0 Comments

Probiotic Supplements: Not Just for Intestinal Health

by Health News

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

What are probiotics?

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

Probiotic Supplements

How do probiotics help my whole body?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digestive Health

Sources:

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

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

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

0 Comments

Heart Health Benefits Of Meditation

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that meditating once or twice daily for 20 minutes at a time can have significant health benefits, especially for your heart? Heart Health Benefits Of Meditation

It’s true.

Two methods of meditation have been scientifically proven to reduce the chances of heart attack, stroke - and add years to your life.

The idea that meditation has measurable effects on heart and general health is not well known by physicians and other healthcare givers. However, several exciting research findings have emerged recently on the very real benefits of meditation.

Much of this research has come from a research team at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention who recently completed a study on 201 people with heart disease. These people were taught to practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) 20 minutes twice a day or alternatively, spent 20 minutes daily learning about health.

During a follow up just over five years, the group that meditated saw a 48% reduction in the combined occurrence of death, heart attack and stroke!

The second style of meditation is known as kirtan kriya - a 12-minute meditation consisting of repeating a ‘mantra’ aloud in a song, in a whisper and silently, while using repeating finger movements known as ‘mudras’.

A study from UCLA has shown that kirtan kriya resulted in different patterns of brain metabolism in practitioners compared to other general relaxation methods.

Further, PET scanning showed that this form of meditation led to some genes becoming more active while others became less active - resulting in production of fewer mediators of inflammation, along with increasing telomerase activity by almost 50%.

What is so interesting about telomerase is that a Nobel Prize winning group of scientists have shown a clear connection between increased telomerase activity and greater longevity.

Last but not least, the group taught kirtan kriya meditation also had higher scores on mental health, along with lower levels of depression.

Although more research is needed to confirm these results, why wait to begin these practices? With the powerful benefits of heart health and longevity, meditation is clearly a powerful preventive therapy with no apparent side effects - so why not start exploring meditation practices today?

Source: Heart Health Benefits of Meditation.   

Copyright: mrfiza / 123RF Stock Photo

0 Comments

Acai Superfruit: A Nutritious And Powerful Superfood

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What are superfoods - and do they really exist? 

According to Dr. Christine Horner, a superfood is any nutrient-dense food that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compunds and other ingredients proven to benefit health.Acai Superfruit: A Nutritious And Powerful Superfood  | Institute for Vibrant Living

On the list of superfoods is one you may not have even heard of. Studies have shown that the superfruit Açaí berry - found growing on a very special Amazon palm tree - is one of the most nutritious and powerful superfoods in the world.

Harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, açaí tastes like a blend of berries and chocolate. Nature's perfect energy fruit, açaí is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Açaí may not be available in your local supermarket, but you can find it in health food stores, typically in juice form. A new product featuring the unsweetened pulp is now also available, which comes without the harmful effects of added sugar.

Royal purple in color, açaí pulp contains:

  • A remarkably high concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10-30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A mutually enhancing combination of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • A near-perfect essential amino acid complex along with with valuable trace minerals that are essential for proper muscle contraction and regeneration.

The fatty acid content in açaí resembles that of olive oil, and is enriched in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid helps essential omega-3 fats enter cells - and together, they help make cell membranes more supple and strong.

By keeping the cell membrane supple, our body’s hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently inside and outside cells, keeping us healthy and disease-free. This is particularly important because high insulin levels create an inflammatory state.

As you already know, inflammation is believed to play a role in almost every modern disease including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and more - while also contributing to the adverse health effects of aging.

Source

0 Comments

5 Tips On Staying Healthy And Fit During Those ‘Fabulous’ Fifties

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Each and every stage of life comes with different gifts and challenges - and who doesn't want to stay trim, youthful looking and energized with a well-functioning cardiovascular system as we enter the ‘fabulous’ fifties?

5 Tips On Staying Healthy And Fit During Those ‘Fabulous’ Fifties

Our bodies need different forms of nutritional support as we age - and that’s easy to understand, because each phase of life brings its own physiological and metabolic changes.

For instance, our heart health naturally declines with age.

Women experience the onset of menopause in their fifties, which also brings with it many hormonal and metabolic changes.

Overall, metabolism slows and belly fat starts to accumulate along with a decrease in muscle mass. This is why appropriate food intake becomes more critical during the fifties than ever before, with an emphasis on nutrient dense food and ingredient choices.

