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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.

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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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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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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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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.

Related:  Top Three Heart Healthy Nutrients

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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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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The Estrogen, Serotonin, and Melatonin Connection: Balance is Essential

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Menopause management is a balancing act that can be very confusing for women who are suffering from hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and other symptoms. Understanding the causes for menopausal symptoms can be difficult because there are physical, psychological and emotional components associated with the change of life. Recent studies have found a link between estrogen, serotonin and melatonin that might shed some light on the causes for certain symptoms. 

For a smoother transition into menopause, learn about how balanced estrogen levels lead to healthier serotonin and melatonin levels.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries nerve impulses from your brain to your body. It is often called the “happy hormone” because of its positive effects on mood. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, fatigue, sexual dysfunction and sleep disorders. Because estrogen is needed to produce serotonin, the declining levels of estrogen associated with menopause result in lower serotonin levels.

To further complicate matters, low serotonin levels lead to low melatonin levels. Serotonin is synthesized in the body to make melatonin, the hormone that is essential to restful sleep. Melatonin controls the body’s circadian rhythms to regulate sleep cycles.

RelatedNine Ways to Naturally Boost Energy

People with low melatonin levels are prone to sleep disorders that leave them in a perpetual state of fatigue. Chronic insomnia has adverse effects on all aspects of health and it can be especially troublesome for menopausal women.

Simply put, the estrogen, serotonin and melatonin imbalances can (and often do) create the perfect storm for menopausal symptoms mood swings and sleep disorders. The symptoms can become so troublesome that women seek help from their doctors who often prescribe hormone replace therapy (HRT) and sleeping pills. Both HRT and prescription sleep aids have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. 

Fortunately both serotonin and melatonin levels can be boosted through dietary changes and nutritional supplements. Studies show that tryptophan supplements help to increase serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain. Food sources of tryptophan include soy, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peas, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

Serotonin and melatonin supplements area available online and in natural heath stores. They come in pill, capsule or powdered forms. These supplements are a safe, natural alternative to prescription medications. Add them to your daily regimen to boost your mood, help you sleep and keep you healthy.  

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Six Potent Probiotics

by Cindy Gray

If you are seeking a natural remedy to help with diarrhea, then look to probiotics.  These potent little strains of live bacteria and yeasts are very good for your digestive system and can bring relief to those suffering from occasional to chronic diarrhea.

Those who suffer from diarrhea will find probiotics a powerful remedy.

Probiotics are naturally helpful to your body; and you can ingest them easily from certain foods and supplements.  There are many kinds of bacteria classified as probiotics and they all have different health benefits, but almost all of them come from two groups:

  • Lactobacillus – the most common probiotic, it can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods.  It can help those who are lactose intolerant and ease diarrhea.
  • Bifidobacterium – this type is found in dairy products like milk and can help those with IBS relieve their symptoms.

You are not alone if you suffer from diarrhea. Those who have three or more loose stools per day for a period of four weeks or more are diagnosed with chronic diarrhea.

Related Top Three Fermented Foods for Constipation Relief

Taking over the counter medications is fine if you only experience diarrhea occasionally. However, if your condition is chronic, you’ll want to consider these diarrhea natural remedies.

  1. Lactobacillus acidophilus – is found in foods like yogurt, kefir, pickles and soy products, and in supplement form.  It is very beneficial to the human GI tract because it helps break down sugars in milk products (lactose) and produces vitamin K.
  2. L. casei (lactobacillus casei) – is found naturally in fermented foods. It has shown to be a very effective way to speed up recovery time for those suffering from acute diarrhea. It helps the gut break down lactose, and relieve constipation. It also relieves gas and promotes healthy digestion, which improves your immunity.
  3. L. rhamnosus – is found in the human GI tract, mouth and vagina.  Its greatest health benefit is as an anti-inflammatory. This makes it beneficial for those with loose stools and vaginal infections.
  4. L.  plantarum – this strain of bacterial is a real powerhouse. It can take up residence in your gut and keep disease-causing microorganism from wreaking havoc there. It also has the ability to “stick” or coat the lining of your intestines and prevent dangerous bacteria from getting into your bloodstream
  5. Bifidobacterium breve – also known as B breve, a shortage of it in the intestinal tract has been linked to diarrhea, allergies, gas and irritable bowel syndrome. It can benefit you by balancing the acidity (pH) of your colon, reduce bloating and gas, and relieve constipation.
  6. B. longun (Bifidobacterium longum) – found naturally in the gastrointestinal tract and the vagina it is thought to be an effective way to help prevent certain diseases like colon cancer. It contains anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic properties that help keep the pH balance of your digestive track normal.

