Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hoping to Get the Gift of Restful Sleep Over the Holidays?

Let's make a big assumption for a moment: All year long, you'd sidestepped the hectic life. How's life looking now? Cramped work deadlines, family functions, last-minute mall dashes and "the holiday season" converge in a blind whirl of stress and anxiety. Add inclement weather, the end of daylight savings and a few other negatives, and the health consequence in the overwhelming majority of cases is poor sleep. Here are some of the common culprits of December sleep issues and what you can do to avoid them.

    The cause: thermostatic overload. Cold weather often causes bedtime compensation in the form of thick socks, wool pajamas, and layer upon layer of blankets. All that might hit the spot when you roll into bed, but it raises the risk that you'll struggle to stay asleep as your body temperature progressively passes the comfort zone. The solution: Warm your house to the desired temperature before bedtime – then turn the furnace off for the evening. Don't overdress; if you get warm during the night, it's easier to strip off a blanket than it is to remove an entire layer of clothing.

    The cause: excess fuel. Tossing and turning through another overstuffed night? Holiday feasting can lead to over consumption of carbs, sugar, alcohol - all digestive challenges your body and mind don't need to deal with throughout the night. The solution: Eat, drink and be merry this holiday season, but do so in moderation.

    The cause: mental clock. The 1/2 hour to an hour before you actually fall asleep is an important time. It prepares your body and mind for peaceful rest. Jump into bed after a busy day and expect to doze off for the entire night is idealistic thinking, to say the least, particularly when you're worrying about tomorrow's laundry list of responsibilities. The solution: Take a long bath, read a good book, or just lie in bed reviewing your day. Get all the stress out of your body – and bed – before you turn out the lights.

    The cause: impaired senses. Can't fall asleep – or stay asleep – because of a holiday noise issue? During the season of giving, many people give their neighbors too much joy - in the form of blinding, blinking holiday lights, music and festivities that persist long after you've turned in for the night. The solution: There's no better time to invest in a set of earplugs and an eye mask to help you sleep through the holidays. Black out the light, silence the noise and enjoy a well-deserved night of restorative sleep.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Eating Do's and Don'ts!

So, you've made it through Thanksgiving weekend safe and sound and (hopefully) didn't ruin all the progress you've made in the gym for the past 11 months. Unfortunately, now comes the hard part. Thanksgiving was just the first of the dessert-laden events to round out the year. Company party? Yep, you're going. Dinner with the family? Check. New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and various happenings in between? You've already RSVP'd. Here's how to avoid packing on the pounds this month as the holiday festivities continue with a few do's and don'ts to consider.

Don't eat more than you usually do. If there's one thing you've learned during this process of losing weight and getting in better shape, it's that you're in this for the long haul. The holiday season isn't an excuse to abandon the healthy lifestyle you've cultivated all year, so don't sacrifice your good eating habits now. Fill a plate and eat until you're satisfied. Overeat and you'll end up feeling guilty and sick to your stomach – a bad combination.

Do enjoy a few treats here and there. You may not be eating more than usual, but that doesn't mean you should avoid your favorite treats when they rear their delectable heads this holiday season. Healthy eating is moderate eating; it's just as unhealthy at one extreme vs. the other. Turn December into a dessert month and you'll pay the price; but swear off treats altogether and you'll increase your risk of falling off the wagon.

Don't let a few "bad" meals spoil your month. Let's say you've ignored #1 and #2 above, meaning you've eating too much at a holiday party, and most of what you ate was high-fat, high-sugar, high-carb or all of the above. No problem; don't let a few unhealthy eating moments spoil your long-term health and wellness goals. No matter how busy your holiday season, you have many more days to eat healthy than unhealthy if you prioritize the former over the latter.

Do bring your own dish to the party. You want to stay on the straight and narrow, but dread going to a party and facing table after table of nutrient-deficient, calorie-packed items. What to do? Help out the host and do yourself a service by bringing a healthy side dish or appetizer with you. If nothing else, you'll be able to supplement what's there with your offering to ensuring a healthier meal.

Don't bring home leftovers. We rationalize that we're helping the host out by bringing home a few containers of leftovers, but all we're really doing is ensuring the next day (and the day after that) are just as unhealthy as party day was. Enjoy the meal and then let it go; get back to your healthy ways and let someone else fill their fridge with a week's worth of bad eating habits.

Do think about the big picture. Healthy eating isn't a phase, a step or a short-term goal; it's a lifestyle that pays dividends you can see and feel. You've dedicated 11 months to fulfilling this promise to yourself, so why throw it all away now? Think of the holiday season as just another opportunity to make sensible choices about your health. Before you know it, 2015 will be here and you'll be stronger, fitter and thankful that you stuck to your guns for another year.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

5 Things to Avoid During the Holidays

Another year winding down means another string of holidays to test our health will. The last two months of the year bring seemingly endless trips to visit relatives, malls and other hectic locales far from the comfort of your regular exercise and fitness routine.

That's danger with a capital D when it comes to staying on track. Let's count down the top five unhealthy holiday behaviors that can undo your hard work from the previous 10 months:

5. Not sticking to a schedule: No one said it was easy to eat right, exercise, get enough sleep and do all the other things it takes to stay fit and healthy. Those challenges are compounded during the holiday months, when get-togethers, gift shopping and other responsibilities seem to pile up one upon the other. Who has time to stay healthy? You do, of course, and you need to do it the way you've done it all year: by sticking to a schedule. Calendar your exercise days and keep and eye on what you're eating to ensure you stay on track. This is no time to "wing it" – after all, how well did that work last year and the year before that?

4. Telling yourself you've earned it: We all deserve a "treat" now and then, whether it's a cupcake at a birthday party or a day off from the gym. We also need to continually remind ourselves of how hard we're working and why we're doing it. Staying in shape takes effort, and you deserve to feel great about that effort. But taking the last two months of the year "off" because you think you've "earned it" is the perfect recipe for health disaster. Before you know it, bad habits will have replaced good ones and you'll be back at the starting gate, wondering where you went wrong. (See No. 1 unhealthy behavior below.)

3.  Falling prey to "the blues": As we've discussed before, the final few months of the year (and the first few months of the next year) can increase your risk of depression. It's called seasonal affective disorder, characterized by depressive symptoms and mood changes associated with a particular time of year. Shorter days, longer nights, less sunlight and colder weather can be a bad combination for some people. One solution is to make sure you get outside for 10-15 minutes a day when the sun is shining. Take a few walks during the workday to ensure you spend a little time in the sun (which boosts your vitamin D levels, by the way), rather than spending all day inside and leaving for home at dusk. You'll feel better and your body will thank you for it.

2. Doing the "same old, same old": You may think your exercise and diet plan has been working all year, but at some point, you need to mix things up. Why? Because the brain and body get used to the "same old, same old" over time, leading to a diminished sense of achievement, boredom and stagnation. It's the "Who wants to do these same exercises again?" or "Who wants to eat these same foods again?" mentality, and it can cause you to jump off the wagon. The solution? Stay strong by incorporating new exercises into your workout regimen and trying different (healthy) foods. Variety is the spice of life, and in this case, it can carry you through the holidays committed to your health and wellness goals.

