Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ways to Avoid Brain Fog

We all have times that we space out, can't think of the word we want to say, forget where we put something and other similar types of brain fog moments. While this may be annoying, it is not a real problem unless it begins happening on a regular basis. In fact a study done by Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland reports that our brains are naturally inclined to wander anytime they are able to such as when resting or doing mundane tasks. If true brain fog occurs to the point that it interferes with life, then it becomes a much more serious problem. It is thought that brain fog can be a result of a variety of conditions such as stress, toxicity, lack of exercise, hormonal imbalances, and poor sleep. Brain fog is a condition that can happen to someone at any age characterized by symptoms such as:
  • not thinking clearly
  • forgetfulness
  • memory problems
  • fatigue
  • cognitive processing problems
  • depression
  • lack of mental clarity
  • dizziness
If these symptoms are ongoing, professional help may be needed.

Brain Foods For Brain Fog
Reasons for brain fog are not really clear, but experts do know that the brain works best when it gets the right type of nourishment, enough oxygen and blood and the digestive system is healthy. A healthy digestive system is important because the probiotics in the intestines actually play a role in determining mood, with neuropeptides that transmit brain signals, and in overall brain health.

One of the first things to consider with the symptoms of brain fog is what types of foods you eat. Some types of foods are better brain foods than others. Certain types of brain foods help clear out brain fog by giving us a boost in the chemicals the brain uses to regulate mood and brain function. 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. To improve brain health, concentrate on eating foods that have the specific nutrients the brain needs that can also pass through the blood brain barrier. Glucose (the brain's main source of energy), essential fatty acids and specific amino acids are all necessary brain foods.

Glucose Brain Foods
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. Glucose is a small enough molecule to be able to pass through the BBB, but these molecules must first be paired with the appropriate proteins before they will be allowed to pass.

Protein/Amino Acid Brain Foods
The brain needs protein to function properly however proteins are not able to pass through the blood brain barrier until they break down into amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which your brain needs to function well. Your brain needs a variety of different amino acids to be well-fed. These amino acids include glutamine, GABA, isoleucine, phenylalanine, arginine, taurine, methionine, valine, lysine, glycine, leucine, alanine, and histidine. Lean sources of protein are of course healthier for you overall. This would include foods such as white meat chicken or seafood, beans, soy, and dairy.

Healthy Fat Brain Foods
Since the brain is 60% fat, it needs healthy fats to nourish it. Fatty fish with omega-3 fatty acids are a good brain food to add to your diet as a diet with high levels of omega-3 has been linked to lower risk of dementia and lower stroke risks and slower mental decline and enhanced memory as we get older. Other food sources for omega-3 include chia seeds, dark-green leafy vegetables, avocados, various seeds, nuts, and flax and olive oil. Coconut oil, even though it is a saturated fat, is also considered a good source of fat for brain health.

Other Brain Foods
You can get all the brain food nutrition mentioned above in AFA bluegreen algae, especially the form with the cell wall removed. It contains glucose and essential fatty acids and is a rich source of phenylalanine, an amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier faster than any other amino acid. It has all 20 amino acids our bodies need for 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.

Other good brain foods include those with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that also have many of the nutrition already mentioned. That means lots of bright colored veggies, fruits and sprouted foods. Studies report that foods rich in antioxidants such as blueberries have positive effects on brain function and protect the brain from free radical damage. Basically a diet full of lean protein sources, lots of veggies and fruits, whole grains, and only the healthy fats like monounsaturated fats that is good for overall health is also one that promotes brain health. In addition avoiding too much caffeine and alcohol, refined sugar and processed, fast or junk foods is necessary.

Other Natural Solutions for Brain Fog
Since toxicity can be a contributor to symptoms of brain fog, many people find fasting, cleanses and flushes beneficial. These may be solutions to check with your healthcare provider first however depending on your physical and medical status to make sure they are safe for you. In some cases these type of strategies can weaken or worsen conditions. Another natural solution is to exercise your brain by working on improving concentration and focus. This could include techniques such as one recommended by Michael Kane, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro of clearing out clutter from your workspace and only picking one task at a time to work on. This allows your full concentration to be focused on that task without seeing all the others tasks that you still need to get to. Jonathan W. Schooler, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara advises actively participating in meetings if your mind tends to wander in these situations as a way of maintaining concentration. 

