Category Archives: Facts

The Benefits of Coffee

Stop feeling guilty about your favorite part of every morning — it turns out a daily coffee habit is good for more than just waking up. For one thing, we just made it through the holidays, so enjoy that coffee! Also, research is revealing there’s a lot more to coffee than caffeine content and, in reality, this AM go-to might be a smart solution for maintaining your health.

Enjoy a Cup of Coffee
Coffee’s Health Benefits

Black coffee averages just two calories per cup, and its high antioxidant levels make it one of the best sources for these cancer-fighting “vitamins”. Beyond jump starting your day, each cup contains following benefits for your health.

Good for Your Heart

Looking for an easy way to protect your heart? Coffee might be key. Research from Israel has found that drinking about 16 ounces of coffee per day can lead to an 11 percent lower risk of heart failure. Unfortunately for major addicts, the study didn’t find much benefit to drinking more coffee than this.

Makes You Smarter

Everyone knows that drinking coffee will improve your energy, but there is evidence that the caffeine it contains can actually improve your thinking capabilities, too. When you drink a cup of coffee, the caffeine gets absorbed into your bloodstream where it travels to your brain and alters its functioning. This caffeine blocks a neurotransmitter called Adenosine, which causes other neurotransmitters like dopamine to fire more instead. Not only does this elevate your mood, but it also improves reaction times, logical reasoning skills, and your attention span, which (temporarily) improves your thinking abilities and productivity.

Coffee Helps You Burn Fat!

The increased energy you feel when you drink coffee does more than affect your brain, it also causes your body to burn more calories. Some studies have found caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3 to 11 percent, while others show that caffeine specifically increases your body’s fat-burning capabilities by as much as a 30 percent.

Improve Physical Performance

The caffeine in coffee seems capable of waking up both your brain and your body, according to research. Studies have found that caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which triggers adrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormone in your body and preps it for physical exertion. In this way, a cup of coffee can improve physical performance by 10 percent or more, and the benefit is most pronounced for endurance sports like running, biking, or swimming. This means that a cup of coffee might be a smart idea before your next major workout.

Coffee Helps Fight Depression

Depression is pervasive, affecting almost five percent of the U.S. population. However, coffee might make a difference in your day-to-day happiness. A study from Harvard found that women who drink four or more cups a day were 20 percent less likely to be depressed, and similar studies found that the same amount of coffee can half the risk of suicide. These benefits are mainly attributed to coffee’s ability to produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine.

The research is continuing to POUR in, and coffee has more going for it than just a way to make it through midday fatigue. Drinking black coffee every day can help you lose weight, improve your fitness level, keep you happier and even improve your mental abilities. So, grab your mug and get sipping!

What’s REALLY in Your Fish Oil Supplement?

Fish oil supplements are more popular than ever. With an astounding average of 800mg of omega-3 fatty acids per serving, is it any surprise why?

 

We all need omega-3s to thrive, yet few people get as much as they need from their daily diet alone. In fact, recent research from Harvard University found that omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is one of the top 10 causes of death in America. This means that 96,000 Americans die highly preventable deaths each year, partly because they didn’t take enough fish oil supplements.

Tuna fish oil

If that fast fact has you leaning in, listen up — because not all fish oil supplements are equal. There are is huge variation in ingredients, freshness, purity, and even omega-3 content in the fish oil on the market, and not even health care practitioners always know the difference. It’s essential to investigate the efficacy and quality of your supplements before diving in — with minimal regulation in the supplement market, many products are mislabeled, unregulated and even made from harmful ingredients.

 

What to Look for In Fish Oil Supplements

When you look through fish oil supplements, there are five factors to consider when making your choice: freshness, nutrient content, purity, potency, and bioavailability.

  • Freshness: When overly exposed to oxygen, omega-3s can turn rancid. That makes it even more important to check freshness — specifically how old the oils you chose are. Consider sustainable sources (eg. Tuna oil).
  • Nutrient Content: While all fish oils contain EPA and DHA, special fish oils can also contain fat soluble vitamins for an extra nutritional boost.
  • Purity: Check each able to see if the fish oil in question meets international standards for heavy metals, dioxins and other ocean-bound contaminants.
  • Potency: Check the label for specifics on the levels of omega-3s present to ensure you’re getting what you really need to stay healthy.
  • Bioavailability: Nutrient content hardly matters if your body can’t take advantage of them. Make sure that the fatty acids in your supplements have a natural balance to ensure your body can properly absorb them.

