0 Comments

What Should You Do About Menopause Symptoms Like Hair Growth?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, memory lapses, increased anxiety and reduced libido are often kept private.  Dealing with them alone can be difficult, but made worse when more obvious symptoms appear, namely hair loss and/or excessive hair growth in unusual places. Hair growth during menopause, or hair loss, can be very disconcerting, but there are things you can do to minimize these hair woes.

Menopause symptoms include hair growth.

 

The Hairy Truth about Menopause

Fluctuating and declining hormone levels can cause excessive hair loss; and or hair growth such as facial hair.  While menopause is a natural phase of life, steps can be taken to help prevent hair loss and growth, such as lifestyle and dietary changes using natural herbs and supplements.

For Thinning Hair

There is HRT, or hormone replacement therapy, that is prescribed by your doctor and can help with hair loss. However, the known dangerous side effects are an increased risk for several types of cancer. Some women choose to avoid synthetic HRT because of the inhumane way horses are treated to obtain these hormones through pregnant mare’s urine.   If you want to avoid the risks and not contribute to cruel pharmaceutical practices, then forgo HRT.  Here are some natural ways to alleviate this problem.

Acceptance – While many people say, be patient, hair loss will ‘pass’, that’s much easier said than done.  Yes, hair loss in normal and natural when going through menopause, and your loved ones will continue to love you, regardless of your hair.  However, it can be emotionally devastating to experience hair loss or thinning hair.  Take steps to help reduce and remedy the situation, seek out an experienced hair stylist for the best cut for your hair type.

Reduce Stress – Get plenty of exercise, meditate, go to yoga classes, and get enough sleep. This will benefit you in many ways beyond helping to stave off hair loss. A few milligrams of melatonin might help you fall asleep on restless nights. Investing in natural fabrics for sheets and pajamas will whisk away the sweat caused by hot flashes so you can rest easier.

Related:  Restore Hair Growth and Improve Sleep

Diet – As is prescribed for every condition, eating a healthy diet will help you mitigate hair loss due to fluctuating and declining hormones. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be your dietary staples with avoidance of high-fat and sugar-laden treats.  B12 is linked to hair loss so choose foods that are rich in all the B vitamins like:

  • Spinach, mustard greens and romaine lettuce
  • Broccoli, beets, asparagus and turnips
  • Lentils, calf liver and snapper (fish)

Foods particularly high in B12 are:

  • Fortified cereals
  • Nonfat yogurt
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Fortified soy products like tofu

Supplements & Herbs

Many menopause symptoms can be relieved by taking supplements and herbs that reduce inflammation, mimic declining hormones and boost your iron levels to help keep hair healthy and strong.  Try adding these supplements and herbs into your diet to promote hair growth during menopause:

  • B12 vitamins (all the B vitamins really)
  • Iron
  • Black cohosh – an herb that mimics estrogen in the body to help slow down hair loss due to the decline of natural estrogen production
  • Evening Primrose Oil, also a great source of essential fatty acids

Dealing with Unwanted Hair

How frustrating to experience thinning hair only to find it growing abundantly on your chin, around your lips, and on your chest.   Cosmetically there is no shade of cover up to disguise thick, course, and dark hair cropping up on your face.

What can you do about unwanted hair growth during menopause, then?  Show those stray strands no mercy!  Avoid shaving, since only more stubble will grow back.  Some better options are:

Epilators– there are several brands for use at home that come with different sized heads to use on the body and the face. Like waxing, these devices pull hair out by the root for longer lasting results.

Waxing – hair removed by waxing will be slower to grow back. Today’s waxing methods are less painful and most salons offer the service.

Electrolysis – choose a spa or facility with a medically trained staff and really get after unwanted hair growth. This is the most costly treatment option, but the one that is the most effective with the longest lasting results. Remember, unwanted hair growth is usually a temporary condition, so be patient.

 

0 Comments

Do Free Radicals Cause Skin Changes?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The skin is the body's largest organ, so it is important to take good care of it.  Knowing about free radicals and how to eliminate them can help.  A free radical is an unstable oxygen molecule that is missing an electron.  In the hunt for the absent electron, free radicals destroy healthy molecules and create more free radicals. A number of environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to the production of free radicals including exposure to the sun, smoking, excessive use of alcohol, a poor diet, and air pollution.  Over time, excessive free radicals can cause oxidative damage leading to skin changes like acne, wrinkles and even skin cancer. 

Lifestyle choices like smoking can promote free radical production and cause skin changes.

Young skin contains an abundance of antioxidants that protect it from free radicals.  However, aging skin produces fewer antioxidants and becomes more susceptible to damage. Fortunately, as people age, they can prevent the production of free radicals by engaging in a number of healthy lifestyle strategies.

1.  Use Sunscreen

Prolonged exposure to the sun encourages the production of free radicals. According to a study examining the effects of oxidative stress on skin cells, the use of sunscreen offers the best protection for preventing these free radicals from forming.  Natural, mineral-based sunscreens provide safe, broad-spectrum protection without harsh chemicals.  Remember to wear a wide-brimmed hat when out in direct sunlight.  Other protection methods are long-sleeved clothes and even using an umbrella for sun protection.

2.  Eat Foods High in Antioxidants

In the same study, the Slovenian research team from the University of Ljubljana also concluded "Foods rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals such as fruits, vegetables, wine and green tea help protect against oxidative damage and free radical attack."  Specific fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants include leafy greens, red grapes, citrus fruits, melons, papaya, berries, and pomegranate.

Related:  Internal Sun Protection With ALA

3.  Take Dietary Supplements

A number of vitamin and mineral supplements block the development of free radicals.  These include vitamin B2, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, coenzyme Q10, lutein, lycopene, and zinc.  Protective herbal supplements include bilberry, gingko biloba, grape seed extract, and turmeric.

4.  Try Skincare Products with Vitamin C or Copper

It's hard to sift through the multitude of skincare products for one that actually works, but a few added ingredients have been shown to truly benefit the skin. Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen, the main structural protein in connective tissue. Research shows that topical application of vitamin C promotes the production of collagen and diminishes the effects of free radicals. Copper is an ingredient added to many products for aging skin. Copper peptides can help improve skin elasticity, enhance skin tone and reduce symptoms of skin conditions like rashes, eczema, and rosacea.

