Thursday, February 23, 2017

How Food and Fatigue are Connected

Fatigue can be affected by the foods you eat just like a high energy level is linked to certain energy boosting foods. Scientists have done lots of research establishing that there is a connection between mood and food and have shown that certain types of foods add to fatigue. There are certainly other causes of fatigue besides diet, but if you are chronically tired, making some adjustments to your diet is an easy way to get some relief and the extra energy to keep going. We all have times when we are extra tired, but we recover quickly with a little extra sleep. The real problems come from chronic fatigue which affects about 10% of the world population. Causes of fatigue of this nature can stem from medical problems such as thyroid dysfunction, hypoglycaemia, anaemia, being underweight or overweight, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. If a medical condition is behind your chronic fatigue, then you certainly need to work with your healthcare provider to treat it, but you can also be aware of energy foods and non-energy foods to help you cope.

Food and Energy Level
Simple carbohydrates and sugars can cause unbalanced blood sugar levels and contribute to fatigue and tiredness. This happens because foods such as these that have a high glycemic index cause your blood sugar level to go up, making your pancreas have to release insulin to help stabilize your level. The more your body experiences unstable blood sugar levels and the harder it has to work to rebalance these levels, the less energy it has for other tasks. If you suffer from chronic fatigue, an easy natural solution is to start making changes in your diet by avoiding the simple carb and sugary foods that contribute to fatigue and increase the energy foods you eat.

Energy Boosting Foods
According to Robyn Hussa, from Mental Fitness, Inc., adding protein and healthy fats to your diet will help give you more stable energy levels. While it's true that carbs and sugar can provide a quick pick-me-up, this type of energy is short-lived with a burst of energy as blood sugar levels spike, followed by a crash in blood sugar and drastic decrease in energy. The body metabolizes and uses these types of foods up in around an hour. Mehmet Oz, MD, advises eating a natural source of simple carbs, such as fruits and honey, if you need that quick energy boost. Since fruit has fiber and lots of good nutrients, they stay with you longer, but to get an energy boost that stays with you longer, complex carbs such as whole grains and starchy vegetables are better. Alternative medicine expert, Yogi Cameron Alborzian, adds that eating small amounts of natural foods helps boost energy levels and keep them stable. This works two ways. One, by eating smaller amounts, the body doesn't have to expend as much energy in digesting the food and two, eating natural foods provides the nutrients our bodies need for energy with less calorie intake. Kirsi Paalanen, nutrition expert, advises eating leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale to increase energy because they have iron that increases oxygen to the body cells and boosts energy. Leafy greens also are rich in magnesium that helps promote sleep and getting the right amount of quality sleep helps with fatigue. Dehydration can also contribute to fatigue so make sure you are getting plenty of good, pure water throughout the day. If you experience chronic fatigue or just find yourself tired a lot of the time, you should make sure your diet includes proteins, iron, vitamin C and magnesium. Amino acids, of which protein is built, is vital in keeping cells healthy. You can of course get protein by eating foods such as meat, fish, dairy, nuts and beans, but did you know that eating AFA bluegreen algae gives you all the amino acids your body needs with a profile make-up nearly identical to that found in mother's milk?

Dietary Changes To Boost Energy
For sustained energy, eating foods that keep blood sugar levels stable and that cause the body to work less in the digestion process can help. You can give your body an edge as to the amount of energy it uses digesting foods by adding a digestive enzyme supplement into your regimen. By adding more enzymes that you may not be getting from foods alone, your body gets support to breakdown foods into forms it can use for energy. Also avoid foods that destroy the enzymes your body has already or gets from food sources by choosing healthy fats over transfats and saturated fats and avoiding junk foods, processed foods and foods with refined sugars. Michael Roizen, MD also advises eating foods daily that will provide 25 grams of fiber, 31 milligrams of flavonoids, four to five servings of fruits and of vegetables and the right amount of calories, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients for your body's height and build. He also recommends eating fish three times a week.

Just making a few changes in what you eat can go a long way to giving you energy that will last all day. If you are experiencing ongoing fatigue, it is a good idea to check with your healthcare provider to see if there is a medical condition behind it. If your fatigue is not chronic or medical conditions have been ruled out, then really start paying attention to the types of foods you eat and when you eat them. Making these dietary changes can get you back up and active with all the energy you need to do all you want to do.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

How Trans-Fats Affect Your Memory

If you're looking for how to improve memory, put away those cookies, donuts, and chips full of trans-fats. You probably know that trans-fats are terrible for your cholesterol levels which put you at increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer, but studies now report findings that these trans-fatty acids also affect your memory.

