Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Energy Crisis? Fuel Your Body Simply and Naturally

When you have a busy day, have to keep going and are facing an energy crisis what do you do? Grab a candy bar, a soda or some coffee? While these solutions might help short term, that sugar or caffeine buzz is short lived and not the healthiest way to deal with a lack of energy. Here are some tips for how to deal with your energy crisis naturally.
  • Moderate amounts of exercise are a great way to increase energy. Doing yoga not only can increase your energy, but help relieve stress. It can contribute to your confidence, mental and physical balance, relieve tension, and open your chest to get more oxygen to your lungs. If you aren't into yoga, join an aerobic class or just go for a walk every day to get a boost in energy.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine associates the upper body with increased energies and massaging your ears can actually give you an energy boost.
  • Don't overdo. If you find you are in an energy crisis, start really prioritizing what you need to get done and what is most important to you. Conserve your energy by learning to not overcommit yourself and cut corners where you can. Yes it would be wonderful to make all your children's costumes yourself and bring beautifully decorated handmade treats to parties, but sometimes a store bought costume and treats can be lifesavers.
  • A lack in energy can be caused by poor sleep. If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep at night try establishing a relaxing routine before bedtime, make your bedroom free of light and sound, do your exercising more than 4 hours before bed, set a habit of bedtime and wake up time at the same time daily and stay away from caffeine, alcohol or heavy eating before bed.
  • Get enough fiber in your diet to help keep your blood sugar levels stay stable. This helps you avoid spikes and drains in your energy level. Fruits and veggies are good sources of fiber and be sure to stay hydrated with adequate amounts of water throughout the day. Fruits and vegetables that have high water content can also help in keeping you hydrated.
  • Eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins also contributes to sustained energy levels. Good sources of omega-3 include fish like salmon, tuna and herring, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, olive oil and AFA bluegreen alage. For B vitamins include eggs, lean meats, beans, whole grains, and dairy in your diet. Eating fermented foods like yogurt will add to the probiotics in your gut. These friendly bacteria in our intestines produce the B vitamins in our bodies and taking probiotic supplements like acidophilus and bifidus can give your body a boost to keep producing these vitamins.
  • Get your day off to a good start with good nutrition that includes protein, and complex carbs. This will go a long way to giving you the energy to get you going and to sustain energy throughout the day. It also helps you avoid overeating later in the day. Think you are too busy for breakfast? Make the time even if you have to pack a breakfast the night before with some good protein, complex carb and fruit or a healthy smoothie, or grab a low fat yogurt or a small container of milk at a convenience store.
  • As part of good nutrition for energy, whole food supplements can sometimes be necessary to fill in nutritional gaps. Supplementing your diet with high quality algae supplements gives you a combination of ingredients to feed your body on a cellular level and give the body extra energy. This supplement combines pure ubiquinol which is an active antioxidant form of coenzyme Q10 important for stress relief and improved energy, reishi and oyster mushrooms, polyphenols from olives, and AFA bluegreen algae, designed to activate cellular energy to support a healthy cardiovascular system which can improve energy levels. This performance supplement was created especially for high-performance athletes and active lifestyles, with a combination of AFA bluegreen algae, wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea.

Don't find yourself in an energy crisis. Fuel your body naturally with good nutrition, proper rest and exercise and have all the energy you need to get through your day.

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

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sick? 5 Simple Ways to Blast Your Way Back to Health

Have you succumbed to any of the germs going around this winter trying to attack your health? Are you stressing out with all you have to do and thinking you don't have time to be sick? While no time is a good time to be sick, the holiday season is one of the worst. You have plans to travel, entertain family, parties to go to, shopping to do and of course all the regular busy things our lives demand. Holiday time usually means some days off work too and who wants to spend those days off sick in bed instead of out having fun? Not me! If your immune system is overwhelmed and has let you down here are some ways to help get your immunity back in shape and help get you healthy again.

1. Probiotics to Boost Immunity
Did you know that 80% of your immune system involves the trillions of friendly bacteria in the intestines? Adding probiotics to the diet through fermented foods or supplementation is one way to boost the immune system. There is research reporting that adding to the friendly bacteria that lives in our intestines can reduce the risk of catching a cold or if you do get a cold, can reduce the number of days cold symptoms are present. One study done in the UK with children published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found those taking a probiotic supplement daily had less risk of catching a cold and of those that had a cold they showed 76% less time sneezing and 50% less time with a cough. The children taking the probiotic supplement also missed less school than those taking a placebo. Another study done at the University of Vienna in Austria with factory workers in Sweden found that supplementing the diet with Lactobacillus reuteri stimulated white blood cells and reduced loss of work due to sick days by 33%. Yogurt is a good way to get probiotics into your diet, but be sure to read the label and get one that has live, active cultures and a variety of cultures. Another way is to take high quality probiotic supplements such as acidophilus, bifidus and this full-spectrum probiotic supplement that has 12 key "good bacteria" as well as AFA bluegreen algae.

2. Interact With Others 
The more we interact with others and have social relationships the more healthy we are. This has been shown through research studies including one that reported people with six or more social connections being four times more likely to resist the cold virus than people with less connections. According to researchers at UCLA our interactions don't all have to be positive to give our immune systems a boost. They found couples positively and affectionately discussing marital problems to show the same physical reactions that benefit immunity that exercise does. The same did not hold true however for those couples using sarcasm, insults and other negative language. Those couples actually showed an increase in stress hormones and a decrease in killer cells. This shows that getting your problems out in the open and using positive problem solving skills is beneficial to health, but stay away from screaming matches if you want to keep your immune system in good shape.

3. Get Plenty of Z's
Not getting enough good quality sleep can contribute to a weakened immune system. That opens the way for germs to attack and make you sick. If you are already sick, you need that extra sleep for the body to use all its energy for healing. A study at the University of Chicago reported men getting only four hours of sleep a night over a week period had 50% less antibodies that fight off the flu than the men who got between 7 ½ to 8 ½ hours of sleep. If you are getting your hours in, but still find yourself tired in the morning, it could be you aren't getting good quality sleep. About an hour and a half after a person goes to sleep, they enter the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. When we talk about good quality sleep, this stage is important. This is the stage of sleep that restores the body and when dreams occur. If sleep is interrupted in this stage you may have trouble concentrating the next day, have a lack of energy and find yourself becoming drowsy during the day. Avoid exercise, caffeine, heavy meals or doing anything that can keep you wound up before bedtime. Find a relaxing before bedtime routine and find ways to reduce light and sound in your sleep area to increase your chances of getting a good night's rest.

