Alternative medicine is not so alternative these days, as four out of 10 adults are now turning to natural remedies to help with certain health problems. TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer lets us in on her favorite natural cures. The best part: They're all things you get to eat!
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“Some of them really do work,” Bauer says. “There is no downside. You may as well try them — you can alleviate lousy symptoms you may be having."
She adds later, "Food as medicine — we love it!"
1. Vinegar can lower blood sugar. "If you take in two to four teaspoons of vinegar with the meal or before the meal, it can blunt the rise in blood sugar you get from the meal," Bauer explains, adding that this is particularly helpful for people with type 2 diabetes.
We're not telling you to do a shot of vinegar here, Bauer assures. Instead, try mixing vinegar with olive oil and start your meal with a salad, or drizzle balsamic vinegar on a cucumber, tomato or onion.
2. Honey soothes a cough. "Regular honey helps to coat and soothe the throat, and also loosens up the mucus," Bauer says. For sick kiddos ages 1 to 6 (no honey for kids younger than 1!), try half a teaspoon 30 minutes before bedtime. For kids older than 6 — and for adults, too — try up to two teaspoons.
3. Chamomile tea eases pain from menstrual cramps. Sipping chamomile tea helps relax the uterus by elevating the body's levels of glycine, an amino acid that stops muscle spasms. Try one to three cups a day of the caffeine-free tea during the menstrual cycle.
4. Peppermint oil relieves IBS symptoms. "It relaxes the muscles in the lining of the intestines," Bauer says. Pick up peppermint capsules and take one three times a day, 30 minutes before a meal.