Finding Trans-fats
To avoid eating trans-fats you have to know what and where they are. They naturally occur some in meats and dairy products, but the ones to really be concerned about are the ones made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. This allows the oil to be in a solid form at room temperature and for foods to have a longer shelf life in the grocery store. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are also often used by restaurants for frying foods because they don't have to change the oil as often. This trans-fat or partially hydrogenated oil is used in foods like cakes, cookies, crackers, pie crust, biscuits or any other foods that contain shortening, as well as fried foods like donuts, French fries, potato chips or corn chips, pancake mixes, some types of margarine, coffee creamer of the non-dairy variety, and many fast foods. Penny Kris Etherton, PhD, RD, nutrition professor at Pennsylvania State University, University Park and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, cautions that you should read lists of ingredients on food labels and look for hydrogenated oils or fats, or partially hydrogenated fats. Reading labels is a good way to help you avoid trans-fat, but maybe not as much so as you think. Reading labels on foods and staying away from anything listing these oils or fats won't keep you totally away from them because if the product contains less than 0.5 grams per serving the label is allowed to put 0. This may not seem like much, but it can add up if you consume several 0.5 gram servings of different products.

Trans-fat And Memory
More recent studies, such as one at UC San Francisco, have discovered a link between the consumption of trans-fats and declining memory. This study particularly reported that men less than 45 years of age showed a decrease in word memory skills and that the more trans-fats consumed the less words they were able to recall. Studies on how we are affected by trans-fats have also reported a link to aggressive behavior. According to Dr. Patrick T. O'Gara, president of the American College of Cardiology, studies such as these confirm that what we eat does affect our mood and cognitive ability. While more research is needed to fully understand exactly why memory loss can be caused by eating trans-fats, experts such as Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, theorize that these types of fats get into the body's cells and wreak havoc on their functioning.

Fat Versus Fat
When we talk about trans-fat as being bad fat, don't get confused in thinking you need to avoid all fats though. There are healthy fats that the body and especially the brain need to function properly. Healthy fats are needed in the diet for brain health, energy, healing, keeping hormones balanced and can act as a natural anti-inflammatory. You want to avoid trans-fat as much as you possibly can by reading food labels and making many of the types of foods that typically contain them from scratch. Look for recipes that you can make with healthier oils such as olive, canola or coconut oil. The fats you do want to have in your diet are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids are a particularly good addition to the diet. Watch out overdoing the omega-6 fatty acids however as this can cause more inflammation than necessary. The optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is 3:1. One way to be sure you get the exact ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is by taking AFA blue-green algae since it has the exact ratio of fatty acids the human body needs as well as the polyunsaturated fats that are good for you. The form of bluegreen algae with the cell wall removed is especially good for feeding the brain as it allows the nutrients to pass through the blood brain barrier easier. Other foods with healthy fats include avocados, olives, nut butters, coconut and coconut milk, almonds and almond milk, oily fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, and flax, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp and chia seeds.

Now that you know how trans-fat can affect not only your heart health, but also your memory, start ridding yourself of foods containing it from your diet. Concentrate on replacing those trans-fat foods with foods with essential fatty acids like a balance of omega-3 and omega-6, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. You'll find this will not only be a memory booster, but give you more energy, help with weight loss and make you generally more healthy.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

ZZZ's – How to Sleep Like a Baby Through the Night

Isn't it great how kids can fall asleep anywhere and sleep through anything? Us adults on the other hand often face an entire different scenario when it comes to sleep habits. Do you often wish you could sleep like a baby through the night? I know I do. There are ways to get better sleep and it starts with your diet.

