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Just the Flax for Menopause Symptoms

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The worrying health risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause have led many women to look for a natural treatment for menopause symptoms. Studies showed that flaxseed appeared to reduce hot flashes and improve other symptoms.

Pour cold press flaxseed oil over breakfast granola as a natural treatment for menopause.

A clinical study was organized on a test group of 21 menopausal women. At the end of the six-week flaxseed-based natural treatment for menopause, results showed that the women who took flaxseed had a 50% decrease in the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Participants also reported major improvements in mood, joint and muscle pain and overall enjoyed a better quality of life.

How Flaxseed Works as a Natural Treatment for Menopause

Flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. High in antioxidants, flaxseed has many health benefits for the cardiovascular system as it lowers the risk of heart disease. It is also the highest source of fiber (26%), easing constipation and irritable bowel disease. 

Lignans are plant-based phytoestrogens, making flaxseed mildly estrogenic. This means that it has similar properties to the hormone estrogen. These estrogen-balancing properties make flaxseed an excellent natural treatment for menopause symptoms.

Related:  Higher Serum-Lignan-Levels Associated with Increased Breast Cancer Survival

As well as reducing hot flashes, the estrogenic qualities of flaxseed help lower the risk of breast cancer. Excess estradiol is associated with hormonal cancers that commonly occur in postmenopausal women. The lignans in flaxseed exert a weaker estrogenic effect on the receptor cells than estradiol, blocking these harmful effects and protecting the breasts, uterus and cervical tissue from the risk of cancer.

Cold Press Flaxseed Oil

Like most health supplements, it pays to look for top quality flaxseed oil with high lignin content if you want the full benefit of a natural treatment for menopause. The best flax seed oil is produced from ground organic seeds using a cold milling process. This flaxseed oil should be stored in the refrigerator as it has a limited shelf life. However, the taste and benefits are exceptional.

Pour flaxseed oil lightly over your breakfast granola, add it to smoothies and shakes or drizzle over salads. This natural treatment for menopause has so many other health benefits; it should be taken by everyone, not just menopausal women!  

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Look Beyond NSAIDS For Inflammatory Arthritis Pain Relief

by Cindy Gray

More than 33 million Americans take NSAIDs every day to cope with the moderate to severe pain associated with inflammatory arthritis. While they may provide temporary relief, NSAIDs come with potentially serious side effects, and in some cases may even worsen the inflammation they are prescribed to relieve.

NSAIDs work by suppressing prostaglandins, which are lipids produced by the body to deal with injury. The body produces two types of prostaglandins, those that cause inflammation and those that fight inflammation. Unfortunately, NSAIDs suppress BOTH types of prostaglandins so the medications have the potential to do more harm than good.

It is important to note that NSAIDs are powerful drugs and they affect many organs in the body including the heart, kidney and liver. The gastrointestinal side effects are so well-documented that in 2009 the FDA ordered all manufacturers of NSAIDs to list the dangers on the product labels. Problems range from mild stomach upset to potentially fatal stomach bleeding and ulcers.

Related: Natural Anti-Inflammatory Supplements vs. NSAIDs

Many people risk the serious side effects because they think NSAIDs are their only option for pain relief, but there are many natural remedies that can ease the pain of inflammatory arthritis.  Millions of Americans use nutritional supplements to deal with arthritis symptoms.

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can speed the formation of new cartilage and help block enzymes that harm cartilage. A study conducted at Montreal Hospital found that patients who take supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin have less pain and inflammation. Arnica Montana, often called “mountain daisy” for its bright yellow flowers, has been used for centuries to treat joint pain. It is available in capsule and powdered forms online and in natural health stores.

Talk to your holistic health practitioner to determine the supplement formation and dosage that best suits your needs. Treat your back pain the natural way and avoid the harmful side effects of NSAIDs.   

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Three Fruits with Big Benefits as Constipation Home Remedies

by Cindy Gray

It’s a well-known fact that people who eat a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables are less prone to ill heath, constipation, heart disease and sickness. If you are looking for natural solutions for increasing nutrient intake or constipation home remedies, buy guava, star fruit and passion fruit and experiment with them. These tropical fruits are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and we highlight each one for its unique benefits to counter constipation.

Check out passion fruit for constipation home remedies

The Benefits of Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is a round fruit with a wrinkly skin containing soft green flesh. It is delicious to eat fresh, add to a smoothie or consume as a healthy drink. High in fiber and vitamins A and C, passion fruit is packed with antioxidants to counter harmful free radicals and reduce heart disease.

What’s special about passion fruit is that it has enzymes that aid digestion, which makes it an excellent food for constipation home remedies. Passion fruit appears to increase the digestive juices in the stomach during digestion. It boosts electrolyte levels and acts as an effective colon cleanser, which is what makes it so good for reliving constipation.

Guava is Great for Constipation Home Remedies

Ripe guava fruits are pear-shaped and soft to the touch with a pink blush to the light green/yellow skin. Inside, the fruit may be white, red or salmon colored and flavors range from ripe strawberry to fresh citrus, depending on the species.

Guava is high in fiber, giving it value as an important home remedy for constipation. The seeds are edible and can be chewed or swallowed whole as they are excellent laxatives. Guava retains water and cleanses the intestines as it passes through, making it ideal for those suffering with bloating or poor bowel habits.

