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Three Stress-Relieving Yoga Poses

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India about 5000 years ago. It calms and balances your mood and gently stretches all your muscles to help maintain strong bones, bring balance to your posture, and encourages you to breathe deeply. Yoga is something everyone can learn to do to help with stress management in today’s busy stressful lifestyle.

Yoga for stress management

The Stress-Free Three

To help calm your mind and relax your body to relieve stress these three poses are good to learn and practice regularly.

1. Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog is a very basic pose, sometime called a resting pose. While it appears to be very simple, there is a technique to it and done properly it has many health benefits, one of which is helping you with stress management.

Downward facing dog is deceptively challenging and requires some strength.  To do it properly, place your palms on the floor in front of you, fingers spread and palms pressing into the floor. Hands should be in line with wrist, and in line with shoulders.  Step your legs back one at a time keeping your feet in line with your hands. Make sure to keep your elbows straight as you press your bottom toward the sky pressing your thighs back and up. Lower your heels to the floor (if you can; it may take a few attempts to increase your flexibility) and relax your head and neck. Try holding the position for at least 30 seconds to begin with and gradually increase that over time.  Remember to always breathe through the nose.

Downward facing dog helps to manage stress by:

  • Clearing your head, literally and figuratively. You need to focus on form and stop fretting about your to-do list. The inverted position will also help open up nasal passages to allow you to breathe more deeply. Oxygen-rich blood will rush to your brain and help you think more clearly.
  • This pose helps strengthen bones, tighten the core and increase flexibility.  It will improve your posture and start ridding you of the little aches and pains that come with slumping at a desk all day, rushing around doing errands and tensing up with everyday stress. These little pains increase your stress level, even though you may not be conscious of them.
  • Improves your appearance:  he effect is temporary, but the rush of blood to your brain and face will give your complexion a healthy glow.  Often we feel as good as we look.

Related:  Discover the Benefits of Hatha Yoga for Stress Relief

2. Child’s Pose

This is another basic yoga pose also known as a resting pose. It requires no props and is easy for anyone to do.

Assume child’s pose by getting down on your hands and knees, in a table posture.  Lean back on your heels then extend your arms forward and lower your torso and head to the ground. Keep your forehead on the ground, keeping your neck relaxed. Press your palms into the floor in front of the body as you rest your bottom on your heels. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds, gradually increasing that time. Remember to breathe.

Child’s pose is a great way to manage stress because it helps relax your body so you can focus on your breathing to calm the mind.  While you relax you are gently stretching your back, neck and shoulders, where stress tends to manifest itself as tension in the muscles.  Having your eyes facing the floor makes it easier to block out the outside world and help you relax your body. It is natural for your stomach to press into your thighs and your hips to spread a bit. This has the benefit of helping with digestion and increased flexibility in the hips.  If this is difficult, try spreading your knees outward, toward the sides of your mat.  Relax.

3. Legs Up Wall

This is a very simple pose with great mental and physical health benefits. Most anyone can do it with very little practice. This is a calming pose that is especially good to do at the end of the day to aid in falling asleep.

To get into the pose correctly, find a clear space against a wall and sit down pressing your hip against the wall so that you are facing sideways. Slowly rotate your body so that your back relaxes to the floor and your legs are pointing straight up resting against the wall. Your bottom does not have to be touching the wall but should only be a few inches away from it.  Relax your arms at your side, while you focus on taking slow deep breathes. That’s it!

As you rest, blood will begin to drain out of tired swollen feet and legs and return to the core where it can be recycled with a fresh infusion of oxygen. You will be gently stretching the back of your legs (hamstrings), which tend to get tight after sitting all day.

Legs-up-wall pose is very good for quieting the mind. You can stay in this pose for quite some time (10 to 15 minutes) to practice deep even breathing without needing a break.  It helps calm the nervous system, aids in digestion and helps tired legs and feet to feel refreshed.  It is especially pleasing to feel the rush of blood back into your lower legs and feet when you leave the pose and stand back up, slowly. 

These three poses are a good way to help with stress management even when you don’t have a lot of time. Slowly increase the time you hold each pose and enjoy the mental and physical benefits.

 

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Why You Can’t Crunch your Way to Six-Pack Abs

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If you want a flat, toned stomach, six-pack, washboard, or whatever you call your midsection, there is no magic wand to get it; what is needed is core exercise. Our bodies are made in such a way that you cannot just concentrate on spot reduction for toning and reducing fat because it comes as part of the entire fitness physique.

Core exercise includes a variety of aerobic sports activities

Belly fat generally has two parts: subcutaneous fat (the type that forms “love handles”); and visceral fat that surrounds the stomach and organs. Visceral fat may be out of sight, but it is the most dangerous type of belly fat, because it is often associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Core exercise is needed to burn fat deposits to get core muscles around the trunk and pelvis in top shape.

Core exercise involves three things:

Phase 1 - Aerobic Exercise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 300 minutes of moderately intense exercise or 150 minutes of vigorous exercise every week to burn calories. That’s 2½ to 5 hours.  High calorie aerobic exercise includes running, cycling, interval training and swimming to burn around 600 calories per hour. Low intensity exercise such as brisk walking only burns 300-400 calories per hour.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is best for burning calories, reducing fat and maintaining muscle mass. By using different types of gym cardio equipment and performing at alternating high and medium intensity for 30 seconds each, it can provide excellent core exercise to tone the midriff and reduce fat deposits.

Phase 2 - Strength Training

Core exercise should include at least two sessions of strength training per week. Core work and resistance exercises should include repeat squats, chin-ups and pushups to work multiple muscle groups along with crunches, reverse crunches, leg lifts and planks. As you burn fat and build muscle, strength training and core exercise will begin to produce a flat, toned six-pack stomach.

