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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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Why Vitamin D is Important for Healthy Aging

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Originally introduced to the world as a fat-soluble vitamin and later as a steroid hormone, vitamin D offers myriad health benefits to the body.  Because it plays a role in over 1,000 physiological processes, it is easy to understand why vitamin D is so important as people get older.  According to results from a variety of scientific studies, this potent vitamin/hormone helps encourage healthy aging in many ways.

:  People can get vitamin D benefits through foods like milk, eggs and fish.

A British study conducted in 2007 showed that vitamin D may help slow the aging process and protect the body from age-related disease.  Researchers followed more than 2,000 women with ages ranging from 18 to 79 and examined their white blood cells.  Measuring the length of telomeres (the capped ends of DNA strands) is a reliable way to determine if a person is aging.  As people get older, telomeres become shorter and DNA becomes more unstable. 

According to their vitamin D levels, the female subjects were assigned to three groups.  Results showed that women with the highest vitamin D levels had longer telomeres than women with the lowest levels.  Researchers concluded that by keeping telomeres longer, vitamin D may slow the aging process, and this may explain the protective effect vitamin D appears to provide from conditions like heart disease and cancer.

Related:  Absorption is Key When it Comes to Calcium Supplements

Another important Dutch study examining people 55 years of age and older found that low vitamin D levels were linked with an inability to perform daily tasks.  Subjects were divided into two age groups and tested for activities like walking stairs, dressing and undressing, standing from a seated position, and self-care.  While results showed a link between lower vitamin D levels and reduced ability to perform the activities, more research is needed to determine if low vitamin D levels actually cause disability in performance.

Additional Vitamin D Benefits

Most people know that vitamin D plays a role in the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, but it offers many more benefits to the health.  Vitamin D boosts immunity and helps prevent colds, flus and other types of infection.  Mounting evidence suggests that vitamin D may also offer a preventative effect against Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, lymphatic system, ovaries and prostate. 

With all of the health benefits mentioned, it makes sense to get vitamin D on a daily basis, especially for people over 50.  The best source of vitamin D is the sun, and spending 10 minutes in sunshine before applying sunscreen usually provides a sufficient daily amount.  People can also find vitamin D in foods like fish, eggs, dairy and nut milk, cod liver oil, and fortified cereals and juices.  Vitamin D supplements work well during periods of colder weather, and health professionals recommend from 400 to 1,100 mg per day depending on age.

 

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Green Superfoods You Should Be Eating

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Want to make your daily diet as nutritious as possible?  Try incorporating a few green superfoods into breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Asparagus, barley grass, kale and spirulina help keep bodies in tip-top health due to an abundance of vitamins, minerals and other disease-fighting ingredients. 

Green superfoods like asparagus are packed full of healthy nutrients.

1. Asparagus

People looking for tasty green superfoods should start at the beginning of the alphabet with asparagus.  It contains important nutrients like beta-carotene, folate, iron, manganese, selenium, and vitamins A, B6 and C.  Asparagus is also a rich source of glutathione, an antioxidant that helps flush toxins and free radicals from the body.  High in fiber but low in calories, asparagus makes a great food for weight loss.

2. Barley grass

The soft green shoots of the barley plant offer a host of health benefits.  With more calcium than dairy milk, more iron than spinach, and more vitamin C than orange juice, barley grass rates high on the list for healthful green superfoods.  Nutrients in barley grass include beta-carotene, chlorophyll, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, zinc, iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E and K.  Barley grass helps neutralize heavy metals in the bloodstream, stimulates friendly bacteria in the gut, and helps maintain pH balance in the body.

3. Kale

With only 36 calories per cup and high in fiber, kale makes sense for weight loss.  In addition to containing carotenoids, flavonoids, calcium, copper, manganese, and vitamins A, C and K, kale contains isothiocyanates, chemicals that help prevent cancer by removing potential carcinogens from the body and triggering the production of tumor-suppressing proteins.

Related:  Kale and Spinach Help Prevent Vision Problems

4. Spirulina

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is cultivated worldwide and used as both a dietary supplement and a food.  Valuable nutrients in spirulina include amino acids, beta-carotene, B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, zinc, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).

Research shows that spirulina can help curb cravings and maintain blood sugar levels, making it a good food for people with diabetes.  Test tube and animal studies indicate spirulina may have allergy-fighting and immune-boosting properties as well as antiviral compounds that help fight herpes, influenza and HIV.  Further studies are needed to determine if these results transfer to humans.

People looking for a little extra nutrition can never go wrong with green superfoods.  Adding asparagus, barley grass, kale and spirulina to the grocery cart ensures a bevy of beneficial nutrients.  Asparagus and kale taste delicious sautéed with a little olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and pepper, and barley grass and spirulina add a powerful nutritional punch to fruity or green smoothies.

