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Enzymes Set the Stage For Vibrant Health

by Health News

Wondering how to gain energy?

Natural health products like enzymes are critical to tHow to Gain Energy: Enzymes Set the Stage For Vibrant Healthhe performance of virtually every process in the body. Although most people understand the vital roles that vitamins and mineral play in keeping us healthy and energized, many do not understand the importance of proper enzyme balance.

Enzymes serve as catalysts for the body’s essential chemical reactions that support health and vitality. They work their magic by breaking down the nutrients in our body so that the nutrients can pass through the intestinal walls and eventually be absorbed into the bloodstream. Vitamins and minerals are referred to as “coenzymes” which means that they require an enzyme in order to work.

Enzymes are the driving force behind tissue regeneration, proper digestion, cardiovascular health, kidney and liver function and many other life-sustaining processes. The powerful antioxidant properties associated with enzymes help protect the body from disease. When enzymes become depleted the body suffers. Chronic enzyme deficiency or malfunction can lead to serious and sometimes life-threatening health problems.

Most scientists classify enzymes into three main groups: metabolic enzymes, plant enzymes and digestive enzymes. Because they play such a pivotal role in our health, it is essential to get the proper balance of enzymes. Ideally, we should get many of the enzymes we need from food, but that is rarely the case. Fruits, vegetables and other raw foods are good sources but the average American diet contains very few enzymes. In today’s fast-paced world most people turn to time-saving convenience foods that are overcooked and over processed to the point that essential enzymes are destroyed.   As we age, it becomes more difficult for our body to produce the enzymes it needs to thrive, so older people are at a higher risk for significant enzyme deficiency.   

As we have learned more about the critical role that enzymes play in our overall health, more and more medical researchers are recommending daily enzyme supplementation. Enzyme supplements can be purchased at natural health stores and come in powder, tablet or liquid form. The supplements make digestion more efficient by enhancing the absorption of vital nutrients. For best results choose an enzyme supplement which contains a blend of different enzymes. Your holistic health practitioner can help you determine which natural supplements will work best for you.   

Elevating the enzyme levels in your body through natural supplementation will result in improved metabolic and digestive function that will make you look and feel younger. Keeping enzymes in balance will also make you less susceptible to serious diseases. Consider adding enzyme supplements to your “stay-well” plan so you can enjoy vibrant health throughout your life.

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Increase Energy Naturally with Iron

by Health News

Natural Ways to Boost Energy with Iron If you’re a woman and you are tired all the time, an iron supplement might be one of the best natural ways to boost energy. A recent study* whose results were published in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) showed that premenopausal women suffering from “unexplained” fatigue who had low blood levels of iron experienced significant improvement after 12 weeks of iron supplementation.

For the study, Dr Bernard Favrat and his associates of the Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine at the University of Lausanne enrolled 198 women, aged 18 to 53 in this double-blinded, randomized trial. Participants’ serum ferritin (iron) levels were less than 50 micrograms per liter and their hemoglobin levels were above 12 grams per deciliter (these levels are considered deficient) at the launch of the study. Subjects were divided to receive oral, timed-release ferrous sulfate containing 80 mg of elemental iron or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. The participants’ fatigue was evaluated and their blood analyzed for hemoglobin, ferritin and other factors at the beginning of the study (baseline), at 6 weeks and then again at 12 weeks.

For the women receiving the actual iron and not the placebo, hemoglobin, ferritin, and other factors increased after 6 weeks and continued to be improved at 12 weeks. Conversely, the participants in the placebo group had declining values in these areas by the end of the study.

The researchers found that in menstruating, iron-deficient, non-anemic women, iron supplementation for 12 weeks decreased fatigue by almost 59% from baseline; a significant difference of 19% compared with placebo.

The researchers believe that iron deficiency is an under-recognized cause of fatigue in menstruating women, and that this study underscores the importance of testing for iron deficiency in women with unexplained fatigue. The problem is easily treated, and for the woman, she might be spared the time, expense and frustration of being told it’s “an emotional problem.”

Iron supplements are widely available in tablet and liquid forms at most health food stores and supermarkets. It is important to note, however, that while the right amount of iron is excellent for your health, too much can lead to free radical damage and degenerative diseases. Before you begin an iron regimen, talk to your health care professional about the appropriate dosage for YOU.

*http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2012/07/09/cmaj.110950

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Healthy Eating Habits

by Health News

Our diet today looks nothing like that of our ancestors. While they first subsisted on foliage, leafy vegetables, fruits, and some nuts and seeds, once fire was discovered during the Paleolithic era, the diet began to include game food and seafood.

How to Gain Energy with Healthy Eating Habits

It wasn’t for another 10,000 years later that agriculture was introduced. This meant grains, legumes, vegetable oils, and dairy products. This diet was high in fiber, vegetable-based protein, and plant sterols. Still good, right?

Then came 1800s and the start of the Industrial Revolution and the introduction of hydrogenated oils, refined grains and sugar, packaged foods, and fast foods. In the past 200 years alone, we’ve managed to virtually undo evolution by turning away from whole grains, legumes, lean meats and fish, and leafy greens and veggies, and towards saturated fats, dietary cholesterol, and high glycemic carbohydrate food sources.