Start becoming aware of when you start to lose focus or concentration and take conscious breaks rather than allowing your brain to take the breaks for you. There are also herbal supplements that have been found useful for some people in promoting mental clarity such as Gingko Biloba. Since AFA bluegreen algae has so much of the nutrition that the brain needs, there is a supplement that not only contains AFA algae but also bee pollen, vitamin A, enzymes, antioxidants, gluten-free wheatgrass juice, Hawaiin noni, Lion's Mane mushrooms, eleuthero, ginkgo biloba, 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.

Whether you have an ongoing condition of brain fog, or just want to keep your brain healthy in general, feeding your brain with the right brain foods is crucial. According to the severity of your brain fog, you may also need to seek professional help and/or employ brain exercises and strategies for increasing concentration or focus. However you choose to proceed, starting to work on your brain health now will pay off as you age in keeping you mentally sharp, focused and enjoying life.


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

Image courtesy of Stuart MilesFreeDigitalPhotos.net



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

These Medicinal Mushrooms are Serious Immune Boosters

For those who prefer their medicines to come from Mother Earth, the research being done on mushrooms is very exciting. Mushrooms are nothing new. In fact Chinese medicine and other ancient cultures have used them for thousands of years. Mushrooms, which are fungi, have their own type of antibiotics to protect themselves from bacteria and have been proven effective for people. Penicillin, streptomycin and tetracycline for example are all derived from fungi. While there is still much research to be done on the 14,000 species of mushrooms identified out of the 150,00 there are estimated to be in existence, Paul Stamets, mycologist for over 30 years, as well as other experts have found tremendous health benefits from the 100 species that have been the center of most modern day research. Of those, there are several that have been found to be especially beneficial at boosting the immune system. 

Mushrooms and the Immune System
A lot of research is centered around the benefits that mushrooms provide to the human immune system. They have been found to have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. One of the best ways to stay healthy and fight off disease is to have your own immune system strong and able to perform the job of protecting the body from antigens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, toxins, and cancer cells. Andrew Weil, M.D., founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, is one of the proponents of using mushrooms and feels research supports they can provide a boost to the immune system.

Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms in our culture for a long time have gotten a bad rap by some people. Those who are wary of them have only been familiar with types that can be poisonous or think about the hallucinogenic types. Polypores seem to be the type of mushroom that provide the most benefit for the immune system and whereas there are numerous gilled mushrooms that can be poisonous, no poisonous polypores have been identified. Various polypore type mushrooms have been found to improve blood circulation, be beneficial in stabilizing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, provide support and protection for the liver and kidney, help regenerate nerves, reduce the risk of heart disease, destroy cancer cells, and even be effective in fighting off smallpox and flu viruses.

In addition to the direct support mushrooms provide for the immune system, they are also full of nutrients, antioxidants and beta-glucans. Beta glucan is a complex carbohydrate of the simple sugar glucose. It has been found to enhance and stimulate macrophages, a type of white blood cell that kills off foreign invaders, as well as T-cells, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells. Antioxidants of course protect us from damage free radicals can do to our cells.

Sometimes when the body is under extra stress, has sustained damage or other conditions that cause the immune system to react with inflammation, that defense becomes chronic leading to autoimmune diseases. These are cases in which the body has misinterpreted the need for defensive action and its normal immune system attacks and damages its own tissues. This is another instance where mushrooms are being found to be a valuable asset to the immune system. Mushrooms have a unique talent of preventing an over-reaction from the immune system while supporting immune system function. This property can help the immune system deal with problems without going overboard and damaging cells that are healthy. Another talent mushrooms have is their ability to do a great job of cleaning up in the body. Fungi love decay and eating medicinal mushrooms gives your body help in cleaning out waste, dead tissue and toxins. One of the most exciting findings to come out of research is the benefits medicinal mushrooms provide in fighting cancer and the support they give the immune system for people going through radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer.

Marjorie Nolan, MS, RD, a New York dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, also points out that mushrooms are a good source of protein, selenium, copper, potassium, and vitamins and that they have no cholesterol and very little fat. Since mushrooms absorb what is around them, it is best to get organic mushrooms for eating and to thoroughly cook them to get rid of the small amounts of toxins they may have absorbed from air, water, or land pollution. Experts also recommend if using supplements to get one that has a combination of several mushrooms which makes it harder for body pathogens to become resistant to any one variety.