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Eat Broccoli for Healthy Breast Changes with Age

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Aging affects a woman's body in several ways, but it's particularly unkind to the breasts.  As women go through menopause, decreased estrogen production shrinks mammary glands and fat in tissue altering breast size and fullness.  Reduced elasticity in connective tissue can make breasts sag, and risks for breast cancer rise after menopause.  Fortunately, there's something women can do to promote healthy breast changes with age:  eat broccoli

A compound in broccoli and broccoli sprouts called sulforaphane may help keep breast changes with age healthy.

Sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts stimulates over 200 genes in the body to produce enzymes, proteins and antioxidants that protect cells.  One of these important antioxidants, glutathione, works inside cells to protect them from free radicals and inflammatory response.  Some enzymes and proteins even do battle with cancer cells and reduce over-expression of estrogen receptors, an action common in many types of breast cancer.

Current chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer are incapable of suppressing cancer stem cells, but broccoli sprouts have shown promise in various scientific studies.  One study published in Clinical Cancer Research in 2010 showed that sulforaphane suppressed breast cancer cells both in vivo (in live animals) and in vitro (under glass).

Related:  Natural Anti-Cancer Compound Found in Cruciferous Vegetables can Treat Leukemia

In a separate study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University examined women scheduled for breast reduction surgery to determine if sulforaphane actually showed up in breast tissue after women drank broccoli sprout juice.  Results showed measurable results of sulforaphane, proving that the compound actually reaches the target area in women with breast cancer when they consume broccoli sprout juice.

In addition to helping ensure healthy breast changes with age, broccoli sprouts have been shown to:

  • Aid in the treatment of autism
  • Help manage type 2 diabetes
  • Rid the body of toxic air pollutants
  • Destroy Helicobacter Pylori, a harmful gastrointestinal organism
  • Slow the development of osteoarthritis

While further studies are needed to determine if sulforaphane extract might offer promise as natural form of breast cancer treatment, adding broccoli to the grocery cart definitely doesn't hurt.  People can stock up on the whole vegetable, its sprouts, or purchase broccoli sprout supplements through local whole food stores or natural supplements websites.  For the best health benefits, organic forms broccoli and broccoli sprouts are recommended.

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Inflammation and Aging Skin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to good health as we age, inflammation plays both good and bad roles.  In response to injury, acute or short-term inflammation helps promote healing, but chronic or long-term inflammation can harm just about every area of the body including the skin.  Conditions linked to chronic inflammation include acne, dermatitis, rosacea, rash, hives, and wrinkles.  Fortunately, following a few healthy tips can help prevent the development of inflammation and protect aging skin.

A number of environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to inflammation including tobacco, alcohol, stress, sun exposure, a sedentary lifestyle, and a high-sugar diet.  Engaging in healthy habits helps reduce levels of inflammation in the body and keeps aging skin looking and feeling as youthful as possible. 

Healthy changes involve quitting tobacco products, cutting down on alcohol consumption, wearing sunscreen, or getting regular moderate exercise.  Beneficial dietary steps include drinking plenty of water throughout the day, reducing the amount of sugar in the diet, and getting inflammation-fighting nutrients through food or dietary supplements.

Related:  Royal Jelly for Skin: Your Skin's Best Friend

Best Dietary Supplements for Inflammation

Research shows that a number of nutrients help battle the effects of chronic inflammation.  Many of these are available in the form of dietary supplements.  They include:

  • Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)
  • Coenzyme Q-10
  • Curcumin
  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
  • Ginger
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Topical Ingredients that Combat Inflammation

Certain creams and lotions feature beneficial ingredients for aging skin.  Topical nutrients that offer anti-inflammatory properties include aloe, ceramides, grape seed extract, green tea extract, and pomegranate.

Food Sensitivities and Skin Changes

Food sensitivities can also cause chronic inflammation in the body, and symptoms can include congestion, irritability, stomach pain, headache, and skin changes like hives or rash.  People concerned about possible food sensitivities should consult with a health care professional for testing.

Additional Health Problems Caused by Inflammation

In addition to affecting aging skin, chronic inflammation can lead to the development of a number of other health problems as people get older.  These include:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Hay fever
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Periodontitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Getting older does not mean people have to settle for premature wrinkles and age spots caused by inflammation.  A number of lifestyle changes, nutrients, topical products, and dietary testing can help promote healthy skin and encourage good overall health. 

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Do Free Radicals Cause Skin Changes?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The skin is the body's largest organ, so it is important to take good care of it.  Knowing about free radicals and how to eliminate them can help.  A free radical is an unstable oxygen molecule that is missing an electron.  In the hunt for the absent electron, free radicals destroy healthy molecules and create more free radicals. A number of environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to the production of free radicals including exposure to the sun, smoking, excessive use of alcohol, a poor diet, and air pollution.  Over time, excessive free radicals can cause oxidative damage leading to skin changes like acne, wrinkles and even skin cancer. 

