Health Ambition http://www.healthambition.com More Energy, A Better Body And A Healthier Life Thu, 04 Feb 2016 21:45:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Best Electric Toothbrushes For Kids http://www.healthambition.com/best-electric-toothbrushes-for-kids/ http://www.healthambition.com/best-electric-toothbrushes-for-kids/#respond Tue, 02 Feb 2016 19:41:41 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=14313 Electric toothbrushes do a much better job cleaning teeth than old-style manual brushes. This is especially important for kids, who need to build habits for a lifetime of good dental health. I have been using electric toothbrushes for a long time, so I decided to make a buying guide to help you choose the best […]

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Electric toothbrushes do a much better job cleaning teeth than old-style manual brushes. This is especially important for kids, who need to build habits for a lifetime of good dental health. I have been using electric toothbrushes for a long time, so I decided to make a buying guide to help you choose the best electric toothbrush for your kids.

There are many electric toothbrushes on the market now, and it's hard to know which one is right for you.

The major manufacturers each have quite a few models and it's often difficult to tell how one differs from the next. In this section, I will talk about the different features and aspects of electric toothbrushes and discuss how important they are in terms of overall performance.

Electric toothbrushes can get expensive, so you need to be informed before you make a decision.

Our Favorite Electric Toothbrushes For Kids:

Rating

Product

Our Rating

Price

Phillips Sonicare for Kids

2

Oral B Pro-Health For Me

3

Phillips Sonicare for Kids Connected

4

Oral B Pro-Health Power Kids

5

Colgate Kids Sponge Bob

Who Can Benefit From An Electric Toothbrush?

In addition to their deeper clean, electric toothbrushes have a few extra features that manual ones lack. The most important of these is the two-minute timer, which helps you brush for the right amount of time.

Before I got an electric toothbrush I thought I hit that time, however it turned out I was falling short at less than one minute. Your children are likely to be similar - they aren't brushing for as long as they should.

Of course, everyone benefits from better brushing - it prevents cavities and root canals, which are a kid’s (and parent's) nightmare!

What Electric Toothbrushes Do

There are two main ways to categorize these brushes - those which use disposable batteries and those which are rechargeable.

Each has their own advantages. The rechargeable kind is useful because you don’t need to buy replacement batteries, however you do need to remember to charge it.

Brushes with disposable batteries present an ongoing expense as you need to replace the batteries on a regular basis.

In any case, the power source drives a motor, which rotates and vibrates the head of the brush. This gives you a better clean than manual brushes.

Most brushes also have some other features that use the power, such as a timer, sound and lights. Brushes that have more features tend to use more power, so you will need to charge or replace the batteries more often.

All of these features can be overwhelming at first, but you use an electric toothbrush just like a manual one. All you have to do is turn it on and brush as you would normally. Most designs nowadays have on/off switches instead of buttons which must be held down.

I really like that because it's just easier. The electric ones tend to be a little heavier, which might be a surprise to kids if they are not expecting it. Be aware that they could drop the brush. I have selected sturdy and robust brushes that won't break to help deal with this issue.

How To Brush Your Kid's Teeth With An Electric Toothbrush

How To Choose An Electric Toothbrush

There are a lot of things that differentiate the electric toothbrushes on the market. First of all, there's price.

The cheapest decent models start at around $50, and they go up from there with higher-end models reaching the hundreds. If you have more than one child, then you are going to want to take this into account.

You also need to think about replacement brushes. Just like manual brushes, the heads on electric toothbrushes need to be changed because the bristles wear down. I usually replace mine about every 3 months. Every model and brand has different brushes.

Pro Tip:

Change your electric toothbrush heads every 3 months. After that time if you brush your teeth several times daily, they stop being effective

Source

If you have a favorite kind of brush, then you will want a toothbrush that can load the appropriate head. Sometimes this is more than just a personal preference. If your kids have braces, then you will want a softer set of bristles. The same goes for if your children have sensitive teeth.

Battery life does not differ a whole lot between the main brands. You can usually get at least a week out of one charge or one set of batteries. Remember that for rechargeables, you need to run the battery all the way down at least once every six months.

Think about the features you really need, because they are a big contributor to the price. For example, some higher end brushes have multiple cleaning speeds. I don't think these are hugely important, but again if you are dealing with sensitive teeth, a lower speed might help.

The timer is the most important feature. Lights, music, and so on are all extras - the timer is essential.

Next up, I will review five brushes so that you can see what to look for in the best electric toothbrush for kids.

Our Favorite Electric Toothbrushes For Kids:

Rating

Product

Our Rating

Price

Phillips Sonicare for Kids

2

Oral B Pro-Health For Me

3

Phillips Sonicare for Kids Connected

4

Oral B Pro-Health Power Kids

5

Colgate Kids Sponge Bob

Breakdown:

#1 Philips Sonicare Sonic for Kids, HX6311/07 (Editor's Choice)

Build Quality

Price

Our Rating

This is the little brother of the Philips brush I listed above.

It has basically the same set of features and a very similar design, with the difference being that it does not have or use an app.

It costs $39.99, making it a little cheaper than the HX6321.

Look here if you need more brush heads.

Pros


  • If you don't like the app system, get this one and save $10.
  • The timer is very intuitive
  • Has a high and low power mode (good for braces and sensitive teeth)
  • Sturdy, will resist drops

Cons


  • Comes with a few stickers but not much else to make it "fun"
  • Quadrant notifications are too quiet for my taste
  • The grip is a little awkward to hold in my opinion

#2 Oral-B Pro-Health For Me  Power Toothbrush

Build Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Health For Me brush lists for $32 and is pretty similar to the Philips HX6321.

It has a timer, an app, and lots of Disney branding.

The brush is tough and comes with extra brush heads out of the box.

See here for extra brush heads.

Pros


  • The Disney branding will appeal to kids
  • The soft default brush head is perfect for children's mouth
  • Comes with multiple heads
  • Sturdy for the price
  • Timer + Quadrant notification

Cons


  • Louder than most other brushes
  • No way to tell it is charging properly
  • Hard to find heads for it
  • The app is clunky

#3 Philips Sonicare for Kids (HX6321/02)

Build Quality

Price

Our Rating

HX6321/02This Philips brush lists for $49.99. It comes with an app that you can use to encourage kids to brush correctly.

It's a sonic brush, which is supposed to give it a deeper clean, but I never noticed much of a difference.

Get replacement brush heads here.

Pros


  • KidTimer ensures a full 2 minutes of cleaning
  • Kidpacer tells the kids when to switch quadrants
  • Comes with stickers for customisation
  • Comes with an app you can use to incentivize proper brushing
  • Rechargeable battery that uses included case
  • Replacement heads under $1 if you buy 16

Cons


  • Not exactly sure what Sonic Action does
  • The app sometimes feels like more work than it's worth when you already have a timer
  • Only comes with 1 brush head so get a few more right away

#4 Oral-B Pro-Health Stages Doc McStuffins Power Kids Toothbrush

Build Quality

Price

Our Rating

This is a budget model of electric toothbrush, listing for around $7.

It has Monsters Inc branding, which I love.

The brush head cannot be replaced and the brush uses a AA battery, though, and I don't love that.

This is basically a disposable brush that you only keep for about three to six months, tops.

Pros


  • It is extremely cheap so you don't risk much if your kids don't like it
  • The design is cute and fun and I think kids who like Monster Inc will love it
  • Comes with a 2 minute timer
  • Nice soft brush head

Cons


  • Won't last very long
  • I don't like that it uses AA Batteries (toxic trash)
  • Non swappable heads

#5 Colgate Kids Sponge Bob Powered Toothbrush

Build Quality

Price

Our Rating

Here is Colgate's version of the cheap $7 electric toothbrush.

It take two AA batteries to work, and like the Oral B this brush is disposable.

There are many different designs available.

Pros


  • Cheap, effective and gets the job done
  • Basic 2 minute timer
  • Very appealing design and characters

Cons


  • You get what you pay for, this will only last a few months
  • If you order online, you don't actually get to chose the design

Conclusion

Out of all of these five, I like the Philips HX6311/07 as the best electric toothbrush for kids. I think it has the most value and is lacking only the app, which I find superfluous.

It has soft bristles, a timer, a strong motor, a decent price, and a durable case.

