Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Snacking

Americans love to snack almost as much as we want to lose weight. But according to recent research by the USDA, our snacking habits are adding too many calories and too few nutrients to our diets. It doesn’t have to be this way, says Susan Bowerman, RD, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. “When done right, (snacking) keeps your energy levels up and gives you more opportunities to get in all your nutritional needs.”

Eating snacks with the right ratio of nutrients, with the right calories, will help keep you body energized and help you lose weight. Protein (plus exercise) fuels the growth of lean muscle mass, which boosts metabolic rate and increases calorie burn. Fiber, meanwhile, helps improve digestion and keeps you from binging on fats and sugars. So while there’s no food that will literally “burn fat” while you eat it, smart choices with these ingredients will help your body operate at maximum efficiency. Bowerman suggests snacks under 200 calories, with 10 grams of protein and close to 5 grams of fiber.

“Almost any fruit is going to make a great snack, but you usually want to pair it with a bit of protein to make it more satisfying,” says Bowerman; “unlike carbohydrates, which get used up relatively quickly, protein will help sustain your energy and hunger levels for a couple of hours.”

Our pick for a protein-fruit pairing: one large apple and one cup of skim milk. This duo will give you 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber for just over 200 calories. Another low calorie fruit and dairy combo is an avocado half filled with half a cup of low fat cottage cheese.

If you don’t want to incorporate dairy into every snack, a can of tuna (packaged in water) is another great source of lean protein plus healthy Omega-3s. For about 200 calories, you can enjoy 3 ounces of light tuna and 6 whole-wheat crackers—complete with 3 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein.

You may not think of shellfish as a grab-and-go snack food, but you can put a tasty treat together in a flash if you keep pre-cooked shrimp on hand. With Greek yogurt and avocado, it’s a protein powerhouse with 9 grams per serving (and 4 g fiber), for only 129 calories.

There’s no reason you can’t have smaller portions of “real” food as snacks, says Bowerman. “Oftentimes, the healthiest and most balanced snacks are the ones that start as full meals—like a half a sandwich, or a plate of leftovers put together from dinner the night before,” she adds.

The same can be said about salads. They aren’t just for mealtime—when they’re about 200 calories per cup, they make a great afternoon snack, as well. Be careful with the dressings and topics, though. This is where most of us go wrong with our “healthy” salad. Keep the dressing to one serving, or two tablespoons. Forgo the cheese and croutons, as these will be more calories than the salad and dressing together. Opt instead for unsalted sunflower seeds to add a little crunch.

When choosing an energy bar as a snack, the rules are the same: Look for bars with 200 calories or less, 10 grams of protein and close to 5 grams of fiber. The Luna Protein bar certainly comes close (190 calories, 12 g protein, 3 g fiber), and tastes “almost like candy,” Health.com testers said.

A calorie-free beverage doesn’t qualify as a real snack, but if you find yourself scouting the kitchen just because you’re bored, rather than hungry, a tasty drink, like green tea infused with herbs or fruit, may just hit the spot. Green tea has been shown to help dieters lose more weight, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, thanks to its metabolism-boosting antioxidant compound called EGCG.

Bowerman says that most research on green tea for weight loss has been inconclusive, but that either way it’s a healthy, tasty way to stay hydrated throughout the day. “Drinking water and tea is a good way to keep all of your body’s processes, including your metabolism, running smoothly and efficiently,” she adds.

Another way to sip your way to healthy is a smoothie. Packed with nutrient dense foods, a small serving of a smoothie can give you the energy to face the rest of your day. Look for ones with no added sugar or make your own to keep from ingesting empty calories.

Source: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20682477_last,00.html

 

Stickin’ It Tue You:Boosting Your Immune System This Flu Season

It’s now December. It’s cold, it’s grey, it’s not Christmas yet.  AND, it’s now flu season!

