Take Care: Simple Ways to Reduce Stress & Improve Health

Posted by 26 Jan, 2011

Reducing Stress & Improving Health: Well it’s been far too long since my last post. Much has happened, and much has been learned. I am very excited to start our new year with the following short list of simple actions anyone can take to “Take Care,” enjoy.

I am hearing more and more lately, “take care of yourself”, but what does that really mean? A patient asked me the other day, “what can I do to take better care of myself”? I’m in the health business, so I quickly put together and went over a list of simple things my patient could do. This got me thinking how many other people are searching for the same answers? With times as they are, stress and worry on the rise, lots of people are must be wondering, “what can I do to feel better and stay healthier”? The following is a short list of actions anyone can take towards reducing stress and improving their health:

1. Breathe:“To breathe is to live, to under breathe is to slowly die”. Here is what happens when your under stress: the diaphragm tightens along with other muscles important to proper breathing. As this happens you begin to breathe more shallowly. Shallow breathing results in less oxygen in your blood for all your cells to use. This causes your cells to slow down metabolic function resulting in thing like; fatigue, loss of strength, brain fog, mild depression, the list could go on and on. So, what to do… simple… Deep (Diaphragmatic)  breathing exercises. Here is how: stand tall, raise both outstretched arms with palms down to the side while inhaling deeply thru the nose (only lift arms to shoulder height), hold breath 5 seconds, exhale completely thru open mouth while lowering arms back to sides, repeat 3 to 5 times. This can be done several times a day.

2. Eat: Comfort foods… that’s what we eat when stressed. Sugars, fats, caffeine, alcohol consumption goes way up. When stressed, what you should do is; drink more pure water, eat more fresh and whole foods; fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, health fats, and when in doubt take a high quality multivitamin/multi-mineral.

3. Sleep: NASA has studied the cumulative negative effects of sleep deprivation. The average adult requires 6-9 hours of quality sleep every 24 hours. Each of us knows our magic amount of sleep, at which we feel rested. That level of rest is vital to overall health. So put down the blackberry and hit the sack.

4. Move: The more stressed the body becomes, the more stiff it becomes, causing a cascade of negative health effects. To combat this downward spiral, you have to move it. Stretch, walk, play some hoops, just take it easy and do it often.

5. Enjoy:Dr.Norman Cousins proved that laughter boosts the immune system and thus boosts health, it can even cure disease, just imagine how many it can prevent. So, just make a little time each day to enjoy life and do the thing(s) that make you happy, you’ll feel better and live healthier!

(0) Comment Categories : Good Health, Preventative Healthcare

Vitamin D: Is It for Me?

Posted by 9 Dec, 2009

The Importance of Vitamin D: Welcome to our second blog. This post is very important to everyone interested in good health, so please read on and share with family and friends.  It has been said that Vitamin D is shaping up  to be the nutrient of the year, if not the decade. It’s all over the news, more  people are experiencing deficiencies and many people seem to be confused about what they should do. So let’s review the ABCs of Vitamin D so that you can make the best choices for great health.

1:  What is Vitamin D?Vitamin D is a group of prohormones, a prohormone has no hormone activity itself, but is converted ( in this case by the liver and kidneys) to the active hormone 1/25 (OH) 2D3 the most active form of Vitamin D which is essential of good health.

2: Where does Vitamin D come from? Vitamin D in nature always requires the presence of UV rays from the sun. See the sun in small amounts is vital to good health. A compound in our skin (7-dehydrocholesterol) is converted to pre Vitamin D by UVB rays from the sun, which in turn passes thru the liver and kidneys to become the all important Active Vitamin D that new research has shown our bodies crave and needs to be healthy. The rays of the sun only start this vital chain reaction to produce activeVitamin D when the rays are strong ( a UV index greater than 3).  So for example, here in New Jersey the suns rays are not strong enough to produce active Vitamin D from roughly mid fall to mid spring. Those who live in the northern hemisphere at a latitude above 35 – 40 degees from October to May or those in the southern hemisphere below 35 – 40 degrees from May to October are at risk for low Vitamin D production.  Also, UV blocking sunscreens prevent the needed rays from production of active Vitamin D, patients in Florida for example where to sun is strong enough year round to produce active Vitamin D are turning up with ever increasingVitamin D deficiencies, a little time in the sun without using UV blocking sunscreen is important to maintain adequate levels of active Vitamin D. One other important point is that our bodies can stockpile a significant supply of active Vitamin D when regularly exposed to adequate levels of sun light, so as my grand mother would say, “come and get it while the getting is good”. This is especially important if you live where the strength of the sun changes with the seasons, like here in New Jersey. One good exposure to strong sunlight can produce over 10,000IU of active Vitamin D!

