Thursday, October 18, 2018

How to Keep Your Mind Health and Your Memory Strong

Our brains use up more of our nutrients than any other organ and other than the heart it uses up most of our energy. That means in order for your brain to work well it has to be getting enough of the nutrients it needs to perform well. According to the 2012 CDC Second Nutrition Report, Americans don't get enough of the nutrition they need with vitamin B6, vitamin D and iron being the biggest deficits and vitamin C and vitamin B12 coming in close after that. Other studies such as a 1997 study by Munoz et al. found that only 1% of the 3307 children studied were getting the RDA recommended amount of vegetables and most of those reported that a fourth of those veggies were French fries (does that really count?). This is not good news. In order for the brain to function properly it needs certain essential fatty acids, glucose, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.

The brain is very prone to oxidative damage and damage from free radicals. This could be because of the large amount of unsaturated fatty acids found there, the large amount of oxygen that it uses, the activity of the mitochondria that contributes to more free radicals being formed, and the large concentrations of metals like iron, zinc and copper. Regardless of why the brain is so susceptible to oxidative damage, antioxidants are needed in the diet to help fight off this type of damage. Blueberries are not only a great source of antioxidants but research studies such as a 2010 study found in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that participants drinking blueberry juice for a two month period showed a significant improvement on learning and memory tests. Studies have also reported finding that blueberry supplements contributed to an improvement in brain functioning and memory in elder participants with dementia. Then there have been animal studies such as one that found blueberries might be responsible for decreasing symptoms of cognitive deficits that can come with aging such as Alzheimer's and dementia and protect the brain from free radical damage. Dark chocolate is another good antioxidant food for brain health as it also increases production of serotonin and endorphin which can strengthen the ability to concentrate according to Natalie Stephens, clinical dietician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. One study from 2013 reported finding that participants drinking 2 cups of cocoa daily showed an increase in blood flow to the brain and had better performance on memory tests. You do have to be careful that you don't overdo the dark chocolate though as it can add extra calories to your diet. According to nutritionist JJ Virgin, green tea is another good choice for not only antioxidant properties, but also for the amino acid theanine which has been reported to improve mental alertness and focus.

Essential Fatty Acids
About 60% of the brain is made up of fat and the brain needs certain healthy types of fat to function properly. Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely necessary for brain health and in particular EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) are the two types of omega-3's that are most important to the brain. If you take a look at the food chain you find that these omega-3's often start with microalgae according to Dr. Stephane Cunnane and Dr. Kathy Stewart (2010). You can skip right to the source though by taking a high quality algae supplement especially this one that has the cell wall removed by a special process allowing for the nutrients to cross over the blood brain barrier. This type of algae also provides other good brain nutrition including B vitamins and amino acids that contribute to healthy brain functioning. Eating fatty fish like salmon, nuts and flaxseeds are also a way to get more omega-3's in your diet. Studies done on the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on brain health have found they can reduce the risk of dementia, contribute to boosting memory by making brain synapses stronger, and repair brain cells.

Your brain also needs sugar to fuel it, but the type of sugar it needs is glucose. Glucose is made by the body from the carbohydrates you eat whether simple or complex. Complex carbs are the healthier choice as they also help in lowering cholesterol levels and create brain power by reducing plaque buildup which increases blood flow to the brain. This would include whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa and foods like potatoes, beans, peas, and lentils. Other good food sources for glucose include AFA blue green algae, and dark chocolate. Whereas glucose is a small enough molecule to pass through the blood brain barrier, it needs to be paired with an appropriate protein to do so.

Amino Acids
The brain needs protein to function properly however proteins are not able to pass through the blood brain barrier until they break down into amino acids. There are over 500 identified amino acids that exist, but there are only 22 that are needed to build proteins that are essential for life to exist. These are categorized as either an "essential" or "non-essential" amino acid. An essential amino acid is not one that is more necessary or important than a non-essential amino acid, but is one that the body cannot produce on its own and therefore has to come from foods we eat. Fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids is not only a great protein source for brain health, but also has the healthy fats that are important for the brain. You can also get the amino acid protein building blocks you need by eating white meat chicken, seafood or other lean meats, sea vegetables, spirulina, AFA bluegreen algae, brewers yeast, some types of vegetables such as cabbage, beets, beans, and spinach, soy, dairy, and whole grains. AFA bluegreen algae is a particularly good choice as it contains glucose and essential fatty acids and is a rich source of phenylalanine, an amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier faster than any other amino acid. It has all 20 amino acids our bodies need for the building blocks of healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters needed for proper brain function. It also provides a perfect ratio of essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, helps maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry that feeds the brain, and provides an ideal balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, complex sugars, and fiber.

