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The Stress Menopause Connection

by IVL Products

The link between stress and menopause is well documented. It can become a vicious cycle of worsening menopausal symptoms leading to increased stress.  Jump off that debilitating merry-go-round and find natural menopause relief with a few simple changes to your diet, activity levels and outlook on life.

Studies are showing that there is a connection between stress and menopause.

The journal Menopause found in a study of over 400 women between the ages of 37 and 47 that those who reported the highest stress levels had as much as five times the hot flashes as those who women who reported less anxiety.  Even women who reported only moderate anxiety levels suffered three times more hot flashes than those who lived with less stress.

More bad news connecting stress and menopause came from a study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal that reported vaginal dryness, a common symptom of menopause due to decreased estrogen, was associated with high levels of psychological stress (not physical stress).

Related:  Modest Weight Loss Lowers Disease Risks in Middle-aged-Women

Stress reduces the secretion of all sex hormones like estrogen. Women going through menopause are already experiencing a dramatic drop in estrogen production, which causes hot flashes, insomnia, depression and vaginal dryness.  Being stressed out about life situations and menopause symptoms can be debilitating and greatly affect one’s quality of life.

The Dangers of Chronic Stress

It is well known that chronic stress is not good for you. It is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, more illness and diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke and even cancer.  It makes chronic illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and diabetes worse as well. 

Add the dramatic physical changes of menopause to an already stressed out life, and you get a recipe for disaster. Your personal relationships, career, and over all sense of wellbeing can be negatively affected.  The good news is natural stress and menopause relief is available with a little effort on your part.

Diet

Your diet has so much to do with how you feel each day. Weight gain is a common side effect of menopause, so paying attention to what you eat can help you manage your stress levels and menopausal symptoms.

Foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kimchi, along with probiotic supplements help keep your GI tract functioning smoothly and your immunes system strong.  Suffering less sever colds, urinary tract infections (also common during menopause), gas pain and bloating will greatly reduce your stress levels. 

Being chronically run down and feeling ill is very stressful. Boosting your immune system with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, omega-3 rich foods and staying well hydrated will relieve stress and menopausal symptoms like fatigue, depression and hot flashes.

Exercise

Weight gain and insomnia are common menopause complaints.  Exercise can offset these two unpleasant symptoms and help you reduce your stress levels.  Making time every day for some physical activity is critical to managing your stress levels and menopause symptoms.

You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run a marathon, either.  A brisk walk or a few laps in the pool is all you need.  Being outside to exercise has many health benefits and makes working out less of a chore and something to look forward to.

Attitude

Your outlook on life makes a huge difference when it comes to managing stress and menopausal symptoms.  Menopause and stress are a fact of life for all women.  Accepting that and making plans to deal with both are critical for keeping your spirits high and warding off depression and other mood disorders. 

Women's Health Top Superfood Recipes

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The Probiotic Menopause Connection

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Women may find menopause relief in the form of probiotics.  These industrious bacteria are necessary for healthy functioning of the digestive tract and critical to our immune system.  

Probiotics have many health benefits including aiding with menopause relief.

Probiotics for menopause is a relatively new field of study that is showing great promise in making the unpleasant symptoms of going through the change more tolerable.  All women will go through menopause and each experience is unique for each woman. Some have less severe symptoms while other find them debilitating.  The worst symptoms most commonly reported are:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal Atrophy (thinning and drying of the vaginal wall which can cause pain during intercourse)
  • Mood Swings (depression)
  • Sleep disturbances (hot flashes, insomnia)
  • Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and yeast infections

The dramatic decline in estrogen and progesterone levels as fertility declines is the root cause of symptoms but taking probiotics can provide relief.

Probiotics: The Good Bacteria

Our gut is teeming with bacteria. Some of it harmful, but most of it is beneficial and critical to proper digestion and a strong immune system.  When hormonal imbalances like those experienced during menopause upset the balance of good bacteria in our gut, there are many health issues that can wreak havoc on the body.

The Bad Bacteria

Two kinds of bacteria in our intestinal tract play a critical role in our health: aerobic bacteria, which require oxygen to thrive, and anaerobic bacteria, which do not.

A diet high in saturated fat stimulates the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which is known to upset hormone levels because of its effect on estrogen.  During menopause, the body is already experiencing unpredictable hormone fluctuations, which cause the hot flashes, urinary tract infections and vaginal wall thinning and dryness.  