Cortisol and Sleep
Even if you get the recommended amount of sleep a night you can still wake up feeling tired. This is because you aren't getting enough quality sleep and going through the different phases of sleep. This can be due to a rise in cortisol levels in the body. For example, when we enter the REM phase of sleep our muscles are able to relax and the rate of breathing increases to rejuvenate the body. If there is too much of the hormone cortisol present in the body left over from the daytime then this vital sleep phase can be disrupted. Normally cortisol is released in cycles with the highest amount present in the morning and much lower amounts present at night. You've probably heard of the circadian rhythm and this cycling of cortisol plays a big role in it. If this rhythm is "off" the body isn't able to rejuvenate itself at night like it is supposed to and can result in feeling fatigued, developing osteoporosis, having a low sex drive, cause acne, migraines, stomach bloating, and high or low blood pressure. For good quality sleep, your cortisol levels need to be in the normal range at night and during the day leading up to sleep time. Your diet plays a role in maintaining normal cortisol levels as the higher the glycemic index of the foods you eat, the higher your cortisol levels will be. Foods that are high in sugar and low in fiber are high on the glycemic index level so if you start your day off with a breakfast that has a lot of sugar or starch then you are starting out the day with a high cortisol level that will stick with you throughout the day and into the night. Skipping meals can also raise your cortisol level so it's important to eat a meal or at least a snack at least every 5 hours throughout the day. An increase in cortisol levels can also lead to an increase in food cravings. These cravings most often are for sweets and carb filled foods that aren't part of a healthy diet and which as we know now increase the glycemic index levels and produce even more cortisol. By starting out the day eating foods with a low glycemic index you lower your cortisol levels and continuing this throughout the day with low glycemic foods eaten every 5 hours will match the normal cortisol cycle and let you start your sleep time with a low cortisol level which means better sleep. Low glycemic foods that help you sleep include fish, poultry, other lean meats, eggs, and the majority of vegetables.

Natural Solutions for Lowering Cortisol
Besides eating foods that help you sleep by reducing cortisol levels, there are many herbal remedies that have been found to affect cortisol levels. De-glycerinized licorice or phosphatidyl serine can help lower cortisol levels and taken in the evening can help your body get ready for sleep. Licorice root extract on the other hand does the opposite and will raise cortisol levels which can be useful when taken in the morning if you are fatigued and have a low cortisol level. Other herbs that have been found useful in balancing cortisol levels include Chinese and American ginseng, reishi and cordyceps mushrooms, Siberian ginseng, ashwaganda, golden root, and black cohosh. Stress also contributes to higher cortisol levels so finding ways to manage stress such as through meditation can help counteract this rise in cortisol. Omega-3 fatty acids also help lower cortisol and adrenaline that are released by stress. Our bodies don't produce this essential fatty acid by themselves so we have to get them from the foods we eat. Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna are good sources for omega-3s as are walnuts, avocado, Brussels sprouts, flaxseeds, olive oil and AFA bluegreen algae which also has magnesium and cholorophyll and lots of other good nutrients to help your body deal with stress. The body needs magnesium to help muscles relax, maintain an overall body calmness and to soothe mood. This wholefood algae supplement not only gives you the nutrition from AFA bluegreen algae but also eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni that are ingredients all sound to help your brain function more clearly when stress overwhelms you and interferes with sleep. 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.

Probiotics and Sleep 
Besides interfering with good quality sleep, cortisol is detrimental to the friendly bacteria in the intestines. This friendly bacteria not only helps with digestion, but is also part of the immune system that fights off bad bacteria and viruses that can make us sick. When our cortisol levels are high our supply of B vitamins gets used up and we need our friendly bacteria or probiotics to replace them. We can give our own natural probiotics some help by taking probiotic supplements like acidophilus and bifidus. Studies report that having a strong colony of friendly bacteria can help lower anxiety and activity in the brain related to emotion and pain as well as raise the level of brain activity linked to decision making. Having a strong colony of friendly probiotics also helps with sleep as they contribute to the production of serotonin and melatonin hormones that help us relax and induce calmness as well as help with digestion allowing us to get the nutrition to the body for energy production.

Eating my way to better sleep sounds great to me. Eating low glycemic foods as well as foods and supplements that help with stress and boost probiotics can help you sleep like a baby and have the energy to stay on top of things and active during the day.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Aging Gracefully: Staying Flexible and Active Naturally

Many people dread getting older and not being able to make their bodies do all the things it could when it was younger, but there are ways of aging gracefully that can help us enjoy life on into our senior years. Being able to stay active and get out to experience the world is something just about all of us would like to still be able to do and can be a reality by starting on a program of healthy aging now no matter what age you are.

