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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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Broccoli: Role In Cancer Prevention

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you probably already know, consuming fruits and vegetables regularly aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system and is very beneficial for your overall health and may even extend your lifespan. What many people don’t realize is just how good these foods are for you and how exactly they benefit your health.

For instance, broccoli should be in the weekly menu of every person on the planet. That’s because the entire family of cruciferous vegetables - including broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower - Broccoli: Role In Cancer Preventioncontain lots of fiber, along with many vitamins and minerals - all of which are believed to be why cruciferous vegetables help to prevent colon cancer and aid in contributing to a healthy digestive system.

Not only that, cruciferous vegetables contain the protective compounds isothiocyanates and indoles, which help to fight disease by reducing inflammation and preventing DNA damage.

Scientific research shows a strong correlation between eating broccoli at least three times a month and a significant reduction in incidence of various types of cancer.

For instance, in a study from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, researchers found that individuals who ate broccoli three times a week showed a 40 percent reduction in their rates of bladder cancer.

Similarly, women with breast cancer diagnosis who increased their consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, reduced their risk of cancer recurrence by 35 percent. Amazingly, they also cut their mortality rate by 62 percent!

Along with the US, researchers in Switzerland and Italy have studied data collected across various studies and reached similar conclusions about the positive link between cruciferous vegetables and cancer.

The most notable results were a 32 percent reduced rate of kidney cancer among individuals who ate cruciferous vegetables at least once a week. Similarly, a 17 percent reduction in oral, breast and colorectal cancers as well as a 28 percent reduction in esophageal cancer were seen in association with cruciferous vegetable consumption.

In other words, people who eat cruciferous vegetables roughly once a week are on average much healthier with a significant reduction in cancer risk relative to their counterparts who rarely, or never, eat vegetables.

The difference in their cancer rates is so significant that everyone - including you - should seriously consider increasing their cruciferous vegetable intake. 

Additionally, research shows having a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Fruits and vegetables also have a positive effect on blood sugar - helping to keep appetite in check and maintain a healthy digestive system. Bottom line? Fruits and vegetables are an essential ingredient to your overall health and well-being.

Source: Broccoli: Role in Cancer Prevention

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Acai Superfruit: A Nutritious And Powerful Superfood

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What are superfoods - and do they really exist? 

According to Dr. Christine Horner, a superfood is any nutrient-dense food that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compunds and other ingredients proven to benefit health.Acai Superfruit: A Nutritious And Powerful Superfood  | Institute for Vibrant Living

On the list of superfoods is one you may not have even heard of. Studies have shown that the superfruit Açaí berry - found growing on a very special Amazon palm tree - is one of the most nutritious and powerful superfoods in the world.

Harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, açaí tastes like a blend of berries and chocolate. Nature's perfect energy fruit, açaí is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Açaí may not be available in your local supermarket, but you can find it in health food stores, typically in juice form. A new product featuring the unsweetened pulp is now also available, which comes without the harmful effects of added sugar.

Royal purple in color, açaí pulp contains:

  • A remarkably high concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10-30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A mutually enhancing combination of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • A near-perfect essential amino acid complex along with with valuable trace minerals that are essential for proper muscle contraction and regeneration.

The fatty acid content in açaí resembles that of olive oil, and is enriched in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid helps essential omega-3 fats enter cells - and together, they help make cell membranes more supple and strong.

By keeping the cell membrane supple, our body’s hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently inside and outside cells, keeping us healthy and disease-free. This is particularly important because high insulin levels create an inflammatory state.

As you already know, inflammation is believed to play a role in almost every modern disease including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and more - while also contributing to the adverse health effects of aging.

Source

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5 Tips On Staying Healthy And Fit During Those ‘Fabulous’ Fifties

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Each and every stage of life comes with different gifts and challenges - and who doesn't want to stay trim, youthful looking and energized with a well-functioning cardiovascular system as we enter the ‘fabulous’ fifties?

5 Tips On Staying Healthy And Fit During Those ‘Fabulous’ Fifties

Our bodies need different forms of nutritional support as we age - and that’s easy to understand, because each phase of life brings its own physiological and metabolic changes.

For instance, our heart health naturally declines with age.

Women experience the onset of menopause in their fifties, which also brings with it many hormonal and metabolic changes.

