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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 US, 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 US. 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 My 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 the 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 Energy Boosters for Women

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.

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 Energy Boosters for WomenEnergy 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 recommendations in place to increase energy naturally, your multi-tasking in everyday life as a woman should soon feel a whole lot easier!

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Top 5 Supplements to Add To Your Smoothie

by Health News

There are a variety of vitamin supplements that can be added to smoothies that have all sorts of healthy properties. These ingredients can all be purchased at your local whole foods store or through natural supplement websites. 

  1. Brewers Yeast: A great source of selenium, chromium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, copper, manganese, iron, and zinc.
  2. Bee Pollen: Contains high concentrations of vitamin B-complex and vitamins A, C, D, and E.
  3. Green Tea Powder: The potent antioxidants in green tea have been said to help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol.
  4. Spirulina: Contains over 60% all-digestible vegetable protein with a high concentration of beta carotene, vitamin B-12, iron and GLA, an essential fatty acid.
  5. Wheat Germ Oil: A rich source of vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

Top 5 Supplements to Add To Your Smoothie

Check out this smoothie recipe, which offers a healthy and tasty balance of protein and carbohydrates to keep your engine running throughout the day! Bananas, which are an excellent source of potassium, dietary fiber and Vitamin B6, provide a rich and creamy base, and soy milk is a great source of isoflavones which aid in the prevention of many cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis.

TROPICAL TREAT - Serves Two

  • Place all ingredients in a blender:
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 2 medium bananas, sliced
  • 2 scoops vanilla soy protein powder
  • 1/2 cup chunked cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup chunked canned or fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk

Place lid on blender, and pulse until ingredients begin to mix. Set blender on "blend" for about 30 seconds and then move to "ice crush" or your highest blending button for 20 to 30 more seconds. Pour, and enjoy this quick and healthful smoothie – a taste of the tropics!

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Green Drink Supplements Boost Energy

by Health News

Today’s hectic schedules, environmental toxins, over-processed foods and unprecedented stress levels are enough to send anybody’s energy reserves into a downward spiral. It is impossible to live a vibrant life when you feel perpetually lethargic.

The epidemic of fatigue in this country has led to a booming market for so-called “energy boosting” drinks, many of which contain excessive amounts of sugar, caffeine and harmful chemicals.

The drinks are especially popular among high school and college students, but have been embraced by people of all ages. Several studies have linked energy drinks to cardiac abnormalities, breathing problems, seizures, strokes and mood disorders.

The drinks are particularly risky for children who suffer from ADHD, diabetes and cardiac problems.  Energy drinks also have a dehydrating effect on the body, making them a dangerous choice for athletes who need to replenish fluids. Contrary to what the beverage marketing gurus want us to believe, sugar, caffeine and chemicals are not healthy ways to boost energy levels.

So what can you do to safely boost your energy naturally? Proper rest, regular exercise, good nutrition and a positive attitude can go a long way toward helping you maintain a vital, active life. Unfortunately, most people aren’t getting the recommended eight hours of sleep needed to function at full capacity. Environmental toxins and depleted soils compromise the nutritional value of the foods we eat. Most of us aren’t finding time to exercise and excessive daily stressors are taking a toll on our mental health.

Green Drink Supplements Boost Energy
Millions of Americans have made the smart decision to embrace healthy lifestyle changes and to use natural nutritional supplements to safely boost energy levels. There are four green “superfoods” that contain significant levels of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids that we need to stay healthy and energized. Spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass and barley grass are packed with health-giving nutrients.

Try add a green superfood drink supplement to your daily routine.

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Watermelon Lowers Blood Pressure (Bp)

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that watermelon can lower your blood pressure (BP)?

Food scientists at Florida State University conducted a pilot study on four men and five postmenopausal women - all of whom suffered from prehypertension - between the ages of 51 to 57 years.  Each of these subjects was daily given six grams of the amino acid L-citrulline/L-arginine - derived from watermelon extract - for a period of six weeks. 

Watermelon Lowers Blood Pressure (Bp) | Institute for Vibrant Living

L-citrulline is converted in the body to L-arginine, which is needed for the formation of nitric oxide (NO). NO is necessary for blood vessels to keep a proper tone and to maintain a healthy BP.

At the end of the pilot study, all nine participants showed improved arterial function and lower aortic BP - indicating that watermelon is effective against prehypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

L-arginine is available as a dietary supplement. However, it can cause nausea, gastrointestinal tract discomfort and diarrhea when taken regularly. On the other hand, eating watermelon causes none of those effects.

