Thursday, December 8, 2016

Bust Up Nasty Colds and Flus

Have you got the crud? A runny nose or hacking cough? If so, then sit back (in bed), relax and prepare to feel better. Adding some natural supplements and herbs to your regimen can help you clear colds and flus from your system fast.

The best protection you can have to avoid getting a cold or flu is an immune system that is working at its best. This means getting adequate quality sleep, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and maintaining good hygiene. In addition, adding foods or supplements with omega-3 fatty acids can help protect lungs from infections and support immune function by stimulating phagocytes which are immune system cells that fight off those invaders that bring illness. Vitamin D has also been shown in studies to give the immune system a boost and ward off colds. A study at Harvard reported participants with low vitamin D levels were 36% more at risk for getting an upper respiratory infection. This could be due to vitamin D being instrumental in the production of cathelicidin which is a protein that is able to kill viruses.

Here are a few other tips to help you get through the cold and flu season with a minimum of distress.

WASH YOUR HANDS: One of the best things you can do to keep from getting sick in the first place is to wash your hands frequently, especially during cold or flu season. Use warm water and soap and wash for at least 20 seconds. This will help you wash away viruses or bacteria that you may pick up on your hands and then enter the body by you touching your mouth or eyes. Did you know it is estimated that most adults touch their own face 15 times an hour? That's a lot of opportunity to ingest those germs that you pick up on your hands. Since germs are able to actually stay on wet skin even easier than dry skin, be sure to also dry your hands thoroughly and keep dry towels available. You might also want to consider using paper towels for drying rather than cloth to avoid spreading germs especially if you share a bathroom with someone who is sick.

PROBIOTICS: Probiotics, especially acidophilus, produces substances which are antiviral and antifungal. Probiotics also support the immune system by supporting the function of the digestive system. The Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport reported athletes taking probiotics every day had 40% less colds and an analysis done in 2011 of 10 different studies concluded that 42% of those taking probiotics were less at risk for getting a cold. Mike Gleeson, PhD, professor of exercise biochemistry at Loughborough University in England especially recommends taking Lactobacillus which can reduce the likelihood of getting respiratory and gastrointestinal infections

HERBS: Demulcent and expectorant herbs like marshmallow, slippery elm, comfrey, mullein, and fenugreek help thin and clear out mucous. You can find most of these herbs in tincture form at a health food store near you or online.

IMMUNE SUPPORT ALGAE SUPPLEMENT: Beta glucan helps with inflammation by mobilizing white blood cells to areas of injury or inflammation. These white blood cells (macrophages) remove damaged tissue quickly before it has time to trigger more inflammation. Astragalus and zinc are also known to boost immune system function as are many medicinal mushrooms. A study in 2013 showed an increase in the production of immune cells in participants that ate shiitake mushrooms. Reishi, cordyceps, maitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei are other mushrooms that have been shown to have anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties and support the immune system. You'll find all these mushrooms plus astragalus, beta glucan and organic wild bluegreen algae in this immune system support supplement.

VITAMIN C and BIOFLAVANOIDS: These two supplements provide potent antioxidant benefits and support healing of the lung tissue.

H20: Water, water, water. It's the most important ingredient for healing since you need it to flush the colds and flus out of your system!

Feel better yet? If not, you will soon once you get some of these natural healers into your system. The best thing about these herbs and supplements is that they support your immune system rather than suppressing it (the way antibiotics do). As a result, you'll emerge from your cold or flu with a stronger immune system than ever!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/ss/slideshow-sinusitis?ecd=wnl_wmh_100514&ctr=wnl-wmh-100514_ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3d
http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/prevention-relief-13/slideshow-cold-flu-tips?ecd=wnl_men_092714&ctr=wnl-men-092714_ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3D
http://www.prevention.com/immunity
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/colds-flu-prevention-strategies-and-immune-boosters
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/natural-solutions-boost-your-immune-system


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gift Your Pets with Vibrant Natural Health

During this season of giving you can give your pets the gift of natural health. That's a gift that can continue all year long and pay off in happier, healthier, longer living pets and less vet bills for you. Here are some of the things experts recommend considering for healthy pets.

Exercise
We all know that there is an obesity problem in this country for people, but did you know that 50% of dogs and cats are also overweight? This increases their risk of joint pain, arthritis, kidney disease, diabetes and reduced life span. Part of this problem is due to our busy lives and us not making the time to exercise ourselves, much less give our pets the exercise they need. Pets need exercise just like we do to burn calories. Louise Murray, DVM, DACVIM, vice president, ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City advises that playing 10 minutes each night with your cat can help him or her wind down for the night and burn off calories. Look too for ways to increase the amount of exercise your pet gets naturally. For example, for a cat put the litter box and food bowl far enough away from each other that the cat has to walk and maybe even climb to get from one to the other. You can use the same strategy for dogs that are left at home while you are at work with keeping food and water bowls on the opposite side of the house from the doggie door. Give some thought to the setup in your house and items your pet accesses and see what else you can come up with to increase exercise for them. If you live in a small apartment and absolutely can't get out to take your dog for a walk every day, check into a dog walker service or a doggie day care option in your area.

