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Five Tips to Avoid Constipation While Traveling

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Nothing can take the fun out a vacation faster than suffering from constipation. If it happens to you, rest assured, you are not alone.  Bowel movement issues are very common among travelers so it’s important to follow these five healthy travel tips to keep you regular.

Healthy traveling without constipation

Change Is NOT Always Good

Preparing for a trip and traveling, even if it is on vacation, can be very stressful. If you turn to junk food, skip meals or are feeling stressed, this can cause irregularities in your bowel movements.  Often, using unfamiliar bathrooms can induce anxiety.  Just not following your normal routine can contribute to constipation.

Maintaining healthy eating and drinking habits while preparing for and traveling can help you avoid traveler’s constipation.  Find a food vendor that offers fresh salads, fruit and high fiber cereals or breads and skip the fast food restaurants in the terminal or on the road. If possible, pack your own healthy high fiber snacks to munch on during the flight, train ride or car trip.

1. Dehydration Nation

The TSA won’t let you bring water through security and buying airport bottled water is expensive, so you might be tempted to let yourself get a little dehydrated. If you are road tripping you might drink less to avoid frequent bathroom stops; not a good thing!

Drink plenty of clear fluids, namely water, and save the alcoholic or sugary sodas and cocktails for a special occasion. You may also want to limit your caffeine intake for the duration of your trip, too. It can act as a diuretic and you need adequate water in your bowels to form normal stools and pass them regularly.

Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it at a drinking fountain once you clear security. Sip, don’t gulp, throughout the day and plan accordingly for adequate bathroom breaks.

Related:  Dangers of Laxative Overuse for Chronic Constipation

2. Bacteria Is Your Friend

If you are not regularly taking a probiotic supplement you should be. These gut-healthy bacteria are essential for good digestion.  Before your trip, start taking them and pack them in your suitcase. They will keep your immune system strong and aid in digestion so you don’t end up with stubborn bowels that won’t move.

Try to include foods on your trip that are rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (a spicy fermented cabbage) too.

3. You Got To Move It Move It!

The last thing on your mind when traveling might be exercise. Who has time for that?  You do!

You don’t have to run several miles or go to a boot camp class, just choose stairs instead of the elevator once in awhile, walk to and from dinner, plan an activity that incorporates some walking, hiking or just hit the hotel pool for a few laps.  Mild to moderate exercise keeps your metabolism revved up and increased circulation will wake up sluggish bowels while encouraging you to drink plenty of fluids.

4. Don’t Sugar Coat It

Your bowels do not need a layer of sugar when they are already a bit stressed from travel.  Cut back on the sweet stuff and you’ll most likely keep them humming along just fine. It’s easy to over-indulge while on vacation and airport sweets might be tempting, before you board a morning flight, but resist the temptation! 

Pack your own healthy snacks like almonds, a clementine, apple or snack-sized package of whole grain crackers and save the sugar indulgence for the end of your trip.

5. Go Green

Green foods like broccoli, lettuce, peas, asparagus and spinach will make for a much more pleasant trip. Having a few salads with fresh fruits and vegetables will help you stay hydrated and full of fiber; essential for avoiding constipation.

Try eating a small salad or munching on some raw broccoli before meals to ensure you get in your greens. You’ll stay regular and slimmer on your trip.

Following these healthy travel tips can be the difference between the best trip ever, or an unpleasant journey marred by the pain and bloating of constipation.

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19 Tips to Avoid Air Travel Illness & Germs While Traveling

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Getting ill while traveling is no fun, yet it happens all the time.  Following these travel sickness tips could help prevent illness so you can enjoy the journey.

Tips for Preventing Travel Illness.

Airplane Germs

Airports and airplanes are petri dishes of germs from millions of travelers.  Travel in the winter means more exposure to cold and flu viruses, bacteria abounds on handrails, elevator buttons and you will undoubtedly find yourself shoeless walking where many other feet have tread at the security area.  