Benefits of Staying Flexible
One of the ways to accomplish this state of aging gracefully is to keep joints, tendons, and muscles flexible. In Ayurvedic practice, keeping the body flexible allows our prana or vital force to have good circulation. A flexible body with healthy joints means an increased range of motion and the freedom movement offers as well as having a positive impact on blood circulation, absorbing nutrients, excreting waste, and lymphatic flow. Stretching exercises, which could also include doing yoga, are a great way to naturally keep the body flexible and limber. The American College of Sports Medicine advises doing stretching exercises a minimum of twice a week on each major muscle group and doing each exercise around a minute. According to Lynn Millar, PhD, physical therapist and professor at Winston-Salem State University, your hips and hamstrings will benefit from stretching which will really pay off in flexibility and movement when you are older. She adds that doing stretching after exercise is a good time since you are the most flexible then. Getting into a regular yoga practice is also a good way to be sure you are getting your stretching time in and to increase your body's flexibility towards aging gracefully.

Foods for Flexibility
There are also certain foods that can help you be more flexible. Ripe, raw, in season fruit for example is one food that is considered valuable in a spiritual yoga practice. It is thought to increase ojas which support immunity, happiness and vitality. Fruits are also high in water content and since muscles are 76% water, they help keep muscles hydrated and working properly. Drinking enough water throughout the day is also important for this reason and to avoid muscle cramping, fatigue and injury. What you don't want though is to be eating foods that cause you to retain fluid which can lead to inflammation in muscles that you feel as soreness and stiffness. Eating more alkaline foods like most fruits and vegetables or spices like turmeric and ginger can help cut down on this type of inflammation. You can also add wholefood supplements to your diet that give you natural ingredients found to help with inflammation. This joint support algae supplement combines vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and wild AFA bluegreen algae and this enzyme algae supplement combines plant-based proteolytic enzymes--bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, with wild AFA bluegreen algae, to support your body's inflammatory response to physical exercise. Both these are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and GMO Free and have ingredients that have been shown to decrease inflammation, increase recovery time and flexibility, and reduce post-workout stress. Getting this nutrition from supplements and whole foods makes sense since the body has more difficulty producing these ingredients as we age.

Other foods that are said to promote flexibility include:

Sulfur-rich foods – Garlic, cabbage, kale, onions, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, and turnips are examples of foods that have sulfur that can help keep joints flexible. Many of the amino acids that make up tendons and ligaments have sulfur in them so adding these type foods can help beef them up.

Sea Vegetables – Seaweeds such as dulse, kelp, and nori are all good for connective tissues since they are rich sources of protein, chlorophyll, iodine, potassium, calcium and sodium which are all supportive nutrients for them.

Ghee – a type of clarified butter believed to be good for anti-aging, body flexibility and lubrication of tendons and ligaments.

Silicon – This is another important mineral to keep connective tissue healthy and can be found in vegetables such as cucumber, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, green beans, asparagus, and mustard greens.

Don't let old age keep you from keeping on. You can still get out, stay active and enjoy life. Just get started on a healthy aging plan that will help you keep your mobility and avoid the pain of inflammation and you'll find maybe aging doesn't have to be a dreaded condition.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Aging Gracefully: Bone Density and Health

High bone density is essential to keeping your bones and skeletal system in optimal health which is so important in aging gracefully. You may think this means simply getting enough calcium and vitamin D to help absorb that calcium and if that works for you then that's great. But many people can't get enough vitamin D from foods they eat or from the sun due to either food sensitivities or allergies, obesity issues, mobility issues, types of clothing they choose or are required to wear, amount of pigment melanin in their skin, or an intestinal condition that doesn't allow them to absorb the fat soluble vitamin D. All of these conditions can interfere with either being able to get enough vitamin D from foods or from the sun or interfere with how the body absorbs vitamin D. Even if you get enough calcium, if you don't have the right amounts of vitamin D, the body can't absorb the calcium. As we age, skin is not as able to synthesize vitamin D and we tend to spend less time outside in the sunshine. This is a real problem as shown by a reported 40 million adults in the U.S. either already having osteoporosis or being at high risk of developing it. This disease manifests with low bone mass and deteriorating bone causing bones to be more fragile and more likely to break or fracture, especially in the hip, spine and wrist. For people over 50 years of age, around 1.5 million of them have fractures each year associated with this. Lack of vitamin D can also be responsible for rickets and osteomalacia.

