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Heart-Healthy Foods to Add To Your Diet

by IVL Products

Even though the number of American deaths attributed to heart disease has dropped, it is still the number one cause of death for adults in this country. Good dietary choices play a key role in preserving healthy cardiac function, but instead of focusing on what you should not eat, here’s a list of heart-healthy foods that are delicious, nutritious and good for your heart and your waistline. 

There is a direct correlation between the circumference of your waistline and your risk of heart disease. Belly fat is the most dangerous to your health and the hardest to remove.

Fishing for a Healthy Heart

The catch of the day keeps the cardiologist away. Fish should be a staple in your diet; and become a replacement for processed fatty meats like hamburger, sausage and bacon.  Not only are fish a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, they have the most abundant and most easily absorbed omega-3 fatty acids. The body does not produce this essential nutrient naturally, but it does a body good.  Eating fish two to three times a week will give you plenty of it. Salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are especially high in omega-3s, so be sure to put them on the menu.

Related:  Include Fish in Your Arthritis Prevention Diet

Go Nuts

Enjoying nuts regularly is a heart-healthy idea. Almonds and walnuts are heart-healthy foods to enjoy in moderation since they are high in calories.  Adding a handful to your cereal, salad or dipping your banana in some almond butter will give you a healthy dose of omega-3s, and the unsaturated fat and fiber will keep you satisfied longer. The healthiest nuts to eat are almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts and macadamias.

Flaxseed belongs in your diet along with a variety of nuts. They are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid, which is a fancy name for omega-3. These small but mighty seeds can be ground to replace some of the fat in baked items and sprinkled on top of salads or cereal to add a little crunch with significant benefits.

Be Fruitful and Thrive

Fruits high in vitamin C and fiber are also loaded with phytonutrients to help reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation due to obesity, environmental pollution and poor diet are a leading contributor to heart muscle damage.  Berries are particularly heart-healthy foods because they are not only sweet, delicious and plentiful, but contain copious amount of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Orange-hued fruits like oranges, tangerines, peaches and cantaloupe offer plentiful amounts of potassium and magnesium.

Veg Out

Mom was right when she said, “eat your vegetables, they’re good for you.” They come in so many varieties and you can eat as much as you want.  Be sure to avoid heavy cream or butter-based sauces or oily condiments.  Add these all-stars to your grocery list:

  • Asparagus – beta-carotene, folate and fiber
  • Broccoli- vitamins C and E, calcium and fiber
  • Spinach – iron, vitamins A, B2, C and K along with folate calcium, magnesium and potassium, just to name a few.

So, grill up some asparagus to pair with a salmon fillet, steam some broccoli or add a handful of spinach to your salads and you will be helping your heart and your waistline.

Carbs Count

The body cannot run on protein and fats alone. Carbohydrates are the key for high, sustaining levels of energy.  Starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal (toss a handful of nuts, seed and berries on top) is a great way to give your body the fuel it needs. The fiber in oatmeal will keep you feeling satisfied longer and keep cholesterol levels in check.  Steel cut is best and avoid instant varieties loaded with sugar.  

Enjoy Dessert

Yes, a heart-healthy diet includes dessert! It’s been called the fourth food group for good reason. Dark chocolate made from 70% cocoa is one of the healthiest treats you can eat. A one-ounce square daily offers soluble fiber, antioxidants, iron, magnesium and potassium, zinc and selenium. These are all nutrients that contribute to a healthy heart.  Like nuts, chocolate has a lot of calories, so a little goes a long way.

Here’s To Your Heart

Hopefully reading this has encouraged you to add these foods to your grocery list.  There are many other heart-healthy foods you can work into the mix, and consider supplements as an additional way to pump up your daily vitamin and mineral consumption.  

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Sex and Menopause: Is it Normal to Lose Desire?

by Health News

Unfortunately, it’s a common myth that people age their sex drive takes a dive. While it may be true that some women’s sexual desire may decline following menopause, for the majority of women, desire does not decline.  In fact, a survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons, (AARP ) reported that 57% of women said they considered a satisfying sexual relationship to be one of the most important factors in terms of quality of life. Only 36% agreed with the statement that sex is less important as people age. In fact, sexual desire and satisfaction may increase after menopause. With factors such as children moving out of the home, no chance of unwanted pregnancy, no interruptions due to menstrual periods, and the deeper self-awareness and wisdom that comes with age, many women are pleased to experience their sexual drive and enjoyment actually blossoming.  

How to stay healthy and keep your sex life humming!

What Causes Desire to Wane?

If you find that your desire has shifted into low gear after fifty, a simple physical issue such as lower levels of estrogen is rarely the full explanation. Sex drive is complex and multifaceted. It is influenced by physical issues, and also by psychological, emotional, and relationship concerns; and even cultural beliefs.

Physical Problems: Your overall health and well-being—independent of hormonal levels—plays a significant role in your libido. Chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, underactive thyroid, depression, and bladder problems; or chronic pain and fatigue, can dramatically decrease sexual desire.  Add to that list: drug use, smoking, and certain prescription medications including tranquilizers, sedatives, steroids, antihistamines, antidepressants and peptic ulcer medication.  

The only biological condition that is clearly linked to a woman’s desire for sex is vaginal dryness. Lack of lubrication can cause pain, muscular spasms, and difficulty reaching orgasm. Lower estrogen levels are a major issue, but there are other contributors to this condition, including certain prescription medications; chemically treated sanitary products and synthetic underwear; and chemical deodorants, douches, and perfumes. The side effects of the treatment of certain health conditions can also lead to excessive dryness, especially treatments for cancer including radiation, chemotherapy, and estrogen-blocking drugs.

