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How to Improve Short-Term Memory – Tips and Tricks

by IVL Products

Many people get frustrated with their increasing forgetfulness as they age. It's quite common to forget names, conversations or where you have put things. If this sounds like you, we'll show you how to improve short term memory with some useful brain-training tips.

Brain games are a good aid to how to improve short term memory

What is Short-term Memory?

Short term memory is the area of the brain that stores small amounts of information for a short time. If you are a computer buff, think of it as the equivalent to your computer's random access memory (RAM). Your brain sorts through your short-term memory and assigns some information to your long-term memory, discarding the remainder.

Unfortunately, the human brain stops growing and starts to shrink in your 20s, so you actually have less active brain cells as you age. This natural aging process usually affects short-term memory primarily. For instance, you are likely to easily recall people and places from back in the past; it’s only more recent encounters that you have problems with i.e. those committed to short-term memory.

Although memory loss can be associated with Alzheimer's disease, stress or depression, it is often the result of the natural aging process. Learning how to improve short term memory will set your mind at rest, as well as that of your family.

Related:  Five Simple Tips to Naturally Improve Brain Health

How to Improve Short Term Memory by Training Your Brain

Studies show that people who keep their mind active can delay the onset of dementia and mental decline. To keep your brain active and your mind alert, read, write your memoir, learn a new language, do puzzles, write poetry or play card games, anything to keep the brain busy and happy.

Lumosity is a popular site for online brain training providing a great answer to how to improve short term memory. It provides cognitive tests in fun games designed by scientists. A 10-week study on 4,714 participants showed that those who did Lumosity puzzles regularly retained better mental agility than those who did regular crossword puzzles – interesting food for thought!

Memory Chunking

Scientists know that the human memory can easily recall seven random numbers; however, most telephone numbers, bank accounts and even passwords have more than this. The answer is to break down large numbers into easy chunks. If you have a 9-digit telephone number, remember it as three groups of three-digit numbers. Repetition and writing it down a few times should help you recall the number weeks later. Give chunking a try!

Memory Supplements

Many natural supplements and vitamins boost blood supply to the brain or help improve cognitive function. The B vitamins, particularly B6, B12 and B9 (folic acid) are shown to improve verbal ability and help the brain process new data.

Antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene fight the effects of free radicals and help protect the brain from damage. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of these important nutrients.  Avoid artificial sweeteners as well; studies show an alarming connection between them and reduction in brain health.

Finally, omega-3 fish oils support memory and brain function, so enjoy salmon, tuna and mackerel twice a week and keep taking those daily fish oil supplements. Now you know how to improve short term memory, don’t forget to follow it through!

Everyone Ages. Learn How to Do It Better. Free Resource Guide.

 

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Could You Be Vitamin Deficient?

by IVL

You may be surprised to know that even if you eat a healthy diet, you might be deficient in certain vitamins and nutrients. There are several reasons why.

First, conventional agriculture has depleted our soil of nutrients, and therefore so is the food that’s grown in it. Selenium is a good example of a mineral that is no longer found in high quantities in soil. Selenium is essential for your body to make glutathione—a powerful antioxidant—and for the repair of your DNA—both are very important to reduce your risk of cancer. Research shows that the incidence of cancer in various regions is directly linked to the amount of selenium in the soil. Areas with the highest selenium have up to a 50 percent lower incidence of certain cancers.

Next, your body can’t absorb nutrients from certain food sources as well as they can from others. For example, your body can’t absorb the calcium in dairy as well as it can from plant sources, such as spinach and kale. So if you rely on dairy rather than plants for all your calcium needs, you may be getting far less than actually you think.

Related Five Natural Anti-aging Solutions

Vitamin D is another great example of a nutrient dangerously low in most Americans. You can manufacture your own vitamin D by a reaction between your skin and sunlight, but most people can’t regularly get enough sun exposure to make enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed for thousands of reactions in your body. When your Vitamin D levels are low, your risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers is significantly increased.

For these and many other reasons, you may not be getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals, so taking supplements can be important. I recommend seeing a holistic physician to have your levels of nutrients checked. Your physician can then precisely prescribe the nutritional supplements that are best for your unique physiology.  

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Where Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Come From?

by IVL

According to studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, omega-3 fatty acids are among the most important nutrients we need for a healthy body and sharp mind. Not only do omega-3s lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, they also regulate cholesterol triglyceride levels, ease joint pain and support brain health. Let’s look at where these essential fatty acids come from.

Oily fish is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids

Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Although there is no official recommended daily amount (RDA) of omega-3 fatty acids, the American Heart Association recommends 1gram per day for people with heart disease, and 2-4 grams per day for those using Omega-3 to lower triglyceride levels. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

Fish

Fish and krill are the best sources of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the main omega-3 fatty acids we need for top health benefits. Enjoy fish in your diet two to three times a week to top up your levels of omega-3 fatty acids naturally. Sources include:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Sturgeon
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Freshwater trout

Unfortunately, many sources of fresh fish are polluted and contain traces of industrial toxins, poisons, heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Tuna, sea bass and marlin are known to have levels of mercury that exceed the amounts approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The exceptions to this potential health hazard are wild-caught Alaskan salmon and small fish such as sardines and krill that are lower down the food chain.

Even farmed salmon does not escape the problem of toxic pollution. In addition, the levels of omega 3 fatty acids it contains are only about half of that found in wild-caught fish.

Related:  Omega 3, 6 and 9: the Basics

Fish Oil

Fish oil supplements are an easy way to source omega-3 fatty acids. However, you need to check the source to avoid the same contaminants as fresh fish. In addition, fish oil supplements generally have lower levels of antioxidants than fresh fish.

Krill Oil

Krill are small marine creatures that have 48 times more potency for omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil. Krill naturally contains astaxanthin, which metabolizes with the EPA and DHA to make them more bioavailable in the body. In addition, krill fishing is completely sustainable and eco-friendly, making it a recommended source of those essential omega-3 fatty acids. 

What about Plant-Sourced Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Plant-sourced omega-3 fatty acids come from flaxseed, hemp and chia which all produce alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). This is converted into EPA and DHA in the body, but it is a much less efficient way of obtaining the required amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Although plant-based omega-3 does not have the possible dangers of metal toxins found in marine animals, you need sufficient enzymes for the body to convert the ALAs for use in the body.

The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is to choose a high quality fish oil supplements from a reputable company who source their omega-3 from certified, sustainable Alaskan fisheries. 

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What’s Causing Your Memory Loss

by Health News

Although memory loss is a normal part of growing older, we don’t have to accept this as inevitable. Understanding the causes of memory loss and taking action are the first steps to minimize memory problems before they escalate. As well as allowing you to enjoy a full life, preventing memory loss can also save on medical costs and worry down the road.

