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Fermented Vegetables for Indigestion

by Cindy Gray

The typical American diet often consists mainly of highly processed foods, fatty meats and few fruits or vegetables.  As a result, indigestion and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are on the rise, and nutritional deficits are the result.  Adding fermented foods, especially vegetables, into your diet can significantly improve the health of your belly, boost your immune system and stave off metabolic disorders that lead to high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and weight gain.

Fermented Vegetables: Optimal for Health and the Digestive SystemWhat Does Fermented Mean?

According to the dictionary, fermentation is: “the process in which a substance breaks down into a simpler substance.”  Usually some kind of agent, a microorganism like yeast or bacteria, starts the process that breaks sugar down into alcohol for instance.  Through fermentation, milk becomes cheese, yogurt and kefir. Grapes become wine and cabbage becomes kimchi or sauerkraut. Fermentation has been used for centuries in almost every culture as a way of preserving food.  Long before there was refrigeration or fast food restaurants, fermentation was an easy way to keep food edible for the winter months or for long journeys.

Probiotics for Healthy Digestion and Stronger Immunity

Fermenting vegetables and other foods makes them rich in probiotics.  These are the intestinal flora (good bacteria) essential for healthy digestion. They feed on sugar and help break down the nutrients in the intestine, which makes it easier for our bodies to absorb them.

When the good bacteria in our gut gets out of balance it can lead to:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Inflammation
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Increased risk of contracting illnesses like colds or the flu

Research has shown that obese people tend to have an imbalance in gut flora; and the immune system can become compromised when you don’t have enough healthy bacteria in your GI tract.  The Journal of Nutrition has even found a link between probiotics and a decreased risk of colon cancer.

Fermented Vegetables

We all know that vegetables are an essential component of a healthy diet. Fermented vegetables offer additional health benefits, but are not common in many American meals.  Making them a part of your diet has many health benefits, so here are a few to try.  Some of them may sound odd or exotic, but don’t let that stop you from trying them.

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish consisting of fermented cabbage.  Unless you grew up in a Korean family, you might find its pungent odor and spicy tang unappetizing.  It is an acquired taste, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to like it and by doing so, reap great health benefits.

Other fermented vegetables that can help indigestion are:

  • Pickles

  • Sauerkraut

  • Miso (fermented soy beans that form a base for soups and sauces)

  • Poi (fermented taro root)

  • Natto (fermented soy beans that are a traditional Japanese breakfast)

When trying these foods, be sure to look for those that are not pasteurized. Choose the high quality pickles and sauerkraut in the refrigerated section of your grocery store rather than the canned versions that may contain high fructose corn syrup, a lot of preservatives, or are high in sodium. Shopping in specialty food markets is the best way to find good miso, poi or natto.

There are other terms for fermented like “pickled” or “cultured,” so read labels carefully and be aware that some of these foods are very high in sodium.  You can always ferment food at home, too. It’s actually a pretty simple process and there are dozens of recipes and “how to” articles and videos on-line to assist you.

Other Healthy Fermented Foods

Fermented vegetables are just one way to get gut-healthy probiotics into your diet for better digestion and a stronger immune system.  Other foods rich in probiotics are:

  • Kefir

  • Yogurt

  • Sourdough bread

  • Tempeh (cake made from fermented soybeans)

Introduce fermented vegetables slowly  into your diet if you are not used to eating them regularly.  Until they become a regular part of your diet, try adding them as a side dish or snack so you don’t overwhelm your palate. You will reap the benefits of a healthier gut and a stronger immune system.

Related: Simple Tips for Relieving Indigestion

 

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Inability to Focus? Feed your Brain!

by Cindy Gray

When your body lacks food, it tells you by slowing down and losing its normal efficiency. In the same way, when your brain needs a boost, it lets you know by becoming slow, muddled and lacking its normal clarity.  Several foods appear to boost memory and cognitive function, as if they are brain superfoods. Next time you feel the inability to focus, try these brain foods.Feed your Brain, Increase Focus

Maca for Brain Power

Maca is an unusual turnip-like root which thrives where other crops fail. It was grown by the Incas high in the Andes in places like Machu Picchu. This amazing food can be grown at altitudes of 9,000 to 14,000 feet, even in cold winds and strong sunlight.

Maca has been used as a food and a medicinal plant for thousands of years. The Inca people believe the root is a source of energy and endurance but it also improves memory and brain power. You may not be able to grow maca in your own backyard, or find it in the supermarket, but maca is available as a health supplement in powdered form and can easily be added to power smoothies and shakes.

Maca root is high in antioxidants which are known to aid memory and cognitive function. It comes in three forms: black, red and yellow maca. Clinical studies on maca found that black maca had a positive effect on the brain, with most people citing it helped them improve memory. Scientists believe that the antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in the brain, allowing it to be more clear thinking and productive.

Cacao for Clarity and Alertness

Cacao, the raw form of cocoa and chocolate, contains over 300 beneficial compounds. Unfortunately many of these are destroyed by heating, refining and processing the cacao into chocolate.

Cacao has been shown to increase the activity in the brain's neurotransmitters, not only lifting mood and promoting a sense of well-being, but also increasing alertness and mental clarity. It works by stimulating the levels of endorphins and serotonin that makes us feel happy. It also prompts the brain to release anandamide, known as the "bliss chemical", along with phenylethylamine (PEA) which improves mental focus and alertness.

