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Three Foods to Avoid for Heart Health

by Cindy Gray

Recent data from the American Heart Association reveals that one person dies every 39 seconds from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death in the United States.  In addition to other healthy lifestyle strategies, diet can play a big role when it comes to heart health.  Knowing what to eat and what not to eat can help ensure the healthiest heart possible.  According to experts at Harvard University, foods to avoid for heart health include processed meats, refined grains and other processed carbohydrates, and sugary beverages. 

Because they contain nitrates, salts, and other preservatives, processed meats are one of the foods to avoid for hearth health.

1.  Processed Meats

Products like bacon, hot dogs, salami, sausage, and many sandwich meats are processed with nitrates, salts, and other preservatives.  A recent review study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that daily consumption of 50 grams of processed meats raised risks for heart attack by 42%.  Because eating unprocessed red meat showed no higher risk for heart attack, researchers attributed the higher risks for consumption of processed meats to nitrates, sodium, and preservatives rather than saturated fat and cholesterol.

2.  Refined Grains and Other Processed Carbohydrates

Many studies link the consumption of whole grains like stone ground bread and steel-cut oats to lower risks for heart disease and stroke.  Refining removes fiber, minerals, and fatty acids from grain, thereby taking away much of the nutrition.  Bread, pasta, and baked goods made from white flour are examples of refined products, as are white rice, and pearl barley.  Processing adds ingredients that harm the health like dyes, sugar, sodium, and trans fats.  Examples of processed carbohydrates include packaged baked goods, snack products, and sugary breakfast cereals.  

Related:  Antioxidants and Heart Health

3.  Sugary Beverages

According to the American Heart Association, people who get 17 to 21 percent of their daily calories from sugar raise risks for dying from cardiovascular disease by 38%, as compared to people who get 8% or less of their daily calories from sugar.

One easy way to cut back on sugar is to eliminate sugary beverages from the diet.  These include sodas, sports drinks, and even fruit juices.  While sugar-free sodas seem like a viable option, they contain chemicals that may be harmful to the health.  The best beverage choices include water, naturally-flavored water, or tea and coffee sweetened with all-natural stevia.

Diet makes a big difference when it comes to a healthy heart and overall health.  Knowing what foods to avoid for heart health helps ensure this life-giving organ pumps strong.   To ensure the healthiest heart possible, keep processed meats, refined grains, and sugary drinks out of the shopping cart, the refrigerator, and your body!

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Sweat Too Much? Four Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating

by IVL Products

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

There are ways to help reduce excessive sweating

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

1.     Use Antiperspirant Twice Daily

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

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

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

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

2.     Eliminate Spicy Food

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

3.     Avoid Caffeine

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

4.     Try Detox Supplements to Reduce Sweating

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

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

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

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Sex and Menopause: Is it Normal to Lose Desire?

by Health News

Unfortunately, it’s a common myth that people age their sex drive takes a dive. While it may be true that some women’s sexual desire may decline following menopause, for the majority of women, desire does not decline.  In fact, a survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons, (AARP ) reported that 57% of women said they considered a satisfying sexual relationship to be one of the most important factors in terms of quality of life. Only 36% agreed with the statement that sex is less important as people age. In fact, sexual desire and satisfaction may increase after menopause. With factors such as children moving out of the home, no chance of unwanted pregnancy, no interruptions due to menstrual periods, and the deeper self-awareness and wisdom that comes with age, many women are pleased to experience their sexual drive and enjoyment actually blossoming.  

How to stay healthy and keep your sex life humming!

What Causes Desire to Wane?

If you find that your desire has shifted into low gear after fifty, a simple physical issue such as lower levels of estrogen is rarely the full explanation. Sex drive is complex and multifaceted. It is influenced by physical issues, and also by psychological, emotional, and relationship concerns; and even cultural beliefs.

Physical Problems: Your overall health and well-being—independent of hormonal levels—plays a significant role in your libido. Chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, underactive thyroid, depression, and bladder problems; or chronic pain and fatigue, can dramatically decrease sexual desire.  Add to that list: drug use, smoking, and certain prescription medications including tranquilizers, sedatives, steroids, antihistamines, antidepressants and peptic ulcer medication.  

The only biological condition that is clearly linked to a woman’s desire for sex is vaginal dryness. Lack of lubrication can cause pain, muscular spasms, and difficulty reaching orgasm. Lower estrogen levels are a major issue, but there are other contributors to this condition, including certain prescription medications; chemically treated sanitary products and synthetic underwear; and chemical deodorants, douches, and perfumes. The side effects of the treatment of certain health conditions can also lead to excessive dryness, especially treatments for cancer including radiation, chemotherapy, and estrogen-blocking drugs.

Related:  Is Your Lack of Sex Drive Due to Low T?

