Got Strong Bones?

It has been a mystery in the United States for years. With our high consumption of diary products, why is it that we still have an incredibly high incidence of osteoporosis? Scientists in Asia, where both osteoporosis and diary consumption have historically been quite low, may have found a major clue.

It turns out that the calcium we consume through milk and supplements is not always absorbed or used to build bone. In fact, without a healthy probiotic population in the gut and the presence of other bone-building co-factors like Vitamins D and K2, magnesium, zinc, and essential fatty acids, calcium can pass right through the body undigested. Even worse, excess calcium turns into unhealthy deposits in the soft tissues and arteries. Turns out, parents bargaining with their kids to get them to drink large amounts of milk may not have always been in the child’s best interest.

However, this does not mean that we should stop consuming calcium all together, because there are many benefits to having healthy levels of calcium in the body. There are simple dietary adjustments that can alter the body’s internal chemistry in favor of building strong bones. Recent research done exclusively on Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® found that when women ages 48 and older took this probiotic supplement for at least eight weeks, their bone density was 36% higher when compared to those who didn’t take the supplement.

“Scientists suspect that probiotics help the body properly digest calcium,” said William Schoor, Vice President of Essential Formulas, the US distributor of the probiotic supplement used in the study. “The friendly bacteria also manufacture some of the vitamin co-factors needed for bone-building including B6, B12, K, and folic acid.”

It’s a surprising side benefit of probiotics, which are frequently touted for supporting digestive health and immune response. Derived from a fermented vegetarian blend, it is actually a whole food that contains probiotics, prebiotics (substances that feed probiotics), and organic acids. Scientists have noted that it is important to provide both probiotic and prebiotic components for the GI tract to enhance calcium uptake. Such dramatic results might not occur when using freeze-dried probiotic supplements.

In addition to probiotic and prebiotic supplementation, Dr. Natalie Engelbart, founder of Your Top Life and Alternative Health Solutions in Flower Mound, Texas, encourages women to consider increasing magnesium intake for better bone health. magnesium-food-sources-of“Magnesium regulates calcium absorption into our bones, and ensures that calcium deposits don’t wind up in the soft tissue. The proper balance for our body is a ratio of 2:1 calcium to magnesium. But if you have been deficient in magnesium due to high stress, or from taking calcium rich supplements or foods, you may want to increase your magnesium intake even more.”

These dietary tips are encouraging to the 8 million American women who are diagnosed with osteoporosis and the approximately 24 million others who have a high risk of developing it. Once again, prevention is key. Not only should mature adults make sure they keep up on probiotic and vitamin supplementation for bone health, they need to pass those habits along to the next generation!

 

 

 

It takes guts®… to have strong bones!fb

 

Can Bacteria Fight Obesity?

Why are some people fat? It’s not just a question that fat people ask themselves, but also one that drives much medical research because obesity increases the risk of serious illnesses including heart disease and diabetes.

A study recently published in Science adds gut bacteria to the list of possible causes of obesity.

The intestine is home to trillions of microbes that help the body break down and use food. The particulars of the mix have been found to vary significantly from person to person, even among identical twins.

In an effort to isolate the contribution of gut bacteria to weight, researchers led byJeffrey Gordon, of Washington University in St. Louis took the bacteria from pairs of identical and fraternal twins, each with one obese twin and one lean, and put it in previously germ-free cloned mice. (We glossed tastefully over the matter of the fecal transplant.)

The results indicate that bacteria does in fact play a powerful role: The mouse that got the obese twin’s bacteria grew fat and developed metabolic problems linked to insulin resistance, even when fed only low-fat mouse chow.

The researchers then housed the fat and thin mice together, allowing their gut bacteria to mix. (Mice housed in the same cage typically eat each other’s droppings.) The thin bacteria beat out the fat bacteria in the obese mice, and they became thin again.

So is obesity purely a question of gut bacteria? No such luck. The “thin” bacteria, specifically a group called Bacteroidetes, was only able to triumph when the fat mice were eating low-fat mouse chow. When they were fed a higher-fat food meant to mimic a typical American diet, obese mice kept the obese twin’s gut bacteria — and the excess weight.