The price point is not bad either, especially if you share one base between multiple children and just swap heads.

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15 Easy Ways To Relax Under 5 Minutes (#7 is Awesome) http://www.healthambition.com/ways-to-relax/ http://www.healthambition.com/ways-to-relax/#respond Thu, 27 Aug 2015 18:17:39 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=12979 Have you been searching for a wonderful way to relax? As a mom I find that life is extremely stressful. I'm constantly being barraged by a wide variety of different distractions, and sometimes I just feel overwhelmed. If you're like me, then you probably feel over-stressed at least once a week, and you are probably […]

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Have you been searching for a wonderful way to relax?

As a mom I find that life is extremely stressful.

I'm constantly being barraged by a wide variety of different distractions, and sometimes I just feel overwhelmed.

If you're like me, then you probably feel over-stressed at least once a week, and you are probably looking for some great ways to relax.

Fortunately, there are many different wonderful ways for you to calm down during your free time. You need to find a way to relax during your day to day life, so try out some of these wonderful activities.

#1 My Favorite: Drink Green Tea

You may have never tried Green Tea, but you definitely should. Green Tea contains a large number of stress relieving chemicals.

Having a quick cup of Green Tea every day, can definitely help you relax and live a better life. Green Tea has been shown to have many health benefits.

Plus, it helps with weight loss!​

If you want a spin off to hot tea, try this delicious smoothie.​

#2 Then Add Some Chocolate (Dark)

You might believe that chocolate is bad for you, but studies actually show that in the right doses, chocolate can be really good for you.

If you are really stressing out, then you definitely should grab a square of chocolate.

Consuming some chocolate everyday will lower your blood pressure, and will also lower your risk of stroke. You are sure to feel better almost instantly.

Plus, it's delicious​

#3 After that, Chew some gum

You probably already regularly chew gum, but you probably did not know that gum has some excellent health properties.

Chewing gum has been shown to have a significant impact on anxiety and you are sure to have a great reduction in your stress level.

Scientists believe that the repeated motion from chewing gum reduces stress.

#4 And Take 5 Minutes To Meditate

Okay, you might feel that meditation is a little silly, but you really should try it out.

I recently started meditating for 5 minutes every morning, and it really does calm me down, so I can head to work calm and collected.

On top of that Meditation can also reduce your risk of depression.

#5 If You Need More: Take a power Nap

Maybe your normal naps take way more than thirty minutes, but if you are just looking to quickly relax, you definitely need to take a quick and simple power nap.

Scientists say that even a quick nap will leave you feeling refreshed.

Try taking a five minute nap at the end of your work day, then you will definitely feel a lot better after work.

#6 If You Can, Also Get Some Sunlight

If you're like me, then you probably regularly find yourself trapped in your office. You may feel that it is impossible to get a few minutes to go outside.

Vitamin D is a natural antidepressant. If you live in a region with little sun, consider light therapy.

#7 And Stretch it Out With Some Yoga​

Yoga is just awesome, it will help you both tone your body and reduce stress. You don't need to be an expert at it either.

Just learn a dozen poses and practice them when you need to blow some steam.

#8 Or just dance it off

If Yoga seems too scary for you, just put on your favorite tune and start dancing to it. Seriously, you might feel stupid at first but once you get in the mood, you will feel a LOT better after just 2 or 3 songs. Seriously try it :).

#9 And Massage Yourself: You Deserve It!

Don't have room to dance or do Yoga? No worries, I've got you covered. Take your left hand and slowly massage your right hand while closing your eyes. Go between each finger, rub your thumb in your palm and breath deeply.

How do you feel now?​

#10 Then Unleash The Demon On These Stress Balls!

While they may be expensive in retail, I keep making my own stress balls and dropping them on my desk. When I'm stressed or when I need to think about something I just reach out to them and squeeze my stress out with them!

#11 And Take a Quick Walk

Exercise is extremely important to your health, and it is also an extremely important way to get rid of your stress.

Scientists are now finding that even a quick walk every now and then can reduce your stress load.

If you're feeling really stressed at work, then you definitely need to take a moment and walk for a minute or two. You definitely will feel a great deal more relaxed when you are done.

#12 If You're Daring: Sing It Off

I find that when times get especially stressful, that I can turn to my favorite song and start singing. Whether you love rap, folk, or rock music, your favorite song can really brighten your day.

#13 Then Smell Some Flowers

Smells can have a powerful effect on our mind.

If you need to relax really quickly, then you should take some time to smell the flowers.

This will help you refocus and allow to feel significantly more satisfied.

#14 And Cuddle With Your Pet

Cuddling with your pet is a wonderful way to relax at the end of the day.

Even a quick five minute cuddle will send signals to your brain that it is time to get rid of the stress.

Spend some time with your pet everyday, and you sure to feel significantly better.

#15 Then Laugh At Yourself :)

Finding some time to laugh at the end of the day is one of the best techniques to relax.

At the end of each day strongly consider watching a comedy show or reading some jokes, so that you can rest your mind from the stress of the day.

Laughter will also trigger your immune system, and increase your ability to fight off infection.

Plus if you've done all the funny things in this list, you can clearly have a good laugh at yourself but I'm sure you feel better!

To Conclude

Finding a way to relax in the middle of a crazy and hectic schedule can be an extremely difficult task, but if you find the right activities to relieve the stress and relax a little.

While I feel that these fifteen activities are some of the best possible options, there are plenty of other ways to relax quickly.

I hope that this list will help you reduce the amount of stress in your day to day life.

Life can be extremely stressful, but it is absolutely critical that you find a way to relax every so often, check out these critical strategies so that you can feel much better everyday.

If you appreciated this article please share it with your friends on Facebook, they might find it useful as well!​

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What Are The Best Digestive Enzymes for Bloating & Gas? http://www.healthambition.com/best-digestive-enzymes-for-bloating-gas/ http://www.healthambition.com/best-digestive-enzymes-for-bloating-gas/#respond Thu, 20 Aug 2015 23:05:39 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=12922 Occasional bouts of gas and bloating are considered normal experiences for most of us. However, they can be indicative of a shortage of digestive enzymes. When we have enough of them, we usually avoid digestive discomfort. If you're walking around with daily discomfort, then you need to do something to restore balance to your gut. […]

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Occasional bouts of gas and bloating are considered normal experiences for most of us. However, they can be indicative of a shortage of digestive enzymes.

When we have enough of them, we usually avoid digestive discomfort.

If you're walking around with daily discomfort, then you need to do something to restore balance to your gut.

Diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes are essential to this process. Nevertheless, some of the best digestive enzymes for bloating and other digestive issues can come from supplements.

Ranking

Product

Price

Rating

Link

#1

Legacy Digestive Enzymes

$$

A+

#2

Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System

$

A+

#3

Enzymedica Digest Gold with ATPro

$$$

A

#4

NOW Foods Super Enzymes

$$

A

#5

Garden of Life Enzymes for Men

$$

B

Why Do You Need an Enzyme Supplement?

Food is fuel for our bodies, and enzymes help us use that fuel more efficiently. Let's pretend that you want to eat an apple. In your mind, an apple is food. However, your body can't really do anything with an apple.

It can, however, use the nutrients that an apple contains. In order to get to them, your body needs to break apart that apple at the cellular level. Your body does this through the use of pancreatic and intestinal enzymes.

Unfortunately, many of us make lifestyle choices that inhibit the production of these enzymes. Poor dietary choices and stress will lead to inflammation in your digestive tract.

This inflammation interferes with your body's ability to make enzymes. Without enough of them, your body can't absorb the nutrients from your food.

Adopting a healthier lifestyle will help to restore your enzyme levels back to normal. However, you can accelerate that process by using enzyme supplements.

What are the Advantages of Using Them?

Different enzymes are responsible for breaking down different food molecules. When you don't have enough of them, your body reacts and different symptoms begin to surface. Supplemental digestive enzymes will alleviate those symptoms.

  • Reduces Digestive Discomfort - When you lack the necessary enzymes to break down food, it sits in your digestive tract. Food that sits in your stomach or intestines too long has time to decay or create gas. Neither one of these experiences is very pleasant.

    Supplemental enzymes will definitely reverse these uncomfortable symptoms. Taking a pepsin supplement, for example, will enable your stomach to break down proteins into smaller proteins called peptides. The smaller proteins will be able to move from your stomach to your small intestine.

