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Fermented foods have much more value than most people realize. These types of foods are actually full of nutrients and allow for the presence of excellent probiotics that assist the body in more ways than one.
Basically, fermentation means that a food is exposed to a series of chemical reactions when exposed to bacteria. The bacteria help to transform the food source to produce vitamins and nutrients in a beneficial way. When you know which fermented foods do what, you’ll have a better chance at dietary selections that benefit one and all.
These foods can help in weight loss. It’s due to the probiotic advantage of such foods. They prevent or remedy inflammation that make it difficult to burn off the excess calories. Not only that, but optimizing the digestive system, nutrients can be more efficiently absorbed. All help in increasing the metabolism and burning excess calories stored as fat.
This goes in tandem with better digestion. Using fermented foods that repair and maintain the digestive system means the body will be extracting the right amounts and types of nutrients, producing the right bacteria that should bring about optimum efficiency in digestion and deployment of essential vitamins and minerals throughout the body.
With any dietary regimen, a healthy outlook is essential. Knowing the various food groups, how they should be selected and prepared gives one a greater advantage regarding the success of one’s health goals. If you’re body building or running track, or even engaging in a good tennis exercise regimen, your dietary choices should include some of the fermented foods available. In some cases you can prepare your own products thus saving money and having the foods prepared to your specifications.
Foods like kefir, a fermented milk product, has high levels of calcium B12, magnesium, and vitamin K2 and more. There’s Kombucha a tasty blend of sugar and black tea. It’s chock full of B vitamins, probiotics, and more. Don’t forget about good old fashioned sauerkraut! This old stand by you can make at home the traditional way. Many people will attest to its nutritional power and is a favorite the world over. Sauerkraut has Vitamins A, B, C, and K, and is a good source of calcium, sodium, iron, and copper and magnesium too. It aids in circulation and in digestion and helps remedy inflammation.
There are many more fermented foods that should be in the repertoire of everyone’s diet. Peruse around and you’ll find many a tasty favorite just waiting for you.
Image credit: Bermas66 (Wikipedia)
Studies of relaxation and holistic approaches to stress.
Recent studies conducted by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston demonstrated a substantial decrease in medical-services usage, submissions, and health treatments necessary over a years time. Through this study, 17,400 test subjects were evaluated, and approximately 4,400 of these subjects showed great improvement in their need for medical services. Although such categorization of elements within a scientific study are broad, to some extent, they do demonstrate that upwards of 1/3 individuals later did not require ER services within that one year period. While there are many different variables to take into consideration, such as the social interactions involved with Yoga and Meditation, it’s worth noting that exercises such as these are not only useful for the mind as it releases positive dopamine and serotonin to your brain, but also because it’s a good way to overall distress and focus your mind on something more not only positive, but also productive.
Health experts say that due to the various ‘movements’ involved in yoga, as well as the concentration and practice, that individuals are more prone to begin relying on such exercises or ‘adaptors’ to help cope with stress in the future. The fluid movements involved in yoga, as well as deep-breathing exercises are likely to condition your mind to also better cope with fight or flight responses throughout your daily activities and experiencesas opposed to just impulsively, often negatively, responding to a reaction or undesired experience. Yoga and meditation are also shown to improve health as they tone the body, making you both feel better about yourself as well as look betterespecially your physique in the abdominal area, which is a common aspiration for many!
The reality and evaluating your options…
While Yoga and Meditation are not for everyone, it is gaining great popularity across the United States as a holistic approach to better managing stress, as well as traumatic experiencesaccording to Dr. James Stahl, director of the Institute for Technology Assessment at Massachusetts General. In addition to this, cardiac conditions are improved, and inflammation is commonly reduced throughout the body as individuals rely on such activity(s) for within a daily or weekly routine. Training your mind to do something different, or feel different ways is a very effective attempt and measure at improving the flexibility of your mind and how it decides or attempts to handle different kinds of stressors. In fact, it’s been reported that Yoga and Meditation have not only aided in improving physical and mental health, but specifically contributed to individuals quitting nasty and dangerous habits such as smoking and drinking. Unlike drinking and smoking, there is no ‘hangover’ or guilt later on. In fact, after a class of Yoga or Meditation you also feel rejuvenated for an extended period of time, as well as accelerate your metabolism for at least one to two daysanother common health goal for individuals looking to better manage or lose weight.
Of course while such activities are not going to practically be affordable for everyone, there are always alternatives, pointed out a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In fact, collecting videos online and creating your own relaxation and meditation group is a perfect example of a more cost-effective approach for trying it out on your own!
