0 Comments

Lack of Energy? Restore Vitality with Acai and Suma

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

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

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

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

RelatedHow the Antioxidants in Superfruits Keep You Healthy

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

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

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

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

0 Comments

5 Green Veggies You Need to Eat on a Gluten-Free Diet

by Health News

Gluten-free diets have garnered a lot of attention in recent years as more and more people have been diagnosed with wheat allergies and celiac disease. Statistics indicate that three million Americans have celiac disease and nearly 18 million Americans have some level of gluten sensitivity. Unfortunately a large percentage of people with gluten intolerance don’t know they have it because the symptoms are similar to those of other disorders. 

Five Vegetable Vital to a Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten is a sticky protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye. It has a molecular structure that many human digestive systems cannot process properly. If they ingest foods containing gluten, people with sensitivities may experience bloating, constipation, sore muscles, dry skin, mouth sores, fatigue and weight fluctuations. While there is no cure for gluten intolerance most people find that symptoms disappear when they embrace a gluten-free diet.

For best results, a gluten-free diet should include plenty of fresh vegetables because they are packed with immune-boosting nutrients. The top five vegetable superstars include:

Broccoli: This bright green cruciferous vegetable is packed with top-shelf phytonutrients and is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc. It is delicious raw, steamed or sautéed.

Related Why is Kale So Healthy?

Kale:  A nutrient-dense leafy green, kale is a member of the cabbage family and is rich in carotenoids as well as calcium and iron. It has so many nutrients per serving that many dieticians refer to it as the “king of greens.”

Spinach: Much like kale, spinach is high in carotenoids, calcium and iron. It is also rich in vitamin C. Research suggests that people who eat spinach on a regular basis reduce their risk for cancer and other inflammatory diseases.

Parsley: Because parsley is often used as a garnish, many people don’t eat it and are not aware of its powerful nutrient content. This small leafy herb is loaded with folic acid as well as vitamins A, K and C.  

Watercress: This little green is packed has more vitamin C per serving than oranges. It is also loaded with calcium, iron and folate.

By eliminating gluten and embracing smart food choices, you will feel and look your best.  Add these five veggie powerhouses to your gluten-free diet to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need.

0 Comments

Chlorophyll: Nature’s Remedy for Fatigue, Bad Breath & More

by Cindy Gray

If you struggle with fatigue, bad breath and excessive sweating your body might need to detox with chlorophyll. Foods containing chlorophyll can help neutralize and remove the toxins that cause tiredness and body odors. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that collects energy from sunlight. Eating foods rich in these green pigments helps to cleanse the blood. 

If you struggle with fatigue, bad breath and excessive sweating, you may need to detox with chlorophyll.

Algae, seaweed and wheatgrass are among the most potent sources of chlorophyll. Other good sources include green leafy vegetables, sprouts, green juices and wild edible greens. Foods containing chlorophyll detoxify the body and work with the liver to restore vibrant health. They also absorb toxins from the intestinal tract and support the growth of “friendly” bacteria.

Some of the major benefits of chlorophyll include:

Neutralizes Body Odor:  Because chlorophyll cleanses you from the inside out, it can help reduce body odor. Chlorophyll has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that fight body odor at the source. It is so effective that it is often referred to as “nature’s deodorant.”

Eliminates Bad Breath: Foods containing chlorophyll fight bad breath because they cleanse the digestive tract.  Chewing on the leaves of parsley, dill, basil and cilantro can immediately freshen bad breath. Chlorophyll provides a natural alternative to chemical-laden mouthwashes and breath mints.

Related What Everybody Ought to Know About Liquid Chlorophyll

Removes Toxins: Toxic metals in the environment can take a toll on your health. Chlorophyll attaches to toxins and heavy metals and removes them from your body. It also increases your blood's oxygen-carrying capacity by stimulating red blood cell production. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of chlorophyll contribute to its cleansing effects.

Boosts Immune System: Chlorophyll-rich foods contain essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for disease prevention and vibrant health.

Speeds Healing: For the past 100 years researchers have studied the healing properties of chlorophyll. Studies show it speeds the healing process because it is a natural disinfectant and it fights inflammation.

Because it has so many beneficial health effects, many people use chlorophyll supplements to make sure they are getting recommended amounts. The supplements come in capsule, powder and liquid forms and can be obtained online and through natural health stores.

Boost your energy levels and eliminate embarrassing breath and body odors the natural way. Chlorophyll is a safe, plant-based detox method that can cleanse your body from the inside out. 

0 Comments

Why Aloe is So Amazing for the Reflux Diet

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Aloe vera has been one of nature’s medicinal remedies for centuries. As well as being effective in healing wounds, calming nerves, purifying the blood, reducing inflammation and promoting a healthy complexion, aloe vera now appears to be a key component in a reflux diet.

What is Aloe Vera?

The healing properties of aloe vera make it an important aid in any acid reflux dietAloes are spiky succulent plants with fleshy grey-green leaves. They grow wild in the Caribbean, southern USA and North Africa. The gelatinous extracts and juice from aloe vera have been used in herbal medicine for over 2,000 years.

