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Researchers Reveal Melanoma Is More Deadly For Pregnant Women

by IVL Products

Melanoma is a cancer that affects certain types of skin cells.  While many experts target outdoor enthusiasts when it comes to taking precautions against this type of cancer, a recent study shows vulnerability in a new group:  pregnant women. The study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology revealed some shocking results when it came to pregnant women and skin cancer, specifically melanoma.

Pregnant or recently pregnant women experience higher rates for death from melanoma than women who are not pregnant.

Researchers studied 462 women with melanoma who were 49 years of age or younger.  Within the larger group were 41 women who had been diagnosed with the skin cancer while pregnant or within one year of giving birth.  

Researchers found that women diagnosed with melanoma while pregnant or recently pregnant were five times more likely to die from it than women with melanoma who were not pregnant.  Melanoma diagnosed in pregnant or recently pregnant woman was nearly seven times more likely to metastasize (spread to other parts of the body), and women in this group were nearly ten times more likely to experience a recurrence of the cancer within 7 ½ years.

Related:  Five Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

The study's results do not indicate that pregnant or recently pregnant women are more likely to develop melanoma, yet they do show melanoma is more aggressive in this group of women.  While they have not determined a cause for the increased virulence, the researchers do venture a few possibilities.  It may be related to a diminished immune system that helps prevent rejection of the fetus or it could be caused by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy like a rise in estrogen levels.

Conclusion

Research shows that when it comes to skin cancer, women from 20 to 40 years of age are experiencing rising rates.  Females in this age group who have a history of heavy sun exposure, family members with skin cancer, or a large number of moles should examine their skin on a regular basis and contact a dermatologist with any concerns.  Women with high risks for skin cancer may also want to consult with a dermatologist before planning a family.

In addition to regular self-examination, most experts recommend the following tips for preventing melanoma and other types of skin cancer:

  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, specifically 10 am to 4 pm
  • Avoid tanning lamps or beds
  • Apply a broad-spectrum, natural sunscreen if expecting to be in the sun longer than 15 minutes
  • Wear protecting clothing
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Cranberries for Cancer

by IVL Products

When you think of antioxidants, you should be thinking of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables that are not only pleasing to the eye, but to the palate as well. Along with providing vitamins and fiber, fruits and vegetables are important for their role in absorbing free radicals.

Cranberries are delicious and add color to any dish or dessert, yet research shows that cranberries add nutrients to our diet that helps detour illness and disease.

Free radicals are highly reactive forms of oxygen that are missing an electron. When they come into contact with normal molecules, they try to steal an electron, damaging the healthy cell and its DNA. In fact, some estimates show that every cell in your body takes 10,000 oxidative hits to its DNA daily! Antioxidants work to counteract the damage caused by free radicals.

This is likely why antioxidants are effective in helping preventing against cancer. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage, which in turns prevents cellular damage. This cellular damage, over time, can damage the DNA.

According to a study published in AACN Clinical Issues in 2002, when the damage is extensive and irreversible, it may lead to cancer. The hypothesis is that since antioxidants prevent free radical damage, they can decrease oxidative stress, damage to the DNA, and therefore help prevent cancer.

And when it comes to particular antioxidant-rich, cancer-fighting foods, the humble cranberry is one of the most powerful.

One researcher from the University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth set out to discover exactly what it was in this curious little berry that made it such a cancer-fighting powerhouse. After reviewing nearly 40 different studies on cranberries and cancer, he found that there are three main phytochemicals that seem to be responsible for cranberry’s anti-cancer power:

  • Proanthocyanidins (powerful antioxidants),
  • Anthocyanins (anti-cancer; anti-inflammatory), and
  • Ursolic acid (anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative).

In vitro studies have shown that proanthocyanidins (PAC) have blocked the growth of cancer in human lung cells, colon cells, and leukemia cells. Similar in vitro studies have found that PACs induce cell death, particular breast cancer, colon cancer, oral cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and esophageal cancer cells.

The anthocyanins found in cranberries appear to reduce inflammation, which is commonly associated with cancer risk. Additionally, these anthocyanins have been shown to block an enzyme (ornithine decarboxylase), which is known to promote cancer growth. Plus, anthocyanins limit angiogenesis, or the growth of new blood vessels. This is important because cancer needs this growth to spread.

Related:  Cranberries for Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

But the real hero in cranberries just may be ursolic acid. This little-known nutrient has been shown to be cytotoxic toward cancer cells. In fact, an in vitro study found that PACs and ursolic acid from cranberries brought on cell death in colon cancer cells. But, more promisingly, is that an in vivo study (in an animal) found that ursolic acid decreased the size, weight, and eventually presence of breast cancer cells in mice.

Clearly cranberries are proof that great things really do come in small packages.

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Where do Brain Tumors Come From?

by IVL Products

The idea of a brain tumor strikes fear into the hearts of most people.  However, learning more about how tumors in the brain develop and where they come from can help dispel some of the anxiety generated by this terrifying topic.  Some facts may be surprising, and a little knowledge helps prepare people in the event of a brain tumor diagnosis for themselves or a loved one. 

Brain tumors can start in the brain or start in another area of the body and spread to the brain.

A brain tumor is a growth or mass of abnormal cells in the brain or central nervous system that can affect ordinary brain function.  There are over 120 kinds of these tumors, and they form in different areas and different ways for everyone.

Tumors that originate in brain cells are called primary brain tumors. While these tumors can spread to other areas of the brain or to the spine, they rarely spread (or metastasize) to additional organs.  Primary brain tumors can be either benign or malignant.

Benign tumors are not cancerous. They grow slowly, have well-defined borders, and do not invade other tissue.  Malignant tumors, on the other hand, are cancerous and they do not have well-defined borders.  Because they grow quickly and invade surrounding tissue, malignant tumors have the potential to endanger lives.

