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Take Vitamin D to Prevent Falls

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to research, up to 41 percent of American adults are deficient in vitamin D.  Studies show that a lack of vitamin D raises risks for osteoporosis and may affect neuromuscular control and coordination.  This may explain the link between vitamin D deficiency and a higher risk for falls, especially in elderly men.  In balance tests requiring stepping and leaning tasks, elderly men with low levels of vitamin D showed poor performance.  While elderly people have a harder time absorbing vitamin D, eating certain foods and other healthy habits can help stabilize vitamin D levels.

Healthy habits for boosting vitamin D include adding fatty fish to the diet.

 

Healthy Living Tips for Getting More Vitamin D

Soak up the sun for short periods.  When sunlight hits the skin, the body makes its own vitamin D.  Exposure to ultraviolet B rays triggers the skin to convert cholesterol to vitamin D3.  During warm parts of the year, roughly 20 minutes of daily sunshine (sans sunscreen) results in about 90 percent of the vitamin D needed for the day.  After 20 minutes, people should apply organic sunscreen to protect the skin from too much sunlight.

Enjoy salmon.  When it comes to healthy habits for boosting vitamin D, eating fatty fish is one of the best.  In fact, one salmon filet provides all the vitamin D needed for one day.  Enjoy fresh steaks or filets for dinner or salmon-salad sandwiches or wraps for lunch.  In addition to providing vitamin D, salmon is an excellent source of essential fatty acids and lean protein.

Related:  Are You Vitamin D Deficient?  Take this Quiz!

Drink milk.  Most brands of pasteurized milk in the United States deliver good quantities of vitamin D.  Whole milk contains the most vitamin D, but skim milk still offers about 20 percent of the recommended daily value.  Many plant-based milk products like soy milk, almond milk and coconut milk also offer significant amounts of vitamin D, some even more than cow's milk.

Choose products fortified with vitamin D.  Check labels on breakfast cereals, yogurt and orange juice at the grocery store.  Many are fortified with vitamin D and other important nutrients. 

Take vitamin D3 supplementsVitamin D3 supplements offer an easy remedy for getting adequate amounts of vitamin D during the fall or winter months.  To protect bones, adults should aim for 800-1000 IU of vitamin D3 per day unless otherwise specified by a health care provider.

Getting adequate amounts of vitamin D is important for bone health and good balance.  Because aging affects the absorption of certain nutrients, sufficient vitamin D is especially essential to the elderly.  While many studies show a link between falls and insufficient vitamin D levels, others show a correlation between falls and high-dose vitamin D supplementation.   Therefore, elderly people should have vitamin D levels checked before beginning a supplementary regimen.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sip Away Stress By Adding These Herbs To Your Tea

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Stress is just a fact of life. Even the things we enjoy doing can cause stress, like planning a vacation, preparing for a new baby’s arrival or getting a promotion and pay raise at work.  Stress management is critical to keeping your body and mind healthy. Sometimes it is difficult to get in a workout or eat healthy but it is very easy to sip away stress.

Effective stress management with herbs.

Herbs That Make Great Stress Reducing Teas

There are three herbs in particular that have a long and well-documented history of being healthy stress reducers. Ingesting them in the form of a tea can help with your stress management plan and they are all safe and easy to find.

Passionflower

This potent herb was first used in the 17th Century by Spanish Jesuits in Peru and is now consumed all over the world.  There are over 500 different species of Passilora, as it is also known, but the most common variety is Passionflower incarnate, which is native to the Midwest and Southeastern United States.

Passionflower has been used for centuries as an effective sedative, pain reliever, digestive aid, and anxiety reducer.  Studies in Western medicine have shown it to be an effective way to treat ulcers, boost the brain’s levels of feel-good hormones and help you relax and fall asleep. 

The herb comes in capsules, powders or tinctures, but the best way is to drink it as a tea. Soaking the dried leaves in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes will make you a brew strong enough to enjoy the health benefits.

Chamomile

Chamomile has a long and well documented history of use as a soothing and healing herb.  It is from a flowering plant in the daisy family and you can use the dried blossoms to make a wonderfully fragrant and slightly sweet tasting tea that has many health benefits, namely stress management.

Chamomile tea can help soothe an upset stomach, relieve tension by inducing muscles to relax and even help you fall asleep.  It has been shown to be effective in relieving stomach cramps, due to its chamazulene content, a kind of oil in the flowers of the plant. It is believed that this ingredient is what helps relieve muscle spasms. Those with irritable bowel syndrome may find it especially helpful in relieving spasms in the bowel to ease constipation or diarrhea.

Lemon Balm

Named for its lemony scent, this herb is native to Europe and the Mediterranean and is a member of the mint family. It has earned a reputation around the globe as a stress-busting herb and makes a great tea to help you sip away your stressful day.

One of the best benefits of drinking lemon balm tea is that it helps boost mental alertness. It is often recommended for the elderly to help stave off dementia by sharpening memory and enhancing problem solving cognitive function. In a Chinese study, eugenol, a compound in the herb was thought to be responsible for boosting memory.  A similar study found that lemon balm suppresses the brain chemical acetlycholinesterase, which breaks down the chemical acetylcholine, which is responsible for memory and mood.

Lemon balm is also a powerful antioxidant to help your cells start to regenerate after a long hard day in your daily life. It can also help you stabilize your blood sugar and that will keep your mood balanced instead of wildly fluctuating with sugar highs and lows.

Related:  History of Green Tea in Indigestion Remedies

All of these herbs are considered generally safe.  Always check with your doctor if you take prescription medication and your pediatrician before you offer any herbs or supplements to your children, though.

