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Radiant Skin with Antioxidants

by Institute for Vibrant Living

One of our top healthy living tips is the good news that radiant skin and natural beauty do not have to come with a branded label and a three-figure price tag. A French study into Clinical Cosmetics and Dermatology found that a formula of natural antioxidants is the best way to fight aging skin caused by environmental factors.

Healthy living tips include using these antioxidants for beautiful skin

Clinical Study on Antioxidants and Facial Skin

The clinical study used 35 women aged between 40 and 70 who had a noticeably dull complexion. The study measured the degree of improvement in skin radiance by evaluating skin color, luminosity, brightness and transparency. The clinicians also assessed skin imperfections and firmness; and the participants completed a questionnaire about their skin radiance before and after treatment.

Rather than lathering the skin with creams and potions, the study focused on oral supplementation, giving each woman a daily formula of 150 mg of antioxidants. The supplements included superoxide dismutase-rich melon concentrate and grape seed extract rich in flavanols, vitamin C and zinc. This supercharged overload of antioxidants was prescribed daily for eight weeks; and the results of the effect on the women’s skin were then reassessed.

The results showed skin color was improved with a healthier red-pink or olive tone. Luminosity of the skin also increased by 25.9%, but brightness and transparency of the skin remained the same. Existing skin imperfections were significantly improved and dark under-eye circles, spots and redness were reduced. The study concluded that taking an antioxidant-rich formulation improved the radiance of the skin naturally while reducing imperfections and blemishes. Antioxidants also appeared to improve dull skin and increased firmness.

Related:  Royal Jelly: Your Skin's Best Friend

How Antioxidants Work

The body is constantly exposed to free radicals from pollutants, sun damage, cigarette smoke and stress. These harmful molecules have unpaired electrons that seek to change and damage healthy cells. This ultimately weakens the skin’s cell structure. Antioxidants pair up with free radicals, putting them back in balance so they do not alter the structure of other cells.  

Healthy Living Tips about Antioxidants

The benefits of antioxidants can easily be enjoyed by adding antioxidant-rich foods and supplements to your healthy habits daily. As with the study, you should see a noticeable improvement in your skin’s radiance in eight weeks or less.

Grape seed extract is a wonderful way to obtain the concentrated benefits of grapes, which have been used in natural treatments for centuries. Taken in tablet or capsule form, or applied topically, the concentrated antioxidants in grape seed extract include vitamin C and vitamin E which are known to support youthful-looking skin. Grape seed extract also protects the skin from UV sun damage, a known cause of wrinkles and fine lines.

Vitamin C is considered a wonderful remedy for aging skin, and zinc helps repair damaged tissue, skin sores and spots and by helping cells regenerate. Green tea and resveratrol are also packed with antioxidants, making these healthy living tips a secret weapon for anti-aging and radiant skin.  

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Herbal Hair Remedies

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Rosemary, lavender and thyme make a fragrant potpourri but when blended, the essential oils of these natural herbs can effectively treat hair loss.

Reverse hair loss with natural herbs

If you are concerned about thinning hair and hair loss, natural herbs can be a cheap and effective answer. They have been used for centuries to support lustrous, strong and healthy hair and the secret is that it stimulates the scalp.

Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center studied the effects of rosemary, lavender and thyme on patients with alopecia and hair loss. The results suggested that sufferers who massaged their scalps with rosemary and other essential oils every day for seven months had a significant improvement in hair growth. The study showed that the stimulating act of massaging herbal essential oils regularly to the scalp reversed the problem of significant hair loss in these patients.

Rosemary oil is known to stimulate the circulation. By rubbing it into the scalp daily it prompts the follicles to boost hair regrowth. It not only nourishes the follicles, rosemary has analgesic properties which soothe inflammation, repair damage, moisturize a dry scalp and helps cleanse blocked follicles.

Lavender Treats Alopecia

Herbalists often recommend the use of lavender oil for those suffering from hair loss and alopecia. This was backed up by studies that showed those who applied lavender oil to their scalp had faster hair regrowth that those who simply applied a carrier oil.

Lavender is a natural healer loaded with antioxidants. It reduces acne, improves eczema and reduces aging through its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and in similar way appears to support a healthy scalp and follicles which reduces hair loss.

Thyme Reduces Hair Loss

Thyme is another natural stimulant for the circulation. Rubbing an essential oil of thyme into the scalp delivers nutrients directly to the hair follicles and appears to stimulate circulation and hair growth. Professional hair loss treatments often include thyme in their remedies showing their faith in this natural herb.

Put a few drops of rosemary, lavender and thyme essential oils into your hand and rub to warm and distribute it. Gently run your oil-coated hands through your hair then brush to distribute it. Make sure you concentrate on applying it to the scalp too. 

Related:  Effective Migraine Relief with Essential Oils

Tips for Using Essential Oils

If you have never used essential oils before, there are a few tips to make it a safe and pleasant experience. Remember that essential oils are highly concentrated essences and should always be added to a carrier oil before being applied to the scalp or skin.

The first time you use an essential oil, dab it onto a small area of your inside arm. If it burns, itches or causes a red patch, avoid using it.   Essential oils are for external or topical use only and should never be ingested.

Keep essential oils away from the eyes, nose and mouth. This means always washing your hands after handling them as a tiny amount on the bottle can inadvertently be transferred to your eyes or mouth after contact.

By following these tips you can safely use essential oils for aromatherapy, particularly for reducing hair loss and treating alopecia.