Rich in vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids such as collagen and elastin, aloe vera is commonly used in beauty treatments to promote a youthful, healthy skin. Aloe vera also has natural antibiotic and anti-viral properties and boosts the immune system.

Related A Humble Houseplant Works Wonders with Skin Issues

Healing Properties of Aloe Vera

The excellent healing properties of aloe vera are well known. It effectively soothes burned skin, heals stomach ulcers, regulates the balance of intestinal flora and eases the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

The alkaline juice from aloe vera can also aid digestion, making it an excellent component for those looking to counter troublesome stomach acid by adopting the Reflux Diet. Aloe vera contains beta-sitosterol to reduce bad cholesterol, campesterol to reduce the cholesterol absorption in the intestines, and lupeol which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

What is the Reflux Diet?

The Reflux Diet is made up of foods and substances that naturally control heartburn and the unpleasant symptoms of acid reflux. Diets that are high in protein and low in fat are known to help reduce acid reflux. Taking aloe vera as a supplement is an important part of any Reflux Diet. Eating smaller portions and avoiding citrus or spicy foods can also help to naturally control the problem without having to resort to medication.

By taking aloe vera in supplement form, you can support a controlled Reflux Diet to improve your digestive health.

Here are 12 More Reflux Diet Foods that fight acid reflux safely and naturally.

 

 

0 Comments

How to Use Stevia in High Blood Pressure Recipes

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Low calorie sweeteners are big business as people concerned about their health and/or weight switch to low calorie alternatives to sugar. Unlike aspartame, saccharin and even xylitol, stevia is completely natural. There are several reasons why stevia makes an excellent sugar substitute in high blood pressure recipes.

Stevia plants are a natural sugar-free sweetener for use in high blood pressure recipes

Stevia has been used in China and Japan as a sweetener for many years. Stevia extract comes from a green leafy herb (Stevia rebaudiana), native to Paraguay and other tropical areas of the Americas. Stevia has two compounds (stevioside and rebaudioside) that are 250 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose).

Reducing Hypertension with Stevia

In clinical trials, researchers found that stevia can reduce high blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity. This makes it an excellent sugar substitute for diabetics, those following a weight loss program, and those who wish to lover their blood pressure safely and naturally.

Related What are the Best Sugar Substitutes?

Stevia has also been found to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Unlike other artificial sweeteners that may be carcinogenic, stevia has no reported side effects or adverse reactions. However, stevia does have a slight aftertaste when used in some drinks and recipes.

High Blood Pressure Recipes Using Stevia

High blood pressure diets and natural remedies aim to lower hypertension by balancing the body’s acidity and removing toxins. By eliminating fatty junk food and substituting it with fresh fruit and raw organic vegetables, blood pressure levels can be effectively lowered.

One of the benefits of stevia is that it is pH-stable, so including it in a high blood pressure diet is important. Try drinking cranberry stevia lemonade throughout the day (a gallon if possible) and then check your blood pressure levels after 10 days. As well as boosting hydration, cranberry stevia lemonade helps balance acidity and removes toxins, which all help lower hypertension.

Fill a gallon jar with distilled or spring water  and add the juice of 3 organic lemons. Add one cup organic cranberry juice, a dash of liquid cayenne and liquid stevia to taste.  

Another excellent High Blood Pressure Recipe using stevia is to puree seedless watermelon in a blender with stevia to taste. Freeze in a shallow container overnight. Allow to thaw a little then break down the ice crystals with a fork and spoon the frozen fruit into paper snow cones. The combination of fresh fruits and stevia provide multiple benefits for those wanting to lower blood pressure naturally.

0 Comments

What You Need to Know About Fermented Foods and Constipation

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Antibiotics are used in medicine to kill harmful bacteria; in fact they kill off all bacteria in the digestive system, creating other problems. However, the opposite of antibiotics are probiotics. These beneficial bacteria aid digestion, fight harmful bacteria, act as chelators and detox agents to rid the body of heavy metals and toxins, and they help reduce constipation.

So where can we get a healthy daily dose of these useful probiotic bacteria? Fermented foods are the key. You probably already eat some occasionally without even realizing. Examples of fermented foods include fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, which are fermented, not pickled. Examples of fermented dairy products include probiotic yogurt and kefir. 

How Does Fermented Food Aid Constipation?

Fermented food can help prevent constipation

Most fermented foods are made using an ancient form of food preservation. This fermentation process uses beneficial bacteria to create lactic acid. This environment is high in good bacteria and preserves the food by not allowing bad bacteria to spoil and rot it. Modern-day fermented foods may be processed using pasteurization which actually kills all bacteria. You need to find products that have been organically fermented, or do the process yourself.

Even a small amount of sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, will provide many benefits. It is full of vitamin C, reduces inflammation in the bowel, reduces pain and constipation associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lowers bloating and contains high levels of antioxidants.

