Take a Stand for Health

Women jumping

Take a Stand for Health

By now you may have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” Beyond being clever, the catchphrase, coined by Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative director Dr. James Levine, underscores a disturbing fact. According to Levine, we lose two hours of our lives for every hour we spend sitting. In fact, in an interview with the LA Times, Levine makes a further comparison: “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”1 With the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys showing that 50-70 percent of Americans sit for six or more hours each day, sitting has truly become an epidemic2.

The sitting epidemic is fueled by contemporary culture and lifestyle, particularly in the U.S. Our bodies and brains developed in response to particular environmental pressures and an active lifestyle. These days, most of us are not exposed to life-threatening scenarios on a regular basis. We exert little energy in our daily efforts to survive. Even our schools and workplaces promote the sedentary lifestyle: children are expected to sit still for hours upon end, and our workplaces have us sitting at desks, often typing away at keyboards for most of the day. Even our recreational habits have become less active: video games, instant access to movies and television shows, and virtual social environments tempt us to sit more and stand less.

The physical effects of this cultural shift are daunting. Excessive sitting has been linked to hormonal changes, increased inflammation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.3 From a chiropractic standpoint, sitting can distort the natural curvature of the spine, cause undue stress on nerves and ligaments, overstress muscle tissue, and compress the vertebral discs and spinal joints. As we age, too much sitting leads to disability. According to an NPR report, research out of Northwestern University found that, “For people 60 and older, each additional hour a day spent sitting increases the risk of becoming physically disabled by about 50 percent — no matter how much exercise they get.” With U.S. Census data revealing that nearly half of the population over age 65 have a disability, the impact on our aging population, their families, and their communities is significant.4

The science behind the sitting epidemic revolves around a neat acronym: NEAT. NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Along with exercise activity thermogenesis, NEAT is the third component of human energy expenditure—calories burned during daily activity (basal metabolic rate, which is the energy required for basic body functions, and the energy needed to process food are the other two.) Some people have a “NEAT switch” that gets them up and moving after over-eating, while other people do not, which can lead to obesity. Surprisingly, the simple act of standing burns more calories than sitting, as noted in the table below.

Occupational Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)*
Occupation type NEAT, cal/d
Chair-bound 300
Seated work (no option of moving) 700
Seated work (discretion and requirement to move) 1000
Standing work (eg, homemaker, cashier) 1400
Strenuous work (eg, farming) 2300
*Data based on a basal metabolic rate of 1,600 cal/d. Adapted from Black AE, Coward WA, Cole TJ, Prentice AM. Human energy expenditure in affluent societies: an analysis of 574 doubly-labelled water measurements. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996;50:72-925

So what can we do about this national health crisis? Unlike with anti-smoking campaigns, we can’t tax chairs and benches, people can’t be banned from sitting in public spaces, and we can’t enact a legal sitting age. We can, however, actively participate in our own health. As shown above, just standing makes a difference. Some workplaces and even schools are using sit-to-stand desks, which allow the user to set their workspace at a different height in order to stand. If your boss is not quite there yet, or if you’re retired, here are some simple things to do to reduce the effects of sitting.

  • Stand. It seems obvious, but, as shown above, standing burns more calories. Instead of just sitting during a lunch break, try standing for a bit, or even doing some simple stretches like bending forward and reaching for your toes to get the blood flowing. Standing a little more each day not only increases your metabolism, it also helps tone muscles, burns calories, and increases blood flow.6
  • Walk. Directly related to standing, of course, is walking. You should get up and walk around every 20-30 minutes.
  • Stretch at your desk. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears and hold that position for several seconds before releasing. Gently stretch your fingers, hands, wrists and arms by bending at the joints. Straighten your legs and point and flex your toes. These simple stretches are great for multitasking: the person on the other end of the phone will never know!
  • Do eye yoga or eye palming to stretch and moisten your eyes. Try moving your eyes in circles of varying sizes, or doing a figure eight with them. Or you can stare at the tip of your nose—and no, your face won’t freeze like that. Eye palming is simply cupping your hands over your eyes and breathing. As well as giving your eyes a break, this can make your vision clearer and reduce headaches.7
  • Use good posture. Your mother was never more correct. Good posture goes a long way to preserving the overall health of your spine and reducing stress on the nervous tissue of the spinal cord (which provides nerve input to all your muscles and internal organs.) Maintaining and supporting the natural curves of the spine is paramount to spinal health. While sitting at your desk/computer, use a lumbar and/or a thoracolumbar support cushion height along with proper workstation ergonomics (correct workstation, chair, and monitor height, proper keyboard placement, etc.).
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise. With summer coming, it’s easier to jog, swim, or hike, and there’s always the treadmill or elliptical machines at the gym. While, by definition, exercising doesn’t affect your NEAT, it does help your overall metabolism and health.