1. Looking ahead to 2015: Yes, 2015 is right around the corner, particularly when you consider how hectic the next several months generally are. That's no reason to make "getting in shape again" your New Year's Resolution in early November. Think about how great these first 10 months of the year have been in terms of the results you've seen and how you've felt. Now try to imagine having to go right back where you were on Jan. 1, 2014. Not a pretty picture, huh? Replace that picture with a portrait of confidence, determination and health by deciding now to finish 2014 strong. Your New Year's resolution won't be to "start again"; it will be to continue the great things you've done and become an even better, healthier person in 2015.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When It Hurts Too Much To Work

We all have our "story" when we don't show up at work on any given day; some more valid than others. After all, "My car broke down" or "I had to take my daughter to urgent care" generally come off much better than "I slept in and missed the bus" or "I lost my car keys." Now here's a truly valid reason for work absenteeism, and unfortunately, it's becoming more prevalent throughout the U.S.: chronic pain.

According to a recent study published in the peer-reviewed research journal Spine, workers suffering from chronic pain are more likely be absent from work – and more likely to stay absent – compared to workers not suffering from chronic pain. In fact, among a study population of more than 8,000 workers, chronic pain sufferers were significantly more likely to be absent from work one or more days: 20 percent more likely if suffering from neck pain, and 22 percent more likely if suffering from low back pain or headache pain (migraines), respectively.

The good news is there are natural solutions to all three of these common conditions, starting with chiropractic care, and research supports it. Give my office a call if you're suffering from pain, whether acute or chronic, before it gets so bad that you have to miss work. After all, you deserve to save your personal leave time for a well-deserved vacation, not to endure chronic pain.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Don't Make These 5 Fitness Mistakes

Even when they have the best intentions, exercisers often make mistakes that keep them from getting the most out of their workouts, and in some cases, do them harm. Here are a few of the most common mistakes, and how you can avoid them yourself.

1.  Walking with hand weights. Carrying dumbbells while you walk may seem like a smart way to add strength training to your cardio workout, but it compromises your posture and can lead to injury. Best to keep your cardio and strength training separate, so each can get your full attention.

2.  Focusing only on cardio. Though cardio workouts are great for you, we start losing muscle as early as 30, which can significantly slow your metabolism and leave you vulnerable to injury. Even a few days of strength training per week can increase bone density, and help you burn more calories, even while at rest!

3.  Skipping the stretch. Stretching at the end of your workout (when your body is nice and warm) can significantly decrease aches and pains, reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, and prevent overuse injuries. Plus, stretching is your body's reward for all that hard work!

4.  Seeking a quick fix. We all want to see results fast, but don't let crash diets and overly-intense exercise programs lure you into false expectations: the best (and lasting) results come from making changes you can see yourself doing for life. Embracing an extreme program for a few weeks to lose weight fast only sets you up to gain the weight back (and then some later), and wreaks havoc on your thyroid. Instead, figure it will take at least as long to lose the weight as it took you to gain it.

5.  Letting social media be your trainer. It's one thing to collect inspirational quotes and healthy recipes on your social media pages, but don't mistake fitness memes for sound advice. 30-Day Push-up (or Squat) Challenges tend to overuse the same muscles day after day, and can lead to injuries and poor posture. Better to find a qualified trainer to help create a program that works best for you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How to Beat Stressful School Daze

Missing those lazy days of summer already? With school back in session, children and parents alike are feeling the heat – in the form of stress – as they transition to daily homework deadlines, after-school activities and seemingly constant "drop me off here, pick me up there" needs.

What are families to do? Consider these strategies for relieving school stress this fall – and all school year round:

Put it on the calendar: There's nothing better than a calendar of events to keep children and parents reminded of the when, where, why and how of their busy week. Think it adds stress by "regimenting" your day? Consider the alternative: essentially running around with your collective heads cut off from event to event, task to task, hoping you can remember it all. For kids, it's particularly important that they have a clear sense of what they have to do and when they need to do it. It helps them understand what's on their plate for the day – and have a sense of accomplishment as they complete each task.

Give yourself extra time: Early to bed and early to rise is the success mantra when trying to minimize stress during the school year. You've got too much to do and too little time as it is; don't make it worse with perpetual lateness. Wake up early, get the kids up on time, enjoy a healthy family breakfast, and then get them off to school with time to spare. At night, set reasonable bedtimes so they – and you – can get adequate sleep that will leave everyone refreshed and ready for the next productive day.

One part work, one part fun: Stress builds when there's no release opportunity, so make sure you build breaks into your daily routine. Whether that's a 5-minute break for every 15-30 minutes of homework, 15 minutes of free / play time no matter how busy the schedule, or 15 minutes of television at night (yes, 15 minutes is OK), give your kids the chance to blow off some steam and not worry about what's next on their to-do list. And by the way, that free time for your kids should mean free time for you to relax and unwind, even if for only a few minutes.

Prep for the week: An hour of effort on Sunday can save you hours of time – and stress – throughout the week. Prep the components of a few staple dinners so all you have to do is reheat during the week. Make sure laundry is done so you're not washing, drying, sorting and folding at 10:00 on a Tuesday or Wednesday night while you're trying to help the kids finish their homework. A little work Sunday can make Monday to Friday a whole lot easier on everyone.

Laugh it off: There's no better way to keep stress levels low than to laugh about it – or laugh it off – instead of letting stress build up day after day. Come up with the "joke of the day" at the dinner table and have each family member offer their best joke. Wind down in the evening with a board game the whole family can enjoy – and usually have a good laugh about while playing. Most important, as a parent, turn negatives into positives by teaching your children to laugh in the face of stress; to turn mountains into mole hills; and to appreciate that life is much more than what you do every day – it's about how you feel doing it. Help your family feel a little stressed today and every day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What To Eat To Relieve Back Pain

We all know that eating healthy is good for our overall health, but what if it could help with pain? Conservative treatment can be as easy as eating right. Eating less processed food, more vegetables and healthy fats can go a long way toward relieving spine pain. Here are four ways that better nutrition can help reduce neck and back pain.

Anti-inflammatory benefits are sure to follow when eating more fruits, nuts and vegetables. By eating walnuts, almonds, fish and olive oil, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, and lesser known omega-9 fatty acids, can help reduce inflammation. Inflammation causes swelling of joints and can eventually wear down supportive tissue between vertebrae. Chronic inflammation can occur from eating poorly, but an anti-inflammatory diet can help ease pain.

Keep bones strong and support muscle condition with increased calcium intake from healthy eating. Most children can tell you that dairy is a good source of calcium, but did you know it’s also found in dark green leafy veggies and salmon? Try some Greek yogurt for breakfast or baked salmon with lemon for dinner.

