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5 Fabulous Foods For Fall and More Healthy Eating Tips

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Fall is the season of harvest, Thanksgiving and hearty wholesome cuisine as the temperatures drop. Check out these fall food favorites and see how they contribute to a healthy eating plan.

Using oysters, nuts and fall fruits in your meals is an excellent way to focus on healthy eating while still getting in some fun flavors and textures.

Apples for Quercetin

Apples are seasonally harvested in fall. There are over 7,000 varieties, with some species better than others for cider-making, pie-baking, storing, drying or eating right from the fruit bowl. One medium apple has around 96 calories and is great for healthy eating as it delivers 4.4 grams of fiber, 8.4 mg vitamin C as well as calcium, iron and trace minerals. Apples also contain high levels of pectin and the antioxidant quercetin, which may help prevent allergy symptoms.

Squash for Beta Carotene

Pumpkins and winter squash are a healthy source of beta carotene and magnesium with their soft golden flesh. Roast, bake or add to casseroles and know you are getting around 4,600 mcg of beta carotene per half cup of butternut squash. Spaghetti squash has lower levels of beta-carotene but does have double the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, another great fall food for healthy eating.

Beta carotene is used in the body to make vitamin A.  In a study at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii researchers showed that beta-carotene can turn on a gene to help prevent the growth of cancerous cells.

Related:  Four Nutritional Powerhouses that should be a Part of Your Diet

Mushrooms for Immunity

Cool humid conditions are ideal for producing mushrooms with 10 different species being grown commercially. Mushrooms are currently being trialed as a suppressant for breast cancer as they remove estrogen from the blood. Beta-glucan protects against colds and flu viruses while reishi mushrooms have positive antiviral properties. In addition, shiitake, portobello, oyster and reishi mushrooms contain a polysaccharide molecule that stimulates the immune system. Slice mushrooms on salad or add them to almost any hot dish to boost immunity as winter approaches.

Oysters for Zinc

Eaten either raw or cooked, oysters are deliciously nutritious as part of any healthy eating lifestyle. However, to avoid food poisoning associated with eating raw contaminated oysters, play on the safe side and enjoy them cooked. Each serving of six oysters contains 43 calories packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Top of the list is 33 mg of zinc, which is 220% of the recommended daily value. And there’s always the unproven reputation that oysters have as an aphrodisiac!

Turkey for Tryptophan

Fall would not be the same without Thanksgiving turkey. A three-ounce serving of perfectly roasted turkey meat gives you 25 grams of lean protein (half your daily requirements) and far less calories and fat than an equivalent serving of roast beef. Turkey contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that the body cannot make. It is used to make niacin and serotonin, so perhaps that’s why a nap is in order after any Thanksgiving turkey feast!

Now you can look forward to fall, knowing it is a great season for enjoying the tastiest healthy eating, from Apples to Zinc!

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Overweight AND Malnourished?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

One of the ironies of the American diet is that people can be overfed yet undernourished. Learning how diet contributes to obesity is just one part of understanding the link between diet and health. Even if you eat plenty of food, you can still display malnutrition symptoms if you are filling up on unhealthy foods.

Malnutrition symptoms may occur even if you are overweight

Studies show that despite the abundance of food, a huge proportion of Americans are suffering from basic nutritional deficiencies. Over 30% of people are short of magnesium and essential vitamins A, C and E. More than 80% of diets lack vitamin D, and 90% of adults do not eat enough omega-3 fats. These are essential for controlling inflammation and blood sugar levels in the body.  So what’s going wrong?

Processed Foods Provide “Empty Calories”

Eating processed foods such as burgers, canned food, sausages, bacon, French fries, snacks, convenience foods and soda means a diet high in calories but low in vitamins and nutrients. Laden with high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and preservatives, these foods are far from the meat, fruit and vegetables that our bodies are designed to consume, and they can quickly lead to malnutrition symptoms.