Word games can help reduce memory loss

Causes of Memory Loss

Age-related memory loss is commonly attributed to early stage Alzheimer’s and dementia, but it can be caused by other social choices and medical problems such as:

Memory Loss Symptoms

Memory loss is defined as becoming more forgetful than normal. The aging process means that older people may take longer to remember things, particularly names of people and places. You may become more forgetful and absentminded, starting off to get something and forgetting what it was you needed. This is very different from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which are a form of brain disease.

Related:  Sleep Plays a Vital Role in Brain Health

Reducing the Risk of Memory Loss

Although dementia is currently irreversible, there are plenty of ways to help you improve your memory and reduce forgetfulness. First of all, ensure you are eating a healthy diet and sleeping well. Saturated fat is known to impair memory and concentration, while fresh fruit and vegetables are high in antioxidants to protect the brain cells from damaging free radicals.

If you feel your memory loss is caused by certain medications, consult your doctor about substitutes. Keep a record of the days you feel particularly woolly headed and see if it improves with a change of medication or activity. Treating depression can be helpful if depression is the root cause of your poor memory, although antidepressants may contribute to memory loss.

Taking daily supplements can ensure that your memory loss is not caused by a vitamin deficiency. A lack of vitamin B12, for example, can lead to pernicious anemia. Symptoms include tiredness, a yellowish skin tone, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, difficulty maintaining balance and poor memory. Other health supplements are formulated to support brain health, cognitive function and memory.

Although our frenetic lifestyle means we have to remember far more in terms of passwords, multiple phone numbers and PINs, our brains are capable of far more than we ever require of them. Keep your brain active and alert with puzzles such as Sudoku or crosswords. Reading is another way to continually make use of words which can exercise and improve your memory.

Finally, try using mnemonics tricks using word association, rhymes, acronyms, colors and other devices to recall a word, name or information. It’s fun and with a little practice it can counter your memory loss.

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May be Vitamin E Deficient

by IVL

Vitamin E is a group of eight essential fat-soluble molecules that support a strong immune system. These antioxidants are used by cells in the body to carry out essential functions. Like many essential nutrients, a vitamin E deficiency can quickly lead to serious health problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, the body cannot produce vitamin E and must be consumed in your daily diet. Any deficiency means the body is unable to absorb healthy fats which can lead to nerve degeneration, muscle weakness, anemia and other serious issues.

Age spots may be a symptom of Vitamin E deficiency

See if you have any of the following five symptoms, which could mean you may need to increase your vitamin E intake.

Vitamin E Deficiency and Age Spots

Age spots are, as their name suggests, a natural part of aging. However, these dark freckle-like spots can be reduced by taking a 400 IU vitamin E supplement daily, and rubbing vitamin E oil on the spots before bed. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant known to aid tissue repair and slow the aging process, including the development of age spots.

Cataracts

Vitamin E deficiency can be responsible for poor vision, cataracts and retinal degeneration. If you have blurred vision or have difficulty seeing at night, a supplement will ensure that you are getting enough daily vitamin E to support and preserve your all-important eye health.

Related:  Antioxidants and Vision Health: Three Factors that Could Affect Your Vision

Lack of Sex Drive

Vitamin E is responsible for maintaining reproductive health and any deficiency can lead to miscarriages, infertility, impotence and other fertility problems. This vitamin also boosts circulatory flow to the genitalia and is important in the production of sex hormones, giving your libido a positive boost.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Any digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease or celiac problems can lead to a vitamin E deficiency as insufficient amounts are absorbed during the digestive process. If you suffer from any gastrointestinal problem, it is particularly important that you take a vitamin E supplement to boost intake. 

Dry or Thinning Hair

Vitamin E ensures good circulation which is essential for a healthy head of hair. Vitamin E deficiency may cause dry brittle hair or significant hair loss. Boost your intake by eating more beans (garbanzo beans make delicious hummus), nuts, seeds and olives in order to feed the scalp, nourish the hair follicles and boost blood circulation.

Even if you do not suffer from any of the above symptoms of vitamin E deficiency, you will benefit from a diet rich in vitamin E. It helps slow the aging process, reduces cardiovascular disease and maintains youthful-looking skin. That’s three good reasons to eat a healthy diet including eggs, broccoli, breakfast cereals, vegetable oils, fruit and vegetables. Alternatively, take a daily supplement that provides 100% of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin E.

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Prevent Heart Disease: Best Foods for Heart Health

by Cindy Gray

Heart disease continues to be a top killer of both men and women in the United States. However, just a few changes in your diet and lifestyle can dramatically lower your risk.

In this week’s video you learned about the heart health benefits of dark leafy greens, berries, and whole grains. Foods containing healthy fats are particularly protective such as avocados, wild caught salmon, nuts and olive oil. Certain spices contain strong anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that can lower your risk. Ginger and turmeric are two great examples. Garlic is also great for your heart. Many studies show that it lowers blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and has strong antioxidants that protect your blood vessels against damage. Just a few cloves a week can significantly lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes. If you prefer, you can take an aged-garlic supplement.

Related What are the Top 5 Anti-Aging Foods?

Certain drinks are great for your heart health too. For example, green tea decreases several cardiovascular risk factors including high cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as blockages in arteries. Studies show that drinking 5 or more cups a day can reduce your risk of death from heart attaches and strokes by 26%. If you prefer drinking coffee, you’ll be glad to know it can lower your risk too. Researchers found women who drink at least 2 cups of coffee per day have a 25% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Five cups or more a day can reduce stroke deaths by 36%.

Even certain guilty pleasure foods can lower your risk of heart disease. For instance, dark chocolate (60-70% cacao) contains strong antioxidants, which can lower blood pressure, raise your “good” HDL cholesterol, and prevent blockages in your arteries. Because chocolate usually contains sugar and is high in calories, limit the amount you eat to just an ounce or two a day.

Remember that heart disease is mostly preventable. By simply making some wiser food choices, you can profoundly lower your risk. 

Everyone Ages. Learn How to Do It Better. Free Resource Guide.

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Heart-Healthy Foods to Add To Your Diet

by IVL Products

Even though the number of American deaths attributed to heart disease has dropped, it is still the number one cause of death for adults in this country. Good dietary choices play a key role in preserving healthy cardiac function, but instead of focusing on what you should not eat, here’s a list of heart-healthy foods that are delicious, nutritious and good for your heart and your waistline. 

There is a direct correlation between the circumference of your waistline and your risk of heart disease. Belly fat is the most dangerous to your health and the hardest to remove.

Fishing for a Healthy Heart

The catch of the day keeps the cardiologist away. Fish should be a staple in your diet; and become a replacement for processed fatty meats like hamburger, sausage and bacon.  Not only are fish a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, they have the most abundant and most easily absorbed omega-3 fatty acids. The body does not produce this essential nutrient naturally, but it does a body good.  Eating fish two to three times a week will give you plenty of it. Salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are especially high in omega-3s, so be sure to put them on the menu.

Related:  Include Fish in Your Arthritis Prevention Diet

Go Nuts

Enjoying nuts regularly is a heart-healthy idea. Almonds and walnuts are heart-healthy foods to enjoy in moderation since they are high in calories.  Adding a handful to your cereal, salad or dipping your banana in some almond butter will give you a healthy dose of omega-3s, and the unsaturated fat and fiber will keep you satisfied longer. The healthiest nuts to eat are almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts and macadamias.

