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A Fishy Solution to Smoking Cessation

by Cindy Gray

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of disability, disease and death in the United States.  Every year 480,000 Americans die premature deaths from smoking.  Despite these grim statistics, most smokers find it difficult to quit. However, if you’re looking for some natural ways to quit smoking, you’re in luck. New research out of Israel shows consumption of omega-3 fatty acids could significantly reduce cravings and provide a safe and natural way to help smokers kick the habit.

Natural Ways To Quit Smoking with Omega-3 Fatty AcidsMoth to the Flame

Why is it so hard to quit smoking? Tobacco use is a chronic disease and smokers quickly become addicted due the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products. When they inhale or ingest the nicotine, in some way it causes the adrenal glands to release adrenaline, which stimulates the body’s central nervous system.  Just like cocaine and heroin, nicotine increases levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that controls the pathways to the reward and pleasure centers in the brain. 

Many smokers long to quit permanently, but most fail after repeated attempts. The withdrawal symptoms are terrible and are often a combination of the following:

  • Intense cravings for nicotine

  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems

  • An inability to focus or concentrate

  • Increased appetite 

Those who seek treatment to stop smoking may have some initial success, but often relapse after a stressful event, or they dislike the side effects of anti-smoking medications and stop using them. 

The Study

In a strictly controlled study conducted in Israel, the test subjects were 48 smokers between the ages of 18 and 45 who smoked a daily average of 14 cigarettes.  All the participants had been smoking an average of 11 years and were diagnosed with a moderate dependency on nicotine.  The test participants were divided into two groups: one that received omega-3 capsules and one that received a placebo.

The study was conducted as a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled research project, meaning neither the participants nor the researchers knew who received the omega-3 capsules and who received a placebo.  None of the participants were asked to change their smoking habits in any way.

Throughout the 30-day study, levels of nicotine cravings and the number of cigarettes smoked per day were recorded by the participants.  At the beginning of the study neither group showed any difference in smoking habits.  However, after 30 days the omega-3 supplement takers had reduced their average cigarettes smoked per day by two.  They also recorded greatly reduced nicotine cravings.  Even another 30 days after they stopped taking the omega-3 supplements, those participants reported less intense cravings.

The group taking the placebo showed no measurable decrease in nicotine cravings nor did they reduce the average number of cigarettes smoked per day.

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Help

Levels of essential fatty acids like omega-3s are reduced in the brain by smoking.  Being deficient in these levels appears to cause damage to the nerve cells, interrupting the transmission of feelings of pleasure and satisfaction in the brain.  Smokers often having difficulty making decisions and experience reduced feelings of satisfaction by their accomplishments or efforts because of a lack of this vital nutrient.

Related: The Dangers of Krill Oil

What’s worse, not only is tobacco oppressing good feelings in the brain, it also interferes with your flight-or-fight response.  Just one stressful event can lead to a relapse for smokers trying to quit because of their reduced ability to handle stress.

Omega-3 fatty acids seem to reduce cravings for nicotine and help the brain cope better with pressure and stress.  Smoking has already been linked to depression and other mental disorders, so it’s not surprising that regular tobacco users experience less satisfaction and have more difficulty dealing with pressure, rejection or stress.

Safe, Natural and Healthy

Using omega-3 fatty acid supplements is one of the best natural ways to quit smoking because it is inexpensive and easy to obtain.  Plus, omega-3s have a long list of other health benefits besides helping you to quit smoking, such as reducing your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and some cancers.  It also helps keep your skin clear and supple and your hair shiny and strong; two things that also are greatly damaged by smoking.

Great food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Fish (especially salmon and trout)

  • Flax, Olive, Canola, Coconut and Hemp Seed Oils

  • Avocados

  • Eggs

  • Walnuts

Since the study participants were taking larger doses than is generally recommended, it would be virtually impossible to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through food alone to help with smoking cessation.  A supplement combined with adding foods rich in the essential acid is the best way to keep those levels high in the brain and help stave off nicotine cravings.

 

 

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Natural Relief for Lactose Intolerance

by Health News

Natural Relief for Lactose IntoleranceWhat is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the lactose sugar that comes from dairy products. When lactose intolerant individuals consume milk or milk products, they often feel gassy, bloated and the need to run to the restroom. It is estimated that in the United States, 15% of Caucasians over 50% of Mexican Americans and over 80% of African Americans suffer from lactose intolerance.

