Thursday, January 30, 2014

Natural Solutions for Boosting Your Immune System

Your immune system is your protection from virus, bacteria and yeast infection. If your immune system is weakened, it is not able to protect you from these type of foreign invaders and you are more likely to get sick. It may be a clue that your immune system is weak if you get sick more than a couple of times a year or if you are often fatigued even though you get adequate sleep. If your immune system is failing to protect you, there are natural solutions that can help.

What Weakens Your Immune System?
There are a variety of things that can cause your immune system to become weakened. Environmental toxins, stress, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and overuse of antibiotics are some of these. Stress can affect the number of killer T cells the body produces, adequate sleep is required for producing cytokines that protect against disease, and toxins found in household products can lower the effectiveness of your immune system.

What Strengthens Your Immune System?
You can help strengthen your immune system with natural solutions such as getting enough rest, finding ways to cope with stress, eating a healthy diet, and taking probiotics. When considering natural solutions to boost your immune system here are a few more specific things that have been found helpful.

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

Beta Glucan and Mushrooms
Beta glucan is a complex carbohydrate of the simple sugar glucose. It can come from cereals like oats and barley or from yeast, bacteria and fungi. Beta glucans differ in structure according to how the glucose is linked. Yeast beta glucan is linked in such a way that it has been found to enhance and stimulate macrophages, a type of white blood cell that kills off foreign invaders and stimulates other immune cells to fight them off. The beta glucan that comes from baker's yeast is the most potent anti-infective beta glucan immunododulator. Since the body does not produce beta glucans by itself, we have to get them from the foods we eat or supplements. Baker's yeast, shiitake mushrooms, barley, oats, rye, and wheat are all sources of beta glucan. Animal studies have reported that eating beta glucan from oats and barley showed less risk of contracting flu, herpes and anthrax. Other studies have found beta glucan to be effective against bacterial infections and viral infections and even lessen duration of symptoms of the common cold in people. Certain types of mushrooms are being found effective for immune support because they have polysaccharides, glycoproteins, ergosterols, and triterpenoids. These are all precursors to beta glucans. Mushrooms have been found to be supportive of white blood cells that fight off infections. With their immunosupportive agents, they can help protect you from viruses, bacteria and even yeast. You can get the immune supporting power of beta glucan and six of the most extensively researched mushrooms that show positive immune system support together in this one supplement. It combines reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms along with astragalus, beta glucan and bluegreen algae to help support your immune system function.

Alliums are foods such as leeks, onions and garlic. Foods in this family are known to have natural antibiotic properties to help fight off germs. They have also been found useful in helping lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and there is research that suggests they can help reduce the growth risk of prostate, stomach and colon cancer cells. Allicin, found in garlic and released when crushing or chopping garlic, has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has been found to improve immunity and to be useful in fighting off colds.

Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice contains a variety of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and micronutrients and is rich in polysaccharides and flavonoids known to help fight damage from free radicals. It has been shown to have anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties and give an overall boost to your immune system. Aloe vera has been reported to affect an increase in lymphocytes, cytokines, interleukin and Natural Killer Cells that are all important parts of your immune system.

Your immune system health is important in helping to keep you productive and feeling good. If you suspect your immune system could use a boost, give some of these immune boosting natural solutions a try and help your immune system to help you.

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, January 23, 2014

Healthy Aging with Brain Superfoods

Part of healthy aging that many of us are concerned about is brain health. I know seniors who are very sharp mentally, stay active and enjoy their senior years. Then I know those who have dementia or Alzheimer's. The first group is the one I definitely want to be in as I age. To ensure that I stay in that group, I strive to add brain superfoods in my healthy aging plan. After all, good nutrition is a key ingredient in healthy aging. That includes the types of foods we eat and the amounts we eat. Food is where we get our energy and nutrients for a healthy body that works at its peak. A brain that is not properly nourished cannot stay sharp.

