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5 HEALTH BENEFITS OF DIETARY FIBER

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You likely already know that adding fiber to your diet is a great way to improve your regularity or to treat constipation.

However, the fact is that dietary fiber - ideally from plants and nuts - has many other important health benefits, including -  

5 HEALTH BENEFITS OF DIETARY FIBER

  1. Blood sugar control - because it is not broken down by the body, fiber in an apple or a slice of whole grain bread has no effect on blood glucose levels. Of course, most foods that contain fiber - such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals and pastas - also contain other types of non-fiber carbohydrates such as sugar and starch that do raise blood sugar levels. According to a recent study, people with diabetes who ate 50 grams of fiber daily - especially soluble fiber - were able to control their blood sugar much better than those who ate far less. The average person needs to consume between 20-35 grams of fiber every day.
  2. Better heart health - fiber-rich foods are clearly associated with lower risk of heart disease. Research shows that people who regularly consume a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease. A high-fiber diet also lowers levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and reduces blood pressure (BP). 
  3. Stroke protection - getting more fiber can reduce risk of stroke. Researchers found that each seven-gram increase in total daily fiber intake was associated with a 7 percent decrease in first-time stroke risk. One serving of whole wheat pasta plus two servings of fruits or vegetables provides about 7 grams of fiber. 
  4. Effective weight loss management - a high-fiber diet tends to be low in calories and takes longer to eat. It makes you feel full sooner and for longer. Also, if you're eating more fiber, you're eating less of other foods that cause weight gain - which is also beneficial for heart health. 
  5. Radiant skin health - fiber helps to make your skin appear radiant and healthy. Along with water, fiber cleanses the body of fats and toxins. For example, adding psyllium husk to your diet helps to remove harmful yeast and fungus out of your body, instead of being excreted through your skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.

What are the best sources of fiber? 

Vegetables are a major dietary source including artichokes, cooked green peas and broccoli. Fruits high in fiber include raspberries and pears, eaten with the skin. Legumes - including split peas, black beans and lentils - are also an excellent source of dietary fiber. 

Another way to get adequate fiber in your diet is to take a daily serving of a psyllium supplement. One serving with 8 ounces of water will provide you with about 20% of your daily fiber needs.

Psyllium seed husks are hygroscopic, which means they expand and become mucilaginous on contact with water. Being indigestible, they are a source of soluble dietary fiber and are typically used to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. They are also used as a dietary supplement to improve and maintain regularity. 

Recent research has shown that psyllium seed husks may also be effective in lowering cholesterol and controlling certain types of diabetes. Other uses include gluten-free baking, where ground psyllium seed husks are used to bind moisture and make breads less crumbly.

 

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Herbs that Help To Increase Energy

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Do you struggle daily with lack of energy or chronic fatigue? Many people do, but do not know how to increase energy levels without the help of caffeine and sugar.

how to increase energy levels with Herbs

Instead of turning to coffee, so-called energy drinks or other stimulants, you might want to try supplementing with adaptogenic herbs to increase your energy levels.  

While stimulants like caffeine may give your body a ‘kick’ in the short-term, they also place a heavy strain on your adrenal cortex (an organ which regulates stress) by causing it to work harder than normal to produce more energy.

On the other hand, adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha - also known as Indian ginseng - actually give your adrenal cortex the nutrients it needs to generate steady, long-lasting, stress-resistant energy.

In fact, adaptogenic herbs increase your body's natural resistance to almost every type of stress - which takes a large burden off your adrenal system.

For example, athletic competition involves both physical and mental stress. In such cases, long-term consumption of adaptogenic herbs will help to improve both your training effectiveness and overall performance. Also, they are typically harmless when used over long periods of time with few if any dangerous or unpleasant side effects.

In Ayurvedic medicine ashwagandha is believed to not only increase energy levels, but also boost learning and memory.

For example, in a 1993 clinical study, fifty people complaining of lethargy and fatigue for 2-6 months were given an adaptogenic tonic made up of eleven herbs, including 760 mg of ashwagandha once a day.

After just one month of taking the ashwagandha mixture, the patients reported an average 45% improvement in their moods. Their blood plasma protein levels and hemoglobin - two factors used to measure overall health - also increased significantly.

Yet another study compared the adaptogenic and anabolic (ability to promote growth of lean body mass) effects of Korean ginseng and ashwagandha in mice. Groups of six mice were fed 100 mg/kg water extract of either ginseng, ashwagandha or saline for seven days.

On the eighth day, their endurance levels were tested with a swim test. Their average swim times were measured as 62 minutes for Korean ginseng, 82 minutes for ashwagandha; and 35 minutes for saline.