Starting in another part of the body and metastasizing to the brain, secondary brain tumors account for the majority of brain cancers and are always malignant. Cancers of the breast, kidney, lung, or skin are all types that can spread to the brain.

Related:  What's Causing Your Memory Loss?

Brain Tumor Symptoms and Diagnosis

Certain people exhibit no symptoms at all when a brain tumor is discovered. Others have symptoms that vary according to the type of tumor and its location.  Some symptoms associated with brain tumors include:

  • Difficulty with speech and comprehension
  • Frequent headaches
  • Impaired coordination
  • Personality changes
  • Seizures
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Vision problems
People exhibiting any of the symptoms above should consult with a medical professional.  Make sure to discuss all symptoms fully for the most accurate diagnosis.  As part of their diagnostic process, doctors often order a brain scan in the form of an MRI.  A biopsy may be necessary and other medical professionals may be brought in to help establish a diagnosis. 
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How Do People Get Addicted to Sugar?

by IVL Products

With obesity a widespread public health problem in the United States, it may not be surprising to know that the average American consumes roughly 22 teaspoons of sugar every day.  In addition to being a key ingredient in sweets like cake, pastries, cookies, doughnuts, and candy, sugar can be found in a wide range of grocery items, from spaghetti sauce and cereal to canned soup.  In fact, some experts believe that 80 percent of our food choices contain some form of sugar.  With such high consumption, it's easy to understand why people get addicted to sugar.

Even though you don't have a sweet tooth, you still may be addicted to sugar.

The Brain on Sugar

During periods of low energy or stress, certain people feel a compulsion to eat sweets.  While satisfying the craving may seem like an emotional choice, the impulse actually has physical roots.  Research shows that sugar lights up the same areas of the brain that are activated by drugs and alcohol.  Tasting sugar raises levels of the "feel-good" chemicals dopamine and serotonin in the brain and strengthens the desire for more sugar.

The Body on Sugar

Eating sugar also has an effect on the body.  When people eat sweets, the sugar consumed turns quickly into glucose in the bloodstream.  The body responds by transporting the glucose into the cells for energy, which triggers an overflow of insulin into the system.  Too much insulin causes the blood sugar to drop suddenly, leaving people feeling drained, shaky, and craving more sugar.

Related:  Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels with Ginger

The Research

A study on lab rats at Princeton University found that those on high-sugar diets showed brain changes similar to rats accustomed to narcotics or nicotine. They also demonstrated cravings and relapses that indicated addiction, and when the rats were deprived of sugar they exhibited anxiety similar to that of withdrawal.

Beware of Starchy Foods

While some people may not have a sweet tooth, they still may be addicted to sugar. Starchy foods contain carbohydrates that break down quickly into simple sugars in the body.  A few examples include foods made with white flour like bread, bagels, crackers, and pasta; white potato products like French fries and potato chips; or white rice.

Strategies for Reducing Sugar Consumption

According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar daily, and men should limit daily sugar to nine teaspoons.  People who feel they are addicted to sugar can reduce consumption by following a few strategies:

  • Replace desserts with a piece of whole fruit or a bowl of fresh berries.
  • Snack on foods high in protein like hardboiled eggs to curb sugar cravings.  Protein digests slowly and keeps people feeling full longer.
  • Get energy from high fiber foods like 100 percent whole-grain toast with peanut butter or a bowl of oatmeal. These complex carbohydrates provide energy slowly instead of spiking blood sugar.
Read labels and look for other types of sugar like honey, agave nectar, cane juice, any kind of syrups, and words ending with the suffix "-ose."
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How Safe is your Drinking Water?

by IVL Products

While most people welcome a glass of cool water on a hot day, many may take the water that comes from their tap for granted.  While Americans enjoy some of the safest drinking water in the world, the Centers for Disease Control receive notification of roughly 4,000 illnesses related to contaminants in water each year.  A little knowledge about types of contaminants and how water gets contaminated can help ensure safe drinking water in every household.

The quality of drinking water can sometimes depend on whether it comes from a public water system or a private well.

The quality of drinking water may depend on whether its source is regulated by the city or is a private well.  While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates public drinking water systems across the country, roughly one in seven people in the United States get their household water from small, unregulated community water systems or private wells.  These communities and private individuals are responsible for ensuring the safety of their water.   

Types of Water Contaminants

Water has the ability to dissolve almost anything that makes contact with it, which means it is easily contaminated by water-soluble substances like minerals.  Because of its contact with rock formations found in wells and water systems, tap water often contains calcium, iron, manganese, and magnesium.  In addition, exposure to pipes and plumbing fixtures results in tap water that contains lead, copper, and iron.  Compounds in the atmosphere like gases and dust also make their way into the water supply.

Related:  Nine Ways to Naturally Protect your Kidneys From Stones, Malfunction and Failure

Although many households across the country rely on city sewer systems, some depend on individual septic tanks buried in their own yard.  Failed septic tanks lead to wastewater getting into the ground, which can result in contaminated water coming from the tap.  Wastewater contains bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that can present a danger to human health if ingested.

Fortunately, a variety of companies offer full-range water testing packages designed specifically for well water or city water.  People can also purchase kits to test for specific contaminants in water.  With this information, people can feel better knowing their drinking water is safe or take immediate steps to correct any problems.

Drinking Water Safety

To ensure members in your household are drinking clean, safe water, take advantage of these tips:

  • Learn where your water comes from.  If it comes from a private well, test water for contaminants.
  • Use a good-quality home-filtration system to remove metals and other contaminants from public water.
  • Find out if you have a septic tank.  If so, maintain it properly to prevent failure and potential illness.
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High Fiber Diet in Youth Linked to Breast Cancer Prevention

by IVL Products

Getting teens to eat a healthy diet is a struggle for most parents. With the ease of fast food and the temptation of sweets and chips in every vending machine, teen diets are often nutrient-poor.  Well, stay vigilant; especially those of you with teen daughters because a recent study showed women who ate high fiber diets in their teens and twenties had a significantly reduced rate of breast cancer later in life.