“Eating a healthy diet encourages microbes associated with leanness to quickly become incorporated into the gut. But a diet high in saturated fat and low in fruits and vegetables thwarts the invasion of microbes associated with leanness. This is important as we look to develop next-generation probiotics as a treatment for obesity,” said Gordon.

It can’t be long before we see Bacteroidetes and other potentially thinning “probiotics” for sale in the supermarket next to green tea.

But, buyer beware, the mouse studies are far from conclusive. The next step for Gordon and his team will be growing microbes in the lab and mixing them to nail down which combinations have which metabolic effects.

“There’s intense interest in identifying microbes that could be used to treat diseases,” he said.

Especially diseases that make us fat.

 

This is an article taken from Longevity and Health. To view the original article click here.

The Fast Effects of Fast Food

We all know what it feels like to crave a big, juicy burger and an order of crispy fries. How convenient that this “gotta-have-a-burger-and-fries” feeling usually occurs when we are in a hurry and a drive-through is located just minutes away. On the way to the fast-food joint, we try to justify our value meal by telling ourselves that “moderation is key” and that we will work out and burn off the calories later. Then, the moment finally arrives when your scrumptious meal is just seconds away. You pull-up to the drive through window and spit out your order. “Hi, I would like an order of poor brain function, a side of indigestion and heartburn, a larger cup of moodiness, and constipation, please.”

fastfood1  The truth is, there is no such thing as moderation when it comes to junk-food. Nutritionists have warned about the long-term effects of fast food for decades, however, they have just recently discovered that the negative effects of fast food take root much more quickly than they originally thought. In fact, the consequences of eating fast food begins almost immediately, and every time you hit up a fast food restaurant, you leave a little less healthy. A new study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology indicates that damage to the arteries occurs pretty much immediately after just ONE junk-food meal. The study compared the effects of a junk-food meal and a Mediterranean-based meal on the inner lining of the blood vessels of 28 healthy, non-smoking men between the ages of 18 and 50. The men’s endothelial function, the ability of blood vessels to dilate, was measured after a 12 hour fast and 2 hours after each meal, one of them being junk-food with 15g saturated fat and 0g Omega-3’s and the other being a Mediterranean-based meal with 8g of saturated fat and 2g of Omega-3’s. Almost immediately after eating a fast food sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich, the men’s arteries dilated 24% less than when the subjects were in a fasted state. Poor endothelial function is a significant precursor of atherosclerosis, which is when the arteries become hardened, causing blood flow to be blocked. This study provides evidence that endothelial function declines after consuming only one junk-food meal, so imagine the arterial damage that occurs from consistently consuming fast food! That “value meal” just dropped way down in value, huh?

If this evidence isn’t enough to convince you that convenience is no reason to compromise your health, here are some of the other short-term effects fast food has been shown to have on your body:

Poor Brain Function: In order to function properly, your brain needs glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates and other nutrients such as healthy fats and antioxidants. In a study published in Child: Care, Health, and Development, evidence shows that fatty foods can have an immediate negative impact on brain function. Researchers analyzed the fast-food consumption and test scores in math and reading of 12,000 fifth graders. It turned out, the kids who ate fast food 4-6 times within a given week tested significantly lower than those who did not eat junk-food.

Poor Exercise Capabilities: After eating fast food, rats in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology study ran 35% less distance than rats who were fed healthy food. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, people who eat fast food often experience poor muscle strength, endurance, oxygen utilization, and coordination.

Mood Problems: “The high content of sugar in junk-food causes fluctuations in blood glucose levels,” says dietitian Chowdhary. “This makes [you] edgy, sleepy, and irritable throughout the day and leaves [you] with no motivation to be active.” The chemicals in your brain that promote positive moods, like serotonin and dopamine, rely on food and nutrients in order to function properly. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, like fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, leads to positive energy and moods, while a diet high in fast foods lacks these nutritional benefits and thus increases the risk of depression.

So, the next time you’re craving that quick and convenient fast food, ask yourself if “a large order of moodiness, a side of lost productivity,and poor endothelial function” sounds yummy. Steer clear of fast food restaurants and make your own version of “fast food” by preparing quick snacks and meals in advance that you can grab on the go. Enhancing the convenience of healthy foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, will reduce your desire to reach for the bad stuff.

