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Antioxidants: Your Immune System’s Secret Weapon

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

Fruits and vegetables are powerful immune boosters.

Antioxidants to the Rescue

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

 

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

Antioxidants for What Ails You

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

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

Related:  Glutathione: The Master Antioxidant

Essential Antioxidants

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Sources of Antioxidants

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

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

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

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Top Ways to Flush Out Toxins – The Benefits of Detox

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Every day the human body is exposed to trace amounts of over 80,000 industrial chemicals, toxins and pollutants, according to Brenda Watson, nutritionist and author of The Detox Strategy. We need to embrace the benefits of detox to help counter this daily assault on our system.  These insidious poisons include lead pollutants in the air, heavy metals in seafood, pollutants in the water supply, smoke in public areas; and a host of chemicals in household cleaners, perfumes, plastics and insecticides. It’s essential to give your body a chance to expel these dangerous toxins and recover with a concentrated detox program.

Drink more water and natural juices for top detox benefits

Here are 5 steps to help you reap the benefits of detox:

1.     Boost fiber intake

The colon can become clogged and sluggish on a modern diet of junk food, sugar and processed meals. An overload of fiber acts as a garbage truck, removing toxic waste and thoroughly cleansing the digestive tract. Try to eat 30-40 grams of fiber daily, starting with a high fiber breakfast to kick start your detox benefits.

2.     Drink More Juice

Cranberry or orange juice? The best answer is BOTH! These juices are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that fight free radicals and oxidative stress. Cranberry juice enables the liver to break down fat and acts as a diuretic, a key part of any successful detox program.

Related:  Five Reasons to Add Cranberries to Your Daily Diet

3.     Purified Water

Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water throughout the day, and use either filtered or distilled water to avoid the bacteria and chemicals found in bottled, spring and mains water. Water stimulates the kidneys to detoxify and helps reduce constipation from the increased fiber.

4.     Exercise Daily

Exercise stimulates the lymphatic system which is important for a strong immune system. Working up a sweat also eliminates toxins through the skin. Daily walks, jogging, swimming and other activities will be rewarded with many detox benefits as you feel an increased level of fitness and more energized.

5.     Exfoliate

Detox benefits can be stimulated from the outside as well as from within. Treat yourself to a full body rub with a sea salt scrub which increases perspiration. The salt increases detoxification and the scrubbing action helps to eliminate dead skin cells, opening the pores to allow more effective detox benefits.

An effective detox program will cleanse the whole body from top to toe, including the kidneys, liver and colon. You know it has done you good as you will feel lighter, healthier and far more energetic. Losing weight is another detox benefit, so keep up the healthy diet and exercise to shed those excess pounds. 

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Overweight AND Malnourished?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

One of the ironies of the American diet is that people can be overfed yet undernourished. Learning how diet contributes to obesity is just one part of understanding the link between diet and health. Even if you eat plenty of food, you can still display malnutrition symptoms if you are filling up on unhealthy foods.

Malnutrition symptoms may occur even if you are overweight

Studies show that despite the abundance of food, a huge proportion of Americans are suffering from basic nutritional deficiencies. Over 30% of people are short of magnesium and essential vitamins A, C and E. More than 80% of diets lack vitamin D, and 90% of adults do not eat enough omega-3 fats. These are essential for controlling inflammation and blood sugar levels in the body.  So what’s going wrong?

Processed Foods Provide “Empty Calories”

Eating processed foods such as burgers, canned food, sausages, bacon, French fries, snacks, convenience foods and soda means a diet high in calories but low in vitamins and nutrients. Laden with high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and preservatives, these foods are far from the meat, fruit and vegetables that our bodies are designed to consume, and they can quickly lead to malnutrition symptoms.

We need vitamins and minerals from fruit, vegetables and whole foods to maintain a healthy metabolism which helps burn fat and regulate sugar levels. Without them, the metabolism becomes sluggish. Instead of burning those excess calories it turns them into stored fat, making the problem even worse. It’s easy to understand how the diet contributes to obesity when it lacks the core elements.

Intensive farming can also lead to malnutrition symptoms. Intensive farming has depleted the soil. A study of the food we eat today shows it has far fewer vitamins, calcium and iron than it had in the 1950s.

Related:  Eight Tips:  A Healthy Foundation for the Food You Eat

Symptoms of Modern Malnutrition

While scurvy and rickets are thankfully a thing of the past, malnutrition symptoms from a lack of vitamins and minerals in a modern diet can include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Depression
  • Poor recovery after illness or surgery
  • Low white blood cells and weakened immune system
  • Fertility problems and poor libido
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Pale dry skin and wrinkles
  • Constipation
  • Decreased mobility due to muscle wasting

Malnutrition symptoms may be due to digestive disorders, stomach conditions, alcoholism, or most likely an imbalanced diet. If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s worth analyzing what you are eating and how much you are eating. Understanding how diet contributes to obesity, and how at the same time it can cause malnutrition, is the first step to changing your life.

