Want 5 Reasons To Eat More Blueberries?

by Health News

Want 5 Reasons To Eat More Blueberries?Powerful flavonoid and anthocyanin antioxidants found in blueberries may have a rejuvenating effect on the brain - slowing down and even reversing the effects of stress and inflammation on brain cells. What’s more, these antioxidants may also neutralize free radicals linked to the development of cancer, heart disease and age-related conditions.

Blueberries have only 80 calories per cup and are loaded with fiber that keeps you fuller longer. They are also an excellent source of manganese, which plays an important part in bone development and converting carbohydrates and fats into energy.

What else can this super-fruit do for your health and wellbeing?

Provide a high dose of vitamin C - one serving of blueberries gives you almost one-fourth of your daily requirement of vitamin C - the most powerful antioxidant of them all - packing 14 milligrams per cup.

Benefit heart health - heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. A recent study showed that blueberries reduced the risk of heart disease in women who ate three or more servings of blueberries a week. This heart protective effect is believed to be due to their high content of anthocyanins.

Reduce cancer risk - not only do anthocyanins give blueberries their blue color, they may also neutralize cancer-causing free radicals and even block tumor cells from forming, according to a study which examined the effects of blueberries on prostate cancer.

Fight UTIs - urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria that take hold and grow inside the urinary tract, causing an infection. Blueberries can help ward off these infections, because they contain substances that inhibit bacteria from binding to bladder tissue.

Boost brain health - studies on rats show that object memory loss, which occurs with age, can be prevented and even reversed by feeding blueberries to older rats. In another study of nine human subjects, older adults who were given blueberry juice scored higher on memory tests.

Blueberries are just one of 42 of the healthiest fruits present in a single delicious glass of Go Ruby Go - a mix of healthful, life-giving all-natural phytonutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds like nothing else available on the market today.

So why not benefit from the many amazing health benefits of blueberries - a true super-fruit - and order Go Ruby Go today?


Eating Alkaline Foods Helps Regulate Body pH Levels

by Health News

Eating alkaline foods can have the important effect of regulating your body's pH levels.  In general, a diet consisting of at least 50% alkaline foods is recommended.  In this article, we will look at some of the alkaline Regulate Body pH Levels | Institute for Vibrant Livingfoods that you can eat to regulate your body's pH level.  We will also address how you can get more of these important foods into your diet.

Many experts believe that alkaline foods can help you purify your body.  The best part about eating in this fashion is that the foods that are recommended for this diet or are also foods that are extremely good for your overall health.  For example, most vegetables are alkaline, especially if consumed raw.  This means that the superfoods you have heard so much about, such as spinach and broccoli, have more benefits than you may have already realized!

The simple fact is that most vegetables will help you regulate your body's pH level.  Yet, most fruits also fall into this category as well.  The simple fact is that by switching to a diet that is largely made up of fruits and vegetables, it is possible to greatly increase your overall health.  Not only does such a diet come with alkaline benefits, but there are also other benefits as well.  Fruits and vegetables are loaded with anticancer and anti-inflammatory compounds that are vital to good health.  Foods, such as green leafy vegetables and berries, have been shown to be high in antioxidants, anticancer and anti-inflammatory compounds.   This means that if you want to look and feel better then eating a numerous daily servings of fruits and vegetables is a must!

You might be thinking that you can't work more fruits and vegetables into your diet, but with some effort, you may find that there are easy ways to do just that.  The first step is to evaluate your diet and look for easy ways that you can switch out one type of food for another.  For example, the more processed foods, saturated fat, salt and sugar that you can eliminate from your diet, the better off you will be both in the short term and over the long haul.

Processed foods are generally acidic and they throw off the body’s pH balance.  When the body’s pH levels are imbalanced, it can lead to everything from obesity and acne to heart attacks.  Caffeine, animal proteins, and sugar can all contribute to an imbalanced pH level.  The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism recently published a study that showed that a diet high in acidic foods could actually contribute to bone loss.  However, when we eat alkaline foods, it can reverse this trend.

Snacking on fresh fruit and keeping frozen fruit on hand are two easy ways to improve your diet and increase the number of alkaline foods that you are eating.  Another is to switch out a couple of processed meals every week for salads.  Fast food is, of course, your enemy, plain and simple.  Often the "healthy salad" that you think you are eating at a fast food establishment is often loaded in fat, salt and even sugar!  Skipping the fast food and the processed food will work wonders on how you feel over your lifetime.

How healthy are your eating habits?


What are Antioxidants and How Do They Benefit My Health

by Health News

The old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” may, after all, have some medical grounding. Recent tests found that the polyphenol antioxidants in apples may be the fountain of youth, at least if you are a fruit fly! What are Antioxidants and How Do They Benefit My Health | Institute for Vibrant LivingStudies still have to be carried out on humans but it is already accepted that antioxidants help fight the dangers of free radicals in our bodies and help slow down the aging process.

How do Antioxidants Work?
The one weapon we have to protect cells from damaging free radicals is antioxidants. Vitamin E has been shown to have unique antioxidant and anti-aging properties. It works by countering the free radicals that are produced in the body through everyday functions such as exercise and breathing.

