What Are Prebiotics?

Garlic is a prebiotic rich food.

Probiotics have long been hailed as the ultimate support for the immune and digestive systems, and there is no doubt of their ability to promote and maintain a healthy gut. However, despite their fame, a little-known truth is that probiotics would be of little effect without their less-celebrated partner: prebiotics, or prebiotic fiber to be exact. Here we’ll discuss what is prebiotic fiber, how it helps probiotics, and why you need to include it as part of your diet.

What Is a Prebiotic Fiber?

Although the term “prebiotic” is fairly new (coined in 1995), prebiotics themselves are nothing new.[1] Prebiotics are an indigestible form of fiber found in some (but not all) fruits, vegetables, and starches. They act as a food source for the friendly bacteria in the gut. It is important to note that though every prebiotic is a fiber, not every fiber is a prebiotic. To be considered “prebiotic” in nature, a fiber must meet the following criteria:[2]

  • Resists digestion and absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract
  • Is fermented by the intestinal microflora
  • Selectively stimulates the growth or activity of friendly intestinal bacteria

You Can’t Have Probiotics Without Prebiotics

Prebiotics and probiotics have a symbiotic relationship. Prebiotic fiber is the main food source of probiotics, and probiotics cannot thrive without it. Ingesting a probiotic supplement or food with prebiotic fiber places the indigestible prebiotics in the gut where probiotics consume them. This helps those beneficial bacteria populate your gut microbiome.[3] Conversely, if a probiotic is consumed without prebiotic fiber, it’s less likely to flourish.

The Health Benefits of Prebiotics

Though the scientific understanding of prebiotics is relatively young, promising discoveries have surfaced about their health benefits. The following is just a small sampling of the findings from research into the health benefits of prebiotics.

Encourages Gut Health and Diversity

Per a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, prebiotics and probiotics support gut health diversity and digestive health.[4] This is just one of many studies to show that prebiotic fiber is integral for a healthy, balanced gut.[5]

Promotes Bone Health

Studies, including those published in The British Journal of Nutrition, show that prebiotic fiber improves absorption of all minerals in the body, including bone-healthy magnesium and calcium.[5, 6]

Supports Cardiovascular Health

Prebiotics have a beneficial effect on lipid metabolism, and they can help ease systemic redness to support normal cardiovascular health.[5, 7]

Helps Control Appetite and Weight Management

Studies published in the British Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that prebiotics can help with appetite control by increasing satiety hormones, making you feel less hungry.[8, 9]

Regulates Insulin Sensitivity

A study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed consumption of 15-30 grams of resistant starch (a type of prebiotic fiber) a day reduced insulin resistance in obese and overweight men.[10]

Sharpens Brain Function

According to Trends in Neuroscience, prebiotics are considered a form of “psychobiotic,” which exert beneficial effects on gut bacteria and positively impact the gut-brain-axis.[11]

Brightens Mental and Emotional Health

In addition to their psychobiotic mental health benefits, the results of human and animal studies found that prebiotic fibers support normal mental and emotional health and stress response.[12]

Promotes Restful Sleep

As reported by researchers from the University of Colorado, regular consumption of prebiotics can help boost the amount of REM and non-REM sleep in animals after a stressful event.[12, 13]

What Are the Different Types of Prebiotics?

Prebiotics exist in both food and supplement form. Common examples of prebiotic fiber you will find in supplements and food include:

  • Acai gum
  • Inulin
  • Lactulose
  • Lafinose
  • Oligosaccharides (the best-known prebiotics) including:
    • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
    • Oligofructose (OF)
    • Galactooligosaccharides (GOS)
    • Transgalactooligosaccharides (TOS)
  • Polydextrose
  • Psyllium
  • Resistant starch (RS)
  • Wheat dextrin

While there’s debate over which prebiotics are the most effective, it is clear that ingesting any prebiotics with probiotics or cultured foods is beneficial.

What Is a Prebiotic Supplement?

Prehistoric hunter-gatherers ingested many prebiotic-containing foods, such as desert plants.[2] If you, however, have not carried on that tradition and you don’t ingest enough prebiotic-rich foods in your diet, supplementation can fill the gaps.

Prebiotics are available as stand-alone supplements or combined with a probiotic formula to enhance its effectiveness. This is the case with FloraTrex™, which contains 23 strains of probiotics and prebiotics in one formula.

Depending upon your goals, you may wish to take a combination product or a pure prebiotic. Keep in mind that a probiotic must be taken with a prebiotic (either as a supplement or food) to be effective, but a prebiotic can provide stand-alone health benefits.