Related:  Is Your Lack of Sex Drive Due to Low T?

Psychological and Emotional Factors: The fire of desire can also be dampened by a variety of psychological and emotional factors. The most common include:

  • Excess stress. Around the time of menopause, a number of significant sources of stress often converge at one time. They may include raising teenagers, being a caregiver for an elderly parent, job-related issues, and marriage or relationship tensions.
  • Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Self-esteem issues. Being uncomfortable or self-conscious about your weight, aging body, or health problems can cause you to feel less attractive and desirable.
  • How you feel about your partner.  If you are upset with or feel distant from your partner, your desire for them won’t be burning. Likewise, your appetite for your partner may be poor if you find their bedroom skills disappointing. One third of women in the AARP study who reported having no sexual problems, said they had previously had problems, but when they changed partners, the issue went away.
  •  Beliefs about sex and aging. If you believe it is normal to lose sexual desire as you age, then more than likely, you will lose it.

Getting Your Mojo Back

If your lack of libido is due to physical issues, the best approach is to work on improving your health. There are no short cuts, quick fixes, or magic pills. Good health only comes from good habits, which include: 

  • Eating a diet high in organically produced fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and supplemental omega-3 fatty acids
  • Exercising daily—even brisk walking can do wonders for your sex drive, as well as the rest of your health
  • Getting enough quality rest by going to sleep by 10 p.m. and rising before 6 a.m.
  • Practicing effective stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises
  • Keeping your weight ideal—either being significantly overweight or underweight can have a tremendous negative impact on your health

Improving Vaginal Dryness

If you suffer with vaginal dryness, there are many approaches that can improve or reverse the condition. The typical western medicine course of treatment consists of topical estrogens. Although they can increase your risk of breast cancer, the relative risk of topical estrogens compared to oral hormone replacement therapy is much less. I recommend always trying natural approaches first. Studies show that certain foods high in phytoestrogens, such as soy and flax seeds, can help reduce vaginal dryness without increasing your risk of breast cancer. The herbs black cohosh and ginseng have been documented by several studies to improve vaginal moisture. Vitamin E vaginal suppositories and supplemental oral omega-7 fatty acids (from a plant called Sea buckthorn) can also be of benefit. The holistic system of medicine Ayurveda recommends topical aloe vera gel and coconut oil for vaginal dryness, and the herbs marshmallow root and Shatavari for low libido.

Be sure to use natural lubricants without synthetic chemicals and toxins. Organic coconut oil and aloe vera are two of the best choices. 

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Your Tale-Tell Poor Diet Side Effects

by Cindy Gray

We all look at ourselves in the mirror at least once a day; so what do you see? Are you glowing with health or does your skin, hair and body show the effects of poor diet? 

Counter the effects of poor diet with a diet high in vitamins and antioxidants

So how does your skin, hair and body appear?  Check out these five tell-tale beauty signs:

Acne

Acne and spots is usually a sign of too much sugar and fat. The effects of poor diet, excessive processed and fried foods encourage pimples and spots to form underneath the oil glands in the skin and hair follicles. Treating pimply skin with external face washes, lotions and creams can treat the bacteria, but for long-term effectiveness and clear skin you need to eat a healthy diet with whole foods, fruits and vegetables.

Wrinkles

We can all expect wrinkles as we age, but the extent of those lines and wrinkles is entirely in your hands. Smoking is known to cause dry wrinkled skin, so it’s a good reason to quit. The sun's UV rays also cause premature wrinkles, so always use a sunscreen.

When it comes to the effects of poor diet, too much sugar causes inflammation and this can accelerate the natural aging process. On the other hand, antioxidant-rich foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables contain protective vitamin E. Oranges are full of collagen-producing vitamin C and avocadoes are loaded with hydrating monounsaturated fats to counter wrinkles.

Related:  The Effects of Poor Diet on Mental Health

Dry, brittle hair

Dry, damaged hair may be telling you that you need more protein, essential fatty acids (EFAs), zinc and vitamin C. Hair and nails are made from protein, so make sure you eat plenty of pork, broccoli, wheat germ and red peppers to provide keratin-producing cysteine for glossy locks and strong nails.

Dull ruddy complexion

Lifeless, dull skin says "too much caffeine; not enough water." Caffeine dehydrates while water, even with light fruit flavors, restores hydration. Remember that "eight glasses of water a day help keep the wrinkles away!"

Weak nails

A balanced diet is usually reflected in strong healthy nails so check that you are eating enough protein and vitamins (or taking a multivitamin supplement). Incidentally, white spots on nails are a sign that your diet is lacking zinc, so boost your intake of seafood and red meats to stimulate keratin formation. In the meantime, rubbing natural oils into the cuticle can help stimulate stronger nail growth.

Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, remember that "you are what you eat." Look for those tell-tale signs of deficiencies and the effects of poor diet and address them by changing to a natural healthy diet, before it’s too late.

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Three Best Ways to Lose Weight Naturally

by Health News

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

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

Probiotics

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

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

Fiber

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

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

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

Green Tea

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

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

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

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The Effects of a Poor Diet on Your Heart

by Cindy Gray

“You are what you eat,” is as true now as it was generations ago when the saying became popular.  A poor diet wreaks havoc on your entire body, but one area in particular that takes a beating is your heart.  

A poor diet can negatively impact the health of your heart.