Related:  The Idea That All Fats Makes You Fat is a Myth

Cutting your intake of saturated fat and consuming more probiotic rich foods and supplements can help restore hormone levels and ease these symptoms.  For those who want menopause relief without the use of synthetic hormones, this is good news.

Probiotics For General Health

When going through menopause, many women experience health issues that impact their quality of life. Probiotics can help offset some of these issues and make the going through the change more tolerable.

In addition to helping stabilize hormones, which are thrown out of sync by menopause, probiotics can help offset weight gain, keep your immune system strong and increase good bacteria in the vagina, lessening dryness and atrophy there. 

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Six Potent Probiotics

by Cindy Gray

If you are seeking a natural remedy to help with diarrhea, then look to probiotics.  These potent little strains of live bacteria and yeasts are very good for your digestive system and can bring relief to those suffering from occasional to chronic diarrhea.

Those who suffer from diarrhea will find probiotics a powerful remedy.

Probiotics are naturally helpful to your body; and you can ingest them easily from certain foods and supplements.  There are many kinds of bacteria classified as probiotics and they all have different health benefits, but almost all of them come from two groups:

  • Lactobacillus – the most common probiotic, it can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods.  It can help those who are lactose intolerant and ease diarrhea.
  • Bifidobacterium – this type is found in dairy products like milk and can help those with IBS relieve their symptoms.

You are not alone if you suffer from diarrhea. Those who have three or more loose stools per day for a period of four weeks or more are diagnosed with chronic diarrhea.

Related Top Three Fermented Foods for Constipation Relief

Taking over the counter medications is fine if you only experience diarrhea occasionally. However, if your condition is chronic, you’ll want to consider these diarrhea natural remedies.

  1. Lactobacillus acidophilus – is found in foods like yogurt, kefir, pickles and soy products, and in supplement form.  It is very beneficial to the human GI tract because it helps break down sugars in milk products (lactose) and produces vitamin K.
  2. L. casei (lactobacillus casei) – is found naturally in fermented foods. It has shown to be a very effective way to speed up recovery time for those suffering from acute diarrhea. It helps the gut break down lactose, and relieve constipation. It also relieves gas and promotes healthy digestion, which improves your immunity.
  3. L. rhamnosus – is found in the human GI tract, mouth and vagina.  Its greatest health benefit is as an anti-inflammatory. This makes it beneficial for those with loose stools and vaginal infections.
  4. L.  plantarum – this strain of bacterial is a real powerhouse. It can take up residence in your gut and keep disease-causing microorganism from wreaking havoc there. It also has the ability to “stick” or coat the lining of your intestines and prevent dangerous bacteria from getting into your bloodstream
  5. Bifidobacterium breve – also known as B breve, a shortage of it in the intestinal tract has been linked to diarrhea, allergies, gas and irritable bowel syndrome. It can benefit you by balancing the acidity (pH) of your colon, reduce bloating and gas, and relieve constipation.
  6. B. longun (Bifidobacterium longum) – found naturally in the gastrointestinal tract and the vagina it is thought to be an effective way to help prevent certain diseases like colon cancer. It contains anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic properties that help keep the pH balance of your digestive track normal.

Eating fermented foods rich in the super six or taking supplements can improve your overall health by boosting your immune system, relieving painful gas or constipation and possibly even help lower your risk of developing some forms of cancer.

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Lack of Energy? Restore Vitality with Acai and Suma

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If the lack of energy is dragging you down you might want to consider two Brazilian superfoods to rev up your engine. Studies show that the acai berry and suma root provides energy-boosting nutrients that restore vitality and boost the immune system.  (FYI, Acai is pronounced ah-sah-EE.) 

The nutritional properties of acai and suma make them an energy-boosting supplement that enhances vitality and the immune system.

Demanding careers, inadequate sleep, poor nutrition, excessive stress, sedentary lifestyles and constant exposure to environmental toxins are taking their toll and millions of people spend their days feeling tired and sluggish.  Studies show that acai berries and suma root may be just what the doctor ordered for people suffering from a lack of energy. 

The purple-black acai berry, which is sometimes called Brazilian palm fruit, comes from the acai tree that is native to Central and South America. The acai berry surpasses all other berries in its antioxidant density and it is one of the few fruits that contain omega-3 fatty acids to support brain and joint health.  It has been lauded for centuries by natural healers as a healing, immune-boosting fruit that enhances energy levels.

