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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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. 


Lack of Energy? Restore Vitality with Acai and Suma

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If the lack of energy is dragging you down you might want to consider two Brazilian superfoods to rev up your engine. Studies show that the acai berry and suma root provides energy-boosting nutrients that restore vitality and boost the immune system.  (FYI, Acai is pronounced ah-sah-EE.) 

The nutritional properties of acai and suma make them an energy-boosting supplement that enhances vitality and the immune system.

Demanding careers, inadequate sleep, poor nutrition, excessive stress, sedentary lifestyles and constant exposure to environmental toxins are taking their toll and millions of people spend their days feeling tired and sluggish.  Studies show that acai berries and suma root may be just what the doctor ordered for people suffering from a lack of energy. 

The purple-black acai berry, which is sometimes called Brazilian palm fruit, comes from the acai tree that is native to Central and South America. The acai berry surpasses all other berries in its antioxidant density and it is one of the few fruits that contain omega-3 fatty acids to support brain and joint health.  It has been lauded for centuries by natural healers as a healing, immune-boosting fruit that enhances energy levels.

RelatedHow the Antioxidants in Superfruits Keep You Healthy

Freshly picked acai berries have a short “freshness” window but they are available frozen, dried and in juice forms. Acai extract is an ingredient in many high-quality nutritional supplements.

Sometimes referred to as “Brazilian ginseng,” the suma root is another energizing superfood. Natives of South America have used it for thousands of years to increase strength and stamina.   Suma root contains potent levels of vitamin B and electrolytes, both of which are potent natural energy boosters. It is also rich in immune-boosting nutrients including vitamins B, E and K as well as minerals and amino acids.

While fresh suma root can be difficult to find in some parts of the country, it is available in powdered or supplement form online and at natural health stores. It is also an ingredient in many nutritional supplements.

If you are among the millions of Americans who struggle with a lack of energy, considering using acai berries and suma root to boost your vitality. This duo packs a nutritional punch that will put the spring back in your step so that you can enjoy a vibrant life and live each day to its fullest.

Easy Superfood Recipes


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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!


Fermented Vegetables for Indigestion

by Cindy Gray

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

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

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

Probiotics for Healthy Digestion and Stronger Immunity

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

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

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

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

Fermented Vegetables

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

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

Other fermented vegetables that can help indigestion are:

  • Pickles

  • Sauerkraut

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

  • Poi (fermented taro root)

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

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

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

Other Healthy Fermented Foods

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

  • Kefir

  • Yogurt

  • Sourdough bread

  • Tempeh (cake made from fermented soybeans)

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

Related: Simple Tips for Relieving Indigestion


Learn How Gratitude Benefits Your Health

by Health News

What is Good for High Blood Pressure? Gratitude

Many people want to know what is good for high blood pressure. The answer may surprise you. Learn how gratitude benefits your health, including your heart, in this article.

In the fast-paced and stressful world of today, practicing positive mental states has been scientifically shown to improve quality of life and promote longevity.

A 1995 study published in The American Journal of Cardiology found that gratitude greatly benefits both the heart and immune system. In this study, participants were monitored while being asked to recall for five minutes any incident that triggered anger.

Next, they were told instead to focus on a particular memory that inspired gratitude. Immediately, their heart, pulse and respiration rates dramatically improved.

These results led study researchers to state that by cultivating gratefulness, stress is significantly reduced, boosting immune function and strengthening overall health, including heart health.

All emotions are intimately connected with the heart and body. The heart has a constant two-way dialog with the brain.

This study explains how our heart responds to our emotional reactions and why certain emotions stress our body and sap our energy. Feelings like anger, frustration, anxiety and insecurity disturb our heart-rhythm patterns, making them erratic.

These erratic patterns signal emotional centers in the brain, which recognizes them as negative or stressful feelings. Not only that, but erratic heart rhythms block our ability to think clearly.

On the other hand, when we experience feelings of compassion, love and gratitude, our heart rhythm patterns become smooth and harmonious, indicating a balanced nervous and cardiovascular system.

In other words, when your heart is at ease, both your heart health and overall health are significantly enhanced.

Furthermore, those people who are grateful and appreciative often live longer.

