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Heart Health Benefits Of Meditation

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that meditating once or twice daily for 20 minutes at a time can have significant health benefits, especially for your heart? Heart Health Benefits Of Meditation

It’s true.

Two methods of meditation have been scientifically proven to reduce the chances of heart attack, stroke - and add years to your life.

The idea that meditation has measurable effects on heart and general health is not well known by physicians and other healthcare givers. However, several exciting research findings have emerged recently on the very real benefits of meditation.

Much of this research has come from a research team at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention who recently completed a study on 201 people with heart disease. These people were taught to practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) 20 minutes twice a day or alternatively, spent 20 minutes daily learning about health.

During a follow up just over five years, the group that meditated saw a 48% reduction in the combined occurrence of death, heart attack and stroke!

The second style of meditation is known as kirtan kriya - a 12-minute meditation consisting of repeating a ‘mantra’ aloud in a song, in a whisper and silently, while using repeating finger movements known as ‘mudras’.

A study from UCLA has shown that kirtan kriya resulted in different patterns of brain metabolism in practitioners compared to other general relaxation methods.

Further, PET scanning showed that this form of meditation led to some genes becoming more active while others became less active - resulting in production of fewer mediators of inflammation, along with increasing telomerase activity by almost 50%.

What is so interesting about telomerase is that a Nobel Prize winning group of scientists have shown a clear connection between increased telomerase activity and greater longevity.

Last but not least, the group taught kirtan kriya meditation also had higher scores on mental health, along with lower levels of depression.

Although more research is needed to confirm these results, why wait to begin these practices? With the powerful benefits of heart health and longevity, meditation is clearly a powerful preventive therapy with no apparent side effects - so why not start exploring meditation practices today?

Source: Heart Health Benefits of Meditation.   

Copyright: mrfiza / 123RF Stock Photo

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7 Tips For Becoming An Effective Plant Eater

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Health experts agree - one of the best things you can do to be healthy, look good and live a long life is to eat as much fresh plant-based food as possible.

7 Tips For Becoming A Plant Eater | Institute for Vibrant Living

However, it takes some practice to get good at eating a balanced plant-based diet. Here are some tips to start feeling, looking and living well right away -

  1. Do stray from recipes. There is no need to follow recipes all the time. When you eat mostly plants, you need to first learn how you like your plants cooked - or uncooked if you like them raw. Once you figure out how you like your fruits and veggies prepared - be it fresh salad greens, kale, roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed onions or boiled edamame - and you learn how to whip up a simple yet delicious dressing, putting together a plant-based meal becomes very simple.
  2. When grocery shopping, spend most of your time in the produce aisle. Fresh produce has a shorter shelf life than canned and frozen foods. An effective plant-eater typically makes short but frequent stops to pick up fresh greens, a bag of lemons or a handful of avocados.
  3. Never stray too far from a blender. A green smoothie or a green juice is a highly effective way of getting all the nutrition from plant-based foods, and they’re easy to make.
  4. Create meals by colors. Plant-based eaters decorate their plates by color, making it simpler to create a balanced meal. They instinctively know when their mostly green plate needs something orange or their very yellow plate needs some purple.
  5. Eat out of one big bowl for all three meals. For instance, breakfast might contain protein (Quinoa), moisture (fresh almond milk), texture (chopped walnuts), fresh produce (blueberries and bananas) and fun flavors (cinnamon and agave).
  6. Get greens at every meal. An effective plant-eater feels something is missing when there are no greens in their food. Whether it’s a smoothie or a side of steamed vegetables, make sure there’s always leafy greens involved.
  7. Plan ahead, whether ensuring your pantry is fully stocked on a regular basis, previewing a restaurant menu or packing snacks for your travels. Effective plant-based eaters ensure they control their food circumstances, rather than letting circumstances control their diet.

If you’re thinking right now that eating greens at every meal is a lot to ask in terms of planning and preparation - then we have just the solution for you!

Just one tablespoon of IVL’s All Day Energy Greens mixed in water makes a delicious and refreshing beverage that exceeds the nutritional equivalent of five servings of vegetables and fruits, with far fewer calories and carbohydrates to boot.

All Day Energy Greens gives your body an instant energy boost because it is easy to digest and your body gets all the nutrients it needs for the day - so why not order IVL’s All Day Energy Greens today?

Source: Seven Tips For Becoming An Effective Plant Eater.   

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Broccoli: Role In Cancer Prevention

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you probably already know, consuming fruits and vegetables regularly is very beneficial for your health and may even extend your lifespan. What many people don’t realize is just how good these foods are for you and how exactly they benefit your health.

For instance, broccoli should be in the weekly menu of every person on the planet. That’s because the entire family of cruciferous vegetables - including broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower - Broccoli: Role In Cancer Preventioncontain lots of fiber, along with many vitamins and minerals - all of which are believed to be why cruciferous vegetables help to prevent colon cancer.

Not only that, cruciferous vegetables contain the protective compounds isothiocyanates and indoles, which help to fight disease by reducing inflammation and preventing DNA damage.

Scientific research shows a strong correlation between eating broccoli at least three times a month and a significant reduction in incidence of various types of cancer.

For instance, in a study from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, researchers found that individuals who ate broccoli three times a week showed a 40 percent reduction in their rates of bladder cancer.