 

 

 

 

 

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Grapefruit for Hair Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Goldilocks would definitely have approved of eating grapefruit to keep her hair shiny while acting as a natural remedy for hair loss. Grapefruit is often cited for clear skin and weight loss, but grapefruit oil is a wonderful tonic for healthy hair. Hair loss can be countered by consuming grapefruit, which is full of vitamin C, antioxidants, minerals and nutrients. As you will discover, grapefruit can also be used topically to provide many other benefits, even for those with a full head of hair!

Grapefruit is an excellent remedy for hair loss

Grapefruit as a Cleanser

Hair can become dull and lifeless as products build-up on the scalp and strands of hair. Grapefruit juice cuts through the natural oils, chemicals, waxes, chlorine and parabens that coat your hair to leave cleansed hair and a healthy scalp. Simply rinse hair through with one cup grapefruit juice, rest for a few minutes, then wash out.

Grapefruit for Dandruff

Dandruff and a dry scalp may be caused by the presence of bacteria and this can cause hair loss. The astringent properties of grapefruit seed extract help eliminate any bacterial infection which may be the cause of dandruff and thinning hair. The high levels of vitamin C fight bacteria and prevent the hair follicles from being clogged by particles of dry skin and dandruff. Apply grapefruit oil direct to the scalp, massage in then wash and rinse as normal.

Related:  The Science Behind the Grapefruit Diet

Grapefruit for Hair Growth

The antioxidants in grapefruit are excellent for those with mild to moderate hair loss. Massage grapefruit oil into the scalp for a proven way to stimulate hair regrowth. Grapefruit strengthens the connective tissue with the hair follicles and boosts circulation which feeds and promotes healthy hair growth from the roots, so no more hair loss.

For a regular grapefruit hair loss treatment, add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil to your shampoo bottle to add a healthy shine and reduce hair loss every time you wash your hair.

Grapefruit as a Detangler

Make your own organic hair detangler to get amazing benefits from grapefruit. Mix a teaspoonful of aloe vera gel, two drops of glycerin, 30 drops of grapefruit seed extract and two cups distilled water in a spray bottle. Shake well and use on wet hair to smooth out the tangles. You’ll get all the benefits of grapefruit while naturally preventing hair loss.

Whether you choose to eat, drink, spray or massage grapefruit into your hair, it will provide plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants to your whole body while helping boost hair growth and prevent hair loss naturally. 

 

 

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Dry Eye Home Remedies That Actually Work

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

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

What is Dry Eye?

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

There are many symptoms of dry eye, including:

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

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

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

Healthy Living Tips for Treating Dry Eye

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

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

Related:  Is Krill Fish Oil Dangerous?

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

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Three Exercises to Improve Balance & Prevent Falls

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many of us take balance for granted, but as we get older, it becomes more of a challenge to remain upright.  Our stride becomes shorter, we walk slower and our muscles and vision begin to weaken.  All of these factors contribute to diminished balance, which can increase susceptibility to falls and related injuries.  In fact, one in three adults over the age of 65 experiences a fall each year, some with devastating results.  Fortunately, people can maintain good balance with healthy habits and an active lifestyle.  Three exercises in particular help improve and preserve good balance.

Balance begins to wane as we get older, but healthy habits can help.

 

  1. Heel-To-Toe Walk:  Perform this exercise in a wide open area or hallway.  Holding arms slightly or all the way out to the sides, take a step with one foot and place the heel of the other directly in front.  Find a focal point ahead, and repeat stepping this way for 20 steps.  For even more challenge, walk backward toe-to-heel for 20 more steps.
  2. Leg Swings:  With your arms at your sides, stand on the left leg and swing the right leg forward and back ten times without touching the floor.  Switch to standing on the right leg and swing the left leg ten times.  Next, hold arms out to the side, stand on the left leg and swing the right leg slightly in front of the right leg and out to the side without touching the floor.  Perform a total of ten swings and repeat on the other side.
  3. Wobble Board Training:  Certain thingamajigs make practicing healthy habits fun.  A wobble board features a flat surface in a round or rectangular design over one or two cylinders.  Standing on a wobble board helps improve balance, build lower-body strength and enhance focus.  When it comes to balance, more practice on the board delivers better results.

Related:  Natural Remedies for Balance Problems

As with flexibility or strength, balance improves with practice, but balance exercises aren't just for the elderly.  People who work on balance training early in life enjoy an active lifestyle well into the golden years.  Adding the exercises above to your list of healthy habits helps ensure more stability on your feet and the confidence to take on exciting active challenges.    

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The Inside Scoop on BPPV

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Dizziness and vertigo may be caused by any number of health issues. Most causes are minor and treatable through healthy living tips and exercises developed as healthy habits. The most common cause of vertigo, particularly in the elderly, is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, which is an inner ear condition.

Healthy habits such as regular Epley maneuvers can cure balance problems in the inner ear.

 

If you think you may be suffering from BPPV, lie down with the affected ear toward the floor. BPPV will trigger a brief but intense feeling of the world spinning around.

What Causes BPPV?

The inner ear is a series of semi-circular canals filled with fluid, nerves and fine hairs for hearing. BPPV is caused by loose calcium carbonate crystals called otoconia. These crystals are normally attached to the lining but if they break loose and tumble around the inner ear, they abnormally touch the sensory receptors causing dizziness, vertigo, disorientation and loss of balance.

The best non-surgical treatment for BPPV is to maneuver these loose particles into an area of the inner ear where they cannot trigger the receptors. This is done through simple repetitive exercises that move the head around and can be completed in just a few minutes. Healthy habits include repeating these exercises regularly to maintain efficacy.  

