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Could the Practice of Shinrin-Yoku Improve Your Health?

Have you ever gone to a forested area and walked around? How did you feel afterward? Did you feel refreshed, less stressed and more energetic? If so, evidence shows that spending time amongst trees and nature does have a positive impact on our health. The Japanese have a term for this: Shinrin-Yoku (Shinrin = “forest”; yoku = bathing). What they mean by this term is taking time to soak in the beauty and benefits of nature. Recent studies have shown that there are scientific reasons explaining these benefits.

The essential wood oils of plants called “phytoncides” are largely responsible for the health improvements noted. These phytoncides are chemicals produced by trees and plants to protect themselves from harmful insects and germs through their anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities. Researchers have also found these benefits to humans:

  • Boost immune system
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Lower blood pressure levels
  • Reduce stress
  • Increase energy levels
  • Increase ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
  • Improve sleep
  • Accelerate recovery time from surgical procedures and illness
  • Improve mood

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the benefits of Shinrin-Yoku, or forest bathing:

Immune System

As we walk through a forest, we breathe in the phytoncides that the trees and plants give off. (The phytoncides are what creates that “forest” scent you smell as you walk in a wooded area.) Once these chemicals enter our bodies, they cause our immune system to respond by increasing the number and activity of special white blood cells known as “natural killer” cells (NK). The job of the NK cells in our bodies is to kill off other cells that have been infected with tumors or viruses, protecting us from the tumors and viruses.

Blood Pressure and Stress Levels

Numerous studies show that taking time in a forest reduces blood pressure as well as two stress-related hormones, cortisol and adrenalin. “In addition, in studies using the POMS test, forest bathing trips were found to significantly increase the score for vigor and decrease the scores for anxiety, depression, and anger, suggesting that the subjects were physiologically relaxed during the forest bathing trips .”1

Ability to Focus

Children with ADHD suffer from Attention Fatigue. Studies show that when these children spend time outdoors in natural environments, they experience a reduction in Attention Fatigue. Researchers are now investigating the possibility of using forest bathing to supplement other approaches to managing ADHD.

The amazing aspect to this research is the amount of time that the effects of Shinrin-Yoku lasted. Researchers in Japan sent a group of men on a 3-day, 2-night trip to a forest and compared results to those found when these men spent time traveling as a tourist in the city for the same amount of time. They found that the NK cells (mentioned earlier) as well as granulysin-, granzyme A/B- and perforin-expressing cells, were still “significantly higher” seven days after the trip to the forest but not after the city trips. After 30 days, there was still increased activity and number of many of these cells. Their conclusion was that a monthly trip to a forest may help individuals to maintain a higher level of NK cells, those which help to kill virus or tumor cells which invade our bodies.

1ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/

Photo by Charles Black on Unsplash

Deficiency in This Vitamin Can Lower Immunity

A study was done with school children in Japan where they were given Vitamin D drops in the winter. Researchers noted a decreased number of children got the flu when they were taking these drops. A recent Israeli study also showed that low plasma Vitamin D levels increased the likelihood of viral infection “among patients who were tested, even after adjustment for age, gender, socio-economic status and chronic, mental and physical disorders.”1

Who Is Most at Risk?

Studies have shown that 42% of Americans are low in Vitamin D levels. Those most at risk of being deficient include these groups of people:

  • Older people. As we age, our skin and kidneys are not able to make Vitamin D as easily as they used to.
  • Those with darker pigment skin. The darker one’s skin the more slowly this vitamin is produced.
  • Those with digestive problems. People with diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac, or digestion issues may have reduced nutrient absorption in the gut.
  • Those who live in northern climates. Since the sun is not as intense and not out as long per day, many people living up north do not get enough sun exposure.
  • Those taking certain medications. Some medications interfere with Vitamin D absorption.
  • The obese. Vitamin D supplementation goes mainly into the fatty tissue, which stops it from getting to the blood where it can benefit the body.

If Vitamin D is so important for our health, and many of us are low in it, how do we get it? One way is to get out in the sun. A good recommendation is 15-20 minutes three times per week minimum. Another way is to get this vitamin is through supplementation. A third option is to increase your intake through the foods you eat. We need 15 mcg per day of Vitamin D. (For those over 70 years old, 20 mcg per day is better.) One mcg is equal to 20 international units.

