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Where Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Come From?

by IVL Products

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

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

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

EPA and DHA Fatty Acids

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

ALA Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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

Related:  Fish Oil: A Miracle Cure for Stress?

Fish Oil Supplements

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

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

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

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

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Top Five Fish Oil Benefits for Women

by Health News

fish oil benefits for woman are surprisingThe benefits of omega-3 fish oil cannot be overemphasized. Daily supplements of this simple, cheap source of omega-3 fatty acids can support healthy, supple arteries, lower the risk of heart disease and reduce inflammation which causes arthritis and joint pain; and that's just for starters. There are even more fish oil benefits for women –so checkout these top five reasons to start taking fish oil regularly.

1. Promotes Weight Loss

Studies show that taking 600 mg fish oil supplements per day in conjunction with regular exercise and a calorie-restricted diet can be far more effective than diet, or diet and exercise, alone. Fish oil appears to boost fat-burning by switching on the enzymes that oxidize fat during exercise.

2. Improves Skin

Women tend to be more conscious of their aging skin and want to keep it looking youthful and wrinkle-free for as long as possible. Fish oil is full of DHA and EPA essential fatty acids which support healthy glowing skin. Fish oil benefits for women's skin include increased hydration, less spots and acne, regulated oil production and fewer wrinkles.  Even men wouldn’t turn down those benefits!

3. Reduces Depression

Women are statistically twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Hormonal changes in puberty and menopause, post-natal "baby blues," biological factors and personal circumstances can all lead to women being diagnosed with depression.

RelatedNatural Remedies for Mild Depression

Omega-3 fish oil supplements have been shown to help keep those overwhelming feelings at bay. Scientists noticed that people living in countries where cold water fish were a major part of the diet had fewer reported cases of depression. Research suggests that raising the level of omega-3 in the blood stream, either by eating fish regularly or taking fish oil supplements, allows more absorption of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant.

4. Improves Fetal Brain Function

There are dozens of compelling reasons why pregnant women should take omega-3, according to this American pregnancy article.  In particular, fish oil is essential for the development of the neurological system of the unborn baby. It is also important for baby's visual development and helps the mother provide breast milk after the birth – yet more excellent fish oil benefits for women.

5. Slows Breast Tumor Development

According to the American Association of Breast Cancer, studies show an inverse correlation between high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and the risk of breast cancer. Specific studies on breast cancer and fish oil have shown positive indicators that fish oil slows cancerous cell growth, particularly in breast tumor development.

These are all highly significant fish oil benefits for women, making it a must for every woman to eat oily fish or take supplements on a regular basis. 

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Fish Oil and Weight Loss: the Amazing Connection

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to Business Week, U.S. consumers spend $40 billion dollars a year on weight-loss programs and products, and that's a conservative estimate. Despite throwing so much money at the obesity problem, the National Institutes for Health reports that 66% (two out of three) adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. While Jenny Craig meal plans and Atkins shakes continue to cost dieters a fortune, scientists are working on a much cheaper and more effective solution for weight loss:  fish oil.

Scientific studies are showing success with fish oil weight loss

Compelling Fish Oil Weight Loss Studies

Several new studies into fish oil weight loss are showing promising results. A scientific study in Japan showed that mice fed omega-3 fatty acids and encouraged to exercise had a faster metabolic rate and put on less weight than mice that did not have the same regimen.

In Australia, a scientific study on 75 people who were overweight/obese and had additional risk of heart disease found that taking 600 mg fish oil supplements along with regular exercise led to a loss of 4.5 pounds in the three week period, without any change to the participants' diet. In contrast, those who took sunflower oil supplements (with no omega-3) or those who took omega-3 supplements without exercising saw no change in their weight or fat deposits.

Finally, the University of Georgia reported their findings about fish oil weight loss in the Journal of Nutrition. Their studies showed that fish oil prevented pre-fat cells from becoming fat cells by effectively causing the pre-fat cells to die. This meant that there was less fat stored in the body.  

Related:  Seven Psychological Barriers to Maintaining Healthy Weight Loss

How Fish Oil Weight Loss Works

Gathering together all the information from these studies, it appears that taking fish oil supplements of 600 mg per day acts as a catalyst for the body to increase fat metabolism when exercise is performed. This increase in fat-burning leads to lower fat deposits in the body, specifically belly fat.

If exercise is absent, then the fish oil provides many other health benefits including supporting a healthy cardiovascular system and lowering inflammation, but it does not trigger weight loss in itself.

The Australian study was performed on overweight/obese people who continued with the same eating habits. However, by combining omega-3 fish oil, exercise, and a calorie controlled diet, faster weight loss could be expected than just restricting calories alone.