Related:  Natural Remedies for Balance Problems

Healthy Living Tips for BPPV Using Particle Repositioning Maneuvers

Particle positioning maneuvers are a safe and natural way to treat BPPV. They are 95% successful and the only side effect may be initial nausea or vomiting triggered by the BPPV.

If the sufferer has not ascertained which ear is affected, the Brandt-Daroff Maneuver is the best option. Those who know which ear is affected should use the Epley Maneuver.

  1. The Brandt-Daroff Maneuver

Sit on the edge of the bed with your feet on the floor. Lay your head down sideways and tuck your feet up onto the bed so you are lying on one side. Keep your head in a fixed position, focusing on the head of an imaginary person stood about six feet from the bed. Lie still until the dizziness (if any) subsides. Return to the sitting position for 30 seconds then lie down on the opposite side, keeping your eyes fixed at that same imaginary point. The Brandt-Daroff Maneuver should be done three times a day and repeated five times per session for two weeks.

  1. Epley Maneuver for DPPV

Sit on the bed with your legs stretched out in front toward the foot of the bed. Turn the head 90 degrees to the left then lie down on your back, maintaining the head’s position. After 30 seconds, move the head to the right side and rest another 30 seconds. Roll the body onto the right side for 30 seconds then sit up in the original position. Rest for one minute. Repeat the cycle three times as a healthy habit for helping to alleviate BPPV each night before sleep.

If these maneuvers do not cure vertigo within two weeks, sufferers should consult their doctor to diagnose the cause.

 

 

 

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Understanding Balance & Tips To Stay Steady On Your Feet

by Institute for Vibrant Living

We take many aspects of life for granted, such as the ability to balance. Healthy habits are important for maintaining many everyday activities such as walking on an uneven sidewalk, stepping off a curb to cross the street, or getting out of bed without falling over. Let’s look at how all the amazing parts of our body work together for perfect balance, and pick up some healthy living tips to keep it that way.

Healthy habits help maintain balance

 

Understanding Balance

Balance is defined as the “ability to maintain the body’s center of mass over its base of support.” We need perfect balance to stand upright, see clearly as we move around, and live a normal healthy life.

Related:  Natural Remedies for Balance Problems

Lack of balance is shown by a range of symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo and the inability to walk steadily in a straight line. These can cause nausea, feelings of disorientation, and problems with sight, hearing, concentrating and remembering things. It takes a combination of systems all working synergistically together to maintain balance.

Balance requires:

  • Muscles, bones and joints that provide motor control. Movements and postural adjustments that help us stay balanced are driven by the brain through sensory receptors and motor impulses. Information from the joints and body relay information to the brain.
  • Vision to provide sensory input through sight, giving a sense of distance and proportion. Rods and cones in the retina provide fine detail and visual information about how the body is orientated in relation to other objects.
  • The inner ear contains semicircular canals filled with fluid that detect turning movements. It sends sensory information to the brain to make compensatory adjustments to the rest of the body
  • Nerves are used to detect changes in the body as we move around. For example, pressure on the front soles of the feet tells the brain that you are leaning forward. Movement in the neck tells the brain which way you are looking. All these allow the brain to make fine adjustments so that the body remains upright and balanced through an ongoing series of large and small movements.

Healthy Living Tips to Support Balance

Fortunately, all these activities go on subconsciously or proprioceptively, allowing us to think, move and get on with life while the body and brain control the task of keeping us upright and safe.

As balance requires a coordinated combination of several systems, if one component ceases to function correctly, it is likely to affect our balance. Disease, injury or aging can affect sight, muscles, joints, the nervous system and the brain, resulting in imbalance.

Balance also depends on other more subtle factors.  Make sure to get enough sleep, as being tired can affect your balance.  Side effects of prescription drugs can dizziness and a feeling of being imbalanced and off-center.  Having a clear mind also helps with balance, therefore stress can impact your ability to remain balanced.  Hatha yoga is one of the best ways to safely and naturally improve your ability to be balanced.  

By taking care of the body holistically, we can support the interaction of different components that allow us to balance. Healthy habits include taking supplements that support vision, active cognitive function and supple joints and bones. If just one part of the whole becomes incapacitated, your balance is likely to suffer as a result.

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What Should You Do About Menopause Symptoms Like Hair Growth?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, memory lapses, increased anxiety and reduced libido are often kept private.  Dealing with them alone can be difficult, but made worse when more obvious symptoms appear, namely hair loss and/or excessive hair growth in unusual places. Hair growth during menopause, or hair loss, can be very disconcerting, but there are things you can do to minimize these hair woes.

Menopause symptoms include hair growth.

 

The Hairy Truth about Menopause

Fluctuating and declining hormone levels can cause excessive hair loss; and or hair growth such as facial hair.  While menopause is a natural phase of life, steps can be taken to help prevent hair loss and growth, such as lifestyle and dietary changes using natural herbs and supplements.

For Thinning Hair

There is HRT, or hormone replacement therapy, that is prescribed by your doctor and can help with hair loss. However, the known dangerous side effects are an increased risk for several types of cancer. Some women choose to avoid synthetic HRT because of the inhumane way horses are treated to obtain these hormones through pregnant mare’s urine.   If you want to avoid the risks and not contribute to cruel pharmaceutical practices, then forgo HRT.  Here are some natural ways to alleviate this problem.