 

The Fatty Acids You Need

There are two main omega-3s that make up majority of fish oil: EPAs and DHAs. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is an omega-3 found in coldwater fish like cod, herring, tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines. In the same way, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a main structural component of the human brain and can come from the diet through fish oil, algae and even breast milk.

Both EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids — you can’t live without them, and the only way your body can get them is through food. These fatty acids are important for maintaining a healthy heart, and play an important role in the functioning of your nervous system while contributing to better moods, muscle growth, and good sleep. While both acids are essential, your body can transform EPA into DHA when necessary, making the former the most important in maintaining good health.

To ensure you’re getting the correct essential omega-3s, check the label on your fish oil supplements. The label will separate the types of omega-3’s by name.

Invest in high quality fish oil supplements and you’ll get the omega-3s you need to stay healthy. Make sure you do your research before you buy and know exactly what you’re taking. You’ll be well on your way to getting sufficient EPA and DHA — both critical building blocks to your short- and long-term health and well-being.

We prefer a Tuna Oil due to freshness, sustainability, and quality. Ask the front desk about our tuna oil options and where you may be able to purchase it.

“Organic,” “All Natural,” “Certified Organic ” and More: Is There Really a Difference?

Feel a little confused as you browse food labels on grocery store shelves? You aren’t alone. Why does organic matter? Manufacturers know healthy food is trendier than ever, and many will do whatever they can to showcase their product in the best possible light — sometimes regardless of what it really contains. 

To help you comb through the what’s-what of the grocery aisle, here’s a quick rundown of common labels and designations with clear-cut info and intel to help you make smart purchase decisions.

Organic, Fresh, No- Antibiotics...

Label me…

USDA Certified Organic:

This label always comes with the green USDA logo — and, more importantly, it’s the one standard of organic certification you can trust to mean what it implies. Only products that have been vetted by a third party to ensure compliance with organic standards can carry the seal — and that means all products with this designation must be grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, AND are free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It’s expensive for farms to gain USDA organic certification, so the sign of certification shows the manufacturer made the commitment.   

 

“Organic” or “Made with Organic Ingredients:”

Without certification from the USDA, the term “organic” has a looser meaning. To be legally branded organic in the U.S., a food product needs to be made with a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. Food products made with at least 70% organic ingredients are instead labeled “made with organic ingredients.” However, there aren’t set standards for beauty and other personal care products, meaning that the organic label is often used as a relatively meaningless marketing strategy for them.

 

All Natural:

Despite what the term seems to imply, “all natural” only means that a food product (usually meat) wasn’t overly processed and is free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. This term is defined loosely by the USDA, meaning that many customers assume it means more than it does. For example, “all natural” products can legally contain antibiotics and GMO ingredients.

 

“No Antibiotics Administered” or “Raised without Antibiotics:”

In the meat industry, it’s common to administer antibiotics to animals to keep them healthy while in close quarters. In contrast to this standard, these labels mean that the meat in question was raised without antibiotics — a plus for many consumers.

To ensure you’re getting what you think you are, look for the “USDA Process Verified” shield — this ensures the company’s claims were legally verified.


One side note — some products are marketed as “antibiotic free.” The USDA has never authorized this term and it has no legal meaning when used for food. Don’t assume this statement means the same as “no antibiotics administered” or “raised without antibiotics.” It doesn’t. I have heard one manufacturer tell me that “we don’t add antibiotics to our meat”. As if I would ever think that they would add antibiotics to the end product (which is dead). When I asked if the animals were given antibiotics the answer was, “we don’t add antibiotics to our meat”. I hope you see why the term “antibiotic free” holds little value in my opinion.

 

Fresh:

Often used on chicken, this term means that meat wasn’t cooled below 26 degrees F before being sold. I would say that this is up for a lot of interpretation and does not sound like I would define fresh. How long has this been in the refrigerator? Your guess is as good as mine.

 

Certified Humane:

Certified by the nonprofit Humane Farm Animal Care, this strict standard requires animals live in conditions where they have fresh water, high quality feed, lots of roaming space and are never administered antibiotics.

 

Non-GMO Project Verification Seal:

GMO products are increasingly common in food. Now, the only way to know for certain if your food is free of GMOs is to look for the Non-GMO Project seal. Developed in 2003, this verification process tests foods to ensure they are fully free of genetically modified materials.

