Thursday, May 30, 2013

Been Venting your Spleen? That's Probably Why You Are Tired

Ever hear that old phrase about "venting your spleen"? When I was growing up that phrase referred to people getting angry and venting... a kind of cathartic process that helped them feel better afterward. It made sense to me. I started to think that the spleen was the organ responsible for anger, venting, release of frustration, and so forth.

Then I went to school to become a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, and learned that the phrase should actually say, "venting your liver." The liver is actually the organ responsible for anger, ambition, passion, drive, and so forth. When the liver--always an organ easily stirred to irritation--gets out of balance, you end up with the whole cathartic shouting, arm-waving, venting process. But, the liver actually isn't to blame in the first place. For that, we have to go back to the spleen.

The Spleen and the Liver: A Big Difference
The spleen is actually the organ originally responsible for the liver getting out of balance. The spleen is the organ responsible for mental activity, such as thinking, planning, cogitation, and so forth. In today's workaholic society, everyone uses spleen energy like it is going out of style because everyone works way more than they should. At the same time, they take far too little time for rest, recreation, and rejuvenation.

As a result, the spleen gets burned out and stops working. At that point, the liver steps in and tries to do the spleen's job. While the spleen is truly good at supporting mental and creative activity, the liver isn't so good. The liver relies on drive, ambition, anger, and pushiness to get the job done. What's the result? A bunch of really tired burned out people who turn to anger and pushiness to get the job done--and end up venting their livers. Added stimulants like caffeine only make the problem worse. The end result is a lot of cranky people working together, apparently energized (by anger, caffeine, and the desire to just "push through it") but in actuality dead tired underneath all the buzz.

Yowza... how is that for workplace harmony?

Getting Your Daily Energy Back
If the above description sounds like you then you probably need to start supporting and nourishing your spleen. When your spleen is nourished you feel totally different than when you operate from liver energy. Liver energy is like a caffeine buzz--you have energy, but there is also a constant low hum of irritation, and you are ready to snap at any time.

Spleen energy, on the other hand, springs forth from within as vibrant creative energy that needs no pushing. When your spleen is working properly, then your work goes well, too. You feel moved from within to work, do, play, accomplish, and enjoy life. There are no Monday Morning Blues, nor do you have to wake up each morning with one or more cups of coffee. The spleen provides you with all the daily energy you need to do the mental and creative and thinking work that makes up the modern digital society.

So how do you support your spleen? There are many different ways, including but not limited to:
  • herbs
  • acupuncture or other forms of alternative healing
  • time off for rest and rejuvenation
  • supplements that support the spleen
  • light exercise
  • spleen-supportive foods
For herbs and acupuncture, seek the help of a recommended Doctor of Chinese Medicine in your area. While there are many patent herbs on the market to support spleen qi, it is much better to have a personal consultation, then have a herb formula made specifically for all your conditions.

Taking time off, getting plenty of sleep at night, and sticking to light exercise are all under your own control. By changing your lifestyle habits to accommodate these factors, your spleen will be much more likely to recover. These habits are not much in alignment with our workaholic society, but they will prolong your working life as well as your overall life span.

When it comes to diet, avoid raw and cold foods, as well as refined sugars, fruits, and fruit juices. Stick with steamed vegetables like carrots, beets, and yams. Cooked greens and whole grains are also good choices, as are onion and garlic.

Supplements that support the spleen include those that support healthy digestion as well as those that support mental and physical energy. My favorite supplement is actually a daily packet of supplements that includes supplements for all of these supportive functions. Each packet contains the beneficial bacteria acidophilus and bifidus to assist with digestive health, as well as enzymes, which also support digestion. In addition, there are two types of AFA blue-green algae. One form provides daily energy for the physical body while the other offers daily energy for mental activity. What I love most is the simplicity of having all of those supportive supplements in a single convenient packet.

So... the next time you notice yourself venting your, ahem, liver, consider some of the natural solutions mentioned above to support your spleen. Once your spleen is supported and nourished, your liver will once more be a happy camper and go back to doing its real job!

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.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Do You Need a Vacation from Your Vacation?

Let's face it: vacation always sounds like a great idea, but often times vacation is more stressful than work stress. To get ready for vacation, not only do we have to prepare for taking time off--often by working longer hours before the vacation--but then there is the anxiety and stress of modern travel. Have you been patted down thoroughly at the airport lately, or waited through endless lines so that you COULD get patted down? Talk about stress!

