Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Is Your Brain Starving?

Do phrases such as "brain fog" and "senior moments" resonate with you? Do you have trouble focusing, making decisions, or staying mentally alert? If so, then your brain may be literally starving-for nutrients as well as oxygen.

Did You Know That Feeding Your Brain is No Simple Matter?
Your brain is one of the "hungriest" organs in the body, demanding more fuel than other organs. At the same time, the brain is protected behind the "blood brain barrier," a layer of cells that keeps all but the smallest molecules from reaching the brain. So feeding your brain requires care.

How to Feed Your Brain
Feeding the brain is no simple matter. The blood brain barrier allows only small micronutrients and fat-soluble molecules to pass, yet the brain requires huge quantities of the nutrients and molecules. A hungry brain results in decreased mental alertness as well as affected mood. To feed the brain, you need to focus on specific foods that nourish the brain and can pass through the blood brain barrier.

One of the best ways to feed your brain is to get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that Americans get far too few of these fatty acids that the brain (made up of 60% fat) needs. In addition, other brain-healthy nutrients include:
  • ALA (alpha lineoleic acid)
  • B vitamins
  • antioxidants
  • protein (raises levels of mood-boosting neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine)
  • plus many more...

If figuring out how to get some or all of the above nutrients seems too complicated for you, check out this simple recipe for brain food supplementation:

Food for Thought Program
Consider this formula if your lifestyle involves a lot of thinking.
1-2 capsules AFA blue-green algae a.m. or noon
1-2 capsules AFA blue-green algae (no cell wall) a.m. and/or noon
1-2 capsules acidophilus (probiotic)a.m.
1-2 capsules bifidus (probiotic) p.m.
1 gelcap coenzyme Q10 a.m.

Gabriel Cousens, M.D. on AFA Blue-Green Algae
Gabriel Cousens, MD, published two case studies on the use of AFA blue-green algae in the improvement of Alzheimer's disease. He reported "some significant return of function" such as decreased hand tremors, better balance, and improved short term memory, attention span, judgment, and reasoning"

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.

Image courtesy of dream designs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Healthy Habits for Aging Gracefully

What kind of healthy habits do you use for aging gracefully? Or do you have any? What do you see when you look in the mirror these days? Are you aging gracefully or are you looking a little worse for wear? As we age, our bodies change causing many of our systems to function less efficiently. Many of us find our skin becoming wrinkled and saggy, we develop digestive issues, our bones grow more brittle, we develop aches and pains in the joints, lose teeth, have hearing loss, lose vision, develop circulation problems and are more prone to heart disease and other health conditions. Why do we see some people aging gracefully and others developing more or even all of these conditions? One explanation is the type of lifestyle you live. What types of healthy habits do you regularly practice? Even if you don't currently practice healthy habits for aging gracefully, it's not too late to start. Adopting some simple healthy habits can help in the goal towards aging gracefully.

Nutrition is the cornerstone for graceful aging. Obviously having a healthy balanced diet will improve your overall health. But there are also some foods to avoid and some you can eat that will help in aging gracefully. For example, foods high in sugar and processed foods with no real nutritional value can damage collagen and elastin. Those are what keep skin firm and smooth so you want to protect them. On the other hand whole foods that contain fiber and antioxidants can help with collagen production and production of new cells while fighting off free radicals that can damage cells. Using stevia, which is a natural sweetener, to sweeten foods is a better choice than sugar to protect your collagen and elastin.

You also want to make sure you are getting enough calories and essential nutrients for your individual body to keep cells regenerating. Paying attention to your fluid intake is also beneficial as dehydration does not help skin in aging gracefully. One way to get a lot of whole food nutrition and probiotics and enzymes for healthy digestion is to supplement your diet with convenient packets containing two kinds of blue green algae (with and without the cell wall), digestive enzymes, acidophilus, and bifidus.

Some of the healthiest people I know that are in their 80s and 90s are those that stay active. They regularly exercise and are involved in community events and organizations. Regular exercise of at least 30 minutes a day each day can go a long way to helping decrease the risk of colon cancer, digestive issues and give you many other health benefits. There are numerous exercise programs and you may need to consult with your healthcare practitioner to pick one that is right for you. But in general, some of the exercises that help in aging gracefully include:

-weight training or strength training to firm up saggy skin and work on muscle tone
-cardio exercises for heart health
-yoga to improve circulation, reduce inflammation and stress, and for bone health as it has been shown to increase bone density and improve balance.
-fat burning exercises help maintain a healthy weight and prevent conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure
-exercises such as fast walking, weight lifting, weight bearing type exercises and flexibility type exercises are all good for bone health

