Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Keeping Your Immune System Strong During the Winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of  imagerymajestic  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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


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


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.

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.

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