Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Relax No Matter How Much Stress You Face!

Stress is inevitable in our lives, but we can find ways of managing stress to reduce the impact it has on our health. Not dealing with stress affects our immune system's ability to work properly, can lead to weight gain, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, lead to gastrointestinal problems, interfere with sleep, cause a lack of energy and poor memory, and can be linked to skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne. One of the problems in managing stress is that in an already stressful, full scheduled day, it sometimes causes more stress trying to find the time to relax which of course makes it impossible to relax. After all who can relax knowing that there is a whole list of things still on the to-do list for the day. And since stress can affect cognitive function, the more stressed we are the harder it is to concentrate on those coping skills we may have developed. The first step for many therefore in managing stress has to be developing a different perspective and attitude about taking the time to relax. This is going to be an individual process so give it some thought and see what philosophy you can adapt that will make sense for you and your life. Some of the reasons people find to start making managing stress a higher priority include:
  • health concerns
  • weight gain
  • negative attitude (all work and no play...)
  • interference with relationships (as in quick to anger or as in no time to spend with others)
  • why make lots of money working constantly if don't have time to spend any in enjoyment
  • no family time (ie.- missing out on your children's milestones or activities)
Look over this list and see if any of these reasons resonate with you or see what you can add to the list that does resonate. Lifestyle changes aren't always easy. Having a reason that makes sense to you and is important enough to you to make a change will go a long way towards how successful you will be.

Managing Stress
After you have found the motivation to make managing stress in your life a priority you'll need to try out a variety of strategies for dealing with stress to find what works for you. Take a look at how you typically deal with stress currently. Do you skimp on sleep, grab a candy bar or coffee in the afternoon to push your way through the rest of the day, skip breakfast in the morning, hardly ever take any time for yourself, drive through a fast food place to get dinner or find other ways to try to reduce your load? Write down a list of the ways you are dealing with stress now. Then you can start developing a plan to keep anything on the list that is a healthy way of dealing with stress and substituting something healthier for those ways that aren't so healthy.

Coping With Stress
Here are some ideas of healthy alternatives that we can substitute for some of the unhealthy ways we currently are coping with stress.

Change Comfort Foods
When we are under stress cortisol is released in the body. This causes a rise in blood sugar levels and blood pressure. That is why often when we are stressed we crave sugary and fatty comfort foods. Trudy Scott, author of The Antianxiety Food Solution, warns that eating foods with refined sugar and carbs gives us a spike in blood sugar, but then it quickly crashes which can lead to anxiety, nervousness and being irritable. We certainly don't need that on top of all the stress we are dealing with. But many dieticians are advising that when we get the comfort food cravings to go ahead and have them in moderation or with changes to them. Joy Short, MS, RD, assistant professor and head of undergraduate nutrition and dietetics at St. Louis University recommends that you make small changes to your comfort food by making it healthier and something that will have a longer lasting effect on your mood. The optimal foods to accomplish this would be lean proteins, healthy fats, leafy vegetables and starches with high fiber. The internet is full of recipes that no matter what your comfort food is, you should be able to find a healthier alternative. For example, if your comfort food is pizza, look for a recipe that uses a light, thin crust made with whole grains, a pesto sauce or light tomato sauce and loaded with good veggies. If cookies are what comfort you, change to an oatmeal, nut and cranberry recipe and use a natural sweetener instead of refined sugar. If you don't have time to make cookies yourself, read labels and find one that is the lowest in sugar and higher in fiber like oatmeal raisin. Another strategy is to just concentrate on maintaining stable blood sugar levels to keep an even mood throughout the day. Instead of eating the typical 3 meals a day, eat smaller meals or snacks every 2 to 3 hours that have a protein source and either fiber, veggie or healthy fat. For example, a small amount of tuna and some brown rice. If you reach for the coffee pot when you are stressed, work on changing that habit to drinking decaf tea instead or switch to decaf coffee. Caffeine causes a surge in adrenaline which is the exact thing you don't need when you are stressed.

Protect Your Friendly Bacteria
There are many studies showing that chronic stress has a negative impact on our gut health. It can cause a multitude of problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Leaky Gut Syndrome. Taking high quality probiotic supplements such as acidophilus, bifidus, or a multi-spectrum probiotic supplement can help keep the intestines in tip top shape and functioning properly by supporting the friendly bacteria in the gut. One of these functions is producing B vitamins. B vitamins, especially B-12, help us relax, soothe our nerves and help us deal with stress. When we are stressed, we tend to use up our body's supply of B vitamins just when we need them most and need to replace them. Taking probiotics can give your body a boost to keep producing these vitamins and help your body cope with stress.