The Best Prebiotic Foods That Everyone Should Eat

Since prebiotics are relatively “new” on the health and science scene, there is some debate over which foods qualify as “prebiotic foods” and which don’t. Some health care professionals and scientists believe that any fiber-containing food could have prebiotic benefits. That may be true, but, for now, we’ll focus on the “official” best prebiotic foods.[14, 15]

  • Asparagus—consumed in its whole, fibrous state.
  • Bananas—offer a good serving of resistant starch when consumed slightly unripe.
  • Chicory root—rich in inulin and a popular choice among probiotic manufacturers, chicory root also doubles as a delicious coffee substitute.
  • Garlic—excellent for supporting the immune system and gut health.
  • Jerusalem artichoke—also known as “sunchokes,” these potato-like tubers have a delicate flavor and are brimming with prebiotic fiber.
  • Leeks—are prized for their health properties and prebiotic value.
  • Onions—another immune system and gut-health champion.
  • Potato starch—if you’ve ever wondered why potato starch is prevalent in natural food stores, it is partly because of its value as a resistant starch.
  • Soybeans—though I generally recommend avoiding soy products, whole soybeans are a good source of prebiotic fiber. If you do eat soy, consume it sparingly and look for organic, non-GMO, fermented soy products like tempeh and miso.
  • Whole grain corn—look for organic, non-GMO, sprouted corn products.
  • Whole grains—such as oats.

It is worth noting that prebiotics are also abundant in breast milk and help babies build good gut bacteria, a benefit that’s thought to help protect infants from infections.[16]

How Many Prebiotic Foods Should You Consume Daily?

Your natural health care professional can help you determine the best diet plan based on your current state of health and your goals. But, based on my experience and the current research, I recommend consuming at least one or two prebiotic-rich foods a day to help maintain good gut health. This is in addition to a diet that’s already rich in fruits and vegetables—which may offer additional prebiotic benefits.
An easy approach is to eat soups with onions and garlic, substitute Jerusalem artichokes for potatoes, and blend bananas or resistant starch (like potato starch) into your smoothies.

And, don’t forget to make sure that your probiotic supplement contains prebiotic fiber.

Prebiotics: The Bottom Line

To recap, prebiotics are the primary food source for probiotics and are just as important as probiotics (if not more so). Probiotics cannot flourish in your gut without prebiotics. Prebiotic supplements may be taken as stand-alone products, or combined with a probiotic like FloraTrex™. Your diet should also include prebiotic foods.

Are prebiotics on your radar? What insight can you provide? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.

The post What Are Prebiotics? appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.

Source: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/what-are-prebiotics-and-why-do-you-need-them/


Best Budget Natural Skincare Buys Under $15

There are so many super fantastic natural skincare products on the market these days. Since I started blogging on green beauty 6 years ago (!!) I have seen – dare I say even tried – pretty much everything that has come to market. Budget Natural Skincare.

But here’s the reality, not everyone is a green beauty blogger and gets an unlimited supply of skincare. So today’s post is about natural skincare on a budget – a $15 USD max budget. I’ve been a student before and know the struggle is real. The struggle to find clean, gentle ingredients that are effective and affordable.

Also, there are a lot of green-beauties-to-be searching for a natural switch in their skincare regime but wanting to do the initial swap over, on a budget – it can be overwhelming trying to replace everything at once (my advice is go a product at a time).

For this reason I’ve collaborated with iHerb to put together my curated list of best budget natural skincare buys for your face – each item under $15 USD (and sometimes, a lot less).

Here are my favourite budget natural skincare buys.

Cleanser: Now Foods Moroccan Red Clay – $5

Containing only one ingredient: Moroccan Red Clay (aka Illite, a natural mineral silicate) which can be used as a super gentle facial cleanser. Just pour a little in the palm of your hand, mix with water and cleanse away!

Eye Makeup Remover: Coconut Oil Extra Virgin by Garden of Life $7

Super wonderful makeup remover, is coconut oil. It gently removes even the toughest mascaras, and can be washed off gently with a wash cloth and cotton pads. Use warm water to help remove the makeup and oil residue, then cleanse.

Hydrosol: Heritage Products Rosewater Rose Petals – $7

One of my “cult faves” for years (as seen here and here) is this beautiful and affordable hydrosol made with rose petals. I still use this one on the daily if I’m not testing other products. It’s tried, true and while the marketing and packaging are simple, the product is magic.

Natural Vaseline Alternative: Sierra Bees, Argan Balm with Cocoa & Shea Butter – $2

The dangers or petroleum jelly and vaseline are no secret – but I get that you miss how smooth and seemingly moisturizing it feels. Grab this affordable plant based alternative instead and actually nourish your dry patches instead of concealing them.  The perfect blend of extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, argan oil and shea butter.

For Dry Skin and Mild Eczema: Sierra Bees, Calendula, Soothing Skin Cream – $3.50

This soothing skin cream can be used on the dryer types for hydration and be used anywhere on the body to help sooth dry and cracked skin (especially important as we move into the winter months). Calendula is hugely healing for everything from acne to insect bites, Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and other skin problems. This is a cream, so not for treatment on open wounds.

Facial Oil for Dry & Mature Skin: Aura Cacia Rosehip Essentials  Deep Rosehip Essentials Facial Oil Serum – $14

Facial oils are all the rage (as they should be). I’ve loved them for a long time, but recognize there aren’t a tonne of quality, affordable options on the market. Aura Cacia is doing a great job of blending wonderful organic healing oils with a more affordable base in order to deliver the benefits to your skin with a fraction of the cost – budget natural skincare. Check out Rose hip for dry or maturing skin, or dealing with hyper-pigmentation.