What causes lactose intolerance?

Normally, your stomach lining produces an enzyme called lactase which is used to break down lactose, the major sugar in milk. When we are babies, our lactase levels are highest but as we grow older, they get less and less. The less they are, the likely you are to suffer from lactose intolerance. When you drink milk or eat milk products and you don’t produce enough lactase, the lactose is not broken down into absorbable form (sugar, glucose and galactose). The milk passes through your stomach and through to your small intestine undigested, causing bloating, cramps, nausea and diarrhea.

If I am lactose intolerant, do I just have to avoid milk products?

While many people feel this is the best solution, giving up an entire food group is a pretty drastic measure, particularly when dairy products are so important for bone growth in children and bone density in adults. Fortunately, several studies suggest that supplementing the diet with certain probiotics is a safe and effective route to keeping the symptoms under control.

Probiotics, specifically certain strains of lactobacillus acidophilus, work by adhering to the intestinal lining and releasing lactase enzyme needed to digest dairy products.

A 1995 study* whose results were published in The Journal of Dairy Science showed that lactose-intolerant children who drank milk treated with probiotic lactobacillus acidophilus showed a significant reduction in symptoms.

A 1999 review** of hundreds of studies on the health benefits of probiotics found, among other things, that a certain strain of lactobacillus acidophilus has demonstrated consistent positive results against the symptoms of lactose intolerance. The author of this review states: “To date, its probiotic effects have been demonstrated in humans as reducing problems associated with lactose intolerance and as reducing levels of free amines in the intestine, thereby decreasing the risk of colon cancer. These properties make this strain of potential value in several patient populations.”

Digestion Health Problems - Free Ebook

 SOURCES:

*http://www.mendeley.com/research/effect-milks-inoculated-lactobacillus-acidophilus-yogurt-starter-culture-lactosemaldigesting-children/

**http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC99697/

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Ginger: Natural Digestive Relief

by Health News

In Western culture, ginger has mostly been used to add a distinct flavor to a variety of recipes from cookies, breads, candy to stir-fry and chicken dishes. But parts of the world, such as China and India, have been using this herb for more than 2,000 years for its therapeutic properties.

Over the last 20 years, numerous studies have demonstrated ginger’s efficacy in treating various conditions. In vitro studies suggest that ginger has antiemetic (anti-nausea) and anti-inflammatory effects and may even protect against Alzheimer's disease and cancer. But in clinical studies, ginger has shown most benefit to the gastrointestinal tract. 

Benefits of Ginger - Natural Digestive Relief

Ginger has been successfully used to treat various types of "stomach problems," including motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, nausea caused by cancer treatment, nausea and vomiting after surgery and loss of appetite. Medical researchers believe two ingredients, shogoal and gingerol found in the ginger rhizome stimulate the flow of saliva, bile, and gastric secretions.

Ginger also has been found to suppress gastric contractions and improve intestinal muscle tone. Constituents in ginger are thought to interact with 5HT-3 receptors (receptors responsible for activating the vomit reflex) and may be partially responsible for the antiemetic (antinausea) benefits. 

Ginger products (as nutritional supplements) are made from fresh or dried ginger root, or from steam distillation of the oil in the root. It is available in extracts, tinctures, capsules, and oils and can be found in health food stores as well as many drugstores and supermarkets. Fresh ginger root can be prepared as a steeped tea.

The therapeutic dose of ginger, generally, should not exceed 4 grams daily, with the standardized dose being 75 - 2,000 mg in divided doses with food.

Digestion Health Problems Quiz

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From Chronic Diarrhea to Autism—The Power of Probiotics

by Health News

According to a recent study, a probiotic and nutritional supplement has beneficial effects on bowel issues in children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD.

Chronic diarrhea and constipation typically lasting for several days are major issues affecting autistic individuals, particularly children. These conditions also contribute to behavioral problems in these children, along with posing significant management challenges for both parents and teachers.

From Chronic Diarrhea to Autism—The Power of Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that confer a health benefit on the host they live in, by improving its intestinal microbial balance. Lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria are the most common probiotics, but certain yeasts and bacilli can also be used. Probiotics are commonly consumed as part of fermented foods with specially added active live cultures - such as in yogurt, soy yogurt or as dietary supplements.

