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Sesame Chicken Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 Servings

Calories per serving: 419

Fat per serving: 12.4 g

Saturated fat per serving: 3.2 g

Sesame Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces lean ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned whole-wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium tamari sauce
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 whole wheat pitas, halved
  • 1/2 cup shredded cucumber, with the liquid squeezed out
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 scallion, white and green parts, cut diagonally into 1/8 inch thick slices

Instructions

  1. 1. In large bowl, thoroughly mix the chicken, bread crumbs, sesame seeds, egg white, and tamarind and season with pepper. Form the chicken mixture into eight meatballs.
  2. 2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the meatballs until they are cooked through and browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. 3. Stuff each pita half with two meatballs. Tops the meatballs with the shredded cucumber, sour cream and scallion.

Notes

This recipe could also be made with ground pork or turkey instead of the chicken.

http://chiroaddict.com/1803-2/

Do You Know all of the Health Benefits of Onions?!!

Do You Know all of the Health Benefits of Onions?!!

10 Health Benefits of Onions

Onions are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods and given that there are  varieties of onions, how you use them could be different each time! Grown all over the world, the first record of using onion for health purposes and healing was in the 17th century. The truth is, onions are therapeutic, which is lucky, seeing as Americans eat over 20 pounds of onion per capita, per year. Want to know what is so good about them? Read on!

1. Improved Immunity

Onions contain powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are flavonoid compounds, which delay or help repair oxidative damage to different cells and tissues in the body. Eating onion regularly can also protect the body and help regenerate the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, which the body needs as a fat-soluble nutrient. Plus, onion contains allicin. Allicin, a plant derived nutrient, is a killer of various viruses and bacteria, which means it’s a good thing if you eat some raw onion when you feel the onset of a cold or flu, this way the immune effect will be the strongest.

2. Reduce inflammation

When inflammation in the body is working properly, it fights against the disease or protect a wound, gets rid of the virus and then leaves the body, It’s when it goes a bit wrong and doesn’t leave the body, that your immunity is compromised. Naturally anti-inflammatory, onions can help fight inflammation, when the inflammation is the problem. Quercetin, found in onion, has proven to inhibit inflammation-causing leukotrienes and the prostaglandins and histamines that are in rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. So it can help inflamed joints and chronic inflammation pain.

3. Regulate blood sugar

There has been extensive research into how onions affect blood sugar. This is good news for the 29 million people in the United States who have diabetes. The tests showed that people, who were diagnosed with type 1, and those with type 2 diabetes, had a lower blood sugar level (glucose reading) after eating onions, and it remained low for up to four hours after eating. This means onion could be very helpful in the management of diabetes. This is because of the sulfur compounds in onions that work to increase insulin production and, therefore, lower glucose levels.

4. Cancer preventer

Onions are the richest natural sources of Quercetin you can find. Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant flavonoid that has been linked to inhibiting certain kinds of cancers. Research and clinical trials have been undertaken to learn more about the effect of the quercetin in onions have on cancer, and it is not considered a drug to combat cancer. Eating onions will simply give you many good benefits that could lead to preventing cancer, because of the dietary source of quercetin it contains.

5. Healthy heart

These antioxidants such as quercetin, work to thin the blood and ward off blood clots. This is particularly the case if you eat raw onion. Raw onion lowers the chanced of bad cholesterol (LDL) which keeps hearts healthy. Not just for lowering your cholesterol, eating onions regularly can also lower blood pressure, and keeps the risk of heart attack and heart diseases or heart risks low. Heart risks including arterial hardening and gallstones. Any foods that support heart health are usually recommended by any heart foundation and are part of a balanced diet.

6. Vitamins and minerals

Onions are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods, not surprising as they contain multiple vitamins and minerals. First up there is a rather decent amount of vitamin C in onions, and we all know vitamin C is good for you. Onions also contain vitamin B6. B6 is great for red blood cell formation, Potassium, which is important for low blood pressure, and general heart health and Folate B vitamin bodies need for metabolism and cell growth. Not only the above but they are also a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron, low sodium and have no fat.

7. Free radical killer

Free radicals are molecules that attack healthy cells in the body. These free radicals want to steal all the good stuff from healthy cells, like electrons and rebalance, which cause damage to the good cells, this, in turn, affects the body in regards to aging and deterioration. And if your body is overrun with free radicals, oxidative stress is created. You can combat free radicals by eating foods that are high in antioxidants. Onions do this by eliminating free radicals, they even search them out and kill them, and therefore, reducing the aging process and your risk of developing other related diseases.