By adopting a more natural, healthy diet you can improve your health and increase your longevity.  Start by avoiding processed foods such as foods that come in boxes and cans; avoid excessive meat consumption, particularly sausage, bacon and deli meats; avoid fried foods such as French fries; reduce or eliminate snack  and convenience foods.  Commit to eliminating high fructose corn syrup and trans fats from your diet; instead include healthy oils such as olive and coconut oils.  Stop drinking soda pop, and avoid sugar consumption.  Never consume artificial sweeteners; they are dangerous to say the least.  Make sure to consume at least five servings of fresh vegetables and fruit a day to help lower your weight while boosting nutritional value. It’s a great recipe for better health!

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Mindfulness: The Key to Love and Relationships

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What does it take to be happy; and does mindfulness play a role? Traditional mindfulness involves paying close attention to one’s body and whatever happens at any given moment. The end goal of a mindful approach is to be aware of one’s thoughts and feelings, as well as one’s surroundings in an ongoing fashion.

The art of cultivating mindfulness, and what it can do for you.

Scientific research has concluded that mindfulness can help people reduce stress and even address a range of mental health disorders. Studies have also shown that mindfulness meditation can also change the structure of the brain causing changes in various regions including the anterior cingulate cortex.

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are well documented. Meditation has been shown to increase overall brain function, boost the immune system and more. In particular, mindfulness and meditation has been shown to improve one’s mental health and help people achieve a more positive outlook on life. Such emotional chances can help people become more caring and more loving and, in turn, help them bring love into their own lives.

Most of us give a great deal of thought to what it takes to have a career, or get into the right school or even to finding the right mate. But what about happiness? What role does mindfulness play in finding love and building strong relationships?

Compelling Research from a 75 Year Harvard Study

Finding love is important and science is backing up this assertion. A study conducted by Harvard researchers called the Harvard Grant Study followed 268 male Harvard undergraduate men for over 75 years. This interesting study concluded that finding love really did make a difference in the lives of the men.

A key conclusion of the study was that men were only truly happy if they found love and enjoyed strong relationships. This can lead us to a very straightforward but powerful conclusion. The time you invest in becoming a calmer and more aware version of yourself is an investment in your ultimate happiness.

Related: Can Love Be The Cure For Cancer?

Improving Your Relationship with You

The bottom line is that those looking for love will first want to make sure that they love themselves. Self-loathing, self-abuse or hostility towards the world doesn’t mix well with bringing love into one’s life. Mindfulness and meditation can help you get in touch with your life and what you want, and that can help you create a personal climate that is right for love. In other words, you can’t find love if you are angry all the time, or if you simply can’t stand yourself.

Mindfulness is about being aware of the world you live in. By approaching the world in a mindful fashion, you are able to pay more attention to what is important. For those looking for love, nothing could be more significant. Most of us live very distracted lives, and that means failing to notice opportunities for love even when they could be right in front of our eyes. Being present in the moment and aware of what is happening around you is one of the best ways to discover love.

Embracing the Future

Looking to the future is important, but so is being aware of what is happening in the “here and now.” Instead of always thinking about the future, spend more time living and being in the moment. If you combine this approach with becoming a calmer and more grounded person, then your chances of finding love will soar!

 

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Ten Home Remedies for Tackling Periodontal Disease

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

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

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

#1:  Co-enzyme Q10

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

#2:  Honey and Manuka Honey

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

Cure periodontal disease with honey and other natural remedies.

#3:  Lemons

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

#4:  Baking Soda

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

#5:  Tea Tree Oil

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

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

#6:  Dental Probiotics

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

#7:  Consume Fermented Foods

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

#8:  Xylitol

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

#9:  Floss Every Day

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

#10:  Brush Regularly and Change Your Toothbrush Often

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

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

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What You Should Know About Excess Sugar and Yeast Infections

by IVL Products

Three out of four women will get at least one yeast infection in their lifetime. The burning and itching “down there” is unpleasant but not necessarily harmful.  What many women may not realize is the link between too much sugar in their diet and yeast infections.

The connection between excess sugar and yeast infections.

Yeast Infection Causes

Yeast actually grows naturally all over our bodies.  The most common type of yeast found on our bodies and in the vagina is known as Candida albicans, or Candida for short.  This fungus thrives in warm moist places like a woman’s vagina and can be caused by a variety of things like:

  • Low estrogen
  • Wearing synthetic fabric pantyliners
  • Vaginal eczema
  • Spermicidal condoms
  • Synthetic chemicals in feminine hygiene sprays
  • Poor diet

Related:  Fibromyalgia: Ten Possible Underlying Causes

Diet and Yeast Infections

Yeast loves sugar as much as you do. Too much sugar in your diet can give yeast a boost causing it to spread and increase, especially if your immune system is depressed from a lack of sleep or stress.  If you are prone to yeast infections, or feel one coming on, try avoiding the following:

  • Foods with simple sugars
  • Starchy foods like white flour products or rice
  • Foods fermented with yeast like alcohol

Alcohol is very sugary.  A few drinks, some highly refined foods like pretzels or candy at the bar makes for a perfect combination to feed yeast and help it spread.

