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What’s in a Name? Toxins, That's What!

by Cindy Gray

Many people find that products that are fragranced can give them an allergic reaction, such as itching and rashes. We'll explain what the word "fragrance" actually means on packaging, and why you should opt for essential oils instead.

What’s in Fragrance, really?

Although the word "fragrance" suggests rose petals, lavender and other naturally perfumed ingredients, the truth is shocking. The label "fragrance" can cover up to 200 different ingredients that are not required to be individually itemized on the packaging. 

Switch to essential oils for a healthier home and lifestyle

Unfortunately what's hiding behind that term is a slew of chemicals and ingredients that may be harmful or even toxic. No wonder our skin reacts with an angry red rash when subjected to these elements under the guise of perfume in soap, bath and shower products, makeup and other skincare products!

Synthetic Fragrances

Essential oils are expensive to produce, so manufacturers have turned to synthetic fragrances to use in perfumes, cleaning products, air fresheners, candles and other products where a fragrance enhances the product's appeal. However, these fragrances are produced from petroleum, coal tar, toxic solvents and other chemicals. Some of these ingredients are narcotic or may imitate hormones, and some have been found to be carcinogenic, or cancer-causing.

Unfortunately, these synthetic fragrances are not subjected to any safety checks or health regulations. When inhaled or applied to the skin on a regular basis, the harmful effects build up, producing allergies, sinus congestion, asthma, eczema and other more severe health problems. These synthetic chemicals stress the immune system, defying doctors and in extreme cases can affect a person's quality of life.

RelatedProbiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals In The Gut

Why Choose Essential Oils?

By comparison, essential oils are extracted from plants such as roses, lemons and even frankincense, which is sourced from the Boswellia tree. Of course it takes a lot of those plants to produce even a few drops of concentrated essential oils, making them expensive to produce even a fluid ounce. These oils are produced through a distillation process and are often from rare plant species.

True essential oils are more than just a nicely perfumed concentrate. Unlike manufactured fragrance, essential oils are 100% natural, health-enhancing and chemical-free. They have been used for centuries to heal when inhaled, massaged onto the skin or even taken topically in tiny amounts.

If you are suffering from undiagnosed health issues, consider avoiding all artificially scented products for a couple of weeks and see how much healthier you feel. By switching to essential oils for room fragrance, adding drops to your pillow at bedtime, or mixing them with massage oil as a beauty treatment, you may discover just how much harm those synthetic fragrances have been causing. 

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3 Ways Nutrients Reduce Spider Veins

by Health News

The cause of broken capillaries beneath the surface of the skin, known as spider veins, tends to be a result of many factors.  However, once the damage has been done, there are ways to reduce spider veins using natural supplements and nutrients, and help to improve the health (and looks) of your legs as you age. 

Horse chestnut extract is an excellent way to reduce spider veins

Here are three ways to help reduce spider veins safely and effectively:

Horse Chestnut Extract

Studies show that Horse Chestnut (Aescin) can help reduce spider veins and counter the cause of broken capillaries. Horse chestnut extract works by toning the walls of veins and reducing fluid retention in the legs. It improves venal and capillary efficiency by inhibiting the enzymes that break down capillary walls.

Mix horse chestnut extract with an equal amount of grapeseed oil and apply it to the area of spider veins before going to bed. Do not take horse chestnut orally, and do not massage it into the spider vein area (without diluting with oil), as it could exacerbate the problem. Wrap your legs in a towel or blanket to keep the substance in place.  Elevate your legs if possible, to help the healing process even more.

The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties of the horse chestnut promote circulation and strengthen the fine veins and capillaries, helping them to work more efficiently with less stress and less likelihood of breaking. As well as helping to reduce spider veins, this horse chestnut treatment is a tonic for tired "heavy" legs and is often used by athletes to maintain healthy circulatory veins.

Coumarin

Coumarin is a natural substance that slows the process of blood clotting and coagulation. It is present in horse chestnut extract as coumarin glycoside, and is found in many other plants including strawberries, apricots, cherries and blackcurrants.

Known as a phenylpropanoid, coumarin helps reduce spider veins as it has anticoagulant properties which help thin the blood and improve blood flow. It is used for exactly this purpose in warfarin (brand name Coumadin) for those at risk of stroke or heart disease. Coumarin also lowers fluid retention in the tissue of the vein walls by promoting lymphatic drainage.

Related:  Top Three Heart Healthy Nutrients

Bioflavonoids

Bioflavonoids are antioxidants that help counter free radicals in the body and boost overall health. As well as fighting heart disease and some cancers, bioflavonoids can help reduce spider veins by toning the vein walls, boosting circulation and supporting lymphatic drainage in the lower limbs.

Bioflavonoids can be found naturally in green tea, citrus fruits, dark chocolate and wine but to help reduce spider veins, you need at least 1000 mg per day. By taking two 500 mg supplements you can support vein and capillary health and prevent spider veins, varicose veins and leg ulcers from developing.

Top Superfoods Recipes to Reduce Spider Veins

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3 Tricks to Reduce Cellulite

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Finding an effective answer to reduce cellulite naturally can be a problem. The orange peel skin and lumpy texture of cellulite commonly found on women's hips, thighs and buttocks is a common problem as women age, but there are ways to help reduce the problem.  These three natural supplements can help to reduce cellulite and prevent new cellulite from forming.

Natural supplements are an effective answer for how to reduce cellulite

How to Reduce Cellulite with Gotu Kola

Studies looking at how to reduce cellulite as far back as 1975 gave participants an extract from a tropical herb called Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica). After taking this stimulant for three months, over half the participants reported noticeable reduction in their cellulite. The results showed 58% of participants reporting very good results and a further 20% were satisfied with the cellulite reduction they experienced.

Dermatologists report that the triterpenes found in gotu kola stimulate collagen synthesis. This keeps skin tight and firm, for a more youthful appearance, preventing the dimpled effect caused by cellulite which forms just beneath the skin.

Gotu kola also improves blood circulation which flushes toxic pathogens from the body. Available as an extract, in capsules, powders or as dried leaves for making a tea, the recommended daily dosage of gotu kola (in capsule form) is 500-1000mg, twice a day. It should be taken for up to six weeks, then given a break of three weeks before resuming the intake again. It is not recommended for anyone with liver disease.

Reduce Cellulite with Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed extract provides an easy solution for how to reduce cellulite. The nutrient works by increasing the strength of the connective tissues and collagen fibers found just beneath the skin. Grape seed extract is known for its antioxidant properties, and the flavonoids and tannins strengthen the walls of veins and lymph vessels. This improves circulation which helps prevent cellulite from forming.