Luckily we humans are a fairly adaptive bunch, and we continue to travel, vacation, venture forth, and have fun with our friends and families (or solo) despite all stress and anxiety associated with travel. Even more fortunate is the fact that there are many natural solutions for stress relief, especially if you plan to travel this summer. Just be sure to prepare our All Natural First Aid and Emergency Kit, and toss it into your suitcase before you go forth like the intrepid adventurer that you are!

The All Natural First Aid and Emergency Kit
Nothing is worse than saving up a ton of cash, paying for a vacation, and setting off to have fun, only to find that you have to deal with stress when you arrive at your intended location (or even before)! All kinds of quirks can occur on vacation, including insect bites of unknown origin, pain from old injuries flaring up, minor health emergencies, catching a cold from the fellow sitting next to you on the plane, and even plain old constipation!

No worries, the All Natural First Aid and Emergency Kit will come to your rescue. Read through these simple ingredients that go into the kit (most of which can be bought at your local health food store) to understand how each item can help with stress relief on your vacation. To simplify, we have categorized the items into the type of stress relief provided: digestive, immunity, first aid, aches and pains, and so forth.

Digestive
If you plan to travel outside the country, you'll want to avoid Montezuma and his revenge. You'll also want to avoid any digestive complications so you can enjoy all the local cuisine with gusto. The following items will help.

Ume Plum Balls or Tar
Made from the umeboshi plum, this substance is so concentrated that it appears purplish black (don't get the ume plum sauce, which is light purple and not very concentrated). Extremely alkaline, ume plum tar is great for preventing jet lag and immediately soothing any sort of digestive upset. It's useful for Montezuma's revenge as well as overdoing it at a holiday buffet.

Acidophilus and Bifidus
Probiotics like acidophilus and bifidus are important because they keep your digestive system in good working order, which is especially important if you are going to eat strange food or just a lot of it. What's also important about probiotics is that they help your body produce B-vitamins. B-vitamins, as you may know, help boost your immune system, keep your energy levels high, and also help you stay mentally calm and focused. If you're going to be stressed this vacation season (perhaps by in-laws or other such guests), B-vitamins will help you stay calm ... and possible prevent you from ripping out your hair and running screaming into the streets!

Ginger
For nausea. Ginger in tincture form can be found in your local health food store. If you feel nauseous or motion sick, take 2 to 4 drops orally or in tea to alleviate symptoms. Ginger also helps keep your digestion on track when encountering foreign foods!

Immunity
If the fellow sitting next to you on the plane keeps sneezing and coughing in your general direction, you'll definitely want to boost your immunity! Else you might spend your entire vacation coughing and sneezing, too!

Vitamin C
This vitamin is essential for supporting the immune system. Vitamin C can be found in your local grocery or health food store in tablet, chewable, or powder form. Take as directed.

Immune-Boosting Supplements
Your health food store is well-stocked with immune-boosting supplements, which can include a combination of vitamin C, garlic, Echinacea and more. Another option is to take WGP beta-glucan, a special ingredient found in baker's yeast that has been shown to have a number of immune-boosting properties.

First Aid
Ouch! Did a rogue wave just throw you off your surfboard, just as you were getting up into "the position"? Got scrapes, rashes, or unidentifiable injuries? Check out these natural solutions for first aid.

Atomidine
This is a special form of iodine promoted long ago by Edgar Cayce. Atomidine supports the thyroid gland, has anti-aging properties (like preventing grey hair), and can be used topically for everything from cuts to bee stings. It's a definite first-aid must. Better than regular iodine, this special form of iodine will disinfect any injury in a hurry, plus take the pain and sting out of most injuries. A definite must on any vacation!

Rescue Remedy
This amazing flower essence combination works like a dream for acute stress. This wonderful Bach flower remedy can be found at your local health food store. Take 4 drops orally or put 4 drops in spring water and sip on it all day. Rescue Remedy relieves acute stress of all types -- mental, emotional and physical. This is a handy remedy to keep with you at all times.

Herbs
If you injure yourself while on vacation and have access to a health food store, herbs may be the answer for you. External poultices and plasters can be made up easily with the combination of heat-clearing herbs such as Arnica, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Angelica and Comfrey. You can also add astringent herbs such as Yellow Dock, Wormwood, Witch Hazel, Calendula, Shepherd's Purse, and Prickly Ash Bark, to mention a few. There are, of course many of these herbs that can be ingested to work from inside to clear heat as well, such as Boneset, Comfrey Root, White Willow Bark, Valerian, Myrrh, and Lobelia.

