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Why Vitamin D is Important for Healthy Aging

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

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

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

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

Related:  Absorption is Key When it Comes to Calcium Supplements

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

Additional Vitamin D Benefits

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

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

 

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Five Malnutrition Symptoms Caused by Poor Diet

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The expression "you are what you eat" may be more accurate than people think.  Individuals who pair a nutritious diet with other healthy lifestyle choices often look to be the picture of health.  On the flipside, studies show that chronic nutritional deficiencies can create a number of not-so-healthy symptoms.  Take a look at five malnutrition symptoms caused by poor diet.

Malnutrition symptoms include weight gain caused by diets high in empty calories.

1.  Dry Hair and Skin

Inadequate nutrition can cause brittle, dry hair or in some cases, hair loss.  Research shows that diets low in essential fats, protein, vitamin C, zinc, and/or iron can lead to thinning hair or hair loss.  Effects of poor diet also extend to the skin by reducing elasticity and moisture content. Foods that help promote good hair and skin health include whole fruits and vegetables, oily fish, avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans. 

2.  Weight Loss or Gain

People suffering from malnutrition, especially when associated with disease, often experience weight loss.  Research in 2012 showed that risks for malnutrition were high in 75 percent of people who had undergone surgery for cancer.

Inadequate diets high in empty-calorie foods and beverages can lead to weight gain. Examples of these foods or beverages include processed snack foods, white bread, white rice, pasta, fried foods, ice cream, donuts, soda, artificial sweeteners, and alcoholic beverages.  Following the dietary suggestions mentioned below help people maintain a healthier body weight.

3.  Dental Problems

The effects of poor diet can show up at the dentist's office.  Diets high in sugary foods and beverages (or foods that convert quickly to sugar) raise risks for cavities, gum problems, gum disease, gingivitis, tooth loss, and even unhealthy burdens on heart health.  Some studies show that low vitamin C levels are also associated with swollen or bleeding gums.  Replacing sugary foods with fruits like oranges, melons and berries and adding vegetables like broccoli and bell peppers helps keep teeth and gums healthy.

Related:  Ten Tips to Have Healthy Teeth for Life

5.  Tummy Troubles

According to the American Dietetic Association, most Americans do not get enough daily fiber. A low intake of fiber often results in digestive discomfort ranging from diarrhea to constipation. Studies show that consumption of fiber helps normalize the rate at which food is digested, which encourages a healthier stool.  A high fiber diet also helps maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.  Some foods rich in fiber include apples, pears, blueberries, broccoli, celery, steel-cut oatmeal, brown rice, edamame and black beans.

4.  Brain Drain

Malnutrition symptoms in the brain include impaired memory and concentration, and omega 3 fatty acids can help.  To boost brain power, people can add products like wild-caught salmon, oysters, walnuts, flax seed and omega 3-fortified eggs to the grocery cart.

Studies show that what we eat and how much we eat has consequences when it comes to the health.  Diets lacking in important nutrients can result in the symptoms listed above and potentially raise risks for disease over time.  To ensure adequate nutrition from all food groups, people should include the following foods in their diet:

  • Whole fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Low-fat, low-sugar dairy products
  • Lean meat, poultry, and fish
  • Nuts, seeds and legumes
  • Healthy fats like avocados and olive oil
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Kale: The King of Green Superfoods

by Institute for Vibrant Living

A trend toward health and fitness is on the upswing across the United States, which may explain the rising popularity of kale. A member of the family of cruciferous vegetables, kale offers a number of powerful benefits to the health. One cup of kale contains just 36 calories, zero fat, three grams of protein, and five grams of fiber, making it a go-to veggie for people hoping to lose a few pounds. Kale is chock full of nutrients including folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin. In other words, it is a green superfood worth adding to your grocery cart.

Kale is a green superfood loaded with powerful nutrients.

Eyes, Skin, Hair and Bones

In addition to containing the many nutrients mentioned above, kale is a rich source of beta-carotene, a nutrient that the body converts to vitamin A as needed. Vitamin A is important to the health of body tissues, eyes, and reproductive organs, and it plays a part in the manufacture of sebum, the oil that keeps skin and hair soft and healthy. The vitamin C found in kale helps build and sustain collagen, the protein responsible for the structure of hair, skin, and bones. The calcium in kale helps maintain strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Heart Health

Because of its rich source of potassium, kale may help promote heart health. One study found that subjects who consumed 4069 mg of potassium daily were 49 percent less likely to die from ischemic heart disease than subjects who consume potassium in an amount of 1000 mg or less per day.

Related:  Kale and Spinach Help Prevent Vision Problems

Inflammation

Chronic inflammation has been shown to contribute to an array of diseases. Providing the body with 10 percent of the recommended daily requirement for omega-3 fatty acids, kale helps reduce inflammation in the body.

Types of Kale

Kale comes in a variety of colors and textures. Popular types of the green superfood include curly kale, lacinato (or dinosaur) kale and red Russian kale. As the name suggests, curly kale features curly edges and it ranges from light green to purple in color. Dinosaur kale has longer spear-like leaves and a dark blue-green color, and red Russian kale features large flat leaves with a shape similar to arugula and a reddish color.

Kale Preparation

Kale tastes delicious prepared hot or cold.  Sautee this green superfood with mushrooms, onions and garlic for a delicious side dish or try it raw in a green salad.  Removing the stems from kale helps eliminate bitter flavor when cooking or serving raw.

