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Three Strikes for Hair Loss

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Although female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is much less common than male pattern baldness, it can be extremely distressing and socially inhibiting for anyone who suffers from it. We look at some healthy living tips to counter the cause of hair loss in women.

Healthy habits can help counter hair loss

The main cause of FPHL is acute telogen effluvium which is commonly caused by medication, metabolic or hormonal stress.  A study on 210 women suffering from alopecia and hair loss found that they typically had three medical conditions in common which were easily treatable:

  • Low vitamin D levels
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Some hair loss is normal, but female pattern hair loss is often increased at menopause. The risk is higher is older women and those with a genetic history of hair loss.

Boosting vitamin D

Healthy living tips such as taking daily supplements including vitamin D are a sensible way to start to treat hair loss, particularly in those with a family history of androgenetic alopecia. Vitamin D can also be produced naturally in the body with regular exposure of the skin to sunshine for around 15 minutes per day. Another way to boost vitamin D levels is by eating more oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna. Dairy products, egg yolks, liver and fortified cereals are another easy way to boost vitamin D as part of your new healthy habits to reduce hair loss.

Related:  Vitamins:  Natural Health Benefits of Vitamin D

 

Treating Hypothyroidism

Studies published in 2008 by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that hair follicles are directly affected by thyroid hormones, particularly T4 and T3. If you are shedding hair and are worried about FPHL, you should get your thyroid tested by your doctor to check for an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Eating healthily can help support a healthy thyroid but severe hypothyroidism can only be countered with medication.

Controlling Hypertension

Both vitamin D deficiency and poor thyroid function can put stress in the body, causing high blood pressure. However, other causes of hypertension include obesity, lack of aerobic exercise and eating a diet high in unsaturated fats. Adopting healthy habits such as losing excess weight, eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising daily can all help lower blood pressure and counter your hair loss problem.

Healthy living tips such as optimizing vitamin D levels, having your thyroid checked with a blood test and lowering blood pressure can all help counter alopecia and FPHL. You’ll soon feel the benefits of a healthier in-balance lifestyle and over time your hair loss will gradually be reduced.   

 

 

 

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Natto for Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Those with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension face a difficult decision when it comes to healthy living tips. Should they succumb to the side effects associated with prescriptions drugs, or should they follow healthy living tips and try to reduce their blood pressure naturally through diet? 

Following healthy living tips can lower blood pressure naturally

If you have high blood pressure, and about 75 million Americans do, you have a higher risk of suffering a heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure is also likely to shorten your life. Statistics show that people with normal blood pressure readings, no higher than 120/80mm/Hg, have an expected life span of five years longer than those with hypertension. The good news is that by making some lifestyle changes and adopting some healthy living tips can quickly lower blood pressure and improve your health significantly.

Healthy Habits Include Eating Nattokinese

Studies on nattokinase (natto for short) found that this fermented food can be effective in preventing and lowering hypertension. Natto is a common food in Japan and is thought to be the main reason for their long and healthy lives.

Natto is made from soybeans soaked and then fermented with a bacterium (bacillus subtilis) for at least 24 hours. Although popular in Eastern cultures, natto does not appeal to westernized tastes as it has a powerful cheesy smell, a slimy texture and a strong flavor. However, it is high in protein and the taste can be disguised with soy sauce or karashi mustard and eaten with rice.

Related:  Six Tips to Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally

Studies on Natto

A joint clinical study by NIS Labs, Oregon and Machaon Diagnostics in Oakland, CA was performed on 79 people with elevated blood pressure of at least 130/90 mmHg. They ate natto daily throughout the eight-week study, or a placebo, and their blood pressure was measured.

The average diastolic reading was three points lower overall (from 87 mmHg to 84 mmHg) in those taking nattokinase compared to the placebo group which remained the same. The results were more pronounced in men than women. In males the average drop was five points, from 87mmHg to 81 mmHg, a remarkable reduction in just eight weeks.

Other studies found that eating 30 grams natto extract resulted in a 10% drop in blood pressure. This shows that healthy living tips such as eating natto can play an important role in controlling hypertension. It suggests that healthy habits such as including natto in your diet can significantly improve health by lowering blood pressure. For men, such healthy living tips are even more beneficial.

As with all healthy habits, those who are already taking medications to lower blood pressure should consult with their doctor before making any changes. However, increasing your exercise and adopting a heart-healthy diet are two healthy living tips that everyone can start right now!

 

 

 

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Seven Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 29 percent of American adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension.  This is a condition where the force of blood pushing against arterial walls is too high.  Labelled "the silent killer" because of an absence of symptoms, hypertension causes a wide range of health problems including blood vessel weakness and scarring, greater risks for blood clots, more arterial plaque, and tissue and organ damage due to blocked arteries.  While research shows family history can increase the risks for hypertension, there are also a number of lifestyle factors that boost the chances for its development.

A high-sodium diet is just one of the risk factors for high blood pressure.

