Archive for January, 2015

A Fresh Coat Of Paint

January 27, 2015

As all real estate brokers know, a fresh coat of paint will make any property look good. Whether your home is a row house in Baltimore, a Paris atelier, or even a Winnebago, a new coat of paint will bring a shine to the interior and put a smile on the faces of both residents and guests. You may find that a similar smile will appear on your face and the faces of your friends and family members when you engage in activities that provide you with a metaphorical fresh coat of paint. Specifically, you’ll obtain your “new look” by incorporating a healthy diet and regular, vigorous exercise in your daily routine.1,2

But what exactly is “a healthy diet,” and what is really meant by “regular, vigorous exercise”? A healthy diet consists in a daily practice of consuming food from all five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Importantly, a healthy diet includes at least five daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. Overall, the more colors on your plate, the better. If you’re consistently eating yellow, green, red, blue, orange, and purple foods such as squash, corn, grapefruit, kale, broccoli, apples, peppers, blueberries, carrots, oranges, potatoes, and eggplant, you’re well on your way toward a lifelong healthy diet.

The grains food group contains whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur, and barley. For those who require gluten-free whole grains, the numerous choices include amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, and teff. The protein food group includes beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, fish, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds. There are plenty of protein sources for vegetarians and others who don’t eat meat or other foods derived from animals such as eggs and milk. The dairy group is included to provide sources of calcium.3 These foods include low-fat and fat-free choices such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese. If you’re a vegetarian or have allergies to dairy products, other sources of calcium include kale, collard greens, spinach, salmon, sardines, blackstrap molasses, and beans. For men and women aged 19 to 50, the recommended daily requirement for calcium is 1000mg. For women over age 50 and men over age 70, the recommended daily requirement for calcium is 1200mg.

Regular, vigorous exercise means doing at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Walking, running, bike riding, swimming, using an elliptical machine or treadmill, and weight training are all good choices. Lifting weights three times a week and doing some form of aerobic exercise two times a week is one example of such a program of vigorous daily exercise. For some people, walking five days a week for at least 30 minutes each day represents an optimal program. Find out what works best for you and do that consistently. Change your program every few months to keep both your mind and body challenged. Again, the specific form of exercise is not critical. What works for one person will not work for another. The key is consistency. Five days a week, at least 30 minutes a day.

Your fresh coat of paint is not merely metaphorical. Once your new lifestyle changes take effect, probably within three to six weeks, you’ll begin to develop an inner glow and an outer glow that will be visible for all to see.

1King DE, et al: Impact of healthy lifestyle on mortality in people with normal blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and C-reactive protein. Eur J Prev Cardiol 20(1):73-79, 2013
2Lopresti AL, et al: A review of lifestyle factors that contribute to important pathways associated with major depression: diet, sleep and exercise. J Affect Disord 148(1):12-27, 2013
3Nachtigall MJ, et al: Osteoporosis risk factors and early life-style modifications to decrease disease burden in women. Clin Obstet Gynecol 56(4):650-653, 2013

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When the Cure Is Worse than the Disease

January 20, 2015

Chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes have increasingly high prevalence in world populations.1 Such prevalence is rising despite extensive use of prescription medications. Problematically, many people have two or more concurrent chronic disorders and are taking multiple medications. But frequently the various physicians are not in contact and are not aware of the patient’s complete list of current prescriptions. No single physician or nurse is managing the patient’s array of medications. As a result, potentially harmful drug interactions are a common occurrence.2,3 Mistakes are made and patients may suffer serious side effects. In such adverse circumstances, the cure in fact may be worse than the disease.

In today’s health care systems, people as patients need to be good custodians of their own care. In many health systems, a patient is lucky if he or she is able to spend more than five uninterrupted minutes with their doctor. Physicians are rushed and harried by numerous responsibilities related to management of their offices, all of which take precious time away from patient interactions. In such an environment, patients need to be proactive to do their best to ensure that recommended treatment is actually going to be helpful, rather than potentially harmful. This is a very difficult task, as most people do not have backgrounds that will help facilitate understanding of such decision-making. But especially for those with a chronic disease, it’s critically important to master at least a basic level of information regarding their condition and various types of treatment.

In addition to expanding one’s knowledge base, an important long-term strategy is to begin to make lifestyle choices that will support good health. Appropriate and effective lifestyle choices include regular exercise, a healthy diet, and sufficient rest. All three of these key components of good health can be started right now. An exercise program should consist of five 30-minute sessions of vigorous exercise every week. A healthy diet consists of daily selections from all five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. A daily diet should include at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Regarding sufficient rest, 7-8 hours of sleep per night is a good average for most people. If you’re not waking up feeling rested and refreshed, you’re probably not getting enough sleep.

Ultimately, each of us is responsible for our own health and well-being. Prescription medication may be necessary, but of course such treatment is primarily directed toward the effects of a person’s disease or disorder. Changes in lifestyle are required to address the underlying causes of such conditions. Beginning to institute and maintaining healthful lifestyle choices will provide long-term benefit for the welfare and well-being of our families and ourselves.

1Bauer UE, et al: Prevention of chronic disease in the 21st century: elimination of the leading preventable causes of premature death and disability in the USA. Lancet 384(9937):42-52, 2014
2Rotermann M, et al: Prescription medication use by Canadians aged 6 to 79. Health Rep 25(6):3-9, 2014
3Marengoni A, et al: Understanding adverse drug reactions in older adults through drug-drug interactions. Eur J Intern Med 2014 Oct 10. pii: S0953-6205(14)00282-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2014.10.001.

http://www.nillchiropractic.com