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How Lavender Can Stop You From Losing Your Hair

by Cindy Gray

Native to the Mediterranean region, the lavender plant has been used since ancient times as a bath additive and an antiseptic.  The name "lavender" comes from the Latin "lavare," meaning "to wash."  These days, people use lavender's essential oil for aromatherapy.  When inhaled, the calming floral scent helps to relieve anxiety, depression, headache, insomnia, and upset stomach.  In addition to its benefits in aromatherapy, some research shows promise with the use of lavender for hair loss, or alopecia.

Lavender for hair loss shows promise in people with alopecia areata.

Causes and Types of Alopecia

Differing causes for alopecia include fungal infections and damage to the hair shaft or follicles causes by illness, hereditary conditions, prescription medication, poor nutrition, and hormonal changes that come with pregnancy and menopause.  People experience two main types of alopecia.  Alopecia areata causes patchy hair loss as a result of a confused immune system that mistakenly attacks hair follicles.  Androgenetic alopecia is a hereditary condition that causes hair loss in men and women.  In men, this type of alopecia is called male pattern hair loss due to thinning or complete hair loss along the hairline and top of the scalp.  In women, it is called female diffuse hair loss because thinning typically occurs all over the scalp.

Lavender Research

One study on 86 patients with alopecia areata found that a combination of lavender oil and other essential oils showed new hair growth in 44 percent of the subjects when massaged into the scalp daily for seven months.  Lavender for hair loss was shown to be safe and effective with no adverse side effects.  Anecdotal reports also indicate that lavender oil offers deep conditioning to the hair, keeps it shiny, and helps control dandruff.

Related:  Hair Loss In Women: Three Things You Need To Know

Side Effects and Cautions

Diluted and used topically, lavender for hair loss is generally considered safe for adults, but applying the oil to the skin can cause irritation in some people.  Because lavender oil can cause breast growth in young boys, use should be restricted to adults.  Lavender teas and other forms of the herb taken orally may cause appetite changes, headache, and constipation.  Used with sedative medications, lavender may increase drowsiness.

Overall, lavender has been successfully used by people all over the world for centuries.  It’s refreshing to learn that lavender has yet another use for humanity: natural help with hair loss!

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The Stress Menopause Connection

by IVL Products

The link between stress and menopause is well documented. It can become a vicious cycle of worsening menopausal symptoms leading to increased stress.  Jump off that debilitating merry-go-round and find natural menopause relief with a few simple changes to your diet, activity levels and outlook on life.

Studies are showing that there is a connection between stress and menopause.

The journal Menopause found in a study of over 400 women between the ages of 37 and 47 that those who reported the highest stress levels had as much as five times the hot flashes as those who women who reported less anxiety.  Even women who reported only moderate anxiety levels suffered three times more hot flashes than those who lived with less stress.

More bad news connecting stress and menopause came from a study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal that reported vaginal dryness, a common symptom of menopause due to decreased estrogen, was associated with high levels of psychological stress (not physical stress).

Related:  Modest Weight Loss Lowers Disease Risks in Middle-aged-Women

Stress reduces the secretion of all sex hormones like estrogen. Women going through menopause are already experiencing a dramatic drop in estrogen production, which causes hot flashes, insomnia, depression and vaginal dryness.  Being stressed out about life situations and menopause symptoms can be debilitating and greatly affect one’s quality of life.

The Dangers of Chronic Stress

It is well known that chronic stress is not good for you. It is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, more illness and diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke and even cancer.  It makes chronic illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and diabetes worse as well. 

Add the dramatic physical changes of menopause to an already stressed out life, and you get a recipe for disaster. Your personal relationships, career, and over all sense of wellbeing can be negatively affected.  The good news is natural stress and menopause relief is available with a little effort on your part.

Diet

Your diet has so much to do with how you feel each day. Weight gain is a common side effect of menopause, so paying attention to what you eat can help you manage your stress levels and menopausal symptoms.

Foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kimchi, along with probiotic supplements help keep your GI tract functioning smoothly and your immunes system strong.  Suffering less sever colds, urinary tract infections (also common during menopause), gas pain and bloating will greatly reduce your stress levels. 

Being chronically run down and feeling ill is very stressful. Boosting your immune system with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, omega-3 rich foods and staying well hydrated will relieve stress and menopausal symptoms like fatigue, depression and hot flashes.

