0 Comments

Five Tips to Avoid Constipation While Traveling

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Nothing can take the fun out a vacation faster than suffering from constipation. If it happens to you, rest assured, you are not alone.  Bowel movement issues are very common among travelers so it’s important to follow these five healthy travel tips to keep you regular.

Healthy traveling without constipation

Change Is NOT Always Good

Preparing for a trip and traveling, even if it is on vacation, can be very stressful. If you turn to junk food, skip meals or are feeling stressed, this can cause irregularities in your bowel movements.  Often, using unfamiliar bathrooms can induce anxiety.  Just not following your normal routine can contribute to constipation.

Maintaining healthy eating and drinking habits while preparing for and traveling can help you avoid traveler’s constipation.  Find a food vendor that offers fresh salads, fruit and high fiber cereals or breads and skip the fast food restaurants in the terminal or on the road. If possible, pack your own healthy high fiber snacks to munch on during the flight, train ride or car trip.

1. Dehydration Nation

The TSA won’t let you bring water through security and buying airport bottled water is expensive, so you might be tempted to let yourself get a little dehydrated. If you are road tripping you might drink less to avoid frequent bathroom stops; not a good thing!

Drink plenty of clear fluids, namely water, and save the alcoholic or sugary sodas and cocktails for a special occasion. You may also want to limit your caffeine intake for the duration of your trip, too. It can act as a diuretic and you need adequate water in your bowels to form normal stools and pass them regularly.

Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it at a drinking fountain once you clear security. Sip, don’t gulp, throughout the day and plan accordingly for adequate bathroom breaks.

Related:  Dangers of Laxative Overuse for Chronic Constipation

2. Bacteria Is Your Friend

If you are not regularly taking a probiotic supplement you should be. These gut-healthy bacteria are essential for good digestion.  Before your trip, start taking them and pack them in your suitcase. They will keep your immune system strong and aid in digestion so you don’t end up with stubborn bowels that won’t move.

Try to include foods on your trip that are rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (a spicy fermented cabbage) too.

3. You Got To Move It Move It!

The last thing on your mind when traveling might be exercise. Who has time for that?  You do!

You don’t have to run several miles or go to a boot camp class, just choose stairs instead of the elevator once in awhile, walk to and from dinner, plan an activity that incorporates some walking, hiking or just hit the hotel pool for a few laps.  Mild to moderate exercise keeps your metabolism revved up and increased circulation will wake up sluggish bowels while encouraging you to drink plenty of fluids.

4. Don’t Sugar Coat It

Your bowels do not need a layer of sugar when they are already a bit stressed from travel.  Cut back on the sweet stuff and you’ll most likely keep them humming along just fine. It’s easy to over-indulge while on vacation and airport sweets might be tempting, before you board a morning flight, but resist the temptation! 

Pack your own healthy snacks like almonds, a clementine, apple or snack-sized package of whole grain crackers and save the sugar indulgence for the end of your trip.

5. Go Green

Green foods like broccoli, lettuce, peas, asparagus and spinach will make for a much more pleasant trip. Having a few salads with fresh fruits and vegetables will help you stay hydrated and full of fiber; essential for avoiding constipation.

Try eating a small salad or munching on some raw broccoli before meals to ensure you get in your greens. You’ll stay regular and slimmer on your trip.

Following these healthy travel tips can be the difference between the best trip ever, or an unpleasant journey marred by the pain and bloating of constipation.

0 Comments

Holy Basil: A Divine Answer to Stress Management

by Institute for Vibrant Living

All hail holy basil! This potent herb has many health benefits, some of them being reduced feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.  It has a long history of use around the globe for not only being physically, but mentally healthy, as well, and could be very beneficial for stress management.

Holy basil for stress reduction.

History

Holy basil is closely related to the more familiar sweet basil used in many dishes, especially in Italian cooking; and is from the mint family.  It is a shrub with fuzzy stems and leaves and native to Eastern tropical parts of the world. In India and Hindu countries, it is considered a sacred plant, thus the name holy basil.  It’s been grown and cultivated in India for the past 3,000 years and is revered for being a plant that can heal the body, mind and spirit.

Ayurvedic medicine has included the use of holy basil (aka tulsi) because of its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, among others. It is used to treat physical ailments like headaches, upset stomach, insect bites, skin rashes, and to calm nerves and help one sleep better.

Holy Health Benefits

Western medicine has begun to offer evidence that holy basil extract can dramatically reduce symptoms of general stress like:

  • Exhaustion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual/libido issues

The benefits of the herb administered in an extract proved to be effective after only six weeks of use in one study. 

Another study in 2008 used holy basil to evaluate its effectiveness in treating the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorders. Test participants took 500 mg of the herb in supplement form twice a day for 60 days.  Test administers published results saying those who took the herb supplement reported significantly reduced feelings of anxiety, stress and depression, in contrast to those who received a placebo.

Related:  Three Herbs for Stress Reduction

Other health benefits attributed to holy basil are due to its anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve:

  • Fevers
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Bites, cuts or stings

As a powerful antioxidant, holy basil is also showing to be a healthy supplement to boost cognitive function, strengthen the immune system, help kidneys function better, and stabilize blood glucose levels.

