10 ways to get more antioxidants in your diet

berries-antioxidants

It’s no secret that antioxidants are incredibly beneficial to good health. It’s believed the antioxidants in food can help prevent cancer, reverse or slow aging, enhance your immune system, increase your energy and improve heart and other organ health.

Given all we know about antioxidants and their beneficial properties, it’s amazing more people don’t get enough fruits and vegetables, the primary sources of antioxidants. Experts recommend a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, but say getting 7-10 servings is best.

There are 10 steps to getting more antioxidants into your diet.

1.Breakfast

Breakfast doesn’t have to be a hurried toaster tart on the way out the door. Throw some strawberries, 100% juice and yogurt into a blender; pour your delicious mixture into a cup and head out the door. You’ve just added one to three servings of fruits to your daily intake. Or throw some berries onto your cold or hot cereal.

Say you truly have no time in the morning and usually grab something on the run. Even the Golden Arches can be some help here. Order a fruit and yogurt parfait and some apple slices. For about $2, you have a breakfast providing one to two servings of fruit.

2.Snacks

Here’s an easy way to get more antioxidants in your diet. How about a handful of raisins for a snack, or some fresh red grapes? Dip some strawberries in yogurt. You’ll feel decadent, but the berries provide the color you’re looking for. Need crunch? How about some baby carrots dipped in hummus? Consider a handful of pecans for crunch and a nice antioxidant boost.

3.Lunch and dinner

It might sound trite, but adding a salad to each of your main daily meals can add loads to your overall health and well-being. They don’t have to be boring, and they don’t have to be just salad greens. If you’re going classic, add some red pepper slices to your green salad, some tomatoes to the Greek salad, or tart cranberries to your field greens. Whip up a broccoli salad for lunch, or be adventurous and mix up a rice salad with a mélange of fresh vegetables like string beans, tomatoes, peppers and red onions.

4.Dessert

Berries, with or without whipped cream or chocolate are a wonderful way to end your day of healthy, antioxidant-rich eating.

5.Beverages

Replace your soda with tea or coffee, both of which boast antioxidant compounds. Have a glass of wine with dinner, or for a real change of pace, pour a glass of chai tea.

6.Think outside the box

We know we can get our antioxidant fix from berries, salads and the like, but researchers say powerful antioxidants can also be found in a variety of unexpected foods, like russet potatoes, artichokes, and small red beans. The beans, in fact, may have more antioxidant power than blueberries, experts say. So to your rice salad full of vegetables, add some beans for even more antioxidants.

7.Cook lightly

You think you’re being good, preparing vegetables each night for your family’s dinner. But if you’re overcooking the vegetables, you’re cooking out a lot of the beneficial properties of the antioxidants. Steam (don’t boil) vegetables, and stop cooking them when they will have all of their bright color and most of their bite.

8.Plant a garden

Experts believe that people who plant and harvest vegetables from their own yards are far more likely to eat more vegetables and fruits than people who buy their produce from the store. So plant a garden, watch it grow and eat the fruits (literally) of your labor.

9.Take your healthy diet on vacation

. Too many of us consider going on vacation an opportunity to take a vacation from everything, including healthy eating. Think of vacation as a way to be introduced to new foods. Order an interesting vegetable dish in a restaurant and then pay attention to how the chef prepared the dish.

10.Learn to cook

If you’re cooking, you’re not opening bags and boxes. Cooking involves scrubbing and peeling vegetables, preparing whole foods and paying attention to how things are cooked. If you’re ordering out every night, you’re far less likely to be eating the whole foods and natural fruits and vegetables that provide the base for our antioxidant intake.

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Thirty Percent of Lumbar Intervertebral Disc Herniations Are Missed on MRI

herniated disc

Since its inception, the MRI has been a single straight forward answer to subjective complaints as it relates to traumatic soft tissue injuries, primarily disc herniations. However, the clinical examination is the single most important step in determining the patients diagnosis, treatment plan, subsequent prognosis, and need for further diagnostic studies.

This article is a review of the original article published in SPINE Magazine discussing the accuracy of traditional MRI studies in the diagnosis of lumbar Intervertebral disc herniation. A study that was published in the journal Radiology in ’95 revealed that, in cases of acute sciatica, only 70% of the patients that were diagnosed with a lumbar disc herniation based on clinical examination were actually confirmed by MRI. So, that leaves 30% of the patients with disc herniations that were not revealed on traditional MRI studies. If you are suffering from an acute lumbar disc condition and an MRI has not revealed a herniation, this article is a must read!

We must first understand the concept of a functional lesion. Once a patient is out of the initial acute inflammatory phase, they will describe a variable degree of pain throughout the day depending on the activity. This will depend upon the position and biomechanics of the spine, such as walking up or down steps, standing, sitting, or bending. The time of day may also cause these changes in severity, which is influenced by the amount of water content of the disc at that time. Therefore proper spinal alignment is an important factor, as different positions will have different effects on spinal anatomy as well as symptomotology.

There are three important concepts that will shed some light in relation to the lumbar spine and functional positioning:

  1. 1. Lumbar Extension-this will place heavy loading of the posterior elements of the spine (facet joints) in turn, decreasing the size of the intervertebral foramen.
  2. 2. Lumbar Flexion-this increases posterior interdiscal pressure which is associated with sitting and standing.
  3. 3. Lateral Lumbar Flexion-take either lumbar extension or flexion and induce the lateral flexion component, and you will also compress nerve root elements on the same side. In addition to that, lateral flexion will increase interdiscal pressure and compress the facet joint on the side flexed to.

Most doctors will agree that flexion and extension X-Rays and CT studies are effective in diagnosing lumbar disc herniations, however the MRI reveals images that are far superior in clarity. Doctors have been experimenting with ways of using MRI to obtain Positional Images of the spine.

