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

by Health News

If you lead a busy and stressful life, maintaining a holistic approach to a healthy body can be overlooked. We offer 20 easy self-care tips that you can do quickly and frequently to ensure your body, mind and spirit remain in first class health.

Holistic self-care includes the body, mind and soul

1. Go cloud watching

There’s nothing more relaxing than lying on the grass watching the sky. It’s the perfect way to relax and empty your mind.

2. Play

Dedicate 5 minutes every now and then to play. Blow bubbles, work at a hoola hoop, leave a song on someone’s email. Anything that makes you smile is a top self-care activity.

3. Do something creative

Play with clay or cookie dough. Roll out worms, make an animal or cut out stars with a cookie cutter.

4. Be impetuous

If it’s 11pm and you feel like a pizza, or 5 a.m. and have the crazy urge to walk on the beach, just do it. It feels good, and life will still be there when you get back.

5. Learn a new trick

Try something new or learn a new skill. Now’s the time to learn to dive, do a cartwheel, learn a few words of a different language or master juggling balls.

6. Yard work

Physical exercise is always good for your self-care. Rake leaves, mow the lawn or plant a tub with herbs or seasonal flowers.

7. Make music

Express yourself as part of your new self-help therapy by playing along to music with a makeshift bongo drum or kazoo. It doesn’t need to be melodic – no-one else is listening!

RELATED:  5 Simple Tips to Naturally Improve Brain Health

8. Declutter

Clear out a drawer, a desk or a whole room. You’ll feel so much lighter as you carry old paperwork and junk to the trash.

9. Superfoods

Research superfoods such as Goji berries—high in antioxidants—and add some to your diet.

10. Word games

Play scrabble with a friend or online. It’s a great mind exercise as you search for new words, providing mental self-care.

11. Start a jigsaw

Have a jigsaw laid out somewhere in your home and add a few pieces every time you walk by.

12. Learn lyrics

Download and learn the lyrics to one of your favorite or most meaningful songs. Then sing it!

13. Meditate

Learning breathing techniques and meditation can be an excellent example of self-care. Yoga classes or meditation CDs can de-stress the mind, relax the body and feed the soul.

14. Fix something

If something needs attention, fixing it is one thing less on your to-do list and provides a sense of achievement, however small the task. Take a screwdriver to that loose handle or doorknob, stick down that curling wallpaper or glue that broken china.

15. Pampering

Take time to soak in a bubbly bath. Dim the lights, close your eyes and feel that healing wrap-around warmth.

16. Star gazing

After dark, take time to look at the night sky. Star gazing is a good way to put problems into perspective.

17. Switch hands

Try using your less dominant hand for simple tasks to stimulate the brain.

18. Eat healthily

You are what you eat. Enjoying a healthy diet with fresh fruit, vegetables and grains should be a vital part of your new self-care routine.

19. Appreciate

Say thank you to someone. A Million Thanks is a campaign to thank serving military personnel for their service.

20. Change direction

Take a new route to work, the grocery store or Post Office. It’s a common self-care practice to exercise the brain.

There are so many ways to provide self-care for your mind, body and inner soul. Practice them all and benefit from every new experience for a healthier happier you!

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

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The Healthy Aging Guide to Blue and Purple Superfoods

by IVL Products

When it comes to healthy aging, anthocyanins and antioxidants play a critical role in keeping your cells healthy and warding off cancer, cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.  

Healthy aging with delicious blue and purple superfoods

Anthocyanins are a group of compounds in the flavonoid family (flavonoids, isoflavones, etc.) and are what give foods like grapes, red cabbage and berries a blue, red or purple hue.  They are thought to be powerful antioxidants that help damaged cells repair themselves.  They also appear to reduce arterial stiffness and lower blood pressure to help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

While researchers cannot pinpoint exactly how anthocyanins prevent cancer cells from reproducing, the fact that they do is reason enough to be eating blue and purple foods regularly.

Antioxidants are generous nutrients that give molecules missing an electron (known as free radicals) one of their own. This has the effect of neutralizing the cell-damaging molecules and keeping cells healthy.  Getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet helps reverse sun damage, dampen inflammation and contribute to healthy aging.

Put Out the Fire

Chronic inflammation due to environmental pollutants, an unhealthy diet of high fat, high carbohydrate junk foods and even daily life stressors can be a major cause of disease in this country.  Inflammation damages your heart, and makes you more susceptible to cardiovascular disease. In the brain, inflammation over a long period of time leads to cognitive decline like short-term memory loss and dementia. The compounds in purple and blue superfoods douse the flames like water by lowering levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, a common marker for acute inflammation, and allow the body to heal.  

