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Which Supplements are Best for You?

by Health News

Which Supplements are Best? Get a Healthy Digestive SystemOne of the best ways to get a healthy digestive system is by taking dietary supplements. In fact, more than half of American adults take dietary supplements, but with hundreds to choose from, how do you know which supplements are best for you personally? Here is a rundown on some of the most common natural supplements and why you should include them in your daily diet.

Multivitamins

Those with a busy lifestyle who rely on fast food and microwave meals will almost certainly have a deficiency in vitamins and minerals. While daily supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet in any way, multivitamins do make sure that trace elements and minerals such as magnesium and zinc are being consumed on a regular basis.

The best multivitamins are those specifically formulated for men or for women. Women need higher levels of iron, calcium and folic acid. A well blended formula for women can resolve issues such as irritability, mood swings, bloating, lethargy, cramps and breast tenderness while men benefit from ingredients such as beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto for healthy prostate function.

Fish Oil

Fish oil has been shown to significantly improve health when taken on a regular basis. From preventing heart disease to easing joint pain and arthritis with its anti-inflammatory properties, a good quality fish oil should be on everyone's supplement list. 

Some people avoid taking fish oil supplements due to the aftertaste. Choose a good quality brand from a reputable supplier.  If you still get nasty repeats, store the fish oil in the refrigerator and take them cold; and try taking them before going to bed. This allows the capsules to get deeper into the body before being digested which eliminates the problem. A good quality fish oil will also be properly distilled and processed to remove toxic metals and pollutants from the fish oil.

Calcium

More than 25 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis and it is not just women that suffer from this "brittle bone" disease. It is too late to take a crash course once symptoms have been diagnosed. Our bodies need plenty of calcium (with vitamin D to help the body break it down) from an early age and throughout life. Calcium is also necessary for strong teeth as well as supporting the heart and nervous system.

Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is a relative newcomer to the health market yet its comprehensive benefits make it a top seller. It helps prevent heart disease and metabolizes energy from food. It also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure without the harmful side effects of prescribed medications. CoQ10 is found naturally in every cell in our body, but as we age it naturally diminishes and needs replenishing. It has been found to help prevent migraines, reduce inflammation and increase energy. The ideal daily supplement is around 100 mg per 100 pounds of body weight, although higher doses are beneficial to counter chronic fatigue. 

Once you have established a few basic supplements, continue to read and learn more about specific supplements. The best way to judge which are best for you is by trial and error. If you are receiving the correct nutrients and supplements, your body will feel fit, healthy and full of energy.

Want more tips on how to get a healthy digestive system? Get our FREE guide: The Aging Adults Guide to Healthy Holiday Digestion

Guide to a Healthy Digestive System

 

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Who Needs Dietary Supplements? - Healthy Aging Tips

by Health News

Who need's vitamin supplements? - Healthy Aging TipsIt's important for everyone to benefit from taking dietary supplements, mainly because the majority of the foods grown today are grown in depleted soils.  Taking dietary supplements is even more important under these circumstances:  

  • You have poor eating habits, or you consume less than 1,600 calories a day
  • You are a vegan or a vegetarian who eats a limited variety of foods
  • You are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or you are breast-feeding
  • You are a woman who experiences heavy bleeding during your menstrual period
  • You are a postmenopausal woman concerned with healthy aging (remember men experience hormonal changes too, so supplements for men are very important to consider)
  • You have a medical condition that affects your digestive system and how your body absorbs, uses or excretes nutrients, such as chronic diarrhea, food allergies, food intolerance or a disease of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas.
  • You have had surgery on your digestive tract and are not able to digest and absorb nutrients properly.
  • You are very athletic, and perhaps are in some sort of intense physical training; or your job is very demanding physically
  • You smoke or drink.  While everybody knows it's not good for us, many do it anyway. Although dietary supplements will not reverse the effects that alcohol and smoking will do to your body, they can help your body deal with the demands placed on it by these habits.
  • Your age.  The older you get, the more you need to make sure that you are getting the correct nutrition your body needs.  Educate yourself, and ask a trusted health care practitioner what may be the best dietary supplement for you.
  • Peace of mind.  Since most of us are not getting enough nutrients from the foods we eat, taking a quality dietary supplement can ease your mind.

AND DON'T FORGET:

  • Read and understand supplement labels. Product labels should tell you about the ingredients and which nutrients are included; also recommendations for use, such as the serving size and the amount of nutrients in each serving.
  • Check expiration dates. Dietary supplements can lose potency over time, especially in hot and humid climates. If a supplement doesn't have an expiration date, don't buy it. If your supplements have expired, discard them.
  • Store all vitamin and mineral supplements safely. Put supplements in a locked cabinet or other secure location out of children's reach (and pets). Don't leave supplements on the counter or rely on child-resistant packaging. Store dietary supplements in a dry, cool place. Avoid hot, humid storage locations, such as in the bathroom.
  • Don't overdose your supplements. Some vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin B6 can be bad for your health when taken in extremely large amounts for extended periods of time. Follow the dosage instruction on the label.
  • Tell your doctor. Some dietary supplements can interact with medications, so tell your doctor about the dietary supplements you take.

Healthy Aging: Tips for a Healthy Digestive System

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Supercharge Your Immune System Before You Travel

by Health News

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, travel requires careful planning. That’s why we develop extensive to-do lists that include filling up the gas tank, making airline reservations, obtaining maps and packing suitcases. Unfortunately most of us make travel plans that provide little or no focus on the most important thing of all - our health. 