I hope you all learned a few things about the labeling system and how you can make the best choices for your health and the health of your family.

New FDA Guidelines For SEAFOOD!

marlin

I don’t always follow EVERY guideline as it comes down the pipeline to the consumer. To be fair, most of the time I am already doing what is recommended. Other times, it doesn’t apply to me. In this case, the seafood guidelines that were released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January of 2017 did not apply to me at all. In fact, they NEVER will as I doubt that I will become pregnant anytime soon.

HOWEVER,

Often times I have found that the advice given to PREGNANT mothers is often great advice for most of us.

The FDA and EPA rated 60 species of fish into 3 categories that ranks fish into “best choice”, “good choice”, and “choice to avoid”.

Expectant mothers have been warned about the dangers of eating shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, but added to the list of “choices to avoid” are marlin, orange roughy and bigeye tuna.

I would go slightly beyond this recommendation and add this… If a fish eats OTHER fish, then it should be avoided as well.

WHY?

The larger the fish, the larger the quantities of smaller fish that it eats.  This makes it  more likely it is to be contaminated with heavy metals and other undesirable contaminants.

Another great thing about the new ratings chart is the” handy” serving size section. By following this serving size tool and applying it to ALL ANIMAL PROTEIN, it will greatly help you with portion size control.

See the chart in full detail here…HERE HERE

Flu Is NOT a Season! Healthy vs. Feeling

stoptheflu

I was recently brushing up on the most recent scientific literature on “Colds and Influenza” and was saddened that some of the alternative treatments do not get the media attention that they deserve. It is unfortunate that many of them are not more commonly known.

Most of us realize that any Structural deficiency can lead to DECREASED function of your body, but I will not be covering anything about how this puts you at a disadvantage from the get go. If you want to discuss this, please call the office and schedule a consultation and I would be happy to go over your case with you. After all, I am a Structural Chiropractor.

Back to the paper that I caught my eye. It was a systematic review of the literature on everything from vaccinating against the flu, antiviral agents, over the counter products to various natural treatments. Since I am the nerd and I don’t expect most people to know that a systematic review is one of the HIGHEST forms of research studies, I will just tell you. It is a big deal when a systematic review shows efficacy. In other words, they carry a LOT of weight in the scientific and clinical community.

While I was intrigued by some of the traditional treatment results (and lack thereof), I wanted to focus on the natural treatments that are effective at keeping you, and your family felling well. Also NOTE that I did not say healthy.

Healthy and feeling well are not the same thing.

Healthy is the ability to adapt to your environment, while feeling well is just a subjective “feeling”. People with cancer often report “feeling good”. Individuals with heart disease “feel good”. People with cavities may “feel good”. As you can see, feeling good and healthy are not always the same thing. I want you all to be healthy AND feel good.

In this article, I want to cover some of the little known natural treatments and not necessarily the most effective for your individual case. As with all of my posts, I ask that you discuss with your healthcare provider BEFORE trying anything as you may or may not be an candidate for all of the treatments. Now that I have that intro out of the way, here are the top 3 “lesser known” ways to reduce symptoms, severity and duration of the common cold and influenza.

1.) Echinacea (Echinacea spp)

As with all of these, the product/ formulation and dosage matter. Do not go and buy just any echinacea. Ask your provider which brand/ product and dosage to take.

The results of studies are mixed on Echinacea, likely due to the different formulations as mentioned above. However, there are enough studies that suggest that it may reduce duration as well as severity of common cold symptoms. Even though there are “mixed” results, there are still enough good studies that suggest echinacea does reduce symptoms.  It may be a viable supplement to your treatment.

2.) Elderberry Syrup (Sambucus Nigra)

Now this one may be my favorite. I have PERSONALLY had great results with the syrup both myself and with my son. While I have only been ill twice in the past decade, but the last time being very recent, I can absolutely say that I had great results. It is recommended that you take this one within 48 hours of symptoms as the research suggests that it the most effective time to do so.

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Research demonstrates elderberry syrup possess immune-modulating and antioxidant properties.

 Most people do not realize that Elderberry syrup has antiviral properties that make it ideal for any viral infection. Mumcuoglu (an Israeli virologist) found that elderberry syrup effectively blocks viruses from being able to replicate, which is a really cool finding!

3.) Garlic (Allium sativa)

This one is a fun one. Who doesn’t love garlic? Okay, I know that everyone doesn’t love it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take it in a supplement form.

