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The Worst Diet for Stress Reduction

by Institute for Vibrant Living

You are what you eat. It’s trite but true and some of the most common foods we eat increase the negative effects of stress on our mental and physical health.  Changing your diet may help change your life in a positive way by helping you manage stress more effectively while enhancing your overall physical health.

The worst foods for stress can and should be all but eliminated from your diet to be replaced by wholesome, more natural foods with the essentials like lean protein, high quality carbohydrates, very little sugar, low in fat and with fiber, vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.

Avoid foods that worsen the effect of stress

The Dirty Diet

Highly processed foods are your body’s worst enemy. They provide very little nutrients while being loaded with empty calories made up of sugar and artery-clogging fat.  The foods that fall into this category are most things that come in a box or plastic wrapper and have white flour, sugar and hydrogenated oils listed first in the ingredients.  Here are some of the worst offenders:

Doughnuts, cookies, and cakes:  These are just sugar and fat bombs without fiber, vitamins or minerals of any kind. One glazed doughnut can have upward of 600 calories and will send your blood glucose levels soaring. You may get a temporary sugar high but it won’t be worth the ugly sugar crash that will leave you feeling sluggish and less able to tolerate life’s daily stressors.

Pretzels, potato chips, tortilla chips and crackers:  These foods are usually just a substitute for an eating utensil to transport some kind of fatty dip to your mouth. They offer no real vitamins or minerals, no fiber and are made with highly processed white flour, which spikes glucose levels in the blood. They are usually loaded with fat, excess salt and it is so easy to eat half of a bag of them. They don’t fill you up so once you come down from the sugar high they provide you will be looking for more food, packing on pounds and increasing your risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

Related:  Healthy Food that Tastes Better than Junk Food

Drinks:  Lattes, soda, juice, cocktails and beer:  It is so easy to guzzle down these empty calories that offer nothing in the way of health benefits. The caffeine boost in the latte will not be able to offset the sugar crash it also brings with it, and the carbonation in soda will leave you feeling bloated but still hungry.  Hello obesity!  Hard liquors mixed with sugary concoctions like juice will only make you tipsy and ultimately hung-over. Beer, while not sweet, is basically drinking a glass of sugar. Even a glass of pure orange, apple or cranberry juice is just a lot of sugar minus the fiber and nutrients you would get if you ate the fruit whole that it comes from.

Fast food and take-out:  Most of what you get at the drive-thru or have delivered is unhealthy with excess sodium, fat and calories without many healthy ingredients like vitamins, minerals or fiber.  You might think the Chinese take-out with broccoli and water chestnuts is healthy, but the greasy fatty meats, MSG preservatives and sugar-loaded soy sauce outweigh any health benefits a few vegetables have.  Any kind of fast food sandwich accompanied by French fries is just a lot of fat and carbs with little or no health benefits. The buns are white flour and sugar, the meat is fatty and the sodium levels are more than you should consume in a week, let alone one meal. 

Eating these kinds of foods increases the negative effects of stress on the body. They may provide temporary comfort, but your weight creeps up and you feel increasingly fatigued because you have been denying your body essential nutrients to rebuild, you will find stress levels rising. 

Unfortunately these foods are staples of Western diets, but research is not only showing these kinds of foods are not only physically unhealthy, but also mentally. People who consume highly processed foods and drinks, and regularly drink beer are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety, certainly things that will increase your stress levels.

The good news is, you can avoid all these kinds of foods and still enjoy delicious meals, drinks and treats. It just takes a little extra effort to plan your day so that you are not starving and find yourself chugging a soda to make it to the end of your day. Healthy options are out there and it’s worth your time and energy to find them and stave off the negative health consequences poor diet and stress will have on you.

 

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Natural Ways to Beat Fatigue Symptoms

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

Understanding fatigue symptoms and what we can do about them.

Too Tired

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

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

Common Reasons for Fatigue

Sleep

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

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

Hormones

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

Related:  Understanding the Dangers of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Nutrition

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

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

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

Supplements

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

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

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

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

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How Free Radical Damage Affects Your Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

We hear a lot about free radicals and their harmful effect on our health and aging. It’s important to understand free radical dangers so that you can take steps to counter their effect. Here’s a simple explanation of how free radical dangers can be reduced to slow the aging process and reduce the risk of cancer.

Avoid free radical dangers and slow the aging process

Understanding Free Radical Dangers

The dangers of free radicals were uncovered by Dr. Denham Harman in the 1950s. He discovered that when cells produce energy for the body to function, the byproducts are harmful free radicals. Studies show that these free radicals damage cellular DNA, which is the main cause of aging in the body. It’s a bit like a car engine burning fuel for propulsion, but the waste produced is toxic carbon monoxide.

What is Oxidative Stress?

Free radicals contain unpaired electrons which try to pair up with other electrons to balance themselves. They “steal” electrons from other molecules and this creates damage to our cellular DNA. This process is called oxidative stress.

Related:  Astaxanthin May Prevent Heart Disease Caused by Inflammation and Free Radicals

How Free Radical Dangers Affect Aging

The reason why free radical dangers cause premature aging is because DNA controls cell division and the formation of new cells. If DNA is damaged by oxidative stress, it negatively affects new cell production. This leads to signs of aging in the skin and may also cause cancer, which is caused by abnormal cell division. Other free radical dangers include damage to the skin and organs due to collagen cross-linking, impaired cognitive function, weakened immune system and cardiovascular damage.