4. De-Stress
Stress... we all have it to some degree in our lives and it can have a definite negative effect on the immune system. When we feel stressed the body releases catecholemines which are hormones necessary for regulation of the immune system. According to Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, psychologist and director of life management at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, the thymus gland that produces white blood cells shrinks in response to stress and telomeres needed for reproduction of immune cells are damaged by stress. Stress also causes a decrease in macrophage activity. In fighting off stress self help author Martha Beck advises dealing with stress in the moment by taking a break from the stressful situation, looking for patterns you engage in that create stress for you and then resolving to break those patterns. It is especially important to limit your activities and reduce your stress as soon as you start feeling the first symptoms of getting sick. Give yourself a break at that point and if you don't get everything done on your list for the day or don't get it done as perfect as you would wish, that's OK. Congratulate yourself on just making it through the day with the most important things (like taking care of your health) done. For the future to keep your immune system healthy, find a way to help relieve your stress. What that is will be different for different people. It could involve meditation, a relaxing day at the spa, massage therapy or something more active like exercise, a hobby or a sport. Try out various things until you find what works for you as on outlet for stress.

5. Nutritional Solutions
When you start feeling run down and like you might be about to get a cold avoid alcohol, sugar and dairy. Instead drink lots of water and add lemon to it for some extra alkaline. Hot liquids like soups and teas can also be helpful by keeping your body warm and soothing a sore throat. Ginger, curry and turmeric spices are natural anti-inflammatory spices so add them into your soups. Chicken soup is a particularly good soup to add into your diet at these times with the broth being good at thinning mucus and the cooked chicken providing cysteine, an amino acid similar in chemical properties to acetylcysteine which is a drug for bronchitis. Zinc is a crucial mineral for boosting your immune system by helping in the production of white blood cells. Food sources for zinc include beef, oysters, fortified cereals, poultry, and miso. I know sometimes when sick you just don't feel much like eating anything. You can get lots of good immune boosting nutrition at those times from supplementation. This supplement in particular gives you the nutrition of six of the most extensively researched mushrooms that show positive immune system support: reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei, with astragalus, beta glucan and AFA bluegreen algae. Many varieties of mushrooms have been found useful in killing off bacteria, viruses, and yeast and increasing white blood cells.

Feel better already? Well, maybe not, but at least you have 5 solid tips to get you on your way there. Give these a try and get back to good health and enjoying life.

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

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What Will You Give Yourself This Christmas?

How about giving yourself the gift of health and nutrition this Christmas! It doesn't matter whether you start small or large, the gift is adopting an attitude of being ready to commit to making some lifestyle changes. I realize that's not as easy as it sounds and many people believe they just don't have the willpower to make lasting changes. The first step then is in changing this belief. According to the American Psychological Association, willpower is being able to resist temptations short-term towards meeting a longer term goal. That's good news because it doesn't mean you have to change all your unhealthy nutrition and health habits at once. It means you can take it one step at a time and acknowledge each small step. In fact it is counterproductive to try to change too much at once and just a setup for failure. Roy Baumeister, social psychologist and author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, reported finding from laboratory testing that once someone uses their willpower, they don't have enough to use it again and again. It has to be built back up. So let's say for example you typically grab a candy bar in the afternoon to get an energy boost. Make your first goal to grab a healthier bar or snack instead. Personally I like this snack bar with sprouted grains, greens, and all the great nutrition of bluegreen algae. Best of all it tastes great so I don't feel deprived. Just work on changing that one habit until you are successful at it, then you can move on and pick the next goal.

Sometimes though you may be so stressed that you end up with the candy bar after all, but tomorrow is another day to try again. Not beating yourself up when you do give in to temptation is another gift you can give yourself this Christmas. Most of us are so much harder on ourselves and expect more from ourselves than anyone else. Ask yourself if would you berate someone else for ending up with the candy bar and give yourself the same break you'd give them. It turns out that willpower is just like our muscles. You have to exercise it for it to get strong and taking small steps towards small goals increases your chances of success. The more success you have at meeting those small goals, the stronger your willpower becomes. Remember this the next time you want to put yourself down and believe you have failed at your goal. You are just beginning to exercise that willpower and like anything else in life it takes practice to get good at something. Also look for ways to make your goal easier. For example, don't keep junk food in the house, always take a shopping list to the store and commit to only buying what is on the list, or get an exercise buddy and set a time and place to meet for a walk or exercise class.

Picking Out Your Gift
Giving yourself the gift of health and nutrition is a broad topic. Look at all your habits and ask yourself "What will you give up and what will you gain?". What nutrition or health goal is the highest priority for you? Do you have a specific condition or health issue you want to work on or just want to lose a few pounds in general? Then listen to the language you use around that goal. According to Amy Johnson, PhD, a Chicago psychologist, if you are saying "I can't" about a goal, it really means you don't want to. We'll find all sorts of excuses to get out of things that we really don't want to do and it makes it easier to not see it as a failure if we act like we don't have a choice in the matter. The problem with that is it may get us out of something for the moment, but in the long run it brings up empowerment issues. The truth is we always have a choice. Johnson suggests saying "I don't want to" instead as that is a more empowering statement and acknowledges that we do have choice. If you have picked a goal that you find you don't really want to change, then move on and pick another one. You can always come back to that first goal later when perhaps your attitude towards it changes.

It may be that you'll need to do some work around your perceptions and attitudes before you are able to get started on your health and nutrition goals. For example, if you are the type of person that is always berating yourself, putting yourself down, and being extra hard and unforgiving of yourself, you may need to do some work around those attitudes before you can be successful at other types of goals. Panache Desai, a spiritual teacher and author of Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33-Day Path to Purpose, Passion, & Joy, reminds us that placing negative judgments on our emotions blocks our energy flow since emotions are energy designed to flow through the body. You can unblock that stuck energy by finding self-acceptance. He suggests getting in the habit of being aware when you get "down" on yourself, consciously stopping and breathing until those feelings pass. Being around positive people will also increase your energy flow while being around negative people is an energy drain. It may be that your first goal of the new year is to change the people you spend the most time around.