We need vitamins and minerals from fruit, vegetables and whole foods to maintain a healthy metabolism which helps burn fat and regulate sugar levels. Without them, the metabolism becomes sluggish. Instead of burning those excess calories it turns them into stored fat, making the problem even worse. It’s easy to understand how the diet contributes to obesity when it lacks the core elements.

Intensive farming can also lead to malnutrition symptoms. Intensive farming has depleted the soil. A study of the food we eat today shows it has far fewer vitamins, calcium and iron than it had in the 1950s.

Related:  Eight Tips:  A Healthy Foundation for the Food You Eat

Symptoms of Modern Malnutrition

While scurvy and rickets are thankfully a thing of the past, malnutrition symptoms from a lack of vitamins and minerals in a modern diet can include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Depression
  • Poor recovery after illness or surgery
  • Low white blood cells and weakened immune system
  • Fertility problems and poor libido
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Pale dry skin and wrinkles
  • Constipation
  • Decreased mobility due to muscle wasting

Malnutrition symptoms may be due to digestive disorders, stomach conditions, alcoholism, or most likely an imbalanced diet. If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s worth analyzing what you are eating and how much you are eating. Understanding how diet contributes to obesity, and how at the same time it can cause malnutrition, is the first step to changing your life.

By adopting a more natural, healthy diet you can improve your health and increase your longevity.  Start by avoiding processed foods such as foods that come in boxes and cans; avoid excessive meat consumption, particularly sausage, bacon and deli meats; avoid fried foods such as French fries; reduce or eliminate snack  and convenience foods.  Commit to eliminating high fructose corn syrup and trans fats from your diet; instead include healthy oils such as olive and coconut oils.  Stop drinking soda pop, and avoid sugar consumption.  Never consume artificial sweeteners; they are dangerous to say the least.  Make sure to consume at least five servings of fresh vegetables and fruit a day to help lower your weight while boosting nutritional value. It’s a great recipe for better health!

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What Should You Know About Diet and Yeast Infections

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Too much sugar in one’s diet can contribute to the development of a yeast infection. Yeast infections are the result of candida, a fungus. Usually, the growth of this fungus is naturally limited by the body’s own immune system, but under some conditions candida can grow and yeast infection can occur.

Yeast infections have been linked to a poor diet and can be prevented by limiting excessive consumption of sugar.

Yeast infection causes can be diverse. Wearing damp underwear or wet swimwear can attribute to the conditions necessary for yeast infections to take place. Other risk factors include pregnancy, elevated levels of stress, as well as the use of oral contraceptives and even antibiotics. However, there are also dietary factors that can contribute to yeast infections.

When it comes to diet and yeast infections, too much sugar in a diet can cause this unpleasant issue. In many ways, this is no great surprise, as sugar damages DNA and compromises the immune system. Sugar has no nutritional value. Yet, it is widely found in processed foods and fast food. It is possible to believe that you are limiting your sugar consumption only to have sugar sneak in through a variety of different foods.

Candida feeds on sugar and sugar comes in many different forms. For example, fruits are nutritional superstars and packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and disease fighting compounds. However, too much fruit can play a role in yeast infections. While this may seem counterintuitive, it is important to remember that when it comes to candida, too much sugar in any form can be a problem.

There are many concrete steps you can take to fight off yeast infections. The most obvious step is of course to dramatically reduce your consumption of sugar. Many people add sugar, often large amounts, to tea and coffee or consume sugar-packed soft drinks, energy drinks or sports drinks. Eliminating this sugar is one of the easiest steps you should take. Consider replacing the sugar in your diet with increased amounts of lean protein, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Beans are another good choice as they are nutrient dense and are also rich in fiber.

Related:  Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels with Astaxanthin

Finally, consider taking probiotics to help in your fight against yeast infections. Acidophilus appears to be one of the more effective probiotics for treating yeast infections. While yogurt and kefir are also excellent sources of probiotics, they can also contain a good amount of sugar, so opt for probiotics in pill form.

