The Best Seeds for Health: Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads

by IVL

Everyone knows having a salad on a regular basis is good for you. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vegetables for the average adult is three to five servings, after all.  If you are going to eat your greens why not add a little something extra to them now and then to boost their flavor and your health? Seeds make a great addition to many dishes especially salads. Read on to learn about the best seeds for your health.

The five best seeds for great health!

The Fantastic Five

1. Chia Seeds

There’s a whole lot of goodness packed into these tiny seeds that are native to South America.  The ancient Aztecs and Mayans relied on them as an important food source providing hydration and sustained energy.  Chia is actually the Mayan word for strength.  Despite being small chia seeds are mighty with:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 4 grams of protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus
  • Vitamins B3 (niacin), B1 (thiamine) and B2
  • The ability to hold twice their weight in liquid

Chia seeds are also loaded with antioxidants, and can help reduce your risk of heart disease, from developing Type 2 Diabetes, promote bone strength and even aid in your weight loss efforts.

2. Hemp Seeds

While hemp seeds are from the same species of the much more famous and notorious cannabis family (aka marijuana) but they only contain trace amounts of THC, the compound that has a drug-like effect.  They have been a part of Chinese diets and medicine for the past 3,000 years, so their health benefits have stood the test of time.

Hemp seeds are a great source of two very important nutrients, the fatty acids omega-6 and omega 3. They are also a very good source of protein, vitamin E and minerals like phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.  Another nutrient from hemp seeds, amino acid arginine, has been linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. These bland looking little seeds have also shown in other studies to decrease inflammation in the body, help reduce blood pressure and decrease your risk of blood clots that can lead to a stroke.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

This year at Halloween when you and the kids carve your Jack-O-Lanterns don’t toss the seeds you scrape out of the pumpkin!  They are one of the best seeds for health and wellness.

Indigenous to the Americas (North, South and Central) ancient cultures called the flat green seeds pepitas. In Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and much of India and Asia pumpkin seeds is a dietary staple.

Pumpkin seeds are recommended by the World Health Organization and for good reason.  They are a plentiful source of diverse antioxidants like vitamin E, phenolic acids and lignans, compounds linked to helping women reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.  Pumpkin seeds also contain a healthy dose of zinc, a mineral essential for healthy red blood cells.

Once you remove the seeds from your pumpkin clean them off and let them dry overnight, then roast them for about 20 minutes at a very low temperature like 160 to 190 degrees for the most flavor.

Related:  Here’s a Quick Way to Get Soy-Free Protein

4. Flax Seeds

If you are looking for one of the best seeds for health, here’s the flax you need to know. 

Ancient Babylonians in the 8th century cultivated flaxseed for King Charlemagne who believed strongly in their health benefits.  Modern day research has shown consumption of flaxseeds is a good way to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, according to health authority WebMD.

Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids called ALA, which are abundant in flaxseeds, have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.  Like pumpkin seeds they contain lignans that have been linked to decreasing the risk of breast cancer and are potent against reducing inflammation in the body.  Eating flaxseeds regularly may also help you keep your cholesterol levels in check and blood sugar levels steady to ward off diabetes.

5. Sunflower Seeds

A sunflower is a tall herbaceous annual plant native to Middle America but has since spread across the globe as a commercial crop in countries like Russian, China, Argentina and the United States. 

Sunflower seeds are delicious and crunchy little powerhouses of healthy goodness. Packed with essential fatty acids, high quality amino acids, natural antioxidants like vitamin E and folic acid, just a handful a day will help keep the doctor away.  They help lower your LDL levels of cholesterol, and provide essential minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, selenium and copper to keep your bones and red blood cell production strong.

Next time you whip up a salad be sure to sprinkle one of the fantastic five best seeds for health on top and enjoy!



Feeling Down? Try These Natural Remedies for Depression

by Cindy Gray

Everybody feels a little sad or depressed occasionally and often it is a normal reaction to loss or life’s inevitable struggles. For most people, the blues go away after situations are resolved. Others however, are not so lucky.  

