Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Natural Weight Loss the Easy Way

If you are in the over 2 out of 3 adults in the U.S. that the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010, reports to be overweight or obese then finding easy, natural weight loss solutions is something you'll want to explore. That's around 160 million people with more than 60% of women in the U.S. falling in the overweight range according to the National Center for Health Statistics of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and more than a third falling into the obese range. That same survey reports a third of children from 6 to 19 years of age also fall in the overweight and obese categories, so if you have children, finding ways to help them keep their weight down is also important. When we talk about overweight and obese and their ranges, you may wonder what that really means and how to know what category you fall into. These categories are based on your BMI or Body Mass Index.

How to Figure Out BMI
The BMI is a tool that is used to measure how much body fat you have according to your height and weight. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 puts you in the overweight category and anything over 30 is considered obese. You can calculate your own BMI by finding your height and your weight and going to this BMI calculator: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmi-m.htm. So why on earth would you want to do this and label yourself as overweight or obese? Because too much body fat means there is also fat around your organs putting stress on them and that can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer and more.

Healthy Weight Loss
Crash diets and losing lots of weight fast don't usually work out in the long run and are not a healthy way to lose weight. The healthiest way to lose weight is to eat a healthy diet, get more physical exercise into your day and burn up more calories than you ingest. This may take more time than a crash diet, but the results will last longer and you'll have made changes that will follow you and keep your weight steady over the rest of your life. Your goal should be to lose around one to two pounds a week. Katherine Tallmadge, RD, weight loss counselor, says eating a healthy diet and getting lots of exercise can help you lose at least three pounds a week safely. You can lose one to two pounds a week just by burning off 500 calories more than you ingest each day. According to the Dietary Guidelines for All Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture a healthy diet to strive for includes many different types of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, foods rich in calcium, and limiting salt and saturated fats. More specifically they recommend:

Fruits: 2 cups daily for 2000 calorie diet which would be the amount equal to a small banana, large orange or 1/4 cup dried peaches.

Vegetables: Include a variety of dark green and orange colored vegetables such as broccoli, kale, carrots and sweet potatoes as well as beans and peas like pinto, kidney, black, garbanzo, and lentils.

Calcium: Add 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt or one and a half ounces of cheese daily to your diet.

Whole Grains: Whole grains should be listed as "whole" on the food label. Include three ounces of whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta daily which would be equivalent to three slices of bread, 3 cups of cereal or half a cup of rice or pasta.

Lean Protein: Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds. Stay away from frying meat and go with baking, broiling or grilling instead.

Fats: It is recommended that no more than 10% of calories come from saturated fats. Instead go for polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that would include fish, nuts, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and avocados.

Salt: Do not go over 2300 mg. of sodium daily which is about a teaspoon of salt. Michael Dansinger, MD from the NBC television show The Biggest Loser, adds to this that cutting down on sodium and starch can initially show as much as a weight loss of five pounds, but warns that this is fluid loss, not fat loss.

Weight Loss Food Tips: 


  • Michael Dansinger, MD says to avoid foods with starch, added sugar, and animal fat in meat and dairy and include fruits, vegetables, egg whites, soy, skinless breasts of poultry, fish, shellfish, non-fat dairy and only meats that are 95% lean. 
  • Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, who wrote The Flexitarian Diet, advises that eating lots of vegetables will help you feel fuller, drink lots of water, don't keep unhealthy foods around to tempt you, don't miss meals and eat them from a plate only instead of being allowed to grab snacks. 
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs have been found to actually help in weight loss. Stay away from saturated and trans fats as they only increase your weight, but adding foods like avocados, nuts, olives and oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, and canola oil in small amounts can help you melt off pounds. One study in 2001 found participants that added MUFAs to their meals lost around 9 pounds while those who didn't gained around 6 pounds. 
  • Keeping track of what you eat with a food journal can help you stay focused on reducing calories by seeing in black and white how much you are really eating each day (and may not even be aware of) which gives you a sense of accountability according to Read It Before You Eat It author, Bonnie Taub Dix, MA, RD
  • Fiber can help you fill fuller with eating less. You not only get lots of fiber with black beans, but also one cup gives you 15 grams of protein with no fat and a half cup of white beans gives you 4 grams of resistant starch that helps burn fat and boost metabolism. Oats are another good fiber filled food with resistant starch and eating a half cup will give you around 4 and a half grams of this good carb. Eating brown rice is another good way to fill up with low calories, get resistant starch working for you, and is a good part of a low-energy-density diet that research has shown can help keep weight gain down over the long haul. 
  • Don't eat less than 1050 to 1200 calories a day according to Michael Dansinger, MD as this will cause you to lose muscle which causes your metabolism to work slower and doesn't give you the energy to get enough exercise. 
  • Grapefruit is another great addition to a weight loss diet. By eating a half a grapefruit before mealtime, you can lose as much as a pound a week. This is because grapefruit has something in it that lowers insulin which is the hormone for fat storage. There are certain medications though that you can't take with grapefruit so check with your healthcare provider to make sure you aren't on one of those. 