While environment and lifestyle can affect the skin, certain healthy strategies help keep skin changes to a minimum. People looking to enhance skin health should use sunscreen when spending more than twenty minutes outdoors. Other ways to benefit the skin include eating foods high in antioxidants, taking certain dietary supplements, and using topical skin products with vitamin C or copper.

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

Omega 3 Fish Oil for Weight Loss

by Cindy Gray

We are conditioned to think that all fat is bad, especially if we are trying to lose weight. Low-fat diets have been promoted for decades as the only way to shed body fat, but now it seems that is not entirely true. A recent study by the University of South Australian found that there are definite benefits of omega 3 fish oil for weight loss when taken in conjunction with regular exercise.

Studies show the benefits of omega 3 fish oil weight loss

Study on the Weight Loss Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil

The Australian study focused on 75 participants who were diagnosed as overweight (>25 BMI) or obese (>30 BMI) with other risk factors for metabolic syndrome. These increased risk factors included high cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, hypertension and/or heightened insulin levels.

The group was divided into four different categories and each group was given either:

  • Tuna fish oil supplements (omega-3) with no exercise
  • Tuna fish oil supplements (omega-3) with exercise
  • Sunflower oil supplements (no omega-3) with no exercise
  • Sunflower oil supplements (no omega-3) with exercise

The supplements were 6 x 100 mg capsules of omega-3 fish oil or sunflower oil. The participants who included exercise in their program also completed three 45-minute runs each week at 75% of their maximum heart rate. No dietary changes were made to any of the participants’ routine.

After three weeks, members of three of the groups remained the same weight.  However, the group taking tuna fish oil supplements combined with exercise showed an average weight loss of 4.5 pounds, and a marked decrease in percentage body fat. This clearly showed the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for weight loss when combined with regular exercise.

The study concluded that if the fish oil supplements and exercise regimen were adopted by someone who was also on a calorie-controlled diet, the weight loss could be even more substantial.

Related:  Natural Weight Loss Supplement Resveratrol

How Does Omega-3 Fish Oil Benefit Weight Loss?

Omega-3 is known to improve blood flow to the muscles during exercise. It also helps trigger enzymes involved in burning or oxidizing fat when the metabolic rate increases during exercise. The combination of omega-3 and exercise prompts the body to carry fat to where the muscles can burn it as energy, thereby lowering body fat stores.

The study participants also underwent DEXA body scans which distinguish between fat, muscle and bone. Although three groups of participants remained unchanged, the group taking omega-3 with exercise showed a significant reduction of belly fat.

Those who took omega-3 fish oil without exercise still benefitted, as their blood pressure decreased during the study and there was a beneficial effect on their heart rate and triglyceride levels.

These encouraging results showing the benefits of omega 3 fish oil weight loss will now be followed up with other studies by Professor Howe, Director of the Australian Technology Network for Metabolic Fitness. In the meantime, dieters have nothing to lose but fat if they add 600 mg omega-3 fish oil and regular exercise to their weight loss plan. 

0 Comments

What’s Causing Your Memory Loss?

by IVL Products

A forgotten appointment, misplaced keys, or struggling to find the correct word during a conversation…some people might chock these incidents up to simple absentmindedness.  For those in middle age or older however, episodes of forgetfulness can be scary, conjuring worries of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.  Fortunately, according to the National Institute on Aging, memory loss is often treatable once a cause has been established.  Becoming better informed can help people determine whether their forgetfulness is cause for concern. 

A number of factors can contribute to memory loss.

Memory loss can strike at any time in life and is influenced by many factors.  Here are some of the key causes:

Sleep Apnea

Memory loss accompanied by headache and recurrent daytime fatigue may be related to sleep apnea.  This condition causes breathing to stop for brief but frequent periods in the course of a night.  Research shows that untreated sleep apnea can impair spatial navigational memory, which is the type utilized to locate objects like keys.

Related:  Five Natural Supplements for Brain Health

Medications

Some medications can impact memory and may need adjustment.  These include:

  • Medications for anxiety
  • Medications for diabetes
  • Medications for pain
  • Medications for reducing cholesterol
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleeping pills

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Because vitamin B12 is important for healthy nerve function, a deficiency can result in confusion, memory loss, and other dementia-like symptoms.  Good food sources of vitamin B12 include dairy products, poultry, beef, and fish.  To ensure proper daily amounts, people can also obtain vitamin B12 through dietary supplements.

Anxiety, Depression, and Stress

High levels of anxiety or stress can affect attention, focus, and memory, particularly when paired with sleep problems.  Techniques like yoga, meditation, guided imagery, or tai chi can help manage stress and improve sleep.  

If left untreated, chronic anxiety can lead to depression, which can also impact memory.  According to the National Institute on Aging, people can try certain types of medication and/or counseling to ease symptoms of depression.

Silent Stroke

Sometimes people have a stroke without being aware of it.  While a silent stroke doesn't exhibit any of the normal symptoms, it does cause changes in brain function, which can affect cognition and memory.  Vascular cognitive impairment from silent stroke can range from mild to severe.

Tips for Preventing Memory Loss

According to a study from the School of Medicine at UCLA, healthy lifestyle strategies can have a beneficial effect on memory and cognition.  Take advantage of these tips to help prevent memory loss.

  • Don't use tobacco products.
  • Eat a nutritious diet, and drink plenty of water.
  • Get regular physical exercise.
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one per day for women.
  • Manage stress levels.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise the brain with word, number, or jigsaw puzzles.
  • Boost brain power by reading books, learning a new language, or taking up a musical instrument.

Conclusion

People with concerns about forgetfulness should consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.  Sharing symptoms and submitting to any required testing can help doctors determine what's causing your memory loss.  A few beneficial lifestyle strategies help to promote a healthy brain and a strong memory.

0 Comments

Heart-Healthy Foods to Add To Your Diet

by IVL Products

Even though the number of American deaths attributed to heart disease has dropped, it is still the number one cause of death for adults in this country. Good dietary choices play a key role in preserving healthy cardiac function, but instead of focusing on what you should not eat, here’s a list of heart-healthy foods that are delicious, nutritious and good for your heart and your waistline. 

