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What You Should Know About Excess Sugar and Yeast Infections

by IVL Products

Three out of four women will get at least one yeast infection in their lifetime. The burning and itching “down there” is unpleasant but not necessarily harmful.  What many women may not realize is the link between too much sugar in their diet and yeast infections.

The connection between excess sugar and yeast infections.

Yeast Infection Causes

Yeast actually grows naturally all over our bodies.  The most common type of yeast found on our bodies and in the vagina is known as Candida albicans, or Candida for short.  This fungus thrives in warm moist places like a woman’s vagina and can be caused by a variety of things like:

  • Low estrogen
  • Wearing synthetic fabric pantyliners
  • Vaginal eczema
  • Spermicidal condoms
  • Synthetic chemicals in feminine hygiene sprays
  • Poor diet

Related:  Fibromyalgia: Ten Possible Underlying Causes

Diet and Yeast Infections

Yeast loves sugar as much as you do. Too much sugar in your diet can give yeast a boost causing it to spread and increase, especially if your immune system is depressed from a lack of sleep or stress.  If you are prone to yeast infections, or feel one coming on, try avoiding the following:

  • Foods with simple sugars
  • Starchy foods like white flour products or rice
  • Foods fermented with yeast like alcohol

Alcohol is very sugary.  A few drinks, some highly refined foods like pretzels or candy at the bar makes for a perfect combination to feed yeast and help it spread.

Probiotics Can Help

Probiotics are living microorganisms very similar to the “good” bacteria in your gut essential for digesting your food. This so-called “good” bacterium is prevalent in your digestive tract and in other places on the body. If you take antibiotics for a bacterial infection, you can inadvertently destroy the good bacteria along with the harmful stuff, paving the way for yeast to overrun your already-battered immune system; and they begin to multiply.

Eating foods that contain probiotics can help keep yeast levels in check.  Yogurt with live and active bacterial cultures, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, or a daily probiotic supplement can help keep yeast infections at bay.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Candida thrives in an acidic environment. Acidic foods to avoid if you are prone to yeast infections are:

  • Nuts (cashews, peanuts and walnuts)
  • Seeds (pumpkin and sunflower)
  • Acidic fruits like blueberries, cranberries and plums
  • Corn oil
  • Sugar and sweeteners including molasses, maple syrup, honey and especially aspartame
  • Salt
  • Condiments like mayonnaise, soy sauce or vinegar

Once Is Enough

If you have ever endured the painful symptoms of a yeast infection you’ll agree once is enough.  Making a few simple dietary changes can help stave off yeast infections.  Try to consume less sugar and alcohol and eat more probiotic-rich foods—you’ll get a host of other health benefits to boot.

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How Fish Oil Increases Joint Mobility

by IVL Products

Many Americans take fish oil supplements because they are known to help prevent heart disease, enhance the look and health of skin and hair and even bring relief from the symptoms of depression.  Another good reason to pop those pills is the benefits of omega-3 fish oils for joints.

What are the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for joints?

What Is Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential fats because the body cannot make them and must rely on getting them from diet. Omega-3 fats are special because they are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body. They affect the function of cell receptors in these membranes and provide essential compounds for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, the contraction and relaxation of artery walls and help to control inflammation. They are also crucial to the binding of receptors in cells that regulate genetic function.  This is what makes them helpful in preventing heart disease, stroke, keeping your eyes moist, your skin soft and supple and your hair strong and shiny.

The key compounds in omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and are found in several types of foods. They are most abundant in fish, specifically cold-water “oily fish” like:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Trout

Other foods with omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flax seeds, olive oil and green leafy vegetables.

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

The Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oils for Joints

Joint pain is largely caused by inflammation of the cartilage and tissue in the joint, leading to stiffness and decreased range of motion.  EPA and DHA have been shown in clinical studies to reduce inflammation, and to a lesser degree ALA, by decreasing the presence of inflammatory markers like IL-10 and TGF beta.

In petri dish studies, when omega-3 fatty acids were incorporated into the cartilage cell membranes of joints they appeared to decrease the enzymes that degrade cartilage and inflammatory cytokines. An “over expression of cytokines” by the immune system causes inflammation to the body beyond what is needed, essentially attacking healthy cells and destroying them.

Fish Oil Supplements

It is difficult to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through diet alone. Taking a fish oil supplements is an easy way to incorporate enough into your daily diet so you don’t get burned out eating fish for every meal.

For adults choose a fish oil supplement with 30% or more EPA and DHA in addition to eating fish and plant foods rich in omega-3s. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet to avoid unfavorable drug interactions.  Then you’ll be on your way to enjoying the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for joints!

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Seven Lifestyle-Based Ways to Improve Your Memory

by Cindy Gray

How you live impacts how you feel and how well your brain functions. In this article, we will take a closer look at seven lifestyle changes that you can make. We’ll cover everything from ways to improve memory and memory improvement tips to tricks and tips such as the use of mnemonic devices.

Puzzles are one of the best ways to improve memory

Tip #1:  Great Sleep

Without a doubt one of the single most important steps you can take to improve your memory, your mood, your immune system and your overall health is to invest in better sleep. The choice to use the word “sleep” is no accident, as great sleep has been proven to help build great brains.

Tip #2:  Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, chia seeds, walnuts and more. The brain is essentially 3 pounds of fat and it needs healthy fat, like omega-3s to stay healthy. The bottom line is that if you want to enhance your memory, your body needs omega-3s.

Related:  Five Tips to Avoiding Memory Loss

Tip #3:  Invest in a Healthy Diet

The food you eat will impact your mood, the health of your body and, of course, your brain health and memory. Poor food choices weaken the immune system, can lead to disease, increase inflammation throughout the body and can leave one simply feeling sluggish. If you want excellent recall, then invest in a healthy diet consisting largely of fruits and vegetables as well as healthy protein sources such as nuts, seeds and organically raised lean cuts of meat.

Tip #4: Exercise

Studies have shown that those who exercise actually build and maintain healthier brains that those who do not and this does make sense as exercising increases blood flow to the brain. When selecting any type of exercise whether it is resistance training or aerobic conditioning, your number one priority is to perform all exercises correctly and safely. Remember if you are injured, you can’t work out, and that means no brain benefits!