Moving around during the workday not only benefits individuals, but companies and schools as well. Research shows that productivity and focus improve if employees and students have the ability to stand or move during the day.8 According to Dr. Levine, “This is about hard-core productivity. You will make money if your workforce gets up and gets moving. Your kids will get better grades if they get up and get moving.”9 Like ergonomic keyboards, standing desks are becoming a workplace necessity.

With summer coming, we’re likely to be more active outside of work. Warm weather tends to get us out-of-doors on the weekends and inspires us to exercise more overall. But after spending the weekend on the trail, don’t forget your body during the weekday grind. Take a stand for your health by taking a stand at work.

1MacVean, Mary. “‘Get Up!’ or Lose Hours of Your Life Every Day, Scientist Says.” Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2014. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-get-up-20140731-story.html.

2“Questionnaires, Datasets, and Related Documentation.” Accessed May 11, 2017. https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/Default.aspx.

3“Sitting Disease: The New Health Epidemic.” The Chopra Center, August 14, 2014. http://www.chopra.com/articles/sitting-disease-the-new-health-epidemic.

4“Sit More, And You’re More Likely To Be Disabled After Age 60.” NPR.org. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/02/19/279460759/sit-more-and-youre-more-likely-to-be-disabled-after-age-60.

5Ibid.

6Just Stand “Burn Calories at Work.” http://www.juststand.org/Portals/3/literature/Burn_Calories_at_Work_Flyer.pdf Accessed May 11, 2017.

7 “Sitting Disease: The New Health Epidemic.” The Chopra Center, August 14, 2014. http://www.chopra.com/articles/sitting-disease-the-new-health-epidemic.

Why do I have fallen arches?

Our feet are charged with supporting our entire bodies, maintaining our balance, and acting as shock absorbers. They are under constant strain: even a gentle stroll causes stress to the feet, particularly the arches. And because our arches can wear down overtime, this stress can lead to pain in other regions of the body as well as in the feet.

imbalance

Fallen arches can affect your entire body. (image courtesy of Footlevelers.com)

What we call the arch of the foot is actually three arches made up of the bones of the feet. Ligaments and tendons made of semi-flexible fibers connect these bones. The fibers bend and stretch as we walk, but, unlike other more flexible fibers in the body, they are less elastic and more plastic (rigid). Consider the difference between a rubber band and a piece of taffy. If you stretch out a rubber band, it will snap back to its original shape. But if you pull on a piece of hard taffy, the taffy will just stretch. It will regain some of its original shape, but as you continue pulling it, the taffy will begin to lengthen until it wears thin and loses its shape: once you stretch a piece of taffy, it will never be the same again.

The arches of your feet are like taffy. Normal use slowly breaks down the fibers in the arches until they can no longer support the rest of the foot. The arches collapse, causing overpronation of the foot which pulls on the fascia of the bottoms of the feet and can lead to plantar fasciitis as well as pain in the ankles, Achilles tendon, and the inside of the knee. Fallen arches can also cause or contribute to lower back pain and lateral hip pain.

Fallen arches occur more often over the age of forty and in women. While they can occur through normal wear and tear, a fall or regular participation in high-impact sports can increase the likelihood of damage to the arches. In addition, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and steroid injections may contribute to the degradation of the arch. Your genes can play a role in the development of fallen arches or flat feet as well. For example, if your mother or father had dropped arches or flat feet, you may as well.

The good news is that you can do something about it. Orthotics can provide support when your arch collapses, preventing plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis, and ankle pain from developing. If you are already suffering from arch-related issues, orthotics can lessen the pain and correct the strain on your feet and bring that spring back into your step.

arch-madness

Our office recommends non-custom Superfeet (priced at $36-$46) and custom orthotics made from your own imprint by Footlevelers.