 

  1. Excessive Bodyweight and BMI:  People are considered overweight when body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 30, and BMI measuring over 30 indicates obesity.  Research shows that excessive bodyweight raises risks for developing high blood pressure.  Monitoring bodyweight and BMI can help people keep blood pressure in check.  For successful weight loss, most people can lose from 1-2 pounds per week by subtracting 500 calories per day from their diet and adding daily exercise. 

 

  1. Inactivity:  In addition to raising risks for high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle increases chances for blood vessel disease, heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes.  Engage in regular exercise to help ensure healthy blood pressure.  Whether walking or biking, tennis or martial arts, finding a physical activity you love ensures regular participation.

 

  1. A High-Sodium Diet:  Salt retains fluid in the body, which can put extra pressure on the heart and contribute to high blood pressure.  Keeping track of sodium consumption helps.  While people with normal blood pressure should limit daily sodium to 2,300 mg, people with hypertension should consume 1,500 mg a day or less.

 

Related:  Seven Tips to Lowering High Blood Pressure Naturally

 

  1. Tobacco Use:  Every cigarette raises blood pressure temporarily and can contribute to damaged arteries and heart disease.  Smokers, especially those already at risk for hypertension, should make a plan to quit.  Hypnosis, acupuncture, guided imagery, patches, gum and certain medications can help.

 

  1. Heavy Alcohol Use:  Daily alcohol use or binge drinking can contribute to high blood pressure.  At highest risk are people who consume more than three drinks per day (12 oz. of beer, 4 oz. of wine, or 1.5 oz. of liquor).  To prevent the development of hypertension men should limit alcohol consumption to two drinks daily, and women should limit consumption to one daily drink.

 

  1. Stress:  Research hasn't proven that stress causes hypertension, but stressful situations can spike blood pressure temporarily.  In addition, some people smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, or consume too many unhealthy foods in an effort to deal with stress, all of which are risk factors for high blood pressure.  Effective stress management techniques include meditation, yoga or guided imagery. 

 

  1. Gender and Age:  Up until 45 years of age, men are more prone to hypertension than women.  From 45 to 65 years of age, risks are roughly equal between men and women, and after the age of 65, more women are likely to get high blood pressure than men.

The healthy strategies listed above can help in the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure, but some people may need medication to keep it in check.  Because of the absence of symptoms, people should have regular checkups in order to know and monitor their blood pressure numbers.   

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Six Heart Heath Tips For High Blood Pressure

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Six Heart Savers

Heart disease is America’s leading cause of death.  Here are several important heart health tips and advice. Fortunately many everyday supplements for high blood pressure support a healthy cardiovascular system.

Top heart health tips include taking daily fish oil supplements

 

 

 

Here are six common supplements to help keep your heart in tip-top condition. Do you take them every day?

1.     Fish Oil

A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids is the natural way to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, most of us do not eat oily fish such as salmon and mackerel on a regular basis, but help is at hand with fish oil supplements. For high blood pressure they provide an effective treatment, reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and premature death from heart disease.

2.     CoQ10

CoQ10 is a natural enzyme which the body produces in decreasing amounts as we age. It is a natural antioxidant which provides a wealth of heart-health benefits. It prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, maintains circulatory health, supports healthy arterial wall linings, lowers hypertension and ensures the optimal functioning of the heart by lowering cholesterol levels.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol should be on every list of heart health tips as it is full of antioxidants that help prevent heart disease. It increases good HDL cholesterol, prevents blood clots and protects arterial walls from damage. Found in red wine, the only sensible way to obtain sufficient resveratrol is by taking it as a daily supplement. Studies found that taking resveratrol in conjunction with statins reduced cardiovascular risk by reducing inflammation and clotting markers.

Natto

Nattokinase is a natural enzyme produced from fermented soybeans (natto) that prevents abnormal thickening of blood vessels. It has been used for centuries by the Japanese as a natural supplement for high blood pressure, lowering the risk of stroke, angina, deep vein thrombosis and heart disease.

Related:  Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure with Natto

Folic Acid

Folic acid is another everyday supplement that makes it onto the list of heart heath tips.  Researchers have found that it can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease by around 20%. This lowers the levels of homocysteine that contribute to atherosclerosis and blood clots. It also supports normal cholesterol levels as well as being essential for the production of red blood cells.

Acetyl L-carnitine

A series of controlled trials on acetyl L-carnitine supplements found that it was associated with a 65% reduction in ventricular arrhythmia and a 40% reduction in the symptoms of angina. Found naturally in red meat, L-carnitine helps increase HDL cholesterol by metabolizing fatty acids.

By taking these supplements for high blood pressure and following our sensible heart health tips regarding diet and exercise, you can ensure you have the healthiest heart possible to carry you into a long and healthy old age.

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Spicy Solutions to Heart Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics, about 75 million Americans have high blood pressure and only half of them are taking steps to control it. Left untreated, high blood pressure, or hypertension as it is sometimes known, can seriously damage health and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and death.

Spices can be a natural way to treat high blood pressure

 

 

Many sufferers resort to prescription medications and beta blockers, but those wondering how to lower blood pressure naturally may find help in the spice rack. If your blood pressure is higher than 120/80 you are at risk of hypertension, so try spicing up your life with these three heart-healthy ingredients.