Tip #5: Skip the Multitasking

Multitasking is unpleasant, your brain hates it and it can negatively impact your memory. It takes focus to build a great memory and that focus can’t be achieved while multitasking. Also, for most people multitasking is stressful. Increased stress means increased stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones will negatively impact your health, so skip the multitasking!

Tip #6:  Brain Games

The best brain games are the ones you love. There are many different ways that you can use brain games to improve your memory. Playing just a few minutes of brain games per week can help you see improvements. Games such as chess, even puzzle and action video games can all be used to help you build your memory.

Tip #7:  Mnemonic Devices

Simply stated, mnemonic devices work! A mnemonic device is any tool that helps you remember something better and with greater recall. Some famous mnemonic is ROY G BIV which is used to remember the colors of the rainbow. Try adapting the strategy of mnemonics in your own life and you’ll see that you can remember and recall a great deal of information.

Together these seven memory improvement tips will help you boost your memory. When you improve your health you’ll enjoy greater mental clarity and focus. Armed with this clarity and focus you can expect to enjoy a significant improvement in overall memory and recall.

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Five Reasons You Can’t Concentrate

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The bottom line is that if you can’t concentrate, you simply can’t accomplish. There is no success without being able to concentrate. In this article we will explore five of the best ways to boost concentration.  If you are experiencing an inability to focus, as this article will help you focus and achieve more.

What can you do about an inability to focus?

#1:  Sleep

A lack of sleep isn’t just tough on the body. Scientific research has shown that the human body goes through a great deal of stress when it is unable to sleep. Inefficient sleep leads to an increase in the production of stress hormones, which trigger inflammation. This is critically important, as inflammation is the mechanism through which many diseases spread including cancer.

Poor sleep can lead to a weakened immune system and also increase one’s inability to focus. If you want to achieve greater focus, then adequate, high-quality sleep is the place to begin.

#2:  A Poor Diet

Just as a lack of sleep triggers inflammation, weakens the immune system and can hamper one’s ability to focus, the same holds true for a poor diet. While a nutritious wholesome diet can boost one’s health, conversely a poor diet can have serious, negative implications.

Improving your concentration means improving your diet. By opting for a diet that mostly consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, low-fat proteins and healthy grains, your body will see positive results. You’ll feel better and enjoy greater sleep. A healthy diet, rich in whole foods and vitamins and minerals is one that fights inflammation and boosts overall health.

Related:  Link Between Poor Quality Sleep and Inflammation

#3:  Needless Distractions

It is no shock that distractions can prevent you from achieving greater levels of concentration. However, much of what leads to an inability to focus is centered on needless distractions. Social media overuse, keeping one’s phone on around the clock and excessive media consumption can all lead to significant focusing problems and issues. So turn off your gadgets and step away from the computer.

#4:  You’re Over-committed

Feel like you have too much on your plate? You are, of course, not alone, but feeling as though you have too much on your plate also means you are likely to be distracted. Multitasking is difficult and requires a great deal from the brain. A better option is to focus on one task at a time until completed as often as possible. Follow this simple rule and you’ll see your concentration levels soar!

#5:  You Need Practice

Achieving greater concentration is like many other things in life. The more you practice improving your concentration the more likely it is that your concentration levels will improve. Meditation is an excellent place to begin improving your concentration levels. Additionally, studies show that meditation can boost the immune system, improve one’s mood and even improve brain function and memory.

By putting these five tips into action you will see your concentration levels improve. Greater concentration is about more than simply pushing yourself. Ultimately, it is about taking great care of both your body and your mind.

 

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Six Benefits of Bubble Baths

by Cindy Gray

For those who enjoy bubbly baths, you are about to learn about the mental and physical health benefits bubble baths provide. If you’re not one to indulge in a relaxing bubble bath, perhaps this will persuade you to change your mind and jump in the tub!

Who’d have thought there were so many bubble bath benefits!

1.     Bubble Bath Benefits for Relaxation

A warm soak in a comfortable bath provides the perfect environment for relaxing. As the scents and steam rise, they create a calming atmosphere, encouraging you to de-stress and forget about work, family and other worries, at least temporarily. Banish your cell phone and read a book or just lie back and enjoy your time free from interruption.

2.     Aromatherapy in the Bath Tub

Add a relaxing scent to your bubbly bath with a couple of drops of essential oil such as lavender, bergamot, vanilla or cedarwood will encourage natural relaxation. Avoid synthetic fragrances as they can affect the endocrine system and increase the risk of breast cancer.

3.     Deep Muscle Relaxation

The hot water encourages deep muscle relaxation to ease cramps, prevent tension headaches and improve muscle elasticity. Follow your bubble bath benefits with a gentle stretch of the musculoskeletal system to improve posture and reduce back problems.

Related:  Safe Anxiety Treatments: Rose and Lavender are Scents That Soothe

4.     Bubble Bath Benefits Include Detoxing

Make your bubble bath hot enough to produce a sweat to remove toxins from the body naturally. The increased circulation stimulates the lymphatic system which sweats out toxins and increases lymph drainage.

5.     Hot Baths Boost Immunity

The heat of the steam stimulates the immune system and improves health. An improved immune system will help your body fight bacteria and viruses which should mean less coughs and colds naturally.

6.     Bubble Baths for Healthy Skin

Bubble bath benefits include glowing, healthy skin. A warm soak increases blood circulation, providing nourishment to damaged tissue. In addition, using a loofah or natural sponge to slough away dead skin cells will leave you with soft, glowing skin. Use a pumice stone and give your feet a good exfoliating scrub too. Moisturize your skin after your bubbly bath with coconut oil or olive oil and you will quickly eradicate any patches of dry or itchy skin.

By using natural organic products, your bubble bath benefits will avoid any reactions caused by chemicals and artificial fragrances. With so many health benefits available from a simple bubbly bath, make sure you book a session in your “home spa” at least once a week! 

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Six Tips to Strengthen Your Mind

by Institute for Vibrant Living

With a strong mind, your chance of achieving your goals skyrockets. Everything that you will accomplish both personally and professionally will stem from possessing a strong mind and a positive mentality. In this article, we will look at the six top tips for strengthening your mind so that you can achieve more. Follow these tips, and you will achieve results.

