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Menopause Natural Remedies You Didn't Know About: Saffron

by Health News

Saffron is a burnt-orange colored spice that comes from the stigmas of the purple saffron crocus flower.  Primarily used for coloring and cooking, saffron also offers a number of important health benefits.  One that people may not know about is its benefit for aging women in transition.  Integrated into an otherwise healthy lifestyle, saffron makes one of the better menopause natural remedies for improvement of mood.

Menopause natural remedies for mood include the spice, saffron.

Many women in menopause struggle with depression, insomnia, memory problems, and mental fatigue brought about by reduced hormone levels.  Nutrients that enhance the mood can help improve quality of life.  Research shows that saffron helps maintain levels of serotonin in the brain, a neurochemical that plays a part in stabilizing mood.  Consuming saffron is said to promote calmness, reduce mood swings, and lessen irritability. 

As a supplement, experts recommend 85 mg of saffron per day, or the spice can be stirred into hot, cooked food.  Some women also enjoy saffron brewed into a tea.  For proper brewing, place three to eight saffron shoots into a cup of warm water and soak them for 10 minutes.  Then, pour boiling water into the cup, add a little honey and drink the contents, including the shoots.  A few saffron strands steeped in warm dairy or almond milk for about 20 minutes also makes a calming beverage before bedtime. 

Related:  Natural Remedies for Mild Depression

Additional Menopause Natural Remedies

While saffron tends to emotional symptoms, a few additional menopause natural remedies help take care of physical symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

Dong Quai:  While it does not have estrogenic properties, the herb dong quai is thought to promote and maintain balance of female hormones.  Women should not take dong quai if they are experiencing heavy bleeding.

Black Cohosh:  This well-studied herb also promotes and maintains balance of female hormones resulting in relief from hot flashes.  While it is effective for many women, it does not work in all cases.  Black cohosh does not appear to have estrogenic properties, making it safe for women with a personal or family history of breast cancer.

Soy:  Soy foods like tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy milk are full of isoflavones, compounds that have estrogenic properties.  Because there is ongoing controversy surrounding the safety and usefulness of soy isoflavone supplements, most experts recommend getting soy from the diet.

In addition to utilizing supplementary and dietary menopause natural remedies, women might try making a few lifestyle adjustments.  Regular aerobic exercise, limited alcohol use, and relaxation practices can also be helpful for relief of menopausal symptoms.

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Kale and Spinach Help Prevent Vision Problems

by IVL Products

Although carrots have traditionally been hailed as the “go-to” vegetable to prevent vision problems, research suggests that green and yellow vegetables may be better options. According to the American Optometric Association, kale and spinach are particularly high in the nutrients associated with a decreased risk for age-related eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. 

Help Protect Your Vision with Kale and Spinach

Green and yellow vegetables are potent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that protect the retina against the oxidative damage that leads to vision problems. Spinach and kale top the list of eye-friendly veggies. Kale contains more nutritional value per calorie than any other food. One cup of kale provides 20 milligrams of lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale is also a potent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Spinach is another nutritional powerhouse that is loaded with many of the same nutrients.

Related:  What Foods Help Improve Eyesight?

Other vegetables that offer vision benefits include squash, broccoli, turnip greens, collard greens and lettuce. Always choose organic, locally grown vegetables for maximum nutritional value.

Because many people don’t get the nutrients they require through diet alone, millions of Americans use nutritional supplements to help protect against vision problems. Talk to your holistic health practitioner about adding supplements to your daily regimen.

While nutrition plays a vital role in vision health, an overall healthy lifestyle is equally important:

Don’t Smoke: Studies show that smoking doubles the risk for cataracts and triples the risk macular degeneration. Smoking harms the eyes because it impedes the circulation of blood to the eye and damages the delicate blood vessels in the eye.

Wear Sunglasses: The UV radiation from the sun can damage sensitive eye tissue and can actually burn the front surface of the eye. Always wear sunglasses that provide maximum UV protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat when you are in direct sunlight.