Give your immune system a boost before travel by regularly taking probiotics for optimal gut health and a stronger immune system. It is also helpful to increase your intake of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that has shown to help lessen susceptibility to bacteria and viruses.  Also, consider vitamin D-3 supplements and zinc, known immunity boosters that can help fortified your immune system before you travel.

Wash your hands, a lot! Frequently washing your hands, especially before you eat or touch your face, is very important.  Many germs and types of bacteria can live on handrails, elevator buttons, doorknobs and handles for hours.  Use soap, wash for at least as long as it takes you to hum the happy birthday song under your breath; and when possible use a paper towel to open the bathroom door to exit.

If washing your hands is not an option, have a few antibacterial wipes in your carry-on to keep your hands clean.

Related:  Healthy Travel Begins with Immune-Boosting Supplements

Jet Lag Drag

Traveling across several time zones can leave you exhausted and cut into the enjoyment of your trip as you struggle to adjust.  You can avoid the worst of jet lag by following a few simple guidelines.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends you stay on your home sleep schedule for trips lasting two or less days, regardless of the difference in time zones. This will minimize disrupting your internal sleep, bathroom, and eating schedule.  

For longer trips, however, you should start slowly adjusting your schedule to the time zone you will be arriving at to start your trip or vacation. At least four days before your trip begins, shift your sleeping and eating times to match the time at your destination. Though it might be difficult, stay on the new time zone schedule as much as possible and try to go to bed when it gets dark there, not back at home.

Other things that can help are:

  • Opt for an overnight flight
  • Cut back on caffeinated foods and beverages
  • Drink plenty of water and other non-sugary fluids
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days and on the plane, it is a sleep disruptor
  • Consider taking melatonin tablets to help you fall asleep once you reach your destination (1-2 mg daily)

Light can be your friend against a jet lag foe. Exposure to bright natural light can help you stay awake and regulate natural secretions of melatonin in the brain.  Exposure to light inhibits the brain from secreting melatonin, and when it becomes dark, it will trigger its release to help you fall asleep.  Seek out bright light in the evening hours when traveling west and in the morning when you are east bound. Get as much sunshine as you can when you arrive at your destination to help you stay awake and adjust to a new sleep time.

Don’t DVT

DVT stands for deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot in a vein deep within a muscle, usually your calf or thigh.  Prolonged sitting causes DVTs, like on a flight across the ocean, or several days on a train.  If the clot breaks off it can travel to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.

Because of the danger in sitting too long, make sure you get up and move around whenever possible. Walk briskly to your gate, take the stairs, and on the plane or train be sure to get up frequently to walk to the bathroom and stretch.

Wearing compression garments can help.  There are socks and even full length compression suits that can be worn underneath your clothing. The gentle pressure helps keep blood flowing and reduces the chance of developing a blood clot.

Speaking of clothing, wear comfortable loose fitting clothing.  Avoid pants and belts that are constricting.  

Other things you can do to lessen your risk of a DVT is:

  • Avoid caffeine
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Taking circulation supplements like natto (made from fermented soybeans) and fish oil can help

Following these few travel tips can make for a much more pleasant journey.

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Stress and Allergies – The Surprising Stress Allergy Link

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that your nervous system and your immune system are closely linked? This means that causes of stress can increase allergy symptoms, and these in turn create more stress. That doesn’t mean that chronic stress actually causes allergies, but for those with existing sensitivity it can trigger the symptoms or make them worse, according to a study in The Journal of Investigative Allergology and Clinical Immunology.

Scientific trials on allergy sufferers showed a definite relationship between stress and allergies, which were measured using allergy skin tests. Participants were placed in a stressful position, such as having to calculate a math problem in their head in front of a panel of judges. The skin tests showed that the effects of stress raised allergy levels immediately after the stressful situation, and even more severely the day after.

