Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Back to School Immune System Boosters

Yes, it is that time of year again when the stores are full of back to school supplies and it's time to start thinking about how healthy your child's immune system is. As Fall and Winter approach so does cold and flu season and having kids at school means more opportunities for them to catch germs and bring them home to the rest of the family.

A healthy immune system is designed to protect us from all those germs, but it doesn't always catch them all. Making sure your child follows a healthy lifestyle regimen is a good way to make sure his immune system is able to do the best job it can in preventing illnesses. That includes eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, getting regular exercise, and getting adequate amounts of sleep. To get your child ready for back to school, he may need a little extra of all these things to give his or her immune system a boost.

Here are some other natural ways to boost the immune system.

Load up on vitamin foods – According to Lexi Hagenson, licensed acupuncturist and nationally certified herbalist, Vitamin C can help boost the immune system. Incorporate foods such as grapefruit, goji berries, broccoli and bell peppers into your child's snacks and meals to help him or her get some extra Vitamin C. Vitamins work best when we get them from foods or whole food supplements instead of isolated synthetic vitamin supplements so go for foods rich in vitamins rather than a multi-vitamin supplement. If you have a picky eater and need to use supplements, look for ones with vitamins from whole food sources.

Keep your probiotics healthy – Probiotics are the "friendly bacteria" that live in our guts. We have over 500 types of bacteria that naturally live in our intestines to help with digestion and are part of the immune system. They also help with getting nutrients out of our foods for the body to use. B vitamins, vitamin K and folate are all delivered to the body this way and about 10% of our energy comes from the work these friendly bacteria do. There are also some bacteria that have specific functions within the immune system such as making more T cells. To show how probiotics can help boost the immune system, consider a study reported by the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. This study showed 40% less colds and intestinal infections in New Zealand athletes studied when they took probiotics. Making sure you have a healthy supply of probiotics in your gut to fight off illness causing bacteria is one way to support a healthy immune system.

Using Kefir to make shakes or smoothies, giving yogurt for snacks, or using energy bars and cereals that have probiotics are one way to get more probiotics into your child's system. There are also yogurts you can buy made from rice, soy or coconut milk if you want to avoid dairy. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, Brewer's yeast and microalgae are other non-dairy sources. Just be sure to read food labels and look for products that say "live active cultures". Taking high quality probiotic supplements such as acidophilus, bifidus or a full-spectrum of probiotics is another way. This is especially important if your child has been on a round of antibiotics as they tend to kill off the good bacteria in the gut. You can also keep your natural probiotics healthy by including foods in the diet that are considered prebiotics. Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrate fibers called oligosaccharides. You can't digest oligosaccharides but your good bacteria can. Since you can't digest these fibers, they remain in your gut and feed the good bacteria living there. Oligosaccharides are found mostly in fruits, honey, onions, legumes, and whole grains. For instance, soybeans, oats, whole wheat, and barley all have oligosaccharides.

Herbs that may help – There are certain herbs that many people swear help keep them healthy during cold and flu season and there are some studies to support these claims. Whereas more research is warranted before many doctors or scientists are willing to endorse these claims, some of these herbs may help give your immune system a boost. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider to make sure these are safe for you or your child and compatible with any type of medicines or dietary restrictions you have. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), Ginseng is one of the herbs that can give the immune system a boost. Other herbs that some find helpful for immune system health are echinacea, licorice root, astragalus, and elderberry.

Medicinal mushrooms for immune support – Chinese medicine has long used medicinal mushrooms for a variety of health reasons including boosting the immune system. Mushrooms from the forests are rich in antioxidants, beta glucans, enzymes, polyphenols, proteins, and triterpines and are among nature's most nutrient-dense foods. Mushrooms such as cordyceps, reishi, maitake, wild black trumpet, and Poria cocos are thought to be among the most powerful and beneficial foods on earth and can all be found in this whole food supplement  for a rich source of proteins and antioxidants. Shiitake and reishi mushrooms in particular have been found to stimulate macrophages which are a type of white blood cell that attack foreign invaders in the body. Beta Glucan derived from baker's yeast also has the ability to bind and stimulate macrophages and can be found in this mushroom/algae supplement along with reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms, astragalus and AFA bluegreen algae.

