Natural Sleep Aid

5.00 out of 5 based on 4 customer ratings
(4 customer reviews )

$19.95

If sleep is a largely underrated requirement of the body that does not only provide an opportunity for your body to repair itself, it is also an opportunity for your mind to compile the data for the day and file away all the important bits in preparation for the following day.  Our Natural Sleep Aid has be shown to not only help you fall asleep, but it helps you stay asleep through the night so that you wake up refreshed every morning.

BENEFITS

Supports

Falling Asleep

All-night Sleep

Stress Relief

No Grogginess

USAGE

Suggested Use

2 capsules taken at bedtime or as directed by a healthcare professional.


Do not exceed the recommended dosage. This product is not intended for pregnant or nursing mothers, children under the age of 18, or individuals taking any prescription medication including anti-depressants. Avoid driving or performing other potentially dangerous tasks while taking this formula. If you have questions about the advisability of taking this product, consult a physician prior to use.


CAUTION: For relief of occasional sleeplessness only. Do not exceed the recommended dose. This product is not intended for pregnant or nursing mothers, children under the age of 18, or individuals taking any prescription medication including anti-depressants. Avoid driving or performing other potentially dangerous tasks while taking this formula. If you have questions about the advisability of taking this product, consult a physician prior to use. This product is manufactured and packaged in a facility which may also process milk, soy, wheat, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and crustacean shellfish.

INGREDIENTS

Natural Sleep Aid Supplement Fact Sheet

FAQ

How long does this bottle last?

One Natural Sleep Aid bottle provides at least a 30 day supply, or 60 capsules.


Where is this product made?

All of our products are produced in a facility that maintains strict GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards right here in the United States. The facility is also registered with the FDA!


Does this product contain any fillers or artificial ingredients? 

Our Natural Sleep Aid contains zero artificial ingredients and fillers.


Is this product vegetarian?

Yes! Our Natural Sleep Aid uses vegetable capsules.


Is this product gluten free?

Unfortunately, our Natural Sleep Aid supplement is not gluten free.


Does this product contain any GMOs?

No, this formula is 100% Non-GMO!


Who can take this product? Is it safe for children?

Any human over the age of 18, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, hair color, eye color, etc., can take our Natural Sleep Aid! We suggest speaking to a healthcare professional before providing this product to anyone under the age of 18.


How much 5-HTP is in each capsule?

Each capsule contains 25mg of 5-HTP. One serving (2 capsules) contains 50mg!


How much Melatonin is in each capsule?

There are 3mg of melatonin per capsule and 6mg per serving!


How soon will I see results?

Most individuals will see results in an hour, however, not everyone is the same! Try the recommended dosage and if you are not fully satisfied, please contact us for further assistance.


What if it doesn’t work for me?

At Nature’s Wellness Market, we believe in happiness through health. Therefore, if you are not fully satisfied with your product, you are covered by our Certified Happy Guarantee. This means we will refund your first bottle, no questions asked. We encourage you to give us a try, please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.


Can I mix the Natural Sleep Aid with my prescription medication? 

We strongly recommend speaking to your health care professional before mixing any prescription medication with our Natural Sleep Aid. It is also important to understand this is an all-natural dietary supplement designed to have little to no side effects, therefore, it is hard to compare with a pharmaceutical drug.

Customers' review

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4 reviews for Natural Sleep Aid

  1. Three Herbs That Improve Digestive HealthThose who go to the doctor for digestive problems are often at a loss for words when they are told to take over-the-counter stomach medications. These antacids and other stomach-coating liquids do little to help control the pain and discomfort that this condition causes. They also contain aluminum, a toxic metal unnecessary for human health. Luckily, there are numerous natural supplements for digestion that can help control the symptoms without harming the body.

    Bromelain

    The stem from the pineapple plant contains a unique enzyme called “bromelain,” which is often added to natural antioxidant and digestion supplements. It help break down food to be easily absorbed. Some people try to obtain the benefits of bromelain by increasing their consumption of pineapples, since the fruit also has some of the enzyme. However, it takes a significant amount of pineapples to be able to get enough of it into the body, so it is easier to take a digestive enzyme product that already contains bromelain.

    Papain

    The papaya is considered to be a super-fruit for a good reason. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that most other fruits have only in small amounts. Men who are concerned about their reproductive organs might also take it in natural prostate supplements to prevent prostate cancer. Papaya is high in natural sugars, so people with Diabetes and others trying to watch their sugar intake should use caution when deciding how much of this fruit to consume. The main enzyme in papaya that helps with digestive health is called “papain.” Like pineapples, it is often added to meat-tenderizers because it helps quickly soften the tissue. When combined with the pineapple plant enzyme, it creates some of the best supplements for detox.

    Pectin

    One of the main reasons that people have problems with digestive health is a lack of fiber. This is usually because the average diet is filled with processed food, which has very little nutritional quality. Therefore, it is important that those who have digestive issues get plenty of all natural supplements that contain pectin. This substance comes from the thick, nutritious skin of all types of apples. It is often sold in powder form as a natural thickening agent for making jams and jellies. Pectin helps draw water into the digestive tract and to make the stool firmer. It also increases the efficiency of the digestive system, so people who take it feel fuller for longer.

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  2. Fighting a Cold Naturally: Natural Remedies and TeasThe common cold has eluded extinction because of the way it adapts and changes from year to year. This constant adaption means that those who get this type of viral infection can't build up a resistance against it. Usually, the body is able to start forming antibodies against anything that attacks it as soon as it recognizes a problem. However, viruses adapt and become resistant. Therefore, all of the antibiotics that people get from the doctor whenever they get a cold are actually useless. Antibiotics only fight bacterial infections, not  viral infections. With that being said, the best way to start feeling better fast is by using natural supplements and teas. Read on for a list of some of the best natural supplements to try from Nature's Wellness Market.

    Milk Thistle Extract

    This herbal remedy is most commonly known for its ability to cleanse and repair the liver for inflammation. What some people might not realize is that it is one of the best natural health supplements to help bolster the immune system. When toxins build up, the liver can’t work as effectively, making it difficult to cleanse bacteria and viruses from the blood. Milk Thistle works by detoxifying the body.  The best way to take milk thistle extract for the common cold is in a large dose as soon as the symptoms begin. Most people will feel better within a day or two after taking it.

    Garlic

    The pungent smell of fresh garlic can be a bit deterring, but it is an incredibly effective antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial agent for heart health. The best way to use it is raw, but it is also sold in supplement form for those who can't tolerate its taste. Some people also find that it is helpful to place one or two drops of garlic juice mixed with a bit of olive oil into their ears when they have a cold as this alleviates sinus pressure.

    Ginger Tea

    Ginger tea comes from the large roots of the ginger plant. They are sliced into thin pieces and completely dried before being ground up. Some people also make this tea from fresh ginger that is grated into a cup of hot water. It has a pleasant taste that is soothing to the stomach, hence why it is commonly used to ease nausea. However, ginger is also one of the best natural antioxidant supplements to boost the immune system. For the most benefits, drink this tea in the morning to increase brain function, energy, and focus.

    Elderberry Tea

    The dark purple berries of the elderberry tree are incredibly helpful in alleviating a cold quickly. They increase the immune system's response when used with other natural antioxidant supplements. Since they have a pleasant taste, they can be consumed either raw or dried in a cup of hot water with no sweetener. Drink two to three cups of elderberry tea a day with other health supplements until the symptoms of the cold disappear.

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  3. How Bilberry Improves EyesightOur eyes are more than the windows to our souls, they are vital to everything we do from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. With that being said, our eyes are under constant assault from environmental pollutants, free radicals, and all the hours we spend on viewing computer screens, iPads, and iPhones. The results of our daily living conditions can manifest into eye fatigue, weakening eyesight, and poor night vision. Rather than continuing to buy eyeglasses or contacts with ever changing lenses, there are all natural health supplements that can help to maintain normal eyesight and improve your eyesight.

    The Basics of Bilberries

    For centuries, bilberry is one of those health supplements that has proven itself to be beneficial for eye care. Historically, Europeans have used both the berries and the leaves of the bilberry plant as a treatment for a variety of health care problems such as poor circulation, varicose veins, and eye care wellness. In addition to being a tasty plant that is frequently used in jellies, jams, and tea, the bilberry is a beneficial natural medicinal plant. Bilberries are primarily grown in Europe, America, and Asia. Here in America, it is not unusual that bilberries are often called blueberries because of their similar size and deep blue color.

    Healing your Body

    What makes the bilberry so powerful is the plant pigments that naturally possess antioxidant properties. These properties are what contribute to eye care health, support normal blood glucose levels, and internally defend against free radicals that contribute to cataracts. As an aid against inflammation, a bilberry supplement serves to reduce the eye pressure that contributes to glaucoma, and its antioxidant properties support better circulation to the eye retinas. Bilberries are able to raise the levels of pigments in the retinas while increasing the amount of oxygen and blood delivered to the eyes. This means that due to an improved capillary network, a person’s eye health benefits from the opening of blood vessels so that there is reduced blood pressure on the eyes. As an excellent source of Vitamin C, the Bilberry is also considered to be an immune boosting agent.

    Not Just for the Eyes

    The American Herbal Products Association has labeled the bilberry as a safely consumable Class-A herb, Latin name Vaccinium Myrtillus. The bilberry is also considered a valuable adaptogen. Adaptogens are herbs made from select plants that are then used as natural therapy supplements, both in teas and capsules, to help the body regulate physical and emotional stress, to help with chronic and degenerative illnesses, and to support healthy aging.

    In addition to the bilberry’s reputation for helping with a number of eye ailments and disorders, this nutritional fruit has shown itself as a valuable aid for the urinary tract, the respiratory system, and the control of blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes. This is very important for people with diabetic retinopathy. So, the bottom line is that while people are taking bilberry supplements to improve their eyesight, they are also gaining additional benefits in other major internal systems.

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  4. How Many Supplements Should I Take a Day?There are a lot of different all natural health supplements out on the market, and they all do different things, so it can get to be confusing for a person who doesn't understand which ones they need and how much of them that they should take. This can be dangerous because some supplements can be toxic if they are taken too often. Other more gentle supplements won't be effective if someone doesn't get enough of them, such as the green tea extract sold by Nature's Wellness Market. To help make things a little less confusing, here are a few basic guidelines to follow:

    Consider Your Body Size

    A man or a woman who has a smaller than average frame should take the dosage that is listed for a child instead of the one for an adult. That is because it is calculated for someone with less body weight. Those who are taller and heavier than average may need to take more than the dosage that is listed.

    Determine if the Supplement is for Maintenance or Therapeutic Purposes

    The way that a supplement is being used determines whether someone needs more or less of it. Maintenance supplements are vitamins and minerals that a person needs to ensure they don't become vitamin deficient. They are usually taken in lower doses because they are needed every day. Therapeutic supplements are only taken for a short time. So most people need a higher dose of them.

    Think About Your Tolerance to Supplements

    Some people can handle larger doses, and others can't. That is because each person has a unique body chemistry. So if someone knows that they tend to be more sensitive to what they put into their body, they might want to start out with a lower dose than what the label of a supplement recommends.

    Ask if the Supplement is Fat or Water Soluble

    Supplements vary in the way that they are absorbed into the body. Some have to be taken in smaller doses because they can accumulate in the fat of the body over time. Others that are water soluble pass through with the urine if a person takes too much of them. These have to be taken in higher doses to ensure that a person gets enough of them at a time.

    Determine the Risk of Toxicity

    More caution is needed when a person takes a supplement that can be damaging to the liver or other organs or when taken in combination with medications. So the dosage should be kept limited to the smallest amount possible. For example, a supplement that contains kava kava or comfrey can be damaging to the liver with long-term use. These two herbs have wonderful healing properties, but neither of them should be used at a full-strength dosage for more than a week.

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  5. Natural Remedies for a Better Night's SleepMost people need at least eight hours of sleep at night, but getting that amount isn't easy for those who struggle with sleepless nights. For one reason or another, some people toss and turn for hours before they can finally drift off to sleep, which is why sleep-aids have become so popular. Most of the ones that are sold over-the-counter are considered to be addictive because once someone starts using them, it gets harder for them to fall asleep on their own. Prescription sleep-aids are even more dangerous because of all the side effects that come with them. Luckily, there are organic ways to help get a better night's sleep that are far safer. Read on for a list of several all natural health supplements that work just as well as sleep-aids, but without the dangerous side effects.

    Kava Kava

    The strongest herbal supplement for sleep is kava kava. It comes from a root that grows in the western Pacific. Sometimes, natives make it into a tea to drink in replacement of alcoholic beverages when they can't relax. It acts like a sedative to reduce anxiety, which helps turn off worrying thoughts long enough for a person to fall asleep.

    Passion Flower

    Missionaries named this fragrant flower “Passion” because if one looks closely at the center of it, it looks like Jesus of Nazareth on the cross. Passion flower tastes very sweet, so it is often added to fruit punches as a natural flavoring. But it can also be drank alone to relax the body at night. This remedy can be easily used in combination with other supplements without any harmful interactions occurring, which is why it is found in the natural supplements for sleep sold by many retailers.  

    German Chamomile

    Some people are surprised to hear that there is more than one kind of chamomile. German chamomile grows a little taller than other varieties, but it still has the same flowers that are needed for natural medicine. Unlike other herbs, German chamomile is safe enough for children to use. They can be dried to make into a tea for restless nights when sleep doesn't come easily.

    Lavender

    The fragrant flowers of the lavender plant have been used in different types of aromatherapy for thousands of years. However, they are also delicious and edible. When consumed, lavender is flavorful and calming to the body.

    Melatonin

    The body naturally produces melatonin to regulate the biorhythms that affect energy levels. However, sometimes people don't produce enough of it, and this can make it hard for them to fall asleep. When it is taken in a supplement form, it causes drowsiness in less than 30 minutes or so, which is why it is such an effective natural sleep-aid.

    There are many health issues that can be attributed to a lack of sleep, such as hyperthyroidism and anxiety. Those who have been struggling to fall asleep for more than a week should head to the doctor for a check-up. And remember, never take any of these supplements if you intend to operate heavy machinery or drive. They are meant to be used only before a person goes to bed for the evening.

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  6. What You Need to Know Before You Buy SupplementsMost natural health supplements are much safer than chemical-based prescription drugs, but that doesn't mean that they should be used carelessly. There are precautions that have to be taken to ensure that those who use them don't have any dangerous interactions or an exacerbation of their health conditions. So to help, here is a list of things that all of our customers should know before they purchase any health supplements.

    You Shouldn't Hide Your Supplements

    Since some doctors scoff at the use of natural medications to improve health, patients often stay quiet about the ones that they want to buy. This is dangerous because a medical emergency could arise, and the doctor won't know what is causing it. For example, people who secretly take St. John's Wort are at risk for blood loss during surgery because the herb acts as a natural blood thinner. So it is important that patients first ask their doctor if it is safe before taking a product containing it.

    Not All Labels are Accurate

    At Nature's Wellness Market, we ensure that everything that goes into our products is safe and natural. All of our supplements are tested for quality and strength because we care about the health and safety of our customers. However, not all companies that sell health supplements go to the great lengths that we do. Some sell products with inaccurate ingredient labels that are misleading, especially cheaper brands of supplements. This is dangerous because there could be ingredients in the products that could make someone sick. So to be safe, always check the label and only purchase the best all natural supplements.

    Some Health Supplements Help Prescription Medications Work Better

    While it is good to be concerned about harmful drug interactions occurring with prescription medications that are taken with health supplements, it is important to mention that sometimes doctors recommend that people use them together. For example, those who take antidepressants often become deficient in B vitamins, especially Vitamin B-12, so it is common for them to get a prescription for the vitamin to go with their other medications. Another supplement called “Co-enzyme Q-10” is suggested to patients taking statins for their high cholesterol because it reduces the muscle pain that they get from the drugs.

    Some People are More Sensitive to Supplements Than Others

    Each person has their own unique body chemistry that affects the way that they absorb supplements. Health issues, body weight, and the sex of a person can contribute to it too. Some people will need more or less of the dose that is standardized on the label of each supplement. The best way to find out how much you should take is to talk to your doctor.

    This list of information isn't all that you need to know about natural supplements. So if you have any questions about our products at Nature's Wellness Market, just ask! We will be happy to help you figure out which of our supplements will work the best for your health needs.

