Posts for tag: nutrition
Stress is a part of life, and so is back pain. Ironically, stress is a leading cause of episodic back pain. Your body experiences a cascade of physiological responses during chronic stress setting the stage for injury. The human body is genetically programmed to respond to stressful situations by stimulation in a survival part of your brain known as the limbic system. Otherwise known as the reptilian or primal brain, it is responsible for the emotional "flight or fight" (run or stand and fight) response to negative stimuli. Your brain response functions the same in stressful situations regardless of the source and extent of the threatening stimuli. The limbic brain does not recognize differences between types and degrees of stress. It simply reacts. Your body releases hormones (chemical messengers) which cause a physical reaction to stress; shortness of breath, sweating, increased heart rate, muscle tension, tightness or stiffness in joints, etc., in preparation for survival reaction. So whether you are about to be chased by a rabid dog, cut off in traffic, or had a tough day at work the same response occurs. The same negative physical impact also occurs on the body. There are several different types of stress and learning how to control them can make all the difference. You have physical stress (lack of exercise, illness, sleep habits, etc), mental stress (how you deal emotionally with life) and chemical stress (nutritional and environmental).
Stress alters breathing patterns by causing you to breathe more from the chest/lungs than the diaphragm. This altered pattern increases tension in the neck and upper back leading to poor posture, muscle tightness and headaches. The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that sits in the lower part of the ribcage underneath the lungs. Optimal breathing patterns should occur from the diaphragm first, followed by the lungs. Most often people have dysfunctional patterns where this sequence is reversed. Breathing is the foundation for relaxation. Learn to control your breathing and you will have discovered a secret weapon of relaxation and stress reduction. To check your breathing pattern lie on your back with knees bent. Close your eyes and place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose. The lower hand should move first and the upper hand second. If the upper hand moves first you have an altered breathing pattern. Luckily it is fairly easy to learn how to breathe again properly. In our quick tip help guide below you will learn how to restore normal breathing patterns.
Stress increases tension in the body 24/7. It is like flipping the light switch on for self- protection, muscle tension and tightness. Think about how stiff and tight you feel when walking across ice. Your body tenses up in anticipation of falling and is trying to protect you from injury. Imagine how your muscles would feel if you were in this constant state of tension for weeks at a time. It would not feel good! That is what chronic stress is doing. Stress increases production of specific hormones known as cortisol and adrenaline located in the adrenal glands. These are two small glands that rest on top of the kidneys, one on either side. Cortisol is nicknamed the "stress hormone" and it can cause many negative reactions in the body if it is unbalanced. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline will cause increased inflammation in the body. In essence, your own body begins to turn on itself.
So what are some simple and effective tips you can start doing today to help alleviate stress? Below are suggestions for helping physical, mental and environmental stress in your life.
Nutrition: Eat healthy and eat often to control blood sugar levels. When you wait long periods between meals, you have a spike of a hormone known as insulin. This hormone controls how fast sugar enters your bloodstream after eating. Big surges in insulin occur when you wait too long between meals which may increase stress on your body chemistry. You can get cravings and mood swings. Eating only three meals a day is insufficient in keeping this delicate balance of hormones in check. It is recommended to eat three meals a day, mixed in with 2-3 healthy snacks. You will notice a renewed sense of energy and vitality with regular feedings.
Mental: Take some "me" time every morning before you start the day. Use this time to reflect on yesterday and plan out today's events. With the craziness of non-stop information overload in today's society it's more important than ever to take quiet moments. Set your alarm 15-minutes early and wake up to silence. Do not turn on the television or open the newspaper. You may find that problems which have plagued you suddenly become more manageable and put into perspective. When was the last time you sat in a room without white noise all around? Try it and see what happens.
Physical: Learning how to breathe with your diaphragm takes some practice, but in time it will become second nature. Practice the following technique on a daily basis for 3-5minutes. Lie on your back, putting a pillow support under your knees to relax your lower back. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Slowly inhale through your nose and make sure the only hand to move is the one on your abdomen. Try to keep the hand on your chest as still as possible. Exhale through pursed lips and repeat. You may become temporarily lightheaded after your first few, but this is a normal response to the increase in oxygen uptake by the body. Do this before bed time and you will have a more restful sleep leading increased recovery and regeneration.
You do have power over your body. Simple changes in your life to help reduce stress can have a profound impact on your health. Take back control of your life from pain. Empower yourself to feel good again mentally and physically. Start with the simple strategies above and when you feel the positive difference you will want more for yourself.
To decrease the stress in your life, talk to your chiropractor about your concerns.