More Brain Food
Other foods you can add to your brain food diet to help with memory, focus and other cognitive skills include beets, bananas, spinach, and eggs. The nitrates in beets helps get more blood and oxygen to the brain thus improving performance, bananas are loaded with potassium that contributes to brain health, spinach contains lutein, folate, and beta-carotene which according to dietitian Tara Gidus have been found to help reduce the risk of dementia, and eggs including the yolk are a good source of DHA omega-3 which helps memory and mood and have choline that helps keep brain cell membranes healthy according to health coach Lori Shemek. There are also herbs that have been researched for their effect on brain functioning such as ginkgo biloba and ginseng. You can get Ginkgo biloba as well as the whole food nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae, eleuthero, wheatgrass juice, bee pollen, Lion's Mane mushroom and noni in this algae brain support supplement. That means not only do you get the memory enhancing benefits of Ginkgo biloba, but also the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins and other nutrients that feed the brain. In addition, bee pollen is reported to have a high amino acid content useful for stimulating memory and concentration, wheatgrass juice has been found to provide nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking, and Gingko biloba has been used for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells.

Feeding your brain what it needs will help you keep a strong healthy mind and memory. Get started feeding you brain now the nutrition it craves and must have for optimal brain health. It will pay off in increased memory, focus and the ability to concentrate now and will help you keep your brain functioning well as you get older. That's a win-win!

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.

Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light & Feel Bright

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Getting Fit While Avoiding the "No Pain, No Gain" Syndrome

Exercise is definitely a good way to get fit, but there is a difference between getting fit and over doing it. If you adhere to the "No Pain, No Gain" philosophy, you just may be overtraining. This can mean you are putting too much stress on your muscles, tendons and joints. Every time you exercise you break down muscle tissue. Your body responds by generating a response to inflammation to repair the damage caused. Continuing to produce this type of damage without time for the body to heal can throw your body into a constant inflammatory state. Usually after overtraining or over exercising, we back off on our exercise and give the muscles a rest, but there are also other solutions that can help your body recover when you overdo it.

Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining
How do you know if you are overtraining? If you are engaging in a lot of exercise or training you can push your muscles past their limit so that they will need to rest in order for the body to repair them. You'll feel the fatigue and it can splash over into other areas of your life and not just your workout performance. You may notice that you are going slower, feel tired and are not performing up to par. You may also be irritable, have sore muscles, feel faint, experience sleeping problems, be depressed, be especially bothered by even small pains and you may find that your resting pulse is higher than it normally is. You may also find that you lose interest in your training or exercise program. All of these signs and symptoms are indications that you are overtraining.

Nutrition for Overtraining
Many of these symptoms of overtraining can be helped by making sure you are getting enough calories. If you are physically exerting your body more than normal, then you need more calories for energy replacement and your muscles need more vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It is recommended that those who engage in heavy exercise on a regular basis or intense training programs have a diet that includes 15% protein, 25% fat, and 60% carbohydrates. Getting the right vitamins through diet is also an important consideration. For example, you need B vitamins for breaking down those fats, carbs and proteins and the body uses them fast enough that they need to be constantly replaced.

One of the more serious problems with overtraining is the inflammatory response that is activated. Inflammation is the body's response to foreign invaders, irritation or injury. This is good when it is needed, but too much can cause the body to become confused and attack itself damaging its own tissues. Too much heavy exercise can contribute to free radicals that damage the body, including cells, enzymes, and DNA, causing negative effects such as pain, inflammation, and chronic diseases. Antioxidants attack free radicals and get them out of your body, relieving pain, inflammation, and chronic symptoms in the process. The best source for antioxidants is brightly colored fruits and vegetables, so make sure you are getting plenty of these. Other dietary considerations to help recovery from overtraining include:

- Protein – and the amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and other nutrients it has is necessary for muscle building and needed to repair damage done to muscles. Eating good lean protein foods just before or after a heavy exercise period can help the body recover faster. Fish, chicken, and lean red meats give you the most complete protein. Vegetarians need to know how to combine different sources of proteins to make sure they get all the essential amino acids they need. For example, have grains along with legumes or dairy products.

- Complex carbohydrates - such as from whole grain breads and cereals, rice and pasta, fruits and vegetables are needed for extra energy. Yes, too many carbs can cause you to gain weight, but you don't have to worry about that if you are doing heavy exercise that is burning it off. Running 15 miles burns off about 1500 calories, so the more heavy training you do, the more carbs you need to fuel your muscles.

- Healthy fats – such as monounsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, olives and oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, and canola oil are the type to add to your diet to help it recover from overtraining. Saturated and trans fats add to the inflammatory state in the body as well as contribute to problems with your arteries and should be avoided.

- Hydrate – Sweat from heavy exercise causes fluid loss. During exercise have water to drink and be sure to drink right after cooling down from an exercise period to replace the fluids you've lost.