Breast Cancer Prevention Starts Early

The study that links a high fiber diet as a teen to a reduced risk of breast cancer as an adult was first published in the journal Pediatrics. The 20-year study of the diets of over 90,000 women showed those who consumed the highest quality fiber (i.e. whole grains, fruits and vegetables) had a 19% lower risk of developing breast cancer. Even more importantly, those women who ate more fiber as a teen had a reduced risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer.  The earlier a woman develops breast cancer the more aggressive it tends to be and the mortality rate is higher.

Can you prevent breast cancer by consuming high fiber?

The Fiber Effect

Study researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded that the fiber effect was due to the fact that dietary fiber cuts down on circulating estrogen levels. Breast cancer is a hormone-driven cancer that thrives on estrogen, so the women who ate a high fiber diet as teens and into their 20s most likely were able to prevent breast cancer from forming because they had lower levels of circulating estrogen over a very long period of their life. 

Fiber also improves insulin sensitivity because it reduces insulin-like growth factors, lowering one’s risk of diabetes, too. Diabetic women have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer.

It’s long been known that fiber helps keep the pounds from piling on and obesity is directly linked to increasing a woman’s risk of breast cancer, too.

Related:  Supplementing Children's Diets with Fish Oil

Finally, it’s well known within the medical community that carcinogens ingested during childhood and adolescence heavily influences breast tissue.  A diet that consists of lots of fiber rich-foods like most fruits and vegetables also means the body is getting healthy doses of antioxidants, another important way to prevent breast cancer.

Talk To Your Teen

Previous smaller studies have not consistently supported the benefits of a high fiber diet in adolescent girls and breast cancer prevention, but the huge scope of this study for over two decades lends weight to its validity.  It’s certainly a good idea to talk with your teenage daughter about her eating habits and make sure she has access to plenty of high fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains regularly. This will not only reduce her risk of breast cancer, but offer improved health overall and set her up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. 

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Plant-Based Is the Way to Go

by IVL Products

More and more research is showing that eating a primarily plant-based diet is crucial for good health. This is particularly apt for preserving brain health, reducing your cancer risk and preventing diabetes and heart disease.

The power of a plant-based diet proves to provide nutrients for both great health and disease prevention.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013, researchers found, “Whole grains and nuts and legumes were positively associated with higher cognitive functions and may be core neuroprotective foods common to various healthy plant-centered diets around the globe.”

A November 2002 study found that a vegetarian diet confers some protection against developing cancer. Specifically, the researchers found that a vegetarian diet decreased the risk of developing a gastrointestinal cancer by 24 percent. Further analysis showed that a vegan diet was associated with a 16 percent decrease in overall risk of cancer in men and women combined, and a 34 percent decrease in the risk of female-specific cancers. The researchers also found that lacto-ovo vegetarians had a 25 percent decreased risk of developing a gastrointestinal tract cancer.

Related:  Wheatgrass:  Why They Call it a Superfood

Finally, a study published in October 2013 indicates that a low-fat, plant-based diet impacts cardiovascular risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. The investigators concluded, “When people move toward a low-fat, plant-based diet, HDL levels decrease while other indicators of cardiovascular risk improve.”

So in the interest of good health, try to consume more plants-based foods more frequently.  Aim for five to six servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits per day, as well as good fiber sources like flaxseed.

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Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Reduces Children’s IQs

by IVL Products

Does ingesting and exposure to fluoride lower one’s intelligence quotient (IQ)?  A new study published by Harvard University and funded by the National Institutes of Health concluded that children living in areas where the drinking water with a high fluoride content have significantly lower IQ scores when compared to children who live in areas with fluoride free water.

Can exposure to fluoride impact a person’s intelligence?

The Study/Conclusions

To summarize the 32-page report:

  • A systematic review of 27 published studies regarding fluoride in drinking water spanning 22 years was done. The studies reviewed were those carried out in rural China.
  • The study also took into account hundreds of animal studies involving fluoridated water and reported that animals given water with a fluoride concentration of 1 ppm (one parts per million) showed increased levels of aluminum in the brain tissue and other morphological alterations.
  • The researchers concluded the report saying their results support “there is the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposure on children’s neurodevelopment.”

Dissention

The scientific and medical community remains divided on the issue of fluoride being added to drinking water. 

After the Harvard study was published several other scientific and medical institutions called the study flawed. According to them the results were not applicable to most countries since the study subjects were children in rural China were the water is known to be naturally high in fluoride.  The also noted that even the study authors admitted they could not determine the exact amount of fluoride the children were exposed to and that factors other than fluoride could effect the IQ of those children such as diet and/or other environmental toxins.

The American Dental Association maintains that fluoride does not have an adverse effect on the IQ of adults or children and says it is a critical public service that drastically reduced tooth decay, especially in children.

Related:  Brain Injuries in Pre-Term Infants

Those who hailed the study’s conclusions that fluoride is a dangerous neurotoxin and can lead to other health problems besides a diminished IQ point out the decades of research that already supported the Harvard study’s findings, such as:

  • The Journal of the American Medical Association stated in 1943 that fluorides are a kind of poison that changes the permeability of the cell membrane by certain enzymes (making the membrane less effective at keeping bad elements out of the cell).
  • Even the Food and Drug Administration (ADA) recommends against children under the age of six months being exposed to fluoride and classified the substance as a drug, not a mineral nutrient. Even so, fluoride is still recommended in drinking water despite never having been approved as a drug for widespread use by the FDA.

Fluoride Children & IQ

Even the Center for Disease Control has not provided a clear position on the effects of fluoride water and children’s IQs.  On one hand the CDC calls the fluoridation of water one of the top public health initiatives of the 20th century but cautions parents against mixing infant formula with fluoridated water because of the possible negative health issues; and fluorosis, a condition that stains and pockmarks teeth.

