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Why the Color Orange Represents Good Health

by Health News

Acid reflux or heartburn is a common ailment that strikes nearly everybody at one time or another.  There are plenty of drugstore products you can use to help ease the pain and discomfort of heartburn, but if you want more natural heartburn relief, look to the color orange.

What Is Heartburn? What Causes It?

Heartburn is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or simply acid reflux. Symptoms included a painful burning sensation in your chest and a sour taste in your mouth. Stomach acids that have escaped into the esophagus are burning the lining. 

Orange foods, such as oranges, can help with natural heartburn relief.

Normally a muscle at the entrance to the esophagus opens when you swallow, but then tightens to close off the stomach from the esophagus. If for some reason it does not fully close, powerful digestive acids that break down your food into digestible nutrients can escape.  

There are many potential causes of heartburn:

  1. A hiatal hernia, when the stomach pushes into the chest
  2. Eating large portions that strain the stomach’s capacity
  3. Wearing tight, restrictive clothing
  4. Lying down right after eating a large meal

Food Triggers:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato based sauces
  • Fried and/or fatty foods
  • Highly acid foods and juices like grapefruit, lemons, limes
  • Carbonated drinks

Related How Do You Naturally Prevent Acid Reflux?

Drugs:

  • Antidepressants
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Progestin found in birth control pills
  • Sedatives
  • Some medications prescribed to treat Parkinson’s disease

Orange You Glad You Read This

Some dietary changes may help to reduce the severity or avoid heartburn. Many of them are come graced with a lovely orange hue.

  • Carrots – carrot juice contains alkaline compounds that can help the neutralize acid that causes heartburn. They have other health benefits like beta-carotene, which becomes vitamin A in the body and helps heal sores in the intestinal or esophageal lining
  • Mangos – these exotic orange slices are loaded with powerful antioxidants like ascorbic acid (vitamin C), dehydro-absorbic acid and carotenoids. These compounds promote anti-inflammatory action in the body to sooth the inflammation associated with GERD or heartburn
  • Apricots – these small little orange fruits are loaded with catechins, which are anti-inflammatories. They also have a lot of fiber and beta-carotene without being high in fat or calories
  • Nectarines – similar to peaches, but with a smooth skin, nectarines are a sweet way to get more beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber into your diet
  • Peaches – they come in a range of colors from white to yellow and orange.  Regardless of their color, you should be eating them.  These stone fruits contain vitamins C, E, and K.

Color Me Happy

Cherries are red, some berries are blue and foods that are orange are good for you too!

Eating a diet rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals in place of most fatty foods, alcohol and coffee can go a long way toward helping you maintain a healthy weight, boost immunity and enjoy natural heartburn relief.

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Healthy Licorice

by Cindy Gray

Candy for what ails you?  Forget the sweet stuff!  Licorice root is known to be helpful for treating an impressively long list of health problems, including as an effective chronic diarrhea treatment.

Licorice root may help those who suffer from chronic diarrhea

Licorice root, also known as Glycyrrhiza Glabra, grows wild across Europe. It is an herbal remedy that has been used for thousands of years by the ancient Greeks and Romans to treat many health issues.  Licorice has played a large role in Chinese medicine for many years.

Good For What Ails You

Western medicine is finally catching up and realizing just how beneficial licorice root can be for a very long list of health conditions including:

  • Upper GI health- it has been shown to ease coughs and the symptoms of cold and flu
  • Ulcers – packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, it has been shown to be almost as effective as conventional medicine for reducing pain due to ulcers
  • Chronic Diarrhea Treatment – licorice roots blend of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective treatment for this disorder

Related Why Ginger Should Be Your Gut’s Best Friend

There are two kinds of licorice root:

  • Glycyrrhiza, which has been shown to have some serious side effects like low blood pressure, headaches and heart problems.
  • Deglycyrrhizinated (DGL) seems to have less serious side effects but is just as effective in treating a long list of health ailments. 

The Right Stuff

The key therapeutic compound in licorice root is called glycyrrhizin. It has been shown in numerous animal and human research studies to have the ability to soothe and coat inflamed membranes.  That kind of anti-inflammatory ability is what makes licorice root a good treatment for the symptoms of chronic diarrhea.

Having occasional loose bowel movements can be normal, and it usually clears up on its own or with the help of over the counter medications.  However, chronic diarrhea is defined as having loose stools for four or more weeks, three or more times per day.  It can have a very harmful impact on one’s health.  The loss of fluids, nutrients and electrolytes for a prolong period of time can lead to poor health and a compromised immune system.