In one large study they compared a group of 123 people who took a garlic supplement versus 123 who did not. In this study, the supplement group only had 24 colds, while the non-supplement group had 65. Also, the supplement group reported symptoms lasting 1.5 days on average versus 5 days in the non-supplement group.

You should never take the results of one study and consider it to be definative.  This is because it is very rare for researchers to study things that result in little to zero financial gain. In other words, unless the garlic supplement industry were to fund additional research, we aren’t likely to see many more studies completed. While many of us don’t agree with this practice, we must take it into account.

I will leave this data with you to digest (PUN intended), and go about my business. I hope you found this article applicable and helpful to you and your family. At the very least, I hope you continue to investigate on your own. As always, if you have any questions either about this article or structural chiropractic care, feel free contact me.

Get Your Groove On!

Many people have asked me why I have upbeat music in the office. Other than personal preference, I have found something that SHOULD catch your ear…

I am always looking to improve what I do, and the results in the clinic. This is one small thing that I thought I would share with you.

A recent study published in a top medical journal (Lancet) has recommended music as a way to reduce pain and anxiety.

The brain releases neurotransmitters that activate the feeling of “pleasure” when you listen to your favorite tunes!

Now everyone knows why we have a list at the front desk that is asking you for your favorite songs! I want you to ENJOY your time in the office. I know… I am craaaaaazy. Don’t worry, not only do I want you to enjoy your time, but I also want to activate your immune system.

Let’s be honest, we all knew that music makes us happy, but most had no idea that it reduces pain, depression and actually empowers us!

WOW! So next time you are feeling blue, or have a little pain bringing you down, remember to turn up the tunes and sing like no one is watching. Not only are you improving your immune system, but you are bringing joy to all of us who look to the car next to us and see someone belting out their favorite show tune.

Getting Her Groove On!

Why a show tune?

One study showed that singing show tunes may have improved the cognitive ability of dementia paitents! Yes! Now that is some research that probably effects each and every one of us in some way or another. If you don’t have someone in your life suffering from dementia, then congrats, but please do not take it lightly.

Moral of the story is that not only do I look our for ANY way to improve your experience in the office, but please, let the front desk know what your favorite song is!

Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to share it with people that you love and care about by clicking one of the social media buttons below. As always, we provide COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATIONS to discuss your individual case and determine if we are a good fit to help you improve your heath.

Inflammation is BAD, but…

If you are a research and health news junkie like I am, then you have probably heard someone talking about how inflammation is the “big bad wolf”.

I want to quickly say… NOT SO FAST!

Inflammation-And-Natural-Health

While systemic inflammation is an absolute nightmare to most people, it is not necessarily “THE” problem. The question you should always ask is, what caused it? What caused the inflammation to occur? Was it diet? Physical injury? Bacteria? Virus? Parasite? Stress (yes, stress)? A Structural Shift?

Maybe, just maybe the inflammation is there in an attempt to HEAL.

In every pathology class, the basic process of healing is introduced.

For simplicity, I will talk about wound healing. When you first get a physical wound, your body goes through 3 phases of healing that wound. Inflammation is the first phase after bleeding is stopped, inflammation begins to bring essential cells, nutrients, enzymes, and growth factors to the area in order for the body to repair itself. Without this process, healing cannot occur. Inflammation is NECESSARY! Remember this when you attempt to bring down inflammation during the healing process. You should always consult a trusted health professional before “bringing down inflammation”.

Obviously, inflammation COULD cause a problem with SEVERE injuries. In such cases, bringing inflammation down may be necessary. This is usually done in a hospital setting under the supervision of surgeon, or trauma specialist.

Okay, now that we know inflammation is NECESSARY for healing, we can focus on the “bad form” of inflammation. “Bad inflammation” occurs when the body has a reason to systemically heal itself. Think of it this way… If you are constantly providing your body with IRRITANTS (i.e. food, inhaled, injected, topically), then it will have the need to cause inflammation in order to heal. Although I will not get into the different irritants here, I will blog on them in the future.

