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Spirulina: The Incredible Superfood You’ve Never Heard Of

Spirulina: The Incredible Superfood You’ve Never Heard Of
Sounds a little weird, a superfood from a pond, right? Fact is, spirulina is a natural, blue-green algae found in warm, fresh water. When harvested properly from non-contaminated ponds, it’s one of today’s hottest superfoods. Why? The algae is so nutrient-rich, it’s considered a sustainable food source with the potential to end world hunger. And it’s used globally to treat a wide variety of ailments. The algae is feisty too – unlike most plants, spirulina can withstand extreme temperature variations and neglect and still thrive. Here’s what spirulina has to offer:
Protein: Spirulina is 65-71% complete protein. To give you some perspective – beef is 22% protein. And the essential amino acids found in spirulina are easily absorbed by the body. Imagine a plant that actually provides most of the protein you need to live. Sorry cows, it’s a fact.
Omega-3’s: Spirulina is especially high in heart-protective Omega-3 fatty acids and contains Omega-6’s (crucial for brain function as well as growth and development) and Omega-9’s (helps lower cholesterol and controls blood sugar). Spirulina also contains the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid(GLA) which is hailed for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Chlorophyll: Loaded with chlorophyll (the green pigment in algae and plants), spirulina helps remove toxins from the blood and boosts the immune system.
Iron: Not only does spirulina contain iron, it’s bio-available, meaning the mineral is easily absorbed by the body (important for non meat-eaters and folks with anemia). Even better news?  Unlike iron supplements, spirulina doesn’t cause constipation.
Nutrients: Look at this bounty: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folic acid, vitamins C, D, A, and E, potassium, chromium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc. Phew, gotta catch your breath after that.
Calcium: Spirulina contains over 26 times the calcium of milk, making it an excellent option for folks that don’t eat dairy. Calcium helps maintain strong bones and teeth, is used to help control muscle and nerve function, and helps manage the acid/base balance in our bloodstream. Thanks in part to the nutrients above, spirulina has additional benefits:
Detoxifies: Spirulina can bind with heavy metals in the body and help remove them.
Burns Fat: This powerful algae actually increases fat burning during exercise.
Boosts Immune System: Spirulina has been shown to encourage and support the growth of healthy bacterial flora in your gut, which helps control candida overgrowth and alleviate the symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lupus, and fibromyalgia (chronic candida can both cause and worsen symptoms when left uncontrolled).
Relieves Allergies: Millions of people suffer from allergic reactions to pollen, ragweed, dust, mold, pet dander, and environmental contaminants. Spirulina helps prevent these reactions by stopping the release of histamines, substances that contribute to allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, hives, and swelling.
Lowers Cholesterol: A recent study revealed that when elderly men and women (ages 60-87) were given 8 grams of spirulina per day for 16 consecutive weeks, their cholesterol levels were significantly lower than those given a placebo.
Reduces High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects millions of Americans and increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. A recent study revealed that when men and women, ages 18-65, were given 4.5 grams of spirulina every day for 6 weeks, their blood pressure was regulated and controlled. Even more interesting, no other dietary changes were made during the experiment.
Reduces Stroke Risk: In a study done on rats, scientists found that spirulina had a protective effect on the brain and nervous system of rats exposed to high amounts of free radicals (compared to rats not given spirulina before the experiment).
A Few Tips:

  • Always choose organic spirulina from a reputable source. Non-organic brands can have added nitrate compounds or be contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins from the water.
  • Spirulina comes in capsules, tablets, powders, and flakes. The recommended daily dose is typically 3 to 5 grams.
  • When taking spirulina in any form, increase your intake of water to improve absorption.
  • Since spirulina is a potent detoxifier, start with smaller doses and work your way up.

A Word of Caution: Even though spirulina is natural and generally considered a healthy food, there are some contraindications you need to be aware of.

  • Do not take spirulina if you have a severe seafood or iodine allergy.
  • If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your doctor before taking spirulina.
  • If you have hyperthyroidism, consult your healthcare provider before taking spirulina.
  • Those with PKU should consult with a doctor before taking spirulina because it contains that amino acid phenylalanine.
  • Those on any type of anti-coagulation medicine should consult with a doctor before taking spirulina.
  • If you have an auto-immune disease, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or pemphigus vulgaris (a skin condition), spirulina may increase symptoms. Speak to your doctor before taking any blue-green algae.

Leesa recommends this delicious beverage as an easy way to get your daily dose of Spirulina!

By Robin Miller

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination. 