Achieve a positive mentality and balance

Tip One-Sleep

Fatigue can destroy both the mind and the body. If you want to achieve more and do so consistently, then don’t skip sleep. Without proper sleep, your mind will suffer. Many people feel that sleep is somehow optional, but as scientists and researchers study sleep more they realize just how essential it is for the proper functioning of the mind. Poor sleep interferes with memory and mental performance so make sure you get enough sleep every night.

Tip Two-Meditate

The power of meditation is difficult to overstate. Meditation is actually the brains only real “break.” When you are asleep, your brain is still very active; however, those who become proficient at meditation are able to give their minds a much deserved break. Scientific research has also shown that meditation reduces stress hormones. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, trigger inflammation throughout the body which can lower immune system function and cause pain. If you want to make great decisions and boost mental performance, then you need to keep stress under control and meditation can help.

Related:  Heart Health:  Benefits of Meditation

Tip Three-The Right Diet

Many people don’t associate diet and mental toughness, but the two are definitely related. A poor diet negatively impacts every aspect of a person. Chemicals in food can even impact one’s mood. Consuming a diet that is high in whole foods and avoiding processed foods, sugar and chemicals will help to reduce inflammation levels in the body. Additionally, a healthy diet will help you avoid the energy crashes associated with sugar.

Tip Four-Learn New Skills

Every time you learn a new skill, your brain forms new neurological pathways. If you want a sharper mind, then one of the best places to begin is by learning new skills. Whether it is learning a foreign language, the basics of computer programming or simply learning to throw a baseball, your mind will benefit from the challenge. Challenge your mind and you will be rewarded.

Tip Five-Be Social

A great way to challenge your mind is to be social. Talking to, and just as importantly, listening to others helps keep your mind sharp. The brain craves communication, so get out there and get social!

Tip Six-Achieve a Positive Mentality

All of the five aforementioned tips will be completely worthless unless you possess a positive mentality. Without a positive attitude and a deep belief that you can change your life and build your mental toughness, you will not achieve your goals. Simply stated, there is no replacement for a positive outlook and approach to life!

Use these tips together and you will see results. Success may not come overnight but by focusing and applying these six tips to different aspects of your life, you will achieve more than you thought possible.

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Five Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads and Your Health

by Health News

Seeds have a lot to offer. In this article, we are going to look at the five best seeds for health. Anyone looking to boost their overall health and nutrition levels will find that seeds are one of the top options. While it is true that nuts and seeds are high in calories, it is also true that nuts and seeds provide you with a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. 

Pumpkin seeds are among the best seeds for health

Seeds are not just loaded with protein, but also with healthy fiber and plenty of vitamins, minerals, heart and brain health boosting omega fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, as well as antioxidants. They possess disease fighting properties. In short, seeds are packed!

Finding the Best Seeds for Health: Pick Chia

The best seeds for health provide you with nutrition, long lasting energy and, of course, plenty of protein. Chia seeds have become popular and for good reason. Chia seeds are packed with nutrition like all the other seeds on our list, but unlike many other seeds, chia seeds are often well tolerated by those who have nut and seed allergies. In a rather amazing trick, high-protein chia seeds expand considerably when soaked in water or after being consumed, which help them make you feel full. If you are looking to lose weight or control your appetite, then you should certainly consider chia seeds.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Hemp

Hemp is a nutritional powerhouse. Hemp is high in omega-3 fatty acids and an array of minerals such as magnesium and iron. Combine these facts with hemp’s high protein and fiber levels and you have one of the world’s greatest seeds.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Pumpkin

When you are looking to boost mineral levels, it is tough to top pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds, like the other super seeds on our list, are high in heart and brain health boosting omegas and mineral dense. In fact, pumpkin seeds have high levels of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. If you want to boost your immune system, then pumpkin seeds are a savvy pick as zinc has been shown in studies to help boost immunity! Having trouble sleeping? If so then you definitely want to check out pumpkin seeds, as pumpkin seeds have plenty of the amino acid tryptophan. Your body can convert tryptophan into melatonin, which is a hormone linked with great sleep.

Related:  Sleep Deprivation: Is It Dangerous to Your Health?

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Flax

Flax makes our super seed list, thanks in part to its very high omega 3 levels. All the seeds on our list have omega 3, but flax is an omega 3 super star! Since omega 3 can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, you’ll find this seed particularly helpful when recovering from an injury. It is a good idea to consume flax seeds in moderation due to their high phytoestrogen levels; this is particularly true for men.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds taste great, and like our other seed picks, they are nutrient, omega and protein dense. Perhaps the single greatest reason to select sunflower seeds is that they are high in many B vitamins as well as vitamin E and zinc, which of course helps boost the immune system. Sunflower seeds are a winner.

Together these five seeds can help you boost your health, your immunity and maybe even help you get more sleep. Best of all, these tasty seeds can easily be worked into salads, shakes, smoothies and more!

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May be Vitamin E Deficient

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Vitamin E is a group of eight essential fat-soluble molecules that support a strong immune system. These antioxidants are used by cells in the body to carry out essential functions. Like many essential nutrients, a vitamin E deficiency can quickly lead to serious health problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, the body cannot produce vitamin E and must be consumed in your daily diet. Any deficiency means the body is unable to absorb healthy fats which can lead to nerve degeneration, muscle weakness, anemia and other serious issues.

Age spots may be a symptom of Vitamin E deficiency

See if you have any of the following five symptoms, which could mean you may need to increase your vitamin E intake.

Vitamin E Deficiency and Age Spots

Age spots are, as their name suggests, a natural part of aging. However, these dark freckle-like spots can be reduced by taking a 400 IU vitamin E supplement daily, and rubbing vitamin E oil on the spots before bed. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant known to aid tissue repair and slow the aging process, including the development of age spots.

Cataracts

Vitamin E deficiency can be responsible for poor vision, cataracts and retinal degeneration. If you have blurred vision or have difficulty seeing at night, a supplement will ensure that you are getting enough daily vitamin E to support and preserve your all-important eye health.

Related:  Antioxidants and Vision Health: Three Factors that Could Affect Your Vision

Lack of Sex Drive

Vitamin E is responsible for maintaining reproductive health and any deficiency can lead to miscarriages, infertility, impotence and other fertility problems. This vitamin also boosts circulatory flow to the genitalia and is important in the production of sex hormones, giving your libido a positive boost.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Any digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease or celiac problems can lead to a vitamin E deficiency as insufficient amounts are absorbed during the digestive process. If you suffer from any gastrointestinal problem, it is particularly important that you take a vitamin E supplement to boost intake. 