In this study, probiotic and nutritional supplement capsules were given to 25 children with ASD over a 42-day trial period. Responses were measured using the ATEC (Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist) scoring tool, which helps to evaluate autism severity in four categories:

  1. Speech/language/communication,
  2. Sociability,
  3. Sensory/cognitive awareness, and
  4. Health/physical/behavior.

The parents of participating children completed an ATEC questionnaire before the study started. Also, bowel issues, drugs or supplements used and any other special problems were carefully recorded.

After 21 days without therapy, the parents received a 3-week supply of the probiotic and nutritional supplement to be given to their children. Once again a daily record of each child's bowel behavior, as well as drugs or supplements administered was recorded. After 21 days of supplement therapy, the parents again repeated the ATEC survey.

At the end of the 42-day trial period, nearly half of participating children showed a reduction in diarrhea severity - while more than half showed a decrease in constipation severity.

Overall, nearly 90% of the participants showed a lower total ATEC score, meaning that their debilitating ASD symptoms improved thanks to treatment with the probiotic and nutritional supplement.

Source: Probiotic Supplement Relieves Autism Symptoms.

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How Probiotics Can Regulate Your Digestive System

by Health News

A healthy regulated digestive system is the key to our bodies receiving all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed to provide energy and overall good immune system health.

The bacteria in our intestine need to be perfectly balanced to efficiently digest our food. Any imbalance can lead to an irregular digestive system, which can cause physical discomfort and possible harm to our overall health.

Age, stress, illness, medications such as antibiotics, dehydration, lack of sleep and a harmful environment can all affect our microbial equilibrium which can cause gas, constipation, bloating, bad skin, fatigue and, in more severe cases, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.

It all goes back to having a healthy regulated digestive system with a correct balance of microfloras to maximize the benefits of healthy eating.

Taking a natural probiotic dietary supplement can ensure that beneficial microflora are naturally maintained in proper balance.

Probiotics also play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system, helping to fight off bacteria, bugs and viruses. Good bacteria are vital to keep our immune system health in good working order.

Digestion Problemsn Free Ebook Download

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Green Tea: Food For The Brain

by Nancy Maneely

Green Tea: High Blood Pressure Natural TreatmentWhat’s not to love about a soothing hot cup of fragrant green tea?

It’s China’s favorite drink, and thanks to modern scientific research, we know it contains health benefits from its abundant antioxidants – making it the preferred beverage for healthy aging.

It’s long been established that green tea is a powerful agent for protection against cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related health concerns. In fact, many people concerned with cardiovascular health have started adding green tea to their diet as a high blood pressure natural treatment.

Now, new research from China suggests that drinking green tea may help boost the production of new brain cells – offering cognitive support for those of any age.

The studies with mice, published in the August issue of the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, found that epigallocatechin-3 galate (EGCG), an antioxidant found in green tea, boosts production of neural progenitor cells. These progenitor cells can help promote neurogenesis - the formation of new brain cells (neurons) in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that transfers information from short term to long-term memory.

The new cells appear to sharpen memory, improve learning and ward off degenerative diseases. The research also noted that the mice treated with EGCG and trained to run mazes could accomplish this task faster than mice that didn’t receive EGCG. They found that, in mice, the new cells appear to improve memory, learning and combat degenerative diseases.

If you’re not a tea drinker, now is the time to start! Create a “green tea ritual” and view it as a few minutes of your day when you take the time to slow down, take a few deep breaths and treat your body well. The simple act of preparing the hot water and steeping the tea can provide that moment of quiet and calm in the midst of a hectic day. Soon you will find yourself looking forward to your daily tea ritual!

Talk to your doctor to see if taking green tea supplements as a high blood pressure natural treatment is right for you.

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Prevent Decreased Muscle Mass in the Grocery Store

by Cindy Gray

The great thing about natural medicine is that most vitamins and supplements can be obtained from a grocery store rather than from a pharmacy. To be more exact, most health foods can be found in the produce department where fresh fruit and vegetables provide a ready supply of vitamins, minerals, natural fiber and antioxidants.

Prevent Decreased Muscle Mass in the Produce AisleYou may be aware that these foods are the key to weight management, balancing blood sugar and supporting a healthy heart, but scientists have also found they are essential for preventing decreased muscle mass.

What is Sarcopenia?

