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Best Diet for Stress Relief – Best Foods For Stress

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Sometimes the simplest and oldest ideas for dealing with stress management can also be the most effective. We hear a great deal about superfoods and innovative stress-busting techniques, but when it comes down to an effective diet for stress relief, there are three food staples you need.

Eating these foods can significantly help stress management

Here’s are the best foods for stress:

Whole Grains Aid Stress Management

People who start the day with a bowl of whole grain cereal have lower cortisol levels, according to research. We know that highly refined, processed and fatty foods increase anxiety and mood swings, but whole grains can counter those feelings by providing steady energy levels, high spirits and calm nerves. These benefits come from a variety of sources found in whole grain foods including B vitamins.

Vitamin B is known to have mood-lifting properties which are part of any stress management process. A three-month trial at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia confirmed that a diet high in B vitamins significantly lowers stress levels. Professor Con Stough reported that B vitamins found in whole grains are “integral to the synthesis of neurotransmitters critical to psychological well-being."

Good sources of B-vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid are:

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Durum wheat
  • Wild rice
  • Barley
  • Wheat
  • Buckwheat
  • Millett
  • Oats

Fruit and Vegetables Lower Stress Hormones

Loading your plate with fruit and vegetables at every meal helps neutralize free radicals that are known to be stress-related. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale contain folate which produces dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter that is responsible for reward-motivated behavior and feelings of happiness. A study on 2,800 seniors found that those who consumed more folate had a significantly lower risk of depression.

Related:  Tasty, Versatile Kale is an Antioxidant Powerhouse

A similar study by the University of Otago in New Zealand found that students who ate more fruit and vegetables were calmer, happier and less stressed than their counterparts. They also found that healthy eating predicted a positive mood the following day.

More specific fruit and vegetables to support stress management include blueberries. High in antioxidants and phytonutrients they also promote killer white blood cells in the body that counter stress.

De-stress with Omega-3 Fish Oil

Good old omega-3 fish oils once again come to the rescue when it comes to stress management. The fatty acids found in salmon and other oily foods contain anti-inflammatory properties. According to Lisa Cimperman from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, omega-3 counteracts the anxiety hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

To put the theory to the test, a study on medical students from Oregon State University found that taking omega-3 fish oil supplements lowered anxiety levels by 20%, compared to the control group who took a placebo.

As one 3-ounce serving of cooked wild salmon contains around 2,000 mg of omega-3, it’s easy to follow the American Heart Association recommendation of two servings per week for a healthy heart and sensible stress management.   For consistent daily support, consider omega-3 supplements too.

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Top Supplements to Erase Problems of Aging Skin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

One of the common aging skin problems is light or dark brown spots called age spots. They are show up on the face, chest, shoulders and hands in both men and women; and they can affect younger people, too.  They are also called liver spots and are a result of dietary deficiencies and years of exposure to the harsh rays of the sun.

Topical creams and cover-ups will temporarily disguise the unsightly spots but in order to get rid of them, or at the very least lighten them so they are less noticeable, you will need to treat them from the inside out.

Supplements and lifestyle changes can help prevent age spots and aging skin.

Supplements

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a power antioxidant that will help damaged skin cells repair themselves and prevent new ones from popping up.  Antioxidants help your body combat cell damaging free radicals by neutralizing them. It also aids in circulation by extending the life cycle of red blood cells, important for transporting oxygen to cells for energy and keeping toxins from building up in the body. Research suggests vitamin E may also help slow down the aging process by protecting cellular membranes.

The recommended dosage for adults is 200 IU of vitamin E in d-alpha tocopherol form daily for maximum benefit.

Related:  Vitamin E Deficiency & Diseases of the Digestive System

Vitamin C

Everyone should get plenty of vitamin C in their diet, even if they don’t have age spots.  Found in abundance in citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits), spinach and kale, it is a critical nutrient that supports good health and can help get rid of common aging skin problems like age spots, but also fine lines and wrinkles. 

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant to rid your body of damaging free radicals. It also helps to combat the formation of new brown spots by offering protection against UVA and UVB rays. It’s like an internal broad-spectrum sunscreen. 

Results are not immediate, meaning, you will need to take the vitamin C and be patient for up to a year for the dark spots to fade. In the meantime slather lots of sunscreen on your face, hands and where ever else spots have formed.

The recommended daily dosage of vitamin C supplements for adults is 2,000 milligrams per day.

Beta-carotene

Beta-carotene is responsible for the bright vibrant color in many healthy foods like carrots, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe and winter squash.

When consumed, the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol), which is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, cell mucous membranes and skin.  It is also an antioxidant to help damaged cells regenerate.

Prevention

Of course, the most effective way to treat age spots is to not let them form at all. You can help yourself avoid this common aging skin problem by adopting a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, adding these supplements to your diet and applying sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher to your exposed skin every day, year round.