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…

Member International Health Coach Association

ring ~ 770-393-1284

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9 Amazing Health Benefits of Strawberries

9 Amazing Health Benefits of Strawberries

Fragrant and sweet, strawberries are one of the most popular types of berry in the world — and for good reason. Read below to learn how these little sweet hearts can benefit the organ they resemble — the heart — and more.

  • Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: According to a Harvard School of Public Health study, women who eat three or more servings of strawberries a week have a lower risk of suffering a heart attack. Strawberries contain the dietary flavonoid anthocyanin, which may benefit the heart by improving blood flow and countering the build-up of plaque, reducing blood pressure and inflammation. The fiber and potassium in strawberries also support heart health.

  • Anti Inflammatory: The colorful pigments of berries (polyphenols) are known to have antioxidant activity. Strawberries lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a signal of inflammation in the body. Antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries may also help to reduce inflammation of the joints, which can cause arthritis and can also lead to heart diseaseResearch suggests we have to eat 3 or more servings of strawberries to reap these benefits, so eat up!

  • Anti Cancer: The flavonoid content in strawberries causes the body to interfere with the stages of development of cancer cells, preventing their ability to multiply. Cancer benefits from strawberries are best documented in cases of breast, cervical and esophageal cancer.

  • Antioxidant Powerhouse: Studies suggest that consumption of berry fruits, including strawberries, may have beneficial effects against oxidative stress mediated diseases such as cancer. Strawberries are one of the most highly concentrated antioxidant fruits. Antioxidants help fight carcinogens and LDL, the bad cholesterol which can lead to heart disease. The powerful antioxidants in strawberries work against free radicals, inhibiting tumor growth and decreasing inflammation in the body.

  • Blood Pressure: Due to their high potassium content, strawberries are recommended to those with high blood pressure to help negate the effects of sodium in the body. A low potassium intake is just as big of a risk factor in developing high blood pressure as a high sodium intake.

  • Immunity Boosting: 1 serving, about 8 strawberries or 1 cup, provides more vitamin C than an orange, about 85mg, or 150% of your daily requirement.

  • Nutrient Dense: The massive nutrition packed into these sweet little guys might warrant “superfood” status. Strawberries are a very good source of dietary fiber (3 grams per cup), iodine and folate. Plus, they are a good source of copper, potassium, biotin, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Aid in Weight Management: Strawberries’ low calorie and high nutritional content make them an excellent choice to include in your diet when watching your weight. They also contain anthocyanins which stimulate the burning of stored fat in the body to use as fuel.

  • Help the brain: Studies suggest that antioxidant-rich berries, including strawberries, may help improve learning and reverse age-related cognitive decline.

Who knew that this sweet little fruit could pack so much nutritional punch! Shopping tip: choose medium-sized berries that are firm, plump and deep red; once picked, they don’t ripen further. As you’re estimating your serving size, keep in mind that 8 large strawberries count as 1 cup. I hope you enjoy this healthy recipe. It’s a perfect summer breakfast or late night treat! Enjoy!

By Magda Rod

Magda Freedom Rod is a yogini and health & lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles. She writes about health & wellness and offers guidance for a sustainable lifestyle. Learn more on her website Visionary-Lifestyle.com.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

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7 Superfoods to Help You Feel Like Spring is Here

7 Superfoods to Help You Feel Like Spring is Here

Snow and cold winds have still been blowing on the east  coast. Wintry weather regardless, it feels like it is time to start  working in the garden and to think ahead to a crisp salad.

March was the first month among the ancient Romans and appropriately so, as  it is the time of year when the world seems to be “waking up” after winter. In  honor of a time of new growth and new beginnings, here are seven spring  superfoods that can help you celebrate with a good blast of nutrients on your  plate.

1) Artichokes

I’ve always thought of artichokes as signs of spring. Growing up in northern  California, we’d eat them as the season started. My favorite part was the  artichoke heart, which you only discovered after working your way through the  leaves and past the prickles.

There are real benefits to eating them as artichokes contain some unusual compounds including cynarin, which stimulates  the taste bud receptors; inulin, a prebiotic that promotes the growth of  good-for-the-gut bacteria and antioxidants (more than any other fresh food, says  the USDA), plus fiber, vitamin C and more.

2) Asparagus

For all that you can get asparagus year-round, the green stalks (endowed with vitamins A and K, B vitamins, protein and  folate) are the greenest, tenderest and tastiest now. Asparagus is high in  fiber and can help to cleanse your system (it’s been suggested as a hangover  remedy).