How to Counter Free Radical Dangers

We can’t stop the production of free radicals as it is a natural part of living, breathing, eating and exercise. However, there are some ways we can reduce oxidative stress. Smoking produces free radicals and is a cause of premature wrinkles and aging. Excessive exposure to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight, stress and over-consumption of alcohol can all increase oxidative stress and should be avoided whenever possible.

Heating vegetable oils is known to release toxic free radicals, so switch to butter or coconut oil when possible. You can still enjoy olive oil in salad dressings and unheated foods.

The most important way to combat free radical dangers is by consuming plenty of foods high in antioxidants such as fruit, vegetables and green tea. As their name suggests, antioxidants counter oxidative stress by pairing up with floating free radicals. This neutralizes them, preventing damage to our cells and DNA. This in turn slows the aging process, leading to a longer and healthier life.

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Your Sugar Cravings Explained

by Institute for Vibrant Living

In a recent episode of the CBS TV show 60 Minutes, Dr. Robert Lustig stated that sugar is as addictive as cocaine.  Sugar cravings certainly have all the same attributes, as the more you consume, the more your body craves another “fix.” The only way to beat the cycle of sugar addiction is by eating less and therefore craving less, but it’s not easy.

Sugar cravings are a sure sign of sugar addiction

What are Sugar Cravings?

We often excuse sugar addiction with phrases such as “having a sweet tooth,” but those sugar cravings are down to hormones that are stimulated by the brain. When your body feels it lacks something essential, it creates cravings. In the case of sugar, it is reacting to a process in the body triggered by eating sugar on the first place.

The body needs glucose energy to operate and the main source is carbohydrates. If we eat a snack or meal containing sugar, such as a doughnut, the sugar hits the bloodstream fast. The hormone that controls blood sugar levels is insulin, which is released to process the sudden sugar surge. The energy surge quickly passes, leaving the body feeling low and lacking in energy. Naturally, it generates more sugar cravings, creating a cycle of sugar highs and lows along with insulin surges.

Once you understand how sugar addiction works, you can tackle the problem by eating a high protein, low sugar snack such as nuts or seeds. This provides the energy the body needs, but it is released slowly and steadily into the bloodstream. This means the energy and satisfaction last far longer than a doughnut sugar spike and there is no risk of high amounts of insulin surging around in the body.

Related:  Gymnema Sylvestre: The Sugar Destroyer

How to Kick Sugar Addiction

According to the Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes 128 pounds of added sugar each year (22 teaspoons per day) yet the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 teaspoons per day.  Sugar is in many favorite foods, often disguised as high-fructose corn syrup, agave sweeteners, molasses, maltodextrin, dextrose and honey. Check the labels of some of your everyday foods and see the amount of sugars and carbs (which the body breaks down into glucose sugar) they contain. You are probably eating far more sugar than you ever imagined.

The best way to beat sugar cravings is by cutting down on processed and packaged foods. Make your own soups, sauces and dressings and use stevia if you need a touch of sweetness. Avoid trigger foods that feed your sugar addiction, such as nutella or cookies.

Banish candy from the desktop to reduce temptation. Wean yourself off sweet sodas (liquid candy) and substitute with water, green tea or other thirst-quenching alternatives. Even diet soda can trigger sugar cravings yet contains no nutritional value whatsoever. Once you kick those sugar cravings, you will gradually reset your taste buds, find renewed energy and have a healthier body. 

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How to Reduce Sugar Intake in a Healthy Way

by Health News

Imagine eating your own body weight in sugar!  Even those with a sweet tooth or a secret sugar addiction may cringe at that thought, but the truth is that most Americans consume at least 128 pounds of sugar every year and need to reduce sugar intake for their health’s sake.

Take the sugar addiction test and learn more about hidden sugars

Take the Sugar Addiction Test

  • If you reach for just one cookie, is the bag empty before you realize it?
  • Are you lacking energy and tired all the time?
  • When you feel hungry do you snack on doughnuts, chips, candy and ice cream?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you are definitely hooked on sugar and salty snacks that are engineered by food scientists to be addictive.  You need to reduce your sugar intake now!

How about carbohydrates?

  • Can you say no to desserts but pig-out on bread and pasta?
  • When you want to lose weight, is it easier to eat nothing than ration yourself to smaller portions?
  • Do you find it impossible to eat just a taste of pasta, bread, muffins or rice?

These are all the signs of addiction to white flour, which actually turns into sugar during digestion, creating the same problems as sugar.  As above, you need to reduce your carbohydrate intake before it takes a toll on your health.

Related:  What are the Best Sugar Substitutes?

How Sugar Addiction is Harmful to Health

Here’s the truth about how harmful sugar can be to your health, and why the World Health Organization is recommending that people reduce sugar intake by 70%.  Studies show a link between a diet high in sugar and raised levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Sugar is also responsible for tooth decay, obesity and inflammation in the body, which is the root cause of many health issues including arthritis.

Scientists have found that even thin people who consume more than 10% of their daily calories from sugar are three times more likely to die of heart disease than others. Sugar affects the brain, which controls signals such as when to stop eating. Sugar highs feed the brain with dopamine, producing an artificial sense of euphoria similar to gambling or cocaine use. In a similar way, tests on rats showed that sugar is addictive and we actually crave more and more sugar to satisfy the need.