Lifestyle choices like smoking can promote free radical production and cause skin changes.

Young skin contains an abundance of antioxidants that protect it from free radicals.  However, aging skin produces fewer antioxidants and becomes more susceptible to damage. Fortunately, as people age, they can prevent the production of free radicals by engaging in a number of healthy lifestyle strategies.

1.  Use Sunscreen

Prolonged exposure to the sun encourages the production of free radicals. According to a study examining the effects of oxidative stress on skin cells, the use of sunscreen offers the best protection for preventing these free radicals from forming.  Natural, mineral-based sunscreens provide safe, broad-spectrum protection without harsh chemicals.  Remember to wear a wide-brimmed hat when out in direct sunlight.  Other protection methods are long-sleeved clothes and even using an umbrella for sun protection.

2.  Eat Foods High in Antioxidants

In the same study, the Slovenian research team from the University of Ljubljana also concluded "Foods rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals such as fruits, vegetables, wine and green tea help protect against oxidative damage and free radical attack."  Specific fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants include leafy greens, red grapes, citrus fruits, melons, papaya, berries, and pomegranate.

Related:  Internal Sun Protection With ALA

3.  Take Dietary Supplements

A number of vitamin and mineral supplements block the development of free radicals.  These include vitamin B2, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, coenzyme Q10, lutein, lycopene, and zinc.  Protective herbal supplements include bilberry, gingko biloba, grape seed extract, and turmeric.

4.  Try Skincare Products with Vitamin C or Copper

It's hard to sift through the multitude of skincare products for one that actually works, but a few added ingredients have been shown to truly benefit the skin. Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen, the main structural protein in connective tissue. Research shows that topical application of vitamin C promotes the production of collagen and diminishes the effects of free radicals. Copper is an ingredient added to many products for aging skin. Copper peptides can help improve skin elasticity, enhance skin tone and reduce symptoms of skin conditions like rashes, eczema, and rosacea.

While environment and lifestyle can affect the skin, certain healthy strategies help keep skin changes to a minimum. People looking to enhance skin health should use sunscreen when spending more than twenty minutes outdoors. Other ways to benefit the skin include eating foods high in antioxidants, taking certain dietary supplements, and using topical skin products with vitamin C or copper.

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Five Tips to Improve Brain Function | Memory Improvement Tips

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You may not be able to make yourself taller, or alter your shoe size, but there are ways to improve brain function. As you age, maintaining mental acuity is increasingly important to stave off the symptoms of mental decline. Here are our top five memory improvement tips to help you keep your brain healthy!

1.     Exercise

Exercise is not just good for the heart and joints; it is also essential for brain function. A study published in Neuroscience reported that regular exercise helped monkeys learn new tasks twice as quickly as the non-exercising control group. The study was performed on middle-aged and mature monkeys who were trained on treadmills for five weeks and then underwent cognitive tests using the Wisconsin General Testing Apparatus. Scientists believe that exercise can improve brain function in humans in the same way.

Exercise improves blood flow to the brain and causes nerve cells in the brain to multiply. These cells release proteins and chemicals during exercise which boost cognitive function and improve neural health.

2.     Omega-3 to Improve Brain Function

Almost 60% of the brain is made up of fats including DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid which is known to support the central nervous system. DHA deficiency can cause nerve cells to become rigid and inflamed leading to reduced neurotransmission between cells. Low levels of DHA have also been associated with memory decline and Alzheimer’s disease.  Taking omega-3 supplements can be one of the easiest memory improvement tips to adopt. 

Related:  The Ultimate Food Guide to Omega 3s

3.     Sleep Well

Sleep allows the brain to rest and reset, so improving your sleep can improve brain function and improve mental insight.  A Harvard study on sleep showed that people are 33% more likely to recall facts from memory after a good night’s sleep. Study leader Dr. Ellen Bogen concluded that “sleep does not just passively protect memories, but rather, plays an active role in memory consolidation.”

Too little sleep can also upset the circadian rhythm and may cause the brain to stop producing new cells. It seems that sleep is vital if you want to maintain and improve brain function.

4.     Take Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for increasing nerve growth in the brain. It is present in the hippocampus and cerebellum areas of the brain which are responsible for tasks such as planning, processing of new information and retaining memories. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to poor brain function, so getting plenty of vitamin D from food, sunshine or supplements is another easy memory improvement tip.

5.     Use It or Lose It

It is a well known fact that an active brain in later life can significantly improve brain function. Doing puzzles, learning a skill, mastering a new language, or stimulating the mind with mnemonic techniques can all keep your brain alert and healthy as we age.