Among the brain superfoods for healthy aging are whole grains for fiber, fruits and vegetables for antioxidants, lean protein, and essential fatty acids for healthy brain function. As we age it is also better to eat smaller meals more often throughout the day than to continue the 3 meal habit of breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is because of changes in hormone levels and our metabolism slowing down as we age. Eating smaller meals throughout the day helps keep the metabolism stable. Be sure however to start the day off with a good healthy breakfast, then move to the smaller meals or snacks throughout the rest of the day. Numerous studies show that those who eat a healthy, well balanced breakfast in the morning have better energy and concentration throughout the day, as well as improved short-term memory and attention.

Fight Off Free Radicals
Antioxidants in the diet are especially important in healthy aging. Our bodies' 75 trillion cells are under constant attack by unstable molecules called free radicals. Some of these free radical molecules are the result of natural processes in the body, while others come from the daily stresses of life, including air pollutants, smoking, alcohol, over-exertion, heavy exercise, and poor diets. As your 75 trillion cells are constantly attacked by free radicals, the result is aging. Specifically, free radicals can react with your cells' DNA and RNA, the blueprints by which your cells duplicate themselves. This can result in heart disease, chronic pain, and other ailments related to aging. Antioxidants are the body's protection from free radical damage because they not only stabilize the unstable free radical molecules, but also help with cellular repair, if and when your DNA is damaged. Foods high in antioxidants include bright colorful vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, blueberries, carrots, and leafy greens. The antioxidant vitamin E, from foods such as nuts and seeds, has been shown to help maintain cognitive abilities as we age and the antioxidant properties in dark chocolate has been found to help with mental focus.

Fuel Your Brain
Glucose the body makes from carbohydrates and sugars you eat, are one of the main fuel sources for the brain. The best brain superfoods to get your brain the glucose it needs are whole grains high in fiber, dairy foods and fruit. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids are another of the brain superfoods. Studies show people with diets rich in omega-3 have a lower risk of stroke, reduced chance of developing dementia, and maintain sharper mental faculties and memory functions as they age. In fact 60% of your brain is fat of the fatty acids type that form the cell membranes that cover neurons and other cell organs. These fats are also the main ingredient in your synapses and dendrites, which are the connections between your neurons. In other words, these fats form the parts of your brain that allow you to think making foods rich in fatty acids like omega-3 so important to include in your brain superfoods diet. Foods high in omega-3s include coldwater fish like cod, mackerel, salmon, tuna, herring and lake trout, fresh fruit, dark-green leafy greens, AFA blue-green algae, seeds and nuts, and flax and olive oil.

Keep Blood Flowing to the Brain
Nutrients and oxygen are carried to your various body organs through the blood. If you have a diminished blood flow the heart and brain are especially affected. Including whole grains and monounsaturated fats in your diet can help reduce buildup of plaque, support healthy blood circulation, and keep blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels stable. Peanut butter, avocados, nuts, olives and oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, and canola oil are all brain superfoods with monounsaturated fats.

Supplement Your Brain
AFA bluegreen algae is loaded with omega-3 to support brain health. This supplement that has organic wild bluegreen algae, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni was created especially for high-performance athletes and those with active lifestyles who depend on concentration and mental clarity. The blue green algae is a good source of whole food nutrition, 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. With all these combined, you can see how this combination is perfect for the support of brain health in healthy aging.

Another bluegreen algae supplement that supports brain health, regeneration and mental clarity is one that also combines the power of three mushrooms, Lion's Mane, agarikon, and cordyceps, along with standardized American ginseng (Cereboost®), and resveratrol. Cereboost®, Standardized American Ginseng, has long been used in improving cognitive function, preventing fatigue and increasing energy. Resveratrol is a polyphenol with antioxidant properties found in the skin of red grapes, some berries like blueberries, some Chinese herbs, cocoa and peanuts and has been found helpful in increasing blood flow to the brain. Lion's Mane, a mushroom that has been called "nature's nutrient for the neurons" due to NGF (nerve growth factor) being found in it, has been found to have benefits for age related memory function and mental clarity. Agarikon, a rare polypore or tree-based conk mushroom commonly found in the old growth forests of Oregon and Washington, has also shown benefits with age related memory function. Cordyceps mushrooms are rich in proteins, plant sterols, polysaccharides, antioxidants, and nucleoside derivatives for a variety of benefits for brain health.