Reduce Sugar Intake Benefits

You may never actually buy sugar and stir it into drinks, but modern-day foods are laden with hidden sugars delivering an average 22 teaspoons (150 grams) of sugar per day. In order to reduce sugar intake, you need to identify your sugar sources. Check the label on cereals, salad dressings, fruit juice and even yogurt and switch to unsweetened alternatives such as stevia, or natural whole foods.

Doctors recommend we should reduce sugar intake to around 42 grams per day, or 5% of your daily calories, in order to free yourself from your sugar addiction. You’ll find the benefits of reduced sugar intake will provide more energy, lower triglyceride levels and a healthier heart.

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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 Is the Difference Between Sucrose, Glucose, and Fructose?

by Health News

With a trend toward better health and fitness in the United States, many Americans have concerns about sugar consumption.  Sugar is the universal name for short-chain, soluble carbohydrates with a sweet flavor. While most think of sugar as the stuff used to sweeten coffee or cereal, there are actually three key types of sugarsucrose, glucose, and fructose.  Learning about the different kinds of sugar and the way they affect the body can help people make healthier dietary choices.

Three key types of sugar include sucrose, glucose, and fructose.

Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides, sugars that cannot be broken down into simpler sugars. Glucose is the type of sugar the body uses for fuel and is the kind measured when doctors determine blood sugar levels.  It is found naturally in honey, in fruits like grapes, apples, and oranges, and it is an ingredient in corn syrup. 

Fructose is also an ingredient in honey as well as molasses, agave nectar, and high-fructose corn syrup.  Types of fruit that contain fructose include apples, pears, and pomegranates. Glucose and fructose combine to make a disaccharide called sucrose, which is abundant in sugar cane, sugar beets, and other plants.  When sucrose is extracted from plants and refined, it makes table sugar.  

Although all of these carbohydrates provide roughly the same amount of energy per gram, the body processes fructose and glucose differently.  Fructose metabolizes in the liver, triggering the release of insulin and the production of ghrelin, which is known as the hunger hormone.   

When glucose is processed, it circulates through the body and triggers the production of leptin, a hormone that helps control appetite.  The body either uses glucose immediately for energy or stores it in the muscles or in the liver as glycogen for later use.

Related:  Are Artificial Sweeteners Dangerous to Your Health?

Fructose vs. Glucose

In a study from the University of California at Davis, researchers compared the effects of glucose and fructose consumption on 32 overweight or obese individuals.  Subjects drank a beverage sweetened with glucose or fructose that supplied 25 percent of their daily calories for 12 weeks.  Researchers found that both groups gained weight, however, the people who drank the beverage sweetened with fructose experienced a number of additional effects.  These included:  

  • Increased visceral fat (the hard-to-lose type of abdominal fat that surrounds inner organs)
  • Reduced sensitivity to insulin (one of the first signs of diabetes)
  • Increased production of fat in the liver
  • Higher LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol
  • Elevated triglyceride levels

Results showed that the people who drank the beverage sweetened with glucose experienced none of these effects. 

Most experts agree that whole fruit provides the best source of natural sugar, and it contains healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Refined sugars deliver added, empty calories, devoid of any nutritional value.  To help ensure optimal nutrition and a healthy body weight, people should limit their intake of processed sugars, either in crystalline form or as an ingredient in foods, syrups, and beverages. 

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The Best Seeds for Health: Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Everyone knows having a salad on a regular basis is good for you. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vegetables for the average adult is three to five servings, after all.  If you are going to eat your greens why not add a little something extra to them now and then to boost their flavor and your health? Seeds make a great addition to many dishes especially salads. Read on to learn about the best seeds for your health.

The five best seeds for great health!

The Fantastic Five

1. Chia Seeds

There’s a whole lot of goodness packed into these tiny seeds that are native to South America.  The ancient Aztecs and Mayans relied on them as an important food source providing hydration and sustained energy.  Chia is actually the Mayan word for strength.  Despite being small chia seeds are mighty with:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 4 grams of protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus
  • Vitamins B3 (niacin), B1 (thiamine) and B2
  • The ability to hold twice their weight in liquid

Chia seeds are also loaded with antioxidants, and can help reduce your risk of heart disease, from developing Type 2 Diabetes, promote bone strength and even aid in your weight loss efforts.

2. Hemp Seeds

While hemp seeds are from the same species of the much more famous and notorious cannabis family (aka marijuana) but they only contain trace amounts of THC, the compound that has a drug-like effect.  They have been a part of Chinese diets and medicine for the past 3,000 years, so their health benefits have stood the test of time.

Hemp seeds are a great source of two very important nutrients, the fatty acids omega-6 and omega 3. They are also a very good source of protein, vitamin E and minerals like phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.  Another nutrient from hemp seeds, amino acid arginine, has been linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. These bland looking little seeds have also shown in other studies to decrease inflammation in the body, help reduce blood pressure and decrease your risk of blood clots that can lead to a stroke.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

This year at Halloween when you and the kids carve your Jack-O-Lanterns don’t toss the seeds you scrape out of the pumpkin!  They are one of the best seeds for health and wellness.

Indigenous to the Americas (North, South and Central) ancient cultures called the flat green seeds pepitas. In Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and much of India and Asia pumpkin seeds is a dietary staple.

