New Blood Test for IBS Offers Faster Diagnosis and Hope

New Blood Test for IBS Offers Faster Diagnosis and Hope

As people with IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, know, diagnosing this disease poses an immense challenge. Until recently, IBS was a diagnosis of exclusion, which means it was only diagnosed when all other possible disorders were ruled out. However, a new blood test has been identified that may help IBS sufferers to get the fast diagnosis they need to identify and treat this disease.

What Causes IBS?

Recent studies suggest that IBS is triggered by gastroenteritis, commonly known as a stomach bug. A chemical known as cytolethal distending toxin B is released by the bacteria that cause the gastroenteritis. The body counter-attacks with a protein called vinculin, which then causes the nerve damage in bowels that lead to IBS. When vinculin is consistently overproduced in the gut, the immune system responds with antivinculin antibodies. These antibodies cause inflammation and damage to the digestive tract, which in turn produces the health problems associated with IBS.

Antivinculin Antibodies: A Biomarker for IBS?
Researchers believe that testing for antivinculin antibodies may be a fast and accurate way to diagnose IBS. A study was recently performed on 165 people with IBS, and all carried significantly higher levels of these antibodies than healthy people. When combined with colonoscopy, this can offer a definitive diagnosis of IBS. While the results are still preliminary, physicians may soon begin using this simple blood test rather than diagnosing IBS by ruling out other diseases.

Hope for People with IBS
The symptoms of IBS can be debilitating. While there are many ways to manage the disease, both with lifestyle changes and with medical therapies, the disease has to be identified before this can start. This blood test offers hope of a fast diagnosis so people can quickly move on to fighting IBS and getting well.

Check out iHerb’s selection of IBS Products! New to iHerb? Use Coupon Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Kling, Jim; Blood Test for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the Works; Medscape.com; accessed June 9, 2015

Pimentel, Mark; Blood Test Could Help Gastrointestinal Patients; Cedars-Sinai; accessed June 9, 2015

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Filed under Nausea, Digestion and Stomach Issues

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Little Ones

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Little Ones

Many people assume that young children naturally prefer processed foods and other unhealthy dietary choices. However, there are several healthy meal ideas that are kid-friendly while also being balanced and full of nutrients.

Here are three healthy lunch ideas that will appeal to the little one in your life.

Tortilla Wraps

Sandwiches can get boring when eaten every day, but a tortilla wrap is a fun way to mix it up. You can make a tortilla wrap out of almost anything in your kitchen. Spread the tortilla with hummus, a soft cheese, or any other creamy ingredient that will bind the wrap together. Then fill with lean meats, vegetables, or whatever healthy ingredients are in your kitchen.

There are endless variations for fillings, such as turkey and cheddar or cream cheese and cucumber. You can serve the wrap “burrito style” or sliced into pinwheels. This is not just a healthy kid-friendly food, but also a great way to use leftovers. Try leftover roasted chicken or steamed asparagus in a wrap: there are no limits.

Fruit Smoothies

Fruit smoothies keep fresh and cold in a thermos and are a fun treat on a hot day. If prepared with healthy ingredients, a smoothie can also be a healthy and substantial meal for a young child. Blend your child’s favorite fruits with Greek yogurt, protein powder, or even nut butter. Serve immediately or send in a thermos with a spoon and a straw. This meal seems like a dessert and is a kid-pleaser.

Hummus with Vegetables and Whole Grains

Children tend to love dips. One kid-approved option is hummus with veggies and whole grains. Pack a small container of protein-packed hummus along with sliced raw veggies such as carrots and cucumbers. If your tot is not a hummus fan, try peanut butter or a healthy ranch dressing. Add whole grain crackers, pita chips, or other whole grain options. The result is a tasty, healthy and kid-friendly lunch.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Children’s Health Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Editors; Healthy Kids Lunch Recipes & Tips; EatingWell.com; Accessed June 29, 2015

Kuzemchak, Sally; Lunch is Served: Healthy School Lunches & Snacks; Parents; Accessed June 29, 2015

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Filed under Children's and Teen Health, Food (Benefits, Cooking and Nutrition)

Can Lack of Sleep Lead to Weight Gain?

Can Lack of Sleep Lead to Weight Gain?