Related: Can Exercise Prevent Alzheimer's Disease?

Other benefits of cacao include dilating the blood vessels which allows better circulation to the brain; balancing mood and brain chemistry; providing a shield against stress and increasing mental sharpness.

Look for chocolate with a high percentage of cacao and proportionally less sugar, dairy and soy products to get the maximum benefits from nutrient-rich cacao.

Reishi Mushrooms for Boosting Mental Capacity

Certain types of mushrooms are known to affect the mind, sometimes positively, and sometimes negatively. Reishi mushrooms are referred to as the "King of Herbs" in Eastern medicine. This fungus has a positive mental benefit as it helps maintain equilibrium and balance in the whole body.

A balanced body is essentially healthy and has a strong immune system which leads to a positive and healthy outlook on life. It also allows us to deal with stress more easily, lowering anxiety levels that can otherwise inhibit brain function.

Reishi specifically strengthens the vagus nerve which connects the gut to the brain and this is thought to be the reason for the improvement in mental capacity.

Reishi mushrooms, along with maca root powder are key ingredients in several popular, powerful, and palatable meal replacement drinks used to boost energy and feed your brain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome & Indigestion Home Remedies

by Cindy Gray

Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome + Indigestion Home RemediesLeaky gut syndrome affects millions of Americans, and they may not even know they have it. This one condition may be at the root of an array of health problems, from indigestion and allergies to joint pain to autoimmune disorders.  While it sounds like a digestive problem, leaky gut syndrome affects various areas of the body if left unchecked.

What is leaky gut syndrome?

Essentially, the walls of the digestive tract are lined with tiny pores that allow certain molecules and nutrients to pass through to the bloodstream.  Damage to these pores makes them bigger, allowing undigested food particles and other impurities to leak through.  The body reacts to these foreign invaders with an immune reaction.

What causes leaky gut syndrome?

An overabundance of unhealthy intestinal bacteria is a common cause of leaky gut syndrome, causing inflammation, irritation, and eventual damage to the intestinal wall.  Another cause is chronic constipation.  The stool sits in the digestive system and builds up toxins that irritate the intestinal lining and cause damage.

How does leaky guy syndrome affect the health?

When the immune system responds, it builds up antibodies to food particles and other foreign invaders.  This can lead to inflammation throughout the body causing a wide array of symptoms:

  • Digestive problems

  • Fatigue

  • Food sensitivities

  • Headache

  • Joint pain

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Skin problems like acne, rash, and rosacea

  • Thyroid conditions

  • Weight gain

Leaky gut can affect absorption of key nutrients including iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.  In addition, there is some evidence to suggest that if left unchecked, leaky gut can lead to autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, anxiety, and depression.

Indigestion Home Remedies: What are some natural ways to soothe a leaky gut?

Modifying the diet and making other lifestyle changes can help heal a leaky gut.  People should eliminate foods that contain sugar and grain and replace conventional beef and lamb with grass-fed versions.  It is important to swap tap water for filtered water or pure spring water, and always eat organic fruits and vegetables.  People should not smoke or drink alcohol when trying to heal a leaky gut, and they should limit the use of NSAIDs and antibiotics.

Related: Start the Day out Right – Eat Breakfast

Foods that are especially helpful for leaky gut include:

Bone Broth – Collagen and important amino acids found in bone broth help repair damaged cell walls.

Coconut Products – Because medium-chain fatty acids in coconut are easier to digest than other fats, they take less of a toll on the system.  In addition, the antibacterial properties of coconut oil encourage a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.

Fermented Vegetables – Organic acids and probiotics found in fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi encourage proper pH balance and a healthy bacterial balance in the gut.

Foods High in Omega-3 Fats – Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids, foods like wild-caught salmon and grass-fed beef help sooth certain symptoms of leaky guy syndrome.

Yogurt – Probiotics found in yogurt help populate the gut with healthy bacteria and promote healing.

Supplements that help sooth a leaky gut include:

Probiotics – A supplementary version of the good bacteria found in yogurt, probiotics help encourage healthy intestinal balance.

Digestive Enzymes – Products that contain protease, lipase, and amylase encourage better digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, lowering the chances that these particles might damage intestinal walls.

L-Glutamine – An essential amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties, glutamine helps encourage growth and repair of the intestinal lining. 

Quercetin – Because it promotes the production of tight junction proteins, quercetin helps repair damaged intestinal walls.  Studies show quercetin also curbs the release of histamine, a compound associated with immune response to allergies like those associated with food.

Because of a wide range of symptoms, people experience leaky gut syndrome in different ways. Taking advantage of a few natural methods can help repair intestinal walls and ease symptoms.  If these methods are unsuccessful, people who suspect they may have leaky gut syndrome should consult with a health care professional.

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6 High Blood Pressure Diet Foods to Fight Inflammation

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Inflammation is how your immune system responds to an injury or infection. Among others, inflammation signals the release of leukocytes - white blood cells that help clean up an injury site.

Leukocytes take away harmful pathogens and signal the body that something’s wrong. Inflammation creates High Blood Pressure Diet Foods to Fight Inflammationswelling and pain to let your body know that you need to rest to allow recovery and healing.

