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You already know that consuming the right foods can boost your intake of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. But there are a few out there that could also alleviate some of your most pesky daily problems, like hiccups or even rashes like eczema. Though it's important to keep in mind that serious conditions need the attention of a doctor, it might not hurt to reach for one of these 10 items the next time you have a minor health problem.
When you hiccup, the diaphragm undergoes a series of spasms, but you can fool your body into stopping that reaction by putting a teaspoon of sugar underneath your tongue. The sweet sensation is strong enough to stimulate the vagus nerve. That's the longest cranial nerve in your body, starting at your brain stem and extending as far down as your diaphragm to control the stomach. "Keep the sugar under your tongue until you stop hiccupping, and then swallow to fill the back of your throat with even more sensation."
Gargle twice daily with a solution of six pressed garlic cloves mixed into a glass of warm (not hot) water. Follow the regimen for 3 days. Research shows that fresh garlic juice has antimicrobial properties that fight pain-causing bacteria. The warm liquid soothes inflamed tissue.
Calm itchy, inflamed skin using this breakfast food. Oatmeal soothes rashes because it's packed with phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties. Create a soothing bath by grinding 1/3 cup of plain oatmeal (no flavors!) into a fine powder using your blender; pour the powder into lukewarm water and stir in evenly with your hands until the water is a milky color. Another option: use 1/4 cup of oatmeal and enough water to make a paste that you can apply directly to the skin for 10 minutes.
Rub on anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and moisturizing olive oil two or three times a day to soothe, soften, and lubricate. Your lips will feel immediately better, but it will take a few days before they start to heal on their own. Some research suggests that applying extra virgin olive oil to skin after sunbathing may help prevent skin cancer.
If you grazed your skin with a hot-from-the-oven cookie pan, apply aloevera;gel to the burn as needed. The soothing and anti-inflammatory gel creates a second skin to protect the burn from air, which irritates exposed nerve endings.
To calm a nagging cough that keeps you awake at night, take 2 teaspoons of honey (1 to 2 teaspoons for kids; don't give to children younger than 1), along with 500 mg of Ester C 30 minutes before bed. The vitamin C (nonacidic Ester type won't upset stomachs) boosts the immune system in the early stages of your cough. Research shows that honey works better than either a cough suppressant or no treatment at all for relieving children's nocturnal cough and promoting sleep.
Soak feet nightly in 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water to eliminate odoriferous bacteria. Or take a daily foot bath in strong black tea (let it cool first) for 30 minutes. Tea's tannins kill bacteria and close the pores in your feet, keeping feet dry longer; bacteria tend to thrive in moist environments. You'll see results in a few days to a week. One caution: Do the soak only when your feet are free of cuts.
You don't need an expensive skincare product to treat rough patches on your knees, elbows, and heels. A sea salt scrub made at home will work just as well. Sea salt is a good exfoliator because it has thicker grains that do a good job of clearing away dry skin. Just mix one cup of sea salt with 1/2 cup of a light massage oil. Use a bowl to make sure the mixture stays moist, like wet sand, and not runny. It's best to keep this scrub away from your more sensitive areas like your face and the back of your arms, though. It can be harsh on skin that doesn't require as much exfoliation.
Laying cold cucumber slices over your eyes may look a little silly, but the age-old beauty trick really does reduce puffiness. Cucumbers, which are 95% water, offer a nice cooling sensation and the cold temperature causes blood vessels to constrict and reduce inflammation. And there's a reason why cucumbers in particular work even better than ice packs. Cucumber slices perfectly fit to the contours of your eyes to help reduce swelling. You'll only need to leave them on for 10 minutes for fresher-looking eyes.
Avoiding trigger foods like soda, high-fat beef, and anything fried is the best way to deal with acid reflux. One food that should keep in your diet: apples. Apples have pectin, a soluble fiber that's really great at absorbing stomach acid. Plus, the fruit contains two types of acid (malic and tartaric) that work to beat back any juices that flow up from your stomach.Buy organic red or golden delicious apples that are sweeter than the tart granny smiths. "Sweet apples are considered alkaline foods that work at a cellular level to restore pH balance.”