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Three Natural Remedies for Nausea

by Health News

Featuring a queasy stomach often accompanied by an urge to vomit, nausea affects all people at one time or another.  Common causes include excessive consumption of food or alcohol, food poisoning, motion sickness or seasickness, pregnancy, or viral infection (also known as the stomach flu).  While doctors can prescribe medication for ailing patients, three natural remedies have shown promise for easing discomfort. 

People who have nausea experience a queasy stomach often accompanied by an urge to vomit.

1.  Acupuncture

For centuries, Eastern practitioners have used acupuncture to treat a variety of physical ailments.  The process involves the insertion of paper-thin needles through the skin at certain points in the body.  According to Eastern medicine, the needles are thought to release a flow of energy (or qi) to reduce physical symptoms and/or promote healing.

Studies show that acupuncture is as effective as medication for control of nausea in cancer patients, and it reduces the need for medication for vomiting following chemotherapy treatment. 

2.  Ginger

Chinese health practitioners have used ginger root for centuries as a remedy for a variety of digestive ailments, from stomachache to nausea.  It contains chemicals called gingerols and shogaols that relax the intestinal tract. 

Ginger has been proven safe for pregnant women, and a study published in Integrative Cancer Therapies showed that women with breast cancer who took ginger after chemotherapy experienced less nausea from six to 24 hours following treatment than women in a control group. 

People can grate raw ginger into salads, add ginger to cooked dishes, eat candied ginger, or sip ginger tea. 

Related:  Daily Ginger Consumption Eases Muscle and Joint Pain

3.  Peppermint

Peppermint is another remedy with a long history for treating nausea.  It relaxes stomach muscles, making the process of digestion quicker and more efficient. 

Research published in The Journal of Holistic Nursing examined 35 women with postoperative nausea resulting from C-section.  They were divided into three groups and given different treatments when they began to feel queasy.  One group inhaled peppermint oil, one inhaled a placebo, and the control group received standard medication. 

Participants rated levels of nausea at two and five minutes following intervention.  Women who inhaled peppermint oil reported feeling significantly less nauseous than women in the other two groups.  Researchers concluded that peppermint oil might be a valuable treatment for postoperative care.

Peppermint is available in the form of essential oil, tea, or capsules.  People with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should not use peppermint, as it can worsen symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.

Nausea is a symptom of a variety of conditions from motion sickness to pregnancy.  Uncomfortable queasy feelings sometimes lead to vomiting.  While doctors can prescribe medicines for nausea, some people prefer more natural alternatives.  Acupuncture, ginger, and peppermint have all proven to be helpful remedies.

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Sweat Too Much? Four Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating

by IVL Products

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

There are ways to help reduce excessive sweating

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

1.     Use Antiperspirant Twice Daily

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

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

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

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

2.     Eliminate Spicy Food

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

3.     Avoid Caffeine

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

4.     Try Detox Supplements to Reduce Sweating

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

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

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

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Is Your Depression Exercise-Related?

by IVL Products

Psychologists, scientists and doctors are intrigued by the inverse relationship between exercise and depression. According to The Times newspaper, "neurologists have begun to show that exercise may alter brain chemistry in much the same way that antidepressant drugs do, by regulating the key neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine."

Studies show that exercise and depression may be inversely related

Despite lack of funding, as there are no huge profits in studying something that cannot be patented, studies have shown that aerobic exercise appears to be a simple treatment for relieving mild to moderate depression.

One such study at Duke University, NC on a group of clinically depressed patients divided them into three groups and treated them with exercise only, exercise plus antidepressant drug or antidepressant drug only. Initially those taking antidepressant drugs reported slightly better results but after 10 months, it was the patients on exercise-only that had the best mood and highest remission rate.

Related:  How to Exercise Away the Effects of Depression

Health Benefits of Exercise and Depression

We already know that regular exercise provides a wealth of benefits, whether you choose walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, golf (on foot), tennis, aerobics, gardening, dancing or even yoga.