Pumpkin seeds are recommended by the World Health Organization and for good reason.  They are a plentiful source of diverse antioxidants like vitamin E, phenolic acids and lignans, compounds linked to helping women reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.  Pumpkin seeds also contain a healthy dose of zinc, a mineral essential for healthy red blood cells.

Once you remove the seeds from your pumpkin clean them off and let them dry overnight, then roast them for about 20 minutes at a very low temperature like 160 to 190 degrees for the most flavor.

Related:  Here’s a Quick Way to Get Soy-Free Protein

4. Flax Seeds

If you are looking for one of the best seeds for health, here’s the flax you need to know. 

Ancient Babylonians in the 8th century cultivated flaxseed for King Charlemagne who believed strongly in their health benefits.  Modern day research has shown consumption of flaxseeds is a good way to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, according to health authority WebMD.

Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids called ALA, which are abundant in flaxseeds, have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.  Like pumpkin seeds they contain lignans that have been linked to decreasing the risk of breast cancer and are potent against reducing inflammation in the body.  Eating flaxseeds regularly may also help you keep your cholesterol levels in check and blood sugar levels steady to ward off diabetes.

5. Sunflower Seeds

A sunflower is a tall herbaceous annual plant native to Middle America but has since spread across the globe as a commercial crop in countries like Russian, China, Argentina and the United States. 

Sunflower seeds are delicious and crunchy little powerhouses of healthy goodness. Packed with essential fatty acids, high quality amino acids, natural antioxidants like vitamin E and folic acid, just a handful a day will help keep the doctor away.  They help lower your LDL levels of cholesterol, and provide essential minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, selenium and copper to keep your bones and red blood cell production strong.

Next time you whip up a salad be sure to sprinkle one of the fantastic five best seeds for health on top and enjoy!

 

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Omega 3 Fish Oil for Weight Loss

by Cindy Gray

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

Studies show the benefits of omega 3 fish oil weight loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related:  Natural Weight Loss Supplement Resveratrol

How Does Omega-3 Fish Oil Benefit Weight Loss?

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

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

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

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

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Six Ways Your Health Suffers When You Stop Working Out

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

Obesity is more likely in those who stopped working out

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

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

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

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

1. Shrinking Muscles

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

2. Decrease in Brain Power

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

3. Increase in Body Fat

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

Related:  Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

4. Blood Pressure Rises

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

5. Blood Sugar Spikes

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

6. Shortness of Breath

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

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

 

 

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Pro Hiking Tips To Stay Safe & Have Fun

by Cindy Gray

The great outdoors is a wonderful place to spend time. Hiking is a terrific way to enjoy nature’s beauty, plus it’s healthy and fun.  Following these hiking tips will make your next outdoor excursion safe and fun.

Pro Hiking Tips To Stay Safe & Have Fun

Safety in Numbers

The more the merrier is certainly true of hiking. Going it alone can be risky if you fall and injure yourself or run into an unfriendly critter.  Going with a group and staying together is safer and a lot more fun.

With kids along the adults in the group should share the duty of making sure they are all accounted for at all times so no one gets left behind or wanders off. 

Before you set off make sure to inform someone not on the hike where you are going and how long you think you will be gone. That way if you don’t return as planned, that contact can call for help.  Leave a note in your parked vehicle indicating how many are in your group, time of departure, expected time of return, and the general area you plan to be enjoying.

Make sure everyone has some form of identification on them, and a name and contact number in case of emergency.  Make it easier for helpers or rescuers to assist you as best as possible.  

Hydration Nation

Hiking can be a strenuous, thirsty good time. Always start your hike well hydrated and bring plenty of water with you.  Avoid alcoholic drinks or those high in sugar because they are actually dehydrating.  If you are hiking at higher elevations, your body has to work harder to compensate for the thinner air, causing dehydration to happen more quickly than under normal circumstances. 

Bring extra water in case the day turns out to be longer than planned due to weather delays or other reasons.  Two to three quarts per person is a good rule for hikes lasting more than 90 minutes.

If you are hiking in extremely hot weather be sure to bring drinks with electrolytes like sodium and potassium to replace minerals lost during heavy sweating.  Sports drinks, or electrolyte infused water are smart choices.

Be a Foodie

Like water, have plenty of food along for your hike.  Make sure everyone eats a healthy, protein-rich meal prior to departure.  Pack snacks like jerky, trail mix, granola bars, cookies, and other snacks that are a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and sugar to give you energy.  Bring along some apples and peanut butter. 

Plan to eat a small amount every hour you will be hiking, and bring extra in case the day runs long.  Another trick of experienced hikers is to enjoy honey sticks on your hike.  Honey is nature’s power source, and it tastes great. As a carbohydrate, honey is a natural energy booster.

Related:  The Benefits of Honey

Organized Chaos

Mother Nature is unpredictable, so being organized with these things in your daypack besides food and water will make for a better and safer hiking experience.

  • Small first aid kit, including snake bite kit
  • Rain gear (coat and pants), or rain poncho
  • Extra layers (long sleeve shirt)
  • Flashlight or headlight in case darkness sneaks up
  • Small mirror for flashing in case of emergency
  • Paper trail map of the area and compass
  • Extra sunscreen
  • Bug repellent (mosquitoes live near water and are more active at dusk)
  • Matches and lighter for emergency fire only
  • Tissues and toilet paper
  • Plastic bags for trash carry-out (don’t litter!)

