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Why Aloe is So Amazing for the Reflux Diet

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Aloe vera has been one of nature’s medicinal remedies for centuries. As well as being effective in healing wounds, calming nerves, purifying the blood, reducing inflammation and promoting a healthy complexion, aloe vera now appears to be a key component in a reflux diet.

What is Aloe Vera?

The healing properties of aloe vera make it an important aid in any acid reflux dietAloes are spiky succulent plants with fleshy grey-green leaves. They grow wild in the Caribbean, southern USA and North Africa. The gelatinous extracts and juice from aloe vera have been used in herbal medicine for over 2,000 years.

Rich in vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids such as collagen and elastin, aloe vera is commonly used in beauty treatments to promote a youthful, healthy skin. Aloe vera also has natural antibiotic and anti-viral properties and boosts the immune system.

Related A Humble Houseplant Works Wonders with Skin Issues

Healing Properties of Aloe Vera

The excellent healing properties of aloe vera are well known. It effectively soothes burned skin, heals stomach ulcers, regulates the balance of intestinal flora and eases the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

The alkaline juice from aloe vera can also aid digestion, making it an excellent component for those looking to counter troublesome stomach acid by adopting the Reflux Diet. Aloe vera contains beta-sitosterol to reduce bad cholesterol, campesterol to reduce the cholesterol absorption in the intestines, and lupeol which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

What is the Reflux Diet?

The Reflux Diet is made up of foods and substances that naturally control heartburn and the unpleasant symptoms of acid reflux. Diets that are high in protein and low in fat are known to help reduce acid reflux. Taking aloe vera as a supplement is an important part of any Reflux Diet. Eating smaller portions and avoiding citrus or spicy foods can also help to naturally control the problem without having to resort to medication.

By taking aloe vera in supplement form, you can support a controlled Reflux Diet to improve your digestive health.

Here are 12 More Reflux Diet Foods that fight acid reflux safely and naturally.

 

 

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How to Use Stevia in High Blood Pressure Recipes

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Low calorie sweeteners are big business as people concerned about their health and/or weight switch to low calorie alternatives to sugar. Unlike aspartame, saccharin and even xylitol, stevia is completely natural. There are several reasons why stevia makes an excellent sugar substitute in high blood pressure recipes.

Stevia plants are a natural sugar-free sweetener for use in high blood pressure recipes

Stevia has been used in China and Japan as a sweetener for many years. Stevia extract comes from a green leafy herb (Stevia rebaudiana), native to Paraguay and other tropical areas of the Americas. Stevia has two compounds (stevioside and rebaudioside) that are 250 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose).

Reducing Hypertension with Stevia

In clinical trials, researchers found that stevia can reduce high blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity. This makes it an excellent sugar substitute for diabetics, those following a weight loss program, and those who wish to lover their blood pressure safely and naturally.

Related What are the Best Sugar Substitutes?

Stevia has also been found to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Unlike other artificial sweeteners that may be carcinogenic, stevia has no reported side effects or adverse reactions. However, stevia does have a slight aftertaste when used in some drinks and recipes.

High Blood Pressure Recipes Using Stevia

High blood pressure diets and natural remedies aim to lower hypertension by balancing the body’s acidity and removing toxins. By eliminating fatty junk food and substituting it with fresh fruit and raw organic vegetables, blood pressure levels can be effectively lowered.

One of the benefits of stevia is that it is pH-stable, so including it in a high blood pressure diet is important. Try drinking cranberry stevia lemonade throughout the day (a gallon if possible) and then check your blood pressure levels after 10 days. As well as boosting hydration, cranberry stevia lemonade helps balance acidity and removes toxins, which all help lower hypertension.

Fill a gallon jar with distilled or spring water  and add the juice of 3 organic lemons. Add one cup organic cranberry juice, a dash of liquid cayenne and liquid stevia to taste.  

Another excellent High Blood Pressure Recipe using stevia is to puree seedless watermelon in a blender with stevia to taste. Freeze in a shallow container overnight. Allow to thaw a little then break down the ice crystals with a fork and spoon the frozen fruit into paper snow cones. The combination of fresh fruits and stevia provide multiple benefits for those wanting to lower blood pressure naturally.