Strong Clean Teeth
Pets need healthy teeth just like people do, but there are around 78% of dogs and 68% of cats more than 3 years old that have various dental diseases that include tartar, gingivitis, receding gums, inflammation and tooth loss. According to Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, chief medical officer at Banfield Pet Hospital in Portland, OR, keeping your pet's teeth healthy also can prevent bacteria getting into the bloodstream through the gums. If this bacteria gets into organs it can cause cardiac, kidney or liver disease. Kate Knutson, DVM, co-director of Pet Crossing Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic in Bloomington, MN, adds that pets that have their teeth kept clean can live 3 to 5 years longer. The best way to keep your pet's teeth clean is by brushing them. Be sure and get a toothpaste that is designed for pets though. Human toothpaste could have xylitol in it which can be deadly for dogs.

Bathing
Pets do need to be bathed, but too much can dry out their skin. Once a month or even once every 2 months is enough for dogs and cats should only normally need a bath once or twice yearly. If your pet has skin problems, they may need more, so check with your vet in those cases to see what is recommended. When bathing, it is best to stay away from heavy chemical shampoo and go with a natural one specifically made for pets or use castile soap.

Nutrition
Your pet has different nutritional needs than humans do and there are many people foods that are actually harmful to pets. For example, chocolate can make a dog extremely sick or even lead to death. Giving people foods to your pets also contributes to the pet becoming overweight in many cases. On the other hand there are some people foods that make good low calorie treats and are safe for your pets.

Cats need double the amount of protein recommended for people and for dogs and the best source for it is meat or fish. Marla J. McGeorge, DVM explains that cats need animal protein in order to get all the amino acids they need for natural health. In fact animal protein is the only way they can get the amino acid taurine which is necessary for heart and eye function. Most other animals can make taurine from other amino acids, but cats can't. Cats also need fats for energy, but don't get foods with too much fat as it can contribute to them being overweight. Most dry cat foods have around 40% of calories from carbohydrates which can also lead to the cat being overweight and there is no minimum recommended amount of carbs for healthy pets. Read the label on cat foods you buy and look for high protein from meat or fish sources, some fat and low carbs.

Dogs only need to have about 18% protein in their diets and animal protein is the best source for them too. Dogs also can benefit from some vegetables and need healthy fats for energy and for coat, skin, nose and paw pad health. Keep the fats down to about 9% to 15% of their calories daily so that you don't contribute to an overweight pet. Many pet treats also contain fats, so figure those in too. Carbs are not important for pets like for people. Just like with cats, dogs don't have a recommended amount of carbs per day. They can use some carbs for energy, but that is not the most important source for the dog's energy. When choosing dog food, look for protein from meat sources, some healthy fats and low on carbs. Many dog foods are heavy on grains and don't have enough protein.

When planning for healthy pets, don't forget water. Clean water every day is an absolute must and if your pet has participated in something extra strenuous, make sure you offer water afterwards.

There are also supplements that can help with the goal of having healthy pets. This powdered algae supplement can be used for people or animals to provide nutrients not provided by regular meals. With 2 forms of AFA bluegreen algae, a blend of 12 strains of live beneficial bacteria and enzymes, and antioxidant rich wheat sprouts, this supplement provides a wide array of micronutrients for general well-being, and the probiotics supply friendly bacteria that are essential to the health and balance of the gastrointestinal tract of both people and animals. Another way to get AFA bluegreen algae, enzymes and probiotics for pet health is with these convenient packets of capsules. If you are traveling or on the go a lot, this may work better than the powder for you and your pet. Antioxidants are a major defense against free radicals that can cause oxidative damage to cells and are partly responsible for negative changes associated with aging and various health problems. This algae supplement contains ingredients with a wide spectrum of antioxidants and provides nutrition that enables the body's natural stem cells to flourish.

Healthy Treats
Our pets love treats and in some cases they are necessary for beginning to train your pet. Many pet treats that you buy however don't support natural health and can add to obesity. Using toys and attention as much as possible to reward a pet is a better solution than treats, but when treats are necessary look for natural treats that are low fat and low in calories. You can also use green beans, baby carrots, apple or pear chunks, or watermelon without seeds as healthy treats. Don't use stringy veggies or fruits as they can cause digestive problems and get stuck in teeth. Grapes and raisins are also a no-no as they can cause renal failure in dogs and avocados are very toxic for dogs. Milk is also not a good treat for dogs or cats as they can't break down the lactose like most humans can. Diarrhea, vomiting and other digestive issues can result from your pets drinking milk. For other foods that may be dangerous for your pets, check out the ASPCA or other pet related websites.