Acceptance – While many people say, be patient, hair loss will ‘pass’, that’s much easier said than done.  Yes, hair loss in normal and natural when going through menopause, and your loved ones will continue to love you, regardless of your hair.  However, it can be emotionally devastating to experience hair loss or thinning hair.  Take steps to help reduce and remedy the situation, seek out an experienced hair stylist for the best cut for your hair type.

Reduce Stress – Get plenty of exercise, meditate, go to yoga classes, and get enough sleep. This will benefit you in many ways beyond helping to stave off hair loss. A few milligrams of melatonin might help you fall asleep on restless nights. Investing in natural fabrics for sheets and pajamas will whisk away the sweat caused by hot flashes so you can rest easier.

Related:  Restore Hair Growth and Improve Sleep

Diet – As is prescribed for every condition, eating a healthy diet will help you mitigate hair loss due to fluctuating and declining hormones. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be your dietary staples with avoidance of high-fat and sugar-laden treats.  B12 is linked to hair loss so choose foods that are rich in all the B vitamins like:

  • Spinach, mustard greens and romaine lettuce
  • Broccoli, beets, asparagus and turnips
  • Lentils, calf liver and snapper (fish)

Foods particularly high in B12 are:

  • Fortified cereals
  • Nonfat yogurt
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Fortified soy products like tofu

Supplements & Herbs

Many menopause symptoms can be relieved by taking supplements and herbs that reduce inflammation, mimic declining hormones and boost your iron levels to help keep hair healthy and strong.  Try adding these supplements and herbs into your diet to promote hair growth during menopause:

  • B12 vitamins (all the B vitamins really)
  • Iron
  • Black cohosh – an herb that mimics estrogen in the body to help slow down hair loss due to the decline of natural estrogen production
  • Evening Primrose Oil, also a great source of essential fatty acids

Dealing with Unwanted Hair

How frustrating to experience thinning hair only to find it growing abundantly on your chin, around your lips, and on your chest.   Cosmetically there is no shade of cover up to disguise thick, course, and dark hair cropping up on your face.

What can you do about unwanted hair growth during menopause, then?  Show those stray strands no mercy!  Avoid shaving, since only more stubble will grow back.  Some better options are:

Epilators– there are several brands for use at home that come with different sized heads to use on the body and the face. Like waxing, these devices pull hair out by the root for longer lasting results.

Waxing – hair removed by waxing will be slower to grow back. Today’s waxing methods are less painful and most salons offer the service.

Electrolysis – choose a spa or facility with a medically trained staff and really get after unwanted hair growth. This is the most costly treatment option, but the one that is the most effective with the longest lasting results. Remember, unwanted hair growth is usually a temporary condition, so be patient.

 

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The Inside Scoop on BPPV

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Dizziness and vertigo may be caused by any number of health issues. Most causes are minor and treatable through healthy living tips and exercises developed as healthy habits. The most common cause of vertigo, particularly in the elderly, is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, which is an inner ear condition.

Healthy habits such as regular Epley maneuvers can cure balance problems in the inner ear.

 

If you think you may be suffering from BPPV, lie down with the affected ear toward the floor. BPPV will trigger a brief but intense feeling of the world spinning around.

What Causes BPPV?

The inner ear is a series of semi-circular canals filled with fluid, nerves and fine hairs for hearing. BPPV is caused by loose calcium carbonate crystals called otoconia. These crystals are normally attached to the lining but if they break loose and tumble around the inner ear, they abnormally touch the sensory receptors causing dizziness, vertigo, disorientation and loss of balance.

The best non-surgical treatment for BPPV is to maneuver these loose particles into an area of the inner ear where they cannot trigger the receptors. This is done through simple repetitive exercises that move the head around and can be completed in just a few minutes. Healthy habits include repeating these exercises regularly to maintain efficacy.  

Related:  Natural Remedies for Balance Problems

Healthy Living Tips for BPPV Using Particle Repositioning Maneuvers

Particle positioning maneuvers are a safe and natural way to treat BPPV. They are 95% successful and the only side effect may be initial nausea or vomiting triggered by the BPPV.

If the sufferer has not ascertained which ear is affected, the Brandt-Daroff Maneuver is the best option. Those who know which ear is affected should use the Epley Maneuver.

  1. The Brandt-Daroff Maneuver

Sit on the edge of the bed with your feet on the floor. Lay your head down sideways and tuck your feet up onto the bed so you are lying on one side. Keep your head in a fixed position, focusing on the head of an imaginary person stood about six feet from the bed. Lie still until the dizziness (if any) subsides. Return to the sitting position for 30 seconds then lie down on the opposite side, keeping your eyes fixed at that same imaginary point. The Brandt-Daroff Maneuver should be done three times a day and repeated five times per session for two weeks.

  1. Epley Maneuver for DPPV

Sit on the bed with your legs stretched out in front toward the foot of the bed. Turn the head 90 degrees to the left then lie down on your back, maintaining the head’s position. After 30 seconds, move the head to the right side and rest another 30 seconds. Roll the body onto the right side for 30 seconds then sit up in the original position. Rest for one minute. Repeat the cycle three times as a healthy habit for helping to alleviate BPPV each night before sleep.

If these maneuvers do not cure vertigo within two weeks, sufferers should consult their doctor to diagnose the cause.

 

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Which Herbs Can Help with Kidney Health?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Do you need a kidney flush? If you are suffering from a lack of appetite, nausea, dry skin, poor concentration, lack of sleep or puffy eyes you may be in need of some kidney health benefits.

