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Seven Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 29 percent of American adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension.  This is a condition where the force of blood pushing against arterial walls is too high.  Labelled "the silent killer" because of an absence of symptoms, hypertension causes a wide range of health problems including blood vessel weakness and scarring, greater risks for blood clots, more arterial plaque, and tissue and organ damage due to blocked arteries.  While research shows family history can increase the risks for hypertension, there are also a number of lifestyle factors that boost the chances for its development.

A high-sodium diet is just one of the risk factors for high blood pressure.

 

  1. Excessive Bodyweight and BMI:  People are considered overweight when body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 30, and BMI measuring over 30 indicates obesity.  Research shows that excessive bodyweight raises risks for developing high blood pressure.  Monitoring bodyweight and BMI can help people keep blood pressure in check.  For successful weight loss, most people can lose from 1-2 pounds per week by subtracting 500 calories per day from their diet and adding daily exercise. 

 

  1. Inactivity:  In addition to raising risks for high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle increases chances for blood vessel disease, heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes.  Engage in regular exercise to help ensure healthy blood pressure.  Whether walking or biking, tennis or martial arts, finding a physical activity you love ensures regular participation.

 

  1. A High-Sodium Diet:  Salt retains fluid in the body, which can put extra pressure on the heart and contribute to high blood pressure.  Keeping track of sodium consumption helps.  While people with normal blood pressure should limit daily sodium to 2,300 mg, people with hypertension should consume 1,500 mg a day or less.

 

Related:  Seven Tips to Lowering High Blood Pressure Naturally

 

  1. Tobacco Use:  Every cigarette raises blood pressure temporarily and can contribute to damaged arteries and heart disease.  Smokers, especially those already at risk for hypertension, should make a plan to quit.  Hypnosis, acupuncture, guided imagery, patches, gum and certain medications can help.

 

  1. Heavy Alcohol Use:  Daily alcohol use or binge drinking can contribute to high blood pressure.  At highest risk are people who consume more than three drinks per day (12 oz. of beer, 4 oz. of wine, or 1.5 oz. of liquor).  To prevent the development of hypertension men should limit alcohol consumption to two drinks daily, and women should limit consumption to one daily drink.

 

  1. Stress:  Research hasn't proven that stress causes hypertension, but stressful situations can spike blood pressure temporarily.  In addition, some people smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, or consume too many unhealthy foods in an effort to deal with stress, all of which are risk factors for high blood pressure.  Effective stress management techniques include meditation, yoga or guided imagery. 

 

  1. Gender and Age:  Up until 45 years of age, men are more prone to hypertension than women.  From 45 to 65 years of age, risks are roughly equal between men and women, and after the age of 65, more women are likely to get high blood pressure than men.

The healthy strategies listed above can help in the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure, but some people may need medication to keep it in check.  Because of the absence of symptoms, people should have regular checkups in order to know and monitor their blood pressure numbers.   

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The Worst Diet for Stress Reduction

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You are what you eat. It’s trite but true and some of the most common foods we eat increase the negative effects of stress on our mental and physical health.  Changing your diet may help change your life in a positive way by helping you manage stress more effectively while enhancing your overall physical health.

The worst foods for stress can and should be all but eliminated from your diet to be replaced by wholesome, more natural foods with the essentials like lean protein, high quality carbohydrates, very little sugar, low in fat and with fiber, vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.

Avoid foods that worsen the effect of stress

The Dirty Diet

Highly processed foods are your body’s worst enemy. They provide very little nutrients while being loaded with empty calories made up of sugar and artery-clogging fat.  The foods that fall into this category are most things that come in a box or plastic wrapper and have white flour, sugar and hydrogenated oils listed first in the ingredients.  Here are some of the worst offenders:

Doughnuts, cookies, and cakes:  These are just sugar and fat bombs without fiber, vitamins or minerals of any kind. One glazed doughnut can have upward of 600 calories and will send your blood glucose levels soaring. You may get a temporary sugar high but it won’t be worth the ugly sugar crash that will leave you feeling sluggish and less able to tolerate life’s daily stressors.

Pretzels, potato chips, tortilla chips and crackers:  These foods are usually just a substitute for an eating utensil to transport some kind of fatty dip to your mouth. They offer no real vitamins or minerals, no fiber and are made with highly processed white flour, which spikes glucose levels in the blood. They are usually loaded with fat, excess salt and it is so easy to eat half of a bag of them. They don’t fill you up so once you come down from the sugar high they provide you will be looking for more food, packing on pounds and increasing your risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

Related:  Healthy Food that Tastes Better than Junk Food

Drinks:  Lattes, soda, juice, cocktails and beer:  It is so easy to guzzle down these empty calories that offer nothing in the way of health benefits. The caffeine boost in the latte will not be able to offset the sugar crash it also brings with it, and the carbonation in soda will leave you feeling bloated but still hungry.  Hello obesity!  Hard liquors mixed with sugary concoctions like juice will only make you tipsy and ultimately hung-over. Beer, while not sweet, is basically drinking a glass of sugar. Even a glass of pure orange, apple or cranberry juice is just a lot of sugar minus the fiber and nutrients you would get if you ate the fruit whole that it comes from.

Fast food and take-out:  Most of what you get at the drive-thru or have delivered is unhealthy with excess sodium, fat and calories without many healthy ingredients like vitamins, minerals or fiber.  You might think the Chinese take-out with broccoli and water chestnuts is healthy, but the greasy fatty meats, MSG preservatives and sugar-loaded soy sauce outweigh any health benefits a few vegetables have.  Any kind of fast food sandwich accompanied by French fries is just a lot of fat and carbs with little or no health benefits. The buns are white flour and sugar, the meat is fatty and the sodium levels are more than you should consume in a week, let alone one meal. 

