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Three Strikes for Hair Loss

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Although female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is much less common than male pattern baldness, it can be extremely distressing and socially inhibiting for anyone who suffers from it. We look at some healthy living tips to counter the cause of hair loss in women.

Healthy habits can help counter hair loss

The main cause of FPHL is acute telogen effluvium which is commonly caused by medication, metabolic or hormonal stress.  A study on 210 women suffering from alopecia and hair loss found that they typically had three medical conditions in common which were easily treatable:

  • Low vitamin D levels
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Some hair loss is normal, but female pattern hair loss is often increased at menopause. The risk is higher is older women and those with a genetic history of hair loss.

Boosting vitamin D

Healthy living tips such as taking daily supplements including vitamin D are a sensible way to start to treat hair loss, particularly in those with a family history of androgenetic alopecia. Vitamin D can also be produced naturally in the body with regular exposure of the skin to sunshine for around 15 minutes per day. Another way to boost vitamin D levels is by eating more oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna. Dairy products, egg yolks, liver and fortified cereals are another easy way to boost vitamin D as part of your new healthy habits to reduce hair loss.

Related:  Vitamins:  Natural Health Benefits of Vitamin D

 

Treating Hypothyroidism

Studies published in 2008 by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that hair follicles are directly affected by thyroid hormones, particularly T4 and T3. If you are shedding hair and are worried about FPHL, you should get your thyroid tested by your doctor to check for an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Eating healthily can help support a healthy thyroid but severe hypothyroidism can only be countered with medication.

Controlling Hypertension

Both vitamin D deficiency and poor thyroid function can put stress in the body, causing high blood pressure. However, other causes of hypertension include obesity, lack of aerobic exercise and eating a diet high in unsaturated fats. Adopting healthy habits such as losing excess weight, eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising daily can all help lower blood pressure and counter your hair loss problem.

Healthy living tips such as optimizing vitamin D levels, having your thyroid checked with a blood test and lowering blood pressure can all help counter alopecia and FPHL. You’ll soon feel the benefits of a healthier in-balance lifestyle and over time your hair loss will gradually be reduced.   

 

 

 

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Decreased Vitamin D Means Increased Pain

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, a painful and debilitating condition that affects 13.9% of adults over the age of 25 and 33.6% of those over 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Studies of osteoarthritis patients showed a positive correlation between low levels of vitamin D3 and pain.  Those with higher serum levels of IL-17A and IL-23 had lower D3 and increased osteoarthritis pain.

Healthy living tips include plenty of sunshine for generating vitamin D.

Vitamin D3 Deficiency and Pain

Further studies support the relationship between low levels of vitamin D3 and increased pain. A study published by the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Journal found that breast cancer patients who took aromatase inhibitors significantly lacked vitamin D3. The patients reported severe bone and muscle pain, fractured bones and had difficulty standing and walking. However, when treated with a supplement of high levels of D3 (50,000 IU per week) their muscle and joint pain was significantly reduced.

A group of Korean researchers found that injecting vitamin D3 into fibromyalgia patients every four weeks reduced pain and decreased the symptoms of fatigue and tiredness.

Perhaps most relevant is a four-year study on 418 volunteers with osteoarthritis of the knee. They found that those with low levels of vitamin D were more than twice as likely to find their osteoarthritis worsening over the period of the study compared to those with higher vitamin D levels. The study recommended that increased dietary supplements of D3were beneficial to counter the pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Related:  How to the Improve Immune System Naturally

Healthy Habits Regarding Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency causes many easily preventable health issues including rickets, soft bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness. Following healthy living tips to avoid vitamin D deficiency includes consuming fish and fish oil, liver, egg yolks and fortified milk in your diet, although this can be a problem for those following a strictly vegan diet.

The body is also able to make vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight for as little as 15 minutes a day. This can be difficult for those living in northern states and work indoors during daylight hours in winter. Those with dark skin also are at risk of vitamin D deficiency as the pigment reduces the effectiveness of the skin to absorb the sun’s rays.

People who are obese, with a body mass index of 30 or higher may also have low levels of vitamin D as fat cells absorb the vitamin, leaving less for the body to use to support healthy bones and muscle.

Why not adopt healthy habits by including vitamin D3 supplements in your daily diet and including daily exercise in the outdoors for some healthy sun exposure? These natural healthy living tips can only do you good, particularly if you suffer from osteoarthritis pain.

 

 

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Top Supplements to Erase Problems of Aging Skin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

One of the common aging skin problems is light or dark brown spots called age spots. They are show up on the face, chest, shoulders and hands in both men and women; and they can affect younger people, too.  They are also called liver spots and are a result of dietary deficiencies and years of exposure to the harsh rays of the sun.

Topical creams and cover-ups will temporarily disguise the unsightly spots but in order to get rid of them, or at the very least lighten them so they are less noticeable, you will need to treat them from the inside out.

Supplements and lifestyle changes can help prevent age spots and aging skin.

Supplements

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a power antioxidant that will help damaged skin cells repair themselves and prevent new ones from popping up.  Antioxidants help your body combat cell damaging free radicals by neutralizing them. It also aids in circulation by extending the life cycle of red blood cells, important for transporting oxygen to cells for energy and keeping toxins from building up in the body. Research suggests vitamin E may also help slow down the aging process by protecting cellular membranes.

The recommended dosage for adults is 200 IU of vitamin E in d-alpha tocopherol form daily for maximum benefit.

Related:  Vitamin E Deficiency & Diseases of the Digestive System

Vitamin C

Everyone should get plenty of vitamin C in their diet, even if they don’t have age spots.  Found in abundance in citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits), spinach and kale, it is a critical nutrient that supports good health and can help get rid of common aging skin problems like age spots, but also fine lines and wrinkles. 

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant to rid your body of damaging free radicals. It also helps to combat the formation of new brown spots by offering protection against UVA and UVB rays. It’s like an internal broad-spectrum sunscreen. 

Results are not immediate, meaning, you will need to take the vitamin C and be patient for up to a year for the dark spots to fade. In the meantime slather lots of sunscreen on your face, hands and where ever else spots have formed.

The recommended daily dosage of vitamin C supplements for adults is 2,000 milligrams per day.

Beta-carotene

Beta-carotene is responsible for the bright vibrant color in many healthy foods like carrots, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe and winter squash.