According to the National Institute for Mental Health more than 14.8 million adults suffer from major depression which affects their health, relationships and ability to function.  Although there are many prescription medications that claim to help, most people prefer to seek out national remedies for depression.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sad, anxious feelings
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Digestive problems

People who are clinically depressed may look at external reasons for their sadness.  But in true clinical depression, outside factors are not often the primary reasons for depression.  Depression is influenced by the balance of brain chemicals and neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine.  The often-prescribed medications that are supposed to regulate neurotransmitters tend to be very expensive and most have side effects that range from unpleasant to dangerous.

Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided us with safe, effective natural remedies for depression. Recent studies have found a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and depression. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is present in eggs and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Your body can make its own vitamin D after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, but that can be difficult depending on the time of year and where you live.

RelatedNatural Supplements and Vitamins--Why They are Important

Vitamin D has also been associated with a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and it also contributes to bone health, immune function and muscle maintenance. Because it is so important, millions of Americans take vitamin D supplements to help ensure they are getting sufficient amounts. Vitamin D is available in tablet, capsule, powdered, and in liquid forms. The needed amount varies from person to person so ask your holistic health practitioner to determine the dosage that best suits your individual needs.

Consider adding nutritional supplements to your natural remedies for depression. It’s also important to adopt an overall healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, moderate exercise, adequate rest, social interaction and stress reduction techniques.


How to Naturally Erase Age Spots

by Cindy Gray

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

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

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

Beta-Carotene for Age Spots

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

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

Vitamin A for Age Spots

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

How to Get Rid of Age Spots with Vitamin E

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

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

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


Enzymes Set the Stage For Vibrant Health

by Health News

Wondering how to gain energy?

Natural health products like enzymes are critical to tHow to Gain Energy: Enzymes Set the Stage For Vibrant Healthhe performance of virtually every process in the body. Although most people understand the vital roles that vitamins and mineral play in keeping us healthy and energized, many do not understand the importance of proper enzyme balance.

Enzymes serve as catalysts for the body’s essential chemical reactions that support health and vitality. They work their magic by breaking down the nutrients in our body so that the nutrients can pass through the intestinal walls and eventually be absorbed into the bloodstream. Vitamins and minerals are referred to as “coenzymes” which means that they require an enzyme in order to work.

Enzymes are the driving force behind tissue regeneration, proper digestion, cardiovascular health, kidney and liver function and many other life-sustaining processes. The powerful antioxidant properties associated with enzymes help protect the body from disease. When enzymes become depleted the body suffers. Chronic enzyme deficiency or malfunction can lead to serious and sometimes life-threatening health problems.

Most scientists classify enzymes into three main groups: metabolic enzymes, plant enzymes and digestive enzymes. Because they play such a pivotal role in our health, it is essential to get the proper balance of enzymes. Ideally, we should get many of the enzymes we need from food, but that is rarely the case. Fruits, vegetables and other raw foods are good sources but the average American diet contains very few enzymes. In today’s fast-paced world most people turn to time-saving convenience foods that are overcooked and over processed to the point that essential enzymes are destroyed.   As we age, it becomes more difficult for our body to produce the enzymes it needs to thrive, so older people are at a higher risk for significant enzyme deficiency.   

As we have learned more about the critical role that enzymes play in our overall health, more and more medical researchers are recommending daily enzyme supplementation. Enzyme supplements can be purchased at natural health stores and come in powder, tablet or liquid form. The supplements make digestion more efficient by enhancing the absorption of vital nutrients. For best results choose an enzyme supplement which contains a blend of different enzymes. Your holistic health practitioner can help you determine which natural supplements will work best for you.   

Elevating the enzyme levels in your body through natural supplementation will result in improved metabolic and digestive function that will make you look and feel younger. Keeping enzymes in balance will also make you less susceptible to serious diseases. Consider adding enzyme supplements to your “stay-well” plan so you can enjoy vibrant health throughout your life.