    Likewise, taking a supplement with the right amount of amylase, protease, and lipase will help your body to break down foods into nutrients. This enables your body to absorb them before gas-inducing bacteria has a chance to create problems.
  • Improves Energy Levels - In a nutshell, digestion is the process of converting food into energy for your body. Oddly enough, digestion requires a lot of energy. When enzymes are lacking, your body has to work harder to break down and absorb nutrients. This often results in physical and mental fatigue.

    Supplemental enzymes will take some of the stress off your digestive tract. With less energy going toward digestion, your body can devote more to other systems. As a result, you will have more energy to devote to day-to-day tasks. Likewise, you'll improve your ability to concentrate.
  • Reduces Allergies - Our bodies have a multitude of defences in place for keeping out foreign invaders. Believe it or not, our bodies put food into that category.

    Thankfully, digestive enzymes break our food down into chemicals our bodies can recognise. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen very well if we're enzyme-deficient. If large protein molecules from food are allowed to enter our bloodstreams, then allergic reactions occur.

    Swelling, itching, and other allergy-related symptoms will improve with the use of enzyme supplements. They will break foods down into molecules that are small enough for our bodies to use. Those molecules will be small enough to enter our bloodstreams without alarming our immune systems.

How Can You Choose the Right One?

In the world of health supplements, all things are not created equal. If you pay attention to the following details, then you will be able to find a quality enzyme supplement:

  • Product Reputation - Take some time to research multiple brands of enzyme supplements. Eliminate the ones with too many negative reviews, and focus on the ones with strong reputations.
  • Ingredients - Stay away from any enzyme supplement that contains artificial colors, fillers or allergy-inducing fillers. These additives will likely do more harm than good.
  • Enzymes Included - Digestive enzymes can be broken into three primary groups: amylase, lipase and protease. Amylases are responsible for breaking down carbohydrates. Lipases break down fats. Proteases break down proteins.

    If you want an enzyme supplement that addresses a wider range of digestive issues, then you need to look for products that contain all three of these enzymes.
  • Strength Numbers - Enzyme supplements are not measured by milligrams. They are measured by potency. When shopping for a product, cross anything off your list that measures in milligrams. Those supplements are worthless.

Are There Any Downsides to Taking Digestive Enzymes?

Digestive enzyme supplements are not harmful to your health. Nevertheless, there are a couple of downsides to taking them.

  • Waste of Money - High-quality enzyme supplements will do what they promise to do. The same cannot be said for grocery store brands and other low-end options. With the latter, you'll get what you pay for.
  • Becoming Dependent - Problems surface when we become overly-dependent on supplements for our digestive health. If supplements are used for prolonged periods of time, then our bodies will grow accustomed to producing lower levels of enzymes. Ironically, this is counterproductive to our digestive health

The Best Digesting Enzymes For Bloating & Gas

There are currently hundreds of enzyme supplements on the market. In order to help you weave through the junk, I'm giving you some details on 5 popular products.

Ranking

Product

Price

Rating

Link

#1

Legacy Digestive Enzymes

$$

A+

#2

Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System

$

A+

#3

Enzymedica Digest Gold with ATPro

$$$

A

#4

NOW Foods Super Enzymes

$$

A

#5

Garden of Life Enzymes for Men

$$

B

#1- Legacy Digestive Enzymes

Legacy Nutra has an enzyme on the market that claims to solve digestive discomfort issues.

Each bottle contains 90 vegetable capsules that were packaged in an FDA registered facility in the United States. Each capsule contains enzymes that can help you deal with your issues with gas, bloating or leaky gut.

PROS


  • These supplements contain a variety of the 3 recommended enzyme groups.
    The inclusions of lactase and cellulase, for example, will help you digest milk and vegetables. I don't know about you, but I need a bit of extra help in those departments.
  • These supplements don't contain sugar, wheat or any other unnecessary additives.
    This means you'll be able to take these enzymes without setting yourself up for an allergic reaction.

CONS


  • While they don't contain any additives, these supplements are packaged in a facility where they could possibly come into contact with eggs, dairy and shellfish.
    An allergic reaction isn't likely to occur. However, it is possible for you to have one.
  • These supplements are a little on the pricey side. If you take the supplements as suggested, then you'll only have enough pills for a month. That means you'll need to shell out $25 every month for a supply.

#2- Rainbow Light Advanced Enzyme System

Another popular enzyme supplement on the market is the vegan-friendly formula from Rainbow Light. It claims to help with gas, bloating, and other symptoms of indigestion.

This new formula contains a variety of enzymes and soothing herbs that just might heal your digestive tract.

PROS


  • This supplement is screened and contains no traces of animal products. If you're a vegan- or leaning in that direction- then you can rest easy and know that these are in sync with your lifestyle.
  • Each pill contains plant-based enzymes. These enzymes are strong and more likely to make it to your small intestine. This means that your body will actually be able to use them.
  • Fennel and ginger are included in each pill. These two herbs are known for their ability to settle upset stomachs.

CONS


  • This supplement was created for people with mild-to-moderate digestive issues. If you have more serious issues, then this formula won't be very effective. In order for you to get the right level of potency, you'll have to take 2 to 3 times the recommended dosage.
  • If you suffer from GERD or any other reflux-related disorder, then this may not be the supplement for you. The addition of peppermint can help sooth your stomach. Unfortunately, it is also a known trigger for heartburn and acid reflux.

#3- Enzymedica Digest Gold with ATPro

Enzymedica has updated their formula and created an enzyme supplement that aims to fix your digestive issues. This new formula contains a blend of enzymes at a variety of pH levels.

It includes adenosine tri-phosphate and other dietary nutrients. By adding these nutrients, this supplement can encourage your body to produce more pepsin and stomach acid.

PROS


  • This supplement might pack a punch, but the pills are actually quite small. The size combined with the smooth coating makes swallowing these pills relatively easy.
  • The inclusion of dietary supplements only encourages your body to produce certain enzymes. This significantly reduces your odds of becoming permanently dependent on them.
  • This formula is fairly potent. The large number of enzymes can quickly break foods down into smaller particles.

CONS


  • Unfortunately, this supplement will put a dent in your wallet. If you take a supplement with each meal, then you're looking at spending nearly $50 for a one-month supply.
  • You might initially experience positive results with this supplement. However, your body might adjust and develop a tolerance to it. In order for you to get the same results, you might have to increase your dosage.
  • If you're not experiencing severe digestive discomfort, then you might react negatively to the strength of this supplement. Instead of alleviating your mild discomfort, you'll end up making the problem worse.

#4- NOW Foods Super Enzymes

This supplement is well-known in the world of health and wellness. It contains a variety of digestive enzymes that break down fats, carbs and proteins.

PROS


  • As we age, our bodies produce lower amounts of hydrochloric acid. This prolongs the process of digestion and can leave you feeling bloated. Super Enzymes gives your body a dose of betaine hydrochloride. This gives you what you need to break down foods in your stomach.
  • You won't need to worry about aggravating your allergies. This formula contains no eggs, dairy or gluten.
  • Super Enzymes can provide you with the enzymes you need to manage your weight.

CONS


  • These pills are a little on the large side, so you might have a bit of difficulty getting them down.
  • These things taste terrible. They have a strong chemical taste that you'll need to mask or chase with juice or food.
  • Unfortunately, this supplement only seems to work with small to medium-sized meals. If you plan on eating a large meal, you may need to take more than the recommended dosage.

#5- Garden of Life Enzymes for Men

This is a supplement that was uniquely formulated for men. It promises to reduce after-meal gas and bloating. It also contains over 20 digestive enzymes that cover the pH spectrum.

PROS


  • The older we get, the more difficult it becomes to digest complex proteins.
    If you've ever experienced difficulty digesting dairy or vegetables, then you understand the problem.
    This supplement includes enzymes that breakdown legumes, grains, dairy and other difficult foods.
  • When you introduce more enzymes to your digestive tract, you need to increase your good bacteria levels. This supplement includes vitamins and minerals that increase the amount of probiotics in your system.
  • Garden Life supplements are made with raw ingredients. This means that they haven't been altered or weakened by heat processing.