Even if all you do this year is make one small change in your attitude, perceptions or a health or nutrition goal, it's a start. No matter how busy and hectic your life is, there is always room for one small change. And of course by Universal Law, one small change in the present creates a bigger change in the future. If you don't think you can take the time to exercise, walk in place while folding the laundry or if you can't resist eating that second slice of pie, only buy pie that you can get by the slice so there is no second piece. Pre-packaged whole food supplements are another easy, convenient way to help fill in nutritional gaps in your diet. You can grab a packet of supplements for on the run or when traveling such as this one  with two types of AFA bluegreen algae, probiotics and enzymes or this one  with all that and the nutritional power of antioxidants, mushrooms, and a variety of algae.

Spend some time before the new year starts thinking about your own habits and attitudes. Then pick what is a priority for you to set as a goal and make a plan for the small steps you can use to accomplish it. Taking that first step towards a healthier lifestyle will be the best gift you ever give yourself.

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

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Holiday Immune Booster Tips

No one wants to be sick over the holidays and the best way to avoid that is to boost your immune system and let it take care of those pesky germs that could ruin your holiday fun. Here are some tips on ways to boost your immunity by strengthening your immune system.
  • Eat lots of bright colored fruits and vegetables with antioxidants to help fight off free radicals that can damage cells and lead to inflammation, and chronic diseases. 
  • Vitamin D increases serotonin levels, is important for bone health and helps the body to produce a protein that kills off viruses. It can be taken in supplement form or found in fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel, fortified cereals, dairy and soy products, and white button mushrooms.
  • Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that live in the intestines and help fight off the bad bacteria and germs that can make us sick. Eating yogurt with live active cultures or taking high quality probiotic supplements such as acidophilus and bifidus can help support the friendly bacteria and help them to thrive. Acidophilus is often called "nature's antibiotic" because it plays such a vital role in immune system health. Bifidus promotes the growth of good intestinal flora in the large intestine, lowers the pH of the intestine, manufactures specific B-vitamins, and promotes immune function and overall health.
  • The allicin found in garlic has been reported to fight infections and bad bacteria. One British study found that of 146 people participating, those taking garlic were two-thirds not as likely to get a cold. 
  • Selenium is a nutrient very important to immune system function. It helps produce cytokines in white blood cells and can be found in shellfish such as crab, clams, lobster and oysters, Brazil nuts, fish like salmon, tuna and herring, poultry, eggs and mushrooms. 
  • Black and green tea both have L-theanine which is an amino acid that gives the immune system a boost. One study from Harvard reported people drinking 5 cups daily of black tea over a two week period had 10 times more interferon to help against viruses in their systems than those drinking a placebo drink. A University of Michigan study reported results supporting quercetin, an antioxidant also found in black and green tea, as being able to keep viruses from replicating. 
  • Douglas Schar, DipPhyt, MCPP, MNIMH, director of the Institute of Herbal Medicine in Washington, DC, is one expert reporting that mushrooms are a natural immune booster. They increase white blood cell production and have properties that can help protect you from viruses, bacteria and even yeast. Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms have been found to be the best immunity boosters. You'll find all these mushrooms as well as cordyceps, Turkey Tail and Agaricus blazei mushrooms, with astragalus, beta glucan and AFA bluegreen algae in this immune support supplement.
  • Macrophages are an important part of the immune system and can be activated by beta-glucans, which are fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Grains such as oats, barley or this immune support supplement are good sources of beta-glucans. 
  • Stress can negatively affect the immune system, so finding a way to deal with stress is vital when your goal is to strengthen immunity. Chronic stress can lower your numbers of killer cells and affect macrophage functioning. Having a positive life perspective and engaging in activities that make you laugh have both been shown as ways to reduce stress hormones and boost the immune system. 
  • Exercise not only is a way to boost immunity, but also to reduce stress. Half an hour of aerobic exercise can help increase white blood cell circulation. Stick with moderate exercise though as intense exercise can actually reduce immune system function. Research shows that taking a 30 minute walk each day during the winter can reduce sick days by half as many.
Don't let your holidays be ruined by getting sick. Boost your immune system and let it help keep you healthy and able to enjoy all the fun.

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

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Feel So Good Even the In-Laws Don't Bother You!

As the holidays approach are you starting to feel the stress they can bring and starting to not feel so good about all you have to do to get ready? Then of course you might be dreading interactions with your in-laws or other family members that you will visit or will be visiting you. No matter how much we love our family members and might enjoy spending extra time with them during the holidays, there can be stress associated with being with people who we want to please or who have expectations of us. Miscommunications, being extra sensitive to criticisms or perceived criticisms, taking words out of context, and having extra sensitive emotions around this time of year and with those people we are closest to can cause stress, hurt feelings and bring on anger and resentment. One of the Four Agreements Don Miguel Ruiz writes about is "Don't take anything personally". When dealing with family members, this is one way to avoid the stress, but this is often not that easy to do. It is a good principle to practice however and the next time your mother-in-law makes a comment about your cooking, cleaning or child raising skills is a good time to stop, take a breath and remind yourself that her comments are not about you, but rather her projection. It would be wonderful if the holidays could be all about being happy, joyful, serene and relaxing, but the reality is that many people experience so much stress around them that they can't wait for them to be over and life to get back to "normal". As more and more research is done on brain functioning however, scientists are discovering that happiness is a choice and there are ways to support choosing happiness.