Step Away From The Screen: Excessive time in front a computer screen can cause eye strain, dry eye syndrome and other vision problems. If your job requires you to use a computer several hours a day, take frequent breaks to rest your eyes.

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

by Cindy Gray

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

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

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

Some of the major benefits of chlorophyll include:

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

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

Related What Everybody Ought to Know About Liquid Chlorophyll

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

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

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

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

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

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Bioflavonoids May Decrease Risk of Macular Degeneration

by IVL Products

Bioflavonoids have been linked to a decreased risk for age-related eye problems such as cataracts and degeneration. These immune-boosting nutrients provide much of the flavor and color in vegetables and fruits. In addition to their eye health benefits, studies have shown that bioflavonoids play a key role to play in the prevention of allergies, inflammation and cancer. 

The healing properties of bioflavonoids make it important to help reduce risk of Macular Degeneration.

Macular degeneration is the gradual, progressive destruction of the macular that limits the central vision which is needed for everyday activities. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 55.

More than 11 million people in this country are affected by some level of macular degeneration and that number is expected to increase as the population ages. Risk factors include advancing age, family history, cigarette smoking, obesity and hypertension. Oxidative damage caused by excessive UV exposure and environmental toxins can increase the chance for developing vision problems.

Related: What Foods Help Improve Eyesight?

Although there are some factors, such as age and family history, that you can’t control, there are many lifestyle choices you can make to protect your vision. Smokers have a significantly higher risk for developing macular degeneration and other eye problems because smoking damages the delicate blood vessels in the eyes. People who smoke double their risk for cataracts and nearly triple their risk for macular degeneration.  

Obesity is another controllable risk factor. Manage your weight with a healthy diet and regular exercise. If you have trouble keeping the pounds off, talk with your holistic health practitioner to develop a safe, healthy weight loss plan. 

Because bioflavonoids provide protection against vision problems and other health maladies, it is important to include them in your daily nutrition regimen. Research suggests that bioflavonoids and vitamin C complement each other, making them more effective when they are ingested at the same time.  Foods that are rich in bioflavonoids include red bell peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, green tea and buckwheat.

If you aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, you might want to consider taking a nutritional supplement that contains lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Supplements are available online and at natural health stores. Boost your eye health with a healthy diet and nutritional supplements to reduce your risk for macular degeneration or other vision problems that could affect your quality of life and ability to function. 

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Why Aloe is So Amazing for the Reflux Diet

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

What is Aloe Vera?

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

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

Related A Humble Houseplant Works Wonders with Skin Issues

Healing Properties of Aloe Vera

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

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

What is the Reflux Diet?

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

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

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

 

 

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Try Ginger for Nausea after Eating and Other Health Benefits

by IVL Products

While most people find eating to be a pleasurable experience, it generates an uncomfortable after-effect in a few:  nausea.  Whether caused by too much food, GERD, food allergies, pregnancy, or anxiety, nausea after eating is unpleasant and unwelcome.  Fortunately, ginger can provide relief

Ginger helps relieve nausea after eating by relaxing stomach muscles and neutralizing stomach acid.

How Ginger Works

Compounds found in ginger trigger the release of digestive juices and enzymes that help neutralize stomach acid.  Powerful phenols relax stomach muscles and sooth inflamed tissue. Ginger also promotes quicker digestion to move the offending food through the body faster.

Related How Do You Naturally Prevent Acid Reflux?

Ginger Sources

To relieve nausea after eating, people can try sipping ginger tea or authentic ginger ale, taking ginger supplements, or sucking on crystallized or fresh ginger.

Additional Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger contains vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins, and beta-carotene. Valuable minerals found in ginger include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, and zinc.  In addition to relieving nausea after eating, ginger offers anti-inflammatory properties for people with osteoarthritis, it protects against colorectal and ovarian cancer, and it boosts the immune system. By eliminating mucus and reducing sinus inflammation, ginger also helps relieve sinus congestion, and it offers anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Precautions

Consumed regularly, some herbs and spices interact with prescribed medications.  People considering making ginger part of a regular dietary regimen should first consult with a health care provider.  Combined with certain blood thinning medicines, ginger may increase risks for bleeding, and paired with certain diabetes medicines, it may affect blood sugar levels. 