Tips for Fish Oil Weight Loss Success

  • Choose a high quality fish oil supplement that has a high level of DHA and EPA for the best results.
  • Check the origin of the fish oil. Alaskan fisheries tend to supply fish with less toxic metals.
  • Discuss your fish oil supplementation with your doctor, especially if you are already on medication. Although fish oil is safe, it may counteract other meds.  

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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What’s Causing Your Memory Loss?

by IVL Products

A forgotten appointment, misplaced keys, or struggling to find the correct word during a conversation…some people might chock these incidents up to simple absentmindedness.  For those in middle age or older however, episodes of forgetfulness can be scary, conjuring worries of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.  Fortunately, according to the National Institute on Aging, memory loss is often treatable once a cause has been established.  Becoming better informed can help people determine whether their forgetfulness is cause for concern. 

A number of factors can contribute to memory loss.

Memory loss can strike at any time in life and is influenced by many factors.  Here are some of the key causes:

Sleep Apnea

Memory loss accompanied by headache and recurrent daytime fatigue may be related to sleep apnea.  This condition causes breathing to stop for brief but frequent periods in the course of a night.  Research shows that untreated sleep apnea can impair spatial navigational memory, which is the type utilized to locate objects like keys.

Related:  Five Natural Supplements for Brain Health

Medications

Some medications can impact memory and may need adjustment.  These include:

  • Medications for anxiety
  • Medications for diabetes
  • Medications for pain
  • Medications for reducing cholesterol
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleeping pills

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Because vitamin B12 is important for healthy nerve function, a deficiency can result in confusion, memory loss, and other dementia-like symptoms.  Good food sources of vitamin B12 include dairy products, poultry, beef, and fish.  To ensure proper daily amounts, people can also obtain vitamin B12 through dietary supplements.

Anxiety, Depression, and Stress

High levels of anxiety or stress can affect attention, focus, and memory, particularly when paired with sleep problems.  Techniques like yoga, meditation, guided imagery, or tai chi can help manage stress and improve sleep.  

If left untreated, chronic anxiety can lead to depression, which can also impact memory.  According to the National Institute on Aging, people can try certain types of medication and/or counseling to ease symptoms of depression.

Silent Stroke

Sometimes people have a stroke without being aware of it.  While a silent stroke doesn't exhibit any of the normal symptoms, it does cause changes in brain function, which can affect cognition and memory.  Vascular cognitive impairment from silent stroke can range from mild to severe.

Tips for Preventing Memory Loss

According to a study from the School of Medicine at UCLA, healthy lifestyle strategies can have a beneficial effect on memory and cognition.  Take advantage of these tips to help prevent memory loss.

  • Don't use tobacco products.
  • Eat a nutritious diet, and drink plenty of water.
  • Get regular physical exercise.
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one per day for women.
  • Manage stress levels.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise the brain with word, number, or jigsaw puzzles.
  • Boost brain power by reading books, learning a new language, or taking up a musical instrument.

Conclusion

People with concerns about forgetfulness should consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.  Sharing symptoms and submitting to any required testing can help doctors determine what's causing your memory loss.  A few beneficial lifestyle strategies help to promote a healthy brain and a strong memory.

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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.

Related Five Natural Anti-aging Solutions

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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Where Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Come From?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, omega-3 fatty acids are among the most important nutrients we need for a healthy body and sharp mind. Not only do omega-3s lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, they also regulate cholesterol triglyceride levels, ease joint pain and support brain health. Let’s look at where these essential fatty acids come from.

Oily fish is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids

Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Although there is no official recommended daily amount (RDA) of omega-3 fatty acids, the American Heart Association recommends 1gram per day for people with heart disease, and 2-4 grams per day for those using Omega-3 to lower triglyceride levels. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

Fish

Fish and krill are the best sources of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the main omega-3 fatty acids we need for top health benefits. Enjoy fish in your diet two to three times a week to top up your levels of omega-3 fatty acids naturally. Sources include:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Sturgeon
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Freshwater trout

Unfortunately, many sources of fresh fish are polluted and contain traces of industrial toxins, poisons, heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Tuna, sea bass and marlin are known to have levels of mercury that exceed the amounts approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The exceptions to this potential health hazard are wild-caught Alaskan salmon and small fish such as sardines and krill that are lower down the food chain.

Even farmed salmon does not escape the problem of toxic pollution. In addition, the levels of omega 3 fatty acids it contains are only about half of that found in wild-caught fish.

Related:  Omega 3, 6 and 9: the Basics

Fish Oil

Fish oil supplements are an easy way to source omega-3 fatty acids. However, you need to check the source to avoid the same contaminants as fresh fish. In addition, fish oil supplements generally have lower levels of antioxidants than fresh fish.