Related:  Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

Phase 3 - Healthy Diet

If you need to lose fat around your waist and stomach you need to consume less calories than you burn. Scientists recommend a low-calorie diet based on nutritional food such as lean meat, low-fat dairy products, fruit and vegetables. Avoid sugar and include only small portions of complex carbs such as whole-wheat bread and brown rice. Aim to lose a steady two pounds a week. If weight loss reaches a plateau, cut the calories even more.

By combining core exercise with fat-burning aerobic exercise and a healthy diet, you will soon have a flat, toned stomach and a six-pack to make you proud.

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White Willow Bark - Nature’s Aspirin for Joint Pain Relief

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the National Health Institute (NIH), approximately 11% of the population is suffering from some form of pain, from mild or occasional to chronic or severe. That’s about 25.3 million Americans!  Many of those aches are in the joints, and a reason that sends millions of people to their doctors for relief.  For those seeking more than the traditional drugs and narcotics prescribed, white willow bark is proving to be a safe and effective way to bring joint pain relief.

What Is White Willow Bark?

White willow bark comes from the bark of white willow trees. It has been used in Chinese and European medicine for centuries and the earliest settlers in this country learned of its pain relieving properties from Native Americans.

White willow bark is often called nature’s aspirin due to the pain-relieving compound found in the bark called salicin. 

How White Willow Bark Provides Joint Pain Relief

When salicin is ingested, the body converts it to salicylic acid, which lowers prostaglandin levels. Prostaglandins are long-chain hydroxyl fatty acids produced naturally by the body and can be found in the lining of the stomach, the intestines, the uterus and all smooth muscles throughout the body.  They help regulate body temperature, control inflammation and vascular permeability. They are also responsible for uterine contractions during birth and the cause the painful cramps some women experience while menstruating.  Too many prostaglandins circulating in the body, especially the joints, causes pain. 

The salicin in white willow bark is similar to aspirin and in addition to pain relief can help reduce inflammation in the joints and reduce fevers.  Several studies have actually shown it to be as, or more effective at relieving pain, than aspirin.  It does take longer to bring pain relief but typically its effects last longer, making it a good alternative for those seeking joint pain relief who do not want to be popping synthetic drugs all day.

Related:  The History of Nature's Aspirin for Lower Back Pain

Besides joint pain relief white willow bark can also be taken for:

Dosage

If you would like to try white willow bark, the recommended dosage is 300 mg in capsule form twice a day with a meal. Just be sure to purchase a product that is standardized to 15 percent of the active ingredient salicin.

White willow bark is for adults only. There is no safe dosage determined for children. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take it either. Always consult with your doctor before taking any supplement to avoid unfavorable drug reactions. Those who are sensitive or allergic to aspirin should not take white willow bark supplements.

Side Effects:

With any medication or supplement there is the possibility of side effects. Fortunately white willow bark side effects tend to be mild but include:

  • Upset stomach (nausea)
  • Ulcers
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Kidney or stomach inflammation

Natural Pain Relief

Most people will experience some degree of joint pain in their lifetime. If you are looking for an alternative to traditional pain relievers for joint pain relief, consider taking a white willow bark supplement. 

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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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Six Ways Your Health Suffers When You Stop Working Out

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

Obesity is more likely in those who stopped working out

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

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

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

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

1. Shrinking Muscles

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

2. Decrease in Brain Power

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

3. Increase in Body Fat

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

Related:  Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

4. Blood Pressure Rises

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

5. Blood Sugar Spikes

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

6. Shortness of Breath

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

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

 

 

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5 Tricks to Battle Insomnia and Finally Get Some Rest

by Health News

Can’t sleep? Having trouble dropping off or staying asleep? Waking up feeling unrefreshed or waking up early and unable to drop back off? According to the National Sleep Foundation, one in three people suffer from insomnia, so, if you’re suffering from one or more of these problems, you are not alone. 

Yoga can be helpful in combatting insomnia

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is not a medical condition; it is usually a symptom of another problem. Common causes of insomnia include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Pain
  • Medication
  • Physical discomfort
  • Environmental noise, light or unsuitable room temperature
  • Traveling across time zones
  • Working shifts
  • Digestive problems such as indigestion or acid reflux

Insomnia, as sufferers know all too well, can seriously affect your quality of life. Lack of sleep may jeopardize your safety or affect your levels of concentration. It can also be a contributing factor to more serious health issues such as heart disease or depression.

According to poll data, 48% of Americans report occasional insomnia while 22% experience it almost every night. Studies show that women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than men, and older people suffer from it more than the younger generation. In 1997, a survey by the National Sleep Foundation calculated that lost productivity alone from insomnia topped $18 billion!

Treating Insomnia

It’s important to treat insomnia before it becomes a set pattern. Instead of opting for medication, try some natural ways to aid sleep such as:

Exercise

Exercise can be a good aid to sleep and should be done about six hours before bedtime. As well as tiring your body, exercise clears the mind and triggers a release of mood-enhancing hormones and chemicals including estrogen, dopamine and endorphins to make you feel happy and relaxed.

Yoga

Yoga can help break the cycle of stress and sleep deprivation. Practicing yoga calms the mind, relieves physical tension and helps induce sleep naturally. Some of the best poses to help you sleep better include the Easy Forward Bend position, Child’s Pose (Balasana), Legs Up the Wall or the Seated Spinal Twist.

Related:  Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

Change of Diet

Eating more fruit and vegetables and consuming less sugar can be helpful to counter insomnia. Drinking less caffeine and more water can also help your body relax and sleep better.