Similarly, women with breast cancer diagnosis who increased their consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, reduced their risk of cancer recurrence by 35 percent. Amazingly, they also cut their mortality rate by 62 percent!

Along with the US, researchers in Switzerland and Italy have studied data collected across various studies and reached similar conclusions about the positive link between cruciferous vegetables and cancer.

The most notable results were a 32 percent reduced rate of kidney cancer among individuals who ate cruciferous vegetables at least once a week. Similarly, a 17 percent reduction in oral, breast and colorectal cancers as well as a 28 percent reduction in esophageal cancer were seen in association with cruciferous vegetable consumption.

In other words, people who eat cruciferous vegetables roughly once a week are on average much healthier with a significant reduction in cancer risk relative to their counterparts who rarely, or never, eat vegetables.

The difference in their cancer rates is so significant that everyone - including you - should seriously consider increasing their cruciferous vegetable intake. 

Source: Broccoli: Role in Cancer Prevention

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Blood Glucose Levels In Hospitalized Patients Can Predict Diabetes Risk

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to recent research, blood glucose levels measured in hospitalized adults during acute illness can predict the risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the following 3 years.

Type 2 diabetes - also known as hyperglycemia - is a common disease condition in which blood glucose is higher than normal. As of 2010, nearly 300 million people worldwide were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. People with this condition either do not produce enough insulin, or their body is unable to use insulin properly.

Blood Glucose Levels In Hospitalized Patients Can Predict Diabetes RiskResearchers in the present study measured blood glucose levels in over 85,000 patients aged 40 years or older who had originally been hospitalized for an acute illness. They then identified patients who developed type 2 diabetes up to December 2011 through the Scottish Care Information - Diabetes Collaboration national registry.

They found that the overall 3-year risk of developing type 2 diabetes rose linearly with increasing blood glucose level at admission. The 3-year risk of type 2 diabetes was 1% for patients with a glucose level of less than 90 mg/dl and increased to roughly 15% for patients with a glucose level of 270 mg/dl or more.

Based on their analysis, the researchers developed a risk calculator that uses the patient's age, sex and admission blood glucose level to predict the risk of developing diabetes over 3 years following hospital admission. However, it’s important to note that this approach has not yet been validated in non-white populations or populations outside of Scotland.

If you’re worried about your blood sugar levels, but you’re not sure what to do - then we have just the solution for you!

IVL’s Gluco Harmony® contains no less than nine nutraceutical-grade botanical extracts used in Indian traditional medicine, known as Ayurveda. Each of these ingredients has been shown to stabilize blood sugar naturally, with no known side effects.

So if you’re looking to safely and effectively manage your blood sugar levels - why not order IVL’s Gluco Harmony® today?

Source: Blood Glucose Levels in Hospitalized Adults Can Predict Diabetes Risk.   

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Barley Grass: Benefits For The Heart

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that barley grass is a nutrient-packed ‘green superfood’ with multiple health benefits - including clearing up skin problems, healing ulcers and lowering the risk for heart disease and stroke?

Green foods refer to young cereal grasses like barley grass and wheatgrass. During the early grass stage of their growth, barley and wheat are closer to vegetables than grains. However, as they grow further, their Barley Grass: Benefits For The Heart | Institute for Vibrant Livinghealthful chlorophyll, protein and vitamin levels fall sharply while levels of the indigestible fiber cellulose rises.

Amazing, but true - an ounce of barley grass, wheatgrass and other green foods contains many more beneficial phytonutrients than an ounce of the healthiest green vegetables!

A concentrated source of several vitamins and minerals, barley grass is also rich in calcium, iron, potassium and chlorophyll. Unlike most plants, barley grass provides all nine essential amino acids, which your body can't produce on its own.

Back in 2002, researchers in Taiwan examined the effects of supplementation of young barley leaf extract - along with vitamins C and E - on the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in patients with type 2 diabetes. LDL oxidation is one of the first, critical steps in the development of atherosclerosis, which leads to heart disease.

Thirty-six patients with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in the Taiwanese study. Each patient received either extract of young barley leaf, vitamin C plus vitamin E alone, or barley extract plus the 2 vitamins daily for 4 weeks.

At the end of the study, the researchers observed that the vitamin E content of LDL increased significantly following supplementation, especially for the group that consumed barley leaf plus the 2 vitamins.

Atherosclerosis is responsible for heart disease and associated deaths in much of the world’s population. LDL oxidation is a critical first step in the development of atherosclerosis. Dietary antioxidants such as vitamin E lower atherosclerosis risk by reducing oxidative stress and preventing LDL oxidation.

This study shows that supplementation with extract of young barley leaf - especially in the presence of vitamins C and E - is likely to prevent LDL oxidation, thereby protecting protecting patients with type 2 diabetes against vascular diseases including heart disease and stroke.

If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to add barley grass to your diet, consider IVL’s All Day Energy Greens - a once-a-day drink that not only provides your body with the recommended five servings of vegetables and fruit, but also contains 38 herbs, vitamins and minerals - including the healthful green superfood, barley grass.

Given the many health benefits of barley grass - why not order IVL’s All Day Energy Greens today?

Source: Barley Grass: Benefits for the Heart.   

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Barley Grass: A Powerful Green Anti-Cancer Superfood

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What are superfoods - and do they really exist?