First there was the low-fat diet craze, followed by the low-carb diet.  Despite all the natural fat in many foods being replaced by partially hydrogenated oils, also knows as trans fats, heart disease continued to top the list as the number one killer of men and women.  We all went on a low-carb diet to reduce our cholesterol and lose weight since fat-free didn’t seem be working and suddenly steak and bacon were back on the menu.  Little did we know, until now, that diet fads would cause more harm than good.

Research over the past decade has found that trans fats, the kind used in most processed foods, is the real killer.  All those low-carb foods were loaded with sugar so we could choke them down. Now we know the combination of highly processed foods loaded with sugar and trans fats are literally killing us.

Related:  Heart Health—The Benefits of Meditation

A nutrient poor diet high in trans fats, lots of sugar that send blood glucose levels soaring and copious amounts of sodium is linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.  Notice this theme:  poor diet leads to weight gain, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, which all increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Eat Hearty Meals

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to prevent these illnesses from happening in the first place.  What you eat can have a profound effect on your heart in a simple and delicious way.

Replacing fast foods and highly processed foods with healthy fats and foods with abundant vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will help stave off high blood pressure, bad cholesterol build up and prevent strokes and heart disease from developing.   Opt for fish like salmon, cod, herring or trout twice a week.  Choose lean cuts of chicken, pork and beef over those marbled with fat; keep portions sizes to about the size of your fist, and only eat them once or twice a week.

Nature provides in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only do these foods have a lot of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they are low-fat, contain healthy glucose that does not lead to sugar-spikes and then crashes, and are full of fiber. Eating them instead of processed foods will help you keep your weight in check. You will not only feel good, but look that way too.

Heart Supplements

It is nearly impossible to get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.  A combination of a healthy diet and taking supplements is necessary to meet your dietary health goals each day.  Choosing a supplement with fish oil, Resveratrol, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and quercetin is an easy way to get these heart healthy substances into your body every day.

Trading a nutrient poor diet for one that is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but low in trans fats and carbs, will help promote longevity and a healthy heart. 

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Perimenopause and Mood: Understanding the Connection

by Health News

The “change of life” or menopause is a natural part of aging for most women when menstruating ceases. Around age 40, women may begin to notice irregular periods, increased feelings of anxiety and stress, have trouble focusing and even suffer from panic attacks. These mood changes are the result of declining progesterone levels, the phase that precedes menopause known as perimenopause.  This can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years and can wreak havoc on your physical and emotional wellbeing. 

The connection between perimenopause and mood.

Progesterone and estrogen live in harmony in a woman’s body after she goes through puberty and begins menstruating.  If these two hormones work harmoniously during the menstrual cycle, it promotes a feeling of balance and well-being.  If you become pregnant, progesterone levels increase and you experience feelings of contentment and happiness. After giving birth, estrogen and progesterone levels plummet and can cause post-partum depression until the hormones rebalance again.

It’s no secret to the medical community that progesterone has a profound effect on your mood.  There is plenty of clinical research documenting the increased rise in perimenopausal symptoms in women when they reach their late 30s and 40s, the time progesterone production begins to decline.  Most women only experience mild symptoms, but an unlucky few can be nearly incapacitated by the abrupt mood swings, stress and anxiety, sleep problems and have trouble focusing, making things difficult for them at home and work.

Take the Perimenopause Quiz

Take this brief quiz to determine if you may be experiencing perimenopause:

1.  Do you feel anxious or irritable more easily and more frequently than usual?

2.  Do you sometimes have difficulty focusing on the task at hand or suffering from occasional memory loss?

3. Are you experiencing sleep disturbances such as taking longer to fall asleep, difficulty remaining asleep, and not feel rested in the morning?

4. Are you experiencing physical changes, like weight gain even though your eating habits have stayed about the same?  Is your skin drier or oilier than usual?  Do feel more fatigued after your normal daily activities?

5. Are you experiencing feeling suddenly hot or waking up in the night with night sweats?  Do you feel palpitations in your heart for no apparent reason?

6. Are you experiencing vaginal dryness and a decreased interest in sex?

7. Are you urinating more frequently, even though you are not drinking significantly more liquids?

8. Is satisfaction and happiness with your life seeming decrease, even though nothing has change significantly in your career or relationships? Do you feel depressed sometimes without being able to explain why?

9. Have your periods become irregular, sporadic, or has your flow changed from what was once normal for you?

10. Are you in your late 30’s and early to middle 40’s?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, then you are most likely entering into the life stage of perimenopause.  No two women will experience it the same. Some will have say yes to all of the above while others may only be experiencing two or three changes from the norm.

Sometimes perimenopause can last for several years or more; but the good news is, there are ways to help ease the transition. 

Related:  Is There Such a Thing As Early Menopause?

Diet

Combat weight gain, stress and anxiety by cutting out high carbohydrate sugary foods, limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume and stay away from spicy foods that can trigger hot flashes. Filling up on vitamin and mineral loaded fruits and vegetables will help keep your weight in check, provide hydration to your skin, and help you avoid sugar crashes that will be more extreme with the fatigue that accompanies perimenopause.

Stress

Finding ways to relieve stress are critical when you are going through perimenopause and menopause.  Regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, provide an outlet for anxiety and stress, and promote better sleep. Nothing is more stressful than insomnia and the severe fatigue and loss of mental focus that comes with it.  Keeping stress at bay will also help with symptoms of depression, which is common for many women going through perimenopause.

