Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Crave Snacks? Defeat Your Hunger to Stay Healthy

Food cravings are often the cause in losing the battle of weight loss or in trying to eat foods to stay healthy. Whether it's out of habit, emotional eating from stress or boredom, or using food as a reward, these cravings are often hard to deny and willpower alone doesn't tame them. 91% of women in a Tufts University study reported having food cravings that they needed more than willpower to deal with. When we eat our comfort foods, the brain releases its chemicals like dopamine that make us feel better. We then associate those foods with the ability to make us feel good and reach for them as a solution when we feel stressed, angry, depressed and so on. Becoming aware of our food cravings and looking for the reasons behind the cravings is often the first step in understanding them and being able to develop other alternatives to eating unhealthy foods. Psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD advises tuning in to how you are feeling before you dig in to your favorite comfort food. Once you find a pattern of the types of emotions that trigger your cravings, you can find other solutions to deal with those emotions.

Understanding Your Food Cravings
Eating to feel better to deal with emotional issues is more about the emotions themselves and not really about the food. Patricia Farrell, PhD, a New York psychologist, suggests starting by making a list of your stressors and making a plan for how to deal with them other than eating. This allows you to start becoming aware of problems you encounter that usually trigger your emotional eating and lets you make a conscious choice on how you will deal with these problems. That puts you back in control and gives you the foundation to start making choices that will help you stay healthy. Once you have your list and find yourself confronting one of your stressors, take a pause before doing anything to give yourself the time and opportunity to make a choice. Since your cravings are usually satisfied by impulse, taking this pause to identify why you are having the craving to eat gives you the chance to delay indulging and picking another strategy to deal with whatever emotion you are having. Let's take a look now at some other reasons we have food cravings and some ways to deal with that hunger in a way that allows us to stay in a healthy place.

Distract Your Cravings
Before reaching for your favorite comfort food stop and remember that studies have shown food cravings can actually pass rather quickly if not indulged. One study reported that the intensity of cravings was lessened for participants who played Tetris for 3 minutes before giving in to their cravings versus those that just tried waiting it out. Finding some activity to distract and occupy your mind can give you the time to let those cravings pass without giving in to them. In 2013 a study was done in the UK that reported a reduction in craving chocolate by taking a walk for 15 minutes. According to Patricia Farrell, PhD, even taking 10 minutes to walk in place can reduce the stress triggering your craving and distract you to let the urge pass. Stress releases cortisol in the body and according to Norman Pecoraro, PhD, at the University of California, San Francisco, we look for ways to cope with this reaction often by eating foods with unhealthy sugars and fats. This conditions the brain to associate dealing with stress with eating certain foods. Finding other solutions to deal with stress will help break these memory connections and give the brain other alternatives to turn to rather than eating. Listening to music you enjoy, calling a friend, taking a walk, going for a bike ride, interacting on social media, or playing a video game are all alternatives that can distract you long enough to let the cravings pass. Linda Spangle, RN, a weight loss coach in Broomfield, CO, and author of 100 Days of Weight Loss, prescribes finding an activity that fits the emotion by identifying what emotion you are feeling and what is causing that emotion. That helps you in choosing an activity that addresses the specific problem instead of randomly picking one that may or may not deal with the emotional issue.

Eat Breakfast
Even if you are not a breakfast eater, start eating something in the morning. This can help fight off cravings later in the day. A study in the Nutrition Journal, reported girls who were overweight that started eating 350 calories in the morning that contained a minimum of 13 grams of protein were less likely to have food cravings throughout the day than those who didn't eat in the morning. Adding protein foods to your breakfast releases dopamine that may help in reducing cravings.

Sleep Your Cravings Away
Your food cravings can intensify if you are not getting adequate amounts of sleep. Not getting enough sleep time can cause a reduction in the hormone leptin which helps us identify when we are satisfied and cause an increase in ghrelin which stimulates the appetite. A study at the University of Chicago found that these hormone changes increased cravings for starchy foods by 45%. The best solution for this problem is to get enough sleep, but if that just isn't possible right away for whatever reason, reach for a cup of coffee before reaching for those sugary and fatty foods. The caffeine is not a good long-term solution and won't take the place of sleep, but it can help give you a boost in energy with less calories to get through the day until you can take a sleep break.