 

Favorites From Natural Products Expo West

This past weekend, Essential Formulas traveled to Anaheim to participate in the Natural Products Expo West trade-show. I have never seen so many natural products fanatics in one place… over 100,000 to be specific.  While it was impossible to try and visit every booth, I made the rounds a few times and picked up some exceptional products that I will continue to use beyond the weekend at the expo.

It never fails… I get sick at every single trade-show. This time was no different. The first day we arrived I started to get a sore throat and feel my lymph nodes expanding. However, I decided to fight it with everything I had and I told my body “NO!” you will not get sick this time! I honestly don’t believe I would have gotten out of bed much less enjoyed the expo without the following products.

ipad 31114 123I don’t think it was a coincidence that our booth was located right in front of Emergen-C and right beside North American Herb & Spice. Combined with Dr. Ohhira’s  Propolis product, these products allowed me to not just skate through the expo wanting to collapse afterwards, but to actually feel healthy and well! Emergen-C is a powder  packed with vitamin C, D, B, and many other healthy supplements that you mix with water. I honestly felt better after every bottle I drank. Just one packet gives you 1000mg of Vitamin C and Zinc as well as 1000 IU of Vitamin D. And besides its benefits for your immune system, it tastes good! The next product did not taste so good… but it worked like a miracle. North American Herb & Spice’s Oil of Oregano absolutely rocked my world. After using it just one time, I could start to feel my lymph nodes draining. I tried to take it straight the first couple of times, but I just couldn’t handle the after-taste. However, mixing a dropper full in with a glass of orange juice or a bottle of Naked juice solved the taste issue. I literally felt better after every time I drank it. By the end of the weekend, I no longer had a sore throat or swollen lymph nodes, and I primarily attribute that to this “miracle elixir.” My final health savior was Dr. Ohhira’s Propolis Plus, a supplement including probiotics and packed with antioxidants.. While the former 2 products kicked in for immediate relief, this product promoted my long-term health and wellness. I am no longer taking the other 2 products, but I continue to take this product daily and know that I would relapse without it.

If you have been reading my blog consistently, you know about my beloved French Bulldog puppy, Nellie.nellie's As I was walking the halls at the expo, I spotted a booth called “Nellie’s” so of course I had to check it out. Their logo was a blonde girl holding a French Bulldog named “Nugget” (one of Nellie’s nicknames), so I bought some of their natural home cleaning products to try out. I used the laundry nuggets when I got home to do several loads of laundry and they all came out smelling fresh and clean. I will definitely continue to use their laundry products, and not just because of the name of the brand. ipad 31114 122Speaking of Nellie, I also picked up some all-natural carpet cleaning products, since she tends to have about 2000 accidents a day. This product called Bac-Out is by Biokleen, and contains live enzyme cultures to eliminate pet stains and odors. Don’t use anything without enzymes to try and clean up pet messes. Bac-Out smells clean, but not like perfume, and doesn’t just mask the                                                                   smell, but actually gets it out. This product will from now on be a staple at my crazy-pet                                                                         household.

 

 

ipad 31114 132 Luckily for me, I got to walk around with beauty-guru Kelly Charles, who directed me to the best of the best in the beauty and body care departments. In high school, I endured a lot of ridicule for smelling like a “gordita.” AKA I stank! I literally tried everything, even prescription strength deodorant, but nothing could get rid of the “gordita” smell. I think I have finally waved goodbye (without sweat marks) to my stinky past and moved onto smelling like a fresh woman. For the first time, I tried Crystal Essence Mineral Deodorant Towelettes in combination with Dr. Ohhira’s Kampuku Beauty Bar soap, and I can unashamedly lift my arms without causing everyone around me to pass out. I use the Beauty Bar in the shower and the towelettes when I get out, and I stay smelling clean even after workouts. Not only do these products help me physically, but they put to rest my “gordita” high school reputation (I can’t believe I’m confessing this online!). My other favorite booth in the personal care department was Hyalogic. ipad 31114 128These products have completely changed my skincare regimen within just a few days. Although I obsess over skincare, I often get lazy and neglect taking care of my face. I also am notorious of switching products and never truly sticking to a regimen. I am so happy to finally have my skin care process down, and the answer I found was Hyaluronic Acid, a substance found naturally in the body. Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about Hyaluronic Acid being used in anti-aging products, and it has even been promoted by some as “the fountain of youth.” My Hyalogic skincare process goes like this: Facial Scrub in the shower, Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum after washing my face, Facial Mist throughout the day to moisturize and stay fresh, Lip Balm every time I remember it, and Cellulite Cream before bed. Most exfoliates should only be used 2-3 times a week, but this Facial Scrub is gentle enough to be used daily, which I love.

