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.

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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, 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.

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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 ( 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.

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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


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sugar Cravings? Yikes ... What to Do After Your Sugar Fix!

Get this:

-- The average American consumes his or her body weight in sugar each year! --

Wow, is that scary or what? That factoid comes from the American Heart Association, so it is not an urban myth. More specifically, the average American eats between 22 and 50 teaspoons of added sugar per day... adding up to about 150 pounds of sugar per year.

While sugar is sweet, the side-effects of eating that much sugar are not so sweet. Eating sugar to excess can lead to obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Sugar can also affect your mood, how you feel, and mess with your skin. Sugar side effects are definitely bitter rather than sweet. In fact, the above list of sugar side effects should give you pause the next time you consider munching on a candy bar or slurping down a chocolate malt!

The Worst Sugar Side Effect
We are all tempted to get a sugar fix from time to time, whether because we need some comfort food, we want to celebrate something good, or we just have a sugar craving. The reasons don't actually matter, but the side effects of sugar do matter. As discussed above, sugar can dramatically affect our health in numerous ways.

What we did not mention above is one of the most insidious and dangerous sugar side effects: the destruction of probiotics in the gut. Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that live in the gut and perform an amazing number of important bodily functions. These functions include:
  • acting as a first line of defense against foreign invaders
  • producing enzymes to digest food and deliver nutrients throughout the body
  • moving food through the digestive system, preventing constipation, gas, bloating, etc.
  • preventing harmful fungi from invading and taking over the gut (candida is a good example of harmful fungi)
  • support liver and kidney function
  • move toxins out of the gut and body
And that is just the short list of what the beneficial bacteria that live in our gut do for us. For us to remain healthy, studies show that we need to have a ratio of at least 6:1 of healthy to harmful bacteria in our guts.

So... taking all of this into consideration, you can see how damaging it is to eat excess sugar, which destroys the probiotics in the gut. Sugar not only destroys the probiotics, but also stops the gut from performing all of its digestive, immune, and other functions.

How to Avoid the Worst Sugar Side Effect After a Sugar Fix
Clearly eating too much sugar is a bad idea, but did you know that chugging even a single gigantic milkshake in a single sitting can have a serious effect on the probiotics in your system? Not only does it destroy a certain percentage of probiotics, but it can actually cause more sugar cravings. Seriously! One of the benefits of probiotics that we did not mention above is that probiotics can actually reduce sugar cravings. Why? Because the healthier we are (the higher the ratio of healthy bacteria in our gut), the less we crave sugar. So eating too much sugar kicks off a vicious cycle in which probiotics die off, sugar cravings increase, we eat more sugar, and even more probiotics die. The whole cycle is basically a downward spiral into poor health!

If you haven't guessed already, one of the best ways to avoid sugar side effects after eating a giant sugar fix is to take some probiotics. Acidophilus is one of the most effective probiotics for battling sugar side effects, and supports the health of the small intestine. Bifidus is another helpful probiotic, and supports the health of the large intestine.

We suggest taking probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus as a daily supplement. When you have eaten a sugar fix, take extra probiotics (especially acidophilus) with pure spring water as soon as possible. This reverses the vicious cycle described above, and starts your body on an upward spiral of health.

If you MUST have a sugar fix, don't worry. Just take some probiotics afterward to fix the effects of the sugar fix!

