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Dry Eye Home Remedies That Actually Work

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the National Eye Institute, an estimated 5 million Americans aged 50 and over suffer from dry eye, and it affects twice as many women as men.

The Dry Eye Home Remedies That Actually Work – Take fish oil supplements or eat fatty fish.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is caused when the eye does not produce sufficient tears, and not just the kind of tears produced when a person is feeling emotional. Tears are constantly produced to keep the cornea and outer part of the eye moist, nourished and protected from bacteria, dust and foreign objects.

There are many symptoms of dry eye, including:

  • A gritty, sandy feeling in the eye
  • Dry eyes that are hard to open, particularly after sleep
  • Excessive tear production
  • Pain and redness in the eye
  • Temporary moments of blurred vision
  • Tired eyes or heavy eyelids
  • Stinging or burning of the eye
  • Inability to shed tears when emotionally upset
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
  • Eye-strain when reading

Dry eye is most common in older people, but it can be caused by medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, birth control pills, HRT, tranquilizers and anti-depressants. It can develop after LASIK surgery, long-term use of contact lenses or as a result of eye damage, conjunctivitis or disease of the glands or delicate skin around the eye.

Dry eye can also be caused by pregnancy, immune system disorders, or as a side effect of excessive eye strain from computer or video screens. Fortunately there are some natural healthy living tips to help those living with this annoying condition.

Healthy Living Tips for Treating Dry Eye

Left untreated, dry eye can cause scarring or damage to the cornea. If you’re looking for dry eye home remedies that work, try fish oil supplements.

In fact, A study on 60 patients by the Australian University of Melbourne looked at how omega-3 fatty acids could ease the symptoms of dry eye. The participants were given 1450 mg krill oil and DHA or 1500 mg fish oil and DHA or a placebo of olive oil for 90 days. The results showed improved osmotic concentration and better tear stability of those taking omega-3 compared to the placebo. There was a slightly better result from those taking krill oil compared to fish oil. However, there is controversy regarding the environmental impact of krill harvesting.  Another healthy and vegetarian source of omega-3 is evening primrose oil.

Related:  Is Krill Fish Oil Dangerous?

By eating more oily fish such as tuna and salmon in your regular diet and taking omega-3 supplements are important tips for healthy living and can prevent or alleviate the symptoms of dry eye. Studies found that those who took significantly more vegetable-sourced omega 6 than fish-sourced omega-3 were more likely to have dry eye syndrome, showing that not all fatty acids produce the same results, an interesting fact to bear in mind when considered healthy habits in your diet. 

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Decreased Vitamin D Means Increased Pain

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, a painful and debilitating condition that affects 13.9% of adults over the age of 25 and 33.6% of those over 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Studies of osteoarthritis patients showed a positive correlation between low levels of vitamin D3 and pain.  Those with higher serum levels of IL-17A and IL-23 had lower D3 and increased osteoarthritis pain.

Healthy living tips include plenty of sunshine for generating vitamin D.

Vitamin D3 Deficiency and Pain

Further studies support the relationship between low levels of vitamin D3 and increased pain. A study published by the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Journal found that breast cancer patients who took aromatase inhibitors significantly lacked vitamin D3. The patients reported severe bone and muscle pain, fractured bones and had difficulty standing and walking. However, when treated with a supplement of high levels of D3 (50,000 IU per week) their muscle and joint pain was significantly reduced.

A group of Korean researchers found that injecting vitamin D3 into fibromyalgia patients every four weeks reduced pain and decreased the symptoms of fatigue and tiredness.

Perhaps most relevant is a four-year study on 418 volunteers with osteoarthritis of the knee. They found that those with low levels of vitamin D were more than twice as likely to find their osteoarthritis worsening over the period of the study compared to those with higher vitamin D levels. The study recommended that increased dietary supplements of D3were beneficial to counter the pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Related:  How to the Improve Immune System Naturally

Healthy Habits Regarding Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency causes many easily preventable health issues including rickets, soft bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness. Following healthy living tips to avoid vitamin D deficiency includes consuming fish and fish oil, liver, egg yolks and fortified milk in your diet, although this can be a problem for those following a strictly vegan diet.

The body is also able to make vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight for as little as 15 minutes a day. This can be difficult for those living in northern states and work indoors during daylight hours in winter. Those with dark skin also are at risk of vitamin D deficiency as the pigment reduces the effectiveness of the skin to absorb the sun’s rays.

People who are obese, with a body mass index of 30 or higher may also have low levels of vitamin D as fat cells absorb the vitamin, leaving less for the body to use to support healthy bones and muscle.

Why not adopt healthy habits by including vitamin D3 supplements in your daily diet and including daily exercise in the outdoors for some healthy sun exposure? These natural healthy living tips can only do you good, particularly if you suffer from osteoarthritis pain.

 

 

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The Effects of Stress Include Faster Cancer Growth and Metastasis

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Whether sitting in heavy traffic or dealing with long-term financial woes, people are exposed to stress on a regular basis. The causes of stress are many, but all stress falls into one of two categories. The short-lived type of stress we might feel in traffic is known as acute stress, and this type usually wanes when the situation changes. The type of stress we feel when dealing with frequent financial trouble is known as chronic stress because it lasts for weeks, months, even years and has no clear end in sight. While acute stress presents little cause for concern, chronic stress can damage the health in many ways including encouraging the growth and spread of cancer.

A few simple practices can help counter the harmful effects of stress on health.