We all love our pets and want them to be with us as long as possible. The best way to insure a long happy life for your pet is to follow the steps to support natural health. Read food labels, provide the proper nutrition, make sure your pet gets exercise, keep teeth clean and follow any other recommendations your vet has made specifically for your pet and you'll have healthy pets to bring you joy for a long time.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Sources:
http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/pet-health-care-myths-ignore
http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/pet-health-your-dog-or-cat-too-fat
http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/how-prevent-pets-getting-sick
http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/pet-health-6-tips-dog-cat-teeth-cleaning
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/how-dogs-help-prevent-allergies
http://pets.webmd.com/features/pet-nutrition

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Your Immune System: 7 Ways to Avoid Putting it at Risk with the Flu

Flu season is upon us again and the best way to avoid getting sick with the flu is to strengthen your immune system. If you already eat healthy, take probiotics, get enough sleep and exercise, then chances are your immune system is in pretty good shape. The trick now is to keep it strong especially during flu season. Let's look at a few things you can do to avoid putting your immune system at risk and keep it strong to help you fight off flu.

What is the Flu?
The flu is caused by a virus just as a cold is. But flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms. You generally start seeing relief from cold symptoms within a week whereas flu symptoms can last a bit longer and you don't bounce back as fast. The worst flu symptoms may show relief after a week, but you can still be lacking energy and have milder symptoms for weeks. Symptoms of flu can include a high grade fever, achy muscles, headache, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and possibly vomiting or diarrhea.

Keeping Your Immune System Strong
1. Get Rest
Not getting enough sleep reduces immune cell function and impairs the ability of your immune system to protect you from illness such as the flu. If you are feeling sick, then getting more sleep helps increase your immune system's fever response to fight off invaders. Getting extra rest also helps immune cells regenerate. Adults need to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night. This is especially important to make a priority during flu season to keep your immune system healthy.

2. Avoid Alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption can negatively affect your immune system function. Drinking too much alcohol can reduce white blood cells and prevent your body's absorption of nutrients. One study performed with mice reported those given large amounts of alcohol showed signs of the immune system being weaker. Flu season is an especially good time to hit the sack early instead of staying up late at parties or out drinking with friends.

3. Hand Washing
One of your best lines of defense against getting the flu is to wash your hands. Use soap and warm water to wash throughout the day and particularly after being out in public places where you have been touching things that could have picked up germs from others, after coughing or sneezing into your hand, after using the restroom, or touching your face. When you wash, make sure you wash thoroughly and for at least 20 seconds, then be sure to dry your hands completely. Using paper towels is also better for cutting down on germ exposure than using a cloth towel, especially if multiple people are using the cloth towel.

4. Immune Support Supplement
One way I have found to support the immune system is this supplement containing reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms with astragalus, beta glucan and bluegreen algae. Pure, whole particle beta glucan helps with inflammation by mobilizing white blood cells to areas of injury or inflammation. These white blood cells (macrophages) remove damaged tissue quickly before it has time to trigger more inflammation. Beta glucan from yeast has been known to help fight off bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics, release chemicals that support immune cells, reduce cold symptoms, and help regulate the immune system. Beta glucans are not something the body produces naturally so we have to get them from food or supplement sources. Adding a single capsule of this immune support supplement each day to your diet can help give your body the nutritional elements shown to actively defend against invading germs, viruses and antigens by stimulating the macrophages into action, which in turn triggers an entire chain reaction of defense mechanisms in the body. Shiitake and reishi mushrooms have been found to have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties as well as being rich in beta glucans. Maitake, cordyceps and Turkey Tail mushrooms have also been found to contain a variety of substances that benefit your immune system.

5. Precautions Around Other People
Since the flu is contagious, there are certain precautions to take when around other people that will help reduce your risk of getting it. Even if you are around people that don't appear sick, they can have the virus and begin spreading it. Washing your hands after coming into physical contact with another (ie. – shaking hands with them) is one way you can cut down on your chances of getting the virus. If you can't immediately wash your hands then at least be sure to not touch your mouth, nose or eyes until you can wash. I know mom told us to cover our mouths when we cough and most people cover their noses when they sneeze, but sneezing or coughing into your sleeve instead of your hand can help cut down on the spreading of flu germs. Encourage those around you to do the same. During the peak of flu season, the safest course is to avoid crowded public places since the virus can be spread over quite a distance through the air. If that is not possible, some people wear filtering masks to reduce their risk of being affected. Others just stick with being contentious about washing their hands extra and avoid anyone that is showing symptoms of the flu.