As a result, many people in our modern world struggle with maintaining energy levels throughout the day. Essentially, the food we are putting into our bodies is not fueling us properly, which has many people wondering how to gain energy in our day to day life.

The solution? Go Caveman!

Focus the bulk of your diet on anything you could hunt or gather. This means lean meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and nuts and seeds. This also means that you won’t have many natural sources of calcium and/or vitamin D, so you’ll need to supplement with a good calcium/magnesium product, as well as 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.

Boost Health and Vitality

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5 Ways to Prevent Colds and Flus

by Health News

Cold and Flu Tips | Natural Flu Prevention

Apart from maintaining sensible fitness levels, how else can we lower our risk of catching seasonal illnesses?

Avoid Exposure
Avoiding contact with those suffering from infection is a sensible precaution but it is not easy. Children are known to suffer more colds than adults so avoid large get-togethers where possible and postpone social engagements with anyone hinting at the first signs of cold and flu symptoms. If you have a cold or flu, stay home from work to avoid spreading the illness further.

Wash Hands Regularly
Frequent hand-washing has been shown to be the best and easiest way to prevent picking up flu and colds. Thoroughly wash your hands when you return home, before you eat, before handling food and after visiting the bathroom, sneezing or wiping a child’s nose. Use hot water and antibacterial soap. If you cannot get to a sink, use a hand sanitizer gel.

Clean Surfaces with Anti-Bacterial Cleaners
Shaking hands, using doorknobs and touching contaminated surfaces are the prime way that colds and flu infections are passed on. To counter these problems, wipe surfaces, doorknobs, supermarket cart handles, telephone handsets and other areas which get heavy public use with antibacterial wipes, or use cleaning sprays.

Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose and Mouth
Cold and flu viruses enter the body via the eyes, nose and mouth, so avoid introducing harmful bacteria by resisting rubbing the eyes or touching the nose and mouth unnecessarily.

Diet - Eat Foods That Act as Digestive Aids
Eat a diet which is wholesome and healthy with plenty of Vitamin C. Eating foods that act as digestive aids, such as fresh fruits, vegetables and natural yoghurt can help you feel your best during cold and flu season. Also, drinking plenty of fluids can help boost your immunity as a last line of defense against infections and viruses

Those deficient in Vitamins A, E, B6, B12, C, folic acid, zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium and copper may be suffering from an impaired immune function which can easily be countered with a healthy diet and a daily vitamin supplement

If you are unfortunate enough to catch a cold or flu this winter, drink plenty of fluids, quarantine yourself and take gentle exercise in the fresh air in the case of a head cold to speed recovery.

Free Guide for Digestive Health

 

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Don't Reach for Antacids for Digestive Problems

by Health News

Digestive Enzymes versus Antacids

Most men and women over forty suffer from poor some type of digestive problem. It doesn't have to be that way. Natural food supplements such as spirulina and chlorella are the best health supplements for people with digestion issues, who are looking for a natural solution.

According to the American Pharmacists Association, Americans spend more than $3 billion a year on over-the counter antacids. Plus we spend another $13 billion on prescribed acid reducing drugs.

Worse than the expense: antacids cause a great deal more harm than good.

In fact, taking antacids regularly is one of the most dangerous things you can do for your health. Here are two reasons why they are dangerous and why you should stop taking them.

REASON #1: Antacids Prevent Digestion
Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid, but you need acid to digest your food. Because digestion gets stopped, people eat more which is why antacids are one of the primary reasons why so many people are overweight.

REASON #2: Antacids Disrupt the Balance Of Power in Your Gut
Stomach acids do more than just break down your food. They also destroy dangerous bacteria in your food that could make you sick or even kill you. But when your stomach acid is neutralized, it can't destroy these dangerous microorganisms, so they get into your intestines. And unless you've got a healthy army of good bacteria in your gut (and few people do), you're going to get sick. Spirulina is especially good at helping people stop taking antacids and start eating again with gusto.

How?
Spirulina and Chlorella are both loaded with digestive enzymes and they help stimulate the production of good intestinal flora. Once you start using Spirulina, you'll never need to turn to an antacid solution again (which is no solution at all).

Adding a Spirulina-based supplement as a daily food normalizes an under-active intestinal tract by enhancing the natural contraction of the intestinal walls; and by supplying cellulose, a form of fiber.

Aging Adults Guide to Healthy Digestion

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Natural Health Solutions: Vitamin E Deficiency & Diseases of the Digestive System

by Health News

Vitamin E deficiency may cause digestive problems and other diseaseVitamin E is one of the most important antioxidant nutrients our bodies need. It is found in nut oils, sunflower seeds, whole grains, wheat germ, and spinach. Not only is it a powerful antioxidant, it is also essential for child growth and development and for maintaining healthy tissues in adulthood. But what happens to people who don’t get enough of this important vitamin?

In infants, a Vitamin E deficiency can cause severe growth retardation. In adults, Vitamin E deficiency can have severe effects on the central nervous system including ataxia (difficulty coordinating body movements) and peripheral neuropathy. It can also cause anemia (insufficient red blood cells).