Here are five simple tips to help you stay healthy and fit during your ‘fabulous’ fifties -

  1. Integrate monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) into your diet - these essential fats help moderate hormones, appetite, insulin response and vitamin absorption, all of which are vital, especially for women during menopause. Increasing MUFA consumption can also lower cholesterol levels - which is why nuts, olive oil, avocado and tahini are both nutritious and heart healthy options. 
  2. Stay hydrated - this is very important at every age, since water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and every system in your body depends on water. With age, we lose our ability to conserve water. Also, some medications can cause dehydration. Don't wait for your body to tell you it's thirsty, because it may be too late!
  3. Avoid ‘processed’ foods - instead, opt for a high-fiber, moderate protein, low-carb and low-sodium diet based on natural foods. High salt intake can spike blood pressure (BP), leading to hypertension which puts the heart at risk. Processed foods are traditionally loaded with higher sodium and unhealthy oils.
  4. Just say no - your 50s is a great time to give up on overuse of alcohol and smoking. Both place a heavy toll on the cardiovascular system, along with prematurely aging and damaging the liver, lung and other organs. Smoking also adversely affects elasticity and collagen production in the skin, contributing to a less youthful appearance.
  5. Monitor your cardio history - regularly assess your heart health and your risk for cardiovascular disease through periodic testing that includes detailed cholesterol information and BP readings.

Source: Five Tips on Staying Healthy and Fit During Those Fabulous Fifties.   

0 Comments

Fruit Juice Vs Soda: Health Risks

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to choosing between sodas and ‘natural’ fruit juices in the beverage aisle, the juice industry has always enjoyed the reputation of being way healthier.

The reasons are familiar. Juice comes from real fruit, while soda is artificially prepared. Also, the sugars in juice seem more ‘natural’ than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the main sweetener in many sodas.

However, a study published recently shows that on average, fruit juice has a fructose concentration of about 45.5 grams per liter - that’s only slightly less than the average of 50 grams per liter for sodas.

In fact, some juices contain more sugar per liter than most sodas!

Fruit Juice Vs Soda: Health Risks

A recent study conducted at the Childhood Obesity Research Center at the University of Southern California decided to measure fructose concentrations in juices and sodas, because a growing body of evidence suggests fructose is riskier for health than glucose.

According to the study authors, our body isn't designed to process fructose at such high levels. Unlike glucose, which serves as a natural fuel for the body, fructose is processed almost entirely in the liver where it is converted to fat - increasing the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease.

The presence of HFCS in soda and food has become a focal point for researchers and public health advocates in recent years. However, there's been less attention on the link between fruit juice and obesity and diabetes - even though it's hard to imagine why juices wouldn't be as harmful as sodas if they're delivering the same amount of sugar.

Consuming fructose from whole fruit is a different story. That fructose comes with fiber, which slows down and reduces it’s absorption into the body, somewhat reducing the negative effects of fructose metabolism on our health.

Long-term studies carried out in Singapore, Australia, the US and Europe clearly show that 100 percent fruit juice is as bad as sugar-sweetened beverages for its effects on our health - for instance, every long-term study shows that 100 percent fruit juice intake raises diabetes risk significantly.

So what’s a juice lover to do with so many sweet juice products on the market?

Some beverage makers are now starting to cut the sugar. Another option is to dilute the juice you buy at the store with at least 50 percent water or even more, according to your personal taste.

Source: ‘Natural’ Fruit Juice vs Soda: Health Risks.   

0 Comments

The Many Health Benefits Of Nutrient-Rich Wakame

by Institute for Vibrant Living

People living by the coast of the world’s great seas and oceans have been eating seaweed for thousands of years. The Native Americans ate it, as did many prehistoric cultures - and it is common in Asian cuisine today.

The Health Benefits Of Wakame | Institute for Vibrant Living

Science has confirmed that seaweeds are a very healthy food, extremely nutrient rich and containing 10 times as much fiber and over twice as much protein as cabbage. At the same time, a 20 gram serving of kelp contains just nine calories.

More than that, brown algae seaweeds including kelp, wakame, and others have been shown to have tremendous medicinal properties especially because of their content of bioactive compounds called fucoidans.

Wakame, an edible brown seaweed or kelp common in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisines, has been shown to have beneficial effects on stroke, hypertension or high blood pressure (BP), viral infections, tumors, oxidation and inflammation while promoting a good immune system.