Eating these kinds of foods increases the negative effects of stress on the body. They may provide temporary comfort, but your weight creeps up and you feel increasingly fatigued because you have been denying your body essential nutrients to rebuild, you will find stress levels rising. 

Unfortunately these foods are staples of Western diets, but research is not only showing these kinds of foods are not only physically unhealthy, but also mentally. People who consume highly processed foods and drinks, and regularly drink beer are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety, certainly things that will increase your stress levels.

The good news is, you can avoid all these kinds of foods and still enjoy delicious meals, drinks and treats. It just takes a little extra effort to plan your day so that you are not starving and find yourself chugging a soda to make it to the end of your day. Healthy options are out there and it’s worth your time and energy to find them and stave off the negative health consequences poor diet and stress will have on you.

 

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Seven Tips for Avoiding the Dangers of Sugar

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As more people are joining the health and fitness bandwagon, concerns about sugar are growing.  According to Time Magazine, the typical American consumes more than 56 pounds of sugar each year.  While everyone knows that sugary foods are bad for the teeth, too much sugar affects the body in many other ways.  Research shows that high-sugar diets can raise risks for diabetes, heart disease and obesity.  Food manufacturers make the problem worse by adding sugar to many common foods like bread, soups, sauces and condiments.   Fortunately, seven tips for avoiding the dangers of sugar can help.

The dangers of sugar include higher risks for tooth decay, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

1.  Don’t add sugar to food or beverages.  Avoid adding sugar to foods and beverages like pancakes, cereal, coffee and tea.  Instead of using sugary syrups, top pancakes with almond butter and bananas.  Add fresh berries or dried fruits to cereals, and stir all-natural stevia into hot beverages.

2.  Avoid hidden sugars.  Recognizing sugar is the first step to reducing it in the diet.  Ingredients like corn syrup, agave, molasses, malt sugar, honey, and brown sugar are all types of sweeteners that affect the body the same way as white table sugar.  Reading the ingredient list on a product's label can tell you if it contains any of these hidden types of sugar.

Related:  Your Sugar Cravings Explained

3.  Beware of fat-free foods.  If the goal is to limit the dangers of sugar, fat-free foods may not be the answer.  When manufacturers remove fat from certain foods, they often remove taste as well.  To compensate, many fat-free foods contain extra sugar, salt, flour and other thickeners.  Make sure to read labels to determine sugar levels in fat-free foods.

4.  Shop the rainbow.  White makes a great color for decorating but not for the diet.  White foods like potatoes, rice, bread and pasta are almost always higher in sugar and calories.  Foods rich in color like bell peppers, berries, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and squash offer very little sugar but plenty of healthy phytochemicals, antioxidants and other nutrients.

5.  Steer clear of ingredients ending in –ose.  In addition to more obvious types of hidden sugars like honey and corn syrup, ingredients ending in –ose are also forms of sugar.  These include glucose, fructose, dextrose, lactose, sucrose, maltose and xylose.  Look for these ingredients on food labels. 

6.  Follow the law of four.  A simple math problem helps people determine how much sugar (in teaspoons) they are about to consume per serving.  For instance, if a serving of cereal contains 12 grams of sugar, divide the 12 by four to find that the serving contains three teaspoons of sugar.

7.  Skip the fruit juice.  In addition to removing all the fiber from fruit, juicing boosts sugar content.  For instance, a 12-ounce glass of apple juice has more calories and nearly the same amount of sugar as a 12-ounce glass of cola.

Too much sugar in the daily diet raises risks for many types of disease.  According to the World Health Organization, people who want to reduce the dangers of sugar should limit sugar calories to about 5 percent of their total daily calorie intake.  Fortunately, by following the tips above, consumers can slash daily sugar consumption for better overall health. 

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Six Heart Heath Tips For High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Six Heart Savers

Heart disease is America’s leading cause of death.  Here are several important heart health tips and advice. Fortunately many everyday supplements for high blood pressure support a healthy cardiovascular system.

Top heart health tips include taking daily fish oil supplements

 

 

 

Here are six common supplements to help keep your heart in tip-top condition. Do you take them every day?

1.     Fish Oil

A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids is the natural way to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, most of us do not eat oily fish such as salmon and mackerel on a regular basis, but help is at hand with fish oil supplements. For high blood pressure they provide an effective treatment, reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and premature death from heart disease.

2.     CoQ10

CoQ10 is a natural enzyme which the body produces in decreasing amounts as we age. It is a natural antioxidant which provides a wealth of heart-health benefits. It prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, maintains circulatory health, supports healthy arterial wall linings, lowers hypertension and ensures the optimal functioning of the heart by lowering cholesterol levels.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol should be on every list of heart health tips as it is full of antioxidants that help prevent heart disease. It increases good HDL cholesterol, prevents blood clots and protects arterial walls from damage. Found in red wine, the only sensible way to obtain sufficient resveratrol is by taking it as a daily supplement. Studies found that taking resveratrol in conjunction with statins reduced cardiovascular risk by reducing inflammation and clotting markers.

Natto

Nattokinase is a natural enzyme produced from fermented soybeans (natto) that prevents abnormal thickening of blood vessels. It has been used for centuries by the Japanese as a natural supplement for high blood pressure, lowering the risk of stroke, angina, deep vein thrombosis and heart disease.

Related:  Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure with Natto

Folic Acid

Folic acid is another everyday supplement that makes it onto the list of heart heath tips.  Researchers have found that it can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease by around 20%. This lowers the levels of homocysteine that contribute to atherosclerosis and blood clots. It also supports normal cholesterol levels as well as being essential for the production of red blood cells.

Acetyl L-carnitine

A series of controlled trials on acetyl L-carnitine supplements found that it was associated with a 65% reduction in ventricular arrhythmia and a 40% reduction in the symptoms of angina. Found naturally in red meat, L-carnitine helps increase HDL cholesterol by metabolizing fatty acids.