Research into the Effects of Stress on Cancer Growth and Metastasis

Isolation or confinement is a condition that creates stress in mice.  Research on mice with cancerous tumors found that tumors were more likely to metastasize (spread) when mice were isolated.  Another study showed that tumors transplanted into the mammary pads of mice metastasized much more quickly if mice were under constant stress than if mice were not under stress.  While scientists continue to research whether stress causes cancer directly, there's no doubt that it helps certain types of cancer grow and spread.  

How Stress Encourages the Growth and Spread of Cancer

Lorenzo Cohen, a professor of General Oncology and Behavioral Science explains that stress makes the body "more hospitable to cancer."  The release of hormones triggered by chronic stress hinders anoikis, a process in the body that destroys diseased cells and keeps them from spreading.  There is also some evidence to suggest that stress triggers the release of growth hormones that can boost blood supply to cancerous tumors.

Related:  Try Controlled Breathing for Difficulty Relaxing

While it is important for all people to try to counteract the effects of stress, it is essential for people with cancer.  Here are a few ways to keep stress at bay:

Try therapeutic strategies. Talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help reduce stress by discovering its sources and offering management tools for accompanying worry and anxiety.

Practice activities that encourage mindfulness.  Whether you enjoy painting or yoga, activities that keep the mind focused on something other than stress can provide temporary relief.

Get plenty of sleep.  A good night's sleep helps improve mood, memory and the ability to think clearly.  Proper sleep also helps boost the immune system, and a healthy body is the best defense against stress.

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Overweight AND Malnourished?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

One of the ironies of the American diet is that people can be overfed yet undernourished. Learning how diet contributes to obesity is just one part of understanding the link between diet and health. Even if you eat plenty of food, you can still display malnutrition symptoms if you are filling up on unhealthy foods.

Malnutrition symptoms may occur even if you are overweight

Studies show that despite the abundance of food, a huge proportion of Americans are suffering from basic nutritional deficiencies. Over 30% of people are short of magnesium and essential vitamins A, C and E. More than 80% of diets lack vitamin D, and 90% of adults do not eat enough omega-3 fats. These are essential for controlling inflammation and blood sugar levels in the body.  So what’s going wrong?

Processed Foods Provide “Empty Calories”

Eating processed foods such as burgers, canned food, sausages, bacon, French fries, snacks, convenience foods and soda means a diet high in calories but low in vitamins and nutrients. Laden with high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and preservatives, these foods are far from the meat, fruit and vegetables that our bodies are designed to consume, and they can quickly lead to malnutrition symptoms.

We need vitamins and minerals from fruit, vegetables and whole foods to maintain a healthy metabolism which helps burn fat and regulate sugar levels. Without them, the metabolism becomes sluggish. Instead of burning those excess calories it turns them into stored fat, making the problem even worse. It’s easy to understand how the diet contributes to obesity when it lacks the core elements.

Intensive farming can also lead to malnutrition symptoms. Intensive farming has depleted the soil. A study of the food we eat today shows it has far fewer vitamins, calcium and iron than it had in the 1950s.

Related:  Eight Tips:  A Healthy Foundation for the Food You Eat

Symptoms of Modern Malnutrition

While scurvy and rickets are thankfully a thing of the past, malnutrition symptoms from a lack of vitamins and minerals in a modern diet can include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Depression
  • Poor recovery after illness or surgery
  • Low white blood cells and weakened immune system
  • Fertility problems and poor libido
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Pale dry skin and wrinkles
  • Constipation
  • Decreased mobility due to muscle wasting

Malnutrition symptoms may be due to digestive disorders, stomach conditions, alcoholism, or most likely an imbalanced diet. If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s worth analyzing what you are eating and how much you are eating. Understanding how diet contributes to obesity, and how at the same time it can cause malnutrition, is the first step to changing your life.

By adopting a more natural, healthy diet you can improve your health and increase your longevity.  Start by avoiding processed foods such as foods that come in boxes and cans; avoid excessive meat consumption, particularly sausage, bacon and deli meats; avoid fried foods such as French fries; reduce or eliminate snack  and convenience foods.  Commit to eliminating high fructose corn syrup and trans fats from your diet; instead include healthy oils such as olive and coconut oils.  Stop drinking soda pop, and avoid sugar consumption.  Never consume artificial sweeteners; they are dangerous to say the least.  Make sure to consume at least five servings of fresh vegetables and fruit a day to help lower your weight while boosting nutritional value. It’s a great recipe for better health!

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Seven Lifestyle-Based Ways to Improve Your Memory

by Cindy Gray

How you live impacts how you feel and how well your brain functions. In this article, we will take a closer look at seven lifestyle changes that you can make. We’ll cover everything from ways to improve memory and memory improvement tips to tricks and tips such as the use of mnemonic devices.

Puzzles are one of the best ways to improve memory

Tip #1:  Great Sleep

Without a doubt one of the single most important steps you can take to improve your memory, your mood, your immune system and your overall health is to invest in better sleep. The choice to use the word “sleep” is no accident, as great sleep has been proven to help build great brains.

Tip #2:  Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, chia seeds, walnuts and more. The brain is essentially 3 pounds of fat and it needs healthy fat, like omega-3s to stay healthy. The bottom line is that if you want to enhance your memory, your body needs omega-3s.

Related:  Five Tips to Avoiding Memory Loss

Tip #3:  Invest in a Healthy Diet

The food you eat will impact your mood, the health of your body and, of course, your brain health and memory. Poor food choices weaken the immune system, can lead to disease, increase inflammation throughout the body and can leave one simply feeling sluggish. If you want excellent recall, then invest in a healthy diet consisting largely of fruits and vegetables as well as healthy protein sources such as nuts, seeds and organically raised lean cuts of meat.