Probiotics Can Help

Probiotics are living microorganisms very similar to the “good” bacteria in your gut essential for digesting your food. This so-called “good” bacterium is prevalent in your digestive tract and in other places on the body. If you take antibiotics for a bacterial infection, you can inadvertently destroy the good bacteria along with the harmful stuff, paving the way for yeast to overrun your already-battered immune system; and they begin to multiply.

Eating foods that contain probiotics can help keep yeast levels in check.  Yogurt with live and active bacterial cultures, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, or a daily probiotic supplement can help keep yeast infections at bay.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Candida thrives in an acidic environment. Acidic foods to avoid if you are prone to yeast infections are:

  • Nuts (cashews, peanuts and walnuts)
  • Seeds (pumpkin and sunflower)
  • Acidic fruits like blueberries, cranberries and plums
  • Corn oil
  • Sugar and sweeteners including molasses, maple syrup, honey and especially aspartame
  • Salt
  • Condiments like mayonnaise, soy sauce or vinegar

Once Is Enough

If you have ever endured the painful symptoms of a yeast infection you’ll agree once is enough.  Making a few simple dietary changes can help stave off yeast infections.  Try to consume less sugar and alcohol and eat more probiotic-rich foods—you’ll get a host of other health benefits to boot.

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Seven Lifestyle-Based Ways to Improve Your Memory

by Cindy Gray

How you live impacts how you feel and how well your brain functions. In this article, we will take a closer look at seven lifestyle changes that you can make. We’ll cover everything from ways to improve memory and memory improvement tips to tricks and tips such as the use of mnemonic devices.

Puzzles are one of the best ways to improve memory

Tip #1:  Great Sleep

Without a doubt one of the single most important steps you can take to improve your memory, your mood, your immune system and your overall health is to invest in better sleep. The choice to use the word “sleep” is no accident, as great sleep has been proven to help build great brains.

Tip #2:  Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, chia seeds, walnuts and more. The brain is essentially 3 pounds of fat and it needs healthy fat, like omega-3s to stay healthy. The bottom line is that if you want to enhance your memory, your body needs omega-3s.

Related:  Five Tips to Avoiding Memory Loss

Tip #3:  Invest in a Healthy Diet

The food you eat will impact your mood, the health of your body and, of course, your brain health and memory. Poor food choices weaken the immune system, can lead to disease, increase inflammation throughout the body and can leave one simply feeling sluggish. If you want excellent recall, then invest in a healthy diet consisting largely of fruits and vegetables as well as healthy protein sources such as nuts, seeds and organically raised lean cuts of meat.

Tip #4: Exercise

Studies have shown that those who exercise actually build and maintain healthier brains that those who do not and this does make sense as exercising increases blood flow to the brain. When selecting any type of exercise whether it is resistance training or aerobic conditioning, your number one priority is to perform all exercises correctly and safely. Remember if you are injured, you can’t work out, and that means no brain benefits!

Tip #5: Skip the Multitasking

Multitasking is unpleasant, your brain hates it and it can negatively impact your memory. It takes focus to build a great memory and that focus can’t be achieved while multitasking. Also, for most people multitasking is stressful. Increased stress means increased stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones will negatively impact your health, so skip the multitasking!

Tip #6:  Brain Games

The best brain games are the ones you love. There are many different ways that you can use brain games to improve your memory. Playing just a few minutes of brain games per week can help you see improvements. Games such as chess, even puzzle and action video games can all be used to help you build your memory.

Tip #7:  Mnemonic Devices

Simply stated, mnemonic devices work! A mnemonic device is any tool that helps you remember something better and with greater recall. Some famous mnemonic is ROY G BIV which is used to remember the colors of the rainbow. Try adapting the strategy of mnemonics in your own life and you’ll see that you can remember and recall a great deal of information.

Together these seven memory improvement tips will help you boost your memory. When you improve your health you’ll enjoy greater mental clarity and focus. Armed with this clarity and focus you can expect to enjoy a significant improvement in overall memory and recall.

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Five Reasons You Can’t Concentrate

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The bottom line is that if you can’t concentrate, you simply can’t accomplish. There is no success without being able to concentrate. In this article we will explore five of the best ways to boost concentration.  If you are experiencing an inability to focus, as this article will help you focus and achieve more.

What can you do about an inability to focus?

#1:  Sleep

A lack of sleep isn’t just tough on the body. Scientific research has shown that the human body goes through a great deal of stress when it is unable to sleep. Inefficient sleep leads to an increase in the production of stress hormones, which trigger inflammation. This is critically important, as inflammation is the mechanism through which many diseases spread including cancer.