More support from the kitchen – A couple of other things worth mentioning when looking to boost the immune system are garlic and green tea. Green tea has lots of antioxidants that fight off free radical damage and support immune system health. Another benefit of green tea is that it stimulates the liver causing it to secrete interferon that can protect against infections.

Alliums are foods such as leeks, onions and garlic. Foods in this family are known to have natural antibiotic properties to help fight off germs. Allicin, found in garlic, is released when the garlic is crushed or chopped and has antibacterial and antifungal properties, has been found to improve immunity and has been found to be useful in fighting off colds. Some of the benefits are lost with cooking so wait to add garlic right at the end of a recipe. If you are on blood thinners, check with your healthcare provider before using garlic as it may not be compatible with your medication.

To get ready for the new school year, get those school supplies together and all the other school accessories, but don't forget about giving your child's immune system a boost. Keeping your child's immune system healthy will mean less school days lost due to sickness and lessen the chance of bringing those germs home to 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.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Natural Solutions for Aches and Pains

We all overdo it sometimes and pay later with aches and pains. That's when many people reach for their NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen. This may be alright if we are talking about occasional use, but prolonged use of these drugs is not recommended. For those looking for more natural solutions for aches and pains, read on.

What Causes Aches and Pains?
Sore muscles are often caused by doing some type of work or exercise that your muscles are not used to. I usually am sore when I first get out each Spring and start working in my garden using muscles that have been pretty dormant all winter. According to Ethel Frese, PT, DPT, CCS, associate professor of Physical Therapy at St. Louis University, this type of soreness comes from microdamage done to muscle fibers and connective tissue. You feel the resulting aches and pains within 48 hours. Sore joints usually are caused by inflammation from overuse or an injury. Inflammation is the body's response to foreign invaders, irritation or injury and is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. Sometimes the body attacks itself with inflammation even when there are no foreign substances. Certain types of arthritis are good examples of the body misinterpreting the need for defensive action.  These types of arthritis are called autoimmune diseases, in which the body's normal immune system attacks and damages its own tissues.

Natural Solutions to Aches and Pains
Warm-up Exercise
Frese recommends doing warm up exercises before engaging in an exercise that will cause soreness and once muscles are warmed up from the exercise, then do stretching. You can also support your joints by strengthening muscle through weight bearing exercises. This can help prepare your muscles for whatever activity you will be engaging in that your muscles aren't used to. Stretching your body on a regular basis can improve the oxygenation in your body, relieve muscle tension and fatigue and increase your physical stamina. Doing just 15-20 minutes of light yoga or stretching in the morning regularly can help prepare your body for whatever physical activities lie ahead.

Inflammation Fighters
Muscle and joint pain can stem from inflammation due to damage from free radicals in your body. Free radicals result from conditions such as stress, heavy exercise, overwork, poor nutrition, and environmental toxicity. They 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. Adding antioxidants to your diet can help give your body a fighting chance against free radicals, so when you know you're going to be doing extra physical workouts, load up on fruits and veggies. Vitamin C is one antioxidant that has especially been linked to helping prevent sore muscles. Research shows that spices like ginger and curry are natural anti-inflammatory spices so adding those to your diet can also help relieve soreness due to inflammation.

Magnesium is an essential ingredient for muscle relaxation and overall body calm. Many of us lack magnesium. If your muscles are sore and tense, and you find that you just can't relax, consider adding magnesium to your daily regimen. Just be sure to start slowly, since once your body has absorbed enough magnesium it will release the rest via your colon, usually in the form of diarrhea. Magnesium rich foods include green vegetables such as spinach, cereals and grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal and bran, lentils, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, and fruits such as bananas and figs.

Eating carbohydrates after a workout helps your body produce insulin which is needed for muscle building. They also help replenish your energy after an extreme workout by replacing glycogen and glucose. Many experts also recommend adding a lean source of protein such as chicken or dairy to your after exercise complex carb grain snack.