Kale Precautions

For most people, kale makes a beneficial addition to a dietary plan.  However, the vitamin K in kale can interfere with anticoagulant medicines, so people taking them should consult with their doctor before consuming kale.  Beta-blockers can raise potassium levels in the blood so people taking these may want to limit their consumption of kale due to the potassium it contains. 

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Inflammation and Aging Skin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

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

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

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

Best Dietary Supplements for Inflammation

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

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

Topical Ingredients that Combat Inflammation

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

Food Sensitivities and Skin Changes

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

Additional Health Problems Caused by Inflammation

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

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

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

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Can Too Many Multivitamins Be Dangerous?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

While Mae West famously joked, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”, when it comes to multivitamins a slightly more responsible attitude should be adopted. Two new studies into multivitamin dangers have shown why the National Institutes of Health and Office of Dietary Supplements publish carefully researched Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for most dietary supplements.

Avoid multivitamin dangers by buying a trusted quality product

Dangers of Multivitamin Excess

We all know the health problems caused by deficiencies of calcium, iron and vitamins, but in some instances too high doses can be equally unhealthy. A study in Iowa found that older women taking iron supplements actually had a slightly higher risk of dying than those who did not. This is because post-menopausal women no longer need iron supplements to offset the loss in monthly menstruation. Excess iron can cause a build-up of oxidants, the opposite of healthy antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables. The tragedy of this study result is that the women were doing everything they could to stay fit and healthy. They simply did not heed the recommended dosage.

Related:  Five Myths About Vitamins

Just like medications, while one aspirin may help reduce the risk of heart disease, 100 aspirins will kill you. When it comes to multivitamin dangers, the message is exactly the same. Read the label and take the recommended dose – no more and no less.

Another study found that men who took excessive amounts of vitamin E had a 17% higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Once again, the recommended international units (IU) of vitamin E supplements are just 22 IU per day. The participants had been taking over 400 IU per day for several years.

Although the results of both these studies are isolated and need deeper investigation, they still sound a wise note of caution about taking supplements responsibly in order to avoid multivitamin dangers.

How to Avoid Multivitamin Dangers

If you are taking a multivitamin supplement, check the label on the back for the RDA or International Units (IU) of each ingredient. In most cases you will find that the supplement provides a large proportion of your daily needs, with the balance being made up from a healthy balanced diet. Healthy people do not generally need more of each vitamin and mineral contained than that contained in a daily multivitamin.

It’s worth paying out a little more for quality multivitamins from a reputable company that specializes in health supplements. Many over-the-counter multivitamins skimp or omit some essential vitamins in order to cut costs, but this is false economy. Taking a multivitamin that is poorly balanced or lacking in certain essentials elements deceives you into thinking that you are getting your daily needs. To avoid multivitamin dangers, choose quality over price, so that you don’t need to top up with additional supplements and make sure you are staying within recommended guidelines.

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Five Tips to Improve Brain Function | Memory Improvement Tips

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

1.     Exercise

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

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

2.     Omega-3 to Improve Brain Function

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

Related:  The Ultimate Food Guide to Omega 3s

3.     Sleep Well

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

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

4.     Take Vitamin D

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

5.     Use It or Lose It

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

 

 

 

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Ten Home Remedies for Tackling Periodontal Disease

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Periodontal disease is much more serious than many people suspect. Periodontal issues can be either destructive or non-destructive. When plaque forms around teeth, the end result can be inflammation of tissue. In some cases, tissue can be lost, and this weakens the supporting structure for teeth.

The end result of periodontal disease can be a loss of teeth, which, in turn, has a range of its own medical and health issues. Medical studies have conclusively shown that poor oral health can lead to not just dental issues, but also a range of health issues ranging from a weakened immune system and increase in the chances of developing diseases to heart problems.

Gum disease does not have to lead to the loss of teeth. By following these 10 tips you can keep your teeth and gums much healthier!

#1:  Co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 is extremely important not just for gum health but for overall health. Like other ingredients, such as baking soda, co-enzyme Q10 has made its way into toothpaste for its ability to help fight gum disease and assist in keeping periodontal disease at bay. Co-enzyme Q10 is available in toothpaste and pill forms.

#2:  Honey and Manuka Honey

Honey has amazing all-natural healing properties. One type of honey in particular, manuka honey, is particularly effective at treating wounds of all kinds including gum inflammation. Manuka honey has been well researched and is being used to treat everything from chronic wounds to burns.

Cure periodontal disease with honey and other natural remedies.

#3:  Lemons

Lemons are a power anti-inflammatory and are packed with vitamin C. Try adding lemons to your tea for a one-two punch.

#4:  Baking Soda

It is no accident that baking soda has made its way into toothpaste. Baking soda helps neutralize acid in your mouth and can also help remove stains.

#5:  Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil can be found in both toothpastes and dental floss and is very effective in killing bacteria. However, it is important to remember that tea tree oil is extremely powerful, so remember to only use a limited amount.

Related:  Tea Tree Oil for Acne:  A Natural Remedy With Proven Results

#6:  Dental Probiotics

The research is mounting that probiotics are a powerful contributor to overall good health. Dental probiotics containing lactobacillus reuteri are one way to improve your oral health via probiotics. Also, consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.