Taking licorice root can help ease the symptoms and provide pain relief. The compounds in the root inhibit spasms in the colon and sooth irritated membranes. It also enhances immunity by boosting production of interferon, a key immune system chemical that helps your body fight off attacking viruses.

Licorice root also has compounds called flavonoids that are powerful anti-oxidants. They help the body neutralize cell damaging free radicals that could be contributing to chronic diarrhea, severe coughing and other upper GI tract problems, and ulcers.  

Forms, Dosage, and Side Effects

You will find licorice root in several different forms:

  • Powdered
  • Thinly cut slices
  • In teas
  • Capsules and tablets
  • As an extract

For chronic diarrhea, ulcers and upper GI health, the recommended dosage for adults is two to four 380 mg tablets of DGL (see above) before meals and at bedtime.

If you or someone you know is seeking a natural treatment for ulcers, upper GI problems or an effective chronic diarrhea treatment, licorice root could be a good choice. 

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Chlorophyll: Nature’s Remedy for Fatigue, Bad Breath & More

by Cindy Gray

If you struggle with fatigue, bad breath and excessive sweating your body might need to detox with chlorophyll. Foods containing chlorophyll can help neutralize and remove the toxins that cause tiredness and body odors. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that collects energy from sunlight. Eating foods rich in these green pigments helps to cleanse the blood. 

If you struggle with fatigue, bad breath and excessive sweating, you may need to detox with chlorophyll.

Algae, seaweed and wheatgrass are among the most potent sources of chlorophyll. Other good sources include green leafy vegetables, sprouts, green juices and wild edible greens. Foods containing chlorophyll detoxify the body and work with the liver to restore vibrant health. They also absorb toxins from the intestinal tract and support the growth of “friendly” bacteria.

Some of the major benefits of chlorophyll include:

Neutralizes Body Odor:  Because chlorophyll cleanses you from the inside out, it can help reduce body odor. Chlorophyll has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that fight body odor at the source. It is so effective that it is often referred to as “nature’s deodorant.”

Eliminates Bad Breath: Foods containing chlorophyll fight bad breath because they cleanse the digestive tract.  Chewing on the leaves of parsley, dill, basil and cilantro can immediately freshen bad breath. Chlorophyll provides a natural alternative to chemical-laden mouthwashes and breath mints.

Related What Everybody Ought to Know About Liquid Chlorophyll

Removes Toxins: Toxic metals in the environment can take a toll on your health. Chlorophyll attaches to toxins and heavy metals and removes them from your body. It also increases your blood's oxygen-carrying capacity by stimulating red blood cell production. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of chlorophyll contribute to its cleansing effects.

Boosts Immune System: Chlorophyll-rich foods contain essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for disease prevention and vibrant health.

Speeds Healing: For the past 100 years researchers have studied the healing properties of chlorophyll. Studies show it speeds the healing process because it is a natural disinfectant and it fights inflammation.

Because it has so many beneficial health effects, many people use chlorophyll supplements to make sure they are getting recommended amounts. The supplements come in capsule, powder and liquid forms and can be obtained online and through natural health stores.

Boost your energy levels and eliminate embarrassing breath and body odors the natural way. Chlorophyll is a safe, plant-based detox method that can cleanse your body from the inside out. 

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Look Beyond NSAIDS For Inflammatory Arthritis Pain Relief

by Cindy Gray

More than 33 million Americans take NSAIDs every day to cope with the moderate to severe pain associated with inflammatory arthritis. While they may provide temporary relief, NSAIDs come with potentially serious side effects, and in some cases may even worsen the inflammation they are prescribed to relieve.

NSAIDs work by suppressing prostaglandins, which are lipids produced by the body to deal with injury. The body produces two types of prostaglandins, those that cause inflammation and those that fight inflammation. Unfortunately, NSAIDs suppress BOTH types of prostaglandins so the medications have the potential to do more harm than good.

It is important to note that NSAIDs are powerful drugs and they affect many organs in the body including the heart, kidney and liver. The gastrointestinal side effects are so well-documented that in 2009 the FDA ordered all manufacturers of NSAIDs to list the dangers on the product labels. Problems range from mild stomach upset to potentially fatal stomach bleeding and ulcers.