Good Food Sources of Vitamin D

Here are some good food sources:

  • Salmon. A 3-ounce serving will give you from 10-18 mcg of Vitamin D. Wild coho salmon contains the lowest (10 mcg), and canned sockeye salmon contains the highest (18 mcg).
  • Rainbow trout. A 3-ounce serving of this fish will give you 16 mcg.
  • Tuna. Typically 6 mcg can be found in a 3-ounce serving.
  • Portabella mushrooms. These contain 8 mcg per 3-ounce serving. A tip for getting a little extra is to put them in the sun for a few minutes before eating them. The UV rays raise the Vitamin D levels.
  • Beef liver. This is also high in cholesterol, however.
  • Egg yolks. These contain 1-2 mcg. however chickens that are raised out in the open—in the sunlight—may produce eggs with up to 3-4 times higher Vitamin D levels.

Fortified Food Sources

These foods are usually fortified with Vitamin D by the manufacturers:

  • Orange juice. This will yield 2.5 mcg per cup. But be careful of the high sugar levels here.
  • Milk. The typical fortification is 3 mcg per cup.
  • Cereals. Within the past few years, many cereal manufacturers have raised the fortification to 2.5 mcg per serving.
  • Nondairy milks such as soy milk, almond milk or rice milk. These will usually have 2.5 – 3 mcg per cup. Again, these can be high in fat, calories, and sugar.

If you would like to have your blood tested to see if your Vitamin D levels are appropriate, we can do lab testing for you. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 864-963-9304 if you have any questions.

*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 by Michele Blackwell on Unsplash

1 israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/284180?fbclid=IwAR2vY9Nwo6CwQKFmHhxtNXTlkert5RLY32c_AxUubBuU_2Z782_iSPYdmsE

10 Natural Remedies That You Most Likely Have in Your Kitchen

For many minor issues we face, a natural remedy is usually the best option. Sometimes we avoid natural options, thinking that they will be more expensive or more difficult to find than what we would pick up in the pharmaceutical aisle of the grocery store. That doesn’t have to be the case, however. Many natural remedies can be found in the items you may already have in your kitchen pantry. Here are 10 of them to get you started:

  1. Turmeric. Inflammation is a big source of many of our problems, often due to poor diet choices. Dealing with the inflammation is a must. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits because of the curcumin in it. One caveat about turmeric is that it is not absorbed well by the body when taken by itself, however combining turmeric with other foods improves this. The piperine in black pepper increases the half-life of turmeric and also helps to improve the absorption of the curcumin. Since curcumin is fat soluble, taking turmeric with an oil will also increase its availability. Good oils to use are olive oil, coconut oil, butter, or ghee.
  2. Fermented Foods. Along with inflammation, gut issues are another big source of health problems. Getting enough good bacteria in our digestive system is the answer. We can increase the gut flora by supplementation, but we can repopulate the digestive tract much more quickly by eating foods high is good bacteria. Several beneficial foods include kimche, sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, and kombucha. By eating some each day and rotating the fermented foods that you eat, you will vary the strains of good bacteria for maximum benefit.
  3. Ginger. Ginger helps in many ways. It is an anti-inflammatory as well as an anti-oxidant. It can be consumed by chewing on a small piece of it, drinking it as a tea, or as an ingredient in foods in powdered form, fresh, as an oil, or as a juice. Ginger is most often used to boost the digestive system or to help with nausea. An easy way to use ginger for any nausea, whether from pregnancy, motion sickness, or other causes, is to grate about an inch of fresh ginger and boil it in a saucepan filled with clean water for 10-20 minutes, strain, then drink as a tea.
  4. Honey. This food, when consumed raw, contains anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, making it useful for a wide array of ailments. You can take it both internally and topically. When taken internally, it is an immune system booster and is used to treat Helicobacter pylori bacterial infections. Honey is a great throat soother. Researchers conducted a study comparing the efficacy of the drug dextromethorphan (an over-the-counter cough suppressant) to honey. The result was that the honey was more effective in relieving coughs than the drug. You can use it topically on scrapes or burns to soothe the injured area as well as protect it from infection.
  5. Oats. Another staple that is helpful for skin irritations is oats. They have properties that soothe and soften the skin; they can also help dry skin by hydrating it and preventing itchiness. Oats can be used for exfoliation due to saponins, a natural cleanser. An excellent way to reap the benefits of oats is by bathing in them. Take a cup of oats and place them in muslin or cheesecloth, tie it up, and place it in your bathwater as you are bathing.
  6. Tart Cherry Juice. Tart cherries naturally contain a high amount of melatonin, which promotes sleep. In one study, participants drank 8 oz. of this juice in the morning and another in the evening 1-2 hours before sleep. The results found that participants extended their sleep by an average of 84 minutes. Not all cherries contain this high level of melatonin. The helpful cherries are called “sour” or “dwarf” or Montmorency.
  7. Apples/Apple Cider Vinegar. Both of these help to neutralize heartburn. Although scientists are still not positive of the reason, they are suggesting that the pectin in apples helps to reduce the pH in the esophagus. Often heartburn is caused by low acid in the stomach. This replaces that acid. Apple cider vinegar is also helpful with digestion because of its acidic nature. A beneficial practice is to put 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 oz. of water and drink it daily.
  8. Peppermint Tea. Peppermint contains properties that aid digestion. It can relieve gas and bloating as well as reduce symptoms of IBS and heartburn. The oil of peppermint can also be used. As a tea, peppermint is safe to use multiple times per day. It contains no caffeine. If you don’t have commercially bagged tea, you can simmer 5 dried peppermint leaves in a pot of water for 10 minutes.
  9. Black Tea. This tea contains tannic acids which are great at soothing burned skin after too much sun. To make a natural sunburn reliever, boil 3 bags of black tea in a pan full of water. Once the water reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat and allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and allow the tea to cool. Once it is cool, transfer the tea to a spray bottle and stick it in the refrigerator to chill. Keep it there to have it ready whenever you may need it. By keeping it cold, you will avoid adding any more heat to already “overheated” skin. This preparation will stain surroundings, however, so the best way to use it is to spray it on at the end of a shower without rinsing it off. If it can stay on overnight, all the better.
  10. Coffee Grounds. This one is more for pampering! The grounds can be used as a scrubbing agent to exfoliate the skin and to give a deep invigorating clean. (They can be used anywhere except the face.) Get a quart jar, keep adding grounds to it as you have them until the jar is half full. Then pour in a ¼ cup of olive oil and shake well. The oil hydrates your skin and locks in the moisture. Using this blend in a circular motion will reap the greatest benefit.

Serious issues need the help of a qualified medical professional, however relief from many of our everyday ailments can be found right in our kitchens—no need to reach for harmful drugs and introduce unnatural products into our system. Sometimes the answer is hiding right in our kitchens!

*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 by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Should I Grab a Pain Reliever at the First Sign of Pain?

Often our first response to pain is to grab and pain reliever such as aspirin, Tylenol, or ibuprofen to relieve that pain so you feel better. But is that the best strategy?

Let’s suppose you got a cut on your finger. What is likely to happen? You will usually notice four things: pain, redness, swelling and extra warmth (heat) in that area. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Actually, it is a good thing because your body is doing exactly what it was designed to do in order to help that cut heal.

If you get a cut on your hand, the opening in the skin allows bacteria to enter. Inside our tissues we have cells called macrophages. Their job is to find and devour anything they notice that is not a part of “us” and that shouldn’t be there. After they eat the bacteria they release chemicals.  These chemicals cause the redness you see. The chemicals also cause fluid leakage from our capillaries which results in swelling in the area. The increased blood flow brings heat. Nearby nerves are stimulated by the chemicals as well, which causes pain.

So when you feel discomfort that makes you want to run to the medicine cabinet for some type of pain reliever, realize that all of those unpleasant symptoms you are feeling are there because your body is doing its job just as it should be. Your body has its own built-in defense mechanisms that work better than any man-made medication you can take. Let it do its job, even though it may take a little longer.

(Please understand that severe injuries need to be dealt with by a medical professional. Do not try to treat these on your own. You need to seek medical attention.)

*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 by Brian Patrick Tagalog on Unsplash

How to Safely Use Elderberries

We hear a lot about elderberry jam, tea, juice, chutney, pie, and more—especially during flu season. Many different opinions also exist as to its safety and efficacy, however these berries have been used for centuries: The Ancient Egyptians used them for beauty products as well as to heal burns. Native Americans found that they helped with infections. Today we use them primarily to treat cold and flu symptoms.

