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Supercharge Your Immune System Before You Travel

by Health News

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, travel requires careful planning. That’s why we develop extensive to-do lists that include filling up the gas tank, making airline reservations, obtaining maps and packing suitcases. Unfortunately most of us make travel plans that provide little or no focus on the most important thing of all - our health. 

Boost Your Immune System Naturally

While maintaining a strong immune system is critical for vibrant health every day of our lives, it becomes increasingly important when we are on the move. Travel can compromise the immune system because it upsets the internal body clock that regulates sleep, hunger and digestion. (This can be particularly troubling when you cross time zones.) Many travelers fall into poor eating habits and consume more caffeine and alcohol than their bodies can tolerate. 

To further complicate matters, travel also means increased exposure to germs and viruses that thrive when people are hoarded together in cars, airplanes, buses or trains. Poor air circulation contributes to the spread of illnesses and doorknobs, counters, banisters and other surfaces are likely to be contaminated by germs.   

With a little planning you can supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy your travels and protect your health. One of the best ways to prepare your immune system for travel is to take nutritional supplements before and during your trip. Supplements containing green tea and resveratrol are particularly important. Green tea contains an agent called catechin polyphenol that is considered “jet fuel” for the immune system.

Resveratrol is another potent immune system booster that can help keep you healthy before and during your travels. This powerful antioxidant, which is present in red wine, fruit and the skin of grapes, is associated with a lower risk of developing cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Because it would be difficult to obtain optimal amounts of resveratrol from food and wine, many people use resveratrol supplements. 

Many people also add probiotics to their daily regime before and during travel to prevent gastric distress. Probiotics, which are available from natural health stores, populate the intestinal tract with “friendly” bacteria that limits the growth of “bad” bacteria such as salmonella, clostridia and E coli. 

The next time you make travel plans, make sure you take your healthy habits with you. Supercharge your immune system so that you can enjoy every second of your trip.  

What do you do to stay healthy while traveling?

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How to Pick the Right Probiotic For Your Digestive System

by Health News

How to choose a probiotic supplement

Scientists estimate that the human body is home to more than 750 trillion bacteria, and most of them exist in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They are essential for the digestion of food, neutralizing hormones and supporting the body’s immune system. Having an imbalance of these bacteria can cause digestive or intestinal problems that manifest themselves as fatigue, depression, recurring yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or cramps.

You may be surprised to learn that people over 60 have 1000 times less “friendly” bacteria in their guts than younger healthy adults. Probiotics can play an essential role in aging healthy. Many studies suggest that overall health depends largely on the healthy functioning of the digestive system.

One major cause of an imbalance of bacteria is taking a course of antibiotics. They not only treat the virus that they are prescribed for, but also lay waste to the bacteria in our digestive tract. Other medications such as heartburn pills can also be harmful to gut flora as they alter the balance of intestinal bacteria.

If your gut has too many “bad” bacteria releasing toxins, your body will feel the effect with a range of health problems. If you lack sufficient digestive enzymes, a probiotic with a high count of bacteria can be taken to rectify the situation.

Picking the Correct Probiotic

Increasing the good bacteria in your intestine is easy. Yoghurt, miso and soy drinks all contain live cultures that can improve digestive or intestinal problems. The “good” bacteria thrive on nutrients called prebiotics which are found in onions, green leafy vegetables, bananas, artichokes and garlic. Bad bacteria thrive on sugars and fats from processed foods and these foods should definitely be avoided.

Live bacteria can be taken as supplements. There are many strains, each with a different function. It is wise to read the labels and learn more about what each probiotic does. For example, Lactobacillus casei (in the yoghurt drink DanActive) was found to reduce ear infections and gastrointestinal upsets in children. Studies on Bifidobacterium Infantis (found in the probiotic supplement Align) found it reduces the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

How to Take Probiotics
Some probiotics come in capsule form while others are in powder or liquid form and need to be kept refrigerated. Follow the instructions and never expose probiotics to heat or processing or they will be damaged or killed.

Most good probiotic supplements combine several beneficial bacteria with live yeast. Look for a probiotic containing billions of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces and Bifidobacteria. A supplement such as First Milk Flora is easy to take as a chewable tablet and contains 1.5 million colony forming units per tablet to promote healthy digestion. The best probiotics also include a prebiotic which helps the flora survive in the intestine.

To continue on a healthy aging path, consult your doctor before taking any probiotics as they may interfere with some medications. Once taken, you should begin to feel an improvement in your health after one to two weeks. If not, switch to a different probiotic to find one that aids your particular medical problem or gives a general boost to your feeling of wellbeing. As the probiotics change the acidic balance of your body, it is important to keep a record of any changes, and to consult a doctor beforehand if you are already taking medications. Cheers to maintaining your path of aging healthy!