8. Onion cough syrup

You can make your cough syrup at home from onions, and it does, in fact, taste better than it sounds, and some may say, better than over the counter cough syrups. Using a red or yellow onion, slice it evenly and place at the bottom of a jar. Pour a layer of honey over it, then repeat layering onion slices, and honey until you are out of the onion. (You can use raw or brown sugar instead of honey if you like but it will be much sweeter) Cover the jar tightly and let it sit overnight. After up to 12 hours the liquid in the jar becomes your cough syrup. Take one spoonful, three times an hour. This concoction will begin to break up and mucus, its natural antibiotic properties begin to take effect and the honey works to soothe the throat.

9. Bee stings

The soothing properties of applying a freshly cut slice of onion directly onto a wasp or bee sting can immediately begin to take effect. The enzymes in onions can help break down the compounds found in the venom of a bee or wasp sting. This is what causes the inflammation and subsequent pain and even swelling. Applying onion can reduce all of these things initially. It also helps in the length of time the sting takes to heal. This ‘home remedy’ was once thought to be an old wives tale. Now it is commonly known to be correct, and more importantly, actually work!

10. The healthiest onions

Western yellow onions and shallots are considered the healthiest because of their phenolic and flavonoid content. In general, consuming these versatile vegetables is only ever a good thing, no matter what kind of onion. These two kinds of onions are both from the allium family, and they can be pretty easily interchanged in recipes. They have a slightly different taste in regards to pronounced sweet flavor (shallot) and bite (yellow onion). That does not make them unusable. If anything, it makes them more desirable to the palate, and to the health system.

Today’s article was written by Charmaine and is shared from the following website: http://health.facty.com/food/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-onions/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=c-search&utm_term=health%20benefits%20of%20onions&utm_campaign=f-h-10-health-benefits-of-onions&msclkid=57e38f7f3d051891d8f5d5c259ba940f

Sweet and Sour Sauce, No Added Sugar

Sweet and Sour Sauce, No Added Sugar

Sweet & Sour Sauce, No Added Sugar

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • ⅔ Cup Pineapple Juice (About 20oz Can Crushed Pineapple Drained)
  • ½ Cup Ketchup - use low sugar or homemade no sugar ketchup to make this a no sugar meal!
  • ½ Teaspoon Ginger Powder
  • ⅓ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
  • ½ Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • ¼ Cup Crushed Pineapple
  • (You can also use a 20 oz. can of pineapple and blend it in a blender or food processor and use in place of the pineapple juice and crushed pineapple.)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except crushed pineapple in small pot. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Cool mixture completely in fridge. Add crushed pineapple and enjoy!
  3. If you are using a blender/food processor, you can mix all ingredients together and then cook over medium heat until sauce is thickened.
  4. You can serve this sauce alone or use it with cooked chicken, etc. Serve it over brown rice and you have a quick delicious meal!
http://chiroaddict.com/sweet-and-sour-sauce-no-added-sugar/

6 Reasons to Stop Buying Microwave Popcorn

6 Reasons to Stop Buying Microwave Popcorn

6 Reasons to Stop Buying Microwave Popcorn

Ah, popcorn. A movie staple, a campfire favorite, even a Christmas decoration. We’re big fans of the stuff here at our house. The way we enjoy it, though, is the semi-old fashioned way: we make ours with the air popper (the truly old-fashioned way is in a skillet, over a fire, just in case you were wondering).  Back in our pre-microwave days in the 1980s, my mom always made popcorn with the air popper. She’d salt it a little and mix in some melted butter. Mmmmm…

Then the microwave relegated the air popper to the back of the cupboards, taking up space alongside the other hardly used appliances. It just seemed so much more convenient to just pop the bag in the microwave. Sure, sometimes a good portion of the bag’s contents were either charred or completely unpopped, but that was the trade-off for a pre-seasoned and effortless bag of popcorn. That’s the way it was for us, at least.

