Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Importance of Hydration

by guest contributor Barb Swanson

We Know We Need It...
For years, people have heard they need to get enough water. It is an accepted fact that 64 ounces, or 1/2 gallon, daily, is a good amount for most people. And people are now drinking bottled water in record-setting quantities. So why are 75 million of us still dehydrated?

Some say they simply can't handle drinking that much water a day. They simply had to urinate too much. And this can be true. Most work places frown on being in the restroom more than a couple of times a day or even at breaks only. And even when you do drink your 1/2 a gallon a day, you could still be dehydrated. Turns out, many dietary and lifestyle factors (examples include processed foods and heated homes) can interfere with water absorption.

I'd learned from my own experiments that using unsweetened green or white teas, or herbal teas, seemed to offer the benefit of less bathroom trips. I theorized that the minerals and nutrients in those teas would actually make the water better for your cells. Now, science is proving this is true. In fact, studies are showing that adding raw fruits and vegetables to your diet can be a superior way to get effective cellular hydration.

What is Gel Water?
Most water is H2O -- or so we thought.

Groundbreaking research from Harvard and Cornell has found that the water in our cells and in plant cells is actually H3O2. It's gel-like water that's been charged by electrolytes. This gel water acts as fuel "for every action of every cell," notes Gerald Pollack, PhD, head of the University of Washington's Pollack Water Lab.

The science is complicated, but it boils down to this: Minerals help to structure water so it is more bio-available for your cells. Water in our cells is crucial for metabolism and countless other functions. Gel water in particular, primes our cells to function optimally.

Eat Your Water!
European research shows that consuming plants rich in gel water -- including most raw fruit and ­veggies -- "is up to twice as hydrating as drinking water," says Dr. Dana Cohen. Gel water from plants passes more readily into our cells -- and it's denser and less likely to leak out of damaged or aging cells.

Tips to Get Your Gel On


  • Eat six servings of gel-water-rich foods--i.e., raw fruits and veggies--daily.
  • Add an extra serving for every dehydrating grain-based or meat-based food you eat.
  • Avoid processed foods, which siphon off fluid during digestion.
  • There's evidence that ghee and clarified butter are extremely high in gel water. 
  • Eat healthy fat. "Water enters cells through an oil-guarded membrane," Cohen says. "Good fats, especially omega-3s, keep membranes supple, increasing absorption."

Bottom Line...
Fresh fruits and vegetables offer us big benefits when eaten daily.

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


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Natural Solutions for Longevity

Throughout history mankind has longed for and searched for a fountain of youth valuing longevity as a treasure. It could be that you need look no further than your kitchen for lots of natural solutions as your own fountain of youth. Researchers studying populations around the world find that there are groups of people that seem to live longer on the average and much of this is attributed to their healthy eating habits. For example, compare the life expectancy in Okinawa found to be 81 years to the worldwide average of 67 years or the group Seventh Day Adventists studied showing a longevity of 4 to 7 years more than other populations in the U.S. or the people of San Blas islands where high blood pressure and heart disease are almost non-existent. When groups such as these are studied, their diet seems to be a major factor that researchers give credit for these longevity statistics. Diets with lots of low calorie, high fiber vegetables and low in saturated fats seem to be something they all have in common.

Healthy Food and Healthy Eating Habits
What else do you need on your plate besides fruits and vegetables to establish healthy eating habits that can add to your longevity? An equally important question is what you should not be eating that decreases your longevity. If your meals consist of lots of fast food, junk food, processed meals, high sugar, trans fat and simple carb filled foods, then you are taking a big risk with your health as this type of eating leads to creating an inflammatory state in the body which can result in many diseases including heart disease and diabetes. This type of eating increases free radicals in the body which damage cells and doesn't give you the antioxidants you need to help combat these damaging molecules or to repair the damage they do. Fruits and veggies are loaded with antioxidant protection making them the number one food items to include at mealtimes. Dark chocolate also has lots of antioxidants and researchers attribute the longevity of the San Blas islands group in part to the amount of it they consume. In fact, antioxidants have been extensively researched and found to help with everything from supporting heart health to brain health. The Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has long been doing research on antioxidants concluding that they protect the brain from changes that can come with age that can result in memory loss and dementia. When looking to get more antioxidant foods in your diet, look for bright colored fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, pomegranates, tomatoes, carrots, squash, broccoli, grapes, sweet potatoes, and Bell peppers. When you can't get all the antioxidant protection you need from your diet, you can still get an antioxidant boost from a wholefood supplement such as this one.