Exercise strengthens the heart muscle, lowers blood pressure, improves muscle tone, lowers body fat and strengthens bones. But while all that is going on, exercise is also triggering neurotransmitters to release endorphins from the brain, spine and other parts of the body.

The endorphins interact with brain receptors to promote a sense of happiness and positivity. The effect of endorphins is similar to analgesics or a morphine kick, reducing the perception of pain. Sometimes this is reported as a "runner's high" at the end of a vigorous workout or run. These natural chemicals also act as sedatives and reduce stress, yet unlike chemical drugs, they do not lead to addiction or dependence.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mood issues and depression, why not encourage them to take up a sport or exercise and depression may be eased. It can be all the more beneficial for them to participate with a partner or in a group class, as there is ongoing support to continue even when the going gets tough. It's a simple, easy and free remedy, with absolutely nothing to lose.

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Three Herbs that Reduce Stress

by Health News

Stress is a normal part of life, and the body automatically reacts to it with a "flight-or-fight" response.  The adrenal glands release stress hormones that boost strength and energy in reaction to physical stressors and enhance focus and mental clarity during times of emotional upset.  Occasional stress is normal and healthy, but chronic stress can take a toll on mental and physical health.  While some people rely on prescribed medications for treatment, others prefer more natural ways to reduce stress.  Three herbs show promise for fighting stress.

Herbs that reduce stress include holy basil, kava, and chamomile.

1.  Holy Basil

An herb and a member of the mint family, holy basil is found in most tropical regions around the world.  Research shows that compounds in holy basil improve the body's response to stress.  One animal study examined the effects of holy basil on stress created by continual exposure to noise.  Albino rats were pretreated with holy basil extract for seven days and then exposed to noise containing a frequency of 10 kHz and a sound level of 100 dB.  While exposure to noise typically generates changes in acetylcholine and acetylcholinesterase activity in several areas of the brain, the treatment with holy basil prevented these changes.

2.  Kava

Kava is a root that comes from the islands of the South Pacific. Traditional use involves crushing the root and making it into a tea.  The drink offers relaxing or sedating effects but is non-addictive.  Kava is also available as a dietary supplement in powder, capsule, or tincture form.  When it comes to herbs that reduce stress and anxiety, kava has shown positive results in many studies. 

In 2013, an Australian study assessed the effects of kava in 75 people with generalized anxiety disorder.  Subjects were given kava or placebo each day for six weeks.  Levels of anxiety were measured using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA).  For people with mild to moderate anxiety, kava significantly reduced symptoms as compared to the placebo group.  Results were even more significant in the group with moderate to severe anxiety.

Kava should not be combined with alcohol or psychotropic medicines.  It has been shown that long-term use of kava can harm the liver, so people should use it for three months or less, and consult with a qualified herbalist or your health care provider for guidance.

Related:  Natural Remedies for Mild Depression

3.  Chamomile

Originating in Europe, chamomile is a plant that belongs to the daisy family.  While its dried flowers are used for a variety of physical ailments, chamomile also offers relief from anxiety according to several studies. 

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania examined 35 people diagnosed with anxiety and depression or with a history of anxiety and depression, along with a control group of 22 people without either disorder.  For eight weeks, subjects received daily doses of chamomile extract or placebo.  Dosages were increased for people who showed less benefit on anxiety scores by one extra tablet daily each week, capping at week five. 

Based on the results of several rating scales, 57 percent of the people in the chamomile group experienced significant reductions in anxiety.  To date, chamomile has been shown to have no adverse side effects, which makes it one of the best and safest ways to reduce stress.

Chronic stress takes a toll on the body both physically and mentally.  Herbs that reduce stress help take the edge off when people are exposed to physical, mental, or emotional stimuli on a regular basis.  Before starting a supplementary regimen with any herb, people should always consult with their health care provider. 

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Five Benefits of Meditation

by Cindy Gray

The modern world provides many conveniences but it also brings increased stress and anxiety.  Busy schedules create the need for relaxation from time to time.  Meditation is a practice that people engage in to achieve a more peaceful state of mind through quiet contemplation or through sustained focus on sound, mantras, or the breath.  Virtually all forms of meditation induce a more peaceful state of mind, but the practice offers a host of additional advantages.  Five benefits of meditation in particular lead to enhanced health and happiness.  