Related:  Two Natural Arthritis Treatments to GAG On

Glucosamine and Cellulite Reduction

Glucosamine is found naturally in the cartilage and joints and plays an important part in maintaining healthy skin and helps to prevent accelerated aging. It is used in many cellulite programs as an effective means of reducing cellulite, either by being applied topically or taken as a supplement.

Glucosamine improves skin hydration and decreases the appearance of wrinkles. It is also important in building and repairing skin tissue, and all these factors combine in the fight against cellulite.

By combining these three supplements with other proven ways for how to reduce cellulite, such as diet and massage treatments, you will see a definite improvement in the appearance of cellulite in six weeks or less. 

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How to Prevent Ageing in 10 Minutes

by IVL Products

As part of your anti-aging skin care, it's not just what you put on your face that's important; it’s what to avoid that really matters. There are several chemicals to look out for that are not only harmful to the skin and causing premature aging, but they are also highly toxic. Strange as it sounds, these are still used in makeup, deodorants, toothpaste, and beauty products. As part of your anti-aging skin care regimen, these three chemicals should definitely be avoided.


Several known carcinogens continue to be used in anti-aging skin care products, despite their known dangers

Parabens as Preservatives

Although methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens are listed as "highly toxic" by various sources, they still continue to be used as synthetic preservatives in cosmetics and deodorants. Studies suggest that they are xenoestrogens, which means they mimic the effects of the hormone estrogen in the body.

The European Union banned parabens in 2003, as they have been shown to be carcinogenic and may be linked to breast cancer. Studies in the UK found parabens in 20 samples of breast tumors, raising the question of whether they are safe to be added to cosmetics, anti-aging skin care products and hair spray. The irony is that parabens are added to products that should help to make us look younger, healthier, and more beautiful, but they may be having exactly the opposite effect.

Petrolatum in Anti-Aging Skin Care Products

Petrolatum is a fancy word for liquid paraffin, a product of petroleum. It is made of two chemicals that are known carcinogens: Benzo-B-Fluroanthene and Benzo-A-Pyrene. Petrolatum is often used in cosmetics and anti-aging skin care creams to seal moisture in the skin, but what it really does is interfere with the skin's natural moisturizing ability.

Products containing petrolatum feel waxy. When applied to the skin it actually blocks the pores, which leads to blackheads, whiteheads and blocked pores. Along with its questionable safety, this is one anti-aging skin care product you can definitely live without.

RelatedIs Plastic Safe:  The Dangers of Plastic

Propylene Glycol in Makeup

Propylene Glycol (PG) is the active ingredient in antifreeze, but it is also found in makeup, toothpaste and some anti-aging skin care products. It is commonly found in stick deodorants in higher concentrations than is currently permitted in industrial use! Direct contact with PG is known to cause brain, liver and kidney abnormalities yet it is still used in makeup to retain moisture. Do you really want to apply it to your face as part of your anti-aging skin care regimen on a daily basis? 

Check the ingredients list on your makeup, toiletries and anti-aging skin care products and make sure you choose quality products that avoid these potentially harmful chemicals.

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Don’t Cover Your Legs : How to Avoid Spider Veins

by Cindy Gray

One of the most distressing signs of aging is the appearance of fine spider veins on the thighs and legs. The cause of spider veins is complex and before we can tackle the treatment we need to understand the underlying cause.

Poor blood circulation is the main cause of spider veins

Cause of Spider Veins

The main cause of spider veins is the stress the veins are under as they circulate blood back up the legs against gravity. The heart pumps freshly oxygenated blood out of the heart through the arteries.  The job of the finer veins is to return the de-oxygenated blood containing carbon dioxide and waste products back to the heart for more oxygen.

While the arteries get the easy "downhill run" into the legs, the veins are tasked with pumping the blood back "uphill" in the legs using a series of one-way valves. As we age, these valves begin to tire and strain, stretching the walls of the veins, especially in people who do a lot of standing as part of their job. The result is tired, achy legs and the appearance of tiny blue networks of spider veins which are actually broken capillaries. In more serious cases, varicose veins can develop.

A common cause of spider veins is crossing your legs, which restricts the blood flow making it harder for the veins to pump blood efficiently. Tight clothing, restrictive footwear, lack of exercise, birth control pills and HRT can also be a contributing cause of spider veins in the legs.

RelatedHow to Improve Blood Circulation with Alternative Medicine

How to Treat and Prevent Spider Veins

The obvious way to prevent spider veins is through exercise, which boosts circulation. Rest tired legs by raising them on a stool while watching TV, for example, and avoid any clothing or sitting positions that restrict blood flow.

Do not expose the legs to intense direct heat or extreme temperatures variations as this can also cause the capillaries to burst, leaving permanent tell-tale blue veins just beneath the surface of the skin.

Spider veins may also appear on the face and nose. The cause of spider veins in this location is slightly different, although they are still broken capillaries. Spending too much time in the sun and wind, drinking alcohol and smoking can all cause aging and broken capillaries that eventually show as spider veins.  However, they can easily be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. 

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The One Tactic That Can Stop Hair Thinning

by Health News

Scientists have recently discovered a new ally in the search for effective hair loss remedies – green lipped mussels. Known as Perna Canaliculus, these delicious mussels are brimming with vitamins, proteins and minerals as well as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and enzymes. While research into the health benefits of green-lipped mussels was in progress, doctors discovered that these shellfish are one of the most effective hair loss remedies in nature's medicine cabinet.

To a degree, hair loss is governed by genetics, but hair thinning treatments can prevent unnecessary hair loss, as well as treating those suffering from alopecia or other hair loss problems.

Natural hair loss remedies for thinning hair include green-lipped mussel extract

History behind the Health Benefits of Green Lipped Mussels

The indigenous Maoris of New Zealand rarely suffer illness, despite their physically demanding lifestyle in a cold and damp climate. Scientists noticed that the Maoris never seemed to be afflicted with swollen joints, aches, back pain and arthritis that most Westerners suffer from as they age.

Doctors began studying the traditional Maori diet, which consists mainly of seafood, in particular green-lipped mussels. They found that the mussels were high in anti-inflammatory properties, making them a natural replacement for aspirin and ibuprofen. Another unexpected side effect of eating green-lipped mussels was that it boosted hair growth, providing a natural hair thinning treatment.