Sometimes, inflammation can spread out of control and cause pain and swelling even when there is no injury. Inflammation is now the prime suspect in chronic disease conditions like arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that eating the wrong kinds of foods can lead to an inflammatory reaction even when there’s no invading pathogens or injury.

For instance - sugar, overly refined foods and saturated fats, when consumed in excess, are known to trigger the immune system into overactivity.

If you’d like to minimize the chances of your diet triggering inflammation in your body, here are six diet tips for fighting inflammation naturally. All of these are known as healthy high blood pressure diet foods:

  1. Eat a balance of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids - experts believe that earlier humans ate a more balanced diet as far as the essential fatty acids are concerned. Today, omega-6 fats tend to be over-represented in the typical American diet. Consuming too much saturated fats is also responsible for the inflammatory response going into overdrive.
  2. Eat vegetarian or fish sources of protein - eating too much red meat is known to trigger inflammation. Replacing red meat with fatty fish helps to reduce inflammatory symptoms, for example those associated with arthritis.
  3. Add some flaxseed to your breakfast meal - flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fats, which help to dampen inflammation.
  4. Consume only healthy oils, in moderation - including olive, flax, wheat germ, and hemp oil. These oils are free from fats that are normally associated with inflammation. Correctly preserved fish and krill oils are also excellent anti-inflammatory foods.
  5. Eat lots of fruits and veggies - these natural foods help to prevent disease conditions most linked to inflammation, because they contain both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances.
  6. Choose whole grains over processed wheat flour - whole grains such as oats, barley, quinoa, millet, brown rice, and cous cous are gluten-free and anti-inflammatory, relative to processed and overly refined grain foods such as wheat and corn.

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Glutathione - the Master Antioxidant

by Cindy Gray

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

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

Glutathione performs many important roles in the body, including:

  • Managing cell growth and division

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reference

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

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Do Collard Greens Prevent Cancer?

by Cindy Gray

You probably know of collard greens as a staple ingredient in any soul food restaurant menu, or as part of a typical Sunday dinner for thousands of Americans.  Well, the good news is that this common green food not only tastes good but it is also very beneficial for your health and wellbeing.  Collard greens are a dark green leafy vegetable, closely related to cabbage and broccoli, and are part of the family of the so-called cruciferous vegetables. They are bitter to taste when raw, so they need to seasoned correctly before cooking.Prevent Cancer with Collard Greens?

Based on a small number of studies looking specifically at collard greens, and a larger number of studies looking at cruciferous vegetables as a group, the main health benefit of collard greens appears to be cancer prevention.  Collard greens provide nutrient support for three of the body’s systems that are closely connected with cancer prevention - including the detox system, the antioxidant system and the anti-inflammatory system. Chronic imbalances in any of these three systems can increase the risk of cancer. When imbalances in all three systems occur simultaneously, the risk of cancer increases significantly. Intake of collard greens is believed to be associated with a lower risk of bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer.

What’s more, the thick leaves of collards are packed with cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, immune-boosting vitamin C, and the cancer fighting properties of sulforaphane and diindolylmethane. Sulforaphane also lowers blood glucose levels, which makes collard greens a healthy choice for people with diabetes.  As a rich source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese and vitamin E, collard greens provide us with four conventional yet powerful antioxidants.

Further, as an excellent source of vitamin K, and a good source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), collard greens also provide us with two major anti-inflammatory nutrients. Vitamin K directly manages our inflammatory response, and ALA is the building block for several anti-inflammatory messaging molecules.

Sulforaphane, a natural compound found in collard greens, not only triggers anti-inflammatory activity in the cardiovascular system, it may also be able to help prevent, and possibly even help reverse blood vessel damage.

The soluble fiber in collard greens - over 5 grams in every cup - makes this cruciferous vegetable a natural choice for digestive system support, providing 85% of the daily allowance from only 200 calories worth.

Last but not least, research is currently underway to examine the potential benefits of collard greens in relationship to the risk of the following inflammation-related conditions: Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, insulin resistance, irritable bowel syndrome, metabolic syndrome, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes and ulcerative colitis.

In other words, if you’re not already consuming this beneficial green food, why not add it to your diet today?

 

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Do Collard Greens Prevent Cancer?

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Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients

by Health News
Looking for some high blood pressure remedies? There’s no question that, when it comes to healthy aging, specifically lowering cholesterol, your first step should be to eat healthy and exercise. But when you want that extra boost, these three nutrients should be at the top of your list.High Blood Pressure Remedies: 3 Heart-Healthy Nutrients
 
CoQ10—Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble compound found in every plant and animal cell. Research has shown that CoQ10 also prevents the oxidation of LDL—the pivotal step in artery clogging—and, along with vitamin E, can help to lower cholesterol levels. Plus, many older adults are frequently prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statins class which significantly deplete CoQ10 stores, so it is particularly critical that you use CoQ10 if you are taking a statin. Aim for 100 mg of CoQ10 (as ubiquinone) daily.
 
Essential Fatty Acids— Essential fatty acids (EFAs), the omega-3's EPA and DHA, are fats that your body does not produce and you must therefore obtain through diet or supplementation. They are important for the production of series 1 and 3 prostaglandins, potent hormone-like anti-inflammatory substances that help regulate blood pressure, the breakdown of fat or cholesterol in your blood, heart rate, blood clotting, and your immune system’s response to injury and infection. EFAs also help decrease inflammation. Aim for 200 mg of EPA and 100 mg of DHA every day.
 
