Metabolism.com is pleased to share the following article provided by our guest contributor, Tom Hines.
In some ways, your body is like a machine — it works best when itâ€™s properly maintained and tuned up. Food is your fuel and when you fill your tank with lousy fuel, your engine sputters and stalls. If your bodyâ€™s engine is sluggish and needs a jumpstart, spirulina and other green superfoods can help deliver the energy necessary to keep the machine running smoothly, avoiding a breakdown.
Spirulina is a â€˜green superfood,â€™ a term used to describe various nutrient-rich natural supplements, which include Chlorella, Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Alfalfa and Kelp. Unlike most store-bought supplements, the concentrated vitamins and minerals they provide are not synthetic. Green superfoods are whole foods harvested directly from nature and are exactly what your body needs to offset stress and to clear away toxins.
SAD is very sad indeed
S.A.D. stands for Standard American Diet â€“ there was never a more apt acronym. The majority of U.S. citizens today subsist on processed fast food laden with refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. Meats are frequently tainted with growth hormones, antibiotics and pathogens. For people who manage to work the recommended five to nine daily servings of fruit and vegetables into their diet, modern agricultural techniques have stripped crops of many vitamins and minerals.
Processed and cooked foods, which are the cornerstones of the S.A.D, and beverages such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol create an acidic blood pH, encouraging the growth of bacteria, fungus and mold. In an overly acidic environment, the body literally begins to compost. Illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes are often the result of the composting process. Green superfoods have an alkalizing effect, counteracting the acidity caused by poor diet, stress and toxic overload and setting the stage for a return to good health.
Spirulina and Chlorella, the most super of the green superfoods
Spirulina is a blue-green algae whose name comes from its spiral coil shape. High quality spirulina thrives in both salt and fresh water in tropical climates and it is known to have nourished the Aztecs, who harvested the algae from Lake Texcoco. Some of the benefits of Spirulina are:
- Contains all of the essential amino acids vital to human health
- An excellent protein source for all vegetarians, including vegans
- Balances blood sugar by boosting glycogen, which offsets insulin
- Rich in GLA (gamma linolenic acid) and other essential fatty acids Delivers an array of vitamins, including the all-important folic acid
- High in potassium and a dozen other minerals
- Improves focus and mental clarity
Chlorella is a single-celled green algae whose name is derived from Greek and Latin words that translate to â€œlittle green.â€ In the 1940â€™s and 1950â€™s, intensive research was done on little green algaeâ€™s potential role in solving world hunger, due to its high protein content and its bounty of beneficial vitamins and minerals. The natural health community, meanwhile, has always touted Chlorellaâ€™s health-imparting properties, particularly in the area of detoxification. In addition to being the very best source of chlorophyll, here are some more of Chlorella supplement benefits:
- Rids the body of toxins and stored waste
- Tones and cleanses the blood
- Reduces body odor, acting as an internal deodorant
- Improves bowel health and reduces flatulence
- Naturally freshens the breath
- Clears the skin
Cereal grasses and seaweed
Wheat grass is a popular juicing ingredient due to its superior nutrition, which it delivers without raising blood sugar. It also helps to lower blood pressure.
Barley grass alkalizes the blood and strengthens the digestive system.
Alfalfa helps reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol, without affecting levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol and studies are underway to determine its effectiveness at lowering blood sugar levels and its ability to invigorate the immune system.
Kelp is a brown-algae seaweed, which grows in abundant kelp forests in shallow oceans all around the world. Kelp is rich in iodine and therefore beneficial to overall thyroid health. Its high vitamin and mineral content promotes pituitary and adrenal gland health as well. Itâ€™s renowned for its contribution to lustrous hair and skin. Taken shortly after exposure, it can also mitigate the negative ramifications of heavy metals and irradiation.
Making the most of green superfoods
Incorporating Spirulina, Chlorella and other green superfoods into the diet is easy, since they are all available in powdered form. Simply mix the desired amount into salad dressing, or add it to soup, juice or water. The taste is fresh and green and the active enzymes of living food add a healthy dimension even to a less than healthy meal. Of course, pregnant or breastfeeding women and people taking medications should consult with their doctors before incorporating any new food into their diets.
Many people who regularly incorporate green superfoods into their daily regimen have reported increased energy, mental clarity and an overall healthy glow. When stress, toxic thoughts and an imperfect diet have left your bodyâ€™s engine sluggish, green superfoods are a quick and easy way to put yourself back on the road to health. Long may you run!
About the Author
Tom Hines, co-owner of NutritionGeeks.com (MN #1 Now Foods herbal provider), has been working in the nutrition industry since 1997, is a competitive powerlifter, lives with his wife Netti and three boys TJ, Grady and Brock on the prairie in west central Minnesota, spends his leisure time coaching youth wrestling, working with his horses and being play toy #1 for his boys.
5 steps, 5 simple steps can help us reduce dis-ease and induce ease.