People who suffer from Vitamin E deficiency sometimes suffer from conditions or diseases of the digestive system that prevent them from absorbing fat. Because Vitamin E is fat soluble, people who can’t absorb fat properly will have a difficult time absorbing Vitamin E, even if they are getting plenty of the vitamin in their diets. Such people often get excellent results by taking Vitamin E as a nutritional supplement and may well see a reversal of the symptoms of deficiency.

Digestive problems? Download this guide to healthy holiday digestion.

Scientists also believe Vitamin E plays a role in preventing atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) by helping prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Several epidemiological studies have indicated that high dietary intake of Vitamin E is associated with high serum concentrations of alpha tocopherol, as well as with lower rates of ischemic heart disease.

The upshot? Eat plenty of foods that contain this important nutrient, and if you suffer from a condition or disease of the digestive system that prevents you from absorbing it properly, speak to your health care professional about taking a Vitamin E natural dietary supplement. 

Is your family taking enough Vitamin E?

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Antioxidant Supplements: Vitamin E

by Health News

Do you know how to get the powerhouse antioxidant supplement vitamin E naturally?
Want to have healthier, more youthful skin?
Want to stave off degenerative diseases and fight digestion problems?


We all do! And one of the best ways to accomplish this is to get plenty of the potent antioxidant Vitamin E.

If getting Vitamin E from natural food supplements is good, getting it from food is better. So here is a list of foods that not only taste good but will provide a healthy dose of this vital nutrient.

Sunflower Seeds. Take them as an on-the-go snack or sprinkle them on your salad or in your soup. Sunflower seeds are tasty and add rich flavor to otherwise bland foods. These tasty seeds provide 36.6mg (222% RDA) of vitamin E in a 100g serving or 36.5mg (310% RDA) per cup.

Paprika and Red Chili Powder. If you’re a fan of spicy food you can add red chili powder to your food to awaken your taste buds while getting a good dose of vitamin E. If you have a more sensitive palate, you can get just as much of the vitamin from using paprika. Both offer the same amount of vitamin E, around 30mg (199% RDA) per 100g serving, or 2.1mg (14% RDA) in a single tablespoon.

Almonds, a good source of Vitamin E to support digestion

Almonds. Another excellent on-the-go snack that you can eat in raw form or get in the form of almond butter or almond milk. Almonds provide 26.2mg (175% RDA) of vitamin E in a 100g serving, 37.5mg (250% RDA) per cup, and 0.3mg (2% RDA) of vitamin E in a single almond.

Pine Nuts. They are an essential ingredient in pesto and are also great on their own or added to a fruit salad. They provide 9.3mg (62% RDA) of vitamin-E in a 100g serving, 12.6mg (84% RDA) per cup, and 0.2mg (1% RDA) in 10 nuts.

All of these natural, whole foods can help ease digestion problems and improve your complexion at the same time. Other good vitamin E sources include peanuts, basil, oregano, cooked spinach and dried apricots. Enjoy!

Do you include any of these natural sources of antioxidant Vitamin E in your daily diet?

 

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Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms

by Health News

If you are eating a healthy diet you may simply assume that you are getting all of the vitamins that you need. However, increasingly, people have different vitamin deficiencies and aren’t even aware that this is the case. If your body is lacking in essential vitamins like Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, your health can quickly deteriorate.

If you’re experiencing frequent digestive problems or other regular health issues, your body may be lacking in essential vitamins.

If you’re experiencing frequent digestive problems or other regular health issues, your body may be lacking in essential vitamins.

In order for your body to function optimally, your body should be exposed to ample amounts of every key vitamin. After all, each kind of vitamin serves a vital purpose in the body. You may not immediately realize that you have a vitamin deficiency. However, there are signs that you can look for.

Do you get an upset stomach or experience other digestive problems on a regular basis? Your body may be having a hard time absorbing the nutrients from the food you eat. It could also be you're lacking in the proper amount of good bacteria and enzymes in your stomach needed to break down and digest your food. Probiotic supplements can help in these instances to provide your body with the bacteria it needs to support a healthy digestive system. It's important to consult your doctor about these symptoms.

One sign of vitamin deficiency that you can easily recognize occurs via changes in your hair, skin, teeth and nails. For example, is your skin is dry and cracking? Do you have dandruff?   Further, your nails and hair may break easily, and you may also experience hair loss due to vitamin deficiencies. Lack of Vitamin C in the body can also cause impaired wound healing, loose teeth and bleeding gums, while lack of Vitamin A can cause dry hair, and acne. People also commonly have eye problems, like dry eye and night blindness, when they have deficiencies in Vitamin A.

You might think that you are just depressed or tired. However, mood related issues could also be caused by lack of vitamins in the body. For example, a B12 deficiency can cause depression, fatigue, personality changes, and even psychosis. Lack of Vitamin D has also been traced to memory impairment in seniors. If you are finding that you are suddenly experiencing problems with your mood and just don’t feel like yourself, this could also be due to a vitamin deficiency.

