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Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 | 0 comments

Vitamins: What to Take, What to Skip

What you need, and how to get it

 

By Amanda Gardner

Vitamins and minerals are essential to any diet, and research suggests they may help prevent cancer and heart disease, not to mention other health problems. But reality check: Many studies have been conducted on vitamin-containing food, but not necessarily supplements.

In fact, if you eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fortified food, you’re probably getting all you need. But supplements do offer an easy, just-in-case form of health insurance.

Do you need them? Here’s a quick guide to beneficial nutrients and what they can do for you.

Beta-carotene

Found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and green peppers, among other foods, this antioxidant is converted in the body to vitamin A and is important for healthy vision, a functioning immune system, and good skin. But the evidence isn’t really there to recommend it for staving off cancer. In fact, a 2004 study found that supplements may actually raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Bottom line: Skip the supplements if you’re a smoker, and try to get your beta-carotene from fruits and veggies, whether you smoke or not.

Calcium

Our bodies need calcium—mostly found in dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese—to maintain healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Bottom line: Supplements aren’t a bad idea if you hate dairy (and can eat only so much kale and canned sardines), but you may want to skip them if you’re prone to kidney stones or are a female over 70. A 2010 report linked supplements to heart-attack risk in older postmenopausal women. If you decide to go with supplements, don’t take more than 500 milligrams at a time, and pair them with vitamin D to improve calcium absorption.

Folic acid

Folic acid, which prevents neural tube defects such as spina bifida in babies, is found in fortified breakfast cereal, dark green vegetables, legumes, citrus fruit juice, bread, and pasta.

Bottom line: Getting 400 micrograms a day of this B vitamin, and 600 if you are pregnant or lactating, is a no-brainer. That amount should come from food, supplements, or both, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The jury’s still out as to whether folate combats cancer, heart disease, or mental illness.

Iron

You may not love the foods highest in iron (liver and other organ meats), but the mineral is critical for the proper functioning of red blood cells and, therefore, the prevention of anemia.

Bottom line: Try to get iron from dietary sources, which also include lean meats, seafood, nuts, and green, leafy vegetables. However, you may need a supplement if you’re anemic, or your doctor might prescribe them before surgery, says Jessica Anderson, a registered dietitian with the Coastal Bend Health Education Center, at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, in Corpus Christi. Women, especially those who are pregnant or menstruating, might also benefit.

Multivitamin

There is limited evidence that multivitamins may help prevent breast cancer, and an NIH panel in 2006 wasn’t convinced that popping the pills was worth it. Neither is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which said the only benefit could be to reduce cancer risk in people with poor nutrition. And a large 2009 study failed to find any beneficial effects of the vitamins for cancer or deaths among postmenopausal women.

Bottom line: Multivitamins aren’t a bad idea if “you’re on the go,” Anderson says. “But don’t expect major lifesaving benefits.”

Read the rest of this article at Health.com

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Posted by on Sep 4, 2012 | 0 comments

14 Natural Pain Relievers

Many who live with chronic back pain would really love to be less dependent on painkillers to manage their pain. But how? Natural pain relievers may be the answer. Here’s a list that might help – each of these won’t be for everyone, but any number of these natural pain relievers might help you be able to rely less on pain medications and feel more in control of your life.

  • Release your inner endorphins. These natural chemicals block pain signals from reaching your brain. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain relievers, and they can be as strong as many of the strongest pain relievers. Endorphins also help alleviate anxiety, stress and depression — conditions that often accompany and exacerbate chronic pain. The body produces endorphins during aerobic exercise. A “runner’s high” is not just for those running long distances — any activity that gets your blood pumping for a sustained period will release pain relieving endorphins into your system.
  • Find good company. Those who have regular contact with others dealing with similar forms of chronic pain find that their pain becomes more manageable. An online group that is both active and supportiveis best. Members of the Spine-health.com Back Pain and Chronic Pain discussion forums say that it is quite simply “free therapy”.
  • Eat cookies. Research shows that eating sweet foods like cookies, chocolate or ice cream, helps reduce the sensation of pain.
  • Or just bake the cookies. Enjoying a smell that is both sweet and pleasant has been shown to reduce the perception of pain.
  • Feel the heat. Applying some form of heat — a hot water bottle, gel-filled pad heated in the microwave, electric heating pad, or hot bath — can go a long way in easing your pain. Benefits of heat are twofold: it increases the flow of healing oxygen and nutrients to the damaged area, and it suppresses pain signals being sent to your brain. Some find that wearing a heat wrap, such as Thermacare heat wrap, is best because it releases a low level heat for several hours and can be worn under clothes so you remain mobile.
  • Cool it with ice. Ahh, how this cools down inflamed and sore tissues. Back pain almost always comes with some level of inflammation, and ice is the best natural way to reduce it. Ice also helps by acting as a local anesthetic, and by slowing the nerve impulses, which in turn interrupts the pain-spasm reactions between the nerves in the affected area.
  • Loosen up. Almost everyone can benefit from stretching the soft tissues – the muscles, ligaments and tendons – in and around the spine. Your back is designed for movement, and if your motion is limited it can make your back pain worse. If you suffer from chronic back pain, you may find it takes weeks or months of stretching to loosen up your spine and soft tissues, but you will find that meaningful and sustained pain relief will follow the increase in motion.
  • Enjoy the outdoors. People who got the recommended daily 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D experienced less pain than those who didn’t, according to a Boston University study of 221 men and women withknee osteoarthritis. Researchers surmised that Vitamin D helps relieve pain by aiding in the absorption of calcium, which is needed for bone growth and repair. Other research shows vitamin D may directly help soothe pain. 93% of 150 people with unexplained sources of pain were recently found to be deficient in Vitamin D levels, according to recent research at the University of Minnesota. About 15 minutes of sun exposure on your face and hands a day is enough to get your daily dose of D, or a 200-IU supplement of Vitamin D and as much calcium as is found in two glasses of milk.