6. Drink Water
Keeping your body hydrated helps keep all the systems including your immune system functioning at their peak capacity. Not drinking enough water also distracts your immune system as it deals with toxins in the body that are not being released from the body through urination. Drinking the right amount of water for you will leave your urine a pale yellow color. If your urine is darker yellow, then you are probably not drinking enough water daily. Drinking lots of water is also important if you get the flu as it helps flush the flu out of your system.

7. Don't Worry
Anxiety and stress can also reduce the function of your immune system. Stress reduces your levels of IgA, a protein that is part of the immune system and helps fight off infections by preventing invaders from getting into the body, leaving the immune system more vulnerable. Reducing stress or learning methods of coping with stress can go a long way towards strengthening your immune system. On a spiritual or energetic level, according to the Law of Attraction, worrying about getting the flu can actually cause you to manifest it or draw it into your reality. Take the precautions listed in this article and go on about your everyday life without worrying that you might get the flu. If you do get the flu, then you'll deal with it, but worrying about getting it will definitely not keep it away. Cut down on other life stressors or find ways to cope with them during the flu season too so that your immune system has the best chance of helping you avoid the flu.

The flu is nothing to fool around with. In some cases it can lead to hospitalization and even death. At best, it means time missed from work or school, family and feeling miserable. Give some or all these tips a try and get your immune system in top working order to help you fight off illness this flu season.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Sources:
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20311978,00.html?xid=healthforwomen12092013

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Natural Solutions to Stop Stress

Is your life full of stress, stress, stress? Sometimes I get stressed just thinking about all the stress we are all surrounded by in this day and age. When we experience stress our "fight or flight" response is activated. According to Ash Nadkarni, MD, an associate psychiatrist at Brigham & Women's Hospital, this gets the adrenaline going, makes the heart beat more quickly and causes a rise in blood pressure. When stress hormones are chronically present over time it increases the risk for health problems such as anxiety, depression, heart disease, increased weight, and cognitive problems. None of us can totally live stress free lives, but there are natural solutions we can employ for how to relieve stress and reduce the effects of stress on our health.

Nutrition For Dealing With Stress
Certain foods can actually physically help you deal with the effects of stress. There are foods that can increase serotonin levels which can calm the body and those that can reduce levels of cortisol and adrenaline which are triggered by stress. Complex carbs are good for increasing serotonin as well as balancing blood sugar levels. This would include foods such as whole grains in cereals, breads and pastas. Vitamin C can help control levels of cortisol from spiking, boost the immune system and help maintain blood pressure levels. Black tea is also good at relieving stress and reducing levels of cortisol. Eating foods with magnesium, B vitamins and chlorophyll are good for coping with stress. When under stress, the body uses up these stress relievers so that just when you need them the most, they are the least available to you. Eating lots of leafy greens, halibut, oysters, nuts, seeds and bluegreen algae can give you the extra nutrition you need to support your body through the times you are coping with stress. B vitamins, produced in the intestines, especially B-12, help us relax, soothe our nerves and help us deal with stress. Having healthy probiotics in your gut can give your body a boost to keep producing these vitamins and help your body cope with stress as well as support overall digestive system function and gut health.

Our bodies also need more proteins when we are under stress and good proteins include those from whole grains, soy, sprouts and bluegreen algae. Good proteins support your body's ability to handle stress, both physically and mentally. Another supplement we find useful in providing nutrition for stress relief combines bluegreen algae, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni. This nutritional combination gives support to help you function when stress overwhelms you.

Exercise For Dealing With Stress
Exercise provides another natural solution for dealing with stress as it releases endorphins which boost mood. Aerobic exercise is a good way to increase oxygen circulating in the body, relax muscles, as well as increase endorphins and reduce cortisol and adrenaline. Exercise also gives you a chance to get away from work and other stressful situations giving you a much needed break and a chance to regenerate and refocus mentally. Even just going for a ten minute walk can revive you and allow you some time to de-stress.

Change Your Surroundings to Relieve Effects of Stress
Looking for a real natural solution for coping with stress? Change the colors you surround yourself with. According to Molly Roberts, MD, president of the American Holistic Medical Association, colors like blue, green and grey can help soothe and calm. Visual cues from these type colors affect the brain nerve pathways that control emotion. If you find yourself under a lot of stress take a look at changing the color of your walls, furniture, and even the screen saver on your computer. Organizing your environment can also help give you some relief from stress. Clutter and being disorganized add stress to your life. Lauren Napolitano, PsyD, a psychologist at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania, advises that organizing your physical environment can also help organize your emotions. Clear out your desk, drawers, closets and anything else you see regularly that is in disarray.

