Thursday, July 10, 2014

Can't Decide Which Antioxidants to Buy? A List of The Best...

You have probably heard of antioxidants and may even be aware of what antioxidant foods do to help keep you healthy. If not, then simply put, antioxidants protect your cells from oxidation and the damage that free radicals create in the body. Our cells are under constant attack by damaging, unstable molecules called free radicals. Basically 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. Free radicals damage the body, including cells, enzymes, and DNA, causing negative effects such as signs of aging, pain, cancer, arthritis and inflammation, emphysema, bronchitis and other lung problems, heart disease and other chronic diseases. Antioxidants can help you with a variety of age related health conditions such as wrinkles, cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, creaky joints, aches and pains, tiredness, and cataracts. Vitamins such as A, C and E, selenium and carotenoids are antioxidants you can get from fruits and veggies. Phytonutrients, such as catechins, that come from plants are another source of antioxidant protection. Our bodies do make some of their own antioxidants such as coenzyme Q 10, but aging, stress, and disease can all interfere with the production of this vital coenzyme making supplementation a consideration. Bright colorful vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, blueberries, carrots, and leafy greens are good antioxidant foods to include in your diet. Some foods are higher in antioxidants than others. Here are some of the antioxidants foods and supplements that are high in antioxidants and won't strain your food budget.

Let's start off with some good news. Your morning cup of coffee is actually good for you as it is loaded with antioxidants. The Journal of Nutrition has reported findings from a study warning that non-dairy creamers may interfere with your body absorbing antioxidants, so you may want to avoid adding those to your coffee. And of course if you can do without sugar that is best and if you absolutely can't, then go for a natural sweetener.

Green Tea
If you are not a coffee fan and are a tea drinker instead, there's still good news for you. Tea is very closely rated to coffee in antioxidant value. Green tea in particular is very high in catechin polyphenols that give you a big antioxidant punch. Studies from Japan have reported women drinking five or more cups of green tea daily show a 30% reduction in risk of heart disease related deaths.

Tomatoes which contain lycopene that can aid in the fight against free radical damage to white blood cells with its antioxidant properties. Lycopene also can help protect skin from sun damage and is an anticancer agent. To help your body absorb lycopene even better you can add a healthy fat such as olive oil to your tomato dishes. 

Black Rice
Black rice is an antioxidant food that is less expensive than blueberries but just as high in antioxidants. Anthocyanins are the secret to black rice that give it its antioxidant power.

Whole Food Botanicals and Mushroom Supplement
This whole food supplement is based on powerful botanicals, mushrooms and algae that address the unique nutritional needs of different systems of the body. In convenient, take-on-the-go packets, you get the cellular nutrition and antioxidant power of the medicinal mushrooms reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, turkey tail, and Agaricus blazei, as well as AFA bluegreen algae, astragalus, beta glucan, ubiquinol (active form of CoQ10), American ginseng, resveratrol, polyphenols from olives, and natural antioxidants such as wild blueberry, green tea, and carnosine and more.

Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are all good antioxidant foods. Fresh berries of course are always the best food choice so when in season consider buying extra and freezing for later months. If you don't have fresh, then go with frozen over canned.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene and have phytonutrients that are good for healthy eyes and hearts. The body takes beta-carotene from foods and converts it into Vitamin A which is an antioxidant. Additionally, they provide carbohydrates needed for energy production and fiber.

Beans such as kidney, pinto, black and navy are rich sources of antioxidants and have the added benefits of fiber, iron, potassium, zinc and folic acid. Most people are deficient in folic acid, which is vitamin B9, and some experts say folic acid is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world. Dried beans are usually easy to find, inexpensive and are a healthier choice than canned which may have a chemical lining in the can.

Broccoli is one of the super vegetables with vitamin C, calcium, phytonutrients like sulforaphane and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. There are so many ways to fix broccoli from raw to steamed to adding in casseroles and stir fry that you never have to get bored with this high antioxidant veggie.

Whole Food Supplement With Wild Elements of Water, Earth and Forest
This supplement  gives you convenient packets of whole food supplements with superfoods from the water, Earth and forests. From the forests come organically grown mushrooms from wild spores, from the Earth comes sprouts and grasses with phytonutrients, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, folate, and fiber with the antioxidants in a form the body can easily absorb, and from the water dulse, kelp, fucoidan, Ecklonia cava, bladderwrack, Dunaliella salina, spirulina, chlorella and AFA bluegreen algae for a wide array of rich minerals and phytonutrients.

Garlic has vitamins A, B and C as well as selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium. It also has allicin that has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and has been found useful in lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels and in treating various heart related conditions such as atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).

As you can see there are lots of delicious ways to get the antioxidant protection you need to protect your cells from damage and repair the damage done to them from free radicals. Hopefully this list of high antioxidant foods will give you some ideas of things to add to your diet for optimal nutritional health.

