Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The X Factor in Health: Are You Missing Colors in Your Diet?

Take a look in your closet at all the different colors you put on the outside of your body. Chances are you have a lot of different colors there and not just one or two. Did you know that putting a wide variety of colors on your inside can help you take your health to the next level? For many people a variety of colors of food is the X factor that is missing from their diets. Too many people stick with brownish and tannish colors on their plates as in meats, potatoes and simple grains. If your plate isn't as colorful as your wardrobe it's time to make a change by adding a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits to your meals.

It may help you to know why creating a rainbow on your plate is beneficial to your health and the most simple answer is phytochemicals, but Creative Nutrition Solutions owner, Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, warns that you don't need to get caught up in all the scientific data about what colors give you what types of nutrition. Instead just go for a wide variety of colors. For example if you are partial to fruits and veggies of a particular color, shake it up a bit. If your shopping cart is full of lettuce, spinach and kale, that's great, but add in some carrots, beets, squash, and as many other colored foods as you can. The X factor and the next level to strive for erasing it is to start trying new foods and go for many different bright colors.

Fruits and Veggies in Your Diet
There are so many advantages to adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. They are low calorie, have only natural sugars, don't have much fat or salt if any and give you complex carbs, fiber and lots of other healthy nutrients. Fruits and vegetables get their colors from the group of phytochemicals known as flavonoids. Flavonoids have been found to decrease risks of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer as well as being good for protecting the lungs. There are several different varieties of flavonoids including flavonols such as myricetin that you find in berries, grapes, and spinach, and quercetin found in onions, apples, and broccoli; flavones such as apigenin found in lettuce and parsley and luteolin found in beets and Brussels sprouts; flavanones such as hesperetin and naringenin found in citrus; flavan-3-ols such as catcehin found in tea and dark chocolate and epicatechin found in teas and legumes; and anthocyanidins found in blue, purple and red veggies and fruits. The main thing to remember about this, as many experts including the Produce for Better Health Foundation will tell you, is that these types of phytochemicals have antioxidant properties to protect the body from free radical damage and oxidative stress. If you already eat a lot of fruits and vegetables then you are of course getting phytochemicals in your diet and some antioxidant protection. But experts such as Kathy Hoy, EdD, RD advise using color as a guide to getting a variety of phytochemicals as many of them work together to provide us ultimate protection.

Creating a Rainbow on Your Plate
David Heber, MD, PhD and Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD are among the nutritional experts that divide plant based foods into groups according to color and the phytochemicals they provide. Instead of getting too caught up in the various color and color mixes though, the main thing to remember is to go for a wide variety of colored fruits and veggies on your plate. Just so that you know what different colors of foods are best for, here is a short list of some colors to consider, what they are helpful with and what foods fall in each category.

Blue and Purple – Color comes from the anthocyanin pigments they have. Rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and particularly good for heart, blood pressure, memory, reducing inflammation, and according to Gloria Tsang, RD, can help reduce chance of blood clots forming and reduce risk of some cancers. Foods in this group include blueberries, grapes, purple potatoes, prunes, plums, eggplant and pomegranate.

Green – The green color comes from chlorophyll and these foods are full of phytochemicals called isothiocyanates that help promote enzymes produced in the liver. This phytochemical and one called indoles also found especially in green cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage have been reported to help protect against cancer. Clinical dietician Susan Kasik-Miller, MS, RD, CNSC also applauds green veggies for their vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. Your eyes also get benefit from green foods that have lutein and zeaxanthin and you get vitamin C and vitamin E. Other particularly good green foods include Brussels sprouts, spinach, avocado, kiwi, pistachio nuts, asparagus, arugala, artichoke, honeydew melon, celery, kale, and bok choy.

Red – Red fruits and vegetables get their color from the pigment lycopene which is a carotenoid antioxidant known to be good for lowering the risk of cancer and for heart health. They also have flavonoids giving you antioxidant protection and that help reduce inflammation as well as anthocyanins, vitamin C and folate. Foods in this group include tomatoes, cranberries, watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit, red cabbage, cherries, strawberries, beets, red peppers, apples, red onion, and kidney beans.

Yellow and Orange – Rich sources of beta-carotene antioxidants, beta-cryptoxanthin, omega-3's, folate, and vitamin C that have been found to be helpful with immunity, eye health, skin, regulating blood sugar, and bone health. Foods in this group include carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apricot, cantaloupe, mango, oranges, lemons, papaya, and pineapple.

Other Phytochemicals – Not all your good phytochemicals have bright showy colors. There are many flavonoids that are considered colorless or white fruits and vegetables, but that have lots of antioxidant properties to help fight off damage from free radicals. Some may have an outer peeling only with a brighter color and then be white inside like apples, pears, and bananas. Don't discount these though because of their white coloring. They are good for dietary fiber that can reduce the risk of stroke and lower cholesterol levels. In fact one study in 2011 done in conjunction with the American Heart Association and Dutch scientists reported a 52% reduction in risk of stroke for people eating large amounts of these white fruits and vegetables. Also in this group is cauliflower, onion, potatoes, parsnips, garlic and mushrooms.

