0 Comments

Three Surprising Seafood Sources of EFAs

by Health News

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you’ve heard about the health benefits of essential fatty acids like omega-3s.  Their long list of health benefits include:

  • Decreased risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Healthier skin and hair
  • Less risk of depression and other mood disorders
  • Better immunity

Essential fatty acids can be super health boosters

Essential Fatty Acid Foods

Our bodies cannot produce the essential fatty acids omega-3 (EPA and DHA) or omega-6, but they are essential to the healthy functioning of all the tissues.  Therefore, we must get these critical nutrients from our diet.

Omega-6 fatty acids are easily obtained through animal foods like beef, chicken and pork. It is also plentiful in corn oils. Our western diet is over-saturated with omega-6 sources of food, which is not good for us since it promotes inflammation.

Taking fish oil supplements has been touted as a way to get those essential fatty acids like omega-3, but researchers have come to discover that the fish oil used in supplements is often too unstable to be of any real benefit to our bodies.  If you have been choking those giant capsules down and suffering fish-tasting burps, stop! There is a better way.

Related:   Could Fish Oil One Day Take the Place of Statin Drugs?

What we need to be eating more of is omega-3 rich foods.  It’s pretty well known that fish like salmon and trout have a lot of omega-3s. However, you have more choices than you may realize when it comes to getting more essential fatty acid foods in your diet.

There are three surprising seafood sources of EFAs that you should start eating.

Sablefish

Sablefish are also known as wild Alaskan cod or black cod.  This cold-water species is generally less contaminated with mercury like king salmon and abundant in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.  In fact, Sablefish has more of the essential fatty acids than most other fish except king salmon.

Since it lives in very deep cold water, sablefish accumulate more fat which makes them easier to prepare and less likely to dry out with a little overcooking.  You can bake it, sauté it or put it on the grill and it usually turns out melt in your mouth tender.

Shad

American Shad fish is hard to find if you don’t live on a coast.  They can be found along the coast from Alaska to Mexico and all along the East coast.

American shad are loaded up with omega-3 laden fat, but they are also very bony.  It takes some practice to prepare and eat them but it’s worth the effort.  To prepare them it is easiest to poach or smoke them then flake out the meat. It makes a great addition to a salad even cold and is full-flavored enough to pair with strong garlic and chili pepper sauces.

Oysters

These dull shellfish are full of healthy surprises.   They contain high levels of:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins A, E, C and B12
  • Minerals zinc, iron, calcium selenium

Oysters taste the best in colder weather. They spawn May through July, which affects the taste somewhat.  You can incorporate them into a variety of stews and soups and easily get more EFAs into your diet.

It’s also worth noting that oysters are considered an aphrodisiac due to their high concentration of amino acids that trigger the release of sex hormones.  Choose farmed over wild and grind up the shells for your garden to help balance the pH of the soil.

Now you know about some main dish options to go along with the plant foods you have been eating that supply a lot omega-3 fatty acids.  Enjoy.

 

0 Comments

The Stress Menopause Connection

by IVL Products

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

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

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

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

Related:  Modest Weight Loss Lowers Disease Risks in Middle-aged-Women

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

The Dangers of Chronic Stress

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

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

Diet

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

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

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

Exercise

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

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

Attitude

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

Women's Health Top Superfood Recipes

0 Comments

The Probiotic Menopause Connection

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Women may find menopause relief in the form of probiotics.  These industrious bacteria are necessary for healthy functioning of the digestive tract and critical to our immune system.  

Probiotics have many health benefits including aiding with menopause relief.

Probiotics for menopause is a relatively new field of study that is showing great promise in making the unpleasant symptoms of going through the change more tolerable.  All women will go through menopause and each experience is unique for each woman. Some have less severe symptoms while other find them debilitating.  The worst symptoms most commonly reported are:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal Atrophy (thinning and drying of the vaginal wall which can cause pain during intercourse)
  • Mood Swings (depression)
  • Sleep disturbances (hot flashes, insomnia)
  • Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and yeast infections

The dramatic decline in estrogen and progesterone levels as fertility declines is the root cause of symptoms but taking probiotics can provide relief.

Probiotics: The Good Bacteria

Our gut is teeming with bacteria. Some of it harmful, but most of it is beneficial and critical to proper digestion and a strong immune system.  When hormonal imbalances like those experienced during menopause upset the balance of good bacteria in our gut, there are many health issues that can wreak havoc on the body.

The Bad Bacteria

Two kinds of bacteria in our intestinal tract play a critical role in our health: aerobic bacteria, which require oxygen to thrive, and anaerobic bacteria, which do not.