There is a direct correlation between the circumference of your waistline and your risk of heart disease. Belly fat is the most dangerous to your health and the hardest to remove.

Fishing for a Healthy Heart

The catch of the day keeps the cardiologist away. Fish should be a staple in your diet; and become a replacement for processed fatty meats like hamburger, sausage and bacon.  Not only are fish a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, they have the most abundant and most easily absorbed omega-3 fatty acids. The body does not produce this essential nutrient naturally, but it does a body good.  Eating fish two to three times a week will give you plenty of it. Salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are especially high in omega-3s, so be sure to put them on the menu.

Related:  Include Fish in Your Arthritis Prevention Diet

Go Nuts

Enjoying nuts regularly is a heart-healthy idea. Almonds and walnuts are heart-healthy foods to enjoy in moderation since they are high in calories.  Adding a handful to your cereal, salad or dipping your banana in some almond butter will give you a healthy dose of omega-3s, and the unsaturated fat and fiber will keep you satisfied longer. The healthiest nuts to eat are almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts and macadamias.

Flaxseed belongs in your diet along with a variety of nuts. They are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid, which is a fancy name for omega-3. These small but mighty seeds can be ground to replace some of the fat in baked items and sprinkled on top of salads or cereal to add a little crunch with significant benefits.

Be Fruitful and Thrive

Fruits high in vitamin C and fiber are also loaded with phytonutrients to help reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation due to obesity, environmental pollution and poor diet are a leading contributor to heart muscle damage.  Berries are particularly heart-healthy foods because they are not only sweet, delicious and plentiful, but contain copious amount of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Orange-hued fruits like oranges, tangerines, peaches and cantaloupe offer plentiful amounts of potassium and magnesium.

Veg Out

Mom was right when she said, “eat your vegetables, they’re good for you.” They come in so many varieties and you can eat as much as you want.  Be sure to avoid heavy cream or butter-based sauces or oily condiments.  Add these all-stars to your grocery list:

  • Asparagus – beta-carotene, folate and fiber
  • Broccoli- vitamins C and E, calcium and fiber
  • Spinach – iron, vitamins A, B2, C and K along with folate calcium, magnesium and potassium, just to name a few.

So, grill up some asparagus to pair with a salmon fillet, steam some broccoli or add a handful of spinach to your salads and you will be helping your heart and your waistline.

Carbs Count

The body cannot run on protein and fats alone. Carbohydrates are the key for high, sustaining levels of energy.  Starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal (toss a handful of nuts, seed and berries on top) is a great way to give your body the fuel it needs. The fiber in oatmeal will keep you feeling satisfied longer and keep cholesterol levels in check.  Steel cut is best and avoid instant varieties loaded with sugar.  

Enjoy Dessert

Yes, a heart-healthy diet includes dessert! It’s been called the fourth food group for good reason. Dark chocolate made from 70% cocoa is one of the healthiest treats you can eat. A one-ounce square daily offers soluble fiber, antioxidants, iron, magnesium and potassium, zinc and selenium. These are all nutrients that contribute to a healthy heart.  Like nuts, chocolate has a lot of calories, so a little goes a long way.

Here’s To Your Heart

Hopefully reading this has encouraged you to add these foods to your grocery list.  There are many other heart-healthy foods you can work into the mix, and consider supplements as an additional way to pump up your daily vitamin and mineral consumption.  

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

0 Comments

Sweat Too Much? Four Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating

by IVL Products

Sweating is normal when temperatures are high or during exercise. At other times, suffering from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) can be embarrassing, especially if it soaks through your clothing or makes your hands clammy and damp. It may help to know that you are not alone; an estimated eight million Americans have this problem.

There are ways to help reduce excessive sweating

Here are four suggested ways to help stop excessive sweating and gain control, simply by making a few lifestyle changes.

1.     Use Antiperspirant Twice Daily

Check that your deodorant actually includes an antiperspirant as well. Deodorants simply mask any odors while antiperspirants actually stop the underarm glands from producing sweat. You may need to change to a combination antiperspirant deodorant to control sweating.

If you have been using the same brand of antiperspirant for years, a change to a different product may produce a more effective response. Choose one containing aluminum chloride for added effectiveness.  (However, many health-conscious folks choose to avoid antiperspirants because of the aluminum content.)

As well as using antiperspirant in the morning, reapply in the afternoon for added effectiveness. This is usually the warmest part of the day and your morning antiperspirant may already have rubbed off onto clothing.

Related:  Chlorophyll:  Nature's Remedy for Fatigue, Bad Breath and More

2.     Eliminate Spicy Food

Hot peppers used in spicy dishes contain capsaicin which activates nerves that are heat sensitive. They send signals to the spinal cord and the hypothalamus in the brain, activating sweat glands to produce sweat and cool the body. By avoiding those hot and spicy dishes, you can control excessive sweating.

3.     Avoid Caffeine

In a similar way to hot spices, caffeine boosts energy and alertness, but it also increases sweating when consumed in large amounts. Once the caffeine is metabolized, the sweating stops, but it could be easier to avoid that caffeine rush by drinking caffeine-free sodas, coffee and herbal or green tea—or replace with purified water.

4.     Try Detox Supplements to Reduce Sweating

Your body is full of toxins and metals which collect in the kidneys and liver and may contribute to excessive sweating. Try a 3-5 day detox diet eating only fresh raw vegetables and fruits. Drink lots of water and squeezed fruit juices and avoid alcohol and smoking. A detox diet will cleanse the whole digestive system, eliminating excess water and waste along with toxins.

Taking a dietary supplement can help to make the detoxification more effective. As well as feeling energized and revitalized, you should also sweat less afterward.

You may find a few other useful tips in this article on stopping excess sweating. Once you have excessive sweating under control, you can relax and concentrate on enjoying life without feeling self-conscious.   

0 Comments

Three Herbs that Reduce Stress

by Health News

Stress is a normal part of life, and the body automatically reacts to it with a "flight-or-fight" response.  The adrenal glands release stress hormones that boost strength and energy in reaction to physical stressors and enhance focus and mental clarity during times of emotional upset.  Occasional stress is normal and healthy, but chronic stress can take a toll on mental and physical health.  While some people rely on prescribed medications for treatment, others prefer more natural ways to reduce stress.  Three herbs show promise for fighting stress.