Related:  Inflammation Testing--a Valuable Predictor of Cardiovascular Risk

The Ultimate List of Blue and Purple Superfoods

Lucky for us there are many rich sources of anthocyanins and antioxidants in a wide variety of blue and purple foods. Below is a list of the best ones to add to your meals for healthy aging:

  • Berries –blue, red, black or raspberries these sweet juicy little fruits are good and good for you. They are rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E as well as good sources of fiber and other nutrients.
  • Grapes – also of the berry family, the purple variety has been linked to living longer. This is thanks to a compound called resveratrol.  Sweet and juicy but very low calorie, eating grapes, nature’s candy, is a good way to slow down the aging process.
  • Plums- they are not as popular as berries and grapes, but they should be if you are interested in health aging. Plums have a long list of healthy compounds and nutrients including vitamins A, C, beta-carotene, potassium and iron.  They are also low in calories and high in fiber so put a few in your grocery cart.
  • Bilberry – these European cousins to the blueberry are known on this side of the pond as huckleberries. For decades they have been taken to improve eyesight, fight inflammation and lower blood pressure.  The potent flavonoids in them support cardiovascular health too.

Color Your World

It’s important to have a colorful diet for healthy aging to lower your risk of many age related diseases like heart disease, arthritis, stroke, and cancer. Eating blue and purple superfoods is one easy way to brighten up your diet and keep you feeling healthy.

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The Dummy’s Guide to Super Foods that are Indigestion Remedies

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Most uncomfortable, unmentionable, stomach and gastrointestinal issues that have you searching for indigestion remedies can be helped by eating a diet of superfoods. These foods are nutrient-dense, filled with vitamins and minerals, and in your neighborhood grocery stores and farmer’s markets.

The world around us consists of fast food menus, vending machine fare, and highly processed diet disasters full of fat, sugar, preservatives.  Yet, the term “superfoods” often conjures up images of acai berries and sardines. What is an acai berry anyway? Sardines every day? No way!

If you are looking for indigestion remedies that are easy and natural, you most likely won’t find them in the corner convenience store, but in abundance throughout your local grocery store.  Many easy to find, delicious and common household food items can ease your tummy troubles and help you be healthier all around.

The Super 7

  1. Berries – blue, straw, black, and raspberries are nature’s candy. These sweet and simple fruits are full of antioxidants that will seek and destroy cell-damaging toxins from preservative-laden fast food meals.  Berries are also packed with fiber to keep your digestive tract humming along to reduce gas and bloating. They are also a great way to increase your fluid intake everyday, which is critical for keeping the GI tract functioning properly.
  2. Oranges – with almost a day’s RDA of vitamin C and antioxidants, these sweet juicy orbs are a must for every healthy diet. Skip the sugar-laden juices and slice up the entire fruit for a delicious snack with lots of fiber and folate.
  3. Broccoli – it’s just good for you! The green spears are full of healthy compounds that fight aging; and fiber that keeps you feeling full and regular. It also has a unique compound called sulforaphane, which stimulates detoxifying enzymes that may ward off cancer.
  4. Beets – these dark purple beauties not only liven up the looks of many dishes, they are mmm, mmm good for you!  The potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C make them “un-beetable” when it comes to keeping a healthy belly.  Beets also boast a good amount of fiber and are a plant source of iron for the vegan and vegetarians in your family.
  5. Spinach – Popeye knew it! Spinach makes you strong and healthy from the inside out. You can eat it raw or cooked in a variety of salads and dishes and the mild taste won’t sour your stomach. These dark green leaves offer vitamin B6, which helps the body metabolize fats and proteins and convert food into energy.  It also boasts a good-sized helping of iron and vitamin C to make it a super food all-star.
  6. Beans – another excellent source of plant-based iron, beans in all colors (kidney, black, pinto, navy) are good for the body. They are rich in soluble fiber to help keep you feeling satisfied longer so you eat less, and lower your cholesterol.
  7. Sweet potatoes –these bright orange potatoes are for more than a sugar-laden casserole at Thanksgiving. Bake them in the oven and top them with a touch of butter and cinnamon for a delicious side dish full of fiber, beta-carotene (aka vitamin A), vitamins B1, B2, and B6. Minerals like copper and manganese are also in the colorful flesh so roast one up today.