Facial Oil for Combination Skin: Aura Cacia, Soothing Tamanu Essentials Facial Oil Serum, Lavender & Tea Tree – $14

As per the above, Aura Cacia also created the soothing oil which is better for oily or acne prone skin. Don’t like your acne scare you off from oils. While it can see counterintuitive, the right oils can actually be super healing for the skin. This is wonderful budget natural skincare product.

For Healing Fresh Acne Scars and Spots Sierra Bees, Bumpy Road Salve – $2.50

For those tricky scar spots and anything else you’ve hurt along the way, this salve is a nice healing accelerator. Put it on your spots and help it heal them up with less scaring.

For Whiter Teeth: Essential Oxygen Brushing Rinse – $9

Trying to whiten your teeth naturally can be tricky – although I have a few great ways posted here. You can also consider a quick swish in the mornings with this brushing rinse, which has a whitening effect due to the food-grade 1% hydrogen peroxide.

Soft Lips on Budget: Sierra Bees, Organic Lip Balms – $6 for 8

Last, keeping your lip balm closer is easier when the pack is of 8 and costs less than a $1 each. The ingredients are super simple: using a basis of beeswax, olive oil and often sunflower seed oil and/or cocoa butter.

Alright, that’s my round up beauties.

New Customers to iHerb can Click Here to Get $5 off Their First iHerb Order.

Happy Budget hunting, beauties!



The post Best Budget Natural Skincare Buys Under $15 appeared first on Living Pretty, Naturally.

Source: http://livingprettynaturally.com/best-natural-skincare-buys-under-15-at-iherb/

Plant-Based Supplements: The New Frontier of Supplements

Plant-based supplements are made from ingredients such as leaves, fruits, seeds, and other botanical elements.

Not all vitamins and minerals are created equal, and your body can tell the difference between synthetic and plant-based supplements. If you have ever taken a cheap, synthetic vitamin or mineral and failed to notice a change in how you look or feel, there is a reason. Artificial vitamins often pass through your body without being absorbed. Just like when selecting food to eat, taking the time to study the labels and ingredients can make the difference between achieving the health you want or wasting your time and money.

A lot of the same rules you probably already use for choosing food also apply to choosing the right supplements. Study the nutrition facts label and look for ingredients that are plant-based, organic, and come from whole-food sources. Likewise, steer clear of synthetic chemicals or other artificial ingredients, sweeteners, and fillers.

What Are Plant-Based Supplements?

Plant-based supplements are made from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, bark, flowers, leaves, and other botanical ingredients. The exact source depends on which vitamin or mineral is needed. Typically, the process starts with a plant that is already naturally high in the desired nutrient. From there, supplement manufacturers use a variety of methods to extract the desired nutrient and create a plant-based supplement that can provide the full Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.

Examples of Nutrients and Their Plant Source

If you are not familiar with the existence of plant-based supplements, then it’s easy to think that every vitamin on the shelf is the same. This could not be further from the truth. To give you a better idea, here are some common vitamins and minerals with their preferred plant-based source next to their synthetic or animal-sourced alternative.

Supplement Plant-based Source Non-plant-based Source
Vitamin C Fruit and Berries Acetone
Vitamin D Mushrooms Lanolin (from sheep wool)
Iron Murraya Koenigii Leaves Sulphuric Acid
Omega 3 Algae Fish Guts

What Are the Benefits of Plant-Based Supplements?

Minimally-processed, plant-based supplements offer several advantages that synthetic vitamins and minerals don’t. Here are the top benefits of plant-based supplements.

Better Bioavailability

Bioavailability is how easily your body can absorb a given nutrient. An overwhelming amount of evidence indicates that healthy, whole plant foods are the foundation of a nutritionally complete diet.[1] This includes the supplements you use to maintain your health. The best supplements are those that your body is equipped to handle, in other words—they’re plant-based. This is because your body evolved to recognize and use nutrients that come from the plant sources that our ancestors found in nature.

Lower Toxicity Risk

Proper absorption is not just about getting more. In some cases, taking too much of a particular mineral can be toxic. Plant-based supplements typically carry a lower risk of mineral toxicity than their synthetic or animal-sourced counterparts. For example, the risk of toxicity from a plant-based iron supplement is less than that of animal-sourced iron supplements.[2]

Additional Cofactors & Conutrients

Plants contain a complete spectrum of vitamins, minerals, aromatic oils, and phytonutrients.[3]

In many cases, these nutrients work together. When you isolate specific compounds, you may get the star of the team, but you leave all the supporting players behind. These supporting players are the cofactors and conutrients that are only available in plant-based supplements. Here are just a few things that synthetic and lab-made supplements might leave out.

  • Plant pigments: chlorophyll, curcumin, flavonoids, carotenoids, lutein, anthocyanins
  • Flavonoids: catechins, quercetin, polyphenols
  • Aromatic compounds: allicin, sulforaphane, carvacrol, thymol
  • Alkaloids: caffeine, quinine, theobromine, piperine
  • Enzymes: protease, cellulase, amylase, nattokinase, lipase
  • Terpenoids: saponins, limonene, phytosterols, oleanolic acid
  • Polysaccharides: cellulose, acemannan, pectin, hemicellulose

Natural Smell & Taste

One of the most desirable traits of plant-based supplements is that you know what you are getting. Plant-based supplements typically don’t have the synthetic fillers, toxic chemicals, and artificial sweeteners that are far too common in other supplements. Plants include oils and other constituents that provide the natural smells and tastes absent in lab-grown vitamins. If you want to check the quality of a plant-based supplement, open it up and check the smell and taste. You should be able to recognize some of the natural odors of the organic ingredients.