 

Understanding High Blood Pressure

blood pressure tracker

For most people one of the most stress inducing things that happens in any doctor’s office is the taking of blood pressure. You can tell yourself to relax, breathe easy and envision yourself on a beach, but the truth of the matter is you are at a doctor’s appointment for one reason or another having your health evaluated. What is the most concerning is that a lot of people aren’t exactly sure what the numbers mean or where they come from. In this article we will be going over how to understand blood pressure readings, why it matters, understanding your risks, and new research on how to lower that high blood pressure and improve quality of life.

Understanding High Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure– is a ratio of systolic over diastolic and is measured in millimeters of mercury, mmHg.

Systolic– is the top number of the ratio and is the higher of the two. It measures the pressure of the body’s arteries when the heart muscle contracts.

Diastolic– is the bottom number of the ratio and is the lower of the two. It measures the pressure of the body’s arteries between heartbeats, aka contractions, so this is when the heart muscle is relaxed.

The systolic, or top number is the more important of the two and usually slowly increases with age after 50, due to stiffness of arteries, plaque buildup etc.

Blood Pressure Chart

blood_pressure_chart_AHA

(taken from American Heart Association website heart.org)

Blood pressure should be taken at least once every two years, even if it is around normal, and more frequently if it is higher. The numbers change in a person minute to minute due to the time of day, exercise, stress, lack of sleep, posture, and the food one has eaten! If your blood pressure is higher than desired, your doctor might monitor it on a consistent basis and/or have you keep track of it frequently at home. Even if your blood pressure is normal, it is always a good idea to develop healthy lifestyle habits to help prevent high blood pressure (HBP).

High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer” because there can be no signs or symptoms of it. If untreated, consequences of HBP (but not symptoms) may include:

  • damage to the heart and coronary arteries
  • stroke
  • kidney damage
  • vision loss and damage
  • memory loss
  • fluid in the lungs
  • angina
  • peripheral artery disease

Risk factors that can contribute to hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, include:

  • family history
  • advanced age
  • lack of physical activity
  • poor diet, especially one that includes too much salt
  • being overweight or obese
  • drinking too much alcohol (binge drinking, ie 3-5 alcoholic drinks in one sitting)

Contributing factors to high blood pressure include:

  • stress
  • smoking and secondhand smoke
  • sleep apnea

Recent research from the National Institutes of Health has shown that being more aggressive in the treatment of high blood pressure, can significantly lower a person’s rate of cardiovascular disease. Until recently, it was recommended by the American Heart Association that the systolic pressure should be less than 140 mmHg for most adults to be out of the high blood pressure or hypertension category. This new research found that decreasing the systolic number to 120 mmHg and below reduces the risk of death of cardiovascular disease by 43%.

In 2013, 360,000 deaths were associated with or directly related to high blood pressure. About 80 million, or one in three American adults have HBP which puts them at a much higher risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other serious health problems.New research from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, found that patients age 75 and older benefited even more from this lowering of the systolic blood pressure than the younger age group. However, one unfortunate side effect in some patients in the aggressively treated group with medication, is acute kidney failure. Even with the immediate push for a lowering of the systolic BP, experts all agree that the best way to go about it is a thorough lifestyle change and not rely on drugs alone.

Here are a few lifestyle interventions to aid in the process of lowering HBP and keeping it within the goal range of systolic 120 mmHg or below:

  • HBP Medication
  • Weight Reduction
  • Exercise (2.5 hours per week of moderate exercise: jogging, swimming, walking etc.)
  • Reduce salt intake (only 3 or 4 grams per day)
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables (4-6 servings per day)
  • Snack on dark chocolate (antioxidants in cocoa, called flavanols, can help dilate arteries)
  • Reduce alcohol intake (maximum drinks per day:one for women and two for men)
  • Meditate

The US National Institutes of Health has created what is known as the DASH diet plan (dashdiet.org) in order to lower blood pressure without medication, and also subsequently aid in weight loss. Through copious amounts of research, DASH is a strict eating plan that is rich in vegetables and fruit, low-fat and nonfat dairy products, along with beans, nuts, and seeds. The snacks and meals are balanced with both fiber filled foods (fruits and vegetables) along with food that is protein-rich and/or contain heart healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, fatty fish) that aid in offsetting hunger. A decrease in high blood pressure was achieved by decreasing the amount of “empty carbs” (pasta, bread, rice, sweets, ice cream, candy etc.) consumed and replacing them with heart healthy fats and/or protein. By doing so, the diet provides more key nutrients which includes: potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which all contribute naturally to lowering blood pressure.