One of Nature's Most Effective Hair Loss Remedies

Further studies into green-lipped mussels found that the shellfish are exceptionally high in several components known to be effective hair loss remedies.   Shellfish are an excellent source of omega-3s and mussels contain even more powerful fatty acids than standard fish oil. As well as lowering cholesterol, supporting a healthy heart and reducing joint pain, omega-3s are known to improve skin, hair and nails. They can slow down or even restore hair loss by keeping the scalp lubricated and promoting the production of hormones responsible for maintaining a lush head of hair.

Green Lipped Mussels and Zinc

Zinc is another vital mineral that is an important ingredient in hair loss remedies. Zinc deficiency is known to cause hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hair loss is a common symptom. If you are suffering from hair loss (alopecia), a boost of zinc from green-lipped mussels or a supplement of green mussel extract may be one the simplest and most effective hair loss treatments for you.

RelatedHair Loss:  Causes and Solutions

One final benefit found in green-lipped mussels is the high content of mucopolysaccharides they contain. More commonly known as glycosaminoglycans, these sugar molecules have been found to stimulate hair growth in clinical trials. They lengthen the anagen (growing stage) of hair follicles, producing the same effect as chemical hair loss remedies.

If your hair is thinning and in poor condition, take a tip from the Maoris and eat more green-lipped mussels. Alternatively, add a mussel extract to your daily diet and look forward to receiving those compliments about your thicker head of hair soon. 

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What are You Willing to Do to Slow Down Aging

by Institute for Vibrant Living

One group of nutrients is particularly important for anti-aging: amino acids. These natural substances are used by the body to nourish the skin, maintain healthy hair and provide strong nails—all the things that concern us beauty-wise as we get older. 

The DNA wheel shows the main amino acids for anti-aging that are essential for growing older gracefully

The benefits of amino acids for anti-aging are well known and should be part of every regimen for those concerned with aging gracefully.

The main amino acids for anti-aging are:

  • Lysine
  • Glycine
  • Arginine
  • Methionine
  • Glutamine
  • Tyrosine
  • Citrulline

These amino acids are the main building blocks for protein which the body needs to build and repair healthy body tissue and lean muscle. These substances also break down food during the digestive process and eliminate waste and toxins, an important role for amino acids for anti-aging gracefully.

How Amino Acids for Anti-Aging work

Amino acids often work together to support a healthy body and tissue. For example, arginine and methionine are essential for healthy skin, which is the body's largest organ. These amino acids support the regenerations of cells and connective tissue and they control the skin's metabolism. These are an important part of maintaining youthful wrinkle-free skin as we get older.

Lysine helps the body produce energy from fatty foods while arginine regulates blood sugar levels, decreases body fat and provides deep sleep patterns.  

Argenine and carnitine are important amino acids for anti-aging when it comes to skin. They work together to form creatine, which stimulates the production of elastin and collagen, two important requirements for maintaining a firm yet flexible skin. Collagen helps the skin retain moisture, which promotes a smoother wrinkle free appearance.

RelatedWhy Are Supplements Important As We Age?

What Amino Acids Do

Amino acids maintain the correct acid balance of the skin by neutralizing the acidity caused by coffee, nicotine and excess consumption of red meat. Glutamine in particular helps eliminate poisonous ammonia in the kidneys and maintaining the correct acid balance required for healthy skin.

A whole raft of amino acids for anti-aging are present in protein, but a daily supplement of amino acids can ensure you get these important nutrients in the correct balance. Look for a supplement that combines at least four amino acids for anti-aging that will help you stay looking younger for longer. 

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Here’s a Quick Way to Fight Cellulite

by Cindy Gray

Understanding more about cellulite helps us to understand why detoxification is the key to a successful cellulite diet.

What is Cellulite?

Cellulite occurs just beneath the skin when fat cells thicken and form complex structures along with lymph and blood vessels. Looking like bubble wrap just beneath the skin, this jumbled mass attracts toxins that accumulate in the fat cells, causing a lumpy, dimpled effect on the thighs, buttocks and stomach. 

Chlorella is an excellent detox superfood for a cellulite diet

Cellulite can appear any time after puberty, and is something about 90% of women may experience at some stage in their life. It can be classified into three different levels:

  • Grade 1 cellulite is when anatomical changes take place beneath the skin which is only evident during a microscopic examination.
  • Grade 2 cellulite involves skin pallor in the affected area, with decreased elasticity in the skin and lower temperature to the touch.
  • Grade 3 is when cellulite is fully developed and visible to the eye. It produces a roughness to the skin's texture and the underlying tissue appears to be lumpy.

Unfortunately, weight loss and exercise do not reduce cellulite. You need to flush out the toxins in order to reduce cellulite. The best way to do this is with a detoxifying cellulite diet.

RelatedDelicious Detox: Foods that Nourish and Cleanse

How can a Detox Cellulite Diet Help?

A detox cellulite diet will improve blood circulation and promote lymphatic drainage. This begins to eliminate toxins from the fat cells, gradually reducing and preventing further cellulite buildup. Drinking plenty of water (at least 8-10 glasses per day) and getting regular exercise will also help promote the detox process. Green tea should also be part of a cellulite diet as it contains antioxidant catechins to detox the body and support a healthy liver.

One of the best ways to reduce or prevent cellulite buildup is by eating healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit and fiber. Foods such as chlorella and spirulina are particularly good detox foods for a cellulite diet. The high levels of chlorophyll they contain siphon toxins from the bloodstream and eliminate them from the body.

Green leafy vegetables should be part of any cellulite diet, cleansing the liver which is the body's filtrations system for removing the toxins we ingest through foods, air and pollution. These foods help neutralize chemicals, heavy metals and pesticides that are common toxins in the body that cause cellulite. By eliminating toxins as part of a cellulite diet it makes sense that you will also reduce the cellulite they cause. 

Best Recipes to Detox Cellulite Diet

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Here’s a Quick Way To Stop Cellulite

by IVL Products

If you're worried about the appearance of orange-peel skin and lumpy bumpy areas on the stomach, buttocks and thighs, then welcome to the club.  Like 90% of women, you have developed cellulite!

Many popular cellulite home remedies include using coffee grounds

There are several effective cellulite home remedies available to reduce the unsightly appearance of cellulite and help prevent more cellulite from forming. Here are three of the least expensive, natural, and most effective methods:

1. Dry Brushing Cellulite

Dry brushing the areas that are prone to developing cellulite is one of the easiest cellulite home remedies. It works by stimulating the circulation and lymph flow in the body, breaking down existing fat cells and preventing others from sticking and forming bulging cellulite pockets.