Holy Basil At Home

It’s simple to cultivate your own unlimited supply of holy basil at home.  You can plant it in in a garden pot inside to get it going when it’s cold outside and transplant it to warm soil (where it grows best) in the summer (at least 65-70 degrees F). Put it somewhere that will allow for full sun and be sure to water it regularly.  To encourage a larger, bushier plant cut off the flowering blossoms, though letting them grown into flowers does not affect the health benefits of the plant. Make sure your plant is well established and growing strong before you harvest the first leaves.

Holy Tea for Two

The best way to get maximum health benefits from holy basil is to use the leaves to make tea.  Pour eight ounces of boiling water over two teaspoons of fresh leaves, cover and steep for five minutes, then enjoy!

If you are not too keen on growing your own you can find the herb in supplement form.

If you are looking for some easy stress management techniques, sipping some holy basil tea could be for you.

0 Comments

Antioxidants: Your Immune System’s Secret Weapon

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Our immune system is a complex army of warriors with different “weapons” patrolling the body to hunt down and kill invading bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, as we age, it does too, and becomes weaker along with muscles, eyes, and everything else. Fortunately, there are immune boosters in your refrigerator called antioxidants that can keep your disease fighting warriors stronger for longer.

Fruits and vegetables are powerful immune boosters.

Antioxidants to the Rescue

What exactly is an antioxidant? Our bodies naturally produce free radicals as a result of exposure to environmental toxins like too much sunlight, cigarette smoke, radiation and even some prescription drugs.  You also produce free radicals along with inflammation in the body when you exercise, become overly stressed, and as you age. Because free radical molecules are missing an electron, they seek out and capture electrons from other molecules turning them into free radicals, a process known as oxidation. 

 

Antioxidants generously lend molecules missing an electron one of theirs without becoming free radicals themselves, thus halting the destructive chain reaction in the body. Left unchecked free radicals disrupt DNA and cause your cells to become weaker and weaker until they die.  They are tiny superhero defenders of youth and vitality.

Antioxidants for What Ails You

Our immune system cells are as susceptible to free radical damage as any other kind of cell, and we need a steady supply to stay healthy. Incorporating antioxidants into your diet helps as an immune booster and assists your immune system to produce strong B and T lymphocytes, phagocytes and neutrophils.

Several of our organs play a key role in the immune system and also need to be constantly generating strong healthy cells to replace those lost to free radicals. Make sure you ingest plenty of antioxidants to boost your immune system to help stave off disease, and even slow down the aging process.

Related:  Glutathione: The Master Antioxidant

Essential Antioxidants

Fortunately, it’s easy to fill up on antioxidants. They are found in many of the healthiest and delicious foods available to us in abundance.  Certain antioxidants are not being produced by the body, so you need to get them from you diet. They are:

Resveratrol – found in grapes, many vegetables, dark chocolate (cocoa) and wine. It also helps lower blood pressure, improves circulation, and reduces inflammation in the body.

Carotenoids- give certain foods their bright color like tomatoes (lycopene) and carrots (beta-carotene). They are converted to vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, in the body.

Xanthophyll – found in kiwis, maize (a kind of corn), grapes, squash and oranges.

Astaxanthin – a marine carotenoid that offers protection from ultraviolet radiation. It also has been found to slow down macular degeneration, reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, several types of cancer and is a powerful immune booster.

Vitamins C and E – are generous electron donors and offer a host of other health benefits.

Best Sources of Antioxidants

Healthy and delicious foods can supply most of your antioxidant needs. You might also benefit from an antioxidant supplement to make sure you get adequate amounts daily. Be sure to add to your diet:

  • Nuts
  • Herbs and spices
  • Green tea
  • Fruits and vegetables

Fresh, organic produce and tea are your healthiest options, but even frozen foods offer some beneficial immune booster antioxidants.

0 Comments

Why Vitamin D is Important for Healthy Aging

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Originally introduced to the world as a fat-soluble vitamin and later as a steroid hormone, vitamin D offers myriad health benefits to the body.  Because it plays a role in over 1,000 physiological processes, it is easy to understand why vitamin D is so important as people get older.  According to results from a variety of scientific studies, this potent vitamin/hormone helps encourage healthy aging in many ways.

:  People can get vitamin D benefits through foods like milk, eggs and fish.

A British study conducted in 2007 showed that vitamin D may help slow the aging process and protect the body from age-related disease.  Researchers followed more than 2,000 women with ages ranging from 18 to 79 and examined their white blood cells.  Measuring the length of telomeres (the capped ends of DNA strands) is a reliable way to determine if a person is aging.  As people get older, telomeres become shorter and DNA becomes more unstable. 

According to their vitamin D levels, the female subjects were assigned to three groups.  Results showed that women with the highest vitamin D levels had longer telomeres than women with the lowest levels.  Researchers concluded that by keeping telomeres longer, vitamin D may slow the aging process, and this may explain the protective effect vitamin D appears to provide from conditions like heart disease and cancer.

