Thursday, October 30, 2014

Get Healthy Glowing Skin from the Inside Out

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

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

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

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

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

Nutritional Supplements
Adult stem cells, that are already in our bodies and are not controversial like embryonic stem cell use is, maintain and renew body tissue and help in maintaining a healthy immune system. As we get older, we don't produce as many adult stem cells and they don't regenerate themselves as fast as when we were younger. This is where supplementation can help. Research has shown that certain nutrients such as are present in this stem cell support supplement can help promote the renewal of stem cells. It provides nutrition that supports the growth of stem cells and provides antioxidants that protect existing stem cells from free radical damage. One of the ingredients, carnosine, is an antioxidant amino acid naturally present in the human body that may delay the natural aging of cells and extend the lifespan of adult stem cells.

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Environmental Allergies Driving You Nuts? 7 Natural Solutions

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

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

Natural Solutions for Allergy Symptoms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Eat Your Way to Flexibility 7 Ways

Flexibility may be something that most of us take for granted. If you think about it though a lot of our quality of life depends on how flexible we are. Consider for a moment how many times you get up and walk, lift things and bend over without even thinking about the muscles we use to do these. If you have ever suffered from muscle or joint pain or cramps, you may have a different perspective on being able to perform these tasks. And of course as we age we tend to lose some of the flexibility we had when we were younger. There are steps to take that can help maintain flexible muscles and joints including exercises that require stretching. These types of exercises are not only helpful to loosen up muscles and joints before doing heavier exercise, but by themselves increase oxygen levels in the body, reduce tightness and tiredness of muscles and increase your physical energy. Adding just 15 minutes of yoga or other stretching type exercise to your morning routine can go a long way in helping to maintain your body's flexibility.

Food to Stay Flexible
There are also certain types of foods that can help your body with flexibility by keeping joints and muscle tissue hydrated and allowing muscles to grow. Here are 7 foods to add into your diet if you are looking to increase your flexibility.

1. Vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, chard, barley grass, seaweeds and sea vegetables, spirulina, chlorella, and AFA bluegreen algae are high in water to help rid the body of acids, give you extra nutrients and boost metabolism. Vegetables such as these that are high in beta carotene, calcium and iron are particularly good at increasing the body's flexibility. Foods high in antioxidants also help with flexibility by fighting off the damage free radicals can do to cells that can lead to inflammation in joints and muscles. Besides healthy joints and muscles, ligaments and tendons need to be strong and healthy to support flexibility. Eating vegetables rich in sulfur aids in the formation of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate these connective tissues need. Vegetables rich in sulfur include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onion, radishes, garlic and Brussels Sprouts.

2. Algae
There are various forms of algae including spirulina, chlorella and Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) that contain a wide variety of nutrients including essential fatty acids, proteins, minerals, vitamins and chlorophyll. Whereas spirulina, a type of bluegreen algae, does have beta carotene and B vitamins to strengthen muscles and add to their flexibility and chlorella, a green algae, is full of nucleic acids, amino acids, peptides, polysaccharides, and minerals that can also help with flexibility, I prefer the AFA bluegreen alage. It not only has all the nutrients of these other two, but also is the only edible freshwater bluegreen algae in the world that grows abundantly in the wild, and is considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth. Most spirulina and chlorella products are artificially grown in concrete raceways, ponds and tanks and use a drying process that involves high heat even when freeze-drying is used. Heat destroys micronutrients and the enzymatic activity.

Besides eating straight AFA bluegreen algae, I find this supplement that combines AFA bluegreen algae with ubiquinol, the active and bioavailable form of Coenzyme Q10 and organic reishi and oyster mushrooms provides lots of antioxidants the body uses to repair cellular damage from free radicals and boost energy. Since many of us turn to caffeine for an energy boost and caffeine actually interferes with the muscles' ability to lengthen, this provides a caffeine-free alternative that is much more supportive of flexibility.

3. Water
Hydrating with water is essential for lubricating joints and maintaining the elasticity of muscles. Muscles are actually made up of 75% water so drinking enough water daily supports flexible muscles as well as tendons. In addition to drinking throughout the day, drinking water before exercise and first thing in the morning will get your muscles and joints ready for the day's activity.