Make sure every member of the party is wearing a safety whistle, or has one in their pocket or jacket (in case they get separated from their backpack.)  Teach younger hikers not to ‘call wolf’—in other works, it’s not a toy, and it’s used only in emergencies, not for play.

Use hiking as an opportunity to teach younger hikers (and many adult hikers) how to be aware of landmarks.  Teach them about directions.  Many people don’t know north from south or east from west.   The sun always rises in the east; it always sets in the west. Looking at a rising sun, your left arm is north, your right is south. Looking at a setting sun, your right arm is north, your left is south.

Bottled Shade

One item often left off hiking tips lists is sunscreen.  That’s too bad because a bad burn can turn the hike into a painful experience. Even in the winter or under cloudy skies, you can get can get a sunburn.  In fact, burns occur more quickly at higher elevations.

Lather a sunblock of at least 30 SPF over all exposed skin including inside the ears and your hands.  Wear a hat and sunglasses for extra protection.

Avoid Hairy Situations

Another hiking tip not commonly offered is to secure long hair under a hat or with a headband.  Long hair can blow across your face obscuring your vision and cause a nasty fall. It is also easily snagged in low hanging tree branches and bushes and can yank you up short and even cause a neck injury.  Keeping your locks locked down is a good hiking tip that can help avoid a hike up a mountain turning into a fall off a cliff.

Remember, take only pictures; and leave only footprints.  Be respectful of nature.  Bring along a trash bag and please don’t litter.  Stay only on the trail.  If you take these hiking tips to heart, your next hike should be good safe fun.

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Get Sweating to Reduce Stress

by IVL Products

It’s well known that regular physical exercise reduces stress.  Numerous studies have shown that almost any kind of physical exercise, from tennis to hiking is an effective way of inducing calm, relaxing tense muscles and elevating your mood.  What is interesting is how breaking a sweat regularly has such a positive impact on your mood, body and life in general.

Physical exercise is an effective way to reduce stress.

Cortisol Endorphins and Stress

It seems counter-productive to exercise when physical exertion causes the body to release the stress hormone cortisol.  But cortisol is a very natural substance produced by the body to energize us in stressful situations, often called the flight or fight hormone.  Prolonged stress causes cortisol to leak into the body, which causes damage to the cells over time and actually atrophies the brain. Stressed out people are often forgetful, too.

A burst of energy like a brisk walk or a game of tennis has the wonderful effect of flushing your brain with healthy and helpful hormones along with cortisol that stimulates the mind and muscles so that you can think more clearly, feel stronger and feel more energized.

Exercise causes the release of neuro-hormones like norepinephrine that improve your cognitive function and stimulate the body’s physiological systems. Your cardiovascular system leaps into action and rushes fresh oxygen and glucose to your cells and flushes out waste. Your muscles are activated and cortisol levels are restored to normal when you are finished with your exertion, thus relieving stress levels.

Related:  Five Tips to Boost Your Metabolism

How Does Physical Exercise Reduce Stress?

Exercise gives you a physical and mental boost. The more you do it the better you will feel. Your waistline will shrink, your back will ache less and you’ll have more feel good hormones circulating through your body.  When you look better, you tend to feel better. 

Sleeping Beauty

Not sleeping well causes elevated stress levels. The more you can’t sleep, the more stressed out about it you get, and the less you can sleep. It’s a vicious cycle. Exercise interrupts that merry-go-round by helping you sleep better. It reduces stress and induces sleep because tired muscles need rest and recovery.

The Fitness Fairy Tale

Working physical exercise into your life to reduce stress is really quite easy.  You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run ten miles. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise that elevates your respiration and heart rate will significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Always check with your doctor before you start any kind of program using physical exercise to reduce stress especially if you have physical limitations. There are plenty of different types of that can induce a healthy sweat. Walking, swimming, playing tennis, or a spin class, are all beneficial to your mind and body.  In addition to the physical gains, the social aspect of getting together with others helps you enjoy it more.  It promotes a sense of relaxation and a positive attitude, so you can live happily ever after.

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Three Protein Packed Breakfasts

by Cindy Gray

Starting the day off with a protein rich breakfast has significant benefits. If you want your body and mind to perform their best, then the right nutrition is a must. Proper levels of protein are an essential way to boost your energy level, help your brain function and rebuild. In this article, we’ll look at three protein rich breakfasts that are fast, easy and, of course, packed with plenty of protein.

Example of a protein rich breakfast

Protein Rich Breakfast #1-High Protein Pancakes

High protein pancake mixes and recipes are fast and a great way to start off the day. Protein powder can be added to many recipes and that means an instant protein pump. Oats and eggs are staple ingredients in high protein pancakes as well as egg whites, pea protein powder, almond butter and other options. Adding chia seeds and Greek yogurt are two easy ways to boost the protein in your pancakes to a new level.

Related:  How Breakfast Can Naturally Boost Your Energy

If you are looking for variety, consider sweet potato pancakes, peanut butter or other nut or seed butters, such as walnut butter or pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed butters. In this way, you’ll get tons of protein as well as vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants. The idea that a nutrient packed, protein packed breakfast must be a tough one to make is simply not true.