Resting for Overtraining
Rest is another important component for recovery from overtraining. Your body needs time to heal damage done to muscles, tendons and ligaments from heavy exercise and from free radical damage. Allowing them the time to heal properly will make muscles stronger, whereas not taking the time to let them heal can lead to further damage. Not only can symptoms of overtraining come about through not taking breaks in between heavy exercise periods, but also through repetitive exercise. Doing the same routines over and over again creates an imbalance in muscle strength.

Supplements for Support
There are whole food nutritional supplements that can also help give your body the support it needs due to inflammation caused by heavy exercise. This supplement works especially well when taken before workouts to provide a whole food source for maximum energy from its combination of AFA bluegreen algae, wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea. Another supplement with nutrition for those engaging in heavy exercise combines plant-based proteolytic enzymes--bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, together with organic AFA bluegreen algae. And this supplement has the nutrition of vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen, and organic AFA bluegreen algae that has been found useful in helping support healthy, flexible, and strong joints and its supporting cartilage.

Exercise is a good thing, but like many other good things, you can have too much. If you are in heavy training for a particular sport or event, make sure your training program includes the nutrition you need and the time to rest overworked muscles.

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.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Preventing Sugar Overload on Halloween

Is Halloween a fabulously fun event at your house or a total nightmare? It could be either one according to your perspective and experience. On the one hand it can be lots of fun for the kids with costuming, using creativity and imagination, parties to go to, making Jack-O-Lanterns, and maybe trick or treating and even if you don't have kids, many adults enjoy these same aspects of Halloween. On the other hand, Halloween usually means lots and lots of SUGAR and that can be a nightmare especially for families that stress healthy eating. You and your children can still enjoy Halloween though without the sugar highs and lows by using a few of these Halloween tips and making some healthy Halloween treats.

Healthy Planning Before Halloween
Start out with a plan to at least cut down on some of the sugar that comes with Halloween. This plan could be that instead of trick-or-treating, you get together with a social group or other families that encourage healthy eating and have a Halloween party. Then instead of the typical candy associated with Halloween, offer healthy fun Halloween snacks. You'll find a ton of them on the internet. One of the cutest I saw lately was cutting a banana in half by width and using raisins for eyes and mouth to make ghosts. From there you can always use oranges or Cuties to make pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns, round cheese and pretzels to put together a spider and lots more. Just use your imagination or put out a variety of healthy foods and let the kids make a party game out of coming up with their own scary creations. With a party you can obviously control the sugar intake much easier, but some families just love the tradition of trick-or-treating. That's Ok too. There are still ways to make a plan to cut down on sugar. First, make sure you and/or your child eats a good healthy meal before hitting the streets. That will help cut down on snacking between houses. Even better, make a rule that nothing gets eaten until you get home. That is a good rule for all sorts of safety reasons these days as candy can be tampered with. At our house the rule was that Mom had to inspect all candy and anything looking suspicious, tampered with or open went in the trash. I always had some extra dollar store toys or healthier treats to trade for anything I felt needed to be thrown away. In your plan include an explanation of why your family chooses to eat healthy and decide together on a reasonable amount of candy that can be collected. Anything over that amount can maybe be saved for a later time or given away or just plain thrown out. Again you can cut down on disappointment and arguments by having some healthy treats or small toys to "trade". My grandson has severe food allergies and therefore our routine at Halloween was for his mom to take him trick-or-treating and save my house for last. I would have special treats that he could eat or little toys for me to trade him for the candy with nuts or milk products that he could not eat. He always thought that was special and we never had any problem getting him to trade. Once you set an amount of candy that is appropriate within your family, stick to the plan. Let the children decide which pieces they will keep and which they will get rid of to help them feel a part of the process.

Catching Up After Halloween
Even if you are trying to lose weight it's OK to have an occasional splurge. That leaves your body not feeling deprived and will actually support your weight loss plan instead of sabotaging it. So count Halloween as a splurge and the day after get yourself back on track with your healthy eating plan right away. Be sure you drink lots of water the next day to help rid your body of the excess sugar and other indulgences. For the next few days really pack your meals and snacks with lots of good veggies and fruits, whole grains and lean proteins. Make time to fit in some extra exercise too so that you boost your metabolism and sweat out the unhealthy stuff. Really get your body right back on craving the healthy foods instead of sugary and fatty foods. Microalgae can also help you do this as shown through studies done in the 1980s that reported eating bluegreen algae helped improved insulin resistance, improved the uptake of glucose, regulated cholesterol, increased protection with antioxidants which reduced oxidative stress, and improved blood lipid profiles. Studies such as these have long found that many green plants including algae have insulin-like antigens that are able to decrease blood glucose levels and help blood sugar levels stay more stable. Since algae is loaded with minerals, antioxidants, soluble fibers, amino acids, essential fatty acids and tons of healthy nutrients, it can help support your body with healthy nutrition before Halloween and after. After a sugar splurge you also want to be sure to beef up your probiotics as sugar is detrimental to those friendly bacteria we depend on for digestive and immune health. Acidophilus is one of the most effective probiotics for battling sugar side effects, and supports the health of the small intestine. Bifidus is another helpful probiotic, and supports the health of the large intestine. The easiest way to get all the good nutrition from AFA bluegreen algae, probiotics and digestive enzymes to help your digestive system survive your sugar splurge is with these convenient packets that include them all. Start taking them before Halloween hits and continue once Halloween is over.