Deficiency in Vitamin D is also a serious issue that is increasingly of concern to scientists and doctors. Research has linked this lack of Vitamin D to a variety of serious illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease and immune disorders. If you have a vitamin deficiency in D, there are measures you can take such as drinking fortified milk that is rich in Vitamin D. Also exposure to sunlight will help to maintain your body’s natural production of the vitamin.

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Which Supplements are Best for You?

by Health News

Which Supplements are Best? Get a Healthy Digestive SystemOne of the best ways to get a healthy digestive system is by taking dietary supplements. In fact, more than half of American adults take dietary supplements, but with hundreds to choose from, how do you know which supplements are best for you personally? Here is a rundown on some of the most common natural supplements and why you should include them in your daily diet.

Multivitamins

Those with a busy lifestyle who rely on fast food and microwave meals will almost certainly have a deficiency in vitamins and minerals. While daily supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet in any way, multivitamins do make sure that trace elements and minerals such as magnesium and zinc are being consumed on a regular basis.

The best multivitamins are those specifically formulated for men or for women. Women need higher levels of iron, calcium and folic acid. A well blended formula for women can resolve issues such as irritability, mood swings, bloating, lethargy, cramps and breast tenderness while men benefit from ingredients such as beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto for healthy prostate function.

Fish Oil

Fish oil has been shown to significantly improve health when taken on a regular basis. From preventing heart disease to easing joint pain and arthritis with its anti-inflammatory properties, a good quality fish oil should be on everyone's supplement list. 

Some people avoid taking fish oil supplements due to the aftertaste. Choose a good quality brand from a reputable supplier.  If you still get nasty repeats, store the fish oil in the refrigerator and take them cold; and try taking them before going to bed. This allows the capsules to get deeper into the body before being digested which eliminates the problem. A good quality fish oil will also be properly distilled and processed to remove toxic metals and pollutants from the fish oil.

Calcium

More than 25 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis and it is not just women that suffer from this "brittle bone" disease. It is too late to take a crash course once symptoms have been diagnosed. Our bodies need plenty of calcium (with vitamin D to help the body break it down) from an early age and throughout life. Calcium is also necessary for strong teeth as well as supporting the heart and nervous system.

Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is a relative newcomer to the health market yet its comprehensive benefits make it a top seller. It helps prevent heart disease and metabolizes energy from food. It also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure without the harmful side effects of prescribed medications. CoQ10 is found naturally in every cell in our body, but as we age it naturally diminishes and needs replenishing. It has been found to help prevent migraines, reduce inflammation and increase energy. The ideal daily supplement is around 100 mg per 100 pounds of body weight, although higher doses are beneficial to counter chronic fatigue. 

Once you have established a few basic supplements, continue to read and learn more about specific supplements. The best way to judge which are best for you is by trial and error. If you are receiving the correct nutrients and supplements, your body will feel fit, healthy and full of energy.

Want more tips on how to get a healthy digestive system? Get our FREE guide: The Aging Adults Guide to Healthy Holiday Digestion

Guide to a Healthy Digestive System

 

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When is the Best Time to Take Supplements and Vitamins?

by Health News

A common question among those concerned with healthy aging is, "When is the best time of day to take natural supplements?" If you are taking prescribed medications, it is a good idea to consult your doctor as occasionally a supplement may affect the efficacy of your medication if taken at the same time.

 

Here are helpful guidelines about taking vitamins and supplements:

 

Taking Vitamins at the Same Time Each Day

Many fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body for up to 24 hours making it important that you take supplements at roughly the same time each day to maintain a constant supply. This particularly applies to fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K which are often included in multivitamin tablets.

Want healthy aging tips? Learn the best time to take supplements in this article

Taking Vitamins on an Empty Stomach

Generally it is not advisable to take supplements on an empty stomach as they will quickly be passed out in your urine without having time to be digested and do the most good. This is particularly true of vitamins B and C as they dissolve in water.

 

Taking supplements on an empty stomach can cause nausea and gastro-intestinal problems for some. The exception to the rule is if you are taking enzymes or amino acid supplements to lower inflammation as they work best on an empty stomach.

 

Taking Vitamins with Breakfast

Most people establish a regular regimen of taking their daily supplements with breakfast. It is a good healthy aging habit to get into as it avoids them being forgotten and the food prevents them passing through the body too quickly.

 

Most naturally-sourced vitamins and minerals are present in food so it makes sense to take any additional supplements in the same way, as part of a meal. B vitamins are a source of energy and they promote metabolism so they are best taken early in the day to boost and maintain energy levels.

 

Fat-soluble vitamins are best taken with a meal that contains some fat. If your breakfast is totally fat-free, for example fruit, add a handful of nuts or some avocado to enable the vitamins to be fully dissolved and available to be digested.

 

Guide to a Healthy Digestive System

 

Taking Supplements Throughout the Day

Some hard-to-digest minerals such as calcium are best taken in small but regular amounts

throughout the day. The body is unable to digest more than 500mg of calcium at any one time, so for those taking 1000mg in two tablets, consider taking one at breakfast and another with the evening meal for maximum benefit.