Star Fruit Aids Constipation

Star fruits are easily identified with their five lobes which, when cut through horizontally, create a wonderful star-shaped slice of fruity goodness. The fruits are ready to eat when they are golden yellow all over and the taste is mildly sour.

What makes star fruit good for constipation home remedies is that it adds bulk and water to the bodily waste.

Enjoy experimenting with different ways to eat these three tropical fruits and enjoy the benefits of these natural constipation home remedies. You may also want to supplement them with a powdered green energy drink for an extra boost of energy and antioxidants.  Finally, here’s a tip for retaining the flavor in these tropical fruits: Never refrigerate them, unless they are over ripe, as they quickly lose their sweetness. Enjoy!

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Make Herbs Part of Your High Blood Pressure Diet Plan

by IVL Products

High blood pressure (or hypertension) affects more than 3 million people in the U. S. each year. Because it doesn't typically produce symptoms, it is often called the "silent killer."  If left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart disease or stroke. While some prescribed medications reduce blood pressure, changes in the diet can help as well.  Adding certain herbs to the grocery list makes a natural alternative for a high blood pressure diet plan

To optimize a high blood pressure diet plan, add herbs to the grocery list.

Cardamom

A plant that comes from India, cardamom is part of the ginger family and often used in South Asian cuisine.  A study examining the health benefits of cardamom found that consuming a powdered form each day for several months lowered blood pressure in study participants. Cardamom makes a good ingredient for spice rubs, soups, and stews, and it brings a delicious and unique flavor to baked goods.

Celery Seed

Celery seed makes a great addition to a high blood pressure diet plan.  Tasting and smelling like its whole vegetable counterpart, the seed has been used since ancient times to treat hypertension in China, and several studies back up its effectiveness.  People consume the seeds, seed extract, or juice the whole plant to gain benefits.  Celery seed makes a good ingredient for soups, stews, casseroles, and salads.

Related -  Natural Weight loss: Three Spices For Weight Loss

Garlic

While garlic is known for its pungent aroma and bold flavor, it also offers medicinal properties. Because the active ingredient, allicin, relaxes and dilates blood vessels, garlic may help to lower blood pressure.  A scientific review of 21 studies found that dried garlic supplements containing specific amounts of allicin consistently lowered blood pressure in the people taking it.  Garlic makes a delicious ingredient in a variety of savory dishes from pastas to soups.

Yucca

An evergreen native to North America, yucca goes by the nickname "ghosts in the graveyard" due to its tall white flowering stalks.  People consume the whole plant ─ mashed, fried, and grilled ─ or its extract as a supplement.  A study examining the anti-inflammatory effects of yucca extract found that it reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and the incidence of migraine headaches.  Its anti-inflammatory benefits also help people with osteoarthritis, colitis, and poor circulation. 

In addition to adding flavor, certain herbs offer medicinal properties like the ability to lower blood pressure.  Cardamom, celery seed, garlic, and yucca all make good choices for a high blood pressure diet plan.  Whether using the whole herb or a supplement, consult with a health care professional first.  Used in large quantities, some herbs may interfere with certain medications or produce side effects.

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Top Supplements for Healthy Skin

by Health News

Anyone looking for healthy and youthful looking skin can build a foundation with the right lifestyle choices, such as getting enough sleep, and avoiding harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco.  Of course, drinking plenty of water and eating the right foods and supplements is also key.  Your skin is, in fact, the largest organ in your body, and the health of your skin is most certainly a reflection of your overall health.  In this article, we will look at a few of the different vitamins and foods that can help you look your best.

Top Supplements for Healthy Skin

Omega-3

If your skin is in good shape, odds are that you are doing at least a few good things for your overall health and well-being.  In the last few years, medical science has become increasingly aware of the importance of omega 3-fatty acids in the role of brain, heart and skin health.  You can take omega-3 supplements for skin health, but you can also find omega-3 in foods such as wild Alaskan salmon and sardines.

Vitamins A and E

Foods rich in vitamins A and E, such as spinach, are great ways to improve not only the look of your skin, but also your overall health.  A good multivitamin supplement is also a way to make sure that you are getting enough of these important vitamins.

Carotenoids
Carotenoids, as found in foods like carrots and sweet potatoes, have a variety of health benefits and can also improve your overall skin health.  Foods rich in carotenoids are also high in antioxidants and anticancer properties.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid is a supplement that is getting increasing levels of interest.  The list of potential benefits of ALA is impressive and long and may help overall health and brain health in a variety of ways.  In addition to potentially improving skin health, ALA may play a role in liver health as well, making it a very important supplement.

Antioxidant Berry Extracts

Berries are very high in antioxidants.  However, it can be quite difficult to eat enough berries on a daily basis.  This is where antioxidant berry extracts and supplements can come into play.  Not only will antioxidant berry extracts improve your skin's overall health, but such supplements will also improve your general health.  They are high in antioxidants that combat oxidative stress and can combat premature aging.

One berry extract that has been getting a lot of attention lately is the Goji berry, which has the power to scavenge for free radicals. As a result, the Goji berry extract has been touted for its anti-aging properties.  High doses of Goji berry are available in capsule form.    

Healthy Skin Contributes to Long Term Health
There are many ways that you can keep your skin looking its best.  Luckily, these steps also have important additional health benefits as well, such as providing your body with important antioxidants and anticancer chemicals.  Smart supplementation, diet choices and lifestyle choices like getting enough sleep and drinking clean water can make a major impact on the look of your skin and even your longevity.

