Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Shocking Effects of Poor Digestion

You may not realize just how important your digestive system is and all the ways it keeps your body running, but healthy digestion is a key element in good health. You probably know that heartburn, constipation and diarrhea can all occur if your digestion system are off, but poor digestion and an unhealthy digestive system can cause lots of other problems especially since the gastrointestinal tract is a very large part of your immune system. If it's not working properly your body loses that vital resource to fight off foreign invaders which can make you sick. .

How the Digestive System Works
First let's get an understanding of exactly what the digestive system is and how it works. It actually starts in your mouth as soon as you put food in and chewing is the first step. The more time you spend on chewing, the more the food is broken down before it continues on down the esophagus to the stomach. There are also digestive enzymes, like amylase, in saliva in your mouth which helps in the breakdown. The mouth actually can also absorb many of the nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, the body needs right away. Once the food gets to the stomach, it breaks down more by mixing with acids and enzymes like pepsin. This stage is vital for proteins to be broken down into polypeptides and amino acids. Next stop is the small intestine where around 100 trillion microorganisms that live there help break it down even more. This is the step where the liver adds in bile and the pancreas adds in digestive enzymes, both adding to the breakdown process as the food travels through around 30 feet of intestine. In the small intestine are villi lining the tract. Villi take the nutrients that have now been extracted from the food and put them into the bloodstream. The digested food then has to pass through the ileocecal valve and into the large intestine which finishes off any digestion that is needed, absorbs water from food and decides what is still usable and what needs to go out as waste.

Causes of Poor Digestion
People suffering from anxiety commonly exhibit symptoms of digestive problems. Much of this comes from the way anxiety works on the brain. Anxiety activates the body's fight or flight response. When this happens it takes most of the brain's concentration and attention. This cuts back on energy for other brain functions such as control of the muscles used in digestion. For those who experience short term occasional anxiety, this is not noticeable, but when it is a more chronic condition it can interfere with the digestive process and lead to symptoms of gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation and diarrhea. Anxiety can also lower your serotonin levels. Serotonin is needed to send signals to the intestines and lower levels means an interruption in these signals. Anxiety and stress also have a negative effect on the friendly bacteria in the gut necessary for proper digestion and for performing immune system functions.

Food Sensitivity
Digestive problems can also be caused by sensitivity to certain foods. For example if you are lactose or gluten intolerant and eating foods with these, you may experience digestive problems after eating. This is a condition in which the digestive system is unable to digest certain sugars or proteins. Food sensitivities or intolerances usually produce symptoms such as abdominal cramping, bloating, gas and diarrhea and an elimination type diet may be needed to find out which foods are at the root of the problem.

Around 40% of older people have at least one and often more digestive problems during a year. According to Ira Hanan, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center, constipation is the biggest culprit. It is not uncommon as we get older to have heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux (GERD-type diseases) because we don't produce as much stomach acid as when we were younger. Many people think these digestive problems are due to too much stomach acid, but according to Dr. Mercola and other experts, it is the producing of less stomach acid than we need for proper digestion that occurs as we age responsible for these symptoms. When there are lower levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, the pancreas does not get signaled to produce the right amount of enzymes needed for digestion. This can cause the intestines to become clogged and result in constipation. Along with aging comes the slowing down of the muscle contractions that move food through the digestive system. That causes more water to be absorbed from waste and manifest as constipation. Constipation can also be attributed to some of the medications that older people typically take.

Not Enough Healthy Friendly Bacteria
Good digestive health is also dependent on a good, healthy balance of friendly bacteria in the intestines. These are also known as probiotics. These friendly bacteria, such as acidophilus, do well in an acid environment and are able to make lactic acid from stomach acid to add to the acidic environment of the small intestine. A healthy supply of these probiotics is necessary to clean up toxins, help rid the body of waste, and kill off bad bacteria. If you don't have a good balance of these probiotics, you may notice symptoms of gas, bloating, stomach cramps, intestinal cramps, stinky bowel movements, constipation, and diarrhea

Poor Nutritional Habits
Processed foods, sugary foods, junk food and fast foods can all contribute to killing off your good bacteria and feed the bad bacteria and yeast. Around 80 million people have too much yeast that has grown in the intestines. This can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, yeast infections, migraines, weight gain and other conditions. Eating too fast, skipping meals, eating when upset, or on the go are all other nutritional habits that are not conducive to good digestion. Eating too much protein all at once can lead to putrefaction which is a process where bacteria in the intestines are turned into toxic gases and chemical substances.

Natural Solutions for Poor Digestion
If you are having digestive system problems, stay away from fried, sugary and processed or junk foods. Make sure you are eating enough fiber-type foods and easy to digest foods. Plan meals that only have one to three different foods to give your digestive system a break from having to work too hard. Exercise helps your body with the digestion process too and if you are dealing with a condition stemming from anxiety or stress, jogging has been found effective. Saving water for an hour after eating or 10 minutes before eating can also help your digestion. Drinking with a meal can water down the chemicals needed for proper digestion. Make sure that in between meals you do drink enough water however as that is important for digestion and overall health.