Source:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/448920-the-best-probiotics-for-women/
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-choose-the-best-probiotic-acidophilus.htm

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Probiotic Supplements: Not Just for Intestinal Health

by Health News

If you’re taking probiotics to improve your digestion problems, current research suggests you’re not just helping your gut—you’re doing your entire body a favor! And if you’re not taking probiotics, you might want to consider starting. Read on to find out why!

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast in a person's digestive tract. These microorganisms are “friendly” (beneficial to the host). Among many benefits, they help degrade toxic and allergenic substances in the intestine and colon. Probiotics occur naturally in certain foods like yogurt and cottage cheese. They are also available as nutritional supplements which can be purchased in health food stores. 

Probiotic Supplements

How do probiotics help my whole body?

These tiny organisms can do some pretty amazing things! To name just a few:

They help you absorb nutrients. The friendly bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus helps with the absorption of the B vitamins and vitamin K, along with fatty acids and minerals such as calcium.

They improve immune function. Beneficial bacteria have a critical and powerful effect on your gut’s immune system and your systemic immune system. They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.

A study* published in the journal Pediatrics in 2009 looked at the potential benefits of probiotics in children during cold and flu season. According to the authors, “Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.”

They have a systemic, anti-inflammatory effect. While mechanism behind this benefit is not fully understood, recent studies strongly suggest that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus works against inflammation. One such study** looked at biological markers for inflammation in patients taking the probiotics and those take a placebo. The researchers concluded “…probiotic bacteria have strain-specific anti-inflammatory effects in healthy adults.”

Another study*** from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, looked at the effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus in infants with eczema, an inflammatory skin condition. The researchers concluded that infants receiving this probiotic had a significantly reduced risk of eczema symptoms.

So if you thought probiotic supplements were just for digestion problems, think again! Now you have many more reasons to consider taking probiotic supplements.

Digestive Health

Sources:

*http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/residents/journal-club/probioticscolds.pdf

**http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?orig_db=PubMed&db=pubmed&cmd=Search&term=%22World%20journal%20of%20gastroenterology%20%3A%20WJG%22%5BJour%5D%20AND%202029%5Bpage%5D%20AND%202008%5Bpdat%5D

***http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/residents/journal-club/Wickens%20Lactobacillus%20rhamnosus%20JACI%202008.pdf

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There’s an ongoing war for your health raging in your gut - whose side are you on?

by Health News

 

 

According to health experts, our health is being profoundly affected by an ongoing bacterial war raging deep inside our gut.Are the Bacteria in Your Gut Dangerous | Institute for Vibrant Living
 
Our body has 100 trillion bacteria in it, which live (mostly) in the gut with the surface area of a football field. Most experts say the optimal ratio is 85%:15% good to bad bacteria.
 
An excess of pathogenic bacteria has severe and widespread consequences for health. They create mold, putrefaction and release toxins into blood causing diarrhea, bloating, bad breath and even emotional problems, including depression. The liver has to work overtime to filter the toxins they make. Not only that - up to 80% of the immune system is in now believed to function in the gut, so immune function is also likely to be compromised.
 
On the other hand, having enough beneficial bacteria in the gut ensures proper nourishment, that foods are broken down and necessary macro- and micro-nutrients absorbed, vitamins B and K are made, minerals are extracted from the diet and retained, toxins do not damage the intestinal lining, colon cancer risk goes down and immunity is boosted. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to ensure you have enough of the good bacteria in your system, simply by eating probiotic foods such as yogurt and soft cheese.
 
Antibiotics have dramatically changed the course of human history by lowering the incidence of many diseases to negligible levels. However, thanks to massive over-prescription and self-medication, today they actually act to damage health by eliminating most of the good bacteria with the bad.
 
Not only that - there are antibiotics in meats and dairy, non-organic foods are laced with pesticides and other chemicals and pollution is in the air. In other words, the environment is full of chemicals that threaten the well-being of gut probiotics - and by extension, our health as well.
 
A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: ‘Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.’ When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, ‘The one I feed the most.’”
 
Which dog do you feed regularly?
 
Probiotic bacteria thrive on soluble fiber, which reach the colon more or less intact. The standard recommendation is six grams a day. On the other hand, feeding pathogenic bacteria requires sugar and processed foods low in fiber.
 
So creating the right bacterial balance in the gut is very simple: consume quality probiotics, consume fiber-rich, fresh foods and cut out as much sugar and processed food as possible.
 