Supplements
One of the dangers dieters face is not getting the right nutrition to feed the body in order for it to perform efficiently. Cutting calories shouldn't mean cutting nutrition. Taking AFA bluegreen algae supplements can give the body the important vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients it needs without adding lots of extra calories into your weight loss program. AFA has actually been found to support weight loss as a well-nourished body craves less unhealthy foods, has extra energy to get more activity, and has a positive mood to be more likely to stick with a healthy routine. Since AFA is high in chlorophyll, which works on the intestinal lining to enhance digesting and assimilating foods, it also helps provide nourishment on a cellular level. Add in high quality probiotic and enzyme supplements as with these AFA packets and you really get the most nourishment for your body from the foods you eat with a well-functioning digestive system.

Exercise
Eating the right foods and supplements to support your body's health and encourage weight loss are good, but you really can't lose weight in a healthy way without exercise too. The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you eat and while you can boost your metabolism to burn off fat and calories, you really also have to be physically active. Experts recommend cardio and strength training exercises as the best and fastest way to burn up calories. Many experts advise exercising for an hour daily to really start losing some serious pounds. Another exercise weight loss tip many experts such as The American College of Sports Medicine recommend is to do your exercise in intervals. That means during your regular moderate exercise routine add periods of more intense exercise. For example, when going for a walk, add in some bursts of faster walking or even jogging. Adding these more intense intervals has been found to have a longer lasting effect as it can keep your metabolism increased and burning calories off for as much as 24 hours after you've exercised.

When you are ready to really get serious about losing weight, throw away the crash diets and fads and look at making long lasting diet and lifestyle changes. These tips give you safe, effective ways to stay healthy while losing that unhealthy weight.

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


Sources: 
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx
http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/overweight-weight-loss.html
http://www.webmd.com/diet/lose-weight-fast-how-to-do-it-safely
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20475957,00.html
http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips/best-weight-loss-exercises
Abrams, Karl J, Algae to the Rescue!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Natural Solutions for a Happy Mouth

A happy mouth with healthy teeth and gums doesn't just mean a great looking smile; it could save your life. Research currently shows that gum disease can leave you at a higher risk for heart disease and other serious conditions. Among the problems that can start in the mouth and affect the rest of the body are oral cancer, bruxism, gingivitis, periodontitis, and xerostomia. Oral cancer is fairly easy to treat 90% of the time. If it is allowed to spread however to other parts of the body it is much more difficult. Bruxism is grinding the teeth which can wear teeth down so that they are more open to decay and caught early can be treated with a mouth guard. Gingivitis and periodontitis are forms of gum disease that lead to loss of teeth and are also treatable when caught early through regular dental checkups. Sam Low, DDS, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, says that most people don't pay attention to the signs of beginning gum disease until it's too late and they end up having to deal with the damage. Xerostomia is commonly known as dry mouth resulting from a decrease in saliva production. Less saliva means more decay and can lead to gum disease and many older people have this reaction from medications they take. These oral health problems are not just about older people though. The ADHA (American Dental Hygienists' Association) reports that 75% of teenagers have bleeding gums which is a sign of gum disease. You can help protect your teeth, gums and reduce your risk of oral health conditions getting worse or spreading with some simple natural solutions for good oral hygiene.

Oral Health Natural Solutions 
Diet – Eating a healthy diet helps keep your mouth healthy as well as the rest of your body. This means lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats and for the strength of teeth and healthy bone in the mouth including low-fat dairy. According to University of Manitoba Faculty of Dentistry's dean, Anthony M. Iacopino, DMD, PhD, omega-3 fatty acids should be part of your diet as they can help prevent inflammation which reduces gum disease risks. Adding fatty fish to your diet or eating AFA bluegreen algae can help you get more omega-3's known to support healthy gums. Good oral health also relies on cutting down on foods and drinks with sugar especially those that are carbonated and that stay in the mouth over a long period of time such as hard candy. When sugar is in the mouth, the bacteria that lives there uses it to make acids that can break down the enamel of teeth and lead to tooth decay. For good oral hygiene, eating crisp and firm foods like raw vegetables and fruits such as carrots, celery, and apples can help with cleaning especially if you are in a situation where you can't brush right away. Sugar free gum can also be helpful after meals when you can't brush as it helps make more saliva to wash out bacteria and neutralize acid.