Another consideration in looking at a longevity diet is how much salt you consume. Even if you don't use the salt shaker much, many processed foods contain high amounts of salt. Read labels and look for products low in salt or salt-free and use herbs or spices to flavor foods instead of salt. This will help you combat high blood pressure and new research indicates that it could help protect brain cells and lower the risk of memory loss as you age. As neuroscientist Aron Troen, PhD at Tufts University explains, the vasculature that sends oxygen and nutrients to the brain can sustain damage from high blood pressure and thus increase the chance of cognitive problems as we age.

For healthy eating habits that increase longevity, nutritional researcher Joel Fuhrman, M.D. encourages a diet of foods that have a high vitamin, mineral, phytochemical content and includes allium compounds, glucosinolates, aromatase inhibitors, flavonoids and lignans. That means eating healthy food like green leafy and cruciferous veggies such as kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, and cauliflower, berries, beans mushrooms, onions, seeds such as flax, chia, and sunflower, and nuts. He also advises avoiding foods that are processed and have refined white sugar and flour, and high fat dairy and other high fat animal protein foods. His list of foods to avoid for healthy eating includes foods with trans fats, processed meats like sausage, hot dogs and lunch meats, fried foods, and foods with lots of refined white sugar, white flour, and that are high in salt.

Go With the Grain
Other important components to establishing healthy eating habits include adding whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins to your plate. Whole grains have been found to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, stabilize blood sugar levels giving you more energy, help keep you feeling full longer and are slower to digest so they help keep weight down. They also help boost serotonin levels in the brain that help maintain feelings of calmness and happiness, can help you reduce your cravings for less healthy foods, help you get a better night's sleep, and help keep your mood stable.

Fatten Up Your Diet the Right Way
The right way to fatten up your diet is not by gorging on cookies, cakes, and chips. These are all full of trans-fats which increase free radicals in the body, increase LDL cholesterol levels, reduce HDL cholesterol levels, increase triglycerides, add to belly fat, and contribute to inflammation, cardiovascular disease and other unhealthy conditions. On the other hand there are healthy fats that the body and in particular the brain need to function. These types of fats include essential fatty acids, monounsaturated , and other unsaturated fats. Eating fatty fish such as salmon and tuna will help you add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet that research shows is particularly good for heart health, fighting depression and memory loss as you get older. Nuts, dark-green leafy vegetables, various seeds such as chia and flax, and oils such as flax or olive as well as AFA bluegreen algae are other good sources for omega-3's. For a cost-effective, convenient and easy way to not only get the powerhouse nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae, but also the probiotics and digestive enzymes to help your body absorb nutrients, these supplement packets offer a great natural solution.

Now that you know what healthy eating habits can add to your longevity and which foods to definitely avoid, you'll see why your own fountain of youth is right in your own kitchen. Making some dietary changes and including wholefood supplements to fill in the nutritional gaps can help you "live long and prosper" and there's no time like the present to get started on adding some of these natural solutions to your regimen.

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

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/eating-longevity
https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article13.aspx

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Best Healthy Foods for High Energy Workouts

Exercise is a key ingredient for a healthy lifestyle for everything from weight loss to aging gracefully, but did you know there are healthy foods that can help your high energy exercise workouts before and after? Whether you exercise a lot or a little, your body needs the right healthy foods to give it the energy to perform. For those who are really into doing high energy workouts or sports, this is even more vital. Here are some of the food categories to make sure you include in your diet to support your body for intense, high energy exercise.