In fact, there are few foods in nature that are so chockfull of nutrients and health benefits. Wakame is a great source of the following minerals and vitamins:

  • Magnesium - known to be critical in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, function of certain enzymes in the body, production and transport of energy and protein production.
  • Iodine - needed for the process of converting food into energy. It also maintains the balance of the thyroid gland and is needed for the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Calcium - every 100 grams of raw wakame contains 150 milligrams of calcium, which is necessary for strong healthy bones and prevention of osteoporosis.
  • Iron - essential for the production of red blood cells and prevention of anemia.
  • Vitamins A, C, E, and K - all important for skin health and repair, along with boosting the immune system.
  • Vitamin D - promotes absorption of calcium for healthy bones and enhances the nervous, muscle and immune systems.
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - is needed for proper use of nutrients in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the foods we eat. It is also necessary for red blood cell production. Riboflavin functions as an antioxidant and works in the body with other vitamins such as niacin, folate, and vitamin B6.
  • Folate - helps make new cells and is especially important for infant development.
  • Lignans - these natural chemicals are thought to play a role in preventing certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

Source: The Many Health Benefits of Nutrient-Rich Wakame.

0 Comments

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]

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

Omega-7: There's A New Healthful Omega Fat In Town

by Health News

You’re probably already familiar with the essential omega-3 fats and the many health benefits they offer - protecting against the harmful effects of inflammation, heart disease, and more.

Now, new studies have uncovered omega-7, a promising new omega fatty acid with a significant beneficial impact on both cholesterol levels and plaque development in arteries.

Omega-7 fats are found in all tissues in the body, but mainly in the liver. What are Omega-7: Benefits, Symptoms | Institute for Vibrant Living

In one study, Harvard researchers screened 3,000 people with type 2 diabetes.  They identified omega-7 fats as the most active, working to prevent further development of type 2 diabetes in study participants by regulating insulin.

Similarly, a Japanese study found similarly beneficial effects of omega-7 fats on type 2 diabetes in mice, again by modifying their insulin levels.

In another study at the Cleveland Clinic, omega-7 fats were seen to significantly lower plaque formation in the entire group of test mice. Levels of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol were shown to increase by an average of 85 percent in these mice.

Anchovies, sea buckthorn and macadamia nuts are naturally high in omega-7 fats; and of course omega-7 supplements are also available.

The sea buckthorn grows in high-salt conditions along the ocean shoreline and in deserts from Western Europe to Mongolia. While very astringent, its berries are edible; but they are a great source of vitamin C, containing 15 times as much as oranges. Sea buckthorn berries are also a rich source of omega-7 fats and are used to make both nutritional supplements and skin care products.

Macadamia nuts are rich in palmitoleic acid, an omega-7 fatty oil that provides building blocks for enzymes that control fat burning. Some experts believe palmitoleic acid may represent a therapy for obesity, although more research is needed.

Too much intake of omega-7 fats causes an unpleasant side effect. When they accumulate in the oily sebum that lubricates the skin, they are broken down into a chemical which causes an unpleasant odor to the skin. Frequent washing and specially formulated cosmetics can be used to eliminate the odor.

As always, before starting a new dietary supplement, it’s wise to consult with your physician to ensure it doesn't interfere with any medications you may be currently taking.

Source:

Omega 7: There’s a New Healthful Omega Fatty Acid in Town

0 Comments

3 Ways to Boost Energy

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Show me a person with no stress and unflagging energy and I’ll show you someone who is not living the typical American life. It seems that everyone you meet is overscheduled, overcommitted, and generally overwhelmed.

Fortunately, there are three simple ways you can boost energy and beat fatigue 3 Ways to Boost Energy naturally: deep breathing, green foods, and exercise.

Deep breathing is the foundation for any kind of stress relief. By breathing deeply, you are able to take in large amounts of oxygen. Oxygen helps your cells produce and utilize energy. When you exhale, waste products (carbon dioxide) are removed from your body through your lungs. This helps to optimize the oxygen levels throughout your body. Your muscles relax, your blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow, and your equilibrium returns, making you feel more energetic and balanced. 

Next time you feel stress coming on, try this deep breathing exercise: 

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees pulled up. Keep your feet slightly apart. Try to breathe in and out through your nose. 
  2.  Inhale deeply. As you breathe in, allow your stomach to relax so that the air flows into your abdomen. Your stomach should balloon out as you breathe in. Visualize your lungs filling with air as your chest swells out. 
  3. Imagine that the air you inhale is filling your body with energy. 
  4. Exhale deeply. As you breathe out, let your stomach and chest collapse. Imagine the air being pushed out, first from your abdomen and then from your lungs. 
  5. Imagine that the air you exhale is carrying away fatigue, concerns, and upset. 
  6. Repeat the process for three to five minutes, keeping your attention on your breath.