CONS


  • This formula contains a large amount of proteases and lipases. These enzymes are responsible for breaking down fats and proteins. As a result, those of you eating plant-based diets might not benefit from them.
  • This product is expensive. One bottle only contains 90 capsules, and you can take up to nine each day. If you take the maximum dosage, then you'll be spending over $30 for a 10-day supply.

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What Are The Health Benefits of Power Naps? http://www.healthambition.com/benefits-of-power-naps/ http://www.healthambition.com/benefits-of-power-naps/#respond Thu, 20 Aug 2015 21:00:52 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=12943 Maybe you’re a hopeless insomniac, or maybe you just want more focus so you can kick butt at your job. Whoever you are, you’re probably here for one reason: you want to get serious about naps.Awesome! And getting more sleep is a great reason to ramp up your napping efforts. But did you know that […]

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Maybe you’re a hopeless insomniac, or maybe you just want more focus so you can kick butt at your job. Whoever you are, you’re probably here for one reason: you want to get serious about naps.

Awesome! And getting more sleep is a great reason to ramp up your napping efforts. But did you know that power napping also yields a bunch of other health benefits? It does. And some of the health benefits can significantly improve your overall health, lifespan, and risk for disease. Check it out.

What is a Power Nap?

A power nap is a short nap (duh) that ends before you enter deep sleep. The idea (and term) for power napping came from a guy named James Maas, who outlined the concept in a work called Miracle Sleep Cure: The Key to a Long Life of Peak Performance.

The purpose of a power nap is to fall asleep and wake up before you enter slow-wave sleep (or SWS), which is where deep sleep occurs.

And that’s the tricky part, because if you slip into deep sleep during your power nap, instead of waking up feeling refreshed, you can wake up feeling even more tired than you were before.

For a quick rundown of how to actually power nap, check out this video:​

How Long Should a Power Naps Last?

Different people recommend different nap times. But, of course, they’re all short. The most common recommendation is a 10-15-minute nap. Some experts recommend naps as short as 6 minutes, while others recommend 20-minute naps.

They all work, more or less, as long as you’re not napping for more than 30 minutes, which is when your brain starts to slip into la-la land.

What Are the Health Benefits?

1. Boost Your Alertness

The main benefit for power napping, of course, is boosting your alertness.

A scientist named Rajiv Dhand outlined the effect of naps on alertness in an article titled "Good sleep, bad sleep! The role of daytime naps in healthy adults" in 2007. The study was rather extensive, but the gist was basically that a nap as short as six minutes long can (1) improve performance and productivite, (2) reduce fatigue and even (3) help you learn.

2. Improve Your Memory

Another study found that "...an ultra-short episode of sleep is sufficient to promote declarative memory performance” (from Journal of Sleep Research, 2008).

We’ve known that sleep improves memory for a long time, really. The breakthrough of this study was the verification of the hypothesis that you can retain those memory-boosting benefits even you sleep for a little while and wake up (a power nap).

3. Reverse the Damage Cause by a Poor Night’s Sleep

We’ve all had restless nights, but not many people know that losing sleep can actually cause damage, which is a big part of why you feel so crappy the day after not getting much sleep.

Specifically, staying awake all night can cause hormonal damage that isn’t corrected until you sleep again. This is where the term “sleep debt” comes from.

However, researchers have found that you don’t need to sleep for a whole night to pay your “sleep debt.” According to a 2015 ScienceAlert study called “Napping May Be Able Reverse the Damage of Sleep Deprivation,” even a short nap can ameliorate most of the negative side effects of sleeplessness.

4. Fight the Effects of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects approximately 42 million adults in the United States alone. And it can really be pretty dangerous; it’s often a precursor to other, more serious health conditions, like heart disease and stroke.

There are a few problems with sleep apnea. First, it often causes extreme fatigue. Second, it occurs whenever the sufferer slips into deep sleep.

Power naps get around both of those problems, since it (1) restores wakefulness and reduces fatigue and (2) ends before deep sleep occurs. In fact, in addition to CPAP and other therapies, doctors often recommend the humble power nap to people with chronic sleep apnea.

Want to give it a try?

Everyone can use a power nap. There are just so many benefits. They can help ameliorate the effects of serious diseases, or they can just help you skyrocket your performance (which is why we see so many progressive companies installing napping stations in their offices.

Below, we've included a relaxing soundtrack for a 20-minute power nap. So, if you want to give it a try, push play and close your eyes.

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Jamie Oliver Adds Sugary Drink Surcharge http://www.healthambition.com/jamie-oliver-adds-sugary-drink-surcharge/ http://www.healthambition.com/jamie-oliver-adds-sugary-drink-surcharge/#respond Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=12822 Forward-thinking food activist & renowned chef Jamie Oliver is making waves once again in the world of healthy eating, thankfully so. With widespread inflammation-related disease & obesity on the rise, it's more important than ever for you to truly own up to your sugar intake.For health-conscious individuals, soda should be a thing of the past. […]

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Replace Diet Soda

Forward-thinking food activist & renowned chef Jamie Oliver is making waves once again in the world of healthy eating, thankfully so. With widespread inflammation-related disease & obesity on the rise, it's more important than ever for you to truly own up to your sugar intake.

For health-conscious individuals, soda should be a thing of the past. But in the case it's not, ​you can plan to be taxed 10 percent (roughly $.17 US Dollars) per drink purchased at Jamie Oliver's restaurants in England.

Jamie plans to pay all taxes collected on these sugary to a children's health initiative charity, Sustain. The goal of this mission is to discourage the sales of these sugar-loaded beverages and hopefully steer individuals to healthier, low-sugar options.

Sugar is the modern-day rampant drug, as people of all ages are using it in excess at the expense of their own health. Many diseases such as cancer thrive on sugar. Thus, you must be more mindful and diligent about cutting back on the sugar if you want wellness in your life.

Starting off with this mission young is a beautiful thing that Jamie is catapulting. If you can get children to be thinking this way earlier on, then you will ​be raising healthier and more well-equipped adults. This is also an excellent transitional period in modern times for individuals to gain more knowledge about healthier drink options such as fresh green juice, unsweetened tea/herbal tea and lemon-infused water. 

With so many hidden inflammation-inducing sugar calories and chemicals in soda, it's important to realize that cutting out this habit can make major strides for you & your family's health. One simple change is all it takes to create a healthy snowball effect in your life.

Praise to Jamie for kickstarting this endeavor & for his efforts to educate the world on this topic. Let's make prevention, not just treatment, the name of the game. Beat disease to the punch and limit the extra sugar in your life.​

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9 Delicious Juice Cleanse Recipes For Your Liver http://www.healthambition.com/juice-cleanse-recipes-for-liver/ http://www.healthambition.com/juice-cleanse-recipes-for-liver/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 15:38:04 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=12681 The juicing movement has gained and retained momentum for several years now, and for good reason. Consuming raw juice from clean sources (organic vegetables & fruits) is one of the quickest ways to ingest a large amount of nutrients at once.As a food group, fruits & vegetables are detoxifying in nature (some more than others). […]

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The juicing movement has gained and retained momentum for several years now, and for good reason. Consuming raw juice from clean sources (organic vegetables & fruits) is one of the quickest ways to ingest a large amount of nutrients at once.

As a food group, fruits & vegetables are detoxifying in nature (some more than others). These plants contain potent detoxifiers that aid your body in flushing out the toxins you're exposed to in day to day life. Keep in mind, so many toxins come from unexpected places, making regular detox a necessity for everyone.

Chemicals and toxins can be found in your skin and body care products, in the air you breathe, in the water you drink and in the food you eat. However, you don't have to be a victim to all of them. Certain daily precautions can be taken to avoid many of them:​

  • ​Buy organic skin care products (including deodorant, shaving cream, toothpaste and facial moisturizer)
  • Invest in organic food when you grocery shop. This will minimize your exposure to pesticides
  • Use an effective water filter at home to lessen the impurities that enter your system
  • Stay away from chemical-filled household cleaners and air fresheners. Pure castille soap, baking soda, white vinegar and essential oils can go a long way in replacing generic, toxic products

The Science Behind It​

For example: beets are one of the most effective detoxifiers that you can readily find in your local market. Beets contain a substance called betaine, a compound that actively helps the liver flush out toxins.