Dry or Thinning Hair

Vitamin E ensures good circulation which is essential for a healthy head of hair. Vitamin E deficiency may cause dry brittle hair or significant hair loss. Boost your intake by eating more beans (garbanzo beans make delicious hummus), nuts, seeds and olives in order to feed the scalp, nourish the hair follicles and boost blood circulation.

Even if you do not suffer from any of the above symptoms of vitamin E deficiency, you will benefit from a diet rich in vitamin E. It helps slow the aging process, reduces cardiovascular disease and maintains youthful-looking skin. That’s three good reasons to eat a healthy diet including eggs, broccoli, breakfast cereals, vegetable oils, fruit and vegetables. Alternatively, take a daily supplement that provides 100% of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin E.

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Study Shows Long-Term Results for People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

by IVL Products

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disease marked by extreme tiredness that limits participation in normal daily activities.  Roughly one million Americans are currently diagnosed with CFS, and it affects at least twice as many women as men.  Although many suspect a virus or immune system reaction, there is no known cause of the disease, and there are no lab tests to confirm diagnosis.  Consequently, medical professionals have struggled with ways to treat the disease.  Fortunately, a recent study shows that a few different treatments can provide long-term results for people with chronic fatigue syndrome. 

Extreme tiredness is one of the most common symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Signs and symptoms of CFS can come and go, lasting anywhere from one month to many years.  Unfortunately, additional rest doesn't help reduce fatigue and other symptoms, which can include:

  • Achy muscles and joints with an absence of swelling
  • Changes in mood
  • Chills
  • Foggy thinking
  • Headaches
  • Low-grade fever
  • Impaired memory
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands in the neck or armpits

The Research

Examining participants of the PACE trial – a study published in 2011 – the new study follows up on results.  In the original study, 641 patients with CFS were randomly assigned to one of four treatments:

  1. Specialist Medical Care (SMC), which provides medication and ways to manage the disease.
  2. SMC combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to help patients understand how thinking affects disease progression. 
  3. SMC plus graded exercise therapy (GET), an exercise program tailored to a patient's fitness level and specific symptoms.
  4. SMC in combination with adaptive pacing therapy (APT), a treatment that helps patients better adapt to the limitations that come with chronic fatigue syndrome.

The original research found that outcomes for people treated with SMC plus CBT or SMC and GET were better than those for people treated with SMC alone or SMC plus ABT.  Further, improvements continued to last one year out.  

In the latest study, the research team found that improvements still continued after 2.5 years. It was also noted that patients in the SMC plus CBT or GET groups sought less follow-up treatment than patients in the other two groups after the original study ended.

Related:  The Ayurvedic Therapy Shilajit Reverses Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Conclusion

People who suspect they may have chronic fatigue syndrome should consult with a health care professional for proper diagnosis.  In addition to the treatments mentioned above, people can try a few lifestyle changes to improve symptoms.  Stop smoking, limit alcohol use, avoid napping during the day, adopt a regular night-time sleep routine, eat a nutritious diet, and try stress relieving activities like yoga, meditation, or tai chi.  

Challenge Yourself to Get Moving Today

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Eight Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Jangling nerves, perspiration, rapid heartbeat…from time to time, all people experience feelings of anxiousness, particularly when faced with stressful situations like job interviews and public speaking.  Under these types of circumstances, fear and worry about what may happen is a natural and normal response.  When anxiety becomes chronic however, it may be cause for concern.  Roughly 18% of American adults are affected by some type of anxiety disorder.  Learning about eight common signs helps people determine whether or not they need professional help.

Anxiety disorder affects roughly 18% of American adults.

1.  Excessive Worry

People with generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD) tend to suffer from excessive worry.  Racing thoughts build, and feelings of anxiousness over anything and everything become intense.  If individuals experience this type of anxiety for more than six months or it becomes so bad that it interferes with daily functioning, they should consult a health care professional.  

2.  Sleep Problems

Anxiety disorders often result in sleep problems.  Racing thoughts inhibit relaxation, causing a lack of sleep or fitful sleep.  Over time, sleep deprivation creates havoc, from weakening the immune system to affecting cognition and problem-solving abilities.

3.  Irrational Fears or Phobias

Some people become anxious about specific things or situations like flying, animals, clowns, heights, or small spaces.  Excessive fear and anxiety in situations of relatively low risk indicate signs of a phobia, a type of anxiety disorder.  Although phobias can be overwhelming, they typically don't interfere with daily functioning.  Treatment can help people overcome phobias, however, for better peace of mind.

4.  Muscle Tension

Severe anxiety often creates chronic muscle tension, which results in physical symptoms like a stiff neck or a sore back.  Regular exercise and relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help reduce the muscle tension that comes with anxiety.

5.  Chronic Indigestion

In addition to affecting the muscles, anxiety can also upset the digestive system, making the term "nervous stomach" a real and common problem.  Many people with anxiety suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS).  Symptoms of IBS include stomachache, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

6.  Social Anxiety

From office parties to shopping at the mall, social situations can cause crippling anxiety for some people.  When social environments cause people to shut down emotionally or create feelings of panic on a regular basis, it is time to seek help.  Successful treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication.

Related:  Safe Anxiety Treatments: Rose and Lavender are Scents that Soothe

7.  Panic Attacks

Some people experience extreme episodes of anxiety marked by physical symptoms similar to that of a heart attack.  Heart rates increase, breathing may become difficult, and people may sweat profusely or become lightheaded.  These terrifying bouts are known as panic attacks, and they may come out of the blue or be triggered by a stimulus.  While a panic attack may be a one-time occurrence, regular attacks can be debilitating, and people should seek help.

8.  Flashbacks

Some people who have experienced stressful events have flashbacks, episodes where they re-experience the event in their mind.  Chronic flashbacks can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.  Individuals who believe they may be suffering from PTSD should seek professional help.  Treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy or medication.

While anxiousness is a normal response to stressful situations, chronic anxiety can be debilitating.  Fortunately, a number of treatments can help.  Learning more about the different signs and symptoms of anxiety disorder can help people determine the severity of their condition and whether professional help is needed.