4. Protein
You need protein to build and preserve strong muscle and maintain muscle integrity and strength. Good protein sources include white meat poultry, fish, beans, soy products, whole grains, broccoli, kale, spinach, squash, and AFA bluegreen algae. Protein powder drinks are another good source of protein and add to your hydration. This smoothie mix, composed of pure organic whey protein from rBGH-free cattle, has 22 grams of protein, as well as sprouts, protein-digesting enzymes and AFA bluegreen algae added in.

5. Grains and Seeds
Many types of whole grains and seeds can be sprouted which adds to their antioxidant benefits and have omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce inflammation in joints. Eating carbohydrates after a workout helps your body produce insulin which is needed for muscle building and they help replenish your energy after an extreme workout by replacing glycogen and glucose. Good foods in this category include quinoa, wild rice, millet, amaranth, and sprouted broccoli, clover, or radish seeds.

6. Healthy Fats
There are fats you want to avoid like trans-fats and animal fats that can increase cholesterol levels, but healthy fats are necessary for brain health, energy, healing and keeping hormones balanced. Including a balance of fat types in the diet can also help act as a natural anti-inflammatory. Most people get more than enough saturated fat already in their diets, so focus on including a balance of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids are another good addition to the diet. Watch out overdoing the omega-6 fatty acids however as this can cause more inflammation than necessary. The optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is 3:1. One way to be sure you get the exact ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is taking AFA blue-green algae since it has the exact ratio of fatty acids the human body needs. Food sources for healthy fats include avocados, olives, nut butters, coconut and coconut milk, almonds and almond milk, oily fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, and flax, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp and chia seeds.

7. Micronutrients
Our connective tissues are what let our muscles lengthen and stretch and adding certain micronutrients to your diet will help keep these in good shape. Zinc, copper, manganese, Vitamin C and vitamins B1 and B6 are especially critical to maintain healthy tendons and ligaments. You can also boost your intake of copper and zinc by eating foods such as crimini mushrooms, collard greens, spinach, chard, asparagus and cocoa. Other good food sources for zinc include lean beef, pork, oysters, poultry, fortified cereals, sesame seeds, milk, yogurt, and miso. Food sources for manganese include cocoa, sunflower seeds, flax, wheat germ, oats, brown rice, green beans, collard greens, spinach, and chard. Vitamin C is an antioxidant used for making collagen in bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and blood vessels and repairing damaged tissues. Good food sources for vitamin C include berries, oranges, cantaloupe, Bell pepper, potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes and broccoli. 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 the body a boost to keep producing these vitamins. Food sources for B vitamins include dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach and Brussel sprouts, beans such as pinto and garbanzo, asparagus, peanuts, soybeans, liver, fish such as tuna and cod, poultry, potatoes, lentils, beets and sunflower seeds.

Now you know seven types of foods to add to your diet if you are looking to stay flexible. Flexibility is so important to the movements we make. Don't take it for granted and wait until your movement is impaired. Adding a few simple diet changes to your life can make all the difference and keep you moving forward with your life on into old age.

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

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

There Really is a "Happy Pill"

Is there really a happy pill? Well, we're certain there are several of the legal and non-legal varieties, but that is not the type of happy pills we're talking about or advising. We're talking about the fact that certain foods can give your mood a lift while certain other foods can actually negatively affect your mood. In that sense there are wholefood supplements with many of the foods that act as mood boosters that can act as a happy pill. According to Diane M. Becker MPH, ScD, director of the Center for Health Promotion at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, eating a diet without much saturated fat and that has a lot of fiber helps as a mood booster. Experts also know that eating in a way that keeps blood sugar levels stable and that supports your digestive system sets you in the right direction for good mood. In addition, there are certain brain chemicals that create good feelings and mood and certain foods that help produce these chemicals. Serotonin is one of these mood regulators and produces feelings of calmness and happiness. Foods, such as nuts, whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables that have the good carbs contain the nonessential amino acid tryptophan which helps in producing serotonin. Asparagus is also a very high source of tryptophan and it also has high levels of folate. Serotonin levels are also increased by folate or vitamin B9 and vitamin D. According to Pamela K. Murphy, PhD, at the Medical University of South Carolina, 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D each day is needed for mood management. We mostly get vitamin D from being in the sun, but there are also supplements and a few foods such as fatty fish, cheeses, yolks of eggs, beef liver and fortified cereals, breads and milk that can provide it.

