Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Liver Cleanse: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

Fruits like watermelon are part of a liver cleanse.

The liver is the human body’s largest internal organ and one of the most important for survival. Without it, bodily tissues would die from lack of nutrients and oxygen and the digestive process would not be able to take place. One of the liver’s most important functions is the removal of toxins from your system. This function is why cleansing your liver and living a healthy lifestyle is so crucial. Performing an organic liver cleanse can help remove toxic buildup for overall health and wellness. Before doing a liver cleanse, it is important to understand what the liver is and all of the necessary functions it performs.

The Liver’s Location & Design

Inside your body, the liver sits primarily on the right side. It spans across the top of the abdominal cavity, above your stomach and below your diaphragm, leaning down towards the right kidney. This vital organ is soft and rubbery with a reddish-brown color, weighs about three pounds, and contains one pint of blood at any given moment. It is triangular and consists of two primary lobes made up of 1,000 lobules. These tiny lobules contain small tubes that are connected to larger tubes which form the common hepatic duct. This duct is responsible for transporting bile made by the liver to the gallbladder and the first part of the small intestine known as the duodenum.[1]

Functions of the Liver

The importance of this organ is immense. The liver is responsible for essential activities beyond digestion and filtering toxins. The functions it performs on a daily basis warrant regular health maintenance and care.


The liver is the metabolic center of the body. Controlled by the central nervous system, the liver is responsible for the metabolization of macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins). This metabolic process also produces free radicals that antioxidants scavenge to maintain the oxidative and antioxidative balance in the liver. Insulin and glucagon hormones are what drive the metabolic function of this organ.[2]


The liver is responsible for the production of bile, proteins for blood plasma, glucose, and cholesterol. The bile your liver produces helps break down fats in the small intestine and take away waste. The proteins needed for blood plasma are also made in the liver and consist of fibrinogen, prothrombin, and albumins. The first two proteins are coagulation components that aid in the blood-clotting process, while albumins maintain the blood’s environment to keep blood cells at an even hydration level. The production of cholesterol and other proteins help transport fats throughout the body.

The liver helps keep your blood sugar levels even. It produces and distributes glucose depending on your body’s needs. When you eat, your liver holds onto sugar, or glucose, to use as fuel for a later time. If there is little to no sugar present in your body but your organs and red blood cells need it, your liver produces another kind of fuel called ketones derived from fats. A low level of insulin in your body is what triggers this process called ketogenesis.[1]


The liver acts as a storage unit holding your glucose supply, nutrients, minerals such as iron and copper, and vitamins A, D, E, K, and B-12. Many of these components are collected from blood passing through the hepatic duct. This function of the liver ensures that a constant supply of these essential nutrients will be provided to the body’s tissues when they need it.[3]


The liver is part of the innate immune system, also known as the nonspecific immune system. This type of immune system provides immediate action against infection but does not generate long-lasting immunity to the organism, which is a trait the adaptive immune system carries. The innate immune system identifies an issue and deploys immune cells to the area in need of defense and repair. The liver’s primary immunity function is to identify and remove harmful toxins in the body. It also helps with the production of cells responsible for the activation of the adaptive immune system.[4, 5]


It’s the production of bile that places the liver in yet another category—digestion. The cells responsible for this process, called hepatocytes, are found in the parenchymal tissue of the liver. They make up 70-85% of the liver’s mass.[6] Bile is passed through bile ducts and either stored in the gallbladder or released into the duodenum to help with digestion. It is comprised of cholesterol, water, bile salts, and a pigment called bilirubin. These components that make up bile help break down fats into fatty acids.[7]


The liver and kidneys are the main organs responsible for detoxification. The liver protects the body from toxic chemicals by cleaning blood and filtering out harmful chemicals in red blood cells. This process transforms these chemicals into compounds that can then be safely and efficiently removed from the body through urine.[8]

Signs of a Poorly Performing Liver

You are exposed to toxins every day. These toxins can come in the form of water, food preservatives, chemicals, pesticides, and electromagnetic radiation which can greatly affect the liver. There are several signs to look for regarding a troubled liver.[9]

  • Tendency for the body to overheat resulting in excessive perspiration
  • Difficulty digesting fatty foods
  • Heartburn and acid reflux
  • Inflammation of the liver
  • The development of dark spots, commonly referred to as liver spots, on the skin
  • New weight gain or the failure to lose weight even after lowering calorie intake
  • Bloating in the abdomen
  • Fat around the upper part of the abdomen
  • Pain over or around the liver
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • High levels of triglycerides
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Sleep apnea

What Is a Liver Cleanse?

Sometimes referred to as a “liver detox,” a liver cleanse is a regulated diet over a period of four to five days with a “flush day” at the end. The objective of a liver cleanse is to reduce or eliminate toxins in the liver so that it can perform all of its functions more effectively.

Why Is a Liver Cleanse Necessary?

The liver is your filter for toxins. After a time it can become clogged with toxic residue, hindering its ability to keep your body free of these unhealthy components.

Think of the liver like the air conditioning filter in your house. You know it’s time to replace or clean it when it becomes dark and clogged. In this state, the filter can no longer keep your house clear of things like dust, pet dander, dirt, and toxins. Before the liver gets to a similar state, it’s time for it to be cleansed of the toxic residue that has built up over time. This will also give the liver time to heal itself.

Steps to Cleanse the Liver

To safely and efficiently detox the liver, try to eat healthy organic meals leading up to a cleanse. Avoid meat, fatty foods, and foods high in sodium such as processed foods. Following a liver cleanse diet lasts about five days and has two phases: the preparation for your liver’s flush (the first four days), and the purge itself on day five.

Following a healthy liver cleanse diet is crucial in the first days of your cleanse. Eat fresh, organic foods and drink purified or distilled water. You can may be able to enhance your water with a liver-supporting herbal blend, such as Livatrex®. Global Healing Center includes Livatrex in our Liver Cleanse Kit, a program that helps stimulate your liver and purge toxins.

A week before the cleanse you should rid your home of toxins, and eliminate products that contain chemicals like nail polish, hairspray, or other chemically produced beauty products. Stay away from alcohol before and after a cleanse, and consider eliminating alcohol from your life altogether. Consult a healthcare professional before undergoing a cleanse.[10]

Days 1-4: Foods to Avoid

There are several foods to avoid during a liver cleanse. Because the liver acts as a filter, only fresh, healthy organic foods are permissible to avoid added buildup and eradicate the liver of residual toxins. Foods to avoid during this time are:[11]

  • Meat
  • Dairy products
  • Fried foods
  • Processed foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Heavy sauces
  • Condiments
  • Pastries
  • Spicy foods
  • Soda, energy drinks, caffeinated beverages, and tap water
  • Tobacco products
  • Alcohol

Days 1-4: Foods to Embrace

In order to support a healthy liver cleanse, there are specific liver-friendly foods that can aid in digestion and promote a healthy evacuation of toxins from your body. These foods contain vitamins and minerals, namely potassium, that are linked to healthy liver function.[12]

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables (preferably eaten raw)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Foods high in potassium
  • Water (only distilled, purified, or fluoride-free)
  • Fresh, natural juices
  • Herbal teas (non-caffeinated)


A healthy liver cleanse should involve homemade meals using only fresh, organic ingredients. Try using these recipes when undergoing a detoxification process.

Dr. Group’s Liver Cleanse Soup

Instructions and ingredients for a healthy liver cleanse soup:

  • 1 organic beet
  • 2 organic carrots
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 10 organic garlic cloves
  • ½ organic onion
  • ¼ organic lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Himalayan crystal salt

Wash the vegetables and finely chop the ingredients to your preferred consistency. Pour 32 ounces of distilled or purified water into a soup pot and add all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer on low heat for one hour.

