Nutrition

Slumping doesn’t cause heart burn, right?

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Here at the office we’ve spent a few weeks talking about digestion. Digestive problems are very common and all too often we only focus exclusively on food. We worry about what foods upset digestion and what foods and nutrients help. But many times we over look an obvious cause: Poor posture.
Digestive issues that may result from poor posture include gas, abdominal pain and bloating
Digestive symptoms that may arise from poor posture can include gas, bloating, and even mild abdominal pain. In fact, one study analyzed the influence of body posture on intestinal transit of gas, finding that maintaining an upright posture favours gas evacuation in individuals with gas retention – such as those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
While it’s true you can eat in any position, like grabbing a meal on the go in the car, snacking while laying on the couch, lunch at work while hunched over the computer or standing around the kitchen (think all those family gatherings). It has been proven that eating in an upright, seated position is best. It also seems the most conducive for allowing digestive juices and blood to flow to through the digestive tract. If you think about it, our bodies weren’t built to be hunched over the kitchen table with our necks sticking forward all the time. When we have poor posture and fall into that hunched forward mold we can run into problems beyond just digestive problems, such as back and neck pain.
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In other words put down the phone, step away from the computer and slow down while you enjoy a healthy meal. Enjoying them seated with your shoulders down and back while maintaining a neutral neck can benefit the digestive process (read more).
 

 

 

Digestive symptoms that may arise from poor posture can include gas, bloating, and even mild abdominal pain. In fact, one study analyzed the influence of body posture on intestinal transit of gas, finding that maintaining an upright posture favours gas evacuation in individuals with gas retention – such as those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

 

 

Human bodies aren’t adapted to hunching over in a chair with our necks sticking forward all day. Our circulatory systems and muscle structures just aren’t built for it. When we try to cram our bodies into that mold, we get all kinds of problems, including back pain, mobility issues, and less-obvious consequences like digestive problems.  So while there are many causes of

Poor posture digestion
Abdominal compartment syndrome
Malabsorption, poor posture compresses gi  tract, bloating, gas, heartburn, shortness breathing, not to mention makes you fatter than you really are.
Poor posture decrease blood flow to internal organs, severely cases can cause tissue death.
True or false loss of lumbar curve,  increases symptoms of acid reflux? This is true.  Poor posture where your head and shoulders drift forward can cause or aggravate symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux.  This can happen by putting additional pressure on the stomach and abdominal cavity.
The loss of normal posture puts significant stress on the body and results in symptoms mentioned above.

Abnormal nerve function, affecting digestion?

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Our nervous system is very complex. It’s a collection of nerves and specialized cells known as neurons that transmit signals between different parts of the body (read more). The questions is: Can abnormal nerve function affect digestion?

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Yes, abnormal nerve function anywhere in the spine can alter digestion. If abnormal messages are sent to the brain, then the brain can activate the bodies fight or flight response.  The fight or light response is the system in your body that keeps you safe in dangerous situations, like running from a bear.  The fight or flight response stops bodily functions that are not necessary in an emergency such as digestion.  In a normal situation that is not stressful, the digestive system sends signals to the brain and the brains response is what causes digestive enzymes and muscle contraction.  In stressful situations this is inhibited.

Did you know that abnormal nerve function in your lumbar can make muscles compress the abdomen, causing abnormal digestion and discomfort? It’s true! All of the muscle around your stomach are controlled by the brain.  Abnormal nerve function can greatly affect digestion and discomfort.

Are spinal problems aggravating digestive problems in infants like acid reflux more commonly found closer to the baby’s head or closer to the baby’s lower back? Typically if an infant comes to the office having troubles with acid reflux, it’s more common that the spinal problem would be closer to the baby’s head.

Location-specific problems from the spine with digestion:
Neck – Trouble swallowing.
Thoracic – Unable to expand lungs, puffiness, fullness, pressure on abdominal cavity.
Lumbar -  Trouble moving food through digestive tract, reflux.

Chiropractic care’s primary focus is on restoring and maintaining the health of your nerves, muscles and joints. Adjustments can help to restore normal movement, ease pain and prompt higher function of your brain and nervous system. With that being said, do you believe that chiropractic care is a treatment for digestive problems?