Tip #4: Exercise

Studies have shown that those who exercise actually build and maintain healthier brains that those who do not and this does make sense as exercising increases blood flow to the brain. When selecting any type of exercise whether it is resistance training or aerobic conditioning, your number one priority is to perform all exercises correctly and safely. Remember if you are injured, you can’t work out, and that means no brain benefits!

Tip #5: Skip the Multitasking

Multitasking is unpleasant, your brain hates it and it can negatively impact your memory. It takes focus to build a great memory and that focus can’t be achieved while multitasking. Also, for most people multitasking is stressful. Increased stress means increased stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones will negatively impact your health, so skip the multitasking!

Tip #6:  Brain Games

The best brain games are the ones you love. There are many different ways that you can use brain games to improve your memory. Playing just a few minutes of brain games per week can help you see improvements. Games such as chess, even puzzle and action video games can all be used to help you build your memory.

Tip #7:  Mnemonic Devices

Simply stated, mnemonic devices work! A mnemonic device is any tool that helps you remember something better and with greater recall. Some famous mnemonic is ROY G BIV which is used to remember the colors of the rainbow. Try adapting the strategy of mnemonics in your own life and you’ll see that you can remember and recall a great deal of information.

Together these seven memory improvement tips will help you boost your memory. When you improve your health you’ll enjoy greater mental clarity and focus. Armed with this clarity and focus you can expect to enjoy a significant improvement in overall memory and recall.

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Study Shows Long-Term Results for People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

by IVL Products

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disease marked by extreme tiredness that limits participation in normal daily activities.  Roughly one million Americans are currently diagnosed with CFS, and it affects at least twice as many women as men.  Although many suspect a virus or immune system reaction, there is no known cause of the disease, and there are no lab tests to confirm diagnosis.  Consequently, medical professionals have struggled with ways to treat the disease.  Fortunately, a recent study shows that a few different treatments can provide long-term results for people with chronic fatigue syndrome. 

Extreme tiredness is one of the most common symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Signs and symptoms of CFS can come and go, lasting anywhere from one month to many years.  Unfortunately, additional rest doesn't help reduce fatigue and other symptoms, which can include:

  • Achy muscles and joints with an absence of swelling
  • Changes in mood
  • Chills
  • Foggy thinking
  • Headaches
  • Low-grade fever
  • Impaired memory
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands in the neck or armpits

The Research

Examining participants of the PACE trial – a study published in 2011 – the new study follows up on results.  In the original study, 641 patients with CFS were randomly assigned to one of four treatments:

  1. Specialist Medical Care (SMC), which provides medication and ways to manage the disease.
  2. SMC combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to help patients understand how thinking affects disease progression. 
  3. SMC plus graded exercise therapy (GET), an exercise program tailored to a patient's fitness level and specific symptoms.
  4. SMC in combination with adaptive pacing therapy (APT), a treatment that helps patients better adapt to the limitations that come with chronic fatigue syndrome.

The original research found that outcomes for people treated with SMC plus CBT or SMC and GET were better than those for people treated with SMC alone or SMC plus ABT.  Further, improvements continued to last one year out.  

In the latest study, the research team found that improvements still continued after 2.5 years. It was also noted that patients in the SMC plus CBT or GET groups sought less follow-up treatment than patients in the other two groups after the original study ended.

Related:  The Ayurvedic Therapy Shilajit Reverses Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Conclusion

People who suspect they may have chronic fatigue syndrome should consult with a health care professional for proper diagnosis.  In addition to the treatments mentioned above, people can try a few lifestyle changes to improve symptoms.  Stop smoking, limit alcohol use, avoid napping during the day, adopt a regular night-time sleep routine, eat a nutritious diet, and try stress relieving activities like yoga, meditation, or tai chi.  

Challenge Yourself to Get Moving Today

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Why Stress Can Destroy Your Adrenal Glands

by Health News

We all understand that stress is not good for our overall health, but understanding how stress physically affects us can help us improve stress management techniques so we can benefit from a healthier life. 

Stress management is the key to avoiding adrenal failure

We all have times of stress in our lives, from a sudden emergency to ongoing stress in the workplace or in our families and relationships. The body's natural stress management response is managed by the adrenal glands which produce cortisol and adrenaline, the hormones responsible for the "fight or flight" stress response. These hormones trigger a faster heart rate, elevated blood sugar levels and an increase in blood flow to the joints and muscles.

Adrenal Fatigue

If the body is chronically stressed, the adrenal glands must work harder and longer. Eventually they reach the point of "adrenal fatigue" as the glands become overworked; this leads to symptoms of chronic fatigue. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Being tired all the time
  • Trouble getting out of bed
  • Feeling overwhelmed by life
  • Inability to recover from minor illness
  • Cravings for sugar or salty snacks
  • Being more alert in the evening than during the rest of the day

Adrenal fatigue can occur after illness such as influenza, pneumonia or acute respiratory infection. It is not relieved by sleep.  In fact, sufferers often feel more tired when they wake up than when they went to sleep. Although they may look and act normally, there is an underlying sense of ill health caused by the adrenal fatigue. 

Sufferers may try to alleviate the symptoms with coffee, cola and high energy drinks to help them through the day, which can make matters worse.  The answer lies in stress management.

RelatedMagnesium Deficiency and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

How the Adrenal Glands Work

The adrenal glands are triangular shaped organs consisting of the central medulla and the outer cortex. They are controlled by impulses sent from the sympathetic nervous system and produce hormones in response to stress.

The medulla secretes epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine into the bloodstream while the cortex aids stress management by producing glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. The hormone cortisol accounts for about 95 percent of this adrenal-glucocorticoid activity.

