  Watermelon has lycopene which is an antioxidant to help reduce the inflammation and swelling that comes with a sunburn. Puree 1 ½ cups of watermelon, then saturate a washcloth with the juice and place on your skin for 10 minutes and rinse.  Do you have crepey skin?  Vitamin A in cantaloupe increases collagen production to tighten the loose creases of skin, says Tobia.  Pairing it with yogurt helps firm skin in a flash.  Mix ½ cup of pureed cantaloupe and ¼ cup of plain yogurt.  Rub on your skin; rinse after 10 minutes. 

Here is another use for a banana – vitamin E in bananas targets rough heel skin.  Mix one mashed banana and 2 Tbs. of honey.  Rub on your feet and heels and let sit 15 minutes, then rinse. Do you have cellulite.  Coconut’s water is a rich source of fatty acids that hydrate skin to help “fill in” dimples.  Combining with sea salt, the coconut water exfoliates.  Mix ½ Tbs. of fresh coconut water, 1 Tbs. of sea salt and ½ Tbs. of aloe vera gel.  Massage onto dimply skin in the shower and rinse after 5 minutes.  Did you know all of these fruits can help us with all of these problems?  If you have success with any of these ideas, let me know.  I like to find solutions for problems which have less ingredients that I cannot pronounce and do not know what they are.  Fruits and veggies are good to eat and now we know some of the other things they can do as well.

With all the viruses we face, here is a delicious way to fight off viral infections. Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D.  shares this information.  Doctors tell us that hydroxychloroquine is a possible remedy for COVID-19.  The reason is that this drug pulls zinc into cells, where the antiviral mineral can prevent viruses from replicating.  Fortunately, you can get the benefits without taking an off-label medication!  Quercetin, which is naturally found in asparagus, onions, apple peels, berries, and red peppers, can also help pull zinc into cells to help fend off viral infection.  Just enjoy a serving of these foods at least twice a day. I always tell folks to check with their doctor to be sure they are doing the right procedure for something that requires medication.

Pneumonia is another complication with flu and infections.  You can guard against this complication by doing a few of these things to keep you healthy.  Most of us are guilty of not drinking enough water.  Sip water throughout the day, which protects your health.  European researchers say staying hydrated keeps mucous membranes moist, preventing germs from invading the lungs.  Humidity is good for lung health.  Studies show that when humidity is at least 40%, a virus is less likely to become airborne and invade the lungs.  Using a dehumidifier can also help.  Linger in the shower for moist air.  While in the shower, dab eucalyptus essential oil on a washcloth and set on the shower floor. Studies will show the oil’s cineol is anti-inflammatory and helps protect lungs against infection.  Another action to take is to belly breathe.  Breathe from the diaphragm, the primary muscle for breathing promotes airflow and strengthens lungs, says pulmonologist Neil Schachter, M.D.  He says to put one hand on your chest and the other below your rib cage and breathe deep into your belly so that the hand on your chest remains still, and the lower hand moves in and out.  Do this for 5 minutes three times daily.  If you are not allergic to nuts, crunch on walnuts.  A handful of walnuts can help lower pneumonia risk by 32%.  According to a 10-year study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, polyunsaturated fats, which are abundant in the nut, are thought to control inflammation, boost the body’s immune response and lower risk of infection. 

Finally, did you know that a sneaky cause of aging is airborne pollutants like dirt, dust and smoke?  With as much junk that we breathe from air, there are many pollutants in the air we breathe.  These pollutants can cause many problems with rashy skin, wrinkles, coughs and problems with breathing.  Did you know that charcoal can make a difference?  Charcoal acts like a magnet to pollutants, which can get embedded deep in pores.  You might try Biore’ Deep Charcoal Cleaner, which can be found at Walmart stores.  You can also order charcoal in special small bags to put all around the inside of your home, which helps with mold and other things that can make us sick.  If you have rashy skin which can be caused from environmental particles stripping skin of good bacteria, try rubbing a layer of plain yogurt on your skin and let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse. The live microorganisms in the probiotic-rich food rebalance skin’s barrier to heal irritation.

One of the most important aids to all our ills is laughter. If you have stress, less energy, pain and less immunity, you can lower your risk of catching a viral illness by laughing with friends for 30 minutes on the phone or via video chats.  You can slash joint and muscle aches by 50% with laughter.  Laughter prods your brain and produces painkilling opiates.  This information comes from UCLA.  If you live alone, take the time to read a funny book or watch a funny movie.  Some commercials can also make you laugh.  Maybe you have had some interesting times in your life that were humorous.  Think about those times and have a hearty laugh.  I once shared that it takes less muscles to laugh than to frown.  With the times we are living in, we need to find humor.  Laugh and see if you do not feel a little lighter and happier.

I will close with this fun story about aging and still having a laugh. One friend asked the other, “You were always so organized in school, did you manage to live a well-planned life?”  “Oh yes,” said her friend.   “My first marriage was to a millionaire; my second marriage was to an actor; my third marriage was to a preacher; and now I’m married to an undertaker.”  Her friend asked, “What do those marriages have to do with a well-planned life?”  The friend answered, “One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.”  Have a good day and don’t forget to find something to laugh about.

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