Eating fermented foods rich in the super six or taking supplements can improve your overall health by boosting your immune system, relieving painful gas or constipation and possibly even help lower your risk of developing some forms of cancer.

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Menopause Natural Remedies You Didn't Know About: Saffron

by Health News

Saffron is a burnt-orange colored spice that comes from the stigmas of the purple saffron crocus flower.  Primarily used for coloring and cooking, saffron also offers a number of important health benefits.  One that people may not know about is its benefit for aging women in transition.  Integrated into an otherwise healthy lifestyle, saffron makes one of the better menopause natural remedies for improvement of mood.

Menopause natural remedies for mood include the spice, saffron.

Many women in menopause struggle with depression, insomnia, memory problems, and mental fatigue brought about by reduced hormone levels.  Nutrients that enhance the mood can help improve quality of life.  Research shows that saffron helps maintain levels of serotonin in the brain, a neurochemical that plays a part in stabilizing mood.  Consuming saffron is said to promote calmness, reduce mood swings, and lessen irritability. 

As a supplement, experts recommend 85 mg of saffron per day, or the spice can be stirred into hot, cooked food.  Some women also enjoy saffron brewed into a tea.  For proper brewing, place three to eight saffron shoots into a cup of warm water and soak them for 10 minutes.  Then, pour boiling water into the cup, add a little honey and drink the contents, including the shoots.  A few saffron strands steeped in warm dairy or almond milk for about 20 minutes also makes a calming beverage before bedtime. 

Related:  Natural Remedies for Mild Depression

Additional Menopause Natural Remedies

While saffron tends to emotional symptoms, a few additional menopause natural remedies help take care of physical symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

Dong Quai:  While it does not have estrogenic properties, the herb dong quai is thought to promote and maintain balance of female hormones.  Women should not take dong quai if they are experiencing heavy bleeding.

Black Cohosh:  This well-studied herb also promotes and maintains balance of female hormones resulting in relief from hot flashes.  While it is effective for many women, it does not work in all cases.  Black cohosh does not appear to have estrogenic properties, making it safe for women with a personal or family history of breast cancer.

Soy:  Soy foods like tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy milk are full of isoflavones, compounds that have estrogenic properties.  Because there is ongoing controversy surrounding the safety and usefulness of soy isoflavone supplements, most experts recommend getting soy from the diet.

In addition to utilizing supplementary and dietary menopause natural remedies, women might try making a few lifestyle adjustments.  Regular aerobic exercise, limited alcohol use, and relaxation practices can also be helpful for relief of menopausal symptoms.

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Lack of Energy? Restore Vitality with Acai and Suma

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If the lack of energy is dragging you down you might want to consider two Brazilian superfoods to rev up your engine. Studies show that the acai berry and suma root provides energy-boosting nutrients that restore vitality and boost the immune system.  (FYI, Acai is pronounced ah-sah-EE.) 

The nutritional properties of acai and suma make them an energy-boosting supplement that enhances vitality and the immune system.

Demanding careers, inadequate sleep, poor nutrition, excessive stress, sedentary lifestyles and constant exposure to environmental toxins are taking their toll and millions of people spend their days feeling tired and sluggish.  Studies show that acai berries and suma root may be just what the doctor ordered for people suffering from a lack of energy. 

The purple-black acai berry, which is sometimes called Brazilian palm fruit, comes from the acai tree that is native to Central and South America. The acai berry surpasses all other berries in its antioxidant density and it is one of the few fruits that contain omega-3 fatty acids to support brain and joint health.  It has been lauded for centuries by natural healers as a healing, immune-boosting fruit that enhances energy levels.

RelatedHow the Antioxidants in Superfruits Keep You Healthy

Freshly picked acai berries have a short “freshness” window but they are available frozen, dried and in juice forms. Acai extract is an ingredient in many high-quality nutritional supplements.