When consumed, the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol), which is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, cell mucous membranes and skin.  It is also an antioxidant to help damaged cells regenerate.

Prevention

Of course, the most effective way to treat age spots is to not let them form at all. You can help yourself avoid this common aging skin problem by adopting a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, adding these supplements to your diet and applying sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher to your exposed skin every day, year round.

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Why Vitamin D is Important for Healthy Aging

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Originally introduced to the world as a fat-soluble vitamin and later as a steroid hormone, vitamin D offers myriad health benefits to the body.  Because it plays a role in over 1,000 physiological processes, it is easy to understand why vitamin D is so important as people get older.  According to results from a variety of scientific studies, this potent vitamin/hormone helps encourage healthy aging in many ways.

:  People can get vitamin D benefits through foods like milk, eggs and fish.

A British study conducted in 2007 showed that vitamin D may help slow the aging process and protect the body from age-related disease.  Researchers followed more than 2,000 women with ages ranging from 18 to 79 and examined their white blood cells.  Measuring the length of telomeres (the capped ends of DNA strands) is a reliable way to determine if a person is aging.  As people get older, telomeres become shorter and DNA becomes more unstable. 

According to their vitamin D levels, the female subjects were assigned to three groups.  Results showed that women with the highest vitamin D levels had longer telomeres than women with the lowest levels.  Researchers concluded that by keeping telomeres longer, vitamin D may slow the aging process, and this may explain the protective effect vitamin D appears to provide from conditions like heart disease and cancer.

Related:  Absorption is Key When it Comes to Calcium Supplements

Another important Dutch study examining people 55 years of age and older found that low vitamin D levels were linked with an inability to perform daily tasks.  Subjects were divided into two age groups and tested for activities like walking stairs, dressing and undressing, standing from a seated position, and self-care.  While results showed a link between lower vitamin D levels and reduced ability to perform the activities, more research is needed to determine if low vitamin D levels actually cause disability in performance.

Additional Vitamin D Benefits

Most people know that vitamin D plays a role in the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, but it offers many more benefits to the health.  Vitamin D boosts immunity and helps prevent colds, flus and other types of infection.  Mounting evidence suggests that vitamin D may also offer a preventative effect against Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, lymphatic system, ovaries and prostate. 

With all of the health benefits mentioned, it makes sense to get vitamin D on a daily basis, especially for people over 50.  The best source of vitamin D is the sun, and spending 10 minutes in sunshine before applying sunscreen usually provides a sufficient daily amount.  People can also find vitamin D in foods like fish, eggs, dairy and nut milk, cod liver oil, and fortified cereals and juices.  Vitamin D supplements work well during periods of colder weather, and health professionals recommend from 400 to 1,100 mg per day depending on age.

 

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The Three P’s of Powerful Superfoods

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to a wholesome diet, certain foods offer more health benefits than others. Dubbed "superfoods" by marketers and health enthusiasts, many contain compounds that reduce risks for certain types of disease, prevent inflammation, improve digestion, increase energy, or all of the above.  People looking for superfoods combining sweet flavor with powerful nutrition should add three fruits that start with the letter "P" to the grocery cart.

The Three P’s of Powerful Superfoods

1. Pineapple

Sweet, juicy pineapple is a fruit containing many health benefits.  It is a rich source of the enzyme bromelain, a multi-tasking compound that acts as a digestive aid by helping to break down proteins.  Bromelain's blood and mucus thinning properties encourage a healthier circulatory system and help relieve asthma symptoms.  Research shows that bromelain also helps with indigestion, and reduces inflammation, so it is often recommended to arthritis sufferers and to people who have just had surgery.  Pineapple also contains rich sources of fiber, vitamins B1 and C, beta-carotene and the minerals copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

RelatedEase Chronic Constipation with Two Tropical Fruits

2. Papaya

Named the "fruit of the angels" by Christopher Columbus, papaya offers a number of powerful health benefits.  It contains an enzyme called papain which also helps in the digestion of protein and helps prevent or reduce inflammation.  Papaya is also a rich source of nutrients with antioxidant properties like vitamins A and C, B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid.

The Three P’s of Powerful Superfoods

The leaves of the papaya plant have shown remarkable effects against cancerous tumors in the laboratory including those of the breast, cervix, liver, lung and pancreas. Dr. Nam Dang from the University of Florida and his research team treated 10 different types of cancer cell cultures with varying strengths of papaya leaf extract, and within 24 hours, tumor growth slowed in all cultures.

3. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a rich source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C as well as calcium and phosphorus. They also contain unique polyphenols and fatty acids that offer amazing health benefits. 

Many people label certain fruits "superfoods" due to an abundance of beneficial nutrients.

Research from the University of California found that consumption of pomegranate juice might help prevent metastasis (or spread of cancer cells to other areas of the body).  Pomegranate juice also appears to block the development of aromatase, an estrogen-producing enzyme that encourages the spread of breast cancer.

People looking for superfoods can't go wrong when they turn to the letter "P."  Pineapple, pomegranates and papaya offer an abundance of powerful nutrients and disease fighting properties.  They are delicious when eaten individually, included in a smoothie, or mixed together in a tropical fruit salad. 

 

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Which Herbs Can Help with Kidney Health?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Do you need a kidney flush? If you are suffering from a lack of appetite, nausea, dry skin, poor concentration, lack of sleep or puffy eyes you may be in need of some kidney health benefits.

Five natural herbs deliver a host of kidney health benefits

The kidneys are fist-sized bean-shaped organs that regulate blood pressure, synthesize vitamin D, produce hormones and remove waste and toxins from the body. As we age, kidney function starts to diminish, so why not give them a boost with these five kidney-cleansing herbs?

  1. Uva Ursi

This evergreen shrub, also known as bearberry, is native to Europe and grows as far north as the Arctic. The leaves are harvested with the berries to produce a supplement that has exceptional kidney health benefits. Uva Ursi is a natural urinary antiseptic which has been used in herbal medicines for almost 2,000 years. It has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and is excellent for promoting kidney health. However, it should not be taken by pregnant women for more than seven days and should not be used to treat existing kidney infections.