Unblock Energy Flow
Stress is held in the muscles of the body which blocks the body's natural energy flow. You can test this easily for yourself. When you feel stressed, scan throughout your body and see which parts of the body you are holding tightly or clenching. Is it in your jaw, your neck, shoulders, or back? Those are typical places for most people. When the body energy flow is blocked, the body's natural healing abilities are cut off and not functioning properly. Strategies such as yoga, deep breathing, tai chi and meditation are good relaxation techniques that many studies report beneficial results for coping with stress. One study in support of this showed those meditating regularly for a 6 week period had less emotional distress when in a stress situation. A study at the University of Wisconsin reported that participants undergoing 8 weeks of meditation showed an increase of electrical activity in their left frontal lobe which is the area of the brain more active in optimists. If these type of practices are something you have put off doing because you "don't have the time", reconsider. Get up just 5 or 10 minutes earlier in the morning to make meditation or yoga a part of your day and that time will pay off big time in stress reduction and health benefits. Whatever time you can squeeze in is certainly better than the nothing you are doing now, so don't stress out if you don't' get it in every day.

Stress Support Supplement Recipe
Try this recipe daily when you feel especially stressed:

In addition to making some of these lifestyle changes for coping with stress, be sure to get enough sleep, especially when under heavy periods of stress. Experts suggest getting 7 to 8 hours a night, waking up without an alarm if possible, getting in the habit of a regular sleeping schedule, and doing something relaxing in the evenings before bed. Stress can really take its toll on your health, so start now developing a game plan for coping with stress to stay healthier and get more enjoyment out of 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.

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

5 Things Most People Don't Know About Healthy Brain Function

The brain is one of the most important parts in the body. It is responsible for voluntary and involuntary body functions, such as movement, personality, heart rate, emotions, mood, thoughts, and storage of knowledge. You may start noticing how important the brain is as you age and start having symptoms like memory problems appearing more and more, but you don't have to wait until you start having problems to do something. Maintaining healthy brain function and keeping your brain in good working order are things you can start early. According to Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, and other experts, there are nutrients that the brain needs for healthy brain function and foods that are good food for the brain as well as foods that are bad food for the brain and interfere with brain function. Magee points out that diet plays a big role in the chemical and physiological structure of the brain and this has an effect on our behavior. Since diet is so important in maintaining healthy brain function, it is number one on our list of 5 things to know about maintaining a healthy brain.

1. The Brain Needs Specific Types of Foods
You can literally eat your way to a healthier brain. Glucose, essential fatty acids and specific amino acids are necessary as good food for the brain. If you find that you have problems staying mentally focused, alert, or find yourself moody, depressed or experiencing brain fog, it may be that your brain is nutrient or oxygen deprived. The brain demands a lot of nutrition to keep it working properly, but it also is protected behind the blood brain barrier which makes it more difficult to get the nutrition it needs to it. The blood brain barrier is a layer of cells that only allows the smallest fat-soluble molecules and micronutrients to reach the brain. The solution is to concentrate on eating foods that have the specific nutrients the brain needs that can also pass through the blood brain barrier. According to Mark Hyman, MD and other nutritional experts, omega-3 fatty acid is one of the best food for the brain and that 99% of people don't get enough of this fat. Instead, our diets consist of an overabundance of omega-6 from oils such as corn, soy and safflower and the typical junk food/fast food diets many people indulge in and not enough omega-3 that in the past humans got from fish, wild game and wild plants. Studies including one from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006 reported findings that participants had increased risk of mild depression and mood difficulties if they didn't have enough omega-3 fatty acid intake. Deep water fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, avocados, nuts and olive oil are all good sources of omega-3 to add into your diet.

The other two nutrients that are good food for the brain are glucose and amino acids. Glucose is the sugars your body makes by digesting carbohydrates. Complex carbs are healthier for you than simple carbs so adding whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, beans, peas and lentils to your diet will help feed your brain. In the amino acid category, glutamine, GABA, isoleucine, phenylalanine, arginine, taurine, methionine, valine, lysine, glycine, leucine, alanine, and histidine are essential for a healthy brain. These protein building blocks can be obtained by eating lots of fruits, vegetables, unsaturated oils and whole grains. 

2. AFA Algae Has Nutrition To Help With Brain Function
Since we are on the subject of nutrition for the brain and how it needs lots of glucose, amino acids and essential fatty acids, we have to point out that AFA bluegreen algae contains all of these. It is a rich source of phenylalanine, an amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier faster than any other amino acid and has all 20 amino acids our bodies need. The brain's main source of energy is glucose. It also needs protein however and proteins are not able to pass through the blood brain barrier until they break down into amino acids. AFA bluegreen algae has the amino acids that are the building blocks of healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters needed for proper brain function. It also provides a perfect ratio of essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, helps maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry that feeds the brain, and provides an ideal balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, complex sugars, and fiber.