 

Magnesium promotes the relaxation of muscles, so it is better to take it in the evening when it can aid a good night's sleep.

 

Iron tablets are best taken separately as caffeine and tannins can affect its absorption. However, citrus fruits are particularly good for aiding iron absorption, so consider taking them with a glass of orange juice rather than water.

 

Take Supplements When it Suits You Best

The most important part of taking vitamins and supplements is taking them at all. Find a time when you will remember to take them, and if you find they are causing digestive problems like indigestion or nausea then try switching to other mealtimes to see if the problem improves.

Do you take your supplements and vitamins at a certain time of day?

 

 

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Supercharge Your Immune System Before You Travel

by Health News

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

Boost Your Immune System Naturally

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you do to stay healthy while traveling?

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Probiotic Supplements: Not Just for Intestinal Health

by Health News

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

What are probiotics?

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

Probiotic Supplements

How do probiotics help my whole body?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digestive Health

Sources:

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

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

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

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5 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Healthy Foods

by Nancy Maneely

Effectiveness of Healthy Foods“Eat healthy food” is advice we hear at least once a day. It comes from everywhere: TV, magazines, our doctor, well-meaning family and friends. So, we make smart selections at the grocery store and feel very good about choosing an orange for a midday snack rather than, say, a donut.

That’s a great start … but really, how do you know your body is getting the benefit of the healthy foods you eat? Unfortunately, your body doesn’t issue an itemized receipt every time, listing the calories and nutrients that were effectively utilized. In fact, you might be surprised at how little of the valuable nutrients actually reach their goal – that is, being absorbed and put to work doing what they are meant to do: keep you functioning at an optimum level.

Here are five simple ways you can increase the effectiveness of the food you eat:

  1. Take a digestive enzyme supplement. What are digestive enzymes? Our bodies make their own digestive enzymes that break down food in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine into smaller, absorbable molecules. However, while all fresh food contains enzymes, our modern habits destroy them. We grow fruits and vegetables in depleted soil, gas them to prolong shelf life, and cook them at high heat. All of this reduces their enzyme levels.
  2. Take a probiotic to increase friendly flora. Friendly bacteria help produce the enzymes we need to break down food. They also support immune health and help protect the vulnerable cells along the linings of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
  3. Chew your food! Mom’s advice was sound. Chewing produces amylase that breaks down carbohydrates and stimulates digestive juices.
  4. Slow down. The chemicals needed to for healthy digestion are produced when we are relaxed. A calm, quiet atmosphere signals the digestive system to kick in.
  5. Avoid taking antacids. In the stomach, high levels of acid are necessary to break down food (and kill off bad bacteria like H. pylori that can lead to stomach cancer). There are natural ways to reduce the problems of heartburn and acid reflux. Drinking enough water, reducing salt, eating fewer fats, and taking digestive enzymes and probiotics can take care of the problem.

Do you take probiotics or digestive enzymes? What benefits have you experienced?

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How Do You Naturally Prevent Acid Reflux?

by Health News

How Do You Naturally Prevent Acid Reflux?Digestion problems are a growing problem in the U.S., causing an increasing number of clinic visits and hospitalizations. Yet there's something about them that make it difficult to discuss them in polite company - leaving many unfortunate people suffering in silence.

Symptoms of reflux, such as heartburn, are common digestive problems experienced by most people. In a Swedish study, 6% of people reported experiencing reflux symptoms daily, while 14% had them at least weekly.

Heartburn typically involves a "burning feeling” rising up from the center of the abdomen and into the chest. This feeling may be accompanied by a sour taste, excess salivation or finding food or fluid in your mouth, particularly at night.

Pregnancy, some medications as well as alcohol and certain foods can cause digestive problems, specifically, heartburn.

Acid reflux happens when the lower esophageal sphincter - a circular muscle that acts as a gate between the esophagus and stomach - does not keep its tone, allowing stomach acid to backwash into the esophagus.

Frequently occurring symptoms of reflux may indicate GERD, known as gastroesophageal reflux disease - which is a very common digestive problem. Along with being painful and inconvenient, GERD can harm the esophagus and even lead to esophageal cancer.

Typically, treatment includes drugs that reduce acid levels. However, these medications can be risky. In severe cases, surgeons may tighten a loose muscle between the stomach and esophagus to stop the upward flow of acid.

Surprisingly, avoiding tomatoes and spicy dishes don’t necessarily help to avoid reflux. While they are acidic, they're not "trigger foods”.

On the other hand, mint and anything containing mint oil, chocolate, deep-fried foods, coffee and alcohol have all been shown to trigger GERD. Of these, deep-fried foods are most likely to trigger an acid attack, since they're hard to digest.

