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Anemia & Hair Loss – Iron Deficiency Facts To Know

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Although hair loss is common and affects up to 40% of the population, it is still cause for great concern for men and women.  Alopecia is not limited to just men and often causes greater angst for women because of societal standards of beauty. Genetics is the main cause of thinning locks, but getting your iron levels checked is a good first step for anyone experiencing hair loss, because sometimes it may be linked to other more serious medical conditions.

The Bald Truth

Hair loss is usually not seen as life threatening, but it can be life changing and not for the better.  Not only is it damaging to one’s self esteem, but it might indicate a lack of adequate iron stores in the body, which over time can cause other health concerns, in addition to hair loss.

The American Academy of Dermatology published research collected over 40 years by Cleveland Clinic dermatologists that linked iron deficiencies with hair loss.

"We believe that treatment for hair loss is enhanced when iron deficiency, with or without anemia, is treated," Leonid Benjamin Trost, MD; Wilma Fowler Bergfeld, MD; and Ellen Calogeras, RD, MPH, write in an issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.”

To be clear, not every study concerning hair loss from nutritional deficiencies has found the same link between low iron stores and hair loss, but research is piling up that suggests that once those with low iron began taking supplements, they experienced a sharp decline in hair loss and even began re-growing hair.

Lifting iron level may help with hair loss.

Ferritin Testing

Doctors can determine a person’s iron stores by measuring the amount of ferritin in the blood.  Ferritin is a protein that plays an important role in storing iron in the blood stream.  The less ferritin you have the less iron your body has stored.  

Normal levels of ferritin range between 10-15 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml), but that level may be too low according to physicians at the University of Pennsylvania Hair and Scalp Clinic.  Men should really have 24-336 ng/ml and women should have 11 to 307 ng/ml. However, the optimum number is 50- 70 ng/ml to halt hair loss and stimulate re-growth.

Causes of Anemia & Low Iron Levels

Women are especially susceptible to low iron levels because of menstruation. Hair follicles require a lot of iron since they are constantly growing hair. When iron levels are depleted by heavy periods, over time women may begin to notice thinning hair and hair loss. Pregnancy can also accelerate iron loss.  So women who are genetically pre-disposed to alopecia, have heavy menstrual periods, and go through one or multiple pregnancies have a much higher risk of hair loss than men.

There are other causes of anemia for men and women such as multiple nutritional deficiencies, some prescription drugs and even internal bleeding due to colon cancer.  Anyone who is experiencing hair loss, whether it runs in the family or not, should mention it to their doctor and ask to have their ferritin levels checked. If their ferritin levels are low, a supplement could help; in addition to adding more iron-rich foods to your diet.

Related:  Increase Energy Naturally with Iron

Do not start taking iron supplements without first consulting your physician.  Severe side effects are rare, but include:

 

  • Stomach or intestinal ulcers
  • Constipation and or upset stomach
  • Intestinal inflammation like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • Hemoglobin disease known as thalassemia
  • Premature infants
  • Increased risk of heart disease in diabetics

 

 

Dosage

 

Once you have consulted with a doctor, had the appropriate tests, and it is determined that an iron supplement is right for you to prevent further hair loss, doctors generally recommend 50-100 mg of elemental iron (ferrous sulfate) three times per day for up to six months to reverse anemia and build up an adequate store of iron in the body. 

 

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Three Signs Your Dog May Have Periodontal Disease

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Most dog owners do everything they can to protect their pet's health, but some may not be aware of the prevalence of gum (or periodontal) disease among dogs.  When compared to people, dogs are five times more likely to develop periodontal disease.  This happens primarily because a dog's mouth is more alkaline than a human's, which triggers the development of plaque.  In addition, unlike people, few pets receive regular tooth brushing.  Understanding the symptoms of periodontal disease and engaging in a few healthy habits can help keep Fido feeling good.

A few healthy habits can help prevent periodontal disease in dogs.

How Periodontal Disease Can Affect Dogs

Periodontal disease in dogs can lead to gum inflammation, damage to gum tissue, bone loss and tooth loss.  If left untreated it can cause even larger problems.  Canine mouth tissue contains many blood vessels.  If the gums are damaged, it becomes easy for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body like the heart, lung, or kidneys. 

There are three ways to tell if your dog might have periodontal disease:  Teeth develop tartar; breath smells rancid; gums begin to recede.

Periodontal Disease Prevention

To reduce plaque and tartar in dogs, give raw bones instead of cooked ones.  Raw bones have cartilage, tendons and ligaments that get in and around a dog's teeth and gum line, acting like natural dental floss. 

Holistic veterinarian Dr. Ihor Basko tells us that giving your dog a bone can be beneficial. Chewing helps stimulate saliva enzymes and when given AFTER meals for 10 or 15 minutes helps remove trapped food particles from the teeth. Chewing on bones also help prevent plaque buildup and gum disease especially in the back upper molars.

Dr. Basko goes on to say that bones provide minerals and other nutrients (depending upon what kind of bone) and help satiate your dog’s desire for food. Bones provide the nutrients needed to keep the skeletal system fed regenerating and adapting. Chewing on bones can also help pacify a dog’s habits such as excessive self-licking, scratching and other nervous behaviors.

Feeding bones isn’t appropriate for all dogs – certain breeds of dogs just can’t process bones and gain the same benefits that other dogs get from chewing on bones.  This has a lot to do with jawbone structure.

Brachiocephalic breeds such as boxers, bull dogs, pugs, and shitzu are NOT mechanically designed to be able to chew bones effectively and safely.  A Kong toy might be a better substitute if you have this kind of dog.  Look at your dog’s teeth closely especially the upper and lower molars in back of the mouth, the length of the muzzle, and the condition of the teeth and gums and ascertain if the mouth looks “in shape” to handle a bone. Or ask your veterinarian to evaluate your dog’s mouth.

Little dogs and toys with delicate jaw structures and softer teeth should not eat bones. If your dog is too little to eat bones safely, you can still help maintain their dental health using a mix of hydrogen peroxide and aloe vera juice

Dogs with gut sensitivities might not process bones well either. If your dog is prone to loose stools or vomiting, be sure to resolve those GI issues first, and save the bones for after he/she has recovered. If your dog isn’t used to chewing on real meat bones, they can sometimes have a bout of diarrhea or soft stool after eating the bones. Over time, their system will adjust and they will be able to consume bones without issue (if fed bones on a regular basis).

The best time to give a dog a bone is after a full meal. Why? You don’t want your dog starving when he/she starts to chew on the bone. Ingesting too much of a bone could lead to constipation, and possible serious obstruction. Give your dog a bone for only 10 to 15 minutes, then take it away*, wash it, and store in a container in the fridge. Toss it out after 3-4 days.