Eliminate a cause of inflammation; cut out sugars. Many modern diets contain a surplus of sugar, not only leaving your body to process the sugar, but also often taking up calories that should come from food containing nutrients. Sugar, along with food that breaks down quickly into sugar, like white flour, causes inflammatory reactions in our bodies. Just cutting out soda or sugary drinks can go a long way in creating a healthy diet. A safe sweet is one that contains fiber to slow down the breakdown of sugar, so reach for fruit.

Weight loss often occurs by eating a healthy, less processed diet. Excess weight places pressure on the spine, which can make back pain worse and speed up the degeneration of discs. Pain is lessened when the spine does not have to support excess weight.  Read about the "4 Secret Steps to Weight Loss" here.

Adding anti-inflammatory foods and calcium, and reducing sugar and weight, are all relatively easy changes to make. Eating well can greatly lessen neck and back pain and has other positive side effects in one’s general health.

Lastly, quit smoking as it's been linked to arthritis, a common cause of back pain.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How To Take Care of Your Skin Naturally

Are you aware that the largest organ in the human body is actually the skin? Accounting for 16 percent of total body weight and covering up to 22 square feet of surface area, the skin is more than just a "covering," as originally thought.

A complex system made up of nerves, glands and cell layers, the skin plays an intricate role in overall health. In fact, the skin is so important that the abrasion experienced by the skin during its passage through the birth canal during a vaginal delivery is what stimulates the action of a newborn's breathing. Here are some tips on how you can take care of your skin naturally.

Skin Basics

Far beyond being the "bag" that holds the body together, skin is a protective barrier that serves as a buffer to guard against extreme temperatures, chemicals, bacteria and more. It also serves as a warning system, as it is comprised of sensitive nerves that send signals to the brain with messages from pleasure to pain.

It was once thought that the skin was completely inert and impermeable to chemicals; however, the truth is quite the opposite. The skin is incredibly absorbent and is not particular in regards to occupational, environmental or consumer chemicals. If it is slathered on the body, the skin will absorb it.

The human skin will intentionally and unintentionally come in contact with chemicals on a constant basis. To be absorbed, a chemical will pass through the epidermis, glands or hair follicles in the skin. Sweat glands and hair follicles make up, at most, just 1 percent of the total skin surface. So, while some chemicals may be absorbed in this way, the majority will be absorbed through the epidermis.

Once passing quickly through the seven layers of the epidermis, toxins then enter the dermis, where they can enter the bloodstream or lymph and circulate to other areas of the body.

Products to Reconsider

It may be a little overwhelming, but it's important to consider how the human skin is "unintentionally" coming in contact with chemicals. The following are "personal care" products that may contain toxic chemicals:

    -Bar soap and body wash
    -Baby wipes and lotions
    -Facial cleanser
    -Hand sanitizer
    -Makeup remover or face masks
    -Acne treatments
    -Anti-fungal or anti-itch creams
    -Foot odor controllers
    -Skin treatments for eczema, psoriasis, skin fading, scars, varicose veins, wounds and sunburns
    -Anti-aging creams
    -Body firming lotions
    -Hand creams
    -Moisturizers
    -Antiperspirants and deodorants

Sadly, the majority of these products can be purchased in the average shopping center and contain at least one toxic chemical – and in some cases, as many as a dozen or more.

Take the time to recognize and avoid chemical ingredients when shopping. Chemicals such as oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), benzoyl peroxide, DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine), dioxins (used often to bleach disposable diapers), parabens (methyl, butyl, ethyl, propyl), PEG (polyethylene glycol), butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, triclosan, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, Tinosorb M and S, Uvasorb HEB and isopentenyl-4-methoxycinnamate, just to name a few, are prevalent in cosmetics and other skin- and hair-care products.

Natural Skin Repair

Any damage to the skin should be carefully treated to avoid infection and the possibility that other bacteria or damaging chemicals can quickly get past nature's barrier. However, it's important not to automatically reach for a tube of antibiotic ointment or other skin treatment. Consider natural, organic options instead.

Aloe vera is hands-down the first defense when treating skin abrasions, burns or other skin damage. It will naturally moisturize and help the skin repair itself.

Apple cider vinegar is another excellent natural treatment remedy for certain skin conditions. Applying a compress can help reduce swelling in the face, hands and feet; soaking the feet in 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and water; or applying the apple cider vinegar directly to the affected area can treat skin fungus or yeast (including athlete's foot). You can also mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay with 1 tablespoon raw honey and apply to the skin for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water for a natural, healthy facial mask.

Finally, for a natural moisturizer, coconut oil can be applied directly to the skin to help relieve dry patches or itchy skin (known as winter itch) during the winter months.
Going Organic

If you must purchase a skin care product, then be sure to look for the following labeling. These are just a few examples of seals that can be found on products to prove they are toxin-free:

    -The NPA seal is from the Natural Products Association means 95 percent of the product is natural, excluding water, and the remaining 5 percent of ingredients cannot be suspected of any health risk as verified by peer-reviewed third-party scientific papers.
    -USDA Organic designates that 95 percent of the ingredients are organic (meaning grown without pesticides) and the remaining 5 percent are non-organic ingredients on a list of approved substances sanctioned by the National Organic Program enforced by the USDA.
    -ECOCERT is a similar certification devised by an independent European-based group requiring a minimum of 95 percent of ingredients come from natural origins.

Especially for Babies

Considering the sensitivity of a newborn's skin and its impact on their immune system, WebMD strongly encourages avoiding the following to decrease the risk of developing skin irritation, dryness, chafing and rashes: chemicals, fragrances and dyes in clothing, as well as detergents and baby products.

Further, to prevent allergies and rashes, don't overbathe babies. It is suggested that in their first month, newborns should only receive a sponge bath; during the first year of life, limit an infant's bathing to no more than three times a week to avoid removing the natural oils in their skin.

To prevent diaper rashes, consider the following recommendations from WebMD:

    -Check diapers frequently and change them immediately when wet or soiled.
    -Wash the diaper area with plain water and use a soft, clean cloth, not baby wipes.
    -Pat the baby dry and avoid rubbing, or let the baby's bottom air-dry.

Home Remedies for Infants

Many common discomforts newborns and infants experience can be treated with household items or a change in diet. For instance, common with many newborns is cradle cap, which can be naturally treated by rubbing olive or coconut oil on the scalp.

Diaper rashes may be triggered by high-acid foods like strawberries, citrus and tomatoes. While not typical of an infant's diet, they may be consumed by the breast-feeding mother.

Disposable diapers, strong soaps or wipes may also be another source of irritation. Switch to cloth diapers and use a vinegar and water mix to wash the infant's bottom. Also consider infant-formulated probiotics, taken orally, to treat a stubborn diaper rash, as it may have been triggered by the use of antibiotics.

Eating to Protect the Skin Naturally

For a proactive approach to skin health, stay the course with a healthy diet. Dry skin can sometimes be a sign of an omega-3 deficiency, so recommend adequate intake of walnuts, salmon, shrimp and Brussels sprouts. Fresh vegetables, especially leafy green, organic and locally grown, can improve the skin by providing it with important vitamins and minerals from the inside. Fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh and kimchi, can actually help regulate gut microflora, which has been shown to help prevent skin irritations.