RelatedHow the Antioxidants in Superfruits Keep You Healthy

Freshly picked acai berries have a short “freshness” window but they are available frozen, dried and in juice forms. Acai extract is an ingredient in many high-quality nutritional supplements.

Sometimes referred to as “Brazilian ginseng,” the suma root is another energizing superfood. Natives of South America have used it for thousands of years to increase strength and stamina.   Suma root contains potent levels of vitamin B and electrolytes, both of which are potent natural energy boosters. It is also rich in immune-boosting nutrients including vitamins B, E and K as well as minerals and amino acids.

While fresh suma root can be difficult to find in some parts of the country, it is available in powdered or supplement form online and at natural health stores. It is also an ingredient in many nutritional supplements.

If you are among the millions of Americans who struggle with a lack of energy, considering using acai berries and suma root to boost your vitality. This duo packs a nutritional punch that will put the spring back in your step so that you can enjoy a vibrant life and live each day to its fullest.

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Chlorophyll: Nature’s Remedy for Fatigue, Bad Breath & More

by Cindy Gray

If you struggle with fatigue, bad breath and excessive sweating your body might need to detox with chlorophyll. Foods containing chlorophyll can help neutralize and remove the toxins that cause tiredness and body odors. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that collects energy from sunlight. Eating foods rich in these green pigments helps to cleanse the blood. 

If you struggle with fatigue, bad breath and excessive sweating, you may need to detox with chlorophyll.

Algae, seaweed and wheatgrass are among the most potent sources of chlorophyll. Other good sources include green leafy vegetables, sprouts, green juices and wild edible greens. Foods containing chlorophyll detoxify the body and work with the liver to restore vibrant health. They also absorb toxins from the intestinal tract and support the growth of “friendly” bacteria.

Some of the major benefits of chlorophyll include:

Neutralizes Body Odor:  Because chlorophyll cleanses you from the inside out, it can help reduce body odor. Chlorophyll has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that fight body odor at the source. It is so effective that it is often referred to as “nature’s deodorant.”

Eliminates Bad Breath: Foods containing chlorophyll fight bad breath because they cleanse the digestive tract.  Chewing on the leaves of parsley, dill, basil and cilantro can immediately freshen bad breath. Chlorophyll provides a natural alternative to chemical-laden mouthwashes and breath mints.

Related What Everybody Ought to Know About Liquid Chlorophyll

Removes Toxins: Toxic metals in the environment can take a toll on your health. Chlorophyll attaches to toxins and heavy metals and removes them from your body. It also increases your blood's oxygen-carrying capacity by stimulating red blood cell production. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of chlorophyll contribute to its cleansing effects.

Boosts Immune System: Chlorophyll-rich foods contain essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for disease prevention and vibrant health.

Speeds Healing: For the past 100 years researchers have studied the healing properties of chlorophyll. Studies show it speeds the healing process because it is a natural disinfectant and it fights inflammation.

Because it has so many beneficial health effects, many people use chlorophyll supplements to make sure they are getting recommended amounts. The supplements come in capsule, powder and liquid forms and can be obtained online and through natural health stores.

Boost your energy levels and eliminate embarrassing breath and body odors the natural way. Chlorophyll is a safe, plant-based detox method that can cleanse your body from the inside out. 

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Why Aloe is So Amazing for the Reflux Diet

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Aloe vera has been one of nature’s medicinal remedies for centuries. As well as being effective in healing wounds, calming nerves, purifying the blood, reducing inflammation and promoting a healthy complexion, aloe vera now appears to be a key component in a reflux diet.

What is Aloe Vera?

The healing properties of aloe vera make it an important aid in any acid reflux dietAloes are spiky succulent plants with fleshy grey-green leaves. They grow wild in the Caribbean, southern USA and North Africa. The gelatinous extracts and juice from aloe vera have been used in herbal medicine for over 2,000 years.

Rich in vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids such as collagen and elastin, aloe vera is commonly used in beauty treatments to promote a youthful, healthy skin. Aloe vera also has natural antibiotic and anti-viral properties and boosts the immune system.

Related A Humble Houseplant Works Wonders with Skin Issues

Healing Properties of Aloe Vera

The excellent healing properties of aloe vera are well known. It effectively soothes burned skin, heals stomach ulcers, regulates the balance of intestinal flora and eases the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

The alkaline juice from aloe vera can also aid digestion, making it an excellent component for those looking to counter troublesome stomach acid by adopting the Reflux Diet. Aloe vera contains beta-sitosterol to reduce bad cholesterol, campesterol to reduce the cholesterol absorption in the intestines, and lupeol which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

What is the Reflux Diet?