Perry Nickelston, DC, is clinical director of the Pain Laser Center in Ramsey, N.J., where he focuses on performance enhancement, corrective exercise and metabolic fitness nutrition To learn more about Dr. Nickelston, visitwww.painlasercenter.com/Our_Practice.html.
By Editorial Staff of To your Health
Whether you're a night owl enjoying the social scene until early morning; a compulsive couch potato destined to watch the boob tube until the clock strikes midnight (or beyond); a parent – new or seasoned – struggling to find enough time in the day to relax, much less sleep; or an overworked, overstressed office worker resigned to daily desk doldrums, fatigue is something we all fight on a daily basis. For some, all that's required is a few extra hours of sleep a night; for too many others, it requires changing your behavior permanently to make relaxation the priority and put fatigue on notice. Here are five ways to fight fatigue and improve your mental and physical health:
- Put your body in motion: Regular exercisers understand that the secret to long-term energy actually comes from expending energy through exercise. Counter-intuitive to non-exercisers and even new exercisers, of course, but a simple strategy for building energy that lasts throughout the day. Not only does the act of exercising naturally “wake you up” from your fatigue-draining day, but it also encourages the production of endorphins, chemicals that reduce pain perception and improve mood. What's more, the more muscle you build and the higher your metabolism, the more your body can handle the demands of your busy day – giving you more energy to get out there and show off your great physique.
- Eat to win: This is an easy one when it comes to energy production, but unfortunately, it's ignored on an ever-increasing basis. Fast foods, processed snacks and nutrition-deficient meals not only provide short-term energy that quickly fades, leaving you fatigued – not to mention hungry, which can lead to overeating and weight gain (a definite energy-sapper); the sugar and fat content of many of the foods Americans commonly eat also “weigh us down,” literally and figuratively, draining us of our physical ability (and mental desire) to do anything except lie down and take a nap. In short, our eating habits are a recipe for disaster when it comes to staying energized. The solution is straightforward: Replace some of those burgers and shakes with nutrient-dense fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins that provide your body with an all-day source of energy.
- Get into a sleep rhythm: Research suggests that the amount of sleep you get is less important than the regularity and quality of sleep when it comes to proper restoration / rejuvenation. That means if you get eight hours of sleep a night, but it's interrupted by barking dogs, crying babies or countless trips to the bathroom, there's a good chance you'll be fighting fatigue more than the person who only gets six hours a night, but does so in peaceful, uninterrupted fashion. What's more, timing is pivotal when it comes to sleep: go to bed at about the same time every night (and wake up at about the same time every morning) and you'll find yourself more refreshed and energized than if your sleep schedule varies widely.
- Get away: Pure and simple, if you never have a chance to relax and restore your energy levels, you'll gradually wear down until the meter's on empty. Whether it's taking a few vacations away from the office – and the city you live in – every year; reserving 15-20 minutes a day to read a good book, soak in the bath or just take a walk and process your day; or reminding yourself that the paperwork on your desk can wait until tomorrow, keep your energy levels high by making some you time to remind yourself that life is great – and so much more rewarding when you've got the energy to enjoy it.
When it comes to nutrition, kids need the most variety in order to ensure they grow properly. There are many vitamins out in the market, but what exactly do kids need to be focused on getting when it comes not only to their nutrients but also their food? Let's take a look at some of the most essential vitamins kids need, the top five are as follows:
According to nutrition researchers, children should be getting adequate amount of the following:'
- Vitamin A - This vitamin helps promotes normal growth and development; tissue and bone repair; and healthy skin, eyes, and immune responses. Good sources include milk, cheese, eggs, and yellow-to-orange vegetables like carrots, yams, and squash.
- Vitamin Bs. The family of B vitamins -- B2, B3, B6, and B12 -- aid metabolism, energy production, and healthy circulatory and nervous systems. Good sources include meat, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, and soybeans.
- Vitamin C promotes healthy muscles, connective tissue, and skin. Good sources include citrus fruit, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes, and green vegetables like broccoli.
- Vitamin D promotes bone and tooth formation and helps the body absorb calcium. Good sources include milk and other fortified dairy products, egg yolks, and fish oil. The best source of vitamin D doesn't come from the diet -- it's sunlight.
- Calcium helps build strong bones as a child grows. Good sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, and calcium-fortified orange juice.
If your child is not getting much of these, talk to your doctor about good supplements or how you can start to incorporate these into your child's diet.
Honey is not just a gooey, sticky, golden syrup that tastes good on pancakes and your morning oatmeal. Honey has been used for centuries by healers from many different cultures across the world for everything from treating coughs to healing wounds. But is honey really good for you? Recent medical research has found that those ancient physicians may just have been right all along.