Clearly, ashwagandha is a superior adaptogenic herb when it comes to increasing energy and performance levels.

If you’re experiencing low energy and chronic fatigue, it can be a result of overexposure to stress. Stress not only takes the joy out of life but can also lead to insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease and other adverse health effects.

 

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Protect The Heart From Harm Caused By Smoking

by Health News

Omega 3 Fatty Acids for Heart and Digestion Problems

Omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the physical harm caused by smoking, according to a Greek study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology. This article looks at the findings from this study, and provides a list of foods that are a good source of Omega-3s. As a bonus, all of these foods are also conducive to a healthy digestive system.

This study looked at the effects of a four-week long oral therapy of 2 grams each day of omega 3 fatty acids on arterial wall properties of cigarette smokers. Arterial function is an independent marker of heart disease risk. Short-term treatment with omega-3s was seen to improve arterial stiffness and slow down smoking-induced damage to the elasticity of blood vessel walls in smokers.

These heart protective properties of omega-3s appear to be due to a combination of multiple mechanisms, including both anti-inflammatory and anti-atherosclerotic effects.

Further, a recent meta-analysis was conducted on over 39,000 patients with cardiovascular problems who were administered omega 3 dietary supplements for at least a year. This supplementation therapy significantly reduced risk of death in these patients due to heart disease and all other causes. In fact, omega-3s were clearly more effective than statin drugs in reducing heart disease-related deaths.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), even people without a documented history of heart disease should consume a variety of oily fish rich in omega-3s, such as sardines, wild salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna at least twice per week.  

Almonds, walnuts, flax seed, canola oil, soybean oil and green leafy vegetables are plant sources of omega-3s. They contain a short-chain form of omega-3s known as alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. ALA needs to be processed by your body into the longer form of omega-3s before you can benefit from them.

While the only way to protect your body from the harmful effects of tobacco is to stop smoking, eating a healthy diet rich in omega 3s can clearly reverse some of the physical harm caused by smoking, including lowering the risk of heart disease.

Aging Adults Guide to Healthy Holiday Digestion

Sources:
Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the physical harm caused by smoking.

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Healthy Aging: Supplements for Heart

by Health News

When it comes to heart health and aging healthy, most of us understand the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet rich in high-fiber vegetables and whole grains, and getting regular aerobic exercise.  But did you know that your heart, arguably the hardest working organ in your body, needs a steady supply of certain vital vitamin health supplements in proper balance? Here is a list of some of those minerals, and why the getting proper balance of them is essential for optimal heart health.

Supplements for Heart and Healthy Aging - Calcium, Magnesium, IronCalcium.
More than any other muscle in your body, you rely on your heart to contract regularly—and that’s a huge understatement. Calcium is vital for muscle contractions. Calcium is critical to healthy aging because it is stored in the bones, where it is released regularly to maintain a consistent level in the bloodstream. If you don’t consume enough calcium, you can get a condition called hypocalcemia, whose symptoms include muscle spasms and irregular heartbeat. Foods rich in calcium include dairy products, leafy greens and broccoli. Many foods are now fortified with calcium, such as bread, juice and cereals.

Iron.
This mineral is essential for heart health because it delivers its supply of oxygen through the hemoglobin in red blood cells. Without oxygen, your heart cannot function. If you don’t have enough iron in your body, you can get a condition called anemia. Severe anemia can actually lead to heart failure. Sources of iron include animal meat, seafood, molasses, tofu, spinach, peas, raisins and beans. Iron-fortified products include breads and cereals.

Magnesium.
Magnesium is essential for maintaining heart rhythm. But with magnesium, balance is extremely important. Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle spasms and weakness. Too much magnesium can cause the heart to stop beating! Consume green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and whole grains for a healthy supply of magnesium.

Talk to your health care practitioner about how much of these essential vitamin mineral supplements you need to keep your heart in top form and to set yourself on the path to healthy aging.

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The Key Supplement for a Healthy Heart?

by Health News

The best vitamin supplement for a healthy heart is vitamin B. Taking Vitamin B supplements may just be one of the key components to healthy aging. Let’s take a closer look at this essential vitamin.Healthy Aging Guide: Supplements for a Healthy Heart

The vitamin B complex is a group of 11 separate, water-soluble nutrients: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B12, biotin, folic acid, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), choline, and inositol.

Of these, vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid and niacin are the most beneficial for heart health.

B6 helps block blood clotting, lowers blood pressure, and reduces blood cholesterol levels. It also works to reduce homocysteine levels, which is a good thing, as this toxic substance has been shown to increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

B12 is necessary for the production of healthy red blood cells. Like B6, it too reduces homocysteine levels, as well as improving arterial function, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, and promoting blood vessel dilation.