#7:  Consume Fermented Foods

Fermented foods have been shown to improve overall health and boost oral health. Fermented foods can contain lactobacillus reuteri as well as many other immune system boosting probiotics. If you want to fight periodontal disease, then consider boosting your fermented foods. Many researchers also believe that fermented foods can help reduce the chances of developing many different types of diseases.

#8:  Xylitol

Xylitol is one of the best kept secrets in oral health care. Since it works to actually stop the growth of the very bacteria responsible for cavities, xylitol has earned a special place in dental research. Xylitol mouthwashes, toothpastes, mints and even gum are widely available. Not only does xylitol help protect teeth, but it also creates a positive environment for gums and the entire mouth.

#9:  Floss Every Day

Flossing is one of the easiest ways to protect your oral health. In fact, flossing regularly may even protect your heart!

#10:  Brush Regularly and Change Your Toothbrush Often

The foundation of protecting your teeth and gums is to brush often. Also don’t forget to change your toothbrush every three mouths to help you keep periodontal disease at bay!

Follow these ten tips and you will enjoy greater overall oral health. You don’t have to live with gum disease or let gum disease develop. These simple tips can dramatically boost your chances of keeping your gums and teeth healthy and looking great.

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Even Healthy Eating and Supplements Aren’t Enough

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

Healthy eating habits combined with supplementation is the best routine.

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

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

Related:  Are Supplements Regulated by the FDA?

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

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

 

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The Best Seeds for Health: Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Everyone knows having a salad on a regular basis is good for you. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vegetables for the average adult is three to five servings, after all.  If you are going to eat your greens why not add a little something extra to them now and then to boost their flavor and your health? Seeds make a great addition to many dishes especially salads. Read on to learn about the best seeds for your health.

The five best seeds for great health!

The Fantastic Five

1. Chia Seeds

There’s a whole lot of goodness packed into these tiny seeds that are native to South America.  The ancient Aztecs and Mayans relied on them as an important food source providing hydration and sustained energy.  Chia is actually the Mayan word for strength.  Despite being small chia seeds are mighty with:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 4 grams of protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus
  • Vitamins B3 (niacin), B1 (thiamine) and B2
  • The ability to hold twice their weight in liquid

Chia seeds are also loaded with antioxidants, and can help reduce your risk of heart disease, from developing Type 2 Diabetes, promote bone strength and even aid in your weight loss efforts.

2. Hemp Seeds

While hemp seeds are from the same species of the much more famous and notorious cannabis family (aka marijuana) but they only contain trace amounts of THC, the compound that has a drug-like effect.  They have been a part of Chinese diets and medicine for the past 3,000 years, so their health benefits have stood the test of time.

Hemp seeds are a great source of two very important nutrients, the fatty acids omega-6 and omega 3. They are also a very good source of protein, vitamin E and minerals like phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.  Another nutrient from hemp seeds, amino acid arginine, has been linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. These bland looking little seeds have also shown in other studies to decrease inflammation in the body, help reduce blood pressure and decrease your risk of blood clots that can lead to a stroke.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

This year at Halloween when you and the kids carve your Jack-O-Lanterns don’t toss the seeds you scrape out of the pumpkin!  They are one of the best seeds for health and wellness.

Indigenous to the Americas (North, South and Central) ancient cultures called the flat green seeds pepitas. In Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and much of India and Asia pumpkin seeds is a dietary staple.

Pumpkin seeds are recommended by the World Health Organization and for good reason.  They are a plentiful source of diverse antioxidants like vitamin E, phenolic acids and lignans, compounds linked to helping women reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.  Pumpkin seeds also contain a healthy dose of zinc, a mineral essential for healthy red blood cells.

Once you remove the seeds from your pumpkin clean them off and let them dry overnight, then roast them for about 20 minutes at a very low temperature like 160 to 190 degrees for the most flavor.

Related:  Here’s a Quick Way to Get Soy-Free Protein

4. Flax Seeds

If you are looking for one of the best seeds for health, here’s the flax you need to know. 

Ancient Babylonians in the 8th century cultivated flaxseed for King Charlemagne who believed strongly in their health benefits.  Modern day research has shown consumption of flaxseeds is a good way to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, according to health authority WebMD.

Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids called ALA, which are abundant in flaxseeds, have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.  Like pumpkin seeds they contain lignans that have been linked to decreasing the risk of breast cancer and are potent against reducing inflammation in the body.  Eating flaxseeds regularly may also help you keep your cholesterol levels in check and blood sugar levels steady to ward off diabetes.

5. Sunflower Seeds

A sunflower is a tall herbaceous annual plant native to Middle America but has since spread across the globe as a commercial crop in countries like Russian, China, Argentina and the United States. 

Sunflower seeds are delicious and crunchy little powerhouses of healthy goodness. Packed with essential fatty acids, high quality amino acids, natural antioxidants like vitamin E and folic acid, just a handful a day will help keep the doctor away.  They help lower your LDL levels of cholesterol, and provide essential minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, selenium and copper to keep your bones and red blood cell production strong.

Next time you whip up a salad be sure to sprinkle one of the fantastic five best seeds for health on top and enjoy!

 

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The Six Best Brain Foods

by IVL Products

Is it possible that some foods are better for your brain than others? Are some foods truly “brain foods?” The simple answer is yes, but the topic of brain health and nutrition is much more complicated than simply selecting the right foods. 