The Cream of the Crop
In the world of medicinal mushrooms there are a few that have been identified, studied and found to stand out in the benefits they deliver. Here are a few of those mushrooms and what they are being used for.

Shiitake
Shiitake mushrooms contain the polysaccharide lentinan that has been used in treating cancers, providing liver protection, decrease cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar and has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It has even been found successful in fighting off AIDS and HIV.

Reishi
For thousands of years Reishi mushrooms have been recognized by Asian cultures to have healing properties. It contains the triterpenoid ganoderic acid that are being found useful in treating cancers such as lung cancer and leukemia. It has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, is being used to stabilize blood pressure and cholesterol levels, protects the liver, enhances blood circulation, is being used in reducing prostate related symptoms in men and stifling the growth of tumors.

Cordyceps
Chinese and Tibetan cultures have a long history of using Cordyceps mushrooms for medicinal purposes. Today, athletes are finding benefit from this mushroom's ability to enhance strength and endurance. It has properties that help protect the liver and kidney, increase blood circulation, and stabilize cholesterol levels. It also shows promise for having antidepressant properties and has been used in treating Hepatitis B. Cordyceps also shows promise in treating cancer with its anti-tumor properties and has beta glucan and nutrients that boost the immune system.

Turkey Tail
Turkey Tail mushroom has received a lot of attention lately in the cancer treating fields. PSK and PSP, polysaccharides found in Turkey Tail, have been reported as significant compounds for fighting cancers such as breast cancer, leukemia, stomach cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, and many more.

Agaricus Blazei
This is another mushroom showing great promise for cancer treatment and for supporting an immune system that can be weakened from radiation and chemotherapy. It has also been found to be useful for diabetics, stabilizing cholesterol levels, enhancing hair and skin health and amazingly enough, for treating polio. This mushroom has the most beta glucan of any of the mushrooms which make it especially potent for immune system support.

Maitake
Maitake mushrooms are another source of interest for fighting cancer. It supports the immune system and tests with mice have shown it to be effective in preventing tumors from forming. It also can lower blood pressure levels, give liver support, and is beneficial in treating diabetes and obesity. It is a rich source of Vitamins B-2, C and D as well as potassium, fiber, amino acids, magnesium and niacin. 

Lion's Mane
This mushroom is being studied for benefits for age related memory function and mental clarity and stimulating nerve growth. It has been called "nature's nutrient for the neurons" due to NGF (nerve growth factor) being found in it. Lion's Mane is proving beneficial in reducing the effects of stress and producing a natural calming effect.

Combining Your Mushrooms
Since experts tend to agree that taking a combination of mushrooms rather than just one single variety seems to be the most effective for immune system support, a good way to accomplish this is by taking supplements with high quality organic mushroom ingredients. This supplement  gives you a blend of reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms with the added benefit of astragalus, beta glucan and AFA bluegreen algae. Another mushroom blend  giving you the powerful superfood nutrition from Earth's forests combines reishi, maitake, cordyceps, wild black trumpet, and Poria cocos mushrooms.

However you choose to get your mushrooms, with supplements, foraging for your own or buying them at your local organic market, it is time to re-evaluate how you've thought about mushrooms in the past. The exciting research that is being done today just shows what many cultures have known for ages; that mushrooms are a great natural solution to supporting the immune system and keeping us healthy.

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 JomphongFreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/31/organic-mushrooms-for-immune-support.aspx
http://www.naturalnews.com/023633_cancer_mushrooms_health.html
http://www.rodalenews.com/medicinal-mushrooms
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-patricia-fitzgerald/mushrooms-breast-cancer_b_1070744.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-stamets/mushrooms-cancer_b_1560691.html
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400053/are-mushrooms-good-for-your-health.html
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/types-of-mushrooms

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Natural Solutions for Hair Loss

Have you been noticing that your hair is thinning or that you are losing more hair than normal? There are a variety of reasons for hair loss and there are natural solutions for how to have healthy hair including making sure your diet includes particular foods for healthy hair.

Reasons for Hair Loss
Hair grows in phases. According to Lucinda Ellery, women's hair restoration expert, most people have 150,000-200,000 strands of hair. Around 100 of these strands are shed per day. Each one of your hairs has a growing phase of 2 to 3 years in which the hair grows about 1/2 inch each month and then a resting phase of 3 to 4 months. Hairs then are shed and new hairs grow to replace them. As we age and our bodies go through changes, so does our hair. The phases slow down which may mean growth does not happen quickly enough to replace the amount being shed. This is true for women as well as men. Many men experience male pattern baldness by age 60 linked to patterns in genes and sex hormones. Women can also have a form of pattern hair loss that may be hereditary. Instead of the typical receding hairline men experience, women usually see their hair thinning in places or a wider part line.

