1. Coconut to fight fat - Sri Lanka
You may have heard that coconut oil is a great way to slim your waist. Well the people of Sri Lanka figured this one out way before the rest of the world. It's reported that the average Sri Lankan eats about 116 coconuts per year, and they are half as likely as the average American to pack on the pounds. The reason is that coconut oil is packed with medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that stimulate the liver to burn fat 50 percent faster than normal. Try having about two tablespoons of coconut oil daily (in your cooking) and you could shed up to three pounds a month!
2. Yoga to treat insomnia - Austria
Although yoga is practiced all over the world, in Austria it is used solely as a stress-buster and a quick treatment for insomnia. Austrians like to go all out and go on yoga retreats and holidays for up to a week, but according to research from the University of Pennsylvania, practicing yoga for just 20 minutes a day could get rid of your insomnia. The research also found that practicing yoga is just as effective, if not more, than taking a sleeping pill and will also rid you of anxiety, stress and depression.
3. Ginger to regulate triglycerides - Indonesia
Indonesia is the world's largest grower and consumer of ginger and ginger products, with locals using it in their cooking, teas, candies and breads. Their tradition has long pointed to ginger as an effective treatment for the heart, and there are studies to back them up. Triglycerides are fats that clog your arteries, and according to Stanford researchers, a daily dose of ginger could cut the production of these fats by 27 percent. Ginger is also twice as effective as aspirin at preventing blood clots and inflammation.
4. Turmeric to steady blood sugar levels - India
Turmeric is a flavorful yellow spice used in rice and meat dishes and even deserts, but it also has outstanding medicinal properties. Indians use turmeric to treat high blood sugar levels, a practice that has been scientifically confirmed by research at Gujarat University. Researchers confirmed that the active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, switches on the genes that keep blood glucose levels stable. The compound can also help the pancreas make insulin when it is low. In order to see the benefits of turmeric, start taking about half a teaspoon daily either directly or in your cooking.
5. Mushrooms to fight bad cholesterol - Japan
Mushrooms are a popular food and medicine in Japan, with the average Japanese woman consuming about 8 pounds of mushrooms a year. According to research from Penn State University, adding about a half a cup of mushrooms to your daily diet could cut cholesterol levels by nearly 30 percent. This is because mushrooms are packed with antioxidants that prevent the liver's production of artery-clogging fats.
6. Mustard baths to calm muscle pain - England
Ever heard of a mustard bath? While it may sound like a hoax, mustard baths are used heavily in England to quell tight and achy muscles. Mustard has healing plant compounds that draw out toxins through the pores to improve circulation, relax tight muscles and speed the healing of damaged tissue.
For your own mustard bath, mix 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1/4 cup dry mustard in a jar. Pour only 1/4 of this mixture into a warm bath, mix the water before getting in, soak for 20 minutes and rinse.
7. Chamomile tea to reduce bloating - Germany
What began as a simple German folk remedy has now been proven as a scientifically effective method for fighting off bloating. A study conducted at Stanford University found that sipping two cups of chamomile tea daily could help ease bloating and belly pain within just 24 hours. This is because chamomile calms the adrenals and the production of a stress hormone called cortisol that can interfere with digestion and produce painful gas and belly spasms. Not only does chamomile tea soothe the stomach, it also causes the brain to produce more encephalins, or painkilling hormones that will help fight off depression and negative thoughts.
8. Garlic to fight off viruses - Russia
While garlic is used the world over to add flavor to food, in Russia they use this herb to get rid of colds, the flu or any other viral infection. It has recently been proven that this pungent natural medicine is seriously effective. At the University of Florida in Gainesville, it was shown that adding one clove of garlic to your daily diet could cut your risk of viral infections by almost 43 percent! This is because garlic is full of allicin, an immunity boosting sulfur compound that fights off the growth and spread of germs.
9. Acupuncture to treat headaches - China
Acupuncture has been used for centuries in Eastern and Chinese medicine, but now more than 80 million Chinese use this therapy to treat chronic headaches. At Taiwan's Kaohsiung Medical University it was found that daily acupuncture treatments work much better than prescription muscle relaxants. This is because acupuncture prompts the release of powerful painkilling hormones called endorphins and relaxes the scalp muscles to soothe the overactive pain nerves.
10. Coffee to get rid of depression - Finland
This cold Scandinavian country is actually the world's largest consumer of coffee, drinking on average about 1,640 cups per year. Indeed, coffee was originally sold in pharmacies in Finland in the 18th century as a treatment for depression. Now research from Harvard backs up coffee's use as an anti-depressant, finding that drinking 2 cups a day of caffeinated coffee could reduce your risk of depression by 34 percent, and if you drink 3 cups - by 42 percent. The mix of caffeine and antioxidants in coffee stimulates the brain to produce more powerful antidepressant hormones like serotonin and dopamine.
11. Coriander to get rid of food poisoning symptoms - Egypt
One of the world's oldest spices and a popular Egyptian remedy for stomach pain, new research proves the powerful effects of this ancient spice. The research suggests that coriander seeds can speed up recovery from full-blown intestinal infections by destroying dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. This is because coriander punches holes in the bacteria's' protective outer membranes, effectively destroying them for good.
Next time you are having tummy troubles, try adding 1 teaspoon of ground coriander to one cup of boiling water. Drink up to three cups of this mixture daily until the bug is gone.
12. Honey to treat sinus infections - New Zealand
Unpasteurized honey is one of the top treatments used in New Zealand for sinus and throat infections. According to research at the University of Illinois and the University of Amsterdam, the natural antibiotics and enzymes in unpasteurized honey can destroy nearly 100 percent of bacteria and viruses on contact! This includes the bugs that cause painful sinus and throat infections.
For an effective remedy, mix two tablespoons of unpasteurized honey into your coffee or tea to prevent painful infections. Use darker honeys like buckwheat or wildflower for the best results.
13. Kefir to treat irritable bowel syndrome - Russia
Irritable bowel syndrome is an uncomfortable and serious condition in which the bowels do not perform as they should. However in Russia they use a tart and tangy yogurt called kefir to treat the condition with healthy probiotic bacteria and yeast. Kefir is an effective treatment for IBS because it contains five time more healthy, intestine-soothing probiotics than most regular yogurts. In a study conducted by the University of Madrid, it was found that having just a half-cup serving of kefir daily could trigger a ten-fold increase of healing probiotic bacteria in the digestive tract.
14. Arnica to prevent bruises - Greece
A herb that grows in the mountainous regions of Greece, arnica has been a go-to remedy since ancient times for nasty bruising and closed wounds. It has become the most popular homeopathic remedy worldwide due to its power of healing and treating the most serious of bruises. This is because arnica is a plant rich in compounds that reduce swelling by as much as 30 percent, improve circulation in damaged tissues, boost the flow of nutrients and flush out the blood from the wound. You can find arnica gel at your local health store or in some pharmacies. This is definitely a tube to have in your medicine cabinet!
15. Aloe Vera to treat skin rashes - Mexico
Where the sun is hot and always shining, aloe vera is used to treat rashes and other skin problems. Researchers at the University of Texas found that aloe vera reduces redness, speeds healing, increases the skin's moisture levels and strengthens resistance to irritants. They also discovered that aloe vera not only treats the current outbreak, but prevents further outbreaks in the same area. Other research from Malmo University Hospital in Sweden found that aloe vera cream can treat psoriasis in 83 percent of cases.