*A good practice here is to replace the bone with something else (like a couple of pieces of mozzarella cheese) when you take it away. This will help reduce the likelihood of behavioral issues like resource guarding of the bones. If your dog growls when you approach his bone or try to remove it, definitely seek out a qualified dog behaviorist to help you retrain this behavior!

Bones must be Size Appropriate!

Dr. Basko emphasizes that large breed dogs such as Labradors, Dobermans, German Shepherds, etc. need a large enough bone so they will not chew and swallow it quickly. Bones should be larger than the length of the muzzle so it is impossible to swallow whole. A beef shank bone is a good example of a size appropriate bone for larger breeds.  Hunt for beef shank, rib, and large soup bones mostly because of availability, but lamb and large pork bones are suitable for the right jaw and dog. In general, bigger is better.

What Kinds of Bones Should Be Avoided?

Avoid the “3 B’s”: Baked, Broiled, Barbecued

Dr. Basko does not recommend feeding any baked, broiled, or barbecued bones to pets because the heat dries up the bone and makes it more brittle and subject to splintering. Chicken bones and beef “T” bones are mostly the culprits. Keep pets away from these bones!

However, boiling the bone can be useful. If your dog isn’t used to chewing on bones it is best to soften the bone through boiling. This is a good opportunity to make a meat broth for later use. Put the bone in a pot with some water, a little salt, celery, carrot, and parsley and simmer for about 1 hour.

What about Raw Bones?

After the initial few weeks chewing on softer boiled bones, raw bones can be introduced. Raw bones provide more nutrition. Dogs are more prone to wanting to bury fresh bones because they like them to be “aged” and fermented with soild bacteria. This practice is safe (but messy) if your soil is clean and healthy. Dogs need some of the bacteria, yeasts, and minerals in the soil to help digest the bones better. They instinctually know this.

Related:  Ten Tips for Safe Car Travel with your Pets

Good Sources to Find Bones

  • The supermarket (make friends with the butchers and you’ll find yourself getting better cuts since they’ll know it’s for your dogs)
  • From your local CSA (community supported agriculture co-op)
  • Meat markets / butcher shops

Use Supervision

As with most chewable pet-friendly items, supervision is very important! Don’t buy a real meat bone and then toss it to your dog when you leave for work in the morning.

Check on your dog periodically as he/she is chewing on the bone. Then, when you remove the bone, check your dog’s teeth and gums afterwards. You might see minor gum irritation if chewing on real bones is new to your dog. Eventually, the gum tissue will get stronger with stimulation and chewing.

The most common hazard with bone chewing is a slab fracture of one of the upper hind molars. If a dog has been already been chewing on rocks, furniture, and other hard materials, the teeth might have been already weakened resulting in a fracture when the bone chewing was initiated. If this sounds like your dog, be especially careful when feeding real meat bones.

Certain types of chew toys also help to promote good dental health in dogs.  Regular oral exams identify any potential problems your dog may have, and veterinarians may recommend professional cleaning if teeth have excessive plaque or tartar. 

Brush your dog’s teeth.  If they could brush their own teeth, they would; but they can’t so it’s up to you.  Puppies and young dogs get used to it, and some really like it; adult dogs will adapt—but brush your dog’s teeth at least several times a week.  Never use human toothpaste—it is poisonous to dogs. Purchase chicken or peanut butter flavor toothpaste for dogs.  Use a child-sized tooth brush for small dogs, and a larger toothbrush for larger dogs.  Brush the interior and exterior of front and canine teeth.  Brush only the exterior of the molars in the back by running the toothbrush along the gum and teeth, just lift the skin flap; no need to brush the inside of the back teeth (at the hinge area.)

Other healthy habits that keep canines in good overall condition include:

  • Choosing a high-quality dog food devoid of extra fillers
  • Keeping filtered water available at all times for all pets; usually this means in more than one location in the house, and having water available outside if the pets are often outdoors
  • Providing plenty of exercise
  • Regular checkups and de-worming
  • Flea and tick prevention

 

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Are You Squirreling Stress: Causes and Effects of Stress

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Are you a “squirreller?” Do you hide money, tuck away sweet treats and keep a few things in reserve, “just in case?” While these may be positive attributes, storing up the effects of stress, harboring negative thoughts and increasing physical tension can be extremely damaging for your health, according to experts.

In the fall, squirrels are particularly active as they search for nuts, seeds, acorns and pine cones which are a source of food. These furry creatures are known for their habit of burying caches of food in a favorite place, which will allow them to survive the winter. In the same way, you probably have a favorite place on your body where all the effects of stress and tension hang out.

Physical pain and hypertension are often the effects of stress

Physical Effects of Stress

Causes of stress in modern-day life can range from worrying about bills, lack of sleep and working long hours to frustrating traffic congestion on your morning commute. Stop and analyze your body for a moment, and find out where those effects of stress tend to linger. Common places that succumb to stress and tension include:

  • Tense, hunched shoulders
  • Unnatural neck and throat positions
  • A “tight” head causing headaches and migraine
  • Upper and lower back tension
  • Stiff arms
  • Queasy, acid-filled stomach

Harboring stress can lead to serious health conditions including stomach ulcers, back pain, migraine clusters and poor digestion. However, being aware of the tell-tale signs of stress in your personal “storage area” can be the first step to releasing that tension and dealing with the causes of stress.

Related:  Lose Stress to Gain Joy

How to Counter the Effects of Stress

Wherever you find yourself – at your desk, in the kitchen, driving the kids to school or lying awake at night – you can begin to de-stress by deep breathing. Become conscious of each breath and make each one slower and deeper than the last. This simple exercise is often enough to alleviate the pressure before the causes of stress take hold and find their way to your stress storage point.

Research into the brain shows that social engagement is an effective tool in the fight against the effects of stress. Making eye contact with a smiling face, talking to a friend and feeling understood, or even listening to someone else’s joys and sorrows can halt the natural “fight-or-flight” reactions to stress. As you respond to the causes of stress with social engagement you will begin to calm down, think more rationally and your heartbeat and blood pressure will return to normal.

Defusing stress also allows your digestive system to return to normal, and will stop the brain flooding the body with cortisol and other “emergency” hormones.

In the long-term, allowing the causes of stress to “get under your skin” can cause immeasurable harm to your heart, digestive and immune systems. By learning to let go of the harmful effects of stress you can lower hypertension, slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.

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Why Spinach May Be the Ultimate Way to Naturally Boost Energy

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Popeye was on to something.  You may not suddenly develop over-the top bulging biceps like he did, but spinach is an effective way to boost energy naturally.  It’s loaded with so many good things, if it’s not on your menu regularly, it should be! 