Supplements

It is especially important to get the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients in your diet to help ward off perimenopause and mood swings that are a result of radical hormonal changes. Getting plenty of vitamins C, E, and the complex B’s can improve cognitive function and are helpful to reduce symptoms.

Herbs like evening primrose oil can help relieve hot flashes and calm anxiety.  Ginkgo biloba has been linked to improved mental concentration, stimulates the libido and promotes blood flow to the brain.  St. John’s Wort is helpful for reducing insomnia, calming anxiety, relieving depression and also stimulates the libido.

Always be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements to avoid unfavorable and dangerous drug interactions.

Perimenopause and mood swings are an unavoidable phase of life for most women, but it does not have to be miserable.  Take charge of your symptoms with a few dietary changes, supplements to increase your progesterone levels and increased exercise. These changes can help you sail through the change to a positive new phase of life.

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The Effects of Perimenopause on the Libido

by Health News

Very few women welcome perimenopause with open arms.  The transitional period leading up to the cessation of menstruation comes with a variety of unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms.  Unlike hot flashes and night sweats however, the effects of perimenopause on the libido upset women and their partners.  The loss of libido – like other perimenopausal symptoms – results from hormonal imbalance. 

The effects of perimenopause include loss of libido and other distressing symptoms.

Estrogen Dominance

According to animal studies in the laboratory, estrogen primes the brain cells responsible for sexual desire, but progesterone activates them.  Many women in perimenopause experience estrogen dominance, a situation in which levels of estrogen overshadow levels of progesterone.  This can wreak havoc on the libido, causing marked reduction in sexual desire.

Ovulation and Libido

Ovulation and sexual desire go hand-in-hand.  Because progesterone levels rise during ovulation, most women experience a boost in sexual desire at this time, barring any medical issues or complications.  When ovulation lessens during perimenopause, so too does the production of progesterone and sexual desire.

How Emotions Influence the Libido during Perimenopause

The effects of perimenopause include a variety of unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, breast tenderness, mood swings, and irritability.  Combined, they lead to physical exhaustion and take an emotional toll on women, both of which can impact the libido.

Related:  Royal Jelly—How the Queen's Food Can Improve Your Health

Ways to Help Restore Sexual Desire during Perimenopause

Women who wish to boost sexual desire during perimenopause have several options.  Vaginal rings and injections can help restore levels of progesterone.  Foods high in phytoestrogens like soy products, flaxseed, tofu, and wheat germ help displace some of the body's stronger natural estrogens for better hormonal balance.  Supplementing with minerals like calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and zinc helps promote better sleep, and exercise, limiting alcohol use, and relaxation techniques help improve mood.

While loss of libido during perimenopause can prove distressing for females and their partners, certain techniques can help.  Women also take comfort knowing that when menopause is reached and hormones balance out, sexual desire often returns and other effects of perimenopause wane.

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Top Three Supplements to Heal Vision Problems

by Cindy Gray

Some vision loss is normal as we age. However, you can help preserve good vision and ward off cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and vision problems by eating foods and taking supplements with three important nutrients.

Vision problems can be tackled with the right supplements

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Around the world more than 25 million people are affected by cataracts or AMD, which is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 55 in western society.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that filter damaging high-energy blue wavelengths of light.

Cataracts are caused by oxidation of the lens in the eye making it cloudy. Lutein and zeaxanthin act like antioxidants in the eye, helping to neutralize the free radicals that cause cataracts and maintain healthy eye cells. Recent research even found that combining vitamin E with lutein and zeaxanthin decreased the risk of developing cataracts even more. 

The human body does not synthesize these nutrients so we have to get them through our diet and supplements. The best sources are green leafy vegetables like:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Corn
  • Green peas
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Eggs
  • Oranges

Astaxanthin

This red pigment that comes from marine algae is getting a lot of buzz as one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants could be very beneficial for warding off vision problems.

Age, diabetes, glaucoma and other degenerative eye diseases affect millions of Americans each year. Other contributors to vision problems are exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, inflammation and glycation (when sugar in the blood stream attaches to proteins forming harmful new molecules).  Taking astaxanthin has shown to protect retinal cells, reduce oxidative stress and slow down advanced AMD.  It also helps restore normal pressure in the eye when glaucoma has caused a dangerous billed up of fluid and pressure there.

Taking astaxanthin with lutein and zeaxanthin has been shown in research studies to improve visual acuity and contrast detection in people with early signs of AMD.

RelatedParsley for Macular Degeneration and Vision Problems

Seeing Is Believing

If you are over the age of 55, have a history of glaucoma or cataracts in your family, taking these three supplements could help you keep vision problems at bay. If you are already showing symptoms of AMD, cataracts or other vision problems, these three supplements in conjunction with prescription medications could help heal your sight.

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Antioxidants and Skin Health: Three Steps to Consider

by Cindy Gray

Most folks know that eating foods and taking supplements with antioxidants are good for them.  Those critical nutrients found in vitamins like A, C and E are good for you, both inside and out.  

Consuming antioxidants and skin health go hand in hand, so to speak, and in just a few easy steps you can keep your skin looking younger for longer.

1. Layer It On

We are exposed to sunlight from our earliest days of life. Wearing sunscreen religiously every day is the best way to protect your skin from the ravages of the sun. However, most of us tend to skip it now and then.  And you may recall experiencing some sunburn back when you were just a kid. 

Those dark spots, dry patches and wrinkles are the result of cell damaging free radicals, which are molecules that have lost an electron.  Feeling bereft, these free radical molecules steal from healthy cells, which starts a chain reaction that eventually damages the cell leaving the evidence of their crime on your face in the form of wrinkles and sunspots.