Try this tea recipe at home to help manage your stress:

Ingredients and Preparation:

  • 2 teaspoons dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 teaspoon dried lemon balm leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried passionflower leaves
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • Steep tea leaves in water for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add in honey and lemon.
  • Sip while warm.
  • Serves 1.

These herbal teas are also delicious iced and topped off with slices of fruit.  
Enjoy!

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Holy Basil: A Divine Answer to Stress Management

by Institute for Vibrant Living

All hail holy basil! This potent herb has many health benefits, some of them being reduced feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.  It has a long history of use around the globe for not only being physically, but mentally healthy, as well, and could be very beneficial for stress management.

Holy basil for stress reduction.

History

Holy basil is closely related to the more familiar sweet basil used in many dishes, especially in Italian cooking; and is from the mint family.  It is a shrub with fuzzy stems and leaves and native to Eastern tropical parts of the world. In India and Hindu countries, it is considered a sacred plant, thus the name holy basil.  It’s been grown and cultivated in India for the past 3,000 years and is revered for being a plant that can heal the body, mind and spirit.

Ayurvedic medicine has included the use of holy basil (aka tulsi) because of its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, among others. It is used to treat physical ailments like headaches, upset stomach, insect bites, skin rashes, and to calm nerves and help one sleep better.

Holy Health Benefits

Western medicine has begun to offer evidence that holy basil extract can dramatically reduce symptoms of general stress like:

  • Exhaustion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual/libido issues

The benefits of the herb administered in an extract proved to be effective after only six weeks of use in one study. 

Another study in 2008 used holy basil to evaluate its effectiveness in treating the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorders. Test participants took 500 mg of the herb in supplement form twice a day for 60 days.  Test administers published results saying those who took the herb supplement reported significantly reduced feelings of anxiety, stress and depression, in contrast to those who received a placebo.

Related:  Three Herbs for Stress Reduction

Other health benefits attributed to holy basil are due to its anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve:

  • Fevers
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Bites, cuts or stings

As a powerful antioxidant, holy basil is also showing to be a healthy supplement to boost cognitive function, strengthen the immune system, help kidneys function better, and stabilize blood glucose levels.

Holy Basil At Home

It’s simple to cultivate your own unlimited supply of holy basil at home.  You can plant it in in a garden pot inside to get it going when it’s cold outside and transplant it to warm soil (where it grows best) in the summer (at least 65-70 degrees F). Put it somewhere that will allow for full sun and be sure to water it regularly.  To encourage a larger, bushier plant cut off the flowering blossoms, though letting them grown into flowers does not affect the health benefits of the plant. Make sure your plant is well established and growing strong before you harvest the first leaves.

Holy Tea for Two

The best way to get maximum health benefits from holy basil is to use the leaves to make tea.  Pour eight ounces of boiling water over two teaspoons of fresh leaves, cover and steep for five minutes, then enjoy!

If you are not too keen on growing your own you can find the herb in supplement form.

If you are looking for some easy stress management techniques, sipping some holy basil tea could be for you.

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Can Melatonin Help During Menopause?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many women dealing with menopausal symptoms experience disruptions in their sleep cycles. This can exacerbate some of the other side effects such as increased anxiety, depression, trouble focusing, memory lapses, hot flashes and a decreased libido, just to name a few. The good news is that increasing shows that melatonin supplements can be an effective menopause treatment to help you get more rest and relief.  

Can melatonin treatment relieve symptoms of menopause?

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone our bodies produce naturally in the pineal gland of the brain. It assists in the smooth operation of several bodily functions such as:

  • Regulating the release of the female reproductive hormones like estrogen, progesterone, effecting the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles
  • Promoting the quality and duration of sleep
  • It is a naturally produced antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties to help the body repair itself. It has a protective effect on your heart by helping to lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterol levels

Low levels of melatonin have been linked to an increased risk for developing breast and prostate cancer, and have more recently linked to ADHD symptoms in children. 

At optimum levels, melatonin can help improve conditions like:

  • Sunburn
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Pain regulation
  • Digestion
  • Epilepsy 

Melatonin as a Menopause Treatment

Trouble focusing, memory lapses, increased anxiety and feelings of depression, all common symptoms of menopause, are made worse by a lack of quality sleep.  Many women going through menopause have trouble falling asleep, and even after they do, they often wake up because of a hot flash. They may fall asleep, but rouse frequently during the night and have trouble going back to sleep.

As we age our production of the sleep hormone begins to decline, along with estrogen and progesterone. Children have high levels of melatonin, whereas adults in their late 40s, 50s and 60s and beyond have much lower levels. Melatonin supplements can increase levels to promote drowsiness and keep you asleep for longer stretches.  It can also help you fall back to sleep when a hot flash wakes you up.  In addition, the increased shut-eye can help you deal with stress more effectively, decrease anxiety and give you greater mental clarity.

Related:  Sleep Deprivation: Is it Dangerous to Your Health?

Along with melatonin supplements try these tips to help you unwind and fall asleep more easily:

  • Do not eat within two hours of going to bed
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants as much as possible
  • Try natural fiver sheets and pajamas to help whisk away sweat from hot flashes
  • Drop the temperature in your bedroom to about 68 degrees
  • Turn off the TV, put away your tablet and smart phone since the backlight on these electronic devices interferes with the natural release of melatonin
  • Make it as dark as possible in your bedroom with light-blocking blinds or curtains and turn the digital clock face away from the bed or cover it
  • Try a few relaxing yoga poses followed by a cool shower

Dosage

As with all supplements, you should first consult your doctor before deciding on your melatonin treatment.  Taking the lowest dose possible to achieve optimal sleep is the best way to go. In general adults should take 3-5 milligrams about one hour before bedtime.