Boost Your Immune System Naturally

While maintaining a strong immune system is critical for vibrant health every day of our lives, it becomes increasingly important when we are on the move. Travel can compromise the immune system because it upsets the internal body clock that regulates sleep, hunger and digestion. (This can be particularly troubling when you cross time zones.) Many travelers fall into poor eating habits and consume more caffeine and alcohol than their bodies can tolerate. 

To further complicate matters, travel also means increased exposure to germs and viruses that thrive when people are hoarded together in cars, airplanes, buses or trains. Poor air circulation contributes to the spread of illnesses and doorknobs, counters, banisters and other surfaces are likely to be contaminated by germs.   

With a little planning you can supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy your travels and protect your health. One of the best ways to prepare your immune system for travel is to take nutritional supplements before and during your trip. Supplements containing green tea and resveratrol are particularly important. Green tea contains an agent called catechin polyphenol that is considered “jet fuel” for the immune system.

Resveratrol is another potent immune system booster that can help keep you healthy before and during your travels. This powerful antioxidant, which is present in red wine, fruit and the skin of grapes, is associated with a lower risk of developing cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Because it would be difficult to obtain optimal amounts of resveratrol from food and wine, many people use resveratrol supplements. 

Many people also add probiotics to their daily regime before and during travel to prevent gastric distress. Probiotics, which are available from natural health stores, populate the intestinal tract with “friendly” bacteria that limits the growth of “bad” bacteria such as salmonella, clostridia and E coli. 

The next time you make travel plans, make sure you take your healthy habits with you. Supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy every second of your trip.  

What do you do to stay healthy while traveling?

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How to Pick the Right Probiotic For Your Digestive System

by Health News

How to choose a probiotic supplement

Scientists estimate that the human body is home to more than 750 trillion bacteria, and most of them exist in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They are essential for the digestion of food, neutralizing hormones and supporting the body’s immune system. Having an imbalance of these bacteria can cause digestive or intestinal problems that manifest themselves as fatigue, depression, recurring yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or cramps.

You may be surprised to learn that people over 60 have 1000 times less “friendly” bacteria in their guts than younger healthy adults. Probiotics can play an essential role in aging healthy. Many studies suggest that overall health depends largely on the healthy functioning of the digestive system.

One major cause of an imbalance of bacteria is taking a course of antibiotics. They not only treat the virus that they are prescribed for, but also lay waste to the bacteria in our digestive tract. Other medications such as heartburn pills can also be harmful to gut flora as they alter the balance of intestinal bacteria.

If your gut has too many “bad” bacteria releasing toxins, your body will feel the effect with a range of health problems. If you lack sufficient digestive enzymes, a probiotic with a high count of bacteria can be taken to rectify the situation.

Picking the Correct Probiotic

Increasing the good bacteria in your intestine is easy. Yoghurt, miso and soy drinks all contain live cultures that can improve digestive or intestinal problems. The “good” bacteria thrive on nutrients called prebiotics which are found in onions, green leafy vegetables, bananas, artichokes and garlic. Bad bacteria thrive on sugars and fats from processed foods and these foods should definitely be avoided.

Live bacteria can be taken as supplements. There are many strains, each with a different function. It is wise to read the labels and learn more about what each probiotic does. For example, Lactobacillus casei (in the yoghurt drink DanActive) was found to reduce ear infections and gastrointestinal upsets in children. Studies on Bifidobacterium Infantis (found in the probiotic supplement Align) found it reduces the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

How to Take Probiotics
Some probiotics come in capsule form while others are in powder or liquid form and need to be kept refrigerated. Follow the instructions and never expose probiotics to heat or processing or they will be damaged or killed.

Most good probiotic supplements combine several beneficial bacteria with live yeast. Look for a probiotic containing billions of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces and Bifidobacteria. A supplement such as First Milk Flora is easy to take as a chewable tablet and contains 1.5 million colony forming units per tablet to promote healthy digestion. The best probiotics also include a prebiotic which helps the flora survive in the intestine.

To continue on a healthy aging path, consult your doctor before taking any probiotics as they may interfere with some medications. Once taken, you should begin to feel an improvement in your health after one to two weeks. If not, switch to a different probiotic to find one that aids your particular medical problem or gives a general boost to your feeling of wellbeing. As the probiotics change the acidic balance of your body, it is important to keep a record of any changes, and to consult a doctor beforehand if you are already taking medications. Cheers to maintaining your path of aging healthy!



Source:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/448920-the-best-probiotics-for-women/
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-choose-the-best-probiotic-acidophilus.htm

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Probiotic Supplements: Not Just for Intestinal Health

by Health News

If you’re taking probiotics to improve your digestion problems, current research suggests you’re not just helping your gut—you’re doing your entire body a favor! And if you’re not taking probiotics, you might want to consider starting. Read on to find out why!

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast in a person's digestive tract. These microorganisms are “friendly” (beneficial to the host). Among many benefits, they help degrade toxic and allergenic substances in the intestine and colon. Probiotics occur naturally in certain foods like yogurt and cottage cheese. They are also available as nutritional supplements which can be purchased in health food stores. 

Probiotic Supplements

How do probiotics help my whole body?

These tiny organisms can do some pretty amazing things! To name just a few:

They help you absorb nutrients. The friendly bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus helps with the absorption of the B vitamins and vitamin K, along with fatty acids and minerals such as calcium.

They improve immune function. Beneficial bacteria have a critical and powerful effect on your gut’s immune system and your systemic immune system. They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.

A study* published in the journal Pediatrics in 2009 looked at the potential benefits of probiotics in children during cold and flu season. According to the authors, “Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.”