By taking these supplements for high blood pressure and following our sensible heart health tips regarding diet and exercise, you can ensure you have the healthiest heart possible to carry you into a long and healthy old age.

 

 

 

 

 

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Six Medications That Can Make You Dizzy – Health Living Tips

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Six Medications That Can Make You Dizzy

Vertigo, dizziness and imbalance are particularly common in the elderly, affecting around one third of persons aged between 65 and 75. It can make daily activities such as getting out of bed, bathing, dressing and moving around the home more difficult. A common side effect of many groups of medications is vertigo which increases the risk of falling, the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in those over the age of 65 according to MMWR Morb Weekly. Healthy living tips suggest that those who are struggling with vertigo should check with the doctor to see whether any prescribed medications could be causing balance impairment.

Healthy living tips include assessing medications for side effects

 

Here are some common culprits to consider:

1.     Antidepressants

Antidepressants may occasionally cause vertigo or dizziness in some patients. If you experience a sense of the world spinning around, you may need to ask your doctor to change your antidepressant medication. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Celexa and Prozac may impair balance but stopping them abruptly can also cause dizziness. Healthy living tip: Don’t make any  changes without a full discussion with your doctor.

2.     Blood pressure drugs

Drugs for hypertensions, such as beta blockers, thiazide diuretics and ace-inhibitors sold under the brand names Tenormin, Zestril and Lotensin. One of the most common side effects of Angiotensin II receptor blockers and Central Agonists is dizziness, so report any symptoms of lightheadedness to your doctor and try a more suitable option.

3.     Antihistamines

Antihistamines usually improve balance but may cause a balance problem as a reaction to other drugs.

Related:  Five Natural Ways to Fight Allergies

4.     NSAIDS

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help reduce fever, treat headaches and inflammation. Better known as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium (Aleve) they are intended for short-term use. If you have any side effects, such as dizziness or difficulty concentrating, try switching.

5.     Sedatives

Sleeping pills and sedatives are intended to cause drowsiness and can be addictive. They commonly cause dizziness, memory problems and drowsiness which can be dangerous. Healthy habits to embrace include avoiding driving or operating dangerous machinery and report all side effects to your doctor.

6.     Vasodilators

Vasodilators are prescribed to improve blood flow in those with angina, high blood pressure and heart failure. They are known to cause dizziness and patients should take necessary precautions as above. Avoid alcohol and make sure your doctor knows of any other drugs you are taking before being prescribed vasodilators and report any side effects.

Healthy Habits to Counter Medication-Induced Dizziness

If you feel that your medications are disrupting your balance or causing falls, talk to your doctor about reducing the dose, switching drugs or stopping non-essential medications.

Another healthy living tip includes taking medications later in the day when blood pressure is naturally higher. It may take time to establish healthy habits through trial and error, but you should never settle for taking medications that decrease, rather than improve, your quality of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Spicy Solutions to Heart Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics, about 75 million Americans have high blood pressure and only half of them are taking steps to control it. Left untreated, high blood pressure, or hypertension as it is sometimes known, can seriously damage health and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and death.

Spices can be a natural way to treat high blood pressure

 

 

Many sufferers resort to prescription medications and beta blockers, but those wondering how to lower blood pressure naturally may find help in the spice rack. If your blood pressure is higher than 120/80 you are at risk of hypertension, so try spicing up your life with these three heart-healthy ingredients.

Reduce High Blood Pressure with Curry

One of the main ingredients in curry is curcumin, which gives curry its distinctive yellow color. It is a natural antioxidant found in turmeric and has shown positive results in studies on natural treatments for high blood pressure. One notable study on curcumin at Japan’s Kyoto Medical Center showed that curcumin supported healthy blood pressure levels. It also helped prevent cardiac hypertrophy (thickening of the heart muscle and reduction in ventricle size caused by high blood pressure). The study concluded that curcumin could provide “novel therapeutic strategy for heart failure in humans.”

Ginger Improves Hypertension

Ginger is a root spice used by the Romans and ancient Chinese to cure a wide range of medical conditions. Studies now show that ginger is a potent blood thinner, helping to prevent or treat high blood pressure and heart disease. In tests, ginger was used to dissolve blood clots that can lead to stroke or heart attack. It prevents thromboxane synthesis which causes blood clotting and platelets in the blood to clump together.

Tests on rats showed that ginger is also an anti-inflammatory agent. It works in the same way as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such ibuprofen and naproxen, but without the side effects.  

Adding ginger to savory and sweet dishes is an easy way to add this cholesterol-lowering anti-inflammatory blood thinner to your diet and lower blood pressure naturally.

Related:  Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels with Ginger

How to Lower Blood Pressure with Garlic

Another natural blood thinning agent is garlic. Thinner blood is easier for the heart to pump around, reducing high blood pressure, and it is less likely to form clots that cause heart attacks and strokes.

An Australian study compared garlic with commonly prescribed drugs used to lower blood pressure and found that it was equally effective. The studies found that eating four cloves of garlic a day had a noticeable positive effect on those with high blood pressure, lowering it by an average 8.4 systolic points and 7.3 diastolic points.

If you are wondering how to lower blood pressure without resorting to expensive drugs, try adding these three spices to your daily diet and watch your high blood pressure fall.

 

 

 

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De-Stress with Biofeedback Technology – Stress Management

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If only there was an app for stress management!  Actually there is, in the form of the latest biofeedback technology.  Founded on the basics of quantum science, biofeedback measures the body’s stress levels and helps you recognize and counter the effects naturally and holistically. Using sophisticated technology, biofeedback relies on specialized software and sensors to scan the electromagnetic fields of your body. In minutes, this new stress management technology can provide feedback and vital information about the energetic stresses that your body is undergoing at that moment in time. Once users see their elevated blood pressure or symptoms of rising stress, they can implement mental techniques to lower stress levels without the need for medications or other treatment. 