Related:  Alternative Protein Sources and Links to Fighting Heart Disease

Eat to Your Heart’s Content

If you are looking for indigestion remedies, the superfood seven is tops on your menu items. They are all mild on the GI tract, will help keep your metabolism humming along, and they are rich in vital nutrients. The best part about eating these superfoods as they are all low in fat, low in sugar, and a source of high quality carbs, so you can eat them every day, as much as you want!

To get the most health benefits eat the entire rainbow of colors these foods come in from red, purple, and black to orange and green. Your stomach and your entire body will thank you for it.

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

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Ten Quick Tips about Superfoods

by Health News

True, superfoods have certain traits that make them, well, super, like vital nutrients, no artificial anything, and are often indigestion remedies. 

1. Marketing Misinformation

According to the health website Medicine Net, “there is no accepted medical definition of a superfood.” It’s really just marketing term that is generally thought to mean that any food labeled super has significant health benefits like reducing one’s risk of certain diseases or improving one’s physical or emotional health.

The Food & Drug Administration does not recognize the term superfood, and across most of Europe the use of the term for food labeling is not allowed without hard scientific evidence to back up the claim. The Daily Beast devoted an article to the term saying that “no food should be labeled as a superfood in the first place.”

So are there really any superfoods? The answer is yes…and no.

2.  Definition of a Superfood

In order for a food to be eligible for superfood status, there are a few things it must be, or at least have:

  • Nutrient dense with several vitamins, minerals and compounds with known health benefits
  • Have absolutely nothing artificial in it. No extra sugar, spray on vitamins, no preservatives of any kind. 
  • The calories count, fat content and carbohydrate amounts are irrelevant because of the foods are so full of essential vitamins, minerals and compounds that the body needs to function properly

3. Nutrient Dense

A true superfood will have more than one healthy compound. Just having a bit of vitamin C is not enough to give a food super status.  Nutrient dense means it has at least three essential vitamins and or minerals along with fiber, or protein or a high quality carbohydrate.

4. Nothing Artificial

More than one or two ingredients on the packaging means step away from the fake food.  True superfoods do not have added anything.  If it is in a box or container, it should need to be refrigerated and have an expiration date within a few days like pomegranate seeds, or a superfood salad with several fruits and or vegetables already prepared in the deli food aisle of your local grocery store.

5. Carbs Calories Fat? Who Cares?

You should be able to eat a serving or two of any true superfood without having to take a photo of it for the calorie counter app on your phone. If your meal consists of true superfoods, you can eat hearty servings of it and will feel full and stay that way for longer than anything offered in a vending machine.

Related:  Are Sprouts Superfoods?

6. Gut Friendly

A true superfood is not going to cause you a lot of pain or discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract (GI). In fact, most superfoods are great healthy indigestion remedies when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.  They usually offer some kind of benefit to your gut by helping you absorb nutrients, keep your colon cleansed naturally and don’t cause cramping or excessive gas (some gas is normal, but a lot is not) and bloating.

7. Disease Fighting Properties

Superfoods originally got the term because of the compounds, vitamins and minerals they contained had some scientific research to back up their effectiveness against certain diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke, arthritis and many forms of cancer.  Antioxidants, phytochemicals, flavonoids, and carotenoids are common in many superfoods and they are all known to help stave off disease.

8.  Not Every Healthy Food Is a Superfood

Onions, apples and carrots are not called superfoods, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be eating them regularly. Many vegetables and fruits may have only one or two health boosting compounds but are good for you.  You shouldn’t avoid a certain fruit or vegetable, especially if you enjoy eating it, just because it’s not labeled as super.

9. Foods That Truly Earn the Title

So what are some true superfoods?  There are three foods that meet all the criteria for being a true superfood and they are not grown on some exotic island in the South Pacific, but readily available at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.

Blueberries – Chock full of anthocyanins, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals you can’t go wrong by tossing a few into your morning oatmeal, lunch salad or stirring them into some Greek yogurt for a snack. With only 80 calories in one cup, go ahead and have seconds. The natural sugar content will keep your energy up, the fiber will fill you up and the phytonutrients and antioxidants will help keep your cells healthy.

Spinach – Popeye was a smart guy. Spinach is truly a superfood loaded with protein, iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin K with lots of hydrating water and filling fiber. It’s been shown in many research studies to have a positive impact on blood pressure, asthma symptoms, bone health and the GI tract.

Broccoli- Mom was right when she told you to eat your broccoli. Those little green spears of goodness have everything you want and nothing you don’t. They are a great source of vitamin C, K and A, fiber, and many other compounds that ward off cancer, help with allergies, acts as an indigestion remedy to keep your GI tract humming along normally and the list goes on and on. Eat some already!