As for what not to eat, it's important to avoid sugars, fructose, grains and processed foods. Eliminating these items can cause a rapid improvement in the complexion because these foods have been shown to have a detrimental impact on the skin.

The Power of Human Touch

By the way, skin-to-skin contact between a mother and infant has been confirmed to maximize healthy childhood development. A recent study by the UMEA University in Sweden suggests simply touching the skin of an adult can have a positive effect. Results showed that touch massage reduced the stress response, as indicated by decreased heart rate and decreased activity in the sympathetic nervous system, and a significant decrease in cortisol and insulin levels. Anxiety levels significantly decreased in the patient group that received touch massage as compared to the control group. The study concluded that massaging the skin activates a brain area involved in sending rewarding, pleasant stimulations, which decreases anxiety and dampens the stress response.

This article originally appeared here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Smoking Linked to Arthritis

I think it's safe to say that everyone is aware of the profound dangers associated with consistent tobacco use. People who smoke run the risk of developing chronic conditions such as lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and now, also rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Rheumatoid arthritis, the most common form of arthritis in the United States, is a disabling disease characterized by joint swelling, pain and stiffness. According to a recent study, long-term cigarette smoking may contribute to the development of RA.

As part of the Womens' Health Cohort Study, 377,481 female health care professionals completed questionnaires that asked about health habits, cigarette smoking history, and medical history (including a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis). Results showed that women who smoked for many years faced a 24-39% increase in the risk of developing RA compared with nonsmokers, even after accounting for other potential risk factors, such as age, race, pregnancy history, menopausal status and hormone use.

Smoking is a choice, but it's easy to see why it's probably not a very good choice, especially considering some of the horrible diseases long-term smoking may cause. If you choose to smoke, be aware of the risks to yourself and your children. If you'd like to quit, your doctor can help determine the method that will work best for you. And if you don¹t smoke, keep up the good work! Your body will thank you for it.

Reference:
Karlson E, Min-Lee I, Cook N, et al. A retrospective cohort study of cigarette smoking and risk of rheumatoid arthritis in female health professionals. Arthritis & Rheumatism, May 1999: Vol. 42, No. 5, pp910-917.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

4 Secret Steps to Weightloss

Although there's no real mystery to weight loss (burn more calories than you consume), that doesn't mean it's a simple endeavor, which accounts for the millions of people who struggle to achieve their ideal healthy weight.

But struggle no more, because the secrets to weight loss are out of the bottle and yours to follow on your path to lasting health and wellness.

1. Win With Goals: With the World Cup just ended, the importance of goals can't be understated. After all, the teams that scored at least one goal in a match usually won. Goals are absolutely crucial to weight loss, too; you can't achieve a goal if you don't set one. What's more, without goals, it's too easy to get sidetracked by a "bad week" or a less-than-desirable weigh-in, and give up. After all, the only goal you've set is to "lose weight." Set tangible, meaningful goals you can achieve each week, month, etc., in terms of the amount of weight you want to lose – and exactly how you'll do it. Put it all on a wall calendar and/or your smartphone, so motivation is at your fingertips.

2. Hit the Track: Of course running burns calories, but "hitting the track" means tracking your progress – particularly when it comes to your daily food intake. There's a reason why weight-loss programs that recommend tracking your meals are effective; research suggests people who complete food diaries tend to lose more weight than people who don't, pure and simple. When you're tracking what you eat, you're also holding yourself accountable and starting to understand how different foods impact your weight, energy level, etc. Understanding the power (good and bad) of food makes it easier to fill up on more of the healthy stuff and minimize the unhealthy options. And having to record it in a food diary makes it harder to "cheat," because no one wants to write "5 pieces of pizza, 32-ounce Coke, two slices of pecan pie" in their diary.

3. Plan Your Own Party: This doesn't necessarily mean "cheating" with a brownie sundae or a double cheeseburger once a month; it's more about recognizing the effort you've made and motivating yourself to continue doing it. Every month, celebrate your journey with something special – a trip to the local spa, a new outfit (in the size you couldn't fit into a few months before), or a night out with your spouse or friends. Thank yourself for all the hard work you make every day to become a fitter, healthier, lighter – better – you.

4. Just Do It: Nike may have trademarked the phrase, but it's universally applicable to many aspects of life, not the least of which is weight loss. Getting to (and then maintaining) your ideal weight is a lifetime effort, which means every day, every week, every month and every year, life will rear its ugly head and try to sidetrack you. The people who meet their weight-loss goals; the people who make it to the gym in the pouring rain; the people who make smart shopping and food preparation decisions – they have the same frustrations, time constraints, stresses and hectic lives you do. The difference: they "just do it." They make time to exercise, they focus on eating right and they trust that their hard work will pay off. Do the same and you'll reach your weight-loss goal before you know it – and find yourself eager to set and achieve new goals in life you never dreamed possible.

Monday, July 21, 2014

3 Simple Ways to Live Longer

Don't Smoke
An ever-increasing body of research and realworld experiences tells the sad story of how smoking can lead to catastrophic disease and shorten your life (and sometimes even the lives of those around you) dramatically. Consider that according to a recent study, you are likely to live at least four years longer if you never smoke compared to if you puff away. Clean air, clean lungs, longer life.
 
Exercise
What happens in the absence of movement? If it's pictures on a shelf, dust gathers. If it's a job lacking new challenges or progress, stagnation can set in. In terms of your body, lack of movement causes fat to accumulate and disease processes to begin. The study referenced in the clean air piece above suggests you'll live at least three years longer if you participate in regular physical activity.

Watch Your Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight can also increase your lifespan, says the same study.  Expect your life expectancy to increase by more than one year if you maintain a healthy weight. Doesn't sound like much? It is if you consider that unhealthy weight can cause years of progressively worsening physical and emotional pain. Why suffer when you can enjoy a long, healthy life?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fact or Fiction: Chiropractic Saves Lives?

I stole this great post from Matthew Loop and wanted to pass it on.  It's definitely food for thought!

This post may be a little controversial for some, but it needs to be brought into open discussion. There are some out there they say chiropractic care is dangerous and others that say chiropractors actually save lives. So, what’s the real answer?

Let’s start with a not-so-obvious, indisputable fact.

Chiropractors pay roughly $2,000 per year in medical malpractice insurance (give or take a few hundred).

The average medical doctor pays around $10,000 per year. A surgeon can easily pay 6-10 times more than that.

According to the insurance companies, chiropractic treatment is on average 5x safer than standard medical care. This might shock some but the annual premium numbers do not lie.

If chiropractic was really dangerous, malpractice fees would be much higher (similar or above that of an MD). I’m not sure it gets more objective than that.

With that said, the truth is chiropractors DO save lives and here are 3 reasons why:

1) People that see a chiropractor are less likely to need surgical procedures.