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Weakness: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by IVL Products

We can all experience physical weakness at times, perhaps after a serious illness, or when we’re tired, overworked or exhausted. Short-term weakness usually passes when the cause is rectified, whether it is lack of sleep, stress or fighting sickness. 

Weakness can affect the whole body

If you are experiencing ongoing weakness that does not seem to improve, you need to take steps to discover the cause and treat it. There are many possible causes of weakness including:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Anemia
  • Colds and flu
  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Low blood sugar
  • Stress

It could also be caused by more serious medical conditions such as cancer, stroke or heart attack.   

Related:  Heart Health Benefits of Meditation

Let’s first eliminate some simple possible causes of weakness:

Poor Diet causes Weakness

If weakness is due to poor diet or intense weight-watching, analyze what you are eating. You should be enjoying a balanced diet with adequate protein, carbohydrates and fat. According to the Institute of Medicine, 45-65% of our daily calorie intake (2,000 calories total for men and 1800 for women) should come from carbohydrates, preferably multigrain bread, brown rice, beans and lentils. Ten to 25% should be derived from protein such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products, and around 30% of our daily calories should be from healthy fats which the body uses for energy or stores as glucose.

Colds and Sickness

In winter, colds and flu can weaken the body’s immune system. The after effects of any virus, sickness or surgical procedure can leave the body feeling drained and weak. Try eating well and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to boost vitamin intake and antioxidants. Consider taking a multivitamin or supplement to ensure your body is getting all the help it needs to restore itself to full health again. Another easy way to boost energy is with a green drink or smoothie to help boost immunity, provide antioxidant support and improve digestion.

Other Causes of Weakness

Try to analyze whether you are suffering from full body weakness or isolated weakness. Think back to when the weakness first began and to what it may be related. If you cannot find an obvious cause for general weakness and it does not improve, you may need to consult a doctor.

If at any time your weakness is accompanied by difficulty breathing, then you should call 911 immediately, as it could indicate a more serious medical condition. Your doctor will determine the underlying cause and treat accordingly.

In the meantime, make sure you enjoy a healthy balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, enjoy daily exercise and any weakness should soon be a thing of the past. 

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Little-Known Effects of Poor Diet and Lack of Exercise

by Cindy Gray

Not everyone is born with a sporty gene. Some people find exercise tedious, boring or something they simply don't want to participate in. Although you know about the effects of poor diet and lack of exercise on others, you feel fit, healthy and are definitely not overweight. So why bother with the inconvenience and aggravation of spending time doing something you really detest? The answer is – for your health's sake. 

There's no denying that poor diet and lack of exercise both take a toll on health

Here are three negative health effects of poor diet and lack of exercise that may help you change your mind!

Constipation

If you want to "keep moving", you've got to physically "keep moving". Exercise is known to speed up metabolism which in turn means that food passes through the digestive system faster, lowering the risk of constipation and toxicity.

The combined effects of poor diet and lack of exercise can quickly lead to infrequent bowel movements. Of course, you also need to drink plenty of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic fluids each day and eat plenty of fiber along with moderate daily exercise to avoid this common problem. However, once you have adopted a healthy natural diet along with exercise you will feel years younger, less bloated and more energetic than before.

Related:  Chronic Constipation?  Avoid these Three Foods

Poor Immunity

Supporting a healthy immune system can be tricky, but poor diet and lack of exercise certainly won't help. Too much exercise, such as intensive gym training sessions or regular marathon running, can decrease immunity. It lowers the number of white blood cells circulating in the body, possibly due to dehydration. However, moderate exercise has been shown in studies to stimulate the immune system, creating more antibodies and T-cells than those with no exercise.

A study at the Quillen College of Medicine in Tennessee showed the relationship between level of exercise and the number of immune cells in the blood. They found that while moderate exercise stimulated the immune system, those practicing intense exercise had suppressed immune cell activity.

When it comes to the relationship between diet and immunity, too much sugar and not enough fruit and vegetables can both take a toll on your immune system. Obesity is also known to be linked to poor immune function. While you may feel fit and healthy, your blood may tell a different story.

Brain Fog

So you still think you can live perfectly well on a poor diet and lack of exercise? How's your brain function?

To stay sharply focused, mentally alert and support a good memory, the brain needs essential fatty acids and antioxidants to perform at its highest level. According to a study by the University of Georgia, moderate exercise stimulates a sharper mind.

There's no escaping the fact that poor diet and lack of exercise take a toll on your health, physically, mentally and immune-wise. Start today with a healthier diet and regular exercise and you'll soon feel the difference, guaranteed!

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Antioxidants and Skin Health: Three Steps to Consider

by Cindy Gray

Most folks know that eating foods and taking supplements with antioxidants are good for them.  Those critical nutrients found in vitamins like A, C and E are good for you, both inside and out.  

Consuming antioxidants and skin health go hand in hand, so to speak, and in just a few easy steps you can keep your skin looking younger for longer.

1. Layer It On

We are exposed to sunlight from our earliest days of life. Wearing sunscreen religiously every day is the best way to protect your skin from the ravages of the sun. However, most of us tend to skip it now and then.  And you may recall experiencing some sunburn back when you were just a kid. 

Those dark spots, dry patches and wrinkles are the result of cell damaging free radicals, which are molecules that have lost an electron.  Feeling bereft, these free radical molecules steal from healthy cells, which starts a chain reaction that eventually damages the cell leaving the evidence of their crime on your face in the form of wrinkles and sunspots.

If you neglected sun protection when you were younger, there is something you can do about it now.  Eat foods and take supplements rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E.  They contain nutrients that generously give free radicals the electron they so desperately want, thus halting their cell damaging thievery and restoring healthy skin cells.

2. Don’t Fan the Flames

The body’s natural response to cell damage is to ignite a fire—such as inflammation—to try to destroy whatever is causing the trouble. Most people suffer from chronic inflammation caused by sun exposure, smoking, and consuming too many sugary foods and drinks, along with the daily activities of life.

Over time, the inflammation takes a heavy toll on the body, especially the skin, leaving it dry, red and sometimes with a pimple or two to add insult to injury. 

Consuming antioxidants is like throwing a bucket of water on the fire. They quench the burn and help damaged cells repair themselves.