Halloween doesn't have to be so scary with thoughts of sugar and fat ruining your diet or healthy eating plan. Just get a Halloween plan made and use some of these support ideas to help your family have a fun and safe Halloween this year.

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 websiteSign up for our twice monthly email newsletter for even more health and nutrition related articles.

Image courtesy of  zirconicusso  /

Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light and Feel Bright

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Sleepless and Sleepy? Try These Tips

Sleepless nights leaving you sleepy the next day? Your body needs sleep to recharge itself and have energy for the next day. And it's not just how much sleep you're getting but the quality of that sleep that counts. For example, REM or rapid eye movement is a stage of sleep that we enter after about one and a half hours into sleep time. This stage is necessary for restoring the body and it is the stage in which we dream. If this stage is interrupted it can cause a lack of energy the next day or trouble with concentration. If you have sleepless nights or insomnia leaving you worn out, here are some tips that can help.

Exercise for Sleeplessness
Get your vigorous exercise done early and avoid this type of exercise three to four hours before bedtime. Having a regular exercise routine can help you get a good night's sleep, but done too close to bedtime gives you a surge of energy that is hard to come down from to get to sleep. Exercises that can be helpful for some people just before bed are the types like yoga and tai chi that are more gentle.

Changes in the Bedroom
If you have trouble sleeping it may be that you need to make a few changes in your sleeping environment. The blue light you get from electronics like the TV, computer, cell phone or even your digital clock emit waves that can interfere with the quality of sleep you get. Some people find that dimming the regular lights in the bedroom or even the whole house a few hours before you go to bed can give your body a gentle signal that it is time to start resting and prepare for sleep. Melatonin which is the hormone that helps you sleep is triggered by dimming lights. If you like to read in bed to help you relax before going to sleep use a lower watt bulb like a 15 watt. You can also prepare your body for sleep by setting up a routine that will send a signal that sleep time is near. Find a calming activity to do such as making that your meditation time or soaking in a warm tub. Make the activity something you can do each night to set it up as a routine that your body will start recognizing as a signal. If you are the type that goes to bed and all the worries of the day or what is to come starts nagging at you and keeping you awake, make part of your routine a journaling time. Write down all the worries and if you want to include possible solutions. This allows you to get them all out, put them aside, turn your mind off and get to sleep.

Avoid Naps
Napping during the day works for some people, but for others it can interfere with getting to sleep at night. If you fall into that category and really need a nap in the middle of the day, try going for 15 to 20 minutes for a power nap or just letting your body rest and rejuvenate without going into deep sleep. You can also try avoiding the nap altogether and go for a walk instead or drink some ice water. Then re-evaluate and see if you really still need that nap.

Nutritional Solutions
If you are a coffee drinker or take medications that have caffeine, try to avoid these in the second half of the day. Caffeine can not only keep you awake but impedes getting to the deep stages of sleep the body needs to really rejuvenate. It can take up to 8 hours for the caffeine effects to dissipate so avoid adding to your caffeine fix about 6 hours before bed if you think this could be the reason for your sleeplessness.

Taking the form of AFA bluegreen algae with the cell wall removed before bedtime helps some people relax their brain so they can get a good night's sleep. Another supplement some find helpful by taking at night is bifidus or Bifidobacterium bifidum which is a type of beneficial bacteria found naturally in the intestines. This bifidus supplement has added bluegreen algae and the prebiotic inulin to noursish the bifidus. Bifidus is an important part of early childhood development, and strongly affects our self-esteem, confidence and sense of wholeness. Taking 2-4 bifidus capsules before bedtime can help with waking up rested and confident.