Overall, metabolism slows and belly fat starts to accumulate along with a decrease in muscle mass. This is why appropriate food intake becomes more critical during the fifties than ever before, with an emphasis on nutrient dense food and ingredient choices.

Here are five simple tips to help you stay healthy and fit during your ‘fabulous’ fifties -

  1. Integrate monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) into your diet - these essential fats help moderate hormones, appetite, insulin response and vitamin absorption, all of which are vital, especially for women during menopause. Increasing MUFA consumption can also lower cholesterol levels - which is why nuts, olive oil, avocado and tahini are both nutritious and heart healthy options. 
  2. Stay hydrated - this is very important at every age, since water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and every system in your body depends on water. With age, we lose our ability to conserve water. Also, some medications can cause dehydration. Don't wait for your body to tell you it's thirsty, because it may be too late!
  3. Avoid ‘processed’ foods - instead, opt for a high-fiber, moderate protein, low-carb and low-sodium diet based on natural foods. High salt intake can spike blood pressure (BP), leading to hypertension which puts the heart at risk. Processed foods are traditionally loaded with higher sodium and unhealthy oils.
  4. Just say no - your 50s is a great time to give up on overuse of alcohol and smoking. Both place a heavy toll on the cardiovascular system, along with prematurely aging and damaging the liver, lung and other organs. Smoking also adversely affects elasticity and collagen production in the skin, contributing to a less youthful appearance.
  5. Monitor your cardio history - regularly assess your heart health and your risk for cardiovascular disease through periodic testing that includes detailed cholesterol information and BP readings.

Source: Five Tips on Staying Healthy and Fit During Those Fabulous Fifties.   

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What Are The Benefits And Risks Of Regular Energy Drink Consumption?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Energy drinks are very popular nowadays, especially with teens and athletes - perhaps you’re a fan as well.

A recent study looked at the benefits and risks that come with regular energy drink consumption. In 2003, 16% of teens reported consuming them regularly - however, consumption had risen sharply to 35% by 2008. In fact, one study found that 50% of students drank at least 1-4 of these drinks in a typical month.

A sharp increase in energy drink-related emergency room visits led to demands that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) look into the effects of energy drinks on health.

Currently, the amount of caffeine added to energy drinks is not regulated by the FDA, so labeled amounts are often inaccurate. Also, the claims made by manufacturers on the ability of such drinks to maintain energy levels have not been verified.

The study authors examined the most common ingredients - caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, sugars and B vitamins - and assessed their effects on health.

Levels of caffeine, the main ingredient, vary widely between brands. Energy drinks may contain higher levels of caffeine than indicated on the label.

 Benefits And Risks Of Regular Energy Drink ConsumptionA typical cup of coffee contains 80-120 milligrams of caffeine, while tea has 50 mg and a 12-ounce cola roughly 65 mg. On the other hand, a 16-ounce Red Bull contains 154 mg while a 24-ounce Wired X505 contains 505 mg. While there is no prescribed safety limit for caffeine, excessive consumption has been linked to high BP, premature birth and even possibly sudden death.

Guarana is a South American plant that contains a caffeine-like compound called guaranine. One gram of guarana is equal to 40 mg of caffeine. In spite of this, guarana is usually not included in the total caffeine tally. And since the FDA has not tested guarana for human consumption, its risks and benefits are almost completely unknown.

Sugar in the form of sucrose, glucose, or high fructose corn syrup ranges from 21 grams to 34 grams in every 8 ounces of a typical energy drink. Teens who consume 2 or 3 drinks daily could be taking in 120-180 mg of sugar - or 4-6 times the maximum recommended daily intake - placing them at risk for obesity and dental problems.

Taurine is a common amino acid that supports brain development and regulates mineral and water levels. The amount of taurine consumed from energy drinks is higher than from a normal diet - as yet there is no evidence that this is unhealthy. In fact, many energy drinks that claim to be healthy contain excess, unregulated amounts of vitamins or minerals you can normally get from your diet.

The problem is, you never really know how much of these ingredients you are consuming, because the quantities are masked behind the term 'proprietary blend' or 'energy blend.'

Ginseng is believed to boost athletic performance, strengthen the immune system and improve mood. According to the study authors, there is not much proof of this - and there isn't enough ginseng in energy drinks anyway.

B vitamins and other additives in energy drinks can improve mood and even fight heart disease and cancer, but again their amounts in energy drinks aren’t enough to have any meaningful effects.