Antioxidants react with and neutralize these unstable molecules, known as free radicals, before they have chance to attach themselves to other cells causing cell damage, premature aging, heart disease and even cataracts.

Vitamin E also reduces inflammation in disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, improves circulation and slows the development of plaque which can narrow the artery walls, all things that older people are likely to suffer from.

Where can I Get More Antioxidants?
Examples of antioxidants are lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and E, selenium and other substances. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, sunflower seeds and wheat germ oil. Vitamin C can be sourced naturally in tomatoes, strawberries and citrus fruits such as oranges, while selenium is found in seafood and whole grains.
Foods such as tea, red wine, chocolate, apples, pears and dark berries are all full of flavenoids, along with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. These cruciferous vegetables are also high in a substance called isothiocyanate. Carrots are a good source of carotenoids and links have been made showing that those people with a diet high in carotenoids may enjoy longer lives.

Antioxidant Supplements
Daily multivitamin supplements include a proportion of vitamin C and vitamin E and this is a good way to ensure that minimum daily requirements are met. However, a generous measure of antioxidants can be found in superfood supplements such as Berry Essentials, a powerful fruit punch developed by nutritionists and doctors to combine the properties of herbs, fruits, berries and vegetables in a natural cocktail of potent antioxidants. Berry Essentials also has many other benefits to help fight the aging process in addition to its generous antioxidant properties.



Learn Why You Should Be Eating KiwiFruit

by Health News

According to a study from New Zealand, consuming two kiwifruits a day as part of a healthy diet has a positive effect on blood Kiwifruit - A Heart Health Supplementlipid levels in men with high cholesterol levels - more so than eating a healthy diet alone.

In this study, 85 adult men with high blood cholesterol levels consumed a healthy diet over 12 weeks.

In four out of these twelve weeks, they switched from eating two portions of fruit daily to two portions of kiwifruits. The healthy diet without kiwifruits served as the control diet.

The study authors found that following a healthy diet led to positive changes in body weight, waist circumference and percentage of body fat in the first four weeks, even without kiwifruit consumption.

Further, levels of both total cholesterol and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol were reduced, while levels of HDL ‘good’ cholesterol increased significantly during the first four weeks.

Eating two kiwifruits did not cause any further changes in body weight and had no significant effects on total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. However, HDL cholesterol levels were significantly higher with the kiwifruit supplement relative to the control diet alone - and although the difference was relatively small, study authors believe this could translate into a 3-6% risk reduction of developing heart disease.

Further, in carriers of a gene associated with greater risk of elevated blood lipid levels, eating two kiwifruits a day also reduced triglyceride levels significantly - which was not seen in non-carriers.

Powerful antioxidants called polyphenols present in kiwifruits are the most likely reason why they act as a heart health supplement.

Overall, this study suggests that following a healthy, balanced diet can positively affect body weight and composition along with regulating blood lipid levels. Further, eating kiwifruits may provide an additional heart healthy benefit by raising HDL cholesterol levels.

Kiwifruits are just one of 42 fruits present in a single delicious glass of Go Ruby Go fruit superfood - a mix of healthful all-natural phytonutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds like nothing else available on the market today.

So why not order Go Ruby Go and get your daily dose of kiwifruit, nature’s heart health supplement?





Video Blog Update: What are Superfoods?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Discover what superfoods are, brought to by Dr. Christine Horner, and how they help you achieve optimal health: turmeric, green tea, chlorella, flax seeds.
Click the link below to ask Dr. Christine Horner a health question.

Want to read other related blog posts?
What are the Benefits of Turmeric?

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What Everybody Ought to Know About Liquid Chlorophyll

by Health News

Liquid ChlorophyllChlorophyll is a green pigment found in some bacteria, algae and plants. It’s an extremely important biomolecule that is critically necessary for plants to absorb energy from sunlight.

Consumption of liquid chlorophyll has many health benefits, mainly because its molecular structure is absolutely identical to hemoglobin except for the center atom. In hemoglobin this is iron, whereas in chlorophyll it is magnesium.

Liquid chlorophyll helps to do the job of hemoglobin by replenishing red blood cells, boosting energy and improving wellbeing. It also cleanses the body, fighting infection, healing wounds and promoting the health of the circulatory, digestive, immune and detoxification systems.

Five health benefits of liquid chlorophyll consumption include:


Chlorophyll protects against carcinogens by blocking the metabolism of harmful chemicals known as pro-carcinogens that damage DNA in the liver and other organs.


Liquid chlorophyll is packed with antioxidants, which are absorbed better since it’s in a liquid state. Antioxidants are important in neutralizing free radicals that damage cells. Liquid chlorophyll also contains high levels of vitamins A, C and E, and has been shown to reduce inflammation.


Liquid chlorophyll increases red blood cell formation, improving circulation and utilization of oxygen in the body. It also helps to purify blood and regulates blood pressure.


Chlorophyll is a great immune boosting phytonutrient that fights against infection by killing germs.