I am going to save my favorite natural foods from Expo West for another post, but I can assure you there are lots of new, natural, organic food products on the market that you will love. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and check out these great products.

Man vs. Machine

I don’t know about you, but when I walk into the gym and see 1000 different machines, I get a little intimidated. I don’t know which machine trains what or how much weight to add to them, much less how to use them! I try to watch the gym experts get on and off the machines and imitate their steps, but I just never know if I am doing it right. I’ve even hurt myself on a machine doing shoulder presses, an injury I am still dealing with 3 years later. After all this trouble, I have decided to stick with “man power” and avoid most machines all-together. If you are like me and are not an equipment expert, it would be wise to avoid the following machines because they have been known to cause the most injuries.

1. Seated Chest Fly Machine: While meant to train chest and shoulders, this machine can put the shoulders in an unstable position, placing excessive stress on the shoulder joint and its connective tissues.seated fly chest machine

Instead: Work the same muscles by doing sets of incline push-ups.

2. Smith Machine Squats: The alignment of this machine makes for linear movements rather than natural, arched movements in the chest, biceps, and legs, therefore putting stress on your knees, shoulders, and low back.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Instead: Try doing body weight squats.

 

3. Seated Rotation Machine: I used to like this machine, but I discovered that because the pelvis doesn’t move with the chest, it causes excessive twisting forces on the spine.seated rotation

Instead: Tone up by doing some cable wood chops!

 

4. Seated Leg Lift Extension Machine: Talk about “all that work for nothing,” this machine strengthens a motion that your legs aren’t even designed to do! It can also strain your ligaments and tendons surrounding your kneecaps. single leg extension_small

Instead: Train muscles in your legs that you will actually use by doing 1-legged body-weight squats.

 

5. Seated Hip Abductor Machine: Here’s another machine that will waste your time. While it is meant to train your outer thighs, because you are seated, it trains a movement that has no functional use and can place undue pressure on the spine.seated hip abductor

Instead: Do some lateral band walks and really feel your muscles working!

 

6. Roman Chair Back Extension Machine: Repeatedly flexing the back while its supporting weight places pressure on the spine and increases the risk for damaging your disks. roman back extension

Instead: Protect your spine and try holding a bird-dog pose.

 

7. Roman Chair Sit-Up: This machine places the lower back in a vulnerable, rounded position, placing stress on the lower back.roman-chair-sit-ups

Instead: Train your abs and hip flexors by holding the plank position for 60 seconds.

 

8. Seated Shoulder Press Machine: I have a personal vendetta against this machine, since it is the one I messed up my shoulders on over 3 years ago. The shoulder movement required by this machine doesn’t allow you to use your hips to assist your shoulders, which is the natural way to push something up overhead. This puts the shoulder joints in a vulnerable position and puts undue stress on your shoulder.shoulder-press

Instead: Work your shoulders and triceps by doing medicine ball throws.

 Don’t get me wrong, not all machines are bad! But, it is best to either learn how to do them correctly from a professional or to use good ole man-power and body-weight when working out.

A Dog-Gone Good Recipe

You’ve heard the phrase “you are what you eat,” but you may not realize that the same principle holds true for your pets. At the Paws & Claws Holistic Animal Hospital in Plano, Texas, the foundation of every health-care plan starts with a good natural diet. This is true whether a pet is sick and trying to recover from an illness, or the pet just needs to stay healthy in order to reduce the chance of developing serious diseases later in life. dogcookbook

As Gayle Pruitt states in her new book, The Dog-Gone Good Cookbook, cooking for your pet should be fun and easy as well as provide a nutritious diet for both you and your pet. Included in her book are over 100 balanced, delicious recipes that are gluten-, corn-, and soy-free, in an effort to minimize any food reactions and to maximize health.