 

 

 

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The Best Five Natural Alternatives to Fluoride

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many people are aware of the dangers of fluoridation, but are reluctant to forego the protection that fluoride gives against cavities and tooth decay. We explore a range of natural alternatives to fluoride that will not only protect your teeth but will also safeguard your overall health from the side effects caused by fluoride.

Neem leaves are one of the best natural alternatives to fluoride

 

1. Coconut Oil

The most effective protection against tooth decay is regular brushing and flossing twice daily. This removes traces of food that may be broken down by bacteria in the mouth, creating the acid that rots enamel and causes cavities. If you want to do more, include regular daily use of a tongue scraper—a tool used in Ayurvedic healing medicine for years.  Also try using coconut oil as a fluoride alternative to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Use it as toothpaste or swish through the teeth like a mouthwash to reduce plaque. Its antibacterial properties detour the presence of bacteria which cause tooth decay. (Oil pulling is the traditional name for this technique, again, and Ayurvedic method of oral hygiene.)

2. Neem

Neem is another amazing natural alternative to fluoride. Look for a neem-based mouthwash to help reduce plaque buildup and counter gingivitis (gum disease). Another good way to use neem is with fluoride-free toothpaste which includes neem extract.

3. Vitamin D

Taking a supplement of vitamin D is good for your general health, promoting strong bones and teeth. It’s a safe and natural alternative to fluoride.

4. Myrrh

Myrrh extract is great for promoting healthy teeth and combating bad breath; the best way to include myrrh in your dental health routine.  There are several products available that are fluoride-free formulas containing herbs such as eucalyptus and peppermint which support oral health and reduce cavities.

5. Chocolate!

Clinical trials on a chocolate extract have shown it is more effective than fluoride for treating hypersensitivity due to thinning dental enamel or periodontal disease. The cacao extract was able to restore and repair enamel and dental occlusions in just seven days. This natural fluoride alternative re-mineralizes the tooth better than fluoride and without the toxic side effects.

With so many natural alternatives to fluoride, you can banish fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes and get natural tooth protection without the risk of dangerous side effects.

 

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Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms – How Much do we Need?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Omega-3 deficiency is also known as FADS – Fatty Acid Deficiency Syndrome. The symptoms are hard to pinpoint as they are often shared with other health issues and can easily be overlooked, misdiagnosed or trivialized.

Do you have signs of Omega-3 deficiency?

 

Let’s consider first why we need omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. The body is unable to make omega-3 fatty acids, yet they are essential for every cell. In particular, our skin, joints, brain and cardiovascular system all need fatty acids to function properly.

We need EPA and DHA on a daily basis and the main source is seafood, oily fish or fish oil supplements. ALA omega-3s are sourced from plants such as flaxseed, soybeans and nuts, and these can be converted into EPA and DHA. Vegetable oils provide omega-6 fatty acids, but a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 can contribute to inflammation and heart disease.

Related:  Is Krill Fish Oil Dangerous?

 

Symptoms of Omega-3 Deficiency

Many studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our mental health. Omega-3 deficiency has been linked to depression, poor memory, attention deficit disorder (ADD), schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Irritability, anxiety and low frustration tolerance may also indicate a lack of fatty acids. Other symptoms include fatigue and poor sleep quality.

More easy to diagnose is the dry itchy skin, cracked fingertips, eczema, hair loss, dandruff and brittle nails that are caused by insufficient omega-3.

Omega-3 eases joint pain by reducing inflammation so omega-3 deficiency may cause an increase in pain for those suffering from stiff joints and rheumatoid arthritis.

We know that omega-3 supports a healthy cardiovascular system, but symptoms of heart disease may not be evident until a heart attack or stroke occurs, which can be far too late.

How Much Omega-3 do we Need?

The FDA does not issue guidelines for recommended daily amounts (RDA) of omega-3 fatty acids but we can look elsewhere for guidance.

The European Food Safety Agency recommends at least 250 mg of combined EPA and DHA daily. The American Heart Foundation suggests 500 mg for healthy adults, but double that amount (1 gram) for those diagnosed with heart disease.

Pregnant and nursing mothers should aim for at least 300 mg per day, according to several advisory groups.

When it comes to DHA, a study by French scientists found that 200 mg DHA per day helped prevent heart disease in healthy men. This figure was reached after healthy male participants aged 53- 65 were given various daily doses of DHA from 200 to 1,600 mg. Blood and urine samples showed biomarkers indicating the effects of each dose. It concluded that 200 mg DHA per day provided the best cardiovascular protection.