Exercise

Weight gain and insomnia are common menopause complaints.  Exercise can offset these two unpleasant symptoms and help you reduce your stress levels.  Making time every day for some physical activity is critical to managing your stress levels and menopause symptoms.

You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run a marathon, either.  A brisk walk or a few laps in the pool is all you need.  Being outside to exercise has many health benefits and makes working out less of a chore and something to look forward to.

Attitude

Your outlook on life makes a huge difference when it comes to managing stress and menopausal symptoms.  Menopause and stress are a fact of life for all women.  Accepting that and making plans to deal with both are critical for keeping your spirits high and warding off depression and other mood disorders. 

Women's Health Top Superfood Recipes

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The Probiotic Menopause Connection

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Women may find menopause relief in the form of probiotics.  These industrious bacteria are necessary for healthy functioning of the digestive tract and critical to our immune system.  

Probiotics have many health benefits including aiding with menopause relief.

Probiotics for menopause is a relatively new field of study that is showing great promise in making the unpleasant symptoms of going through the change more tolerable.  All women will go through menopause and each experience is unique for each woman. Some have less severe symptoms while other find them debilitating.  The worst symptoms most commonly reported are:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal Atrophy (thinning and drying of the vaginal wall which can cause pain during intercourse)
  • Mood Swings (depression)
  • Sleep disturbances (hot flashes, insomnia)
  • Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and yeast infections

The dramatic decline in estrogen and progesterone levels as fertility declines is the root cause of symptoms but taking probiotics can provide relief.

Probiotics: The Good Bacteria

Our gut is teeming with bacteria. Some of it harmful, but most of it is beneficial and critical to proper digestion and a strong immune system.  When hormonal imbalances like those experienced during menopause upset the balance of good bacteria in our gut, there are many health issues that can wreak havoc on the body.

The Bad Bacteria

Two kinds of bacteria in our intestinal tract play a critical role in our health: aerobic bacteria, which require oxygen to thrive, and anaerobic bacteria, which do not.

A diet high in saturated fat stimulates the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which is known to upset hormone levels because of its effect on estrogen.  During menopause, the body is already experiencing unpredictable hormone fluctuations, which cause the hot flashes, urinary tract infections and vaginal wall thinning and dryness.  

Related:  The Idea That All Fats Makes You Fat is a Myth

Cutting your intake of saturated fat and consuming more probiotic rich foods and supplements can help restore hormone levels and ease these symptoms.  For those who want menopause relief without the use of synthetic hormones, this is good news.

Probiotics For General Health

When going through menopause, many women experience health issues that impact their quality of life. Probiotics can help offset some of these issues and make the going through the change more tolerable.

In addition to helping stabilize hormones, which are thrown out of sync by menopause, probiotics can help offset weight gain, keep your immune system strong and increase good bacteria in the vagina, lessening dryness and atrophy there. 

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Five Herbs for Stress and Mood Swings

by Cindy Gray

Five Herbs for Stress and Mood SwingsTaking a pill to help you chill might sound appealing, but many prescription drugs have nasty side effects and are very expensive. Using herbs for stress relief is a lot less, well…stressful. 

For centuries, herbs have been the cornerstone of good health.  Many cultures have successfully used herbs as treatment for all types of medical issues.  Unlike western society that relies on powerful mind-altering drugs to help with severe mood swings and depression, other cultures have often looked to the natural world for stress relief.

The Fabulous Five Herbs for Stress Relief

1. Ashwagandha

One of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha has been used since ancient times to treat a wide variety of conditions.  It is most well-known for its restorative benefits.  The name means “the smell of a horse” indicating it promotes the strength and vigor of a stallion.

Ashwagandha contains many potent medicinal compounds in the leaves and roots like:

  • Steroidal lactones – improve the power supply of nerve cells
  • Alkaloids – act quickly on the nervous system and can have a safe natural sedative effect
  • Choline - from the B vitamin family it has been shown to lower cholesterol and stave off cognitive decline by boosting brain function
  • Fatty acids – omega-3 and omega-6 are critical to proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system
  • Amino acids – the building blocks of protein they play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of a healthy nervous system, immunity and brain function
  • Healthy sugars – for energy

2. Rhodiola rosea

This unique herbal remedy grows at high altitude in the sandy soil of artic areas of Asia.  It has long been used as a treatment for fatigue and western medicine is prompting scientists to examine its health benefits more closely.