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  7. Eight Amazing Benefits of Green TeaGreen tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. Its amazing benefits come from the powerful antioxidants it contains. An antioxidant is a substance that helps work against the damaging effects of oxidative stress, which increases the body’s formation of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are formed during the natural process of digestion, exercise, and from exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke, or other environmental toxins. These molecules, once in our bodies cause extensive cellular damage, which can speed up aging, and has been linked to several diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular disease. In order decrease the problems caused by free radicals, the body needs antioxidants to help neutralize these molecules. This is where green tea really shines, the antioxidants it provides help the body fight off free radicals leading to incredible health benefits.

    Green tea contains several different antioxidants, which may be why it is so exceptionally beneficial. The class of antioxidants it contains is called polyphenols, specifically flavonoids and catechins, that have been shown to be important in maintaining heart health, may reduce the risk of cancer, and can help slow aging. A specific catechin in green tea is called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) and based on current research seems to be the most potent ingredient. It has been found to help boost weight loss, increase metabolism, and may even prevent several different diseases. Here are some of the highlights of green tea and its antioxidants detailed in these eight amazing benefits.

    Weight Loss


    Green tea has been shown in several studies to increase metabolism, which may result in weight loss. A 2008 study found that even when obese subjects followed the same type of diet over a 12 week period, those who drank green tea lost almost 7 pounds more than those who did not. They also were found to have a higher resting energy expenditure, meaning they were burning more calories at rest.

    A 2004 study followed 14 male subjects for 8 weeks to determine the effect of regular exercise and tea catechins on energy expenditure. After two months, energy expenditure, or calorie burn, even at rest was greater in the group that consumed the green tea. Researchers found that the metabolism of the subjects was boosted by about 4% by drinking green tea. This small boost can make a significant difference in overall daily calorie burn and possibly result in weight loss over a period of time.

    There are several reasons why green tea may be an effective tool for weight loss. First, the caffeine contained in green tea can temporarily speed up metabolism. Also, the catechin, EGCG, has been shown to help improve body composition and reduce fat in the abdominal area. Ideal dosages of green tea for weight loss have yet to be determined, but a cup of green tea does not have any calories and can be a great addition to any weight loss program.

    Decreased Cancer Risk


    Green tea has been shown effective in reducing risk of cancer and possibly even helping the body slow the growth of cancer cells. One Japanese study went as far as to recommend drinking up to 10 cups of green tea a day for cancer prevention. Once again, the secret is the antioxidants it contains, specifically EGCG.

    A 1998 study found that the EGCG in green tea was protective against lung, skin, stomach, colon, liver, and pancreatic cancer. People who drank 10 cups of green tea per day, developed cancer 8.7 years later than those who drank less than 3 cups a day. Researchers believe that it inhibits the release of a compound called tumor necrosis factor-a, which has been linked to inflammation and the development of cancer.

    A large review of several research studies found a strong connection between drinking tea and a lower risk of breast cancer in women. The cancer risk in women who drank tea was 22% lower than in women who did not regularly drink green tea. The same connection was not found for black tea drinkers. Green tea also seems to reduce risk of prostate cancer and colorectal cancer by almost 50%.

    Improved Brain Function and Focus


    Green tea is excellent for helping you stay focused and awake. It has a small amount of caffeine, less than a cup of coffee, so it can give you a slight caffeine boost, without the jittery feeling. Caffeine has been linked to increased attention, mood, and memory.

    Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant. It works to increase focus by increasing the amount of two neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine, and decreasing another neurotransmitter called adenosine. The shift in neurotransmitter balance is what results in increased mood, physical stamina, memory, and improved reaction time.

    Caffeine isn’t the only component in green tea that helps improve brain function. Green tea also contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which is found almost exclusively in tea. This unique amino acid is responsible for the taste of green tea. It has been found to work synergistically with caffeine to help boost brain function. Research has found that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine results in increased memory, improved performance of cognitive tasks, and increased alertness. L-theanine also seems to counteract some of the side effects of caffeine, reducing the feeling of “jitteriness” and maintaining a normal blood pressure.

    Helps Reduce Stress


    Just sipping a cup of tea can help you relax at the end of a long and stressful day. But, the L-theanine in green tea actually helps boost relaxation even more. It is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and once it reaches the brain, it has been shown to lower blood pressure and increase the number of relaxation inducing brain waves in humans. It can also increase levels of other neurotransmitters, such as GABA and dopamine, both of which have anti-anxiety effects. A cup of green tea can be a great addition to any stressful afternoon.

    Diabetes


    Type 2 diabetes is a world-wide epidemic. In the United States, over 9% of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, where the cells of the body stop responding to the message of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that signals to the cells that sugar is available after a meal. But, in type 2 diabetes, the cells stop responding to the insulin, they become resistant to its actions. Therefore, any sugar (glucose) remains in the blood, leading to an elevated blood sugar. High levels of glucose in the blood is extremely toxic and leads to long-term complications such as heart disease, blindness, and kidney damage.

    Drinking green tea regularly can help improve insulin sensitivity and in turn help reduce blood sugar. It has also been shown to possibly prevent the diagnosis of diabetes. A 2006 study followed participants for five years to determine the influence that consumption of coffee, green, black, or oolong tea had on the development of diabetes. It was found that people who drank green tea regularly had a 33% lower risk for developing diabetes over a five year period, regular coffee consumption showed a similar result, but it was not seen in people who drank the other types of tea. With how serious the diabetes epidemic is at this time, green tea may be a good preventative and inexpensive solution.

    Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease


    Green tea doesn’t only help your memory and cognitive function in the short-term, it also can protect your brain against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, of the most common causes of dementia and memory loss in old age.

    Both of these diseases are linked to inflammation and oxidative stress caused by damage by free radicals. The antioxidants that green tea contains will scavenge the free radicals, helping to neutralize them, and possibly preventing long-term damage in the brain.

    A 2008 review looked at several human and animal studies on dementia and tea drinking. Researchers found that regularly drinking green tea seems to decrease the incidence of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s across the animal and human studies reviewed. It is the catechin EGCG that seems to be the most potent in protecting against the neurological damage caused by these debilitating illnesses. 

    Improved Exercise Performance


    Green tea not only helps with weight loss and to boost metabolism, it can also help improve performance during exercise and help you burn fat while you work out. During exercise, the antioxidant in green tea EGCG can help maintain levels of a hormone involved in fat breakdown called norepinephrine. When levels of this hormone are high, it is a signal to the body to begin to empty out the fat cells.

    A 2008 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that intake of green tea extract during exercise burned 17% more fat when compared to those who took a placebo. There was also a decrease in insulin levels and an increase in insulin sensitivity.

    Caffeine also helps increase exercise performance. Caffeine may help delay fatigue during exercise. It has been found that people who regularly take caffeine before exercise report a decreased rating of perceived exertion, meaning they could workout harder without feeling like it was harder. It also helps reduce pain during exercise. Between the EGCG to burn fat and the caffeine content, green tea is an amazing addition to any workout program.

    Protects the Heart 


    Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. Everyone, no matter what age, should be concerned about keeping their heart healthy.

    A 2008 study published in the Journal of Nutrition followed over 40,000 participants to determine the connection between green tea intake and cardiovascular disease risk. Researchers found that green tea consumption was associated with a decreased risk of mortality from all causes, especially for women who regularly drank green tea. It was also associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, which was also more pronounced for women. Participants who drank more than 5 cups of green tea per day had a 31% lower risk of death by heart disease. The same effect was found with green tea and risk of stroke.

    Green tea helps improve heart health by lowering blood lipid levels, such as cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, all of which are risk factors for heart disease. Bad cholesterol, or LDL becomes dangerous when it is oxidized or exposed to oxygen. Some LDL cholesterol, particles are more likely to become oxidized than others. Smaller LDL molecules are more at risk for oxidation, than larger fluffier ones. Oxidation occurs when the small, sticky LDL interact with free radicals becoming reactive and damaging surrounding tissues. Oxidized LDL increases inflammation and risk of heart attacks. The powerful antioxidants found in green tea can help reduce the damage caused by the oxidized LDL, decrease inflammation, and overall lower risk of heart disease.

    How to Enjoy Green Tea


    If you want to drink green tea, try to purchase the highest quality tea you can find to ensure the most antioxidant content. In order to determine the quality you must judge the appearance, color, smell, and taste of the tea. The leaves of the tea should be all approximately the same size and should all be whole, not broken up. The color of the leaves should be bright and look similar when it is seeped. The tea should smell grassy and not be overpowering.

    When serving green tea, do not pour boiling water over the tea as it destroys the sensitive catechins. Instead use water that is around 160 degrees and let it seep for a few minutes. Try to avoid putting milk in your tea, as it seems to reduce the potency of the antioxidants. Vitamin C seems to increase absorption of the catechins, so add a squeeze of lemon. Some of the benefits of green tea can also be found by taking the EGCG antioxidant directly in a supplement form.

    Overall, the research on the health benefits of green tea is very promising for weight loss and a variety of medical conditions. Adding a nice cup or two of green tea to your day is a simple way to get the benefits and a little relaxation at the same time.

     

     

     
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  8. Incredible Omega-3 Benefits You Should KnowDietary fat use to be seen as something to avoid, as many believed fat made you gain weight and increased risk of heart attack. But, over the last 20 years or so, research has proven that there are several fats commonly found in the diet that are actually incredibly beneficial, and necessary, for human health. One of the healthiest fats are the omega-3s, found primarily in fatty fish, walnuts, flax, and chia seeds. I'll cover the incredible omega-3 benefits but in order to understand these benefits of omega-3 fats, we must first discuss the word “essential” in terms of nutrition. A nutrient is considered essential if the body cannot make it on its own and needs it for basic functioning. Several of the dietary fats are not considered essential because the body can make them from other nutrients or food components, but omega-3 and omega-6 fats must be consumed from the diet. Basically, we have to eat a certain amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fats to stay healthy.

    These two essential fats need to be in balance, maintaining a ratio of omega 6 to omega-3 of at least 4 to 1, for ideal health. The problem is that the Western diet is incredibly high in omega-6 fats, but low in omega-3s. If you eat a traditional Western diet, which uses primarily vegetable oils for cooking, your ratio is likely closer to 20 to 1 of omega 6 to omega 3. This completely skewed ratio, increases inflammation, which may in turn lead to several chronic health problems.

    Inflammation is very similar to having an infected cut on your finger (think redness, swelling, pain), except this type of inflammation isn’t just in a small area, it’s happening throughout the body. When the whole body is inflamed, it alerts the immune system to overreact, leading immune cells to attack the body’s own tissues, causing disease. Inflammation is triggered by poor diet, lack of exercise, pollution, and stress, factors which most of us are faced with in this modern world. It is also increased by eating too many omega-6 fats and not enough omega-3s.

    Omega-3 fats help reduce inflammation by blocking some of the inflammatory pathways in the cells. Most of the health benefits seen from regularly consuming omega-3s are related to this anti-inflammatory nature. Omega-3 fats has been shown to help improve a variety of medical conditions, here are some of the benefits.

    Improved Blood Cholesterol


    People with a high intake of omega-3 fats in the diet, tend to have higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels and lower triglyceride levels.

    Improved Blood Pressure


    Research has shown that regular intake of omega-3 fats can help control blood pressure.

    Improves Risk Factors Related to Diabetes


    People with diabetes tend to have elevated triglyceride levels and omega-3 intake can help reduce these levels. Omega-3 intake can also improve insulin resistance, one of the key symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

    Improves Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis


    Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joints, characterized be severe pain and swelling. Several studies have shown that omega-3 supplements can help reduce pain and joint stiffness for people with this condition. Some people have even been able to reduce their use of NSAIDs, medications commonly used to reduce inflammation in people with arthritis, because of their intake of omega-3s.

    Strengthens Bones


    Omega-3 intake may help increase calcium levels in the body and strengthen the bones. In one study, women who took an EPA/GLA supplement experienced less bone loss over a 3 year period when compared to those who did not take the supplement.

    Reduces Risk of Certain Cancers


    Omega-3 fats have been studied in relation to colon, breast, and prostate cancer. Intake of omega-3s has been linked in some studies to a decreased risk of developing cancer and may help slow the progression of the disease. But, at this time, results are still mixed in the area of omega-3s and cancer prevention, therefore further research is needed.

    Improves Symptoms of Depression


    Studies have shown that omega-3 supplementation, in addition to the use of prescription antidepressants, can improve symptoms of depression when compared to those who only took antidepressants. Also, people who take omega-3s regularly tend to experience fewer depressive symptoms.

    Helps with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


    Children with ADHD tend to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These important fats play such a critical role in brain development. Children with lower levels of omega-3 fats were found to have more behavioral and learning problems, when compared to those who had normal levels.

    Improves Brain Function


    Omega-3 intake can help reduce age-associated cognitive decline, especially related to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

    Reduces Risk of Macular Degeneration


    Macular degeneration is the number one cause of age-related vision loss, which can lead to blindness. One study found that people who ate the most fish were less likely to have macular degeneration, compared to those who did not regularly eat fish.

    Types of Omega-3


    There are three types of omega-3 fats found in food: EPA, DHA, and ALA. EPA and DHA and are found primarily in fatty fish, whereas ALA is found mostly in plants. EPA and DHA seem to be the most powerful in terms of health benefits, but ALA is also likely beneficial.

    Each of the omega-3s provides a different benefit and you need a little of both. EPA has been found to be cardio-protective and may help prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart attack. It may reduce the risk of all these diseases because it is the omega-3 that has the most anti-inflammatory properties. People with inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, probably need higher levels of EPA for the anti-inflammatory benefit.

    DHA, on the other hand, is beneficial for the brain and nervous system, especially for children and people with Alzheimer’s disease. EPA gets metabolized in the brain, therefore the brain has low levels of EPA. This does not happen with DHA and the brain can use it to repair itself or grow as needed.

    The ideal dose of EPA and DHA is 1.5 to 3g per day combined. This amount can be obtained by eating 2 to 3 servings of fatty fish, such as wild-caught salmon, mackerel, and sardines. But, most of us aren’t eating enough fish per week as it can be costly or many people simply don’t like it.

    ALA is another type of omega-3s found in plant such as flaxseed, walnuts, or chia seeds. The body converts ALA into EPA or DHA, but it is not very effective at doing this. It is believed that less than 1% of ALA is converted into DHA or EPA, which is why it is not considered to be as potent as the other omega-3 fats.

    Healthcare providers traditionally recommend a daily omega-3 supplement to help reduce inflammation levels to counterbalance our less than ideal diets and high intake of omega-6. But, there has been some controversy about this recommendation in the past few years.

    Several recent studies have shown that omega-3 supplements may not be as effective as omega-3 containing foods. A 2012 meta-analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reviewed over 1,000 studies to determine the efficacy of omega-3 supplements on prevention of cardiovascular disease. In total, the analysis included over 20,000 participants who received varying doses of omega-3 supplementation. No matter what the dose, there was no effect on overall mortality or risk of heart attack

    Although these results are very intriguing, don’t throw out your fish oil supplements just yet. Supplements are rarely going to be as effective as real food. Real food contains several factors that cannot be duplicated in a pill, maybe even substances science has not learned to isolate yet. Also, both of the above studies focused only on cardiovascular risk factors and omega-3s. As discussed above, omega-3s can benefit a number of other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and depression. So, just because this one research study says it may not decrease your risk of heart attacks from an omega-3 supplement, you may still want to consider taking them for other conditions.

    How to Take Omega-3 Supplements


    So how do you know if you should take an omega-3 supplement? First, look at your diet overall and see if you are getting enough sources omega-3s. Are you eating at least 2 servings per week of cold water fish like wild-caught salmon or mackerel? Are you eating walnuts and flax seeds on a daily basis? If the answer is no to either of those questions, you may want to consider a supplement, especially if you eat a standard American diet.

    You may also need an omega-3 supplement if you have any inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, or autoimmune disease. Exercise also increases inflammation and athletes may also benefit from the anti-inflammatory power of omega-3s.