Green foods are rich in one amazing nutrient—chlorophyll. In fact, the greener the plant, the greater the amount of chlorophyll. Foods high in chlorophyll also help heal provide energy, boost immunity, and relieve fatigue. 

Spirulina, chlorella, and wild blue-green algae contain more chlorophyll than any other foods. These algae are aquatic plants, spiral-shaped and emerald to blue-green in color, and have been used medicinally for thousands of years in South America and Africa. Today they can be purchased, dried, in health food stores. They are also the highest sources of protein, beta-carotene, and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food, as well as containing the essential fatty acids omega-3 and gamma linolenic acid.

Exercise is one of the simplest things you can do that reaps you incredible, far-reaching benefits. Regular physical activity allows a discharge of physical, mental, and emotional tension; improves circulation and oxygenation throughout the body; loosens and limbers up your joints and muscles; promotes emotional grounding and stability; and boosts your vigor and energy level.

To ensure you are getting the full benefits exercise provides, you should aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day five to seven times a week. Mix up your routine with a combination of aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, swimming, etc.), weight-bearing exercise, and 
stretching and flexibility (yoga, Pilates, etc.).

0 Comments

Ginger: A Diabetic's Best Friend

by Health News

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise. Globally, an estimated 366 million people are expected to be diagnosed with this debilitating condition by 2030.

Diabetes | Benefits of Ginger | Institute for Vibrant Living

As it turns out, the kitchen spice ginger may turn out to be a potential therapeutic agent for diabetes-associated health problems. It is safe, affordable and easily accessible.

A new study on ginger's health benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes suggests that it may provide millions suffering with this condition a natural alternative to available medications - many of which have serious, even life-threatening side effects.

In fact a previous study had already shown that 1600 mg of ginger administered daily for 12 weeks successfully improved 8 distinct markers of type 2 diabetes.

In this new study, Iranian researchers sought to identify herbal products effective in addressing insulin resistance, a condition where the body is unable to properly utilize or respond to insulin - leading to high blood sugar and diabetes, among many other harmful effects to health.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involved 81 patients with type 2 diabetes (mean age of 50 years) who were randomly assigned into ginger and control groups. Subjects in the ginger group received 3 one-gram capsules containing ginger powder daily for 8 weeks.

The following parameters were evaluated in these subjects:

  • HbA1c - an indication of damage to the red blood cells caused by the oxidation of sugars, known as glycation.
  • Fructosamine - a harmful compound produced as a byproduct of result of sugar reacting with an amine.
  • Fasting blood sugar (FBS).
  • Fasting insulin.
  • Homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR).
  • Beta-cell function - a cell type within the pancreas responsible for producing insulin.
  • Insulin sensitivity.
  • Quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI). 
  • The results of the intervention were significant and positive:
  • Mean fasting blood sugar decreased 10.5% in the ginger group, whereas it increased 21% in the control group.
  • HbA1c decreased in the ginger group, and increased in the control group.

Insulin resistance was reduced in the ginger group, as determined by increases in the QIUCKI index.

The Iranian researchers concluded that daily consumption of ginger for 8 weeks by patients with type 2 diabetes leads to reduced FBS and HbA1c means, along with beneficial effects on insulin resistance, insulin sensitivity and QUICKI index.

In other words, consumption of ginger supplement is beneficial for people suffering from type 2 diabetes, although further studies are needed to figure out how exactly ginger does this.

Source: Ginger: A Diabetic’s Best Friend.

0 Comments

Maintaining Health Blood Sugar Levels with Ginger

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise. Globally, an estimated 366 million people are expected to be diagnosed with this debilitating condition by 2030.

As it turns out, the kitchen spice ginger may turn out to be a potential therapeutic agent for diabetes-associated health problems. It is safe, affordable and easily accessible.

A new study on ginger's health benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes suggests that it may provide millions suffering with this condition a natural alternative to available medications - many of which have serious, even life-threatening side effects.

In fact a previous study had already shown that 1600 mg of ginger administered daily for 12 weeks successfully improved 8 distinct markers of type 2 diabetes.