By now you know that too much sugar in diet causes yeast infections, but you also now have the knowledge you need to address the situation.  Changing your diet is a big step toward getting your yeast infection under control. By reducing your sugar intake and opting for a healthier diet, you may find that you have more energy, look better and even enjoy a stronger immune system. Ultimately, your yeast infection could be a blessing in disguise if you make the right dietary adjustments.

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Five Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads and Your Health

by Health News

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

Pumpkin seeds are among the best seeds for health

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

Finding the Best Seeds for Health: Pick Chia

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

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Hemp

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

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Pumpkin

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

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

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Flax

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

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Sunflower Seeds

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

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

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Six Little-Known Signs of Iron Deficiency

by Institute for Vibrant Living

To function properly, the human body relies on a variety of nutrients, and iron plays an important role.  This essential mineral is important to the production of hemoglobin, a protein responsible for the transport of oxygen to cells and tissues.  People who don't get enough iron in their diet may develop an iron deficiency, which can lead to anemia.  Iron-deficient anemia is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, and people who have it often experience extreme fatigue.  While anemia is a well-known symptom of too little iron, people may not be aware of six additional iron deficiency symptoms. 

Red meat is just one of the many foods that can help combat iron deficiency.

1.  Hair Loss

With iron deficiency, the body goes into survival mode, conserving oxygen for its most vital functions.  Unfortunately, protecting hair follicles falls low on the priority list.  Before getting too anxious about a few extra hairs in the brush however, people should be aware that a loss of about 100 hairs per day is normal.

2.  Swollen Tongue

In addition to affecting hemoglobin, iron deficiency lowers levels of myoglobin.  This protein impacts muscles in the body, including the tongue, which can become swollen and sore, a condition known as glossitis.

3.  Frequent Sickness

When body cells don't receive enough oxygen, the entire immune system takes a hit.  This is why people who are iron deficient often experience frequent illness, especially affecting the respiratory tract.

4.  Pale Skin

Hemoglobin is responsible for blood's red color, so low levels result in less rosy skin.  For people with lighter skin, this is one of the most noticeable iron deficiency symptoms.  People with a darker complexion can check the skin on the inside of the lips, gums, and bottom eyelids, which is also affected.

5.  Restless Leg Syndrome

Research shows that some people develop restless leg syndrome (RLS) because of a dopamine abnormality, but a study published in Movement Disorders also found that RLS can be a symptom of iron deficiency.  According to experts at Johns Hopkins University, roughly 15 percent of people with RLS are deficient in iron.  

Related:   Some Facts about Restless Leg Syndrome

6.  Pica

Pica is the craving or consumption of unusual substances like chalk, clay, dirt, or paper, and medical experts have yet to understand exactly why it develops.  According to research published in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, pica (also called pagophagia) "is frequently associated with iron deficiency, and iron supplementation is an effective therapy in most cases."

In addition to these symptoms, iron-deficient people may also experience shortness of breath, headache, and anxiety, and women may have heavier-than-normal menstruation.

People concerned about iron deficiency can try various food sources to see if symptoms subside.  Good options include red meat, chicken, blackstrap molasses, clams, spinach, lentils, nuts, sunflower seeds, and chick peas.  Before taking iron supplements people should see a medical professional for a ferritin test to establish iron levels.  Too much iron can increase risks for cancer, diabetes, and heart attack, particularly as one ages.

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

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Battle Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Two Red Superfoods

by IVL Products

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

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

Cause and Treatment

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

Red Apples

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

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

Related:  Magnesium Deficiency and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Watermelon

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

Conclusion

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

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Go Orange for Healthy Aging

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

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

Beta-Carotene and Retinoic Acid

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

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

Related:  Why the Color Orange Represents Good Health

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

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

Vitamin C

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

Conclusion

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

 

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Natural Remedies for Depression Include Three Healthy Foods

by IVL Products

Depression affects nearly 19 million people across the United States.  While a number of factors contribute to depression, many people fail to consider daily nutrition.  What we put in our mouths plays a big role in mood as well as mental focus and energy levels.  According to experts, some foods that reduce depression include garbanzo beans, turkey, and yogurt.  Each of these nutritional foods contains mood-enhancing properties and a few extra health benefits, making them must-haves for the shopping cart.  