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Boost a Weakened Immune System with Cherimoya

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many people suffer from a weakened immune system; fortunately all it takes to boost it is a trip to the grocery store. Superfruits such as cherimoya are a natural source of polyphenol antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients packed into a tasty tropical fruit. With global communications and logistics, these new fruits are being introduced to the international market. They provide excellent natural health benefits, particularly for those with a weakened immune system.

Green cherimoya fruits are excellent for boosting a weakened immune system

What is Cherimoya?

Cherimoya is a light green tropical fruit with a thick leathery skin. This native tree from Ecuador can be found in the forests of the Central Andes Mountains. The botanical name for cherimoya is Annona Cherimola. The Annona family includes other tasty fruits such as the Sugar Apple (Annona Squamosal), the Custard Apple (Annona Reticulata), Guanabana (Annona Muricate) and Atemoya, which is a hybrid of the Cherimoya and the Annona Reticulata.

Cherimoya fruits are oval or irregular in shape and can weigh over a pound. Inside the inedible skin is a creamy flesh with smooth black seeds. Cherimoya can be eaten with a spoon when ripe, or added to cereals, yogurt and smoothies to tempt those with a poor appetite. It’s medicine in a skin! 

How Cherimoya Boosts a Weakened Immune System

Cherimoya has a pleasant fruity flavor and is packed with nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals – just what you need to improve a weakened immune system after sickness or due to an autoimmune disease.

Cherimoya is high in fiber (3g per 100 g) which binds unhealthy chemicals in the colon and prevents toxic substances from being absorbed. The high levels of vitamin C and antioxidant properties of Cherimoya also help boost a weakened immune system by neutralizing harmful free radicals. In particular, Cherimoya contains annonaceous acetogenins which are known to have anti-malarial and anti-cancer properties. High levels of vitamin C delivered by Cherimoya fruits help the body fight infection and build up resistance to harmful bacteria.

In addition, Cherimoya contains potassium to control the cardiovascular system; GABA to calm tense, nervous irritability; and B-complex vitamins for energy. These vitamins also support memory function and healthy skin and hair, common concerns for those with a weakened immune system.

Read more ways to boost a weakened immune system with cherimoya.

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Try Ginger for Nausea after Eating and Other Health Benefits

by IVL Products

While most people find eating to be a pleasurable experience, it generates an uncomfortable after-effect in a few:  nausea.  Whether caused by too much food, GERD, food allergies, pregnancy, or anxiety, nausea after eating is unpleasant and unwelcome.  Fortunately, ginger can provide relief

Ginger helps relieve nausea after eating by relaxing stomach muscles and neutralizing stomach acid.

How Ginger Works

Compounds found in ginger trigger the release of digestive juices and enzymes that help neutralize stomach acid.  Powerful phenols relax stomach muscles and sooth inflamed tissue. Ginger also promotes quicker digestion to move the offending food through the body faster.

Related How Do You Naturally Prevent Acid Reflux?

Ginger Sources

To relieve nausea after eating, people can try sipping ginger tea or authentic ginger ale, taking ginger supplements, or sucking on crystallized or fresh ginger.

Additional Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger contains vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins, and beta-carotene. Valuable minerals found in ginger include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, and zinc.  In addition to relieving nausea after eating, ginger offers anti-inflammatory properties for people with osteoarthritis, it protects against colorectal and ovarian cancer, and it boosts the immune system. By eliminating mucus and reducing sinus inflammation, ginger also helps relieve sinus congestion, and it offers anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Precautions

Consumed regularly, some herbs and spices interact with prescribed medications.  People considering making ginger part of a regular dietary regimen should first consult with a health care provider.  Combined with certain blood thinning medicines, ginger may increase risks for bleeding, and paired with certain diabetes medicines, it may affect blood sugar levels. 

