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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.

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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.

Related:  Natural Energy Boost with Green Supplements

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.

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Why Sulfur May Be the Answer for Chronic Back Pain

by IVL Products

It may smell a bit like rotten eggs, but sulphur is the eighth most common element in the human body, and is found in almost all of our tissues. Despite this fact, there is no recommended daily allowance of sulfur provided by the government or health agencies, which could be a contributing factor to chronic back pain.

Look to sulfur for relief from chronic back pain.

About 70% of American adults have reported experiencing lower back pain, according to national health surveys.  When the pain persists for 12 weeks or longer and is more than a dull ache that sticks around long after the initial incident, it’s diagnosed as chronic back pain. The symptoms can be milder one day, and more severe the next, but they are always present.  This has led some in the medical community to believe that a dietary deficiency could be contributing to the problem.

Sulfur’s Role in the Body

Many of our biological processes depend upon sulfur to work correctly. It helps maintain the integrity of the cell walls and produce collagen and essential protein that makes up the support bands beneath our skin. Sulfur is also needed to produce connective tissue, keratin (the key component in hair and the outer layer of our skin) glucosamine and chondroitin, which are part of our cartilage, the crucial cushioning tissue between the bones in our joints.

Sulfur also plays a critical role in keeping our metabolism humming along efficiently. When we become sulfur deficient, our metabolism becomes defective, damaging muscle and fat cells; this can lead to becoming glucose intolerant. When that happens, there is a number of muscular and skeletal disorders that can result, such as inflammation and chronic pain.

Upping Your Sulfur Consumption

Getting more sulfur in your diet is important, whether or not you are suffering from chronic back pain.   Adding the supplement MSM to your daily diet could help alleviate chronic pain. 

Related: White Willow Bark For Safe And Effective Pain Relief

MSM stands for methyl sulfonyl methane and is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in human, animals and plants. It can be made manufactured into pill form or even a topical gel to help provide the correct daily dosage.  To date, MSM has proven to be non-toxic.

How Sulfur Can Help Relieve Chronic Back Pain

MSM has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the pain of inflammation in joints and muscles.  For this reason, it is often used to treat a variety of discomforts such as:

  • Leg cramps
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Constipation

One of the ways MSM relieves chronic back pain and other disorders is by inhibiting the transmissions of pain impulses along nerve fibers.  This helps to reduce inflammation that could be compressing a nerve, and reduces muscle spasms, contributing to lower back pain.

Sulfur in MSM also has the ability to dilate blood vessels for improved circulation, bringing more nutrients to speed up the healing of damaged tissue. What’s more impressive is MSM’s potential to make cell membranes more permeable, letting the body’s own natural painkillers into damaged areas.

By reducing inflammation, enhancing blood flow to more flexible cells to allow for faster healing, MSM could play a big role in not only relieving chronic back pain, but also with the loss of joint mobility from arthritis.

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Vitamins A, C and E Can Enhance Sunburn Protection

by IVL Products

When it comes to sunburn protection what you put in your body may be just as important as what you slather on your skin. Studies show that vitamins A (as beta carotene), C and E provide added protection to prevent skin inflammation and dryness related to UV ray exposure. This trio of vitamins is so effective that some have referred to it as “internal sunscreen.”

Vitamins A, C and E Can Enhance Sunburn Protection

Vitamins A, C and E are all potent sources of antioxidants which are the body’s first defense against inflammation caused by sun exposure and free radicals. Regular intake of these vitamins increases the skin’s resilience and ability to safely absorb UV rays. Fortunately, supplements containing all three of these vitamins are available online and in natural health stores.

Related: 5 Ways to Get Great Skin

Of course, the supplements are meant to be used in addition to topical sunscreen. Be sure to select sunscreens with all-natural ingredients such as plant oils, lavender, aloe vera and shea butter.

To maximize sunburn protection, try to schedule outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon. Wear a wide-brimmed and sunglasses that provide the maximum UV protection for your eyes. Drink plenty of water, stay hydrated!

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, but in many cases it can be prevented by using adequate sunburn protection. Use your sunscreen, wear your sunglasses and make sure you take advantage of Mother Nature’s “internal sunburn protection” by taking supplements that contain vitamins A, C and E.  A little bit of sunshine is good for the body and soul, so get outside and enjoy the beauty that is so abundant this time of year. 

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Can I Take Supplements with My Current Medications?

by Health News

There is no doubt that the Internet has made finding the answer to a vast array of questions easier than at any time in human history, but there is a very big "however," that must be addressed. Many people attempt to answer the question, "can I take supplements with my current medications?" on their own or by reading various websites. In short, tackling these issues on your own can be quite dangerous. In this article, we will look at why you should not attempt to determine for yourself which drugs you can and cannot take together. 

Related Article: Prescription Drugs Contain Chemicals That Accelerate The Aging Process

Supplements Can Be Very Powerful 
The word "supplement" can be applied to a wide variety of compounds. It is important to remember that many supplements are natural herbs and other compounds that are very, very powerful. In fact, many of today's most powerful drugs are actually just reverse engineered versions of natural compounds. Why? It is not possible to get a drug patent on a basic herb such as cinnamon that has been in use by humans for thousands of years. However, when a drug company makes their own version, there is a serious profit to be made.