According to Dr. Christine Horner, superfoods are any nutrient-dense foods that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compunds and more.

For instance, a certain nutrient-packed ‘ green food’ has been shown to kill several different types of cancer cells in the laboratory setting - more on this a little later.

Green foods refer to young cereal grasses like barley grass and wheatgrass. During the early grass stage of their growth, wheat and barley are closer to vegetables than grains. However, as the plant grows, their healthful chlorophyll, protein and vitamin content falls sharply while the level of the indigestible fiber cellulose rises.

Barley Grass: A Powerful Green Anti-Cancer Superfood | Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that an ounce of these green foods contains many more beneficial phytonutrients than an ounce of the healthiest green vegetables?

Many experimental studies show that green foods have marked beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure (BP), immune response and cancer prevention. These effects are attributed in part to their high concentrations of chlorophyll.

Barley grass is the seedling of the barley plant. It is usually harvested about 200 days after germination, when the shoots are less than a foot tall.

A concentrated source of nearly three dozen vitamins and minerals, barley grass is rich in vitamins A, C, B1, B2, folic acid and B12 as well as calcium, iron, potassium and chlorophyll. Unlike most plants, barley grass also provides all nine essential amino acids, which your body can't produce on its own.

While there have been no clinical trials of barley grass, in a laboratory experiment at George Washington University, leukemia (blood cancer) cells were exposed to dehydrated barley grass extract. The extract killed virtually all of them.

Next, researchers exposed brain cancer cells to the extract - and it eradicated 30-50% of these cells. And in a third trial, the extract inhibited the growth of three types of prostate cancer cells by 90-100%!

If you don’t feel like growing it yourself, barley grass is available commercially as a supplement both in powder and tablet form. Dried barley grass is easier to handle than fresh grasses, which must be juiced. 

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Arthritis Drug Triggers Dramatic Hair Growth

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to doctors at Yale University, a man with almost no hair on his body has grown a full head of it after a novel treatment - with a drug routinely used to treat arthritis.

There is currently no cure for alopecia universalis, the disease that left this particular 25-year-old patient completely devoid of hair. This is the first reported case of a successful targeted treatment for this rare, yet highly Arthritis Drug Triggers Dramatic Hair Growth | Institute for Vibrant Livingvisible disease.

Incredibly, the patient has also grown eyebrows and eyelashes - along with facial, armpit and other hair, which he lacked before his therapy began.

According to the physicians at Yale, this is a huge step forward in the treatment of patients with this condition even though it’s just one case. That’s because they anticipated the successful treatment of this patient based on their current understanding of the disease and the drug. They are optimistic that their positive results will be duplicated in other patients.

This patient had previously been diagnosed with both alopecia universalis - which results in loss of all body hair - as well as plaque psoriasis, a condition which manifests as scaly red areas of skin.

The physicians at Yale believed it might be possible to address both diseases simultaneously using an existing drug for rheumatoid arthritis, which had previously been used successfully to treat psoriasis in humans.

After two months of therapy with the arthritis drug, the patient's psoriasis showed improvement and he had also grown scalp and facial hair - his first in seven years. After three more months of therapy, he had completely regrown his scalp hair and also had clearly visible eyebrows, eyelashes and facial hair, as well as armpit and other hair.

By eight months there was full regrowth of his hair, with no side effects. The Yale doctors saw nothing abnormal in his lab results either.

According to experts, this particular arthritis drug appears to boost hair regrowth in alopecia universalis by turning off the immune system attack on hair follicles that is typical of the disease.

Additionally, the drug was also mildly effective in this patient's condition of psoriasis.

If you have a problem with hair loss, we may have just the solution for you!

IVL’s  SeaNU Hair™ Loss Supplement contains a powerful combination of extra-strength nutrients not only prevent hair loss, but also promote hair growth. Restoring these nutrients in your body will make a noticeable difference to your wellbeing, along with restoring the health and density of your hair.

Why not try IVL’s  SeaNU Hair™ Loss Supplement today?

Source: Arthritis Drug Spurs Dramatic Hair Growth.   

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Are Sprouts Superfoods?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What is a superfood?

According to Dr. Christine Horner, a superfood is any nutrient-dense food that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compunds and other ingredients proven to benefit health.

Given this definition of a superfood, do sprouts qualify?

Are Sprouts Superfoods? | Institute for Vibrant Living

Sprouts are indeed highly nutritious. Grown year round, they are an excellent source of protein and vitamin C.

Typically, sprouts are produced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can grow from the seeds of vegetables, grains, legumes, buckwheat and beans.

They vary in texture and taste. Radish and onion sprouts are tangy, mung bean sprouts are hardy and often used in Asian cuisines, while alfalfa sprouts are more delicate and add texture and moistness to salads and sandwiches.

There are many good reasons to eat sprouts. As we age, our body's ability to produce enzymes declines dramatically. Sprouts are a concentrated source of living enzymes and other fragile micronutrients that are lost when foods are cooked or not picked fresh from your own garden.

Additionally, due to their high enzyme content, sprouts are also much easier to digest than the seed or bean from which they came.

All nutrients necessary for life are contained in seeds. Because sprouts are fresh and do not sit for days or weeks before being consumed, you can be sure that you’re getting optimum nutrition.

So are sprouts superfoods?