They have a systemic, anti-inflammatory effect. While mechanism behind this benefit is not fully understood, recent studies strongly suggest that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus works against inflammation. One such study** looked at biological markers for inflammation in patients taking the probiotics and those take a placebo. The researchers concluded “…probiotic bacteria have strain-specific anti-inflammatory effects in healthy adults.”

Another study*** from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, looked at the effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus in infants with eczema, an inflammatory skin condition. The researchers concluded that infants receiving this probiotic had a significantly reduced risk of eczema symptoms.

So if you thought probiotic supplements were just for digestion problems, think again! Now you have many more reasons to consider taking probiotic supplements.

Digestive Health

Sources:

*http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/residents/journal-club/probioticscolds.pdf

**http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?orig_db=PubMed&db=pubmed&cmd=Search&term=%22World%20journal%20of%20gastroenterology%20%3A%20WJG%22%5BJour%5D%20AND%202029%5Bpage%5D%20AND%202008%5Bpdat%5D

***http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/residents/journal-club/Wickens%20Lactobacillus%20rhamnosus%20JACI%202008.pdf

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There’s an ongoing war for your health raging in your gut - whose side are you on?

by Health News

 

 

According to health experts, our health is being profoundly affected by an ongoing bacterial war raging deep inside our gut.Are the Bacteria in Your Gut Dangerous | Institute for Vibrant Living
 
Our body has 100 trillion bacteria in it, which live (mostly) in the gut with the surface area of a football field. Most experts say the optimal ratio is 85%:15% good to bad bacteria.
 
An excess of pathogenic bacteria has severe and widespread consequences for health. They create mold, putrefaction and release toxins into blood causing diarrhea, bloating, bad breath and even emotional problems, including depression. The liver has to work overtime to filter the toxins they make. Not only that - up to 80% of the immune system is in now believed to function in the gut, so immune function is also likely to be compromised.
 
On the other hand, having enough beneficial bacteria in the gut ensures proper nourishment, that foods are broken down and necessary macro- and micro-nutrients absorbed, vitamins B and K are made, minerals are extracted from the diet and retained, toxins do not damage the intestinal lining, colon cancer risk goes down and immunity is boosted. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to ensure you have enough of the good bacteria in your system, simply by eating probiotic foods such as yogurt and soft cheese.
 
Antibiotics have dramatically changed the course of human history by lowering the incidence of many diseases to negligible levels. However, thanks to massive over-prescription and self-medication, today they actually act to damage health by eliminating most of the good bacteria with the bad.
 
Not only that - there are antibiotics in meats and dairy, non-organic foods are laced with pesticides and other chemicals and pollution is in the air. In other words, the environment is full of chemicals that threaten the well-being of gut probiotics - and by extension, our health as well.
 
A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: ‘Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.’ When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, ‘The one I feed the most.’”
 
Which dog do you feed regularly?
 
Probiotic bacteria thrive on soluble fiber, which reach the colon more or less intact. The standard recommendation is six grams a day. On the other hand, feeding pathogenic bacteria requires sugar and processed foods low in fiber.
 
So creating the right bacterial balance in the gut is very simple: consume quality probiotics, consume fiber-rich, fresh foods and cut out as much sugar and processed food as possible.
 
You can also help the probiotics in your body stay on top by regular consumption of fermented foods including pickled vegetables, tempeh and fermented milk products like kefir or yogurt, natto and kimchi.
 
And while it would be ideal to get all the probiotics and the food they thrive on from the diet, that may not always be feasible - in which case quality probiotic supplements are invaluable.
 
So why not consult a dietician or nutritionist and start feeding your ‘good dog’ today?
 
 
Source:

 

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How Does Gut Flora Promote Better Health and Healthy Aging?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Gut Flora | Institute for Vibrant Living

In an exciting new study, scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging have shown that changing the

 relationship between gut bacteria and epithelial cells that line the intestine promotes health and increases lifespan in fruit flies, known as Drosophila.

These results support the newly emerging idea that having the right balance of gut bacteria may be the key to healthy aging and enjoying a long and healthy life.

In recent times, research in humans has linked the composition of gut bacteria with diet and health in the elderly - while unhealthy changes in gut bacteria are emerging as a crucial factor in the development of cancer, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
 
However, health experts still don’t understand how we go from having a young, healthy gut to one that is old and diseased as we age.

This study looked at age-related changes in the fruit fly gut - including greater oxidative stress, inflammation, impaired immune response and overgrowth of stem cells. It also separated out these changes into cause and effect and identified ‘intervention points’ where the negative results of microbial imbalance could potentially be prevented.

The number of bacteria in fly intestines increases dramatically with age, leading to an inflammatory condition. This imbalance is driven by chronic activation of a stress response gene, which suppresses the activity of a class of molecules known as PGRP-SCs that normally work to regulate immune response to bacteria.

The rapid growth of bacteria in fly intestines triggers an inflammatory response, formation of free radicals and eventually leads to a dangerous pre-cancerous condition known as epithelial dysplasia.

Interestingly, when study researchers increased the expression of PGRP-SC molecules in fruit fly epithelial cells, gut microbial balance was restored and stem cell proliferation was suppressed. In fact, enhancement of PGRP-SC function was responsible for prolonging lifespan in these flies.

In other words, improving our understanding how aging affects gut bacteria in fruit flies as well as in people may turn out to be the key to both improving health and prolonging lifespan.