Stress management is the key to good health and longevity

Rather than allowing tension and negativity to build up for months or even years, biofeedback is the key to healthy stress management, reversing the harmful effects that stress can have on your life and health.

Health issues that biofeedback is used to treat include:

  • Stress Management        
  • Anxiety ​
  • Depression
  • Pain Management
  • Headaches                                                                                                               
  • Post-Traumatic Stress
  • Fears and Phobias
  • Social Anxiety
  • Raynaud's Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback uses sensors to collect data about the body. The information makes the patient aware of the physiological functions and can help control them as part of their stress management. The latest biofeedback developments include putting the sensors into portable wearable devices that are no more intrusive than a wrist watch.

Developed in the 1960s and 70s, biofeedback has been used by psychologists to treat health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hypertension, headaches and attention deficit disorder (ADD). Initially patients had to be hooked up to a device in a laboratory setting, but microtechnology now allows sensors and Galvanic Skin Resistance (GSR) monitors to track electro-dermal activity (EDA). The information can be used for stress management, monitoring mood and depression or even predicting seizures. 

Related:  Train Your Digestive System

How can Biofeedback Aid Stress Management?

Far from being a novelty gadget, biofeedback is the stress management tool of the future. There are over 900 studies published on PubMed alone about biofeedback and stress, and it has far-reaching medical relevance.

For example, a study on 41 soldiers found that those who used biofeedback-assisted stress management training on a regular basis had lower stress biomarkers than their colleagues.

Even in sports, biofeedback has invaluable health advantages. A study showed that advanced basketball players who trialed biofeedback for 20 minutes a day over a 10-day period as part of their personal stress management showed significant improvement in heart rate and anxiety levels.

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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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Can Melatonin Help During Menopause?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many women dealing with menopausal symptoms experience disruptions in their sleep cycles. This can exacerbate some of the other side effects such as increased anxiety, depression, trouble focusing, memory lapses, hot flashes and a decreased libido, just to name a few. The good news is that increasing shows that melatonin supplements can be an effective menopause treatment to help you get more rest and relief.  

Can melatonin treatment relieve symptoms of menopause?

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone our bodies produce naturally in the pineal gland of the brain. It assists in the smooth operation of several bodily functions such as:

  • Regulating the release of the female reproductive hormones like estrogen, progesterone, effecting the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles
  • Promoting the quality and duration of sleep
  • It is a naturally produced antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties to help the body repair itself. It has a protective effect on your heart by helping to lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterol levels

Low levels of melatonin have been linked to an increased risk for developing breast and prostate cancer, and have more recently linked to ADHD symptoms in children. 

At optimum levels, melatonin can help improve conditions like:

  • Sunburn
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Pain regulation
  • Digestion
  • Epilepsy 

Melatonin as a Menopause Treatment

Trouble focusing, memory lapses, increased anxiety and feelings of depression, all common symptoms of menopause, are made worse by a lack of quality sleep.  Many women going through menopause have trouble falling asleep, and even after they do, they often wake up because of a hot flash. They may fall asleep, but rouse frequently during the night and have trouble going back to sleep.

As we age our production of the sleep hormone begins to decline, along with estrogen and progesterone. Children have high levels of melatonin, whereas adults in their late 40s, 50s and 60s and beyond have much lower levels. Melatonin supplements can increase levels to promote drowsiness and keep you asleep for longer stretches.  It can also help you fall back to sleep when a hot flash wakes you up.  In addition, the increased shut-eye can help you deal with stress more effectively, decrease anxiety and give you greater mental clarity.

Related:  Sleep Deprivation: Is it Dangerous to Your Health?

Along with melatonin supplements try these tips to help you unwind and fall asleep more easily:

  • Do not eat within two hours of going to bed
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants as much as possible
  • Try natural fiver sheets and pajamas to help whisk away sweat from hot flashes
  • Drop the temperature in your bedroom to about 68 degrees
  • Turn off the TV, put away your tablet and smart phone since the backlight on these electronic devices interferes with the natural release of melatonin
  • Make it as dark as possible in your bedroom with light-blocking blinds or curtains and turn the digital clock face away from the bed or cover it
  • Try a few relaxing yoga poses followed by a cool shower

Dosage

As with all supplements, you should first consult your doctor before deciding on your melatonin treatment.  Taking the lowest dose possible to achieve optimal sleep is the best way to go. In general adults should take 3-5 milligrams about one hour before bedtime.

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How Vitamin E Can Help Menopause Symptoms

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If you are a woman between the ages of 45 and 55, you are likely going through the menopause. While outwardly nothing has changed, mentally and emotionally your body is dealing with a profusion of menopause symptoms. Fortunately, you don’t have to grit your teeth and put up with it. Vitamin E is the natural way to counter hot flashes and other major symptoms of menopause as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Vitamin E contains estrogen which helps relieve menopause symptoms

Research shows that vitamin E is effective for up to 75% of menopausal women. This natural substance can help reduce hot flashes and can also lower the effects of insomnia, nervousness, mood swings, fatigue, heart palpitations and thinning hair. Vitamin E actually contains small amounts of estrogen to help counteract the decline in hormone levels which are typical during menopause. 

Studies on Vitamin E and Menopause Symptoms

A study on the effect or vitamin E in menopausal women looked at the effect of vitamin E supplements on hot flashes. Led by Dr. Saeideh Ziaei at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Tehran, the study was on 51 menopausal women.

Each participant received a placebo softgel daily for four weeks followed by a one week cleansing period to eliminate all traces of the softgel. The women then received an identical-looking vitamin E softgel of 400 IU daily for the next four weeks. The women recorded the frequency and severity of their hot flashes in a daily diary. The results showed that when vitamin E softgels were taken, the hot flashes reduced in severity and in frequency. The study concluded that vitamin E is recommended for the effective treatment of hot flashes.