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Natural Ways to Beat Fatigue Symptoms

by Institute for Vibrant Living

About one million Americans report feeling chronically fatigued.  Millions more report occasional but reoccurring tiredness as a health issue. Fortunately, there are natural, safe ways to relieve your fatigue symptoms and they don’t involve taking a new prescription in most cases. Simple lifestyle changes and the addition of some herbs and supplements can help naturally relieve your fatigue and give you a new lease on life.

Understanding fatigue symptoms and what we can do about them.

Too Tired

Occasional fatigue is normal. A hard workout, long day at the office, a fun-filled but activity packed vacation, are all reasons you may be tired. Unfortunately many people feel tired all the time and it takes an unfortunate toll on their health. Fatigued drivers account for 20% of all car accidents. Tired kids and adults show a decrease in cognitive function making school and jobs more difficult. 

You might think that being too tired all the time is a normal part of aging, but it’s not. If daily living has you dragging, it’s time to make some changes to your lifestyle.

Common Reasons for Fatigue

Sleep

It cannot be emphasized enough how important getting enough sleep is to maintaining your health, especially your energy levels. Unfortunately, most Americans do not get the minimum 6-8 hours needed every night to help the body restore itself after long, stressful days working, working out, caring for family, dealing with traffic, and the stuff of daily life.

Day after day, week after week of not getting enough shut-eye leads to fatigue and other unpleasant experiences like weight gain, cognitive decline and speeds up the aging process.  Experts recommend going to bed at a reasonable hour each night and rising at the same time each day, even on weekends and vacations. Establishing a soothing nighttime ritual and sticking to it will do wonders for your fatigue symptoms.

Hormones

Hormones out of balance are a leading cause of fatigue.  A trip to the doctor might be in order if your fatigue symptoms came on suddenly.  This could indicate a malfunctioning thyroid or adrenal gland malfunction. Women going through menopause may have fluctuating and declining hormones, which cause sleep disturbances and fatigue.  Ruling out hormonal imbalances is key to banishing fatigue.

Related:  Understanding the Dangers of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Nutrition

Our bodies run on carbohydrates, but not the kind found in a doughnut. Highly refined white flour and sugar-laden foods will cause a surge in blood sugar giving you a short burst of energy, only to send you crashing and feeling tired.  You know what to do: eat more complex carbohydrates like brown rice, whole grains and vegetables while consuming a lot less white flour products loaded with sugar.

You may also not be eating enough fat. Yes, fat. It is as essential to a healthy diet as carbohydrates and protein. You need to eat the right kind of fat in moderation to optimize energy levels.  Nuts, avocados, olive, coconut and canola oils, eggs and organic, grass fed-beef are all great sources of healthy fats that will help relieve your fatigue symptoms.

You may be dehydrated. Many people mistake thirst for hunger, so before you reach for a candy bar to shake off that tired feeling, try drinking an eight ounce glass of good old fashioned water and see if you don’t feel better in about 10 minutes. Get in the habit of carrying around a bottle of H2O and drinking it a couple times a day.

Supplements

You could find relief from your fatigue symptoms by supplementing your diet with missing nutrients.

Magnesium – start with the lowest dosage (600 mg or less)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – a fish oil supplement can help you get enough of this essential nutrient every day

Vitamin B12 – you can get this crucial nutrient in pill form or through injections

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Five Ways to Burn More Fat

by Health News

There are no magic ways to burn fat, although scientists are working hard to find some! In the meantime we are left with the cold hard fact – the only way to burn fat deposits is through metabolism. However, there are some ways to burn fat faster or more effectively by increasing the metabolic rate. Here are a few tips that can trick your body into burning more fat at a faster rate.

There are many different ways to burn fat besides exercise

1. Carb Cycling

Carb cycling is one of the top ways to burn fat. It involves having three low-carb days followed by two high-carb days, which provides the body with just the right amount of carbs for burning and then allows it to replenish its glycogen. On your highest day you should eat 1-1.5g carbs per pound of bodyweight, so a person weighing 200 pounds should eat:

  • Day 1   150 grams
  • Day 2   100 grams
  • Day 3   50 grams
  • Day 4   125 grams
  • Day 5   200 grams

Repeat throughout the diet to enhance the fat burning process.

2. Cardio Intervals

Intense interval training is a more effective way of burning fat than a steady jog as the body remains in the fat-burning zone, with the heart rate between 50-65%, for the intense exercise period and for up to four hours after. Interval cardio session also train the body to store more carbs as glycogen in the muscles and liver rather than as fat, providing easily accessible energy. The muscle stores raise your basal metabolic rate so that you burn more energy, even when you are not in intensive training.

Related:  A Probiotic Supplement that Prevents Fat Absorption

3. Fish Oil and Exercise

Studies focusing on omega-3 fish oil show that it can assist with weight loss. This is one of the easiest ways to burn fat simply and healthily. Results of tests published in the American Journal of Nutrition show that exercise and fish oil can each contribute to weight loss. However, when combined, the fish oil appears to increase fat metabolism and weight loss when exercise is performed. It also appears that the DHA in fish oil stops the body from converting pre-fat cells into fat.

4. Eat More Protein

Although eating protein does not burn fat, it does take more calories to digest protein than either carbohydrates or fats. Protein takes longer to digest in the stomach, making you feel full for longer, which also helps you eat less.