Indulge Just a Bit
Eating just a little of your favorite comfort food is sometimes better than depriving yourself until you can't stand it anymore and overindulge. A study at Cornell University in 2013 found that having a snack portion of a comfort food satisfied participants as well as a larger portion did with 76.8% less calories being consumed. Try taking just a few small bites of the food you are craving and don't feel guilty about it. Thoroughly enjoy those bites and then wait 10 to 15 minutes to let the craving pass and identify that it has been satisfied. You can also work on changing the association your brain makes between being satisfied and the unhealthy food by adding in a healthier food at the same time. Adding in a healthy food gets you the nutrition you need which can help satisfy hunger and reduce the craving for the unhealthy food choice. If your addiction is sugar, add in some fruit or a healthy sweet tasting snack. If you lean towards salty, crunchy snacks look for healthy alternatives in that direction. Another way to deal with allowing yourself a bit of indulgence is to put a small amount of the food you crave in a dish and eat it slowly. Put the rest up where you won't be tempted to get another serving and enjoy the treat you've dished out for yourself. It may be that you need to also change your thinking about food cravings. If you have the mindset that certain foods are bad or not allowed and that you are denying yourself, you will have a harder time with those food cravings. Giving yourself permission to have a little bit of those foods you crave takes away the perception that you are being denied and allows you to come from a place of empowerment instead.

Choose Healthy Substitutions
Looking for healthier food choices to substitute for unhealthy comfort foods may not be the ultimate solution for dealing with the underlying conditions behind your food cravings, but it can help get you through the day and allow you to stay healthy at the same time. When I'm feeling stressed and too rushed to stop for a good healthy meal, I find this algae and sprouts snack bar to be a big help. With a healthy balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients from whole-food sources, with no chemical additives or dairy, it provides an ideal mixture of complex and simple carbohydrates for sustained energy and has the great taste to ward off other food cravings. I also find using this whey protein-based shake powder helps ward of food cravings as it satisfies hunger with 22 grams of protein and the nutrition from AFA bluegreen algae. Tieraona Low Dog, MD, author of Life Is Your Best Medicine, suggests using a gymnema tincture, made from a vine from India, or one with bitters to help reduce sugar cravings.

You can learn to overcome or at least reduce your food cravings without overtaxing your willpower. Try out some of these natural solutions and get yourself back on track with healthy eating without adding more stress to your life.

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, January 26, 2017

How to Get More Greens? No Sweat

Getting greens into your diet can be challenging, but so worth it for your health. The secret ingredient that makes greens so healthy is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color and studies show it stimulates liver function and bile excretion, plus boosts the immune system, replenishes red and white blood cells which boosts energy and helps detox the body of pollutants. You can also get the vitamin K you need for blood clotting from chlorophyll and it helps with losing weight, anti-aging, and mental clarity. There are also studies reporting it has anti-carcinogenic properties. There are all sorts of green foods that you can get chlorophyll from including green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, collard and mustard greens, sprouts, and grasses like wheat and barley. One of the best sources for getting chlorophyll is bluegreen algae.