Reduce High Blood Pressure with Curry

One of the main ingredients in curry is curcumin, which gives curry its distinctive yellow color. It is a natural antioxidant found in turmeric and has shown positive results in studies on natural treatments for high blood pressure. One notable study on curcumin at Japan’s Kyoto Medical Center showed that curcumin supported healthy blood pressure levels. It also helped prevent cardiac hypertrophy (thickening of the heart muscle and reduction in ventricle size caused by high blood pressure). The study concluded that curcumin could provide “novel therapeutic strategy for heart failure in humans.”

Ginger Improves Hypertension

Ginger is a root spice used by the Romans and ancient Chinese to cure a wide range of medical conditions. Studies now show that ginger is a potent blood thinner, helping to prevent or treat high blood pressure and heart disease. In tests, ginger was used to dissolve blood clots that can lead to stroke or heart attack. It prevents thromboxane synthesis which causes blood clotting and platelets in the blood to clump together.

Tests on rats showed that ginger is also an anti-inflammatory agent. It works in the same way as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such ibuprofen and naproxen, but without the side effects.  

Adding ginger to savory and sweet dishes is an easy way to add this cholesterol-lowering anti-inflammatory blood thinner to your diet and lower blood pressure naturally.

Related:  Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels with Ginger

How to Lower Blood Pressure with Garlic

Another natural blood thinning agent is garlic. Thinner blood is easier for the heart to pump around, reducing high blood pressure, and it is less likely to form clots that cause heart attacks and strokes.

An Australian study compared garlic with commonly prescribed drugs used to lower blood pressure and found that it was equally effective. The studies found that eating four cloves of garlic a day had a noticeable positive effect on those with high blood pressure, lowering it by an average 8.4 systolic points and 7.3 diastolic points.

If you are wondering how to lower blood pressure without resorting to expensive drugs, try adding these three spices to your daily diet and watch your high blood pressure fall.

 

 

 

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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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Are Statins Killing You? The Top 6 Dangers of Statins

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Are you part of the one in four Americans over the age of 45 who take statins? Statin drugs are prescribed to help lower cholesterol, but the dangers of statins and the truth about its efficacy are now being questioned. One of the hurdles in reversing the policy on statins is the fact that Big Pharma makes huge profits from the sales of statin drugs, with a reported turnover of $29 billion in 2013.

Studies are showing there may be hidden dangers to statins

The Dangers of Statins

Several surveys have reported results that show statins may be doing more harm than good when it comes to our health. Their results show:

  • Statins interfere with the natural production of Coenzyme Q10, which helps maintain blood pressure, supports the cardiovascular system and is essential for the immune and nervous systems
  • Studies have found a link between statin use and memory loss, possibly because cholesterol is essential to brain function. Some patients find they are unable to remember words while others develop serious neurological problems such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Statins appear to weaken the immune system, so users are more prone to bacterial infections
  • Statin drugs promote inflammation due to the increased production of cytokines
  • Statin users are at higher risk of Parkinson’s and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), according to Dr. David Williams
  • In animals studies, statins caused 226% more muscle damage in animals when they exercised, compared to animals that were not on statins

And the list goes on and on. It’s a cause for reflection for those who take statins and are so far unaware of the dangers of statins.

Related:  Knock Down Bad Cholesterol with these Four Foods

When to Stop Taking Statins

Although studies have shown that statins help reduce cholesterol, which is thought to lower the risk of heart disease, it may not apply to those over the age of 50. A Japanese study found that high cholesterol is not necessarily associated to coronary heart disease in those over the age of 50. This study suggests that older people would actually be healthier if they stopped taking statins at middle age.

Harlan Krumholz at the Cardiovascular Medicine Department at Yale discovered that elderly people with low cholesterol were twice as likely to die from heart attack as those with high cholesterol, which contradicts popular beliefs about the need for statins into old age.

In addition to this, the University of Minnesota Epidemiology Department studied 68,000 deaths and found that low cholesterol was associated with an increased risk of dying from gastrointestinal or respiratory disease. This ties in with the above findings about the dangers of statins weakening the immune system.

While the debate continues about the dangers of statins, one message remains clear. By eating a healthy balanced diet based on meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, such as the Paleo diet recommended by Dr. Mercola, your body may balance its own levels of cholesterol, leading to a longer life, safely and naturally.

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

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

The five best seeds for great health!

The Fantastic Five

1. Chia Seeds

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

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

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

2. Hemp Seeds

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

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

3. Pumpkin Seeds

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

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

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

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

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

4. Flax Seeds

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

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

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

5. Sunflower Seeds

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

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

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

 

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Omega 3 Fish Oil for Weight Loss

by Cindy Gray

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

Studies show the benefits of omega 3 fish oil weight loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related:  Natural Weight Loss Supplement Resveratrol

How Does Omega-3 Fish Oil Benefit Weight Loss?