Aches and Pains

Sometimes traveling can cause old injuries to flare up. Or, new activities can cause new injuries to occur. Luckily, if aches and pains start to bother you while on vacation, this kit has the stress relief you need.

Arnica 30x Homeopathic Remedy
This homeopathic remedy works well for healing bruises and other soft-tissue injuries. Take the recommended dosage if you sustain this kind of injury. Arnica is available in most health food stores.

Magnesium
Magnesium has proven to be a wonderful muscle relaxer as well having a soothing influence on mood. This supplement can be found in tablets, capsules, and powder. Take as directed. As a bonus, magnesium can help you avoid constipation while traveling (remember the main ingredient in Milk of Magnesia?).

Stem Cell Booster
A stem cell supplement can be the fix-it for all kinds of injuries and strains, as well as chronic pain. Certain types of stem cell supplements stimulate the production of adult stem cells in your body, which your body then uses to repair itself. If you incur a painful injury while traveling, taking 1-2 capsules of a stem cell supplement can really boost your body's healing process. This type of supplement is also helpful for sprains, bruises, and chronic pain anywhere in the body, and overall muscle soreness.

Energy
Whether you are shopping, eating, celebrating, or just plain making merry, you don't want to be slowed down by low energy.

Blue-Green Algae and Enzymes
When you travel, chances are that you are laid back but also active. If you want to have plenty of energy to play all day and take in the night life after the sun goes down, consider taking a few supplements to boost your energy. Blue-green algae and enzymes give you the basic nutrition your body needs to produce energy. The algae provides the majority of the glycogen, vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals your body needs, while the enzymes ensure that your digestion works great. Before leaving for any trip, load up on algae and enzymes, and then take more as needed during the trip.

Pretty Natural and Basic
While we could certainly get into many more items with which to stock your All Natural First Aid and Emergency Kit, this should cover the basics. If you want more, check in with your local health food store guru.... they should be able to point you in the right direction!

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, May 23, 2013

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome, Really?

These days we are inundated by commercials about intestinal and digestive health, not to mention hearing all kinds of terms such as probiotoics, enzymes, leaky gut syndrome, IBS, IBD, and much more. At the end of the day, despite all the educational articles and webinars--plus commercials--many of us end up with more questions than answers.

One of the major terms being thrown around a lot is leaky gut syndrome. Most people know that a leaky gut is not healthy, but don't really have a clue as to what it means.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
So what is a leaky gut, really, and why isn't it a healthy condition to have? Before we can answer that question, we first have to understand the function of a healthy non-leaky gut. So let's see what the experts have to say. According to Trent W. Nichols, MD and Barry W. Ritz, BS in "Making Sense of Leaky Gut, IBS and IBD":

"... intestinal health is the foundation of overall well being. That fact is clear. The intestinal lining is responsible for absorbing nutrients from the foods that we eat and serves as our most important immune barrier, protecting us from potential allergens in undigested food, as well as microbiological and chemical threats."

Clearly intestinal health is important to digestive health and immune health. From this understanding, we can then answer the question, "What is leaky gut syndrome?"

In short, a leaky gut occurs when the intestinal lining becomes permeable in unhealthy ways. This intestinal permeability allows food allergens and toxins to "leak" from the intestine into the bloodstream. To understand how this intestinal permeability occurs, we first have to understand the two ways in which the gut does its job. The gut has two jobs:

1. providing immunity
2. absorbing nutrients from food

The gut does its job in two different ways:

1. through the activity of intestinal cells
2. through tiny openings (called tight junctions) between intestinal cells

With the first process, the intestinal cells facing inwards toward the intestine absorb nutrients from the foods we eat. These absorbed nutrients then pass through the same cells and exit into the bloodstream and lymphatic system. This process is called the transcellular system.

The second process doesn't require the activity of cells. Instead, small nutrients (such as minerals and trace minerals) pass directly through tiny porous openings between the intestinal cells. These openings are called tight junctions, and the process is called the paracellular process. A leaky gut occurs when these porous openings between cells become damaged and enlarged, allowing undigested food particles and toxins to flood directly into the bloodstream. This movement of unwanted substances through the tight junctions is what is termed "leaky gut."