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Are Indigestion Symptoms Signaling Bigger Problems?

by Health News

With life moving at a lightning-fast pace and diets full of fast foods and refined sugar, it's not surprising that people suffer from indigestion now more than ever.  The digestive tract is home to a complex community of bacteria and other microbes, otherwise known as gut flora.  When in balance, the digestive process runs smoothly, but when harmful bacteria and microbes overtake beneficial forms, people experience indigestion symptoms like heart burn, acid reflux, constipation, or diarrhea.  Because almost three quarters of the immune system resides within the digestive tract, indigestion symptoms might be signaling bigger problems. 

indigestion symptoms

The Importance of Healthy Balance

For good health, the ratio of beneficial microbiota in the gut to harmful forms should measure 85 percent to 15 percent.  In addition to promoting vigorous gastrointestinal function, a healthy balance of gut flora helps prevent colon cancer, inhibits the buildup of yeast in the mouth and vagina, and protects the body from infection and the development of autoimmune disease. 

A host of modern lifestyle factors contributes to an imbalance of gut flora.  Some of these factors include:

  • Use of prescribed antibiotics
  • Consumption of over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers
  • Diets high in sugar, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates
  • Diets low in fermented and cultured foods
  • Lack of exercise
  • Chronic stress

Related: Healthy Living Is A Personal Choice

Ways to Restore Healthy Balance

Making changes according to the factors listed above is an obvious approach for reducing indigestion symptoms and restoring a healthy balance of gut flora. People can begin by changing their diet. Trade sugary, processed foods for those high in fiber like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and eat fermented and cultured foods like kimchi and Greek yogurt. Get more exercise, participate in stress-relieving activities, and limit the use of NSAID pain relievers. Take a probiotic supplement every day to boost beneficial bacteria in the gut, and when antibiotics are required, take extra probiotics. 

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A Fishy Solution to Smoking Cessation

by Cindy Gray

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of disability, disease and death in the United States.  Every year 480,000 Americans die premature deaths from smoking.  Despite these grim statistics, most smokers find it difficult to quit. However, if you’re looking for some natural ways to quit smoking, you’re in luck. New research out of Israel shows consumption of omega-3 fatty acids could significantly reduce cravings and provide a safe and natural way to help smokers kick the habit.

Natural Ways To Quit Smoking with Omega-3 Fatty AcidsMoth to the Flame

Why is it so hard to quit smoking? Tobacco use is a chronic disease and smokers quickly become addicted due the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products. When they inhale or ingest the nicotine, in some way it causes the adrenal glands to release adrenaline, which stimulates the body’s central nervous system.  Just like cocaine and heroin, nicotine increases levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that controls the pathways to the reward and pleasure centers in the brain. 

Many smokers long to quit permanently, but most fail after repeated attempts. The withdrawal symptoms are terrible and are often a combination of the following:

  • Intense cravings for nicotine

  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems

  • An inability to focus or concentrate

  • Increased appetite 

Those who seek treatment to stop smoking may have some initial success, but often relapse after a stressful event, or they dislike the side effects of anti-smoking medications and stop using them. 

The Study

In a strictly controlled study conducted in Israel, the test subjects were 48 smokers between the ages of 18 and 45 who smoked a daily average of 14 cigarettes.  All the participants had been smoking an average of 11 years and were diagnosed with a moderate dependency on nicotine.  The test participants were divided into two groups: one that received omega-3 capsules and one that received a placebo.

The study was conducted as a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled research project, meaning neither the participants nor the researchers knew who received the omega-3 capsules and who received a placebo.  None of the participants were asked to change their smoking habits in any way.

Throughout the 30-day study, levels of nicotine cravings and the number of cigarettes smoked per day were recorded by the participants.  At the beginning of the study neither group showed any difference in smoking habits.  However, after 30 days the omega-3 supplement takers had reduced their average cigarettes smoked per day by two.  They also recorded greatly reduced nicotine cravings.  Even another 30 days after they stopped taking the omega-3 supplements, those participants reported less intense cravings.

The group taking the placebo showed no measurable decrease in nicotine cravings nor did they reduce the average number of cigarettes smoked per day.

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Help

Levels of essential fatty acids like omega-3s are reduced in the brain by smoking.  Being deficient in these levels appears to cause damage to the nerve cells, interrupting the transmission of feelings of pleasure and satisfaction in the brain.  Smokers often having difficulty making decisions and experience reduced feelings of satisfaction by their accomplishments or efforts because of a lack of this vital nutrient.

Related: The Dangers of Krill Oil

What’s worse, not only is tobacco oppressing good feelings in the brain, it also interferes with your flight-or-fight response.  Just one stressful event can lead to a relapse for smokers trying to quit because of their reduced ability to handle stress.

Omega-3 fatty acids seem to reduce cravings for nicotine and help the brain cope better with pressure and stress.  Smoking has already been linked to depression and other mental disorders, so it’s not surprising that regular tobacco users experience less satisfaction and have more difficulty dealing with pressure, rejection or stress.

Safe, Natural and Healthy

Using omega-3 fatty acid supplements is one of the best natural ways to quit smoking because it is inexpensive and easy to obtain.  Plus, omega-3s have a long list of other health benefits besides helping you to quit smoking, such as reducing your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and some cancers.  It also helps keep your skin clear and supple and your hair shiny and strong; two things that also are greatly damaged by smoking.