10. The Truth about Superfoods

Always keep in mind that no official regulating body legally recognizes the term, superfood.  It’s a description to denote a food with many health benefits but low in calories, saturated fats and sugar carbohydrates. The honest truth is no one food is a miracle cure-all. But through superfoods, you can gain indigestion remedies and more. 

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Discover How a Powdered Supplement Benefits the Health

by IVL Products

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

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

Green Superfood Powder

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

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

Related:  Studies Confirm Benefits of Maca for Women During Menopause

Maca

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

Protein Powder

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

Conclusion

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

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Why You Should Consider Yellow Superfoods

by Cindy Gray

When it comes to healthy aging, your favorite color should definitely be yellow! Many superfoods, fruits and healthy natural foods are yellow. Here are some yellow foods to consider including in your diet and some golden reasons why!

Yellow foods and fruits such as pineapples can help healthy aging

Bananas for Lowering Inflammation

Weightwatchers may have banished bananas from their diet, due to their slightly starchy texture containing slightly higher calories than an apple, pear or other fruits. However, bananas are a wonderful source of potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber and they help lower inflammation. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this low glycemic food has a score of minus 38 when it comes to measuring its inflammatory effect, and actually lowers existing inflammation in the body which may cause arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune disease. Start the day with a banana smoothie or slices of banana on cereal and get the benefits of healthy aging as soon as possible.

Eggs for Omega-3

Eggs, or egg yolks to be specific, can be an effective weapon against thyroid conditions, autoimmune disease and inflammation. Golden egg yolks are packed with essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, calcium, iron and many essential minerals. Egg yolks have a bad reputation when it comes to cholesterol content, but the body actually needs cholesterol in small amounts to maintain healthy cells, adrenals and sex hormones. Balance is the key when it comes to egg yolks; too little can be as damaging to healthy aging as too much.

RelatedHow Breakfast Can Naturally Boost Your Energy

Pineapple for Bromelain

The key enzyme in a juicy sweet pineapple is bromelain, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent for reducing swelling in sore throats, arthritis and gout. Bromelain also helps the body digest protein and research has now shown it to be effective at cancer prevention. A recent study by the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research showed that bromelain had clear anti-inflammatory, anti-invasive and anti-metastic properties, reducing tumor size and quantity in mice. As a powerful weapon against cancer, bromelain could be deemed the ultimate aid to healthy aging.

Marigolds for Lutein

Marigolds are an edible plant, but they are more commonly grown for lutein extract and as a natural food colorant. Lutein is an important anti-oxidant found in leafy greens as well as egg yolks, yellow peppers and marigolds. The carotenoid lutein is particularly important for healthy eyes as it is found in the central macula of the retina. Studies show that a lutein deficiency can increase the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration by 57%.   

Now you know what health benefits are found in these yellow foods, add them to your diet as part of your healthy aging plan for a longer, healthier life. 

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The Best Sprouts for Menopause

by Health News

Hormone replacement therapy for menopause is linked to a dramatic increase in your risk of developing breast cancer.  With that scary statistic in mind, you may want to consider finding natural menopause relief.

Different kinds of sprouts work for natural menopause relief.

Thanks to an abundance of research and anecdotal publishing, we know there are some natural remedies for menopause symptoms like hot flashes, fatigue, and weight gain. A food you may not realize can help alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause is sprouts.

What about Sprouts?

All sprouted seeds are very rich sources of natural enzymes.  A sprout is a seed in the active state of maturation, or sprouting, and has a lot of nutrients and healthy enzymes to offer. In fact, when a seed sprouts to become the plant it was destined to be, its nutrient value increases dramatically, but only for a short time.

There are many different kinds of sprouts, but the best ones to eat for natural menopause relief are:

Bean Sprouts – easy to grown and rich in folate protein, vitamin C, B vitamins and iron, these are most commonly found as mung, or soybean sprouts. 

Alfalfa Sprouts – best eaten raw to retain their crunchy texture these sprouts are a great source of beta-carotene (about as much as carrots!) calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins C and K, riboflavin, manganese and copper. They are also loaded with fiber.

Alfalfa sprouts also contain high levels of phytoestrogens, a compound that can have the same effect on the human body as estrogen. This will help reduce the symptoms of menopause caused by a decline in estrogen production as women age.

Lentil Sprouts – These sprouts are a little high maintenance but worth it because of the vitamin C, thiamine, copper, iron, folate and manganese they contain.