For Christmas in 2008, my parents gave us an air popper (we’re still using the same one) and some fun serving containers. We stopped buying the microwave stuff and have only used our air popper ever since. Though this is our preferred way to pop, there are other methods, like cooking it on the stovetop or microwaving popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag. Each way works well and is better than the stuff sold pre-packaged at the store.  Here are six reasons why you should take the boxes of microwave popcorn off your shopping list…

1. Homemade popcorn is frugal.
Hence the mention on here, right?  There is no denying that buying the popcorn kernels is much cheaper, especially if you can find it in the bulk food bins at the grocery store (most common in health/natural food stores).  With microwave popcorn, you’re paying for the bags, the brand, the oils and seasonings, and plastic packaging. For the same price of a few bags of microwave popcorn, you could get pounds of the kernels. It only takes a half cup of kernels in our air popper to yield a big bowl of popcorn. A pound of popcorn goes a long way. Even if you buy the popper (which run around $15-25), it’s still the more frugal way to enjoy popcorn. Just by skipping microwave popcorn and getting the kernels in bulk, the popper soon pays for itself in savings.

2. Homemade popcorn is less wasteful.
Whenever I make popcorn, there’s maybe two or three kernels left unpopped, maximum. And I’ve never had burned popcorn making it with the air popper. All those burnt/unpopped kernels at the bottom of the microwave is waste. Unless you’ve gotten microwaving popcorn down to a science or the popcorn setting on your microwave actually works, waste is practically inevitable.

3. Microwave popcorn takes as long to pop as homemade.
To prove this, I timed how long it took to pop half a cup of kernels (which equals a big bowl of popcorn). Barely over two minutes (plus the 30 or so seconds it took to get the popper out of the pantry, get a bowl out of the cupboard, and plug it in). That’s just about as long as it takes to do the microwave stuff. I can’t say how long it takes to do it the other ways I mentioned — on the stovetop or in the paper bag — but I’m willing to bet it’s pretty close. So, really, what are you paying for with microwave popcorn? Is it really that much more convenient?

4.  Microwave popcorn is unhealthy. Like, really unhealthy.
I recently read an article entitled, “7 Seven Foods That Should Never Cross Your Lips” and microwave popcorn is on the list. Here’s why, quoting the article:

“Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize—and migrate into your popcorn. ‘They stay in your body for years and accumulate there,’ says Dr. Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.”

Yuck.

5. Cheap entertainment.
My older son has been entertained by the popcorn popper since the first time we used it, back when was barely two years old. Even now as a big five-year-old, he still likes watching the kernels spin and then pop like crazy. It’s a great way to dispell a grouchy mood. Even though the baby doesn’t eat popcorn yet (choking hazard and all), he giggles and squeals as we make it.  Homemade popcorn is also better for crafts like popcorn chains (can you imagine stringing greasy microwave popcorn?).

6. Homemade popcorn tastes better.
Microwave popcorn in “butter flavor” doesn’t come close to popcorn with real butter. It just doesn’t. It might take you a little adjustment at first if you’re used to the intensely flavored and super-salty stuff, but once you’re used to the wholesome taste of popcorn seasoned with some salt and real butter, you’ll think the microwave stuff is gross. Plus, there are other options for seasoning air popped popcorn: cocoa popcorn (my son literally licked the bowl clean), basil popcorn (yum), toffee popcorn (this recipe looks amazing), and more. The best part about homemade popcorn is that you control what goes (and doesn’t go) in it. You can make it as healthy or as decadent as you want.

All this is making me hungry. I’m going to go make some now. So should you.

Today’s article was written by Heather and shared from the following website: http://theparsimoniousprincess.blogspot.com/2012/01/6-reasons-to-stop-buying-microwave.html
Walnut Salad with Bleu Cheese and Balsamic Vinagrette

Walnut Salad with Bleu Cheese and Balsamic Vinagrette

Walnut Salad with Bleu Cheese and Balsamic Vinagrette

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups arugula leaves, washed and trimmed (You can also use spinach or just romaine lettuce)
  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup walnut halves, lightly toasted
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 6 ounces, (1 cup) blue cheese crumbles ( Feta cheese can be successfully substituted)