Bedtime Routine

Establish a bedtime routine, perhaps a warm shower or bath before putting on your PJs, or sipping a milky drink and reading before turning out the light. If necessary, write down the things that are worrying you and rid them from your mind before sleep.

Breathing Exercises

There are many relaxation techniques available to listen to on CD. Dr. Andrew Weil’s breathing exercises are designed to help you fall asleep and can be a useful aid to relaxation as well as countering insomnia.

It’s worth trying all these tricks to battle insomnia and find whatever helps give you a good night’s sleep, better health and an improved quality of life.

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7 Exercises for Better Sex

by IVL Products

Regular exercise has many health benefits including weight management, lower risk of heart disease and hypertension and it helps you sleep better. Certain exercises can enhance your sex life too.  Dr. Andrew Weil ran a study on swimmers in their 60s. The results showed that they had sex lives comparable to people 20 years younger. Read on to discover some exercises for sex that will improve your strength, stamina and flexibility in the bedroom. 

Certain exercises for sex can enhance your performance in the bedroom

So here goes:

1.     Squats Exercises

Squat exercises strengthen and tone the thighs, hips and buttocks. Use weights for more effectiveness. From a standing position, move the hips back and bend the knees to a squat position then return to the upright position.

2.     Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises were designed by a gynecologist to strength the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle which contracts during female orgasm. Practicing kegel exercises for sex can improve orgasm in women and give men a stronger erection. While driving the car, sitting at the computer or watching TV, squeeze the PC muscle as if you are stopping a stream of urine. Hold for a count of three and relax. Repeat 10 times.

3.     Happy Baby Exercises for Sex

This easy exercise is used in yoga and Pilates to stretch and tone the inner thigh and groin. Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Flex both feet with soles to the ceiling. Pull on your big toes with your fingers, just like a baby does, pulling the knees closer to the chest and hold for as long as possible.

RelatedYoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

4.     Pelvic Tilt Exercises

To strengthen the abdomen and tone pelvic muscles, lie on the floor on your back with knees bent and arms at your side. Lift your hips so that your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Hold for 10 seconds then relax back to the floor and repeat 20 times.

5.     Plank Exercises

Strengthen your core and sculpt your waistline with plank exercises. Lie on your stomach; put your forearms flat on the floor in front of you. Lift the body using just the toes and forearms to hold your weight. Keep the stomach tight and hold the position for as long as possible. Other plank exercises can be found on this video.

6.     Biceps Curls

Stand and hold a curl bar weight or dumbbell with arms by your side and elbows extended. Curl the arm/arms upwards towards the shoulder, keeping the elbow close to the body, and then lower the arm to the start position in a controlled arc. Repeat.

7.     Ab Rolls

You need to invest in an ab wheel for this final exercise for sex which tones the core. Kneel with your hands on the wheel, push your hips out and roll forward extending the body fully using the wheel. Return to the start position and do 15 reps.

As well as toning and strengthening, all these exercises for sex will help you to have a positive body image, another important part of having a better sex life. 

Challenge Yourself to Get Moving Today

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Dizziness: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

by IVL Products

From time to time everyone experiences bouts of dizziness.  Symptoms include an unsteady or spacey feeling, lightheadedness, and/or loss of balance.  While dizziness sometimes comes from something as simple as standing up too quickly, it can also result from a number of health problems, ranging from minor to serious.  Knowing what causes dizziness helps people access proper treatment and put an end to uncomfortable episodes.

A number of underlying health conditions cause dizziness, but are usually not serious.

Dehydration

Not getting enough fluids throughout the day can cause dizziness.  Dehydration can result from a strenuous workout, extra-warm weather, or just forgetting to replenish fluids.  The solution is as simple as rehydrating by drinking an adequate amount of water and a little rest.  If the feeling hasn't subsided within 15 minutes, people should contact a medical professional.    

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia occurs when low levels of glucose in the blood affect normal function.  Episodes produce a range of symptoms like intense hunger, anxiety, sweaty or clammy skin, and dizziness. 

Hypoglycemia is a common occurrence among people with diabetes.  According to a review study published in the Public Library of Science, people with type 2 diabetes experience an average of 19 mild episodes and one severe bout of hypoglycemia each year.  Drinking a glass of juice or eating complex carbohydrates like toast and jam help restore blood sugar levels quickly, making feelings of dizziness and other symptoms subside. 

Related:  Natural Health Solutions: Blood Sugar Levels

Benign Positional Vertigo

When people get out of bed and the room spins, they are most likely experiencing benign positional vertigo, or BPV.  Due to changes in the inner ear, this condition becomes more common with age.  In fact, according to the Vestibular Disorders Association, BPV is responsible for roughly 50% of the episodes of dizziness in people over the age of 50.  To realign calcium carbonate crystals in the ears, doctors may suggest repositioning techniques for the head.  Anti-nausea medication may also provide relief.

Stroke or Heart Attack

In addition to dizziness, people who have a stroke or mini-stroke may experience weakness on one side of the body; loss of movement, vision, hearing, or speech; blackout or memory loss; and/or severe headache.  Individual experiencing a heart attack may feel chest pain or have profuse sweating; discomfort in the neck, jaw, or arm; and/or nausea.

People who experience any of these symptoms in combination with dizziness should get immediate medical help.  Treatment for stroke or mini-stroke includes anticoagulants to break up clots and medications to lower blood pressure.  Serious stroke may require surgery and/or additional treatment.  Depending on the seriousness of a heart attack, treatment may include lifestyle changes, rehabilitation, medication, stents, or surgery. 