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Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels with Astaxanthin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Carotenoids are naturally-occurring compounds responsible for the color in certain foods, and all promote good health.  Nicknamed the "King of the Carotenoids," astaxanthin is the compound responsible for the reddish or pink color in shrimp, salmon, lobster, crab, and red algae.  Many scientists believe this powerful antioxidant gives marine life the energy to swim upstream.  For humans, it offers a number of health benefits including the power to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Astaxanthin helps bodies maintain normal blood sugars levels and more.

Oxidative Stress and Diabetes

Oxidative stress causes unstable free radicals called ROS (reactive oxygen species) to damage cells, tissues, and organs.  By stealing electrons from other molecules ROS transform the damaged molecules into more free radicals.  Oxidative stress plays a big role in diabetes, either through increased ROS levels or through a lack of antioxidants.   It occurs because of consistently high blood sugar, problems with the metabolism of carbohydrates, or limited release of insulin from the pancreas.

Related Ginger: A Diabetic's Best Friend

Important Research

Researchers from Japan found that astaxanthin reduces oxidative stress caused by chronic high blood sugar in pancreatic beta cells (the cells that produce insulin).  This allows the beta cells to make the correct amount of insulin when needed, improving the body's ability to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Another study from India found that increased blood sugar and excessive insulin resulting from a diet high in sugar and processed fat could be prevented with astaxanthin supplements.  The study also suggests astaxanthin might prevent the occurrence of more body fat, a fatty liver, or suppressed immunity in people with a diet high in processed fat and sugar.

More Reasons to Take an Astaxanthin Supplement

As if helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels wasn't enough reason to take a daily astaxanthin supplement, here are more benefits offered by this potent antioxidant.

  • Provides relief from pain and inflammation
  • Improves athletic endurance, muscle recovery, and strength
  • Supports good eye health
  • Boosts the immune-protective properties of white blood cells in the lymphatic system
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Three Herbs for Natural Fatigue Treatment

by Cindy Gray

Fatigue is a common complaint in our over-booked society.  Hectic schedules and less-than-healthy lifestyles leave people feeling drained and sluggish.  While many reach for a cup of coffee or sugary energy drink when feeling tired, there may be a better fatigue treatment.  Three herbs offer natural, energy-boosting benefits without the jitters. 

Try herbs for natural fatigue treatment without the jitters

1.  Eleuthero Root

A hectic lifestyle can lead to exhaustion of the adrenal glands.  People with adrenal fatigue experience symptoms like chronic tiredness, an inability to cope with stress, lackluster libido, lower back pain, mood swings, short temper, and cravings for sweets.  Eleuthero root makes a great natural adrenal fatigue treatment by helping the adrenal glands make better use of hormones and promoting a more efficient release.  Sometimes called Siberian ginseng, eleuthero root also protects the brain, reduces inflammation, and boosts athletic performance.

2.  Damiana

People looking for another fatigue treatment may want to try damiana.  An aromatic shrub native to the deserts of North America, this herb is most known for its libido-boosting properties and is said to sometimes trigger romantic dreams.  Damiana is also thought to boost energy, treat impotence and menstrual problems, and reduce the symptoms of asthma and depression.  Anecdotal evidence suggests it generates a mild emotional lift that can last for an hour or two.

Related:  Natural Ways for Women to Boost Energy

3.  Echinacea

Chronic fatigue syndrome often generates feelings of tiredness so extreme that they interfere with normal activity.  While it has not been tested in isolation, Echinacea might be helpful in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome when paired with Panax ginseng according to research.  Some active compounds in Echinacea are thought to offer antimicrobial properties, while others are said to boost the immune system.

While it's easy to reach for another cup of coffee when feeling weary, herbs might make a better fatigue treatment.  Eleuthero root, damiana, and Echinacea all offer energy-boosting properties without the jitters that can accompany too much coffee.  It is wise to check with a health care provider before using herbs, as some can interact with prescribed medications.

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Dangers of Laxative Overuse for Chronic Constipation

by Cindy Gray

While laxatives can help increase stool frequency, overuse of laxatives often results in chronic constipation.While regular bowel movements are critical for good health, “forcing the issue” with chemically-laden laxatives can do more harm than good. The body can quickly become dependent on laxatives and once you stop taking them constipation symptoms return, sometimes even worse than before. Laxatives contain chemicals that help increase stool bulk and frequency, which provides temporary relief for constipation. But overuse often results in chronic constipation and so it becomes a vicious cycle. 

