Thursday, October 29, 2015

Preventing Sugar Overload on Halloween

Is Halloween a fabulously fun event at your house or a total nightmare? It could be either one according to your perspective and experience. On the one hand it can be lots of fun for the kids with costuming, using creativity and imagination, parties to go to, making Jack-O-Lanterns, and maybe trick or treating and even if you don't have kids, many adults enjoy these same aspects of Halloween. On the other hand, Halloween usually means lots and lots of SUGAR and that can be a nightmare especially for families that stress healthy eating. You and your children can still enjoy Halloween though without the sugar highs and lows by using a few of these Halloween tips and making some healthy Halloween treats.

Healthy Planning Before Halloween
Start out with a plan to at least cut down on some of the sugar that comes with Halloween. This plan could be that instead of trick-or-treating, you get together with a social group or other families that encourage healthy eating and have a Halloween party. Then instead of the typical candy associated with Halloween, offer healthy fun Halloween snacks. You'll find a ton of them on the internet. One of the cutest I saw lately was cutting a banana in half by width and using raisins for eyes and mouth to make ghosts. From there you can always use oranges or Cuties to make pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns, round cheese and pretzels to put together a spider and lots more. Just use your imagination or put out a variety of healthy foods and let the kids make a party game out of coming up with their own scary creations. With a party you can obviously control the sugar intake much easier, but some families just love the tradition of trick-or-treating. That's Ok too. There are still ways to make a plan to cut down on sugar. First, make sure you and/or your child eats a good healthy meal before hitting the streets. That will help cut down on snacking between houses. Even better, make a rule that nothing gets eaten until you get home. That is a good rule for all sorts of safety reasons these days as candy can be tampered with. At our house the rule was that Mom had to inspect all candy and anything looking suspicious, tampered with or open went in the trash. I always had some extra dollar store toys or healthier treats to trade for anything I felt needed to be thrown away. In your plan include an explanation of why your family chooses to eat healthy and decide together on a reasonable amount of candy that can be collected. Anything over that amount can maybe be saved for a later time or given away or just plain thrown out. Again you can cut down on disappointment and arguments by having some healthy treats or small toys to "trade". My grandson has severe food allergies and therefore our routine at Halloween was for his mom to take him trick-or-treating and save my house for last. I would have special treats that he could eat or little toys for me to trade him for the candy with nuts or milk products that he could not eat. He always thought that was special and we never had any problem getting him to trade. Once you set an amount of candy that is appropriate within your family, stick to the plan. Let the children decide which pieces they will keep and which they will get rid of to help them feel a part of the process.

Catching Up After Halloween
Even if you are trying to lose weight it's OK to have an occasional splurge. That leaves your body not feeling deprived and will actually support your weight loss plan instead of sabotaging it. So count Halloween as a splurge and the day after get yourself back on track with your healthy eating plan right away. Be sure you drink lots of water the next day to help rid your body of the excess sugar and other indulgences. For the next few days really pack your meals and snacks with lots of good veggies and fruits, whole grains and lean proteins. Make time to fit in some extra exercise too so that you boost your metabolism and sweat out the unhealthy stuff. Really get your body right back on craving the healthy foods instead of sugary and fatty foods. Microalgae can also help you do this as shown through studies done in the 1980s that reported eating bluegreen algae helped improved insulin resistance, improved the uptake of glucose, regulated cholesterol, increased protection with antioxidants which reduced oxidative stress, and improved blood lipid profiles. Studies such as these have long found that many green plants including algae have insulin-like antigens that are able to decrease blood glucose levels and help blood sugar levels stay more stable. Since algae is loaded with minerals, antioxidants, soluble fibers, amino acids, essential fatty acids and tons of healthy nutrients, it can help support your body with healthy nutrition before Halloween and after. After a sugar splurge you also want to be sure to beef up your probiotics as sugar is detrimental to those friendly bacteria we depend on for digestive and immune health. Acidophilus is one of the most effective probiotics for battling sugar side effects, and supports the health of the small intestine. Bifidus is another helpful probiotic, and supports the health of the large intestine. The easiest way to get all the good nutrition from AFA bluegreen algae, probiotics and digestive enzymes to help your digestive system survive your sugar splurge is with these convenient packets that include them all. Start taking them before Halloween hits and continue once Halloween is over.