By comparison, a 100 g serving of salmon contains up to 1,600 mg of omega-3 (400-1,000 mg DHA and 200-800 mg EPA). However, fish oil supplements are the easiest way to regulate daily fatty acid intake and avoid the symptoms of omega-3 deficiency.

 

 

 

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Facial Care Tips: Dos and Don’ts for Naturally Beautiful Skin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Your skin reflects your lifestyle and health so natural beauty tips for face care are important. Too much sun, too little water, too much alcohol and too little sleep all take their toll on your skin.  However, plying your pores with more chemicals and oily lotions can simply make the problem worse. Here are our top beauty tips for face care naturally.

Top beauty tips for face care include using edible products

 

Cleanse and Exfoliate

If you wear makeup, always cleanse your face at night. It allows your pores to breathe and prevents clogged pores from turning into blackheads or zits. You don’t need expensive cleansers and tonics; just pour a drop of olive oil onto a cotton pad and gently massage into the skin to loosen and remove makeup, dirt and pollution.

You should exfoliate your skin once a week to remove the dead skin cells that accumulate. Mix powdered walnut with yogurt and apply to the face in gentle circular motions. The paste will loosen and lift layers of dead skin and the antioxidants will help promote a glowing complexion that feels smooth and soft.

Related:  Royal Jelly for Skin: Your Skin's Best Friend

 

Watch What You Eat

You are what you eat when it comes to skincare, so healthy food means a healthier complexion. One of the best beauty tips for face care is eating fresh green vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Salmon oil supplements are excellent for moisturizing the skin from the inside out. Things to avoid are sugary and fatty foods, salt and spicy foods.

Sun Protection Always!

Even on dull days the sun’s harmful UV rays are evident, so you should always wear a moisturizer with sunscreen to avoid wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer. Choose a quality product that is labelled “noncomedogenic” so that it does not block pores and cause acne. Don’t forget the chemical-free alternatives to sunscreen:  a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeved shirts, an umbrella—or sunbrella, and an all-natural moisturizer.

Hydrate Naturally

Your skin quickly shows if you are dehydrated, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydrate your skin with a spritz of rose water to maintain pH balance and reduce puffy eyes in the morning.  Drink a shot or two a day of organic aloe vera juice to help hydrate your skin from the inside out.

Beauty Sleep is the Best

At the end of the day, you can’t beat a restful night’s sleep, one of nature’s basic beauty tips for face care. Pale, tired skin, dark circles and baggy eyes never look attractive so ensure that you wind down each evening with a calming routine that will ensure eight hours’ undisturbed sleep every night.

By following these top beauty tips for face, eyes and skin you really can look as healthy and energetic as you feel!

 

 

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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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The Power of Plants

by Health News

Plants are under constant siege from animals, insects, humans, and the environment.  In addition, being literally rooted to the ground, it can be difficult to protect themselves. Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided for them.

Learn about secondary metabolites that help plants— and people— flourish nutritionally and help defend against viruses and germs.

They grow physical defenses like thorns or thick bark or spines. Or they can create chemical shields…defenses that allow them to fight fungus, battle viruses or bacteria, produce off-putting aromas or taste, or even forming poisonous pathogens to deter insects and animals alike from consuming them. These defenses are made possible, thanks to secondary metabolites.

Secondary metabolites are Darwin’s little secret. In addition to the defenses listed above, other secondary metabolites allow the plant to flourish in low sunlight or little water, to sustain high heats and lots of water, attract more insects to them to promote pollination, or promote quick healing of injuries sustained to the plant.

As it turns out, these secondary metabolites don’t just serve plants. Research has shown us that they can improve heart health (resveratrol), reduce inflammation (saponins, a class of plant steroids), ease pain (codeine and morphine from the opium poppy), treat cancer (glucosinolates), fight infection (erythromycin), and alleviate headaches (salicin from white willow bark). And this just the tip of the iceberg!

Related:  Why Plant-Based Powder Supplements are the Best

Contrary to what the pharmaceutical companies would like us to believe, you cannot simply remove these nutrients and use them in isolation and expect them to perform to their full capacity. The real key to the power of these secondary metabolites is the way they interact with the other metabolites and micronutrients in the plant to provide the best health benefits possible.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Eat the foods that contain these powerhouses. These include primarily fruits and vegetables such as cherries, tomatoes, grapes, pineapple, apple, beets, and more.

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High Fiber Diet in Youth Linked to Breast Cancer Prevention

by IVL Products

Getting teens to eat a healthy diet is a struggle for most parents. With the ease of fast food and the temptation of sweets and chips in every vending machine, teen diets are often nutrient-poor.  Well, stay vigilant; especially those of you with teen daughters because a recent study showed women who ate high fiber diets in their teens and twenties had a significantly reduced rate of breast cancer later in life.