My favorite way to reduce irritants is to eat foods that are high in antioxidants and that provide properties that do not encourage inflammation. These foods have been shown to reduce inflammatory blood markers that tend to be high in MOST chronic disease processes. I am not saying that you won’t get a chronic illness if you eat these foods, BUT I will say that it is a good idea to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to chronic illness. With that being said, here my top 5 “anti-inflammatory” foods:

  1. Animal based Omega-3 fatty acids (My favorite is Fish oil). These are also important for brain health!
  2. Leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens, swiss chard).
  3. Blueberries (high in antioxidants).
  4. Tea (Matcha tea from Japan, and Tulsi tea are the absolute best).
  5. Fermented foods (kefir, kimchee, miso, pickles, sauerkraut, olives, and other fermented vegetables, will help recolonize your gut with beneficial bacteria that control inflammation).

I hope you increase these foods in your diet ASAP and that you learned a little about inflammation and how it is bad and NOT so bad at the same time.

Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to share it with people that you love and care about by clicking one of the social media buttons below. As always, we provide COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATIONS to discuss your individual case and determine if we are a good fit to help you improve your heath.

What to EAT for your Brain Health: My Top 3 Foods

There are many different nutrients that protect our brain health, but not all can be created equal.

While my focus on brain health has much to do with the structure of your spine and being free of any underlying structural shifts, we can’t ignore the role nutrition plays in creating a healthy and thriving brain.

Let me just say that I did do some serious searching for articles on brain health and nutrition. All sources are included for your reference.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Yes, this heart saving fatty acid is also excellent for you brain health.

In one study, they actually showed that these healthy fats may help protect the brain after a concussion. Another study showed how these fats improved depression.

Last, but certainly not least, one study showed improved reaction times and memory in HEALTHY ADULTS. I highlighted healthy because most studies are done with disease and symptoms in mind and this one was done on healthy young adults. These are my favorite types of studies!

Obviously, the best source of Omega-3’s is from food, so fatty fish like king mackerel and salmon are an ideal source. However, eating fish daily is impractical and undesirable for almost everyone. Therefore supplementation with a high quality Omega-3 fish oil can help fill the gap.

A high quality fish oil contains a 3/2 ratio of EPA/DHA, contains vitamin E (for freshness). Of course, I will always help you with choosing a quality fish oil.

Probiotics

This is one of the hottest research topics out there. Everyone is trying to crack the code on healthy bacteria. You can find probiotics in many products including Kombucha, yogurt, and many forms of fermented foods.

One of the most exciting things about the science is how gut bacteria can affect almost every other system in the body. I found studies that link gut bacteria to you that number on the scale that I will not mention, blood sugar regulation, and even Parkinson’s. Obviously this important “system” in our body has much more effect than just helping with digestion and bowel movements.

Another exciting field of research is how gut bacteria may be affecting our children. Would you call me crazy if I said, “Your child’s mood is because of their gut bacteria”. Read that study and you many not call me crazy anymore (although my wife says this is a long shot).

Studies are being done to link gut bacteria to depression, anxiety, movement disorders and yes, even autism.

Even with all of the promising research, there are still many questions regarding probiotics. I cannot predict where these studies will ultimately take us, but I have read enough to have every person in my house take probiotics daily, including my 17 month old son who has been supplementing since 6 months of age.

Curcumin

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Image courtesy of Steven Jackson. (Flickr CC license)

I bet this one caught you off guard. Even if it is the “it” supplement of the day, it does have some great health qualities. Enough that I put it in my top 3 brain foods. While the research is still mostly on animals, it does give us a lot of insight into what the mechanism of how this supplement is helping.

This extract of turmeric has been shown to alter the process of Alzheimer’s, tumor formation, diabetes, chronic pain, and even DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness after that long lay off from the gym (don’t worry, I know you would never do that).

It is thought that the chemicals in curcumin are able to help eliminate inflammatory molecules in the body called free radicals, thus reducing inflammation.

While this is great news, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done in humans. We also know that cucumin gets mostly destroyed in the stomach and that very little is absorbed into the blood stream. In other words, we don’t know what the best delivery method is quite yet.

However, many people report benefit from a simple curcumin supplement. The risk is very low along with the price and the reward can be very great if you are a chronic pain sufferer that gets some relief.

One way to increase curcumin is to eat more curries and use turmeric in more of your dishes. If you are anything like me, this is not a bad thing to hear.