Gayle has taken all the work out of cooking for your pet, as the book provides lists of foods that dogs should never have, lists of foods that you and your pet can experience together, as well as sections for equipment and supplies, techniques, staples, ingredients to keep on hand, and natural “doggie” supplements, such as probiotics and EFA’s. The book also contains recipes for your dog only that are both raw and cooked. The Dog-Gone Good Cookbook is a user-friendly and valuable resource for sharing a hearty meal with all of your family members, including the four-legged ones!

nellie  I enjoy cooking, but cooking for just me is not nearly as much fun as cooking for others. There’s nothing more fulfilling than sitting down and enjoying good, home-cooked food in the companionship of your family and friends. And if your roommate/ family/ best friend is your pup (like my dog, Nellie), The Dog-Gone Good Cookbook will be your new constant cooking guide. The cookbook offers over 100 delicious, healthy recipes that are wonderfully nutritious for both humans and canines.

Gayle’s background in nutrition gave her the knowledge that she needed to bring her dogs back to full health by feeding them high-quality, human-grade food with natural nutrients. Gayle is a certified nutritionist and chef. In her day job, she does nutritional research and develops recipes for businesses and food companies. She also does research on the ingredients in commercial dog foods and  made the decision to cook for herself and her dogs after seeing some scary ingredients in well-known commercial dog foods. Cooking delicious recipes that are nutritious as well as corn-, sugar-, soy-, and dairy-free, Gayle says that both her and her dogs’ health have improved “100%.”  Dog owners who are taking care to monitor their own nutritional needs need to be advised of the same type of needs that guide their pets to vigor and good health.

Today’s recipe from the cookbook is the Brined Chicken. Not only does brining draw out toxins from the chicken, but the brine is absorbed into the tissues, making the chicken more tender and juicy. The general guide-line is 1/4 cup kosher salt per 1 quart of water.

Ingredients:

  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 whole chicken, rinsed
  • herbs of choice (Gayle recommends a teaspoon of tumeric, thyme, dill, etc.)

In a large pot, combine enough water with kosher salt to cover chicken; stir. Place the whole rinsed chicken in the pot and add herbs. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Wanted: Germs

 

The word “germ” brings to my mind a mental image of the bacteria/slugs on the toenail fungus commercials. Toe fungusYou know the one where they lift up the yellow, crackling toenail, jump inside, and join their other slimy friends for a germ party. Gross! The words germs, bacteria, and bugs have become synonymous with “yucky”, however, not all bugs deserve this bad rap! In fact, going on a germ-killing mission, using products that claim to eliminate “99.9% of germs” may disable your immune system from reaching its full potential.

Today’s fast-paced lifestyle keeps the entire family active, from 3 year-old kids who already know how to operate iPads, to hard-working adults. A strong immune system is absolutely necessary in order to fight off seasonal illnesses and maintain healthy energy levels. Typically, when you start to feel “run-down,” that is your immune system trying to tell you to take it easy. A major factor in the strength of your immune response starts in the digestive tract, where about 80% of the body’s immune cells reside. I always thought my immune system was in my lymph nodes since that is usually where I fell the first signs of getting sick. But, long before your immune system triggers a response in the lymph nodes, it is either being built up or destroyed in your gut. You support your crucial immune cells in the digestive system by consuming…bacteria! Not the toenail fungus, germy bacteria, but Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria.

According to  pharmacist, author, and holistic health expert  Ross Pelton, a study indicated that people who ingested probiotics for three weeks were shown to have immune cells that were twice as effective as those who did not. The friendly bacteria help support the function of immune system cells by, among other things, crowding out unfriendly guests like bad bacteria. Probiotics also enhance digestion, which means the body better absorbs all the nutrients it needs from food and supplements. That alone equips the body to stay healthy and more efficiently fight off any bad bugs (call forth the slimy,green, toenail-bug mental picture) that come along.

“Due to overuse of antibiotics, stress, and other modern environmental and dietary issues, most people of all ages have a compromised probiotic population,” according to Dr. Fred Pescatore, author of the best seller Feed Your Kids Well. To maintain ideal health, the ratio of good to bad bacteria needs to stay at 85 to 15. However, this ratio is almost impossible to maintain without supplementing with a high-quality probiotic. Dr. Pescatore encourages his patients to look for a supplement that encapsulates both the probiotic and its nutritious culture medium, or its food, called the prebiotic. In other words, the good bugs need bugs!