Vitamin E also relieves vaginal dryness and stimulates immunity against cancer of the cervix, breasts, lungs and digestive tract. Other studies show that vitamin E can reduce heart disease by up to 66%, making it a beneficial health supplement for all ages.

Related:  Vitamin E:  Tricking Father Time

How Much Vitamin E to Take

The most potent form of vitamin E is the natural d-alpha-tocopherol type, rather than synthetic E. according to Dr. Leslie Packer at University of California, synthetic E contains only one eight of the amount of alpha-tocopherol compared to natural vitamin E.

Following the study guidelines, 400 IU vitamin E can reduce menopause symptoms, particularly hot flashes. However, it is important not to take vitamin E in excessive amounts as it may cause problems with blood clotting and hemorrhaging. The recommended upper limit for vitamin E intake is 1,000 mg per day, which is equal to 1,500 IU, so the 400 IU is well within these safety guidelines. It may take up to six weeks to notice a significant improvement in symptoms, but it is worth persevering to lower menopause symptoms safely and naturally.

You should consult your doctor before taking vitamin E supplements if you are taking medications, aspirin or anticoagulant drugs as these may cause complications such as excessive bleeding.  

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How Free Radical Damage Affects Your Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

We hear a lot about free radicals and their harmful effect on our health and aging. It’s important to understand free radical dangers so that you can take steps to counter their effect. Here’s a simple explanation of how free radical dangers can be reduced to slow the aging process and reduce the risk of cancer.

Avoid free radical dangers and slow the aging process

Understanding Free Radical Dangers

The dangers of free radicals were uncovered by Dr. Denham Harman in the 1950s. He discovered that when cells produce energy for the body to function, the byproducts are harmful free radicals. Studies show that these free radicals damage cellular DNA, which is the main cause of aging in the body. It’s a bit like a car engine burning fuel for propulsion, but the waste produced is toxic carbon monoxide.

What is Oxidative Stress?

Free radicals contain unpaired electrons which try to pair up with other electrons to balance themselves. They “steal” electrons from other molecules and this creates damage to our cellular DNA. This process is called oxidative stress.

Related:  Astaxanthin May Prevent Heart Disease Caused by Inflammation and Free Radicals

How Free Radical Dangers Affect Aging

The reason why free radical dangers cause premature aging is because DNA controls cell division and the formation of new cells. If DNA is damaged by oxidative stress, it negatively affects new cell production. This leads to signs of aging in the skin and may also cause cancer, which is caused by abnormal cell division. Other free radical dangers include damage to the skin and organs due to collagen cross-linking, impaired cognitive function, weakened immune system and cardiovascular damage.

How to Counter Free Radical Dangers

We can’t stop the production of free radicals as it is a natural part of living, breathing, eating and exercise. However, there are some ways we can reduce oxidative stress. Smoking produces free radicals and is a cause of premature wrinkles and aging. Excessive exposure to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight, stress and over-consumption of alcohol can all increase oxidative stress and should be avoided whenever possible.

Heating vegetable oils is known to release toxic free radicals, so switch to butter or coconut oil when possible. You can still enjoy olive oil in salad dressings and unheated foods.

The most important way to combat free radical dangers is by consuming plenty of foods high in antioxidants such as fruit, vegetables and green tea. As their name suggests, antioxidants counter oxidative stress by pairing up with floating free radicals. This neutralizes them, preventing damage to our cells and DNA. This in turn slows the aging process, leading to a longer and healthier life.

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Health Dangers of Excess Weight | Weight Loss

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Are you at higher risk than others of suffering from over 50 different health problems including cancer, diabetes and heart disease? If you are clinically overweight and struggle with weight loss, then unfortunately you are at this higher risk.

Discover the sobering facts about weight effect on aging

Excess pounds do more than just increase your weight; they actually increase your risk of mortality. It has been clinically proven that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from a stroke, heart attack, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and depression than those who maintain a normal healthy weight.

Weight effect on aging is another problem for many, and a Harvard study shows the risk of developing type-2 diabetes is 20 times more likely in those who are overweight. The good news is that you can do something to reverse this risk by seriously committing to a weight loss program.

Related:  Natural Weight Loss Tips

Benefits of Managing Weight Loss

There are many benefits to losing weight. You will feel more energetic and are statistically likely to enjoy a longer, better quality life. It can be daunting to face having to lose weight, but start with a manageable target that will immediately make you feel better, both physically and emotionally. Commit to achieving an initial weight loss of 5-10% of your body weight. When you feel your determination is faltering, remind yourself of these facts about the weight effect on aging and general health.

  • Losing 10 pounds can lower your systolic blood pressure by 2.8mm/Hg and your diastolic blood pressure by 2.5 mm/Hg. This is equal to the expected reduction when someone starts taking blood pressure medication
  • Losing 7% of your weight and exercising for 30 minutes a day lowers your risk of diabetes by nearly 60%
  • A study on 1.5 million adults published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the risk of death increased by 44% in people who are mildly obese and by 250% in those with a BMI of 40 to 50

By achieving a normal weight for your height you can significantly reduce your risk of mortality and have a healthier, higher quality of life. You can use the NIH calculator to work out your BMI by entering your height and weight right now. Normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9; overweight is 25-29.9 and obese is 30 and above. If you are overweight or obese, now is a good time to commit to reducing that detrimental weight effect on aging by adopting a healthy diet that does not exceed 1,200 calories per day, and by engaging in 30 minutes of brisk walking, cycling, dancing, swimming or other exercise to burn off those excess pounds.

Weight loss is never easy, but it is definitely worth it! 