Related:  Absorption is Key When it Comes to Calcium Supplements

Another important Dutch study examining people 55 years of age and older found that low vitamin D levels were linked with an inability to perform daily tasks.  Subjects were divided into two age groups and tested for activities like walking stairs, dressing and undressing, standing from a seated position, and self-care.  While results showed a link between lower vitamin D levels and reduced ability to perform the activities, more research is needed to determine if low vitamin D levels actually cause disability in performance.

Additional Vitamin D Benefits

Most people know that vitamin D plays a role in the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, but it offers many more benefits to the health.  Vitamin D boosts immunity and helps prevent colds, flus and other types of infection.  Mounting evidence suggests that vitamin D may also offer a preventative effect against Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, lymphatic system, ovaries and prostate. 

With all of the health benefits mentioned, it makes sense to get vitamin D on a daily basis, especially for people over 50.  The best source of vitamin D is the sun, and spending 10 minutes in sunshine before applying sunscreen usually provides a sufficient daily amount.  People can also find vitamin D in foods like fish, eggs, dairy and nut milk, cod liver oil, and fortified cereals and juices.  Vitamin D supplements work well during periods of colder weather, and health professionals recommend from 400 to 1,100 mg per day depending on age.

 

0 Comments

Ten Home Remedies for Tackling Periodontal Disease

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Periodontal disease is much more serious than many people suspect. Periodontal issues can be either destructive or non-destructive. When plaque forms around teeth, the end result can be inflammation of tissue. In some cases, tissue can be lost, and this weakens the supporting structure for teeth.

The end result of periodontal disease can be a loss of teeth, which, in turn, has a range of its own medical and health issues. Medical studies have conclusively shown that poor oral health can lead to not just dental issues, but also a range of health issues ranging from a weakened immune system and increase in the chances of developing diseases to heart problems.

Gum disease does not have to lead to the loss of teeth. By following these 10 tips you can keep your teeth and gums much healthier!

#1:  Co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 is extremely important not just for gum health but for overall health. Like other ingredients, such as baking soda, co-enzyme Q10 has made its way into toothpaste for its ability to help fight gum disease and assist in keeping periodontal disease at bay. Co-enzyme Q10 is available in toothpaste and pill forms.

#2:  Honey and Manuka Honey

Honey has amazing all-natural healing properties. One type of honey in particular, manuka honey, is particularly effective at treating wounds of all kinds including gum inflammation. Manuka honey has been well researched and is being used to treat everything from chronic wounds to burns.

Cure periodontal disease with honey and other natural remedies.

#3:  Lemons

Lemons are a power anti-inflammatory and are packed with vitamin C. Try adding lemons to your tea for a one-two punch.

#4:  Baking Soda

It is no accident that baking soda has made its way into toothpaste. Baking soda helps neutralize acid in your mouth and can also help remove stains.

#5:  Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil can be found in both toothpastes and dental floss and is very effective in killing bacteria. However, it is important to remember that tea tree oil is extremely powerful, so remember to only use a limited amount.

Related:  Tea Tree Oil for Acne:  A Natural Remedy With Proven Results

#6:  Dental Probiotics

The research is mounting that probiotics are a powerful contributor to overall good health. Dental probiotics containing lactobacillus reuteri are one way to improve your oral health via probiotics. Also, consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.

#7:  Consume Fermented Foods

Fermented foods have been shown to improve overall health and boost oral health. Fermented foods can contain lactobacillus reuteri as well as many other immune system boosting probiotics. If you want to fight periodontal disease, then consider boosting your fermented foods. Many researchers also believe that fermented foods can help reduce the chances of developing many different types of diseases.

#8:  Xylitol

Xylitol is one of the best kept secrets in oral health care. Since it works to actually stop the growth of the very bacteria responsible for cavities, xylitol has earned a special place in dental research. Xylitol mouthwashes, toothpastes, mints and even gum are widely available. Not only does xylitol help protect teeth, but it also creates a positive environment for gums and the entire mouth.

#9:  Floss Every Day

Flossing is one of the easiest ways to protect your oral health. In fact, flossing regularly may even protect your heart!

#10:  Brush Regularly and Change Your Toothbrush Often

The foundation of protecting your teeth and gums is to brush often. Also don’t forget to change your toothbrush every three mouths to help you keep periodontal disease at bay!

Follow these ten tips and you will enjoy greater overall oral health. You don’t have to live with gum disease or let gum disease develop. These simple tips can dramatically boost your chances of keeping your gums and teeth healthy and looking great.

0 Comments

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. 

0 Comments

Causes of Stress Vary from Person to Person

by Health News

While some level of stress is beneficial because it can motivate and energize us, too much of it can lead to serious health problems.  The causes of stress differ from person to person. An incident that might be extremely upsetting to one person might go totally unnoticed by another. Stress causes the body to produce excess cortisol, the hormone associated with the “fight or flight” response. Once the “stress threat” is over, cortisol levels typically return to normal.

When a person is chronically feeling stressed, cortisol levels remain high. Chronically high cortisol levels are linked to a host of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, eating disorders, muscle tension and fatigue. As some health experts put it: “Deal with your stress or it will deal with you – in harmful ways.”  In order to cope with stress, we must first understand it. There are two kinds of stress:

ACUTE STRESS: This is the type of stress is triggered by specific situations and it prepares the body to defend itself. Acute stress is associated with incidents such as job interviews, public speaking, accidents or injuries.