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

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

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

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

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Essential Fatty Acids: Benefits and Sources

by Cindy Gray

With an enthusiasm for better health on the rise in America, many people are making quality nutrition a top priority.  Essential fatty acids (EFAs) play a key role.  They are called "essential" because they are not made naturally by the body, but must be obtained through food or supplements.  Learning more about these important nutrients can help to ensure a nutritious diet and a healthy body.

The only way to obtain essential fatty acids is through foods or supplements.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Essential omega 3 fatty acids include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  The body converts ALA to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two more essential fatty acids; however, the process isn't very efficient.  Therefore, EPA and DHA are considered "conditionally essential."

Sources of omega 3 fatty acids include green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, flaxseeds, citrus fruits, melons, and cherries which contain ALA.  Omega 3 sources of EPA and DHA include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, and other marine life, such as algae and krill.  Flax oil (ALA) and fish oil (EPA and DHA) supplements also make good sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Linoleic acid (LA) is an essential fatty acid present in many leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains.  Oils like sunflower, safflower, corn, peanut, and canola oil also offer linoleic acid.  LA breaks down to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) within the body or arachidonic acid (AA), two other essential fatty acids.  Natural sources of GLA include oils like black currant, borage, evening primrose, and hemp oils.  You can also obtain AA through consumption of eggs, fish and meat.

Related:  Three Surprising Seafood Sources of EFA’s

Health Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids help promote a variety of functions in the human body including:

  • Cell development
  • Absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Nourishment of skin, hair, and nails
  • Proper nerve function
  • Hormone production

EFAs and Disease

EFA deficiency has been linked to a number of diseases and disorders including:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Hypertension
  • Certain mental disorders like depression and bipolar disorder
  • Learning disorders
  • PMS
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Studies show the consumption of EFAs can help improve these conditions.  For instance, it has been found that diets high in ALA, EPA and DHA can help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, and providing anticoagulant properties.  Research shows that supplementation with GLA can relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and subjects with eczema are able to reduce their use of antibiotics and steroids for treatment of the disease.

People can consume large amounts of essential fatty acids with few side effects.  Occasionally some experience stomach upset, gas, or diarrhea, but these effects typically diminish over time.  Individuals on anticoagulant or blood thinning medications should check with their doctor before taking fish oil supplements as they can thin the blood.

While scientists continue to study how EFAs affect the health, it is clear they offer many benefits.  Whether consumed through a meal or taken as a supplement, EFAs are safe and well tolerated by the body. 

 

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Are You Suffering from Vitamin C Deficiency?

by IVL Products

Vitamins and minerals play a significant role when it comes to obtaining adequate nutrition and staying healthy.  Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, contributes to cell growth and repair, circulation, and iron absorption.  It is also important for the production of collagen, a protein found in blood vessels, skin, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.  In most parts of the world, serious vitamin C deficiency (or scurvy) is relatively uncommon because vitamin C is found naturally in many foods and is added to other food as well.  However, smoking, excessive alcohol use, a compromised diet, or certain medical conditions can result in lowered levels of vitamin C in the body.

Foods like citrus fruits, papaya, bell peppers, and broccoli help prevent vitamin C deficiency.

According to medical center experts at the University of Maryland, vitamin C deficiency has been linked to various medical problems like atherosclerosis, certain cancers, gallbladder disease, and high blood pressure.  Animal studies also indicate that low levels of vitamin C can lead to biochemical changes in the body which affect behavior. 

A study from Vanderbilt University found that mice deprived of vitamin C showed depressive-like behavior, reduced movement and strength, and greater preference for sugar.  Behaviors returned to normal with restoration of vitamin C, with the exception of depressive-like symptoms.  

Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

People with scurvy often develop anemia and swollen, bleeding gums.  Additional signs and symptoms that may indicate a vitamin C deficiency include brittle hair, easily bruised skin, and nosebleeds.

Related:  Vitamin E Deficiency

Sources of Vitamin C

Because it is water soluble, vitamin C is not stored by the body.  This means people need to get it through food or supplements.  Some excellent food sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, mangoes, papayas, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.  Vitamin C supplements come in tablets, capsules, effervescent powders, and liquids.  People who depend on supplements for vitamin C should strive for 250-500 mg, twice a day. 

Vitamin C deficiency can result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms.  Fortunately, they can be prevented with the consumption of certain foods or supplements.  People who are concerned about a vitamin C deficiency should first consult with a health care professional to rule out other possibilities. 

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May Have a Vitamin D Deficiency

by Health News

When it comes to good health, people depend on vitamins.  Dubbed the "sunshine vitamin" because it is made by the body when exposed to the sun, vitamin D is important to the health in many ways.  It aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, it helps maintain healthy bones and teeth, and it offers protection against the development of certain types of cancer, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and high blood pressure.  Despite the many benefits of vitamin D, roughly 75 percent of American teens and adults have deficient levels.  Five signs and symptoms can help determine whether you may have a vitamin D deficiency.