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Antioxidants: Your Immune System’s Secret Weapon

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Our immune system is a complex army of warriors with different “weapons” patrolling the body to hunt down and kill invading bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, as we age, it does too, and becomes weaker along with muscles, eyes, and everything else. Fortunately, there are immune boosters in your refrigerator called antioxidants that can keep your disease fighting warriors stronger for longer.

Fruits and vegetables are powerful immune boosters.

Antioxidants to the Rescue

What exactly is an antioxidant? Our bodies naturally produce free radicals as a result of exposure to environmental toxins like too much sunlight, cigarette smoke, radiation and even some prescription drugs.  You also produce free radicals along with inflammation in the body when you exercise, become overly stressed, and as you age. Because free radical molecules are missing an electron, they seek out and capture electrons from other molecules turning them into free radicals, a process known as oxidation. 

 

Antioxidants generously lend molecules missing an electron one of theirs without becoming free radicals themselves, thus halting the destructive chain reaction in the body. Left unchecked free radicals disrupt DNA and cause your cells to become weaker and weaker until they die.  They are tiny superhero defenders of youth and vitality.

Antioxidants for What Ails You

Our immune system cells are as susceptible to free radical damage as any other kind of cell, and we need a steady supply to stay healthy. Incorporating antioxidants into your diet helps as an immune booster and assists your immune system to produce strong B and T lymphocytes, phagocytes and neutrophils.

Several of our organs play a key role in the immune system and also need to be constantly generating strong healthy cells to replace those lost to free radicals. Make sure you ingest plenty of antioxidants to boost your immune system to help stave off disease, and even slow down the aging process.

Related:  Glutathione: The Master Antioxidant

Essential Antioxidants

Fortunately, it’s easy to fill up on antioxidants. They are found in many of the healthiest and delicious foods available to us in abundance.  Certain antioxidants are not being produced by the body, so you need to get them from you diet. They are:

Resveratrol – found in grapes, many vegetables, dark chocolate (cocoa) and wine. It also helps lower blood pressure, improves circulation, and reduces inflammation in the body.

Carotenoids- give certain foods their bright color like tomatoes (lycopene) and carrots (beta-carotene). They are converted to vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, in the body.

Xanthophyll – found in kiwis, maize (a kind of corn), grapes, squash and oranges.

Astaxanthin – a marine carotenoid that offers protection from ultraviolet radiation. It also has been found to slow down macular degeneration, reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, several types of cancer and is a powerful immune booster.

Vitamins C and E – are generous electron donors and offer a host of other health benefits.

Best Sources of Antioxidants

Healthy and delicious foods can supply most of your antioxidant needs. You might also benefit from an antioxidant supplement to make sure you get adequate amounts daily. Be sure to add to your diet:

  • Nuts
  • Herbs and spices
  • Green tea
  • Fruits and vegetables

Fresh, organic produce and tea are your healthiest options, but even frozen foods offer some beneficial immune booster antioxidants.

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Why Vitamin D is Important for Healthy Aging

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Originally introduced to the world as a fat-soluble vitamin and later as a steroid hormone, vitamin D offers myriad health benefits to the body.  Because it plays a role in over 1,000 physiological processes, it is easy to understand why vitamin D is so important as people get older.  According to results from a variety of scientific studies, this potent vitamin/hormone helps encourage healthy aging in many ways.

:  People can get vitamin D benefits through foods like milk, eggs and fish.

A British study conducted in 2007 showed that vitamin D may help slow the aging process and protect the body from age-related disease.  Researchers followed more than 2,000 women with ages ranging from 18 to 79 and examined their white blood cells.  Measuring the length of telomeres (the capped ends of DNA strands) is a reliable way to determine if a person is aging.  As people get older, telomeres become shorter and DNA becomes more unstable. 

According to their vitamin D levels, the female subjects were assigned to three groups.  Results showed that women with the highest vitamin D levels had longer telomeres than women with the lowest levels.  Researchers concluded that by keeping telomeres longer, vitamin D may slow the aging process, and this may explain the protective effect vitamin D appears to provide from conditions like heart disease and cancer.

Related:  Absorption is Key When it Comes to Calcium Supplements

Another important Dutch study examining people 55 years of age and older found that low vitamin D levels were linked with an inability to perform daily tasks.  Subjects were divided into two age groups and tested for activities like walking stairs, dressing and undressing, standing from a seated position, and self-care.  While results showed a link between lower vitamin D levels and reduced ability to perform the activities, more research is needed to determine if low vitamin D levels actually cause disability in performance.

Additional Vitamin D Benefits

Most people know that vitamin D plays a role in the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, but it offers many more benefits to the health.  Vitamin D boosts immunity and helps prevent colds, flus and other types of infection.  Mounting evidence suggests that vitamin D may also offer a preventative effect against Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, lymphatic system, ovaries and prostate. 

With all of the health benefits mentioned, it makes sense to get vitamin D on a daily basis, especially for people over 50.  The best source of vitamin D is the sun, and spending 10 minutes in sunshine before applying sunscreen usually provides a sufficient daily amount.  People can also find vitamin D in foods like fish, eggs, dairy and nut milk, cod liver oil, and fortified cereals and juices.  Vitamin D supplements work well during periods of colder weather, and health professionals recommend from 400 to 1,100 mg per day depending on age.