You can also help the probiotics in your body stay on top by regular consumption of fermented foods including pickled vegetables, tempeh and fermented milk products like kefir or yogurt, natto and kimchi.
 
And while it would be ideal to get all the probiotics and the food they thrive on from the diet, that may not always be feasible - in which case quality probiotic supplements are invaluable.
 
So why not consult a dietician or nutritionist and start feeding your ‘good dog’ today?
 
 
Source:

 

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5 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Healthy Foods

by Nancy Maneely

Effectiveness of Healthy Foods“Eat healthy food” is advice we hear at least once a day. It comes from everywhere: TV, magazines, our doctor, well-meaning family and friends. So, we make smart selections at the grocery store and feel very good about choosing an orange for a midday snack rather than, say, a donut.

That’s a great start … but really, how do you know your body is getting the benefit of the healthy foods you eat? Unfortunately, your body doesn’t issue an itemized receipt every time, listing the calories and nutrients that were effectively utilized. In fact, you might be surprised at how little of the valuable nutrients actually reach their goal – that is, being absorbed and put to work doing what they are meant to do: keep you functioning at an optimum level.

Here are five simple ways you can increase the effectiveness of the food you eat:

  1. Take a digestive enzyme supplement. What are digestive enzymes? Our bodies make their own digestive enzymes that break down food in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine into smaller, absorbable molecules. However, while all fresh food contains enzymes, our modern habits destroy them. We grow fruits and vegetables in depleted soil, gas them to prolong shelf life, and cook them at high heat. All of this reduces their enzyme levels.
  2. Take a probiotic to increase friendly flora. Friendly bacteria help produce the enzymes we need to break down food. They also support immune health and help protect the vulnerable cells along the linings of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
  3. Chew your food! Mom’s advice was sound. Chewing produces amylase that breaks down carbohydrates and stimulates digestive juices.
  4. Slow down. The chemicals needed to for healthy digestion are produced when we are relaxed. A calm, quiet atmosphere signals the digestive system to kick in.
  5. Avoid taking antacids. In the stomach, high levels of acid are necessary to break down food (and kill off bad bacteria like H. pylori that can lead to stomach cancer). There are natural ways to reduce the problems of heartburn and acid reflux. Drinking enough water, reducing salt, eating fewer fats, and taking digestive enzymes and probiotics can take care of the problem.

Do you take probiotics or digestive enzymes? What benefits have you experienced?

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The Health Benefits of Superfoods

by Health News

In the past few decades it has been determined that signs of aging like wrinkles and diminished skin elasticity are enhanced by oxidation, a process in which damaging free radicals begin to break down DNA.  Research is showing that we can slow the aging process with the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods.  Studies also show that the amount of antioxidants consumed is directly proportional to longevity.The Health Benefits of Superfoods | Institute for Vibrant Living

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but not all of these have the same effect.  The effects of antioxidants are measured by a food’s oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC).

Check out these ORAC-rich fruits and vegetables, and implement them into your daily diet to generate a youthful appearance. 

  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Red Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli

Here are a few other superfoods that have shown great potential for enhancing a youthful appearance. 

Acai Berries – These tiny, purple berries can be found in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil.  In addition to boosting energy, this antioxidant-laden superfood is said to promote healthy hair, nails and skin.  Acai is available in supplement form in various powders and caplets.

Red Ginseng – A study published in the December, 2009 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that red ginseng reverses wrinkles.  The study examined a group of female volunteers over the age of 40. The subjects took three grams of red ginseng extract daily for 24 weeks, and it was found that facial wrinkles were significantly reduced and collagen levels were increased.  Collagen is a product made from proteins in the body which is necessary for healthy skin.  Further, a gene that destroys collagen was inhibited and elastin, a protein that enhances skin elasticity, was increased.

Resveratrol - This important nutrient can be found in the skin of red grapes and in blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates.  Besides supporting cardiovascular health, resveratrol is said to promote a youthful appearance.  In addition to the fruits mentioned above, resveratrol supplements are available in whole foods stores and through natural supplement websites.

Sea Buckthorn Berries – This small, sour berry is found in harsh environments of Eastern Asia and is packed with vitamin C, providing 12 times more than an orange.  It is said to provide weight loss and immune system support and to foster good hair, nail and skin health.  Typically the fruit cannot be found in your local grocery store, but liquid and caplet supplements are available in stores and online.

Soy – Research that is soon-to-be-published in the British Journal of Pharmacology has concluded that soy can have positive effects on age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women. 

