Thursday, December 31, 2015

Simple Ways to Keep Healthy New Year's Resolutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, December 24, 2015

SAD During Holidays? Give Yourself a Boost!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Make Your Own First Aid Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of  Mister GC /


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Graceful Aging: Say Goodbye to Aches and Pains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light and Feel Bright