Well, why don’t you add them to your daily diet in one of these creative and tasty ways and decide for yourself?

  • Eat them fresh and uncooked in a sprout salad or add to tossed salads
  • Use in coleslaw (cabbage, clover, radish)
  • Try in wraps and roll-ups (alfalfa, sunflower, radish)
  • Stir-fry with other vegetables (alfalfa, clover, radish, mung bean, lentil)
  • Blend with vegetable juices (cabbage, mung bean, lentil)
  • Stir into soups or stews when serving (mung bean, lentil)
  • Top omelet or scrambled eggs (alfalfa, clover, radish)
  • Sauté with onions (mung bean, clover, radish)
  • Puree with dried peas or beans (mung bean, lentil)
  • Add to baked beans (lentil)

Source: Are Sprouts Superfoods?

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An Alkaline Diet Increases Muscle Mass With Aging

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the results of a 2008 study, an alkaline diet rich in potassium - such as fruits and vegetables - along with a reduced acid load helps to increase muscle mass in men and women as they age.

There has been a significant change from pre-agricultural human civilization to the present when it comes to net acid load in our diet. A typical modern diet is likely to induce so-called ‘metabolic acidosis’, especially with Benefits of an Alkaline Diet | Institute for Vibrant Livingaging.

Health experts believe metabolic acidosis leads to muscle wasting. Diets rich in net acid-producing protein and cereal grains relative to their content of net alkali-producing fruit and vegetables are likely to contribute to a reduction in lean tissue mass in older adults with age.

In fact, health conditions such as chronic renal failure that result in chronic metabolic acidosis have been shown to lead to an accelerated breakdown of skeletal muscle in patients.

The authors of the 2008 study looked at whether there was an association between levels of urinary potassium and the fruit and vegetable content of the diet with the percentage lean body mass (LBM) or change in percentage LBM in older subjects.

A total of 384 men and women 65 years or older participated in the 3-year trial. Along with urinary levels of potassium, percentage LBM was measured before the start of the study and then 3 years later - as was physical activity and the height and weight of every participant.

At the end of the study, percentage LBM was higher in the overall study population. Levels of urinary potassium were positively associated with percentage LBM before the start of the study, but not with the change in percentage LBM after 3 years.

In other words, increased intake of fruit and vegetables - known to be alkalizing foods - can help to preserve, even increase muscle mass in men and women as they age.

Health experts believe that correction of acidosis may also help to preserve muscle mass in conditions in which muscle wasting is common, such as diabetic ketosis, trauma, sepsis, chronic obstructive lung disease and renal failure.

If you’re unsure how to quickly and simply add more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet - then we have just the solution for you!

Just one tablespoon of IVL’s All Day Energy Greens mixed in water makes a refreshing beverage that is greater than the nutritional equivalent of five servings of vegetables and fruits, that too with far fewer calories and carbohydrates.

Alkalizing your body with All Day Energy Greens is a deliciously simple way to preserve your muscle mass. Not only that, it gives you an instant energy boost and all the nutrients your body needs to function optimally all day.

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Acai Superfruit: A Nutritious And Powerful Superfood

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What are superfoods - and do they really exist? Acai Superfruit: A Nutritious And Powerful Superfood  | Institute for Vibrant Living

According to Dr. Christine Horner, a superfood is any nutrient-dense food that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compunds and other ingredients proven to benefit health.

On the list of superfoods is one you may not have even heard of. Studies have shown that the superfruit Açaí berry - found growing on a very special Amazon palm tree - is one of the most nutritious and powerful superfoods in the world.

Harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, açaí tastes like a blend of berries and chocolate. Nature's perfect energy fruit, açaí is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Açaí may not be available in your local supermarket, but you can find it in health food stores, typically in juice form. A new product featuring the unsweetened pulp is now also available, which comes without the harmful effects of added sugar.

Royal purple in color, açaí pulp contains:

  • A remarkably high concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10-30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A mutually enhancing combination of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • A near-perfect essential amino acid complex along with with valuable trace minerals that are essential for proper muscle contraction and regeneration.

The fatty acid content in açaí resembles that of olive oil, and is enriched in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid helps essential omega-3 fats enter cells - and together, they help make cell membranes more supple and strong.

By keeping the cell membrane supple, our body’s hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently inside and outside cells, keeping us healthy and disease-free. This is particularly important because high insulin levels create an inflammatory state.

As you already know, inflammation is believed to play a role in almost every modern disease including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and more - while also contributing to the adverse health effects of aging.

If you’re unsure about to add this exotic superfood to your diet, then we have just the solution for you!

The amazing açaí is just one of 42 healthful fruits present in a single delicious glass of IVL’s Go Ruby Go - a mix of life-giving all-natural phytonutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds like nothing else on the market today.

So why not boost your health by ordering Go Ruby Go today?

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Hair Loss In Women 3 Things You Need To Know

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Female pattern hair loss is a hereditary condition that affects about 30 million American women, mostly when they are in their late 50s or 60s.

Normally, each time a normal hair follicle is shed it is replaced by hair that is equal in size. But in women with female pattern hair loss, their new hair tends to be finer and thinner, their hair follicles start shrinking - and eventually their hair stops growing altogether.