The Reflux Diet is made up of foods and substances that naturally control heartburn and the unpleasant symptoms of acid reflux. Diets that are high in protein and low in fat are known to help reduce acid reflux. Taking aloe vera as a supplement is an important part of any Reflux Diet. Eating smaller portions and avoiding citrus or spicy foods can also help to naturally control the problem without having to resort to medication.

By taking aloe vera in supplement form, you can support a controlled Reflux Diet to improve your digestive health.

Here are 12 More Reflux Diet Foods that fight acid reflux safely and naturally.

 

 

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Try Ginger for Nausea after Eating and Other Health Benefits

by IVL Products

While most people find eating to be a pleasurable experience, it generates an uncomfortable after-effect in a few:  nausea.  Whether caused by too much food, GERD, food allergies, pregnancy, or anxiety, nausea after eating is unpleasant and unwelcome.  Fortunately, ginger can provide relief

Ginger helps relieve nausea after eating by relaxing stomach muscles and neutralizing stomach acid.

How Ginger Works

Compounds found in ginger trigger the release of digestive juices and enzymes that help neutralize stomach acid.  Powerful phenols relax stomach muscles and sooth inflamed tissue. Ginger also promotes quicker digestion to move the offending food through the body faster.

Related How Do You Naturally Prevent Acid Reflux?

Ginger Sources

To relieve nausea after eating, people can try sipping ginger tea or authentic ginger ale, taking ginger supplements, or sucking on crystallized or fresh ginger.

Additional Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger contains vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins, and beta-carotene. Valuable minerals found in ginger include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, and zinc.  In addition to relieving nausea after eating, ginger offers anti-inflammatory properties for people with osteoarthritis, it protects against colorectal and ovarian cancer, and it boosts the immune system. By eliminating mucus and reducing sinus inflammation, ginger also helps relieve sinus congestion, and it offers anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Precautions

Consumed regularly, some herbs and spices interact with prescribed medications.  People considering making ginger part of a regular dietary regimen should first consult with a health care provider.  Combined with certain blood thinning medicines, ginger may increase risks for bleeding, and paired with certain diabetes medicines, it may affect blood sugar levels. 

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Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels with Astaxanthin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Carotenoids are naturally-occurring compounds responsible for the color in certain foods, and all promote good health.  Nicknamed the "King of the Carotenoids," astaxanthin is the compound responsible for the reddish or pink color in shrimp, salmon, lobster, crab, and red algae.  Many scientists believe this powerful antioxidant gives marine life the energy to swim upstream.  For humans, it offers a number of health benefits including the power to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Astaxanthin helps bodies maintain normal blood sugars levels and more.

Oxidative Stress and Diabetes

Oxidative stress causes unstable free radicals called ROS (reactive oxygen species) to damage cells, tissues, and organs.  By stealing electrons from other molecules ROS transform the damaged molecules into more free radicals.  Oxidative stress plays a big role in diabetes, either through increased ROS levels or through a lack of antioxidants.   It occurs because of consistently high blood sugar, problems with the metabolism of carbohydrates, or limited release of insulin from the pancreas.

Related Ginger: A Diabetic's Best Friend

Important Research

Researchers from Japan found that astaxanthin reduces oxidative stress caused by chronic high blood sugar in pancreatic beta cells (the cells that produce insulin).  This allows the beta cells to make the correct amount of insulin when needed, improving the body's ability to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Another study from India found that increased blood sugar and excessive insulin resulting from a diet high in sugar and processed fat could be prevented with astaxanthin supplements.  The study also suggests astaxanthin might prevent the occurrence of more body fat, a fatty liver, or suppressed immunity in people with a diet high in processed fat and sugar.

More Reasons to Take an Astaxanthin Supplement

As if helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels wasn't enough reason to take a daily astaxanthin supplement, here are more benefits offered by this potent antioxidant.

  • Provides relief from pain and inflammation
  • Improves athletic endurance, muscle recovery, and strength
  • Supports good eye health
  • Boosts the immune-protective properties of white blood cells in the lymphatic system
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Dangers of Laxative Overuse for Chronic Constipation

by Cindy Gray

While laxatives can help increase stool frequency, overuse of laxatives often results in chronic constipation.While regular bowel movements are critical for good health, “forcing the issue” with chemically-laden laxatives can do more harm than good. The body can quickly become dependent on laxatives and once you stop taking them constipation symptoms return, sometimes even worse than before. Laxatives contain chemicals that help increase stool bulk and frequency, which provides temporary relief for constipation. But overuse often results in chronic constipation and so it becomes a vicious cycle. 