A diet high in saturated fat stimulates the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which is known to upset hormone levels because of its effect on estrogen.  During menopause, the body is already experiencing unpredictable hormone fluctuations, which cause the hot flashes, urinary tract infections and vaginal wall thinning and dryness.  

Related:  The Idea That All Fats Makes You Fat is a Myth

Cutting your intake of saturated fat and consuming more probiotic rich foods and supplements can help restore hormone levels and ease these symptoms.  For those who want menopause relief without the use of synthetic hormones, this is good news.

Probiotics For General Health

When going through menopause, many women experience health issues that impact their quality of life. Probiotics can help offset some of these issues and make the going through the change more tolerable.

In addition to helping stabilize hormones, which are thrown out of sync by menopause, probiotics can help offset weight gain, keep your immune system strong and increase good bacteria in the vagina, lessening dryness and atrophy there. 

0 Comments

EFAs for Menopause Treatment

by IVL Products

All women have to go through menopause at some point in their lives. The unpleasant symptoms can make life difficult, but there are ways to deal with some of the worst side effects of menopause simply through your diet.  

Women who consume essential fatty acids regularly can reduce the negative symptoms of menopause.

Increasing your intake of EFAs, (or essential fatty acids) is easy.  Not only will you experience less severe menopausal symptoms, but the EFAs offer many other health benefits as well.

What Are EFAs?

Essential fatty acids are so named because your body cannot produce them naturally. The only way to get them is through your diet. 

Your body cannot synthesize linolenic (omega-6) and linoleic acids (omega-3) that are critical to the normal functioning of all the tissues of the body.  Without sufficient EFAs, you are at an increased risk for:

  • Liver and kidney abnormalities
  • Depression
  • Dry Skin
  • Decreased immune function

However, when you get adequate amounts of omega-3s and omega-6s, you have a decreased risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Menstrual pain
  • Breast cancer

EFAs have been found to greatly help reduce the most troublesome menopausal symptoms like:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal, hair and skin dryness
  • Mood swings and depression

A study conducted by Italian scientist back in 2005 noted that women who ate a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids reported a “progressively and highly significant reduction” in hot flashes. They concluded that this could be a result of the influence omega-3s have on nerve cell membranes, helping to reduce their sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations.

Related:  Top Three Heart Healthy Nutrients

It has long been known that having an adequate intake of EFAs helps balance hormones, increase immune function, improve cardiovascular health and promote healthier skin and hair.

Happy Food

What you may not realize is that omega-3 fatty acid EPA helps the body produce adequate levels of serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter that greatly affects our moods. Depression and mood swings often accompany the hormonal changes you will be experiencing making EFAs an essential part of your menopause diet.

Brain Food

DHA is a natural brain booster. It keeps nerve cell membranes in the brain healthy, which means better cognitive function, and less memory loss. 

The Menopause Diet

By incorporating foods rich in essential fatty acids into your diet, you can greatly reduce unpleasant menopausal symptoms and improve your health overall.  It is essential that you get the right combination of omega-3s and omega-6s in your diet and that can take some research and planning. Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3s for use in the body, so getting the right ratio of each is important. 

DHA (omega-6) is found in animal foods like beef and pork and corn oils. These are generally plentiful in our diets and most Americans eat too many omega-6 foods when they should be eating foods with more omega-3 fatty acids like.

  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • Walnuts
  • Canola, soybean, walnut oils
  • Fruits
  • Beans
  • Fish

Trying to get your EFAs in supplement form is not the most efficient way to up your intake of them.  Besides the nasty fish tasting burps many pills cause, the fish oil molecules are highly unstable and can quickly decompose and release cell damaging free radicals.

Omega-3s for Everybody

Whether you are going through menopause or not, eating more food rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA just makes good sense. 

You will look better, feel better and be more prepared to handle the hormonal changes when you eat more foods with omega 3 for menopause relief.

0 Comments

The Estrogen, Serotonin, and Melatonin Connection: Balance is Essential

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Menopause management is a balancing act that can be very confusing for women who are suffering from hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and other symptoms. Understanding the causes for menopausal symptoms can be difficult because there are physical, psychological and emotional components associated with the change of life. Recent studies have found a link between estrogen, serotonin and melatonin that might shed some light on the causes for certain symptoms. 

For a smoother transition into menopause, learn about how balanced estrogen levels lead to healthier serotonin and melatonin levels.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries nerve impulses from your brain to your body. It is often called the “happy hormone” because of its positive effects on mood. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, fatigue, sexual dysfunction and sleep disorders. Because estrogen is needed to produce serotonin, the declining levels of estrogen associated with menopause result in lower serotonin levels.