Related:  Ten Ways to Naturally Protect Your Kidneys Against Stones. Malfunction and Failure

  1. Rehmannia

Known for its diuretic properties, Rehmannia is widely used in Chinese medicine for supporting kidney and adrenal health. It contains phytosterols, antioxidants and glycosides which make it powerful as a kidney tonic or liver detox.

  1. Java Tea

Also known as kidney tea, the leaves of this plant have excellent properties for the medicinal treatment of kidney stones, renal function and kidney infections. It contains flavones, glycoside and large amounts of potassium and is officially listed as a remedy for kidney ailments in official French, Indonesian, Dutch and Swiss pharmacopoeias.

  1. Couch Grass

Couch grass may be the scourge of gardeners across the globe, but this invasive weed has excellent antibacterial and diuretic properties. It relieves and helps dissolve painful kidney stones and lowers inflammation. Couch grass has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for cystitis and urethritis, delivering many kidney health benefits.

  1. Golden Rod

Used by Native American Indians to promote urinary tract health, research into this common herb found that it helps tone the urinary tract and is useful for cleansing the kidneys. Golden rod kills the drug-resistant bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTI) even more effectively than antibiotics. It is particularly useful for preventing further infection in those who suffer from recurring UTIs and kidney infection. 

Don’t wait until you have contracted a painful kidney infection; start to reap kidney health benefits by using these natural herbs regularly as a kidney tonic for preventative health.

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Nine Ways to Promote Brain Health and Avoid Brain Cancer

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many cancers including brain cancer and brain tumors are preventable, according to Thomas A. Sellars, Associate Director at Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center. He states that 70% of known cancer causes can be avoided simply by giving up smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. If you’re concerned about brain cancer prevention, here are nine ways to help reduce brain tumor risk factors.

Keep your brain fit and healthy with these tips for brain cancer prevention

 

1.  Avoid environmental agents

Chemicals and environmental agents such as vinyl chloride are known risk factors for brain tumors, according to the American Cancer Association. Avoid storing and heating food in plastics and cling film which may release DEHA, a cancer-causing chemical, according to Cancer Research UK. Glass and ceramics are safer food storage options.

2.  Limit X-rays

Radiation exposure to the head is a leading cause of cancer in children, so limit those dental x-rays whenever possible. Radiation treatment for other cancers can also cause brain tumors, so all-round cancer prevention is essential.

3.  Boost antioxidants

Fruit and green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are all high in vitamins and antioxidants. These counter harmful free radicals that are known to cause changes in cell structure. A healthy diet high in fruit and veggies has been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers and may help prevent brain tumors.

Related:  Effects of Overeating on Brain Health

4.  Annual health checks

Annual checkups allow doctors to spot abnormalities at the earliest stage - an important tool for lowering brain tumor risk factors.

5.  Reduce alcohol intake

Although excessive alcohol is not directly related to brain cancer, it can cause liver disease which can spread to the brain.

6.  Use hands-free cell phones

Although to date there is no proven relationship between cell phone use and brain cancer, it is better to be safe than sorry. Using a hands-free system distances the radio waves from your head and may possibly prevent brain tumors.

7.  Filter your water

A study by the Environmental Working Group showed that filtered mains water is far safer and purer than bottled water. By drinking filtered water from the faucet you avoid BPA contaminants from plastic bottles. Filtering water reduces your exposure to suspected carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals. It a sensible means of brain cancer prevention.

8.  More caffeine

Although caffeine is frequently slated as being unhealthy, studies show that those who drink five or more cups of coffee a day have a 40% lower risk of brain cancer than those who drink less coffee.  However, if caffeine prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep, it may be more logical to avoid caffeine.  Also many women avoid caffeine due to a tendency toward fibro-cysts in the breast.  Use your best judgment when it comes to caffeine intake. 

9.  Increase selenium

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant found in Brazil nuts.  Studies at Dartmouth Medical School show that selenium protects cells from free radical damage and suppresses the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors, including brain tumors.

You have nothing to lose by adopting these simple practices which can considerably lower brain tumor risk factors and hopefully prevent brain cancer.

 

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An Apple a Day

by Health News

Who among us hasn’t heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Seems like good advice. After all, whole foods are good for you. Fruit is good for you.  But it seems there’s more to that old saying than we’ve previously considered. 

Research is showing that eating an apple a day may very well keep the doctor away.  Read on to find out how and why!

Apples themselves are rich in vitamin C and certain B vitamins, as well as quercetin, which have been positively linked to reducing allergies, improving heart health, and even providing stress reduction by lowering cortisol levels. French researchers found that a flavanoid called phloridzin that is found only in apples may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis and may also increase bone density. Boron, another ingredient in apples, also strengthens bones.

The list of apple-related health benefits is long, and continues to grow! 

Here are just a few: 

  • Bone Protection (phloridzin)
  • Asthma Help
  • Alzheimer’s Prevention  (quercetin)
  • Lower Cholesterol  (pectin LDL (“bad”) cholesterol)
  • Lung Cancer Prevention (due to high levels of quercetin and naringin)
  • Breast, Colon and Liver Cancer Prevention
  • Diabetes Management (pectin supplies galacturonic acid which lowers the body’s need for insulin and may help in the management of diabetes)
  • Weight Loss

Related:  Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Recently, researchers have shown that among the apple eaters, 39 percent were able to “keep the doctor away,” meaning they had fewer doctor visits than non-apple eaters. Plus, apple eaters took noticeably fewer prescription medications than non-apple eaters.

The net takeaway?  Get your apple a day, every day!

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What Is the Difference Between Sucrose, Glucose, and Fructose?

by Health News

With a trend toward better health and fitness in the United States, many Americans have concerns about sugar consumption.  Sugar is the universal name for short-chain, soluble carbohydrates with a sweet flavor. While most think of sugar as the stuff used to sweeten coffee or cereal, there are actually three key types of sugarsucrose, glucose, and fructose.  Learning about the different kinds of sugar and the way they affect the body can help people make healthier dietary choices.

Three key types of sugar include sucrose, glucose, and fructose.

Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides, sugars that cannot be broken down into simpler sugars. Glucose is the type of sugar the body uses for fuel and is the kind measured when doctors determine blood sugar levels.  It is found naturally in honey, in fruits like grapes, apples, and oranges, and it is an ingredient in corn syrup. 

