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Foods to Help Protect Ourselves from Viruses

In these days of our concern over COVID-19, we all want to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our families. But it is easy to feel out of control and helpless. One big thing that you can control is what you put into your mouth. Eating immune-boosting foods will increase your chances of avoiding any illness. No food will cure any virus or guarantee that you won’t get it, but having a strong immune system will lessen the likelihood of illness coming your way. Seventy percent of our immune system resides in our gut, so keeping our gut running properly is an excellent way to keep our immune system strong.

Immune-Boosting Foods

These are some foods that have shown immune-boosting properties:

  1. Fruits. Especially those high in Vitamin C such as oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, apples, sweet cherries, berries, and plums.
  2. Vegetables. Some of the best are the cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli or raw mustard greens. Other excellent veggies are spinach, bell peppers beets, and artichokes. Yellow vegetables also pack a lot of Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes and carrots top the list
  3. Omega-3 Rich Meats. Salmon and oysters are your best bet here due to their high zinc levels.
  4. Good Fats. Some of the best fats come from fish oils, avocado, olive oil and nuts.
  5. Herbs and Spices. At the top of the list are garlic and turmeric. Other good ones are rosemary and anise. Rosemary improves our gut health, and anise has antiviral properties to boost immunity.
  6. Seeds and Nuts. These are high in Vitamin E, which supports our body’s ability to fend off invading bacteria and viruses. Some of the highest in Vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts, and walnuts.
  7. Liquids. Good hydration helps to prevent infections and deliver nutrients to our cells. The very best liquid is, of course, plain water. Other good ones are green tea or herbal teas such as ginger or ginseng. Avoid liquids high in sugar or caffeine.
  8. Chocolate. Everyone’s favorite! This food lowers your response to stress, which is especially helpful during times like these when many of us are feeling more stress. 40 g. per day is enough.

Other Thins You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family

  1. Eat less salt and sugar. These do more to deplete your body’s resources than to help.
  2. Get physical exercise. Exercise expels toxins from your body and strengthens your immune system. Regular exercise also lowers your body’s stress hormones.
  3. Avoid processed foods. These are usually lacking in nutrients and contain many toxins.
  4. Get plenty of sleep. A sleep-deprived body is a lot quicker to pick up viruses or bugs that you don’t want.

We hope you all are staying healthy and safe during this time. Please give us a call if you need more counseling about your health.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Klein on Unsplash

Enjoying Baking a Little Too Much During the Quarantine? Here are 9 Helpful Tips

With extra time on your hands lately, have you found yourself spending too much time in the kitchen during quarantine baking yummy delights? If so, here are some tips to help cut the sugar, fat, and calories so you can have your cake…and eat it too!

 

Sugar Replacements

 

  1. Figs.  Replace up to ½ the amount of sugar in your recipe with figs. Place the figs in a little water to soften. Drain. Then for every 8 oz. of figs, puree them with ¼ to 1/3 c. water until smooth.
  2. Dates. Dates add even more sugar than figs. Place 1 c. dates in a blender with ½ to 1 c. hot water. Puree until it becomes a thick paste. Use this to replace up to ½ of the sugar in your recipe. You may have to experiment a little in order to get the right texture.
  3. Spices. Cut the sugar in your recipe by 1/3 to ½. Then double the spices and extracts. Try experimenting with spices or extracts not mentioned in your recipe such as cloves, nutmeg, allspice or almond extract.

 

Fat Replacements

 

  1. Avocado. Peel, pit and mash an avocado to make a puree. Add 2 tsp. lemon juice. For every cup of fat in your recipe, substitute ¾ to 1 cup of the avocado puree. Avocados contain more water than butter or shortening, so you may need to decrease the oven temperature by 25% and bake your food a little longer.
  2. Beans. If you are baking something dark, such as a chocolate cake or brownies, replace some of the fat with black beans that have been pureed. The beans will not only cut down on fat, but they will add protein, fiber, and potassium. If you are making something lighter in color, canellini beans or chickpeas can be substituted.
  3. Greek Yogurt. Yogurt can be used to replace the oil in muffins. Whole milk or full-fat versions will give you the best taste. (Non-fat yogurt will change the taste and texture quite a bit. It is not recommended.) Equal amounts of yogurt can be used in exchange for the oil. Add ½ tsp. baking soda per cup of yogurt to help with the rise.