Healthy Holiday Eating: What Makes a Recipe Healthy?

by Health News

Healthy Eating - What Makes a Recipe Healthy?

A trend toward health and fitness is on an upswing, and one important component is a nutritious diet that provides needed vitamins and minerals, is satisfying and naturally boosts energy throughout the day. What is it that makes a recipe healthy? Here are some questions to ponder when it comes to deciding whether a recipe is healthful or hurtful. These are particularly useful during the winter months for people who are concerned with healthy holiday eating.

What type of cooking method is used? Steer clear of recipes that call for frying or deep frying, and focus on the following methods instead. The healthiest cooking method is steaming, where food is placed in a perforated container and suspended above boiling water. Besides a light coating of cook spray, baking and roasting are healthy and typically do not require adding extra fat to a dish, and stir-frying and sautéing can be accomplished with a minimal amount of healthy oil. Grilling and broiling are healthy methods because they allow fat to drip away from food, and braising and poaching involve gently simmering an ingredient in liquid until cooked.  Avoid microwaving food.

What is the calorie count in the recipe? Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain the weight you have, it is important to understand how many calories your body requires and find recipes that correspond to this amount. To determine the energy needed in calories to maintain your current weight, multiply your weight in pounds by 12. For a one pound per week weight loss, cut this amount by 500 calories per day. For a two pound per week loss, reduce the amount by 1000 calories per day. Note: It has been shown that two pounds per week is a healthy weight loss that has the best potential to be sustained.

Is the recipe made with nutritious ingredients? The healthiest ingredients include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and poultry, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocados. Note: fats contain two times more calories per gram than proteins or carbohydrates, so it is important to keep portion sizes under control.

Unhealthy ingredients include sugar, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, sodium, white flour, processed foods and saturated and trans-fats. Trans-fatty acids occur naturally in meat and dairy products but can be artificially made (by hydrogenating oils) to boost the shelf life of some products. High trans-fat consumption has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease and certain cancers. Read labels, and avoid any products containing partially hydrogenated oils. In place of table salt, use herbs and spices to season recipes, and if needed, try all-natural sea salt.

Here are some guidelines based on advice from the American Heart Association for a typical 2000 calorie-per-day diet. Remember to adjust values to your daily calories and divide by the number of meals you are eating per day to arrive at approximate amounts for each recipe.

  • Dietary cholesterol should not exceed 300 mg per day.
  • To keep full and satisfied, an individual should strive for at least 25 grams of fiber per day.
  • Proteins should be limited to 175 grams or less per day, total carbohydrates should not exceed 300 grams, and fats should be limited to 65 grams or less per day.
  • A healthy diet should contain at least 3,500 mg of potassium daily, but sodium intake should not exceed 2,400 mg per day (those on a low-sodium diet should limit each recipe serving to 140 mg or less).
  • Limit sugars to 6 to 10 percent of total daily calories.
  • For heart-healthy recipes use 3 grams or less total fat (with 1 gram or less saturated fat), 20 mg or less cholesterol, and 480 mg or less sodium per serving.

Take advantage of the healthy holiday eating tips above when looking for healthy recipes that are chock full of nutrients and packed with all-natural energy! Bon Appétit!

Healthy Aging starts with a healthy gut. Free guide to Healthy Holiday Digestion.


Does Sunscreen Cause Cancer?

by Health News

Does Sunscreen Cause CancerWhether you are thinking spring break or already looking to the summer, if the sun in involved, then you are likely thinking about sun protection, i.e. sunscreen. And while that liquid layer most definitely does protect you from damaging rays and sun cancer, what lurks inside those lotions and sprays may pack an even more dangerous punch.

Turns out, many of the most common sunscreens on the market contain potentially harmful ingredients that may be great at protecting you against damage from the sun, but are causing damage internally.