If you are concerned about your mental faculties and brain health as you age, consider adding some of these brain superfoods to your healthy aging plan. They can help make the difference in what mental state you will manifest as you reach your senior years. Personally, I want to enter my senior years with as much brain function as possible. How about you?

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, January 16, 2014

What Causes an Allergy? What to Do

If you are suffering with watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing then you may not care what causes an allergy. You just want relief at that point, right. But if you are in between allergy attacks then understanding what causes an allergy can help you be ready to avoid future attacks. Basically causes of allergy are related to the immune system and its response to pollen, grass, ragweed, pet dander, dust mites and mold entering your system by touching, inhaling or swallowing it.

More specifically, here's the process of what causes an allergy.
  • You are allergic to one or more allergens and ingest it usually into your nasal passages or lungs.
  • Your immune system labels the allergen as a foreign invader, like it would for a virus or bacteria, and begins making antibodies to attack it.
  • The antibodies locate the allergen in your body and inform blood cells to release histamine into the bloodstream.
  • The releasing of histamine creates inflammation causing tissues around blood vessels to tighten and fluid to escape.
  • The escaping fluid becomes the symptoms you experience such as a runny nose, itchy watery eyes, and sneezing.

What To Do For Causes of Allergy
Here's a little bit more about what causes an allergy and what you can do to combat causes of allergy. When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Research indicates that the levels of the good bacteria that live in your gut, called probiotics, can affect how much IgE your body produces, and how severe your allergy symptoms. Studies show that having a healthy population of acidophilus in your small intestine can reduce the amount of IgE that your body produces in response to ingesting allergens. Taking an enzyme supplement between meals can support your body's immune response because your body uses the extra enzymes to surround, break down and remove pollen grains from your system, reducing the amount of overreaction from your body's immune system by creating an excess of histamine.

I have found two other supplements that help with supporting the immune system and modulating the body's inflammation response. The first  uses a combination of phycocyanin (the unique blue pigment from bluegreen algae), Ecklonia cava (Seanol®, a marine algae), standardized turmeric, bromelain, and bluegreen algae. Bromelain is an enzyme that naturally occurs in pineapple and has been found to reduce inflammation. Ecklonia cava is a rich source of bioactive derivatives, mainly phlorotannins, including triphlorethol-A which are strong antioxidants. Curcumin, found in turmeric, has been the basis of much research and found to have benefit as an anti-inflammatory. The second supplement  I find helpful is one that combines 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 bluegreen algae. Besides the immune boosting support of these medicinal mushrooms, this supplement provides WGP beta glucan which is able to activate macrophages (type of white blood cell in body's defense system). Activating these macrophages can result in a stronger immune system.

More To Do For Causes of Allergy
Chances are you know what you are allergic to. If not, testing is available from allergy specialists that can help determine what allergens you will react to. Once you have this knowledge, you can try avoiding these allergens whenever possible. Find a good source that reports allergen levels in your area such as a pollen report and plan outings for days when the pollen count is low. If you have to go outside when counts are high, you might wear a filtering mask to help. Extra vacuuming of carpets and furniture can help reduce your exposure to allergens. And don't take them to bed with you! When your particular allergens are high, take a shower and wash your hair as part of your bedtime routine. Some people find HEPA air filters helpful too.

Knowledge is power. Empowering yourself with the information on what causes an allergy and natural solutions that can help with causes of allergy can help you avoid the miserable symptoms that accompany allergies and the side effects of the over the counter allergy medicines.

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 Dominici /


Thursday, January 2, 2014

How to Stay Slim Even if You Mess Up Your Diet

If you are like me, you've been working on how to stay slim and doing pretty good at it and then here comes the holidays. Extra fattening foods, big family meals, holiday parties, not enough exercise time and wham, I feel like the stuffed turkey. Many people at this point feel like they've blown it so might as well go all out and blow it big. This is not true though according to dietary and nutritional experts. Don't worry if you got off track with your normal diet during the holidays just get back to your regular routine of exercise and healthy eating and you'll find that you didn't forget how to stay slim just by a little overindulging for a day or two. The main things to remember are to not beat yourself up about it and don't give up on your healthy eating diet.