 

Other Helps

  1. Whole Grains. For every cup of white flour in your recipe, use ¼ c. whole grain flour and ¾ c. white. You may need to experiment until you get the ratio just right.
  2. Gluten. To reduce the amount of gluten in yeast breads, replace ¼ of the total flour in the recipe with oat flour. Add more yeast to help it to rise better.
  3. Egg Substitutes. Each egg can be substituted with either 2 tsp. chia seeds or 1 tablespoon of flaxseed. Add ¼ c. water and let sit for 5 minutes to soften. When using these substitutes, you will need to add ¼ o ½ tsp. baking powder or baking soda to the recipe.

Image courtesy of Hal Nguyen on Unsplash

The opposite of low-glycemic foods

The Benefits of a Low-Glycemic Diet

Low-carbohydrate, or low-glycemic, diets are always in the news. Sometimes they are even referred to as “no-carb” diets. Actually the standard American diet has become a high-carbohydrate diet. A low-carb diet, however, is what should be normal.  Three major diseases that are common for Americans are heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. For all of these, a low-glycemic diet can both prevent and correct the progression of these diseases.

Researchers have speculated that around 90% of our illnesses are due to carbohydrate metabolism problems. When excavating the remains of aboriginal people, archaeologists can tell what diet they ate by examining their teeth. Researchers found that those who ate a higher carbohydrate grain diet lost their teeth due to the extra sugar. Those from areas where a lower-carb diet was standard did not lose their teeth.

Many experts in the past have recommended replacing fats with carbohydrates. Fats were vilified as being a primary cause of heart disease. Recent studies, however, are showing negative effects of completely replacing fats with carbohydrates, especially the saturated fats that we see so frequently in processed foods. In 2009 an analysis was published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.which showed that replacing fats with carbs made no difference in the instance of heart disease. What did make a difference was replacing the saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats such as that found in olives, fish, or nuts. Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to the diet also showed benefit in lowering risk of major diseases.

Making a Low–Carb Diet Easier

A low-carb, or low-glycemic, diet is much easier to follow if many of the sugars and starches are replaced with protein, healthy fats/oils, and low-carb vegetables and fruits. After changing their diet to these foods, people find that their cravings for sugar are eliminated. This is because they are getting into glycemic balance. Other benefits include more energy, reduced inflammation and pain, fewer food cravings (of any type), reduced cholesterol levels, reduced body fat percentages, increased concentration span, as well as others. Weight loss is also a benefit!

If you would like guidance on how to get your body into balance, please give us a call at 864-963-9304 to schedule a free consultation.

 

 

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

 

Image by Michelle Maria from Pixabay.

a glass of milk

Could “Low Fat” Be Making You Gain Weight

Back in the 1960’s agribusiness and the medical establishment began to instill fear into Americans about the fat in our foods. There was no scientific documentation to back up their claims. It all started as a solution to a problem.

 

When the farmers got milk, they skimmed off the cream to make cream and butter. What was left was just a waste product once the fat was gone. What could they do with this? Rather than throwing it away, they decided to give it to the farm animals as a cheap way to feed them. What they discovered was that this low-fat or even fat-free milk actually made their animals fatter! This was a welcome, but unexpected result of their decision.

 

Later, they switched gears and began fattening their animals with soy and corn and touted this new “low fat” milk as a “slimming” food for humans (at a much higher price than they could get for it as animal food!) No wonder that our population has become more and more obese. A study was conducted at Tufts University over a 15 year period. They compared people who consumed full fat dairy foods with those who had eaten lower fat versions. The result of their tests showed that those who ate the full-fat foods had a 46% lower risk of becoming diabetic. Women who ate the full fat had an 8% less chance of becoming obese than those who ate low-fat dairy.

