Thursday, December 31, 2015

Simple Ways to Keep Healthy New Year's Resolutions

The new year is quickly approaching and this is the time many people start thinking about making their New Year's resolutions. In fact one out of three of all Americans make a New Year's resolution to improve themselves and many of those include health goals. But according to a study done in 2002, only about 46% of them stick to those resolutions within 6 months and even just a week after making them only 75% are still on task to meet their goals. Even if you are in that group that hasn't been able to see your health goals through to the end, it doesn't mean you are destined to fail and shouldn't make a New Year's resolution this year. Instead make a resolution to change the way you approach your New Year's resolution with some of the following tips.

Popular New Year's Resolutions
Slimming Down – Losing weight is probably one of the most made New Year's resolutions and is definitely a good one since being overweight can lead to a multitude of chronic diseases such as heart disease, increased LDL cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems, and some types of cancer. The key to weight loss health goals is to concentrate on making goals that change how and what you eat instead of going on a crash diet or starving yourself for a period of time. Making small changes to your eating habits and developing an exercise routine will help you be more successful at achieving your goal.

Reducing Stress – If you are under constant stress you are at risk for weight gain, heart disease, poor sleep, poor immune system function, inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, and depression. According to Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City integrative medicine specialist, Roberta Lee, MD, working too many hours, not enough time spent with family and friends, not getting enough sleep or exercise, and unhealthy eating are some of the ways we increase our stress levels. This is a complex goal, so don't try to completely change your entire stress level overnight. Instead pick a New Year's resolution that concentrates on eliminating one thing from your life at a time that causes you stress.

Stop Smoking – This is one of the health goals that can really help you get healthy, but one of the hardest. Many people who have been able to stop smoking will tell you that it took many times of trying before they were able to kick the habit. The key is to not give up just because you have tried and were not successful. There are a multitude of ways to help people stop smoking so keep going until you find one that works for you. Whether it be hypnosis, patches, behavior modification techniques, quitting cold turkey, joining a support group or any of the other support programs that exist, don't quit on quitting. The next thing you try just might be the way that will work for you.

Limit Alcohol – If you fall into the category of alcoholism, then this is definitely a great New Year's resolution and just like for stopping smoking is not an easy one. This is another of the health goals that you just have to keep on trying different methods until you find what works for you. If you are not alcoholic, but are a heavy drinker, then you still may make a resolution to cut back on your alcohol intake. A little wine has been shown to actually have some health benefits from the antioxidant resveratrol that it contains, but drinking in excess can damage your brain's neurotransmitters and cause loss of memory, depression, or in some cases seizures. Weight gain from drinking a lot of alcohol is also a concern as well as damage to your liver, increased risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

Increase Z's – Not getting adequate amounts of good quality sleep can affect your mood and cognitive functioning, but it also can increase your risk for being overweight, type 2 diabetes, heart disease or attack, high blood pressure, and stroke. If you have trouble staying asleep or going to sleep, set making changes to your sleeping environment or your bedtime routine as a goal. If you just aren't making time in your busy schedule to get enough sleep then concentrate your goal on that area.

Keeping Your New Year's Resolution
These are just some of the more popular health goals that people use for New Year's resolutions, but certainly not a complete list. Your resolution can be anything that you can think of that will improve your life. Whatever you resolve this year, resolve to be successful with your health goals and just because you haven't been successful in the past, don't give up on your goals. Instead make some changes in the way you set your health goals so that you will be successful. First of all take some time to really think about what you want to achieve and set a goal that is realistic for you. Many people get carried away in the excitement of beginning a new year and set too many goals, goals that are too complicated, or that are unrealistic for them. That only leads to failure. Think about how to word your goal and keep it simple. Make it something that you believe you can actually do fairly easily. That may mean breaking your main goal up into several smaller goals. There are no rules. You get to make them up as you go. So there's nothing that says you can't do your health goals in small steps one at a time. For example, if your New Year's resolution is to lose weight, decide one eating habit that you can change and start there. It may be that you stop drinking a soda in the afternoon or that after lunch each day you go for a walk or that you only eat a half slice of cake for dessert. Start with what you can be successful at and go from there. Setting a goal that is too big or unrealistic will get you nowhere because once you find yourself not meeting the goal, you are more likely to give up completely.

How Is Your Goal Measuring Up?
Another tip for succeeding in meeting your New Year's resolution is to make a goal that has some type of measurement of success and then reward that success. In the example of weight loss, work into the goal a realistic number of pounds you will lose, an unhealthy food that you are working towards with small steps to eliminate from your diet, or a healthy food that you are striving towards adding to your diet a certain number of times a week. As you have success at each small step along the way towards your goal, reward yourself for the success. Of course, make the reward something that doesn't go against your goal. You don't want to reward yourself with a huge piece of chocolate cake if you are trying to lose weight. Instead give yourself a spa day or buy a special outfit in the new size you are striving to attain. Seeing that outfit in your closet just might help add to your motivation too.

Keep It Real
Once you have broken your goal down into small steps that will increase your likelihood of success, made sure it is a realistic goal for you to achieve, set a measurement to gauge your success by, and have a reward to keep up your motivation level; write down your goal on paper. This step takes your goal out of just being "something in your head" to being something real that you can see and touch on the paper. You might want to post the written version of your goal in several places as a reminder to stick with it. You can also increase your success level by keeping track of your progress in a journal. Write down each small step you are taking, a plan for accomplishing each step, and the reward you give yourself. Writing down details of what you did throughout the day can also help you find trouble spots that are working against success.

This may sound like a lot of extra work, but if you are really serious about your New Year's resolution, then finding a way to keep the excitement level about it going and making it a priority in your life will help you succeed. If you find yourself getting discouraged and getting off track with your health goals or not having time to devote to doing all these steps, stop and look for one thing that you can immediately do to work towards your goal. For example, say you are at work, feeling stressed and tempted to reach for a candy bar. Instead have a healthy snack such as these delicious bars with bluegreen algae, sprouted grains, greens, and almonds ready to substitute. Or decide to do some running in place to get your blood pumping and energy levels up. Just making the decision to do something right then in the moment to contribute to your goal instead of choosing something detrimental to your goal can help you get back on a success track. For many of your health goals, giving your body the extra nutrition it needs while you are making your changes will help you avoid unhealthy food choices that can lead to food cravings, stress, and unhealthy lifestyles choices in dealing with stress. This is when whole food supplements like this program of algae based supplements may be helpful. It will give your body a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and phytonutrients from a blend of marine and freshwater algae, tonic mushrooms, and sprouted grasses and grains, some of the most nourishing foods on the planet; combined with probiotics and digestive enzymes. A body that is getting the nutrition it needs and the digestive support to get the most nutrition possible from the foods you eat will perform better and help you be in a better position to accomplish your health goals.

I hope you have a prosperous and healthy new year and that you can find some ideas here to help you achieve your health goals and be successful at your New Year's resolution this year. Just remember to keep at it, keep it simple, and go for it!

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.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The X Factor: Filling in the Missing Nutrients in Your Diet

Did you know that most Americans have an X Factor in their diets? That missing X Factor comes from eating a diet that is lacking in certain necessary nutrients. This makes sense for those eating the SAD, Standard American Diet, that is full of processed foods with refined sugars, flours and fats. But even if we think we are eating healthy, according to Katherine Tucker, RD, PhD at Northeastern University in Boston, our bodies don't absorb nutrients as well as we age. Tara Gidus, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association adds that many of us pay so much attention to what we shouldn't eat that we know is not healthy for us that we miss putting attention on what we should eat to get all the micronutrients we need. As nutrition experts such as Alan Gaby, MD, and others put it, we live in a society that is rich in calories and heavy on macronutrients such as protein, fat, and carbs that cause weight gain, but lacking in vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. This type of eating results in an overweight, malnourished population with health conditions ranging from migraines, anxiety and fatigue to more serious conditions like heart disease. Being aware of the nutrients that may be missing from your diet is the first step to filling in the X Factor and eating a completely nutritious and healthy diet. Here are the basic nutrients that experts agree are the most likely to be missing from our diets and why they are critical.

Calcium - Calcium not only builds strong bones, but is necessary for heart rhythm and muscle functioning. If you don't get enough calcium through diet, according to Kathleen Zelman, RD, WebMD's director of nutrition, the body will take it out of our bones leaving them more brittle. You can get the calcium you need from 3 servings of dairy a day as milk sugar helps in its absorption and dairy products have protein which is also needed for strong bones. But if you have trouble digesting milk products or have milk allergies, there are other foods that can help you get the calcium you need like salmon, kale, broccoli, spinach, and foods fortified with calcium such as cereals and juices.

Vitamin D - Vitamin D helps your body to absorb the calcium it needs as well as keeping your bone density levels good. More recently experts are finding vitamin D may help you from getting certain chronic diseases like type 1 diabetes, cancers, heart disease, depression, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. According to The National Academy of Sciences most people need between 400 and 600 IU of vitamin D daily. The most common way we produce vitamin D is from exposure to sunlight, but there are also some foods that have vitamin D like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and eggs. There are also foods that are fortified with vitamin D that can help add to your intake, but according to Julie L. Starkel, MS, MBA, RDN these mostly have vitamin D2 which must have sunlight exposure in order to be activated.

Potassium - Potassium is needed to keep blood pressure levels stable, contribute to strong bones, cell functioning, prevent kidney stones, maintain the balance of fluid and for nerves and muscles to function properly. Adults need 4700 mg a day and according to nutrition expert Lucia L. Kaiser, PhD from the University of California, Davis, this is most deficient in people whose diets are lacking in fruits and vegetables. Good food sources for potassium include bananas, sweet potatoes, tomato paste, yogurt, prunes, plums, potatoes, and tuna.

Fiber - Fiber helps keep your digestive system running well and helps to protect you from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers. It also helps you feel full without a lot of calories so it helps keep your weight down. The optimal amount of fiber to include in your diet varies by sex and age spanning 21 grams daily for women older than 50 to 25 grams for younger women and 30 grams daily for men over 50 to 38 grams for younger men. Good foods for fiber include bran cereal, black beans, sweet potatoes, pears, nuts, and most other fruits and vegetables.

Magnesium - Magnesium is needed for bone strength, immune system support, heart, muscle, and nerve functioning, and to reduce inflammation in the body, and for cellular energy. Our bodies lose magnesium when under chronic stress and from taking some types of medications. Women can get the 310 to 320 mg. of magnesium they need daily and men the 400 to 420 mg. they need from many vegetables especially leafy green ones, Brazil nuts, almonds, bran cereal, whole grains, beans, seeds, and halibut.

Vitamin A - Vitamin A is necessary to support healthy vision, immune system support and for growing tissues. Vitamin A comes in two types, retinol and carotenoids and many American diets are especially deficient in the carotenoids. That means eating sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, winter squash and foods such as cereals that are fortified with Vitamin A.

Vitamin C - Vitamin C helps keep your immune system strong, protects cells from damage, aids in producing collagen, and helps build strong bones and cartilage. Good food sources for this important antioxidant include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, and broccoli.

Vitamin E - Vitamin E helps protect against cellular damage, supports red blood cells in taking oxygen throughout the body, supports immune system health, and fight off cancers, bacteria and viruses. Many people don't get the Vitamin E they need because many of the foods that contain this vital vitamin are also high in fat calories. While many are high in fats, they are the healthy fats that our bodies need. The trick is not to avoid these foods, but to eat them in moderation. AT or alpha-tocopherol vitamin E is the form that most adults need around 15 mg. daily and can be found in seeds such as sunflower and flax, oils like olive oil and flax oil, peanut butter, almonds, tomato sauce, avocados, whole grains, and leafy green veggies.

Iron - Iron is necessary for red blood cells to take oxygen from the lungs to all the body's cells, to maintain energy, and prevent anemia. A deficiency can also affect mental abilities such as memory, attention and being able to learn new things. Women optimally need 18 mg. daily of iron and men need 8 mg. daily. Good foods for iron include beef, poultry, spinach, kidney beans, and lentils. Julie L. Starkel, MS, MBA, RDN advises that if you get your iron from plant sources, you can absorb it better by also eating them with vitamin C foods. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Omega-3 fatty acids are an unsaturated fat needed for brain health, heart health and vision health and can help reduce risks of rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's, depression, and inflammation. One study done at Harvard in 2013 reported that high levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 increased life longevity by 27% and reduced the risk of death from heart failure by 35%. One of the reasons for a deficiency in omega-3 is that most Americans eat too many foods high in omega-6 fatty acids found in abundance in processed foods with unhealthy fats and those keep the omega-3's from being effective. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are some of the best sources for omega-3 and experts advise eating fish two to three times weekly. You can also find omega-3 in grass-fed meat, chia seeds, hemp seeds, eggs, walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil, soybeans, and olive oil. Another great alternative is to get omega-3 the way fish do, from algae. Even better get a combination of wholefood supplements in convenient packets with two forms of AFA bluegreen algae, probiotics and digestive enzymes to help you squeeze all the nutrients you can out of the food you eat.

Wholefoods are definitely the best way to get the nutrition you need for a healthy body, but when you can't get all the nutrients you need from foods, you can get help from wholefood supplements. Algae based supplements are a good choice for a wide range of nutrition including the micronutrients so often missing from our diets. In addition, this stem cell support algae supplement gives you the antioxidant protection so important for fighting off free radical damage that attacks body cells and this immune support algae supplement that combines microalgae with a variety of mushrooms shown to boost immunity can help you fill in some gaps. Supplements certainly don't take the place of eating a well-balanced diet, but with all the challenges we have between busy schedules and nutrient deficient food sources, this type of wholefood supplements can help you erase the X Factor from your meals.

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.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

SAD During Holidays? Give Yourself a Boost!

Are you SAD during this holiday season? If you are, you may be surprised to discover that you are not alone. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or feeling "down", usually during the late fall, winter, and early spring, happens in response to the decreased amount of sunlight. There is also a less common form of SAD that occurs in the summer. Dr. Weil notes that a significant number of people are affected by SAD: " Between four percent and six percent of people in the United States are believed to suffer from SAD. Another 10 percent to 20 percent experiences a milder form of winter-onset SAD."

Symptoms of SAD
If you suffer from SAD, especially during the shorter winter days, then you are likely to feel slow, lethargic, depressed, perhaps gain weight, and generally feel blue. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA): "A drop in levels of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, may play a role; reduced sunlight can cause serotonin levels to fall." Dr. Weil notes that lack of vitamin D is also crucial.

Natural Solutions for SAD Symptoms
There are numerous natural solutions to SAD symptoms recommended by doctors and researchers, including Dr. Weil. These include:

  • Light Therapy: Since the body is responding to decreased amounts of light each day, one solution is to sit in front of a special full spectrum light source for half an hour per day. This is reportedly useful for up to 80% of patients with SAD symptoms.
  • Vitamin D: Dr. Weil notes that 70% of the U.S. population is low on vitamin D, the vitamin that comes most commonly from exposure to sunlight. Many physicians recommend a daily minimum dosage of 2000 IU of vitamin D per day to combat symptoms, but note that higher doses may be necessary.
  • Sunlight in a Capsule: Many nutritional counselors have long suggested that people suffering from SAD take various forms of microalgae, especially AFA blue-green algae, because these microalgae literally capture sunlight through the process of photosynthesis. When humans ingest this form of microalgae, it is like taking a capsule of pure sunlight, with all the accompanying benefits. The core of AFA blue-green algae has also been linked to increased serotonin levels in the brain.
  • B-vitamins: B6 and mutli-B vitamins can help boost mood during the darker days that can cause SAD symptoms.
  • Fish Oil, Seaweed, and Microalgae: All of these are sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are important to emotional balance and brain function.
  • Move Closer to the Equator: Although this might not be feasible, it is suggested if possible since the light from the sun is up to 13 times stronger than light from light boxes.

There are also a variety of healthy foods from which you can get enough vitamin D. The key message is that your body needs vitamin D to maintain a healthy physical, mental, and emotional balance. So if you feel SAD during the holiday season, check your vitamin D levels. If you really want to get detailed, get your doctor to prescribe a blood test, which is the only true way to gauge your levels of this crucial vitamin. Best of all, when you do get balanced levels of vitamin D and perhaps change a few lifestyle and eating habits, you will feel much jollier this holiday season!

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, December 17, 2015

Make Your Own First Aid Kit

As you are traveling for the holidays, vacation, business or any reason you have to be away from home it is always a good idea to make your own first aid kit to take with you if you subscribe to the natural remedy philosophies of treating what ails you. When you are traveling it is not always easy to find your favorite natural remedy and if you already aren't feeling your best then you certainly don't want to be running all over a strange town looking for ingredients or herbal remedies. If you don't have your own favorite natural remedies for common ailments, then perhaps you'll find some here to start using at home and on the road. When using oils, be sure you do get essential oils and not just fragrance oils for the most effectiveness.

Immune System Support
Before hitting the road it is always a good idea to make sure your own natural immune system is in really good shape and performing at its best. This will give you the most protection from germs you encounter traveling in airports, bus stations, restaurants, public restrooms, and all the other strange environments you encounter. If you are traveling to other countries or places with different altitudes, water, or sanitation than you are used to, your immune system may have to work overtime so you'll want it to be in tip top shape. Echinacea is one of the herbs that has been found to help boost the immune system or that can be helpful to fight off some types of illness if you use it as soon as you begin feeling symptoms. Echinacea has antibacterial and antibiotic properties and can be found as a tincture or as a tea. It works particularly well in conjunction with Vitamin C which is also good for an immune system boost and can be found as tablets or powders. WGP beta-glucan, a special ingredient found in baker's yeast that has been shown to have a number of immune-boosting properties, and a variety of mushrooms that have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties are some other ingredients to stock up on to boost your immune system. An easy way to get not only the beta-glucan, but also reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms, with astragalus and nutritional AFA bluegreen algae is with this immune support supplement.

Cuts, Scrapes, and Infections
Goldenseal powder or All-Heal creams or ointments can be used on cuts to avoid infection and help in healing as they have antibacterial and antibiotic properties. If your cut is bleeding quite a bit, cayenne powder has been used to stop bleeding. If you have a scrape or scratch, tea tree oil is a good natural astringent to clean it up and can be useful to use on fungal conditions like athlete's foot. Atomidine is a special form of iodine that will disinfect any injury and take the pain and sting out of most injuries. Another natural remedy for open cuts or scrapes is to mix spring water with acidophilus and powdered blue-green algae to make a paste. Then apply it to the cut or scrape and either use a bandage or leave uncovered to dry in the open air to support the body's natural healing processes. You can also dilute this paste more and use it for sunburn or skin irritations such as poison ivy. 

Stomach and Digestive Problems
If you find yourself with an upset stomach or feeling nauseous, there are a variety of herbal remedies that can be helpful. Among these are ginger, peppermint, and baking soda. These can help with motion sickness from traveling in a car or by water too and help relieve gas or bloating. If you suspect your upset is of the parasitic variety from unclean water or food, goldenseal can help clear the parasites from your digestive tract. If you have contracted food poisoning then activated charcoal may be a better alternative. This can be used when symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea and if you suspect poisoning then definitely call the poison control center for advice and/or seek out emergency medical care. After treatment for food poisoning, ginger can help to soothe the stomach. Apple cider vinegar works well for several types of digestion problems including indigestion as well as gives a boost to your immune system. Indigestion or heartburn can be helped by drinking baking soda mixed in water. Probiotic supplements can be used during and after an illness to replace gut bacteria that are a necessary part of the immune system functioning. One of the conditions we all dread when traveling is diarrhea. Goldenseal in capsule or powder form can help kill off microorganisms causing diarrhea, but should not be taken if you are pregnant. My favorite natural remedy for diarrhea however is Ume Plum balls or tar which are made from the umeboshi plum. This substance is so concentrated that it appears purplish black and is extremely alkaline. Ume plum tar is great for preventing jet lag and immediately soothing any sort of digestive upset including getting diarrhea under control quickly. If you have the opposite digestive problem and find yourself constipated, magnesium tablets, capsules, or powder can help you out as can taking an extra bifidus probiotic supplement.

Bruises, Swelling, or Soreness
For bruises, swelling or muscle soreness, Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that can be taken as pellets or that you can find in a cream or gel form. This isn't for use on open cuts, but more for those bumps and bruises that leave you feeling sore or for a sprain or strain connected with soft tissue injuries. Magnesium can be found in tablet, capsule or powder form and is useful as a muscle relaxer as well as being soothing to your mood. Anytime you have chronic pain or pain from injury and strains, this stem cell support supplement is a good addition. Having healthy, well-nourished stem cells allows them to help the body repair itself as stem cells can travel to any area in the body and become any other type of cell needed to repair damaged cells.

Anxiety and Stress
Traveling and holiday traveling in particular often brings on anxiety and stress. Rescue Remedy is a Bach flower essence remedy you can find easily in most health food type stores and works wonders on helping relieve anxiety and stress whether it is mental, emotional, or physical. Chamomile is another natural remedy that works well when you need to calm down. It can be found in tincture form or as a tea and not only can help you relax, but also has antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties so it can also help with indigestion and soothe irritated skin. Taking extra probiotics of acidophilus and bifidus also helps reduce stress as your own natural friendly bacteria in your gut aid in the production of B vitamins that help you stay calm in times of stress.

Mouth Pain
For pains of the teeth, gums and mouth, clove oil can help numb the pain until you are able to seek dental help. It also has antibacterial properties so can help keep infections in the mouth from spreading. The oil should be diluted in water and even though you can use it in your mouth, it shouldn't be swallowed.

For headaches, essential oils of lavender or peppermint work great. You can use lavender oil for aromatherapy and inhale the scent, rub on pressure points inside your wrists and under your nose, or rub it on your temples. It also has the added benefits of anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and is great for cleaning dirty surfaces that might have germs. You can also get lavender tea to help in relaxing. Peppermint oil can be applied on the temple, behind ears, or on feet to help with headache pain.

Aloe vera is good for relieving the pain of sunburn, other types of burns or scalding, and blisters. You can break off a spine from the plant and squeeze the juice out of it or for traveling find an aloe vera gel.

Cold or Flu Symptoms
Herbal remedies for cold and flu type symptoms seem to work best when you start them as soon as you feel the first symptoms coming on. Goldenseal, echinacea, elderberry, slippery elm, and zinc can be found in lozenge form, tablets, or tinctures and are good for sore throats as well as other cold and flu type symptoms. Eucalyptus oil can be used with steam for inhaling to help with sinus infections as well as cold and flu symptoms. We talked earlier about how probiotics help with digestion and can help boost your immune system, but they can also work like a natural antibiotic. When you feel cold or flu symptoms coming on, take 6 to 8 acidophilus with a glass of spring water and take 2 more every 2 hours until symptoms are alleviated.

Bug Bites
The best way to take care of insect bites is to not get them in the first place. This is when using citronella can be useful. You'll find this ingredient in many herbal type insect repellants. Just remember to use the herbal varieties more often, about every 2 hours, and use more of it than the chemical varieties. If you do get bit, witch hazel extract, baking soda with water paste, or diluted peppermint oil can all help provide relief.

There are many natural remedies that work to relieve ailments if you are looking for alternatives to typical medicines with chemical bases. The ones mentioned here can get you started with some basics to try. Then explore the internet and books for natural remedy treatments and you'll find many, many more to help keep you and your family healthy naturally. Of course there will always be circumstances in which you need to seek emergency medical care or consult with your healthcare provider so none of these remedies is intended to replace competent medical care. But for some small acute conditions, natural is a great way to go.

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  Mister GC /


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Graceful Aging: Say Goodbye to Aches and Pains

Oh those aches and pains that come with aging can sure get us down. We all have pain from time to time that keeps us from performing our best. But when you have to deal with chronic pain, you may be dealing with more than just the pain itself.

Pain and Inflammation
There are 116 million adults in the U.S. that experience chronic pain. Inflammation occurs as a response from the immune system to some type of infection or injury to tissue. More specifically, the body releases proteins and protective chemicals to protect cells and tissues that are under stress, increases blood flow to the injured area, and sends white blood cells and other protective cells to defend against bacteria and viruses. This causes symptoms of redness, swelling, heat, and pain, but once the foreign invader has been fought off these symptoms of inflammation subside and the immune system has done its job. When the body is under chronic stress however, it may start identifying foreign invaders where none actually exist causing the body to attack itself in a sense. This type of chronic inflammation has been found to lead to increased risk of depression, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and infectious disease. It can often lead to conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, digestive problems and skin problems. Many people experiencing the pain from chronic inflammation turn to medications to help them control the pain. According to James A. Duke, PhD, botanist and author of The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods there are many plant based foods that can work just as well as those medications to fight inflammation, work on the condition causing the pain, block pain signals, and that are safer to use.

Inflammation and Diet
The first step in using diet to control chronic inflammation and pain is to eliminate certain foods that are prevalent in many Americans diets. This includes foods that are processed, full of refined carbohydrates and sugars, artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated fats. Co-author of The Art of Body Maintenance: The Winners Guide to Pain Relief, Hal Blatman, MD, has found research indicates that a diet consisting of fatty fish and fish oil to provide omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, fruits, vegetables and other whole foods is the optimal diet for fighting chronic inflammation. Along with chronic inflammation, the body comes under oxidative stress and is subject to a lot of damage from free radicals. Making sure your diet includes lots of foods with antioxidant protection can help not only fight off this damage, but also aid in repairing damaged cells. The pigments found in microalgae have been found to have powerful antioxidant capabilities that can protect cells from damage from heat, infection, heavy metals, and toxins. Microalgae was one of the Earth's first antioxidants and the wide spectrum of pigments it contains provides more protection for cells from oxidative stress than single antioxidants alone. In addition, there are certain foods that contain compounds and phytochemicals that can help with various aches and pains.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
According to Neal D. Barnard, MD, author of Foods That Fight Pain, the blood vessels by the disks of the spine carry nutrients and oxygen to the disks keeping them healthy. If there is a decrease in the blood flow it can result in the disks degenerating which can cause back pain. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep a healthy blood flow and reduce inflammation in these blood vessels and nerves. Adding fatty coldwater fish like salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel to the diet can help in getting omega-3 fatty acids. Many experts agree though that supplementation may also be needed as cited by a study in Surgical Neurology that reported a reduction in back and neck pain from taking 1200 mg. a day of a supplement of EPA and DHA omega-3's. Fish get their omega-3's from eating algae and so can you. AFA bluegreen algae is not only a rich source of EPA and DHA, but also ALA, none of which our bodies can make on their own. Studies have found that adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can help with joint pain and swelling from arthritis, add lubrication to stiff joints, reduce headache pain and can be as effective on pain as NSAIDs. Fish also gives you a good lean protein source and antioxidant protection. Other food sources for omega-3s include chia and flax seeds, dark-green leafy vegetables, nuts, and flax and olive oil. Olive oil in particular has been reported to lower the risk of stroke and act as an anti-inflammatory.

Anthocyanins are the antioxidants that give tart cherries, berries and grapes their color. Michigan State University's College of Agricultural and Natural Resources chemist, Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, credits this phytonutrient with being able to block inflammation and work like NSAIDs in inhibiting pain enzymes. A study in the Journal of Nutrition reported a 25% reduction in inflammation by eating a bowl of cherries for breakfast and another study reported runners drinking twelve ounces of tart cherry juice two times a day for a week had less muscle pain. Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland also found drinking tart cherry juice two times a day for 3 weeks to reduce the joint pain from osteoarthritis and according to the Agriculture Department 45 Bing cherries eaten daily for almost a month can significantly reduce inflammation. Experts also find some results in pain reduction from eating blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates, and acai. And of course all these give you the antioxidant benefits of fighting off free radical damage.

Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple that some studies have shown can reduce swelling in osteoarthritis with its anti-inflammatory properties. Besides eating pineapple, you can get bromelain and other plant based enzymes papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase and the nutrition from AFA bluegreen algae in this algae enzyme supplement designed to help provide cellular nutrition for the body to be able to recover more quickly from the stress of exercise. In supporting healthy joints this glucosamine algae supplement gives you vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and AFA bluegreen algae since healthy joints naturally have glucosamine and chondroitin in the cartilage. You can get all this supplementation and more with the ease and convenience of daily packets of capsules in this algae program.

Curcumin is found in turmeric which is a spice used in curry and that Ayurvedic medicine has long used for pain relief with its anti-inflammatory properties. According to Peter Abaci, MD, medical director of the Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center in Los Gatos, CA, turmeric has been found to improve the function of nerve cells and protect against joint inflammation and break down. James N. Dillard, MD, author of The Chronic Pain Solution, adds that when using turmeric in cooking to pair it with black pepper as the piperine in it helps release the curcumin from the turmeric. A study at Baylor University reports turmeric has been found to help with the pain of arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Other studies have found it able to reduce inflammation that can lead to tumors. If you just aren't a fan of the taste of turmeric, you can still get this relief in supplementation form. This algae turmeric supplement also gives you the antioxidants from wheatgrass juice, noni, and green tea, the immune boosting power of cordyceps mushrooms and the high amino acid content of bee pollen.

This flavonoid gives support in fighting free radicals and has been found effective in pain relief and inflammation. Onions, garlic, and shallots are the best food sources and according to Cornell University, shallots, and yellow and red onions have more of this pain fighting agent than white onions or sweet onions. Studies with garlic have found it to be very similar to ibuprofen in interfering with inflammatory pathways and onions and garlic both have shown the ability to reduce pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and outbreaks of psoriasis.

Other Herbs and Spices
Ginger not only can help a nauseous stomach and help with intestinal problems, but has also been found to be an effective anti-inflammatory for relief from aching muscles, migraines, pain of arthritis, and fighting off oxidative stress with its gingerols and shogaols. The University of Miami reported a reduction in chronic knee pain for those taking ginger extract. Capsaicin found in hot peppers has been found to stimulate nerve endings and reduce a chemical that sends pain signals. You can get capsaicin by eating hot peppers, using cayenne for seasoning, or from applying them topically with creams that contain capsaicin. Menthol found in the herb peppermint has been found helpful with headaches and muscle spasms. You can use the oil from the herb, use it to make tea, or use as aromatherapy by breathing in the scent. Wintergreen is another mint that has been found effective with inflammation and pain as it contains methyl salicylate that blocks pain causing enzymes. Other useful herbs and spices include sage which has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease swelling, cinnamon with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and cloves that contain eugenol giving it anti-inflammatory abilities and antioxidant properties.

No one likes to deal with pain and pain medications often have side effects that we don't want. If you are dealing with chronic pain, try adding some of these natural solutions through dietary changes and see how they affect your pain. Of course, if you are on medications, make sure to consult your healthcare provider as some foods don't mix safely with certain medications. There have been many reportings of those able to get off of pain meds or at least reduce the amount of pain meds they have to take just with an anti-inflammatory diet to help control their aches and pains. Check it out and see if this is a solution 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.

Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light and Feel Bright

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Simple Steps for Healthy Vision

Think of all we do and enjoy in the world through our eyes when we have healthy vision. If you started losing your sight how much would you be missing or how much would your lifestyle change? I know it definitely frustrates me to have to find my reading glasses to read food labels or recipes that I used to have no problems reading. This is definitely something to consider as we age since our eyes undergo changes that affect our vision as we get older. Even if you are not at risk genetically for certain eye diseases, your vision doesn't always stay as sharp once you hit middle age.

Eye Conditions
The older we get the less flexible the eye lens is and that makes it harder for the eyes to focus. This is a condition called presbyopia that commonly starts around middle age and is the reason we have to hold print at arm's length sometimes to read it. Glasses or even just reading glasses may help when you start noticing this happen. Another condition that often comes with aging is dry eyes since as we age our eyes don't produce tears as easily as they once did. Left untreated, this condition can harm your vision because our eyes need the moisture to remain healthy. Artificial tear type eye drops may help, but if the condition continues you may need to seek help from an eye care professional. Floaters are another common condition that can occur as we age. This happens when eye fluid starts breaking down as we get older and we see specks floating around. This is usually not a condition to worry about unless the floaters start increasing and may also have light flashes with them. Floaters can sometimes be an indication of a tear in the retina which an eye exam could determine. More serious eye conditions include cataracts resulting from a buildup of protein on the inside of the eye's lens and cause vision to be cloudy, AMD (age-related macular degeneration), and glaucoma from optic nerve damage. If you have diabetes that is not under control, you can have additional eye problems as a result since the blood vessels in the eyes can become damaged by high blood sugar.

Nutrition for Healthy Eyes
Many of the conditions mentioned above come with aging and since we can't stop getting older we have to look for other solutions to help keep our vision healthy. There are many foods that have been found to support vision health. If you are looking for ways to naturally keep your eyes working the best you can, be sure to get regular eye checkups and try adding some of the following foods and nutrients into your diet.

Omega-3 Foods
If you have dry eyes, or suspect cataracts or macular degeneration are affecting your vision, then adding in foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help. They are also good for keeping your retinas healthy. These types of foods would include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut, and mackerel, fish oil supplements, nuts like walnuts, almonds and pistachios, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, black currant seed oil and AFA bluegreen algae.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin
These two carotenoids naturally occur in the retina area of the eye and absorb UV light and blue light that can negatively affect the macular part of the eye. Eating foods that contain lutein and zeaxanthin can help cut down on free radical damage in the eyes, and lower the risk of macular degeneration, and cataracts. You'll find them in foods like eggs, leafy green vegetables like spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, collard greens, and turnip greens, avocados, peas, and yellow and orange vegetables and fruits like papaya and squash. When you can't work all the veggies you need for antioxidant protection, this program of wholefood supplements can help you get not only lutein and zeaxanthin and other antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, fiber and proteins, but also the omega-3 fatty acids that support eye health.

Whole Grains
Whole grains help lower your glycemic index which lowers your risk of age-related macular degeneration. They also have the vitamin E, zinc and niacin that help support healthy eyes. Quinoa, brown rice, whole oats, and whole wheat breads, cereals and pastas are some of the foods to include in your diet to get more whole grains.

Antioxidant Vitamins
Vitamin C foods can help lower your risk of getting cataracts and macular degeneration and can be found in foods such as kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and Bell Peppers. Vitamin A is another important vitamin for eye health and can be found in carrots, pumpkin, apricots, mangos, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and cantaloupe, as is vitamin E found in almonds, peanut butter, broccoli, spinach, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds. Just one of the great things these antioxidant vitamins do for the body is to provide protection from the damage to cells by free radicals and to repair damage already done. They also help nourish your natural adult stem cells which have the unique ability to become other types of cells and go to where there are damaged cells to replace them. This is such a vital reason to make sure your diet includes lots of fruits and veggies, but if you just can't work them all in then this antioxidant algae wholefood supplement may be your answer. Since parts of the eye are particularly susceptible to free radical damage, getting antioxidant protection and nourishing your stem cells to replace damaged eye cells is all part of eating for good eye health.

Zinc Foods
Zinc is an important mineral for maintaining good eye health as it can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, night blindness, and cataracts, and support the health of the retina. Good food sources for zinc include sunflower seeds (which also are good for vitamin E), oysters, turkey, beef, pork, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, sesame seeds, yogurt, miso, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, chickpeas, and whole grains.

Now that you know what your vision is facing as you age, take steps now to protect it. Adding some of these foods that support eye health will help you protect your precious vision and keep your eyes healthy at whatever age you are.

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.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Natural Solutions for Focus and Attention

We all have trouble focusing and giving our full attention in situations at times, but if you find this happening more and more, it could be your brain isn't getting all the brain food it needs to perform at its best. We often expect that our cognitive faculties aren't going to be quite as sharp as we get older, but according to research reported in the British Medical Journal we can start showing reduced memory and the capacity to reason as young as 45. Our brains use a majority of the nutrients we eat and use a great percentage of our energy. Even though the brain in an adult is only about 2% of our body weight it uses around 20 to 25% of our energy and that's just when it's at rest. According to the CDC Second Nutrition Report In 2012 American adults and children are severely lacking in the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and other nutrients that the brain needs to function. For a healthy brain that will support focus, attention, concentration and memory here are a few brain foods that can help.

Seeds and Nuts
Nuts and seeds in general are rich in vitamin E that can help keep you sharp as you get older and have the amino acids and essential oils that help you be able to focus better. Almonds in particular make a great brain food snack as they give you vitamin E and magnesium that can help give you a boost in energy and concentration when you are feeling drained. Adding flaxseeds to your cereals, salads and yogurt is a good way to get some extra magnesium, B-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber for a brain boost. All these nutrients help the brain stay mentally sharp and able to focus clearly. AFA bluegreen algae is another good source for the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that the brain craves including the perfect ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. This form of AFA with the cell wall removed allows the nutrients to cross the blood brain barrier more easily.

You probably know that blueberries are high in antioxidants which are good for brain health because they fight off damage from free radicals which the brain is particularly susceptible to. But did you know that the anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol and tannins antioxidants all found in blueberries are reported to keep your brain sharp and focused by helping get more blood and oxygen to the brain. In fact some research has found eating blueberries can boost concentration and memory for as long as 5 hours. For an added bonus they also help with protection against heart disease, dementia and cancers.

Wholefood Algae Booster
When you really need to be focused, sharp and able to concentrate, here's a winning combination - the wholefood nutrition of organic wild bluegreen algae, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni. Ginkgo biloba has long been used to enhance memory, bee pollen has a high amino acid content for stimulating memory and concentration, and wheatgrass juice has been reported to have nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking. All these along with the wholefood nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae are available in this algae supplement. For a super easy way to get a wide variety of nutrition for body and brain, this blend of marine and freshwater algae, tonic mushrooms, and sprouted grasses and grains, give you some of the most nourishing foods on the planet; combined with probiotics and digestive enzymes.

You probably know how important staying hydrated is for your body and that the body can go for much longer periods of time without food than it can water. But do you know how important drinking water is for your brain? All your thought, memory processes, and brain functions depend on the energy production for which water is vital. Research shows drinking water can help your focus, mental clarity, and help you think faster.

Protein Foods
Orexin neurons are cells in the brain that keep you awake and protein can stimulate these. You can give your brain a protein boost with lean meats, dairy, eggs and fish. For an extra brain boost go with fatty fish like salmon as research has shown that the DHA essential fatty acids have a positive effect on memory and can protect against disease that affect cognitive abilities such as dementia. A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to mood swings, depression, lack of energy and poor memory and your fatty fish being full of this fatty acid makes it a great brain food.

Leafy Green Vegetables
Another category of great foods for antioxidant protection as well as carotenoids is leafy green vegetables. One study done in 2006 reported findings in Neurology showing that eating a minimum of 2 servings a day of leafy green vegetables can increase mental focus to that of someone 5 years younger than your current age. They also are a good source for B vitamins that are good for memory and focus and have folic acid for mental clarity.

Green Tea
While on the subject of antioxidants that protect the brain, green tea deserves a mention. It can also be a pick-me-up and give you improved focus and attention because it has caffeine and l'theanine that helps release that caffeine slowly instead of in a single burst that leaves you spiking then crashing later.

Dark Chocolate
When looking for a healthy treat, you can satisfy your taste buds and give your brain a boost with dark chocolate. It has some caffeine to wake you up and has antioxidants for protecting from free radical damage. But the extra brain boost comes from the magnesium you get from the chocolate that helps fight off effects of stress and helps trigger endorphins and serotonin, the feel good hormones. The flavonols it contains also improve circulation which means help getting more blood to the brain. You won't get the same results from regular milk chocolate candy bars that are full of sugar though. Those just give you a short lived rise in blood sugar that wears off quickly leaving you worse off than before. Look for dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa. As long as you are getting the real cocoa, you don't have to stick with bars either. A study from Northumbria University in England used cocoa in shakes with students and reported findings of better performance on math tests after drinking these shakes.

Avocados are a good brain food for several reasons. One, it is a good source of healthy fat and the brain needs lots of good fats to function properly. Two, they support blood flow to the brain and three, they have fiber that can help you from getting distracted by feeling hungry.

You depend on your brain and all its functions for so much. Make sure it can depend on you in return to give it the nourishment it needs to work at its best. You and your brain can make a great team and as long as you give it what it needs, your brain will help you by keeping you alert, attentive, focused, sharp and able to depend on it to remember all you have to remember.

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.

Bruno, Jeffrey PhD, Eat Light and Feel Bright

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The X Factor in Health: Are You Missing Colors in Your Diet?

Take a look in your closet at all the different colors you put on the outside of your body. Chances are you have a lot of different colors there and not just one or two. Did you know that putting a wide variety of colors on your inside can help you take your health to the next level? For many people a variety of colors of food is the X factor that is missing from their diets. Too many people stick with brownish and tannish colors on their plates as in meats, potatoes and simple grains. If your plate isn't as colorful as your wardrobe it's time to make a change by adding a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits to your meals.

It may help you to know why creating a rainbow on your plate is beneficial to your health and the most simple answer is phytochemicals, but Creative Nutrition Solutions owner, Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, warns that you don't need to get caught up in all the scientific data about what colors give you what types of nutrition. Instead just go for a wide variety of colors. For example if you are partial to fruits and veggies of a particular color, shake it up a bit. If your shopping cart is full of lettuce, spinach and kale, that's great, but add in some carrots, beets, squash, and as many other colored foods as you can. The X factor and the next level to strive for erasing it is to start trying new foods and go for many different bright colors.

Fruits and Veggies in Your Diet
There are so many advantages to adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. They are low calorie, have only natural sugars, don't have much fat or salt if any and give you complex carbs, fiber and lots of other healthy nutrients. Fruits and vegetables get their colors from the group of phytochemicals known as flavonoids. Flavonoids have been found to decrease risks of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer as well as being good for protecting the lungs. There are several different varieties of flavonoids including flavonols such as myricetin that you find in berries, grapes, and spinach, and quercetin found in onions, apples, and broccoli; flavones such as apigenin found in lettuce and parsley and luteolin found in beets and Brussels sprouts; flavanones such as hesperetin and naringenin found in citrus; flavan-3-ols such as catcehin found in tea and dark chocolate and epicatechin found in teas and legumes; and anthocyanidins found in blue, purple and red veggies and fruits. The main thing to remember about this, as many experts including the Produce for Better Health Foundation will tell you, is that these types of phytochemicals have antioxidant properties to protect the body from free radical damage and oxidative stress. If you already eat a lot of fruits and vegetables then you are of course getting phytochemicals in your diet and some antioxidant protection. But experts such as Kathy Hoy, EdD, RD advise using color as a guide to getting a variety of phytochemicals as many of them work together to provide us ultimate protection.

Creating a Rainbow on Your Plate
David Heber, MD, PhD and Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD are among the nutritional experts that divide plant based foods into groups according to color and the phytochemicals they provide. Instead of getting too caught up in the various color and color mixes though, the main thing to remember is to go for a wide variety of colored fruits and veggies on your plate. Just so that you know what different colors of foods are best for, here is a short list of some colors to consider, what they are helpful with and what foods fall in each category.

Blue and Purple – Color comes from the anthocyanin pigments they have. Rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and particularly good for heart, blood pressure, memory, reducing inflammation, and according to Gloria Tsang, RD, can help reduce chance of blood clots forming and reduce risk of some cancers. Foods in this group include blueberries, grapes, purple potatoes, prunes, plums, eggplant and pomegranate.

Green – The green color comes from chlorophyll and these foods are full of phytochemicals called isothiocyanates that help promote enzymes produced in the liver. This phytochemical and one called indoles also found especially in green cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage have been reported to help protect against cancer. Clinical dietician Susan Kasik-Miller, MS, RD, CNSC also applauds green veggies for their vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. Your eyes also get benefit from green foods that have lutein and zeaxanthin and you get vitamin C and vitamin E. Other particularly good green foods include Brussels sprouts, spinach, avocado, kiwi, pistachio nuts, asparagus, arugala, artichoke, honeydew melon, celery, kale, and bok choy.

Red – Red fruits and vegetables get their color from the pigment lycopene which is a carotenoid antioxidant known to be good for lowering the risk of cancer and for heart health. They also have flavonoids giving you antioxidant protection and that help reduce inflammation as well as anthocyanins, vitamin C and folate. Foods in this group include tomatoes, cranberries, watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit, red cabbage, cherries, strawberries, beets, red peppers, apples, red onion, and kidney beans.

Yellow and Orange – Rich sources of beta-carotene antioxidants, beta-cryptoxanthin, omega-3's, folate, and vitamin C that have been found to be helpful with immunity, eye health, skin, regulating blood sugar, and bone health. Foods in this group include carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apricot, cantaloupe, mango, oranges, lemons, papaya, and pineapple.

Other Phytochemicals – Not all your good phytochemicals have bright showy colors. There are many flavonoids that are considered colorless or white fruits and vegetables, but that have lots of antioxidant properties to help fight off damage from free radicals. Some may have an outer peeling only with a brighter color and then be white inside like apples, pears, and bananas. Don't discount these though because of their white coloring. They are good for dietary fiber that can reduce the risk of stroke and lower cholesterol levels. In fact one study in 2011 done in conjunction with the American Heart Association and Dutch scientists reported a 52% reduction in risk of stroke for people eating large amounts of these white fruits and vegetables. Also in this group is cauliflower, onion, potatoes, parsnips, garlic and mushrooms.

The Color of Algae
When it comes to color, AFA bluegreen algae can give you a rainbow in itself as algae is known to have some of the most effective antioxidants in the plant world. Microalgae contains a rainbow of antioxidant pigments including cholorophyll that provides the green color and has been found to stimulate liver function and excretion of bile, strengthen immunity, and detoxify chemical pollutants. Studies indicate that chlorophyll has anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic properties as well as antioxidant effects that combat damage from carcinogens. Phycocyanin, the blue pigment in blue green algae, provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and is particularly effective working with chlorophyll. Phenylethylamine, or PEA, comes from the deep blue pigment in algae and has been shown to elevate the mood, decrease appetite, act as a natural mental energy activator and help biomodulate emotions and mood swings. Bluegreen algae is reported to have a wider variety of antioxidant pigments and carotenoids than most other plant based foods and than just green algae. For a wider variety of algae and seaweeds all in one capsule take a look at this algae supplement with 9 colorful algae for superfood nutrition. So if you can't get all your colorful veggies in during the day, you have another way to still get your colorful foods.

Next time you go grocery shopping, think colors. Start filling your basket with as much variety to put inside your body as your closet has in clothes for the outside of your body. It's time to up your health game to the next level and get rid of those drab colors. Get creative and try new foods by adding a rainbow to your plate and it will pay off in taking your health to the next level.

Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light to Feel Bright

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Keeping Your Immune System Strong During the Winter

Here it comes again... Winter and according to how you look at it, this can either be the best time of year with holidays, spending time with family, and time off work or the worst time of year with cold and flu season, less daylight hours, and the extra stress that holidays can bring. Whichever take you have on winter, one thing is for sure. If your immune system is in good working shape and helping you fight off all those nasty viruses, bacteria, and other infections, then you will definitely have a better season. To keep your immune system strong and healthy you need to get plenty of rest, drink lots of good clean water, have a plan to deal with the toll extra stress can cause and know what type of nutrients to add to your diet to boost immunity.

Immune System Health and the Gut
Did you know that a large percentage of the immune system is in your gut? Yep, around 80% in fact. That makes digestive health an important part of supporting the immune system. Boosting your probiotics or friendly bacteria is one way to keep your digestive system healthy and working for your immune system support. You can get probiotics by eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, kefir, kimchi, or microalgae. Making sure you get your fermented foods with live, active cultures is important so be sure to read labels. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the live active cultures in foods such as yogurt can help stimulate the immune system. You can also get yogurt with vitamin D which is an important vitamin for the immune system. So if you don't get outside in the sun enough to get all the vitamin D you need, you might as well get it along with your probiotics. You can also get an extra probiotic boost from whole food supplements such as acidophilus, bifidus or this full spectrum probiotic supplement. Since antibiotics are one of the things that is detrimental to your friendly bacteria, keeping your immune system healthy to avoid infections for which your doctor would prescribe these is a plus.

Immune System Health Diet
Antioxidant vitamins, particularly vitamin A, C, D, and E are some of the nutrients to include in your diet when you are going for an immune system boost. You also want to make sure you are eating foods with zinc and selenium, omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein sources. There are also certain whole foods sources that have been found to have an extra positive effect on immune system function. These include bee pollen, camu camu, certain types of mushrooms such as reishi, cordyceps, maitake, Poria cocos, Turkey Tail, and shiitake and microalgae. Beta glucan is a complex carbohydrate of glucose that comes from yeast, bacteria, fungi or cereals like oats, barley and rye. Numerous studies have shown WGP beta glucan to be able to activate macrophages which are a type of white blood cell in the immune system that circulate throughout the body destroying foreign antigens. Certain types of mushrooms are being found effective for immune support because they have polysaccharides, glycoproteins, ergosterols, and triterpenoids which are all precursors to beta glucans. Two easy ways to get the immune supporting power of beta glucan and mushrooms that show positive immune system support is with this WGP beta glucan/mushroom supplement that combines reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms along with astragalus, beta glucan and bluegreen algae or with this algae mushroom supplement that gives you a blend of reishi, maitake, cordyceps, wild black trumpet, and Poria cocos mushrooms as well as AFA bluegreen algae. According to the research of Dr. Jeffrey Bruno, microalgae is loaded with all the important nutrients your immune system needs including vitamin A, beta carotene, zinc, iron, B-vitamins, amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and nucleotides. In the amino acid category, microalgae is especially known for the arginine and glutamine it contains and glutathione is absolutely necessary for white blood cells called lymphocytes to replicate and for natural killer cells to stay active.

Antioxidant vitamins C, A, and E are also important for keeping the immune system functioning well. Vitamin C has been found to help the immune system produce more white blood cells and antibodies as well as provide protection from the spread of viruses by beefing up tissues and cells. There are lots of fruits and veggies that are good for getting vitamin C including berries, kiwi, citrus fruits, bell peppers – especially the red variety, and dark green vegetables like broccoli which also has vitamin A and E. There are also many food sources available for vitamin A such as spinach, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, mangoes, butternut squash, and asparagus and for vitamin E such as almonds, walnuts and other nuts, green leafy vegetables like spinach, seeds, olives, asparagus, and eggs. AFA bluegreen algae can give you all these needed vitamins and according to Karl Abrams, professor of Chemistry, the carotenoids in this type of algae protect immune cells and help produce more antiviral thymus helper cells, increase their activity, increase their circulation and increase B-cell activity that gives us more antibodies like IgA when we need it.

Herbs and Spices
There are quite a few spices and herbs that have been found useful for boosting immune system function as well as help you reduce symptoms of a cold or flu if you do catch one. Capsaicin is one of these and you find it in chili peppers, but even more effective is a similar compound called gingerol that you find in ginger. Curcumin, that you find in turmeric and curry has been used for a long time as an anti-inflammatory and one study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology reported it can be used to also bring down fever. Allicin found in garlic has also been used for ages to fight infection. According to nutritionist Patrick Holford, author of Boost Your Immune System, garlic has natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. If you do get a cold or flu, taking Echinacea, zinc, green tea, or black tea can possibly help you reduce symptoms. Green and black tea both have antioxidant flavonoids, especially EGCG that helps give you the amino acid L-theanine and boosts your T-cells to help fight off germs.

The two best minerals for boosting your immune system are zinc and selenium. Nutritional therapist Nina Omotoso likes getting zinc from pumpkin seeds and explains how this mineral improves immune system function by supporting the thymus gland which controls the immune system, by increasing production and activity of white blood cells and that it has anti-viral properties. Zinc is also needed to stimulate T-lymphocytes in the body and produce antibodies. One study done with children shown to be deficient in zinc reported that blue-green algae tablets were twice as effective in their recovery than zinc from other mineral sources. Other studies on AFA bluegreen algae has shown a rapid increase in lymphocytes, natural killer cells and white blood cells. Selenium is another important mineral for immune system support. It has antioxidant properties that help protect body cells from damage and is important to our metabolism, immune response and thyroid function. Good food sources for selenium include Brazil nuts, walnuts, lean meats, whole grains, beans and legumes, oysters, clams, crab, sardines, and canned tuna as well as other fish such as cod, herring, and salmon. You can also get the lean protein you need and the added bonus of zinc and selenium from poultry.

Let's all make this the best winter yet by staying healthy, active and having some fun. That means getting started now giving your immune system some extra support so it can help fight off all the extra germs that seem to come with the season. Just by giving your diet a boost of the vitamins and minerals we've talked about here will help you get that extra immune support.

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  imagerymajestic  /

Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light and Feel Bright

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Natural Solutions for Beautiful Nails

We don't always think about our nails when thinking about our health. Usually we are more concerned with the appearance our fingernails and toenails have and how they make our hands and feet look. But nails that break easily, are cracked or discolored can often be a sign of poor nutrition or underlying health conditions such as hypothyroidism. Not that the appearance of nails isn't also important, it can be. Well-groomed nails can make a big difference not only in how we present to others in business or social situations, but also in our own self-image. Beautiful nails and healthy nails can be a reality by applying some of the following natural solutions.

Diet for Healthy Nails
Good overall nutrition not only keeps your body healthy, but will also carry over to creating stronger beautiful nails. This means getting the minerals, vitamins, and proteins your body and nails need. Nutrients that especially support your liver will also be good for your nails since in Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver governs the nails. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, pumpkin, and green veggies like broccoli and asparagus or fruit such as apricots and cantaloupe that have a lot of vitamin A are one of the vitamins your nails crave. Biotin, an essential B vitamin, and protein are also contributors to healthy nails. This makes eggs a good choice for a healthy nails diet as they contain lean protein and vitamins A and E as well as biotin and calcium. Soybeans are another food that give you a lean protein source and biotin. Other good food sources for biotin include brown rice, mushrooms, peanuts, poultry, salmon, avocado, almonds, liver and AFA bluegreen algae. Increasing your intake of probiotics like acidophilus and bifidus, can help your body increase its natural production of biotin. Studies done on taking biotin supplements have reported an increase in the thickness of nails and a reduction of splitting and breakage and Sumayah Jamal, MD, a NYU dermatologist, agrees that taking 2.5 milligrams of such a supplement can give you these results. 

Nutritionist Ian Marber advises eating whole grains for complex carbs that work in conjunction with vitamins and minerals for healthy nails. Barley and yeast fit into this category and also provide biotin and protein. Other good nail strengthening grains include oats, rye and buckwheat which also give you vitamin A and Brewer's yeast that has B-complex vitamins and zinc. In addition to zinc, iron is important for healthy nails as according to Dr. D'Anne Kleinsmith, spokesperson for the American Dermatological Society, your nails can start curving if you are deficient in iron. Good food sources for zinc include pumpkin seeds, oysters, beef, wheat germ, nuts, eggs, chickpeas, fortified cereals, sesame seeds, milk, yogurt, miso and cashews and for iron look to lentils, spinach, healthy meats such as pork, lean beef and fish, cereals fortified with iron, soybeans, and white beans. Calcium is not only needed for strong bones and teeth, but also for strong nails. Dairy foods are a great source of calcium, but yogurt in particular is one of the best dairy sources. If you don't do well with dairy, you can also get calcium from spinach, bok choy, mustard greens, sardines, fortified cereals and juices, beans, tofu, and fish.

I know it's not always easy to get all these good foods in our diets as much as we should and if this is a problem you face, consider a wholefood supplement such as this algae supplement program that not only gives you the nutritional solution of AFA bluegreen algae, but also the probiotics and enzymes you need as well as 9 different algae and sea weeds giving you minerals and phytonutrients from lake and sea including dulse which is high in plant-based protein, iron, calcium, vitamins B6, 12, and A, Dunaliella salina which is loaded with beta-carotene for forming vitamin A, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids, kelp and bladderwrack with vitamin C and E as well as calcium and other trace minerals to nourish nails, skin and hair, Eckolnia cava with antioxidant power to fight off oxidative stress, and fucoidan found to support collagen production. In addition the program gives you red beta algae, and wheat sprouts for superior antioxidant nutrition and reishi, maitake, cordyceps, wild black trumpet, and Poria cocos mushrooms to support a healthy immune system.

Grooming for Healthy Nails
According to Mount Sinai Medical Center dermatologist Dana Stern, MD, one of the best grooming tips for healthy nails is to not cut or push back your cuticles as they protect against fungus and bacteria. Leaving the cuticles intact helps prevent infections that can damage your nails and affect their appearance. You can moisturize the cuticles to improve their appearance however and this will also keep nails hydrated and strong. Dermatologist Margaret Ravits, MD, advises using oil around the cuticles if you have brittle nails that chip, crack or split easily to moisturize the nail and reduce these effects. And while some experts say that using products for nails that have silicon or taking MSM supplements can help with healthy nails, most agree that taking gelatin supplements don't do anything for nail health even though many people have heard of doing this for years. Dermatologists, including Dana Stern, MD, also seem to agree that using polish remover with acetone can actually harm nails by stripping them and leaving them more brittle. Margaret Ravits, MD also advises against using the orange emery boards to file nails as they can cause cracks that make nails more susceptible to breaking. She prefers a file that has a fine smooth surface and to use it slowly in only one direction when filing. If you find you have dry nails you may need to look at the soaps and shampoo you use. Shampoo designed for oily hair and detergent soaps that strip oils coming into contact with your fingernails can cause them to lose moisture and become dry.

For beautiful nails that you'll be proud to show off and that will reflect your overall health give some of these diet and grooming tips a try. You'll not only be proud to shake hands with a new acquaintance or business client, but will know that you are eating healthy and it shows.

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Image courtesy of  Serge Bertasius Photography  /