History of a Superfood

Spinach originated in central and southwestern Asia.  Though it typically did not grow well in hot climates, Arab ingenuity using sophisticated irrigation techniques in the eight century AD enabled it to be successfully cultivated throughout the Mediterranean.  It quickly spread across the globe with mention of it in the 12th century, dubbed “the captain of leafy greens” by the Arab agronomist Ibn al-‘Awwam. It is listed as an ingredient in dishes prepared in the 13th century, as part of vegetable gardens in the 15th century, 17th century, and it remains a hearty vegetable used in dishes around the world.  The French call spinach the broom of the stomach.

The Many Health Benefits of Spinach

Those bright, vibrant green leaves pack a powerful nutritional punch and are renowned for their ability to boost energy naturally.  They are loaded with nutrients like:

  • Vitamin C, K, B12, B1 B2, B6
  • Manganese
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Phytonutrients like beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin
  • Glycoglycerolipids – a compound found to help protect the lining of the digestive tract from inflammation damage

A common cause of low energy is iron deficiency; spinach a good dietary staple as a plant-based source of this important nutrient, which is critical to the production of abundant healthy red blood cells. The vitamin K is important for good bone health and lutein helps in maintaining eye health. Spinach also provides lots of antioxidants to hasten cell repair and is a healthy source of fiber.

Related:  Five Green Veggies You Need to Eat on a Gluten-Free Diet

Many Ways to Enjoy Spinach

You can get spinach canned (Popeye’s preference but the least appetizing), frozen and fresh.  Fresh raw spinach is best, and use organic whenever possible. Choose the bunch with dark green, firm leaves with the stems till attached. Avoid any with a mushy texture or with brown or yellow spots on the leaves. Baby spinach has more tender leaves and a more delicate taste.

Store unwashed spinach in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until you plan to use it, keeping in mind it starts to lose nutrients after four days.  Wash it thoroughly and remove the stems (optional unless you are adding it to a smoothie) and let it drain before eating it raw or cooking it.

You can add spinach to any number of dishes whether they are baked, sautéed or boiled. It’s also a great addition to smoothies, adding nutrients, giving them a lovely color but with a mild taste that combines well with fruit, yogurt and whatever else you blend with it. You’ll boost energy naturally and enjoy a tasty snack in the process.

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Eat Broccoli for Healthy Breast Changes with Age

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Aging affects a woman's body in several ways, but it's particularly unkind to the breasts.  As women go through menopause, decreased estrogen production shrinks mammary glands and fat in tissue altering breast size and fullness.  Reduced elasticity in connective tissue can make breasts sag, and risks for breast cancer rise after menopause.  Fortunately, there's something women can do to promote healthy breast changes with age:  eat broccoli

A compound in broccoli and broccoli sprouts called sulforaphane may help keep breast changes with age healthy.

Sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts stimulates over 200 genes in the body to produce enzymes, proteins and antioxidants that protect cells.  One of these important antioxidants, glutathione, works inside cells to protect them from free radicals and inflammatory response.  Some enzymes and proteins even do battle with cancer cells and reduce over-expression of estrogen receptors, an action common in many types of breast cancer.

Current chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer are incapable of suppressing cancer stem cells, but broccoli sprouts have shown promise in various scientific studies.  One study published in Clinical Cancer Research in 2010 showed that sulforaphane suppressed breast cancer cells both in vivo (in live animals) and in vitro (under glass).

Related:  Natural Anti-Cancer Compound Found in Cruciferous Vegetables can Treat Leukemia

In a separate study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University examined women scheduled for breast reduction surgery to determine if sulforaphane actually showed up in breast tissue after women drank broccoli sprout juice.  Results showed measurable results of sulforaphane, proving that the compound actually reaches the target area in women with breast cancer when they consume broccoli sprout juice.

In addition to helping ensure healthy breast changes with age, broccoli sprouts have been shown to:

  • Aid in the treatment of autism
  • Help manage type 2 diabetes
  • Rid the body of toxic air pollutants
  • Destroy Helicobacter Pylori, a harmful gastrointestinal organism
  • Slow the development of osteoarthritis

While further studies are needed to determine if sulforaphane extract might offer promise as natural form of breast cancer treatment, adding broccoli to the grocery cart definitely doesn't hurt.  People can stock up on the whole vegetable, its sprouts, or purchase broccoli sprout supplements through local whole food stores or natural supplements websites.  For the best health benefits, organic forms broccoli and broccoli sprouts are recommended.

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Overweight AND Malnourished?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

One of the ironies of the American diet is that people can be overfed yet undernourished. Learning how diet contributes to obesity is just one part of understanding the link between diet and health. Even if you eat plenty of food, you can still display malnutrition symptoms if you are filling up on unhealthy foods.

Malnutrition symptoms may occur even if you are overweight

Studies show that despite the abundance of food, a huge proportion of Americans are suffering from basic nutritional deficiencies. Over 30% of people are short of magnesium and essential vitamins A, C and E. More than 80% of diets lack vitamin D, and 90% of adults do not eat enough omega-3 fats. These are essential for controlling inflammation and blood sugar levels in the body.  So what’s going wrong?

Processed Foods Provide “Empty Calories”

Eating processed foods such as burgers, canned food, sausages, bacon, French fries, snacks, convenience foods and soda means a diet high in calories but low in vitamins and nutrients. Laden with high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and preservatives, these foods are far from the meat, fruit and vegetables that our bodies are designed to consume, and they can quickly lead to malnutrition symptoms.

We need vitamins and minerals from fruit, vegetables and whole foods to maintain a healthy metabolism which helps burn fat and regulate sugar levels. Without them, the metabolism becomes sluggish. Instead of burning those excess calories it turns them into stored fat, making the problem even worse. It’s easy to understand how the diet contributes to obesity when it lacks the core elements.

Intensive farming can also lead to malnutrition symptoms. Intensive farming has depleted the soil. A study of the food we eat today shows it has far fewer vitamins, calcium and iron than it had in the 1950s.

Related:  Eight Tips:  A Healthy Foundation for the Food You Eat

Symptoms of Modern Malnutrition

While scurvy and rickets are thankfully a thing of the past, malnutrition symptoms from a lack of vitamins and minerals in a modern diet can include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Depression
  • Poor recovery after illness or surgery
  • Low white blood cells and weakened immune system
  • Fertility problems and poor libido
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Pale dry skin and wrinkles
  • Constipation
  • Decreased mobility due to muscle wasting

Malnutrition symptoms may be due to digestive disorders, stomach conditions, alcoholism, or most likely an imbalanced diet. If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s worth analyzing what you are eating and how much you are eating. Understanding how diet contributes to obesity, and how at the same time it can cause malnutrition, is the first step to changing your life.

By adopting a more natural, healthy diet you can improve your health and increase your longevity.  Start by avoiding processed foods such as foods that come in boxes and cans; avoid excessive meat consumption, particularly sausage, bacon and deli meats; avoid fried foods such as French fries; reduce or eliminate snack  and convenience foods.  Commit to eliminating high fructose corn syrup and trans fats from your diet; instead include healthy oils such as olive and coconut oils.  Stop drinking soda pop, and avoid sugar consumption.  Never consume artificial sweeteners; they are dangerous to say the least.  Make sure to consume at least five servings of fresh vegetables and fruit a day to help lower your weight while boosting nutritional value. It’s a great recipe for better health!