 

Resources:

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp#.Vs3IevkrLIU “No-Smoking Confidence Assessment and Tips.” Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. American HEart Association. N.p., 18 Dec. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/WhyBloodPressureMatters/Why-Blood-Pressure-Matters_UCM_002051_Article.jsp#.Vs3JOvkrLIU

“Why Blood Pressure Matters.” Why Blood Pressure Matters. American Heart Association. N.p., 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/UnderstandYourRiskforHighBloodPressure/Understand-Your-Risk-for-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002052_Article.jsp#.Vs3KGvkrLIU

“Understand Your Risk for High Blood Pressure.” Understand Your Risk for High Blood Pressure. American Heart Association, 18 Dec. 2015. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.

 

http://blog.heart.org/more-aggressive-treatment-of-high-blood-pressure-saves-lives-in-study/

“More Aggressive Treatment of High Blood Pressure Saves Lives in Study – News on Heart.org.” News on Heartorg. American Heart Association, 09 Nov. 2015. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/12/health/blood-pressure-control-and-hypertension/

Goldschmidt, Debra, and Carina Storrs. “High Blood Pressure Control Improving; What Else to Do.” CNN. Cable News Network, 12 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.

 

http://dashdiet.org/what_is_the_dash_diet.asp

Heller, Marla. “What Is the DASH Diet?” What Is the DASH Diet? N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness After Exercise and Massage

Do you ever wonder why it feels like you got hit by a bus the day or two after a deep tissue massage or workout? This is not necessarily a bad thing, but can confuse a lot of people into thinking that the massage or workout was bad for them. This symptom is actually called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS.

DOMS is defined as activity that puts unaccustomed loads onto muscle causing soreness, 24-72 hours after exercise or intense massage. This is considered a normal repair process, in which the soreness is caused by microscopic damage to the muscle fibers during exercise or massage. A variety of cells and substances flock to the muscles to help repair those tears. Anatomically, it is usually caused by eccentric contractions which is when the muscle lengthens while load is applied. An example of this action is using the quad muscles while running downhill.

There is a myth out there that says the soreness is caused by lactic acid, but this is actually not a component of the healing process. No treatment has been shown to be able to decrease the duration of DOMS except for rest and proper hydration. Even though the process might be uncomfortable or slightly painful, after the cycle has been completed, it is shown to make the muscles stronger and more capable to adapt to future strains. Since the more repetitions you do in a given exercise, the more damage and soreness there will be, it is suggested to gradually increase the duration of the exercise and/or intensity of the workout to minimize the likelihood of DOMS. Also, the general advice is to go through a proper warm-up, progress slowly into a new program, and stretch only after the body is warmed up.

If the muscles are not used to massage, they will respond with soreness that should only last a day or two. It is always extremely important and helpful to communicate with the massage therapist what you expect from the session and your tolerance for deeper work so that they do not go over your limits or not be intense enough for your liking. After the massage, the typical take home instructions are to drink plenty of water immediately after and continue that for the next 48 hours. In addition, refrain from strenuous activity for the remainder of the day. Rest as if you just worked out. It is a good practice to either get a longer massage on a day where you are able to relax, or later in the day or at night when your activities have already happened. Shorter soft tissue or massage (<15 minutes) might be more enjoyable to some that do not want any discomfort in their session, and will most likely significantly decrease the likelihood of DOMS.

 

 

1)http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/11/02/ask-well-why-do-muscles-ache-a-day-or-two-after-exercise/?_r=0

Ask Well: Why Do Muscles Ache a Day or Two After Exercise? November 2, 2015. Reynolds, Gretchen.

 

2) https://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/delayed-onset-muscle-soreness-(doms).pdf

ACSM Information On…Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). American College of Sports Medicine.

 

3) http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/630/Why-Am-I-Sore

Why Am I Sore? 2003. Vanderbelt, Shirley.  

The Magic of Kinesio Tape ®

stock-photo-54581982-kinesio-tape-lotus-position

In the past ten years more and more people have been noticing Olympic, professional, and amateur athletes as well as coworkers in the office with colorful strips of tape all over their bodies. This wonderful and recently recognized material is called Kinesio Tape®. Health care professionals around the world use this modality for its “grasping and elevating” effect on the skin to support and/or rehabilitate muscles and joints. It does this by increasing lymphatic drainage, which in turn elevates circulation and reduces pain by taking the pressure and irritation off of the neuro and sensory receptors of the body (3).