Protein
You need protein to build strong muscle and maintain muscle integrity and strength. Protein also keeps blood cells healthy which is important for getting nutrients and oxygen to the muscles. Good proteins come from lean sources such as beans, soy, and dairy, whole grains, sprouts, nuts, leafy greens and if you need a meat fix then opt for white meat chicken, turkey, seafood or lean cuts of beef. Be sure to take the skin off the chicken before cooking as it contains lots of saturated fat. Whole grain rice combined with beans makes a tasty complete protein. The whole algae cell form of AFA bluegreen algae gives your body access to proteins necessary for physical energy. AFA bluegreen algae is not only a rich source of protein, but also contains all eight of the essential amino acids in perfect balance recommended for people. According to Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, sports nutrition expert, author and nutrition professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, consuming protein after exercise is best so that it can repair and build muscle.

Carbohydrates
Your body can only easily digest a certain amount of carbohydrates before it then converts those carbs to fat to store away so it’s important to eat the right kinds of carbs and limit them according to your activity level. Eating carbohydrates after a workout helps your body produce insulin which is needed for muscle building. They also help replenish your energy after an extreme workout by replacing glycogen and glucose. Many experts also recommend adding a lean source of protein such as chicken or dairy to your after exercise complex carb grain snack. Eating foods with carbohydrates from whole grains such as wheat bread, brown rice, and cereals can help increase levels of serotonin and are absorbed slowly by the body which means they help keep blood sugar levels stable and keep your energy level stable. Eating bread, cereals, rice, fruits or vegetables before exercise gives your body the carbs it needs for the energy to do a workout.

Fluids
Drinking lots of pure water helps flush toxins out of the body, replaces the fluid lost from sweating during exercise, and keeps the circulation and body organs working efficiently. Water is essential to every function in your body, and the more stressed your body is, the more water you need. So the more high energy your workout is, the more hydration you need. Since extreme physical activity can increase your body temperature, water is needed to keep your body temperature down to safe levels. Whenever possible, avoid chlorine and other additives to your water. Chlorine tends to kill the beneficial bacteria in the gut, your first line of defense against illness. Stay away from tap water and drink plenty of spring or filtered water to keep your body pure and detoxified. Drinking water during the day and then drinking extra 2 hours before a high energy workout will help your performance. Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD recommends sports drinks with carbohydrates and sodium for exercise or sports activities lasting over an hour in a hot and humid environment or for people who sweat excessively.

Good fats
Eating foods with monounsaturated fatty acid helps give you the energy needed for exercising, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps muscle strong. This is the type of good fats found in foods like peanut butter, olive oil, nuts, olives, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil and avocados. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are also in the "good" fats category and our bodies do need some fat in order to function properly. Fat is needed to dissolve certain vitamins that are vital for a healthy body. Research has found that eating MUFAS helps keep blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels stable, reduce buildup of plaque, support healthy blood circulation, reduce the risk of heart disease and help burn off belly fat. They are also more filling so you don't have to eat as much as with other foods to satisfy hunger. And really who wants to exercise when you are stuffed and bloated? PUFAS can help release fat, increase metabolism and the body burns them faster than saturated types of fat. PUFAS are found in fish and fish oils, bluegreen alage, nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of PUFAS and have many benefits for physical and mental health

Supplements
In addition to eating healthy foods for high energy workouts, we have a natural supplement solution that supports the body engaged in an active lifestyle, that exercises regularly, that participates in sports or that is prone to overdoing it physically. This set of products is combined to give you supplements to take before a workout and supplements to take after a workout. The capsules in these packets have a variety of ingredients already measured out for you that:

  • provide a nutrient rich, whole food source the body needs for physical energy
  • have amino acids found to reduce muscle damage
  • have anti-inflammatory properties
  • provide nutrition found to support joints and cartilage
  • have antioxidants to aid against damage from free radicals 
  • provide protein rich plant sterols known to support sports performance
  • provide cellular nutrition
  • nourish and protect the body from tissue breakdown resulting from the intensity of post-workout