Sarcopenia is a medical term that refers to a steady loss of lean body mass, specifically muscle and bone loss. It affects around 45% of older adults and generally starts at the age of 40 and accelerates in the mid-late 70s. Although it is most severe in those who are physically inactive, it also affects people who remain fit and active into older age.

Although sarcopenia affects older people, it may be an avoidable consequence of aging, as a recent Korean study showed.

Related: 3 Healthy Foods That Support Healthy Aging

Study on Sarcopenia and Diet

Scientists at Ajou University in the Republic of Korea looked at whether foods high in antioxidants, such as fruit and vegetables, could be associated with sarcopenia in older people. The study focused on data provided by 823 men and 1,089 women who were aged 65 and above. They used questionnaires to obtain information about the participants' diet, along with physical measurements including height and body mass.

The study found that men who had a high dietary intake of both fresh fruit and vegetables had a significantly lower risk of sarcopenia than those who ate fewer fruits and vegetables. In women, they found that those who had a high consumption of fruit showed a lower risk of decreased muscle mass/sarcopenia. The scientists concluded that a high consumption of fruit and vegetables was inversely associated with the presence of sarcopenia in older people.

Risk of Muscle Loss

The natural aging process means that we generally move more slowly as we age and there is a decline in muscle strength. When extreme, this loss of muscle increases the risk of injury from a fall due to weaker leg muscles, and it can eventually affect the ability to live independently.

Decreased muscle mass is related to bone loss (osteoporosis) as healthy muscles create a positive stress which keeps the bones strong and healthy. A decline of muscle through sarcopenia can start a vicious circle: less lean body mass causes decreased mobility which in turn results in yet more muscle loss.

Sarcopenia has other implications for general health too. The body stores reserves of proteins and metabolites in the muscles. The reason many frail elderly people do not survive a fall, major surgery, or illness such as influenza, is due to their lack of metabolic reserves in their muscles to support their immune system and aid recovery.

Although our western diet provides plenty of protein to fight the decline of muscle and bone mass, studies increasingly show that this must be accompanied by plenty of fruit and vegetables to provide the necessary antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are also needed to age healthily.

Next time you visit the supermarket, make sure you visit the produce aisle and top up your health reserves to stave off sarcopenia before it’s too late.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=PMID%3A+24646604

http://www.brinkzone.com/articles/sarcopenia-the-undiagnosed-epidemic/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080527121104.htm

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090112p62.shtml

 

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Natural Heart Health: Test Your Doctor

by Health News

Natural heart health starts with the conversations you're having with your doctor. Once you get to a certain age, your physician should talk to you about heart health, including high blood pressure treatments if you have high blood pressure. If you are younger but have noticeable risk factors for heart disease, they need to approach the subject. When you have concerns about your heart and your health, bring them up. Let’s see how your doctor responds. Do they:

Heart Health & High Blood Pressure Treatments: Test Your Doc

• Ask you about your diet?
• Offer ways to reduce your risk factors?
• Perform blood work to determine various levels like cholesterol, insulin and C-reactive protein?
• Do a thorough examination?
• Ask about family history?

If your doctor is on top of things, any one of the above points can get the conversation started on heart health. But, don’t be shy, join in on the conversation. If you are afraid you might forget your questions, write them down ahead of time.

Ask your doctor about the results of your tests. What do the cholesterol numbers mean? What is my blood pressure? Are there alternatives to medication? What if I experience side effects?

You can begin online. All the information you ever wanted to know is there. You can employ your doctor to explain what you don’t understand. Use it as a guide to getting the answers you want from your doctor not to replace your doctor.

Get Additional Resources

Your doctor can help you by recommending supplements for high blood pressure, nutritionists, internists and other professionals to help you protect your heart. Some people don’t know enough about supplements for high blood pressure to choose the best option and nutrition to choose better foods. Or, they don’t know how to get started with exercise. Your doctor has resources to lead you in the right direction. After a complete physical, they can also tell you what type of exercise is right for you.

Your doctor works with you to protect your heart. If you have questions, ask. The important thing is to go and see a doctor to get the ball rolling. Participate in your own heart health. 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome & Indigestion Home Remedies

by Cindy Gray

Leaky gut syndrome affects millions of Americans, and they may not even know they have it. This one condition may be at the root of an array of health problems, from indigestion and allergies to joint pain to autoimmune disorders.  While it sounds like a digestive problem, leaky gut syndrome affects various areas of the body if left unchecked.

indigestion home remedies

What is leaky gut syndrome?