Psychological and Emotional Factors: The fire of desire can also be dampened by a variety of psychological and emotional factors. The most common include:

  • Excess stress. Around the time of menopause, a number of significant sources of stress often converge at one time. They may include raising teenagers, being a caregiver for an elderly parent, job-related issues, and marriage or relationship tensions.
  • Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Self-esteem issues. Being uncomfortable or self-conscious about your weight, aging body, or health problems can cause you to feel less attractive and desirable.
  • How you feel about your partner.  If you are upset with or feel distant from your partner, your desire for them won’t be burning. Likewise, your appetite for your partner may be poor if you find their bedroom skills disappointing. One third of women in the AARP study who reported having no sexual problems, said they had previously had problems, but when they changed partners, the issue went away.
  •  Beliefs about sex and aging. If you believe it is normal to lose sexual desire as you age, then more than likely, you will lose it.

Getting Your Mojo Back

If your lack of libido is due to physical issues, the best approach is to work on improving your health. There are no short cuts, quick fixes, or magic pills. Good health only comes from good habits, which include: 

  • Eating a diet high in organically produced fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and supplemental omega-3 fatty acids
  • Exercising daily—even brisk walking can do wonders for your sex drive, as well as the rest of your health
  • Getting enough quality rest by going to sleep by 10 p.m. and rising before 6 a.m.
  • Practicing effective stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises
  • Keeping your weight ideal—either being significantly overweight or underweight can have a tremendous negative impact on your health

Improving Vaginal Dryness

If you suffer with vaginal dryness, there are many approaches that can improve or reverse the condition. The typical western medicine course of treatment consists of topical estrogens. Although they can increase your risk of breast cancer, the relative risk of topical estrogens compared to oral hormone replacement therapy is much less. I recommend always trying natural approaches first. Studies show that certain foods high in phytoestrogens, such as soy and flax seeds, can help reduce vaginal dryness without increasing your risk of breast cancer. The herbs black cohosh and ginseng have been documented by several studies to improve vaginal moisture. Vitamin E vaginal suppositories and supplemental oral omega-7 fatty acids (from a plant called Sea buckthorn) can also be of benefit. The holistic system of medicine Ayurveda recommends topical aloe vera gel and coconut oil for vaginal dryness, and the herbs marshmallow root and Shatavari for low libido.

Be sure to use natural lubricants without synthetic chemicals and toxins. Organic coconut oil and aloe vera are two of the best choices. 

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Are Toxic Chemicals in Nail Polish Taxing your Tips?

by IVL Products

Girls love nail polish.  In fact, according to market surveys, 97% of American girls between 12 and 14 years of age use it.  While many parents think nail polish for young girls is a harmless precursor to makeup, they may want to think again.  Recent studies show toxic chemicals in nail polish have the potential to cause serious health problems for females of all ages.

Toxic chemicals in nail polish have been linked to a number of serious health problems.

Toluene

Manufacturers use the chemical toluene to dissolve paint, and workers using the product are protected from inhaling it.  Unfortunately, girls and women across the country inhale toluene every day when they paint their nails.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, inhalation of toluene is linked to a number of health issues including confusion, memory loss, physical weakness, headache, nausea, vision problems, hearing loss, and liver and kidney damage.

DBP

Di-butyl phthalate, or DBP, is a chemical commonly used for making plastics more flexible.  In nail polish, it acts as a solvent and it keeps polishes from becoming too brittle.  Unfortunately, DBP has been found to disrupt the endocrine system, which affects hormones, brain development, and fertility.  Exposure to DBP may also increase risks for cancers of the breast, prostate, thyroid, and ovaries. 

In an effort to remove toxic chemicals in nail polish and those found in other cosmetics and children's products, the European Union banned the use of DBP in 2003.  Since 2006, most American nail polish manufacturers have removed DBP from their products as well.  However, many have replaced this chemical with another chemical that may be just as harmful.

Related:  Video Blog: How to Detox

TPHP

In an effort to remove DBP from nail polish products, some companies have turned to triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP.  Like DBP, TPHP makes nail polish more flexible and durable, but it also comes with similar health concerns.  

Mounting evidence links TPHP to disrupted hormonal regulation, metabolism, reproduction, and development.  Recently, scientists at Duke University in conjunction with the nonprofit environmental research organization, EWG (Environmental Working Group) found metabolites of TPHP in the bodies of 24 women who had painted their nails 10 to 14 hours earlier.  According to EWG's cosmetics database, over 1,500 nail polish products contain this hazardous chemical. 

Women of any age shouldn't have to worry about toxic chemicals in nail polish or any other cosmetics.  Many manufacturers now make non-toxic, water-based polishes free of solvents and phthalates.  Some companies even offer vegan or gluten-free products.  Women who enjoy an occasional mani-pedi can bring these safe and natural products along to their next appointment.


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How to Reduce Food Cravings by Killing Candida

by Health News

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

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

What is candida?

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

How does candida influence food cravings?

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

What are some dietary changes for reducing food cravings?