Great food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Fish (especially salmon and trout)

  • Flax, Olive, Canola, Coconut and Hemp Seed Oils

  • Avocados

  • Eggs

  • Walnuts

Since the study participants were taking larger doses than is generally recommended, it would be virtually impossible to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through food alone to help with smoking cessation.  A supplement combined with adding foods rich in the essential acid is the best way to keep those levels high in the brain and help stave off nicotine cravings.

 

 

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5 Tips for a Healthy Digestive System

by Health News

While it might seem simple to grab a bite to eat, the digestive process is actually quite complicated. The food must travel through the intestines and then various processes work together to eliminate it from the body. If you have been having digestive issues like gas, cramps, constipation or acid reflux, there is really no reason to start taking medications before trying some simple cures. The truth is that there are a variety of natural cures, which should result in a healthy digestive system.

Probiotics
One simple remedy is yoghurt or kefir. Both these foods have beneficial bacteria that are essential to a healthy digestive system. If you don’t eat dairy, the good news is that yoghurt or kefir are both available in soy and coconut. Feel free to opt for the supplement option instead, as you can buy probiotics and take a capsule a day for the same effect. Plus, people who take probiotics are far less likely to get sick.

Pineapple
If you love pineapple, you are in luck. This fruit relieves gas through its powerful digestive enzymes. This fruit contains bromelain, which helps with digestion and breaks down proteins. Pineapple is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and can reduce any swelling that might be taking place in your intestines.

Chamomile
Chamomile is not only a calming tea; it also helps to sooth digestive ailments. It relaxes more than just your mind, and can relieve bloating, gas, diarrhea and more. Incidentally, ginger tea can also help with digestive problems including nausea, and cramps.

Turmeric
Turmeric is the yellow spice that is often used in Indian foods. It is related to ginger. It is another anti-inflammatory and aids fats to breakdown in the body due to the fact that it stimulates bile. Turmeric can also protect the liver and prevent ulcers. While you are taking turmeric for your digestive issues, you may get other benefits as well, as the spice could help with fever, infections and heart disease. Studies also show it may fight cancer. In addition to being used for Indian meals, turmeric is also available as a supplement. As you can see, even if you weren’t having digestive issues, there is no reason not to add a powerhouse spice like turmeric into your diet.

Water
Due to the hectic nature of day-to-day life, people often neglect to get enough water. However, water is crucial to a healthy digestive system. The number one reason for constipation is lack of water. When the body is constipated, the intestinal lining becomes inflamed and the balance of bacteria in the gut gets out of whack.

Often part of the reason that people have digestive problems is that they quickly consume their meals and don’t give enough attention to chewing and taking small bites. If you are looking to relieve your digestive issues, be sure to eat slowly and pay attention to the flavor of your meal. This will not only help you have a healthy digestive system, but you'll enjoy your food as well.

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5 Nutrients for a Healthy Heart

by Not in Use Not In Use

What are some of the best high blood pressure remedies?

Check out this list of 5 nutrients with proven scientific benefit for the cardiovascular system.


1) Omega-3 fatty acids - One of the best ways to help prevent heart disease is to eat a diet low in saturated fat and to eat foods that are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3 fatty acids). Studies suggest that EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Fish oil has been shown to decrease dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides by an average of 29 per cent and lower cholesterol by 12 per cent.

2) Vitamins A, C, E and Beta-carotene - Deficiencies of Vitamins A, C, E, and beta carotene have been linked to heart disease. All of these nutrients have antioxidant effects and other properties that may benefit the heart. Good natural foods with Vitamin A are fish oil, liver, and egg yolk. For Vitamin C, try eating citrus fruits, strawberries, peas, red peppers, and kiwis. Sources for Vitamin E include garbanzo beans, avocados, almonds, sunflower oil, tuna, and muesli. Lastly, eat spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, peas, carrots and sweet potatoes for natural sources of beta-carotene. These items can also be taken as all natural supplements.

3) Selenium and Zinc - Selenium and zinc help the body absorb antioxidants such as Vitamins, A, C, and E, and they are essential to the antioxidant process, ridding the system of free radicals. It is found in lentils, wholemeal bread, sardines and Brazil nuts.

4) Allicin - Studies have shown that allicin, which is found most abundantly in garlic and also in onions and leeks, lowers blood pressure, may help preventing blood clots from forming in coronary arteries, and is known to have blood-thinning properties, all of which keeps the heart in good shape.

5) Folic acid - Folic acid helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with high blood levels of homocysteine. It is found mainly in green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, fruits and roots.

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Prevent Decreased Muscle Mass in the Grocery Store

by Cindy Gray

The great thing about natural medicine is that most vitamins and supplements can be obtained from a grocery store rather than from a pharmacy. To be more exact, most health foods can be found in the produce department where fresh fruit and vegetables provide a ready supply of vitamins, minerals, natural fiber and antioxidants.

Prevent Decreased Muscle Mass in the Produce AisleYou may be aware that these foods are the key to weight management, balancing blood sugar and supporting a healthy heart, but scientists have also found they are essential for preventing decreased muscle mass.

What is Sarcopenia?

Sarcopenia is a medical term that refers to a steady loss of lean body mass, specifically muscle and bone loss. It affects around 45% of older adults and generally starts at the age of 40 and accelerates in the mid-late 70s. Although it is most severe in those who are physically inactive, it also affects people who remain fit and active into older age.