Dr. Mercola suggests that supplements of probiotics, enzymes and hydrochloric acid can aid the digestive system. My favorite probiotics are this form of acidophilus designed to help the body process food efficiently and eliminate waste and this form of bifidus that contains the beneficial Bifidobacteria, which lower the pH of the intestine and helps in the manufacture of specific B-vitamins. Digestion requires lots of energy and the more energy it takes to digest food, the less that's available for other physical and mental activities. Digestion of enzyme-deficient food is especially hard on the body, affecting its natural vitality and feelings of well-being. These enzymes contain amylase, cellulase, lipase, protease, and lactase for more efficient digestion, to avoid the after-meal energy slump, and help break down fats, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. You can also get all these probiotics and enzymes as well as the superfood nutrition of a blend of marine and freshwater algae, organic mushrooms, and sprouted grasses and grains, some of the most nourishing foods on the planet; in convenient packets. These packets supply you not only with supplements for your digestive system support but also Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, a complete amino acid profile, beta glucans in their most bioavailable forms, over 60 micronutrients and 130 triterpenoids.

Digestive problems are no fun and can interfere with quality of life. No matter what age you are, digestive problems can occur and as we get older, the risk only increases. Start making some changes to your eating habits, some dietary changes and supplementation if you need it to help your digestive system do the best job it can 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.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Take These Steps if Stress is Ruining Your Life

In the world we live in I don't know anyone that doesn't deal with stress, do you? Stress has become a part of life for most of us. But how much stress is too much? When we are under so much stress that we start having stress symptoms that are detrimental to our health and well-being, it is definitely time to find some stress relief. The American Psychological Association found in its 2009 Stress in America study that 24% of adults have a high level of stress and tension. This was 42% more than reported the year before (http://ow.ly/BlAe4). If you are in that percentage, stress relief is important because a body that stays in a stressed state and can't return to a resting state can affect body organs, cells, and cognitive processes.

The Effects of Stress
When we are under stress the brain signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol. This can sometimes be useful according to Jill Evenson, ND, president of the Wisconsin Naturopathic Physicians Association as it gives us a boost that helps us get projects done on time (http://ow.ly/BlAe4). The problem comes when we are always in that mode and the stress hormones don't return to a normal level. Roberta Lee, MD, author of The SuperStress Solution, calls chronic amounts of stress superstress (http://ow.ly/BlAe4). Too much worry and anxiety can also be GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). Chronic stress symptoms include extreme fatigue, headaches, reduced libido, and memory problems. GAD affects around 7 million Americans, many of whom don't even know they have it. People with GAD experience tenseness and anxiety almost all the time whether there is a reason for worry or not and can show stress symptoms of pain in the muscles, diarrhea, headaches, tremors, and nausea. These people can't stop worrying and are not able to relax (http://ow.ly/BlAH9). No amount of on-going stress is good, but if you are in either of these stress categories, finding stress relief strategies that work for you is especially important. Here are a few natural stress relief ideas to consider. 

Stress Relief Diet
With everything that involves your health, a good place to start is to look at your diet. It is tempting when rushed and stressed to grab fast food meals and sugary, simple carb comfort foods. When you are under stress however, these are exactly the types of foods that will not benefit you. Michael Smith, ND, of the Carolinas Natural Health Center in North Carolina, explains that eating these types of foods cause more work for the body (http://ow.ly/BlAe4). Since damage from oxidation occurs from eating fast food, junk food, simple carbs and sugars, a body that is already having to fight off oxidative damage caused by stress then has to deal with all this extra damage from a poor diet. The type of foods to eat when you are under stress are those with lots of antioxidants to help fight off damaging free radicals. Bright colored fruits and vegetables are the best antioxidant food sources. Green tea also has antioxidant power and has a calming effect.

Here are a few specific foods that can help with stress relief recommended by Tara Geise, a registered dietitian in Orlando, Florida, and a spokesperson for American Dietetic Association (http://ow.ly/BlBZq):

1. Asparagus – has folic acid needed to make serotonin helps with mood stabilization

2. Dairy – Dairy products like cottage cheese and milk have protein and calcium to help keep blood sugar levels stable and milk has antioxidants, B2 and B12 vitamins that help fight off damage to body cells from stress.

3. Beef – has zinc, iron and B vitamins for mood stabilization.

Whole grains and monounsaturated fats as well as lean protein foods will also benefit the stressed out body. Complex carbohydrates help the brain make serotonin and keep blood sugar levels stable. Monounsaturated fats can be high in calories so you don't want to go overboard with them, but they should be included in a stress reducing diet. Avocados for instance have more potassium than bananas and help keep blood pressure at a good level. Foods with vitamin C have been shown through research studies to help return blood pressure and stress hormone levels to normal quicker. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and herring help maintain even levels of stress hormones. AFA bluegreen algae is also high in omega-3 for those who don't have time to make fish or just don't like it. Caffeine and alcohol can actually make stress worse and should be avoided during high stress periods.