Brushing – One of the most important steps in good oral hygiene is of course brushing and flossing. Experts recommend you brush your teeth at least two times daily, preferably first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and that you floss at least once a day. Since saliva production decreases at night when we sleep, Kathleen W. Wilson, M.D., internist at the Ochsner Health Center in New Orleans, advises getting all the plaque off your teeth before going to bed and again getting rid of any that accumulates overnight to keep teeth clean and reduce bad breath. In addition, it's important to remember to get a new toothbrush about every 3 months or if you use an electric toothbrush, change the head that often. This is important because bacteria can build up on your brush. Harold Katz, D.D.S. also recommends using a tongue scraper to get rid of plaque and bacteria on the tongue instead of using your brush on your tongue.

Check Up – If you have good oral health, it is recommended that you see your dentist for a dental exam and professional cleaning every 6 months. If you have oral health problems such as gum disease then you may need to go more frequently. Caryn Solie, RDH, president of the American Dental Hygienists' Association, advises starting children seeing a dentist as soon as they get their first tooth which usually is around 6 months of age. Permanent teeth can start coming in around 6 years of age and it is especially important to have started by then.

Fluoride – Fluoride is a mineral that helps keep tooth enamel strong and replace enamel worn away by acids formed from plaque bacteria and sugars. The majority of people in the U.S. have fluoride in their drinking water, but if you don't then you may need to check with your dentist about other ways to get fluoride such as getting a fluoride treatment or using a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash.

Whitening – If you are prone to teeth stains you can substitute baking soda or salt for toothpaste to brush once a week. Brushing your gums with salt can also help with raw gums. Using apple cider vinegar as a mouth wash can also help with whitening teeth as well as reduce bacteria that can harm teeth and gums.

Probiotics – There are over 600 types of bacteria that live in the mouth. Just like in your gut, some of these are bad bacteria and some are friendly bacteria that help fight off the bad strains. Using probiotics orally can help keep plaque from forming, reduce inflammation and disease of the gums, reduce colonies of bad bacteria in the mouth, give you cleaner breath and whiter teeth. You can get specific oral probiotics in powder, capsule, or lozenge form or by eating fermented foods such as yogurt, cheese, miso, and tempeh. I like to use this probiotic supplement that has a mixture of of 8 key good bacteria that comes in a capsule which you can just pull apart, pour out the powder inside, mix with some water and use to rinse or gargle in the mouth before swallowing it.

Coenzyme Q10 – You may know that CoQ10 is important for heart health, but since gum tissue and heart tissue are closely related, it also helps keep your gums healthy. As we get older, our bodies don't produce as much of this vital coenzyme, stressful lifestyles use it up, and eating processed foods depletes our natural supply from foods. You can find ubiquinol which is the active form of CoQ10 in this algae supplement as well as olive biophenols that have been found to support bone health.

Bone health – When we think about bone health, we generally think about the bones that keep us moving, active and support us, but remember that the mouth has bone that needs to be kept healthy too in order to support the teeth and gums. Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important components for healthy bone. Dairy foods are a great source of calcium, but yogurt in particular is one of the higher dairy sources. If you don't do well with dairy, you can also get calcium from spinach, bok choy, mustard greens, sardines, fortified cereals and juices, beans, tofu, and fish. You can get vitamin D from being out in the sun, or from food sources such as milk, egg yolks and fish. Maitake mushrooms have also been found to support bone health and you will find them along with 4 other mushrooms in this algae and mushroom supplement. Mushrooms have the added bonus of reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system. Bee pollen is reported to help in supporting bone density and is found in this AFA algae supplement.

Having a happy mouth means having a happy you. Good oral hygiene leads to good oral health which not only means a great smile to pass on to the world, but can help you keep from developing more serious conditions. Take care of your mouth, teeth, gums, and bones by developing good oral hygiene skills now and it will pay off as you get older.

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


Sources: 
http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/healthy-teeth-tips
http://www.rd.com/slideshows/10-tips-for-healthy-whiter-teeth/
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Keepteethhealthy.aspx

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fabulous Fungi for Your Health

Mushrooms are certainly not new when it comes to culinary or medicinal uses, but science is finding a whole lot more benefits of mushrooms for health from these fruiting bodies of fungi than you may have imagined. Edible mushrooms are packed with vitamins, minerals that are hard to find in other foods and that boost immune system function, support heart health, aid in keeping blood sugar levels balanced, fight cellular damage from free radicals, help keep cholesterol levels stable, reduce allergy symptoms, fight inflammation and have even been used successfully in treating cancers.

The Bang from Mushrooms
Some of the best edible mushrooms for health benefits are maitake, cordyceps, oyster, Lions Mane, Agaricus Blazei Murill, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and reishi. But even button, crimini and portobello mushrooms which are often easier to find can give you lots of nutrition according to the American Society for Nutrition. Studies they have done report button mushrooms boost the immune system by encouraging growth of dendritic cells found in bone marrow and by boosting the body's defense against germs. There are experts such as Andrew Weil, M.D., that warn against eating the button, crimini and portobello type mushrooms raw however because they can contain carcinogens which other types of mushrooms don't have. They advise cooking these at high temperatures to make them safe to eat.