1.  Darker Skin

According to research, vitamin D deficiency is more widespread among people with darker skin because pigmentation in the skin works like a natural sunscreen.  Therefore, people with darker skin need to spend more time in the sun than people with lighter skin to maintain healthy levels.

2.  Age of 50 Years or Greater

People age 50 and over tend to spend less time outdoors than younger people, which contributes to vitamin D deficiency in this age group.  In addition, aging skin makes less vitamin D when exposed to the sun, and the kidneys aren't as efficient in converting vitamin D into a usable form.

3.  Depressed Mood

A study in 2006 examined how vitamin D levels affected the mood of 80 elderly patients.  Those with the worst vitamin D deficiency were 11 times more likely to be depressed than patients with normal vitamin D levels.  Experts believe this effect may have to do with serotonin, a hormone in the brain associated with mood.  Research shows that serotonin levels rise with greater exposure to sunlight and fall when exposure lessens.

Related:  Three Hormonal Causes of Depression

4.  Excessive Body Weight

Studies have found that body fat collects vitamin D and keeps it from entering the bloodstream.  Research published in the International Journal of Obesity also showed that excessive body fat may inhibit the body's ability to use vitamin D effectively.

5.  Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity can affect the body's absorption of fat.  Because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, people with these conditions often have lower vitamin D levels. 

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for good health.  While sunlight offers the best source, people can also obtain this valuable nutrient through certain foods or vitamin D supplements.  Good food sources include wild-caught salmon, mackerel, sardines, or vitamin D-fortified milk, yogurt, cereal, or juice.  When it comes to daily supplements, many experts suggest 600 to 800 IU for children and adults, but others recommend 1000 IU.

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

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Sex and Menopause: Is it Normal to Lose Desire?

by Health News

Unfortunately, it’s a common myth that people age their sex drive takes a dive. While it may be true that some women’s sexual desire may decline following menopause, for the majority of women, desire does not decline.  In fact, a survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons, (AARP ) reported that 57% of women said they considered a satisfying sexual relationship to be one of the most important factors in terms of quality of life. Only 36% agreed with the statement that sex is less important as people age. In fact, sexual desire and satisfaction may increase after menopause. With factors such as children moving out of the home, no chance of unwanted pregnancy, no interruptions due to menstrual periods, and the deeper self-awareness and wisdom that comes with age, many women are pleased to experience their sexual drive and enjoyment actually blossoming.  

How to stay healthy and keep your sex life humming!

What Causes Desire to Wane?

If you find that your desire has shifted into low gear after fifty, a simple physical issue such as lower levels of estrogen is rarely the full explanation. Sex drive is complex and multifaceted. It is influenced by physical issues, and also by psychological, emotional, and relationship concerns; and even cultural beliefs.

Physical Problems: Your overall health and well-being—independent of hormonal levels—plays a significant role in your libido. Chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, underactive thyroid, depression, and bladder problems; or chronic pain and fatigue, can dramatically decrease sexual desire.  Add to that list: drug use, smoking, and certain prescription medications including tranquilizers, sedatives, steroids, antihistamines, antidepressants and peptic ulcer medication.  

The only biological condition that is clearly linked to a woman’s desire for sex is vaginal dryness. Lack of lubrication can cause pain, muscular spasms, and difficulty reaching orgasm. Lower estrogen levels are a major issue, but there are other contributors to this condition, including certain prescription medications; chemically treated sanitary products and synthetic underwear; and chemical deodorants, douches, and perfumes. The side effects of the treatment of certain health conditions can also lead to excessive dryness, especially treatments for cancer including radiation, chemotherapy, and estrogen-blocking drugs.

Related:  Is Your Lack of Sex Drive Due to Low T?

Psychological and Emotional Factors: The fire of desire can also be dampened by a variety of psychological and emotional factors. The most common include:

  • Excess stress. Around the time of menopause, a number of significant sources of stress often converge at one time. They may include raising teenagers, being a caregiver for an elderly parent, job-related issues, and marriage or relationship tensions.
  • Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Self-esteem issues. Being uncomfortable or self-conscious about your weight, aging body, or health problems can cause you to feel less attractive and desirable.
  • How you feel about your partner.  If you are upset with or feel distant from your partner, your desire for them won’t be burning. Likewise, your appetite for your partner may be poor if you find their bedroom skills disappointing. One third of women in the AARP study who reported having no sexual problems, said they had previously had problems, but when they changed partners, the issue went away.
  •  Beliefs about sex and aging. If you believe it is normal to lose sexual desire as you age, then more than likely, you will lose it.