Dr. Group’s Liver Cleanse Juice

To alternate meals during your cleanse week, try a blended drink:

  • 3 organic carrots (washed and peeled)
  • 2 organic apples (washed and cut)
  • 1 organic beet (washed and peeled)
  • 6 organic kale leaves
  • ½ organic lemon (washed and peeled)
  • ½ inch ginger root

Blend until the desired consistency is reached.

Days 1-4: Meals

Instead of three large meals, eat five small portions per day (this includes two snacks). Chew your food thoroughly and eat at a slow pace to ensure proper digestion. Drink only distilled water. To enhance flavor and nutrition, you can mix two tablespoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) to one gallon of distilled water. Shake and refrigerate. You can prepare this in the morning and enjoy it throughout the day.


Start each morning with an eight-ounce glass of the ACV and water mix accompanied by a small bowl of fresh fruit. Choose only one fruit for this meal. Some of the better choices are:

  • Watermelon
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Plums
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit


To break up the day and get more nutrients into your system while on a cleanse, eat a handful of nuts or seeds and wash it down with 12 ounces of your ACV/water mix. Choose only one type of nut or seed. Good choices include:[13]

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Almonds

Natural supplements consisting of herbs and spices like turmeric, milk thistle, dandelion, and cinnamon are a great way to add more nutrients and flavor to meals while maintaining a healthy liver detoxification.[13]


Around 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m, choose one fruit, chop it into a bowl and eat for breakfast. Make sure to eat only one selected fruit. Watermelon is a great choice due to its water and fiber content. Enjoy your meal with eight-ounce glass of the ACV/water mix.


Around noon, have the liver cleanse soup or the liver cleanse juice. The soup is ideal for flush day, as the leftovers will be a nourishing lunch for the day after the cleanse.


As an afternoon snack or your dinner around 4:00 pm choose either a handful of walnuts, an avocado with lemon and sea salt, or fast through the afternoon with just the ACV/water mix.

The Flush

To prepare for the flushing process on day five, you will be ingesting water, Epsom salt, and olive oil over a period of about two hours.

Around 7:00 pm, mix one tablespoon of Epsom Salt in eight ounces of warm purified water and drink it quickly. You may experience liquid stools within 20­ minutes after ingestion, so it is advisable to be near a bathroom.

Between 8:30 and 9:00 pm, drink ¾ cup of organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. A small amount, about two tablespoons, of freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit, or lemon juice may be added to improve taste. It is important to drink all six ounces. There are a few ways to ingest the oil to make it easier to go down:

  • Thicken the oil by refrigerating it for a few hours
  • Using a jar, pour ½ cup of orange or grapefruit juice into the oil and shake until thin
  • Split into two cups with juice in one and oil in the other and drink through a straw alternating between the two

Sleep Preparation

Immediately after drinking the oil, go to bed and lie on your right side with your knees pulled up to your stomach for 30 minutes. After this step, you can stretch out and go to sleep. Cramping can occur, which is a sign the purge of toxins is working. Walking around for ten minutes followed by another attempt at sleep should help. Nausea can be another common side effect due to the release of toxins from the liver. Be sure to vomit if necessary. This nauseous result is a sign that your body may be in need of another cleanse.[12, 13]

The Day After

The day after completing the cleanse, consider doing a natural water enema or taking six Oxy-PowderⓇ capsules immediately after waking up to naturally flush the stones that have been released from the liver and gallbladder. If you’re curious as to how many stones you’ve released, buy an inexpensive colander and place it over the toilet to collect these stones. Afterwards, rinse thoroughly in the sink to see how many stones you’ve passed.

Breakfast should consist of fruit, followed by the remaining liver cleanse soup for lunch, and a healthy dinner of salad and a light protein. Make sure to drink distilled or purified water with fresh lemon.[13]

What to Expect During a Cleanse

Liver cleanses are different for many people, but a lack of energy and an emotional response can occur, especially once the cleanse is completed. Some people may also notice a few issues with their skin, along with an overall feeling of sickness during and after the cleanse. These conditions will improve over a short period. A week or so after a cleanse, many people experienced higher energy levels, better digestion, and an overall feeling of wellness. Again, consult your healthcare provider before starting a liver cleanse. [14]

Top Liver Cleanse Benefits

Many people don’t realize the impact an unclean liver can have on their daily performance, energy levels, and even appearance. The accumulation of different toxins is taxing on the liver. These toxins are lumped into two categories: exogenous toxins and endogenous toxins. Exogenous toxins are comprised of anything that originates outside of the body including toxins found in food, water, and air. Endogenous toxins are a normal byproduct of your body resulting from cellular metabolism. Performing a liver cleanse to remove these toxins can affect the overall wellness and health of your entire body.[15]

Improves Your Outward Appearance

An unhealthy outward appearance can show what’s going on inside of your body. Detoxifying your liver may help to boost your immune system and enable much-needed nutrients to reach destinations that help with cell regeneration. Once your inside is refreshed, your outside will reflect that and may reduce the appearance of age by as much as five to ten years.

Promotes Healthy Weight

Weight loss can be one of the results of a liver cleanse. When the liver becomes blocked due to high toxicity levels, it isn’t able to perform two of its key functions—bile production and metabolism. Cleaning this organ encourages healthier functioning making it easier for the liver to break down fats and produce bile.

Boosts Overall Vitality

Fatigue, sleep apnea, and sluggishness can be linked to an unhealthy diet and unclean liver. Flushing your body of toxins through a cleanse enables the body to receive the nutrient byproducts produced by the liver. These nutrients will have a marked effect on your energy levels as well as an overall feeling of wellness.

Helps Curb Liver Stones

The kidneys and gallbladder aren’t the only organs to produce stones; your liver can achieve this as well. These stones are similar to gallstones with the exception of location, and form due to high cholesterol levels. When too much cholesterol is present in the body, excess amounts may crystallize into lumps resembling tiny pebbles. These stones, stored in the liver, can considerably affect liver function. Performing a cleanse may help flush these unwanted stones out of your system, supporting a more productive liver.

Supports the Immune System

The liver’s role as part of your immune system can be compromised as a result of residual toxins. Cleaning these toxins from your liver will give your immune system a boost by affecting your liver’s ability to address infection and identify toxins in the blood.

How Often to Do a Cleanse

The number of times you choose to perform a liver cleanse is up to you. Experts recommend a full cleanse two or three times a year. Always consult a trusted healthcare professional before beginning any cleanse. However, some people perform this process several times with five to 10-day intervals to feel a more profound result. To start your cleanse, try the Liver Cleanse Kit. This all-natural, multi-tiered program uses the power of Livatrex to kickstart your liver’s natural cleansing abilities, and Oxy-Powder to facilitate toxin removal.

Your Story

Have you ever done a liver cleanse? Are you thinking about trying one? We’d love to hear your story. Please tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

The post Liver Cleanse: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Monday, 11 December 2017

What’s the Best Colon Cleanse Diet?

Fruits and berries are part of the colon cleanse diet.

A healthy colon is the center of a healthy, happy life. The colon is a workhorse for your digestive system and helps absorb the nutrients your body needs. Unfortunately, with all the good your colon does, it also gets hit with the brunt of toxins and harmful organisms your body takes in. Fortunately, if you want to keep your colon clean and healthy, there are many options available to you. First and foremost, eating more fruits and vegetables and sticking to the right diet plan will have exponential benefits. Performing an organic colon cleanse will take your colon health even further and help prevent toxic buildup.

If you have ever wondered what your colon is, what it does, or how to keep it healthy, now is the time to find out. Let’s explore the colon and what it means to your health.

What Is the Colon?