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How Sugar Negatively Affects Your Body

by IVL Products

Although we need protein, fat and carbohydrates, sugar is one category of food we would actually be healthier without. It contains no nutrients or enzymes, does not satisfy hunger yet is laden with empty calories. The negative effects of sugar go on and on.

Digesting sugar actually saps minerals from the body and triggers a cascade of hormones to be released into the bloodstream, quite unlike any other food substance. It rots teeth, stresses the liver and increases triglycerides and bad cholesterol. So why do we consume on average 22 teaspoons of sugar per day? Because it’s addictive.

Inflammation is one of the serious negative effects of sugar

Here are seven negative effects of sugar:

1.     Sugar Spikes

Sugar is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream creating an initial “high” which triggers a flood of the hormone insulin, followed by an energy crash. When blood sugar levels decrease, the body releases the hormone cortisol. As well as causing highs and lows in energy, negative effects of sugar affect the brain causing mood changes, anxiety, headaches and cravings for more sugar.

2.     Sugar Increases Health Risks

Sugar rots the teeth, increases inflammation and contributes to obesity, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

3.     Chromium Deficiency

Another negative effect of sugar is that digesting refined carbohydrates depletes chromium, an essential mineral for maintaining blood sugar metabolism and transporting glucose for energy.

4.     Sugar and Liver Function

Added sugars cause the liver to turn excess sugar into fat, storing it in odd places. It encourages fat build-up around the liver which can be a precursor to nonalcoholic liver disease.

5.     Sugar Accelerates Aging

Sugar causes glycolysis which reduces body tissue integrity and speeds up the aging process.

6.     Dental Decay

We all know that one of the main negative effects of sugar is tooth decay and cavities due to the acid it creates in the mouth. It can go on to be the cause periodontal infection and this has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

Related:  Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels with Ginger

7.     Sugar Slows Learning

Sugar often affects children’s behavior, but a study of New York schoolchildren found that when all sugar, artificial sweeteners and dyes were removed from pupils’ breakfast and lunch, the overall grades of the test group rose 15.7% while the placebo group improved just 1.7%. A more recent study on mice being fed a high-sugar diet showed similar negative effects of sugar in the results.

Added sugar is easy to substitute with a few simple lifestyle changes. Start reading the label on processed foods, salad dressing, sodas and other processed foods. By switching to a natural wholefood diet and cooking meals from scratch, you can counter all seven negative effects of sugar.

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What Is the Difference Between Sucrose, Glucose, and Fructose?

by Health News

With a trend toward better health and fitness in the United States, many Americans have concerns about sugar consumption.  Sugar is the universal name for short-chain, soluble carbohydrates with a sweet flavor. While most think of sugar as the stuff used to sweeten coffee or cereal, there are actually three key types of sugarsucrose, glucose, and fructose.  Learning about the different kinds of sugar and the way they affect the body can help people make healthier dietary choices.

Three key types of sugar include sucrose, glucose, and fructose.

Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides, sugars that cannot be broken down into simpler sugars. Glucose is the type of sugar the body uses for fuel and is the kind measured when doctors determine blood sugar levels.  It is found naturally in honey, in fruits like grapes, apples, and oranges, and it is an ingredient in corn syrup. 

Fructose is also an ingredient in honey as well as molasses, agave nectar, and high-fructose corn syrup.  Types of fruit that contain fructose include apples, pears, and pomegranates. Glucose and fructose combine to make a disaccharide called sucrose, which is abundant in sugar cane, sugar beets, and other plants.  When sucrose is extracted from plants and refined, it makes table sugar.  

Although all of these carbohydrates provide roughly the same amount of energy per gram, the body processes fructose and glucose differently.  Fructose metabolizes in the liver, triggering the release of insulin and the production of ghrelin, which is known as the hunger hormone.   

When glucose is processed, it circulates through the body and triggers the production of leptin, a hormone that helps control appetite.  The body either uses glucose immediately for energy or stores it in the muscles or in the liver as glycogen for later use.

Related:  Are Artificial Sweeteners Dangerous to Your Health?

Fructose vs. Glucose

In a study from the University of California at Davis, researchers compared the effects of glucose and fructose consumption on 32 overweight or obese individuals.  Subjects drank a beverage sweetened with glucose or fructose that supplied 25 percent of their daily calories for 12 weeks.  Researchers found that both groups gained weight, however, the people who drank the beverage sweetened with fructose experienced a number of additional effects.  These included:  

  • Increased visceral fat (the hard-to-lose type of abdominal fat that surrounds inner organs)
  • Reduced sensitivity to insulin (one of the first signs of diabetes)
  • Increased production of fat in the liver
  • Higher LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol
  • Elevated triglyceride levels

Results showed that the people who drank the beverage sweetened with glucose experienced none of these effects. 

Most experts agree that whole fruit provides the best source of natural sugar, and it contains healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Refined sugars deliver added, empty calories, devoid of any nutritional value.  To help ensure optimal nutrition and a healthy body weight, people should limit their intake of processed sugars, either in crystalline form or as an ingredient in foods, syrups, and beverages. 

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How to Have a Healthy Mouth

by IVL Products

There’s a lot more to a healthy mouth than just cleaning your teeth. Fresh breath and healthy gums need care, and what you eat also contributes to your oral health.

A healthy mouth requires daily cleaning of teeth and gums.

Food Do’s and Don’ts for a Healthy Mouth

Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods including milk, yogurt and cheese. Calcium maintains strong bones and teeth and is particularly important for children as they develop their adult teeth.

Avoid sticky sweets and taffies that coat the teeth with sugar. This breaks down and forms acid which rots the tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. If you do eat sweets, rinse your mouth or brush the teeth afterwards. Chewing gum after a meal stimulates saliva for a healthy mouth, but make sure you choose natural, sugar-free gum without artificial sweeteners.

Keeping Gums Healthy

Gum disease is caused by bacteria that reside in tartar and plaque build-up in the mouth. Plaque is the sticky coating on teeth that is caused by food and saliva. An important part of cleaning your teeth is to remove this bacteria-harboring plaque before it hardens into tartar.

Bacteria are also present in tartar, causing inflammation, bad breath and gum disease, called gingivitis. Tartar unfortunately needs a dentist or dental hygienist to remove it, which is why regular dental checkups and professional cleaning are an important part of maintaining a healthy mouth and gums.

Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of heart disease as it provides a portal for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Stage one gingivitis is evidenced by red tender gums that bleed easily when brushing your teeth. It can be reversed with regular brushing and flossing of teeth.