While there are many possible causes of leaky gut syndrome, the most common causes include damage from infectious agents--including bacteria, viruses, and protozoan organisms--ethanol (found in alcoholic drinks and certain sugar substitutes called sugar alcohols), and NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) pain relievers (including aspirin and ibuprofen). Other causes include aging, malnutrition, intensive illnesses, shock, and a variety of digestive disorders.

What Happens When You Have a Leaky Gut?
Because a leaky gut allows a variety of unwanted substances to be spread throughout the body, carried by the lymphatic and blood circulatory system, a number of health problems can be the result. Most physicians recognize certain chronic conditions to be the result of leaky gut syndrome, including joint inflammation, skin disorders, food sensitivities or allergies, lack of focus, hyperactivity, digestive issues, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

None of these sound good. Luckily, since leaky gut syndrome is most often caused by lifestyle factors, changing certain lifestyle habits can make a significant difference to this condition. According to Nichols and Ritz:

"Managing leaky gut is preventative medicine at its finest... Resolving leaky gut can produce very real benefits to total health."

Pretty good news, right? If the information in this article rings any bells for you, stay tuned. In future articles we will cover a variety of lifestyle changes that can significantly affect your digestive, immune, and overall health.

Sources:
Galland, L. "Leaky Gut Syndromes: Breaking the Vicious Cycle." http://mdheal.org/leakygut.htm (accessed 5/10/13)
Nichols, T. W. and Faass N., ed. Optimal Digestion. http://www.stopleakygut.com/article (accessed 5/8/13)


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, May 16, 2013

Eat This Healthy Diet to Live Longer

We all know that eating a healthy diet is good for us, but more specifically it can help with healthy aging. There is more and more research suggesting that the type of foods we eat is related to longevity of life. Eating healthy not only makes you look younger and feel younger, it may even slow down the aging process. First, eating healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and nuts increases the body's overall health and can reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes which can lead to an earlier age of death. As we grow older the body systems need more help to do their jobs and promote healthy aging. This help is available by making sure you get the right nutrition to support the body during the aging process.

Foods For Healthy Aging
For a healthier, longer life here are some tips on foods and nutrients you can add to your diet and how they help with healthy aging.

Bright Colored Fruits and Vegetables
These foods are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent damage to healthy cells from free radicals and fight off disease. One way to tell if you are getting enough antioxidants in your diet for healthy aging is to look in the mirror. Wrinkles can be a sign of cell damage or cells that are dying. Antioxidant rich foods include tomatoes, leafy greens, blueberries, raspberries, carrots, peaches, bell peppers, cantaloupe, cherries, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and beets.

The antioxidant resveratrol can help the body with healthy aging by reducing your risk of cancer, heart disease and early aging. This antioxidant is found in grapes, peanuts and red wine. The antioxidants vitamin C, zinc and beta-carotene, such as found in spinach, kale and other dark green leafy vegetables, can help with eye health and vision problems that occur as we age. Yellow and green vegetables are particularly helpful in keeping skin looking more youthful.

Omega-3
Getting enough foods with omega-3 fatty acids in the diet can help lower cholesterol, fight inflammation, increase brain health as we age and reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart attack. There is some research that suggests it can also reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The best food sources for omega-3 is fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring and lake trout. Other food sources for omega-3 are flaxseed, blue green algae, walnuts, olive oil, edamame, wild rice, soybean oil, spinach, kale and chia seeds

Whole grains
Whole grains are rich in fiber that help keep blood vessels healthy, may reduce the risk of cancer, are good for heart health, reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and keeps blood sugar levels balanced. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the risk of death from heart disease can be reduced by 17% for every additional 10 grams of fiber you eat daily. Good food sources for fiber include oats, brown rice, barley, wheat, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, apples and raspberries.

Dairy Foods
Low fat dairy foods give you the calcium and vitamin D needed for bone health and help prevent osteoporosis. Choosing low fat dairy helps in the fight against high cholesterol levels while still getting the nutrients that keep bones strong and healthy. As we age the body doesn't produce as much new bone to replace the natural process of bone loss. Other food sources for calcium include spinach, bok choy, mustard greens, sardines, fortified cereals and juices, beans, tofu, and fish. Vitamin D can also be found in cod liver oil, fish such as tuna and salmon, and egg yolks

Healthy Fats
Most of us know there are different types of fats and that some are good fats and some are not. Monounsaturated fatty acids can actually help with healthy aging and help us live longer. It can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Nuts such as almonds and pistachios, olive oil and avocado are good sources of these healthy fats.