Betaine also defends and protects the components of the liver to insure it's not compromised by malnutrition. This is just one of many substances naturally occurring in vegetables & fruit that are made to help your body flourish.

Here are some other impressive substances that can be found in your produce:

  • Raspberries: contain rheosmin, which increases cell metabolism
  • Pineapple: contains bromelain, a substance that aids recovery and reduces bruising/inflammation
  • Carrot: contains a unique fiber that helps detox bad estrogen
  • Citus fruits (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange): all contain substances called carotenoids, lycopene & flavonoids which are powerful cancer fighters
  • Kale: contains two powerful antioxidants quercetin & kaempferol

Benefits of juicing

These liquid meals also provide your digestive system the chance to take a break, as they are easy for your body to assimilate and absorb. Swapping out a few empty-calorie, heavy meals a day for one of these fresh juices will help you feel like a much better version of yourself.

Juicing boasts these incredible health benefits that make it well worth your while to start a juice habit:

  • Helps you become lighter with a decreased body fat percentage
  • Leaves you energized and ready to take on the day
  • Promotes mental clarity and increased productivity
  • Fights against malnutrition, dehydration and sluggishness
  • Encourages regular digestion & bowel movements
  • Helps your skin prevent blemishes and breakouts
  • Promotes more high quality, restorative sleep
  • Increased athletic performance
  • Aids sexual health and vitality by boosting libido
  • Alkalizes your body's internal pH
  • Fights against disease and illness
  • Keeps your blood sugar stable (make sure to juice mostly vegetables)
  • Helps prevent diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Promotes a healthy weight

​Liver: Your second largest organ

In regards to the anatomy of your body, it's important to note that your liver is the second-largest organ in the body; second only to your skin.​ Its primary job is to purify your blood and detoxify your system.

With the help of a nourishing diet, the liver does its job well. You've just got to provide your body with the tools it needs to thrive.

The Effect of Sugar on Your Body​

Its important to know that not all sugar impacts the body in the same way. Sugar that comes from fruit, fructose, does not cause your blood sugar to spike like refined table sugar does.

That said, it's still important to note that sugar can be overdone. The human body does not require large amounts of sugar to work optimally. The contrary is actually true. Sugar is an indulgence and should be treated that way.

Fruit, along with containing fructose, also contains a plethora of healthy enzymes, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that will fuel your livelihood. Thus, fruit is not something to be eliminated or feared. Just pull in the reigns and make sure you don't go overboard consuming mostly sugar in your diet.

Your body (and liver) will benefit most from a balanced diet that is complete with sources of fat, protein and carbohydrates at every meal. This balanced approach will also insure that your blood sugar doesn't spike more than it should at each meal.

All things considered, these juices are fantastic additions to your health. Just know that to achieve your healthiest self, you should also reach for a good source of protein (nuts, seeds, beans) and fat (hemp, flax, chia seeds) to accompany your juice.​

With infinite flavor possibilities, you're sure to find a juicing combination that you enjoy drinking. Check out this range of juice recipes to liven up your liver!

1.Beet It


When you think of a classic vegetable juice blend, perhaps you imagine tomatoes, celery and cucumber. This take on that quintessential vegetable juice takes it up a notch & packs a cleansing punch.

Beet juice is better thought of as nature's sports drink, as it boasts a large concentration of electrolytes and detoxifying substances. Be advised, a juice this heavy with beets will cause your urine to turn pink or a darker reddish color. This is completely normal is not something to worry about.

The mint in this drink not only amplifies the digestive benefits of the juice, but it takes off the earthy-tasty edge that the beets bring. Mint acts as a soothing and calming force to your digestive tract and can also help defend against nausea.

Hemp oil (like the flax, chia & coconut used in these other recipes)​ serves as a healthy source of fat and allows your body to better absorb the nutrition of the fruits & veggies in the juice.​

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. Chop beets, celery & cucumber into small chunks
  2. Run all ingredients through your juicer
  3. Pour into a tall glass
  4. Serve on ice if preferred
  5. Add sea salt & stir in hemp oil
  6. Drink promptly

2. Zest up Your Life


Lemons are perhaps one of the most effective and inexpensive fruits for detoxifying the liver. Clarifying and cleansing, lemon just packs more than just a zesty citrus punch.

They are low in sugar and high in purifying substances. Creating a juice with a lemon base is a sure-shot way to cater to your liver's health.

Adding turmeric into the mix gives this drink some anti-inflammatory gusto & added detox capability, while the raw honey adds some natural sweetness and takes a bit of the zing away from the lemon's pungent flavor. 

Chia seeds (like the flax, hemp & coconut used in these other recipes)​ serve as a healthy source of fat and allow your body to better absorb the nutrition of the lemon & turmeric in the juice.

Ingredients

  • 3 peeled lemons
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds

Preparation

  1. Put all 3 peeled lemons through the juicer
  2. Stir in honey, turmeric & sea salt
  3. Sprinkle chia seeds on top
  4. Serve on ice for a refreshing summer beverage

​(Serve immediately)

3. Oh My Greens


Greens such as kale, spinach, chard and collards are amongst the most nutritious foods you will find in your local market's produce section. They are, pound for pound, the most nutrient rife vegetables you can readily purchase.

Because of their density, they are jam packed with alkalizing and detoxifying substances that will take your health and the wellness of your liver up several notches.

Because greens do not produce a heavy amount of juice, they are best combined with hydrating, water-dense ingredients like cucumber and watermelon.​

This drink tastes so refreshing and sweet that you'll forget you're pampering your health. It's also kid-friendly (they will love the watermelon flavor) and can serve as a clever way for children to consume their daily amount of hearty greens.

Ingredients

  • 2 large kale leaves
  • 2 large chard leaves
  • 2 large collard green leaves
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 1 handful of diced watermelon
  • 1/4 of a large cucumber
  • 1 Tablespoon room-temperature coconut oil

Preparation

  1. Run kale, chard, collard greens, baby spinach, watermelon & cucumber through the juicer
  2. Pour into tall glass
  3. Add coconut oil
  4. Stir all ingredients together
  5. Drink immediately

4. Orange you Red


This motley crew of vegetables and fruit works well together because the ingredients balance each other out, flavor-wise. Radishes are a powerful addition to this juice, as they require more of your body's energy to digest than they cost you to eat.

Oranges pack a powerful punch of vitamin C & help prevent kidney stones, while carrots contain detoxifying properties that allow your body to ease digestion and prevent constipation. This pairing also lightens up and sweetens the taste of the radishes and tomatoes.​

​The hemp oil, which has a balanced profile of omega 3-6-9s, helps your body assimilate and absorb the healing vitamins and minerals more readily and makes the drink more satisfying & filling.

Ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 4 small radishes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 tablespoon hemp oil

Preparation

  1. Chop veggies as needed & run the tomatoes, radishes, carrots and orange through the juicer
  2. Pour into a glass
  3. Stir in hemp oil
  4. Pour over ice and serve chilled

5. Phyto Summer Punch


This tall glass of summer is sure to please even the most discerning, vegetable-resistant palate. The sweetness of the pineapple, mango and papaya lay down a delectable foundation for the nutrient-rife dose of kale.

Pineapple is more than just a sweet fruit, as it is rich with bromelain, an enzyme that helps minimize bruising in the body.​ It can also be an effective way to enhance fertility in men & women alike.

Mango provides the body with a large amount of tartaric acid, a substance that will help your internal pH stay alkaline & able to fight disease. This fruit has also been found to boost immune function.

More than just a spicy flavor kick, cayenne pepper is an excellent addition to any juice. Cayenne promotes blood circulation which enhances detoxification. It's also been found to actively boost metabolic function in cells and expedite weight loss.

Chia seeds provide you with some fiber, healthy fats & plant-based protein.​

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh pineapple
  • 1 pitted mango
  • 1 papaya
  • 2 big handfuls of kale
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Preparation

  1. Run pineapple, mango, papaya & kale through the juicer
  2. Pour into tall glass
  3. Stir in cayenne pepper
  4. Pour over ice
  5. Top with chia seeds

​(Serve immediately)

6. Ginger Zing


Ginger is renowned for its ability to soothe digestion, relieve menstrual discomfort in women & increase blood flow throughout the body. This increased blood circulation naturally helps encourage liver detoxification and prevents constipation.