Related: Natural Anti-Inflammatory Supplements vs. NSAIDs

Many people risk the serious side effects because they think NSAIDs are their only option for pain relief, but there are many natural remedies that can ease the pain of inflammatory arthritis.  Millions of Americans use nutritional supplements to deal with arthritis symptoms.

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can speed the formation of new cartilage and help block enzymes that harm cartilage. A study conducted at Montreal Hospital found that patients who take supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin have less pain and inflammation. Arnica Montana, often called “mountain daisy” for its bright yellow flowers, has been used for centuries to treat joint pain. It is available in capsule and powdered forms online and in natural health stores.

Talk to your holistic health practitioner to determine the supplement formation and dosage that best suits your needs. Treat your back pain the natural way and avoid the harmful side effects of NSAIDs.   

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Three Natural Arthritis Treatments in Your Kitchen

by Cindy Gray

Arthritis is a very common disorder that causes pain, stiffness and limited mobility in the joints.  Inflammation is the source of discomfort and often requires strong non-prescription and prescription pain relievers. However, there are several natural arthritis treatments that can be found in your kitchen.

Ginger

Many cultures around the globe have been using ginger in variety of medicinal ways. The root of the plant is where its many health benefits are contained. In addition to adding a spicy kick to many dishes, helping alleviate nausea, and being a rich source of antioxidants, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Research conducted in 2001 found that ginger oil reduced knee pain in participants diagnosed with osteoarthritis.  The journal Arthritis published a study that compared the effectiveness of ginger extract to medications like cortisone and ibuprofen for arthritis suffers.  The ginger extract was as effective in reducing cytokine production (a substance produced by the body with inflammatory effects, linked to arthritis pain).

That’s good news for those who want to avoid the unpleasant side effects of cortisone (aka betamethasone) like depression, seizures, muscle weakness and sleep problems, just to name a few.

If you are eating fresh ginger, two or three tablespoons grated into your dish are a correct amount for most people.  Taking ginger in capsule form (100 to 200 mgs) is the best way to reap the benefits of ginger as a natural arthritis treatment.

Turmeric

Turmeric is another natural arthritis treatment in your kitchen, and is a probably on your spice rack. Turmeric is not as widely used in the U.S., but is a staple in Chinese and Indian diets for its taste and many health benefits.

Related: Turmeric - The Natural Cancer Fighter in Your Curry

Curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Like ginger, clinical studies comparing it to regular drugs for pain relief showed turmeric to be as effective for pain relief, but without the unpleasant side effects of OTC and prescribed medications.  In addition to being an anti-inflammatory, turmeric is an abundant source of antioxidants that help neutralize cell damaging free radicals.

Adding turmeric to your diet by taking a supplement is the best way to get maximum benefits.  Take a 300-milligram capsule with the meals to reduce pain and inflammation due to arthritis.

Pineapple

Sweet, juicy exotic pineapple is proving to be tough on inflammation and a powerful pain reliever.  Bromelain, an extract from the fruit’s stem, has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory that helps reduce pain and joint swelling.

Pineapple has actually been used in Hawaii and other tropical cultures as an effective treatment for sore throats and digestive issues.  Besides tasting delicious, pineapples are also rich in vitamin C and calcium. The digestive enzymes it contains are called bromelain and the source of the fruit’s anti-inflammatory effects.

For natural arthritis treatments, taking bromelain in capsule form is best. There is no standard dose, but in general, from 80-320 milligrams of the extract taken two or three times a day could offer pain relief without side effects.

Natural Relief

Using natural arthritis treatments makes dealing with arthritis pain and discomfort much more manageable without having to suffer the side effects of many prescription drugs.  Always be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements to avoid unfavorable drug interactions and to get the best dosage for you.

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Heartburn Home Remedies in Your Refrigerator or Pantry

by Health News

Leaving a sour taste in the back of the throat or a burning sensation in the chest, heartburn affects millions of Americans every day.  It occurs when stomach acid is refluxed into the esophagus ─ the tube that connects the pharynx to the stomach.  While there are a number of antacids, H2 blockers, and other OTC products that offer relief from heartburn, they only mask the symptoms.  Making changes to the diet may offer a better solution over the long term.  Three types of food in particular make excellent heartburn home remedies

Green foods, apple cider vinegar, and papaya make excellent heartburn home remedies.