Laxative use is rampant in this country and millions of dollars each year are spent on products that claim to relieve symptoms. Since the colon is the largest organ in the immune system, keeping it working efficiently is critical to good health.

Related: The Best and Worst Foods for IBS

Instead of reaching for a laxative, consider some natural approaches to treat chronic constipation. Your first line of defense should be to add fiber your diet. Most American diets are woefully lacking in fiber due to our national obsession with over-processed foods. To increase you fiber intake, eat plenty of vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and whole grains. Keep fatty foods to a minimum.

Probiotics are also helpful in maintaining regularity and they are found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt. Many people take probiotic supplements that provide the “good bacteria” in the digestive tract that help our bodies break down foods into components that provide healthful nutrition. 

Talk to your health care provider about natural ways to manage chronic constipation and other digestive problems. Laxatives should be used only as a last resort and only under the supervision of your physician or holistic practitioner.  

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Indigestion Symptoms: Five Signs of Unbalanced Beneficial Bacteria

by IVL Products

Did you know that the gastrointestinal tract, commonly called the gut, is lined with trillions of bacteria? They all have a job to do and are important in digesting the food we eat and controlling our health status.

There is a wide diversity of different bacteria, and not all gut bacteria are equal. Some “good” bacteria help improve digestion of food, manufacture essential vitamins, and strengthen the immune system.

Unbalanced bacteria trigger indigestion symptoms

The presence of “bad” bacteria may cause poor skin conditions, mental issues, nightmares, and indigestion symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea. The body cannot selectively banish all bad bacteria, but by creating an environment where good bacteria can flourish, the bad bacteria can be held in check. Probiotics are the answer.

The balance of bacteria in the gut can indicate how healthy we are (or are not). The presence of some bacteria causes inflammation while other bacteria strengthen the immune system or affect how the brain works. This is a wide topic of study, but the important fact is that if the balance of bacteria is off, it will affect our overall health.

Related: Natural Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

If you suffer from any or all of these indigestion symptoms, it may indicate low levels of good bacteria or flora (dysbiosis):

  • Painful bowel movements, usually caused by hard stools and constipation
  • Altered bowel habits, bloating or cramping pains may be caused by an irritable bowel. Diarrhea or loose stools may be caused by a bug, but more commonly they are a symptom of an imbalance of bacteria in the gut
  • Bad gas is another warning sign of poor indigestion. Symptoms such as excessive gas are caused by gut bacteria improperly digesting food. It may be caused by certain foods, such as beans, or by a sudden change of diet. Either way, managing your gut bacteria with probiotic-rich foods will help
  • Parasite infections can cause you to feel sick, or cause other symptoms of ill health. Normally these unhealthy parasites are controlled by good gut bacteria
  • Food allergies and food sensitivities can both cause irritable bowel movements, bloating, constipation and diarrhea

These common indigestion symptoms tend to indicate that there is an imbalance which can be addressed by introducing probiotics into the diet to improve the presence of healthy bacteria. Consider taking a probiotic supplement or add some fermented foods and live yogurt to your diet to raise levels of good bacteria and banish troublesome indigestion symptoms forever.

 

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Are Indigestion Symptoms Signaling Bigger Problems?

by Health News

With life moving at a lightning-fast pace and diets full of fast foods and refined sugar, it's not surprising that people suffer from indigestion now more than ever.  The digestive tract is home to a complex community of bacteria and other microbes, otherwise known as gut flora.  When in balance, the digestive process runs smoothly, but when harmful bacteria and microbes overtake beneficial forms, people experience indigestion symptoms like heart burn, acid reflux, constipation, or diarrhea.  Because almost three quarters of the immune system resides within the digestive tract, indigestion symptoms might be signaling bigger problems. 

indigestion symptoms

The Importance of Healthy Balance

For good health, the ratio of beneficial microbiota in the gut to harmful forms should measure 85 percent to 15 percent.  In addition to promoting vigorous gastrointestinal function, a healthy balance of gut flora helps prevent colon cancer, inhibits the buildup of yeast in the mouth and vagina, and protects the body from infection and the development of autoimmune disease. 