    If you want to take a supplement, be sure to ask your doctor first, especially if you take any medications or have any medical conditions. In general, anywhere between 1 to 3 grams per day seems to be safe for most people. Or if you don’t like taking a supplement, try to eat 2-3 servings of fish per week and include plant-based sources of omega-3s also, such as flaxseeds, walnuts, and chia seeds.
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  9. When is the Best Time to Take Supplements?Supplements are an important part of taking care of oneself. They offer extra nutrition that the diet may not provide. Because of this, many people quickly take them in the morning to make sure that they get their daily dose before rushing off to work. But this is problematic because some supplements have characteristics that make them work better if they are taken at different times of the day. So to help, here is a list of some of the best all natural supplements that explains when to take them to get the most benefits from their properties:

    Zinc

    This vitamin is important for a healthy immune system. It also benefits reproductive health. Zinc has to be taken with food because it causes nausea on an empty stomach. It can't be taken at the same time as either calcium or iron though because they both interfere with its absorption.

    Vitamin C

    This supplement is water soluble, so excess amounts of it get flushed out through the kidneys fairly fast. It works the best when it is taken at a lower dose several times a day. That way, it will be in the body for a longer period of time.

    Vitamin E

    Sometimes, people apply this vitamin topically to their skin to fight the signs of aging, but it also works well as an antioxidant to fight free radicals when it is used internally. Vitamin E is a great addition to your daily regime for your hair, skin and nails. It is fat soluble, so it helps to take it with other fats that are eaten at a meal, such as lean meats, nuts, or dairy products.

    Calcium and Magnesium

    Both of these minerals are needed for nerve and heart health. They are dependent upon each other, so they should never be taken separately. Calcium and magnesium have a calming effect on the nervous system, so they work best when they are taken before going to bed.

    Vitamin B-12

    More often than not, this vitamin is sold in a bottle of all natural health supplements with other B vitamins, but it works best when it is taken alone in the afternoon. It will help prevent the afternoon slump that so many people get. It should never be taken with Vitamin B-9 or zinc because they both interfere with its absorption. Vitamin B-12 helps boost energy levels, so don't take it too late in the afternoon because it will make falling asleep more difficult.

    The easiest way to remember your supplement schedule is to set reminders on your phone. Or you can make a list of which ones need to be taken at different times of the day. Carry your supplements with you in a pill case or a small medicine bag wherever you go, so they are always with you. And remember, never take any supplements before you check with your doctor, especially if you take any prescription medications because they could negatively interact with them.

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  10. The Health Benefits of Turmeric You Need to Know

    Turmeric is a yellow-colored spice commonly found in curry which originated in India. It has been used for centuries not just to flavor food, but also for its amazing medicinal properties. Several research studies have validated its numerous health benefits. Its effectiveness is likely linked to its antioxidant content and ability to lower inflammation. Turmeric has been studied for its potential to reduce risk of multiple chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disease.


    The turmeric spice contains three different curcuminoids: curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. These are naturally occurring antioxidants, which are responsible for the yellow color of turmeric. The spice also contains some oils, sugars, and a small amount of protein. The most powerful ingredient in turmeric is the antioxidant curcumin. It is an incredibly potent anti-inflammatory agent. Most of the research on turmeric has been focused on the antioxidant curcumin. The potential for this spice in the treatment of diseases and the management of symptoms is incredible, here are just a few of its potential uses:



    Systemic Inflammation


    Inflammation is a natural process of the immune system that occurs as a reaction to the body trying to heal itself from illness or injury. When you get injured, let’s say you accidently cut your finger, you may experience swelling, warmth, redness, and a little immobility in that particular area over the next few days as the cut heals. That experience is “inflammation”. Your body is releasing compounds called cytokines, which send out emergency signals to other immune cells to come fix the problem. Blood flow also increases to the area to allow white blood cells, hormones, and nutrients to reach the cut so it can heal. This is a fantastic system, especially if you have an acute injury, since the body jumps into action right away. Acute inflammation will usually go away after a few days, once the area has been healed.


    Unfortunately, in our current environment, due to poor diet, alcohol intake, pollution, smoking, and stress, our bodies are under constant attack from many external factors. Our cytokines, or emergency signalers, are not sure when or how to respond to all of these external pressures. Therefore, they are always sending out a low-level signal to the immune system to react, but there is nothing specific to react to. This is called chronic or systemic inflammation because the body is consistently sending out the inflammatory response, even when there is no need for one.


    When the white blood cells are summoned, but have nowhere to go, they begin to attack the body’s own tissues and organs. The white blood cells with nothing to do end up becoming destructive, attacking the body’s own cells. The destruction eventually adds up resulting in disease. A low-level of inflammation throughout the body is called systemic inflammation and has been linked to multiple medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune disease.


    Anti-inflammatory foods, spices, or herbs can help combat some of this systemic inflammation, reducing our risk of chronic disease. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, has been shown to be as effective in lowering inflammation levels as some popular anti-inflammatory medications, such as NSAIDs, such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin, without the side effects.



    Turmeric and Heart Disease


    Turmeric has been studied for its potential benefit in helping prevent heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Specifically, curcumin can improve the function of heart cells, known as endothelial cells, as much as regular exercise. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and improve endothelial function as much as the medication Atorvastatin, a commonly prescribed statin medication used to lower cholesterol and risk of heart disease.


    Turmeric may also help lower triglyceride levels, a type of fat found in the blood that has been linked to heart disease. Triglycerides tend to be highest after a high-fat meal and consuming turmeric with the meal seems to help control the spike in triglyceride levels. This is especially effective when turmeric is consumed with a meal. Turmeric has also been indicated to help control blood pressure, although most of the research is currently mostly animal studies. Overall, turmeric seems to be quite potent in attacking heart disease from many different angles.



    Turmeric and Cancer


    Curcumin has shown significant benefit in reducing the risk of developing cancer as well as potential to be used as cancer treatment. It has an ability to suppress the growth of tumor cells as well as reduce inflammatory compounds that stimulate tumor initiation and metastasis. One particular study found that a daily dosage of 4g of curcumin reduced pre-cancerous lesions in the colon by 40%.


    High doses of turmeric, up to 10 grams per day have been used safely in human trials as an alternative to cancer treatment or in conjunction with cancer treatment. This promising information still needs further research to determine proper dosages, any potential drug interactions, and overall safety.



    Turmeric and Diabetes


    Turmeric has also been studied in its potential in helping manage diabetes by lowering blood sugar and improving insulin resistance. A 2012 study published in Diabetes Care followed pre-diabetic subjects for 9 months. Half took a 250mg curcumin supplement, where half did not. Both groups were educated on a healthy diet to prevent diabetes and encouraged to exercise regularly. Of the control group, who did not take any supplements, 16% were diagnosed with diabetes after 9 months. No subjects were diagnosed with diabetes in the curcumin group. The results of this study are very promising in the fight against diabetes due to the significant increase in diagnosis of the disease.


    Turmeric has also been found to help reduce some of the side effects of diabetes such as neuropathy and vision problems. It is believed this is related to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that helps keep the damage done by the disease at bay.



    Turmeric and Autoimmune Disease


    The rates of autoimmune disease continues to increase and unfortunately the cause of these diseases is unknown. But, we do know that chronic inflammation is linked to the development of many autoimmune diseases and seems to make symptoms worse.


    Curcumin has been studied for its effectiveness in helping improve symptoms of many autoimmune diseases. It has been shown to be effective in the management of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.


    Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory abilities, it’s no wonder it can help reduce the pain and swelling related to arthritis. One study found that 500 mg of curcumin was more effective in reducing pain and swelling in rheumatoid arthritis patients, than a traditional anti-inflammatory medication. Curcumin also had no negative side effects that are generally experienced with many medications used to manage inflammation in autoimmune disease.



    Turmeric and Depression


    Turmeric has also been shown beneficial for people struggling with depression. In one 6 week study, curcumin was compared to the drug Prozac in patients with depression. Subjects took either 1gram of curcumin, Prozac, or a combination of both Prozac and curcumin. All three groups showed improvement in their depression. Researchers believe that curcumin can have a positive effect on the neurotransmitters in the brain, helping boost levels of serotonin and dopamine. This particular study only involved 60 participants, larger studies are needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of curcumin on depression and the ideal dosages for treatment.



    Turmeric and Alzheimer’s Disease


    Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia that affects daily functioning and memory. At first it starts with just mild confusion and memory problems. Eventually, it can change people’s personality and even make them forget important people in their lives. It’s like the entire memory of who they were is wiped clean. As the memory loss worsens, it impacts the ability to function and take care of oneself. They may also be unable to make appropriate judgments or decisions in certain situations, such as driving. Psychological changes may also take place such as depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and aggressiveness.


    The exact cause of Alzheimer’s is unknown, but there may be a link to inflammation as well as a decrease in a hormone called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Curcumin addresses both of these potential causes. It has been shown to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier, therefore has the potential to work inside the brain. More research is needed in humans at this time, but rat models are showing significant promise in maintaining brain plasticity and cognitive function.


    Another feature of Alzheimer’s disease is the formation of tangles in the in the brain that lead plaques that may interfere with cognitive function. Curcumin has been shown to help clear these plaques in lab studies. More research is needed on exact dosages of turmeric for people with Alzheimer’s disease, but the findings are quite promising so far.



    How to Take Turmeric


    You may be surprised to know that the turmeric spice itself only contains 3% curcumin. Most of the research conducted on the benefits of curcumin use very large dosages, well over 1 gram of curcumin per day, which would be very difficult to consume by just adding turmeric to your food. That’s not to say that adding the spice to your food won’t have any benefits, there is definitely research supporting low, daily doses of turmeric for health. In countries such as India, that use curry regularly, people may consume 1-2grams of turmeric daily via food. Even as little as 50mg per day over a period of time has been shown to be beneficial to overall health. But, the most effective way to use turmeric is via a supplement or extract, in order to ensure the most potent dosage.


    If you are not taking a turmeric supplement, but still want to gain the most benefit from just using the spice in cooking, there are a few things you can do to improve absorption of this powerful spice. First, the antioxidants in turmeric are fat-soluble, meaning they are better absorbed when consumed with foods high in fat. Curcumin also boosts the absorption of vitamin A, another fat soluble vitamin. Using it to flavor meat, chicken, or fish, will provide enough fat to help you better absorb the curcumin in the dish.


    Even if you consume the turmeric with high fat meal, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the blood stream, where it is needed to work its antioxidant magic. It is quickly metabolized (or broken down) in the liver, before the body is able to truly benefit from its properties. Researchers have found that by consuming foods containing turmeric with foods high in piperine, absorption of curcumin into the blood stream increases by 2000%. Piperine is an extract of black pepper. Therefore, if you are cooking with turmeric, make sure to include some black pepper in your dish for the most benefit. You can also make turmeric powder into a tea by adding 1 tsp to 4 cups of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain the tea through a sieve and add honey or lemon as desired.


    Fresh turmeric root is becoming more commonly found in the produce section, but is usually easy to find as a dried powder in the spice section of the grocery store. Turmeric is not the same as curry. Curry contains multiple other spices such as cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and clove, all of which may also be beneficial to health. If you purchase dried turmeric powder be sure to keep it in a cool, dark, dry place to maintain its antioxidant capacity, as many antioxidants are sensitive to air, light, and heat.


    Turmeric is generally quite safe to consume. A few side effects have been found in very high doses, such as diarrhea, nausea, or low blood pressure. Turmeric can cause itchiness or a rash for some people, but only when used directly on the skin. Pregnant women should not take high doses of turmeric because of the risk of uterine contractions, but using it as a spice for food is fine.


    Overall, the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has amazing potential in treating a variety of diseases. Further research is needed in most areas to determine ideal dosages for each medical condition as well as identify any potential drug/nutrient interactions. But, so far, turmeric seems to be a safe and effective spice with significant health benefits.

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  11. Energy Boosting Herbs That Will Get You Through the Work WeekTrying to balance all the demands of a job, family responsibilities, and never ending errands is tough. It puts a big strain on the body physically and emotionally, so energy reserves disappear fast. Luckily, there are several all natural health supplements that help boost energy safely and effectively. Read on to find out more about all their benefits.

    Green Tea Extract

    Instead of drinking cup after cup of green tea, its beneficial properties can be obtained from an easy-to-take capsule. This supplement contains phytochemicals that have health-enhancing properties, which boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of many diseases. It also increases energy levels by up to 24%. And as an added bonus, it boosts the metabolism.

    Ashwagandha

    This herb energizes stagnant nervous systems, which boosts energy levels. It also stimulates the immune system, so the body and mind can handle stress more easily. But its most popular quality is its ability to increase endurance. Instead of getting tired when there is still lots to do in a day, it helps people keep going strong for hours longer than they normally could.

    Panax Ginseng

    There are several kinds of ginseng. They each have their own specific qualities, so it is important not to confuse them. Out of all of them, panax ginseng is the best for boosting poor energy levels. It works by strengthening the adrenal glands. But it also helps those who have very little energy because they don't have an appetite.

    Maca Root

    This root is found in the mountains of Peru. It is related to the potato family, so the people that live in the country commonly eat it in their meals. It also gets fed to farm animals. Maca root has a lot of minerals and vitamins that help increase energy levels and boost the immune system. But unlike other vegetables, it is high in protein and amino acids. It has the extraordinary ability to balance hormones too. So many people who have an imbalance in estrogen or testosterone levels take it, especially when they are struggling with reproductive problems.

    Holy Basil

    Holy basil is a different plant than the flavorful basil that is used in cooking. It is one of the most versatile herbal remedies available. Holy basil is used for everything from controlling blood sugar in diabetics to treating scorpion and snake bites. It has a calming effect on the nervous system, which reduces anxiety and stress, but it boosts energy levels considerably.

    These herbs will help get you through the work week when they are taken correctly. But energy levels can be affected by several different factors. Poor health, stress, and not getting enough sleep can all cause exhaustion. So don't push the body too far for too long. It can end up worsening chronic conditions. And if it seems like even the best all natural supplements aren't improving your energy, be sure to get to the doctor for a check-up. There could be a serious underlying condition that is to blame.

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  12. Why Your Gut Wants Leafy GreensI have to admit, I am a little obsessed with this green juice trend. Any opportunity I have to grab a fresh juice, even at $5 or more per cup, I totally jump on it. I can totally make juice at home, I even have a high-powered blender that can do the trick, but for some reason I can never get it quite right. The local juice bar has perfected the ratio of fruits and green veggies, so why not? I understand that maybe the “green” taste is not for everyone, but I personally find it quite refreshing and the health benefits of leafy greens are incredible.

    Why Leafy Greens?


    Leafy green vegetables, such as kale, lettuce, and spinach, are chock-full of vitamins and minerals. They provide huge quantities of vitamin K, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C, just to name a few. Greens are also particularly beneficial for maintaining the health of the digestive system. A well-functioning digestive system is where wellness begins.

    Our digestive system does so much more to help maintain health than just digest our food. The digestive system is also an active part of the immune system. It provides a barrier against pathogenic viruses and bacteria that can make us sick if they are allowed to enter the body. It is also filled with beneficial bacteria that help modulate the immune system and neutralize toxins.

    Leafy greens have been found to play an important role in helping maintain a healthy gut and in turn a strong immune system. A 2013 study, published in Nature Immunology, found that there is a specific immune cell in the intestinal tract called innate lymphoid cells (ILC). These immune cells are activated by specific foods, particularly leafy greens. The ILCs, once activated, help the digestive system fight off pathogens, heal any damage, and reduce inflammation. Researchers believe that the ILCs, if they are activated, may help reduce the risk of food allergies and certain digestive diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. But, even if you don’t have these particular diseases or food allergies, eating leafy greens can still help your gut and immune system by keeping the ILCs thriving.

    How Much Leafy Greens Should We Eat?


    How many leafy greens do we need per day? Aim to eat at least two servings a day for the most benefits to your immune system and your gut. A serving is a cup of raw greens or a ½ cup cooked. Try to get as much variety as possible, for example try spinach this week and Romaine lettuce the next.

    Some of us have trouble eating enough leafy greens due to the bitter taste. So, why not try juicing them? Add half an apple, a slice of ginger, or a bit of lemon to fresh kale juice to cut some of the bitterness. Or if drinking something bright green isn’t for you, find ways to sneak greens into other dishes by adding spinach to lasagna or throwing some kale into a chicken and rice soup. Look for creative ways to add more leafy greens to your diet on a daily basis and your gut will thank you.
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  13. The Benefits of Adding Apple Cider Vinegar to Your DietApple cider vinegar has been used in meal preparations, as a household cleaning agent, and for medicinal purposes for a very long time. When incorporating apple cider vinegar (ACV) into your diet, we recommend you take it in the raw form with the “mother”. The mother is the cloudy mass of beneficial bacteria that sits at the bottom of the bottle. Let’s take a look at the benefits of adding ACV to your diet.