Sometimes referred to as “Brazilian ginseng,” the suma root is another energizing superfood. Natives of South America have used it for thousands of years to increase strength and stamina.   Suma root contains potent levels of vitamin B and electrolytes, both of which are potent natural energy boosters. It is also rich in immune-boosting nutrients including vitamins B, E and K as well as minerals and amino acids.

While fresh suma root can be difficult to find in some parts of the country, it is available in powdered or supplement form online and at natural health stores. It is also an ingredient in many nutritional supplements.

If you are among the millions of Americans who struggle with a lack of energy, considering using acai berries and suma root to boost your vitality. This duo packs a nutritional punch that will put the spring back in your step so that you can enjoy a vibrant life and live each day to its fullest.

Easy Superfood Recipes

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Top Five Nutrients for Estrogen Dominance

by Health News

Estrogen dominance usually indicates an imbalance of hormones. It is not necessarily caused by an increase in estrogen levels, but rather by the sufferer having insufficient progesterone to balance the estrogen's effects on the body. Even someone deemed to have low estrogen levels can suffer from estrogen dominance symptoms simply because the compensating levels of progesterone are little or none. 

Vitamins and supplements play an important part in countering estrogen dominance

The term "estrogen dominance" was first used by Dr John R. Lee M.D. in his book "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Menopause". He describes the fact that our environment causes excess estrogen as we are exposed daily to plastics, industrial waste products, pesticides, carbon monoxide and many toxic products used in home furnishings and carpets.

These five nutrients are known to help keep hormones in balance naturally to counter estrogen dominance. 

  • Chasteberry
  • Lutein
  • Beta carotene
  • B Vitamins
  • Essential Fatty Acids

Vitex Agnus Castus, better known as chasteberry, is widely used for treating menstrual disorders in Europe. Many menstrual problems are caused by a deficiency in progesterone in the luteal (second) phase of the menstrual cycle, leading to estrogen dominance. Symptoms such as heavy periods, too-frequent periods or even lack of periods, can all be improved by chasteberry. It works by increasing luteinizing hormone production to boost progesterone levels, restoring the all-important estrogen/progesterone balance.

Lutein, found naturally in kale or taken as a natural supplement, can also have a balancing effect upon the body's hormones along with beta carotene. Present in kale and other fresh vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, squash, spinach, cabbage, cantaloupe and apricots, beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. 

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Three Vitamins to Improve Bone Density

by Cindy Gray

Most people are aware that as we age, our bone density decreases. Unfortunately the decline typically begins in our early thirties. It's important to know how to increase bone density from an early age, in order to preserve what you have and give yourself the best bone health in older age.

Curly kale is full of vitamins – an easy lesson in how to increase bone density

Family history, diet, and the amount of bone we amass as a teenager, are all contributing factors towards our overall bone density. The more bone mass we have, the less likely we are to succumb to osteoporosis in later life. Although you cannot alter your genetic makeup, you can learn how to increase bone density through your diet.

Along with calcium, these three vitamins are the key to bone health.

How to Increase Bone Density with Vitamin D

No matter how much calcium you include in your diet, what really matters is the amount of calcium your body is able to breakdown and use. Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining strong bones as it helps the body absorb calcium.

It’s easy to meet the vitamin D recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 600IU from any or all of the following sources. Around 15 minutes exposure to sunlight three times a week will help the body produce vitamin D. Make sure you eat plenty of shrimp, vitamin-fortified cereal, orange juice, sardines, tuna and eggs, and replace any possible shortfall with a vitamin D supplement.

Related:  Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis?

How to Increase Bone Density with Vitamin K

In tests, it appears that vitamin K works best in synergy with vitamin D. While vitamin D boosts calcium absorption into the bones, vitamin K reduces the amount of calcium the body excretes. Vitamin K is important for providing protein to maintain healthy bones, so make sure you get your daily quota of vitamin K from green leafy vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach and broccoli.

How to Increase Bone Density with Vitamin A

Another important vitamin for those wanting to increase bone density is vitamin A (retinol). The RDA is currently 2330 IU (700 mcg) for women and 3000 IU (900 mcg) for men. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found naturally in carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, fish, liver and tropical fruits. In order to be absorbed, it needs to be consumed with some fat to make it effective. Vitamin A can be taken as part of a daily vitamin supplement, but this is one vitamin that should not be taken to excess. An excess of vitamin A can cause a decrease in bone density, similar to a deficiency of vitamin A, so use caution and stick with the recommended daily allowance for your gender.