Millions of Americans suffer from digestive disorders ranging from irregularity and constipation to chronic diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). An easy and inexpensive remedy for these conditions is probiotics, or ‘good’ bacteria, which is now available conveniently as a supplement.

Take a probiotic supplement can improve digestive problems. Look for one that has a ‘delayed release’ to deliver the living probiotics necessary to balance your gut bacteria and relieve digestive disorders quickly - and as this study shows, likely to increase your chances of aging healthy and prolonging your lifespan.

 

Read more:
Could Stress Cause My Digestion Issues?
What are the signs of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth?
Could Stress Cause My Digestion Issues?
Probiotics: Treatment For Hepatic Encephalopathy?
5 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Healthy Foods
How to Pick the Right Probiotic

Source:

Altering Gut Bacteria Promotes Health and Prolongs Lifespan.

 

 

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Do Probiotic Foods Benefit Your Overall Mood?

by Health News

Do Probiotics Benefits Your Overall MoodDid you know that beneficial ‘probiotic’ bacteria in yogurt and other food foods keep more than your tummy happy?

A recent UCLA study shows that women who regularly ate yogurt had altered brain function and improved mood, likely because probiotics in their yogurt modified the bacterial environment in their gut.

In other words, when your gut is happy - so is your brain.

Researchers have known for a while now that the brain sends signals to the gut, which is why you sometimes get a tummy upset when you’re really stressed. But this study shows that signals travel from the gut to the brain as well.

36 women between the ages of 18-55 years participated in this study. They were divided into three groups - one group ate a yogurt containing several probiotics twice a day for four weeks, while another group consumed a dairy product that looked and tasted like the yogurt but contained no probiotics - and a third group ate nothing at all.

All the study subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after the four-week study on 2 occasions. First, their brains were scanned when they were doing nothing.

Next, their brains were scanned while they looked at pictures of people with frightened expressions - and matched them to other faces with the same emotions, a test known as emotion-recognition test, which measures how different brain regions respond to visual stimuli.

Women who consumed probiotic yogurt showed lowered activity in the insula - a brain region that is responsible for gut sensations - and in the somatosensory cortex, another brain region responsible for emotional reactivity tasks.

This study shows that probiotics change the way our brain works and how it responds emotionally to the environment.

Other studies have shown that what we eat alters the composition of gut bacteria. For example, people with high-vegetable, fiber-based diets have different gut bacteria than those who eat a diet high in fat and carbs. Clearly, our diet affects not only our metabolism, but also how our brain works.

So - do antibiotics affect the brain?

We typically take antibiotics routinely for various infections, which have been shown to eliminate certain types of gut bacteria - so they can certainly influence our brain function as well.

Also, can gut bacteria be used in future to treat brain-related diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and autism?

Only time will tell.

Do you currently take a probiotic supplement? 

Other related blog posts:

There’s an ongoing war for your health raging in your gut - whose side are you on?

The Power of Probiotics

How to Pick the Right Probiotic

Source:

Are Probiotics a Good Mood Food?

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5 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Healthy Foods

by Nancy Maneely

Effectiveness of Healthy Foods“Eat healthy food” is advice we hear at least once a day. It comes from everywhere: TV, magazines, our doctor, well-meaning family and friends. So, we make smart selections at the grocery store and feel very good about choosing an orange for a midday snack rather than, say, a donut.

That’s a great start … but really, how do you know your body is getting the benefit of the healthy foods you eat? Unfortunately, your body doesn’t issue an itemized receipt every time, listing the calories and nutrients that were effectively utilized. In fact, you might be surprised at how little of the valuable nutrients actually reach their goal – that is, being absorbed and put to work doing what they are meant to do: keep you functioning at an optimum level.

Here are five simple ways you can increase the effectiveness of the food you eat:

  1. Take a digestive enzyme supplement. What are digestive enzymes? Our bodies make their own digestive enzymes that break down food in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine into smaller, absorbable molecules. However, while all fresh food contains enzymes, our modern habits destroy them. We grow fruits and vegetables in depleted soil, gas them to prolong shelf life, and cook them at high heat. All of this reduces their enzyme levels.
  2. Take a probiotic to increase friendly flora. Friendly bacteria help produce the enzymes we need to break down food. They also support immune health and help protect the vulnerable cells along the linings of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
  3. Chew your food! Mom’s advice was sound. Chewing produces amylase that breaks down carbohydrates and stimulates digestive juices.
  4. Slow down. The chemicals needed to for healthy digestion are produced when we are relaxed. A calm, quiet atmosphere signals the digestive system to kick in.
  5. Avoid taking antacids. In the stomach, high levels of acid are necessary to break down food (and kill off bad bacteria like H. pylori that can lead to stomach cancer). There are natural ways to reduce the problems of heartburn and acid reflux. Drinking enough water, reducing salt, eating fewer fats, and taking digestive enzymes and probiotics can take care of the problem.

Do you take probiotics or digestive enzymes? What benefits have you experienced?

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Four Foods Rich In Essential Magnesium

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that nutritional magnesium deficiency may have caused up to eight million sudden coronary deaths in the US between 1940 and 1994? This frightening estimate is based on census data and studies of similar deaths from magnesium deficiency conducted in other countries.

Globally, magnesium deficiency has reached epidemic proportions. In the US, the Dept. of Agriculture reported that only a quarter of 37,000 consumers they surveyed had a dietary magnesium intake that was equal to or exceeded the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) - while 39% of those surveyed ingested less than 70% of the RDA.

Four Foods Rich In Essential Magnesium

Magnesium is a vital mineral that is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It regulates enzyme reactions, helps energy production, assists in transporting ions across cell membranes and more. In fact, every one of the body's organs requires magnesium to function properly.