Liquid chlorophyll is a deodorizer that eliminates odors in the mouth and throat. Regular consumption helps to maintain a healthy digestive tract, removing the underlying reason for bad breath.

Green drinks are an excellent, dense source of alkalizing, chlorophyll rich greens that are easily assimilated by the body.

Also, green food in general, such as salads, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, Asian greens, green capsicum, asparagus, peas, beans, kale etc. contain chlorophyll - so eat up and empower your health today.

Learn more about the Institute for Vibrant Livings Green Drink: All Day Energy Greens. Includes ALL of the vitamins needed for the human body.


Health Benefits of Liquid Chlorophyll.


What Are The Benefits And Risks Of Regular Energy Drink Consumption?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Energy drinks are very popular nowadays, especially with teens and athletes - perhaps you’re a fan as well.

A recent study looked at the benefits and risks that come with regular energy drink consumption. In 2003, 16% of teens reported consuming them regularly - however, consumption had risen sharply to 35% by 2008. In fact, one study found that 50% of students drank at least 1-4 of these drinks in a typical month.

A sharp increase in energy drink-related emergency room visits led to demands that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) look into the effects of energy drinks on health.

Currently, the amount of caffeine added to energy drinks is not regulated by the FDA, so labeled amounts are often inaccurate. Also, the claims made by manufacturers on the ability of such drinks to maintain energy levels have not been verified.

The study authors examined the most common ingredients - caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, sugars and B vitamins - and assessed their effects on health.

Levels of caffeine, the main ingredient, vary widely between brands. Energy drinks may contain higher levels of caffeine than indicated on the label.

 Benefits And Risks Of Regular Energy Drink ConsumptionA typical cup of coffee contains 80-120 milligrams of caffeine, while tea has 50 mg and a 12-ounce cola roughly 65 mg. On the other hand, a 16-ounce Red Bull contains 154 mg while a 24-ounce Wired X505 contains 505 mg. While there is no prescribed safety limit for caffeine, excessive consumption has been linked to high BP, premature birth and even possibly sudden death.

Guarana is a South American plant that contains a caffeine-like compound called guaranine. One gram of guarana is equal to 40 mg of caffeine. In spite of this, guarana is usually not included in the total caffeine tally. And since the FDA has not tested guarana for human consumption, its risks and benefits are almost completely unknown.

Sugar in the form of sucrose, glucose, or high fructose corn syrup ranges from 21 grams to 34 grams in every 8 ounces of a typical energy drink. Teens who consume 2 or 3 drinks daily could be taking in 120-180 mg of sugar - or 4-6 times the maximum recommended daily intake - placing them at risk for obesity and dental problems.

Taurine is a common amino acid that supports brain development and regulates mineral and water levels. The amount of taurine consumed from energy drinks is higher than from a normal diet - as yet there is no evidence that this is unhealthy. In fact, many energy drinks that claim to be healthy contain excess, unregulated amounts of vitamins or minerals you can normally get from your diet.

The problem is, you never really know how much of these ingredients you are consuming, because the quantities are masked behind the term 'proprietary blend' or 'energy blend.'

Ginseng is believed to boost athletic performance, strengthen the immune system and improve mood. According to the study authors, there is not much proof of this - and there isn't enough ginseng in energy drinks anyway.

B vitamins and other additives in energy drinks can improve mood and even fight heart disease and cancer, but again their amounts in energy drinks aren’t enough to have any meaningful effects.

Adolescent consumers have no idea what these ingredients do. They assume that because they can buy it off the shelf, it must be safe for them. In reality, very little is known about the risks and benefits of various additives in energy drinks and how they affect health when consumed over the long term. Not much is known either about how energy drinks and alcohol interact as well as how they affect medications and antidepressants.

Therefore, study authors have urged physicians to be aware of energy drink consumption and suggest educating both teens and their parents on the potential negative health consequences of consuming energy drinks regularly.

Are you looking for a natural energy drink - check out the best natural energy boosting supplement here?

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What’s in Your Energy Drink?


Healthy Recipe: Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

by Nancy Maneely

There are so many great things about this recipe, it’s hard to know where to begin!Healthy Recipe: Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad | Institute for Vibrant Living

The basics are lean, high-protein chicken breast and one of our favorite nutritional superfoods, spinach. The fats, which you can adjust to your taste and dietary preference, consist of just enough oil to sauté the chicken and a little mayo or yogurt for the dressing. Strawberries bring additional antioxidant-rich nutrients, as well as color and flavor. Toss in some almonds for essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and heart-healthy phytochemicals. And, the lime juice, garlic, ginger and black pepper not only contribute unbeatable flavors to this wonderful salad, they provide an extra antioxidant boost as well!

This is a tasty summertime treat your whole family will love. And not even the kids will suspect your real motive for serving this is to offer them a healthy alternative to fat and sugar laden, overprocessed meals. 


  • 2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half - cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or yogurt)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed
  • 4 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in skillet, season with garlic powder and cook 10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, lime juice, ginger and milk.