Fructose is also an ingredient in honey as well as molasses, agave nectar, and high-fructose corn syrup.  Types of fruit that contain fructose include apples, pears, and pomegranates. Glucose and fructose combine to make a disaccharide called sucrose, which is abundant in sugar cane, sugar beets, and other plants.  When sucrose is extracted from plants and refined, it makes table sugar.  

Although all of these carbohydrates provide roughly the same amount of energy per gram, the body processes fructose and glucose differently.  Fructose metabolizes in the liver, triggering the release of insulin and the production of ghrelin, which is known as the hunger hormone.   

When glucose is processed, it circulates through the body and triggers the production of leptin, a hormone that helps control appetite.  The body either uses glucose immediately for energy or stores it in the muscles or in the liver as glycogen for later use.

Related:  Are Artificial Sweeteners Dangerous to Your Health?

Fructose vs. Glucose

In a study from the University of California at Davis, researchers compared the effects of glucose and fructose consumption on 32 overweight or obese individuals.  Subjects drank a beverage sweetened with glucose or fructose that supplied 25 percent of their daily calories for 12 weeks.  Researchers found that both groups gained weight, however, the people who drank the beverage sweetened with fructose experienced a number of additional effects.  These included:  

  • Increased visceral fat (the hard-to-lose type of abdominal fat that surrounds inner organs)
  • Reduced sensitivity to insulin (one of the first signs of diabetes)
  • Increased production of fat in the liver
  • Higher LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol
  • Elevated triglyceride levels

Results showed that the people who drank the beverage sweetened with glucose experienced none of these effects. 

Most experts agree that whole fruit provides the best source of natural sugar, and it contains healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Refined sugars deliver added, empty calories, devoid of any nutritional value.  To help ensure optimal nutrition and a healthy body weight, people should limit their intake of processed sugars, either in crystalline form or as an ingredient in foods, syrups, and beverages. 

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The Six Best Brain Foods

by IVL Products

Is it possible that some foods are better for your brain than others? Are some foods truly “brain foods?” The simple answer is yes, but the topic of brain health and nutrition is much more complicated than simply selecting the right foods. 

Those looking to gain the mental edge will want to try brain foods such as Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and nuts and seeds packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

In order to have a truly healthy brain, it is also necessary to avoid foods such as trans fats and reduce process food intake as much as possible. Processed foods contain brain and DNA damaging compounds such as artificial colors, preservatives, pesticides, sugar, artificial sweeteners and more. Avoiding harmful foods is the foundation of good brain health and good overall health. Let’s take a look at six amazing brain foods!

#1:  Wild Alaskan Salmon

Generally, what is good for the heart is also viewed as being a healthy choice for the brain. One of the healthiest brain and heart healthy options out there comes in the form of wild Alaskan salmon. The reason is that wild Alaskan salmon is packed with brain health boosting omega-3 fatty acids. It is vitally important to remember that the brain consists of fat and it needs the right kinds of fat to be healthy.

When selecting salmon, only opt for wild salmon and preferably wild Alaskan salmon, as it is generally seen as being the healthiest option. You should completely avoid farmed raised salmon, as farm raised salmon typically contains elevated levels of harmful chemicals.

Related20 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

#2:  Sardines

Our second pick is also another fish. Sardines are true natural wonders. These small fish are low on the food chain and that means they bio-accumulate less heavy metals than larger fish such as salmon. Additionally, like salmon, sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines are also low in calories and high in minerals such as calcium. In short, sardines are a true standout and one of the world’s top brain foods.

#3: Purified Fish Oil

Yes, our third brain booster is another fish product. Fish oil can be very high in important brain boosting compounds such as DHA and EPA; however, you should only consume fish oil that has been purified. Un-purified cod liver oil for example can harbor high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. In short, un-purified fish oil should be avoided. Purified wild salmon oil and sardine and anchovy oil is an excellent pick.

#4:  Walnuts

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, don’t worry, as there are plenty of good brain boosting foods for you as well. At the very top of the list are walnuts. Walnuts are an excellent source of protein but that is only the beginning. Walnuts are also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

#5:  Nuts and Seeds

In addition to walnuts, all nuts and seeds have brain-boosting benefits. Nuts and seeds are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as compounds that boost overall brain health. Just remember that all most nuts and seeds, while packed with goodness are also packed with calories.

#6:  Blueberries

The fact that blueberries make the list often surprises many, but the simple blueberry is quite the winner. Blueberries work wonders for improving brain health and reducing oxidative stress. Studies have shown that blueberries are something of a superfood when it comes to protecting the brain. Don’t skip blueberries.

Besides, blueberries are super easy to add to any diet. A handful can quickly and easily be tossed into one’s morning cereal, oatmeal, shakes, smoothies and more.

Together these five brain boosters can help you guard your brain health and maybe even improve brain function. Our aging population is becoming increasingly concerned about neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s diseases. Luckily, nature has some great options for helping us protect brain health now and in the future.

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Why Eating Less and Exercising More is NOT the Answer

by Health News

Poor health, a junk food society, lack of a true understanding about healthy foods, along with (sometimes dangerous) fad diets can all create the effects of a poor diet. 

Whole foods, fruit and vegetables can counter the effects of a poor diet

According to Jessica Crandall, dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA), "People are sick of their old habits and being overweight, and they're looking for something new." People quickly jump on the next fad diet as the answer to their problems.

Unfortunately, the effects of a poor diet may not be what they planned. Some fad diets cause fatigue, bad breath or frequent urination. Severe diets can even slow down the body’s metabolism if you don’t eat enough calories and the body goes into “famine” mode. It’s important to understand calories and choose a diet that you can follow long-term to lose weight and maintain that weight loss.

Calorie Counting

Not all calories are equal. Although calories have the same amount of energy from wherever they are sourced, it is important to spread out your allotted daily calories to include bulky items high in vitamins, protein (to feel full for longer) and fiber (to avoid severe constipation).

Our body is a highly complex system with thousands of different processes that all require food energy. Different foods may be processed through different biochemical processes that may cause energy to be expended as heat. Other foods affect the brain and hormones that control the appetite and eating patterns.