Add foods that reduce depression like garbanzo beans, yogurt, and turkey to the shopping cart.

Garbanzo Beans

According to a 2004 study published in "Human Psychopharmacology," people with depression show high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can hinder recovery and endanger the heart.  Folic acid helps keep homocysteine levels in check, and garbanzo beans make a rich source of this valuable nutrient.  Studies also show that folic acid may enhance the effectiveness of prescribed antidepressants, but people should consult with their doctor before using folic acid supplements.  Garbanzo beans also provide a rich source of fiber for better digestive health.

Turkey

People looking for natural remedies for depression should consider foods rich in protein, particularly turkey.  Many lean sources of protein provide amino acids that help improve mood as well as support the immune system, repair body tissues, and boost energy.  Turkey goes one step further with high levels of tryptophan, a chemical that stimulates the production of serotonin, a mood-enhancing and sleep-promoting neurotransmitter in the brain.  This might explain why people feel so drowsy and content following Thanksgiving dinner.  Other dietary sources of tryptophan include cottage cheese, milk, brown rice, peanuts, beef, and soy products.

RelatedWays to Lower Risk of Depression

Yogurt

Low-fat dairy products like yogurt contain calcium, vitamin D, and protein as well as specific peptides that support wellbeing.  In addition to these healthy ingredients, yogurt offers a rich source of probiotics ─ microorganisms that help maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the intestines.  Some depressed people have an overgrowth of 'bad' intestinal bacteria, which can cause problems with the absorption of micronutrients.  These compounds are directly involved in the production of the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin.  To get the most health benefits, people should purchase plain Greek yogurt and sweeten it with fresh fruit or lemon juice and stevia.

In light of all their healthy properties, it makes sense to add these three foods that reduce depression to a dietary plan.  People who don't like the texture of garbanzo beans might try a smooth and creamy hummus spread with fresh veggies, crackers, or chips.  Natural turkey lunch meat makes a good alternative to a big roasted bird, and probiotic supplements make a good replacement for plain yogurt.

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

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Seeing Green for Anti-Aging

by Cindy Gray

An anti-aging diet must contain a lot of greens.  Immediately you might think about broccoli, lettuce, peas, green beans, etc. Well, these are all great green foods to have in your diet, but there are a few others you might be interested in that are nutritional powerhouses and should also be a part of your regular diet.

Alfalfa

Called the King of Grains, alfalfa’s not just for cows anymore. This remarkable plant shoots its roots 20 to 30 feet down to draw out minerals from the soil not available near the surface.  It is a rich source of vitamins, A, B1, B6, C, E and K, which are critical to maintaining a health immune system.

Alfalfa also helps prevent heart disease, the number one killer in this country, by preventing the absorption of cholesterol in the gut.  That makes it a good green to toss into your next salad.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It also has long been known for its skin healing and softening effects as a treatment for sun burns, eczema and psoriasis, just to name a few.

Recent clinical evidence suggests that this gel-filled plant is highly effective at fighting tumors that can cause colorectal cancer.  Its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to lower cholesterol and relieve constipation make it a good green to add to your diet. Since aloe vera does not occur naturally in foods, you will need to enjoy it juice or gel form, or take it in supplement form.

Spinach

Spinach is a unique plant; chock full of iron and vitamin C.  Iron is more readily absorbed into the body when accompanied by vitamin C, so it is perfectly packaged to deliver maximum anti-aging compounds.  Research shows that in addition to the powerful antioxidants it contains, spinach also helps protect the lining of the intestinal tract. This makes for a healthier immune system to help fight off colds and quickly rid the body of toxic bacteria.

Men, take note: Spinach also helps reduce the risk of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer, so add this dark leafy green cancer fighter to your anti-aging diet.

