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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.   

Copyright: paulmaguire / 123RF Stock Photo

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The Many Health Benefits Of Nutrient-Rich Wakame

by Institute for Vibrant Living

People living by the coast of the world’s great seas and oceans have been eating seaweed for thousands of years. The Native Americans ate it, as did many prehistoric cultures - and it is common in Asian cuisine today.

The Health Benefits Of Wakame | Institute for Vibrant Living

Science has confirmed that seaweeds are a very healthy food, extremely nutrient rich and containing 10 times as much fiber and over twice as much protein as cabbage. At the same time, a 20 gram serving of kelp contains just nine calories.

More than that, brown algae seaweeds including kelp, wakame, and others have been shown to have tremendous medicinal properties especially because of their content of bioactive compounds called fucoidans.

Wakame, an edible brown seaweed or kelp common in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisines, has been shown to have beneficial effects on stroke, hypertension or high blood pressure (BP), viral infections, tumors, oxidation and inflammation while promoting a good immune system.

In fact, there are few foods in nature that are so chockfull of nutrients and health benefits. Wakame is a great source of the following minerals and vitamins:

  • Magnesium - known to be critical in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, function of certain enzymes in the body, production and transport of energy and protein production.
  • Iodine - needed for the process of converting food into energy. It also maintains the balance of the thyroid gland and is needed for the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Calcium - every 100 grams of raw wakame contains 150 milligrams of calcium, which is necessary for strong healthy bones and prevention of osteoporosis.
  • Iron - essential for the production of red blood cells and prevention of anemia.
  • Vitamins A, C, E, and K - all important for skin health and repair, along with boosting the immune system.
  • Vitamin D - promotes absorption of calcium for healthy bones and enhances the nervous, muscle and immune systems.
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - is needed for proper use of nutrients in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the foods we eat. It is also necessary for red blood cell production. Riboflavin functions as an antioxidant and works in the body with other vitamins such as niacin, folate, and vitamin B6.
  • Folate - helps make new cells and is especially important for infant development.
  • Lignans - these natural chemicals are thought to play a role in preventing certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

Source: The Many Health Benefits of Nutrient-Rich Wakame.

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What Everybody Ought to Know About Liquid Chlorophyll

by Health News

Liquid ChlorophyllChlorophyll is a green pigment found in some bacteria, algae and plants. It’s an extremely important biomolecule that is critically necessary for plants to absorb energy from sunlight.

Consumption of liquid chlorophyll has many health benefits, mainly because its molecular structure is absolutely identical to hemoglobin except for the center atom. In hemoglobin this is iron, whereas in chlorophyll it is magnesium.

Liquid chlorophyll helps to do the job of hemoglobin by replenishing red blood cells, boosting energy and improving wellbeing. It also cleanses the body, fighting infection, healing wounds and promoting the health of the circulatory, digestive, immune and detoxification systems.

Five health benefits of liquid chlorophyll consumption include:

  1. CANCER PROTECTION - Chlorophyll protects against carcinogens by blocking the metabolism of harmful chemicals known as pro-carcinogens that damage DNA in the liver and other organs.
  2. ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ACTIVITY - Liquid chlorophyll is packed with antioxidants, which are absorbed better since it’s in a liquid state. Antioxidants are important in neutralizing free radicals that damage cells. Liquid chlorophyll also contains high levels of vitamins A, C and E, and has been shown to reduce inflammation.
  3. RED BLOOD CELL FORMATION- Liquid chlorophyll increases red blood cell formation, improving circulation and utilization of oxygen in the body. It also helps to purify blood and regulates blood pressure.
  4. IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOSTER - Chlorophyll is a great immune boosting phytonutrient that fights against infection by killing germs.
  5. BYE-BYE BAD BREATH- Liquid chlorophyll is a deodorizer that eliminates odors in the mouth and throat. Regular consumption helps to maintain a healthy digestive tract, removing the underlying reason for bad breath.

Green drinks are an excellent, dense source of alkalizing, chlorophyll rich greens that are easily assimilated by the body. Also, green food in general, such as salads, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, Asian greens, green capsicum, asparagus, peas, beans, kale etc. contain chlorophyll - so eat up and empower your health today.