Additional conditions that may cause dizziness include:

  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Certain medications
  • Ear Infection
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Meniere’s Disease

Not a disease in itself, dizziness is a symptom of an underlying health problem.  Occasional dizzy feelings are common and causes are usually not serious.  However, people should seek medical help immediately if they experience any symptoms of stroke or heart attack, or if they experience recurring episodes of dizziness with no known cause. 

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The Connection between Perimenopause and Heavy Bleeding

by Cindy Gray

While many women associate declining estrogen and progesterone with menopause, female hormones actually begin to fluctuate years earlier during the transition period known as perimenopause.  With an average span of four years, perimenopause comes with a number of physical and emotional symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbance, vaginal dryness, reduced libido, mood swings, and headache.  Roughly 25 percent of women also experience heavy bleeding, or menorrhagia, which can cause weakness and extreme fatigue one to two days each month, and lead to anemia if severe.  Understanding the connection between perimenopause and heavy bleeding helps women better deal with this bothersome symptom.  

There is a connection between hormonal imbalance in perimenopause and heavy bleeding.

Menorrhagia Quiz

Women with concerns about perimenopause and heavy bleeding can start by answering a few questions:

  • Does your period arrive more frequently than every 21 days?
  • Does your period last longer than seven days?
  • Do you spot in between periods?
  • Is the amount of flow at least twice that of your normal period?
  • Are you changing even high-absorbency pads or tampons frequently?
  • Does menstrual flow contain large blood clots?

If you have answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you may be experiencing menorrhagia.  

The Cause of Menorrhagia during Perimenopause

According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, a prominent doctor and women's health expert, estrogen dominance (an imbalance in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone) causes menorrhagia in menopause.  Too much estrogen results in an overgrowth of uterine lining, which breaks down and sheds in a disorderly way.  This leads to irregular heavy bleeding or spotting in between periods.

Remedies for Menorrhagia

Natural progesterone creams may reduce the thickness of uterine lining, and women can also visit a health care provider for a stronger product in capsule form.  

An NSAID pain reliever like ibuprofen has the potential to cut menstrual flow in half by blocking prostaglandins.  The recommended dosage is 200 mg every six hours for the first few days of a woman's period.

The herb turmeric also shows promise for reducing menstrual blood flow.  It should be taken once per day throughout the month as an oral supplement. 

RelatedThe Probiotic-Menopause Connection

Research shows that women with diets high in phytoestrogens experience lighter periods.  Phytoestrogens compete with stronger endogenous estrogens that stimulate production of uterine lining.  Foods high in phytoestrogens include nuts, soy products, and flaxseed.

Women should incorporate foods with iodine into the diet.  Iodine has a down-regulating effect on estrogen receptors, which helps reduce the thickness of uterine lining.  Good sources of iodine include sea vegetables, scallops, cod, and yogurt.

Menorrhagia results from an overgrowth of uterine lining caused by hormonal imbalance. Women dealing with perimenopause and heavy bleeding can try several natural and/or prescribed remedies for relief.  Although 25 percent of women in perimenopause experience menorrhagia, it also results from certain medical conditions.  To rule out endometriosis, fibroids, infection, underactive thyroid, or uterine polyps, women with heavy bleeding should consult with a health care provider.  

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Discover the Benefits of Hatha Yoga for Stress Relief

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Stress-related anxiety and depression affect millions of people worldwide, but conventional medicines are not always beneficial or preferred.  Natural stress-relieving approaches make excellent alternatives.  A recent review of 25 randomized, controlled studies suggests that the practice of yoga may help reduce stress.  People who practice it experience better regulation of the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system in the body.  By inhibiting physiological stress and inflammation, yoga may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve mood across a range of populations.  Many people turn to one particular kind of yoga for stress - hatha yoga.

Many people practice hatha yoga for stress relief, better fitness, and improved sleep.

Based on a centuries-old philosophy, hatha yoga encompasses a series of gentle poses, breathing exercises, and meditation.  People who practice hatha yoga appreciate its ability to promote relaxation, and most practitioners experience stress-relieving benefits after just one class.  Hatha yoga also contributes to overall fitness and enhances a sense of wellbeing.

Related:  Yoga Lowers Fatigue and Inflammation in Breast Cancer Survivors

More Evidence

According to Dr. Michael Craig Miller of Harvard Medical School, hatha yoga helps promote a calmer response in stressful situations, which means breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure do not climb.  A study from Harvard examining yoga for stress relief followed a group of participants who took two 90-minute yoga classes weekly for three months.  During and following the study, subjects reported lower perceived stress, anxiety, and depression and better sleep, less back pain, and fewer headaches.

People involved in a yoga study published in The Journal of Nursing Research claimed both immediate and long-term stress reduction as a result of yoga practice.  Subjects reported less perceived stress after one 90-minute class and a more pronounced effect after eight weeks of classes at one 90-minute class per week.  Researchers concluded that practicing yoga regularly results in better fitness and reduced stress levels.

Stress relief does not always demand medication.  Approaches like yoga reduce stress naturally, but certain types of hot yoga and power yoga may prove too draining.  Hatha yoga moves at a slow, relaxed pace, so beginners pick it up quickly, but it still offers plenty of challenge to more advanced practitioners.  People who worry or those who have demanding jobs may want to take up hatha yoga for stress relief and many more health benefits

 

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Top 5 Supplements to Heal Your Joints

by Health News

Arthritis is a common condition affecting over 52 million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This painful condition is caused by inflammation and stiffness in the joints. Despite it being such a widespread disease, there is no cure for arthritis, which leads many sufferers to seek natural arthritis treatment. 

natural arthritis treatment

Here are 5 of the most effective supplements considered the best forms of natural arthritis treatment available:

Boswellia

Boswellia has been used for centuries in folk medicine to reduce inflammation. The plant resin is extracted from the trees which grow in the dry mountains of Africa, India and the Middle East. Scientific trials show that boswellia is effective in treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis and bursitis by reducing inflammation. In an eight-week randomized double-blind trial on 30 patients suffering with osteoarthritis of the knee, the participants given boswellia extract reported reduced knee pain and swelling. They also had improved mobility and longer walking distance than those who received a placebo, showing that boswellia should be considered an effective natural arthritis treatment.