Poor sleep can lead to a weakened immune system and also increase one’s inability to focus. If you want to achieve greater focus, then adequate, high-quality sleep is the place to begin.

#2:  A Poor Diet

Just as a lack of sleep triggers inflammation, weakens the immune system and can hamper one’s ability to focus, the same holds true for a poor diet. While a nutritious wholesome diet can boost one’s health, conversely a poor diet can have serious, negative implications.

Improving your concentration means improving your diet. By opting for a diet that mostly consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, low-fat proteins and healthy grains, your body will see positive results. You’ll feel better and enjoy greater sleep. A healthy diet, rich in whole foods and vitamins and minerals is one that fights inflammation and boosts overall health.

Related:  Link Between Poor Quality Sleep and Inflammation

#3:  Needless Distractions

It is no shock that distractions can prevent you from achieving greater levels of concentration. However, much of what leads to an inability to focus is centered on needless distractions. Social media overuse, keeping one’s phone on around the clock and excessive media consumption can all lead to significant focusing problems and issues. So turn off your gadgets and step away from the computer.

#4:  You’re Over-committed

Feel like you have too much on your plate? You are, of course, not alone, but feeling as though you have too much on your plate also means you are likely to be distracted. Multitasking is difficult and requires a great deal from the brain. A better option is to focus on one task at a time until completed as often as possible. Follow this simple rule and you’ll see your concentration levels soar!

#5:  You Need Practice

Achieving greater concentration is like many other things in life. The more you practice improving your concentration the more likely it is that your concentration levels will improve. Meditation is an excellent place to begin improving your concentration levels. Additionally, studies show that meditation can boost the immune system, improve one’s mood and even improve brain function and memory.

By putting these five tips into action you will see your concentration levels improve. Greater concentration is about more than simply pushing yourself. Ultimately, it is about taking great care of both your body and your mind.

 

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Six Benefits of Bubble Baths

by Cindy Gray

For those who enjoy bubbly baths, you are about to learn about the mental and physical health benefits bubble baths provide. If you’re not one to indulge in a relaxing bubble bath, perhaps this will persuade you to change your mind and jump in the tub!

Who’d have thought there were so many bubble bath benefits!

1.     Bubble Bath Benefits for Relaxation

A warm soak in a comfortable bath provides the perfect environment for relaxing. As the scents and steam rise, they create a calming atmosphere, encouraging you to de-stress and forget about work, family and other worries, at least temporarily. Banish your cell phone and read a book or just lie back and enjoy your time free from interruption.

2.     Aromatherapy in the Bath Tub

Add a relaxing scent to your bubbly bath with a couple of drops of essential oil such as lavender, bergamot, vanilla or cedarwood will encourage natural relaxation. Avoid synthetic fragrances as they can affect the endocrine system and increase the risk of breast cancer.

3.     Deep Muscle Relaxation

The hot water encourages deep muscle relaxation to ease cramps, prevent tension headaches and improve muscle elasticity. Follow your bubble bath benefits with a gentle stretch of the musculoskeletal system to improve posture and reduce back problems.

Related:  Safe Anxiety Treatments: Rose and Lavender are Scents That Soothe

4.     Bubble Bath Benefits Include Detoxing

Make your bubble bath hot enough to produce a sweat to remove toxins from the body naturally. The increased circulation stimulates the lymphatic system which sweats out toxins and increases lymph drainage.

5.     Hot Baths Boost Immunity

The heat of the steam stimulates the immune system and improves health. An improved immune system will help your body fight bacteria and viruses which should mean less coughs and colds naturally.

6.     Bubble Baths for Healthy Skin

Bubble bath benefits include glowing, healthy skin. A warm soak increases blood circulation, providing nourishment to damaged tissue. In addition, using a loofah or natural sponge to slough away dead skin cells will leave you with soft, glowing skin. Use a pumice stone and give your feet a good exfoliating scrub too. Moisturize your skin after your bubbly bath with coconut oil or olive oil and you will quickly eradicate any patches of dry or itchy skin.

By using natural organic products, your bubble bath benefits will avoid any reactions caused by chemicals and artificial fragrances. With so many health benefits available from a simple bubbly bath, make sure you book a session in your “home spa” at least once a week! 

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Six Tips to Strengthen Your Mind

by Institute for Vibrant Living

With a strong mind, your chance of achieving your goals skyrockets. Everything that you will accomplish both personally and professionally will stem from possessing a strong mind and a positive mentality. In this article, we will look at the six top tips for strengthening your mind so that you can achieve more. Follow these tips, and you will achieve results.

Achieve a positive mentality and balance

Tip One-Sleep

Fatigue can destroy both the mind and the body. If you want to achieve more and do so consistently, then don’t skip sleep. Without proper sleep, your mind will suffer. Many people feel that sleep is somehow optional, but as scientists and researchers study sleep more they realize just how essential it is for the proper functioning of the mind. Poor sleep interferes with memory and mental performance so make sure you get enough sleep every night.