Proteins
As we age we have more damage to body cells. The body needs protein to repair these cells. Beans are a good source of protein as an alternative to red meat. This is a good way to get the protein you need without the saturated fat found in meats which can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Fat free milk, egg whites, tofu, chicken, pork, and turkey are other good lean sources for protein.

Supplements for Healthy Aging

In addition to adding the above nutrition into your diet, nutritional supplements can help you get enough antioxidants, omega-3, calcium and other nutrition that you aren't getting from your food sources. There are other supplements that can also help in the quest for healthy aging.

Stem Cell Support
Stem cells occur naturally in most body organs and tissues and help with our overall general health. They are different than other body cells in that they are able to divide and renew themselves for long periods, and are able to develop into other types of cells. When a stem cell divides, it can either remain a stem cell or become a red blood cell, muscle cell, skin cell or any one of the many other cells in our bodies. These new cells can migrate to the areas they are needed most as we age and where problems are occurring to repair damage.

Adult stem cells are already in our bodies and are not controversial like embryonic stem cell use is. They maintain and renew body tissue, help in maintaining a healthy immune system as well as with other health conditions. As we get older, we don't produce as many adult stem cells and they don't regenerate themselves as fast as when we were younger. This is where supplementation can help. Research has shown that certain nutrients such as are present in a stem cell support supplement can help promote the renewal of stem cells. It provides nutrition that supports the growth of stem cells and provides antioxidants that protect existing stem cells from free radical damage. Using this type of supplement can help counteract the reduction in the body's ability to regenerate stem cells as we age.

Enzymes
According to Dr. Edward Howell, known for his enzyme research, Food Enzymes for Health Longevity:

"Diets deficient in enzymes cause a 30% reduction in life-span."

Eating mostly processed and cooked foods depletes the active enzymes in our diets. These enzymes are necessary for good digestive health and immune system support. Not getting enough enzymes from the foods we eat puts strain on the pancreas, liver and spleen to replace the enzymes we are not getting from our foods. Adding an enzyme supplement to the diet can insure that we get the necessary enzymes to digest food and reduce stress on the body.

Enzymes can help with healthy aging in a variety of ways. Amylase helps with the well-being of the mind and body and relieves mental fatigue. Not getting enough of this enzyme can result in an unbalanced blood sugar level and mood swings. Lipase helps the body to store and break down fat. A lack of this enzyme can affect circulation, affect the immune system by inhibiting the circulation of white blood cells, increase cholesterol levels and contribute to high blood pressure. Cellulase helps with the breaking down and assimilation of cellulose into glucose which is a form of sugar the body can easily absorb and use for energy. A lack of this enzyme can cause bloating, excessive gas and abdominal pain. To insure you are getting enough enzymes, adding a high quality digestive enzyme supplement to your diet can make a tremendous difference.

Give yourself the best chance at leading a long and healthy life by making sure your diet has the nutrition it needs for healthy aging. Then go a step further and make sure your body is able to use that nutrition to its benefit by adding high quality nutritional supplements. We all want to remain healthy and active as we age and getting the right nutritional help is the key.


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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

5 Types of Power Foods That Boost Your Immune System

Your immune system is your body's defense system that keeps you from getting sick. In order for your immune system to do the best job it can, it needs to be healthy. Your immune system will be depressed if you eat a diet with a lot of junk food and don't get enough fruits and vegetables. Eating a well balanced healthy diet can go a long way to help supporting your immune system, but there are certain vitamins and nutrients that are known to give it an extra boost. For example, B2, B5, B6, B9 and B12 vitamins are known to help with antibody and blood cell production thus giving your immune system a boost. Protein also aids the body in white blood cell production and antibodies. Fish, chicken, eggs and dairy products are all good sources of lean proteins. Here are a few more ideas of how nutrition can be used as a natural solution to help strengthen your immune system.

1. Zinc Power Foods
Most people in the U.S. do not get enough zinc in their diets and zinc is a crucial mineral for boosting your immune system. This is especially true for vegetarians as beef is high in zinc. Zinc aids in the development of white blood cells that are a part of your immune system that destroy foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. If you are a meat eater, then eating lean beef, pork, oysters and poultry will add zinc to your diet. Other sources of zinc for you vegetarians include fortified cereals, sesame seeds, milk, yogurt, and miso. Miso which is a soybean paste also has protein and B12 which are immune system boosters.