Related: Top 10 Foods for Fantastic Digestion

Eating cultured or fermented foods tops up intestinal flora (bacteria) which boosts natural immunity. They balance bacteria in the stomach and digestive tract, releasing enzymes to improve digestion. Fermented foods also produce an acid environment in the bowel which can be helpful in preventing constipation. These bacteria make it easier for the body to absorb nutrients and speedier digestion means less likelihood of constipation.

Now you know the benefits of fermented foods on your overall health, banishing constipation, You may want to try adding some other fermented foods to your diet. Try fermented beets, tomatoes, radishes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, kimchi, green beans and sauerkraut. Dairy eaters can enjoy fermented yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk and some cheeses. Not only will these foods fight inflammation and disease-causing bacteria, you will also avoid unhealthy constipation, another big plus!

0 Comments

Five Foods for Boosting Immunity

by Cindy Gray

Do you feel like you have a weakened immune system? Our immune systems are constantly under attack from the endless bacteria, toxins and viruses we are exposed to as part of daily life.  This amazing system must remain hyper-vigilant at all times and be ready to strike at the first sign of an invading bacteria or virus.

Booste Immunity with these Five FoodsLack of sleep, stress and poor diet weaken your immune system making it tough to do its job.  Hitting a yoga class or meditating, calling it a night 30 minutes earlier and incorporating these five foods into your diet can help you keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

The Fabulous Five

Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and dairy products can have a beneficial effect on a weakened immune system.  However, five foods in particular have shown to be especially beneficial in keeping your flu-fighters lean and mean.

Avocados

Also known as a butter pear, this creamy, green, nutty flavored fruit (yes, fruit) provides a lot of immunity-boosting nutrients.  The amino acids, antioxidants and healthy omega-3 fats are good for the entire body. Avocados are rich in glutathione and phytonutrients that kill off free radicals. 

Current research is studying the effects of those phytonutrients on cells, telling them whether to grow, live or die.  These guacamole super-stars also help reduce inflammation, which lessens cold and flu symptoms.  They are packed with B-6 vitamins, vitamins A, C and E, minerals like zinc, iron and selenium, which are crucial to the formation of healthy immune system cells that attack invading pathogens.

Related: Boost Your Immune System With Garlic’s Healthy Benefits

Ginger

This spicy, flavorful root has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is known to help break down toxins in organs, and contribute to a clean lymphatic system, the one that disposes of cellular wastes.  Ginger also helps regulate your immune system to keep it from over-reacting (allergy attack) and helps to activate T-cells. Those are the white blood cells that are virus and tumor-killing ninjas.

Graviola

Gravi what!?  Graviola is a fruit that grows best in a rainforest climate and can be found abundantly in South America and many tropical islands.  This heart-shaped green fruit is also known as a Brazilian paw paw, soursop or guanaba and has been used by ancient peoples to modern times for a variety of health reasons. Graviola has been used to keep the liver healthy, reduce swelling in the mucus membranes, and reduce cold and flu symptoms.  Modern researchers are studying a substance in them called annonaceous acetogenins that tend to attack cancer cells. Graviola supports a healthy immune system by killing off parasites and reducing inflammation in the body.

Mushrooms

These weird looking, chewy fungi are immune-boosting powerhouses, thanks to being loaded with the powerful antioxidant ergothioneine.  It survives cooking and quickly enters the blood stream to shore up your immunity by helping remove heavy metal toxins from your tissues and destroy free radicals that harm healthy cells.

Mushrooms are also a rich source of selenium—low levels have been linked to more severe flu symptoms.  They also provide the B-vitamins riboflavin and niacin and have antibacterial and antiviral properties, and may be effective in killing tumors.

Oatmeal

There are just so many good things to say about eating oatmeal regularly.  For your immune system, oatmeal provides a healthy dose of three minerals critical to keeping it functioning at optimum levels.

  • Zinc- essential for the growth and function of the immunity cells that recognize and destroy invading pathogens.

  • Selenium – which we already discussed as an essential component to a healthy immune system, and it’s nice to know you can get it in a variety of foods. Its ability to bind with proteins to form seleno-proteins help regulate the immune system so it responds quickly to invaders but does not go overboard when it senses a harmless pollen (i.e. an allergy attack).

  • Iron – those with low levels of this mineral often have a weak immune system. It is a critical nutrient in the formation of healthy immune system red and white blood cells that eradicate invading pathogens.

Oatmeal also contains a soluble fiber called beta glucan that supports immune function and reduces susceptibility to infection.

Eating a diverse diet rich in all kinds of fruits and vegetables will help keep your immune system strong.  Be sure to add in the fabulous five to help you survive and thrive during dreaded cold and flu season and generally stay healthy year-round for life.

 

Sources:

http://www.doctoroz.com/slideshow/boost-your-im...

http://www.livescience.com/45209-avocado-nutrition-facts.html

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-graviola.htm

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ss/slideshow-immune-foods

http://woman.thenest.com/health-benefits-oatmeal-immune-system-21954.html

http://functionalmushrooms.com/?p=302

0 Comments

Fermented Vegetables for Indigestion

by Cindy Gray

The typical American diet often consists mainly of highly processed foods, fatty meats and few fruits or vegetables.  As a result, indigestion and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are on the rise, and nutritional deficits are the result.  Adding fermented foods, especially vegetables, into your diet can significantly improve the health of your belly, boost your immune system and stave off metabolic disorders that lead to high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and weight gain.