The colon is an intricate part of the large intestine. Also called the large bowel, your large intestine connects the small intestine to the anus. The four major components of the large intestine are the cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal. The colon is tubular shaped and connects the cecum to the rectum. It has several layers of muscle and fat with a mucous membrane as its inner lining. The “U” shaped colon subdivides into four sections—the ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, and sigmoid colon. On average, the colon is around five feet long in adults and takes up the majority of space inside the abdominal cavity.[1]

The colon plays a vital role in how your body processes food. As your digestive system breaks down the food you eat, it enters into the colon in a mostly liquid state. The colon performs two significant roles at this stage of the digestive process. First, bacteria in your colon break down the food further. Second, it absorbs additional nutrients and liquid. Leftover food waste is then turned into feces and stored in the descending colon until it is ready to be expelled from the body.[2]

Why Your Colon Is So Important

Your colon plays a crucial role in digestion and is part of one of your body’s primary organs—the large intestine. Just like a malfunctioning heart or lung, if your colon fails, then your entire health is affected.

Colon health is a spectrum. On one end, colon complications can lead to death, but far more common are smaller manifestations of subpar colon health. If you feel sluggish or get sick often, your colon health may be the reason. Likewise, keeping your colon healthy can maintain and support both physical and mental well-being.

Common Colon Issues

There are many health conditions associated with an unwell colon. These range from unwanted gas to different types of terminal cancer. Colon and rectal cancer are among the most common types of cancer in the United States, with over 100,000 cases a year and growing.[3]

The most common colon health concerns include:[4]

Symptoms of a Sick Colon

Identifying colon concerns is difficult for the average person, and severe health conditions that affect the colon need to be diagnosed by a medical professional. However, there are some signs you may notice when experiencing less than optimal colon health.

Signs of a weak or sick colon include:[5]

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Constipation
  • Excessive gas
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

Can a Colon Cleanse Help?

Because your colon processes food waste, it is constantly bombarded by toxins. These may include pesticides from non-organic foods, toxins found in processed meats, or even environmental pollutants in the air and water. Left unchecked, these may accumulate and contribute to unwanted colon issues. Colon cleansing is one of the best ways to encourage your body’s internal detoxification processes and eliminate harmful organisms.

Dr. Group’s Colon Cleanse Diet Plan

While eating the right foods is always essential to your health, it’s especially critical to maintain a healthy colon. After years of research and experience, I have developed a colon cleanse diet plan that has helped many people. It can help enhance the results of any cleanse and encourages healthy energy levels and overall wellness.

The full diet plan and suggested alternatives are included in the Global Healing Center Colon Cleanse Kit, but here are the basics anyone can follow—on or off the cleanse.

Colon Cleanse Diet Rules

There are three simple rules to follow with my colon cleansing diet.

  • Eat only fruit for six full days
  • Eat only one type of fruit per meal
  • Eat as much fruit as you want

What You Can Eat on the Colon Cleanse Diet

My research and experience have shown me that these are the best fruits to select when following the colon cleanse diet.

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Pineapples
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • White grapes

Other Colon Cleansing Foods

A diet that supports a healthy colon should rely on three main things—fruits, vegetables, and water. While those are the staples, there are lots of delicious and nutritious foods you can add to your diet starting today to support your colon health.


Fruits and berries provide water, fiber, and antioxidants. Apples, bananas, and strawberries are a great place to start, and you may already have them at home. Each of these can provide a significant portion of your daily fiber needs. Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are also a great digestive aid and give you a vitamin C boost. Dried fruits like prunes and cranberries can also be beneficial for your colon and act as natural laxatives.[6]


Cruciferous vegetables are very high in dietary fiber, folic acid, calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, and antioxidants. They also contain a high amount of chlorophyll, which helps promote detoxification. Spinach, kale, garlic, bok choy, and arugula are just a few other vegetables you can add to your diet to improve your colon health.[7]


Herbs are an excellent way to supplement your diet with health-promoting nutrients. Some of the best herbs for the colon include chickweed, slippery elm, and peppermint. Each has properties that encourage cleansing and help soothe your digestive tract. These herbs can be eaten fresh or taken as an herbal supplement or tincture.

Seeds & Nuts

Seeds and nuts are nutritious and help keep you energized throughout the day. They are high in fiber, vitamin E, protein, zinc and other nutrients your body needs to maintain your colon. Some of the best nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Great seed options include hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, chia, and flax seeds.


Beans and lentils are an excellent source of fiber and carbohydrates. They can help keep you regular and promote healthy digestion. Studies have shown that eating beans several times a week may even help prevent colon cancer.[8, 9]

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt contain bacteria known as probiotics that help your colon break down food and have beneficial gut cleansing effects. While there are many fermented foods to choose from that can introduce more probiotics into your system, low-sugar and non-dairy options are the best for your colon.

Worst Foods for Your Colon

For the best colon health, avoid foods that disrupt your digestive system and destroy beneficial bacteria in your gut. What you drink is critical, too. Coffee, sodas, and other sugary drinks won’t help your colon. Here are some of the worst foods for your colon.

Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners

There are many good reasons you may want to avoid sugar in your diet. However, when it comes to your colon, sugar is especially disruptive. Both traditional sugars and artificial sweeteners can cause an imbalance of digestive bacteria or diarrhea and inflammation in some people.

Processed Foods

Processed foods typically contain a long list of additives and chemicals used to prolong shelf life and add texture or flavor. Avoid these whenever possible. Increasingly, additives, like emulsifiers, in processed foods have been linked to colon cancer and can cause constipation.[10] The best way to avoid these additives, and other harmful chemicals, is buying certified organic foods that are raw or minimally processed.


Alcohol is a known endocrine disrupter that is bad for your health. It can damage the sensitive lining of your colon and inhibit the good bacteria along the digestive tract. While the occasional drink may not cause lasting harm, heavy drinking can cause severe and long-term health issues.[11, 12]

Red Meat

Eating meat is linked to cancer and is hard on your digestive system. The increased risk and strain it puts on your colon are reason enough for many to avoid eating meat altogether. However, if you choose to include meat in your diet, you should, at least, reduce or eliminate red meat. Try eating vegetarian or vegan meals a few days each week. If you notice improvements to your health, increase the number of meat-free days.[13, 14]


For many people with colon related issues, like irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease, gluten wreaks havoc on the digestive system. Even if you don’t have one of these conditions, gluten may still contribute to inflation in your gut and colon. If you don’t want to cut out all grains from your diet, there are some great gluten-free alternatives like quinoa that also contain fiber and colon-friendly nutrients.[15]

Best Vitamins & Supplements for Your Colon

Many people cannot get all the nutrition they need through their diet. Balancing your colon health is no different. Supplementing with the right vitamins and nutritional supplements can help you manage your colon health. Below are some of the best supplements for your colon.

Using Oxygen to Cleanse the Colon

Following my colon cleanse diet has the potential to boost your body’s internal detoxification processes. However, in some cases, something more is needed. I developed Oxy-Powder® as a solution to the toxins and harmful organisms we are all exposed to. Oxy-Powder is a safe and effective colon cleanse product that uses the power of oxygen to gently cleanse and detoxify your entire digestive tract and relieve bloating, gas, and occasional constipation.

Tell Us Your Story

Have you tried a colon cleanse or do you eat some of the colon cleansing foods from the list above? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.

The post What’s the Best Colon Cleanse Diet? appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Holiday Gift Must-have: Ethical and Sustainable Jewelry + GIVEAWAY

Gifting seems a bit trickier to me this year. I am resisting the urge to buy "stuff."  I want to place my money meaningfully, and into products made by companies I wish to support. I want to shop with intention this season, which is why my recommendation for gifting your dearest ones this year comes back to one of my favourite ethical and sustainable jewelry companies, Ananda Soul Creations.