Kinesio Tape® was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase, a chiropractor and acupuncturist, to mimic the natural qualities of the human skin. It is non restrictive, does not create drag on the skin and allows for full range of motion of the involved joint. Kinesio Tape® is made of 100% cotton fibers with acrylic adhesive; it is heat activated, and contains no latex.

Kinesio Tape’s® Benefits Include:

  • increasing circulation and lymphatic flow
  • supporting and assisting muscular function
  • supporting fascial tissue
  • decreasing pain
  • improving joint function

When using the tape over wrist extensors, Kinesio® has been scientifically proven to significantly increase grip strength by facilitating the actual muscle contraction (1). It has also been demonstrated to increase the flexibility of the lumbar spine even 48 hours after removal of the tape! In this particular research study the tape did not need tension on the muscle to get positive results (2).

If you are still skeptical about Kinesio Tape®, here are a few more benefits:

It’s Used To:

  • correct muscle function
  • improve circulation
  • relieve pain
  • reposition subluxed joints (3).

Why Use Kinesio Tape®?:

  • Durable and Economical: it can be worn 24 hours, even in the shower, for up to 4 days straight with continual benefits.
  • Versatile: with over 1,200 different applications, a single injury has multiple taping techniques to choose from.
  • Revolutionary: one of a kind, designed to lift the skin away from the muscle to decrease pain and increase circulation.
  • Rehabilitates: assisting in support, flexibility and rehabilitation.
  • Unique: being 100% cotton, hypoallergenic and latex free, this elastic tape makes for a breathable and comfortable fit that comes in an array of colors and sizes (3).

It is used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions:

  • Forearm tendonitis (tennis and golfer’s elbow)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Shoulder tendonitis/rotator cuff syndrome
  • Shoulder instability/sprain/strain
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • AC joint sprain
  • Hip bursitis
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Shin splints
  • Hamstring/quadricep strain/contusion
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Knee sprain/knee bursitis
  • Condromalacia patella
  • Plantar fascitis/achilles tendonitis
  • Ankle sprain
  • Whiplash
  • Neck/mid back/low back sprain/strain injuries
  • And More!

This new, non restrictive, supportive tape is a wonderful new adjunct to aid in the healing process of the above listed musculoskeletal conditions.

However, Kinesio Tape® needs to be applied by a skilled health care provider or, at least the individual must be trained how the apply it for the specific injury or condition.

Don’t let that injury drag on and prevent you from getting back to living your life. Consider an application of Kinesio Tape® and let a little magic begin!

 

References

(1)Immediate and Delayed Effects of Forearm Kinesio Taping on Grip Strength

August 5, 2014. Hosein Kouhzad Mohannadi, Khosro Khademi Kalantari, Sedighe Sadat Naeimi.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.ezproxy.uvm.edu/pmc/articles/PMC4222018/

(2)The effect of kinesio taping in forward bending of the lumbar spine.

September 26, 2014. Lemos TV, Albino AC, Matheus JP, Barbosa Ade M.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.ezproxy.uvm.edu/pubmed/25276018

(3)http://www.kinesiotaping.com/about/about-video

Metatarsalgia – Pain under the ball of your foot!

14005505-close-up-of-the-bottom-of-a-man-s-foot

Pain under the ball of your foot? You may have metatarsalgia.