A host of modern lifestyle factors contributes to an imbalance of gut flora.  Some of these factors include:

  • Use of prescribed antibiotics
  • Consumption of over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers
  • Diets high in sugar, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates
  • Diets low in fermented and cultured foods
  • Lack of exercise
  • Chronic stress

Related: Healthy Living Is A Personal Choice

Ways to Restore Healthy Balance

Making changes according to the factors listed above is an obvious approach for reducing indigestion symptoms and restoring a healthy balance of gut flora. People can begin by changing their diet. Trade sugary, processed foods for those high in fiber like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and eat fermented and cultured foods like kimchi and Greek yogurt. Get more exercise, participate in stress-relieving activities, and limit the use of NSAID pain relievers. Take a probiotic supplement every day to boost beneficial bacteria in the gut, and when antibiotics are required, take extra probiotics. 

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7 Key Celiac Disease Symptoms

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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How Probiotics Can Regulate Your Digestive System

by Health News

A healthy regulated digestive system is the key to our bodies receiving all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed to provide energy and overall good immune system health.

The bacteria in our intestine need to be perfectly balanced to efficiently digest our food. Any imbalance can lead to an irregular digestive system, which can cause physical discomfort and possible harm to our overall health.

Age, stress, illness, medications such as antibiotics, dehydration, lack of sleep and a harmful environment can all affect our microbial equilibrium which can cause gas, constipation, bloating, bad skin, fatigue and, in more severe cases, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.

It all goes back to having a healthy regulated digestive system with a correct balance of microfloras to maximize the benefits of healthy eating.

Taking a natural probiotic dietary supplement can ensure that beneficial microflora are naturally maintained in proper balance.

Probiotics also play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system, helping to fight off bacteria, bugs and viruses. Good bacteria are vital to keep our immune system health in good working order.

Digestion Problemsn Free Ebook Download

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Prevent Decreased Muscle Mass in the Grocery Store

by Cindy Gray

The great thing about natural medicine is that most vitamins and supplements can be obtained from a grocery store rather than from a pharmacy. To be more exact, most health foods can be found in the produce department where fresh fruit and vegetables provide a ready supply of vitamins, minerals, natural fiber and antioxidants.

Prevent Decreased Muscle Mass in the Produce AisleYou may be aware that these foods are the key to weight management, balancing blood sugar and supporting a healthy heart, but scientists have also found they are essential for preventing decreased muscle mass.

What is Sarcopenia?

Sarcopenia is a medical term that refers to a steady loss of lean body mass, specifically muscle and bone loss. It affects around 45% of older adults and generally starts at the age of 40 and accelerates in the mid-late 70s. Although it is most severe in those who are physically inactive, it also affects people who remain fit and active into older age.

Although sarcopenia affects older people, it may be an avoidable consequence of aging, as a recent Korean study showed.

Related: 3 Healthy Foods That Support Healthy Aging

Study on Sarcopenia and Diet

Scientists at Ajou University in the Republic of Korea looked at whether foods high in antioxidants, such as fruit and vegetables, could be associated with sarcopenia in older people. The study focused on data provided by 823 men and 1,089 women who were aged 65 and above. They used questionnaires to obtain information about the participants' diet, along with physical measurements including height and body mass.

The study found that men who had a high dietary intake of both fresh fruit and vegetables had a significantly lower risk of sarcopenia than those who ate fewer fruits and vegetables. In women, they found that those who had a high consumption of fruit showed a lower risk of decreased muscle mass/sarcopenia. The scientists concluded that a high consumption of fruit and vegetables was inversely associated with the presence of sarcopenia in older people.

Risk of Muscle Loss

The natural aging process means that we generally move more slowly as we age and there is a decline in muscle strength. When extreme, this loss of muscle increases the risk of injury from a fall due to weaker leg muscles, and it can eventually affect the ability to live independently.

Decreased muscle mass is related to bone loss (osteoporosis) as healthy muscles create a positive stress which keeps the bones strong and healthy. A decline of muscle through sarcopenia can start a vicious circle: less lean body mass causes decreased mobility which in turn results in yet more muscle loss.

Sarcopenia has other implications for general health too. The body stores reserves of proteins and metabolites in the muscles. The reason many frail elderly people do not survive a fall, major surgery, or illness such as influenza, is due to their lack of metabolic reserves in their muscles to support their immune system and aid recovery.

Although our western diet provides plenty of protein to fight the decline of muscle and bone mass, studies increasingly show that this must be accompanied by plenty of fruit and vegetables to provide the necessary antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are also needed to age healthily.