Related:  Weight Loss Tips:  When a Calorie Isn't a Calorie

Protein Metabolism Burns Calories

When it comes to eating calories for energy, protein requires more energy to metabolize than carbohydrates or fat. Protein contains four calories per gram, but it burns some of those calories as heat, as it is broken down and used in the body. Studies show that high protein diets boost metabolism, burning an extra 80-100 calories per day compared to other diets, making protein calories a dieter’s best friend.

Another difference in calories is seen between fructose (sourced from added sugars) and glucose. They both have the same chemical formula, but glucose can be converted into energy by all the body’s tissues making it readily available for use, while fructose is mainly metabolized by the liver. Fructose raises ghrelin hormone levels in the brain which increases feelings of hunger; while glucose stimulates feelings of being satiated after eating. In addition, fructose promotes abdominal fat gain, insulin resistance and increased blood sugar, all negative effects of a poor diet, while glucose does not promote abdominal fat gain. These sugars have the same calories but have a completely different effect on the body.

Calories and Exercise

Although any successful diet includes exercise, it is most effective in conjunction with reduced calorie intake. Trying to burn an extra 500 calories a day would be impossible for most people, and would be hard to maintain, but reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories per day is relatively simple.

By switching fatty, sweet, high-calories foods for fruits, vegetables and whole foods you can avoid the effects of a poor diet while losing weight healthfully and successfully.

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The Facts about Vitamin Deficiency Hair Loss

by Cindy Gray

Extra hair in the shower drain can cause some people undue stress and anxiety.  While there are a number of reasons for hair loss, sometimes vitamin deficiency is to blame.  Hair follicles need a steady supply of certain nutrients for optimal health, and a less-than-adequate diet can lead to excessive shedding.  Fortunately, vitamin deficiency hair loss is easily corrected with better nutrition and/or supplements.  

B vitamins, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin D are all important for correcting vitamin deficiency hair loss.

The Growth Process

Hair on the head sprouts from specialized follicles, forming strands of condensed cells.  Normal hair growth follows a cycle which includes an active phase, a transitional phase, a resting phase, and a new growth phase.  During the last phase, follicles push out the old hair, and it sheds.  A vitamin deficiency or other condition that disrupts any part of the growth cycle can cause more shedding than is normal. 

Vitamins Important to Hair Health

Due to busy lifestyles, many people eat on the run or skip meals.  Nutrient-poor fast food and not eating at all can add up, resulting in a vitamin deficiency.  Low levels of any of the following nutrients can affect hair health

B Vitamins

A number of B vitamins help guard against vitamin deficiency hair loss.  B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B7 (biotin), and B12 (cobalamin) all help promote stronger hair follicles.  In addition, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) makes hair more flexible and shiny, and B6 (pyridoxine) helps prevent dandruff.

Foods high in many B vitamins include dairy products, fortified whole grain cereals, leafy green vegetables, various meats, legumes, and nuts, but people can take a vitamin B-complex supplement to ensure adequate daily amounts of all of these nutrients and more.

Related:  The One Tactic that Can Stop Hair Thinning

Vitamin D

A study from Cairo University showed that women with Telogen effluvium (TE) and female pattern hair loss (FPHL) showed lower levels of vitamin D than women in a control group.  People can get most of the vitamin D they need through the sun, but inhabitants of northern regions or those who don't spend much time outdoors can benefit from foods rich in vitamin D and/or vitamin D supplements.  Wild-caught salmon, mushrooms, beef liver, and fortified grains are good sources of vitamin D.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Many people are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids, which help keep various parts of the body healthy, including the hair.  Good sources of these important fats include cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines; and plant sources like walnuts and flaxseed. 

Iron

In addition to vitamin D deficiency, the study from Cairo University also showed low levels of iron for women with TE and FPHL.  Because too much stored iron can also cause health problems, people should get this mineral from foods in lieu of supplements, unless otherwise specified by a medical professional.  Good food sources include clams, oysters, red meat, fortified cereals, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, and spinach. 

Excessive hair loss can be distressing, but sometimes it's only a side effect of nutrient deficiency.  People can correct vitamin deficiency hair loss by simply changing their diet.  Because excessive shedding is a symptom of several conditions, people dealing with this problem should consult with a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

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Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to nutrients that help ensure good health, people remember vitamins A through E, but many forget about vitamin K.  Named after the German word, "koagulation," vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin important to the process of blood clotting.  This essential nutrient also helps build strong bones and contributes to heart health.  Because certain bacteria in the intestines manufacture vitamin K, shortage is rare.  However, infants and people with absorption issues are susceptible to vitamin K deficiency.  Learn more about the different types of vitamin K and signs and symptoms of inadequate levels. 

Kale is just one of many foods that help prevent vitamin K deficiency.

Types of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is available in three types:

Also called phylloquinone, vitamin K1 is a nutrient found in plants, particularly green vegetables.  Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is the type made by bacteria in the intestines, and vitamin K3, or menadione, is a synthetic form of vitamin K.

Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency

Problems with coagulation are among the most common symptoms of vitamin K deficiency.  These include easy bruising, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, wounds that won't stop bleeding, blood in the urine, heavy menstruation, and vomiting blood.

Vitamin K Deficiency in Infants

Because they have very little intestinal bacteria, all infants are born with inadequate levels of vitamin K.  While a mother's breast milk contains the vitamin, amounts are too small to provide protection.  Research shows that a single vitamin K injection at birth helps prevent symptoms of deficiency until babies can make their own vitamin K. 

Problems with Vitamin K Absorption

Certain health problems can impair the body's ability to absorb vitamin K.  These include celiac disease, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, gallbladder disease, or liver disease.  Studies show that certain drugs like blood thinners and antibiotics can also affect levels of vitamin K in the body, as can heavy alcohol use.

Related:  Vitamins Essential for All Bodily Functions

Dietary Sources of Vitamin K

Foods that help prevent vitamin K deficiency include broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, dried basil, soybeans, olive oil, and dried prunes.  While freezing can destroy vitamin K in foods, heating does not.  Studies show that people whose bodies can’t absorb enough vitamin K can benefit from a multivitamin containing the nutrient, but in certain circumstances a vitamin K injection may be required.

Vitamin K is often called the "forgotten vitamin," yet it offers many health benefits to the body including the promotion of healthy coagulation, strong bones, and a vigorous heart.  With the exception of infants, regular consumption of foods containing vitamin K can help prevent deficiency for most people.  However, people with nutrient absorption problems or those on blood thinners should consult with a health care professional regarding vitamin K levels.