Since this supplement is already measured and packaged for you, it’s easy to take with you to the gym, up a mountain, or anywhere you go. These capsules contain ingredients such as bluegreen algae, wheatgrass juice, cordyceps and Lion’s Mane mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase. Individually these each have their own benefits to support mental concentration needed during sports and extreme workouts, joint and cartilage support, and anti-inflammatory properties. Collectively they add up to a great whole food source for physical energy to prepare your body for a high energy workout and to support its recovery after a high energy workout.

Now that you have some ideas of what healthy foods your body needs before and after a high energy workout, get going! Eat well, hydrate appropriately and support your body so that whatever sport, exercise or activity you enjoy, you perform at your peak level.

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


Source: 
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/what-eat-before-during-after-exercise?ecd=wnl_wlw_071313&ctr=wnl-wlw-071313_ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3d


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Easy Joint Health to Keep You Active

How often do you really think about your joints? If you aren't having problems with them, the chances are you don't think about them often and take for granted all the things they allow your body to do. But if you suffer with joint stiffness, achy joints, or the pain of arthritis, you may think about your joints a lot.

Importance of Joint Health
A joint is the place where two bones meet. They get support to keep the bones from rubbing against each other from cartilage and synovium which are smooth tissues and synovial fluid. Movable joints also use cartilage to help you move by allowing the bones to glide over each other. Taking care of your cartilage, ligaments, muscles and bones is important to keep your joints healthy and avoiding joint stiffness and achy joints. Aging, injury and being overweight can cause damage and wear on the cartilage and joints and can lead to arthritis. Arthritis isn't just for the elderly. Younger people can also be at risk for it. Osteoarthritis is the most common form and affects around 21 million adults. Rheumatoid arthritis, gout and Juvenile arthritis are some of the other forms that make up the conditions affecting over 50 million Americans. According to Sharon Kolasinski, M.D., an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, one-third to one-half of doctor visits are attributed to musculosketal problems.

Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis begins when the support around the joints is no longer providing the cushioning needed for protection. This occurs because of cartilage wearing down from things like aging, any type of injury whether big or little that has occurred to a joint, inflammation that damages cartilage, loss of muscle mass that happens as we age and the strain joints and cartilage endure from carrying around too much excess body weight.

You don't have to settle for joint pain and stiffness no matter what age you are. There are natural solutions you can use to help support joint health. Here are a few to consider.

Keep Those Joints Moving
To maintain good joint health and prevent achy joints and joint stiffness, the key is to continue moving them. Exercise is a big part of that, but also just not staying in one position for too long can help. If you work a lot at a desk, get up and move periodically. If you are sitting for a long period of time at least shift your position from time to time. Since extra weight puts a strain on joints and cartilage, weight loss exercise can also be important. Did you realize that studies show you put four times more stress on your knees for every extra pound you are carrying around? That's a lot of potential damage to your knee joints, not to mention the strain on hips and your back!

Stretching exercises are recommended by experts for keeping joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles fit. They do however warn that stretching should be done after some warmup exercise instead of on cold muscles. Low-impact exercises are preferable to high-impact to lower the risk of joint damage. Walking, bike riding and swimming are examples of low-impact exercise. Other helpful exercise includes strength training exercise since having strong muscles can relieve some of the stress to joints. Doing range of motion exercises can help keep joints flexible and lessen the chance for joint stiffness. Be sure to check with your health care provider before taking on any type of exercise program to make sure it is safe for you.