For those who are not feeling like the read today, scroll to see some of the beautiful creations below, and enter to win yourself a $100 USD gift-card to Ananda's online shop - either as a gift to your loved one, or to yourself. <3 Enter here! Happy Holidays!

The above ring must be one of my favourite pieces from beautiful Christina's line, Ananda Soul Creations. The Wise Wild & Free moonstone ring aids in inner growth, strengthens intuition and stabilizes emotions. Moonstone is known as a stone for new beginnings, success in love and business, and good fortune. It promotes inspiration and protects us, especially those of us who are very sensitive. How's that for gifts this holiday?

Following on my moonstone thread, I had to wear these gorgeous earrings - the gold vermeil Amarapura Earrings. Amarapura means ‘Paradise’ and goodness to they remind me of whimsical days in Bali, where these creations are made.

All of Ananda Soul Creations' products are ethical and sustainable jewelry and clothing. So what does that mean?  It means local production in Bali with fair wages, it means sourcing standards on everything from the metals and gemstones used in the pieces (did you know there can be ethical concerns with purchasing crystals and gemstones - especially around the extraction and how people are treated in that process). Further Ananda Soul Creations focuses on recycled metals and giving back to mother's living in poverty within Bali. Check out their whole ethical guide here.

The Tear of Joy ring is an aquamarine, which is a very powerful stone to stimulate psychic powers and increasing awareness. It enables us to create a link between our intuition to our conscious mind, becoming aware of psychic messages. I love these types of "gifts" too ;) hehe

If you want to check out of some of her other ethical and sustainable jewelry pieces I love, see some previous posts here, here and here. And in the mean time, join the spirit of giving and enter our giveaway in the link below. So excited to share these gorgeous and meaningful creations with you, beautiful souls.

Enter to win yourself or your loved one a $100 USD gift-card to Ananda's online shop  <3 Enter here! Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, Loves!




The post Holiday Gift Must-have: Ethical and Sustainable Jewelry + GIVEAWAY appeared first on Living Pretty, Naturally.


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

Beets are one of many foods that can help lower blood pressure.

There is a virtual cornucopia of foods, herbs, and other forms of nourishment that are readily available to lower high blood pressure, or hypertension, naturally. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are just a handful of the healthy things you can eat to promote healthy blood flow. Learning the benefits of these foods and determining which ones are best for your diet may help to lower your blood pressure and maintain circulatory health.

The Importance of Your Blood

“Blood is a very special juice,” wrote the famous 18th-century author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, but it is more than just “special.” Blood is the fuel that sustains human and animal life. It enables the body to stay alive by carrying oxygen and nutrients to living cells, taking away waste products, and transporting immune cells to fight infections. The average human adult body contains more than six quarts of blood which travels through the blood vessels and heart. This essential substance also includes platelets that can form a stopper in damaged blood vessels, preventing blood loss. As special as this “juice” is, it can also develop an unhealthy amount of pressure in your body.[1, 2]

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood applies pressure to the walls of your blood vessels as it flows through them resulting in your blood pressure. Your heart is a muscle that works as a pump to push your blood through these vessels. When visiting your healthcare professional, checking your blood pressure is one of the first tasks performed. Since it’s impossible to determine blood pressure merely by sight or listening to the heart, an oscillatory cuff is applied to the upper inside of the arm and inflates until no blood flows through the artery. As the pressure in the cuff starts to decrease, vibrations are detected. This detection happens when the cuff pressure is still high but leaves just enough room in the artery to force blood through. This process measures your systolic reading. As the cuff pressure reduces further, the blood can then move freely through your artery with its usual pulses, measuring your diastolic reading.[3]

What Is High Blood Pressure & What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

Healthy or normal blood pressure is below 120/80–120 being the systolic level and 80 being the diastolic level. Most people tend to be right around these levels or slightly higher. The systolic level is the highest your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, and the diastolic is the lowest it reaches as your heart relaxes. Sometimes these levels get too high due to complications stemming from diet, weight, activity levels, alcohol, smoking, and stress.[4]

There are varying degrees of blood pressure measured in five categories.[5]

  • Normal: Systolic less than 120 and diastolic less than 80
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
  • Stage 1 hypertension: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
  • Stage 2 hypertension: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 or diastolic over 120

Why Is High Blood Pressure Bad for You?

High blood pressure causes harm to your blood vessels. When blood pushes through your arteries with too much force, damage occurs and enables fat and calcium to build up. This process eventually causes blockage to occur in the form of plaque-promoting inflammation of the artery walls. Also known as clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, this buildup may cause blood clots to form. These clots can sometimes break loose and find their way to the heart or lungs resulting in obstructed blood flow to these organs.[6]

There are several things you can do to help bring down your blood pressure levels.[7]

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake
  • Raise activity levels
  • Start an aerobic exercise routine
  • Avoid stress and anger
  • Incorporate relaxation techniques
  • Follow a low-sodium diet
  • Eat healthy foods rich in vitamins and nutrients that promote healthy arteries and blood flow

Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

Certain foods are rich in properties that can maintain strong blood vessels, discourage calcium deposits in healthy arteries, and promote healthy blood flow. Some of the nutrients in these foods that support a healthy circulatory system are potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These elements have shown positive effects on lowering blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet to maintain a healthy heart and to help reduce blood pressure. This plan suggests a diet rich in fiber, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, poultry, fish, whole grains, nuts, and beans. This diet also encourages eating small amounts of low or nonfat dairy products and low sodium intake.[8]

So, what are some of these foods?

Veg Out

Researchers say that potassium-rich vegetables like sweet potatoes, avocados, kale, and spinach could help to lower your blood pressure and promote overall wellness. In a typical North American diet, sodium is dominant, and potassium is low. This imbalance can increase the chance of developing high blood pressure. Research revealed that people who ate more potassium experienced healthier blood pressure.

Nitrates are compounds that are also major players when it comes to lowering blood pressure. They play a significant role in our metabolic system. The body can convert them into a molecule called nitric oxide, which is related to blood flow. It allows the cells in your arteries to soften which can promote low blood pressure. The largest source of nitrates in the human diet is found in vegetables. The most potent and beneficial is beetroot. In addition to this powerful food, there are others rich in vitamins and minerals that help to lower blood pressure.[9]

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes cooked in their skin
  • Leafy greens such as Swiss chard and spinach
  • Vegetable juices like carrot and tomato
  • Acorn squash
  • Beets
  • Kale

Fresh & Fruity

Fruits are considered some of the best foods to lower blood pressure. Researchers have found that people who consumed fresh, raw fruits on a regular basis had substantially lower blood pressure than those who rarely ate them. Certain fruits provide minerals such as potassium and substances called flavonoids, both of which are linked to healthy blood pressure. The most potent of these are:[10]

  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Fruit juices: prune, pomegranate, orange, apple
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries

Blueberries and strawberries are particularly powerful. Research suggests that these may lower blood pressure by aiding in the blood vessels’ elasticity. Start off your day with a heart-healthy breakfast mixing these fruits in a cup of yogurt or bowl of oatmeal.[11]

Tea Time

Tea has been associated with a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, and research suggests this herbal drink can lower blood pressure if consumed on a regular basis.