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, October 30, 2014

Get Healthy Glowing Skin from the Inside Out

Healthy glowing skin isn't just about how you look. Your skin is a reflection of how healthy you are overall. It is also the body's largest organ and the first line of defense for your immune system. That makes taking good care of your skin important for your health. And there is much to protect it from. One of the biggest threats to your skin is free radicals that destroy skin cells and lead to inflammation. Free radicals are molecules in cells that are weakened to the point that they lose an electron. This weakness is caused by such things as toxins in the body, exposure to UV rays, chlorinated water, pollution, and overcooked, fried and processed foods. These free radicals then go around taking electrons from other molecules and creating more free radicals and can cause inflammation in the body. Too much time in the sun can cause free radicals to multiply to the point of prematurely aging the skin with wrinkles, drying and age spots and even lead to skin cancer. If you spend enough time in the sun to burn then you are at the inflammation stage where the free radicals have started into oxidation. Oxidation destroys the cells that produce collagen and elastin that are necessary for firm, clear, and resilient skin. This is why it is advised to wear sun screen with a SPF of a minimum of 30 and that protects against UVA and UVB light and clothes to protect your skin from the sun.

In addition to what you put on your skin in the form of sunscreen and moisturizers, you can also protect your skin by what you put inside your body in the form of nutrition. This is nothing new as Chinese Medicine has recognized for ages that when the water element (yin) and the fire element (yang) are out of balance leaning more to the fire side, the skin shows signs such as pimples as a form of inflammation, redness and itchiness. Drinking more water is a natural solution to re-balancing these elements and hydrating internally can ease peeling, cracking, redness and itching caused by dry skin. While drinking water hydrates you from the inside, a good vitamin rich moisturizer can help hydrate skin on the outside. Inflammation can also be the result of sensitivities to foods, stress, hormones out of balance and poor diet. There are foods for healthy skin that can support your immune system to reduce inflammation, detoxify your body and fight off free radicals. Experts list certain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as being able to nourish skin whether eaten in foods, supplements or applied to the outside of the body in lotions. Lisa Drayer, R.D., author of The Beauty Diet, says that skin can't look and be at its healthiest without the nutrients that it needs from foods and Georgiana Donadio, PhD, DC, MSc, founder and director of the National Institute of Whole Health in Boston agrees that foods for healthy skin included in your diet will keep skin healthy and will benefit your overall health. Here are some of the major types of foods experts recommend adding to your diet for good skin.

If you could only make one change in your diet to help your skin, adding antioxidant foods would be the change to make. Antioxidants protect against cell damage from free radicals and can help repair damage they have caused. The older we get, the more important this is since cells don't repair themselves as well as we age. Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a super antioxidant that unlike most other antioxidants, is able to penetrate oil and water which allows it to work on skin cells inside and outside the body. The body produces small amounts itself, it can be taken as a supplement, is found in skin creams and is in small amounts in foods such as meats, broccoli, spinach and brewer's yeast. Lycopene is another excellent antioxidant for protection from sun damage and is found in tomatoes and watermelon. Studies show that cooking tomatoes in olive oil provides more protection than raw tomatoes. Watermelon is also higher in lycopene than raw tomatoes and of course needs no cooking to increase its benefits. Green tea contains catechins that help reduce inflammation and the risk of cancers. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry reported a study in 2007 finding that two to six cups a day reduces the risk of skin cancer and can help reverse damage from the sun to skin. Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavonols that can help keep skin smooth and protect it from damaging rays from the sun. Vitamin C found in such foods as sweet potatoes, Bell pepper, oranges, strawberries and broccoli is vital in the production of collagen. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported participants getting 4 milligrams of vitamin C a day over a 3 year period had 11% less wrinkles. Berries not only have the antioxidant power of vitamin C to fight off free radicals and produce collagen, but also adds to your hydration. Cherries are another fruit that is especially good for skin as its antioxidants help in the production of melatonin that protects the skin from UV rays and aids in producing new cells. The antioxidants in pomegranates are not only effective in protecting against sun damage, but also in renewing cells and protecting collagen. Vitamin E is another important antioxidant for skin protection and fighting off free radicals and is found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach, and asparagus. Vitamin A from foods with beta-carotene such as dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, liver, sweet potatoes, carrots and eggs helps in repairing skin tissue. The B vitamin, biotin, is also a must for good skin. The beneficial bacteria in our guts produce biotin so supporting the probiotics in our intestines like acidophilus and bifidus is important. Food sources for biotin include AFA blugreen alage, brown rice, bananas, oatmeal, mushrooms, eggs, and liver. Niacin is another B vitamin that you often find in skin lotions because it helps keep moisture in skin and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Three of the most important minerals for skin health are selenium, copper and zinc. Selenium found in foods such as seafood, garlic, eggs and whole grain cereal can help protect you from sunburn. Copper as an ingredient in skin cream can help keep skin firm and elastic and help in wrinkle prevention. Supplements of copper can be dangerous if you are not deficient in this mineral so check with your healthcare provider before taking an oral supplement of copper. Zinc is especially important for skin conditions such as acne as it helps control the skin's oil production. Oysters, lean meats like pork and poultry, fortified cereals, sesame seeds, milk, yogurt, and miso are all good food sources for zinc.

Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3 help prevent dry, flaky, itchy skin and in keeping skin cells flexible. Safflower oil, a good source of omega-6, has been reported to help with even severe conditions such as eczema. Omega-3 found in foods such as fatty coldwater fish like salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, bluegreen algae, avocados and olive oil helps keep the skin's protective oil in balance, in reducing age spots, wrinkle lines, black heads and keeping skin hydrated. Salmon is an especially good choice for getting omega-3 because it also has an antioxidant called astaxanthin that is even better than vitamin E for repairing skin damaged by the sun and reducing symptoms of aging that show on the skin. Most people don't have a problem getting enough omega-6 in their diets since it is found in cooking oil, grains, processed and fast foods, but getting the right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 both is sometimes tricky. One way to get the exact ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is taking this strain of AFA blue-green algae.

Nutritional Supplements
Adult stem cells, that are already in our bodies and are not controversial like embryonic stem cell use is, maintain and renew body tissue and help in maintaining a healthy immune system. 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 this 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. One of the ingredients, carnosine, is an antioxidant amino acid naturally present in the human body that may delay the natural aging of cells and extend the lifespan of adult stem cells.

Too busy to get in enough fruits and veggies for your antioxidants? This antioxidant supplement is loaded with chlorophyll, glutathione, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. It contains a blend of kale sprouts, red clover sprouts, wheat sprouts, concentrated wheat sprouts, and Dunaliella salina algae so antioxidant power is always available to you no matter how much you are on the run. .

We all want to have good looking and youthful skin, but more importantly, your skin says a lot about how healthy you are and is there to help protect you. Eating your way to healthier skin will help it do the best job possible in protecting you and keeping your youthful appearance.

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, October 28, 2014

Environmental Allergies Driving You Nuts? 7 Natural Solutions

Having an allergic reaction and suffering with allergy symptoms can certainly drive one nuts and there are so many different types of allergies that it can seem overwhelming. The good news is that there are natural solutions for all the various types of allergies that stem from things in our environments that can help relieve the symptoms.

Types of Allergies
Depending on what you are allergic to, an allergic reaction can cause symptoms that run the gamut from sneezing, watery eyes, and stuffy or runny nose to more severe reactions such as swelling and impaired breathing. Common environmental allergies can include having an allergic reaction to pollen, molds, weeds or grass, dust mites, dander from animals, stings from insects, various foods such as peanuts, shellfish, wheat, milk or eggs, and latex. Having an allergy depends partly on genetics. You are 30% more likely to have an allergy if one of your parents does and 60% more likely if both parents do. This is in comparison to only being at a 15% risk for allergies if neither of your parents have them. Research shows that this disposition to having an allergy does not necessarily mean you will have an allergic reaction to the exact same things as your family member. In addition it seems that in the last 40 years or so more people are showing allergic symptoms and around 46% of Americans have allergies of some type. Kim Knowlton, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council's health and environment program in New York City attributes this partly to the trend of an increase in warm weather months that allows pollen to be present for a longer amount of time than in the past. There are of course various allergy medicines that can bring some relief to allergy symptoms, but they often have related risks and side effects. Here we explore some natural solutions to help with the symptoms of various types of allergies. 