It seems the key to how to increase bone density lies in eating plenty of leafy green vegetables, enjoying red/orange colored fruits and getting out in natural daylight. It's not too difficult! 

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Is There such a Thing as Early Menopause?

by IVL Products

Early menopause causes many unpleasant symptoms including moodiness and depression.According to the National Institute on Aging, the average age for the onset of menopause in American women is 51. Early menopause generally refers to cases where menopause begins before the age of 40, either naturally, in response to surgery such as a hysterectomy, or due to other medical reasons. 

Menopause symptoms include some or all of the following:

  • Cessation of periods
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Moodiness
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Depression/crying
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle pain

Water retention may become an issue, along with cravings and weight gain. Generally, these symptoms are a sign that the ovaries are producing less estrogen.

Early Menopause or Premenopause

Many women who experience the symptoms of menopause may actually be in premenopause, not to be confused with peri-menopause.

Premenopause syndrome (PMS) is related to the menstrual cycle becoming upset, triggering some of the symptoms of menopause, but hormone levels remain stable.

Peri-menopause is the period of a woman's life immediately prior to her entering menopause. Those in peri-menopause and early menopause tend to have more severe symptoms than normal menopause sufferers, particularly anxiety, irritability, bloating and weight gain.

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Sufferers of early menopause (i.e. experiencing the symptoms of menopause under the age of 45) may experience irregular menstrual cycles causing problems conceiving. They may suffer brain fog, feel weepy and have problems concentrating.

When early menopause is triggered suddenly, due to surgery, illness or genetic issues, the rapid decline of estrogen, often referred to as an estrogen crash, causes the sufferer to enter menopause more quickly than the normal onset of menopause. In a post-surgical survey of early menopausal women, they all reported sudden development of many symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings, tiredness and hot flashes, all in quick succession. These problems were severe and lasted for more than eight years.

Those going through the stage of menopause, premenopause or early menopause, need extra understanding and support from family and friends. It's a time to lower stress as you deal with turbulent emotions and physical changes, but rest assured, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Learn more about the symptoms of menopause with this video blog.

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Ease Chronic Constipation with Two Tropical Fruits

by IVL Products

One of the most common digestive disorders is chronic constipation. If you suffer from it, you will know that it can be painful, causing stomach cramps, discomfort and bloating. If left untreated, constipation and straining can lead to more serious problems, such as hemorrhoids, and even increased toxicity in the body due to waste retention. 

Eat, drink or blend tropical fruits to ease chronic constipation

Chronic constipation may be caused by medication, inadequate fluid intake or, most commonly, by a lack of fiber in the diet. Some of the delicious tropical fruits that can prevent or alleviate chronic constipation naturally are pineapple and papaya.

Pineapple for Improved Digestion

Pineapple, like many tropical fruits, consists of 85% water, which can help reduce the risk of chronic constipation. Pineapple also contains an enzyme called bromelain which aids digestion and helps break down proteins in the digestive tract. Bromelain also induces substances that help fight pain and reduce inflammation in the body.

Whether you choose to eat fresh or canned pineapple, you will get the benefits of improved digestion and less bloating. Just be sure to buy pineapple canned in natural juice rather than sugar-laden syrup. With an average 13g fiber per fruit, pineapple is a natural weapon to effectively lower the risk of chronic constipation. You can also benefit from pineapple’s natural nutrients by drinking a glass of pineapple juice or mixing a delicious drink with powdered energy green supplements.

Papaya for Chronic Constipation

Papaya, also known as pawpaw, is another good source of fiber, delivering around 5g per medium fruit. The high water content and fiber help prevent chronic constipation and they promote a healthy intestine and regular bowel movements.

This soft orange-colored fruit is another beneficial food to support the digestive system as it contains a powerful enzyme called papain. It is a great digestive aid and even makes an effective meat tenderizer!

Packed with vitamin C (one papaya fruit delivers 224% of your daily needs), along with vitamin A, lutein, beta carotene and the antioxidant lycopene, papaya is a good all-around aid to staying fit and healthy.

Add these two tropical fruits to your grocery list and look forward to a healthier digestive system, banishing chronic constipation forever.

