Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Love your heart – Eat better

These days there’s a lot of information out there on what to eat, and what not to eat, so making good choices can be confusing.  In general, stick to minimally processed, natural and nutrient rich food.  More quick tips:

  • make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  • enjoy your food but eat less
  • avoid oversized portions
  • drink water instead of sugary drinks

(check out older posts from me if you need more ideas…

 

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A Not-So-Secret Weapon Against Cardiovascular Disease

If you are one of those people who are tired of hearing about how good fruits and vegetables are for you, this may finally get your attention: A certain nutrient found in them reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.

In a large study, researchers noted that high levels of vitamin C in the blood are associated with a decreased risk ofcardiovascular disease and early death. And fruits and vegetables are the best way to raise those levels of vitamin C.

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Those people who had diets high in fruits and vegetables had a 15% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of early death compared with those who very rarely ate fruit and vegetables.

Vitamin C serves many functions in the body. It is vital for the growth and repair of body tissues. It is necessary to heal wounds and form scar tissue, and it aids in the formation of collagen that is needed to make skin, tendons, and ligaments. It is also an important antioxidant that blocks some of the harm caused by free radicals in the body. These destructive molecules are believed to play a role in the aging progress and are suspect in the cause of cancer and heart disease.

“We know that fruit and vegetables are healthy, but now our research is pinpointing more precisely why this is so. Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is a natural way of increasing vitamin C blood levels, which in the long term may contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death,” Boerge Nordestgaard, a clinical professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and a consultant at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, said in a statement.

Getting the vitamin from food is preferable to supplements he adds. Not only is it more likely to help people develop a healthier lifestyle, food sources contain other nutrients that contribute to health and that may work best in conjunction with vitamin C.

Our bodies cannot make vitamin C, so we must obtain it from the foods we eat. All fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, but some are better sources than others.

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Citrus fruits are the most well-known source of the vitamin, but cantaloupe, watermelon, kiwi, strawberries, and blueberries are also good sources. Vegetable sources include broccoli, potatoes, red and green peppers, tomatoes, and leafy greens. All it takes is five servings (generally a half cup each) to meet your quota for the day.

The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Love Your Heart – Get Active

 The American Heart Association as well as the CDC and the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines all agree that getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise is a good way to keep your heart happy and healthy.  If you break it down, that’s less than 30 minutes a day!  (Note: if you’re just starting an exercise program or are pressed for time, research has shown that 3-10 minute exercise workout can have the same benefit on your health as one 30 minute session.  So… No excuses!)

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While 150 minutes of exercise per week may be adequate for heart health, further research has shown that at least 275 minutes per week is best for weight loss.  Here are some examples of moderate versus vigorous activity.

Moderate:

  • walking at a moderate or brisk pace of 3 to 4.5 mph on a level surface inside or outside such as:
    • walking to class, work or the store
    • walking for pleasure
    • walking the dog, walking as a break from work
  • bicycling 5 to 9 mph
  • yoga
  • ballroom or lying dancing
  • playing Frisbee
  • recreational swimming
  • canoeing or rafting or kayaking <4 mph
  • fishing while walking along the riverbank
  • playing on school playground equipment
  • light gardening and yardwork

Examples of Vigorous Activity

  • race walking and aerobic walking greater than 5 mph
  • jogging or running
  • backpacking uphill/mountain climbing/rockclimbing
  • bicycling more than 10 mph or bicycling on steep uphill terrain
  • high impact aerobic dancing
  • calisthenics (push-ups, pull ups, jumping rope) single tenant’s
  • most competitive sports (basketball, football, soccer, kickball) racquetball or squash
  • ice skating or speedskating/playing ice hockey
  • steady paced lapse
  • canoeing or rolling or kayaking 5 or more miles per hour gardening or yardwork that includes heavy or rabid shuffling
  • digging ditches
  • felling trees or pushing a nonmotorized lawnmower

There are lots of choices for you to get out get up and get active!  So, as Nike would say, just do it! 

Out of office

Please note that I will be out of the office from January 21 to January 29. I will be back in my office, after my yoga teacher training retreat January 30.

Please call the front desk at 503-236-4654 to schedule an appointment.

If you are in need of care while I am gone please contact Dr. Teri at Elixia wellness or Dr. Miller at Sellwood chiropractic.

I am looking forward to sharing my new knowledge with you when I return!

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Active body, active mind

The secret to a younger brain may lie in exercising your body

It is widely recognized that our physical fitness is reflected in our mental fitness, especially as we get older. How does being physically fit affect our aging brains? Neuroimaging studies, in which the activity of different parts of the brain can be visualized, have provided some clues. Until now, however, no study has directly linked brain activation with both mental and physical performance.

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As reported in the latest volume of the journal NeuroImage, an exciting new study led by Dr Hideaki Soya from the University of Tsukuba in Japan and his colleagues show, for the first time, the direct relationship between brain activity, brain function and physical fitness in a group of older Japanese men. They found that the fitter men performed better mentally than the less fit men, by using parts of their brains in the same way as in their youth.

As we age, we use different parts of our brain compared to our younger selves. For example, when young, we mainly use the left side of our prefrontal cortex (PFC) for mental tasks involving short term memory, understanding the meaning of words and the ability to recognize previously encountered events, objects, or people. When older, we tend to use the equivalent parts of our PFC on the right side of the brain for these tasks. The PFC is located in the very front of the brain, just behind the forehead. It has roles in executive function, memory, intelligence, language and vision.

If you are an aging woman, you will be wondering if these results can be applied to your female brain. Both aging sexes might also wonder whether increasing aerobic fitness later in life can increase mental fitness. The results aren’t in, but I’m heading off for a brisk walk just in case.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Tsukuba. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kazuki Hyodo, Ippeita Dan, Yasushi Kyutoku, Kazuya Suwabe, Kyeongho Byun, Genta Ochi, Morimasa Kato, Hideaki Soya. The association between aerobic fitness and cognitive function in older men mediated by frontal lateralization. NeuroImage, 2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.09.062
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Herbal Help

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International Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10 December. The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations.

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