Krill Oil

Krill are small marine creatures that have 48 times more potency for omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil. Krill naturally contains astaxanthin, which metabolizes with the EPA and DHA to make them more bioavailable in the body. In addition, krill fishing is completely sustainable and eco-friendly, making it a recommended source of those essential omega-3 fatty acids. 

What about Plant-Sourced Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Plant-sourced omega-3 fatty acids come from flaxseed, hemp and chia which all produce alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). This is converted into EPA and DHA in the body, but it is a much less efficient way of obtaining the required amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Although plant-based omega-3 does not have the possible dangers of metal toxins found in marine animals, you need sufficient enzymes for the body to convert the ALAs for use in the body.

The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is to choose a high quality fish oil supplements from a reputable company who source their omega-3 from certified, sustainable Alaskan fisheries. 

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What’s Causing Your Memory Loss

by Health News

Although memory loss is a normal part of growing older, we don’t have to accept this as inevitable. Understanding the causes of memory loss and taking action are the first steps to minimize memory problems before they escalate. As well as allowing you to enjoy a full life, preventing memory loss can also save on medical costs and worry down the road.

Word games can help reduce memory loss

Causes of Memory Loss

Age-related memory loss is commonly attributed to early stage Alzheimer’s and dementia, but it can be caused by other social choices and medical problems such as:

Memory Loss Symptoms

Memory loss is defined as becoming more forgetful than normal. The aging process means that older people may take longer to remember things, particularly names of people and places. You may become more forgetful and absentminded, starting off to get something and forgetting what it was you needed. This is very different from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which are a form of brain disease.

Related:  Sleep Plays a Vital Role in Brain Health

Reducing the Risk of Memory Loss

Although dementia is currently irreversible, there are plenty of ways to help you improve your memory and reduce forgetfulness. First of all, ensure you are eating a healthy diet and sleeping well. Saturated fat is known to impair memory and concentration, while fresh fruit and vegetables are high in antioxidants to protect the brain cells from damaging free radicals.

If you feel your memory loss is caused by certain medications, consult your doctor about substitutes. Keep a record of the days you feel particularly woolly headed and see if it improves with a change of medication or activity. Treating depression can be helpful if depression is the root cause of your poor memory, although antidepressants may contribute to memory loss.

Taking daily supplements can ensure that your memory loss is not caused by a vitamin deficiency. A lack of vitamin B12, for example, can lead to pernicious anemia. Symptoms include tiredness, a yellowish skin tone, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, difficulty maintaining balance and poor memory. Other health supplements are formulated to support brain health, cognitive function and memory.

Although our frenetic lifestyle means we have to remember far more in terms of passwords, multiple phone numbers and PINs, our brains are capable of far more than we ever require of them. Keep your brain active and alert with puzzles such as Sudoku or crosswords. Reading is another way to continually make use of words which can exercise and improve your memory.

Finally, try using mnemonics tricks using word association, rhymes, acronyms, colors and other devices to recall a word, name or information. It’s fun and with a little practice it can counter your memory loss.

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Omega-3 Fish Oil for Weight Loss

by IVL Products

Many people understand how omega-3 fish oil can be great for healthy joints and skin, but there are also many benefits of omega-3 fish oil for weight loss.

Discover the benefits of omega-3 fish oil for weight loss

A study at the University of South Australia on 75 overweight individuals with a high risk of cardiovascular disease divided the participants into four groups.

  • Group one received doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements from tuna and did no exercise
  • Group two received doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements from tuna and ran for 45-minutes three times a week
  • Group three received doses of sunflower oil (without any omega-3) and did no exercise
  • Group four received doses of sunflower oil supplements and ran for 45-minutes three times a week.

After three weeks, tests showed that little had changed in three groups, but the group that took fish oil and exercised showed a decrease in body fat and lost an average 4.5 pounds. This is great news for dieters, showing the definite benefits of omega-3 fish oil for weight loss in conjunction with exercise.

Why Do Omega-3 Fish Oils and Exercise Promote Weight Loss?

It seems paradoxical that eating fatty oils can actual help you burn body fat and shed unwanted pounds, but this is what many other studies have also shown.

This anomaly works because taking omega-3 fish oil supplements increases the body’s metabolism by activating fat-burning enzymes, particularly around the belly.

In another study, researchers gave one group of people eight capsules of fish oil supplements; two at breakfast, three at lunchtime and three in the evening. The second group was given a placebo. Both groups were given exactly the same amount of food and exercise. Those who took the omega-3 fish oils lost an average of two pounds compared to the placebo group which lost on average 0.7 pounds. In addition, the omega-3 group burned 1,775 calories per day compared to 1,710 calories by the placebo group. This clearly shows that taking fish oil supplements in conjunction with exercise can burn calories as part of a calorie-controlled weight-loss diet. 