    Lowers Blood Sugar


    If you are dealing with elevated blood sugar levels, or have Type 2 Diabetes, ACV has been shown to stabilize blood glucose and improve insulin sensitivity during meals. Taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime is believed to reduce fasting blood sugar levels by up to 4%. We recommend mixing ACV with water so that it is less acidic to your tooth enamel.

    Digestive Support


    Raw apple cider vinegar with the mother has plenty of naturally occurring beneficial bacteria, such as probiotics. This is great support for our guts as ACV is known to regulate digestion. Taking AVC and a natural supplement for digestions can help with bowel regularity.

    ACV also has antibacterial properties that make it an effective aid in ridding our digestive tract of infectious parasites and Helicobacter-pylori. H-pylori is considered one of the main causes of stomach ulcers. ACV can be an effective treatment for ulcers and heartburn as well.

    Cardiovascular Health


    Apple cider vinegar has acetic acid. Research has shown that acetic acid may help to reduce blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and fat accumulation. Animal studies have revealed positive results in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides with acetic acid.

    Electrolyte Balance


    Potassium is relatively high in ACV. It is one of the electrolytes we need to regulate the level of fluids in our bodies and aid in several body functions. Electrolytes are necessary in supporting the electrical activity between our brains and central nervous systems. If you are dehydrated, or physically exhausted after participating in a sporting event, you might do well to replenish your electrolytes by mixing a little ACV into some pure fruit juice or coconut water, rather than reaching for a sports drink.

    Raw apple cider vinegar with the mother may be one of the most overlooked natural medicines in our kitchen pantries. Along with all natural health supplements and a good diet, ACV should be a part of your daily health routine. It is inexpensive and extremely beneficial. At Nature's Wellness our motto is “Happiness begins with health”.
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  14. How Cinnamon Affects Your Blood SugarCinnamon is a very popular spice that commonly gets added to both savory and sweet dishes. It comes from the bark of dozens of varieties of evergreen tree. Most people buy it in a powdered form, but it is also sold in curled sticks that are often used to stir hot beverages. In recent years, it has become available in a capsule form too because it works so well for controlling blood sugar levels.

    Controlling Blood Sugar Spikes


    Insulin is produced by the pancreas. It gets released every time a person eats or drinks something that is sweet or starchy. The insulin brings down the sugar in the blood by helping the cells use it for energy. However, if a person doesn't produce enough insulin, or they become insulin resistant, then this sugar stays in the blood with nowhere to go. This causes a multitude of health problems, such as diabetes and obesity. But if cinnamon is taken regularly, it helps the cells open up to accept sugar the way that insulin does, making it one of the best natural blood sugar control supplements.

    How Much Cinnamon Do You Need?


    Research has shown that it takes about a teaspoon of cinnamon a day to help control blood sugar levels. However, some people may need to take this dose once in the morning and once in the evening if they have excessively high blood sugar levels. It can be sprinkled on food or dissolved in hot water to make a tea. There are now easy-to-take, all natural supplement capsules available on the market to make adding this to your everyday routine easier. It should be noted that the effects of cinnamon might not be noticeable at first. It has to be taken consistently to be effective. Most studies have proven that the results are often seen after taking it for one month or more.

    Is Cinnamon Safe for Everyone?


    Although cinnamon is safe for most people to take, there are a few warnings that should be mentioned. This spice is a bit taxing to the liver, so anyone who is having liver problems should try a different herbal supplement. Also, those who are diabetic should check with their doctor before taking cinnamon because it may interfere with some other diabetes medications. High doses of cinnamon can irritate the stomach lining and esophagus too, so it is best to start out with a small dose of it to see how it will affect you if you suffer from ulcers or acid reflux disease.
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  15. Supplements That Should Not be Taken TogetherNatural health supplements are an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Along with an active lifestyle and well-rounded diet, supplements can be the missing element to optimal health. However, there are some key interactions that you need to be aware of. Certain supplements have the ability to cause harmful side effects if they are taken together. Read on for a list of some of the most dangerous supplement combinations that should be avoided.

    Vitamin K and Vitamin E & A

    Vitamin K is pertinent in one's daily routine, as it prevents heart disease and strengthens bones. It also plays a large role in your body’s ability to form blood clots. While not the most dangerous interaction, high doses of vitamin E and vitamin A may counteract the effects of vitamin K. It is recommended that this combination is avoided in order to allow your body to form proper blood clots when necessary.

    Ginkgo Biloba and Fish Oil Supplements

    Both of these herbs thin the blood and reduce blood clots. They are safer than many other prescription blood thinners. However, if they are used together, they thin the blood too much. This is dangerous because a person could develop uncontrollable bleeding if they are injured or they have to have surgery.

    Motherwort and Calcium Supplements

    Those who have hyperthyroidism suffer from an overproduction of thyroid hormones in their body because their thyroid gland is malfunctioning. So to control it, some people take motherwort to slow the thyroid gland down some. However, if calcium supplements are taken with motherwort, they can block the absorption of the herbal remedy. So the hyperthyroidism could worsen. Calcium can also block the absorption of supplements that are used for increasing thyroid production in people who have slow thyroids.

    St. John's Wort and Kava Kava Supplements

    These two herbal remedies reduce depression by increasing serotonin levels that are too low. They cannot be taken together because this could increase the levels too much, which could lead to serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a dangerous condition that requires hospitalization because it causes confusion, disorientation, and high blood pressure.

    Vitamin D and Hawthorn Berry Extract Supplements

    Vitamin D lowers blood pressure, so it can't be used with hawthorn berry extract because this herb affects the heart too. These two supplements also shouldn't be taken together because they are both diuretics. Hawthorn berry extract is often used by patients who have a build-up of fluid in their body because they have congestive heart failure. The extract flushes the extra fluid and waste out of the body, so there is less strain on the heart and lungs. It works well by itself, so there is no need to take any other diuretic with it.

    Natural supplements are a great way to stay healthy the natural way. But even the best all natural supplements shouldn't be used without consulting a doctor first, especially if you also take prescription medications with them.

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  16. Support Your Mental Health with "Super Brain" YogaWe all know how incredible a consistent yoga practice makes us feel. Yoga truly lives up to the hype of addressing our health from multiple levels: mind, body and spirit.

    Let's hone in on the "mind" aspect of yoga. Often overshadowed by the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga, it's easy to overlook the fact that yoga might just be one of the best supplements for brain function available to us.

    An increasing amount of people are reaping the benefits of an ancient yoga sequence known for rejuvenating our mental energy. This simple and easy to practice sequence has the potential to increase our mental energy and mood by increasing both oxygen and blood flow to the brain. We refer to it as "super brain" yoga.

    In Sanskrit, it's better known as Thoppukaranam, palikarsha, or "pulling of the ears," which is quite literally how this move is performed! As tradition goes, this sequence was often used to calm, recenter and refocus misbehaving children. The sequence is also said to balance emotions, increase the ability to retain information, and even improve intelligence. Give the sequence below a try to gain the all natural health benefits that yoga can provide.

    How to practice: The Sequence of Movements

    This sequence can be practiced on its own or prior to your own daily yoga practice.

    1. Assume a comfortable standing position with feet shoulder-width apart.


    2. Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth.


    3. Squeeze the right earlobe with the left thumb and left index finger. The thumb should be placed on the front of the earlobe.


    4. Squeeze the left earlobe with the right thumb and right index finger. The right arm should be on top of the left.


    5. Inhale slowly and deeply while squatting.


    6. Exhale while returning to standing pose.


    Repeat the full squats up to 14 times. The practice can be incorporated daily.

    Super brain yoga, although practiced for hundreds of years, has only recently been studied by medical researchers. The study results are encouraging: after participating in the super brain yoga sequence, participants experience an increase in attention and mindful awareness, plus a decrease in anxiety.

    Pairing a practice like super brain yoga with other natural supplements for brain function can really support us when our mental health needs a boost! Supporting our mental health naturally through supplementation and a practice like super brain yoga can be an integral aspect of our journey to wellness.
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  17. How Fish Oil and Other Omega-3 Supplements Are Beneficial to Brain HealthMany early studies have confirmed the importance of fish oil and omega-3 oils in maintaining brain health and function. However, continued research has shown that these components can also help to delay or prevent a number of diseases. If you want to ensure that you are getting a sufficient amount of omega-3 to ensure healthy function, choose all natural health supplements. Taking fish oil and omega-3 supplements can provide a number of benefits to your health.

    Improving Brain Function

    Fish oil and omega-3 are known as memory and focus supplements. They can help to prevent problems with cognition and memory in older people; even reducing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in some patients. Research also indicates these compounds are even important in children, improving brain function, memory and concentration. Infants who do not receive sufficient amounts of omega-3 can develop nerve or vision problems.

    Managing Stress

    Stress itself can undermine immune function that is critical in fighting disease. Fish oil and omega-3 are natural supplements for stress. The antioxidants in these compounds help neutralize the damaging effects of stress on the body. Increasing the amount of omega-3 compounds you consume can function as an antidote to stress.

    Improving Mood

    Another way that fish oil and omega-3 supplements can be beneficial is by improving mood. Deficiencies of omega-3 in animals and humans have been associated with an increased risk for mental health problems. The chemistry indicates that these compounds convert to other chemicals in the body that can help to improve mood. These chemicals affect cell membranes in the brain and how signaling occurs between cells. To fix your bad mood try fish oil and omega-3, as they can help to relieve some of these symptoms.

    Omega-3 Antioxidants To Prevent Disease

    Fish oil and omega-3 supplements are also known as important compounds for preventing disease throughout the body. The antioxidants contained in fish oil and omega-3 containing supplements help to fight the damage from free radicals that occur from exposure to pollutants and other environmental contaminants. Taking these supplements can help the human body fight cardiovascular disease, arthritis and even cancer.

    Consumers can find a wide range of vitamins and supplements on the shelves, but not all of these products are equal in their effect on the body. There are plenty of supplements available, but in order to get the most bang for your buck, try to look for natural, high quality fish oil and omega-3 supplements. In doing this you are not only maximizing the health of your body, you’re also maximizing your mind.

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  18. 5 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil and How to Add it to Your DietCoconut oil has been a staple in health food stores across the nation for many decades, and now free publicity across social media has brought coconut oil into contemporary vogue. This potent substance is extracted from coconut meat. Like olive oil, it is a tasty alternative to vegetable oils and cooking grease while it boasts all sorts of cosmetic uses as well. It is one of the best all natural supplements consumers can incorporate into their diets.

    Natural Sweetener


    Many South Asian curries derive their unique flavor from coconut milk and oil. Coconut oil is also responsible for that addictive flavor in movie popcorn. While consumers should know coconut oil contains a high amount of saturated fat, so must be used sparingly, it is so rich only a dab is necessary to sweeten foods. Its dual ability to add cream and sweetness makes it a perfect substitute for vegan and lactose-intolerant diets. Use it in oatmeal and baked recipes.

    Supports Dieters


    Coconut oil's high fat content can work in dieters' favor. Some fat is necessary to feel full, and steamed vegetables and fish often lack that punch people need to feel satisfied. A little coconut oil added to vegetables, fish and other light meals increases the odds of feeling full longer, without nutrition-sparse substances like butter and vegetable oil. Pair coconut oil-based meals with a natural fat burner and energy support supplement to increase chances of diet success.

    Immunity


    key components in coconut oil include antimicrobial lipids and lauric acids. These elements have antibacterial and antifungal properties making it great for fighting off harmful bacteria and protozoa. Overall, your immune system with strengthen and you can become better equipped to fighting off diseases and infections.

    Encourages Regularity


    No one likes to be irregular. However, it happens: long workdays lead to eating out and ordering in the office, a vacation brings gluttonous indulgence, the farmer's market sold out of kale and locally-grown apples. When this unfortunate situation hits, it can be miserable.

    Coconut oil is an amazing alternative to over-the-counter laxatives, which bring unbearable stomach pain before relief. Swirl it into soups, rice dishes and couscous recipes. A spoonful at night or generous smear on whole grain bread at breakfast will move through and clean the colon gently. Natural supplements for digestion can be used in combination with coconut oil to eliminate such discomforts.

    Promotes Beauty Naturally


    Coconut oil goes between the kitchen and the bathroom effortlessly. The high natural fat content resists the oxidizing process that spoils most foods. A jar among the bathroom's cosmetics will not go rancid for months. Coconut oil's dense richness is an effective skin soother and dry skin formula without the additives, preservatives, unnatural coloring and artificial scents in department store moisturizers and lotions.

    For shinier and fuller tresses, coconut oil may be used topically as a conditioner or hot oil treatment as well.
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  19. 8 Nutrient Deficiencies and the Risks - Infographic
    When your body is lacking a vital nutrient, it is affected at the cellular level. Our bodies need the perfect balance in order to function properly. In a single day, there are numerous processes that must run completely and without a hitch. A few of these processes include digestion, water balance and nerve signaling, among many others. Not to mention that being deficient in a nutrient puts you at risk of diseases. This wouldn’t be the first time that we heard of a calcium deficiency leading to osteoporosis. While everyone is different, everyone should be aware of what their body is in need of. From Vitamin D which plays a major role in keeping your bones strong and healthy to Vitamin E that supports brain health, there are many supplemental nutrients that can be wildly beneficial if added to your daily regime. Here are 8 vital Nutrients and how to ensure you are getting your proper dose.

    Vitamin D: Your best source of vitamin D is through supplemental pills and fortified milk. While some foods contain this vital nutrient, including salmon, egg yolks and tuna, it is in modest amounts. Regular sun exposure stimulates the skin to produce natural vitamin D as well. Just be sure to wear sunscreen.

    Potassium: It is recommended to get your potassium naturally. Fruits and vegetables high in potassium are bananas, sweet potatoes, avocados and beets. Animal protein sources include chicken, cod, and pork.

    Vitamin B12: Especially important for vegans and vegetarians, it is beneficial to get vitamin B12 through supplemental pills and diet. Animal sources that are high in B12 include fish, chicken and milk. Vegans should opt for either a supplemental or non-dairy milk and soy based meat substitutes.

    Iron: It is beneficial to take iron in either pill form or through diet. Non-heme iron sources come from lentils, spinach, turnips and broccoli. However, the best source of heme iron is red meat.

    Omega 3 Fats: Along with increasing your omega-3 intake with supplements and diet, you must also limit your omega-6 intake - the ideal ratio is 1:1. Krill oil is a great supplemental form of Omega-3 and food sources include fish, chia seeds and walnuts.

    Vitamin A: Retinol is preformed vitamin A and it is ready to be used by your body where, beta-carotene is pre-vitamin A and needs to be converted by your body to retinol before use. Retinol is found in liver, butter and poultry and beta-carotene is found in dark orange or green fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and kale.

    Folate: Folate supplements are often combined with other B vitamins, such as B complex. Animal sources high in folate include eggs, liver, pork and shellfish. Great plant sources are brussels sprouts, tomato juice, mushrooms and asparagus.

    Vitamin E: To ensure proper dose of vitamin E, it is important to make smart dietary choices. An especially important source is wheat germ oil but it can be found in pecans, sunflower seeds and broccoli as well.

    Often times, it is easy to become deficient in a nutrient due to poor diet or a recent round of antibiotics. On top of this, signs and symptoms can be easy to go unnoticed. After all, it is not uncommon for fatigue and a gray hair to seem like a normal occurrence due to a stressful week at work. This is why it is very important to listen to your body. Be sure that you are eating a well-balanced diet and if you feel that something is off and you need a little extra help, there are great dietary supplements out there that can do the trick. Just be sure to check with your doctor before deciding to add anything to your daily regime.

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  20. Health Benefits of Horny Goat WeedHorny goat weed, also called Epimedium or yin yang huo, is an herb that has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine for a variety of ailments. Its rather humorous name is believed to be linked to ancient Chinese stories about the sexual prowess of male goats who ate this particular herb regularly. The Chinese have used this herb for centuries to improve sexual performance for both men and women.