Movement for Stress Relief
Another strategy for stress relief is body movement. This could be a formal exercise program or just getting out and doing things you enjoy that move your body such as swimming, bicycling or dancing. Exercise reduces levels of adrenaline being released, increases oxygen to the lungs, releases endorphins which make us feel good, delivers more nutrients to your muscles, supports digestion and metabolism, and helps your immune system clear toxins out of the body. So whether you join an exercise class, follow an exercise video at home, do basic exercises on your own, go for power walks on your lunch break or join a sports team, make sure you get at least half an hour of moving your body three or four times a week, if your healthcare provider agrees you are healthy enough to do so.

Learning to Relax for Stress Relief
There are various types of relaxation techniques that can be engaged in or learned. Some people find relaxation through massage or sitting in a massage vibration chair. Others find water such as a hot springs pool or hot tub relaxes them. Some people find relaxation in hobbies such as gardening, cooking, or woodworking. Michael Smith, ND advises that just taking 3 long, slow breaths can be relaxing as this will calm the autonomic nervous system and give you more energy, help the immune system function better and reduce blood pressure (http://ow.ly/BlAe4). Another stress relief strategy found particularly useful for people with GAD is cognitive behavioral therapy. This is a type of therapy done with a counselor that helps you explore those things that cause you anxiety and teaches you techniques for calming and relaxing (http://ow.ly/BlAH9). You may need to try out a variety of relaxation techniques to find what works for you. The main thing is to keep trying until you find one that works. Your body needs those relaxing down times, so don't give up if you don't find something right away.

Supplements for Stress Relief
There are some supplements that can be helpful for stress relief. Especially for those people that are stressed by having too much to do in a day and don't take the time to eat right, supplements can help fill the nutritional gaps. Fish oil supplements are one way to get omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, but you can also get a wide array of other nutrients, vitamins and minerals as well as omega-3 and the extra protein that can help with stress relief by taking AFA bluegreen algae with the cell wall for physical well-being and without the cell wall  for mental well-being. If your stress goes hand in hand with anxiety, then the herbal supplement Kava, Valerian or St. John's Wort may be helpful. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking herbal supplements especially if you are on medications to make sure they are safe for you.

Since stress can interfere with your digestive health and cause problems with normal digestion and worsen symptoms if you have an intestinal disorder or disease, supporting your digestive health with probiotic supplements such as acidophilus, bifidus, or a full spectrum probiotic supplement may be helpful for you. One of your gut functions is to produce B vitamins. B vitamins, especially B-12, help us relax, soothe our nerves and help us deal with stress. When we are stressed, we tend to use up our body's supply of B vitamins just when we need them most and need to replace them. Having healthy probiotics in your gut can give your body a boost to keep producing these vitamins and help your body cope with stress as well as support overall digestive system function and gut health.

Hopefully among these tips you get some ideas for how to deal with your stress. We live in a time that we can't completely do away with stress, but finding ways of stress relief can keep stress from ruining your life and your health.

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


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

5 Ways to Improve Immunity This Winter

With cold and flu season quickly approaching, we are reminded that the best defense is to improve immunity to protect ourselves from these nasty bugs. The stronger our immune systems are, the less likely we are to catch a cold or flu. There are many ways to improve immunity and get our immune systems in tip top shape. Here are a few tips that can help.

1. Mushrooms
Certain types of mushrooms have been found to be a great natural source to improve immunity. They increase white blood cells and increase their activity which gives a boost to the immune system. There are a wide variety of mushrooms and some have been found useful in killing off bacteria, viruses, and yeast and even useful in fighting cancer. The type of mushrooms called polypores appear to have the most antiviral ability. There is even a polypore variety that has been found helpful in combating smallpox. Research has found the mushroom Agaricon effective in fighting off flu. Various mushrooms have been found beneficial in improving blood flow, balancing cholesterol and blood sugar, regenerating nerves, supporting the kidney and liver, and reducing the risk of heart disease as well as many other functions that can improve health.

Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms seem to be the most effective to improve immunity. Here are a few reasons each of these mushrooms and a few others are particularly suited to improve immunity.

Shiitake - Lentinan is found in shiitake mushrooms. This polysaccharide is known for its antitumor properties and has been used effectively in the treatment of cancers, stomach problems such as ulcers and hyperacidity, and in liver support. Eritadenine is also found in these mushrooms and is used in lowering cholesterol. Shiitake mushrooms have been found to have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. This is especially helpful to improve immunity during cold and flu season with a variety of bacteria and viruses around to catch. This nutrient dense mushroom is rich in beta glucans, polysaccharides, glycoproteins, B vitamins, and ergosterol. Research is currently focused on its benefits for the immune system, cardiovascular system, immune modulation, liver function, cholesterol, and cellular oxidation.