Choosing Happiness
One of the problems involved with choosing happiness comes from feeling powerless. Gary Zukav, the author of The Seat of the Soul and co-founder of the Seat of the Soul Institute, points out that people often feel unworthy of happiness or undeserving or are skeptical that it can last and that it will result in pain when it ends. Getting past these feelings requires making an inner change and finding our personal power. The first step to this is to be aware of when we start feeling unworthy or reacting to a situation from a place of powerlessness. This allows us to choose how we will respond instead of mechanically reacting which leads to healthier interactions and brings us closer to living life consciously. Bringing this type of consciousness into our lives allows us to be in more positive, joyful and serene states. So in the example of the critical mother-in-law, instead of reacting with an angry or defensive response to her critical statement directed at you, thank her for her input and assure her you will give it the consideration it deserves. In many cases that consideration will be to just throw it away and remind yourself it is only her own projection and has nothing to do with you. But the point is that you have maintained your serenity and remain standing in a positive place. By not taking her criticism to heart and choosing to respond rather than react, you increase your personal power and feelings of worthiness. Louise Hay has spent many years developing affirmations that empower and help people heal body, mind and spirit beginning with her 1976 book, Heal Your Body. Affirmations really do work and here are a few from Louise Hay that you can use to give yourself a boost when getting ready for the holidays.
"All is well in my world."
"Life supports me in every possible way."
"I deserve the best, and I accept it now. All my needs and desires are met before I even ask."
"I handle my own life with joy and ease."
Other Ways to Support Happiness
You'll find lots of self-help books, programs and advice from current day psychologists and experts and wisdom from teachers throughout history on how to attain happiness. Today research is actually starting to study what conditions lead to happiness. Some of the results show that being true to yourself, doing those things that you love doing, engaging with challenges and finding a purpose in life to pursue as being conditions that make for happy people. According to Richard J. Davidson, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, having meaningful goals to work towards brings on thoughts that create positive emotions and well-being. A study from lead researcher Carol Ryff, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reported that women with a purpose in life and working on self-development not only scored high on psychological tests but also had reduced stress hormones, less risk factors for heart disease, experienced better sleep and less issues with weight. Another study led by David Schkade, PhD, a psychologist and professor of management at the University of California San Diego discovered that we often don't even realize that we can control our own happiness. This study involved 900 women writing about the things they do on a daily basis and how they didn't realize that they spend a lot of time doing things they don't like to do. Of course we all have to do some things we don't particularly like doing in order to live up to our responsibilities and "pay the bills". But according to Schkade taking even small amounts of time away from jobs you dislike to do something you do like can help increase your joy and happiness level.

Feel So Good Happiness Tips
With all this in mind, here are a few tips to help you increase happiness and joy in your life and to help you reduce some of the holiday stress.

  • Make time to hang out with close friends that you can let go and be yourself around.
  • Use herbal tinctures that can help relieve stress and anxiety such as Kava Kava or Rescue Remedy.
  • Limit your caffeine intake as it can contribute to symptoms of anxiety.
  • Spend some part of your day engaging in physical activity.
  • Get plenty of good quality sleep.
  • Eat a diet that will support immune system function to stay healthy. This includes foods with antioxidants to help fight off free radicals that can suppress your immune system. Antioxidants are very important in promoting a healthy immune system which can aid in prevention of disease leading to chronic pain symptoms. When you need some help getting nutrition to support your immune system consider a nutritional whole food supplement such as this one  that not only is full of antioxidants but was designed to nourish your own existing stem cells that can maintain and renew body tissue and help in maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • Make time to engage in activities that you enjoy and help you cope with stress and relax. Plan special activities ahead of time so that you have the anticipation of something to look forward to that you can concentrate on when you are having to do chores you don't like.
  • Eat mushrooms to help take care of your health. Certain types of mushrooms have been found to be a great natural source for improving immunity. They increase white blood cells and increase their activity which gives a boost to the immune system. There are a wide variety of mushrooms and some have been found useful in killing off bacteria, viruses, and yeast and even useful in fighting cancer. Experts tend to agree that taking a combination of mushrooms rather than just one single variety seems to be the most effective for immune system support. A good way to accomplish this is by taking supplements with high quality organic mushroom ingredients. This supplement  gives you a blend of reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms with the added benefit of astragalus, beta glucan and AFA bluegreen algae.
  • Plan holiday tasks ahead and plan the time to get them done realistically without doing too much at any one time. Trying to do all your shopping, cooking, cleaning and decorating in a day or two can be exhausting, leaving you worn out, stressed and a perfect target for sickness. Look for things you can do ahead of time and spread all the holiday tasks out over a longer period of time.
  • Get your coenzyme Q10. This coenzyme is important for stress relief and daily energy. You can get ubiquinol, which is the active antioxidant form of CoQ10, as well as the immune support power of reishi and oyster mushrooms, polyphenols from olives, and bluegreen alage in this supplement.

So relax and enjoy this holiday season. You deserve it! Use some of these tips and principles to find your joyful place and feel so good that you can't help but have the happiest of holidays.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Natural Ways to Avoid the Winter Blues

Are you one of those who see winter as the dreaded dreary cold months and get the winter blues? People who get those winter blues every year at the same time only for those months may have what's called Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a type of depression. For others it may just be the lack of sunlight, the cold weather and added stress of the approaching holidays that cause them to be somewhat depressed and low energy.

What Causes the Winter Blues?
Science has made some exciting discoveries lately that indicate you have a choice about happiness. Richard Davidson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, reported that feelings such as happiness, enthusiasm, joy and levels of high energy are linked to high activity levels in the left frontal cerebral cortex area of the brain whereas sad, anxious and worry type feelings are linked to activity in the right frontal area. Scientists have also reported finding how memories are processed in the brain to produce negative or positive emotions. In mice they have been able to change those emotions by manipulating brain cells. This indicates that negative emotions could be replaced with positive ones which according to senior author Susumu Tonegawa, director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA is what happens during psychotherapy treatment for depression. 

Solutions for the Winter Blues
When you are down in the dumps or suffering with mild or even more severe depression, it doesn't seem much like happiness is a choice. The more you can raise your emotional level though, the more happiness can be within your reach. If you are really down, you may have to take small steps up the emotional tone scale before you can begin to see happiness ahead. One way to achieve this is to find ways to stimulate your left brain activity. Research indicates for example that meditation is a good way to balance brain activity and involve the left brain more. Activities that involve spelling and math could also be options for stimulating left brain activity.

Staying active during the winter blues months is also an effective way to reducing stress and staying upbeat. Before the blues set in, get a list ready of indoor projects you've put off all year or find some volunteer work to engage in. Your home or office environment can also have an effect on your depression. Use bright lights and bright colored decorating ideas to cheer up the areas you spend a lot of time in. These months are also a time to be aware of your extra stress, lack of energy or depressive tendencies and give yourself a break. For example, you may need to tone down the amount you do to get ready for the holidays. Keep with the spirit of the holidays as far as the spirituality aspects, service to others, having fun and being close to family and friends instead of worrying about your house being spotless. Consider having a potluck holiday party rather than you doing all the cooking yourself and order gifts online instead of battling your way through crowded malls. Ideas such as these will help reduce your holiday stress level and help keep those winter blues at bay. 