1) Â EAT WHAT GROWS OUT OF THE GROUND. Â A pretty simple concept, yet the best way to have a healthy diet high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, good fats and good carbs. Â Eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables combined can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, Â high blood pressure and even osteoporosis. Â Ideally eat 9 or more servings per day for optimal health. Â Add whole grains, legumes, Â nuts, seeds, herbs and spices and you are on your way to a truly health promoting diet. Â Of course it is important to minimize exposure to pesticides and toxins that can end up in our produce and we’ll cover that in a future post.
2) Â HYDRATE. Â Drinking adequate amounts of fluids is extremely important to our metabolism. Â Our bodies are at least 60% water and even mild dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue and impaired athletic performance. Â Preferably our fluid intake will mostly come from purified water (I recommend Reverse Osmosis for several reasons we will cover in a future post). Â You can use RO water to make tea, coffee, lemonade and fruit seltzers. Â Most of us need at least 1 ounce per kilogram of body weight to start. Â We need to take in additional fluid in case of hot weather, losses during exertion, fever and other specific conditions.
3) Â BE ACTIVE. Â We all know that a sedentary lifestyle can increase our risk of heart disease and even cancer! Â Moderate activity that lasts at least 60 minutes should be done daily , or at least 5 days per week. Â To improve our fitness level, aerobic activity can be added a minimum of 3 times per week along with some weight training to build and maintain lean body mass.
4) Â RELAX. Â Stress can be as detrimental as a poor diet. Â The “fight or flight” response is great if you have to wrestle a foe or escape from one. Â A chronic “fight or flight” response is not great as the hormones coursing through our bloodstream can actually wreak havoc on our systems over time. Â A constant barrage of cortisol can even negatively affect parts of the brain. Â Deep breathing can reverse the stress response and begin to restore balance and harmony. Â Plan play time and get adequate sleep in order to keep that balance.
5) Â SMILE! Â Just the thought of a smile can make us feel really good. Â Imagine what the real thing can do!
Is your pain in the head a pain in the neck? Stress, certain foods, food additives, and hormones can initiate headaches.
Researchers have classified many different types of headaches that include sinus headaches, exertion headaches, fever headaches, menstrual headaches, and bilious headaches. To simplify letâ€™s examine the three major categories of headaches.
- Tension or muscle contraction headaches are often caused by anxiety and stress. These headaches are characterized by dull pain that begins in the neck or back of the head and squeezes the forehead area. They are characteristically described as having a â€œrubber bandâ€ tightened around your head.
- Migraine or vascular headaches affect approximately 28 million people, and 4 times more women than men. Migraines can begin suddenly, or present with warning signs, such as aura. They are characterized with one-sided sharp throbbing pain that may induce vomiting, dizziness and hypersensitivity to sounds and light.
- Cluster headaches, which are also vascular, affect approximately 1 million people per year in the United States. Cluster headaches usually cause pain on one side of the head, occur in groups or â€œclustersâ€, that can last for days at a time.
Anxiety and stress are the most common triggers of headaches. Avoiding all controllable situations that commonly cause stress and tension, such as avoiding over-scheduling appointments, and dodging upsetting confrontations and situations, may help you avoid some of your headaches. To address the stressors in your life that you canâ€™t directly control, there are some steps you can take to help you handle that stress, and help you avoid tension headaches. Stress reduction exercises, such as biofeedback, meditation, and yoga, can help you to become a stress survivor. Letâ€™s not forget about moving the muscles below your head. Exercise is a great stress reducer.
Dietary allergies play a major role in the onset of headaches. Identification of allergens in your diet can result in elimination of that cantankerous throbbing in your head. However, in clinical practice, I eliminate specific known headache triggers commonly found in oneâ€™s diet prior to receiving the results of allergy testing. Letâ€™s explore some the common dietary headache inducers.
A group of phosphoproteins in milk are commonly referred to as â€œcaseinâ€. Casein, which comprises 78.7% of all the protein in milk, is a major trigger of migraines and other types of headaches. Many practitioners eliminate all sources of casein in the headache sufferers diet. To eliminate all casein one must avoid all dairy, and the many foods in which it is found. It is commonly listed as sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, or milk protein on many food labels. These three main ingredients are found in sports bars, sports drinks, packaged goods and commercial tuna fish in a can (how do you think they pack tuna into a perfect hockey puck shape). An excellent book on the affects of casein and headache is â€œHow To Rid Your Body of Painâ€, by Dr. Daniel Twogood.
Another common dietary headache trigger is tyramine. Tyramine is a phenolic amine found in various foods and beverages. The following list depicts tyramine sources that should be avoided.
Cheeses: All aged and mature cheeses, since it is impossible to know the exact tyramine content, all cheeses should be avoided. Including but not limited to cheddar, swiss, blue cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, romano, cheese spreads, cheese casseroles or any foods made with cheese.
Yeast, Brewers and Extracts: This group includes brewers yeast, extracts such as marmite, and fresh homemade yeast leavened breads; yeast found in prepared foods, soups, can foods, frozen foods, should be checked for the addition of yeast abstracts and should be avoided.