Image credit: 123rf.com
Running can be a tremendous benefit to your health in a number of ways. People who run regularly report much better health outcomes including improved physical function and better mental wellbeing. Specifically, running regularly can actually help out your knees as long as you do it responsibly (stretch, don’t overdo it, etc.) as it can help strengthen muscles and bones. It can also help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight which is of crucial importance in order to stave off a number of chronic diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, both which take the lives of many millions of people every year. Running can be a great equalizer and help reduce some of the effects of the the stressful lives we may live.
In addition to the physical benefits, running will help clear your mind and in turn, reduce stress. Can’t get that issue from work or that fight you had with a loved one off your mind? Go for a run! It may surprise you how much your attitude shifts and your thinking becomes clearer afterwards. It will likely also help with your memory and confidence in general. Several studies confirm the mental effects of running as your blood circulation improves and you really get some positive changes in your physical function. Doing it regularly enough may even lengthen your life as suggested in a large 2014 study which found that those who ran daily even for just five to ten minutes outlived those who did not run at all by an average of three years. So time is no excuse either- everyone has at least a few minutes to run (30 minutes of physical activity daily is really optimal if possible, but there are exceptions and this can matter on a lot of things).
Overall, the benefits of running are undeniable, especially when combined with a healthy diet and good sleep every night. If you have trouble running, it is perfectly okay to walk or to build up to running- what matters most is that you get physical activity rather than not. And running is certainly something you can build up to and get better at over time as long as you can get into a routine and stick with it. It may take some discipline to get started, but if you do start and stick with it for a few months, your body and mind will certainly thank you!
Image credit: maridav
One area that the fast-growing alternative wellness space has not focused on in marketing campaigns to date is pediatric care. Despite this, there is a large and growing body of young people who are practicing various natural remedies to remain fit and treat their health issues. Over ten percent of all children under the age of 18 practice yoga, see a chiropractor, take natural supplements such as fish oil, or use another form of alternative treatment according to a recent survey. Amongst these supplements such as fish oil, flaxseed-based products, various herb capsules, and probiotics are the most popular.
The high rate of use, especially of professionals such as chiropractors, was surprising to some within the field given the relative healthiness of the pediatric population relative to their adult counterparts. Some of the surprise has translated into a push to do more- increased research in pediatrics, especially with some of the supplements, to ensure safety and perhaps efficacy. Things like dosing can be especially tricky in kids as most healthcare professionals know. Beyond that, the survey results are an interesting glimpse into what newer generations might look towards and how they might utilize various forms of care.
The largest driver of pediatric use of alternative and complementary options seems to be parental use. Children whose parents use alternative therapies are five times as likely to use them themselves, especially as they get older and witness their parents’ choices and better understand them. Teenagers are especially likely to turn to alternative treatments based on parental use.
An interesting aside that is relevant to the discussion is that the definitions of alternative treatments are constantly changing, which do have an impact on surveys and results such as these. Many in medicine have seen a shift that suggests a blurring of the lines between traditional medicine and alternative medicine, which may turn out to have unwanted side effects as people have more trouble differentiating what is what and what is backed by evidence and what is not. This is where healthcare providers and alternative practitioners such as chiropractors will have a growing role- in patient education in this regard.
Some allopathic doctors have questioned the new study results due to the inclusion of certain products labeled as alternative treatments. Namely, fish oil is one that has raised some eyebrows because that is a product that is regularly recommended in traditional medicine for those with lipid abnormalities. There are even a couple of FDA-approved prescription products in the United States which are fish oil. Including these as alternative treatment might be misleading, throwing the numbers off in turn, especially because they constituted a significant portion of use. More research is likely needed to really get down to where the trends are in natural product use amongst young people. Future studies may focus more on strict definition of natural products and greater stratification of types of natural products used. Either way, it is undeniable that things appear to be changing and the healthcare and wellness space continues to evolve as new information comes out.
Image credit: filmfoto
It may sound like a crazy question and well it may be, but some recent chiropractic case studies have some interesting suggestions. Published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, some new cases showed correlation between chiropractic adjustments and improvements in heart disease. While case studies are not very high on the evidence hierarchy in science, these reports may be reasons for further study that justifies such claims.