Sources: Health Benefits of Liquid Chlorophyll.

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6 Food Tips To Help 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 Fight Inflammation | 6 Food Tips | Institute for Vibrant Livingswelling 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 heart disease.

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:

  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.

Source:6 Food Tips to Fight Inflammation.

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Top 5 Foods for Beautiful Skin

by Health News

Did you know - your diet is the most important part of a good skin care routine?

Regardless of the facial products you use, the condition of your skin will almost always reflect the foods you regularly consume.

For instance, high-glycemic carbohydrates - such as refined grains and sugar - will trigger breakouts. By boosting the body’s blood sugar too quickly, they make the pancreas produce extra insulin rapidly, which also Top 5 Foods for Beautiful Skintriggers the sebaceous glands. These glands make sebum, a good oil which flushes out dead skin cells and keeps skin lubricated via pores - but too much of it can lead to jammed pores, whiteheads and blackheads.

Milk also triggers sebum production. Some vegetable oils such as safflower, sesame, corn and sunflower promote inflammation.

On the other hand, the following foods benefit both your skin and overall health:

  1. Carrots - vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, present in the form of beta-carotene in carrots. It helps to maintain good vision, teeth and bones, while ensuring normal skin cell development and a firm skin tone.
  2. Berries - vitamin C is another great antioxidant that makes skin smooth and taut by boosting collagen production. Vitamin C supports the immune system, helps skin heal properly and gives your skin that glowing look. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and black currants are particularly rich in vitamin C and are also lower in sugar than many other fruits.
  3. Brazil Nuts - a small handful of Brazil nuts can provide your daily supply of selenium, yet another antioxidant that works with vitamins A and C to boost the immune system. Selenium protects against melanoma, sun damage and age spots. Other good sources of selenium are seeds (sunflower, chia, pumpkin), wheat germ and meat. Many nuts also contain vitamin E, which helps to hold in moisture.
  4. Parsley - a simple sprig of parsley is chock full of vitamin K, which helps skin to heal itself and promotes elasticity and good skin tone. Also loaded with vitamins A and C, parsley can cleanse the urinary tract and kidneys, while also clearing blemishes. Last but not least, parsley’s volatile oils have antibacterial and anti fungal properties that disinfect pores and prevent acne.
  5. Whole grains - packed with fiber, whole grains are good for reducing the inflammation caused by overly refined grains. They stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce insulin spikes. Whole grains contain zinc, which repairs skin damage, maintains smoothness and suppleness and regulates sebum production. The B-vitamin biotin found in whole grains helps skin cells to process fats - without which your skin can become dry and scaly.

Finally, always make sure to drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Herbal and green teas are generally also a good idea, but its better to stay away from sugary juices and soda.

Source: 5 Foods For Beautiful Skin.

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Can Vitamin D Help Fight Multiple Sclerosis?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to a new study from Johns Hopkins, vitamin D blocks damage-causing immune cells from migrating to the brain in mice with a rodent form of multiple sclerosis (MS) - which may be how the so-called Can Vitamin D Help Fight Multiple Sclerosis?‘sunshine vitamin’ prevents MS symptoms in humans as well.

MS is believed to be an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system wrongly attacks a person's own cells - leading to symptoms such as blurred vision, weakness and numbness. An estimated 400,000 Americans between the ages of 20 and 50 years are afflicted with MS. Typically, it affects two to three times as many women as men.

Health experts became interested in the possible role of vitamin D in MS when it became clear that the disease is more prevalent in regions farthest from the equator where there is less sunshine - the main natural source of vitamin D.

The Johns Hopkins study shows that vitamin D works by preventing immune cells from getting into the brain - a treatment method that has the potential to be as effective as, and is likely to be safer than existing drugs used to treat MS.

Johns Hopkins researchers simultaneously gave mice the rodent form of MS and a high dose of vitamin D - which protected the mice from showing symptoms of the disease. They found a large number of immune T cells in the blood of the mice, but very few in their brains and spinal cords. In other words, it looks as though T cells are being kept away from these areas.

However, the immunosuppressive effects of vitamin D appear to be fleeting - once it is withdrawn, MS-like flare-ups occur very quickly in these mice.

