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Can I Eat Those Backyard Mushrooms?

If you’re noticing mushrooms popping up on your lawn, you shouldn’t be surprised or concerned. It simply means that autumn is on the way, which is the prime time for fungal growth. Fungi live in your soil at all times – they are a vital part of the ecosystem and help keep plants healthy. At the right time of year and when the weather conditions are perfect, they pop up these little fruiting bodies to spread spores and reproduce. You may have noticed that fungi proliferate in wet weather that occurs right after a dry spell, or when you’ve just laid new turf. The disturbed soil releases fungal spores that were previously dormant, so you get lots of toadstools popping up on that nice new lawn.

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6 Foods Proven To Kill Breast Cancer Cells

Being in my late 20s, it is hard to imagine going through something as frightening and traumatic as a cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, I already know two girls my age who developed breast cancer — one is no longer with us. The uncertainty of cancer is unnerving, which has so many of us wonder how to actively prevent the ugly “c-word” from forming. Considering around one in eight American women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, prevention is more important than ever.

This year alone, more than 266,100 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in the United States. If you are scared that you will one day be included in these stats, know that there are ways to actively reduce your risk.

What causes breast cancer?

Like so many aspects of human health, researchers are still not exactly sure why one woman develops breast cancer while another woman doesn’t. Although those diagnosed will most likely never be able to pinpoint an exact cause, one thing is certain — DNA damage is the culprit.

Once the DNA in a healthy cell becomes damaged, that cell can then mutate. Being a complex disease, there are both non-modifiable risk factors and modifiable risk factors.

  • Non-modifiable: These factors are based on your genetics. There are two known genes that help protect us against breast and ovarian cancer, including BRCA1 and BRCA2. When these genes undergo a harmful mutation, damaged DNA does not repair as it should. These mutations can be inherited, increasing a woman’s average risk.
  • Modifiable: These are based on environmental and lifestyle factors. For example, your diet, level of physical activity, exposure to chemicals, and the amount of alcohol you drink may all play a role. That is why you should actively address the variables you can change while being mindful of those you cannot.

These six ingredients have been shown to combat breast cancer cells

For centuries, plants and herbs have been used to combat a wide range of ailments, including cancer. Today, we’re aware that certain foods offer anti-tumor and immune-stimulating properties. This has led to a movement where the public is interested in possible herbal remedies over synthetic medicines.

The following six ingredients have been shown to actively protect against cancer, specifically breast cancer.

1. Garlic

Ah, my favorite. I am known to eat raw garlic on the regular. This potent bulb has long been used to combat illness based on its complex metabolite profile. One key compound known as ajoene is believed to delay cancer production. There are also a number of compounds that yield antioxidant effects.

The available research has shown that garlic increases the number of suppressor T cells, converting lymphocytes into a form that is toxic to cancerous cells. Not only has garlic been shown to useful against breast cancer, but also colon, bladder, lung, and stomach cancer.

2. Echinacea

This aromatic plant is known to be an immune stimulant. When I used to get sick, my mom gave me an Echinacea tea — something that I still drink to this day. While studying mice, it has also been found that one of the three Echinacea species (Echinacea purpurea) may act as a potential anti-cancer therapy by increasing the number of natural killer cells.

3. Turmeric

This vibrant powder is no stranger to the health community. The active ingredient in this herb is curcumin, which is known to yield anticancer activity. Researchers have reported that the propagation of skin, stomach, breast, and lung cancer may be limited by turmeric.

4. Burdock

Burdock root has therapeutic uses, offering potent herbal remedies. In the past, it was often used to help treat conditions such as measles and arthritis. However, it is now being explored based on its antitumor properties. When treating a breast tumor, ovary, bladder, and pancreatic cells, burdock may lessen the associated pain and tumor size.

5. Ginseng

Mainly grown in Japan, China, Russia, and Korea, the root of the ginseng plant is dried and then used for many therapeutic purposes, including cancer treatment. Ginseng has been shown to restart natural killer cells which are impaired during chemotherapy while enhancing the effect of macrophages and antibodies. Ginseng extract and its dried powder are believed to be the most beneficial.