Reishi – Ganoderic acid found in reishi mushrooms is used as a treatment for lung cancer, leukemia and other types of cancer. The reishi mushroom shows properties of antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antifungal abilities. It has been shown useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis, balancing blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reducing the prostrate related urinary symptoms in men. This mushroom is high in beta glucans, polysaccharides, and has 130 identified triterpenoid compounds. It is a complete whole food rich in proteins, enzymes, minerals, and complex polysaccharides. Research with this mushroom is currently focused on benefits to the cardiovascular system, liver function, circulation, cholesterol, inflammation, stress response, oxidative stress, immune modulation, cellular damage and immune system support.

Maitake - This gourmet culinary mushroom has excellent nutritional value through a variety of beneficial phospholipids, unsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides, antioxidants, beta glucans and plant sterols such as ergosterol. Scientists currently are studying it for its benefits for the immune system, liver function, endocrine system, circulatory system, bone and skeletal system, blood glucose, skin, immune modulation and cardiovascular system.

Cordyceps - This mushroom is rich in proteins, plant sterols, polysaccharides, antioxidants, and nucleoside derivatives. Scientific research currently is interested in its benefits for immune system, liver function, sports performance, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, circulatory system, immune modulation, cellular oxidation, blood glucose and kidney function. It has been found useful for endurance and strength and in warding off effects of aging. Cordyceps has been found to have antitumor properties, increase blood flow, balance cholesterol levels, give protection to liver and kidneys and there are indications it has antidepressant qualities.

Turkey Tail – This mushroom contains PSK and PSP which are both polysaccharide-protein complexes that are water soluble and contain polysaccharides, beta glucans, and protein. This mushroom is of special interest to the scientific community in regards to fighting cancer. Research on Turkey Tail revolves around benefits to immune modulation, digestive system, circulation, lymph system, immune system, liver function and cellular system. A 2011 study of women with breast cancer found Turkey Tail mushroom to improve immune system function. There is also interest in it for fighting infections such as HIV, Herpes, E. coli, candida albicans, and many others.

A simple way to get the immune boosting power of all these mushrooms and more is through a supplement. This particular mushroom supplement combines reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei, with astragalus, beta glucan and bluegreen algae for support to improve immunity.

2. Beta Glucan
Simply put beta glucan is a simple sugar that can come from yeast, bacteria, fungi or grains like oats, barley and rye. Not all beta glucans are the same however. They vary in structure and in the benefits they can provide. Beta glucan from yeast has been found to bind macrophages and stimulate them, thus benefiting the immune system function. The type of beta glucan found in baker's yeast is the most effective for immune system support. Grains such as oats and barley have a type of beta glucan found to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Beta glucans in general are known to help fight off bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics, release chemicals that support immune cells, reduce cold symptoms, and help regulate the immune system. Beta glucans are not something the body produces naturally. We have to get them from food or supplement sources. Wheat, shiitake mushrooms, rye, barley, oats, baker's yeast or our favorite mushroom with beta glucan supplement  are all good sources of beta glucan.

3. Algae
Another natural way to improve immunity is with algae. We love this algae supplement that combines 9 different types of algae for full spectrum nutrition. Here is how each of these can help you to improve immunity with whole food nourishment.

Dulse - A dark red sea algae rich in phytonutrients and pigments, high in plant-based protein, with important vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B6, B12, and A, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and manganese.

Ecklonia Cava - A rich source of bioactive derivatives, mainly phlorotannins, including triphlorethol-A. These phlorotannins are strong antioxidants as well as a source of other benefits for supporting healthy living.

Fucoidan - A seaweed compound derived from brown sea algae and is a sulfated polysaccharide.

Kelp - A wild algae that occurs naturally in all the oceans of the earth and is a rich source of micronutrients and minerals including vitamins C and E, calcium, magnesium, boron, and trace elements that are necessary for strong bones and muscle function.

Bladderwrack - A brown algae found in the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans that is rich in vitamins and minerals and contains the sulfated polysaccharide fucoidan.

Dunaliella Salina - A sea microalgae with high carotenoid content (beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein), antioxidants, and important vitamins.

Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) - A variety of bluegreen microalgae that is rich in chlorophyll, phycocyanin, a broad spectrum of minerals and phytonutrients, and vitamins A and K, and provides a complete protein profile.

Chlorella - A strain of green microalgae grown through freshwater aquaculture that is rich in nucleic acids, amino acids, peptides, polysaccharides, and minerals.

Bluegreen Algae - A bluegreen algae that is the only edible freshwater bluegreen algae in the world that grows abundantly in the wild, and is considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth. This algae is rich in phytonutrients, plant-based proteins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, as well as a wide spectrum of micronutrients.

4. Garlic
Allicin, found in garlic and released when crushing or chopping garlic, has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has been found to improve immunity and useful in fighting off colds. One study showed participants given a garlic extract for 12 weeks were two-thirds less likely to catch cold than those that were not given the garlic. Most sources indicate that cooking reduces the effectiveness and that using raw garlic is the best to improve immunity.