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

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

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

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

Related:  Probiotic Supplements: Not Just for Intestinal Health

What are some other symptoms of candida overgrowth?

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

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

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

 

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Understanding the Relationship between Perimenopause and Acne

by Cindy Gray

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

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

The Estrogen-Testosterone Connection

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

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

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

OTC Remedies

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

Balance Hormones Naturally

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

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

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

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The Effects of Perimenopause on the Libido

by Health News

Very few women welcome perimenopause with open arms.  The transitional period leading up to the cessation of menstruation comes with a variety of unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms.  Unlike hot flashes and night sweats however, the effects of perimenopause on the libido upset women and their partners.  The loss of libido – like other perimenopausal symptoms – results from hormonal imbalance. 

The effects of perimenopause include loss of libido and other distressing symptoms.

Estrogen Dominance

According to animal studies in the laboratory, estrogen primes the brain cells responsible for sexual desire, but progesterone activates them.  Many women in perimenopause experience estrogen dominance, a situation in which levels of estrogen overshadow levels of progesterone.  This can wreak havoc on the libido, causing marked reduction in sexual desire.

Ovulation and Libido

Ovulation and sexual desire go hand-in-hand.  Because progesterone levels rise during ovulation, most women experience a boost in sexual desire at this time, barring any medical issues or complications.  When ovulation lessens during perimenopause, so too does the production of progesterone and sexual desire.

How Emotions Influence the Libido during Perimenopause

The effects of perimenopause include a variety of unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, breast tenderness, mood swings, and irritability.  Combined, they lead to physical exhaustion and take an emotional toll on women, both of which can impact the libido.

Related:  Royal Jelly—How the Queen's Food Can Improve Your Health

Ways to Help Restore Sexual Desire during Perimenopause

Women who wish to boost sexual desire during perimenopause have several options.  Vaginal rings and injections can help restore levels of progesterone.  Foods high in phytoestrogens like soy products, flaxseed, tofu, and wheat germ help displace some of the body's stronger natural estrogens for better hormonal balance.  Supplementing with minerals like calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and zinc helps promote better sleep, and exercise, limiting alcohol use, and relaxation techniques help improve mood.

While loss of libido during perimenopause can prove distressing for females and their partners, certain techniques can help.  Women also take comfort knowing that when menopause is reached and hormones balance out, sexual desire often returns and other effects of perimenopause wane.

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The Connection between Perimenopause and Heavy Bleeding

by Cindy Gray

While many women associate declining estrogen and progesterone with menopause, female hormones actually begin to fluctuate years earlier during the transition period known as perimenopause.  With an average span of four years, perimenopause comes with a number of physical and emotional symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbance, vaginal dryness, reduced libido, mood swings, and headache.  Roughly 25 percent of women also experience heavy bleeding, or menorrhagia, which can cause weakness and extreme fatigue one to two days each month, and lead to anemia if severe.  Understanding the connection between perimenopause and heavy bleeding helps women better deal with this bothersome symptom.  

There is a connection between hormonal imbalance in perimenopause and heavy bleeding.

Menorrhagia Quiz

Women with concerns about perimenopause and heavy bleeding can start by answering a few questions:

  • Does your period arrive more frequently than every 21 days?
  • Does your period last longer than seven days?
  • Do you spot in between periods?
  • Is the amount of flow at least twice that of your normal period?
  • Are you changing even high-absorbency pads or tampons frequently?
  • Does menstrual flow contain large blood clots?

If you have answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you may be experiencing menorrhagia.  

The Cause of Menorrhagia during Perimenopause

According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, a prominent doctor and women's health expert, estrogen dominance (an imbalance in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone) causes menorrhagia in menopause.  Too much estrogen results in an overgrowth of uterine lining, which breaks down and sheds in a disorderly way.  This leads to irregular heavy bleeding or spotting in between periods.

Remedies for Menorrhagia

Natural progesterone creams may reduce the thickness of uterine lining, and women can also visit a health care provider for a stronger product in capsule form.  

An NSAID pain reliever like ibuprofen has the potential to cut menstrual flow in half by blocking prostaglandins.  The recommended dosage is 200 mg every six hours for the first few days of a woman's period.

The herb turmeric also shows promise for reducing menstrual blood flow.  It should be taken once per day throughout the month as an oral supplement. 

RelatedThe Probiotic-Menopause Connection

Research shows that women with diets high in phytoestrogens experience lighter periods.  Phytoestrogens compete with stronger endogenous estrogens that stimulate production of uterine lining.  Foods high in phytoestrogens include nuts, soy products, and flaxseed.

Women should incorporate foods with iodine into the diet.  Iodine has a down-regulating effect on estrogen receptors, which helps reduce the thickness of uterine lining.  Good sources of iodine include sea vegetables, scallops, cod, and yogurt.