The United States is one of only eight countries that still adds fluoride to water supplies. Most of the rest of the developed world has terminated the practice due to insufficient evidence that the potential for less tooth decay outweighs the risk fluoride poses to the development of children’s brains and teeth. Since fluoride is only helpful in preventing tooth decay topically, there is no good reason for it to be ingested. 

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Enough Fruits & Veggies: What We May Know, But Don’t Do

by IVL Products
Fruits & Veggies, How Much is Enough?

There is no question that eating fruits and vegetables is at the heart of an optimum diet. However, most (if not nearly all) of us aren’t getting anywhere near the optimum quantity of fruits and vegetables.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than one-third of Americans eat two or more fruits per day; and a mere 27 percent eat vegetables three or more times a day. That is grossly insufficient to meet our vitamin and mineral needs.

Given this, it is not only practical but critical that people use a fruit and/or vegetable supplement to fill in the nutritional gaps left by a poor diet, high stress, malabsorption issues, and other deficiency-related concerns.

Related:  Are Green Leafy Vegetables Good for Your Bones

In today’s day and age, augmenting with a supplement that fills in these gaps is not an option—it’s a necessity. By choosing a product with care and aiming for optimal levels of key nutrients, you can begin to create a habit that will support you for the rest of your life!

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How Sugar Negatively Affects Your Body

by IVL Products

Although we need protein, fat and carbohydrates, sugar is one category of food we would actually be healthier without. It contains no nutrients or enzymes, does not satisfy hunger yet is laden with empty calories. The negative effects of sugar go on and on.

Digesting sugar actually saps minerals from the body and triggers a cascade of hormones to be released into the bloodstream, quite unlike any other food substance. It rots teeth, stresses the liver and increases triglycerides and bad cholesterol. So why do we consume on average 22 teaspoons of sugar per day? Because it’s addictive.

Inflammation is one of the serious negative effects of sugar

Here are seven negative effects of sugar:

1.     Sugar Spikes

Sugar is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream creating an initial “high” which triggers a flood of the hormone insulin, followed by an energy crash. When blood sugar levels decrease, the body releases the hormone cortisol. As well as causing highs and lows in energy, negative effects of sugar affect the brain causing mood changes, anxiety, headaches and cravings for more sugar.

2.     Sugar Increases Health Risks

Sugar rots the teeth, increases inflammation and contributes to obesity, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

3.     Chromium Deficiency

Another negative effect of sugar is that digesting refined carbohydrates depletes chromium, an essential mineral for maintaining blood sugar metabolism and transporting glucose for energy.

4.     Sugar and Liver Function

Added sugars cause the liver to turn excess sugar into fat, storing it in odd places. It encourages fat build-up around the liver which can be a precursor to nonalcoholic liver disease.

5.     Sugar Accelerates Aging

Sugar causes glycolysis which reduces body tissue integrity and speeds up the aging process.

6.     Dental Decay

We all know that one of the main negative effects of sugar is tooth decay and cavities due to the acid it creates in the mouth. It can go on to be the cause periodontal infection and this has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

Related:  Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels with Ginger

7.     Sugar Slows Learning

Sugar often affects children’s behavior, but a study of New York schoolchildren found that when all sugar, artificial sweeteners and dyes were removed from pupils’ breakfast and lunch, the overall grades of the test group rose 15.7% while the placebo group improved just 1.7%. A more recent study on mice being fed a high-sugar diet showed similar negative effects of sugar in the results.

Added sugar is easy to substitute with a few simple lifestyle changes. Start reading the label on processed foods, salad dressing, sodas and other processed foods. By switching to a natural wholefood diet and cooking meals from scratch, you can counter all seven negative effects of sugar.

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What You Should Know About Excess Sugar and Yeast Infections

by IVL Products

Three out of four women will get at least one yeast infection in their lifetime. The burning and itching “down there” is unpleasant but not necessarily harmful.  What many women may not realize is the link between too much sugar in their diet and yeast infections.

The connection between excess sugar and yeast infections.

Yeast Infection Causes

Yeast actually grows naturally all over our bodies.  The most common type of yeast found on our bodies and in the vagina is known as Candida albicans, or Candida for short.  This fungus thrives in warm moist places like a woman’s vagina and can be caused by a variety of things like:

  • Low estrogen
  • Wearing synthetic fabric pantyliners
  • Vaginal eczema
  • Spermicidal condoms
  • Synthetic chemicals in feminine hygiene sprays
  • Poor diet

Related:  Fibromyalgia: Ten Possible Underlying Causes

Diet and Yeast Infections

Yeast loves sugar as much as you do. Too much sugar in your diet can give yeast a boost causing it to spread and increase, especially if your immune system is depressed from a lack of sleep or stress.  If you are prone to yeast infections, or feel one coming on, try avoiding the following:

  • Foods with simple sugars
  • Starchy foods like white flour products or rice
  • Foods fermented with yeast like alcohol

Alcohol is very sugary.  A few drinks, some highly refined foods like pretzels or candy at the bar makes for a perfect combination to feed yeast and help it spread.

Probiotics Can Help

Probiotics are living microorganisms very similar to the “good” bacteria in your gut essential for digesting your food. This so-called “good” bacterium is prevalent in your digestive tract and in other places on the body. If you take antibiotics for a bacterial infection, you can inadvertently destroy the good bacteria along with the harmful stuff, paving the way for yeast to overrun your already-battered immune system; and they begin to multiply.