Getting Your Mojo Back

If your lack of libido is due to physical issues, the best approach is to work on improving your health. There are no short cuts, quick fixes, or magic pills. Good health only comes from good habits, which include: 

  • Eating a diet high in organically produced fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and supplemental omega-3 fatty acids
  • Exercising daily—even brisk walking can do wonders for your sex drive, as well as the rest of your health
  • Getting enough quality rest by going to sleep by 10 p.m. and rising before 6 a.m.
  • Practicing effective stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises
  • Keeping your weight ideal—either being significantly overweight or underweight can have a tremendous negative impact on your health

Improving Vaginal Dryness

If you suffer with vaginal dryness, there are many approaches that can improve or reverse the condition. The typical western medicine course of treatment consists of topical estrogens. Although they can increase your risk of breast cancer, the relative risk of topical estrogens compared to oral hormone replacement therapy is much less. I recommend always trying natural approaches first. Studies show that certain foods high in phytoestrogens, such as soy and flax seeds, can help reduce vaginal dryness without increasing your risk of breast cancer. The herbs black cohosh and ginseng have been documented by several studies to improve vaginal moisture. Vitamin E vaginal suppositories and supplemental oral omega-7 fatty acids (from a plant called Sea buckthorn) can also be of benefit. The holistic system of medicine Ayurveda recommends topical aloe vera gel and coconut oil for vaginal dryness, and the herbs marshmallow root and Shatavari for low libido.

Be sure to use natural lubricants without synthetic chemicals and toxins. Organic coconut oil and aloe vera are two of the best choices. 

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Is Your Depression Exercise-Related?

by IVL Products

Psychologists, scientists and doctors are intrigued by the inverse relationship between exercise and depression. According to The Times newspaper, "neurologists have begun to show that exercise may alter brain chemistry in much the same way that antidepressant drugs do, by regulating the key neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine."

Studies show that exercise and depression may be inversely related

Despite lack of funding, as there are no huge profits in studying something that cannot be patented, studies have shown that aerobic exercise appears to be a simple treatment for relieving mild to moderate depression.

One such study at Duke University, NC on a group of clinically depressed patients divided them into three groups and treated them with exercise only, exercise plus antidepressant drug or antidepressant drug only. Initially those taking antidepressant drugs reported slightly better results but after 10 months, it was the patients on exercise-only that had the best mood and highest remission rate.

Related:  How to Exercise Away the Effects of Depression

Health Benefits of Exercise and Depression

We already know that regular exercise provides a wealth of benefits, whether you choose walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, golf (on foot), tennis, aerobics, gardening, dancing or even yoga.

Exercise strengthens the heart muscle, lowers blood pressure, improves muscle tone, lowers body fat and strengthens bones. But while all that is going on, exercise is also triggering neurotransmitters to release endorphins from the brain, spine and other parts of the body.

The endorphins interact with brain receptors to promote a sense of happiness and positivity. The effect of endorphins is similar to analgesics or a morphine kick, reducing the perception of pain. Sometimes this is reported as a "runner's high" at the end of a vigorous workout or run. These natural chemicals also act as sedatives and reduce stress, yet unlike chemical drugs, they do not lead to addiction or dependence.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mood issues and depression, why not encourage them to take up a sport or exercise and depression may be eased. It can be all the more beneficial for them to participate with a partner or in a group class, as there is ongoing support to continue even when the going gets tough. It's a simple, easy and free remedy, with absolutely nothing to lose.

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Five Benefits of Meditation

by Cindy Gray

The modern world provides many conveniences but it also brings increased stress and anxiety.  Busy schedules create the need for relaxation from time to time.  Meditation is a practice that people engage in to achieve a more peaceful state of mind through quiet contemplation or through sustained focus on sound, mantras, or the breath.  Virtually all forms of meditation induce a more peaceful state of mind, but the practice offers a host of additional advantages.  Five benefits of meditation in particular lead to enhanced health and happiness.  

People enjoy many physical and mental benefits of meditation

1.  Reduced Muscle Tension

By controlling breathing, calming the mind, and focusing attention on specific areas of the body, meditation can help reduce muscle tension.  A technique called Progressive Muscle Relaxation is particularly helpful at the beginning of a session.  People purposefully tighten and relax muscles in a systematic way resulting in reduced muscle tension throughout the body.

2.  Lower Blood Pressure

Because meditation enhances relaxation, it makes one of the best natural high blood pressure remedies.  Relaxation triggers the release of nitric oxide, which expands blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.  A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined the effects of meditation on 60 people with high blood pressure.  Results showed that 40 of the 60 subjects were able to stop taking blood pressure medication as a result of regular meditation.

3.  Slower Heart Rate

The many physical benefits of meditation also include a slower heart rate.  A Korean study showed that subjects who practiced the Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique experienced slower heart rates, and benefits lasted for up to 8 months after the study ended. 

4.  Better Sleep

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness programs which include meditation practice may help improve sleep.  A group of 49 middle-aged and older adults who reported trouble sleeping either participated in a mindfulness program or a sleep education class for improving sleep habits.  Both groups met once weekly for a period of six weeks.  The people in the mindfulness program reported less insomnia, fatigue, and depression after six weeks than the people attending the sleep education class.

Related:  Meditation Rewires Your Brain

5.  Less Stress

Many studies have shown the benefits of meditation for anxiety and stress.  Researchers from the University of Wisconsin in Madison found that people who practice Open Monitoring Meditation like Vipassana showed less gray matter in the areas of the brain related to anxiety and stress.  On the flipside, MRIs taken before and after meditation have shown more gray matter in areas related to learning and memory.  In layman's terms, these results indicate that regular meditation can lead to less stress and better learning and memory. 