Menorrhagia results from an overgrowth of uterine lining caused by hormonal imbalance. Women dealing with perimenopause and heavy bleeding can try several natural and/or prescribed remedies for relief.  Although 25 percent of women in perimenopause experience menorrhagia, it also results from certain medical conditions.  To rule out endometriosis, fibroids, infection, underactive thyroid, or uterine polyps, women with heavy bleeding should consult with a health care provider.  

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Low Progesterone and Brain Fog in Perimenopause

by IVL Products

In the years leading up to menopause women go through a transitional period marked by fluctuating hormones known as perimenopause.  During this phase of life, women experience a variety of symptoms that affect physical and mental wellbeing.  One symptom that proves to be particularly frustrating to women is reduced mental clarity, or "brain fog." While many theories have developed as to what causes brain fog in perimenopause, recent studies show that it may be connected to low progesterone levels.  

Studies show that brain fog in perimenopause may be connected to low progesterone.

Progesterone works like a "neuro-steroid" to keep the brain and nerve cells functioning properly, and it offers a protective effect to the brain.  Animal studies have shown that younger female rats with high levels of progesterone experience less brain damage than male rats or older female rats with low progesterone levels.  Human studies show that patients administered high doses of natural progesterone experience better chances for surviving traumatic brain injury.  This is because progesterone triggers growth and repair of the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells.

Related:  Menopause Treatment is about More Than Replacing Estrogen

During perimenopause, the production of progesterone by the ovaries slows down and estrogen becomes dominant.  As a result, many women experience feelings of forgetfulness and foggy thinking.  To find out if perimenopause could be a factor in your brain fog, take the quiz below.

Perimenopause Quiz

  • Do you experience intense flashes of body heat accompanied by warm skin and perspiration?
  • Is sleep often disturbed by instances of profuse sweating?
  • Do you suffer from regular headaches?
  • Do you experience mood swings and/or periods of irritability?
  • Is your desire for sex lower than it used to be?
  • Do you suffer from vaginal dryness and/or painful intercourse?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may be experiencing perimenopause.

Natural Progesterone Remedies

Women in perimenopause who are dealing with brain fog may choose to use natural progesterone creams like wild yam cream.  The roots of wild yam contain a substance called diosgenin, which can be converted into progesterone in the laboratory.  When used as specified, these creams can help restore low progesterone levels for better hormonal balance.

A few non-hormonal methods for protecting the brain during perimenopause include eating a nutritious diet full of antioxidants, getting regular exercise, avoiding smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption.  Because stress contributes to hormone imbalance, it is also wise to practice stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, or guided imagery.

Transitioning into menopause can be hard enough without foggy thinking and forgetfulness. Women who think they may be in the throes of perimenopause should consult a health care provider to test hormone levels.  Making a few healthy lifestyle changes and using natural progesterone creams can help reduce foggy thinking and other uncomfortable perimenopause symptoms. 

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Lack of Exercise - Effects on Three Areas of Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It's not breaking news to hear that exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy heart and managing weight loss, but lack of exercise effects are evident on our hormones, energy levels and digestion. That's three more reasons to find a type of exercise you can enjoy three to five times a week to ensure a long and healthy life.

Lack of exercise effects can negatively impact on your whole body health

The American Heart Association recommends that whatever your age you should be aiming for 30 minutes of brisk walking, swimming, cycling, dancing or exercise to stay strong, fit and healthy. Here are some less well known facts about the lack of exercise effects on our overall health.

Lack of Exercise Effects on Hormones

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the body. They affect almost every physical and mental function. Hormones control a vast array of functions in the body and mind, including:

  • Growth hormones stimulate protein synthesis to build muscles and strengthen bones
  • Endorphins block pain and control appetite
  • Testosterone controls metabolism, sexuality and libido
  • Estrogen increases fat breakdown, controls mood and libido
  • Thyroxin (T4) manages energy levels
  • Epinephrine directs and controls blood flow
  • Insulin controls blood glucose levels and fat production
  • Glucagon raises blood sugars and breaks down fat for fuel

 

All these hormones are secreted during exercise to keep the entire body functioning as nature intended. Lack of exercise effects on hormones means reduced triggers that stimulate the all-important hormone production throughout the body.   How is your hormone health?

RelatedTips on How Not To Sabotage Your Health Goals

Fitness Fights Fatigue

Exercise does not actually lower energy levels, conversely it increases them. Studies on poor energy levels in children were undertaken by Dr. Karen Heath from the University of Cape Town Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. She reports that causes of lethargy in children could simply be a lack of exercise.

Regular exercise increases the red blood cells that carry oxygen to the cells. Exercise increases blood flow and the demand for cell energy. Conversely, lack of exercise means naturally low energy levels. Exercise also increases glucose circulation, making use of blood sugar and avoiding the possibility of hypoglycemia and insulin spikes. Exercise also builds muscle so the effects of lack of exercise include lean muscle mass and a lack of energy.  Exercise fights fatigue and low energy in many surprising ways.