Essentially, the walls of the digestive tract are lined with tiny pores that allow certain molecules and nutrients to pass through to the bloodstream.  Damage to these pores makes them bigger, allowing undigested food particles and other impurities to leak through.  The body reacts to these foreign invaders with an immune reaction.

What causes leaky gut syndrome?

An overabundance of unhealthy intestinal bacteria is a common cause of leaky gut syndrome, causing inflammation, irritation, and eventual damage to the intestinal wall.  Another cause is chronic constipation.  The stool sits in the digestive system and builds up toxins that irritate the intestinal lining and cause damage.

How does leaky guy syndrome affect the health?

When the immune system responds, it builds up antibodies to food particles and other foreign invaders.  This can lead to inflammation throughout the body causing a wide array of symptoms:

  • Digestive problems

  • Fatigue

  • Food sensitivities

  • Headache

  • Joint pain

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Skin problems like acne, rash, and rosacea

  • Thyroid conditions

  • Weight gain

Leaky gut can affect absorption of key nutrients including iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.  In addition, there is some evidence to suggest that if left unchecked, leaky gut can lead to autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, anxiety, and depression.

Indigestion Home Remedies: What are some natural ways to soothe a leaky gut?

Modifying the diet and making other lifestyle changes can help heal a leaky gut.  People should eliminate foods that contain sugar and grain and replace conventional beef and lamb with grass-fed versions.  It is important to swap tap water for filtered water or pure spring water, and always eat organic fruits and vegetables.  People should not smoke or drink alcohol when trying to heal a leaky gut, and they should limit the use of NSAIDs and antibiotics.

Related: Start the Day out Right – Eat Breakfast

Foods that are especially helpful for leaky gut include:

Bone Broth – Collagen and important amino acids found in bone broth help repair damaged cell walls.

Coconut Products – Because medium-chain fatty acids in coconut are easier to digest than other fats, they take less of a toll on the system.  In addition, the antibacterial properties of coconut oil encourage a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.

Fermented Vegetables – Organic acids and probiotics found in fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi encourage proper pH balance and a healthy bacterial balance in the gut.

Foods High in Omega-3 Fats – Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids, foods like wild-caught salmon and grass-fed beef help sooth certain symptoms of leaky guy syndrome.

Yogurt – Probiotics found in yogurt help populate the gut with healthy bacteria and promote healing.

Supplements that help sooth a leaky gut include:

Probiotics – A supplementary version of the good bacteria found in yogurt, probiotics help encourage healthy intestinal balance.

Digestive Enzymes – Products that contain protease, lipase, and amylase encourage better digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, lowering the chances that these particles might damage intestinal walls.

L-Glutamine – An essential amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties, glutamine helps encourage growth and repair of the intestinal lining. 

Quercetin – Because it promotes the production of tight junction proteins, quercetin helps repair damaged intestinal walls.  Studies show quercetin also curbs the release of histamine, a compound associated with immune response to allergies like those associated with food.

Because of a wide range of symptoms, people experience leaky gut syndrome in different ways. Taking advantage of a few natural methods can help repair intestinal walls and ease symptoms.  If these methods are unsuccessful, people who suspect they may have leaky gut syndrome should consult with a health care professional.

 

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Indigestion Remedies: Top 10 Foods for Fantastic Digestion

by Cindy Gray

Once food goes into the mouth, people typically don't give a thought to the process of digestion until something goes wrong.  Digestive trouble can result in temporary bouts of gas, bloating, and diarrhea or lead to more chronic health problems like Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or diverticulitis.  One of the easiest ways to boost digestive health is through healthy eating.  If you’re looking for indigestion remedies, adding ten foods to the diet can help ensure fantastic digestion and better overall health.

Fruit, Food, Healthy, Fresh, Orange, Organic, Red

1. Rice Bran

Because rice bran contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, it helps move food through the digestive system and keeps bowel movements regular.  Studies also show it provides relief from irritable bowel syndrome, boosts levels of friendly microflora in the gut, and reduces benign tumors in the colon by 51 percent.