Fermented Vegetables: Optimal for Health and the Digestive SystemWhat Does Fermented Mean?

According to the dictionary, fermentation is: “the process in which a substance breaks down into a simpler substance.”  Usually some kind of agent, a microorganism like yeast or bacteria, starts the process that breaks sugar down into alcohol for instance.  Through fermentation, milk becomes cheese, yogurt and kefir. Grapes become wine and cabbage becomes kimchi or sauerkraut. Fermentation has been used for centuries in almost every culture as a way of preserving food.  Long before there was refrigeration or fast food restaurants, fermentation was an easy way to keep food edible for the winter months or for long journeys.

Probiotics for Healthy Digestion and Stronger Immunity

Fermenting vegetables and other foods makes them rich in probiotics.  These are the intestinal flora (good bacteria) essential for healthy digestion. They feed on sugar and help break down the nutrients in the intestine, which makes it easier for our bodies to absorb them.

When the good bacteria in our gut gets out of balance it can lead to:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Inflammation
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Increased risk of contracting illnesses like colds or the flu

Research has shown that obese people tend to have an imbalance in gut flora; and the immune system can become compromised when you don’t have enough healthy bacteria in your GI tract.  The Journal of Nutrition has even found a link between probiotics and a decreased risk of colon cancer.

Fermented Vegetables

We all know that vegetables are an essential component of a healthy diet. Fermented vegetables offer additional health benefits, but are not common in many American meals.  Making them a part of your diet has many health benefits, so here are a few to try.  Some of them may sound odd or exotic, but don’t let that stop you from trying them.

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish consisting of fermented cabbage.  Unless you grew up in a Korean family, you might find its pungent odor and spicy tang unappetizing.  It is an acquired taste, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to like it and by doing so, reap great health benefits.

Other fermented vegetables that can help indigestion are:

  • Pickles

  • Sauerkraut

  • Miso (fermented soy beans that form a base for soups and sauces)

  • Poi (fermented taro root)

  • Natto (fermented soy beans that are a traditional Japanese breakfast)

When trying these foods, be sure to look for those that are not pasteurized. Choose the high quality pickles and sauerkraut in the refrigerated section of your grocery store rather than the canned versions that may contain high fructose corn syrup, a lot of preservatives, or are high in sodium. Shopping in specialty food markets is the best way to find good miso, poi or natto.

There are other terms for fermented like “pickled” or “cultured,” so read labels carefully and be aware that some of these foods are very high in sodium.  You can always ferment food at home, too. It’s actually a pretty simple process and there are dozens of recipes and “how to” articles and videos on-line to assist you.

Other Healthy Fermented Foods

Fermented vegetables are just one way to get gut-healthy probiotics into your diet for better digestion and a stronger immune system.  Other foods rich in probiotics are:

  • Kefir

  • Yogurt

  • Sourdough bread

  • Tempeh (cake made from fermented soybeans)

Introduce fermented vegetables slowly  into your diet if you are not used to eating them regularly.  Until they become a regular part of your diet, try adding them as a side dish or snack so you don’t overwhelm your palate. You will reap the benefits of a healthier gut and a stronger immune system.

Related: Simple Tips for Relieving Indigestion

0 Comments

Inability to Focus? Feed your Brain!

by Cindy Gray

When your body lacks food, it tells you by slowing down and losing its normal efficiency. In the same way, when your brain needs a boost, it lets you know by becoming slow, muddled and lacking its normal clarity.  Several foods appear to boost memory and cognitive function, as if they are brain superfoods. Next time you feel the inability to focus, try these brain foods.Feed your Brain, Increase Focus

Maca for Brain Power

Maca is an unusual turnip-like root which thrives where other crops fail. It was grown by the Incas high in the Andes in places like Machu Picchu. This amazing food can be grown at altitudes of 9,000 to 14,000 feet, even in cold winds and strong sunlight.

Maca has been used as a food and a medicinal plant for thousands of years. The Inca people believe the root is a source of energy and endurance but it also improves memory and brain power. You may not be able to grow maca in your own backyard, or find it in the supermarket, but maca is available as a health supplement in powdered form and can easily be added to power smoothies and shakes.

Maca root is high in antioxidants which are known to aid memory and cognitive function. It comes in three forms: black, red and yellow maca. Clinical studies on maca found that black maca had a positive effect on the brain, with most people citing it helped them improve memory. Scientists believe that the antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in the brain, allowing it to be more clear thinking and productive.

Cacao for Clarity and Alertness

Cacao, the raw form of cocoa and chocolate, contains over 300 beneficial compounds. Unfortunately many of these are destroyed by heating, refining and processing the cacao into chocolate.