Understanding Allergies

Allergies are increasingly common in children and evidence suggests that allergies may be caused by environmental factors such as stress. Allergies are a hypersensitivity to harmless environmental or food substances such as pollen, dust mites and mold. The body detects the presence of these “dangers” and produces a hormone response. This causes side effects such as a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, skin reactions and asthma which themselves put the body under stress.

Related:  Five Natural Ways to Fight Allergies

Effects of Stress on Allergies

Stress does not cause an allergy, but it can play a role in worsening the allergy symptoms. Doctors specializing in psychoneuroimmunology understand that when the body is under stress, it feels threatened and that triggers the chemicals and hormones in the brain that are responsible for that “fight or flight” response. The heart rate will increase and blood pressure will be raised as the effects of stress take their toll. This is known to trigger asthma, eczema or skin rashes (hives).

Suffering itchy skin and labored breathing understandably causes stress, overwhelming the immune system and setting up a viscous circle of stress = allergies = more stress.

Like many enigmas, it’s a matter of which comes first, the chicken or the egg. In this case, should you treat the causes of stress to reduce the allergies, or manage the allergies to lower stress?

Treating Allergies by Lowering the Causes of Stress

Advice from Dr. James Sublett of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology advises allergy sufferers to work with a board-certified allergist to help avoid allergy triggers and lower the effects of stress caused by the symptoms.

Other specialists suggest that allergy sufferers should alleviate stress levels using breathing exercises, meditation and adopting a healthy lifestyle. They should also quit smoking and avoid caffeine, which can contribute to stress. By reducing the causes of stress, allergy flares will be less severe and less frequent. It seems that managing stress lowers allergies and controlling allergies reduces stress, so it’s a win-win situation.

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Laugh Away Stress: 10 Tips on How to Laugh More

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You may remember the Robin Williams movie, Patch Adams that illustrated how humor provided relief in a hospital setting. Based on the true story of Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams, the story holds more than a little truth when it comes to using laughter as a tool for stress management.

Try laughter as a form of stress management!

Here are just some of the health benefits that laughter and humor provide:

  • Lower hypertension
  • Reduces stress
  • Relaxes the body
  • Triggers the release of endorphins which promote happiness and relaxation
  • Cleanses the lungs of stale air
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Increases muscle flexibility
  • Boosts the production of T-cells
  • Helps us keep life’s problems in perspective

It’s a commonly quoted fact that adults laugh about 15 times a day while children laugh about 400 times.  No wonder the problems of the world and life in general, sometimes get us down.

Study on Stress Hormones and Laughter

A study led by Lee Berk at Loma Linda University in California showed that laughter not only lowers blood pressure and boosts mood-elevating endorphins, but even anticipating a fun event can lower the three main stress hormones: cortisol, adrenaline and dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC).

This study focused on 16 men. Half were told they would be watching a humorous video they had selected earlier, and half were told they would be sitting in a room reading magazines as a control group. The researchers measured hormone levels throughout the study and noted that 30 minutes after the video was over, cortisol was down 67%, adrenaline was down 35%, and DOPAC was down 69%. The surprise was that even before the group watched the video, the anticipation of laughter lowered cortisol by 39%, adrenaline by 70% and DOPAC by 38%.

The power of feel-good chemicals produced by the body should not be underestimated for stress management. They are believed to be up to 200 times more powerful than morphine and side effects are zero.

Related:  Five Fun Ways to Connect with your Partner

Ways to Use Laughter as Stress Management

Now we know the value of laughter to reduce stress and cortisol levels, we need to adopt some sure-fire ways to increase laughter in our lives. Here are 10 suggestions:

  • Read some funny jokes from a book, or search the internet
  • See humor in everyday life. There’s always something to smile about, such as wearing odd socks to work!
  • Plan a fun evening with some light-hearted friends
  • Spend time with younger members of the family; they are always able to raise a smile
  • Rent a funny movie – and anticipate laughter, just like in the study
  • Collect and share humorous sayings and true funny stories
  • Look out for a funny advertisement, ridiculous billboard or humorous commercial that makes you smile
  • Practice fake laughing as if you’re auditioning for a part. Even fake laughter triggers a response so spend a few minutes a day managing stress by perfecting that laugh out loud
  • Get together with friends and workmates and have a laughing contest. The effect is contagious and will soon have you laughing for real!
  • Find a few more funny activities as part of your stress management activity.
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Are You Squirreling Stress: Causes and Effects of Stress