As adequate estrogen levels are required for youthful skin in women, an ovariectomy can accelerate aging of the skin.  This study examined the effects of soy on the skin of ovariectomized rats.  Researchers began treating rats six months after ovariectomy with genistein, a soy-derived isoflavone, for a period of 12 weeks.   At the end of treatment, the thickness of collagen and skin strength was significantly improved, which suggests that soy therapy might be a reliable alternative for age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women.

Everyone wants to look young for as long as possible and adequate nutrition is an easy fix.  In addition to a daily vitamin and mineral supplement, it might be worth a try to incorporate some of the foods above into your daily diet for a more youthful appearance.

Sources:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article6986044.ece
http://theview.abc.go.com/blog/top-7-superfoods-women

Cho, S. et al.  Red ginseng root extract mixed with Torilus fructus and Corni fructus improves facial wrinkles and increases type I procollagen synthesis in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.  Journal of Medicinal Food, 2009 Dec;12(6):1252-9.

Polito, F. et al.  Genistein Aglycone, a Soy-derived Isoflavone, Improves Skin Changes Induced by Ovariectomy in Rats.   British Journal of Pharmacology.  2011 Aug 9. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01619.x. [Epub ahead of print]

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Green Drink Supplements for Proper PH Balance in Your Body

by Health News

Today’s hectic lifestyles leave little time for making healthy food choices and pollutants in the air and water are perpetually pouring toxins into the environment that have to be processed by our bodies. Years of poor nutrition and environmental toxicity eventually take a toll and we can easily wind up with a compromised immune system that zaps our energy and leaves us vulnerable to a host of serious health maladies. 

What many people don’t realize is that a proper PH balance in the body can restore youthful energy and boost our body’s ability to stay healthy and strong.  The correct PH balance is achieved when we have the proper ratio of alkaline and acidic foods in our diets.  Alkaline foods include asparagus, artichokes, lettuce, peas, spinach, green beans and broccoli. Acidic foods include meats, dairy products, white bread, white pasta, chocolate, coffee and carbonated drinks. Nutritional experts recommend that at least 75 percent of our diets should consist of alkaline foods. Unfortunately most of us are not getting enough alkaline foods in our diet to stay healthy and energized. 

Best Green Drink Supplements Increases Energy

In recent years, green superfoods have emerged as a viable way to keep our bodies in balance. Green superfoods are nutrient rich and are derived from green plants, algae and cereal grasses.  These foods are rich in chlorophyll and they feature potent concentrations of digestible vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and other beneficial substances.

There are several green superfood supplements on the market that make it easy to get a daily dose of these life-boosting nutrients. 

More than 100,000 people have used this remarkable supplement and those who share their experiences report increased energy levels, decreased joint and muscle pain, improved regularity, radiant skin, superior mental clarity and reductions in blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 

If you are one of the millions of people who are settling for a lackluster life caused by improper balance you should talk to your holistic health practitioner about adding “All Day Energy Greens” to your daily regimen. Join the thousands of people who have traded fatigue and illness for vim and vigor and feel the positive difference it makes in your life.

How do you increase your energy throughout the day?

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Can Vitamin D Help Fight Multiple Sclerosis?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to a new study from Johns Hopkins, vitamin D blocks damage-causing immune cells from migrating to the brain in mice with a rodent form of multiple sclerosis (MS) - which may be how the so-called Can Vitamin D Help Fight Multiple Sclerosis?‘sunshine vitamin’ prevents MS symptoms in humans as well.

MS is believed to be an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system wrongly attacks a person's own cells - leading to symptoms such as blurred vision, weakness and numbness. An estimated 400,000 Americans between the ages of 20 and 50 years are afflicted with MS. Typically, it affects two to three times as many women as men.

Health experts became interested in the possible role of vitamin D in MS when it became clear that the disease is more prevalent in regions farthest from the equator where there is less sunshine - the main natural source of vitamin D.

The Johns Hopkins study shows that vitamin D works by preventing immune cells from getting into the brain - a treatment method that has the potential to be as effective as, and is likely to be safer than existing drugs used to treat MS.

Johns Hopkins researchers simultaneously gave mice the rodent form of MS and a high dose of vitamin D - which protected the mice from showing symptoms of the disease. They found a large number of immune T cells in the blood of the mice, but very few in their brains and spinal cords. In other words, it looks as though T cells are being kept away from these areas.

However, the immunosuppressive effects of vitamin D appear to be fleeting - once it is withdrawn, MS-like flare-ups occur very quickly in these mice.

Clinical trials are ongoing to determine whether vitamin D supplementation can actually prevent or slow the progression of MS in humans. This may offer an opportunity in the future to study samples taken from participants in these trials, to see whether vitamin D has the same effect on human cells as it does in mice.