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Three Strange Signs You May Have a Vitamin Deficiency

by IVL Products

In a modern world, people are busier than ever, which can have an effect on daily nutrition.  An influx of fast or processed foods and high levels of stress make it easy to become deficient in certain key nutrients.  When levels of vitamins and minerals are low, the body reacts.  Common symptoms of deficiency include insomnia, fatigue, and irritability, but the body can also respond in more unusual ways.  Here are three strange signs that may indicate vitamin deficiency. 

People concerned about vitamin deficiency should visit a health care professional for blood tests.

1.  Muscle Cramps

People who experience muscle cramps in the legs, calves, feet, or toes may be deficient in magnesium, calcium, and/or potassium.  Adding some mineral rich foods to the shopping cart can help.  Load up on nuts and seeds like almonds, hazel nuts, and pumpkin seeds.  Try fruits like apples, bananas, cherries, and grapefruit and vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, kale, and spinach.

2.  Tingly Hands and Feet

Certain vitamins help ensure good nerve health like B6, B9 (folate), and B12.  When the hands and feet feel pins-and-needles tingly, a deficiency of these important B vitamins may be indicated.  Additional symptoms may include anxiety, depression, or fatigue.  For relief, stock up on asparagus, beets, clams, mussels, oysters, and poultry as well as pinto, black, kidney, or lima beans.

Related:  How to Improve Blood Circulation with Alternative Medicine

3.  Hair loss

Vitamin deficiency is responsible for hair loss in some people.  Those who are noticing more hair than usual in the shower drain may want to reevaluate their diet.  Low levels of iron or vitamin D may be to blame.  A study from Cairo University found that women suffering from telogen effluvium (TE) and female pattern hair loss (FPHL) showed low levels of these two nutrients, and the lower the levels, the more hair was lost. 

While the best way to get vitamin D is through the sun's rays, good food sources include wild-caught salmon and fortified milk and orange juice.  Foods high in iron include clams, eggs, liver, oysters, and spinach. People should always get their iron from foods first and consult with a medical professional before taking iron supplements.

The best way to avoid vitamin deficiency and resulting symptoms is to eat a well-balanced diet.  Taking a daily multivitamin helps fill in any nutritional gaps.  People concerned about deficiency of particular nutrients or absorption problems can speak to a medical professional for blood tests and proper treatment.

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Lack of Appetite: Four Typical Causes

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Eating delicious foods can be one of the greatest pleasures in life, and a healthy appetite is a sign of positive wellbeing.  People who develop a lack of appetite lose their desire to eat.  They either experience complete disinterest, or the idea of eating makes them feel nauseous.  While a number of factors may cause appetite loss, four in particular are worth noting.

People who develop a lack of appetite either experience complete disinterest, or the idea of eating makes them feel nauseous

1.  Chronic Disease

Lack of appetite is a common symptom of a number of chronic diseases.  These include liver disease, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dementia, HIV, hypothyroidism, gastroparesis, and kidney or heart failure.  People with cancer of the ovaries, pancreas, colon, or stomach may also find their appetite lacking. 

Nutritious snacks high in protein and calories help people with chronic illness or cancer maintain body weight while trying to recover.  Eating small amounts several times throughout the day and supplementing with liquid protein drinks can be helpful.  Supportive family members can keep favorite foods handy and record meals in a food diary for reference.

2.  Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is most common in women from 35 to 65 years of age.  It is a condition in which the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone.  It causes a range of symptoms, including lack of appetite, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, and brittle nails.

A simple blood test can determine whether people suffer from an inactive thyroid.  Doctors usually prescribe synthetic T4 (levothyroxine sodium), in the form of a daily pill, to bring the thyroid hormone into the normal range.

Related:  Three Hormonal Causes of Depression

3.  Medications

Use of certain medications can affect the appetite.  These include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Codeine
  • Diuretics
  • Morphine
  • Sleeping pills
  • Tranquilizers

Regardless if it is listed above, people who experience a lack of appetite in conjunction with starting a new medication should consult with their doctor for solutions, which may include changing the drug or dosage.  People should not stop taking their medication without their doctor's approval.

4.  Depression

A change in appetite is one of the most common signs of depression.  For some people, depression increases appetite, and for others it leads to a lack of appetite.  When people experience appetite loss along with symptoms like sadness, guilt, disinterest in activities, digestive issues, sleep problems, or nausea, they should consult with a medical doctor or mental health care professional.

A healthy diet may help ward off depression.  According to research, a Mediterranean-style eating plan high in fruits vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fatty fish can help lower risks for depression.  Studies also show that deficiencies in vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and tryptophan can have a negative influence on mood.

While periods of appetite loss are normal, a persistent lack of appetite is not.  It can be a symptom of chronic disease, cancer, hypothyroidism, depression or a reaction to a new medication.  People should contact their health care provider if appetite loss is chronic or if they are shedding weight without trying. 

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Five Diseases Caused by Poor Diet

by Health News

Our bodies are finely tuned and need a balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates and a range of 13 vitamins and 15 minerals to function. A lack of any one of these essential nutrients can result in serious diseases that can lead to incapacity and even death. 

Historic diseases caused by poor diet are once again in evidence in modern-day America

Here are five examples of diseases caused by poor diet, malnutrition and an imbalanced diet. Are you getting enough of these essential vitamins?

Anemia

Lacks of iron means the red blood cells are unable to transport oxygen around the body. This leads to tiredness, heachache, irregular heartbeat and sensitivity to cold. Iron deficiency may affect 1-2% of Americans today due to a poor diet. Iron is found in fortified cereals, liver, chicken, oysters, seafood, sardines, lean meat, peas, beans, broccoli, eggs and nuts.

Rickets

Rickets is a serious bone-softening condition historically found in children who lacked vitamin D. The body can make its own vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, or it can be provided through meat and fish oils in the diet. Calcium needs to interact with vitamin D to produce strong bones.

Rickets causes muscle weakness, stunted growth, a curved spine, projected breastbone and bow legs although the availability of milk, fish and meat has led to a decline. However those on a vegetarian or vegan diet should be aware of the importance of vitamin D for bone health.  