Green Foods

Green foods high in chlorophyll like spirulina, chlorella, and dulse help diminish heartburn by alkalizing the body and counteracting excessive stomach acid.  They contain nutrients that heal mucosal linings and digestive enzymes important to the assimilation of foods.  People can eat these foods fresh or powdered in salads or smoothies. 

Related:  How Do You Naturally Prevent Acid Reflux?

Apple Cider Vinegar

Organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of the best natural heartburn home remedies.  The "mother," which resembles a cloud of material at the bottom of the bottle, contains healthy digestive enzymes, pectin, and other nutrients.  Pectin soothes the gastrointestinal tract to block the occurrence of stomach cramps, bloating, and gas.  ACV is also thought to help stimulate digestive juices for a more efficient breakdown of food and encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria which can help relieve heartburn and treat GERD.  People should shake the bottle of apple cider vinegar before each use to distribute the “mother.”

Papaya

The healthful nutrients found in papaya include papain and chymopapain, enzymes that help with the digestion of proteins and reduces inflammation in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. These digestive enzymes also help people who suffer from nutritional deficiencies associated with GERD.  Other important nutrients found in papaya include fiber, antioxidants, carotenoids, vitamins A, C, E and K, copper, lutein, and magnesium.

While certain OTC medications help relieve the gnawing, burning sensation that comes with heartburn, the results are only temporary.  Changing the diet often proves a healthier solution.  Chlorophyll-rich green foods, apple cider vinegar, and papaya all make excellent heartburn home remedies that come straight from Nature to your refrigerator or pantry.  

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Dangers of Laxative Overuse for Chronic Constipation

by Cindy Gray

While laxatives can help increase stool frequency, overuse of laxatives often results in chronic constipation.While regular bowel movements are critical for good health, “forcing the issue” with chemically-laden laxatives can do more harm than good. The body can quickly become dependent on laxatives and once you stop taking them constipation symptoms return, sometimes even worse than before. Laxatives contain chemicals that help increase stool bulk and frequency, which provides temporary relief for constipation. But overuse often results in chronic constipation and so it becomes a vicious cycle. 

Laxative use is rampant in this country and millions of dollars each year are spent on products that claim to relieve symptoms. Since the colon is the largest organ in the immune system, keeping it working efficiently is critical to good health.

Related: The Best and Worst Foods for IBS

Instead of reaching for a laxative, consider some natural approaches to treat chronic constipation. Your first line of defense should be to add fiber your diet. Most American diets are woefully lacking in fiber due to our national obsession with over-processed foods. To increase you fiber intake, eat plenty of vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and whole grains. Keep fatty foods to a minimum.

Probiotics are also helpful in maintaining regularity and they are found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt. Many people take probiotic supplements that provide the “good bacteria” in the digestive tract that help our bodies break down foods into components that provide healthful nutrition. 

Talk to your health care provider about natural ways to manage chronic constipation and other digestive problems. Laxatives should be used only as a last resort and only under the supervision of your physician or holistic practitioner.  

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Are Supplements Regulated by the FDA?

by theintituteforvibrantliving admin

Natural supplements are not governed like drugs, as they are not drugs at all. However, they can be just as potent and those taking daily supplements should understand what checks are in place to maintain standards and support good health. You should be particularly careful of starting a new regime of natural supplements if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have chronic medical conditions or are on medications. 

The FDA has rules concerning dietary supplements that allow manufacturers to claim a product supports health or addresses a deficiency. However, the manufacturer must make a disclaimer that the FDA has not evaluated the claim.

Related Article: 10 Tips for Purchasing High-Quality Nutritional Supplements

Herbal supplement companies must follow good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and meet quality standards. GMPs ensure the right ingredients are included to match the product label and ensure that dangerous substances, such as lead, are kept out. Once a product is on the market, the FDA monitors it for safety and has the power to remove it if deemed dangerous. 

The FDA requires natural supplement labels to show the name of the supplement, the name and address of the distributor or manufacturer, a complete list of ingredients and the serving size, amount and active ingredients. This makes it easy to compare similar products from different brands or research more information. 

#vibrantliving

The best protection is to buy natural supplements from a reputable supplier who has been in the market for many years and has a good reputation. Buy from a company that has good information available on its products, is willing to answer questions and backs up its products with a fair, money-back guarantee. 

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Royal Jelly for Skin: Your Skin’s Best Friend

by Health News

What is royal jelly?  It sounds like something the queen of England would spread on her biscuits with tea.  Actually, royal jelly is a nutrient-packed bee product that can be taken as a nutritional supplement, but it also can take years off the appearance of aging skin.