If left untreated, gingivitis will develop into second stage gum disease – mild to moderate periodontitis. Increased inflammation, pain when chewing, and bleeding gums are likely as the bacteria break down the teeth attachments within the infected gums. The gums recede and pockets open at the base of the teeth, allowing more infected material to lodge there. The third stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis with loss of bone supporting the teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Related: How To Prevent Cavities by Eating Cheese

Clean Teeth Mean a Healthy Mouth

Clean teeth are essential for a healthy mouth as this helps prevent cavities, gum disease and tooth loss. It’s important to brush teeth thoroughly with a soft brush every morning and before bed; and after each meal if possible. An electric toothbrush is particularly helpful as the rotating brushes give a thorough scrub of the surface of each tooth. Electric water flossers have become popular because a stream of water (mixed with mouth wash too) flushes debris out of the pockets and helps to soothe tender gums.

Store your toothbrush in the open air as a closed container can encourage the growth of microorganisms on the bristles.

Use floss to remove plaque between the teeth. Pull the floss to the gum then work it gently from side to side below the gumline for a thorough clean of each tooth base.

By eating healthily, cleaning and flossing daily and having regular dental check-ups you’ll have fresh breath, a healthy mouth, teeth and gums that should last a lifetime. 

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How to Improve Short-Term Memory – Tips and Tricks

by IVL Products

Many people get frustrated with their increasing forgetfulness as they age. It's quite common to forget names, conversations or where you have put things. If this sounds like you, we'll show you how to improve short term memory with some useful brain-training tips.

Brain games are a good aid to how to improve short term memory

What is Short-term Memory?

Short term memory is the area of the brain that stores small amounts of information for a short time. If you are a computer buff, think of it as the equivalent to your computer's random access memory (RAM). Your brain sorts through your short-term memory and assigns some information to your long-term memory, discarding the remainder.

Unfortunately, the human brain stops growing and starts to shrink in your 20s, so you actually have less active brain cells as you age. This natural aging process usually affects short-term memory primarily. For instance, you are likely to easily recall people and places from back in the past; it’s only more recent encounters that you have problems with i.e. those committed to short-term memory.

Although memory loss can be associated with Alzheimer's disease, stress or depression, it is often the result of the natural aging process. Learning how to improve short term memory will set your mind at rest, as well as that of your family.

Related:  Five Simple Tips to Naturally Improve Brain Health

How to Improve Short Term Memory by Training Your Brain

Studies show that people who keep their mind active can delay the onset of dementia and mental decline. To keep your brain active and your mind alert, read, write your memoir, learn a new language, do puzzles, write poetry or play card games, anything to keep the brain busy and happy.

Lumosity is a popular site for online brain training providing a great answer to how to improve short term memory. It provides cognitive tests in fun games designed by scientists. A 10-week study on 4,714 participants showed that those who did Lumosity puzzles regularly retained better mental agility than those who did regular crossword puzzles – interesting food for thought!

Memory Chunking

Scientists know that the human memory can easily recall seven random numbers; however, most telephone numbers, bank accounts and even passwords have more than this. The answer is to break down large numbers into easy chunks. If you have a 9-digit telephone number, remember it as three groups of three-digit numbers. Repetition and writing it down a few times should help you recall the number weeks later. Give chunking a try!

Memory Supplements

Many natural supplements and vitamins boost blood supply to the brain or help improve cognitive function. The B vitamins, particularly B6, B12 and B9 (folic acid) are shown to improve verbal ability and help the brain process new data.

Antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene fight the effects of free radicals and help protect the brain from damage. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of these important nutrients.  Avoid artificial sweeteners as well; studies show an alarming connection between them and reduction in brain health.

Finally, omega-3 fish oils support memory and brain function, so enjoy salmon, tuna and mackerel twice a week and keep taking those daily fish oil supplements. Now you know how to improve short term memory, don’t forget to follow it through!

Everyone Ages. Learn How to Do It Better. Free Resource Guide.

 

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Six Ways Your Health Suffers When You Stop Working Out

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It takes time to build up your fitness level as part of a regular training program, but unfortunately it doesn't take long at all to lose those health benefits after falling off the rails or “detraining." Here's what to expect when you swap neck presses for Netflix or have stopped working out for a while.

Obesity is more likely in those who stopped working out

We can all think of plenty of excuses why we stopped working out.

  • Too expensive
  • Too time consuming
  • Too busy
  • Too hard
  • Too tired
  • Too hot in summer
  • Too cold in winter

However, if you've stopped working out, steel yourself to hear some harsh truths about how your health will suffer within a very short span of time.

Here's what to expect if you've stopped working out:

1. Shrinking Muscles

In the space of just two weeks, those toned quads and biceps will quickly turn to flab as your muscle mass declines through lack of use.

2. Decrease in Brain Power

Grumpiness is often a symptom suffered by those who have stopped working out as the negative change in lifestyle takes its toll on your brain and behavior. Studies on rats showed that when they stopped moving for a week, the rats developed fewer brain cells and performed poorly on maze tests compared to their counterparts who steadily exercised on a wheel.

3. Increase in Body Fat

As your metabolism slows after you stopped working out, those unburned calories will gradually build up as stored fat. Exercise professor Paul Arciero D.P.E. found that a break of just five weeks for college swimming students led to a 12% increase in body fat.

Related:  Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

4. Blood Pressure Rises

Just a short time after you have stopped working out, your blood pressure will rise as your blood vessels adapt to taking things easy. Within a month, expect stiffened arteries and veins, according to Linda Pescatello, Ph.D., University of Connecticut.

5. Blood Sugar Spikes

When you eat, your blood glucose rises but quickly readjusts as your body uses the glucose for energy. Unfortunately, just five days after you have stopped working out, your blood sugar levels will remain elevated, according to a study in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Journal.  In the long-term, this leads to an increased risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

6. Shortness of Breath

After two weeks of no exercise, your muscles will be using around 20% less oxygen as you lose the mitochondria that convert oxygen into energy. Any additional exertion, such as climbing a flight of stairs, will quickly lead to a shortness of breath.

If you don’t like the picture of the new unfit "you" after you've stopped working out, the good news is that these health consequences can be reversed. Resolve to get back in training, whatever it takes, for your health's sake.

 

 

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How to Live with a Gluten Free Diet and Still Love what You Eat

by IVL Products

Gluten intolerance, also known as Celiac Disease, affects around one in every hundred Americans. You may suffer from it yourself, or know someone who does. Understanding the problem and learning to live with a gluten free diet can be challenging. Perhaps our diet tips and information will make it a little easier!

A gluten free diet may be the chance to start a new healthier lifestyle.

What is Gluten Intolerance?

A person is deemed gluten intolerant when their immune system reacts negatively to gluten, the protein found in barley, wheat and rye. When a gluten intolerant person digests gluten, the body produces antibodies to attack the gluten. It may cause damage to the intestines and can prevent the body from properly digesting other essential nutrients.