Laxative use is rampant in this country and millions of dollars each year are spent on products that claim to relieve symptoms. Since the colon is the largest organ in the immune system, keeping it working efficiently is critical to good health.

Related: The Best and Worst Foods for IBS

Instead of reaching for a laxative, consider some natural approaches to treat chronic constipation. Your first line of defense should be to add fiber your diet. Most American diets are woefully lacking in fiber due to our national obsession with over-processed foods. To increase you fiber intake, eat plenty of vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and whole grains. Keep fatty foods to a minimum.

Probiotics are also helpful in maintaining regularity and they are found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt. Many people take probiotic supplements that provide the “good bacteria” in the digestive tract that help our bodies break down foods into components that provide healthful nutrition. 

Talk to your health care provider about natural ways to manage chronic constipation and other digestive problems. Laxatives should be used only as a last resort and only under the supervision of your physician or holistic practitioner.  

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What You Need to Know About Fermented Foods and Constipation

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Antibiotics are used in medicine to kill harmful bacteria; in fact they kill off all bacteria in the digestive system, creating other problems. However, the opposite of antibiotics are probiotics. These beneficial bacteria aid digestion, fight harmful bacteria, act as chelators and detox agents to rid the body of heavy metals and toxins, and they help reduce constipation.

So where can we get a healthy daily dose of these useful probiotic bacteria? Fermented foods are the key. You probably already eat some occasionally without even realizing. Examples of fermented foods include fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, which are fermented, not pickled. Examples of fermented dairy products include probiotic yogurt and kefir. 

How Does Fermented Food Aid Constipation?

Fermented food can help prevent constipation

Most fermented foods are made using an ancient form of food preservation. This fermentation process uses beneficial bacteria to create lactic acid. This environment is high in good bacteria and preserves the food by not allowing bad bacteria to spoil and rot it. Modern-day fermented foods may be processed using pasteurization which actually kills all bacteria. You need to find products that have been organically fermented, or do the process yourself.

Even a small amount of sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, will provide many benefits. It is full of vitamin C, reduces inflammation in the bowel, reduces pain and constipation associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lowers bloating and contains high levels of antioxidants.

Related: Top 10 Foods for Fantastic Digestion

Eating cultured or fermented foods tops up intestinal flora (bacteria) which boosts natural immunity. They balance bacteria in the stomach and digestive tract, releasing enzymes to improve digestion. Fermented foods also produce an acid environment in the bowel which can be helpful in preventing constipation. These bacteria make it easier for the body to absorb nutrients and speedier digestion means less likelihood of constipation.

Now you know the benefits of fermented foods on your overall health, banishing constipation, You may want to try adding some other fermented foods to your diet. Try fermented beets, tomatoes, radishes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, kimchi, green beans and sauerkraut. Dairy eaters can enjoy fermented yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk and some cheeses. Not only will these foods fight inflammation and disease-causing bacteria, you will also avoid unhealthy constipation, another big plus!

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Indigestion Symptoms: Five Signs of Unbalanced Beneficial Bacteria

by IVL Products

Did you know that the gastrointestinal tract, commonly called the gut, is lined with trillions of bacteria? They all have a job to do and are important in digesting the food we eat and controlling our health status.

There is a wide diversity of different bacteria, and not all gut bacteria are equal. Some “good” bacteria help improve digestion of food, manufacture essential vitamins, and strengthen the immune system.

Unbalanced bacteria trigger indigestion symptoms

The presence of “bad” bacteria may cause poor skin conditions, mental issues, nightmares, and indigestion symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea. The body cannot selectively banish all bad bacteria, but by creating an environment where good bacteria can flourish, the bad bacteria can be held in check. Probiotics are the answer.

The balance of bacteria in the gut can indicate how healthy we are (or are not). The presence of some bacteria causes inflammation while other bacteria strengthen the immune system or affect how the brain works. This is a wide topic of study, but the important fact is that if the balance of bacteria is off, it will affect our overall health.