Folic acid is necessary for the production of healthy red blood cells. It also supports the adrenal glands to enhance energy and stamina, helps to maintain healthy homocysteine levels and arterial function, and supports normal cholesterol levels, blood vessel dilation, and decreased plasma viscosity. 

Niacin has been shown to raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. It also helps dilate your blood vessels, which increases blood flow and helps lower blood pressure.

Aim for 10-12 mg of B6, 50-65 mcg B12, 400 mcg folic acid, and 10-25 mg of niacin daily. Just be sure to take B vitamins with breakfast or lunch rather than at night, as they can be too stimulating.

Healthy Aging: Digestion Guide for Aging Adults
 

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Healthy Aging and Nutritional Supplement Vitamin E

by Health News

Healthy Skin and Healthy Digestion From Vitamin ENutritional health supplement Vitamin E is one of the most important nutrients we need to survive. It is a powerful antioxidant supplement with numerous scientific studies that have demonstrated how necessary it is for normal growth and development and for maintaining optimal health through adulthood.

But can it also help us age healthy and contribute to looking and feeling younger than our chronological age?

First of all, Vitamin E is not a single nutrient. It is actually made up of a group of individual compounds. Naturally-occurring Vitamin E actually contains 8 different compounds. One of these compounds is called d-alpha-tocopherol. D-alpha-tocopherol is the only form of Vitamin E that has been recognized to meet the requirements of the human body and that maintained in the body.

Because Vitamin E is such a powerful antioxidant, it helps prevent the body’s cells from being damaged by free radicals. This means that our organs stay healthier longer. One example of this is how it protects the cardiovascular system. Vitamin E has been shown in scientific studies to prevent arthrosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries).  Arthrosclerosis is a major cause of heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, because Vitamin E is such a potent antioxidant, scientists believe it can stave off a host of other degenerative diseases as well.

Vitamin E is also added to lotions, creams, and other skin care products to assist in anti-aging. It helps skin look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And what it does for the internal organs applies to the skin as well: it protects the skin against free radical damage, in turn helping us age healthy. When applied 20 minutes before sun exposure, Vitamin E can also help protect the skin against sun damage because it increases the effectiveness of sunscreens.

Healthy Digestion and Vitamin E for Healthy Skin

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Natural Health Solutions: Vitamin E Deficiency & Diseases of the Digestive System

by Health News

Vitamin E deficiency may cause digestive problems and other diseaseVitamin E is one of the most important antioxidant nutrients our bodies need. It is found in nut oils, sunflower seeds, whole grains, wheat germ, and spinach. Not only is it a powerful antioxidant, it is also essential for child growth and development and for maintaining healthy tissues in adulthood. But what happens to people who don’t get enough of this important vitamin?

In infants, a Vitamin E deficiency can cause severe growth retardation. In adults, Vitamin E deficiency can have severe effects on the central nervous system including ataxia (difficulty coordinating body movements) and peripheral neuropathy. It can also cause anemia (insufficient red blood cells).

People who suffer from Vitamin E deficiency sometimes suffer from conditions or diseases of the digestive system that prevent them from absorbing fat. Because Vitamin E is fat soluble, people who can’t absorb fat properly will have a difficult time absorbing Vitamin E, even if they are getting plenty of the vitamin in their diets. Such people often get excellent results by taking Vitamin E as a nutritional supplement and may well see a reversal of the symptoms of deficiency.

Digestive problems? Download this guide to healthy holiday digestion.

Scientists also believe Vitamin E plays a role in preventing atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) by helping prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Several epidemiological studies have indicated that high dietary intake of Vitamin E is associated with high serum concentrations of alpha tocopherol, as well as with lower rates of ischemic heart disease.

The upshot? Eat plenty of foods that contain this important nutrient, and if you suffer from a condition or disease of the digestive system that prevents you from absorbing it properly, speak to your health care professional about taking a Vitamin E natural dietary supplement. 

Is your family taking enough Vitamin E?

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The Latest Anti-Aging Research and The Role of Supplements

by Health News

Healthy Digestion Tips and Anti-Aging researchIn recent years, a great deal of research has been given to anti-aging.  This should come as no great surprise, considering the millions of Baby Boomers scheduled to enter retirement.  Around the world, millions of Baby Boomers will be exiting the workforce, and they have billions in savings to spend.  This means that companies are seeing major dollar signs.  As a result, there has been a tremendous amount of research in recent years in the quest to find a way to slow or even stop aging.