Herbs that reduce stress include holy basil, kava, and chamomile.

1.  Holy Basil

An herb and a member of the mint family, holy basil is found in most tropical regions around the world.  Research shows that compounds in holy basil improve the body's response to stress.  One animal study examined the effects of holy basil on stress created by continual exposure to noise.  Albino rats were pretreated with holy basil extract for seven days and then exposed to noise containing a frequency of 10 kHz and a sound level of 100 dB.  While exposure to noise typically generates changes in acetylcholine and acetylcholinesterase activity in several areas of the brain, the treatment with holy basil prevented these changes.

2.  Kava

Kava is a root that comes from the islands of the South Pacific. Traditional use involves crushing the root and making it into a tea.  The drink offers relaxing or sedating effects but is non-addictive.  Kava is also available as a dietary supplement in powder, capsule, or tincture form.  When it comes to herbs that reduce stress and anxiety, kava has shown positive results in many studies. 

In 2013, an Australian study assessed the effects of kava in 75 people with generalized anxiety disorder.  Subjects were given kava or placebo each day for six weeks.  Levels of anxiety were measured using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA).  For people with mild to moderate anxiety, kava significantly reduced symptoms as compared to the placebo group.  Results were even more significant in the group with moderate to severe anxiety.

Kava should not be combined with alcohol or psychotropic medicines.  It has been shown that long-term use of kava can harm the liver, so people should use it for three months or less, and consult with a qualified herbalist or your health care provider for guidance.

Related:  Natural Remedies for Mild Depression

3.  Chamomile

Originating in Europe, chamomile is a plant that belongs to the daisy family.  While its dried flowers are used for a variety of physical ailments, chamomile also offers relief from anxiety according to several studies. 

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania examined 35 people diagnosed with anxiety and depression or with a history of anxiety and depression, along with a control group of 22 people without either disorder.  For eight weeks, subjects received daily doses of chamomile extract or placebo.  Dosages were increased for people who showed less benefit on anxiety scores by one extra tablet daily each week, capping at week five. 

Based on the results of several rating scales, 57 percent of the people in the chamomile group experienced significant reductions in anxiety.  To date, chamomile has been shown to have no adverse side effects, which makes it one of the best and safest ways to reduce stress.

Chronic stress takes a toll on the body both physically and mentally.  Herbs that reduce stress help take the edge off when people are exposed to physical, mental, or emotional stimuli on a regular basis.  Before starting a supplementary regimen with any herb, people should always consult with their health care provider. 

0 Comments

How to Reduce Food Cravings by Killing Candida

by Health News

As each year draws to a close, people begin to think about healthy resolutions for the year to come.  Eating a more nutritious diet often tops the list, but resisting cravings for sweets and other high-carbohydrate foods is easier said than done.  In people with candida overgrowth, cravings for sugar or foods that quickly convert to sugar are persistent and intense.  Learning about candida teaches people how to reduce food cravings once and for all.   

When considering how to reduce food cravings, people should start with dietary changes.

What is candida?

Candida albicans is a type of yeast found in the digestive tracts of most humans.  Amounts in the body largely depend on a person's diet.  Yeasts thrive on sugar, so people who don't eat a lot of sugar usually have a healthy balance of candida in the gut.  People with diets high in sugar or foods that quickly convert to sugar often have a surplus of candida in the gut.

How does candida influence food cravings?

Eating more sugar causes candida numbers to grow, and more candida results in more cravings for sugar and foods that convert to sugar. 

What are some dietary changes for reducing food cravings?

When considering how to reduce food cravings, eliminating sugar and other sweeteners makes the obvious first step.  In addition to white and brown sugar, people should avoid honey, molasses, corn syrup, and agave nectar.  Pure, organic stevia makes a good natural alternative sweetener because it doesn't spike blood sugar levels.

People should steer clear of refined carbohydrates like baked treats, French fries, pizza, bread, or pasta that convert to sugar quickly.  Because fruit has a lot of natural sugar (fructose), servings should be limited to two per day.  Raspberries, strawberries, and green apples offer lower amounts of fructose, while grapes, mangoes, cherries, and bananas contain higher amounts.  Wine, beer, and other types of alcohol also convert to sugar quickly and should be eliminated from the diet.

Dairy products like milk and cheese have high levels of sugar and should be avoided.  Almond milk and some brands of plain, Greek yogurt make good alternatives.  Look for yogurt with less than 15 grams of sugar per serving, and flavor with lemon juice and a little stevia for a dairy product high in healthy probiotics.

Include non-starchy vegetables, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and wild-caught fish in the diet.  Take a probiotic supplement containing at least 5 individual strains to restore beneficial bacteria to the intestinal tract, and try a chromium supplement to help reduce cravings.

Related:  Probiotic Supplements: Not Just for Intestinal Health

What are some other symptoms of candida overgrowth?

Food cravings are not the only symptom of candida overgrowth.  Additional symptoms include:

  • Chemical and food sensitivities
  • Chronic vaginal yeast infections
  • Depression
  • Digestive issues like gas, bloating, and diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Foggy thinking
  • Headache
  • Poor sleep
  • Sinus congestion

Cravings for sugary and high-carbohydrate foods lead to a catch 22 for many people.  Satisfying cravings results in more candida in the digestive tract, and more candida causes more food cravings.  People discover how to reduce food cravings and generate better overall health by learning about candida, nutrition, and sugar levels in food.

 

0 Comments

The Effects of a Poor Diet on Your Heart

by Cindy Gray

“You are what you eat,” is as true now as it was generations ago when the saying became popular.  A poor diet wreaks havoc on your entire body, but one area in particular that takes a beating is your heart.  

A poor diet can negatively impact the health of your heart.

First there was the low-fat diet craze, followed by the low-carb diet.  Despite all the natural fat in many foods being replaced by partially hydrogenated oils, also knows as trans fats, heart disease continued to top the list as the number one killer of men and women.  We all went on a low-carb diet to reduce our cholesterol and lose weight since fat-free didn’t seem be working and suddenly steak and bacon were back on the menu.  Little did we know, until now, that diet fads would cause more harm than good.