Cacao has been shown to increase the activity in the brain's neurotransmitters, not only lifting mood and promoting a sense of well-being, but also increasing alertness and mental clarity. It works by stimulating the levels of endorphins and serotonin that makes us feel happy. It also prompts the brain to release anandamide, known as the "bliss chemical", along with phenylethylamine (PEA) which improves mental focus and alertness.

Related: Can Exercise Prevent Alzheimer's Disease?

Other benefits of cacao include dilating the blood vessels which allows better circulation to the brain; balancing mood and brain chemistry; providing a shield against stress and increasing mental sharpness.

Look for chocolate with a high percentage of cacao and proportionally less sugar, dairy and soy products to get the maximum benefits from nutrient-rich cacao.

Reishi Mushrooms for Boosting Mental Capacity

Certain types of mushrooms are known to affect the mind, sometimes positively, and sometimes negatively. Reishi mushrooms are referred to as the "King of Herbs" in Eastern medicine. This fungus has a positive mental benefit as it helps maintain equilibrium and balance in the whole body.

A balanced body is essentially healthy and has a strong immune system which leads to a positive and healthy outlook on life. It also allows us to deal with stress more easily, lowering anxiety levels that can otherwise inhibit brain function.

Reishi specifically strengthens the vagus nerve which connects the gut to the brain and this is thought to be the reason for the improvement in mental capacity.

Reishi mushrooms, along with maca root powder are key ingredients in several popular, powerful, and palatable meal replacement drinks used to boost energy and feed your brain.

0 Comments

Do Collard Greens Prevent Cancer?

by Cindy Gray

You probably know of collard greens as a staple ingredient in any soul food restaurant menu, or as part of a typical Sunday dinner for thousands of Americans.  Well, the good news is that this common green food not only tastes good but it is also very beneficial for your health and wellbeing.  Collard greens are a dark green leafy vegetable, closely related to cabbage and broccoli, and are part of the family of the so-called cruciferous vegetables. They are bitter to taste when raw, so they need to seasoned correctly before cooking.Prevent Cancer with Collard Greens?

Based on a small number of studies looking specifically at collard greens, and a larger number of studies looking at cruciferous vegetables as a group, the main health benefit of collard greens appears to be cancer prevention.  Collard greens provide nutrient support for three of the body’s systems that are closely connected with cancer prevention - including the detox system, the antioxidant system and the anti-inflammatory system. Chronic imbalances in any of these three systems can increase the risk of cancer. When imbalances in all three systems occur simultaneously, the risk of cancer increases significantly. Intake of collard greens is believed to be associated with a lower risk of bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer.

What’s more, the thick leaves of collards are packed with cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, immune-boosting vitamin C, and the cancer fighting properties of sulforaphane and diindolylmethane. Sulforaphane also lowers blood glucose levels, which makes collard greens a healthy choice for people with diabetes.  As a rich source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese and vitamin E, collard greens provide us with four conventional yet powerful antioxidants.

Further, as an excellent source of vitamin K, and a good source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), collard greens also provide us with two major anti-inflammatory nutrients. Vitamin K directly manages our inflammatory response, and ALA is the building block for several anti-inflammatory messaging molecules.

Sulforaphane, a natural compound found in collard greens, not only triggers anti-inflammatory activity in the cardiovascular system, it may also be able to help prevent, and possibly even help reverse blood vessel damage.

The soluble fiber in collard greens - over 5 grams in every cup - makes this cruciferous vegetable a natural choice for digestive system support, providing 85% of the daily allowance from only 200 calories worth.

Last but not least, research is currently underway to examine the potential benefits of collard greens in relationship to the risk of the following inflammation-related conditions: Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, insulin resistance, irritable bowel syndrome, metabolic syndrome, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes and ulcerative colitis.

In other words, if you’re not already consuming this beneficial green food, why not add it to your diet today?

 

Source:

Do Collard Greens Prevent Cancer?

0 Comments

Learn How Gratitude Benefits Your Health

by Health News

What is Good for High Blood Pressure? Gratitude

Many people want to know what is good for high blood pressure. The answer may surprise you. Learn how gratitude benefits your health, including your heart, in this article.

In the fast-paced and stressful world of today, practicing positive mental states has been scientifically shown to improve quality of life and promote longevity.

A 1995 study published in The American Journal of Cardiology found that gratitude greatly benefits both the heart and immune system. In this study, participants were monitored while being asked to recall for five minutes any incident that triggered anger.

Next, they were told instead to focus on a particular memory that inspired gratitude. Immediately, their heart, pulse and respiration rates dramatically improved.

These results led study researchers to state that by cultivating gratefulness, stress is significantly reduced, boosting immune function and strengthening overall health, including heart health.

All emotions are intimately connected with the heart and body. The heart has a constant two-way dialog with the brain.

This study explains how our heart responds to our emotional reactions and why certain emotions stress our body and sap our energy. Feelings like anger, frustration, anxiety and insecurity disturb our heart-rhythm patterns, making them erratic.

These erratic patterns signal emotional centers in the brain, which recognizes them as negative or stressful feelings. Not only that, but erratic heart rhythms block our ability to think clearly.