Rhodiola rosea has been showing great promise by decreasing the harmful effects of chronic, long-term stress on the body.  It helps bring balance back to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems of the body.

In the modern world, we are often under constant pressure and stressed throughout the day.   This leads to feeling edgy, tired and depressed. Rhodiola rosea seems to be able to help the body re-establish balance by influencing the brain chemicals serotonin (the “happy” hormone) norepinephrine (the adrenaline hormone) and feel good opioids called beta-endorphins.

In a Columbia University publication, rhodiola’s remarkable effect on the nervous system was described as “emotional calming.”  Dr. Richard Brown stated that rhodiola “enhanced the healing properties of one’s own nervous system”

The health benefits of rhodiola rosea don’t stop there. Numerous studies have found it to:

  • Improve cognitive and memory function
  • Increase mental and physical resistance to stress due to fatigue
  • Reduce levels of C-reactive protein, and inflammatory marker that results from muscle damage due to physical exertion
  • Enhance sleep
  • Lessen depression symptoms
  • Keep blood sugar stable

3. Elueuthero (Wucha)

Elueuthero belongs to an amazing class of plants known as adaptogens. They are known for helping the body to adapt to environmental changes and reduce the effects of stress on the body.   Other health benefits include:

  • Stronger memory and clearer thinking under stress
  • Sustained energy without the side effects of stimulants like caffeine that cause the jitters
  • Increased tolerance to heat, noise, strenuous exercise
  • Increased sexual vigor
  • Sleep aid

Elueuthero’s effectiveness at reducing stress is believed to come from the compounds it contains called eleuetherosides. These enhance the immune system by helping T-cells engulf harmful microorganisms, damaged cells and foreign particles in the body. It also promotes the formation of protective B lymphocytes that are critical to a strong immune system.

Related:  Do Probiotics Benefit Your Overall Mood?

4. Holy basil

Holy basil is known to be a powerful antioxidant with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well. Modern science has been taking a closer look at this remarkable herb due to its great potential in relieving stress and promoting relaxation.

Like Eleuethero, holy basil functions as an adaptogen to enhance the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress.  It seems to be able to influence the secretion of stress hormones, corticosterone in particular.  A rush of cortisol is good when an actual predator confronts you.  However, work, traffic, and many other things keep us saturated with the stress hormone, and it wreaks havoc on the body.

Holy basil’s concentration of eugenol and caryophyllene release a pleasing and soothing aroma that has been shown to elevate mood.  Eugenol also has shown to enhance mental clarity, something that can suffer during periods of prolonged stress.

5. Suma root

Suma root has been used for hundreds of years in South America to increase physical strength, boost energy levels, stamina and the immune system. It contains two anabolic agents, allantoin and ecdysterone, which have been linked to muscle growth and enhanced endurance.

It also is an herb for stress release known as an adaptogen.  Packed with germanium, a potent immune booster and saponins, which have shown to improve immune function and lower cholesterol, suma root also has many important vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

A compound called beta-ecdysterone is also found in the herb and is showing great potential to treat sexual dysfunctions like impotency.  This is most likely due to its ability to provide more oxygen to cells. This has the added benefit of improving circulation to all areas of the body including the brain, which improves memory and sharpens mental clarity.

Suma root is an effective herb to combat stress due to its ability to affect the adrenal glands, which produce adrenaline and corticosteroid hormones, the ones that are responsible for our “flight or fight” response.  Suma root is effective at balancing these hormones in the body, which is important because constant long-term exposure to them causes many health problems.

Using herbs for stress relief has proven effective for thousands of years in many cultures.  Finding natural ways to reduce stress are preferable to taking powerful prescription drugs with harmful side effects.  Taking these five herbs to reduced stress and balance out mood swings is a safe natural way to combat the stressors of daily life without dangerous side effects.

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How to Exercise Away the Effects of Depression

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Depression is a debilitating mental disorder that affects approximately 14.8 million Americans.  Worse, studies show it is on the rise and has become a worldwide epidemic according to the World Health Organization.  It’s a relief to know that exercise is a safe and effective natural remedy for depression that most anyone can put into his or her daily routine.