Stress Management Supports Healthy Adrenal Glands

Although it’s not possible to always control the events that life throws at you, learning stress management techniques can help control the body's reaction to stress which then helps avoid adrenal fatigue.

A balanced diet and good sleep patterns can all help lower stress in your life. Keeping your hormones balanced will ensure your adrenal glands work effectively when required, rather than being overworked all the time. Careful stress management also helps support a healthy immune system, preventing stress-related illness, maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and normal blood sugar levels. 

Stress management can be initiated through:

  • Regular exercise (especially Hatha Yoga)
  • Breathing exercises (also part of Hatha Yoga)
  • Owning companion animals
  • Support from family and friends
  • Laughter
  • Meditation and faith

By reducing the unnecessary stress put on the adrenaline system, you can keep your hormones balanced and avoid the debilitating symptoms of adrenal fatigue. It's another simple way that stress management can lead to a healthier, happier life. 

Free 30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

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How to Exercise Away the Effects of Depression

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Depression is a debilitating mental disorder that affects approximately 14.8 million Americans.  Worse, studies show it is on the rise and has become a worldwide epidemic according to the World Health Organization.  It’s a relief to know that exercise is a safe and effective natural remedy for depression that most anyone can put into his or her daily routine.

New research has concluded that those who regularly exercise can combat depression.

Some people only suffer depression at one point in their life like post-partum depression, while others are afflicted with it chronically over a lifetime.  The medical industry has responded with a flood of powerful brain altering drugs to combat the effects of depression. Yet in many cases, exercise is proving to be just as effective, with positive side effects!

The Research: Exercise and Depression

A study published by the Archives of Medicine found exercise to nearly as effective as medication in treating patients with major depression.  

Another study conducted on students at the University of Virginia observed a significant reduction in depression symptoms for those students diagnosed with the disorder who jogged regularly.  Those who did not engage in any form of regular exercise showed no changes in their symptoms in contrast.

Related:  Ways to Lower Risk of Depression

To bolster these findings, the American Journal of Epidemiology published a report where researchers found that a mere one point increase in regular exercise appeared to lower study participants’ risk of being depressed by 10%. More importantly it cut their risk of becoming chronically depressed by 17%!

Effects of Exercise on Depression

The effects of exercise on depression are quite profound.  It can effect change in brain chemicals, reduce immune system chemicals that worsen depression and increases body temperature, which seems to have a calming effect.

Your Brain

When you exercise your brain releases endorphins that trigger positive feelings in your brain while reducing your perception of pain.  While the effects are temporary, regularly feeling that “runner’s high” has a very positive, energizing affect, something those who suffer from depression need.

Your Immune System

There is a growing body of evidence that depression has as much or more to do with your immune system as it does your brain.  While most medications are prescribed to help balance chemicals in the brain, research out of the University of California has suggested that inflammation, an immune response, may be a contributing cause of depression.

Regular moderate exercise is known to strengthen the immune system.  It will also help keep body fat in check, and improve circulation, which benefits the brain and the body and could lead to fewer depression symptoms.

Exercise and Depression: Your Attitude Matters

The possibility of finding effective natural remedies for depression is good news for those who have resigned themselves to taking powerful anti-depressants and dealing with the side effects. With the many positive aspects of exercising to help with depression, it a good idea to make sure you get plenty of it on regular basis if you have or are at risk of developing symptoms of depression.

Besides the feel good brain chemicals and boost to your immune system, exercise will help you keep weight gain in check, make you stronger and give you more energy.

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Royal Jelly: How the “Queen’s Food” Can Improve Your Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If you are experiencing a lack of sex drive, bees could help. When your libido bottoms out, a substance called Royal Jelly—produced by these remarkable bee-ings—has been shown to enhance sex drive in humans.

Why Royal?

Honeybees secrete this gel-like substance to feed the hive’s new larvae for three days. They produce it in copious amounts and store it in the honeycomb in specially constructed “queen cells” to be fed to one female bee who will eventually become the queen of the hive. 

Royal jelly has a variety of health benefits including helping to counteract lack of sex drive.

A substance called royalactin is believed to be the most potent single protein in Royal Jelly and the way it benefits female bees can also help humans with adrenal problems, boost immunity and reverse a lack of sex drive.  

What It Does

In addition to royalactin, Royal Jelly is mainly composed of crude proteins, amino acids, simple sugars, fatty acids and water.  It also contains some trace minerals, enzymes with antibacterial and antibiotic compounds, along with the B vitamins pantothenic acid (B5) and pyridoxine (B6). It also has a bit of testosterone and vitamin C. 

The combination of these compounds greatly enhance the size, lifespan and fertility of one particular female bee, making her the queen who will outlive all other bees and the only female with active ovaries to lay eggs. 

How Royal Jelly Can Improve Your Health

Adrenal Glands

Malfunctioning or under-performing adrenal glands can lead to a host of health problems like fatigue, a lack of sex drive and other more severe disorders.  Royal Jelly has been shown to boost the important hormones the adrenal gland produces that control blood pressure, circulation, blood sugar levels, protein and sugar metabolism and sexual activity.

Related Idea That All Fats Make You Fat Is A Myth

Immunity

Japanese researchers discovered in a 2010 study that Royal Jelly’s antibiotic and antibacterial properties greatly improved immunity in research participants.  It shortened the healing time for wounds and improved allergy symptoms as well. 

Fat Metabolizer

Royal Jelly can help you metabolize fat more efficiently due to its ability to suppress lipid peroxidation, which causes harmful fatty acids to form in the body. This helps regulate the amount of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood stream, both of which can lead to heart disease and stroke when at high levels.

