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The One Tactic That Can Stop Hair Thinning

by Health News

Scientists have recently discovered a new ally in the search for effective hair loss remedies – green lipped mussels. Known as Perna Canaliculus, these delicious mussels are brimming with vitamins, proteins and minerals as well as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and enzymes. While research into the health benefits of green-lipped mussels was in progress, doctors discovered that these shellfish are one of the most effective hair loss remedies in nature's medicine cabinet.

To a degree, hair loss is governed by genetics, but hair thinning treatments can prevent unnecessary hair loss, as well as treating those suffering from alopecia or other hair loss problems.

Natural hair loss remedies for thinning hair include green-lipped mussel extract

History behind the Health Benefits of Green Lipped Mussels

The indigenous Maoris of New Zealand rarely suffer illness, despite their physically demanding lifestyle in a cold and damp climate. Scientists noticed that the Maoris never seemed to be afflicted with swollen joints, aches, back pain and arthritis that most Westerners suffer from as they age.

Doctors began studying the traditional Maori diet, which consists mainly of seafood, in particular green-lipped mussels. They found that the mussels were high in anti-inflammatory properties, making them a natural replacement for aspirin and ibuprofen. Another unexpected side effect of eating green-lipped mussels was that it boosted hair growth, providing a natural hair thinning treatment.

One of Nature's Most Effective Hair Loss Remedies

Further studies into green-lipped mussels found that the shellfish are exceptionally high in several components known to be effective hair loss remedies.   Shellfish are an excellent source of omega-3s and mussels contain even more powerful fatty acids than standard fish oil. As well as lowering cholesterol, supporting a healthy heart and reducing joint pain, omega-3s are known to improve skin, hair and nails. They can slow down or even restore hair loss by keeping the scalp lubricated and promoting the production of hormones responsible for maintaining a lush head of hair.

Green Lipped Mussels and Zinc

Zinc is another vital mineral that is an important ingredient in hair loss remedies. Zinc deficiency is known to cause hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hair loss is a common symptom. If you are suffering from hair loss (alopecia), a boost of zinc from green-lipped mussels or a supplement of green mussel extract may be one the simplest and most effective hair loss treatments for you.

RelatedHair Loss:  Causes and Solutions

One final benefit found in green-lipped mussels is the high content of mucopolysaccharides they contain. More commonly known as glycosaminoglycans, these sugar molecules have been found to stimulate hair growth in clinical trials. They lengthen the anagen (growing stage) of hair follicles, producing the same effect as chemical hair loss remedies.

If your hair is thinning and in poor condition, take a tip from the Maoris and eat more green-lipped mussels. Alternatively, add a mussel extract to your daily diet and look forward to receiving those compliments about your thicker head of hair soon. 

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Three Surprising Seafood Sources of EFAs

by Health News

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you’ve heard about the health benefits of essential fatty acids like omega-3s.  Their long list of health benefits include:

  • Decreased risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Healthier skin and hair
  • Less risk of depression and other mood disorders
  • Better immunity

Essential fatty acids can be super health boosters

Essential Fatty Acid Foods

Our bodies cannot produce the essential fatty acids omega-3 (EPA and DHA) or omega-6, but they are essential to the healthy functioning of all the tissues.  Therefore, we must get these critical nutrients from our diet.

Omega-6 fatty acids are easily obtained through animal foods like beef, chicken and pork. It is also plentiful in corn oils. Our western diet is over-saturated with omega-6 sources of food, which is not good for us since it promotes inflammation.

Taking fish oil supplements has been touted as a way to get those essential fatty acids like omega-3, but researchers have come to discover that the fish oil used in supplements is often too unstable to be of any real benefit to our bodies.  If you have been choking those giant capsules down and suffering fish-tasting burps, stop! There is a better way.

Related:   Could Fish Oil One Day Take the Place of Statin Drugs?

What we need to be eating more of is omega-3 rich foods.  It’s pretty well known that fish like salmon and trout have a lot of omega-3s. However, you have more choices than you may realize when it comes to getting more essential fatty acid foods in your diet.

There are three surprising seafood sources of EFAs that you should start eating.

Sablefish

Sablefish are also known as wild Alaskan cod or black cod.  This cold-water species is generally less contaminated with mercury like king salmon and abundant in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.  In fact, Sablefish has more of the essential fatty acids than most other fish except king salmon.

Since it lives in very deep cold water, sablefish accumulate more fat which makes them easier to prepare and less likely to dry out with a little overcooking.  You can bake it, sauté it or put it on the grill and it usually turns out melt in your mouth tender.

Shad

American Shad fish is hard to find if you don’t live on a coast.  They can be found along the coast from Alaska to Mexico and all along the East coast.

American shad are loaded up with omega-3 laden fat, but they are also very bony.  It takes some practice to prepare and eat them but it’s worth the effort.  To prepare them it is easiest to poach or smoke them then flake out the meat. It makes a great addition to a salad even cold and is full-flavored enough to pair with strong garlic and chili pepper sauces.

Oysters

These dull shellfish are full of healthy surprises.   They contain high levels of:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins A, E, C and B12
  • Minerals zinc, iron, calcium selenium

Oysters taste the best in colder weather. They spawn May through July, which affects the taste somewhat.  You can incorporate them into a variety of stews and soups and easily get more EFAs into your diet.

It’s also worth noting that oysters are considered an aphrodisiac due to their high concentration of amino acids that trigger the release of sex hormones.  Choose farmed over wild and grind up the shells for your garden to help balance the pH of the soil.

Now you know about some main dish options to go along with the plant foods you have been eating that supply a lot omega-3 fatty acids.  Enjoy.