Dr. Mickey Barber, president of Cenegics Carolinas, says that the three biggest causes for hair loss are stress, iron deficiency, and hormone changes. Hair loss can also be a result of a lack of certain vitamins in your diet or too much vitamin A, physical trauma, or various health conditions. In the case of physical stress to the body, hair will generally grow back as the body heals or recovers. If you take more than 5,000 IU of vitamin A daily, then according to the American Academy of Dermatology, you may experience hair loss. This can be reversed by simply backing off to the recommended amounts of vitamin A. Other reasons for hair loss can be a direct result of your diet. Your hair needs specific nutrition to be healthy. Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet, explains that if you don't get enough of the right type of foods for healthy hair, chances are the nutrition you do get is routed to parts the body considers more important than hair, like muscles and organs. That leaves your hair literally starving for nutrients it needs to grow and glow.

Nutrition for Healthy Hair
Some of vital nutritional elements hair needs to be healthy are:

Protein

Hair is made up of mostly protein so getting enough protein in your diet to build muscle and to have enough left over to nourish your hair is a must. Healthy proteins include lean types of meat such as white meat poultry, beans, lentils, tofu, kale, broccoli, squash, dairy and eggs. Eggs not only are a good source of protein, but also give you vitamin D, zinc, selenium, sulfur, and iron for hair health. AFA bluegreen algae is another good source of protein as it has 75% usable high quality protein as well as vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids and trace minerals.

Vitamin B and Biotin
Low levels of vitamin B can also contribute to hair loss. Bioton is an essential B vitamin that promotes healthy hair growth, increases hair elasticity (prevents breakage), and protects against dryness. Another great thing about biotin is that it also contributes to the healthy digestion of fats and carbohydrates. We can replenish the body's supply of B vitamins naturally by replacing the probiotics or "friendly bacteria" in our intestines. These friendly bacteria produce the B vitamins in our bodies and taking probiotic supplements like acidophilus and bifidus can give your body a boost to keep producing these vitamins. You can also get biotin in foods like beans, breads, egg yolks, fish, liver, meat, dairy products, nuts, peanut butter, whole grains, and poultry. Lentils are another good source of biotin and give you the protein, iron, and zinc needed for healthy hair. Greek yogurt is a good source for another B vitamin, B5 or pantothenic acid as well as vitamin D, both good for hair and follicle health.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
You may know that omega 3 fatty acids are good for your brain, but they are also good for your hair, follicles and scalp. Our bodies don't produce omega-3 on their own so we must get them from food sources. Salmon, tuna and other fatty fish, walnuts, avocado, Brussels sprouts, flaxseeds, olive oil and AFA bluegreen algae are all rich in omega 3s. Walnuts not only give you omega 3 fatty acids, but also biotin and vitamin E which contribute to healthy hair. 

Zinc
Zinc helps keep glands on the scalp healthy that produce oils to help hair grow. Oysters, beef, wheat germ, nuts, eggs, and chickpeas are all zinc foods for healthy hair.

Iron
Iron is needed for red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. That includes oxygen to your scalp necessary for hair to grow. Foods with iron include red meat, egg yolks, oysters, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, and AFA bluegreen algae.

All In One Nutrition
For those of you on the run with busy schedules, you can get all these nutritional elements in these convenient packets of capsules that contain two forms of AFA bluegreen algae, acidophilus, bifidus and a digestive enzyme. A box has 30 packets so you're set for the month to grab the nutrition your hair and the rest of your body needs as you head out the door. Nutrition and eating foods for healthy hair are a key ingredient in keeping your hair growing, strong and looking great.