Benefits

Elderberries actually have many more benefits than these due to their nutritional content:

  • 1 cup of elderberries contains 52 mg. of Vitamin C
  • 100 g. contains 18.4 g. of carbohydrates
  • They are high in dietary fiber
  • Berries contain phenolic acids (powerful antioxidants)
  • They are rich in anthocyanins which are natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.

Studies have shown that elderberries may help fight cancer, support the immune system, protect against UV radiation, fight harmful bacteria, help with depression, and boost heart health in that it reduces fat levels in the blood, decreases cholesterol levels, and improves blood sugar levels.

Both the berries and the flowers of the elderberry plant can be used for medicinal purposes. The berries are made into pies, jam, juice, or chutney. The flowers can be boiled with sugar to make a sweet syrup, or they can be infused into tea or added to a fresh salad.

Dangers

The biggest reason for concern in the use of elderberries is that parts of the plant are toxic and can cause stomach distress such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. While the berries and flowers are very beneficial, the branches, bark, unripe berries, seeds, or leaves should never be eaten.  In their raw state, even the berries contain some cyanide. American or European elderberries have the lowest amount. For this reason, if you are gathering your own berries, it is best to be sure that you know the plant well and are sure of what you are getting. Even at its worst, in American elderberries, only 3 mg of cyanide would be found in 100 g. of berries, which is 3% of what is considered a fatal dose in a 130 lb. person. If you purchase a commercial elderberry product or cook the berries properly, there will be no cyanide present.

Dose

Formal dosing has not been established for this berry. However, a good rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon 4 times per day. Or if you have 175 mg. lozenges, 2 of those per day should be good. If you are taking elderberry because of cold or flu symptoms, it is best to begin taking it within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms for maximum benefit.

Elderberries can interact with prescription medications, so you should contact your physician before using them in any form. It is also not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.

Image by RitaE from Pixabay

*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.

See also:

The Best Teas for Your Health(Opens in a new browser tab)

10 Surprising Benefits of Cinnamon

Most of us love the smell and taste of cinnamon. It is often associated with comfort foods that may have more great taste than health benefits. (Think cinnamon rolls!) However, many recent studies have been done showing that this spice actually has many potential advantages to our health. These are some of the findings of the studies.

  • Reduces inflammation. In a lab study conducted with 115 different foods, cinnamon was found to be the best at inflammation reduction.
  • Lowers cholesterol. Researchers had a group of 60 adults consume ¼ tsp. of cinnamon a day for a period of 40 days. At the end of the study, they found that on average, the participants’ LDL (bad) cholesterol had gone down.
  • Lowers blood pressure. Several recent studies have been done with adults who were diagnosed as pre-diabetic or who had Type 2 diabetes. These subjects were given cinnamon every day for 3 months. At the end of the study, the participants’ systolic blood pressure (top number) had gone down by as much as t points.
  • Lowers blood sugar. Several studies have shown cinnamon to lower the blood sugar of adults with diabetes.
  • Boosts brain function.  A study was done with rats who showed a build-up of a brain protein that is seen in Alzheimer’s patients. The cinnamon stopped that build-up. When the rats were put in a maze to test their memory, those who had been given the cinnamon scored higher.
  • Helps with yeast infections. Using studies done in a lab, cinnamon was shown to destroy Candida albicans, which is the cause of most vaginal yeast infections. They have not yet tested this one on humans, but it shows promise.
  • Boosts metabolism. Cinnamon contains an essential oil, cinnamaldehyde, which causes fat cells to burn more energy, boosting the metabolism.
  • Fights cancer. When cancer cells were grown in a lab, cinnamon either slowed cancer growth or entirely killed the tumor cells. This also has not yet been tested on humans but shows promise.
  • Cleared skin. Researchers found that Ceylon cinnamon can fight the types of bacteria which are known to cause acne. Studies suggest that cinnamon may boost collagen production, which would help skin to look younger.
  • Fights bacteria. Cinnamon was found to fight many harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. Coli, and staph. The hope is that eventually they will find a way to use cinnamon as a natural food preservative.

Although many of these studies have only been done in the lab, they show encouraging promise for help in humans. This would provide a great natural product rather than needing to resort to chemicals, which may do more harm than good. In the mean time, putting some cinnamon strategically in our diets is certain to be of benefit—and delicious!

See also: http://maronewellness.com/healthy-benefits-turmeric-curative-spice/

*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 Дарья Яковлева from Pixabay

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

*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.

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