Source: Can Vitamin D Help Fight Multiple Sclerosis?

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Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals In The Gut

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that there are trillions of microorganisms within our body that affect our health and immunity, help us absorb nutrients and even break down toxic chemicals, according to new research?

These tiny organisms are beneficial bacteria that live in our gut, known as ‘probiotic’ bacteria.

When your health fails or if you’re in the habit of regularly consuming sugar, overly refined and processed Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals In The Gutfoods - some non-beneficial or even downright harmful bacteria can grow rapidly out of bounds.

But if you regularly consume organic, wholesome vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods, then beneficial bacteria flourish - and you have nothing but positive activity in your gut.

Let’s consider some of the many things probiotics do to act as digestive aids and keep your gut and health safe and healthy, especially when it comes to dealing with toxic chemicals that enter your body.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a petrochemical derivative that messes up hormones and how they act on the body. BPA is found in thermal printer receipts, all world paper currency, plastics and many other consumer goods. At this point it is not a matter of whether or not you’ll be exposed, but to what extent.

Still, probiotics offer a ray of hope. When rats exposed to BPA in their diet were given probiotics, their blood concentrations of BPA dropped dramatically and it was excreted 2.4 times more readily than the non-supplemented control group.

In other words, probiotics reduced intestinal absorption by boosting BPA excretion - and they may suppress BPA’s adverse effects on human health.

Even better, novel BPA-degrading bacterial strains were isolated from a traditional Korean fermented cabbage dish known as kimchi. Health experts believe that these food-derived bacteria can efficiently and safely destroy and remove BPA from the body. 

In 2009, a published report revealed that the toxic insecticide chlorpyrifos (CP) - which has been linked to neurological side effects, developmental disorders and autoimmune disorders - may be degraded by the very same bacteria that make possible kimchi fermentation.

In fact, these bacteria degraded CP rapidly until 83.3% was gone by day 3 and completely degraded by day 9.  Not only that, these toxin-munching bugs also successfully degraded four other insecticides including Coumaphos, Diazinon, Parathion and Methylparathion.

Destroying toxic chemicals - though an amazing feat - is only one of many thousands of vital functions that probiotics carry out within our body. In fact, they have been clinically shown to prevent and/or reduce the symptoms of close to 200 different diseases!

If you don’t know already, an easy and inexpensive way to boost the probiotic content of your gut is to take supplements. Taken daily, a probiotic supplement can infuse your digestive tract with 20 billion ‘good’ bacteria. It is one of the best digestive aids to help you achieve a healthy digestive system.

Source: Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals in the Gut.

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Is Moderate Alcohol Consumption Healthy?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You’re probably already aware that a glass or two of red wine is good for your heart and reduces your risk of strokes and gallstones. Now, a new study suggests that moderate alcohol consumption can bolster your immune system, Is Moderate Alcohol Consumption Healthy?improving its responsiveness.

In this study, 12 macaque monkeys were trained to drink alcohol freely and given free access to a 4 percent alcohol mixture as well as food and water. Their alcohol consumption - which mimicked human alcohol consumption - caused the research team to divide them into two groups.

The first group of macaques was made up of so-called ‘heavy drinkers’ who ended up with a blood ethanol concentration (BEC) of 0.08 percent or more. Interestingly, 0.08 percent is the maximum legal BEC for anyone driving a vehicle in the US. The second group of drinkers had lower BECs ranging from 0.02 to 0.04 percent.

Before giving the macaques access to alcohol, study researchers first observed their response to vaccinations. At first, all the macaques had comparable response times. However, after they were granted access to alcohol, their immune system response times to the vaccinations changed dramatically.

For instance, heavy drinking macaques showed diminished vaccine response times when compared to a group of macaques that consumed sugar water in place of alcohol.

Surprisingly though, macaques that consumed moderate amounts of alcohol actually showed enhanced immune system responses to vaccinations - in fact, these study researchers suggest that the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption may be linked directly to its positive impact on the immune system.

It’s important to remember that while moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial, downing too many glasses can prove detrimental to health and wellbeing.

This new study did not identify the specific alcohol component that acts to enhance the immune system. Once health experts know what it is, less controversial health supplements are likely to be developed in future.

Source: Moderate Alcohol Consumption may Boost the Immune System.

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What are the Benefits of Bioflavonoids?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to antioxidants, vitamins seem to take center stage. But what about those “sort of” vitamins with incredible health benefits? Yes, we are talking about bioflavonoids.