Here are some further eating tips to avoid heartburn and other digestion problems:

  • Increase your fiber consumption - some fiber types draw moisture into the gastrointestinal tract, while others add bulk or feed the good gut microbes. Aim to eat one whole fruit, four non-starchy veggies and both soluble and insoluble fibers - like beans, grains and nuts.
  • Add ginger and fennel - ginger has calming digestive powers and may speed up passage of food from the stomach into the small intestine. Fennel is believed to relieve bloating and gas.
  • Be careful with food preparation - instead of frying meals, you may want to try roasting, grilling or poaching instead. Use extra-virgin olive oil for cooking instead of butter or margarine.
  • Be choosy with dairy - opt for goat's milk dairy products, which contain less fat and are easier to digest than cow's milk dairy.
  • Eat like an Italian - the incidence of heartburn among Italians is only 14.8% compared to 42% in the U.S. Italians eat small portions in their meals and dessert is usually fresh fruit. Afterwards, Italian families usually take a walk together, which has been shown to aid digestion.
  • Prescription drugs used to treat acid reflux, GERD and other digestive problems can cause headaches, nausea and diarrhea.

On the other hand, some natural supplements may be safe alternatives for long-term acid reflux relief. Look for a digestive supplement with ingredients chosen to help resolve your acid reflux problems without any dietary restrictions.

Healthy Aging: Overall Health Starts With Digestion

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5 Tips for a Healthy Digestive System

by Health News

While it might seem simple to grab a bite to eat, the digestive process is actually quite complicated. The food must travel through the intestines and then various processes work together to eliminate it from the body. If you have been having digestive issues like gas, cramps, constipation or acid reflux, there is really no reason to start taking medications before trying some simple cures. The truth is that there are a variety of natural cures, which should result in a healthy digestive system.

Probiotics
One simple remedy is yoghurt or kefir. Both these foods have beneficial bacteria that are essential to a healthy digestive system. If you don’t eat dairy, the good news is that yoghurt or kefir are both available in soy and coconut. Feel free to opt for the supplement option instead, as you can buy probiotics and take a capsule a day for the same effect. Plus, people who take probiotics are far less likely to get sick.

Pineapple
If you love pineapple, you are in luck. This fruit relieves gas through its powerful digestive enzymes. This fruit contains bromelain, which helps with digestion and breaks down proteins. Pineapple is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and can reduce any swelling that might be taking place in your intestines.

Chamomile
Chamomile is not only a calming tea; it also helps to sooth digestive ailments. It relaxes more than just your mind, and can relieve bloating, gas, diarrhea and more. Incidentally, ginger tea can also help with digestive problems including nausea, and cramps.

Turmeric
Turmeric is the yellow spice that is often used in Indian foods. It is related to ginger. It is another anti-inflammatory and aids fats to breakdown in the body due to the fact that it stimulates bile. Turmeric can also protect the liver and prevent ulcers. While you are taking turmeric for your digestive issues, you may get other benefits as well, as the spice could help with fever, infections and heart disease. Studies also show it may fight cancer. In addition to being used for Indian meals, turmeric is also available as a supplement. As you can see, even if you weren’t having digestive issues, there is no reason not to add a powerhouse spice like turmeric into your diet.

Water
Due to the hectic nature of day-to-day life, people often neglect to get enough water. However, water is crucial to a healthy digestive system. The number one reason for constipation is lack of water. When the body is constipated, the intestinal lining becomes inflamed and the balance of bacteria in the gut gets out of whack.

Often part of the reason that people have digestive problems is that they quickly consume their meals and don’t give enough attention to chewing and taking small bites. If you are looking to relieve your digestive issues, be sure to eat slowly and pay attention to the flavor of your meal. This will not only help you have a healthy digestive system, but you'll enjoy your food as well.

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7 Dietary Ingredients That Unclog Your Arteries

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you’re probably already aware, progressive clogging of the arteries - scientifically known as atherosclerosis - is the number one killer on the planet. 7 Dietary Ingredients That Unclog Your Arteries | Institute for Vibrant Living

And while it’s true that atherosclerosis is a complex process that involves autoimmunity, infection, dietary incompatibilities, along with many other known and unknown factors - it’s both entirely preventable, and in some cases reversible as well.

For instance, there is plenty of peer-reviewed, published scientific research proving that regular consumption of these seven dietary ingredients prevents, and in some cases even reverses atherosclerosis:

  1. B vitamins - a doubled-blind, randomized 2005 study found that daily consumption of 2.5 mg folic acid, 25 mg vitamin B6 and 0.5 mg vitamin B12 for one year led to significant reductions in arterial thickness. Niacin or folic acid alone has also been shown to have this effect in patients. It’s always better to go with natural sources of these B vitamins rather than synthetic supplements.
  2. Garlic - has been shown to reverse plaque buildup in arteries, along with providing many other potentially life-saving health benefits.
  3. Pomegranate - this super fruit has been shown to reverse the process of atherosclerosis in both animal and human studies.
  4. Fermented cabbage - kimchi, a Korean recipe which includes fermented cabbage, hot pepper and other ingredients, appears to slow down atherosclerosis in animal models.
  5. L-arginine - this amino acid is capable of preventing arterial thickening, as shown in more than 30 animal studies. Other studies also show that L-arginine is capable of correcting the underlying condition typically associated with cardiovascular disease, known as endothelial dysfunction.
  6. Turmeric - more than 30 studies so far have shown that the main polyphenol in the cooking spice turmeric - known as curcumin - is an excellent cardioprotective agent. For instance, one study showed that curcumin prevented damage to arteries associated with blockage.
  7. Sesame seed - appears to be ideally suited for preventing the progression of atherosclerosis. One animal study found it was capable of preventing atherosclerosis lesion formation.