I don’t care how much some MD’s down-play it, even the smallest of operations come with several risks. Surgical infection being the primary one. Not to mention your odds of contracting some other virus through a nosocomial infection (hospital acquired).

It might surprise you to find out just how many people go into the hospital for a “simple” procedure and wind-up passing away.

    We have the best trained crisis care medical doctors in the world, but medical errors do happen regularly. Actually, in the US, iatrogenesis is one of the leading causes of death.

It’s better to seek the conservative chiropractic approach first so you don’t have to gamble with your health. Going to a chiropractor either for a back injury, spinal hygiene, OR maintenance / wellness care keeps your spine and nervous system in great shape.

You don’t need to search too much in the medical literature to validate the fact that chiropractic care keeps people out of surgery and reduces medical costs.

Keeping patients from unnecessary surgery and hospital time saves lives.

2) Those that visit a doctor of chiropractic are more educated about the human body and less likely to take drugs.

From treating thousands of patients over the years, it seems that practically everyone is on some type of drug. It’s very sad to see people dependent on a system and therapy that will NEVER cure their problems / diseases.

This indoctrination has occurred because of massive, relentless campaigns of UNETHICAL influence-based marketing by Big Pharma, the AMA, and the FDA.

The public has been intentionally dumbed-down, which has been great for big business. Medical research studies are ghost-written and fabricated frequently. It’s anything but science.


Here’s the crazy thing, though…

By definition, allopathic drug therapy is “a system of treating disease by inducing a pathologic (disease producing) reaction that is antagonistic to the disease being treated.” Hence the reason why there are always adverse side effects.

    What the public is not told is that ALL medication is toxic and poison to your system! It doesn’t restore health, it merely “masks” symptoms.

The masses have been deceived into thinking that if the symptom is taken away, health is restored. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes (a few examples) begin without you ever consciously noticing any pain, symptoms or abnormal lab-work.

Chiropractors educate patients about how to take control of their health naturally.

The more educated people are about how their body works, the less likely they are to take drugs and fall prey to the legal drug cartels. The less folks take drugs, the less chance of irreversible damage or accidental death.

The human body is always trying to maintain a homeostatic norm… meaning it has an intrinsic, innate life-force that guides and automatically directs your body’s healing process. It’s not something you have to consciously think about.

Chiropractors have long embraced this irrefutable, vitalistic truth and look for the cause of problems, enabling them to trouble-shoot effectively.

Drugs don’t cure.

    In fact, prescriptions for non-life threatening diseases kill tens of thousands annually. Tylenol alone kills roughly 500 people each year. Not to mention it’s responsible for 26,000 hospitalizations yearly, too!

Chiropractors save lives by educating and empowering consumers to get off risky medications.

3) Chiropractic patients are more likely to understand importance of the human Nervous System in regards to optimal health

It’s a medical and scientific fact that the nervous system directs and coordinates every function of the body. The brain acts like the main control-panel and sends messages down the spinal cord which eventually break-off into nerves (power lines).

If one of the spinal cord pathways or nerves is “choked” / compressed, then the brain cannot communicate at 100% to the innervated muscle, organ, etc.

Not to get too in-depth here, but the spinal cord is composed of different tracts (like a bunch thin strings grouped together) and depending where the compression occurs, will correlate to the symptoms that present.

Let me give a quick, obvious example.

You may have heard the term slipped or herniated disc. Either of these conditions can cause compression on the spinal cord and / or nerves. When this happens, patients can experience pain, numbness, tingling, decreased circulation, muscular weakness and other symptoms.

    Sometimes, they might not experience any noticeable symptoms, though.

The bottom line is that when this nerve compression occurs, you LOSE FUNCTION. The life is literally being taken away from the area the nerve connects to. If you’re a chiropractor or medical doctor reading this, you’ve probably seen the above example frequently in your office.

To restore function and optimal health, the nerves need to be free of the interference that’s causing the problem. When you take the pressure off the nerve, you bring-back normal communication and the symptoms go away in this instance.

Make sense?

This is one example of where a chiropractic adjustment can help restore normal function and communication between the brain and bodily systems involved. What I’m referring to here is the obvious of the obvious, in terms of nerve compression.

Here’s another slightly different example.

When a patient has a stroke and a pathway in the brain is damaged, they can experience symptoms like speech problems, involuntary muscular contractions, visions problems, paralysis on one side of the body, etc.

They have literally LOST FUNCTION of certain lower motor areas due to the lesion.

Think of a lesion in the stroke example as like a road block. Your brain cells are always trying to regenerate but in some cases they have to take a detour around the road block to get back on track. The pathway needs activation primarily.

    An experienced chiropractic neurologist can accelerate this healing process and help the brain form those collateral pathways in order to restore proper function.

We see it all the time as stroke patients regain their temporarily lost functions, many times returning back to normal. The body is always trying to heal itself, sometimes it just needs a guiding hand to speed things up.

So, what about those compressions or lesions that aren’t so obvious?

The reality is, sometimes a muscle, ligament, fluid / inflamed tissue, and a bone can cause compression. If it’s in the spine, this is called a vertebral subluxation. Sometimes symptoms manifest, but sometimes not.

Regardless if evident symptoms are created, a subluxation can have severe consequences on the joint complex, associated nerve, and eventually decrease its function. If the nerve supply is compromised, then the connected muscles and organs can begin to lose function.

Chiropractors are trained to check for those areas of dysfunction and correct the corresponding subluxation. This increases life to the tissue and helps to maximize health.

    An important FYI here… symptoms are a poor, and many times unreliable, way to judge health. Heck, over 40% of the time, the first symptom of heart disease is a heart attack and death.

Chiropractors, as well as their patients, are typically more proactive and “prevention-centered” when it comes to health.

This leads to longer, healthier lives with reduced instance of having to go to the MD, getting caught-up in a medical system that neither cures or restores health. This is yet another way chiropractors save lives.

Let me be clear, though.

In terms of crisis-care or immediate life-threatening illnesses, the medical profession works wonders and we’re blessed to have such technology and specialists.

However, for most everything else including chronic disease management and treatment, medicine is severely lacking.

This is because the American medical system is based on a FLAWED paradigm of treating symptoms on not the underlying cause or whole person. Unfortunately, it was intentionally set-up this way for private interest. It’s business and has nothing to do with health.

Medical doctors get trained by fresh-out-of-undergraduate school pharmaceutical reps and are lavished with free meals, beautiful vacations, and many other perks by Big Pharma. On the books, this is illegal, but it still happens all the time creating influence and favorable opinion.

It’s a strong conflict of interest, as it shapes and molds the way many MD’s practice medicine. The “modern” medical system has created a society of dependent addicts.
It’s time for Americans to empower themselves so they can take control of their health once and for all!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Are Energy Drinks All They’re Cracked Up To Be?