New research has concluded that those who regularly exercise can combat depression.

Some people only suffer depression at one point in their life like post-partum depression, while others are afflicted with it chronically over a lifetime.  The medical industry has responded with a flood of powerful brain altering drugs to combat the effects of depression. Yet in many cases, exercise is proving to be just as effective, with positive side effects!

The Research: Exercise and Depression

A study published by the Archives of Medicine found exercise to nearly as effective as medication in treating patients with major depression.  

Another study conducted on students at the University of Virginia observed a significant reduction in depression symptoms for those students diagnosed with the disorder who jogged regularly.  Those who did not engage in any form of regular exercise showed no changes in their symptoms in contrast.

Related:  Ways to Lower Risk of Depression

To bolster these findings, the American Journal of Epidemiology published a report where researchers found that a mere one point increase in regular exercise appeared to lower study participants’ risk of being depressed by 10%. More importantly it cut their risk of becoming chronically depressed by 17%!

Effects of Exercise on Depression

The effects of exercise on depression are quite profound.  It can effect change in brain chemicals, reduce immune system chemicals that worsen depression and increases body temperature, which seems to have a calming effect.

Your Brain

When you exercise your brain releases endorphins that trigger positive feelings in your brain while reducing your perception of pain.  While the effects are temporary, regularly feeling that “runner’s high” has a very positive, energizing affect, something those who suffer from depression need.

Your Immune System

There is a growing body of evidence that depression has as much or more to do with your immune system as it does your brain.  While most medications are prescribed to help balance chemicals in the brain, research out of the University of California has suggested that inflammation, an immune response, may be a contributing cause of depression.

Regular moderate exercise is known to strengthen the immune system.  It will also help keep body fat in check, and improve circulation, which benefits the brain and the body and could lead to fewer depression symptoms.

Exercise and Depression: Your Attitude Matters

The possibility of finding effective natural remedies for depression is good news for those who have resigned themselves to taking powerful anti-depressants and dealing with the side effects. With the many positive aspects of exercising to help with depression, it a good idea to make sure you get plenty of it on regular basis if you have or are at risk of developing symptoms of depression.

Besides the feel good brain chemicals and boost to your immune system, exercise will help you keep weight gain in check, make you stronger and give you more energy.

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Six Potent Probiotics

by Cindy Gray

If you are seeking a natural remedy to help with diarrhea, then look to probiotics.  These potent little strains of live bacteria and yeasts are very good for your digestive system and can bring relief to those suffering from occasional to chronic diarrhea.

Those who suffer from diarrhea will find probiotics a powerful remedy.

Probiotics are naturally helpful to your body; and you can ingest them easily from certain foods and supplements.  There are many kinds of bacteria classified as probiotics and they all have different health benefits, but almost all of them come from two groups:

  • Lactobacillus – the most common probiotic, it can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods.  It can help those who are lactose intolerant and ease diarrhea.
  • Bifidobacterium – this type is found in dairy products like milk and can help those with IBS relieve their symptoms.

You are not alone if you suffer from diarrhea. Those who have three or more loose stools per day for a period of four weeks or more are diagnosed with chronic diarrhea.

Related Top Three Fermented Foods for Constipation Relief

Taking over the counter medications is fine if you only experience diarrhea occasionally. However, if your condition is chronic, you’ll want to consider these diarrhea natural remedies.

  1. Lactobacillus acidophilus – is found in foods like yogurt, kefir, pickles and soy products, and in supplement form.  It is very beneficial to the human GI tract because it helps break down sugars in milk products (lactose) and produces vitamin K.
  2. L. casei (lactobacillus casei) – is found naturally in fermented foods. It has shown to be a very effective way to speed up recovery time for those suffering from acute diarrhea. It helps the gut break down lactose, and relieve constipation. It also relieves gas and promotes healthy digestion, which improves your immunity.
  3. L. rhamnosus – is found in the human GI tract, mouth and vagina.  Its greatest health benefit is as an anti-inflammatory. This makes it beneficial for those with loose stools and vaginal infections.
  4. L.  plantarum – this strain of bacterial is a real powerhouse. It can take up residence in your gut and keep disease-causing microorganism from wreaking havoc there. It also has the ability to “stick” or coat the lining of your intestines and prevent dangerous bacteria from getting into your bloodstream
  5. Bifidobacterium breve – also known as B breve, a shortage of it in the intestinal tract has been linked to diarrhea, allergies, gas and irritable bowel syndrome. It can benefit you by balancing the acidity (pH) of your colon, reduce bloating and gas, and relieve constipation.
  6. B. longun (Bifidobacterium longum) – found naturally in the gastrointestinal tract and the vagina it is thought to be an effective way to help prevent certain diseases like colon cancer. It contains anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic properties that help keep the pH balance of your digestive track normal.