Today, many experts feel that there are ways to greatly slow the aging process.  Few, however, are bold enough to flat out state that aging may soon be a thing of the past.  After all, no one wants to claim that the Fountain of Youth is around the corner and that many people alive today could live forever.  Whether or not slowing the aging process to this extent is possible is most certainly still up to debate.  Of course, for the time being, this issue remains in the realm of science fiction!

This is not to state that there is not considerable concrete research being done on anti-aging and healthy aging.  Numerous foods and supplements are receiving considerable attention for their ability to contribute to slowing the aging process.

One compound that has received considerable attention is resveratrol.  Resveratrol is a compound discovered in red wine, but also found in small amounts in grapes, raisins and a handful of other foods.  Testing indicates that resveratrol may actually serve to slow the aging process at least when in a concentrated pill form.  The amount of resveratrol found in red wine is considerable, but the real benefit of resveratrol is to be found in a supplement.  Whether or not resveratrol will actually extend the human lifespan is still to be seen.

Additional research is also taking place around the world with a wide variety of supplements and compounds.  For example, recent experiments fed mice a drug called rapamycin.  As a result, the lifespans of these adult mice was extended between 9-14 percent.  Some scientists also believe that they will be able to extend the human lifespan by deleting a gene in the body called SIRs.  As genetic research continues to evolve, we will likely hear more about these types of procedures.

Resveratrol may get the majority of the headlines about anti-aging, but there are many foods that you can eat in the here and now that can contribute to healthy aging.  Green tea, extra virgin olive oil and omega-3 rich foods, such as walnuts, wild Alaskan salmon, and sardines can all contribute to healthy aging.

It is important to realize that at the heart of anti-aging is a healthy diet that avoids fast food, processed foods and excessive calories.  Sugar, trans fats, chemicals and preservatives and high levels of sodium can all serve to dramatically harm your health and shorten your lifespan.  The foods that you don't eat can ultimately play just as important of a role in longevity, as the anti-aging foods and supplements that you take.  Seeing healthy aging as a process with many aspects and parts will go a long way towards helping you live a long and healthy life.

What are the steps you are taking on the road to healthy aging?

Healthy Aging: Guide to a Healthy Digestive System

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Which Supplements are Best for You?

by Health News

Which Supplements are Best? Get a Healthy Digestive SystemOne of the best ways to get a healthy digestive system is by taking dietary supplements. In fact, more than half of American adults take dietary supplements, but with hundreds to choose from, how do you know which supplements are best for you personally? Here is a rundown on some of the most common natural supplements and why you should include them in your daily diet.

Multivitamins

Those with a busy lifestyle who rely on fast food and microwave meals will almost certainly have a deficiency in vitamins and minerals. While daily supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet in any way, multivitamins do make sure that trace elements and minerals such as magnesium and zinc are being consumed on a regular basis.

The best multivitamins are those specifically formulated for men or for women. Women need higher levels of iron, calcium and folic acid. A well blended formula for women can resolve issues such as irritability, mood swings, bloating, lethargy, cramps and breast tenderness while men benefit from ingredients such as beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto for healthy prostate function.

Fish Oil

Fish oil has been shown to significantly improve health when taken on a regular basis. From preventing heart disease to easing joint pain and arthritis with its anti-inflammatory properties, a good quality fish oil should be on everyone's supplement list. 

Some people avoid taking fish oil supplements due to the aftertaste. Choose a good quality brand from a reputable supplier.  If you still get nasty repeats, store the fish oil in the refrigerator and take them cold; and try taking them before going to bed. This allows the capsules to get deeper into the body before being digested which eliminates the problem. A good quality fish oil will also be properly distilled and processed to remove toxic metals and pollutants from the fish oil.

Calcium

More than 25 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis and it is not just women that suffer from this "brittle bone" disease. It is too late to take a crash course once symptoms have been diagnosed. Our bodies need plenty of calcium (with vitamin D to help the body break it down) from an early age and throughout life. Calcium is also necessary for strong teeth as well as supporting the heart and nervous system.

Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is a relative newcomer to the health market yet its comprehensive benefits make it a top seller. It helps prevent heart disease and metabolizes energy from food. It also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure without the harmful side effects of prescribed medications. CoQ10 is found naturally in every cell in our body, but as we age it naturally diminishes and needs replenishing. It has been found to help prevent migraines, reduce inflammation and increase energy. The ideal daily supplement is around 100 mg per 100 pounds of body weight, although higher doses are beneficial to counter chronic fatigue. 

Once you have established a few basic supplements, continue to read and learn more about specific supplements. The best way to judge which are best for you is by trial and error. If you are receiving the correct nutrients and supplements, your body will feel fit, healthy and full of energy.