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How Fish Oil Increases Joint Mobility

by Cindy Gray

Did you know there are over 300 joints in the human body?  Each one of those joints benefit from omega-3 fish oil sourced from oily fish or fish oil supplements. Here’s how!

There are many proven benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints

The ends of the bones in the body are cushioned with cartilage, which buffers unyielding bones from jolts and shocks that are part of daily wear and tear. Synovial fluid also fills the cavities of joints, further reducing friction between the bone and cartilage. In a healthy joint, this works well, but inflammation, wear and tear, and loss of synovial fluid due to age can all lead to painful joints. Research now shows that the significant benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints can help significantly reduce inflammation, and ease painful joints.

Causes of Joint Pain

Arthritis is a common cause of joint pain in older adults. Osteoarthritis in particular can limit joint mobility as the cartilage deteriorates, exposing the bone and making walking painful. It may be the result of advancing age, obesity or it may be triggered by injury. There are many studies underway to better understand the benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints.

Unlike arthritis, which tends to be age-related, rheumatoid arthritis affects all ages. This autoimmune disease means that the body attacks its own tissue resulting in painful deformed joints. Gout is another type of arthritis caused when uric acid crystals form in the synovial fluid, inevitably causing excruciating pain.

Related:  Top Foods to Help Ease Chronic Joint Pain

Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil for Joints

Research has shown that certain foods help relieve painful joints, namely oily fish and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil contains two different types of fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Both demonstrate the significant benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

Although doctors do not yet fully understand why omega-3s help relieve painful joints, research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that omega-3 produces resolvin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that helps to relieve arthritic joints.

Other benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints include relieving morning stiffness and reducing tenderness in the affected joints. Unlike NSAID medications, fish oil does not cause unpleasant side effects such as kidney problems, stomach ulcers and tinnitus.

Numerous clinical trials have shown the benefits of omega-3 fish oil for joints, making it a safe, affordable and effective treatment for all types of joint pain; as well as supporting a healthy heart, helping to lower cholesterol and maintain mental acuity. Check with your doctor if you are on medications or blood thinners before taking fish oil supplements, and choose a high quality omega-3 supplement from a safe and sustainable source. 


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Are Fish Oil Supplements Good for the Skin?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Don’t underestimate the benefits of omega-3 fish oil for skinWhoever said that “beauty is only skin deep” probably had beautiful skin! Skin is the body’s largest organ and millions of dollars a year are spent on creams, lotions and treatments to make it look glowing and wrinkle-free. However, it makes sense to treat the skin from the inside, as well as externally.  That’s where the benefits of omega-3 fish oil for skin come into play.

According to Laurie Tansman, a New York nutritionist at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, foods high in omega-3s such as oily fish, nuts and green vegetables, heal the skin and repair damaged cell membranes from the inside out.

Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil for Skin Irritation

So what can omega-3 fish oils do for the skin? Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which is why fish oil is so good for our overall health. The benefits of omega-3 fish oil for skin quickly become apparent when you start taking a daily fish oil supplement.

Omega-3 fish oil reduces redness and limits irritation, moisturizing each skin cell naturally from the inside. These natural omega-3 oils are particularly effective for those who suffer from eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis, producing a clearer skin as the fatty acids encourage the skin cells to produce chemicals to control the inflammation.

Omega-3 Fish Oil for Dry Skin

Rich in polyunsaturated fats, fish oils are a natural source of moisturizer for skin, particularly if it is naturally dry. Its restores lost oils and locks in moisture to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

In addition, fish oil supplements were used in a clinical study at Maryland Medical Center to show that taking fish oil can help those with sun sensitive skin (called photo dermatitis). Although sunscreen is essential for protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays, fish oil strengthens and supports that defense.

Related:  Omega-7: There's a New Healthful Omega Fat in Town

EPAs Improve Skin

There are three main types of omega 3 fatty acids:

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) sourced from plants, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are both found in fish oils. EPA has been found to help reduce stress, a major cause of premature skin aging. By reducing the effects of stress on the whole body, EPAs indirectly provide further benefits of omega-3 fish oil for skin.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive creams for healthy looking skin. Taking high quality fish oil supplements daily will soon provide you with beautiful, clear skin, and there’s a beauty bonus too. Omega-3 fish oils are also good for strong nails and a healthy head of hair. Beauty may seem to be only skin deep, but it definitely starts from the inside!

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6 Super Easy Ways to Get Rid of Indigestion Fast

by Cindy Gray

Indigestion affects most people at one time or another. It can range from mild discomfort below the ribs to severe pain that prevents you from sleeping. Understanding the cause of indigestion can be the first step in remedying this common health issue.