Some of the great nutrition you get from mushrooms that have powerful benefits for health are antioxidants, vitamin D, iron, selenium, B vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides, proteins, beta glucans, fiber and enzymes. And even better all this nutrition is available with a small amount of calories. You can see that adding mushrooms to your grocery list can give you a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. Mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light produce vitamin D just like our own bodies do and you won't find that from other plant based foods. You can get antioxidants that combat free radical damage from bright colored fruits and veggies, but a Penn State University study reported that crimini and portobello mushrooms have the same antioxidant power that you get from red peppers. Mushrooms deliver a variety of B vitamins that help the body convert food into energy including riboflavin and niacin. Selenium can help improve mood and reduce the risk of bladder cancer. You'll find 47% of the recommended daily amount of selenium in raw crimini mushrooms and 45% in cooked shiitake mushrooms and even button mushrooms have 17%.

Mushroom Power the Easy Way
There are lots of ways to fix mushrooms to include them in your diet including mincing them and adding to ground meat dishes, but in some areas they are hard to find and some people just don't have the time to prepare them or the taste for them. You can still get the medicinal value from edible mushrooms with a variety of whole food supplements. This mushroom and algae supplement combines the mushrooms that have been found to support the immune system and boost energy and is a product that is certified organic, Kosher, Halal, paleo, vegan, dairy free, and GMO free. If you have an active lifestyle where you need to really be able to focus and have mental clarity, then you might prefer this wholefood supplement that gives you the mushroom benefits of Lion's Mane, but also has organic wild bluegreen algae, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni. You can get the benefits of reishi and oyster mushrooms as well as ubiquinol, organic flaxseed oil, olive biophenols (Hidrox®), and wild bluegreen algae that all combine to give you antioxidant benefits and support the cardiovascular system for increased energy with yet another wholefood algae supplement. And finally we offer you the maximum mushroom power with this mushroom supplement that contains reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms with astragalus, beta glucan and wild bluegreen algae

Now that you know all that mushrooms can do to boost your health, you can choose how to add these powerful fungi fruit into your diet. Whether you add them to your meals or choose a wholefoods supplement, mushrooms give you so much benefit that they just can't be ignored. Low calorie, easy to add to meals or pop a capsule, loaded with nutritional value and major benefits for your health. For all this mushrooms can't be beat.

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


Sources: 
http://www.fungihealth.com/
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400053/are-mushrooms-good-for-your-health.html
http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/5-health-benefits-of-mushrooms#jm5Qjp9T1lCAtYQC.97

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Are You Missing These Critical Nutrients in Your Diet?

The body gets the nutrition it needs to perform all its various functions and for energy from the nutrients in food from a healthy diet. But according to the USDA many of us are not getting the right amounts of certain nutrients. See how your diet stacks up with these essential nutrients that many are lacking.

Vitamins That May Be Lacking in a Balanced Diet
Making sure you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins A, D, C and B-12 is essential in a healthy diet. Beta-carotene that the body converts to vitamin A is a carotenoid and found in foods that are orange and yellow colored. Sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, cantaloupe and mango would all fall into this category. You can also get vitamin A from dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli. This vitamin helps with vision, the immune system, and growing body tissue. You need vitamin D for bone, muscle and nerve fiber health. It also helps boost your immune system. We can get this vitamin from being out in the sunshine, but in our modern society many people are stuck indoors working most of the day and don't get enough from sunlight. Foods that can help you get more vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon, mushrooms, cheese, egg yolks and foods fortified with vitamin D such as juices and cereals. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help protect cells from free radical damage, helps boost immune system function and is needed for growing bones and tissue and in collagen production. Good food sources for vitamin C include sweet potatoes, kiwi, Bell pepper, oranges, strawberries and broccoli. Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) is important for energy production, red blood cell production, a healthy nervous system, a strong digestive system, vibrant hair, skin and nails, brain functions and antioxidant protection. It also helps your body be able to relax. You can find B-12 in poultry, beef, fish, dairy, kale, spinach, and fortified cereals.

Minerals That May Be Lacking in a Balanced Diet
When planning meals for a healthy diet, be sure to include foods with magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron as many diets in this country are lacking in these vital minerals. Magnesium helps maintain stable blood pressure, and can reduce the risks of diabetes, heart disease, muscle cramps and osteoporosis. Including foods such as spinach, beans, peas, whole grains and almonds in your diet will get your magnesium levels up. Potassium is another important mineral that is often lacking in adequate amounts in our diets. For potassium, be sure you are eating potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes, avocados, bananas and milk. Milk will also help get you the calcium that is lacking in many of our diets and necessary for bone and teeth health, supporting heart rhythm, and muscle function. You can also get calcium from eating salmon, kale, tofu, yogurt, figs, and broccoli. Even if you are getting enough calcium, make sure you get vitamin D in conjunction with it as this vitamin is needed for the body to absorb calcium. Iron is a necessary mineral for producing hemoglobin for carrying oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body and is often lacking from our diets. Iron can be found in foods such as healthy meats like pork, lean beef and fish, in cereals fortified with iron, soybeans, beans, spinach and lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, and tofu.