Supplements That Do It All

Here's an easy solution for dealing with your aches and pains from an active lifestyle, exercise, sports or overdoing it physically. This box of 60 packets gives you 30 packets of supplements to take before a workout and 30 to take after a workout – two packets each a day for a month's supply. The capsules in these packets have a variety of ingredients already measured out for you that:
  • provide a nutrient rich, whole food source for physical energy
  • have amino acids useful for reducing muscle damage
  • have anti-inflammatory properties
  • support joints and cartilage
  • have antioxidants to aid against damage from free radicals
  • provide protein rich plant sterols that support sports performance
  • provide cellular nutrition
  • nourish and protect the body from tissue breakdown resulting from the intensity of post-workout

Don't let your aches and pains keep you from doing the things you want to do and from keeping an active lifestyle. Using some or all of these natural solutions for aches and pains can help keep you active without all the sore muscles and achy joints afterwards.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

How to Slim Down: 5 Strategies You Can Use Right Now

How to slim down is a big question in the mind of Americans, especially around New Year's. Weight loss remains the top New Year's Resolution, and yet 92% of people are no longer working on how to slim down by February 1st of any given year.

If you made weight loss a resolution this year, and find that you are no longer very dedicated to that goal, fear not! There are many simple strategies that you can use to help you slim down. Most of them don't involve working up a major sweat. In fact, most of them are just plain common sense!

Tip #1: The Power of "Later..."
One of the biggest impediments to how to slim down is the impulse factor. When faced with a big plate of sugar cookies at work or a giant basket of tasty nachos at the bar, how can you avoid falling for the temptation? Avoiding temptation is especially difficult if your co-workers or friends are busy chowing down.

One trick that works well for many bad habits--everything from eating too much to smoking--is to tell yourself, "Later." In other words, you are giving yourself permission to have a cookie or some nachos, just not right now. Some people use the phrase, "In five minutes..." instead. Whatever phrase you say to yourself to delay gratification, even for a little bit, will work as long as it resonates with you. After you give yourself the delay command, immediately turn your attention to something else.

You will be surprised at how often you simply forget to go back to those cookies or nachos. In fact, many people have used this same delay tactic to successfully stop smoking. By giving yourself permission to engage in that bad habit (just not right now), you satisfy your craving for the moment. By turning your attention to something else, your attention becomes distracted and you likely will forget about the craving altogether. Try it... chances are that you will like it!

Tip #2: It's All About What You Ate Yesterday
When it comes to weight loss and slimming down, most people are focused on today's meals. But a lot of weight is related more to what you ate yesterday rather than what you will eat today. Why? Because unless you have had a lifetime of stellar digestive health, chances are that you are carrying around 10 to 15 pounds of undigested food, water, and gas in your gut. This is according to Dr. Rob Danoff, D.O. and M.S., who writes for MSN Health and Fitness (read more at:

That is a lot of weight to be carrying around your middle. Luckily, you can correct the effects of your past dietary sins, and help your body release all this unneeded and undigested goop in your gut. Dr. Danoff recommends getting some exercise, being sure you are drinking the right amount of water, and eating more fiber-rich foods. In addition, he suggests adding probiotics or probiotic rich foods to your diet, including acidophilus  and bifidus . Now is that a no-sweat way to lose weight or what?

Tip #3: Pick Your Route at the Grocery Store
One of the biggest tips on how to slim down is to never shop while hungry. Beyond that, though, one way to avoid buying junk food is to plan your route around the grocery store so you hit the healthy sections first. Start with the produce section, and work your way around to the dairy section to buy eggs and healthy dairy (not ice cream), and then the meat counter. Once you have worked your way through these sections, feel free to wander up and down other aisles. With your cart filled with healthy foods, you will be far less likely to succumb to cookies, chips, or gallons of soda.