Magnesium deficiencies can lead to anxiety, restless leg syndrome, nausea, muscle cramps, insomnia and other health problems. Although poor diets are partially to blame, the biggest reason for magnesium deficiency is ongoing soil erosion, which has significantly reduced the earth’s mineral content.

If you want to prevent or correct magnesium deficiency through your diet, here are four foods that have still retained their magnesium content:

  1. Kelp - sea vegetables remain the best source of many essential minerals. A cup of kelp contains approximately 121 milligrams of magnesium (30 percent of RDA). Kelp is also one of the best sources of iodine, another mineral in which many people are deficient.
  2. Blackstrap molasses - the roots of sugar cane grow deep into the soil, so it’s able to tap into nutrients that other plants cannot reach. This is the reason why organic blackstrap molasses - the treacle-like byproduct of sugar cane refinement - is so rich in essential minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, selenium, potassium and magnesium. Just one tablespoon of this dark, viscous molasses will provide you with 48 milligrams of easily digestible magnesium.
  3. Cacao - magnesium deficiencies often manifest as chronic chocolate cravings, because cacao beans are one of the most magnesium-rich foods in the world. One cup of powdered cacao beans contains a whopping 429 milligrams of magnesium, or just over 100 percent of RDA. That’s why cacao and cacao products make you feel relaxed and energized after eating them.
  4. Rice bran - rice bran is the world's greatest source of magnesium. Just one cup of this byproduct of the rice milling process contains 922 milligrams of magnesium, or more than twice the RDA. It is also unusually high in manganese, phosphorus, iron and the B vitamins. Like blackstrap molasses, rice bran is an excellent gluten-free nutrient supplement and can be added to cereals, soups, muffins, cakes and other baked goods. In fact, a lot of recipes that incorporate blackstrap molasses can also easily incorporate rice bran, providing you with a double dose of essential magnesium.

Given the many health problems associated with magnesium deficiency, why not add one or more of these nutritious foods to your diet today?

Source: Four Foods Rich in Essential Magnesium.   

Copyright: marincas_andrei / 123RF Stock Photo

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7 Dietary Ingredients That Unclog Your Arteries

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you’re probably already aware, progressive clogging of the arteries - scientifically known as atherosclerosis - is the number one killer on the planet. 7 Dietary Ingredients That Unclog Your Arteries | Institute for Vibrant Living

And while it’s true that atherosclerosis is a complex process that involves autoimmunity, infection, dietary incompatibilities, along with many other known and unknown factors - it’s both entirely preventable, and in some cases reversible as well.

For instance, there is plenty of peer-reviewed, published scientific research proving that regular consumption of these seven dietary ingredients prevents, and in some cases even reverses atherosclerosis:

  1. B vitamins - a doubled-blind, randomized 2005 study found that daily consumption of 2.5 mg folic acid, 25 mg vitamin B6 and 0.5 mg vitamin B12 for one year led to significant reductions in arterial thickness. Niacin or folic acid alone has also been shown to have this effect in patients. It’s always better to go with natural sources of these B vitamins rather than synthetic supplements.
  2. Garlic - has been shown to reverse plaque buildup in arteries, along with providing many other potentially life-saving health benefits.
  3. Pomegranate - this super fruit has been shown to reverse the process of atherosclerosis in both animal and human studies.
  4. Fermented cabbage - kimchi, a Korean recipe which includes fermented cabbage, hot pepper and other ingredients, appears to slow down atherosclerosis in animal models.
  5. L-arginine - this amino acid is capable of preventing arterial thickening, as shown in more than 30 animal studies. Other studies also show that L-arginine is capable of correcting the underlying condition typically associated with cardiovascular disease, known as endothelial dysfunction.
  6. Turmeric - more than 30 studies so far have shown that the main polyphenol in the cooking spice turmeric - known as curcumin - is an excellent cardioprotective agent. For instance, one study showed that curcumin prevented damage to arteries associated with blockage.
  7. Sesame seed - appears to be ideally suited for preventing the progression of atherosclerosis. One animal study found it was capable of preventing atherosclerosis lesion formation.

Remember - heart disease is not a natural process, one that you need to accept as inevitable based on your family history. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that you can significantly influence your risk for this deadly condition by managing what you eat or don’t eat, along with your other lifestyle choices.

As the examples above clearly show, you can literally use food as medicine and regain control of your health with proper, life-giving nutrition.

Source: Seven Dietary Ingredients that Unclog Your Arteries.   

Copyright: eraxion / 123RF Stock Photo

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How Olive Oil And Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to a new study led by King's College London, a diet that combines unsaturated fats such as those seen in olive oil, nuts and avocados along with nitrite Best Diet for Lowering High Blood Pressureand nitrate-rich vegetables like lettuce, spinach, celery and carrots, can protect against high blood pressure (BP).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: How Olive Oil and Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure (BP).
Copyright: lculig / 123RF Stock Photo   

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Barley Grass: Benefits For The Heart

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that barley grass is a nutrient-packed ‘green superfood’ with multiple health benefits - including clearing up skin problems, healing ulcers and lowering the risk for heart disease and stroke?

Green foods refer to young cereal grasses like barley grass and wheatgrass. During the early grass stage of their growth, barley and wheat are closer to vegetables than grains. However, as they grow further, their healthful chlorophyll, protein and vitamin levels fall sharply while levels of the indigestible fiber cellulose rises.