Protein Rich Breakfast #2-Oats, Milk and Berries

Can it really be that simple? Oats, milk and berries for a nutrient and protein packed breakfast? Oats have a lot going for them as they are easy to digest, packed with nutrition and are a source of low calorie protein and fiber. One of the best reasons to opt for oats in the morning is that oats leaves you filling full longer. You digest them slowly, which makes them great for dieters. Also, the addition of milk helps to add yet more protein. Berries, both fresh and frozen, are a way to boost the antioxidant and nutrition levels of your breakfast. A small serving of strawberries, for example, can provide nearly 100% of your daily requirement of vitamin C.

Protein Rich Breakfast #3-Omelets

When it comes to protein packed breakfasts it is tough to top what omelets have to offer. Eggs are more than just a source of protein, as they contain vitamins and minerals necessary for brain function, such as the all-important choline. Eggs are a complete protein and are high in many B vitamins including B12, B1, B2 and more. The seemingly simple egg is also a rich source of vitamins A and D as well as a range of minerals including calcium, iron, phosphorus and immune boosting zinc. It is no overstatement to conclude that eggs are nutrient dense. When selecting eggs for your omelet, it is best to opt for eggs that come from free-range hens.

Another key benefit of omelets is that they provide variety. You can easily incorporate other nutritious foods ranging from kale to mushrooms, peppers, garlic and onions into one super-nutrient dense meal.

If you are looking for easy and fast, nutrient and protein packed breakfast options, then these three options have you covered. A protein packed breakfast will help you stay full until lunch time and help you think more clearly during those early morning hours.

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Heart-Healthy Foods to Add To Your Diet

by IVL Products

Even though the number of American deaths attributed to heart disease has dropped, it is still the number one cause of death for adults in this country. Good dietary choices play a key role in preserving healthy cardiac function, but instead of focusing on what you should not eat, here’s a list of heart-healthy foods that are delicious, nutritious and good for your heart and your waistline. 

There is a direct correlation between the circumference of your waistline and your risk of heart disease. Belly fat is the most dangerous to your health and the hardest to remove.

Fishing for a Healthy Heart

The catch of the day keeps the cardiologist away. Fish should be a staple in your diet; and become a replacement for processed fatty meats like hamburger, sausage and bacon.  Not only are fish a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, they have the most abundant and most easily absorbed omega-3 fatty acids. The body does not produce this essential nutrient naturally, but it does a body good.  Eating fish two to three times a week will give you plenty of it. Salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are especially high in omega-3s, so be sure to put them on the menu.

Related:  Include Fish in Your Arthritis Prevention Diet

Go Nuts

Enjoying nuts regularly is a heart-healthy idea. Almonds and walnuts are heart-healthy foods to enjoy in moderation since they are high in calories.  Adding a handful to your cereal, salad or dipping your banana in some almond butter will give you a healthy dose of omega-3s, and the unsaturated fat and fiber will keep you satisfied longer. The healthiest nuts to eat are almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts and macadamias.

Flaxseed belongs in your diet along with a variety of nuts. They are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid, which is a fancy name for omega-3. These small but mighty seeds can be ground to replace some of the fat in baked items and sprinkled on top of salads or cereal to add a little crunch with significant benefits.

Be Fruitful and Thrive

Fruits high in vitamin C and fiber are also loaded with phytonutrients to help reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation due to obesity, environmental pollution and poor diet are a leading contributor to heart muscle damage.  Berries are particularly heart-healthy foods because they are not only sweet, delicious and plentiful, but contain copious amount of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Orange-hued fruits like oranges, tangerines, peaches and cantaloupe offer plentiful amounts of potassium and magnesium.

Veg Out

Mom was right when she said, “eat your vegetables, they’re good for you.” They come in so many varieties and you can eat as much as you want.  Be sure to avoid heavy cream or butter-based sauces or oily condiments.  Add these all-stars to your grocery list:

  • Asparagus – beta-carotene, folate and fiber
  • Broccoli- vitamins C and E, calcium and fiber
  • Spinach – iron, vitamins A, B2, C and K along with folate calcium, magnesium and potassium, just to name a few.

So, grill up some asparagus to pair with a salmon fillet, steam some broccoli or add a handful of spinach to your salads and you will be helping your heart and your waistline.

Carbs Count

The body cannot run on protein and fats alone. Carbohydrates are the key for high, sustaining levels of energy.  Starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal (toss a handful of nuts, seed and berries on top) is a great way to give your body the fuel it needs. The fiber in oatmeal will keep you feeling satisfied longer and keep cholesterol levels in check.  Steel cut is best and avoid instant varieties loaded with sugar.  

Enjoy Dessert

Yes, a heart-healthy diet includes dessert! It’s been called the fourth food group for good reason. Dark chocolate made from 70% cocoa is one of the healthiest treats you can eat. A one-ounce square daily offers soluble fiber, antioxidants, iron, magnesium and potassium, zinc and selenium. These are all nutrients that contribute to a healthy heart.  Like nuts, chocolate has a lot of calories, so a little goes a long way.

Here’s To Your Heart

Hopefully reading this has encouraged you to add these foods to your grocery list.  There are many other heart-healthy foods you can work into the mix, and consider supplements as an additional way to pump up your daily vitamin and mineral consumption.  

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Three Natural Remedies for Nausea

by Health News

Featuring a queasy stomach often accompanied by an urge to vomit, nausea affects all people at one time or another.  Common causes include excessive consumption of food or alcohol, food poisoning, motion sickness or seasickness, pregnancy, or viral infection (also known as the stomach flu).  While doctors can prescribe medication for ailing patients, three natural remedies have shown promise for easing discomfort. 