Green Tea

Green tea possesses antioxidants and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitor properties. The polyphenols in green tea decrease the absorption of lipids from the intestines and help the conversion of cholesterol into healthy bile acids. Evidence shows that drinking green tea has a cardioprotective effect and is associated with blood vessel relaxation. These results are due to polyphenols called catechins. Daily consumption of five to six cups of green tea could help promote normal blood pressure and cholesterol.[12]

Hibiscus Tea

Many studies have evaluated this sour tea and its impact on blood pressure. Hibiscus tea contains antioxidants and has blood pressure-lowering abilities, especially in its extracts. In one particular study, adults who were mildly and pre-hypertensive showed a healthy reduction in their systolic levels after only six weeks of drinking hibiscus tea on a daily basis.[13]

Black Tea

Unlike other types of tea, black tea is more oxidized—a result of the leaves being aged longer. In the past, black tea has been shown to improve mental alertness and can promote and maintain healthy arteries. Studies indicate that consumption of four to five cups of black tea daily can reduce high blood pressure.[14, 15]

The Need for Seeds

One of the most dynamic foods for blood pressure health is a tiny brown seed called a flaxseed. In a 2013 study, patients who ate three generous tablespoons of flaxseeds a day for six months showed an impressive drop in their systolic blood pressure. These flaxseed servings can be eaten in many ways. Try baking them into bread products such as bagels and muffins, or use them in sauces and salad dressings.[16]

Sunflower seeds are another heart-healthy seed that may aid in lowering blood pressure. Rich in vitamin E, folic acid, protein, fiber, and a good source of magnesium, eating just a handful a day may help. To minimize your sodium intake, make sure to snack on unsalted seeds.[17]

Go Nuts

Potent sources of potassium, magnesium, and fiber, nuts are a great way to help lower blood pressure. They are a rich source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids which are needed to combat the unhealthier omega-6 fats. Some nuts can be high in this fat, so it is important to remember portion control. The nuts that contain higher amounts of omega-3 and lower amounts of omega-6 acids are walnuts, pistachios, hickory nuts, and cashews—making them optimal choices for helping with blood pressure reduction. Salted nuts, or nuts canned in oils, will not help lower blood pressure due to a higher sodium and fat content.[18]

Magic Beans

Beans are nutritious, versatile, and inexpensive. Full of excellent nutrients including potassium, fiber, and magnesium, beans are a great food to help lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health. A great way to enjoy beans is in salads, soups, or wraps. Choose dried or, if you can find them, fresh beans over the canned variety as they tend to lose some of their nutritional value. Here are some healthy bean choices for your diet.[19]

  • Black-eyed peas
  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Lentils
  • Navy beans
  • Chickpeas

Spice It Up

Adding a little spice to your life may be just what you need for healthy blood pressure. Most of the world’s population uses herbal supplements to support their health because they are easier for the human body to absorb and have fewer side effects. Extensive research has been done over the last few decades on the effect of plants on blood sugar, revealing promising results.[20]

Turmeric is one of the most vibrant and therapeutically significant spices available. It is a popular curry spice that has been used both in cooking and herbal remedies. The main molecule in turmeric is curcumin, which research shows has very impressive properties. A curcumin supplement can support the production of nitric oxide, a component that may help maintain healthy blood pressure.[21] Other spices and herbs that may support normal blood pressure are:

  • Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Cat’s claw
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Nutmeg
  • Rosemary

Oil Change

Cooking oils are used to fry foods, as salad dressings, and as a fat substitution during meal preparation. There are differences in oils and not all of them are a healthy choice. Changing out bad fats, or saturated and trans fats, for healthier fats–monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. When purchasing cooking oils, choosing “cold-pressed” and “expeller-pressed” versions are best as they retain all of the nutrients that would otherwise be hurt by a heating process. Out of all cooking oils, research showed that extra virgin olive oil has a greater positive effect on blood pressure.

Some oils lose nutritional value and can even be harmful at high temperatures. Oils with a more substantial amount of monounsaturated fat can withstand higher temperatures, while oils high in polyunsaturated fat are better as a dressing or as a fat substitute in recipes. Canola oil is best for cooking and has a healthy omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, as does avocado oil. Flaxseed and olive oil are better left unheated. Olive oils, however, can still be used for cooking at a lower heat.[22]

Sweetest Thing

Extensive research shows that dark chocolate is “good for you,” and people are taking this information to heart. Its high flavonoid content is what makes this treat so beneficial. These flavonoids are at their highest amounts in the cocoa solids of the cocoa bean which are found in darker chocolates. They can contain 46 to 60 milligrams of catechin, (a type of flavonoid) in just one ounce.[23]

Artificial sweeteners aren’t a healthy substitute for sugar, but Stevia may be a safe choice. It is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of a plant found in the sunflower family. Stevia is a nice alternative to sugar because it is plant-based and is much sweeter than sugar, allowing for smaller servings. Some research shows that it might help lower blood pressure due to glycosides found in the extract.[24, 25]

Foods To Avoid

Trying to achieve a healthy blood pressure isn’t just about eating heart and blood-healthy foods, it’s also about knowing which foods to stay away from. Sodium and sugar are the biggest contributors to high blood pressure. Since most pre-packaged foods contain heavy amounts of these, a fresh, more natural diet is encouraged. Also, many types of food have heavier levels of sodium, like certain dishes found on a Chinese or Italian food menu. Here are some foods to consider avoiding.[26]

  • Processed foods
  • Foods with a high sodium content
  • Fast foods (even their “low fat” menus)
  • Frozen seafood
  • Bacon
  • Deli meats
  • Canned or bottled tomato products like ketchup and red pasta sauces
  • Canned soups
  • Energy drinks
  • Anything pickled
  • Pizza
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco products

Some research suggests that small portions (about the size of a deck of cards) of lean beef are acceptable as part of a DASH-like diet.[27] However, because red meat may be toxic to your colon, vegan and vegetarian diets are a better strategy for encouraging healthy blood pressure.

Additionally, while omega-3 fatty acids, like linolenic acids found in fish, have been linked to heart health, it’s better to get those nutrients through vegan alternatives due to the high levels of mercury that are found in many types of fish.[28]

Here’s To Your Health

Staying healthy isn’t always easy, but keeping your blood pressure down with healthier foods is something to consider regardless of your blood pressure levels. Not only does a fresh, balanced diet promote healthy arteries, it contributes to healthy weight maintenance and overall wellness. Eating healthy isn’t enough, though. Daily exercise can help contribute to normal blood flow and lead to a healthier heart. It is recommended to do an aerobic workout of 30 to 45 minutes five days a week. It is not necessary to get those minutes packed into one workout, so feel free to break it up into ten-minute sessions throughout the day. A heartier 20-minute-a-day workout three days a week is also beneficial. Walking, jogging, biking, and swimming are a few good choices and can make a big difference on your path to health.[29]

What’s Your Story?

Do you have high blood pressure? Have you gone on a diet that helped lower it? What has been your experience regarding your blood pressure? We’d love to hear from you. Please tell us your story in the comments section below.

The post Foods That Lower Blood Pressure appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Monday, 4 December 2017

Best Natural Shampoo and Conditioner Brand

Today it's all about hair. Hair, and my special offer to you so you can get your hands on my all-time favourite and the best natural shampoo and conditioner. <3

With quite long hair, I often get asked "what kind of shampoo/conditioner do you recommend." I've even been asked just this last week by a random man while walking down the street, and while I don't think he was necessarily curious about my shampoo choices, I did give him an honest answer: Calia.

*[for those of you who just want the goods now, without the reading, check out the site here, and use code LPNCalia for a free gift with purchase].

Truth be told, there are a lot of natural hair products on the market these days that may make you doubt how effective and good a natural shampoo and conditioner combo can be. I've tried enough over the years to see why people can get fed up and stick with their conventional "tried and true" products.

Well, I'm here to tell you that my "tried and true" has been faithfully by my side for a few years now, and no matter what I've tried over the years, I keep coming back to my one-and-only. I am not kidding when I say my one-and-only - check out my 2 gallon jugs in my shower below ;)

Beauties, meet Calia. Some of you may remember this beautiful brand from a past post - including my LPN Special Haircare post a few years back. You see, Calia has been on my radar (and in my shower) for quite some time, however, no matter how many products I go through and test, this is my all-time favourite.