Are You Getting Omega-3s in Your Diet?
Not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can leave you with poor circulation, dry skin, a weak immune system, unstable mood, and at higher risk for heart disease and high cholesterol. Omega-3 is also vital for brain function and more specifically the brain needs EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, herring, halibut, tuna and other coldwater fatty fish are good food sources for omega-3's as are nuts, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, olive oil, and soybeans.

Amino Acids Are Vital in a Healthy Diet
In order to sustain life and metabolic functions, the body must have a certain mix of amino acids. These are necessary for storing nutrients and transporting them to cells around the body. Without these vital components in a healthy diet you may not have enough energy, have unstable mood, be unable to concentrate, experience poor sleep and will find skin and hair affected negatively. 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. Essential amino acids include phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, lysine, and histidine. Since amino acids build protein, any foods with protein have amino acids. This includes meat, poultry, fish, dairy, grains, nuts and legumes. Foods with the highest amounts of certain amino acids include grass fed beef, dairy, wild caught seafood, sea vegetables, spirulina, brewer's yeast and some vegetables such as cabbage, beets, beans, and spinach.

Get It All
It's no wonder that so many of our diets are lacking in these vital nutrients when you look at our busy, eating on the run lifestyles. It's often hard to arrange for healthy sit down meals 7 days a week that include lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains and lots of veggies and fruits. If this is a problem you face then AFA bluegreen algae may be your solution. It has all the amino acids our bodies need similar to the proportions found in human breast milk, provides as much as 70% usable protein, has the perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids that is often backwards in our diets, and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and antioxidants. And to make sure your brain gets the special nutrition it needs, this form of AFA with the cell wall removed allows its nutrients to easily pass through the blood brain barrier

Your body needs the proper nutrition to keep it not only going but thriving and doing the best job it can for you for a long, long time. If you can't get all the nutrients you need from whole foods all the time, let wholefood supplements fill in the gaps.



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


Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/slideshow-missing-nutrients?ecd=wnl_day_021015&ctr=wnl-day-021015_nsl-ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3d
http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/going-vegan-could-mean-missing-these-key-nutrients

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fats: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

The word "fat" often just gets a bad rap as we place negative associations of being overweight with it. But actually our bodies need fats for a variety of processes such as energy, to absorb vitamins and minerals, in building cell membranes, to help blood clot, control inflammation, for muscle movement, and for soft skin. In fact the 2005 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture say that adults should get 20 to 35 percent of their calories from fats with a minimum of 10 percent. The problem with fat really lies in the fact that there are some fats considered "good" fats and others that are "bad" fats and the average American has too much fat, between 34 and 40 percent in their diet. This is due to so many foods having fats hidden in them so you may not even realize how much fat you are consuming and since fat is more calorie dense than carbs or proteins, it can lead to being overweight whether from good or bad fats. Consider that fat of any type measures at 9 calories per gram while carbs and proteins only measure 4 calories per gram and you'll see that is quite a difference. Too much fat in the diet not only leads to being overweight but also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and heart disease. According to Alice Lichtenstein. DSc, a researcher at Tufts University, this makes it very important to choose the right fats to include in your diet.

Types of Fats
Fats are typically divided into two categories. These are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are the good fats that are useful for getting cholesterol levels lowered and making the risk of heart disease less. The polyunsaturated fat, omega-3 fatty acid, is especially good for heart health and brain health. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and catfish, flaxseeds and walnuts are all good food sources for omega-3's and so is AFA bluegreen algae. The form of bluegreen algae with the cell wall removed is particularly good for brain health as it is better able to allow its nutrients to pass through the blood brain barrier. Monounsaturated fats have also been found to lower the risk of heart disease and are found in foods such as olive oil, olives, nuts such as Brazil, cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, canola oil, peanut oil, and avocados.

Saturated fats are the "bad" fats that can increase cholesterol levels and clog arteries making you more at risk for heart disease. This is the type of fat you get from foods such as meat, eggs, dairy products with high fat and vegetable fats. According to the American Heart Association you shouldn't get more than 7 percent of your calories from these types of fat. An even worse fat is trans fat. There is some amount of this type of fat in meat and dairy products, but the really bad kind is man-made that you find a lot of times in crackers, baked goods, cookies, margarine and used for frying foods.