Create Balance For Dealing With Stress
Creating balance in your life is another way to naturally cope with stress. You know the saying "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". Well, it also makes Jack a stressed out boy and you too. Making time in your life to spend time alone and to enjoy the company of others can help decrease stress levels. Oprah Winfrey shares her way of dealing with stress by finding a quiet place to go that she can be alone, breathe and find the stillness inside that connects her with all other living things and then she smiles at the wonder of this. Rita Eichenstein, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Towers in Los Angeles, recommends singing as a way of relieving stress. Chanting in meditation or singing your favorite tunes can relax the mind as the sound vibrates through the body and has been shown in research studies to decrease cortisol and lower blood pressure levels. When looking to create balance it is important to consider all aspects. Pushing yourself when you are sick, tired or hungry only increases stress. You may think you are being more productive by refusing to stop work to eat or rest, but actually you are just increasing the likelihood of burn-out and becoming sick enough that you can't ignore your body's needs anymore. A well balanced body that has optimal health can withstand more stress too so it can take on more stressors than a tired, sick or hungry body. The key to balance though is not too much of any of these either way. Too little or too much sleep can both be detrimental, so find just the right amount to stick with. The same applies to hunger – skipping meals can increase stress, but so can eating too much.

You can't banish all stress from your life, but you can learn ways of coping with stress to keep it from overwhelming you. Good nutrition and exercise that support stress relief, some lifestyle changes and awareness of what triggers your stress can all go a long way to helping you triumphant over the stress in your life.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-diet-for-stress-management?ecd=wnl_wmhC_091114_tempC&ctr=wnl-wmh-091114-tempC_promo_4&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3d
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20843057,00.html?xid=healthyliving09032014
http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Oprah-Appreciates-the-Challenge-of-Growing-OWN
http://www.oprah.com/health/Reduce-Your-Vulnerability-to-Stress



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Simple Ways to Eat Healthy During the Holiday Rush

To many people the holidays mean food and to eat healthy is often a challenge. It's estimated that on the average most of us gain a pound over the holidays. I'm pretty sure in my case that is a low estimate. While that pound may not sound too bad, if you eat that way regularly those pounds add up. According to Dr. Oz, instead of paying attention to your waist size over the holidays it's better to concentrate on building muscle so that losing that weight afterwards is not as hard. Here are some holiday tips on eating to build up muscle, eat healthy and incorporate some fat burning foods into your diet.


  • Getting enough sleep helps curb craving for comfort foods and snacks and supports building muscle. 
  • Use spices, herbs, fruits and nuts to flavor dishes instead of butter and other fats. Garlic mashed potatoes are a great example and replace fatty sour cream dips with hummus. 
  • Eat a healthy protein or healthy fat snack before going to holiday parties so you are not as likely to overeat, especially if the party includes a buffet table. 
  • Substitute healthier snack choices that meet your food cravings. For example, if you crave a creamy sweet like ice cream have a cup of yogurt with fruit instead or at least go for a smaller amount of slow churned ice cream that doesn't have as much fat and can be half the amount of calories. If your food craving leans more towards the chips category because of the salt and crunch you get, you can easily rack up 1230 calories by eating an eight ounce bag. Carrots, celery, or baked whole grain crackers with a hummus dip can give you the crunch in a more healthy way without sacrificing flavor. 
  • Protein foods satisfy hunger longer and burn up more calories in digesting them than other types of foods. Quinoa makes a great side dish with a cup having 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber and fish is a good protein that is also low fat and gives you omega-3 fatty acids. Most adults need 45 – 56 grams of protein daily and more if they get regular exercise so food sources are usually adequate to provide the protein needed. If you have a really strenuous or active lifestyle or just don't take the time to eat right, protein drinks can help. To lose fat the best are the ones with not many carbs and mostly protein with only a touch of fat. Jose Antonio, chief executive officer and co-founder of the International Society of Sports Nutrition advises having a drink that is over 50% protein to lose body fat. I prefer this drink mix that is made from pure organic whey protein from rBGH-free cattle, AFA bluegreen algae, all-natural Whey Low®, sprouts and protein-digesting enzymes with 22 grams of protein per serving. 
  • Traditional holiday fare is always a temptation. We all have family favorites that maybe we've had since childhood bringing up fond memories. Instead of depriving yourself of these type goodies, limit the amount you'll eat. One bite of that chocolate fudge savored slowly can satisfy the craving so that you don't have to gobble up several pieces.  
  • Nuts are a food often served at parties and just sitting around as a snack food during the holidays. While nuts are a healthy snack, they also are a fatty snack so too much can put on the weight. A single cup of mixed nuts can be over 800 calories. Get nuts with shells that have to be cracked. That will take longer to eat than already shelled nuts that you can wolf down by the handful. 
  • Many people get a blood sugar drop in the middle of the afternoon and reach for a carb filled or sugary snack to regain energy. That adds on calories and the body burns those types of calories quicker. A snack with protein and complex carb will stabilize blood sugar and last longer. I like this snack bar that contains a healthy balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients from whole-food sources of sprouted grains and grasses, almond butter, and AFA bluegreen algae, with no chemical additives or dairy. Healthy snacks to have around are ones that have less than 200 calories like yogurt with fruit, boiled eggs, and veggies with bean dip or hummus.  
  • Stress is abundant during the holidays so be careful of emotional or stress eating. Try going for a walk, meditation or a relaxing soak in the tub before turning to food to relieve stress.
  • A study in Appetite reported workers taking a 15 minute walk were 50% less likely to eat chocolate back at their desks than those that rested for those 15 minutes. So getting some exercise not only burns off some of those extra calories, but also can curb your craving for sweets.
  • When snacking on yogurt, pick Greek yogurt as it has double the protein of regular yogurts to help build muscle and keep you full longer. Your body also burns more calories digesting protein than it does digesting carbohydrates. 
  • Foods that have a high water content are great for curbing appetite as they make you feel fuller, are full of nutrients and are low calorie. Raw veggies and fruits fit in this category and also provide you with antioxidants and fiber. Oatmeal not only has a high water content, but is also rich in fiber, filling, and hot. Hot foods take a longer time to eat. Filling up on salad before a meal can also help you avoid overeating more fatty foods with the main meal. 