2. Inulin

A source of soluble fiber with a smooth and creamy texture, inulin can be found naturally in chicory, bananas, onions, garlic, and wheat.  It helps prevent constipation and encourages healthy bacterial balance in the colon. 

3. Guar Gum

Derived from the guar bean, guar gum is ground into a powder that is often used by food manufacturers and cooks as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer.  Guar gum is a soluble fiber that controls the liquid content of stools and softens them, making them easier to pass.  Studies show guar gum may encourage healthy flora in the gut and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and constipation.

4. Bananas

In addition to containing 12 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber, bananas are a rich source of potassium, an important mineral and electrolyte which is lost with the passage of waste.

Related: Natural Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

Digestion Problems - Resource Center

5. Flaxseed

By lubricating the digestive system, the oils in flaxseed help move food along.  In addition, flaxseed contains a unique mix of soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.  Soluble fiber slows digestion and softens stools for easier passage, and insoluble fiber prevents diarrhea by adding more bulk to stools.

6. Pineapple

Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps the body digest protein.  Research shows that bromelain may also help soothe an upset stomach and ease heartburn.  It is most effective for heartburn when used with lipase and amylase, enzymes that help digest fat and starch, respectively.

7. Papaya

Delicious, juicy papaya contains papain, another enzyme that helps break down proteins in the stomach.  Anti-inflammatory properties in papain also help soothe upset stomach and heartburn.

8. Kimchi

A traditional Korean dish made from fermented vegetables, kimchi is a source of soluble fiber and probiotics.  In addition to the digestive benefits of soluble fiber, the fermentation process creates Lactobacillus, friendly bacteria that promote intestinal health.  In addition, the cabbage in kimchi offers detoxification properties that help rid the body of impurities and toxins.

9. Yogurt

Like kimchi, yogurt contains a host of probiotics that encourage healthy bacterial balance in the intestines.  Studies suggest daily probiotic supplements may improve frequency and regularity of bowel movements, help ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease, and lower risks for diarrheal infections.

10. Blueberries

One cup of blueberries offers 14 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber.  Soluble fiber in blueberries slows the digestive process, pulling more nutrients from food for absorption and assimilation. 

Uncomfortable gas, bloating, and irregularity have become a standard part of life for some people, but a few dietary changes can make a big difference in indigestion treatment.  Incorporating foods like rice bran, flaxseed, yogurt, and more into the diet helps improve the inner workings of the digestive system and boosts overall health.

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How Olive Oil And Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Looking for more foods to add to your healthy high blood pressure diet?

According to a new study led by King's College London, a diet that combines unsaturated fats such as those seen in olive oil, nuts and avocados along with nitrite Looking for more foods to add to your healthy high blood pressure diet? and nitrate-rich vegetables like lettuce, spinach, celery and carrots, can protect against high blood pressure (BP).

These findings may help to explain why the so-called ‘Mediterranean diet’ has previously been shown to lower BP, along with reducing other risk factors for heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet uses olive oil for cooking and is typically rich in fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grain bread and unrefined cereals. Dairy products, eggs, fish and poultry are consumed only in low to moderate amounts, with little or no red meat and moderate consumption of wine.

Combined with a healthy lifestyle such as increased physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption and not smoking, this diet has previously been shown to lower death rates caused by heart disease.

Key to this protective effect appears to be that when unsaturated fats are combined with nitrite and nitrate-rich foods, compounds called nitro fatty acids are formed.

Researchers in this study investigated whether nitro fatty acids lower BP in mice. Specifically, they examined whether nitro fatty acids can inhibit an enzyme known as soluble Epoxide Hydrolase, which is known to regulate BP.

As the study results show, consumption of nitro fatty acids lowered BP in normal mice. On the other hand, mice that were genetically engineered to be resistant to inhibition of soluble Epoxide Hydrolase still had high BP despite being fed the same diet.

This study concludes that the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet has to do at least in part from the generation of nitro fatty acids, which inhibit soluble Epoxide Hydrolase to lower BP.

These findings may help to explain why the Mediterranean diet - supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and nuts - has been shown to reduce the risk and incidence of cardiovascular events like stroke, heart failure and heart attacks.

Given the many health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, why not adopt it today?

Source: How Olive Oil and Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure (BP).
 

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How To Prevent Bone Loss Naturally

by Cindy Gray

Most middle-aged women nearing or undergoing menopause are told that they need to get their bone density tested because they are at a high risk for developing bone loss, which can potentially lead to hip fractures.