Tip Two-Meditate

The power of meditation is difficult to overstate. Meditation is actually the brains only real “break.” When you are asleep, your brain is still very active; however, those who become proficient at meditation are able to give their minds a much deserved break. Scientific research has also shown that meditation reduces stress hormones. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, trigger inflammation throughout the body which can lower immune system function and cause pain. If you want to make great decisions and boost mental performance, then you need to keep stress under control and meditation can help.

Related:  Heart Health:  Benefits of Meditation

Tip Three-The Right Diet

Many people don’t associate diet and mental toughness, but the two are definitely related. A poor diet negatively impacts every aspect of a person. Chemicals in food can even impact one’s mood. Consuming a diet that is high in whole foods and avoiding processed foods, sugar and chemicals will help to reduce inflammation levels in the body. Additionally, a healthy diet will help you avoid the energy crashes associated with sugar.

Tip Four-Learn New Skills

Every time you learn a new skill, your brain forms new neurological pathways. If you want a sharper mind, then one of the best places to begin is by learning new skills. Whether it is learning a foreign language, the basics of computer programming or simply learning to throw a baseball, your mind will benefit from the challenge. Challenge your mind and you will be rewarded.

Tip Five-Be Social

A great way to challenge your mind is to be social. Talking to, and just as importantly, listening to others helps keep your mind sharp. The brain craves communication, so get out there and get social!

Tip Six-Achieve a Positive Mentality

All of the five aforementioned tips will be completely worthless unless you possess a positive mentality. Without a positive attitude and a deep belief that you can change your life and build your mental toughness, you will not achieve your goals. Simply stated, there is no replacement for a positive outlook and approach to life!

Use these tips together and you will see results. Success may not come overnight but by focusing and applying these six tips to different aspects of your life, you will achieve more than you thought possible.

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Five Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads and Your Health

by Health News

Seeds have a lot to offer. In this article, we are going to look at the five best seeds for health. Anyone looking to boost their overall health and nutrition levels will find that seeds are one of the top options. While it is true that nuts and seeds are high in calories, it is also true that nuts and seeds provide you with a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. 

Pumpkin seeds are among the best seeds for health

Seeds are not just loaded with protein, but also with healthy fiber and plenty of vitamins, minerals, heart and brain health boosting omega fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, as well as antioxidants. They possess disease fighting properties. In short, seeds are packed!

Finding the Best Seeds for Health: Pick Chia

The best seeds for health provide you with nutrition, long lasting energy and, of course, plenty of protein. Chia seeds have become popular and for good reason. Chia seeds are packed with nutrition like all the other seeds on our list, but unlike many other seeds, chia seeds are often well tolerated by those who have nut and seed allergies. In a rather amazing trick, high-protein chia seeds expand considerably when soaked in water or after being consumed, which help them make you feel full. If you are looking to lose weight or control your appetite, then you should certainly consider chia seeds.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Hemp

Hemp is a nutritional powerhouse. Hemp is high in omega-3 fatty acids and an array of minerals such as magnesium and iron. Combine these facts with hemp’s high protein and fiber levels and you have one of the world’s greatest seeds.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Pumpkin

When you are looking to boost mineral levels, it is tough to top pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds, like the other super seeds on our list, are high in heart and brain health boosting omegas and mineral dense. In fact, pumpkin seeds have high levels of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. If you want to boost your immune system, then pumpkin seeds are a savvy pick as zinc has been shown in studies to help boost immunity! Having trouble sleeping? If so then you definitely want to check out pumpkin seeds, as pumpkin seeds have plenty of the amino acid tryptophan. Your body can convert tryptophan into melatonin, which is a hormone linked with great sleep.

Related:  Sleep Deprivation: Is It Dangerous to Your Health?

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Flax

Flax makes our super seed list, thanks in part to its very high omega 3 levels. All the seeds on our list have omega 3, but flax is an omega 3 super star! Since omega 3 can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, you’ll find this seed particularly helpful when recovering from an injury. It is a good idea to consume flax seeds in moderation due to their high phytoestrogen levels; this is particularly true for men.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds taste great, and like our other seed picks, they are nutrient, omega and protein dense. Perhaps the single greatest reason to select sunflower seeds is that they are high in many B vitamins as well as vitamin E and zinc, which of course helps boost the immune system. Sunflower seeds are a winner.

Together these five seeds can help you boost your health, your immunity and maybe even help you get more sleep. Best of all, these tasty seeds can easily be worked into salads, shakes, smoothies and more!