Halloween doesn't have to be so scary with thoughts of sugar and fat ruining your diet or healthy eating plan. Just get a Halloween plan made and use some of these support ideas to help your family have a fun and safe Halloween this year.

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

Image courtesy of  zirconicusso  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Sources:
http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/How-Detox-After-Halloween-20216598
http://www.famlii.com/sugar-overload-healthy-halloween-treats-sweet-little-monsters/
Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light and 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.

Vitamins
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.

Minerals
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  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11433/winter-is-coming-10-ways-to-strengthen-your-immune-system-now.html
http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system#ImmuneBoosters1
http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/544575/5-foods-to-help-boost-your-immune-system.html
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.

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 Photography  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/98325-make-finger-nails-stronger/
http://www.webmd.com/beauty/nails/more-beautiful-nails-a-dozen-tips

Thursday, October 15, 2015

7 Strategies for Bone Health at Any Age

I remember growing up watching my grandmother suffer with severe osteoporosis and hearing my mother warn me how important it was for me to take care of my bone health. It's true that whether you are already a senior and noticing a difference in your bones or whether you are a younger person seeing your elder's concern, maintaining strong bones is something to start working on now. This means primarily making sure you are getting the right nutrients through healthy eating habits and exercise to keep bones healthy. The two most important of these are to make sure you have a diet adequate in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is needed for bone structure while vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium as well as contributes to the growth of bone. Ideally, you start getting both of these when you are young to build a good foundation for strong bones, but even if you didn't, it's never too late to start. Even if you find yourself facing osteoporosis, you can reduce the effects and strengthen bones now by stocking up on calcium and vitamin D. So how much of each of these is the optimal amount for you? It varies according to age, gender, and other factors, but the recommended amounts of calcium if you are between 18 and 50 years of age is 1000 milligrams and over the age of 50 women need 1200 milligrams while men only need this amount after the age of 70. Vitamin D is measured in international units or IU's. Before the age of 50 200 IU's is the recommended amount and after that age 400 to 800 IU's are recommended. You may need to check with your healthcare provider to decide on the exact amount for your situation and as to whether you may need a calcium supplement or not because too much calcium can also be detrimental causing heart problems and kidney stones. Since a lot of the vitamin D we get is from exposure to sunlight, this can also vary especially for those who have to avoid the sun due to risk of skin cancer, and is an area where your healthcare provider can be useful in determining the right amount of supplementation for you. If you are past the age of 30, your bones are beginning the process of getting thinner. For women, this process increases after menopause. This makes it important to start establishing healthy eating habits now at whatever age you are to get your bones strong enough to carry you through into your golden years. The main way to do this is by adding foods with calcium and vitamin D into your diet. Here are some ways to do just that.

1. Dairy
Milk and dairy products made from milk are undoubtedly one of the best sources for calcium. You get 300 milligrams of calcium out of one eight ounce glass of milk. The good news is that this is true whether the milk you drink is whole, skim, or low-fat so you can still reduce fat and get the same amount of calcium. That eight ounce glass of skim milk is 90 calories, but for those calories you get 30% of the calcium you need for the day. You can also get milk that is fortified with vitamin D so that your eight ounce glass is doing double duty. You can also get other dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D such as yogurt. If you're looking to get more protein in your diet then Greek yogurt is a winner, but if you're looking for more calcium and vitamin D, go with the non-Greek varieties. Just one cup of yogurt gives you the same amount of calcium as that eight ounce glass of milk so if you don't like drinking milk, this may be the solution for you. And good news for those who are lactose intolerant – dairy products that are lactose free still contain the calcium you need. Cheese is another dairy product that you can look to for calcium, but it does also have more fat so go easy on it. More weight gain means more weight your bones and joints have to deal with. A small amount of cheese goes a long way as a source of calcium with one and a half ounces having 30% of the amount you need for the day. Egg dishes that include the yolk can help you add some extra vitamin D to your day if you need a bit more as they can give you six percent of your daily recommended amount.