The Do's and Don'ts of Fats in Your Diet
With all the different types of fats and some being good, some bad, and some in-between, it can get confusing as to which to make sure you eat and which to avoid. The best way to make sure you are eating healthy and getting the fats you need is to include lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet with the leanest sources of protein you can and get skim or low fat dairy. Then avoid frying foods and pay attention to sauces and condiments by getting low fat varieties. Also pay attention to the types of oils you use when cooking or making dressings and go for canola or olive oils instead of butter or margarines. Registered dietitian and nutritionist, Suzanne Rostler, also warns that you should make sure the carbs you get are complex carbs since simple carbs such as found in white bread or white rice can raise triglyceride levels which can lead to heart disease. When it comes to which fats to include in your diet and which to avoid, here's a simple do and don't list that may help you.

DO: 
1. Polyunsaturated fats – Include fatty fish (not fried) at least twice a week in your diet as well as nuts, seeds, and foods with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Be careful with the omega-6 though as too much can actually lead to heart disease. The trick is to get the right ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids which different sources list as 2 to 1 or as high as 4 to 1. Either of these beat the 10 to 1 that is found in most American diets. You want to make sure you are definitely getting more omega-3 than omega-6 and one easy way to do this is with AFA bluegreen algae that has the perfect ratio.

2. Unsaturated fats – These fats keep a liquid consistency at room temperature instead of being solid. Monounsaturated fats also fall into this category and include canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, nuts, seeds and avocados. Look for ways to incorporate these types of foods into your diet to replace saturated fat foods. For example, use hummus for a veggie dip instead of a dip with a sour cream base, sprinkle nuts on your salad or on top of fish, and add seeds to dressings or sauces.

Don't:
1. Saturated fats – This type of fat should be limited in your diet to no more than 10% of your total calories. That means cutting down on meats, eating smaller portions (about 3 to 4 ounces) of fish and seafoods, and getting low fat dairy or cutting down on regular dairy product portions. You will get some dietary cholesterol from foods like eggs and shrimp, but according to registered dietitian and nutritionist Suzanne Rostler, if you don't have elevated cholesterol levels then you are OK with up to 300 mg. of cholesterol a day. If you do have high cholesterol levels then you should stay under 200 mg. daily of cholesterol consumption which is about what is found in one egg.

2. Trans-fats – This is the worst type of fat and you should strive to eliminate it from your diet as much as you possibly can. Definitely strive to completely rid yourself of the man-made kind that is formed through the hydrogenation process that allows oils to remain solid at room temperatures. Read your food labels and if you see partially hydrogenated oil, hydrogenated, or shortening then look for a different product that doesn't have this listed. Fried foods and a lot of processed foods have this so reading labels on the foods you buy is imperative to avoiding this type of fat. To understand the dangers of this type of fat you just have to look at the results of studies done such as one at the Harvard School of Public Health that reported every two percent of trans fat calories translated to a 23% increase in the risk of heart disease. If you look at it that way, is that piece of cake, cookie or slice of pie really worth it? The only good news about trans fats is that the FDA started making manufacturers list them on food labels and since the public has become more aware of how detrimental they are, many manufacturers are choosing to stop using them or at least reducing the amount they use. Even better news is that in some places trans fats are being banned from use in restaurants.

Just remember that fat is not a totally bad thing. It is the amount and the type of fat that makes the difference. Know what types of fats your body needs to stay healthy and which to avoid that are bad for your health and remember that both kinds do have extra calories that can add weight gain. Knowing how much and which kinds to eat will help you get the healthy fats you need in the right quantities and keep your body performing the way it should.

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


Sources: 
http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/skinny-fat-good-fats-bad-fats
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20477647,00.html
http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Are You Drinking Enough Water?

"I know, I know! I should hydrate more!" This is what many people say when confronted by the fact that they would feel better and be healthier if they drank enough water on a daily basis. When you don't get enough water, your body can't detoxify, your mouth and mucous membranes can feel dry, and you can simply feel tired!

Your body is 60% to 75% water, so you need to keep it hydrated if you want it to perform well for you. Plus, adequate water intake has been shown to:

  • Help the body flush toxins
  • Improve the condition of our skin
  • Prevent water retention
  • Keeps bowels functioning efficiently
  • Assist in weight loss (by helping you stay full and flushing toxins)
  • Help all of our internal organs function more efficiently


How Much Water Should You Drink?
According to the Mayo Clinic, women should drink about 9 cups of fluids per day while men should drink about 13 cups of fluids per day. Notice that the Mayo Clinic specifies "fluids" rather than water. It is true that your body uses fluids from the food and drink that you intake daily, but be careful what counts toward your fluid intake. Coffee, for instance, is a fluid but it is also a diuretic, which means that it tends to flush fluids from your body. So drinking coffee might actually equal a negative fluid intake.

Some research also shows that some people are drinking too much water. Called over-hydration, the practice of drinking too much water can cause the salt content in your bloodstream to become diluted. As a result there is less salt available to your body's tissues, which can affect your brain, heart, and muscle function.