Related:  Are Sprouts Superfoods?

Sprouted Grains – Found in brown rice and buckwheat, sprouted grains supply a crunchy texture to breads and a hefty dose of extra fiber.  They have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, helping to control diabetes, alleviate depression and reduce blood pressure.

Depression, higher blood pressure and weight gain are common side effects of decreased estrogen and progesterone production making lentil sprouts a great natural remedy for menopause.

How to Incorporate Sprouts Into Your Diet

You can easily incorporate sprouts into your diet. They make a great addition to any salad, stuffed in a pita, part of a sandwich, and are a tasty burger topper.  They are delicious in stir-fries, soups and stews as well. 

Eating them regularly and throughout the day will not only help relieve hot flashes, but will also provide you with several nutrients critical to good health.

Sprout Safety

You can easily find sprouts at most grocery stores.  Since sprouts are known to be contaminated with E. coli and salmonella sometimes, it is a good idea to look for the organic variety, keep them refrigerated and buy fresh sprouts with the buds still on them.

You can also grow your own at home with a jar, cheesecloth and a rubber band. Those you know for sure are not contaminated!

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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.

Easy Superfood Recipes

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Three Benefits of Green Tea for Those who Can’t Lose Weight

by Health News

It is frustrating when you feel like you can’t lose weight no matter what you do. Try adding new healthy habits to your day, like sipping a cup of green tea with lunch and dinner. This helps you adjust to the unusual flavor of green tea, and will help you shed those pounds faster.

Green tea can help shift those stubborn pounds even for those who can’t lose weight easily

Green Tea Helps Those Who Can’t Lose Weight

A UK study on green tea and weight loss at the Anglia Ruskin University showed that participants who exercised and took decaffeinated green tea extract reduced their body fat by 1.63% more than those who exercised and took a placebo. The study pointed out that dieters are required to consume 6-7 cups of green tea each day to get the benefits of increased performance, increased fat oxidation and weight loss.

To make it more palatable, the study substituted green tea drinks for capsules containing 571mg decaffeinated green tea extract. They contained the equivalent of 400mg EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), the active compound in green tea that is thought to have many health benefits. It is this “secret ingredient” that appears to help those who can’t lose weight to shift those unwanted pounds more effectively.

Related Green Tea: A Promising Anti-Cancer Superfood

Studies suggest that taking a green tea capsule containing 50mg caffeine and 90mg EGCG before meals, coupled with regular exercise, can help individuals shed up to 2.5 pounds of fat per month, even for those who can’t lose weight with dieting alone.

Green Tea and Cancer

Green tea is picked and dried in steam in a speedy process to prevent the normal oxidation associated with drying the leaves to make black tea. This faster process preserves more of the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which contain high levels of antioxidants. Green tea has high levels of catechin polyphenols which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties in studies on mice with tumors. Studies also report positive results for green tea playing a role in preventing the onset or development of breast, ovarian, lung, prostate, pancreatic, colon and esophageal cancers.

Green Tea and Heart Disease

Green tea has other health benefits, besides helping those who can’t lose weight. It appears to stop the absorption of cholesterol during digestion. A cup or two of green tea daily can lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of plaque build-up which leads to heart disease or stroke. 

It makes good sense to add green tea or a green tea elixir to your daily regimen. For those who can’t lose weight naturally, it can produce encouraging results as well as boosting overall health. 

 

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History of Green Tea in Indigestion Remedies

by Health News

Can you guess what the second most consumed beverage on the planet is, after water? Surprisingly, it’s not cola but green tea! It is widely consumed in Japan and China as part of their traditional culture and is used in natural indigestion remedies.

Green tea is one of nature’s most effective indigestion remedies

Green tea has a long history, going back almost 5,000 years. In 2,737 BC, Chinese Emperor Shennong drank water that had accidentally been boiled with a dead tea leaf in it. From then on it was the chosen drink of Chinese high society. It was not until the 14th century that ordinary Asian people could afford green tea, and they drank it for its medicinal qualities.

Traders brought tea to Europe from Asia in the 16th century, when it quickly became Britain’s national beverage. Of course, the early American colonists continued to enjoy drinking tea. When Britain imposed a Tea Tax on the drink, it sparked a revolt known as the Boston Tea Party in 1773 which culminated in American Independence. Tea has a lot to answer for in history!

How Green Tea Differs from Black Tea

Green tea is higher than black or white tea in polyphenols and antioxidants, which may be what makes it so effective in indigestion remedies. Green tea comes from the same Camellia Sinensis plant as more popular black tea. However, green tea is made by drying freshly picked green tea leaves using steam or heat to prevent the oxidization process.  The oxidation process is what makes black tea black.