To further complicate matters, low serotonin levels lead to low melatonin levels. Serotonin is synthesized in the body to make melatonin, the hormone that is essential to restful sleep. Melatonin controls the body’s circadian rhythms to regulate sleep cycles.

RelatedNine Ways to Naturally Boost Energy

People with low melatonin levels are prone to sleep disorders that leave them in a perpetual state of fatigue. Chronic insomnia has adverse effects on all aspects of health and it can be especially troublesome for menopausal women.

Simply put, the estrogen, serotonin and melatonin imbalances can (and often do) create the perfect storm for menopausal symptoms mood swings and sleep disorders. The symptoms can become so troublesome that women seek help from their doctors who often prescribe hormone replace therapy (HRT) and sleeping pills. Both HRT and prescription sleep aids have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. 

Fortunately both serotonin and melatonin levels can be boosted through dietary changes and nutritional supplements. Studies show that tryptophan supplements help to increase serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain. Food sources of tryptophan include soy, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peas, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

Serotonin and melatonin supplements area available online and in natural heath stores. They come in pill, capsule or powdered forms. These supplements are a safe, natural alternative to prescription medications. Add them to your daily regimen to boost your mood, help you sleep and keep you healthy.  

0 Comments

Six Potent Probiotics

by Cindy Gray

If you are seeking a natural remedy to help with diarrhea, then look to probiotics.  These potent little strains of live bacteria and yeasts are very good for your digestive system and can bring relief to those suffering from occasional to chronic diarrhea.

Those who suffer from diarrhea will find probiotics a powerful remedy.

Probiotics are naturally helpful to your body; and you can ingest them easily from certain foods and supplements.  There are many kinds of bacteria classified as probiotics and they all have different health benefits, but almost all of them come from two groups:

  • Lactobacillus – the most common probiotic, it can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods.  It can help those who are lactose intolerant and ease diarrhea.
  • Bifidobacterium – this type is found in dairy products like milk and can help those with IBS relieve their symptoms.

You are not alone if you suffer from diarrhea. Those who have three or more loose stools per day for a period of four weeks or more are diagnosed with chronic diarrhea.

Related Top Three Fermented Foods for Constipation Relief

Taking over the counter medications is fine if you only experience diarrhea occasionally. However, if your condition is chronic, you’ll want to consider these diarrhea natural remedies.

  1. Lactobacillus acidophilus – is found in foods like yogurt, kefir, pickles and soy products, and in supplement form.  It is very beneficial to the human GI tract because it helps break down sugars in milk products (lactose) and produces vitamin K.
  2. L. casei (lactobacillus casei) – is found naturally in fermented foods. It has shown to be a very effective way to speed up recovery time for those suffering from acute diarrhea. It helps the gut break down lactose, and relieve constipation. It also relieves gas and promotes healthy digestion, which improves your immunity.
  3. L. rhamnosus – is found in the human GI tract, mouth and vagina.  Its greatest health benefit is as an anti-inflammatory. This makes it beneficial for those with loose stools and vaginal infections.
  4. L.  plantarum – this strain of bacterial is a real powerhouse. It can take up residence in your gut and keep disease-causing microorganism from wreaking havoc there. It also has the ability to “stick” or coat the lining of your intestines and prevent dangerous bacteria from getting into your bloodstream
  5. Bifidobacterium breve – also known as B breve, a shortage of it in the intestinal tract has been linked to diarrhea, allergies, gas and irritable bowel syndrome. It can benefit you by balancing the acidity (pH) of your colon, reduce bloating and gas, and relieve constipation.
  6. B. longun (Bifidobacterium longum) – found naturally in the gastrointestinal tract and the vagina it is thought to be an effective way to help prevent certain diseases like colon cancer. It contains anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic properties that help keep the pH balance of your digestive track normal.

Eating fermented foods rich in the super six or taking supplements can improve your overall health by boosting your immune system, relieving painful gas or constipation and possibly even help lower your risk of developing some forms of cancer.

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

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

by Cindy Gray

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

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

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

Some of the major benefits of chlorophyll include:

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

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

Related What Everybody Ought to Know About Liquid Chlorophyll

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

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

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

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

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

0 Comments

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. 

0 Comments

Why Aloe is So Amazing for the Reflux Diet

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

What is Aloe Vera?

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

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

Related A Humble Houseplant Works Wonders with Skin Issues

Healing Properties of Aloe Vera

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

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

What is the Reflux Diet?

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

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

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

 

 

0 Comments

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. 

0 Comments

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
0 Comments

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.  

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

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.

 

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

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.