So how much water should you really drink? Most health agencies and organization recommend a formula like this to get an estimate of how much water you should drink a day:


  1. Calculate 75% of your body weight if you are normally active and 50% if you are not active to find your daily water intake in ounces. For example say you weigh 150 pounds and are normally active, taking 75% of 150 pounds would be 112.5 pounds.
  2. Covert that figure to ounces (112.5 ounces).
  3. Add 16 ounces each for a dry climate or strenuous exercise to get your total suggested water intake. In our example that would look like 112.5 oz. + 16 oz. (exercise) + 16 oz (dry climate) = 144.5 ounces a day.


Having listed this formula, many holistic physicians also recommend that you listen to your body. Pay attention to when you are thirsty and respond by drinking water. Don't force yourself to drink water when you're not thirsty and don't ignore thirst signals either. Also, most experts recommend that you spread your water intake evenly throughout the day and keep a watch on your urine for signs that you are getting enough water. Adequate water intake means that your urine will stay a light color and not have a strong or bad odor.

Water is Best
Pure well or spring water is best to drink if you can. If you can't stand the sensation of chugging 9 cups of water, here are some ideas that might help:

1. Warm the water slightly
2. Add a fresh slice of lemon or lime to enliven the flavor
3. Add a pinch of Celtic sea salt, for taste and for health
4. Add an herbal non-caffeinated teabag for taste
5. Keep the water in sight at all times and take a few sips every time you look at the bottle.

To keep you on track, consider downloading one of the many free apps for mobile devices that remind you to drink water!

Once you're drinking enough water you might also want to consider how you can increase your body's ability to release toxins (which are carried out of the body by water). We suggest adding probiotics like acidophilus and bifidus, two forms of friendly gut bacteria that also act as natural antibiotics. Also, avoid drinking chlorinated water whenever possible. With plenty of water and good nutrition you can look forward to a new healthier you!

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


Sources:
http://www.naturodoc.com/library/nutrition/water.htm
http://www.webmd.com/diet/6-reasons-to-drink-water?page=1

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How to Have Great Skin at Any Age

When we look good, we feel good and part of looking good is having healthy skin. What you see when you look in the mirror at your skin can be an indication of your overall health and stress level. How your skin looks can give you clues as to how healthy your lifestyle and eating habits are. For optimal skin health the keys are eating foods for healthy skin with the right vitamins and antioxidants, avoiding damage from the sun, and not smoking. Our skin is the largest organ in the body and the first line of defense in our immune systems which makes it extra important to take good care of it. Just the aging process itself takes a toll on the skin as the skin produces less collagen and loses skin cells, becomes drier, and becomes less elastic as we age. But there are ways to protect your skin and keep it healthy no matter what age you are or how much damage it has already sustained.

The Sun and Your Skin
Between the years 1994 and 2004, claims made through Medicare for treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer doubled. In 2011, Dr. Coldiron reported at the American Academy of Dermatology that there were 3.7 million cases of skin cancer reported for the year 2008. That's a lot of damaged skin from sun rays. The sun puts out three types of light. These are infrared that produces the heat, visible light and ultraviolet or UV light. It is the UV light that causes the most damage to skin. This is a problem since exposure to sunlight helps us produce vitamin D that we need for good health. The most common way to protect the skin from UV light while still being able to get outside and get our vitamin D is to use sunscreen. Recently though there are questions being raised about certain ingredients found in sunscreens that may make us even more susceptible to skin cancer. Zinc oxide is one of these that is often found in sunscreen, but according to Missouri S&T Professor of chemistry, Dr. Yinfa Ma, and graduate student Qingbo Yang, zinc oxide produces a chemical reaction when exposed to sunlight that produces free radicals that damage skin and increase skin cancer risks. Oxybenzone is another concerning ingredient found in some sunscreens as according to Joseph Laszlo, Ph.D. from the Agricultural Research Service, ingredients such as this are becoming a concern in contaminating water and this ingredient may be a hormone disruptor that negatively affects the reproduction of aquatic species.

So what to do? How do you get safe exposure to sunlight without using sunscreens that contain controversial ingredients? One way that has been proposed is to tap into the protective pigments found in microalgae. Pigments found in microalgae such as scytonemin and astaxanthin, have been found to actually absorb UV-A radiation. This would make microalgae a great candidate for being added to sunscreen protection and in fact is being experimented with in this way. This moisturizing lotion that has lots of antioxidant protection including beta-glucan, blue-green algae, vitamin E, A and C and aloe vera is an example of another way bluegreen algae can be used topically. In addition, this protection is available by consuming microalgae internally too. Besides giving these pigment protections, AFA bluegreen algae also has vitamins and antioxidants that can help fight off damage to skin cells from free radicals and nourish skin. For even more of a nutritional punch and extra pigments, you can get the minerals and phytonutrients of nine colorful algae in this algae supplement. Sunscreen is still recommended by most experts as your best protection against UV rays. Read labels to see what ingredients are in your sunscreen and choose wisely. Then adjust your diet to make sure you are getting the antioxidant protection you need to help combat damage from free radicals that your sunscreen may not be protecting you from.