Increased Libido

Queen bees are the only female bees with active ovaries capable of producing eggs. Increase in libido is probably due to the trace amounts of testosterone it contains and the fact that it boosts adrenal gland function, which secretes hormones that regulate sex drive.

Bee Sexy

A lack of sex drive does not mean you are doomed to be a lonely heart or forced to take artificial hormones or medications like Viagra.  Try adding a little Royal Jelly to your diet and see how the fat loss benefits, increased energy, boost to your immune system, and shot of the testosterone can greatly enhance your libido and overall health.

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How to Use Stevia in High Blood Pressure Recipes

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Low calorie sweeteners are big business as people concerned about their health and/or weight switch to low calorie alternatives to sugar. Unlike aspartame, saccharin and even xylitol, stevia is completely natural. There are several reasons why stevia makes an excellent sugar substitute in high blood pressure recipes.

Stevia plants are a natural sugar-free sweetener for use in high blood pressure recipes

Stevia has been used in China and Japan as a sweetener for many years. Stevia extract comes from a green leafy herb (Stevia rebaudiana), native to Paraguay and other tropical areas of the Americas. Stevia has two compounds (stevioside and rebaudioside) that are 250 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose).

Reducing Hypertension with Stevia

In clinical trials, researchers found that stevia can reduce high blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity. This makes it an excellent sugar substitute for diabetics, those following a weight loss program, and those who wish to lover their blood pressure safely and naturally.

Related What are the Best Sugar Substitutes?

Stevia has also been found to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Unlike other artificial sweeteners that may be carcinogenic, stevia has no reported side effects or adverse reactions. However, stevia does have a slight aftertaste when used in some drinks and recipes.

High Blood Pressure Recipes Using Stevia

High blood pressure diets and natural remedies aim to lower hypertension by balancing the body’s acidity and removing toxins. By eliminating fatty junk food and substituting it with fresh fruit and raw organic vegetables, blood pressure levels can be effectively lowered.

One of the benefits of stevia is that it is pH-stable, so including it in a high blood pressure diet is important. Try drinking cranberry stevia lemonade throughout the day (a gallon if possible) and then check your blood pressure levels after 10 days. As well as boosting hydration, cranberry stevia lemonade helps balance acidity and removes toxins, which all help lower hypertension.

Fill a gallon jar with distilled or spring water  and add the juice of 3 organic lemons. Add one cup organic cranberry juice, a dash of liquid cayenne and liquid stevia to taste.  

Another excellent High Blood Pressure Recipe using stevia is to puree seedless watermelon in a blender with stevia to taste. Freeze in a shallow container overnight. Allow to thaw a little then break down the ice crystals with a fork and spoon the frozen fruit into paper snow cones. The combination of fresh fruits and stevia provide multiple benefits for those wanting to lower blood pressure naturally.

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Boost a Weakened Immune System with Cherimoya

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many people suffer from a weakened immune system; fortunately all it takes to boost it is a trip to the grocery store. Superfruits such as cherimoya are a natural source of polyphenol antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients packed into a tasty tropical fruit. With global communications and logistics, these new fruits are being introduced to the international market. They provide excellent natural health benefits, particularly for those with a weakened immune system.

Green cherimoya fruits are excellent for boosting a weakened immune system

What is Cherimoya?

Cherimoya is a light green tropical fruit with a thick leathery skin. This native tree from Ecuador can be found in the forests of the Central Andes Mountains. The botanical name for cherimoya is Annona Cherimola. The Annona family includes other tasty fruits such as the Sugar Apple (Annona Squamosal), the Custard Apple (Annona Reticulata), Guanabana (Annona Muricate) and Atemoya, which is a hybrid of the Cherimoya and the Annona Reticulata.

Cherimoya fruits are oval or irregular in shape and can weigh over a pound. Inside the inedible skin is a creamy flesh with smooth black seeds. Cherimoya can be eaten with a spoon when ripe, or added to cereals, yogurt and smoothies to tempt those with a poor appetite. It’s medicine in a skin! 

How Cherimoya Boosts a Weakened Immune System

Cherimoya has a pleasant fruity flavor and is packed with nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals – just what you need to improve a weakened immune system after sickness or due to an autoimmune disease.

Cherimoya is high in fiber (3g per 100 g) which binds unhealthy chemicals in the colon and prevents toxic substances from being absorbed. The high levels of vitamin C and antioxidant properties of Cherimoya also help boost a weakened immune system by neutralizing harmful free radicals. In particular, Cherimoya contains annonaceous acetogenins which are known to have anti-malarial and anti-cancer properties. High levels of vitamin C delivered by Cherimoya fruits help the body fight infection and build up resistance to harmful bacteria.

In addition, Cherimoya contains potassium to control the cardiovascular system; GABA to calm tense, nervous irritability; and B-complex vitamins for energy. These vitamins also support memory function and healthy skin and hair, common concerns for those with a weakened immune system.

Read more ways to boost a weakened immune system with cherimoya.

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What You Need to Know About Fermented Foods and Constipation

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Antibiotics are used in medicine to kill harmful bacteria; in fact they kill off all bacteria in the digestive system, creating other problems. However, the opposite of antibiotics are probiotics. These beneficial bacteria aid digestion, fight harmful bacteria, act as chelators and detox agents to rid the body of heavy metals and toxins, and they help reduce constipation.

So where can we get a healthy daily dose of these useful probiotic bacteria? Fermented foods are the key. You probably already eat some occasionally without even realizing. Examples of fermented foods include fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, which are fermented, not pickled. Examples of fermented dairy products include probiotic yogurt and kefir. 

How Does Fermented Food Aid Constipation?