Research over the past decade has found that trans fats, the kind used in most processed foods, is the real killer.  All those low-carb foods were loaded with sugar so we could choke them down. Now we know the combination of highly processed foods loaded with sugar and trans fats are literally killing us.

Related:  Heart Health—The Benefits of Meditation

A nutrient poor diet high in trans fats, lots of sugar that send blood glucose levels soaring and copious amounts of sodium is linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.  Notice this theme:  poor diet leads to weight gain, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, which all increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Eat Hearty Meals

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to prevent these illnesses from happening in the first place.  What you eat can have a profound effect on your heart in a simple and delicious way.

Replacing fast foods and highly processed foods with healthy fats and foods with abundant vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will help stave off high blood pressure, bad cholesterol build up and prevent strokes and heart disease from developing.   Opt for fish like salmon, cod, herring or trout twice a week.  Choose lean cuts of chicken, pork and beef over those marbled with fat; keep portions sizes to about the size of your fist, and only eat them once or twice a week.

Nature provides in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only do these foods have a lot of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they are low-fat, contain healthy glucose that does not lead to sugar-spikes and then crashes, and are full of fiber. Eating them instead of processed foods will help you keep your weight in check. You will not only feel good, but look that way too.

Heart Supplements

It is nearly impossible to get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.  A combination of a healthy diet and taking supplements is necessary to meet your dietary health goals each day.  Choosing a supplement with fish oil, Resveratrol, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and quercetin is an easy way to get these heart healthy substances into your body every day.

Trading a nutrient poor diet for one that is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but low in trans fats and carbs, will help promote longevity and a healthy heart. 

0 Comments

Perimenopause and Mood: Understanding the Connection

by Health News

The “change of life” or menopause is a natural part of aging for most women when menstruating ceases. Around age 40, women may begin to notice irregular periods, increased feelings of anxiety and stress, have trouble focusing and even suffer from panic attacks. These mood changes are the result of declining progesterone levels, the phase that precedes menopause known as perimenopause.  This can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years and can wreak havoc on your physical and emotional wellbeing. 

The connection between perimenopause and mood.

Progesterone and estrogen live in harmony in a woman’s body after she goes through puberty and begins menstruating.  If these two hormones work harmoniously during the menstrual cycle, it promotes a feeling of balance and well-being.  If you become pregnant, progesterone levels increase and you experience feelings of contentment and happiness. After giving birth, estrogen and progesterone levels plummet and can cause post-partum depression until the hormones rebalance again.

It’s no secret to the medical community that progesterone has a profound effect on your mood.  There is plenty of clinical research documenting the increased rise in perimenopausal symptoms in women when they reach their late 30s and 40s, the time progesterone production begins to decline.  Most women only experience mild symptoms, but an unlucky few can be nearly incapacitated by the abrupt mood swings, stress and anxiety, sleep problems and have trouble focusing, making things difficult for them at home and work.

Take the Perimenopause Quiz

Take this brief quiz to determine if you may be experiencing perimenopause:

1.  Do you feel anxious or irritable more easily and more frequently than usual?

2.  Do you sometimes have difficulty focusing on the task at hand or suffering from occasional memory loss?

3. Are you experiencing sleep disturbances such as taking longer to fall asleep, difficulty remaining asleep, and not feel rested in the morning?

4. Are you experiencing physical changes, like weight gain even though your eating habits have stayed about the same?  Is your skin drier or oilier than usual?  Do feel more fatigued after your normal daily activities?

5. Are you experiencing feeling suddenly hot or waking up in the night with night sweats?  Do you feel palpitations in your heart for no apparent reason?

6. Are you experiencing vaginal dryness and a decreased interest in sex?

7. Are you urinating more frequently, even though you are not drinking significantly more liquids?

8. Is satisfaction and happiness with your life seeming decrease, even though nothing has change significantly in your career or relationships? Do you feel depressed sometimes without being able to explain why?

9. Have your periods become irregular, sporadic, or has your flow changed from what was once normal for you?

10. Are you in your late 30’s and early to middle 40’s?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, then you are most likely entering into the life stage of perimenopause.  No two women will experience it the same. Some will have say yes to all of the above while others may only be experiencing two or three changes from the norm.

Sometimes perimenopause can last for several years or more; but the good news is, there are ways to help ease the transition. 

Related:  Is There Such a Thing As Early Menopause?

Diet

Combat weight gain, stress and anxiety by cutting out high carbohydrate sugary foods, limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume and stay away from spicy foods that can trigger hot flashes. Filling up on vitamin and mineral loaded fruits and vegetables will help keep your weight in check, provide hydration to your skin, and help you avoid sugar crashes that will be more extreme with the fatigue that accompanies perimenopause.

Stress

Finding ways to relieve stress are critical when you are going through perimenopause and menopause.  Regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, provide an outlet for anxiety and stress, and promote better sleep. Nothing is more stressful than insomnia and the severe fatigue and loss of mental focus that comes with it.  Keeping stress at bay will also help with symptoms of depression, which is common for many women going through perimenopause.

Supplements

It is especially important to get the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients in your diet to help ward off perimenopause and mood swings that are a result of radical hormonal changes. Getting plenty of vitamins C, E, and the complex B’s can improve cognitive function and are helpful to reduce symptoms.

Herbs like evening primrose oil can help relieve hot flashes and calm anxiety.  Ginkgo biloba has been linked to improved mental concentration, stimulates the libido and promotes blood flow to the brain.  St. John’s Wort is helpful for reducing insomnia, calming anxiety, relieving depression and also stimulates the libido.

Always be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements to avoid unfavorable and dangerous drug interactions.

Perimenopause and mood swings are an unavoidable phase of life for most women, but it does not have to be miserable.  Take charge of your symptoms with a few dietary changes, supplements to increase your progesterone levels and increased exercise. These changes can help you sail through the change to a positive new phase of life.