Vitamin Supplements
According to The Endocrine Society's 2011 guidelines, adults need between 1500 and 2000 IU daily of vitamin D and children and teens need 1000 IU daily. Many believe the solution to the problem of not getting enough vitamin D and calcium is simply to run to the drug store and stock up on calcium and vitamin D supplements. But on the other hand you don't want to get too much vitamin D as there are problems associated with vitamin D toxicity. Symptoms of toxicity include anorexia, excessive or abnormal urination, weight loss, heart arrhythmia, and in severe cases vascular and tissue calcification which can damage the heart or kidneys. Studies indicate that toxicity is mostly seen from taking too much of a vitamin D or calcium supplement. One study reported postmenopausal women taking calcium and vitamin D supplements were 17% more likely to develop kidney stones. Most studies associate problems with vitamin D toxicity seen when between 10,000 and 40,000 IU is taken daily. There are also prescription medications that do not mix well with vitamin D supplements so be sure to check with your health care provider if you are considering this alternative. Before making a final decision on taking a vitamin D or calcium supplement, take a look at some of the other alternatives we've found experts recommend that can help with bone density and bone health.

Stay Active and Exercise
Staying active physically and doing weight bearing type exercises is probably one of the best things you can do for your bones. In fact many experts believe getting regular exercise is as important as calcium for your bones. If you are mobile enough to be able to stand and do weight bearing it will pay off in reducing bone loss. This can include aerobic or resistance training types of exercises, but resistance training appears to give the added benefits of improving strength, balance and more muscle mass. All of this serves to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and reduce the chance of falls that can cause fragile bones to fracture.

Nutrition to Increase Bone Density
Eating foods with highly absorbable calcium is definitely important for bones, but according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, boron, silicone, manganese, copper, iodine, magnesium, chromium, zinc and selenium are also good for improving bone density. Research studies show that eating lots of fruits and vegetables boosts bone minerals for any age. For teens and women over 60, fruit has been found especially advantageous for the bone mineral content of the spine. Although research is ongoing in how fruits and vegetables contribute to bone health, there are theories being explored that contribute it to the alkalizing effect of these foods, the effects of vitamin K, and phytoestorgens.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also help in building bone and there are studies that indicate the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is important in maintaining bone density. Many of us get too much omega-6 from fried and fast foods and not enough omega-3 from healthy fats such as fish, avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil. An easy way to get the exact ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 that the human body needs is with AFA bluegreen algae. Wholefood supplements such as these can help fill nutritional gaps with the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients we aren't getting from foods we eat. Seaweeds and a variety of other algaes such as dulse, kelp and Dunaliella salina are rich in a variety of vitamins, minerals, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants. Dulse in particular provides vitamins B6, B12, and A, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and manganese and kelp contains vitamins C and E along with a rich array of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, boron and trace elements that are necessary for strong bones and muscle function. A great way to get the superfood nutrition of dulse, kelp, fucoidan, Ecklonia cava, bladderwrack, Dunaliella salina, spirulina, chlorella and wild AFA bluegreen algae is with this seaweed and algae supplement. It is also certified organic, Halal, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and GMO free.

When it comes to aging gracefully, your own adult stem cells can help you out as they have the remarkable ability to repair and regenerate your body. This stem cell support supplement  has been shown in vitro laboratory studies to increase the growth of adult stem cells that support the body's natural renewal system with nutrition that enables stem cells to flourish, and that protects existing stem cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Plant-based enzymes are another consideration when it comes to aging gracefully as they continue to go through extensive research that reports findings beneficial to health and wellness including the support of the joint and skeletal system, fighting off cellular oxidation and supporting overworked tissues. This plant-based proteolytic enzyme supplement provides you with the nutrition of bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, serratiopeptidase, and wild bluegreen algae.

Don't wait until you're down and out before starting to take your bone health seriously. Your bones are too important in helping you stay active and having a good quality of life as you get older to neglect. Consider some of these tips and check with your healthcare provider to see what you can do to maintain your bone density and keep strong bones working for you throughout your life.

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


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Crave Snacks? Defeat Your Hunger to Stay Healthy

Food cravings are often the cause in losing the battle of weight loss or in trying to eat foods to stay healthy. Whether it's out of habit, emotional eating from stress or boredom, or using food as a reward, these cravings are often hard to deny and willpower alone doesn't tame them. 91% of women in a Tufts University study reported having food cravings that they needed more than willpower to deal with. When we eat our comfort foods, the brain releases its chemicals like dopamine that make us feel better. We then associate those foods with the ability to make us feel good and reach for them as a solution when we feel stressed, angry, depressed and so on. Becoming aware of our food cravings and looking for the reasons behind the cravings is often the first step in understanding them and being able to develop other alternatives to eating unhealthy foods. Psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD advises tuning in to how you are feeling before you dig in to your favorite comfort food. Once you find a pattern of the types of emotions that trigger your cravings, you can find other solutions to deal with those emotions.