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 phasinphotoFreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20727114,00.html?xid=healthforwomen04072014
http://www.webmd.com/beauty/hair-styling/top-10-foods-for-healthy-hair
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/hair-loss-foods-to-eat_n_3319975.html
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/08/22/foods-that-prevent-hair-loss-how-to-get-7-essential-anti-balding-nutrients/


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

5 Simple Ways to Eat Healthy

We all know we should eat healthy, but we also all have times when we are rushed or have too much to do to stop and eat a healthy meal. Some people more than others exist on a diet of fast food, junk food, processed meals, high sugar, trans fat and simple carb filled meals. At some point though they will pay for this type of eating as an unhealthy diet can cause an inflammatory state in the body and lead to many diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Food is our body's fuel that gives us the energy and nutrients to keep the body in good working order, looking good and feeling good. The type of fuel you put into the body makes all the difference. Just like your car can't run on water, an unhealthy diet won't keep your body running smoothly and efficiently. Even if you are really pressed for time and don't eat healthy most of the time, it's never too late to make some changes and there are things you can do to reap the benefits of eating healthy.

With TV shows, the internet, and magazines full of articles about healthy eating, you probably already know the types of foods to be eating to eat healthy. Your diet should include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Let's look at some easy ways that even the busiest people can add more of the right types of foods into their diets to eat healthy.

1. Get More Nutrition from What You Eat
One consideration besides the types of foods you are eating is how you are digesting those foods. If your digestive system isn't performing its job then the body isn't getting the benefits of whatever you are eating. Your digestive system is responsible for breaking food down into small enough particles that it can go from the intestines to the bloodstream and be carried to other organs and parts of the body to fuel them. Our bodies have various digestive enzymes that play a major role in breaking food down. Lipase breaks down fat molecules and helps the body store fat. A shortage of lipase can compromise the circulation and contribute to high blood pressure and high cholesterol and degrade the immune system. Protease breaks down proteins to produce amino acids which are vital to growth and overall health. Cellulase breaks down cellulose which is found in fruits and vegetables we eat. Amylase breaks down starch molecules and has been found to relieve mental fatigue and helps in maintaining a healthy mind and body. Then to break down sugars you need maltase and sucrose, and for dairy products the enzyme lactase helps with its digestion.

If you are eating lots of processed or refined foods, sugary foods, or heavily cooked foods, then your enzymes may be suffering. These along with environmental toxins and chlorinated water can all kill off the digestive enzymes we need for good digestion. To replenish these enzymes from our foods, we can eat lots of raw or lightly cooked vegetables and fruits and chew them completely. The easy way for those on the go to do this is to cut up raw fruits and veggies ahead of time and keep a supply of them already in small bags or containers in the fridge to grab as you head out the door. Another solution is to take a high quality enzyme supplement. Adding food enzyme supplements to the diet can help in completing the metabolization of fat, proteins and carbs when taken with food and when taken between meals they are absorbed into the blood and can help clean out residual food particles. They can also help with controlling acid reflux, heartburn, cramping, gas and bloating, and reduce inflammation in joints and muscles. Since there are various individual factors that influence the speed and efficiency of your digestive system, enzyme biochemist Devin Houston, Ph.D. advises starting with one capsule at mealtime to see the effects it has on you and trying out different amounts according to how much you have eaten. For example, a large meal may require a couple of capsules before and a couple more after the meal. You don't have to worry about experimenting with digestive enzyme supplements as most are safe enough and your body will use what it needs and discard the rest through waste material. If you have any concerns about taking them safely with any medications you are on then of course you should consult your healthcare provider.

2. The Pay-off From Probiotics
Keeping a good supply of healthy probiotics, the friendly bacteria that live in your intestines, in your system is another simple way to get the most out of the food you eat. Probiotics are important in digestion and produce many of the vitamins your body needs like B12, B6 and K2 and help your body absorb minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium. They also fight off unfriendly bacteria that can make us sick, help clear waste out of the body and they are able to digest the insoluble fiber that we can't digest. Probiotics have also been found to boost mood through their interaction with the central nervous system.

There are foods that you can get probiotics from, in fact many products today are adding probiotics in them. What you have to be careful of in these cases though is to make sure you are getting live active cultures in these foods and know what types of probiotics are included. Your intestines have over 3000 types of friendly bacteria and various ones have different roles to play. Some good food sources of probiotics are yogurt and kefir, with kefir having more strains than you find generally in yogurt. These bacteria are heat sensitive so dairy products being kept cold helps them survive and thrive. Milk also has a complex carbohydrate that helps feed the bacteria. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, sour pickles, and miso are other good food source for probiotics. Mary Ellen Sanders, PhD, executive director of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics warns though that making these fermented foods yourself or finding a source that is labeled as raw fermented is the only way to insure the bacteria in them are live. Processing of fermented foods will kill the live cultures as does exposing them to high heat.