Flaxseed belongs in your diet along with a variety of nuts. They are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid, which is a fancy name for omega-3. These small but mighty seeds can be ground to replace some of the fat in baked items and sprinkled on top of salads or cereal to add a little crunch with significant benefits.

Be Fruitful and Thrive

Fruits high in vitamin C and fiber are also loaded with phytonutrients to help reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation due to obesity, environmental pollution and poor diet are a leading contributor to heart muscle damage.  Berries are particularly heart-healthy foods because they are not only sweet, delicious and plentiful, but contain copious amount of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Orange-hued fruits like oranges, tangerines, peaches and cantaloupe offer plentiful amounts of potassium and magnesium.

Veg Out

Mom was right when she said, “eat your vegetables, they’re good for you.” They come in so many varieties and you can eat as much as you want.  Be sure to avoid heavy cream or butter-based sauces or oily condiments.  Add these all-stars to your grocery list:

  • Asparagus – beta-carotene, folate and fiber
  • Broccoli- vitamins C and E, calcium and fiber
  • Spinach – iron, vitamins A, B2, C and K along with folate calcium, magnesium and potassium, just to name a few.

So, grill up some asparagus to pair with a salmon fillet, steam some broccoli or add a handful of spinach to your salads and you will be helping your heart and your waistline.

Carbs Count

The body cannot run on protein and fats alone. Carbohydrates are the key for high, sustaining levels of energy.  Starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal (toss a handful of nuts, seed and berries on top) is a great way to give your body the fuel it needs. The fiber in oatmeal will keep you feeling satisfied longer and keep cholesterol levels in check.  Steel cut is best and avoid instant varieties loaded with sugar.  

Enjoy Dessert

Yes, a heart-healthy diet includes dessert! It’s been called the fourth food group for good reason. Dark chocolate made from 70% cocoa is one of the healthiest treats you can eat. A one-ounce square daily offers soluble fiber, antioxidants, iron, magnesium and potassium, zinc and selenium. These are all nutrients that contribute to a healthy heart.  Like nuts, chocolate has a lot of calories, so a little goes a long way.

Here’s To Your Heart

Hopefully reading this has encouraged you to add these foods to your grocery list.  There are many other heart-healthy foods you can work into the mix, and consider supplements as an additional way to pump up your daily vitamin and mineral consumption.  

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Weakness: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by IVL Products

We can all experience physical weakness at times, perhaps after a serious illness, or when we’re tired, overworked or exhausted. Short-term weakness usually passes when the cause is rectified, whether it is lack of sleep, stress or fighting sickness. 

Weakness can affect the whole body

If you are experiencing ongoing weakness that does not seem to improve, you need to take steps to discover the cause and treat it. There are many possible causes of weakness including:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Anemia
  • Colds and flu
  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Low blood sugar
  • Stress

It could also be caused by more serious medical conditions such as cancer, stroke or heart attack.   

Related:  Heart Health Benefits of Meditation

Let’s first eliminate some simple possible causes of weakness:

Poor Diet causes Weakness

If weakness is due to poor diet or intense weight-watching, analyze what you are eating. You should be enjoying a balanced diet with adequate protein, carbohydrates and fat. According to the Institute of Medicine, 45-65% of our daily calorie intake (2,000 calories total for men and 1800 for women) should come from carbohydrates, preferably multigrain bread, brown rice, beans and lentils. Ten to 25% should be derived from protein such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products, and around 30% of our daily calories should be from healthy fats which the body uses for energy or stores as glucose.

Colds and Sickness

In winter, colds and flu can weaken the body’s immune system. The after effects of any virus, sickness or surgical procedure can leave the body feeling drained and weak. Try eating well and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to boost vitamin intake and antioxidants. Consider taking a multivitamin or supplement to ensure your body is getting all the help it needs to restore itself to full health again. Another easy way to boost energy is with a green drink or smoothie to help boost immunity, provide antioxidant support and improve digestion.

Other Causes of Weakness

Try to analyze whether you are suffering from full body weakness or isolated weakness. Think back to when the weakness first began and to what it may be related. If you cannot find an obvious cause for general weakness and it does not improve, you may need to consult a doctor.

If at any time your weakness is accompanied by difficulty breathing, then you should call 911 immediately, as it could indicate a more serious medical condition. Your doctor will determine the underlying cause and treat accordingly.

In the meantime, make sure you enjoy a healthy balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, enjoy daily exercise and any weakness should soon be a thing of the past. 

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How to Get Your Appetite Back on Track

by IVL

If you are not enjoying the food you eat, or if you’ve seemed to have simply lost your appetite, there could be a number of causes. Sometimes illness, depression, worry, poor nutrition or even medication can contribute to a loss of appetite. However, lack of nutrition can quickly create more serious medical issues, so it’s important to coax that appetite back. Here are some simple fixes for what to do for loss of appetite.

Our article is full of ideas for what to do for loss of appetite.

Supplements Can Help

It’s important to ensure you have the correct balance of vitamins and minerals every day, particularly when you are eating less. Take a daily multivitamin that offers complete nutritional support but also includes probiotics, antioxidants and enzymes. 

One of the signs of zinc deficiency is poor appetite so if you are wondering what to do for loss appetite, consider taking a zinc supplement. You can read more about zinc in this article by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.

Eat Little and Often

If you cannot face eating three full meals a day, try to overcome the problem by having six regular snacks, light meals or even liquid smoothies full of goodness. It’s a good way to recover your appetite without feeling bloated and too full.

Related:  Foods that Lower Blood Sugar:  Peanut Butter

Drink Water Between Meals

It’s always important to drink plenty of water, but having a drink at mealtimes can fill your stomach before you even start to eat. Instead drink plenty of fluids between meals.

Medications and Loss of Appetite

Some medications cause foods to taste “metallic” or strange. If meat tastes unpleasant, switch to other forms of protein. If water doesn’t taste right, add slices of fruit, lemon juice or herbs to improve the experience. Chewing gum, brushing your teeth or using an oral rinse before meals can help awaken taste buds.

Mental Issues

Sometimes appetite is all in the mind. It could be boredom with the same meals week in, week out, or that you simply “can’t be bothered” with mealtimes. In this case you need to give yourself a mental shake and break the negativity with some new recipes and eating experiences.

Eat with Friends

Eating alone can put a damper on food. The answer to the problem of what to do for loss of appetite may be a social one. Invite friends round for a light meal or BBQ and make the effort to dine with family at least once a week. Part of any pleasant social occasion is food. Once you begin to enjoy your food again, you will soon find your appetite is restored.

We hope we have given you plenty of new ideas for what to do for loss of appetite. Bon appetit!

 

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Your Tell-Tale Poor Diet Side Effects

by Cindy Gray

We all look at ourselves in the mirror at least once a day; so what do you see? Are you glowing with health or does your skin, hair and body show the effects of poor diet? 