Tip #4: Prep for Parties
One trick that slim people employ to stay slim is to prep for a foodie party by eating a little something before heading out to the party. Eating even a handful of nuts or a quarter of an avocado or a spoonful of peanut butter will help you feel full. This is important because you never know when food will actually be served at a party. If dinner gets served up at 9 o'clock and you are accustomed to having dinner at 7 o'clock, you will be starving by the time dinner appears. That leads to a ton of sinning on the snacks that usually precede dinner. So fill up with a small snack, then dress up and hit the party. You will be safer than usual from temptation!

Tip #5: Ask Yourself, "Would I eat this at home?"
Going out to eat is one big impediment to getting or staying slim. First, a lot of the courses served in restaurants are high in calories. Second, the portions are usually extra large. Finally, studies show that people in social environments tend to eat more than people dining alone or at home. If you find yourself dining with other people, look at the menu choices and ask yourself, "Would I eat this at home?" If the answer is negative, don't order that entree. A meal is a meal, even a meal that you eat in a restaurant. That's how you have to think if you want to get or stay slim!

See? None of these tips involved massive sweating or going with the "no pain, no gain" motto. These tips on how to slim down are really about planning ahead, asking yourself some common-sense questions, and plain being smart. Not rocket science, just simple stuff that really works!

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

5 Habits That Are Wrecking Your Immune System

Your immune system is your first line of defense in protecting your body from disease and sickness. Your immune system has a full time job taking care of you, but what have you done for your immune system lately to help keep it healthy and strong? Could be you eat plenty of foods with antioxidants that help boost your immune system, but are you doing things that can also hurt your immune system? If you engage in any of the 5 habits below, you could be wrecking your immune system, no matter what other healthy things you do for it.

Wrecking Your Immune System Habit #1 – Smoking
Yes, we all know that smoking is really bad for us and can lead to all kinds of diseases to the heart and lungs and cause cancer. Even if you don't smoke, just being around smokers can be detrimental to your health and to your immune system. Cigarette smoke can contain around 4000 chemical compounds of which 43 are identified as carcinogens. Non-smokers live around 7 years longer than smokers. If you are around people that smoke, the secondhand smoke can be almost as bad as if you were smoking yourself. It is estimated that around 3,000 non-smokers die of lung cancer in the U.S. each year because of secondhand smoke and 300,000 children develop respiratory tract infections from being exposed to secondhand smoke. If you are still smoking, whatever age you are, it's not too late to quit and still do your immune system and general health a world of good. If you don't smoke, good for you, but you can still do your body a favor by avoiding being around those that do. That doesn't mean you have to ostracize your smoking friends and family members, just set boundaries such as no smoking in your house or car. If you are at an event where smoking is allowed and your friend lights up, just excuse yourself and tell them you'll meet up with them in a bit. Many states these days have laws about not smoking in public places so it is easier than ever to escape from secondhand smoke.

Wrecking Your Immune System Habit #2 – Not Enough Sleep
When you wake up in the morning, do you still feel tired? If so, then you are probably not getting enough sleep or not enough quality sleep. This can affect the number of killer cells in your immune system that combat germs and leave you more vulnerable to getting sick. Studies have also shown that lack of sleep can lead to changes in the body that resemble those brought on by aging, reduces the number of antibodies in your immune system, increases the stress hormone cortisol and can lead to intestinal problems, heart disease and other medical conditions. Adults generally need between 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy.

Wrecking Your Immune System Habit #3 – Stress
Chronic stress is another factor that has been shown to wreck your immune system. Studies have shown that this type of stress can weaken the immune system leading to a variety of diseases, cause increase in stress hormones that can lead to cancer growth increase, lead to cardiovascular disease, cause a reduction in killer cells, and cause reduced performance of macrophages.

With today's fast paced world, stress is hard to avoid and a little stress is not that bad. It is the chronic stress that you need to find a way to counteract. This type of stress causes the body to produce too much cortisol, a stress hormone, and adrenaline, both of which negatively affect your immune system. Find what works for you to be able to have some relaxation time. It doesn't matter whether it is exercise, a hobby, meditation, or yoga, it just matters that you find a way to unwind. Recent studies have found that laughter is a good medicine for stress reduction by decreasing stress hormones and increasing white blood cells your immune system uses to combat illness. Even the anticipation of an upcoming laughter filled event was shown in one study to reduce levels of stress hormones and increase levels of endorphins and growth hormones which are both beneficial to your immune system. Reducing stress can also help you sleep better which as we said before helps boost your immune system.