They Are Vegan

Relying on plants is better for your health and better for the environment. While the majority of plant-based supplements are also vegan, it is still possible unscrupulous manufacturers will sneak in some animal byproducts or use non-vegan, gelatin capsules to hold the otherwise vegan ingredients. More often than not, plant-based supplements are vegan but check the label carefully to be sure.

Questions to Ask When Selecting Plant-Based Supplements

Buying plant-based supplements is always the smarter option, but how do you know you are getting the best? Look for a brand that you can trust and who puts a premium on how and where each plant-based ingredient is grown and processed. Here is why that matters.

How Are the Plants Grown?

Make sure the plants used are grown using sustainable practices. Organic and wildcrafted sources are best, and reduce the likelihood of it being tainted by industrial farming chemicals and pesticides.

How Are the Plants Processed?

As soon as plants are harvested, they begin to degrade. Heat, humidity, and time are all enemies of fragile plant nutrients. Supplement companies who are serious about your health will do all they can to protect the plant and keep these valuable nutrients, cofactors, and conutrients in the final product. Proper drying, milling, and concentrating techniques that lock in these compounds should be in place. Without these rigorous protocols, your supplements will not provide their maximum possible benefit.

Global Healing Center Is Reinventing Plant-Based Supplements

From the beginning, we have insisted that all of our cleanses and supplements use plant-based sources. Not only does this keep us connected with nature, but it’s good for mind, body, and soul. At Global Healing Center, we strive to innovate and change how we use these sacred plants.

Using the latest research and testing, we’ve developed an all-new process for creating a Raw Herbal Extract™. This completely new approach to extracting nutrients from plant sources preserves the natural power of each ingredient. Try our plant-based supplements for yourself, and you will taste, smell, and feel the difference that can only be had when high-quality herbs are preserved with respect.

The post Plant-Based Supplements: The New Frontier of Supplements appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.

Source: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/plant-based-supplements/

How Does Olive Oil Support Liver Cleansing?

Olive oil is great for liver cleansing.

Over 30 million people in the United States are suffering from a liver-related health concern.[1] Typical Western diets filled with toxins like sugar and alcohol certainly don’t help. In fact, severe liver conditions like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are on the rise in the United States.[2] If your liver health isn’t where you want it to be, then you should know all the resources you have at your disposal.

The root cause of almost all poor health is toxins and chemicals. Liver cleansing, when done correctly, can help flush the liver of accumulated bile, toxins, and chemicals. Additionally, relieving your liver of harmful organisms will help you maintain a healthy body and mind. While there are different variations of organic liver cleansing regimens, nearly all take advantage of one key component—olive oil.

How Your Liver Works

Your liver plays a central role in detoxifying your body by keeping your blood clean and free of damaging chemicals and toxins. The primary duty your liver performs is filtering the blood that comes from your digestive tract. From the liver, blood flows to the rest of your body. Your liver also metabolizes alcohol and prescription drugs. As your liver performs these critical functions, it produces and releases bile to aid in digestion. When your liver is healthy it releases and safely passes the bile from the body on a regular basis.

Benefits of a Liver Cleanse

The main advantage of performing a liver cleanse is getting rid of the excess bile that builds up over time. Your liver health often depends on your diet and lifestyle. If you are eating clean, non-GMO foods and living a healthy lifestyle, then your liver should reflect those choices. If you live a mainly sedentary lifestyle and consume fatty, unhealthy, or toxic foods, then your liver may be overworked and bogged down.

People with bad diets and exercise habits will experience the greatest benefit from doing a liver cleanse. Whether you are using the Global Healing Center Liver Cleanse Kit™ or you are trying another all-natural liver cleanse approach, people who cleanse and detoxify their liver often feel more energetic and mentally clear. Some people even feel lighter and slimmer following the cleanse.

How Olive Oil Cleanses Your Liver

Olive oil has many health benefits, and it is one of the best all-natural solutions available for cleansing the liver. The theory is that drinking large amounts of olive oil sends signals to the liver to open the bile ducts. As these bile ducts open up to process the excess quantities of oil, anything that was previously stuck can more easily flow out. Most of what comes out of the liver during this process is bile, but some people see liver and gallbladder stones released from their body.

What Is the Best Olive Oil for Liver Cleansing?

While there are many healthy oils out there with great nutritional benefits, stick with olive oil for natural liver cleanses. People have tried to substitute with coconut oil, but olive oil remains the most beneficial oil for liver cleansing because of how predictably it works.

When selecting which olive oil to use for a cleanse it is important to select something that is not overly processed. Look for extra virgin olive oil that comes from fresh olives and does not use heat or chemicals to produce the oil. Freshness is important when choosing the best olive oil. Even under the right storage conditions, olive oil can degrade and lose nutritional benefits the longer it sits. Avoid olive oil that is more than two years old. Instead, choose the freshest olive oil you can find.