Quercetin—Quercetin belongs to the bioflavonoid family—a subgroup of flavonoids known for their potent antioxidant and antiviral capabilities. It also helps to maintain the strength of small blood vessels and reduce vascular fragility. In addition to its ability to reduce bleeding and bruising, quercetin is beneficial in preventing “sticky” platelets and promoting relaxation of the entire cardiovascular system. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate. Aim for 250 mg a day.
 
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Can Vitamin D Work Without Magnesium?

by Cindy Gray

According to extensive research, vitamin D deficiencies play a major role in the development of breast, prostate and colon cancer as well as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, psoriasis and mental illness.  While people are now beginning to realize the full extent of health benefits that vitamin D has to offer, they may not be getting the benefits of this vitamin without supplementing their diets with magnesium.

In order to receive the health benefits of vitamin D, its cofactors must be present, including magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc and boron.

Does Vitamin D Work With Magnesium?Magnesium is a vital nutrient because it converts vitamin D into its active form. In fact, the effectiveness and benefits of vitamin D are greatly undermined in the absence of adequate magnesium in the body, yet most Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this important mineral.

The importance of magnesium as a nutrient required for proper vitamin D metabolism has been recognized by several studies as follows:

  • Magnesium is necessary for vitamin D metabolism

  • Magnesium influences utilization of vitamin D by activating cellular enzyme activity. All the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium

  • Magnesium has a possible role in vitamin D's effect on the immune system. Low magnesium has been shown to lower production of vitamin D's active form

  • Several studies show that magnesium is also necessary for vitamin D's beneficial actions on bone

  • Vitamin D inhibits calcium deposition in arteries, and magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form so that it can prevent calcium buildup into plaque in arteries. The combination of magnesium and vitamin D helps to prevent clogged arteries by drawing calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into bones, where it is needed to build healthy bone structure and prevent osteoporosis, some forms of arthritis and kidney stones.

 

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Can Vitamin D Work Without Magnesium?

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Can Vitamin D Benefit You Without Magnesium?

by Cindy Gray

You may already know about the many powerful health benefits of having sufficient levels of vitamin D in your body. However, you may not be getting many of these benefits if you suffer from magnesium deficiency.

Vitamin D is made by skin cells in response to sunlight. It is also found naturally in fatty fish, fish liver oils and egg yCan Vitamin D Benefit without Magnesium?olks; as well as in fortified grains and dairy products.

Along with helping to build strong bones by maintaining proper calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, vitamin D also appears to protect against many other health problems.

For instance, having adequate levels of 25-hydoxyvitamin D (the biologically active form of vitamin D) can lower the risk of a first heart attack and peripheral vascular disease, along with reducing risk for many cancers.

Low levels of 25-hydoxyvitamin D are associated with increased likelihood of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure (BP). Many studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency also plays a major role in the development of breast, prostate and colon cancer, as well as arthritis, osteoporosis, psoriasis and mental illness.

Increasing vitamin D intake to about 800 international units (IU) per day has been reported to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 30%.

While more and more people are learning about the powerful health benefits offered by vitamin D, they may not be getting many of these benefits if they suffer from magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form. It acts with and is essential to the activity of vitamin D. In fact, vitamin D’s effectiveness is significantly reduced without adequate levels of magnesium in the body. However, most Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this important mineral.

Nutrients act to enhance each other. To get the health benefits of vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc and boron must also be present in suitable amounts.

The importance of magnesium for proper vitamin D metabolism has been confirmed by several studies as follows:

  • Magnesium is essential for the metabolism of vitamin D

  • Magnesium influences how the body uses vitamin D

  • All enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium (enzymes are special proteins that carry out chemical reactions in the body)

  • Magnesium may play a role in vitamin D's effects on the immune system

  • Magnesium is necessary for vitamin D's beneficial actions on bone structure

Last but not least, in its active form in the presence of magnesium, vitamin D stops calcium from being deposited in arteries, interfering with plaque formation or atherosclerosis, the first critical step towards developing heart disease.

Magnesium and vitamin D work together to draw calcium out of blood and soft tissues back into bones, where it is needed to build a healthy, strong bone structure; thereby preventing osteoporosis, some forms of arthritis and kidney stones.

If you feel you’re not getting enough vitamin D or magnesium, it may be a good idea to look for a supplement that gives you both of these vital nutrients and add it to your daily supplement regime right away.

 

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Can Vitamin D Benefit You Without Magnesium?

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5 Fats You Should Be Eating

by Health News

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

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

Some healthy fat may hold the secret to how to increase energy levels

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

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

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

 

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What to eat for Better Metabolic health

by Health News

In this article, we will discuss what to eat for better metabolic health and how to increase energy levels by changing your diet.

When you eat food, carbohydrates are converted into blood sugar or glucose.how to increase energy levels

In response, your pancreas secretes insulin, a hormone that tells your cells to take in the glucose floating in your bloodstream. Cell membranes are then activated to allow glucose to enter cells, where it is converted into energy.

In type 2 diabetes and its precursor, metabolic syndrome, cells get the message but they just don’t want to listen. They become less responsive to insulin, known as insulin resistance - and glucose accumulates in the bloodstream.

Untreated, these chronically elevated levels of glucose lead to inflammation that can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys and eyes.