If you neglected sun protection when you were younger, there is something you can do about it now.  Eat foods and take supplements rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E.  They contain nutrients that generously give free radicals the electron they so desperately want, thus halting their cell damaging thievery and restoring healthy skin cells.

2. Don’t Fan the Flames

The body’s natural response to cell damage is to ignite a fire—such as inflammation—to try to destroy whatever is causing the trouble. Most people suffer from chronic inflammation caused by sun exposure, smoking, and consuming too many sugary foods and drinks, along with the daily activities of life.

Over time, the inflammation takes a heavy toll on the body, especially the skin, leaving it dry, red and sometimes with a pimple or two to add insult to injury. 

Consuming antioxidants is like throwing a bucket of water on the fire. They quench the burn and help damaged cells repair themselves.

3. Eat Drink and Be Healthy

Here is a list of the top antioxidants that should be included in your healthy skin diet:

Lycopene

Known as a carotenoid, it is what gives certain food a red hue.  Lycopene helps improve the texture of your skin by supporting collagen production (a protein that makes up the support bands beneath the dermis) while it reverses free radical damage that causes wrinkles.  You can find it in cooked tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruit and sweet red peppers.

Related:  Royal Jelly For Skin:  Your Skin's Best Friend

Vitamin C

This essential nutrient is showing to be a powerful weapon in the war on aging. It works as an antioxidant and collagen booster to help reverse the signs of aging by smoothing out wrinkles and encouraging healthy skin cell turnover to shed those dark spots for clearer, younger looking skin. You can find it in citrus fruits like oranges, kiwis and strawberries.

Vitamin A

This antioxidant plays an important role in bone growth, reproduction and keeping the immune system healthy. It also helps undo the damage from sun exposure by neutralizing free radicals. You can find it in sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and spinach.

Because too much vitamin A can be toxic, it’s best to get it from your diet rather than supplements.

Vitamin E

Since sun damage is the top producer of free radicals that damage skin cells, vitamin E is a critical antioxidant for skin health.  When combined with vitamin C, it is very effective at protecting skin from UV damage by halting inflammation and limiting DNA damage.  It is also known as a-tocopherol so check for it on the ingredients list when choosing an antioxidant-rich supplement.  You can find it in abundance in foods like vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, asparagus and spinach.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin and has shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It is especially helpful in getting rid of sunspots due to its depigmenting properties. Find it in pork, chicken and fish like tuna, farmed salmon and halibut or swordfish.

The Skin-ny:

Antioxidants and skin health are intertwined so if you want to keep your complexion radiant, eat foods rich in antioxidants and pop supplements with these essential nutrients. 

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Antioxidants and Vision Health - Three Factors That Could Affect Your Vision

by IVL Products

What you eat may have a significant effect your vision. Research by the National Eye Institute (NEI) found eating foods and supplements with antioxidants and vision health are very closely related.

Antioxidants and vision health are very much connected

Here are some of the different foods and supplements loaded with antioxidants to help assist the body for improved vision health.

1. Taking Supplements

Losing visual acuity is a normal and largely unavoidable result of natural aging.  Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes nearly 10 million Americans to suffer permanent vision loss. Approximately two million cataract extractions (surgery) are performed annually. In some people, AMD causes a slow loss of vision over a long period of time, while for others it can cause a rapid loss in vision.

 In the NEI study, antioxidant vitamins and zinc supplements “reduced the risk of developing advanced AMD by about 25% in the study subjects who were at a high risk for developing the advanced stage of this disease.”

The study went on to say that those in the high-risk group for AMD taking the supplement also reduced vision loss by approximately 19%.  The researchers concluded that taking supplements with high doses of antioxidants could be a very effective way to could delay progression of AMD, especially those who are already at a high risk for developing it like:

  • Those over the age of 55
  • Anyone who has a family history of the disease
  • People who have high blood pressure
  • Those who are obese
  • Smokers

If you are at risk for age-related macular degeneration or cataracts, eating a diet rich in antioxidants could save your sight!

2. Free Radical Exposure

It should come as no surprise that eating foods with antioxidants and vision health are related.  The research and medical community has long known that antioxidants are the number one way to slow down the aging process from deep inside the body to the outer most layer of the skin.

Free radicals, those cells that made up of a molecule with an oddly-unpaired electron, are very unstable molecules that have lost an electron. They then attack the nearest stable molecule with a full set of electrons in its outer shell, stealing an electron, and rendering the mugged molecule unstable.  This can cause a chain reaction that eventually disrupts the viability of a living cell.  Free radical damage accumulates with age and is sped up by lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive sun exposure, and environmental pollutants.

Antioxidants are nutrients that neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons and ending its electron-thievery.

Eye cells are delicate and years of free radical exposure can cause them to begin dying off, leading to vision loss and even total blindness.

RelatedThe Eyes are the Mirrors of your Health

3. Proper Diet

There are three main antioxidant vitamins: vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, which are converted by the body into vitamin A.  Many fruits and vegetables contain these vital nutrients that could greatly reduce your chances of AMD and other eye-related diseases.

Berries

Blue, black, raspberry, cranberry, and strawberries are a sweet way to get a healthy dose of antioxidants everyday.  Besides vitamins C and E, they also have other health benefits to benefit the entire body, so toss them in your breakfast cereal, salads and yogurt and you could be seeing “berry” well into your golden years.