3. Arrange spinach on serving dishes. Top with chicken and strawberries, sprinkle with almonds and drizzle with dressing. Season with pepper to serve.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 242
Total Fat: 17.3g
Cholesterol: 40mg
Sodium: 117mg
Total Carbs: 7.5g
Dietary Fiber: 2.4g
Protein: 15.8 grams

Source: Allrecipes.com



Antioxidants: Key to heart health

by Nancy Maneely

Antioxidants Heart HealthHave you ever seen an old bicycle or one of those metal patio chairs that has been lovingly reconditioned to look new? The key to this process is scrubbing off the old accumulated rust and applying a couple of coats of rust-resistant paint. The new coating resists oxidative damage from the elements and keeps the object looking shiny and new for years.

Think of an aging heart as an aging, well-used bicycle. There’s potentially a lot of good years of life left in it, but it needs some care and protection. Regular activity and healthy foods can extend the life of this heart, and the key to this protection is the application of “rust-resistant paint” – well, the organic equivalent, which is antioxidant nutrients.

Antioxidants are found mainly in plant foods in the form of polyphenols. The science is complex, but a simple way to be sure of getting an antioxidant-rich diet is to eat a colorful array of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

When it comes to heart health, certain foods contain anti-coagulants and antioxidants that act as protective factors and anti-inflammatory agents. Here are some of the biggest nutritional superstars:

Blueberries – The blue in blueberries comes from the anthocyanin pigment. Anthocyanins are called phytochemicals (phyto is the Greek word for plant) or nutraceuticals because they act as antioxidants protecting the body’s cells against undesirable oxidative changes.

Green tea – Research studies show that green tea is a potent antioxidant that may reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood clotting damage to arteries. One cup of green tea has more antioxidants than a serving of strawberries.

Fresh oregano – The U.S. Department of Agriculture ranks fresh oregano the highest per gram of any herb, fruit, or vegetable in antioxidants – four times as much as blueberries!

Fresh garlic – This lowers blood pressure, may help lower total cholesterol, acts as a blood thinner, and functions as an antioxidant.

What is your favorite heart-healthy dish incorporating these nutritional superfoods?

HealthCheck Systems: Understanding Free Radicals and Antioxidants



The Health Benefits of Superfoods

by Health News

In the past few decades it has been determined that signs of aging like wrinkles and diminished skin elasticity are enhanced by oxidation, a process in which damaging free radicals begin to break down DNA.  Research is The Health Benefits of Superfoods | Institute for Vibrant Livingshowing that we can slow the aging process with the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods.  Studies also show that the amount of antioxidants consumed is directly proportional to longevity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but not all of these have the same effect.  The effects of antioxidants are measured by a food’s oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC).

Check out these ORAC-rich fruits and vegetables, and implement them into your daily diet to generate a youthful appearance. 

  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Red Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli

Here are a few other superfoods that have shown great potential for enhancing a youthful appearance. 

Acai Berries – These tiny, purple berries can be found in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil.  In addition to boosting energy, this antioxidant-laden superfood is said to promote healthy hair, nails and skin.  Acai is available in supplement form in various powders and caplets.

Red Ginseng – A study published in the December, 2009 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that red ginseng reverses wrinkles.  The study examined a group of female volunteers over the age of 40. The subjects took three grams of red ginseng extract daily for 24 weeks, and it was found that facial wrinkles were significantly reduced and collagen levels were increased.  Collagen is a product made from proteins in the body which is necessary for healthy skin.  Further, a gene that destroys collagen was inhibited and elastin, a protein that enhances skin elasticity, was increased.

Resveratrol - This important nutrient can be found in the skin of red grapes and in blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates.  Besides supporting cardiovascular health, resveratrol is said to promote a youthful appearance.  In addition to the fruits mentioned above, resveratrol supplements are available in whole foods stores and through natural supplement websites.

Sea Buckthorn Berries – This small, sour berry is found in harsh environments of Eastern Asia and is packed with vitamin C, providing 12 times more than an orange.  It is said to provide weight loss and immune system support and to foster good hair, nail and skin health.  Typically the fruit cannot be found in your local grocery store, but liquid and caplet supplements are available in stores and online.

Soy – Research that is soon-to-be-published in the British Journal of Pharmacology has concluded that soy can have positive effects on age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women. 

As adequate estrogen levels are required for youthful skin in women, an ovariectomy can accelerate aging of the skin.  This study examined the effects of soy on the skin of ovariectomized rats.  Researchers began treating rats six months after ovariectomy with genistein, a soy-derived isoflavone, for a period of 12 weeks.   At the end of treatment, the thickness of collagen and skin strength was significantly improved, which suggests that soy therapy might be a reliable alternative for age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women.

Everyone wants to look young for as long as possible and adequate nutrition is an easy fix.  In addition to a daily vitamin and mineral supplement, it might be worth a try to incorporate some of the foods above into your daily diet for a more youthful appearance.


Cho, S. et al.  Red ginseng root extract mixed with Torilus fructus and Corni fructus improves facial wrinkles and increases type I procollagen synthesis in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.  Journal of Medicinal Food, 2009 Dec;12(6):1252-9.

