Category Archives: Tips

5 Simple Tips to Improve SLEEP

In an ideal world, you would be falling asleep within minutes of hitting your pillow. Unfortunately, this is far from reality for thousands of people. A full 40 percent of people sleep less than eight hours every night, and even falling asleep is far from a simple process.

Sleep Like a Baby

Between one-third and half of all adults in the United States suffer from insomnia, and research collected from 1905 to 2008 shows that children have lost an average of a minute of sleep each year. Good quality sleep is more rare today than ever before. All while research shows that your quality of sleep should be a priority. 

Before I get to my sleep tips, I want to be clear that having the correct mattress for your condition and sleep style is extremely important. I often recommend specific mattresses for my patients, but if you are not a patient, Quality Sleep Mattress Store in Bellevue is my top choice for custom matching a mattress.

If you have eliminated your mattress as the source of poor quality of sleep, now you can read further as these are definitely secondary to a quality mattress.

So, what can you do to improve your sleep each night? These tips are the place to start.

 

#1. Control Artificial Light Exposure

One of the biggest factors for how well you sleep each night is the amount of light you are exposed to. We evolved to be extremely sensitive to even slight variations in light levels, ensuring that evening skies lead us to feel drowsy.

 

Today, however, an overabundance of artificial light is keeping us awake. Your phone, laptop screen, and TV all emit “blue light” which triggers your body into thinking that it’s daytime no matter what the clock says. In fact, looking at a cell phone screen late at night has been found to keep people up for hours longer than they would be otherwise.

To fall asleep faster, put all your electronics aside at least two hours before hitting your pillow to prevent your brain from getting stimulated. Also, many cell phones now have a “night mode” that essentially turns off the blue lights that come from your screen. I recommend 2 hours in this mode before sleep or ideally, no electronics at all.

#2. Don’t Stress About Sleep

STRESS about not falling asleep and you’ll, no doubt, NOT fall asleep. If you’re starting to feel anxious about the sleep you’re missing out on, it’s important to stop this mental pattern before it gets out of control.

Don’t let yourself dwell on how bad you’ll feel in the morning, and think instead about how much easier falling asleep will be the next night. Evidence shows that letting go of worry while falling asleep helps you fall asleep faster, just by removing your underlying anxiety.

#3. Practice Relaxation Techniques

The old methodology of ‘counting sheep’ might be more beneficial for your health than you think. Simple relaxation techniques can do a lot to focus your mind to help you fall asleep, so consider experimenting to find what works for you. Some people practice a twenty-minute yoga routine before bed, others practice meditation or read books in bed.

Often, the routine itself is just as crucial of a trigger that it’s time to wind down as what you do, so being consistent is key.

#4. Get Out of Bed When Necessary

If you really can’t sleep, there’s no point in lying in bed willing things to be different. Instead, get up, make a cup of tea, or spend time with a book in your living room. Don’t turn on your TV or use your smartphone though, as the artificial light will make you stay up longer.

In most cases, the change in routine (of laying sleepless) will help you forget your anxiety about still being awake, and you’ll fall asleep again quickly.

#5. Avoid Chemical Substances

Contrary to what you might think, alcohol makes sleeping more difficult. Cigarettes, caffeine, and spicy meals also disrupt sleep, so keep your food and drinks relatively bland in the hours before bedtime for the best results.

Falling asleep shouldn’t be a struggle. Experiment with these tips, and you’ll be getting better sleep in no time. Here is another blog on the very same topic that you may also consider.

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.

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

Sleep Positions and Posture During Pregnancy

 

pregnantbackpainLet’s face it, most people don’t have the best posture to begin with. Unless you happened to attend an old-timey finishing school where you were forced to walk around balancing a book on your head, chances are good you’re one of the many adults that slouches and suffers from back and neck pain as a result. And when you discover that you’re pregnant, you’re in for even more problems. As your body puts on weight, your posture is likely to get even worse – that is, of course, unless you become aware of the changes that your body is undergoing. If you do, you can take steps to keep your back aligned (biomechanically speaking) and correct the posture issues contributing to the decline in your spinal health.

You obviously want to maintain your overall health as much as possible for the benefit of your baby, but also for yourself. The way you position your body during pregnancy, during both waking and sleeping hours, can help to ease the heavy burden you’ll carry for the next several months, keeping you as comfortable as possible throughout the process. If you’re looking for ways to ensure a smooth(er) pregnancy, the following are just a few sleep positions and posture basics to get you started.