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Are you a “squirreller?” Do you hide money, tuck away sweet treats and keep a few things in reserve, “just in case?” While these may be positive attributes, storing up the effects of stress, harboring negative thoughts and increasing physical tension can be extremely damaging for your health, according to experts.

In the fall, squirrels are particularly active as they search for nuts, seeds, acorns and pine cones which are a source of food. These furry creatures are known for their habit of burying caches of food in a favorite place, which will allow them to survive the winter. In the same way, you probably have a favorite place on your body where all the effects of stress and tension hang out.

Physical pain and hypertension are often the effects of stress

Physical Effects of Stress

Causes of stress in modern-day life can range from worrying about bills, lack of sleep and working long hours to frustrating traffic congestion on your morning commute. Stop and analyze your body for a moment, and find out where those effects of stress tend to linger. Common places that succumb to stress and tension include:

  • Tense, hunched shoulders
  • Unnatural neck and throat positions
  • A “tight” head causing headaches and migraine
  • Upper and lower back tension
  • Stiff arms
  • Queasy, acid-filled stomach

Harboring stress can lead to serious health conditions including stomach ulcers, back pain, migraine clusters and poor digestion. However, being aware of the tell-tale signs of stress in your personal “storage area” can be the first step to releasing that tension and dealing with the causes of stress.

Related:  Lose Stress to Gain Joy

How to Counter the Effects of Stress

Wherever you find yourself – at your desk, in the kitchen, driving the kids to school or lying awake at night – you can begin to de-stress by deep breathing. Become conscious of each breath and make each one slower and deeper than the last. This simple exercise is often enough to alleviate the pressure before the causes of stress take hold and find their way to your stress storage point.

Research into the brain shows that social engagement is an effective tool in the fight against the effects of stress. Making eye contact with a smiling face, talking to a friend and feeling understood, or even listening to someone else’s joys and sorrows can halt the natural “fight-or-flight” reactions to stress. As you respond to the causes of stress with social engagement you will begin to calm down, think more rationally and your heartbeat and blood pressure will return to normal.

Defusing stress also allows your digestive system to return to normal, and will stop the brain flooding the body with cortisol and other “emergency” hormones.

In the long-term, allowing the causes of stress to “get under your skin” can cause immeasurable harm to your heart, digestive and immune systems. By learning to let go of the harmful effects of stress you can lower hypertension, slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.

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Top Ways to Flush Out Toxins – The Benefits of Detox

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Every day the human body is exposed to trace amounts of over 80,000 industrial chemicals, toxins and pollutants, according to Brenda Watson, nutritionist and author of The Detox Strategy. We need to embrace the benefits of detox to help counter this daily assault on our system.  These insidious poisons include lead pollutants in the air, heavy metals in seafood, pollutants in the water supply, smoke in public areas; and a host of chemicals in household cleaners, perfumes, plastics and insecticides. It’s essential to give your body a chance to expel these dangerous toxins and recover with a concentrated detox program.

Drink more water and natural juices for top detox benefits

Here are 5 steps to help you reap the benefits of detox:

1.     Boost fiber intake

The colon can become clogged and sluggish on a modern diet of junk food, sugar and processed meals. An overload of fiber acts as a garbage truck, removing toxic waste and thoroughly cleansing the digestive tract. Try to eat 30-40 grams of fiber daily, starting with a high fiber breakfast to kick start your detox benefits.

2.     Drink More Juice

Cranberry or orange juice? The best answer is BOTH! These juices are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that fight free radicals and oxidative stress. Cranberry juice enables the liver to break down fat and acts as a diuretic, a key part of any successful detox program.