Nutrition to Support Joint Health
Eating a well-balanced healthy diet is important for building strong muscle and bone which in turn supports joint health. In particular, make sure you are getting omega-3 fatty acids into your diet as it adds a lot of benefits for your health. For joints studies have found that omega-3's can help reduce inflammation that can lead to joint pain. Omega-3 is found in foods such as coldwater fish like cod, mackerel and salmon, fresh fruit, dark-green leafy greens, AFA blue-green algae, seeds and nuts, and flax and olive oil. Your diet also needs to include those foods that will give you strong bones. That means making sure you are getting the right amount of calcium. Good food sources for calcium include milk products, broccoli, kale, figs, and fortified cereals. The calcium won't help you though if you don't get the right amount of Vitamin D to help your body absorb it. Some research has also shown that Vitamin D supports joint health by helping to reduce inflammation in joints. Our bodies create Vitamin D mainly from our exposure to sunshine so getting outdoors a little bit every day is important. If you are unable to do this, a Vitamin D supplement may be required. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider to see if this type of supplement is right for you. You can get Vitamin D from some foods such as dairy products, and fortified cereals or soy and almond milk. Muscles need protein to stay strong which means making sure you have lean protein foods such as white meat chicken, beans, legumes, soy, seafood and nuts in your diet. Your healthcare provider may need to be consulted if you are not sure what the right amount of protein is for your age and sex. Antioxidants are another important part of a healthy diet that can help with joint health as they help repair the damage done to the body by free radicals. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are the best way to get antioxidants into your diet.

Supplements to Support Joint Health
If you know you are not getting the right type of nutrition to support healthy bones, muscles, cartilage and joints, there are supplements that can help. Glucosamine is probably one of the best known. While more research is needed, there have been studies reporting glucosamine and chondroitin being used successfully to relieve joint pain. One study at the University of Utah School of Medicine reported glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate being able to give pain relief to those suffering with pain from moderate to severe osteoarthritis. Both glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally occurring in our cartilage. Check with your healthcare provider however before using supplements of this type as they may interfere or be harmful to take in conjunction with other medications you may be on such as blood thinners.

SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine), is another well-known supplement that has been found useful in coping with joint pain. SAMe is produced naturally by the body, but production decreases as we get older. There have been studies showing that supplementing with SAMe can work on joint pain much like anti-inflammatory drugs do. Turmeric, ginger and boswellia have also been reported to work as well as some anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce joint pain from osteoarthritis. Ginger in particular may thin blood so be sure to check with your healthcare provider to see if this is safe for you especially if you are on any blood thinner medications. 

One way to add glucosamine and chondroitin along with undenatured collagen, and organic AFA bluegreen algae is with this supplement. The same type of nutrition needed for the body to recover from heavy activity or exercise is also the same type that supports joint health. This supplement  combines a proprietary blend of plant-based proteolytic enzymes--bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, and organic AFA bluegreen algae to provide the nutrition necessary for the body to reduce the risks of inflammation and recover from physical exertion.

Laugh Your Way to Better Joint Health
According to Sebastien Gendry, director of the American School of Laughter Yoga in Pasadena, laughter can be used for managing pain. Research has shown that laughter has many health benefits and one of those benefits is giving a boost to the immune system. Laughing can also increase the blood circulation and reduce stress. Hasya, or laughter yoga, incorporates activities and breathing that promote laughing which causes a release of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that give us a lift and make us feel better that Gendry believes can work like a natural painkiller.

Try out the natural solution tips that will work and be safe for your situation to relieve your achy joints and joint stiffness. Joint pain can be very restrictive for everyday life so taking care of your joints now will pay off as you get older. If you already suffer from joint pain or arthritis use some of these tips to get relief and if you don't have joint pain now, get a jump on it and don't wait until it sets in. Life can be more enjoyable and productive when pain-free.

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


Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/ss/slideshow-keep-joints-healthy?print=true
https://office.newearth.com/ProductDetail.aspx?item=21601
http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/caring-your-joints?print=true
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02862/supplements-for-bone-and-joint-health.html
http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Kids/healthy_joints.asp
http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/02/27/CL.joint.health/index.html?iref=newssearch
http://www.arthritis.org/programs-events/joints-in-motion/

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Chocolate Heaven: Good and Good for You

Next time you reach for a chocolate bar when you're stressed forget about the guilt and enjoy it. It turns out that chocolate is actually good for you. That doesn't mean you can eat chocolate to your heart's content since it does have extra calories, but eating equal to one square of a dark healthy chocolate bar daily can give you a lot of benefits.