Adolescent consumers have no idea what these ingredients do. They assume that because they can buy it off the shelf, it must be safe for them. In reality, very little is known about the risks and benefits of various additives in energy drinks and how they affect health when consumed over the long term. Not much is known either about how energy drinks and alcohol interact as well as how they affect medications and antidepressants.

Therefore, study authors have urged physicians to be aware of energy drink consumption and suggest educating both teens and their parents on the potential negative health consequences of consuming energy drinks regularly.

Sources: What’s in Your Energy Drink?

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Healthy Recipe: Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

by Nancy Maneely

There are so many great things about this recipe, it’s hard to know where to begin!

Healthy Recipe: Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad | Institute for Vibrant LivingThe basics are lean, high-protein chicken breast and one of our favorite nutritional superfoods, spinach. The fats, which you can adjust to your taste and dietary preference, consist of just enough oil to sauté the chicken and a little mayo or yogurt for the dressing. Strawberries bring additional antioxidant-rich nutrients, as well as color and flavor. Toss in some almonds for essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and heart-healthy phytochemicals. And, the lime juice, garlic, ginger and black pepper not only contribute unbeatable flavors to this wonderful salad, they provide an extra antioxidant boost as well!

This is a tasty summertime treat your whole family will love. And not even the kids will suspect your real motive for serving this is to offer them a healthy alternative to fat and sugar laden, overprocessed meals. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half - cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or yogurt)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed
  • 4 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in skillet, season with garlic powder and cook 10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, lime juice, ginger and milk.

3. Arrange spinach on serving dishes. Top with chicken and strawberries, sprinkle with almonds and drizzle with dressing. Season with pepper to serve.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 242
Total Fat: 17.3g
Cholesterol: 40mg
Sodium: 117mg
Total Carbs: 7.5g
Dietary Fiber: 2.4g
Protein: 15.8 grams

Source: Allrecipes.com

 

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Healthy and Delicious Pasta Alternatives

by Nancy Maneely

If you're watching your weight (and overall health) you’ve probably ditched the white-flour pasta along with white bread as part of your everyday fare. And that’s a good thing. Still, once in awhile you may miss those steaming bowls of pasta from your childhood. Who doesn’t?

Pasta is one of the ultimate comfort foods.

But most pastas are made with refined wheat flour which is stripped of its essential nutrients. It’s filling, but mostly empty calories. Here’s the good news: there are some delicious and healthy pasta options to explore. Try these with your favorite tomato sauce or just a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

  • Spaghetti Squash – Slice in half and bake, then shred the inside with a fork into noodle-like strands. Ultra-low in calories, squash is high in vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium for heart health.
  •  Zucchini – Shred with a peeler and steam for a quick spaghetti substitute.
  • Quinoa – This superfood from the Mayans is high in protein, vitamin B and delicious in salads as a pasta substitute.
  • Soba Noodles – These heart healthy Japanese noodles are made from buckwheat and are high in protein.
  • Black Bean Spaghetti – If you can get past the notion of eating black pasta, this stuff is wonderfully high in protein – more than 20 grams per serving! – and fiber.
  • Rice Pasta – Asian markets are the place to shop for these inexpensive noodles made from whole grains.
  • Whole Grain Wheat – If you really must have wheat pasta, choose this kind. It is rich in vitamin B and isn't stripped of its fiber and minerals.

What’s your favorite pasta dish? Share with us!

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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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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!

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Five Foods You're Eating Wrong

by Health News

As you already know, the food you consume has a tremendous impact on your overall health and quality of life. And while it’s a smart idea to make healthy choices when it comes to your diet, how you prepare your food Five Foods You're Eating Wrong | Institute for Vibrant Livingcan make all the difference.