This thinking has ushered in the concept of the Functional MRI Studies. Which simply means imaging patients in the position of most pain. Just like in the Chiropractic field, the doctor will X-Ray the spine in a weight bearing position in order to determine the most accurate spinal alignment in order to pinpoint the causative factor of imbalance or spinal subluxation. A recent MRI study took this into account and revealed some interesting facts. Not only were more disc herniations visualized and, therefore, diagnosed, but also those that were present, increased in size when Function Positioning was implemented. A significant increase in the degree of lumbar disc herniation was found by lumbar Flexion and Extension MRI views when compared with neutral views alone.

In closing, the first step upon developing a possible lumbar disc condition, in my opinion, should be a thorough examination by a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) The reason is for their high degree of success in resolving disc conditions. The next step would be an MRI that is performed under the Functional MRI concept, (placing the body in the position of greatest pain). The final step would be starting a strict regimen of Omega III’s along with an Isotonic OPC in order to reduce the inflammatory component of the disc herniation. Hopefully, this will clear up some of the confusion about diagnosing and some treatment recommendations for the typical lumbar disc herniation.

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Dr. Barry… the Healthy Life Dr.

5 tips on proper fibromyalgia diets

fibromyalgia

In order to treat or completely eliminate fibromyalgia, many doctors advocate adjusting your diet for levels of energy and immune system enhancement. Though you likely suffer from a number of fibromyalgia symptoms, if proper diet eliminates or eases even one o f those symptoms then isn’t it worth your time to give it a try? To help you adjust your diet and feel better, here are 5 tips on proper fibromyalgia diets.

The first of the 5 tips on proper fibromyalgia diets is to increase the variety of foods you eat and vary the amounts and combinations. What this does is help your body to get a wider range of the vitamins and minerals you need along with fatty acids that will improve overall health. To that end, you should also try to incorporate more organic foods into your diet. The chemicals used in other vegetables can reduce their nutritional value and thus cause you to lose the vitamins and minerals that are so important to your fibromyalgia diet.

Second of the 5 tips on proper fibromyalgia diets is to change your eating patterns. Instead of eating the standard three meals a day, consider eating less more often. Try to eat a small meal as often as every three hours. This keeps your metabolism high and your energy levels with it, and you will feel more energy.

Third in the 5 tips on proper fibromyalgia diets is to be aware of what you should avoid. Stay away from fast food and junk food. In addition to that, keep caffeine, sugar, and any unnecessary drugs (like alcohol) out of your system. Many of these foods and additives will cause you to have sharp rises and falls in energy and metabolic levels. What you want when you have fibromyalgia, or even just for overall health, is to have a constant feeling of well being that comes from balanced diet.

Keep your diet balanced. Of the top 5 tips on proper fibromyalgia diets, keeping your diet balanced is probably the most important. If you try to control the balance of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, lean animal protein, vegetable protein, and healthy plant fats, then you will feel better and your body will get stronger. Additionally, by doing that you are simply making the other tips easier to follow.

Finally, you want to make sure you are paying attention to food intolerances and allergic reactions. Remember that if your diet is making you feel worse, it is only going to make the fibromyalgia worse right along with it. The idea of the diet is to feel better overall, so it is important to make sure you know how certain foods make your body react.

These 5 tips on proper fibromyalgia diets will hopefully help you to deal with your condition. By understanding each of these tips, you can go a long way in feeling better just through what you eat. So sit down and come up with your fibromyalgia diet so that you can feel better and live a more normal life.

Can Too Much Sleep Exacerbate Chronic Pain?

sleep-learning

We all focus primarily on the problem of sleep deprivation; however, new research states that too much sleep will cause a worsening for people who suffer from chronic pain.  The current research demonstrates how “Duration of sleep contributes to next day pain reported in the general population.”

Between 50 and 80% of chronic pain sufferers experience insomnia, which suggests that tens of millions of Americans suffer from pain-related sleep disturbance.  Clinical studies have shown that poor sleep is associated with chronic pain; however, little is known of the effect of insomnia as is relates to the experience of pain.  Other studies that have been performed observe the impact that sleep can have, or lack thereof, in day to day life.

The duration of sleep is a highly significant indicator of pain frequency in the days to follow.  The results of several studies suggested that attaining less than 6 hours or greater than 9 hours sleep, was associated with an exacerbation of next-day pain.  One example point to three or fewer hours of sleep was associated with an 81% increase in pain frequency, relative to the normal sleeping pattern of 6-9 hours.  It should also be noted that more than 11 hours of sleep was associated with a 137% increase in pain frequency.  While it stands to reason minimal sleep and greater pain make sense, and between 11+ hours and greater pain might seem puzzling.  To understand this more thoroughly, we must realize this effect may be due to interrupted, fragmented, ro light sleep, which is often unrefreshing, and non-restorative, even after extended hours of sleep.

Therefore, the assessment of sleep disturbance, which can be brought on by either markedly little sleep, or unusually periods of sleep, may identify a person’s increased risk of poor pain-related expressions.  In certain cases, the assessment of sleep and chronic disease states may predict future pain problems.  With all this in mind, it seems clear that sleep and pain are reciprocally interactive and should be addressed simultaneously with both pain and sleep problems.

Importantly, it should be noted that there is a 60% increase in frequency of pain as it relates to sleep patterns that exceed 11 hours; however, the cause must be addressed, and that is why a person must sleep for 11+ hours.  Is it due to increased agitation during the normal sleep pattern, which will cause this individual to be insufficient in rest or other factors?  The determination for cause is imperative in order to accomplish a sufficient nights sleep, and reduce the next-day pain frequency.

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