Remember - heart disease is not a natural process, one that you need to accept as inevitable based on your family history. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that you can significantly influence your risk for this deadly condition by managing what you eat or don’t eat, along with your other lifestyle choices.

As the examples above clearly show, you can literally use food as medicine and regain control of your health with proper, life-giving nutrition.

Source: Seven Dietary Ingredients that Unclog Your Arteries.   

Copyright: eraxion / 123RF Stock Photo

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What are Antioxidants and How Do They Benefit Your Health?

by Health News

The old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” may, after all, have some medical grounding. Recent tests found that the polyphenol antioxidants in apples may be the fountain of youth, at least if you are a fruit fly! Studies still have to be carried out on humans but it is already accepted that antioxidants help fight the dangers of free radicals in our bodies and help slow down the aging process.

What are Antioxidants and How Do They Benefit My Health | Institute for Vibrant Living

How do Antioxidants Work?
The one weapon we have to protect cells from damaging free radicals is antioxidants. Vitamin E has been shown to have unique antioxidant and anti-aging properties. It works by countering the free radicals that are produced in the body through everyday functions such as exercise and breathing.

Antioxidants react with and neutralize these unstable molecules, known as free radicals, before they have chance to attach themselves to other cells causing cell damage, premature aging, heart disease and even cataracts.

Vitamin E also reduces inflammation in disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, improves circulation and slows the development of plaque which can narrow the artery walls, all things that older people are likely to suffer from.

Where can I Get More Antioxidants?
Examples of antioxidants are lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and E, selenium and other substances. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, sunflower seeds and wheat germ oil. Vitamin C can be sourced naturally in tomatoes, strawberries and citrus fruits such as oranges, while selenium is found in seafood and whole grains.
 
Foods such as tea, red wine, chocolate, apples, pears and dark berries are all full of flavenoids, along with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. These cruciferous vegetables are also high in a substance called isothiocyanate. Carrots are a good source of carotenoids and links have been made showing that those people with a diet high in carotenoids may enjoy longer lives.

Antioxidant Supplements
Daily multivitamin supplements include a proportion of vitamin C and vitamin E and this is a good way to ensure that minimum daily requirements are met. 

Sources:
http://www.fountainofyouthonline.net/anti-age/a-must-know-about-antioxidants/
http://www.fyiliving.com/diet/nutrition/anti-aging-secret-eat-an-apple-a-day/
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/antioxidants

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The Health Benefits of Superfoods

by Health News

In the past few decades it has been determined that signs of aging like wrinkles and diminished skin elasticity are enhanced by oxidation, a process in which damaging free radicals begin to break down DNA.  Research is showing that we can slow the aging process with the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods.  Studies also show that the amount of antioxidants consumed is directly proportional to longevity.The Health Benefits of Superfoods | Institute for Vibrant Living

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but not all of these have the same effect.  The effects of antioxidants are measured by a food’s oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC).

Check out these ORAC-rich fruits and vegetables, and implement them into your daily diet to generate a youthful appearance. 

  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Red Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli

Here are a few other superfoods that have shown great potential for enhancing a youthful appearance. 

Acai Berries – These tiny, purple berries can be found in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil.  In addition to boosting energy, this antioxidant-laden superfood is said to promote healthy hair, nails and skin.  Acai is available in supplement form in various powders and caplets.

Red Ginseng – A study published in the December, 2009 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that red ginseng reverses wrinkles.  The study examined a group of female volunteers over the age of 40. The subjects took three grams of red ginseng extract daily for 24 weeks, and it was found that facial wrinkles were significantly reduced and collagen levels were increased.  Collagen is a product made from proteins in the body which is necessary for healthy skin.  Further, a gene that destroys collagen was inhibited and elastin, a protein that enhances skin elasticity, was increased.

Resveratrol - This important nutrient can be found in the skin of red grapes and in blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates.  Besides supporting cardiovascular health, resveratrol is said to promote a youthful appearance.  In addition to the fruits mentioned above, resveratrol supplements are available in whole foods stores and through natural supplement websites.

Sea Buckthorn Berries – This small, sour berry is found in harsh environments of Eastern Asia and is packed with vitamin C, providing 12 times more than an orange.  It is said to provide weight loss and immune system support and to foster good hair, nail and skin health.  Typically the fruit cannot be found in your local grocery store, but liquid and caplet supplements are available in stores and online.

Soy – Research that is soon-to-be-published in the British Journal of Pharmacology has concluded that soy can have positive effects on age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women. 

As adequate estrogen levels are required for youthful skin in women, an ovariectomy can accelerate aging of the skin.  This study examined the effects of soy on the skin of ovariectomized rats.  Researchers began treating rats six months after ovariectomy with genistein, a soy-derived isoflavone, for a period of 12 weeks.   At the end of treatment, the thickness of collagen and skin strength was significantly improved, which suggests that soy therapy might be a reliable alternative for age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women.