Read the rest of this article at Spine-Health

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Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 | 0 comments

Six Natural Ways To Boost Your Child’s Immune System

Now that the school year is in full swing, those nasty cold and flu germs are making their way through the classrooms and into your home. But just because everybody else is getting sick doesn’t mean that you and your children have to as well. There are a few simple tricks that can help keep the immune system strong and reduce the chance of your children catching the stuck-in-bed blues.
1) SLEEP: Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep.  Most children require at least 9 hours of sleep at night to maintain optimal health. Besides keeping the immune system healthy, adequate sleep will increase efficiency and performance in academics and other activities.

2) HYDRATION: Drinking plenty of fluids (H20 is best) is key to preventing infection. Staying hydrated keeps mucous membranes moist, which lowers the chance of a cold or flu taking hold in your nose or lungs.

3) FRUITS & VEGGIES: Carrots, green beans, kiwi, oranges, strawberries: They all contain immunity-boosting goodies. Eating a balanced diet, including healthy snacks, can ensure adequate nutrition and also keep the digestive system healthy. A balanced diet should include at least 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies and below in processed and refined foods.

4) STRESS LESS: Just like you, your children can experience harmful stress that weighs on their immune system. Children still need time to play and enjoy their childhood. Help your kids to manage their time so homework gets completed but relaxation and fun don’t get buried beneath the schoolbooks.

5) GET OUTSIDE: Whatever the weather, spend more time outdoors and take the opportunity to exercise while you are there. Between soaking in some Vitamin D from the sun and staying active, your child can increase the number of germ-killing cells in their body.  Fun family activities include bike riding, hiking, skating, swimming, sports…etc.

6GET ADJUSTED! Spinal abnormalities called “vertebral subluxations” interfere with the functioning of the nervous system by placing pressure on the nerves. When your spine is misaligned, your immune system can suffer. Getting regular chiropractic adjustments can make you and your child’s immune systems up to 200% stronger!

If you can boost your immune system by following many of these suggestions, you are much less likely to become sick. Stay healthy and happy this school year!

Yours In Health,
John J. Koc, D.C.
16429 N. Tatum Blvd., Suite 200
Phoenix, AZ. 85032

 

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Posted by on Aug 14, 2012 | 0 comments

Health Care, The Cost That Affects Us All!

Health care is a universal necessity for all individuals. Without it, the personal cost of everything from dental procedures to eye care can be a serious dent to your wallet. Health care is also a key component of our economy.
However, we are only ranked #37 by the World Health Organization’s analysis of health services in the world. Why is health care so costly in the U.S?

Click image to enlarge
Health Care Costs Infographic
Via: Medicare Supplemental Insurance.com

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Posted by on May 24, 2010 | 0 comments

Get All The Facts

The Corn Refiners Association omits facts in an attempt to make high-fructose corn syrup seem as safe as sugar.

The Corn Refiners Association released an advertisement in which a guy and girl are discussing high-fructose corn syrup. The point of  this commercial is to convince the audience that high-fructose corn syrup is just as safe to consume as sugar. Unfortunately they did not give all of the health facts around high-fructose corn syrup, making their commercial a message of propaganda aimed only at increasing sales and disregarding their responsibility to accurately informing their consumers.

Fortunately, someone decided to set the Corn Refiners Association straight by creating their own video. This rebuttal takes place in the same setting as the original, but it mention the adverse health effects of high-fructose corn syrup. Watch both videos, (Posted below) and use this as an example of how important it is to research the facts and not take all information at face value.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVsgXPt564Q&hl=en_US&fs=1&]
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYiEFu54o1E&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

Facts about high-fructose corn syrup:

High-fructose corn syrup has replaced pure sugar in many American products, including, Coca Cola and Pepsi products, cake mixes, cookies, breakfast cereals, etc. The reason for the transition from pure cane sugar to high-fructose corn syrup is because the US government subsidized the corn industry to produce this product in specialized factories around the United States. The production of high-fructose corn syrup is surprisingly not cost prohibitive to consumers because of the high tariffs placed on imported cane sugar by the United States.

Many people are concerned about the health affects high-fructose corn syrup has, including obesity and diabetes. High-fructose corn syrup has more fructose content than regular sugars, roughly 55% fructose and 45% glucose. This concentration of fructose is not natural, and diabetics and other individuals who have to monitor their blood sugar levels may not receive accurate glycemic readings after they ingest high fructose corn syrup. Because many sodas and processed foods are made with high-fructose corn syrup, regular consumption of these products has the potential to increase obesity and promote conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.

Finally, remember that no matter what foods you eat or diets you follow, moderation is always key. So far, research has shown conflicted results over this debate. In order to make the best diet decisions for you and your family it is important to educate yourself with information from several different resources, not just one commercial that shows one side’s view. I have attached a few links that you can follow for more information on high-fructose corn syrup, what it is, why it is used and other health concerns.

http://www.almightydad.com/fitness-nutrition/high-fructose-corn-syrup-the-facts

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-high-fructose-corn-syrup.htm

http://www.sweetsurprise.com/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fructose-corn-syrup/an01588

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