Related:  Seven Green Super Foods with Cancer Fighting & Heart-Healthy Benefits

Astragalus

Astragalus is known as an adaptogen.  An adaptogen is something that helps the body “adapt” to the damage of physical, mental and emotional stress more quickly, before it can harm your cells and overall health.  Astragalus contains antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory compounds to help you avoid getting frequent colds, bladder infections and it helps to stimulate the immune system.

As a powerful antioxidant, astragalus also lowers cholesterol, improves heart function and protects the kidneys from disease.  Look for supplements made from the root of the plant, where all the medicinal properties are contained.

Seaweed

Compounds in seaweed so closely resemble human plasma that it is a great blood purifier. It also has chelating properties, meaning it converts heavy metal pollutants in our bodies to harmless salt that we can easily excrete.  Compounds found in seaweed called lignans have been shown to help treat and prevent certain types of cancers.

Seaweed is high in iodine, which stimulates the thyroid to help keep your metabolism humming along, making it a good weight loss green. The minerals in seaweed act as electrolytes to break the chemical bonds sealing fat cells, allowing excess fluids and waste trapped there to escape and be excreted from the body.

Since seaweed can be hard to find in standard grocery stores, here is a quick list of the types you should be adding to your anti-aging diet:

  • Nori
  • Kelp
  • Dulse
  • Arame
  • Kombu

Seeing green is a smart way to take charge of your health and add variety to your diet and lifestyle!

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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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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

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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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Healthy Recipes: Watermelon Slushie

by Nancy Maneely

Is there anything more refreshing on a hot summer day than an icy-cold wedge of watermelon? And lucky for us, we can enjoy this wonderful summer treat without guilt, because it’s low in calories, high in dietary fiber, and contains lots of antioxidant nutrition.

Healthy Recipes: Watermelon Slushie

Watermelon is a friend to the “healthy aging” crowd as well as weight-loss aficionados. That pretty pink color? It’s from lycopene. Watermelon contains higher levels of the antioxidant lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable (15 to 20 mg per 2-cup serving) and is part of a healthy diet.

Watermelon also provides Vitamin A for eye health, Vitamin B6 for immune system support, Vitamin C (another antioxidant powerhouse), and potassium.

When I was a kid, watermelon was regarded with some suspicion by health-conscious moms. How could something this tasty and fun be … GOOD for you? It was a fabulous summer indulgence at picnics and barbecues. But why wait for a special occasion?

At this time of year, watermelon prices are at their lowest and there’s an abundance of varieties everywhere you look. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t get too much of a good thing! Enjoy it alone or in a fruit salad. 

Healthy Recipes: Watermelon Slushie

There are also lots of recipes on the Internet for smoothies, cocktails … even gazpacho with watermelon as the star ingredient. Go for it!

Here’s an easy, delicious recipe for Watermelon Slushie. Enjoy it with friends or family and make some extra to have on hand, in case the neighbors drop by.

Watermelon Slushie

  • 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • 10 ice cubes (or you can substitute frozen strawberries!)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 tbsp. sweetener, adjust to taste (sugar, stevia, honey, or agave syrup)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Place watermelon and ice into a blender. Pour in lime juice, sugar, and salt. Blend until smooth.

Yield:  5 servings

Nutrition Information Per Serving:  70 calories, 0.2g Total Fat, 0mg Cholesterol

Sources:

National Watermelon Promotion Board
Self Nutrition Data

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Five Foods for Boosting Immunity

by Cindy Gray

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

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

The Fabulous Five

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

Avocados

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

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

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

Ginger

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

Graviola

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

Mushrooms

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

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

Oatmeal

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fermented Vegetables for Indigestion

by Cindy Gray

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

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

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

Probiotics for Healthy Digestion and Stronger Immunity

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

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

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

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

Fermented Vegetables

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

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

Other fermented vegetables that can help indigestion are:

  • Pickles

  • Sauerkraut

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

  • Poi (fermented taro root)

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

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

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

Other Healthy Fermented Foods

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

  • Kefir

  • Yogurt

  • Sourdough bread

  • Tempeh (cake made from fermented soybeans)

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

Related: Simple Tips for Relieving Indigestion

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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?