Polito, F. et al.  Genistein Aglycone, a Soy-derived Isoflavone, Improves Skin Changes Induced by Ovariectomy in Rats.   British Journal of Pharmacology.  2011 Aug 9. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01619.x. [Epub ahead of print]


Healthy Recipes: Brain-Boosting Berry Salad

by Nancy Maneely

One of the best things about summer is looking forward to the bounty of fresh berries. Whether you grow them in your garden or harvest them at the grocery store, it’s the time of year to enjoy them in quantity at lower Healthy Recipes | Superfoods | Institute for Vibrant Livingprices.

Two of our favorites, blueberries and strawberries, recently made news headlines with a study that found that they are brain-boosting superfoods!

Blueberries and strawberries, which are high in flavonoids, appear to reduce cognitive decline in older adults, according to a study recently published in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society. The researchers reported that cognitive aging could be delayed by up to 2½ years in elderly who consume greater amounts of the flavonoid-rich berries.

Flavonoids are compounds in plants that contain powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Health experts say stress and inflammation contribute to cognitive impairment, and increasing consumption of flavonoids could alleviate the harmful effects.

Fruit salads are always enhanced with the addition of fresh berries. But if you to really power up those brain cells, try this berries-only fruit salad. Serve as an appetizer, summer side dish or dessert. Whether served alone in elegant stemware glasses or with your favorite shortcake recipe, it’s a can’t-miss combination.


  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


Mix strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries together in a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar.  Delicious just like this – you simply can’t go wrong with this combination of berries! Or, for a special treat, drizzle with a high quality balsamic vinegar, toss and let rest for a few minutes. Then serve over vanilla bean ice cream or frozen yogurt.

What is your favorite way to enjoy fresh berries?

Science Daily: Eating more berries may reduce cognitive decline in the elderly



The Benefits of Amaranth

by Nancy Maneely

Congratulations! You’ve expanded your dietary horizons to venture past the ubiquitous wheat pasta to include other whole grains into your daily menus. Maybe you enjoy brown rice with your chicken … toss a handful ofThe Benefits of Amaranth barley into simmering soups … perhaps even checked out the new recipes for quinoa in your favorite magazine?

Now it’s time to add another “superfood” to your life: amaranth.  Like quinoa, this one’s considered a superfood due to its densely packed nutritional profile. But unlike quinoa, amaranth isn’t technically a grain, but rather, a seed.

Why Amaranth is Considered a Superfood:

Nutrition profile of a 1-cup serving of amaranth (cooked):

  • 9 grams protein, 5 grams dietary fiber
  • Low-sodium – 15mg (1% Daily Value)
  • Estimated glycemic load of 21 (target total is 100 or less per day)
  • Percent Daily Values of the following essential nutrients: 105% manganese, 40% magnesium, 36% phosphorus, 29% iron, 19% selenium, 18% copper, 12% calcium, 14% Vitamin B6, 14% folate.

You can find amaranth at most health food stores and natural/gourmet grocery shops. It can be a bit pricey, but considering how concentrated the nutrition is – it’s worth every penny! 

Amaranth is delicious when combined with other grains such as millet and quinoa to make a light and fluffy pilaf. Try it in tabouli as a replacement for couscous. Stir it into soups or stews for a protein boost. You may have even seen amaranth sold in puffed form, as a cereal or granola ingredient, but this is very easy to make yourself at home. Simply heat a skillet on the stove, add a couple tablespoons of uncooked amaranth, place a lid on top and swirl the pan until the seeds pop. You can combine puffed amaranth with nut butter and honey to make a delicious and simple energy bar. 

For easier digestibility, soak amaranth seeds for 8-10 hours in cold water prior to cooking. You don’t need to do this but it may enhance absorption of nutrients.

To cook amaranth seeds:

Boil 1 cup seeds in 2 1/2 cups water for 18-20 minutes. Don’t overcook them as they will become gummy!

Amaranth has a mild, sweet, nutty flavor and you can enhance the flavor by gently sautéing the cooked seeds, as with quinoa.

Do you have a favorite recipe using amaranth?


Healthy and Delicious Pasta Alternatives

by Nancy Maneely

Health Recipes Pasta | Institute for Vibrant LivingIf you're watching your weight (and overall health) you’ve probably ditched the white-flour pasta along with white bread as part of your everyday fare. And that’s a good thing. Still, once in awhile you may miss those steaming bowls of pasta from your childhood. Who doesn’t? Pasta is one of the ultimate comfort foods.

But most pastas are made with refined wheat flour which is stripped of its essential nutrients. It’s filling, but mostly empty calories. Here’s the good news: there are some delicious and healthy pasta options to explore. Try these with your favorite tomato sauce or just a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

  • Spaghetti Squash – Slice in half and bake, then shred the inside with a fork into noodle-like strands. Ultra-low in calories, squash is high in vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium for heart health.
  •  Zucchini – Shred with a peeler and steam for a quick spaghetti substitute.
  • Quinoa – This superfood from the Mayans is high in protein, vitamin B and delicious in salads as a pasta substitute.
  • Soba Noodles – These heart healthy Japanese noodles are made from buckwheat and are high in protein.
  • Black Bean Spaghetti – If you can get past the notion of eating black pasta, this stuff is wonderfully high in protein – more than 20 grams per serving! – and fiber.
  • Rice Pasta – Asian markets are the place to shop for these inexpensive noodles made from whole grains.
  • Whole Grain Wheat – If you really must have wheat pasta, choose this kind. It is rich in vitamin B and isn't stripped of its fiber and minerals.