2. Fish
If dairy just doesn't settle well with you or you are just looking for some alternatives for calcium and vitamin D then take a look some types of fish. Sardines are a great source of calcium and three ounces of them gives you more calcium than one cup of milk. Salmon and other fatty fish not only give you vitamin D, but also omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to help in reducing bone loss. Three ounces of sockeye salmon will give you all the vitamin D you need for the day. Olive oil, edamame, walnuts, blue green algae, wild rice, flax seeds and chia seeds are all high in omega-3. In fact, AFA bluegreen algae not only gives you omega-3 but is another food source for calcium. Get the nutritional punch of algae as well as the probiotics and enzymes to help with digestive and immune system support in these packets of wholefood supplements. Or even better, you can get all this plus the nutritional support of marine and freshwater algae, tonic mushrooms, and sprouted grasses and grains with this wholefood algae supplement program. This combination gives your immune system the support to fight inflammation and the antioxidants to help your body to fight off free radical damage. And since omega-3's have been found to have an impact on bone health, this supplement  gives you not only the organic flaxseed oil and olive biophenols for extra omega-3, but also has AFA bluegreen algae, organic reishi and oyster mushrooms for immune support and ubiquinol the active form of Coenzyme Q10 found to support energy production, heart health and immune system support.

3. Greens
There are many green veggies you can get calcium from. For example, a cup of cooked spinach not only provides about a fourth of the calcium you need for the day, but also gives you fiber, iron and vitamin A. Collard greens are another green leafy vegetable that give you 25% of your calcium for the day. Other calcium rich greens include bok choy, Chinese cabbage, kale and turnip greens.

4. Soy
Soy and soy products such as tofu or soy milk that is fortified with calcium are another good source for this bone supporting mineral. You can get 400 milligrams of calcium from just half a cup of tofu and about 300 milligrams from a cup of soy milk. Studies have found that soy contains isoflavones that add to strong bones and can help reduce the risk of bone disease in some cases.

5. Fortified Foods
There are many other foods these days that are fortified with calcium and/or vitamin D. Many brands of orange juice for example have been fortified with calcium and can give you as much as milk. Many brands of cereal have been fortified with vitamin D and calcium and can give you as much as 1000 milligrams of calcium in one cup. Look for whole grain, low sugar cereals to maintain a healthier diet. 

6. Let The Sun Shine In
As we've already said, vitamin D is needed in order for the body to absorb calcium from foods. Our bodies naturally produce vitamin D from being exposed to sunlight. If you live in an area that doesn't get a lot of sunlight or have been warned to stay out of the sun because of the damage it can do to skin then you may need to consider taking a vitamin D supplement. This is something to talk over with your healthcare provider to see if it is appropriate for you, but if it is recommended he or she will probably advise taking around 600 IU daily if you are under the age of 70 and 800 IU for those over 70.

7. Exercise
Besides diet changes, the next best thing you can do for your bones is the right exercise. Regular strength training and weight bearing exercise will strengthen bones and reduce bone loss. The combination of strength training with weight bearing will cover arm bones, spine, leg bones, and hips. Good exercises to incorporate for bone health include walking, dancing, tennis, yoga, jumping rope, skiing, taking the stairs, and other high-impact type exercise in which you use your body weight or gym type weights to put stress on your bones and muscles. This type of exercise makes your body add more bone giving you a higher bone density level.

There you have 7 ways to boost your bone health no matter what age you are and no matter what shape your bones are in now. Don't wait until you suffer with the pain of bone loss or joint pain. Start now adding in the right exercise and getting your calcium and vitamin D and you can get your bones ready to face the after 30 challenges that come as we age.