People enjoy many physical and mental benefits of meditation

1.  Reduced Muscle Tension

By controlling breathing, calming the mind, and focusing attention on specific areas of the body, meditation can help reduce muscle tension.  A technique called Progressive Muscle Relaxation is particularly helpful at the beginning of a session.  People purposefully tighten and relax muscles in a systematic way resulting in reduced muscle tension throughout the body.

2.  Lower Blood Pressure

Because meditation enhances relaxation, it makes one of the best natural high blood pressure remedies.  Relaxation triggers the release of nitric oxide, which expands blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.  A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined the effects of meditation on 60 people with high blood pressure.  Results showed that 40 of the 60 subjects were able to stop taking blood pressure medication as a result of regular meditation.

3.  Slower Heart Rate

The many physical benefits of meditation also include a slower heart rate.  A Korean study showed that subjects who practiced the Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique experienced slower heart rates, and benefits lasted for up to 8 months after the study ended. 

4.  Better Sleep

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness programs which include meditation practice may help improve sleep.  A group of 49 middle-aged and older adults who reported trouble sleeping either participated in a mindfulness program or a sleep education class for improving sleep habits.  Both groups met once weekly for a period of six weeks.  The people in the mindfulness program reported less insomnia, fatigue, and depression after six weeks than the people attending the sleep education class.

Related:  Meditation Rewires Your Brain

5.  Less Stress

Many studies have shown the benefits of meditation for anxiety and stress.  Researchers from the University of Wisconsin in Madison found that people who practice Open Monitoring Meditation like Vipassana showed less gray matter in the areas of the brain related to anxiety and stress.  On the flipside, MRIs taken before and after meditation have shown more gray matter in areas related to learning and memory.  In layman's terms, these results indicate that regular meditation can lead to less stress and better learning and memory. 

With so many physical and mental benefits of meditation, people may want to give it a try.  One of the easiest ways to begin meditating is to focus on the breath.  Sit or lie comfortably, close the eyes, and breathe naturally.  Focus on the breath and the movement of the body with each inhale and exhale.  If the mind wanders, bring it gently back to focusing on the breath.  Start with a period of five minutes, and increase time with practice.  Start out with even a few minutes of meditation each day.  Increase the amount of time in meditation according to your comfort zone.  Consistency is the key.

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Can Exercise Lower Blood Pressure?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

More than 75 million Americans have hypertension, a condition the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines as "chronically elevated blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg."  Left untreated, hypertension raises risks for heart attack, stroke, and other types of cardiovascular disease.  While some people turn to medication to manage hypertension, others prefer more natural remedies.  Can exercise lower blood pressure?  Research tells us that regular physical exercise can lower blood pressure.  It even lowers death rates in certain populations.

Many people wonder, Can exercise lower blood pressure?  Research shows positive benefits of exercise for blood pressure and the cardiovascular system as a whole.

A review study published in the Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine determined that exercising three to five times per week at an intensity of 40 to 50% of maximum exercise performance appears to lower blood pressure, especially in people who are hypertensive.

Researchers from the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas compared fit men with uncontrolled blood pressure to sedentary men with the same condition.  Death rates for moderately-fit men and highly-fit men were 46% and 68% lower respectively, than death rates for sedentary men.

How can exercise lower blood pressure?

Physical activity causes blood to flow more rapidly through the arteries.  The force of quicker blood flow triggers endothelial cells along the blood vessel walls to produce nitric oxide, a substance that relaxes and expands blood vessels.  When relaxed, vessels circulate more blood throughout the body, which lowers blood pressure and reduces chances for heart disease and stroke.  According to the ACSM, people who follow a regular program they can stay with over the long term maximize the blood-pressure reducing benefits of exercise.  

Related:  Prevent Alzheimer's Disease with Exercise

What is the best kind of exercise for reducing blood pressure?

Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity five days per week.  Good examples of aerobic exercise include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging or running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Rowing

By boosting amounts of nitric oxide produced by the blood vessels, exercise benefits blood pressure and a whole lot more.  The addition of a nutritious diet and stress-reduction techniques like guided imagery, meditation, or yoga offers a holistic recipe for an ultra-healthy cardiovascular system.  

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Four Fabulous Tips on How to Be Happy

by Cindy Gray

Looking for secrets on how to become happier?  Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that: “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  

Helpful Tips on Becoming Happier.

Looking for secrets on how to become happier?  Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that: “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

The fact that our founding fathers incorporated the notion that we have a right to pursue happiness emphasizes the importance of striving for happiness.  Happiness as a state of being is not as hard to achieve as some might think.  Of course, it’s unlikely that you will be happy ALL the time, but in general you can have a happy life if you follow these four simple tips:

1. Think Happy To Be Happy

How simple is that? You just have to think about being happy to be so. Happiness is a state of mind, a choice anyone can make.  If you make a conscious choice to choose happy thoughts, you can begin doing things that make you feel good; you can become more drawn to happier people; and become increasingly conscious of focusing your thoughts on positive thoughts. Feeling happy feels good!   

2. Make Others Happy

It’s sounds strange but true; according to research, doing things for others to make them feel happy directly affects how happy you are.  It makes sense. How can you spread happiness to others if you are not happy?  You can’t make someone feel happy, and no one can make you feel happy. However, you can choose to be happy and share that with others who will gladly accept your “gift” because they are choosing to be happy too.

3. You Are ONLY The Boss Of You, Not Anyone Else.

Happiness lies in knowing that you can only change yourself. Only you are responsible for your feelings, actions and reactions, no one else. Conversely, you cannot change others, make different choices for them or control their actions or reactions. Once you embrace that you are free to focus on your own happiness and let go of the burden of trying to make anyone else happy. They have to learn how to be happy on their own.

3. Live In the Present

By choosing to live in the present and let go of the past and stop worrying about the future, you put yourself on the road to happiness. You cannot change the past. You cannot predict the future.  Right now is where you can choose to be happy, or not, despite what has happened or what might happen.  Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday! Let it go, let it be; open the gift of the present.

Related:  Feeling Down?  Try these Natural Remedies for Depression

The Happiness Myth

Psychology Today published 7 Myths About Happiness that lends support to these tips by saying, “Overwhelming research, however, reveals that there is no magic formula for happiness and no sure course toward misery. “

That’s good news. You are not destined for misery, and while there are no guarantees, knowing what beliefs to let go of that may be keeping you from feeling happy with your life can free you up to learn how to be happy.

The most common myth about happiness is that you will find it outside of yourself, such as in another person like a spouse or partner.  Refer to tip number three: only you are responsible for your own happiness.

Many people believe that having their “dream job” is a guarantee of happiness. No job, paycheck or promotion can make you happy if you are not content on the inside.  Pursuing personal growth in your career and using it to offer happiness to others will help you reach toward a state of bliss, not what it says on your resume or the amount of money in your bank account.

The worst myth about happiness is the belief that as you get older the best years of your life will be behind you. Just getting older is a great reason to be happy. Not everyone gets that privilege.  Research has found that older people are actually more satisfied with their lives and feel happier on average, than younger members of society.  This is probably due to the fact that “their emotional experience is more stable and less sensitive to the vicissitudes of daily negativity and stress.”

 In other words, like tip number one, they make a conscious daily effort to choose to be happy.

To recap on a happy note, you can learn how to be happy. Take these four tips and start applying them to your life every day, while letting go of the myths that may be holding you back from your greatest joy.