5. Tea
Tea has also been found to have the ability to improve immunity. Research has shown that tea can help boost the immune system in preparation for fighting off infections. One such study at Harvard reported participants drinking 5 cups of black tea daily for 2 weeks showed a significant boost in the interferon system's ability to fight off viruses. This could be explained by the amino acid L-theanine being found in black and green tea. The antioxidants found in tea have been found to reduce the risks of cancer and heart attack. Tea has antimicrobial properties and has been found beneficial in reducing the risk of diabetes, weight loss, and mental alertness. Teas that have been found to offer a variety of health benefits include green, black, white, Oolong,
Pu-erh, Chamomile, and Echinacea.

So don't wait until you get the cold or flu this winter, get started now to improve immunity and help your immune system get prepared.

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, October 19, 2017

Reduce Stress for a Healthy Lifestyle

To have a healthy lifestyle, stress reduction is a must. 70% of visits to the doctor can be attributed to stress. Stress signals the body to release cortisol which raises your blood sugar and your blood pressure and has been known to increase cravings for sugary and fatty foods. Cortisol also encourages the body to store body fat. Stress interferes with getting good quality sleep. Not getting enough quality sleep can lead to weight gain, lack of energy, poor memory and cognitive function and have a negative impact on your immune system. Stress can also affect digestion, cause heartburn, stomach cramping and diarrhea and research is showing it can affect brain tissue that regulates emotions and self-control. It can also be linked to skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne, and to an increase in risk of stroke.

Natural Solutions for Reducing Stress
  1. Stock up on healthy snacks when cravings hit. You know to maintain a healthy lifestyle it's better to snack on fruits and veggies than on donuts and potato chips.
  2. Exercise can help reduce weight gain and relieve stress, so instead of reaching for your favorite comfort food when stressed, go for a walk.
  3. Prepare yourself for sleep by establishing a bedtime routine, don't eat a heavy meal right before bed, and turn off all lights including blue light such as the kind from smart phones or PDAs.
  4. Massage therapy can help reduce stress, anxiety, pain, muscle tension and insomnia stemming from stress. If you find yourself stressed beyond your limits of coping, try getting a massage.
  5. Socializing and laughing are another natural solution for dealing with stress. Laugher has been shown to support immune cell function, be a stress reducer and research has shown that a healthy lifestyle is linked to our relationships and activities with other people.
  6. Eat foods that have stress relieving vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, B vitamins, coenzyme Q10 and chlorophyll. Eating foods rich in vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids can help lower stress hormones, but when you are under stress, your body uses them up more quickly. So just at the time you need them the most, you don't have enough of them. Making sure in times of stress to eat foods such as oysters, halibut, spinach and other leafy greens, nuts and seeds and bluegreen algae to help in relieving stress.
  7. Supplements that can help with having a healthy lifestyle through stress reduction include:
  • Our bodies also need more proteins when we are under stress. Be sure to get the "good proteins" though, as in the type from whole grains, soy, sprouts and bluegreen algae. Good proteins support your body's ability to handle stress, both physically and mentally. If you can't get all the extra protein you need from your food, consider taking this supplement with bluegreen algae and sprouts. Another great supplement to add to your diet is this one with nine different algae rich in minerals and phytonutrients, combined for full-spectrum nutrition.
  • Another supplement we find useful combines bluegreen algae, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni and was created especially for high-performance athletes and those with active lifestyles who depend on concentration and mental clarity. The blue green algae is a good source of whole food nutrition, bee pollen is reported to have a high amino acid content useful for stimulating memory and concentration, wheatgrass juice has been found to provide nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking, and Gingko biloba has been used for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells. This combination means support to help you function when stress overwhelms you.

You can use these and other natural solutions to help reduce stress for a healthy lifestyle. If you find yourself dealing with stress that can affect your health, making some lifestyle changes, eating foods that help reduce stress and taking supplements that can help with stress reduction are natural solutions that make sense 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.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Great Sources of Sustainable Food

As more people jump on board the "green" movement and turn to sustainable living practices, sustainable food sources are becoming in big demand. Informed citizens are more aware than ever about issues such as global warming, pollution of air and water, depletion of natural resources, soil erosion and many others that have led them to seek out everything from alternative energy sources to sustainable food.

Sustainable Food
Sustainable food involves a comprehensive practice of how food is raised, harvested, packaged and supports local communities. It comes from crops and animals raised using sustainable agriculture practices that protect the environment and the planet, replenish and conserve natural resources, provide healthy high quality food that does not use processing methods, support humane methods of raising animals used for food sources and support local community economies. Some of the ways we can all support sustainable food include buying products with minimal packaging to reduce waste, eating less animal products and more veggies, fruits and grains that are locally produced, and supporting products that are imported from other countries that carry a Fair Trade certification. Eating a diet of mainly fruit and vegetables has been shown in numerous studies to have a positive effect on blood pressure, increase life expectancy, be heart healthy and reduce risks of Type II diabetes and obesity. A reduction in the demand for meat also increases the availability of usable space to humanely treat animals as well as reduces the need for feeding these animals with grains rather than grass and the use of antibiotics and hormones that reduce the quality of our food.

