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ME TIME: Just for Women



6 tips to improve your health

1. The power of sage
While it’s most commonly-known use is in the kitchen, adding a special aroma and flavor to some of our favorite dishes, sage has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, as well. Containing what are described as estrogen-like compounds, sage is used by many women to help cool down hot flashes brought on by menopause and to ease the pain of menstrual cramps. Nursing mothers also have been known to use it to abate excessive milk flow. While many varieties are available ready-to-go at supermarkets and specialty shops, it's very simple for one to make a cup of sage tea: Pour one cup of boiling water over one tablespoon of fresh sage leaves or one teaspoon of dried sage. Let it steep in a covered pot for five minutes and then strain the tea into a mug. Add honey or lemon.  

2. Got varicose veins?
Many moms have to deal with the appearance of varicose veins. While many may feel self-conscious about the appearance of varicose veins, the condition may also be very painful, especially for those who might have to stand for long hours. While there are some medical procedures that can help, a less invasive way to make the uncomfortable condition a little more bearable may be to use a pair of compression socks. The stockings work by gently squeezing the leg which ultimately helps to move blood in the proper direction. And to make having to wear the stockings a little more fun - because who doesn't need a little more fun? - they are now available in different styles, colors and patterns through many online retailers.  

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3. Spice up life!
Spices and spicy condiments that make your eyes and nose run help to drain excess mucus and reduce both sinus pressure and sinus pain. Cayenne pepper, for instance, not only will help to clear out your sinuses, it also works as a great anti-inflammatory and a natural detoxifier. One of your favorite Indian food dishes may carry some of the same benefits, as turmeric, a main ingredient of curry powder, is also a very effective anti-inflammatory. And in addition to being delicious on a sandwich, a couple of teaspoons of mustard will contribute a healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, and even a bit of calcium, to your daily diet.  

4. Balanced living tips
Just about every mom is looking for ways to live a more balanced life, including maintaining a healthy body and feeling positive, in general, about all aspects of life. Elements, of course, include eating the right food, getting enough exercise and sleep, and enjoying the myriad relationships in her life! Starting each day with a brief "Balanced Living Checklist" and completing the "tasks" on it each day can help to keep us on track. What might you add to your checklist? It's an important question for every woman to ask herself. Some tips on what to include: eat a piece of fruit or a serving of vegetables with every meal and make sure to find a prime time suitable to fit in 30 minutes of exercise every day. Other things to possibly add to the list? Stretch, get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and make sure to find a reason to laugh or smile - and maybe learn something new - every day.

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5. Benefits of yoga
The art of yoga includes a series of poses and breathing exercises that both strengthen and relax the body. It also helps to bolster the immune system, improves circulation and digestion, aids in weight loss, and balances the metabolism! Not to mention, yoga also improves posture, concentration, flexibility, and mental awareness! Visit your local yoga studio and get started - Skye River Yoga Studio in Cornwall- on-Hudson, Rae of Light Yoga Studio in New Windsor and Alma Yoga Studio in Newburgh, to name a few. Interested in the yoga birth method? Beacon Birth offers a special workshop.

6. Eating your veggies?
Have you added the latest trendy health food to your diet? Maybe it's time to try kale which is packed with protein, vitamins A, C and K. It's also beneficial as an anti-oxidant and an anti-inflammatory. But there's just one problem for some: they don't like the taste of the fiber-rich leafy green. A great way to introduce kale into your diet - and your weight loss routine, as the vegetable is considered to be "negative calories," meaning your body burns more calories digesting it than it takes in - is by adding it to a smoothie. So, get out your blender, add some kale to fresh or frozen fruit, and enjoy fuller health benefits.

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Brilah Harris is a writer from Newburgh and a regular contributor to Hudson Valley Parent.