Royal jelly transforms aging skin

Royal Jelly: The Who, What, Where, When, & Why

Honey bees produce the thick, milky substance known as royal jelly to feed their queen.  Royal jelly contains water, proteins, sugar, fats, vitamins, salts and amino acids.  Its composition varies depending on the geographical location and climate the bees live in.  It is the primary food source fed to female bees to greatly enhance their fertility and longevity, making them queen bees capable of sustaining the hive.

The pasty secretion of royal jelly is used for many different things in and on the body like:

  • Asthma and hay fever
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Insomnia or sleep disorders
  • Ulcers
  • Skin disorders
  • Bone fractures
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • High cholesterol

The existence of royal jelly and its potential for treating a number of health problems has been known for centuries, and became more popular in the U.S. since the 1960s.  Research conducted identified a potent neurochemical that could actually prolong the lives of fruit flies given the substance.  This has led to speculation that royal jelly could be a potent anti-aging substance.

Related: Alpha Hydroxl Acids Benefits Your Skin

More recent clinical studies have confirmed that royal jelly is in fact a good friend to aging skin.  Researchers at the Nihon University of Japan found that the anti-inflammatory properties in it shortened the healing period of skin lesions.  It also seems to stimulate collagen production, the essential protein that makes up the support bands beneath our skin keeping it smooth and wrinkle free.

The Yin and the Yang of Royal Jelly

The concept of yin and yang is at the core of Asian medical models dating back thousands of years.  Yin represents the skin, bodily fluids, tendons and bones, which are thought to become drier and hotter over time, especially in women of menopausal age.

Royal jelly is particularly helpful to “yin deficient” or aging skin thanks to the many essential nutrients it contains.  Traditional Asian medicine has been using royal jelly as a healing and skin renewing treatment to restore “yin” for thousands of years because it is highly effective with no known side effects.

The complex combination of fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals have strong anti-bacterial properties combined with its high water content make royal jelly very hydrating and nourishing to aging skin. 

  • The silicon content is what boosts collagen production leading to a smoother tighter complexion.
  • Royal jelly also contains a lot B-vitamins, B3 especially, that are highly effective in preventing redness, irritation, and discoloring from lifestyle and environmental damage.
  • The Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology reported in 2013 that the collagen-boosting fatty acids in royal jelly also have sun-blocking properties that can shield the skin from ultraviolet ray damage.

Healthier Skin with Royal Jelly

With thousands of years of use in Asian medicine and significant clinical research showing its health benefits, using royal jelly for skin is a safe, effective and natural way to turn back the clock and restore a more youthful glow.

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What You Need to Know About Fermented Foods and Constipation

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Antibiotics are used in medicine to kill harmful bacteria; in fact they kill off all bacteria in the digestive system, creating other problems. However, the opposite of antibiotics are probiotics. These beneficial bacteria aid digestion, fight harmful bacteria, act as chelators and detox agents to rid the body of heavy metals and toxins, and they help reduce constipation.

So where can we get a healthy daily dose of these useful probiotic bacteria? Fermented foods are the key. You probably already eat some occasionally without even realizing. Examples of fermented foods include fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, which are fermented, not pickled. Examples of fermented dairy products include probiotic yogurt and kefir. 

How Does Fermented Food Aid Constipation?

Fermented food can help prevent constipation

Most fermented foods are made using an ancient form of food preservation. This fermentation process uses beneficial bacteria to create lactic acid. This environment is high in good bacteria and preserves the food by not allowing bad bacteria to spoil and rot it. Modern-day fermented foods may be processed using pasteurization which actually kills all bacteria. You need to find products that have been organically fermented, or do the process yourself.

Even a small amount of sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, will provide many benefits. It is full of vitamin C, reduces inflammation in the bowel, reduces pain and constipation associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lowers bloating and contains high levels of antioxidants.

Related: Top 10 Foods for Fantastic Digestion

Eating cultured or fermented foods tops up intestinal flora (bacteria) which boosts natural immunity. They balance bacteria in the stomach and digestive tract, releasing enzymes to improve digestion. Fermented foods also produce an acid environment in the bowel which can be helpful in preventing constipation. These bacteria make it easier for the body to absorb nutrients and speedier digestion means less likelihood of constipation.