 

Source:

Can Bitter Melon Counter Obesity-Associated Brain Inflammation?

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Are Mental Disorders the Result of Neuro-inflammation?

by Cindy Gray

New research increasingly shows that not only are many cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia related to inflammation in brain tissues, but even so-called ‘classic’ mental diseases such as schizophrenia and depression may be connected to brain inflammation. Further, recent research from Japan's Kyushu University Medical School and Saga University have shown that many mental disorders are the direct result of inflammation involving microglial cells of the brain.

Microglia are the resident macrophages of the brain and spinal cord, and thus act as the first and main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system (CNS). Microglia constantly scavenge the CNS for plaques, damaged neurons and infectious agents. The brain and spinal cord are separated fAnxiety and Worrying Linked to Greater Alzheimer's Risk in Womenrom the rest f the body by a series of cells known as the blood-brain barrier, which prevents most infections from reaching vulnerable nervous tissue. In the case where infectious agents and toxins are directly introduced to the brain or cross the blood-brain barrier, microglial cells react quickly to decrease inflammation and destroy the infectious agents before any damage occurs. Because antibodies from the rest of the body cannot penetrate the blood-brain barrier, microglia must be able to recognize foreign bodies, swallow them and act as antigen-presenting cells activating T-cells. This process must be done quickly to prevent potentially fatal damage; hence, the microglia are extremely sensitive to even small pathological changes in the CNS.

Buildup of amyloid plaque is seen in certain brain cells in Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, and is believed to be a result of damage from oxidative stress. Microglia prevent this buildup and clean up amyloid plaque. No wonder that when microglia are damaged, the brain and nervous system become increasingly susceptible to mental disorders such as dementia, schizophrenia and depression.

Neuro-inflammation is the result of damage to the brain and nervous system. Healthy microglia work to block neuronal inflammation and prevent damage to brain cells. When brain cells do get damaged, microglia work to repair the damage by producing a variety of inflammatory factors. Like other macrophages, microglia are formed within the bone marrow. Once they migrate to the brain, they differentiate into particular responsibilities and different regions. Some microglia deal with infections, others are focused upon toxins or damaged cells. Still others stimulate the repair of brain tissues.

Research has connected mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depressive states and other cognitive health issues to increases in microglia-related inflammatory factors, such as nitric oxide and cytokines. Microglia produce these inflammatory factors in response to damage to brain cells. The brains of schizophrenia, depression and dementia patients have increased levels of microglia-related inflammatory factors. Furthermore, research shows that one of the central mechanisms of psychiatric drugs is that they reduce levels of these inflammatory factors—but only temporarily. This temporary reduction of inflammatory factors does little to prevent or address the original cause of the inflammation. By blocking inflammatory factors, these drugs interfere with microglia-driven damage repair that is taking place; as is often the case when drugs act on symptoms, rather than causes of a disease condition.

The cause of neuro-inflammation, as shown in numerous dementia studies, appears to be oxidative damage. Oxidation is caused by an imbalance between toxins that form harmful oxidative radicals and a range of antioxidants that neutralize those radicals. When there are not enough antioxidants in a given system, oxidation takes place; for example, in the cells of the cardiovascular system as well as in brain cells. This is why recent research has linked cognitive decline to increased obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

A new French and Finnish INSERM study, with support from the U.S. National Institutes of Medicine, examined 6,401 adults between 39 and 63 years old. People who were obese and suffered from metabolic disorders, including cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes, were seen to exhibit more than a 22% greater cognitive decline than those of normal weight with no metabolic disorders. The results of this study are supported by other studies that have related cognitive decline to cardiovascular disease, sedentary lifestyles, obesity and increased levels of toxins, all of which are associated with higher levels of inflammation.