Wrecking Your Immune System Habit #4 – Being a Couch Potato
Yes, being a couch potato can be harmful to your immune system. What we mean specifically by this is being inactive, not socializing and not exercising. Many health conditions could be avoided by having a regular exercise program. This would include the 50 million people in the U.S. with high blood pressure, the 13.5 million with heart disease and 8 million with Type 2 Diabetes. Just 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week can go a long way to helping your immune system circulate your white blood cells. You don't want to overdo the exercise though as that can actually negatively affect your immune system. Just don't be one of the one in four adults in the U.S. that doesn't do any exercise at all and consult your health care provider if you have restrictions or conditions that may determine how much exercise is right for you. A daily 30 minute brisk walk for most people is the right amount and has been shown to increase leukocytes which are immune cells for fighting infections. Studies also show that people with fewer social interactions get sick more often. So getting up off that couch watching TV every night and going out to a sports event, visit with friends, a concert or other social activity that puts you in contact with other people can improve your immune system health. One study showed results that subjects between the ages of 18 and 55 that had more contact with others were 4 times less likely to get cold viruses. Another study done with college students showed that those who felt alone had less immune system response to a flu vaccine and those who had friends and social connections had a stronger immune system response.

Wrecking Your Immune System Habit #5 – Taking Antibiotics Too Often
Antibiotics can sometimes be needed to treat bacterial infections. Too often though, we are given antibiotics for other types of illnesses that are not bacterial in nature. This causes several problems for the immune system. One problem is that your immune system is weakened as shown by lower levels of cytokines, which are hormones that are part of the immune system. Another problem is that overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial soap can create a resistance to them. In other words, over using them can cause them to stop being effective against bacteria. If you need to take antibiotics, just make sure what you are fighting off is a bacterial infection and not a virus or other type of infection. Also be sure to take the entire amount prescribed by your health care provider. Don't stop just because you start feeling better. That can sometimes cause the bacteria that caused the illness in the first place to not be completely gone and then you have to start over later with a whole new round of antibiotics. Do it right the first time so you don't have to introduce more antibiotics than you need to into your body. Antibiotics are also known to kill off the beneficial flora in your intestines. Part of having a healthy immune system is having a healthy gut which requires having a sufficient population of "good bacteria" to help control the "bad bacteria". If you are on antibiotics or just finishing a round of antiobiotics, taking a probiotic supplement and digestive enzymes can be helpful for restoring a healthy gut. 

Natural Solutions: Enzymes for Natural Immune System Support
The strength of your immune system depends a lot on the health of your gut. Digestion takes a lot of energy and the more energy needed to digest food, the less energy that is available for other things the body needs to be doing. Foods deficient in enzymes are especially hard on the digestion process which drains the body of vitality and feelings of well being. Our food sources today just don't have enough enzymes to help keep the digestive process working well. Cooking and processing of foods kills the enzymes in them and even raw foods we buy are not fresh and pure enough to have all the enzymes we need. A high quality digestive enzyme supplement can help the body with the digestive process so that the body gets the nutrients it needs from the food it eats. Enzymes are necessary for everything in the body to function correctly from breathing, to thinking to circulating the blood. They are responsible for every chemical reaction associated with the body's metabolism.

Natural Solutions: Support Your Stem Cells for Natural Immune System Support
Adult stem cells that occur naturally in our bodies are used to maintain and repair other cells in the body that are damaged. Their ability to divide and become other types of cells that have a specific job in the body makes them useful for immune system support. They can also remain inactive for a long time waiting until they are needed to repair cells damaged due to disease or injury. Scientists are currently working on experiments that show some types of adult stem cells are able to be genetically modified to be programmed as other cell types. For example, the cells that produce insulin that become damaged due to diabetes could be created from other pancreatic cells that are programmed to become those insulin producing cells. Regardless of what is to come from all the research with adult stem cells, we do know that the stem cells we have in our bodies serve to promote or suppress T-cell function, are able to differentiate into different tissues, produce over 30 types of growth factors and tissue chemicals and help recruit other local and systemic stem cells to focus on repairing damaged tissue. Taking a supplement that can support stem cell growth and function and is full of antioxidants will support the immune system and help fight damage from free radicals.