What’s your favorite pasta dish? Share with us!


Micronutrients: What are the Healing Powers?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Micronutrients: What are the Healing Powers?The rate of obesity has doubled in America over the last 30 years and has been accompanied by a massive health crisis - literally a nationwide epidemic of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Health experts are now convinced that this is because of the nutrient-deficient and calorie-rich US diet, not to mention crazy lifestyle, stress and lack of sleep.

And given the way US healthcare is structured, prevention by practicing a healthy diet and lifestyle is very unlikely. In fact, even most health caregivers receive very little nutritional training in medical school.

There is no doubt that solving this health crisis is going to take a lot of discipline and a complete dietary about-turn.

According to nutritionists, the root cause of chronic diseases is simple: lack of enough fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet. The typical American diet couldn’t be further removed from this ideal. On average, Americans eat 60% processed foods and 30% animal products, leaving only 10% for raw, unprocessed fruits and veggies.

While most people understand something about macronutrients, they know very little about the undervalued, but much more important micronutrients - the 14 essential vitamins, 16 essential minerals, and thousands of phytochemicals.

These micronutrients do not contain calories and our body needs them only in tiny amounts, but their role in maintaining health cannot be overestimated.

What’s more, some health experts now believe that the major micronutrient in food is not vitamins or minerals, but phytochemicals. In fact they believe micronutrients are literally a fountain of youth that function to improve human health and longevity.

There are literally tens of thousands of phytochemicals in natural, whole, vegetable-based foods. Micronutrients are essential in helping to protect us from disease - and if we are already sick, they help in recovery.

Every tomato, head of cabbage, piece of lettuce, cucumber, bean or sprout has hundreds - even thousands - of nutrients critically important for health.

And while supplementing with micronutrients can be helpful, the makeup of nutrients in unprocessed fruits and vegetables is so complex that it can’t be replicated synthetically - and why would you need to, when they are already so plentiful in naturally occurring green vegetables and fruits?

The standard American diet provides a meager 4% of phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables - not to mention that processing removes delicate phytochemicals found in raw produce, while animal products don’t have them at all.

So if you’re concerned about taking care of your health or prone to falling ill, you may want to consider adding more raw and lightly cooked fresh veggies - along with fresh fruits - to your daily diet.

Other related blog posts:

The 2 Best Natural Energy Booster Superfood Supplements

Supplements Can Help Dieters Meet Daily Nutritional Needs

All Natural Supplements: Superfoods

Natural Supplements and Vitamins: Why They Are Important


The Healing Power of Micronutrients.


How Does Emotional Stress Increase Heart Attack Risk?

by Health News

A new study has shown that anger, anxiety and depression can not only affect how your heart functions, but also directly increase your risk for heart disease.

Strokes and heart attacks happen as a result of progressive damage to blood vessels that supply the heart and brain. This process is known in medical terms as atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis progresses when there are high levels of specific chemicals known as pro-inflammatory cytokines. Health experts believe that persistent, uncontrollable levels of stress increase risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease by triggering negative emotions that raise the levels of these pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body.

To investigate the underlying mechanism of this process, study researchers started with the observation that many of the same brain areas involved in emotion are also involved in sensing and regulating levels of inflammation.

Does Stress Increase Heart Attack Risk? | Institute for Vibrant Living

They theorized that brain activity linked to negative emotions - specifically, to efforts made to control negative emotions - would be connected to physical signs of risk for heart disease.

During the study, 157 healthy adult volunteers were asked to regulate their emotional reactions to unpleasant images while their brain activity was measured with functional imaging. Further, study researchers also scanned their arteries for signs of atherosclerosis to assess heart disease risk and measured levels of inflammation in their blood.

They found that individuals who show greater brain activation while managing their negative emotions also had higher blood levels of interleukin-6, one of the human body's main pro-inflammatory chemicals. Many of these individuals also had thicker carotid artery walls, a typical marker of atherosclerosis.

In other words, inflammation levels accounted for the link between signs of atherosclerosis and brain activity patterns seen during emotion management. These findings were significant even after controlling for age, gender, smoking and other heart disease risk factors.

These new findings lend support to the popular belief that emotions are connected to heart health. They also suggest that brain-based prevention and intervention efforts may be able to improve heart health and protect against heart disease.

As scientists identify the mechanisms by which the brain and body are linked, they hope to be able to break the cycle by which emotional stress caused by anger, anxiety and depression impairs heart health.

Source: How Does Emotional Stress Increase Heart Attack Risk?


Cataract Surgery Leads To Longer Life

by Health News

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 22 million Americans over the age of 40 suffer from cataracts - while more than half of all Americans will go on to be diagnosed with this condition by the time they reach the age of 80 years.