Sleep on Your Left Side

If you’ve read any literature pertaining to what you should expect when you’re expecting, you’ve no doubt discovered that sleeping on your stomach is a major no-no. Well, that’s just common sense. You might be more surprised, though, to learn that you should also avoid sleeping on your back. As your baby grows and you gain weight, this position can lead to labored breathing and pressure on internal organs. Sleeping on your side is best and sleeping on your left side is actually better than the right. This position aids circulation and it stops the growing baby inside you from putting undue pressure on your liver all night long.

As a side note, proper posture and spinal alignment during slumber can generally be better maintained by sleeping with a body pillow (click here for a Structurally approved body pillow). Place it between your knees and arms to keep your body in the most desirable and comfortable position.

Stand Up Straight

If you don’t want to end up looking like Igor or Quasimodo in your twilight years (don’t get me wrong, I do love them both), you should probably strive to stand up straight all of the time, but it is especially important to observe proper posture when you’re pregnant and you have an extra 20 to 40 pounds weighing you down. Standing up straight does require some amount of attention to detail, and because practice makes perfect, here are a few points to keep in mind where posture is concerned.

Hold your head straight and try to keep your earlobes aligned with your shoulders (as viewed from the side). Keep your shoulder blades pulled back (but not up – be mindful of shrugging your shoulders up as it will increase the tension in your neck). Pull your stomach up and in, and tuck your pelvis so that your back doesn’t arch. Point your feet forward and don’t lock your knees. These are the “basics”. And when you’re pregnant, try to move around frequently rather than standing in the same spot for any great duration. As always, I will gladly teach this to you during one of our complimentary consultations along with explaining how Webster technique may be able to help you.

Sit Up Straight

Sitting is seen by most patients as a chance to relax, but sinking into your favorite La-Z-Boy is nothing but an excuse to slouch. If you want to preserve your spinal health during pregnancy, it’s important that you sit up straight. If you’re having trouble doing so, try to sit in straight-back chairs and add lumbar support in the form of a lumbar pillow as mentioned below.

Support Your Lower Back

Okay, remembering to sit and stand tall is all well and good, but it does take some work. Luckily, you can cheat a bit by using lumbar support, at least when sitting. You will not find a shortage of pregnancy-related products, and that includes pillows. But you need not shell out beaucoup bucks for a specialty pillow. A sturdy bolster or even a rolled towel will do the trick. Simply position it behind your lower back when sitting for an extra measure of support. This will help you relax and feel comfortable while still maintaining proper posture. If you want an inexpensive lumbar support, HERE is an Amazon link.

Try Pregnancy Yoga

If you’re looking for ways to strengthen the areas around your belly, pregnancy yoga can be a godsend. Gentle stretching will help to relieve the aches and pains of pregnancy, while also improving circulation and minimizing swelling. Yoga routines will strengthen key areas of the body. This will allow you body to better withstand the increased burden of gravity as your baby grows.

There you have it. Just a few tips to help make your pregnancy (or someone you care about) a little more comfortable.

As a perinatal and pediatric trained chiropractor, I understand that pregnancy can come with some “different” sensations. I offer complimentary consultations to discuss structural correction and/ or Webster technique during your pregnancy. Please share with moms, moms to be and aspiring moms as they all deserve know these easy tips.

How to Improve Your Sleep

We all know the frustration that comes with insomnia: watching the clock, counting the hours till morning, and flipping through late night channels. If you suffer from frequent insomnia, you’re not alone. Approximately 30% Americans are plagued with insomnia each year and even more struggle in one way or another with sleep, such as grogginess, poor concentration. But apart from these frustrating symptoms, poor sleep habits can result in long-term medical issues, including cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and depression. Luckily, with some small changes in your habits and sleep routine, you can take control of your sleep and boost your chances of getting better rest.

Limit Your Screen Time

Despite the urge to watch Netflix in bed, try leaving your computer, tablet, or television anywhere but the bedroom. Doing so can improve your sleep, even if you don’t suffer from full-fledged insomnia. Using electronic devices, including your phone, just before bed has been linked to irregular sleep patterns and poor sleep habits. So if you find yourself waking up exhausted or tossing and turning before falling asleep, switch out your laptop for a book.

Move Your Body

An aerobic workout may be enough to tire our your body and promote deep sleep. After all, regular exercise has been found to improve patterns of insomniacs. But even a single moderately paced exercise session may help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, at least for that night. Exercise may help with insomnia because it regulates your body temperature, reduces anxiety and depression, and helps to normalize your circadian rhythm.