Prunes

These are not just something your grandmother eats to stay regular anymore. These dark purple gems ranked the highest in antioxidants according to a Kansas State University Study. They may not look pretty, but if you are not eating them regularly, you won’t be able to see them anyway.

Walnuts and Pecans

A mere ounce of these tree nuts has an ample amount of antioxidants in cholesterol- and sugar-free bite-sized portions that are great companions alongside the aforementioned berries in many dishes. You would be nuts not to add them into your diet on a regular basis.

Spinach

This dark leafy green is not only a great source of antioxidants (fresh or cooked) but it also boasts a dose of iron, too.  In addition, kale, Brussels sprouts and even broccoli are rich in antioxidant power for healthy peepers.

Artichoke Hearts

These weird looking plants don’t resemble anything edible, but dig deep to get at the heart of the matter and you will be getting a good dose of antioxidants, along with fiber and other vitamins and minerals.

Green Tea

Tea for two, please—your left and right eye, that is.  This light, mild tasting beverage that is delicious served hot or cold is an easy way to sip a few antioxidants into your diet. If tea is not your thing, good old-fashioned coffee runs a close second in the category of best beverages with antioxidants for the eyes.

Eye Heart Supplements

The NEI study found that most Americans’ diets fall far short of the levels of antioxidants necessary to slow down age-related macular eye disease.  It can be difficult enough to include the abundance of fruits and vegetables needed to get the necessary antioxidants to be effective against vision loss, but with such strong research linking antioxidants and vision health, adding a supplement to your daily routine just makes good sense. See?

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Discover How a Powdered Supplement Benefits the Health

by IVL Products

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

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

Green Superfood Powder

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

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

Related:  Studies Confirm Benefits of Maca for Women During Menopause

Maca

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

Protein Powder

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

Conclusion

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

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A Guide to Antioxidants and Brain Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Capable of thinking, reasoning, remembering, and more, the human brain is what distinguishes people from animals.  In terms of organs, the brain is our best asset, which is why taking care of it is so important.  When it comes to natural protection for the brain, "antioxidant" is a term that comes up often, but many people don't understand what antioxidants do and where to find them.  This guide to antioxidants and brain health may shed light on these powerful natural compounds, where to find them, and how they impact brain health. 

To understand the benefits of antioxidants, it helps to know about free radicals.  Byproducts of normal body processes and environmental influences like smoking and pollution, free radicals are unstable molecules that scavenge other molecules.  While some free radicals that destroy viruses and harmful bacteria prove beneficial to the health, too many free radicals can cause disease and promote aging in any area of the body including the brain.  Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, and three in particular offer excellent benefits for the brain.

Berry Flavonoids

A review study published in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry examined prior cellular, animal, and human research for the effects of berries on brain health.  The researchers concluded that flavonoids found in berries protect cells from free radical damage and change the way neurons communicate in the brain.  This helps prevent inflammation that can lead to neuron damage and enhances cognition and motor control.

Related:  How to Spice Up Your Memory with Turmeric

Curcumin

A potent ingredient found in the spice turmeric, curcumin packs a number of important health benefits including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is why it has been investigated for its effect on neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease.  Animal studies show treatment with curcumin lessens the effects of glutathione depletion, a condition associated with early Parkinson's disease.  Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant made by the body, and depletion leads to oxidative stress and an overabundance of free radicals. 

Lipoic Acid or Alpha-Lipoic Acid

When it comes to antioxidants and brain health, lipoic acid makes a powerful protector for several reasons.  It passes freely through the blood-brain barrier, and it destroys free radicals.  It also helps regenerate vitamin C and vitamin E, two antioxidants that become compromised when fighting free radicals.  People can obtain lipoic acid through foods like spinach and broccoli or take the synthetic version alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) as a supplement.

Research on very old mice treated with ALA showed reduced oxidative stress and improved learning and memory.  Humans with Alzheimer's disease who were treated with a combination of ALA and omega-fatty acids showed less cognitive and functional decline than subjects treated with placebo.

Conclusion

People who learn about antioxidants and brain health take the first step toward keeping the mind active and healthy well into the golden years.  Food and supplements containing potent antioxidants help keep inflammation, oxidative stress, and free radicals at bay for sharper focus, quicker thinking, and better memory.

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Antioxidants and Heart Health

by Health News

Oxygen is necessary for important body functions like respiration and metabolism, but when oxygen reacts with some body tissues, it creates harmful free radicals.  These unstable molecules steal electrons from other molecules, which can result in tissue damage.  An overabundance of free radicals has been associated with a number of health problems including heart disease.  Fortunately, potent antioxidants like vitamin C and resveratrol help neutralize free radicals and keep body tissues healthy.  Learning more about antioxidants and heart health may result in a few new additions to the grocery cart and a healthier body. 

Because antioxidants and heart health go hand in hand, people may want to load up on citrus fruits and red grapes.

Vitamin C offers a number of benefits to heart health.  The powerful antioxidant helps keep blood pressure under control and is linked to lower levels of lipoproteins associated with stroke.  By neutralizing free radicals, vitamin C helps to prevent hardening of the arteries, and contributes to lower cholesterol by helping to repair damaged arterial walls.

Studies on antioxidants and heart health show excellent results for vitamin C.  One study found that men who consume at least 300 mg of vitamin C daily lower chances of dying from heart disease by 40 percent.  