Promisingly, a new study shows that individuals who undergo cataract surgery to correct their vision have a lower mortality rate of 40 percent relative to those who suffer from a vision disorder and do not undergo surgery.

This is the main reason health caregivers encourage their patients to immediately consult with their physicians and seek treatment if they encounter any cataract-related issues with their vision.

Benefits of Cataract Surgery | Institute for Vibrant LivingWith so many Americans suffering from cataracts, it is important that they understand the options available to them with regard to prevention and treatment. Thanks to modern technology, surgical procedures today are much less invasive than in the past.

Correcting one's visual impairment not only results in better eyesight, but it also leads to better physical and emotional wellbeing, confidence, optimism and overall better general health.

According to the study, individuals - particularly the elderly - who had undergone cataract surgery expressed greater satisfaction with their quality of life. They were able to participate independently in daily activities such as driving, reading, playing sports and other activities in which they otherwise would not have engaged prior to surgery.

The study also suggested that cataract surgery helped to reduce the risk of hip fractures in seniors.

Cataracts occur when the normally clear lens of the eye starts to become cloudy. Depending on the individual, cataracts may progress gradually over a period of years, or can progress more quickly - for instance, in people with diabetes.

Treatment for cataracts involves surgically removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.

You may want to consider the following health guidelines to lower your risk of cataracts and other vision problems:

  • Healthy diet - getting the right balance of fruits and vegetables daily can give your body the necessary antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to help maintain healthy eyes.
  • Proper eye protection - sunglasses prevent exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, helping to protect your eyes and reducing cataract formation.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption - excessive alcohol intake is known to speed up cataract formation.
  • Regular medical checkups - can help to detect cataracts and other vision disorders in their early stages, making treatment easier.

Source: Cataract Surgery Leads to Longer Life


Another Reason To Eat Seven Or More Portions Of Fruits And Vegetables Daily

by Health News

According to a dramatic new study from University College London, consuming seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces risk of death at any point in time by 42%, compared to eating less than one portion.

Study researchers studied the eating habits of over 65,000 people representative of the English population. They found that the more fruit and vegetables these people ate, the less likely they were to die at any age. Also, vegetables had significantly greater health benefits than fruit.

Amazingly, eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables reduced the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively.

Another Reason To Eat Seven Or More Portions Of Fruits And Vegetables Daily

This is the first study to link fruit and vegetable consumption with all-cause mortality as well as cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally representative population. It is also the first to quantify health benefits per portion and identify the types of fruits and vegetables offering the most benefits.

Compared to eating less than one portion of fruit and vegetables, the risk of death by any cause is reduced by 14% by eating one to three portions, 29% for three to five portions, 36% for five to seven portions and 42% for seven or more. The researchers adjusted these figures for sex, age, cigarette smoking, social class, Body Mass Index (BMI), education, physical activity and alcohol intake - while deaths within a year of the food survey were excluded.

Overall, fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, with each daily portion reducing overall risk of death by 16%. Salad contributed to a 13% risk reduction per portion, and each portion of fresh fruit was associated with a lesser but still significant 4% reduction. 

In other words - the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Whatever your starting point, it is always worth eating more fruit and vegetables.

Study researchers found no evidence of significant benefit from fruit juice, while canned and frozen fruit appeared to actually increase risk of death by 17% per portion. This particular survey did not distinguish between canned and frozen fruit.

Canned fruit products are almost four times more popular than frozen fruit in Europe, so it is likely that canned fruit is responsible for this adverse effect. Most canned fruit contains high sugar levels and cheaper varieties are packed in syrup, so the negative health impacts of sugar may be greater than any health benefits the canned fruit has to offer.

If you’re thinking right now that eating seven portions of fruits and vegetables every day is a lot to ask - then we have just the solution for you!

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

Not only that - alkalizing your body with All Day Energy Greens gives your body an instant energy boost because it is easy to digest, so that your body gets all the nutrients it needs for bountiful energy all day.

Source: Seven or More Portions of Fruit and Vegetables Daily Dramatically Lowers Mortality Risk.


Schizophrenics Have Higher Than Normal Antibodies Against Gluten

by Health News

Do you suffer from celiac disease or know someone who does?

If you do, there may be a lot more at stake than just the digestive troubles we commonly associate with this condition. According to health experts, consumption of gluten-containing grains may actually contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Gluten Sensitive? | Institute for Vibrant Living

In support of this point of view, a new study shows that schizophrenia patients have significantly higher levels of antibodies related to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in their blood compared with people without schizophrenia. 

Celiac disease occurs when the immune system reacts to dietary gluten, a storage protein for wheat, barley and rye. It manifests as inflammation or irritation of the small intestine, which leads to problems with absorbing nutrients including vitamins and minerals. However, when gluten is removed from the diet, inflammation is reduced or goes away completely and the small intestine begins to heal again.

Interestingly, celiac disease and schizophrenia have approximately the same prevalence - but the prevalence of celiac disease is higher among schizophrenia patients for reasons that are not yet clear.

In this new study, researchers measured the prevalence of antibodies related to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in individuals with schizophrenia as well as a comparison group. A total of 1401 schizophrenia patients who were part of the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness study and 900 controls were included in this analysis.