Dry brushing is exactly what it says, so step into the shower but don't turn on the water yet. Use a brush with natural bristles to dry brush the skin toward the heart. Systematically sweep up the legs, work the arms from wrist to chest and brush the stomach counterclockwise. The action sloughs away dry skin as well as encouraging the fat cells to release toxins. Once done, enjoy your shower as usual.

2. Massage Cellulite-Prone Areas

Many people report that massage is one of nature's best cellulite home remedies. Similar to dry brushing, a massage improves blood circulation, breaks down fat cells and helps flush out toxins. Use an anti-cellulite cream a double effect.

RelatedTop Five Foods for Beautiful Skin

3. Cellulite Home Remedies Using Coffee Grounds

Many cellulite home remedies involve coffee grounds, making it an inexpensive, readily available, and effective way to use up those natural left-overs rather than discarding them.

One way to use coffee grounds as a cellulite home remedy treatment is to moisten coffee grounds with olive oil to make a paste and massage it generously over the problem areas. Dr Oz suggests adding ¼ cup of brown sugar to the paste for added exfoliation.  (In place of sugar, try adding extra fine sea salt.)

Leaving the coffee grounds in place, wrap the area in cling film for about 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water and a moistening soap or cleanser.

The caffeine apparently constricts the blood vessels, tightening the tissue. It is also thought to enhance fat metabolism, which is the basic cause of cellulite. When applied topically, coffee grounds may also absorb water and fat from the skin, breaking down the fat cells and improving the appearance of cellulite.

Coupled with a Cellulite Diet, these free cellulite home remedies will certainly leave your skin looking and feeling good, as well as keeping ugly cellulite under control. 

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Little Know Ways To Beat Cellulite

by Health News

Nine out of 10 women have ugly cellulite on their thighs, buttocks or stomach.  But relax, that unsightly "orange peel" effect can be improved using the Cellulite Diet.

The Cellulite Diet helps counter unsightly orange-peel skin on thighs and tummies

Cellulite is a build-up of pockets of fat that push against connective tissue under the skin creating a dimpled lumpy finish. While men rarely have visible cellulite, even women who are not overweight may develop the dreaded signs of cellulite, with dimply uneven skin spoiling an otherwise smooth skin tone. That's because women have thinner, more porous skin tissue which make the fat cells more noticeable.

Excess estrogen caused by hormonal imbalances can also trigger cellulite production in women. People with excess blood glucose, such as diabetics, are also more likely to suffer from cellulite and will benefit from a Cellulite Diet.

Women spend over $12 million a year on creams and lotions to rid themselves of cellulite, even risking surgery to banish the problem. However, a Cellulite Diet can be cheaper and easier than any of these options, so read on.

Related: Make Herbs Part of Your High Blood Pressure Diet Plan

Eat More Complex Carbs in the Cellulite Diet

A Cellulite Diet is high in complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, oatmeal, beans, lentils and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, corn and pumpkin. It also includes lean protein such as chicken breast (unskinned) and non-oily fish such as trout.

As the underlying problem of cellulite is fat cells, it makes sense to switch to a low-fat diet, particularly avoiding saturated fats. While oily fish, nuts and a little olive oil in a salad dressing is healthy, foods such as cheese, pizza, dairy products and ice cream are high in "bad" saturated fats.

Sugar is also stored in fat cells, causing them to expand, so the Cellulite Diet recommends no more than six teaspoons sugar per day; that's around 24 grams or one ounce.

Consume Less Salt and Caffeine

The Cellulite Diet requires you to consume less sodium (salt) and caffeine. These both encourage fluid retention in the body, another contributing factor to cellulite formation. Dr. Oz recommends avoiding foods that have more than 200 mg sodium per serving, such as chips and salty nuts.

Drink More Water

Drinking more water actually prevents fluid retention rather than exacerbating it. It helps flush the fats and toxins out of the body so they cannot be used to create more cellulite. The Cellulite Diet suggests drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day to flush out the toxins and plump up the skin, reducing the visible effects of cellulite.

After following these three steps as part of the Cellulite Diet, you will find your body becomes healthier with more energy, and most importantly, the visible effects of cellulite are diminished. 

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Three Surprising Seafood Sources of EFAs

by Health News

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you’ve heard about the health benefits of essential fatty acids like omega-3s.  Their long list of health benefits include:

  • Decreased risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Healthier skin and hair
  • Less risk of depression and other mood disorders
  • Better immunity

Essential fatty acids can be super health boosters

Essential Fatty Acid Foods

Our bodies cannot produce the essential fatty acids omega-3 (EPA and DHA) or omega-6, but they are essential to the healthy functioning of all the tissues.  Therefore, we must get these critical nutrients from our diet.

Omega-6 fatty acids are easily obtained through animal foods like beef, chicken and pork. It is also plentiful in corn oils. Our western diet is over-saturated with omega-6 sources of food, which is not good for us since it promotes inflammation.

Taking fish oil supplements has been touted as a way to get those essential fatty acids like omega-3, but researchers have come to discover that the fish oil used in supplements is often too unstable to be of any real benefit to our bodies.  If you have been choking those giant capsules down and suffering fish-tasting burps, stop! There is a better way.

Related:   Could Fish Oil One Day Take the Place of Statin Drugs?

What we need to be eating more of is omega-3 rich foods.  It’s pretty well known that fish like salmon and trout have a lot of omega-3s. However, you have more choices than you may realize when it comes to getting more essential fatty acid foods in your diet.

There are three surprising seafood sources of EFAs that you should start eating.

Sablefish

Sablefish are also known as wild Alaskan cod or black cod.  This cold-water species is generally less contaminated with mercury like king salmon and abundant in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.  In fact, Sablefish has more of the essential fatty acids than most other fish except king salmon.

Since it lives in very deep cold water, sablefish accumulate more fat which makes them easier to prepare and less likely to dry out with a little overcooking.  You can bake it, sauté it or put it on the grill and it usually turns out melt in your mouth tender.

Shad

American Shad fish is hard to find if you don’t live on a coast.  They can be found along the coast from Alaska to Mexico and all along the East coast.

American shad are loaded up with omega-3 laden fat, but they are also very bony.  It takes some practice to prepare and eat them but it’s worth the effort.  To prepare them it is easiest to poach or smoke them then flake out the meat. It makes a great addition to a salad even cold and is full-flavored enough to pair with strong garlic and chili pepper sauces.

Oysters

These dull shellfish are full of healthy surprises.   They contain high levels of:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins A, E, C and B12
  • Minerals zinc, iron, calcium selenium

Oysters taste the best in colder weather. They spawn May through July, which affects the taste somewhat.  You can incorporate them into a variety of stews and soups and easily get more EFAs into your diet.