Here's to healthier eating over the holidays this year! Just being aware of ways to cut down your calorie intake can help you avoid overeating and make it easier to burn off those extra calories after the holidays.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Sources: 
http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/food-cravings-diet-wreckers?ecd=wnl_lbt_091014&ctr=wnl-lbt-091014_nsl-ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3D
http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-fat-fighting-foods?ecd=wnl_wmhA_082614&ctr=wnl-wmh-082614_nsl-ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3D
http://www.webmd.com/diet/protein-shakes?ecd=wnl_day_072814&ctr=wnl-day-072814_nsl-ld-stry_2&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3D
http://www.oprah.com/health/Dr-Ozs-Holiday-Secrets_1
http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/foods-weight-loss-and-prevent-cold-and-flu


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Winter Allergy Symptoms and Natural Solutions for Relief

Most of us associate our allergy symptoms with Spring when everything is turning green and blooming, but winter can have its own triggers for allergy symptoms. With the cold weather causing us to stay indoors more, there are a variety of triggers that bring on winter allergy symptoms. Even the winter holidays come with allergy pitfalls. Being aware of what causes these winter allergy symptoms can help you plan and find natural solutions to minimize or avoid the misery allergy symptoms can cause. Here are some things to do to keep your allergy symptoms from ruining your winter.

Indoor Allergies
Pollen allergies aren't as prevalent in the winter when the temperatures are colder. Instead allergy symptoms can be a reaction to mold spores, dust mites, and animals. When you start using your heating system, there can by dust, mold and even parts of insects released into your air. When it is very cold and the pets have to come inside, you may discover an increase in allergy symptoms if you are sensitive to pet dander. Another wintertime culprit is the fireplace. Ash and smoke can trigger asthma attacks so be aware if you have guests or family members with asthma. If you find yourself coughing, having a runny or itchy nose or eyes, or sneezing, you may think you are catching a cold, but it could be that you are showing allergy symptoms. If you are not sure whether your symptoms are cold or flu related or allergy related, see if you have a fever or body aches and pains. These symptoms are not usual with allergic reactions. Another clue is how long your symptoms last. A cold is usually gone in 10 days or less whereas allergy symptoms can remain longer. If you still are not sure, then you can have allergy testing done with a skin test or blood test.

If you do find that you have allergy symptoms related to dust or mold, get rid of anything that could be harboring mold such as shower curtains, rugs or carpets, use a dehumidifier to keep humidity below 50% and a HEPA air filter to clean the air. If your symptoms are related to a pet that needs to be indoors in the winter, keep the pet in a separate room from where you sleep. If you have more severe symptoms due to pet dander you may have to confine the pet to a separate room for more times than just sleeping or in the most severe cases, find a new home for the pet. Extra cleaning of furniture, carpets and bedding during times you are showing symptoms can also help cut down on allergens in your indoor environment.