How Chocolate is Good For You
PEA
Cocoa beans and some cocoa powder has Phenylethylamine or PEA which comes from the amino acid phenylalanine. PEA occurs naturally in the body and aids with energy, mood, feelings of well-being and pleasure, attention, and mental acuity. PEA triggers hormones like dopamine and norepinephrine that elevate feelings of pleasure. Some research indicates that PEA stimulates the same feelings we get from falling in love. PEA can also be found in cheddar cheese and AFA bluegreen algae or in supplement form. Getting Phenylethylamine from supplements has been reported to have more consistent benefits and can help lower stress, boost mood and boost metabolism for fat burning. 

Antioxidants
According to experts like Mauro Serafini, PhD, from the National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, dark chocolate has antioxidants that help fight free radical damage. Free radicals are molecules in cells that weaken to the point that they lose an electron. This weakness results from things such as toxins in the body, exposure to UV rays, chlorinated water, pollution, and overcooked, fried and processed foods. These free radicals then take electrons from other molecules and create more free radicals causing damage in the body, including cells, enzymes, and DNA. This shows up in the body in ways like pain, inflammation, and chronic diseases such as heart disease. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals before they cause cell damage by replacing the missing electron of free radicals. Dark chocolate has flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, that helps fight off free radicals and the effects of inflammation and the resulting diseases. These antioxidants also help protect skin and give protection from skin damaging UV rays from the sun.

Fiber
Dark chocolate is also a rich source of fiber which according to Yale University's Prevention Research Center's director, Dr. David Katz, can help make you feel full and not eat as much. So while you may think chocolate should be banned from your weight loss plan, it actually may help you lose weight by keeping you from seeking out less healthy snacks between meals.

Heart Healthy Chocolate
Antioxidants help fight off the damage from free radicals that can lead to heart disease, but there are other benefits for the cardiovascular system that healthy chocolate can provide. Research from 2011 done in Sweden found that women eating more than 45 grams a week were at 20 percent less risk of stroke, than those eating less than 9 grams. Eating chocolate with its cocoa phenols regularly has also been found to reduce blood pressure levels and LDL cholesterol levels. And according to Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald cocoa works much like aspirin in thinning blood and protecting from blood clots.

Alternative to the Chocolate Bar
If you have a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder you can also get your chocolate benefits from drinking chocolate like they do in Europe. Just add nonfat milk, sugar or natural sweetener and cornstarch together in a pan and cook while stirring with a whisk until it boils.

Forget the bad things you've heard over the years about chocolate and let yourself enjoy a square daily. About 6 grams of chocolate a day on a regular basis will lift you up, and give you all the health benefits we've talked about here. The darker the chocolate the better and 70% or more cocoa content is optimal. What a great way to treat yourself and get an extra nutritional bang.

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

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/food/thick-rich-drinking-chocolate?ecd=wnl_dab_122814&ctr=wnl-dab-122814_ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3d
http://racetams.net/2014/07/23/phenylethylamine-chocolate-benefits/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/chocolate-health-benefits_n_1383372.html
http://www.webmd.com/diet/20030827/dark-chocolate-is-healthy-chocolate

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Gut-Brain Connection: How Healthy Food Affects Your Brain's Reactions

You can probably see how eating healthy food makes for a healthy body which includes making a healthy brain, but there may be more of a connection between what goes on in your gut and your brain. Recent studies have been showing that probiotics in the gut have an affect on brain activity when we are anxious, stressed, depressed or afraid. These studies indicate that there could be a reduction of these types of behaviors through the types of foods we eat that keep the probiotics in our intestinal system healthy. The other indication is that this communication between gut and brain goes the other way and that brain reactions can affect the population of microflora in the gut.