Next time you visit the supermarket, make sure you visit the produce aisle and top up your health reserves to stave off sarcopenia before it’s too late.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=PMID%3A+24646604

http://www.brinkzone.com/articles/sarcopenia-the-undiagnosed-epidemic/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080527121104.htm

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090112p62.shtml

 

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Inability to Focus? Feed your Brain!

by Cindy Gray

When your body lacks food, it tells you by slowing down and losing its normal efficiency. In the same way, when your brain needs a boost, it lets you know by becoming slow, muddled and lacking its normal clarity.  Several foods appear to boost memory and cognitive function, as if they are brain superfoods. Next time you feel the inability to focus, try these brain foods.Feed your Brain, Increase Focus

Maca for Brain Power

Maca is an unusual turnip-like root which thrives where other crops fail. It was grown by the Incas high in the Andes in places like Machu Picchu. This amazing food can be grown at altitudes of 9,000 to 14,000 feet, even in cold winds and strong sunlight.

Maca has been used as a food and a medicinal plant for thousands of years. The Inca people believe the root is a source of energy and endurance but it also improves memory and brain power. You may not be able to grow maca in your own backyard, or find it in the supermarket, but maca is available as a health supplement in powdered form and can easily be added to power smoothies and shakes.

Maca root is high in antioxidants which are known to aid memory and cognitive function. It comes in three forms: black, red and yellow maca. Clinical studies on maca found that black maca had a positive effect on the brain, with most people citing it helped them improve memory. Scientists believe that the antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in the brain, allowing it to be more clear thinking and productive.

Cacao for Clarity and Alertness

Cacao, the raw form of cocoa and chocolate, contains over 300 beneficial compounds. Unfortunately many of these are destroyed by heating, refining and processing the cacao into chocolate.

Cacao has been shown to increase the activity in the brain's neurotransmitters, not only lifting mood and promoting a sense of well-being, but also increasing alertness and mental clarity. It works by stimulating the levels of endorphins and serotonin that makes us feel happy. It also prompts the brain to release anandamide, known as the "bliss chemical", along with phenylethylamine (PEA) which improves mental focus and alertness.

Related: Can Exercise Prevent Alzheimer's Disease?

Other benefits of cacao include dilating the blood vessels which allows better circulation to the brain; balancing mood and brain chemistry; providing a shield against stress and increasing mental sharpness.

Look for chocolate with a high percentage of cacao and proportionally less sugar, dairy and soy products to get the maximum benefits from nutrient-rich cacao.

Reishi Mushrooms for Boosting Mental Capacity

Certain types of mushrooms are known to affect the mind, sometimes positively, and sometimes negatively. Reishi mushrooms are referred to as the "King of Herbs" in Eastern medicine. This fungus has a positive mental benefit as it helps maintain equilibrium and balance in the whole body.

A balanced body is essentially healthy and has a strong immune system which leads to a positive and healthy outlook on life. It also allows us to deal with stress more easily, lowering anxiety levels that can otherwise inhibit brain function.

Reishi specifically strengthens the vagus nerve which connects the gut to the brain and this is thought to be the reason for the improvement in mental capacity.

Reishi mushrooms, along with maca root powder are key ingredients in several popular, powerful, and palatable meal replacement drinks used to boost energy and feed your brain.

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Understanding Leaky Gut Syndrome & Indigestion Home Remedies

by Cindy Gray

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

indigestion home remedies

What is leaky gut syndrome?

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

What causes leaky gut syndrome?

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

How does leaky guy syndrome affect the health?

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

  • Digestive problems

  • Fatigue

  • Food sensitivities

  • Headache

  • Joint pain

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Skin problems like acne, rash, and rosacea

  • Thyroid conditions

  • Weight gain

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

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

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

Related: Start the Day out Right – Eat Breakfast

Foods that are especially helpful for leaky gut include:

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

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

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

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

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

Supplements that help sooth a leaky gut include:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Glutathione - the Master Antioxidant

by Cindy Gray

Glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant in the body. Chemically, it is a very small molecule that is made within the body itself. It is considered to be an important antioxidant because it is located inside every cell in the body. In general, antioxidants, the most well-known of which are vitamins C and E, are important for health because they neutralize harmful free radicals which can build up in cells and cause damage. Along with its own antioxidant actions, glutathione recycles vitamin C and other antioxidants. It also helps the liver remove foreign chemicals such as drugs and toxins. It has widespread health benefits because it is present in immune cells and drives the functions of the immune system, whose job is to fight off disease and infections.Optimize Overall Health with Master Antioxidant Glutathione