Bone Support
As we age, there is a double problem that can result with bone health. First we start losing bone at a faster rate than we can regenerate and replace it. That makes our bones more fragile. Second our muscles, joints and balance can all become weaker meaning we are more likely to have falls which can lead to breakage of these more fragile bones. That is why bone health is an important area to consider in aging gracefully. Keeping muscles strong increases your ability to stop yourself if you start to fall and can reduce your risk of falling in the first place. Taking the recommended amount of calcium, Vitamin D, getting flexibility and weight bearing exercise regularly, cutting down on caffeine, and getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can go a long way to giving you the bone support needed for aging gracefully.

Fatty acids are also needed for good skincare. We want to avoid a diet with too much of the "bad" fats, but the body does need "good" fats for many reasons. One is to keep skin hydrated and smooth, prevent hair loss and prevent brittle finger and toe nails. Vitamins A, C and E are also good for keeping skin, hair and nails healthy. Vitamin D helps protect the scalp and the cells that produce hair. Some experts believe eating alkaline-forming food to balance the acid in the body can improve skin and hair health as acid strips the body of calcium, potassium and magnesium which are all good for healthy bones, hair, and teeth. Foods such as parsley, almonds, kale, pears, lemons and apples would be in this category. There has also been research showing that green tea can help prevent the breakdown of collagen meaning less wrinkles.

Dental Care
According to research, more people are willing to spend more to protect their teeth as they age than for any other aging conditions, such as body shape, hair, vision, wrinkles or varicose veins. For strong teeth, calcium is a must and Vitamin D is needed to help the body be able to absorb the calcium. An Edgar Cayce product called Ipsab can help contract gums, remove bacteria and neutralize acids that erode tooth enamel. This is a natural product that contains salt, soda, prickly ash bark, and peppermint.

Waiting 30 minutes before brushing teeth after eating or drinking something acidic can also help tooth enamel as brushing immediately after tends to wear the enamel off the teeth. Green tea has a compound shown to kill bacteria in the mouth that can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Taking at least 2 capsules of high-quality coenzyme Q10 daily can help rebuild both gum and heart tissue, as well as rejuvenate the metabolic function for every cell in the body. Our bodies need more CoQ10 as we get older, and especially if we suffer from gum or heart conditions. Coenzyme Q10 is an integral part of energy production in every cell and has the added benefit of boosting the immune system and contributing to heart health. It is found naturally throughout the body, but as we age our ability to manufacture it is reduced. That is why supplementation is important especially as we age.

Digestive Health
Getting the right amount of fiber in the diet helps not only with regularity, but also with varicose veins since irregularity or straining to have a bowel movement is one of the biggest causes. I say getting the right amount though because too much fiber can keep you from absorbing nutrients that your body needs. High fiber foods include fruits and veggies, whole grains and beans. These also have a lot of needed nutrients and are low in fat and can help reduce the risk of constipation which is another digestive concern for older people. As we get older, we are more prone to constipation and research has shown that 40% of seniors have at least one digestive problem every year that is related to aging. This is due to the slowing down of the digestive process in which food is not moved along through the digestive tract as fast as when we were younger. That causes more water to get absorbed from food waste and then constipation. Constipation can also result from many different prescription and over the counter medications which we tend to take more of the older we get. Staying active, exercising and keeping hydrated can also help you stay regular as you age. If you take medications that cause constipation, gas, bloating, cramps or other digestive issues, check with your health care provider to see if you can take them with food and what the lowest effective dosage you can take is.

Stem Cell Support
Getting support for your adult stem cells is another way to help your body with aging gracefully. 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. 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.

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.

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Good Food for Skin and How to Avoid Wearing Food on Your Face!

Diet and good food for skin is important when it comes to having healthy, younger looking skin. Creams, lotions and beauty products of all kinds are popular ways that people take care of their skin, but skin has the added advantage of being able to be affected by what we put in our bodies', not just what we put on them. Our skin health reflects our overall general health and many doctors can tell how healthy you eat just by looking at the condition of your skin. If you are going to "wear your food on your face" so to speak, then adding a few of these good food for skin ideas to your diet can make sure what's seen on your face reflects well on you.

Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains can improve the texture and tone of your skin, protect skin from sun damage, hydrate your skin and reduce wrinkles. Here are some foods that are particularly good food for skin.