Sugar: Why and How to Cut Back

Although it is a tasty additive to your diet, it is by no means necessary and contains few nutrients. In fact, USDA’s MyPlate guide, which creates dietary recommendations for Americans, considers added sugar to be an empty calorie ingredient. And while a tiny bit in your diet may not negatively impact your health, you should aim to keep the added variety as low as possible. The American Health Association recommends reducing your added-sugar intake to 100-150 calories per day, at most. As a result, it is essential to understand why it can be detrimental to your health and how to consume as little as possible.

sugar

The Downside of The Sweet Stuff

So why are we demonizing the tasty white stuff? It’s hard to imagine that something so sweet can so negatively influence your health. But unfortunately, increased sugar intake has been linked to a wide variety of diseases affecting various parts of your body, from your teeth to your HEART! Furthermore, eating it increases your caloric intake. A single teaspoon full of the simple carbohydrate contains four grams and sixteen calories, a number that adds up quickly. After all, a can of soda likely contains at least ten teaspoons per serving.

To begin, there is a direct relationship between consumption of sweets and dental caries (or cavities): as intake increases, dental cavities increase as well. Luckily, brushing one’s teeth twice a day may help to offshoot the negative impact it has on your teeth. But with so many other health implications, adding it is difficult to justify.

Second, by eating it, you increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. In fact, one study found that individuals who consume the most (over 500 calories a day!) are twice as likely to die compared to individuals who consume the least amount. While it may seem unlikely that you are consuming 500 calories worth of sugar daily, you may not be far off from that number. On average, men and women consume 335 and 230 calories each day, respectively. These numbers are even higher among children and teenagers.

Third, added sugars increase your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. When you consume lots and lots of it, you may become insulin resistant. In simple terms, your body loses the ability to scoop up sugar and use it for energy. Instead, it remains in your blood, leading to symptoms associated with type-2 diabetes. In fact, women who incorporated soda into their diet experienced the greatest weight gain over a four-year period of time. Likewise, regular consumption of at least one sugar-sweetened soft drink each day may increase a woman’s risk of type-2 diabetes by 83%. And men are not immune from the effects of sugar on type-2 diabetes, as similar results have been found across genders and age groups,.

Just as sugar is implicated in type-2 diabetes, it is also a culprit in Alzheimer’s disease. Recent research has determined that insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels are detrimental to the brain and may lead to neurocognitive disabilities, such as disorientation, memory loss, and personality changes. Furthermore, having type-2 diabetes or eating a high in sweets diet may influence your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In fact, some even consider Alzheimer’s to be “type-3 diabetes.”

Finally, many news sources may incorrectly report that sugar directly causes cancer. The relationship is not quite that simple. Although cancer feeds off blood sugar, you will not destine yourself to die from cancer if you drink soda, just as you will not cancer-proof your future by abstaining from it. However, sugar consumption does increase your risk of obesity, as mentioned earlier. And weight gain is often a risk factor for developing certain types of cancers. So while sugar does not necessarily lead to cancer, maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle by eating lots sweets may negatively influence your overall health and make you more susceptible to cancer.

Common Sugar Aliases

Hopefully we have made the point that sweets can negatively impact your health in a multitude of ways. Despite your best efforts to cut down on sugar in your body, it is exceedingly common that the ingredient may still be lurking in your food. A quick search online yielded over twenty different phrases you may find on your food label that indicate sugar has been added to your food. Before buying your groceries, read the label carefully to search for these ingredients:

Agave syrup. Anhydrous dextrose. Brown sugar. Cane crystals. Confectioner’s/ powdered. Corn syrup. Corn syrup solids. Dextrose. Evaporated cane juice. Fructose. Fruit juice concentrates. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Honey. Invert sugar. Malt syrup. Maltose. Maple syrup. Molasses. Nectar. Raw sugar. Sucrose. White granulated sugar. Anything ending in -OSE.

The Search for Hidden Sugar

To an extent, cutting back on sugar is an easy process that you can easily implement in your home by making some simple changes. First and foremost, skip the soda purchases. One large study concluded that sweetened beverages were the biggest contributor to added sugar in the American diet. Instead, choose water or unsweetened iced tea. You can further cut back on sugars by avoiding cereals as they are typically high in them, and avoiding sweetened products. Also, opt to not add the sweet stuff to your coffee and make a habit of reading the nutritional labels.

Unfortunately, sugar is found in your everyday food purchases; you don’t have to walk down the candy aisle to find food items chock-full of it. Some surprisingly common sources include breads, tomato sauces, and salad dressings. In addition, low-fat and low-calorie products are especially likely to be brimming with the added variety. Manufacturers commonly add relatively large quantities to make up from the loss of taste due to fat removal. For example, peanut butter is especially subject to this phenomenon. Whereas natural peanut butter contains approximately one gram of sugar per serving, low-fat peanut butter contains over three times as much.