With so many physical and mental benefits of meditation, people may want to give it a try.  One of the easiest ways to begin meditating is to focus on the breath.  Sit or lie comfortably, close the eyes, and breathe naturally.  Focus on the breath and the movement of the body with each inhale and exhale.  If the mind wanders, bring it gently back to focusing on the breath.  Start with a period of five minutes, and increase time with practice.  Start out with even a few minutes of meditation each day.  Increase the amount of time in meditation according to your comfort zone.  Consistency is the key.

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The Healthy Aging Guide to Blue and Purple Superfoods

by IVL Products

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

Healthy aging with delicious blue and purple superfoods

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

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

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

Put Out the Fire

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

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

The Ultimate List of Blue and Purple Superfoods

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

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

Color Your World

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

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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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Three Antioxidants for Anti-Aging

by IVL Products

Extending our life spans to enjoy more of those “golden years” is the goal of almost all societies. There are never ending studies being conducted in hospitals, clinics and research laboratories around the globe to find the most effective anti-aging products that will turn back the clock. 

Anti-aging compounds called antioxidants neutralize free radicals to preserve the longevity of cells, and thus our lives.

The Three Anti-Aging Amigos

What are the best anti-aging compounds that should be in your diet?  Vitamin C and E are widely known as powerful free radical erasers, but there are other lesser-known compounds that are quickly rising to the top of the list of most powerful antioxidants.

Resveratrol

This polyphonic compound is found naturally in peanuts, grapes, red wine and many berries.  Since resveratrol is easily absorbed and metabolized by the human body, it can quickly begin neutralizing cell damaging free radicals. 

Research is showing that resveratrol significantly helps to slow down the spread of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. In animal studies for years, and now in human studies, resveratrol has been shown to reduce the narrowing of blood vessels lessening the risk of heart attacks (the number one killer of men and women in this country!) and strokes.

Most of its anti-aging benefits come from resveratrol’s anti-inflammatory response in the body. Chronic inflammation has long been linked to diseases of the cardiovascular system, the gums, joints and other organs.

Related:  For Healthy Aging: A Toast to Resveratrol

Astaxanthin

This is a carotenoid pigment found in trout, microalgae, yeast, crab, lobster and is highly concentrated in Pacific salmon. It is what gives the fish flesh its pinkish hue. New research over the past decade has been slow because it is very expensive to obtain, but the medical community is finding out that this is one very powerful antioxidant!

Astaxanthin (pronounced asta-ZAN-thin) is a potent anti-inflammatory and pain blocker. It reduces the inflammatory compounds that are the source of many chronic diseases and works like prescription analgesics (pain relievers) but is completely natural.  It is especially effective at suppressing levels of C reactive protein, a known cause of heart disease.

Some researchers theorize that astaxanthin is highly concentrated in Pacific salmon to give them the muscular endurance to swim upstream when they migrate.  It improves blood flow to muscles and reduces the amount of oxidative stress they suffer when working hard and helps increase endurance.

Finally, when applied topically, astaxanthin helps smooth out wrinkles and diminish age spots.

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 helps converts food into energy and is found in almost every cell of the human body.  The reason CoQ10 is as important as an anti-aging compound lies in its ability to lower blood pressure, help control blood glucose levels and neutralize free radicals ravaging cells.

Studies have shown that patients who took CoQ10 after a heart attack were less likely to have another one and had less chest pain than those who did not take it. Smaller studies involving people have also shown it to lower blood pressure.

Those with high cholesterol tend to have low levels of CoQ10 in their bodies. Though sufficient research has not been done to link this to improving cholesterol levels there has been some studies done showing taking it with prescription statins reduces the pain associated with statin treatment and restores normal cholesterol levels in the body. 

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Healthy Foods That Taste Better Than Junk Foods

by Health News

Ice cream sundae or sugar-free jelly?  Chocolate brownie or granola bar?  Kettle chips or green salad?

It's often very difficult to stick to choices from your healthy foods list, since junk food, snacks and sweet treats invariably look and taste better than a healthier low-calorie option.  But just to prove that wrong, here are 10 foods that somehow manage to taste even better than junk foods—plus they help teach your body how to reduce food cravings.

Fruits rank high on the healthy foods list

1. Strawberries

Brimming with antioxidants and phytochemicals, it’s hard to beat the taste of a fresh sun-ripened strawberry. These lush summer fruits are high in vitamin C, carotenes, calcium, fiber and minerals yet are low in calories. Eating three or more servings a week of strawberries and blueberries is certainly no hardship, yet they provide a 32% lowered risk of heart attack.

2. Watermelon

Lycopene is normally associated with tomatoes, but it's present in watermelon, too. On a hot day there's nothing more refreshing than biting into a crisp triangle of juicy water melon—and that's a great tip for how to reduce food cravings too!