CHRONIC STRESS: This type of stress never really goes away. It is related to the way a person copes with the issues of everyday living such as bills, kids, job insecurity and relationship problems. It is also very common among caregivers. If left untreated, chronic stress can leads to consistently high cortisol levels that wreak havoc on the body and immune system.

To the extent that you can, remove yourself from situations and people that stress you out. While we can’t always make the causes of stress go away, we can find healthy ways to cope.  Here a few ideas:

RelatedYoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

EXERCISE: Take a walk, go for a swim or join an exercise class.   Exercise provides physical and psychological benefits that reduce stress and boost your mood.  Learn yoga and incorporate it into your daily life, just five to 10 minutes a day is better than one hour once a week.  Yoga is a life-changing method for relaxation and breath control.  

GET YOUR REST: Inadequate rest is linked to stress and depression. It’s much easier to cope with stressful situations when you are rested.

DITCH THE GUILT: You are not a superhero and nobody (except you) expects you to be one. Learn to prioritize and say no.

HAVE SOME FUN: It can be hard to maintain your sense of humor during stressful times, but laughter truly is the best medicine. Paint, dance, sing out loud or watch a funny movie.

LEARN TO RELAX: Stressed-out people usually have difficulty relaxing. Yoga, meditation and conscious breathing techniques can help you stay calm and focused.

0 Comments

“B” Calm At Work: News Ways to Reduce Stress

by Cindy Gray

Long, stressed out days at the office, in traffic, and even at home is the new norm for most Americans.  Finding ways to reduce stress is critical to maintaining good health.  While it’s good to make time to meditate or go on relaxing vacations, the great news is to simply add more B vitamins to your diet and reduce stress on a daily basis!

An Australian study published in 2011 detailed a clinical trial that divided participants into two groups:  one group took a daily B complex multivitamin; and the other group took a placebo. The before and after assessment of the mood, personality traits, and work-related stress, found that the group taking the vitamin B reported significantly less personal stress.  They also reported less confusion, feelings of depression or rage, and were not as fatigued as the placebo group.

To “B” or Not To “B”?

It’s no secret that the body relies heavily on B vitamins to function properly physically and mentally.  Vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6 are essential for mental function.  Those who do not get enough B’s are often more irritable, have trouble focusing and report more feelings of depression or sadness. 

The human body cannot produce vitamin B12 or folic acid so we must eat foods rich in those nutrients or consume it in supplement form.  It’s best to get it from both food and supplement sources.  Fish, chicken, clams and oysters are good sources of vitamin B12.  Egg yolks, almonds, dried beans, wholegrain breads, and many fruits and vegetables contain folate, which becomes folic acid when absorbed by the body.

Meat and animal products are great sources of vitamin B12 and folic acid.  So for vegetarians and those who consume little meat, supplements are recommended, and should be combined with daily grains, fruits and vegetables.

A B (vitamin) By Any Other Name Is Still As…Healthy

Vitamin B 12 is also known as cyanocobalamin, and folic acid is the alias for B9.  Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, pantothenic acid (B5) and biotin are all other names for B vitamins, so look for them in the list of nutrients in your supplements.

Thiamine keeps the nervous system healthy which greatly affects mood and can increase cognitive functions like memory and focus.  This can help you be more productive and focused on the job and in your work.

Niacin is important to the digestive and nervous systems. Without enough of it in your diet, you can feel more depressed, irritable and stressed out.  B6, (or pyridoxine), is important for the plentiful production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps reduce stress and feelings of anxiety while boosting the immune system. 

RelatedFor a Longer Life, Take B Vitamins

What Dosage Would B Healthiest?

It’s almost impossible to get all the B vitamins you need every day through diet alone, especially since we are a breakfast skipping, fast food nation. Taking a B-complex vitamin is one of the simplest ways to reduce stress in your job and in your life in general.

The average adult should aim for:

  • 75 mg B1 (thiamine)
  • 10 mg B2 (riboflavin)
  • 100 mg niacin
  • 68 mg B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • 25 mg B6
  • 30 mcg B12
  • 20 mcg biotin
  • 150 mcg folic acid

Don’t Worry “B” Happy

If you have been feeling irritable and more fatigued than usual, it could be that you’re not getting enough vitamin B’s in your diet.  Exit the traffic on your daily commute and pick up a bottle of B-complex vitamins and you’ll be feeling better in no time!

0 Comments

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
0 Comments

Dangers of Laxative Overuse for Chronic Constipation

by Cindy Gray

While laxatives can help increase stool frequency, overuse of laxatives often results in chronic constipation.While regular bowel movements are critical for good health, “forcing the issue” with chemically-laden laxatives can do more harm than good. The body can quickly become dependent on laxatives and once you stop taking them constipation symptoms return, sometimes even worse than before. Laxatives contain chemicals that help increase stool bulk and frequency, which provides temporary relief for constipation. But overuse often results in chronic constipation and so it becomes a vicious cycle. 

Laxative use is rampant in this country and millions of dollars each year are spent on products that claim to relieve symptoms. Since the colon is the largest organ in the immune system, keeping it working efficiently is critical to good health.