It can be difficult to fit new healthy habits into a busy modern day. Many people who are trying to lose weight may be tempted to cut back on sleep to make time for physical activity, preparation of healthy food and other activities that help them lose weight. However, doctors warn that losing sleep over weight loss can actually make them gain more.

Burning Calories in Your Sleep?

Recent studies are finding that sleep is surprisingly important to your metabolism. Losing just thirty minutes a night of shut-eye can increase one’s chances of obesity by 17 percent. Sleep helps you burn calories because hormones are released during your sleep cycle that keep your metabolism burning strong throughout both the night and day.

Sleepy Brains Make Poor Decisions

In addition to keeping your metabolism in good working order, sleep also helps you to make good decisions. Decision-making is performed mainly in your frontal lobe, which stops working as efficiently without enough sleep. The same way you are likely to perform poorly on a test while you are sleep-deprived, you are likely to make poor choices when selecting foods as well.

Hunger Hormones

When you are tired, your brain’s reward centers become over-activated. One result is an increase in the release of ghrelin, the main hormone causing hunger. It is difficult to maintain self-control when your brain is rooting for you to choose a cupcake over a cucumber salad.

In addition, studies indicate that people who are sleep-deprived eat more without even realizing it. These little bad decisions can add up to extra pounds.  Getting the sleep you need is always important, but more so for people who are trying to lose weight.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of products for Sleep Support! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Health Editor; Losing Just 30 Minutes of Sleep Per Night Can Affect Your Metabolism; Health website; Accessed June 29, 2015

Paturel, Amy; Sleep More, Weigh Less; WebMD; Accessed June 29, 2015

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Filed under Fitness, Nutrition and Weight Loss, Sleep Center

Epic Chocolate Maca Black Sesame Frosty

Epic Chocolate Maca Black Sesame Frosty

Recipe Courtesy of the Sprout Living, Rawmio and Dastony Brands

Summer has finally arrived and brought with it, as it seems to every year, the temptation for all things sweet, creamy, slushy, and most importantly –  frozen. Lucky for you there are plenty of ways to satisfy that craving for frozen treats without a single trace of dairy or refined sugar. This Epic Chocolate Maca Black Sesame Frosty has a malted chocolate-like flavor thanks to raw cacao, maca, and mesquite, and boasts plenty of trace minerals like calcium from homemade black sesame milk as well as a whopping dose of plantbased protein from Sprout Living’s Epic Protein Chocolate Maca. Richly satisfying yet cool and refreshing, and full of healthy ingredients to support an active and fun-filled summer! Enjoy!

Epic Chocolate Maca Black Sesame Frosty

Ingredients

For Black Obsidian Sesame Mylk:

For the Frosty:

Instructions

  1. For Mylk: Soak your black sesame seeds for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Rinse well. Blend soaked sesame seeds with water and salt, straining the mixture through a nut milk bag to remove fiber. This is the base for your frosty. If you wish to add vanilla and a sweetener to it, feel free. It is delicious to drink this way as well!
  2. Add Mylk and the rest of the ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Top with a drizzle of Rawmio hazelnut or almond silk, raw cacao nibs, a sprinkle of black sesame seeds, or your favorite superfood toppings and enjoy!

Epic Chocolate Maca Black Sesame Frosty
 
Author:
Ingredients
For Black Obsidian Sesame Mylk:
  • 1 cup black sesame seeds, unhulled
  • 3 cups pure water
  • pinch Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
For the Frosty:
  • 8oz Black Obsidian Sesame Mylk
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 Tbs. mesquite powder
  • 1 Tbs hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
  • 1 heaping scoop Epic Protein Chocolate Maca
  • 1 tsp. Dastony Stone Ground Coconut Butter
  • 1 Tbs. raw cacao powder or nibs
  • optional topping: drizzle of Rawmio hazelnut or almond silk
Instructions
  1. For Mylk: Soak your black sesame seeds for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Rinse well. Blend soaked sesame seeds with water and salt, straining the mixture through a nut milk bag to remove fiber. This is the base for your frosty. If you wish to add vanilla and a sweetener to it, feel free. It is delicious to drink this way as well!
  2. Add Mylk and the rest of the ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Top with a drizzle of Rawmio hazelnut or almond silk, raw cacao nibs, a sprinkle of black sesame seeds, or your favorite superfood toppings and enjoy!

iHerb sells thousands of natural food items, everything from stevia to gluten free flours to much more!  Click here to take a look at our product offerings.  If  you’re new to iHerb, you can use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

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What You Need to Know about Gluten

What You Need to Know about Gluten

Celiac Disease rates have increased greatly over in the past ten years, and gluten sensitivity affects about seven percent of the population. The gluten protein found in products made from wheat, rye and barley has come to the forefront as a serious dietetic problem in the U.S.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a composite protein, which consists of glutenin and gliadin. It occurs primarily in wheat, rye and barley but is also present in some types of oats. Rice, corn and some types of oats contain no gluten, and do not cause problems in people with gluten sensitivity.