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is a phrase we've all heard before. But, why? Apples contain an impressive  spread of vitamins & minerals and do not cause a significant blood sugar spike. They also pair up well with any vegetable, making them perfect for juicing.

​The high water content of celery helps promote liver detoxification, while the carrot packs a mighty punch of cancer-fighting compounds. This drink also serves as a soothing digestive aid.

Turmeric works its way into this recipe because of its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Swap out your daily pain meds (for nuisances like headaches & minor pains) for all-natural turmeric. You may notice a difference!​

Hemp oil (like the flax, chia & coconut used in these other recipes)​ serves as a healthy source of fat and allows your body to better absorb the nutrition of the fruits & veggies (especially the turmeric) in the juice.

Ingredients

  • 2 large, cored green apples
  • 2 medium pieces of ginger
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • Pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon of hemp oil

Preparation

  1. Feed apple, ginger, carrot & celery through the juicer
  2. Pour juice into glass & stir in turmeric & hemp oil
  3. Serve over ice

​(Serve immediately)

7. Sublime Lime


This drink is not only wildly detoxifying for your liver, but it is the ideal drink for post-workout replenishment. The beet, lime, cherry and mint flavors marry together in a beautiful way to provide your system with a boost of energy and vitality.

Pink himalayan sea salt is chock full of naturally occurring vitamins, mineral and electrolytes which have an alkalizing and detoxifying effect on the body.

Beets, as the aforementioned recipe alludes to as nature's gatorade, provide a rich, earthy flavor and a robust phytonutrient content that prevents energy crashes. Beet juice by itself is a pungent flavor, made more palatable when you accompany it with these other naturally sweet ingredients.

Limes are similar to lemons in that they provide a zesty dose of detoxifying, alkalizing and tart goodness to any juice. They also liven up the flavor instantly.

Cherries make their way into this recipe because of how they are touted by endurance athletes for their ability to help minimize recovery time. Tart cherry juice is consumed by elite athletes post-performance to help reduce cramping, dehydration & swelling.​

Flax oil will provide you with some healthy fats & will enhance your body's absorption of the vitamins & minerals you're taking in.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium beet
  • 3 large, peeled limes
  • 1 handful pitted cherries
  • Small handful fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed oil

Preparation

  1. Put beet, limes, cherries & mint into the juicer
  2. Pour into a tall glass
  3. Stir in your sea salt & flax oil
  4. Serve over ice to make this drink its most refreshing

​(Serve immediately)

8. Peachy Keen


Who doesn't love biting into a fresh peach during the middle of the summer? That rich, juicey, sweet flavor is one that you should savor. All you have to do is add a few other liver-loving ingredients to make this drink a detoxifying powerhouse.

Raspberries naturally encourage weight loss through detoxification (known as raspberry ketones)​ and add a sweet kick.

Lemons are a detoxing champion. They are alkaline-forming in the body, serve as a potent liver-detoxifier and will even leave you with a clearer, more vibrant complexion.

​Cucumber is one of a few vegetables with a high water content, making this juice extra-hydrating. Since water is the prime vehicle for detoxification in the body, this is very helpful for liver detox.

The mint in this juice brings some flavor to the party as well as some soothing benefits for your digestive tract.

Coconut oil (like the flax, chia & hemp used in these other recipes)​ serves as a healthy source of fat and allows your body to better absorb the nutrition of the fruits & veggies in the juice.

Ingredients

  • 3 large, pitted peaches
  • 1 handful of raspberries
  • 1 peeled lemon
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 handful of fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon room-temperature coconut oil

Preparation

  1. Run peaches, raspberries, lemon, cucumber and mint through juicer
  2. Pour into a tall glass
  3. Stir in coconut oil
  4. Enjoy!

​(Serve immediately)

9. Berry Bliss


Berries are a fruit not to be overlooked or forgotten about because of their insanely high content of antioxidants. Antioxidants in your diet means more optimal functioning at the cellular level. Better functioning at the cellular level means more efficient detox. You get the idea, right? It's all connected!

Keep in mind, you can use whichever berries you enjoy most (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries). Using a variety of them will insure that you're getting the widest range of nutrients possible.

Without greens, this drink would be a bit fruit-heavy. That's where the kale & spinach come in. These two nutrient-dense leafy greens boast an endless list of health benefits, not the least of which is their ability to facilitate liver detox. They are both very low in carbs and high in cancer-fighting properties.

Flax oil (like the coconut, chia & hemp used in these other recipes)​ serves as a healthy source of fat and allows your body to better absorb the nutrition of the fruits & veggies in the juice.​

Ingredients

  • 5 large strawberries
  • 1 handful of blackberries
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 1 handful of baby kale
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed oil

Preparation

  1. Run all berries & greens through the juicer
  2. Pour into glass & stir in flax seed oil
  3. Serve over ice if preferred.

​(Serve immediately)

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What are the best probiotic supplements for IBS? http://www.healthambition.com/best-probiotics-for-ibs/ http://www.healthambition.com/best-probiotics-for-ibs/#respond Thu, 23 Jul 2015 06:00:00 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=12731 Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and similar gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are more common than you might think. However, it is not entirely clear what causes the symptoms. As such, researchers have held an interest in studying normal bacteria in the intestines. Quick facts at a glance: Over 1,000 kinds of bacteria live in the GI tract. […]

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and similar gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are more common than you might think.

However, it is not entirely clear what causes the symptoms. As such, researchers have held an interest in studying normal bacteria in the intestines.

Quick facts at a glance:

  • Over 1,000 kinds of bacteria live in the GI tract. There are plenty of body cells, but there are ten bacteria cells for each one.
  • Most of the bacteria in the intestine are unknown and do not have traditional means of identification.
  • Some of the bacteria in the intestine are important to ensuring our intestines and GI tract act normally; some are also beneficial to our overall health. Other types, however, can cause inflammation, infection or just a general feeling of illness.

What is currently known about intestinal bacteria in irritable bowel syndrome?

Research shows that bacterial communities in IBS patients are different than those without the condition.

However, it is not well defined what "normal" should be. It's not known whether the intestinal microbiota have changed due to intestinal problems or if they cause the condition.

Can changing microbiota affect symptoms?

Evidence shows that bacteria composition in the bowels plays a part in how the intestinal tract develops and functions. It seems that changing the balance of good versus bad bacteria can lead to an improvement of the effects of chronic GI symptoms. The reverse is also true.

For instance, infection in the GI tract (acute gastroenteritis) may lead to chronic IBS symptoms that continue even after recovering from the sickness that prompted the symptoms in the first place. This is a condition known as post-infectious IBS.

What are probiotics?

The word probiotic refers to live microorganisms that provide positive health benefits when given in sufficient amounts; in addition to this, they offer beneficial nutritional value.

As such, they're considered to be food supplements that can be found either in food products or prepared as powders, pills or capsules for over the counter use.

Can probiotics help with a GI disorder like IBS?

For many years, the beneficial effects that probiotics offer have been well known, but the information available on its effects are still not well known. Early studies were not well done. It's only recently that researchers have worked on getting better data.

Such studies have suggested that taking certain probiotics daily can improve intestinal function and reduce symptoms like bloating and general abdominal discomfort.

What are the best probiotic supplements for IBS?

Not all probiotics are the same, and not all supplements will benefit everyone in the same way. Depending on other conditions you have, some could even prove to be dangerous; because of this, you should always speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.

Though they're rather low-risk, it is possible to develop side effects. This might include additional gas and bloating, looser stools and genital itching.

Regardless of the supplement you take, you should not expect it to work overnight.

Have a doctor observe your symptoms over several weeks; if you don't feel better, or if you are feeling worse, stop immediately and discuss a new plan with your physician.

There's no reason to continue a treatment that is not working; fortunately, there are other probiotics that your body may react better too.

Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consider probiotics to be safe supplements, they do not require approval prior to marketing.

While this doesn't necessarily mean you'll run into bad products, it does mean that strong claims about its effects are necessarily true. It is up to the consumer to research studies on each of the products prior to taking them.

Because it is hard for consumer to decide what is true and what is marketing, we have decided to put together a list of the 5 best probiotic supplements for irritable bowel syndrome:

Lactobacillus Plantarum 299v

This rather useful subspecies of bacteria was first isolated in 1986 by a scientist in Lund Sweden working with healthy human colon tissue.