Indigestion is a common health issue

Causes of Indigestion

Indigestion is generally caused by what you eat. Spicy foods can be hard to digest, especially late in the evening. Fatty foods laden with oil and cholesterol may also be hard for the body to digest. Overeating and excess alcohol are further common causes of indigestion. These can all cause acid reflux or GERD, when the stomach contents and pancreatic juices flow back up the esophagus causing pain, irritation, inflammation or a burning sensation.

If none of these causes apply, there is a chance that your indigestion is caused by a medical condition such as a stomach ulcer, gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome or pancreatitis, so you should consult your doctor without delay.

Related:  Five Supplements that Help Heal Tissue Damage Caused by Acid Reflux

Treat Indigestion Naturally with:

  1. Fruit and Vegetables

Returning to a more wholesome diet based on fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole wheat products can quickly remedy any ongoing problems of heartburn. In particular, bananas are high in potassium which alkalizes acid. They also prompt the stomach to produce more mucus which protects the stomach lining and esophagus. Apples also create an alkaline environment, reducing indigestion and acid reflux symptoms fast.

  1. Water

Sipping warm water can calm the stomach and aid digestion, particularly if the cause is overindulgence. However, you should not drink too much water or it may make you feel bloated.

  1. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is a known digestive aid and is easily taken as peppermint tea to soothe indigestion. Immerse the peppermint tea bag in hot water for 3-5 minutes. Remove the tea bag and cool before slowly sipping this healthy remedy.

  1. Fennel Seeds

Fennel is particularly good for treating stomach upsets caused by spicy foods. Fennel neutralizes the acid and reduces nausea quickly and safely. Simply added ground roasted fennel seeds to a glass of water and drink twice a day until the indigestion has gone.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is another excellent treatment for indigestion, especially if it is caused by overeating. Ginger accelerates the digestive process by helping the digestive process juices break down the food, moving it into the intestine faster. Simply grate a little ginger root into a glass of warm water. Add a few drops of lemon juice and honey to taste, then drink it down.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a versatile home remedy for all types of ailments including indigestion. Add one tablespoon to a cup of water sweetened with a little honey. Drink 3-4 times a day to relieve persistent indigestion naturally.

Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so try to work out what caused your indigestion, and take steps to avoid it in the future. 

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May be Vitamin E Deficient

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Vitamin E is a group of eight essential fat-soluble molecules that support a strong immune system. These antioxidants are used by cells in the body to carry out essential functions. Like many essential nutrients, a vitamin E deficiency can quickly lead to serious health problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, the body cannot produce vitamin E and must be consumed in your daily diet. Any deficiency means the body is unable to absorb healthy fats which can lead to nerve degeneration, muscle weakness, anemia and other serious issues.

Age spots may be a symptom of Vitamin E deficiency

See if you have any of the following five symptoms, which could mean you may need to increase your vitamin E intake.

Vitamin E Deficiency and Age Spots

Age spots are, as their name suggests, a natural part of aging. However, these dark freckle-like spots can be reduced by taking a 400 IU vitamin E supplement daily, and rubbing vitamin E oil on the spots before bed. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant known to aid tissue repair and slow the aging process, including the development of age spots.

Cataracts

Vitamin E deficiency can be responsible for poor vision, cataracts and retinal degeneration. If you have blurred vision or have difficulty seeing at night, a supplement will ensure that you are getting enough daily vitamin E to support and preserve your all-important eye health.

Related:  Antioxidants and Vision Health: Three Factors that Could Affect Your Vision

Lack of Sex Drive

Vitamin E is responsible for maintaining reproductive health and any deficiency can lead to miscarriages, infertility, impotence and other fertility problems. This vitamin also boosts circulatory flow to the genitalia and is important in the production of sex hormones, giving your libido a positive boost.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Any digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease or celiac problems can lead to a vitamin E deficiency as insufficient amounts are absorbed during the digestive process. If you suffer from any gastrointestinal problem, it is particularly important that you take a vitamin E supplement to boost intake. 

Dry or Thinning Hair

Vitamin E ensures good circulation which is essential for a healthy head of hair. Vitamin E deficiency may cause dry brittle hair or significant hair loss. Boost your intake by eating more beans (garbanzo beans make delicious hummus), nuts, seeds and olives in order to feed the scalp, nourish the hair follicles and boost blood circulation.

Even if you do not suffer from any of the above symptoms of vitamin E deficiency, you will benefit from a diet rich in vitamin E. It helps slow the aging process, reduces cardiovascular disease and maintains youthful-looking skin. That’s three good reasons to eat a healthy diet including eggs, broccoli, breakfast cereals, vegetable oils, fruit and vegetables. Alternatively, take a daily supplement that provides 100% of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin E.