What is Celiac Disease?

A relatively rare disorder, celiac disease is an allergy to gluten, which produces an immune response in the intestines. The symptoms of celiac disease may include:

  • chronic diarrhea
  • abdominal bloating and pain
  • dental enamel defects in permanent teeth
  • vomiting
  • irritability
  • constipation
  • weight loss
  • pale, foul-smelling or fatty stool

In children, additional symptoms may include:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
  • behavioral issues
  • failure to thrive
  • delayed growth and puberty
  • short stature

Gluten sensitivity has some of the same symptoms but is not nearly as serious.

What Can Gluten Do to Your Body?

Aside from the listed symptoms, gluten can wreak havoc on the body. It can cause less nutrient-absorption in the intestines. Once it enters the bloodstream, it can cause bone loss and osteoporosis and impaired hearing. It also causes a serious skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. Gluten has the potential to cause brain damage.

How Can You Find out if Gluten Is a Problem for You or Your Child?

If you suspect that gluten is the cause of your or your child’s problems, take the child to the doctor to be tested. The most common test is the tTG-lgA test. A biopsy of the small intestine is recommended to confirm a celiac disease diagnosis. If you are on a gluten-free diet, you may have to reintroduce gluten to your body for a number of months before having the test.

To discover whether gluten may be the culprit in your physical problems, remove gluten from your diet for one month. Some have found that a gluten-free diet resolves their digestive issues.

Click  the following links to check out iHerb’s selection of Gluten Free Foods, Vitamins and Beauty Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Emily Main; 6 Need-to-Know Facts About Gluten; Rodale News; accessed May 9, 2015

Celiac Disease Symptoms; Celiac Disease Foundation; accessed May 9, 2015

Diagnosing Celiac Disease; Celiac Disease Foundation; accessed May 9, 2015

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Filed under Celiac Disease

What Makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil Special?

What Makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil Special?

We hear often about the benefits of olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is touted as being great for your overall health, even for your skin and hair. While extra virgin olive oil has a deeper color and taste, it is also purer and has more potential health benefits.

How Is Olive Oil Made?

Olive oil is made from olives that are pressed until oil is extracted. Extra virgin oil comes from the first pressing of the olives, which is why it has more flavor and color. In addition, extra virgin olive oil is extracted without chemicals and without heating the olives. It must pass tests that verify its chemical content and purity.

When all criteria of this specific process are not met, the oil is sold as olive oil instead of extra virgin olive oil.

Why Choose Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

There are several reasons to choose extra virgin olive oil even though it is more expensive than plain olive oil. First, extra virgin oil usually tastes better because it has more of the flavonoids from the olives. Second, extra virgin olive oil has high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, which lower In addition, monounsaturated fatty acids also have been found to help control insulin levels. Extra virgin olive oil is also a great source of antioxidants. There are so many health benefits that many health experts recommend consuming a diet rich in this and other healthy oils.

Storing Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Because extra olive oil is extremely fresh and full of sensitive flavonoids, it should be handled in special ways. It should not be stored in an area where it is exposed to excessive heat or light.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Olive Oils! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Borreli, Lizette; Olive Oil Benefits: How High-Fat Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Good For Your Immune System; Medical Daily; accessed June 9, 2015

Editors; What’s the Difference Between Olive Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil?; Body and Soul website; accessed June 9, 2015

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Filed under Food (Benefits, Cooking and Nutrition)

DIY Chest Rub for Children with Congestion

DIY Chest Rub for Children with Congestion

If your baby or young child is congested, you may want to try an essential oil-based rub that will ease your child’s cough and congestion without potentially harsh or harmful chemicals. Many commercial vapor rubs are petroleum based, using camphor derived from oil of turpentine and synthetic menthol. Instead, you can make your own vapor rub with essential oils in a natural base. Essential oils contain compounds that can relieve symptoms and aid the body in healing.

