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5 Tips for a Healthy Digestive System

by Health News

While it might seem simple to grab a bite to eat, the digestive process is actually quite complicated. The food must travel through the intestines and then various processes work together to eliminate it from the body. If you have been having digestive issues like gas, cramps, constipation or acid reflux, there is really no reason to start taking medications before trying some simple cures. The truth is that there are a variety of natural cures, which should result in a healthy digestive system.

Probiotics
One simple remedy is yoghurt or kefir. Both these foods have beneficial bacteria that are essential to a healthy digestive system. If you don’t eat dairy, the good news is that yoghurt or kefir are both available in soy and coconut. Feel free to opt for the supplement option instead, as you can buy probiotics and take a capsule a day for the same effect. Plus, people who take probiotics are far less likely to get sick.

Pineapple
If you love pineapple, you are in luck. This fruit relieves gas through its powerful digestive enzymes. This fruit contains bromelain, which helps with digestion and breaks down proteins. Pineapple is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and can reduce any swelling that might be taking place in your intestines.

Chamomile
Chamomile is not only a calming tea; it also helps to sooth digestive ailments. It relaxes more than just your mind, and can relieve bloating, gas, diarrhea and more. Incidentally, ginger tea can also help with digestive problems including nausea, and cramps.

Turmeric
Turmeric is the yellow spice that is often used in Indian foods. It is related to ginger. It is another anti-inflammatory and aids fats to breakdown in the body due to the fact that it stimulates bile. Turmeric can also protect the liver and prevent ulcers. While you are taking turmeric for your digestive issues, you may get other benefits as well, as the spice could help with fever, infections and heart disease. Studies also show it may fight cancer. In addition to being used for Indian meals, turmeric is also available as a supplement. As you can see, even if you weren’t having digestive issues, there is no reason not to add a powerhouse spice like turmeric into your diet.

Water
Due to the hectic nature of day-to-day life, people often neglect to get enough water. However, water is crucial to a healthy digestive system. The number one reason for constipation is lack of water. When the body is constipated, the intestinal lining becomes inflamed and the balance of bacteria in the gut gets out of whack.

Often part of the reason that people have digestive problems is that they quickly consume their meals and don’t give enough attention to chewing and taking small bites. If you are looking to relieve your digestive issues, be sure to eat slowly and pay attention to the flavor of your meal. This will not only help you have a healthy digestive system, but you'll enjoy your food as well.

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5 Nutrients for a Healthy Heart

by Not in Use Not In Use

What are some of the best high blood pressure remedies?

Check out this list of 5 nutrients with proven scientific benefit for the cardiovascular system.


1) Omega-3 fatty acids - One of the best ways to help prevent heart disease is to eat a diet low in saturated fat and to eat foods that are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3 fatty acids). Studies suggest that EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Fish oil has been shown to decrease dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides by an average of 29 per cent and lower cholesterol by 12 per cent.

2) Vitamins A, C, E and Beta-carotene - Deficiencies of Vitamins A, C, E, and beta carotene have been linked to heart disease. All of these nutrients have antioxidant effects and other properties that may benefit the heart. Good natural foods with Vitamin A are fish oil, liver, and egg yolk. For Vitamin C, try eating citrus fruits, strawberries, peas, red peppers, and kiwis. Sources for Vitamin E include garbanzo beans, avocados, almonds, sunflower oil, tuna, and muesli. Lastly, eat spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, peas, carrots and sweet potatoes for natural sources of beta-carotene. These items can also be taken as all natural supplements.

3) Selenium and Zinc - Selenium and zinc help the body absorb antioxidants such as Vitamins, A, C, and E, and they are essential to the antioxidant process, ridding the system of free radicals. It is found in lentils, wholemeal bread, sardines and Brazil nuts.

4) Allicin - Studies have shown that allicin, which is found most abundantly in garlic and also in onions and leeks, lowers blood pressure, may help preventing blood clots from forming in coronary arteries, and is known to have blood-thinning properties, all of which keeps the heart in good shape.

5) Folic acid - Folic acid helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with high blood levels of homocysteine. It is found mainly in green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, fruits and roots.

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Five Supplements that Help Heal Tissue Damage Caused by Acid Reflux

by Cindy Gray

Acid reflux is a common condition that most people suffer from at some stage in their life. The main symptom is a burning sensation in the lower chest as the acid contents of the stomach rise up into the tender esophagus causing an unpleasant effect. This condition is often known as heartburn, pyrosis or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Acid reflux causes include smoking, hiatal hernia, pregnancy, medications, lack of exercise, stress, eating certain foods, overeating and obesity. If left untreated, acid reflux can lead to more serious diseases, including tissue damage and cancer. It is important to prevent the cause of the acid reflux and then treat any residual tissue damage left by the incident.

Acid Reflux Causes + Supplements That Can HelpHere are five supplements that are known to soothe and protect irritated tissue, fight pylori bacterial infections and support a healthy digestive process.

Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL)

DGL is a natural balm for the inflamed skin in the esophagus caused by acid reflux. This form of licorice has had the glycyrrhizin removed which may otherwise cause high blood pressure.

DGL is known to aid digestion and has excellent healing and antiviral properties. It works by increasing the layer of mucus that lines the digestive tract, providing a protective barrier and allowing the tissue to heal.

Licorice also controls the release of cortisol from the adrenalin glands which is often triggered by stress, so it may help treat the cause as well as the results of acid reflux.