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The Facts about Vitamin Deficiency Hair Loss

by Cindy Gray

Extra hair in the shower drain can cause some people undue stress and anxiety.  While there are a number of reasons for hair loss, sometimes vitamin deficiency is to blame.  Hair follicles need a steady supply of certain nutrients for optimal health, and a less-than-adequate diet can lead to excessive shedding.  Fortunately, vitamin deficiency hair loss is easily corrected with better nutrition and/or supplements.  

B vitamins, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin D are all important for correcting vitamin deficiency hair loss.

The Growth Process

Hair on the head sprouts from specialized follicles, forming strands of condensed cells.  Normal hair growth follows a cycle which includes an active phase, a transitional phase, a resting phase, and a new growth phase.  During the last phase, follicles push out the old hair, and it sheds.  A vitamin deficiency or other condition that disrupts any part of the growth cycle can cause more shedding than is normal. 

Vitamins Important to Hair Health

Due to busy lifestyles, many people eat on the run or skip meals.  Nutrient-poor fast food and not eating at all can add up, resulting in a vitamin deficiency.  Low levels of any of the following nutrients can affect hair health

B Vitamins

A number of B vitamins help guard against vitamin deficiency hair loss.  B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B7 (biotin), and B12 (cobalamin) all help promote stronger hair follicles.  In addition, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) makes hair more flexible and shiny, and B6 (pyridoxine) helps prevent dandruff.

Foods high in many B vitamins include dairy products, fortified whole grain cereals, leafy green vegetables, various meats, legumes, and nuts, but people can take a vitamin B-complex supplement to ensure adequate daily amounts of all of these nutrients and more.

Related:  The One Tactic that Can Stop Hair Thinning

Vitamin D

A study from Cairo University showed that women with Telogen effluvium (TE) and female pattern hair loss (FPHL) showed lower levels of vitamin D than women in a control group.  People can get most of the vitamin D they need through the sun, but inhabitants of northern regions or those who don't spend much time outdoors can benefit from foods rich in vitamin D and/or vitamin D supplements.  Wild-caught salmon, mushrooms, beef liver, and fortified grains are good sources of vitamin D.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Many people are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids, which help keep various parts of the body healthy, including the hair.  Good sources of these important fats include cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines; and plant sources like walnuts and flaxseed. 

Iron

In addition to vitamin D deficiency, the study from Cairo University also showed low levels of iron for women with TE and FPHL.  Because too much stored iron can also cause health problems, people should get this mineral from foods in lieu of supplements, unless otherwise specified by a medical professional.  Good food sources include clams, oysters, red meat, fortified cereals, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, and spinach. 

Excessive hair loss can be distressing, but sometimes it's only a side effect of nutrient deficiency.  People can correct vitamin deficiency hair loss by simply changing their diet.  Because excessive shedding is a symptom of several conditions, people dealing with this problem should consult with a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

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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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Do You Have a Vitamin A Deficiency?

by Health News

It takes an entire alphabet of nutrients to keep the body healthy, and the list begins with vitamin A.  This important vitamin helps ensure that photoreceptors, or light-sensitive nerve cells in the eye's retina, function properly.  Vitamin A is also important to the health of the skin, lungs, intestine, and urinary tract, and it helps prevent infection.  Most people around the world get plenty of vitamin A through foods or multivitamins, but vitamin A deficiency is common in developing countries or in areas where people do not eat enough eggs or vegetables. 

Vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and orange bell peppers help prevent vitamin A deficiency.

Problems with Vitamin A Absorption

While most cases of vitamin A deficiency come from inadequate nutrition, it can also be a side effect of certain health disorders.  Conditions like celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, blockage of the bile ducts, and some pancreatic disorders can diminish the body's ability to metabolize fats, which impairs vitamin A absorption.  

Related:  Five Myths about Vitamins

Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms

The first symptom of vitamin A deficiency is a reduced ability to see in dimmer light, or night blindness.  If left untreated, foamy deposits called Bitot spots can form in the whites of the eyes, and people can develop xerophthalmia, a condition in which the whites and corneas of the eyes become thick and dry.  Softening and deterioration of dry corneas can result in blindness.  In fact, vitamin A deficiency is a common cause of blindness in developing countries.

Other vitamin A deficiency symptoms include:

  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Thickening of the lungs, intestine, and urinary tract
  • Frequent infection

Sources of Vitamin A

There are two types of vitamin A:  preformed vitamin A found in animal products and provitamin A found in fruits and vegetables.  Foods that contain vitamin A include dairy products, organ meats, fortified breakfast cereals, salmon, leafy green vegetables, and orange and yellow produce like cantaloupe, apricots, mangoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash. 