Many essential oils are antimicrobial and antibacterial; others are soothing, helping your baby or youngster to relax and sleep. Eucalyptus essential oil is useful in chest congestion as it is also expectorant as well as being antimicrobial, but it is too powerful for babies and toddlers under two. In that case, oregano oil or lemon oil are good choices. Carrier oils are used as a base for the potent essential oils and a little beeswax binds it together into a nice salve.

Ingredients
(Makes about 2 ounces)

  • ¼ cup organic coconut oil
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. natural shea butter (unrefined is best)
  • 1 Tbs. beeswax
  • 20 drops essential oregano oil or essential lemon oil
  • 20 drops cinnamon leaf oil
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

For kids over 6 and adults, you can substitute eucalyptus oil for the lemon or oregano; and peppermint for the cinnamon leaf oil. You can also increase the number of drops of essential oils for a stronger solution.

Instructions

  1. Melt beeswax and shea butter in a double boiler over medium heat.
  2. Turn heat to low and add the coconut oil.
  3. Remove from heat and add essential oils.
  4. Stir, and then pour into a small jar, such as a clean baby food jar. Let it cool completely before use.

Usage

For a baby, use a small amount on the bottom of the feet, and then put on socks. For older kids and adults, make the adult formula, increasing the amount of essential oils and rub the ointment on the chest.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Children’s Health Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Saville, Laura; DIY Vapor Chest Rub for Colds and Congestion; The Soft Landing; accessed April 3, 2015

Dessinger, Heather; DIY All-Natural Vapor Rub; MommyPotamus; accessed April 3, 2015

Nelson, Nina; Whipped DIY Vapor Chest Rub for Chest Congestion; DIY Natural; accessed April 3, 2015

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Filed under Children's and Teen Health, Cold and Flu Center, Do It Yourself

How to Wear Heels without Hurting Your Feet

How to Wear Heels without Hurting Your Feet

Did you know that our feet change as we age? According to scientists, the fat deposits at the bottom of the feet begin depleting, meaning that each time we put on those stilettos, we’re forcing our weight onto the one part of our body that becomes less protected, leading to mild to excruciating pain. Luckily, there are some steps we can take to wear heels without having to go barefoot an hour later.

1. Cushion It

Get yourself a good shoe insert with as much cushion as can comfortably fit, namely silicone metatarsal pads. This will even out where the fat has disappeared and give you even more support through increased shock absorption.

2. Fit It

Too many times we buy shoes that look great but fit terribly. When it comes to the best fit for a heel, look for those that don’t leave a space behind your heel. This extra space means your toes have been shoved up too far forward and are now suffering from even more pressure than before. The best shoes fit snuggly enough so that there is no space in the back. If you’re still worried about slippage, go for heels with ankle straps. These will keep your foot in place.

3. Style It

The style of the heel has a lot to do with how it affects your feet. Instead of heels hardly a quarter inch in width, opt for the thicker choices. Stiletto heels are the worst offenders. Thicker heels, such as wedges, will vastly improve your balance, relieving pressure because your weight is now distributed much more evenly. It can even help relieve pressure on the Achilles tendon. Then, consider the slope of the shoe itself. Some heels go from elevated to flat almost immediately while others have a more gradual decline. The less dramatic slope will protect your arch while lessening the pain in the ball of the foot.

Looking for vitamins, herbal supplements and other alternatives to help you keep a healthy balance in your life? Check out the thousands of products we sell at iHerb.com. Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get  youup to $10 off your first order.

Reference

Bouchez, Coulette; Tips to Avoid Foot Pain From High Heels; WebMD; accessed June 15, 2015

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Filed under Beauty and Personal Care, Pain Relief

Grill-tastic! A New Twist on Barbecue Foods

Grill-tastic! A New Twist on Barbecue Foods

Everybody loves a summer barbecue, but why not try something different this year? Instead of the standard burgers, hot dogs and steaks, use your grill to cook up something fun and unusual.

Mushrooms

The king of grilling mushrooms is the Portobello, those large and chewy mushrooms whose caps can be used in place of hamburgers. However, all mushrooms can be grilled if done right. For extra flavor, you can marinate them overnight or just baste them during cooking. Place smaller mushrooms in a grilling basket to give them that smoky taste. Mushroom-kabobs are a perennial favorite, and are best when similar mushrooms are placed onto the same skewer. Mushrooms also pair well with other grilled vegetables, whether skewered or seasoned and wrapped in foil.