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

Image courtesy of  antpkr  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20365458,00.html
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/basics/prevention/con-20019924
http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/ss/slideshow-superfoods-for-your-bones

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Simple Ways to Get Healthy

Sure you know to be healthy you need to exercise, eat a healthy diet of lean protein, good fats, fruits, veggies, and whole grains and watching your calorie intake to keep off excess weight, but you can go even beyond that in striving to get healthy. Here's some tips to add to your health toolbox to help you keep your goal of attaining optimal health.

Get your zzz's – The quality of sleep you get is as important as the amount of sleep so make a plan to have your sleep time be uninterrupted. Marni Hillinger, MD, a medical resident in New York City, lets those close to her know when she will be sleeping to avoid phone calls and texts during that time or she just turns her phone off when going to sleep. Think of what types of interruptions could interfere with your sleep and come up with ways to cut down on these. You might need to put a sign on the doorbell saying 'Out of Order' or make sure you take the dog outside just before going to bed. Whatever in your situation that interrupts your sleep that you can do something about, plan for it and do it.

Get your brain on board – In his book Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink, a Cornell University professor, has lots of ways to convince the brain that the body isn't being starved with smaller portions and deprived by eating healthier foods. For example, using a smaller plate can insure you aren't piling as much food on it. In one study he reports that using a 10 inch plate in place of a 12 inch plate can equal a consumption of 22% less food over a year's time. Just putting less food on a bigger plate doesn't work as well because your brain looks at the empty space on the plate and tells you it's not enough, but seeing a smaller plate filled with food and little empty space satisfies it. Wansink also has found that using a plate the same color as the food on it causes you to put more on because the brain can't tell the difference as easily between the plate and what is being put on it. He recommends using a dark green or blue plate that will contrast with light colored foods that are heavier but that don't contrast with leafy green veggies and other vegetables that are OK to fill up on.

Kill off germs – Your immune system helps kill off bacteria and viruses once they get into your system, but an even better way to avoid getting sick is to cut down on those invaders getting in your system in the first place. That means washing your hands with soap and warm water throughout the day, any time you will be handling food, and of course after using the bathroom or performing other hygiene activities where germs can get on your hands. According to University of Arizona in Tucson microbiologist, Charles Gerba, PhD, your kitchen sponge is one of the worst culprits in your home for storing germs. He recommends that you run it through the dishwasher weekly or put in your microwave for 30 seconds to help keep it germ-free.

Healthy food – Besides avoiding unhealthy fatty and sugary foods and simple carbs, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, there are certain foods you can add to your diet to give it an extra health punch. Carrots are one of these that make a great snack, are easy to pack for the day and full of vitamin A from the antioxidant beta-carotene that is great for fighting off free radical damage to cells, healthy eyes, hair, skin, reducing elevated LDL oxidation, supporting immune system health to fight off infections, and is important for bone health. Jackie Newgent, author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes, gives some other ideas of ingredients that you can easily add to meals for extra health benefits including flaxseed for extra fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric for extra antioxidant protection, hummus for extra protein and fiber and pistachios for phytosterols that help lower cholesterol levels. You can also fill in the nutritional gaps lacking in your diet by taking these packets of wholefood supplements that give you the powerhouse nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae, digestive enzymes, and probiotics. Easy to take with you on the go and lots of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, and phytonutrients. And since snacks between meals are one area that really blow the healthy diet, find healthy food options for snacks like carrots, air-popped popcorn, green smoothies, or this snack bar fortified with sprouted grains, greens, and bluegreen algae with a healthy balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients from whole-food sources, with no chemical additives or dairy.

Clock your steps – You know exercise is good for your health, but with busy schedules it's often hard to get to the gym or find time to squeeze in a regular exercise regimen. If this is a problem you face, look for ways to add movement into your day naturally. You might park further away from your office building and walk the rest of the way, take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a walk on your lunch break, or walk around your office while talking on the phone. Look for any movement you can do that works for your situation. Studies also show that keeping track of how much moving you are doing increases the amount you do. So try wearing a pedometer that measures how many steps you take or a device like the Fuelband from Nike that not only measures your steps but also tells you how many calories you are burning off. And whenever you can, get your movement going outside as according to founder of the Stress Institute in Atlanta, Kathleen Hall, PhD, getting out in the fresh air for a walk can increase the flow of oxygen to the brain and increase production of endorphins and energy giving you a lift in mood and energy level.