What Removal of Fat Does to Dairy

 

Milk, in its natural state is very high in sugar. When the fat is taken out, milk is left with a much higher concentration of sugar as well as a higher protein content. The excess protein is more than the body can utilize at one time, so it produces even more sugar. The lactose can then create an insulin effect.

 

Another problem with low-fat foods is that, without the fat, the fat-soluble vitamins in them are not able to be assimilated by the body. For example, without fat to activate the Vitamin D, the calcium in the milk cannot be absorbed. Consequently, low-fat milk has been associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis.

 

Often, to boost the flavor, additional skim milk powder will be added to low-fat milk products. It is then heat processed which oxidizes the cholesterol. It is when cholesterol becomes oxidized that it becomes pro-inflammatory by releasing Interleukin 6, the major inflammatory factor in atherosclerosis.

 

The End Result

 

This not only applies to milk but also to any dairy, especially milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Since the middle of the 1900’s, when low-fat dairy came into vogue, we have seen people move from whole foods naturally high in fat to foods which have radically changed our diets:

 

  • Our consumption of starches and sugars has risen exponentially
  • We have seen an increase in the number of heart attacks
  • Strokes are much more common
  • Diabetes is on the rise.

 

So the take-away from this is not to be afraid of putting good fats into your diet. If you keep at a good weight and are burning the number of calories you consume in a day, your body actually needs those fats. We don’t need to be afraid of them after all.

See also:

The #1 Addiction in America May Surprise You

5 Tips to Help You Eat Less and Feel Better

7 Tips for Success in Your Weight Loss This Year

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

Image by Devanath from Pixabay

Slelep is important

Sleep Deprivation: Dangers and Tips to Avoid It

As we get busy, sleep is often the first thing to go on our to-do list. But it shouldn’t be. Sleep is very important to our mental health, physical health, safety, and quality of life. Sleep helps our brain develop new pathways for learning. It improves our problem-solving skills. It also helps us get along well with others. Shut eye gives our bodies time to repair and build systems so they don’t break down and are less likely to develop major issues such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or diabetes.

Sleep deprivation can cause a host of difficulties. It can cause us to have trouble making decisions or coping with any changes that life brings us. It affects our emotions and has been linked to depression and even suicide. Recent studies have shown that many diseases are caused by sleep deprivation.

How to Avoid Sleep Deprivation

If you find yourself short on sleep, these are some tips to help you get the sleep you need.

  • Be sure you make sleep a priority. Don’t put it at the bottom of your list of priorities. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Keep the same sleep and wake time every day. If you like to sleep in on your days off, limit it to more than 1 hour difference. This will avoid disrupting your body’s sleep/wake rhythm.
  • Have a routine you go through before bed to signal your body that it is time to sleep. (This is especially helpful for children.) Quiet activities such as taking a hot bath are best.
  • Avoid exercising just before bed.
  • Stay away from TV and computer use just before bed. The artificial light signals your body that it is time to be awake.
  • Avoid large meals within a few hours of bedtime. (A small snack shouldn’t hurt.)
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Stay away from nicotine or caffeine (chocolate, sodas, coffee, tea) later in the day. These are stimulants which can stay in your system for up to eight hours.
  • Be physically active during the day.
  • Use relaxation techniques to help.
  • Avoid loud music. Keep it calm and soft.

If you continue to have issues with sleep, it could be due to a spinal misalignment. We would be happy to do an evaluation to see if that could be a cause. Please give us a call at 864-963-9304.

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

Photo courtesy of Guillermo Latorre on Unsplash.