 

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Eat Broccoli for Healthy Breast Changes with Age

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Aging affects a woman's body in several ways, but it's particularly unkind to the breasts.  As women go through menopause, decreased estrogen production shrinks mammary glands and fat in tissue altering breast size and fullness.  Reduced elasticity in connective tissue can make breasts sag, and risks for breast cancer rise after menopause.  Fortunately, there's something women can do to promote healthy breast changes with age:  eat broccoli

A compound in broccoli and broccoli sprouts called sulforaphane may help keep breast changes with age healthy.

Sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts stimulates over 200 genes in the body to produce enzymes, proteins and antioxidants that protect cells.  One of these important antioxidants, glutathione, works inside cells to protect them from free radicals and inflammatory response.  Some enzymes and proteins even do battle with cancer cells and reduce over-expression of estrogen receptors, an action common in many types of breast cancer.

Current chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer are incapable of suppressing cancer stem cells, but broccoli sprouts have shown promise in various scientific studies.  One study published in Clinical Cancer Research in 2010 showed that sulforaphane suppressed breast cancer cells both in vivo (in live animals) and in vitro (under glass).

Related:  Natural Anti-Cancer Compound Found in Cruciferous Vegetables can Treat Leukemia

In a separate study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University examined women scheduled for breast reduction surgery to determine if sulforaphane actually showed up in breast tissue after women drank broccoli sprout juice.  Results showed measurable results of sulforaphane, proving that the compound actually reaches the target area in women with breast cancer when they consume broccoli sprout juice.

In addition to helping ensure healthy breast changes with age, broccoli sprouts have been shown to:

  • Aid in the treatment of autism
  • Help manage type 2 diabetes
  • Rid the body of toxic air pollutants
  • Destroy Helicobacter Pylori, a harmful gastrointestinal organism
  • Slow the development of osteoarthritis

While further studies are needed to determine if sulforaphane extract might offer promise as natural form of breast cancer treatment, adding broccoli to the grocery cart definitely doesn't hurt.  People can stock up on the whole vegetable, its sprouts, or purchase broccoli sprout supplements through local whole food stores or natural supplements websites.  For the best health benefits, organic forms broccoli and broccoli sprouts are recommended.

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Inflammation and Aging Skin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to good health as we age, inflammation plays both good and bad roles.  In response to injury, acute or short-term inflammation helps promote healing, but chronic or long-term inflammation can harm just about every area of the body including the skin.  Conditions linked to chronic inflammation include acne, dermatitis, rosacea, rash, hives, and wrinkles.  Fortunately, following a few healthy tips can help prevent the development of inflammation and protect aging skin.

A number of environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to inflammation including tobacco, alcohol, stress, sun exposure, a sedentary lifestyle, and a high-sugar diet.  Engaging in healthy habits helps reduce levels of inflammation in the body and keeps aging skin looking and feeling as youthful as possible. 

Healthy changes involve quitting tobacco products, cutting down on alcohol consumption, wearing sunscreen, or getting regular moderate exercise.  Beneficial dietary steps include drinking plenty of water throughout the day, reducing the amount of sugar in the diet, and getting inflammation-fighting nutrients through food or dietary supplements.

Related:  Royal Jelly for Skin: Your Skin's Best Friend

Best Dietary Supplements for Inflammation

Research shows that a number of nutrients help battle the effects of chronic inflammation.  Many of these are available in the form of dietary supplements.  They include:

  • Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)
  • Coenzyme Q-10
  • Curcumin
  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
  • Ginger
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Topical Ingredients that Combat Inflammation

Certain creams and lotions feature beneficial ingredients for aging skin.  Topical nutrients that offer anti-inflammatory properties include aloe, ceramides, grape seed extract, green tea extract, and pomegranate.

Food Sensitivities and Skin Changes

Food sensitivities can also cause chronic inflammation in the body, and symptoms can include congestion, irritability, stomach pain, headache, and skin changes like hives or rash.  People concerned about possible food sensitivities should consult with a health care professional for testing.

Additional Health Problems Caused by Inflammation

In addition to affecting aging skin, chronic inflammation can lead to the development of a number of other health problems as people get older.  These include:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Hay fever
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Periodontitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Getting older does not mean people have to settle for premature wrinkles and age spots caused by inflammation.  A number of lifestyle changes, nutrients, topical products, and dietary testing can help promote healthy skin and encourage good overall health. 

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Do Free Radicals Cause Skin Changes?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The skin is the body's largest organ, so it is important to take good care of it.  Knowing about free radicals and how to eliminate them can help.  A free radical is an unstable oxygen molecule that is missing an electron.  In the hunt for the absent electron, free radicals destroy healthy molecules and create more free radicals. A number of environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to the production of free radicals including exposure to the sun, smoking, excessive use of alcohol, a poor diet, and air pollution.  Over time, excessive free radicals can cause oxidative damage leading to skin changes like acne, wrinkles and even skin cancer. 

Lifestyle choices like smoking can promote free radical production and cause skin changes.

Young skin contains an abundance of antioxidants that protect it from free radicals.  However, aging skin produces fewer antioxidants and becomes more susceptible to damage. Fortunately, as people age, they can prevent the production of free radicals by engaging in a number of healthy lifestyle strategies.

1.  Use Sunscreen

Prolonged exposure to the sun encourages the production of free radicals. According to a study examining the effects of oxidative stress on skin cells, the use of sunscreen offers the best protection for preventing these free radicals from forming.  Natural, mineral-based sunscreens provide safe, broad-spectrum protection without harsh chemicals.  Remember to wear a wide-brimmed hat when out in direct sunlight.  Other protection methods are long-sleeved clothes and even using an umbrella for sun protection.