In a long-term observational study described in the Graziadio Business Review, Catholic nuns who expressed gratitude, happiness and other positive emotions in their earlier years were found to live up to ten years longer than nuns who did not express gratitude.

Study researchers saw a significant inverse relationship between positive emotional content in handwritten autobiographies of 180 Catholic nuns (at the age of 22) and risk of death later in life, between ages 75 to 95.

In other words, an expression of gratefulness in early life was associated with a lifetime of longevity, even up to 60 years later.


Can Bitter Melon Counter Obesity-Associated Inflammation in the Brain?

by Cindy Gray

Bitter Melon May Counter Obesity-Associated Inflammation in the BrainAccording to a study from the University of Hawaii, bitter melon can counter inflammation in the brain caused by obesity, thereby lowering risk for brain-related diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and others.

The global epidemic of obesity is a major risk factor for many diseases, including those affecting the brain; and it is a major preventable cause of death worldwide. In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially classified obesity as a disease.

An increase in metabolism due to excess nutrition and obesity can lead to inflammation in the brain; although health experts are not exactly certain of how this happens.

In the present study, the researchers from Hawaii looked at the effects of regular consumption of bitter melon on the consequences of a high-fat diet on inflammation in laboratory mice.

Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, is a fruit that is used as food in many South Asian countries. It has long been used in the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda to treat a number of ailments, including type 2 diabetes. Bitter melon is also used in traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to stimulate digestion, treat malaria, boost immune function and treat diabetes.

In the Hawaiian study, mice were fed a high-fat diet with and without bitter melon for 16 weeks. Their brains were then examined for so-called ‘markers’ of inflammation and stress.

Interestingly, study researchers found that the high-fat diet triggered the expression of inflammatory markers in the brains of these mice. However, expression of these markers returned to normal levels if the mice had been eating bitter melon as well.

Not only that, blood levels of antioxidants and pro-inflammatory compounds—which had increased in response to the special diet—also returned to normal with bitter melon consumption.

The study authors concluded that bitter melon is a potential therapy for obesity-associated inflammation in the brain and may lower risk for brain diseases.

Inflammation levels can be safely and effectively managed by adding bitter melon to your regime therapy.  There are nutritional supplements on the market today, such as elixirs, that may include all-natural, healthful nutrients, such as green tea extract, hibiscus, rose hips, pomegranate and of course bitter melon.  This type of supplement may provide your body with powerful protection against inflammation, for optimal brain and overall health.

Nutritional supplements like these are very easy to add to your daily routine to protect yourself against the toxic effects of inflammation.   Given the powerful health benefits of bitter melon and similar ingredients why not investigate a supplement like this today?



Can Bitter Melon Counter Obesity-Associated Brain Inflammation?


5 Fats You Should Be Eating

by Health News

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

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

Women Health Tips

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

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

  1. Nuts are chockfull of amazing nutrients, healthy fats and protein. They are also rich sources of protein and unsaturated fats as well as concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and powerful anti-aging antioxidants. They are also one of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a heart-healthy plant omega-3 fat. Nuts are also rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that boosts immune function, promotes wound healing, improves blood vessel function and helps lower risk of heart disease. Further, they contain soluble fiber and vitamin E. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels, while vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant essential for proper immune function and healthy skin.
  2. Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps cleanse and protect your body by detoxifying, removing heavy metals and fighting free radicals. Glutathione helps maintain a healthy immune system and slows the aging process. Avocados are also rich in folate, which lowers the incidence of heart disease and stroke. They are also the best fruit source of Vitamin E.  Foods with omega-3 fats such as salmon, nuts, flax seed and avocados should be consumed regularly for good heart and brain health.