In this new study, Iranian researchers sought to identify herbal products effective in addressing insulin resistance, a condition where the body is unable to properly utilize or respond to insulin - leading to high blood sugar and diabetes, among many other harmful effects to health.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involved 81 patients with type 2 diabetes (mean age of 50 years) who were randomly assigned into ginger and control groups. Subjects in the ginger group received 3 one-gram capsules containing ginger powder daily for 8 weeks.

The following parameters were evaluated in these subjects:

  • HbA1c - an indication of damage to the red blood cells caused by the oxidation of sugars, known as glycation.
  • Fructosamine - a harmful compound produced as a byproduct of result of sugar reacting with an amine.
  • Fasting blood sugar (FBS).
  • Fasting insulin.
  • Homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR).
  • Beta-cell function - a cell type within the pancreas responsible for producing insulin.
  • Insulin sensitivity.

Quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI). 

The results of the intervention were significant and positive:

  • Mean fasting blood sugar decreased 10.5% in the ginger group, whereas it increased 21% in the control group.
  • HbA1c decreased in the ginger group, and increased in the control group.
  • Insulin resistance was reduced in the ginger group, as determined by increases in the QIUCKI index.

The Iranian researchers concluded that daily consumption of ginger for 8 weeks by patients with type 2 diabetes leads to reduced FBS and HbA1c means, along with beneficial effects on insulin resistance, insulin sensitivity and QUICKI index.

In other words, consumption of ginger supplement is beneficial for people suffering from type 2 diabetes, although further studies are needed to figure out how exactly ginger does this.

Source: Ginger: A Diabetic’s Best Friend.

0 Comments

What is Omega 7?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You’re probably already familiar with the essential omenga-3 fats, and the many health benefits they offer - protecting against the harmful effects of inflammation, heart disease, and more.What is Omega 7

Now new studies have uncovered omega-7, a promising new omega fatty acid with a significant beneficial impact on both cholesterol levels and plaque development in arteries.

Omega-7 fats are found in all tissues in the body, but mainly in the liver. 

In one study, Harvard researchers screened 3,000 people with type 2 diabetes.  They identified omega-7 fats as the most active, working to prevent further development of type 2 diabetes in study participants by regulating insulin.

Similarly, a Japanese study found similarly beneficial effects of omega-7 fats on type 2 diabetes in mice, again by modifying their insulin levels.

In another study at the Cleveland Clinic, omega-7 fats were seen to significantly lower plaque formation in the entire group of test mice. Levels of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol were shown to increase by an average of 85 percent in these mice.

Anchovies, sea buckthorn and macadamia nuts are naturally high in omega-7 fats; and of course omega-7 supplements are also available.

The sea buckthorn grows in high-salt conditions along the ocean shoreline and in deserts from Western Europe to Mongolia. Its berries are edible but bitter; but they are a great source of vitamin C, containing 15 times as much as oranges. Sea buckthorn berries are also a rich source of omega-7 fats and are used to make both nutritional supplements and skin care products.

Macadamia nuts are rich in palmitoleic acid, an omega-7 fatty oil that provides building blocks for enzymes that control fat burning. Some experts believe palmitoleic acid may represent a therapy for obesity, although more research is needed.

Too much intake of omega-7 fats causes an unpleasant side effect. When they accumulate in the oily sebum that lubricates the skin, they are broken down into a chemical which causes an unpleasant odor.  Frequent washing and specially formulated cosmetics can be used to eliminate the odor.

As always, before starting a new dietary supplement, it’s wise to consult your physician to check ensure it doesn’t interfere with any medications you may be taking.

Related blog posts:
Idea That All Fats Makes You Fat Is A Myth

5 Fats You Should Be Eating

Is Krill Fish Oil Dangerous?

Reasons Why Flaxseed Diet For Cows Means More Nutritious Milk Should Be On Your Radar

Source:

Omega 7: There’s a New Healthful Omega Fatty Acid in Town.

0 Comments

Top Health Tips for a Healthy Heart

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you know, diet plays a huge role in determining if your blood pressure levels are normal or frighteningly high. If you have read about blood pressure, then you know that the best diet for blood pressure is an alkaline diet that mirrors the Mediterranean style of eating.

Basically, that includes low- to moderate-acid fruits and vegetables, fish, lean protein, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and some dairy. Pretty straight-forward, right?

But did you know that there are also three really fun—and in one case, downright exotic—foods that have been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure levels. These include chocolate, hibiscus tea, and beets.