If you are prone to the winter blues, then winter is a time for you to find lots of reasons to laugh. Laughter, as well as physical activity, causes the brain to release endorphins that give us a lift and make us feel better. Go out with friends, watch comedies, read joke books, look at old family pictures or whatever you know makes you laugh. Music is something else that can help lift your spirits. Research indicates that certain pieces or types of music help more than others when it comes to depression, but any type of music you enjoy can help raise your emotional tone. Make a cd of your favorite songs or load up a folder with them on your Ipod and keep it playing throughout the day. Having mood lifting aromas surrounding you can also help with the winter blues. Lemon, almond, rose, geranium, peppermint and lavender are all scents that have been found to lift moods. The smell of baking bread or cookies can also be mood lifting for some people. Gretchen Rubin, creator of the Happiness Project, suggests that you give yourself something to look forward to when struggling with the blues. Make plans to do something fun or interesting during the coming week and just the anticipation of it can help lift your mood.

Nutrition for the Winter Blues
It is very tempting when feeling down or depressed to reach for comfort foods to make us feel better. These types of foods are often processed, sugar, fat and carb filled treats though which are not only unhealthy for the body, but also for the mind. Much research has been done showing a correlation between depression and processed foods. These studies have reported results such as food with added sugar interfering with brain chemicals that affect mood and eating foods with lots of trans fats causing an increase in the risk of depression by 48%. When you are already suffering with winter blues, you need to make sure you are getting lots of good brain foods that will support the production of feel good brain chemicals. That would include foods high in omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, walnuts, olive oil and AFA bluegreen algae, foods high in folate, a B vitamin the brain needs to produce chemicals that affect mood, foods with antioxidant polyphenols that help increase calmness and contentment and foods with amino acids which are the building blocks of protein that your brain needs to function well. This doesn't mean you have to settle for foods that you won't perceive as being a treat. Dark chocolate high in cocoa content gives an extra boost to brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.

Nutritional supplements can also help give you the nutrition that is supportive of brain health. AFA bluegreen algae has the nutrients, minerals and vitamins healthy brains crave and there are several algae supplements that also contain other ingredients known to help with stress and depressive symptoms. For example, this algae supplement also has wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea. Turmeric in particular has been shown to help with stress related depression. Curcumin, found in turmeric, has been the basis of much research and found to have benefit for enhancing memory, for enhancing nerve growth in areas of the brain and as an antidepressant. It is also being studied and used in relation to treating Alzheimer's. Another algae supplement with a combination of ubiquinol, reishi and oyster mushrooms, polyphenols from olives was designed to activate cellular energy to support a healthy cardiovascular system necessary for improving energy levels. Ubiquinol for example is an active antioxidant form of coenzyme Q10 which is important for stress relief and improved daily energy. And then there is this algae supplement that also has eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane mushroom, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni. Bee pollen is reported to have a high amino acid content useful for stimulating memory and concentration, wheatgrass juice has been found to provide nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking, and Gingko biloba has been used for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells. This combination means support to help you function when stress overwhelms you and put your mood back on an even keel.

You don't have to succumb to the winter blues this year. If happiness is a choice, choose it for yourself. Using some of these tips and nutritional advice can help you find natural ways to lift your mood and have a more enjoyable winter season this year.

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

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Health & Joy: The Best Gift You Could EVER Give Yourself!

Health... Joy, what wonderful gifts these would be to give ourselves. Actually we know that both health and joy are related. If you have good health and feel good then it is definitely easier to be joyful and have joy in your life. But research also shows that smiling and laughing have positive benefits on our immune systems, help manage pain, increase the blood circulation and reduce stress. So being joyful can also help with good health. When you are facing a stressful life or going through hard life changes that leave you feeling depressed, how do you find happiness or joy? Life is always changing and developing and with that we all have life problems. From a spiritual standpoint these problems bring with them life lessons and if we can identify the lesson and learn it then we can move on from that problem. On another level we all go through things that cause us to change our identities during our lives whether it is getting married or divorced, changing jobs, getting sick, having a child, the death of a parent or spouse, or winning a large amount of money. According to Martha Beck, author and life coach helping people find their life purpose, there are 4 stages we all need to go through when these life changes occur to get through them and come out metamorphisized instead of traumatized.

Finding Your Way to Happiness and Joy
These four stages are identified by Beck as Dissolving, Imagining, Reforming and Flying. They start with that feeling of falling apart or being out of control and move through grieving our losses, seeing hope for what is in the future, coming to terms with the changes in life and moving forward with life again. When you find yourself down and blue here are some tips for getting through these stages and finding ways to give yourself a lift.