Sleep is a very important part of healthy living. Stop tossing and turning, counting sheep and having sleepless nights. Give some of these sleep tips a try and find out what works for you to get a good night's sleep.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

These Medicinal Mushrooms are Serious Immune Boosters

For those who prefer their medicines to come from Mother Earth, the research being done on mushrooms is very exciting. Mushrooms are nothing new. In fact Chinese medicine and other ancient cultures have used them for thousands of years. Mushrooms, which are fungi, have their own type of antibiotics to protect themselves from bacteria and have been proven effective for people. Penicillin, streptomycin and tetracycline for example are all derived from fungi. While there is still much research to be done on the 14,000 species of mushrooms identified out of the 150,00 there are estimated to be in existence, Paul Stamets, mycologist for over 30 years, as well as other experts have found tremendous health benefits from the 100 species that have been the center of most modern day research. Of those, there are several that have been found to be especially beneficial at boosting the immune system. 

Mushrooms and the Immune System
A lot of research is centered around the benefits that mushrooms provide to the human immune system. They have been found to have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. One of the best ways to stay healthy and fight off disease is to have your own immune system strong and able to perform the job of protecting the body from antigens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, toxins, and cancer cells. Andrew Weil, M.D., founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, is one of the proponents of using mushrooms and feels research supports they can provide a boost to the immune system.

Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms in our culture for a long time have gotten a bad rap by some people. Those who are wary of them have only been familiar with types that can be poisonous or think about the hallucinogenic types. Polypores seem to be the type of mushroom that provide the most benefit for the immune system and whereas there are numerous gilled mushrooms that can be poisonous, no poisonous polypores have been identified. Various polypore type mushrooms have been found to improve blood circulation, be beneficial in stabilizing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, provide support and protection for the liver and kidney, help regenerate nerves, reduce the risk of heart disease, destroy cancer cells, and even be effective in fighting off smallpox and flu viruses.

In addition to the direct support mushrooms provide for the immune system, they are also full of nutrients, antioxidants and beta-glucans. Beta glucan is a complex carbohydrate of the simple sugar glucose. It has been found to enhance and stimulate macrophages, a type of white blood cell that kills off foreign invaders, as well as T-cells, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells. Antioxidants of course protect us from damage free radicals can do to our cells.

Sometimes when the body is under extra stress, has sustained damage or other conditions that cause the immune system to react with inflammation, that defense becomes chronic leading to autoimmune diseases. These are cases in which the body has misinterpreted the need for defensive action and its normal immune system attacks and damages its own tissues. This is another instance where mushrooms are being found to be a valuable asset to the immune system. Mushrooms have a unique talent of preventing an over-reaction from the immune system while supporting immune system function. This property can help the immune system deal with problems without going overboard and damaging cells that are healthy. Another talent mushrooms have is their ability to do a great job of cleaning up in the body. Fungi love decay and eating medicinal mushrooms gives your body help in cleaning out waste, dead tissue and toxins. One of the most exciting findings to come out of research is the benefits medicinal mushrooms provide in fighting cancer and the support they give the immune system for people going through radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer.

Marjorie Nolan, MS, RD, a New York dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, also points out that mushrooms are a good source of protein, selenium, copper, potassium, and vitamins and that they have no cholesterol and very little fat. Since mushrooms absorb what is around them, it is best to get organic mushrooms for eating and to thoroughly cook them to get rid of the small amounts of toxins they may have absorbed from air, water, or land pollution. Experts also recommend if using supplements to get one that has a combination of several mushrooms which makes it harder for body pathogens to become resistant to any one variety.

The Cream of the Crop
In the world of medicinal mushrooms there are a few that have been identified, studied and found to stand out in the benefits they deliver. Here are a few of those mushrooms and what they are being used for.

Shiitake mushrooms contain the polysaccharide lentinan that has been used in treating cancers, providing liver protection, decrease cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar and has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It has even been found successful in fighting off AIDS and HIV.

For thousands of years Reishi mushrooms have been recognized by Asian cultures to have healing properties. It contains the triterpenoid ganoderic acid that are being found useful in treating cancers such as lung cancer and leukemia. It has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, is being used to stabilize blood pressure and cholesterol levels, protects the liver, enhances blood circulation, is being used in reducing prostate related symptoms in men and stifling the growth of tumors.

Chinese and Tibetan cultures have a long history of using Cordyceps mushrooms for medicinal purposes. Today, athletes are finding benefit from this mushroom's ability to enhance strength and endurance. It has properties that help protect the liver and kidney, increase blood circulation, and stabilize cholesterol levels. It also shows promise for having antidepressant properties and has been used in treating Hepatitis B. Cordyceps also shows promise in treating cancer with its anti-tumor properties and has beta glucan and nutrients that boost the immune system.

Turkey Tail
Turkey Tail mushroom has received a lot of attention lately in the cancer treating fields. PSK and PSP, polysaccharides found in Turkey Tail, have been reported as significant compounds for fighting cancers such as breast cancer, leukemia, stomach cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, and many more.