“A probiotic alone will not necessarily be successful. The friendly bacteria need what is called prebiotic support,” explained Dr. Pescatore, who noted that  Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics, fit the bill. The probiotic formula is encapsulated with its culture medium, which provides the body with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and pH-balancing organic acids. “This prebiotic support ensures that the probiotics take root and thrive in the digestive tract,” said Dr. Pescatore.

When relying on probiotics to help support immune response, it is vital to pick the right supplement. There are products that claim to contain “billions and billions” of bacteria, but, contrary to what many people believe, this is not necessarily a good thing. Providing too much of a single bacteria strain, can actually trigger an immune response that causes the body to treat the supplemented bacteria as a threat. Consumers should also look out for probiotic products that may have undergone manufacturing processes or shipping conditions that render them useless.

As healthy micro-ecology is restored, digestion improves and all the body’s organs and cells are able to receive nutrition more efficiently. That can have an incredible effect on whole health and energy helping the entire family to manage their demanding lifestyles.

 

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Wake Up And Smell The Coffee Addiction

 Is the thought of that first cup of coffee the only reason you get out of bed in the morning? Is one cup never enough? Would you rather drink a cup of bad coffee than no coffee? Do you turn into a morning monster without your cup of Joe? Are you really into coffee? I mean reallllyyyy into coffee?! 

 If you answered yes to these questions, congratulations, you’re a coffee addict like me! When I think of the word “addiction,” I think of  “Hi, I’m Claire and I’m a [coffee] addict (Hi Claire).”  But you fellow coffee addicts out there may be pleasantly surprised to know that your coffee addiction isn’t something you need to attend a recovery program for. In fact, your dependent relationship with coffee may be more beneficial for you than you realize. With all of the mixed opinions on the health aspects of coffee, for many of us it has turned into another “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” thing in our lives to worry about. On the rare occasion that I come across a non-coffee drinker, I begin to feel guilty about my coffee consumption and convince myself that I need to give it up… until the next morning when I realize how bad of an idea that was. But its not just my bad temper and fatigue without it that tell me its a bad idea to give up coffee; its science as well.  Here are the ABC’s of scientific research done on the health benefits of coffee:

Abnormal heart rhythms are 20% less likely to occur in people who drink 1-3 cups per day

Burns fat by as much as 10% in obese people and 29% in lean people

Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, causing it to send signals to the fat cells to break down body fat

Diabetes (type II) risk is reduced for coffee-drinkers by up to 50%

Frequent studies show that coffee-drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease

Energy levels increased

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Gallstones risk reduced by 25% after 4 cups per day

High in antioxidants, which protect against damaged cells and reduce the risk of chronic diseases

In a 2011 Harvard study, women who drank 4 cups per day had a 20% lower risk of depression

Just 2 calories in a typical cup of black coffee!

Keeps your risk of liver cancer 40% lower than non-coffee drinkers

coffeemood

Lowers risk of Parkinson’s Disease by 25% (2-3 cups per day)

Minimizes chance of getting metastatic prostate cancer by 30% (1-3 cups per day)

Need a brain boost? Coffee blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine which can improve memory, mood, and general cognitive function

Only drink up to 5 cups per day

Potassium, Magnesium, Niacin, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B2, and Manganese are essential nutrients found in coffee

coffee5

Quitting your workout? No way! Coffee can stimulate your muscles and therefore increase reps

Roast matters. Go for light-roasted black coffee

Stroke risk lowered by 20% for women who drink 2 or more cups daily

Those who drank 4 cups of coffee a day were 53% less likely to commit suicide in a study of over 200,000 people

coffeeclark

United States’ largest source of antioxidants… more than fruits and vegetables combined!

Very helpful to drink 30 minutes before exercising

Want to boost your metabolic rate by 3-11%? Drink coffee!