Clinical trials are ongoing to determine whether vitamin D supplementation can actually prevent or slow the progression of MS in humans. This may offer an opportunity in the future to study samples taken from participants in these trials, to see whether vitamin D has the same effect on human cells as it does in mice.

Source: Can Vitamin D Help Fight Multiple Sclerosis?

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Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals In The Gut

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that there are trillions of microorganisms within our body that affect our health and immunity, help us absorb nutrients and even break down toxic chemicals, according to new research?

These tiny organisms are beneficial bacteria that live in our gut, known as ‘probiotic’ bacteria.

When your health fails or if you’re in the habit of regularly consuming sugar, overly refined and processed Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals In The Gutfoods - some non-beneficial or even downright harmful bacteria can grow rapidly out of bounds.

But if you regularly consume organic, wholesome vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods, then beneficial bacteria flourish - and you have nothing but positive activity in your gut.

Let’s consider some of the many things probiotics do to act as digestive aids and keep your gut and health safe and healthy, especially when it comes to dealing with toxic chemicals that enter your body.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a petrochemical derivative that messes up hormones and how they act on the body. BPA is found in thermal printer receipts, all world paper currency, plastics and many other consumer goods. At this point it is not a matter of whether or not you’ll be exposed, but to what extent.

Still, probiotics offer a ray of hope. When rats exposed to BPA in their diet were given probiotics, their blood concentrations of BPA dropped dramatically and it was excreted 2.4 times more readily than the non-supplemented control group.

In other words, probiotics reduced intestinal absorption by boosting BPA excretion - and they may suppress BPA’s adverse effects on human health.

Even better, novel BPA-degrading bacterial strains were isolated from a traditional Korean fermented cabbage dish known as kimchi. Health experts believe that these food-derived bacteria can efficiently and safely destroy and remove BPA from the body. 

In 2009, a published report revealed that the toxic insecticide chlorpyrifos (CP) - which has been linked to neurological side effects, developmental disorders and autoimmune disorders - may be degraded by the very same bacteria that make possible kimchi fermentation.

In fact, these bacteria degraded CP rapidly until 83.3% was gone by day 3 and completely degraded by day 9.  Not only that, these toxin-munching bugs also successfully degraded four other insecticides including Coumaphos, Diazinon, Parathion and Methylparathion.

Destroying toxic chemicals - though an amazing feat - is only one of many thousands of vital functions that probiotics carry out within our body. In fact, they have been clinically shown to prevent and/or reduce the symptoms of close to 200 different diseases!

If you don’t know already, an easy and inexpensive way to boost the probiotic content of your gut is to take supplements. Taken daily, a probiotic supplement can infuse your digestive tract with 20 billion ‘good’ bacteria. It is one of the best digestive aids to help you achieve a healthy digestive system.

Source: Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals in the Gut.

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‘Gluten Brain’: Wheat Cuts Off Blood Flow To Frontal Cortex

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If you suffer from celiac disease or know someone who does, here’s sobering food for thought.

According to health experts, consumption of gluten-containing grains may actually contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia - and now new and disturbing research seems to confirm their opinion, by showing that wheat consumption cuts off blood flow to a vital area of the brain.

Celiac disease occurs when your immune system reacts to dietary gluten and manifests as inflammation or irritation of the small intestine, causing problems with absorbing vitamins and minerals from the diet. However, when gluten is removed from the diet, inflammation is reduced or goes away completely and your small intestine begins to heal again.

Gluten Brain

Let’s look at a 1997 case study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine involving a 33-year-old patient with pre-existing diagnosis of 'schizophrenic' disorder. This patient first came to medical attention for severe diarrhea and weight loss, both of which are classical symptoms of gluten intolerance.

Brain scans showed that blood flow to the patient's frontal cortex was reduced. In this case a gluten-free diet not only normalized intestinal damage and autoantibodies, but raised blood flow again to the frontal cortex - while schizophrenic symptoms disappeared.

A follow-up study was performed in 2004. A total of 15 untreated celiac patients without neurological or psychiatric disorders other than anxiety or depression were compared with 15 celiac patients who were on a gluten-free diet for almost 1 year. Also, 24 healthy volunteers of similar sex and age were included in this study. All subjects underwent a type of brain scan known as cerebral single photon emission computed tomography examination.