Related Green Tea: A Promising Anti-Cancer Superfood

The speedy preservation process used in green tea retains more polyphenols, including catechin epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which is thought to have powerful health benefits.

Those who are affected by caffeine should look for caffeine-free green tea and green tea extracts to use as indigestion remedies; and people with existing liver problems should avoid taking concentrated green tea extracts.

Green Tea Indigestion Remedies

Green tea has been used effectively as a cancer prevention, particularly against skin, stomach, colon and esophagus cancers. In studies it appears to inhibit the growth of tumor cells in mice. Green tea has also been found to be one of the most highly effective indigestion remedies.

Drinking two to three cups of green tea each day is an effective aid to digestion without the chalky taste and dangerous side effects of antacids and other over-the-counter indigestion remedies. Green tea extracts also provide the same benefits by working in three ways:

  • Catechins slow down the digestive enzyme process
  • Its anti-inflammatory properties ease ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Green tea appears to affect fat oxidation and insulin sensitivity in the digestive process

You may want to learn more about green tea indigestion remedies in this informative article. 

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Green Tea: Food For The Brain

by Nancy Maneely

What’s not to love about a soothing hot cup of fragrant green tea?

It’s China’s favorite drink, and thanks to modern scientific research, we know it contains health benefits from its abundant antioxidants – making it the preferred beverage for healthy aging.

It’s long been established that green tea is a powerful agent for protection against cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related health concerns. In fact, many people concerned with cardiovascular health have started adding green tea to their diet as a high blood pressure natural treatment.

Green Tea: Food For The Brain

Now, new research from China suggests that drinking green tea may help boost the production of new brain cells – offering cognitive support for those of any age.

The studies with mice, published in the August issue of the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, found that epigallocatechin-3 galate (EGCG), an antioxidant found in green tea, boosts production of neural progenitor cells. These progenitor cells can help promote neurogenesis - the formation of new brain cells (neurons) in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that transfers information from short term to long-term memory.

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

The new cells appear to sharpen memory, improve learning and ward off degenerative diseases. The research also noted that the mice treated with EGCG and trained to run mazes could accomplish this task faster than mice that didn’t receive EGCG. They found that, in mice, the new cells appear to improve memory, learning and combat degenerative diseases.

If you’re not a tea drinker, now is the time to start! Create a “green tea ritual” and view it as a few minutes of your day when you take the time to slow down, take a few deep breaths and treat your body well. The simple act of preparing the hot water and steeping the tea can provide that moment of quiet and calm in the midst of a hectic day. Soon you will find yourself looking forward to your daily tea ritual!

Talk to your doctor to see if taking green tea supplements as a high blood pressure natural treatment is right for you.

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Barley Grass: A Powerful Green Anti-Cancer Superfood

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What are superfoods - and do they really exist?

According to Dr. Christine Horner, superfoods are any nutrient-dense foods that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and more.

For instance, a certain nutrient-packed ‘ green food has been shown to kill several different types of cancer cells in the laboratory setting - more on this a little later.

Green foods refer to young cereal grasses like barley grass and wheatgrass. During the early grass stage of their growth, wheat and barley are closer to vegetables than grains. However, as the plant grows, their healthful chlorophyll, protein and vitamin content falls sharply while the level of the indigestible fiber cellulose rises.

Barley Grass: A Powerful Green Anti-Cancer Superfood | Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that an ounce of these green foods contains many more beneficial phytonutrients than an ounce of the healthiest green vegetables?

Many experimental studies show that green foods have marked beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure (BP), immune response and cancer prevention. These effects are attributed in part to their high concentrations of chlorophyll.

Barley grass is the seedling of the barley plant. It is usually harvested about 200 days after germination, when the shoots are less than a foot tall.

A concentrated source of nearly three dozen vitamins and minerals, barley grass is rich in vitamins A, C, B1, B2, folic acid and B12 as well as calcium, iron, potassium and chlorophyll. Unlike most plants, barley grass also provides all nine essential amino acids, which your body can't produce on its own.

While there have been no clinical trials of barley grass, in a laboratory experiment at George Washington University, leukemia (blood cancer) cells were exposed to dehydrated barley grass extract. The extract killed virtually all of them.

Next, researchers exposed brain cancer cells to the extract - and it eradicated 30-50% of these cells. And in a third trial, the extract inhibited the growth of three types of prostate cancer cells by 90-100%!