Aloe Vera

Anyone who has used aloe vera on sunburn will appreciate the cooling and soothing properties of this natural gel. In some forms it may have a laxative effect, but taken as fresh juice (without the leaf latex) it will soothe the symptoms and promote healing in the digestive tract. The recommended amount of Aloe Vera juice is 4-8 fluid ounces a day.  This may be taken more easily if mixed with your favorite juice.

Related: Simple Tips for Relieving Common Digestive Issues

Marshmallow Root

Forget those fluffy white sugary sweets; marshmallow root is a natural herb that has excellent soothing properties for the stomach and esophagus. It can be taken as a capsule but is most effective for healing the esophagus if the powder is mixed with 4-6 ounces of fluid and drunk twice a day. Marshmallow root contains many polysaccharides which have been found in clinical trials to effectively soothe, heal and moisturize damaged tissue throughout the body.

Zinc Carnosine

Zinc and carnosine are both known to be natural healers and when combined they are as powerful as any pharmaceutical treatment for the stomach. It has been shown to be highly effective in many studies and is used in Japan as a prescription medication for stomach ulcers.

Zinc carnosine increases the insulin growth factor hormone and reduces the inflammatory compounds often present with stomach problems. It also absorbs toxins produced by pylori bacteria which can otherwise cause ulcers and sores in the stomach and digestive tract.

Slippery Elm

The herb Ulmas Fulva, better known as Slippery Elm, is similar to aloe vera as the extract is high in plant polysaccharides which coat and heal the tissue damage caused by acid reflux. Although Slippery Elm can be taken as a capsule, best results are found when it is taken as a tea or lozenge, which gives maximum exposure of the Slippery Elm to the gastrointestinal tract.

Take Slippery Elm twice a day by dissolving one teaspoon of the elm bark powder in hot water and sipping slowly. Not only is it good for the esophagus, it also treats an upset stomach.

If you have intermittent acid reflux, taking these natural remedies should help counter both the cause and the effect of this unpleasant condition before it becomes more serious.

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Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome & Indigestion Home Remedies

by Cindy Gray

Leaky gut syndrome affects millions of Americans, and they may not even know they have it. This one condition may be at the root of an array of health problems, from indigestion and allergies to joint pain to autoimmune disorders.  While it sounds like a digestive problem, leaky gut syndrome affects various areas of the body if left unchecked.

indigestion home remedies

What is leaky gut syndrome?

Essentially, the walls of the digestive tract are lined with tiny pores that allow certain molecules and nutrients to pass through to the bloodstream.  Damage to these pores makes them bigger, allowing undigested food particles and other impurities to leak through.  The body reacts to these foreign invaders with an immune reaction.

What causes leaky gut syndrome?

An overabundance of unhealthy intestinal bacteria is a common cause of leaky gut syndrome, causing inflammation, irritation, and eventual damage to the intestinal wall.  Another cause is chronic constipation.  The stool sits in the digestive system and builds up toxins that irritate the intestinal lining and cause damage.

How does leaky guy syndrome affect the health?

When the immune system responds, it builds up antibodies to food particles and other foreign invaders.  This can lead to inflammation throughout the body causing a wide array of symptoms:

  • Digestive problems

  • Fatigue

  • Food sensitivities

  • Headache

  • Joint pain

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Skin problems like acne, rash, and rosacea

  • Thyroid conditions

  • Weight gain

Leaky gut can affect absorption of key nutrients including iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.  In addition, there is some evidence to suggest that if left unchecked, leaky gut can lead to autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, anxiety, and depression.

Indigestion Home Remedies: What are some natural ways to soothe a leaky gut?

Modifying the diet and making other lifestyle changes can help heal a leaky gut.  People should eliminate foods that contain sugar and grain and replace conventional beef and lamb with grass-fed versions.  It is important to swap tap water for filtered water or pure spring water, and always eat organic fruits and vegetables.  People should not smoke or drink alcohol when trying to heal a leaky gut, and they should limit the use of NSAIDs and antibiotics.

Related: Start the Day out Right – Eat Breakfast

Foods that are especially helpful for leaky gut include:

Bone Broth – Collagen and important amino acids found in bone broth help repair damaged cell walls.

Coconut Products – Because medium-chain fatty acids in coconut are easier to digest than other fats, they take less of a toll on the system.  In addition, the antibacterial properties of coconut oil encourage a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.

Fermented Vegetables – Organic acids and probiotics found in fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi encourage proper pH balance and a healthy bacterial balance in the gut.

Foods High in Omega-3 Fats – Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids, foods like wild-caught salmon and grass-fed beef help sooth certain symptoms of leaky guy syndrome.

Yogurt – Probiotics found in yogurt help populate the gut with healthy bacteria and promote healing.

Supplements that help sooth a leaky gut include:

Probiotics – A supplementary version of the good bacteria found in yogurt, probiotics help encourage healthy intestinal balance.

Digestive Enzymes – Products that contain protease, lipase, and amylase encourage better digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, lowering the chances that these particles might damage intestinal walls.

L-Glutamine – An essential amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties, glutamine helps encourage growth and repair of the intestinal lining. 

Quercetin – Because it promotes the production of tight junction proteins, quercetin helps repair damaged intestinal walls.  Studies show quercetin also curbs the release of histamine, a compound associated with immune response to allergies like those associated with food.