Meats/Fish: Pork, and all smoked, aged, picked, fermented, or marinated meats must be avoided. Including but not limited to picked fish, picked herring, meat extracts, livers, dry sausages or prepared meats, such as salami, bologna, pepperoni, frankfurters, bacon, bologna, liverwurst and ham.
Also avoid: chocolate, overripe bananas, citrus fruits (oranges and grapefruit), sauerkraut, broad fava beans, Italian beans, tofu, soy sauce, and miso soup.
Beverages: No coffee, tea, cocoa, beer, Ales, domestic and imported, Wines, especially Chianti vermouth, Whiskey and liqueurs, such as Drambuie and Chartreuse. Nonalcoholic varieties of beers and wines should also be avoided.
Supplements to avoid: yeast vitamin supplements, L-tyrosine, NADH
The ubiquitous flavor enhancer MSG must be avoided. Monosodium Glutamate is directly associated with the onset of headaches in many people. According to George Schwartz, M.D., MSG is found in many common grocery items, and is usually hidden in the ingredient label. The following listing should help you avoid MSG and illustrate the fact that this substance is not only found in Chinese food.
Definite Sources of MSG: hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate or calcium caseinate, autolyzed yeast or yeast extract, gelatin.
Possible sources of MSG: textured protein, carrageenan, vegetable gum seasonings, spices, flavorings, natural flavorings, flavorings of chicken, beef or pork, smoke flavorings, bouillon, broth or stock, barley malt, malt extract, malt flavoring, whey protein, whey protein isolate, soy protein isolate or concentrate, soy sauce or extract.
For more information on MSG, click this link http//www.nomsg.com, or refer to the book “In Bad Taste: The MSG Symptom Complex”, by George R. Schwartz, M.D.
Caffeine can cause headaches. If you are a coffee drinker that decided to quit and had that classic â€œcaffeine withdrawal headacheâ€, you know the pain inducing power of this substance. Even the caffeine content in standard OTC pain relievers can cause a rebound headache. When trying to kick the coffee habit, wait until the weekend, or when time off from work is available. Next, try a coffee substitute product, such as the latest from the company Allergy Research called Best CafÃ©.
Avoiding tannins may be helpful for some sufferers of headaches.
Tannins are found in black tea, many herb teas, apple juice (though not apples), dates, kiwi, peach, berries, coffee, chocolate, carob, alfalfa, red wine, many alcoholic drinks, walnuts, and pecans.
Other substances to avoid include hydrogenated oils, sugar, food additives (especially sulfites), alcohol, and smoking.
Environmental allergies can play a role in the onset of headaches. Working with a progressive medical center to identify such allergies, can result in treatment called neutralization and desensitization, which can help alleviate headaches if it is part of the cause.
Hormones may be the cause of your headaches. 60% of womenâ€™s migraines are linked to their menstrual cycle. Migraine-type pain shortly before, during, or after menstruation, or at mid-cycle, may indicate a variation in estrogen levels. Further, hormone neutralization/desensitization may be beneficial therapy when treating headaches. A knowledgeable holistic physician can identify such problems.
Controlling blood sugar is an often overlooked, yet important part of any headache treatment protocol. Never consuming carbohydrate alone, eating small frequent protein rich meals, and avoiding all refined sugars and flours from oneâ€™s diet are just some of the steps to stabilizing blood sugar to head off a headache.
Certain supplements can help ease that pain in your head. Doses of the following supplements should be tailored to each individual by a certified nutritionist.
||Lactobacillus GG, 1 capsule per day
||1,000 mg in divided doses
||100 mg per day
||2-3 capsules per day of extract
Other causes of headaches that need to be examined include TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome, brain tumor, spinal misalignment, over doses of vitamin A, and hypertension. It is imperative to see a doctor if you are suffering from headaches.
According to the National Headache Foundation, your genes may play a role in you becoming a migraine victim. If both your parents had migraines, you have a 75% chance of inheriting that pain. If only one parent is a migraine sufferer, your risk drops to 50%. If a distant relative has migraines, your risk sinks to 20%.
Migraines may damage part of the brain that responds to pain and activates the fight or flight response. According to a recent study, scientists imaging the brain have found that blood flow to certain parts of the brain increases dramatically during the course of a migraine. Researchers at the Kansas University Medical Center found that migraine and chronic headache sufferers had more iron in a part of the brain called the periaqueductal gray region than those without headaches. The researchers mapped the brains of 51 subjects divided into three groups: 17 without migraines, 17 with migraines, and 17 with episodic migraines that progressed into a condition called chronic daily headache. They used magnetic resonance imaging in combination with a technique to map changes in the concentration of iron. According to researchers, the concentration of iron corresponds to the amount of damage â€“ more iron indicates the potential for free radical damage. The results of the study were presented at the International Headache Conference on July 1, in Manhattan.
The periaqueductal gray region sits in the brain stem, which extends up from the spinal cord and controls many involuntary processes. One of its main functions is to diminish pain. Researchers postulate that chronic migraines can lead to increased sensitivity to pain, even when they donâ€™t have a headache. K. Michael Welch, the vice chancellor of research at Kansas University Medical Center, believes that though future studies are needed, we should be very aggressive about preventing migraines.