Counter the effects of poor diet with a diet high in vitamins and antioxidants

So how does your skin, hair and body appear?  Check out these five tell-tale beauty signs:

Acne

Acne and spots is usually a sign of too much sugar and fat. The effects of poor diet, excessive processed and fried foods encourage pimples and spots to form underneath the oil glands in the skin and hair follicles. Treating pimply skin with external face washes, lotions and creams can treat the bacteria, but for long-term effectiveness and clear skin you need to eat a healthy diet with whole foods, fruits and vegetables.

Wrinkles

We can all expect wrinkles as we age, but the extent of those lines and wrinkles is entirely in your hands. Smoking is known to cause dry wrinkled skin, so it’s a good reason to quit. The sun's UV rays also cause premature wrinkles, so always use a sunscreen.

When it comes to the effects of poor diet, too much sugar causes inflammation and this can accelerate the natural aging process. On the other hand, antioxidant-rich foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables contain protective vitamin E. Oranges are full of collagen-producing vitamin C and avocadoes are loaded with hydrating monounsaturated fats to counter wrinkles.

Related:  The Effects of Poor Diet on Mental Health

Dry, brittle hair

Dry, damaged hair may be telling you that you need more protein, essential fatty acids (EFAs), zinc and vitamin C. Hair and nails are made from protein, so make sure you eat plenty of pork, broccoli, wheat germ and red peppers to provide keratin-producing cysteine for glossy locks and strong nails.

Dull ruddy complexion

Lifeless, dull skin says "too much caffeine; not enough water." Caffeine dehydrates while water, even with light fruit flavors, restores hydration. Remember that "eight glasses of water a day help keep the wrinkles away!"

Weak nails

A balanced diet is usually reflected in strong healthy nails so check that you are eating enough protein and vitamins (or taking a multivitamin supplement). Incidentally, white spots on nails are a sign that your diet is lacking zinc, so boost your intake of seafood and red meats to stimulate keratin formation. In the meantime, rubbing natural oils into the cuticle can help stimulate stronger nail growth.

Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, remember that "you are what you eat." Look for those tell-tale signs of deficiencies and the effects of poor diet and address them by changing to a natural healthy diet, before it’s too late.

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Foods for Weight Loss: The Science Behind the Grapefruit Diet

by Health News

It’s time to give the grapefruit diet another look. It may be more effective than you might think.  Grapefruit to help you lose weight is not a new idea, but more research is giving real weight to the anecdotal evidence that it is one of the best foods for weight loss.  Research shows that you can consume grapefruit regularly with few side effects, and lots of health benefits beyond weight control.

The infamous grapefruit diet has actually been around since the 1930s. Since anecdotal evidence has persisted for decades about the effectiveness of grapefruit as a food for weigh loss more research has been conducted to see if it really can have a positive effect on the body.

Effective foods for weight loss include the grapefruit.

The Bad News First

Grapefruit, grapefruit juice, nor grapefruit supplements are going to magically melt fat off your body without changing your eating habits or exercising.  No food or pill will do that. If there was such a thing out there we would all be lean and long-lived.

The reality that there is no one miracle food for weight loss is not a reason for dismay.  Certain foods can have a positive impact on your efforts to shed a few pounds and grapefruit is one of them.

The Good News

Besides weight loss there are many other good reasons to eat grapefruit.  It is a rich source of:

  • Vitamins C and A - both are powerful antioxidants
  • Potassium – a mineral that helps nerves and muscles communicate
  • Biotin – a B complex vitamin that helps the body synthesize fatty acids and glucose
  • Vitamin B1 –aka, thiamine, it helps the body convert food to fuel
  • Copper – necessary to aid the body in metabolizing iron and to form red blood cells
  • Pantothenic acid - aka vitamin B5, to help break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates and convert them energy

Grapefruit (not juice or supplements) also has lots of water and fiber to keep the body hydrated and the GI tract humming along normally.  Even if you don’t need to lose weight, you should be eating grapefruit.

Related:  Five Foods that Support Your Weight Loss Efforts

The Grapefruit Weight Loss Connection

The original grapefruit diet was pretty restrictive and thus doomed to fail.  In the various early versions of it the diet called for drinking the juice and eating grapefruit for every meal. Most of the diets also called for cutting out all sweets, most carbohydrates like vegetables, grains and cereals, which is not a healthy or sustainable eating plan.

The diet has evolved over the decades with different names like the Hollywood Diet and the 10 Days, 10 Pounds Off Diet. As with any temporary diet fad, it was ineffective over the long-term. 

Why the notion that grapefruit can aid in weight loss persists is studies like the one published in 2006 by the Journal of Medicinal Food.  The study was conducted with 91 obese participants divided into four groups.  Group one got a grapefruit capsule before every meal. Group two drank grapefruit juice daily. Group four ate a half of a grapefruit daily and the last group was given a placebo.

The results at the end of the study led researchers to conclude that grapefruit, the juice and the capsule did indeed aid in weight loss with the group that ate the actual fruit losing the most, an average of 1.5 pounds. Coming in at a close second and third was the grapefruit juice group who lost an average of 1.3 pounds and, finally, the capsule group who lost about 1.1 pounds.  The study participants who received the placebo lost a negligent 1/3-pound on average.

Also significant is the fact that all participants who received grapefruit in some fashion also had lower glucose insulin levels making it a potentially great choice for diabetics and anyone at risk for developing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Based on the results of this study several more were conducted.  One study showed grapefruit to be highly beneficial in slowing weight gain when consumed with fatty foods.

More research is needed but the current studies support grapefruit as a one of the best foods for weight loss when consumed regularly.  With lots of nutrients, filling fiber and water, adding a half or whole grapefruit to your daily diet makes good sense whether you are trying to lose weight or not.

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Three Cellulite Home Remedies for Tighter, Smoother Skin

by IVL Products

When it comes to physical appearance, few things frustrate women more than cellulite, and it is an equal-opportunity annoyance.  From teenagers to seniors, cellulite affects up to 90% of women at some point in life.  While connective tissue in men forms in a crisscross pattern, female connective tissue takes on a honeycomb shape.  Any extra fat tends to bulge out and create a dimpled effect on the skin, particularly on the stomach, hips, and thighs.  Women are always searching for ways to reduce the appearance of cellulite, and three cellulite home remedies show promise according to anecdotal and scientific evidence.

When it comes to cellulite home remedies, many women use coffee.  Instead of drinking it, they rub the grounds on their skin.

1. Coffee Grounds and Olive Oil

Women looking to reduce cellulite should try this easy recipe:  add 2 T of olive oil to 1/2 cup caffeinated coffee grounds, and heat in the microwave for 10 seconds.  Massage the mixture into the affected areas and wrap with plastic wrap.  Remove after 20 minutes.  For the best results, repeat the process two or three times per week for six weeks.