Change Positions or Your Pillows

No matter how tired you are, you may find it difficult to get into a comfortable position and stay asleep. If neck pain or headaches are keeping you awake at night, you may want to re-consider your sleep position or even your pillows. After all, an individual’s reported pillow comfort is correlated with sleep quality. Aim for a position and pillow that prevents your neck from staying in neutral while you sleep. I recommend THIS PILLOW and even sell it in the office. I provided the Amazon link just in case you can save a few bucks by buying it from them. The goal is to improve your ability to get a good nights rest, not to sell you a pillow.

A good night of sleep is irreplacable

Address Pain

Aches and pain not only make it difficult to fall asleep but lead to frequent awakenings, painful mornings, and a restless night.

Unfortunately, pain and sleep may work in concert: pain can lead to poor sleep quality, and poor sleep quality can further exacerbate pain. To break free of this frustrating cycle, address the primary cause that is leading to a secondary condition of pain.

Get Checked For Sleep Apnea

If you are a snorer, wake up gasping for breath, or struggle to stay awake during the day, do yourself a favor and get checked for sleep apnea. It is a condition characterized by cessations in breathing during sleep and it is devastating to your health. Short periods of oxygen deprivation lead to numerous subsequent micro-awakenings, ones that you may not even remember. Although between three and seven percent of adults suffer from sleep apnea, very few get treatment for this potentially dangerous condition.

Consider Supplements

If all else fails, you may find yourself desperate for a good night’s rest. Hopefully you are not drawn to television advertisements for sleeping pills. Before you ask your doctor for a prescription, consider nutritional or herbal-based remedies that may help you get a better ZZZZZ’s. Look for foods that contain melatonin, including cherries. Some studies have found that melatonin supplementation reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and increases quality sleep time.

Replace That Old Mattress

If you are sleeping on a mattress that is more than 8 years old, stop! Take a deep breath, and imagine waking up in the morning without aches pains. I have tested, discarded, and been very disappointed MANY times over the years. There are two mattresses that I can recommend without hesitation. One is the Intellibed, a medical grade bed that is top notch. Unfortunately, like many mattresses, it is pricey. 

The second bed is one that I am extremely happy to share with you. It is the best memory foam mattress I have found. Yes, much better than the “brand name” that we always associate with memory foam and MUCH cheaper. Thankfully, it is cheap in price and TOP in quality. Save your money and brag to your friends that this bed is STRUCTURALLY APPROVED. Do yourself a favor and put this in your shopping cart now and get some much needed rest.

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Back Pain: 1 Simple Tip to Decrease it

Hopefully you all know that I am in the business of helping people rid themselves of neck pain, back pain, and headaches. In fact, most of my new patients all have some form of back pain. While this may be only ONE of many symptoms they are experiencing, it is often the driving force that brought them into my office.
Now, you may be asking yourself,
“I thought this was about Moms?”. 
Let me explain. Since we usually see mother’s first in our clinic, I wanted to write this article to help them while they were not in my office.
The good news is that this applies to all HUMANS (almost)!

Let me start out by giving my disclaimer. All neck pain, back pain, and headaches are unique to the individual who walks into my office and THEIR STRUCTURE. No one is perfect, and no one has the same structure, therefore it really does take a consultation and examination to determine the exact path to improving your spine health.

Now lets get to the tip to decrease your low back pain.

1.) Stretch Your Psoas. Here is a great photo showing you where the Psoas muscle “lives”.
Below are a few stretches to help bring down your pain levels. I think now is a good time to add another disclaimer.
While your pain levels may go down,
YOUR PROBLEM IS NOT FIXED. I repeat, YOUR PROBLEM IS NOT FIXED. 
Without going into great detail, I want to make sure you know why I made the above statement in bold. Your tight Psoas muscle is not the problem, but rather the RESULT of many things. It is the result of poor neurological control, poor posture, and lack of supporting musculature. While I hope you get some relief from these stretches, I do not want you to ignore the fact that you may have some  structural abnormalities that need to be addressed. Please seek a professional that focuses on structural correction, and NO, it does not have to be me.
Here are two stretches that you must put into your repertoire.
I hope you seriously consider adding these two stretches into your routine. And as always, if you have something that you would like to discuss with me in person, please schedule a complimentary consultation by either calling 425-636-0303 or by filling out this form.

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.

shutterstock_156520592

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.

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.

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