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Look Beyond NSAIDS For Inflammatory Arthritis Pain Relief

by Cindy Gray

More than 33 million Americans take NSAIDs every day to cope with the moderate to severe pain associated with inflammatory arthritis. While they may provide temporary relief, NSAIDs come with potentially serious side effects, and in some cases may even worsen the inflammation they are prescribed to relieve.

NSAIDs work by suppressing prostaglandins, which are lipids produced by the body to deal with injury. The body produces two types of prostaglandins, those that cause inflammation and those that fight inflammation. Unfortunately, NSAIDs suppress BOTH types of prostaglandins so the medications have the potential to do more harm than good.

It is important to note that NSAIDs are powerful drugs and they affect many organs in the body including the heart, kidney and liver. The gastrointestinal side effects are so well-documented that in 2009 the FDA ordered all manufacturers of NSAIDs to list the dangers on the product labels. Problems range from mild stomach upset to potentially fatal stomach bleeding and ulcers.

Related: Natural Anti-Inflammatory Supplements vs. NSAIDs

Many people risk the serious side effects because they think NSAIDs are their only option for pain relief, but there are many natural remedies that can ease the pain of inflammatory arthritis.  Millions of Americans use nutritional supplements to deal with arthritis symptoms.

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can speed the formation of new cartilage and help block enzymes that harm cartilage. A study conducted at Montreal Hospital found that patients who take supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin have less pain and inflammation. Arnica Montana, often called “mountain daisy” for its bright yellow flowers, has been used for centuries to treat joint pain. It is available in capsule and powdered forms online and in natural health stores.

Talk to your holistic health practitioner to determine the supplement formation and dosage that best suits your needs. Treat your back pain the natural way and avoid the harmful side effects of NSAIDs.   

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Three Fruits with Big Benefits as Constipation Home Remedies

by Cindy Gray

It’s a well-known fact that people who eat a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables are less prone to ill heath, constipation, heart disease and sickness. If you are looking for natural solutions for increasing nutrient intake or constipation home remedies, buy guava, star fruit and passion fruit and experiment with them. These tropical fruits are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and we highlight each one for its unique benefits to counter constipation.

Check out passion fruit for constipation home remedies

The Benefits of Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is a round fruit with a wrinkly skin containing soft green flesh. It is delicious to eat fresh, add to a smoothie or consume as a healthy drink. High in fiber and vitamins A and C, passion fruit is packed with antioxidants to counter harmful free radicals and reduce heart disease.

What’s special about passion fruit is that it has enzymes that aid digestion, which makes it an excellent food for constipation home remedies. Passion fruit appears to increase the digestive juices in the stomach during digestion. It boosts electrolyte levels and acts as an effective colon cleanser, which is what makes it so good for reliving constipation.

Guava is Great for Constipation Home Remedies

Ripe guava fruits are pear-shaped and soft to the touch with a pink blush to the light green/yellow skin. Inside, the fruit may be white, red or salmon colored and flavors range from ripe strawberry to fresh citrus, depending on the species.

Guava is high in fiber, giving it value as an important home remedy for constipation. The seeds are edible and can be chewed or swallowed whole as they are excellent laxatives. Guava retains water and cleanses the intestines as it passes through, making it ideal for those suffering with bloating or poor bowel habits.

Star Fruit Aids Constipation

Star fruits are easily identified with their five lobes which, when cut through horizontally, create a wonderful star-shaped slice of fruity goodness. The fruits are ready to eat when they are golden yellow all over and the taste is mildly sour.

What makes star fruit good for constipation home remedies is that it adds bulk and water to the bodily waste.

Enjoy experimenting with different ways to eat these three tropical fruits and enjoy the benefits of these natural constipation home remedies. You may also want to supplement them with a powdered green energy drink for an extra boost of energy and antioxidants.  Finally, here’s a tip for retaining the flavor in these tropical fruits: Never refrigerate them, unless they are over ripe, as they quickly lose their sweetness. Enjoy!

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Why You Need Yoga for Lower Back Pain

by Cindy Gray

Yoga has many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It incorporates a gentle range of effective stretching techniques which can be beneficial for reducing lower back pain while helping to strengthen back muscles, lowering stress, improving circulation and balancing mood.