Related: The Best and Worst Foods for IBS

Instead of reaching for a laxative, consider some natural approaches to treat chronic constipation. Your first line of defense should be to add fiber your diet. Most American diets are woefully lacking in fiber due to our national obsession with over-processed foods. To increase you fiber intake, eat plenty of vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and whole grains. Keep fatty foods to a minimum.

Probiotics are also helpful in maintaining regularity and they are found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt. Many people take probiotic supplements that provide the “good bacteria” in the digestive tract that help our bodies break down foods into components that provide healthful nutrition. 

Talk to your health care provider about natural ways to manage chronic constipation and other digestive problems. Laxatives should be used only as a last resort and only under the supervision of your physician or holistic practitioner.  

0 Comments

7 Key Celiac Disease Symptoms

by Health News

Symptoms of Being Gluten SensitiveAccording to health experts, more than 55 diseases have been linked to the consumption of gluten - a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

Not only that - even though as much as 15% of the US population may be sensitive to gluten, 99% of people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease are not properly diagnosed.

How can you tell if you’re one of those who are sensitive to gluten?

Any of the following symptoms could be a sign:

  • Gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation after meals.
  • Migraines, fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after a meal.
  • Dizziness or feeling of being off balance.
  • Hormonal imbalances such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or unexplained infertility.
  • Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia - such diagnoses can sometimes mean that your physician is unable to identify the underlying cause of your fatigue or pain.
  • Inflammation, swelling or pain in your fingers, knees and hips.
  • Anxiety, depression, mood swings and hyperactivity or attention-deficit disorder (ADD).

Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma or multiple sclerosis.

The single best way to really know if you are sensitive to gluten is to do a complete elimination diet. This means you need to completely remove gluten out of your diet for at least 2-3 weeks and then reintroduce it.

Gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system. In other words, the longer you eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the more conclusive the results will be.

If you notice that you feel significantly better off without gluten - and feel noticeably worse when you reintroduce it into your diet, then you are likely sensitive to gluten.

To get accurate results, you must eliminate 100% of the gluten from your diet as even trace amounts from medications or supplements can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body.                              

Source

0 Comments

Supercharge Your Immune System Before You Travel

by Health News

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, travel requires careful planning. That’s why we develop extensive to-do lists that include filling up the gas tank, making airline reservations, obtaining maps and packing suitcases. Unfortunately most of us make travel plans that provide little or no focus on the most important thing of all - our health. 

Boost Your Immune System Naturally

While maintaining a strong immune system is critical for vibrant health every day of our lives, it becomes increasingly important when we are on the move. Travel can compromise the immune system because it upsets the internal body clock that regulates sleep, hunger and digestion. (This can be particularly troubling when you cross time zones.) Many travelers fall into poor eating habits and consume more caffeine and alcohol than their bodies can tolerate. 

To further complicate matters, travel also means increased exposure to germs and viruses that thrive when people are hoarded together in cars, airplanes, buses or trains. Poor air circulation contributes to the spread of illnesses and doorknobs, counters, banisters and other surfaces are likely to be contaminated by germs.   

With a little planning you can supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy your travels and protect your health. One of the best ways to prepare your immune system for travel is to take nutritional supplements before and during your trip. Supplements containing green tea and resveratrol are particularly important. Green tea contains an agent called catechin polyphenol that is considered “jet fuel” for the immune system.

Resveratrol is another potent immune system booster that can help keep you healthy before and during your travels. This powerful antioxidant, which is present in red wine, fruit and the skin of grapes, is associated with a lower risk of developing cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Because it would be difficult to obtain optimal amounts of resveratrol from food and wine, many people use resveratrol supplements. 

Many people also add probiotics to their daily regime before and during travel to prevent gastric distress. Probiotics, which are available from natural health stores, populate the intestinal tract with “friendly” bacteria that limits the growth of “bad” bacteria such as salmonella, clostridia and E coli. 

The next time you make travel plans, make sure you take your healthy habits with you. Supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy every second of your trip.  

What do you do to stay healthy while traveling?

1 Comments

How to Pick the Right Probiotic For Your Digestive System

by Health News

How to choose a probiotic supplement

Scientists estimate that the human body is home to more than 750 trillion bacteria, and most of them exist in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They are essential for the digestion of food, neutralizing hormones and supporting the body’s immune system. Having an imbalance of these bacteria can cause digestive or intestinal problems that manifest themselves as fatigue, depression, recurring yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or cramps.

You may be surprised to learn that people over 60 have 1000 times less “friendly” bacteria in their guts than younger healthy adults. Probiotics can play an essential role in aging healthy. Many studies suggest that overall health depends largely on the healthy functioning of the digestive system.

One major cause of an imbalance of bacteria is taking a course of antibiotics. They not only treat the virus that they are prescribed for, but also lay waste to the bacteria in our digestive tract. Other medications such as heartburn pills can also be harmful to gut flora as they alter the balance of intestinal bacteria.

If your gut has too many “bad” bacteria releasing toxins, your body will feel the effect with a range of health problems. If you lack sufficient digestive enzymes, a probiotic with a high count of bacteria can be taken to rectify the situation.