There are several questionable ingredients, but the five worst offenders include:

  • para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), including octyl-dimethyl PABA
  • benzophenones, (especially benzophenone-3);
  • cinnamates, (namely octyl-methoxycinnamate or OMC);
  • homosalate; and
  • 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC).

PABA is one of the most common ingredients in sunscreen, but can cause and itchy rash for many people. If you have sensitive skin or if you get a rash after applying some skin products, avoid any product containing PABA.

The next four ingredients (benzophenone-3, OMC, homosalate, and 4-MBC) have all been found to contain estrogenic properties when absorbed through the skin. This means that they not only disrupt hormone production, they can also affect brain development and reproductive function.

Your best bet is to choose a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide as it primary active ingredient. And don’t forget to load up on vitamin D (1,000-2,000 IU/day) as well, as sunscreen also blocks the production of this critical nutrient.


Liquid Health Vitamins: A Better Alternative to Pills?

by Health News

Liquid Health Vitamins:There are not nearly as many liquid nutritional supplement products on the market as there are those in the pill form, but their popularity is growing. What are some of the reasons for this?

They’re easier for people to swallow. While liquid vitamins might not taste as good, they are easier to swallow than pills or chewables. In fact, young children are particularly vulnerable to choking on chewable vitamins.  Older adults and those who have certain disorders that effect swallowing are also vulnerable to choking. To achieve the best of both worlds, liquid vitamin drops can be mixed in with a favorite juice drink.

They’re more readily assimilated into the bloodstream . It can take hours for vitamin pills to get into your bloodstream, but liquid vitamins are delivered in a fraction of this time. Depending on whether you drop it under your tongue or mix it into juice, liquid vitamins can start entering your bloodstream the moment you put the first drop in your mouth. When it reaches your stomach, there’s nothing to break down like there is with pills and capsules.

They’re easy on your stomach. Because there’s nothing solid to break down, they’re much easier to digest than pill supplements.

They’re convenient. You don’t need liquid to swallow them. If you keep the bottle in your purse or backpack, you can just take it whenever you remember, wherever you are!

They allow for dosing flexibility. Your dosage needs can change based on your age and health status. You can easily take more or less of a liquid without having to switch brands or break pills.

Talk to your health care practitioner and find out if liquid supplements might be a better option for you!

What do you think liquid vitamin supplements or pill form? Which do you take more often?


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?



Get Maximum Nutrition from your Vegetables

by Health News

IVL Products Healthy EatingWe all know that vegetables are loaded with a plethora of important nutrients and that they should be on your plate or in your sandwich with every meal. But equally important is ensuring that the vegetables you eat are prepared in a way that doesn’t deplete them of their important nutrients. Unfortunately, some cooking methods can strip vegetables of their nutritional value. So make sure to follow these guidelines when preparing vegetables:

  1. If possible, eat them raw. “Basically, uncooked vegetables are the richest in vital substances," says Silke Restemeyer, a nutritionist in Germany.
  2. If you would like to cook your vegetables, you can best preserve their nutritional value by steaming or cooking them in their own juices or with just a little bit of water, wine or broth, at a lower temperature only until the vegetables are al dente. Steaming them at a high heat for too long will deplete them of their nutrients.
  3. If you would rather not steam your veggies, another way to preserve their nutrients is to cook them in hot oil in a skillet or wok until they are al dente.
  4. Yet another nutrient-preserving preparation method is to marinate the vegetables and then grill them or roast them in the oven for 30 minutes, said Carsten Voigt of an association for cooks in Germany. "These methods are equally as protective of the nutrients and you obtain a delicious roasted flavor," he said.
  5. Avoid slow cooking in a lot of liquid at high temperatures - 75 to 95 degrees Celsius - and simmering. Shorter cooking times mean fewer vitamins are lost compared with longer cooking times, said Voigt. Cooking experts also recommend using as little liquid as possible because the more liquid in the pot, the greater amount of minerals lost.
  6. Don’t cut vegetables in really small pieces, and don’t peel them. According to Voigt, the skins often contain the most nutrients, not to mention the most flavor!
  7. Finally, eat the vegetables when they’re at their ripest, and be sure to store them in a cool, dry dark place to maintain optimal freshness until you’re ready to eat them.