Now you know the benefits of fermented foods on your overall health, banishing constipation, You may want to try adding some other fermented foods to your diet. Try fermented beets, tomatoes, radishes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, kimchi, green beans and sauerkraut. Dairy eaters can enjoy fermented yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk and some cheeses. Not only will these foods fight inflammation and disease-causing bacteria, you will also avoid unhealthy constipation, another big plus!

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Top Three Fermented Foods for Constipation Relief

by Cindy Gray

How healthy is your colon? The primary sign of a healthy colon and digestive system is if you have a bowel movement at least once a day. If you don’t, chances are that you are suffering from constipation and may need some help from nature. Eating fermented foods regularly will help provide constipation relief by improving your digestive process and cleansing your colon.

Your diet should contain plenty of fiber from your five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, whole wheat bread, pasta and cereals. If you need a little extra help, consider introducing these fermented foods into your diet. You’ll feel more energetic and alive once you have found relief for constipation. 

Fermented foods use an ancient form of controlled fermentation to produce lactic acid which will help keep all bad bacteria and decay at bay. The fermented foods then introduce this healthy flora into the gut, helping the digestive process, keeping food moving at a healthy pace, and helping to eliminate waste products through the bowel for effective constipation relief.

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk product similar to yogurt. However, it is produced using a different method and contains high levels of healthy bacteria that colonize the intestines. It is made using milk kefir grains which contain yeast and live bacteria. The milk is then cultured at room temperature, unlike yogurt which needs heat to culture. Kefir can be drained to produce a more solid consistency and can then be eaten or made into cheese. It has a tart flavor but is a great ingredient for using in other recipes such as smoothies, salad dressing, soups, dips and desserts.

Related: The Benefits of Chlorella

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a good source of constipation relief

Kimchi is a spicy fermented vegetable dish which is popular in Korea. It can be made from scallions, radishes or cabbage. It is soaked in brine then the healthy lactobacillus bacteria ferment the cabbage during the process which takes several days. The fermentation gives the cabbage a sharp tangy flavor. Some people prefer to add seasonings such as garlic or ginger to make it tastier.

How Can Sauerkraut Help Relieve Constipation?

Sauerkraut is made using a similar process to kimchi. It should be fermented rather than pickled in vinegar to provide all the health benefits of the fermentation process as it produces millions of health supporting probiotic bacteria.

When eaten, these probiotics help break down food in the digestive system, making it faster and easier to process the food and eliminate waste. The benefits of probiotics and fermented foods for constipation relief are becoming more popular as people understand more about how these fermented foods work.

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What You Need to Know About Lead in Your Skincare Products

by IVL Products

Lead is a mineral that occurs naturally in the earth's crust at an average of 13 ppm (parts per million).  Amounts of lead in air, water, and soil are typically small enough to calm any health concerns, but lead used in manufacturing presents bigger problems.  Continual exposure to products containing lead raises risks for kidney problems, cardiovascular disease, reproductive disorders, and other health issues.  While paint and pipes make common culprits, people might be surprised to learn women's skincare products and cosmetics also contain lead. 

People might be surprised to know that women's skincare products and cosmetics contain lead.

EPA Restrictions

The Environmental Protection Agency restricts amounts of lead allowed in public drinking water to 15 ppm, lead in bottled water to 5 ppm, and lead in food intended for infants and children to 0.5 ppm.  For cosmetics and other skincare products, the agency allows lead levels up to 20 ppm.

This would be fine if the skin was a solid barrier that kept impurities from the bloodstream, but this is not the case.  Instead, the skin is a live, porous organ that absorbs impurities from anything with which it comes into contact.  In other words, what goes into the skin is just as important as what goes into the mouth.  For a healthy glow throughout life, women should take care when choosing skin care products and cosmetics.

Lipstick

When the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics brought forth concerns about lead in lipstick, the FDA tested hundreds of products.  Alarmingly, two back-to-back investigations found lead in every lipstick tested, with levels up to 3.06 ppm in the first test and levels up to 7.19 ppm in the second.  Because women lick their lips, eat, and kiss while wearing lipstick, ingestion of lead becomes a real concern.

Related: Lemon Juice Rejuvenates Skin

Mineral Foundations and Creams

Lipsticks that tested positive for lead in the FDA investigation shared one common ingredient – mineral pigments.  These can also be found in mineral foundations and creams.  According to a Canadian study, testing on mineral makeups showed 96 percent contained lead, with the average mineral makeup containing four of eight dangerous heavy metals.

How do I find lead-free products?