White Willow Bark

Another natural anti-inflammatory herb is white willow bark. It contains acetylsalicylic acid which has similar attributes to aspirin but does not irritate the stomach lining. Research so far on white willow bark as a natural arthritis treatment has shown inconsistent results. However, a 2001 study on 78 osteoarthritis patients by Phytotherapy Research concluded that white willow bark showed moderate pain-reducing effects.

Turmeric for natural arthritis treatment

Commonly used in curries, this yellow spice from the ginger family has many medicinal uses in India. As well as a digestive aid, it is claimed to reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness in those suffering from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. The active agent in turmeric is curcumin, which blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, thereby reducing inflammation and pain. Studies show that taking 50 mg of turmeric up to four times a day provides long-term improvement in pain and inflammation for chronic arthritis sufferers.

Related:  Ginger for Muscle and Joint Pain Relief

Hyaluronic Acid

Another common natural arthritis treatment is hyaluronic acid which is naturally found in the synovial fluid of joints. Clinical trials continue to show that supplements of hyaluronic acid can be an effective solution for treating arthritis.

Devil's Claw

Finally, Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is an herbal plant from South Africa which contains harpagoside, a natural anti-inflammatory. It is frequently used as a natural arthritis treatment as it has been shown to decrease joint pain in sufferers. Devil's Claw taken as a 2% powder can be a natural alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for arthritis sufferers, as well as reducing back pain and other painful inflammatory conditions.

Many of these natural painkillers and anti-inflammatory supplements are combined in formulas for natural arthritis treatment and are well worth considering as a safe alternative to prescription drugs for treating painful swollen joints.

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Causes of Stress Vary from Person to Person

by Health News

While some level of stress is beneficial because it can motivate and energize us, too much of it can lead to serious health problems.  The causes of stress differ from person to person. An incident that might be extremely upsetting to one person might go totally unnoticed by another. Stress causes the body to produce excess cortisol, the hormone associated with the “fight or flight” response. Once the “stress threat” is over, cortisol levels typically return to normal.

When a person is chronically feeling stressed, cortisol levels remain high. Chronically high cortisol levels are linked to a host of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, eating disorders, muscle tension and fatigue. As some health experts put it: “Deal with your stress or it will deal with you – in harmful ways.”  In order to cope with stress, we must first understand it. There are two kinds of stress:

ACUTE STRESS: This is the type of stress is triggered by specific situations and it prepares the body to defend itself. Acute stress is associated with incidents such as job interviews, public speaking, accidents or injuries.

CHRONIC STRESS: This type of stress never really goes away. It is related to the way a person copes with the issues of everyday living such as bills, kids, job insecurity and relationship problems. It is also very common among caregivers. If left untreated, chronic stress can leads to consistently high cortisol levels that wreak havoc on the body and immune system.

To the extent that you can, remove yourself from situations and people that stress you out. While we can’t always make the causes of stress go away, we can find healthy ways to cope.  Here a few ideas:

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EXERCISE: Take a walk, go for a swim or join an exercise class.   Exercise provides physical and psychological benefits that reduce stress and boost your mood.  Learn yoga and incorporate it into your daily life, just five to 10 minutes a day is better than one hour once a week.  Yoga is a life-changing method for relaxation and breath control.  

GET YOUR REST: Inadequate rest is linked to stress and depression. It’s much easier to cope with stressful situations when you are rested.

DITCH THE GUILT: You are not a superhero and nobody (except you) expects you to be one. Learn to prioritize and say no.

HAVE SOME FUN: It can be hard to maintain your sense of humor during stressful times, but laughter truly is the best medicine. Paint, dance, sing out loud or watch a funny movie.

LEARN TO RELAX: Stressed-out people usually have difficulty relaxing. Yoga, meditation and conscious breathing techniques can help you stay calm and focused.

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Three Herbs for Prostate Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Nine out of ten men over the age of 60 experience problems with their prostate, the small walnut-shaped gland that manufactures seminal fluid.  The most common condition that men develop is an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in medical terms.  While it doesn't cause prostate cancer, an enlarged prostate presses on the urethra, which can affect urine flow.  Doctors prescribe medications to treat an enlarged prostate and sometimes recommend removal, but many men take advantage of natural intervention with three herbs for prostate health. 

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is one of the most well-known herbs for prostate health.  Part of the palm family, saw palmetto gets its medicinal qualities from its berries.  Many cultures have used the dark brown berries for centuries to treat various urinary and reproductive health problems.  

Several clinical trials have compared the effectiveness of saw palmetto for BPH against a commonly prescribed drug, Proscar.  A review of these trials featuring nearly 3,000 male participants showed that men using saw palmetto experienced an improvement in urinary tract symptoms of 28 percent, an improvement in peak urine flow of 24 percent, and an improvement in general urine flow of 43 percent.  Men who took Proscar experienced similar outcomes, and both treatments proved more beneficial than placebo.   

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As yet, scientists don't know how saw palmetto works to reduce BPH symptoms.  Some believe it inhibits the enzyme, 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a hormone associated with the development of BPH.