6. Green tea

Offering the body polyphenolic compounds, green tea is high in EGCG. This polyphenol helps protect against DNA damage based on its antioxidant activity. In one review, it was stated that both in vivo (taking place in a living organism) and in vitro (taking place in a test tube or culture dish) studies have shown green tea’s anti-cancer effects.

The key to preventing breast or any other form of cancer is to practice a clean, active lifestyle. Although there are variables that are not within your control, there are ways to potentially intervene. That is why you should always change what you can and better manage what you can’t.

Actively care for your body today, and it will take care of you tomorrow (and beyond).

-The Backyard Vitality Team

 

Top 11 Homemade Fertilizers

How you feed your plants makes a tremendous difference to the quality and quantity of your harvest. Organic fertilizer can provide your plants with the nutrition that they need to grow and thrive, defend pests, and resist disease.

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Skip the Supermarket: Grow a Kitchen Garden Instead

Now more than ever, growing your own organic, kitchen garden is essential. With stay-at-home orders still in effect, and grocery store shelves still rather barren, there’s no time like the present to embrace gardening and increase your sustainability to help provide fresh, safe products for you can your family. No matter how much or how little space you have, anyone with a patch of sunlight can grow a bountiful kitchen garden. Here’s how. 

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The 3 Ingredient Juice Your Liver Loves

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases like stroke, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are the main causes of disability and death in the United States. However, unbeknownst to most, a large percentage of chronic diseases can actually be prevented with a healthy lifestyle. The key is to keep all organs – such as your liver and colon happy and supported so that they can do their job keeping you healthy.

How to prevent chronic diseases

Most chronic diseases are associated with unhealthy lifestyles and dietary choices. These include poor nutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking tobacco, chronic stress, and a sedentary lifestyle. These are the major contributors to the development and progression of many preventable chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and many types of cancer.

Fortunately, they are within your own hands to change. By being more physically active, following a balanced diet, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco products, you could reduce your risk of developing many of these chronic conditions and diseases.

Even if you already suffer from arthritis, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or any other chronic condition, eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods and getting regular exercise — whether walking, jogging, or swimming — will help you effectively manage your illness. You’ll also be able to prevent complications and prolong your life at the same time.

Why don’t more patients choose a healthy lifestyle?

Although doctors suggest healthy behavior to help manage or prevent chronic diseases, most patients simply aren’t prepared to start or maintain these healthy changes. Many patients understand the principles behind a healthy lifestyle, but don’t know how to get the help they need. If this is you, consider interventions such as exercise training, nutritional counseling, and stress reduction techniques, like yoga, meditation, tai chi, or spending time in nature.

In addition, consuming raw, organic vegetables can provide numerous health benefits, whether you have a chronic disease or not. However, if you consume more fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet, you are less likely to have chronic diseases. This is because raw, organic veggies and fruits provide essential nutrients for overall health and maintenance of your body.

Getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet doesn’t have to hard, either! This recipe will boost your energy, detoxify your liver and colon, improve your digestive health and enhance your vision.

Ingredients

For this recipe, please use raw, organic ingredients for maximum benefits.

  • 4 oranges
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 beet

Instructions

  1. Add the ingredients to a juicer.
  2. Serve fresh in a tall glass. Enjoy!

Supporting great liver health couldn’t be easier – love your liver and other major organs by feeding them what they crave!!

–Susan Patterson, Certified Health Coach, and Master Gardener

7 Things to Do With Avocado Pits

If you aren’t already obsessed with avocadoes, you are in the minority. This precious fruit is full of healthy fat, fiber, potassium, and so much more. How could you not love it? But what can you do with that leftover pit once you’ve enjoyed your green treat? Read on to find out. 

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The No Fail Veggie Anyone Can Grow and How to Do It

Are you ready to be a successful potato gardener? This versatile starchy tuber is easy to grow and can be cultivated by anyone with great success, even the novice gardener. The best thing of all is that there are endless possibilities when it comes to growing potatoes so everyone can get in on the action.

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Grow Your Own Hand Rescue Salve

Gardening and health are intrinsically linked. You grow your own fruits and vegetables, so you begin to eat more whole, fresh food. You have to harvest, plant, and tend your garden, so you get more physical activity and daily doses of fresh air and sunshine. However, unless you wear gloves all the time, you probably also experience the dry, cracking hands that come from spending hours digging in the dirt. Thankfully, all the herbs needed to create this soothing hand salve, and make dried out hands a thing of the past, can be grown right in your garden.