    It is currently under investigation to help determine its potential for therapeutic use in balancing hormones and improving sexual performance. It has also been evaluated for a variety of potential health benefits such as improving back and joint pain, fatigue, memory loss, high blood pressure, liver disease, blood disorders, HIV/AIDS, polio, reducing menopausal symptoms, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The active ingredient in horny goat weed is called Icariin a flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and a variety of health benefits. Currently, there is some promising research indicating potential benefits of horny goat weed, particularly in the areas of sexual health for men and women, osteoporosis prevention, and some preliminary findings on a variety of other diseases, including dementia and viral infections.

    Men’s Health


    One of the primary uses of horny goat weed is to help improve sexual performance, specifically erectile dysfunction. It is believed that taking his herb can help increase blood flow throughout the body, which will in turn help improve blood flow to the genitals. The mechanism proposed for the improvement in sexual function is that horny goat weed blocks the enzyme that restricts blood flow to the penis, similar to medications used for erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra. This herb is currently under investigation as a potential treatment for erectile problems with fewer side effects when compared to other medications available on the market. At this time, there are no published long-term human studies on the effectiveness of horny goat weed and erectile dysfunction, but animal studies do indicate that this herb may be effective in helping improve sexual health.

    Another way that horny goat weed is effective in improving sexual health is that it may increase levels of testosterone. , But, low testosterone is not just about sexual function, it also has a significant impact on overall health. Low testosterone affects about 25% of men over the age of 45 years old. Men with low testosterone may have difficulty maintaining muscle mass, decreased energy, and of course poor sexual function. But, the effects of low testosterone don’t stop there, low levels have been linked to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and increased fatigue. Helping improve testosterone levels can help a man feel better overall and improve health.

    Most of the research on horny goat weed, erectile dysfunction, and testosterone has been conducted on animals at this time. One particular study found that oral Icariin, the active ingredient in horny goat weed, was effective in increasing testosterone levels and improving erectile function in castrated rats. This 2005 study found that supplementation with 1 mg/kg of body weight of active oral Icariin helped restore testosterone levels and improve erectile function after 4 weeks of treatment.  These results have been replicated in other rat studies with varied doses of Icariin. The results are promising for the rats, but human studies have yet to be conducted to determine long-term side effects and optimal effective dosage.

    Women’s Health


    The benefits of horny goat weed are not just for men, women can also benefit from this supplement. Horny goat weed contains phytoestrogens, compounds similar to hormonal estrogen found in plants. These phytoestrogens have been linked to a reduction of menopausal symptoms, preservation of bone density, and may be linked to reduced rates of hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer. Menopause is marked by a decrease in estrogen levels leading to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms including hot flashes, elevated cholesterol levels, weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and mood swings. Phytoestrogens may naturally help to replace some of the estrogen lost during menopause, helping improve some of these symptoms, without the side effects of synthetic hormone replacement.

    Estrogen isn’t the only hormone that is decreased during menopause, women can also suffer from low testosterone levels, just as men can. Some of the symptoms of low testosterone experienced by women are decreased libido, low energy, depression, weakened bones, and decreases in strength. Hormone replacement therapy is usually indicated to treat low hormone levels, but it may have significant negative side effects. Alternatives to hormone replacement are very appealing, especially for those struggling with the effects of low hormone levels.

    Horny goat weed is one of the herbs that is being evaluated as a potential alternative to hormone replacement therapy. A 2008 study, found that horny goat weed may be effective in reducing common menopausal symptoms, specifically high cholesterol and low estrogen levels. Ninety female subjects were divided into two groups, half received a supplement of the herb the other half received a placebo water pill. After 6 months, both groups were evaluated for changes in estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and cholesterol levels. The group receiving the supplement had significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as higher estrogen levels.

    Horny goat weed may be effective in mitigating some of the effects of menopause, including low testosterone and estrogen levels. Dosages between 600-1200 mg have been used safely and effectively to help improve symptoms. They only contraindication for post-menopausal women and the use of horny goat weed is for those who have been diagnosed with estrogen-sensitive cancers, since horny goat weed does have estrogenic effects. Otherwise, it seems that overall this herb is relatively safe in helping manage symptoms of menopause.

    Osteoporosis


    Horny goat weed may be beneficial for helping slow bone loss and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones, leading to actual holes forming in the bones. Ten million Americans have osteoporosis and 80% of these people are women. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with this disease because women have smaller, thinner bones, and due to decreased estrogen levels post-menopause. Osteoporosis puts women at risk for broken bones and fractures. Broken bones in older adults lead to poor health outcomes, infections, and a variety of other medical complications.

    There are some medications that can help maintain bone mass, as well as adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D. But, horny goat weed may also help protect women’s bones. A 2007 study evaluated the effect of horny goat weed on bone mass and other biochemical marker related to the development of osteoporosis. One hundred healthy post-menopausal women were randomized into either a supplement group or placebo group, both groups also received 300mg of calcium. Bone density, estrogen levels, and bone turnover rates were measured at 12 and 24 months. A significant difference was found in bone density in those who took the supplement versus those women in the placebo group. Estrogen levels were also improved and bone turnover was decreased. This small study shows some promise that horny goat weed may help decrease bone loss and increase bone density.

    Although this is only one study, it is promising for women who are at risk for developing osteoporosis. There is also some indication that Icariin may help the body form bone more easily and may increase bone mineralization. People at risk for osteoporosis may want to consider a horny goat weed supplement, in addition to increasing calcium and vitamin D intake to help strengthen bones.

    Other Health Benefits


                Horny goat weed may also help decrease inflammation. Inflammation is a natural process in reaction to injury. If you accidentally cut your finger, you may experience swelling, warmth, redness, and a little immobility in that area for a few days as your body works to heal the wound. This process is known as “inflammation” and is extremely beneficial for acute injuries such as a cut or wound. This type of inflammation goes away after a few days. But, current environmental triggers, such as poor diet, pollution, smoking, alcohol intake, and high-stress levels, triggers a constant low-grade inflammation. These external factors trigger the inflammatory response, but the immune system has no actual injury to react to. This is called systemic inflammation and has been linked to a myriad of diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disease.

    The cure for almost all chronic disease may lie in helping reduce systemic inflammation. Horny goat weed has been shown to inhibit the inflammatory process in several animal studies likely due to its flavonoid content. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables that may help reduce the risk of disease. More research is needed to determine the potency and dosage of horny goat weed needed to optimize flavonoid activity and reduce inflammation.

    Horny goat weed has also been investigated for a variety of other diseases and its potency is likely related to its anti-inflammatory power.  It has been shown to improve kidney function in rats due to its ability to reduce inflammation. It has also been shown to inhibit the activity of several viruses, including herpes simplex and hepatitis A. At this time, horny goat weed is not a cure for any of these diseases as further research is still needed.

    Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, icariin has been indicated to be protective of the neurons in the brain. Maintaining memory, learning ability, and brain health is one of the key factors in preventing dementia, which affects over 47.5 million people worldwide. In animal studies, it has been shown to improve memory and increase learning ability. It may also be protective against stroke. Researchers believe that horny goat weed is protective due to active flavonoid icariin which helps reduce brain inflammation.

    Dosage and Safety


    Horny goat weed seems to be generally safe to take with no significant side effects reported in healthy people who took the supplement for up to two years. Longer studies are needed to determine any long-term side effects.  There has been only one case study published of a toxicity related to taking horny goat weed. A 66-year old man experienced abnormal heart rhythm, increased heart rate, and irritated mood after taking the supplement for two weeks, but the dosage and brand were unknown. This particular case was also found to be taking a variety of other medications in addition to the horny goat weed, so it is difficult to determine which caused these symptoms or if it was an interaction between everything he was taking.

    Although horny goat weed is generally safe for healthy people, some should use caution when taking horny goat weed and it is always best to discuss any supplements with your doctor if you are unsure. The herb is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding because not enough is known about the effect it may have on a developing fetus. People with bleeding disorders should use caution because horny goat weed does increase blood flow and may increase the risk of bleeding. Since it increases bleeding, anyone preparing for any type of surgery should not take horny goat weed.

    As previously discussed due to its estrogen-like properties, it can increase estrogen levels, and may not be indicated for people who have been diagnosed with estrogen-sensitive cancers, such as breast or uterine cancer. It may lower blood pressure, therefore people who already have low blood pressure should avoid taking this supplement as it may drop blood pressure too low.

    Horny goat weed must be taken in supplement form as it is not found in food. The effective dose is estimated to be between 900-1200mg per day. Overall, although more research is needed to determine exact dosages for specific diseases, horny goat weed may be effective for helping both men and women improve hormone levels. It can also have an effect on reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis and seems to be a safe addition to any treatment plan to help maintain bone strength.
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  21. Winter Is ComingHoliday parties stressing you out? We have all heard the same old recommendations on how to navigate your way through family gatherings, work parties, and other festive events that seemingly always revolve around high calorie foods.

    “Just eat before you arrive and don’t touch anything at the party”, “ Don’t drink a drop of alcohol”, and worst case scenario, “Thankfully winter attire is forgiving because the jungle of rum-spiked eggnog and cream-cheese frosted snowman cookies will not do anything favorable to your waistline.”

    Success throughout the holiday season does not have to mean accepting your fate of gaining the average of 7 to 10 pounds, but it also does not mean having to miss out on nostalgic and meaningful foods.   Let’s get beyond the boring, redundant holiday “game plans” you will read in magazines and incorporate a more realistic strategy to truly help you avoid holiday weight gain while also enjoying the spirit of the season.

    One study (1) reported that half of annual weight gain occurred during the holiday period. Why? Because the foods we indulge in are typically high in sugar and calorically dense. That’s a no brainer. Additionally, we rarely indulge exclusively on the actual day of celebration. Rather, the entire duration of the time between Halloween and New Year’s, which starts off with a binge on your kids’ candy, is glittered with work gatherings, classroom parties, friendly food offerings from associates and neighbors, and  a plethora of other occasions in which indulgent fare is not only available, but encouraged.

    So, if we know what causes the weight gain, why it is so hard to prevent it? Recognizing obstacles is the first step in helping you to better navigate the holiday season.


    1.       Emotional and nostalgic associations

    2.       Peer Pressure

    3.       Stress eating

    4.       Getting away from typical routines.


    Let’s explore some real life strategies you can do starting now to get the most of this joyous time without missing out.

    Choose one nostalgic food that is a non-negotiable.


    I never eat marshmallows. Seriously. And I certainly never eat them on sweet potatoes.  But, Mom’s Sweet Potato Casserole is heaven on a plate, and no gathering would be complete without it.  Therefore, when it is present, I feel an instinctual urge to have it-- and have a lot of it.  While it may not be the epitome of health, foods that have emotional and deeper meanings are spiritually fulfilling and truly one of the reasons of the seasons.  Choose wisely and opt to have one indulgence that you just cannot go without. This will allow you to feel a part of the festivities while you are otherwise choosing healthier options. Perhaps this means filling up on baked turkey and green beans while skipping the pumpkin pie to have a little more sweet potatoes. Or, maybe it means having a small sampling of everything.  Find the context in which you are comfortable and work with it. Remember, deprivation during the holidays is a binge waiting to happen.

    Eat Simply


    They say ignorance is bliss, but I say that not knowing what is in your food is a recipe for holiday weight gain.  That delicious spinach artichoke dip may sound healthy because it has two vegetables in the name, but there is a big possibility that it is loaded with non-organic, hormone filled cream cheese and soybean oil laden mayonnaise.  Opt for single ingredient items or at least items with identifiable ingredients such as vegetable sticks, kebobs, cheese cubes, fresh fruit, or charcuterie plates.  Better yet, bring a dish to offer to the party such as homemade deviled eggs or avocado cream sauce to dip vegetables (see recipe below).

    Cut yourself some slack.


    The holidays are stressful enough dealing with family and finances.  Stress causes the body to produce cortisol, a stress hormone, which prompts the liver to dump sugar into the bloodstream for quick energy.  The action of cortisol is a necessity when a quick boost is needed to allow you to run away from a tiger or dodge a threat.  This influx of sugar in the bloodstream is usually cleared once the danger is at bay, but in terms of holiday madness, we have three months of constant crazy.  Stress induced cortisol secretion causes a continuous flow of blood sugar into the system.  Elevated blood sugar leads to elevated insulin which leads to fat storage.  Couple naturally elevated blood sugar with eating high sugar foods, and it is no wonder holiday gains are nearly unavoidable.

    Ways to remedy this natural elevation is to ensure that you are consuming adequate fat through the diet.  Fat feeds the adrenal glands, which are responsible for regulating cortisol, and can help to balance hormones and blunt the effects of high carbohydrate foods.  The best sources of fat to go for include: avocado, olives, nuts, coconut, grass-fed animal products.  Therefore, at parties, opt to have a satiating, healthy fat dish to start to help fill you up and battle those carbohydrate cravings.

    This season can test the willpower of even the strongest person.  Therefore, practice self forgiveness and acceptance of the natural urges to indulge, owning the realities of your food decisions.  Pick your battles, eat the best that you can, and try not to sweat the small stuff.  After all, this is the most wonderful time of the year!

    AVOCADO CREAM SAUCE


    Ingredients:


    2 large avocados
    1/3 cup packed basil
    2-3 garlic cloves
    juice of 1 lemon
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Instructions:



    1. Put in food processor

    2. Blend until smooth

    3. Salt and pepper to taste

    4. Serve with julienne vegetables or as a sauce for meats and seafood


     

    Reference: 1.       http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM200003233421206

     
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  22. Ten Ways That Meditation Will Improve Your Overall Well-Being
    Meditation is a simple and effective way to improve your emotional and physical health. When combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, it can help a person to feel better than they ever did before. All it takes is spending 20 minutes a day in a room where there are no distractions. Close your eyes, and focus on a word that brings you feelings of inner peace, such as “tranquility.” If any other intrusive thoughts pass through your mind, gently push them aside. Over time, the process of meditation will become easier. When it is done on a regular basis, you will begin to
    experience the following ten benefits to your overall well-being.

    1. Increased Ability to Focus

    By training your mind to push aside intrusive thoughts, you are actually helping yourself to be able to block out distractions that keep you from being able to concentrate better.

    2. More Creative Ideas

    Meditation has been proven to help increase creativity. And the more creative a person is, the better their problem solving skills are.

    3. Lower Levels of Stress

    Most of the stress that people feel comes from the on-going flood of negative thoughts that go through their mind. When they are released, the stress is released too.

    4. Lower Risk of Anxiety and Depression

    Anxiety and depression can sometimes be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Symptoms can become less prevalent with the best all natural supplements. But it usually begins from feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt that keep playing in the mind like a broken record. When a person learns to push these types of thoughts away, they don't have the same risk for feeling depressed or anxious.

    5. More Compassion and Kindness Towards Others

    By being more in tune with your body and mind, you begin to have a new sense of awareness of the impact of your actions on other living beings.

    6. Improved Relationships

    Staying calm and relaxed from daily meditation decreases the likeliness of arguments being caused by stress and tension. So relationships with others start to get better, especially if they join you in daily meditation.

    7. Less Pain Without the Use of Medications

    Pain is often caused by the muscles staying tense all the time. When the mind relaxes, so does the body.

    8. Reduced Levels of Inflammation in the Body

    High levels of stress increases the amount of cortisol in the body, and cortisol increases the levels of harmful inflammation. Lowering inflammation is essential to a person's health, since high levels of it can cause many types of cancer and diseases.

    9. Better Memory

    Meditation improves a person's overall brain functioning, and this aids in both their long-term and short-term memory.

    10. Higher Levels of Self-Confidence

    If a person changes the word or phrase that they focus on during meditation to one that will boost their self-esteem, they can work to change the negative beliefs that they have about themselves.

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  23. 4 Superfoods You Need to Add to Your Diet
    It's not surprising that people who seek our all natural health supplements also want to ensure their diets are full of the healthiest, most nutrient-dense foods available. That's why superfoods have been popping up as the centerpiece of many menus. Deemed by nutrition experts as foods containing larger than average quantities of healthful vitamins and minerals, superfoods can help you target specific areas of your body for optimal well-being. Add the following four superfoods to your mealtime repertoire for better brain and heart health, immunity, beauty and sleep.