Endorphins are another way the body has to boost mood. Endorphins are hormones that act as mood boosters and that some experts believe act as a natural painkiller. Capsaicin found in hot peppers causes endorphins to be released as does laughing, exposure to sunlight and exercising.

Tyler Graham and Drew Ramsey, M.D., authors of The Happiness Diet, remind us that healthy fats are vital to brain health and the fats from fish are the best for the brain. In fact, essential fatty acids make up the majority of our brain and nerve cells and we don't naturally produce these ourselves so eating fish is a great way to get them. Why is fish a great source of these essential fatty acids (EFAs)? It's because they eat algae which is a natural source of fatty acids. So if you are not a fish fan, you can go straight to the source and eat a high quality AFA bluegreen algae wholefood supplement. This form of AFA bluegreen algae with the cell wall removed is particularly useful for enhancing brain activity and feeding the blood that feeds the brain. The form of AFA bluegreen algae  that is the whole algae has a wide spectrum of nutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your body utilizes for physical well-being. Whichever way you get these fatty acids, omega-3 especially is vital to brain function and studies show that it helps prevent depression by affecting the neurotransmitter pathways in the brain.

Besides the components we've already mentioned, let's take a look at some others and foods that contain them to add into your happy pill.

B Vitamins
Folate or vitamin B9 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 Brussel sprouts, beans such as pinto and garbanzo, asparagus, peanuts, soybeans, liver, lentils and sunflower seeds. Beets are also high in this vitamin and have the added bonus of betaine that helps the brain make SAM-e which is a natural antidepressant. Vitamin B6 deficiencies have been identified as contributing to depression. Foods high in vitamin B6 include papaya and oranges, which are also high in folic acid, tuna, chicken, turkey, rice and wheat bran, garlic, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Vitamin B12, which a significant number of Americans are deficient in, is another B vitamin that Edward Reynolds, MD, at the Institute of Epileptology, King's College, London, says is important in preventing mood disorders, dementia and central nervous system disorders. Meat, fish, poultry and dairy products are all food sources for vitamin B12 with mussels being one of the best sources and they also contain zinc, iodine and selenium which are important trace minerals for stabilizing mood. And here's some good news, dark chocolate is also a mood booster. Be sure to get the good chocolate that is organic and dark with a high percentage of cocoa and stay away from the sugar-filled milk chocolate bars. Our bodies should produce enough B vitamins naturally, but many people are not able to absorb these vitamins from foods. This is typically a problem in the digestive tract and taking a quality probiotic supplement can help with production and absorption of B vitamins. Replacing the probiotics or "friendly bacteria" in our intestines helps to produce the B vitamins in our bodies. Supplements like acidophilus and bifidus can give the body a boost to keep producing these vitamins.

PEA, which stands for phenylethylamine, is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is linked to energy, mood, and attention. PEA is a vital part of your brain function and is responsible for feelings of pleasure as well as mental acuity. Cheddar cheese, AFA bluegreen algae and chocolate are all food sources for PEA.

The mineral selenium has been found in studies to be useful as a mood booster in that it helps combat oxidative stress in the brain which can be linked to depression. Too much selenium can be bad for you so it is better to get this from foods such as oysters, clams, crab, sardine and fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats, whole grains, beans and legumes and low-fat dairy than from supplements. The amount recommended for most adults is 55 micrograms daily.

Magnesium is an essential ingredient for muscle relaxation, overall body calm, boosts energy, and has a soothing influence on mood. Magnesium rich foods include green vegetables such as Swiss Chard, spinach, cereals and grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal and bran, peas, beans, peanuts, lentils, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, cashews, almonds, halibut, and fruits such as bananas and figs. Don't overdo the magnesium though since once your body has absorbed enough magnesium it will release the rest, usually in the form of diarrhea.

Now you know what needs to be included in your happy pill. You can make some changes or additions to your diet or you can supplement your diet with AFA bluegreen algae to fill in the nutritional gaps. In capsule form, powder form or tablets; that's truly a happy pill.

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

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