Related:  Five Reasons to Add Cranberries to Your Daily Diet

3.     Purified Water

Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water throughout the day, and use either filtered or distilled water to avoid the bacteria and chemicals found in bottled, spring and mains water. Water stimulates the kidneys to detoxify and helps reduce constipation from the increased fiber.

4.     Exercise Daily

Exercise stimulates the lymphatic system which is important for a strong immune system. Working up a sweat also eliminates toxins through the skin. Daily walks, jogging, swimming and other activities will be rewarded with many detox benefits as you feel an increased level of fitness and more energized.

5.     Exfoliate

Detox benefits can be stimulated from the outside as well as from within. Treat yourself to a full body rub with a sea salt scrub which increases perspiration. The salt increases detoxification and the scrubbing action helps to eliminate dead skin cells, opening the pores to allow more effective detox benefits.

An effective detox program will cleanse the whole body from top to toe, including the kidneys, liver and colon. You know it has done you good as you will feel lighter, healthier and far more energetic. Losing weight is another detox benefit, so keep up the healthy diet and exercise to shed those excess pounds. 

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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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How Free Radical Damage Affects Your Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

We hear a lot about free radicals and their harmful effect on our health and aging. It’s important to understand free radical dangers so that you can take steps to counter their effect. Here’s a simple explanation of how free radical dangers can be reduced to slow the aging process and reduce the risk of cancer.

Avoid free radical dangers and slow the aging process

Understanding Free Radical Dangers

The dangers of free radicals were uncovered by Dr. Denham Harman in the 1950s. He discovered that when cells produce energy for the body to function, the byproducts are harmful free radicals. Studies show that these free radicals damage cellular DNA, which is the main cause of aging in the body. It’s a bit like a car engine burning fuel for propulsion, but the waste produced is toxic carbon monoxide.

What is Oxidative Stress?

Free radicals contain unpaired electrons which try to pair up with other electrons to balance themselves. They “steal” electrons from other molecules and this creates damage to our cellular DNA. This process is called oxidative stress.

Related:  Astaxanthin May Prevent Heart Disease Caused by Inflammation and Free Radicals

How Free Radical Dangers Affect Aging

The reason why free radical dangers cause premature aging is because DNA controls cell division and the formation of new cells. If DNA is damaged by oxidative stress, it negatively affects new cell production. This leads to signs of aging in the skin and may also cause cancer, which is caused by abnormal cell division. Other free radical dangers include damage to the skin and organs due to collagen cross-linking, impaired cognitive function, weakened immune system and cardiovascular damage.

How to Counter Free Radical Dangers

We can’t stop the production of free radicals as it is a natural part of living, breathing, eating and exercise. However, there are some ways we can reduce oxidative stress. Smoking produces free radicals and is a cause of premature wrinkles and aging. Excessive exposure to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight, stress and over-consumption of alcohol can all increase oxidative stress and should be avoided whenever possible.

Heating vegetable oils is known to release toxic free radicals, so switch to butter or coconut oil when possible. You can still enjoy olive oil in salad dressings and unheated foods.

The most important way to combat free radical dangers is by consuming plenty of foods high in antioxidants such as fruit, vegetables and green tea. As their name suggests, antioxidants counter oxidative stress by pairing up with floating free radicals. This neutralizes them, preventing damage to our cells and DNA. This in turn slows the aging process, leading to a longer and healthier life.

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Are Statins Killing You? The Top 6 Dangers of Statins

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Are you part of the one in four Americans over the age of 45 who take statins? Statin drugs are prescribed to help lower cholesterol, but the dangers of statins and the truth about its efficacy are now being questioned. One of the hurdles in reversing the policy on statins is the fact that Big Pharma makes huge profits from the sales of statin drugs, with a reported turnover of $29 billion in 2013.