Also known as the season for drugging yourself silly and making yourself go to work even when you’d rather curl up in bed and do nothing for at least 48 hours.The ironic commercials touting the importance of the flu shot followed by ads for an anti-viral after you get the flu are in full force and on every channel.

Every holiday season we hear about people get whacked left, right and center with colds and many people simply take them as par for the course: you just deal with it. You know at least one person will be sick every place you go, so you just give in to the fact that, at some point, this winter you will be sick.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways to strengthen your immune system without the use of expensive and sometimes dangerous drugs. Diet helps as does exercise and rest, but if you’re looking for a method to fill in the weak gaps in your immune system and promote relaxation and pain relief, you’re looking for acupuncture. How does acupuncture boost your immune system and prevent colds?

From the standpoint of the ancient practice of medicine, the reason why acupuncture works is because of the manipulation of energies in the body. Everyone has varying weaknesses in their energy; places where the Chi naturally has problems. Acupuncture can address these weaknesses in the same way a vaccine addresses weaknesses; by boosting energy and giving the body what it needs to strengthen itself. At the root of it all, we see the movement of energy. When the body’s Chi is moving sluggishly and brokenly, the body falls prey to viruses more readily; when the body’s Chi is in balance, the body stays healthy and can fight off viruses.

Not enough? Studies have shown that acupuncture helps the brain increase the body’s level of T-cells; cells which destroy bacteria and harmful viruses in the body. It is thought that acupuncture does this by provoking the body’s immune response through the use of the needles: the body thinks the needles are a threat and marshal their white cell and T-cell count to fight them off. However, the effect of this lasts days after the acupuncture session and so works on viruses and bacteria as well.

So, sick and tired of being… well, sick and tired? Acupuncture may be a great way to fill in the missing gaps in your immune system and keep you healthy this flu season.

Sources: http://rootwholebody.com/how-acupuncture-boosts-your-immune-system-to-prevent-colds

Let’s Get Physical: Take This Test To Determine Your Biological Age!

You most likely have met some people who look and probably act younger than they really are. Their skin looks very healthy, their energy levels are high and their wits, just fantastic! You speculate they are 10 to15 years younger than they really are. You meet another person and you have deduced they are older, only to find out you are 10 years older than them! This is because these people have a biological/chronological age discrepancy.

Your biological age is the active rate at which your body is aging. It is a true measurement of your current health, life expectancy, and future quality of life. It is the age that most normal people would be when they have a body and mind similar to yours.

Chronological age is simply your current age in years, calculated from your birth date.

Your biological and chronological age are not necessarily the same. A biological age test (Print and fill out the questionnaire here!) will give you an accurate measurement of your biological age. If you have been maintaining a healthy lifestyle or taking very good care of yourself, the test may show a biological age five to 10 years younger than your chronological age.

However, seven out of 10 test results show otherwise!  That is, 70% of test results usually show that the biological age is higher than a person’s chronological age. The extreme stresses, diet, toxins, lack of adequate sleep, lack of exercise contribute largely to this dismal report. It again lies at the ‘doorsteps’ of our lifestyle.

So, how do you reverse aging, turn back time or lower your biological age? Truth is, we all want to look younger longer. We can influence our aging process because lifestyle factors play an important part. The decisions and choices about staying healthy we make are quite crucial.

Biological age testing, no doubt, is a great tool in preventative and anti-aging protocol. Armed with your test result, a Functional Medicine Physician can easily identify specific areas to incorporate preventative action into your lifestyle immediately. By the time you take the test again, you should have seen significant improvements.

Don’t like your results? Call our office at (304) 263-4927 to schedule a consultation with Dr Chambers. If possible, please bring your completed questionnaire as reference.

Sources: http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/958.cfm

http://www.punchng.com/spice/wellness/biological-age-vs-chronological-age/

Who’s Got Your Back? Tips to Protect Yourself

ConstructionWorkerCSP72dpi

One of the most common pain complaints is back pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association, more than 31 million Americans will suffer from low-back pain at any given time. It one of the most common reasons for missing work. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, of the 443,560 cases reported for work related injury, 36% were back-related.

Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic spinal manipulation is a safe and effective back pain treatment. It reduces pain, decreases medication, rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as bed rest.

Chiropractic is also a great wellness treatment to prevent chronic pain should an injury occur.

Tips for Preventing Back Pain

  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
  • Remain active—under the supervision of your doctor of chiropractic.
  • Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
  • Warm up or stretch before exercising or other physical activities, such as gardening.
  • Maintain proper posture.
  • Wear comfortable, lower-heeled shoes.
  • Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine.
  • Lift with your knees, keep the object close to your body, and do not twist when lifting.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.
  • Work with your doctor of chiropractic to ensure that your computer workstation is ergonomically correct.

If you are suffering from back pain, whether from injury or disease, contact a trained chiropractor to learn about your options. For more information about Chambers Chiropractic & Acupuncture, visit our website here.

Tips for Success in Planning Your Health Goals

Icon for Health Sign

The New Year brings with it a fresh start in planning your new health goals. Whether it’s changing an eating habit to lose weight or for an immediate health risk, to train for a physical activity or event, or to get into that swimsuit for the first time in years, success depends on sensible and achievable strategic planning.

Here are some tips on planning for your health goal success:

Decide on measurable steps to achieve your goal.

For example, if you are using walking as your physical exercise, how far are you going to walk? For how long? How many days each week are you going to walk? If you are focusing on your nutrition, for example if you are lowering or giving up sugar—how long? How much? During all meals or only during the week.

Track and review your progress each week. Were you able to successfully meet your goals last week? Think about what worked and what didn’t. Then plan for how you will reach your goals next week.

Focus on what’s attainable and relevant to you

Set goals that are within your capabilities and that take into account your limitations. Consider your personal fitness level, health concerns, budget, available time and motivation. Tailoring your expectations to your personal situation helps you set achievable goals. Don’t wait till you can afford to buy a new pair of running shoes or yoga pants, use what you have and make that a mini reward for achieving a milestone in your goal. If you can’t make time to work out side the home or if the weather is not ideal for walking, use your house as a indoor gyms—stairs to carry laundry or toys up and down make a great cardio workout throughout the day. Make everyday an opportunity to be working toward your health goal.

Think about timing

Timing is crucial, often making the difference between success and failure. Choose a definite start date for your health goal and don’t put that date off. Be sure to account for life circumstances that might hamper your efforts, such as work or school demands, vacations or relationship problems. You may need to resolve some issues before starting.

Set both short- and long-term goals. Short-term goals keep you engaged on a daily basis, but long-term goals motivate you over the long haul. Your short-term goals are the stepping stones to your long-term goal.

Focus on the process

Make the most of your process goals, rather than outcome goals. For example, ”Exercise three times a week or cut carbs during the week” is an example of a process goal, while “weigh 145 pounds” is an example of an outcome goal. Process goals are easier to plan strategy and see the immediate success of your effort and discipline, while outcome goals can take much longer to see results. It’s changing your processes — your daily behaviors and habits — that’s key to weight loss, not necessarily focusing on a specific number on the scale.

Plan for setbacks

Setbacks are a natural part of behavior change. Everyone who successfully makes changes in his or her life has experienced setbacks. Identifying potential roadblocks — a big holiday meal or office party, for example, and brainstorming specific strategies to overcome them can help you stay on course or get back on course. This is where tracking your progress is vital in strategically planning ahead for known roadblocks and returning back to focus.

Reassess and adjust your goals as needed

Be willing to change your goals as you make progress in your health goal plan. If you started small, you might be ready to take on larger challenges sooner or amp up your efforts if you are not reaching milestone targets. Or, you might find that you need to adjust your goals to better fit your new lifestyle as it changes. Goal setting is a fluid process, and giving yourself the ability to adjust as life develops will set the tone for success.