X your risk of cirrhosis by 80% by drinking 4 cups daily

coffeeexercise

Your average physical performance can improve by 11-12% on average after drinking coffee

Zest up your morning… coffee reduces fatigue

coffeedog

While there are coffee-haters out there who would like to argue that coffee is bad for you, I choose to believe the evidence I have come across in my research. Call it confirmation bias, but facts don’t lie. So stop feeling guilty about enjoying your morning cup of Joe and wake up and smell the coffee, you addict you!

How To Win An Olympic Gold Medal

Has watching the 2014 Winter Olympics inspired you to take your athletic abilities to the next level? Has seeing your country stand on the medalist platform filled you with so much pride that you fantasize about winning a gold medal for your nation? Just picture it. Cameras flashing, people screaming your name, your national anthem playing as the entire crowd stands. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Surprisingly, there is an easy formula to follow to end up as an Olympic gold medalist yourself one day… be the best! Sochi-Olympic-gold-medal

OK, easier said than done. Especially for athletes at the top of their game who are often only hundredths of seconds or points away from receiving that coveted gold medal. To be the best, athletes have to be stronger, more prepared, and better trained than their competition. They must eat right to fuel their body, get sufficient rest and recovery, and, according to the International Olympic Committee, take “food supplements [that] can enhance athletic performance.” While we’ve all heard that certain supplements are good for our health, it may come as a shock to hear that they can enhance athletic performance. And no, I’m not talking about steroids, but rather legal, approved supplements. According to the IOC, “athletes know that if they don’t take certain supplements, with the tiny margins separating the gold medalists and the [others], they simply can’t win in international competition.” Dr. Barry Sears, a research scientist of lipids and their inflammatory role, supports this as well, answering the question of whether supplements can improve athletic performance with “a resounding yes.” By the way, Dr. Spears has personally worked with athletes over the last 3 Olympics, who have brought home 21 gold medals collectively. Hows that for credentials?

We know that eating right and training hard in addition to raw talent are key ingredients in making an Olympic athlete. But why supplements? A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition asked athletes this same question. Their answers included: to increase energy, maintain strength, enhance performance, maintain health and the immune system, and prevent nutritional deficiencies.The same Journal published a research article in 2011 examining the frequency of the use of dietary supplements among a large sample of elite athletes. From 2002 to 2009, the study found a decrease in the consumption of all dietary supplements by athletes except for one: Omega-3’s, whose consumption increased. Cross-country skiing, which I believe to be the most difficult of the  Winter Olympic games, had the athletes with the most frequent intake of Omega-3’s in the study.

Omega-3-and-metabolism-DHA-may-reduce-risk-of-metabolic-conditions-study-suggests_strict_xxlOmega-3 supplements are gold medals in and of themselves, offering anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, cardiovascular health, and cognitive health benefits. These essential fatty acids play a key role in allowing nearly all of our cells to function properly. While everyone needs Omega-3’s, they are especially beneficial for athletes in the following ways:

1. They are a powerful and natural anti-inflammatory that can reduce pain and stiffness that often results from hard training; they also help prevent overuse injuries that are very prevalent when athletes are going through intense training. Dr. Spear says Omega-3’s anti-inflammatory agents “work like aspirin to relieve pain.”

2. They affect our collagen metabolism by increasing collagen production in tendons and ligaments, which addresses the symptoms of common problems for athletes including strains, sprains, and overuse injuries and allow for a faster recovery time.

3. They have been shown to improve oxygen-rich blood flow to active areas of the brain during mental activities, which may boost cognitive abilities. Studies have shown that Omega-3’s can be beneficial in improving attention, focus, and concentration for long periods of time, which are key aspects in athletic performance. Positive benefits for brain and brawn!

4. They can improve body composition by increasing lean muscle mass and decreasing fat mass and can even boost lung function of athletes both during and after exercise.

So, if you’re hoping to take home a gold medal one day your to-do list includes: eat right, train hard, and take an Omega-3 supplement. I prefer a vegetarian Omega-3 supplement because I don’t like the after-taste left behind from fish oil. Chia seed oil has a higher concentration of ALA Omega-3 than flax seed, so this is my favorite way to get my essential fatty acids while dreaming of winning an Olympic gold medal.