Sneaking Greens into the Diet
If you love vegetables then you'll have no trouble getting more green foods into your diet, but even if you are not a veggie lover there are ways to sneak more greens in. Start doing some creative thinking to get a variety of green foods into recipes. Soups, salads, casseroles, pasta or other noodles, veggie burgers, and even pizzas can all have spinach, collard greens, bok choy, mustard greens, Swiss chard, broccoli rabe, dark green lettuces, and cabbage added in them. If you aren't that creative just do some recipe surfing on the web and you'll find plenty of ideas. Even adding some of these greens tossed in with seafoods or lean chicken in some light sauces can green-up your meals. Adding raw, lightly sautéed in olive oil or lightly steamed veggies will help you get the most digestive enzymes from these foods. You can also green-up your snacks by making things like kale chips or snacking on this snack bar with bluegreen algae and sprouts. Kale chips are really easy to make by shredding some kale, toss with olive oil and lemon juice, maybe add some herbs or spices for flavor and cook 25 minutes at 300 degrees. Using herbs to flavor any of your recipes is another way to sneak green foods into your diet. You can actually get 60% of the vitamin K you need from just 2 teaspoons of thyme as well as 20% of the iron you need all for just seven calories. And adding parsley to your meals gives you vitamin k, vitamin C and vitamin A.

Getting More Greens for Non-Veggie Lovers
If you are not a big fan of vegetables, there are still plenty of ways to get more green foods into your diet. One way is with green smoothies. Adding fruits such as bananas or berries will help mask the taste of the greens. Just throw together some berries, chocolate, and/or fruit juice or kefir with spinach, lettuce, or other greens in a juicer type blender and get a delicious smoothie drink. You can also add in some wheat grass or barley grass juice to get an extra green punch. Another way to get green food nutrition without vegetables is from wholefood bluegreen algae supplements. You can get this powered form of algae that also has probiotics, digestive enzymes, and organic wheat sprouts or these convenient packets with two forms of algae, probiotics and digestive enzymes.

Green foods are powerhouses when it comes to getting good nutrition your body needs to stay healthy. But even if you don't like veggies, you can still get greens in your diet and the health benefits from them. Adding herbs, wholefood algae supplements and green smoothies are just a few ways to start you on the road to green. From there, use your imagination and find new ways to green up 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.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Movement is Life! Keep Moving With These Easy Tips

Remember the "Keep on Truckin'" comic of the late 60's and 70's? Turns out that was good advice as movement can help keep our weight down, support heart health and brain health, strengthen bones, ward off signs of aging and stress, and build muscle. That's a lot of reasons to keep moving. You might think this involves exercise and you'd be right, but there are a lot of ways to maximize your workout time and to turn movement you normally perform in your everyday life into exercise. Here are some tips to help if your healthcare provider agrees that these types of movement are safe for you.

  • Walking is a great form of exercise that can be done anywhere with no special equipment. It can easily be worked into your regular day by looking for opportunities to walk instead of riding. Bob Greene, a fitness trainer, recommends gearing your walking towards the amount of time you walk instead of setting a distance goal and to maintain a posture of keeping chin up, shoulders held back and swinging the arms at a 90 degree angle to get the most out of your walks. He also stresses that doing stretches before and after is important. 
  • According to Dr. Oz, research shows those who do regular walking will lose weight and keep it off more than those who don't walk for exercise. He advises alternating moderate walking for two minutes and fast walking for one minute and to walk up inclines to burn off more calories.  
  • Studies also show that walking confidently with long strides and swinging arms for three minutes boosts your happiness ratio. 
  • Aerobic exercise, according to John Ratey, MD, author of Spark, an exercise science book, gives you a longer time before the fight or flight response kicks in. Exercise combined with muscle relaxation increases serotonin and dopamine and other neurotransmitters that help deal with stress and give your mood a lift. 
  • Work some workout time into your daily errand schedule. Park further away from the store to increase your walking time and Petra Kolber, Reebok master trainer, suggests using your shopping bags like weights and do biceps curls with them. You can also practice some simple balance exercises while standing in lines like the tai-chi horse stance suggested by Scott Cole and walk up stairs on tiptoes as suggested by Ellen Barrett, a trainer from Los Angeles. 
  • Research shows that it's never too late to get started with an exercise program and get the same benefits as if you had started earlier in life. David Matelot, of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research authored a study reporting that men starting endurance exercise programs after 40 showed as much benefit for heart health as those that started before they were 30. This study did also report that there were benefits in other areas that were increased by starting earlier though, so don't put your exercise off. 
  • Other research shows that movement can help reduce the muscle loss and mental decline that we often associate with aging. Another good reason to keep moving and get started working exercise into your regular routine. 
  • To keep moving and be healthy enough for exercise, good nutrition is necessary. Whole food supplements can also be used to fill in nutritional gaps and support the body to make movement easier. This supplement has ingredients known to feed the cells and help them fight off stress of cellular oxidation and inflammation caused by exercise. An antioxidant with AFA bluegreen algae supplement can also help provide nutrition found to help keep the body in shape to stay active by providing nutrition for stem cells to reproduce and protect our natural adult stem cells from free radicals. This supplement gives you glucosamine, chondroitin, undenatured collagen and AFA bluegreen algae for a combination of nutrients reported to support joint and cartilage health which are key to movement. 