Eating fermented foods rich in the super six or taking supplements can improve your overall health by boosting your immune system, relieving painful gas or constipation and possibly even help lower your risk of developing some forms of cancer.

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Royal Jelly: How the “Queen’s Food” Can Improve Your Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If you are experiencing a lack of sex drive, bees could help. When your libido bottoms out, a substance called Royal Jelly—produced by these remarkable bee-ings—has been shown to enhance sex drive in humans.

Why Royal?

Honeybees secrete this gel-like substance to feed the hive’s new larvae for three days. They produce it in copious amounts and store it in the honeycomb in specially constructed “queen cells” to be fed to one female bee who will eventually become the queen of the hive. 

Royal jelly has a variety of health benefits including helping to counteract lack of sex drive.

A substance called royalactin is believed to be the most potent single protein in Royal Jelly and the way it benefits female bees can also help humans with adrenal problems, boost immunity and reverse a lack of sex drive.  

What It Does

In addition to royalactin, Royal Jelly is mainly composed of crude proteins, amino acids, simple sugars, fatty acids and water.  It also contains some trace minerals, enzymes with antibacterial and antibiotic compounds, along with the B vitamins pantothenic acid (B5) and pyridoxine (B6). It also has a bit of testosterone and vitamin C. 

The combination of these compounds greatly enhance the size, lifespan and fertility of one particular female bee, making her the queen who will outlive all other bees and the only female with active ovaries to lay eggs. 

How Royal Jelly Can Improve Your Health

Adrenal Glands

Malfunctioning or under-performing adrenal glands can lead to a host of health problems like fatigue, a lack of sex drive and other more severe disorders.  Royal Jelly has been shown to boost the important hormones the adrenal gland produces that control blood pressure, circulation, blood sugar levels, protein and sugar metabolism and sexual activity.

Related Idea That All Fats Make You Fat Is A Myth

Immunity

Japanese researchers discovered in a 2010 study that Royal Jelly’s antibiotic and antibacterial properties greatly improved immunity in research participants.  It shortened the healing time for wounds and improved allergy symptoms as well. 

Fat Metabolizer

Royal Jelly can help you metabolize fat more efficiently due to its ability to suppress lipid peroxidation, which causes harmful fatty acids to form in the body. This helps regulate the amount of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood stream, both of which can lead to heart disease and stroke when at high levels.

Increased Libido

Queen bees are the only female bees with active ovaries capable of producing eggs. Increase in libido is probably due to the trace amounts of testosterone it contains and the fact that it boosts adrenal gland function, which secretes hormones that regulate sex drive.

Bee Sexy

A lack of sex drive does not mean you are doomed to be a lonely heart or forced to take artificial hormones or medications like Viagra.  Try adding a little Royal Jelly to your diet and see how the fat loss benefits, increased energy, boost to your immune system, and shot of the testosterone can greatly enhance your libido and overall health.

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Healthy Licorice

by Cindy Gray

Candy for what ails you?  Forget the sweet stuff!  Licorice root is known to be helpful for treating an impressively long list of health problems, including as an effective chronic diarrhea treatment.

Licorice root may help those who suffer from chronic diarrhea

Licorice root, also known as Glycyrrhiza Glabra, grows wild across Europe. It is an herbal remedy that has been used for thousands of years by the ancient Greeks and Romans to treat many health issues.  Licorice has played a large role in Chinese medicine for many years.