Yoga can ease lower back pain and improve inflammatory arthritis of the hands

Yoga principles are a form of exercise, but they are the opposite of aerobic exercises. This means that yoga can be practiced by all ages and abilities, even those in pain. Two key areas of physical health that can be eased with regular yoga exercises are inflammatory arthritis and lower back pain.

Yoga for Inflammatory Arthritis

The Journal of Rheumatology reported the results of a study on patients who had inflammatory arthritis of the hands. They found that those who practiced yoga as a therapeutic treatment had a greater range of movement in their fingers. They also reported less pain and tenderness in their arthritic finger joints than those who did not practice yoga.

Yoga for Lower Back Pain

A study of 25 patients suffering from lower back pain found that yoga provided significant benefits. After a six month trial period, 80% of those participants who practiced yoga reported reduced lower back pain compared to 44% of the study group who were given medications instead. 

Over time, just 12% of the yoga practitioners suffered an acute episode of arthritis pain while 56% of the medication group suffered a serious arthritis episode.

Related: Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

Yoga and Muscle Strength

The more physical form of yoga known as Hatha Yoga relies on learning controlled breathing techniques, Pranayama, while holding complex body postures. Yoga increases muscle strength as you practice positions and movements. As weak muscles and misaligned posture are the main cause of lower back pain, it makes sense that practicing postures that strengthen the muscles, particularly in the lower back, will reverse the unnatural muscle stretching and reduce back pain.

Other yoga positions strengthen abdominal muscles which, together with back muscles, maintain a healthy muscle network that supports the spine. When these muscles are toned and conditioned they can significantly prevent or reduce lower back pain.

Stress may be another cause of back pain, causing shoulders to be hunched and muscle to be misaligned. Yoga includes stretching and relaxing techniques which reduce that tension and alleviate the lower back pain it causes.

With the additional benefit of improved blood circulation, yoga stretches the lower back, lowers stress and strengthens muscle tone to align the body and reduce or prevent lower back pain. As it also improves mobility in those with inflammatory arthritis of the hands, it’s never too late to consider joining a yoga class to improve your physical and mental health.

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Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels with Astaxanthin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Carotenoids are naturally-occurring compounds responsible for the color in certain foods, and all promote good health.  Nicknamed the "King of the Carotenoids," astaxanthin is the compound responsible for the reddish or pink color in shrimp, salmon, lobster, crab, and red algae.  Many scientists believe this powerful antioxidant gives marine life the energy to swim upstream.  For humans, it offers a number of health benefits including the power to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Astaxanthin helps bodies maintain normal blood sugars levels and more.

Oxidative Stress and Diabetes

Oxidative stress causes unstable free radicals called ROS (reactive oxygen species) to damage cells, tissues, and organs.  By stealing electrons from other molecules ROS transform the damaged molecules into more free radicals.  Oxidative stress plays a big role in diabetes, either through increased ROS levels or through a lack of antioxidants.   It occurs because of consistently high blood sugar, problems with the metabolism of carbohydrates, or limited release of insulin from the pancreas.

Related Ginger: A Diabetic's Best Friend

Important Research

Researchers from Japan found that astaxanthin reduces oxidative stress caused by chronic high blood sugar in pancreatic beta cells (the cells that produce insulin).  This allows the beta cells to make the correct amount of insulin when needed, improving the body's ability to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Another study from India found that increased blood sugar and excessive insulin resulting from a diet high in sugar and processed fat could be prevented with astaxanthin supplements.  The study also suggests astaxanthin might prevent the occurrence of more body fat, a fatty liver, or suppressed immunity in people with a diet high in processed fat and sugar.

More Reasons to Take an Astaxanthin Supplement

As if helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels wasn't enough reason to take a daily astaxanthin supplement, here are more benefits offered by this potent antioxidant.

  • Provides relief from pain and inflammation
  • Improves athletic endurance, muscle recovery, and strength
  • Supports good eye health
  • Boosts the immune-protective properties of white blood cells in the lymphatic system
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Two Time-Tested Knee Pain Exercises

by Health News

If you suffer from chronic knee problems you may be naturally inclined to do less exercise to keep the pain at bay. However, the best treatment for achy knees can actually be using them more by doing some special knee pain exercises.