Holiday Related Allergies
For those who celebrate Christmas, a live Christmas tree can cause allergy symptoms according to Marilyn Li, MD, an asthma and allergy specialist with the Los Angeles County & University of Southern California Medical Center. She explains that trees cut early are often kept in humid places and this causes spore growth. There may also be pollen on the tree or a reaction can come from the sap. An artificial tree may be the solution for some people, but artificial trees that have been stored away all year can have dust and mold too. Don't worry though, you don't have to give up your holiday tree. You can wear gloves when handling the tree, shake it off outside and spray it off with water before bringing it in the house. Leave it outside in a covered area to dry off and you may get rid of some of the allergens without bringing them inside. For an artificial tree, take it outside and give it a good shaking or dusting before bringing it back in. The same is true for decorations that have been in storage all year. They are often dusty and need cleaning before use. If you stored your decorations last year in airtight containers and dusted them good before storing then you'll be ahead of the game. If you didn't then consider doing it this year. Also using glass or plastic ornaments instead of cloth ornaments can help cut down on allergy symptoms as they don't hold dust as well and are easier to wash or dust off.

Another holiday irritant can be the scents used. Whether it is from candles, sprays or potpourri, some of these scents can cause allergy symptoms. If you really need to have the scents of Christmas around you, use natural herbs and spices that you can hang in room decorations or boil in water on the wood or pellet stove. Baking bread or cookies can also fill the house with wonderful Christmas smells. The poinsettia is another holiday tradition that can cause problems for some people. If you are having guests for the holidays or have a family member with an allergy to latex, then poinsettia is not a good decoration choice. Find another type of red flowers or an artificial poinsettia to brighten up the room.

Natural Solutions for Winter Allergies
There is help for winter allergies with natural solutions to your allergy symptoms. Here are a few you can explore to see which work well for you.

1. Neti Pot – You can find these at just about any drug store. This is a natural solution to wash out your nasal cavity with saline water by pouring water from the small pot into one nostril and letting it flow out through the other nostril. If you just can't bring yourself to do the neti pot, then a saline solution spray may help flush out your nose.

2. Homeopathy – Homeopathic remedies can change how your body responds to allergy triggers rather than just suppress allergy symptoms. The premise behind homeopathy is that if you introduce a small amount of what is causing your symptoms into the body, your body will start recognizing it and not attack it as a foreign invader. You can get help in using this approach from a professional homeopath or find remedies that match your symptoms in your local health food store.

3. Plan your day – Check out weather forecasts on TV or the internet that give pollen counts for your area and plan your day or week according to when counts are low to do outdoor activities. Pollen is usually higher in the morning so doing outdoor activities may be best planned for afternoons.

4. Butterbur - Phytotherapy Research is one of numerous sources reporting studies showing that butterbur leaf extract can work as well as an antihistamine for allergy symptoms. You should consult your healthcare provider before using an extract with butterbur because it has alkaloids that can affect the liver. These alkaloids can be extracted, so you want to make sure your extract has used this removal process. An extract called Ze 339 has been reported as effective for allergy symptoms. Butterbur is related to ragweed so there have been questions raised as to its use for people with ragweed allergies, but studies have not indicated this to be a problem even for ragweed sufferers.

5. Acupuncture – Numerous studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in relieving allergy symptoms. Traditionally acupuncture needles placed in specific points around the nasal area can help ease allergy symptoms or completely get rid of them. A newer acupuncture technique, Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET) works by exposing the person to the thing they are allergic to while applying acupressure and acupuncture to reprogram the body's immune system to not view the allergen as an invader to attack.

6. Supplements – There are supplements that have been found effective in dealing with allergy symptoms. You want to make sure if you are on medications or have health conditions, that you check with your healthcare provider to ensure they are safe for you. Quercetin and tinospora cordifolia, often used in Ayurvedic medicine, are two of these. Tinospora cordifolia has antioxidant properties which can help increase immune system activity. Quercetin is a flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Probiotics can help strengthen your immune system and help in this way with allergy symptoms. Good probiotics to add to your diet include a full spectrum probiotic, acidophilus and bifidus. Another way to add super antioxidant nutrition to boost your immune system is with a supplement of red beta algae, kale sprouts, red clover sprouts and wheat sprouts. This supplement is loaded with chlorophyll, glutathione, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients giving you the extra antioxidant protection to fight off free radicals. Another way to give your immune system a boost is through a supplement that harnesses the power of medicinal mushrooms and beta glucan. This supplement combines reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms with astragalus, beta glucan and bluegreen algae. Based on extensive published research, it is widely accepted that the beta 1,3 glucan derived from baker's yeast is a potent anti-infective beta glucan immunomodulator. Add in this combination of bluegreen algae and mushrooms and you have a powerful immune system friend on your side.