A simple way to get your probiotics is with high quality supplements especially of acidophilus and bifidus. When looking at supplements look for a minimum of a billion colony forming units or CFUs on the label, ones that contain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, check expiration dates and for best results store them in a cool location. A good probiotic supplement will also contain a prebiotic which feeds the probiotic in the form of an insoluble fiber. If you see ingredients listed on the label such as inulin, FOS, GOS, or polydextrose then that product has prebiotics. You can also get prebiotics by eating foods such as asparagus, artichokes, wheat, oats, soybeans, bananas, onions and garlic.

3. Changing What and How Much You Eat
At some point as you become more aware of the benefits of eating healthy, you are going to have to make some changes to your diet and possibly the amount you eat. If you consume more calories regularly than you burn off each day you will eventually gain weight. Even if you are able to eat as much as you want of whatever you want now because you have a metabolism that is able to handle it, at some point this will probably catch up with you. As we age our metabolisms slow down and what goes in will have to balance with how much the body uses up and burns off. There are easy ways to start changing some of your eating habits now without having to measure and weigh and count every calorie that goes into your mouth. First take a look at your dishes. How big is the plate you use or the bowl? You might try using the smaller plates or bowls in your set to avoid overfilling your plate with food. I know that I am less likely to go back for seconds when I am watching my weight, so that's not a problem, and using a smaller plate helps me to eat enough to be full, but not eat past being full. Also fixing your plate from foods in the kitchen and then going to the dining room to eat instead of bringing the food all out to eat "family style" removes the temptation to fill your plate up again. Don't worry about having leftovers. If it is something that will keep and be good for another meal then you've just saved yourself some time and found another way to eat healthy the next day at work instead of running out for a burger.

You may need to do some research or ask your healthcare provider for help figuring how many calories a day you need to eat for optimal health. It will vary according to age, sex, and how much exercise you get or how active a person you are. Some people may need to initially measure or weight portions to learn how much of certain foods translate into a certain amount of calories, but start paying attention to what that amount looks like. Then find something familiar to you to compare it to and it will make it much easier in the future to get the right amounts. For example, if you are eating a chicken breast and you see that the right size for you would fit in the palm of your hand, then next time you go for chicken, you'll know to get a size about the palm of your hand.

4. Look For Healthier Eating Solutions
With a little thought and creativity, you can change the more unhealthy foods you are eating into foods that allow you to eat healthy. You might also find ways to substitute a healthier option. My big weakness as a comfort food is potato chips, but I find that substituting air popped popcorn gives me the crunch, convenience and salt I'm craving without all the trans fats and preservatives of chips. Crunchy veggies and fruits like carrots and apples can sometimes be good for stress eating as there is lots of chewing and crunching. Start becoming aware of what you are eating and when you are eating it. Do you seek comfort foods when emotional, eat junk food when stressed or snack out of boredom? Becoming aware of these eating patterns can be the first step to changing them.

For many people in the U.S., more than half the calories they should be getting a day are coming from sugars and solid fats. Really start paying attention to what is in the food you are eating and make a conscious choice to take away one thing at a time that is sugar-filled, a simple carbohydrate which breaks down into sugar or an unhealthy fat like saturated, trans, or solid. A good example is soda. I know several people who once they became aware of the number of calories in a soda drink chose to wean themselves off by substituting iced tea or water. It didn't take long to really see a difference in their weight. When I cook or bake, I take a good look at any recipe for salt, flour, sugar and oils or fats called for. Then I make substitutions for those ingredients with healthier options. This doesn't always work for every recipe, but I find it works most of the time to substitute a natural sweetener for sugar or a healthier type of oil instead of butter or shortening. There are lots of recipes available from the internet that will allow you to enjoy your favorite types of food and still eat healthy. Just spend a little time doing some research. If you really don't have the time to cook, many health food stores today have healthy options for take-out. Consider that alternative before doing a drive-thru or restaurant delivery.