Hair Loss In Women 3 Things You Need To Know  | Institute for Vibrant Living

Here are three things you need to know about hair loss in women:

  1. News flash - women also have the hormone testosterone, just not as much as men. Hair loss in women, also known as female pattern baldness, is different than in men - although health experts don’t completely understand how yet.
  2. The pattern of hair loss in women is different from that of men. This may be because the receptor sites for hormones and enzymes are located at different spots on the scalp in women relative to men. Another difference is that women can lose their hair at any age.
  3. Some women experience a temporary change in hair growth after childbirth. Hair loss may also be an underlying symptom of a hormonal problem commonly seen in women known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Other causes of hair loss in women include anemia, certain medications and autoimmune disorders.

In order for a woman to receive the right treatment, she must get the right diagnosis. Her healthcare giver needs to treat any underlying condition that may be responsible for hair loss first. This means getting the necessary tests, such as blood tests or a biopsy of the scalp. Although some have suggested a link between menopause and hair loss, not everyone is convinced there is a direct correlation between them.

The most common cause of female pattern baldness appears to be increased production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in hair follicles with aging. Today, effective medications prevent hair loss either by increasing blood flow and nutrient supply to hair follicles and/or directly blocking DHT production.

IVL’s SeaNU Hair™ Loss Supplement contains multiple nutrients that block DHT, while also containing many nutrients from the sea known to boost promote hair growth, including:

  • Proven nutrients that block DHT production;
  • Nutrients from the sea that revitalize and renew hair follicles;
  • Antioxidants that counter destructive free radicals that threaten the health of your scalp and skin;
  • Proven phytonutrients to strengthen hair follicles and boost scalp circulation;
  • Anti-aging nutrients like zinc and cracked cell chlorella that stimulate production of keratin, the primary structural component found in skin and hair. 

If you are concerned about hair loss - why not try IVL’s SeaNU Hair™ Loss Supplement today?

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Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that coconut oil can boost brain power in adults suffering from memory disorders as serious as Alzheimer's disease, even after a single 40 ml dose?

In a 2004 study, 20 subjects with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were given either emulsified fats from coconut oil - known as medium chain triglycerides or MCTs - or a control. 

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

This double-blind placebo controlled study was conducted with two study visits. During each visit, the study subjects received either emulsified MCTs or emulsified long chain triglycerides (as control).

Study subjects were asked to fast from 8 pm the night before and arrived in the morning when their blood was drawn to determine levels of the ketone body known as beta-hydroxylutyrate (beta-OHB). They then consumed their respective fats and rested quietly for 90 minutes, after which their blood was drawn again, after which a 30-minute cognitive testing session was carried out. After testing, a final blood draw was taken.

Amazingly, the researchers observed a significant rise in blood plasma levels of beta-OHB after only 90 minutes of treatment with MCTs.

Even more remarkably, cognitive testing revealed that this brief treatment led to improved performance on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale in 4 subjects within the study group.

Coconut oil contains approximately two-thirds MCTs by volume. MCTs are unlike most fats we consume. Whereas up to 97% of dietary fats are made up of long-chain triglycerides which contain between 14 and 18 carbons, MCTs have relatively shorter chain lengths of 5 to 12 carbons - making them easier to absorb and use by the body. Not only that, when they are consumed in large enough quantities, they give rise to ketone bodies.

The best way to incorporate MCTs into your diet is replace less healthy fats such as pro-inflammatory hydrogenated soy, grape seed, peanut, and canola oil with coconut oil while cooking.

Another way is to enjoy a delicious curry with coconut milk as a base. In general it is always better to eat small amounts of therapeutic foods - in other words, it’s a good idea to consume food in such a way that medicine never becomes necessary.

Source: Fats in Coconut Oil Boost Brain Function.

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Five Health Benefits Of Cinnamon

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You may think of cinnamon as a winter spice - but this fragrant, potent bark can actually play an important role in your summer dishes, along with offering many health benefits in the process.

Five Health Benefits Of Cinnamon

Here are five reasons you should include cinnamon in your diet, regardless of season:

  1. Anti-inflammatory properties - essential oils found in cinnamon bark regulate blood flow, prevent clumping of blood platelets, and lower the release of certain cell membrane acids that contribute to inflammatory diseases, particularly arthritis. Additionally, a recent study showed that athletes who regularly ingested cinnamon powder showed a decrease in muscle soreness. Also, did you know that cinnamon can ease menstrual symptoms? Cinnamon contains the natural chemical cinnamaldehyde, which is known to balance hormones, reduce heavy bleeding and alleviate cramps.
  2. Blood sugar control - a recent study showed that adding cinnamon to carb-heavy meals increased the time it took to empty the stomach after eating. In other words, the spice reduced the rise in blood sugar that is normally associated with such meals. Previous studies had already indicated that cinnamon lowers total cholesterol concentrations. Regulated blood sugar levels work to stabilize both energy levels and mood - so adding cinnamon to your diet not only reduces your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, but also prevents the onset of fatigue or depression typically seen after carb-heavy meals.
  3. Antimicrobial actions - cinnamon prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi, making it a natural food preservative.
  4. Boosting brain activity - simply smelling cinnamon can increase cognitive functions such as memory and visual motor speed. When ingested, cinnamon is metabolized into sodium benzoate. Elevated sodium benzoate levels in the brain have been linked to a boost in brain activity as well as lowered risk for some brain disorders.
  5. Delivering essential nutrients - cinnamon provides the body with fiber, calcium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and more - all of which are known to improve overall body and heart health.