Want more tips on how to get a healthy digestive system? Get our FREE guide: The Aging Adults Guide to Healthy Holiday Digestion

Guide to a Healthy Digestive System

 

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Chronic Joint Pain: Top 5 Dietary Tips

by Not in Use Not In Use

For many, chronic joint pain caused by inflammation is a disability that affects almost every aspect of their movements during the day. While some chronic joint pain is caused by injury of repetitive motion, much of jointChronic Joint Pain: Top 5 Dietary Tips ailments are diet-related. Below are some dietary tips which can reduce the amount of inflammation and strengthen the muscles and bones involved in relieving chronic joint pain.

  1. Drink Lots of Water - As children, our cartilage consists of 85% water; as adults, that percentage drops to 75%. One of the best ways to keep the joints - which are comprised of cartilage - properly lubricated, drink at least eight (8) glasses of 8 ounces of water. Avoid diuretics such as soda, carbonated water, and alcohol.
  2. Make Bone Broths - An old-fashioned remedy and a staple of a more agrarian time, bone broths have a great deal of benefits. Making a stock made of bones and/or eggshells is easy, nutritious, and great for your bones and your joints. By boiling bones from chicken, pork, or beef, hyaluronic acid - an important anti-arthritic component - is released into a tasty broth. Eggshells also contain hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen.
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acid - Studies have demonstrated that omega-3s can reduce the pain and inflammation of stiff joints in people with arthritis. Foods rich in omega-3s include fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, as well as green vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
  4. Calcium - The ideal diet for preventing bone and joint problems contains about 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Aside from common calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, fish and soy, there are non-animal sources like broccoli, artichoke hearts, and beet greens. Supplements can also provide a good amount of calcium for those that need it.
  5. Antioxidants - Free radicals can have adverse effects on joints, and antioxidants can fight these damaging molecules. Aside from foods rich in vitamins A, C, E, and selenium, anything containing polyphenols and flavonoids, such as green tea, can benefit. Supplements of antioxidants can also prove effective in battling free radicals.

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Four Common Myths About Calcium

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You’ve probably heard of the old saying - ‘Milk does a body good’.

Most people have been raised to accept this as gospel. However, more and more health experts are now saying that not only are we not getting much benefit from Four Common Myths About Calciumcalcium consumption, but it may in fact be actively sabotaging our health.

Calcium is essential for bodily function, but it seems we may be pumping too much of it into our bodies. The fact is, most healthy adults don’t need to consume a lot of calcium - and that need rapidly decreases with age.

Here's the scary thing - excess calcium consumption has been shown to raise risk of heart disease, high blood pressure (BP), strokes, cancer and other chronic diseases. In fact, it increases the overall likelihood of death - known as all-cause mortality - by a staggering 250 percent!

Here are four common myths about calcium you may need to rethink:

  1. Osteoporosis means calcium deficiency - yes it does, but only in bones. It’s not necessarily true that calcium deficiency exists throughout the rest of the body, so consuming more calcium will not always solve the problem. The real problem with osteoporosis is that the body is unable to make new bone and integrate calcium into it - a problem that pumping in more calcium will not solve. The real problem is that most of the calcium leached from bones moves to other parts of the body, where it can be toxic to health.
  2. Dairy products are the best source of calcium - the fact is, you don’t need dairy to get enough calcium. Cultures that drink little to no milk have a much lower incidence of osteoporosis than Americans do. The average person's need for calcium can be easily met by consuming moderate amounts of meat, eggs and vegetables.
  3. More bone density means stronger bones - bone density may indeed improve a little with calcium supplementation, but this does not automatically lead to stronger bones or lower risk of fracture. In fact, bone quality doesn't improve unless other important factors are also addressed.
  4. Bone fracture is the biggest danger in osteoporosis - bone fractures are a serious business, no doubt. However, having a fracture is much less serious than suffering or dying from a heart attack, stroke or cancer. A groundbreaking study showed a 60 percent increase in the risk of death for individuals with lower bone densities - in whom calcium had likely leached to other parts of the body - compared to those with the highest bone densities.

These myths about calcium are currently accepted as fact by most people, and even some healthcare givers. More and more health experts are saying - and with good reason - that raising calcium concentrations is not beneficial, and it can even be toxic for health.

Source: Four Common Myths About Calcium.   

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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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7 Dietary Ingredients That Unclog Your Arteries

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you’re probably already aware, progressive clogging of the arteries - scientifically known as atherosclerosis - is the number one killer on the planet. 7 Dietary Ingredients That Unclog Your Arteries | Institute for Vibrant Living

And while it’s true that atherosclerosis is a complex process that involves autoimmunity, infection, dietary incompatibilities, along with many other known and unknown factors - it’s both entirely preventable, and in some cases reversible as well.