Eating foods that contain probiotics can help keep yeast levels in check.  Yogurt with live and active bacterial cultures, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, or a daily probiotic supplement can help keep yeast infections at bay.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Candida thrives in an acidic environment. Acidic foods to avoid if you are prone to yeast infections are:

  • Nuts (cashews, peanuts and walnuts)
  • Seeds (pumpkin and sunflower)
  • Acidic fruits like blueberries, cranberries and plums
  • Corn oil
  • Sugar and sweeteners including molasses, maple syrup, honey and especially aspartame
  • Salt
  • Condiments like mayonnaise, soy sauce or vinegar

Once Is Enough

If you have ever endured the painful symptoms of a yeast infection you’ll agree once is enough.  Making a few simple dietary changes can help stave off yeast infections.  Try to consume less sugar and alcohol and eat more probiotic-rich foods—you’ll get a host of other health benefits to boot.

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Does Green Tea Help Prevent Lung Cancer?

by IVL Products

In countries such as Japan, where green tea is widely drunk, the incidence of lung cancer is lower than elsewhere, even though the smoking rates may be comparable. This strongly suggests that green tea can help prevent lung cancer, according to oncology researcher, Masami Suganuma.

Green tea may help prevent lung cancer

A recent study into the side effects of drinking green tea followed 102 volunteers who drank 40 fluid ounces (five cups) of green tea daily (or took the equivalent amount of green tea extract supplements.) Several years later, the study showed that the smokers in the group developed lung cancer several years later than other people who drank less or no green tea.

Although the primary way to practice lung cancer prevention is by not smoking, it appears that green tea could help slow down or prevent lung cancer from developing.

Green Tea and Lung Cancer Prevention

Green tea comes from the camellia sinensis bush and the leaves are picked and steamed before they start to ferment and oxidize, as in black tea. This preserves the phytochemicals, ensuring a much higher level of antioxidants (catechins) in green tea.

Green tea may help prevent lung cancer along with other cancers as it contains several anti-carcinogenic substances. These include Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), Epicatechin, Epicatechin-3-sulfate and Epigallocatechin.

For a cell to become cancerous, it goes through a series of mutations in its DNA. Smoking appears to trigger this mutation process by causing oxidative damage to cell DNA. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free-radicals that can cause DNA damage, so it is likely that green tea helps prevent lung cancer at this early stage.

This conclusion is backed up by a study on smokers who drank four cups of green tea daily. Their urine was measured for the compound 8-hydroxydeoxyguanozine (8-OHdG) which shows how much oxidative damage has taken place in the body. The smokers who drank green tea had 30% less oxidative damage than the non-tea drinkers.

Related:  Fight Colds and the Flu with Green Tea

EGCG May Help Prevent Lung Cancer

Other ways that green tea helps prevent lung cancer is the presence of EGCG. This component appears to stop cancer cells from dividing, arresting the possibility of cancer progression. However, EGCG does not affect cell division of normal healthy cells. Another benefit of this wonder substance is that it enhances the effectiveness of chemotherapy in those undergoing treatment.

Nicotine is known to stimulate angiogenesis (the creation of new blood vessels) that are necessary for cancer to thrive and spread. Once again, the EGCG is green tea appears to halt nicotine-induced angiogenesis, another way that green tea supports lung cancer prevention.

With so many positive benefits from drinking four or more cups of green tea each day, it can only benefit your health. However, it is best to make your own green tea from tea bags as ready-to-drink green tea has very low levels of EGCG and catechins, reducing the effectiveness of green tea for lung cancer prevention. 

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Are Fish Oil Supplements Good For The Skin?

by IVL Products

What you eat may be more important to the look and feel of your skin than what you put on it.  Research shows that what you put into your body in the form of nutrients has a big impact on how your skin looks and feels.  One critical nutrient found in foods like, walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil but most abundantly in certain fish is omega-3 fatty acids.  More and more research is piling up to support the benefits of omega-3s from fish oil for skin.

Exploring the benefits of omega-3s from fish oil for skin

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Promote Healthy Skin

Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential acids because the body needs them to maintain the health of the cell membrane, yet cannot produce it naturally.  Our bodies rely on getting essential acids solely from our diet.  Cell membranes not only act as a barrier to keep harmful substances out of the cell, but also to transport nutrients in and waste products out of it.  The membrane is also what enhances the cells ability to retain water so that you have moist, soft supple skin cells that are more resistant to wrinkles.

Another way omega-3 fatty acids, found most abundantly in fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, cod, and tuna (so called “oily” fish) are beneficial is to help reduce inflammation throughout the body.  Insulin spikes from eating sugary, highly processed starchy foods, sun exposure and environmental toxins like cigarette smoke induce inflammation in the skin making it dry, flaky and red.

Related:  Supplementing Children’s' Diets with Fish Oil

Additionally, according to a study published back in 2003 in “Carcinogenesis,” omega-3 fatty acids such as those in fish oil contain properties that protect the skin from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays from the sun.  EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), a compound in omega-3s, was shown to be especially beneficial in reducing sunburn and ultra-violet radiation induced skin breaks.

Best Way to Get the Most Out Of Fish Oil

One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and glowing is to eat foods rich in the omega-3 compounds EPA, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linoleic acid).  A few of the foods that contain the largest amounts of these substances are:

  • Fish –the cold-water or oily kind
  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oils
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli
  • Canola oil

Unfortunately it is difficult to get the amount of omega-3s needed for optimum health through food alone.  Taking a fish oil supplement is an easy way to get the most beneficial amounts of omega-3s into your diet.  

When shopping for a fish oil supplement be sure to read the label carefully and choose one with at least 30% EPA and DHA in it.  Also, look for the kind labeled “non-fishy” aftertaste.

The benefits of omega-3 fish oils for skin are numerous, plus they benefit many other parts of the body reducing your risk of cardiac disease, joint inflammation and can even aid in weigh loss.  Adding a fish oil supplement to your diet is a good idea if you would like to keep your skin looking and feeling younger and healthier. 

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How Fish Oil Increases Joint Mobility

by IVL Products

Many Americans take fish oil supplements because they are known to help prevent heart disease, enhance the look and health of skin and hair and even bring relief from the symptoms of depression.  Another good reason to pop those pills is the benefits of omega-3 fish oils for joints.