How do you ensure you get y our daily requirement of vegetables?



How to Boost Immune System

by Health News

Having a strong immune system is key to a healthy life. Being sick is no fun and during the How to Boost Immune Systemcolder months our immune system needs all the support we can give it. Certain natural supplements and vitamins are known to help counter bacteria and viruses and should play an important part in boosting your immune system this winter.

Provide Your Body with Good Nutrition
If you are undernourished, either generally or lacking specific groups of vitamins and minerals, your body will be susceptible to disease and sickness. Eat nutrient-dense whole foods and concentrate on eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Avoid sugars and processed foods as they are known to decrease the function of your immune system and should be avoided at all costs if you are on the verge of sickness. Also drink plenty of clear liquids every day – water and herbal teas are best – to keep the body flushing out any toxins.

Get Plenty of Sunshine or Vitamin D
There is compelling evidence showing that colds and flu are related to a deficiency in vitamin D. Spending ten minutes in the sunshine each day, exposing arms and legs, is sufficient to allow your body to produce its own vitamin D. If you live in an area where that is not practical, then make sure you take a vitamin D supplement daily.

Take Vitamin E
Vitamin E naturally strengthens the immune system by stimulating the production of immune cells that create antibodies to fight germs and disease. In a study on vitamin E supplements conducted by Tufts University in Boston, the patients who received 200mg of vitamin E for four months produced more antibodies in response to vaccines for tetanus and hepatitis B than those who were given a placebo.

Consider Echinacea
Studies in Germany are way ahead of the U.S. and in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies Echinacea users had less frequent virus infections and less severe symptoms than those taking a placebo. Echinacea is most effective if taken when you feel a cold coming on, when you are under extra stress or when entering a situation that will challenge the immune system, such as returning to school after a break. A 300mg dose taken three times a day will be an effective natural immune booster.

Keep Active
Exercise helps boost the immune system as the increased blood flow stimulates all the body’s cells. Regular exercise allows the immune system to counter bacteria and viruses before they can cause problems, resulting in less colds, sickness and flu.

Get Plenty of Sleep
Your immune system will function best if you are well rested. During the cold and flu season your immune system is at its most stressed, so make a special effort to get plenty of sleep.

Manage Stress
Chronic stress is known to suppress the immune system. Studies have shown that people living stressful lives have a lower count of white blood cells, an indicator of a poor immune system. Laughter helps lower the stress hormones that circulate when you are under pressure, so make sure you laugh with friends or have a few good comedies to watch to boost your immune system and ward off illness the natural way this winter.


What are the Best Sugar Substitutes?

by Health News

Do you see a lot of sugar substitutes in your natural vitamin supplement facts panels? If so read more to better understand what those ingredients are.


According to Donna Gates, co-author of The Stevia Cookbook: Cooking with Nature's Calorie-Free Sweetener (Avery Trade, 2004), “Stevia is the safest sweetener. Period.” She also says that people who have tried Stevia powder and didn’t like it might actually like the liquid better. Stevia contains zero calories, but its one downfall is that it doesn't work well for baking.

Related Article: Sweet Solutions: The Best Sugar Substitutes

Date Sugar

Date sugar is very sweet. It clumps and doesn’t melt so it can’t be used in all the ways we use white sugar. Still you can usually substitute it in recipes that call for brown sugar.

Best Sugar Substitutes

Raw, Organic Honey

Even though honey contains higher fructose levels than other sugar substitutes, it is also a rich source of antioxidants. Because it has a low glycemic index, you can still add it to your tea, oatmeal or yogurt and not experience the blood-sugar “crash” that you might experience with regular sugar. And honey is more than just a great, natural sweetener. It’s also soothing to the skin and helps wounds heal faster.