The evidence is clear - America’s love of processed foods is having a significant impact on both waistlines and metabolic health.

One problem with processed foods is their glycemic index, an indication of how rapidly the body digests them and extracts glucose. Too much glucose too fast generates a brief high. In response, insulin levels rise rapidly often precipitating a drastic drop in blood sugar. This results in intense cravings for the foods that made us high in the first place.

These dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose trigger a cascade of other hormones that affect many aspects of our metabolism, including brain chemistry.

For example, low blood sugar causes release of cortisol, one of the body’s stress signals. High cortisol levels prevent weight loss and lead to fat accumulation around the midsection. This ‘spare tire’ fat produces its own chemicals that drive inflammation.

So the first step in fighting insulin resistance is developing a strong diet plan - a completely different approach to eating food:

  • Eliminate processed foods - many processed foods are nutritionally inert and deficient. Becoming a label reader will help increase your awareness of the foods you consume daily.
  • Reduce sugar - combine sugar with fiber and protein, giving your body more time to adjust. Fresh berries and fruits such as apples, plums, and nectarines are low glycemic fruits with a satisfying sweet taste.
  • Eat lean proteins, whole grain foods, green leafy vegetables and drink plenty of water - lentils and beans, nuts and seeds are excellent sources of high quality protein when used in moderation due to their high calorie content. Eat organic when possible, especially meats and dairy products.
  • Take care of your beneficial gut bacteria - probiotics introduce friendly microbes that help your body with digestion, nutrition absorption, immune system maintenance and many other aspects of health. On the other hand, unhealthy gut bacteria contribute to weight gain. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (cultured vegetables) are all good sources of friendly bacteria.
  • Use healthy oils such as olive, coconut, avocado, and walnut oils - avoid fried foods, as they contain unhealthy oils that have been damaged by high heat. Also avoid peanut, corn, soybean, and safflower oils that are high in omega-6, as well as any products containing partially hydrogenated oils.

Source: Eating to Protect Your Metabolic Health

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Nature's Natural Energy Boosters

by Health News

It’s a new year, and perhaps you’ve decided to start an exercise regimen, or maybe you want to step up the one you’ve been doing. Whether you’re looking to increase your athletic performance or simply find natural ways to boost energy and combat the post-lunch “crash”, here are some of nature’s most potent and proven botanical energy boosters:

Licorice. Licorice rhizomes are rich in flavonoids and saponins (antioxidants). In their book THE HERBAL DRUGSTORE published in 2000, Dr. Linda B. White and medicinal plant expert Steven Foster recommend licorice as a tonic for the adrenal glands and to increase energy.

natural ways to boost energy

Siberian Ginseng. Siberan Ginseng is known as an “adaptogenic” herb for its ability to combat fatigue and stress. In his 2003 book MEDICAL HERBALISM: THE SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF HERBAL MEDICINE," clinical herbalist David Hoffmann states that Siberian Ginseng is useful in cases of prolonged stress, exhaustion and overwork and is safe to take on a long-term basis.

Astragalus. Astragalus membranaceus is a perennial herb found throughout eastern Asia. A potent immune enhancer, Astragalus is also a powerful weapon against fatigue. Dr. Linda B. White and Steven Foster suggest using Astragalus tincture, tea or capsules to combat fatigue and help digestion.

Ginger. Because Ginger is so helpful to the digestive system, it helps you get the most energy out of the food you eat, and helps you get that energy faster. Herbs that help you digest your food will inevitably give you energy.

Visit your local health food store to find the various forms of these and other energizing botanicals. Before taking anything new, be sure to consult with your health care practitioner to make sure the herbs you choose will not worsen any health condition or interact with any medicines you are taking.


 

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The Many Benefits of Regular Exercise

by Health News

If you're looking for tips on how to have more energy and get a better night's sleep, exercising regularly tops the list.

how to have more energy with regular exercise and a good night’s sleep

However, you will have to be patient, because regular exercise leads to improvements in sleep gradually over time and not right away.

The benefits of regular exercise are endless - reduction of stress and anxiety, lowered risk for many diseases, more positive mood and enhanced immune function. Studies also show that daily exercise improves sleep quality.

In a recent study carried out at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, scientists looked at the effects of exercise on sedentary women and men in their 60s who had been diagnosed with insomnia.

Overall, those who participated in a 16-week exercise program slept longer and woke up less often than those who remained inactive. Insomnia only improved after 16 weeks of regular exercise. On the other hand, when the volunteers slept poorly, their workouts the next day were significantly shorter.

In this study, volunteers were randomly assigned either to remain inactive or to participate in a moderate endurance exercise program - consisting of three or four 30-minute exercise sessions every week, generally on a stationary bicycle or treadmill.

At the end of 16 weeks, volunteers in the exercise group were sleeping much more soundly than they had been before the study started. However, during the first two months, they did not sleep any better than at the start of the study. Only after four months of the exercise program had elapsed did their insomnia improve.

Most interestingly, volunteers almost always exercised for shorter periods of time on the days after a poor night’s sleep. In other words, sleeping badly tended to shorten the next day’s workout. On the other hand, a full-length exercise session did not necessarily mean more and better sleep at night.

This study seems to indicate that people with insomnia and other sleep disturbances are wired differently. They may have an overstimulated stress system - and a single bout of exercise may not be enough to dampen it.