What are the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for joints?

What Is Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential fats because the body cannot make them and must rely on getting them from diet. Omega-3 fats are special because they are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body. They affect the function of cell receptors in these membranes and provide essential compounds for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, the contraction and relaxation of artery walls and help to control inflammation. They are also crucial to the binding of receptors in cells that regulate genetic function.  This is what makes them helpful in preventing heart disease, stroke, keeping your eyes moist, your skin soft and supple and your hair strong and shiny.

The key compounds in omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and are found in several types of foods. They are most abundant in fish, specifically cold-water “oily fish” like:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Trout

Other foods with omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flax seeds, olive oil and green leafy vegetables.

Related:  Could Fish Oil One Day Take the Place of Statin Drugs?

The Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oils for Joints

Joint pain is largely caused by inflammation of the cartilage and tissue in the joint, leading to stiffness and decreased range of motion.  EPA and DHA have been shown in clinical studies to reduce inflammation, and to a lesser degree ALA, by decreasing the presence of inflammatory markers like IL-10 and TGF beta.

In petri dish studies, when omega-3 fatty acids were incorporated into the cartilage cell membranes of joints they appeared to decrease the enzymes that degrade cartilage and inflammatory cytokines. An “over expression of cytokines” by the immune system causes inflammation to the body beyond what is needed, essentially attacking healthy cells and destroying them.

Fish Oil Supplements

It is difficult to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through diet alone. Taking a fish oil supplements is an easy way to incorporate enough into your daily diet so you don’t get burned out eating fish for every meal.

For adults choose a fish oil supplement with 30% or more EPA and DHA in addition to eating fish and plant foods rich in omega-3s. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet to avoid unfavorable drug interactions.  Then you’ll be on your way to enjoying the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for joints!

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The Six Best Brain Foods

by IVL Products

Is it possible that some foods are better for your brain than others? Are some foods truly “brain foods?” The simple answer is yes, but the topic of brain health and nutrition is much more complicated than simply selecting the right foods. 

Those looking to gain the mental edge will want to try brain foods such as Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and nuts and seeds packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

In order to have a truly healthy brain, it is also necessary to avoid foods such as trans fats and reduce process food intake as much as possible. Processed foods contain brain and DNA damaging compounds such as artificial colors, preservatives, pesticides, sugar, artificial sweeteners and more. Avoiding harmful foods is the foundation of good brain health and good overall health. Let’s take a look at six amazing brain foods!

#1:  Wild Alaskan Salmon

Generally, what is good for the heart is also viewed as being a healthy choice for the brain. One of the healthiest brain and heart healthy options out there comes in the form of wild Alaskan salmon. The reason is that wild Alaskan salmon is packed with brain health boosting omega-3 fatty acids. It is vitally important to remember that the brain consists of fat and it needs the right kinds of fat to be healthy.

When selecting salmon, only opt for wild salmon and preferably wild Alaskan salmon, as it is generally seen as being the healthiest option. You should completely avoid farmed raised salmon, as farm raised salmon typically contains elevated levels of harmful chemicals.

Related20 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

#2:  Sardines

Our second pick is also another fish. Sardines are true natural wonders. These small fish are low on the food chain and that means they bio-accumulate less heavy metals than larger fish such as salmon. Additionally, like salmon, sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines are also low in calories and high in minerals such as calcium. In short, sardines are a true standout and one of the world’s top brain foods.

#3: Purified Fish Oil

Yes, our third brain booster is another fish product. Fish oil can be very high in important brain boosting compounds such as DHA and EPA; however, you should only consume fish oil that has been purified. Un-purified cod liver oil for example can harbor high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. In short, un-purified fish oil should be avoided. Purified wild salmon oil and sardine and anchovy oil is an excellent pick.

#4:  Walnuts

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, don’t worry, as there are plenty of good brain boosting foods for you as well. At the very top of the list are walnuts. Walnuts are an excellent source of protein but that is only the beginning. Walnuts are also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

#5:  Nuts and Seeds

In addition to walnuts, all nuts and seeds have brain-boosting benefits. Nuts and seeds are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as compounds that boost overall brain health. Just remember that all most nuts and seeds, while packed with goodness are also packed with calories.

#6:  Blueberries

The fact that blueberries make the list often surprises many, but the simple blueberry is quite the winner. Blueberries work wonders for improving brain health and reducing oxidative stress. Studies have shown that blueberries are something of a superfood when it comes to protecting the brain. Don’t skip blueberries.

Besides, blueberries are super easy to add to any diet. A handful can quickly and easily be tossed into one’s morning cereal, oatmeal, shakes, smoothies and more.

Together these five brain boosters can help you guard your brain health and maybe even improve brain function. Our aging population is becoming increasingly concerned about neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s diseases. Luckily, nature has some great options for helping us protect brain health now and in the future.

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Three Protein-Rich Breakfasts

by IVL Products

There are many good reasons why you should start the day with protein. A protein-rich breakfast can boost metabolism and increase fat-burning so you’ll have plenty of energy right from the start. Protein reduces the appetite as it is digested slowly, making you feel full until lunchtime. As well as being a good choice for weightwatchers, protein builds muscle and bone. 

Start each day with a protein rich breakfast

Here are some great recipes for protein-rich breakfasts you won’t want to skip.

Protein Pancakes

By substituting high-protein ingredients for the usual flour, you can quickly whip up satisfying and tasty protein pancakes in next to no time. Combine two egg whites with equal parts rolled oats and low-fat cottage cheese in a blender with a pinch of salt. Pour into a pre-oiled frying pan and cook until brown, turning halfway through if it’s really thick. This will give you two pancakes of 17 grams protein each.