AFA Alage: The Earth's First Sustainable Food
AFA (Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae) bluegreen algae from Klamath Lake in Oregon is one of Earth's first foods, the first oxygen producing organism that is responsible for 90% of the photosynthesis on this planet and a perfect source of sustainable food. Algae has been used as a plant based supplement to the human diet for thousands of years and this AFA bluegreen algae in particular provides a balanced source of protein, all 20 amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, antioxidants, fiber, carbohydrates and complex sugars. Unlike other vitamin and supplement sources, algae being a single cell is 98% absorbable. This nutrient rich algae regenerates itself quickly, grows in a unique, healthy ecosystem, is harvested by a company using a sustainable, ecologically sensitive harvest technique with minimal environmental impact and that offers a business plan that provides a strong and sustainable opportunity by creating a solid, reliable income stream. Any way you look at it, AFA bluegreen algae from Klamath Lake fits the sustainable food and sustainable living model.

As an example of how powerful a superfood AFA bluegreen algae is, consider a study done with malnourished children in Nicaragua. This study reported children given 1 gram of an AFA supplement every day for six months greatly improved in all areas (physical appearance, nutritional status, school attendance, behavior and academic performance), while the control group children's conditions became worse.

Other Sustainable Food Sources
Sustainable food sources can be found in just about any area. Granted those living in more rural areas may have an easier time finding local farmers or being able to have a home garden, but there are ways to engage in sustainable food practices no matter where you live. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, farmer's markets, small organic grocery stores that buy from local farmers, shared community gardens and finding a space for growing patio gardens in pots or hanging baskets are all sources for sustainable food. There are also innovative businesses being formed all around the country that support sustainable food practices. For example, in Brooklyn, New York local grocers and restaurants can get produce year round that is free from pesticides from Gotham Greens' rooftop greenhouse. Other companies are concentrating on eliminating packaging by allowing customers to bring their own containers or provide pick your own fruits and vegetables. To see some of the companies engaging in these type of businesses check out this website.

Our future and the future of the planet depends on adopting sustainable agriculture practices. No matter where you live or what type of community you live in, you can start contributing in some way to supporting or producing sustainable food. Pick one or more of the practices we have explored in this article and make the commitment to increase your health and save the planet in whatever way you can. 

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, October 10, 2017

The Flat Stomach Diet Anyone Can Use

Starting a flat stomach diet isn't all about fitting into tight jeans or looking good in a bikini, it's also about being healthy. Subcutaneous fat, is the fat we can see that accumulates just under the skin usually in the buttocks, hips, thighs, and abdominal areas. Seeing too much subcutaneous fat is an indication that we also have too much visceral fat. This is the fat that is around our vital organs such as liver, heart, lungs and digestive tract. This fat cushions the organs, but too much of it can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer and other health conditions. Research is also finding fat to be linked to bone loss and other bone related problems. This is why getting on a flat stomach diet is important to keep healthy. Getting rid of visceral fat allows us to have better sleep, more energy and better overall health. According to Travis Stork, MD, emergency room doctor and a host of the daytime talk show The Doctors, diet and exercise work better on fat on the belly than on other body fat.

When we talk about a flat stomach diet though, we're not talking about a specific counting calories, follow this meal plan flat stomach diet. We are talking more about making lifestyle and dietary changes to get rid of fat and keep it off. Diet results will vary for individual people according to genetics, level of activity and other factors, but these lifestyle change tips can help reduce belly fat and leave you healthier overall.

Start being picky about the kinds of foods you eat. Avoid processed foods and junk food with their preservatives, sugars, fats and salt. Opt instead for organic whole foods. Then find healthy nutritious foods that you enjoy that will fill you up. Finding what works for you to satisfy hunger without adding extra fat, sugar or salt will help you lose weight without feeling deprived or starved. Also consider the types of foods and how your body processes them. For example, it takes more energy to process protein than it does carbohydrates or fat or eating certain types of foods can increase metabolism or eating raw foods to get more enzymes helps digest the foods you eat. Start giving some thought to what foods you will and will not eat. This may involve making a big change in your diet, but establishing a new way of thinking about eating can be a lifelong change that will have a major effect on your health.

Antioxidant foods rich in flavonoids seem to be particularly good at improving metabolism and warding off belly fat. These are found most prevalently in fruits and vegetables which are also low in calories and help fill you up making them a good food choice. Pears, apples, onions, leeks, and sweet peppers all fall in the flavonoid category. Tea and dark chocolate are also good sources of flavonoids as long as you don't go overboard on the chocolate since it does have more calories than veggies. Berries are also a good source of antioxidants and studies have shown they can keep fat cells from increasing in size and help them release a hormone that helps in the reduction of inflammation and lowering blood sugar.