Agaricus Blazei
This is another mushroom showing great promise for cancer treatment and for supporting an immune system that can be weakened from radiation and chemotherapy. It has also been found to be useful for diabetics, stabilizing cholesterol levels, enhancing hair and skin health and amazingly enough, for treating polio. This mushroom has the most beta glucan of any of the mushrooms which make it especially potent for immune system support.

Maitake mushrooms are another source of interest for fighting cancer. It supports the immune system and tests with mice have shown it to be effective in preventing tumors from forming. It also can lower blood pressure levels, give liver support, and is beneficial in treating diabetes and obesity. It is a rich source of Vitamins B-2, C and D as well as potassium, fiber, amino acids, magnesium and niacin. 

Lion's Mane
This mushroom is being studied for benefits for age related memory function and mental clarity and stimulating nerve growth. It has been called "nature's nutrient for the neurons" due to NGF (nerve growth factor) being found in it. Lion's Mane is proving beneficial in reducing the effects of stress and producing a natural calming effect.

Combining Your Mushrooms
Since experts tend to agree that taking a combination of mushrooms rather than just one single variety seems to be the most effective for immune system support, a good way to accomplish this is by taking supplements with high quality organic mushroom ingredients. This supplement  gives you a blend of reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms with the added benefit of astragalus, beta glucan and AFA bluegreen algae. Another mushroom blend  giving you the powerful superfood nutrition from Earth's forests combines reishi, maitake, cordyceps, wild black trumpet, and Poria cocos mushrooms.

However you choose to get your mushrooms, with supplements, foraging for your own or buying them at your local organic market, it is time to re-evaluate how you've thought about mushrooms in the past. The exciting research that is being done today just shows what many cultures have known for ages; that mushrooms are a great natural solution to supporting the immune system and keeping us healthy.

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 websiteSign up for our twice monthly email newsletter for even more health and nutrition related articles.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Natural Solutions for Staying Active as You Age

Most of us would love to find a fountain of youth as a natural solution to combat aging. The good news is you can. Science is finding more evidence all the time of ways to deflect the aging process in our bodies. One of these is as simple as staying active.

Staying Active to Stay Youthful
Recent studies show evidence that Alzheimer's can actually be prevented by exercise. Regular exercise has also been found to increase life expectancy, protect against stroke and change our DNA making our muscles work more efficiently. During exercise the brain stimulates enzymes that are able to break down amyloid plaques that have been linked to Alzheimer's.

Besides staying active physically, there are studies that show that staying active mentally is important. One recent study found that staying active mentally produces lower amounts of a protein that forms beta amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer's. (

Antioxidants to Support Staying Youthful
To stay youthful, forget about the passage of time. Instead, think about keeping your cells healthy. Antioxidants help keep your cells in peak condition.

Our bodies are made of over 75 trillion cells. These cells are under constant attack by unstable molecules called free radicals. Some of these free radical molecules are the result of natural processes in the body, while others come from the daily stresses of life, including air pollutants, smoking, alcohol, over-exertion, heavy exercise, and poor diets. Problems occur when an over abundance of free radicals exists and the body does not have enough naturally occurring antioxidants to combat them.

As your 75 trillion cells are constantly attacked by free radicals, the result is aging.
Free radicals can react with your cells' DNA and RNA, the blueprints by which your cells duplicate themselves causing heart disease, chronic pain, and other ailments related to aging.

A good way to supplement your body with antioxidants is with blue green algae. Blue green algae contains a wide range of antioxidants in the form of specific trace minerals, amino acids, vitamins and especially pigments – an impressive variety of carotenes along with potent green and blue pigments. Replicated studies have shown the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of phycocyanin which is found in blue green algae. (Bruno, Edible Microalgae)

This supplement gives you wheat sprouts, bluegreen algae and red beta algae combined to supply the body with antioxidant nutrition and combat the destructive effects of free radicals.

Bluegreen algae contains a vast array of micronutrients that your body uses for physical well being and to support physical health.

The saying you are only as old as you feel can certainly apply. Staying active both physically and mentally and giving your body antioxidant support, can help you combat the aging process and many of the health concerns that accompany it. Try out these natural solutions and start your own fountain of youth flowing.

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

5 Simple Ways to Eat Healthy

We all know we should eat healthy, but we also all have times when we are rushed or have too much to do to stop and eat a healthy meal. Some people more than others exist on a diet of fast food, junk food, processed meals, high sugar, trans fat and simple carb filled meals. At some point though they will pay for this type of eating as an unhealthy diet can cause an inflammatory state in the body and lead to many diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Food is our body's fuel that gives us the energy and nutrients to keep the body in good working order, looking good and feeling good. The type of fuel you put into the body makes all the difference. Just like your car can't run on water, an unhealthy diet won't keep your body running smoothly and efficiently. Even if you are really pressed for time and don't eat healthy most of the time, it's never too late to make some changes and there are things you can do to reap the benefits of eating healthy.