Understanding Your Food Cravings
Eating to feel better to deal with emotional issues is more about the emotions themselves and not really about the food. Patricia Farrell, PhD, a New York psychologist, suggests starting by making a list of your stressors and making a plan for how to deal with them other than eating. This allows you to start becoming aware of problems you encounter that usually trigger your emotional eating and lets you make a conscious choice on how you will deal with these problems. That puts you back in control and gives you the foundation to start making choices that will help you stay healthy. Once you have your list and find yourself confronting one of your stressors, take a pause before doing anything to give yourself the time and opportunity to make a choice. Since your cravings are usually satisfied by impulse, taking this pause to identify why you are having the craving to eat gives you the chance to delay indulging and picking another strategy to deal with whatever emotion you are having. Let's take a look now at some other reasons we have food cravings and some ways to deal with that hunger in a way that allows us to stay in a healthy place.

Distract Your Cravings
Before reaching for your favorite comfort food stop and remember that studies have shown food cravings can actually pass rather quickly if not indulged. One study reported that the intensity of cravings was lessened for participants who played Tetris for 3 minutes before giving in to their cravings versus those that just tried waiting it out. Finding some activity to distract and occupy your mind can give you the time to let those cravings pass without giving in to them. In 2013 a study was done in the UK that reported a reduction in craving chocolate by taking a walk for 15 minutes. According to Patricia Farrell, PhD, even taking 10 minutes to walk in place can reduce the stress triggering your craving and distract you to let the urge pass. Stress releases cortisol in the body and according to Norman Pecoraro, PhD, at the University of California, San Francisco, we look for ways to cope with this reaction often by eating foods with unhealthy sugars and fats. This conditions the brain to associate dealing with stress with eating certain foods. Finding other solutions to deal with stress will help break these memory connections and give the brain other alternatives to turn to rather than eating. Listening to music you enjoy, calling a friend, taking a walk, going for a bike ride, interacting on social media, or playing a video game are all alternatives that can distract you long enough to let the cravings pass. Linda Spangle, RN, a weight loss coach in Broomfield, CO, and author of 100 Days of Weight Loss, prescribes finding an activity that fits the emotion by identifying what emotion you are feeling and what is causing that emotion. That helps you in choosing an activity that addresses the specific problem instead of randomly picking one that may or may not deal with the emotional issue.

Eat Breakfast
Even if you are not a breakfast eater, start eating something in the morning. This can help fight off cravings later in the day. A study in the Nutrition Journal, reported girls who were overweight that started eating 350 calories in the morning that contained a minimum of 13 grams of protein were less likely to have food cravings throughout the day than those who didn't eat in the morning. Adding protein foods to your breakfast releases dopamine that may help in reducing cravings.

Sleep Your Cravings Away
Your food cravings can intensify if you are not getting adequate amounts of sleep. Not getting enough sleep time can cause a reduction in the hormone leptin which helps us identify when we are satisfied and cause an increase in ghrelin which stimulates the appetite. A study at the University of Chicago found that these hormone changes increased cravings for starchy foods by 45%. The best solution for this problem is to get enough sleep, but if that just isn't possible right away for whatever reason, reach for a cup of coffee before reaching for those sugary and fatty foods. The caffeine is not a good long-term solution and won't take the place of sleep, but it can help give you a boost in energy with less calories to get through the day until you can take a sleep break.

Indulge Just a Bit
Eating just a little of your favorite comfort food is sometimes better than depriving yourself until you can't stand it anymore and overindulge. A study at Cornell University in 2013 found that having a snack portion of a comfort food satisfied participants as well as a larger portion did with 76.8% less calories being consumed. Try taking just a few small bites of the food you are craving and don't feel guilty about it. Thoroughly enjoy those bites and then wait 10 to 15 minutes to let the craving pass and identify that it has been satisfied. You can also work on changing the association your brain makes between being satisfied and the unhealthy food by adding in a healthier food at the same time. Adding in a healthy food gets you the nutrition you need which can help satisfy hunger and reduce the craving for the unhealthy food choice. If your addiction is sugar, add in some fruit or a healthy sweet tasting snack. If you lean towards salty, crunchy snacks look for healthy alternatives in that direction. Another way to deal with allowing yourself a bit of indulgence is to put a small amount of the food you crave in a dish and eat it slowly. Put the rest up where you won't be tempted to get another serving and enjoy the treat you've dished out for yourself. It may be that you need to also change your thinking about food cravings. If you have the mindset that certain foods are bad or not allowed and that you are denying yourself, you will have a harder time with those food cravings. Giving yourself permission to have a little bit of those foods you crave takes away the perception that you are being denied and allows you to come from a place of empowerment instead.