 

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EFAs for Menopause Treatment

by IVL Products

All women have to go through menopause at some point in their lives. The unpleasant symptoms can make life difficult, but there are ways to deal with some of the worst side effects of menopause simply through your diet.  

Women who consume essential fatty acids regularly can reduce the negative symptoms of menopause.

Increasing your intake of EFAs, (or essential fatty acids) is easy.  Not only will you experience less severe menopausal symptoms, but the EFAs offer many other health benefits as well.

What Are EFAs?

Essential fatty acids are so named because your body cannot produce them naturally. The only way to get them is through your diet. 

Your body cannot synthesize linolenic (omega-6) and linoleic acids (omega-3) that are critical to the normal functioning of all the tissues of the body.  Without sufficient EFAs, you are at an increased risk for:

  • Liver and kidney abnormalities
  • Depression
  • Dry Skin
  • Decreased immune function

However, when you get adequate amounts of omega-3s and omega-6s, you have a decreased risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Menstrual pain
  • Breast cancer

EFAs have been found to greatly help reduce the most troublesome menopausal symptoms like:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal, hair and skin dryness
  • Mood swings and depression

A study conducted by Italian scientist back in 2005 noted that women who ate a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids reported a “progressively and highly significant reduction” in hot flashes. They concluded that this could be a result of the influence omega-3s have on nerve cell membranes, helping to reduce their sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations.

Related:  Top Three Heart Healthy Nutrients

It has long been known that having an adequate intake of EFAs helps balance hormones, increase immune function, improve cardiovascular health and promote healthier skin and hair.

Happy Food

What you may not realize is that omega-3 fatty acid EPA helps the body produce adequate levels of serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter that greatly affects our moods. Depression and mood swings often accompany the hormonal changes you will be experiencing making EFAs an essential part of your menopause diet.

Brain Food

DHA is a natural brain booster. It keeps nerve cell membranes in the brain healthy, which means better cognitive function, and less memory loss. 

The Menopause Diet

By incorporating foods rich in essential fatty acids into your diet, you can greatly reduce unpleasant menopausal symptoms and improve your health overall.  It is essential that you get the right combination of omega-3s and omega-6s in your diet and that can take some research and planning. Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3s for use in the body, so getting the right ratio of each is important. 

DHA (omega-6) is found in animal foods like beef and pork and corn oils. These are generally plentiful in our diets and most Americans eat too many omega-6 foods when they should be eating foods with more omega-3 fatty acids like.

  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • Walnuts
  • Canola, soybean, walnut oils
  • Fruits
  • Beans
  • Fish

Trying to get your EFAs in supplement form is not the most efficient way to up your intake of them.  Besides the nasty fish tasting burps many pills cause, the fish oil molecules are highly unstable and can quickly decompose and release cell damaging free radicals.

Omega-3s for Everybody

Whether you are going through menopause or not, eating more food rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA just makes good sense. 

You will look better, feel better and be more prepared to handle the hormonal changes when you eat more foods with omega 3 for menopause relief.

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Relieve Hot Flashes with Bioflavonoids and Exercise

by IVL Products

Menopause is an inevitable occurrence in the lives of women, with an average onset of 51 ½ years of age. While many women welcome the end of menstruation that accompanies menopause, they don't enjoy the hot flashes that reduced estrogen and progesterone levels bring. Hot flashes, or flushes, create a sudden feeling of uncomfortable warmth in the upper core, chest, neck, and face. Because this discomfort proves frequent for some women, products or substances that relieve hot flashes have become invaluable.

Products or substances that relieve hot flashes are invaluable to women in menopause.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications help, but they come with dangerous side effects according to research.  Tracking 16,608 women taking HRT for menopausal symptoms, the Women's Health Initiative study showed that HRT increases risks for breast cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke.

Bioflavonoids

Many women now rely on alternative treatments like bioflavonoids.  Compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and other plants, bioflavonoids offer a number of important health benefits, which makes them a popular subject for research.  Because they have proven to be mildly estrogenic, bioflavonoids have the potential to relieve hot flashes and increase vaginal fluids without the dangerous consequences of HRT.

One study at Loyola University Medical School examined 94 women in menopause to determine the effects of bioflavonoids and vitamin C on hot flashes.  All were given 200 mg of vitamin C and 200 mg of bioflavonoids six times per day.  By the end of the study 67 percent of participants reported total relief from hot flashes, and 21 percent reported partial relief.

Vibrant Living Challenge. Free 30 Day Challenge Download

To relieve hot flashes with bioflavonoid supplements, most health professionals recommend 1000 to 2000 mg per day.  Good dietary sources of bioflavonoids include berries, citrus fruits, dark organic cocoa, green tea, legumes, onions, parsley, red wine, and soy products like soy milk, tofu, and tempeh.

Related: Modest Weight Loss Lowers Disease Risks in Middle-Aged-Women

Exercise

Women who want to double their chances for hot flash relief might also consider regular exercise.  A study examining 164 menopausal women in their 50s found exercise helped relieve hot flashes and insomnia.  The participants were divided into three groups for a period of four months.  One group was sedentary, one group practiced yoga, and the other group walked regularly.  Results showed a correlation between improved cardiorespiratory fitness and a reduction in menopausal symptoms.

Although hot flashes and night sweats often prove the most uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, bioflavonoids and exercise can offer relief.  Before starting a supplementary regimen or an exercise program, it is a good idea to consult with a health care provider.

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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.

Other related blog posts...

5 Nutrients for a Healthy Heart

Could Fish Oil One Day Take the Place of Statin Drugs?

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

What's the #1 Supplement Every Man Should Take?

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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