Study researchers say that watermelon dilates blood vessels, which may the underlying reason that it can prevent prehypertension from developing into hypertension - a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Watermelon is the richest edible natural source of L-citrulline. It is also a good source of vitamins A, B6 and C as well as fiber, potassium and the antioxidant lycopene. 

A previous study had shown that L-citrulline supplementation slows the increase in aortic BP in response to cold exposure which, combined with hypertension, is associated with higher rates of myocardial infarction (MI).

Along with L-citrulline, high levels of potassium along with watermelon’s refreshing hydrating quality contribute to its beneficial effects on heart health.

Source: Watermelon lowers Blood Pressure (BP).

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Heart Health Tips: Do Walnuts Benefit Your Heart?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

A new study from the University of Munich Medical Center in Germany indicates that a diet enriched with walnuts may reduce heart disease risk naturally, by lowering levels of two major risk predictors.

Heart Health Tips | Walnut Benefits

Walnuts are made up mainly of polyunsaturated fats. They are an excellent natural source of the heart-healthy plant-based omega-3 fat known as alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA.

In this study, researchers investigated the effects of daily walnut consumption on blood lipid levels. They found that levels of non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (ApoB) levels - both major predictors of heart disease risk - were significantly reduced in study participants.

Healthy men and women consumed walnuts as part of their normal diet for eight weeks. They simultaneously reduced intake of saturated fats and increased consumption of polyunsaturated fats, resulting in beneficial changes to their lipid profile.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, responsible for roughly 1 in every 4 deaths. Everyone knows that a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet play an important role in heart disease prevention.

This study shows that people can benefit their heart health naturally by supplementing their diet with walnuts, which reduce the levels of non-HDL cholesterol and ApoB, two of the most important risk factors for heart disease.

Previous research has already indicated that walnut consumption can lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure (BP), two other major risk factors for heart disease - along with managing other known risk factors such as endothelial function, oxidative stress and inflammation.

In fact, the evidence for walnuts being a great source of natural heart health is so extensive that in 2004 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially approved one of the first health claims for a whole food. Similarly, the European Union (EU) has also officially acknowledged the health benefits of walnuts - the only nut to ever be credited with such claims.

This study adds to previous research and confirms that walnuts are a natural source of multiple, powerful heart health benefits including managing levels of cholesterol and blood lipids.

Read related blog posts:
Is there a Connection Between Diet Soda and Stroke Risks?
Can Cherries help lower Your Risk for Heart Disease?
What is Cholesterol?
5 Nutrients for a Healthy Heart
Can Dietary Fiber Banish Inflammation?

 

Source:

Natural Heart Health with Walnuts.

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What are the Best Recipes to Keep Your Heart Healthy

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Your diet can make or break your best health intentions. And this is especially true when it comes to your blood pressure.

If you are eating an inflammatory, acidic, highly processed, sugar-laden, salt-filled diet, then medications and even supplements will only hold you over for so long. Soon, you’ll need to either up your dosage, take it more frequently, or start adding in prescription after prescription just to offset your damaging diet.

Fortunately, the reverse is also true. If you clean up your diet and choose foods that are alkaline rather than acid, rich in antioxidants and fiber, and low in sodium, then you can not only work to get off medications, you may be able to maintain healthy blood pressure levels for life. And, best of all, the solutions can be downright delicious!

To help you lower your blood pressure naturally and delectably, download and try these heart-healthy recipes.They all boast high antioxidant levels, amazing amounts of fiber, powerful anti-inflammatory oils and spices, and low to no sodium. 

Heart Healthy Recipes 

 

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Top Tips on Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that an average American typically consumes approximately 22 teaspoons of sugar every day? The maximum recommended amount is 6 teaspoons daily for women and 9 teaspoons daily for men.

Top Tips on Maintaining Health Blood Sugar Levels

No wonder that nearly 40% of Americans over 65 have high blood sugar levels, which is linked to multiple health problems including obesity, circulatory issues, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.

In fact, diabetes and its complications are together the third leading cause of death in the US.

Ignoring your blood sugar levels can quadruple your chances of heart attack, stroke and death - while controlling your glucose levels can reduce your risk of diabetes and complications by 40% or more.

Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, is a unique vegetable-fruit that is used both as food or medicine. It thrives in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, growing off the vine as a green, oblong-shaped fruit rich in many vitamins and minerals. It has long been used in the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda as a therapy for a number of ailments, including type 2 diabetes.

Bitter melon contains at least three active substances with anti-diabetes properties, including charantin - which has been shown to have a blood glucose-lowering effect - as well as vicine and an insulin-like compound known as polypeptide-p. All of these naturally occurring chemicals work together to reduce blood sugar levels.

Bitter melon also contains a lectin that reduces blood glucose levels by suppressing appetite, similar to the effects of insulin in the brain. This lectin is thought to be a major factor behind the hypoglycemic effect seen after eating bitter melon.

A number of clinical studies have been conducted to assess the efficacy of bitter melon in the treatment of diabetes.

The results of a four-week clinical trial published in 2011 showed that consuming 2 grams daily of bitter melon significantly reduced blood glucose levels among patients with type 2 diabetes.

Previous studies have also suggested an association between bitter melon intake and improved glycemic control, while a report published in 2008 showed that consuming bitter melon increased cellular uptake of glucose and improved glucose tolerance.

IVL’s Gluco Harmony® is a high quality nutritional supplement designed to improve your insulin response and maintain normal blood sugar levels. It contains a total of 9 high-quality, nutraceutical-grade Ayurvedic botanical extracts - including bitter melon, Shilajit, curcumin, fenugreek, and banaba - that help stabilize blood sugar naturally, with no known side effects.

So if you’d like to control your blood sugar levels and lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes - why not order Gluco Harmony® today?

Read more:

How Do I Reduce My Risk of Diabetes?

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Fight Hair Loss With these Vitamins and Supplements

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Top 3 Vitamins and Supplements to Fight Hair LossAre your hair and skin dull and lifeless, lacking softness and shine?

Boosting your diet with these three vitamins will nourish your hair and scalp, helping to transform your hair and skin to make them glowing and vibrant.

VITAMIN A

One of the most important vitamins for healthy hair and skin is vitamin A. You can get it from foods such as cantaloupe, dark leafy green veggies and meat. Vitamin A conditions and moisturizes the skin; fights free radicals, protects hair and skin cells from damage; and strengthens and thickens hair so it grows longer faster and breaks less often.

Sweet potatoes, carrots and other orange and yellow fruits and veggies contain beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body - stimulating the production of skin oils that prevent dryness and itchiness and lead to stronger, more vibrant hair and skin.

VITAMIN B-COMPLEX

Vitamin B-complex - including vitamins B3, B6, B12 and biotin - are great for healthy hair and skin. When consumed together they lead to a reduction in hair loss; fewer gray hairs as they slow down the graying process; and longer hair due to more rapid hair growth.

Niacin, or vitamin B3, improves hair and skin health by improving blood circulation, bringing more nutrients to skin cells and hair follicles. Niacin is found in carrots, broccoli, dates, eggs, fish and whole wheat bread.

Biotin is another B vitamin necessary for cell growth, fatty acid production and fat and amino acid metabolism. It is often recommended as a dietary supplement for combating dull and lifeless hair loss and skin. It is found in dairy, eggs, fish, meats, whole grains and nuts.

Vitamin B complex also contains folic acid, which promotes hair growth, making hair thicker and shinier. Folic acid is found in whole grain breads and cereals.

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E is renowned for its ability to soften skin and hair. It acts as a protective antioxidant, boosts scalp and skin circulation and supports protein synthesis, leading to healthier skin overall; softer, glowing hair; and fewer split ends.

Nuts, seeds, spinach and tomatoes are great sources of vitamin E. To make sure you have plenty of this vitamin in your diet, add sliced avocado and a drizzle of olive oil to your green salads.

Along with these vitamins, omega-3 fats - found in nuts and seafoods - are necessary for hair shaft growth and keeping skin hydrated and moist. Also, they are rich in protein, which promote healthy keratin production, the building block of hair, along with boosting skin cell production.

If you’re worried about hair loss - experts agree that the primary cause of male and female pattern baldness is increased production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is made in the body from testosterone in hair follicles as they age.

Fortunately, IVL’s SeaNU Hair™ Loss Supplement contains nutrients that block DHT along with many others that promote hair growth and health. If you’re frustrated by cosmetic solutions that promise a lot but don’t really help, why not order IVL’s SeaNU Hair™ Loss Supplement today?


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Three Vitamins for Healthy, Glowing Hair.