In support of AFA bluegreen algae as good food for the brain, we cite studies such as ones by Gabriel Cousens, MD that report AFA bluegreen algae use with Alzheimer's patients has shown improvement in symptoms like hand tremors, attention span, judgment, reasoning and short term memory. In addition to AFA bluegreen algae alone, another whole food supplement that lends support to the brain is this supplement with blue green algae that has the added ingredients of bee pollen, vitamin A, enzymes, antioxidants, gluten-free wheatgrass juice, Hawaiin noni, eleuthero, ginkgo, and turmeric. 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. Gingko has been used for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells. 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.

If you find yourself needing supplemental support to maintain good brain function, here is a formula to consider:
•    1-2 capsules AFA blue-green algae a.m. or noon
•    1-2 capsules AFA blue-green algae (no cell wall) a.m. and/or noon
•    1-2 capsules acidophilus (probiotic)a.m.
•    1-2 capsules bifidus (probiotic) p.m.
•    1 capsule algae/ubiquinol (active form of coenzyme Q10) supplement a.m.

If you specifically have problems with mental focus or clarity, then you may want to consider also adding this supplement  that combines the power of Lion's Mane, agarikon, and cordyceps mushrooms, 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.

3. Your Brain Needs Exercise
Physical exercise not only keeps your body fit, but also keeps your brain fit. There are several reasons exercise is important for a healthy brain. First, exercise helps keep your weight down and excess weight is a contributor to diseases that affect the brain such as stroke and Alzheimer's. Regular exercise helps reduce the risk of plaque buildup in your arteries and keeps the pathways clear for blood circulation thus reducing the risk of heart attack. When blood circulation is compromised, the brain doesn't get the oxygen and nutrients delivered to it that it needs. No matter what your lifestyle or physical restrictions are, it is important to do some kind of exercise that will get the heart rate going and blood pumping. If you have physical restrictions, check with your healthcare provider to see what types of exercises you can do safely to accomplish this. Studies report there is a link between how active a person is and cognitive ability, so find some way to pause in your day to get your body moving.

4. Wine Can Give Your Brain a Boost
This is certainly not a tip for anyone who has a problem with alcohol or who is pregnant, but for those who don't or aren't, there have been many studies showing health benefits of drinking one or two glasses of wine a day. Too much alcohol of course is not good for you and especially not for your brain. Overindulgence can lead to definite negative results on various brain functions and brain cells. But studies such as one conducted in France with 4,000 people over age 65, have reported that those drinking one or two glasses a day of wine showed 45% less risk of developing Alzheimer's. Part of the health benefits of wine are attributed to resveratrol. If you are not a wine drinker, you can also get this flavonoid in red grapes or red grape juice.

5. Stress Will Eat Your Brain
Anxiety, anger, depression or anything causing you chronic stress can destroy the memory parts of your brain. When we are under stress it triggers the release of cortisol in the body. This raises blood sugar levels and blood pressure. That is the reason that we often crave sugary and fatty comfort foods when we are stressed. This extra cortisol release can lead to the body storing body fat which can lead to weight gain, interfere with getting good quality sleep, reduce energy levels, and be responsible for poor memory and decreased cognitive function. Depression in particular leads to an increase in cortisol in the blood which is carried to the brain. Brain imaging shows that this increase in cortisol has detrimental effects on particular areas of the brain such as the hippocampus which deals with short term memory. Eating foods with magnesium, B vitamins and chlorophyll can help your body deal with excess stress. As your body becomes stressed it uses up these stress relievers more quickly so that just when you need them the most, they are the least available to you. Eating lots of leafy greens, halibut, oysters, nuts and seeds can give you the extra nutrition you need to support your body through the times you are coping with stress. If you struggle with depression, seek help from your healthcare provider as there are various treatments that can help.

Don't wait until you find yourself suffering with brain fog or loss of memory and cognitive brain functions. Start feeding your brain the nutrition it needs to stay healthy now. If you are already experiencing some of these symptoms, give some or all of these tips a try and give your brain the support to do the best job it can for 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.

Image courtesy of dream


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Having Senior Moments? Naturally Improve Memory

Good nutrition is not only important to your physical health, but also affects your mood and your memory. As you plan your meals and the types of foods to include in your diet, adding in foods that will feed your brain can help you avoid those senior moments and improve your memory.