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Beauty And The Bugs

My grandmother always used to tell me “real beauty radiates from within.” At the time, I filed this advice away in my mental archives and rolled my eyes. “What does an 80-year old woman know about modern beauty,” I thought to myself, along with “what does that even mean?” We’ve all heard some variation of the saying, but it turns out it may be true in a very literal sense and not just a matriarchal proverb.

Natural health and beauty author, Kat James, has shared an intriguing surprise ingredient for creating lasting radiant beauty: probiotic supplementskat james

It turns out that probiotics- the helpful bacteria that naturally live in the digestive tract- not only help us properly digest our food, but can also affect major natural beauty issues. From weight management to skin clarity, friendly bacteria are responsible for keeping us feeling and looking healthy.

“I learned the hard way that outer beauty suffers as inner ecology deteriorates,” said James. “Even as a professional New York makeup artist with a bag full of beauty tricks, there was no more hiding my own ravaged skin, spirit, and health, or my expanding waistline.” She explained that when probiotic balance (or inner ecology) is harmed, it affects the whole body. The digestive system may not absorb nutrients efficiently, which leaves the rest of the body nutritionally starved, even if an individual is eating well. This can lead to excessive cravings, increased appetite, and weight gain.

Because probiotics also help the body detoxify itself, poor probiotic balance can even result in dermal blemishes, rashes, and breakouts. Over time, compromised inner ecology can cause or aggravate issues that leave you feeling less than beautiful: fatigue, mood swings, and bloating. Poor energy and fatigue often show on the face, especially in under-eye area.

James was struggling with all the signs of reduced probiotic population. Her energy level and health at an all-time low, she realized something had to change. She began a quest to discover where her balance had been thrown. Researching nutrition and natural approaches to beauty enhancement, she learned about studies that have looked at the lesser-known effects of probiotics. “We’re only beginning to discover all the clinically verifiable benefits of probiotics,” she said. “If you’ve taken antibiotics or birth control, or spent a good part of your life as a sugar addict like I did, your probiotics are likely depleted.”

Motivated and ready to change, James developed her own personal dietary program focusing specifically on beauty-enhancing nutrients. “I included probiotics to help me absorb nutrients. It literally transformed me beyond recognition, first restoring digestion and then clearing my skin and renewing my relationship with food,” James said. “I have permanently dropped ten dress sizes!”

While James’ experience is quite dramatic, it is common for people to see some beauty-enhancing ‘side benefits’ when taking a probiotic supplement. “Probiotics are responsible for helping us digest food properly. So, it’s a domino effect after that. To feel and look your best, all of your body’s cells need to receive adequate nutrition from your food. Without that nourishment, you’ll see external consequences. “If probiotic imbalance is at the core of someone’s overeating or the root cause of their skin irritations, they could see incredible improvement after a few months of taking a high-quality probiotic product and eating well.”

There are a few serious considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a probiotic supplement. “I would never compromise by taking freeze-dried brands that might not be viable,” said James. “I prefer Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics ®. It contains the strongest strains of living friendly bacteria along with prebiotics, which are specific nutrients that nourish probiotics.”

Having a diverse list of probiotic strains in the supplement may be more important than having billions of one kind. “This is definitely a case where quality is more important than quantity,” says Barrows. “In fact, products advertising billions of a certain bacteria strain can actually overwhelm the body and trigger an immune response. The body might think the sudden onslaught is a threat.” A high-quality product will contain multiple strains along with prebiotic nutrition.

Apparently, the Dr. Ohhira’s product that James prefers is part of a larger product line which includes topical beauty products. Scientists have discovered that probiotics also do your body good when applied to the surface of the skin. Applied through a moisturizer or cleansing bar, probiotics can help nourish and moisturize skin without any need for harsh chemicals or irritants. That’s another refreshing alternative for anyone with very sensitive or breakout-prone skin!

Whether looking for healthy approaches to weight management and metabolism or hoping to improve dermal health, probiotics may be an overlooked but vital key to any beauty transformation program. “Feeling better and looking better, you begin to radiate a whole new energy,” said James. “Beauty really does start on the inside, at a gut level!” Finally, we have proof that Beauty is more than skin-deep!

It Takes Guts®… to be beautiful!!

Try Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics ®, Kampuku Beauty Bar ™, and Magoroku moisturizer ™

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