Because of a wide range of symptoms, people experience leaky gut syndrome in different ways. Taking advantage of a few natural methods can help repair intestinal walls and ease symptoms.  If these methods are unsuccessful, people who suspect they may have leaky gut syndrome should consult with a health care professional.

 

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Indigestion Remedies: Top 10 Foods for Fantastic Digestion

by Cindy Gray

Once food goes into the mouth, people typically don't give a thought to the process of digestion until something goes wrong.  Digestive trouble can result in temporary bouts of gas, bloating, and diarrhea or lead to more chronic health problems like Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or diverticulitis.  One of the easiest ways to boost digestive health is through healthy eating.  If you’re looking for indigestion remedies, adding ten foods to the diet can help ensure fantastic digestion and better overall health.

Fruit, Food, Healthy, Fresh, Orange, Organic, Red

1. Rice Bran

Because rice bran contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, it helps move food through the digestive system and keeps bowel movements regular.  Studies also show it provides relief from irritable bowel syndrome, boosts levels of friendly microflora in the gut, and reduces benign tumors in the colon by 51 percent.

2. Inulin

A source of soluble fiber with a smooth and creamy texture, inulin can be found naturally in chicory, bananas, onions, garlic, and wheat.  It helps prevent constipation and encourages healthy bacterial balance in the colon. 

3. Guar Gum

Derived from the guar bean, guar gum is ground into a powder that is often used by food manufacturers and cooks as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer.  Guar gum is a soluble fiber that controls the liquid content of stools and softens them, making them easier to pass.  Studies show guar gum may encourage healthy flora in the gut and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and constipation.

4. Bananas

In addition to containing 12 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber, bananas are a rich source of potassium, an important mineral and electrolyte which is lost with the passage of waste.

Related: Natural Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

Digestion Problems - Resource Center

5. Flaxseed

By lubricating the digestive system, the oils in flaxseed help move food along.  In addition, flaxseed contains a unique mix of soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.  Soluble fiber slows digestion and softens stools for easier passage, and insoluble fiber prevents diarrhea by adding more bulk to stools.

6. Pineapple

Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps the body digest protein.  Research shows that bromelain may also help soothe an upset stomach and ease heartburn.  It is most effective for heartburn when used with lipase and amylase, enzymes that help digest fat and starch, respectively.

7. Papaya

Delicious, juicy papaya contains papain, another enzyme that helps break down proteins in the stomach.  Anti-inflammatory properties in papain also help soothe upset stomach and heartburn.

8. Kimchi

A traditional Korean dish made from fermented vegetables, kimchi is a source of soluble fiber and probiotics.  In addition to the digestive benefits of soluble fiber, the fermentation process creates Lactobacillus, friendly bacteria that promote intestinal health.  In addition, the cabbage in kimchi offers detoxification properties that help rid the body of impurities and toxins.

9. Yogurt

Like kimchi, yogurt contains a host of probiotics that encourage healthy bacterial balance in the intestines.  Studies suggest daily probiotic supplements may improve frequency and regularity of bowel movements, help ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease, and lower risks for diarrheal infections.

10. Blueberries

One cup of blueberries offers 14 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber.  Soluble fiber in blueberries slows the digestive process, pulling more nutrients from food for absorption and assimilation. 

Uncomfortable gas, bloating, and irregularity have become a standard part of life for some people, but a few dietary changes can make a big difference in indigestion treatment.  Incorporating foods like rice bran, flaxseed, yogurt, and more into the diet helps improve the inner workings of the digestive system and boosts overall health.

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Hair Loss: Causes and Solutions

by Cindy Gray

Did you know that all hair exists in one of three different cycles: growth, transition and resting phases?  About 90% of head hair is in the growth cycle, which can last anywhere from two to eight years. The transition phase typically lasts 2-3 weeks, that’s when hair follicles shrink. During the resting cycle, which lasts around two to four months, hair ‘rests’.

So for most of the time the hair on your scalp is growing, while about 10% of hair strands are in transition or resting at any time.  Anything that interferes with hair growth cycles, such as medications, illness, infections or chemicals, can prevent your hair from growing properly. Although men’s hair tends to recede from the forehead or crown of the head, women typically experience thinning on the top third to one half of the scalp.Causes and Solutions for Hair Loss

These are the most common causes of hair loss in women:

  • Androgenic alopecia - Women with androgenic alopecia have diffuse thinning all over their scalp thanks to the actions of male hormones. The hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) appears to be to blame in women suffering with female pattern baldness. Heredity is another major factor.

  • Telogen effluvium - Traumatic events such as child birth, major surgery, intense illness, dramatic weight loss, too much vitamin A, malnutrition, severe infections or extreme stress can shift up to 90% of the hair in the growing phase or resting phase into the shedding phase. Hair loss can happen within weeks or months after any of these experiences.

  • Anagen effluvium - This type of hair loss occurs after an insult to hair follicles; for instance, after chemotherapy. Since chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cancer cells, rapidly dividing cells such as hair follicles are also affected. Soon after chemotherapy begins, approximately 90% or more of hair can fall out.

  • Traction alopecia – This condition is caused by localized trauma to the hair follicles; for instance, from tight hairstyles that pull at hair. If the condition is detected early enough, the hair will regrow. Braiding, cornrows, tight ponytails and extensions are the most common styling causes. Dyes, chemical treatments, bad brushes, blow dryers and flat irons can also result in hair damage and breakage. Luckily, damaged hair typically grows back by itself or can be reversed with medical treatments.

