Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dem Bones, Dem Bones! The Low Down on Bone Density

To stay active in life, strong bones are vital. The problem is that our bones start becoming thinner as we get older since after age 30 one to two percent of bone is lost each year. As osteoblasts make new bone, osteoclasts break down old bone which puts more calcium into the body, but the breaking down process takes more bone away than we can replace. Bone loss is even worse for women than men since women have bones that are smaller and thinner than men's to begin with. Then during menopause as estrogen production decreases there is less protection against osteoclasts breaking down bone. Osteoporosis is often the result and 80% of people in this country with osteoporosis are women. Osteoporosis occurs when old bone breaks down faster than new bone can be produced. That causes bone to weaken and be more prone to getting broken or fractured. There are ways to help keep your bones strong and increase your bone density that will help you keep your active life on track.

Nutrition for Strong Bones
For strong bones, calcium is absolutely necessary, but studies show that 64% of people in this country do not get enough. Until you reach the age of 50, the recommended amount of calcium is 1000 mg. daily. After that age for women this increases to 1200 mg. and men over 70 also need this increased amount. If you do not get enough calcium in your diet, the body will take calcium from your bones, which causes them to become thinner. Usually when we think of calcium food sources, we think of milk and that's right as milk has 300 mg. in an eight ounce cup, but there are many other food sources to get calcium from. You can get the same amount of calcium in one cup of yogurt as you can in that eight ounce cup of milk and one ounce of Swiss cheese will also give you that much calcium. If you have trouble eating diary due to lactose intolerance, get a lactose-free brand and you'll still get the calcium. There are non-dairy food sources to get calcium from also. These include sardines, tofu, soy, kale, bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, turnip greens and foods such as orange juice or cereals that are fortified with calcium. If you have trouble getting enough calcium into your diet, stay away from salt as it depletes calcium in the body. Also avoid foods that have high amounts of oxalic acid like spinach, sweet potatoes, rhubarb and beans as they interfere with calcium absorption.

In addition to calcium, strong bones require vitamin D. Vitamin D helps in the body absorbing the calcium. Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are not only a good source of vitamin D, but are also full of omega-3 fatty acids which can also help with bone density and strength. If you just don't like fish, you can take fish oil supplements as they have been reported to help in a reduction of bone loss in women and fight off osteoporosis. AFA bluegreen alage is also a great source for omega-3 and calcium. One study in Greece reported women with lots of omega-3 and monounsaturated fats in the diet had the most bone density. Olive oil, fish and very little red meat seemed to be the best diet according to this study for bone density. Our bodies naturally produce vitamin D by exposure to sunlight so if you are able to get outside for a bit each week you may get enough that way. The recommended amount for adults of vitamin D is 600 IU up to the age of 70 and then increases to 800 IU.

Adult stem cells have the ability to divide and renew themselves for long periods of time, and they can give rise to specialized cells. Stem cells have the remarkable ability to repair and regenerate your body. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function. New stem cells can migrate to the areas of the body where they are needed most as we grow older thus serving as a repair system for the body. Keeping your natural adult stem cells nourished is a good way to support this process. This stem cell support supplement has been shown in vitro laboratory studies to increase the growth of adult stem cells that support the body's natural renewal system with nutrition that enables stem cells to flourish, and that protects existing stem cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Another supplement that can provide the whole food nutrition that cells need to stay healthy as we age is this ubiquinol and algae supplement. Ubiquinol is the active and bioavailable form of Coenzyme Q10 which is a critically important antioxidant for proper cell function.

Exercise for Strong Bones
Bones also benefit from weight bearing exercises as they increase bone density, impede the loss of bone, and build muscle. These are types of exercises where gravity puts stress on bones and muscles while you are supported on legs and feet which results in increasing cells. Walking, dancing, jumping jacks, skiing, stair climbing, weight lifting, resistance exercise, aerobics, and yoga are examples of this type of exercise that will build strong bones and increase muscle mass. If you can't walk outside, walk around the house or go to a nearby mall or get a treadmill. Yoga, especially positions that target hips, spine and wrists, not only makes bones strong, but also is good for increasing flexibility and posture. According to a Harvard study on women after menopause that took up Tai Chi, it was found that they had more bone density and that bone loss was reduced as soon as they began this practice. Of course before beginning any exercise program, it is a good idea to check with your health care provider to make sure it is safe for you with any specific medical conditions you have. This is especially true if you have osteoporosis and/or have suffered a fracture or break.

Osteoporosis and the Importance of Bone Density
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become thin enough to be at increased risk for breakage or fracture. It is a condition that is especially prevalent in postmenopausal women because this is when they produce less estrogen which can increase the risk of bone loss and calcium loss. This is why it is important to make sure you get enough calcium in your diet and work on bone density at a younger age. One study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that of the 200,000 women in the study almost half of them had bones that were thinning and were unaware of it. One of the problems with osteoporosis is that is does go undetected often because of the lack of symptoms until real problems begin such as fractures, breaks or a reduction in height. Osteoporosis can be detected by having a bone density test done which is an X-ray that the National Osteoporosis Foundation advises women have if they are over 65 years old or any age if they have risk factors and that men have if they are over 70 years old or if they have risk factors then after the age of 50. According to Silvina Levis-Dusseau, MD, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, we don't have to just assume osteoporosis is something we have to endure as we get older because we can strengthen bones through diet, exercise, and by being aware of risks through a bone density test. Risk factors to look for include other family members having the condition, having a small body frame, smoking, inactivity, irregular menstrual periods, history of taking steroids and excessive alcohol consumption. Another useful test in determining risk of bone thinning or osteoporosis is one developed by the World Health Organization that assesses risk in various areas to bone health. This test gives you a FRAX score that is useful in determining what types of treatment and lifestyle changes can help support your bone health. You can use this tool by going to http://www.shef.ac.uk/FRAX/ and clicking on Calculation Tool.

We all want to be able to stay active and enjoying life for as long as we possibly can. This means you need to pay attention to your bone health and get started now developing good habits to support your bones so your bones can literally keep supporting you. 

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Want Flat Abs and Less Belly Fat? Natural Tips that Work

You may think getting flat abs and slimming down that belly fat is about appearance and how you'll look when bikini season rolls around, but there are more important reasons for losing belly fat. This kind of fat is visceral fat which means it wraps around organs unlike subcutaneous fat that is just under the skin. Visceral fat can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance and even some types of cancer. This is particularly a problem for women after menopause according to Michael Jensen, MD, professor of medicine in the Mayo Clinic's endocrinology division. The hormone changes that occur during menopause affect metabolism and lead to belly fat. While storing fat can be related to age and genetics there are still things you can do to get those flat abs and in losing belly fat.

Exercises For Losing Belly Fat
Getting flat abs requires exercise. Whereas all exercise has health benefits, there are certain types of exercise that work better than others for losing belly fat. According to Kate Patton, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic and other experts, since muscle uses up more calories than fat does, strength training exercises are good for preparing your body to burn off fat. You may think exercises like sit-ups that work your abs are good for losing belly fat, but that isn't necessarily so. These type exercises are good weight loss exercises but they don't specifically target belly fat. Aerobic exercises on the other hand are good weight loss exercises that fight belly fat. According to a study at Duke University, aerobic exercise burns off 67% more calories than resistance training does. This would include running, swimming and bicycling. Here are some specific exercises for losing belly fat offered by experts.
  • Risa Sheppard, creator of The Sheppard Method, offers an exercise where you lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor with hips level, shoulders back and down. Then inhale as your arms are facing up towards the sky in line with shoulders and exhale while moving arms to the floor while counting to six. Once arms are at your sides, do another count of six while moving them back to the starting position.
  • Zip Up: This pilates exercise requires you to stand heels together with toes turned a bit outwards. Then holding hands together, raise arms up to under your chin. Exhale as you move arms downwards and raise up on tiptoes. Hold this position for two seconds, then inhale and return to the starting position.
  • Windshield Wiper: This exercise starts you out lying on the floor with your arms palm down out from your sides, shoulders on the floor and legs bent 90 degrees. Keeping legs bent and together, slowly move legs to the left and towards the floor as far as you can while shoulders stay back. Hold and then move back to the starting positions and do the same move to the right.
Besides exercises like these, you can work in some moves that will work on flat abs just as you go about your day. Working on your posture can help your belly look thinner. Stand straight with body in good alignment, exhale moving belly button towards the spine and keep weight balanced evenly on heels and balls of feet. You can do this throughout the day just about anywhere, anytime. Another way to kill two birds with one stone, is by getting in a weight loss exercise that will flatten abs and getting your house clean at the same time through vacuuming. As you move the machine back and forth, hold your abs tight to turn your house cleaning chore into a way to lose belly fat.

Nutrition For Losing Belly Fat
Eating a diet of lean protein, vegetables, low fat dairy products, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains and fruits give you antioxidants that according to Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian Kate Patton and other nutrition experts, help keep belly fat away. Fiber in your diet, from fruit, vegetables, beans and grain sources can help reduce belly fat by 4% for every 10 grams you eat. Just as important as what you do eat to help in losing belly fat is what you don't eat. In working towards flat abs, avoid foods with refined grains, refined sugars, processed foods, and trans fats. In fact, Wake Forest University research has shown that not only do trans fats increase belly fat, but they also move fat from other places in the body to the belly. Reducing calories also helps in weight loss. Pennsylvania State University researchers report that starting off a meal with a low-cal soup can cut down the amount of calories you consume by 20%. Starting off a meal with a salad with a low-cal dressing can also help cut down the amount you eat at a meal. Add half of a grapefruit to your meal and the acidity will slow digestion down making you feel full for a longer amount of time and give you 64% of the vitamin C recommended daily.

Don't forget to look too at what you are drinking in addition to what you are eating. The American Heart Association reports that soda and other sugar filled drinks are the biggest source of added sugar in our diets. These type of drinks really pack on the calories and lead to extra weight gain. Water is of course the best alternative for staying hydrated and quenching thirst without adding calories, but if you need something with a little more flavor, opt for adding in herbs or fruits to your water. Avoid commercial made flavored waters though as many of them have sugar and chemicals. Green tea is another low-cal drink alternative and a study in the Journal of Nutrition reports the catechins found in it helps burn more calories for losing belly fat.

Improve Digestion for Losing Belly Fat
When we don't get enough enzymes from food sources, the food we eat literally rots in our guts, adding to weight gain and the appearance of a beer belly. Enzymes are necessary to aid digestion by metabolizing fat, proteins and carbohydrates and to be absorbed into the blood to clean long-term residual food particles. Because so many of our foods are cooked, genetically engineered or poisoned with pesticides and fertilizers, it's essential to add enzymes to our diet. Adding probiotics, such as acidophilus, bifidus, or a full-spectrum probiotic, to the diet work along with digestive enzymes helps your body process and digest the foods you eat, moving them through the digestive system so that they don't become stuck there. A great way to get your enzymes, probiotics and the extra nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae and 8 other algae types, antioxidants from sprouts, and the anti-inflammatory power of 5 medicinal mushrooms is with this whole food supplement program with packets of all these important components.

Even if you haven't had success with losing belly fat in the past, don't give up. Take a look at your weight loss strategies and find changes you can make that will specifically target that hard to lose belly fat. Flat abs aren't just about looking good. Your health depends on it. Make the commitment to give some of these natural tips a try and work them into your weight loss plan along with any other strategies you are already using that are working for you. Just that little bit of extra effort could make all the difference.

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, February 12, 2015

Allergies Out of Control? Help is Here!

If you've tried everything you know to do to relieve your seasonal allergy symptoms and still find yourself with itchy eyes and nose, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose and coughing then your allergies are still out of control. And it's not just seasonal allergies that can cause problems, there are so many things to be allergic to. Allergy symptoms are basically a reaction from your immune system to a specific trigger that is treated as a foreign invader. Once the immune system labels something as a foreign invader it produces antibodies to attack it just as it does for a virus or bacteria. The antibodies locate the allergen in your body and inform blood cells to release histamine into the bloodstream. The releasing of histamine creates inflammation causing tissues around blood vessels to tighten and fluid to escape. The escaping fluid becomes the symptoms you experience such as a runny nose, itchy watery eyes, and sneezing.

Allergy Triggers and Symptoms
About 20% of us have allergies to deal with that are either seasonal type allergies to substances such as pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds or those that can happen year round like food allergies, scents, pet dander, dust mites and mold. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America also cites that around a third of those who have pollen allergies may be affected by oral allergy syndrome. This is triggered by a protein some produce has on its skin. Cliff Bassett, MD, founder of Allergy and Asthma Care in New York City, compares the reaction from the immune system to this protein as the same as the reaction to pollen. If this is a trigger for you, peeling the produce before eating it may be helpful. There are those however who will have to avoid foods that cause this reaction as it can lead to anaphylactic shock. Stress is another culprit when it comes to allergies. Studies such as one reported in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology find that stress increases the risk of allergy reactions. Air pollution too can increase allergy symptoms making sunny, calm days that cause ozone clouds to linger worse for allergy sufferers. Among all these triggers that can be ingested in some way, there are also allergies caused by insects such as bees, wasps and fire ants.

Besides the typical sneezing, runny nose or stuffy nose, watery eyes and itchy eyes and nose, there are sinus headaches that can occur when nasal passages swell, wheezing from air passages closing up, itchy hives and rashes including Eczema and even allergic reactions that are life threatening. Allergies can also leave you feeling fatigued, especially if you are not sleeping well due to the symptoms or taking an antihistamine that leaves you drowsy. In the case of insect stings and food allergies, symptoms can be life threatening.

Tips for Dealing With Allergy Symptoms
1. Be aware of the weather, pollen counts and air pollution levels if these are triggers for your allergy symptoms. Plan outdoor activities during times when these levels are lowest and the weather is best suited. Keep windows closed and use the air conditioning when these levels are high and make sure to keep air ducts and air filters clean. You can find your local pollen counts on some local weather reports or at the National Allergy Bureau web site - http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx.

2. Butterbur extract has also been found helpful in relieving allergy symptoms and working as a natural antihistamine. Sakina Bajowala, a board-certified allergist and immunologist, warns however that Butterbur is from the ragweed family and can in itself trigger other allergies. She also in not in favor of butterbur products promoted as not having pyrrolizidine alkaloids because they can be damaging to the liver.

3. Use a HEPA filter indoors and keep carpets cleaned regularly to cut down on triggers such as dust mites, pet dander and any pollutants or pollens that have come in the house. Vacuuming furniture and curtains and washing sheets in hot water regularly can also cut down on these type of triggers. Since vacuuming carpets can spread allergens up into the air you may need to wear a mask during this chore.

4. Dr. Oz and other experts advise using a neti pot to wash out the nasal cavities to help relieve allergy symptoms. Use distilled water, salt and baking soda for best results. Saline solution nasal sprays can also help give relief.

5. If mold is an issue for you, be aware of damp places where it can accumulate. Ventilate basements and other damp areas in the house and don't leave piles of leaves or grass standing outside around the house. If you have to do yard work during allergy season or when mold might be present, wear a mask and gloves as well as a long sleeve shirt.

6. If your allergies include food, make sure you are aware of those foods that are triggers for you and avoid them. When eating out or at someone else's house make sure you ask about ingredients and make sure the food preparer is aware of foods you can't eat. If your symptoms are severe enough to require an Epipen, make sure you always have it with you wherever you go. The most common food allergies include milk, eggs, nuts, and shellfish. When checking for ingredients make sure you also ask what type of oils are used when cooking. Peanut oil is sometimes used by restaurants.

7. Probiotics are the "friendly bacteria" that live in our intestines and do most of the work in digesting our food once it has passed through the stomach. Acidophilus and bifidus are among the most important of these friendly bacteria, and provide a barrier between the intestines and the bloodstream, as well as helping us fully digest our food. This can help with food allergy symptoms in particular and a study done with mice sensitive to peanuts reported finding the bacteria Clostridia useful for reducing this sensitivity. According to Taylor Feehley, a pathology researcher at the University of Chicago and co-author of this study, you can recolonize the friendly bacteria in your gut and retrain your immune system to react differently when confronted with foods you have sensitivities to. The combination of Clostridia used in this study is not available in food or supplements for humans yet, but other friendly bacteria are closely related to it, can help boost the immune system and help create the barrier that keeps food allergens from getting into the bloodstream from the intestines. Studies also show that having a healthy population of acidophilus in your small intestine can reduce the amount of IgE that your body produces in response to pollen.

8. Clothes, hair and skin can often have dust, pollen and other triggering substances on them from being outdoors. There are some clothes that if they aren't dirty and smelly you may be able to wear them again before washing, but don't give in to this temptation during allergy seasons. Wash them each time they are worn preferably in hot water. It's also a good idea to bathe or shower at night before going to bed so as not to let allergens settle in your bed.

9. Dust mites can be reduced by keeping the humidity level inside between 30 and 50%. Humidifiers, exhaust fans and proper ventilation can help maintain the proper level.

10. When taken with food, enzymes help ensure proper digestion and prevent food particles from entering the bloodstream. When taken separate from food, the enzymes are able to pass through the intestinal barrier (just like the food particles) to digest the food particles in the bloodstream. This prevents the immune system from thinking that food is an invader, thus preventing the immune response that causes food allergy symptoms if you have sensitivities to certain foods. This is not a replacement however for severe allergies to foods that produce life threatening symptoms, so be sure to keep your Epipen handy and avoid those foods if you have these type of allergic reactions. Enzymes, especially those with protease, can also help your body cope with pollens that have been ingested. Taking supplemental enzymes between meals can also support your body's immune response as it uses the extra enzymes to englobe and remove pollen grains from your system, reducing the amount of overreaction from your body's immune system.

You don't have to be miserable suffering with allergy symptoms. Make an allergy relief plan for yourself and check with your healthcare provider for additional solutions and to make sure your plan is a safe one for you. List the types of reactions you have, do some research to discover the triggers that cause them and try some of these natural solutions to find what gives you the relief you deserve.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

5 Simple Ways to Shake Up Your Dieting Plan

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, two-thirds of the adults in this country are overweight and the other one-third are constantly dieting and trying to find ways to lose up to five or ten pounds of weight. If you fall into that second category and find you just can't get those last few pounds off, here's some tips for you.

1. Hydrate
Research has found that drinking water during the day can cause your metabolism rate to go up by as much as 30% according to Keri Glassman, RD, CDN, author of Slim Calm Sexy Diet. She advises drinking two liters of cold water throughout the day to burn off 95 calories. Part of those calories burn off with the body using energy to bring the cold water to body temperature. Drinking water during the day also keeps you from snacking as the water makes you feel full and reduces the desire to snack between meals. And best of all water doesn't add any extra calories to your diet.

2. Refuel After Exercise
Just after you finish an exercise workout is the perfect time to eat a snack that has protein and carbohydrates. Up to 45 minutes after exercising your metabolism rate is higher and the protein/carb snack will help repair muscle tissue damaged by exercise. Protein also helps build muscle and muscle uses more energy and burns more calories than fat. Right after exercise is not a time many people want to eat or have the time to eat though. That's when I reach for my whey smoothie mix. I add some powder to a glass of fruit juice, get my 22 grams of protein and I'm on my way. If I'm really in a hurry and need to get going, I grab this nutritious snack bar with sprouted grains, greens, and bluegreen algae that provides a healthy balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients from whole-food sources

3. Walk
According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, those people that engage in regular walks increase the likelihood of losing weight compared to those who don't use walking as a form of exercise. He also has tips to include in your walking to burn off more calories:
  • Walk your normal pace for two minutes then speed up your walking or jog for one minute. 
  • Walk somewhere that includes an incline to walk up. You can burn 30% more calories with just a 10% incline. 
  • Walk places that have varying surfaces. This will challenge your muscles and provide a more interesting walk.
Another Dr. Oz tip is to set a goal to incorporate 10,000 steps throughout your day. Use a pedometer to get a baseline of how many steps you currently walk throughout your day now and look for ways to add in more until you get up to 10,000. Not only will this strategy help you become more aware of walking which adds to weight loss, but it can reduce your risk of diabetes significantly. Vonda Wright, MD, advises taking small fast steps as a way to burn off more calories. If you walk the same distance and for the same amount of time that you usually do, taking smaller strides makes you increase the number of steps you take. She also recommends alternating these small steps with skipping to get some additional calorie burn.

4. Changing Lifestyle Habits
Janis Jibrin, Best Life's lead nutritionist, has a simple tip to burn 40% more calories – stand while you eat. She also reports that eating while sitting at your desk or computer has been shown to increase the amount you eat and advises finding a location away from your desk to eat. Keri Glassman, RD, CDN, suggests that cutting back on the amount of breakfast cereal you eat from two cups to one and a half cups can save you 100 calories. Eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 larger meals daily will also give your metabolism a boost and help burn off extra calories.

5. Change Your Thinking
Research reports that 95% of dieters gain back the weight they had lost. With this statistic in mind, researchers have performed studies looking for commonalities between successful dieters who don't gain the weight back over an extended period of time. One of the findings reported by Inga Treitler, PhD, a cultural anthropologist, has to do with how we think. Findings indicated that a dieter that uses the properties attributed to the lower left brain quadrant was found most successful in maintaining weight loss. This type of people exhibit characteristics of being controlled, methodical and disciplined and do well with routine and structure. It was also found that each dieter in this category went through a transformation that changed their lives sometimes in ways other than how they viewed weight loss. They also all were found to have begun some type of meditation component such as yoga or walking that allowed them to take time for themselves and separate from their old behaviors. If you are not this type of person, the good news is that you can learn other thinking modes and learn to engage other quadrants of the brain according to Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, CEO of Herrmann International. 

There are so many health benefits to losing that extra weight from increased energy levels to reducing the risk of diseases that can be life threatening. Just because you haven't been able to drop those last 5 or 10 pounds so far, don't give up. Give some of these tips a try and see if they can help you finally achieve the weight that will make you feel better, look better and be healthier.

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, February 5, 2015

Attention Weekend Warriors: How to Get Fit not Hurt!

There's no doubt that exercise is a good way to get fit, but sometimes we end up being weekend warriors, trying to cram too much at one time into our weekends and overdo it. Overdoing sports, exercise or strenuous labor can cause cartilage found around joints to break down which can result in stiff joints, inflammation and swelling. Besides overuse or an injury, sore joints can be caused by inflammation from damage caused by free radicals in your body. Free radicals result from conditions such as stress, heavy exercise, overwork, poor nutrition, and environmental toxicity. Inflammation is the body's response to foreign invaders, irritation or injury and causes redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. Sometimes the body attacks itself with inflammation even when there are no foreign substances. Certain types of arthritis are good examples of the body misinterpreting the need for its defensive action.  These types of arthritis are called autoimmune diseases, in which the body's normal immune system attacks and damages its own tissues. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are both common types of arthritis that can occur. For us weekend warriors, gardeners and sports enthusiasts it is important to keep joints healthy and know how to support joint health and avoid injury. One important way to protect joints is to have the right safety equipment like knee and elbow pads. Another way is to know safe exercises that support joint health.

Don't wait for the weekend to get in all your exercise. Joints need to move throughout the week to stay flexible. Just doing some stretching and moving a few times during the week will help a lot. Be sure not to do stretching when your muscles are cold though. Joints, ligaments and tendons need to have some warm up exercises before being stretched to loosen them up. Muscle building exercises will also help support joint health. The stronger the muscles around the joints are the more stress they can relieve from the joints. Exercises that require you to pull something down from above to behind the head can cause injury to shoulders, the spine or neck and those that require you to pull a weight straight up to under the chin in certain positions can cause shoulder and nerve damage. When taking up a new exercise program or using exercise equipment for the first time, check with a trainer or someone with expertise in exercise to make sure you are doing or using them safely. There are usually safe alternatives that will exercise the same muscles if you just seek them out. Be sure you have the right shoes for the activity you are doing too. Joint injuries such as plantar fasciitis or tendonitis can occur just from the stress put on them by doing an activity with the wrong foot support. Experts suggest buying shoes from a specialty store where you can get advice from salespeople trained to help you select the proper footwear for various activities. And when shoes start wearing out, it is important to get them replaced so they are in good shape to lend the support they were designed for.

Nutrition for Joint Health

When it comes to inflammation, your diet is important. Processed foods, junk food, fast food, foods with refined sugars, and starchy simple carbs can all lead to inflammation in the body. These types of foods also lend themselves to fat storage instead of the body burning them off for fuel.

Eating a well-balanced healthy diet is important for building strong muscle and bone which in turn supports joint health. Muscles need protein to stay strong which means making sure you have lean protein foods such as white meat chicken, beans, legumes, soy, seafood and nuts in your diet. Your diet also needs to include those foods that produce strong bones. That means making sure you are getting the right amount of calcium. Good food sources for calcium include milk products, broccoli, kale, figs, and fortified cereals. The calcium won't help you though if you don't get the right amount of Vitamin D to help your body absorb it. Some research has also shown that Vitamin D supports joint health by helping to reduce inflammation in joints. Our bodies create Vitamin D mainly from our exposure to sunshine so getting outdoors a little bit every day is important. If you are unable to do this, a Vitamin D supplement may be required. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider to see if this type of supplement is right for you. You can get Vitamin D from some foods such as dairy products, and fortified cereals or soy and almond milk. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to not only support heart and brain health, but to be useful for reducing inflammation and support joint health. Coldwater fish like cod, mackerel and salmon, olive oil, nuts, seeds and AFA bluegreen algae are all good sources for omega-3's. Antioxidants are another important part of a healthy diet that can help with joint health as they help repair the damage done to the body by free radicals. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are the best way to get antioxidants into your diet.

Alternative Solutions for Joint Health

Glucosamine is naturally found in cartilage around joints. There have been studies reporting that supplementation with glucosamine and chondroitin can relieve joint pain. You can get glucosamine and chondroitin as well as undenatured collagen, and all the superfood nutrition of organic AFA bluegreen algae in this joint support supplement. Another supplement with the wholefood nutrition that is known to support recovery from physical exertion and lower risks of inflammation is this enzyme algae supplement. It gives you a combination of plant-based proteolytic enzymes--bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, and organic AFA bluegreen algae. SAMe is another supplement that has research to back it up as being able to relieve pain from inflammation. Some studies have even reported this supplement to work better than certain anti-inflammatory drugs for relieving the pain of osteoarthritis. If you are on medications already, be sure to check with your healthcare provider to make sure particular supplements are safe for you. Acupuncture is another natural alternative for pain control that many people find preferable to supplements. 

Don't' give up your weekend activities because of joint pain or muscle soreness. Just start paying attention to how you can support your joints by eating the right foods and doing the right exercises throughout your week. Making these few simple changes to your lifestyle will keep you active and enjoying your weekends for years to come.

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 Serge Bertasius PhotographyFreeDigitalPhotos.net