Instructions

  1. Directions
  2. Chill salad plates when you begin preparing your entree.
  3. When your entree is almost ready to serve, combine arugula and romaine leaves and separate onto 4 chilled salad plates. Scatter toasted walnuts evenly among the salads. Pour vinegar into a small bowl and whisk in extra-virgin olive oil in a slow stream to combine dressing. Season dressing with salt and pepper, then stir in blue cheese crumbles. Ladle dressing evenly over top of salad plates and serve.
  4. This recipe has been a family favorite!
  5. We have shared this recipe from the following website: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/arugula-and-romaine-salad-with-walnuts-and-blue-cheese-vinaigrette-recipe-1941403
http://chiroaddict.com/walnut-salad-bleu-cheese-balsamic-vinagrette/

How to Make New Habits “Stick”

How to Make New Habits “Stick”

Forming new habits can be just as difficult as breaking old ones. But when you stop to think about it for a moment, it is clear that all of our habits, both positive and negative, had a beginning—a time BEFORE the behavior became a clear, recognizable pattern. In other words, there was a time when your current habits weren’t yet habits at all!

So how do new habits actually form? And is there a way for us to develop POSITIVE new habits in a focused, deliberate way? We call this “making new habits ‘stick’”.

Like anything we learn, our first attempts at any new skill are usually halting and inconsistent. But slowly it becomes second nature until we can’t remember a time when we found the behavior unusual, uncomfortable or challenging. Once we’ve learned how to do something and turned that something into a recurring pattern of behavior, it’s “like riding a bicycle,” as the saying goes…

New York Times investigative reporter Charles Duhigg became something of an expert on the science of habit formation and change. He read hundreds of studies and interviewed the scientists who conducted them to discover the mechanisms behind habit formation, and wrote a book on the subject, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.”

Duhigg has described a self-reinforcing process he calls the “Habit Loop”. Based on his interpretation of neurological studies, Duhigg believes that every habit has three components: “a cuea trigger for a particular behavior; a routine, which is the behavior itself; and a reward, which is how your brain decides whether to remember a habit for the future.” For example, let’s say you want to stop being admonished by your dentist for not flossing regularly. First you put the dental floss right next to the toothpaste, so you can’t miss it (the cue). Then every time you go to brush your teeth (the routine) you floss because it’s right there in front of you. Finally, when you go to the dentist, he or she praises you for flossing regularly (the reward).

Establishing a new habit takes most people about 30 days, although it can frequently take twice that. You can improve your chances of success if you’re able to do a little advance planning. For instance, imagine you want to develop a habit of going to the gym every day. First, start small. For the first month, plan on going to the gym three days a week for 30 minutes each. Plan your workouts for days and times that are least likely to have things such as work or childcare interfere with your gym schedule. It can also help to enlist a buddy who has similar goals to join you so you can reinforce each other’s commitment. Then figure out a reward to give yourself for each completed workout, such as going out for a drink afterward with your workout buddy or enjoying a little Ben and Jerry’s, guilt-free. You can also give yourself some long-term rewards to envision, such as looking good in a bikini on the Caribbean beach you plan to visit next summer. If you can stick with it regularly for a month, there’s a good chance it will become part of your weekly ritual and you will soon crave your workouts. You can then gradually build up to more days. In three months, you may find that if you have to skip a workout you actually MISS it! Something’s just not right…

Duhigg says “If you can identify the right cue and reward—and if you can create a sense of craving—you can establish almost any habit.”

To Stay Healthy this Fall and Winter? Wash Your Hands! The Simplest Way

To Stay Healthy this Fall and Winter? Wash Your Hands! The Simplest Way

As summer turns to fall, lots of people (children and adults alike) will be spending more time inside and in closer proximity to one-another. Washing your hands is something simple we can all do to keep our schools, workplaces and homes just a little bit healthier. In fact, it’s actually been identified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

But researchers at Michigan State University recently found that only about 1 person in 20 actually washes his or her hands properly in even the most obvious hand washing scenario—after using a public restroom. According to a summary by writer Lindsay Abrams of the Atlantic:

“Of 3,749 people observed leaving the bathrooms, 66.9 percent used soap, while 10.3 percent didn’t wash their hands at all. The other 23 percent of people stopped at wetting their hands, in what the researchers, for some reason, call “attempted washing” (as if maybe those people just weren’t sure how to follow through). Although the researchers generously counted the combined time spent washing, rubbing, and rinsing, only 5.3 percent of people spent 15 seconds or longer doing so, thus fulfilling the requirements of proper handwashing. They average time spent was 6 seconds.

Why Hand Washing?