How it works:  The olive oil helps bind the coffee grounds to the skin, and the caffeine within the coffee dilates blood vessels, which improves circulation.  This gives cellulite-ridden skin a firmer, more toned appearance.

Related: Drinking Coffee:  The Benefits

2. Gota Kola

Several studies verify that oral consumption of Gota kola supplements makes one of the better cellulite home remedies.  For optimal results, people should take 30 mg of Gota kola three times per day.  Use it for six weeks or less with at least two weeks in between re-use.  People with liver disease or diabetes, or people taking diuretics should not use Gota kola.  Check with your health care practitioner if you have any concerns.

How it works: 

Called triterpenoids, the active ingredients in Gota kola help minimize the appearance of cellulite by strengthening connective tissue which makes skin thicker and improves its elasticity. 

3. Grape Seed Extract

An herb used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, grape seed extract is best known for its benefits to memory and cognitive function.  However, it also possesses antioxidants called proanthocyanidins that help reduce the appearance of cellulite.  People taking anti-coagulants or Phenacetin should not take grape seed extract.  Always check with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

How it works:

Active ingredients in grape seed extract enhance circulation by strengthening blood vessels and inhibiting elastase and collagenase, enzymes that can damage human connective tissue.  The recommended dosage for grape seed extract is 50 mg twice per day.

Factors that Contribute to Cellulite

In addition to cellulite home remedies, becoming aware of factors that contribute to cellulite can also help people reduce its appearance.  These factors include:

  • Dehydration
  • Excess body fat
  • Hormonal changes
  • Poor nutrition or fad dieting
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Slow metabolism
  • Skin color and thickness

While many women spend a fortune on creams, teas, and other products for fighting cellulite, the truth is, most of them don't work.  Three cellulite home remedies that have shown success come at a reasonable price and offer minimal side effects.  Before purchasing the latest wonder cure for cellulite, women should try coffee grounds and olive oil, Gota kola, or grape seed extract. 

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The Effects of a Poor Diet on Your Heart

by Cindy Gray

“You are what you eat,” is as true now as it was generations ago when the saying became popular.  A poor diet wreaks havoc on your entire body, but one area in particular that takes a beating is your heart.  

A poor diet can negatively impact the health of your heart.

First there was the low-fat diet craze, followed by the low-carb diet.  Despite all the natural fat in many foods being replaced by partially hydrogenated oils, also knows as trans fats, heart disease continued to top the list as the number one killer of men and women.  We all went on a low-carb diet to reduce our cholesterol and lose weight since fat-free didn’t seem be working and suddenly steak and bacon were back on the menu.  Little did we know, until now, that diet fads would cause more harm than good.

Research over the past decade has found that trans fats, the kind used in most processed foods, is the real killer.  All those low-carb foods were loaded with sugar so we could choke them down. Now we know the combination of highly processed foods loaded with sugar and trans fats are literally killing us.

Related:  Heart Health—The Benefits of Meditation

A nutrient poor diet high in trans fats, lots of sugar that send blood glucose levels soaring and copious amounts of sodium is linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.  Notice this theme:  poor diet leads to weight gain, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, which all increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Eat Hearty Meals

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to prevent these illnesses from happening in the first place.  What you eat can have a profound effect on your heart in a simple and delicious way.

Replacing fast foods and highly processed foods with healthy fats and foods with abundant vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will help stave off high blood pressure, bad cholesterol build up and prevent strokes and heart disease from developing.   Opt for fish like salmon, cod, herring or trout twice a week.  Choose lean cuts of chicken, pork and beef over those marbled with fat; keep portions sizes to about the size of your fist, and only eat them once or twice a week.

Nature provides in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only do these foods have a lot of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they are low-fat, contain healthy glucose that does not lead to sugar-spikes and then crashes, and are full of fiber. Eating them instead of processed foods will help you keep your weight in check. You will not only feel good, but look that way too.

Heart Supplements

It is nearly impossible to get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.  A combination of a healthy diet and taking supplements is necessary to meet your dietary health goals each day.  Choosing a supplement with fish oil, Resveratrol, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and quercetin is an easy way to get these heart healthy substances into your body every day.

Trading a nutrient poor diet for one that is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but low in trans fats and carbs, will help promote longevity and a healthy heart. 

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The Connection between Perimenopause and Stress

by IVL Products

Research shows that perimenopause and stress due to life circumstances often coincide in one’s late 30’s and early 40’s.  As hormones begin to fluctuate and progesterone levels decline, women may be secreting increase cortisol, which further interrupts their body’s production of progesterone and can put them onto a merry-go-round of stress.

Perimenopause and stress have a profound connection

When Perimenopause and Stress Combine:  A Vicious Cycle

It can actually begin as early as a woman’s late 30’s even though her menstrual cycle stays consistent.  This often coincides with some of the most stressful years in a woman’s life.  At this age many woman are hitting new highs (or lows) in their careers, but also raising teenagers, and perhaps caring for aging parents. Rates of divorce are shown to be particularly high for women in their late 30’s and early 40’s, increasing an already stressful time of life.  

What many women may not realize is that the production of progesterone begins to decline as early as the 30’s and continues to do so well into the late 40’s.  On the flip side, estrogen levels can begin to escalate, throwing the female body out of balance. Too little progesterone and an excess of estrogen is made worse by the demands of modern living. 

To make matters worse, when we are stressed we tend produce more of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol, which further inhibits the production of progesterone and can lead to what’s known as estrogen-dominance and even more stress!

When progesterone and estrogen are balanced, a woman’s mood and menstrual cycle are usually consistent. However, when progesterone begins to decline, the excess of estrogen can lead to the following:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues
  • Heart palpitations
  • Food cravings
  • Water retention and bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased ability to focus
  • Depression

Mood Swings

Often these symptoms are dismissed as PMS, but may very well be a result of perimenopause and a progesterone deficit. This is most likely the case if these symptoms tend to pop up throughout a woman’s cycle, instead of just a few days before her period starts, which is consistent with pre-menstrual syndrome.

Related:  A Guide to Bioidentical Hormones

The Role of Progesterone in the Body

Progesterone is the ying to estrogen’s yang. When in harmony these two hormones keep a woman’s cycle consistent and prepare her body for childbirth. When progesterone levels drop and estrogen levels rise, ailments like those listed above can begin to make a woman doubt herself and often her sanity.  She may experience more bouts of crying over things she would not normally be so bothered by. Many women report feeling more depressed even though their life is going well and nothing significant has changed for them. They may also be confused as to why they can’t seem to concentrate on the task at hand and feel more anxious than normal.

These perimenopause and stress symptoms are because the tranquilizing effects of progesterone have begun to fade with the decline in production of this crucial hormone.  It’s well documented by the medical community that progesterone has a calming, sedating effect on the brain and can even be an anesthetic when taken in high doses.

Take the Progesterone Quiz

Well, the first step is to determine if you are experiencing regular ol’ PMS or in actual perimenopause and lacking adequate progesterone.