What are the Benefits of Bioflavonoids?

While not true vitamins in the strictest sense, bioflavonoids work together with vitamin C to form collagen, one of your body's main structural proteins. Bioflavonoids also aid your body’s immune-defense system and have mildly estrogenic properties, making them helpful in regulating some hormonal conditions. They are also the Crayola of the vitamin world, providing all the brilliant colors to fruits and vegetables. Some of the best sources of bioflavonoids include citrus fruits—lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, and limes—and buckwheat (a gluten-free grain that is not botanically related to wheat). Other good sources are apricots, cherries, grapes, plums, blackberries, papayas, green peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes.

In addition to “eating the rainbow,” you can also take bioflavonoids in supplement form. Aim for 1,000-2,000 mg per day. 

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Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients

by Health News
There’s no question that, when it comes to lowering cholesterol, your first step should be to eat healthy and exercise. But when you want that extra boost, these three nutrients should be at the top of your list.Top Three Heart-Healthy Nutrients
 
CoQ10—Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble compound found in every plant and animal cell. Research has shown that CoQ10 also prevents the oxidation of LDL—the pivotal step in artery clogging—and, along with vitamin E, can help to lower cholesterol levels. Plus, the frequently prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statins class significantly deplete CoQ10 stores, so it is particularly critical that you use CoQ10 if you are taking a statin. Aim for 100 mg of CoQ10 (as ubiquinone) daily.
 
Essential Fatty Acids— Essential fatty acids (EFAs), the omega-3's EPA and DHA, are fats that your body does not produce and you must therefore obtain through diet or supplementation. They are important for the production of series 1 and 3 prostaglandins, potent hormone-like anti-inflammatory substances that help regulate blood pressure, the breakdown of fat or cholesterol in your blood, heart rate, blood clotting, and your immune system’s response to injury and infection. EFAs also help decrease inflammation. Aim for 200 mg of EPA and 100 mg of DHA every day.
 
Quercetin—Quercetin belongs to the bioflavonoid family—a subgroup of flavonoids known for their potent antioxidant and antiviral capabilities. It also helps to maintain the strength of small blood vessels and reduce vascular fragility. In addition to its ability to reduce bleeding and bruising, quercetin is beneficial in preventing “sticky” platelets and promoting relaxation of the entire cardiovascular system. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate. Aim for 250 mg a day.
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What are the Symptoms of Being Gluten Sensitive?

by Health News

Symptoms of Being Gluten SensitiveAccording to health experts, more than 55 diseases have been linked to the consumption of gluten - a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

Not only that - even though as much as 15% of the US population may be sensitive to gluten, 99% of people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease are not properly diagnosed.

How can you tell if you’re one of those who are sensitive to gluten?

Any of the following symptoms could be a sign:

  • Gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation after meals.
  • Migraines, fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after a meal.
  • Dizziness or feeling of being off balance.
  • Hormonal imbalances such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or unexplained infertility.
  • Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia - such diagnoses can sometimes mean that your physician is unable to identify the underlying cause of your fatigue or pain.
  • Inflammation, swelling or pain in your fingers, knees and hips.
  • Anxiety, depression, mood swings and hyperactivity or attention-deficit disorder (ADD).

Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma or multiple sclerosis.

The single best way to really know if you are sensitive to gluten is to do a complete elimination diet. This means you need to completely remove gluten out of your diet for at least 2-3 weeks and then reintroduce it.

Gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system. In other words, the longer you eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the more conclusive the results will be.

If you notice that you feel significantly better off without gluten - and feel noticeably worse when you reintroduce it into your diet, then you are likely sensitive to gluten.

To get accurate results, you must eliminate 100% of the gluten from your diet as even trace amounts from medications or supplements can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body.                                        Source

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What is Cholesterol?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know -  

  • Cholesterol is only a minor player in heart disease?
  • Cholesterol levels are a poor predictor of heart attacks?
  • Roughly 50% of all heart attacks happen to people with normal cholesterol?
  • Half the people with elevated cholesterol have healthy hearts?
  • Lowering cholesterol has an extremely limited benefit?

The case against cholesterol as ‘the’ underlying cause of heart disease or even as an important marker has been crumbling steadily for decades.

What is Cholesterol?

Consider the Lyon Diet-Heart Study:

In the 1990s, French researchers decided to test the effect of different diets on heart disease. They took two groups of men who had every imaginable risk factor. All of them had survived a heart attack. They had high cholesterol, they smoked, they didn’t exercise and they had high levels of stress.