Black Strap Molasses

If you’re more concerned about “empty calories” than you are about calories in general, then this is the alternative sweetener for you. Black strap molasses may have a high calorie index, but it is also a rich source of iron, potassium and calcium. The one drawback is, according to Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, MD, PhD, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, black strap molasses, as well as other calorie-containing sweeteners, are not recommended for diabetics.

Dangers of Sugar - Tips


Mood-Boosting Vitamin And Herb Supplements Offer Natural Solutions To Depression

by Health News

How do you know which vitamin supplement is right for you? The symptoms of depression vary widely from person to person so your holistic practitioner can work with you to develop a nutritional supplement regimen that best suits your individual needs.

Everybody suffers from a “blue mood” from time to time. For most people minor bouts of sadness are short-lived and soon forgotten.  But for the 17 million Americans who suffer from clinical depression, extreme sadness is a crippling fact of life that robs them of the simple joys of living and escalates into symptoms so severe that it is impossible to function.  The prescription medications that are used to treat depression have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. That is why holistic practitioners recommend mood-boosting vitamin and herb nutritional supplements for their patients who suffer from depression.  

Some of the vitamin and herb supplements used to boost mood and treat depression include:

SAMe:  S-adenosylmethionine, which is usually referred to as SAMe, is a compound that occurs naturally in the brain. Studies have shown that it boosts the production of serotonin and dopamine, both of which have significant mood-boosting effects. 

St. John’s Wort: This medicinal herb which has been used in Europe for centuries to treat depression has gained recognition in the United States during the past decade. The leaves and flowers of this herb are harvested and then dried before being converted into a pill or liquid form.  St. John’s Wort is particularly helpful in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression that occurs in some people in the winter months. 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 fatty acids boost mood by regulating brain function and numerous studies have shown that a deficiency can significantly increase the risk for depression. Omega 3 fatty acids are abundant in certain types of fish and statistics show that depression rates are lower in countries where fish consumption is high (like Japan).

Ginkgo Bilboa: Traditionally used in Chinese medicine, ginkgo extract comes from the leaves of the ginkgo bilboa tree. This extract, which is available in liquid or pill form, improves blood flow to the brain which helps in the treatment of depression.

Mood-boosting nutritional supplements are most effective when they are used in conjunction with healthy lifestyle choices like regular exercise, adequate rest and a high-fiber, low-fat diet. Exercise is particularly important because it releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins. Yoga, gardening, soothing music and spending time with supportive friends can also make a major difference.

Remember that depression is a treatable illness and there are many natural approaches that offer relief.   Reach out to your holistic practitioner and explore ways to manage depression so you can enjoy all of the joys life has to offer.


Mineral Supplements – Are You Getting Enough?

by Health News

There are 22 essential minerals that our bodies need in trace amounts on a regular basis. Those who participate in endurance sports such as running and marathon training need to be especially sure that they are getting enough essential minerals to obtain peak performance and endurance. Here’s the list of the most important dietary minerals and how to receive the daily-recommended levels of them all.

Vitamins Minerals Supplements IVL Products

We all know that calcium is crucial to healthy bones, but it is also plays an important part in fat storage and muscle contraction. Runners in particular need sufficient calcium to develop strong bones to cope with the vigors of training as well as maintaining a lean body composition. The recommended daily intake is 1,000 to 1,300 mg which can be obtained with three servings of dairy or soy products per day, such as a cup of milk (8 fl.oz), low-fat yoghurt, soy beans, seeds and egg yolks. However, research suggests that calcium supplements, taken in conjunction with vitamin D, are more effectively digested for maintaining bone density than dairy products.

Iron is another essential mineral that our body needs. It helps produce red blood cells which carry oxygen to the muscles during exercise. Anemia, or lack of iron, is a common cause of tiredness and fatigue – the last thing an athlete wants to suffer from.