If you don’t feel like growing it yourself, barley grass is available commercially as a supplement both in powder and tablet form. Dried barley grass is easier to handle than fresh grasses, which must be juiced. 

20 Superfood Recipes

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Are Sprouts Superfoods?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What is a superfood?

According to Dr. Christine Horner, a superfood is any nutrient-dense food that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and other ingredients proven to benefit health.

Given this definition of a superfood, do sprouts qualify?

Are Sprouts Superfoods? | Institute for Vibrant Living

Sprouts are indeed highly nutritious. Grown year round, they are an excellent source of protein and vitamin C.

Typically, sprouts are produced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can grow from the seeds of vegetables, grains, legumes, buckwheat and beans.

They vary in texture and taste. Radish and onion sprouts are tangy, mung bean sprouts are hardy and often used in Asian cuisines, while alfalfa sprouts are more delicate and add texture and moistness to salads and sandwiches.

There are many good reasons to eat sprouts. As we age, our body's ability to produce enzymes declines dramatically. Sprouts are a concentrated source of living enzymes and other fragile micronutrients that are lost when foods are cooked or not picked fresh from your own garden.

Additionally, due to their high enzyme content, sprouts are also much easier to digest than the seed or bean from which they came.

All nutrients necessary for life are contained in seeds. Because sprouts are fresh and do not sit for days or weeks before being consumed, you can be sure that you’re getting optimum nutrition.

So are sprouts superfoods?

Well, why don’t you add them to your daily diet in one of these creative and tasty ways and decide for yourself?

  • Eat them fresh and uncooked in a sprout salad or add to tossed salads
  • Use in coleslaw (cabbage, clover, radish)
  • Try in wraps and roll-ups (alfalfa, sunflower, radish)
  • Stir-fry with other vegetables (alfalfa, clover, radish, mung bean, lentil)
  • Blend with vegetable juices (cabbage, mung bean, lentil)
  • Stir into soups or stews when serving (mung bean, lentil)
  • Top omelet or scrambled eggs (alfalfa, clover, radish)
  • Sauté with onions (mung bean, clover, radish)
  • Puree with dried peas or beans (mung bean, lentil)
  • Add to baked beans (lentil)

Source: Are Sprouts Superfoods?

Benefit of Sprouts

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Acai Superfruit: A Nutritious And Powerful Superfood

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What are superfoods - and do they really exist?  According to Dr. Christine Horner, a superfood is any nutrient-dense food that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compunds and other ingredients proven to benefit health. On the list of superfoods is one you may not have even heard of - Açaí.

Studies have shown that the superfruit Açaí berry - found growing on a very special Amazon palm tree - is one of the most nutritious and powerful superfoods in the world. Harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, açaí tastes like a blend of berries and chocolate. Nature's perfect energy fruit, açaí is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Acai Superfruit: A Nutritious And Powerful Superfood  | Institute for Vibrant Living
Açaí may not be available in your local supermarket, but you can find it in health food stores, typically in juice form. A new product featuring the unsweetened pulp is now also available, which comes without the harmful effects of added sugar.

Royal purple in color, açaí pulp contains:

  • A remarkably high concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10-30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A mutually enhancing combination of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • A near-perfect essential amino acid complex along with with valuable trace minerals that are essential for proper muscle contraction and regeneration.

The fatty acid content in açaí resembles that of olive oil, and is enriched in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid helps essential omega-3 fats enter cells - and together, they help make cell membranes more supple and strong.

By keeping the cell membrane supple, our body’s hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently inside and outside cells, keeping us healthy and disease-free. This is particularly important because high insulin levels create an inflammatory state.

As you already know, inflammation is believed to play a role in almost every modern disease including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and more - while also contributing to the adverse health effects of aging.

Source

Benefits of Acai

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Video Blog Update: What are Superfoods?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Superfood Benefits

 

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High Blood Pressure Diet: Antioxidants for Heart Health

by Nancy Maneely

High Blood Pressure Diet: Antioxidants for Heart HealthHave you ever seen an old bicycle or one of those metal patio chairs that has been lovingly reconditioned to look new? The key to this process is scrubbing off the old accumulated rust and applying a couple of coats of rust-resistant paint. The new coating resists oxidative damage from the elements and keeps the object looking shiny and new for years.

Think of an aging heart as an aging, well-used bicycle. There’s potentially a lot of good years of life left in it, but it needs some care and protection. Regular activity and healthy foods can extend the life of this heart, and the key to this protection is the application of “rust-resistant paint” – well, the organic equivalent, which is antioxidant nutrients.