Barley Grass: Benefits For The Heart | Institute for Vibrant Living

Amazing, but true - an ounce of barley grass, wheatgrass and other green foods contains many more beneficial phytonutrients than an ounce of the healthiest green vegetables!

A concentrated source of several vitamins and minerals, barley grass is also rich in calcium, iron, potassium and chlorophyll. Unlike most plants, barley grass provides all nine essential amino acids, which your body can't produce on its own.

Back in 2002, researchers in Taiwan examined the effects of supplementation of young barley leaf extract - along with vitamins C and E - on the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in patients with type 2 diabetes. LDL oxidation is one of the first, critical steps in the development of atherosclerosis, which leads to heart disease.

Thirty-six patients with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in the Taiwanese study. Each patient received either extract of young barley leaf, vitamin C plus vitamin E alone, or barley extract plus the 2 vitamins daily for 4 weeks.

At the end of the study, the researchers observed that the vitamin E content of LDL increased significantly following supplementation, especially for the group that consumed barley leaf plus the 2 vitamins.

Atherosclerosis is responsible for heart disease and associated deaths in much of the world’s population. LDL oxidation is a critical first step in the development of atherosclerosis. Dietary antioxidants such as vitamin E lower atherosclerosis risk by reducing oxidative stress and preventing LDL oxidation.

This study shows that supplementation with extract of young barley leaf - especially in the presence of vitamins C and E - is likely to prevent LDL oxidation, thereby protecting protecting patients with type 2 diabetes against vascular diseases including heart disease and stroke.

Source: Barley Grass: Benefits for the Heart.   

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Barley Grass: A Powerful Green Anti-Cancer Superfood

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What are superfoods - and do they really exist?

According to Dr. Christine Horner, superfoods are any nutrient-dense foods that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compunds and more.

For instance, a certain nutrient-packed ‘ green food has been shown to kill several different types of cancer cells in the laboratory setting - more on this a little later.

Green foods refer to young cereal grasses like barley grass and wheatgrass. During the early grass stage of their growth, wheat and barley are closer to vegetables than grains. However, as the plant grows, their healthful chlorophyll, protein and vitamin content falls sharply while the level of the indigestible fiber cellulose rises.

Barley Grass: A Powerful Green Anti-Cancer Superfood | Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that an ounce of these green foods contains many more beneficial phytonutrients than an ounce of the healthiest green vegetables?

Many experimental studies show that green foods have marked beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure (BP), immune response and cancer prevention. These effects are attributed in part to their high concentrations of chlorophyll.

Barley grass is the seedling of the barley plant. It is usually harvested about 200 days after germination, when the shoots are less than a foot tall.

A concentrated source of nearly three dozen vitamins and minerals, barley grass is rich in vitamins A, C, B1, B2, folic acid and B12 as well as calcium, iron, potassium and chlorophyll. Unlike most plants, barley grass also provides all nine essential amino acids, which your body can't produce on its own.

While there have been no clinical trials of barley grass, in a laboratory experiment at George Washington University, leukemia (blood cancer) cells were exposed to dehydrated barley grass extract. The extract killed virtually all of them.

Next, researchers exposed brain cancer cells to the extract - and it eradicated 30-50% of these cells. And in a third trial, the extract inhibited the growth of three types of prostate cancer cells by 90-100%!

If you don’t feel like growing it yourself, barley grass is available commercially as a supplement both in powder and tablet form. Dried barley grass is easier to handle than fresh grasses, which must be juiced. 

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Does Vitamin D Deficiency Contribute To Weight Gain?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

For those of you struggling with your weight - do you remember weight-loss experts claiming that the solution was very straightforward - that all you had to do was burn more calories than you consumed?

Easier said than done.

It turns out weight gain and loss are both strongly influenced by many factors, including genetics, gender, age, hormones, stress levels, exposure to toxins and health status. Even social and environmental factors count.

Vitamin D Deficiency |Institute for Vibrant Living

Recently, some studies have linked weight gain to vitamin D deficiency. For instance, women whose vitamin D levels were normalized through supplementation during a diet and exercise program lost more weight.

In another study, the benefits of weight loss - lower blood pressure (BP), lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and lower blood lipid levels - were greater in participants who took calcium and vitamin D during their weight-loss program.

A third study showed that people of Asian Indian decent were much more susceptible to obesity and insulin resistance when they were deficient in vitamin D.

The link between vitamin D and weight loss is not clearly understood. Some health experts have speculated that vitamin D receptors (cellular proteins that specifically bind to vitamin D and help it to carry out its functions inside cells) on fat cells tell them whether they should be burned as energy or stored as excess body weight.

Additionally, brain vitamin D receptors that control metabolism and hunger levels may need enough vitamin D to function properly as well.

Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce systemic inflammation seen in overweight people. In other words, having adequate vitamin D levels lessens the stress of carrying extra body weight.

Besides weight gain, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression. The listlessness of depression can lead to inactivity, contributing to weight gain. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to poor blood sugar control, contributing to weight gain and diabetes risk.

The best dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as cod, tuna, mackerel and salmon. Cow's milk and eggs also have vitamin D.

While your skin can manufacture vitamin D from sunlight, this process can be affected by the season, the weather, how far north you live, pollution levels and even sunscreen. This is why most people are encouraged to take dietary supplements to reach the recommended blood levels of vitamin D.

And while adding vitamin D supplements to your diet is a great first step toward shedding unwanted pounds, these lifestyle changes can also help:

  • 30 minutes of exercise five or six times a week
  • Cutting out processed foods and added sugars
  • Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and
  • Replacing animal fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils present in olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocados.