Related:  Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms

Scurvy

A lack of vitamin C causes scurvy, one of the common skin diseases caused by poor diet among sailors in the past when their diet lacked fresh fruit and vegetables. Known as the "grey death", scurvy causes tooth loss, painful joints and weakness, halitosis (bad breath) and blood spots beneath the skin. The body is unable to make vitamin C, so make sure your diet includes citrus fruits, vegetables or vitamin C supplements to avoid even the slightest suggestion of this painful disease.

Pellagra

A lack of niacin (vitamin B3) can cause blistering skin, bleeding from the mouth, aggressive behavior and insanity. Prevalent in Northern Europe and the Middle East when fresh meat was not available, it was also common in the Southern U.S. in the 1940s in those who lived on a corn-based diet. It can be simply prevented by eating fortified cornmeal.  

Beriberi

The word "beriberi" means "I cannot" in Sinhalese, graphically epitomizing the inability of sufferers to perform a physical task. Caused by a lack of thiamin (vitamin B1) in the Asian diet of boiled rice, the disease was common in the past when "polished" white rice was introduced in the 20th century in place of brown rice.

Today beriberi is one of the diseases caused by poor diet that can still be found, particularly in alcoholics. Their poor diet and inability to absorb thiamine can lead to weakness, difficulty walking and even death. Sources of vitamin B1 include fortified cereals, marmite and wheat germ in bread.

This history lesson of diseases caused by poor diet superbly illustrates the importance of a healthy balanced diet including those all-important vitamins and minerals found in multivitamin supplements. 

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Five Little Known Effects of Dehydration

by IVL Products

It may surprise you to know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.  Despite a seemingly abundance of water, most people fall short of the recommended 8 to 10 cups of water per day recommended by health professionals. Dehydration can affect the body in negative ways and lead to health problems that are completely avoidable with the proper fluid intake.

Dehydration can negatively impact the body.

According to Dr. Grace Webb, Assistant Director for Clinical Nutrition at New York Hospital, “Water is necessary for the body to digest and absorb vitamins and nutrients. It’s also a key to proper digestion; it detoxifies the liver and kidneys, and carries waste away. If your urine becomes darkly colored like this, you’re dehydrated. The urine should be light, straw colored.” 

There are also five little-known ways that dehydration has an effect on the body.

1. Bad Breath – halitosis is a personal hygiene problem can lead to being shunned by your spouse, co-workers and even mom. Saliva has antibacterial compounds that keep the bacteria growing in our mouths in check. Dehydration means less saliva, giving those stinky bugs a chance to multiply and spew out of your mouth in a smelly cloud with each breath.

2. Muscle Cramps – nothing takes your breath away than a sudden muscle cramp.  The pain is extreme and can linger even after the cramp has been worked out.  When you sweat out more fluid than you take in, the nerves that connect muscles become depleted of water and sodium making them sensitive, which can cause them to involuntarily contract and spasm.  

3. Sugar Cravings – being thirsty could be making you fat.  Many times people mistake feeling thirsty for being hungry and they often crave sweets.  This is because organs like your liver need adequate water to release stored glycogen to use for energy. 

4. Headaches – the sack of fluid surrounding your brain acts as a cushion to keep it from bouncing against the inside of your skull as you move around. When that fluid sack runs low due to dehydration your brain may push up against the skull and cause a painful headache to develop.

5. Wrinkles – being dehydrated can make you look older than your years. Dry skin is thinner and wrinkles more easily. As we age our skin become less efficient at retaining moisture, making it important to drink plenty of fluids and eat foods like fruits and vegetables that contain plenty of moisture in them.

Develop a Daily Habit

You can get the necessary amount of fluids each day by drinking water, milk, juice, coffee, tea and even eating. Fruits like watermelon have high water content, as does cantaloupe, pineapple and oranges.  Drinking skim milk, small servings of fruit juice and sports drinks when you are sweating hard during a workout also count toward your daily goal.

Related:  Give Your Body What It Craves:  Water!

Alcohol is actually a dehydrator, so curbing your intake of it and replacing it with club soda or mineral water is a good idea.  Fried and highly processed foods are usually full of sodium and low on fluids, which can result in dehydration.  Replacing them with a salad loaded with water-filled lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and fruits like pears, apples and strawberries will help you get the recommended amount of fluids you need each day.

If you get bored with drinking water straight you can always add a little flavor and even some nutrients like a slice of lemon or tasty low calorie drops fortified with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Don’t let dehydration have a negative effect on your health.  Let’s raise a glass of water to drink to our health!

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Discover How a Powdered Supplement Benefits the Health

by IVL Products

While many people strive to consume a healthy diet, it is nearly impossible to obtain adequate nutrients every day through eating.  Filling in nutritional gaps with quick and easy supplements helps.  According to research, a powdered supplement benefits the body over pills, tablets, and capsules by offering up to 95 percent absorption when blended into a liquid.  This is because nutrients in liquid form go straight to the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive process.  When it comes to pills, tablets, and capsules, nutrient absorption rates fall to around 10 to 20 percent.  In addition to offering better nutrition, liquid nutrients are much easier to swallow.  Three types of powdered supplements in particular make popular choices for supplementary nutrition.  

A powdered supplement benefits the consumer with ease of use and high nutrient absorption

Green Superfood Powder

Green superfood powder creates a beverage packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients when mixed with water.  This powdered supplement benefits the body in many ways with a combination of healthful green ingredients like alfalfa, chlorella, spirulina, and wheat grass and many extras like fruits, vegetables, enzymes, and probiotics.

An animal-based study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that one green ingredient ─ alfalfa ─ offered protective effects for the livers of rats when given in tandem with a known liver irritant.  Animal studies have also shown that alfalfa lowers blood glucose levels in diabetic mice, and this is just one of many healthful ingredients available in green powdered supplements.

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Maca

Originating in Peru, the maca plant offers a host of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and protein through its roots.  Research shows that supplementation with dried maca root powder may increase energy levels in healthy people and those living with various health issues.  In one study, researchers timed a group of healthy cyclists who completed a 40 km bike ride before taking maca and completed the same ride after taking maca for two weeks.  Results showed significant improvements in the completion times of the cyclists, which researchers attributed to increased energy levels.