5. Whole Food Supplements
Even if you do eat healthy on a regular basis, you may not be getting the optimal benefits of eating healthy because so many of our food sources that are available to us these days are lacking in vital nutrients. This is when whole food supplements can be a tremendous help in picking up the slack and providing us with nutrition we are missing from our foods alone. AFA or aphanizomenon flos aquae bluegreen algae has the exact ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that humans need, has all 20 amino acids, provides a complete source of protein in an amino acid profile nearly identical to human breast milk, has 75% usable high quality protein compared to the 18% red meat delivers, provides the mental activator PEA (phenylethylamine), gives you powerful antioxidants, such as chlorophyll, superoxide dismutase, glutathione, and phycocyanin which protect cells from oxidative damage, help with cellular repair, replace lipids in the membranes that have been damaged and act as cleansers or scavengers for free radicals, offers dozens of essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, and has an ideal balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, complex sugars, and fiber. This supplement  comes in small tablets, capsules or powdered forms, so whichever is your preference you can get all this wholefood nutrition anytime, anywhere. Even easier are these conveniently packaged capsules  of two types of AFA bluegreen algae, acidophilus, bifidus and a digestive enzyme that are easy to take with you on the go or when traveling.

I know change can be hard, but your health is too important to not start making some changes now. Learning how to eat healthy doesn't have to be an agonizing experience. Just start observing your eating habits and see where you can substitute foods, make ingredient changes in foods, read labels so you know what you are getting and avoid unhealthy ingredients and learn how to judge how much food you can eat for a healthy amount of calories. If all that sounds too much, do what you can now and pick even just one simple goal towards healthy eating and make use of our wholefood supplements to help you get the nutrition you are missing. As you start to see all the benefits of eating healthy, your motivation to make more changes will improve and you'll be on your way to a healthier, longer, more enjoyable 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 imagerymajesticFreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-serving-sizes?ecd=wnl_wlw_062814&ctr=wnl-wlw-062814_ld-stry&mb=Xenvmz6dAtHtkRjp7Is6CeHnVev1imbCfXusP2Lh3sM%3d&print=true
http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/how-probiotics-and-prebiotics-can-help-your-health
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/04/23/digestive-enzymes-help-or-hype
http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/health/energizing-enzymes

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Easy Joint Health to Keep You Active

How often do you really think about your joints? If you aren't having problems with them, the chances are you don't think about them often and take for granted all the things they allow your body to do. But if you suffer with joint stiffness, achy joints, or the pain of arthritis, you may think about your joints a lot.

Importance of Joint Health
A joint is the place where two bones meet. They get support to keep the bones from rubbing against each other from cartilage and synovium which are smooth tissues and synovial fluid. Movable joints also use cartilage to help you move by allowing the bones to glide over each other. Taking care of your cartilage, ligaments, muscles and bones is important to keep your joints healthy and avoiding joint stiffness and achy joints. Aging, injury and being overweight can cause damage and wear on the cartilage and joints and can lead to arthritis. Arthritis isn't just for the elderly. Younger people can also be at risk for it. Osteoarthritis is the most common form and affects around 21 million adults. Rheumatoid arthritis, gout and Juvenile arthritis are some of the other forms that make up the conditions affecting over 50 million Americans. According to Sharon Kolasinski, M.D., an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, one-third to one-half of doctor visits are attributed to musculosketal problems.

Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis begins when the support around the joints is no longer providing the cushioning needed for protection. This occurs because of cartilage wearing down from things like aging, any type of injury whether big or little that has occurred to a joint, inflammation that damages cartilage, loss of muscle mass that happens as we age and the strain joints and cartilage endure from carrying around too much excess body weight.

You don't have to settle for joint pain and stiffness no matter what age you are. There are natural solutions you can use to help support joint health. Here are a few to consider.

Keep Those Joints Moving
To maintain good joint health and prevent achy joints and joint stiffness, the key is to continue moving them. Exercise is a big part of that, but also just not staying in one position for too long can help. If you work a lot at a desk, get up and move periodically. If you are sitting for a long period of time at least shift your position from time to time. Since extra weight puts a strain on joints and cartilage, weight loss exercise can also be important. Did you realize that studies show you put four times more stress on your knees for every extra pound you are carrying around? That's a lot of potential damage to your knee joints, not to mention the strain on hips and your back!

Stretching exercises are recommended by experts for keeping joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles fit. They do however warn that stretching should be done after some warmup exercise instead of on cold muscles. Low-impact exercises are preferable to high-impact to lower the risk of joint damage. Walking, bike riding and swimming are examples of low-impact exercise. Other helpful exercise includes strength training exercise since having strong muscles can relieve some of the stress to joints. Doing range of motion exercises can help keep joints flexible and lessen the chance for joint stiffness. Be sure to check with your health care provider before taking on any type of exercise program to make sure it is safe for you.