Sugar: The #1 Addiction

The #1 Addiction in America May Surprise You

The biggest source of addiction in America isn’t cocaine or marijuana. It is sugar. Most of us would not admit to being “addicts,” but we may have succumbed without realizing it. Ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Do you have a hard time stopping once you have started eating a sweet snack?
  • Do you crave simple carbohydrates such as pasta, white bread, or pastries?
  • Do you find yourself eating sugary foods even when you don’t want to?
  • Do you have a stash of sweets that you hide from others?
  • Do you find yourself making extra trips to the store or coffee shop to load up on more sweets?
  • Are you tired all day?
  • Do you have memory issues?
  • Do you find yourself reaching for fat-free items? (Most fat-free items have replaced the fat with sugar for added flavor.)

 

Studies done with animals have shown refined sugar to be more addictive than morphine or heroin, and it can be 8 times more addictive than cocaine! Sugar addiction has also been linked to food intolerances as well.

 

The Domino Effect

 

Another interesting side of eating high-sugar foods is the domino effect. According to a recent study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating sugary food triggers the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain the controls reward and craving. Not only does this trigger affect your eating habits at the current time, but it also seems to affect behavior at the next meal. This leads to hormonal havoc. The blood sugar raises the insulin level. This then blocks the satiety hormone leptin. Cortisol levels are also increased, which causes you to crave more comfort foods. The high cortisol during sleep increases ghrelin, the hunger hormone, so the next morning you are more likely to reach for a quick sugar fix for breakfast. And the whole cycle begins again.

 

Eliminating sugar, however, is not easy. According to Mark Hyman, MD, director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine,

 

There are 600,000 processed foods in the marketplace, 80 percent of which have added hidden sugar. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, mostly hidden, and the average teenage male has 34 teaspoons a day (more than two 20 ounce sodas). One serving of Prego tomato sauce has more sugar than a serving of Oreo cookies. Sweetened yogurts can have more sugar than a can of soda.

 

The Addiction Can Be Broken

 

Many people who have been addicted to sugar have been able to defeat it in just a few weeks with the right strategy. People find that their taste buds come alive again! They are able to taste flavors that they had missed for a long time. If you would like to be free from your sugar addiction, please give us a call at 864-963-9304. We would love to help you improve your health.

 

See also:

Functional Medicine: What Is It?

Refined Sugar: What to Use in Its Place

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Myofascial release for pain relief

Myofascial Release Provides Pain Relief

Dr. Marone has recently added a new technique that has helped many of his patients significantly. It is called Myofascial Release. This is a non-invasive, hands-on therapy which reduces pain by easing tension in trigger points. The treatment simply feels like a pressure, ranging from lighter to deeper. Myofascial Release helps with many issues: headaches, myofascial pain syndrome, neck or back pain, sciatica, shoulder injuries, arthritic conditions, or sports injuries, to name a few.

These are some of the most common benefits from the use of myofascial release:

  • Relief from tight muscles
  • Fewer muscle spasms
  • Better joint range of motion
  • Improved breathing
  • Fewer recurring injuries

How Does Myofascial Release Work?

Myofascial Release focuses on the fascia, which is a tough but adaptable tissue that runs throughout our bodies. It surrounds muscles, nerves, bones, etc. and holds everything inside together. If you can picture your bones and muscles as the web of a spider and the space between the strands of the web as being fascia (rather than air), that gives a pretty good picture of how fascia connects everything.

When we experience trauma of any type, the fascia tightens. Because the fascia has multiple connections, an injury in one area can have a ripple effect on many other areas. For example, a person may experience knee pain, but it has nothing to do with his knee; the actual injury may be in the patient’s back. Because of this, a practitioner may perform Myofascial Release on a patient in many areas of the body—not just the injured area–in order to reach all of the fascia that has become involved.

Please contact us at 864-969304 to see if this may be of help to you. We would love to see you get relief from your pain!

See also:

Osteoporosis: Some Tips to Help

Pain Anywhere?

Photo courtesy of andreas160578 at Pixabay.

Help for Dealing with Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a diagnosis that many of us fear as we age. It causes our bones to become weak and brittle. Just a minor stressor such as coughing or bending can cause a fracture. This happens when our old bone tissue is being broken down and removed faster than new tissue is being produced. Osteoporosis affects the spine, hips, and wrists the most, but it can also affect other weight-bearing bones as well, such as the pelvis or femur.