3. Eat Drink and Be Healthy

Here is a list of the top antioxidants that should be included in your healthy skin diet:

Lycopene

Known as a carotenoid, it is what gives certain food a red hue.  Lycopene helps improve the texture of your skin by supporting collagen production (a protein that makes up the support bands beneath the dermis) while it reverses free radical damage that causes wrinkles.  You can find it in cooked tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruit and sweet red peppers.

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Vitamin C

This essential nutrient is showing to be a powerful weapon in the war on aging. It works as an antioxidant and collagen booster to help reverse the signs of aging by smoothing out wrinkles and encouraging healthy skin cell turnover to shed those dark spots for clearer, younger looking skin. You can find it in citrus fruits like oranges, kiwis and strawberries.

Vitamin A

This antioxidant plays an important role in bone growth, reproduction and keeping the immune system healthy. It also helps undo the damage from sun exposure by neutralizing free radicals. You can find it in sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and spinach.

Because too much vitamin A can be toxic, it’s best to get it from your diet rather than supplements.

Vitamin E

Since sun damage is the top producer of free radicals that damage skin cells, vitamin E is a critical antioxidant for skin health.  When combined with vitamin C, it is very effective at protecting skin from UV damage by halting inflammation and limiting DNA damage.  It is also known as a-tocopherol so check for it on the ingredients list when choosing an antioxidant-rich supplement.  You can find it in abundance in foods like vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, asparagus and spinach.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin and has shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It is especially helpful in getting rid of sunspots due to its depigmenting properties. Find it in pork, chicken and fish like tuna, farmed salmon and halibut or swordfish.

The Skin-ny:

Antioxidants and skin health are intertwined so if you want to keep your complexion radiant, eat foods rich in antioxidants and pop supplements with these essential nutrients. 

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Battle Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Two Red Superfoods

by IVL Products

Modern life comes with jam-packed schedules, making people more tired than ever.  While occasional fatigue is normal, chronic fatigue is not, especially when severe.  If people experience debilitating physical and mental fatigue that lasts for more than six consecutive months, they may have chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS.  Additional symptoms associated with CFS include poor memory, headaches, sore throat, and pain in the muscles or joints.   

Watermelon contains an array of nutrients that may benefit people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Cause and Treatment

Experts have yet to identify a lone cause, but some think chronic fatigue syndrome may develop from a number of triggers including immune disorder, infection, stress, trauma, or toxins.  While there is no known cure for CFS, treatment involves a number of strategies including cognitive-behavioral therapy, moderate exercise, sleep management techniques, and good nutrition.  A wholesome diet may help prevent or relieve symptoms of CFS.  Two red fruits in particular offer many benefits.

Red Apples

Red apple skins are a rich source of the antioxidant, quercetin.  This potent flavonoid helps fight free radicals that can cause cell damage and disease, and it raises energy levels by enhancing the immune system and increasing the number of mitochondria in cells. 

Studies on trained athletes show that treatment with quercetin supplements can boost endurance.  Another study from the University of South Carolina at Columbia tested the endurance of somewhat-active college students on an exercise bicycle.  After taking 500 mg of quercetin twice a day for one week, cycling endurance improved as well as lung function in all students.  The lead author of this study indicated the results might be good news for people suffering from energy-draining conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome.

Related:  Magnesium Deficiency and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Watermelon

While tomatoes offer a rich source of lycopene, scientists at the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory (SCARL) in Lane, Oklahoma have shown that watermelon offers even more.  This powerful antioxidant and others in watermelon help fight harmful free radicals that contribute to disease.  Nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin B1, magnesium, potassium, and L-citrulline found in watermelon also help people with CFS by boosting energy levels by as much as 23 percent.

Conclusion

A nutritious diet helps prevent a wide range of health problems.  Additional red superfoods that may help prevent or relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, and raspberries.  In addition to whole fruits and vegetables, people with CFS should add lean poultry, wild fatty fish, whole grains, nuts, and seeds to the shopping cart.  It helps to eliminate processed foods and sodas and drink plenty of pure, clean water.  People with CFS shouldn't smoke, and they should limit consumption of alcohol.   

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A Guide to Antioxidants and Skin Health

by IVL Products

Because the skin is the largest organ, taking care of it is important and antioxidants can help.  These potent nutrients battle free radicals, potentially harmful compounds that attack all types of body cells including those of the skin.  By neutralizing free radicals, certain antioxidants ensure healthier skin and may even help prevent skin cancer.  People who desire fresher, smoother skin can benefit from this guide to antioxidants and skin health.  

When it comes to antioxidants and skin health, people should consider lycopene, retinoic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin E

Lycopene

A carotenoid responsible for the color in red fruits and vegetables, lycopene promotes the production of collagen, the key protein in skin tissue.  A powerful antioxidant, lycopene helps neutralize free radicals that damage the skin and cause wrinkles.  In addition to these benefits, one study showed that people who consume tomato products containing lycopene regularly reduce chances for UV damage to the skin by 30 percent.  In addition to red fruits and vegetables like ruby red grapefruit, watermelon, and tomatoes, people can obtain lycopene through supplements or look for it as an ingredient in skincare products.  Because lycopene degrades easily, people should keep skincare containers well sealed.

Retinoic Acid

The active from of vitamin A in the skin, retinoic acid protects skin from further sun damage if applied topically as a gel or cream.  Because too much retinoic acid can lead to redness, dry skin, and peeling, people should start with a low concentration and apply it every second or third day.  In addition to offering a protective effect from photo-aging, a study published in The Journal of Dermatological Science showed that treatment with retinoic acid helps improve skin fibers and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient often touted for immune system benefits, but scientists are also looking into its skin health properties.  While foods rich in vitamin C have not been shown to benefit the skin, researchers at Duke University Medical Center interested in antioxidants and skin health found that topical application of vitamin C offers protection from photo-aging, particularly when paired with vitamin E.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in skin cells that boosts the production of collagen, helping to reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.  Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin E has been shown in several studies to help prevent inflammatory damage associated with UV exposure.  People can obtain vitamin E through foods like almonds, sunflower seed, and olive oil or through dietary supplements and topical skincare products. 

Conclusion

Taking care of the skin not only benefits overall health, but helps people look better as they age.  A number of antioxidants like lycopene, retinoic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin E can help.  When it comes to antioxidants and skin health, people can consume certain foods, choose daily dietary supplements, or obtain these beneficial compounds topically through skincare products.