Food sources that either contain glutathione or its precursors to help the body produce more include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, avocados, peaches, watermelon, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, tomatoes, peas, garlic, onions, red peppers as well as meat, fish and green leafy vegetables. Clearly, people who consume a varied, healthy diet get enough glutathione from their diet. On the other hand, those with poor diets may not get enough glutathione. Sufficient levels of selenium, a micronutrient found in meat, seafood, egg yolks and certain plants, and alpha-lipoic acid, another antioxidant, are both necessary to maintain glutathione levels. Glutathione production increases during exercise. However, strenuous exercise, alcohol, and drugs such as acetaminophen, deplete glutathione from the liver.

Glutathione performs many important roles in the body, including:

  • Managing cell growth and division

  • DNA synthesis and repair - protecting DNA when it’s being made and repairing damaged DNA

  • Protein function - helping to maintain proteins in their active, functional forms

  • Amino acid transport - moving many substances, including amino acids, in and out of cells as needed

  • Enzyme activation and catalysis - helping enzymes transform into their active state and increasing the efficiency with which they function

  • Detoxification - breaking down toxins in the liver. The enzyme glutathione S-transferase binds to toxins such as carcinogens, heavy metals, herbicides and pesticides and makes them water-soluble, so that they can be removed from the body as bile, sweat and urine. Glutathione-related enzymes also detoxify cancer-causing chemicals so that they can be eliminated without damaging the cell or DNA.

Our body is constantly under attack from harmful chemicals called ‘free radicals’ created by a process known as ‘oxidative stress’. Some free radicals are generated externally, while others are made in the body itself. When they come in contact with DNA or other cellular components, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule and ‘steal’ its electron. A molecule that loses an electron then becomes a free radical itself and attacks the next nearest stable molecule, thus setting off a chain reaction that can potentially cascade through hundreds of molecules. Glutathione performs a vital role in repairing damaged DNA by replacing missing electrons.

Glutathione can exist either in so-called ‘reduced’ or ‘oxidized’ states. In healthy cells and tissue, more than 90% of total glutathione is in the reduced form. An increased ratio of the oxidized-to-reduced-forms is considered to be a significant marker of oxidative stress and is used to assess cellular toxicity. Oxidative stress in blood vessels is associated with many diseases. Glutathione manages the cell’s oxidative stress response.

People who have cancer, AIDS, cancer and other very serious diseases are almost invariably found to be depleted in glutathione. Although the reasons for this are not completely understood, it is clear that glutathione is extremely important for maintaining intracellular health. Laboratory studies have shown that glutathione has the potential to help fight almost any disease, particularly those associated with aging, since free radical damage is believed to be one of the major underlying causes of many of the diseases associated with old age. The body’s immune and detoxification systems cannot function without glutathione, which is an essential part of staying young, active and healthy. Within the immune system itself, glutathione enhances the activity of immune cells and also functions as an antioxidant within them. Some health experts believe that raising and maintaining glutathione levels can help minimize the risk of diseases.

There is extensive evidence that antioxidants play a protective role in cardiovascular disease, a chronic disease that is worsened by oxidative stress and inflammation. Long-term, large-scale, population-based studies have found that higher levels of glutathione, as well as vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotenoids, are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, results from large clinical trials do not support long-term use of single antioxidant supplements for prevention of cardiovascular disease, due to their null or even adverse effects. Overall diet quality rather than single nutrients have been shown to have protective effects.

Glutathione has been shown to increase energy levels, strength and endurance. Our energy levels are a result of many factors, including the biochemical reactions taking place within cellular mitochondria. Glutathione ensures that mitochondria remain fully charged. Clinical trials have shown that lowered or depleted glutathione in the mitochondria leads to cell death, suggesting that proper glutathione levels are vital for cellular and overall health.

While there are many strong arguments in favor of a therapeutic use of glutathione, the actual amount of research on glutathione as a supplement is very limited. Health experts disagree on who should take glutathione or its precursors. Some say everyone should take it in order to optimize overall health. Others say it should be reserved for people with cancer, or those who eat poorly and are thus unlikely to be getting much glutathione or its precursors in their diet. However, everyone agrees that people with severe diseases known to be associated with low glutathione levels, such as AIDS, heart disease and cancer are likely to benefit from glutathione supplements.

Reference

http://www.immunehealthscience.com/glutathione.html