One of the case studies involved a 54 year old man who had a history of myocardial infarction and angioplasty who was taking several medications but was still not well controlled. Apparently, after six months of chiropractic his numbers improved. Although no causal conclusion can be driven by this, it is an interesting correlation and one that should be studied further. It likely does not mean he can get off of his medications though, although chiropractic optimists may suggest that.
People who are pro chiropractic suggest that perhaps nerve interference due to misalignment, etc. may be throwing off the body’s homeostatic mechanisms to regulate itself thereby worsening certain conditions. The idea is that chiropractic adjustments can help offset these imbalances and potentially allow the body to better deal with some ailments internally. The view is controversial, however, as there is not much biological evidence that supports such a connection between nerve geography and lipid regulation within the body.
One thing that can be agreed upon is that finding the causes of cardiovascular disease and tackling those is very important. Whether spinal misalignment is one of those causes is yet to be seen. In this case, the chiropractor who the patient saw diagnosed the patient with vertebral subluxations in the neck, pelvis, and sacrum. He did his procedures to help correct the issue and a few months later routine blood work showed that there were improvements in LDL, HDL, and TGs. The patient also reported positive outcomes including improved mental and physical health and fewer complaints of musculoskeletal issues and pain.
Typical treatments in medicine for increased lipids include routine medications such as statins for cholesterol. There is also great emphasis placed on therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLCs) including eating diets which are low in cholesterol and fats and higher in fiber and protein. TLCs also include daily exercise include cardiovascular exercise if possible. Certain diets like the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet may help as well. These are likely to help a person get healthier in either case- chiropractic care or traditional.
With just one case study, there really is not much that can be said from an evidence based medicine standpoint. It will take much larger studies and ones that are randomized and controlled to really draw conclusions on this matter that can be trusted, but case studies like this are often the very initial building blocks that eventually lead to larger studies and more sound science to address our questions. It will be interesting to see where this goes because the implications may be titanic. Cardiovascular patients everywhere will likely be interested in any science that results of this.
Image credit: rangizzz
After a long workout, let alone a long week, your body and mind crave much-needed nutrients that are commonly depleted from your everyday activities and intense workouts!
Take into consideration the value of recommended steps to give your body the energy and nutrients it needs…
Burning the amount of protein that we do on average through a workout not only depletes us of current protein in the body, but also much needed sugars and other very important naturally chemicals, such as Lactoferrin. This is especially important, as it naturally supports the immune system, which can be commonly depleted of strength during a workout as we are burning more than just fats and calories. Consider the value of the healthy fats (and sugars) included in Whey Protein, and whip yourself up a shake!
Eggs inside and out
In a recent study by Dietitian Leah Mark, M.S., C.D.N., C.P.T it’s expressed that although eggs have just 70 calories each, they also include all nine necessary amino acids for muscle (protein) recovery, synthesis, and growth promotion. It has also been found that the yolk on the inside of the Egg is of equal value, as it posses at least 50% of desirable nutrients and proteins. While consuming too much yolk can cause blood and heart problems, cholesterol troubles can be averted and a healthy diet ensued with a controlled daily or bi-daily consumption of eggs.
Sweet potatoes the super food
A recent study by nutritionist Dallas Hartwig, M.S., P.T. shows us that not only do sweet potatoes provide us a reliable source of healthy fats, but also provide glycogen (our bodies natural energy reserves) which restores and balances out sugar intake and control within our bodies. Along with fiber, sweet potatoes provide the necessary amounts of vitamin A and 26 grams of carbs that our bodies can use for energy—equivalent to three days worth!
We receive healthy carbs, healthy fats, and promote muscle repair through the consumption of avocados and it’s nutrients. A statement by sports nutritionist Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., M.A., R.D., C.S.S.D. and author of Slim Down Now demonstrated how consuming avocados regularly provides our body much needed muscle repair nutrients such as Vitamins B, E, and A.
Muscle damage is expected from intense workouts, and the immune system takes a hit when we push our body to the limits. A recent publishing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine demonstrated that individuals who consumed upwards of 24 Oz of tart cherry juice on a regular basis is contributing around the equivalency of 120 cherries to promote muscle repair, growth, and a strengthened immune system.
In addition to Cherry Juice, consider the antioxidants power behind Green Tea, and it’s fat burning, energy boosting elements in adding it to your diet. Hot or cold, the caffeine helps to provide a form of pre-workout element.
Consider the health benefits, immune system building, bone promoting, and high mark protein contents of consuming Chocolate Milk and take your body to the top with it’s valuable healthy fats and carbs post-workout.
Image credit: Antonio Munoz Palomares