The internal inflammation triggered by eating foods containing gluten may cause severe bloating, nausea, gas and stomach cramps in anyone who is gluten intolerant. Some people have no internal symptoms but the resulting poor absorption of nutrients leads to tiredness, hair loss and malnutrition. The only treatment for gluten intolerance is to adopt a totally gluten free diet.

What You Can Eat on a Gluten Free Diet

Anyone forced to adopt a gluten free diet will quickly find that there are many foods that contain gluten. Bread, pasta, pizza bases, thickened sauces and soups, cookies, cakes, ice cream, canned and cured meats, condiments, breadcrumbs and spice blends…the list is depressingly long.

Related:  Gluten Brain:  Wheat Cuts off Blood Flow to Frontal Cortex

It’s easier to focus on what food groups you CAN eat on a gluten free diet. You can freely enjoy as much as you like of the following healthy gluten free foods:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Non-processed meats, chicken and fish
  • Eggs
  • Natural dairy products, milk and unprocessed cheeses
  • Grains and cereals such as corn, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and millet

How to Live a Gluten Free Lifestyle

As gluten intolerance affects around 3 million Americans, the food industry has developed a whole range of gluten-free foods to add to the above list of gluten-free staples. You’ll find gluten free bagels, muffins, pancakes, bread, doughnuts and desserts in most supermarkets and health-food stores.  

Treat yourself to a cookbook of gluten-free recipes and search for websites with more information on adopting a gluten free lifestyle. Pinterest is a good way to source gluten free meal ideas or try these tasty gluten free recipes as part of your new gluten free diet.

Read the Label

It’s important to understand that if you are gluten intolerant you can’t just reduce gluten intake, you must completely eliminate gluten to avoid serious damage to your health. Unfortunately, gluten is found in makeup, beer and in many ready meals. However, when dining out, most chain restaurants offer gluten free options.

If a product does not specifically say it is gluten free, you need to check the label for hidden gluten in words such as:

  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Triticale
  • Matzo
  • Licorice (made from wheat flour)
  • Semolina
  • Durum
  • Farina
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Malt products
  • Maltodextrin

Although a gluten free diet may have been forced upon you by circumstance, embrace the opportunity it brings and establish a new healthier lifestyle for yourself and your whole family.

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20 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

by Health News

If you lead a busy and stressful life, maintaining a holistic approach to a healthy body can be overlooked. We offer 20 easy self-care tips that you can do quickly and frequently to ensure your body, mind and spirit remain in first class health.

Holistic self-care includes the body, mind and soul

1. Go cloud watching

There’s nothing more relaxing than lying on the grass watching the sky. It’s the perfect way to relax and empty your mind.

2. Play

Dedicate 5 minutes every now and then to play. Blow bubbles, work at a hoola hoop, leave a song on someone’s email. Anything that makes you smile is a top self-care activity.

3. Do something creative

Play with clay or cookie dough. Roll out worms, make an animal or cut out stars with a cookie cutter.

4. Be impetuous

If it’s 11pm and you feel like a pizza, or 5 a.m. and have the crazy urge to walk on the beach, just do it. It feels good, and life will still be there when you get back.

5. Learn a new trick

Try something new or learn a new skill. Now’s the time to learn to dive, do a cartwheel, learn a few words of a different language or master juggling balls.

6. Yard work

Physical exercise is always good for your self-care. Rake leaves, mow the lawn or plant a tub with herbs or seasonal flowers.

7. Make music

Express yourself as part of your new self-help therapy by playing along to music with a makeshift bongo drum or kazoo. It doesn’t need to be melodic – no-one else is listening!

RELATED:  5 Simple Tips to Naturally Improve Brain Health

8. Declutter

Clear out a drawer, a desk or a whole room. You’ll feel so much lighter as you carry old paperwork and junk to the trash.

9. Superfoods

Research superfoods such as Goji berries—high in antioxidants—and add some to your diet.

10. Word games

Play scrabble with a friend or online. It’s a great mind exercise as you search for new words, providing mental self-care.

11. Start a jigsaw

Have a jigsaw laid out somewhere in your home and add a few pieces every time you walk by.

12. Learn lyrics

Download and learn the lyrics to one of your favorite or most meaningful songs. Then sing it!

13. Meditate

Learning breathing techniques and meditation can be an excellent example of self-care. Yoga classes or meditation CDs can de-stress the mind, relax the body and feed the soul.

14. Fix something

If something needs attention, fixing it is one thing less on your to-do list and provides a sense of achievement, however small the task. Take a screwdriver to that loose handle or doorknob, stick down that curling wallpaper or glue that broken china.

15. Pampering

Take time to soak in a bubbly bath. Dim the lights, close your eyes and feel that healing wrap-around warmth.

16. Star gazing

After dark, take time to look at the night sky. Star gazing is a good way to put problems into perspective.

17. Switch hands

Try using your less dominant hand for simple tasks to stimulate the brain.

18. Eat healthily

You are what you eat. Enjoying a healthy diet with fresh fruit, vegetables and grains should be a vital part of your new self-care routine.

19. Appreciate

Say thank you to someone. A Million Thanks is a campaign to thank serving military personnel for their service.

20. Change direction

Take a new route to work, the grocery store or Post Office. It’s a common self-care practice to exercise the brain.

There are so many ways to provide self-care for your mind, body and inner soul. Practice them all and benefit from every new experience for a healthier happier you!

Everyone Ages. Learn How to Do It Better. Free Resource Guide.

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Are You Suffering from Vitamin C Deficiency?

by IVL Products

Vitamins and minerals play a significant role when it comes to obtaining adequate nutrition and staying healthy.  Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, contributes to cell growth and repair, circulation, and iron absorption.  It is also important for the production of collagen, a protein found in blood vessels, skin, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.  In most parts of the world, serious vitamin C deficiency (or scurvy) is relatively uncommon because vitamin C is found naturally in many foods and is added to other food as well.  However, smoking, excessive alcohol use, a compromised diet, or certain medical conditions can result in lowered levels of vitamin C in the body.

Foods like citrus fruits, papaya, bell peppers, and broccoli help prevent vitamin C deficiency.

According to medical center experts at the University of Maryland, vitamin C deficiency has been linked to various medical problems like atherosclerosis, certain cancers, gallbladder disease, and high blood pressure.  Animal studies also indicate that low levels of vitamin C can lead to biochemical changes in the body which affect behavior. 

A study from Vanderbilt University found that mice deprived of vitamin C showed depressive-like behavior, reduced movement and strength, and greater preference for sugar.  Behaviors returned to normal with restoration of vitamin C, with the exception of depressive-like symptoms.  

Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

People with scurvy often develop anemia and swollen, bleeding gums.  Additional signs and symptoms that may indicate a vitamin C deficiency include brittle hair, easily bruised skin, and nosebleeds.