How to Cleanse Your Liver Using Olive Oil

Aside from olive oil, the most important thing you’ll need for a liver cleanse is Epsom salts. Epsom salts work synergistically with olive oil to relax the liver’s bile ducts and remove toxins from the body. While the complete recommendations can be found with our Liver Cleansing Kit instructions, here is a basic rundown of everything you need to know before your cleanse.

Cleansing Prep

Several days before the liver cleanse you will need to prepare by consuming malic acid and sulfurous foods. Malic acid is an organic compound that is responsible for the pleasantly sour taste of many fruits and drinks like apples or apple cider vinegar. For best results, try eating an apple or drinking apple cider vinegar several times a day leading up to cleanse day. The sulfurous foods could be any whole natural food with sulfur compounds, but you should stick to organic fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage for the cleanse. These organic fruits and veggies should be the mainstay of your diet up to four days before cleansing your liver.

Day of the Cleanse

On the day of the liver cleanse, eat only fruits and veggies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A few hours before you go to sleep—try for around 7 p.m.—it will be time for the Epsom salts. Mix one tablespoon of Epsom salt with eight ounces of distilled water and drink. Be aware that loose or liquid stools may happen around 20-30 minutes after drinking the mixture. Immediately before bed—try for around 10 pm—drink six ounces of the extra virgin olive oil and immediately lie in bed on your right side for 30 minutes. After that, you can go to sleep like normal. The next day you should pass the bile and may even see liver stones in your bowel movements.

After the Cleanse

After the cleanse, there are still many things you can do to promote a healthy liver. Diet and exercise are essential to any healthy lifestyle. Focus on consuming healthy foods and herbs like garlic and grapefruit to help sustain a healthy liver. Perform a liver cleanse up to three times a year to get the maximum benefit. If needed, liver cleanses can even be done back to back with a few days off in-between.

Tips and Tricks for Liver Cleansing With Olive Oil

For many people, drinking six ounces of olive oil at once can be difficult. Try refrigerating the oil first, then mix it with grapefruit or orange juice. Be sure to shake and mix thoroughly before you drink it. Likewise, drinking the Epson salt mixture is not easy for everyone. Make sure the day of the cleanse you have time set aside to stay at home and go to the bathroom as needed. Many people like to prepare their bathroom with a good book and essential oil diffuser to improve their experience.

Additional Health Benefits of Olive Oil

While olive oil is great for kickstarting a liver cleanse, there are many other additional health benefits of olive oil. It contains healthy monounsaturated fats, which is one of the main reasons the Mediterranean diet is effective at reducing risk factors for stroke and heart disease.[3] Olive oil can also help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides levels.[4] Extra virgin olive oil is also an excellent source of antioxidants and phenols that promote healthy cells and longevity.[5]

Dr. Group’s Liver Cleanse Recommendations

While Epsom salts and olive oil are the basis of any good liver cleanse, there are ways to help increase the effectiveness of your liver cleanse routine. Global Healing Center has developed several all-natural herbal formulas, including Livatrex®, which promote a healthy liver. To help you get started with taking control of your liver health, we created the Liver Cleanse Kit™. This Health Kit includes step-by-step instructions to walk you through the cleanse. The Liver Cleanse Kit has a multi-tiered approach that uses the power of Livatrex to kick start your liver’s natural cleansing abilities and Oxy-Powder to facilitate toxin removal.

Have you used olive oil to help cleanse your liver? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

The post How Does Olive Oil Support Liver Cleansing? appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.

Source: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/olive-oil-support-liver-cleansing/

What’s the Best Instant Laxative for Quick Relief?

Aloe is one of the best instant laxatives for quick relief.

Going number two probably isn’t something you think much about, but when not going becomes physically uncomfortable, it’s at the forefront of your thoughts. When you’re faced with occasional constipation and need relief fast, you probably head to the pharmacy. Unfortunately, many over-the-counter laxatives come with a heaping helping of adverse side effects. Not to mention that the sheer abundance of options is overwhelming. Here we’ll shed light on the subject and compare the various types of laxatives and their effects.

Types of Instant Laxatives

Laxatives are over-the-counter products you take to stimulate a bowel movement. The majority work by drawing moisture to your colon, bulking stool up, or by forcing the muscles lining the intestines to contract and push their contents along for elimination. There are several types of laxatives, and they differ in how they’re taken, how they work, and how quickly they work.


An enema is a liquid solution that is pushed into the rectum through the anus using a fluid-filled bag or a rectal bulb. Enemas are the fastest acting solution for a backed up bowel. Although they can be administered at home, they’re typically used in clinical settings, such as before or after surgery.

Fastest Acting Enema Solutions

  • Sodium phosphate: 2 to 5 minutes
  • Mineral oil: 2 to 5 minutes
  • Docusate: 2 to 15 minutes
  • Bisacodyl: 15 to 60 minutes

Rectal Suppositories

Rectal suppositories, also called laxative suppositories, are pill-shaped and inserted into the rectum where they dissolve and take effect. They don’t work as quickly as enemas, but typically stimulate a bowel movement in about 30 minutes.