So, are you ready to spice up your summer?

Just add a few pinches to your cereal, stir it into your oatmeal or sprinkle over peanut butter toast - and you’re good to go.

Source: Five Health Benefits of Cinnamon.   

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5 Tips On Staying Healthy And Fit During Those ‘Fabulous’ Fifties

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Each and every stage of life comes with different gifts and challenges - and who doesn't want to stay trim, youthful looking and energized with a well-functioning cardiovascular system as we enter the ‘fabulous’ fifties?

5 Tips On Staying Healthy And Fit During Those ‘Fabulous’ Fifties

Our bodies need different forms of nutritional support as we age - and that’s easy to understand, because each phase of life brings its own physiological and metabolic changes.

For instance, our heart health naturally declines with age.

Women experience the onset of menopause in their fifties, which also brings with it many hormonal and metabolic changes.

Overall, metabolism slows and belly fat starts to accumulate along with a decrease in muscle mass. This is why appropriate food intake becomes more critical during the fifties than ever before, with an emphasis on nutrient dense food and ingredient choices.

Here are five simple tips to help you stay healthy and fit during your ‘fabulous’ fifties -

  1. Integrate monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) into your diet - these essential fats help moderate hormones, appetite, insulin response and vitamin absorption, all of which are vital, especially for women during menopause. Increasing MUFA consumption can also lower cholesterol levels - which is why nuts, olive oil, avocado and tahini are both nutritious and heart healthy options. 
  2. Stay hydrated - this is very important at every age, since water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and every system in your body depends on water. With age, we lose our ability to conserve water. Also, some medications can cause dehydration. Don't wait for your body to tell you it's thirsty, because it may be too late!
  3. Avoid ‘processed’ foods - instead, opt for a high-fiber, moderate protein, low-carb and low-sodium diet based on natural foods. High salt intake can spike blood pressure (BP), leading to hypertension which puts the heart at risk. Processed foods are traditionally loaded with higher sodium and unhealthy oils.
  4. Just say no - your 50s is a great time to give up on overuse of alcohol and smoking. Both place a heavy toll on the cardiovascular system, along with prematurely aging and damaging the liver, lung and other organs. Smoking also adversely affects elasticity and collagen production in the skin, contributing to a less youthful appearance.
  5. Monitor your cardio history - regularly assess your heart health and your risk for cardiovascular disease through periodic testing that includes detailed cholesterol information and BP readings.

Source: Five Tips on Staying Healthy and Fit During Those Fabulous Fifties.   

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Fruit Juice Vs Soda: Health Risks

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to choosing between sodas and ‘natural’ fruit juices in the beverage aisle, the juice industry has always enjoyed the reputation of being way healthier.

The reasons are familiar. Juice comes from real fruit, while soda is artificially prepared. Also, the sugars in juice seem more ‘natural’ than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the main sweetener in many sodas.

However, a study published recently shows that on average, fruit juice has a fructose concentration of about 45.5 grams per liter - that’s only slightly less than the average of 50 grams per liter for sodas.

In fact, some juices contain more sugar per liter than most sodas!

Fruit Juice Vs Soda: Health Risks

A recent study conducted at the Childhood Obesity Research Center at the University of Southern California decided to measure fructose concentrations in juices and sodas, because a growing body of evidence suggests fructose is riskier for health than glucose.

According to the study authors, our body isn't designed to process fructose at such high levels. Unlike glucose, which serves as a natural fuel for the body, fructose is processed almost entirely in the liver where it is converted to fat - increasing the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease.

The presence of HFCS in soda and food has become a focal point for researchers and public health advocates in recent years. However, there's been less attention on the link between fruit juice and obesity and diabetes - even though it's hard to imagine why juices wouldn't be as harmful as sodas if they're delivering the same amount of sugar.

Consuming fructose from whole fruit is a different story. That fructose comes with fiber, which slows down and reduces it’s absorption into the body, somewhat reducing the negative effects of fructose metabolism on our health.

Long-term studies carried out in Singapore, Australia, the US and Europe clearly show that 100 percent fruit juice is as bad as sugar-sweetened beverages for its effects on our health - for instance, every long-term study shows that 100 percent fruit juice intake raises diabetes risk significantly.

So what’s a juice lover to do with so many sweet juice products on the market?

Some beverage makers are now starting to cut the sugar. Another option is to dilute the juice you buy at the store with at least 50 percent water or even more, according to your personal taste.

Source: ‘Natural’ Fruit Juice vs Soda: Health Risks.   

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Ginger For Muscle And Joint Pain Relief?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to new research, ginger can reduce pain and inflammation in muscles and joints.Ginger For Muscle And Joint Pain Relief | Institute for Vibrant Living

Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine in India, as a natural anti-inflammatory therapy to soothe upset stomachs and diminish nausea - and recent studies show it may help relieve pain and inflammation as well.

In one study, arthritic patients were given small amounts of ginger daily for three months. The majority showed significant improvements in pain, swelling and morning stiffness.

Another study concluded that ginger extract could be an equally effective, safer substitute for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The effects of a highly concentrated ginger extract were compared to placebo in 247 patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Ginger was seen to reduce pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo. This may be because ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level thanks to its anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antioxidant and analgesic properties.