2.  Eat Foods High in Antioxidants

In the same study, the Slovenian research team from the University of Ljubljana also concluded "Foods rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals such as fruits, vegetables, wine and green tea help protect against oxidative damage and free radical attack."  Specific fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants include leafy greens, red grapes, citrus fruits, melons, papaya, berries, and pomegranate.

Related:  Internal Sun Protection With ALA

3.  Take Dietary Supplements

A number of vitamin and mineral supplements block the development of free radicals.  These include vitamin B2, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, coenzyme Q10, lutein, lycopene, and zinc.  Protective herbal supplements include bilberry, gingko biloba, grape seed extract, and turmeric.

4.  Try Skincare Products with Vitamin C or Copper

It's hard to sift through the multitude of skincare products for one that actually works, but a few added ingredients have been shown to truly benefit the skin. Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen, the main structural protein in connective tissue. Research shows that topical application of vitamin C promotes the production of collagen and diminishes the effects of free radicals. Copper is an ingredient added to many products for aging skin. Copper peptides can help improve skin elasticity, enhance skin tone and reduce symptoms of skin conditions like rashes, eczema, and rosacea.

While environment and lifestyle can affect the skin, certain healthy strategies help keep skin changes to a minimum. People looking to enhance skin health should use sunscreen when spending more than twenty minutes outdoors. Other ways to benefit the skin include eating foods high in antioxidants, taking certain dietary supplements, and using topical skin products with vitamin C or copper.

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The Best Brain Supplements to Improve Your Memory

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It is natural to be concerned about memory loss as we age, but there are now some excellent supplements for memory support. We look at some of the best brain supplements on the market to help you make the right choice for your optimal mental health.

There are many supplements for memory support.

Nootropics is the term used for any product that improves mental capability such as concentration, memory and motivation. It covers both pharmaceutical drugs and natural brain supplements, which are proving to be equally effective at supporting brain and memory function as we age. Here are a few natural supplements for memory that you should consider.

Ginkgo Biloba

Popular as a memory booster in Europe, ginkgo biloba is one of nature’s best brain supplements on the market. It works by improving blood flow in smaller vessels and has shown promise in studies into the treatment of dementia. Sourced naturally from the ginkgo tree, ginkgo alters insulin levels and thins the blood, so it should not be taken in conjunction with other medications unless first approved by your doctor.

Related:  Effects of Overeating on Brain Health

Asian Ginseng

Asian ginseng is often used alongside ginkgo biloba as these herbs appear to work synergistically together. It helps counter physical fatigue and has shown promising signs of success in small group studies into supplements for memory support.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Sourced naturally from fish, plants and nuts, studies suggest that higher levels of omega-3, usually taken in supplement form, can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and are one of the best natural supplements for memory.

Creatine

Popular with young gym enthusiasts, creatine is known to improve sports performance as well as improving memory and intelligence. Researchers found that taking a 5mg supplement daily for six weeks had a positive effect on improving memory.

L-Theanine

Found in green tea and mushrooms, L-Theanine has been shown in various scientific studies to affect neurotransmitters in the brain. It appears to prevent beta-amyloid-induced brain dysfunction and improves cognitive performance.

Vitamin E

Recent studies have found that vitamin E can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and may help counter age-related memory loss. Recommended doses should be carefully adhered to as high doses may have harmful side effects.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

This common amino acid has been found to help with memory problems and provides benefit to those with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Studies continue to look at the effectiveness of this natural ingredient in their search to find the best brain supplements for memory.

Other lifestyle factors that may help protect against memory loss include adopting a healthy Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, fish, vegetables and nuts. Moderate amounts of red wine and coffee many also help enhance your memory, although an excess of either can negate the benefits.

 

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The Best Five Natural Alternatives to Fluoride

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many people are aware of the dangers of fluoridation, but are reluctant to forego the protection that fluoride gives against cavities and tooth decay. We explore a range of natural alternatives to fluoride that will not only protect your teeth but will also safeguard your overall health from the side effects caused by fluoride.

Neem leaves are one of the best natural alternatives to fluoride

 

1. Coconut Oil

The most effective protection against tooth decay is regular brushing and flossing twice daily. This removes traces of food that may be broken down by bacteria in the mouth, creating the acid that rots enamel and causes cavities. If you want to do more, include regular daily use of a tongue scraper—a tool used in Ayurvedic healing medicine for years.  Also try using coconut oil as a fluoride alternative to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Use it as toothpaste or swish through the teeth like a mouthwash to reduce plaque. Its antibacterial properties detour the presence of bacteria which cause tooth decay. (Oil pulling is the traditional name for this technique, again, and Ayurvedic method of oral hygiene.)

2. Neem

Neem is another amazing natural alternative to fluoride. Look for a neem-based mouthwash to help reduce plaque buildup and counter gingivitis (gum disease). Another good way to use neem is with fluoride-free toothpaste which includes neem extract.

3. Vitamin D

Taking a supplement of vitamin D is good for your general health, promoting strong bones and teeth. It’s a safe and natural alternative to fluoride.

4. Myrrh

Myrrh extract is great for promoting healthy teeth and combating bad breath; the best way to include myrrh in your dental health routine.  There are several products available that are fluoride-free formulas containing herbs such as eucalyptus and peppermint which support oral health and reduce cavities.

5. Chocolate!

Clinical trials on a chocolate extract have shown it is more effective than fluoride for treating hypersensitivity due to thinning dental enamel or periodontal disease. The cacao extract was able to restore and repair enamel and dental occlusions in just seven days. This natural fluoride alternative re-mineralizes the tooth better than fluoride and without the toxic side effects.