Winter can be a great time of year, but not if you suffer with winter allergy symptoms. We hope you have a great winter season, a happy holiday season and an allergy-free season. Try out some of these natural solutions to winter allergy symptoms for yourself and find what works for you.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Sources: 
http://www.oprah.com/health/Dr-Oz-Natural-Ways-to-Ease-Allergies
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/second-allergy-season
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/avoid-allergies-7-surprising-holiday-triggers
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/stop-seasonal-allergiesnaturally
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/winter-allergies
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/allergy-relief-without-drugs

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Good Digestion for Even the Worst Junk Food Junky

I know and I'm sure you do too what is involved in healthy eating, but sometimes situations come up that get us off this track and we end up eating some kind of junk food. It may be a really hectic day where we drive through a junk food or fast food restaurant or a special family event or a party with lots of sweets, unhealthy fats and simple carbs. Whatever the reason, we can still balance out those times when we splurge. Extra calories in means taking the time to get in a little extra exercise to burn them off. The bigger problem is what junk food does to the digestive tract and the friendly bacteria that supports good digestion, immune system functioning, and helps us handle stress.

Digestion
Our digestive system is responsible for taking the foods we eat and breaking them down into forms the body can absorb and use to fuel itself and stay healthy. It starts in the mouth with enzymes in saliva that start breaking foods down in the chewing process and lubricating it for swallowing. The esophagus then takes the food you swallow and passes it on to the stomach where more enzymes help break down foods over about an hour. At that time hydrochloric acid comes into play in the stomach for more break down. The small intestine comes next and the pancreas supplies alkaline to neutralize the acid and digestive enzymes protease, lipase and amylase. In the small intestine nutrients are extracted, absorbed and passed on through the blood stream to various parts of the body. The food has now been broken down with proteins becoming amino acids, fats becoming fatty acids and carbs becoming glucose. The large intestine then absorbs water from food and passes out any remaining waste products.

Junk Food and Digestion
Junk food not only interferes with this digestion process with its extra fat, salt and sugar, but also doesn't give you the necessary digestive enzymes to help breakdown foods. It also doesn't have the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy and according to the Mayo Clinic can leave you feeling bloated, slow the digestion process down and contribute to gaining too much weight which is definitely unhealthy. The extra salt in these types of food are damaging to kidneys and increase the risk of high blood pressure. One study reported by ABC News found participants developed liver damage eating fast food two times a day for a month. Junk food and fast foods are also damaging to the friendly bacteria that live in the intestines and fight off disease as well as supply B vitamins that help us with stress. In addition to the bad things that junk food does to the body, it also doesn't do much good. The vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients the body needs to perform well just aren't available from junk food.

Supporting Digestion Through a Junk Food Binge
Even if we eat healthy most of the time, there are always times when we are likely to slip. Eating out with friends or family, stress eating, parties or family get-togethers are all places where it's hard to avoid some type of junk foods that don't have the good nutrition of your normal meals. A good way to help counteract those times when you know you will be attending a function where you are likely to encounter less than healthy foods is to stock up on digestive enzymes. This means eating a lot of raw foods before and after the event and possibly taking a digestive enzyme supplement. You can also make sure that beforehand you are extra conscientious about the other types of foods you eat and stick with a wholefoods healthy diet with lots of fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats. Plan to continue this after the event too. According to San Francisco nutritionist, Michelle Davenport, junk food is addictive and once you start indulging it's hard to beat the cravings for more. To stick with your good nutrition diet, develop the mindset that junk food is merely a treat to indulge in occasionally sort of like Christmas. Most of us love Christmas but we can't have it all year round. We have to wait for it to come around again next year. To help ward off the junk food cravings you can also make sure you have lean protein and fiber with meals to slow digestion down in a healthy way and stabilize insulin, increase exercise to reduce stress hormones that increase cravings, and get enough good quality sleep which also reduces production of hormones that contribute to cravings. You can also support your body's nutritional needs during these times by taking these convenient packets of daily supplements that give you the all the necessary amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements from AFA bluegreen algae, probiotics for healthy digestive support and digestive enzyme.

Don't spend time beating yourself up when you slip off your healthy eating diet. Life is meant to be enjoyed and sometimes that means eating a little junk food with family or friends. Just don't make it an everyday habit and use some of these tips to help your body still get what it needs to function at its best.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Sources: 
http://www.livestrong.com/article/166549-fast-food-digestion/
http://kellythekitchenkop.com/counteracting-the-effects-of-junk-food/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/self/diet-and-nutrition_b_4683091.html