Lack of Exercise Effects on Digestive Health

If you have a sluggish digestive system, you probably suffer from irregular bowel movements and constipation. Exercise helps by raising the body's metabolic rate, pushing food through the digestive system faster so that it retains some of the water in the stool. Regular exercise helps to stimulate peristalsis, which stimulates health bowel movements, thereby reducing constipation and toxic overload.

Lack of exercise effects also means a slower heart beat and breathing rate. This fails to stimulate the intestinal muscles which contract to evacuate the bowels efficiently and frequently.

As Harvard School of Public Health researcher I-Min Lee, ScD reports, "Physical inactivity has a large impact on the health of the world…comparable to that of cigarette smoking."  By adding regular physical activity to your life you will be in better shape in terms of hormone production, energy and digestion. Isn't that worth the effort?

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How to Reduce Food Cravings with Three Supplements

by Health News

Weight watchers and women going through menopause often suffer extreme food cravings that are hard to resist. Often those cravings are for sugary treats and comfort foods which, if indulged, can quickly lead to excess weight. If you want to know how to reduce food cravings, these three supplements could be your best weapons, and may help you to stay on track diet-wise. 

Three common health supplements can provide the answer to how to reduce food cravings

Decrease Hunger Pangs with 5-HTP

Some food cravings can be caused by a lack of serotonin which causes an increase in appetite. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that produces a "feel-good" factor as well as feelings of fullness after eating. Serotonin deficiency can cause cravings for sugar and carbohydrates as the body tries to increase serotonin levels in the brain.

The best natural supplement to boost serotonin levels is called 5-HTP (or hydroxytryptophan), a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan and a precursor to serotonin production. Taking a supplement of 5-HTP, according to the NBI, has been found in clinical trials to naturally boost serotonin production which is a powerful agent for those wondering how to reduce food cravings.

Taking 50-100 mg of 5-HTP with fruit once or twice a day can help reduce cravings for food, and as a bonus it can help to support a calm mood and healthy sleep patterns.

Related:  Sleep Deprivation:  Is It Dangerous To Your Health?

Control Blood Sugar Cravings with Chromium

Chromium is a mineral that helps control glucose levels. Sometimes cravings are due to low blood sugar levels or a deficiency of this mineral. Your body naturally urges you to eat sugar by creating strong food cravings, particularly for carbohydrates, sugar and caffeine.

Chromium supplements can provide support for those who are researching how to reduce food cravings safely and naturally. By balancing blood sugar levels, chromium can greatly reduce cravings. This was discovered in a 2005 study published by The Journal of Psychiatric Practice which showed chromium supplements were effective at reducing carbohydrate cravings for those with depression.  Taking 400 mcg of chromium a day as a supplement is a safe and easy way to help control those food cravings.

Suppress the Appetite Naturally with L-Tyrosine

L-tyrosine provides a double-whammy when it comes to the question of how to reduce food cravings. First, this supplement suppresses the appetite, making it easier to control cravings and help with weight loss. Secondly, this amino acid also increases the metabolic rate of the body, burning more calories for energy and helping to maintain a normal weight.

A study on 80 obese subjects published in 2006 in The International Journal of Obesity backs up these claims, showing that L-tyrosine helped increase thermogenesis and aided weight loss. Taking 500-1000 mg once or twice a day may have a powerful effect on appetite and cravings.

By using these supplements to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce hunger pangs, and suppress the appetite, you really can gain control over cravings and enjoy a healthy happy life.

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Effects of Overeating on Brain Health

by Health News

Calorie restriction has already been found to result in longer life, but a recent study also suggests that the effects of overeating may also be associated with Alzheimer's disease and brain health.

Could the effects of overeating contribute to Alzheimer's?

Obesity and overeating can be a cause of heart disease, diabetes and other serious medical conditions, but now scientists believe that the effects of overeating may take a toll on mental health too. According to a study published by the journal Annals of Neurology having excessive belly fat is associated with lower brain volume and scientists suggest that the extra fat triggers inflammation, which is known to put stress on the body and possibly the brain, too. Other studies have also shown that people with smaller brain volumes do badly on cognitive tests and are at higher risk of dementia. Could these all be the effects of overeating? 

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In a study on 1,200 people aged 70 to 89, each person reported on their typical eating habits. One third ate between 600 and 1,525 calories, slightly less than the recommended daily allowance of 1,800 to 2,000 calories. One third ate between 1,526 and 2,142 calories per day; and the remainder ate between 2,143 and 6,000 calories per day. The results showed that people who consumed the most were twice as likely to be diagnosed with an impaired memory disorder such as Alzheimer’s or dementia than those who consumed the least amount of calories. 

According to lead researcher Dr. Yonas Geda, a professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, "Excessive daily caloric consumption may not be brain-health friendly." The study showed no connection between body mass index and cognitive impairment, but he believed that excessive calorie intake may cause oxidative damage leading to structural changes in the brain.