The results were truly remarkable.

Of the 15 untreated celiac patients, 11 (73%) had at least one brain region with dramatically lowered blood flow, compared with only 1 (7%) of the 15 celiac patients on a gluten-free diet and none of the controls.

Not only that, blood flow in the frontal cortex was significantly lower in untreated celiac patients compared with healthy controls in 7 of 26 brain regions. Finally, no significant differences in blood flow were found between celiac patients on a gluten-free diet and healthy controls.

The frontal cortex of the brain is responsible for managing 'executive functions', such as:

  • Recognizing future consequences as a result of current actions;
  • Choosing between 'good' and 'bad' actions;
  • Overriding and suppressing socially unacceptable responses;
  • Retaining longer term memories which are not task-based; 
  • Being able to determine similarities and differences between things or events.

If wheat consumption interferes so strongly with blood flow to this critical area of the brain, it is likely to disrupt one or more of these executive functions.

So if you are susceptible to gluten in any way - avoiding wheat and gluten altogether may help to protect the health of your brain and perhaps even lower your future risk for schizophrenia.

Read more:
What are the Symptoms of Being Gluten Sensitive?
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Source: ‘Gluten Brain’: Wheat Cuts Off Blood Flow to Frontal Cortex.

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Cranberries For Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

by Health News

More than 150 published research studies show that cranberries have the ability to reduce the incidence of infections, improve heart health and tone down inflammation. For example, uniquely bioactive natural compounds in cranberries have been shown to promote a healthy urinary tract.

Cranberries For Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect more than 15 million US women every year. Antibiotic treatment remains the standard approach for managing these infections. However, growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics makes it necessary to develop other approaches.

Cranberries are rich in polyphenolic compounds known as A-type proanthocyanidins, which provide anti-adhesion benefits that help to protect against urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries may also reduce the recurrence of UTIs, helping to lower reliance on antibiotic treatment.

For example, two recent studies have shown that cranberry powder can inhibit the spread of bacteria commonly found in urinary tract infections (UTIs). Specifically, increasing cranberry powder concentrations reduced the bacteria's ability to make urease, an enzyme that helps them to spread in the urinary tract.

Previous studies have shown that exposure to cranberry extracts lowers the expression of a gene that codes for a structure known as a ‘flagellar filament’, which bacteria use to move around. This is a significant finding, since bacteria use movement to spread infection and escape the immune system.

Previous studies have also shown that cranberry juice stops E. coli sticking to other bacteria, making it easier for them to be flushed away from the urinary tract.

Last but not least, recent research shows that cranberry-enriched silicone substrates prevent the spread of germs - which could lead to cranberry extracts being used to limit germ spread in implantable medical devices such as catheters, with considerable potential benefits for patient health.

Source: Cranberries can prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).

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What are the Benefits of Bioflavonoids?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to antioxidants, vitamins seem to take center stage. But what about those “sort of” vitamins with incredible health benefits? Yes, we are talking about bioflavonoids.

What are the Benefits of Bioflavonoids?

While not true vitamins in the strictest sense, bioflavonoids work together with vitamin C to form collagen, one of your body's main structural proteins. Bioflavonoids also aid your body’s immune-defense system and have mildly estrogenic properties, making them helpful in regulating some hormonal conditions. They are also the Crayola of the vitamin world, providing all the brilliant colors to fruits and vegetables. Some of the best sources of bioflavonoids include citrus fruits—lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, and limes—and buckwheat (a gluten-free grain that is not botanically related to wheat). Other good sources are apricots, cherries, grapes, plums, blackberries, papayas, green peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes.

In addition to “eating the rainbow,” you can also take bioflavonoids in supplement form. Aim for 1,000-2,000 mg per day. 

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Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients

by Health News
There’s no question that, when it comes to 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.Top Three 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, the frequently prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statins class 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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Idea That All Fats Make You Fat Is A Myth

by Health News

Are you familiar with the myth that all fats make you fat?

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 promote weight loss. 

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, 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.

So now that you know the idea that all fats makes you fat is a myth - why not add these healthy fats to your diet today?

 

Source:

Five Fats That Don’t Make You Fat.