I hope this article has helped you to see how important it is to keep your immune system healthy and ways to support it as well as habits you can avoid that do not support it. A healthy diet with lots of antioxidants, get out and enjoy the world and people in it, stay active, stay away from cigarette smoke, get enough sleep and don't overdo antibiotics, then if you need supplemental help, know that it is available to help you in your quest for a happier, healthier you.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Super Skinny Yummy Snacks

Snacking can be very detrimental if you are trying to lose weight or it can be great. Many experts recommend eating lots of small meals or a healthy snack throughout the day instead of the traditional 3 larger meals to lose weight. It really all depends though on what type of snacks you are eating. If you go for candy bars, cookies, potato chips and other types of sugar filled, fatty snacks then you are not headed down the path to weight loss. But there are plenty of healthy snack ideas that can turn yummy snacks into weight loss boosters.

According to assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, Susan Bowerman, RD, eating a healthy snack can boost your energy and give your body the nutrition it needs as well as contribute to losing weight. For example, protein helps build muscle which can increase metabolism allowing you to burn more calories and fiber helps curb cravings for fatty and sugary foods as well as assisting digestion. Bowerman advises sticking with a 200 calorie or less healthy snack that combines ten grams of protein and five grams of fiber foods for weight loss. This could include a fruit and a protein food like an apple or around 15 grapes and some milk or low cal yogurt or half an avocado with low fat cottage cheese. Get some omega-3's going for your brain in the protein/fiber mix by adding three ounces of tuna and five to six whole wheat crackers or about 15 – 20 almonds. For a great low calorie sweet treat try a pear topped with Ricotta cheese and cinnamon.

Some other healthy snack ideas that give you protein and fiber include:
  • Steamed edamame (soybeans)
  • Carrots and hummus
  • A boiled egg with about 15 spears of asparagus
  • A slice of cheese with some air popped popcorn
  • 2 teaspoons of peanut butter and 5 celery sticks
  • This snack bar with sprouted grains, greens, bluegreen algae and almonds

Convinced yet that you can snack your way to weight loss? Give some of these healthy snack ideas a try and see if eating several small snacks such as these help you get through the day without feeling deprived, starved, or left with cravings for unhealthy foods. After all what have you got to lose but maybe some weight?

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Secret to Avoiding the Midday Slump

Most people do experience a slump in energy in the early afternoon. The body operates on a cycle called the circadian rhythm and early afternoon is a time the body tends to go into a resting phase. The problem this creates is that most of us can't just stop work or other obligations to go take a nap and let the body rest. A contributing factor to this slump is that it is usually right after lunch and what we eat can add to the drowsiness we experience. Grabbing a fast food lunch or foods with lots of carbohydrates and sugar only serves to add to the fatigue. Our age also plays a role as the older we are, the more fatigue is likely to set in. There are other factors that can attribute to the afternoon slump. Here are some and some natural energy boosters that can help.

Fatigue and the Pancreas
Your pancreas operates as part of the digestive and the endocrine systems. The pancreas produces digestive enzymes and secretions that contribute to the digestive process, once food enters the small intestine. As part of the endocrine system, it produces insulin that regulates how much sugar enters the blood. When we eat foods with lots of sugars and carbohydrates, our blood sugar levels increase and the pancreas has to produce more insulin. This causes a rise in tryptophan in the brain and the bloodstream. Tryptophan helps regulate serotonin and melatonin levels, which are neurotransmitters that affect mood by causing us to relax. Eating healthier alkalizing foods such as fruits and vegetables can reduce the workload on the pancreas and lower the amount of tryptophan being produced which can leave us more energy. Also, adding a high quality digestive enzyme supplement to your diet with meals can relieve the stress put on the pancreas, liver and spleen and help the body absorb the nutrients it needs from the foods you eat. If you find you are still dragging, take extra enzymes in between meals.