With TV shows, the internet, and magazines full of articles about healthy eating, you probably already know the types of foods to be eating to eat healthy. Your diet should include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Let's look at some easy ways that even the busiest people can add more of the right types of foods into their diets to eat healthy.

1. Get More Nutrition from What You Eat
One consideration besides the types of foods you are eating is how you are digesting those foods. If your digestive system isn't performing its job then the body isn't getting the benefits of whatever you are eating. Your digestive system is responsible for breaking food down into small enough particles that it can go from the intestines to the bloodstream and be carried to other organs and parts of the body to fuel them. Our bodies have various digestive enzymes that play a major role in breaking food down. Lipase breaks down fat molecules and helps the body store fat. A shortage of lipase can compromise the circulation and contribute to high blood pressure and high cholesterol and degrade the immune system. Protease breaks down proteins to produce amino acids which are vital to growth and overall health. Cellulase breaks down cellulose which is found in fruits and vegetables we eat. Amylase breaks down starch molecules and has been found to relieve mental fatigue and helps in maintaining a healthy mind and body. Then to break down sugars you need maltase and sucrose, and for dairy products the enzyme lactase helps with its digestion.

If you are eating lots of processed or refined foods, sugary foods, or heavily cooked foods, then your enzymes may be suffering. These along with environmental toxins and chlorinated water can all kill off the digestive enzymes we need for good digestion. To replenish these enzymes from our foods, we can eat lots of raw or lightly cooked vegetables and fruits and chew them completely. The easy way for those on the go to do this is to cut up raw fruits and veggies ahead of time and keep a supply of them already in small bags or containers in the fridge to grab as you head out the door. Another solution is to take a high quality enzyme supplement. Adding food enzyme supplements to the diet can help in completing the metabolization of fat, proteins and carbs when taken with food and when taken between meals they are absorbed into the blood and can help clean out residual food particles. They can also help with controlling acid reflux, heartburn, cramping, gas and bloating, and reduce inflammation in joints and muscles. Since there are various individual factors that influence the speed and efficiency of your digestive system, enzyme biochemist Devin Houston, Ph.D. advises starting with one capsule at mealtime to see the effects it has on you and trying out different amounts according to how much you have eaten. For example, a large meal may require a couple of capsules before and a couple more after the meal. You don't have to worry about experimenting with digestive enzyme supplements as most are safe enough and your body will use what it needs and discard the rest through waste material. If you have any concerns about taking them safely with any medications you are on then of course you should consult your healthcare provider.

2. The Pay-off From Probiotics
Keeping a good supply of healthy probiotics, the friendly bacteria that live in your intestines, in your system is another simple way to get the most out of the food you eat. Probiotics are important in digestion and produce many of the vitamins your body needs like B12, B6 and K2 and help your body absorb minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium. They also fight off unfriendly bacteria that can make us sick, help clear waste out of the body and they are able to digest the insoluble fiber that we can't digest. Probiotics have also been found to boost mood through their interaction with the central nervous system.

There are foods that you can get probiotics from, in fact many products today are adding probiotics in them. What you have to be careful of in these cases though is to make sure you are getting live active cultures in these foods and know what types of probiotics are included. Your intestines have over 3000 types of friendly bacteria and various ones have different roles to play. Some good food sources of probiotics are yogurt and kefir, with kefir having more strains than you find generally in yogurt. These bacteria are heat sensitive so dairy products being kept cold helps them survive and thrive. Milk also has a complex carbohydrate that helps feed the bacteria. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, sour pickles, and miso are other good food source for probiotics. Mary Ellen Sanders, PhD, executive director of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics warns though that making these fermented foods yourself or finding a source that is labeled as raw fermented is the only way to insure the bacteria in them are live. Processing of fermented foods will kill the live cultures as does exposing them to high heat.

A simple way to get your probiotics is with high quality supplements especially of acidophilus and bifidus. When looking at supplements look for a minimum of a billion colony forming units or CFUs on the label, ones that contain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, check expiration dates and for best results store them in a cool location. A good probiotic supplement will also contain a prebiotic which feeds the probiotic in the form of an insoluble fiber. If you see ingredients listed on the label such as inulin, FOS, GOS, or polydextrose then that product has prebiotics. You can also get prebiotics by eating foods such as asparagus, artichokes, wheat, oats, soybeans, bananas, onions and garlic.