Fermented food can help prevent constipation

Most fermented foods are made using an ancient form of food preservation. This fermentation process uses beneficial bacteria to create lactic acid. This environment is high in good bacteria and preserves the food by not allowing bad bacteria to spoil and rot it. Modern-day fermented foods may be processed using pasteurization which actually kills all bacteria. You need to find products that have been organically fermented, or do the process yourself.

Even a small amount of sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, will provide many benefits. It is full of vitamin C, reduces inflammation in the bowel, reduces pain and constipation associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lowers bloating and contains high levels of antioxidants.

Related: Top 10 Foods for Fantastic Digestion

Eating cultured or fermented foods tops up intestinal flora (bacteria) which boosts natural immunity. They balance bacteria in the stomach and digestive tract, releasing enzymes to improve digestion. Fermented foods also produce an acid environment in the bowel which can be helpful in preventing constipation. These bacteria make it easier for the body to absorb nutrients and speedier digestion means less likelihood of constipation.

Now you know the benefits of fermented foods on your overall health, banishing constipation, You may want to try adding some other fermented foods to your diet. Try fermented beets, tomatoes, radishes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, kimchi, green beans and sauerkraut. Dairy eaters can enjoy fermented yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk and some cheeses. Not only will these foods fight inflammation and disease-causing bacteria, you will also avoid unhealthy constipation, another big plus!

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Indigestion Symptoms: Five Signs of Unbalanced Beneficial Bacteria

by IVL Products

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

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

Unbalanced bacteria trigger indigestion symptoms

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

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

Related: Natural Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

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

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

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

 

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Why Chronic Inflammation is a Risk for Developing Diseases as You Age

by Health News

What do hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, stroke and cancer have in common?
Health experts have linked chronic inflammation as one of many hypertension causes – and not only that, chronic inflammation is linked to all the other diseases mentioned above too. Health experts are looking at how high-fat foods and excess body weight, among others, may increase risk.

Hypertension Causes: Why Chronic Inflammation is Bad for You

Inflammation is your immune system’s natural response to injury and infectious agents. But when the inflammation doesn't let up - for example because of a constant diet of high-fat foods, too much body fat and smoking - the immune system’s response can itself spiral out of control, paradoxically increasing disease risk.

When inflammation becomes chronic it can damage heart valves and brain cells, trigger strokes and promote resistance to insulin, leading to diabetes. It is also associated with cancer development.

Obesity is known to promote inflammation. Fat cells, particularly those in the visceral fat in the belly and around organs, produce molecules known as cytokines which trigger inflammation. In such cases, the most important thing to do is to lose excess weight - which has been shown to reduce inflammation within weeks or months.

A substance known as C-reactive protein (CRP) is an indicator of inflammation in the body. A 2007 report which analyzed results of 33 separate studies found that losing weight can lower CRP levels.

Many nutritionists and physicians have also developed anti-inflammatory diets.

For instance, one such diet encourages people to consume whole-grain foods, unsaturated fats such as plant oils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, poultry, eggs and moderate amounts of dairy foods. It also suggests avoiding red meat, butter, sweets and white foods such as rice, potatoes and pasta.

The problem is this - if you are overweight or obese and eat healthy, your excess weight will still counter any beneficial effects of the healthy foods you are eating.

Regular consumption of dietary fiber was shown to lower levels of CRP and other inflammatory markers - probably because fiber improves insulin sensitivity, lowering levels of inflammation.

A combination of nutrients found in dairy food also helped to ease inflammation in patients at risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In a recent study, patients who were given 3½ servings of dairy daily over 12 weeks showed reductions in several markers of inflammation compared with a group given just half a serving of dairy per day.

Finally, new research funded by the National Institutes of Health is studying the complex relationships between diet, inflammation and cancer. Cancer is caused by many different processes and inflammation is one of them - so in principle if you could inhibit inflammation it would lower cancer risk, an exciting possibility.

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Fermented Vegetables for Indigestion

by Cindy Gray

The typical American diet often consists mainly of highly processed foods, fatty meats and few fruits or vegetables.  As a result, indigestion and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are on the rise, and nutritional deficits are the result.  Adding fermented foods, especially vegetables, into your diet can significantly improve the health of your belly, boost your immune system and stave off metabolic disorders that lead to high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and weight gain.

Fermented Vegetables: Optimal for Health and the Digestive SystemWhat Does Fermented Mean?

According to the dictionary, fermentation is: “the process in which a substance breaks down into a simpler substance.”  Usually some kind of agent, a microorganism like yeast or bacteria, starts the process that breaks sugar down into alcohol for instance.  Through fermentation, milk becomes cheese, yogurt and kefir. Grapes become wine and cabbage becomes kimchi or sauerkraut. Fermentation has been used for centuries in almost every culture as a way of preserving food.  Long before there was refrigeration or fast food restaurants, fermentation was an easy way to keep food edible for the winter months or for long journeys.

Probiotics for Healthy Digestion and Stronger Immunity

Fermenting vegetables and other foods makes them rich in probiotics.  These are the intestinal flora (good bacteria) essential for healthy digestion. They feed on sugar and help break down the nutrients in the intestine, which makes it easier for our bodies to absorb them.

When the good bacteria in our gut gets out of balance it can lead to:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Inflammation
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Increased risk of contracting illnesses like colds or the flu

Research has shown that obese people tend to have an imbalance in gut flora; and the immune system can become compromised when you don’t have enough healthy bacteria in your GI tract.  The Journal of Nutrition has even found a link between probiotics and a decreased risk of colon cancer.

Fermented Vegetables

We all know that vegetables are an essential component of a healthy diet. Fermented vegetables offer additional health benefits, but are not common in many American meals.  Making them a part of your diet has many health benefits, so here are a few to try.  Some of them may sound odd or exotic, but don’t let that stop you from trying them.