5. Eat More Dairy Foods

A study into dairy-rich vs. low-dairy diets showed that obese adults who ate a high-dairy diet lost more weight (and burned more fat) than those who ate the same number of calories from a low-dairy diet. Researcher Michael Zemel, PhD says, "Calcium is a critical factor in controlling what your body does with calories, and dairy is an even more critical factor. Without changing how many calories we take away, we can alter how much weight and fat you lose." These results were also confirmed by a dairy-rich diet trial by Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

So, if you are looking for ways to burn fat more effectively, try these scientifically-proven tricks.

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Omega 3 Fish Oil for Weight Loss

by Cindy Gray

We are conditioned to think that all fat is bad, especially if we are trying to lose weight. Low-fat diets have been promoted for decades as the only way to shed body fat, but now it seems that is not entirely true. A recent study by the University of South Australian found that there are definite benefits of omega 3 fish oil for weight loss when taken in conjunction with regular exercise.

Studies show the benefits of omega 3 fish oil weight loss

Study on the Weight Loss Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil

The Australian study focused on 75 participants who were diagnosed as overweight (>25 BMI) or obese (>30 BMI) with other risk factors for metabolic syndrome. These increased risk factors included high cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, hypertension and/or heightened insulin levels.

The group was divided into four different categories and each group was given either:

  • Tuna fish oil supplements (omega-3) with no exercise
  • Tuna fish oil supplements (omega-3) with exercise
  • Sunflower oil supplements (no omega-3) with no exercise
  • Sunflower oil supplements (no omega-3) with exercise

The supplements were 6 x 100 mg capsules of omega-3 fish oil or sunflower oil. The participants who included exercise in their program also completed three 45-minute runs each week at 75% of their maximum heart rate. No dietary changes were made to any of the participants’ routine.

After three weeks, members of three of the groups remained the same weight.  However, the group taking tuna fish oil supplements combined with exercise showed an average weight loss of 4.5 pounds, and a marked decrease in percentage body fat. This clearly showed the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for weight loss when combined with regular exercise.

The study concluded that if the fish oil supplements and exercise regimen were adopted by someone who was also on a calorie-controlled diet, the weight loss could be even more substantial.

Related:  Natural Weight Loss Supplement Resveratrol

How Does Omega-3 Fish Oil Benefit Weight Loss?

Omega-3 is known to improve blood flow to the muscles during exercise. It also helps trigger enzymes involved in burning or oxidizing fat when the metabolic rate increases during exercise. The combination of omega-3 and exercise prompts the body to carry fat to where the muscles can burn it as energy, thereby lowering body fat stores.

The study participants also underwent DEXA body scans which distinguish between fat, muscle and bone. Although three groups of participants remained unchanged, the group taking omega-3 with exercise showed a significant reduction of belly fat.

Those who took omega-3 fish oil without exercise still benefitted, as their blood pressure decreased during the study and there was a beneficial effect on their heart rate and triglyceride levels.

These encouraging results showing the benefits of omega 3 fish oil weight loss will now be followed up with other studies by Professor Howe, Director of the Australian Technology Network for Metabolic Fitness. In the meantime, dieters have nothing to lose but fat if they add 600 mg omega-3 fish oil and regular exercise to their weight loss plan. 

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Six Ways Your Health Suffers When You Stop Working Out

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

Obesity is more likely in those who stopped working out

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

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

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

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

1. Shrinking Muscles

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

2. Decrease in Brain Power

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

3. Increase in Body Fat

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

Related:  Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

4. Blood Pressure Rises

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

5. Blood Sugar Spikes

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

6. Shortness of Breath

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

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

 

 

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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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Five Reasons Why You May be Suffering from Fatigue

by Health News

In our modern world, schedules are busier than ever, and exhaustion is a common complaint.  While periods of tiredness are normal, continual fatigue could be an indicator of something other than a hectic lifestyle.  Discover five reasons you may be suffering from fatigue and a few tips for restoring energy.

With a hectic lifestyle, it is normal to experience intervals of fatigue.

1.  Diet

Diet can make a big difference when it comes to energy levels.  A latte and a doughnut get the day off to a lively start, but the sugary buzz only lasts for a few hours, and then fatigue sets in. 

According to Dr. Oz, people should trade simple carbs for protein in the morning.  A protein shake or a veggie omelet provides steady energy until lunchtime.  High fiber/high protein snacks also help maintain energy levels throughout the day.  For tasty options, try power bars, whole wheat crackers and tuna, veggies and hummus, or a handful of mixed nuts.

2.  Poor Sleep

Seven to eight hours of restorative sleep helps people wake refreshed.  Over time, less sleep can lead to chronic fatigue.  Tips for better sleep include reducing or eliminate caffeine consumption, getting a full eight hours of sleep, avoiding television or computers for at least 30 minutes before bedtime,  and setting the nighttime thermostat to around 68 degrees.