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Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels with Astaxanthin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Carotenoids are naturally-occurring compounds responsible for the color in certain foods, and all promote good health.  Nicknamed the "King of the Carotenoids," astaxanthin is the compound responsible for the reddish or pink color in shrimp, salmon, lobster, crab, and red algae.  Many scientists believe this powerful antioxidant gives marine life the energy to swim upstream.  For humans, it offers a number of health benefits including the power to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Astaxanthin helps bodies maintain normal blood sugars levels and more.

Oxidative Stress and Diabetes

Oxidative stress causes unstable free radicals called ROS (reactive oxygen species) to damage cells, tissues, and organs.  By stealing electrons from other molecules ROS transform the damaged molecules into more free radicals.  Oxidative stress plays a big role in diabetes, either through increased ROS levels or through a lack of antioxidants.   It occurs because of consistently high blood sugar, problems with the metabolism of carbohydrates, or limited release of insulin from the pancreas.

Related Ginger: A Diabetic's Best Friend

Important Research

Researchers from Japan found that astaxanthin reduces oxidative stress caused by chronic high blood sugar in pancreatic beta cells (the cells that produce insulin).  This allows the beta cells to make the correct amount of insulin when needed, improving the body's ability to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Another study from India found that increased blood sugar and excessive insulin resulting from a diet high in sugar and processed fat could be prevented with astaxanthin supplements.  The study also suggests astaxanthin might prevent the occurrence of more body fat, a fatty liver, or suppressed immunity in people with a diet high in processed fat and sugar.

More Reasons to Take an Astaxanthin Supplement

As if helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels wasn't enough reason to take a daily astaxanthin supplement, here are more benefits offered by this potent antioxidant.

  • Provides relief from pain and inflammation
  • Improves athletic endurance, muscle recovery, and strength
  • Supports good eye health
  • Boosts the immune-protective properties of white blood cells in the lymphatic system
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Dangers of Laxative Overuse for Chronic Constipation

by Cindy Gray

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

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

Related: The Best and Worst Foods for IBS

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

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

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

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How Do Doctors Define Constipation

by IVL Products

A healthy lifestyle is your best defense against constipationMedical professionals agree that healthy bowel function is essential to good health, but they don’t always agree on how healthy bowel function is defined. So how often should you “go?” According to the National Digestive Diseases Foundation, more than 2 million Americans visit their physicians each year seeking relief from constipation. More than $700 million is spent annually on over-the-counter and prescription medications to treat irregularity.

Mainstream doctors have varying opinions but most contend that a person is constipated when they have less than three bowel movements per week. Holistic practitioners, however, believe that a person should have one to three bowel movements per day to help ensure that toxins are being removed from the body. Some even narrow that down to one bowel movement per meal each day.

Related: How Vitamins and Supplement May Help Improve Your Liver Health

The liver filters toxins from our blood and sends them to the colon to be eliminated. When the toxins build up they become absorbed through the colon wall; and if not removed, our health can be adversely affected in a variety of ways. The toxins associated with constipation can cause bloating, sluggishness, abdominal pain and flatulence.

In a perfect world we would avoid toxins, but that is virtually impossible. We are exposed to toxins through the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the chemicals we use to clean our clothes, wash our cars and disinfect our homes.

Holistic practitioners subscribe to the “more is better” theory of bowel function. If you are having less than one bowel movement daily, talk to your practitioner about natural ways to restore regularity.

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Royal Jelly for Skin: Your Skin’s Best Friend

by Health News

What is royal jelly?  It sounds like something the queen of England would spread on her biscuits with tea.  Actually, royal jelly is a nutrient-packed bee product that can be taken as a nutritional supplement, but it also can take years off the appearance of aging skin.