Breast Cancer Prevention Starts Early

The study that links a high fiber diet as a teen to a reduced risk of breast cancer as an adult was first published in the journal Pediatrics. The 20-year study of the diets of over 90,000 women showed those who consumed the highest quality fiber (i.e. whole grains, fruits and vegetables) had a 19% lower risk of developing breast cancer. Even more importantly, those women who ate more fiber as a teen had a reduced risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer.  The earlier a woman develops breast cancer the more aggressive it tends to be and the mortality rate is higher.

Can you prevent breast cancer by consuming high fiber?

The Fiber Effect

Study researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded that the fiber effect was due to the fact that dietary fiber cuts down on circulating estrogen levels. Breast cancer is a hormone-driven cancer that thrives on estrogen, so the women who ate a high fiber diet as teens and into their 20s most likely were able to prevent breast cancer from forming because they had lower levels of circulating estrogen over a very long period of their life. 

Fiber also improves insulin sensitivity because it reduces insulin-like growth factors, lowering one’s risk of diabetes, too. Diabetic women have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer.

It’s long been known that fiber helps keep the pounds from piling on and obesity is directly linked to increasing a woman’s risk of breast cancer, too.

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Finally, it’s well known within the medical community that carcinogens ingested during childhood and adolescence heavily influences breast tissue.  A diet that consists of lots of fiber rich-foods like most fruits and vegetables also means the body is getting healthy doses of antioxidants, another important way to prevent breast cancer.

Talk To Your Teen

Previous smaller studies have not consistently supported the benefits of a high fiber diet in adolescent girls and breast cancer prevention, but the huge scope of this study for over two decades lends weight to its validity.  It’s certainly a good idea to talk with your teenage daughter about her eating habits and make sure she has access to plenty of high fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains regularly. This will not only reduce her risk of breast cancer, but offer improved health overall and set her up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. 

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Even Healthy Eating and Supplements Aren’t Enough

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, large national surveys show that even healthy eating habits combined with some supplements, Americans are still not getting the average daily requirements of many key nutrients. In fact, nearly everyone falls short on two critical vitamins—vitamin D and vitamin A.

Healthy eating habits combined with supplementation is the best routine.

More than one third of us are low in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin A, which are critical for bone, heart, and eye health. Plus, nearly half of us are short of our vitamin C intake. 

One of the surveys (the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for 2003-2006 found, “Without enrichment and/or fortification and supplementation, many Americans did not achieve the recommended micronutrient intake levels set forth in the Dietary Reference Intakes.”

Related:  Are Supplements Regulated by the FDA?

They go on to say that not everyone uses supplements, so the ability to boost nutrient levels above and beyond food (even fortified food) is limited to those people who actually use supplements.

The takeaway? Be sure that you aren’t going the food-only route. The best way to get all the nutrients you need for optimum health is to eat a healthy diet of organic fruits and vegetables AND use a high-quality, food-based supplement to get the additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need.

 

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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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Are Fish Oil Supplements Good For The Skin?

by IVL Products

What you eat may be more important to the look and feel of your skin than what you put on it.  Research shows that what you put into your body in the form of nutrients has a big impact on how your skin looks and feels.  One critical nutrient found in foods like, walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil but most abundantly in certain fish is omega-3 fatty acids.  More and more research is piling up to support the benefits of omega-3s from fish oil for skin.

Exploring the benefits of omega-3s from fish oil for skin

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Promote Healthy Skin

Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential acids because the body needs them to maintain the health of the cell membrane, yet cannot produce it naturally.  Our bodies rely on getting essential acids solely from our diet.  Cell membranes not only act as a barrier to keep harmful substances out of the cell, but also to transport nutrients in and waste products out of it.  The membrane is also what enhances the cells ability to retain water so that you have moist, soft supple skin cells that are more resistant to wrinkles.

Another way omega-3 fatty acids, found most abundantly in fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, cod, and tuna (so called “oily” fish) are beneficial is to help reduce inflammation throughout the body.  Insulin spikes from eating sugary, highly processed starchy foods, sun exposure and environmental toxins like cigarette smoke induce inflammation in the skin making it dry, flaky and red.

Related:  Supplementing Children’s' Diets with Fish Oil

Additionally, according to a study published back in 2003 in “Carcinogenesis,” omega-3 fatty acids such as those in fish oil contain properties that protect the skin from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays from the sun.  EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), a compound in omega-3s, was shown to be especially beneficial in reducing sunburn and ultra-violet radiation induced skin breaks.

Best Way to Get the Most Out Of Fish Oil

One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and glowing is to eat foods rich in the omega-3 compounds EPA, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linoleic acid).  A few of the foods that contain the largest amounts of these substances are:

  • Fish –the cold-water or oily kind
  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oils
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli
  • Canola oil

Unfortunately it is difficult to get the amount of omega-3s needed for optimum health through food alone.  Taking a fish oil supplement is an easy way to get the most beneficial amounts of omega-3s into your diet.  