Take the easy way - Brian Wansink offers more tips to encourage healthy eating with suggestions such as storing healthy foods in see-through containers or plastic wrap and foods that are not as healthy in foil or non-transparent containers. This makes the healthier foods easier to see when you look in the fridge for something to eat. You can also put the healthier foods in the front of the refrigerator or pantry and the unhealthier choices in the back or a high cabinet where it isn't as easy to get to them. He also suggests that putting unhealthy foods in places that require you to do more and healthy foods in easy to get to places or making it easier to serve the healthier foods than the unhealthy ones can help you more easily select healthy food. This same principle works for just about any type of behavior so you can apply it to your exercise time too. For example, setting out your exercise clothes and shoes the night before will give you less to do in getting in your exercise the next morning.

All of these are simple suggestions that just about anyone can incorporate into their day for just that little extra boost of health benefit. Pick one, two or pick them all and make the commitment to boost your health up to the next level.

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   Ambro  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sources:
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20668027,00.html
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231277
http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/10/health/25-fast-easy-tips/

Thursday, October 8, 2015

How to Keep Your Mind Health and Your Memory Strong

Our brains use up more of our nutrients than any other organ and other than the heart it uses up most of our energy. That means in order for your brain to work well it has to be getting enough of the nutrients it needs to perform well. According to the 2012 CDC Second Nutrition Report, Americans don't get enough of the nutrition they need with vitamin B6, vitamin D and iron being the biggest deficits and vitamin C and vitamin B12 coming in close after that. Other studies such as a 1997 study by Munoz et al. found that only 1% of the 3307 children studied were getting the RDA recommended amount of vegetables and most of those reported that a fourth of those veggies were French fries (does that really count?). This is not good news. In order for the brain to function properly it needs certain essential fatty acids, glucose, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Antioxidants
The brain is very prone to oxidative damage and damage from free radicals. This could be because of the large amount of unsaturated fatty acids found there, the large amount of oxygen that it uses, the activity of the mitochondria that contributes to more free radicals being formed, and the large concentrations of metals like iron, zinc and copper. Regardless of why the brain is so susceptible to oxidative damage, antioxidants are needed in the diet to help fight off this type of damage. Blueberries are not only a great source of antioxidants but research studies such as a 2010 study found in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that participants drinking blueberry juice for a two month period showed a significant improvement on learning and memory tests. Studies have also reported finding that blueberry supplements contributed to an improvement in brain functioning and memory in elder participants with dementia. Then there have been animal studies such as one that found blueberries might be responsible for decreasing symptoms of cognitive deficits that can come with aging such as Alzheimer's and dementia and protect the brain from free radical damage. Dark chocolate is another good antioxidant food for brain health as it also increases production of serotonin and endorphin which can strengthen the ability to concentrate according to Natalie Stephens, clinical dietician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. One study from 2013 reported finding that participants drinking 2 cups of cocoa daily showed an increase in blood flow to the brain and had better performance on memory tests. You do have to be careful that you don't overdo the dark chocolate though as it can add extra calories to your diet. According to nutritionist JJ Virgin, green tea is another good choice for not only antioxidant properties, but also for the amino acid theanine which has been reported to improve mental alertness and focus.

Essential Fatty Acids
About 60% of the brain is made up of fat and the brain needs certain healthy types of fat to function properly. Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely necessary for brain health and in particular EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) are the two types of omega-3's that are most important to the brain. If you take a look at the food chain you find that these omega-3's often start with microalgae according to Dr. Stephane Cunnane and Dr. Kathy Stewart (2010). You can skip right to the source though by taking a high quality algae supplement especially this one that has the cell wall removed by a special process allowing for the nutrients to cross over the blood brain barrier. This type of algae also provides other good brain nutrition including B vitamins and amino acids that contribute to healthy brain functioning. Eating fatty fish like salmon, nuts and flaxseeds are also a way to get more omega-3's in your diet. Studies done on the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on brain health have found they can reduce the risk of dementia, contribute to boosting memory by making brain synapses stronger, and repair brain cells.