Women enjoy looking pretty, but it shouldn't come at such a high price.  When purchasing any personal care products, it helps to read labels, but a long list of chemicals makes the process confusing.  The best way to quell worries about lead and other toxins and to promote healthy aging skin is to purchase organic skincare products that are toxin-free. 

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Chronic Constipation? Avoid These Three Foods

by Cindy Gray

Four million people across America experience chronic constipation, a condition that causes inconvenience and discomfort. According to the National Institutes of Health, sluggish bowels account for over two million trips to the doctor each year. Because certain foods play a key role in digestive health, what you are putting into your mouth might be what is stopping things up. When it comes to the treatment of constipation, people should eliminate three types of food to see if their condition improves.

Chronic Constipation? Avoid These Three Foods

1. Gluten

People who suffer from chronic constipation may have gluten intolerance or celiac disease, a very serious form of gluten intolerance.  A sticky protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, gluten comes with a molecular structure that many humans have difficulty digesting.  In addition to constipation, people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease experience bloating, abdominal pain, sore muscles, very dry skin, mouth sores, fatigue, and weight loss.

2. Dairy

Frequent consumption of dairy products like milk, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream may cause constipation in some people.  Scientists aren't exactly sure why dairy causes constipation, but sensitivity to lactose, an enzyme in dairy products, can cause gas and bloating, which make constipation even more uncomfortable.  One study examining constipated Iranian children found that the removal of cow's milk and cow's milk products from their diet promoted more regular bowel movements. 

Related: Natural Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

3. Sugar

Sugar feeds harmful bacteria and yeast in the gut, which can help promote constipation.   In addition to straight table sugar, many sweet products like cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries also contain refined flour which is low in fiber and spikes blood sugar.  Constipation is the most common digestive problem for people with diabetes because nerves located in the digestive tract control how long waste stays in the intestines.  When these nerves become damaged from sustained levels of high blood sugar, constipation can result.

Healthy Constipation Treatment Plan for the Diet

All of the foods mentioned above share one thing in common:  a lack of fiber. While the American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of soluble and insoluble plant fiber each day, Americans typically take in only half of this amount.  Lack of fiber can result in a buildup of pathogens in the colon.  This can cause inflammation which can exacerbate chronic constipation and lead to other, more serious conditions.

Healthy treatment of constipation involves removing gluten, sugar, and dairy foods from the diet and replacing them with high-fiber choices like whole fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and gluten-free grains like quinoa.  The introduction of a psyllium supplement is also a good idea, but people should start gradually to avoid gas, bloating, and other symptoms from the psyllium.

Non-Dietary Constipation Solutions

In addition to modifying the diet, constipation treatment might include getting regular exercise, reducing stress, or taking a daily probiotic that helps boost healthy bacteria in the gut.  People should also make sure to drink plenty of water each day – roughly 6 to 8 glasses should help. 

Free eBook - Digestion Problems

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Delicious Detox: Foods that Nourish and Cleanse

by Cindy Gray

Toxins are an unfortunate, inevitable fact of life. We are exposed to toxins through the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the chemicals we use to print copies, wash our cars and disinfect our homes. Over time, toxic substances take a toll on our overall health and make us vulnerable to illFoods that Help to Nourish and Detox the Systemness and serious diseases.

To help mitigate some of the dangerous effects of toxins, it’s important to regularly consume foods that help cleanse your body. Fortunately many of the foods you need to detox your body are as near as your refrigerator or pantry.  Here are just a few of the best detox foods:

Beets: Packed with antioxidants and fiber, beets top the list of the best detox foods. They contain betaine, a compound that protects against liver damage and helps the liver process fats. Add thinly sliced beets to a sandwich, serve them as a side dish, or use them to add flavor, color and texture to salads.

Garlic: The sulfur-rich compounds in garlic fight harmful bacteria and boost the body’s ability to detox by increasing the production of glutathione, which is needed to eliminate toxins. Garlic should be eaten raw and must be chopped or crushed in order to release the beneficial compounds.

Artichokes: This spiky green staple has been used in many cultures for hundreds of years to cleanse the liver and purify the blood. Artichokes contain two key phytonutrients (cynarin and silymarin) which are among nature’s best detoxifying agents.

Related: 6 Ways to Prevent Kidney Stones from Forming

Apples: Known for their ability to “keep the doctor away” apples contain glucaric acid, which helps rid the body of chemicals and heavy metals. They are high in fiber which soaks up toxins and waste so they can be eliminated through the digestive process. Keep an apple handy at your desk for a health-boosting, nutritious snack. 