Five natural herbs deliver a host of kidney health benefits

The kidneys are fist-sized bean-shaped organs that regulate blood pressure, synthesize vitamin D, produce hormones and remove waste and toxins from the body. As we age, kidney function starts to diminish, so why not give them a boost with these five kidney-cleansing herbs?

  1. Uva Ursi

This evergreen shrub, also known as bearberry, is native to Europe and grows as far north as the Arctic. The leaves are harvested with the berries to produce a supplement that has exceptional kidney health benefits. Uva Ursi is a natural urinary antiseptic which has been used in herbal medicines for almost 2,000 years. It has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and is excellent for promoting kidney health. However, it should not be taken by pregnant women for more than seven days and should not be used to treat existing kidney infections.

Related:  Ten Ways to Naturally Protect Your Kidneys Against Stones. Malfunction and Failure

  1. Rehmannia

Known for its diuretic properties, Rehmannia is widely used in Chinese medicine for supporting kidney and adrenal health. It contains phytosterols, antioxidants and glycosides which make it powerful as a kidney tonic or liver detox.

  1. Java Tea

Also known as kidney tea, the leaves of this plant have excellent properties for the medicinal treatment of kidney stones, renal function and kidney infections. It contains flavones, glycoside and large amounts of potassium and is officially listed as a remedy for kidney ailments in official French, Indonesian, Dutch and Swiss pharmacopoeias.

  1. Couch Grass

Couch grass may be the scourge of gardeners across the globe, but this invasive weed has excellent antibacterial and diuretic properties. It relieves and helps dissolve painful kidney stones and lowers inflammation. Couch grass has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for cystitis and urethritis, delivering many kidney health benefits.

  1. Golden Rod

Used by Native American Indians to promote urinary tract health, research into this common herb found that it helps tone the urinary tract and is useful for cleansing the kidneys. Golden rod kills the drug-resistant bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTI) even more effectively than antibiotics. It is particularly useful for preventing further infection in those who suffer from recurring UTIs and kidney infection. 

Don’t wait until you have contracted a painful kidney infection; start to reap kidney health benefits by using these natural herbs regularly as a kidney tonic for preventative health.

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Fighting Fatigue with Green Tea – A Natural Fatigue Treatment

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many new studies have made exciting discoveries about the positive effects of green tea on energy and fatigue. High in antioxidants, green tea has many health benefits including fatigue treatment. Green tea is known to raise the metabolic rate, which helps boost fat burning and weight loss, and this could also explain why it helps counter fatigue.

Green tea can be an effective fatigue treatment

Exercise and Oxidative Stress

Tannins are polyphenols in green tea that help the body to eliminate toxins, boost fat burning and increase metabolism. These antioxidants also counter the harmful effects of free radicals which are produced as a byproduct during natural body functions such as digestion and exercise.

During exercise, free radicals are produced in the body and they are neutralized by antioxidants. Although regular moderate exercise is known to boost health, strenuous exercise can cause oxidative stress. Studies show that this free radical production during exercise is what causes fatigue and consequently reduces endurance performance. 

Oxidative stress is when the amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced as a byproduct of burning energy threatens to overwhelm the body’s antioxidant defense.  If there are insufficient antioxidants in the body to detoxify the ROS, this leads to an undesirable level of oxidative stress. Free radical production is highest when exercise is exhaustive and therefore higher levels of antioxidants are required to neutralize them.

Related:  History of Green Tea in Indigestion Remedies

Study on Green Tea as a Treatment for Fatigue

The China University of Mining and Technology carried out a study on 40 mice into the effects of green tea polyphenols as a fatigue treatment. The mice were divided into four groups with one control group receiving distilled water. The other three groups received different amounts of green tea polyphenols, adjusted to each animal’s body weight.

The mice were given swimming exercises each week, carrying weights of 10% of their body weight to replicate the effects of strenuous exercise. After two weeks, the mice fed green tea polyphenols were able to swim for longer, indicating that the polyphenols were effectively acting as a fatigue treatment. The higher the dose of green tea polyphenols, the longer the mice were able to swim.     

Results showed that the green tea acted as an anti-fatigue treatment on the mice and allowed the mice to swim for longer with less fatigue.

Tips for Drinking Green Tea for Energy

  • Avoid ready-to-drink green tea as it does not have the same strength as freshly brewed green tea
  • Avoid decaffeinated green tea as it contains less than one third of the catechins found in regular green tea
  • Avoid green tea bags as they generally contain lower quality green tea than loose tea leaves
  • Use 4 grams of loose green tea per cup of boiling water (8 fluid ounces)
  • Do not add milk as this reduces the effect of the catechins
  • If you don’t like the taste of green tea, add honey, ginger, lemon or mint leaves to boost the flavor

You’ll find green tea is a refreshing drink and a great fatigue treatment when energy levels are low.

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Ten Home Remedies for Tackling Periodontal Disease

by Institute for Vibrant Living

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

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

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

#1:  Co-enzyme Q10

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

#2:  Honey and Manuka Honey

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

Cure periodontal disease with honey and other natural remedies.

#3:  Lemons

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

#4:  Baking Soda

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

#5:  Tea Tree Oil

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

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

#6:  Dental Probiotics

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

#7:  Consume Fermented Foods

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

#8:  Xylitol

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

#9:  Floss Every Day

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

#10:  Brush Regularly and Change Your Toothbrush Often

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

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

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Can Receding Gums Grow Back?

by Health News

Receding gums is when the gums pull away from the teeth, creating pockets at the base of the teeth and exposing the tooth root. As well as causing tender red gums that frequently bleed, the pockets trap food and bacteria, heightening the problem of gum disease. If left untreated, the teeth become loose, bone is lost and the teeth eventually fall out.