A malfunctioning thyroid gland, autoimmune disease, and heredity can all contribute toward hair loss. Although some people have suggested a link with menopause, not everyone is convinced that there is a direct correlation.

Health experts agree that the primary cause of female pattern baldness is increased production of DHT in hair follicles. Currently available medications interfere with hair loss either by increasing blood flow and nutrient supply to the hair follicle, or by directly inhibiting DHT production.

If you’re suffering from hair loss, you may want to look for a natural supplement that contains multiple nutrients shown to block DHT as well as nutrients from the sea that are known to promote hair growth. These types of supplements should contain a comprehensive blend of extra-strength nutrients to stop hair loss and promote hair growth.  Look for a product that contains ingredients such as:

  • Powerful, proven nutrients that block DHT production;

  • Nutrients from the sea that revitalize and renew hair follicles;

  • Powerhouse antioxidants that neutralize destructive free radicals;

  • Proven phytonutrients that strengthen hair follicles and boost scalp circulation;

  • Anti-aging nutrients like zinc and cracked cell chlorella that stimulate production of keratin, the primary structural component found in skin and hair.

If you are worried about hair loss, don’t give up!  There are safe and natural remedies ready to help you! 

 

Source:

Hair Loss: Causes and Solutions   

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Curcumin - Heart Supplement Benefits

by Not in Use Not In Use

Looking for beneficial ingredients to add to your high blood pressure recipes? Look no further than turmeric.

high blood pressure recipes

Since ancient times, traditional Ayurvedic medicinal practitioners in India have known about the health benefits of tumeric - a plant with trumpet-shaped, yellow flowers, related to ginger, that flourishes in Southeast Asia. Its roots are bulbs that produce rhizomes, which then produce stems and roots for new plants. A common staple spice in Asia, tumeric was always praised for its healing properties as an anti-inflammatory, as well as for digestive and cardiovascular ailments.

In the 21st century, we now know that there are scientific explanations for the benefits from tumeric. Curcumin, the principal curcuminoid found in tumeric (and that which makes tumeric the color yellow), is a powerful antioxidant, a polyphenol, that combats the effects of free radicals in the body. And while curcumin has been linked with cancer prevention, detoxification, and countering inflammation, some of the most intriguing evidence revolves around its potential for heart health supplement.

Curcumin’s powerful antioxidant activity could be the cause for its ability to improve the circulatory system and thus cardiovascular health. It also can be effective in reducing cholesterol, a leading cause of heart attacks, and has been shown in studies to protect rats from adverse effects following a stroke. Other research shows curcumin’s effectiveness in countering heart enlargement and subsequent heart failure.

Turmeric, the main source of curcumin, can be taken as a delicious additive to your next meal. In fact, it is a principle ingredient in curry, those tasty dishes found in Indian restaurants. But if Indian food is not to your liking, they can be found in health supplements. Curcumin is further proof of the abundance of natural remedies found in common foods, known about for centuries.

Add turmeric to your high blood pressure recipes today to improve your overall heart health!

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Natural Remedies for Balance Problems

by Nancy Maneely

Many people will experience balance problems as they age. Common symptoms of balance problems include:

  • Occasional feelings of unsteadiness or sudden dizziness are not uncommon
  • Vertigo, the feeling that you or the things around you are spinning, is another often-reported symptom
  • Disturbances of the inner ear are a common cause of these events

Falls and fall-related injuries, such as hip fracture, can have a serious impact on an older person's life. If you fall, it could limit your activities or make it impossible to live independently. And in many instances, people become more isolated after a fall.

More than one-third of adults ages 65 years and older fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths. More commonly, falls can lead to a prolonged period of rehabilitation, diminished function, depression and declining health.

Here are some of the more common types of balance disorders:

Natural Remedies for Sudden Dizziness & Balance Problems
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – In BPPV, you experience a brief, intense feeling of vertigo or sudden dizziness when you change the position of your head, such as when rolling over to the left or right, upon getting out of bed, or when looking for an object on a high or low shelf.  In BPPV, small calcium particles in the inner ear become displaced and hit the inner ear balance sensors, causing dizziness. A doctor or specialist can treat BPPV by carefully moving the head and torso to dislodge these particles. For some people, one session will be all that is needed. Others might need to repeat the procedure several times at home to relieve their dizziness.
  • Labyrinthitis – Inflammation of the vestibular system, the part of the inner ear responsible for balance. To maintain your body's position, the labyrinth interacts with other systems in the body, such as the eyes, bones and joints. The cause is usually a viral infection, or less often, a bacterial infection.
  • Ménière's disease – This is a balance disorder that causes a person to experience vertigo, hearing loss that comes and goes, tinnitus (a ringing or roaring in the ears), and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Ménière's disease is caused by changes in fluid volumes in the inner ear. People with Ménière's disease can help reduce its dizzying effects by lowering the amount of sodium in their diets. Limiting alcohol and caffeine also may be helpful.

Certain specific exercises help make up for a balance disorder by moving the head and body in certain ways. These exercises are developed especially for a patient by a professional who understands the balance system and its relationship with other systems in the body.