Bacterial and viral infections can be spread when the hands come into contact with infectious respiratory secretions and carry them elsewhere. This happens most often as a result of someone coughing, sneezing, shaking hands, or touching an object that has been in the proximity of a sick person and then touching the face—particularly the nose, mouth or eyes. This is one of the primary ways of transmitting the virus that causes the common cold.

Washing your hands after using the toilet or changing a diaper is of utmost importance, as the ingestion of even the smallest amount of fecal matter can cause serious illness from deadly pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella, giardiasis and hepatitis A, among others. You should also be particularly careful about washing your hands after touching garbage, handling animals or animal waste, visiting or caring for an ill person, or if your hands show visible dirt.

Those who handle food should routinely wash their hands, not only after using the toilet, but also after touching raw meat, fish or poultry, since the microbes present on uncooked food can cause gastrointestinal infections ranging from mild to severe or even life-threatening.

Perhaps those with the greatest need to wash their hands on a regular basis are healthcare workers. Because they’re constantly exposed to sick patients and patients with weakened immune systems, and since they frequently come into contact with contaminated surfaces, these professionals have a special responsibility. Before the importance of hand washing was widely understood within the healthcare community, millions of people became sick or died from infections passed along on the hands of their caregivers. During the 19th century, up to 25% of women died in childbirth from childbed fever (puerperal sepsis), a disease subsequently found to be caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. After hand washing was introduced as a standard practice in the delivery room, the rate of death dropped to less than 1%.

It All Begins With Hand Awareness

Here are the “4 Principles of Hand Awareness”:

  1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating
  2. DO NOT cough into your hands
  3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands
  4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth

How to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

To wash your hands properly, you need only two things: soap and clean, running water. If these two things are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has a minimum 60% alcohol content.

Before washing your hands, remove all rings and other jewelry. Using running water, wet your hands thoroughly, then apply enough soap to work up a nice lather. Keeping your hands out of the water, rub them together, being sure to scrub both the front and backs of your hands, including your wrists, and also washing between the fingers and under the nails. Do this for 20 seconds, then rinse completely under the running water. Be sure to turn off the taps with a paper towel rather than your bare hand. According to the CDC, the whole process should take about as much time as singing “Happy Birthday” twice.

But What About Drying?

The Mayo Clinic recently published its own comprehensive review and analysis of every known hand washing-related study produced since 1970. Interestingly, their researchers found that drying hands was a key part of preventing the spread of bacteria. They also concluded that paper towels are better than blowers for this purpose. Here’s some of their reasoning:

  • Most people prefer paper towels to blowers, so they’re more likely to use them.
  • Blowers take too long, encouraging people to wipe their newly-cleaned hands on dirty pants or to skip the step altogether.
  • It takes less energy to manufacture a paper towel than it does to dry hands with a blower.
  • Blowers dry out the skin on your hands.
  • Blowers scatter bacteria three to six feet from the device.

As chiropractic physicians, we have a special interest in helping our patients (and non-patients, for that matter) avoid illness and injury. This means helping them develop healthy lifestyle habits—like regular hand washing—that prevent disease. We also work closely with them in areas like diet, exercise, sleep and stress management. If you’d like to learn more about what we can do to help you stay healthy and live your life to its fullest, please call or visit our office today!

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Spinal Anatomy 101

Spinal Anatomy 101

vertebrae-model-200-300 “Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where you backbone ought to be.”

-Clementine Paddleford, American Writer (1898 – 1967)

It’s no accident that so many philosophers and writers have used the backbone as a metaphor for discipline, force of will or character.  Your spine (or “backbone”) is the primary physical support for your body’s entire frame.  It’s a remarkable piece of natural engineering composed of 33 separate vertebrae that act as a single unit to provide stability as well as flexibility while you’re sitting, standing or in motion.  A healthy spine is both strong and resilient.  With proper nutrition, exercise, postural habits and chiropractic care, it can allow us to lead an active lifestyle well into old age.  However, poor biomechanics, injury and disease can cause problems with the spine that result in misalignment, inflammation, pain and restricted movement.

The spine develops from infancy into adulthood, gradually evolving from a C-shape, which is suitable for crawling, to its distinctive S-shape, which is the appropriate shape for two-legged walking.  The natural curves in the spine serve to cushion impact from movement, absorb shock, preserve balance, and allow range of motion.  The three main curves in the spine are known as the cervical curve (the neck region), the thoracic curve (the upper back) and the lumbar curve (the lower back).