Metatarsalgia is pain of the metatarsal heads, where the toes meet the long foot bones, under the ball of the foot.
It is commonly described as: burning, sharp pain or aching pain beneath the toes. Some people will describe it as feeling like their sock is waded up in their shoe or like something is in their shoe.
Metatarsalgia is caused by a misalignment of the metatarsal bones relative to the phalangeal or toe bones, thereby causing stress and resulting inflammation and irritation to the soft tissues, the joint capsule and cartilage of the joint.
Contributing factors to this are the following:
High impact sport such as: running, basketball, aerobics/step class, etc because of the increased absorption of the forefoot upon impact. Worn, ill fitting and unsupportive shoes contribute significantly to increased pressure on the metatarsal heads.
Foot deformities and disease processes such as: high instep foot formations, pronation or dropped arches of the foot, hallux valgus or big toe bunions, Morton’s neuroma (a thickening of tissue around the nerves between the toes, typically between the 3rd and 4th toes) and rheumatoid arthritis can all cause increased pressure, inflammation or irritation of the metatarsal heads.
Poor fitting shoes including: high heeled shoes, wedge shoes (sole heel height is higher than toe height) and cowboy boots. These types of shoes transfer weight to the metatarsal heads thereby irritating this area. Shoes with a narrow toe box, tight fitting shoes and shoes that are too small can squeeze the toes together and result in stress upon the metatarsal heads.
Fractures of the foot, esp stress fractures of the metatarsals, can cause weight to shift onto the metatarsal heads because of compensation.
Aging and increased weight gain. As people age their fat pad on the bottom of their foot can get displaced and thinned causing increased pressure on the metatarsal joints. Weight gain, esp in the abdominal area, can cause the increased weight to shift forward onto the forefoot with exercise and even with simple walking.
Effective treatments:
Proper fitting shoes with adequate sole cushioning and flexible support.
Custom made, flexible orthotics (arch supports) are usually extremely effective for treating this condition. They should provide medial and transverse arch supports for the individual’s foot. The transverse arch will lift and spread the metatarsals in a slight curved nature in order to prevent “dropping” of the metatarsal heads.
Non custom, flexible orthotics may also be adequate to support the foot, thereby decreasing stress to the metatarsal heads
.Foot adjusting can realign the displaced metatarsal heads in relation to the toes and the other bones of the foot.
Low level, cold laser or ultrasound therapy to the metatarsal head area can decrease inflammation or irritation and significantly calm down the area.
Soaking your feet in hot, Epsom salt bath. This simple home remedy can take some of the soreness out of the foot.
Steroid injections, in severe, non responsive cases may be required. However, this should be avoided if possible as the corticosteroid injections can cause soft tissue, muscular, tendinous and cartilage tissue to degenerate or rupture. Never a good thing. (Don’t let it get to this point.)
There you have it. May you be walking along with ease soon!

Eating with the Seasons

Image

There are many benefits to eating with the seasons.  In the fall and winter, foods that provide warmth and carbohydrates such as carrots, potatoes, pumpkins, cabbages, onions, and winter squash will provide vitamins to boost the body’s germ fighting ability and strengthen the immune system for the cold and flu season.  These vegetables store well in cool, dark places.  The added carbohydrates will help to insulate against the cold weather throughout the season.  Adding fish to your diet during this time of year provides beneficial calories and increased levels of vitamin D.  Vitamin D found in cold water fish is essential for maintaining mental health and a strong immune system.  Nuts, which also store well in the winter, are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids.  This adds moisture to the body from the inside out.  Our milk can be different in the winter compared to the summer.  The nutritional content of pasteurized milk changes with the diet of the cow.  Research has shown that iodine levels of milk are higher in the winter and beta carotene higher in the summer. 

Our bodies are pretty smart and we associate certain foods during certain times of the year for good reason.  The natural cycle of produce is perfectly designed to support our health.  When we eat with the seasons, we are constantly rotating our diet so we receive an assortment of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.   Apples grow in the fall and are the perfect transition food from the warm summer to the winter cool down.  In the spring, the abundance of leafy greens helps us to alkalize, detoxify and lose some extra pounds after a long winter of heavier foods.  In the summer, we cool down and stay hydrated by eating more fruits, berries, cucumber, watermelon and the like.  Building a lifestyle around seasonal food facilitates the body’s natural healing process.

Food grown outside its season or natural environment needs a lot more human intervention in the form of pesticides, waxes, chemicals and preservatives to grow and look appealing to consumers.  The vitamins and minerals contained in produce begin to decrease the minute the food is picked.  By the time the food arrives at your local grocery store, it may be several weeks old!  By choosing local and seasonal food, you get a cleaner and healthier product.   

If you are fortunate enough to have the space to grow at least some of your own food, it can help a great deal with the food budget.  Make jam when berries are at their ripest and in the fall, can sauces from tomatoes.  When there is an abundance of a product, the prices go down.  Seasonal food is much cheaper to produce for the farmer.  Cash in on the seasonal bounty when you can.   

Hang in there, Vermonters.  It won’t be too long before we taste those first fresh greens of spring!

References:
http://www.deeprootsathome.com/
http://beforeitsnews.com/survival/2013/04/the-reasons-for-eating-by-the-seasons-2-2469614.html
Daisy Luther, http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/
Rebecca Kaplan, http://www.freenewspos.com/news/article/f/581016/today/5-reasons-to-eat-with-the-seasons