 What are your health goals? Are you ready to start the journey to a lifetime of wellness? Share your stories in the comments below. 

State of Our Health in the US

StateofHealthUSCSP72dpi

How do we measure up with the rest of the world on matters of health?

The Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) published in August 2013 the first ever report comparing the State of Health in the US to that of 34 countries on measures of diseases, injuries and risk factors associated with pre-matured mortality, years lived with disability, and disability adjusted life years.

Although it was not surprising to find in this report that chronic disease epidemics continue to spread across the world, but that US is doing much worse than many other countries with similar economic strength. This can be attributed to an aging population, however, a significant amount of data supports key findings of unhealthy lifestyles, diet and environment exposures that constitute the American way of life today are major influencers.

Among many interesting facts presented in this report are these:

• The diseases and injuries with the largest number of premature mortality in 2010 were ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and road injury.
(ALL of these are largely preventable diseases)

• Age-standardized premature mortality rates increased for Alzheimer disease, drug use disorders, chronic kidney disease, kidney cancer, and falls.
(MANY of these are preventable conditions)

• The diseases with the largest number of years lived with disability in 2010 were low back pain, major depressive disorder, other musculoskeletal disorders, neck pain, and anxiety disorders.
(SOME of these are preventable conditions)

• The leading risk factors relating to disability adjusted life years were dietary risks, tobacco smoking, high body mass index, high blood pressure, high fasting plasma glucose (Type II Diabetes), physical inactivity, and alcohol use.
(MOST of these are preventable risks)

So how can we use this information?

By changing our one-size-fits all method of health care to a more patient specific.

“How much better could we do if each patient received a comprehensive individualized functional medicine work-up and therapeutic intervention instead of a prescription? Performing an in-depth examination of the patient’s underlying dysfunctions, identifying the antecedents, triggers, and mediators of disease (including the contributions of environmental and lifestyle risks), and working to eliminate obstacles to healing within the context of a highly effective therapeutic partnership between patient and clinician is what functional medicine practitioners are known for—and that approach may well be the key to reversing and preventing not only diabetes but many other elements of the chronic disease epidemic as well.”Institute of Functional Medicine

Because of its focus on acute care, our current medical model often fails at confronting both the causes of and solutions for the chronic disease epidemic, and must be replaced with a model of comprehensive care and prevention that is systems-based, integrative, patient-centered, and much more effective.

For more information about Functional Medicine, visit our website: Chambers Chiropractic & Acupuncture.

Sources:
http://www.functionalmedicine.org/home/ReportStateofHealth/

US Burden of Disease Collaborators. The state of US health, 1990-2010. Burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. JAMA. 2013;310(6):591-608.

Leaky Gut Syndrome: A Gut Wrenching Tale

CareerWomanStomachCSP72dpiIt feels just like another one of those days you have been experiencing a lot lately. No matter what you eat, it seems to wreak havoc on your stomach: gas, bloating, and frequent trips to the bathroom have taken over your days, leaving you tired, irritable and wondering if this is never going to stop. 

Foods that you used to digest fine are now causing the most discomfort, and even if you just eliminated them from your diet, you’re are still not feeling relief.

With a discussion with your doctor, you might be subjected to a series of tests on your Gastrointestinal System (GI) and prescribed medication. But the symptoms still don’t go away, and instead just get worse.

Your stomach is trying to tell you that something is definitely wrong—and it just might be Leaky Gut Syndrome.

The foundation of good health lies in proper digestive function. All other health factors can be undermined if you don’t digest and absorb nutrients properly. Assimilation of vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids from the foods you eat and the supplements you take is required for optimum health.

Because of the way our bodies are connected, inflammation in the gut can eventually lead to inflammation in the bones, heart, brain, or beyond, making osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, or other diseases you may have a genetic predisposition for even more likely as you age.

What is leaky gut?