  • Pamper yourself with physical comforts. Allow yourself a day off to snuggle up with a good book or movie, go to a day spa for a massage and facial, soak in a relaxing bubble bath or whatever physically feels comforting to you. 
  • Getting the right amount of sleep is important for good health, creativity and being able to stay focused. You've probably heard that you need 8 hours of sleep a night, but studies in the journal Sleep have actually reported that people getting 7 hours of sleep live longer than those getting 8 hours. One way to know the optimal amount of sleep for you is to find a time that you can sleep as long as you like without having to set an alarm clock, mark the time you go to bed and the time you awake naturally refreshed, then count how many hours you slept. 
  • If you have experienced a loss, give yourself permission to go through the grieving process and don't berate yourself if you don't get everything on your to do list done or don't do everything as efficiently as you usually do. Just expect that you'll be "off" your game and that it is OK. 
  • A positive attitude can be contagious. Research has shown this in business with greeters smiling and saying hello resulting in increased customer and employee satisfaction. We also see examples of this in the "pay it forward" scenarios where one person does a simple act of kindness for someone else and that inspires the second person to do the same for someone else. If you are really down, go do something nice for someone else and it will also give you a lift. A very simple act of charity that can help you get this boost is donating one of these boxes of 30 nutritious meals to an organization that feeds starving or malnourished children and adults. We have brain receptors that cause us to mimic certain actions of those around us like yawning or smiling. Paul Marsden, researcher at University of Sussex, reported that emotions like stress, anxiety, optimism, confidence and boredom are also mirrored this way. So being around someone else who is positive can help give you a boost too. Get out to a park, spiritual center or church, or somewhere else people are happy and upbeat to help get out of your funk. 
  • Give yourself time to daydream and imagine what you want for your future. Spiritually, wish is one of the first stages to bringing forward a manifestation. Let your mind wander free and try out all the possibilities of what your life can look like. 
  • Many people, when exposed to natural sunlight, report that they are in a better mood, and that their nerves are soothed. This is because exposure to sunlight increases the production of endorphins and serotonin in the brain. Our bodies also produce vitamin D from being exposed to the sun. There are concerns though that too much sunlight leaves us at risk for skin cancers, but a Harvard Health Letter indicates that experts advise 15 minutes a day two times a week of sunlight exposure has benefits such as lowering the risk for multiple sclerosis, some cancers and some types of depression. Michael A. Grandner, PhD, a research associate at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania says that getting sun exposure first thing in the morning can boost your mood for the entire day and that if there isn't sun in the morning then bright light indoors can be a good substitute. 
  • Live in the present. Worries and fears exist either in the past or the future. Put your attention only on the present, what you are doing right this moment. 
  • Make a gratitude list. Writing down all that you have to be grateful for can help you raise your emotional level. Re-read the list daily and find things you can add to it. If you are really depressed, it may be hard to identify items for the list at first. You may have to start with very small things like "I am breathing well", but hopefully you will be able to raise your tone up to the level of finding other things like good friends or family, a job you like, enough food to eat, that you are kind to others, a good listener, and so on.  
  • Strengthen your immune system to support optimal health for yourself. A large part of this comes from having good intestinal health. Recent research is showing links between the microbes in our intestines and just about every disease. Our digestive system does more than use our intestinal bacteria to digest our food, it also produces vitamins like B vitamins that our bodies need, fights off bad bacteria and viruses that make us sick, and sends signals to the brain. Research is showing that the type of mix of bacteria in a person's intestines can affect whether or not they will have certain diseases. Some types of bacteria make the immune system strong while other types can promote inflammation. Give yourself the gift of eating healthier with foods that support digestive health and starting a nutritional supplement program such as these convenient packets of capsules with AFA bluegreen algae, acidophilus, bifidus and digestive enzymes.

Health and joy, two fabulous gifts to give yourself and they depend on each other. You can find joy to increase your health and increase your health to find joy just by following some of these health and happiness tips.

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

Image courtesy of imagerymajesticFreeDigitalPhotos.net



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Give a Square Meal to the Hungry This Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving will be here and gone and some of us will have missed the opportunity to express our gratitude. The expression of gratitude through serving at a soup kitchen is one rewarding way to share your blessings by providing a square meal to those that don't often have one. For yourself keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to chase the holiday blues away and a self-rewarding way to perpetuate the idea of thanksgiving throughout the year with a daily reminder of all there is to be grateful for. Sometimes the most frustrating and challenging family and personal crisis can be the springboard of growth when we look for the messages and learn from them through the practice of gratitude.

Sharing your gifts with others through donations can be a rewarding expression of gratitude. When you send that check to your favorite charity you never know how much will actually go to feeding the hungry and less fortunate. Or to be even more discerning with your charitable dollars how much of the food your dollars actually buys is of quality ingredients providing a nutritious square meal.

As I am somewhat self-indulgent I have always been grateful for Thanksgiving pies. Did you know that in the 17th and 18th centuries pocket pies were given to travelers and labors so that they could have a nutritious square meal during their travels, in the fields or on the scaffolds of work? In carrying on this tradition there is one way to ensure the idea of Thanksgiving throughout the year by sending this nutritious boxed square meal to help feed impoverished and undernourished children, adults, and animals all over the world. By ordering this type of donation you will be able to share your gratitude and blessings with those less fortunate, while enjoying your holiday pies. This square meal can be mixed with either hot or cold water (or with juice or milk, according to availability and preference) and quickly dissolves into a delicious granola-flavored meal. In addition to a daily dose of vitamins that meet or exceed the daily requirement for children of all ages, each serving of this cereal also delivers a significant measure of AFA bluegreen algae--nature's perfect food!

This Thanksgiving enjoy the festivities with family and friends and consider sharing all the blessings you have gratitude for with others. There are so many ways to pay it forward from simply holding a door open for someone whose hands are full to volunteering at a hospital or soup kitchen. Even the busiest of us can take a few minutes to place an order online that will provide a box of 30 nutritious meals to someone in need. 

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

Image courtesy of Stuart MilesFreeDigitalPhotos.net


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Easy Strategies to Avoid Gaining Weight This Winter

Winter can be a great season with holidays, winter sports and snuggling up in front of a fire, but it can also be a season for many of us for gaining weight. Holiday meals and parties, being less active, and hanging around the house more all lead to extra eating and extra calories. Here are some easy strategies we've gathered from experts to boost your metabolism and avoid gaining weight this winter.
  • Go for the lower calories foods at holiday parties such as the veggie tray or fruits rather than the cookies and fudge. If salad is on the menu, use oil and vinegar dressing and avoid fatty dips by choosing hummus or other bean dips instead. High protein snacks such as cheese or lean meats are also good choices to fill you up without as many calories. Stay away from the selections with more carbs and fats or limit yourself to just a bite or two of these. 
  • Do strength training exercises to increase muscle as muscle burns much more calories than fat does and activating muscle raises your metabolism. 
  • Instead of eating the typical big 3 meals a day, go with eating more smaller meals or snacks throughout the day. This cuts down on between meal snacking, but also increases metabolism so you are burning off more calories. 
  • Get plenty of sleep. When you don't get enough sleep it affects hormone levels that raise your appetite level and keep you from feeling full when you are through eating. 
  • More calories are burned up through digesting protein than by digesting carbs and fats. Increase the healthy protein foods in your diet and decrease the number of carbs you eat. 
  • Even a slight amount of dehydration can slow metabolism down. Drink plenty of water necessary for processing calories and eat foods with high water content. 
  • A natural and healthy way to keep your metabolism high and your fat content low is to add enzymes to your regimen between and at meals. Enzymes help boost your metabolism. These enzymes  contain amylase, cellulase, lipase, protease, and lactase for more efficient digestion to avoid the after-meal energy slump. These enzymes with an extra boost contain cayenne and other substances to increase metabolism, burn fat, digest a broad spectrum of substances, and clean up waste in the body.
  • Drinking green tea with its caffeine and catechins boosts the metabolism and can increase the amount of calories burned off during exercise by 17%.
  • Jennifer Lovejoy, Ph.D suggests eating snacks such as cheese, carrots, or cereal with high fiber and skim milk before going to a holiday party so that you aren't as hungry when you show up and not as likely to overeat. I find that two other good snacks to curb appetite before going out are this snack bar fortified with sprouted grains, greens, and bluegreen algae and this drink mix that gives you 22 grams of protein per serving from whey and with sprouts and protein-digesting enzymes.
  • Stress causes a release of cortisol in the body. This hormone causes our appetite level to increase, we eat more and what we are eating is not usually healthy foods but more in the comfort food category. Find a method of releasing stress that works for you and fits in your schedule so you actually do it. 
  • If you like spicy food then you are in luck as hot peppers containing capsaicin are one of the good metabolism boosting foods. 
  • Cinnamon can help keep blood sugar levels stabilized which translates into a decrease in appetite and food cravings. It also adds a holiday flavor to anything from oatmeal to yogurt or coffee and tea. 
  • Alcohol can also be high calorie. If you are at a party that you want to have an alcoholic beverage, tone it down with just a bit of alcohol and lots of tonic or mineral water. 
  • Your digestive system needs healthy friendly bacteria to digest your food. If you do not have enough of these bacteria working for you, your digestion is slowed and bloating occurs as well as having undigested food causing belly bulges. Yogurt and kefir are good sources of probiotics vital to this digestion process. When buying yogurt or kefir, make sure you get the ones with live active cultures. You can also add a full spectrum probiotic supplement to your diet. Our favorite probiotic supplement has twelve key good bacteria that are microblended with bluegreen algae. Other good probiotics to help with digestive function are acidophilus and bifidus.