  1. Are you in your late 30’s to mid-40’s?
  2. Do you get more headaches than you used to through out the month, not just right before your period starts?
  3. Are you having difficulty concentrating or remembering things lately?
  4. Are your breasts tender more than usual, not just a day or two before your period starts?
  5. Do you feel anxious or worried about things you never stressed over before?
  6. Do you feel irritated or angry more often than you used to?
  7. Have you been feeling unhappy or sad but unable to pinpoint why?
  8. Do you frequently feel overwhelmed and stressed out as you go about your normal daily activities?

If you answered yes to more than three of these questions you are probably in the early stages of perimenopause.   There are a lot of other reasons you are experiencing the symptoms in this quiz and they are not the most obvious symptoms of perimenopause and actual menopause like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and a decreased interest in sex, so you may have not considered that you have started “going through the change.”

Perimenopause and Stress Management

Perimenopause and stress are normal life circumstances for nearly every woman around the globe. Once you have identified why you are more anxious than usual there are several things you can do to boost low progesterone levels and manage the stress and anxiety that it is causing.

  • Talk to you doctor to determine if something else could be responsible for your symptoms.
  • Exercise regularly.  Brisk walks, yoga and swimming, are all low-key activities that can promote relaxation and relieve stress. More vigorous exercise like Zumba classes, running or tennis can also help you manage stress, weight gain (which is stressful) and keep cortisol levels in check.
  • Make time to relax and unwind. Try meditation, Tai Chi or just clear a few minutes in your schedule every day to take some deep breaths and relax.
  • Watch what you eat. As progesterone levels decrease, weight can increase so be mindful of portion sizes.  Opt for fresh fruit and vegetables as much possible.  Enjoy soy products with isoflavones, tart cherries with melatonin and antioxidants, and chamomile tea to promote relaxation.  Limit your consumption of highly processed foods, sugary treats and fried entrees, which can worsen symptoms. Also, limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume, which can increase stress levels.
  • Consider supplements to help you restore hormonal levels in your body. Black cohosh, flaxseed and wild yam have been shown to help relieve the unpleasant symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

It’s NOT All In Your Head

If you feel like you are going crazy some days, overwhelmed on others and just good old-fashioned mad for no reason, there is a reason!  It’s not all in your head. Once you realize your connection between perimenopause and stress you can take action.  With a new awareness, some lifestyle changes and supplements you can balance your hormones for smoother sailing through perimenopause, and ultimately menopause.

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Do You Need to Invest in B Vitamins? Take This Quiz about the Benefits of B Vitamins

by Health News

If you are unsure about the benefits of B vitamins, take our quiz to see if you need to be getting more B’s in your diet. 

Q: Do you feel like you are not as strong as you used to be? Do you commonly lose your keys or having trouble remembering how to get home from a store you’ve shopped at for years?

A: Weak muscles, fatigue and low energy are symptomatic of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Confusion, feeling depressed, and having trouble remembering things that you can’t imagine ever forgetting are also signals.

Your body needs vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your cells to be converted into energy. A low red blood cell count means your cells become starved for air and your body shuts down your muscles to conserve energy. Brain cells that are deprived of oxygen begin to die off, leading to reduced cognitive function like memory loss and confusion.

To get the 6 mcg recommended daily amount (RDA) of B12 in your diet every day, eat eggs, dairy products, meats and fortified foods. Vegans should take a supplement. 

Q: Do you have cracked skin at the corners of your mouth that no amount of moisturizer will heal?

A: A vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with a variety of skin ailments including painfully cracked skin at the corners of your mouth called cheilosis. A lack of vitamin B6 is also associated with an inflamed tongue, sores around the mouth, painfully cracked lips, and greasy or dry, flaky, peeling skin.

A vitamin B6 deficiency is pretty uncommon in the U.S. since many foods contain it. Since a deficiency in the vitamin also known as pyridoxine or pyridoxamine can also cause nerve damage, fatigue, and loss of balance—so getting the 200-milligram RDA is essential for good health. You can find it in nuts, chicken, fish, most vegetables, and bananas.

Q: Are you running to the bathroom more frequently?

A: Loose stools due to Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s or celiac disease can cause a folic acid or B9 deficiency.  Being deficient in B9 is linked to anemia, fatigue, gray hair, mouth sores, and tongue swelling. 

Children who do not get enough folic acid may experience growth problems and pregnant women are at higher risk for delivering a low-birth weight baby.

You can get plenty of folic acid in your diet from foods like tomato juice, eggs, asparagus, chicken and pork and fortified cereals.

Related:  Hearing Problems Linked to Folate Deficiency Study Finds

Q: What do widespread muscle pain, constipation and loss of sensation in the hands and feet have in common?

A: These are all common symptoms of a thiamine or vitamin B1 deficiency.  The disorder is uncommon in the U.S. and tends to be a problem in countries where white rice is the main food source like South East Asia.  The bran in the outer covering of white rice is where the much-needed thiamine resides.

In the U.S. and in developed countries alcoholics are at risk for developing health issues due to a vitamin B1 deficiency.  However, if you consistently eat a diet of high carbohydrate low-nutrient foods like pretzels, chips, candy and most other common junk food items, you could be at risk for neurological disorders. Instead of vending machine fare, choose eat whole grain breads, peas, beans and fortified foods.

Q: Are your eyes itching, watering, bloodshot, and suddenly light sensitive?

A: If you are experiencing any of those problems with your eyes and have eliminated allergies as the culprit, you may be lacking enough vitamin B2 or riboflavin in your diet.

Riboflavin is essential for many metabolic processes in the body including normal cell growth and functioning, helping other B vitamins undergo the chemical changes necessary to be used by the body and is a powerful antioxidant. 

In addition to vision problems, a lack of vitamin B2 is also linked to skin disorders, anemia, and swelling of the throat and tongue. You can get plenty of it (0.5-0.6 mg/day) in your diet by eating dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, milk cheese and yogurt, whole grains and meat.

Related: 

Q: Are you feeling unusually fatigued even after a full night’s sleep and a cup of coffee?

A: You could be deficient in any number of the B vitamins. A lack of them in your diet causes anemia, which is characterized by muscle weakness and extreme fatigue. B vitamins are essential for helping the body convert food into energy and supply your cells with oxygen for energy.  Because the B’s work together in the body, not getting enough of one kind means you may not be metabolizing others leading to a variety of health issues.

B Happy

The benefits of B vitamins are well researched and documented. Getting enough of them in your diet is fairly simple. If you consume a variety of lean meats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, there is no reason you can’t B very happy and healthy!

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Top Three Supplements to Heal Vision Problems

by Cindy Gray

Some vision loss is normal as we age. However, you can help preserve good vision and ward off cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and vision problems by eating foods and taking supplements with three important nutrients.

Vision problems can be tackled with the right supplements

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Around the world more than 25 million people are affected by cataracts or AMD, which is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 55 in western society.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that filter damaging high-energy blue wavelengths of light.