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Drug Interactions Can Be So Complex that Medical Professionals Miss Them 
The issue of drug interactions is so complex that even skilled pharmacists get the answers wrong on occasion. When they do get the answers wrong, the results can be deadly. In fact, every year thousands of people die from interactions between prescribed and legal drug medications. It is important to remember that many of today's prescribed drugs are very powerful and are designed to work in a very specific fashion. Introducing different prescription drugs together can have a lethal result.

Unfortunately, many do not understand the dangers of mixing prescription drugs. Even skilled and knowledgeable people in the industry, such as scientists, doctors, researchers and pharmacists, can make dangerous mistakes where prescription drug interaction is concerned.

Your Doctor Must Know of All the Drugs and Supplements You are Taking

Supplements and drugs are not the same thing; however, your doctor absolutely must know all the drugs and supplements that you are taking. There are drugs that can interact negatively with what seems to be the most basic and simple of supplements. 
As a result, you should "play it safe" and make certain that your doctor knows and understands all the supplements and other drugs you are taking. Above all, don't try and resolve this issue on your own, as this is what you are paying your doctor and other medical professionals to do. 

Supplements can be a great way to improve your health, but they must be used judiciously and in a sensible fashion. If you are on medication, it is important that you access all the factors that can impact the performance of those drugs.

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Are Supplements Regulated by the FDA?

by theintituteforvibrantliving admin

Natural supplements are not governed like drugs, as they are not drugs at all. However, they can be just as potent and those taking daily supplements should understand what checks are in place to maintain standards and support good health. You should be particularly careful of starting a new regime of natural supplements if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have chronic medical conditions or are on medications. 

The FDA has rules concerning dietary supplements that allow manufacturers to claim a product supports health or addresses a deficiency. However, the manufacturer must make a disclaimer that the FDA has not evaluated the claim.

Related Article: 10 Tips for Purchasing High-Quality Nutritional Supplements

Herbal supplement companies must follow good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and meet quality standards. GMPs ensure the right ingredients are included to match the product label and ensure that dangerous substances, such as lead, are kept out. Once a product is on the market, the FDA monitors it for safety and has the power to remove it if deemed dangerous. 

The FDA requires natural supplement labels to show the name of the supplement, the name and address of the distributor or manufacturer, a complete list of ingredients and the serving size, amount and active ingredients. This makes it easy to compare similar products from different brands or research more information. 

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The best protection is to buy natural supplements from a reputable supplier who has been in the market for many years and has a good reputation. Buy from a company that has good information available on its products, is willing to answer questions and backs up its products with a fair, money-back guarantee. 

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How to Naturally Erase Age Spots

by Cindy Gray

Although age spots are harmless, these brown spots caused by the sun can be unsightly. But the good news is that there are several natural ways to help get rid of age spots.

First, you need to be sure that the problem is an age spot, or liver spot, and not something more sinister. Age spots are smooth and may be brown or black. If in doubt, get your doctor to check first that it is not a mole or other more dangerous skin issues such as a melanoma.

As age spots are caused by free-radical damage from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, it makes sense to treat them from the inside out.

Beta-Carotene for Age Spots

Free radical damage can be countered by eating foods high in antioxidants. Beta-carotene has been shown to be most effective as nature’s answer to how to get rid of age spots. Boost your diet with plenty of healthy foods such as carrots, kale, spinach, cabbage, sweet potatoes, squash, cantaloupe, mangoes and apricots. These natural fruits and veggies all have exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene to prevent age spots which are the result of free radical damage from the sun.

Related: Benefits of Mango: A Delectable Nutrient-Rich Powerhouse

Vitamin A for Age Spots

Research shows that higher levels of vitamin A can also help prevent, banish or fade age spots. Once again, sweet potatoes, carrots and dark leafy greens are a good natural source of vitamin A. It is also found in fish, liver and bell peppers, so there’s plenty of choice. The easiest way to ensure you have a daily dose of vitamin A is by taking spirulina in a greens-based powder. Just mix and drink – it’s that easy to get your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals.

How to Get Rid of Age Spots with Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a great natural aid for hyperpigmentation. As age spots are caused by the body producing melanin, a form of pigmentation, it makes sense to reduce age spots naturally with vitamin E. Take a daily supplement of vitamin E in the form of d-alpha tocopherol (400-600 IUs) for most people will be sufficient. However, those who are on insulin or have hypertension should take a lower dose of 100 IUs. 

These methods should all help fade ugly age spots. However, the best answer is to avoid getting age spots and other skin issues caused by the sun. Always wear an organic sunscreen of at least SPF15 whenever you go outside and save yourself from having those unsightly age spots on your hands and face in later life.

Remember to consume at least eight 8-ounce glasses of pure water each day.  Take good care of your skin on the outside by using a daily moisturizer, one filled with natural ingredients, and avoiding harmful ingredients such as petrolatum and dimethicone.   Don’t forget to remove dead surface skin cells by exfoliating with natural fine-grain sea salt mixed with water and a little natural liquid soap.  Another way to reduce age spots is by applying natural lemon juice to the surface of the skin.