2. Beta-Carotene Power Foods
Vitamin A is an antioxidant nutrient that comes from foods with beta-carotene. The body takes beta-carotene from foods and converts it into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is one of the vitamins that helps keep skin healthy and your skin is your body's first line of defense in the immune system for keeping out bacteria and viruses. Foods high in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, apricots, blue green algae, carrots, squash, pumpkin and cantaloupe. Sweet potatoes also have the added benefit of phytonutrients that are good for healthy eyes and hearts.

3. Antioxidant Power Foods
Antioxidants fight the damage to our bodies' cells caused by free radicals. We get antioxidant enzymes naturally from the food we eat. Antioxidants come from fresh, raw foods that have minimal processing. Fruits and vegetables are the most commonly thought of source for antioxidants, but there are some that we can get more from than others and there are other consumables that also offer high levels of antioxidants.

Blueberries are a good source of antioxidants and there is some evidence that suggests the same compound that gives them their blue color can help with diabetes. Oregano is another good antioxidant source which has the added benefits of helping with digestion and clearing congestion. Cinnamon is the spice that has the highest levels of antioxidants of all herbs and spices. It has also been shown to be effective in balancing blood sugar levels. Walnuts are not only high in antioxidants, but also have vitamin E which helps nourish the skin, selenium, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. Drinking black and green tea is another way to get antioxidants into your diet and actually have more than fruits and vegetables do. Studies have also shown that when brewing your tea, if you bob the tea bag or tea ball up and down several times then you can increase the amount of antioxidants released by 5 times the amount. Green tea also has EGCG that may help in preventing heart muscle damage. Chamomile tea has also been shown to help with boosting the immune system. A study at London's Imperial College found that subjects who drank 5 cups a day for 2 weeks showed an increase in a compound that has antibacterial properties. Dark chocolate is another good source of antioxidants. It has flavonioids that may improve blood flow and aid in skin health too. As far as vegetables go, tomatoes can't be beat for providing immune boosting antioxidants as the lycopene in them helps white blood cells in the fight against free radicals. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published one study showing people consuming a diet with a lot of tomatoes for 3 weeks and then no tomatoes for 3 weeks. During the time they ate a lot of tomatoes their white blood cells had 38% less free radical damage than when they were not eating tomatoes.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day is the preferred method of getting antioxidant defense from free radicals and other nutrients that support your immune system function, and improve skin health. But we know sometimes it's hard with a busy lifestyle, traveling and eating out to get all the fruits and vegetables your body needs. When you can't get your antioxidants from the food you eat, you can supplement your diet with capsules of sprouts, algae, and a combination of the best of nature’s antioxidants for nourishing your body. This supplement is a convenient and hassle-free way to get your antioxidants.

4. Probiotic Power Foods
Your intestinal tract is also part of your immune system and is full of "friendly bacteria" or probiotics that keep harmful bacteria and other invaders from getting into your body through the intestinal wall. So many things we encounter today, such as antibiotics, chlorinated water, high fat high protein diets, environmental toxins, and other medications, destroy these populations of friendly bacteria that we need help replenishing them. Yogurt and kefir are two sources of these probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus. These foods are also good sources of calcium, phosphorus and protein. Be sure to look at labels before you buy and get brands that contain live active cultures. You want to particularly make sure there are active cultures of acidophilus and bifidus.

Acidophilus is especially important for keeping the small intestine healthy since without proper cleansing, the small intestine can accumulate harmful byproducts that impair natural digestive function. Taking a high quality acidophilus supplement can help the body process food efficiently and eliminate waste. Bifidus helps creates a favorable environment for the growth of "good bacteria" in the large intestine which is responsible for absorption of water from food that is consumed and passage from the body of remaining waste products. Lactobacillus casei is another probiotic known to give a boost to the immune system.

5. Beta Glucan Power Foods
Scientists found in the 1960s that the complex carbohydrate beta glucan has immune boosting properties. Beta glucan activates macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell produced in bone marrow, that travel throughout the body fighting off bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders. Oats are a great source of beta glucan and steel cut oats are reported to have twice as much as rolled or quick cooking oats.