While you may think that you are eating healthy by choosing low-fat, low-calorie products, the full-fat version may actually be healthier.

The bottom line is to keep your added sweets intake as low as possible. While this may be a difficult task to accomplish, start by skipping the obvious sources it. From there, begin the search for secret sources and instead choose naturally sugar-free alternatives. Doing so can decrease your risk of diseases and drastically improve your quality of life.

Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System During Winter

Every winter it’s the same thing: colds, flus, and the general feeling of being under the weather. And this year, as with all years prior, your immune system is under constant attack. Of course, you don’t have to succumb to the ailments that seem to strike every time the weather turns cold. And you don’t have to rely on pharmaceutical means of bolstering your immune system in order to stave off illness. There are plenty of natural ways to boost your body’s natural immunity that don’t require a medicinal overload. So if you’re looking for a kinder, gentler way to avoid the many bugs that go around when the mercury plummets, here are just a few natural ways to keep your immune system strong throughout the year.
Get Your ZZZ’s
One of the very best things you can do for the health of your immune system, and well, for your health in general, is to get plenty of sleep, especially when your body is under attack from the kinds of pathogens that find stability in the cold, dry air of winter. The time you spend sleeping allows your body to rest and repair itself from the damages of the day. Sleep not only improves your mental state, but it gives your body the best opportunity to fight off illness. And when you fail to get the recommended eight hours a night, you compromise your immune system, hindering its ability to do its job. The good news is that your body will eventually force you to get the rest you need, but you probably don’t want your reason for sleeping to be the fact that you’re fighting off a cold or flu.
Stay Hydrated
Studies have shown that viruses flourish in cold, dry conditions, which is perhaps why cold and flu bugs seem to be more prevalent in the winter. However, the other part of the equation is that your body is also drier in the winter. Both the cold air outside and the constantly running HVAC system inside your home can contribute to your mucus membranes drying out, and these are your first line of defense against airborne pathogens. In order to keep this essential part of your immune system functioning properly, it’s important that you stay hydrated. So if you’re already committed to drinking eight glasses of water every day, you might want to try upping the ante by working in other fluids like fresh-squeezed juices, tea, and even more water.
Up Your Vitamin D Intake
Vitamin D is not only responsible for giving you a sunny disposition, but it is also a major contributor to immune system strength. And as you may know, the best source of vitamin D is the sun, which is why many people tend to suffer from lower levels of this essential nutrient during the winter months. That said, there are plenty of natural ways to get your vitamin D when the sun is on sabbatical. It’s probably best to avoid the synthesized version of vitamin D found in supplements unless they are recommended by your health care provider. Not all supplements are created equal. Other ways to boost your vitamin D levels can be found in common foods. Try to work egg yolks, salmon (ONLY wild caught), and organ meats into your diet this winter.
Consider Kombucha
This fermented tea has gained major popularity of late because of the digestion-friendly probiotics it delivers. But how can it help your immune system? Most people don’t realize the important role that the gut plays in immunity. And pathogens can enter your system in a variety of ways, including through the foods you ingest. Keeping your digestive system strong and healthy is therefore an excellent means of contributing to overall immune strength. Although you don’t necessarily want to go overboard with the probiotics, adding them to your diet can help you to feel great and fight illness. Again, a supplemental probiotic can be beneficial, but they too are not created equal. Always consult your health care provider before adding any supplement.
Work in Some Cold Weather Workouts
Exercising when you’re ill probably sounds antithetical. And the truth is that you should give your body a break when you’re sick so that it can devote available energy and resources to fighting the virus or bacterial infection attacking it. However, fitness and health go hand in hand, so you shouldn’t give up on regular exercise just because it’s snowing and blowing outside. Instead of jogging, strap on some skis and get outside for some cross-country exertion. Or hit up the local YMCA. You could swim a few laps or play a game of squash with a friend.
Keeping yourself in shape not only makes you feel great and helps you stave off major illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, but moderate exercise can also help your body stop cold and flu bugs, or at least lessen the intensity and duration of such ailments. So really, your best chances to naturally boost your immune system involve the same common sense rules doctors have been touting for years: eat right, exercise, and get plenty of sleep.

staywell

 

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