Ginger blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds prostaglandins and leukotrienes, while also breaking down inflammation and acidity in the fluid within joints.

While many forms of ginger provide health benefits, capsules appear to provide the best therapeutic benefits. Ginger capsules should be taken with food - because although small amounts of ginger can help settle a sour stomach, concentrated doses can actually cause stomach upset.

Before taking ginger, get professional advice - especially if you’re taking a blood-thinning medication for any other health conditions, as ginger may reverse the effects of these drugs.

If you enjoy the tangy taste of fresh ginger, a few tablespoons of grated ginger has been reported to help ease muscle pain caused by exercise. Fresh or dried ginger can also be added to stir fries, curries, soups, or made into tea.

As you age, your synovial fluid - the natural lubricating fluid that protects your joints from deterioration - breaks down, leading to more friction and wear on the cartilage surfaces of the joints. IVL’s Trimotion supplement contains Hyaluronic Acid (HA), one of the main components of synovial fluid which plays a critical role in tissue hydration and lubrication.

Trimotion also contains ginger - and given its ability to provide relief from muscle and joint pain, why not order Alleviate for your muscle and joint pain today?

Source: Is Ginger Better Than Drugs For Muscle and Joint Pain Relief?   

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The Many Health Benefits Of Nutrient-Rich Wakame

by Institute for Vibrant Living

People living by the coast of the world’s great seas and oceans have been eating seaweed for thousands of years. The Native Americans ate it, as did many prehistoric cultures - and it is common in Asian cuisine today.

The Health Benefits Of Wakame | Institute for Vibrant Living

Science has confirmed that seaweeds are a very healthy food, extremely nutrient rich and containing 10 times as much fiber and over twice as much protein as cabbage. At the same time, a 20 gram serving of kelp contains just nine calories.

More than that, brown algae seaweeds including kelp, wakame, and others have been shown to have tremendous medicinal properties especially because of their content of bioactive compounds called fucoidans.

Wakame, an edible brown seaweed or kelp common in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisines, has been shown to have beneficial effects on stroke, hypertension or high blood pressure (BP), viral infections, tumors, oxidation and inflammation while promoting a good immune system.

In fact, there are few foods in nature that are so chockfull of nutrients and health benefits. Wakame is a great source of the following minerals and vitamins:

  • Magnesium - known to be critical in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, function of certain enzymes in the body, production and transport of energy and protein production.
  • Iodine - needed for the process of converting food into energy. It also maintains the balance of the thyroid gland and is needed for the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Calcium - every 100 grams of raw wakame contains 150 milligrams of calcium, which is necessary for strong healthy bones and prevention of osteoporosis.
  • Iron - essential for the production of red blood cells and prevention of anemia.
  • Vitamins A, C, E, and K - all important for skin health and repair, along with boosting the immune system.
  • Vitamin D - promotes absorption of calcium for healthy bones and enhances the nervous, muscle and immune systems.
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - is needed for proper use of nutrients in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the foods we eat. It is also necessary for red blood cell production. Riboflavin functions as an antioxidant and works in the body with other vitamins such as niacin, folate, and vitamin B6.
  • Folate - helps make new cells and is especially important for infant development.
  • Lignans - these natural chemicals are thought to play a role in preventing certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

Source: The Many Health Benefits of Nutrient-Rich Wakame.

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The Power Of Peppermint, Revealed

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that peppermint was a favorite herbal medicine in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome?

In fact, peppermint leaves have been found in Egyptian pyramids dating back to 1,000 BC.

A member of the aromatic mint family that you may already have stored away in your pantry, you may know of peppermint as a flavoring agent, or perhaps as something that goes into a comforting cup of herbal tea.

The Power Of Peppermint | Institute for Vibrant LivingHowever, very few people are aware of peppermint’s wide range of experimentally confirmed health benefits.

Peppermint is actually a hybridized cross between water mint and spearmint - and the latter is also known to have remarkable health benefits. 

Modern science shows that peppermint benefits gut health in many ways:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - it was discovered in the late 90s that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules were both safe and effective in the treatment of IBS, including in children.
    • In one trial, 75% of children receiving peppermint oil had reduced severity of pain associated with IBS within 2 weeks
    • A 2005 trial in adults concluded that ‘peppermint oil may be the drug of first choice in IBS patients with non-serious constipation or diarrhea to alleviate general symptoms and to improve quality of life’
    • In a 2007 trial, 75% of patients receiving peppermint oil saw an impressive 50% reduction in their total IBS score, and
    • A January 2014 study found that peppermint oil effectively relieved abdominal pain in diarrhea-predominant IBS.
  • Colonic spasms - peppermint oil has been shown to be both a safe and effective alternative to standard drugs for its ability to reduce spasms during barium enemas.
  • Gastric emptying disorders - peppermint speeds up gastric emptying, indicating a possible use in the clinic for patients with gut disorders.
  • Functional dyspepsia - a 2000 study found that 90 mg of peppermint oil and 50 mg of caraway oil resulted in 67% of patients reporting ‘much or very much improved’ in their symptoms of functional dyspepsia.
  • Infantile colic - a 2013 study found that peppermint is at least as effective as standard therapies in the treatment of infantile colic.