You can also get your beta glucan through an immune system boosting supplement that contains a patented form of beta glucan called WGP beta glucan. Studies reveal that WGP beta glucan is able to activate macrophages (type of white blood cell in body's defense system). Activating these macrophages can result in a stronger immune system. Numerous studies conducted at such prestigious research institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and Johns Hopkins University have documented this supplements potential for boosting the immune system through WGP beta glucan's ability to activate macrophages.

Now you know some of the key ingredients for cooking up a stronger immune system. By adding these power foods that have natural immune system boosters and adding a few select supplements to your diet, you can help your immune system in helping you stay healthy.

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



Thursday, May 9, 2013

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 even faster shake, you can get a powdered drink mix that contains pure organic whey and blue green algae and add to some fruit juice. This alternative gives you 22 grams of protein, sprouts and protein-digesting enzymes as well as the omega-3 and omega-6s and all the other amino acids and whole food nutrition from blue green algae. 

--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.




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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Healthy Lifestyle Tips: Worried About Cancer? You Have More Control Than You Think!

If you have done any research on cancer, you probably walked away with one of two responses:

1. Fear: OMG! What am I gonna do?
2. Empowered: Wow, I have more control than I think!

The truth of the matter is that it doesn't really matter what kind of reaction you had. Why? Think about it. If you had a fear reaction, then you can live in fear but you won't be helping yourself live a longer, healthier life. So while that reaction may be perfectly normal, if you are interested in a healthy lifestyle, it's time to dump that reaction!

The second reaction is far more helpful, not to mention far more truthful.

Why You Have a Lot of Power Over Cancer
If you read studies put out by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and other researchers in this field of study, you may be amazed to discover these facts:
  • 1/2 to 2/3 of our cancer risk is under our own control
  • 1/3 of all cancer deaths in the U.S. are correlated with physical inactivity and diet
In other words, living a healthy lifestyle has a lot to do with whether we are at risk for cancer or not. Most of the factors that lead to a healthy lifestyle are common sense, and may have you saying, "Yeah, yeah... I've heard these before." You may have heard these tips before, but if you really want to reduce your risk of cancer, then you really have to LIVE these tips, not just read about them or know about them.

So please, read the following healthy lifestyle tips with an eye toward really integrating them into your everyday life, not just nodding along in agreement with no intention of actually using them.

Healthy Lifestyle Tip #1: Exercise, Even a Little
Consistent exercise has been linked to a reduced risk in cancer, according to research on the subject. For instance, certain studies demonstrate that higher levels of physical activity are correlated with reduced rates of breast cancer. The ACS recommends a mere 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity--anything from gardening to a quick walk around the block!

Healthy Lifestyle Tip #2: Eat Right in Two Simple Ways
There are plenty of articles out there on how to eat right, so we won't bore you with all the details. However, there are two particular areas of dietary focus for supporting your body's ability to fight off cancer.

First, eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily, especially the colorful ones, which tend to have many antioxidant properties. When shopping, look for yellow peppers, leafy greens, orange fruits, and blueberries. If you think 5 servings sounds like a lot, you can supplement your dietary intake with anv antioxidant-packed capsule.

Second, decrease your intake of red meat and go for more plant-based proteins, such as those from tofu and beans. Does that mean you have to give up all those juicy steaks and ribs? Nope. Just remember, a healthy lifestyle is all about moderation!

Healthy Lifestyle Tip #3: Get Your Beauty Rest

While our society currently rewards workaholic behavior and frowns on people who need their "beauty sleep," the truth of the matter is that people who get a healthy eight to nine hours of sleep tend to develop cancer less frequently than those who get seven hours or less of sleep. Some experts suggest that the hormone melatonin could be the cause. When we sleep, the absence of light triggers the body's production of melatonin, which seems linked to decreased risk of cancer. Although researchers are not totally clear on the connection, that connection is definitely present. So... get your beauty sleep as much as you can. Now that's a health tip that should be easy to follow!

Healthy Lifestyle Tips and You
Not to beat a dead horse, but if you managed to make it through the list of healthy lifestyle tips above, we have to ask: did you actually take any of it in? Did knowing that those simple tips can probably reduce your risk of cancer make you feel any more motivated to take action?

We hope so! I mean really... it's not like we suggested you run a marathon, give up all animal protein, or work harder. In fact, we suggested you sleep more and work less... how hard can that be, right? Sleep more, get healthier!

Well, the choice is up to you as always, especially since you now know that you have a LOT of control over your cancer risk. It's all about living healthy and being happy!

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.