The Color of Algae
When it comes to color, AFA bluegreen algae can give you a rainbow in itself as algae is known to have some of the most effective antioxidants in the plant world. Microalgae contains a rainbow of antioxidant pigments including cholorophyll that provides the green color and has been found to stimulate liver function and excretion of bile, strengthen immunity, and detoxify chemical pollutants. Studies indicate that chlorophyll has anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic properties as well as antioxidant effects that combat damage from carcinogens. Phycocyanin, the blue pigment in blue green algae, provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and is particularly effective working with chlorophyll. Phenylethylamine, or PEA, comes from the deep blue pigment in algae and has been shown to elevate the mood, decrease appetite, act as a natural mental energy activator and help biomodulate emotions and mood swings. Bluegreen algae is reported to have a wider variety of antioxidant pigments and carotenoids than most other plant based foods and than just green algae.

Next time you go grocery shopping, think colors. Start filling your basket with as much variety to put inside your body as your closet has in clothes for the outside of your body. It's time to up your health game to the next level and get rid of those drab colors. Get creative and try new foods by adding a rainbow to your plate and it will pay off in taking your health to the next level.

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

Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light to Feel Bright

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Weight Loss for Busy People

So much to do and so little time to get it all in, so one of the last things that gets done is exercising or getting to the gym to help lose weight. For busy people, this is truly a dilemma, so what to do? There are some ways to help in weight loss that you can incorporate into your day easily without adding one more thing to your to-do list.

You probably know that probiotics are the friendly bacteria in your intestines, but you may not know there are two main types of these bacteria. These are bacteroidetes and firmicutes and studies have found that the balance of these is related to your weight. Some of these bacteria block fat absorption and allow for more fat to be released from the body in waste. Research has found that overweight or obese people have more of the firmicutes type of probiotics and less of the bacteroidetes type. The bacteria in the Lactobacillus family allow for less calories to be absorbed from food you eat. The Lactobacillus gasseri bacteria was found to be the most effective in providing weight loss results. Probiotics also aid in releasing the hormone that affects appetite which helps in burning calories and fat and aids in boosting protein ANGPTL4 levels that helps reduced fat being stored. One study reported women who took probiotics showed 50% more weight loss than those that didn't. Based on research such as this, adding high quality probiotic supplements such as acidophilusbifidus, or a full-spectrum probiotic supplement to your diet is a quick and easy resource to compliment your weight loss plan.

All living things have the large protein molecules known as enzymes that are essential to the digestive system and immune system. Enzymes are necessary for the breakdown of food so the body can use the proteins, fats, carbs, fibers and sugars we get from foods. Enzymes fall into three categories: digestive enzymes that break food down, plant enzymes that work on digestion in the pre-digestive stage, and metabolic enzymes that clean foreign invaders and substances out of the blood. We don't produce many enzymes naturally and depend on our food sources for our enzyme supply. The problem is that many of our food sources don't have the enzymes we need due to cooking and processing. Supplementing your diet with a high quality digestive enzyme supplement can help give your body the extra enzymes it needs to breakdown foods. If you are especially concerned about weight loss, make sure your enzyme supplement has lipase which is the enzyme that breaks down fats, helps in fat burning, and dissolves fat keeping it from building up in your organs, arteries and capillaries.

Bluegreen Algae
You may be aware that organic bluegreen algae is one of the most nutrient filled foods available as it is high in protein, minerals, enzymes, has over 65 vitamins including antioxidants, 8 essential amino acids, 10 non-essential amino acids and is loaded with chlorophyll. What you may not know is that research on AFA bluegreen algae shows the positive effects it can have for a variety of conditions such as allergies, diabetes, high cholesterol and weight loss. Research on how bluegreen algae aids in weight loss ranges from showing the alkalizing effect it provides on the body which can help with a reduction in gaining weight to how it helps suppress appetite to the nutrients it contains that help reduce stress which can lead to weight gain. It has also been found useful in helping to keep the enzymes found in the body active longer and has the antioxidant properties to fight off the destruction caused by free radicals that damage our cells and stress the body. AFA bluegreen algae is another easy addition to your diet available in capsules, tablets, and powder form, or for really busy people, you can get these algae packets that each contain two forms of algae capsules, probiotics and enzyme ready to take anywhere to tear open and pop in your mouth.

Other Weight Loss Tips for Busy People
Besides supplementing your diet with enzymes, probiotics, and AFA, one of the best weight loss tips for busy people is to drink water to increase metabolism and burn off extra calories. This tip was shown effective in one research study as participants lost 44% more weight by drinking 17 ounces of water 30 minutes before eating. You also know that eating breakfast is important for setting your metabolism for the day, but include eggs and coffee in the meal and you get an extra metabolism boost. If coffee leaves you too jittery, opt for green tea as it has less caffeine, but has the catechins that help burn fat. And replacing oil you use already for cooking with coconut oil that has medium chain triglycerides can help your metabolism burn off around an extra 120 calories daily plus suppress appetite so that you eat around 250 less calories daily

These are just a few really easy tips to add or replace things you do already that can make a difference in your weight loss plan. Use these to get you started while you look for other ways to add more movement and less calories into your day and you'll find that no matter how hectic your schedule is, there's always time for weight loss.

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.