Royal jelly transforms aging skin

Royal Jelly: The Who, What, Where, When, & Why

Honey bees produce the thick, milky substance known as royal jelly to feed their queen.  Royal jelly contains water, proteins, sugar, fats, vitamins, salts and amino acids.  Its composition varies depending on the geographical location and climate the bees live in.  It is the primary food source fed to female bees to greatly enhance their fertility and longevity, making them queen bees capable of sustaining the hive.

The pasty secretion of royal jelly is used for many different things in and on the body like:

  • Asthma and hay fever
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Insomnia or sleep disorders
  • Ulcers
  • Skin disorders
  • Bone fractures
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • High cholesterol

The existence of royal jelly and its potential for treating a number of health problems has been known for centuries, and became more popular in the U.S. since the 1960s.  Research conducted identified a potent neurochemical that could actually prolong the lives of fruit flies given the substance.  This has led to speculation that royal jelly could be a potent anti-aging substance.

Related: Alpha Hydroxl Acids Benefits Your Skin

More recent clinical studies have confirmed that royal jelly is in fact a good friend to aging skin.  Researchers at the Nihon University of Japan found that the anti-inflammatory properties in it shortened the healing period of skin lesions.  It also seems to stimulate collagen production, the essential protein that makes up the support bands beneath our skin keeping it smooth and wrinkle free.

The Yin and the Yang of Royal Jelly

The concept of yin and yang is at the core of Asian medical models dating back thousands of years.  Yin represents the skin, bodily fluids, tendons and bones, which are thought to become drier and hotter over time, especially in women of menopausal age.

Royal jelly is particularly helpful to “yin deficient” or aging skin thanks to the many essential nutrients it contains.  Traditional Asian medicine has been using royal jelly as a healing and skin renewing treatment to restore “yin” for thousands of years because it is highly effective with no known side effects.

The complex combination of fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals have strong anti-bacterial properties combined with its high water content make royal jelly very hydrating and nourishing to aging skin. 

  • The silicon content is what boosts collagen production leading to a smoother tighter complexion.
  • Royal jelly also contains a lot B-vitamins, B3 especially, that are highly effective in preventing redness, irritation, and discoloring from lifestyle and environmental damage.
  • The Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology reported in 2013 that the collagen-boosting fatty acids in royal jelly also have sun-blocking properties that can shield the skin from ultraviolet ray damage.

Healthier Skin with Royal Jelly

With thousands of years of use in Asian medicine and significant clinical research showing its health benefits, using royal jelly for skin is a safe, effective and natural way to turn back the clock and restore a more youthful glow.

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Why Vitamin D is Critical for Digestive Health

by IVL Products

Recent research into colitis, a painful inflammatory condition of the colon, showed that it could be caused by a lack of vitamin D. This allows an imbalance of flora to develop in the gastrointestinal tract causing inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease. 

Study connect vitamin D deficiency with inflammatory bowel diseases

Colitis is a serious and painful condition. The inflammation of the lining of the colon can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune illness similar to Crohn’s disease, is another inflammatory bowel disease possibly connected to vitamin D deficiency.

Colitis is known to be caused primarily by infections, viruses, bacteria, food poisoning and parasites in the gut. These develop when good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract are low and are unable to keep these infections at bay. Causes of low gut flora include stress, taking antibiotic medicines which kill gut bacteria, and drinking excessive alcohol. However, no one has previously made a connection between a lack of vitamin D and the presence of these colitis-causing bacteria and infections.

Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

A study by the University of Toronto investigated whether vitamin D deficiency could be implicated in the development of Crohn's disease and similar inflammatory diseases of the bowel. They found a positive association between lack of vitamin D and a corresponding lack of good bacteria in the gut (dysbiosis) in those diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

Related: Diet soda can be dangerous to your health

Two further studies looked at the same issues. The first study, based on information supplied by the U.S. Nurses’ Health Study I and II, found that there was a much higher incidence of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in those who lived in the northern states. The lower levels of sunshine mean lower levels of vitamin D, which the body produces naturally when sunlight falls on the skin. The study found that women who lived in the southern states during their 30s were 50% less likely to develop Crohn’s disease in later life, and 35% less likely to suffer from colitis.