Sugars
Your brain also needs sugar to fuel it, but the type of sugar it needs is glucose. Glucose is made by the body from the carbohydrates you eat whether simple or complex. Complex carbs are the healthier choice as they also help in lowering cholesterol levels and create brain power by reducing plaque buildup which increases blood flow to the brain. This would include whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa and foods like potatoes, beans, peas, and lentils. Other good food sources for glucose include AFA blue green algae, and dark chocolate. Whereas glucose is a small enough molecule to pass through the blood brain barrier, it needs to be paired with an appropriate protein to do so.

Amino Acids
The brain needs protein to function properly however proteins are not able to pass through the blood brain barrier until they break down into amino acids. There are over 500 identified amino acids that exist, but there are only 22 that are needed to build proteins that are essential for life to exist. These are categorized as either an "essential" or "non-essential" amino acid. An essential amino acid is not one that is more necessary or important than a non-essential amino acid, but is one that the body cannot produce on its own and therefore has to come from foods we eat. Fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids is not only a great protein source for brain health, but also has the healthy fats that are important for the brain. You can also get the amino acid protein building blocks you need by eating white meat chicken, seafood or other lean meats, sea vegetables, spirulina, AFA bluegreen algae, brewers yeast, some types of vegetables such as cabbage, beets, beans, and spinach, soy, dairy, and whole grains. AFA bluegreen algae is a particularly good choice as it contains glucose and essential fatty acids and is a rich source of phenylalanine, an amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier faster than any other amino acid. It has all 20 amino acids our bodies need for the building blocks of healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters needed for proper brain function. It also provides a perfect ratio of essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, helps maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry that feeds the brain, and provides an ideal balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, complex sugars, and fiber.

More Brain Food
Other foods you can add to your brain food diet to help with memory, focus and other cognitive skills include beets, bananas, spinach, and eggs. The nitrates in beets helps get more blood and oxygen to the brain thus improving performance, bananas are loaded with potassium that contributes to brain health, spinach contains lutein, folate, and beta-carotene which according to dietitian Tara Gidus have been found to help reduce the risk of dementia, and eggs including the yolk are a good source of DHA omega-3 which helps memory and mood and have choline that helps keep brain cell membranes healthy according to health coach Lori Shemek. There are also herbs that have been researched for their effect on brain functioning such as ginkgo biloba and ginseng. You can get Ginkgo biloba as well as the whole food nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae, eleuthero, wheatgrass juice, bee pollen, Lion's Mane mushroom and noni in this algae brain support supplement. That means not only do you get the memory enhancing benefits of Ginkgo biloba, but also the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins and other nutrients that feed the brain. In addition, bee pollen is reported to have a high amino acid content useful for stimulating memory and concentration, wheatgrass juice has been found to provide nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking, and Gingko biloba has been used for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells.

Feeding your brain what it needs will help you keep a strong healthy mind and memory. Get started feeding you brain now the nutrition it craves and must have for optimal brain health. It will pay off in increased memory, focus and the ability to concentrate now and will help you keep your brain functioning well as you get older. That's a win-win!


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  Salvatore Vuono  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/ss/slideshow-brain-foods-that-help-you-concentrate
http://news.health.com/2014/07/21/10-foods-that-boost-concentration/
http://www.everydayhealth.com/add-adhd-pictures/what-to-eat-in-an-adhd-diet.aspx
Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light & Feel Bright

Thursday, October 1, 2015

How to Have a Happy Healthy Mouth

Smiling at someone and having them smile back can really brighten your day and give you a lift, but bad oral health can cause either or both of you to keep your mouth closed and keep those smiles to yourself. That's a real shame and doesn't have to be. You can actually have a happy and healthy mouth just by making sure you eat foods that promote good oral health and adopting some good oral health habits.

