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      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

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      The gut-skin connection is very significant. Inflammatory processes present in the gut may manifest on the skin. Toxins are expelled with sweat, and can cause the skin to react. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes which can be neutral, protective or pathogenic. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body. Therefore treating skin conditions only from the outside will often be ineffective and lead to other chronic issues.

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      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

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      Healthy pH levels, whether in the colon or systemic, are found when you eat a high-fiber diet, high in vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. Complement this with foods and supplements high in beneficial bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, and you will be supporting optimal health (which begins in the digestive system).

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      Our dog’s health is precious! They provide us with unconditional love and companionship. A daily probiotic formula is a great way to ensure good health. Make sure you choose one that delivers the recommended potency level and strain count. There is nothing quite like a healthy and happy dog. Happy Dog. Happy Life!

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One-stop Detox: The Remarkable Benefits of Total-body Cleansing

Filed in Cleansing, Digestive Health | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/14/2008

Dangerous pollutants are everywhere in our modern world, which is why it is more important than ever to adopt a detox-friendly lifestyle that includes regular internal cleansing. Made with herbs, fiber and other beneficial ingredients, natural cleansing formulas are designed to support the innate processes by which the body gets rid of toxins and waste. But while many products focus on a specific organ or organ system only, a total-body formula ensures a complete cleansing experience and is often the best way to begin your personal detoxification journey.

A total-body cleanse is one that supports each of the body’s seven channels of elimination—the lungs, liver, lymphatic system, kidneys, skin, blood and bowel (or colon). Together, these vital organs and organ systems work nonstop to purge and eliminate harmful toxins from deep within the cells and tissues. Additionally, an effective total-body formula will help to clear the overall detoxification pathways in the body and jumpstart its natural cleansing ability.

How Do I Choose the Best Cleanse for My Needs?

Although a trip to the local health food store may present you with numerous options, it is best to choose a total-body cleanse that suits the needs of your individual lifestyle. For instance, do you prefer buying “green” products made with only organically grown ingredients? If so, a wholly organic cleanse may be right for you. Has it been several years since your last cleanse? Or are you new to cleansing altogether? Your ideal option may be a cleanse developed specifically for first-time users. The following highlights four of the best options for safe, effective total-body cleansing.

  • Gentle yet Effective.
    Many herbal detoxification formulas offer a gentler cleansing experience for novice cleansers or those have not cleansed in a few years. Such products generally contain whole herbs, which are milder than deep-cleansing herbal extracts, as well as a beneficial herb and enzyme blend to enhance digestion and nutrient absorption. (Ingredients may include ginger root, fennel, peppermint, spearmint, and the enzyme cellulase.)

    Typically, first-time cleansing formulas last about two weeks and will include a mild colon cleanse to support healthy elimination. Gentle bowel-stimulating herbs such as flaxseed, buckthorn bark and marshmallow root may be added, as well as an Indian Ayurvedic blend known as triphala.

  • Powerful Overall Support.
    For those familiar with cleansing, an advanced total-body cleanse is often the next step in the detoxification process. An effective formula will typically contain concentrated herbal extracts in addition to whole herbs and minerals for a more potent, deep-acting cleanse and should include both a morning formula and an evening formula to nourish and support the body’s 7 channels of elimination and provide a powerful colon cleanse.

    The morning formula may include herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion root and hawthorn berry to support the liver—the primary detoxification organ—and the evening formula may contain a blend of cape aloe, rhubarb, slippery elm, fennel and other herbs to support healthy bowel function. Advanced cleanses generally last 30 days.

  • More Power, Less Time.
    If your on-the-go lifestyle leaves little time for healthy detox, a rapid cleansing formula may be the right choice for you. Generally a 7-day program designed to jumpstart metabolism and provide swift cleansing action, this type of cleanse is also ideal for those about to begin a weight loss program, as it primes the body for optimum digestive function.

    Fast-acting cleansing products combine powerful detoxification herbs with beneficial vitamins and minerals to detoxify the body and replenish needed nutrients. A blend of potent herbal extracts and amino acids may be included for concentrated liver support, and an added fiber component can assist with toxin elimination and healthy bowel function.

  • Globally Conscious Cleansing.
    As the world we live in becomes ever more inundated with harmful toxins, many people are opting for a cleaner, “greener” way of life, one that includes choosing organically grown products made without the use of harsh chemicals or pesticides. The good news? Now you can enjoy the same benefits from your total-body cleansing formula.

    Look for a product that combines organic whole herbs (such as burdock root, milk thistle, mullein leaf, nettle and oatstraw) with an organic fiber component from flaxseed, acacia and oat bran. Such a combination supports healthy detoxification and helps soothe and nourish the bowel during cleansing.