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish consisting of fermented cabbage.  Unless you grew up in a Korean family, you might find its pungent odor and spicy tang unappetizing.  It is an acquired taste, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to like it and by doing so, reap great health benefits.

Other fermented vegetables that can help indigestion are:

  • Pickles

  • Sauerkraut

  • Miso (fermented soy beans that form a base for soups and sauces)

  • Poi (fermented taro root)

  • Natto (fermented soy beans that are a traditional Japanese breakfast)

When trying these foods, be sure to look for those that are not pasteurized. Choose the high quality pickles and sauerkraut in the refrigerated section of your grocery store rather than the canned versions that may contain high fructose corn syrup, a lot of preservatives, or are high in sodium. Shopping in specialty food markets is the best way to find good miso, poi or natto.

There are other terms for fermented like “pickled” or “cultured,” so read labels carefully and be aware that some of these foods are very high in sodium.  You can always ferment food at home, too. It’s actually a pretty simple process and there are dozens of recipes and “how to” articles and videos on-line to assist you.

Other Healthy Fermented Foods

Fermented vegetables are just one way to get gut-healthy probiotics into your diet for better digestion and a stronger immune system.  Other foods rich in probiotics are:

  • Kefir

  • Yogurt

  • Sourdough bread

  • Tempeh (cake made from fermented soybeans)

Introduce fermented vegetables slowly  into your diet if you are not used to eating them regularly.  Until they become a regular part of your diet, try adding them as a side dish or snack so you don’t overwhelm your palate. You will reap the benefits of a healthier gut and a stronger immune system.

Related: Simple Tips for Relieving Indigestion

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Learn How Gratitude Benefits Your Health

by Health News

What is Good for High Blood Pressure? Gratitude

Many people want to know what is good for high blood pressure. The answer may surprise you. Learn how gratitude benefits your health, including your heart, in this article.

In the fast-paced and stressful world of today, practicing positive mental states has been scientifically shown to improve quality of life and promote longevity.

A 1995 study published in The American Journal of Cardiology found that gratitude greatly benefits both the heart and immune system. In this study, participants were monitored while being asked to recall for five minutes any incident that triggered anger.

Next, they were told instead to focus on a particular memory that inspired gratitude. Immediately, their heart, pulse and respiration rates dramatically improved.

These results led study researchers to state that by cultivating gratefulness, stress is significantly reduced, boosting immune function and strengthening overall health, including heart health.

All emotions are intimately connected with the heart and body. The heart has a constant two-way dialog with the brain.

This study explains how our heart responds to our emotional reactions and why certain emotions stress our body and sap our energy. Feelings like anger, frustration, anxiety and insecurity disturb our heart-rhythm patterns, making them erratic.

These erratic patterns signal emotional centers in the brain, which recognizes them as negative or stressful feelings. Not only that, but erratic heart rhythms block our ability to think clearly.

On the other hand, when we experience feelings of compassion, love and gratitude, our heart rhythm patterns become smooth and harmonious, indicating a balanced nervous and cardiovascular system.

In other words, when your heart is at ease, both your heart health and overall health are significantly enhanced.

Furthermore, those people who are grateful and appreciative often live longer.

In a long-term observational study described in the Graziadio Business Review, Catholic nuns who expressed gratitude, happiness and other positive emotions in their earlier years were found to live up to ten years longer than nuns who did not express gratitude.

Study researchers saw a significant inverse relationship between positive emotional content in handwritten autobiographies of 180 Catholic nuns (at the age of 22) and risk of death later in life, between ages 75 to 95.

In other words, an expression of gratefulness in early life was associated with a lifetime of longevity, even up to 60 years later.

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5 Fats You Should Be Eating

by Health News

Do you know the idea that all fats makes you fat is really a myth?

Most people believe that low-fat and fat-free products are healthier, but it’s simply not true. On the other hand, some fats are healthy and may even hold the secret to how to increase energy levels and promote weight loss. 

Women Health Tips

Your body requires fat in order to function properly. Not only that, many necessary vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. This means your body can only absorb them in the presence of fat.

These good fats will not only will you feel better - they will also satisfy your hunger without depriving your body of essential nutrients:

  1. Nuts are chockfull of amazing nutrients, healthy fats and protein. They are also rich sources of protein and unsaturated fats as well as concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and powerful anti-aging antioxidants. They are also one of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a heart-healthy plant omega-3 fat. Nuts are also rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that boosts immune function, promotes wound healing, improves blood vessel function and helps lower risk of heart disease. Further, they contain soluble fiber and vitamin E. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels, while vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant essential for proper immune function and healthy skin.
  2. Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps cleanse and protect your body by detoxifying, removing heavy metals and fighting free radicals. Glutathione helps maintain a healthy immune system and slows the aging process. Avocados are also rich in folate, which lowers the incidence of heart disease and stroke. They are also the best fruit source of Vitamin E.  Foods with omega-3 fats such as salmon, nuts, flax seed and avocados should be consumed regularly for good heart and brain health.