However, if they keep up the exercise program, their stress system eventually quiets down and their stress response gradually becomes muted. In general it takes some time before they see any noticeable changes in sleep patterns.

Still, experts believe there’s enough evidence from this study to make it worthwhile for everyone - including you - to commit to a more active lifestyle to achieve better sleep, so why not start today?

Boost Health and Vitality

Source: Exercise Can Help You Sleep Better.

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Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms

by Health News

If you are eating a healthy diet you may simply assume that you are getting all of the vitamins that you need. However, increasingly, people have different vitamin deficiencies and aren’t even aware that this is the case. If your body is lacking in essential vitamins like Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, your health can quickly deteriorate.

If you’re experiencing frequent digestive problems or other regular health issues, your body may be lacking in essential vitamins.

If you’re experiencing frequent digestive problems or other regular health issues, your body may be lacking in essential vitamins.

In order for your body to function optimally, your body should be exposed to ample amounts of every key vitamin. After all, each kind of vitamin serves a vital purpose in the body. You may not immediately realize that you have a vitamin deficiency. However, there are signs that you can look for.

Do you get an upset stomach or experience other digestive problems on a regular basis? Your body may be having a hard time absorbing the nutrients from the food you eat. It could also be you're lacking in the proper amount of good bacteria and enzymes in your stomach needed to break down and digest your food. Probiotic supplements can help in these instances to provide your body with the bacteria it needs to support a healthy digestive system. It's important to consult your doctor about these symptoms.

One sign of vitamin deficiency that you can easily recognize occurs via changes in your hair, skin, teeth and nails. For example, is your skin is dry and cracking? Do you have dandruff?   Further, your nails and hair may break easily, and you may also experience hair loss due to vitamin deficiencies. Lack of Vitamin C in the body can also cause impaired wound healing, loose teeth and bleeding gums, while lack of Vitamin A can cause dry hair, and acne. People also commonly have eye problems, like dry eye and night blindness, when they have deficiencies in Vitamin A.

You might think that you are just depressed or tired. However, mood related issues could also be caused by lack of vitamins in the body. For example, a B12 deficiency can cause depression, fatigue, personality changes, and even psychosis. Lack of Vitamin D has also been traced to memory impairment in seniors. If you are finding that you are suddenly experiencing problems with your mood and just don’t feel like yourself, this could also be due to a vitamin deficiency.

Deficiency in Vitamin D is also a serious issue that is increasingly of concern to scientists and doctors. Research has linked this lack of Vitamin D to a variety of serious illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease and immune disorders. If you have a vitamin deficiency in D, there are measures you can take such as drinking fortified milk that is rich in Vitamin D. Also exposure to sunlight will help to maintain your body’s natural production of the vitamin.

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Supercharge Your Immune System Before You Travel

by Health News

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, travel requires careful planning. That’s why we develop extensive to-do lists that include filling up the gas tank, making airline reservations, obtaining maps and packing suitcases. Unfortunately most of us make travel plans that provide little or no focus on the most important thing of all - our health. 

Boost Your Immune System Naturally

While maintaining a strong immune system is critical for vibrant health every day of our lives, it becomes increasingly important when we are on the move. Travel can compromise the immune system because it upsets the internal body clock that regulates sleep, hunger and digestion. (This can be particularly troubling when you cross time zones.) Many travelers fall into poor eating habits and consume more caffeine and alcohol than their bodies can tolerate. 

To further complicate matters, travel also means increased exposure to germs and viruses that thrive when people are hoarded together in cars, airplanes, buses or trains. Poor air circulation contributes to the spread of illnesses and doorknobs, counters, banisters and other surfaces are likely to be contaminated by germs.   

With a little planning you can supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy your travels and protect your health. One of the best ways to prepare your immune system for travel is to take nutritional supplements before and during your trip. Supplements containing green tea and resveratrol are particularly important. Green tea contains an agent called catechin polyphenol that is considered “jet fuel” for the immune system.

Resveratrol is another potent immune system booster that can help keep you healthy before and during your travels. This powerful antioxidant, which is present in red wine, fruit and the skin of grapes, is associated with a lower risk of developing cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Because it would be difficult to obtain optimal amounts of resveratrol from food and wine, many people use resveratrol supplements. 

Many people also add probiotics to their daily regime before and during travel to prevent gastric distress. Probiotics, which are available from natural health stores, populate the intestinal tract with “friendly” bacteria that limits the growth of “bad” bacteria such as salmonella, clostridia and E coli. 

The next time you make travel plans, make sure you take your healthy habits with you. Supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy every second of your trip.  

What do you do to stay healthy while traveling?

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How to Pick the Right Probiotic For Your Digestive System

by Health News

How to choose a probiotic supplement

Scientists estimate that the human body is home to more than 750 trillion bacteria, and most of them exist in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They are essential for the digestion of food, neutralizing hormones and supporting the body’s immune system. Having an imbalance of these bacteria can cause digestive or intestinal problems that manifest themselves as fatigue, depression, recurring yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or cramps.

You may be surprised to learn that people over 60 have 1000 times less “friendly” bacteria in their guts than younger healthy adults. Probiotics can play an essential role in aging healthy. Many studies suggest that overall health depends largely on the healthy functioning of the digestive system.