Oysters and Clams

These delicious shellfish are best when cooked over medium-high heat. It should take about eight minutes for the first one to open, which is the time to remove them all from the grill. Instead of butter or hot sauce, try a nice chipotle vinaigrette for a change of taste.

Grilled Fruit

Peach halves are a southern grilling classic, but they are not the only fruits great for the grill. Pineapple is great cut into quarters, basted with a mixture of lime juice, honey and black pepper, and then grilled with the core intact. The grilled pineapple can complement chicken or fish.

Try placing your favorite berries and a little sugar into some foil and grilling for 5-10 minutes. Use them to top your favorite ice cream for a cool summer treat. Grilled bananas are easy and delicious. Slice them with peels still on and grill them open-side down for 2 minutes. Flip them, and once cooked, add a crumble of marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate for a banana – s’more treat everyone will love.

With imagination you can your barbecue grill into an all-purpose kitchen. Add that smoky goodness to other unusual items, such as pizza, French bread or even romaine lettuce. Your family and friends will rave over your wonderful cookouts.

iHerb sells thousands of natural food items, everything from stevia to gluten free flours to much more!  Click here to take a look at our product offerings.  If  you’re new to iHerb, you can use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

37 Weird Things to Grill – A New Take On Summer BBQ Foods; Krrb Blog; accessed June 20, 2015

How to Grill Mushrooms and Other Vegetables; Food Reference; accessed June 20, 2015
Mellissa Valliant; Bizarre BBQ: Unusual Foods to Throw on the Grill; HellaWella; accessed June 20, 2015

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Filed under Food (Benefits, Cooking and Nutrition), Recipes

What in the World is Cat’s Claw?

What in the World is Cat's Claw?

While researching herbs and supplements, have you ever come across something and asked yourself, “what in the world is that?” This series of articles will give you insight about some of the lesser-known herbs currently available on the market. From there, you can decide whether it’s a natural remedy worthy of further exploration.

Today, it’s all about Cat’s Claw!

Cat’s Claw is a vine commonly known as Una de Gato, which was a traditional part of medicine in Peru. More recently,  the vine has it come to the attention of Western medicine. This is largely due to oxindole alkaloids found in the bark and roots of Cats Claw, which may stimulate the immune system.

History

Cat’s claw is a woody vine that grows unfettered in the rainforests of South and Central America. It has a long history of uses for a variety of medical ailments, dating all the way back to the Inca civilization.  In Peru, it was often used for digestive complaints and to treat wounds, as well as other diseases such as arthritis. Since the 1970s, studies and research have been carried out by scientists in Germany, Austria, England and other countries, to find out more about the healing properties of Cat’s Claw.

Uses

The most common use of cat’s claw is to treat the pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as a variety of digestive issues including diverticulitis, gastritis, colitis, hemorrhoids, ulcers, and diarrhea. In several clinical studies, oral ingestion of cat’s claw supplement reduced pain and stiffness for arthritis sufferers.

In addition to these uses, medicine made from cat’s claw may be effective in treating viral infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic wounds, asthma, hay fever, gonorrhea and chronic pain. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of cat’s claw for these additional ailments.

How does it work? Experts believe that the essence of cat’s claw can help stimulate the immune system, aiding with healing and fighting off infection. It also acts as an antioxidant, removing free radicals from the body. The extract of the plant can be freeze dried and taken as an oral supplement.

Caution

While cat’s claw is generally safe, it should be avoided by certain people. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, not enough research has been done about how this supplement may affect your baby. Because cat’s claw stimulates the immune system, it should not be taken by people with lupus, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune disorders, as it may cause unpredictable effects. It should also be avoided if you have a bleeding disorder, low blood pressure or leukemia. Because it may slow blood clotting, avoid cat’s claw if you have a surgical procedure scheduled within two weeks.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Cat’s Claw Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Cat’s Claw; National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health; Accessed May 19, 2015

Cat’s Claw; University of Maryland Medical Center; Accessed May 19, 2015

Cat’s Claw; WebMD; Accessed May 19, 2015

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Filed under Herbs and Supplements