Download our FREE Healthy Heart Tips and learn more about how adding chocolate, hibiscus tea and beets to your diet can help keep your heart healthy.

Free Heart Health Tips

Additional heart health tips:

Limit Unhealthy Fats
Saturated fats and trans fats are the cause of raised cholesterol which in turn causes a build-up of plaque in your arteries – the cause of heart attacks. Every packaged food shows its exact content on the label so you can start to learn which products to avoid. 
 
Butter, margarine, cream and shortening are high in saturated and trans fats, and anything made from them such as pastry, cookies, gravy, cream-based sauces and fried foods. Substitute butter with a low-fat substitute and choose monounsaturated fats such as canola oil or olive oil for cooking, in moderation.
 
Choose Low-Fat Protein
Protein is essential for a healthy body, but cut out the fatty options. Substitute fatty meat, beef burgers and processed meat products such as sausages with low fat options such as chicken breast, lean ground meats or soy products. Fish is heart healthy as oily fish has omega-3 fatty acids which actually lower blood fats called triglycerides. Change to low-fat milk and use egg whites or egg substitute in place of cholesterol-laden egg yolks.
 
Eat More Fresh Vegetable and Fruit
Bulky and high in vitamins and minerals, vegetables and fresh fruit are a good source of dietary fiber. Raw vegetable croutons or fresh fruit make it easy to have a heart-healthy snack. Stir-fry vegetables and fruit salad made with a little sugar-free apple juice make an excellent meal or dessert in themselves. The things to avoid are high sodium canned vegetables, fried vegetables, canned fruit in syrup and fruit with sugar added.
 
Reduce Salt (Sodium)
Sodium has been found to cause high blood pressure which raises the risk for heart disease. The recommended daily maximum intake is 2,300 mg which is about a teaspoonful. Few of us add that much salt at the table, but salt is present in many processed foods. Canned soups, prepared meals and savory snacks, nuts and chips are very high in sodium so check the label and restrict your intake accordingly. Buy reduced sodium versions of salt, soy sauce and canned soups where possible.
 
Substitution rather than total abstinence is the best way to tackle your new heart healthy diet. Choose whole grain bread, flour, rice and cereal rather than refined “white” products which have had all the fiber and goodness processed out. Whole grains help regulate healthy blood pressure which leads to a healthy heart. Pies, cakes, corn bread, doughnuts, buttered popcorn and high-fat crackers should be a very rare treat for those serious about keeping their heart healthy. 
 
0 Comments

Weight Loss Tips: Green Coffee Beans

by Health News

Exciting new research suggests that an ingredient in raw coffee beans can lead to successful weight loss.

However this ingredient - known as chlorogenic acid - is destroyed when coffee beans are roasted, so that the weight loss benefit from drinking regular coffee is much less.Weight Loss Tips: Green Coffee Beans

Weight gain and obesity are a global health crisis. Issues of cost and potential side effects of prescription weight loss drugs have led to the investigation of nutraceuticals such as green coffee extract, known to have health benefits by influencing glucose and fat metabolism.

Raw coffee beans are the most abundant natural source of chlorogenic acid - but it can also be found in peaches, prunes, strawberries, blueberries, potatoes and other plant products.

Previous research has shown that chlorogenic acid slows down the release of glucose into the blood stream, ultimately resulting in reduced fat absorption. Chlorogenic acid also reduces cholesterol levels and improves glucose tolerance.

A 22-week crossover study recently looked at the efficacy and safety of a commercial green coffee extract at reducing weight and body mass in 16 overweight adults, who received either high- or low-dose green coffee extract in separate six-week treatment periods.

Study authors observed significant reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI) and percent body fat, suggesting that green coffee extract may be an effective and inexpensive way to reduce weight in overweight adults.

A natural pill or capsule that helps to control blood sugar and promotes weight loss at the same time would be a major advance in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Already, one large study indicates a 50% risk reduction for people who drank seven cups of coffee a day compared to those who drank only two cups a day.

In other words - all the evidence points to chlorogenic acid as the active ingredient in green coffee beans that aids weight loss and may help to improve glucose control in normal subjects, as well as in people suffering from pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Green coffee bean extract is generally consumed as a supplement since drinking liquid coffee made from unroasted coffee beans would have a bitter and unpleasant taste. Also, you’d need to drink a lot of such a coffee to get a sufficient dosage of chlorogenic acid for weight loss and other health benefits.