3. Mangoes

Mangoes are so versatile. Add them to fruit salads, eat fresh in slivers or make a delicious sugar-free dessert with them. They contain calcium, iron and lots of trace minerals as well as 17 of the 20 amino acids in the human body.

4. Almonds

Did you know that almonds are an excellent source of protein? The skins are high in antioxidants that are normally associated with fruits and vegetables. In fact, a one-ounce serving of almonds has the equivalent quantity of polyphenols as a cup of broccoli, but their calorie content is five times higher, so portion-size is the watchword!

5. Avocados

Another food where a little goes a long way is avocado. Low in fructose and high in healthy monounsaturated fats for energy, avocadoes are particularly high in potassium and B-vitamins.

6. Blueberries

Packed with fiber and antioxidants, blueberries contain high levels of nitric oxide which dilates the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure safely and naturally. What better fruit to add to your healthy foods list?

Related:  Healthy Eating Habits

7. Sweet Potatoes

It’s the beta-carotene antioxidant that gives sweet potatoes their healthy color. As well as countering the aging effects of free radicals, sweet potatoes also support the immune system.

8. Cherries

Sweet cherries are high in quercetin, the most potent type of antioxidant, along with fiber, vitamin C and anthocyanins which are important for cancer prevention. These glossy fruits should be top of your healthy foods list when they are in season.

9. Pistachios

Containing the same healthy oleic acid found in olive oil, pistachios are known to naturally help lower blood pressure.  High in lutein and beta-carotene (both good for ophthalmic health), pistachios are a good snack for dieters as they take time to shell and nibble slowly.

10. Dark Chocolate

Eating high-quality dark chocolate in small portions (1-2 squares per day) can reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes. It helps control hypertension and fasting glucose levels and is a great snack choice for those looking for how to reduce food cravings. 

So maybe it’s not so difficult after all to stick to choices from your healthy foods list!  Choose a delicious and healthier low-calorie option from this tasty list of 10 foods that really do taste even better than junk foods!  

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Fish-Free Wrinkle Free: The Vegetarian Answer to Omega-3s

by Health News

With supplements and a few additions to your shopping list, you can find fish-free omega-3 foods that will enhance your anti-aging diet, yet still honor your choice to live a vegetarian lifestyle. There are a lot of plant sources with essential nutrients to help keep you young, vibrant, and vegetarian!

Walnuts provide omega-3 fatty acids and help you get essential nutrients into your anti-aging diet.

Power Plants

Mother Nature offers so many healthy ways to get your much needed fish-free omega-3s and other nutrients. Here are a few:

Flax

Grinding the seeds and adding them to cookie, bread, or muffin recipes is one method to get flaxseed into your diet.  Research shows that ground flax can be used in baked goods without losing their desired health benefits, such as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and omega-3 fatty acids as long as you keep the oven temperature at 300 degrees Fahrenheit—or less.

Flax offers other health benefits like phytonutrients called lignans, which are antioxidants, something essential for maintaining youthful energy levels and glowing skin. As little one ounce of flaxseed can help keep obesity at bay, improve circulation and lower blood pressure.

Barley

Barley is a delicious, nutty flavored and versatile cereal grain with lots of health benefits.  It is chock full of manganese, fiber, selenium, copper, vitamin B1, phosphorus, magnesium and niacin, just to name a few of its wonderful nutrients.

The selenium in barley make it a great anti-aging food because it strengthens metabolic pathways for a healthier immune system and lowers your risk of developing some cancers, something essential for keeping you feeling young and vibrant at any age.

Related:  Vegans May Benefit From Supplements of Omega 3s and Vitamin B12

Soy Lecithin

Lecithin is produced in the liver and makes up an important part of the mucus layer in our large intestines.   It’s made up of three fat-soluble molecules that are the building blocks of cell membranes that facilitate cell communication and keep cells from sticking to each other.

Soybeans are a good source of lecithin and beneficial as a meat-free food that helps keep your liver healthy by emulsifying (breaking down) fatty deposits that can lead to high cholesterol, liver and cardiovascular disease.

Seaweed

Seaweed offers nutrients from the ocean not found in land-based greens.  It has long been a part of the diet of many Asian cultures and should be in your anti-aging diet plan.

Seaweed is a great source of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and it can help regulate estrogen and estradiol levels. Those two hormones can help women lower their risk of developing breast cancer.

One nutrient that is missing from many diets and is in few foods is iodine. Seaweed is rich in iodine, which is essential for keeping your thyroid healthy. Since thyroid problems are a common problem as we age eating more seaweed salad is good idea.

Walnuts

If you are vegetarian you would be nuts not to be eating walnuts regularly. When consumed whole with the skin still on them you get a healthy dose of:

  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Biotin
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium

Numerous research over the last few decades have shown walnuts to help lower the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, or suffering a metabolic disorder.  Walnuts are also rich sources of antioxidants, help reduce inflammation, and support collagen production, which keeps skin smooth and wrinkle free.

No Need to Fish for Compliments

Adding these foods to your shopping list to round out an effective anti-aging diet is a smart way for anyone looking to get fish free omega-3s and other essential nutrients without eating meat.