The results of this study clearly show that a significantly higher proportion of schizophrenia patients have moderate to high levels of antibodies related to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity when compared with people in a control group without schizophrenia.

Believe it or not, it has been over 60 years since researchers first stumbled upon evidence that removal of dietary gluten leads to improved symptoms in neurological and psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia. Conversely, consumption of gluten-containing grains was seen to lead to a higher prevalence.

For instance, an epidemiological study published in 1966 looked at the possible relationship between schizophrenia and celiac disease. The study author looked at the number of women admitted to mental hospitals in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada and the US before and after World War II (WWII). These figures were then compared to volume of wheat and rye consumed during those two periods.

Stunningly, the percent change from prewar values to during WWII in the number of patients admitted to hospitals for the first time with schizophrenia in these five countries correlated significantly to the percent change in the amounts of wheat and wheat plus rye they had consumed.

In other words - as the consumption of gluten-containing grains decreased in these five countries, so did their rate of first-time admission to psychiatric institutions.

Given the enormous health risk, it’s perhaps advisable to get tested for celiac disease - even if you experience no obvious symptoms.

Source: Patients with Schizophrenia Have Higher Than Normal Antibodies Against Gluten


Rejuvenating Old Muscle Stem Cells: Antidote To Aging?

by Health News

Normal aging is accompanied by reduced ability to regain strength and mobility after muscle injury. That’s because over time, stem cells within muscle tissues dedicated to repairing cell damage become less able to renew themselves or generate new muscle fibers.

Stem Cells: Antidote To Aging | Institute for Vibrant LIving

Muscle stem cells from older mice exhibit profound changes with age. In fact, two-thirds of them are dysfunctional when compared to muscle stem cells from younger mice.

For the first time, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a process by which older muscle stem cells can be rejuvenated to function like younger stem cells, able to renew themselves and aid in muscle repair like their younger counterparts.

In future these studies may help human patients keep their muscles strong and repair muscle damage as they age.

Muscle stem cells isolated from mice that were 2 years old - which is equivalent to about 80 years of human life - exhibit high levels of activity in a biological pathway known as the p38 MAP kinase pathway. This pathway interferes with proliferation of muscle stem cells - as a result, many old muscle stem cells become unable to renew themselves and gradually reduce in number with aging.

Blocking the p38 MAP kinase pathway in a laboratory setting allowed old muscle stem cells remain functional. Not only that, they begin to divide and self-renew as they do in young mice - in the process making a large number of new stem cells that can continue to repair muscle damage with aging.

When transplanted back into the animal, old muscle stem cells with inactivated p38 MAP kinase pathway provide a long-lasting stem cell reserve that contributes to muscle repair and restores strength to injured muscles of 2-year-old recipient mice. Two months after transplantation, their muscles still continued to function very similar to young, uninjured muscles.

Stanford University researchers plan to continue their research to understand how this novel technique can be used to help aging humans recover from muscle injury in future. They believe that if they could isolate muscle stem cells from an elderly person, expose them in culture to the proper conditions and transfer them back into a site of muscle injury, they may be able to use the person's own cells to aid recovery from trauma and prevent localized muscle weakness and breakdown due to broken bones and other injuries.

Source: Rejuvenating Muscle Stem Cells: Antidote to Aging?


Regular Diet Soda Consumption Linked To Heart Problems In Postmenopausal Women

by Health News

Increasingly, the evidence shows that when you opt for a diet version of your favorite soda or fruit drink - far from making a healthy choice, you might actually be setting yourself up for health problems.

A survey by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that one in five Americans drink diet sodas on any particular day and around half of these people consume more than two cups daily.

To understand the consequences of drinking diet soda on health, a recent Women's Health Initiative (WHI) observational study followed nearly 60,000 women with an average age of 63 years - and found a clear relationship between diet drink consumption and a number of cardiovascular problems later on in life.Heart Problems In Postmenopausal Women

This study, the largest to look at the relationship between diet drinks and heart health, measured body-mass index (BMI), physical activity levels and risk for various disease conditions.

Postmenopausal women who had two or more diet drinks a day were more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure (BP) and a higher BMI than those who consumed diet drinks in moderation or not at all.

Scarily, women who consumed two or more diet drinks daily were not only 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes - they were also 50 percent more likely to die from some sort of cardiovascular disease when compared with women who never or rarely drank diet drinks.

These findings are in agreement with previous studies and health experts believe they could have major public health implications.

Other studies have also suggested diet drinks can be harmful for older women. Regular consumption of colas, both diet and regular, are associated with lower bone density - which is already a major concern for older women (and men) who are at risk for osteoporosis.

And while we normally associate the word ‘diet’ with healthier eating, another study showed that the artificial sweeteners present in low-calorie diet drinks may lead to the development of metabolic syndrome and heart disease.

There may not be enough evidence yet to give up diet sodas entirely, but it is clearly a wise idea to think twice about what you're drinking.

Source: Regular Diet Soda Consumption Linked to Heart Problems in Postmenopausal Women