Energy drinks claim to increase energy and vitality. In making this claim, the manufacturers often load their concoctions with a variety of substances, including but certainly not limited to caffeine, herbs and various amino acids. That brings us to an interesting question: Do these drinks actually have health benefits, or are there hidden health dangers? Here's the lowdown on energy drinks.

Energy drinks constitute big business these days. While Austrian-based Red Bull claims to own the lion's share of the market, all signs point to that dominance changing in the near future. Monster, Adrenaline Rush, Venom and 5-Hour Energy are just a few of the estimated thousands of energy drink distributors worldwide, and they're everywhere: in stores, schools, gyms and all manner of social environments.

Suffice it to say the popularity of these drinks is unquestionable; their health benefits is another story altogether. The big concern with the majority of energy drinks is their caffeine content: up to 80 mg of caffeine. According to Brown University, that's more than twice the caffeine in a can of Mountain Dew and more than three times the caffeine in a can of Coca Cola Classic. Why is this important? Because too much caffeine can elevate the heart rate, increase blood pressure, and lead to insomnia (Some energy drink manufacturers have now come out with decaffeinated versions, although that hasn't seemed to particularly impact the popularity of the caffeinated varieties.)

A recent study that investigated potential safety issues in energy drinks reveal that most energy drinks also contain some combination of natural products such as guarana, taurine and ginseng. Oh, and let's not forget about sugar, one of the major ingredients in addition to caffeine. Average sugar content can exceed 35 grams per can, according to the study, published in the Journal of the  American Pharmacists Association. (Sugar-free versions of some energy drinks are now available, but remember, there are plenty of sugar-free sodas out there, and none of them are any good for you, either.)

Here's perhaps the most telling point emphasized in the study: "The amounts of guarana, taurine, and ginseng found in popular energy drinks are far below the amounts expected to deliver either therapeutic benefits or adverse events. However, caffeine and sugar are present in amounts known to cause a variety of adverse health effects."

Here are other things to keep in mind if you or someone you know consumes energy drinks, again courtesy of Brown University:

  •     Energy drinks should not be consumed while exercising; they tend to promote dehydration, which can be dangerous when combined with fluid loss from sweating.

  •     Energy drinks should not be combined with alcohol (they often are); the former is a stimulant and the latter is a depressant, which can be a bad combination. Users may not be aware of how impaired they are because the stimulant effects mask the effects of the alcohol. And again, both tend to promote dehydration.

The bottom line: Energy drinks probably aren't doing you much good, and may even end up doing you some harm.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Relief From Sciatica

Sciatica is a condition in which pain radiates from the lower back down one or both legs. Typically, this is  caused by a problem in your lower back.

While many people believe that sciatica requires surgery, a new study found that 

"Sixty percent of patients with sciatica who had failed other medical management benefited from chiropractic to the same degree as if they underwent surgical intervention."

Chiropractic can alleviate many of the symptoms related to sciatica and can do so without the cost and many of the dangers associated with surgery.  

If you or someone you know is suffering from sciatica, schedule an appointment today to talk about your options for relief and solving the cause of your pain.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lose Weight and Live Longer!

While there are numerous health risks to being overweight, the net result can be a shorter lifespan.

A recent study in the American Journal of Public Health found "compared with normal-weight adults, obese adults had at least 20% significantly higher rate of dying of all-cause or CVD (cardiovascular disease). These rates advanced death by 3.7 years (grades II and III obesity) for all-cause mortality and between 1.6 (grade I obesity) and 5.0 years (grade III obesity) for CVD-specific mortality."

The study examined the association of body mass index with all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD)–specific mortality risks among US adults and calculated the rate advancement period by which death is advanced among the exposed groups.

These findings highlight the impact of the obesity epidemic on mortality risk and premature deaths among US adults. If you'd like to start an exercise program, it's not as hard as you think.  Find the 4 keys to a successful program here!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

FREE Shipping on Your Metagenics Order!

Active living and healthy aging make some strong nutritional demands. But modern nutritional fuel often fails to provide enough gas to go very far down the right roads. Fast food lifestyles may contribute to a lower intake of health-promoting nutrients, while contributing to “overnourishment” of fats, sugars, and energy intake that can negatively influence health. The aging process, genetic variations, and gastrointestinal health also influence the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
  • Over 3 in 5 U.S. adults do not take a daily multivitamin.
  • More than 3 in 5 adults do not take an omega-3 supplement.
  • Only 1 in 3 U.S. adults consumes 2+ servings of fruit daily.
  • Just 1 in 4 American adults eat 3 or more servings of vegetables daily.
  • NHANES data suggests that many older adults don’t get enough nutrients—including folate, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins A, B6, and C—from food alone.
How Supplements Help Meet Nutritional Needs*
While food is the optimal source, nutritional supplements may be strategically recommended to help fill dietary gaps or meet special requirements for key nutrients.* But not all supplements contain active ingredients or dosages supported by solid science. And some may contain ingredients with lower bioavailability , higher allergen potential, or contaminants. All of which jeopardize program success and increase the risk for adverse events and additional health complaints.

Foundation Nutrition Support for Wellness and Active Living*
Metagenics offers many science-based, natural formulas that provide quality support for foundation nutrition. Including daily multivitamin/ mineral formulas to promote overall health and single nutrient formulas for both general and targeted applications.*

We recommend Science-Based Products from Metagenics because they meet the highest standards for research and quality manufacturing to help make natural approaches safer and more effective. Here you'll find a wide range of products to meet your specific needs to help you reach your best health possible.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Don't Count on Drugs to Relieve Your Arthritis Pain

One standard mode of treatment for this condition has been the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), administered in both oral and topical form; however, a recent study found that topical NSAIDS for osteoarthritis are only beneficial for up to two weeks.

British researchers examined a dozen clinical trials comparing topical NSAIDS with placebo or oral NSAIDS. According to the evidence, topical NSAIDS were more effective than placebo in relieving pain for the first two weeks of treatment, after which time they became virtually ineffective. Moreover, topical NSAIDS were less effective than oral NSAIDS during the first week of treatment and caused additional side-effects, including rash and itching; however, other studies have shown that oral anti-inflammatory drugs can have adverse side-effects when used over long periods of time, including upset stomach and ulcer.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, regular chiropractic treatments can help manage your pain and discomfort - without the uncomfortable and potentially dangerous side-effects often associated with drugs.

If you want to treat the cause of your problem instead of simply hiding the symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Doran today.

Reference:
Lin J, Zhang W, Jones A, Doherty M. Efficacy of topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of osteoarthritis: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. British Medical Journal, Aug. 7, 2004;392:324.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Boston Marathon Winner Trusts in Chiropractic Care!

When Meb Keflezighi crossed the finish line at the 2014 Boston Marathon, becoming the first American man to win the prestigious event in 21 years, he exemplified more than just "Boston Strong" one year after the senseless terrorist bombings; he embodied "chiropractic strong," a testament to the work of his doctor of chiropractic, San Diego-based Devin Young, DC.

Read the complete interview of Dr. Young here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Use Exercise to Boost Your Mood!