For instance, there is plenty of peer-reviewed, published scientific research proving that regular consumption of these seven dietary ingredients prevents, and in some cases even reverses atherosclerosis:

  1. B vitamins - a doubled-blind, randomized 2005 study found that daily consumption of 2.5 mg folic acid, 25 mg vitamin B6 and 0.5 mg vitamin B12 for one year led to significant reductions in arterial thickness. Niacin or folic acid alone has also been shown to have this effect in patients. It’s always better to go with natural sources of these B vitamins rather than synthetic supplements.
  2. Garlic - has been shown to reverse plaque buildup in arteries, along with providing many other potentially life-saving health benefits.
  3. Pomegranate - this super fruit has been shown to reverse the process of atherosclerosis in both animal and human studies.
  4. Fermented cabbage - kimchi, a Korean recipe which includes fermented cabbage, hot pepper and other ingredients, appears to slow down atherosclerosis in animal models.
  5. L-arginine - this amino acid is capable of preventing arterial thickening, as shown in more than 30 animal studies. Other studies also show that L-arginine is capable of correcting the underlying condition typically associated with cardiovascular disease, known as endothelial dysfunction.
  6. Turmeric - more than 30 studies so far have shown that the main polyphenol in the cooking spice turmeric - known as curcumin - is an excellent cardioprotective agent. For instance, one study showed that curcumin prevented damage to arteries associated with blockage.
  7. Sesame seed - appears to be ideally suited for preventing the progression of atherosclerosis. One animal study found it was capable of preventing atherosclerosis lesion formation.

Remember - heart disease is not a natural process, one that you need to accept as inevitable based on your family history. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that you can significantly influence your risk for this deadly condition by managing what you eat or don’t eat, along with your other lifestyle choices.

As the examples above clearly show, you can literally use food as medicine and regain control of your health with proper, life-giving nutrition.

Source: Seven Dietary Ingredients that Unclog Your Arteries.   

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How Olive Oil And Veggies Protect Against High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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 Best Diet for Lowering High Blood Pressureand 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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Barley Grass: Benefits For The Heart

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that barley grass is a nutrient-packed ‘green superfood’ with multiple health benefits - including clearing up skin problems, healing ulcers and lowering the risk for heart disease and stroke?

Green foods refer to young cereal grasses like barley grass and wheatgrass. During the early grass stage of their growth, barley and wheat are closer to vegetables than grains. However, as they grow further, their healthful chlorophyll, protein and vitamin levels fall sharply while levels of the indigestible fiber cellulose rises.

Barley Grass: Benefits For The Heart | Institute for Vibrant Living

Amazing, but true - an ounce of barley grass, wheatgrass and other green foods contains many more beneficial phytonutrients than an ounce of the healthiest green vegetables!

A concentrated source of several vitamins and minerals, barley grass is also rich in calcium, iron, potassium and chlorophyll. Unlike most plants, barley grass provides all nine essential amino acids, which your body can't produce on its own.

Back in 2002, researchers in Taiwan examined the effects of supplementation of young barley leaf extract - along with vitamins C and E - on the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in patients with type 2 diabetes. LDL oxidation is one of the first, critical steps in the development of atherosclerosis, which leads to heart disease.

Thirty-six patients with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in the Taiwanese study. Each patient received either extract of young barley leaf, vitamin C plus vitamin E alone, or barley extract plus the 2 vitamins daily for 4 weeks.

At the end of the study, the researchers observed that the vitamin E content of LDL increased significantly following supplementation, especially for the group that consumed barley leaf plus the 2 vitamins.

Atherosclerosis is responsible for heart disease and associated deaths in much of the world’s population. LDL oxidation is a critical first step in the development of atherosclerosis. Dietary antioxidants such as vitamin E lower atherosclerosis risk by reducing oxidative stress and preventing LDL oxidation.

This study shows that supplementation with extract of young barley leaf - especially in the presence of vitamins C and E - is likely to prevent LDL oxidation, thereby protecting protecting patients with type 2 diabetes against vascular diseases including heart disease and stroke.

Source: Barley Grass: Benefits for the Heart.   

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What are Antioxidants and How Do They Benefit Your Health?

by Health News

The old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” may, after all, have some medical grounding. Recent tests found that the polyphenol antioxidants in apples may be the fountain of youth, at least if you are a fruit fly! Studies still have to be carried out on humans but it is already accepted that antioxidants help fight the dangers of free radicals in our bodies and help slow down the aging process.