People who have nausea experience a queasy stomach often accompanied by an urge to vomit.

1.  Acupuncture

For centuries, Eastern practitioners have used acupuncture to treat a variety of physical ailments.  The process involves the insertion of paper-thin needles through the skin at certain points in the body.  According to Eastern medicine, the needles are thought to release a flow of energy (or qi) to reduce physical symptoms and/or promote healing.

Studies show that acupuncture is as effective as medication for control of nausea in cancer patients, and it reduces the need for medication for vomiting following chemotherapy treatment. 

2.  Ginger

Chinese health practitioners have used ginger root for centuries as a remedy for a variety of digestive ailments, from stomachache to nausea.  It contains chemicals called gingerols and shogaols that relax the intestinal tract. 

Ginger has been proven safe for pregnant women, and a study published in Integrative Cancer Therapies showed that women with breast cancer who took ginger after chemotherapy experienced less nausea from six to 24 hours following treatment than women in a control group. 

People can grate raw ginger into salads, add ginger to cooked dishes, eat candied ginger, or sip ginger tea. 

Related:  Daily Ginger Consumption Eases Muscle and Joint Pain

3.  Peppermint

Peppermint is another remedy with a long history for treating nausea.  It relaxes stomach muscles, making the process of digestion quicker and more efficient. 

Research published in The Journal of Holistic Nursing examined 35 women with postoperative nausea resulting from C-section.  They were divided into three groups and given different treatments when they began to feel queasy.  One group inhaled peppermint oil, one inhaled a placebo, and the control group received standard medication. 

Participants rated levels of nausea at two and five minutes following intervention.  Women who inhaled peppermint oil reported feeling significantly less nauseous than women in the other two groups.  Researchers concluded that peppermint oil might be a valuable treatment for postoperative care.

Peppermint is available in the form of essential oil, tea, or capsules.  People with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should not use peppermint, as it can worsen symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.

Nausea is a symptom of a variety of conditions from motion sickness to pregnancy.  Uncomfortable queasy feelings sometimes lead to vomiting.  While doctors can prescribe medicines for nausea, some people prefer more natural alternatives.  Acupuncture, ginger, and peppermint have all proven to be helpful remedies.

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Lack of Exercise - Effects on Three Areas of Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It's not breaking news to hear that exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy heart and managing weight loss, but lack of exercise effects are evident on our hormones, energy levels and digestion. That's three more reasons to find a type of exercise you can enjoy three to five times a week to ensure a long and healthy life.

Lack of exercise effects can negatively impact on your whole body health

The American Heart Association recommends that whatever your age you should be aiming for 30 minutes of brisk walking, swimming, cycling, dancing or exercise to stay strong, fit and healthy. Here are some less well known facts about the lack of exercise effects on our overall health.

Lack of Exercise Effects on Hormones

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the body. They affect almost every physical and mental function. Hormones control a vast array of functions in the body and mind, including:

  • Growth hormones stimulate protein synthesis to build muscles and strengthen bones
  • Endorphins block pain and control appetite
  • Testosterone controls metabolism, sexuality and libido
  • Estrogen increases fat breakdown, controls mood and libido
  • Thyroxin (T4) manages energy levels
  • Epinephrine directs and controls blood flow
  • Insulin controls blood glucose levels and fat production
  • Glucagon raises blood sugars and breaks down fat for fuel

 

All these hormones are secreted during exercise to keep the entire body functioning as nature intended. Lack of exercise effects on hormones means reduced triggers that stimulate the all-important hormone production throughout the body.   How is your hormone health?

RelatedTips on How Not To Sabotage Your Health Goals

Fitness Fights Fatigue

Exercise does not actually lower energy levels, conversely it increases them. Studies on poor energy levels in children were undertaken by Dr. Karen Heath from the University of Cape Town Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. She reports that causes of lethargy in children could simply be a lack of exercise.

Regular exercise increases the red blood cells that carry oxygen to the cells. Exercise increases blood flow and the demand for cell energy. Conversely, lack of exercise means naturally low energy levels. Exercise also increases glucose circulation, making use of blood sugar and avoiding the possibility of hypoglycemia and insulin spikes. Exercise also builds muscle so the effects of lack of exercise include lean muscle mass and a lack of energy.  Exercise fights fatigue and low energy in many surprising ways.

Lack of Exercise Effects on Digestive Health

If you have a sluggish digestive system, you probably suffer from irregular bowel movements and constipation. Exercise helps by raising the body's metabolic rate, pushing food through the digestive system faster so that it retains some of the water in the stool. Regular exercise helps to stimulate peristalsis, which stimulates health bowel movements, thereby reducing constipation and toxic overload.

Lack of exercise effects also means a slower heart beat and breathing rate. This fails to stimulate the intestinal muscles which contract to evacuate the bowels efficiently and frequently.

As Harvard School of Public Health researcher I-Min Lee, ScD reports, "Physical inactivity has a large impact on the health of the world…comparable to that of cigarette smoking."  By adding regular physical activity to your life you will be in better shape in terms of hormone production, energy and digestion. Isn't that worth the effort?

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The Perimenopause-Heavy Bleeding Connection

by Health News

Many women in perimenopause find they not only have to manage the symptoms of approaching menopause, they also suffer from heavy bleeding each month. The connection between perimenopause and heavy bleeding is becoming more understood by doctors and physicians.