These studies indicate that one way of supporting brain health is to also support intestinal health. This makes sense if you think about there being two nervous systems in the body. There is the central nervous system that includes the brain and spinal cord and there is the enteric nervous system that is involved with the gastrointestinal tract. Both of these contain the same type of tissues and are connected by the vagus nerve. It is this nerve that facilitates the communication between gut and brain. Specific probiotics in the gut have actually been identified as being able to perform functions that affect regulation of neurotransmitters in the brain and that affect the corticosterone hormone which is responsible for reducing anxiety and depression type behaviors. Studies have also led to the discovery that serotonin such is found in the brain and controls mood, depression and aggression, is found in even greater amounts in the gut.

Studies have also found that an imbalance of gut flora can affect brain development and that low levels of these gut flora have a connection to symptoms associated with autism, ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, and other conditions. While all these studies are relatively new and more research is needed, preliminary results are promising that increasing the friendly bacteria in the gut can be beneficial for brain health.

There are many foods that have been shown to not only increase general body health, but are particularly good for brain health. These include foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids such as berries, nuts, olive oil, vegetables and coldwater fish.

I know you've heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is absolutely true. Here's some high powered breakfast ideas that can help kick start your brain at the beginning of the day.

--Yogurt that has live active cultures is a good source of probiotics and protein and if you add some walnuts and berries to it, you get some omega-3 and antioxidants as well. Add in some whole grain cereal and you've got a breakfast that is also high in fiber which makes for slower digestion thus improving concentration.

--Make an omelet using olive oil instead of butter to get some extra omega-3s. The eggs will give you some protein as would adding some cheese. Put spinach and tomatoes on top before you fold the omelet over so that they end up in the middle and you'll be adding some good antioxidants. Get your fiber by putting the whole thing on a piece of whole grain toast. 

--Make a breakfast shake for a breakfast-to-go by blending yogurt, berries, a little milk and some flax or chia seeds. For an extra nutritional shake, you can add in this powered algae blend or a powdered algae blend with probiotics, enzymes, and sprouts

--Cereal is always a good quick breakfast standby if you don't have time to cook in the mornings. Mix a high fiber cereal with a whole grain cereal, add some walnuts, almonds or pecans, fruit and seeds, then get some probiotics added in by using keifer instead of milk. If you've got a little more time, oatmeal is also a good breakfast for brain health.

--When you've got a little more cooking time, whole grain waffles or pancakes topped with fruit and yogurt makes a healthy filling breakfast. For an extra boost, stir some nuts like walnuts into the batter.

Basically anytime you take some whole grains, add in berries and walnuts along with keifer, you are getting antioxidants, fiber, probiotics, omega-3, polyunsaturated fat, and protein all in one meal. Stir in some powdered blue green algae and you've really got a power breakfast or lunch going. Of course other nuts can be used and flax or chia seeds stirred in also, but the Journal of Alzheimer's Diesease has cited walnuts as contributing to better memory and increased brain functioning. They also attribute the antioxidants in walnuts as being helpful in reducing the chance of cognitive decline as we age.

We've talked about how probiotics in the gut are associated with brain health, but digestive enzymes are another gut aspect to consider when thinking about brain functioning. Digestion requires a lot of energy and the more energy it takes to digest food, the less there is available for other physical and mental activities. We've all experienced that afternoon slump especially after eating lunch. Taking high quality digestive enzymes can help support the digestive process. Enzymes are present in every cell, tissue and organ in the body and responsible for every chemical reaction associated with the metabolism of the body. Enzymes are critical to the proper functioning of everything from breathing to thinking to circulating the blood. .

Now you know how your brain and gut are connected and how adding healthy food and some of the natural solutions discussed can give you a boost for your brain. Giving your brain the support it needs to stay healthy no matter what age you are now will pay off in keeping you mentally sharp into your elder years.