You can enjoy this winter and holiday festivities without gaining weight this year. Just take a few of these simple tips to heart and use them to have a happy, healthy winter and holiday season.

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

Image courtesy of AmbroFreeDigitalPhotos.net









Thursday, November 20, 2014

Adult Stem Cells and Their Role in Healthy Aging

While research on the use of adult stem cells has not reached the point of declaring them as the new "Fountain of Youth", there are indications that they may be helpful in supporting healthy aging. There has been a lot of controversy over the last several years surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells for research, but adult stem cells are an entirely different matter. All stem cells have the remarkable ability to repair and regenerate your body. Embryonic stem cells are developed from the conception of a fetus. Adult stem cells however are in each of our bodies naturally. Those found in blood and bone marrow are already showing results in treating a variety of autoimmune and heart diseases. Therapies using adult stem cells have been used to treat diabetes, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, and leukemia. Many of these therapies and more are still in the experimental stages and research is still being done on them, but there is hope.

The Future for Adult Stem Cells Use
Researchers would like to take the use of adult stem cells further. They believe the potential is there to take your own stem cell from a healthy part of your body and use it to produce a heart cell or some other damaged body cell then put it in where there are damaged cells in the body. Another course of research is striving to be able to harvest your own adult stem cells at a young age and reintroduce them to your body when you are much older. One study done with mice reported that older mice showed an increased life span when injected with muscle stem cells of younger mice (http://ow.ly/qKhvy). The older mice were also found to be in better health through this introduction of younger stem cells. Johnny Huard, a stem cell expert at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburgh, believes stem cells may secrete a substance that can help people stay healthier as they age.

How Adult Stem Cells Can Help You Now
Adult stem cells have the ability to divide and renew themselves for long periods of time, and they can give rise to specialized cells. Stem cells have the remarkable ability to repair and regenerate your body. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a skin cell. New stem cells can migrate to the areas of the body where they are needed most as we grow older thus serving as a repair system for the body. Adult stem cells can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as a person or animal is alive. No matter what age you are now, you can work towards healthy aging by giving your adult stem cells a boost by nourishing them. One way to do this is by taking a stem cell support supplement that has been shown to increase the growth of adult stem cells in in vitro laboratory studies, that supports the body's natural renewal system with nourishing ingredients, that provides nutrition that enables stem cells to flourish, and that protects existing stem cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. This supplement provides nutrition for adult stem cells to reproduce and has the antioxidant capacity to protect existing stem cells from the harmful effects of free radicals which is especially important during the natural aging process.

Other Natural Solutions for Healthy Aging
1. Supplements – There are two natural supplements we've found useful for healthy aging. The first has a blend of bluegreen algae, wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea as a whole food source for physical energy. The second has a mix of bluegreen algae, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane mushroom, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni to support mental processes that often decline with age.

2. Antioxidants – You see the signs of aging when you have healthy cells dying off or damaged by free radicals in your body. Eating a variety of bright colored fruits and vegetables loaded with antioxidants can help ward off wrinkles, eye disease, heart disease and cancer. Good foods for antioxidants include those with vitamin C, zinc, and beta carotene. This would include dark leafy green vegetables, carrots, peppers, oranges and grapes.

3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Eating foods rich in omega 3 supports brain health and heart health. Good sources of omega 3 include fish like salmon and tuna, bluegreen algae, olive oil, flax oil, and nuts.

4. Low-fat Dairy –As we age, we start losing bone at a faster rate than we can regenerate and replace it. That makes our bones more fragile. Our muscles, joints and balance also can all become weaker as we age, 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 healthy aging. Calcium and vitamin D are necessary for supporting bone health. Including low fat dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D in our diets can help support strong bones while keeping the cholesterol levels down.

Someday in the not too distance future, we may be amazed at the ways therapies using adult stem cells will be able to help us with healthy aging. As we await these new therapies from adult stem cells research there are things we can all do now to support healthy aging. You're never too young or too old to start on your way to healthy aging. So give some thought now to trying these tips and work towards having a healthy mind and body in your elder years.

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

Image courtesy of AmbroFreeDigitalPhotos.net


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stop Being Sick and Tired: Tried and True Natural Solutions

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? If you seem to catch every flu, cold or other illness that goes around it could be that you need to boost your immune system. Your immune system is designed to fight off germs; identifying them as foreign invaders in the body and attacking them before you get sick. If your immune system is not in tip-top shape, you don't have that protection. Besides catching a cold or flu this winter, sinusitis is a common ailment to develop. This often results from an inflammation after having a cold or allergy response that causes swelling in the sinus tissues. Symptoms can range from a stuffy nose and sore throat to headache and fever to pain in the face and fatigue and usually there is yellow, green or clear mucous from the nose. If this is the result of a cold which is a viral infection, antibiotic treatment will not help even though that is what many medical providers will prescribe. If there is yellow or green mucous present, the sinusitis could be a bacterial infection, so antibiotics could be helpful, but it will usually clear up within a two week period even without them. Consider that antibiotics carry their own risks from killing off the friendly bacteria in your gut to spreading antibiotic resistant bacteria. If you have persistent symptoms longer than 2 weeks, you may certainly need to consult your healthcare provider, but there are natural solutions that can help relieve symptoms and boost immune system function to try during that two week period. Here are some of the natural solutions we found experts recommend trying.