Some of the first signs of osteoporosis:

  • Chronic back pain
  • Noticing getting shorter
  • More stooped posture
  • Bones quick to fracture

Exercises for Osteoporosis:

One of the biggest causes of osteoporosis is a lack of exercise. To decrease the likelihood of osteoporosis developing, weight-bearing exercises are the best, combined with a healthy, nutritious diet. Exercise is always easier to do if you enjoy it. These are some good activities to try:

  • Hiking
  • Brisk walking
  • Jogging
  • Step aerobics
  • Climbing stairs
  • Tennis (or any racquet sport)
  • Jumping rope

Nutrition for Osteoporosis

Good nutrition will help make bones stronger. The big nutrient for bones is, of course, calcium. Vitamin D is important because it helps the body use calcium. Then potassium and magnesium are important because they help the body use Vitamin D. These are some good foods that are high in these nutrients:

  • Dark greens such as bok choy, kale, and spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Grapefruit and other citrus fruits
  • Figs
  • Canned salmon (canned is actually best because the bones are included0
  • Almond butter

As with any health issue, contact your health professional first. No diet or exercise program is the best for everyone. You need to find what is best for you. If you would like to see how Nutrition Response Testing or Functional Medicine can help you, please give us a call at 864-963-9304. We would love to help you.

See also:

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.
wallet-in-back-pocket

Wallets and Phones: May Be the Source of Your Pain

Backpacks: Choosing Wisely for Your Child’s Well BeingToday we hear a lot about ergonomic chairs, and desks. We practice good posture to keep us looking good. And then we wreck it all by putting fat wallets or a cell phone in our back pocket!

When you sit on a wallet or cell phone, it causes your pelvis to be higher on one side than the other. This causes extra stress throughout your entire spine, including the muscles and nerves that run up your back. The stress can be the cause of many complaints:  back pain, neck pain, sciatica, or headaches, to name a few.

No matter how good your posture is, or how well designed your office furniture is, if you are sitting on a wallet or phone all day long, it will cause pain. If you are getting chiropractic adjustments, it can also limit the effectiveness of the adjustments.

Wallets and Phones: The Solution

The best solution is to put wallets and phones in your front pocket or carry them in some other way. Your back will thank you!

See also:

IImage by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Yoga and Chiropractic

Yoga and Chiropractic: Each Helps the Other

Yoga has become quite popular lately. Perhaps taking it up has become a part of your health plan. If so, you’re one of over 20 million people who have found lots of good reasons to do so: Yoga increases flexibility and mobility. Those who practice yoga find they are better able to handle stress. Yoga also creates stronger, leaner bodies. It helps to lower blood pressure and strengthens the body’s core muscles.

We find that yoga and chiropractic go together quite well, each one making the other one more beneficial. Here are some ways:

  • Yoga tones the body to prepare it for deep chiropractic healing by stretching and releasing muscles that have been restricted for long periods of time.
  •  Chiropractic opens up the body’s energy blockages structurally so that the energy work accomplished by yoga is more effective.
  • Yoga increases range of motion so the chiropractor can go deeper with his treatments and get the body on its way to healing much more quickly.
  • Yoga helps the spine remain supple so chiropractic adjustments “hold” longer.
  • Chiropractic restores proper motion to the spine so that yoga can help the person achieve greater muscle tone, flexibility, range of motion and strength than would be possible with yoga alone.

Patients who get chiropractic adjustments and practice yoga together find that they receive the expected benefits from both disciplines faster than if they use only one. Both are designed to help with flexibility, balance, and increased mobility. However, both of them approach it in different ways. As each one supports the other, the result is a more effective, more well-balanced treatment.

Please call us if you have any questions about how we can help you with chiropractic care at 864-963-9304.

Photo courtesy of Fezbot2000 on Unsplash.