Here are some examples and tips on how to get the most out of your diet:

  1. Microwaving or boiling vegetables - Sulforaphane is a plant compound with strong anti-cancer properties that is found abundantly in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and arugula. The enzyme myrosinase is necessary to release sulforaphane so your body can absorb it, but microwaving and boiling destroy this enzyme. On the other hand, steaming provides a slower, gentler heat that preserves myrosinase and many other micronutrients as well.
    • Tip - cook broccoli in a steaming basket for 3-4 minutes for the most optimal cancer-fighting boost.
  2. Slicing strawberries before eating them - whole strawberries contain 8-12 percent more vitamin C than cut fruits, because vitamin C begins to break down when it’s exposed to light and oxygen.
    • Tip - for the biggest C boost, store whole strawberries in the fridge - because cool temperatures help to retain vitamin C as well.
  3. Letting a wine bottle ‘breathe for too long - when red wine is decanted for long periods of time, for example up to 12 hours, the organic acids and polyphenols in it begin to break down. In other words, leaving a wine bottle open overnight neutralizes the many health benefits of red wine - including reduced depression, increased testosterone and a healthier heart.
    • Tip - always drink wine from a freshly opened bottle.
  4. Eating tomatoes raw - tomato consumption has been linked to lowering men’s risk of stroke and prostate cancer, along with preserving brain power with age. Heating tomatoes significantly increases their levels of lycopene, a natural plant chemical that is part of a tomato’s antioxidant protection.
    • Tip - lightly cook tomatoes in olive oil, because lycopene is fat-soluble - meaning you need fat in your diet for your body to absorb it properly.
  5. Avoiding frozen fruits and vegetables at the grocery store - most people think only fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy, but this is a popular misconception. In fact, UK scientists found that in two out of three cases, frozen fruits and vegetables provide higher levels of antioxidants including polyphenols, vitamin C, and beta-carotene than fresh produce. As produce ages, the nutrients in them begin to break down. It's better to eat produce that was frozen at prime ripeness with nutrients intact than week-old produce that no longer has the same beneficial nutrient content.
    • Tip - incorporate frozen fruits and vegetables into your daily diet.

 

Source: Five Foods You’re Eating Wrong.

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Watermelon Lowers Blood Pressure (Bp)

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that watermelon can lower your blood pressure (BP)?

Food scientists at Florida State University conducted a pilot study on four men and five postmenopausal women - all of whom suffered from prehypertension - between the ages of 51 to 57 years.  Each of these subjects was daily given six grams of the amino acid L-citrulline/L-arginine - derived from watermelon extract - for a period of six weeks. 

Watermelon Lowers Blood Pressure (Bp) | Institute for Vibrant Living

L-citrulline is converted in the body to L-arginine, which is needed for the formation of nitric oxide (NO). NO is necessary for blood vessels to keep a proper tone and to maintain a healthy BP.

At the end of the pilot study, all nine participants showed improved arterial function and lower aortic BP - indicating that watermelon is effective against prehypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

L-arginine is available as a dietary supplement. However, it can cause nausea, gastrointestinal tract discomfort and diarrhea when taken regularly. On the other hand, eating watermelon causes none of those effects.

Study researchers say that watermelon dilates blood vessels, which may the underlying reason that it can prevent prehypertension from developing into hypertension - a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Watermelon is the richest edible natural source of L-citrulline. It is also a good source of vitamins A, B6 and C as well as fiber, potassium and the antioxidant lycopene. 

A previous study had shown that L-citrulline supplementation slows the increase in aortic BP in response to cold exposure which, combined with hypertension, is associated with higher rates of myocardial infarction (MI).

Along with L-citrulline, high levels of potassium along with watermelon’s refreshing hydrating quality contribute to its beneficial effects on heart health.

Source: Watermelon lowers Blood Pressure (BP).

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Why is Kale So Healthy?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

A nutritional powerhouse, the leafy green kale is becoming known as ‘the new beef’ and ‘the queen of greens’ in recognition of its exceptional nutrient richness, health benefits and delicious flavor.

Grocery stores nowadays typically stock a variety of kale known as Tuscan, Italian black or dinosaur kale, with smoother leaves and a divine mellow flavor. Kale | Heath Benefits | Institute for Vibrant Living

Regularly consuming a wide variety of natural, unprocessed vegetables has many wide-ranging benefits for your health - and choosing super-nutritious kale on a regular basis has massive health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol.

Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

What makes kale so exceptional? Let us count the ways.

  1. One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily recommended allowance of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus.
  2. Kale’s health benefits are mainly linked to the high concentrations it contains of antioxidant vitamins A, C and K as well as its sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
  3. Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific antioxidants associated with many of kale’s anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
  4. Beyond antioxidants, the fiber in kale binds to bile acids and helps to lower blood cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease - especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.
  5. Kale is also super-rich in vitamin K, which is why regular kale consumption is believed to reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer. Vitamin K is also found in parsley, spinach, collard greens and cheese and is necessary for normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity as well as bone health.
  6. Consuming too much kale can pose problems for people taking anticoagulants such as warfarin, the high levels of vitamin K may interfere with the drugs - so it’s always a wise idea to consult your doctor before adding kale to your diet.