0 Comments

Understanding the Relationship between Perimenopause and Acne

by Cindy Gray

Menopause is the result of declining sex hormones manufactured by female ovaries.  It marks the end of menstruation in women.  The term "perimenopause" refers to the transitional stage in a woman's life leading up to menopause.  Typically lasting from two to ten years, women in perimenopause experience a variety of symptoms, the most common being hot flashes, headache, irritability, mood swings, poor sleep patterns, and vaginal dryness.  As if these symptoms weren't enough, some women also develop acne.  Understanding the relationship between perimenopause and acne can help women restore blemish-free skin.  

There is a connection between fluctuating hormones in perimenopause and acne.

The Estrogen-Testosterone Connection

Just like with teenagers, women dealing with perimenopause and acne can chock it up to fluctuating hormones.  A woman's ovaries and adrenal glands manufacture female hormones like estrogen and progesterone, but they also produce small amounts of androgens, like testosterone.  While estrogen levels begin to decline during perimenopause, androgen levels remain constant. 

In some women, an imbalance of testosterone can cause the sebaceous glands of the skin to produce excessive sebum, an oily substance that clogs pores.  As women age, skin cell regeneration slows, and excessive skin cells can exacerbate the problem, blocking the clogged pores and causing pimples and blemishes.

Related:  Adult Acne—Wrinkles and Pimples At The Same Time?

OTC Remedies

Certain over-the-counter cleansers can help women deal with acne.  The American Academy of Dermatology recommends women dealing with perimenopause and acne choose cleansers and astringents made especially for adult women as they are typically less drying to the skin. Many women also appreciate cosmetics that contain salicylic acid, or other acne-fighting ingredients.

Balance Hormones Naturally

Balancing hormones can help keep acne in check during perimenopause.  A number of natural methods may help:  

  • Eat cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi.  Cruciferous veggies contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is a precursor to diindolylmethane (DIM).  Both of these compounds can help keep estrogen hormones in balance.
  • Make foods containing phytoestrogens a part of the diet.  Foods like fermented soy, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, bean sprouts, and legumes contain small amounts of plant-based estrogen that may help women with declining estrogen levels.
  • Consider herbal remedies like black cohosh or the Ayurvedic herb, shatavari.  Although herbs have shown to be no better than placebo for relieving perimenopause symptoms in scientific research, anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. 
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.  Excess body fat can trigger the production of more estrogen in the body.

Women in perimenopause have to deal with enough symptoms without adding acne to the mix.  Fortunately, a number of over-the-counter products can help, or women may want to seek the advice of a dermatologist.  Natural methods that encourage hormonal balance may also help like dietary changes, herbs, and maintenance of a healthy body weight.  Because women’s bodies each differ, it is wise to consult with a health care practitioner before using herbal supplements. 

0 Comments

Antioxidants and Heart Health

by Health News

Oxygen is necessary for important body functions like respiration and metabolism, but when oxygen reacts with some body tissues, it creates harmful free radicals.  These unstable molecules steal electrons from other molecules, which can result in tissue damage.  An overabundance of free radicals has been associated with a number of health problems including heart disease.  Fortunately, potent antioxidants like vitamin C and resveratrol help neutralize free radicals and keep body tissues healthy.  Learning more about antioxidants and heart health may result in a few new additions to the grocery cart and a healthier body. 

Because antioxidants and heart health go hand in hand, people may want to load up on citrus fruits and red grapes.

Vitamin C offers a number of benefits to heart health.  The powerful antioxidant helps keep blood pressure under control and is linked to lower levels of lipoproteins associated with stroke.  By neutralizing free radicals, vitamin C helps to prevent hardening of the arteries, and contributes to lower cholesterol by helping to repair damaged arterial walls.

Studies on antioxidants and heart health show excellent results for vitamin C.  One study found that men who consume at least 300 mg of vitamin C daily lower chances of dying from heart disease by 40 percent.  

Related:  Natural Weight Loss Supplement: Resveratrol

Resveratrol

Certain foods like red grapes contain a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol.  Experts suggest that it may help reduce chances for heart disease by lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or what many people refer to as "bad" cholesterol.  A review study published in Cardiovascular Drug Review links regular consumption of resveratrol to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, healthier blood vessels, and fewer blood clots in animals, but more human studies are needed. 

Conclusion

When it comes to antioxidants and heart health, two in particular appear to offer preventative benefits:  vitamin C and resveratrol.  People can obtain vitamin C from dietary supplements or from fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits, cantaloupe, pomegranates, berries, bell peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.  In addition to red grapes, other foods that contain resveratrol include blueberries, cranberries, and peanuts.  People can also get daily doses of resveratrol through dietary supplements. 

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

 

0 Comments

Five Natural Supplements for Brain Health

by IVL Products

Some people believe that cognitive decline is an inevitable part of aging, but people stay sharp well into their golden years with the correct dietary supplements.  Studies show that nourishment directly affects brain performance, and brain decline can be delayed, or even reversed with the consumption of natural supplements for brain health.  Discover five supplements that help support a sharp and healthy brain

brain health

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), promote good brain health.  In a study published in Neurology, researchers examined 1,575 people with an average age of 67 who were free of dementia.  Subjects underwent tests for omega-3 blood levels and mental function and had MRI brain scans.  Researchers found that subjects with lower levels of DHA showed lower brain volume than subjects with higher levels of DHA, and they scored lower on tests for abstract thinking, processing, and visual memory.  Fish oil supplements make a great daily source of omega-3 fats.

Curcumin

According to an animal study published in Biogerontology, the natural pigment that gives the spice turmeric its golden color may help improve cognition.  During the course of the study, old female lab rats were given either curcumin or corn oil daily.  Animals were then given behavioral (maze) tests and were tested for blood levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker for oxidative stress.  Results showed that rats receiving curcumin performed better on behavioral tests and showed less MDA in the blood.

Phosphatidylserine

The chemical compound phosphatidylserine (PS) is found in many parts of the body, but the highest concentrations exist in the brain.  One of the most heavily-researched natural supplements for brain health, PS has been found to promote healthy memory and cognitive function.  One study tracked 51 people from 55-75 years of age over a 12-week period giving half of the subjects 300 mg of PS daily and the other half a placebo.  Subjects who took PS were better able to remember names and details of the previous day or past weeks and had an easier time locating misplaced objects.