Fastest Acting Suppositories

  • Carbon dioxide: 5 to 30 minutes
  • Bisacodyl: 15 to 60 minutes
  • Glycerin: 15 to 60 minutes
  • Senna: 30 to 60 minutes

Oral Laxatives

Oral laxatives in the form of liquids, pills, and powders are found on grocery store and pharmacy shelves. In general, they’re taken at night to produce a bowel movement in the morning. This type of laxative falls into one of five categories, and each works differently.

Osmotic Laxatives

Osmotic laxatives draw water into the colon to produce softer stool that’s easier to pass. There are several over-the-counter varieties available, including milk of magnesia and magnesium citrate. Common side effects of osmotic laxatives include nausea, bloating, cramping, gas, and diarrhea. Dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and kidney damage may result from abusing these kinds of laxatives.[1]

Stool Softeners

Stool softeners trap moisture in the stool to soften it and make it easier to pass. Stool softeners are the slowest and least aggressive form of over-the-counter constipation relief.[1]

Bulking Laxatives

Bulking laxatives increase the mass of fecal waste to encourage a bowel movement. They’re the most gentle type of laxative, but they’re not suitable for everyone. The side effects of bulking laxatives include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and skin rash.[2]

Bulking laxatives may contain ingredients like psyllium husk or methylcellulose, which are potential allergens. Taking psyllium by mouth could also present a choking hazard as it swells in the mouth and throat. This is why bulking laxatives must be consumed with plenty of water.

Stimulant Laxatives

Stimulant laxatives don’t alter or add anything to your stool. Instead, they cause the muscles of your intestines to contract, moving stool toward the rectum. This kind of laxative is rougher on your system than bulking or osmotic varieties. Long-term use of stimulant laxatives can cause dependence.[3] Senna, a type of stimulant laxative, may cause stomach pains, faintness, cramping, nausea, and brown urine.[4]

One common type of stimulant laxative is “whole leaf” or “outer leaf” aloe vera. It sounds like a natural solution, but outer leaf aloe produces unpleasant cramping and loose, watery stools. The outer part of the leaf contains a compound called aloin which can be harsh on the digestive tract. Inner leaf aloe is much milder. If you use an aloe supplement, select one made only from the inner leaf.

Lubricant Laxatives

Lubricant laxatives coat the colon in an oily film, allowing stool to pass more easily. They work more slowly than other types and may require a few hours, or even overnight, to produce the desired effect.

Mineral oil is the most commonly used lubricant laxative. The body does not digest mineral oil, so it retains its greasy consistency throughout the digestive process. Long-term use of mineral oil can lead to side effects like fecal seepage and anal incontinence, as well as vitamin deficiencies.[1]

The Consequences of Relying on Laxatives

Though laxatives usually get the job done, relief often comes at a cost. Many people become so reliant on laxatives that they begin to overuse them, some without even realizing it. Overuse can damage your pancreas and the lining of your colon. Laxative abuse can even lead to dependence, which means the inability to have a bowel movement without them. Here’s a list of the negative side effects that come from overusing laxatives:

  • Laxative dependency
  • Organ damage
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Severe dehydration
  • Increased risk of kidney stones
  • Weak nails

Eat More Food That Is Rich in Fiber

If constipation is a common occurrence, reassess the foods you eat rather than reaching for the medicine cabinet. Laxatives only treat the symptoms of a larger issue. It’s very likely that your difficulty in the bathroom is due to a lack of fiber. In fact, fewer than 3% of Americans get enough fiber on a daily basis.[5] Men should get 38 grams of fiber daily, while women need about 25 grams. If you’re eating the standard American diet, there’s a good chance that you’re in that 97% of people who fall short. If you could use more fiber, many of the best laxative foods are a great source.

A Better Approach

Even if you do follow a healthy eating plan, a weekend of indulgence or even a new medication can cause occasional constipation. To naturally and gently resolve occasional constipation without using laxatives, try Oxy-Powder®. This gentle colon cleanser is safe, effective, and doesn’t cause nausea or the sort of embarrassing emergencies that send you scrambling for the nearest toilet. Regularly cleaning your colon with a gentle, oxygen-based colon cleanser like Oxy-Powder can keep your bowel movements regular and satisfying.

What insight do you have about laxatives? Leave a comment below and share your ideas.

The post What’s the Best Instant Laxative for Quick Relief? appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.

Source: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/best-instant-laxative/

How to Make Vegan Coconut Yogurt: DIY Beauty Food

Your best skin starts in your gut – despite all the products I talk about, what matters more than anything else is the health of your digestive tract and your emotional wellbeing. Today we will talk about the former: gut health, your skin and yummy, yummy coconut yogurt.

Dairy: The Ugly Truth

Yogurt is often touted as a great food for your digestion since it naturally contains probiotics. While that’s true, dairy from animals (especially cow) are acidic in nature and create mucous buildup in the intestinal walls. This creates a slower digestion, and in turn a slower elimination. Slower elimination equates to less healthy skin, since your body is detoxing in other ways you can notice things like acne.  Further, dairy causes your skin to produce excess sebum (oil), leading to more clogged pores as well as inflammation from the IGF-1 growth hormone found in milk (good for baby cows, not good for you or acne).