According to Christine Horner, MD, bone mineral loss happens as a result of physical inactivity, specifically lack of weight-bearing activity. This includes any activity that uses the weight of your body or outside weights to place extra stress on your bones and muscles.  As a result, your body responds to this weight and movement within your bone material and your bones become denser and stronger. Brisk walking, dancing, tennis, and yoga have all been shown to benefStrong Bones, Naturally!it bone strength.

Bone loss occurs when more bone is ‘reabsorbed’ than is formed by the body, typically after the age of 30 when reabsorption begins to exceed new bone formation. Bone loss in women occurs fastest in the first few years after menopause and continues into old age. By the age of 65, men catch up to women and lose bone at the same rate, primarily due to low testosterone levels.

Factors such as diet, exercise and age determine how much old bone is reabsorbed and how much new bone is made. Specifically, a diet that creates an acidic environment, not exercising, smoking and taking certain medications such as corticosteroids contribute toward bone loss.

A major risk factor for developing bone loss is the modern diet, which is typically poor in magnesium, potassium and fiber, while being enriched in saturated fat, simple sugars and salt. Such a diet is likely to induce so-called ‘metabolic acidosis’, especially with aging.

Calcium in the form of phosphates and carbonates is stored as a reservoir of base in our body. These calcium salts are released into blood to balance pH in response to metabolic acidosis, which depletes our body of the calcium it needs to function optimally. Health experts believe that this may be one of the main reasons for bone loss.

According to Dr. Horner, the bone density test measures ‘cortical’ bone, which is the outer layer of bone. Cortical bone is dense and found mainly in the shafts of long bones, such as the tibia.  The problem, according to Dr. Horner, is that bone strength doesn’t lie in cortical bone, so the bone density test isn’t an accurate reflection of bone strength!  Not only that, but the drugs prescribed to strengthen cortical bone does not reduce the incidence of hip fractures—in fact, they may even raise the likelihood of hip fractures.

Instead of treating bone loss with drugs or supplements, Dr. Horner believes that its far better to reverse it by regularly consuming a diet rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin D.

Foods that increase calcium intake include:

  • Leafy greens such as Chinese cabbage, bok choy, spinach and kale

  • Flax and lignans, which help to absorb calcium

  • Milk, yogurt and cheese

  • Sardines

  • Salmon, which contains both calcium and vitamin D

  • Peanuts and almonds which contain potassium, which protect against the loss of calcium in urine. They also contain proteins and other nutrients that support the building of strong bones

  • A low-salt diet, which prevents calcium loss from the body

  • Getting vitamin D through sunshine or a supplement

Given the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise in preventing bone loss, why not introduce these healthful changes into your daily life today?

 

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How to Prevent Bone Loss, Naturally  

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Is Plastic safe? The Dangers of Plastic.

by Institute for Vibrant Living

For years, we’ve heard that eating or drinking anything that is canned or comes in plastic is bad for your health. But do you really understand why? The quick answer is bisphenol-A (BPA).

BPA is one of 800 different endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), compounds that interfere with the action of hormones in the body. Two of the most prolific EDCs in our environment—and often in our daily activities of life—are phthalates and BPA.

Is Plastic safe? The Dangers of Plastic.

The reason comes down to our reliance on plastic. While phthalates are used to soften plastic and make it more flexible, BPA is used to harden plastic.

When it comes to BPA specifically, it is a known cancer-causing xenoestrogen, meaning it is an estrogen-mimicking chemical. Sadly, this carcinogen (which has been declared “toxic” in Canada) is used daily here in the U.S. to harden plastic bottles and as an inner liner for many canned goods.

In addition to increasing your risk for cancer, BPA has also been linked to reproductive issues and even elevated glucose level. And now, according to a study published in Hypertension in February 2015, you can add increasing blood pressure levels to the list of BPA side effects.

In this randomized, crossover study, researchers asked 60 adults age 60 and older to visit their study site on three separate days. On one visit, the participants drank a beverage from two glass bottles. The second visit, they drank the same beverage from two cans, and on the third visit, they drank the beverage from one glass bottle and one can.

On all three occasions, researchers tested urinary BPA concentration, blood pressure, and heart rate variability two hours after the beverages were consumed. They found that BPA levels increased after drinking the canned beverages by more than 1,600 percent versus the glass containers.