If you weren't already aware of how important it is for you to keep moving and get the most out of the exercise time you can work in, then hopefully you see it now. Try out some of these tips for yourself and see how much you can increase your movement time to keep moving and stay fit.

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, January 19, 2017

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

With all the stress of busy lives it may sometimes feel like you’re losing your mind, but a little forgetfulness is a normal and short term condition in most cases to a number of triggers. Luckily there are brain foods and other natural solutions that can help boost brain function and improve memory. According to Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD, founder and chief medical officer of NeurExpand Brain Center in Luterville, MD, the brain has the ability to improve and change. Even just being aware of some of the stressors that can affect memory can help you make plans when you know you need to be at your best mentally.

Nutrition For Your Brain and Mind
The first thing to know about feeding your brain is that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. You can improve short-term memory and attention according to research studies, just by getting a good start to the day with a healthy breakfast. Include fruit, dairy and a food high in fiber according to nutrition experts to jump start your brain for the day. Avoid eating a heavy meal with lots of calories though as that can interfere with concentration.

Protein is another important brain food and protein foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as coldwater fish like salmon, tuna, cod, and mackerel give you the best brain power. Omega-3 fatty acids have been reported to boost memory, lower the risks of dementia, stroke and mental decline that can come with aging. If you just don’t like fish, eat like a fish instead with AFA bluegreen algae supplements. A form of AFA bluegreen algae that gives you the heart of the algae with the cell wall removed provides essential omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and nutrients to help maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry that feeds the brain, prevents memory loss and helps the brain function properly. It also has amino acids that are the building blocks of healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters needed for the brain to function properly. 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 natural 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.

Glucose made from sugars and carbohydrates you eat are a good source of fuel for the brain. Don’t think that means donuts and candy bars though. We’re talking about the natural sugars from whole foods. Complex carbs are healthier for you than simple carbs so adding whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, beans, peas and lentils to your diet will help fuel your brain. Glucose is a small enough molecule to be able to pass through the Blood Brain Barrier, but these molecules must first be paired with the appropriate proteins before they will be allowed to pass. Choosing a glass of fruit juice or a complex carb when you need to really concentrate and improve memory will help give you a natural short term solution.

Green tea is another natural brain food. Chemicals such as EGCG and L-theanine found in it have been found to increase brain cell growth in the hippocampus which helps with short-term memory and the ability to learn new material according to Dr. Fotuhi.

Sleep and Memory
Getting adequate amounts of sleep lets your body have the time to recharge and that includes your brain. Sleep time gives the brain a chance to process information and put that information into your memory centers for later recall. Not getting adequate amounts of sleep can leave you with brain fog, trouble concentrating and problems transferring information to memory. While more study is needed on how sleep affects memory, experts such as Allen Towfigh, MD, medical director of New York Neurology & Sleep Medicine believe that areas of the brain that deal with memory become more active when we are asleep. This could include the hippocampus reviewing information from the day and the neocortex processing that information to store in long-term memory.

