December 12, 2017

How to Boost Fertility

Many people are wondering how to boost fertility these days. It seems like more and more people are struggling to conceive a child, and for good reason. With all of the toxins in the air, water, food, makeup, and other products, they can quickly take a toll on your physical and even mental health. The more of these substances we are exposed to, the more our liver has to detoxify. Eventually it can become overridden with toxins which hurt the normal functioning of our bodies. In addition to all of these toxins, our food choices have become increasingly harmful to health. Most americans are now overweight or obese, both of which can make it hard to conceive. Some people might say that we are becoming increasingly more lazy, but the reverse is also true. People are working too hard! With all of these environmental stresses, social stresses, and work stresses, it can be easy to neglect exercise and sleep. When men stop exercising and stop attaining adequate sleep it significantly decreases testosterone and spem levels. Many people talk about fertility as if everything is reliant on the woman, but it might surprise you to know that approximately 20% of men are infertile. This can be an extremely hard thing to figure out as well, since most people assume that if they cannot have a child it must be the womans fault. Luckily it's very easy for men to get their spem count, motility, and density checked at you local doctors office or fertility clinic. There are so very advanced machines which can even compare your results to the average population and help you decipher how fertile you are. With the rise of fast food and antibiotics in our food supply, our hormones really start to suffer. This leads to both men and women becoming infertile, or struggling for months/years to have a child. The inverse of this is true as well, due to all the fast food choices, it can be hard to take in the essential vitamins you need. Vitamins like folic acid and myo-inositol can seriously boost fertility and help to prevent birth defects. Something you may not know, however, is that folic acid is best taken in it's 5-MTHF form. Up to 25% of the population has a genetic defect known as MTHFR, this defect prevents the body from properly converting folic acid into 5-MTHF (5-methyltetrahydrofolate). This means that no matter how much folic acid you take, you're body is actually not able to use or absorb any of it! By taking folic acid when you have a MTHFR defect, you can actually do more harm than good as well. Since the body can't convert it into it's processed form(5-MTHF) it starts to become toxic and cause issues. There are lots of effective ways to test for the MTHFR defect, and it's actually a really good idea to do so, especially because this is a genetic defect and often passes to your offspring. Your local doctors office can order a blood test, or you can do a spit test VIA a site like Another great idea is to find products like premama fertility which are meant to help boost fertility. You can find a great article about premama fertility here: Last, don't forget to keep reading about the topic of fertility. There are loads of research studies and articles being carried out every day which continue to give insight and hope to those struggling with infertility!
October 22, 2017

Croup in Infants: Caring for a Baby with a Respiratory Infection

It’s a sound every parent dreads in the middle of the night – the sound of a barking cough that prevents a child from sleeping. Croup is a common childhood illness that causes a barking, seal-like cough that can be scary to parents but is rarely dangerous. Most cases of croup are caused by a virus or allergy so they cannot be treated with antibiotics. Simple home remedies can help alleviate some of the symptoms of croup. In more severe cases, a trip to the pediatrician or hospital may be needed.

Symptoms of Croup in Babies Croup causes swelling in the voicebox and windpipe, which causes difficulty breathing and a harsh barking cough. The smaller the infant, the more he will be affected by swelling in his voice box and windpipe and the closer he must be watched. Croup often gets worse at night. Many cases of croup start off as a minor cold but the infant wakes up in the middle of the night with a barking cough that sounds like a seal and may make a wheezing sound as he breathes. A baby suffering from croup may or may not have a fever.

Treatment of Croup in Babies

Most cases of croup will resolve without medical attention. Croup is rarely serious but it can often last for up to 7 days. Infants will often wake in the middle of the night when croup symptoms increase. Take your coughing baby into the bathroom and turn the shower on hot. Shut the bathroom door and allow the bathroom to fill up with steam. Hold your baby in the bathroom and allow him to breath in the warm, moist air. This will generally help your infant to breathe better. The cough will continue but it is important to remember that the cough is helping to move mucous from the lung. Cold air can often help infants to breath better when they have croup. Bundle your baby up warmly and take him outside in the cold air for a few minutes. A cold air humidifier in your infant’s bedroom can help your baby to sleep better at night until he is feeling better. Never give a child under the age of 6 any kind of cough or cold medicine. Basic cold treatments such as drinking fluids, using a humidifier, and breathing steam will help your baby much more than giving your baby potentially dangerous medicine.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Any respiratory illness in an infant needs to be watched closely. If your baby is struggling to breath, has blue fingernails or lips, or is acting unusually lethargic you need to take him to the emergency room immediately. Because breathing in cold air can help your baby breathe better when he has croup, it is not uncommon for a baby to be feeling much better by the time he arrives at the hospital after breathing in the night air. Your infant’s pediatrician may be able to help by providing breathing treatments and checking for more serious medical issues. Most infants and toddlers will have croup several times. While croup can be scary for new parents, it is not generally dangerous. Being aware of common croup symptoms in infants and knowing when to take your baby to the doctor can help your child start on the path to recovery as soon as possible.  
October 22, 2017

Corn with Red Pepper and Herbs: A Summertime Favourite Becomes an Elegant Side Dish

Corn on the cob is always a popular summertime treat and during its brief season markets and roadside stands overflow with bushels of corn at rock bottom prices. Frozen and canned corn typically enjoyed during the winter months pales in comparison to the sweet flavour of fresh summer corn on the cob.