While heart rate variability was not significantly different with any of the container options, researchers found that when participants drank the two canned beverages, their systolic blood pressure increased by an average of 4.5 mmHg (as compared to the glass containers). Researchers concluded, “The present study demonstrated that consuming canned beverage and consequent increase of BPA exposure increase blood pressure acutely.”

This one is a no-brainer. If you are consuming beverages or food from plastic containers or cans, be sure they are BPA-free. If they are not, do not use them. Period.

Next, do a mild detox to rid your body of the likely BPA stored in your cells. This means using a daily greens powder supplement along with a good liver-cleansing supplement that contains milk thistle (200-400 mg), turmeric (50-100 mg), and dandelion (150-300 mg).

Finally, if blood pressure is a concern for you, try using a few targeted nutrients to keep your blood pressure healthy in the normal range. This includes nattokinase (80-160 mg), cranberry concentrate (60-120 mg), and/or acetyl-L-carnitine (250-500 mg).

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Improve Your Memory With Supplements

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It’s no overstatement to say that your brain can be considered the “leader” of your entire body. After all, it controls everything that you do, think, feel, see, and hear—both consciously and subconsciously. 

Maintaining the health, wellness, and optimal functioning of your brain is essential if you are to remain capable of carrying out the many complex activities of human life in its most evolved state. And the key to this optimal functioning depends on a variety of neurotransmitters and hormones.

Improve Your Memory With Supplements

In addition to memory and emotions, these brain chemicals are also responsible for stress, blood pressure, pleasure and pain, motivation, learning, attention, muscle movement, energy, thyroid function, reproductive function, sleep, and even your very heartbeat. In other words, virtually every body function you can think of.

While many people realize that the brain performs all of these functions, most of us think of memory and/or comprehensive first and foremost when we think brain health. And, in our darker moments, these thoughts may turn to Alzheimer’s disease and/or dementia.

This makes total sense when you consider that more than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia in the U.S. And while most adults fear the idea of Alzheimer’s, the majority of treatments for the disease center around treatment rather than prevention. Ludicrous, isn’t it?

That’s exactly what researchers from Switzerland thought. Rather than look at ways to treat the disease, they foods at ways to prevent the disease by focusing on maintaining a healthy neural function in an effort to protect against the development of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease.

They found that the essential fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), as well as B vitamins and vitamins C, D, and E all play a role in brain health and work to delay brain aging. This makes perfect sense!

First of all, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, which is known to fight the free radical damage that has been associated with both dementia and Alzheimer’s. Similarly, vitamin E is an antioxidant powerhouse, working to prevent cell damage throughout the body.

To this point, a Johns Hopkins University study examined the use of vitamins C and E in 4,740 patients ages 65 and older. Researchers found that the people who took both vitamins had significantly lower incidence and severity of Alzheimer’s disease compared to the people who took one or neither of the nutrients.

Vitamin D supports brain and nervous system function and correlates with cognitive function and mood. Additionally, there is evidence that low levels of vitamin D are correlated with low mood and poor cognitive performance. 

B vitamins are a group of 11 separate water-soluble vitamins that are known to support brain health and boost energy levels. Within this group, vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid appear to be the most beneficial for brain health.

Vitamin B6 is important to a healthy inflammatory response, and one disease in particular that has been associated with inflammation is Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B6 is also critical for the synthesis of neurotransmitters.

Similarly, vitamin B12 is also important for the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Plus, it helps in DNA synthesis, nervous system health, and brain functioning. 

Folic acid is known to prevent neural tube defects in the first eight weeks of pregnancy, and research indicates that folic acid helps with brain health, DNA synthesis, and neurotransmitter function. Additionally, folic acid deficiencies have been associated with depression and dementia. 

Lastly, the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is a natural brain booster. Your brain needs DHA to create healthy nerve cell membranes. Your brain uses nerve cells for mood, attention, and memory.  

Given all this, it’s no wonder the researchers concluded, “The use of vitamins and DHA for the aging population in general, and for individuals at risk in particular, is a viable alternative approach to delaying brain aging and for protecting against the onset of AD pathology.”

What does this mean for you? Simple. If you aren’t already, immediately start taking a high-quality multinutrient and fish oil supplement that is high in DHA. Your body—and your brain—will thank you.