Although sarcopenia affects older people, it may be an avoidable consequence of aging, as a recent Korean study showed.

Related: 3 Healthy Foods That Support Healthy Aging

Study on Sarcopenia and Diet

Scientists at Ajou University in the Republic of Korea looked at whether foods high in antioxidants, such as fruit and vegetables, could be associated with sarcopenia in older people. The study focused on data provided by 823 men and 1,089 women who were aged 65 and above. They used questionnaires to obtain information about the participants' diet, along with physical measurements including height and body mass.

The study found that men who had a high dietary intake of both fresh fruit and vegetables had a significantly lower risk of sarcopenia than those who ate fewer fruits and vegetables. In women, they found that those who had a high consumption of fruit showed a lower risk of decreased muscle mass/sarcopenia. The scientists concluded that a high consumption of fruit and vegetables was inversely associated with the presence of sarcopenia in older people.

Risk of Muscle Loss

The natural aging process means that we generally move more slowly as we age and there is a decline in muscle strength. When extreme, this loss of muscle increases the risk of injury from a fall due to weaker leg muscles, and it can eventually affect the ability to live independently.

Decreased muscle mass is related to bone loss (osteoporosis) as healthy muscles create a positive stress which keeps the bones strong and healthy. A decline of muscle through sarcopenia can start a vicious circle: less lean body mass causes decreased mobility which in turn results in yet more muscle loss.

Sarcopenia has other implications for general health too. The body stores reserves of proteins and metabolites in the muscles. The reason many frail elderly people do not survive a fall, major surgery, or illness such as influenza, is due to their lack of metabolic reserves in their muscles to support their immune system and aid recovery.

Although our western diet provides plenty of protein to fight the decline of muscle and bone mass, studies increasingly show that this must be accompanied by plenty of fruit and vegetables to provide the necessary antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are also needed to age healthily.

Next time you visit the supermarket, make sure you visit the produce aisle and top up your health reserves to stave off sarcopenia before it’s too late.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=PMID%3A+24646604

http://www.brinkzone.com/articles/sarcopenia-the-undiagnosed-epidemic/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080527121104.htm

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090112p62.shtml

 

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Natural Heart Health: Test Your Doctor

by Health News

Natural heart health starts with the conversations you're having with your doctor. Once you get to a certain age, your physician should talk to you about heart health, including high blood pressure treatments if you have high blood pressure. If you are younger but have noticeable risk factors for heart disease, they need to approach the subject. When you have concerns about your heart and your health, bring them up. Let’s see how your doctor responds. Do they:

Heart Health & High Blood Pressure Treatments: Test Your Doc

• Ask you about your diet?
• Offer ways to reduce your risk factors?
• Perform blood work to determine various levels like cholesterol, insulin and C-reactive protein?
• Do a thorough examination?
• Ask about family history?

If your doctor is on top of things, any one of the above points can get the conversation started on heart health. But, don’t be shy, join in on the conversation. If you are afraid you might forget your questions, write them down ahead of time.

Ask your doctor about the results of your tests. What do the cholesterol numbers mean? What is my blood pressure? Are there alternatives to medication? What if I experience side effects?

You can begin online. All the information you ever wanted to know is there. You can employ your doctor to explain what you don’t understand. Use it as a guide to getting the answers you want from your doctor not to replace your doctor.

Get Additional Resources

Your doctor can help you by recommending supplements for high blood pressure, nutritionists, internists and other professionals to help you protect your heart. Some people don’t know enough about supplements for high blood pressure to choose the best option and nutrition to choose better foods. Or, they don’t know how to get started with exercise. Your doctor has resources to lead you in the right direction. After a complete physical, they can also tell you what type of exercise is right for you.

Your doctor works with you to protect your heart. If you have questions, ask. The important thing is to go and see a doctor to get the ball rolling. Participate in your own heart health. 

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Heart Health Benefits of Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats

by Cindy Gray

According to nutritionists from Penn State, increasing your daily omega-3 fat intake, whether you get it from marine or plant sources, will very likely lower your risk of getting heart disease.  There’s plenty of evidence to support the heart healthy benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which are marine-derived omega-3 fats. However, much less evidence exists about the positive effects of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fat.

Naturally, the health benefits reported for EPA and DHA are stronger because when supplements of EPA and DHA were tested, EPA and DHA was the only difference between the treatment and control groups.  On the other hand in the ALA studies, there were dietary differences between the treatment and control groups that went beyond ALA itself.Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats for Heart Health

ALA is found in flaxseed and its oil, vegetable oils and in some nuts including walnuts and almonds; and it’s available in supplement form. In general, omega-3 fats are considered essential for human health, but our body does not produce them, therefore we must consume them regularly to take advantage of their many health benefits.

In reviewing existing scientific data on the subject, the Penn State researchers have come to the conclusion that ALA is likely to be just as effective in preventing cardiovascular disease as EPA and DHA have proven to be in the past. In fact, health experts now believe that dietary recommendations should be amended to increase the amounts of ALA consumed. However, they also note that randomized controlled clinical trials need to be conducted in order to determine the exact amount to be consumed.

Given that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., it makes sense that learning what can be done to prevent heart disease is important and relevant for all of us.

 

Source:

Heart Health Benefits Of Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats

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How Olive Oil And Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Looking for more foods to add to your healthy high blood pressure diet?