Research

Studies show that people who consume high amounts of plant-based vitamin A (but not vitamin A supplements) may reduce risks for lung or prostate cancer.  On the flipside, smokers who consume high doses of vitamin A supplements actually can increase their risk of lung cancer.

Studies have found that vitamin A supplements can be valuable for deficient children in developing countries who contract the measles.  High doses of the vitamin reduce fever and diarrhea caused by measles and lower risks for death from the disease.

Dangers of Excessive Vitamin A

Just as vitamin A deficiency can have negative effects on the body, so too can having an excessive amount of vitamin A levels.  Side effects include cracked lips, dry skin, hair loss, headache, weak bones, and brain pressure.  Getting vitamin A from food rather than supplements helps because the conversion process is very slow.  However, if consumed in large quantities, carotenoids in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables can turn the skin yellow, particularly on the palms and soles of the feet.

Vitamin A is important to the human body in many ways.  To maintain good health, it is important to get enough vitamin A, but too much can cause problems.  People worried about vitamin A deficiency should see a medical professional for a blood test and treatment options.

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Are You Suffering from Vitamin C Deficiency?

by IVL Products

Vitamins and minerals play a significant role when it comes to obtaining adequate nutrition and staying healthy.  Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, contributes to cell growth and repair, circulation, and iron absorption.  It is also important for the production of collagen, a protein found in blood vessels, skin, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.  In most parts of the world, serious vitamin C deficiency (or scurvy) is relatively uncommon because vitamin C is found naturally in many foods and is added to other food as well.  However, smoking, excessive alcohol use, a compromised diet, or certain medical conditions can result in lowered levels of vitamin C in the body.

Foods like citrus fruits, papaya, bell peppers, and broccoli help prevent vitamin C deficiency.

According to medical center experts at the University of Maryland, vitamin C deficiency has been linked to various medical problems like atherosclerosis, certain cancers, gallbladder disease, and high blood pressure.  Animal studies also indicate that low levels of vitamin C can lead to biochemical changes in the body which affect behavior. 

A study from Vanderbilt University found that mice deprived of vitamin C showed depressive-like behavior, reduced movement and strength, and greater preference for sugar.  Behaviors returned to normal with restoration of vitamin C, with the exception of depressive-like symptoms.  

Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

People with scurvy often develop anemia and swollen, bleeding gums.  Additional signs and symptoms that may indicate a vitamin C deficiency include brittle hair, easily bruised skin, and nosebleeds.

Related:  Vitamin E Deficiency

Sources of Vitamin C

Because it is water soluble, vitamin C is not stored by the body.  This means people need to get it through food or supplements.  Some excellent food sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, mangoes, papayas, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.  Vitamin C supplements come in tablets, capsules, effervescent powders, and liquids.  People who depend on supplements for vitamin C should strive for 250-500 mg, twice a day. 

Vitamin C deficiency can result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms.  Fortunately, they can be prevented with the consumption of certain foods or supplements.  People who are concerned about a vitamin C deficiency should first consult with a health care professional to rule out other possibilities. 

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May Have a Vitamin D Deficiency

by Health News

When it comes to good health, people depend on vitamins.  Dubbed the "sunshine vitamin" because it is made by the body when exposed to the sun, vitamin D is important to the health in many ways.  It aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, it helps maintain healthy bones and teeth, and it offers protection against the development of certain types of cancer, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and high blood pressure.  Despite the many benefits of vitamin D, roughly 75 percent of American teens and adults have deficient levels.  Five signs and symptoms can help determine whether you may have a vitamin D deficiency.

1.  Darker Skin

According to research, vitamin D deficiency is more widespread among people with darker skin because pigmentation in the skin works like a natural sunscreen.  Therefore, people with darker skin need to spend more time in the sun than people with lighter skin to maintain healthy levels.

2.  Age of 50 Years or Greater

People age 50 and over tend to spend less time outdoors than younger people, which contributes to vitamin D deficiency in this age group.  In addition, aging skin makes less vitamin D when exposed to the sun, and the kidneys aren't as efficient in converting vitamin D into a usable form.

3.  Depressed Mood

A study in 2006 examined how vitamin D levels affected the mood of 80 elderly patients.  Those with the worst vitamin D deficiency were 11 times more likely to be depressed than patients with normal vitamin D levels.  Experts believe this effect may have to do with serotonin, a hormone in the brain associated with mood.  Research shows that serotonin levels rise with greater exposure to sunlight and fall when exposure lessens.

Related:  Three Hormonal Causes of Depression

4.  Excessive Body Weight

Studies have found that body fat collects vitamin D and keeps it from entering the bloodstream.  Research published in the International Journal of Obesity also showed that excessive body fat may inhibit the body's ability to use vitamin D effectively.