Foods for a Happy Healthy Mouth
What you eat is an important part of developing good oral health. One of the keys to keeping your teeth, gums and mouth healthy is to protect them from bad bacteria and from inflammation. Eating foods that keep your body in an alkaline state can help with this. That means lots of fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean protein meats and whole grains. It also means staying away from foods with refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, refined flour, and partially hydrogenated oils that raise the acidity level in the body and create an environment for bacteria and inflammation to thrive. There are healthy foods that are acidic like citrus and tomatoes, but you can include them in meals with a variety of other foods instead of eating them alone to reduce the acidity effect. As soon as you put food in your mouth the bacteria that lives there and plaque breaks down sugars and carbs into acids which can break down tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay and cavities. Any type of sugar can qualify in this role so check labels and make food and drink choices that are low in sugar. Snacking throughout the day can also negatively affect oral health as not as much saliva is produced as during eating a whole meal. Saliva helps keep foods out of the mouth and reduces the risk of acid damaging teeth.

By getting the right nutrients in your diet you can help your mouth tissues be less susceptible to infection, decrease the risk of gum disease which is a leading cause in adults for losing teeth, keep teeth strong and reduce the chances of tooth decay.

Vitamins
For healthy gums, vitamin C is an important addition to your diet. This vitamin helps keep the collagen in gums healthy and reduces the risk of periodontal disease. You can get vitamin C in many types of fruit and some veggies, but if you're looking for a vitamin C powerhouse try kiwi. For forming enamel on teeth and healing of gums, vitamin A is another important vitamin to include in your diet. Good food sources for vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and broccoli.

Minerals
Healthy teeth need calcium and phosphate to build tooth enamel that has been damaged or destroyed by acids. Cheese is a good source for both these minerals and is good for balancing the pH level in the mouth that can help reduce bad bacteria. Sesame seeds are another good source for calcium helping to keep bone around teeth and gums healthy and in reducing plaque. Other good sources for these minerals include chicken, nuts and milk.

Hydrate Your Mouth
Water not only works well for rinsing your mouth to remove food particles and residue from your teeth, but also triggers saliva to be released and hydrates gum tissues which all reduce bad bacteria in the mouth. Foods with high water content, especially crunchy ones such as celery, also help get saliva going as well as massage gums and help clear away food particles from between teeth. The same can be said for other crunchy, high water content foods like apples or pears. The higher they are in water content the more diluted their sugars will be.

Other Great Oral Health Foods
The catechins found in green tea are reported to help destroy plaque forming bacteria that can cause bad breath and contribute to cavities and gum disease. While eating raw onions may not do so much for breath, they do have a strong sulfur compound with antibacterial properties. Then there is lentinan found in shiitake mushrooms that also cuts down on the formation of plaque. Since sugar is such a big concern in oral health, what about sugar substitutes? These substitute sweeteners are actually not digested the same way sugar is and don't sustain the mouth bacteria the same way sugar does. That makes them a better choice if you need a sweetener.

Other Healthy Mouth Tips
The most common good oral health tips are ones that you've probably heard most of your life. Brush your teeth a minimum of two times a day and waiting half an hour to an hour after eating is the best time. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste, floss every day and see your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. Some other important considerations for a happy healthy mouth include taking wholefood supplements that support good oral health. For example, Coenzyme Q10 has been found to support healthy gum tissue as well as heart tissue and olive extracts are supportive of bone health which includes the bone around teeth and gums. You can find ubiquinol which is the active form of CoQ10 and olive biophenols in this algae supplement. Then there's this algae and mushroom supplement that gives you the power of 5 different mushrooms that have been reported in studies to help boost immune system function and reduce inflammation and that includes maitake mushrooms found to support bone health. And finally, bee pollen which is one of the ingredients in this algae supplement has been found to support bone density.

Start spreading the smiles around by giving your mouth something to really smile about – good oral health. Improving your oral health now will only pay more dividends as you get older and having strong teeth and gums really is something to smile about.

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  stockimages  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:
http://www.totalhealthdentalcare.com/10-best-foods-for-oral-health/
http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/diet-oral-health
http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diet-and-dental-health