In its raw form, honey is a powerful source of antioxidants, along with having antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Its antioxidants keep free radicals from causing oxidative damage to the body’s cells. In a study done at the University of California, Davis, researchers gave four tablespoons of buckwheat honey daily to 25 study subjects over a period of 29 days, and their results found a positive link between honey consumption and increased levels of antioxidant polyphenols in their blood.
Honey promotes faster healing of wounds and burns. Its hygroscopic (water-attracting) properties help heal wounds by drawing out excess fluid. As bacteria thrive in wet environments, the application of honey helps keep wounds drier, and thus freer from bacteria. An Indian study found honey to be more effective for treatment of burns than the standard medical treatment (with silver sulfadiazine). The study’s researchers found that 91 percent of 104 patients with first-degree burns were free of infection after a week of treatment with honey, whereas only 7 percent of the conventionally treated patients were infection-free. Burns also healed more quickly with the honey than with conventional treatment.
In 2008, the International Symposium on Honey and Human Health presented some of the most recent research findings. Among them were:
- A study of 105 children with upper respiratory tract infection demonstrated that a single dose of buckwheat honey before bed is more effective in treating their night-time coughs and accompanying sleep difficulty than a single dose of dextromethorphan.
- Honey boosts the immune system. A study done in several Israeli hospitals found that it stimulates the production of white blood cells, and a study of cancer patients found those who ate honey had fewer infections. Studies found six different forms of lactobacilli and four different types of bifidobacteria in various types of honey, which strengthens both the immune and digestive systems.
- The body processes honey more easily than it does sugar. Honey’s ratio of fructose to glucose is ideal for the way in which the liver metabolizes glucose, leading to more even blood sugar levels, and reducing insulin sensitivity. A year-long study done on rats, comparing the effects of honey, sucrose and a low-glycemic diet found that the rats on the honey diet had a lower percentage of body fat, reduced weight gain, better memory, less anxiety, higher levels of “good” cholesterol, better blood sugar levels and reduced damage from oxidation than rats fed the other two diets.
Raw honey offers the most benefits, as processing removes many of the healthful phytonutrients honey provides. You can usually find raw honey at your local health food store or at a farmers’ market. And remember that children under one year of age should not be given honey due to the risk of infantile botulism. Never has good health tasted so sweet!
Just about everybody is pressed for time these days, and even the most health-conscious of us may be tempted to skip breakfast in order to eke out a few more minutes in our day. However, though it may sound like a cliché, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Numerous studies have confirmed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day in terms of maintaining energy and brain function. People who eat a good breakfast consistently perform better on tests and report feeling more energetic than those who decide to skip it.
Eating a good breakfast is one of the best things you can do for your health. Avoid eating refined sugar as much as possible, difficult as it may be to turn down that breakfast Danish! Most breakfast cereals usually contain far too much sugar to be considered healthy. The better choice may be what our grandmothers used to eat; eggs, fruit, dairy and whole grains, which will provide you with steady energy to keep you going until lunchtime. Following are some breakfast ideas:
For the calories consumed, eggs provide a considerable amount of nutrition in the form of protein and minerals. There is nothing faster and easier than cooking up a quick batch of cheesy scrambled eggs in the morning. Break a couple of eggs into a bowl, whisk them briefly, then add to the pan, and as they begin to cook, add a handful of shredded cheddar cheese. In less than five minutes you have a healthy fast and easy breakfast. Even kids love it!
Whole grain breads and cereals such as oatmeal provide healthy fiber and B vitamins. Oatmeal has been shown not only to lower cholesterol, but to also reduce your risk of contracting heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It is one of the best sources of soluble and insoluble fiber, which both promotes digestion and helps to keep you feeling fuller longer, so you won’t start to get hungry halfway through your morning.
Try adding blueberries and honey to your morning bowl of oatmeal for an extra special breakfast treat. In addition to providing powerful antioxidants, blueberries have been shown to protect against cancer and promote healthy bone growth. Containing only 57 calories, a serving of 3.5 ounces of blueberries contains 25% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
Smoothies may be the king breakfast recipes because they are quick and easy to make and are packed with lots of nutrients. They provide both fruit and dairy, giving you a good supply of calcium, vitamins and antioxidants. Just one smoothie can fulfill most of the suggested daily requirement for fruits and vegetables, depending on what you put in it. And it’s quick and easy to throw a few items into a blender, hit the pulse button, and breakfast can be ready in seconds.
Before going to bed at night, plan what you will eat for breakfast the next morning, you can set out any non-perishable ingredients and set the table. This way, a fast and easy breakfast is already half prepared and you are not as likely to skip it due to being rushed.