Healthy Fats - Avacados

  1. Coconut products offer a wide range of health benefits. Coconut oil offers antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-cancer properties along with improving digestion, nutrient absorption and intestinal health. It also provides cardiovascular benefits and helps manage type 2 diabetes. Coconut oil promotes kidney and liver health and boosts the immune system. It also benefits metabolism, energy and weight management.
  2. Saturated fats in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides, which can be easily metabolized and used as energy by the body. Research suggests that these fatty acids may boost metabolism, promote weight loss and increase HDL, the ‘good’ protective cholesterol in the body.
  3. Olive oil is a very healthy oil to use when sautéing, baking and making salad dressing. This fantastic oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants such as chlorophyll (which accounts for part of the color in olive oil), carotenoids, and vitamin E.  Olive oil is great for reducing blood pressure, cancer prevention, managing diabetes and lessening the severity of asthma and arthritis. Researchers from the Seven Countries Study found that monounsaturated fats in olive oil were mainly responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Olive oil also contains polyphenols, which are powerful anti-aging antioxidants. Including olive oil in the diet can also help to maintain a lower, healthy weight.
  4. Seeds contain beneficial fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They are also packed with health-promoting minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc, as well as powerful antioxidants, fiber and minerals.

 

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The Many Benefits of Regular Exercise

by Health News

If you're looking for tips on how to have more energy and get a better night's sleep, exercising regularly tops the list.

how to have more energy with regular exercise and a good night’s sleep

However, you will have to be patient, because regular exercise leads to improvements in sleep gradually over time and not right away.

The benefits of regular exercise are endless - reduction of stress and anxiety, lowered risk for many diseases, more positive mood and enhanced immune function. Studies also show that daily exercise improves sleep quality.

In a recent study carried out at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, scientists looked at the effects of exercise on sedentary women and men in their 60s who had been diagnosed with insomnia.

Overall, those who participated in a 16-week exercise program slept longer and woke up less often than those who remained inactive. Insomnia only improved after 16 weeks of regular exercise. On the other hand, when the volunteers slept poorly, their workouts the next day were significantly shorter.

In this study, volunteers were randomly assigned either to remain inactive or to participate in a moderate endurance exercise program - consisting of three or four 30-minute exercise sessions every week, generally on a stationary bicycle or treadmill.

At the end of 16 weeks, volunteers in the exercise group were sleeping much more soundly than they had been before the study started. However, during the first two months, they did not sleep any better than at the start of the study. Only after four months of the exercise program had elapsed did their insomnia improve.

Most interestingly, volunteers almost always exercised for shorter periods of time on the days after a poor night’s sleep. In other words, sleeping badly tended to shorten the next day’s workout. On the other hand, a full-length exercise session did not necessarily mean more and better sleep at night.

This study seems to indicate that people with insomnia and other sleep disturbances are wired differently. They may have an overstimulated stress system - and a single bout of exercise may not be enough to dampen it.

However, if they keep up the exercise program, their stress system eventually quiets down and their stress response gradually becomes muted. In general it takes some time before they see any noticeable changes in sleep patterns.

Still, experts believe there’s enough evidence from this study to make it worthwhile for everyone - including you - to commit to a more active lifestyle to achieve better sleep, so why not start today?

Boost Health and Vitality

Source: Exercise Can Help You Sleep Better.

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How to Pick the Right Probiotic For Your Digestive System

by Health News

How to choose a probiotic supplement

Scientists estimate that the human body is home to more than 750 trillion bacteria, and most of them exist in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They are essential for the digestion of food, neutralizing hormones and supporting the body’s immune system. Having an imbalance of these bacteria can cause digestive or intestinal problems that manifest themselves as fatigue, depression, recurring yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or cramps.

You may be surprised to learn that people over 60 have 1000 times less “friendly” bacteria in their guts than younger healthy adults. Probiotics can play an essential role in aging healthy. Many studies suggest that overall health depends largely on the healthy functioning of the digestive system.

One major cause of an imbalance of bacteria is taking a course of antibiotics. They not only treat the virus that they are prescribed for, but also lay waste to the bacteria in our digestive tract. Other medications such as heartburn pills can also be harmful to gut flora as they alter the balance of intestinal bacteria.

If your gut has too many “bad” bacteria releasing toxins, your body will feel the effect with a range of health problems. If you lack sufficient digestive enzymes, a probiotic with a high count of bacteria can be taken to rectify the situation.

Picking the Correct Probiotic

Increasing the good bacteria in your intestine is easy. Yoghurt, miso and soy drinks all contain live cultures that can improve digestive or intestinal problems. The “good” bacteria thrive on nutrients called prebiotics which are found in onions, green leafy vegetables, bananas, artichokes and garlic. Bad bacteria thrive on sugars and fats from processed foods and these foods should definitely be avoided.

Live bacteria can be taken as supplements. There are many strains, each with a different function. It is wise to read the labels and learn more about what each probiotic does. For example, Lactobacillus casei (in the yoghurt drink DanActive) was found to reduce ear infections and gastrointestinal upsets in children. Studies on Bifidobacterium Infantis (found in the probiotic supplement Align) found it reduces the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

How to Take Probiotics
Some probiotics come in capsule form while others are in powder or liquid form and need to be kept refrigerated. Follow the instructions and never expose probiotics to heat or processing or they will be damaged or killed.

Most good probiotic supplements combine several beneficial bacteria with live yeast. Look for a probiotic containing billions of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces and Bifidobacteria. A supplement such as First Milk Flora is easy to take as a chewable tablet and contains 1.5 million colony forming units per tablet to promote healthy digestion. The best probiotics also include a prebiotic which helps the flora survive in the intestine.

To continue on a healthy aging path, consult your doctor before taking any probiotics as they may interfere with some medications. Once taken, you should begin to feel an improvement in your health after one to two weeks. If not, switch to a different probiotic to find one that aids your particular medical problem or gives a general boost to your feeling of wellbeing. As the probiotics change the acidic balance of your body, it is important to keep a record of any changes, and to consult a doctor beforehand if you are already taking medications. Cheers to maintaining your path of aging healthy!



Source:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/448920-the-best-probiotics-for-women/
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-choose-the-best-probiotic-acidophilus.htm