Specific nutrients that may be beneficial are:

  • Magnesium (Grain, nuts, beans, green vegetables and bananas)
  • Calcium (Yogurt, milk and cheese, green leafy vegetables)
  • Potassium (Fresh fruits and vegetables)

Herbals to help vertigo:

  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Blessed thistle
  • Hawthorn
  • Gotu Kola
  • Cocculus compositum (Vertigoheel)

Natural anti-inflammatory supplements:

  • Omega-3 (fish oil)
  • Ginger root extract
  • Turmeric
  • Boswellia
  • Cat’s Claw

Other natural practices that may help:

  • Yoga
  • T’ai Chi
  • Qi Gong

 

 

 

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5 Energy Boosting Strategies

by Health News

We all grind to a halt at times energy-wise and for some it can be a daily problem in mid-afternoon when the list of things to do is as long as ever. Getting an energy boost does not necessarily mean a candy bar or a double espresso. Nature has some great remedies for boosting energy, you just need to have the know-how. Learn how to increase energy levels with these 5 energy boosting strategies.

Eat a High-Energy Breakfast

You may think you can get away with skipping breakfast but it is an essential kick start, waking up your body’s metabolism. Breakfast does not take long and literally does break the body’s sleep-imposed fast. The energy created lasts way past lunch time if you choose slow-burning carbohydrates and foods which are high in fiber. Studies show that a high-fiber breakfast produces the highest levels of concentration and energy right through to lunchtime and beyond. Try a high-fiber cereal with low-fat milk (14g fiber per half cup) or whole-wheat toast (up to 6g fiber per slice and aim for 25-30g fiber per day.

5 Energy Boosting Strategies

Take a Break
Taking a short break for a few minutes can actually increase energy and productivity overall, helping you get more done in less time. Studies at Louisiana State University set trials for three different work-rest schedules for computer workers. Those who took four 30-second breaks per hour followed by a 14 minute break after two hours achieved a higher performance level and were more accurate than their colleagues who took longer breaks less frequently. Little and often is the key to increase energy naturally.

Energize Through Walking
Walking is an energy booster; in fact a ten minute walk is more energizing than a sugar infusion. Studies at California State University compared people who either ate a candy bar or walked briskly for ten minutes. The sugar snack gave an instant energy boost, but after an hour the lethargy was back with a vengeance while those who walked found they had a natural energy booster which lasted for two hours.

Meditate and Take Control
Rushing around in a panic can often accomplish little. If you find yourself under pressure, calm yourself down with a three-minute meditation. This enables you to control your energy and put it to maximum use. A trip to the bathroom is a good time to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and consciously relax the body, replacing stressful thoughts with positive images of a sunset or a quiet beach.

Snacks Between Meals
If you still feel you need some food-based energy, choose a snack which is high in protein and complex carbohydrates such as a whole-wheat cracker with cheese or peanut butter. The combination will increase blood glucose levels and sustain them as the protein and carbs are slowly digested, giving you a second wind. If you must have chocolate, try an unsweetened cocoa drink with an artificial sweetener and low fat milk.

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What Does The Term Biodynamic or Organic Mean?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

What Does The Term Biodynamic or Organic Mean?

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

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

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

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

 

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Regulate Digestive System: How Common Medications May Cause Digestive Problems

by Nancy Maneely

Regulate Digestive SystemIf you suffer from occasional digestive upsets – and who doesn’t? – do you reach for the contents of your medicine cabinet? If so, you may be doing more harm than good.

The best way to eliminate digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, excessive gas, or bloating, is to prevent them from happening in the first place. This we can do by drinking lots of water; eating smaller, more frequent meals; avoiding sugary sweets and drinks (the body has trouble processing sugar overloads); and making sure to replenish the “good” bacteria of the gut with probiotics (either in foods or a daily supplement).

In fact, many medications – both over-the-counter and prescription – can ramp up digestive problems. And ironically, some of the drugs we look to for digestive relief can be the worst offenders. Here are some medications to avoid when you are experiencing digestive upset:

  1. Antacids – The powerful acid blockers on the market today are effective at reducing stomach acid. The problem is, you need that acid to help digest and absorb the nutrients in food. And you also need it to destroy bad bacteria that invade your system. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, Oct. 4, 2007) found that people who took antacids had four times more pneumonia, because they didn’t have enough stomach acid to protect them against bacteria and viruses.
  2. Laxatives – These may seem to work at first, but there are two downsides: Many people experience irritation of the bowel as a result of the harsh ingredients in most products, and the relief is temporary which can lead to dependence.
  3. NSAIDS and aspirin – These can upset and even damage your intestinal lining.
  4. Antibiotics – There’s no question that antibiotics can be necessary and effective at destroying harmful bacteria, but they also kill off the friendly flora that live in your digestive tract. Antibiotics encourage the overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans, which can damage the lining of the small intestine and lead to digestive problems.
  5. Other drugs – Some medications tend to relax the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing acid to back up into the esophagus. These include antihistamines, beta-2 agonists for asthma, calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure, nitrates for angina, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Most of us know our bodies well enough to predict which foods cause the most trouble internally. In general, it is best to avoid the worst offenders like trans fats, processed meats, sodas, and low-fiber foods such as white bread and pasta). Many people are lactose intolerant and need to avoid dairy products, which can bring on painful bloating and gas. Other common food allergies include soy, peanuts, eggs and wheat. The best way to test for food sensitivities is to eliminate the suspected foods completely from your diet for several weeks and then add them back in. Keep a daily food journal while you are doing this.

Try incorporating foods that are good for digestion into your daily diet. These include: yogurt or kefir, sweet potato, winter squash, banana, apples, berries, whole grains, sauerkraut, peas, beets, and celery.

What’s your favorite natural remedy for problems related to digestive upset?