According to a new study led by King's College London, a diet that combines unsaturated fats such as those seen in olive oil, nuts and avocados along with nitrite Looking for more foods to add to your healthy high blood pressure diet? and nitrate-rich vegetables like lettuce, spinach, celery and carrots, can protect against high blood pressure (BP).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: How Olive Oil and Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure (BP).
 

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Do Omega-3 Fats Benefit Cardiovascular Health?

by Health News

Many people come to our health blog with the question “What is good for high blood pressure?”

According to new research from several studies, regular intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is linked to a 35% lower risk of cardiovascular death in older adults; and may also benefit brain health and function in people of all ages. Specifically, omega-3 PUFAs reduced brain damage in infants after stroke, increased math scores in teenagers and boosted memory in young adults.

What is good for high blood pressure? Omega-3 Fats Benefits

First, an observational study at Harvard Medical School with nearly 2,700 participants showed that healthy older adults who consumed 400 mg per day of the omega-3 PUFAs EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) + DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have up to a 40% lower risk of death from heart disease. Also, they tended to live two years longer after the age of 65.

This study clearly shows that higher levels of omega-3 PUFAs mean lower total mortality rates, contributing to a longer, healthier life. 

The second study at Columbia University used an animal model to see whether omega-3 PUFAs would influence brain recovery after pediatric stroke - which affects up to 1,700 U.S. infants each year.

The study authors found an almost 50% reduction in brain tissue loss in mice treated with omega-3 PUFAs or pure DHA immediately after a stroke, when compared to controls. What’s more, brain damage in these mice was significantly reduced for up to eight weeks.

In other words, omega-3 PUFAs may help to protect brain cells in human infants and may be useful for treating pediatric stroke.

Next, a study of 28 countries reported that higher DHA levels in the milk of nursing women was associated with better math scores in their children at the age of 15. Interestingly, only two-thirds of the highest-scoring countries reported DHA levels above the worldwide average of 0.32%, suggesting that other as yet unknown factors may also be involved.

Finally, healthy, young adults also appear to benefit from omega-3 PUFA consumption, according to a study from New Zealand. DHA supplementation was associated with improved response times for both autobiographical and working memory in these participants.

Along with supplements, fish oil and krill oil, cold water fatty fish such as sardines, wild salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna contain plenty of omega-3 PUFAs. Vegetable sources include flax seed, almonds and walnuts.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The “Brain Pill” of the Future

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How To Cleanse Your Arteries With One Simple Fruit

by Cindy Gray

According to a recent study, pomegranate extract may prevent—and even reverse!—the progressive thickening of coronary arteries known as atherosclerosis, which invariably leads to heart disease. Pomegranate seeds and juice are rich in heart-healthy antioxidants known as polyphenols. Polyphenol antioxidants—which are found in red wine, grapes, blueberries, soy milk, dark chocolate, tea and of course pomegranate—are known to lower levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, protect blood vessels and lower blood pressure (BP).One Delicious Fruit Can Cleanse Your Arteries

In the present study, mice with a genetic susceptibility toward spontaneous coronary artery blockages were given pomegranate extract in their drinking water for two weeks. The treatment reduced the size of atherosclerotic plaques in the aorta, while also decreasing the overall proportion of coronary arteries with atherosclerotic plaque.

Remarkably, pomegranate extract treatment also had the following beneficial effects in these mice:

  • Lowered levels of oxidative stress

  • Reduced levels of chemical messengers associated with inflammatory processes in the arteries

  • Less lipid accumulation in heart muscle

  • Reduced cardiac enlargement

  • Normalization of electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities

This study adds to already existing clinical research confirming that pomegranates can help unclog arteries.

For instance, the results of a three-year clinical trial published in 2004 showed that daily consumption of pomegranate juice reversed carotid artery stenosis by up to 29% within one year. Remarkably, blockages in the control group increased by 9% during the same period, indicating that pomegranate's artery unblocking effects were even greater than first believed.

Pomegranate's protective value in cardiovascular disease is likely because of the following experimentally confirmed properties:

  • Anti-inflammatory - like many other chronic degenerative diseases, inflammation plays a significant role in cardiovascular disease.

  • BP lowering - pomegranate juice is a natural blocker of angiotensin converting enzyme and enhances the activities of nitric oxide, both well-known pathways for reducing BP.

  • Anti-infective - plaque buildup in the arteries is often associated with viral and bacterial infections, including hepatitis C and chlamydia. Pomegranate is known to have a broad range of anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

  • Antioxidant - blood lipids become heart disease-promoting through oxidation. LDL, for instance, is harmless as long as it does not get oxidized and pomegranate reduces oxidative stress in blood. One study in mice found that this decrease in oxidative stress was associated with a 44% reduction in the size of atherosclerotic lesions.

Pomegranates are just one of the healthiest fruits provided by Mother Nature.  Enjoy a glass of pomegranate juice regularly, or check out the powerful superfruit supplements available for a mix of life-giving all-natural phytonutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Source:

How to Clean Your Arteries with One Simple Fruit

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High Blood Pressure Causes: How Sleep Deprivation Affects your Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

High Blood Pressure Causes: Sleep Deprivation & Your HealthNo one feels good after getting a poor night of sleep. However, lack of sleep is much more serious than just feeling bad for a day. New studies are showing how sleep deprivation may be one of many potential high blood pressure causes.