Depending on your hair type, I can recommend some different products from their line; however, I have a favourite of mine (especially for long and hair on the dry side).  My go-to in the Calia line is their Purifying Shampoo and Conditioner, which is made with coconut oil and scented with Rosemary and Moroccan Cedarwood essential oils leaving your hair so fresh (and very unisex so can be used by partner as well).

Why Calia is the Best Natural Shampoo and Conditioner

The love for Calia goes beyond the natural ingredients (as all my faves do), what it comes down to is it really, really works. No matter the build up in my hair, I feel so clean after washing with my purifying shampoo and no matter how dry, my hair feels so nourished and soft after a good condition with the purifying conditioner. Smooth, and light hair. Further still, I can go a couple days in between washes super easily.

Calia Naturals Haircare Ingredients

What's in it, is purity. I'm talking natural shampoo that has the ingredients of: coconut oil, pine extract, alfalfa extract, chamomile flower extract, Echinacea extract, nettle leaf extract, clover flower extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Horse Tail extract, olive fruit oil, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Spanish Rosemary Oil, Cedarwood Atlas Oil. That's it in their shampoo. Seriously, that's it, that's all and it works amazingly.

Where to Buy

With so many beautiful readers coming from all over the world, I have a few options for you to by the best natural shampoo and conditioner (yes, European beauties, I have a link for you, too!)

In the US and Canada, head over to use code LPNCalia and get a free gift with purchase. You can test our the smaller bottles for only $14.99, or go big with their gallon jugs for $105 each, to last a little (or a lot) longer -- a great option for my fellow long-haired gals.

For my readers in Europe, you often send me notes that you're looking for products you can purchase on this side of Atlantic, well lucky for you Calia just got a beautiful European distributor in So Natural BeautySo Natural Beauty is offering a 10% discount to readers with code LPN10!

Happy Weekend, beautiful! X K

The post Best Natural Shampoo and Conditioner Brand appeared first on Living Pretty, Naturally.


Thursday, 30 November 2017

Symptoms of Occasional Constipation and Natural Solutions

Drinking water may ease the symptoms of constipation.

Almost everyone has or will experience some form of constipation during their life. Signs or symptoms of occasional constipation include infrequent bowel movements, painful stools, bloating, and the need to strain to pass waste. Causes of constipation include a poor diet, dehydration, and a lack of physical activity. Although the popular way to remedy constipation is usually the use of laxatives, exercise and a healthy, organic diet can be just as effective and much less harmful to your digestive health.

What Is Constipation?

Constipation is a common digestive condition that takes place in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It occurs when the stool becomes impacted, causing bowel movements to become infrequent or difficult to pass. For many people, three bowel movements per week is “normal.” The preference of most health care professionals, however, is the passing of stool 2-3 times per day or after every meal. The inability to pass a stool at either of these rates is indicative of a blockage that results in constipation.[1]

Types of Constipation

There are two types of constipation: occasional and chronic. Occasional constipation is the most common type because it can affect anyone as a result of diet, stress, lack of energy, or other temporary reasons. Chronic constipation is an ongoing condition that may require lifelong attention.[1]

Side Effects of Constipation

Constipation can result in a great deal of discomfort and can also affect your gut health. One of the effects of having impacted bowels or intestinal blockage is a feeling of lethargy that keeps you from performing everyday tasks. You may also experience a distended or swollen stomach due to fluid or gas buildup, and feel as though you are unable to expel any waste from your bowels. Another effect of constipation is the disturbance of your intestinal microbiota, the healthy bacteria in your GI tract that support digestion. Once the composition of this important bacteria is compromised, it can affect overall health. In some cases, an overgrowth of an organism in your gut called candida can occur and lead to a yeast infection.[1]

Causes of Constipation

Poop happens…but sometimes, it doesn’t. Here are the main causes of constipation.


Nutrition plays a significant role in your intestinal health. A diet rich in fiber from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is ideal for a healthy GI tract. Foods that are heavy in animal fats such as meats, eggs, dairy, and sodium-rich processed foods promote stools that are hard to pass. A great way to keep your GI tract healthy is by substituting fatty or sugary snacks with healthy foods. Instead of a candy bar or cheese and crackers, try snacking on a handful of your favorite bran cereal, an orange, a small bowl of sliced kiwis, or a small serving of prunes.[3]


Drinking water every day is a great way to keep your skin clear, promote a healthy body weight, and enjoy a refreshing beverage. It’s also essential for healthy digestion and waste removal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dehydration is very common in the United States and is a leading cause of constipation. Getting your daily intake of water may prevent or alleviate constipation. Water intake does not have to be limited to just drinking–it can be absorbed through eating foods that have a high water content, like zucchini, celery, and watermelon.[4, 5]

Absence of Physical Activity

Exercise is beneficial for a healthy gastrointestinal tract. It is recommended to incorporate some form of exercise into your weekly schedule. One study found that daily exercise resulted in a 44% reduction of constipation in women. Out of all exercises, a brisk walk is the most effective at encouraging regular bowel movements.[6]


There are a number of medications that cause constipation, including:[7]

  • Antacids
  • Iron tablets
  • Antidepressants
  • Antispasmodic drugs
  • Narcotics and painkillers

Caffeine & Alcohol

Both caffeine and alcohol encourage fluid excretion from your body which can lead to dehydration. Reducing or removing these elements from your diet, combined with a healthy intake of water and fiber, may relieve the effects of constipation by keeping your stools smooth and hydrated.[7]

Life Changes

Your intestines and your brain are related. They are regulated by identical hormones and elements of the nervous system, so is it any wonder that a life-changing experience can affect your digestive tract? Stress can aggravate the large intestine and cause temporary, unhealthy side effects like diarrhea or constipation. Also, a sudden change in your daily routine can confuse your digestive system. Make sure you take time to redefine your natural eating and bowel habits to get back your regularity. Try having a bowel movement every day at the same time, for example, 20 to 40 minutes after breakfast or lunch.[8]

Shifts in Health

Illness, pregnancy, and advanced age have differing effects on health and can impact your bowel movements.


Illness or other health issues can result in a stay in the hospital. Staying in the hospital can prompt constipation due to constant bed rest, a smaller intake of food, medications, and a tendency to be shy while using the bathroom. Ask your natural health care provider what you can do to reduce constipation while there. Regardless, make sure you stay hydrated and try to make frequent trips to the restroom.


Constipation is common during pregnancy due to an increase in hormones and the uterus pressing up against a woman’s intestines. Following a diet that’s high in fiber and engaging in daily exercise may help alleviate some of these effects.


As people get older, it’s common to experience a reduction in muscle contractions within the intestinal wall. This factor, plus a greater need for medication makes constipation more common in the elderly. A diet rich in fiber and fruits, especially prunes, along with exercise is beneficial during this time in life.[9]

Ignoring the Need to Go

Another contributing factor is avoiding bowel movements. This aversion may happen because back pain is present, there is no time to use the bathroom at work, or you don’t feel comfortable using public restrooms. These circumstances can lead to your stool becoming backed up, resulting in constipation. Going on a vigorous walk at the end of the day may help loosen up your stool, and the exercise may also help with back pain.[10]

Symptoms of Occasional Constipation

There are several signs to look for if you think you may have occasional constipation, the most common being fewer bowel movements. There are several other symptoms, however, that are also associated with this condition. Experiencing two or more of these symptoms may mean you need to take action.