 

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Understanding the Relationship between Perimenopause and Acne

by Cindy Gray

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

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

The Estrogen-Testosterone Connection

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

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

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

OTC Remedies

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

Balance Hormones Naturally

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

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

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

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The Connection between Perimenopause and Heavy Bleeding

by Cindy Gray

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

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

Menorrhagia Quiz

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

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

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

The Cause of Menorrhagia during Perimenopause

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

Remedies for Menorrhagia

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

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

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

RelatedThe Probiotic-Menopause Connection

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

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

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

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Low Progesterone and Brain Fog in Perimenopause

by IVL Products

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

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

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

Related:  Menopause Treatment is about More Than Replacing Estrogen

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

Perimenopause Quiz

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

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

Natural Progesterone Remedies

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

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

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

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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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Safe Anxiety Treatments: Rose and Lavender are Scents that Soothe

by Health News

Used by natural healers for centuries, aromatherapy provides safe drug-free relief for anxiety and depression. Aromatherapy involves using natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems and leaves to enhance physical and psychological well-being. In recent years, aromatherapy methods that incorporate lavender and rose essential oils have emerged as effective anxiety treatments and to provide natural remedies for depression.

Numerous studies have shown that aromatherapy works by sending signals to the olfactory nerve that affects the central nervous system. The sense of smell is closely associated with memory and feelings related to what researchers call “the emotional brain.” 

Lavender has been used throughout history to reduce stress and promote restful sleep. Its fragrant flowers and leaves are used either dried or distilled into essential oil.  Because it is so relaxing, lavender oil is often used during massages and it is also used in lotions, soaps and other bath and beauty products. Teas derived from lavender are often recommended for people suffering from excessive stress or insomnia.

RelatedEffective Migraine Relief with Essential Oils

Roses have been cherished for centuries for their beautiful fragrance. Essential oil derived from roses has therapeutic properties, especially for relaxation and for the treatment of depression. Several studies, including one recently published in The Journal of Natural Medicine, have confirmed the therapeutic use of rose oil as a mood enhancer.

Essential oils can be added to the bath, massaged into the skin, inhaled directly or used in candles or diffusers to provide soothing aromas in a room. Here are some common ways to use essential oils:

  • Add a few drops of essential oil to a hot bath
  • Put a couple of drops on your wrists, hands or pulse points
  • Combine a few drops of oil with your favorite lotion or shampoo
  • Pour a few drops on a tissue and inhale as needed

The flowers of roses and lavender can be dried and used in eye pillows, soothing sachets or potpourri.  Many people carry small pomanders of the dried flowers in their briefcases or purses for easy access.

If you are suffering from anxiety or depression consider embracing the healing power of aromatherapy. You don’t have to go to an expensive spa in order to benefit from this natural remedy for depression. Aromatherapy is safe, effective, affordable and convenient.  

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Feeling Down? Try These Natural Remedies for Depression

by Cindy Gray

Everybody feels a little sad or depressed occasionally and often it is a normal reaction to loss or life’s inevitable struggles. For most people, the blues go away after situations are resolved. Others however, are not so lucky.  

According to the National Institute for Mental Health more than 14.8 million adults suffer from major depression which affects their health, relationships and ability to function.  Although there are many prescription medications that claim to help, most people prefer to seek out national remedies for depression.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sad, anxious feelings
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Digestive problems

People who are clinically depressed may look at external reasons for their sadness.  But in true clinical depression, outside factors are not often the primary reasons for depression.  Depression is influenced by the balance of brain chemicals and neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine.  The often-prescribed medications that are supposed to regulate neurotransmitters tend to be very expensive and most have side effects that range from unpleasant to dangerous.

Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided us with safe, effective natural remedies for depression. Recent studies have found a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and depression. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is present in eggs and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Your body can make its own vitamin D after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, but that can be difficult depending on the time of year and where you live.

RelatedNatural Supplements and Vitamins--Why They are Important

Vitamin D has also been associated with a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and it also contributes to bone health, immune function and muscle maintenance. Because it is so important, millions of Americans take vitamin D supplements to help ensure they are getting sufficient amounts. Vitamin D is available in tablet, capsule, powdered, and in liquid forms. The needed amount varies from person to person so ask your holistic health practitioner to determine the dosage that best suits your individual needs.

Consider adding nutritional supplements to your natural remedies for depression. It’s also important to adopt an overall healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, moderate exercise, adequate rest, social interaction and stress reduction techniques.