Source: Does Vitamin D Deficiency Contribute To Weight Gain?   

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What are Antioxidants and How Do They Benefit My Health

by Health News

The old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” may, after all, have some medical grounding. Recent tests found that the polyphenol antioxidants in apples may be the fountain of youth, at least if you are a fruit fly! Studies still have to be carried out on humans but it is already accepted that antioxidants help fight the dangers of free radicals in our bodies and help slow down the aging process.

What are Antioxidants and How Do They Benefit My Health | Institute for Vibrant Living

How do Antioxidants Work?
The one weapon we have to protect cells from damaging free radicals is antioxidants. Vitamin E has been shown to have unique antioxidant and anti-aging properties. It works by countering the free radicals that are produced in the body through everyday functions such as exercise and breathing.

Antioxidants react with and neutralize these unstable molecules, known as free radicals, before they have chance to attach themselves to other cells causing cell damage, premature aging, heart disease and even cataracts.

Vitamin E also reduces inflammation in disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, improves circulation and slows the development of plaque which can narrow the artery walls, all things that older people are likely to suffer from.

Where can I Get More Antioxidants?
Examples of antioxidants are lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and E, selenium and other substances. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, sunflower seeds and wheat germ oil. Vitamin C can be sourced naturally in tomatoes, strawberries and citrus fruits such as oranges, while selenium is found in seafood and whole grains.
 
Foods such as tea, red wine, chocolate, apples, pears and dark berries are all full of flavenoids, along with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. These cruciferous vegetables are also high in a substance called isothiocyanate. Carrots are a good source of carotenoids and links have been made showing that those people with a diet high in carotenoids may enjoy longer lives.

Antioxidant Supplements
Daily multivitamin supplements include a proportion of vitamin C and vitamin E and this is a good way to ensure that minimum daily requirements are met. 

Sources:
http://www.fountainofyouthonline.net/anti-age/a-must-know-about-antioxidants/
http://www.fyiliving.com/diet/nutrition/anti-aging-secret-eat-an-apple-a-day/
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/antioxidants

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The Health Benefits of Superfoods

by Health News

In the past few decades it has been determined that signs of aging like wrinkles and diminished skin elasticity are enhanced by oxidation, a process in which damaging free radicals begin to break down DNA.  Research is showing that we can slow the aging process with the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods.  Studies also show that the amount of antioxidants consumed is directly proportional to longevity.The Health Benefits of Superfoods | Institute for Vibrant Living

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but not all of these have the same effect.  The effects of antioxidants are measured by a food’s oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC).

Check out these ORAC-rich fruits and vegetables, and implement them into your daily diet to generate a youthful appearance. 

  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Red Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli

Here are a few other superfoods that have shown great potential for enhancing a youthful appearance. 

Acai Berries – These tiny, purple berries can be found in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil.  In addition to boosting energy, this antioxidant-laden superfood is said to promote healthy hair, nails and skin.  Acai is available in supplement form in various powders and caplets.

Red Ginseng – A study published in the December, 2009 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that red ginseng reverses wrinkles.  The study examined a group of female volunteers over the age of 40. The subjects took three grams of red ginseng extract daily for 24 weeks, and it was found that facial wrinkles were significantly reduced and collagen levels were increased.  Collagen is a product made from proteins in the body which is necessary for healthy skin.  Further, a gene that destroys collagen was inhibited and elastin, a protein that enhances skin elasticity, was increased.

Resveratrol - This important nutrient can be found in the skin of red grapes and in blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates.  Besides supporting cardiovascular health, resveratrol is said to promote a youthful appearance.  In addition to the fruits mentioned above, resveratrol supplements are available in whole foods stores and through natural supplement websites.

Sea Buckthorn Berries – This small, sour berry is found in harsh environments of Eastern Asia and is packed with vitamin C, providing 12 times more than an orange.  It is said to provide weight loss and immune system support and to foster good hair, nail and skin health.  Typically the fruit cannot be found in your local grocery store, but liquid and caplet supplements are available in stores and online.

Soy – Research that is soon-to-be-published in the British Journal of Pharmacology has concluded that soy can have positive effects on age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women. 

As adequate estrogen levels are required for youthful skin in women, an ovariectomy can accelerate aging of the skin.  This study examined the effects of soy on the skin of ovariectomized rats.  Researchers began treating rats six months after ovariectomy with genistein, a soy-derived isoflavone, for a period of 12 weeks.   At the end of treatment, the thickness of collagen and skin strength was significantly improved, which suggests that soy therapy might be a reliable alternative for age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women.

Everyone wants to look young for as long as possible and adequate nutrition is an easy fix.  In addition to a daily vitamin and mineral supplement, it might be worth a try to incorporate some of the foods above into your daily diet for a more youthful appearance.

Sources:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article6986044.ece
http://theview.abc.go.com/blog/top-7-superfoods-women

Cho, S. et al.  Red ginseng root extract mixed with Torilus fructus and Corni fructus improves facial wrinkles and increases type I procollagen synthesis in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.  Journal of Medicinal Food, 2009 Dec;12(6):1252-9.

Polito, F. et al.  Genistein Aglycone, a Soy-derived Isoflavone, Improves Skin Changes Induced by Ovariectomy in Rats.   British Journal of Pharmacology.  2011 Aug 9. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01619.x. [Epub ahead of print]

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Micronutrients: What are the Healing Powers?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Micronutrients: What are the Healing Powers?The rate of obesity has doubled in America over the last 30 years and has been accompanied by a massive health crisis - literally a nationwide epidemic of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Health experts are now convinced that this is because of the nutrient-deficient and calorie-rich US diet, not to mention crazy lifestyle, stress and lack of sleep.