How Stress Affects the Brain
According to Dr. Towfigh, stress can be damaging to the brain and memory. Stress hormones can negatively impact brain cell receptors that control memory and the processing of thought. Stress can also affect brain tissue that regulates emotions and self-control. Meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga are all good for stress management. Meditation has also been shown to create growth in the cortex area of the brain which is responsible for memory. Eating foods with magnesium, B vitamins and chlorophyll can help your body deal with excess stress. As your body becomes stressed it uses up these stress relievers more quickly so that just when you need them the most, they are the least available to you. Eating lots of leafy greens, halibut, oysters, nuts and seeds can give you the extra nutrition you need to support your body through the times you are coping with stress.

Exercise to Boost Memory
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, decreases adrenaline levels, helps make new brain neurons and increases dopamine and serotonin production which are hormones that regulate mood and give us a lift. Just taking a brisk 5 minute walk outside can release endorphins which make you feel happier, increase circulation to the brain so you can think more clearly, and reduce the adrenaline and cortisol produced by stress. Having a regular exercise routine is also conducive to good quality sleep that helps memory and cognitive function. One study found in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, done with animals, reported running daily increased growth of brain cells. Exercising your brain through activities that cause you to learn new information is also good for keeping brain function and memory in good shape.

Avoid Distractions
When you are engaged in something that really requires concentration and focus, many people don’t realize how distractions serve to get them off track. Every time you stop what you are doing and put your focus somewhere else, your concentration is interrupted and it takes longer to get your focus back. In this day of instant messaging, texts, social media and email there are always tones and ringers going off to distract us. Instead of checking every tweet, post and email as it comes in, turn off your sounds when you need concentration time and set specific break times that you will adhere to for getting up and moving around and checking in on communications. Many people pride themselves on being able to multi-task, but research reports finding that every time your attention changes focus you are taking more time to get tasks accomplished. Concentrating on one task at a time until it is completed when you can will save you time and be less stressful.

Your brain performs so many essential functions for you that now is the time to do something good for it. Make sure you feed it the nutrition it needs, give it the proper amounts of exercise, avoid stress and overworking it and get enough sleep and your brain will keep doing the best job for you possible. A mind is a terrible thing to waste so make sure you treat your brain with all the care it deserves.

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, January 12, 2017

Can Hawaiians Help You with Pain?

Pain, redness, swelling. All these can be signs of inflammation and while pain and swelling sound like bad things, that's not necessarily so. Actually inflammation is how your body fights infection, responds to illnesses from bacteria and viruses, reacts to ingesting allergens, injury, and overdoing exercise or physical labor. What happens in these conditions is that the body increases the blood flow to the area that is affected, moves white blood cells and other protective cells to combat bacteria and viruses, and releases chemicals that protect tissues around the area affected. While this causes us pain, redness and swelling for a time, it also means the body is repairing itself and that's good. But sometimes inflammation becomes chronic because the body just doesn't turn the reaction off or it starts triggering inflammatory action when it is really not warranted. Inflammation can also occur from free radicals running rampant in the body causing oxidative damage, stress, not getting enough exercise, being exposed to toxins, and diet concerns such as an unbalanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, not enough phytochemicals, too much fat and simple carbs, and eating too much refined and processed foods. Inflammation that becomes chronic can be linked to disastrous results like heart disease, cancers, and Alzheimer's.

What Does Hawaii Know
When it comes to reducing chronic inflammation, there are definitely some lessons we can take from Hawaiians. Two of these are noni and bromelain which is found in pineapple. The noni tree is a small evergreen tree that is native in places such as the Hawaiian Islands and the fruit and leaves have been used for centuries for healing. Native Polynesians call it the pain killer tree and it's been used for everything from colic and coughs, to constipation and liver disease to ulcers, high blood pressure and pain from arthritis and lots more. Many of this healing ability is credited to the flavonoids, antioxidant catechins, and polysaccharides it contains. Nutritionally it also gives you niacin, potassium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and dietary fiber. The other thing that can help with inflammation that comes from places such as Hawaii is pineapple. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain that has anti-inflammatory properties. This enzyme, that is able to dissolve protein, affects the white blood cells, leukocytes, that contribute to inflammation.