Pygeum Bark

This medicinal herb comes from the bark of the Prunus africana tree native to mountainous regions of sub-Saharan Africa.  Traditionally South African tribal communities powdered the bark and made it into a tea for treatment of genital and urinary problems.  In modern times, people use pygeum bark to treat various health issues including BPH.  A review study analyzing 18 trials with over 1,500 participants looked at the effect of pygeum bark on general BPH symptoms. Participants taking pygeum experienced a significant improvement of symptoms overall as compared to participants who took placebo.

Stinging Nettle

Part of the nettle family of plants, stinging nettle can be found in Asia, Europe, North Africa, and North America.  The medicinal properties in its leaves provide relief for a variety of health problems from joint pain to allergies.  Many studies have shown that stinging nettle in combination with other herbs like saw palmetto may relieve general BPH symptoms.  Scientists aren't sure how stinging nettle works to relieve symptoms, but active ingredients might influence hormones present in the male body or work directly on prostate cells.

Many people prefer a natural route when it comes to managing or preventing illness.  Numerous studies have shown the benefits of herbs for prostate health.   Because herbs can interact with medications and cause side effects in some people, it is wise to always check with a health care provider before engaging in a supplementary regimen. 

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The Stress Menopause Connection

by IVL Products

The link between stress and menopause is well documented. It can become a vicious cycle of worsening menopausal symptoms leading to increased stress.  Jump off that debilitating merry-go-round and find natural menopause relief with a few simple changes to your diet, activity levels and outlook on life.

Studies are showing that there is a connection between stress and menopause.

The journal Menopause found in a study of over 400 women between the ages of 37 and 47 that those who reported the highest stress levels had as much as five times the hot flashes as those who women who reported less anxiety.  Even women who reported only moderate anxiety levels suffered three times more hot flashes than those who lived with less stress.

More bad news connecting stress and menopause came from a study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal that reported vaginal dryness, a common symptom of menopause due to decreased estrogen, was associated with high levels of psychological stress (not physical stress).

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Stress reduces the secretion of all sex hormones like estrogen. Women going through menopause are already experiencing a dramatic drop in estrogen production, which causes hot flashes, insomnia, depression and vaginal dryness.  Being stressed out about life situations and menopause symptoms can be debilitating and greatly affect one’s quality of life.

The Dangers of Chronic Stress

It is well known that chronic stress is not good for you. It is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, more illness and diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke and even cancer.  It makes chronic illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and diabetes worse as well. 

Add the dramatic physical changes of menopause to an already stressed out life, and you get a recipe for disaster. Your personal relationships, career, and over all sense of wellbeing can be negatively affected.  The good news is natural stress and menopause relief is available with a little effort on your part.

Diet

Your diet has so much to do with how you feel each day. Weight gain is a common side effect of menopause, so paying attention to what you eat can help you manage your stress levels and menopausal symptoms.

Foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kimchi, along with probiotic supplements help keep your GI tract functioning smoothly and your immunes system strong.  Suffering less sever colds, urinary tract infections (also common during menopause), gas pain and bloating will greatly reduce your stress levels. 

Being chronically run down and feeling ill is very stressful. Boosting your immune system with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, omega-3 rich foods and staying well hydrated will relieve stress and menopausal symptoms like fatigue, depression and hot flashes.

Exercise

Weight gain and insomnia are common menopause complaints.  Exercise can offset these two unpleasant symptoms and help you reduce your stress levels.  Making time every day for some physical activity is critical to managing your stress levels and menopause symptoms.

You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run a marathon, either.  A brisk walk or a few laps in the pool is all you need.  Being outside to exercise has many health benefits and makes working out less of a chore and something to look forward to.

Attitude

Your outlook on life makes a huge difference when it comes to managing stress and menopausal symptoms.  Menopause and stress are a fact of life for all women.  Accepting that and making plans to deal with both are critical for keeping your spirits high and warding off depression and other mood disorders. 

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EFAs for Menopause Treatment

by IVL Products

All women have to go through menopause at some point in their lives. The unpleasant symptoms can make life difficult, but there are ways to deal with some of the worst side effects of menopause simply through your diet.  

Women who consume essential fatty acids regularly can reduce the negative symptoms of menopause.

Increasing your intake of EFAs, (or essential fatty acids) is easy.  Not only will you experience less severe menopausal symptoms, but the EFAs offer many other health benefits as well.

What Are EFAs?

Essential fatty acids are so named because your body cannot produce them naturally. The only way to get them is through your diet. 

Your body cannot synthesize linolenic (omega-6) and linoleic acids (omega-3) that are critical to the normal functioning of all the tissues of the body.  Without sufficient EFAs, you are at an increased risk for:

  • Liver and kidney abnormalities
  • Depression
  • Dry Skin
  • Decreased immune function

However, when you get adequate amounts of omega-3s and omega-6s, you have a decreased risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Menstrual pain
  • Breast cancer

EFAs have been found to greatly help reduce the most troublesome menopausal symptoms like:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal, hair and skin dryness
  • Mood swings and depression

A study conducted by Italian scientist back in 2005 noted that women who ate a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids reported a “progressively and highly significant reduction” in hot flashes. They concluded that this could be a result of the influence omega-3s have on nerve cell membranes, helping to reduce their sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations.

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It has long been known that having an adequate intake of EFAs helps balance hormones, increase immune function, improve cardiovascular health and promote healthier skin and hair.

Happy Food

What you may not realize is that omega-3 fatty acid EPA helps the body produce adequate levels of serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter that greatly affects our moods. Depression and mood swings often accompany the hormonal changes you will be experiencing making EFAs an essential part of your menopause diet.