Numerous studies have shown that antioxidants neutralize oxidative radicals that produce inflammation. The very term ‘antioxidant’ is founded upon research showing that particular naturally produced phytochemicals directly neutralize the oxidative effects of radicals formed by toxins. For example, in another large French study, researchers found that a healthy diet with greater antioxidant intake was associated with reduced risk of cognitive decline after the researchers removed factors relating to exercise, alcohol intake, calories, gender, age, education and obesity. Other research has shown that obesity, smoking and lack of exercise all increase the rate of cognitive decline.

What this all means is that mental disorders are no longer conditions that necessarily fall neatly within the abstract domain of behavioral psychology and psychiatry. Rather, recent research suggests that poor diets and poor lifestyles likely contribute significantly to the development of mental disorders, which are thus, to a great degree, preventable. In other words, such research brings mental disorders within the realm of natural health and nutrition. What is now known is that a person with a healthy diet containing plenty of antioxidants, together with an active lifestyle, has a significantly reduced risk of having a mental disorder. More importantly, a person with a healthier, antioxidant-rich diet will also stand a better chance of remaining alert into their elderly years.

Reference

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/are-mental-disorders-result-neuroinflammation

 

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What to eat for Better Metabolic health

by Health News

In this article, we will discuss what to eat for better metabolic health and how to increase energy levels by changing your diet.

When you eat food, carbohydrates are converted into blood sugar or glucose.how to increase energy levels

In response, your pancreas secretes insulin, a hormone that tells your cells to take in the glucose floating in your bloodstream. Cell membranes are then activated to allow glucose to enter cells, where it is converted into energy.

In type 2 diabetes and its precursor, metabolic syndrome, cells get the message but they just don’t want to listen. They become less responsive to insulin, known as insulin resistance - and glucose accumulates in the bloodstream.

Untreated, these chronically elevated levels of glucose lead to inflammation that can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys and eyes.

The evidence is clear - America’s love of processed foods is having a significant impact on both waistlines and metabolic health.

One problem with processed foods is their glycemic index, an indication of how rapidly the body digests them and extracts glucose. Too much glucose too fast generates a brief high. In response, insulin levels rise rapidly often precipitating a drastic drop in blood sugar. This results in intense cravings for the foods that made us high in the first place.

These dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose trigger a cascade of other hormones that affect many aspects of our metabolism, including brain chemistry.

For example, low blood sugar causes release of cortisol, one of the body’s stress signals. High cortisol levels prevent weight loss and lead to fat accumulation around the midsection. This ‘spare tire’ fat produces its own chemicals that drive inflammation.

So the first step in fighting insulin resistance is developing a strong diet plan - a completely different approach to eating food:

  • Eliminate processed foods - many processed foods are nutritionally inert and deficient. Becoming a label reader will help increase your awareness of the foods you consume daily.
  • Reduce sugar - combine sugar with fiber and protein, giving your body more time to adjust. Fresh berries and fruits such as apples, plums, and nectarines are low glycemic fruits with a satisfying sweet taste.
  • Eat lean proteins, whole grain foods, green leafy vegetables and drink plenty of water - lentils and beans, nuts and seeds are excellent sources of high quality protein when used in moderation due to their high calorie content. Eat organic when possible, especially meats and dairy products.
  • Take care of your beneficial gut bacteria - probiotics introduce friendly microbes that help your body with digestion, nutrition absorption, immune system maintenance and many other aspects of health. On the other hand, unhealthy gut bacteria contribute to weight gain. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (cultured vegetables) are all good sources of friendly bacteria.
  • Use healthy oils such as olive, coconut, avocado, and walnut oils - avoid fried foods, as they contain unhealthy oils that have been damaged by high heat. Also avoid peanut, corn, soybean, and safflower oils that are high in omega-6, as well as any products containing partially hydrogenated oils.

Source: Eating to Protect Your Metabolic Health

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Supercharge Your Immune System Before You Travel

by Health News

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, travel requires careful planning. That’s why we develop extensive to-do lists that include filling up the gas tank, making airline reservations, obtaining maps and packing suitcases. Unfortunately most of us make travel plans that provide little or no focus on the most important thing of all - our health. 