Nutrition to Support Joint Health
Eating a well-balanced healthy diet is important for building strong muscle and bone which in turn supports joint health. In particular, make sure you are getting omega-3 fatty acids into your diet as it adds a lot of benefits for your health. For joints studies have found that omega-3's can help reduce inflammation that can lead to joint pain. Omega-3 is found in foods such as coldwater fish like cod, mackerel and salmon, fresh fruit, dark-green leafy greens, AFA blue-green algae, seeds and nuts, and flax and olive oil. Your diet also needs to include those foods that will give you strong bones. That means making sure you are getting the right amount of calcium. Good food sources for calcium include milk products, broccoli, kale, figs, and fortified cereals. The calcium won't help you though if you don't get the right amount of Vitamin D to help your body absorb it. Some research has also shown that Vitamin D supports joint health by helping to reduce inflammation in joints. Our bodies create Vitamin D mainly from our exposure to sunshine so getting outdoors a little bit every day is important. If you are unable to do this, a Vitamin D supplement may be required. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider to see if this type of supplement is right for you. You can get Vitamin D from some foods such as dairy products, and fortified cereals or soy and almond milk. Muscles need protein to stay strong which means making sure you have lean protein foods such as white meat chicken, beans, legumes, soy, seafood and nuts in your diet. Your healthcare provider may need to be consulted if you are not sure what the right amount of protein is for your age and sex. Antioxidants are another important part of a healthy diet that can help with joint health as they help repair the damage done to the body by free radicals. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are the best way to get antioxidants into your diet.

Supplements to Support Joint Health
If you know you are not getting the right type of nutrition to support healthy bones, muscles, cartilage and joints, there are supplements that can help. Glucosamine is probably one of the best known. While more research is needed, there have been studies reporting glucosamine and chondroitin being used successfully to relieve joint pain. One study at the University of Utah School of Medicine reported glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate being able to give pain relief to those suffering with pain from moderate to severe osteoarthritis. Both glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally occurring in our cartilage. Check with your healthcare provider however before using supplements of this type as they may interfere or be harmful to take in conjunction with other medications you may be on such as blood thinners.

SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine), is another well-known supplement that has been found useful in coping with joint pain. SAMe is produced naturally by the body, but production decreases as we get older. There have been studies showing that supplementing with SAMe can work on joint pain much like anti-inflammatory drugs do. Turmeric, ginger and boswellia have also been reported to work as well as some anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce joint pain from osteoarthritis. Ginger in particular may thin blood so be sure to check with your healthcare provider to see if this is safe for you especially if you are on any blood thinner medications. 

One way to add glucosamine and chondroitin along with undenatured collagen, and organic AFA bluegreen algae is with this supplement. The same type of nutrition needed for the body to recover from heavy activity or exercise is also the same type that supports joint health. This supplement  combines a proprietary blend of plant-based proteolytic enzymes--bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, and organic AFA bluegreen algae to provide the nutrition necessary for the body to reduce the risks of inflammation and recover from physical exertion.

Laugh Your Way to Better Joint Health
According to Sebastien Gendry, director of the American School of Laughter Yoga in Pasadena, laughter can be used for managing pain. Research has shown that laughter has many health benefits and one of those benefits is giving a boost to the immune system. Laughing can also increase the blood circulation and reduce stress. Hasya, or laughter yoga, incorporates activities and breathing that promote laughing which causes a release of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that give us a lift and make us feel better that Gendry believes can work like a natural painkiller.

Try out the natural solution tips that will work and be safe for your situation to relieve your achy joints and joint stiffness. Joint pain can be very restrictive for everyday life so taking care of your joints now will pay off as you get older. If you already suffer from joint pain or arthritis use some of these tips to get relief and if you don't have joint pain now, get a jump on it and don't wait until it sets in. Life can be more enjoyable and productive when pain-free.

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 stockimagesFreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/ss/slideshow-keep-joints-healthy?print=true
https://office.newearth.com/ProductDetail.aspx?item=21601
http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/caring-your-joints?print=true
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02862/supplements-for-bone-and-joint-health.html
http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Kids/healthy_joints.asp
http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/02/27/CL.joint.health/index.html?iref=newssearch
http://www.arthritis.org/programs-events/joints-in-motion/