Choose Healthy Substitutions
Looking for healthier food choices to substitute for unhealthy comfort foods may not be the ultimate solution for dealing with the underlying conditions behind your food cravings, but it can help get you through the day and allow you to stay healthy at the same time. When I'm feeling stressed and too rushed to stop for a good healthy meal, I find this algae and sprouts snack bar to be a big help. With a healthy balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients from whole-food sources, with no chemical additives or dairy, it provides an ideal mixture of complex and simple carbohydrates for sustained energy and has the great taste to ward off other food cravings. I also find using this whey protein-based shake powder helps ward of food cravings as it satisfies hunger with 22 grams of protein and the nutrition from AFA bluegreen algae. Tieraona Low Dog, MD, author of Life Is Your Best Medicine, suggests using a gymnema tincture, made from a vine from India, or one with bitters to help reduce sugar cravings.

You can learn to overcome or at least reduce your food cravings without overtaxing your willpower. Try out some of these natural solutions and get yourself back on track with healthy eating without adding more stress to your life.

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


Thursday, January 26, 2017

How to Get More Greens? No Sweat

Getting greens into your diet can be challenging, but so worth it for your health. The secret ingredient that makes greens so healthy is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color and studies show it stimulates liver function and bile excretion, plus boosts the immune system, replenishes red and white blood cells which boosts energy and helps detox the body of pollutants. You can also get the vitamin K you need for blood clotting from chlorophyll and it helps with losing weight, anti-aging, and mental clarity. There are also studies reporting it has anti-carcinogenic properties. There are all sorts of green foods that you can get chlorophyll from including green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, collard and mustard greens, sprouts, and grasses like wheat and barley. One of the best sources for getting chlorophyll is bluegreen algae.

Sneaking Greens into the Diet
If you love vegetables then you'll have no trouble getting more green foods into your diet, but even if you are not a veggie lover there are ways to sneak more greens in. Start doing some creative thinking to get a variety of green foods into recipes. Soups, salads, casseroles, pasta or other noodles, veggie burgers, and even pizzas can all have spinach, collard greens, bok choy, mustard greens, Swiss chard, broccoli rabe, dark green lettuces, and cabbage added in them. If you aren't that creative just do some recipe surfing on the web and you'll find plenty of ideas. Even adding some of these greens tossed in with seafoods or lean chicken in some light sauces can green-up your meals. Adding raw, lightly sautéed in olive oil or lightly steamed veggies will help you get the most digestive enzymes from these foods. You can also green-up your snacks by making things like kale chips or snacking on this snack bar with bluegreen algae and sprouts. Kale chips are really easy to make by shredding some kale, toss with olive oil and lemon juice, maybe add some herbs or spices for flavor and cook 25 minutes at 300 degrees. Using herbs to flavor any of your recipes is another way to sneak green foods into your diet. You can actually get 60% of the vitamin K you need from just 2 teaspoons of thyme as well as 20% of the iron you need all for just seven calories. And adding parsley to your meals gives you vitamin k, vitamin C and vitamin A.

Getting More Greens for Non-Veggie Lovers
If you are not a big fan of vegetables, there are still plenty of ways to get more green foods into your diet. One way is with green smoothies. Adding fruits such as bananas or berries will help mask the taste of the greens. Just throw together some berries, chocolate, and/or fruit juice or kefir with spinach, lettuce, or other greens in a juicer type blender and get a delicious smoothie drink. You can also add in some wheat grass or barley grass juice to get an extra green punch. Another way to get green food nutrition without vegetables is from wholefood bluegreen algae supplements. You can get this powered form of algae that also has probiotics, digestive enzymes, and organic wheat sprouts or these convenient packets with two forms of algae, probiotics and digestive enzymes.

Green foods are powerhouses when it comes to getting good nutrition your body needs to stay healthy. But even if you don't like veggies, you can still get greens in your diet and the health benefits from them. Adding herbs, wholefood algae supplements and green smoothies are just a few ways to start you on the road to green. From there, use your imagination and find new ways to green up your meals.

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