Free Radicals and Your Skin
Free radicals are unstable molecules that have lost an electron by becoming weakened through such conditions as toxins in the body, exposure to UV rays, chlorinated water, pollution, and overcooked, fried and processed foods. These weakened molecules attack our healthy cells stealing the electrons from them and leaving these cells damaged. Free radical damage to cells, enzymes, and DNA, can result in pain, inflammation, and chronic diseases. Our best protection against free radicals is antioxidant vitamins, minerals and enzymes we can get through foods and dietary supplements. Making sure you get enough antioxidants in your diet can actually help combat the damage free radicals do to the body and certain antioxidant foods and supplements can give you additional protection against UV rays. Antioxidants used directly on the skin have also shown good results in offering extra protection for the skin. Rosemary, tomato paste, grape seed extract, pomegranate, and soy are just a few foods that can be eaten or used topically to offer skin protection. Regularly adding herbs such as rosemary and thyme to foods was reported to decrease the risk of melanoma by 60% according to a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

According to experts like Karen E. Burke, MD, PhD from the dermatology department at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, antioxidants such as Vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium can increase skin repair and protect your skin from further damage including the damage from the sun. Discoloring and wrinkling that comes with aging can also be reversed by including foods with these types of antioxidants in your diet. Along with aging, our bodies produce less coenzyme Q10 which is another antioxidant that aids in cell growth and can protect cells from disease such as cancer. One study found in Biofactors also reported a reduction in wrinkles by using this coenzyme topically. Alpha-lipoic Acid is another antioxidant that can help protect against sun damage and can be found in creams and the active form of vitamin A, retinoic acid, is another good ingredient to look for in skin care products to reduce wrinkles, age spots and give protection from sun damage. As far as adding antioxidants to your diet, they are found in bright colored fruits and vegetables in high amounts. The antioxidant flavonoids found in green tea and dark chocolate are also good additions to a healthy skin diet and help hydrate skin and improve circulation. Foods with B-vitamins such as chicken, eggs and fortified grains can also help keep skin healthy and hydrated. You can help boost your body's own natural production of B-vitamins by increasing the number of probiotics or "friendly bacteria" in the intestines through supplementation as they are responsible for making these vitamins. Some extra good antioxidant foods to make sure you have in your healthy skin diet include kale that gives you lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C and vitamin A, kiwi, for about 120% of the vitamin C you need per day in just one medium sized fruit, and cooked pumpkin for beta-carotene needed to grow skin cells, and keep skin soft while reducing wrinkles.

Other Foods and Supplements for Healthy Skin
Foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as olive oil, walnuts, and fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel have also been found to be a good addition to the diet for healthy skin. A study from 2012 in PLOS ONE reported participants eating over 2 teaspoons daily of olive oil showed 31% less signs of aging than those eating less than a teaspoon a day. Not only do you get the omega-3's in olive oil, but also antioxidant polyphenols to fight off free radical damage. Walnuts have a type of omega-3's called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which according to experts like Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, who wrote The Beauty Diet, can leave skin dry, scaly and producing eczema if you don't get enough of it. Mackerel not only gives you omega-3's but also is a great source of vitamin B12 which a lack of can cause skin spots and blotching. And sardines are loaded with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) omega-3's that can help protect your skin from inflammation. Andrew Weil, MD also recommends GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) found in evening primrose oil and black currant oil as being supportive of not only healthy skin, but also hair and nails. You can also get omega-3's with less omega-6 fatty acids by eating grass fed beef. This is a good way to get lots of protein too that is needed for making collagen and elastin.

Another detriment to healthy skin is refined carbohydrates and sugars as they increase the body's production of insulin and androgen hormones that Lisa Drayer, MA, RD warns increase oils on the skin that can get into pores and create pimples. Whole grains such as oatmeal help keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce this skin dilemma. Eating the peel from citrus fruits such as orange peel and lemon zest was reported in research from the University of Arizona to provide extra protection from UV rays more than just the fruit or juice from the fruit.

Healthy skin at any age is possible. With some additions to the diet in foods and supplements that boost skin health and protecting skin from sun damage, you can have better looking and healthier skin too. Pay attention to what you put on the outside and inside of your body that will support your skin's health and you'll like what you see when you look in the mirror.

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


Sources: 
http://www.prevention.com/beauty/natural-beauty/7-beauty-boosting-supplements
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/beauty-skin-care-vitamins-antioxidants
http://www.prevention.com/beauty/natural-beauty/25-best-foods-your-skin
Bruno, Jeffrey, PhD, Eat Light to Feel Bright