Related:  Vitamin E Deficiency

Sources of Vitamin C

Because it is water soluble, vitamin C is not stored by the body.  This means people need to get it through food or supplements.  Some excellent food sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, mangoes, papayas, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.  Vitamin C supplements come in tablets, capsules, effervescent powders, and liquids.  People who depend on supplements for vitamin C should strive for 250-500 mg, twice a day. 

Vitamin C deficiency can result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms.  Fortunately, they can be prevented with the consumption of certain foods or supplements.  People who are concerned about a vitamin C deficiency should first consult with a health care professional to rule out other possibilities. 

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

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Three Best Ways to Lose Weight Naturally

by Health News

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 62% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.  Consequently, over 100 million Americans are currently on diets, and revenue brought in by the U. S. weight loss industry tops $20 billion.  People continue to the hunt for a magic pill or potion for shedding extra pounds, but a few ingredients found in any grocery store offer some of the best ways to lose weight naturally.

Simply adding fiber to the diet makes one of the easiest and best ways to lose weight.

Probiotics

A study published in The British Journal of Nutrition showed encouraging results for women looking to lose weight.  Researchers asked 125 overweight men and women to follow a 12-week diet plan and an additional 12 weeks of maintenance.  Half of the participants also took daily probiotic supplements, and the other half took a placebo.

Results showed that women subjects who took probiotics lost almost twice as much weight as women who took a placebo.  During the maintenance period, women taking probiotics continued to lose weight, while women taking the placebo plateaued.  Surprisingly, the probiotics had no effect on the weight of the male subjects.

Fiber

A long-term study from the University of Massachusetts shows that simply adding fiber to the diet makes one of the easiest and best ways to lose weight.  Researchers asked 240 overweight people with metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol) to go on the American Heart Association (AHA) diet or to add at least 30 grams of fiber to their regular daily diet in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

After one year, both groups lost similar amounts of weight, and the people in the fiber group showed similar reductions in blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels as the people in the AHA group.  This study shows that making one easy change (adding fiber to the diet) works as well as a strict eating plan for promoting weight loss and better overall health.

Related:  Green Tea: A- Promising Anti-Cancer Superfood

Green Tea

A number of studies show the fat and weight-reducing effects of green tea, especially when combined with exercise.  A study on mice at Penn State University showed that those who consumed decaffeinated green tea and exercised regularly showed significant reductions in body weight and better overall health. 

A group of mice on a high-fat diet ingested green tea extract and engaged in regular exercise for 16 weeks.  Following the research period, these mice showed an average reduction in body mass of 27.1% and an average reduction in abdominal fat of 36.6%.  Additional health benefits included reductions in blood glucose, plasma insulin levels, and insulin resistance, all factors which relate to diabetic health.

With a growing number of overweight people, weight loss has become a multi-billion dollar industry.  While special vitamins and costly exercise equipment boast big results, sometimes the best ways to lose weight are simple and inexpensive.  Find probiotics, fiber, or green tea at any grocery store or your favorite natural supplements website. 

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The Dummy’s Guide to Super Foods that are Indigestion Remedies

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Most uncomfortable, unmentionable, stomach and gastrointestinal issues that have you searching for indigestion remedies can be helped by eating a diet of superfoods. These foods are nutrient-dense, filled with vitamins and minerals, and in your neighborhood grocery stores and farmer’s markets.

The world around us consists of fast food menus, vending machine fare, and highly processed diet disasters full of fat, sugar, preservatives.  Yet, the term “superfoods” often conjures up images of acai berries and sardines. What is an acai berry anyway? Sardines every day? No way!

If you are looking for indigestion remedies that are easy and natural, you most likely won’t find them in the corner convenience store, but in abundance throughout your local grocery store.  Many easy to find, delicious and common household food items can ease your tummy troubles and help you be healthier all around.

The Super 7

  1. Berries – blue, straw, black, and raspberries are nature’s candy. These sweet and simple fruits are full of antioxidants that will seek and destroy cell-damaging toxins from preservative-laden fast food meals.  Berries are also packed with fiber to keep your digestive tract humming along to reduce gas and bloating. They are also a great way to increase your fluid intake everyday, which is critical for keeping the GI tract functioning properly.
  2. Oranges – with almost a day’s RDA of vitamin C and antioxidants, these sweet juicy orbs are a must for every healthy diet. Skip the sugar-laden juices and slice up the entire fruit for a delicious snack with lots of fiber and folate.
  3. Broccoli – it’s just good for you! The green spears are full of healthy compounds that fight aging; and fiber that keeps you feeling full and regular. It also has a unique compound called sulforaphane, which stimulates detoxifying enzymes that may ward off cancer.
  4. Beets – these dark purple beauties not only liven up the looks of many dishes, they are mmm, mmm good for you!  The potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C make them “un-beetable” when it comes to keeping a healthy belly.  Beets also boast a good amount of fiber and are a plant source of iron for the vegan and vegetarians in your family.
  5. Spinach – Popeye knew it! Spinach makes you strong and healthy from the inside out. You can eat it raw or cooked in a variety of salads and dishes and the mild taste won’t sour your stomach. These dark green leaves offer vitamin B6, which helps the body metabolize fats and proteins and convert food into energy.  It also boasts a good-sized helping of iron and vitamin C to make it a super food all-star.
  6. Beans – another excellent source of plant-based iron, beans in all colors (kidney, black, pinto, navy) are good for the body. They are rich in soluble fiber to help keep you feeling satisfied longer so you eat less, and lower your cholesterol.
  7. Sweet potatoes –these bright orange potatoes are for more than a sugar-laden casserole at Thanksgiving. Bake them in the oven and top them with a touch of butter and cinnamon for a delicious side dish full of fiber, beta-carotene (aka vitamin A), vitamins B1, B2, and B6. Minerals like copper and manganese are also in the colorful flesh so roast one up today.

Related:  Alternative Protein Sources and Links to Fighting Heart Disease

Eat to Your Heart’s Content

If you are looking for indigestion remedies, the superfood seven is tops on your menu items. They are all mild on the GI tract, will help keep your metabolism humming along, and they are rich in vital nutrients. The best part about eating these superfoods as they are all low in fat, low in sugar, and a source of high quality carbs, so you can eat them every day, as much as you want!

To get the most health benefits eat the entire rainbow of colors these foods come in from red, purple, and black to orange and green. Your stomach and your entire body will thank you for it.

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

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Ten Quick Tips about Superfoods

by Health News

True, superfoods have certain traits that make them, well, super, like vital nutrients, no artificial anything, and are often indigestion remedies. 

1. Marketing Misinformation

According to the health website Medicine Net, “there is no accepted medical definition of a superfood.” It’s really just marketing term that is generally thought to mean that any food labeled super has significant health benefits like reducing one’s risk of certain diseases or improving one’s physical or emotional health.