Related:  Natural Weight Loss Supplement: Resveratrol

Resveratrol

Certain foods like red grapes contain a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol.  Experts suggest that it may help reduce chances for heart disease by lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or what many people refer to as "bad" cholesterol.  A review study published in Cardiovascular Drug Review links regular consumption of resveratrol to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, healthier blood vessels, and fewer blood clots in animals, but more human studies are needed. 

Conclusion

When it comes to antioxidants and heart health, two in particular appear to offer preventative benefits:  vitamin C and resveratrol.  People can obtain vitamin C from dietary supplements or from fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits, cantaloupe, pomegranates, berries, bell peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.  In addition to red grapes, other foods that contain resveratrol include blueberries, cranberries, and peanuts.  People can also get daily doses of resveratrol through dietary supplements. 

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

 

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Why Plant-Based Powder Supplements are the Best

by Institute for Vibrant Living

All supplements are not the same. Synthetic extracts and "green" supplements may sound healthy and full of goodness,  but the truth is you need to take plant based vitamins and supplements made from whole-food plant-based powders to get the nutritional benefits you are searching for. 

plant-based vitamins and supplements

Here's why plant based vitamins and supplements are just what you’ve been searching for:

Plant Based Vitamins and Supplements Work Synergistically

Some health supplements and vitamins sound full of highly concentrated health-giving benefits, but they are made from extractions, which mean they isolate the particular nutrient from the rest of the plant to provide concentrated vitamin and mineral supplements. However, using the extracted nutrient in isolation from the plant from which it was derived means that they do not perform as nature intended, to their full capacity.

The way many plant based vitamins and supplements work is by their interaction with other micronutrients and metabolites found in the whole plant. The nutrients often work synergistically with the rest of the plant to maximum their efficacy. In order to get the full power of these secondary metabolites, you need to look for whole-food, plant-based powders to get the best possible health benefits.

For example, you may drink a healthy smoothie for vitamin C, but think how much more you would benefit if that supplement was made from whole plants, not just a vitamin C extract. The same shake could deliver fiber, antioxidants, immune-boosting phyto-nutrients, probiotics and enzymes as well as the desired vitamin C boost if it was made from whole foods.

Related:  7 Tips for Becoming a Plant Eater

Plant Based Vitamins and Supplements are Naturally Absorbed

Those people taking plant based vitamins and supplements generally understand the benefits of nature and want a natural safe approach to health and weight loss, not a laboratory-created pill. When you choose whole-food plant-based supplements, you know that your body is absorbing and utilizing the nutrients to maximum effect, as it was designed to do.

One big difference between synthetic and natural plant-based supplements is that plant based vitamins and supplements include enzymes. They play an important role is making those nutrients available, helping the body to absorb and utilize the accompanying minerals and vitamins. Absorption takes place at cell level and the enzymes and amino acids present in plant based supplements ensure that the supplement absorption is natural and efficient. By giving your body the tools it needs to stay fit and healthy, you are allowing your body to self-correct, protecting the longevity of your health.

If you want to boost your dietary intake of vitamins and minerals, it makes sense to deliver plant based vitamins and supplements in the same form that nature already provides. 

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

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Are You Vitamin D Deficient? Take This Quiz

by IVL Products

Take our quiz to see if you are showing any signs of vitamin D deficiency. If you can answer yes to one or more of the questions below, you need to take action!

Taking daily supplements can help to counter the signs of a vitamin D deficiency.

Question #1:  Do you live in a northern climate?

Scientists have found that those who live in the colder northern latitudes are more likely to have signs of vitamin D deficiency. This is caused by the darker northern winters when days are short and skies are overcast. The lack of natural sunlight means the body is unable to make sufficient vitamin D. Even if you have no visible symptoms of a lack of vitamin D, it’s a good idea to boost vitamin D intake in other ways, such as through daily supplements and a diet high in oily fish, maitake mushrooms, cheese and eggs.

Question #2:  Do you suffer from sadness and depression?

If you have bouts of feeling "blue" or depressed for no rational reason, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a medically recognized condition caused by lack of bright light and sunshine. It may be due to living in a less sunny climate or having an indoor lifestyle with artificial lighting. Recognize the dangers by getting outdoors on a bright day and topping up with foods high in vitamin D as in Q1.

Question #3:  Do you have darker skin?

African Americans and those with a naturally darker skin have an increased risk of developing the signs of vitamin D deficiency. This is because the pigment in your skin acts as a natural sunscreen, protecting you from harmful UV rays, but also blocking out the sun's exposure which allows the body to make vitamin D.  According to Dr. Michael Holick, a leading researcher into vitamin D research, those with darker skin may need up to 10 times more exposure to the sun to generate sufficient vitamin D.

Related:  Vitamins and the Natural Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Question #4:  Do you have digestive upsets?

If you suffer from gastric problems including Crohn’s, celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity or inflammatory bowel disease, fat-soluble vitamin D in your diet may not be properly digested and absorbed. This means that getting outdoors whenever possible and taking a daily vitamin D supplement is even more important to avoid the signs of vitamin D deficiency.

Question #5:  Do you have aching bones?

Dr. Holick states that many people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome are actually suffering from typical signs of vitamin D deficiency. This important vitamin is essential for strong bones and teeth. A lack of vitamin D can cause osteoporosis in later life; and also reduces the calcium in the collagen of the bone structure, causing throbbing aching bones. Try vitamin D supplements first and see if that solves the problem. The Vitamin D Council recommends that adults lacking sunlight take 2,000 IU daily.

As you can see, vitamin D is essential for optimal health, preventing everything from rickets and osteoporosis to cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Taking a daily supplement is the only way to ensure that you consistently have enough, and boosting levels with careful exposure to sunlight and eating vitamin D rich foods will help to support a healthier you. 

 

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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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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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Are Seniors Being Injured by Medical Care?

by Cindy Gray

We refer to a doctor, healthcare professional or hospital to make us feel better when we are ill, but alarming statistics suggest that preventable medical errors may be the third leading cause of death in the U.S. The causes include medical injury, polypharmacy, receiving treatment that leads to further medical complications, or suffering from an allergic reaction to medication. Knowing the dangers of polypharmacy may save you or a loved one from being a part of these alarming statistics.

Polypharmacy may be doing more harm than good in seniors

A study on elderly Medicare patients found that one in five suffered some type of medical injury as a result of treatment, either in a hospital or as an outpatient. Other studies support these figures, showing 19% of seniors (including a small percentage of hospitalized patients) are the victim of medical errors. These include inappropriate blood transfusions, contracting hospital infections and medication errors, including polypharmacy in older adults.

What is Polypharmacy?

Polypharmacy is defined as taking four or more medications on a regular basis. Taking a combination of drugs can be a significant hazard, as there will inevitably be some interaction between the medications, which can cause serious side effects.

Related:  How Safe Are Supplements And Natural Medicine?

In addition, there is the danger of a person being allergic to a particular drug or combination of drugs, or in some cases being prescribed an inappropriate dose or even a wrong medication altogether. The hazards and dangers of polypharmacy are multiple, yet many seniors will be prescribed a statin, a beta-blocker, an ACE inhibitor and an antidepressant after suffering a heart attack. They may then take aspirin or paracetamol for a headache or joint pain, so the dangers of polypharmacy are highly likely.

Ways to Avoid the Dangers of Polypharmacy

Preventing polypharmacy in older adults is important as, ironically, taking less medication may be healthier than taking something to prevent or fix every minor complaint. Polypharmacy can lead to undesirable side effects, reactions to drugs (especially if the drugs interact with each other) or even unintentional overdoses if seniors forget whether they have taken their pills.

Tips for avoiding the dangers of polypharmacy include:

  • Being treated by just one physician rather than multiple doctors or specialists. This way the doctor can be aware of whatever medications the patient is taking; and the doctor can more effectively assess any health risks, if any, and consider the possible drug interactions
  • Make good food choices so that you need less medication to live healthily, without the need for medications, particularly multiple medications
  • Get plenty of quality sleep to allow your body to do its own healing and repair
  • Take vitamins and natural supplements rather than medications
  • Regular exercise can also be helpful in preventing polypharmacy in older adults

Being aware of the dangers of polypharmacy may help you make better long-term decisions about your health to avoid becoming another innocent victim of our overly-medicated polypharmaceutical culture.

5 Medications to AVOID at all Costs

 

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Six Strategies for Healthy Aging

by IVL Products

Aging gracefully and healthily may take some effort, but knowing what to avoid and what to include in your life should be a vital part of your healthy aging plan, whatever your age.

Here are some anti-aging tips to ensure that optimum healthy aging is achieved.

Exercise is an important part of healthy aging.

1. Avoid Sugar

Not only does sugar introduce "empty" calories into your diet, it is also a trigger for inflammation. Eat fruits in moderation and swap sugary drinks for low-calorie drinks; or better still, drink plenty of water. Top your breakfast cereal with antioxidant rich berries rather than sugar and you are well on your way to establishing a healthy aging, sugar-free regimen.

2. Avoid Food!

Intermittent fasting has been found to be an important part of longevity. As well as being naturally detoxifying, fasting decreases excess body fat, boosts mental clarity, and controls blood sugar levels. Restricting calories has been shown in studies to be very effective at extending lifespan.

3. Avoid Stress for Healthy Aging

Stress is the biggest enemy of healthy aging. It negatively affects general health, lowers cognitive ability, and unnecessarily triggers the release of stress hormones.

4. Include Omega-3s

Omega-3s are essential for older adults. As well as improving joint and heart health, these fatty acids appear to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's by reducing brain inflammation. Omega-3s are found in oily fish, nuts and olive oil, but the only way to be sure of your daily intake is by taking an Omega-3 supplement.

Related:  Five Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Healthy Foods

5. Include Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise is essential for healthy aging as it improves muscle strength and counters the loss of stamina that is part of the aging process. Exercise also improves balance and supports stronger bones.

Checkout what high intensity anti-aging exercises you could incorporate into your life as part of your healthy aging plan. The American Heart Association advises doing 8-10 strength-building exercises and repeating them for 10 to 15 repetitions to build and maintain strength. Use hand weights to increase the effectiveness of simple weight training exercises such as biceps curls, lunges and squats.

6. Include Vitamin D for Healthy Aging

Scientists have found that higher levels of vitamin D can help slow the aging process and protect against age-related disease. It is thought to extend the telomeres responsible for cell regeneration. Studies indicate that people who have higher levels of vitamin D live significantly longer than their counterparts.

Sunshine is a natural source of vitamin D, but it also ages the skin, so enjoy the sunshine, but protect yourself from the sun.  Wear a hat when outside in the sun; wear a loose, gauzy shirt to protect your arms; wear sunglasses to protect your eyesight; and use a natural sunscreen when getting your vitamin fix. Taking vitamin D in supplement form or eating plenty of oily fish also boosts vitamin D levels, helping the body metabolize calcium for strong bones as well as protecting against heart disease.

It's never too early to starts a healthy aging plan, so consider these six strategies and get started!