Picking the Correct Probiotic

Increasing the good bacteria in your intestine is easy. Yoghurt, miso and soy drinks all contain live cultures that can improve digestive or intestinal problems. The “good” bacteria thrive on nutrients called prebiotics which are found in onions, green leafy vegetables, bananas, artichokes and garlic. Bad bacteria thrive on sugars and fats from processed foods and these foods should definitely be avoided.

Live bacteria can be taken as supplements. There are many strains, each with a different function. It is wise to read the labels and learn more about what each probiotic does. For example, Lactobacillus casei (in the yoghurt drink DanActive) was found to reduce ear infections and gastrointestinal upsets in children. Studies on Bifidobacterium Infantis (found in the probiotic supplement Align) found it reduces the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

How to Take Probiotics
Some probiotics come in capsule form while others are in powder or liquid form and need to be kept refrigerated. Follow the instructions and never expose probiotics to heat or processing or they will be damaged or killed.

Most good probiotic supplements combine several beneficial bacteria with live yeast. Look for a probiotic containing billions of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces and Bifidobacteria. A supplement such as First Milk Flora is easy to take as a chewable tablet and contains 1.5 million colony forming units per tablet to promote healthy digestion. The best probiotics also include a prebiotic which helps the flora survive in the intestine.

To continue on a healthy aging path, consult your doctor before taking any probiotics as they may interfere with some medications. Once taken, you should begin to feel an improvement in your health after one to two weeks. If not, switch to a different probiotic to find one that aids your particular medical problem or gives a general boost to your feeling of wellbeing. As the probiotics change the acidic balance of your body, it is important to keep a record of any changes, and to consult a doctor beforehand if you are already taking medications. Cheers to maintaining your path of aging healthy!



Source:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/448920-the-best-probiotics-for-women/
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-choose-the-best-probiotic-acidophilus.htm

0 Comments

Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals In The Gut

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that there are trillions of microorganisms within our body that affect our health and immunity, help us absorb nutrients and even break down toxic chemicals, according to new research?

These tiny organisms are beneficial bacteria that live in our gut, known as ‘probiotic’ bacteria.

When your health fails or if you’re in the habit of regularly consuming sugar, overly refined and processed Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals In The Gutfoods - some non-beneficial or even downright harmful bacteria can grow rapidly out of bounds.

But if you regularly consume organic, wholesome vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods, then beneficial bacteria flourish - and you have nothing but positive activity in your gut.

Let’s consider some of the many things probiotics do to act as digestive aids and keep your gut and health safe and healthy, especially when it comes to dealing with toxic chemicals that enter your body.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a petrochemical derivative that messes up hormones and how they act on the body. BPA is found in thermal printer receipts, all world paper currency, plastics and many other consumer goods. At this point it is not a matter of whether or not you’ll be exposed, but to what extent.

Still, probiotics offer a ray of hope. When rats exposed to BPA in their diet were given probiotics, their blood concentrations of BPA dropped dramatically and it was excreted 2.4 times more readily than the non-supplemented control group.

In other words, probiotics reduced intestinal absorption by boosting BPA excretion - and they may suppress BPA’s adverse effects on human health.

Even better, novel BPA-degrading bacterial strains were isolated from a traditional Korean fermented cabbage dish known as kimchi. Health experts believe that these food-derived bacteria can efficiently and safely destroy and remove BPA from the body. 

In 2009, a published report revealed that the toxic insecticide chlorpyrifos (CP) - which has been linked to neurological side effects, developmental disorders and autoimmune disorders - may be degraded by the very same bacteria that make possible kimchi fermentation.

In fact, these bacteria degraded CP rapidly until 83.3% was gone by day 3 and completely degraded by day 9.  Not only that, these toxin-munching bugs also successfully degraded four other insecticides including Coumaphos, Diazinon, Parathion and Methylparathion.

Destroying toxic chemicals - though an amazing feat - is only one of many thousands of vital functions that probiotics carry out within our body. In fact, they have been clinically shown to prevent and/or reduce the symptoms of close to 200 different diseases!

If you don’t know already, an easy and inexpensive way to boost the probiotic content of your gut is to take supplements. Taken daily, a probiotic supplement can infuse your digestive tract with 20 billion ‘good’ bacteria. It is one of the best digestive aids to help you achieve a healthy digestive system.

Source: Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals in the Gut.

0 Comments

What are the Benefits of Bioflavonoids?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to antioxidants, vitamins seem to take center stage. But what about those “sort of” vitamins with incredible health benefits? Yes, we are talking about bioflavonoids.

What are the Benefits of Bioflavonoids?

While not true vitamins in the strictest sense, bioflavonoids work together with vitamin C to form collagen, one of your body's main structural proteins. Bioflavonoids also aid your body’s immune-defense system and have mildly estrogenic properties, making them helpful in regulating some hormonal conditions. They are also the Crayola of the vitamin world, providing all the brilliant colors to fruits and vegetables. Some of the best sources of bioflavonoids include citrus fruits—lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, and limes—and buckwheat (a gluten-free grain that is not botanically related to wheat). Other good sources are apricots, cherries, grapes, plums, blackberries, papayas, green peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes.

In addition to “eating the rainbow,” you can also take bioflavonoids in supplement form. Aim for 1,000-2,000 mg per day. 