It’s also worth noting that oysters are considered an aphrodisiac due to their high concentration of amino acids that trigger the release of sex hormones.  Choose farmed over wild and grind up the shells for your garden to help balance the pH of the soil.

Now you know about some main dish options to go along with the plant foods you have been eating that supply a lot omega-3 fatty acids.  Enjoy.

 

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Three Rules For Soy and Menopause Symptoms

by Cindy Gray

Soy for menopause symptoms is not a new idea. In many Asian countries women there report much milder symptoms when going through the change, and it is thought to be partially due to the wide variety of soy foods they consume.

Try soy foods for natural relief for menopause symptoms.

If you are in early stages of menopause, or right in the middle of it, foods for menopause like soy can provide some relief from your symptoms. There are some “rules” to follow to get the most benefits from soy to lessen some of the worst menopause symptoms.

What is Menopause? Signs and Symptoms

Menopause is a time when women’s bodies begin to decline in the production of the fertility hormones estrogen and progesterone.  Women usually begin having mild symptoms that increase as production of the two hormones continues to dramatically decline with age and eventually stop menstruation. Other symptoms include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness, atrophy, and pain during intercourse
  • Urinary tract infections or incontinence
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Irregular periods or none at all
  • Breast tenderness
  • Decreased sex drive (libido)
  • Changes in hair in skin (may feel thinner and drier)
  • Fatigue

How Can Soy Help?

Soy is rich in compounds called isoflavones;  polyphenolic compounds that are capable of exerting estrogen-like effects (Linus Pauling Institute)

Isoflavones are classified as phytoestrogens, meaning plant-derived compounds with estrogenic activity that can act like estrogen in the human body.   Since the abrupt decrease of estrogen and progesterone is what causes menopause, replacing it with a similar compound can bring relief to those suffering unpleasant symptoms.

Related:  Healthy Recipe:  Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry

The Three Rules for Menopause Relief with Soy

1. Soy Pills Don’t Work

According to a University of California San Francisco study published recently, soy pills had no measureable effect on menopause symptoms like hot flashes. While disappointing it is not surprising.  Asian women who suffer less severe menopause symptoms do not take soy pills or supplements.  They consume it by eating real foods.

2. Real Food Is Best

Consume whole soy by eating it in real food form.  Most women can eat a lot of it every day with no side effects.  For a small percentage it can cause digestive discomfort, but that is rare.  It’s really easy to incorporate more soy into your diet, too.  You can eat:

  • Tofu (prepared many different ways)
  • Tempeh (deep-fried fermented soy beans)
  • Miso (miso soup is delicious!)
  • Whole soybeans like edamame
  • Soymilk
  • Soy powder
  • Soy ice cream

It is important to note that you consume soy whole soy foods, not just isolated isoflavones or soy protein to get the estrogenic effects to relieve some menopause symptoms like hot flashes.  It’s the combination and concentration in whole foods rich in soy that make it an effective menopause symptom reliever.

Since soy is one of the most GMO (genetically modified) crops in the U.S., so always choose the organic varieties.

3. Consume Soy Throughout The Day

To get the most benefits from soy for menopause, it is best to consume soy-rich foods throughout the day rather than a lot in one meal.

Soy is safe to eat everyday so look for recipes to prepare tofu in different ways. Use soymilk on your cereal or to make a smoothie.  Edamame has a mild flavor, but is rich source of isoflavones and protein to enhance many dishes.

Since menopause symptoms like hot flashes can come and go eating soy throughout the day will help keep them in check for more consistent relief.

Say “Soy Long” To Hot Flashes

Since menopause is an inevitable physical change for all women, it’s not too early to start making soy a regular part of your diet.  Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who won’t suffer a lot of the more unpleasant symptoms of menopause because you are regularly consuming soy

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The Stress Menopause Connection

by IVL Products

The link between stress and menopause is well documented. It can become a vicious cycle of worsening menopausal symptoms leading to increased stress.  Jump off that debilitating merry-go-round and find natural menopause relief with a few simple changes to your diet, activity levels and outlook on life.

Studies are showing that there is a connection between stress and menopause.

The journal Menopause found in a study of over 400 women between the ages of 37 and 47 that those who reported the highest stress levels had as much as five times the hot flashes as those who women who reported less anxiety.  Even women who reported only moderate anxiety levels suffered three times more hot flashes than those who lived with less stress.

More bad news connecting stress and menopause came from a study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal that reported vaginal dryness, a common symptom of menopause due to decreased estrogen, was associated with high levels of psychological stress (not physical stress).

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Stress reduces the secretion of all sex hormones like estrogen. Women going through menopause are already experiencing a dramatic drop in estrogen production, which causes hot flashes, insomnia, depression and vaginal dryness.  Being stressed out about life situations and menopause symptoms can be debilitating and greatly affect one’s quality of life.

The Dangers of Chronic Stress

It is well known that chronic stress is not good for you. It is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, more illness and diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke and even cancer.  It makes chronic illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and diabetes worse as well. 

Add the dramatic physical changes of menopause to an already stressed out life, and you get a recipe for disaster. Your personal relationships, career, and over all sense of wellbeing can be negatively affected.  The good news is natural stress and menopause relief is available with a little effort on your part.

Diet

Your diet has so much to do with how you feel each day. Weight gain is a common side effect of menopause, so paying attention to what you eat can help you manage your stress levels and menopausal symptoms.

Foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kimchi, along with probiotic supplements help keep your GI tract functioning smoothly and your immunes system strong.  Suffering less sever colds, urinary tract infections (also common during menopause), gas pain and bloating will greatly reduce your stress levels. 

Being chronically run down and feeling ill is very stressful. Boosting your immune system with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, omega-3 rich foods and staying well hydrated will relieve stress and menopausal symptoms like fatigue, depression and hot flashes.

Exercise

Weight gain and insomnia are common menopause complaints.  Exercise can offset these two unpleasant symptoms and help you reduce your stress levels.  Making time every day for some physical activity is critical to managing your stress levels and menopause symptoms.

You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run a marathon, either.  A brisk walk or a few laps in the pool is all you need.  Being outside to exercise has many health benefits and makes working out less of a chore and something to look forward to.

Attitude

Your outlook on life makes a huge difference when it comes to managing stress and menopausal symptoms.  Menopause and stress are a fact of life for all women.  Accepting that and making plans to deal with both are critical for keeping your spirits high and warding off depression and other mood disorders. 