Research shows that adopting a regular workout schedule will not only improve your overall health and keep things like diabetes and high blood pressure away, but it can also do wonders for your mental health.

In a recent Mayo Clinic research finding, researchers found that exercise if effective for symptoms of depression and anxiety. According to researchers, exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins) and reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression.

In addition, exercise has positive effects on your overall well being such as giving you confidence by making you feel better about your overall appearance and helping you cope with constant daily stressors.

If you are looking for a mood booster, strap on your workout shoes and get going. Even a simple walk will give you the boost you are looking for. By doing exercises that get your heart pumping, you will begin to see positive results that can brighten your overall mood. Anything that gets you off the couch and moving is exercise that can help improve your mood.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Time to do Some “Spring Cleaning” to Your Health

When it comes to our health, we can always go the extra mile to get a little healthier.  Here are 5 easy ways to do just that!

1. Cut Back on the Sugar: First things first, if your blood sugar level (a.k.a. blood glucose level) is high, you need to address that ASAP.  Excess sugar in the blood stream is one of the most damaging factors to a human body.  Elevated glucose levels can lead to many diseases because of its inflammatory effects on our body.  Ask your doctor to check your fasting blood glucose level as well as your Hemoglobin A1c levels.  If these levels are high, you can be at an increased risk for diseases like diabetes, strokes, heart disease, degenerative neurological diseases, autoimmune diseases and even cancer, just to name a few.

2. Watch Your Weight:  Your risk of developing many diseases increases if your body weight and body fat percentages are above normal.  While not everyone comes in the same shape or size, if you are above the normal ranges for these, studies show that your health risks do go up.

3. Exercise Daily: Yes, daily.  It doesn’t have to be in the weight room or on the exercise bike but you do need to make an effort to move every day.  Whether it's taking stairs at work or taking the dog for a walk after work, try and get moving every day.  So, get the idea out of your head that "exercise" has to be in tight spandex, running on a treadmill.  Exercise can just be getting your body moving every day.

4. Make Sleep a Priority: Sleep is the time when our bodies heal.  Hectic schedules and the decreased quality of the foods that we eat put our bodies through a lot of stress.  This means that sleep needs to be a priority.  If you’re not getting enough sleep, your pain threshold is also lowered, which makes all those little aches and pains become worse, possibly affecting your ability to get through your day.  If possible, it’s best to try and sleep in 1.5 hour increments.  This ensures that you will wake up in between REM cycles, avoiding that “groggy” feeling you sometimes get.  If you want an easy way to figure that out, check out www.sleepyti.me and have them do the math for you.

5. Eat More Veggies: Vegetables are very “nutrient dense”, meaning that they contain lots of vitamins and minerals.  Many herbs that used to be incorporated into cooking simply to add flavor are now being used in capsule form for medicinal purposes.  So, if your meals are about 40-50% vegetables, you are essentially healing your body through your foods without even having to try too hard (not to mention dropping your overall calorie intake which equals weight loss!)  If you are not a big fan of vegetables, try out some that you've never had before.  It’s amazing to hear how often people say they never liked a particular food until they tried it.

6. Get Adjusted!:  Last but not least, chiropractic adjustments are a great way to ensure that your spine is functioning to the best of its’ ability, which helps ensure that your nervous system is functioning to the best of its’ ability.  Since the nerves are the primary means of communication between the brain and the body, it’s vital that it functions without any interference.  If you’d like to schedule a free chiropractic consultation, call  (303) 463-0722 or visit my website at WestDenverChiropractor.com!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Improve Your Mood With Exercise!

Need to shake off a bad mood? Exercise can make a big difference.

Research continues to show that adopting a regular workout schedule will not only improve your overall health and keep things like diabetes and high blood pressure away, but it can also do wonders for your mental health.

In a recent Mayo Clinic research finding, researchers found that exercise is effective for symptoms of depression and anxiety. According to researchers, exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins) and reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression.

In addition, exercise has positive effects on your overall well being such as giving you confidence by making you feel better about your overall appearance and helping you cope with constant daily stressors.

If you are looking for a mood booster, strap on your workout shoes and get going. Even a simple walk will give you the boost you are looking for. By doing exercises that get your heart pumping, you will begin to see positive results that can brighten your overall mood. Anything that gets you off the couch and moving is exercise that can help improve your mood.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

10 Super Foods To Get You Ready for Summer!

Here are 10 "Super Foods" to help protect you from cancer, improve your cardiovascular health,and maybe even lose some weight!

Fruits

Guava is a slightly pear-shaped tropical fruit known for its sweet, acidic flavor and yellow or pink color. It contains such cancer-fighting agents as lycopene, known for warding off prostate cancer. And with 688 mg of potassium and 9 grams of fiber, this fruit is a must for anyone's diet.

Gogi berries resemble raisins, taste sweet and sour, and are red in color. Eating them can help protect the liver, improve sexual function and increase circulation. They also have the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating (a method of measuring antioxidant levels in food) of any fruit, according to researchers at Tufts University.

Dried plums, also known as prunes, are somewhat infamous for their high fiber content. However, don't forget that they also include high amounts of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids which fight the "superoxide anion radical," known to cause structural damage to cells, one of the primary causes of cancer.

Pomegranate juice has been consumed for decades in the Middle East as a popular juice beverage; now it's becoming popular in the United States. Just 4 oz. a day provides 50 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

Vegetables

Cabbage is a leafy, green vegetable. Its benefits: a healthy supply of nutrients including sulforaphane, a chemical which increases your body's production of enzymes that combat cell-damaging free radicals and reduce the risk of cancer.

Beets are roots known for their dark red coloring and are surprisingly sweet for a vegetable. They are one of the best sources of both folate and betaine, which help to lower your blood levels of homocysteine. That's good news because homocysteine can damage arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.

Swiss chard is a slightly bitter and salty vegetable. It contains huge amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, plant chemicals known as carotenoids that protect the retinas from age-related damage.

Plants

Purslane is a broad-leaved weed. It features the highest amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant and has 10 to 20 times more melatonin than any other fruit or vegetable.

Cinnamon is a common spice most of us think of when we make cake or cookies - but don't overlook a pinch or two on your oatmeal or in your coffee. Cinnamon's health benefits include controlling your blood sugar and lowering triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Active ingredients include methylhydroxychalcone polymers, which increase your cells' ability to metabolize up to 20 times.

Pumpkin seeds are too frequently tossed away during the traditional October pumpkin carving. That's a mistake, because just 1 ounce contains 150 mg of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds also are high in zinc and phytosterols, shown to lower cholesterol and defend against cancer.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Drinking Too Much Soda? Cut Back On The Salt!