Healthy people can experience bloating for several different reasons. However, the most common of these is constipation. Bloating occurs because fecal matter in the small intestine moves slowly or stops. This blockage causes fluid to build which can result in a bloating sensation.[11]

Painful Stools

As digested food moves through the GI tract, water and nutrients are extracted. When feces moves too slowly, it can become hard, dry, and painful to pass.[12]

Back Pain

Constipation can cause the colon to distend resulting in bloating within the abdomen. This process can lead to constipation-related back pain. Discomfort in the lower back as a result of constipation feels more like a dull ache than a sharp pain. Use natural remedies like diet and exercise to relieve this type of back pain. Resist the urge to reach for a pain reliever as they may make constipation worse.[13]


The sick feeling you may experience while constipated is usually the result of toxins in your body. Use ginger to reduce the feeling of nausea, it’s a natural, effective means of relief. Apple cider vinegar, peppermint tea, and a glass of hot water with a few slices of lemon is a healthy way to stimulate digestive enzymes in your GI tract and loosen your stool.[14]

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Stools

A good way to find out the state of your health is through your stool. According to the Bristol Stool Chart, a medical scale designed to classify stools, there are seven types of feces.

Type 1

Type 1 stools are the least healthy. They are usually small and hard resembling nuts or pellets and are very painful to pass. This kind of stool indicates that you are dehydrated, full of toxins and in need of intestinal cleansing.

Type 2

Type 2 stools are one piece, but hard and lumpy and shaped like a pickle or sausage. This stool is also painful and difficult to pass and is indicative of constipation. Intestinal cleansing is recommended.

Type 3

Type 3 stools are one piece, usually have surface cracks, and are considered normal. Some medical professionals argue, however, that this type of stool is a sign of constipation. If difficult to pass, it may warrant an intestinal cleanse.

Type 4

Type 4 stools are sausage-shaped, smooth, and almost snake-like. These are ideal stools and indicate a regular bowel movement routine. They represent a healthy GI tract.

Type 5

Type 5 stools contain soft blobs with clear-cut edges and are easily passed through the digestive system. Classified as soft diarrhea, they indicate toxicity in your digestive system and indicate the need for cleansing.

Type 6

Type 6 stools tend to be in pieces and are mushy and fluffy with ragged edges. Their consistency indicates diarrhea and toxicity in your system. Dehydration may result from this condition.

Type 7

Type 7 stools are mostly liquid with no solid pieces and they’ve spent the least amount of time in the colon. This could be indicative of an unhealthy GI tract and should be taken seriously. Dehydration may occur at this level which can result in constipation later on. Avoid alcohol and caffeine if this occurs and hydrate right away with plenty of fruit and water.[15]

Children & Constipation

Children tend to become constipated like adults, but for reasons other than just a poor diet, stress, or lack of exercise. Sometimes while kids are playing or engaging in other activities, they just forget to go. They’re not used to listening to their body’s natural signals that it’s time to use the bathroom. This can cause bowels to become backed up and impacted. Some children who end up passing hard stool develop a fear of going to the bathroom—severely disrupting their schedule. Keeping the child hydrated, teaching them to listen to their body, and supporting a regular potty schedule may help the child avoid constipation in the future.[16]

Solutions for Occasional Constipation

Avoiding constipation altogether with exercise, a healthy diet, and a regular bowel schedule is always the best solution. However, when constipation does occur there are several natural ways to help alleviate unhealthy blockage.


Eliminate foods that cause constipation, including processed foods, heavy meats, and dairy products to keep your bowels from becoming more impacted. Eat vegetables, bran, and fruits, especially prunes. Remember to drink plenty of water. Adding natural lemon juice or lemon slices to distilled or purified water is ideal. This diet, coupled with brisk walks should get your bowels flowing nicely.


Supplements can be very advantageous and provide the jumpstart you need to relieve constipation. Most supplements contain natural ingredients like fiber, magnesium, and probiotics.


A fiber supplement may help with constipation, but it can also make constipation worse if the wrong type is used. A soluble, non-fermenting, gel-forming fiber supplement is recommended over an insoluble fiber supplement as it doesn’t yield as many negative effects. To bypass these effects, get your fiber from a fiber-rich diet.[17]


Probiotics, the healthy bacteria in the intestines that help with digestion, are available in supplements or certain foods like yogurt or kombucha. These supplements have been shown to promote a healthy GI tract that’s less likely to experience constipation. A great probiotic supplement that can help promote a healthy microbiome within your gut is Floratrex™[18]


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


Laxatives are often used as an immediate means of constipation relief. Laxatives work by either irritating muscles in the intestinal walls to force a bowel movement, or by drawing water to the stool to make it easier to pass. Although they may produce a bowel movement, laxatives can cause dehydration and dependency. Dependency is the inability to pass stool without laxatives, which is why they’re best avoided.[7]

Ozonated Magnesium

Magnesium can draw water into hard stools naturally, making them softer and easier to pass. It also relieves any tension in the intestinal wall that might be causing constipation. Oxy-Powder® is one of the best supplements available for promoting a healthy GI tract. The formula uses the natural power of oxygen to gently cleanse and detoxify your entire digestive tract, relieving bloating, gas, and occasional constipation.

Have you dealt with occasional constipation in your own life? What are the most effective means of relief that you’ve found? Leave a comment below and share your experience with us.

The post Symptoms of Occasional Constipation and Natural Solutions appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Signs of High Blood Pressure

Meditation can help mitigate the signs of high blood pressure.

According to guidelines set by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines, half of Americans have high blood pressure (HBP).[1] If you don’t have high blood pressure yourself, chances are you know someone who does. Being aware of high blood pressure and hypertension is critical. When left undiagnosed, it can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or other dangerous health conditions. The first step towards preventing or mitigating the risks of high blood pressure is recognizing the issue. While it is often called the “silent killer,” there are some common signs and symptoms of high blood pressure you can watch out for.[2]

What Is Blood Pressure & How Is It Measured?

Blood pressure is the pressure or force of the blood as it moves through your circulatory system. It is most commonly measured using a tool called a sphygmomanometer. You have probably used one of these instruments before even if you don’t recognize the name. It uses an inflatable arm cuff that puts pressure on the artery to measure the systolic and diastolic pressure on your blood vessels.

To get these readings, blood pressure monitors use a gage with a measurement unit called millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Your blood pressure is read using two standard numbers, systolic and diastolic. A typical blood pressure reading may look something like 120/80 mmHg, which is read aloud as 120 over 80 millimeters of mercury. Most people will also drop the last part and only say the numbers—120 over 80.[3]

What Is Systolic Blood Pressure?

The systolic number appears on top of the blood pressure reading and is used to measure the pressure in your blood vessels each time your heart beats.

What Is Diastolic Blood Pressure?

The diastolic number appears at the bottom of the blood pressure reading and measures the pressure in the blood vessels in between heartbeats when the heart is at rest.

Blood Pressure Ranges

After you measure your blood pressure, you will probably want to know if it’s healthy or not. Depending on the numbers, your levels may be considered low, healthy, at risk, or high. Before coming to a conclusion based off of a single test, you should know several factors can skew your results. Your emotional state, your morning coffee, and even the temperature of the room all can alter the results. Your healthcare provider can help minimize these interruptions for a more precise reading.

Here are the accepted ranges for blood pressure and what they mean.[3]

  • Normal: Systolic less than 120 and diastolic less than 80
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
  • Stage 1 Hypertension: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
  • Stage 2 Hypertension: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 or diastolic over 120

What Is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure occurs when the force of your blood as it circulates becomes elevated. Increased blood pressure puts added stress on your blood vessels, heart, and arteries. This strain is what leads to heart disease and other detrimental side effects on vital organs like your brain and kidneys. Blood pressure is something that ebbs and flows. It will rise and lower depending on many different internal and external forces.

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension is a medical designation for those with consistently high blood pressure. Usually, this diagnoses won’t occur until a person has high blood pressure readings over a period of weeks or months. One occurrence of high blood pressure, while not ideal, does not always mean you have hypertension.