Women's Health Top Superfood Recipes

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The Probiotic Menopause Connection

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Women may find menopause relief in the form of probiotics.  These industrious bacteria are necessary for healthy functioning of the digestive tract and critical to our immune system.  

Probiotics have many health benefits including aiding with menopause relief.

Probiotics for menopause is a relatively new field of study that is showing great promise in making the unpleasant symptoms of going through the change more tolerable.  All women will go through menopause and each experience is unique for each woman. Some have less severe symptoms while other find them debilitating.  The worst symptoms most commonly reported are:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal Atrophy (thinning and drying of the vaginal wall which can cause pain during intercourse)
  • Mood Swings (depression)
  • Sleep disturbances (hot flashes, insomnia)
  • Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and yeast infections

The dramatic decline in estrogen and progesterone levels as fertility declines is the root cause of symptoms but taking probiotics can provide relief.

Probiotics: The Good Bacteria

Our gut is teeming with bacteria. Some of it harmful, but most of it is beneficial and critical to proper digestion and a strong immune system.  When hormonal imbalances like those experienced during menopause upset the balance of good bacteria in our gut, there are many health issues that can wreak havoc on the body.

The Bad Bacteria

Two kinds of bacteria in our intestinal tract play a critical role in our health: aerobic bacteria, which require oxygen to thrive, and anaerobic bacteria, which do not.

A diet high in saturated fat stimulates the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which is known to upset hormone levels because of its effect on estrogen.  During menopause, the body is already experiencing unpredictable hormone fluctuations, which cause the hot flashes, urinary tract infections and vaginal wall thinning and dryness.  

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Cutting your intake of saturated fat and consuming more probiotic rich foods and supplements can help restore hormone levels and ease these symptoms.  For those who want menopause relief without the use of synthetic hormones, this is good news.

Probiotics For General Health

When going through menopause, many women experience health issues that impact their quality of life. Probiotics can help offset some of these issues and make the going through the change more tolerable.

In addition to helping stabilize hormones, which are thrown out of sync by menopause, probiotics can help offset weight gain, keep your immune system strong and increase good bacteria in the vagina, lessening dryness and atrophy there. 

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The Best Sprouts for Menopause

by Health News

Hormone replacement therapy for menopause is linked to a dramatic increase in your risk of developing breast cancer.  With that scary statistic in mind, you may want to consider finding natural menopause relief.

Different kinds of sprouts work for natural menopause relief.

Thanks to an abundance of research and anecdotal publishing, we know there are some natural remedies for menopause symptoms like hot flashes, fatigue, and weight gain. A food you may not realize can help alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause is sprouts.

What about Sprouts?

All sprouted seeds are very rich sources of natural enzymes.  A sprout is a seed in the active state of maturation, or sprouting, and has a lot of nutrients and healthy enzymes to offer. In fact, when a seed sprouts to become the plant it was destined to be, its nutrient value increases dramatically, but only for a short time.

There are many different kinds of sprouts, but the best ones to eat for natural menopause relief are:

Bean Sprouts – easy to grown and rich in folate protein, vitamin C, B vitamins and iron, these are most commonly found as mung, or soybean sprouts. 

Alfalfa Sprouts – best eaten raw to retain their crunchy texture these sprouts are a great source of beta-carotene (about as much as carrots!) calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins C and K, riboflavin, manganese and copper. They are also loaded with fiber.

Alfalfa sprouts also contain high levels of phytoestrogens, a compound that can have the same effect on the human body as estrogen. This will help reduce the symptoms of menopause caused by a decline in estrogen production as women age.

Lentil Sprouts – These sprouts are a little high maintenance but worth it because of the vitamin C, thiamine, copper, iron, folate and manganese they contain.

Related:  Are Sprouts Superfoods?

Sprouted Grains – Found in brown rice and buckwheat, sprouted grains supply a crunchy texture to breads and a hefty dose of extra fiber.  They have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, helping to control diabetes, alleviate depression and reduce blood pressure.

Depression, higher blood pressure and weight gain are common side effects of decreased estrogen and progesterone production making lentil sprouts a great natural remedy for menopause.

How to Incorporate Sprouts Into Your Diet

You can easily incorporate sprouts into your diet. They make a great addition to any salad, stuffed in a pita, part of a sandwich, and are a tasty burger topper.  They are delicious in stir-fries, soups and stews as well. 

Eating them regularly and throughout the day will not only help relieve hot flashes, but will also provide you with several nutrients critical to good health.

Sprout Safety

You can easily find sprouts at most grocery stores.  Since sprouts are known to be contaminated with E. coli and salmonella sometimes, it is a good idea to look for the organic variety, keep them refrigerated and buy fresh sprouts with the buds still on them.

You can also grow your own at home with a jar, cheesecloth and a rubber band. Those you know for sure are not contaminated!

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Five Herbs for Stress and Mood Swings

by Cindy Gray

Five Herbs for Stress and Mood SwingsTaking a pill to help you chill might sound appealing, but many prescription drugs have nasty side effects and are very expensive. Using herbs for stress relief is a lot less, well…stressful. 

For centuries, herbs have been the cornerstone of good health.  Many cultures have successfully used herbs as treatment for all types of medical issues.  Unlike western society that relies on powerful mind-altering drugs to help with severe mood swings and depression, other cultures have often looked to the natural world for stress relief.

The Fabulous Five Herbs for Stress Relief

1. Ashwagandha

One of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha has been used since ancient times to treat a wide variety of conditions.  It is most well-known for its restorative benefits.  The name means “the smell of a horse” indicating it promotes the strength and vigor of a stallion.

Ashwagandha contains many potent medicinal compounds in the leaves and roots like:

  • Steroidal lactones – improve the power supply of nerve cells
  • Alkaloids – act quickly on the nervous system and can have a safe natural sedative effect
  • Choline - from the B vitamin family it has been shown to lower cholesterol and stave off cognitive decline by boosting brain function
  • Fatty acids – omega-3 and omega-6 are critical to proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system
  • Amino acids – the building blocks of protein they play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of a healthy nervous system, immunity and brain function
  • Healthy sugars – for energy

2. Rhodiola rosea

This unique herbal remedy grows at high altitude in the sandy soil of artic areas of Asia.  It has long been used as a treatment for fatigue and western medicine is prompting scientists to examine its health benefits more closely.

Rhodiola rosea has been showing great promise by decreasing the harmful effects of chronic, long-term stress on the body.  It helps bring balance back to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems of the body.