Natural Solutions for Allergy Symptoms

1. Keep Your Immune System Fit
Having a strong and healthy immune system goes a long way in the fight against allergy symptoms. Since according to Dr. Mercola, around 80% of your immune system is in the digestive tract, this means supporting good intestinal health. A key element for this is keeping a healthy supply of "good bacteria" in the intestines to fight off bad bacteria that can compromise the immune system. Environmental toxins and unhealthy food and drink can kill off these good bacteria allowing bad bacteria and yeast to take over which can lead to a failure in producing antibodies to resist pathogens and major health problems. An unhealthy digestive tract is also susceptible to leaky gut syndrome with has also been found to contribute to allergies. Eating fermented and cultured foods with live active probiotic cultures and taking probiotic supplements such as acidophilus and bifidus are important for maintaining a healthy balance of "good bacteria" in the intestines. According to Kamal Ivory, PhD, a senior researcher at the Institute of Food Research in the United Kingdom, using probiotics to keep the bacteria balanced in the digestive tract can reduce the risk of an overreaction to allergens by the immune system. When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Research indicates that the levels of probiotics that live in your gut can affect how much IgE your body produces, and how severe your allergy symptoms will be. There have been specific results indicating that a good population of acidophilus in the small intestine can reduce how much IgE is produced in response to pollen. 

2. Dress for Success
If you can't avoid being outside when pollen counts or pollution levels are high, consider wearing a mask that fits over your nose and mouth or goggles over your eyes. You may get some sideways looks, but if you suffer severe symptoms the looks may be preferable. Also be aware that when you come in from outside you may have pollen on your clothes. Take a shower as soon as you get home, change into clean clothes and wash the clothes you were wearing to avoid letting those pollens into your home. Even if you've already been exposed to the pollen enough to trigger your symptoms, you can avoid bringing more into the house that could possibly affect those living with you. If you have allergies to dust mites and molds and are doing a good cleaning out of possible culprits, wear long sleeves and gloves that you can toss in the wash when you finish and you may need to wear a mask while doing the dirty work.

3. Protect Your Indoor Space
On days that pollen counts are high, be sure to protect your indoor space by keeping windows and door closed and using an air conditioner. On wash day, dry clothes and bedding in a dryer instead of hanging them outside to dry. Extra vacuuming of carpets and furniture can also help reduce your exposure to allergens and some people find using a HEPA air filter useful. Using high efficiency heat and air conditioner filters and changing them out every 3 months can help filter dust and pollen from your house. If your allergic reactions are connected to dust mites which exist in the dust in your house, washing your bedding in hot water once a week and using hypoallergenic pillows can help reduce symptoms. You can also use mattress covers to keep dust from accumulating in your bed. Using a dehumidifier to keep humidity below 45% – 50% and doing frequent dusting in your home can also help in reducing an allergic reaction to dust. Allergies to molds are common in summer and fall months, but can occur anytime if you have mold in your home. Inspect any damp areas like the bathrooms or the basement if you notice and increase in your mold allergic reactions. Look for any plumbing repairs that may be necessary to keep water accumulation down and making sure these areas have good ventilation can help. You may also need to get rid of houseplants that may have mold growing in the soil.

4. Nutritional Supplement Solutions
AFA bluegreen algae is loaded with superfood nutrition that provides the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients vital to a healthy immune system and overall body health. Jeffrey J. Bruno, Ph.D., who has done extensive research on the benefits of bluegreen algae, has reported that "A daily dose of beta-carotene, from an algae extract, demonstrated a protective effect against exercise-induced asthma" and cites two studies that show adding bluegreen algae to one's diet can contribute to a reduction of aphylactic and immune-type allergic reactions. ("Edible Microalgae, Jeffrey J. Bruno, Ph.D.). In the case of food allergies there have been studies reporting that algae has been able to reduce allergy type symptoms caused by a sensitivity to milk products. AFA bluegreen algae full of carotenes and chlorophyll has been reported to be beneficial in dealing with many types of food allergies and intolerances.