Food For the Brain
Food for the brain are those that will nourish the brain and have the micronutrients and fat-soluble molecules to pass through the blood brain barrier. Since the brain is made up of 60% fat, foods with omega-3 fatty acids are a good choice for food for the brain. Other nutrients that help feed the brain include B vitamins, antioxidants, proteins that raise mood-boosting neurotransmitters, and ALA (alpha lineoleic acid). Vitamin E may also be a good addition as it has been found to slow the progression of Alzheimer's and the amino acid acetyl-L-carnitine has been found to help with memory problems in Alzheimer's patients. Eating a diet loaded with vegetables, fruits, and nuts that also includes some amounts of dairy, fish, poultry and healthy oils and very light on red meat has been reported to lower risks of getting Alzheimer's. Flavonoids, especially anthocyanins and quercetin, which you get from foods such as apples, blueberries, and red onions, are also good food for the brain and memory function. Flavonoids are the chemical compounds that fruits and vegetables get their rich colors from, so any colored fruits and veggies added to your diet are good food for the brain.

Supplements For the Brain
Ginkgo biloba has been used with some success for dementia caused by restrictive blood flow. According to Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD at Georgetown University School of Medicine, it shows similar benefits for dementia as some drugs that are used in Alzheimer's treatment. It doesn't prevent dementia, but can help slow the progress and symptoms. You can get Ginkgo biloba as well as the whole food nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae, eleuthero, wheatgrass juice, bee pollen, Lion's Mane mushroom and noni in this natural supplement. That means not only do you get the memory enhancing benefits of Ginkgo biloba, but also the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins and other nutrients that feed the brain. This form of AFA bluegreen algae with the cell wall removed through a special process provides all the essential amino acids which make it an abundant source of raw materials for enhancing activity in the brain and this "stripped down" version of the blue-green algae is small enough to slip through the blood brain barrier to feed hungry brain cells..

Other Natural Memory Solutions
Just like physical exercise keeps your body in good shape, exercise for the brain helps keep brain functions like memory in good shape. Learning new things even if you don't master them is good brain exercise. Here's a chance to try out all the things you've thought you wanted to learn and haven't made time for. Try them all out and maybe you'll find one that you're really good at and want to continue as a hobby, but going through the actions of learning new things is the important part as a brain exercise. And since the brain is a part of the body, physical exercise can help keep the memory sharp too. Exercising increases blood flow and brain nerve cells as well as reducing heart disease risk which is important for the brain. Maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle aids brain function because the brain cells like all other cells in the body need oxygen and nutrients which are delivered through the bloodstream and need stable blood pressure and cholesterol levels for this to work properly.

If you find yourself having memory problems there are many memory tricks and coping strategies you can also use. Pairing a list of items to visual cues, leaving sticky notes for yourself, and developing habits of putting things in the same places all the time are a few of these. Here's another good tip we got from this source. It basically suggests that since our minds work better with visuals, remember the layouts of places better than lists of information, and things that are funny, offensive or sexual are retained more easily that makes those types of pairing cues good memory aids. In particular it is suggested in this memory aid technique to start by visualizing a place that you are very familiar with, such as your home or maybe even where you lived as a child. Then pair an image with each item on your list, for example in a grocery list you might see a monkey as a visual for bananas. Using a funny, sexual or offensive visual works even better. Finally, see yourself going through the visualized place with the items and place them where they would go.  

Whatever memory tricks and tips, brain exercises, and supplements you use, be sure you are getting the right food for the brain to keep it nourished and performing at its best. Nutrition is the cake with supplements and other natural solutions as the icing. Try out a variety of the natural solutions we've given you here to make your own individualized healthy brain cake.

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


Thursday, July 17, 2014

5 Simple Strategies for a Naturally Good Mood

Are you one of the over 20 million Americans with a mood disorder or the 40 million with an anxiety disorder or just find yourself struggling a lot of the time to stay in a good mood? If so, here's some natural ways to boost your mood with lifestyle changes and nutrition.

1. Exercise For Good Mood
According to Henry Emmons, MD, a psychiatrist with the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota, research shows that exercise for depression can be as good as depression medications. He often prescribes walking, biking, jogging and other rhythmic type exercises to combat depression. In support of this position, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study in January 2005 finding that 3 hours a week of moderate activity can have a positive impact on mood. Other studies report finding benefits of running and bike riding regularly after a 12-week period reduced symptoms of depression by almost 50% and that exercising workouts can provide a mood boost for as long as 12 hours.