Olive oil: Hippocrates was the first healer to recognize the health benefits associated with olive oil. It is an effective tool for flushing out the liver and is particularly helpful in the prevention of gall stones. Make it go-to cooking oil and savor the fact that it’s on the list of the best detox foods.    

Broccoli: Cruciferous vegetables are nutritional powerhouses and broccoli is particularly potent.  Broccoli sprouts are especially important because they contain glucoraphanin which accelerates the body’s ability to detox from environmental pollutants.

Choose locally grown organic vegetables and products when possible. Certified organic vegetables are grown in chemical-free environments that support sustainable farming initiatives. Locally grown produce is healthier because vegetables and fruits lose much of their nutritional value when they are transported hundreds of miles. Opt for natural cleaning products and use air purifiers to mitigate pollutants in the air in your home and office.  Good luck, good health!

 

 

 

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The ABCs of Eye Floaters

by Cindy Gray

They come out of nowhere, those little dots, squiggly lines or strands in your field of vision.  They appear suddenly if you gaze at a bright white piece of paper or look up to admire a cloud-free, brilliant blue sky, then they vanish just as quickly as they appeared.  What are these pesky little eye floaters anyway?

The Ins and Outs of Eye FloatersThe good news is that eye floaters are generally harmless and only mildly annoying.  They are composed of clumps and strands of collagen, a substance produced naturally by the body.  They are a part of the natural aging process and usually appear more often between the ages of 50 and 75 years old.  They are most likely to appear to those who are very nearsighted or have had cataract surgery.

Over time, the millions of collagen fibers your body has produced can accumulate in the region of the eye known as the vitreous.  This is a thick transparent substance in the middle of the eye that makes up two-thirds of its volume.  They can alter the amount of light that gets through to your retina (the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) and appear as floaters.  In extreme cases, a doctor can replace your natural vitreous with a gel-like substance; but that is very rarely needed or recommended.

The best news is that floaters do not harm your vision or interfere with your ability to see clearly.  However, they can be annoying; and if you are near-sighted or have a family history of cataract surgery, you might want to take a few preventive steps to keep floaters at bay.

Related: Fruit May Help Reduce Vision Disabilities

Vitamins and Supplements

There are several dietary supplements you can use that have shown to help keep eyes healthy and lessen your risk of developing eye floaters as you age, such as:

Vitamin C – this essential nutrient plays a key role in eye health by encouraging healthy collagen production, which supports the connective tissue in the cornea.  It also keeps the delicate capillaries in the retina healthy.  Finally, this vital nutrient may help reduce your risk of forming cataracts or experiencing a loss of vision due to macular degeneration.

Vitamin A – is another crucial nutrient that keeps your eyes healthy.  It helps protect them from infection and eye disease, distinguish between a wide-array of colors and helps prevents night blindness.

Taurine – is an antioxidant that supports your body’s efficiency in getting rid of waste products and can help keep eye floaters from forming.

Bilberry – is a supplement, not a vitamin, which mimics vitamin C in supporting collagen production and strong blood vessels for good circulation to your eyes.

L-Methione – is an amino acid that assists the body in removing heavy metal toxins, which are especially damaging to delicate eye tissue.

Inositol – plays a vital role in maintaining cell membranes.  A low level of this substance in the body is linked to several health problems like eczema, constipation and eye issues. 

Minerals – magnesium, selenium, calcium, copper, chromium and zinc are all essential minerals that play important roles in keeping your eyes healthy.

Other Causes of Eye Floaters:

There are several things that contribute to increased eye floaters, such as:

  • Being severely nearsighted

  • Eye trauma

  • Stress (it causes problems for all parts of the body!)

  • Some liver or kidney medications

  • Pre-birth (you can be born with them)

Eye Floater 911

If you get a sudden increase in eye floaters that are accompanied by flashes of light, or you experience a sudden loss in your peripheral vision, get medical help immediately!  These are signs of a detached retina, retinal tear or internal bleeding in the eye.  All of these issues can lead to permanent vision loss so seek medical help immediately if you experience those symptoms.

Float Away

While you may not be able to completely avoid experiencing eye floaters, you can take preventive steps to keep them at a minimum with a few dietary enhancements. Adding some of the above supplements into your diet will probably help you “see” some great health benefits.