The second study by Cornell looked at whether the symptoms in patients already diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s could be improved with vitamin D supplements. After 26 weeks, those given higher doses of vitamin D showed an improvement in their symptoms, compared to those on a lower dose.

Researchers conclude that vitamin D can keep gut flora healthy and balanced, which in turn improves conditions for those with inflammatory bowel diseases.

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Indigestion Symptoms: Five Signs of Unbalanced Beneficial Bacteria

by IVL Products

Did you know that the gastrointestinal tract, commonly called the gut, is lined with trillions of bacteria? They all have a job to do and are important in digesting the food we eat and controlling our health status.

There is a wide diversity of different bacteria, and not all gut bacteria are equal. Some “good” bacteria help improve digestion of food, manufacture essential vitamins, and strengthen the immune system.

Unbalanced bacteria trigger indigestion symptoms

The presence of “bad” bacteria may cause poor skin conditions, mental issues, nightmares, and indigestion symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea. The body cannot selectively banish all bad bacteria, but by creating an environment where good bacteria can flourish, the bad bacteria can be held in check. Probiotics are the answer.

The balance of bacteria in the gut can indicate how healthy we are (or are not). The presence of some bacteria causes inflammation while other bacteria strengthen the immune system or affect how the brain works. This is a wide topic of study, but the important fact is that if the balance of bacteria is off, it will affect our overall health.

Related: Natural Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

If you suffer from any or all of these indigestion symptoms, it may indicate low levels of good bacteria or flora (dysbiosis):

  • Painful bowel movements, usually caused by hard stools and constipation
  • Altered bowel habits, bloating or cramping pains may be caused by an irritable bowel. Diarrhea or loose stools may be caused by a bug, but more commonly they are a symptom of an imbalance of bacteria in the gut
  • Bad gas is another warning sign of poor indigestion. Symptoms such as excessive gas are caused by gut bacteria improperly digesting food. It may be caused by certain foods, such as beans, or by a sudden change of diet. Either way, managing your gut bacteria with probiotic-rich foods will help
  • Parasite infections can cause you to feel sick, or cause other symptoms of ill health. Normally these unhealthy parasites are controlled by good gut bacteria
  • Food allergies and food sensitivities can both cause irritable bowel movements, bloating, constipation and diarrhea

These common indigestion symptoms tend to indicate that there is an imbalance which can be addressed by introducing probiotics into the diet to improve the presence of healthy bacteria. Consider taking a probiotic supplement or add some fermented foods and live yogurt to your diet to raise levels of good bacteria and banish troublesome indigestion symptoms forever.

 

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C.L.A.P. for Constipation Relief

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Digestive enzymes are the chemicals that break down and digest food in the gastrointestinal tract. If they fail to do their task, or if there are insufficient enzymes in the gut, it is likely to cause chronic constipation. Eating a proper diet is one of the most natural ways to get constipation relief.

Constipation relief from enzymes

There are four key enzymes which are easy to recall by using the acronym C.L.A.P.:

  • Cellulase – breaks down fiber
  • Lipase – breaks down fat lipids
  • Amylase – breaks down carbohydrates
  • Protease – breaks down proteins

Enzymes are easy to spot in the lexicon of health terminology as they all end in “-ase.”

One of the causes of chronic constipation is an incomplete digestion of food. In a perfectly healthy body, the food is digested before it reaches the colon. Digestion starts as saliva and chewing begin to break down food. Stomach acids and enzymes work on the food in the stomach before it reaches the colon.

Related: The Power of Pomegranates

If food is not properly digested at that stage it can cause problems that may require constipation relief. Poor digestion means that the nutrients and vitamins are not released into the blood stream and made available to the cells.