Of all the probiotics on this list, this one has had the most trials -- four in total -- with the best end results. However, there was a study that showed minimal effect in its patients.

The Swedish company Probi AB holds the rights to the subspecies, and the French Rosell-Lallemand Institute helped support the most recent study on the probiotic.

For this study, there were 200 patients from India suffering from GI issues. Half of the group was given the supplement over a period of four weeks, and these patients saw an improvement in their abdominal pain, frequency of stools and a reduction in bloating.

Most patients felt improvements rather than the fraction of the half that had the placebo.

Though it's hard to find products from Probi AB without living in Scandinavian countries, it is possible to purchase L. Plantarum 299v on Amazon in the form of a supplement from Jarrow Formulas.

Bifidobacterium bifidum MIMBb75

Initially isolated from a sample of healthy human feces, B. bifidum MIMBb75 is now a part of the Italian University Milan -- specifically its Industrial Microbiology Culture Collection. Only one clinical study met the criteria for this supplement, but it was able to take its place on this list thanks to rather robust results.

There were 120 patients who participated in the treatment trial study over a period of four weeks. There were scores for IBS that were determined based on several symptoms of the illness, and they were significantly lower in the group that had taken the supplement compared to the low rate of success for those in the placebo group.

In general, there was an improvement in 57 percent of probiotic patients compared to the 21 percent who felt improvements from the placebo group.

The most improved symptoms included distension and bloating, the sense of urgency as well as pain and discomfort. The study was funded by the German company Naturwohl Pharma.

While there are not yet any commercial products that exclusively rely on this strain of probiotic in their ingredients, you can still take advantage of the benefits of the genus as a whole with Bifidus Balance by Jarrow Formulas.

Bifidobacterium infantis 35624

In Ireland, this bacterial strain was first removed from a sample of healthy human intestines. Back in 2006, there was a study monitoring the effects of 362 patients taking various doses of this supplement to help improve IBS symptoms in suffering women.

Taking the right dose was found to have a great decrease in discomfort and pain in the abdomen, as well as bloating, gas, straining, insufficient evacuation and general satisfaction.

It also seemed that those who were suffering from diarrhea-related IBS saw greater improvements than those with constipated-related IBS.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer's website shows negative results from an unpublished study, which is why this strain was lowered to the center rank on the list. It is possible to purchase this supplement from the manufacturer Align.

LAB4

This is a probiotic made up of multiple strains: Bifidobacterium bifidum CUL20, Bifidobacterium lactis CUL34, CUL21 and Lactobacillus acidphilus CUL60. Cultech Ltd of Wales developed the mixture, and you can purchase it from Pharmex.

An eight-week study in 2009 showed improvements in patients taking the supplement compared to those who were taking the placebo. There were significant improvements in both satisfaction of bowel movements and with general pain.

By eight weeks, quality of life was also much higher in patients taking the supplement. However, there are no other studies, and the results are not well analyzed.

LGG MAX and VSL#3

There are two probiotics equally deserving of the final position on this list. They are both comprised of multiple strains; LGG MAX from Valio Ltd has four strains, and VSL#3 has eight.

Both of these supplements have undergone multiple tests, with each one having three separate trials on their own.

The reason these rank lower than the rest, however, is for the fact that their effects seem limited.

VSL#3 produces fine results, but it seems only to target gas and bloating, which doesn't help with bowel movements or pain.

LGG MAX can lower the global IBS score but cannot fix individual symptoms like cramps, gas and bloating feeling.

They may be effective, but they're not particularly robust. You can purchase VSL #3 as a medical food, and LGG MAX does not yet seem to be commercially available.

Conclusion

Although probiotics can be helpful for your symptoms, these supplements should not be confused as drugs that have been approved by the FDA.

Because of this, it is wise not to raise your expectations. Even in the trials described, not every patient taking the supplement responded to the treatment; most only saw a few symptoms disappear rather than all of them.

It's possible that future medical advancements to improve the market, but it is necessary to have additional research and trials first.

Bonus Graphic: What Causes IBS?

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10 Natural Remedies For Relieving Muscle Pain http://www.healthambition.com/10-natural-remedies-for-relieving-muscle-pain/ http://www.healthambition.com/10-natural-remedies-for-relieving-muscle-pain/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:02:43 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=12649 Introduction Muscle pain may occur because of stress, dehydration, fatigue and an injury into the muscles. The other problems that can be linked to be the cause of muscle cramping include reduced blood flow, taking some medications and lack of minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium. A sprain to the muscles is an injury to […]

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Introduction

Muscle pain may occur because of stress, dehydration, fatigue and an injury into the muscles. The other problems that can be linked to be the cause of muscle cramping include reduced blood flow, taking some medications and lack of minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium. A sprain to the muscles is an injury to the tissue that connects two or more bones at the joints and this is called a ligament.

A muscle strain is an injury that occurs to the tendon or muscles. A tendon is the tissue that connects the muscles to the bones. The following home remedies can be used to reduce the pain associated with muscle cramps but it is advisable to see the doctor when the pain persists:

1. Epsom salts

Epsom salts work wonders when it comes to reducing muscle aches and cramps. It is advisable to use warm water and one should never use hot water because warm water will dry the skin less. One cup of Epsom salts is then added to the water and depending with the severity, two cups can also be used.

One should then soak in the water until it has cooled and this can be done three times every week. It is important to note that this remedy is not recommended for those who have high blood pressure, diabetes or any other heart disease.

2. Cold or heat

Taking a warm bath or shower helps to relax the muscles. This is because the heat in the water is a relaxing agent. When there is inflammation or bruising, an ice pack can be applied on the affected area for 20 minutes. The ice pack should not be applied directly because it can cause more harm but it should be wrapped in a piece of cloth. This helps to reduce the soreness and swelling on the injured area.

3. Oral magnesium

When then level of magnesium is low in the body, it can cause muscle aches and pains. One can take magnesium supplement but the general rule is to start by taking foods that are rich in magnesium. Some foods that will provide the body with magnesium include pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, black beans, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, cocoa powder, Swiss chard and spinach.

4. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is considered to be very good for treating muscle aches and pains. One table spoon or two of apple cider vinegar can be mixed in a glass of water and then drunk. Some people prefer taking apple cider vinegar as a shot without mixing it with water. There are also some who prefer to rub apple cider vinegar directly on the affected part of the body.

Check our article on the health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar!

5. Black strap molasses

Black strap molasses contain a content of magnesium and this is known to help to reduce muscle pains naturally. One table spoon of Black strap molasses can be used every morning by mixing it with a cup of coffee.

6. Coconut oil

Coconut is recommended for the treatment of many illnesses in the body to include muscle aches and pains. There are people who use 2 to 3 table spoons of coconut oil when cooking while some use it like butter to apply it on foods. Coconut oil fudge is also one way in which one can take coconut oil because it is one of its ingredients.

7. Essential oils

There are many blends of essential oils that can be used for the treatment of muscle aches and pains. The blends that are recommended for muscle cramps include marjoram, peppermint mixed with lemongrass, and deep blue. The blends that are recommended for muscle spasm include roman chamomile, basil, deep blue and marjoram.

The people who have muscle tension are encouraged to try using blends like lavender, pepper mint, roman chamomile, marjoram, helichrysum, and deep blue. One or two drops of each blend of oil are mixed to the carrier and this can be olive oil or coconut and then this are applied to the affected area.

8. Movement

The people who have sore muscles because of sitting for long or assuming one position for long are encouraged to move. The muscles can get awfully stiff when one position is assumed for a long time. The muscles tend to assume one position unless they are forced to change.

When one is tensed up, the muscles will also remain tensed up and they may become painful. Moving around, walking, standing up, stretching every now and then will help to reduce muscle tension and stiffness. This will also help one to be active with increased age.

Even the smallest movement can make you stronger

9. Massaging the area

Massaging helps to improve circulation of blood on an area and this helps to speed up the healing process. Massage can be done using essential oils and this will ensure that one gets the maximum benefits.

10. Rest

When one overworks, tension is likely to build in the muscles and they may become painful. It is important to balance rest and activity to help the body to function well. When the pain is excess, one is advised to rest for a few days to allow the body to recover.