Can Receding Gums Grow Back?

What Causes Receding Gums?

There are a number of causes of receding gums but the most common cause is poor dental health. If you do not clean your teeth thoroughly night and morning, including flossing between the teeth, plaque and tartar (calculus) will build up. These substances harbor bacteria which lead to inflammation, gingivitis (gum disease) and periodontal disease. These all cause poor dental health, bad breath, receding gums and even increase the risk of heart disease.

Some people are more predisposed to gum disease due to their genetic makeup, giving them a higher risk of receding gums. Too vigorous teeth cleaning with a hard brush can actually erode tooth enamel over time, allowing the gums to recede. Gums can also be more prone to problems when hormonal changes are taking place; during puberty, pregnancy and the menopause.

Smoking causes sticky plaque to coat the teeth which can lead to receding gums; while grinding the teeth, misaligned bite, or tongue piercing can all chafe and irritate gum tissue causing it to recede.

Related:  Six Simple Tips for Preventing Cavities Naturally

How to Reverse Receding Gums

Treatment to allow receding gums to grow back must first tackle the cause of the problem. In the case of bacterial infection and gum disease, starting a more thorough cleaning regimen including flossing and antibacterial mouthwash can offer some help. 

If your teeth have a build-up of hard tartar, you need a deep cleaning process which is performed under local anesthetic by a dental specialist. The tartar is chipped away above and below the gumline, removing the source of the bacteria. Antibiotics may be used to kill off any remaining infection.

If bone loss has already occurred due to severe periodontal disease, surgery may be required to perform pocket depth reduction or insert regenerative material as a graft to regenerate bone and tissue. In the most severe cases of receding gums, a soft tissue graft may be required.

An Ayurvedic dental remedy called oil pulling has been shown to be helpful for dental health.  Using oil such as sesame, coconut or grape seed can help remove bacteria and help heal the gums. 

How to Avoid Receding Gums

Receding gums are caused or worsened by poor oral hygiene. It’s so easy to avoid this serious health problem by brushing and flossing teeth thoroughly twice a day. Book regular checkups and teeth cleaning with your dental professional.  If you do eat sugary treats, make sure you clean your teeth afterwards to remove the residue before it has chance to cause a problem. 

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Top Five Fish Oil Benefits for Women

by Health News

fish oil benefits for woman are surprisingThe benefits of omega-3 fish oil cannot be overemphasized. Daily supplements of this simple, cheap source of omega-3 fatty acids can support healthy, supple arteries, lower the risk of heart disease and reduce inflammation which causes arthritis and joint pain; and that's just for starters. There are even more fish oil benefits for women –so checkout these top five reasons to start taking fish oil regularly.

1. Promotes Weight Loss

Studies show that taking 600 mg fish oil supplements per day in conjunction with regular exercise and a calorie-restricted diet can be far more effective than diet, or diet and exercise, alone. Fish oil appears to boost fat-burning by switching on the enzymes that oxidize fat during exercise.

2. Improves Skin

Women tend to be more conscious of their aging skin and want to keep it looking youthful and wrinkle-free for as long as possible. Fish oil is full of DHA and EPA essential fatty acids which support healthy glowing skin. Fish oil benefits for women's skin include increased hydration, less spots and acne, regulated oil production and fewer wrinkles.  Even men wouldn’t turn down those benefits!

3. Reduces Depression

Women are statistically twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Hormonal changes in puberty and menopause, post-natal "baby blues," biological factors and personal circumstances can all lead to women being diagnosed with depression.

RelatedNatural Remedies for Mild Depression

Omega-3 fish oil supplements have been shown to help keep those overwhelming feelings at bay. Scientists noticed that people living in countries where cold water fish were a major part of the diet had fewer reported cases of depression. Research suggests that raising the level of omega-3 in the blood stream, either by eating fish regularly or taking fish oil supplements, allows more absorption of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant.

4. Improves Fetal Brain Function

There are dozens of compelling reasons why pregnant women should take omega-3, according to this American pregnancy article.  In particular, fish oil is essential for the development of the neurological system of the unborn baby. It is also important for baby's visual development and helps the mother provide breast milk after the birth – yet more excellent fish oil benefits for women.

5. Slows Breast Tumor Development

According to the American Association of Breast Cancer, studies show an inverse correlation between high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and the risk of breast cancer. Specific studies on breast cancer and fish oil have shown positive indicators that fish oil slows cancerous cell growth, particularly in breast tumor development.

These are all highly significant fish oil benefits for women, making it a must for every woman to eat oily fish or take supplements on a regular basis. 

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6 Super Easy Ways to Get Rid of Indigestion Fast

by Cindy Gray

Indigestion affects most people at one time or another. It can range from mild discomfort below the ribs to severe pain that prevents you from sleeping. Understanding the cause of indigestion can be the first step in remedying this common health issue.

Indigestion is a common health issue

Causes of Indigestion

Indigestion is generally caused by what you eat. Spicy foods can be hard to digest, especially late in the evening. Fatty foods laden with oil and cholesterol may also be hard for the body to digest. Overeating and excess alcohol are further common causes of indigestion. These can all cause acid reflux or GERD, when the stomach contents and pancreatic juices flow back up the esophagus causing pain, irritation, inflammation or a burning sensation.

If none of these causes apply, there is a chance that your indigestion is caused by a medical condition such as a stomach ulcer, gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome or pancreatitis, so you should consult your doctor without delay.

