Health and Halloween!
October 31 most likely makes you think of ghouls and goblins, witches and jack-o-lanterns. And the last thing you’re probably thinking of on this haunted holiday is your health – but that’s a mistake! Join us in celebrating health and Halloween by taking a look at a few health-related holiday tips.
It may sound scary, but witch hazel is actually a great herbal remedy. It comes in the form of a low-growing shrub, and the healing benefits originate in the entire plant: bark, leaves and twigs. There are many health pros when it comes to witch hazel, some of which we will outline below.
Witch hazel is probably best known for its astringent properties, which means it can help dry, tighten, and harden tissues (such as your skin). This is helpful for tightening pores and removing excess oil.
But witch hazel also contains procyanadins, resin, and flavonoids; all of which add to its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. This is helpful for things such as hemorrhoids, bruises, and even varicose veins.
If you are suffering from laryngitis or a sore throat, you might want to try gargling a combination of witch hazel, myrrh, and cloves, which can help reduce pain and swelling. Witch hazel and myrrh can also help ease the pain of infected gums – and also the discomfort in teething babies. Just make sure with all of these “recipes” you use fresh witch hazel tea or tincture, as the drugstore varieties contain isopropyl alcohol (which you should never use internally).
To help ease diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome, try drinking a tea made from witch hazel, chamomile, mint, and a bit of thyme. Again, make sure you’re not using the drugstore variety for this tea.
If you’re not quite confident enough to make these teas and tinctures on your own, consult an herbalist. He or she can recommend the right remedy, based on your symptoms. And herbalists can give you all the info on side effects and interactions as well.
Healthy Treats for Halloween
It’s hard to deny… Halloween typically means TREATS! From the actual trick-o-treating, to office snacks, to neighborhood parties, you can be sure to find everything from Snickers bars and Smartees to themed cupcakes and cookies. My favorite is candy corn… and let’s just say it’s a good thing Halloween only happens once a year!
But before you go hog-wild on your kids’ goodie bags, or find yourself having one too many cookies from the office break room, you might want to think about a healthier Halloween treat.
Pumpkin Seeds: Before you chuck the “guts” of your jack-o-lantern, think about roasting the seeds for a healthy snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which helps nourish the brain, as well as magnesium – a mineral important for muscle, nerve, heart and bone function. Just don’t get too seed-happy . . . while beneficial in moderation, pumpkin seeds are also a bit high on fat content – so eat sparingly!
Popcorn Balls: Whether you’re domestic enough to make them at home, or buy them from your local grocer or specialty store, popcorn balls make a yummy-yet-healthy Halloween treat. Low in fat and calories, popcorn balls also provide some much-needed daily fiber.
Caramel Apples (or Apple Slices): Now, the caramel in these tasty treats can get a little sugary, but there are healthy options out there (low-fat varieties, for instance). And, the goodness of the apples may off-set the sweet caramel. Apples are high in fiber, and are chock-full of antioxidants – both helping to ward off a number of health conditions ranging from high cholesterol to cancer.
Candy Corn and Almond Mix: Again, there’s some sugar here. But if you cut the serving size of candy corn in half, and instead add in almonds, you’ll get that sweet-and-salty yumminess that’s so popular these days AND you’ll get the health benefits of these nutrient-dense nuts… which are almost endless. Almonds are high in protein, calcium, and potassium; and they may help reduce the risk of heart disease and even aid in weight loss!
See? It’s not hard to find healthy ways to “celebrate” this ghoulish holiday… and with a little forethought, you can even incorporate them all year round!
And if you have any fun, healthy Halloween tips, please share them with all of our readers by commenting below!
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