Cataracts are caused by oxidation of the lens in the eye making it cloudy. Lutein and zeaxanthin act like antioxidants in the eye, helping to neutralize the free radicals that cause cataracts and maintain healthy eye cells. Recent research even found that combining vitamin E with lutein and zeaxanthin decreased the risk of developing cataracts even more. 

The human body does not synthesize these nutrients so we have to get them through our diet and supplements. The best sources are green leafy vegetables like:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Corn
  • Green peas
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Eggs
  • Oranges

Astaxanthin

This red pigment that comes from marine algae is getting a lot of buzz as one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants could be very beneficial for warding off vision problems.

Age, diabetes, glaucoma and other degenerative eye diseases affect millions of Americans each year. Other contributors to vision problems are exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, inflammation and glycation (when sugar in the blood stream attaches to proteins forming harmful new molecules).  Taking astaxanthin has shown to protect retinal cells, reduce oxidative stress and slow down advanced AMD.  It also helps restore normal pressure in the eye when glaucoma has caused a dangerous billed up of fluid and pressure there.

Taking astaxanthin with lutein and zeaxanthin has been shown in research studies to improve visual acuity and contrast detection in people with early signs of AMD.

RelatedParsley for Macular Degeneration and Vision Problems

Seeing Is Believing

If you are over the age of 55, have a history of glaucoma or cataracts in your family, taking these three supplements could help you keep vision problems at bay. If you are already showing symptoms of AMD, cataracts or other vision problems, these three supplements in conjunction with prescription medications could help heal your sight.

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Antioxidants and Skin Health: Three Steps to Consider

by Cindy Gray

Most folks know that eating foods and taking supplements with antioxidants are good for them.  Those critical nutrients found in vitamins like A, C and E are good for you, both inside and out.  

Consuming antioxidants and skin health go hand in hand, so to speak, and in just a few easy steps you can keep your skin looking younger for longer.

1. Layer It On

We are exposed to sunlight from our earliest days of life. Wearing sunscreen religiously every day is the best way to protect your skin from the ravages of the sun. However, most of us tend to skip it now and then.  And you may recall experiencing some sunburn back when you were just a kid. 

Those dark spots, dry patches and wrinkles are the result of cell damaging free radicals, which are molecules that have lost an electron.  Feeling bereft, these free radical molecules steal from healthy cells, which starts a chain reaction that eventually damages the cell leaving the evidence of their crime on your face in the form of wrinkles and sunspots.

If you neglected sun protection when you were younger, there is something you can do about it now.  Eat foods and take supplements rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E.  They contain nutrients that generously give free radicals the electron they so desperately want, thus halting their cell damaging thievery and restoring healthy skin cells.

2. Don’t Fan the Flames

The body’s natural response to cell damage is to ignite a fire—such as inflammation—to try to destroy whatever is causing the trouble. Most people suffer from chronic inflammation caused by sun exposure, smoking, and consuming too many sugary foods and drinks, along with the daily activities of life.

Over time, the inflammation takes a heavy toll on the body, especially the skin, leaving it dry, red and sometimes with a pimple or two to add insult to injury. 

Consuming antioxidants is like throwing a bucket of water on the fire. They quench the burn and help damaged cells repair themselves.

3. Eat Drink and Be Healthy

Here is a list of the top antioxidants that should be included in your healthy skin diet:

Lycopene

Known as a carotenoid, it is what gives certain food a red hue.  Lycopene helps improve the texture of your skin by supporting collagen production (a protein that makes up the support bands beneath the dermis) while it reverses free radical damage that causes wrinkles.  You can find it in cooked tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruit and sweet red peppers.

Related:  Royal Jelly For Skin:  Your Skin's Best Friend

Vitamin C

This essential nutrient is showing to be a powerful weapon in the war on aging. It works as an antioxidant and collagen booster to help reverse the signs of aging by smoothing out wrinkles and encouraging healthy skin cell turnover to shed those dark spots for clearer, younger looking skin. You can find it in citrus fruits like oranges, kiwis and strawberries.

Vitamin A

This antioxidant plays an important role in bone growth, reproduction and keeping the immune system healthy. It also helps undo the damage from sun exposure by neutralizing free radicals. You can find it in sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and spinach.

Because too much vitamin A can be toxic, it’s best to get it from your diet rather than supplements.

Vitamin E

Since sun damage is the top producer of free radicals that damage skin cells, vitamin E is a critical antioxidant for skin health.  When combined with vitamin C, it is very effective at protecting skin from UV damage by halting inflammation and limiting DNA damage.  It is also known as a-tocopherol so check for it on the ingredients list when choosing an antioxidant-rich supplement.  You can find it in abundance in foods like vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, asparagus and spinach.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin and has shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It is especially helpful in getting rid of sunspots due to its depigmenting properties. Find it in pork, chicken and fish like tuna, farmed salmon and halibut or swordfish.

The Skin-ny:

Antioxidants and skin health are intertwined so if you want to keep your complexion radiant, eat foods rich in antioxidants and pop supplements with these essential nutrients. 

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Antioxidants and Vision Health - Three Factors That Could Affect Your Vision

by IVL Products

What you eat may have a significant effect your vision. Research by the National Eye Institute (NEI) found eating foods and supplements with antioxidants and vision health are very closely related.

Antioxidants and vision health are very much connected

Here are some of the different foods and supplements loaded with antioxidants to help assist the body for improved vision health.

1. Taking Supplements

Losing visual acuity is a normal and largely unavoidable result of natural aging.  Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes nearly 10 million Americans to suffer permanent vision loss. Approximately two million cataract extractions (surgery) are performed annually. In some people, AMD causes a slow loss of vision over a long period of time, while for others it can cause a rapid loss in vision.

 In the NEI study, antioxidant vitamins and zinc supplements “reduced the risk of developing advanced AMD by about 25% in the study subjects who were at a high risk for developing the advanced stage of this disease.”

The study went on to say that those in the high-risk group for AMD taking the supplement also reduced vision loss by approximately 19%.  The researchers concluded that taking supplements with high doses of antioxidants could be a very effective way to could delay progression of AMD, especially those who are already at a high risk for developing it like:

  • Those over the age of 55
  • Anyone who has a family history of the disease
  • People who have high blood pressure
  • Those who are obese
  • Smokers

If you are at risk for age-related macular degeneration or cataracts, eating a diet rich in antioxidants could save your sight!

2. Free Radical Exposure

It should come as no surprise that eating foods with antioxidants and vision health are related.  The research and medical community has long known that antioxidants are the number one way to slow down the aging process from deep inside the body to the outer most layer of the skin.

Free radicals, those cells that made up of a molecule with an oddly-unpaired electron, are very unstable molecules that have lost an electron. They then attack the nearest stable molecule with a full set of electrons in its outer shell, stealing an electron, and rendering the mugged molecule unstable.  This can cause a chain reaction that eventually disrupts the viability of a living cell.  Free radical damage accumulates with age and is sped up by lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive sun exposure, and environmental pollutants.

Antioxidants are nutrients that neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons and ending its electron-thievery.