Keep Germs Out
Of course the best medicine is always prevention. No one wants to be sick so taking precautions to avoid catching a cold or flu is preferable. One of the best things you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands frequently, especially during cold or flu season. Use warm water and soap and wash for at least 20 seconds. This will help you wash away viruses or bacteria that you may pick up on your hands and then enter the body by you touching your mouth or eyes. Did you know it is estimated that most adults touch their own face 15 times an hour? That's a lot of opportunity to ingest those germs that you pick up on your hands. Since germs are able to actually stay on wet skin even easier than dry skin, be sure to also dry your hands thoroughly and keep dry towels available. You might also want to consider using paper towels for drying rather than cloth to avoid spreading germs especially if you share a bathroom with someone who is sick. Using a sanitizing cleaner to keep household surfaces free of germs can also help you avoid spreading them especially since a flu virus can live on a surface for as long as 8 hours. Tieraona Low Dog, MD, the author of Life Is Your Best Medicine, recommends cleaning doorknobs and phones and other things that people touch a lot and using essential oils in purified water to make your own cleanser. Lavender, rosemary, and tea tree all make good sanitizer sprays. Don't forget about your work environment either. Everything from vending machine buttons to sink faucets to breakroom refrigerators can be harboring viruses, so be sure to wash your hands at work after touching places that others touch frequently. Even if you, co-workers or family members aren't showing symptoms of illness, don't assume those germs aren't around. A study from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada concluded that during cold or flu season there are about 8% of people carrying the virus that aren't showing symptoms.

Natural Remedies for Symptom Relief
If you do get sick, you'll need plenty of rest. I know that it is often hard with our busy schedules to take the extra time off for rest, but think about it this way. If you stay home and rest the chances are that you will have a shorter time of sickness which means you'll perform better sooner and won't risk spreading your germs to others. That's a win-win. To help relieve the misery of your symptoms you can use a neti-pot or squeeze bottle to flush irritants out the nasal cavity and hydrate nasal tissues. If you have a cough, you can take a spoonful of honey instead of cough syrup. This does not apply for young children though as honey is not recommended as being safe for them. There are also herbal remedies that can help relieve some of the symptoms of a cold and reduce the amount of time the symptoms hang on. Echinacea and vitamin C are two that help some people with colds and elderberry has been found helpful the same way with the flu and one study reported those taking elderberry syrup showed improvements in flu symptoms four days sooner than for those not taking elderberry. Richard Nahas, MD, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa also reminds us that crushed garlic contains allicin which can help fight off viruses. This is confirmed by a British study that reported participants taking allicin supplements were found to have 63% less colds than participants taking a placebo. You probably know that if you are sick you should drink lots of fluids, but there is evidence that getting those fluids going before getting sick can help you avoid a virus. Jamey Wallace, MD, chief medical officer at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, says this works by keeping the mucous membranes and immune cells in them hydrated which means they will work better at fighting off viruses. He suggests that you take your body weight divided by 3 and that will give you the amount of ounces to drink daily. Then add another glass of water to that for everything you drink that has caffeine or alcohol. Another natural solution to deal with symptoms according to David Nieman, DrPH. is eating lots of fruit as a study he helped conduct reported those eating at least 3 servings a day of fruit had 25% less days of respiratory symptoms during the cold and flu season. This could be due to the vitamin C and/or the polyphenols in fruits with antiviral properties. Taking probiotics is another good natural solution as one study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport reported athletes taking probiotics every day had 40% less colds and an analysis done in 2011 of 10 different studies concluded that 42% of those taking probiotics were less at risk for getting a cold. Mike Gleeson, PhD, professor of exercise biochemistry at Loughborough University in England especially recommends taking Lactobacillus which can reduce the likelihood of getting respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

Boost Immune System
The best protection you can have to avoid getting a cold or flu is an immune system that is working at its best. This means getting adequate quality sleep, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and maintaining good hygiene. In addition, adding foods or supplements with omega-3 fatty acids can help protect lungs from infections and support immune function by stimulating phagocytes which are immune system cells that fight off those invaders that bring illness. Vitamin D has also been shown in studies to give the immune system a boost and ward off colds. A study at Harvard reported participants with low vitamin D levels were 36% more at risk for getting an upper respiratory infection. This could be due to vitamin D being instrumental in the production of cathelicidin which is a protein that is able to kill viruses. Astragalus and zinc are also known to boost immune system function as are many medicinal mushrooms. A study in 2013 showed an increase in the production of immune cells in participants that ate shiitake mushrooms. Reishi, cordyceps, maitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei are other mushrooms that have been shown to have anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties and support the immune system. You'll find all these plus astragalus, beta glucan and organic wild bluegreen algae in this supplement.

Use Your Mind
According to a study from the University of Wisconsin, Madison done in 2012, employing mindfulness techniques such as meditation can significantly reduce the risk of contracting a cold. This study reported a 40 – 50% reduction in the number of illness contracted and sick days accrued during the cold and flu season. Another study at the University of Virginia showed that varsity swimmers practicing the Chinese mind-body exercise Qigong a minimum of once a week showed 70% less incidence of respiratory infections than those practicing it less. It is speculated that these type results could be due to these types of practices reducing stress which weakens the immune system. Which brings us to another point... stress. Finding a coping system or way to manage stress is crucial during the cold or flu season to keep your immune system functioning at its peak.

Stop being sick and tired this cold or flu season and give your immune system the help it needs to keep you healthy. If you do get sick give some of these natural solutions a try to see which make you feel better by giving you some relief of symptoms. Then make a note for yourself which ones help you because you will probably need them again as cold and flu season comes around every year.

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

Image courtesy of David Castillo DominiciFreeDigitalPhotos.net