Powdered whey is another good pancake ingredient. Mix 2 tablespoons flavored whey protein with 2 egg whites and one ounce almond milk to make a thick batter, and then fry pancakes as usual. This recipe delivers 31 grams of protein for a top protein-rich breakfast in chocolate, strawberry, or whatever flavor protein whey powder you choose.

Related:  Daily Breakfast Habit Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Oats, Milk and Berries

Oats, milk and berries make a well-balanced protein-rich breakfast, but if you don’t like oatmeal unless it’s smothered in brown sugar, try making a berry-oats smoothie. Whisk ½ cup quick oats with 2 cups water and whisk over heat until boiling then set aside to cool. Blend a banana with ½ cup blueberries, ¼ cup raspberries, ¼ cup yogurt, ¼ cup almond milk, 3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar, ¾ cup crushed ice and the cooled oats. Protein content is 18 grams per serving.

Omelette

Egg-based omelettes are a delicious protein-rich breakfast dish, and you can increase the protein by adding sausage, ham or bacon. A three-egg omelette with 3 tablespoons milk and ½ cup chopped meat can provide a hearty 34 grams protein to keep you going. If you substitute the whole eggs for egg whites to reduce calories and cholesterol, you will still have around 27 grams protein or substitute eggs with eggbeaters and enjoy 31 grams of tasty protein on your plate.

Protein-rich breakfasts never looked or tasted so good, and the kids will love them!

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How to Have a Healthy Mouth

by IVL Products

There’s a lot more to a healthy mouth than just cleaning your teeth. Fresh breath and healthy gums need care, and what you eat also contributes to your oral health.

A healthy mouth requires daily cleaning of teeth and gums.

Food Do’s and Don’ts for a Healthy Mouth

Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods including milk, yogurt and cheese. Calcium maintains strong bones and teeth and is particularly important for children as they develop their adult teeth.

Avoid sticky sweets and taffies that coat the teeth with sugar. This breaks down and forms acid which rots the tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. If you do eat sweets, rinse your mouth or brush the teeth afterwards. Chewing gum after a meal stimulates saliva for a healthy mouth, but make sure you choose natural, sugar-free gum without artificial sweeteners.

Keeping Gums Healthy

Gum disease is caused by bacteria that reside in tartar and plaque build-up in the mouth. Plaque is the sticky coating on teeth that is caused by food and saliva. An important part of cleaning your teeth is to remove this bacteria-harboring plaque before it hardens into tartar.

Bacteria are also present in tartar, causing inflammation, bad breath and gum disease, called gingivitis. Tartar unfortunately needs a dentist or dental hygienist to remove it, which is why regular dental checkups and professional cleaning are an important part of maintaining a healthy mouth and gums.

Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of heart disease as it provides a portal for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Stage one gingivitis is evidenced by red tender gums that bleed easily when brushing your teeth. It can be reversed with regular brushing and flossing of teeth.

If left untreated, gingivitis will develop into second stage gum disease – mild to moderate periodontitis. Increased inflammation, pain when chewing, and bleeding gums are likely as the bacteria break down the teeth attachments within the infected gums. The gums recede and pockets open at the base of the teeth, allowing more infected material to lodge there. The third stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis with loss of bone supporting the teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Related: How To Prevent Cavities by Eating Cheese

Clean Teeth Mean a Healthy Mouth

Clean teeth are essential for a healthy mouth as this helps prevent cavities, gum disease and tooth loss. It’s important to brush teeth thoroughly with a soft brush every morning and before bed; and after each meal if possible. An electric toothbrush is particularly helpful as the rotating brushes give a thorough scrub of the surface of each tooth. Electric water flossers have become popular because a stream of water (mixed with mouth wash too) flushes debris out of the pockets and helps to soothe tender gums.

Store your toothbrush in the open air as a closed container can encourage the growth of microorganisms on the bristles.

Use floss to remove plaque between the teeth. Pull the floss to the gum then work it gently from side to side below the gumline for a thorough clean of each tooth base.

By eating healthily, cleaning and flossing daily and having regular dental check-ups you’ll have fresh breath, a healthy mouth, teeth and gums that should last a lifetime. 

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Where Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Come From?

by IVL Products

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the normal functioning of cells and organs in the body. Unfortunately, the human body cannot make these essential fatty acids, so we need a regular supplemental intake in our diet. 

Oily fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids

There are three types of omega-3: EPA and DHA, which are found mainly in certain types of fish; and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which is found in nuts and seeds. The body needs all three types of omega-3 fatty acids to function properly.

EPA and DHA Fatty Acids

A healthy balanced diet should include DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). These important omega-3 fatty acids can be found in cold water fish such as salmon (wild salmon has more omega-3 than farmed salmon), mackerel, herring, sardines, herring, tuna, lake trout and anchovies. These fish all contain high concentrations of omega-3 as they feed off green plants and algae which themselves produce omega-3. The American Heart Association recommends eating oily fish at least two times a week to receive sufficient DHA and EPA fatty acids.

ALA Omega-3 Fatty Acids

ALA omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in plants sources including flax seed, walnuts, canola oil, soybean oil, seeds and nuts. These ALAs have less potent health benefits than the fish-sourced omega-3s but they still play an important part in our health. However, these omega-3 fatty acid sources are high in calories and should therefore only be consumed in moderation.

Related:  Fish Oil: A Miracle Cure for Stress?

Fish Oil Supplements

Most people find it easiest to source omega-3 fatty acids from daily supplements of fish oil. This is the only way to know for sure that you are consuming a measured daily dose of EPA, DHA and ALA fatty acids. Supplements are cheaper than fish, and do not contain the same high calories as nuts and oils.

If you find taking fish oil supplements unpleasant, there are some ways to reduce the risk of suffering fishy burps throughout the day. Keep your fish oil capsules in the refrigerator. If you consume them cold, they pass further through the digestive tract before being broken down, reducing the likelihood of "repeats".