Eye cells are delicate and years of free radical exposure can cause them to begin dying off, leading to vision loss and even total blindness.

RelatedThe Eyes are the Mirrors of your Health

3. Proper Diet

There are three main antioxidant vitamins: vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, which are converted by the body into vitamin A.  Many fruits and vegetables contain these vital nutrients that could greatly reduce your chances of AMD and other eye-related diseases.

Berries

Blue, black, raspberry, cranberry, and strawberries are a sweet way to get a healthy dose of antioxidants everyday.  Besides vitamins C and E, they also have other health benefits to benefit the entire body, so toss them in your breakfast cereal, salads and yogurt and you could be seeing “berry” well into your golden years.

Prunes

These are not just something your grandmother eats to stay regular anymore. These dark purple gems ranked the highest in antioxidants according to a Kansas State University Study. They may not look pretty, but if you are not eating them regularly, you won’t be able to see them anyway.

Walnuts and Pecans

A mere ounce of these tree nuts has an ample amount of antioxidants in cholesterol- and sugar-free bite-sized portions that are great companions alongside the aforementioned berries in many dishes. You would be nuts not to add them into your diet on a regular basis.

Spinach

This dark leafy green is not only a great source of antioxidants (fresh or cooked) but it also boasts a dose of iron, too.  In addition, kale, Brussels sprouts and even broccoli are rich in antioxidant power for healthy peepers.

Artichoke Hearts

These weird looking plants don’t resemble anything edible, but dig deep to get at the heart of the matter and you will be getting a good dose of antioxidants, along with fiber and other vitamins and minerals.

Green Tea

Tea for two, please—your left and right eye, that is.  This light, mild tasting beverage that is delicious served hot or cold is an easy way to sip a few antioxidants into your diet. If tea is not your thing, good old-fashioned coffee runs a close second in the category of best beverages with antioxidants for the eyes.

Eye Heart Supplements

The NEI study found that most Americans’ diets fall far short of the levels of antioxidants necessary to slow down age-related macular eye disease.  It can be difficult enough to include the abundance of fruits and vegetables needed to get the necessary antioxidants to be effective against vision loss, but with such strong research linking antioxidants and vision health, adding a supplement to your daily routine just makes good sense. See?

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Battle Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Two Red Superfoods

by IVL Products

Modern life comes with jam-packed schedules, making people more tired than ever.  While occasional fatigue is normal, chronic fatigue is not, especially when severe.  If people experience debilitating physical and mental fatigue that lasts for more than six consecutive months, they may have chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS.  Additional symptoms associated with CFS include poor memory, headaches, sore throat, and pain in the muscles or joints.   

Watermelon contains an array of nutrients that may benefit people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Cause and Treatment

Experts have yet to identify a lone cause, but some think chronic fatigue syndrome may develop from a number of triggers including immune disorder, infection, stress, trauma, or toxins.  While there is no known cure for CFS, treatment involves a number of strategies including cognitive-behavioral therapy, moderate exercise, sleep management techniques, and good nutrition.  A wholesome diet may help prevent or relieve symptoms of CFS.  Two red fruits in particular offer many benefits.

Red Apples

Red apple skins are a rich source of the antioxidant, quercetin.  This potent flavonoid helps fight free radicals that can cause cell damage and disease, and it raises energy levels by enhancing the immune system and increasing the number of mitochondria in cells. 

Studies on trained athletes show that treatment with quercetin supplements can boost endurance.  Another study from the University of South Carolina at Columbia tested the endurance of somewhat-active college students on an exercise bicycle.  After taking 500 mg of quercetin twice a day for one week, cycling endurance improved as well as lung function in all students.  The lead author of this study indicated the results might be good news for people suffering from energy-draining conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome.

Related:  Magnesium Deficiency and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Watermelon

While tomatoes offer a rich source of lycopene, scientists at the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory (SCARL) in Lane, Oklahoma have shown that watermelon offers even more.  This powerful antioxidant and others in watermelon help fight harmful free radicals that contribute to disease.  Nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin B1, magnesium, potassium, and L-citrulline found in watermelon also help people with CFS by boosting energy levels by as much as 23 percent.

Conclusion

A nutritious diet helps prevent a wide range of health problems.  Additional red superfoods that may help prevent or relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, and raspberries.  In addition to whole fruits and vegetables, people with CFS should add lean poultry, wild fatty fish, whole grains, nuts, and seeds to the shopping cart.  It helps to eliminate processed foods and sodas and drink plenty of pure, clean water.  People with CFS shouldn't smoke, and they should limit consumption of alcohol.   

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A Guide to Antioxidants and Brain Health

by IVL

Capable of thinking, reasoning, remembering, and more, the human brain is what distinguishes people from animals.  In terms of organs, the brain is our best asset, which is why taking care of it is so important.  When it comes to natural protection for the brain, "antioxidant" is a term that comes up often, but many people don't understand what antioxidants do and where to find them.  This guide to antioxidants and brain health may shed light on these powerful natural compounds, where to find them, and how they impact brain health. 

To understand the benefits of antioxidants, it helps to know about free radicals.  Byproducts of normal body processes and environmental influences like smoking and pollution, free radicals are unstable molecules that scavenge other molecules.  While some free radicals that destroy viruses and harmful bacteria prove beneficial to the health, too many free radicals can cause disease and promote aging in any area of the body including the brain.  Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, and three in particular offer excellent benefits for the brain.

Berry Flavonoids

A review study published in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry examined prior cellular, animal, and human research for the effects of berries on brain health.  The researchers concluded that flavonoids found in berries protect cells from free radical damage and change the way neurons communicate in the brain.  This helps prevent inflammation that can lead to neuron damage and enhances cognition and motor control.

Related:  How to Spice Up Your Memory with Turmeric

Curcumin

A potent ingredient found in the spice turmeric, curcumin packs a number of important health benefits including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is why it has been investigated for its effect on neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease.  Animal studies show treatment with curcumin lessens the effects of glutathione depletion, a condition associated with early Parkinson's disease.  Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant made by the body, and depletion leads to oxidative stress and an overabundance of free radicals. 

Lipoic Acid or Alpha-Lipoic Acid

When it comes to antioxidants and brain health, lipoic acid makes a powerful protector for several reasons.  It passes freely through the blood-brain barrier, and it destroys free radicals.  It also helps regenerate vitamin C and vitamin E, two antioxidants that become compromised when fighting free radicals.  People can obtain lipoic acid through foods like spinach and broccoli or take the synthetic version alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) as a supplement.

Research on very old mice treated with ALA showed reduced oxidative stress and improved learning and memory.  Humans with Alzheimer's disease who were treated with a combination of ALA and omega-fatty acids showed less cognitive and functional decline than subjects treated with placebo.

Conclusion

People who learn about antioxidants and brain health take the first step toward keeping the mind active and healthy well into the golden years.  Food and supplements containing potent antioxidants help keep inflammation, oxidative stress, and free radicals at bay for sharper focus, quicker thinking, and better memory.