Although vegetable choices abound in summer, there are fewer in-season choices during fall and winter other than kale and other dark, leafy greens that thrive in cooler weather.

To find the freshest kale, look for firm, deeply colored leaves with hardy stems. Smaller leaves are generally more tender and milder in flavor. In general, kale leaves range from dark green to purple to deep red in color. 

Source: Health Benefits of Kale, the ‘Queen of Greens’

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Mango Consumption Associated With Lower Blood Sugar Levels

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Mangos are well known for their strong nutritional profile. They’re chockfull of healthful antioxidants and also contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, fiber, vitamin B6 and copper.

However, recent research now shows that there’s more to mangos than vitamins and minerals. Lower Blood Sugar Levels | Institute for Vibrant Living

In a study published in The Journal of Nutrition and Food Science, mango consumption was shown to be associated with a healthier diet in more than 29,000 children and adults who were participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Study researchers noticed that adults who consume mangos tended to have a higher intake of potassium and dietary fiber, both of which are known to contribute to a balanced diet. Also, mango consumption was associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation. High levels of CRP in the blood have been linked to increased risk for heart disease.

Not only that - on average, adult mango eaters had higher intakes of whole fruit, vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber while having lower intakes of added sugars, saturated fats and sodium. Overall, both adults and children who consumed mangos scored higher on the Healthy Eating Index compared to those who did not eat mangos.

Emerging research further indicates that mango consumption may also lower blood sugar levels in obese adults.

A pilot study recently conducted at Oklahoma State University examined the effects of daily mango consumption in 20 obese individuals over 12 weeks. They found that all participants had significantly lower blood glucose levels compared to their baselines, even though there were no significant changes in their body composition.

These findings support the results from a previously published study which had shown that adding 1% mango to high-fat diets in mice effectively reduced body fat accumulation and lowered blood glucose levels.

Given these health benefits of mangos - why not add them to your diet today?

Source: Mango Consumption Associated with Lower Blood Sugar Levels.

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Top Health Tips for a Healthy Heart

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you know, diet plays a huge role in determining if your blood pressure levels are normal or frighteningly high. If you have read about blood pressure, then you know that the best diet for blood pressure is an alkaline diet that mirrors the Mediterranean style of eating.

Basically, that includes low- to moderate-acid fruits and vegetables, fish, lean protein, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and some dairy. Pretty straight-forward, right?

But did you know that there are also three really fun—and in one case, downright exotic—foods that have been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure levels. These include chocolate, hibiscus tea, and beets.

Download our FREE Healthy Heart Tips and learn more about how adding chocolate, hibiscus tea and beets to your diet can help keep your heart healthy.

Free Heart Health Tips

Additional heart health tips:

Limit Unhealthy Fats
Saturated fats and trans fats are the cause of raised cholesterol which in turn causes a build-up of plaque in your arteries – the cause of heart attacks. Every packaged food shows its exact content on the label so you can start to learn which products to avoid. 
 
Butter, margarine, cream and shortening are high in saturated and trans fats, and anything made from them such as pastry, cookies, gravy, cream-based sauces and fried foods. Substitute butter with a low-fat substitute and choose monounsaturated fats such as canola oil or olive oil for cooking, in moderation.
 
Choose Low-Fat Protein
Protein is essential for a healthy body, but cut out the fatty options. Substitute fatty meat, beef burgers and processed meat products such as sausages with low fat options such as chicken breast, lean ground meats or soy products. Fish is heart healthy as oily fish has omega-3 fatty acids which actually lower blood fats called triglycerides. Change to low-fat milk and use egg whites or egg substitute in place of cholesterol-laden egg yolks.
 
Eat More Fresh Vegetable and Fruit
Bulky and high in vitamins and minerals, vegetables and fresh fruit are a good source of dietary fiber. Raw vegetable croutons or fresh fruit make it easy to have a heart-healthy snack. Stir-fry vegetables and fruit salad made with a little sugar-free apple juice make an excellent meal or dessert in themselves. The things to avoid are high sodium canned vegetables, fried vegetables, canned fruit in syrup and fruit with sugar added.
 