0 Comments

Kill Your Cold with Colostrum

by Health News

Every mammal naturally produces the amazing, immune-boosting miracle that is colostrum. This immune- and growth-enhancing pre-milk fluid is produced by all mammals in the last few months of pregnancy and just after birth.

Colostrum has been shown to help fight off common illnesses like colds, flu, allergies, and bronchitis. It contains numerous immunoglobulins, which help boost your immune system and provide protection against invading bacteria and viruses. It’s also a good source of the probiotic acidophilus, which helps prevent gastrointestinal infections, including diarrhea. Plus, colostrum has been shown to protect against viral diseases such as HIV and herpes.

But colostrum also contains other important compounds, such as proline-rich polypeptide, a substance that helps important in restrain an overactive immune system. This is important for people with autoimmune conditions such as fibromyalgia, Crohn's disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The most common form of supplemental colostrum is bovine colostrum. While it is very similar to human colostrum at the molecular level, it actually contains even more immune-enhancing properties.

You can purchase bovine colostrum as a capsule, tablet, liquid, powder, and nasal spray. Most experts agree that capsules and liquids are best. Also, be sure that the colostrum you choose comes from free-range cows that have been raised organically, and have not received any hormones or antibiotics.

The most commonly recommended dosage is 1,000–2,000 mg twice a day for prevention, and 2,000–3,000 mg twice a day if you feel a cold or flu coming on. Be sure to take it with an eight-ounce glass of water on an empty stomach. And take it early in the day (at breakfast and lunch), as colostrum can boost energy levels and cause insomnia if it is taken too late in the evening. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, have a thyroid or immune system disorder, or have cancer, be sure to consult with your physician before using colostrum.

0 Comments

Natural Ways to Prevent Cold and Flu

by Nancy Maneely

Natural Ways to Prevent Cold and FluAs flu season approaches, it’s a good time to assess your overall health regimen and adopt protective measures. The cold winter months are a time when we spend more hours indoors, surrounded by friends, family, schoolmates and co-workers with their myriad germs. Our exposure to sunshine often is diminished, which effectively depletes our body’s natural Vitamin D defenses.

Aside from frequent hand washing – recommended by health experts everywhere – there are steps you can take to support your body’s immune system in its constant battle against viruses and bacteria. Here are some suggestions:

Clean your stuff – Doctors and other health professionals know how important this is in preventing the spread of germs. Use an alcohol-based cleaning agent to clean surfaces you and your family frequently touch: doorknobs, countertops, faucet handles, kitchen appliances, cell phones, the TV remote. At work, make it a daily ritual to clean your computer keyboard, phone, and desktop.

Eat more onion and garlic – Both are rich in antioxidants and selenium, members of the Allium family known for its health-promoting effects. Garlic contains antibacterial and antiviral properties, so add it to your recipes in abundance. Supplements are a good idea, too.

Keep your head clear – Healthy mucus membranes and mucus flow help your body flush toxins. When your sinuses and throat feel dry, they’re more likely to attract and harbor nasty microscopic invaders. Avoid treating a stuffed nose with nasal sprays, which tend to dry delicate tissues (you can use a saline spray or flush with a neti pot containing a saline solution). Make good old-fashioned chicken soup a mainstay of your winter menu. Researchers are discovering what grandma suspected all along – the ingredients in chicken soup (stock, carrot, onion, and celery) might actually have a medicinal effect on the body’s immune system.

Get plenty of exercise – Just because it’s cold outside, that’s no excuse for cutting out your workout sessions. Exercise boosts the immune system by clearing out the lymph system. It also boosts mood which is a protective factor in the prevention of illness.

Cut down on sugar – Just a few grams can diminish your white blood cells’ ability to resist infections for several hours. If you must sweeten your food and beverages, choose stevia.

Sleep better – Keep your body’s melatonin levels in balance with regular, good quality sleep. The immune system works best when the body is well rested.

Keep stress levels in check – Another way to wreak havoc with your immune system is to walk around with high levels of stress and anxiety. Practice a few minutes of deep breathing several times a day. Laugh more. Play with your pet. Start and end your day with a brief meditation – there are many good books and CDs that will help you.

Helpful supplementsProbiotics attack pathogenic bacteria and support your body’s white cells in their reaction to invaders. Vitamin D3 will help balance appropriate levels to support immune system function. Echinacea and zinc help protect against colds. And Vitamin C is an essential year-round immune system booster.

What is your favorite tip for keeping winter colds and flu at bay?

Sources:
WebMD
Natural Society

0 Comments

Omega-3 Fats: Best Defense Against Premature Aging

by Nancy Maneely

Natural Anti Inflammatory SupplementsInflammation is a normal part of the body’s defense against pathogens. However, as we age, our ability to regulate inflammation begins to wane. Then, rather than protecting us, inflammation becomes silent and systemic, morphing into a process of stealthy internal destruction.

Health experts sometimes refer to “silent inflammation,” an entirely different process than acute inflammation which we know by its outward signs – rubor (redness), calor (heat), tumor (swelling), and dolor (pain).