When shopping for a fish oil supplement be sure to read the label carefully and choose one with at least 30% EPA and DHA in it.  Also, look for the kind labeled “non-fishy” aftertaste.

The benefits of omega-3 fish oils for skin are numerous, plus they benefit many other parts of the body reducing your risk of cardiac disease, joint inflammation and can even aid in weigh loss.  Adding a fish oil supplement to your diet is a good idea if you would like to keep your skin looking and feeling younger and healthier. 

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How Fish Oil Increases Joint Mobility

by IVL Products

Many Americans take fish oil supplements because they are known to help prevent heart disease, enhance the look and health of skin and hair and even bring relief from the symptoms of depression.  Another good reason to pop those pills is the benefits of omega-3 fish oils for joints.

What are the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for joints?

What Is Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential fats because the body cannot make them and must rely on getting them from diet. Omega-3 fats are special because they are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body. They affect the function of cell receptors in these membranes and provide essential compounds for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, the contraction and relaxation of artery walls and help to control inflammation. They are also crucial to the binding of receptors in cells that regulate genetic function.  This is what makes them helpful in preventing heart disease, stroke, keeping your eyes moist, your skin soft and supple and your hair strong and shiny.

The key compounds in omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and are found in several types of foods. They are most abundant in fish, specifically cold-water “oily fish” like:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Trout

Other foods with omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flax seeds, olive oil and green leafy vegetables.

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The Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oils for Joints

Joint pain is largely caused by inflammation of the cartilage and tissue in the joint, leading to stiffness and decreased range of motion.  EPA and DHA have been shown in clinical studies to reduce inflammation, and to a lesser degree ALA, by decreasing the presence of inflammatory markers like IL-10 and TGF beta.

In petri dish studies, when omega-3 fatty acids were incorporated into the cartilage cell membranes of joints they appeared to decrease the enzymes that degrade cartilage and inflammatory cytokines. An “over expression of cytokines” by the immune system causes inflammation to the body beyond what is needed, essentially attacking healthy cells and destroying them.

Fish Oil Supplements

It is difficult to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through diet alone. Taking a fish oil supplements is an easy way to incorporate enough into your daily diet so you don’t get burned out eating fish for every meal.

For adults choose a fish oil supplement with 30% or more EPA and DHA in addition to eating fish and plant foods rich in omega-3s. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet to avoid unfavorable drug interactions.  Then you’ll be on your way to enjoying the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for joints!

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The Ultimate Food Guide to Omega-3s

by Health News

Once you’ve discovered the unparalleled health benefits of omega-3, the next logical step is to stock up on foods high in omega-3. Here are some of the foods with omega-3 that you should put on your shopping list every week, and they are far wider than just fish!

Cold water fish are an excellent example of foods high in omega-3

Top omega-3 fatty acids foods are cold water fish including:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Halibut
  • Sardines

Fortified dairy foods with omega-3:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Margarine
  • Soy milk
  • Yogurt

Grains and nuts that are omega-3 food sources:

  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Flaxseed
  • Pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Oatmeal
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Walnuts

Fresh produce foods high in omega-3:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Watercress
  • Parsley
  • Mint

Vegetables oils and foods with omega-3

  • Canola oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Soybean oil

You’ll also find fruit juices, enriched protein powders and weight loss shakes are good omega-3 fatty acids foods to top up your daily omega-3 intake.

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Doctors recommend foods high in omega-3, particularly those that contain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). The third type of omega-3, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) can actually be made from DHA and EPA by the body, although it is not an efficient way to obtain it. ALA is a plant-based omega-3, which is high in antioxidants and supports a healthy immune system, muscle mass and memory. Spinach and kale are good sources of omega-3 foods in the diet.

How Much Omega-3 Foods are Required Daily?

As yet there is no official recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for omega-3, but Dr. Andrew Weil suggests eating oily fish 2-3 times a week and topping up with walnuts, ground flaxseed and salads for ALA.

The National Institutes of Health has recommended that people eat at least 2% of their total daily calories as omega-3 fats (that’s about 2000 mg for a 2,000-calorie/day diet). Other sources recommend aiming for 500-1000 mg omega-3 daily. As a guideline, a small can of tuna or salmon contains 500mg. If you suspect any shortfall, it’s worth topping up your daily allowance of omega-3 foods with fish oil supplements.

 

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Where Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Come From?

by IVL Products

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the normal functioning of cells and organs in the body. Unfortunately, the human body cannot make these essential fatty acids, so we need a regular supplemental intake in our diet. 