     

    1. Mackerel, Salmon, and Omega-3 Rich Fish


    Protect your memory and boost your mental capacity with Omega-3 fatty acids, found in Mackerel, Salmon, Lake Trout, Herring, Yellowfin Tuna and other delicious cold water fish. Combined with our Memory Mind Matrix, one of the best supplements for brain function, a diet rich in salmon and mackerel can reap benefits as diverse as increased cognitive function, reduced incidences of depression, lessened behavioral problems and slowed effects of Alzheimer's disease. An added benefit is that eating just 12 ounces of fatty fish per week has been shown to protect your heart as well. For more omega-3 fatty acid rich seafood choices, check out this list of the top 25 omega-3 fatty acid containing fish.

     

    2. Sweet Potatoes


    Are you looking for a food that is as comforting as it is vital to your immune system and bone health? Look no further than the cheery orange sweet potato, which gains its superfood status from micronutrients vitamin C, manganese, thiamine, and potassium. Despite their comforting sweetness, sweet potatoes have a lower gylcemic index than white potatoes, making them the ideal root vegetable if you're looking to prevent diabetes with natural blood sugar control supplements and diet. Try them as a side dish roasted with herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Or, make them the main event and stuff baked sweet potatoes with broccoli, low-fat cheese, or black bean chili.

     

    3. Blueberries


    Are you looking for a sweet treat that promotes beautiful hair, skin and nails? Try adding blueberries to your daily diet. Sprinkled on your morning oatmeal or folded into Greek yogurt, blueberries make a sweet, tart and ultra-nutritious addition to any breakfast. They also taste great for out of hand snacking. And, according to the FDA, they're top ranked among common fruits and veggies for packing an antioxidant punch. Antioxidants in blueberries and in natural supplements for beauty fight the signs of premature aging and keep you looking your best.

     

    4. Raw Walnuts


    What could be better than a crunchy, portable snack that energizes you during the day and gives you a better night's sleep? Walnuts are truly super when it comes to providing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. They also give you biotin, vitamin E, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids. If you're looking for a natural sleep aid, pack up some walnuts for on the go eating, or add them to a fresh salad for extra flavor.
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  24. Getting Clear on Your New Years GoalsAs the door closes on yet another year you are always compelled to make the next one better. You’ll resolve to exercise more, eat better, begin a meditation practice, or enjoy more time with family. Yet these resolutions fall flat after just a few weeks, only for you to resort to your usual habits and nothing actually changes. Getting clear on your new years goals will ensure your achievement.

    When it comes to setting goals, here are a few things to consider when designing your intention for the year to come. Envision yourself at the end – understanding the emotions, the sacrifice, and most importantly the real reason why you wanted to get started is the first phase to creating change. In fact, rather than a resolution, consider this time the beginning of a journey.

     

    Begin with the end in mind


    As with any journey you must understand exactly where you want to go. As the late Stephen Covey says, “begin with the end in mind.” The journey starts with your vision – imagining what your life will look like at completion of the journey. Spend some time reflecting on your achievement. Grab a pen and paper and have the courage to be completely honest when writing down the answer to these questions:

    How do you feel when your journey is complete? What emotions do you feel - satisfaction? relief? excitement? fulfillment? pleasure? accomplishment?

    What did you have to change in your life to accomplish the journey? If so, what changes need to be made?

    What did you have to sacrifice anything?

    Why was completing this journey so important to you?

    Who supported you through the process?

    Outlining the steps


    The next part is a little easier. Since you’ve already visualized how your journey will end, now is the time to write down the steps to get there (hint, hint - you may need to brainstorm a little). One hint that makes this process more enjoyable is to focus on what you will do, rather than what you will not do ("I will spend 10 minutes daily meditating" rather than "I will stop playing on Facebook so much"). This provides you with the positivity needed to successfully move in the right direction.

    1. Get very specific about what you want. Rather than saying you want to ‘eat healthier,’ hone in on exactly what you mean. Define the precise things you want to focus on to develop new habits. Do you want to dine at home 6 nights/week, eat 4 vegetable servings daily, eliminate snacking before bed, eat 100% gluten free? Outline 2-3 things you will focus on to specify your exact goal.

    2. Identify your exact steps to move in the direction you want. If you desire to exercise more, do you need a good pair of shoes? Are you joining a gym? If so, which one have you decided upon? What times are the classes you will be attending? If you are exercising from home, what times of the day work best for you? Which days will you (or not) be able to exercise. You must get specific about the precise steps you need to move forward.

    3. Create space. As part of your goal setting process, decide how you will carve out space daily to accomplish your goals. Consider time wasted on unproductive activities such as social media, surfing the internet, or vegging in front of the tube. You may have to wake up a little earlier or say no to committing to things that are not moving you toward your purpose. Creating the daily space will ensure you are real about your intentions.

    4. Create mini-goals. Goals that feel too far from where you currently are quickly lose their appeal. Break down your larger objective into smaller mini goals. They can be daily, weekly, or monthly. Then you can focus on meeting a more attainable goal. They should be challenging, but on the direct path to your larger plan.

    5. Develop a game plan. Write your goals and mini-goals and their specific details and keep them in a place where you can see them regularly. Get creative-use pictures and positive words, and tell the people close to you. This will be beneficial in keeping you accountable.

    6. Be flexible. Use your goal to guide you, but be open to new paths toward your intention. Obstacles and detours are a natural part of change and provide important learning opportunities. When you are patient and gentle with yourself, you’ll discover creative solutions that help you grow beyond anything you could have imagined. Planning for these obstacles are vital to ensure continued success just when things could take you off of the path.


    Who do you call upon to keep you accountable?

    How do you “get back in the saddle” if you fall off?

    What will it cost you if you don’t follow through with the journey you’ve envisioned?

    This new year is an open slate. You can create and mold it into whatever you want it to be. This exercise will set you up for success in the year to come. Each time you drift away, come back to your answers as a reminder of who you want to be when this year is all said and done. Remember there’s no right or wrong way to accomplish your goal. The only way you can fail is if you give up. Take the time to design your plan, and then execute it, and you will feel like you can conquer anything.

    .
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  25. Five Natural Health Wonders of the WorldIt might be hard to believe, but we wouldn't have many of the all-natural health supplements that are available today if it wasn't for the discoveries made by people from all over the world. Researchers and explorers found a multitude of plants that have important medicinal properties that aid in healing thousands of people through the years. Five of these discoveries are considered to be the most important.

    Turmeric


    This golden spice is found in almost every dish that is made in India. It has a mild smoky flavor that makes even the blandest food taste amazing. Turmeric face masks are a very common trend in the beauty community as well. This spice has a wide range of health benefits, since it is a great natural antioxidant. Many health experts claim that it might even be able to cure or prevent cancer.

    Arnica


    Although this herbal medicine is commonly grown and used in Mexico, it actually originates from Canada. It has sticky leaves that trail up a long stem and a single yellow flower grows on top. Arnica is a natural disinfectant for wounds, and it also relieves aches and pains when it is mixed in with a bit of rubbing alcohol and applied liberally to the area. It should never be used internally though.

    Tea Tree Oil


    Oil from the tea tree that grows in Australia helps to alleviate a wide range of external conditions. This oil is very strong, so it is recommended to be diluted with water before application to bare skin. Tea tree oil disinfects wounds, cures yeast infections on the skin and feet, and even helps alleviate dandruff and dry skin on the scalp. Some people also use it as a natural preventative for lice. A few drops are added to a bottle of shampoo, which gets used for daily bathing. If there are any lice that happen to get in the hair, they will quickly be eliminated.

    Argan Oil


    Argan oil is one of the best kept beauty secrets of Moroccan women who look amazing no matter what their age. The oil comes from the kernels that grow on Argan trees that are indigenous to the area. Some people eat the oil with a bit of bread that goes with all of their meals because it tastes so delicious. It isn't as thick as other types of oils, so it works wonderfully for applying to the skin and hair.

    Ginger


    Chinese traditional medicine has said that ginger is one of the best all natural supplements for thousands of years. The root of the plant has a strong flavor that most people can recognize when it is added to a dish or a cup of tea. Although it is most commonly known for its ability to sooth an upset stomach, it can do much more than this. If it is grated into a cup of warm water with a bit of honey, it provides energy for hours afterward with no “crash” like caffeinated products cause. Ginger is also a natural antioxidant. Research about its natural ability to kill cancer is growing stronger.
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  26. Using Dietary Supplements With Prescription Medications Safely
    Many people with health problems find that even with their prescription medicines, they still need an extra boost. Many decide to turn to all natural health supplements that are made from plants. But caution must be used when this is done because of the risk of a dangerous drug interaction occurring. While most herbal supplements are completely safe, some of them can block the absorption of prescription medicines or reduce their effectiveness. Or worse yet, they can cause someone to become seriously ill. Luckily, there are a few ways to avoid this from happening.

    Do Your Research


    Reputable all natural health supplement retailers have all of the ingredients listed on the label of their products. But many companies that sell herbal products don't do, putting the well-being of their customers at risk. A person should never purchase products from a company that isn't willing to tell them what is in them because it could make them very sick. Each ingredient has to be looked at to see if it will interact with a prescription medication, and this isn't possible if someone does not know what ingredients a product has.

    Timing Medications


    Prescription medications have a half-life. This means that they only last in the body for so many hours. Some of them have to be in the body constantly to be effective, and others are only needed for several hours a day. It is important to know the half-life of a medication because some herbal supplements should only be taken when they are completely out of someone's system. Herbal supplements also have a half-life. So by understanding how long they both last in the system, a person can avoid a drug interaction.

    Talk to Your Doctor


    Often times, patients don’t feel the need to tell their doctor they are taking these products on a regular basis. But it is crucial that a doctor knows about them in case a person gets into an accident or becomes seriously ill and can't speak for themselves. Patients should be able to speak freely about all of their health conditions with their doctor. Being open with your doctor is important and it is vital to consult your physician before adding natural supplements to your daily regime.

    Ask Your Pharmacist


    Pharmacists are knowledgeable in all types of medications and herbal supplements. They can tell someone right away if a medication and herbal supplement will interact. Pharmacists can also print out a list of benefits and potential side effects from taking them.
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  27. How to get a Super-human Immune System 

    With every sniffle of your kid’s nose and germ-infested door handle you touch this winter, the reality of having to use your PTO time to stay home and play nurse sets in.  Ensuring that your immune system is top-notch going into the cooler weather months is a sure-fire way to reduce your risk of sick days.

    Our immune system takes a beating.  Between high-stress jobs, kids in daycare, sub-optimal eating habits, and exposure to environmental toxins, the immune system is constantly working on overdrive to keep us safe and healthy.  It is important that simple measures are taken to provide it the tools required in order for it to function like a well-oiled machine.

    Let’s discuss a few of the best ways to naturally enhance the immune system to give you super-human, germ-fighting powers through this season.

    Heal Your Gut


    Did you know that upwards of 80% of your immune system is housed inside your gastrointestinal (GI) tract? Yep.  We have 150 times more bacterial genes in the body than we do actual human genes.  So, in reality, we are more bacteria than we are human!

    The GI tract plays host to both good and bad bacteria. Due to a barrage of antibiotic laden proteins, pesticide coated produce, and pharmaceutical antibiotic exposure, the bacterial ratios in our guts get imbalances and tend toward an overabundance of “bad guys” and not enough “good guys”.  Therefore, shifting focus on incorporating PRO-biotics (or good bacteria) through diet and supplementation is a great way to boost your immune system.

    Fermented foods, such as whole-milk kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, miso, natto, apple cider vinegar, beet kvass, and raw aged cheese are dietary sources of probiotics.  Additionally, taking a supplemental form of a multi-strain probiotic can help to repopulate the “good guys” in your gut.

    Use Food as Medicine


    Whole, natural foods have a medicinal effect in the body, and when it comes to keeping viruses and other bugs at bay, some of the most potent remedies can be eaten with a meal. Garlic contains sulfur-rich compounds, such as allicin, that is responsible for the strong aroma. Since Ancient times, allicin containing foods have been used because of the potent medicinal properties which include being an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and antifungal agent.   Allicin is easily damaged through cooking, so it is recommended that you chop garlic and allow it to sit at room temperature for approximately 10 minutes in order to activate the therapeutic agents prior to heating.  Maybe those vampire hunters were on to something!

    Know your Numbers


    Our body is a machine that operates without a glitch so long as we give the tools necessary to do so.  We are the byproduct of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and sugars being transported back and forth through the bloodstream.  When one or more nutrients become deficient in the body, it no longer has the tools needed to work effectively.  The immune system, more specifically, relies on such nutrients as Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and zinc to create immune cells that help keep the body healthy.  As a practitioner, I recommend having semi-annual blood tests run to assess micronutrient levels.

    Foods to include ensuring a well-equipped immune system include:



    • Wild-caught fish

    • Pasture-raised eggs with the yolk

    • Grass-fed beef

    • Pasture-raised pork and lamb

    • Sweet potatoes

    • Pumpkin

    • Carrots

    • Bell peppers

    • Broccoli

    • Kale

    • Oranges

    • Kiwis

    • Pumpkin seeds


    My Favorite Immune Boosting Recipe:


    Bone Broth


    Ingredients:



    • 4 quarts water

    • 1 teaspoon salt

    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

    • 2 large onions, unpeeled and coarsely chopped

    • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped

    • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

    • 1 bunch fresh parsley

    • 2-3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed

    • 2-4 lbs. meat or poultry bones (organic—best  option is to get from Whole Foods grocery store or a local farmer)


    Instructions:



    1. Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker set on high.

    2. Bring to a boil; reduce the setting to low for 24-48 hours.  (The longer it cooks, the better it tastes!)

    3. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter into a large bowl, and discard the waste.

    4. If there appears to be a layer of fat on top of broth, place in refrigerator and allow fat to harden.  Then remove, but DO NOT discard fat.  You can store the fat in fridge and use to cook veggies, make stir fry, cook eggs, etc.

    5. Keep broth in the fridge for 3-4 days. It can keep in the freezer for up to a year.

    6. Warm up and drink out of a mug, use broth to cook vegetables, make a soup, cook rice, etc.


    Reference:


    Vighi G, Marcucci F, Sensi L, Di Cara G, Frati F. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clinical and Experimental Immunology. 2008;153(Suppl 1):3-6. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x.

     
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  28. A Different Approach to Weight Loss 

    Many of us see our weight as something we need to control, especially if our goal is to achieve weight loss. Maintain strict control of your diet and exercise and you will lose weight, right? But, sometimes the “control” approach can backfire, the more we try to control, the more we want to rebel! If you have ever tried an elimination diet, where you try to stop eating an entire food group, let’s say carbohydrates, the only thing you can usually think about is carbohydrates. I remember once while I was trying to follow a low carb diet, I walked into a local coffee shop to order a coffee. I don’t care much for pastries and rarely order anything other than coffee. But, suddenly, because I couldn’t have the pastries on this particular diet, they were all I wanted! I needed to get my hands on one of those croissants or muffins! Once I started allowing myself carbs again, I went back to not really having any real interest in those pastries. Restriction and trying to “control” what we eat tends to have the opposite effect of what we intend.

    Let Go of Controlling Weight Loss


    Why not try a different approach, to let go of control instead? This may seem scary for some people because they are afraid they will suddenly dive head first into a bag of chips or pint of ice cream. But, this may not be true, if you let go of trying to control food correctly. Instead of focusing on what you can or can’t eat, focus on how you feel before and after meals. This practice is sometimes referred to as intuitive eating and can be extremely helpful in trying to lose weight.

    Identify Why You are Eating


    The first step is to figure out why you are eating. The only reason to eat is out of hunger. Many of us eat for a variety of other reasons such as boredom, sadness, happiness, or even for social reasons. In order to identify why you are eating, you must first begin to practice mindfulness when eating, instead of scarfing food down as quickly as possible. Ask yourself before your first bite “Am I hungry?” If the answer is yes, then eat! If the answer is “Not really”, then try to identify what is really going on instead and address the real feeling behind the desire to eat. If you are tired go to sleep. If you are bored, call a friend or go for a quick walk around the block. Learning to identify when you are actually hungry will help you learn to eat to fulfill a physical need instead of an emotional one.