Related: Natural Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

If you suffer from any or all of these indigestion symptoms, it may indicate low levels of good bacteria or flora (dysbiosis):

  • Painful bowel movements, usually caused by hard stools and constipation
  • Altered bowel habits, bloating or cramping pains may be caused by an irritable bowel. Diarrhea or loose stools may be caused by a bug, but more commonly they are a symptom of an imbalance of bacteria in the gut
  • Bad gas is another warning sign of poor indigestion. Symptoms such as excessive gas are caused by gut bacteria improperly digesting food. It may be caused by certain foods, such as beans, or by a sudden change of diet. Either way, managing your gut bacteria with probiotic-rich foods will help
  • Parasite infections can cause you to feel sick, or cause other symptoms of ill health. Normally these unhealthy parasites are controlled by good gut bacteria
  • Food allergies and food sensitivities can both cause irritable bowel movements, bloating, constipation and diarrhea

These common indigestion symptoms tend to indicate that there is an imbalance which can be addressed by introducing probiotics into the diet to improve the presence of healthy bacteria. Consider taking a probiotic supplement or add some fermented foods and live yogurt to your diet to raise levels of good bacteria and banish troublesome indigestion symptoms forever.

 

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Are Indigestion Symptoms Signaling Bigger Problems?

by Health News

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

indigestion symptoms

The Importance of Healthy Balance

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

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

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

Related: Healthy Living Is A Personal Choice

Ways to Restore Healthy Balance

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

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Five Foods for Boosting Immunity

by Cindy Gray

Do you feel like you have a weakened immune system? Our immune systems are constantly under attack from the endless bacteria, toxins and viruses we are exposed to as part of daily life.  This amazing system must remain hyper-vigilant at all times and be ready to strike at the first sign of an invading bacteria or virus.

Booste Immunity with these Five FoodsLack of sleep, stress and poor diet weaken your immune system making it tough to do its job.  Hitting a yoga class or meditating, calling it a night 30 minutes earlier and incorporating these five foods into your diet can help you keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

The Fabulous Five

Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and dairy products can have a beneficial effect on a weakened immune system.  However, five foods in particular have shown to be especially beneficial in keeping your flu-fighters lean and mean.

Avocados

Also known as a butter pear, this creamy, green, nutty flavored fruit (yes, fruit) provides a lot of immunity-boosting nutrients.  The amino acids, antioxidants and healthy omega-3 fats are good for the entire body. Avocados are rich in glutathione and phytonutrients that kill off free radicals. 

Current research is studying the effects of those phytonutrients on cells, telling them whether to grow, live or die.  These guacamole super-stars also help reduce inflammation, which lessens cold and flu symptoms.  They are packed with B-6 vitamins, vitamins A, C and E, minerals like zinc, iron and selenium, which are crucial to the formation of healthy immune system cells that attack invading pathogens.

Related: Boost Your Immune System With Garlic’s Healthy Benefits

Ginger

This spicy, flavorful root has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is known to help break down toxins in organs, and contribute to a clean lymphatic system, the one that disposes of cellular wastes.  Ginger also helps regulate your immune system to keep it from over-reacting (allergy attack) and helps to activate T-cells. Those are the white blood cells that are virus and tumor-killing ninjas.

Graviola

Gravi what!?  Graviola is a fruit that grows best in a rainforest climate and can be found abundantly in South America and many tropical islands.  This heart-shaped green fruit is also known as a Brazilian paw paw, soursop or guanaba and has been used by ancient peoples to modern times for a variety of health reasons. Graviola has been used to keep the liver healthy, reduce swelling in the mucus membranes, and reduce cold and flu symptoms.  Modern researchers are studying a substance in them called annonaceous acetogenins that tend to attack cancer cells. Graviola supports a healthy immune system by killing off parasites and reducing inflammation in the body.

Mushrooms

These weird looking, chewy fungi are immune-boosting powerhouses, thanks to being loaded with the powerful antioxidant ergothioneine.  It survives cooking and quickly enters the blood stream to shore up your immunity by helping remove heavy metal toxins from your tissues and destroy free radicals that harm healthy cells.