Is Alzheimer's a Type of Diabetes?

Many people already think of Alzheimer's as "type 3 diabetes", suggesting that Alzheimer's disease results from selective resistance to insulin in the brain, possibly caused by the effects of overeating.

Type 3 diabetes is an extension of type 1 and type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes, following a similar pathophysiology, but in the brain. In a similar way to other forms of diabetes, insulin is needed to help the brain absorb and use glucose. If the brain cells develop insensitivity to insulin then this is believed to lead to Alzheimer's disease.

Healthy Body – Healthy Brain

Exercise and a healthy calorie-restricted diet may be the key to a healthy body and a healthy brain as we age.  Certain natural supplements may also play an important role in countering the effects of overeating on brain health. Products high in curcumin, L-carnitine, Co-Q 10 and other natural ingredients have been shown to support and enhance brain health.

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Antioxidants and Skin Health: Three Steps to Consider

by Cindy Gray

Most folks know that eating foods and taking supplements with antioxidants are good for them.  Those critical nutrients found in vitamins like A, C and E are good for you, both inside and out.  

Consuming antioxidants and skin health go hand in hand, so to speak, and in just a few easy steps you can keep your skin looking younger for longer.

1. Layer It On

We are exposed to sunlight from our earliest days of life. Wearing sunscreen religiously every day is the best way to protect your skin from the ravages of the sun. However, most of us tend to skip it now and then.  And you may recall experiencing some sunburn back when you were just a kid. 

Those dark spots, dry patches and wrinkles are the result of cell damaging free radicals, which are molecules that have lost an electron.  Feeling bereft, these free radical molecules steal from healthy cells, which starts a chain reaction that eventually damages the cell leaving the evidence of their crime on your face in the form of wrinkles and sunspots.

If you neglected sun protection when you were younger, there is something you can do about it now.  Eat foods and take supplements rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E.  They contain nutrients that generously give free radicals the electron they so desperately want, thus halting their cell damaging thievery and restoring healthy skin cells.

2. Don’t Fan the Flames

The body’s natural response to cell damage is to ignite a fire—such as inflammation—to try to destroy whatever is causing the trouble. Most people suffer from chronic inflammation caused by sun exposure, smoking, and consuming too many sugary foods and drinks, along with the daily activities of life.

Over time, the inflammation takes a heavy toll on the body, especially the skin, leaving it dry, red and sometimes with a pimple or two to add insult to injury. 

Consuming antioxidants is like throwing a bucket of water on the fire. They quench the burn and help damaged cells repair themselves.

3. Eat Drink and Be Healthy

Here is a list of the top antioxidants that should be included in your healthy skin diet:

Lycopene

Known as a carotenoid, it is what gives certain food a red hue.  Lycopene helps improve the texture of your skin by supporting collagen production (a protein that makes up the support bands beneath the dermis) while it reverses free radical damage that causes wrinkles.  You can find it in cooked tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruit and sweet red peppers.

Related:  Royal Jelly For Skin:  Your Skin's Best Friend

Vitamin C

This essential nutrient is showing to be a powerful weapon in the war on aging. It works as an antioxidant and collagen booster to help reverse the signs of aging by smoothing out wrinkles and encouraging healthy skin cell turnover to shed those dark spots for clearer, younger looking skin. You can find it in citrus fruits like oranges, kiwis and strawberries.

Vitamin A

This antioxidant plays an important role in bone growth, reproduction and keeping the immune system healthy. It also helps undo the damage from sun exposure by neutralizing free radicals. You can find it in sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and spinach.

Because too much vitamin A can be toxic, it’s best to get it from your diet rather than supplements.

Vitamin E

Since sun damage is the top producer of free radicals that damage skin cells, vitamin E is a critical antioxidant for skin health.  When combined with vitamin C, it is very effective at protecting skin from UV damage by halting inflammation and limiting DNA damage.  It is also known as a-tocopherol so check for it on the ingredients list when choosing an antioxidant-rich supplement.  You can find it in abundance in foods like vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, asparagus and spinach.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin and has shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It is especially helpful in getting rid of sunspots due to its depigmenting properties. Find it in pork, chicken and fish like tuna, farmed salmon and halibut or swordfish.

The Skin-ny:

Antioxidants and skin health are intertwined so if you want to keep your complexion radiant, eat foods rich in antioxidants and pop supplements with these essential nutrients. 

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Five Natural Supplements for Brain Health

by IVL Products

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

brain health

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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

Curcumin

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

Phosphatidylserine

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

Vinpocetine

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

Related:  Meditation Rewires Your Brain

Huperzine A

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

Conclusion

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

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The Effects of Poor Soil on our Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Is buying organic food a mere fad designed to charge more for fresh produce, or does it counter the toxicity and effects of poor soil on food production? We look at the evidence in support of organic farming and what the effects of intensive farming practices, pesticides and chemical fertilizers are having on the food chain.

effects of poor soil on food production

What's the Problem with Mono Cropping and Intensive Farming?