Antioxidant Foods
Antioxidants prevent oxidative damage to skin cells done by free radicals that cause skin to show signs of aging and help boost the immune system. Antioxidants that are especially good for skin include beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A, vitamin C and E. Foods high in antioxidants include:
  • Fresh and dried fruits, especially berries
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Sprouted greens
  • Kale
  • Nuts
  • Green tea
  • Kiwi
  • Sweet Potatoes
Studies have shown that eating foods high in the antioxidants vitamin C and E can help protect skin from UV damage and those foods particularly high in vitamin C can help fight dry skin and wrinkles. Another vegetable that is a good food for skin health is the tomato. Tomatoes contain lycopene which can also help protect skin from sun damage.

Are you one of those that has such a hectic schedule you just can't get all the fruits and veggies your body needs into your day? You might need to supplement your diet then with something like a supplement of wheat sprouts with algae. No excuse to not get your antioxidants now that you can grab this handy supplement when you are on the run.

Essential Fatty Acid Foods
The more elasticity your skin has the younger it looks. Foods rich in essential fatty acids such as omega 3 and omega 6 help keep your skin elastic rather than saggy. For healthy looking skin you need to get 3 to 4 times more omega 3 fatty acids in your diet than omega 6 fatty acids. Most Americans eat diets that give them the reverse with as much as 10 to 20 times more omega 6 than omega 3. Foods that have the right balance of omega 3 and omega 6 include:
  • Fish such as wild salmon, sardines and tuna
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • AFA blue green algae
  • Seeds and nuts such as walnuts
  • Flax seeds and flax oil
  • Olive oil
Studies have shown that omega 3 fatty acids help hydrate skin and help in reducing wrinkles. If your diet is lacking in omega 3's then the solution for you may be supplementing your diet with AFA blue-green algae, one of Earth's perfect foods for healthy skin as it has the exact ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Being on the run is no excuse not to get your essential fatty acids since blue green algae capsules or tablets are convenient and quick to pop in your mouth and swallow anywhere, anytime. 

The dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and swiss chard have the added bonus of possibly reducing skin cancer and those with vitamin K can help in prevention of varicose veins by strengthening blood vessels.

Probiotic Foods
Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that live in our guts and help in proper food digestion. But did you know they also play an important role in skin health? Studies have shown that adding foods rich in probiotics to the diet may reduce the incidence of eczema in children by 55% or more. Foods high in probiotics include:
  • Most fermented foods 
  • High quality yogurt (look for low-fat, low-sugar and Greek)
  • Kefir
Supplementing your diet with acidophilus and bifidus are another way to get the probiotics you need for healthy skin, immune system support, digestive support and overall general health. So if you are not wild about yogurt or fermented foods, you can still get the probiotic support you need. Yogurt though is one of the foods that can also be high in zinc which is needed for the formation of collagen. If yogurt is still just not for you then adding lean red meat, oysters, or white kidney beans to your diet can give you the zinc your skin needs.

Don't think just because you have neglected your skin health for most of your life that it is too late to start now. Healthy skin can start at any time, any age. Start adding as many of the good food for skin ideas we've listed and if you can't get them all in or can't get enough, then think like an astronaut and supplement your diet with healthy food in capsule form. You might not see results immediately, but give it some time and your face will start showing the improvement in what you're eating.

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

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Healthy Aging - 6 Ways to Keep Your Bones Healthy

Part of healthy aging is keeping our bones healthy. Our bones have increased risks as we age since as we get older, our balance suffers which can lead to falling down and thus to breaking bones. Around midlife, bones become thinner making it easier for them to break. Osteoporosis becomes a concern as we grow older also. In fact, 55% of the people over 50 are at risk for developing osteoporosis. The good news is that it is never too late to improve your bone health and get on a program of healthy aging.

Nutrients for Healthy Bones
We learned way back in elementary school that we need calcium to keep our bones healthy and strong. Remember the films with the talking milk carton telling us how much milk and other dairy to eat a day? It's not quite that simple though, especially as we get older because calcium alone is not enough. Vitamin D is also an important nutrient for bones. Vitamin D gets the calcium from the intestines and kidneys into the bloodstream. Without this nutrient, even if you get enough calcium, it can just end up leaving the body as waste and not being used to strengthen bones. Our bodies create Vitamin D mainly from our exposure to sunshine so getting outdoors a little bit everyday is important. If you are unable to do this, a Vitamin D supplement may be required. Be sure to check with your health care provider to see if this type of supplement is right for you. You can get Vitamin D from some foods.

Ideally, we get enough calcium and Vitamin D as children to get a good start on building strong bones. Bones go through a natural process called remodeling. This is a process in which old bone is constantly being broken down and replaced with new bone. When we are young the body is able to produce more new bone than it breaks down. This is the time of life when bones are able to grow the most and become strong. Making sure children get a good start on bone health will give them a head start towards healthy aging.