Good For What Ails You

Western medicine is finally catching up and realizing just how beneficial licorice root can be for a very long list of health conditions including:

  • Upper GI health- it has been shown to ease coughs and the symptoms of cold and flu
  • Ulcers – packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, it has been shown to be almost as effective as conventional medicine for reducing pain due to ulcers
  • Chronic Diarrhea Treatment – licorice roots blend of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective treatment for this disorder

Related Why Ginger Should Be Your Gut’s Best Friend

There are two kinds of licorice root:

  • Glycyrrhiza, which has been shown to have some serious side effects like low blood pressure, headaches and heart problems.
  • Deglycyrrhizinated (DGL) seems to have less serious side effects but is just as effective in treating a long list of health ailments. 

The Right Stuff

The key therapeutic compound in licorice root is called glycyrrhizin. It has been shown in numerous animal and human research studies to have the ability to soothe and coat inflamed membranes.  That kind of anti-inflammatory ability is what makes licorice root a good treatment for the symptoms of chronic diarrhea.

Having occasional loose bowel movements can be normal, and it usually clears up on its own or with the help of over the counter medications.  However, chronic diarrhea is defined as having loose stools for four or more weeks, three or more times per day.  It can have a very harmful impact on one’s health.  The loss of fluids, nutrients and electrolytes for a prolong period of time can lead to poor health and a compromised immune system.

Taking licorice root can help ease the symptoms and provide pain relief. The compounds in the root inhibit spasms in the colon and sooth irritated membranes. It also enhances immunity by boosting production of interferon, a key immune system chemical that helps your body fight off attacking viruses.

Licorice root also has compounds called flavonoids that are powerful anti-oxidants. They help the body neutralize cell damaging free radicals that could be contributing to chronic diarrhea, severe coughing and other upper GI tract problems, and ulcers.  

Forms, Dosage, and Side Effects

You will find licorice root in several different forms:

  • Powdered
  • Thinly cut slices
  • In teas
  • Capsules and tablets
  • As an extract

For chronic diarrhea, ulcers and upper GI health, the recommended dosage for adults is two to four 380 mg tablets of DGL (see above) before meals and at bedtime.

If you or someone you know is seeking a natural treatment for ulcers, upper GI problems or an effective chronic diarrhea treatment, licorice root could be a good choice. 

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Chlorophyll: Nature’s Remedy for Fatigue, Bad Breath & More

by Cindy Gray

If you struggle with fatigue, bad breath and excessive sweating your body might need to detox with chlorophyll. Foods containing chlorophyll can help neutralize and remove the toxins that cause tiredness and body odors. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that collects energy from sunlight. Eating foods rich in these green pigments helps to cleanse the blood. 

If you struggle with fatigue, bad breath and excessive sweating, you may need to detox with chlorophyll.

Algae, seaweed and wheatgrass are among the most potent sources of chlorophyll. Other good sources include green leafy vegetables, sprouts, green juices and wild edible greens. Foods containing chlorophyll detoxify the body and work with the liver to restore vibrant health. They also absorb toxins from the intestinal tract and support the growth of “friendly” bacteria.

Some of the major benefits of chlorophyll include:

Neutralizes Body Odor:  Because chlorophyll cleanses you from the inside out, it can help reduce body odor. Chlorophyll has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that fight body odor at the source. It is so effective that it is often referred to as “nature’s deodorant.”

Eliminates Bad Breath: Foods containing chlorophyll fight bad breath because they cleanse the digestive tract.  Chewing on the leaves of parsley, dill, basil and cilantro can immediately freshen bad breath. Chlorophyll provides a natural alternative to chemical-laden mouthwashes and breath mints.

Related What Everybody Ought to Know About Liquid Chlorophyll

Removes Toxins: Toxic metals in the environment can take a toll on your health. Chlorophyll attaches to toxins and heavy metals and removes them from your body. It also increases your blood's oxygen-carrying capacity by stimulating red blood cell production. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of chlorophyll contribute to its cleansing effects.

Boosts Immune System: Chlorophyll-rich foods contain essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for disease prevention and vibrant health.

Speeds Healing: For the past 100 years researchers have studied the healing properties of chlorophyll. Studies show it speeds the healing process because it is a natural disinfectant and it fights inflammation.

Because it has so many beneficial health effects, many people use chlorophyll supplements to make sure they are getting recommended amounts. The supplements come in capsule, powder and liquid forms and can be obtained online and through natural health stores.

Boost your energy levels and eliminate embarrassing breath and body odors the natural way. Chlorophyll is a safe, plant-based detox method that can cleanse your body from the inside out. 

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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.