Everyone wants to look young for as long as possible and adequate nutrition is an easy fix.  In addition to a daily vitamin and mineral supplement, it might be worth a try to incorporate some of the foods above into your daily diet for a more youthful appearance.

Sources:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article6986044.ece
http://theview.abc.go.com/blog/top-7-superfoods-women

Cho, S. et al.  Red ginseng root extract mixed with Torilus fructus and Corni fructus improves facial wrinkles and increases type I procollagen synthesis in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.  Journal of Medicinal Food, 2009 Dec;12(6):1252-9.

Polito, F. et al.  Genistein Aglycone, a Soy-derived Isoflavone, Improves Skin Changes Induced by Ovariectomy in Rats.   British Journal of Pharmacology.  2011 Aug 9. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01619.x. [Epub ahead of print]

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Micronutrients: What are their Healing Powers?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Micronutrients: What are the Healing Powers?The rate of obesity has doubled in America over the last 30 years and has been accompanied by a massive health crisis - literally a nationwide epidemic of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Health experts are now convinced that this is because of the nutrient-deficient and calorie-rich US diet, not to mention crazy lifestyle, stress and lack of sleep.

And given the way US healthcare is structured, prevention by practicing a healthy diet and lifestyle is very unlikely. In fact, even most health caregivers receive very little nutritional training in medical school.

There is no doubt that solving this health crisis is going to take a lot of discipline and a complete dietary about-turn.

According to nutritionists, the root cause of chronic diseases is simple: lack of enough fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet. The typical American diet couldn’t be further removed from this ideal. On average, Americans eat 60% processed foods and 30% animal products, leaving only 10% for raw, unprocessed fruits and veggies.

While most people understand something about macronutrients, they know very little about the undervalued, but much more important micronutrients - the 14 essential vitamins, 16 essential minerals, and thousands of phytochemicals.

These micronutrients do not contain calories and our body needs them only in tiny amounts, but their role in maintaining health cannot be overestimated.

What’s more, some health experts now believe that the major micronutrient in food is not vitamins or minerals, but phytochemicals. In fact they believe micronutrients are literally a fountain of youth that function to improve human health and longevity.

There are literally tens of thousands of phytochemicals in natural, whole, vegetable-based foods. Micronutrients are essential in helping to protect us from disease - and if we are already sick, they help in recovery.

Every tomato, head of cabbage, piece of lettuce, cucumber, bean or sprout has hundreds - even thousands - of nutrients critically important for health.

And while supplementing with micronutrients can be helpful, the makeup of nutrients in unprocessed fruits and vegetables is so complex that it can’t be replicated synthetically - and why would you need to, when they are already so plentiful in naturally occurring green vegetables and fruits?

The standard American diet provides a meager 4% of phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables - not to mention that processing removes delicate phytochemicals found in raw produce, while animal products don’t have them at all.

So if you’re concerned about taking care of your health or prone to falling ill, you may want to consider adding more raw and lightly cooked fresh veggies - along with fresh fruits - to your daily diet.

Source: The Healing Power of Micronutrients.

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Natural Ways for Women to Boost Energy

by Health News

If you are a woman juggling work, home and family it will not surprise you to know that fatigue is one of the most common complaints doctors hear every day. Many busy women drive themselves on caffeine for the energy they need to cope, but that can lead to poor sleep patterns and further tiredness. It probably never occurs to most of us that there are natural ways to boost energy.

Our bodies, like engines, need fuel. Even those watching their weight need to provide the energy required for daily functioning. Sugary snacks and drinks provide instant energy peaks but are shortly followed by a slump in energy levels and cravings for another sugar hit, playing havoc with insulin levels. Choosing natural energy-boosting supplements for a steady supply of energy is most important.

natural ways to boost energyEnergy Boosters from Food
Starting the day with a wholesome breakfast will wake up the body’s metabolism which is essential for day-long energy. Eating a high fiber cereal with skim milk and a sliced banana, whole grain toast with peanut butter or an English muffin with an egg are a good way to increase energy naturally and provide a steady source of power without ending in overwhelming exhaustion.

Whole grain foods and some types of nuts such as cashews, hazelnuts and almonds provide magnesium which is an important element for converting glucose into energy. A symptom of low magnesium levels is a lack of energy, so including magnesium in your daily supplement intake or eating snacks of home made trail mix when you need a quick energy booster makes good sense.

Other healthy snacks are yoghurt, an apple with a handful of nuts or whole wheat crackers with a touch of peanut butter. These are healthy for the body and will give a steady, long-term burst of much-needed energy for women on-the-go.

Energy Boosters from Lifestyle
Take a quick break from work every day and walk briskly around the block. This raises the cardiovascular system which in turn increases energy. Make sure you drink plenty of water during or after this exercise as dehydration in itself can cause exhaustion. Add a few drops of natural energy-boosting monatomic minerals which quickly gets to work to re-mineralize, re-alkalize, re-vitalize and re- energize your body and bring it back into balance.

With all these natural ways to boost energy, your multi-tasking in everyday life as a woman should soon feel a whole lot easier!