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Three Herbs for Stress Reduction

by Institute for Vibrant Living

In the modern world, prolonged stress is far too common. Most of us are on the go and under pressure every day.  Life can be difficult, as we juggle to meet the demands of modern life in our careers, families and especially around the holidays.  You might be surprised to learn that there are three herbs for stress that can safely and gently bring a little calm to the chaos of daily living.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and considered a calming herb in Chinese medicine.  It has been used since the Middle Ages to calm anxiety, treat insomnia, and reduce feelings of stress.  In modern medicine, lemon balm is often combined with other calming herbs like chamomile or valerian in teas or in supplements to induce relaxation.  

Studies have shown that lemon balm does indeed elevate your mood, induce calm feelings and increase alertness.  It’s believed that a compound called eugenol in lemon balm is responsible for its effectiveness in calming muscle spasms, killing bacteria and producing feelings of calmness.

You can find lemon balm in bulk dry leaf form, in tea, capsules, as an oil, extract or tincture.  In general you can take safely take 300 to 500 milligrams up to three times per day, drink it in tea form up to four times per day or us 60 lemon balm drops (tincture) per day.  Of course, always consult your doctor when taking new supplements to prevent any drug interactions.

Holy Basil

Holy basil is also a member of the mint family of herbs but is not to be confused with its cousin sweet basil, commonly used in cooking. Native to tropical Asia, holy basil has been grown in India for more than 3,000 years and is considered a sacred plant.

Related:  Three Herbs for Natural Fatigue Treatment

Holy basil is packed with potent antioxidants, and has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great supplement to treat a variety of stress inducing illnesses.  It has shown to ease the symptoms of the common cold, bronchitis, and digestive disorders like ulcers, and even reduce fevers.  Modern medicine is finding this divine herb is an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body cope or adapt to handle stress and anxiety.

It is believed that the compounds eugenol, caryophyllene and triterpenoic acid in holy basil are the reason it is one of the best herbs for stress relief. 

Holy basil is best absorbed in soft-gel capsule form in 300-milligram doses for the average adult, but check with your doctor before taking any new supplements to avoid negative drug interactions.

Chamomile

Nothing is more fragrant, delicious and relaxing than a steaming hot cup of chamomile tea after a long stressful day.  This herb, a member of the daisy family, has been used for centuries to soothe, calm and heal a variety of medical issues.

Extensive scientific research over the past two decades has shown chamomile to be a potent stress-busting herb.  The scientific data shows it to have antiseptic, antispasmodic, antibacterial, and sedative properties.  Some animal studies have documented chamomile’s positive effect on parts of the brain that anti-anxiety medicines are administered to treat to reduce anxiety and stress.

Nothing increases stress like sleep-deprivation. It’s a chronic problem in our modern day lives and chamomile is an effective natural remedy that induces calm and helps promote sleep.  In fact, it is probably the most widely consumed herbal tea in the world according to the Research Foundation in Boulder, Colorado.  Its long history of use and the new research documenting its positive effect on stress levels make it a smart herb to add to your daily diet.

With no known negative side effects, there is no standard dosage for chamomile. In general, 400 to 1600 milligrams seems to be the amount in capsule form to provide the most benefit. Consult your doctor before taking it in any amount.

Three to Be Stress Free

Taking herbs for stress relief is an easy natural way to improve your health.  Lemon balm, holy basil and chamomile have long histories of use and modern research is supporting their use to help combat mental and physical strain.

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

by Cindy Gray

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

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

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

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

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

Related:  Five Common Myths about Prostate Health

Tongkat Ali and Male Fertility

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

Other Uses for Tongkat Ali

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

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

Precautions for Supplementing with Tongkat Ali

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

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Natural Remedies for Depression Include Three Healthy Foods

by IVL Products

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

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

Garbanzo Beans

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

Turkey

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

RelatedWays to Lower Risk of Depression

Yogurt

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

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

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

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The Multivitamin-Mood Connection

by Health News

We’ve all heard the saying "you are what you eat", but a recent study shows that diet does more than just affect our long-term body weight and energy levels - what we eat also controls our moods. Scientists now believe diet can even provide natural remedies for depression.