Digestive stress can cause “Leaky Gut Syndrome,” in which the integrity of the intestinal lining is compromised and is no longer able to discern what should be absorbed into the blood stream and what is kept out. Molecules “leak” into the blood that should not be present, creating an overstimulation of the immune system, causing inflammation and tissue damage.

When food antigens “leak” into our blood stream, the immune system thinks they are foreign invaders and mounts an immune response that we experience as an allergic reaction. Yeast and bacteria can also “leak” into the blood stream and creating significant immune system activity causing it to weaken.

Beyond causing abdominal symptoms, leaky gut can cause symptoms throughout the body, including fatigue, joint and muscle pain, headaches and other symptoms. It can also cause gluten intolerance and allergies to foods that had never for been a problem.

What causes leaky gut?

So what causes leaky gut? Much still needs to be learned on the condition, but diet, chronic stress, certain medications and bacterial imbalance have been found to play important roles. Eating a diet high in refined sugar can lead to overgrowth of yeast species, which has been associated with leaky gut. Preservatives and chemicals in processed foods can damage the lining, as can the consumption of gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

Chronic stress can lead to a weakened immune system, affecting your ability to fight off invading bacteria and viruses and worsening the symptoms of leaky gut. Medications like aspirin and non-steroidal anti inflammatories (NSAIDs), i.e. ibuprofen, that can damage the lining of your gut, as well as antibiotics that kill off your essential good bacteria are also associated with increased intestinal permeability. Excessive alcohol consumption, infection with parasites, radiation and chemotherapy can damage the lining of the intestine and are also risk factors.

In addition to bloating and digestive distress, leaky gut can have a combination of other symptoms, such as food allergies, chronic sinus infections, achy joints, fatigue, brain fog or unexplained rashes.

How can we treat it?

The Institute of Functional Medicine developed the Four “R” Program to treat those suffering with Leaky Gut Syndrome

1.    Remove: Undertake an elimination diet. To stabilize and soothe the digestive tract, it is recommended that stop eating common allergens, such as gluten, dairy, soy, and other disruptive foods for a minimum of 14 days, to determine if a food allergy is present.

2.   Re-inoculate: Rebalance your gut flora. To re-establishing microfloral (the good bacteria) balance throughout the GI tract, your Functional Medicine practitioner will prescribe a well-formulated re-inoculate probiotics and probiotic supplements. In addition, foods like bananas, pears, applesauce, well-cooked squash, and so on, will help build up your digestive system your way up before adding more fibrous fruit and vegetables later on.

3.     Repair: Rebuild your intestinal cells. Your Functional Medicine practitioner will also supplements to replace depleted essential nutrients and promote proper repair of the intestinal lining.

4.   Regulate. Once repair has restore your digestive system to health, it is crucial that you continue to avoid anything you notice to cause GI upset.

If you are experiencing a multitude of symptoms that seem to center around your stomach, contact your Functional Medicine Practitioner to test you for Leaky Gut Syndrome. It can be treated and in most case cured with proper diet, supplements and rest to repair the damage and restore health.

Chiropractic Care for Young Athletes

Image

The current generation of children are more athletic than ever before.  According to The Center for Kids First, 30 million to 40 million children get involved in organized sports in the course of a year. Whether your little one is just starting out in pee-wee football, or you have a teenager in any and every high school sport activity, your young athlete is bound to get injured. Even though the old adage is that, “kids bounce back quickly after a fall or injury,” don’t dismiss your child’s minor athletic injuries, especially during the crucial years of their musculoskeletal development.
Regular chiropractic care can benefit young athletes in several ways. Even if your child escapes during the season with just a few minor bumps and bruises, a chiropractic adjustment will help realign the spine, especially after lot of activity and when their developing bodies may be pushed harder than normally.
And not only can chiropractic care treat misalignments, but also can be preventive health against major injuries from occurring.
  • Prevent injury. When bodies are properly aligned, then we have a decreased chance of injury.
  • Prevent sickness. Proper alignment of the spine, balances the nervous system and immune system. A compromised health can lead to poorer performance and missed practice.
  • Ensure peak performance. Think about how much precision it takes to throw a baseball. If the body is misaligned just a little bit, it could vastly affect an athlete’s skills.
Proper health, nutrition and equipment are vital to success in any sports activity. Chiropractic care is another vital way to protect a young athlete from injury and give them the best opportunity to perform at their peak.

Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care

ImageChiropractic care is considered a safe and effective means to support a comfortable pregnancy, labor and delivery. As a pregnant woman prepares herself for birth, hormonal and physical changes can create a lot of stress and discomfort. Chiropractic care can help soothe the aches and pains associated throughout pregnancy, and prepare the body for a healthy labor and delivery.

First Trimester
Hormonal changes in the body as it adjusts to the early stages of pregnancy can have quite an impact to a woman’s body. This can cause symptoms such as morning sickness, water retention and/or bloating, headaches, mood swings and muscle tension. Since taking medications is not recommended during pregnancy, chiropractic treatment is a safe, non-drug alternative to treat many of these symptoms.

Second Trimester
As a pregnant woman will gain her greatest amount of weight during the second trimester, this can cause her center of gravity to be shifted forward. This shift can put additional stress on the muscles of the lower back and pelvis, causing the lumbar spine to increase its natural arch. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce low back pain through the duration of pregnancy.

Third Trimester
The continuing weight gains carried in the final months of pregnancy increase more stress and discomfort to the lower back and causing pressure and irritability to the sciatic nerve. Breast enlargement may cause shoulders to hunch and upper back pain to increase. The hormone Relaxin, used to promote greater flexibility of the ligaments and tendons to aid in labor and delivery, is released during the final trimester and may cause joints around the pelvic area to partially dislocate. Chiropractic adjustments can re-establish proper alignment and movement and create a stage for the baby to be delivered in a healthy way. Breech babies, those positioned to be born feet, first are often times the result of pelvic and sacrum misalignment. By doing a few adjustments, the chiropractor can help in aligning these areas to encourage the baby to turn into normal, head first position.

By alleviating the musculoskeletal symptoms of pregnancy, many of the other stress symptoms such as headaches and mood swings can be eased as well. This can give the mother-to-be a more healthy and uncomplicated delivery.

Sources:

Work Smart: Healthy Tips for the Spine

OfficeWomanStretchingProper alignment can help reduce a lot of stress in both the lower and upper back, and thus reduce the frequency of conditions ranging from back pain and headaches to carpal tunnel and sciatica. Make sure your workspace—whether a laptop, phone, computer desk, or even your vehicle, is set up for height and functionality. Here are some tips to help you create a better workspace for your spinal health.

  1. Choose a chair that provides back support. Knees should be at 90 degrees and feet should plant comfortably on the floor.
  2. Sit up straight—with support. The discs in your spine are loaded three times more while sitting than standing. You should have a natural curve inward of the spine. Avoid slouching or leaning forward.
  3. Do not cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder. Use a headset or speaker phone to avoid neck pain.
  4. Take regular breaks from sitting in one position for extended periods of time, which can cause muscles to tighten up and become immobile. A short break with stretching every 30 minutes or so is also good for your mental health and productivity.
  5. Staying hydrated throughout the day helps maintain soft tissue elasticity and fluidity in the joints. Spinal discs become vulnerable over time due to loss of hydration and can begin to shrink, which can cause painful conditions such as bulging or ruptures.
  6. Check your shoes. Whether sprinting to the printer or walking blocks to the office, shoes have a big impact on our back. Shoes should be balanced, flexible and comfortable overall. If walking, stair climbing or sprinting is part of your normal work routine, select the best pair for the job.

Keeping your spine in good health during your workday will protect you from injury and degeneration. Listen to your body for the warning signals that you may need to modify your work routine and space. Seek professional care to learn about your spine and the correct for your symptoms.