Of these men, half were advised to eat the American Heart Association ‘prudent diet’ (low saturated fat and cholesterol), while the other half were advised to eat a Mediterranean diet high in fish, omega-3 fats, vegetables and monounsaturated fat like olive oil.

The study was stopped midway because the reduction in heart attacks in the Mediterranean group was so pronounced at 70% that the researchers decided it was unethical to continue!

Surprisingly, cholesterol levels in men who ate the Mediterranean diet did not change at all, and were just as high when the study was stopped as they were when the study began.

They simply stopped dying. Cholesterol had nothing to do with it.

So if cholesterol isn’t the cause of heart disease, what is?

The real causes of heart disease are inflammation and oxidative damage. Starting with small injuries to the vascular wall caused by anything from high blood pressure to toxins, oxidized (damaged) LDL-cholesterol particles enter the wall tissue.

As a result, the immune system sends inflammatory cytokines which create even more inflammation, which creates more oxidative damage in a vicious cycle that eventually results in atherosclerotic plaque formation and an increased risk for heart disease.

In other words, if there was no inflammation, there would be no plaques formed and no heart disease.

The other two major promoters of heart disease are stress and sugar. Stress releases hormones which harm artery walls and increase blood pressure.  Sugar, by far an even worse dietary danger than fat, is inflammatory on its own, but also contributes to insulin resistance and fat gain. More fat equals more inflammation.

In fact, fat cells are literally tiny hormone factories, spitting out inflammatory cytokines and increasing overall inflammation and arterial damage.

Given all of this information, here is a simple seven-point program you can follow to reduce your heart disease risk:

1.      Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.

2.      Reduce grains, starches, sugar and omega-6 fats from your diet as much as possible.

3.      Manage your stress through meditation, yoga or other lifestyle changes.

4.      Exercise regularly, for a minimum of 30 minutes daily 5 days a week.

5.      Drink alcohol only in moderation.

6.      Don’t smoke.

7.      Supplement your diet with high quality, proven antioxidants, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10 and omega-3 fats.

Source:

The Great Cholesterol Myth.

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Is Krill Fish Oil Dangerous?

by Health News

Did you know that Eskimos have a low incidence of heart attacks, even though their diet relies heavily on whale blubber? That’s because whale blubber is rich in omega-3 fats!  

Krill Fish Oil Facts

You may have already heard of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which are both essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. Your body needs both of these to function properly, but the human body cannot make either of them on its own.

Omega-3 fats are made by cold-water algae. They’re also found in the fat of cold-water fish like sardines, wild salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna that feed on these plants, along with fish oil supplements and algae extract. Another type of omega-3 is also found in walnuts, flax seed, canola and soybean oil as well as in green leafy vegetables.

Omega-6 fats are found in cooking oils such as corn oil, safflower and sunflower oils, margarine and low-fat foods, meat and eggs.

Together, omega-3 and omega-6 fats control many of your body’s physiological processes. As long as they are in balance, your body remains healthy.

The problem is this - today, relative amounts of dietary omega-3 and omega-6 fats are completely out of balance. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate approximately twice the amount of omega-6s as omega-3s, which many experts believe is ideal for health. Believe it or not, the typical US diet today contains up to 20–50 times more omega-6s than omega-3s!

In such excessive amounts, omega-6 fats can completely skew your body’s fat balance and physiology, causing real harm. Countless studies have shown a clear connection between high ratios of dietary omega-6 to omega-3 fats, and skyrocketing rates of heart disease, arthritis, asthma, insulin resistance, metabolic disorder, type 2 diabetes, even some forms of cancer.

So what can you do to improve your odds?

It’s easy, do what the Eskimos do and increase your consumption of omega-3 fats.

Both fish oil and krill oil are a great natural source of omega-3 fats. The difference is while high-quality fish oils have many important health benefits, their antioxidant content is poor; whereas krill oil has the health benefits plus high levels of potent antioxidants.

In fact, the antioxidant potency of krill oil is 48 times more potent than that of fish oil, which makes choosing between the two an easy task.

Antioxidants are your body's primary way to neutralize free radicals. They boost heart health, keep the immune system healthy and prevent memory loss with aging.  In fact, antioxidants seem to slow down many aging-related changes.

Genuine krill oil contains:

  • More than 300 times the antioxidant power of vitamins A and E  
  • More than 47 times the antioxidant power of lutein
  • More than 34 times the antioxidant power of coenzyme Q10

Not only that, krill oil also contains Astaxanthin, a unique marine flavonoid which makes antioxidants more readily available to your body.

In a recent study, supplementation of a high-fat diet with krill oil prevented buildup of triglycerides and cholesterol in the livers of rats, along with lowering blood levels of triglycerides and glucose.