One major cause of an imbalance of bacteria is taking a course of antibiotics. They not only treat the virus that they are prescribed for, but also lay waste to the bacteria in our digestive tract. Other medications such as heartburn pills can also be harmful to gut flora as they alter the balance of intestinal bacteria.

If your gut has too many “bad” bacteria releasing toxins, your body will feel the effect with a range of health problems. If you lack sufficient digestive enzymes, a probiotic with a high count of bacteria can be taken to rectify the situation.

Picking the Correct Probiotic

Increasing the good bacteria in your intestine is easy. Yoghurt, miso and soy drinks all contain live cultures that can improve digestive or intestinal problems. The “good” bacteria thrive on nutrients called prebiotics which are found in onions, green leafy vegetables, bananas, artichokes and garlic. Bad bacteria thrive on sugars and fats from processed foods and these foods should definitely be avoided.

Live bacteria can be taken as supplements. There are many strains, each with a different function. It is wise to read the labels and learn more about what each probiotic does. For example, Lactobacillus casei (in the yoghurt drink DanActive) was found to reduce ear infections and gastrointestinal upsets in children. Studies on Bifidobacterium Infantis (found in the probiotic supplement Align) found it reduces the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

How to Take Probiotics
Some probiotics come in capsule form while others are in powder or liquid form and need to be kept refrigerated. Follow the instructions and never expose probiotics to heat or processing or they will be damaged or killed.

Most good probiotic supplements combine several beneficial bacteria with live yeast. Look for a probiotic containing billions of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces and Bifidobacteria. A supplement such as First Milk Flora is easy to take as a chewable tablet and contains 1.5 million colony forming units per tablet to promote healthy digestion. The best probiotics also include a prebiotic which helps the flora survive in the intestine.

To continue on a healthy aging path, consult your doctor before taking any probiotics as they may interfere with some medications. Once taken, you should begin to feel an improvement in your health after one to two weeks. If not, switch to a different probiotic to find one that aids your particular medical problem or gives a general boost to your feeling of wellbeing. As the probiotics change the acidic balance of your body, it is important to keep a record of any changes, and to consult a doctor beforehand if you are already taking medications. Cheers to maintaining your path of aging healthy!



Source:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/448920-the-best-probiotics-for-women/
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-choose-the-best-probiotic-acidophilus.htm

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Probiotic Supplements: Not Just for Intestinal Health

by Health News

If you’re taking probiotics to improve your digestion problems, current research suggests you’re not just helping your gut—you’re doing your entire body a favor! And if you’re not taking probiotics, you might want to consider starting. Read on to find out why!

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast in a person's digestive tract. These microorganisms are “friendly” (beneficial to the host). Among many benefits, they help degrade toxic and allergenic substances in the intestine and colon. Probiotics occur naturally in certain foods like yogurt and cottage cheese. They are also available as nutritional supplements which can be purchased in health food stores. 

Probiotic Supplements

How do probiotics help my whole body?

These tiny organisms can do some pretty amazing things! To name just a few:

They help you absorb nutrients. The friendly bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus helps with the absorption of the B vitamins and vitamin K, along with fatty acids and minerals such as calcium.

They improve immune function. Beneficial bacteria have a critical and powerful effect on your gut’s immune system and your systemic immune system. They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.

A study* published in the journal Pediatrics in 2009 looked at the potential benefits of probiotics in children during cold and flu season. According to the authors, “Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.”

They have a systemic, anti-inflammatory effect. While mechanism behind this benefit is not fully understood, recent studies strongly suggest that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus works against inflammation. One such study** looked at biological markers for inflammation in patients taking the probiotics and those take a placebo. The researchers concluded “…probiotic bacteria have strain-specific anti-inflammatory effects in healthy adults.”

Another study*** from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, looked at the effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus in infants with eczema, an inflammatory skin condition. The researchers concluded that infants receiving this probiotic had a significantly reduced risk of eczema symptoms.

So if you thought probiotic supplements were just for digestion problems, think again! Now you have many more reasons to consider taking probiotic supplements.

Digestive Health

Sources:

*http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/residents/journal-club/probioticscolds.pdf

**http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?orig_db=PubMed&db=pubmed&cmd=Search&term=%22World%20journal%20of%20gastroenterology%20%3A%20WJG%22%5BJour%5D%20AND%202029%5Bpage%5D%20AND%202008%5Bpdat%5D

***http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/residents/journal-club/Wickens%20Lactobacillus%20rhamnosus%20JACI%202008.pdf

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There’s an ongoing war for your health raging in your gut - whose side are you on?

by Health News

 

 

According to health experts, our health is being profoundly affected by an ongoing bacterial war raging deep inside our gut.Are the Bacteria in Your Gut Dangerous | Institute for Vibrant Living
 
Our body has 100 trillion bacteria in it, which live (mostly) in the gut with the surface area of a football field. Most experts say the optimal ratio is 85%:15% good to bad bacteria.
 
An excess of pathogenic bacteria has severe and widespread consequences for health. They create mold, putrefaction and release toxins into blood causing diarrhea, bloating, bad breath and even emotional problems, including depression. The liver has to work overtime to filter the toxins they make. Not only that - up to 80% of the immune system is in now believed to function in the gut, so immune function is also likely to be compromised.
 