Ubiquinol is an active form of Coenzyme Q10 which works much like antioxidants in keeping our cells healthy. There are very few foods that can supply us with enough so supplementation is important. One supplement that has the ubiquiol to help support cell energy, also has reishi mushrooms which are a complete whole food rich in proteins, enzymes, minerals, and complex polysaccharides and oyster mushrooms that give us fiber, vitamin D, niacin, iron and the antioxidant ergothioneine and has the many added benefits of superfood bluegreen algae loaded with omega-3s.

MUFAS are monounsaturated fats or monounsaturated fatty acids and PUFAS are polyunsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fatty acids. Both of these are in the "good" fats category as our bodies do need some fat in order to function properly. For example, fat is needed to dissolve certain vitamins that are vital for a healthy body. Research has found that eating MUFAS helps keep blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels stable, reduces the risk of heart disease and helps burn off belly fat. They are also more filling so you don't have to eat as much as with other foods to satisfy hunger. PUFAS can help release fat, increase metabolism and the body burns them faster than saturated types of fat. Good sources of MUFAS are nuts, olive oil, seeds, and avocados. PUFAS are found in fish and fish oils, bluegreen alage, nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of PUFAS and have many benefits for physical and mental health.

Transfats or trans fatty acids are considered one of the "bad" fats. This type of fat increases LDL cholesterol levels and lowers HDL cholesterol levels and can increase triglycerides. Some transfat is naturally occurring such as animal fat in meats, but transfat can also be created by taking vegetable oil and adding hydrogen to it. This is done to help give processed foods a longer shelf life and you may find it listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Margarine, cookies, crackers and pasta are some of the foods to watch for this to be listed in ingredients. Transfats can take fat from other parts of the body and move it to the belly section. Even those of us who read labels have to be careful because in the U.S. the label can list 0 grams of transfat if it contains less than 0.5 grams per serving. That may not sound like much, but eat several servings and it adds up. Avoiding foods that have this type of fat will help with your flat stomach diet.

First eat breakfast. You've probably heard this before that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but especially if you are on a flat stomach diet, don't skip breakfast. Besides eating breakfast, don't skimp on breakfast. You may be starting your day out with more calories, but it will pay off throughout the day. Eating a good healthy breakfast in the morning helps curb the appetite the rest of the day and starts your day out with a boost for physical and mental energy. Then the rest of the day start making the lifestyle change of going for several smaller meals instead of the typical 3 meals a day mentality. Eating several smaller healthy meals every few hours helps reduce cravings for unhealthy foods, helps keep you away from the junk food, keeps you feeling full thus avoiding hunger pains and keeps you from feeling food deprived so that you don't go on a binge later.

When working on a flat stomach diet, good digestion is a must. If food doesn't keep moving through the digestive system it can become stuck which causes belly bulge. Probiotics, such as acidophilus and bifidus, are the friendly bacteria that naturally live in your small and large intestines. These bacteria help your body process and digest the foods you eat and move them through the digestive system. Foods such as yogurt and kefir with live active cultures can help give you some probiotics, but usually not enough. What I like to do is take these convenient daily packets of capsules that give me not only acidophilus and bifidus, but also digestive enzymes and 2 kinds of AFA bluegreen alage. The probiotics and enzymes add to a flat stomach diet by aiding the digestion process and the algae provides a rich source of omega-3 and a lean source of protein. In fact did you know this form of microalgae has 75% usable high quality protein compared to just 18% in red meat?

Many research studies have reported that eating foods high in soluble fiber can help get rid of belly fat. This would include adding foods such as oatmeal, flaxseeds, beans – especially black beans, kidney beans and navy beans, vegetables like Brussels sprouts, turnips, sweet potatoes, and asparagus and fruits like apricots, oranges, grapefruit, and mangoes into your diet. If you are not used to eating a lot of these, then you may need to start slow adding them in to avoid gas buildup. Beans and legumes also have the "good" carbohydrates that can help keep burning fat after eating and help you feel full so you eat less. And to add even more to their health benefits, they are a lean protein source.

Cutting down on sodium and increasing fluids can help in a flat stomach diet by reducing water retention. Read food labels to see how much sodium they contain, stop reaching for the salt shaker, and avoid recipes with excess salt. When you consider that one teaspoon of table salt has 2325 mg. of sodium and Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends between 1500 – 2300 mg. a day, you can see how we easily can end up with too much sodium in our diets. We do need some sodium to help balance body fluids, transmit nerve impulses and help muscles contract and relax, but too much is bad for heart, kidneys, fluid retention and blood pressure. Start experimenting with various herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of the traditional salt and pepper flavoring.

Drinking more water can help increase metabolism, help the liver to convert stored fat into energy and help in burning off fat. Most people need about 2 quarts of water throughout the day. Drinking water is important, but drinking green tea everyday can also help in a flat stomach diet. Green tea has EGCG which is a great antioxidant for increasing metabolism.