Mushrooms are also a rich source of selenium—low levels have been linked to more severe flu symptoms.  They also provide the B-vitamins riboflavin and niacin and have antibacterial and antiviral properties, and may be effective in killing tumors.

Oatmeal

There are just so many good things to say about eating oatmeal regularly.  For your immune system, oatmeal provides a healthy dose of three minerals critical to keeping it functioning at optimum levels.

  • Zinc- essential for the growth and function of the immunity cells that recognize and destroy invading pathogens.

  • Selenium – which we already discussed as an essential component to a healthy immune system, and it’s nice to know you can get it in a variety of foods. Its ability to bind with proteins to form seleno-proteins help regulate the immune system so it responds quickly to invaders but does not go overboard when it senses a harmless pollen (i.e. an allergy attack).

  • Iron – those with low levels of this mineral often have a weak immune system. It is a critical nutrient in the formation of healthy immune system red and white blood cells that eradicate invading pathogens.

Oatmeal also contains a soluble fiber called beta glucan that supports immune function and reduces susceptibility to infection.

Eating a diverse diet rich in all kinds of fruits and vegetables will help keep your immune system strong.  Be sure to add in the fabulous five to help you survive and thrive during dreaded cold and flu season and generally stay healthy year-round for life.

 

Sources:

http://www.doctoroz.com/slideshow/boost-your-im...

http://www.livescience.com/45209-avocado-nutrition-facts.html

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-graviola.htm

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ss/slideshow-immune-foods

http://woman.thenest.com/health-benefits-oatmeal-immune-system-21954.html

http://functionalmushrooms.com/?p=302

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The Key to Healthy Aging: Can White Tea Prevent Cancer?

by Cindy Gray

Many people take low-dose aspirin, ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to promote healthy aging, as well as prevent cancer and heart disease. However, new research shows that white tea may have just as many cancer-prevention benefits without the harmful side effects of these over-the-counter drugs.

Is white tea the key to healthy aging?Green tea has been widely hailed as an excellent health drink due to its high levels of polyphenol antioxidants. It is even more beneficial than black tea because white tea undergoes less processing, keeping more of those important catechins and nutrients intact from tea bush to teacup.

Scientists followed the logic of this process and decided to investigate the less well-known white tea which has the least processing of all teas.

Differences Between Black Tea, Green Tea, White Tea and Herbal Tea

All teas begin as leaves on the tea bushes of the camellia sinensis family. Once picked, the leaves quickly begin to wilt and oxidize as the leaves dry and are broken down by natural enzymes. Once the leaves are fully oxidized and sufficiently dark for black tea, heating is applied to stop the enzyme process.

Green tea is made much faster from non-wilted green tea leaves which are processed before they have time to oxidize and ferment. 

White tea is made from the youngest leaves and buds of the tea bush which are covered in fine silvery down, giving the leaves a white appearance. These buds are subjected to dry heat or steam to quickly halt oxidation and then dried and made into white tea.

Herbal teas are infusions of fruit, herbs and flowers and do not have the antioxidant properties or catechins found in traditional tea.

All tea leaves must be brewed in water that has reached the boiling point in order to release the flavor along with the polyphenols, alkaloids, caffeine, amino acids, proteins and trace elements contained in a teaspoonful of leaves. Black tea has lower levels of these than green tea, but white tea has the highest concentrations of all.

Polyphenols in Tea

The main polyphenols in tea are known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). These plant-sourced antioxidants have powerful free-radical scavenging activity, protect cells from free-radical damage and have cancer-fighting properties.

In addition, green teas have a detoxifying effect, cleansing the body of harmful toxins while protecting against tumor development and colon cancer.

Related: Beware of Foods that Accelerate Aging

Research has shown that tea catechins inhibit tumor cell proliferation and encourage natural cell death through a process called apoptosis. They slow angiogenesis of cells and reduce tumor cell invasiveness. Polyphenols in tea also strengthen the immune system and protect against UVB radiation from the sun.

Comparative Studies on White Tea

A Study at the University of Malaya looked at the effects of white tea on all types of cells. It was found to inhibit to spread of colorectal cancer cells (HT-29) and increased caspase-3, -8, and -9 activity in the cells. The white tea extract also protected normal cells from DNA damage making it a powerful yet inexpensive way to protect the body.