Evidence is growing to show that mass-produced mono cropping and genetically modified (GM) practices that tamper with the genetics of plants do have a price to pay. Modern farming methods that are designed to intensify crop production are producing plants that are weaker and consequently have less nutritional content.  

Modern intensive farming methods exclude crop rotation or leaving land to lay fallow and are having pronounced negative effects of poor soil on food production, according to David Pimental of Cornell University. There is a steady decline in the micronutrients and minerals found in fruits and vegetables compared to 50 years ago.

Related:  What Does the Term Biodynamic or Organic Mean?

Do Fertilizers Improve the Effects of Poor Soil on Food Production?

In order to keep crop production high, by 1960 almost 97% of our food crops were being grown on soil treated with chemical fertilizers based on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. This was to replenish the nutrients in the ground and counter the effects of poor soil on food production.

The fertilizers solved one problem but inevitably unbalanced nature and created other problems. While the fertilizer boosted yield, the plants produced were weaker and prone to pests.  Also, synthetic fertilizer inevitably pollutes the run-off from farmland and is the main cause of the 22,000 square kilometer (8.5 square mile) "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Science Magazine, August 2002.

Are Pesticides a Real Danger?

Crop spraying of toxic pesticides was the immediate response to maintaining crop yields and countering the indirect effects of poor soil on food production. Scientists are now warning that the long-term exposure to agricultural and industrial chemicals can adversely affect the nervous system, harm unborn infants, decrease fertility and increase the risk of cancer. According to the National Academy of Science, “neurologic and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.”

Even if we wash or peel fruit and vegetables before consuming them, researchers have found that chemicals are actually in the flesh of fruit and vegetables.

Although just 0.5% of farmland is organically managed (i.e. without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides) it seems that organic produce may be well worth the extra price in terms of our health. According to the Organic Center State of Science Review "Feeding the soil with organic matter instead of ammonia and other synthetic fertilizers has proven to increase nutrients in produce, with higher levels of vitamins and minerals found in organic food".

Continuing reports show that modern farming methods and the resulting effects of poor soil on food production have led to well-founded cause for alarm concerning our health. Organic produce may be the only way to get our five-a-day nutrients and antioxidants without toxic implications. 

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Three Foods for Prostate Health

by Health News

As men age, most eventually experience prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).  While it isn't cancerous, nor does it raise risks for prostate cancer, BPH can cause bladder and urination problems.  Often overlooked as a factor that greatly influences health, a nutritious diet can help prevent prostate disease and manage symptoms of BPH.  When it comes to making out the grocery list for the week, many men can benefit from three foods for prostate health

Apples

To help prevent prostate cancer, men should eat raw apples on a daily basis.  Abundant in the peels of apples, the bioflavonoid quercetin offers very potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.  Studies have found that prostate cancer cells treated with quercetin in the laboratory showed slower growth and viability than prostate cancer cells not receiving treatment, and quercetin has no measurable effect on normal prostate cells.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain a potent antioxidant called lycopene that offers a host of health benefits including reduced cholesterol and blood pressure.  The January 2010 issue of Endocrine-Related Cancer reported that lycopene may prevent or slow the progression of prostate cancer in rodents and human males.  Another review of 11 studies concluded that men who consume raw and cooked tomatoes and tomato-based products are less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who do not eat tomatoes and tomato products.  Because the body has a hard time extracting lycopene from raw tomatoes, cooked or pureed tomato products like tomato paste, tomato sauce, and tomato juice make a better shopping choice.

Related:  Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH):  Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds offer powerful nutrition wrapped up in a tiny package.  Healthy nutrients inside pumpkin seeds may boost heart and liver health and help fight diabetes.  Because zinc is found in the highest concentrations in the male prostate, zinc-rich pumpkin seeds also make a valued food for prostate health.  Studies show that pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed oil and the herb saw palmetto may be a potent combination for promoting prostate health.

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Foods to Limit or Avoid

While doctors recommend the consumption of certain foods for prostate health, they suggest leaving other foods and beverages on the grocery shelves or limiting their consumption:

  • High-fat dairy products
  • Processed foods and baked goods
  • Red meats
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods with the exception of garlic and cayenne pepper

When it comes to managing or preventing disease, some people believe the more natural, the better.  Numerous studies have shown the benefit of nutritious foods for prostate health.  Adding apples, tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds to the grocery list can help keep the prostate healthy and a whole lot more.