Those looking to gain the mental edge will want to try brain foods such as Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and nuts and seeds packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

In order to have a truly healthy brain, it is also necessary to avoid foods such as trans fats and reduce process food intake as much as possible. Processed foods contain brain and DNA damaging compounds such as artificial colors, preservatives, pesticides, sugar, artificial sweeteners and more. Avoiding harmful foods is the foundation of good brain health and good overall health. Let’s take a look at six amazing brain foods!

#1:  Wild Alaskan Salmon

Generally, what is good for the heart is also viewed as being a healthy choice for the brain. One of the healthiest brain and heart healthy options out there comes in the form of wild Alaskan salmon. The reason is that wild Alaskan salmon is packed with brain health boosting omega-3 fatty acids. It is vitally important to remember that the brain consists of fat and it needs the right kinds of fat to be healthy.

When selecting salmon, only opt for wild salmon and preferably wild Alaskan salmon, as it is generally seen as being the healthiest option. You should completely avoid farmed raised salmon, as farm raised salmon typically contains elevated levels of harmful chemicals.

Related20 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

#2:  Sardines

Our second pick is also another fish. Sardines are true natural wonders. These small fish are low on the food chain and that means they bio-accumulate less heavy metals than larger fish such as salmon. Additionally, like salmon, sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines are also low in calories and high in minerals such as calcium. In short, sardines are a true standout and one of the world’s top brain foods.

#3: Purified Fish Oil

Yes, our third brain booster is another fish product. Fish oil can be very high in important brain boosting compounds such as DHA and EPA; however, you should only consume fish oil that has been purified. Un-purified cod liver oil for example can harbor high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. In short, un-purified fish oil should be avoided. Purified wild salmon oil and sardine and anchovy oil is an excellent pick.

#4:  Walnuts

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, don’t worry, as there are plenty of good brain boosting foods for you as well. At the very top of the list are walnuts. Walnuts are an excellent source of protein but that is only the beginning. Walnuts are also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

#5:  Nuts and Seeds

In addition to walnuts, all nuts and seeds have brain-boosting benefits. Nuts and seeds are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as compounds that boost overall brain health. Just remember that all most nuts and seeds, while packed with goodness are also packed with calories.

#6:  Blueberries

The fact that blueberries make the list often surprises many, but the simple blueberry is quite the winner. Blueberries work wonders for improving brain health and reducing oxidative stress. Studies have shown that blueberries are something of a superfood when it comes to protecting the brain. Don’t skip blueberries.

Besides, blueberries are super easy to add to any diet. A handful can quickly and easily be tossed into one’s morning cereal, oatmeal, shakes, smoothies and more.

Together these five brain boosters can help you guard your brain health and maybe even improve brain function. Our aging population is becoming increasingly concerned about neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s diseases. Luckily, nature has some great options for helping us protect brain health now and in the future.

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Essential Fatty Acids: Benefits and Sources

by Cindy Gray

With an enthusiasm for better health on the rise in America, many people are making quality nutrition a top priority.  Essential fatty acids (EFAs) play a key role.  They are called "essential" because they are not made naturally by the body, but must be obtained through food or supplements.  Learning more about these important nutrients can help to ensure a nutritious diet and a healthy body.

The only way to obtain essential fatty acids is through foods or supplements.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Essential omega 3 fatty acids include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  The body converts ALA to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two more essential fatty acids; however, the process isn't very efficient.  Therefore, EPA and DHA are considered "conditionally essential."

Sources of omega 3 fatty acids include green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, flaxseeds, citrus fruits, melons, and cherries which contain ALA.  Omega 3 sources of EPA and DHA include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, and other marine life, such as algae and krill.  Flax oil (ALA) and fish oil (EPA and DHA) supplements also make good sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Linoleic acid (LA) is an essential fatty acid present in many leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains.  Oils like sunflower, safflower, corn, peanut, and canola oil also offer linoleic acid.  LA breaks down to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) within the body or arachidonic acid (AA), two other essential fatty acids.  Natural sources of GLA include oils like black currant, borage, evening primrose, and hemp oils.  You can also obtain AA through consumption of eggs, fish and meat.

Related:  Three Surprising Seafood Sources of EFA’s

Health Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids help promote a variety of functions in the human body including:

  • Cell development
  • Absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Nourishment of skin, hair, and nails
  • Proper nerve function
  • Hormone production

EFAs and Disease

EFA deficiency has been linked to a number of diseases and disorders including:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Hypertension
  • Certain mental disorders like depression and bipolar disorder
  • Learning disorders
  • PMS
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Studies show the consumption of EFAs can help improve these conditions.  For instance, it has been found that diets high in ALA, EPA and DHA can help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, and providing anticoagulant properties.  Research shows that supplementation with GLA can relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and subjects with eczema are able to reduce their use of antibiotics and steroids for treatment of the disease.

People can consume large amounts of essential fatty acids with few side effects.  Occasionally some experience stomach upset, gas, or diarrhea, but these effects typically diminish over time.  Individuals on anticoagulant or blood thinning medications should check with their doctor before taking fish oil supplements as they can thin the blood.

While scientists continue to study how EFAs affect the health, it is clear they offer many benefits.  Whether consumed through a meal or taken as a supplement, EFAs are safe and well tolerated by the body. 