In the modern world, we are often under constant pressure and stressed throughout the day.   This leads to feeling edgy, tired and depressed. Rhodiola rosea seems to be able to help the body re-establish balance by influencing the brain chemicals serotonin (the “happy” hormone) norepinephrine (the adrenaline hormone) and feel good opioids called beta-endorphins.

In a Columbia University publication, rhodiola’s remarkable effect on the nervous system was described as “emotional calming.”  Dr. Richard Brown stated that rhodiola “enhanced the healing properties of one’s own nervous system”

The health benefits of rhodiola rosea don’t stop there. Numerous studies have found it to:

  • Improve cognitive and memory function
  • Increase mental and physical resistance to stress due to fatigue
  • Reduce levels of C-reactive protein, and inflammatory marker that results from muscle damage due to physical exertion
  • Enhance sleep
  • Lessen depression symptoms
  • Keep blood sugar stable

3. Elueuthero (Wucha)

Elueuthero belongs to an amazing class of plants known as adaptogens. They are known for helping the body to adapt to environmental changes and reduce the effects of stress on the body.   Other health benefits include:

  • Stronger memory and clearer thinking under stress
  • Sustained energy without the side effects of stimulants like caffeine that cause the jitters
  • Increased tolerance to heat, noise, strenuous exercise
  • Increased sexual vigor
  • Sleep aid

Elueuthero’s effectiveness at reducing stress is believed to come from the compounds it contains called eleuetherosides. These enhance the immune system by helping T-cells engulf harmful microorganisms, damaged cells and foreign particles in the body. It also promotes the formation of protective B lymphocytes that are critical to a strong immune system.

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4. Holy basil

Holy basil is known to be a powerful antioxidant with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well. Modern science has been taking a closer look at this remarkable herb due to its great potential in relieving stress and promoting relaxation.

Like Eleuethero, holy basil functions as an adaptogen to enhance the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress.  It seems to be able to influence the secretion of stress hormones, corticosterone in particular.  A rush of cortisol is good when an actual predator confronts you.  However, work, traffic, and many other things keep us saturated with the stress hormone, and it wreaks havoc on the body.

Holy basil’s concentration of eugenol and caryophyllene release a pleasing and soothing aroma that has been shown to elevate mood.  Eugenol also has shown to enhance mental clarity, something that can suffer during periods of prolonged stress.

5. Suma root

Suma root has been used for hundreds of years in South America to increase physical strength, boost energy levels, stamina and the immune system. It contains two anabolic agents, allantoin and ecdysterone, which have been linked to muscle growth and enhanced endurance.

It also is an herb for stress release known as an adaptogen.  Packed with germanium, a potent immune booster and saponins, which have shown to improve immune function and lower cholesterol, suma root also has many important vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

A compound called beta-ecdysterone is also found in the herb and is showing great potential to treat sexual dysfunctions like impotency.  This is most likely due to its ability to provide more oxygen to cells. This has the added benefit of improving circulation to all areas of the body including the brain, which improves memory and sharpens mental clarity.

Suma root is an effective herb to combat stress due to its ability to affect the adrenal glands, which produce adrenaline and corticosteroid hormones, the ones that are responsible for our “flight or fight” response.  Suma root is effective at balancing these hormones in the body, which is important because constant long-term exposure to them causes many health problems.

Using herbs for stress relief has proven effective for thousands of years in many cultures.  Finding natural ways to reduce stress are preferable to taking powerful prescription drugs with harmful side effects.  Taking these five herbs to reduced stress and balance out mood swings is a safe natural way to combat the stressors of daily life without dangerous side effects.

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EFAs for Menopause Treatment

by IVL Products

All women have to go through menopause at some point in their lives. The unpleasant symptoms can make life difficult, but there are ways to deal with some of the worst side effects of menopause simply through your diet.  

Women who consume essential fatty acids regularly can reduce the negative symptoms of menopause.

Increasing your intake of EFAs, (or essential fatty acids) is easy.  Not only will you experience less severe menopausal symptoms, but the EFAs offer many other health benefits as well.

What Are EFAs?

Essential fatty acids are so named because your body cannot produce them naturally. The only way to get them is through your diet. 

Your body cannot synthesize linolenic (omega-6) and linoleic acids (omega-3) that are critical to the normal functioning of all the tissues of the body.  Without sufficient EFAs, you are at an increased risk for:

  • Liver and kidney abnormalities
  • Depression
  • Dry Skin
  • Decreased immune function

However, when you get adequate amounts of omega-3s and omega-6s, you have a decreased risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Menstrual pain
  • Breast cancer

EFAs have been found to greatly help reduce the most troublesome menopausal symptoms like:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal, hair and skin dryness
  • Mood swings and depression

A study conducted by Italian scientist back in 2005 noted that women who ate a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids reported a “progressively and highly significant reduction” in hot flashes. They concluded that this could be a result of the influence omega-3s have on nerve cell membranes, helping to reduce their sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations.

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It has long been known that having an adequate intake of EFAs helps balance hormones, increase immune function, improve cardiovascular health and promote healthier skin and hair.

Happy Food

What you may not realize is that omega-3 fatty acid EPA helps the body produce adequate levels of serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter that greatly affects our moods. Depression and mood swings often accompany the hormonal changes you will be experiencing making EFAs an essential part of your menopause diet.

Brain Food

DHA is a natural brain booster. It keeps nerve cell membranes in the brain healthy, which means better cognitive function, and less memory loss. 

The Menopause Diet

By incorporating foods rich in essential fatty acids into your diet, you can greatly reduce unpleasant menopausal symptoms and improve your health overall.  It is essential that you get the right combination of omega-3s and omega-6s in your diet and that can take some research and planning. Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3s for use in the body, so getting the right ratio of each is important. 

DHA (omega-6) is found in animal foods like beef and pork and corn oils. These are generally plentiful in our diets and most Americans eat too many omega-6 foods when they should be eating foods with more omega-3 fatty acids like.

  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • Walnuts
  • Canola, soybean, walnut oils
  • Fruits
  • Beans
  • Fish

Trying to get your EFAs in supplement form is not the most efficient way to up your intake of them.  Besides the nasty fish tasting burps many pills cause, the fish oil molecules are highly unstable and can quickly decompose and release cell damaging free radicals.

Omega-3s for Everybody

Whether you are going through menopause or not, eating more food rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA just makes good sense. 

You will look better, feel better and be more prepared to handle the hormonal changes when you eat more foods with omega 3 for menopause relief.