There you have it, 8 tips to help you make lifestyle changes that will equal a flat stomach diet for you to develop for yourself. You may already be doing many of these things and you won't have so many changes to make. If you aren't then don't get overwhelmed and stressed out by these suggestions. Take one or two at a time and start incorporating them. Once you are comfortable with those you can add another suggestion. Any of these tips can help you get a flat stomach diet going for yourself, but more importantly they will help you develop healthy dietary habits for the rest of 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, October 5, 2017

Got Burnout? Natural Supplements So You Can Enjoy Life Again

Burnout can leave us feeling tired, unmotivated, moody and depressed. There are many factors that can lead to burnout from lifestyle stress to adrenal fatigue or burnout. According to Dr. James Wilson our lifestyles have become more and more stressful over time, but our bodies haven't changed.

Adrenal Fatigue or Adrenal Burnout
The adrenal glands, which are just over our kidneys, secrete over 50 vital hormones. Among these are the ones necessary for producing energy by converting carbs, proteins and fats into blood glucose. The adrenal glands also help the body deal with stress. When we are under great periods of stress these glands don't work properly which means the more stress we have, the less energy production takes place and the less able the body is to deal with the stress. Stress factors that can contribute to this type of adrenal fatigue or adrenal burnout include allergies, smoking, lack of sleep, poor nutrition and too much caffeine. Adrenal fatigue or adrenal burnout can cause symptoms such as anxiety, sleep problems, salt cravings, dizziness, low blood pressure, sugar cravings, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, and palpitations.

How to Deal With Adrenal Fatigue or Adrenal Burnout
Finding ways to allow your body to relax is the best way to give your adrenal glands a break and help you cope with lifestyle stresses. Yoga, a soothing warm bath, aromatherapy, massage, meditation, taking naps, and deep breathing are all natural solutions to help relieve stress. Light, regular exercise such as walking or a slow bike ride not only can help with stress relief, but getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air gives your pineal gland a lift and sharpens your stress response. Other stress relievers that can help relieve adrenal fatigue include laughing, avoiding negative people, eating nutritious regular meals that include antioxidants, magnesium and calcium foods, and getting adequate amounts of B vitamins and vitamin C.

Nutrition To Help with Stress and Mood
There is a proven link between mood and the foods we eat. When stress levels are high, there are certain foods that can help combat the damage caused by stresses and help stabilize our moods. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be very effective at mood stabilization, even in the case of bipolar disorder. This type of fat feeds the brain which is a vital player in mood. B vitamins, especially folate and B12, have been reported in studies to have a positive effect on mood also. Our bodies should produce enough B vitamins, but many people are not able to absorb these vitamins from foods. This is typically a problem in the digestive tract and taking a quality probiotic supplement can help with production and absorption of B vitamins. Coenzyme Q10 is another contributor to good mood. According to Chris D. Meletis, ND, based on a January 2013 study, CoQ10 may have some antidepressant properties.

Serotonin is a hormone that has a key role in mood. Tryptophan is an amino acid needed for regulation of serotonin levels. The more serotonin that exists in your bloodstream, the better your mood is. Our bodies cannot create tryptophan on their own, so we have to get them from foods like plant and animal proteins or from supplements.

Supplements For Burnout
If you are stressed enough that it is making your life miserable, you're tired and overwhelmed, chances are you aren't finding the time to fix nutritionally balanced meals that have the types of foods with the above mentioned properties. If that is the case for you, then there are whole foods nutrition available from supplements that can help. Here are some of our favorites that are not synthetic vitamins or supplements, but actual whole foods nutrition from wild foods of the earth, forests, oceans and freshwater sources.

Algae such as AFA bluegreen algae, chlorella, kelp, fucoidan, Dunaliella salina, Ecklonia cava, dulse, and bladderwrack are rich in minerals, proteins, Omega-3 fatty acid and Omega-6 fatty acid, chlorophyll and other vital phytonutrients. This algae supplement combines 9 colorful algae for neurotransmitter support which affects mood.

Mushrooms from the forests are rich in antioxidants, beta glucans, enzymes, polyphenols, proteins, and triterpines and are among nature's most nutrient-dense foods. Mushrooms such as cordyceps, reishi, maitake, wild black trumpet, and Poria cocos are thought to be among the most powerful and beneficial foods on earth and can all be found in this whole food supplement for a rich source of proteins and antioxidants. Then there is an antioxidant supplement full of chlorophyll, glutathione, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients delivered through a unique blend of kale sprouts, red clover sprouts, wheat sprouts, concentrated wheat sprouts, and Dunaliella salina algae.

Our bodies need more help than ever to deal with the stressful lifestyles we find ourselves facing today. Find a way to spend some time relaxing and giving your body a break from stress, and if you can't make yourself find the time or energy to fix regular nutritious meals, then at least check out some of these supplements to give your body the support it needs during really stressful times.

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.