 

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Could You Be Vitamin Deficient?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You may be surprised to know that even if you eat a healthy diet, you might be deficient in certain vitamins and nutrients. There are several reasons why.

First, conventional agriculture has depleted our soil of nutrients, and therefore so is the food that’s grown in it. Selenium is a good example of a mineral that is no longer found in high quantities in soil. Selenium is essential for your body to make glutathione—a powerful antioxidant—and for the repair of your DNA—both are very important to reduce your risk of cancer. Research shows that the incidence of cancer in various regions is directly linked to the amount of selenium in the soil. Areas with the highest selenium have up to a 50 percent lower incidence of certain cancers.

Next, your body can’t absorb nutrients from certain food sources as well as they can from others. For example, your body can’t absorb the calcium in dairy as well as it can from plant sources, such as spinach and kale. So if you rely on dairy rather than plants for all your calcium needs, you may be getting far less than actually you think.

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Vitamin D is another great example of a nutrient dangerously low in most Americans. You can manufacture your own vitamin D by a reaction between your skin and sunlight, but most people can’t regularly get enough sun exposure to make enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed for thousands of reactions in your body. When your Vitamin D levels are low, your risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers is significantly increased.

For these and many other reasons, you may not be getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals, so taking supplements can be important. I recommend seeing a holistic physician to have your levels of nutrients checked. Your physician can then precisely prescribe the nutritional supplements that are best for your unique physiology.  

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Five Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads and Your Health

by Health News

Seeds have a lot to offer. In this article, we are going to look at the five best seeds for health. Anyone looking to boost their overall health and nutrition levels will find that seeds are one of the top options. While it is true that nuts and seeds are high in calories, it is also true that nuts and seeds provide you with a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. 

Pumpkin seeds are among the best seeds for health

Seeds are not just loaded with protein, but also with healthy fiber and plenty of vitamins, minerals, heart and brain health boosting omega fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, as well as antioxidants. They possess disease fighting properties. In short, seeds are packed!

Finding the Best Seeds for Health: Pick Chia

The best seeds for health provide you with nutrition, long lasting energy and, of course, plenty of protein. Chia seeds have become popular and for good reason. Chia seeds are packed with nutrition like all the other seeds on our list, but unlike many other seeds, chia seeds are often well tolerated by those who have nut and seed allergies. In a rather amazing trick, high-protein chia seeds expand considerably when soaked in water or after being consumed, which help them make you feel full. If you are looking to lose weight or control your appetite, then you should certainly consider chia seeds.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Hemp

Hemp is a nutritional powerhouse. Hemp is high in omega-3 fatty acids and an array of minerals such as magnesium and iron. Combine these facts with hemp’s high protein and fiber levels and you have one of the world’s greatest seeds.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Pumpkin

When you are looking to boost mineral levels, it is tough to top pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds, like the other super seeds on our list, are high in heart and brain health boosting omegas and mineral dense. In fact, pumpkin seeds have high levels of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. If you want to boost your immune system, then pumpkin seeds are a savvy pick as zinc has been shown in studies to help boost immunity! Having trouble sleeping? If so then you definitely want to check out pumpkin seeds, as pumpkin seeds have plenty of the amino acid tryptophan. Your body can convert tryptophan into melatonin, which is a hormone linked with great sleep.

Related:  Sleep Deprivation: Is It Dangerous to Your Health?

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Flax

Flax makes our super seed list, thanks in part to its very high omega 3 levels. All the seeds on our list have omega 3, but flax is an omega 3 super star! Since omega 3 can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, you’ll find this seed particularly helpful when recovering from an injury. It is a good idea to consume flax seeds in moderation due to their high phytoestrogen levels; this is particularly true for men.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds taste great, and like our other seed picks, they are nutrient, omega and protein dense. Perhaps the single greatest reason to select sunflower seeds is that they are high in many B vitamins as well as vitamin E and zinc, which of course helps boost the immune system. Sunflower seeds are a winner.

Together these five seeds can help you boost your health, your immunity and maybe even help you get more sleep. Best of all, these tasty seeds can easily be worked into salads, shakes, smoothies and more!

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Little Known Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

by Cindy Gray

Almost everyone knows that the eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and not smoking are extremely important to lower your risk of heart disease. But, there are many other lesser known ways to protect your heart health. In this week's video you learned about the cardiovascular benefits of regular saunas, meditation and 3 nutritional supplements: nattokinase, vitamin K2 and CoQ10. Here are three more supplements that research shows can lower your cholesterol, as well as your risk of heart disease.

  1. Plant sterols: Found in legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, plant sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and compete with its absorption. Supplemental plant sterols reduce cholesterol so well that the American Heart Association recommends them.
  2. Red yeast rice:  Considered a delicacy in Japan for over 1,000 years, this bright, reddish-purple yeast that grows on rice acquires its color from a fermentation process with a mold called Monascus purpureus.  Studies show supplemental red yeast rice is very effective at lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. Unlike statin drugs, which can increase the risk of and/or worsen diabetes, red yeast rice extract seem to have the opposite effect—it may improve type 2 diabetes by lowering insulin and blood glucose.
  3. Guggal (Commiphora mukul). This gum from a tree resin has been used by Ayurveda for thousands of years for its heart health benefits. Studies show that guggul can reduce total cholesterol up to 30 percent, LDL by 35 percent and increase HDL by 20 percent within 12 weeks. Guggal also has strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Good heart health starts with a healthy diet and lifestyle. But, remember there are many other techniques and dietary supplements that can be of benefit too. If you have heart disease, be sure to check with your doctor first before beginning any program to improve your heart health.