Exercise strengthens the muscles around the knee joint which decreases stress on the knee and protects from strain or injury, according to the Chairman of Rehab Medicine at Cornell Hospital. However, you must use good technique and form when exercising for knee pain.

Knee pain exercises can help strengthen supportive leg muscles.

Exercises to Avoid if you have Knee Pain

Avoid lunges, deep squats, hurdler’s stretches and full arc knee extensions if you suffer from knee pain. These knee pain exercises can put unnecessary strain on the knee joints.

Secondly, never bend your legs so far that the knee sticks out beyond the toes as it puts intense pressure under the kneecap. Instead, build up knee muscle strength with the following knee pain exercises, working up to more repeats as you strengthen those weak knee muscles.

Knee Pain Exercise One

This knee extension exercise should be done when sitting on a chair with your back straight and feet placed firmly on the floor. Fold a towel and place it under your knees for extra support, then gradually lift the right leg, extending it to a horizontal position and hold. Count to three then bend the knee, lowering the foot to the floor again. Repeat with the left leg, using a controlled motion. Build up to 10 leg extension exercises per leg. You should notice the upper thighs working hard to perform this knee pain exercise. That shows that these muscles are being strengthened with the effort of the exercises.

Related: Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

Knee Pain Exercise Two

Once you have mastered the basic knee extension exercise, add ankle weights. You can buy ankle weights that fix around the ankle with Velcro. Start with two pound weights and increase over time to five pound weights. Use caution and listen to your body.

For this knee pain exercise you need to sit on a high work bench or sturdy table with your legs dangling freely. Lift the right foot with the weight up through 90 degrees until the leg is in a horizontal position. Hold for a count of three and then steadily lower the leg. Repeat with the left leg. Work up to 15 knee extension exercises for knee pain for each leg to build muscle strength and reduce those painful knees.

You’ll find a variety of extra knee pain exercises which will all help ease painful knee joints by building supportive muscle over time. 

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Make Herbs Part of Your High Blood Pressure Diet Plan

by IVL Products

High blood pressure (or hypertension) affects more than 3 million people in the U. S. each year. Because it doesn't typically produce symptoms, it is often called the "silent killer."  If left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart disease or stroke. While some prescribed medications reduce blood pressure, changes in the diet can help as well.  Adding certain herbs to the grocery list makes a natural alternative for a high blood pressure diet plan

To optimize a high blood pressure diet plan, add herbs to the grocery list.

Cardamom

A plant that comes from India, cardamom is part of the ginger family and often used in South Asian cuisine.  A study examining the health benefits of cardamom found that consuming a powdered form each day for several months lowered blood pressure in study participants. Cardamom makes a good ingredient for spice rubs, soups, and stews, and it brings a delicious and unique flavor to baked goods.

Celery Seed

Celery seed makes a great addition to a high blood pressure diet plan.  Tasting and smelling like its whole vegetable counterpart, the seed has been used since ancient times to treat hypertension in China, and several studies back up its effectiveness.  People consume the seeds, seed extract, or juice the whole plant to gain benefits.  Celery seed makes a good ingredient for soups, stews, casseroles, and salads.

Related -  Natural Weight loss: Three Spices For Weight Loss

Garlic

While garlic is known for its pungent aroma and bold flavor, it also offers medicinal properties. Because the active ingredient, allicin, relaxes and dilates blood vessels, garlic may help to lower blood pressure.  A scientific review of 21 studies found that dried garlic supplements containing specific amounts of allicin consistently lowered blood pressure in the people taking it.  Garlic makes a delicious ingredient in a variety of savory dishes from pastas to soups.

Yucca

An evergreen native to North America, yucca goes by the nickname "ghosts in the graveyard" due to its tall white flowering stalks.  People consume the whole plant ─ mashed, fried, and grilled ─ or its extract as a supplement.  A study examining the anti-inflammatory effects of yucca extract found that it reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and the incidence of migraine headaches.  Its anti-inflammatory benefits also help people with osteoarthritis, colitis, and poor circulation. 

In addition to adding flavor, certain herbs offer medicinal properties like the ability to lower blood pressure.  Cardamom, celery seed, garlic, and yucca all make good choices for a high blood pressure diet plan.  Whether using the whole herb or a supplement, consult with a health care professional first.  Used in large quantities, some herbs may interfere with certain medications or produce side effects.