For example in one study, researchers recruited 20 healthy young adults and measured their BP at rest and then after a stressful task - in this case, giving an impromptu speech defending themselves for a supposed transgression, either running a stop sign or taking someone’s wallet.

A week later, after staying up all night, study participants returned to take the tests again. Systolic BP, the top number on a BP reading, climbed about 10 points higher when fatigued study subjects gave their speech, compared to subjects who spoke after a good night’s sleep.

This suggests that not getting enough sleep may lead to the development of cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can raise blood pressure, as can stress. But not many studies have examined what happens when sleep-deprived people also experience stress.

These results need to be replicated by larger studies - because not only is stress common nowadays, so is being sleep deprived - and one probably reinforces the other. For instance, if you’re experiencing a lot of stress, you are more likely to experience insomnia.

Another study looking at 331 healthy male medical students found that their BP when awake correlated negatively correlated with sleep duration.

According to the CDC, one in three Americans has high BP - a condition with few symptoms, often called the “silent killer” - because it can lead to strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, along with damaging the kidneys and other organs.

Further, nearly one in five Americans has uncontrolled hypertension - meaning that it is untreated or that that medications or other treatments have failed to bring it down.

In such a scenario, if someone is having difficulty with their BP being high, maybe getting six to seven hours of sleep daily is the way to lower their BP.

Other related articles:

Best Health Supplements for High Blood Pressure

Natural Heart Health: Making Sense of Blood Pressure Readings

High Blood Pressure Supplements Benefits

Why You Should Check Your Blood Pressure at Home

 

 

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Is Plastic safe? The Dangers of Plastic.

by Institute for Vibrant Living

For years, we’ve heard that eating or drinking anything that is canned or comes in plastic is bad for your health. But do you really understand why? The quick answer is bisphenol-A (BPA).

BPA is one of 800 different endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), compounds that interfere with the action of hormones in the body. Two of the most prolific EDCs in our environment—and often in our daily activities of life—are phthalates and BPA.

Is Plastic safe? The Dangers of Plastic.

The reason comes down to our reliance on plastic. While phthalates are used to soften plastic and make it more flexible, BPA is used to harden plastic.

When it comes to BPA specifically, it is a known cancer-causing xenoestrogen, meaning it is an estrogen-mimicking chemical. Sadly, this carcinogen (which has been declared “toxic” in Canada) is used daily here in the U.S. to harden plastic bottles and as an inner liner for many canned goods.

In addition to increasing your risk for cancer, BPA has also been linked to reproductive issues and even elevated glucose level. And now, according to a study published in Hypertension in February 2015, you can add increasing blood pressure levels to the list of BPA side effects.

In this randomized, crossover study, researchers asked 60 adults age 60 and older to visit their study site on three separate days. On one visit, the participants drank a beverage from two glass bottles. The second visit, they drank the same beverage from two cans, and on the third visit, they drank the beverage from one glass bottle and one can.

On all three occasions, researchers tested urinary BPA concentration, blood pressure, and heart rate variability two hours after the beverages were consumed. They found that BPA levels increased after drinking the canned beverages by more than 1,600 percent versus the glass containers.

While heart rate variability was not significantly different with any of the container options, researchers found that when participants drank the two canned beverages, their systolic blood pressure increased by an average of 4.5 mmHg (as compared to the glass containers). Researchers concluded, “The present study demonstrated that consuming canned beverage and consequent increase of BPA exposure increase blood pressure acutely.”

This one is a no-brainer. If you are consuming beverages or food from plastic containers or cans, be sure they are BPA-free. If they are not, do not use them. Period.

Next, do a mild detox to rid your body of the likely BPA stored in your cells. This means using a daily greens powder supplement along with a good liver-cleansing supplement that contains milk thistle (200-400 mg), turmeric (50-100 mg), and dandelion (150-300 mg).

Finally, if blood pressure is a concern for you, try using a few targeted nutrients to keep your blood pressure healthy in the normal range. This includes nattokinase (80-160 mg), cranberry concentrate (60-120 mg), and/or acetyl-L-carnitine (250-500 mg).

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How to Beat High Blood Pressure with Amino Acid Supplements

by Health News

How to Beat High Blood Pressure with Amino Acid SupplementsWhile heart disease remains at the top of the list of dangers associated with aging for women, scientists are slowly but consistently discovering how to beat high blood pressure and prevent heart disease.  A recent article published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggest that taurine, an amino acid found in relatively high amounts in meat, fish, eggs and other foods, may be protective against heart disease in women with elevated cholesterol levels. Taurine possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Although studies have uncovered a heart benefit for the amino acid in animals, this is the first study of taurine and coronary heart disease risk in humans.

For the study*, New York University School of Medicine associate professor of epidemiology Yu Chen, PhD, MPH and her colleagues analyzed data from subjects in the NYU Women's Health Study, which included over 14,000 women between the ages of 34 to 65 from 1985 to 1991. Dr. Chen's team calculated average taurine levels measured in two pre-diagnostic serum samples from 223 participants who developed coronary heart disease and 223 women who had no history of the disease over the study's twenty year follow up period.

Although no significant relationship between taurine and coronary heart disease was found for the entire study population, when women with high cholesterol (total cholesterol greater than 250 milligrams per deciliter) were analyzed, an interesting correlation came to light. Women with high cholesterol whose intake of taurine was among the top one-third of subjects had a 61 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those in the lowest third. According to the authors, the data also suggest a protective effect for taurine against the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.