    Stop When You are Full


    The second piece of this is to stop when you are full. Most of us were born with the natural ability to eat until satisfied and not stuffed, but many of us have lost touch with the ability to truly connect with and listen to our fullness signals. Chronic dieting may screw up these cues even further. If we believe that food might be scarce in the future, we tend to overeat today to make sure we don’t go hungry.

    Be Mindful


    Intuitive eating takes practice and requires you to be mindful and present at all meals and snacks. The easiest way to do this is to avoid eating with distractions. Focus only on the food and what you are eating. Put your fork down between bites and assess if you are still hungry or if you are satisfied. Also, get rid of trying to control food and seeing food as “good” or “bad”. If you are truly mindful during your meals, your body will tell you what foods make you feel better than others and those will be healthiest for you. Although this type of approach may not result in rapid weight loss as promised by some diet programs, it will result in long-term weight management without guilt, control, or starvation.

     

     
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  29. Lower Cholesterol Safely With GarlicSince the 1990’s, studies have shown that garlic has a unique ability to lower levels of bad cholesterol in the body. When taken with other supplements and alongside a healthy diet, garlic can be a great aid to lowering your cholesterol. However, it is important to understand the dosage and side effects before thinking about adding this to your daily regime. Here is an overview that you should understand before going out and buying your garlic supplement.

     

    How Garlic Helps to Lower High Cholesterol


    Though the results vary with each person, garlic can effectively lower cholesterol levels by as much as 12%, especially if it is taken with other types of natural health supplements, such as red yeast rice extract. Garlic works by decreasing the total amount of cholesterol and cholesterol based triglycerides that are in the body. The results are the most noticeable after one to three months of taking it continuously. However, if a person stops taking the garlic, then the cholesterol will likely return to its previous levels.

     

    Understanding the Dosage


    The amount of garlic that needs to be taken regularly depends greatly on how high their cholesterol levels are. And the more garlic that a person takes, the lower their cholesterol levels tend to be. Some people might need more or less of it, so it is best to check with a naturopath to determine the best exact dosage. The supplement can lower total cholesterol levels by as much as 20 mg/dL, but this requires taking a hefty dose of it, which is not recommended for everyone.

     

    The Side Effects


    Garlic is one of the best natural supplements for heart health because it does not cause any adverse side effects for the most part. However, if too much is taken by one person, it can damage the liver, so it is best to follow the directions on the bottle to prevent any adverse effects. Larger doses can also cause an stomach upset.

     

    Garlic as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle


    Luckily, you don't have to eat a diet of strictly italian food to keep your heart healthy. This flavorful ingredient can be purchased in a capsule form that is easy to take at your leisure. Many people prefer this option because taking garlic in this form prevents the bad breath that is common from eating it raw. This supplement works the most effectively when it is included with a healthy diet because it is hard to lower cholesterol levels if the food that a person eats is full of cholesterol as well. Junk foods and fatty cuts of meat should be limited as much as possible. Besides eating right, exercise is also important because it contributes to having a healthy heart and vascular system.
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  30. Thanksgiving: Giving Thanks without Gaining a Pound 

    Thanksgiving is a holiday that revolves completely around food and is the beginning of a whole SEASON focused around eating. Are you worried about your jeans not fitting in January? I know I am with all the extra food, treats, dessert, and holiday festivities over the next few months. Most people gain between 1 to 4 pounds during the holidays, but what if that didn’t have to happen this year? Wouldn’t it feel great to slip into your normal jeans on January 1?  With a little bit of strategic planning you can actually make it happen this year. You can enjoy your holidays with friends and family and not gain a single pound.

    Set the Right Expectations


    The first thing you need to do is let go of trying to lose weight during the holidays. Make your goal instead to just maintain your current weight. You can focus on weight loss in January. Trying to lose weight right now will just increase your stress level, which increases cortisol (the stress hormone) and makes you store fat. It can also make you over eat, as the more you try to control your food intake the more your body fights against the restriction. So, just realize you are not going to be 100% successful with any diet and let that expectation, and the stress that comes with it, go.

    Get Active


    On Thanksgiving Day, consider doing something active to burn off a few of the calories you plan on eating later on. Many cities host 5K races on Thanksgiving morning to get people active. Your exercise doesn’t even need to be that formal, just 30 minutes of activity will help you burn some extra calories. Challenge your family to a game of football or ask them to join you on a pre-Thanksgiving day bike ride before you sit down for your meal.

    Be Picky


    Next give yourself permission to enjoy certain foods that are only available during this special time. If your grandmother only makes her famous pumpkin pie once a year, be sure to have some! But, stay away from other items, let’s say cheese and crackers off the appetizer platter that you can eat any time. There is no need to sample everything, try to stick to your personal favorites or “special” holiday foods.

    Fill Up on Veggies


    One food you should always include on your Thanksgiving plate are vegetables. If you fill half your plate with vegetables, salads or cooked veggies, this will leave less room for the higher calorie items. Vegetables fill you up without adding a ton of extra calories, since they are high in fiber and water, neither of which contain calories.

    Alcohol?


    During the meal, watch the amount of alcohol you consume.  Excessive drinking during the holidays can lead to too many calories and lowered inhibitions. Avoid drinks with sugary mixers such as sodas or juice. A glass of wine or a light beer are your best choices. Drink one glass of water per alcoholic drink to slow down your consumption and prevent dehydration.

    Let's Not Forget


    Finally, remember that Thanksgiving Day is only one day, so even if you do indulge, just get back on track the next day. Be sure to get rid of any leftovers so you won’t be tempted and get some exercise in the next morning. With these easy tips, you can definitely get through Thanksgiving without the extra pounds.
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  31. Supplements That Are Especially Important to Women's Reproductive HealthIt is so important to stay healthy throughout all phases of a woman's reproductive life. Certain all-natural health supplements go a long way toward aiding women’s reproductive health. However, many of these highly-important herbal supplements are required in far greater amounts than what is consumed through the modern diet. Thankfully, many are available in easy-to-take pill form to help ensure that women are getting everything they need on a daily basis.

    Although this list is far from comprehensive, here are some of the best all natural health supplements to invest in for improved female reproductive health.

     

    Folate


    Folate has long been touted as a defense against neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, when consumed during pregnancy. But, what many women fail to realize is that neural tube defects typically start to develop before it is even possible to detect enough measurable HCG in the body to pass a pregnancy test. This is why it is so important for all women of childbearing age to take a folate supplement.

    Additionally, new evidence supports that a lack of folate in men may also contribute to certain birth defects, passed on through the sperm.

     

    Milk Thistle


    Milk Thistle is a supplement well known for improving and balancing hormonal function. Milk Thistle is a great liver detox, known to flush out troublesome excess hormones. Additionally, it is believed to increase breastmilk production and reduce postpartum depression.

     

    Evening Primrose Oil


    Evening primrose oil is most often discussed as a cervical softener for use in encouraging labor in late-term pregnancy. However, evening primrose oil has lifetime benefits for women. It helps to decrease the negative effects of PMS and menopause. It can also help to decrease the side effects of PCOS, which often causes infertility in women.

     

    Biotin


    Biotin is part of the vitamin B complex, a set of vitamins that play a huge role in female reproduction. Having a healthy amount of vitamin B helps to balance mood, ovulation, and overall health. Vitamin b deficiency has been linked to everything from depression to anemia.

     

    Omega 3 Fatty Acids


    EPA Omega 3 fatty acids are massively deficient in the American diet. Though necessary for good eyesight, positive mood, and cognitive function these nutrients are not naturally developed in the human body and thereby supplementation is necessary. Taking omega 3 fatty acids helps to develop good health in females, as well as any offspring they may produce. These incredibly necessary nutrients may also play a part in preventing preterm labor.

    Taking certain supplements throughout your life helps to stabilize and improve female health while positively supporting women through all phases of reproductive health.
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  32. Do I Need to Detox? 

    Detoxing seems to be a very popular subject these days, people ask me regularly about the potential benefits and how they can best detox or cleanse. There are many reasons for wanting to try a detox diet; perhaps you often feel lethargic or tired, or you could be having trouble controlling your cravings, or maybe you have just been overeating and drinking too much lately. It is true that our bodies are exposed to a variety of chemicals and toxins that have the potential to build up in our system, and may cause health problems in the long run. Not only is our environment full of potential toxins, many of us have less than ideal diets, likely consuming more fats, salt, sugar, alcohol, and preservatives than is really recommended. But, do our bodies really need to be “cleansed” or “detoxified” because of this? The answer is a little more complex than a simple yes or no.

    The Truth about Extreme Cleanses


    You may have seen people touting extreme cleanses that may be dangerous, especially those that require consuming very few calories or no calories at all. Anything too extreme can result in dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, or vitamin deficiencies. Lack of protein can also lead to reduced muscle mass and a slower metabolism, so do not stay on any program that requires avoiding high protein foods for more than a few days. Additionally, beware of any detox program that recommends laxatives or “colon” cleansing products, as these can be harmful and disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in the digestive system.

    These extreme cleanses are not only dangerous, there is actually no significant evidence that regular detoxing is necessary, as the body is already naturally equipped to handle toxins. The liver, digestive system, and kidneys work hard to clear out anything the body considers toxic as soon as possible. These three organs are critically important because our bodies would not function if toxins were really allowed to build up to dangerous levels.

    How to Detox the Right Way


    Regardless, we can sometimes be guilty of not always eating the healthiest foods or maybe enjoying one too many margaritas here and there. Cutting back a bit on the less than healthy choices for a time, may help you feel better and more energetic. The goal, instead of purchasing expensive detox programs, should be to give your digestive system and other detoxifying organs a break by cleaning up your diet for a few days or weeks. Try to focus on fresh, whole foods, with lots of fiber to help the digestive system work optimally. Drink lots of water to help the kidneys flush out any toxins. Consider a milk thistle supplement, which contains a substance called silymarin, used regularly to detoxify the liver. During this reset time your diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, preferably organic. Next add some grass-fed beef, organic chicken, or fish that is low in mercury. Eat only whole grains like steel cut oatmeal or quinoa. Eliminate all processed foods, sugar, and sweetened beverages. Lastly avoid alcohol and caffeine and drink 8 glasses of water daily. Cleaning up your diet and giving your body the raw materials it needs will help you naturally detoxify without any extreme measures.

     

     

    References

     

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.3207/abstract

     
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  33. What are Antioxidants?You may have heard that certain foods are good for you because they are high in antioxidants. But, what is an antioxidant and why is it beneficial to our health? An antioxidant is a substance that helps work against the damaging effects of oxidative stress, which increases the body’s formation of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are formed during the natural process of digestion, during exercise, and from exposure to pollution or cigarette smoke. These molecules then cause cellular damage, which can speed up aging, and may lead to cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease. In order decrease the problems caused by free radicals, the body needs antioxidants which help neutralize these damaging molecules.

    Types of Antioxidants


    Common antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E, as well as beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein.  These health-boosting antioxidants are naturally found in fruits and vegetables. It is believed that a plant-based diet, and therefore a diet high in antioxidants, may decrease the risk of many chronic diseases.

    Vitamin C


    Vitamin C works to keep our skin healthy and to support the immune system. It helps prevent damage that occurs when our skin is exposed to too much sun or pollution. Vitamin C is also used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, keeping many of the body’s tissues functioning correctly. When skin is damaged, the body will need additional vitamin C to help in the repair process. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, and bell peppers.

    Vitamin E


    Vitamin E helps reduce the effect of sun damage and assist in wound healing. Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties and may help decrease inflammation, a primary cause of many chronic diseases. Vitamin E is also an excellent moisturizer which can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, due to its antioxidant capacity. Vitamin E is found in nuts, olives, and spinach.

    Vitamin A


    Vitamin A is the primary antioxidant used to maintain healthy eyes, in conjunction with lycopene and lutein, which work together to help protect from macular degeneration, a common form of age-related vision loss. Retinoids, which are derived from vitamin A, can help promote skin turn over, keep skin looking smoother, and decrease the effects of aging.  Vitamin A is especially potent in preventing certain skin cancers when combined with Vitamin E. Vitamin A is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and green, leafy vegetables.

    Powerhouse


    Certain foods are considered antioxidant powerhouses. For example, blueberries have an exceptionally high antioxidant capacity, providing a lot of punch for their small size. Kale, due to its dark green color, is also high in antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. But, any fruit or vegetable contains some antioxidant, so be sure to eat the ones you like!

    Multivitamins and Antioxidants


    Most multivitamins may also contain some of the basic antioxidants because of how important they are in maintaining overall health. One thing to know about antioxidants though, is that we cannot get all of them through a vitamin supplement alone. A good multivitamin can give you some of the basics (vitamin A, C, E), but there are thousands more antioxidants that have not been identified that are only found in a diet high in fruits and vegetables. So, be sure to eat your fruits and veggies to help fight off those free radicals.

     

     
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  34. Top Four Beauty Supplements That Will Keep Your Complexion Clear 

    Unsightly breakouts and signs of aging can be embarrassing, but most topical skin creams and cleansers that are sold seem to irritate the skin instead of healing it. Luckily, there is a better way to keep skin clear and looking its best. Read on for four all natural supplements for beauty that heal skin fast without using harsh chemicals.

     

    Green Tea Extract

    Green tea extract is one of the best all natural supplements available for health and wellness. It is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are good for the body. It is also a great natural remedy for healing blemishes and scars on the skin. Older women often use it to fight the signs of aging too. Green tea extract contains polyphenols that fight free radicals in the skin that are responsible for age spots and wrinkles. Sometimes, it is also taken to soothe inflamed, painful eczema.

     

    Saw Palmetto

    An overload of testosterone in a woman's body can cause the unwanted side effect of acne. Saw palmetto reverses this unnatural hormone balance, which in turn clears up the skin by decreasing the production of testosterone related excess oil that clogs pores. After just a few weeks of taking it, women find that their skin is softer and smoother. This herbal remedy isn't limited to only women though. Men often take it for acne and unwanted hair growth on the body.

     

    Ashwaganda

    Unlike some plants, the entire ashwaganda shrub can be used medicinally. It is loaded with antioxidants, so it should come as no surprise that one of its most commonly known attributes is its anti-aging benefits. It can soothe red, inflamed skin, heal acne and soften fine lines and wrinkles too. Ashwaganda also reduces the amount of cortisol in the body, which is often responsible for skin damage. Surprisingly, some skin lotions contain ashwaganda because it works so well as a moisturizer for dry, rough skin as well.

     

    Aloe Vera

    The sticky juice from the aloe vera plant has remarkable healing attributes, which makes it work wonderfully for the skin. It contains antibacterial properties that heal light to moderate cases of acne, and it can moisturize and prevent the formation of wrinkles too. Unlike some herbs, this plant can be used both internally and externally. Besides applying aloe vera juice directly to blemishes and sores, some people also drink it as a way to detoxify their body of impurities that are causing skin blemishes. Luckily, aloe vera also comes in a capsule form for those who don't like the bitter taste.

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  35. Health Benefits of CinnamonCinnamon has been treasured for centuries as a fragrant spice with a variety of health benefits. It has been not only used to flavor food, but has also been prized for its ability to preserve food freshness due to its antibacterial properties. It has also been used medicinally for thousands of years due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Also, it has been traditionally used to make teas and tonics to alleviate a variety of illnesses such as the common cold, gastrointestinal disorders, sore throats, and nausea.

    The active ingredient found in cinnamon is called cinnamaldehyde, a potent antioxidant, and the essential oil of the cinnamon plant. Cinnamaldehyde is responsible for cinnamon’s scent and flavor. Due to these amazing health-promoting properties, researchers are highly interested in potential uses for cinnamon as a treatment or alternative therapy for a variety of medical conditions. Current research has shown that cinnamon may help control blood sugar, reduce risk of heart attacks, help fight infections, and may even play a role in cancer prevention.

     

    Blood Sugar Control


    Cinnamon has been extensively researched in the area of blood sugar control and as a potential alternative treatment to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, a condition where the body’s cells stops responding to the actions of the hormone insulin. The primary job of insulin is to encourage the cells to take in glucose, or sugar, after meals. When the cells stop responding insulin’s signal, they no longer take in the available glucose in the blood stream and therefore it remains in blood, causing high blood sugar levels. Elevated blood glucose is toxic and can lead to significant damage of blood vessels, if left untreated. Once the resistance to the action of insulin gets severe enough, this leads to the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The rates of type 2 diabetes have significantly increased over the last 20 years and its effects can be devastating. The addition of cinnamon to the diet may help counteract insulin resistance and has been shown in several studies to help reduce blood sugar levels.