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May be Vitamin E Deficient

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

Age spots may be a symptom of Vitamin E deficiency

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

Vitamin E Deficiency and Age Spots

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

Cataracts

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

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

Lack of Sex Drive

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

Gastrointestinal Issues

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

Dry or Thinning Hair

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

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

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Weakness: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by IVL Products

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

Weakness can affect the whole body

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

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

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

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

Poor Diet causes Weakness

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

Colds and Sickness

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

Other Causes of Weakness

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

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

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

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Causes of Stress Vary from Person to Person

by Health News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Cindy Gray

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

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

To “B” or Not To “B”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RelatedFor a Longer Life, Take B Vitamins

What Dosage Would B Healthiest?

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

The average adult should aim for:

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

Don’t Worry “B” Happy

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

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Looking for Ways to Reduce Stress? Try These Three Citrus Scents

by Health News

Aromatherapy has been shown to have a powerful impact on your mood. Of all the senses, smell is the one that can penetrate the brain and alter the neurochemistry within a few seconds!  This makes inhaling certain scents one of the easiest ways to reduce stress.

The Brain-Nose Connection

The sense of smell is directly connected to the limbic system, which is the most primitive part of the brain.  This section of the brain controls stress levels, blood pressure, pulse and breathing. This is also the part of the brain from where emotions stem.  So when you inhale a certain fragrance, it can affect you physically by making your breathing speed up or lower your pulse. It also affects you mentally, since an emotion becomes associated with the scent.

Throughout your lifetime you will smell millions of different scents and odors. Most will only linger in the conscious mind for a moment such as the good scent of baking bread; or the unpleasant odor of garbage. However, certain scents have shown to have an immediate effect on the brain, but they last longer, and can help to boost mood.

According to Dr. Alan R. Hirsch of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, “The quickest way to change a mood state—quicker than with any other sensual modality—is with smell.”

So if you are looking for ways to reduce stress, inhaling certain fragrances could be a quick and easy way to pull you out of a funk and energize your brain and body.

The Mood Boosting Trio

So which scents are the most effective for stress reduction?  Citrus is the answer!

Lemon

According to researchers at the UK’s Northumbrian University, exposure to lemon balm can improve cognitive function and improve one’s mood.  Study participants reported the lemon scent “sends you to a happy place,” which is advice often given to people in stressful situations.  Inhaling a mild lemon fragrance could be a first class ticket to your “happy place.”

Tangerine

It sounds vaguely exotic, but this smaller cousin to the orange with darker flesh emits a mood-boosting fragrance that can help you to relax and simultaneously can invigorate you.

While similar in health benefits, it’s helpful to know that mandarin oranges originated in China. Tangerines originated in Morocco and were exported through the port of Tangiers where they got their name.  They are often thought to be the same fruit.

Orange

Researchers at Japan’s Mei University noted that patients who inhaled an orange fragrance were able to significantly reduce the amount of anti-depressants they took.  Upon further testing, those patients who were inhaling the scent of orange regularly saw improvements to their endocrine and immune systems. 

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The scent of orange not only seems to produce feelings of calm, but also promotes confidence, something that can help relieve stress in situations where you are facing the unknown.  Feeling like you can “handle it” will definitely have a calming effect on you as the scent of orange penetrates the brain and helps keep your heart rate down and your breathing even.

The Nose Knows

When you’re in a stressful situation or feeling down, and you can’t meditate or go for a calming quick walk, inhaling the fragrance of lemon, tangerine or orange can produce an immediate brain boost, making it one of the easiest ways to reduce stress in an instant. 

Your nose is a powerful link to the brain, so keep a few citrusy essential oils handy to keep calm and carry on!

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Choosing Foods that Reduce Stress Improves Your Health

by IVL Products

When feeling stressed out and anxious, people often reach for vending machine junk food, huge, sugary coffee drinks, or head for the drive through of the nearest fast food joint.  That is the absolute worse thing you can do because highly processed, high fat, sugar-loaded foods can actually increase your stress levels.  Learn to easily reduce this by eating foods that reduce stress. This simple change can greatly improve your health.

Stress Mess

Caffeine found in coffee, sodas and energy drinks are a stress bomb.  The caffeine stimulates your nervous system, which responds by flooding your body with cortisol. The sugar in highly processed foods and drinks sends your blood glucose levels soaring, which causes more cortisol to start zipping through your body.

Sugar can have another wicked effect on the body by shutting down the adrenal medulla, the adrenal gland that helps your body cope with emotional and physical stress.

Related:  Does Stress Impair Memory?

Next time you are feeling tension or a little anxious, head off a full blown stress mess by avoiding the vending machine or trendy coffee shop and selecting foods that reduce stress.

Fruits and Vegetables

Asparagus - rich in folate, B vitamins in asparagus convert to folic acid and have a calming effect on the nervous system

Swiss chard – full of magnesium, chard can help the body balance cortisol levels in the body.