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Are Statins Killing You? The Top 6 Dangers of Statins

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Are you part of the one in four Americans over the age of 45 who take statins? Statin drugs are prescribed to help lower cholesterol, but the dangers of statins and the truth about its efficacy are now being questioned. One of the hurdles in reversing the policy on statins is the fact that Big Pharma makes huge profits from the sales of statin drugs, with a reported turnover of $29 billion in 2013.

Studies are showing there may be hidden dangers to statins

The Dangers of Statins

Several surveys have reported results that show statins may be doing more harm than good when it comes to our health. Their results show:

  • Statins interfere with the natural production of Coenzyme Q10, which helps maintain blood pressure, supports the cardiovascular system and is essential for the immune and nervous systems
  • Studies have found a link between statin use and memory loss, possibly because cholesterol is essential to brain function. Some patients find they are unable to remember words while others develop serious neurological problems such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Statins appear to weaken the immune system, so users are more prone to bacterial infections
  • Statin drugs promote inflammation due to the increased production of cytokines
  • Statin users are at higher risk of Parkinson’s and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), according to Dr. David Williams
  • In animals studies, statins caused 226% more muscle damage in animals when they exercised, compared to animals that were not on statins

And the list goes on and on. It’s a cause for reflection for those who take statins and are so far unaware of the dangers of statins.

Related:  Knock Down Bad Cholesterol with these Four Foods

When to Stop Taking Statins

Although studies have shown that statins help reduce cholesterol, which is thought to lower the risk of heart disease, it may not apply to those over the age of 50. A Japanese study found that high cholesterol is not necessarily associated to coronary heart disease in those over the age of 50. This study suggests that older people would actually be healthier if they stopped taking statins at middle age.

Harlan Krumholz at the Cardiovascular Medicine Department at Yale discovered that elderly people with low cholesterol were twice as likely to die from heart attack as those with high cholesterol, which contradicts popular beliefs about the need for statins into old age.

In addition to this, the University of Minnesota Epidemiology Department studied 68,000 deaths and found that low cholesterol was associated with an increased risk of dying from gastrointestinal or respiratory disease. This ties in with the above findings about the dangers of statins weakening the immune system.

While the debate continues about the dangers of statins, one message remains clear. By eating a healthy balanced diet based on meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, such as the Paleo diet recommended by Dr. Mercola, your body may balance its own levels of cholesterol, leading to a longer life, safely and naturally.

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The Word on Sugar

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Those looking to achieve optimal health will want to limit daily sugar intake to less than 5% of their total calories, announced the World Health Organization. Recent medical studies have confirmed that sugar is not a friend to the human body. In fact, medical science now knows that sugar actually damages DNA.  Artificial sweeteners are even worse, as they have been linked to many potential diseases. Sugar is empty calories, and your body needs quality calories to build and repair. This is why sugar is especially harmful for children, as it steals away precious calories needed for growth and brain development.

Guard your health and beware of excess daily sugar intake.

In short, you should avoid sugar whenever possible, but doing so is more of a challenge than it might initially seem because sugar is hidden in a wide array of food.  When consumers start carefully looking for processed sugar, they soon realize it’s been well-hidden in processed and fast foods. Luckily, food manufacturers are required to list their ingredients, so we know what foods have sugar in them and what foods do not.

If you want to keep your daily sugar intake below 5%, then you either have to largely eliminate processed foods and fast foods or become an avid reader of labels. Reading labels may be time consuming, but once you identify which foods have sugar and which foods don’t, shopping becomes much quicker.

The big “wild card” in sugar consumption comes in the form of fast food. Unfortunately, fast food ingredients are not listed for consumers to quickly and easily read. The end result is that most people who dine out are also consuming far more sodium and sugar than they realize. If you’ve decided to keep your daily sugar intake below 5%, then you’ll have to do some research on your favorite restaurants so to know what foods are low in sugar and what foods should be avoided.

Related:  What Are The Best Sugar Substitutes?

There are many ways to avoid sugar. One way is to prepare more of your own foods. In this way, you know all the foods being used and the overall sugar levels. Another way to avoid sugar, and this one will also improve your overall health, is to eat more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are foods that you can usually trust as there is nowhere to add additional sugar, with the notable exception of nuts and seeds that have been dusted with sugar.

Reducing your sugar consumption doesn’t have to be a full time job. After you go through the process of learning which foods are loaded with sugar and which ones are not, your shopping and eating practices will become second nature. The bottom line is that the effort you put into lowering your daily sugar intake is well worth it. The empty calories of sugar lead to weight gain and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

If you want to look great and feel great, then one of the first steps to take is to drop the sugar. Your body will thank you!

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Ten Home Remedies for Tackling Periodontal Disease

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Periodontal disease is much more serious than many people suspect. Periodontal issues can be either destructive or non-destructive. When plaque forms around teeth, the end result can be inflammation of tissue. In some cases, tissue can be lost, and this weakens the supporting structure for teeth.

The end result of periodontal disease can be a loss of teeth, which, in turn, has a range of its own medical and health issues. Medical studies have conclusively shown that poor oral health can lead to not just dental issues, but also a range of health issues ranging from a weakened immune system and increase in the chances of developing diseases to heart problems.

Gum disease does not have to lead to the loss of teeth. By following these 10 tips you can keep your teeth and gums much healthier!

#1:  Co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 is extremely important not just for gum health but for overall health. Like other ingredients, such as baking soda, co-enzyme Q10 has made its way into toothpaste for its ability to help fight gum disease and assist in keeping periodontal disease at bay. Co-enzyme Q10 is available in toothpaste and pill forms.

#2:  Honey and Manuka Honey

Honey has amazing all-natural healing properties. One type of honey in particular, manuka honey, is particularly effective at treating wounds of all kinds including gum inflammation. Manuka honey has been well researched and is being used to treat everything from chronic wounds to burns.