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Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to nutrients that help ensure good health, people remember vitamins A through E, but many forget about vitamin K.  Named after the German word, "koagulation," vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin important to the process of blood clotting.  This essential nutrient also helps build strong bones and contributes to heart health.  Because certain bacteria in the intestines manufacture vitamin K, shortage is rare.  However, infants and people with absorption issues are susceptible to vitamin K deficiency.  Learn more about the different types of vitamin K and signs and symptoms of inadequate levels. 

Kale is just one of many foods that help prevent vitamin K deficiency.

Types of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is available in three types:

Also called phylloquinone, vitamin K1 is a nutrient found in plants, particularly green vegetables.  Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is the type made by bacteria in the intestines, and vitamin K3, or menadione, is a synthetic form of vitamin K.

Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency

Problems with coagulation are among the most common symptoms of vitamin K deficiency.  These include easy bruising, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, wounds that won't stop bleeding, blood in the urine, heavy menstruation, and vomiting blood.

Vitamin K Deficiency in Infants

Because they have very little intestinal bacteria, all infants are born with inadequate levels of vitamin K.  While a mother's breast milk contains the vitamin, amounts are too small to provide protection.  Research shows that a single vitamin K injection at birth helps prevent symptoms of deficiency until babies can make their own vitamin K. 

Problems with Vitamin K Absorption

Certain health problems can impair the body's ability to absorb vitamin K.  These include celiac disease, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, gallbladder disease, or liver disease.  Studies show that certain drugs like blood thinners and antibiotics can also affect levels of vitamin K in the body, as can heavy alcohol use.

Related:  Vitamins Essential for All Bodily Functions

Dietary Sources of Vitamin K

Foods that help prevent vitamin K deficiency include broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, dried basil, soybeans, olive oil, and dried prunes.  While freezing can destroy vitamin K in foods, heating does not.  Studies show that people whose bodies can’t absorb enough vitamin K can benefit from a multivitamin containing the nutrient, but in certain circumstances a vitamin K injection may be required.

Vitamin K is often called the "forgotten vitamin," yet it offers many health benefits to the body including the promotion of healthy coagulation, strong bones, and a vigorous heart.  With the exception of infants, regular consumption of foods containing vitamin K can help prevent deficiency for most people.  However, people with nutrient absorption problems or those on blood thinners should consult with a health care professional regarding vitamin K levels.

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Heart-Healthy Foods to Add To Your Diet

by IVL Products

Even though the number of American deaths attributed to heart disease has dropped, it is still the number one cause of death for adults in this country. Good dietary choices play a key role in preserving healthy cardiac function, but instead of focusing on what you should not eat, here’s a list of heart-healthy foods that are delicious, nutritious and good for your heart and your waistline. 

There is a direct correlation between the circumference of your waistline and your risk of heart disease. Belly fat is the most dangerous to your health and the hardest to remove.

Fishing for a Healthy Heart

The catch of the day keeps the cardiologist away. Fish should be a staple in your diet; and become a replacement for processed fatty meats like hamburger, sausage and bacon.  Not only are fish a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, they have the most abundant and most easily absorbed omega-3 fatty acids. The body does not produce this essential nutrient naturally, but it does a body good.  Eating fish two to three times a week will give you plenty of it. Salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are especially high in omega-3s, so be sure to put them on the menu.

Related:  Include Fish in Your Arthritis Prevention Diet

Go Nuts

Enjoying nuts regularly is a heart-healthy idea. Almonds and walnuts are heart-healthy foods to enjoy in moderation since they are high in calories.  Adding a handful to your cereal, salad or dipping your banana in some almond butter will give you a healthy dose of omega-3s, and the unsaturated fat and fiber will keep you satisfied longer. The healthiest nuts to eat are almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts and macadamias.

Flaxseed belongs in your diet along with a variety of nuts. They are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid, which is a fancy name for omega-3. These small but mighty seeds can be ground to replace some of the fat in baked items and sprinkled on top of salads or cereal to add a little crunch with significant benefits.

Be Fruitful and Thrive

Fruits high in vitamin C and fiber are also loaded with phytonutrients to help reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation due to obesity, environmental pollution and poor diet are a leading contributor to heart muscle damage.  Berries are particularly heart-healthy foods because they are not only sweet, delicious and plentiful, but contain copious amount of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Orange-hued fruits like oranges, tangerines, peaches and cantaloupe offer plentiful amounts of potassium and magnesium.

Veg Out

Mom was right when she said, “eat your vegetables, they’re good for you.” They come in so many varieties and you can eat as much as you want.  Be sure to avoid heavy cream or butter-based sauces or oily condiments.  Add these all-stars to your grocery list:

  • Asparagus – beta-carotene, folate and fiber
  • Broccoli- vitamins C and E, calcium and fiber
  • Spinach – iron, vitamins A, B2, C and K along with folate calcium, magnesium and potassium, just to name a few.

So, grill up some asparagus to pair with a salmon fillet, steam some broccoli or add a handful of spinach to your salads and you will be helping your heart and your waistline.