5.  Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity can affect the body's absorption of fat.  Because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, people with these conditions often have lower vitamin D levels. 

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for good health.  While sunlight offers the best source, people can also obtain this valuable nutrient through certain foods or vitamin D supplements.  Good food sources include wild-caught salmon, mackerel, sardines, or vitamin D-fortified milk, yogurt, cereal, or juice.  When it comes to daily supplements, many experts suggest 600 to 800 IU for children and adults, but others recommend 1000 IU.

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May Have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

by Cindy Gray

Vitamin B12 is one of the B-complex vitamins that are essential for good health.  The body uses it to manufacture red blood cells, nerve cells, and DNA, and vitamin B12 is important to metabolism and cardiovascular health.  Like many other vitamins, B12 is not manufactured by the body, which means people must get it from food or supplements.  Consuming inadequate amounts of this important vitamin, or problems with its absorption, can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition that is somewhat common, especially among older people.  Read on to learn about five signs and symptoms of deficiency

Clams are just one of the many food sources that help prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.

1.  Weakness

One of the first signs of vitamin B12 deficiency is body weakness, a natural consequence of reduced levels of red blood cells.  Because weakness is a symptom of a variety of physical conditions, people should consult with a medical professional to rule out possibilities.

2.  Gastrointestinal Disorders

Certain gastrointestinal disorders like colitis, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and leaky gut syndrome can affect absorption of vitamin B-12.  Supplements and B-12 shots can help prevent vitamin B12 deficiency in people with these conditions.

Related:  Five Simple Tips for Healthy Vision

3.  Vision Loss  

Low levels of vitamin B12 can have a negative effect on the optic nerve, but supplements can help.  A study from Japan examining 28 patients with glaucoma showed improvements with a daily dose of 1500 mcg of vitamin B12 over five years.  The participants receiving B12 experienced reduced peripheral vision loss, more stable visual acuity, and better control over eye fluid pressure than participants that did not receive vitamin B12.

4.  Shortness of Breath

Failure to absorb vitamin B12 can result in a reduction of red blood cells that can lead to a condition called pernicious anemia.  Symptoms of this condition include shortness of breath and fatigue.

5.  Memory Loss

Vitamin B12 deficiency can impact brain function, causing symptoms like disorientation, difficulty thinking, and memory loss.  Research shows supplements can help. 

A study from Australian National University found that older adults who received supplements containing vitamin B12 and folic acid over two years experienced better results on tests for short-term and long-term memory than participants who did not receive the supplements. Researchers speculated that results might be due to lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to poor cognitive function.

Sources of Vitamin B12

Natural food sources of B12 all come from animal products and good options include clams, beef, turkey, oysters, chicken, trout, and salmon.  People who are vegan, vegetarian, or those with absorption issues can benefit from foods fortified with synthetic B12 or B12 supplements. 

People need vitamin B12 to stay healthy, but according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, about 23 percent of adults above the age of 49 have some level of deficiency.  People who are concerned about vitamin B12 deficiency should visit a medical professional for a blood test and treatment options.

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Prevent Heart Disease: Best Foods for Heart Health

by Cindy Gray

Heart disease continues to be a top killer of both men and women in the United States. However, just a few changes in your diet and lifestyle can dramatically lower your risk.

In this week’s video you learned about the heart health benefits of dark leafy greens, berries, and whole grains. Foods containing healthy fats are particularly protective such as avocados, wild caught salmon, nuts and olive oil. Certain spices contain strong anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that can lower your risk. Ginger and turmeric are two great examples. Garlic is also great for your heart. Many studies show that it lowers blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and has strong antioxidants that protect your blood vessels against damage. Just a few cloves a week can significantly lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes. If you prefer, you can take an aged-garlic supplement.

Related What are the Top 5 Anti-Aging Foods?

Certain drinks are great for your heart health too. For example, green tea decreases several cardiovascular risk factors including high cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as blockages in arteries. Studies show that drinking 5 or more cups a day can reduce your risk of death from heart attaches and strokes by 26%. If you prefer drinking coffee, you’ll be glad to know it can lower your risk too. Researchers found women who drink at least 2 cups of coffee per day have a 25% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Five cups or more a day can reduce stroke deaths by 36%.

Even certain guilty pleasure foods can lower your risk of heart disease. For instance, dark chocolate (60-70% cacao) contains strong antioxidants, which can lower blood pressure, raise your “good” HDL cholesterol, and prevent blockages in your arteries. Because chocolate usually contains sugar and is high in calories, limit the amount you eat to just an ounce or two a day.

Remember that heart disease is mostly preventable. By simply making some wiser food choices, you can profoundly lower your risk. 

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