Natural Energy Boosters: CoQ10
Coenzyme Q10 has been extensively studied since being discovered in 1957 and found to have significant benefits for cardiovascular health. Peter D. Mitchell won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1978 for discovering how important CoQ10 is for energy production. CoQ10 is essential for life to exist, as it is an integral part of energy production within every cell. In fact CoQ10 is necessary for 95% of the energy our bodies need. Having a lack of this vital coenzyme affects the amount of energy our bodies are able to produce. It is found naturally throughout the body, but as we age our ability to manufacture it is reduced. A stressful lifestyle can also deplete our natural supplies of CoQ10. One way to be sure of getting enough CoQ10 is through supplementation. I like this supplement that has Ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10 as well as reishi and oyster mushrooms, polyphenols from olives, and AFA bluegreen algae for extra superfood nutrition.

How To Boost Energy
Do you ever find yourself going for the coffee pot or a candy bar in the afternoon to keep alert and going? Caffeine has been found to interact with brain chemicals that create an energy boost, but caffeine and sugar can cause your blood sugar to plummet after an hour or two. Plus, caffeine can cause increased stress in your heart rate, respiration, muscle coordination, and thought processes if you drink too much. For some people, drinking coffee in the afternoon also interferes with being able to go to sleep at night. Here are a few other ways to deal with the midday slump period of the day.

Prioritize High Energy Tasks – It's too bad that our workplaces aren't more like kindergarten where an afternoon nap is mandatory, but since your boss probably isn't going to give you time off every day to grab a nap, you can plan your work according to which tasks need greater focus. Fred Turek, a biology professor and director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, suggests saving tasks that need accuracy and creativity for times other than the midday slump period. Planning out your workday to give those types of tasks the highest priority in the day and saving more routine type tasks for the after lunch slump can help you stay productive all day and keep the boss happy.

Move It – Physically moving your body is another way to make it through the midday slump period. This doesn't mean you have to stand at your desk and do calisthenics. You can simply go to the copy room to make your copies, walk to the water cooler to get a drink or go to a co-workers office to consult with them or anything else that requires you get up and move to another location.

Power Nap – If you have the time at the end of your lunch break to close your eyes and rest for even a few minutes, this can help some people. My mother has always been able to lie down and close her eyes for exactly 10 minutes and get up refreshed and ready to go on to the next thing on her list. For some people the amount of time may be more, but a 20 to 30 minute nap or rest is enough to recoup their energy level. For others, taking any amount of nap interferes with being able to go to sleep at night. Give it a try and see which type you are and if this is a technique that helps you or not.

Eat Energy Boosting Foods – Sugary and processed carb foods don't create a stable energy level throughout the day. The body simply burns these up too quickly. So skip the donuts and concentrate on complex carbs with fiber from whole grains and good healthy proteins. These will keep your blood sugar levels stable and sustain your energy level longer.

Supplement for Active People – I like this supplement that is a nutrient-rich, whole-food source for physical energy and drive. With a combination of AFA bluegreen algae, wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea, it was created for high-performance athletes and those with active lifestyles.

I hope this gives you some ideas what causes that midday slump we often experience and of how to boost energy to get yourself through it. Try some of these out and see what works for you in your situation. If you've got other suggestions of things that work for you, share them by leaving a comment below. 

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 at wholesale prices on our website.


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Eat Your Way to Decreased Stress

We all have stress in our lives to varying degrees, but finding ways of how to handle stress are very important for our health. One way of dealing with stress is to start with what's in your kitchen. There are certain foods that can help relieve stress and anxiety and certain foods that make stress and anxiety worse. If you are under a lot of stress or have anxiety, it is good to avoid foods that are fried, high in refined sugars and alcohol as these only serve to contribute to the problem.

How to Handle Stress With Food
When making adjustments to your diet to help in coping with stress, you want to add in foods that have been found to trigger the brain chemicals that calm us and that suppress the cortisol release that adds to stress and anxiety. You also want to add foods to your diet that are rich in magnesium, iron, zinc, antioxidants, B Vitamins, and potassium. These nutrients have all been found to be especially beneficial in dealing with stress. 