 

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Take Lack of Sex Drive to 'Super Libido' with Tongkat Ali

by Cindy Gray

Eventually, all men must face getting older, which comes with a host of side effects including diminished libido.   When it comes to reduced sexual desire, aging men look to any remedy that promises to help.  While 20 percent of American men over the age of 40 have tried Viagra for enhancing erectile function, this drug has virtually no effect on sexual desire.  What's more, roughly 50 percent of men experience side effects from Viagra like flushing, headache, nasal congestion, upset stomach, or visual problems.  Fortunately, men who suffer a lack of sex drive have a natural option in the form of tongkat ali, an herb from Southeast Asia. 

In addition to many other health benefits, tongkat ali helps replenish a lack of sex drive.

Tongkat ali is a shrub-like tree found in Borneo, Burma, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sumatra, and Thailand.  Dubbed "Asian Viagra" by the New Sunday Times, this herb has been used to treat men with a lack of sex drive, reduced sexual performance, and low energy levels. 

According to research, tongkat ali contains potent phytochemicals that increase muscle growth, boost mental alertness, support healthy sex organs, promote semen quality, increase muscle growth, boost mental alertness, and promote healthy testosterone levels in men.  In fact, consumption of tongkat ali has been shown to boost free testosterone and nearly double total testosterone in men undergoing clinical trials. 

A Malaysian study in 2012 examined 76 men.  At the beginning of the study, only 35 percent of the men showed normal testosterone levels.  Following 30 days of supplementation with tongkat ali, over 90 percent of the participants showed normal levels of testosterone.  Many animal studies have also found success with tongkat ali in boosting sexual arousal and frequency of sexual behavior. 

Related:  Five Common Myths about Prostate Health

Tongkat Ali and Male Fertility

While fertility may not be important to some men as they get older, other men might appreciate the fruitful benefits offered by tongkat ali.  Because it improves sperm quality, the herb also enhances male fertility.  One study of 75 men showed improvements in sperm quality that lasted for months following the study, and nearly 15 percent of participants reported resulting pregnancies in female partners.

Other Uses for Tongkat Ali

Natural herbs often provide a host of health benefits, and tongkat ali is no different.  In addition to its use for lack of sex drive and diminished sexual performance, tongkat ali is said to benefit:

  • aches, pains, and fever
  • bleeding (as a coagulant)
  • dysentery
  • edema
  • glandular swelling
  • hypertension
  • sores and ulcers

Precautions for Supplementing with Tongkat Ali

While generally considered safe when consumed in appropriate amounts, tongkat ali sometimes causes side effects in doses higher than 1000 mgs.  These include insomnia, rapid heartbeat, and restlessness.  People should look for products that are certified for authenticity and free of mercury.   Before engaging in any supplementary program, it is always wise to consult with a health care professional. 

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Natural Remedies for Depression Include Three Healthy Foods

by IVL Products

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

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

Garbanzo Beans

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

Turkey

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

RelatedWays to Lower Risk of Depression

Yogurt

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

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

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

by IVL Products

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

ACE Your Skin Care with Vitamins A, C and E

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

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

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

Related:  Top 5  Foods for Beautiful Skin

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

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

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Tea Tree Oil for Acne: Natural Remedy with Proven Results

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Should you treat oily skin with oil? On the surface it might not sound like a good idea but the truth of the matter is it that tea tree oil for acne is a centuries-old remedy with proven results. A natural antimicrobial agent, tea tree oil kills the bacteria that cause many types of dermatological problems, including acne. 

Natural Remedy for Acne:  Tea Tree Oil Results

Tea tree oil is an essential oil obtained from the leaves of melaleuca alternifolia (commonly known as the narrow-leaf tea tree), a plant native to Australia. Its antimicrobial activity is linked to an ingredient called terpinen-4.  Several studies, including a recent one at the University of Maryland Medical Center, found that tea tree oil for skin is just as effective as many popular over-the-counter chemical-based acne medicines. This makes it an excellent choice for people who want to achieve clearer skin without the potentially serious side effects of chemicals.

Natural beauty products are better for your skin because what you put on your skin eventually winds up in your body.  They are also better for the environment because chemicals have a destructive effect on water and soil. Widely available online and in natural health stores, tea tree oil for skin care is inexpensive and safe when used as directed. Because it is an essential oil, it must be diluted with water or vegetable-based oils before using.

Here are some recommended treatments:

As an on-the-spot treatment: Gently wash your face with all-natural soap and then saturate a cotton swab with the tea tree oil solution.  Apply directly to your acne trouble spots and do not rinse. It is recommended that you do this once in the morning and again just before bedtime.

As an astringent rinse: Combine four drops of tea tree oil to one cup of water and rinse your face with the mix.

Related: A Humble Houseplant Works Wonders With Skin Issues

As a facial mask:  Combine four drops of tea oil into an egg white. Apply solution to your face and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Tea tree oil is for topical use only and can be toxic if it is ingested internally. Do not exceed recommended dosages as it is very strong and using concentrated dosages can irritate the skin. When used properly it is an effective natural remedy that has the potential to keep your skin clear and radiant.