Boost Your Immune System Naturally

While maintaining a strong immune system is critical for vibrant health every day of our lives, it becomes increasingly important when we are on the move. Travel can compromise the immune system because it upsets the internal body clock that regulates sleep, hunger and digestion. (This can be particularly troubling when you cross time zones.) Many travelers fall into poor eating habits and consume more caffeine and alcohol than their bodies can tolerate. 

To further complicate matters, travel also means increased exposure to germs and viruses that thrive when people are hoarded together in cars, airplanes, buses or trains. Poor air circulation contributes to the spread of illnesses and doorknobs, counters, banisters and other surfaces are likely to be contaminated by germs.   

With a little planning you can supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy your travels and protect your health. One of the best ways to prepare your immune system for travel is to take nutritional supplements before and during your trip. Supplements containing green tea and resveratrol are particularly important. Green tea contains an agent called catechin polyphenol that is considered “jet fuel” for the immune system.

Resveratrol is another potent immune system booster that can help keep you healthy before and during your travels. This powerful antioxidant, which is present in red wine, fruit and the skin of grapes, is associated with a lower risk of developing cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Because it would be difficult to obtain optimal amounts of resveratrol from food and wine, many people use resveratrol supplements. 

Many people also add probiotics to their daily regime before and during travel to prevent gastric distress. Probiotics, which are available from natural health stores, populate the intestinal tract with “friendly” bacteria that limits the growth of “bad” bacteria such as salmonella, clostridia and E coli. 

The next time you make travel plans, make sure you take your healthy habits with you. Supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy every second of your trip.  

What do you do to stay healthy while traveling?

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Probiotic Supplements: Not Just for Intestinal Health

by Health News

If you’re taking probiotics to improve your digestion problems, current research suggests you’re not just helping your gut—you’re doing your entire body a favor! And if you’re not taking probiotics, you might want to consider starting. Read on to find out why!

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast in a person's digestive tract. These microorganisms are “friendly” (beneficial to the host). Among many benefits, they help degrade toxic and allergenic substances in the intestine and colon. Probiotics occur naturally in certain foods like yogurt and cottage cheese. They are also available as nutritional supplements which can be purchased in health food stores. 

Probiotic Supplements

How do probiotics help my whole body?

These tiny organisms can do some pretty amazing things! To name just a few:

They help you absorb nutrients. The friendly bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus helps with the absorption of the B vitamins and vitamin K, along with fatty acids and minerals such as calcium.

They improve immune function. Beneficial bacteria have a critical and powerful effect on your gut’s immune system and your systemic immune system. They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.

A study* published in the journal Pediatrics in 2009 looked at the potential benefits of probiotics in children during cold and flu season. According to the authors, “Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.”

They have a systemic, anti-inflammatory effect. While mechanism behind this benefit is not fully understood, recent studies strongly suggest that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus works against inflammation. One such study** looked at biological markers for inflammation in patients taking the probiotics and those take a placebo. The researchers concluded “…probiotic bacteria have strain-specific anti-inflammatory effects in healthy adults.”

Another study*** from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, looked at the effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus in infants with eczema, an inflammatory skin condition. The researchers concluded that infants receiving this probiotic had a significantly reduced risk of eczema symptoms.

So if you thought probiotic supplements were just for digestion problems, think again! Now you have many more reasons to consider taking probiotic supplements.

Digestive Health

Sources:

*http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/residents/journal-club/probioticscolds.pdf

**http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?orig_db=PubMed&db=pubmed&cmd=Search&term=%22World%20journal%20of%20gastroenterology%20%3A%20WJG%22%5BJour%5D%20AND%202029%5Bpage%5D%20AND%202008%5Bpdat%5D

***http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/residents/journal-club/Wickens%20Lactobacillus%20rhamnosus%20JACI%202008.pdf