Studies are showing there may be hidden dangers to statins

The Dangers of Statins

Several surveys have reported results that show statins may be doing more harm than good when it comes to our health. Their results show:

  • Statins interfere with the natural production of Coenzyme Q10, which helps maintain blood pressure, supports the cardiovascular system and is essential for the immune and nervous systems
  • Studies have found a link between statin use and memory loss, possibly because cholesterol is essential to brain function. Some patients find they are unable to remember words while others develop serious neurological problems such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Statins appear to weaken the immune system, so users are more prone to bacterial infections
  • Statin drugs promote inflammation due to the increased production of cytokines
  • Statin users are at higher risk of Parkinson’s and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), according to Dr. David Williams
  • In animals studies, statins caused 226% more muscle damage in animals when they exercised, compared to animals that were not on statins

And the list goes on and on. It’s a cause for reflection for those who take statins and are so far unaware of the dangers of statins.

Related:  Knock Down Bad Cholesterol with these Four Foods

When to Stop Taking Statins

Although studies have shown that statins help reduce cholesterol, which is thought to lower the risk of heart disease, it may not apply to those over the age of 50. A Japanese study found that high cholesterol is not necessarily associated to coronary heart disease in those over the age of 50. This study suggests that older people would actually be healthier if they stopped taking statins at middle age.

Harlan Krumholz at the Cardiovascular Medicine Department at Yale discovered that elderly people with low cholesterol were twice as likely to die from heart attack as those with high cholesterol, which contradicts popular beliefs about the need for statins into old age.

In addition to this, the University of Minnesota Epidemiology Department studied 68,000 deaths and found that low cholesterol was associated with an increased risk of dying from gastrointestinal or respiratory disease. This ties in with the above findings about the dangers of statins weakening the immune system.

While the debate continues about the dangers of statins, one message remains clear. By eating a healthy balanced diet based on meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, such as the Paleo diet recommended by Dr. Mercola, your body may balance its own levels of cholesterol, leading to a longer life, safely and naturally.

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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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Mindfulness: The Key to Love and Relationships

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What does it take to be happy; and does mindfulness play a role? Traditional mindfulness involves paying close attention to one’s body and whatever happens at any given moment. The end goal of a mindful approach is to be aware of one’s thoughts and feelings, as well as one’s surroundings in an ongoing fashion.

The art of cultivating mindfulness, and what it can do for you.

Scientific research has concluded that mindfulness can help people reduce stress and even address a range of mental health disorders. Studies have also shown that mindfulness meditation can also change the structure of the brain causing changes in various regions including the anterior cingulate cortex.

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are well documented. Meditation has been shown to increase overall brain function, boost the immune system and more. In particular, mindfulness and meditation has been shown to improve one’s mental health and help people achieve a more positive outlook on life. Such emotional chances can help people become more caring and more loving and, in turn, help them bring love into their own lives.

Most of us give a great deal of thought to what it takes to have a career, or get into the right school or even to finding the right mate. But what about happiness? What role does mindfulness play in finding love and building strong relationships?

Compelling Research from a 75 Year Harvard Study

Finding love is important and science is backing up this assertion. A study conducted by Harvard researchers called the Harvard Grant Study followed 268 male Harvard undergraduate men for over 75 years. This interesting study concluded that finding love really did make a difference in the lives of the men.

A key conclusion of the study was that men were only truly happy if they found love and enjoyed strong relationships. This can lead us to a very straightforward but powerful conclusion. The time you invest in becoming a calmer and more aware version of yourself is an investment in your ultimate happiness.

Related: Can Love Be The Cure For Cancer?

Improving Your Relationship with You

The bottom line is that those looking for love will first want to make sure that they love themselves. Self-loathing, self-abuse or hostility towards the world doesn’t mix well with bringing love into one’s life. Mindfulness and meditation can help you get in touch with your life and what you want, and that can help you create a personal climate that is right for love. In other words, you can’t find love if you are angry all the time, or if you simply can’t stand yourself.