Asparagus is actually from the lily family and has more uses than adding  color and nutrients to your meals. African species of asparagus are grown  as ornamental plants. Asparagus is also cultivated in underground in parts  of France to prevent the development of chlorophyll.

3) Lettuce and Leafy Greens

Another green vegetable that you can get year-round (grown in California) but  that’s best in spring is lettuce. Get yours grown locally and organically  and you’ll know it may not have any pesticides or chemicals, such as  perchlorate, which is found in rocket fuel. In previous years, perchlorate was discovered in the Colorado River, which provides water for California’s  crops.

The dark green varieties of lettuce (such as romaine) as well as other dark  leafy greens, like collard greens and kale, are rich in B vitamins. Arugula is a  sort of “multivitamin” all on its own as it  contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, fiber and calcium.

4) Scallions

A mainstay of the simple Cantonese stir-fries I sometimes make , scallions or green  onions are rich in the antioxidant quercetin, which helps to lower  blood pressure and can help allergy sufferers as they act like a histamine.   Scallions also contain vitamins A, C and K, as well as B-complex vitamins.  But take note: if you use them raw as garnish or in a salad, make sure you wash them carefully to remove any dirt — less-than-clean scallions have been linked to outbreaks of hepatitis A.

5) Spinach

This leafy green has been called the “first superfood.” It gives you a full share of vitamin C,  folate, lutein, omega 3 fatty acids and zeaxanthin, a phytochemical that can help age-related  macular degeneration. Even more (no wonder it was the food that gave superhuman  strength to Popeye), spinach contains anti-inflammatory and  anti-cancer agents and can help to strengthen your bones.

Forget about those bricks of frozen spinach in the freezer case. Spring is  the optimum time to eat spinach as, says OrganicGardening.com, warm days and “cold, nearly frosty  nights” draw out its natural sugars best.

6) Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a vegetable that is usually treated as a fruit; it belongs to the  same family as sorrel and buckwheat. Sour, fibrous and containing few calories,  the stems (the only edible part of the plant — the leaves are toxic) must be  cooked to be eaten in pies, jam and chutneys. It is used as a diuretic and laxative and also contains potassium  and vitamin C. One study suggests that chemicals extracted from rhubarb  called polyphenols could point the way to new drug treatments for leukemia and  other cancers.

7) Radishes

Another bright red spring superfood, radishes, can provide you with a good  wallop of your daily vitamin C requirement; you’ll get even more if you eat the  leaves. As radishes have a high water and fiber content, they can add bulk and crunch  to your meals with fewer calories. Even more beneficial is combining radishes with broccoli as their cancer-fighting  compounds are enhanced by myrosinase, an enzyme in radishes.

Wishing you a very nutritious, and colorful, start to the spring!

By Kristina Chew

Photo from Thinkstock

(Leesa recommends choosing Organic Produce!)

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?   Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

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Superfood: Eat Your Avocado!

Superfood: Eat Your Avocado!

 

Guacamole lovers, rejoice! It turns out that not only is avocado  super delicious, but you can enjoy your avocado without the guilt thanks to its  mix of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

You probably already knew that avocado was a great source of vitamin E, but  did you know that because it’s so rich in antioxidants and the good-for-you type  of fat, it’s also an anti-aging powerhouse? Studies have shown that the minerals  in avocado even help you better absorb other nutrients, like beta carotene. They  also contain a sugar called D-manno-heptulose that helps your skin produce  collagen, which can prevent wrinkles.

It might sound a little bit strange to talk about “healthy fat,” but there  are differences between the type of fat you find in an avocado versus the fat in  something like cheese or french fries. Unlike the saturated fats that you find  in animal products and fried foods, avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fats, which help protect you  from heart disease, and their fiber content can help fight high cholesterol.

Of course, you can eat avocado on its own or mixed into guacamole, but it’s  actually a much more versatile ingredient.

10 Avocado  Recipes

Avocado Tips: Choosing a ripe avocado may seem tricky, but don’t fret! A  ripe avocado gives a bit when you squeeze it gently, but it shouldn’t feel mushy – just tender. You also don’t have to skip the avocado just because you can’t  find a ripe one at the store. Toss an unripe avocado into a paper bag with a  banana. Fold the bag closed, and check it once a day. It should ripen within a  couple of days this way. Once your avocado is ripe, store it in the fridge to  make it last longer.

1. Avocado Corn Cups – Who needs a bowl when you can  eat a yummy, organic corn salad right out of an avocado?

2. Avocado Pudding – This might sound a little iffy, but  avocado makes a great base for pudding! Just toss it in the blender with some  cocoa powder and the liquid sweetener of your choice. If you need more deets, check out these ideas for making avocado pudding.