With so many natural alternatives to fluoride, you can banish fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes and get natural tooth protection without the risk of dangerous side effects.

 

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Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms – How Much do we Need?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Omega-3 deficiency is also known as FADS – Fatty Acid Deficiency Syndrome. The symptoms are hard to pinpoint as they are often shared with other health issues and can easily be overlooked, misdiagnosed or trivialized.

Do you have signs of Omega-3 deficiency?

 

Let’s consider first why we need omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. The body is unable to make omega-3 fatty acids, yet they are essential for every cell. In particular, our skin, joints, brain and cardiovascular system all need fatty acids to function properly.

We need EPA and DHA on a daily basis and the main source is seafood, oily fish or fish oil supplements. ALA omega-3s are sourced from plants such as flaxseed, soybeans and nuts, and these can be converted into EPA and DHA. Vegetable oils provide omega-6 fatty acids, but a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 can contribute to inflammation and heart disease.

Related:  Is Krill Fish Oil Dangerous?

 

Symptoms of Omega-3 Deficiency

Many studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our mental health. Omega-3 deficiency has been linked to depression, poor memory, attention deficit disorder (ADD), schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Irritability, anxiety and low frustration tolerance may also indicate a lack of fatty acids. Other symptoms include fatigue and poor sleep quality.

More easy to diagnose is the dry itchy skin, cracked fingertips, eczema, hair loss, dandruff and brittle nails that are caused by insufficient omega-3.

Omega-3 eases joint pain by reducing inflammation so omega-3 deficiency may cause an increase in pain for those suffering from stiff joints and rheumatoid arthritis.

We know that omega-3 supports a healthy cardiovascular system, but symptoms of heart disease may not be evident until a heart attack or stroke occurs, which can be far too late.

How Much Omega-3 do we Need?

The FDA does not issue guidelines for recommended daily amounts (RDA) of omega-3 fatty acids but we can look elsewhere for guidance.

The European Food Safety Agency recommends at least 250 mg of combined EPA and DHA daily. The American Heart Foundation suggests 500 mg for healthy adults, but double that amount (1 gram) for those diagnosed with heart disease.

Pregnant and nursing mothers should aim for at least 300 mg per day, according to several advisory groups.

When it comes to DHA, a study by French scientists found that 200 mg DHA per day helped prevent heart disease in healthy men. This figure was reached after healthy male participants aged 53- 65 were given various daily doses of DHA from 200 to 1,600 mg. Blood and urine samples showed biomarkers indicating the effects of each dose. It concluded that 200 mg DHA per day provided the best cardiovascular protection.

By comparison, a 100 g serving of salmon contains up to 1,600 mg of omega-3 (400-1,000 mg DHA and 200-800 mg EPA). However, fish oil supplements are the easiest way to regulate daily fatty acid intake and avoid the symptoms of omega-3 deficiency.

 

 

 

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Facial Care Tips: Dos and Don’ts for Naturally Beautiful Skin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Your skin reflects your lifestyle and health so natural beauty tips for face care are important. Too much sun, too little water, too much alcohol and too little sleep all take their toll on your skin.  However, plying your pores with more chemicals and oily lotions can simply make the problem worse. Here are our top beauty tips for face care naturally.

Top beauty tips for face care include using edible products

 

Cleanse and Exfoliate

If you wear makeup, always cleanse your face at night. It allows your pores to breathe and prevents clogged pores from turning into blackheads or zits. You don’t need expensive cleansers and tonics; just pour a drop of olive oil onto a cotton pad and gently massage into the skin to loosen and remove makeup, dirt and pollution.

You should exfoliate your skin once a week to remove the dead skin cells that accumulate. Mix powdered walnut with yogurt and apply to the face in gentle circular motions. The paste will loosen and lift layers of dead skin and the antioxidants will help promote a glowing complexion that feels smooth and soft.

Related:  Royal Jelly for Skin: Your Skin's Best Friend

 

Watch What You Eat

You are what you eat when it comes to skincare, so healthy food means a healthier complexion. One of the best beauty tips for face care is eating fresh green vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Salmon oil supplements are excellent for moisturizing the skin from the inside out. Things to avoid are sugary and fatty foods, salt and spicy foods.

Sun Protection Always!

Even on dull days the sun’s harmful UV rays are evident, so you should always wear a moisturizer with sunscreen to avoid wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer. Choose a quality product that is labelled “noncomedogenic” so that it does not block pores and cause acne. Don’t forget the chemical-free alternatives to sunscreen:  a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeved shirts, an umbrella—or sunbrella, and an all-natural moisturizer.

Hydrate Naturally

Your skin quickly shows if you are dehydrated, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydrate your skin with a spritz of rose water to maintain pH balance and reduce puffy eyes in the morning.  Drink a shot or two a day of organic aloe vera juice to help hydrate your skin from the inside out.

Beauty Sleep is the Best

At the end of the day, you can’t beat a restful night’s sleep, one of nature’s basic beauty tips for face care. Pale, tired skin, dark circles and baggy eyes never look attractive so ensure that you wind down each evening with a calming routine that will ensure eight hours’ undisturbed sleep every night.

By following these top beauty tips for face, eyes and skin you really can look as healthy and energetic as you feel!

 

 

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Ten Home Remedies for Tackling Periodontal Disease

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Periodontal disease is much more serious than many people suspect. Periodontal issues can be either destructive or non-destructive. When plaque forms around teeth, the end result can be inflammation of tissue. In some cases, tissue can be lost, and this weakens the supporting structure for teeth.