Carbs Count

The body cannot run on protein and fats alone. Carbohydrates are the key for high, sustaining levels of energy.  Starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal (toss a handful of nuts, seed and berries on top) is a great way to give your body the fuel it needs. The fiber in oatmeal will keep you feeling satisfied longer and keep cholesterol levels in check.  Steel cut is best and avoid instant varieties loaded with sugar.  

Enjoy Dessert

Yes, a heart-healthy diet includes dessert! It’s been called the fourth food group for good reason. Dark chocolate made from 70% cocoa is one of the healthiest treats you can eat. A one-ounce square daily offers soluble fiber, antioxidants, iron, magnesium and potassium, zinc and selenium. These are all nutrients that contribute to a healthy heart.  Like nuts, chocolate has a lot of calories, so a little goes a long way.

Here’s To Your Heart

Hopefully reading this has encouraged you to add these foods to your grocery list.  There are many other heart-healthy foods you can work into the mix, and consider supplements as an additional way to pump up your daily vitamin and mineral consumption.  

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Lack of Appetite: Four Typical Causes

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Eating delicious foods can be one of the greatest pleasures in life, and a healthy appetite is a sign of positive wellbeing.  People who develop a lack of appetite lose their desire to eat.  They either experience complete disinterest, or the idea of eating makes them feel nauseous.  While a number of factors may cause appetite loss, four in particular are worth noting.

People who develop a lack of appetite either experience complete disinterest, or the idea of eating makes them feel nauseous

1.  Chronic Disease

Lack of appetite is a common symptom of a number of chronic diseases.  These include liver disease, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dementia, HIV, hypothyroidism, gastroparesis, and kidney or heart failure.  People with cancer of the ovaries, pancreas, colon, or stomach may also find their appetite lacking. 

Nutritious snacks high in protein and calories help people with chronic illness or cancer maintain body weight while trying to recover.  Eating small amounts several times throughout the day and supplementing with liquid protein drinks can be helpful.  Supportive family members can keep favorite foods handy and record meals in a food diary for reference.

2.  Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is most common in women from 35 to 65 years of age.  It is a condition in which the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone.  It causes a range of symptoms, including lack of appetite, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, and brittle nails.

A simple blood test can determine whether people suffer from an inactive thyroid.  Doctors usually prescribe synthetic T4 (levothyroxine sodium), in the form of a daily pill, to bring the thyroid hormone into the normal range.

Related:  Three Hormonal Causes of Depression

3.  Medications

Use of certain medications can affect the appetite.  These include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Codeine
  • Diuretics
  • Morphine
  • Sleeping pills
  • Tranquilizers

Regardless if it is listed above, people who experience a lack of appetite in conjunction with starting a new medication should consult with their doctor for solutions, which may include changing the drug or dosage.  People should not stop taking their medication without their doctor's approval.

4.  Depression

A change in appetite is one of the most common signs of depression.  For some people, depression increases appetite, and for others it leads to a lack of appetite.  When people experience appetite loss along with symptoms like sadness, guilt, disinterest in activities, digestive issues, sleep problems, or nausea, they should consult with a medical doctor or mental health care professional.

A healthy diet may help ward off depression.  According to research, a Mediterranean-style eating plan high in fruits vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fatty fish can help lower risks for depression.  Studies also show that deficiencies in vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and tryptophan can have a negative influence on mood.

While periods of appetite loss are normal, a persistent lack of appetite is not.  It can be a symptom of chronic disease, cancer, hypothyroidism, depression or a reaction to a new medication.  People should contact their health care provider if appetite loss is chronic or if they are shedding weight without trying. 

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Women’s Top Five Health Concerns

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Advancing years, the sudden onset of illness, or the death of someone close can all make us think about our own health. According to Saralyn Mark, M.D. there are five main medical conditions that top the list of women’s health issues. We look at the risk factors for each and see how experts suggest we can be proactive in reducing or preventing such health problems.

Breast cancer is one of the top five women’s health issues

#1 Heart Disease

As the leading cause of death, heart disease is responsible for around 29% of all deaths in women, according to the CDC.  Although we eventually all have to die, it is the premature death or limitations caused by heart disease that is the greatest health concern.

Regular health checks to monitor blood pressure and cholesterol can help reduce the risk along with a healthy diet, regular exercise, non-smoking and maintaining a normal body weight. Any new symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest, and shoulder or jaw pain should be reported to your doctor and investigated.

Related:  Yoga Lowers Fatigue and Inflammation in Breast Cancer Survivors

#2 Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is understandably one of the main women’s health issues as it is the most common cancer for women. Risk factors include family history, age, alcoholism, lack of children, genetics and race, with Caucasian women having a higher risk of developing the disease than African-American women.

Regular self-examination can detect lumps at the earliest stage, along with mammograms. Fear and denial can stop women going to see their doctor when a lump is discovered, and this can be crucial for the best chance of survival. 

#3 Osteoporosis

Another disease that affects women is osteoporosis, due to lower estrogen levels after menopause. This “brittle bone disease” affects 44 million Americans, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF).

Clinical trials by the NOF show that taking 1,000 mg calcium and 400 IU vitamin D daily reduces the risk of hip fracture and osteoporosis. Those most at risk are small, thin women with a diet low in calcium and vitamin D, particularly Caucasian and Asian women or those with as family history of osteoporosis.