Corn Varieties

There are dozens of sweet corn varieties grown for eating on the cob. It’s a uniquely North American treat – Europeans grow corn for animal feed and cornmeal but don’t usually eat it off the cob. Some common varieties include Peaches & Cream, Silver Queen and Argent. The kernels can vary in colour from yellow to bi-coloured and white, depending on the type. Look for cobs with well-formed, tight kernels that appear fresh. If there are signs of bugs or the kernels look dry, don’t buy it. Corn should be used as soon as possible after harvesting as its sweetness decreases quickly after it’s been picked.

Roasting Corn

Roasting corn enhances its natural sweetness even further and adds a delicious charred flavour to the kernels. To roast four cobs of corn: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the corn husks including all the silk and break off any long stems. Pour 2 teaspoons of olive oil or neutral oil such as canola over the corn and rub cobs so they are evenly coated with oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast for 12 minutes and turn cobs over with tongs or a fork. Roast for another 12 to 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. This dish can be served warm or at room temperature, making it ideal for casual summer entertaining. Be sure to use fresh herbs instead of dried for maximum flavour. One medium ear of corn typically yields between ½ to ¾ cup of kernels.

Corn with Red Peppers and Herbs

Makes 4 servings (1 cob per person)
  • 4 cobs roasted corn (see above for roasting instructions)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup diced red pepper (cut dice about the size of corn kernels)
  • 8 medium sized fresh sage leaves, torn into large pieces
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Cut roasted corn from the cobs. To do this, hold cob upright in a large bowl with the stem end down. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the corn off in a downward motion, moving around the cob until all kernels are removed. Set corn kernels aside and discard cobs.
  2. Heat butter in a skillet on medium-high heat. Once butter has melted, add diced red pepper, sage, thyme, tarragon and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium low and sauté for about 5 minutes, until butter begins to brown and the herbs become crispy. Watch carefully so the butter does not burn.
  3. Add roasted corn kernels. Stir until corn is coated with butter and heat through for about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serving suggestion: This dish easily becomes a first course or main course with the addition of grilled shrimp or pan seared scallops. Top each serving with the seafood and freshly ground pepper. It can also be added to cooked pasta to make an elegant vegetarian dish. Choose fresh flat pasta, such as fettuccine or linguine.
October 22, 2017

Composition and Health Benefits of Apples: A Nutritious Fruit for Physical and Mental Health and Culinary Uses

The apple is a popular and universally available fruit with many uses. It is also one of the most nutritious fruits known to man; studies have proved its efficacy in maintaining a healthy body and mind.

Composition and Health Benefits of Apples

Apples are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and nutrients, which have preventive and curative properties. Vitamins C and E are anti-oxidants present in apples. They boost immunity, slow aging and fight chronic diseases. Some Vitamin B is also present. Apples have more phosphorous and iron than other fruits and vegetables, and high levels of potassium.
  • These are essential for muscular functions.
  • Potassium prevents heart disease and regulates blood pressure, as it lowers the sodium level. Apples also act as diuretics, and are good for the kidneys.
The sweetness of apples is due to the presence of the natural sugars sucrose and fructose. These metabolize slowly and maintain the level of blood sugar in the body. Therefore, apples are recommended for diabetics. Pectin, a water soluble fiber found in apples, plays an important role in the body.
  • It fights diseases like cancer, lowers cholesterol and acts as a laxative.
  • Moreover, it helps to bind and expel toxic metals like lead and mercury. Thus, apples are good for detoxification.
  • Pectin prevents decomposition of protein matter in the alimentary canal.
Apples are useful for diverse conditions. Raw apples prevent constipation, as they contain more fiber than oats. A medium sized apple contains 5g of dietary fiber. On the other hand, cooked apples alleviate colitis, diarrhea and dysentery. Apples contain malic and tartaric acid, which boost digestion.
  • They regulate stomach acidity, and help in the digestion of proteins and fats.
  • Moreover, they increase the appetite.
  • Malic acid neutralizes uric acid, thus alleviating symptoms of gout, arthritis and rheumatism. The acid in apples also has an antiseptic effect on germs, and prevents tooth decay.
Apple juice is rich in polyphenols like tannin and tannic acid. These have anti virus and anti-oxidant properties, and prevent cancer. The juice also prevents kidney stones. Trace chemicals like volatile esters, alcohols and aldehydes contribute to the tang and aroma of apples. The latter has a calming effect and lowers blood pressure. Ripe apples are fat free, consisting of 80% water, and therefore good for weight control. Moreover, one feels fuller with a medium apple as compared to an equivalent of carbohydrates.

Role of Apples in Mental Health

Studies have proved that anti-oxidant rich foods like apples boost the functioning of the brain, and reduce loss of memory. This is because they increase production of essential transmitters or chemicals that transmit messages to nerve cells. One of these chemicals, Acetylcholine, slows mental decline in conditions like Alzheimers.

Culinary Uses of Apples

Apples are usually consumed as raw fruit, but they also have culinary uses.
  • They are essential ingredients in desserts like apple cake, apple pie, apple crumble, crepe, apple tart, strudel or baked apples. The flavor is enhanced with spices like clove, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  • Apples are also used to make jams and sauces.
  • Some apples can be cooked.
  • Apple juice is a refreshing and tasty drink with many benefits.
A medium sized apple of 5 oz contains 81 calories, including 159 mg potassium, 7.9 mg of vitamin C, 9.6 mg calcium, folic acid and essential minerals. Its high nutritional content lowers the risk of virus infections, and prevents diseases of the body and mind. The popular saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is justified by its composition and properties which enhance physical and mental health.