Antioxidants are found mainly in plant foods in the form of polyphenols. The science is complex, but a simple way to protect your heart is by eating foods with antioxidants as part of a high blood pressure diet. This includes eating a colorful array of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

When it comes to heart health, certain foods contain anti-coagulants and antioxidants that act as protective factors and anti-inflammatory agents. Here are some of the biggest nutritional superstars:

Blueberries – The blue in blueberries comes from the anthocyanin pigment. Anthocyanins are called phytochemicals (phyto is the Greek word for plant) or nutraceuticals because they act as antioxidants protecting the body’s cells against undesirable oxidative changes.

Green tea – Research studies show that green tea is a potent antioxidant that may reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood clotting damage to arteries. One cup of green tea has more antioxidants than a serving of strawberries.

Fresh oregano – The U.S. Department of Agriculture ranks fresh oregano the highest per gram of any herb, fruit, or vegetable in antioxidants – four times as much as blueberries!

Fresh garlic – This lowers blood pressure, may help lower total cholesterol, acts as a blood thinner, and functions as an antioxidant.

What is your favorite heart-healthy dish incorporating these nutritional superfoods?

 

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Healthy Recipes: Brain-Boosting Berry Salad

by Nancy Maneely

One of the best things about summer is looking forward to the bounty of fresh berries. Whether you grow them in your garden or harvest them at the grocery store, it’s the time of year to enjoy them in quantity at lower Healthy Recipes | Superfoods | Institute for Vibrant Livingprices.

Two of our favorites, blueberries and strawberries, recently made news headlines with a study that found that they are brain-boosting superfoods!

Blueberries and strawberries, which are high in flavonoids, appear to reduce cognitive decline in older adults, according to a study recently published in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society. The researchers reported that cognitive aging could be delayed by up to 2½ years in elderly who consume greater amounts of the flavonoid-rich berries.

Flavonoids are compounds in plants that contain powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Health experts say stress and inflammation contribute to cognitive impairment, and increasing consumption of flavonoids could alleviate the harmful effects.

Fruit salads are always enhanced with the addition of fresh berries. But if you to really power up those brain cells, try this berries-only fruit salad. Serve as an appetizer, summer side dish or dessert. Whether served alone in elegant stemware glasses or with your favorite shortcake recipe, it’s a can’t-miss combination.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Directions

Mix strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries together in a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar.  Delicious just like this – you simply can’t go wrong with this combination of berries! Or, for a special treat, drizzle with a high quality balsamic vinegar, toss and let rest for a few minutes. Then serve over vanilla bean ice cream or frozen yogurt.

What is your favorite way to enjoy fresh berries?

Source:
Science Daily: Eating more berries may reduce cognitive decline in the elderly

 

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Healthy and Delicious Pasta Alternatives

by Nancy Maneely

If you're watching your weight (and overall health) you’ve probably ditched the white-flour pasta along with white bread as part of your everyday fare. And that’s a good thing. Still, once in awhile you may miss those steaming bowls of pasta from your childhood. Who doesn’t?

Pasta is one of the ultimate comfort foods.

But most pastas are made with refined wheat flour which is stripped of its essential nutrients. It’s filling, but mostly empty calories. Here’s the good news: If you want to know how to increase energy levels and still get your pasta fill, there are some delicious and healthy pasta options to explore. Try these with your favorite tomato sauce or just a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

How to Increase Energy Levels: Healthy Pasta Alternatives

  • Spaghetti Squash – Slice in half and bake, then shred the inside with a fork into noodle-like strands. Ultra-low in calories, squash is high in vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium for heart health.
  •  Zucchini – Shred with a peeler and steam for a quick spaghetti substitute.
  • Quinoa – This superfood from the Mayans is high in protein, vitamin B and delicious in salads as a pasta substitute.
  • Soba Noodles – These heart healthy Japanese noodles are made from buckwheat and are high in protein.
  • Black Bean Spaghetti – If you can get past the notion of eating black pasta, this stuff is wonderfully high in protein – more than 20 grams per serving! – and fiber.
  • Rice Pasta – Asian markets are the place to shop for these inexpensive noodles made from whole grains.
  • Whole Grain Wheat – If you really must have wheat pasta, choose this kind. It is rich in vitamin B and isn't stripped of its fiber and minerals.

What’s your favorite pasta dish? Share with us!

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Green Drink Supplements for Proper PH Balance in Your Body

by Health News

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you increase your energy throughout the day?

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday