Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Weight Loss That Stays Gone

It sure is easier to put weight on than to take it off. But those extra pounds can leave you at risk for heart disease, increased LDL cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems, and some types of cancer and diseases. Sometimes losing weight is actually easier though than keeping that weight off. There are all sorts of strategies to employ and tips to lose weight, but according to research at Stanford University doing some planning for lifestyle changes, diet changes and an exercise plan before starting on your weight loss program can help you from gaining your lost weight back.

Tips to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
When you start getting serious about losing weight and keeping it off, here are some tips to use in preparing to increase your chance of success.

Get rid of the junk food – Registered dietician Rachel Berman suggests you go through your kitchen cabinets and fridge and clear out all the junk foods or unhealthy foods. Replace them with healthy snacks, fruits, veggies, healthy fats, complex carb foods, and lean protein sources.

Set realistic goals – Instead of setting a weight loss goal as a specific weight you will obtain, define parameters that your weight will fall in. For example, set a goal that you will weigh between 120 and 140 pounds or that your waist size will fall between 32 and 33 inches. Or set lots of very small goals that will give you success that you can build on. For example, set a goal that you will lose just one pound a week. Your goals could also include lifestyle and diet changes that you will make towards losing weight and keeping it off. You might set a goal to eat fish twice a week instead of hamburger or eat a healthy snack bar instead of a candy bar for your afternoon break.

Plan healthy diet menus – Plan menus ahead for healthy meals and snacks that can help you lose weight. Pick simple meals that you can cook easily and quickly or that you can cook ahead so that you don't set yourself up for failure. Planning your meals ahead can help you avoid buying unhealthy foods on a whim when you go shopping and avoid grabbing unhealthy food choices for snacks or for meals when you are crunched on time. Be sure to include lots of water throughout the day to help your metabolism keep working for you and quench thirst without craving sugar filled drinks. It is also a good idea to plan ahead by making a list of restaurants that offer healthy food choices so you don't feel deprived of being able to go out to eat, but are still able to stick to your weight loss goals. Be sure you don't skip meals when you start your diet program as this doesn't help keep weight off in the long run and doesn't give your body the fuel it needs to work its best for you. Instead make sure you start the day off with a good breakfast and eat smaller meals more often throughout the day.

Keep active – Some type of physical exercise is necessary to help burn off calories when losing weight. This doesn't mean you have to take up jogging or join a gym though unless those are activities you enjoy. Finding a physical activity that you enjoy will make it more likely that you will keep it up. This could include anything from hiking in nature to walking your dog to playing tennis to going dancing. Anything that gets your body moving goes. So try out a variety of activities and find which ones appeal to you.

Get your gut working for you – Much of the food we eat doesn't have the digestive enzymes we need to fully digest all our food. That means undigested food sits in the gut and shows up as belly fat. Adding raw and lightly cooked veggies and fruits to your diet as well as a high quality enzyme supplement can help get your body more digestive enzymes working for it. Adding probiotics such as acidophilus, bifidus or a full spectrum probiotic supplement can also help keep your digestive system working optimally so that you get the most nutrition from the foods you eat for your body to use.

You can get control of your weight and keep it off. The key is developing good diet and lifestyle habits that support weight loss and healthy living. Make a plan and make a commitment to stick with it and you'll be on your way to healthier living.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Natural Immune Boosters

A strong immune system helps you fight off illnesses such as cold and flu, as well as infections, inflammation, and even more serious diseases. If your immune system is weak there are natural ways of boosting immune system function and strengthening your immune system. Studies have been done showing that people who do Qigong demonstrated a boost in the immune system and that the more optimistic a person is the stronger the immune system can be. One of the most natural ways though to boost immune function is by adding immune boosting foods to your diet.

Immune Boosting Foods
According to research done at Oregon State University, red grapes and blueberries have the compound resveratrol and pterostilbene that work with vitamin D to strengthen the immune system supporting CAMP gene. Grapes also help with blood pressure and blood circulation. Blueberries are not only immune boosting foods, but have also been reported as helpful for memory improvement for those with dementia, and in reducing conditions such as varicose veins, ulcers, cancer, and heart disease. Both these compounds are good for boosting immune system because of their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals before they can damage our body cells. Green tea is another of the antioxidant foods that can help with its catechin antioxidants. According to food and nutrition expert, Jennifer McDaniel, R.D.N., catechin is especially useful in fighting off viruses. Three of the most important immune boosting antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A. Adding a wide variety of bright colored fruits and vegetables to your diet will help get these antioxidants working for you. The more you cook them though the less antioxidants you will get so go with lightly cooked and raw veggies and fruits to get the most value.

Amino Acids

The body needs amino acids to function and gets them from proteins. Cysteine is an amino acid that comes from cooked chicken and has a similar effect to acetylcysteine, a drug used for treating bronchitis. Chicken broth has been found to thin out mucous and block inflammation. This makes chicken soup an excellent way to get not only amino acids but also other healthy nutrition with added herbs, veggies and grains. Chicken also being a good source of protein can help build antibodies and has the antioxidants of zinc and selenium.

Did you know your gut is your largest immune organ? Your intestinal tract is full of good bacteria that help fight off bad bacteria and keep you healthy. Also about 80% of the body's protective immunoglobulins are produced in the gut. The healthier your probiotics or good bacteria are the stronger your immune system will be. Eating yogurt with live active cultures or taking high quality probiotic supplements with live active cultures can help support your colonies of good bacteria.

Beta Glucan
Beta glucan is a simple soluble fiber that comes from the cell walls of grains like oats, wheat, barley, and red rice. It is also found in abundance in mushrooms such as maitake, reishi, Black Trumpet, Turkey Tail, oyster, Poria Cocos, and shiitake and certain seaweeds like luminaria and in Baker's yeast. Beta glucans help in boosting immune system function by stimulating macrophages and other immune cells that fight off foreign invaders and are very effective as an immunomodulator. The body can't produce beta glucan for itself so we have to get it from the foods we eat or from supplements such as this algae immune support supplement that contains reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms along with astragalus, beta glucan and bluegreen algae.

You don't have to settle for a less than optimally working immune system. If you find yourself catching every cold and flu bug that comes around, suffering from allergy symptoms or painful inflammation, it may be that your immune system needs a boost. Try adding some of these antioxidants and other immune boosting foods to your diet, get plenty of rest, find a way to cope with stress and look on the bright side of things and you'll be giving your immune system the support it needs to help keep you healthy.

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


Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to Reboot Your Sleep Cycle

If you're having chronic trouble sleeping it could be your sleep cycle is out of whack and needs to be rebooted. Having trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, or insomnia can be due to many things including stress, chronic pain, sleep apnea, and irregular schedules. Most people need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good physical and mental health and give the body time to recharge. Not getting enough good quality sleep can lead to difficulties like brain fog, trouble concentrating, lack of energy, heart conditions, diabetes, and fatigue. Sometimes though situations come up that make it impossible for us to get enough sleep and we get off our regular sleep schedule. If you're losing sleep on a regular basis, it's hard to make it up later with just some extra napping. Once the sleep cycle is interrupted you need to re-establish a regular schedule of sleep. Making some pattern changes and diet changes can help your body get back on schedule and help encourage sleep.

Lifestyle Changes to Encourage Sleep
When trying to re-establish a sleep schedule, set your bedroom up for successful sleeping. Ways to do this include saving the bedroom for sleep only and not using it for working, reading, talking on the phone or watching TV as these type activities can decrease melatonin levels and make it harder to get to sleep. Some people sleep better in a quiet environment and others do better with some type of soft routine noise like a fan or soft music. Make the room as dark as possible with light blocking curtains. You can also train your body to know when it is sleep time by establishing a bedtime routine. Find what is a relaxing activity for you such as reading, meditation, or a warm bath and do the activity before going to bed for sleep each night. Exercise done on a regular basis can help with sleep too as long as it's not done within 3 hours of bedtime. Avoid caffeine before bed and for some people taking a nap in the afternoon will interfere with being able to sleep at night. A little experimenting with all these different tips will help you find which of these work for you and which you should avoid.

Diet Changes to Encourage Sleep
When re-establishing your sleep cycle, there are dietary changes that can also help. According to Russell Rosenberg, Ph.D., CEO of the National Sleep Foundation, some foods aid sleep and other foods make it harder to wind down. There are foods that trigger the release of brain chemicals that make us drowsy and others, such as caffeine, that are stimulating. If you regularly drink a lot of coffee, tea, or soda with caffeine or take medications or eat lots of chocolate with caffeine this could be interfering with your ability to fall asleep at night as this stimulates the central nervous system. If this sounds like you then start cutting down on the amount of caffeine you have each day, but be careful not to just stop the caffeine completely all at once as caffeine can be addictive and stopping can lead to withdrawal. Many people believe that having alcohol before bed helps them sleep, but it doesn't help with getting good quality sleep. The alcohol is soon metabolized and studies show it actually interferes with the sleep cycle by you waking up throughout the night. Eating spicy foods can also keep you awake at night. Not only are they likely to cause heartburn, but studies have shown that spicy food can interfere with getting to sleep and with the quality of sleep you experience. Dr. Rosenberg also cautions against eating protein foods before bedtime or adding a carb food to the protein so that your body is able to focus on sleep rather than digestion.

Now that we know some of the foods to avoid for better sleep, let's take a look at foods that will promote sleep. According to New York City registered dietician Keri Gans, cherries have melatonin which is difficult to get from most natural foods. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain that tells the body when it's time to sleep and when it's time to wake up. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in foods like milk and turkey and is a precursor to serotonin, the brain chemical that helps us relax and become drowsy. Complex carbohydrates, such as wheat, barley, or quinoa are sleep helping foods and make cereal with milk a good choice for a bedtime snack. Add some banana to that recipe to get some extra magnesium and potassium which help muscles relax. Bifidobacterium, or bifidus, one of the friendly bacteria in the large intestine, helps with digestion, but also helps in producing the calming and soothing B-vitamins that can help you relax and wind down at night. Bifidus plays a key role in immunity during a child's first two years of life and is present in mother's milk as well as in the birth canal during birth. On a mental-emotional level, bifidus is linked with feelings of self-esteem, as well as feeling supported and nurtured in life. All of these factors combined make bifidus a perfect natural solution for those who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep and a high quality bifidus supplement can help you be sure you have enough of this probiotic working for you.

If you find yourself dragging due to not enough sleep, reboot your sleep cycle with some of the lifestyle change and dietary change tips listed here. Establishing an environment and routine to support good quality sleep, avoiding stimulant food and drink before bed, having a snack that will support good sleep and taking some bifidus before bedtime are all ways you can try to get your body back on track and get your much needed Zz's.

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  photostockFreeDigitalPhotos.net




Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Better Body with No Gym Required

Exercise is a good way to get a better body and stay fit, and for a lot of other health reasons, but you don't need a gym membership to get into shape. Exercise can help in burning off more weight and increasing heart rate and does lots of good things for your body, but you can work all your muscles and trim down just by doing exercises that use your body weight and gravity at home. For example, doing a standing tubing row exercises the same muscles that a pull-up does and your core muscles too. Other exercises in this category you can do right at home include pull-ups, wide grip push-ups, jump lunges and jump squats. According to Pete McCall, of the American Council on Exercise, using low reps and light weights to exercise can help with losing weight. By engaging in an overall program of cardio and strength training exercises that builds muscle works for weight loss because muscle burns calories even when they are not working. While exercise is undeniably good for weight loss and health in general, there are other ways to get that better body other than exercising.

Other Ways to Stay Fit
Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do to stay fit. By drinking cold water your body burns up more calories warming that water up to body temperature. You also feel fuller by drinking water throughout the day which keeps you from eating between meals. Drinking before you exercise releases hormones that help in muscle building which helps you get the most out of your exercise regimen. In addition to water, drinking green tea boosts your metabolism and gives you antioxidants. Eating breakfast is also important to avoid overeating later in the day when trying to lose weight and according to Rubaum Keller eating small snacks every three hours helps in the same way. Brain Wansink, Ph.D., a Cornell researcher, advises having a breakfast that is high in protein to stay with you longer. Dr. Wansink, also reported a study showing that soft lighting and music can influence people to eat less. For optimal weight loss you also need to make sure you are getting quality sleep. Studies show that people who don't get enough sleep eat about 300 more calories than when they get enough sleep. For some people there are other techniques that can be used to encourage weight loss. These include keeping a food journal to track what and when you eat so you can make choices to adjust your calorie intake, saying out loud before eating that hungry or not you are about to eat something in particular which makes you own up to your eating habits and take responsibility for them, using smaller sized dinner plates, and getting support from friends or a support type group.

Staying fit also means getting the optimal nutrition to fuel the body so it can stay active and have the energy for exercise, nourish it with all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs for good health, and to support immune system function to stay healthy. When you can't get all this from the foods you eat, a supplement program with a full range of nutrition can help. This supplement program gives you some of the most nourishing foods on the planet including marine and freshwater algae, tonic mushrooms, and sprouted grasses and grains as well as probiotics and digestive enzymes. This program is especially good for those on the run as it comes in convenient packets easy to take on the go.

It doesn't have to be hard to get that better body you want. You don't have to go to the expense of joining a gym or work gym time into your already busy schedule. Just work up an exercise routine at home, make a few lifestyle changes, eat a healthy diet, and get extra nutrition from wholefood supplements if needed and you can get the body you want.

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

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Have a Pain in the Anywhere? Try These Steps

If you are one of the over 100 million adults in the U.S. that has chronic pain then you know how constant pain can interfere with your life. The American Chronic Pain Association cites 35% of Americans with having some type of chronic pain from migraines to arthritis to back pain. Most of this pain is attributed to inflammation. According to David Maine, MD, director of the Center for Interventional Pain Medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, inflammation that targets a specific injury or infection is how the body is supposed to work to heal itself, but chronic inflammation can be destructive to health and cause ongoing pain. No matter where your pain lives though there are superfoods you can add into your diet that can help with chronic pain. Here are some that can help with pain and how they work.

Turmeric has curcumin that not only fights inflammation but has properties that protect tissues and nerve cell function.

Found in hot peppers, capsaicin triggers endorphins which the body uses to block pain signals. It also reduces the enzyme that releases substances that can increase pain.

Gingerols are phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory properties found in ginger. Ginger also contains paradols, shogaols and zingerone that work on pain much like NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen. According to Kari Kooi, RD, one study reported ginger to be as effective as NSAIDs for soreness from exercise. The University of Georgia study reported a 25% reduction in muscle pain from exercise for participants using ginger.

Not only does garlic have properties to fight the swelling and pain of inflammation, but also has antibiotic properties, increases immune system functioning, and helps increase T helper cell production.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Including a balance of fat types in the diet can help act as a natural anti-inflammatory. Most people get enough omega-6 fatty acids already and too much can cause more inflammation. Transfats can also contribute to inflammation. It is better to concentrate on getting the right ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids which is 3:1, and getting a balance of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats One way to be sure you get the exact ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is taking AFA blue-green algae. Fatty wild caught fish like salmon is a good source of omega-3 as is chia seeds, dark-green leafy vegetables, various seeds, nuts, and flax and olive oil. Salmon also gives you vitamin D which some studies show not having enough can contribute to chronic pain. Olive oil also has antioxidant polyphenols like oleocanthal that according to researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia can act like NSAIDs and that acts as an anti-inflammatory. The American College of Sports Medicine reported that omega-3 fatty acids could reduce joint pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

Red, Purple, Blue Fruits
Cherries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and red grapes all have anthocyanins with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These antioxidants help fight free radicals that play a role in inflammation and block enzymes that can inflame tissues.

Supplements for the Diet
When fighting chronic pain from inflammation there are supplements that can also deliver the nutrition your body can use. This enzyme algae supplement gives you the nutritional value of AFA bluegreen algae as well as plant-based p proteolytic enzymes--bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase. These enzymes have been found helpful in supporting joints, circulation and overworked tissues as well as fighting cellular oxidation from free radical damage. This antioxidant and algae supplement has wild blueberry, green tea, carnosine, along with AFA bluegreen algae for an extra antioxidant punch. Adding an algae joint support supplement with a blend of vegetable glucosamine, chondroitin, and bluegreen algae can also help deliver the extra nutrition to support those active lifestyles that sometimes bring on chronic pain.

You can fight back and take control of your chronic pain from inflammation. Research backs up the results certain foods can give, but until you give them a try for yourself, you won't know how they can work for you. Try adding some of these superfoods and supplements to your diet and see what results you get. Getting any amount of pain relief with these healthy foods will be worth the effort.