Reduce Salt (Sodium)
Sodium has been found to cause high blood pressure which raises the risk for heart disease. The recommended daily maximum intake is 2,300 mg which is about a teaspoonful. Few of us add that much salt at the table, but salt is present in many processed foods. Canned soups, prepared meals and savory snacks, nuts and chips are very high in sodium so check the label and restrict your intake accordingly. Buy reduced sodium versions of salt, soy sauce and canned soups where possible.
 
Substitution rather than total abstinence is the best way to tackle your new heart healthy diet. Choose whole grain bread, flour, rice and cereal rather than refined “white” products which have had all the fiber and goodness processed out. Whole grains help regulate healthy blood pressure which leads to a healthy heart. Pies, cakes, corn bread, doughnuts, buttered popcorn and high-fat crackers should be a very rare treat for those serious about keeping their heart healthy. 
 
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Top Tips on Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that an average American typically consumes approximately 22 teaspoons of sugar every day? The maximum recommended amount is 6 teaspoons daily for women and 9 teaspoons daily for men.

Top Tips on Maintaining Health Blood Sugar Levels

No wonder that nearly 40% of Americans over 65 have high blood sugar levels, which is linked to multiple health problems including obesity, circulatory issues, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.

In fact, diabetes and its complications are together the third leading cause of death in the US.

Ignoring your blood sugar levels can quadruple your chances of heart attack, stroke and death - while controlling your glucose levels can reduce your risk of diabetes and complications by 40% or more.

Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, is a unique vegetable-fruit that is used both as food or medicine. It thrives in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, growing off the vine as a green, oblong-shaped fruit rich in many vitamins and minerals. It has long been used in the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda as a therapy for a number of ailments, including type 2 diabetes.

Bitter melon contains at least three active substances with anti-diabetes properties, including charantin - which has been shown to have a blood glucose-lowering effect - as well as vicine and an insulin-like compound known as polypeptide-p. All of these naturally occurring chemicals work together to reduce blood sugar levels.

Bitter melon also contains a lectin that reduces blood glucose levels by suppressing appetite, similar to the effects of insulin in the brain. This lectin is thought to be a major factor behind the hypoglycemic effect seen after eating bitter melon.

A number of clinical studies have been conducted to assess the efficacy of bitter melon in the treatment of diabetes.

The results of a four-week clinical trial published in 2011 showed that consuming 2 grams daily of bitter melon significantly reduced blood glucose levels among patients with type 2 diabetes.

Previous studies have also suggested an association between bitter melon intake and improved glycemic control, while a report published in 2008 showed that consuming bitter melon increased cellular uptake of glucose and improved glucose tolerance.

There are nutritional supplements designed to improve your insulin response and maintain normal blood sugar levels. The can contain high-quality, nutraceutical-grade Ayurvedic botanical extracts - including bitter melon, Shilajit, curcumin, fenugreek, and banaba - that help stabilize blood sugar naturally, with no known side effects.

So if you’d like to control your blood sugar levels and lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, why not try a supplement today?

Read more:

How Do I Reduce My Risk of Diabetes?

Gluco Harmony Customer Video Review

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Dangerous?

What to eat for Better Metabolic health

Are Artificial Sweeteners Dangerous to Your Health?

How to Naturally Take Control of Sugar Cravings

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Bitter Melon Lowers Diabetes Risk.

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Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients

by Health News
There’s no question that, when it comes to lowering cholesterol, your first step should be to eat healthy and exercise. But when you want that extra boost, these three nutrients should be at the top of your list.Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients
 
CoQ10—Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble compound found in every plant and animal cell. Research has shown that CoQ10 also prevents the oxidation of LDL—the pivotal step in artery clogging—and, along with vitamin E, can help to lower cholesterol levels. Plus, the frequently prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statins class significantly deplete CoQ10 stores, so it is particularly critical that you use CoQ10 if you are taking a statin. Aim for 100 mg of CoQ10 (as ubiquinone) daily.
 
Essential Fatty Acids— Essential fatty acids (EFAs), the omega-3's EPA and DHA, are fats that your body does not produce and you must therefore obtain through diet or supplementation. They are important for the production of series 1 and 3 prostaglandins, potent hormone-like anti-inflammatory substances that help regulate blood pressure, the breakdown of fat or cholesterol in your blood, heart rate, blood clotting, and your immune system’s response to injury and infection. EFAs also help decrease inflammation. Aim for 200 mg of EPA and 100 mg of DHA every day.
 