The recommended daily iron intake is 10 grams per day for men and 15 grams for pre-menopausal women. It can be found in beef, chicken and tuna and supplements are a good source of iron. However, you should not exceed daily recommended amounts without the advice of a physician as too much iron can be toxic.

Sodium, commonly known as salt, is needed by the body to transmit electrical signals throughout the body such as contracting the muscles when required. As sodium is lost in sweat during exercise, athletes may need a slightly higher intake than non-athletes. However, daily requirements of sodium are 500 mg per day and the average American consumes seven times that amount in a typical processed western diet. The best way to keep sodium in balance for athletes is by consuming a sports drink during exercise, especially in the heat. This prevents the blood volume from decreasing through sweating and keeps cardiac performance at its optimum during exercise.

Zinc plays many crucial roles in our body’s immune system and performance. It is a vital component of enzymes that helps remove carbon dioxide from the blood. Adequate zinc intake is essential for optimum health and is found in beans, nuts and whole grains. The recommended daily intake is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men.

Few of us have a perfectly balanced, unprocessed diet as nature intended and it is particularly important for athletes, those on a high-carb diet or suffering from lethargy to ensure their mineral intake is meeting the recommended amounts of those 22 essential minerals. The best way is by eating sensibly and taking a carefully formulated daily supplement, which tops up any shortfall. Try adding a few drops of a liquid mineral supplement to water to re-mineralize and re-energize your body for optimal health.

Do you currently take any mineral supplements?






Vitamins Essential for All Bodily Functions

by Health News

The Institute for Vibrant Living All Natural SupplementsAlthough opinions may vary widely among medical researchers on many topics, they all agree on one thing: The human body requires the proper amounts and combinations of vitamins in order to survive and thrive. Vitamins are organic substances that are crucial for the proper growth and functioning of the human body. Vitamins cannot be produced by the body so they have to be obtained from the foods we eat or from nutritional supplements.  If we don’t get the necessary amounts of vitamin health supplements then our bodies become vulnerable to a variety of maladies, including serious life-threatening diseases. Because each person is different, the types of vitamins the body needs depends on several factors including sex, age, activity level and pre-existing health issues.

Vitamins are classified as either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Examples of water-soluble vitamins include B complex and vitamin C.   Because water-soluble vitamins will dissolve in water and be excreted through urine they must be replenished regularly. Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K dissolve in fat before entering the bloodstream.  They are stored in the body and do not have to be replenished as often as water-soluble vitamins. 

In a perfect world we would get the vitamins we need from our diets, but that is rarely the case. Over-processed foods, chemical toxins used in food production and fast-paced lifestyles that force us to eat on the run compromise our ability to get proper nutrition from the meals we eat.  That is why more than 50 percent of Americans take at least one vitamin supplement each day.

In order to achieve the maximum level of absorption, many people prefer to take liquid vitamins. The advantage of liquid vitamins is that they go directly into the bloodstream. Liquid vitamins are beneficial for people who find it difficult to swallow vitamins in pill form.  Many vitamins are also available in a powder form that can be blended into smoothies or sprinkled on food. 

Because the ideal vitamin regimen will differ from person to person, it is a good idea to talk with your nutritionist or holistic health practitioner to decide on the plan that is best for you. Toxins in the environment, nutritionally deficient foods and unprecedented stress levels are taking a toll on our bodies. Keep your body and immune system strong by adding nutritional supplements to your stay-well strategy so that you can enjoy a long, active, vibrant life.  



Natural Remedies to Combat Cold and Flu and Boost the Immune System

by Health News

Winter – sometimes it seems like it will never end, and a nasty cold or flu certainly doesn't help matters! If you are an unlucky recipient, you may find relief in one or more of the following natural remedies to combat cold and flu and learn  how to improve your immune system naturally.