On the other hand, when we experience feelings of compassion, love and gratitude, our heart rhythm patterns become smooth and harmonious, indicating a balanced nervous and cardiovascular system.

In other words, when your heart is at ease, both your heart health and overall health are significantly enhanced.

Furthermore, those people who are grateful and appreciative often live longer.

In a long-term observational study described in the Graziadio Business Review, Catholic nuns who expressed gratitude, happiness and other positive emotions in their earlier years were found to live up to ten years longer than nuns who did not express gratitude.

Study researchers saw a significant inverse relationship between positive emotional content in handwritten autobiographies of 180 Catholic nuns (at the age of 22) and risk of death later in life, between ages 75 to 95.

In other words, an expression of gratefulness in early life was associated with a lifetime of longevity, even up to 60 years later.

0 Comments

Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients

by Health News
Looking for some high blood pressure remedies? There’s no question that, when it comes to healthy aging, specifically lowering cholesterol, your first step should be to eat healthy and exercise. But when you want that extra boost, these three nutrients should be at the top of your list.High Blood Pressure Remedies: 3 Heart-Healthy Nutrients
 
CoQ10—Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble compound found in every plant and animal cell. Research has shown that CoQ10 also prevents the oxidation of LDL—the pivotal step in artery clogging—and, along with vitamin E, can help to lower cholesterol levels. Plus, many older adults are frequently prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statins class which significantly deplete CoQ10 stores, so it is particularly critical that you use CoQ10 if you are taking a statin. Aim for 100 mg of CoQ10 (as ubiquinone) daily.
 
Essential Fatty Acids— Essential fatty acids (EFAs), the omega-3's EPA and DHA, are fats that your body does not produce and you must therefore obtain through diet or supplementation. They are important for the production of series 1 and 3 prostaglandins, potent hormone-like anti-inflammatory substances that help regulate blood pressure, the breakdown of fat or cholesterol in your blood, heart rate, blood clotting, and your immune system’s response to injury and infection. EFAs also help decrease inflammation. Aim for 200 mg of EPA and 100 mg of DHA every day.
 
Quercetin—Quercetin belongs to the bioflavonoid family—a subgroup of flavonoids known for their potent antioxidant and antiviral capabilities. It also helps to maintain the strength of small blood vessels and reduce vascular fragility. In addition to its ability to reduce bleeding and bruising, quercetin is beneficial in preventing “sticky” platelets and promoting relaxation of the entire cardiovascular system. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate. Aim for 250 mg a day.
 
0 Comments

Can Bitter Melon Counter Obesity-Associated Inflammation in the Brain?

by Cindy Gray

Bitter Melon May Counter Obesity-Associated Inflammation in the BrainAccording to a study from the University of Hawaii, bitter melon can counter inflammation in the brain caused by obesity, thereby lowering risk for brain-related diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and others.

The global epidemic of obesity is a major risk factor for many diseases, including those affecting the brain; and it is a major preventable cause of death worldwide. In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially classified obesity as a disease.

An increase in metabolism due to excess nutrition and obesity can lead to inflammation in the brain; although health experts are not exactly certain of how this happens.

In the present study, the researchers from Hawaii looked at the effects of regular consumption of bitter melon on the consequences of a high-fat diet on inflammation in laboratory mice.

Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, is a fruit that is used as food in many South Asian countries. It has long been used in the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda to treat a number of ailments, including type 2 diabetes. Bitter melon is also used in traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to stimulate digestion, treat malaria, boost immune function and treat diabetes.

In the Hawaiian study, mice were fed a high-fat diet with and without bitter melon for 16 weeks. Their brains were then examined for so-called ‘markers’ of inflammation and stress.

Interestingly, study researchers found that the high-fat diet triggered the expression of inflammatory markers in the brains of these mice. However, expression of these markers returned to normal levels if the mice had been eating bitter melon as well.

Not only that, blood levels of antioxidants and pro-inflammatory compounds—which had increased in response to the special diet—also returned to normal with bitter melon consumption.

The study authors concluded that bitter melon is a potential therapy for obesity-associated inflammation in the brain and may lower risk for brain diseases.

Inflammation levels can be safely and effectively managed by adding bitter melon to your regime therapy.  There are nutritional supplements on the market today, such as elixirs, that may include all-natural, healthful nutrients, such as green tea extract, hibiscus, rose hips, pomegranate and of course bitter melon.  This type of supplement may provide your body with powerful protection against inflammation, for optimal brain and overall health.

Nutritional supplements like these are very easy to add to your daily routine to protect yourself against the toxic effects of inflammation.   Given the powerful health benefits of bitter melon and similar ingredients why not investigate a supplement like this today?

 

Source:

Can Bitter Melon Counter Obesity-Associated Brain Inflammation?

0 Comments

Is Moderate Alcohol Consumption Healthy?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You’re probably already aware that a glass or two of red wine is good for your heart and reduces your risk of strokes and gallstones. Now, a new study suggests that moderate alcohol consumption can play a key role in healthy aging by bolstering your immune system, A new study suggests that moderate alcohol consumption can play a key role in healthy aging by bolstering your immune system, improving its responsiveness.improving its responsiveness.