Study into Vitamins as Natural Remedies for Depression

In order to control and measure the association between depression and nutrient deficiency, scientists ran a study on a group of 50 healthy male volunteers aged between 50 and 69. They were given either a placebo or a multivitamin supplement for eight weeks.

The supplement contained a higher-than-recommended daily dose of 26 vitamins and minerals and extracts from 21 herbs, fruit and vegetables. At the end of the trial, the participants were required to complete a questionnaire on mood and stress levels before and after the trial to measure the possible effects of multivitamins as natural remedies of depression.

Those who took the supplement showed a significant reduction in depression, anxiety and stress compared to those on the placebo. They also noted an improved level of alertness. The study concluded that taking a daily supplement of multivitamins and minerals can improve mood and alertness. Supplement-takers also reported less negative mood symptoms and an improved sense of well-being, showing that a healthy diet high in vitamins and minerals can provide natural remedies for depression and poor mood.

RelatedIndigestion and Mood:  The Gut-Brain Connection

How Food Affects Mood

An example of how food affects our mood can be seen when we eat a heavy lunch and feel sluggish and dozy afterwards. That's due to higher blood sugar levels suppressing orexin, a chemical in the brain that's responsible for levels of alertness.

Similarly, when you are hungry and blood sugar levels are low, your brain triggers feelings of impatience and irritability – a throwback to when man was a hunter and needed to take action to address that hunger!

Understanding that food can affect our mood and feelings of happiness or depression can help us address the problems and find answers. Everything we eat has an effect on our hormones and neurotransmitters, which control our mood and energy levels.

Those suffering from feelings of depression are often low in dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Proteins can help boost the levels of these neurotransmitters and avoiding excess sugar can also help provide natural remedies of depression. As the study shows, the value of taking multivitamins and supplements in conjunction with a healthy diet can also be a powerful weapon, working together as natural remedies against depression

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

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How Depression Affects your Brain Structure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Doctors understand that depression can manifest itself in physical ill-health, but new research has found it can also physically change the structure of the brain.

depression

Depression and the Hippocampus

Studies have shown that recurring periods of depression can reduce the size of the hippocampus which is located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain. This part of the brain controls emotion, memory and the autonomic nervous system, so it is vital to a person's personality and quality of life. 

If the hippocampus shrinks in size, it can affect behavior, with a loss of natural emotion and sense of self. It is particularly important to address the causes of depression in teenagers to avoid long-term damage to their memory and emotions.

Researchers used the results of brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on 8,930 people to study the hippocampus. The results showed that those who regularly suffered bouts of depression had a smaller hippocampus in about 65% of cases.

Previously it was not known whether the shrinkage of the hippocampus was the cause or the result of depression.

However, new research shows that depression comes first, and then the shrinkage of the hippocampus, according to Professor Ian Hickie. It is also now clear that persistent bouts of depression cause even more reduction in the size of the hippocampus, so it is important to get help early to counter the effect and causes of depression.

Fortunately the shrinkage is reversible as the hippocampus is able to generate new connections between cells to restore brain health once the underlying depression has been treated.  

RelatedMeditation Rewires Your Brain

Causes of Depression Include Chronic Inflammation

There are many causes of depression, including personal circumstances, chemical or hormonal imbalance and other biological factors.

Chronic inflammation is one of the factors associated with depression. Common causes of inflammation are vitamin D deficiency, a sugar-loaded diet and unbalanced flora in the gut. These can all be remedied by a healthy diet.

If you are struggling with depression and mood swings then try switching to a healthier diet focused on organic, cultured and fermented food to boost gut bacteria.  Avoid processed foods and increase fresh raw fruits and vegetables so you know exactly what you are eating.

Add regular exercise to your daily routine and as the inflammation reduces you will find you can combat feelings of depression, have a healthier body and a healthier brain, too.

Free 30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

 

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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.