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

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Go Orange for Healthy Aging

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Everyone wants to be as healthy as possible well into their golden years, and adding certain foods to the diet can help.  An abundance of nutritional benefits linked to orange-colored fruits and vegetables help promote healthy aging.  Chock full of nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin, orange foods like citrus fruits, bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and butternut squash make a wise and delicious choice for the shopping cart.

Orange foods like butternut squash offer a host of nutritional ingredients that support healthy aging.

Beta-Carotene and Retinoic Acid

Orange fruits and vegetables are perhaps best known for being a rich source of beta-carotene, the powerful antioxidant that gives them their color.  As people age, beta-carotene offers benefits for eye and brain health and protects the skin from sun damage.  Because beta-carotene is a fat-soluble nutrient, one scientific study questioned whether the body could access more of the nutrient from certain orange vegetables if prepared with oil.  It was determined that stir-frying carrots and pumpkin with a little oil increases the amounts of beta-carotene the body can use by 63 percent for carrots and 53 percent for pumpkin.

Beta carotene is a precursor for vitamin A, which also goes by the name retinol or retinoic acid.  This nutrient helps ensure healthy night vision and neutralizes free radicals, which promotes a thriving immune system.  Research conducted at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia showed that retinoic acid can help fight early-stage breast cancer (stages one and two) but does not offer help in later stages.

Related:  Why the Color Orange Represents Good Health

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

According to a study published in The Archives of Ophthalmology, consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin found in orange vegetables may support healthy aging by preventing cataracts.  Researchers followed more than 35,000 women and found that those who consumed the highest amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet showed an 18 percent lower risk for developing cataracts when compared to women who consumed the lowest amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Vitamin C

The vitamin C found in orange citrus fruits and bell peppers can help destroy free radicals, which boosts immunity and plays an important role for healthy aging of the skin.  The elimination of free radicals results in better skin texture and less wrinkles.  Vitamin C is also essential for the production of collagen, the skin's main structural protein.  One study showed that vitamin C added to a culture of skin cells in the laboratory resulted in a significant increase in the production of collagen.

Conclusion

As people get older, they appreciate any foods that contribute to healthy aging.  With so many nutritional benefits, it makes sense for people of all ages to fill the shopping cart with the color orange.  In protecting the eyes, skin, the immune system, and more, orange fruits and vegetables help keep people looking and feeling good for a very long time. 

 

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How to Cope with Symptoms of Chronic Stress

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Is stress actually dangerous?  Numerous studies have confirmed that stress really does have the potential to be hazardous to your health.  The mental and emotional impact of chronic stress can be debilitating; and the physical symptoms can be harmful, even life-threatening.  Chronic stress symptoms include irritability, insomnia, appetite changes, muscle tension, frequent colds or flu, cold sores, bladder infections, hypertension and gastrointestinal disturbances. 

Stress means different things to different people. A life struggle that might be “taken in stride” by one person could be a significant challenge for someone else. A lot depends on genetics, environmental factors, age, gender and overall health.

Left unchecked, chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body’s immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to serious health maladies including heart disease, diabetes and immune system dysfunction.

Chronic stress triggers the consistent release of cortisol, a hormone associated with the “flight or fight syndrome” that tells the body to defend itself.  For most people, cortisol levels return to normal after a stressful situation is resolved, but people with chronic stress have consistently high cortisol levels that put their health at risk.

Many people struggle with how to cope with stress symptoms such as loss of appetite or muscle tension. There are several prescription drugs on the market that claim to treat stress-related problems, but they come with potentially dangerous side effects. Your best option is to seek out natural ways to deal with chronic stress.

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MINDFULNESS MEDITATION: This type of meditation requires you to focus your complete attention on each breath as it flows in and out. When you focus on each breath you are able to deal with your thoughts as they occur and gradually let go of the ones that trouble you. The conscious breathing techniques used in meditation nurture and calm the body, mind and spirit. 

EXERCISE: Regular exercise is a great stress-buster. Physical activity causes your body to release endorphins, the “feel good” hormone.  Learn some basic yoga to teach your body to let go of the grip of stress in your life.  Tai chi also helps to reduce cortisol and increase a sense of calm and balance.

ENJOY A HOBBY: Find an activity that you enjoy that requires your total focus. Paint, write, dance, listen to music or join a book club. Immersing yourself in something you love encourages you to shift your mind away from stressful thoughts.

TALK IT OUT: If you can’t shake chronic stress by yourself consider talking to a qualified counselor.  A holistic health practitioner could help steer you toward a counselor who could offer a fresh perspective on your situation, and provide you with an outlet for your feelings. 

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Causes of Stress Vary from Person to Person

by Health News

While some level of stress is beneficial because it can motivate and energize us, too much of it can lead to serious health problems.  The causes of stress differ from person to person. An incident that might be extremely upsetting to one person might go totally unnoticed by another. Stress causes the body to produce excess cortisol, the hormone associated with the “fight or flight” response. Once the “stress threat” is over, cortisol levels typically return to normal.

When a person is chronically feeling stressed, cortisol levels remain high. Chronically high cortisol levels are linked to a host of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, eating disorders, muscle tension and fatigue. As some health experts put it: “Deal with your stress or it will deal with you – in harmful ways.”  In order to cope with stress, we must first understand it. There are two kinds of stress:

ACUTE STRESS: This is the type of stress is triggered by specific situations and it prepares the body to defend itself. Acute stress is associated with incidents such as job interviews, public speaking, accidents or injuries.

CHRONIC STRESS: This type of stress never really goes away. It is related to the way a person copes with the issues of everyday living such as bills, kids, job insecurity and relationship problems. It is also very common among caregivers. If left untreated, chronic stress can leads to consistently high cortisol levels that wreak havoc on the body and immune system.

To the extent that you can, remove yourself from situations and people that stress you out. While we can’t always make the causes of stress go away, we can find healthy ways to cope.  Here a few ideas:

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EXERCISE: Take a walk, go for a swim or join an exercise class.   Exercise provides physical and psychological benefits that reduce stress and boost your mood.  Learn yoga and incorporate it into your daily life, just five to 10 minutes a day is better than one hour once a week.  Yoga is a life-changing method for relaxation and breath control.  

GET YOUR REST: Inadequate rest is linked to stress and depression. It’s much easier to cope with stressful situations when you are rested.