Other Ways to Fight Inflammation
There are many other natural solutions through diet that can be used to help fight inflammation. Foods that contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E and selenium help fight off free radicals that damage body cells and cause oxidation in the body which can lead to inflammation. Some of the best sources for antioxidants are bright colored fruits and vegetables, green tea and edible mushrooms and for selenium are foods like oysters, clams, crab, sardine and fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats, whole grains, beans and legumes. Certain spices like ginger and turmeric also have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties so finding recipes to add these into your diet can be helpful. In the case of an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids being the cause of inflammation, fish oil, algae, or just eating fish can help. Research on participants with rheumatoid arthritis taking fish oil have shown a reduction in pain and stiffness. It also has ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which is a type of omega-3 that is a powerful antioxidant able to penetrate oil and water so it can work inside the body and outside on skin. Actually though ALA and other fatty acids like, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are found in fish and fish oil because fish eat algae and algae is their source for them. You can do the same and get the exact ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 that the human body needs from AFA bluegreen algae. AFA bluegreen algae in addition gives you phycocyanin which acts as a powerful antioxidant, phytonutrients, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, necessary trace minerals such as copper and chromium, 20 different amino acids including carnitine, and tyrosine, and a wide variety of vitamins including vitamin A and B vitamins which also help in coping with stress.

Supplement Your Diet With Inflammation Fighting Ingredients
It sounds great to reduce your inflammation by eating all the right foods like veggies, fruits, fish, healthy oils, nuts and whole grains, but we all know in our busy lives this doesn't always happen. You can still get the good nutrition you need by adding wholefood supplements to your diet. You can even get supplements with the bromelain and noni found useful for reducing inflammation. For a boost of antioxidant power, take a look at this supplement with a combination of bluegreen algae, wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea and that is especially useful to take before a workout or strenuous exercise. To get in your bromelain as well as other plant based enzymes like papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase and some AFA bluegreen algae added in, you can try this supplement designed particularly for those with active lifestyles or athletes who overwork their joints and tissues. And for even more antioxidant power, there's this supplement that blends wild blueberry, green tea, carnosine, and organic wild bluegreen algae.

Eating right and exercising is always the best way to stay healthy and active. But when that is not an option, know that there are wholefood supplements that can help you get the nutrition your body needs to work at its optimal level. So take a lesson from nutritionists and from Hawaiians and eat those foods you know will support your body to do its best for you.

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, January 10, 2017

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids – A Quick Explanation

If you are confused about the difference between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, you are not alone. Many health-oriented folks are aware that we need these fatty acids, but don't know the role that each plays in the body ... or how much of each we need.

So here's a quick explanation that might help: Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids both fall in the category called Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), which are fatty acids that our bodies need but which our bodies cannot produce. That means that we have to get EFAs from the foods and supplements we eat.

The optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is 3:1. The Standard American diet goes so far overboard with the omega-6's that the ratio is more like 20:1. Even those of us that try to eat healthy and get omega-3 fatty acids in our diets don't get off the hook. If you stock your diet with coldwater fish, chia seeds, dark-green leafy vegetables, various seeds, nuts, and flax and olive oil then you may be going overboard with your ratio in the favor of omega-3's. Tipping the scales too far in the omega-3 direction can cause changes to body cells, allergies, a reduction in sexual drive or suppress the immune system.  

Take a look at the types of food you eat. If you eat mostly from the Standard American diet then you are getting too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. The obvious solution is to cut down on the processed and fast foods and make sure you add some of the omega-3 foods into your diet each week. If you are getting too many omega-3's in your diet, then we aren't recommending you head for the nearest fast food restaurant, but instead add some hemp seed,sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and raw nuts to your diet. Gamma-linolenic acid which is an active form of omega-6 is available in hemp seeds and linoleic acid which is the inactive form is available from the raw nuts, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. When eating foods with linolenic acid, consuming foods with Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium will convert them to the active form.