Cure periodontal disease with honey and other natural remedies.

#3:  Lemons

Lemons are a power anti-inflammatory and are packed with vitamin C. Try adding lemons to your tea for a one-two punch.

#4:  Baking Soda

It is no accident that baking soda has made its way into toothpaste. Baking soda helps neutralize acid in your mouth and can also help remove stains.

#5:  Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil can be found in both toothpastes and dental floss and is very effective in killing bacteria. However, it is important to remember that tea tree oil is extremely powerful, so remember to only use a limited amount.

Related:  Tea Tree Oil for Acne:  A Natural Remedy With Proven Results

#6:  Dental Probiotics

The research is mounting that probiotics are a powerful contributor to overall good health. Dental probiotics containing lactobacillus reuteri are one way to improve your oral health via probiotics. Also, consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.

#7:  Consume Fermented Foods

Fermented foods have been shown to improve overall health and boost oral health. Fermented foods can contain lactobacillus reuteri as well as many other immune system boosting probiotics. If you want to fight periodontal disease, then consider boosting your fermented foods. Many researchers also believe that fermented foods can help reduce the chances of developing many different types of diseases.

#8:  Xylitol

Xylitol is one of the best kept secrets in oral health care. Since it works to actually stop the growth of the very bacteria responsible for cavities, xylitol has earned a special place in dental research. Xylitol mouthwashes, toothpastes, mints and even gum are widely available. Not only does xylitol help protect teeth, but it also creates a positive environment for gums and the entire mouth.

#9:  Floss Every Day

Flossing is one of the easiest ways to protect your oral health. In fact, flossing regularly may even protect your heart!

#10:  Brush Regularly and Change Your Toothbrush Often

The foundation of protecting your teeth and gums is to brush often. Also don’t forget to change your toothbrush every three mouths to help you keep periodontal disease at bay!

Follow these ten tips and you will enjoy greater overall oral health. You don’t have to live with gum disease or let gum disease develop. These simple tips can dramatically boost your chances of keeping your gums and teeth healthy and looking great.

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Ten Relaxing Ways to Disconnect from Digital Technology

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to research, more people in North America use the internet than people in Africa, Asia and Latin America combined.  While computers, cellphones and other electronic gadgets offer numerous benefits, it’s important to unplug from technology from time to time.  Taking a break from the digital world allows people to unwind and better connect with themselves and others.  Here are ten relaxing ways to disconnect from digital technology. 

A myriad of methods help people disconnect from digital technology.

1.  Practice yoga.  Considered a mind-body practice, yoga blends mental and physical disciplines to create a sense of peace and tranquility.  In addition, yoga helps tone the body, promotes better balance and improves sleep.

2.  Introduce a weekly game night.  Spending time playing cards or board games allows family members and/or friends to connect in meaningful ways and enjoy relaxing conversation.

3.  Spend time in nature.  There is nothing like a warm breeze, a bird's song, and the beauty of nature to disconnect from digital technology.  What's more, sunlight helps boost the mood and encourages good bone health by providing the body with a daily dose of natural vitamin D.

4.  Purchase an adult coloring book.  Using colored pencils or markers to fill in intricate designs allows adults to channel their inner child.  Coloring keeps people focused on the present moment and promotes a sense of calm.

5.  Get a massage. Studies on emergency room staff show that a 15-minute massage can lower job-related anxiety from 65 percent in winter and 54 percent in summer to just 8 percent no matter the season.  Adding essential aromatic oils like chamomile and lavender make massage even more relaxing.

Related:  Discover the Benefits of Hatha Yoga for Stress Relief

6.  Enjoy a hot bath.  Sinking into a tub of hot water soothes the mind as well as the body.  People can use products like bath salts, bath pillows, and candles to make a home bathroom spa-like and tranquil.

7.  Take the dog for a walk.  A 20-minute walk can help reduce stress by boosting endorphins, the 'feel-good' neurotransmitters in the brain.  In addition, walking offers owners and dogs an opportunity for quality bonding.

8.  Meditate.  Studies show that meditation helps lower heart rate and blood pressure, and it doesn't cost anything to practice.  To experience calming effects, people just need a quiet, comfortable space from which to focus on breathing for ten minutes or more.

9.  Keep a journal.  Writing about daily problems allows many people to let go of them.  Others prefer to jot down things for which they are grateful.  Both techniques are therapeutic and calming.

10. Take a catnap.  Short periods of rest can reduce help reduce stress.  Naps of 20 minutes or less encourage relaxation without affecting nighttime sleep.  

While some people can't imagine taking a break from their electronic devices, unplugging is important for peace of mind and human connection.  Any of the methods mentioned above allow people to disconnect from digital technology in minutes at very little or no expense, and many offer benefits that go well beyond stress relief.

 

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The Power of Plants

by Health News

Plants are under constant siege from animals, insects, humans, and the environment.  In addition, being literally rooted to the ground, it can be difficult to protect themselves. Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided for them.

Learn about secondary metabolites that help plants— and people— flourish nutritionally and help defend against viruses and germs.

They grow physical defenses like thorns or thick bark or spines. Or they can create chemical shields…defenses that allow them to fight fungus, battle viruses or bacteria, produce off-putting aromas or taste, or even forming poisonous pathogens to deter insects and animals alike from consuming them. These defenses are made possible, thanks to secondary metabolites.

Secondary metabolites are Darwin’s little secret. In addition to the defenses listed above, other secondary metabolites allow the plant to flourish in low sunlight or little water, to sustain high heats and lots of water, attract more insects to them to promote pollination, or promote quick healing of injuries sustained to the plant.