3. Vegan Avocado Alfredo Sauce – Who needs  butter and cream? Make a decadent alfredo sauce with avocado as the base  instead!

4. Creamy Avocado Potato Salad – Mashed  replaces the mayo in this healthy, tasty side dish.

5. Avocado and Pomegranate Salad – Two  superfoods team up in this delicious salad.

6. Avocado Reuben Sandwich – Talk about decadent!

7. Vegan Enchiladas with Cilantro Avocado Cream  Sauce – I’ve always said that avocado is perfect for mimicking the  creaminess of cheese, and this recipe proves it!

8. Avocado  and Basil Mayonnaise – The avocado base for this recipe gives you  the creaminess of mayo without any high cholesterol eggs.

9. Mexican Pizza – Another delicious example  of avocado standing in for saturated fat-laden cheese!

10. Avocado Lime Cupcakes – The avocado adds a  bit of richness to these decadent vegan cupcakes.

By Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a green blogger and independent crafter with a passion  for vintage fabrics. She runs a crafty business, Glue  and Glitter, where her mission is to use existing materials in products that  help folks reduce their impact without sacrificing style! She specializes in  aprons and custom  lunch bags. Like this article? You can follow  Becky on Twitter or find  her on Facebook!

 

Chocolate: Fact vs. Fiction

Chocolate: Fact vs. Fiction

A new study reported in WebMD leaves health professionals questioning results. First off, the study was conducted by Hershey Company (ah what?) and published in Chemistry Central Journal. The study compares the total flavonol and polyphenol content as well as antioxidant activity content of cocoa powder and dark chocolate vs. superfoods like acai, blueberry, cranberry, and pomegranate.

Researchers found a higher level of antioxidant activity in cocoa powder than some of the other antioxidant-laden superfoods to which it was compared. But a review of the story and study on Health News Review brings up some important questions. For example, most chocolate sold in the U.S. is nothing more than sugary candy, including Hershey’s candy bars. And even more importantly, serving size matters. If you eat an entire candy bar, whether it’s dark chocolate or not, expect an expanded waistline, rather than the benefits of antioxidants.


Separate Dark Chocolate Fact From Fiction

 1. It’s Cocoa Not Dark Chocolate That Has Antioxidants

The story in WebMD did make a clear distinction between milk chocolate and dark chocolate when it comes to health benefits. But the fact of the matter is that it’s much more than just milk chocolate versus dark chocolate. Dark chocolate itself doesn’t supply the antioxidant value; it’s the cocoa powder that it’s made with. So in order to get the antioxidant benefits outlined in the study, there must be a high percentage of cocoa. The chocolate should be Fair Trade certified, organic, and be at least 70 percent cocoa. Avoid any filling like peanut butter, which could be laced with hydrogenated oils.

2. How Small is the Serving Size?

The serving size is incredibly important here. It’s normally a tiny square of chocolate within the chocolate bar, and depending on the size of the chocolate bar, there can be between 4 and 12 servings. If you’re not careful you can really overdo this, meaning that the saturated fats and sugar content can outweigh any benefits that you might have enjoyed beforehand. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, authors of YOU: On a Diet, answered some important questions on the specifics of dark chocolate consumption. According to the article in the Sun Setinel, you don’t need a whole bar to get a healthy dose of antioxidants. The flavonoids in dark chocolate are so powerful that a daily piece the size of a Hershey’s Kiss can lower your blood pressure. While this is an ideal size comparison, it’s not a good quality comparison as written above.

3. The Price Is Much Different with Real Dark Chocolate

When compared to a conventional candy chocolate bar found in the candy aisle, real dark chocolate with known health benefits is much more expensive. Projections for world food prices show that the cost of chocolate is going up, up, up and real dark chocolate, already averages between $3 and $8 per bar.

4. Find the Benefits of Cocoa in Other Places

Sometimes a candy bar isn’t the best place to find the benefits of this known antioxidant. One of my favorite places to find it is in whole leaf tea. Use a French press to seep the tea leaves for at least 7 minutes. Add a touch of cream and raw sugar and you have the essence of delicious dark chocolate that’s much easier on your waistline. You can also enjoy cocoa by adding the unsweetened raw cocoa powder to a smoothie in the morning.

(Leesa recommends Chewcolat!  It’s the best of both worlds,  amazing acai, blueberry, cranberry, and pomegranate found in www.chews4health.com/Leesa and just the right amount of natural dark chocolate!  Learn more and place your order at www.chewcolat.com!)

By Sara Novak, Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

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