Brain Food

DHA is a natural brain booster. It keeps nerve cell membranes in the brain healthy, which means better cognitive function, and less memory loss. 

The Menopause Diet

By incorporating foods rich in essential fatty acids into your diet, you can greatly reduce unpleasant menopausal symptoms and improve your health overall.  It is essential that you get the right combination of omega-3s and omega-6s in your diet and that can take some research and planning. Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3s for use in the body, so getting the right ratio of each is important. 

DHA (omega-6) is found in animal foods like beef and pork and corn oils. These are generally plentiful in our diets and most Americans eat too many omega-6 foods when they should be eating foods with more omega-3 fatty acids like.

  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • Walnuts
  • Canola, soybean, walnut oils
  • Fruits
  • Beans
  • Fish

Trying to get your EFAs in supplement form is not the most efficient way to up your intake of them.  Besides the nasty fish tasting burps many pills cause, the fish oil molecules are highly unstable and can quickly decompose and release cell damaging free radicals.

Omega-3s for Everybody

Whether you are going through menopause or not, eating more food rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA just makes good sense. 

You will look better, feel better and be more prepared to handle the hormonal changes when you eat more foods with omega 3 for menopause relief.

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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.

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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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Vitamins for Menopause Offer Safe Alternatives To Hormone Replacement Therapy

by Health News

Millions of women experience hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, vaginal dryness, irritability and insomnia when they are menopausal. In many cases the symptoms are so severe that they ask their doctors for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which can have serious side effects including an increased risk for cancer. Recent studies have confirmed using vitamins for menopausal symptoms as a safe, natural way that women can find relief without putting potentially dangerous hormones into their bodies. 

Safely Avoid Hormone Replacement Therapy with Vitamins for Menopause

Although there are several vitamins that help provide relief, vitamin E is at the top of the list. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that protects cells against free radicals. A study from the British Medical Journal found that vitamin E reduced hot flashes in 64 percent of the women tested and that it also helped reduce the symptoms of vaginal aging. Fifty percent of the women in the study reported healing of vaginal atrophy as well as a decrease in pain during sex.

Most holistic practitioners also recommend a B-complex supplement for menopausal women. B-6 helps balance out the hormone-related mood swings and B-12 fights the fatigue that many women experience as their estrogen levels drop. 

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In addition to vitamins for menopause calcium supplements are also recommended because this important mineral helps fight age-related loss of bone density. Studies show that calcium supplements are more effective when taken in conjunction with vitamin D. 

While vitamins have an important role to play in relieving menopause symptoms, an overall healthy lifestyle will support vibrant health at all stages of life. A healthy lifestyle includes:

A Nutritious Diet: A healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help you look and feel your best. Make sure you purchase organic, locally grown produce because it has the highest nutritional value.

Exercise: Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and also aids in coping with the stress that is associated with menopausal symptoms. Make regular workouts part of your daily regimen.

Sleep: Insomnia is a common problem for menopausal women and night sweats exacerbate the problem. Take melatonin supplements to help you sleep and make sure you keep a glass of cold water on your nightstand. There are cooling pillows on the market that can help you be more comfortable at night so you can get the rest you need.

Stress Management: Meditation, yoga, deep-breathing exercises, massages and soothing music are great stress reducers. Spend time with supportive friends and make time for your favorite hobbies. It’s easier maintaining a rich quality of life during menopause if you minimize your stressors. 

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Six Potent Probiotics

by Cindy Gray

If you are seeking a natural remedy to help with diarrhea, then look to probiotics.  These potent little strains of live bacteria and yeasts are very good for your digestive system and can bring relief to those suffering from occasional to chronic diarrhea.

Those who suffer from diarrhea will find probiotics a powerful remedy.

Probiotics are naturally helpful to your body; and you can ingest them easily from certain foods and supplements.  There are many kinds of bacteria classified as probiotics and they all have different health benefits, but almost all of them come from two groups:

  • Lactobacillus – the most common probiotic, it can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods.  It can help those who are lactose intolerant and ease diarrhea.
  • Bifidobacterium – this type is found in dairy products like milk and can help those with IBS relieve their symptoms.

You are not alone if you suffer from diarrhea. Those who have three or more loose stools per day for a period of four weeks or more are diagnosed with chronic diarrhea.

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Taking over the counter medications is fine if you only experience diarrhea occasionally. However, if your condition is chronic, you’ll want to consider these diarrhea natural remedies.

  1. Lactobacillus acidophilus – is found in foods like yogurt, kefir, pickles and soy products, and in supplement form.  It is very beneficial to the human GI tract because it helps break down sugars in milk products (lactose) and produces vitamin K.
  2. L. casei (lactobacillus casei) – is found naturally in fermented foods. It has shown to be a very effective way to speed up recovery time for those suffering from acute diarrhea. It helps the gut break down lactose, and relieve constipation. It also relieves gas and promotes healthy digestion, which improves your immunity.
  3. L. rhamnosus – is found in the human GI tract, mouth and vagina.  Its greatest health benefit is as an anti-inflammatory. This makes it beneficial for those with loose stools and vaginal infections.
  4. L.  plantarum – this strain of bacterial is a real powerhouse. It can take up residence in your gut and keep disease-causing microorganism from wreaking havoc there. It also has the ability to “stick” or coat the lining of your intestines and prevent dangerous bacteria from getting into your bloodstream
  5. Bifidobacterium breve – also known as B breve, a shortage of it in the intestinal tract has been linked to diarrhea, allergies, gas and irritable bowel syndrome. It can benefit you by balancing the acidity (pH) of your colon, reduce bloating and gas, and relieve constipation.
  6. B. longun (Bifidobacterium longum) – found naturally in the gastrointestinal tract and the vagina it is thought to be an effective way to help prevent certain diseases like colon cancer. It contains anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic properties that help keep the pH balance of your digestive track normal.