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 Michelle Meiklejohn  /


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tips and Tricks for Reading Food Labels

With today's food sources being questionable as to where they come from, how they are grown, and the nutrition they actually provide, a food label is often your best friend. There are so many different labels out today on foods that unless you know what each one really means, you may not be getting the real information you are seeking. It would be great if we could all grow our own food, not have to deal with checking a food label and know that we are getting the freshest, most nutritious food. But most people either don't have the time, make the time, have the knowledge or desire or the space to do this. For that reason, let's take a look at some tips for picking the best quality food and for reading a food label so you know what it is really telling you.

1. Organic – Organic food products are those that have been grown and processed by organic farming methods. There have been studies reporting that organic food is more nutrient rich and has more antioxidant benefits than non-organic food. If you find the USDA Organic label on food products you will know that at least 95% of the ingredients are organically grown. To qualify for this label, a product must be free of synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and irradiation can't be used in the production or processing of it. This is true at least for the 95% organic ingredients. The other 5% might have additives or synthetics from a list of approved substances. If your label only says it is made with organic ingredients, but does not have the USDA label, then it may be only 70% organic ingredients and not produced by synthetic methods, but it does not contain enough organic ingredients to qualify for the USDA organic label. Ingredients claiming to be organic must not have or have been produced with chemicals, additives, synthetics, pesticides or anything genetically engineered. If a product is claiming to be 100% organic then there should be an ingredient list on the label that includes information on who has certified it as organic. What may surprise you is that even foods with the USDA certification are not necessarily free of heavy metals or GMO ingredients. Heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury and aluminum are not tested for in order to receive the organic certification and the National Organic Program has policy that finding trace amounts of genetically modified ingredients in a product does not constitute a violation of the regulations. If GMO's are found in a product, the agency that certifies it will take steps to prevent future occurrences however. Products coming from other countries (especially those that have large pollution problems) that are labeled organic are more likely to have the heavy metals than the ones grown in the U.S., so be aware of that.

2. Naturally Grown – A label that says Certified Naturally Grown means the product is very similar to the ones with the certified organic label. The difference is that the farm it came from was not certified by the National Organic Program of the USDA. This could be due to the high costs and the hoops farmers have to jump through to be in the program. Certified Naturally grown is a label that came about through a non-profit organization where farmers become inspectors for other farmers. Do not confuse this with products that label themselves as "natural" without any type of certification. The USDA defines All Natural as being a product with nothing artificial and has gone through minimal processing. This claim is not certified by a third party, but products making the claim of being natural should have an explanation on the label of why they are natural. In most cases natural is not anywhere near the same as organic, so read those labels carefully when selecting products claiming to be natural.

3. Fair Trade – FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International) gives a certification for products in which workers have safe working conditions, receive fair compensation for their work, no forced or child labor is used and workers are allowed to join trade unions. Products carrying this label must be grown, produced and processed in a way that promotes social, economic and environmental development.

4. Heart Check Symbol – If you are particularly interested in a diet that promotes a healthy heart, look for the American Heart Association's symbol on food labels certifying that the product meets their guidelines and is a participant in their certification program.

5. GMO - Foods that have been genetically modified or genetically engineered are not required to be labeled as such in the United States. Here's a tip though that will let you know what you are getting in your produce. Look at the PLU number on the produce. If it has a 4 digit code number then it was grown by conventional farming methods and if it has a 5 digit number that begins with 8 then it is genetically modified or engineered. If you are looking for organically grown produce, look for 5 digit labels that start with a 9.

6. High Pesticide Levels – Some fruits and vegetables have higher levels of pesticides than others. A non-profit group called Environmental Working Group has tested and come up with those that test as highest for pesticide levels. For that reason these might be the fruits and vegetables that you will want to buy organic. They include apples, grapes, peaches, strawberries, cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, kale, summer squash and spinach. To save on your food budget you might consider buying conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that are low on the pesticide level list instead of organic. These would include kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple, grapefruit, cantaloupe, asparagus, avocado, cabbage, sweet corn, eggplant, onion, sweet potatoes, and frozen sweet peas. Since organic selections do cost more than their conventionally grown counterparts, you might also stick to organic for the foods you eat the most of and go with conventionally grown for those foods that you don't eat as often.

7. Searching Out Organic Sources – Look for farmers' markets in your area. If there aren't any real close then you might consider making a periodic trip to stock up on organic products and either freezing or canning them for future use. If you have a food co-op in your area that you can join or shop at then you may be able to get organic products at a lower cost than the grocery store. Also look for CSA's in your area. These are Community Supported Agriculture programs in which you are actually buying a share in the crops produced by a particular farm for that season. You pay a fee and you receive a division of the crops produced each week. If none of these alternatives exist for you, consider starting your own organic garden or do some patio gardening. If nutritious, organic food is a priority for you then you can find a way. At the very least, find out what day the store you normally shop at receives their produce and buy on that day to get the freshest fruits and veggies. Consider buying extra of items that are in their natural growing season and freezing or home canning them for later.