Mindfulness is about being aware of the world you live in. By approaching the world in a mindful fashion, you are able to pay more attention to what is important. For those looking for love, nothing could be more significant. Most of us live very distracted lives, and that means failing to notice opportunities for love even when they could be right in front of our eyes. Being present in the moment and aware of what is happening around you is one of the best ways to discover love.

Embracing the Future

Looking to the future is important, but so is being aware of what is happening in the “here and now.” Instead of always thinking about the future, spend more time living and being in the moment. If you combine this approach with becoming a calmer and more grounded person, then your chances of finding love will soar!

 

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Ten Home Remedies for Tackling Periodontal Disease

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Periodontal disease is much more serious than many people suspect. Periodontal issues can be either destructive or non-destructive. When plaque forms around teeth, the end result can be inflammation of tissue. In some cases, tissue can be lost, and this weakens the supporting structure for teeth.

The end result of periodontal disease can be a loss of teeth, which, in turn, has a range of its own medical and health issues. Medical studies have conclusively shown that poor oral health can lead to not just dental issues, but also a range of health issues ranging from a weakened immune system and increase in the chances of developing diseases to heart problems.

Gum disease does not have to lead to the loss of teeth. By following these 10 tips you can keep your teeth and gums much healthier!

#1:  Co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 is extremely important not just for gum health but for overall health. Like other ingredients, such as baking soda, co-enzyme Q10 has made its way into toothpaste for its ability to help fight gum disease and assist in keeping periodontal disease at bay. Co-enzyme Q10 is available in toothpaste and pill forms.

#2:  Honey and Manuka Honey

Honey has amazing all-natural healing properties. One type of honey in particular, manuka honey, is particularly effective at treating wounds of all kinds including gum inflammation. Manuka honey has been well researched and is being used to treat everything from chronic wounds to burns.

Cure periodontal disease with honey and other natural remedies.

#3:  Lemons

Lemons are a power anti-inflammatory and are packed with vitamin C. Try adding lemons to your tea for a one-two punch.

#4:  Baking Soda

It is no accident that baking soda has made its way into toothpaste. Baking soda helps neutralize acid in your mouth and can also help remove stains.

#5:  Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil can be found in both toothpastes and dental floss and is very effective in killing bacteria. However, it is important to remember that tea tree oil is extremely powerful, so remember to only use a limited amount.

Related:  Tea Tree Oil for Acne:  A Natural Remedy With Proven Results

#6:  Dental Probiotics

The research is mounting that probiotics are a powerful contributor to overall good health. Dental probiotics containing lactobacillus reuteri are one way to improve your oral health via probiotics. Also, consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.

#7:  Consume Fermented Foods

Fermented foods have been shown to improve overall health and boost oral health. Fermented foods can contain lactobacillus reuteri as well as many other immune system boosting probiotics. If you want to fight periodontal disease, then consider boosting your fermented foods. Many researchers also believe that fermented foods can help reduce the chances of developing many different types of diseases.

#8:  Xylitol

Xylitol is one of the best kept secrets in oral health care. Since it works to actually stop the growth of the very bacteria responsible for cavities, xylitol has earned a special place in dental research. Xylitol mouthwashes, toothpastes, mints and even gum are widely available. Not only does xylitol help protect teeth, but it also creates a positive environment for gums and the entire mouth.

#9:  Floss Every Day

Flossing is one of the easiest ways to protect your oral health. In fact, flossing regularly may even protect your heart!

#10:  Brush Regularly and Change Your Toothbrush Often

The foundation of protecting your teeth and gums is to brush often. Also don’t forget to change your toothbrush every three mouths to help you keep periodontal disease at bay!

Follow these ten tips and you will enjoy greater overall oral health. You don’t have to live with gum disease or let gum disease develop. These simple tips can dramatically boost your chances of keeping your gums and teeth healthy and looking great.