In casual conversation, high blood pressure and hypertension often are used interchangeably. Even your doctor may say you have high blood pressure instead of the more technical distinction of hypertension. You should be aware of the differences. Hypertension is an ever-present issue that will require significant changes to your lifestyle and diet.

Hypertension Types

There are several types of hypertension. Here are the most common varieties.

Essential Hypertension

Essential hypertension is by far the most prevalent. Around 95% of those with hypertension have this type. People are diagnosed with essential hypertension after having three or more readings of high blood pressure. The key characteristic of essential hypertension is that there is no identifiable cause for the high blood pressure.[4]

Secondary Hypertension

Around 5% of those diagnosed with hypertension have secondary hypertension. The main difference between this and essential hypertension is that secondary has one or more identifiable causes. In most cases, this underlying cause can be corrected, putting an end to the high blood pressure. In 85% of cases involving children and hypertension, secondary hypertension is the diagnoses.[5]

Isolated Systolic Hypertension (ISH)

In most cases of hypertension, the systolic and diastolic numbers rise together. However, there are occasions where just one will be above abnormal. Anytime the systolic number, which appears on the top, is above 40 and the diastolic remains in the 60 to 80 range it is considered Isolated Systolic Hypertension (ISH). After 65, people are more likely to develop ISH as their arteries deteriorate and become more elastic. ISH is a red flag for many heart-related issues.[6]

Isolated Diastolic Hypertension (IDH)

Isolated diastolic hypertension (IDH) is similar to isolated systolic only in reverse. It is where your systolic number remains in the normal range, and your diastolic numbers are 90 or higher. This kind of hypertension is far less common than any other type. Those with IDH are far more likely to have their systolic numbers rise over time.[7]

Malignant Hypertension

Malignant hypertension is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. It only occurs in about 1% of those with hypertension. It happens when there is a sharp rise in blood pressure in a very short period. Malignant hypertension can damage your organs and should be treated immediately by a healthcare professional. Signs and symptoms include chest pain, impaired vision, and numbness in the legs or arms.[8]

Resistant Hypertension

Resistant hypertension is not receptive to antihypertensive medications. This is the case for about 30% of people with hypertension. In these cases, the cause can be genetic or related to other health issues like weight, diabetes, or kidney disease.[9]

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure depends on many different factors. Often, high blood pressure develops slowly over time. Pinpointing the exact causes can be difficult or impossible. Some things cause temporary increases in blood pressure. These include:[10]

  • Alcohol, usually three drinks or more
  • Anxiety
  • Caffeine
  • Certain prescription drugs, including birth control pills
  • Illegal drugs like cocaine & amphetamine
  • Sodium
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Toxins like BPA

Around 5% of people with high blood pressure have developed it as the result of an underlying issue. These risk factors include:[11]

What Are the Common Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure?

Several risk factors increase your chances of developing high blood pressure. Most are avoidable, while others may be out of your control. Here are the most common reasons someone may develop high blood pressure.[2]


Getting older increases your likelihood of having high blood pressure. Men over 45 and women over 65 are at even higher risk.

Family History

Issues with high blood pressure usually run in the family. Check your family history to see if you may be at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure yourself.


Your weight is a huge factor in determining your risk of high blood pressure. As your weight increases so does the amount of blood your body needs to run correctly. This increased need puts additional stress and strain on your blood and heart.

Activity Level

Increasing your physical activity is always beneficial to your health. You should strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day. Less than that and you may be increasing your chances of becoming overweight and developing high blood pressure.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco use can cause temporary increases in blood pressure, and long-term tobacco use also affects your heart and arteries—increasing your risks of developing hypertension in the future.


Eating processed or fast food will increase your sodium intake causing your blood pressure to spike. When your diet lacks fresh, whole foods you can become deficient in essential nutrients like vitamin D and K—both of which are needed to regulate healthy blood pressure.

What Are the Signs of High Blood Pressure?

If you ever experience noticeable signs of high blood pressure, you may be having a severe health crisis. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.[14]

  • Blood in your urine
  • Blurred or obstructed vision
  • Buzzing noise in your ear
  • Confusion & disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Heavy nosebleeds
  • Irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia
  • Pain in your chest
  • Pounding feeling in your chest, neck, or ears
  • Severe headaches

What Are the Consequences of High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is typically a good indicator of your overall wellness. As your blood pressure rises, so does your risk of other health complications. Usually, the hardest hit area of the body is the heart—which takes on added stress and pressure. Here are some of the most common results of long-term high blood pressure or hypertension.[2]

  • Aneurysm
  • Damaged arteries
  • Dementia
  • Heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke
  • Vision loss

How to Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home

You can monitor your blood pressure from your home. However, there are many factors which can alter your results. The American Heart Association suggests keeping a blood pressure journal to provide a complete picture of your results over time. For the monitor, they recommend using an automatic, cuff-style reader that goes over your upper arm.[15]

For best results at home remember to do the following:

Stay Still

Sit as still as possible while you take your blood pressure. Don’t talk, eat, or drink. It is best to avoid exercise or strenuous activity for at least 30 minutes prior.

Keep Your Back Straight

How you sit can affect your results. Sit with your back straight. Usually, a sturdy dining chair works best. Avoid sofas and plush chairs when taking your blood pressure.

Follow the Directions Exactly

Your specific blood pressure monitor will come with directions. Follow them as exact as possible for the most accurate results.

Stick to A Routine

If you plan to keep a diary of your blood pressure readings, then it is best to test at the same time each day. Sticking to a schedule will give you a better idea of how your blood pressure changes over time under similar conditions. Also, don’t be afraid to test multiple times in one sitting to help ensure accurate readings.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

If you are concerned about your blood pressure, there are steps you can take. Here are three natural approaches that have helped countless people.

Change Your Diet

Managing your blood pressure with a healthy, plant-based diet could help. Here are some of the most popular diet options for those looking to improve or regulate their blood pressure.

The DASH Diet

Designed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, DASH diet for short, was created to help those with hypertension. It restricts the amount of sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and encourages the consumption of foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Sugar is limited too, and fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the main staples of the diet. Proponents claim that over time people can lower their blood pressure by 14 points following the DASH diet.[16]

The Mediterranean Diet

This diet focuses on consuming healthy fats and eating less red meat. It is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. Typically those who adhere to the mediterranean diet experience fewer health complications with their heart and blood pressure. Increasing nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables may be one reason why. Additionally, consuming red wine that is common in the diet and rich in resveratrol may contribute to a normal blood pressure.[17]

The Vegetarian Diet

Avoiding meat has many proven health benefits. Consuming a plant-based diet floods the body with nutrients and studies have linked a vegetarian diet to lower blood pressure.[18]

Avoid Sodium

No matter which diet you choose to follow, tracking your sodium intake each day is a good idea. It is recommended to stay under 2,400 mg a day, but that will take more than skipping the tabletop salt shaker. You will need to check nutrition labels to ensure what you are eating doesn’t contain hidden sodium. Avoid processed foods that are high in sodium. Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables that are low in sodium.[19]

Take the Right Supplements

Blood pressure can be a complicated mix of various mechanisms inside your body working together harmoniously. Each one of these processes requires a mix of nutrients to function correctly. When you are not getting these nutrients from your diet, then supplements are your next best option. The right blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals can be part of a healthy approach to blood pressure.[20]

Here are the most popular supplements that may encourage healthy blood pressure numbers.

Get Out & Move!

Regular exercise is an excellent way to keep your blood pressure in check. Exercising and staying active on a daily basis with things like walking or meditation will encourage weight loss, and for many is a great way to manage stress. Altogether, it is an excellent way to prevent or improve the things that influence your blood pressure the most.

Tell Us Your Story

Do you have high blood pressure or know someone that does? Have you found any natural remedies that help manage it? Let us know about your experiences in the comment section below.

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