#4 Depression

Depression commonly affects women more than men, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 12 million women are affected each year. It may be triggered after giving birth or due to hormonal changes. Those with a family history of depression, marital problems, a stressful life or taking medications known to cause depression are most at risk. Having a purpose in life such as a job, a pet, volunteering and community work can all help. Regular exercise also releases endorphins that lift mood.

#5 Autoimmune Diseases

Disorders such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and lupus are among this group of chronic diseases. Autoimmune diseases are not widely understood and you may need to consult a specialist to diagnose and address these women’s health issues that affect three times more women than men. Worrying about your health can only make things worse. Instead, take every precaution to eat and exercise sensibly, top up with daily supplements and if anything is amiss, share it immediately with your doctor. 

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Weakness: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by IVL Products

We can all experience physical weakness at times, perhaps after a serious illness, or when we’re tired, overworked or exhausted. Short-term weakness usually passes when the cause is rectified, whether it is lack of sleep, stress or fighting sickness. 

Weakness can affect the whole body

If you are experiencing ongoing weakness that does not seem to improve, you need to take steps to discover the cause and treat it. There are many possible causes of weakness including:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Anemia
  • Colds and flu
  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Low blood sugar
  • Stress

It could also be caused by more serious medical conditions such as cancer, stroke or heart attack.   

Related:  Heart Health Benefits of Meditation

Let’s first eliminate some simple possible causes of weakness:

Poor Diet causes Weakness

If weakness is due to poor diet or intense weight-watching, analyze what you are eating. You should be enjoying a balanced diet with adequate protein, carbohydrates and fat. According to the Institute of Medicine, 45-65% of our daily calorie intake (2,000 calories total for men and 1800 for women) should come from carbohydrates, preferably multigrain bread, brown rice, beans and lentils. Ten to 25% should be derived from protein such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products, and around 30% of our daily calories should be from healthy fats which the body uses for energy or stores as glucose.

Colds and Sickness

In winter, colds and flu can weaken the body’s immune system. The after effects of any virus, sickness or surgical procedure can leave the body feeling drained and weak. Try eating well and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to boost vitamin intake and antioxidants. Consider taking a multivitamin or supplement to ensure your body is getting all the help it needs to restore itself to full health again. Another easy way to boost energy is with a green drink or smoothie to help boost immunity, provide antioxidant support and improve digestion.

Other Causes of Weakness

Try to analyze whether you are suffering from full body weakness or isolated weakness. Think back to when the weakness first began and to what it may be related. If you cannot find an obvious cause for general weakness and it does not improve, you may need to consult a doctor.

If at any time your weakness is accompanied by difficulty breathing, then you should call 911 immediately, as it could indicate a more serious medical condition. Your doctor will determine the underlying cause and treat accordingly.

In the meantime, make sure you enjoy a healthy balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, enjoy daily exercise and any weakness should soon be a thing of the past. 

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Seven Keys to Lasting Weight Loss

by Health News

More than two in every three adults in the USA are overweight or obese—so says the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). If you are one of the 66% majority, you may be wondering what is the best diet to lose weight? 

The best diet to lose weight includes plenty of green vegetables

There are plenty of diets to choose from: The South Beach Diet, the DASH Diet, the TLC Diet, the Flexitarian Diet and others, so why aren't we all skinny and healthy? These so called "fad" diets unfortunately fail to deliver long-term results.

Related:  What is the DASH Diet?

Instead, those serious about adopting the best diet to lose weight need to adjust to a whole new way of eating. By consuming whole, fresh foods your body will gradually shed those excess pounds and your heart, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels will all be healthier too. With this diet, it’s not a list of things you can’t eat, but a list of things you must include, such as:

1. Fruits and Vegetables

Aim to include 4-5 cups of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet in smoothies, salads and sides. Vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that help prevent disease and keep your body fit and healthy.

2. Whole Grains

Whole grains such as quinoa, whole wheat (including flour), wild rice, whole-grain corn, oatmeal, popcorn and brown rice deliver protein, fiber, B vitamins and trace minerals to reduce heart disease, type-2 diabetes and obesity. Avoid terms such as "refined wheat", "brown bread" (made from refined wheat and colored with molasses), "multigrain" and "stone ground" unless they specify they are "whole grain.” 

3. Legumes

Beans, peas and lentils (pulses) make up the legume family. These edible seeds are crammed with protein, fiber and minerals, making them excellent ingredients to include as part of the best diet to lose weight.  

4. Raw seeds and Nuts

Raw seeds and nuts should be included in your diet in small amounts. Although unsaturated fats are high in calories, the body needs omega-3 fatty acids for brain function, supporting healthy red blood cells and fighting inflammation.

5. Cold-water Fish

Another excellent source of Omega-3 is cold water fish such as salmon and tuna. The American Heart Association recommends we eat oily fish at least twice a week, so make sure you include them in your new weight loss diet.

6. Free-range Poultry

Organic chicken is a low-fat source of high quality antibiotic-free protein with plenty of flavor. Protein helps dieters to feel full for longer, helping fight hunger pains and the urge to snack between meals.

7. Water

Drinking eight glasses of water per day is important to stay hydrated, flushing out toxins and helping you lose weight faster. Drinking a glass of calorie-free water with each meal helps you eat less and it slows down the digestive process so you feel satiated for longer.

These seven food groups comprise the best diet to lose weight and keep it off, so you can stay slim and healthy without resorting to the latest "wonder" diet.