Quercetin—Quercetin belongs to the bioflavonoid family—a subgroup of flavonoids known for their potent antioxidant and antiviral capabilities. It also helps to maintain the strength of small blood vessels and reduce vascular fragility. In addition to its ability to reduce bleeding and bruising, quercetin is beneficial in preventing “sticky” platelets and promoting relaxation of the entire cardiovascular system. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate. Aim for 250 mg a day.
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Idea That All Fats Make You Fat Is A Myth

by Health News

Are you familiar with the myth that all fats make you fat?

Most people believe that low-fat and fat-free products are healthier, but it’s simply not true. On the other hand, some fats are healthy and may even promote weight loss. 

Your body requires fat in order to function properly. Not only that, many necessary vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. This means your body can only absorb them in the presence of fat.

These good fats will not only will you feel better - they will also satisfy your hunger without depriving your body of essential nutrients:

  1. Nuts are chockfull of amazing nutrients, healthy fats and protein. They are also rich sources of protein and unsaturated fats as well as concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and powerful anti-aging antioxidants. They are also one of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a heart-healthy plant omega-3 fat. Nuts are also rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that boosts immune function, promotes wound healing, improves blood vessel function and helps lower risk of heart disease. Further, they contain soluble fiber and vitamin E. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels, while vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant essential for proper immune function and healthy skin.
  2. Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps cleanse and protect your body by detoxifying, removing heavy metals and fighting free radicals. Glutathione helps maintain a healthy immune system and slows the aging process. Avocados are also rich in folate, which lowers the incidence of heart disease and stroke. They are also the best fruit source of Vitamin E.  Foods with omega-3 fats such as salmon, nuts, flax seed and avocados should be consumed regularly for good heart and brain health.
  3. Coconut products offer a wide range of health benefits. Coconut oil offers antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-cancer properties along with improving digestion, nutrient absorption and intestinal health. It also provides cardiovascular benefits and helps manage type 2 diabetes. Coconut oil promotes kidney and liver health and boosts the immune system. It also benefits metabolism, energy and weight management.
  4. Saturated fats in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides, which can be easily metabolized and used as energy by the body. Research suggests that these fatty acids may boost metabolism, promote weight loss and increase HDL, the ‘good’ protective cholesterol in the body.
  5. Olive oil is a very healthy oil to use when sautéing, baking and making salad dressing. This fantastic oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants such as chlorophyll, carotenoids, and vitamin E.  Olive oil is great for reducing blood pressure, cancer prevention, managing diabetes and lessening the severity of asthma and arthritis. Researchers from the Seven Countries Study found that monounsaturated fats in olive oil were mainly responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Olive oil also contains polyphenols, which are powerful anti-aging antioxidants. Including olive oil in the diet can also help to maintain a lower, healthy weight.
  6. Seeds contain beneficial fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They are also packed with health-promoting minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc, as well as powerful antioxidants, fiber and minerals.

So now that you know the idea that all fats makes you fat is a myth - why not add these healthy fats to your diet today?

 

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Five Fats That Don’t Make You Fat.

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5 Fats You Should Be Eating

by Health News

Do you know the idea that all fats makes you fat is really a myth?

Most people believe that low-fat and fat-free products are healthier, but it’s simply not true. On the other hand, some fats are healthy and may even promote weight loss. 

Healthy Fats Weight Loss

Your body requires fat in order to function properly. Not only that, many necessary vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. This means your body can only absorb them in the presence of fat.

These good fats will not only will you feel better - they will also satisfy your hunger without depriving your body of essential nutrients:

  1. Nuts are chockfull of amazing nutrients, healthy fats and protein. They are also rich sources of protein and unsaturated fats as well as concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and powerful anti-aging antioxidants. They are also one of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a heart-healthy plant omega-3 fat. Nuts are also rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that boosts immune function, promotes wound healing, improves blood vessel function and helps lower risk of heart disease. Further, they contain soluble fiber and vitamin E. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels, while vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant essential for proper immune function and healthy skin.
  2. Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps cleanse and protect your body by detoxifying, removing heavy metals and fighting free radicals. Glutathione helps maintain a healthy immune system and slows the aging process. Avocados are also rich in folate, which lowers the incidence of heart disease and stroke. They are also the best fruit source of Vitamin E.  Foods with omega-3 fats such as salmon, nuts, flax seed and avocados should be consumed regularly for good heart and brain health.
  3. Coconut products offer a wide range of health benefits. Coconut oil offers antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-cancer properties along with improving digestion, nutrient absorption and intestinal health. It also provides cardiovascular benefits and helps manage type 2 diabetes. Coconut oil promotes kidney and liver health and boosts the immune system. It also benefits metabolism, energy and weight management.
  4. Saturated fats in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides, which can be easily metabolized and used as energy by the body. Research suggests that these fatty acids may boost metabolism, promote weight loss and increase HDL, the ‘good’ protective cholesterol in the body.
  5. Olive oil is a very healthy oil to use when sautéing, baking and making salad dressing. This fantastic oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants such as chlorophyll (which accounts for part of the color in olive oil), carotenoids, and vitamin E.  Olive oil is great for reducing blood pressure, cancer prevention, managing diabetes and lessening the severity of asthma and arthritis. Researchers from the Seven Countries Study found that monounsaturated fats in olive oil were mainly responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Olive oil also contains polyphenols, which are powerful anti-aging antioxidants. Including olive oil in the diet can also help to maintain a lower, healthy weight.
  6. Seeds contain beneficial fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They are also packed with health-promoting minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc, as well as powerful antioxidants, fiber and minerals.

So now that you know the idea that all fats makes you fat is a myth - why not add these healthy fats to your diet today?

Source

 

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What are the Top 5 Anti-Aging Foods?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Can you live longer by living healthier?

While many factors ultimately decide how long a person lives, following a healthy lifestyle, staying physically and mentally active and regularly consuming nutrient-packed anti-aging foods can help to fight off disease and slow down the aging process.

What are the Top 5 Anti-Aging Foods?Here are five foods packed with vitamins, minerals and other healthy nutrients that you can add to your diet to live a longer, healthier life:

Olive Oil - Researchers from the Seven Countries Study found that monounsaturated fats in olive oil were mainly responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Olive oil also contains polyphenols, which are powerful anti-aging antioxidants known to help prevent age-related diseases.

Fish - Western health experts have always wondered why native Inuits of Alaska are so remarkably free of heart disease. Now they know it has to do with the large amounts of fish the Inuits consume. Cold water fish are an abundant source of omega-3 fats which offer many anti-aging benefits such as protecting your heart, reducing risk of stroke, and even lowering risk of Alzheimer’s disease by reducing overall inflammation. A study of middle-aged American men found that those who ate fish two to three times every week had a 40% lower mortality rate than those who did not. In men who had previously suffered a heart attack, eating fish twice a week lowered their mortality risk by 29%.

Cocoa/ Dark Chocolate - Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation rapidly ages skin. Eating or drinking dark chocolate or cocoa has been shown to protect skin against harmful UV exposure. Cocoa beans, from which chocolate is made, have a higher antioxidant capacity than any other food. The high concentration of antioxidant flavanols in cocoa beans reduces inflammation of the skin caused by exposure to UV light. Not only that, eating dark chocolate increases circulation, preserving healthy and youthful blood vessels - lowering risk of high BP, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.

Nuts - Studies of Seventh-Day Adventists have shown that those who eat nuts gain, on average, an extra two and a half years of life. Nuts are rich sources of protein, unsaturated fats, as well as concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals - including powerful anti-aging antioxidants. Nuts also contain omega-3 fats which are great for heart health. They're a good source of potassium, which helps to lower BP; vitamin E, which helps to prevent cell damage; and calcium, which helps to maintain strong bones.

Wine - Drinking one glass of red wine every day has been shown to be good for your heart. Antioxidants and nutrients in red wine can prevent heart disease because they protect arteries and the lining of blood vessels. One of the best recognized anti-aging components in red wine is an antioxidant called resveratrol, which has been shown to prevent blood clots, reduce cancer risk, decrease inflammation and lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol. Also, alcohol in moderation keeps blood clots from forming and increases levels of ‘good’ HDL-cholesterol.

Given the many natural benefits of these anti-aging foods, why not consider adding them to your diet today?

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Can Cherries help lower Your Risk for Heart Disease?

 

 

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