Many people eat yogurt because they have been told that it’s a good source of “friendly bacteria.” What they don’t mention is the bacteria used to make most yogurt (L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus) are not the key “beneficial bacteria” and they pasteurize it, which kills off the good guys anyways! This is before the chance of added hormones and antibiotics that the animals may have been on.

You can read this post here on dairy and your skin from when I blogged on how to make your own almond milk.

Probiotics and Your Skin

Your gut and your skin care so closely linked: one of their core main functions is elimination and detoxification.  When our gut flora is not healthy, problems such as chronic inflammation, aka acne and other skin problems can show up. Probitics help to naturally balance our gut flora (the good guys and the bad guys who live in our GI tract).

So for anyone looking for their loveliest skin, we should start by looking at how our gut is functioning. To boost your levels of good bacteria, you can take a probiotic supplement, and you can also eat foods like miso, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and, of course, coconut yogurt!

How to Make Coconut Yogurt: What You’ll Need

  1. Large jar
  2. 2-3 cans of organic coconut milk (full fat)
  3. 2-3 probiotic capsules (that you can easily break apart and dump into the milk)
  4. A wooden spoon
  5. Cheese Cloth
  6. Elastic band

How to Make Coconut Yogurt: Directions

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Pour cans of coconut milk into clean glass jar (I used 3)
  2. Break apart 3 probiotic capsules with more than 20 billion live cultures
  3. Stir in with wooden spoon (this is improtant, don’t use metal as it reacts with the probiotics)
  4. Cover with cheese cloth and a rubber band
  5. Let sit on the counter for 24 – 48 hours
  6. Taste during the resting time to reach your desired tangy-ness
  7. When it has reached it, put it in the fridge overnight, it should thicken
  8. Enjoy!

The yogurt can last up to two weeks in the fridge.

If you want to make another culture, make sure to save some of the previous yogurt no more than 7 days old to make the new batch.

*If for any reason you see mould or it smells off (aka not like yogurt), pitch it and try again!

Enjoy this yogurt as you would any other – I love dipping my berries in it, adding it to smoothies, and using it in certain dishes (such as indian raita and tatziki).

Let me know how yours turned out!



The post How to Make Vegan Coconut Yogurt: DIY Beauty Food appeared first on Living Pretty, Naturally.

Source: http://livingprettynaturally.com/beauty-food-diy-coconut-vegan-yogurt/

Common IBS Symptoms and the Best Natural Remedies

A person drinking water. Symptoms of IBS and natural remedies.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also known as mucous colitis or spastic colon, is a chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. Put simply, that means that your bowels behave abnormally without evidence of damage from the disease. IBS affects 10 to 15 percent of adults in the U.S. and can significantly compromise their quality of life.[1]

What Causes IBS?

Many health experts are still puzzled by IBS and what causes the disorder. When examined, the bowels of those with IBS don’t display any noticeable irregularities. There is evidence that stress, anxiety, a poor diet, and carbohydrate malabsorption can all contribute to the disorder.[2]

For some people, IBS begins with an infection. Bacterial gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the GI tract that occurs when bacteria cause an infection in your gut. Research has found that somewhere between 3 and 36 percent of these infections lead to long-term IBS symptoms. However, there are many people with IBS who have never had bacterial gastroenteritis, so there must be other causes.[2]

Another theory is that IBS may be caused by an imbalance in the brain-gut axis. The brain-gut axis is the biochemical communication system between the GI tract and the central nervous system. What this means is that if there is a disturbance in the gut, the issue may not be in the gut itself. Your gut could be receiving disrupted signals from the brain.[2]

Think of it like a malfunctioning GPS system that tells you to take a left into a lake. The car drives exactly as it should, but the information you get is bad, leading to a soggy mess.

Symptoms of IBS

The classic symptoms of IBS differ from person to person. Even the same individual can experience wildly differing symptoms from one week to the next. Some people experience constipation, others diarrhea. There are roughly three types of IBS, which are designated by the predominant symptom: constipation (IBS-C), diarrhea (IBS-D), or some combination of the two (IBS-M). For a clinical diagnosis, the symptoms of IBS must last for at least three days a month for three months.[2]

Those afflicted with IBS can experience a number of secondary symptoms. Other IBS symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Stomach ache
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Unsatisfying bowel movements
  • Mucus in stool
  • Urgent need to poop when you wake up or after meals

Psychological effects, including anxiety and depression, often accompany IBS as well. People with this disorder often have low serotonin levels, although it’s yet unclear whether low serotonin causes IBS or if IBS causes serotonin levels to drop.

Because food is moving irregularly through your digestive system, nutrient absorption can be affected. If you have IBS, you may not absorb the full nutritional value of the food you eat.[3]

Who Is at Risk

While the condition can afflict anyone, certain groups face a higher risk. IBS affects about twice as many women as men. Young women are most likely to develop the condition, and symptoms usually appear before the age of 45. Other risk factors include a family history of IBS, food sensitivities, and certain medications. Stress also plays a factor, although we do not yet know if stress causes IBS or if it’s the other way around.[1]

Similar Conditions

Further complicating an IBS diagnosis is the fact that many conditions produce similar symptoms. These conditions could include:[4]

  • Diverticulosis
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Bacterial infections
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Food poisoning
  • Food allergies
  • Menstrual pain
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Influenza
  • Bowel blockages
  • Small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Yeast overgrowth
  • Anemia
  • Leaky gut

This is only a partial list; there are many more potential causes of IBS symptoms. You’ll notice that some of these conditions are quite serious. Don’t self-diagnose—consult a professional. Your health care provider can perform tests to determine the root cause of the issue.