Vinpocetine

Derived from vincamine, an alkaloid found in the periwinkle plant, vinpocetine is said to help dilate blood vessels and improve brain function.  Early research suggests that vinpocetine may improve symptoms of a number of conditions including age-related memory problems, Alzheimer's disease, clinical depression, and vascular dementia.  People with low blood pressure, bleeding or seizure disorders, or liver or kidney damage should not take vinpocetine.

Related:  Meditation Rewires Your Brain

Huperzine A

Derived from the plant Chinese club moss, huperzine A is an alkaloid that blocks cholinesterase, a compound that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.  Because acetylcholine helps promote learning, memory, and other brain functions, taking a supplement that fosters its production naturally boosts brain health.

Conclusion

Many people worry about declining cognitive function as they age.  Fortunately, natural supplements for brain health help slow age-related cognitive decline.  Omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, phosphatidylserine, vinpocetine, and huperzine A possess chemicals and compounds that promote varying brain functions, from abstract thinking to learning to memory.  To avoid possible complications or interactions, people should consult with a health care practitioner before beginning a supplementary regimen.

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

0 Comments

Why Plant-Based Powder Supplements are the Best

by Institute for Vibrant Living

All supplements are not the same. Synthetic extracts and "green" supplements may sound healthy and full of goodness,  but the truth is you need to take plant based vitamins and supplements made from whole-food plant-based powders to get the nutritional benefits you are searching for. 

plant-based vitamins and supplements

Here's why plant based vitamins and supplements are just what you’ve been searching for:

Plant Based Vitamins and Supplements Work Synergistically

Some health supplements and vitamins sound full of highly concentrated health-giving benefits, but they are made from extractions, which mean they isolate the particular nutrient from the rest of the plant to provide concentrated vitamin and mineral supplements. However, using the extracted nutrient in isolation from the plant from which it was derived means that they do not perform as nature intended, to their full capacity.

The way many plant based vitamins and supplements work is by their interaction with other micronutrients and metabolites found in the whole plant. The nutrients often work synergistically with the rest of the plant to maximum their efficacy. In order to get the full power of these secondary metabolites, you need to look for whole-food, plant-based powders to get the best possible health benefits.

For example, you may drink a healthy smoothie for vitamin C, but think how much more you would benefit if that supplement was made from whole plants, not just a vitamin C extract. The same shake could deliver fiber, antioxidants, immune-boosting phyto-nutrients, probiotics and enzymes as well as the desired vitamin C boost if it was made from whole foods.

Related:  7 Tips for Becoming a Plant Eater

Plant Based Vitamins and Supplements are Naturally Absorbed

Those people taking plant based vitamins and supplements generally understand the benefits of nature and want a natural safe approach to health and weight loss, not a laboratory-created pill. When you choose whole-food plant-based supplements, you know that your body is absorbing and utilizing the nutrients to maximum effect, as it was designed to do.

One big difference between synthetic and natural plant-based supplements is that plant based vitamins and supplements include enzymes. They play an important role is making those nutrients available, helping the body to absorb and utilize the accompanying minerals and vitamins. Absorption takes place at cell level and the enzymes and amino acids present in plant based supplements ensure that the supplement absorption is natural and efficient. By giving your body the tools it needs to stay fit and healthy, you are allowing your body to self-correct, protecting the longevity of your health.

If you want to boost your dietary intake of vitamins and minerals, it makes sense to deliver plant based vitamins and supplements in the same form that nature already provides. 

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

0 Comments

Natural Remedies for Depression Include Three Healthy Foods

by IVL Products

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

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

Garbanzo Beans

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

Turkey

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

RelatedWays to Lower Risk of Depression

Yogurt

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

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

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

0 Comments

Vitamins for Skin: ACE Your Skin Care with A, C and E

by IVL Products

Whether taken by mouth or slathered on the skin, the right combination of vitamins can be your complexion’s best friend. Your skin is a reflection of your overall health and vitamins provide the support that keeps your body at peak performance. 

ACE Your Skin Care with Vitamins A, C and E

Studies show that three of the most effective vitamins for skin are A, C and E.    Here’s why:

VITAMIN A:  This vitamin improves the overall health of the skin and is especially helpful for fighting acne.  As an added bonus, it rebuilds skin tissue and also mitigates the skin changes associated with aging. Add vitamin A supplements to your daily routine and seek out natural topical skin products that list it as an ingredient. Great dietary sources of vitamin A include leafy greens, carrots, eggs and pumpkins.

VITAMIN C:  An antioxidant powerhouse, Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen and elastin, both of which allow your skin to grow thicker, stronger and suppler. Vitamin C increases the effectiveness of sunscreens, reduces cell damage and encourages healing. Make sure you get plenty of vitamin C through your diet or nutritional supplements. Look for natural skin care products that contain at least a 10 percent concentration of L-ascorbic acid. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes and kiwi. 

Related:  Top 5  Foods for Beautiful Skin

VITAMIN E: One of the best vitamins for skin, E has long been used in supplement and topical forms. It reduces UV damage and wrinkles, improves skin texture and promotes healing. It is an effective antioxidant that fights free radicals related to smoking, pollution and sun exposure. Natural topical skin care products containing vitamin E can reduce the appearance of age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks and fine lines. Good food sources of vitamin E include tofu, spinach, avocados, salmon, olive oil, broccoli and squash.

Nutritional supplements and topical products containing vitamins A, C and E are available online and at natural health stores. Talk to your dermatologist or your holistic health practitioner about supplements and skin care products containing these vitamins. Develop a vitamin-rich skin care regimen that will ensure healthy, supple skin throughout all of the phases of your life. 

0 Comments

Stop Thinning Hair: Top 3 Natural Hair Treatment Plans

by IVL Products

While hair loss is usually associated with men, millions of women also deal with this distressing problem.  Over 50 percent of Caucasian men experience some measure of balding by the age of 50, and while it takes a little longer for women, roughly 40 percent experience noticeable hair loss by age 70.  Infomercials market one topical product after another, but preventing hair loss begins with a healthy diet.  Certain nutrients encourage the growth of shiny, healthy locks, and three minerals play a key role.  Making silica, zinc, and copper part of a hair thinning treatment plan may help stimulate new growth and prevent further loss.

Three important trace minerals may prevent hair loss and promote new growth.