Bell Peppers – especially red, orange or yellow in color, these stress busters are rich in vitamin C, which helps produce neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, the feel good hormones

Spinach – rich in folate, spinach also contains iron and helps with keeping your immune system strong

Berriesberries are ideal foods that reduce stress, as they are full of the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that will give you a natural energy boost without an ugly sugar crash

Avocados –their creamy texture is a great source of heart healthy fat that keeps you energized and feeling full with vitamins and minerals to boot

Oranges – have vitamin C, folate and vitamin B6, all nutrients that help elevate your mood and keep you calm and relaxed

Dried apricots- they are rich in magnesium, which helps keep cortisol levels in check

Fruits and vegetables will boost your mood by providing hydration and nutrients that won’t send blood sugar levels soaring only to crash in about an hour.  The filling fiber staves off hunger so you can maintain focus and manage problems without sending you running for the nearest vending machine.

Additional Foods that Reduce Stress

Many other foods can help you manage stress and keep cortisol levels in check. Avoid fast food burgers and fries in favor of salmon, lean chicken or lamb, all of which have calming B vitamins.

Bread labeled multi-grain does not always contain whole grains and can cause your glucose levels to rise dramatically. Optimally, go for the gluten free grains like quinoa, millet, or rye because gluten is known to stimulate cortisol secretions in the body.

If you want to sweeten your green or chamomile tea, two natural stress-reducing beverages, reach for xylitol of stevia based sweeteners instead of chemical based ones.

Chocolate is actually one of the best foods that reduce stress. It can actually help you reduce your stress levels. A mere ounce of the dark organic kind provides potent antioxidants to help the body fight off stress damage.

Food for Combat

In the war on stress choose your weapons wisely.  Highly processed, sugary caffeinated drinks and foods that are low in fiber but high in white sugar calories are your enemies. They cannot be counted on to save you from a stress meltdown and are traitors once inside the body.

Instead, call a truce: go au natural. No, not naked, but with foods in their most natural state like raw fruits and vegetables. 

Nuts like almonds and cashews can help calm cravings and relieve stress, so keep a small pack of them around with an ounce of dark chocolate and you’ll stay cool as cucumber.

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Try Controlled Breathing for Difficulty Relaxing

by Cindy Gray

With life moving at a faster pace than ever, many people have difficulty relaxing.  The inability to unwind often leads to differing physical effects.  While some people experience a build-up of tension in the arms, shoulders, or back, others feel the effects of stress in the neck, throat, or stomach.  Some people grind their teeth, feel tension in their eyes, or suffer from headaches, but almost everyone experiences reduced energy or downright fatigue as a result of built-up stress.  Whether stress targets the shoulders or stomach, controlled breathing can help ease symptoms.  

Breathing is an automatic body function regulated by the brain's respiratory center.  In the act of breathing, the body takes in oxygen and expels carbon dioxide with movement from the lungs.  The diaphragm and the muscles between the ribs control lung movement.

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When people have trouble relaxing muscles and stress builds up, the body goes into 'fight-or-flight' response and breathing changes.  Breathing often becomes shallow, and people breathe from the chest rather than the diaphragm.  Shallow breathing can upset the balance of gases in the body, prolong feelings of anxiety, and exacerbate physical symptoms of stress.  Fortunately, people have the ability to change their breathing.  Research shows that breath control helps with stress management and with stress-related conditions.

Controlled Abdominal Breathing

While there are varying breathing techniques to promote relaxation, the goal is to move from breathing with the upper chest to breathing with the abdomen.  To do this, find a quiet place free of disturbances for 10 to 20 minutes.  Sit comfortably with feet flat on the floor, and sit tall to help expand the chest.  Place one hand on the chest and the other on the abdomen, and breathe in deeply through the nose.  When breathing from the diaphragm, the chest and abdomen should be still.  Take slow, even breaths for 10 to 20 minutes, and envision the tension in various areas of the body beginning to relax. 

Additional Benefits of Controlled Breathing

In addition to easing stress for people who have difficulty relaxing, controlled breathing offers even more health benefits:

  • Lowers levels of stress hormones in the bloodstream
  • Promotes a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream
  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reduces the build-up of lactic acid in muscles
  • Improves the function of the immune system
  • Boosts energy

People interested in more ways to incorporate controlled breathing into their lifestyle can look into yoga, tai chi, and meditation.


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Detox for Clear Skin

by Cindy Gray

Detoxify for clear and healthy skinIf acne, wrinkles or cellulite have you feeling self-conscious and miserable, don’t despair! You can clear up your blemishes, smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and send cellulite packing with some herbs and supplements that can help you detox for clear skin.

First, here are some of the obvious things you should be doing to keep your skin clear, smooth and glowing:

  • Get enough sleep every night
  • Exercise
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Stop smoking
  • Wash your face before going to sleep

So now that you have sworn up and down to do all of the above, hasten the detox for clear skin with these gifts from Mother Nature:

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is an herb with anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidants and soothes irritation.  Taking it can help your intestines and bowels stay healthier, which is essential for getting rid of toxic substances and bacteria.  This helps reduce the bacteria that can cause acne, and helps to reduce the redness and irritation of a breakout—plus it helps keep more breakouts from occurring.