There is a hormonal connection between perimenopause and heavy bleeding

Perimenopause is a period of transition which begins several years before menopause as the ovaries temporarily produce more estrogen before declining during menopause. This can cause an embarrassing and potentially dangerous condition – heavy menstrual bleeding.

How to Define Heavy Bleeding

Heavy menstrual bleeding, known as menorrhagia, is usually defined by a loss of at least double the amount of blood than during a normal menstrual flow. Instead of losing around two tablespoons (30 ml) of blood during the period, sufferers of perimenopause and heavy bleeding may lose as much as two cups (540 ml). This unusual amount of bleeding can lead to embarrassing leaks and unexpected flooding.

This heavy bleeding often includes large clots and may cause a sudden heavy flood. It may also be marked by more frequent periods, occurring every 21 days, or it may last far longer than the usual five to seven days.   

Related:  Defining Perimenopause

Perimenopause and Heavy Bleeding

Heavy menstrual flow is most common in teenage and in perimenopause. Both these times of life are when estrogen levels are higher and progesterone levels are lower, leading to estrogen dominance. Estrogen makes the lining of the uterus (endometrium) thicker and more likely to shed after ovulation; while progesterone makes a thinner endometrium. Estrogen dominance during perimenopause is the cause of the thicker lining and subsequent heavier blood flow.

During the perimenopause, heavy bleeding affects around 25% of women who will have at least one heavy period. Those who have persistent menorrhagia are likely to suffer the effects of losing large quantities of blood each month. This can include some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Anemia (low blood count)
  • Iron deficiency
  • Weakness and lack of energy
  • Fatigue

The answer to the problem caused by perimenopause and heavy bleeding is to correct the hormonal imbalance. There are several informative articles about perimenopause and how to balance hormones safely and naturally, helping to manage the perimenopause and heavy bleeding safely and naturally.

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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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Choosing Foods that Reduce Stress Improves Your Health

by IVL Products

When feeling stressed out and anxious, people often reach for vending machine junk food, huge, sugary coffee drinks, or head for the drive through of the nearest fast food joint.  That is the absolute worse thing you can do because highly processed, high fat, sugar-loaded foods can actually increase your stress levels.  Learn to easily reduce this by eating foods that reduce stress. This simple change can greatly improve your health.

Stress Mess

Caffeine found in coffee, sodas and energy drinks are a stress bomb.  The caffeine stimulates your nervous system, which responds by flooding your body with cortisol. The sugar in highly processed foods and drinks sends your blood glucose levels soaring, which causes more cortisol to start zipping through your body.

Sugar can have another wicked effect on the body by shutting down the adrenal medulla, the adrenal gland that helps your body cope with emotional and physical stress.

Related:  Does Stress Impair Memory?

Next time you are feeling tension or a little anxious, head off a full blown stress mess by avoiding the vending machine or trendy coffee shop and selecting foods that reduce stress.

Fruits and Vegetables

Asparagus - rich in folate, B vitamins in asparagus convert to folic acid and have a calming effect on the nervous system

Swiss chard – full of magnesium, chard can help the body balance cortisol levels in the body.

Bell Peppers – especially red, orange or yellow in color, these stress busters are rich in vitamin C, which helps produce neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, the feel good hormones

Spinach – rich in folate, spinach also contains iron and helps with keeping your immune system strong

Berriesberries are ideal foods that reduce stress, as they are full of the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that will give you a natural energy boost without an ugly sugar crash

Avocados –their creamy texture is a great source of heart healthy fat that keeps you energized and feeling full with vitamins and minerals to boot

Oranges – have vitamin C, folate and vitamin B6, all nutrients that help elevate your mood and keep you calm and relaxed

Dried apricots- they are rich in magnesium, which helps keep cortisol levels in check

Fruits and vegetables will boost your mood by providing hydration and nutrients that won’t send blood sugar levels soaring only to crash in about an hour.  The filling fiber staves off hunger so you can maintain focus and manage problems without sending you running for the nearest vending machine.

Additional Foods that Reduce Stress

Many other foods can help you manage stress and keep cortisol levels in check. Avoid fast food burgers and fries in favor of salmon, lean chicken or lamb, all of which have calming B vitamins.

Bread labeled multi-grain does not always contain whole grains and can cause your glucose levels to rise dramatically. Optimally, go for the gluten free grains like quinoa, millet, or rye because gluten is known to stimulate cortisol secretions in the body.

If you want to sweeten your green or chamomile tea, two natural stress-reducing beverages, reach for xylitol of stevia based sweeteners instead of chemical based ones.

Chocolate is actually one of the best foods that reduce stress. It can actually help you reduce your stress levels. A mere ounce of the dark organic kind provides potent antioxidants to help the body fight off stress damage.

Food for Combat

In the war on stress choose your weapons wisely.  Highly processed, sugary caffeinated drinks and foods that are low in fiber but high in white sugar calories are your enemies. They cannot be counted on to save you from a stress meltdown and are traitors once inside the body.

Instead, call a truce: go au natural. No, not naked, but with foods in their most natural state like raw fruits and vegetables. 

Nuts like almonds and cashews can help calm cravings and relieve stress, so keep a small pack of them around with an ounce of dark chocolate and you’ll stay cool as cucumber.