3.  Lack of Exercise

While it may seem counter-intuitive to exercise when tired, studies show it may be just the ticket for boosting energy.  Researchers from the University of Georgia tested the effects of exercise on a group of 36 subjects with persistent fatigue who did not exercise regularly.  

After six weeks at intervals of 20 minutes, three times per week, groups who performed low-intensity or moderate-intensity exercise showed an equal increase in energy levels of 20% as compared to the control group.  Interestingly, the low-intensity group reported 65% less fatigue and the moderate-intensity group reported 49% less fatigue than the control group.

Related:  The Many Benefits of Regular Exercise

4.  Anemia

Red blood cells deliver oxygen from the lungs to other body cells and tissues.  People who have anemia don't have enough red blood cells, which can leave people feeling tired.  Anemia can be caused by blood loss, chronic disease, or an iron or vitamin deficiency.  It is common among women of childbearing age due to menstruation or a need for extra iron while pregnant or breast feeding.  A simple blood test can determine whether anemia is an issue and iron supplementation is needed.  Foods high in iron include red meat, pork, poultry, beans, and leafy green vegetables.

5.  Thyroid Problems

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck.  It produces a hormone that helps regulate metabolism.  Production of too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) makes metabolism speed up and too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) makes it slow down.

Hyperthyroidism can cause muscle fatigue and weakness, weight loss, flushing, lighter menstruation, and thirst and is most common among women in their 20s and 30s.  Hypothyroidism can cause general fatigue, concentration problems, weight gain, heavier menstruation, and cold body temperature and is most common among women over the age of 50.  People concerned about thyroid problems can have a simple blood test to confirm diagnosis and get treatment.

While a busy lifestyle creates intervals of fatigue, chronic tiredness may an indication of another problem.  After medical issues are ruled out, people experiencing persistent fatigue can try changing their diet, getting better sleep, or exercising more often. 

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Weakness: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by IVL Products

We can all experience physical weakness at times, perhaps after a serious illness, or when we’re tired, overworked or exhausted. Short-term weakness usually passes when the cause is rectified, whether it is lack of sleep, stress or fighting sickness. 

Weakness can affect the whole body

If you are experiencing ongoing weakness that does not seem to improve, you need to take steps to discover the cause and treat it. There are many possible causes of weakness including:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Anemia
  • Colds and flu
  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Low blood sugar
  • Stress

It could also be caused by more serious medical conditions such as cancer, stroke or heart attack.   

Related:  Heart Health Benefits of Meditation

Let’s first eliminate some simple possible causes of weakness:

Poor Diet causes Weakness

If weakness is due to poor diet or intense weight-watching, analyze what you are eating. You should be enjoying a balanced diet with adequate protein, carbohydrates and fat. According to the Institute of Medicine, 45-65% of our daily calorie intake (2,000 calories total for men and 1800 for women) should come from carbohydrates, preferably multigrain bread, brown rice, beans and lentils. Ten to 25% should be derived from protein such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products, and around 30% of our daily calories should be from healthy fats which the body uses for energy or stores as glucose.

Colds and Sickness

In winter, colds and flu can weaken the body’s immune system. The after effects of any virus, sickness or surgical procedure can leave the body feeling drained and weak. Try eating well and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to boost vitamin intake and antioxidants. Consider taking a multivitamin or supplement to ensure your body is getting all the help it needs to restore itself to full health again. Another easy way to boost energy is with a green drink or smoothie to help boost immunity, provide antioxidant support and improve digestion.

Other Causes of Weakness

Try to analyze whether you are suffering from full body weakness or isolated weakness. Think back to when the weakness first began and to what it may be related. If you cannot find an obvious cause for general weakness and it does not improve, you may need to consult a doctor.

If at any time your weakness is accompanied by difficulty breathing, then you should call 911 immediately, as it could indicate a more serious medical condition. Your doctor will determine the underlying cause and treat accordingly.

In the meantime, make sure you enjoy a healthy balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, enjoy daily exercise and any weakness should soon be a thing of the past. 

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Sweat Too Much? Four Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating

by IVL Products

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

There are ways to help reduce excessive sweating

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

1.     Use Antiperspirant Twice Daily

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

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

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

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

2.     Eliminate Spicy Food

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

3.     Avoid Caffeine

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

4.     Try Detox Supplements to Reduce Sweating

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

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

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

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Foods for Weight Loss: The Science Behind the Grapefruit Diet

by Health News

It’s time to give the grapefruit diet another look. It may be more effective than you might think.  Grapefruit to help you lose weight is not a new idea, but more research is giving real weight to the anecdotal evidence that it is one of the best foods for weight loss.  Research shows that you can consume grapefruit regularly with few side effects, and lots of health benefits beyond weight control.

The infamous grapefruit diet has actually been around since the 1930s. Since anecdotal evidence has persisted for decades about the effectiveness of grapefruit as a food for weigh loss more research has been conducted to see if it really can have a positive effect on the body.

Effective foods for weight loss include the grapefruit.

The Bad News First

Grapefruit, grapefruit juice, nor grapefruit supplements are going to magically melt fat off your body without changing your eating habits or exercising.  No food or pill will do that. If there was such a thing out there we would all be lean and long-lived.

The reality that there is no one miracle food for weight loss is not a reason for dismay.  Certain foods can have a positive impact on your efforts to shed a few pounds and grapefruit is one of them.

The Good News

Besides weight loss there are many other good reasons to eat grapefruit.  It is a rich source of:

  • Vitamins C and A - both are powerful antioxidants
  • Potassium – a mineral that helps nerves and muscles communicate
  • Biotin – a B complex vitamin that helps the body synthesize fatty acids and glucose
  • Vitamin B1 –aka, thiamine, it helps the body convert food to fuel
  • Copper – necessary to aid the body in metabolizing iron and to form red blood cells
  • Pantothenic acid - aka vitamin B5, to help break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates and convert them energy

Grapefruit (not juice or supplements) also has lots of water and fiber to keep the body hydrated and the GI tract humming along normally.  Even if you don’t need to lose weight, you should be eating grapefruit.

Related:  Five Foods that Support Your Weight Loss Efforts

The Grapefruit Weight Loss Connection

The original grapefruit diet was pretty restrictive and thus doomed to fail.  In the various early versions of it the diet called for drinking the juice and eating grapefruit for every meal. Most of the diets also called for cutting out all sweets, most carbohydrates like vegetables, grains and cereals, which is not a healthy or sustainable eating plan.

The diet has evolved over the decades with different names like the Hollywood Diet and the 10 Days, 10 Pounds Off Diet. As with any temporary diet fad, it was ineffective over the long-term. 

Why the notion that grapefruit can aid in weight loss persists is studies like the one published in 2006 by the Journal of Medicinal Food.  The study was conducted with 91 obese participants divided into four groups.  Group one got a grapefruit capsule before every meal. Group two drank grapefruit juice daily. Group four ate a half of a grapefruit daily and the last group was given a placebo.

The results at the end of the study led researchers to conclude that grapefruit, the juice and the capsule did indeed aid in weight loss with the group that ate the actual fruit losing the most, an average of 1.5 pounds. Coming in at a close second and third was the grapefruit juice group who lost an average of 1.3 pounds and, finally, the capsule group who lost about 1.1 pounds.  The study participants who received the placebo lost a negligent 1/3-pound on average.

Also significant is the fact that all participants who received grapefruit in some fashion also had lower glucose insulin levels making it a potentially great choice for diabetics and anyone at risk for developing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Based on the results of this study several more were conducted.  One study showed grapefruit to be highly beneficial in slowing weight gain when consumed with fatty foods.

More research is needed but the current studies support grapefruit as a one of the best foods for weight loss when consumed regularly.  With lots of nutrients, filling fiber and water, adding a half or whole grapefruit to your daily diet makes good sense whether you are trying to lose weight or not.

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Three Herbs that Reduce Stress

by Health News

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

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

1.  Holy Basil

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

2.  Kava

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

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

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

Related:  Natural Remedies for Mild Depression

3.  Chamomile

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

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

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

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

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How to Reduce Food Cravings with Three Supplements

by Health News

Weight watchers and women going through menopause often suffer extreme food cravings that are hard to resist. Often those cravings are for sugary treats and comfort foods which, if indulged, can quickly lead to excess weight. If you want to know how to reduce food cravings, these three supplements could be your best weapons, and may help you to stay on track diet-wise. 

Three common health supplements can provide the answer to how to reduce food cravings

Decrease Hunger Pangs with 5-HTP

Some food cravings can be caused by a lack of serotonin which causes an increase in appetite. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that produces a "feel-good" factor as well as feelings of fullness after eating. Serotonin deficiency can cause cravings for sugar and carbohydrates as the body tries to increase serotonin levels in the brain.

The best natural supplement to boost serotonin levels is called 5-HTP (or hydroxytryptophan), a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan and a precursor to serotonin production. Taking a supplement of 5-HTP, according to the NBI, has been found in clinical trials to naturally boost serotonin production which is a powerful agent for those wondering how to reduce food cravings.

Taking 50-100 mg of 5-HTP with fruit once or twice a day can help reduce cravings for food, and as a bonus it can help to support a calm mood and healthy sleep patterns.

Related:  Sleep Deprivation:  Is It Dangerous To Your Health?

Control Blood Sugar Cravings with Chromium

Chromium is a mineral that helps control glucose levels. Sometimes cravings are due to low blood sugar levels or a deficiency of this mineral. Your body naturally urges you to eat sugar by creating strong food cravings, particularly for carbohydrates, sugar and caffeine.

Chromium supplements can provide support for those who are researching how to reduce food cravings safely and naturally. By balancing blood sugar levels, chromium can greatly reduce cravings. This was discovered in a 2005 study published by The Journal of Psychiatric Practice which showed chromium supplements were effective at reducing carbohydrate cravings for those with depression.  Taking 400 mcg of chromium a day as a supplement is a safe and easy way to help control those food cravings.

Suppress the Appetite Naturally with L-Tyrosine

L-tyrosine provides a double-whammy when it comes to the question of how to reduce food cravings. First, this supplement suppresses the appetite, making it easier to control cravings and help with weight loss. Secondly, this amino acid also increases the metabolic rate of the body, burning more calories for energy and helping to maintain a normal weight.

A study on 80 obese subjects published in 2006 in The International Journal of Obesity backs up these claims, showing that L-tyrosine helped increase thermogenesis and aided weight loss. Taking 500-1000 mg once or twice a day may have a powerful effect on appetite and cravings.

By using these supplements to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce hunger pangs, and suppress the appetite, you really can gain control over cravings and enjoy a healthy happy life.

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Do You Need to Invest in B Vitamins? Take This Quiz about the Benefits of B Vitamins

by Health News

If you are unsure about the benefits of B vitamins, take our quiz to see if you need to be getting more B’s in your diet. 

Q: Do you feel like you are not as strong as you used to be? Do you commonly lose your keys or having trouble remembering how to get home from a store you’ve shopped at for years?

A: Weak muscles, fatigue and low energy are symptomatic of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Confusion, feeling depressed, and having trouble remembering things that you can’t imagine ever forgetting are also signals.

Your body needs vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your cells to be converted into energy. A low red blood cell count means your cells become starved for air and your body shuts down your muscles to conserve energy. Brain cells that are deprived of oxygen begin to die off, leading to reduced cognitive function like memory loss and confusion.

To get the 6 mcg recommended daily amount (RDA) of B12 in your diet every day, eat eggs, dairy products, meats and fortified foods. Vegans should take a supplement. 

Q: Do you have cracked skin at the corners of your mouth that no amount of moisturizer will heal?

A: A vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with a variety of skin ailments including painfully cracked skin at the corners of your mouth called cheilosis. A lack of vitamin B6 is also associated with an inflamed tongue, sores around the mouth, painfully cracked lips, and greasy or dry, flaky, peeling skin.

A vitamin B6 deficiency is pretty uncommon in the U.S. since many foods contain it. Since a deficiency in the vitamin also known as pyridoxine or pyridoxamine can also cause nerve damage, fatigue, and loss of balance—so getting the 200-milligram RDA is essential for good health. You can find it in nuts, chicken, fish, most vegetables, and bananas.

Q: Are you running to the bathroom more frequently?

A: Loose stools due to Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s or celiac disease can cause a folic acid or B9 deficiency.  Being deficient in B9 is linked to anemia, fatigue, gray hair, mouth sores, and tongue swelling. 

Children who do not get enough folic acid may experience growth problems and pregnant women are at higher risk for delivering a low-birth weight baby.

You can get plenty of folic acid in your diet from foods like tomato juice, eggs, asparagus, chicken and pork and fortified cereals.

Related:  Hearing Problems Linked to Folate Deficiency Study Finds

Q: What do widespread muscle pain, constipation and loss of sensation in the hands and feet have in common?

A: These are all common symptoms of a thiamine or vitamin B1 deficiency.  The disorder is uncommon in the U.S. and tends to be a problem in countries where white rice is the main food source like South East Asia.  The bran in the outer covering of white rice is where the much-needed thiamine resides.

In the U.S. and in developed countries alcoholics are at risk for developing health issues due to a vitamin B1 deficiency.  However, if you consistently eat a diet of high carbohydrate low-nutrient foods like pretzels, chips, candy and most other common junk food items, you could be at risk for neurological disorders. Instead of vending machine fare, choose eat whole grain breads, peas, beans and fortified foods.

Q: Are your eyes itching, watering, bloodshot, and suddenly light sensitive?

A: If you are experiencing any of those problems with your eyes and have eliminated allergies as the culprit, you may be lacking enough vitamin B2 or riboflavin in your diet.

Riboflavin is essential for many metabolic processes in the body including normal cell growth and functioning, helping other B vitamins undergo the chemical changes necessary to be used by the body and is a powerful antioxidant. 

In addition to vision problems, a lack of vitamin B2 is also linked to skin disorders, anemia, and swelling of the throat and tongue. You can get plenty of it (0.5-0.6 mg/day) in your diet by eating dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, milk cheese and yogurt, whole grains and meat.

Related: 

Q: Are you feeling unusually fatigued even after a full night’s sleep and a cup of coffee?

A: You could be deficient in any number of the B vitamins. A lack of them in your diet causes anemia, which is characterized by muscle weakness and extreme fatigue. B vitamins are essential for helping the body convert food into energy and supply your cells with oxygen for energy.  Because the B’s work together in the body, not getting enough of one kind means you may not be metabolizing others leading to a variety of health issues.

B Happy

The benefits of B vitamins are well researched and documented. Getting enough of them in your diet is fairly simple. If you consume a variety of lean meats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, there is no reason you can’t B very happy and healthy!

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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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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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Battle Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Two Red Superfoods

by IVL Products

Modern life comes with jam-packed schedules, making people more tired than ever.  While occasional fatigue is normal, chronic fatigue is not, especially when severe.  If people experience debilitating physical and mental fatigue that lasts for more than six consecutive months, they may have chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS.  Additional symptoms associated with CFS include poor memory, headaches, sore throat, and pain in the muscles or joints.   

Watermelon contains an array of nutrients that may benefit people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Cause and Treatment

Experts have yet to identify a lone cause, but some think chronic fatigue syndrome may develop from a number of triggers including immune disorder, infection, stress, trauma, or toxins.  While there is no known cure for CFS, treatment involves a number of strategies including cognitive-behavioral therapy, moderate exercise, sleep management techniques, and good nutrition.  A wholesome diet may help prevent or relieve symptoms of CFS.  Two red fruits in particular offer many benefits.

Red Apples

Red apple skins are a rich source of the antioxidant, quercetin.  This potent flavonoid helps fight free radicals that can cause cell damage and disease, and it raises energy levels by enhancing the immune system and increasing the number of mitochondria in cells. 

Studies on trained athletes show that treatment with quercetin supplements can boost endurance.  Another study from the University of South Carolina at Columbia tested the endurance of somewhat-active college students on an exercise bicycle.  After taking 500 mg of quercetin twice a day for one week, cycling endurance improved as well as lung function in all students.  The lead author of this study indicated the results might be good news for people suffering from energy-draining conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome.

Related:  Magnesium Deficiency and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Watermelon

While tomatoes offer a rich source of lycopene, scientists at the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory (SCARL) in Lane, Oklahoma have shown that watermelon offers even more.  This powerful antioxidant and others in watermelon help fight harmful free radicals that contribute to disease.  Nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin B1, magnesium, potassium, and L-citrulline found in watermelon also help people with CFS by boosting energy levels by as much as 23 percent.

Conclusion

A nutritious diet helps prevent a wide range of health problems.  Additional red superfoods that may help prevent or relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, and raspberries.  In addition to whole fruits and vegetables, people with CFS should add lean poultry, wild fatty fish, whole grains, nuts, and seeds to the shopping cart.  It helps to eliminate processed foods and sodas and drink plenty of pure, clean water.  People with CFS shouldn't smoke, and they should limit consumption of alcohol.   

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The Modern Rules of Plant-Based Superfood Proteins

by Cindy Gray

Vegetarianism and veganism is a growing lifestyle choice, but obtaining a healthy amount of daily protein can be a challenge for many non-meat eaters. While plant-based protein powders can be the answer, but you don't have to be vegetarian to enjoy the benefits of these superfood energy drinks. 

plant-based protein powder

Good Sources of Vegetarian Protein

Protein is essential for repair and restoration of muscle tissue, bones, blood, hair and nails. It is also an important source of energy. The easiest sources of complete proteins are meat, fish and dairy products, but there are other sources available for non-carnivores to include in their diet.

Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, peas and kale contain some protein. Avocadoes are one of the highest protein providers with 10 grams of protein per fruit compared to 5 grams in a cup of broccoli or spinach. These greens are commonly used in plant-based protein powder products.

Legumes are even richer in protein with one cup of soybeans typically delivering 28 grams of protein. Lentils and refried beans provide about half that amount in a one-cup serving. Garbanzo beans, commonly used to make hummus; and pinto, black, or kidney beans are also high in protein.

Nuts and seeds can be a staple for vegetarians. One ounce of peanuts provides 6.5 grams protein while cashews, sesame seeds, walnuts and pistachios are also good sources. Butter and spreads made from peanuts, almonds, and cashews provide a steady supply of protein which can be supplemented with plant-based protein powders for a varied diet.

Related:  Why Amino Acids are Important

The Importance of Amino Acids

Protein is broken down in the digestive process into amino acids which have specific functions within the body. As well as being an important part in the body's metabolism, amino acids are the building blocks of tissue, muscle and other body parts.

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

The body can produce 10 of the 20 essential amino acids it needs, but the rest must be provided regularly from the diet. The body cannot store amino acids and if any one of the essential amino acids is unavailable, the muscles and tissue in the body can begin to decline.

Plants have the ability to make all of the amino acids, making plants an ideal source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. It also makes them an important ingredient within any plant-based protein powder.

Health Benefits of Plant-based Protein Powders

Many plant foods have a selection of the complete proteins the body needs, but they may be high in one of the essential amino acids and low in others. The best way to ensure you get a balance of all 20 amino acids is by eating a variety of vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to provide for the body's essential protein needs.

The easiest way to get the supply you need without having to shop for and prepare so many different foods is by enjoying one or two daily energy drinks made from plant-based protein powder. Easy to mix and drink at home, or on-the-go, these protein-rich sources of energy and vitamins are ideal for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike.

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Are You Malnourished?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Malnutrition is unfortunately all too familiar in developing countries where people do not get sufficient nutrients in their diet. Signs of malnutrition may be all too obvious in underweight children and adults, but there are other causes of malnutrition which are evident in the U.S. and other developed nations today.

Are you showing signs of malnutrition?

Here are some common signs of malnutrition:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Lack of energy
  • Dry  or unhealthy skin
  • Wasted muscles
  • Stunted growth in children

Weight Loss Causes Signs of Malnutrition

A common modern-day cause of malnutrition is dieting. Skipping meals, eating unhealthily and starving in the name of weight loss, fashion, or peer pressure can all result in a lack of essential protein, minerals and vitamins that our bodies need to survive healthily. An obsession with size can lead to eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. Other causes of malnutrition can be drug addiction, elderly people living alone, or families and students struggling to make ends meet.

Poor Soil Causes Signs of Malnutrition

The University of Texas compared the content of calcium, iron, proteins, phosphorous and vitamin C in fruit and vegetables in 1950 and again in 1999. Although crop size and rate of growth has improved, the nutritional content of the crops has significantly declined.

According to the Kushi Institute, levels of calcium are 27% lower, iron is 37% lower and vitamin C levels are 30% lower in fruits and vegetables produced in 1997 compared to 1975. Intensive farming and lack of crop rotation is blamed for the lower nutritional content of our fruit and vegetables. This clearly indicates the importance of taking multivitamin or daily supplements to provide the essential nutrients our body needs to avoid signs of malnutrition.

Related:  Are Gut Microbes Responsible for Severe Malnutrition?

Malabsorption

Malabsorption of essential vitamins and minerals can cause signs of malnutrition even in those who eat a healthy balanced diet. Such cases may be a caused by digestive disorders such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. Those suffering from persistent vomiting or diarrhea will also not be benefitting from their food intake. Some medications can also prevent the body's ability to absorb essential nutrients, leading to malnutrition and poor health.

Treatment for Signs of Malnutrition

Any evidence of malnutrition needs to be swiftly addressed with a proper diet, and possibly with the help of a professional dietician or advisor. Less serious cases of malnutrition can be remedied with regular daily supplements of multivitamins and minerals.

With our busy highly stressed lifestyle, poor eating habits, denuded soil quality, malabsorption and medication issues, everyone needs to take a multivitamin daily to ensure that the minimum amounts of calcium, vitamins and minerals are part of our daily diet.

Challenge Yourself to Get Moving Today

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Three Tips to Ease Caregiver Stress

by IVL Products

Many health articles list divorce, being fired, and a death in the family as the primary sources of stress in life. There is good evidence to support adding a caregiver to this unfortunate list.  People who care for others with special needs, such as a child, spouse, sibling or aging parent, often seek treatment for anxiety, often due to feeling depressed, or feeling lonely in addition to feelings of depression. 

Caring for a loved one can be rewarding, but it also can be overwhelming and fraught with challenges. The demands on time, money and patience can be debilitating and isolating. 

Being a caregiver is typically a long-term and difficult life situation that can be demoralizing, especially if there is little hope that the person you are caring for will ever recover.  Burnout can result, with caregiver stress, anxiety, depression, anger, and guilt being common complaints.

Take Three

Take three important steps to help you deal with caregiver stress to restore your own health and happiness.

1. Ask For Help!

It seems simple, but too often people are just reluctant to ask for help. We don’t want to admit we need it or that we can’t “handle” it. That mindset could ultimately hurt you and possibly your loved ones.  It takes strength of character to ask for help, and there are many resources available for caregivers.

Family

Asking for help is difficult and takes courage, but you never know until you try.  It could be the best thing, start with family members. They most likely want to help but may be hesitant to offer.  Turn to family first and ask them to help out so you can take time for yourself.

Adult Daycare Centers

Adult day care centers are a wonderful way to leave your loved one in the capable hands of trained and experienced staff.  They can provide a much needed respite for both of you, once a week, or a month, or more.  This could afford you time for yourself and the activities you enjoy.

Home Health Aides

If transporting your loved one to a daycare facility is difficult because of limited mobility or other issues consider hiring a home health aide—where trained staff comes to you; daily, weekly, monthly, whatever works for the situation.  They can even be on-site with you, providing care and time with the patient, while you take a bath, catch up on bills and emails, or just relax.

2. Journaling

Caregiving can bring with it feelings of isolation.  It can mean many hours where it’s just you and the patient.  Feelings of sadness, anger and guilt can sometimes build.  For a caregiver, sometimes it can feel like you are the opponent and the referee. 

Friends can be a great sounding board, but are best reserved for sharing good times, not as therapists.

RelatedNatural Energy Booster--Green Supplements

Keeping a journal has been shown to be very therapeutic.  Keep one handy to write down your feelings, rather than keeping it bottled up inside. It’s private, so you can be honest in it.  Working through your emotions as you write can improve coping skills, and may even spark a few creative solutions. 

3. Join a Support Group

You are not alone!  There are hundreds and thousands of people in your state who are caregivers.  There are most likely dozens in your city or town who are experiencing similar problems and emotions as caregivers.  Seek them out!

A support group for caregivers is an effective way to express your emotions, empathize with others, and even exchange caregiving ideas that help everyone.  

Caring For Yourself

Caregiving is challenging and worthwhile.  The best person to care for a person with special needs is a capable, loving parent or family member.  Just don’t forget to care for yourself, too.  Seek the help and support of others who are going through similar kinds of caregiver stress.