In this study, 12 macaque monkeys were trained to drink alcohol freely and given free access to a 4 percent alcohol mixture as well as food and water. Their alcohol consumption - which mimicked human alcohol consumption - caused the research team to divide them into two groups.

The first group of macaques was made up of so-called ‘heavy drinkers’ who ended up with a blood ethanol concentration (BEC) of 0.08 percent or more. Interestingly, 0.08 percent is the maximum legal BEC for anyone driving a vehicle in the US. The second group of drinkers had lower BECs ranging from 0.02 to 0.04 percent.

Before giving the macaques access to alcohol, study researchers first observed their response to vaccinations. At first, all the macaques had comparable response times. However, after they were granted access to alcohol, their immune system response times to the vaccinations changed dramatically.

For instance, heavy drinking macaques showed diminished vaccine response times when compared to a group of macaques that consumed sugar water in place of alcohol.

Surprisingly though, macaques that consumed moderate amounts of alcohol actually showed enhanced immune system responses to vaccinations - in fact, these study researchers suggest that the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption may be linked directly to its positive impact on the immune system.

It’s important to remember that while moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial, downing too many glasses can prove detrimental to health and wellbeing.

This new study did not identify the specific alcohol component that acts to enhance the immune system. Once health experts know what it is, less controversial health supplements are likely to be developed in future.

Source: Moderate Alcohol Consumption may Boost the Immune System.

0 Comments

5 Fats You Should Be Eating

by Health News

Do you know the idea that all fats makes you fat is really a myth?

Most people believe that low-fat and fat-free products are healthier, but it’s simply not true. On the other hand, some fats are healthy and may even hold the secret to how to increase energy levels and promote weight loss. 

Women Health Tips

Your body requires fat in order to function properly. Not only that, many necessary vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. This means your body can only absorb them in the presence of fat.

These good fats will not only will you feel better - they will also satisfy your hunger without depriving your body of essential nutrients:

  1. Nuts are chockfull of amazing nutrients, healthy fats and protein. They are also rich sources of protein and unsaturated fats as well as concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and powerful anti-aging antioxidants. They are also one of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a heart-healthy plant omega-3 fat. Nuts are also rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that boosts immune function, promotes wound healing, improves blood vessel function and helps lower risk of heart disease. Further, they contain soluble fiber and vitamin E. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels, while vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant essential for proper immune function and healthy skin.
  2. Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps cleanse and protect your body by detoxifying, removing heavy metals and fighting free radicals. Glutathione helps maintain a healthy immune system and slows the aging process. Avocados are also rich in folate, which lowers the incidence of heart disease and stroke. They are also the best fruit source of Vitamin E.  Foods with omega-3 fats such as salmon, nuts, flax seed and avocados should be consumed regularly for good heart and brain health.

Healthy Fats - Avacados

  1. Coconut products offer a wide range of health benefits. Coconut oil offers antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-cancer properties along with improving digestion, nutrient absorption and intestinal health. It also provides cardiovascular benefits and helps manage type 2 diabetes. Coconut oil promotes kidney and liver health and boosts the immune system. It also benefits metabolism, energy and weight management.
  2. Saturated fats in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides, which can be easily metabolized and used as energy by the body. Research suggests that these fatty acids may boost metabolism, promote weight loss and increase HDL, the ‘good’ protective cholesterol in the body.
  3. Olive oil is a very healthy oil to use when sautéing, baking and making salad dressing. This fantastic oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants such as chlorophyll (which accounts for part of the color in olive oil), carotenoids, and vitamin E.  Olive oil is great for reducing blood pressure, cancer prevention, managing diabetes and lessening the severity of asthma and arthritis. Researchers from the Seven Countries Study found that monounsaturated fats in olive oil were mainly responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Olive oil also contains polyphenols, which are powerful anti-aging antioxidants. Including olive oil in the diet can also help to maintain a lower, healthy weight.
  4. Seeds contain beneficial fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They are also packed with health-promoting minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc, as well as powerful antioxidants, fiber and minerals.

 

0 Comments

Nature's Natural Energy Boosters

by Health News

It’s a new year, and perhaps you’ve decided to start an exercise regimen, or maybe you want to step up the one you’ve been doing. Whether you’re looking to increase your athletic performance or simply find natural ways to boost energy and combat the post-lunch “crash”, here are some of nature’s most potent and proven botanical energy boosters:

Licorice. Licorice rhizomes are rich in flavonoids and saponins (antioxidants). In their book THE HERBAL DRUGSTORE published in 2000, Dr. Linda B. White and medicinal plant expert Steven Foster recommend licorice as a tonic for the adrenal glands and to increase energy.

natural ways to boost energy

Siberian Ginseng. Siberan Ginseng is known as an “adaptogenic” herb for its ability to combat fatigue and stress. In his 2003 book MEDICAL HERBALISM: THE SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF HERBAL MEDICINE," clinical herbalist David Hoffmann states that Siberian Ginseng is useful in cases of prolonged stress, exhaustion and overwork and is safe to take on a long-term basis.