Source: Benefits of Chlorogenic Acid: Weight Loss and Diabetes.

0 Comments

What Does The Term Biodynamic or Organic Mean?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Everywhere you turn, you read seemingly healthy claims on foods, ranging from all-natural to organic and biodynamic. But what, exactly, do these terms mean?

What Does The Term Biodynamic or Organic Mean?

While the term “natural” or “all-natural” implies that the food or product has had little to no processing, there is no legal definition for either of these terms in the United States. In fact, most would agree that placing these terms on packaging is a marketing ploy more than claim of pure ingredients.

To bear the “organic” label, a food must be grown, stored, and processed without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or other harmful chemicals. Plus, organic farmers have to adhere to a strict set of standards and must undergo regular inspections to ensure that they meet these standards—including no hormone use in animals, and no genetically engineered seed or stock. So, you can rest assured that foods labeled “biodynamic” or “certified organic” are free of any and all genetically modified ingredients.

Finally, “biodynamic” foods are farmed according to even stricter standards than organic farming and pre-date the organic movement by 20 years. Developed by Dr. Rudolf Steiner in 1924, biodynamics is a method of agriculture that seeks to actively work with the health-giving forces of nature. Biodynamic methods recognize the development of a farm as a balanced and sustainable unit. In addition to common organic practices such as crop rotation, recycling through composts and liquid manures, and increasing plant and animal bio-processes in the soil, biodynamics also includes homeopathic-like preparations to heal the soil and guarantee that such healthy soil will provide the best quality of nutrients.

Additionally, biodynamics relies on the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets, and stars to determine the best times to plant, cultivate, and harvest. It is the combination of organic farming practices, along with the homeopathic remedies and planetary influences that define the essence of biodynamics.

 

0 Comments

What are the Dangers of Food Dyes?

by Health News

As you probably already know, many processed foods have dyes added to change the color of the finished product - especially children’s cereals, candies, energy bars and sprinkles.

Other foods also have less obvious dyes in them, such as pickles, chips, frosting mixes, soft drinks, macaroni and cheese and many brands of yogurt. Not only that, prescription and over-the-counter medicines also typically contain one or more food dyes.

What are the dangers of food dyes | Institute for Vibrant Living

Food dyes may be either natural or artificial. Natural dyes are made from extracts of colorful plant components, such as anthocyanidin from grapes, curcumin from turmeric, lycopene, and beta carotene.

These dyes are often healthy enough, but they are used less often because they are expensive.

On the other hand, artificial dyes are extracted from compounds that were originally extracted from coal tar and petroleum products.

The FDA uses the code FD&C plus a number to indicate that a particular dye has been approved for use in processed foods. There are seven main approved food colorings: FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Blue No. 2, FD&C Green No. 2024, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Yellow No. 5 and FD&C Yellow No. 6.

The only problem with FDA’s list of approved food dyes is that many of them are harmful to health.

For instance, Red No. 3 causes cancer in animals. Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5, and Yellow No. 6 have been found to be contaminated with benzidine or other carcinogens. Blue No. 1, Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5, and Yellow No. 6 cause hypersensitivity reactions.

Yellow No. 5 actually damages DNA.

It gets worse - studies have shown that Blue No. 2, Green No. 2024, and Red No. 4 increase tumor incidence and death rate in hamsters.

Evidence for the link between food dyes and hyperactivity in children is strong, even in very small concentrations, for Yellow No. 5.

As with most toxins, testing on food dyes is carried out in healthy animals or people, and the dye in question is tested alone. In real life, foods may often contain multiple dyes; when mixed, their toxic effects are multiplied.

So what can you do to protect yourself and your family from these FDA-approved toxins?

Clearly, the first and most obvious thing to do is to avoid all foods that contain artificial dyes right away - and consume only fresh, organically grown foods.

 

Source:

Dangers of Food Dyes.

 

0 Comments

Fight Hair Loss With these Vitamins and Supplements

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Top 3 Vitamins and Supplements to Fight Hair LossIs 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, many hair loss supplements contain 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 consider including a hair loss supplement into your daily routine? 


Read More....
Tips on How To Counter Male Pattern Baldness

What is the Best Source of Biotin-Rich Foods?

The Top Vitmain Health Supplements

10 Best Natural Vitamin Supplements

Top 5 Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements for Men

Natural Supplements and Vitamins: Why They Are Important

 

Source:

Three Vitamins for Healthy, Glowing Hair.