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Garden Mistakes Everyone Wants to Avoid

The best gardeners in the world have learned from their mistakes, but there’s no reason to repeat them. Learn from the mistakes of others if you’re just getting started in gardening. You can avoid a lot of problems, save time, and prevent the sad death of plants by learning some common and easy-to-make gardening errors before you make them.

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The Easiest Way to Grow Herbs all Year Long

Container gardening is one of the easiest methods for growing herbs. Not only can you move the pots around to catch sunlight or give them a bit of shade, but you also have easy access to all your kitchen herbs right outside your backdoor. If you are in the middle of preparing dinner and realize that that spaghetti sauce needs a hint of fresh basil, you can simply step outside and cut a few leaves.

Why plant herbs in containers

  • Containers contain aggressive herbs

Container gardening helps keep aggressive herbs such as most mint varieties from spreading and taking over your entire garden. Eventually, the herbs can become invasive and be more of a hassle than a blessing.

  • Containers allow for moisture and soil control

Herbs can occasionally be finicky and require varying levels of moisture and soil fertilization. To ensure that you keep your plants healthy and watered properly, it is a good idea to utilize the power of container gardening.

  • Containers can be brought indoors

It can be hard to let your perennial herbs die out every winter when you still want to harvest their flavorful leaves. If you have space, simply bring your pots indoors when the weather begins to cool and you can keep your herbs for years to come. Plus, you will have even better access for beauty and culinary uses.

Containers make great patio decorations

If you have an outdoor living space such as a patio, balcony, or porch, it can be hard to figure out how to infuse it with life and make it welcoming. Potted herbs can do just that! You can choose colorful pots that match your patio furniture or simply enjoy the natural green beauty of your fragrant plants

Best herbs for containers

With all that being said, it is important to remember that not every herb will thrive in a container environment. Many need more space or drain soil nutrients too quickly to be contained to a pot.

Here are 5 of the best herbs for container gardening.

  • Basil

Perhaps one of the most versatile and useful herbs in the kitchen, fresh basil adds delicious flavor to any savory dish. Be sure that your basil plant gets plenty of sunlight and is in a container with adequate drainage. Once your plant has reached maturity, it is best to frequently harvest the leaves, as basil does well when trimmed back often. Be sure to pinch off any flower buds before they can develop since they tend to reduce flavor and quality.

  • Mints

Mints are many gardeners top choice for container gardening as they tend to take over whatever space they are planted in. Containers are also useful for those wishing to keep mint varieties separate and prevent cross-pollination. Mints do well when harvested frequently. Use mints in teas, baked goods, or even dinner dishes.

  • Rosemary

This beautiful, fragrant herb makes an excellent addition to any windowsill or backyard patio. Keep the soil wet, but be sure not to overwater.

  • Thyme

Another fantastic culinary herb, thyme is a great choice for those just starting out with gardening, or gardeners plagued with a black thumb, since it is fairly resistant to drought and neglect. This herb looks beautiful in any pot and will thrive under full sun.

  • Oregano

Another prolific herb, oregano often does a little too well in the garden and can quickly spread and take over. Growing it in a pot can help control this enthusiastic growth, and provide you with flavorful oregano all year round.

Tips for herb container gardening

  • Choose the right pot

Drainage is the key concern when picking out the pot for your herb. Most herbs don’t do well in standing water and could begin to rot or mold.

  • Harvest frequently

As mentioned earlier, it is important that you harvest your herbs frequently. Letting growth get out of control can create bitter, flavorless herbs.

  • Use quality potting soil

Because your herbs are in containers, it is important that you don’t skimp on the soil. Fill your pots with a mixture of quality potting soil and aged compost for optimal results.

Have you ever planted herbs in containers? Let us know which plants worked best for you in the comments below.

– Taylor Ramsey

Best Veggies to Grow in Raised Beds

A raised bed is a great way to start a vegetable garden. It allows you to create the perfect environment for your veggies, with just the right soil mix and good drainage. You can generally grow any vegetables in this way, but some are superstar producers in a raised bed.

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