Sources: 
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20120524/probiotics-exploring-the-gut-mind-connection?print=true
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201206/do-probiotics-help-anxiety
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/03/probiotics-impact-brain-performance.aspx
http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/DDW/32944
http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/breakfasts-jump-start-your-brain
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/nuts-and-health-how-walnuts-can-improve-your-memory


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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Mushrooms: Our Superfood Friends

by guest author Barb Swanson


Mushrooms & Optimum Health
Did you know that all mushrooms have powerful immune-system strengthening qualities, improving the ability of immune cells to kill invaders? Even ordinary mushrooms are highly nutritious, low-calorie food with immune health qualities.

Mice given a diet with a lot of Portobello mushrooms got a strong immune-system boost--just adding in culinary mushrooms.

One reason for mushroom's immune power are their complex sugars, called beta glucans (ß-glucans). ß-glucans turn on our immune cells in skin and our gut. In fact, studies show that our innate immune system doesn't operate at peak function unless there are beta glucans present.

Based on their effects on the immune system, mushroom ß-glucans have been proposed to act as "biological response modifiers" (BRM), enhancing the body's own use of macrophages and T-lymphocytes.

Certain mushrooms, especially reishi, maitake and multi-mushroom blends, can also dramatically increase the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and facilitate apoptosis of cancer cells.

NK cells are important components of the innate immune system, and are responsible for antiviral and antitumor defense.

Mushrooms can benefit gastrointestinal tract healing through their action as prebiotics.

Mushrooms also have the potential to improve a healthy immune response after initial exposure to an antigen or pathogen.

TONIC Mushrooms are also called medicinal mushrooms. Some culinary mushrooms are also tonic, but many tonic mushrooms are used primarily in supplement form. When buying a mushroom supplement, it is important to pay attention to quality control. Mushrooms are bio-accumulators. This means they will concentrate any toxins in their environment, making them unsafe for human use.

Best is to use an organic supplement such as this one or this one. If it has other 3rd party certifications, such as GMP for example, this is even better.

Tonic Mushrooms
Key Features & Benefits
Cordyceps was discovered in the mountainous regions of China and Tibet about 1,500 years ago. It was prized in the Emperor's palace in China. It is rich in proteins, plant sterols, polysaccharides, antioxidants, and nucleoside derivatives. Promotes longevity and decreases fatigue. It helps support healthy lung function & kidney function, a healthy heart, improves immune function and is particularly beneficial for use after chemotherapy.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is perhaps the most famous of all the scientifically researched mushrooms. Its wide-ranging health benefits stem from its high levels of beta glucans and its more than 130 identified triterpenoid compounds.  These compounds are anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive. The science on reishi is some of the most extensive in the mushroom literature, with many promising avenues of research and potential benefits. Reishi is a complete whole food, rich in amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and complex polysaccharides. Contains complex sugars that fight viral, strengthen immune, organic germanium for healthy immune. Lowers high cholesterol & blood pressure. May help maintain positive moods.

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is a highly prized culinary mushroom that grows throughout the temperate forests of North America, China and Europe. Maitake contains a variety of beneficial phospholipids, unsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides, antioxidants, beta glucans, and plant sterols, such as the potent ergosterol. This adaptogenic mushroom promote wellness & vitality and helps your body cope with stressors. Benefits include helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It helps with losing weight. It promotes cardiovascular health.

Poria Cocos has been a traditional ingredient in Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years and was harvested by Native Americans as a source of food. It is a mind tonic, considered to prolong life because it keeps you calm. It is an anti-tumor, antiviral food.

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is a powerful tonic food. The compounds of this mushroom enhance our immune function. Shiitake is rich in cellulase and hemicellulose enzymes which destroy the cell membranes of opportunistic fungus. The antibacterial properties of Lentinula edodes are shown to be helpful in controlling other opportunistic bacteria.

Lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus) has the ability to protect and regenerate the intestinal epithelium, which is great help to repair the damaged intestinal walls (possible Leaky Gut Syndrome). 

Bottom Line: Tonic mushrooms offer us big benefits for even just a little bit of use.

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