Cutting back on soft drinks can be a real uphill battle, especially where kids are concerned. Some days, it

A study from the United Kingdom found that when children's salt intake was reduced, their demand for soft drinks also went down. A group of 1,686 youngsters between the ages of 4 and 18 kept food and drink diaries for one week to track both their salt and fluid intake. The researchers found that a reduction of only 1 gram per day of salt (about 2 teaspoons) correlated with a 27 gram (about 1 fluid ounce) reduction in sugar-sweetened soft-drink consumption. The researchers also speculated that a decrease of 3 grams per day of salt could lead to an average reduction of 2.3 soft drinks per child per week.

Here are six easy ways to reduce your family's salt intake:
seems easier to give in to their demands. As strange as it may sound, one of the easiest ways to encourage kids to cut back on those sugar-laden, empty-calorie drinks might be to cut back on their salt consumption.

1. Read labels carefully.

2. Choose low-salt varieties of snacks and canned goods.


3. Rely less on processed, instant and frozen foods, and more on fresh foods like fruits and vegetables.

4. Don't add salt when preparing meals (or add as little as possible).


5. Reduce the temptation by taking the salt shaker off the table.


6. Find other ingredients to add flavor to family meals, such as lemon juice, herbs and spices.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vitamin D vs. Amoxicillin?

According to some new research published on the Lancet Infectious Diseases site, Vitamin D can help you steer clear of antibiotics.  Two studies in the Lancet looking at respiratory tract infections give credence to Vitamin D over amoxicillin. The first study found that for patients where pneumonia is not suspected, "amoxicillin provides little benefit for acute lower-respiratory-tract infection in primary care both overall and in patients aged 60 years or more, and causes slight harms."

The second study divided a group of adults into two groups: those that took Vitamin D3 (4000 IU) every day for a year and those that were given a placebo. "The overall (respiratory tract) infectious score was significantly reduced for patients allocated to the vitamin D group compared with the placebo group."

These results, when taken together, provide an interesting picture of the potential health through nutrition rather than drugs.  Another interesting fact, research shows that people under regular chiropractic care take fewer prescription medications and experience fewer hospitalizations.

Friday, March 21, 2014

3 Keys to Weight Loss

Losing weight can seem pretty complicated sometimes, and justifiably so, particularly if you're the one trying to do it. Which diet should I follow? How many calories should I eat? How often should I exercise? What kinds of exercises should I do? The information out there these days is staggering and can prove overwhelming – exactly the opposite of what you need on your plate, so to speak, when you're already faced with an issue that has likely plagued you for years.

Fortunately, in wading through the reams of information, advice and suggestions, we can whittle down weight loss to a few simple principles. Follow these three strategies and weight loss won't be the mystery you thought it was; it will be an achievable goal well within your sights.

1. Load Up on Fruits & Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables aren't just healthy options because of their micronutrient composition; they're vital to weight loss because of their low caloric footprint. Consider that a medium apple only has about 100 calories, while a cup of broccoli only contains about 30 calories. So eat fruits and vegetables to your heart's content; after all, as Dr. Douglas Andersen says, "How many people do you know who are 20 pounds overweight because of those late-night binges of apples, oranges, strawberries or melons?"

2. Eat Less Fat: The body requires a certain amount of fat, but it's a fact that fat contains more calories than the other macronutrients – carbohydrates and protein. Every gram of fat consumed equals 9 calories; eat the same gram of carbohydrate or protein, and it's only 4 calories. Those calories can add up quickly and impact weight loss (or lack thereof) significantly (see why below).


3. Burn Baby, Burn: No matter the strategy employed, here's the most fundamental principle when it comes to weight loss: You need to expend more calories than you consume, pure and simple. While body metabolism can help burn calories while you're resting, one of the best ways to increase metabolism – and burn tons of calories – is with regular exercise. A pound of body fat is equivalent to about 3,500 calories; burn an extra 3,500 calories a week and you'll lose a pound of body fat. Do that consistently and enjoy the results!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How To Treat Headaches WITHOUT Drugs

Approximately 45 million Americans say they suffer headaches each year.  That makes headaches the most common health complaint, 1 in 6 people suffer from them, even more than suffer from back pain. 
This means that more than 8 million Americans visit their doctor seeking relief for symptoms of headaches each year.  Unfortunately, the most popular treatment is over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medication.

However, there is some good news when it comes to headaches.  There are safe and effective natural solutions available to help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of various headache types.  For example, chiropractic treatment is a highly sought-after alternative treatment for the debilitating effects associated with headaches. Let's learn about that headache you may be suffering from and how chiropractic can help you get rid of it.

Headaches 101

Tension headaches: The most common type of headache is the tension headache. It is estimated that 80-90 percent of the U.S. population suffers from tension headaches at some point in their lives. There are two primary types of tension headaches:

    Episodic: Headaches appear occasionally, usually less than 15 times per month.

   
Chronic: Headaches occur more than 15 times per month or on a consistent basis.


Tension headaches are intimately connected to abnormal posture, muscular tightness, joint stiffness, and restricted range of motion in the body. To obtain optimum health and function, it is important to remember that everything is connected and everything matters. Dysfunctional patterns of movement and posture affect how much tension and stress your body holds. The body must compensate for these dysfunctional patterns by any means necessary, and it accomplishes this by altering tension points.

Muscles attach to anchor points on bone and act as primary movers and stabilizers for your body. Mover muscles are used get you from point A to point B, such as a getting up out of a chair. Stabilizer muscles control that movement so you don't fall down while standing up. Abnormal posture and altered tension points on bone anchors puts too much wear and tear on muscles and joints. Your brain and nervous system must compensate for this dysfunction by altering blood flow, muscle movement patterns and breathing. These alterations often lead to tension headaches.

Migraines: The second most common type of headache is the migraine headache. Approximately 16-17 percent of the population complains of migraines. These headaches are far more debilitating than the tension-type headaches. More women than men suffer from migraine headaches, leading researchers to believe there may be a hormonal component to migraines. The majority of migraine sufferers report some sort of trigger that kicks of their headaches (food, drink, smell, etc).

How Chiropractic Can Help

Chiropractic care can help alleviate the symptoms of tension and migraine headaches by improving and restoring normal postural patterns. Chiropractic treatment is aimed at normalizing muscle tension, restoring joint range of motion, and stabilizing the body to reduce abnormal stressors. Optimizing postural control of the head and neck reduces the workload your muscles must apply just to keep your head up during the day. Proper spinal alignment and muscle control helps give the body a fighting chance of avoiding a tension headache.

Proper breathing is essential to relaxation, blood flow, and oxygen supply to the brain and body. Abnormal posture, which can include such dysfunctions as rounded shoulders, neck forward over the shoulders, slouched positions and tightness in the hips from sitting all day, decrease lung capacity. This decreased capacity alters how much you breathe, how often, and from where.

Headache sufferers tend to breathe more from their chest and shoulders as opposed to their diaphragm. This leads to repeated elevation of the shoulders and upper back muscles hundreds of times a day, leading to increased tension in the head and neck. Chiropractic restores function to the spine, ribs, and hips to maximize breathing and good postural control. Better breathing equals better health.

If you're suffering from headaches and are tired of taking pain-relieving medication day after day, call our office to find out if chiropractic can help you.