On the other hand, having enough beneficial bacteria in the gut ensures proper nourishment, that foods are broken down and necessary macro- and micro-nutrients absorbed, vitamins B and K are made, minerals are extracted from the diet and retained, toxins do not damage the intestinal lining, colon cancer risk goes down and immunity is boosted. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to ensure you have enough of the good bacteria in your system, simply by eating probiotic foods such as yogurt and soft cheese.
 
Antibiotics have dramatically changed the course of human history by lowering the incidence of many diseases to negligible levels. However, thanks to massive over-prescription and self-medication, today they actually act to damage health by eliminating most of the good bacteria with the bad.
 
Not only that - there are antibiotics in meats and dairy, non-organic foods are laced with pesticides and other chemicals and pollution is in the air. In other words, the environment is full of chemicals that threaten the well-being of gut probiotics - and by extension, our health as well.
 
A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: ‘Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.’ When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, ‘The one I feed the most.’”
 
Which dog do you feed regularly?
 
Probiotic bacteria thrive on soluble fiber, which reach the colon more or less intact. The standard recommendation is six grams a day. On the other hand, feeding pathogenic bacteria requires sugar and processed foods low in fiber.
 
So creating the right bacterial balance in the gut is very simple: consume quality probiotics, consume fiber-rich, fresh foods and cut out as much sugar and processed food as possible.
 
You can also help the probiotics in your body stay on top by regular consumption of fermented foods including pickled vegetables, tempeh and fermented milk products like kefir or yogurt, natto and kimchi.
 
And while it would be ideal to get all the probiotics and the food they thrive on from the diet, that may not always be feasible - in which case quality probiotic supplements are invaluable.
 
So why not consult a dietician or nutritionist and start feeding your ‘good dog’ today?
 
 
Source:

 

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5 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Healthy Foods

by Nancy Maneely

Effectiveness of Healthy Foods“Eat healthy food” is advice we hear at least once a day. It comes from everywhere: TV, magazines, our doctor, well-meaning family and friends. So, we make smart selections at the grocery store and feel very good about choosing an orange for a midday snack rather than, say, a donut.

That’s a great start … but really, how do you know your body is getting the benefit of the healthy foods you eat? Unfortunately, your body doesn’t issue an itemized receipt every time, listing the calories and nutrients that were effectively utilized. In fact, you might be surprised at how little of the valuable nutrients actually reach their goal – that is, being absorbed and put to work doing what they are meant to do: keep you functioning at an optimum level.

Here are five simple ways you can increase the effectiveness of the food you eat:

  1. Take a digestive enzyme supplement. What are digestive enzymes? Our bodies make their own digestive enzymes that break down food in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine into smaller, absorbable molecules. However, while all fresh food contains enzymes, our modern habits destroy them. We grow fruits and vegetables in depleted soil, gas them to prolong shelf life, and cook them at high heat. All of this reduces their enzyme levels.
  2. Take a probiotic to increase friendly flora. Friendly bacteria help produce the enzymes we need to break down food. They also support immune health and help protect the vulnerable cells along the linings of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
  3. Chew your food! Mom’s advice was sound. Chewing produces amylase that breaks down carbohydrates and stimulates digestive juices.
  4. Slow down. The chemicals needed to for healthy digestion are produced when we are relaxed. A calm, quiet atmosphere signals the digestive system to kick in.
  5. Avoid taking antacids. In the stomach, high levels of acid are necessary to break down food (and kill off bad bacteria like H. pylori that can lead to stomach cancer). There are natural ways to reduce the problems of heartburn and acid reflux. Drinking enough water, reducing salt, eating fewer fats, and taking digestive enzymes and probiotics can take care of the problem.

Do you take probiotics or digestive enzymes? What benefits have you experienced?

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Six Powerful Health Benefits Of Beets

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that beets are an ancient food that grew naturally along coastlines in North Africa, Asia and Europe? Six Powerful Health Benefits Of Beets

Originally, people consumed beet greens. The sweet red beetroot wasn't cultivated as a food in its own right until the era of ancient Rome.

By the 19th century, the natural sweetness of beets meant that they were being used as a source of sugar - for which they are still used today.

Beetroots have a sweet, earthy flavor - not to mention their powerhouse nutrients can significantly benefit your health. And although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, you can safely eat beetroots a few times a week, while enjoying their nutritious greens in unlimited quantities.

Here are six great reasons to include beets in your diet on a regular basis:

  1. Lower blood pressure (BP) - according to one study, drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic BP by an average of 4-5 points within a few hours. This is most likely because of the presence of naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide (NO) in the body. NO helps to relax and open up your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering BP.
  2. More stamina - according to research, those who drank beet juice before working out were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer. This benefit is also thought to be related to nitrates turning into NO and reducing the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise, along with enhancing tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
  3. Fighting off inflammation - beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins and enzymes in your body from environmental stress. It's also known to fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance and help prevent numerous chronic diseases. Consumption of betaine has been associated with lower levels of inflammation, providing cardiovascular benefits along with health benefits for other systems in your body.
  4. Anti-cancer properties - the powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models. Also, beetroot extract is currently being studied for its effectiveness in treating human pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.
  5. Valuable nutrients and fiber - beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber and essential minerals like potassium and manganese. Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which reduces the risk of birth defects.
  6. Detoxification - betalin pigments in beets support the detoxification process, in which broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body.

If you’re not getting enough beets in your daily diet, then we have just the solution for you!

Source: Six Powerful Health Benefits of Beets.