   3: Can I get Vitamin D in my diet? The answer is a resounding YES! Natural sources of Vitamin D are 1, Fatty fishes such as Salmon and Tuna, 2, Whole egg, 3, Animal and fish liver, 4, Fortified foods with milk ( except for skim ) being the most common and 5, Supplementation which is one of the best ways to maintain optimum levels of Vitamin D.

4: How much Vitamin D do I need everyday? Adequate intake of Vitamin D has been defined as 200IU daily for ages infant to 50, 400IU daily for ages 51 to 70, and 600IU daily over 70. New research however is challenging these outdated standards, and supports an optimal intake of 1000IUdaily. The NIH has set the safe upper limit at 2000IU daily, with the Institute of Health/Medicine to issue new guidelines spring 2010. Stay tuned as we will provide updates as they become available.

5: Are all Vitamin D supplements the same? The answer is NO! The 2 major forms of Vitamin D are; 1, Vit D2 ergocalciferol, and 2, Vit D3 Cholecalciferol. New research has shown that Vit D3 is the most bioavailable, so that is the form of choice to supplement with. When taking any nutritional supplement it is buyer beware. Nutritional supplements are not regulated by the FDA like pharmaceuticals are so not all are what they should be. Only use supplements that come for a company that provides independent quality testing. We maintain a list of companies who adhere to the highest standards, and whose products you can trust to deliver what you need.

6: How do I check for my level of Vitamin D? Currently the best way to test your levels of Vitamin D is a simple blood test to measure for 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Simply ask your health care provider about information about this vital test, and get it done!

7: What is the optimal level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D? New research has set the optimal health level at 50 to 60 ng/ml. For most adults, supplementation with 1000IU of Vit D3 will maintain optimal levels for greater health.

     8: So Why is Vitamin D important to my Health? Good question! The latest research supports an ever growing list of vital bodily functions that Vitamin D helps maintain in good health. Here is a short list: 1, Bone Health; normal bone density and strength, 2, Muscular Strength; improved performance, 3, Cancer; helps regulate normal cell growth, deficiency linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancers, but we think that list will grow, 4, Cardiovascular Disease; deficiency linked to inflammation of arteries and heart attacks, 5, Autoimmune Diseases; deficiency linked to weakened immune system and increase rheumatoid arthritis, MS, and type 1 diabetes, and 6, Cognitive Function; deficiency linked to depression and reduced brain function. We think this list will grow rapidly this year with all the research studies underway.

Lastly, Vitamin D deficiency explains much of what I have clinically observed in my practice the past 20 years. Ever wonder why you feel better when the sun shines? Go soak up some sun, make some Vitamin D, and if the sun don’t shine, take a quality supplement and you will enjoy better health!

Our next blog will feature 5 simple things to improve your health in the New Year and beyond.

(0) Comment Categories : Good Health, Nutrition, Preventative Healthcare

Simple things to prevent Swine Flu (H1N1)

Posted by 17 Sep, 2009

Welcome to the first, of what I hope, will be many Smith Chiropractic Health & Wellness Blogs. I have wanted, for a very long time, to find a platform thru which to provide both timely and classic information, which everyone can use to improve their lives. Nothing is more timely than the topic of H1N1 aka “swine flu”. The following is a quick resource to understand and take action to protect yourself and those you care about. Please feel free to print and distribute or forward this information. The following information comes from both leading world health organizations and leaders in natural healthcare. Read More >>

(0) Comment Categories : Good Health, Preventative Healthcare