Related:  Five Supplements that Help Heal Tissue Damage Caused by Acid Reflux

Treat Indigestion Naturally with:

  1. Fruit and Vegetables

Returning to a more wholesome diet based on fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole wheat products can quickly remedy any ongoing problems of heartburn. In particular, bananas are high in potassium which alkalizes acid. They also prompt the stomach to produce more mucus which protects the stomach lining and esophagus. Apples also create an alkaline environment, reducing indigestion and acid reflux symptoms fast.

  1. Water

Sipping warm water can calm the stomach and aid digestion, particularly if the cause is overindulgence. However, you should not drink too much water or it may make you feel bloated.

  1. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is a known digestive aid and is easily taken as peppermint tea to soothe indigestion. Immerse the peppermint tea bag in hot water for 3-5 minutes. Remove the tea bag and cool before slowly sipping this healthy remedy.

  1. Fennel Seeds

Fennel is particularly good for treating stomach upsets caused by spicy foods. Fennel neutralizes the acid and reduces nausea quickly and safely. Simply added ground roasted fennel seeds to a glass of water and drink twice a day until the indigestion has gone.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is another excellent treatment for indigestion, especially if it is caused by overeating. Ginger accelerates the digestive process by helping the digestive process juices break down the food, moving it into the intestine faster. Simply grate a little ginger root into a glass of warm water. Add a few drops of lemon juice and honey to taste, then drink it down.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a versatile home remedy for all types of ailments including indigestion. Add one tablespoon to a cup of water sweetened with a little honey. Drink 3-4 times a day to relieve persistent indigestion naturally.

Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so try to work out what caused your indigestion, and take steps to avoid it in the future. 

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

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Seven Beauty Tips Every Woman Should Know

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Being a woman is complicated and I am not talking about hormones or childbirth either. Being beautiful is hard work! To make your life a little easier here are a few beauty tips to save time and money when it comes to the looking your best. 

Seven unique beauty tips include coconut oil for makeup removal, and more!

Seven Beauty Tips & Tricks All Women Can Use

1. Dip freshly polished nails in ice-cold water to dry them quickly.

When you just can’t get to the salon but you’re in need of a manicure, do it yourself at home.  You can paint your nails and get them dry in half the time by dipping them in cold water. This makes the polish dry faster!  Before you paint your nails fill a bowl with ice water.  Before you dip in your fingertips, remove the ice with a slotted spoon.  This little trick will help dry your nails in two minutes or less.

2. Make concealer smoother and creamier by mixing it with lotion.

Nothing looks worse than concealer that clumps into fine lines or wrinkles, or is not properly blended.  To avoid this beauty blunder, here’s a helpful beauty tip. Mix a dab of facial lotion into the concealer, and then use a brush or your clean fingertips to smooth and blend effectively. This is a great way to add some SPF protection around your eyes and nose while offering a flawless look.

3. Skip face powder and try face oil on your cheeks.

Nothing refreshes your foundation and gives you a natural looking glow like a few drops of face oil.  Powder can be drying and settle in fine lines and wrinkles, making them appear more prominent. A drop of face oil on your cheeks will perk up your face without making it look unnaturally shiny.  Try vitamin E oil, apricot kernel seed oil, coconut oil, even olive oil works nicely.  If it’s a bit too shiny, blot gently with tissues or a clean face cloth.

Related: 99% OF ALL SKINCARE PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET TODAY ARE TOXIC!

4. Applying a straight line around your eyes is easy with small quick motions.

Instead of trying to keep a steady hand to draw a longer line along your lashes, use small quick motions to draw the line then blend it together. Hold the pen horizontally and draw the line in bits and pieces. Your hand will stay steadier for a quick motion instead of trying to draw the line all at once. 

5. Cold lip pencils sharpen better.

One of the fastest ways to ruin your soft lip pencil is to sharpen it at room temperature.  You will end up wasting a lot, and still not have a nice clean tip to outline your lips. Before you sharpen your lip pencils put them in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes before sharpening them to the desired point. These beauty tips work for your eye and brow pencils, too!

6. Swirl your blusher for a more natural look.

Apply your blusher with a swirling motion instead of a heavy sweep.  Swirl your blusher brush in small circles starting from the apples of your cheeks (smile to see them) back toward your hairline.  This can be done with cream blush and your fingertips or a sponge, too.

7. Coconut Oil

It’s not just for sunscreen anymore. Coconut is beauty’s best kept secret because it can be used for so many things.  It makes a safe, non-toxic but highly effective makeup remover. Dab some on a cotton square or swab and swipe away mascara (even the waterproof kind), eyeliner and brow pencil with ease. There is no pulling or tugging on the delicate skin around the eyes and it moisturizes while it removes, too.

Nothing softens skin better than coconut oil. It’s especially great for cuticles and dry spots like heels, knees and elbows. It’s also an effective remedy for chapped lips. Add a few drops of lavender or peppermint oil to solid coconut oil for spa scent that really hydrates.

Your hair will soak up the tropical goodness to repair dry damaged ends and hydrate your scalp. Melt the oil slightly by placing it in a container set in a bowl of hot water while you wash your hair. Then apply liberally to your wet strands.  Let it sit for five minutes before washing it out. You’ll have shiny locks and no flaky dry scalp.