"Our findings were very interesting," commented Dr Chen. "Taurine, at least in its natural form, does seem to have a significant protective effect in women with high cholesterol."

If you’re interested in getting more taurine in your diet, consult your health care professional about increasing your intake of healthy foods like fish and lean meats.

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Glutathione - the Master Antioxidant

by Cindy Gray

Glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant in the body. Chemically, it is a very small molecule that is made within the body itself. It is considered to be an important antioxidant because it is located inside every cell in the body. In general, antioxidants, the most well-known of which are vitamins C and E, are important for health because they neutralize harmful free radicals which can build up in cells and cause damage. Along with its own antioxidant actions, glutathione recycles vitamin C and other antioxidants. It also helps the liver remove foreign chemicals such as drugs and toxins. It has widespread health benefits because it is present in immune cells and drives the functions of the immune system, whose job is to fight off disease and infections.Optimize Overall Health with Master Antioxidant Glutathione

Food sources that either contain glutathione or its precursors to help the body produce more include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, avocados, peaches, watermelon, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, tomatoes, peas, garlic, onions, red peppers as well as meat, fish and green leafy vegetables. Clearly, people who consume a varied, healthy diet get enough glutathione from their diet. On the other hand, those with poor diets may not get enough glutathione. Sufficient levels of selenium, a micronutrient found in meat, seafood, egg yolks and certain plants, and alpha-lipoic acid, another antioxidant, are both necessary to maintain glutathione levels. Glutathione production increases during exercise. However, strenuous exercise, alcohol, and drugs such as acetaminophen, deplete glutathione from the liver.

Glutathione performs many important roles in the body, including:

  • Managing cell growth and division

  • DNA synthesis and repair - protecting DNA when it’s being made and repairing damaged DNA

  • Protein function - helping to maintain proteins in their active, functional forms

  • Amino acid transport - moving many substances, including amino acids, in and out of cells as needed

  • Enzyme activation and catalysis - helping enzymes transform into their active state and increasing the efficiency with which they function

  • Detoxification - breaking down toxins in the liver. The enzyme glutathione S-transferase binds to toxins such as carcinogens, heavy metals, herbicides and pesticides and makes them water-soluble, so that they can be removed from the body as bile, sweat and urine. Glutathione-related enzymes also detoxify cancer-causing chemicals so that they can be eliminated without damaging the cell or DNA.

Our body is constantly under attack from harmful chemicals called ‘free radicals’ created by a process known as ‘oxidative stress’. Some free radicals are generated externally, while others are made in the body itself. When they come in contact with DNA or other cellular components, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule and ‘steal’ its electron. A molecule that loses an electron then becomes a free radical itself and attacks the next nearest stable molecule, thus setting off a chain reaction that can potentially cascade through hundreds of molecules. Glutathione performs a vital role in repairing damaged DNA by replacing missing electrons.

Glutathione can exist either in so-called ‘reduced’ or ‘oxidized’ states. In healthy cells and tissue, more than 90% of total glutathione is in the reduced form. An increased ratio of the oxidized-to-reduced-forms is considered to be a significant marker of oxidative stress and is used to assess cellular toxicity. Oxidative stress in blood vessels is associated with many diseases. Glutathione manages the cell’s oxidative stress response.

People who have cancer, AIDS, cancer and other very serious diseases are almost invariably found to be depleted in glutathione. Although the reasons for this are not completely understood, it is clear that glutathione is extremely important for maintaining intracellular health. Laboratory studies have shown that glutathione has the potential to help fight almost any disease, particularly those associated with aging, since free radical damage is believed to be one of the major underlying causes of many of the diseases associated with old age. The body’s immune and detoxification systems cannot function without glutathione, which is an essential part of staying young, active and healthy. Within the immune system itself, glutathione enhances the activity of immune cells and also functions as an antioxidant within them. Some health experts believe that raising and maintaining glutathione levels can help minimize the risk of diseases.

There is extensive evidence that antioxidants play a protective role in cardiovascular disease, a chronic disease that is worsened by oxidative stress and inflammation. Long-term, large-scale, population-based studies have found that higher levels of glutathione, as well as vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotenoids, are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, results from large clinical trials do not support long-term use of single antioxidant supplements for prevention of cardiovascular disease, due to their null or even adverse effects. Overall diet quality rather than single nutrients have been shown to have protective effects.

Glutathione has been shown to increase energy levels, strength and endurance. Our energy levels are a result of many factors, including the biochemical reactions taking place within cellular mitochondria. Glutathione ensures that mitochondria remain fully charged. Clinical trials have shown that lowered or depleted glutathione in the mitochondria leads to cell death, suggesting that proper glutathione levels are vital for cellular and overall health.

While there are many strong arguments in favor of a therapeutic use of glutathione, the actual amount of research on glutathione as a supplement is very limited. Health experts disagree on who should take glutathione or its precursors. Some say everyone should take it in order to optimize overall health. Others say it should be reserved for people with cancer, or those who eat poorly and are thus unlikely to be getting much glutathione or its precursors in their diet. However, everyone agrees that people with severe diseases known to be associated with low glutathione levels, such as AIDS, heart disease and cancer are likely to benefit from glutathione supplements.

Reference

http://www.immunehealthscience.com/glutathione.html