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How to Exercise Away the Effects of Depression

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Depression is a debilitating mental disorder that affects approximately 14.8 million Americans.  Worse, studies show it is on the rise and has become a worldwide epidemic according to the World Health Organization.  It’s a relief to know that exercise is a safe and effective natural remedy for depression that most anyone can put into his or her daily routine.

New research has concluded that those who regularly exercise can combat depression.

Some people only suffer depression at one point in their life like post-partum depression, while others are afflicted with it chronically over a lifetime.  The medical industry has responded with a flood of powerful brain altering drugs to combat the effects of depression. Yet in many cases, exercise is proving to be just as effective, with positive side effects!

The Research: Exercise and Depression

A study published by the Archives of Medicine found exercise to nearly as effective as medication in treating patients with major depression.  

Another study conducted on students at the University of Virginia observed a significant reduction in depression symptoms for those students diagnosed with the disorder who jogged regularly.  Those who did not engage in any form of regular exercise showed no changes in their symptoms in contrast.

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To bolster these findings, the American Journal of Epidemiology published a report where researchers found that a mere one point increase in regular exercise appeared to lower study participants’ risk of being depressed by 10%. More importantly it cut their risk of becoming chronically depressed by 17%!

Effects of Exercise on Depression

The effects of exercise on depression are quite profound.  It can effect change in brain chemicals, reduce immune system chemicals that worsen depression and increases body temperature, which seems to have a calming effect.

Your Brain

When you exercise your brain releases endorphins that trigger positive feelings in your brain while reducing your perception of pain.  While the effects are temporary, regularly feeling that “runner’s high” has a very positive, energizing affect, something those who suffer from depression need.

Your Immune System

There is a growing body of evidence that depression has as much or more to do with your immune system as it does your brain.  While most medications are prescribed to help balance chemicals in the brain, research out of the University of California has suggested that inflammation, an immune response, may be a contributing cause of depression.

Regular moderate exercise is known to strengthen the immune system.  It will also help keep body fat in check, and improve circulation, which benefits the brain and the body and could lead to fewer depression symptoms.

Exercise and Depression: Your Attitude Matters

The possibility of finding effective natural remedies for depression is good news for those who have resigned themselves to taking powerful anti-depressants and dealing with the side effects. With the many positive aspects of exercising to help with depression, it a good idea to make sure you get plenty of it on regular basis if you have or are at risk of developing symptoms of depression.

Besides the feel good brain chemicals and boost to your immune system, exercise will help you keep weight gain in check, make you stronger and give you more energy.

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Vitamins for Menopause Offer Safe Alternatives To Hormone Replacement Therapy

by Health News

Millions of women experience hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, vaginal dryness, irritability and insomnia when they are menopausal. In many cases the symptoms are so severe that they ask their doctors for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which can have serious side effects including an increased risk for cancer. Recent studies have confirmed using vitamins for menopausal symptoms as a safe, natural way that women can find relief without putting potentially dangerous hormones into their bodies. 

Safely Avoid Hormone Replacement Therapy with Vitamins for Menopause

Although there are several vitamins that help provide relief, vitamin E is at the top of the list. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that protects cells against free radicals. A study from the British Medical Journal found that vitamin E reduced hot flashes in 64 percent of the women tested and that it also helped reduce the symptoms of vaginal aging. Fifty percent of the women in the study reported healing of vaginal atrophy as well as a decrease in pain during sex.

Most holistic practitioners also recommend a B-complex supplement for menopausal women. B-6 helps balance out the hormone-related mood swings and B-12 fights the fatigue that many women experience as their estrogen levels drop. 

RelatedFour Common Myths About Calcium

In addition to vitamins for menopause calcium supplements are also recommended because this important mineral helps fight age-related loss of bone density. Studies show that calcium supplements are more effective when taken in conjunction with vitamin D. 

While vitamins have an important role to play in relieving menopause symptoms, an overall healthy lifestyle will support vibrant health at all stages of life. A healthy lifestyle includes:

A Nutritious Diet: A healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help you look and feel your best. Make sure you purchase organic, locally grown produce because it has the highest nutritional value.

Exercise: Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and also aids in coping with the stress that is associated with menopausal symptoms. Make regular workouts part of your daily regimen.

Sleep: Insomnia is a common problem for menopausal women and night sweats exacerbate the problem. Take melatonin supplements to help you sleep and make sure you keep a glass of cold water on your nightstand. There are cooling pillows on the market that can help you be more comfortable at night so you can get the rest you need.

Stress Management: Meditation, yoga, deep-breathing exercises, massages and soothing music are great stress reducers. Spend time with supportive friends and make time for your favorite hobbies. It’s easier maintaining a rich quality of life during menopause if you minimize your stressors. 

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Should Women Keep Their Ovaries When They Have Hysterectomies?

by Cindy Gray

When considering a hysterectomy, talk to your health care provider about the risk-benefit ratio of removal of the ovaries.More than 600,000 hysterectomies are performed in the United States each year. By age 60, one in three women will have had a hysterectomy to remove all or part of the womb and the surgery may also involve extraction of the ovaries. In recent years there has been much debate regarding what percentage of hysterectomies are medically necessary and also whether or not the ovaries should be removed as part of the procedure. 

Almost one-third of all hysterectomies are performed to treat uterine fibroids to relieve symptoms such as pain and excessive bleeding. A recent survey found that fewer than half of the women who have fibroids are told by their doctors that there are minimally invasive alternatives to surgery.  Approximately 10 percent of all hysterectomies are legitimately needed to treat gynecological cancers. The other 90 percent of hysterectomies could possibly be avoided and symptoms treated with medications and other techniques.

One of the major decisions facing women having hysterectomies is whether or not to have their ovaries removed as part of the procedure. While it used to be common practice to remove the ovaries, a study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology challenged the practice.

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Doctors cite ovarian cancer prevention as the reason to remove the ovaries. While ovarian cancer is rare, it is serious and is often difficult to detect in its early stages. But removing the ovaries puts women at significantly increased risk for other, more common and potentially serious health conditions such as heart disease.  The average woman is 30 times more likely to die from heart disease than from ovarian cancer.

The only women who should consider have their ovaries removed during a hysterectomy are those with certain gene mutations or those who have a strong family history of ovarian cancer.

The ovaries and adrenal glands produce estrone (a lower potency estrogen) and the liver produces estriol (another weak form of estrogen). These substances provide support for heart, bone, breast and vaginal health. 

When considering a hysterectomy, talk to your health care provider about alternatives to surgery. Also, do not agree to have your ovaries removed without giving serious consideration to the risk-benefit ratio.