Healthy Fats - Avacados

  1. Coconut products offer a wide range of health benefits. Coconut oil offers antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-cancer properties along with improving digestion, nutrient absorption and intestinal health. It also provides cardiovascular benefits and helps manage type 2 diabetes. Coconut oil promotes kidney and liver health and boosts the immune system. It also benefits metabolism, energy and weight management.
  2. Saturated fats in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides, which can be easily metabolized and used as energy by the body. Research suggests that these fatty acids may boost metabolism, promote weight loss and increase HDL, the ‘good’ protective cholesterol in the body.
  3. Olive oil is a very healthy oil to use when sautéing, baking and making salad dressing. This fantastic oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants such as chlorophyll (which accounts for part of the color in olive oil), carotenoids, and vitamin E.  Olive oil is great for reducing blood pressure, cancer prevention, managing diabetes and lessening the severity of asthma and arthritis. Researchers from the Seven Countries Study found that monounsaturated fats in olive oil were mainly responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Olive oil also contains polyphenols, which are powerful anti-aging antioxidants. Including olive oil in the diet can also help to maintain a lower, healthy weight.
  4. Seeds contain beneficial fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They are also packed with health-promoting minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc, as well as powerful antioxidants, fiber and minerals.



How to Pick the Right Probiotic For Your Digestive System

by Health News

How to choose a probiotic supplement

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

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

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

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

Picking the Correct Probiotic

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

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

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

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

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



What Are The Benefits And Risks Of Regular Energy Drink Consumption?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Energy drinks are very popular nowadays, especially with teens and athletes - perhaps you’re a fan as well.

A recent study looked at the benefits and risks that come with regular energy drink consumption. In 2003, 16% of teens reported consuming them regularly - however, consumption had risen sharply to 35% by 2008. In fact, one study found that 50% of students drank at least 1-4 of these drinks in a typical month.

A sharp increase in energy drink-related emergency room visits led to demands that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) look into the effects of energy drinks on health.

Currently, the amount of caffeine added to energy drinks is not regulated by the FDA, so labeled amounts are often inaccurate. Also, the claims made by manufacturers on the ability of such drinks to maintain energy levels have not been verified.

The study authors examined the most common ingredients - caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, sugars and B vitamins - and assessed their effects on health.

Levels of caffeine, the main ingredient, vary widely between brands. Energy drinks may contain higher levels of caffeine than indicated on the label.

 Benefits And Risks Of Regular Energy Drink ConsumptionA typical cup of coffee contains 80-120 milligrams of caffeine, while tea has 50 mg and a 12-ounce cola roughly 65 mg. On the other hand, a 16-ounce Red Bull contains 154 mg while a 24-ounce Wired X505 contains 505 mg. While there is no prescribed safety limit for caffeine, excessive consumption has been linked to high BP, premature birth and even possibly sudden death.

Guarana is a South American plant that contains a caffeine-like compound called guaranine. One gram of guarana is equal to 40 mg of caffeine. In spite of this, guarana is usually not included in the total caffeine tally. And since the FDA has not tested guarana for human consumption, its risks and benefits are almost completely unknown.

Sugar in the form of sucrose, glucose, or high fructose corn syrup ranges from 21 grams to 34 grams in every 8 ounces of a typical energy drink. Teens who consume 2 or 3 drinks daily could be taking in 120-180 mg of sugar - or 4-6 times the maximum recommended daily intake - placing them at risk for obesity and dental problems.

Taurine is a common amino acid that supports brain development and regulates mineral and water levels. The amount of taurine consumed from energy drinks is higher than from a normal diet - as yet there is no evidence that this is unhealthy. In fact, many energy drinks that claim to be healthy contain excess, unregulated amounts of vitamins or minerals you can normally get from your diet.

The problem is, you never really know how much of these ingredients you are consuming, because the quantities are masked behind the term 'proprietary blend' or 'energy blend.'

Ginseng is believed to boost athletic performance, strengthen the immune system and improve mood. According to the study authors, there is not much proof of this - and there isn't enough ginseng in energy drinks anyway.

B vitamins and other additives in energy drinks can improve mood and even fight heart disease and cancer, but again their amounts in energy drinks aren’t enough to have any meaningful effects.

Adolescent consumers have no idea what these ingredients do. They assume that because they can buy it off the shelf, it must be safe for them. In reality, very little is known about the risks and benefits of various additives in energy drinks and how they affect health when consumed over the long term. Not much is known either about how energy drinks and alcohol interact as well as how they affect medications and antidepressants.

Therefore, study authors have urged physicians to be aware of energy drink consumption and suggest educating both teens and their parents on the potential negative health consequences of consuming energy drinks regularly.

Sources: What’s in Your Energy Drink?