The Food & Drug Administration does not recognize the term superfood, and across most of Europe the use of the term for food labeling is not allowed without hard scientific evidence to back up the claim. The Daily Beast devoted an article to the term saying that “no food should be labeled as a superfood in the first place.”

So are there really any superfoods? The answer is yes…and no.

2.  Definition of a Superfood

In order for a food to be eligible for superfood status, there are a few things it must be, or at least have:

  • Nutrient dense with several vitamins, minerals and compounds with known health benefits
  • Have absolutely nothing artificial in it. No extra sugar, spray on vitamins, no preservatives of any kind. 
  • The calories count, fat content and carbohydrate amounts are irrelevant because of the foods are so full of essential vitamins, minerals and compounds that the body needs to function properly

3. Nutrient Dense

A true superfood will have more than one healthy compound. Just having a bit of vitamin C is not enough to give a food super status.  Nutrient dense means it has at least three essential vitamins and or minerals along with fiber, or protein or a high quality carbohydrate.

4. Nothing Artificial

More than one or two ingredients on the packaging means step away from the fake food.  True superfoods do not have added anything.  If it is in a box or container, it should need to be refrigerated and have an expiration date within a few days like pomegranate seeds, or a superfood salad with several fruits and or vegetables already prepared in the deli food aisle of your local grocery store.

5. Carbs Calories Fat? Who Cares?

You should be able to eat a serving or two of any true superfood without having to take a photo of it for the calorie counter app on your phone. If your meal consists of true superfoods, you can eat hearty servings of it and will feel full and stay that way for longer than anything offered in a vending machine.

Related:  Are Sprouts Superfoods?

6. Gut Friendly

A true superfood is not going to cause you a lot of pain or discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract (GI). In fact, most superfoods are great healthy indigestion remedies when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.  They usually offer some kind of benefit to your gut by helping you absorb nutrients, keep your colon cleansed naturally and don’t cause cramping or excessive gas (some gas is normal, but a lot is not) and bloating.

7. Disease Fighting Properties

Superfoods originally got the term because of the compounds, vitamins and minerals they contained had some scientific research to back up their effectiveness against certain diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke, arthritis and many forms of cancer.  Antioxidants, phytochemicals, flavonoids, and carotenoids are common in many superfoods and they are all known to help stave off disease.

8.  Not Every Healthy Food Is a Superfood

Onions, apples and carrots are not called superfoods, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be eating them regularly. Many vegetables and fruits may have only one or two health boosting compounds but are good for you.  You shouldn’t avoid a certain fruit or vegetable, especially if you enjoy eating it, just because it’s not labeled as super.

9. Foods That Truly Earn the Title

So what are some true superfoods?  There are three foods that meet all the criteria for being a true superfood and they are not grown on some exotic island in the South Pacific, but readily available at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.

Blueberries – Chock full of anthocyanins, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals you can’t go wrong by tossing a few into your morning oatmeal, lunch salad or stirring them into some Greek yogurt for a snack. With only 80 calories in one cup, go ahead and have seconds. The natural sugar content will keep your energy up, the fiber will fill you up and the phytonutrients and antioxidants will help keep your cells healthy.

Spinach – Popeye was a smart guy. Spinach is truly a superfood loaded with protein, iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin K with lots of hydrating water and filling fiber. It’s been shown in many research studies to have a positive impact on blood pressure, asthma symptoms, bone health and the GI tract.

Broccoli- Mom was right when she told you to eat your broccoli. Those little green spears of goodness have everything you want and nothing you don’t. They are a great source of vitamin C, K and A, fiber, and many other compounds that ward off cancer, help with allergies, acts as an indigestion remedy to keep your GI tract humming along normally and the list goes on and on. Eat some already!

10. The Truth about Superfoods

Always keep in mind that no official regulating body legally recognizes the term, superfood.  It’s a description to denote a food with many health benefits but low in calories, saturated fats and sugar carbohydrates. The honest truth is no one food is a miracle cure-all. But through superfoods, you can gain indigestion remedies and more. 

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Discover How a Powdered Supplement Benefits the Health

by IVL Products

While many people strive to consume a healthy diet, it is nearly impossible to obtain adequate nutrients every day through eating.  Filling in nutritional gaps with quick and easy supplements helps.  According to research, a powdered supplement benefits the body over pills, tablets, and capsules by offering up to 95 percent absorption when blended into a liquid.  This is because nutrients in liquid form go straight to the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive process.  When it comes to pills, tablets, and capsules, nutrient absorption rates fall to around 10 to 20 percent.  In addition to offering better nutrition, liquid nutrients are much easier to swallow.  Three types of powdered supplements in particular make popular choices for supplementary nutrition.  

A powdered supplement benefits the consumer with ease of use and high nutrient absorption

Green Superfood Powder

Green superfood powder creates a beverage packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients when mixed with water.  This powdered supplement benefits the body in many ways with a combination of healthful green ingredients like alfalfa, chlorella, spirulina, and wheat grass and many extras like fruits, vegetables, enzymes, and probiotics.

An animal-based study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that one green ingredient ─ alfalfa ─ offered protective effects for the livers of rats when given in tandem with a known liver irritant.  Animal studies have also shown that alfalfa lowers blood glucose levels in diabetic mice, and this is just one of many healthful ingredients available in green powdered supplements.

Related:  Studies Confirm Benefits of Maca for Women During Menopause

Maca

Originating in Peru, the maca plant offers a host of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and protein through its roots.  Research shows that supplementation with dried maca root powder may increase energy levels in healthy people and those living with various health issues.  In one study, researchers timed a group of healthy cyclists who completed a 40 km bike ride before taking maca and completed the same ride after taking maca for two weeks.  Results showed significant improvements in the completion times of the cyclists, which researchers attributed to increased energy levels.

Protein Powder

People who exercise regularly or who have trouble swallowing often appreciate protein powder that can be blended into a beverage.  Available in a wide array of flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and banana, protein powder comes with varying levels of carbohydrates dependent upon what is needed by the user.  Different types of protein may include soy, rice, whey, or casein protein.

Conclusion

A powdered supplement benefits the body in many ways.  Whether people need the nutritional punch provided by a green supplement powder or the occasional energy lift offered by maca powder, supplementary beverages make a delicious and easy way to obtain valuable nutrients.  Supplement powders can be found at local whole foods and nutrition stores or conveniently ordered online through natural supplement websites. 

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

by IVL Products

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

ACE Your Skin Care with Vitamins A, C and E

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

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

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

Related:  Top 5  Foods for Beautiful Skin

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

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

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Tea Tree Oil for Acne: Natural Remedy with Proven Results

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

Natural Remedy for Acne:  Tea Tree Oil Results

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

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

Here are some recommended treatments:

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

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

Related: A Humble Houseplant Works Wonders With Skin Issues

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

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