As it turns out, these secondary metabolites don’t just serve plants. Research has shown us that they can improve heart health (resveratrol), reduce inflammation (saponins, a class of plant steroids), ease pain (codeine and morphine from the opium poppy), treat cancer (glucosinolates), fight infection (erythromycin), and alleviate headaches (salicin from white willow bark). And this just the tip of the iceberg!

Related:  Why Plant-Based Powder Supplements are the Best

Contrary to what the pharmaceutical companies would like us to believe, you cannot simply remove these nutrients and use them in isolation and expect them to perform to their full capacity. The real key to the power of these secondary metabolites is the way they interact with the other metabolites and micronutrients in the plant to provide the best health benefits possible.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Eat the foods that contain these powerhouses. These include primarily fruits and vegetables such as cherries, tomatoes, grapes, pineapple, apple, beets, and more.

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Ten Interesting Sugar Facts You May Not Know About

by Health News

With numbers of overweight and obese individuals on the rise in the U.S., the topic of sugar shows up often in the press.  Not surprisingly, the news isn't good.  According to the American Dietetic and Diabetic Association, increased sugar consumption raises risks for the development of degenerative disease.  Sugar can trigger mood swings, cause irritability and changes in personality, and exacerbate asthma, arthritis, and heart disease.  

A number of interesting sugar facts gives people a new understanding of its danger to the body.

Here are ten more interesting sugar facts you may not know.

  1. Sugar is addictive…literally. When people consume sugar, an opiate-like substance is released that triggers the reward system in the brain.
  2. In the last ten years, sugar consumption in the U.S. increased by 23 percent.
  3. On average, each person in the U.S. consumes a whopping 61 pounds of refined sugar every year.  Twenty-five of the 61 pounds of sugar comes from candy.
  4. While it contains plenty of calories, refined sugar offers no nutritional value whatsoever.
  5. Although it may be hard to fathom eating 16 sugar cubes at one time, that is a little less than the amount of sugar hiding in one 20-ounce bottle of cola.
  6. Most people know that sugary soft drinks contribute to weight gain, but so do beverages containing artificial sweeteners.  A study from Purdue University showed that rats given liquids containing artificial sweeteners consumed more total calories than rats given liquids sweetened with sugar. 
  7. Low-fat often does not mean low sugar.  Many companies that produce low-fat products (like milk, cheese, and more) increase sugar levels for extra flavor.
  8. Through a process called glycation, excess sugar in the blood binds to collagen in the skin and makes it less elastic.  This can contribute to the formation of wrinkles
  9. Sugar makes the digestive system overly acidic.  This depletes the body of essential minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
  10. People with high-sugar diets who suddenly stop consuming it can experience withdrawal symptoms like depression, fatigue, and body aches.

Related:  Foods that Lower Blood Sugar:  Peanut Butter

Tips for Reducing Daily Sugar Consumption

After reading this list of interesting sugar facts, people gain a new understanding of how sugar harms the health.  A few easy tips can help individuals reduce their daily sugar intake and take better control of their health and body weight.

  • Read grocery labels, and cut down on hidden sources of sugar like fructose, glucose, lactose, maltodextrin, and dextrose.
  • Get sugar naturally through whole fruits, but avoid fruit juice, which contains concentrated amounts of natural sugar.
  • Use pure, organic stevia to sweeten coffee and tea.
  • Substitute sugary sodas or diet sodas with coconut water or ice water with a spritz of lemon.
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How to Reduce Sugar Intake in a Healthy Way

by Health News

Imagine eating your own body weight in sugar!  Even those with a sweet tooth or a secret sugar addiction may cringe at that thought, but the truth is that most Americans consume at least 128 pounds of sugar every year and need to reduce sugar intake for their health’s sake.

Take the sugar addiction test and learn more about hidden sugars

Take the Sugar Addiction Test

  • If you reach for just one cookie, is the bag empty before you realize it?
  • Are you lacking energy and tired all the time?
  • When you feel hungry do you snack on doughnuts, chips, candy and ice cream?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you are definitely hooked on sugar and salty snacks that are engineered by food scientists to be addictive.  You need to reduce your sugar intake now!

How about carbohydrates?

  • Can you say no to desserts but pig-out on bread and pasta?
  • When you want to lose weight, is it easier to eat nothing than ration yourself to smaller portions?
  • Do you find it impossible to eat just a taste of pasta, bread, muffins or rice?

These are all the signs of addiction to white flour, which actually turns into sugar during digestion, creating the same problems as sugar.  As above, you need to reduce your carbohydrate intake before it takes a toll on your health.

Related:  What are the Best Sugar Substitutes?

How Sugar Addiction is Harmful to Health

Here’s the truth about how harmful sugar can be to your health, and why the World Health Organization is recommending that people reduce sugar intake by 70%.  Studies show a link between a diet high in sugar and raised levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Sugar is also responsible for tooth decay, obesity and inflammation in the body, which is the root cause of many health issues including arthritis.

Scientists have found that even thin people who consume more than 10% of their daily calories from sugar are three times more likely to die of heart disease than others. Sugar affects the brain, which controls signals such as when to stop eating. Sugar highs feed the brain with dopamine, producing an artificial sense of euphoria similar to gambling or cocaine use. In a similar way, tests on rats showed that sugar is addictive and we actually crave more and more sugar to satisfy the need.

Reduce Sugar Intake Benefits

You may never actually buy sugar and stir it into drinks, but modern-day foods are laden with hidden sugars delivering an average 22 teaspoons (150 grams) of sugar per day. In order to reduce sugar intake, you need to identify your sugar sources. Check the label on cereals, salad dressings, fruit juice and even yogurt and switch to unsweetened alternatives such as stevia, or natural whole foods.

Doctors recommend we should reduce sugar intake to around 42 grams per day, or 5% of your daily calories, in order to free yourself from your sugar addiction. You’ll find the benefits of reduced sugar intake will provide more energy, lower triglyceride levels and a healthier heart.

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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.