Astragalus. Astragalus membranaceus is a perennial herb found throughout eastern Asia. A potent immune enhancer, Astragalus is also a powerful weapon against fatigue. Dr. Linda B. White and Steven Foster suggest using Astragalus tincture, tea or capsules to combat fatigue and help digestion.

Ginger. Because Ginger is so helpful to the digestive system, it helps you get the most energy out of the food you eat, and helps you get that energy faster. Herbs that help you digest your food will inevitably give you energy.

Visit your local health food store to find the various forms of these and other energizing botanicals. Before taking anything new, be sure to consult with your health care practitioner to make sure the herbs you choose will not worsen any health condition or interact with any medicines you are taking.


 

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

There’s an ongoing war for your health raging in your gut - whose side are you on?

by Health News

 

 

According to health experts, our health is being profoundly affected by an ongoing bacterial war raging deep inside our gut.Are the Bacteria in Your Gut Dangerous | Institute for Vibrant Living
 
Our body has 100 trillion bacteria in it, which live (mostly) in the gut with the surface area of a football field. Most experts say the optimal ratio is 85%:15% good to bad bacteria.
 
An excess of pathogenic bacteria has severe and widespread consequences for health. They create mold, putrefaction and release toxins into blood causing diarrhea, bloating, bad breath and even emotional problems, including depression. The liver has to work overtime to filter the toxins they make. Not only that - up to 80% of the immune system is in now believed to function in the gut, so immune function is also likely to be compromised.
 
On the other hand, having enough beneficial bacteria in the gut ensures proper nourishment, that foods are broken down and necessary macro- and micro-nutrients absorbed, vitamins B and K are made, minerals are extracted from the diet and retained, toxins do not damage the intestinal lining, colon cancer risk goes down and immunity is boosted. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to ensure you have enough of the good bacteria in your system, simply by eating probiotic foods such as yogurt and soft cheese.
 
Antibiotics have dramatically changed the course of human history by lowering the incidence of many diseases to negligible levels. However, thanks to massive over-prescription and self-medication, today they actually act to damage health by eliminating most of the good bacteria with the bad.
 
Not only that - there are antibiotics in meats and dairy, non-organic foods are laced with pesticides and other chemicals and pollution is in the air. In other words, the environment is full of chemicals that threaten the well-being of gut probiotics - and by extension, our health as well.
 
A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: ‘Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.’ When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, ‘The one I feed the most.’”
 
Which dog do you feed regularly?
 
Probiotic bacteria thrive on soluble fiber, which reach the colon more or less intact. The standard recommendation is six grams a day. On the other hand, feeding pathogenic bacteria requires sugar and processed foods low in fiber.
 
So creating the right bacterial balance in the gut is very simple: consume quality probiotics, consume fiber-rich, fresh foods and cut out as much sugar and processed food as possible.
 
You can also help the probiotics in your body stay on top by regular consumption of fermented foods including pickled vegetables, tempeh and fermented milk products like kefir or yogurt, natto and kimchi.
 
And while it would be ideal to get all the probiotics and the food they thrive on from the diet, that may not always be feasible - in which case quality probiotic supplements are invaluable.
 
So why not consult a dietician or nutritionist and start feeding your ‘good dog’ today?
 
 
Source:

 

0 Comments

Six Powerful Health Benefits Of Beets

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that beets are an ancient food that grew naturally along coastlines in North Africa, Asia and Europe? Six Powerful Health Benefits Of Beets

Originally, people consumed beet greens. The sweet red beetroot wasn't cultivated as a food in its own right until the era of ancient Rome.

By the 19th century, the natural sweetness of beets meant that they were being used as a source of sugar - for which they are still used today.

Beetroots have a sweet, earthy flavor - not to mention their powerhouse nutrients can significantly benefit your health. And although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, you can safely eat beetroots a few times a week, while enjoying their nutritious greens in unlimited quantities.

Here are six great reasons to include beets in your diet on a regular basis:

  1. Lower blood pressure (BP) - according to one study, drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic BP by an average of 4-5 points within a few hours. This is most likely because of the presence of naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide (NO) in the body. NO helps to relax and open up your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering BP.
  2. More stamina - according to research, those who drank beet juice before working out were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer. This benefit is also thought to be related to nitrates turning into NO and reducing the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise, along with enhancing tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
  3. Fighting off inflammation - beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins and enzymes in your body from environmental stress. It's also known to fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance and help prevent numerous chronic diseases. Consumption of betaine has been associated with lower levels of inflammation, providing cardiovascular benefits along with health benefits for other systems in your body.
  4. Anti-cancer properties - the powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models. Also, beetroot extract is currently being studied for its effectiveness in treating human pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.
  5. Valuable nutrients and fiber - beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber and essential minerals like potassium and manganese. Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which reduces the risk of birth defects.
  6. Detoxification - betalin pigments in beets support the detoxification process, in which broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body.

If you’re not getting enough beets in your daily diet, then we have just the solution for you!

Source: Six Powerful Health Benefits of Beets.