When inflammation turns silent, things turn ugly. Silent inflammation causes the body to turn on itself, its immune defenses attacking its own organs. It damages arteries, destroys nerve cells and organs, compromises the immune system, and promotes illness. If you have silent inflammation, you may feel well today but be assured you are headed for a world of pain tomorrow.

Fortunately, we can help our bodies maintain a healthy inflammation response by paying close attention to our diets.

The average North American diet is high in inflammation-promoting omega-6 fats but low in inflammation-reducing omega-3 fats. A chronic imbalance of these fatty acids can lead to an increase in systemic inflammation. Experts say the logical response to this situation is to reduce sources of omega-6 oils and supplement with high-dose omega-3s.

This can be achieved by increasing dietary intake of fatty fish (wild salmon in particular), eating raw nuts and grains rich in healthy fats, and supplementing with a high-quality fish oil or flaxseed oil.

At the same time, eat less red meat, eggs, high-glycemic foods, and foods high in saturated fats to further shift the balance in favor of the beneficial omega-3 fats.

To further combat the oxidative stresses that promote and encourage inflammation, a diet rich in plant foods will supply free radical-fighting antioxidants. Especially helpful are toxin-busting nutrients found in fruits and berries (citrus bioflavonoids); red grapes (resveratrol); turmeric (curcumin); and green tea (catechins).

Sound familiar? That’s because every “anti-aging” strategy we’ve seen or read about over the last 10 years includes these same dietary recommendations. It’s time we paid attention!

What is your favorite omega-3 food?

 

0 Comments

Eyesight Improvement with Vitamin D

by Health News

You’ve probably heard what recent studies have concluded about vitamin D boosts you immune system naturally, and how it can be an invaluable ally during flu season. And you’ve no doubt heard the more recent news that vitamin D might protect against the ravages of type II diabetes. But here’s another amazing benefit this vitamin might offer: strengthen your eyesight as you age.

Eyesight Improvement with Vitamin DDr. Glen Jeffrey and other researchers at the University College of London Institute of Ophthalmology in the UK conducted a study* in which they treated middle-aged mice with vitamin D for six weeks. For the treated group, one-year-old female mice were injected with safflower oil containing 0.9 micrograms of vitamin D every three days.  One mouse year is roughly 50 human years.

After six weeks, tests measuring the electrical responses of retinal cells showed significant improvement in the vision of the treated mice. So, what is the mechanism behind these very promising results? According to Dr. Jeffrey, it has to do with the reduction in amyloid deposits and inflammation in the blood vessels—a finding that could have even broader implications beyond those gleaned from this study.

“Finding that amyloid deposits were reduced in the blood vessels of mice that had been given vitamin D supplements suggests that vitamin D could be useful in helping to prevent a range of age-related health problems, from deteriorating vision to heart disease, " says Dr. Jeffery.

Ask your health care professional about the best way to incorporate this important nutrient into your supplement regimen.

*http://www.neurobiologyofaging.org/article/S0197-4580(11)00519-7/abstract

0 Comments

Top 10 Men's Vitamins

by Health News

Looking for the best vitamins for men's health? Here is a list of the top ten vitamins that should be on every man's list.Top 10 Men's Vitamins

  1. Pumpkin Seed Oil may enhance prostate health. Components in pumpkin seed oil seem to immobilize this enlargement. Pumpkin seed extracts offer a higher concentration of healthy properties than the seeds themselves.
  2. Nattokinase may provide support of healthy blood pressure. Research has shown that nattokinase supports the body in dissolving blood clots and has been shown to be four times more effective than plasmin, which is an anti-clotting enzyme produced in the blood.
  3. Gymnema Sylvestre promotes healthy blood sugar. Gymnemic acids have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-sweetener properties. It is said to curb diabetes by impeding the buildup of sugar molecules in the body.
  4. Vitamin D is essential for proper absorption of calcium in the body and for maintaining calcium and phosphate levels in the blood which encourages normal mineralization of bone.
  5. Curcumin - a chemical found in turmeric - may help enhance brain abilities and avert the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Research has suggested that curcumin inhibits the growth of amyloid plaques which are harmful protein deposits found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.
  6. Hyaluronic Acid is a component of synovial fluid which helps hydrate and carry needed nutrients to the areas of the body where it is manufactured including the skin, eyes and cartilage. Supplementation can improve the thickness of the synovial fluid in the skin, eyes and cartilage and reduce pain and swelling within the joints.
  7. Maca Root is effective for regulating the body’s hormone levels and enhancing both male and female libido. As opposed to synthetic hormones which can have hazardous side effects, Maca root is natural and has a long history of safe use.
  8. Wheatgrass can help to restore blood alkaline levels and therefore balance pH, which is defined as potential of hydrogen and represents the ratio of acid to alkaline in the body. This may help cells efficiently absorb needed vitamins and minerals and properly excrete waste.
  9. Pleurisy Root is an important supplement for men and women, as it is said to relieve chest pain and ease breathing problems. The herb is often used as an expectorant helping to force phlegm from bronchial and nasal passages.
  10. Liquid Vitamins and Minerals are great supplements for the immune system and overall health of men. They have a higher absorbency; the body responds and starts benefiting from them immediately.

Is there a vitamin that you take daily that isn't on this list?