What are Antioxidants and How Do They Benefit My Health | Institute for Vibrant Living

How do Antioxidants Work?
The one weapon we have to protect cells from damaging free radicals is antioxidants. Vitamin E has been shown to have unique antioxidant and anti-aging properties. It works by countering the free radicals that are produced in the body through everyday functions such as exercise and breathing.

Antioxidants react with and neutralize these unstable molecules, known as free radicals, before they have chance to attach themselves to other cells causing cell damage, premature aging, heart disease and even cataracts.

Vitamin E also reduces inflammation in disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, improves circulation and slows the development of plaque which can narrow the artery walls, all things that older people are likely to suffer from.

Where can I Get More Antioxidants?
Examples of antioxidants are lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and E, selenium and other substances. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, sunflower seeds and wheat germ oil. Vitamin C can be sourced naturally in tomatoes, strawberries and citrus fruits such as oranges, while selenium is found in seafood and whole grains.
 
Foods such as tea, red wine, chocolate, apples, pears and dark berries are all full of flavenoids, along with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. These cruciferous vegetables are also high in a substance called isothiocyanate. Carrots are a good source of carotenoids and links have been made showing that those people with a diet high in carotenoids may enjoy longer lives.

Antioxidant Supplements
Daily multivitamin supplements include a proportion of vitamin C and vitamin E and this is a good way to ensure that minimum daily requirements are met. 

Sources:
http://www.fountainofyouthonline.net/anti-age/a-must-know-about-antioxidants/
http://www.fyiliving.com/diet/nutrition/anti-aging-secret-eat-an-apple-a-day/
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/antioxidants

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Learn Why You Should Be Eating KiwiFruit

by Health News

According to a study from New Zealand, consuming two kiwifruits a day as part of a healthy diet has a positive effect on blood Kiwifruit - A Heart Health Supplementlipid levels in men with high cholesterol levels - more so than eating a healthy diet alone.

In this study, 85 adult men with high blood cholesterol levels consumed a healthy diet over 12 weeks.

In four out of these twelve weeks, they switched from eating two portions of fruit daily to two portions of kiwifruits. The healthy diet without kiwifruits served as the control diet.

The study authors found that following a healthy diet led to positive changes in body weight, waist circumference and percentage of body fat in the first four weeks, even without kiwifruit consumption.

Further, levels of both total cholesterol and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol were reduced, while levels of HDL ‘good’ cholesterol increased significantly during the first four weeks.

Eating two kiwifruits did not cause any further changes in body weight and had no significant effects on total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. However, HDL cholesterol levels were significantly higher with the kiwifruit supplement relative to the control diet alone - and although the difference was relatively small, study authors believe this could translate into a 3-6% risk reduction of developing heart disease.

Further, in carriers of a gene associated with greater risk of elevated blood lipid levels, eating two kiwifruits a day also reduced triglyceride levels significantly - which was not seen in non-carriers.

Powerful antioxidants called polyphenols present in kiwifruits are the most likely reason why they act as a heart health supplement.

Overall, this study suggests that following a healthy, balanced diet can positively affect body weight and composition along with regulating blood lipid levels. Further, eating kiwifruits may provide an additional heart healthy benefit by raising HDL cholesterol levels.

So why not get your daily dose of kiwifruit?

Source

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Micronutrients: What are their Healing Powers?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Micronutrients: What are the Healing Powers?The rate of obesity has doubled in America over the last 30 years and has been accompanied by a massive health crisis - literally a nationwide epidemic of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Health experts are now convinced that this is because of the nutrient-deficient and calorie-rich US diet, not to mention crazy lifestyle, stress and lack of sleep.

And given the way US healthcare is structured, prevention by practicing a healthy diet and lifestyle is very unlikely. In fact, even most health caregivers receive very little nutritional training in medical school.

There is no doubt that solving this health crisis is going to take a lot of discipline and a complete dietary about-turn.

According to nutritionists, the root cause of chronic diseases is simple: lack of enough fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet. The typical American diet couldn’t be further removed from this ideal. On average, Americans eat 60% processed foods and 30% animal products, leaving only 10% for raw, unprocessed fruits and veggies.

While most people understand something about macronutrients, they know very little about the undervalued, but much more important micronutrients - the 14 essential vitamins, 16 essential minerals, and thousands of phytochemicals.

These micronutrients do not contain calories and our body needs them only in tiny amounts, but their role in maintaining health cannot be overestimated.

What’s more, some health experts now believe that the major micronutrient in food is not vitamins or minerals, but phytochemicals. In fact they believe micronutrients are literally a fountain of youth that function to improve human health and longevity.