DITCH THE GUILT: You are not a superhero and nobody (except you) expects you to be one. Learn to prioritize and say no.

HAVE SOME FUN: It can be hard to maintain your sense of humor during stressful times, but laughter truly is the best medicine. Paint, dance, sing out loud or watch a funny movie.

LEARN TO RELAX: Stressed-out people usually have difficulty relaxing. Yoga, meditation and conscious breathing techniques can help you stay calm and focused.

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“B” Calm At Work: News Ways to Reduce Stress

by Cindy Gray

Long, stressed out days at the office, in traffic, and even at home is the new norm for most Americans.  Finding ways to reduce stress is critical to maintaining good health.  While it’s good to make time to meditate or go on relaxing vacations, the great news is to simply add more B vitamins to your diet and reduce stress on a daily basis!

An Australian study published in 2011 detailed a clinical trial that divided participants into two groups:  one group took a daily B complex multivitamin; and the other group took a placebo. The before and after assessment of the mood, personality traits, and work-related stress, found that the group taking the vitamin B reported significantly less personal stress.  They also reported less confusion, feelings of depression or rage, and were not as fatigued as the placebo group.

To “B” or Not To “B”?

It’s no secret that the body relies heavily on B vitamins to function properly physically and mentally.  Vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6 are essential for mental function.  Those who do not get enough B’s are often more irritable, have trouble focusing and report more feelings of depression or sadness. 

The human body cannot produce vitamin B12 or folic acid so we must eat foods rich in those nutrients or consume it in supplement form.  It’s best to get it from both food and supplement sources.  Fish, chicken, clams and oysters are good sources of vitamin B12.  Egg yolks, almonds, dried beans, wholegrain breads, and many fruits and vegetables contain folate, which becomes folic acid when absorbed by the body.

Meat and animal products are great sources of vitamin B12 and folic acid.  So for vegetarians and those who consume little meat, supplements are recommended, and should be combined with daily grains, fruits and vegetables.

A B (vitamin) By Any Other Name Is Still As…Healthy

Vitamin B 12 is also known as cyanocobalamin, and folic acid is the alias for B9.  Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, pantothenic acid (B5) and biotin are all other names for B vitamins, so look for them in the list of nutrients in your supplements.

Thiamine keeps the nervous system healthy which greatly affects mood and can increase cognitive functions like memory and focus.  This can help you be more productive and focused on the job and in your work.

Niacin is important to the digestive and nervous systems. Without enough of it in your diet, you can feel more depressed, irritable and stressed out.  B6, (or pyridoxine), is important for the plentiful production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps reduce stress and feelings of anxiety while boosting the immune system. 

RelatedFor a Longer Life, Take B Vitamins

What Dosage Would B Healthiest?

It’s almost impossible to get all the B vitamins you need every day through diet alone, especially since we are a breakfast skipping, fast food nation. Taking a B-complex vitamin is one of the simplest ways to reduce stress in your job and in your life in general.

The average adult should aim for:

  • 75 mg B1 (thiamine)
  • 10 mg B2 (riboflavin)
  • 100 mg niacin
  • 68 mg B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • 25 mg B6
  • 30 mcg B12
  • 20 mcg biotin
  • 150 mcg folic acid

Don’t Worry “B” Happy

If you have been feeling irritable and more fatigued than usual, it could be that you’re not getting enough vitamin B’s in your diet.  Exit the traffic on your daily commute and pick up a bottle of B-complex vitamins and you’ll be feeling better in no time!

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Looking for Ways to Reduce Stress? Try These Three Citrus Scents

by Health News

Aromatherapy has been shown to have a powerful impact on your mood. Of all the senses, smell is the one that can penetrate the brain and alter the neurochemistry within a few seconds!  This makes inhaling certain scents one of the easiest ways to reduce stress.

The Brain-Nose Connection

The sense of smell is directly connected to the limbic system, which is the most primitive part of the brain.  This section of the brain controls stress levels, blood pressure, pulse and breathing. This is also the part of the brain from where emotions stem.  So when you inhale a certain fragrance, it can affect you physically by making your breathing speed up or lower your pulse. It also affects you mentally, since an emotion becomes associated with the scent.

Throughout your lifetime you will smell millions of different scents and odors. Most will only linger in the conscious mind for a moment such as the good scent of baking bread; or the unpleasant odor of garbage. However, certain scents have shown to have an immediate effect on the brain, but they last longer, and can help to boost mood.

According to Dr. Alan R. Hirsch of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, “The quickest way to change a mood state—quicker than with any other sensual modality—is with smell.”

So if you are looking for ways to reduce stress, inhaling certain fragrances could be a quick and easy way to pull you out of a funk and energize your brain and body.

The Mood Boosting Trio

So which scents are the most effective for stress reduction?  Citrus is the answer!

Lemon

According to researchers at the UK’s Northumbrian University, exposure to lemon balm can improve cognitive function and improve one’s mood.  Study participants reported the lemon scent “sends you to a happy place,” which is advice often given to people in stressful situations.  Inhaling a mild lemon fragrance could be a first class ticket to your “happy place.”

Tangerine

It sounds vaguely exotic, but this smaller cousin to the orange with darker flesh emits a mood-boosting fragrance that can help you to relax and simultaneously can invigorate you.

While similar in health benefits, it’s helpful to know that mandarin oranges originated in China. Tangerines originated in Morocco and were exported through the port of Tangiers where they got their name.  They are often thought to be the same fruit.

Orange

Researchers at Japan’s Mei University noted that patients who inhaled an orange fragrance were able to significantly reduce the amount of anti-depressants they took.  Upon further testing, those patients who were inhaling the scent of orange regularly saw improvements to their endocrine and immune systems. 

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The scent of orange not only seems to produce feelings of calm, but also promotes confidence, something that can help relieve stress in situations where you are facing the unknown.  Feeling like you can “handle it” will definitely have a calming effect on you as the scent of orange penetrates the brain and helps keep your heart rate down and your breathing even.

The Nose Knows

When you’re in a stressful situation or feeling down, and you can’t meditate or go for a calming quick walk, inhaling the fragrance of lemon, tangerine or orange can produce an immediate brain boost, making it one of the easiest ways to reduce stress in an instant. 

Your nose is a powerful link to the brain, so keep a few citrusy essential oils handy to keep calm and carry on!