Read More:
EverydayHealth.com: Digestive Health

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Natural Joint Pain Relief: Boswellia Extract Is An Effective Therapy For Osteoarthritis

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that the Biblical-era incense frankincense was most likely an extract from the resin of the tree known as Natural Joint Pain Relief: Boswellia Extract Boswellia?

Four species of Boswellia trees - found mainly in Africa and Asia - are known for their fragrant resin. They are also well-known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and analgesic properties.

However, Boswellia is more than just an ancient herbal remedy.

A recent review of studies on the effects of Boswellia extract on osteoarthritis concluded that it provided clinically effective natural joint pain relief, with no serious safety issues. The review authors noted that evidence for the effectiveness of Boswellia extracts was ‘encouraging’.

Further evidence comes from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of Boswellia extract on 30 patients from India with osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, progressive, degenerative disorder which typically affects the knee joint.

In the study, two groups of 15 patients were given either Boswellia extract or placebo for eight weeks. After the initial eight weeks, each group was ‘crossed over’ to receive the opposite therapy for eight weeks.

All patients receiving drug treatment reported a significant decrease in knee pain, improved knee flexibility and increased walking distance. Not only that, the frequency of swelling in the knee joint was reduced.

It’s worth noting that every one of the patients treated with Boswellia extract found relief from their pain and suffering.

The authors noted that “observed differences between drug treated and placebo being statistically significant, are clinically relevant”. Boswellia extract was well tolerated except for minor gut disturbances.

The study authors recommend Boswellia extract as a therapy for natural joint pain relief in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, with possible uses in other forms of arthritis as well.

If you too suffer from pain and stiffness in your knee, back and hips, try adding in natural supplements that contiain Boswellia extract as a natural and effective way to help ease your pain and suffering.

 

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Dangers of Hospitalization and Patients With Dementia

by Health News

Dangers of Hospitalization and Patients With DementiaAccording to a recent study, more than 50% of all patients with pre-existing dementia will experience delirium while hospitalized. Failing to detect and treat their delirium early can be deadly, leading to a faster decline of their physical and mental health.

Delirium - a deadly, costly disease that significantly impacts people’s lives - is often overlooked, especially in people with dementia.

This study followed 139 hospitalized adults aged 65 and older with dementia. Study authors noted that patients who developed delirium had a 25% greater chance of dying within 30 days.

Dementia is an irreversible, progressive condition that affects cognitive and physical function. Symptoms usually occur over months to years and can include memory loss, inability to solve simple problems, difficulties with language and thinking, personality and behavior changes and other mental problems.

Delirium is a reversible condition that comes on quickly - if caught and treated early, it can be cured. Many symptoms of delirium may appear similar to dementia, but signs such as inattention and sleepiness or hyperactivity can help to differentiate delirium from dementia.

Study authors focused on a combination of disorders known as delirium superimposed on dementia (DSD). They found a 32% incidence of new delirium in the hospitalized patients with dementia - who stayed in hospital about four days longer than patients without delirium.

They also had a reduced level of physical and mental ability when they left the hospital and at follow-up visits one month later. Additionally, patients with DSD were more likely to have died a month after their hospital stay.

Common causes of delirium are infections, dehydration and changes in medication. One-third of the patients in this study arrived at the hospital dehydrated.

Preventing delirium is important because hospitals and health caregivers don’t want their patients to go home worse than when they came into the hospital.

The researchers say that their goal is to help practitioners recognize and treat delirium in patients with DSD as early as possible, helping to improve his or her overall quality of life along with reducing mortality rates.

Source

Read related blog posts:

Alzheimer's Disease: Early Signs And Risk Factors

Early Detection Of Alzheimer's Disease

Natural Remedies Resveratrol: Alzheimer’s Breakthrough

Aging and Alzheimer's

 

 

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What are the Benefits of Avocado Oil?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that avocado oil is not only edible…but it is also very healthy for your skin?

Pressed from the fruit of the avocado, avocado oil is used for cooking as well as a salad dressing and garnish. With an unusually high smoke point, extra virgin avocado oil has a characteristic flavor and is excellent in almost any high heat cooking application - including baking, stir-fries, barbecue, roasts and sauté.

What are the Benefits of Avocado Oil?

In fact, extra virgin avocado oil has a similar monounsaturated fat profile to extra virgin olive oil, which protects it from breakdown during heating. 

‘Hass' cold-pressed avocado oil is a brilliant emerald green when extracted; the color is attributed to high levels of chlorophylls and carotenoids extracted into the oil, which add to its nutritious qualities.

Avocado oil is also extracted for cosmetic use. Valued for its regenerative and moisturizing properties, it easily penetrates skin and is rapidly absorbed. In fact, slicing open an avocado and applying its flesh directly on to skin is a very effective and natural approach to achieving a healthy facial glow or dealing with acne and dry skin. Simply apply the yellow pulp to soothe, protect and moisturize.

  • Avocados have very high vitamin E content. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals along with slowing signs of aging.  
  • Avocado oil has a natural hydrating ability, because of which it makes skin soft and supple. So if you’re suffering from itchy and/or dry skin, you can use cosmetics and lotions with avocado oil to remedy the situation.
  • Avocado oil contains sterolins. These are natural compounds which help to properly absorb fat and boost your immune system, along with making more skin collagen and reducing the incidence of age spots.
  • Avocado oil contains omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to be highly effective in protecting skin from UV radiation, along with lowering sunburn and skin cancer risk. Not only that, foods with omega-3 fats such as salmon, nuts, flax seed and avocados should be consumed regularly for good heart and brain health.