Eating fermented foods rich in the super six or taking supplements can improve your overall health by boosting your immune system, relieving painful gas or constipation and possibly even help lower your risk of developing some forms of cancer.

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Why the Color Orange Represents Good Health

by Health News

Acid reflux or heartburn is a common ailment that strikes nearly everybody at one time or another.  There are plenty of drugstore products you can use to help ease the pain and discomfort of heartburn, but if you want more natural heartburn relief, look to the color orange.

What Is Heartburn? What Causes It?

Heartburn is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or simply acid reflux. Symptoms included a painful burning sensation in your chest and a sour taste in your mouth. Stomach acids that have escaped into the esophagus are burning the lining. 

Orange foods, such as oranges, can help with natural heartburn relief.

Normally a muscle at the entrance to the esophagus opens when you swallow, but then tightens to close off the stomach from the esophagus. If for some reason it does not fully close, powerful digestive acids that break down your food into digestible nutrients can escape.  

There are many potential causes of heartburn:

  1. A hiatal hernia, when the stomach pushes into the chest
  2. Eating large portions that strain the stomach’s capacity
  3. Wearing tight, restrictive clothing
  4. Lying down right after eating a large meal

Food Triggers:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato based sauces
  • Fried and/or fatty foods
  • Highly acid foods and juices like grapefruit, lemons, limes
  • Carbonated drinks

Related How Do You Naturally Prevent Acid Reflux?

Drugs:

  • Antidepressants
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Progestin found in birth control pills
  • Sedatives
  • Some medications prescribed to treat Parkinson’s disease

Orange You Glad You Read This

Some dietary changes may help to reduce the severity or avoid heartburn. Many of them are come graced with a lovely orange hue.

  • Carrots – carrot juice contains alkaline compounds that can help the neutralize acid that causes heartburn. They have other health benefits like beta-carotene, which becomes vitamin A in the body and helps heal sores in the intestinal or esophageal lining
  • Mangos – these exotic orange slices are loaded with powerful antioxidants like ascorbic acid (vitamin C), dehydro-absorbic acid and carotenoids. These compounds promote anti-inflammatory action in the body to sooth the inflammation associated with GERD or heartburn
  • Apricots – these small little orange fruits are loaded with catechins, which are anti-inflammatories. They also have a lot of fiber and beta-carotene without being high in fat or calories
  • Nectarines – similar to peaches, but with a smooth skin, nectarines are a sweet way to get more beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber into your diet
  • Peaches – they come in a range of colors from white to yellow and orange.  Regardless of their color, you should be eating them.  These stone fruits contain vitamins C, E, and K.

Color Me Happy

Cherries are red, some berries are blue and foods that are orange are good for you too!

Eating a diet rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals in place of most fatty foods, alcohol and coffee can go a long way toward helping you maintain a healthy weight, boost immunity and enjoy natural heartburn relief.

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Menopause Treatment is About More than Replacing Estrogen

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Menopause is a transition in a woman's life associated with a number of unpleasant symptoms.  While many people blame hot flashes, night sweats, and other side effects on a lack of estrogen, all female hormones diminish at this time.  Consequently, menopause treatment involves more than merely replacing estrogen.

Menopause Treatment is About More than Replacement Therapy

By the time menstruation stops, levels of estrogen are diminished by 75 to 90 percent, testosterone has lessened by up to 50 percent, and the female body has essentially stopped producing progesterone.  While hormone levels aren't entirely depleted, they fluctuate and vary from woman to woman.  Fluctuations continue to cause uncomfortable symptoms, sometimes over several years.

Estrogen

Often referred to as the "female hormone," estrogen is made up of three hormones:  estrone, estradiol, and estriol.  After menopause, production of estrogen from the ovaries greatly diminishes causing symptoms like fatigue, headaches, hot flashes, joint pain, memory problems, and mood swings.

Progesterone

Working with estrogen, progesterone plays an important role in menstruation and pregnancy, which is why production is so low after menopause.  Symptoms experienced with reductions in progesterone include anxiety, headaches, irregular heartbeat, mood swings, muscle weakness, and vaginal infections.

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Testosterone

In women, testosterone helps play a part in sexual development, fertility, and maintenance of the reproductive system.  Because levels are naturally low, many women do not notice when they drop during and after menopause.  A reduction in testosterone can reduce sexual desire, libido, energy, and have negative effects on mood.

Natural Menopause Treatment

Healthy menopause treatment addresses all three of these diminishing hormones and more.  Several natural methods help:

  • Maca is an adaptogenic herb.  While it does not contain hormones, it promotes a healthy endocrine system, which helps encourage hormonal balance.
  • Studies show that bioidentical progesterone cream helps correct hormonal imbalances, which often eliminates or reduces hot flashes and other symptoms.
  • Black cohosh is a phytoestrogen herb that resembles a weaker form of estradiol. One study of 704 women showed that black cohosh completely relieved menopausal symptoms in 49 percent of the subjects, and 37.8 percent of women experienced significant relief.
  • Arginine is an essential amino acid that encourages blood vessel elasticity, which increases circulation and reduces hot flashes.

These methods make up just one facet of natural menopause treatment.  A nutritious diet, getting adequate sleep, daily exercise, and other healthy lifestyle choices also contribute to a woman's wellbeing in menopause and beyond.