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Researchers Reveal Melanoma Is More Deadly For Pregnant Women

by IVL Products

Melanoma is a cancer that affects certain types of skin cells.  While many experts target outdoor enthusiasts when it comes to taking precautions against this type of cancer, a recent study shows vulnerability in a new group:  pregnant women. The study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology revealed some shocking results when it came to pregnant women and skin cancer, specifically melanoma.

Pregnant or recently pregnant women experience higher rates for death from melanoma than women who are not pregnant.

Researchers studied 462 women with melanoma who were 49 years of age or younger.  Within the larger group were 41 women who had been diagnosed with the skin cancer while pregnant or within one year of giving birth.  

Researchers found that women diagnosed with melanoma while pregnant or recently pregnant were five times more likely to die from it than women with melanoma who were not pregnant.  Melanoma diagnosed in pregnant or recently pregnant woman was nearly seven times more likely to metastasize (spread to other parts of the body), and women in this group were nearly ten times more likely to experience a recurrence of the cancer within 7 ½ years.

Related:  Five Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

The study's results do not indicate that pregnant or recently pregnant women are more likely to develop melanoma, yet they do show melanoma is more aggressive in this group of women.  While they have not determined a cause for the increased virulence, the researchers do venture a few possibilities.  It may be related to a diminished immune system that helps prevent rejection of the fetus or it could be caused by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy like a rise in estrogen levels.

Conclusion

Research shows that when it comes to skin cancer, women from 20 to 40 years of age are experiencing rising rates.  Females in this age group who have a history of heavy sun exposure, family members with skin cancer, or a large number of moles should examine their skin on a regular basis and contact a dermatologist with any concerns.  Women with high risks for skin cancer may also want to consult with a dermatologist before planning a family.

In addition to regular self-examination, most experts recommend the following tips for preventing melanoma and other types of skin cancer:

  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, specifically 10 am to 4 pm
  • Avoid tanning lamps or beds
  • Apply a broad-spectrum, natural sunscreen if expecting to be in the sun longer than 15 minutes
  • Wear protecting clothing
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What You Should Know About Excess Sugar and Yeast Infections

by IVL Products

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

The connection between excess sugar and yeast infections.

Yeast Infection Causes

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

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

Related:  Fibromyalgia: Ten Possible Underlying Causes

Diet and Yeast Infections

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

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

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

Probiotics Can Help

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

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

Avoid Acidic Foods

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

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

Once Is Enough

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

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How Fish Oil Increases Joint Mobility

by IVL Products

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

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

What Is Omega-3?

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oils for Joints

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

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

Fish Oil Supplements

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

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

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Seven Lifestyle-Based Ways to Improve Your Memory

by Cindy Gray

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

Puzzles are one of the best ways to improve memory

Tip #1:  Great Sleep

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

Tip #2:  Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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

Related:  Five Tips to Avoiding Memory Loss

Tip #3:  Invest in a Healthy Diet

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

Tip #4: Exercise

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

Tip #5: Skip the Multitasking

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

Tip #6:  Brain Games

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

Tip #7:  Mnemonic Devices

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

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

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Five Reasons You Can’t Concentrate

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

What can you do about an inability to focus?

#1:  Sleep

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

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

#2:  A Poor Diet

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

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

Related:  Link Between Poor Quality Sleep and Inflammation

#3:  Needless Distractions

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

#4:  You’re Over-committed

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

#5:  You Need Practice

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

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

 

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Six Benefits of Bubble Baths

by Cindy Gray

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

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

1.     Bubble Bath Benefits for Relaxation

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

2.     Aromatherapy in the Bath Tub

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

3.     Deep Muscle Relaxation

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

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

4.     Bubble Bath Benefits Include Detoxing

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

5.     Hot Baths Boost Immunity

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

6.     Bubble Baths for Healthy Skin

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

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

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May be Vitamin E Deficient

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

Age spots may be a symptom of Vitamin E deficiency

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

Vitamin E Deficiency and Age Spots

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

Cataracts

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

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

Lack of Sex Drive

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

Gastrointestinal Issues

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

Dry or Thinning Hair

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

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

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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.

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