The imbalance of too many Omega-6 fatty acids and too few Omega-3 fatty acids leads to problems. Why? Because hormones generated from Omega-6's tend to cause inflammation in the body, clotting of the blood, and cell proliferation. The Omega-3 fatty acids have the opposite effect. When we get equal amounts of both types of fatty acids, our bodies stay healthy. But the modern diet gives us way too many Omega-6's and too few Omega-3's.

The solution? Eat more fish. A simpler solution is to add AFA blue-green algae to your diet. Each algae cell contains 4.1 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids and only 0.9 mg of Omega-6 fatty acids. Thus taking blue-green algae can help rebalance these fats in your system.

This balance is important since inflammation from too much Omega-6 can lead to chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, many forms of cancer, asthma, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases.

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, January 5, 2017

Oxidative Damage from Free Radicals -- What?!

I don't know about you, but sometimes when I read a health article I get lost within the first couple of sentences. I'm relatively intelligent, but how many people can give you an instant definition of terms like:

  • oxidative damage
  • free radicals
  • antioxidants

You might know that all three of these things are related and that the first 2 are bad for you ... and have some idea that the last one is probably good for you. But you may still end up with a giant question mark over your head, especially if you start shopping at the health food store for "good for you" supplements.

Some Simple Health Definitions 
So what do all these phrases mean? Well, they actually are simpler than you think. Let's look at some simple definitions.

Oxidative Damage 
 What does that mean, really? To find out what oxidation does, just look at your car or any piece of metal left exposed to the elements, especially oxygen. When the metal interacts with the oxygen in the air, if not protected the metal will rust. That is a very simple example of oxidative damage.

Oxidative damage can also occur with skin cells. For instance, when you get a cut, the cells around and in the cut are exposed to oxygen and the process of oxidation occurs. While metal rusts, skin cells die. Skin cells can also die from excessive exposure to sun -- this is another form of oxidative damage.

Inside your body, cells interact with oxygen in the air you breathe and the food you eat. Through various complex processes, oxidative damage occurs and cells die off.

Free Radicals 
Free radicals are related to oxidation. Here's how. Cells damaged by oxidation are called free radicals, and end up missing a crucial molecule. These free radical cells then try to "rob" other cells to restore the missing molecule. In the process, the cell that is being robbed gets damaged. When that damage occurs to the DNA, the cell then becomes a mutant cell, and mutant cells are often the start of disease or chronic illness. One free radical cell can often start a free radical "cascade," with each damaged cell in turn damaging another cell. So in short, a free radical is a damaged cell that damages DNA in other cells causing mutation and disease. Whew! Glad that one is out of the way.

OK, this one is much easier to explain. Going back to the example of the metal in your car, an antioxidant is the body's equivalent of wax and paint, both of which prevent oxidation. Inside the body, antioxidants either prevent the oxidation process or stop the process before it "cascades." Vitamin C, for instance, captures free radical cells and neutralizes them, preventing oxidation from  happening to more cells. Other vitamins, like Vitamin E, stop the free radical cascade process.

These days, experts estimate that the free radical load is much heavier than it was 200 years ago. Almost everything we eat, drink, or breathe can cause oxidative damage. Exposure to outer substances, like smoke or asbestos, can do the same. That's why we need to add a variety of antioxidants to our diets. Our bodies simply can't keep up with all the free radicals being produced.

Powerful Antioxidants 
When deciding which antioxidants to add to your diet, consider that variety is important. Eating 10 servings of the same vegetable every day isn't going to help you much. Powerful antioxidant protection comes from whole food sources that provide a whole spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals. Consider adding:

- fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- legumes and nuts
- wheat sprouts, coenzyme Q10, blue-green algae

The effect of antioxidants is supportive over a long period of time rather than instantly dramatic. Just as waxing your car prevents rust, adding antioxidants to your diet supports your body in the face of chronic illness and disease. So know that you are doing something good for your body when you take antioxidants, even if you can't actually "see" the effects with your own two eyes!

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.