Whole grains are a great addition to the diet when coping with stress and anxiety. They help boost your energy levels and are a source for tryptophan which is needed to produce serotonin, the brain chemical that produces feelings of calmness and happiness. If you aren't able to tolerate gluten, then you can turn to seaweed to get not only the magnesium you need, but also the tryptophan that will help raise serotonin levels.

Iron and Zinc
Zinc and iron are also important nutrients to add to your diet when fighting stress and anxiety and balancing mood. Maca root powder can easily be added to many recipes and drinks and is loaded with phytonutrients which include magnesium and iron. It has also been found to boost energy and stamina which is helpful when dealing with stress. Zinc can be found in almonds which also have the added bonus of being a good source of iron, magnesium, selenium, vitamin B2, vitamin E, and healthy unsaturated fats which all help in decreasing stress. Almonds as well as other nuts like walnuts and pistachios also help increase your energy, lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormones.

Bright colored fruits and vegetables are your best source for antioxidants. In this category, blueberries really stand out as they not only have stress relieving antioxidants, but also are high in fiber, have vitamin C which is also good for stress relief, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, and are low in calories. Studies have also been done reporting that eating blueberries helps reduce depression, insomnia and mood disorders that can be brought on by stress. Green tea is another great antioxidant with its polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins that help with calming body and mind. Green tea also has the bonus of the amino acid theanine that aids with mental focus and helps with being able to relax. Dark chocolate is another source of antioxidants that gives you the natural mood booster of theobromine and has magnesium. It has also been found to help lower cortisol that causes stress and anxiety. Look for chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa content and without added sugar or milk. You can also get all the extra nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae as well as the antioxidant power of green tea, carnosine which is an antioxidant amino acid naturally present in the human body, and blueberry with this antioxidant algae supplement. While looking at the benefits of antioxidants, also consider Coenzyme Q10 which is especially noted for its benefits for heart health. In Chinese medicine, heart health relates to the source of happiness and therefore helps in dealing with stress. This algae supplement not only gives you ubiquinol, the active and bioavailable form of Coenzyme Q10, but also organic flaxseed oil, olive biophenols, organic reishi and oyster mushrooms, and wild AFA bluegreen algae.

B Vitamins
Experts such as registered dietitian Tara Geise, who is also a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, recommend adding foods with B vitamins to your diet to help counteract the hormones that are released in reaction to stress, to help with mood stabilization and for helping to produce serotonin. Vitamin B9 or folic acid, B6 and B12 are especially useful in coping with stress. Good stress fighting foods to help you get B vitamins into your diet include asparagus, tuna, and brown rice.

Potassium is an important mineral for helping muscles relax. The more relaxed we are able to be, the less stress can take its toll on us. Spinach is not only a good food source for potassium, but also magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and A, B, and C vitamins. Eating avocados will also provide potassium as well as fiber, healthy fats, protein, and vitamin C and vitamin E. Oranges not only have potassium, but also vitamin C, pectin which is a soluble fiber, and antioxidants to all help with stress.

Brain Support in Dealing With Stress
The more stressed we are, the more susceptible to fatigue and the less we are able to focus and think clearly. To combat this stress cycle, we can support our energy levels and brain functioning with certain foods to give the brain a boost. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best ways to help feed your brain, increase serotonin levels, and reduce cortisol and adrenaline that add to stress. Salmon and other fatty fish are one of the best food sources of omega-3. If you just don't like fish though, you can get your omega-3 the same way the fish do... with algae. Even better, add in eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni to some wild bluegreen algae with this wholefood supplement and you'll really be giving your brain the nutrients to give it a boost. 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. This combination can give your brain a lot of nutrition to help it function when you find yourself overwhelmed by stress.

You don't have to let stress get the best of you. Making some additions and subtractions to your diet can help you in dealing with stress, stimulate brain chemicals that will help you in coping with stress and help you be able to function at your best.

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