A known blood purifier, milk thistle improves circulation to the skin and its demulcent properties help form a protective layer over skin cells to protect them from environmental damage.

Artichokes

Actually it’s the leaves, not the heart of an artichoke, where most of its powerful health benefits can be found.

As an antioxidant, artichoke can help reverse sun damage and encourage healthy cell regeneration.  It also helps reduce inflammation, and is a rich source of peptides that work to improve the texture of your skin to smooth away wrinkles and improve circulation.

Dandelion

Strangely enough, this noxious weed that spreads over your lawn is good for something.  Dandelion is a good source of beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A, a known friend to skin. It also has vitamins C and D, along with a host of B-complex vitamins.

Dandelion has been the foe of green thumbs everywhere, but for thousands of years it was used to treat scurvy, skin problems like rashes, and even blood disorders.  Eating dandelion can help reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and lower blood pressure.

Finally, dandelion is a mild diuretic, meaning it helps the kidneys flush out excess waste and water from the system; and helps to inhibit microbial growth in the urinary tract system.  When you feel good, you look good.

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Blessed Thistle

Seen in nature, blessed thistle looks wicked and spikey, but those are indicative of its detoxification powers. Blessed thistle has two anti-microbial compounds in it that are very beneficial to skin because it helps the body battle bad bacteria.

Blessed thistle also helps reduce inflammation and is beneficial to the liver so it can more efficiently remove toxins from the blood that contribute to skin problems.  The astringent properties of blessed thistle also makes it a natural remedy to treat boils and skin ulcers.

Methionine

Methionine is an essential fatty acid with many health benefits for the body and skin. It helps the body eliminate fat build up in the tissues to make cellulite less noticeable.

Methionine also supports liver function, critical to removing the toxins that find their way into our bodies.  It is essential to collagen production, too. As we age, the production of collagen protein starts to decline and wrinkles are the result.  It’s also an anti-inflammatory and contains amino acids that aid the body in eliminating toxins, support healthy tissue and improve your cardiovascular system.

Detox and Glow

Don’t let acne, wrinkles or cellulite keep you indoors and make you blue. You can detox for clear skin for healthy, wrinkle- and cellulite-free skin, thanks to nature’s bounty.

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The Stress Menopause Connection

by IVL Products

The link between stress and menopause is well documented. It can become a vicious cycle of worsening menopausal symptoms leading to increased stress.  Jump off that debilitating merry-go-round and find natural menopause relief with a few simple changes to your diet, activity levels and outlook on life.

Studies are showing that there is a connection between stress and menopause.

The journal Menopause found in a study of over 400 women between the ages of 37 and 47 that those who reported the highest stress levels had as much as five times the hot flashes as those who women who reported less anxiety.  Even women who reported only moderate anxiety levels suffered three times more hot flashes than those who lived with less stress.

More bad news connecting stress and menopause came from a study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal that reported vaginal dryness, a common symptom of menopause due to decreased estrogen, was associated with high levels of psychological stress (not physical stress).

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Stress reduces the secretion of all sex hormones like estrogen. Women going through menopause are already experiencing a dramatic drop in estrogen production, which causes hot flashes, insomnia, depression and vaginal dryness.  Being stressed out about life situations and menopause symptoms can be debilitating and greatly affect one’s quality of life.

The Dangers of Chronic Stress

It is well known that chronic stress is not good for you. It is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, more illness and diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke and even cancer.  It makes chronic illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and diabetes worse as well. 

Add the dramatic physical changes of menopause to an already stressed out life, and you get a recipe for disaster. Your personal relationships, career, and over all sense of wellbeing can be negatively affected.  The good news is natural stress and menopause relief is available with a little effort on your part.

Diet

Your diet has so much to do with how you feel each day. Weight gain is a common side effect of menopause, so paying attention to what you eat can help you manage your stress levels and menopausal symptoms.

Foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kimchi, along with probiotic supplements help keep your GI tract functioning smoothly and your immunes system strong.  Suffering less sever colds, urinary tract infections (also common during menopause), gas pain and bloating will greatly reduce your stress levels. 

Being chronically run down and feeling ill is very stressful. Boosting your immune system with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, omega-3 rich foods and staying well hydrated will relieve stress and menopausal symptoms like fatigue, depression and hot flashes.

Exercise

Weight gain and insomnia are common menopause complaints.  Exercise can offset these two unpleasant symptoms and help you reduce your stress levels.  Making time every day for some physical activity is critical to managing your stress levels and menopause symptoms.

You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run a marathon, either.  A brisk walk or a few laps in the pool is all you need.  Being outside to exercise has many health benefits and makes working out less of a chore and something to look forward to.

Attitude

Your outlook on life makes a huge difference when it comes to managing stress and menopausal symptoms.  Menopause and stress are a fact of life for all women.  Accepting that and making plans to deal with both are critical for keeping your spirits high and warding off depression and other mood disorders. 

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