Conclusion

Muscle cramping and pain is caused by stress, excessive fatigue, problems with blood flow, dehydration and lack of minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium. There are several home remedies that can be used for treatment of muscle pains and aches. These treatments include heat or cold, Epsom salts, Black strap molasses, apple cider vinegar, oral magnesium, essential oils, coconut oil, massaging the area and balance of rest and activity.

Video: Home Remedies To Relieve Muscle Pain

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3 Good Reasons Why You Should Avoid Raw Food Diet http://www.healthambition.com/3-good-reasons-why-you-should-avoid-raw-food-diet/ http://www.healthambition.com/3-good-reasons-why-you-should-avoid-raw-food-diet/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 14:17:29 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=12635 There is nothing wrong with improving your diet to lose weight or to try and make yourself healthier. The real issue is the information you have on the diet you want to try. True enough, many people simply search about "healthy diet" and they try the first one that seems easy enough. But not every […]

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There is nothing wrong with improving your diet to lose weight or to try and make yourself healthier. The real issue is the information you have on the diet you want to try. True enough, many people simply search about "healthy diet" and they try the first one that seems easy enough. But not every diet works for everyone and a raw food diet is one of them.

Most patients undergoing treatments and other medical services are switching from raw food diets to cooked foods. Although there have been campaigns suggesting that food is best taken in its natural unprepared state when all the enzymes are intact, you should avoid raw foods if you suffer from allergies or have a weak digestive system.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that raw foods are cold in nature and may require extra energy from your body to digest. Continuous use of raw foods can weaken your digestive system and cause problems like bloating and poor absorption of minerals. Here are the three main reasons why you should avoid raw food in your diet:

Read our article on how to motivate yourself to lose weight

1. Raw Foods Affect Metabolism

Although consumption of raw foods, such as fruits and vegetables, has been associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, there is mounting evidence that relying heavily on uncooked food can come with adverse effects in metabolic function.

Uncooked foods are hard to digest and require more energy to break down. This means that if you have a slow metabolism and rely on raw foods, you might end up eating a lot but only little goes to use. This leads to an accumulation of metabolic wastes which can compromise your health and pose you at a higher risk of illnesses.

In reference to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, consumption of a raw food diet is directly associated with high loss of body weight. However, many dieters in the study exhibited underweight and amenorrhea. This indicates that a very strict raw food diet cannot be recommendable for long-term use.

2. Body Response to Raw Foods

There have been reports that raw foods elicit a minimal response from the immune system when a person consumes them. On the other hand, consumption of cooked foods increases levels of white blood cells, indicating a mild stress response in your body.

Metabolically speaking, raw food is costly to eat and digest. You, not only need a lot of energy to chew, but your body is compelled to do more to break down whatever you consume.

Raw foods don’t give much energy to your body, which can be helpful in weight loss. Nevertheless, in times of scarcity, getting less energy from raw foods while expending more energy to eat and digest doesn’t sound adorable at all.

3. Raw Foods Trigger Hormonal Imbalances

Most raw foods contain compounds that block certain functions in the body, including thyroid function, leading to goiter or hypothyroidism. If you have an already weakened thyroid function, or you are prone to thyroid disorders, such compounds that block thyroid function will have adverse effects on your body’s ability to maintain hormonal balances.

Hormones have far-reaching effects in your body, and deficiencies or imbalances can wreak havoc on your wellbeing. These effects are dependent on the severity of your deficiency, and the particular hormones being under-produced. Heat deactivates the blocking effects of compounds found in raw food. It is thus advisable to cook your vegetables before eating them.

Why Cooking Food is Important

  • Improves digestibility: cooking food enhances digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Cooking weakens the connective tissues in fibrous plans, grains, or meats allowing food to be digested more effectively. In addition, it deactivates anti-nutritional factors like protease inhibitors as well as other toxic compounds.
  • Enhances metabolism: cooked foods are easier to digest, absorb and metabolize. This has positive effects on net energy in your body. It has been shown that people on vegetarian diets have higher reproductive performance when they consume foods that have been cooked. Recent studies indicate that the body absorbs more of the beneficial anti-cancer compounds (carotenoids and phytochemicals) from cooked vegetables than raw. Scientists believe that cooking destroys the cell matrix to which useful compounds are bound.
  • Kills pathogens: cooking helps kill food-borne bacteria. It saves your energy which could have been used by your body’s immune system in the fight against pathogens. However, although cooking kills pathogens, the possibility of bacterial growth increases after cooking because of the drop in temperatures. For your food safety, always keep cooked food warmed to the right temperature.

Conclusion

While most people think that cooking alters the nutritional value of food, consumption of raw foods can have adverse and long-term effects on your health. Raw food requires more energy to digest, absorb and metabolize. If you rely on raw foods for an extended duration, they can lead to hormonal deficiencies or weaken your digestion, metabolism and immune response.

Cooking spares energy reserves in your body and also helps to improve digestibility, absorption and metabolism. Though raw foods have higher nutritional values, cooking using moderate heat can make the nutrients readily available for use by your body.

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3 Easy TMJ Exercises To Get Quick Relief From Pain http://www.healthambition.com/3-easy-tmj-exercises-to-get-quick-relief-from-pain/ http://www.healthambition.com/3-easy-tmj-exercises-to-get-quick-relief-from-pain/#respond Tue, 14 Jul 2015 06:11:23 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=12615 TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. This is a condition that can make opening and closing the mouth painful. It’s a discomforting disorder that can afflict both the joint and any muscles around it. Typically, you’ll experience pain in your jaw, but you’ll also have issues with general movement. Understanding TMJ The temporomandibular joints are […]

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TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. This is a condition that can make opening and closing the mouth painful. It’s a discomforting disorder that can afflict both the joint and any muscles around it. Typically, you’ll experience pain in your jaw, but you’ll also have issues with general movement.

Understanding TMJ

The temporomandibular joints are found at the front of your ears. They essentially attach your lower jaw to the rest of your head. They’re what allow you to control your mouth.

If you have TMJ, you will feel pain, but there are other symptoms associated with it, including:

  • Tinnitus
  • Popping noises when moving your mouth
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • General pain around your face

Sadly, there are no medications that can alleviate this condition. A pharmaceutical doctor can only offer you pain relief. Without an appropriate solution to the problem, this will get worse over time.

Thankfully, regular exercising of the jaw will help to preserve the muscles and relieve pain.

How Do TMJ Relief Exercises Help?

Proper TMJ treatment will increase the amount of blood flowing through to the joints. Your blood carries oxygen and other nutrients. When it comes to rejuvenation of the muscle, the more blood flow you have, the quicker it can repair itself.

Regular TMJ exercises will relieve many of the symptoms associated with TMJ, thus increasing your quality of life and making this debilitating condition easier to live with.

So what are the best TMJ exercises?

In this section, we’re going to discuss a few of the steps you need to take to get the full benefits.

1. The Chin Tuck

The chin tuck is perfect for reducing the amount of chronic pain an individual has to deal with. This will correct improper head placement as a result of poor posture. First, find a mirror.

Let your arms rest at your sides. Make sure your back is straight. Begin by moving your chin forward without bending your head. Use your fingers to move your chin back into place. If anything other than your chin and neck are moving, try again.

You shouldn’t feel any pain during this exercise.

2. Jaw Deviation

Jaw deviation is one of the TMJ relief exercises designed to relax your jaw and preserve the muscles.

Slowly open and close your mouth. Concentrate on the part of your jaw that tends to try to deviate from the correct path. Focus on the area by not opening both sides of your mouth at the same time. Again, this is easier to do with a mirror.

3. Jaw Thrust

Your jaw should be relaxed for this exercise. A daily jaw thrust will replenish the overall function of the muscles.

Push your jaw forward as slowly as you can. Your upper set of teeth should separate from your lower teeth. Move your lower teeth as far forward as you can, but make sure you don’t cause any straining. Once you have reached a comfortable limit, hold the post for a few seconds and repeat.

Conclusion

There is one advice for patient to use these basic exercises. It doesn’t have to take more than 10 minutes per day. As long as you have a mirror with you, you can perform these exercises on the way to work, during lunch, or in front of the television.

It should only take a matter of days before you start noticing a difference in your pain levels. Remember, if you feel any pain whilst trying any of these exercises, stop and consult your physician immediately.

Read more on our oral health articles

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