2. Nutrition For Good Mood
People that are not getting enough omega-3 fatty acid in their diet are more susceptible to depression according to the results of a study at the University of Pittsburgh. Fish oil high in omega-3 fatty acids has been found through research studies to help prevent depression by affecting the brain's neurotransmitter pathways. Omega-3 is vital to brain function and can be found in bluegreen algae, walnuts, fatty fish, and flaxseed. Omega-3 also is available in supplement form and at least 2,000 to 4,000 milligrams is the amount Henry Emmons, MD recommends to help with mood enhancement. Fish and in particular raw fish, are also a source of Vitamin D which can increase serotonin levels. If you don't like raw fish then you can also get Vitamin D from fortified cereal, dairy and soy products, and white button mushrooms. Serotonin is the brain chemical that produces feelings of calmness and happiness and regulates mood. Eating foods with tryptophan helps in producing serotonin. Nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds and cashews are high in tryptophan. Tryptophan levels can also be increased by eating "good" carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Another vitamin important to serotonin production is B9 or folate. Folate aids the brain in producing serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine which are all brain chemicals affecting mood. Folate can be found in dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach and in Brussel sprouts, beans such as pinto and garbanzo, asparagus, peanuts, soybeans, liver, lentils and sunflower seeds. Low Vitamin B6 levels can also contribute to depression. Foods high in Vitamin B6 include papaya, oranges, tuna, chicken, turkey, rice and wheat bran, garlic, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.

3. Supplements For Good Mood
You have probably heard of St. John's Wort as an herbal supplement used for anxiety. It has also been shown helpful for sleep disorders, mood stabilizing and mild forms of depression. Research has not shown it effective for severe depression. There are some medications, such as blood thinners, antidepressants and birth control pills, which do not react well with St. John's Wort, so be sure you consult your healthcare provider before using it.

Another supplement you may not be as familiar with for mood boosting is SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine) that comes from an amino acid. It is usually produced naturally by the body, but production decreases as we get older and therefore supplementation may be called for. 28 studies have reported results showing SAMe supplementation making improvements in depression symptoms. This is another supplement however that you should check out with your healthcare provider for safety especially if you have diabetes, low blood pressure or anxiety disorder.

4. Social Interaction For Good Mood
Social interaction helps with good mood in several ways. First, having places to go to interact with others gets us up and out in the world instead of sitting home alone and isolated. We are also more likely to stay active, make the effort to look and feel our best, and be mentally alert when we have activities on our social calendars. Studies report you can increase your chance of being in a good mood by 9% just by being around happy people. If you are in a low mood, stay away though from others that are in negative states as that can add to your low mood.

If you have restrictions that prevent you from getting out much, you can still stay social and connected to others. Have visitors over to your house, stay connected with friends and family through the computer with Skype, email or chat rooms. Don't completely depend on computer or phone time for your interactions though. A study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says you need human touch as it can release serotonin and other endorphins to improve mood. If you absolutely have no way to get that type of human intimacy on a regular basis, then get a pet. A University of Missouri–Columbia study found that 15 minutes petting your dog or cat releases serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, as well as lowers cortisol which is a stress hormone.

5. Algae - A Good Mood Food
We've all heard fish referred to as brain food and that's not just an old saying, it's true. Essential fatty acids make up the majority of our brain and nerve cells and we don't naturally produce these ourselves. They need to come from food and guess what food is really rich in these fatty acids... yep, fish. Now take that a step further. Why are fish so high in EFAs? Because they eat algae which is a natural source of fatty acids. Eating coldwater fish and/or taking AFA bluegreen algae supplements gives you the fatty acids needed for stabilizing mood and staying upbeat. The form of bluegreen algae that is the heart of the algae with the cell wall removed is particularly useful for enhancing brain activity and feeding the blood that feeds the brain.

Another algae supplement that helps with good mood is this algae, ginseng and edible mushroom supplement. It combines powerful natural ingredients that support regeneration and mental clarity with natural mood boosting ingredients such as Cereboost®, Standardized American Ginseng, long used in improving cognitive function, preventing fatigue and increasing energy, Lion's Mane, a mushroom that has been called "nature's nutrient for the neurons" which scientists are finding beneficial for age related memory function and mental clarity, Agarikon, a tree-based conk mushroom revered by the ancient Greeks as an "elixir of life, and Cordyceps, a mushroom rich in proteins, plant sterols, polysaccharides, antioxidants, and nucleoside derivatives.

Then there is this supplement that combines bluegreen algae, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane mushroom, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni which all help contribute to brain health and function and was created especially for high-performance athletes and those with active lifestyles who depend on concentration and mental clarity. This combination means support to help you function when stress overwhelms you and put your mood back on an even keel.

If you find your mood suffering give these natural solutions a try. You'll find life so much more enjoyable when you feel good and upbeat.

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 stockimages  /


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  /