Avocado oil can be obtained either cold pressed in liquid for or directly from the fruit.

Source: Benefits of Avocado Oil for Skin and Health

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Artificial Livers for Transplants

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that your liver can regenerate itself if a part of it is removed?

Researchers today are trying to exploit that ability in hopes of producing artificial liver tissue for transplantation.

Artificial Livers However, they keep running into the same problem - mature liver cells quickly lose their normal function when removed from the body. In other words, liver cells can regenerate themselves inside the body, but they don’t like to grow outside the body.

In a new breakthrough study, researchers have identified roughly a dozen chemical compounds that help liver cells maintain their normal function when grown in laboratory conditions - and also multiply themselves to produce new tissue. They believe liver cells grown in this way could help to treat many of the 500 million people suffering from chronic liver diseases such as hepatitis C.

The research team performed large-scale, rapid studies on how 12,500 different chemicals affect liver cell growth and function. After screening thousands of liver cells from eight different tissue donors, the researchers identified 12 compounds that helped liver cells maintain those functions, triggered liver cell division or did both.

The study authors are currently investigating whether these compounds can help to influence other types of cells into growing artificially as well. In future studies, they plan to implant treated liver cells in mice to test whether they can be used as replacement liver tissue. They are also developing the 12 compounds they discovered as drugs to help regenerate patients' own liver tissue in case of damage.

This research team has also recently made progress toward solving another challenge of engineering liver tissue, which is getting the recipient's body to grow blood vessels to supply the new tissue with oxygen and nutrients.

Together, these 2 studies may finally offer an exciting solution to two longstanding challenges in artificial liver tissue engineering - first, growing liver cells outside the human body and second, getting them to graft successfully to transplant recipients.

Other blog posts about liver health:

What the heck is natural herbal support for your liver and why would I want it?

How to Achieve Natural Protection for Your Liver

Natural Remedies: A New Weapon Against Hepatitis C?

Source:

A Step Closer to Artificial Livers.

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Boost the Immune System with Infection-Fighting Foods

by Health News

Boost the Immune System with Infection-Fighting Foods.  Take advantage of the following natural foods when battling a cold or flu:

Try the BRAT Diet.  Immediately following stomach flu, it is best to consume fluids and broths.  On day two, try BRAT.  Commonly used for children with upset stomachs, this natural remedy of bananas, rice, applesauce and dry toast really works! 

Eat garlic, which has powerful antibacterial compounds that help the body fight infection.    A close relative with similar antibacterial agents is onion.  Cook with onions and leeks when you or family members have a cold.

Blueberries help to curb diarrhea, and they have aspirin-like properties, which may help to reduce fever and soothe aches and pains.

Try eating cranberries to prevent bacteria from invading the bladder and urinary tract.

Chili peppers help to open sinuses and clear the buildup of mucus in the lungs.  Other helpful foods for reducing nasal congestion and  mucus are mustard and horseradish.

Try a cup of tea as a natural cold and flu remedy.  Catechin, a phytochemical found in black and green teas is said to have antibiotic and anti-diarrheal properties.    

Steer clear of processed foods and sugar when battling illness as junk foods take a toll on the digestive system.

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You Give Me Fever

by Health News

For people of all ages, a normal temperature is 98.6° F (some people fluctuate a few degrees higher or lower). But when the thermometer reaches 100.4° F or higher, you have yourself a bona fide fever. Even without the thermometer, we can recognize those all-too familiar signs: flushed skin, a slight sweat, increased thirst, maybe even a low-grade headache.

While high heat, overdressing or overexerting, and certain medications and/or vaccinations can trigger a fever, the most common cause for the onset of increased body temperature is disease or infection. Most experts agree that the onset of a fever usually means that your body is “burning off” a virus or unwanted bacteria.

Sometimes the cause of a fever can be as benign as an earache, stress, or common cold or flu. Other times, it can signal a much more serious condition, including cancer, Lyme disease, staph infection, or pneumonia. And just as a fever can signal a variety of problems, it also calls for a variety of treatments—especially when it comes to children.

Fevers and children can be a tricky combination. The best rule of thumb to use is the age rule. If the child is three months or younger, a temperature of just 100.4° F can signal a serious problem and calls for immediate medical attention. For an older infant and toddler, they can often tolerate a temperature between 100° F and 103° F. In these cases, you have several natural options, including a cool bath, lots of fluids, and elderberry syrup.

One way to help your child be a bit more comfortable is to place them in a lukewarm bath. Just be sure it’s not too cold, or they can begin to shiver, which will only prolong the problem.

Because fevers often leads to sweating, you’ll want to be sure your child drinks lots of fluids, preferably water, soup, and diluted juice to avoid dehydration. One great fever-reducing cocktail for you child is antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice mixed with purified water and two tablespoons of elderberry syrup. Elderberries are an excellent antiviral remedy and have long been used to treat fevers and congestion.

These natural remedies are a great way to fight a low-grade fever in children and adults alike. However, a fever is not to be taken lightly. If these remedies don’t work within 24 hours, or if your child’s temperature climbs above 103.5° F, call your pediatrician. Additionally, under no circumstances should you give the child aspirin, as it can cause a serious condition called Reye’s syndrome, which affects all body organs, especially the brain and liver.