Bone Loss
As we reach our 30's we stop producing as much new bone and as we get older we begin losing more bone. In women, after menopause when estrogen levels drop, bone loss increases to a point where bone is breaking down much faster than new bone can be built to replace it. When this happens, osteoporosis can result. In fact women can lose 25%-30% of their bone density during the first 10 years after menopause. That's a lot of bone loss! It is recommended that women who are past menopause get 1200 mg. of calcium a day. Before menopause only 1000 mg a day is recommended. There are several factors that can influence the speed at which you lose bone. Some of these are how active you are, how much calcium your body gets, family history and for women, how old you are when menopause starts. There are certain medications that can also affect bone loss, so be sure to ask your health care provider about any new medications or ones you are already taking to see if they can affect your bone health.

6 Ways to Keep Bones Healthy
Basically we can develop good bone health with many of the same healthy habits that keep the rest of the body healthy. This includes eating a variety of good foods, exercising, avoiding smoking and alcohol as well as getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Here are 6 specific ways you can increase your bone health which will lead to healthy aging.

1. Exercise –
Muscle strengthening exercises not only help some with bone loss, but also strengthen muscles which improves balance and decreases the risks of falls that can damage and break bones. 30 minutes of exercise a day is ideal or if you can't manage that, break it up into shorter sessions throughout the day that equal up to 30 minutes total. Exercises such as fast walking, weight lifting, weight bearing type exercises and flexibility type exercises are all good for bone health. Yoga is another good exercise for bone health as it has been shown to increase bone density and improve balance.

2. Know How Much Calcium You Need –
Make sure you are getting enough calcium for your age group. It is recommended that adults get 1000 mg. a day before the age of 50. After 50, it is recommended that adults get 1200 mg. a day. Teens need more calcium than adults and have a recommended amount of 1300 mg. a day. The best way to get the calcium you need is from foods. You can take calcium supplements, but must be careful not to overdo it as taking too much calcium from supplements has been shown to cause higher risk of kidney stones. Food also has other nutrients your body needs and that help the body get the benefits from calcium. If you check the labels on your foods, you should be able to add up the amount of calcium you get in a day. Food labels that are marked as 10% or more of daily recommended calcium, high in calcium or fortified with calcium can help you get the most calcium for the calories that you can. Low fat dairy products are what we normally think of as calcium sources, but if you are not a big dairy fan or have allergies or intolerances to dairy, you can also use spinach, bok choy, mustard greens, sardines, fortified cereals and juices, beans, tofu, and fish as sources of calcium.

3. Get Enough Vitamin D -

Recommendations from The Institute of Medicine for the amount of Vitamin D to get daily are 600 IU for adults under the age of 70 and 800 IU after the age of 70. Women may also need up to 800 UI after menopause. People with specific bone problems may need even more. Your healthcare provider can help you asses how much Vitamin D you need for your particular circumstance. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and aids in bone remodeling. The body naturally produces Vitamin D with exposure to sunlight. You can also get Vitamin D from foods and supplements. Cod liver oil, fish such as tuna and salmon, milk fortified with Vitamin D, and egg yolks all are sources for Vitamin D.

4. Avoid Smoking and Alcohol –
Alcohol has been shown to have a negative affect on bone health. That doesn't mean you can't have an occasional alcoholic beverage, but using alcohol in excess does not promote healthy aging. Nicotine can damage the cells in the body that make new bone and some studies have shown smoking to increase the risk of fracturing bones. Other studies have shown though that bone density can improve fairly quickly after quitting smoking so don't think it's too late if you've been smoking for many years.

5. Add Omega-3 Fatty Acid to Your Diet -
Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids may also have an effect on bone health. Omega-3s are good for heart health and skin health, but there is also some research that these fatty acids have an effect on increasing or maintaining bone density. Olive oil, edamame, walnuts, blue green algae, wild rice, flax seeds, fish such as tuna and salmon and chia seeds are all high in omega-3.

6. Cut Down On Caffeine -
Limiting your caffeine intake can also lead to increased bone health. Don't worry, you can still have your morning cup of coffee, but cutting down your caffeine consumption to around 300 mg. a day can reduce risks of bone fracture and to general bone health.

Whatever age you are now is the right time to get started improving your bone health. Give one or all of these 6 tips a try to get a start on good bone health today. It can make your life easier as you approach your senior years and help give you a foot up on healthy aging.

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.