There are 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral and 4 coccygeal vertebrae.  The sacral and coccygeal vertebrae are those located lowest in the spine, below the area of the lumbar curve.  Twenty-four of the vertebrae in your spine are moveable. They are cushioned by intervertebral discs which act like coiled springs. These discs are fluid filled and—as we age—become thinner and more brittle, often causing us to get shorter.  Over time (or as a result of excessive wear and tear or specific injury), they can degenerate, bulge or herniate, potentially causing significant pain and loss of mobility.

There are several other common spinal disorders.  Lordosis, also known as “sway back,” occurs when there is abnormal forward curvature of the lumbar spine.  Those who have abnormal curvature of the thoracic curve have kyphosis, or “hunchback.”  Scoliosis occurs when there is a side-to-side curvature in the spine. Slight curves of less than 20 degrees do not usually present health or problems and are seldom treated.  Moderate or severe curves usually require treatment because they can interfere with the functioning of internal organs and may significantly limit physical activity.

While the bones and connective tissues of the spine are very good at what they do, they cannot support the body’s weight and facilitate movement on their own.  They need the help of strong core muscles.  Good muscle tone is important to help maintain proper posture and spinal alignment.  This is why it’s so important for us to put effort into maintaining proper posture when we sit, stand, lie, walk and run.  Over time, poor posture can place unnatural stresses on the musculoskeletal system (especially the spine), limiting our range of motion and producing pain.

In addition to its role in supporting the body’s frame and facilitating movement, the spine has another important role as well.  The spine’s bony vertebrae also encase and protect the spinal cord, which is connected directly to the brainstem.  It’s hard to exaggerate how important this protection is.  Damage to the spinal cord can cause numbness and loss of motor function.  Injury to the cervical area can cause tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia), while injury to the thoracic or lumbar area may result in paraplegia, or loss of the use of the legs and trunk.

This article serves as a brief introduction to just one aspect of your anatomy.  If you are in the Billings area and need a Billings Chiropractor and you have any questions about your spinal health or your musculoskeletal health more generally, please don’t hesitate to call us at Oblander Chiropractic or visit our office (406-652-3553).  We’re here to help!

Tips and Precautions for Winter Exercise

Tips and Precautions for Winter Exercise

cold-weather-jogging-200-300For many people, colder temperatures outside—whether at home or while traveling over the winter holidays—can mean big changes in exercise routines. Some will move their workouts indoors or hibernate during the winter months. Others, though, will decide to work with the seasons and find ways to be active outside. If you’re one of those people, this article is for you.

While there’s certainly no rule against venturing out into the cold for a little bit of exercise, it’s important to be smart about how you do it. Remember to protect yourself from frostbite, hypothermia, and injuries that can come with freezing temperatures. To help you do that, we’ve put together a short checklist that you can use to exercise outdoors safely this winter.

Remember that Cold Weather is Often Dry Weather. Winter weather is often associated with precipitation. However, as the temperatures drop to dangerous lows—close to freezing and below—the opposite is often true regarding humidity. The air will get drier, and even if you don’t sweat as much, you can still lose valuable moisture. When exercising in the cold weather, remember to drink plenty of water, even if you don’t really feel thirsty or sweaty.

Understand the Real Temperature Where You Plan to Exercise. Look up the weather on a website or app before you head out into the cold, but understand the numbers you are looking at. The general weather conditions can differ greatly from place to place locally, even in the same region. Pay especially close attention to wind chill numbers, since the combination of wind and your own movement may lead you to experience lower temperatures. The thermometer may say it’s 35 degrees out, but the wind chill may mean it feels closer to 20 degrees in certain areas.

Dress Appropriately. It may be tempting to bundle up when going out in the cold to work out, but this comes at a cost. Thick, warm clothes will make you sweat more easily, and that sweat can leach heat from your body and allow your temperature to drop to unhealthy levels. The key, as cold weather experts know well, is to dress in layers, starting with a thin synthetic layer of wicking material, then a fleece and finally a thinner waterproof coat. The added benefit to this clothing strategy is that it’s flexible. You can always take off layers if you get too hot.