The end result of periodontal disease can be a loss of teeth, which, in turn, has a range of its own medical and health issues. Medical studies have conclusively shown that poor oral health can lead to not just dental issues, but also a range of health issues ranging from a weakened immune system and increase in the chances of developing diseases to heart problems.

Gum disease does not have to lead to the loss of teeth. By following these 10 tips you can keep your teeth and gums much healthier!

#1:  Co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 is extremely important not just for gum health but for overall health. Like other ingredients, such as baking soda, co-enzyme Q10 has made its way into toothpaste for its ability to help fight gum disease and assist in keeping periodontal disease at bay. Co-enzyme Q10 is available in toothpaste and pill forms.

#2:  Honey and Manuka Honey

Honey has amazing all-natural healing properties. One type of honey in particular, manuka honey, is particularly effective at treating wounds of all kinds including gum inflammation. Manuka honey has been well researched and is being used to treat everything from chronic wounds to burns.

Cure periodontal disease with honey and other natural remedies.

#3:  Lemons

Lemons are a power anti-inflammatory and are packed with vitamin C. Try adding lemons to your tea for a one-two punch.

#4:  Baking Soda

It is no accident that baking soda has made its way into toothpaste. Baking soda helps neutralize acid in your mouth and can also help remove stains.

#5:  Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil can be found in both toothpastes and dental floss and is very effective in killing bacteria. However, it is important to remember that tea tree oil is extremely powerful, so remember to only use a limited amount.

Related:  Tea Tree Oil for Acne:  A Natural Remedy With Proven Results

#6:  Dental Probiotics

The research is mounting that probiotics are a powerful contributor to overall good health. Dental probiotics containing lactobacillus reuteri are one way to improve your oral health via probiotics. Also, consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.

#7:  Consume Fermented Foods

Fermented foods have been shown to improve overall health and boost oral health. Fermented foods can contain lactobacillus reuteri as well as many other immune system boosting probiotics. If you want to fight periodontal disease, then consider boosting your fermented foods. Many researchers also believe that fermented foods can help reduce the chances of developing many different types of diseases.

#8:  Xylitol

Xylitol is one of the best kept secrets in oral health care. Since it works to actually stop the growth of the very bacteria responsible for cavities, xylitol has earned a special place in dental research. Xylitol mouthwashes, toothpastes, mints and even gum are widely available. Not only does xylitol help protect teeth, but it also creates a positive environment for gums and the entire mouth.

#9:  Floss Every Day

Flossing is one of the easiest ways to protect your oral health. In fact, flossing regularly may even protect your heart!

#10:  Brush Regularly and Change Your Toothbrush Often

The foundation of protecting your teeth and gums is to brush often. Also don’t forget to change your toothbrush every three mouths to help you keep periodontal disease at bay!

Follow these ten tips and you will enjoy greater overall oral health. You don’t have to live with gum disease or let gum disease develop. These simple tips can dramatically boost your chances of keeping your gums and teeth healthy and looking great.

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The Power of Plants

by Health News

Plants are under constant siege from animals, insects, humans, and the environment.  In addition, being literally rooted to the ground, it can be difficult to protect themselves. Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided for them.

Learn about secondary metabolites that help plants— and people— flourish nutritionally and help defend against viruses and germs.

They grow physical defenses like thorns or thick bark or spines. Or they can create chemical shields…defenses that allow them to fight fungus, battle viruses or bacteria, produce off-putting aromas or taste, or even forming poisonous pathogens to deter insects and animals alike from consuming them. These defenses are made possible, thanks to secondary metabolites.

Secondary metabolites are Darwin’s little secret. In addition to the defenses listed above, other secondary metabolites allow the plant to flourish in low sunlight or little water, to sustain high heats and lots of water, attract more insects to them to promote pollination, or promote quick healing of injuries sustained to the plant.

As it turns out, these secondary metabolites don’t just serve plants. Research has shown us that they can improve heart health (resveratrol), reduce inflammation (saponins, a class of plant steroids), ease pain (codeine and morphine from the opium poppy), treat cancer (glucosinolates), fight infection (erythromycin), and alleviate headaches (salicin from white willow bark). And this just the tip of the iceberg!

Related:  Why Plant-Based Powder Supplements are the Best

Contrary to what the pharmaceutical companies would like us to believe, you cannot simply remove these nutrients and use them in isolation and expect them to perform to their full capacity. The real key to the power of these secondary metabolites is the way they interact with the other metabolites and micronutrients in the plant to provide the best health benefits possible.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Eat the foods that contain these powerhouses. These include primarily fruits and vegetables such as cherries, tomatoes, grapes, pineapple, apple, beets, and more.

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Even Healthy Eating and Supplements Aren’t Enough

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, large national surveys show that even healthy eating habits combined with some supplements, Americans are still not getting the average daily requirements of many key nutrients. In fact, nearly everyone falls short on two critical vitamins—vitamin D and vitamin A.

Healthy eating habits combined with supplementation is the best routine.

More than one third of us are low in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin A, which are critical for bone, heart, and eye health. Plus, nearly half of us are short of our vitamin C intake. 

One of the surveys (the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for 2003-2006 found, “Without enrichment and/or fortification and supplementation, many Americans did not achieve the recommended micronutrient intake levels set forth in the Dietary Reference Intakes.”

Related:  Are Supplements Regulated by the FDA?

They go on to say that not everyone uses supplements, so the ability to boost nutrient levels above and beyond food (even fortified food) is limited to those people who actually use supplements.

The takeaway? Be sure that you aren’t going the food-only route. The best way to get all the nutrients you need for optimum health is to eat a healthy diet of organic fruits and vegetables AND use a high-quality, food-based supplement to get the additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need.