Protein Powder

People who exercise regularly or who have trouble swallowing often appreciate protein powder that can be blended into a beverage.  Available in a wide array of flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and banana, protein powder comes with varying levels of carbohydrates dependent upon what is needed by the user.  Different types of protein may include soy, rice, whey, or casein protein.

Conclusion

A powdered supplement benefits the body in many ways.  Whether people need the nutritional punch provided by a green supplement powder or the occasional energy lift offered by maca powder, supplementary beverages make a delicious and easy way to obtain valuable nutrients.  Supplement powders can be found at local whole foods and nutrition stores or conveniently ordered online through natural supplement websites. 

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Tell-Tale Signs of Vitamin A Deficiency

by Cindy Gray

Everyone knows vitamins benefit the body, and good health starts at the beginning of the alphabet.  Vitamin A is an essential, fat-soluble vitamin important to the eyes, bones, gums, skin, reproductive system, and the respiratory and intestinal tracts.  Two different types of vitamin A are present in foods.  Preformed vitamin A (retinol) can be obtained through animal products, and pro-vitamin A (carotenoids) are found in certain fruits and vegetables.  When people don't get enough vitamin A in the diet, they may experience signs of vitamin A deficiency. 

Night blindness is one of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency

What is the first sign of vitamin A deficiency?

Because vitamin A plays a key role in eye health, people who are deficient in vitamin A first experience symptoms of night blindness.  While people with night blindness see normally during the day, they have problems adjusting when light fades.  A study published in The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consumption of a daily vitamin A supplement protects against the development of night blindness.  If not treated, vitamin A deficiency can progress to dry eye syndrome and other serious vision problems.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Continued vitamin A deficiency can affect the conjunctiva (or the covering on the whites of the eyes) that keep eyes moist and lubricated.  The conjunctiva dry out and ulcers appear on the cornea.  If left untreated, vitamin A deficiency can lead to vision loss.

What are some other signs of vitamin A deficiency?

Vitamin A triggers inflammatory response and boosts production of collagen, which helps with repair and healing of wounds.  People who don't get enough vitamin A may experience slower healing and greater risks for infection.  In studies, vitamin A supplementation has been shown to be particularly helpful for people who take steroid medications because steroids impair collagen synthesis.  In addition to the skin, vitamin A also contributes to tooth and gum health.

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How does vitamin A promote healthy teeth and gums?

In addition to promoting healthy skin (outer body lining) vitamin A helps maintain mucous membranes (inner body linings) like those of the gums, and healthy gums help anchor teeth. When gums become inflamed, adequate levels of vitamin A help to speed the healing process, but vitamin A deficiency impedes the healing process.  People with chronic gum problems may want to check with a medical professional for testing of vitamin A levels.

People can prevent signs of vitamin A deficiency by eating plenty of sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, fish, liver, and tropical fruits or by taking a daily vitamin A supplement.  As of this writing, for men over the age of 18, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 900 micrograms (mcg).  For women over the age of 18, the RDA for vitamin A is 700 mcg.  Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consume 770 mcg and 1,200 mcg respectively.  People who suspect a vitamin A deficiency should consult with a health care professional for confirmation before starting a supplementary regimen.

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Fish-Free Wrinkle Free: The Vegetarian Answer to Omega-3s

by Health News

With supplements and a few additions to your shopping list, you can find fish-free omega-3 foods that will enhance your anti-aging diet, yet still honor your choice to live a vegetarian lifestyle. There are a lot of plant sources with essential nutrients to help keep you young, vibrant, and vegetarian!

Walnuts provide omega-3 fatty acids and help you get essential nutrients into your anti-aging diet.

Power Plants

Mother Nature offers so many healthy ways to get your much needed fish-free omega-3s and other nutrients. Here are a few:

Flax

Grinding the seeds and adding them to cookie, bread, or muffin recipes is one method to get flaxseed into your diet.  Research shows that ground flax can be used in baked goods without losing their desired health benefits, such as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and omega-3 fatty acids as long as you keep the oven temperature at 300 degrees Fahrenheit—or less.

Flax offers other health benefits like phytonutrients called lignans, which are antioxidants, something essential for maintaining youthful energy levels and glowing skin. As little one ounce of flaxseed can help keep obesity at bay, improve circulation and lower blood pressure.

Barley

Barley is a delicious, nutty flavored and versatile cereal grain with lots of health benefits.  It is chock full of manganese, fiber, selenium, copper, vitamin B1, phosphorus, magnesium and niacin, just to name a few of its wonderful nutrients.

The selenium in barley make it a great anti-aging food because it strengthens metabolic pathways for a healthier immune system and lowers your risk of developing some cancers, something essential for keeping you feeling young and vibrant at any age.

Related:  Vegans May Benefit From Supplements of Omega 3s and Vitamin B12

Soy Lecithin

Lecithin is produced in the liver and makes up an important part of the mucus layer in our large intestines.   It’s made up of three fat-soluble molecules that are the building blocks of cell membranes that facilitate cell communication and keep cells from sticking to each other.

Soybeans are a good source of lecithin and beneficial as a meat-free food that helps keep your liver healthy by emulsifying (breaking down) fatty deposits that can lead to high cholesterol, liver and cardiovascular disease.

Seaweed

Seaweed offers nutrients from the ocean not found in land-based greens.  It has long been a part of the diet of many Asian cultures and should be in your anti-aging diet plan.

Seaweed is a great source of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and it can help regulate estrogen and estradiol levels. Those two hormones can help women lower their risk of developing breast cancer.

One nutrient that is missing from many diets and is in few foods is iodine. Seaweed is rich in iodine, which is essential for keeping your thyroid healthy. Since thyroid problems are a common problem as we age eating more seaweed salad is good idea.

Walnuts

If you are vegetarian you would be nuts not to be eating walnuts regularly. When consumed whole with the skin still on them you get a healthy dose of:

  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Biotin
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium

Numerous research over the last few decades have shown walnuts to help lower the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, or suffering a metabolic disorder.  Walnuts are also rich sources of antioxidants, help reduce inflammation, and support collagen production, which keeps skin smooth and wrinkle free.

No Need to Fish for Compliments

Adding these foods to your shopping list to round out an effective anti-aging diet is a smart way for anyone looking to get fish free omega-3s and other essential nutrients without eating meat.