There are literally tens of thousands of phytochemicals in natural, whole, vegetable-based foods. Micronutrients are essential in helping to protect us from disease - and if we are already sick, they help in recovery.

Every tomato, head of cabbage, piece of lettuce, cucumber, bean or sprout has hundreds - even thousands - of nutrients critically important for health.

And while supplementing with micronutrients can be helpful, the makeup of nutrients in unprocessed fruits and vegetables is so complex that it can’t be replicated synthetically - and why would you need to, when they are already so plentiful in naturally occurring green vegetables and fruits?

The standard American diet provides a meager 4% of phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables - not to mention that processing removes delicate phytochemicals found in raw produce, while animal products don’t have them at all.

So if you’re concerned about taking care of your health or prone to falling ill, you may want to consider adding more raw and lightly cooked fresh veggies - along with fresh fruits - to your daily diet.

Source: The Healing Power of Micronutrients.

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Omega-7: There's A New Healthful Omega Fat In Town

by Health News

You’re probably already familiar with the essential omega-3 fats and the many health benefits they offer - protecting against the harmful effects of inflammation, heart disease, and more.

Now, new studies have uncovered omega-7, a promising new omega fatty acid with a significant beneficial impact on both cholesterol levels and plaque development in arteries.

Omega-7 fats are found in all tissues in the body, but mainly in the liver. What are Omega-7: Benefits, Symptoms | Institute for Vibrant Living

In one study, Harvard researchers screened 3,000 people with type 2 diabetes.  They identified omega-7 fats as the most active, working to prevent further development of type 2 diabetes in study participants by regulating insulin.

Similarly, a Japanese study found similarly beneficial effects of omega-7 fats on type 2 diabetes in mice, again by modifying their insulin levels.

In another study at the Cleveland Clinic, omega-7 fats were seen to significantly lower plaque formation in the entire group of test mice. Levels of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol were shown to increase by an average of 85 percent in these mice.

Anchovies, sea buckthorn and macadamia nuts are naturally high in omega-7 fats; and of course omega-7 supplements are also available.

The sea buckthorn grows in high-salt conditions along the ocean shoreline and in deserts from Western Europe to Mongolia. While very astringent, its berries are edible; but they are a great source of vitamin C, containing 15 times as much as oranges. Sea buckthorn berries are also a rich source of omega-7 fats and are used to make both nutritional supplements and skin care products.

Macadamia nuts are rich in palmitoleic acid, an omega-7 fatty oil that provides building blocks for enzymes that control fat burning. Some experts believe palmitoleic acid may represent a therapy for obesity, although more research is needed.

Too much intake of omega-7 fats causes an unpleasant side effect. When they accumulate in the oily sebum that lubricates the skin, they are broken down into a chemical which causes an unpleasant odor to the skin. Frequent washing and specially formulated cosmetics can be used to eliminate the odor.

As always, before starting a new dietary supplement, it’s wise to consult with your physician to ensure it doesn't interfere with any medications you may be currently taking.

Source:

Omega 7: There’s a New Healthful Omega Fatty Acid in Town

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Top 5 Supplements to Add To Your Smoothie

by Health News

There are a variety of vitamin supplements that can be added to smoothies that have all sorts of healthy properties. These ingredients can all be purchased at your local whole foods store or through natural supplement websites. 

  1. Brewers Yeast: A great source of selenium, chromium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, copper, manganese, iron, and zinc.
  2. Bee Pollen: Contains high concentrations of vitamin B-complex and vitamins A, C, D, and E.
  3. Green Tea Powder: The potent antioxidants in green tea have been said to help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol.
  4. Spirulina: Contains over 60% all-digestible vegetable protein with a high concentration of beta carotene, vitamin B-12, iron and GLA, an essential fatty acid.
  5. Wheat Germ Oil: A rich source of vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

Top 5 Supplements to Add To Your Smoothie

Check out this smoothie recipe, which offers a healthy and tasty balance of protein and carbohydrates to keep your engine running throughout the day! Bananas, which are an excellent source of potassium, dietary fiber and Vitamin B6, provide a rich and creamy base, and soy milk is a great source of isoflavones which aid in the prevention of many cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis.

TROPICAL TREAT - Serves Two

  • Place all ingredients in a blender:
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 2 medium bananas, sliced
  • 2 scoops vanilla soy protein powder
  • 1/2 cup chunked cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup chunked canned or fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk

Place lid on blender, and pulse until ingredients begin to mix. Set blender on "blend" for about 30 seconds and then move to "ice crush" or your highest blending button for 20 to 30 more seconds. Pour, and enjoy this quick and healthful smoothie – a taste of the tropics!