 

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Does Green Tea Help Prevent Lung Cancer?

by IVL Products

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

Green tea may help prevent lung cancer

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

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

Green Tea and Lung Cancer Prevention

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

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

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

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

Related:  Fight Colds and the Flu with Green Tea

EGCG May Help Prevent Lung Cancer

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

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

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

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Are Fish Oil Supplements Good For The Skin?

by IVL Products

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

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

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Promote Healthy Skin

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

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

Related:  Supplementing Children’s' Diets with Fish Oil

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

Best Way to Get the Most Out Of Fish Oil

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

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

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

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

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

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Fish Oil and Weight Loss: the Amazing Connection

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to Business Week, U.S. consumers spend $40 billion dollars a year on weight-loss programs and products, and that's a conservative estimate. Despite throwing so much money at the obesity problem, the National Institutes for Health reports that 66% (two out of three) adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. While Jenny Craig meal plans and Atkins shakes continue to cost dieters a fortune, scientists are working on a much cheaper and more effective solution for weight loss:  fish oil.

Scientific studies are showing success with fish oil weight loss

Compelling Fish Oil Weight Loss Studies

Several new studies into fish oil weight loss are showing promising results. A scientific study in Japan showed that mice fed omega-3 fatty acids and encouraged to exercise had a faster metabolic rate and put on less weight than mice that did not have the same regimen.

In Australia, a scientific study on 75 people who were overweight/obese and had additional risk of heart disease found that taking 600 mg fish oil supplements along with regular exercise led to a loss of 4.5 pounds in the three week period, without any change to the participants' diet. In contrast, those who took sunflower oil supplements (with no omega-3) or those who took omega-3 supplements without exercising saw no change in their weight or fat deposits.

Finally, the University of Georgia reported their findings about fish oil weight loss in the Journal of Nutrition. Their studies showed that fish oil prevented pre-fat cells from becoming fat cells by effectively causing the pre-fat cells to die. This meant that there was less fat stored in the body.  

Related:  Seven Psychological Barriers to Maintaining Healthy Weight Loss

How Fish Oil Weight Loss Works

Gathering together all the information from these studies, it appears that taking fish oil supplements of 600 mg per day acts as a catalyst for the body to increase fat metabolism when exercise is performed. This increase in fat-burning leads to lower fat deposits in the body, specifically belly fat.

If exercise is absent, then the fish oil provides many other health benefits including supporting a healthy cardiovascular system and lowering inflammation, but it does not trigger weight loss in itself.

The Australian study was performed on overweight/obese people who continued with the same eating habits. However, by combining omega-3 fish oil, exercise, and a calorie controlled diet, faster weight loss could be expected than just restricting calories alone.

Tips for Fish Oil Weight Loss Success

  • Choose a high quality fish oil supplement that has a high level of DHA and EPA for the best results.
  • Check the origin of the fish oil. Alaskan fisheries tend to supply fish with less toxic metals.
  • Discuss your fish oil supplementation with your doctor, especially if you are already on medication. Although fish oil is safe, it may counteract other meds.  

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Can the Body Produce Essential Fatty Acids?

by Health News

The human body is amazing because it can produce or synthesize most of the different fats it needs from your diet with two exceptions: linolenic (omega-3) and linoleic (omega-6) acids. These essential fatty acids are essential to everyday function and any deficiency can lead to serious health problems.

Fish, fish oil supplements, nuts and seeds all provide omega-3 essential fatty acids

The one thing many health issues have in common is inflammation, according to Joseph C. Maroon M.D., Professor of Neurological Science at the University of Pittsburgh. A deficiency in essential fatty acids causes internal inflammation, which is the cause of many chronic conditions such as arthritis, depression, heart disease, joint pain, liver and kidney disease, decreased immune function and even dry skin.

Good Sources of Essential Fatty Acids

An honest appraisal of your daily diet may quickly show that our modern westernized diet falls well short of providing the essential fatty acids we need. According to the American Heart Association, we need to eat a 3.5 ounce serving of oily fish at least two times a week along with a balanced amount of seeds and nuts to provide those all-important omega-3s and omega-6s.

People with heart disease are advised to consume one gram of EPA and DHA essential fatty acids every day. These can best be sourced from oily fish, or from fish oil supplements.

Related:  How Omega 3 Fatty Acids Could Save Your Hair

Omega-3 vs Omega-6

Without a doubt, we need omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids regularly in our diet, but we need them in the correct 1:1 ratio. Omega-3 is found mainly in a range of shellfish and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, albacore tuna and sardines. It is also found in animal meat, flaxseed, walnuts, eggs and dairy products. Omega-6 comes in the form of linoleic acid from green leafy vegetables, seeds, grains and vegetable oils produced from corn, sunflower and soybean.

Our modern-day diets tend to lean heavily towards omega-6 fatty acids with a ratio of about 10:1. Health scientists now know that omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3s for use in the body. Having such an excess omega-6 can actually inhibit the availability of omega-3, so we are then unable to benefit from the intake of omega-3.  

As the body cannot produce either of these essential fatty acids, we need to obtain them in balance, reducing omega-6 oil intake and increasing foods high in omega-3.

The best way to ensure that you reach the required amount of omega-3 essential fatty acids is by taking a daily fish oil supplement. As yet there is no official recommended daily value, but most sources agree that 1000 mg per day provides the required amount. Look on the label for the breakdown of ingredients to ensure you are getting the EPA and DHA you need to provide your body with these essential fatty acids which are the building blocks of good health. 

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