Alternatives to Energy Drinks


Green Drink Supplements for Proper PH Balance in Your Body

by Health News

Today’s hectic lifestyles leave little time for making healthy food choices and pollutants in the air and water are perpetually pouring toxins into the environment that have to be processed by our bodies. Years of poor nutrition and environmental toxicity eventually take a toll and we can easily wind up with a compromised immune system that zaps our energy and leaves us vulnerable to a host of serious health maladies. 

What many people don’t realize is that a proper PH balance in the body can restore youthful energy and boost our body’s ability to stay healthy and strong.  The correct PH balance is achieved when we have the proper ratio of alkaline and acidic foods in our diets.  Alkaline foods include asparagus, artichokes, lettuce, peas, spinach, green beans and broccoli. Acidic foods include meats, dairy products, white bread, white pasta, chocolate, coffee and carbonated drinks. Nutritional experts recommend that at least 75 percent of our diets should consist of alkaline foods. Unfortunately most of us are not getting enough alkaline foods in our diet to stay healthy and energized. 

Best Green Drink Supplements Increases Energy

In recent years, green superfoods have emerged as a viable way to keep our bodies in balance. Green superfoods are nutrient rich and are derived from green plants, algae and cereal grasses.  These foods are rich in chlorophyll and they feature potent concentrations of digestible vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and other beneficial substances.

There are several green superfood supplements on the market that make it easy to get a daily dose of these life-boosting nutrients. 

More than 100,000 people have used this remarkable supplement and those who share their experiences report increased energy levels, decreased joint and muscle pain, improved regularity, radiant skin, superior mental clarity and reductions in blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 

If you are one of the millions of people who are settling for a lackluster life caused by improper balance you should talk to your holistic health practitioner about adding a green supplement to your daily regimen. Join the thousands of people who have traded fatigue and illness for vim and vigor and feel the positive difference it makes in your life.

How do you increase your energy throughout the day?

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday


Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals In The Gut

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals in the Gut.


Top 3 Ways to Boost Your Immune System This Winter

by Institute for Vibrant Living
Winter is coming - and you know what that means.
Fun family times over Thanksgiving and Christmas are guaranteed, but also you may experience more plus, colds and sniffles than normal. Cold weather makes your immune system exert itself, leaving you more vulnerable to infections.
Top 3 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
If you want to lower your chances of getting sick this winter, here are three practical immune-boosting tips you can use to keep yourself healthy and infection-free:
Exercise regularly
A protein called dermcidin made in sweat glands and released on to your skin when you sweat protects you against invading germs. Not only that, a good workout boosts your immune system. According to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, 45 minutes of brisk exercise five days a week lowers sickness rates by 50%. Even a single session of moderately intense physical activity has been shown to boost the immune system. In fact, people who exercise regularly experience many protective benefits relative to those who don’t - for example, a decrease in inflammation. Health experts believe lower levels of inflammation can also lower risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Stress can very quickly depress your immune system. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress levels, while also boosting the immune system. Mindfulness meditation means simply focusing on the sensations of the present moment - for example, by bringing your attention constantly back to the feeling of your breath as it passes in and out of the nostrils and the chest. This simple exercise allows us to anchor ourselves in the present moment. In an experiment carried out at UCLA, fifty HIV-positive men practiced mindfulness meditation daily for between 30-45 minutes for eight weeks, while another group was given a one-day class in the method but did not practice it. Eight weeks later, the non-practicing group showed a sharp reduction in immune cells that are normally reduced in response to the HIV virus. In contrast, men who practiced meditation maintained their levels of immune cells. What’s more, the more they meditated, the higher their immune cell count rose. Although we don’t understand how exactly meditation benefits the immune system, the benefits are clear to see - so why not take a meditation class at your local yoga studio or settle down at home for 15-20 minutes daily with a guided meditation MP3?
Manage alcohol consumption
It is common knowledge that malnutrition and cirrhosis of the liver, seen in advanced alcoholics, can directly suppress the immune system. However, increasing evidence suggests that light to moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages like wine or beer could have limited health benefits. It is important to realize that drinking patterns, beverage type, amounts of alcohol consumed and gender differences will all influence how alcohol affects your immune system. In general, regular alcohol consumption is considered a health hazard - so why not switch and enjoy a delicious mocktail or a healthy veggie and fruit drink instead?