Oily fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids

There are three types of omega-3: EPA and DHA, which are found mainly in certain types of fish; and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which is found in nuts and seeds. The body needs all three types of omega-3 fatty acids to function properly.

EPA and DHA Fatty Acids

A healthy balanced diet should include DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). These important omega-3 fatty acids can be found in cold water fish such as salmon (wild salmon has more omega-3 than farmed salmon), mackerel, herring, sardines, herring, tuna, lake trout and anchovies. These fish all contain high concentrations of omega-3 as they feed off green plants and algae which themselves produce omega-3. The American Heart Association recommends eating oily fish at least two times a week to receive sufficient DHA and EPA fatty acids.

ALA Omega-3 Fatty Acids

ALA omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in plants sources including flax seed, walnuts, canola oil, soybean oil, seeds and nuts. These ALAs have less potent health benefits than the fish-sourced omega-3s but they still play an important part in our health. However, these omega-3 fatty acid sources are high in calories and should therefore only be consumed in moderation.

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Fish Oil Supplements

Most people find it easiest to source omega-3 fatty acids from daily supplements of fish oil. This is the only way to know for sure that you are consuming a measured daily dose of EPA, DHA and ALA fatty acids. Supplements are cheaper than fish, and do not contain the same high calories as nuts and oils.

If you find taking fish oil supplements unpleasant, there are some ways to reduce the risk of suffering fishy burps throughout the day. Keep your fish oil capsules in the refrigerator. If you consume them cold, they pass further through the digestive tract before being broken down, reducing the likelihood of "repeats".

It also helps if you take fish oil supplements with food, preferably not carbs. If you take them at breakfast time, follow them with a bowl of oat cereal rather than a couple of slices of bread or toast. Complex carbs such as cereal take longer to digest than bread and seem to have the same effect on the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements. If that fails, experiment with different brands as supplement qualities vary. Find one that contains 1000 mg fish oil concentration in a serving of two softgels.

Omega-3 fatty acids are so important to your long-term health, it’s worth persevering. Eventually you will find a fish oil capsule that you can take daily without any side effects providing you with those essential omega-3s.

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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How to Improve Short-Term Memory – Tips and Tricks

by IVL Products

Many people get frustrated with their increasing forgetfulness as they age. It's quite common to forget names, conversations or where you have put things. If this sounds like you, we'll show you how to improve short term memory with some useful brain-training tips.

Brain games are a good aid to how to improve short term memory

What is Short-term Memory?

Short term memory is the area of the brain that stores small amounts of information for a short time. If you are a computer buff, think of it as the equivalent to your computer's random access memory (RAM). Your brain sorts through your short-term memory and assigns some information to your long-term memory, discarding the remainder.

Unfortunately, the human brain stops growing and starts to shrink in your 20s, so you actually have less active brain cells as you age. This natural aging process usually affects short-term memory primarily. For instance, you are likely to easily recall people and places from back in the past; it’s only more recent encounters that you have problems with i.e. those committed to short-term memory.

Although memory loss can be associated with Alzheimer's disease, stress or depression, it is often the result of the natural aging process. Learning how to improve short term memory will set your mind at rest, as well as that of your family.

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How to Improve Short Term Memory by Training Your Brain

Studies show that people who keep their mind active can delay the onset of dementia and mental decline. To keep your brain active and your mind alert, read, write your memoir, learn a new language, do puzzles, write poetry or play card games, anything to keep the brain busy and happy.

Lumosity is a popular site for online brain training providing a great answer to how to improve short term memory. It provides cognitive tests in fun games designed by scientists. A 10-week study on 4,714 participants showed that those who did Lumosity puzzles regularly retained better mental agility than those who did regular crossword puzzles – interesting food for thought!

Memory Chunking

Scientists know that the human memory can easily recall seven random numbers; however, most telephone numbers, bank accounts and even passwords have more than this. The answer is to break down large numbers into easy chunks. If you have a 9-digit telephone number, remember it as three groups of three-digit numbers. Repetition and writing it down a few times should help you recall the number weeks later. Give chunking a try!

Memory Supplements

Many natural supplements and vitamins boost blood supply to the brain or help improve cognitive function. The B vitamins, particularly B6, B12 and B9 (folic acid) are shown to improve verbal ability and help the brain process new data.

Antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene fight the effects of free radicals and help protect the brain from damage. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of these important nutrients.  Avoid artificial sweeteners as well; studies show an alarming connection between them and reduction in brain health.

Finally, omega-3 fish oils support memory and brain function, so enjoy salmon, tuna and mackerel twice a week and keep taking those daily fish oil supplements. Now you know how to improve short term memory, don’t forget to follow it through!

Everyone Ages. Learn How to Do It Better. Free Resource Guide.