It also helps if you take fish oil supplements with food, preferably not carbs. If you take them at breakfast time, follow them with a bowl of oat cereal rather than a couple of slices of bread or toast. Complex carbs such as cereal take longer to digest than bread and seem to have the same effect on the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements. If that fails, experiment with different brands as supplement qualities vary. Find one that contains 1000 mg fish oil concentration in a serving of two softgels.

Omega-3 fatty acids are so important to your long-term health, it’s worth persevering. Eventually you will find a fish oil capsule that you can take daily without any side effects providing you with those essential omega-3s.

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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How to Improve Short-Term Memory – Tips and Tricks

by IVL Products

Many people get frustrated with their increasing forgetfulness as they age. It's quite common to forget names, conversations or where you have put things. If this sounds like you, we'll show you how to improve short term memory with some useful brain-training tips.

Brain games are a good aid to how to improve short term memory

What is Short-term Memory?

Short term memory is the area of the brain that stores small amounts of information for a short time. If you are a computer buff, think of it as the equivalent to your computer's random access memory (RAM). Your brain sorts through your short-term memory and assigns some information to your long-term memory, discarding the remainder.

Unfortunately, the human brain stops growing and starts to shrink in your 20s, so you actually have less active brain cells as you age. This natural aging process usually affects short-term memory primarily. For instance, you are likely to easily recall people and places from back in the past; it’s only more recent encounters that you have problems with i.e. those committed to short-term memory.

Although memory loss can be associated with Alzheimer's disease, stress or depression, it is often the result of the natural aging process. Learning how to improve short term memory will set your mind at rest, as well as that of your family.

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How to Improve Short Term Memory by Training Your Brain

Studies show that people who keep their mind active can delay the onset of dementia and mental decline. To keep your brain active and your mind alert, read, write your memoir, learn a new language, do puzzles, write poetry or play card games, anything to keep the brain busy and happy.

Lumosity is a popular site for online brain training providing a great answer to how to improve short term memory. It provides cognitive tests in fun games designed by scientists. A 10-week study on 4,714 participants showed that those who did Lumosity puzzles regularly retained better mental agility than those who did regular crossword puzzles – interesting food for thought!

Memory Chunking

Scientists know that the human memory can easily recall seven random numbers; however, most telephone numbers, bank accounts and even passwords have more than this. The answer is to break down large numbers into easy chunks. If you have a 9-digit telephone number, remember it as three groups of three-digit numbers. Repetition and writing it down a few times should help you recall the number weeks later. Give chunking a try!

Memory Supplements

Many natural supplements and vitamins boost blood supply to the brain or help improve cognitive function. The B vitamins, particularly B6, B12 and B9 (folic acid) are shown to improve verbal ability and help the brain process new data.

Antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene fight the effects of free radicals and help protect the brain from damage. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of these important nutrients.  Avoid artificial sweeteners as well; studies show an alarming connection between them and reduction in brain health.

Finally, omega-3 fish oils support memory and brain function, so enjoy salmon, tuna and mackerel twice a week and keep taking those daily fish oil supplements. Now you know how to improve short term memory, don’t forget to follow it through!

Everyone Ages. Learn How to Do It Better. Free Resource Guide.

 

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What’s Causing Your Memory Loss?

by IVL Products

A forgotten appointment, misplaced keys, or struggling to find the correct word during a conversation…some people might chock these incidents up to simple absentmindedness.  For those in middle age or older however, episodes of forgetfulness can be scary, conjuring worries of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.  Fortunately, according to the National Institute on Aging, memory loss is often treatable once a cause has been established.  Becoming better informed can help people determine whether their forgetfulness is cause for concern. 

A number of factors can contribute to memory loss.

Memory loss can strike at any time in life and is influenced by many factors.  Here are some of the key causes:

Sleep Apnea

Memory loss accompanied by headache and recurrent daytime fatigue may be related to sleep apnea.  This condition causes breathing to stop for brief but frequent periods in the course of a night.  Research shows that untreated sleep apnea can impair spatial navigational memory, which is the type utilized to locate objects like keys.

Related:  Five Natural Supplements for Brain Health

Medications

Some medications can impact memory and may need adjustment.  These include:

  • Medications for anxiety
  • Medications for diabetes
  • Medications for pain
  • Medications for reducing cholesterol
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleeping pills

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Because vitamin B12 is important for healthy nerve function, a deficiency can result in confusion, memory loss, and other dementia-like symptoms.  Good food sources of vitamin B12 include dairy products, poultry, beef, and fish.  To ensure proper daily amounts, people can also obtain vitamin B12 through dietary supplements.

Anxiety, Depression, and Stress

High levels of anxiety or stress can affect attention, focus, and memory, particularly when paired with sleep problems.  Techniques like yoga, meditation, guided imagery, or tai chi can help manage stress and improve sleep.  

If left untreated, chronic anxiety can lead to depression, which can also impact memory.  According to the National Institute on Aging, people can try certain types of medication and/or counseling to ease symptoms of depression.

Silent Stroke

Sometimes people have a stroke without being aware of it.  While a silent stroke doesn't exhibit any of the normal symptoms, it does cause changes in brain function, which can affect cognition and memory.  Vascular cognitive impairment from silent stroke can range from mild to severe.

Tips for Preventing Memory Loss

According to a study from the School of Medicine at UCLA, healthy lifestyle strategies can have a beneficial effect on memory and cognition.  Take advantage of these tips to help prevent memory loss.

  • Don't use tobacco products.
  • Eat a nutritious diet, and drink plenty of water.
  • Get regular physical exercise.
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one per day for women.
  • Manage stress levels.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise the brain with word, number, or jigsaw puzzles.
  • Boost brain power by reading books, learning a new language, or taking up a musical instrument.

Conclusion

People with concerns about forgetfulness should consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.  Sharing symptoms and submitting to any required testing can help doctors determine what's causing your memory loss.  A few beneficial lifestyle strategies help to promote a healthy brain and a strong memory.