Finally, you should seek immediate medical attention if:

  • A child three months of age or younger has a temperature of 100.4° F or higher.
  • A child between six months and four years has a temperature of 103.5° F or higher.
  • An adult has a temperature of 104° F or higher.
  • The fever has lasted more than five days.
  • If the fever is accompanied by a severe headache and stiff neck or blood in the stool or urine.
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Natural Remedies: A New Weapon Against Hepatitis C?

by Health News

Hepatitis C is an infectious virus that attacks the liver and can lead to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer and death. Hepatitis C the disease most commonly implicated in liver-transplant cases. While Hepatitis C is treatable, and in some cases curable, treatments are very difficult, expensive and outcomes are unpredictable; the disease often returns once treatment is stopped. Currently, standard medical treatments can cure 50-80% of patients.

But here is some welcome news: There might be a safer, much less expensive natural remedies against Hepatitis C: Vitamin B-12. The results of a recent study* published in the journal Gut suggest that adding Vitamin B-12 to the standard treatment improves cure rates. The researchers found that the addition of Vitamin B-12 strengthened the rate of sustained viral response 34%.

For the study, 94 patients with Hepatitis C infection were randomly selected to receive standard treatment or standard treatment plus Vitamin B-12 (5000 mcg every 4 weeks) for between 24 (for virus genotypes 2 and 3) and 48 weeks (for virus genotype 1—which is typically harder to treat).

While there was no difference between the two treatment regimens at 4 weeks, there were significant differences in response at all the other time points, particularly at 24 weeks after stopping treatment. 24 weeks after stopping treatment, the Vitamin B-12 group showed a significantly higher response rate than the standard treatment group. The goal of treatment is to cure the disease, and such a strong response at 24 weeks with the Vitamin B-12 group suggests the vitamin might be instrumental in curing the disease.

The effects were also significantly greater among those who carried the notoriously-difficult-to-treat type 1 strain and in those with high levels of infection (high viral load) to begin with.

The researchers believe that until better treatments are available, B-12 supplementation might be an effective and viable addition to current treatments. It might also be an easy, inexpensive alternative for people who can’t afford treatment or live in places where treatment isn’t available.

*http://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2012/06/28/gutjnl-2012-302344.abstract?sid=d08938d2-323d-450a-9833-d323f99078d6

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Expert Tips For Healthy Skin, Hair And Nails

by Nancy Maneely

Healthy Skin, Hair and NailsThe hair, nails and skin are the body’s protection against damaging effects of harsh environmental elements – the sun’s ultraviolet rays, heat, cold, dirt, and abrasive surfaces. Together, they present your physical self to the world, which is why most of us want to keep them in good working order and healthy, vibrant appearance.

Here is a list of daily habits that will keep your skin, nails and hair glowing and prevent signs of premature aging, from the nation’s top dermatologists:

  1. Don’t smoke – It’s certainly bad for your insides, but it’s also terrible for your outsides. Smoking causes deep wrinkles around the mouth and dulls the appearance of skin. Studies suggest that tobacco smoke exposure decreases capillary and arteriolar blood flow, damaging connective tissues that help maintain healthy skin. There is also evidence that tobacco smoke is phototoxic: It becomes more toxic in the presence of ultraviolet light (UV), and causes more damage to skin cells than either smoke or UV would cause on their own.
  2. Wear sunscreen – Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen everyday on your face and exposed areas. It should have a Sun Protection Factor of at least 15 (30 for the face).  Anyone over the age of 6 months should use a sunscreen daily, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Even those who work inside are exposed to ultraviolet radiation for brief periods throughout the day, especially if they work near windows, which generally filter out UVB (the rays that cause sunburn) but not UVA rays.
  3. Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, K and antioxidants – Colorful veggies and fruits are your skin’s best friends. They will give your skin a healthy glow, and help to strengthen hair and nails.
  4.  Do as little as possible to the hair – You may think that coloring, perming, hot-curling, etc., will improve your appearance, but in the long run it will lead to breakage and cause the hair to lose its natural luster.
  5.  Use soap sparingly – Many dermatologists advise avoiding soap unless you are a teenager or have excessively oily skin. The exception is for certain parts of the body – use a mild soap to clean face, underarms, and groin area. For the rest of your body, pure water will do the job.
  6. Avoid tanning – Whether it’s under the sun or a tanning lamp, this practice will expose the skin to harmful UV rays that can bring on premature aging, uneven complexion, age spots or even skin cancer.
  7. Use moisturizer and lip balm – They help to trap water in the skin and protect against drying, scaling and cracking. Wind, cold temperatures and heated houses in the winter can all dehydrate the skin, which can cause eczema to flare up and make the skin itchy and dry. Prevention of this dryness by moisturizing is the single most important factor in protecting the skin from the elements.
  8. Use skin products with care – Avoid any products that sting or burn unless directed by your dermatologist. Use as directed and avoid applying too much, which can clog pores. And test products, even those labeled hypoallergenic. Dab a small amount on your inner forearm and check for a reaction before applying to larger areas. Don’t use too many different products at once, especially the “anti-aging” remedies. This can irritate the skin.

What is your favorite anti-aging tip for the care of skin, hair and nails?

Sources:
Dermatologists' Tips to Reduce the Signs of Aging, Science Daily
Dermatologists Share Their Secrets For Maintaining Healthy Skin, Hair And Nails, Science Daily
About Sunscreen, Skin Cancer Foundation
5 Myths and Truths About Moisturizers, Best Health