In another study, consumption of krill oil countered body weight gain and increase in blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL-cholesterol in rats given a high fat diet, along with preventing harmful oxidative damage.

Last but not least, krill is at the bottom of the food chain - which means that unlike fish oil, it’s unlikely to be contaminated by toxic heavy metals.

So why not boost your consumption of omega-3 fats and protect your health with a krill oil supplement today?

Do you currently take any omega-3 supplements?

Source:

 

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The Risk Of Developing Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The Risk Of Developing Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?A new study carried out by scientists from the Universities of London and Oxford may provide clues as to why the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) is influenced by month of birth - it seems that vitamin D levels and immune system development vary according to month of birth in newborn babies.

MS is a disabling neurological condition which happens when the body's own immune system attacks and damages the central nervous system. This interferes with the transmission of electrical messages between the brain and the rest of the body - leading to problems with vision, muscle control, hearing and memory.

Previous population studies already indicate that month of birth can influence risk of getting MS. This effect is particularly evident in England, where MS risk peaks in individuals born in May and drops in those born in November. As vitamin D is formed by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, this effect may support a prenatal role for vitamin D in MS risk.

In this new study, blood was extracted from the umbilical cord of 50 newborn babies and analyzed to measure levels of vitamin D and autoreactive T-cells. Autoreactive T-cells are specialized immune cells whose role is to identify and destroy infectious agents such as viruses.

However, for some reason, some of these T-cells start attacking the body's own cells, triggering autoimmune diseases such as MS. Normally such self-harming T-cells should be eliminated by the immune system during its development by the thymus, a specialized organ in the immune system.

Study results showed that babies born in May had significantly lower vitamin D levels (around 20% lower than those born in November), along with nearly double the number of autoreactive T-cells compared to November babies.

In other words, lower levels of vitamin D in May babies are associated with twice the levels of autoreactive T-cells, which naturally increase the risk of damage to the central nervous system.

In the future, long-term studies are needed to understand whether vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women can impact immune system development and lower risk of MS and other autoimmune diseases.

Source:

 

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Allergy Answers in Your Cupboard

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Allergy RemediesThere are also several nutritional supplements that have powerful antihistamine properties, including vitamin E, quercetin, bromelain, and colostrum. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and natural antihistamine that has been shown to strengthen your immune system and its response to attack. Vitamin E is also a natural blood thinner. Therefore, if you are taking an anticoagulant, such as warfarin, check with your doctor before using vitamin E.

Quercetin has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties, which makes a favorite natural treatment among allergists. It is believed to work by controlling the release of histamine and stabilizing cell membranes, making them less reactive to allergens.

A natural anti-inflammatory in its own right, bromelain also helps your body absorb quercetin. This pineapple derivative reduces inflammation in your respiratory system while also decreasing the amount and thickness of mucus in your respiratory tract.

Lastly, colostrum—the pre-milk all women produce immediately after the birth of a baby—is rich in immune-building and immune-enhancing properties. Colostrum contains several immunoglobulins, antibodies that help boost your immune system, as well as

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Benefits of Vitamin C

by Health News

You may have known this intuitively already, but now the results of five randomized trials on participants with heavy short-term physical stress haveBenefits of Vitamin C confirmed that vitamin C reduces the incidence of common cold by 50%.

Three of these trials looked at marathon runners, one studied Swiss school children in a skiing camp and one examined Canadian soldiers during a winter exercise.

Not only that, in a recent randomized trial carried out with adolescent competitive swimmers, vitamin C was shown to halve the duration of colds in men, although it had no effect on women.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that recycles other vitamins, for example vitamin E. It also strengthens the immune system. Vitamin C is found naturally in high levels in many fruits and vegetables including oranges, blueberries, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe and papaya, among others.

According to an updated Cochrane Review, vitamin C seems to be particularly beneficial for people who are experiencing heavy physical stress. Regular doses of vitamin C of one gram per day or higher were shown to decrease the average duration of colds in adults by 8% and in children by 18%.

At the same time, taking vitamin C every day to shorten infrequent colds may not be advisable. On average, adults have only a few common cold episodes per year and children typically only have some half a dozen colds per year.

The results of therapeutic trials - in which vitamin C was given after the first symptoms of a cold appeared - are not consistent.

However, given the consistent beneficial effects of vitamin C on duration and severity of colds in supplementation studies as well as the safety and low cost of vitamin C - it may be worthwhile to figure out for yourself whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial for you, when you’re suffering through an episode of common cold.

Sources:

Vitamin C is Beneficial Against the Common Cold.