There’s Never Been a Better Time to Cleanse

No matter what type of total-body formula you choose, herbal internal cleansing is an essential part of looking and feeling your best every day. Talk to your natural health practitioner if you’re still unsure about which product to use, and he or she can help you take the first step toward a healthier new you.

For more information, go to ReNewLife.com.

Cleansing Before Pregnancy: Natural Detoxification for Fertility and Fetal Health

Filed in Pregnant women | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/11/2008

Preparing her body for conception and pregnancy is one of the most important things a woman can do for her health and the health of her baby. This is especially true today, when according to the Centers for Disease Control a growing number of women have difficulty getting pregnant, and more than 9 million of those women seek fertility services each year.

While experts agree that eating well, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep are essential to a healthy pregnancy, they may not always be enough. That’s because women today must contend with an overwhelming number of harmful toxins that have the potential to interfere with successful conception and pregnancy. The answer, many natural health practitioners say, begins with herbal internal cleansing prior to conception. Practiced by myriad cultures throughout history, herbal cleansing supports the body’s natural ability to filter and eliminate hazardous toxins and waste, and research indicates that it may even help women prime their bodies for a healthy pregnancy.

More Toxins, More Risk

Currently there are more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States alone, with roughly 1,000 more being produced each year—scores of which have been shown to cause everything from mild allergies to birth defects and chronic disease.

Research shows that certain environmental toxins, including widely-used pesticides and insecticides such as DDT (banned in the U.S. since the 1970s) mimic female sex hormones known as estrogens. In doing so, they can adversely affect the levels of both estrogen and progesterone in the body. Progesterone is another hormone that is critical to healthy reproduction, as it helps secure the fertilized egg to the uterine wall and prevent infertility and miscarriage.

Published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, one study examined the effects of toxic metals such as lead and mercury on fertility and found that “…reduction of an increased heavy metal body load improved the spontaneous conception chances of infertile women.” For this reason, many targeted cleansing formulas focus on drawing out toxic metals from deep within the cells and tissues and removing them from the body.

A Mother’s Womb: Safe No More?

In the past, a mother’s womb was considered a safe haven. It was there that the developing fetus received everything necessary for optimal growth and was shielded from the harsh exterior world until the moment of birth. Today, science has proven otherwise. Growing research reveals that the womb is no longer the sanctuary it once was. Rather, if a mother is exposed even to trace amounts of hazardous chemicals, those toxins will be passed along to her baby through the roughly 300 quarts of blood that are circulated daily through the umbilical cord and into the placenta.

In a recent study conducted by the non-profit organizations Environmental Working Group and Commonweal, researchers found that in addition to supplying the fetus with vital nutrients, the umbilical cord also carries “…a steady stream of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides that cross the placenta as readily as residues from cigarettes and alcohol”. Of the 287 chemicals detected in the umbilical cord blood of each participant, “180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development.” (http://archive.ewg.org/reports/bodyburden2)

Herbal Cleansing for Mother and Baby

As early as a year before conceiving, natural health practitioners recommend that women embark a personal detoxification journey that includes regular internal cleansing. One reason why cleansing prior to conception is so important is because it helps to strengthen and tone the detoxification organs—which will eventually experience increased stress during pregnancy.

Research indicates that herbal detoxification may also support proper circulation and help cleanse the uterine wall, both of which help provide a healthy environment for the developing embryo. Further, several studies have made a connection between herbal cleansing and an increase in the number of readily available egg cells, as well as improving the overall health of a woman’s eggs.

When choosing an herbal cleanse, look for a formula with ingredients such as burdock root, dandelion leaf and root, milk thistle seed, turmeric, red clover, nettle, and yellow dock, all of which have been used traditionally to help purify the blood and provide cleansing and nutritive support for the entire body. Natural digestive aids such as ginger root, fennel, cumin, spearmint and peppermint may also be added to enhance absorption and promote healthy bowel function.

Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Beyond

The benefits of herbal cleansing go beyond just supporting healthy conception. Experts agree that an excess amount of toxins in the body may be the cause of some of the more unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, including nausea, heartburn, constipation, mood swings and low energy, so detoxifying the body prior to becoming pregnant may help alleviate these symptoms and ensure a healthier, happier nine months. Finally, just as the umbilical cord can carry toxins to a developing fetus in the womb, a mother’s breast milk can transfer harmful contaminants to the newborn baby. For this reason, cleansing prior to pregnancy can help rid the body of toxins that may otherwise be circulated through the bloodstream and into the breast milk.

Important Note: Consult your health practitioner before beginning any cleansing program. Women who are currently pregnant or trying to conceive should NOT use any herbal internal cleansing formula.

For more information, go to ReNewLife.com.