3. Changing What and How Much You Eat
At some point as you become more aware of the benefits of eating healthy, you are going to have to make some changes to your diet and possibly the amount you eat. If you consume more calories regularly than you burn off each day you will eventually gain weight. Even if you are able to eat as much as you want of whatever you want now because you have a metabolism that is able to handle it, at some point this will probably catch up with you. As we age our metabolisms slow down and what goes in will have to balance with how much the body uses up and burns off. There are easy ways to start changing some of your eating habits now without having to measure and weigh and count every calorie that goes into your mouth. First take a look at your dishes. How big is the plate you use or the bowl? You might try using the smaller plates or bowls in your set to avoid overfilling your plate with food. I know that I am less likely to go back for seconds when I am watching my weight, so that's not a problem, and using a smaller plate helps me to eat enough to be full, but not eat past being full. Also fixing your plate from foods in the kitchen and then going to the dining room to eat instead of bringing the food all out to eat "family style" removes the temptation to fill your plate up again. Don't worry about having leftovers. If it is something that will keep and be good for another meal then you've just saved yourself some time and found another way to eat healthy the next day at work instead of running out for a burger.

You may need to do some research or ask your healthcare provider for help figuring how many calories a day you need to eat for optimal health. It will vary according to age, sex, and how much exercise you get or how active a person you are. Some people may need to initially measure or weight portions to learn how much of certain foods translate into a certain amount of calories, but start paying attention to what that amount looks like. Then find something familiar to you to compare it to and it will make it much easier in the future to get the right amounts. For example, if you are eating a chicken breast and you see that the right size for you would fit in the palm of your hand, then next time you go for chicken, you'll know to get a size about the palm of your hand.

4. Look For Healthier Eating Solutions
With a little thought and creativity, you can change the more unhealthy foods you are eating into foods that allow you to eat healthy. You might also find ways to substitute a healthier option. My big weakness as a comfort food is potato chips, but I find that substituting air popped popcorn gives me the crunch, convenience and salt I'm craving without all the trans fats and preservatives of chips. Crunchy veggies and fruits like carrots and apples can sometimes be good for stress eating as there is lots of chewing and crunching. Start becoming aware of what you are eating and when you are eating it. Do you seek comfort foods when emotional, eat junk food when stressed or snack out of boredom? Becoming aware of these eating patterns can be the first step to changing them.

For many people in the U.S., more than half the calories they should be getting a day are coming from sugars and solid fats. Really start paying attention to what is in the food you are eating and make a conscious choice to take away one thing at a time that is sugar-filled, a simple carbohydrate which breaks down into sugar or an unhealthy fat like saturated, trans, or solid. A good example is soda. I know several people who once they became aware of the number of calories in a soda drink chose to wean themselves off by substituting iced tea or water. It didn't take long to really see a difference in their weight. When I cook or bake, I take a good look at any recipe for salt, flour, sugar and oils or fats called for. Then I make substitutions for those ingredients with healthier options. This doesn't always work for every recipe, but I find it works most of the time to substitute a natural sweetener for sugar or a healthier type of oil instead of butter or shortening. There are lots of recipes available from the internet that will allow you to enjoy your favorite types of food and still eat healthy. Just spend a little time doing some research. If you really don't have the time to cook, many health food stores today have healthy options for take-out. Consider that alternative before doing a drive-thru or restaurant delivery.

5. Whole Food Supplements
Even if you do eat healthy on a regular basis, you may not be getting the optimal benefits of eating healthy because so many of our food sources that are available to us these days are lacking in vital nutrients. This is when whole food supplements can be a tremendous help in picking up the slack and providing us with nutrition we are missing from our foods alone. AFA or aphanizomenon flos aquae bluegreen algae has the exact ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that humans need, has all 20 amino acids, provides a complete source of protein in an amino acid profile nearly identical to human breast milk, has 75% usable high quality protein compared to the 18% red meat delivers, provides the mental activator PEA (phenylethylamine), gives you powerful antioxidants, such as chlorophyll, superoxide dismutase, glutathione, and phycocyanin which protect cells from oxidative damage, help with cellular repair, replace lipids in the membranes that have been damaged and act as cleansers or scavengers for free radicals, offers dozens of essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, and has an ideal balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, complex sugars, and fiber. This supplement  comes in small tablets, capsules or powdered forms, so whichever is your preference you can get all this wholefood nutrition anytime, anywhere. Even easier are these conveniently packaged capsules  of two types of AFA bluegreen algae, acidophilus, bifidus and a digestive enzyme that are easy to take with you on the go or when traveling.

I know change can be hard, but your health is too important to not start making some changes now. Learning how to eat healthy doesn't have to be an agonizing experience. Just start observing your eating habits and see where you can substitute foods, make ingredient changes in foods, read labels so you know what you are getting and avoid unhealthy ingredients and learn how to judge how much food you can eat for a healthy amount of calories. If all that sounds too much, do what you can now and pick even just one simple goal towards healthy eating and make use of our wholefood supplements to help you get the nutrition you are missing. As you start to see all the benefits of eating healthy, your motivation to make more changes will improve and you'll be on your way to a healthier, longer, more enjoyable life.

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