Why You Don't Have to Worry About our Superfood Supplements
Our superfood algae supplements are assured to be grown, harvested and processed by strict guidelines taking nutrition, quality, and sustainability into account. These algae products start with the finest grade of raw ingredients such as certified organic wild-harvested bluegreen algae, mushrooms organically grown from wild spores, plant based enzymes and high quality botanicals. They include products with certifications such as Kosher, Halal and the USDA organic certification provided by Pro-Cert Organic Systems. You can see all the individual product certifications HERE. These products are also manufactured at on-site NSF Good Manufacturing Practice and GMP for Sports registered facilities. GMP is overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with a strict set of guidelines food and supplement producers must adhere to from harvesting raw materials, through the manufacturing process, all the way to a finished product and including maintenance of the facility, employee training and validation of testing equipment. It is not an easy certification to claim and we are one of the few algae supplement companies that can claim it.

With our products, harvesting, cooling, cleaning, water removal, freezing and storage is all done in less than 5 hours of time to protect nutritional quality with attention given to minimal environmental impact and preserving the unique sustainable ecosystems the raw ingredients are obtained from. And in addition to the GMP certification and the USDA Organic Certification, we undergo the meticulous inspections of our manufacturing facility, records and testing procedures performed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture to meet criteria for the ODA Food Processing License.

I know that all the various food labels out there today can get confusing and take a little more time to look for. In the long run though, it makes you an informed consumer and lets you know what to look for to find products that are a match for your values and health concerns. Finding the freshest and most nutritious food sources that you can will pay off for any extra time or expense with benefits to your health. I hope you find some of these tips useful in knowing what to look for on food labels and how to get the best food for your buck that you can. If you have any other tips to share, we'd love to hear them. Just leave a comment below and share what you've found with other readers.

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

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles  /


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Can Antioxidants Offset the Damage Done by the Standard American Diet (SAD)?

The SAD or Standard American diet is unfortunately still the diet most people in this country eat. This is a diet of fast-food and processed from the box meals, full of sugars and unhealthy fats that are sorely lacking in nutrients your body and in particular, your brain need. What you do get from the Standard American diet is loads of omega-6 fatty acids. You do need omega-6 fatty acids in your diet for optimal health, but the key is to get the right ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.

Getting the Right Ratio
The optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is 3:1. The Standard American diet goes so far overboard with the omega-6's that the ratio is more like 20:1. Even those of us that try to eat healthy and get omega-3 fatty acids in our diets don't get off the hook. If you stock your diet with coldwater fish, chia seeds, dark-green leafy vegetables, various seeds, nuts, and flax and olive oil then you may be going overboard with your ratio in the favor of omega-3's. Tipping the scales too far in the omega-3 direction can cause changes to body cells, allergies, a reduction in sexual drive or suppress the immune system.  

Take a look at the types of food you eat. If you eat mostly from the Standard American diet then you are getting too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. The obvious solution is to cut down on the processed and fast foods and make sure you add some of the omega-3 foods into your diet each week. If you are getting too many omega-3's in your diet, then we aren't recommending you head for the nearest fast food restaurant, but instead add some hemp seed ,sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and raw nuts to your diet. Gamma-linolenic acid which is an active form of omega-6 is available in hemp seeds and linoleic acid which is the inactive form is available from the raw nuts, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. When eating foods with linolenic acid, consuming foods with Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium will convert them to the active form. Another way to get the exact ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is taking this strain of AFA blue-green algae.

Undoing the Damage
If you have been a Standard American diet follower for any amount of time, it is probably time for you to start taking a serious look at your nutrition. In addition to getting the right ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, eating foods with antioxidants is important. Antioxidants move through the body protecting it from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. 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. Free radicals damage the body, including cells, enzymes, and DNA, causing negative effects such as pain, inflammation, and chronic diseases.

Since there is such a lack of nutrients in the Standard American diet, it is also important to add foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and trace elements to your diet for optimal health. The best way to start adding minerals into your diet is to eat vegetables. This will also give you fiber that your body needs for digestive and immune health and vegetables are rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin K, magnesium, vegetable protein, and the phytochemicals and micronutrients necessary for contributing to bone strength. Just adding fresh vegetables to a SAD diet can add a powerful punch to your nutrition.

Supplementing the SAD Diet
Ubiquinol is the active, most bioavailable form of Coenzyme Q10. It stimulates cellular energy to
support the body's natural healing response and capacity for antioxidants. This supplement gives you lots of antioxidant power to repair cellular damage as well as a blend of organic mushrooms that have been shown effective for cardiovascular health, general overall health, and anti-aging and the superfood benefits of AFA bluegreen algae.

Another way to get superfood antioxidant benefits to undo damage from the Standard American diet is with this line of wild superfood supplements. This program gives you the wild elements of nature with a blend of nine different ocean and freshwater algae, a premium blend of organic mushrooms from the forest, and the enzyme and antioxidant-rich power of organic sprouted grasses from the Earth. Then there is this supplement  based on powerful botanicals, mushrooms and algae to address the unique nutritional needs of different systems of the body.

According to what age you are now, you may or may not being seeing the detrimental results of being on the Standard American diet, but sooner or later it will catch up with you and the loser will be your health. Now is the time to start making some changes to your nutritional habits. Start by supplementing your diet with fresh, organic vegetables or one of the antioxidant superfood supplements we mentioned above and start weaning yourself off the fast food/processed food lifestyle. As you get older, your body and your health will be the winners.

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 Surachai  /