Silica

The body doesn't require very much silica, but trace amounts prove vital to human health.  In addition to strengthening blood vessels, silica boosts circulation, which enhances blood flow to the scalp and promotes hair growth.  In addition, silica plays an important role in the formation of collagen, the main structural protein found in bone, nail, and hair tissue.  Healthy levels of collagen improve hair's elasticity and repair damage, making silica one of the best minerals for thinning hair.  To boost levels of this mineral, people can take supplements or get dietary silica from oats, leeks, green beans, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, and mango.

Zinc

Another important trace element, zinc plays a role in cell reproduction, protein synthesis, nutrient absorption, and production and maintenance of hormones.  It also promotes hair growth, helps repair hair, and helps maintains healthy oil glands.  Studies show that zinc deficiency may cause hair loss.  To increase levels of this important mineral, people can take supplementary zinc or add peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, or chick peas to the diet.

Related:  Mineral Supplements:  Are You Getting Enough?

Copper

Studies link copper deficiency to a host of degenerative diseases.  Copper offers powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and it works with iron to formulate red blood cells.  Copper also is a key ingredient in the coating of nerve fibers and collagen, and it plays a key role in the production of the antioxidant, Superoxide Dismutase (SOD).  Scientists have discovered that copper helps the hair in two ways.  It boosts the production of follicle cells, and it reduces programmed follicle cell death.  Experts have noted that follicles around wounds treated with copper grow especially large, and researchers conducting a study on rats concluded that copper compares to the hair thinning treatment Minoxidil for increasing follicle size and encouraging hair growth.

Man or woman ─ hair loss can cause stress and affect self-esteem.  Before dropping a lot of money on hair plugs or potions, people may want to try three minerals for thinning hair.  Silica, zinc, and copper all contain properties that promote healthy tresses.  People who prefer taking supplementary forms of these minerals should consult with a health care provider in advance.

0 Comments

The Estrogen, Serotonin, and Melatonin Connection: Balance is Essential

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Menopause management is a balancing act that can be very confusing for women who are suffering from hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and other symptoms. Understanding the causes for menopausal symptoms can be difficult because there are physical, psychological and emotional components associated with the change of life. Recent studies have found a link between estrogen, serotonin and melatonin that might shed some light on the causes for certain symptoms. 

For a smoother transition into menopause, learn about how balanced estrogen levels lead to healthier serotonin and melatonin levels.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries nerve impulses from your brain to your body. It is often called the “happy hormone” because of its positive effects on mood. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, fatigue, sexual dysfunction and sleep disorders. Because estrogen is needed to produce serotonin, the declining levels of estrogen associated with menopause result in lower serotonin levels.

To further complicate matters, low serotonin levels lead to low melatonin levels. Serotonin is synthesized in the body to make melatonin, the hormone that is essential to restful sleep. Melatonin controls the body’s circadian rhythms to regulate sleep cycles.

RelatedNine Ways to Naturally Boost Energy

People with low melatonin levels are prone to sleep disorders that leave them in a perpetual state of fatigue. Chronic insomnia has adverse effects on all aspects of health and it can be especially troublesome for menopausal women.

Simply put, the estrogen, serotonin and melatonin imbalances can (and often do) create the perfect storm for menopausal symptoms mood swings and sleep disorders. The symptoms can become so troublesome that women seek help from their doctors who often prescribe hormone replace therapy (HRT) and sleeping pills. Both HRT and prescription sleep aids have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. 

Fortunately both serotonin and melatonin levels can be boosted through dietary changes and nutritional supplements. Studies show that tryptophan supplements help to increase serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain. Food sources of tryptophan include soy, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peas, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

Serotonin and melatonin supplements area available online and in natural heath stores. They come in pill, capsule or powdered forms. These supplements are a safe, natural alternative to prescription medications. Add them to your daily regimen to boost your mood, help you sleep and keep you healthy.  

0 Comments

Menopause Natural Remedies You Didn't Know About: Saffron

by Health News

Saffron is a burnt-orange colored spice that comes from the stigmas of the purple saffron crocus flower.  Primarily used for coloring and cooking, saffron also offers a number of important health benefits.  One that people may not know about is its benefit for aging women in transition.  Integrated into an otherwise healthy lifestyle, saffron makes one of the better menopause natural remedies for improvement of mood.

Menopause natural remedies for mood include the spice, saffron.

Many women in menopause struggle with depression, insomnia, memory problems, and mental fatigue brought about by reduced hormone levels.  Nutrients that enhance the mood can help improve quality of life.  Research shows that saffron helps maintain levels of serotonin in the brain, a neurochemical that plays a part in stabilizing mood.  Consuming saffron is said to promote calmness, reduce mood swings, and lessen irritability. 

As a supplement, experts recommend 85 mg of saffron per day, or the spice can be stirred into hot, cooked food.  Some women also enjoy saffron brewed into a tea.  For proper brewing, place three to eight saffron shoots into a cup of warm water and soak them for 10 minutes.  Then, pour boiling water into the cup, add a little honey and drink the contents, including the shoots.  A few saffron strands steeped in warm dairy or almond milk for about 20 minutes also makes a calming beverage before bedtime. 

Related:  Natural Remedies for Mild Depression

Additional Menopause Natural Remedies

While saffron tends to emotional symptoms, a few additional menopause natural remedies help take care of physical symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

Dong Quai:  While it does not have estrogenic properties, the herb dong quai is thought to promote and maintain balance of female hormones.  Women should not take dong quai if they are experiencing heavy bleeding.

Black Cohosh:  This well-studied herb also promotes and maintains balance of female hormones resulting in relief from hot flashes.  While it is effective for many women, it does not work in all cases.  Black cohosh does not appear to have estrogenic properties, making it safe for women with a personal or family history of breast cancer.

Soy:  Soy foods like tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy milk are full of isoflavones, compounds that have estrogenic properties.  Because there is ongoing controversy surrounding the safety and usefulness of soy isoflavone supplements, most experts recommend getting soy from the diet.

In addition to utilizing supplementary and dietary menopause natural remedies, women might try making a few lifestyle adjustments.  Regular aerobic exercise, limited alcohol use, and relaxation practices can also be helpful for relief of menopausal symptoms.