Like all plant medicines, you must be careful when using extracts and essential oils of peppermint.  More is not always better.

For instance, a recent study on the use of rosemary in improving cognitive performance in the elderly found that a lower dose (750 mg) was very effective in improving memory recovery. However, the highest dose (6,000 mg) had a significant memory impairing effect.

This is why an occasional nightly cup of relaxing peppermint tea may be a far better option for maintaining your gut health rather than taking large doses of peppermint after a serious gut problem has already set in.

Source: The Power of Peppermint, Revealed.   

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Essential Oil Of Cumin Offers Relief From Irritable Bowel Syndrome

by Institute for Vibrant Living

New research from Tehran University of Medical Sciences shows that essential oil of cumin can significantly reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also referred to as inflammatory bowel disease.

Up to 20% of Americans are typically diagnosed with IBS at any given point in time - a condition that is becoming increasingly prevalent worldwide, with no known treatment in sight.

The Tehran University study followed 50 IBS patients who reported having watery and irregular stools, painful elimination, abdominal pain, nausea and other symptoms. More than half the patients in the study had diarrhea-dominant IBS, while the rest had constipation-dominant IBS. The average duration of IBS was three years.Relief From Irritable Bowel Syndrome | Institute for Vibrant LivingFirst, the doctors in the study ruled out other disorders and also excluded patients who had known food allergies.

Next, the patients were followed for four weeks with cumin treatment and reported their symptoms every two weeks. Cumin treatment consisted of consuming 10 drops of a 2% essential oil of cumin twice a day. Patients were then followed for an additional four weeks after the treatment ended.

Encouragingly, all of the patients reported an improvement in their IBS symptoms during the four weeks of treatment.

Before treatment, 28% of patients had severe abdominal pain and 44% had moderate abdominal pain. Following treatment, none of the patients reported severe abdominal pain, while 22% still reported moderate abdominal pain.

This pain relief continued through to four weeks after but then returned, although reduction of pain continued for four weeks after treatment ended.

In the constipation group, patients went from between two and six bowel movements per week to between six and 12 bowel movements per week after four weeks of treatment.

In the diarrhea group, the patients went from between 14 and 50 bowel movements per week to between six and 23 bowel movements a week.

So both groups had improved bowel movement frequency. This improvement persisted through four weeks after stopping the treatment, though in both groups there was a trend back to their original scores after stopping the treatment.

The researchers also found that 76% of the patients had mucus in their stool before treatment. This went down to zero at the end of four weeks of treatment.

Among diarrhea-dominant patients, all of the patients had watery or loose stools. This went down to 11% of the patients after four weeks, and 88% had normal stools.

Before the treatment, 42% of the patients had mild or moderate nausea. After the treatment, 90% had no nausea and 10% had mild nausea.

Before treatment 87% in the constipation group had painful bowel movements. This went down to 25% after four weeks of treatment.

In summary - four weeks of treatment with essential oil of cumin offered relief from symptoms of IBS on multiple levels.

Source: Essential Oil of Cumin Offers Relief from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.   

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Does Vitamin D Deficiency Contribute To Weight Gain?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

For those of you struggling with your weight - do you remember weight-loss experts claiming that the solution was very straightforward - that all you had to do was burn more calories than you consumed?

Easier said than done.

It turns out weight gain and loss are both strongly influenced by many factors, including genetics, gender, age, hormones, stress levels, exposure to toxins and health status. Even social and environmental factors count.

Vitamin D Deficiency |Institute for Vibrant Living

Recently, some studies have linked weight gain to vitamin D deficiency. For instance, women whose vitamin D levels were normalized through supplementation during a diet and exercise program lost more weight.

In another study, the benefits of weight loss - lower blood pressure (BP), lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and lower blood lipid levels - were greater in participants who took calcium and vitamin D during their weight-loss program.

A third study showed that people of Asian Indian decent were much more susceptible to obesity and insulin resistance when they were deficient in vitamin D.

The link between vitamin D and weight loss is not clearly understood. Some health experts have speculated that vitamin D receptors (cellular proteins that specifically bind to vitamin D and help it to carry out its functions inside cells) on fat cells tell them whether they should be burned as energy or stored as excess body weight.

Additionally, brain vitamin D receptors that control metabolism and hunger levels may need enough vitamin D to function properly as well.

Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce systemic inflammation seen in overweight people. In other words, having adequate vitamin D levels lessens the stress of carrying extra body weight.

Besides weight gain, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression. The listlessness of depression can lead to inactivity, contributing to weight gain. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to poor blood sugar control, contributing to weight gain and diabetes risk.

The best dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as cod, tuna, mackerel and salmon. Cow's milk and eggs also have vitamin D.

While your skin can manufacture vitamin D from sunlight, this process can be affected by the season, the weather, how far north you live, pollution levels and even sunscreen. This is why most people are encouraged to take dietary supplements to reach the recommended blood levels of vitamin D.

And while adding vitamin D supplements to your diet is a great first step toward shedding unwanted pounds, these lifestyle changes can also help:

  • 30 minutes of exercise five or six times a week
  • Cutting out processed foods and added sugars
  • Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and
  • Replacing animal fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils present in olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocados.

Source: Does Vitamin D Deficiency Contribute To Weight Gain?