The Difference Between IBS & IBD

IBS is often mistaken for another condition, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). IBS is far from pleasant, but IBD is more serious. IBD is actually an umbrella term that refers to a group of chronic inflammatory disorders of the bowel, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Unlike IBS, IBD can cause inflammation, ulcers, or other visible damage to the bowel and is thus more easily diagnosed.

Triggers of IBS Symptoms

IBS is a little different for everyone, but some things are common triggers for many people. Eating certain foods can cause IBS symptoms to flare up. Avoid dairy products, caffeine, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, fried food, and alcohol. Heavily processed foods like chips and microwave meals can also cause difficulties.

Other triggers of IBS include:

  • Too little exercise
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Chewing gum
  • Certain medications including antibiotics and antidepressants

Natural IBS Remedies

Conventional medicine tends to focus on treating the symptoms of IBS, rather than addressing the root cause of the condition. They have an array of medications, but the efficacy of pharmaceuticals at treating IBS is inconsistent at best. Some doctors even recommend antidepressants despite the fact that antidepressants are completely ineffective at treating GI symptoms.[5] Considering the known detrimental side effects of these drugs, this is hardly an ideal solution. Fortunately, there are some simple, natural lifestyle changes you can adopt to reduce IBS occurrences.

Change Your Diet

Because certain foods trigger IBS symptoms, a simple change in dietary habits may help. Don’t eat large meals as they can cause cramping and diarrhea. Instead of three large meals each day, try eating 4-5 smaller meals.[6]

Feed your body healthy food. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and other high-fiber foods can help promote gut health. There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. Both can help ease the symptoms of IBS. Try to eat about 20 grams of dietary fiber every day.[6]

Multiple studies have found that a gluten-free diet can help improve bowel function in people with certain types of IBS.[7, 8] If you think you have a sensitivity, try cutting gluten out of your diet.

Keep a Food Journal

As the symptoms of IBS are so indistinct, different people can have wildly different food triggers. Your triggers could vary from one month to the next. It’s complicated, but one way to simplify things is to keep a food journal.

Get a small notebook and keep it on you at all times. A notepad app on your phone works just as well. Write down everything you eat and drink, noting the date and time of day. Be thorough; even condiments could be an IBS trigger, so don’t leave anything out. Record IBS symptoms and how you feel every day, both mentally and physically. It could even be a specific ingredient that triggers IBS, so look for patterns. For example, pasta, crackers, and soy sauce may seem unrelated, but they all usually contain wheat, so a reaction to all three could mean gluten is the culprit.

Improve Hydration

Your bowel will have a difficult time if your waste is a hard, dry lump, so be sure to stay properly hydrated. Are you drinking enough water? If you’re like most people, you’re probably at least a little dehydrated. Remember how your mom told you to drink eight glasses of water a day? She was pretty close to right. Eight glasses is a good start, but a slightly better estimate is to drink half your weight in ounces every day. In other words, if you weigh 200 lbs, drink at least 100 oz of water. Healthy fluids like coconut water and detox water count toward this goal, but dehydrating liquids, like coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol do not.[9]

Drinking plenty of water isn’t only necessary to prevent constipation. Hydration is just as important for those with diarrhea—even more so, in fact. Because you’re losing a lot more water with every bowel movement, your risk of dehydration is much higher.

Get More Exercise

Physical activity doesn’t just build muscle and burn fat; it’s one of the best things you can do for gut health as well. Exercise reduces stress and helps maintain GI function. Sign up for a yoga class. Studies have found that twice daily yoga sessions are as effective at improving IBS symptoms as conventional treatments.[2]

Manage Stress Effectively

It’s clear that there is a psychological component to IBS. While stress likely doesn’t cause the condition, excessive stress can impair GI function and make the symptoms worse. Everyone experiences some form of stress, but the trick is to learn effective stress management techniques. Find a method that works for you. I recommend meditation to relax both body and mind.

Try Probiotics

Your gut is home to beneficial microorganisms which make up your microbiota. A healthy microbiota has a profound positive effect on your gut health. Consume probiotic foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha or take a probiotic supplement to maintain healthy gut flora. Researchers have discovered that a bacterial species called Bifidobacterium infantis is especially effective at improving the symptoms of IBS.[10]

Cleanse Your Colon

After you’ve altered your diet and lifestyle, try performing a full colon cleanse. Your colon is your main route of elimination, and a blockage can cause waste products to accumulate in your gut, compromising your health. When combined with diet, hydration, and exercise, regular colon cleanses can gently detoxify your bowels and normalize bowel function.

Have you had an experience with IBS? What worked? What didn’t? Tell us about it in the comments.

The post Common IBS Symptoms and the Best Natural Remedies appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.

Source: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/ibs-symptoms-and-natural-remedies/