According to Rebecca S. Reeves, DrPH, RD, assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, everyone takes what she calls "time-outs" from their healthy eating plan from time to time. She suggests giving yourself permission to do this and then get back to your normal eating patterns. It doesn't have to be something to stress about. Allen Dollar, MD, chief of cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine warns that most Americans don't do this as a one time thing however and overeat continuously without giving thought to how to stay slim in relation to how they are eating and what they are eating. That is one reason there is a great percentage of the population that is overweight. For those of us playing the How To Stay Slim game though, there are things to do to help us get back on track after splurging during the holidays or anytime we overindulge.

Help Your Digestive System Out
When working on how to stay slim good digestion is a key ingredient. If food doesn't keep moving through the digestive system it can become stuck which causes belly bulge. Probiotics, such as acidophilus and bifidus, are the friendly bacteria that naturally live in your small and large intestines. These bacteria help your body process and digest the foods you eat and move them through the digestive system. Foods such as yogurt and kefir with live active cultures can help give you some probiotics, but usually not enough so supplementing with high quality probiotics is needed. After getting off my normal diet and splurging, I like to take extra acidophilus, bifidus and this probiotic supplement with eight key "good bacteria" that are microblended with bluegreen algae that has the cell wall removed, Jerusalem artichoke, and a blend of acerola and rose hips, providing the entire digestive tract with superb probiotic support.

Another way to support digestion and to keep your metabolism high and your fat content low, is to add enzymes to your diet between and at meals. Enzymes help boost your metabolism, burn fat and clean up waste in the body. These enzymes contain amylase, cellulase, lipase, protease, and lactase for more efficient digestion to avoid the after-meal energy slump.

Resume Healthy Eating
After taking a "time-out" from your normal healthy eating, just get back to your normal eating patterns. Having one large meal with fattening foods is not going to make you obese overnight, but continuing to eat this way day after day will. It's not the end of the world to splurge, but get right back to your healthy eating routine by the next day. You might start out eating several smaller meals or healthy snacks throughout the day. Starving yourself the next day to compensate for overeating the day before is not a good idea. This strategy tends to make your body store fat and is not a healthy eating solution. Eat foods with antioxidant filled fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins and get your body back on its healthy slimming diet.

Stay Motivated
Don't get discouraged thinking that you "blew" your diet. Give yourself permission to occasionally overindulge without feeling guilty as long as your normal routine includes healthy eating habits and exercise. Stressing out, getting depressed or becoming negative will not help in learning how to stay slim and in fact can cause you to gain weight. To help you stay motivated and positive about losing weight you might want to get a weight loss buddy. This might be someone to plan exercise time with, someone to set calorie intake goals with or just someone to check in with for encouragement. After a splurge, absolutely do not go running to the scale to see how much you gained. This will only discourage you and is not a fair assessment. Wait until a couple of days or so later after you have returned to your normal exercise and eating routine and given a chance for extra water weight gain from eating extra salt time to subside.

Staying motivated, I find, has a lot to do with feeling good which is related to my body getting all the nutrients it needs. This is important to give me the extra energy boost I need to get back to a good solid exercise routine too. I like to include this box  of 30 daily packets filled with supplements containing natural ingredients that include bluegreen algae, a variety of medicinal mushrooms, ubiquinol, standardized turmeric and gingseng for extra support. Ubiquinol is an active antioxidant form of coenzyme Q10 which is important for stress relief and improved energy. Tumeric is good for increasing serotonin in the brain and has been used in Chinese medicine for a very long time to treat depression. Ginseng is known for its usefulness in improving cognitive function, preventing fatigue and increasing energy and the mushrooms in this combination of supplements have been shown useful for everything from increasing mental clarity to providing cellular support and nutrition.

Now that the holidays are over, it is the perfect time to recommit for the new year to healthy eating, developing an exercise routine and learning other ways of how to stay slim. Make this your New Year's Resolution and don't sweat it if you take a day off occasionally to overindulge. Just jump right back into your normal routine the next day and you'll continue on your way down the path to healthier living.

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 Ambro /