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

Image courtesy of  stockimagesFreeDigitalPhotos.net


Thursday, June 4, 2015

How to Rev Your Metabolism

Genetics may play a role in your metabolism rate, but there are metabolism boosting foods you can add to your diet to boost your metabolism. Increase metabolism and you'll burn calories and fat quicker which can help with weight loss. According to Jonny Bowden, PhD who wrote The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, some hormones rev up metabolism and some slow it down and the body uses food to produce these hormones. Eating certain foods can produce hormones that will increase metabolism. Take a look at some foods that can help boost metabolism.

Yellow peppers are rich in vitamin C which a significant number of Americans are deficient in and according to Carol Johnston, PhD, RD, the associate director of the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, is needed to produce carnitine that increases metabolism and helps muscles produce energy from fat. Another variety of peppers that can help increase metabolism is chili peppers that have capsaicin as well as having vitamin C. The capsaicin is what makes the pepper hot and spicy and can increase the temperature of your body which in turn increases metabolism.

Sesame Seeds
Lignans, a plant chemical found in foods such as sesame seeds, can boost metabolism by revving up the liver enzymes that break down fat. According to Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, sesame seeds also have protein and essential fatty acids that can both boost metabolism.

Metabolism Boosting Drinks
Not only are there certain foods that can boost metabolism, but certain drinks can too. Water is one of the best because any amount of dehydration slows metabolism and drinking cold water makes your body work on increasing the water's temperature to the body temperature. One study reported people drinking between 8 and 12 glasses of water daily showed higher metabolism than those drinking just 4 glasses. Green tea has the phytonutrient EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which increases the production of the hormone that makes you feel full. It can help the body avoid storing fat as well as boost metabolism. Caffeinated coffee is another beverage that can help boost metabolism. One study in Physiology & Behavior reported an increase in metabolism that was 16% more than shown by those drinking decaffeinated coffee.

Dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa can decrease cortisol, the stress hormone. Stress is a condition that slows metabolism down and the caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate can help speed it up. A study in Archives of Internal Medicine reported those eating moderate amounts of chocolate on a regular basis weighed less than those who didn't eat chocolate. One and a half ounces is a good amount to sweeten your day and increase metabolism.

Protein Foods
Eating lean protein foods helps in muscle gain and muscle burns more calories than fat because it takes more energy. Lean meats are a good source of not only protein, but also iron and a lack of iron can slow metabolism down. A cup of lentils can give you 35% of the iron you need daily as well as protein and fiber. Beans are another good source of lean protein and of fiber and since they have resistant starch, as many as half the calories from them aren't absorbed. Egg whites have an amino acid that according to David Grotto, RDN, a Chicago nutritionist, rev up metabolism as well as have protein and vitamin D.

Soluble fiber makes you feel fuller, helps lower cholesterol, keeps fat from being absorbed, makes the body work harder to break down, and boosts metabolism. Chia seeds, whole grains and crimini mushrooms are all rich fiber foods. Some of the foods with the highest amounts of fiber are artichokes, split peas, lentils, black beans, raspberries and barley.

Supplement Your Diet
Omega-3 fatty acids help keep blood sugar levels stable and help regulate metabolism. AFA bluegreen algae is high in omega-3 fatty acids as well as being a protein source which can help with muscle building. You can also help boost metabolism by adding more enzymes to your diet between and at meals. This also helps your body get the most nutrition it can out of the foods you eat. Probiotics help your body process and digest the foods you eat and move them through the digestive system. This combination of supplements can help you get those metabolism nutrients talked about in this article when you don't have the time to get them from foods. A convenient way to get bluegreen algae, probiotics and enzymes all together is with these daily packets. Another supplement we find useful for supporting the body's energy production on a cellular level is this alage and ubiquinol supplement loaded with antioxidant properties. It gives you a combination of pure ubiquinol, reishi and oyster mushrooms, polyphenols from olives, and wild AFA bluegreen algae.

Don't settle for a slow metabolism that leaves you counting every calorie you eat. Add some metabolism boosting foods to your diet and take control of your weight, metabolism, and your health.

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