If you think of the colon as a sewer, you can imagine that a buildup of undigested food caused by chronic constipation is an undesirable and unhealthy state. The toxic waste needs to be eliminated as quickly as possible, with a constipation relief supplement if necessary.

Even those who have regular bowel movements may have hidden problems if their enzymes are not working effectively. An unhealthy diet of fried foods high in starch, salt, fat and sugar can leave a deposit of slime on the inner walls of the colon if not properly digested by enzyme activity first. This coating may reduce the ability of the colon to absorb any remaining nutrients and can lead to a narrowing of the colon. This can hinder the peristaltic muscle movement that normally propels food through the digestive tract, leading to an ongoing need for constipation relief.

Causes of Constipation

When food is cooked, natural enzymes are destroyed. We need to include some raw fruit and vegetables in the diet to boost enzyme levels and reduce chronic constipation problems requiring constipation relief.

Overeating and living a stressful life are further problems hindering the digestive process. Age also means we produce less digestive enzymes and may need some extra help by taking a digestive enzyme supplement. 

By understanding how enzymes work, it is easier to make the changes necessary in our diet and lifestyle to prevent chronic constipation and avoid the need for constipation relief.

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Top Supplements for Healthy Skin

by Health News

Anyone looking for healthy and youthful looking skin can build a foundation with the right lifestyle choices, such as getting enough sleep, and avoiding harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco.  Of course, drinking plenty of water and eating the right foods and supplements is also key.  Your skin is, in fact, the largest organ in your body, and the health of your skin is most certainly a reflection of your overall health.  In this article, we will look at a few of the different vitamins and foods that can help you look your best.

Top Supplements for Healthy Skin

Omega-3

If your skin is in good shape, odds are that you are doing at least a few good things for your overall health and well-being.  In the last few years, medical science has become increasingly aware of the importance of omega 3-fatty acids in the role of brain, heart and skin health.  You can take omega-3 supplements for skin health, but you can also find omega-3 in foods such as wild Alaskan salmon and sardines.

Vitamins A and E

Foods rich in vitamins A and E, such as spinach, are great ways to improve not only the look of your skin, but also your overall health.  A good multivitamin supplement is also a way to make sure that you are getting enough of these important vitamins.

Carotenoids
Carotenoids, as found in foods like carrots and sweet potatoes, have a variety of health benefits and can also improve your overall skin health.  Foods rich in carotenoids are also high in antioxidants and anticancer properties.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid is a supplement that is getting increasing levels of interest.  The list of potential benefits of ALA is impressive and long and may help overall health and brain health in a variety of ways.  In addition to potentially improving skin health, ALA may play a role in liver health as well, making it a very important supplement.

Antioxidant Berry Extracts

Berries are very high in antioxidants.  However, it can be quite difficult to eat enough berries on a daily basis.  This is where antioxidant berry extracts and supplements can come into play.  Not only will antioxidant berry extracts improve your skin's overall health, but such supplements will also improve your general health.  They are high in antioxidants that combat oxidative stress and can combat premature aging.

One berry extract that has been getting a lot of attention lately is the Goji berry, which has the power to scavenge for free radicals. As a result, the Goji berry extract has been touted for its anti-aging properties.  High doses of Goji berry are available in capsule form.    

Healthy Skin Contributes to Long Term Health
There are many ways that you can keep your skin looking its best.  Luckily, these steps also have important additional health benefits as well, such as providing your body with important antioxidants and anticancer chemicals.  Smart supplementation, diet choices and lifestyle choices like getting enough sleep and drinking clean water can make a major impact on the look of your skin and even your longevity.