 

 

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Three Natural Remedies for Nausea

by Health News

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

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

1.  Acupuncture

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

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

2.  Ginger

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

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

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

Related:  Daily Ginger Consumption Eases Muscle and Joint Pain

3.  Peppermint

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

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

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

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

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

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Sweat Too Much? Four Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating

by IVL Products

Sweating is normal when temperatures are high or during exercise. At other times, suffering from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) can be embarrassing, especially if it soaks through your clothing or makes your hands clammy and damp. It may help to know that you are not alone; an estimated eight million Americans have this problem.

There are ways to help reduce excessive sweating

Here are four suggested ways to help stop excessive sweating and gain control, simply by making a few lifestyle changes.

1.     Use Antiperspirant Twice Daily

Check that your deodorant actually includes an antiperspirant as well. Deodorants simply mask any odors while antiperspirants actually stop the underarm glands from producing sweat. You may need to change to a combination antiperspirant deodorant to control sweating.

If you have been using the same brand of antiperspirant for years, a change to a different product may produce a more effective response. Choose one containing aluminum chloride for added effectiveness.  (However, many health-conscious folks choose to avoid antiperspirants because of the aluminum content.)

As well as using antiperspirant in the morning, reapply in the afternoon for added effectiveness. This is usually the warmest part of the day and your morning antiperspirant may already have rubbed off onto clothing.

Related:  Chlorophyll:  Nature's Remedy for Fatigue, Bad Breath and More

2.     Eliminate Spicy Food

Hot peppers used in spicy dishes contain capsaicin which activates nerves that are heat sensitive. They send signals to the spinal cord and the hypothalamus in the brain, activating sweat glands to produce sweat and cool the body. By avoiding those hot and spicy dishes, you can control excessive sweating.

3.     Avoid Caffeine

In a similar way to hot spices, caffeine boosts energy and alertness, but it also increases sweating when consumed in large amounts. Once the caffeine is metabolized, the sweating stops, but it could be easier to avoid that caffeine rush by drinking caffeine-free sodas, coffee and herbal or green tea—or replace with purified water.

4.     Try Detox Supplements to Reduce Sweating

Your body is full of toxins and metals which collect in the kidneys and liver and may contribute to excessive sweating. Try a 3-5 day detox diet eating only fresh raw vegetables and fruits. Drink lots of water and squeezed fruit juices and avoid alcohol and smoking. A detox diet will cleanse the whole digestive system, eliminating excess water and waste along with toxins.

Taking a dietary supplement can help to make the detoxification more effective. As well as feeling energized and revitalized, you should also sweat less afterward.

You may find a few other useful tips in this article on stopping excess sweating. Once you have excessive sweating under control, you can relax and concentrate on enjoying life without feeling self-conscious.   

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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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Three Herbs that Reduce Stress

by Health News

Stress is a normal part of life, and the body automatically reacts to it with a "flight-or-fight" response.  The adrenal glands release stress hormones that boost strength and energy in reaction to physical stressors and enhance focus and mental clarity during times of emotional upset.  Occasional stress is normal and healthy, but chronic stress can take a toll on mental and physical health.  While some people rely on prescribed medications for treatment, others prefer more natural ways to reduce stress.  Three herbs show promise for fighting stress.

Herbs that reduce stress include holy basil, kava, and chamomile.

1.  Holy Basil

An herb and a member of the mint family, holy basil is found in most tropical regions around the world.  Research shows that compounds in holy basil improve the body's response to stress.  One animal study examined the effects of holy basil on stress created by continual exposure to noise.  Albino rats were pretreated with holy basil extract for seven days and then exposed to noise containing a frequency of 10 kHz and a sound level of 100 dB.  While exposure to noise typically generates changes in acetylcholine and acetylcholinesterase activity in several areas of the brain, the treatment with holy basil prevented these changes.

2.  Kava

Kava is a root that comes from the islands of the South Pacific. Traditional use involves crushing the root and making it into a tea.  The drink offers relaxing or sedating effects but is non-addictive.  Kava is also available as a dietary supplement in powder, capsule, or tincture form.  When it comes to herbs that reduce stress and anxiety, kava has shown positive results in many studies. 

In 2013, an Australian study assessed the effects of kava in 75 people with generalized anxiety disorder.  Subjects were given kava or placebo each day for six weeks.  Levels of anxiety were measured using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA).  For people with mild to moderate anxiety, kava significantly reduced symptoms as compared to the placebo group.  Results were even more significant in the group with moderate to severe anxiety.

Kava should not be combined with alcohol or psychotropic medicines.  It has been shown that long-term use of kava can harm the liver, so people should use it for three months or less, and consult with a qualified herbalist or your health care provider for guidance.

Related:  Natural Remedies for Mild Depression

3.  Chamomile

Originating in Europe, chamomile is a plant that belongs to the daisy family.  While its dried flowers are used for a variety of physical ailments, chamomile also offers relief from anxiety according to several studies. 

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania examined 35 people diagnosed with anxiety and depression or with a history of anxiety and depression, along with a control group of 22 people without either disorder.  For eight weeks, subjects received daily doses of chamomile extract or placebo.  Dosages were increased for people who showed less benefit on anxiety scores by one extra tablet daily each week, capping at week five. 

Based on the results of several rating scales, 57 percent of the people in the chamomile group experienced significant reductions in anxiety.  To date, chamomile has been shown to have no adverse side effects, which makes it one of the best and safest ways to reduce stress.

Chronic stress takes a toll on the body both physically and mentally.  Herbs that reduce stress help take the edge off when people are exposed to physical, mental, or emotional stimuli on a regular basis.  Before starting a supplementary regimen with any herb, people should always consult with their health care provider.