Warm Up the Extremities. When exercising in the cold weather, pay particular attention to your extremities, which are more vulnerable to frostbite. It’s especially important to cover your fingers and head. If the air is very frigid, cover up your nose and mouth, too: That cold air can damage your lungs and freeze your nose.

Fuel Up. A source of energy is vital to keeping up your metabolism and keeping you warm when out in the cold. Eat a healthy amount of complex carbs and proteins before you go out, and if you’re going to be out for a few hours, then bring a snack along, too. Stay away from sugars and other less dependable sources of energy, if possible.

Start Slow. Stretching and warming up will both make injury less likely and help your metabolism pick up until you are ready for more strenuous work. Always warm up before going out into the winter weather, particularly if you are planning on an intense session with lots of running or heavy exertion. Otherwise, joint and muscle injuries could result.

Know the Danger Signs. Hypothermia and frostbite can creep up on you if you’re not careful. You can defend against the cold better if you recognize the signs. Frostbite occurs on exposed skin like your cheeks, nose, ears, and hands, especially below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothermia occurs when shivering cannot keep up your core body temperature and your heart and brain begin to shut down. Watch for intense shivering, sudden weariness, slurred words, and trouble with coordination.

Billings and our surrounding areas have had lots of severe cold and snow thus far this winter; be sure to be smart about going outside and take care of your health!

Techniques for Improving Circulation

Techniques for Improving Circulation

industrial-pipes-200-300A healthy circulatory system is crucial to good health. To be at its best, your body needs to be able to keep blood pumping from the heart and lungs through the arteries to your organs and extremities, and then keep pumping it back to the lungs for re-oxygenation. Anything that interferes with the proper circulation of blood puts your body’s health at risk for lots of reasons.

“Poor circulation” can mean many things. Common symptoms include having consistently cold fingers and toes, experiencing tingling in your feet and hands, feelings of numbness, tiredness and a general lack of energy, and chronically dry skin. More serious symptoms of poor circulation can include headaches, hair loss, dizzy spells, varicose veins, muscle cramps, feeling short of breath, memory lapses (due to impaired blood flow to the brain), bluish-tinted skin, and slow healing times for wounds.

What causes poor circulation?

One of the most common causes is inactivity and lack of exercise. To keep the blood moving, you need to keep your body in motion. And do it often. Poor diet and carrying excess weight can lead to poor circulation, as can diabetes and many other chronic diseases. Medically, if you have been diagnosed as hypertensive (having high blood pressure), this is almost always an indicator of poor circulation. The “high pressure” is caused by your heart having to pump harder to cause the blood to keep flowing, often because of blood vessels that have become constricted because of stress, disease, or the buildup of plaque.

How can poor circulation be treated?

Serious circulatory problems can be treated with medication. But for most people anxious to improve their circulation and thus their overall health, a few lifestyle changes can do wonders:

  • Get more exercise. Walk rather than ride. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Go for walks after lunch and go to the gym after work. Your body functions best with a minimum of 30 minutes exercise per day.
  • Stretch more. Not just before exercising, but at your desk at work. Stretching helps to relieve stress, and stress is one of the things that can constrict your blood vessels.
  • Get massages. Massage improves circulation by stimulating the soft tissues of your body and encouraging blood flow.
  • Put your feet up. After you exercise, elevating your legs can really help you not only to relax, but increase your circulation. It also reduces your risk of developing varicose veins.
  • Eat healthier foods. Try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (from fish, olive oil, and nuts), and lean meats. Try to avoid processed foods.
  • Drink more water, and less caffeine. When you’re thirsty, drink water instead of coffee or black tea or soft drinks. Try to cut down on or avoid alcohol, because it definitely impedes circulation.
  • Don’t smoke, or quit smoking if you do. Nicotine and the pulmonary perils of smoking are among the most common causes of poor circulation.
  • Destress, however you can. Stress has an extremely negative effect on your circulation. So try to find healthy outlets for the stresses you encounter at work and in other areas of your life, to release the stress rather than have it build up and become toxic.
  • Consider herbs and supplements that can help. Ginger, hawthorn berry, cayenne, motherwort, garlic, ginkgo biloba and vitamins C and E all can help to improve your circulation.

If any of the symptoms become chronic, see your doctor or chiropractor. Don’t try to “tough it out” and live with the discomfort of consistent symptoms of poor circulation. Some of the causes can be very serious indeed, so see an expert to make sure.

 

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