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Are Indigestion Symptoms Signaling Bigger Problems?

by Health News

With life moving at a lightning-fast pace and diets full of fast foods and refined sugar, it's not surprising that people suffer from indigestion now more than ever.  The digestive tract is home to a complex community of bacteria and other microbes, otherwise known as gut flora.  When in balance, the digestive process runs smoothly, but when harmful bacteria and microbes overtake beneficial forms, people experience indigestion symptoms like heart burn, acid reflux, constipation, or diarrhea.  Because almost three quarters of the immune system resides within the digestive tract, indigestion symptoms might be signaling bigger problems. 

indigestion symptoms

The Importance of Healthy Balance

For good health, the ratio of beneficial microbiota in the gut to harmful forms should measure 85 percent to 15 percent.  In addition to promoting vigorous gastrointestinal function, a healthy balance of gut flora helps prevent colon cancer, inhibits the buildup of yeast in the mouth and vagina, and protects the body from infection and the development of autoimmune disease. 

A host of modern lifestyle factors contributes to an imbalance of gut flora.  Some of these factors include:

  • Use of prescribed antibiotics
  • Consumption of over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers
  • Diets high in sugar, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates
  • Diets low in fermented and cultured foods
  • Lack of exercise
  • Chronic stress

Related: Healthy Living Is A Personal Choice

Ways to Restore Healthy Balance

Making changes according to the factors listed above is an obvious approach for reducing indigestion symptoms and restoring a healthy balance of gut flora. People can begin by changing their diet. Trade sugary, processed foods for those high in fiber like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and eat fermented and cultured foods like kimchi and Greek yogurt. Get more exercise, participate in stress-relieving activities, and limit the use of NSAID pain relievers. Take a probiotic supplement every day to boost beneficial bacteria in the gut, and when antibiotics are required, take extra probiotics. 

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Chronic Constipation? Avoid These Three Foods

by Cindy Gray

Four million people across America experience chronic constipation, a condition that causes inconvenience and discomfort. According to the National Institutes of Health, sluggish bowels account for over two million trips to the doctor each year. Because certain foods play a key role in digestive health, what you are putting into your mouth might be what is stopping things up. When it comes to the treatment of constipation, people should eliminate three types of food to see if their condition improves.

Chronic Constipation? Avoid These Three Foods

1. Gluten

People who suffer from chronic constipation may have gluten intolerance or celiac disease, a very serious form of gluten intolerance.  A sticky protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, gluten comes with a molecular structure that many humans have difficulty digesting.  In addition to constipation, people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease experience bloating, abdominal pain, sore muscles, very dry skin, mouth sores, fatigue, and weight loss.

2. Dairy

Frequent consumption of dairy products like milk, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream may cause constipation in some people.  Scientists aren't exactly sure why dairy causes constipation, but sensitivity to lactose, an enzyme in dairy products, can cause gas and bloating, which make constipation even more uncomfortable.  One study examining constipated Iranian children found that the removal of cow's milk and cow's milk products from their diet promoted more regular bowel movements. 

Related: Natural Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

3. Sugar

Sugar feeds harmful bacteria and yeast in the gut, which can help promote constipation.   In addition to straight table sugar, many sweet products like cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries also contain refined flour which is low in fiber and spikes blood sugar.  Constipation is the most common digestive problem for people with diabetes because nerves located in the digestive tract control how long waste stays in the intestines.  When these nerves become damaged from sustained levels of high blood sugar, constipation can result.

Healthy Constipation Treatment Plan for the Diet

All of the foods mentioned above share one thing in common:  a lack of fiber. While the American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of soluble and insoluble plant fiber each day, Americans typically take in only half of this amount.  Lack of fiber can result in a buildup of pathogens in the colon.  This can cause inflammation which can exacerbate chronic constipation and lead to other, more serious conditions.

Healthy treatment of constipation involves removing gluten, sugar, and dairy foods from the diet and replacing them with high-fiber choices like whole fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and gluten-free grains like quinoa.  The introduction of a psyllium supplement is also a good idea, but people should start gradually to avoid gas, bloating, and other symptoms from the psyllium.

Non-Dietary Constipation Solutions

In addition to modifying the diet, constipation treatment might include getting regular exercise, reducing stress, or taking a daily probiotic that helps boost healthy bacteria in the gut.  People should also make sure to drink plenty of water each day – roughly 6 to 8 glasses should help. 

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