And given the way US healthcare is structured, prevention by practicing a healthy diet and lifestyle is very unlikely. In fact, even most health caregivers receive very little nutritional training in medical school.

There is no doubt that solving this health crisis is going to take a lot of discipline and a complete dietary about-turn.

According to nutritionists, the root cause of chronic diseases is simple: lack of enough fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet. The typical American diet couldn’t be further removed from this ideal. On average, Americans eat 60% processed foods and 30% animal products, leaving only 10% for raw, unprocessed fruits and veggies.

While most people understand something about macronutrients, they know very little about the undervalued, but much more important micronutrients - the 14 essential vitamins, 16 essential minerals, and thousands of phytochemicals.

These micronutrients do not contain calories and our body needs them only in tiny amounts, but their role in maintaining health cannot be overestimated.

What’s more, some health experts now believe that the major micronutrient in food is not vitamins or minerals, but phytochemicals. In fact they believe micronutrients are literally a fountain of youth that function to improve human health and longevity.

There are literally tens of thousands of phytochemicals in natural, whole, vegetable-based foods. Micronutrients are essential in helping to protect us from disease - and if we are already sick, they help in recovery.

Every tomato, head of cabbage, piece of lettuce, cucumber, bean or sprout has hundreds - even thousands - of nutrients critically important for health.

And while supplementing with micronutrients can be helpful, the makeup of nutrients in unprocessed fruits and vegetables is so complex that it can’t be replicated synthetically - and why would you need to, when they are already so plentiful in naturally occurring green vegetables and fruits?

The standard American diet provides a meager 4% of phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables - not to mention that processing removes delicate phytochemicals found in raw produce, while animal products don’t have them at all.

So if you’re concerned about taking care of your health or prone to falling ill, you may want to consider adding more raw and lightly cooked fresh veggies - along with fresh fruits - to your daily diet.

Source: The Healing Power of Micronutrients.

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Green Drink Supplements for Proper PH Balance in Your Body

by Health News

Today’s hectic lifestyles leave little time for making healthy food choices and pollutants in the air and water are perpetually pouring toxins into the environment that have to be processed by our bodies. Years of poor nutrition and environmental toxicity eventually take a toll and we can easily wind up with a compromised immune system that zaps our energy and leaves us vulnerable to a host of serious health maladies. 

What many people don’t realize is that a proper PH balance in the body can restore youthful energy and boost our body’s ability to stay healthy and strong.  The correct PH balance is achieved when we have the proper ratio of alkaline and acidic foods in our diets.  Alkaline foods include asparagus, artichokes, lettuce, peas, spinach, green beans and broccoli. Acidic foods include meats, dairy products, white bread, white pasta, chocolate, coffee and carbonated drinks. Nutritional experts recommend that at least 75 percent of our diets should consist of alkaline foods. Unfortunately most of us are not getting enough alkaline foods in our diet to stay healthy and energized. 

Best Green Drink Supplements Increases Energy

In recent years, green superfoods have emerged as a viable way to keep our bodies in balance. Green superfoods are nutrient rich and are derived from green plants, algae and cereal grasses.  These foods are rich in chlorophyll and they feature potent concentrations of digestible vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and other beneficial substances.

There are several green superfood supplements on the market that make it easy to get a daily dose of these life-boosting nutrients. 

More than 100,000 people have used this remarkable supplement and those who share their experiences report increased energy levels, decreased joint and muscle pain, improved regularity, radiant skin, superior mental clarity and reductions in blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 

If you are one of the millions of people who are settling for a lackluster life caused by improper balance you should talk to your holistic health practitioner about adding “All Day Energy Greens” to your daily regimen. Join the thousands of people who have traded fatigue and illness for vim and vigor and feel the positive difference it makes in your life.

How do you increase your energy throughout the day?

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Top 5 Supplements to Add To Your Smoothie

by Health News

There are a variety of vitamin supplements that can be added to smoothies that have all sorts of healthy properties. These ingredients can all be purchased at your local whole foods store or through natural supplement websites. 

  1. Brewers Yeast: A great source of selenium, chromium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, copper, manganese, iron, and zinc.
  2. Bee Pollen: Contains high concentrations of vitamin B-complex and vitamins A, C, D, and E.
  3. Green Tea Powder: The potent antioxidants in green tea have been said to help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol.
  4. Spirulina: Contains over 60% all-digestible vegetable protein with a high concentration of beta carotene, vitamin B-12, iron and GLA, an essential fatty acid.
  5. Wheat Germ Oil: A rich source of vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

Top 5 Supplements to Add To Your Smoothie

Check out this smoothie recipe, which offers a healthy and tasty balance of protein and carbohydrates to keep your engine running throughout the day! Bananas, which are an excellent source of potassium, dietary fiber and Vitamin B6, provide a rich and creamy base, and soy milk is a great source of isoflavones which aid in the prevention of many cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis.

TROPICAL TREAT - Serves Two

  • Place all ingredients in a blender:
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 2 medium bananas, sliced
  • 2 scoops vanilla soy protein powder
  • 1/2 cup chunked cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup chunked canned or fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk

Place lid on blender, and pulse until ingredients begin to mix. Set blender on "blend" for about 30 seconds and then move to "ice crush" or your highest blending button for 20 to 30 more seconds. Pour, and enjoy this quick and healthful smoothie – a taste of the tropics!