Laboratory tests on bacteria at Oregon State University (OSU) showed that white tea inhibited cancer cell mutations even more efficiently than green tea. This suggests that white tea is even more effective in fighting cancer cells than green tea.

A further study by an OSU researcher used tea on mice that were genetically predisposed to developing intestinal tumors. Results showed that mice receiving no tea treatment developed 30 tumors over a 12 week study compared to 17 tumors in mice consuming green tea and 13 tumors in mice given white tea. However, by combining white tea and the NSAID sulindac, the tumor rate dropped to just six. The study concluded that tea, particularly white tea, can potentially block some cancers and help prevent intestinal cancer with just three mugs of tea a day.

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How Probiotics Can Regulate Your Digestive System

by Health News

A healthy regulated digestive system is the key to our bodies receiving all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed to provide energy and overall good immune system health.

The bacteria in our intestine need to be perfectly balanced to efficiently digest our food. Any imbalance can lead to an irregular digestive system, which can cause physical discomfort and possible harm to our overall health.

Age, stress, illness, medications such as antibiotics, dehydration, lack of sleep and a harmful environment can all affect our microbial equilibrium which can cause gas, constipation, bloating, bad skin, fatigue and, in more severe cases, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.

It all goes back to having a healthy regulated digestive system with a correct balance of microfloras to maximize the benefits of healthy eating.

Taking a natural probiotic dietary supplement can ensure that beneficial microflora are naturally maintained in proper balance.

Probiotics also play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system, helping to fight off bacteria, bugs and viruses. Good bacteria are vital to keep our immune system health in good working order.

Digestion Problemsn Free Ebook Download

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Why Chronic Inflammation is a Risk for Developing Diseases as You Age

by Health News

What do hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, stroke and cancer have in common?
Health experts have linked chronic inflammation as one of many hypertension causes – and not only that, chronic inflammation is linked to all the other diseases mentioned above too. Health experts are looking at how high-fat foods and excess body weight, among others, may increase risk.

Hypertension Causes: Why Chronic Inflammation is Bad for You

Inflammation is your immune system’s natural response to injury and infectious agents. But when the inflammation doesn't let up - for example because of a constant diet of high-fat foods, too much body fat and smoking - the immune system’s response can itself spiral out of control, paradoxically increasing disease risk.

When inflammation becomes chronic it can damage heart valves and brain cells, trigger strokes and promote resistance to insulin, leading to diabetes. It is also associated with cancer development.

Obesity is known to promote inflammation. Fat cells, particularly those in the visceral fat in the belly and around organs, produce molecules known as cytokines which trigger inflammation. In such cases, the most important thing to do is to lose excess weight - which has been shown to reduce inflammation within weeks or months.

A substance known as C-reactive protein (CRP) is an indicator of inflammation in the body. A 2007 report which analyzed results of 33 separate studies found that losing weight can lower CRP levels.

Many nutritionists and physicians have also developed anti-inflammatory diets.

For instance, one such diet encourages people to consume whole-grain foods, unsaturated fats such as plant oils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, poultry, eggs and moderate amounts of dairy foods. It also suggests avoiding red meat, butter, sweets and white foods such as rice, potatoes and pasta.

The problem is this - if you are overweight or obese and eat healthy, your excess weight will still counter any beneficial effects of the healthy foods you are eating.

Regular consumption of dietary fiber was shown to lower levels of CRP and other inflammatory markers - probably because fiber improves insulin sensitivity, lowering levels of inflammation.

A combination of nutrients found in dairy food also helped to ease inflammation in patients at risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In a recent study, patients who were given 3½ servings of dairy daily over 12 weeks showed reductions in several markers of inflammation compared with a group given just half a serving of dairy per day.

Finally, new research funded by the National Institutes of Health is studying the complex relationships between diet, inflammation and cancer. Cancer is caused by many different processes and inflammation is one of them - so in principle if you could inhibit inflammation it would lower cancer risk, an exciting possibility.

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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.