    A study published in Diabetes Care observed 60 people with type 2 diabetes over a 40 day period. Half were in a placebo group, the other half received varying amounts of cinnamon via capsules, taking up to 6 grams per day. All three groups who received the cinnamon daily, found that fasting blood glucose was reduced by up to 29%. There was no drop in blood glucose in the placebo group over the same period. Even a small dose of cinnamon daily had an impact on the blood sugar control of diabetics according to this particular study. The results of this study are quite promising for people with diabetes or insulin resistance. It is something that can be safely added to anyone’s diet without any major side effects and may prove especially beneficial for those with diabetes.

    Due to its effect on blood sugar, cinnamon has also been shown to help women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition characterized by insulin resistance. A small study of 15 women with PCOS found that the addition of daily cinnamon to the diet significantly reduced insulin resistance after 8 weeks, when compared to a placebo group. Although this research on insulin resistance is promising, further research is needed to determine the optimal dose for both women with PCOS and diabetics.

     

    Protects your Heart


    Elevated cholesterol levels, specifically LDL or “bad” cholesterol, has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. HDL, known as “good” cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the body, lowering its levels and reducing risk of heart attack and stroke. Elevated cholesterol levels are frequently controlled by statin medications, which can have side effects and may not be tolerated by certain people. But, cinnamon has been shown to raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL, and may prove to help manage cholesterol levels without the side effects seen from the use of cholesterol lowering medications.

    A 2013 meta-analysis summarized the data of 10 different studies on cinnamon, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose. This particular analysis found that across all 10 studies the addition of cinnamon consistently lowered total cholesterol, LDL, and triglyceride levels. It was also found to consistently increase HDL cholesterol levels. The dosages used in the studies varied from as little as 120 mg per day to up to 6 grams per day. These types of meta-analysis studies are helpful in order to summarize the data of multiple studies conducted over a period of time to better understand if results between studies are consistent. This particular meta-analysis on cinnamon demonstrated powerful results, showing that cinnamon is effective for blood sugar and cholesterol management. LDL cholesterol levels were found to decrease by an average of 9.4 mg/dL and HDL levels increased by 1.6 mg/dL, when the data was averaged across all 10 studies. These results found to be statistically significant. Cinnamon may prove an effective tool in decreasing risk of heart attacks and strokes. The only issue with this particular meta-analysis is that the doses between studies were quite varied, therefore further investigation is needed to determine exactly how much of it must be consumed to reap the most benefit.

     

    Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral


    Cinnamon has been a sought after spice for ages because of its ability to preserve food and keep it fresh, due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. Before refrigeration was invented, people would commonly use it to help food stay fresh longer and to reduce bacterial contamination. Even though we no longer rely on these types of methods for food preservation, we can still benefit from its ability to help ward off bacteria and viruses. Cinnamon can be used as a complimentary treatment to the common cold, flu, or any other respiratory illness, due to its antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can help clear up mucus and encourages circulation of the blood. If you are feeling ill, you can drink cinnamon tea with some honey or take a cinnamon supplement to harness the power of its healing properties.

    Cinnamon has also been investigated as a complimentary treatment for HIV. A study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research evaluated various herbs and plants for their effectiveness to inhibit the replication of the HIV virus. Although this was a study conducted in a lab and not on humans, the researchers found that cinnamon was one of the most effective compounds against HIV. Results need to be first replicated in humans to determine if the addition of cinnamon could possibly help extend the life of those infected with HIV.

    Heliobacter pylori is a bacterial infection that has been known to cause a variety of intestinal diseases including gastritis and ulcers. Yogurt can help reduce the H. pylori infection, but when the yogurt contains cinnamon, one study found it can reduce levels of H. pylori even further, then just the yogurt alone. The beneficial bacteria in yogurt seems to work synergistically with the antibacterial properties of yogurt, helping to decrease the H. pylori infection.

     

    Alzheimer’s Disease


    Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable disease that affects the brain, leading to dementia and other devastating symptoms. Certain compounds in cinnamon are currently under investigation for their potential to help manage the symptoms of this debilitating illness.

    The research on cinnamon and Alzheimer’s disease is still preliminary, with many studies conducted on animals instead of humans. Active compounds in cinnamon have been shown to help decrease the formation of a specific type of plaque in the brain that leads to impaired cognition and memory loss. This type of research has been conducted on rats only at this time, but researchers are hopeful there will be similar results in humans. There is hope, based on these preliminary studies that it may help improve motor function so that people with Alzheimer’s can live more normal lives for a longer period of time.

     

    Cancer Prevention


    Antioxidants help fight free radicals, compounds that can lead to cellular damage and may trigger the initiation of cancer. Cinnamon is high in the family of antioxidants known as polyphenols. These powerful antioxidants have an ability to help neutralize free radicals and may have the potential to prevent cancer.  The research on cancer prevention and cinnamon is preliminary and mostly in animal studies at this time, but there have been some interesting findings nonetheless.

    A 2007 study focusing on preventive measures for colon cancer in men found interesting results with the ingestion of cinnamon. This particular study was interested in identifying various plant-based compounds that could play a role in the prevention of colon cancer. Researchers found that cinnamon contained a specific detoxification enzyme, helping to clear tumor cells, which they believe decreased subjects risk of development colon cancer. Additionally, the antioxidant potential of cinnamon also plays a role in decreasing oxidation, or damage caused by oxygen, which could in turn decrease risk of colon cancer. Similar results have been found with leukemia tumor cells, but all this data still needs to be replicated in real human subjects.

    Without access to the blood stream and the nutrients the blood provides, tumor cells are unable to replicate. Cancer research has focused on how to prevent the tumor cells from accessing and attaching themselves to the blood vessels, in order to prevent their replication. There are currently some medications that can be used to prevent the attachment of the tumor cells, but these medications have severe and potentially life-threatening side effects. One study using mice, found that cinnamon has the natural ability to prevent tumor cells from attaching to the host’s blood stream, killing their ability to replicate. This is only preliminary research at this time, but may be quite promising for those with cancer struggling with the side effects of cancer medications.

     

    How to Include Cinnamon in your Diet


    Cinnamon can be found today in a variety of forms, such as the cinnamon stick, powder, or even in capsules.  The benefits described from the cinnamaldehyde compound is found mostly in Ceylon cinnamon, known as “true” cinnamon. Unfortunately, much of what's found on the market today is the cassia variety, sometimes also referred to as Chinese cinnamon, which does not contain as large of quantities of this active ingredient. The cassia cinnamon has a similar flavor, but should only be used in small doses, especially for people with liver disease. It is high in a compound called courmarin, which can cause liver toxicity.

    All cinnamon, not just the cassia variety, can be toxic in large quantities. The recommended amount is no more than 4 grams per day or approximately 1 teaspoon added to food and the health benefits described have been shown at even lower doses. Generally, cinnamon is safe to use as a spice or food additive.  One teaspoon provides a gram of fiber and is a good source of iron, manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

    If you are going to add cinnamon to your diet try to find the Ceylon cinnamon for the most benefits. Try adding bit to your morning coffee or sprinkle it into yogurt or over fresh fruit. A baked apple tastes great sprinkled with some cinnamon and makes for a delicious low calorie dessert. If you don’t like the taste or you want to be sure you are getting a specific dosage of this powerful antioxidant, you can also take a cinnamon supplement, just make sure to not exceed the recommended maximum safe amount of 4 grams per day. Including cinnamon in your daily diet is an easy and flavorful way help improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and to add an amazing, potent antioxidant to your diet.
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  36. Five Tips for Achieving Natural Stress ReliefStress, either real or perceived, is the biggest threat to our health and well-being. A rapid heart rate, a racing mind, and tense muscles are all natural and normal responses to real life threatening situations. During periods of extreme stress the body releases “fight or flight” hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, to give us the best chance of survival. But, those types of life or death situations are rare these days, since most of us are not fighting off predators daily, yet instead we live under a constant low-level stress caused by day to day life. This chronic stress increases cortisol levels, leading to weight gain, systemic inflammation, and increases our risk for diabetes and heart disease.

    Most of us are not doing enough to manage our stress and when it is left unchecked, it can have serious consequences for our health. Therefore, it’s important to implement some stress relief tools to help manage the effect of stress, here are 5 suggestions to help you naturally manage the demands of daily life:

    Make Time to Do What you Love


    Include relaxation in your daily routine. Adding relaxation to an already super busy to-do list can seem counter-intuitive, but life was meant to be enjoyed. Make a list of activities you love and try to make time for at least one every day, such as reading a book or working on a creative project.



    One Thing at a Time


    Focus on what is truly important. Most of us overestimate what we can accomplish in one day and feel disappointed when we fall short. Why not just choose 1 or 2 tasks to focus on and give each task 100% focus? Break your day up into short bursts of productivity that you can accomplish in 5 minute increments. During those 5 minutes focus on that one small task at a time instead of multi-tasking, which can increase our stress levels and make us less productive overall.



    Meditate


    Try meditation. Meditation may sometimes seem daunting if you think you need to spend an hour in a lotus position with a blank mind, but it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Even 5 minutes of silence can help calm an anxious mind. Or try a guided meditation, where someone walks you through the process, if you can’t do it on your own. Meditation has consistently been shown to reduce depression, stress, and anxiety. A 2011 study found that regular meditation actually increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in emotional control and the ability to put bad situations into perspective.



    Calcium & Magnesium for Stress Relief


    Consider increasing your intake of calcium and magnesium. Both of these important minerals work to help muscles relax. Most adults are not consuming enough of either mineral, with adult men being the most deficient. A great source of both calcium and magnesium is green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. Calcium and Magnesium can also be found in our Stress Support supplement along with other stress-reducing vitamins and herbs.



    Exercise


    Exercise daily. Regular exercise is hands down the easiest and most effective way to relieve stress. The benefits can be felt with after just a short 15-20 minute walk. If you have had a particularly difficult day, lace up those tennis shoes, put on your favorite music, and get outside for a walk.


    Any balanced lifestyle should include some form of stress management. Make stress relief a priority and reap all the healthy benefits!

     

    References

     

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21071182

     

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/5/1361.full

     

    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

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  37. Herbal Remedies for Anxiety and DepressionMillions of people in America suffer from depression and anxiety that is severe enough to require medication. However, the pharmaceuticals that doctors prescribe to treat these disorders have numerous dangerous side effects. For this reason, many people are choosing to take natural herbal remedies instead. Read on for four different herbs that are safe and effective alternative treatments for anxiety and depression.

     

    Chamomile

    One of the safest natural supplements for mood disorders is chamomile. In fact, it is so safe that it can be given to children. Chamomile acts as a gentle, calming agent to soothe frayed nerves. Some people take it at night to help them sleep, but it can be used during the daytime as well. It is combined with ashwaganda and other supplements in Zenta for effective relief from depression and anxiety.

     

    Passion Flower

    This beautiful flower has a sweet, pleasant taste, which is why it is often used to flavor fruit punch. It has many medicinal purposes that make it a valuable herbal remedy to keep on hand. It can be used to treat seizures, insomnia, and also anxiety. It is theorized by scientists that it works so well for these disorders because it increases the gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. It works best when it is combined with valerian root or lemon balm.

     

    Valerian Root

    Powdered valerian root is another one of the all natural health supplements that are used for mood disorders. It is stronger than both chamomile and passion flower, so it cannot be used if a person will be driving heavy machinery. Valerian is usually taken a short time before going to bed. However, some people also take it during the day in order to stop an anxiety attack.

     

    St. John's Wort

    This herb takes about two weeks to be effective, but once it is in a person's system, it works very well for anxiety and depression. The only side effect is that it can increase sensitivity to light. German doctors prescribe this herb as a first line of defense for mild to moderate depression. It has not been proven to be effective in severe depression though. Sometimes, they use it in combination with other antidepressants to increase their effectiveness. However, it should be noted that a person should never attempt to do this on their own and without the supervision of a doctor. It can cause an overload of serotonin in the body, which could make a person very sick.

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  38. How to Store Your Supplements Properly in Your HomeThere is a big move towards natural healing methods in America. Whether it be vitamins or herbal remedies, most people keep some kind of all natural health supplements in their home now. But, what some might not realize it that they could be wasting valuable money by not storing their supplements properly to maintain their freshness. Read on for a few important factors to consider when storing supplements at home.

     

    Keep Your Containers

    It is best to always store supplements in their original, airtight containers. This ensures that they can be easily identified, which prevents dangerous mix-ups from happening. Different types of supplements should never be combined together in the same container or in a different unlabeled container. Clear glass or plastic containers should also be avoided because they allow light to reach the supplements, which can cause them to degrade and lose their efficacy.

     

    Heat and Moisture Control

    Though the two most common places to keep health supplements is in the bathroom and kitchen, these are actually the worst places for them. The bathroom has an ongoing supply of moisture from showers and baths being taken, which can increase the oxidation of supplements. The more that the supplements are exposed to moisture, the faster they break down. The kitchen offers the same problem because of the amount of water that is used for cooking and washing dishes. Another problem with storing supplements in the bathroom or kitchen is the amount of heat they are exposed to. Heat fluctuations can also increase the rate that supplements degrade. They should also never be put next to sunny, drafty windows, or in the refrigerator either.

     

    Finding the Best Place

    Some supplements are not safe for children, so it is very important that they are stored somewhere that little ones can't reach. Most supplement manufacturers suggest they be kept in the bedroom on an out of reach shelf. Some prefer organizing all of their supplements in a pill organizer. This is perfectly fine as long as they are only in there for a few days maximum before they are taken.

     

    Exceptions to the Rules

    There are two types of supplements that have exceptions to the above rules for storage. They are probiotics and fish oil capsules. Both of these supplements will quickly degrade if they are not kept in a cool, refrigerated environment. Probiotics and other types of natural supplements for digestion contain special bacteria that are especially sensitive to the heat, and fish oil tends to go rancid without refrigeration.

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  39. The Damaging Effects of Inflammation and Ways it Can Be Counteracted


    Small amounts of inflammation work as a defense mechanism to heal the body. However, when the inflammation doesn't stop, it can begin to damage healthy tissue because the body thinks it is still under attack. This chronic inflammation is the cause of many serious diseases. It can lead to heart disease, painful arthritis, and even osteoporosis. Luckily, there are several ways that it can be reduced.


    Turmeric


    This golden colored spice has a wonderful flavor that makes it a perfect addition to many different hearty dishes, but it doesn't have to be used only for cooking. Turmeric is also sold in a capsule form as a health supplement. Its key active ingredient, curcumin, can block the enzymes in the body that trigger inflammation.


    Ginger


    Though their colors and flavors are different, ginger and turmeric are very closely related, which is why ginger also has the same anti-inflammatory compounds in it. It can also be purchased in a capsule form. However, some people enjoy drinking it in the morning as a tea because it helps to gently boost energy as well.


    Milk Thistle Extract


    One of the best all natural supplements for inflammation is milk thistle. This herbal supplement is most commonly known for its ability to help the liver detoxify and regenerate. It can do much more than this though. The glutathione and silymarin that it contains are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.


    Coconut Oil


    Coconut oil can reduce inflammation of the skin if it is applied externally, and it also works well internally too. However, it has to be processed using only a low or medium level of heat to be beneficial. The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil are destroyed when it is cooked at a high temperature. Those that wish to use it for its health properties can find it in a shelf stable capsule form or in small tubs of solid oil. It is best to get coconut oil labeled especially for health purposes because cheaper coconut cooking oils tend to have very little nutrients in them.


    Green Tea Extract


    Taking just a couple of capsules of green tea extract a day will prevent heart disease, fight cancer and infections, and reduce swelling from rheumatoid arthritis because of the anti-inflammatory flavonoids that it contains. It can even lower high levels of dangerous artery clogging cholesterol and effectively boost your metabolism.


    Diet Changes


    Besides taking all natural health supplements, the last way to reduce inflammation in the body is to make a few changes to the food choices in your diet. Sugar is a huge contributor to inflammation, so it is best to eliminate as much of it as possible. Fatty junk foods should also be replaced with healthier inflammation-reducing alternatives, such as salmon, blueberries, and avocados.

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