Boost Your Immune System

Boost the Immune System with Infection-Fighting Foods.
Take advantage of the following natural foods when battling a cold or flu:

Try the BRAT Diet. Immediately following stomach flu, it is best to consume fluids and broths. On day two, try BRAT. Commonly used for children with upset stomachs, this natural remedy of bananas, rice, applesauce and dry toast really works!

  • Eat garlic, which has powerful antibacterial compounds that help the body fight infection.    A close relative with similar antibacterial agents is onion. Cook with onions and leeks when you or family members have a cold.
  • Blueberries help to curb diarrhea, and they have aspirin-like properties, which may help to reduce fever and soothe aches and pains.
  • Try eating cranberries to prevent bacteria from invading the bladder and urinary tract.
  • Chili peppers help to open sinuses and clear the buildup of mucus in the lungs. Other helpful foods for reducing nasal congestion and mucus are mustard and horseradish.
  • Try a cup of tea as a natural cold and flu remedy. Catechin, a phytochemical found in black and green teas is said to have antibiotic and anti-diarrheal properties.  
  • Steer clear of processed foods and sugar when battling illness as junk foods take a toll on the digestive system.

Get a healthy Immune system with a daily Vitamin Health Supplements.

  • Vitamin C. Devotees of Vitamin C swear by its ability to reduce severity and duration of cold symptoms and boost the immune system. Try foods rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, berries and leafy greens, or take a supplemental dose of 200 to 500 milligrams a day to provide extra protection from a cold or flu.
  • Vitamin D. A study at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver found that lower levels of vitamin D are linked with an increased risk for respiratory infections, like cold and flu. This was based on an assessment of diet, vitamin D levels, and rates of respiratory infection in a group of nearly 19,000 American men and women. In addition to supplements, vitamin D can be found in canned tuna, cereal and fortified milk or juice.  The body produces its own vitamin D with adequate exposure to sunlight.
To prevent your chances of getting a nasty cold or flu or to soothe the symptoms once they set in, try any of the natural remedies below.
  • Get Enough Rest. This is a “no-brainer.” When ill, your body is trying to tell you that you need to take better care of it. Find a warm, quiet bed away from other family members and get plenty of sleep.
  • Stay Hydrated. Drink at least 64 ounces of pure water or fluids daily. This boosts the circulatory system, which is vital when the body is fighting disease. Also, reduce mucus with warm liquids like herbal teas and broths.
  • Know when to Treat Symptoms.  Surprisingly, uncomfortable cold and flu symptoms are part of the body’s natural course of healing. A fever actually helps boost the immune system by creating a hot, virus-destroying environment. Therefore, if you can tolerate a moderate fever at the onset of a cold or flu, you might get well faster. Coughing is another useful symptom that helps to clear mucus from breathing passages.   Except at night, try to encourage rather than inhibit this important function.
  • Try a Neti Pot for a Stuffy Nose. Rinsing with salt water helps remove infection-causing particles from your nose and clears nasal congestion. Use of a neti pot is a great natural remedy - try a solution made up of eight ounces of warm water mixed with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

These methods can help hasten recovery time and boost the immune system naturally.



Health Tip: Which Are Better Liquid Vitamin Supplements Or Non-Liquid?

by Health Tips

When it comes to the debate of liquid vitamins versus non-liquid vitamins there are a few theories;  one being that if you take the best liquid vitamins your body does not need to digest them to take advantage of the natural health benefits, it can start using them immediately, theoretically.

When it comes to your traditional non-liquid natural vitamins the theory is that you are able to build up a reserve of vitamins in the body by taking them into your system on a regular basis.  This is true to some extent but many of us have trouble digesting the foods we take in let alone a vitamin capsule or tablet.

Whichever form you decide to use my suggestion to you is to take the natural supplements on a daily, consistent basis and please take note of the subtle changes that you may be experiencing, you may not know exactly what to attribute the subtle changes to but I will bet it is nature at work!

Whether you decide to take a natural liquid vitamin or a more traditional form of natural vitamin supplement I wish you the best on your path to natural good health!