Digestive enzymes can help break down the irritating shell that surrounds each pollen molecule which can reduce irritation of the mucus membranes. If your body doesn't have enough enzymes, a high quality enzyme supplement may be needed. You can get your algae, enzymes and probiotics all together in these convenient packets that include two kinds of bluegreen algae, a digestive enzyme, acidophilus and bifidus.

Other nutritional considerations for strengthening the immune system include eating fresh fruits and vegetables to get extra antioxidants into your diet that can help reduce inflammation and reduce allergy symptoms. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids can also help in reducing inflammation caused by a reaction to pollen. Fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil and AFA bluegreen algae are all rich food sources of omega-3.

5. Clear Out Your Nose
A Neti-Pot or saline nasal sprays can be helpful for a stuffy nose and for washing pollen and dust out of nasal cavities. You may have to use these several times throughout the day as relief is not usually long lasting, but it is a natural solution that can help you avoid medications such as decongestants and antihistamines. David Rabago, MD, assistant professor and author of a study at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, found that 60% of participants who used a neti-pot reported a reduction in their allergy symptoms.

6. Pick Your Outside Times
If you deal with allergies to pollen, it will be important to find out exactly what type of pollen or other outdoor allergens you react to. This could mean having allergy testing done or just simply keeping a journal of your symptoms in conjunction with various pollen counts in your area. Having this knowledge can help you avoid planning outdoor activities when the pollen count for the allergen that you react to is high. Your local newspaper or internet news source often will post pollen counts for your area. Knowing that pollen counts are often lower on days that are cool and rainy and in morning and evening hours and higher on days that are windy and warmer and in the middle of the day can also help you plan for outdoor activities. Another consideration to keep track of is the pollution level in your area as this can contribute to symptoms for people with allergies. For those who normally get their exercise outdoors, there may be days when pollen counts and/or pollution levels are high enough to warrant changing to an indoor exercise period or a change in the type of exercise. For example, if you usually jog and really work up a sweat with intense exercise you breathe faster and inhale more allergens. Doing more gentle exercise like stretching or yoga on those days that don't cause you to breathe faster may be a solution.

7. Have an Epi Plan for Life Threatening Allergies
If your doctor has prescribed an Epi Pen for life threatening allergic reactions to insect stings, a latex allergy or food allergy, have a plan for carrying it with you at all times. If a child is involved, make sure you have an extra Epi Pen or a fool-proof system of passing it off to family, friends or school personnel that the child spends time with. Other less threatening symptoms to these types of allergies can include swelling, redness, hives or welts. If your doctor has prescribed an antihistamine medication for these type of symptoms, have it included in the plan for always having it available. In the case of insect sting allergies, you can avoid attracting insects by not wearing scents that can attract them, always wearing shoes outside, staying away from areas that are naturally attractive to stinging insects and choose clothing to wear that doesn't have bright colors. In the case of an allergy to latex, the best solution is obviously to avoid contact with it. If in doubt whether something unfamiliar to you may contain latex, ask. This is a good practice to get young children with these types of allergies and with food allergies to start learning. If they are eating in a new place or eating a food they have never eaten before, encourage them to ask for ingredients. And don't forget about what the food was prepared in. For example, a child may have eaten French fries many times and think they are safe, but there are restaurants that fry in peanut oil which could be disastrous for a child with a peanut allergy. When in doubt, ask, choose another food selection or go somewhere familiar that you know is safe.

You now have seven natural solutions to try out and see which work for you in reducing the symptoms of an allergic reaction according to what type of allergies you have. A few dietary or lifestyle changes just may make all the difference in how much you suffer with allergies this year.

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"Edible Microalgae", Jeffrey J. Bruno, Ph.D.