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We had a little fun here, while regular chiropractic care can help between the brain and nervous system, it isn’t a treatment for digestive problems.
Your digestive problems can be caused by nutrition problems such as:
Lack of fiber
Processed food
Dehydration
Alcohol
Caffeine
Tobacco
Here are some easy things to cut back on or eliminate from your diet for increased digestive health:
Alcohol - One of the reasons people do not feel well after alcohol use is dehydration.  Make sure you drink enough water. The process of metabolizing alcohol requires nutrients.  As the liver decreases its supply of these nutrients, the blood stream is called upon to replenish the supply. As a result, body cells are deprived of critical nutrients and normal body functions suffer. Drinking alcohol can lead to nutrient deficiencies like zinc, Vitamin C, magnesium and particularly the B-complex vitamins, which are especially vulnerable to alcohol use (read more).
Caffeine - Caffeine has a diuretic effect and speeds elimination of various vitamins and minerals essential to health.  In addition drink water throughout the day to offset the loss of water from caffeinated drinks such as coffee.   Specifically, potassium, zinc, magnesium, B-complex, and vitamin C are quickly excreted with caffeine intake. Deficiency of these nutrients, especially the B-complex vitamins and magnesium, can also increases anxiety and decreases mental performance (read more).
Tobacco -Tobacco users can have poor circulation which can lead to poor digestion.  Researchers have concluded that levels of vitamin C are for the most part, lower in the blood of smokers vs. non-smokers. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, that also has beneficial effects on the heart and other organs (read more).

If you had to guess what is the most common deficiency in the American diet, what would you say? Is your first guess fiber? If so, you’re correct! A healthy fiber recommendation is 25- 30 grams per day. Many Americans are shocked to find that they are only getting between 8 and 15 grams per day. Low fiber can result in constipation/digestive issues. If you are low in fiber add it into your diet gradually.  Going from 5 grams of fiber to 30 is large jump and not recommended in a short period of time.  Between cutting back on alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and adding fiber into your diet you should be on the road for improved digestive health!

 

 

 

 


senses trivia

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What are the five senses?
Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

Which one of your five senses is the fastest in the body? Your overall fastest sense is your sense of touch because it doesn’t need to travel up to the brain. Your sense of touch is complicated. This is because it relates your sense of balance and your reflexes which do not always go to the brain for approval before a reaction. An example of this is when you touch your hand to the hot stove. Ever notice that your hand moves before you realized it was hot? This is because your reflexes do not need that brain approval for reaction. Your other senses: sight, hearing, smell and taste do travel to the brain and out of those, hearing is the quickest.

Which sense requires the most brain power? Your sense of feeling and balance requires the most power, it’s estimated that up to 90% of your brain’s computing power is spent keeping your body up right, holding up against gravity.

If you had to guess, how many different smells can the human nose detect?

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The human nose can detect 10,000 different odors!

True or false – A woman’s sense of smell is greatly increased during pregnancy? This is true. The are several theories, one is that morning sickness can increase sense of smell due to nausea, another is  protection for the unborn child. A heightened sense of smell could help protect the baby from toxins or infection. While we’re talking about pregnant women, did you ever notice that pregnant women can have strange cravings, I am sure you did. But, have you ever thought of why? Many people believe this is because the woman may have a mineral or nutrient deficiency that is provided in a specific food. So a craving for pickles might mean she is in need of sodium.

Speaking of smell, how much of our taste is actually our sense of smell?  80%. That’s probably why as kids we all plugged our nose when eating our peas and beans!

How does this all relate to our spine? Can any of your senses be affected by abnormal joint position in the spine? The answer is yes, ALL our senses can be affected by abnormal joint position.  Abnormal position can impact your fight-or-flight response. Your fight-or-flight response can dull or heighten specific senses depending on your state. An example of this, how much do you care about your sense of taste when you’re running from a bear? I am going to guess, not very much, right? In this situation your body recognizes that your sense of taste is not important and it dulls that. Whereas your sense of balance and coordination would be heightened.


Pesky Pesticides

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T/F – Organic fruits and vegetables have higher nutritional value?
F – While there is a difference with the pesticides between organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables, studies have shown that the nutritional value is actually the same.

Why do you think it’s important for us to know about, and avoid pesticides?
Pesticides are designed to kill “pests”, but some pesticides can also cause health effects in people. The likelihood of developing health effects depends on the type of pesticide and other chemicals that are in the product you are using, as well as the amount you are exposed to and how long or often you are exposed.

  • Some short term effects of pesticide poisoning include: Nausea & Vomiting, Diarrhea, Loss of consciousness, Seizures, Coughing and sore throat and weakness.
  • Long term: Pesticides have been linked to cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, sterility and developmental disorders.

 

Researchers have created a list of the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” to help consumers know when they should buy organic and when it is unnecessary.

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If you had to guess which fruits or vegetables were the worst offenders for pesticides, which would you guess?
– A general rule of thumb is if you eat the skin, and fruit/vegetable has  thinner skin, chances are that it has a higher pesticide count. These are known as the “dirty dozen”
         Think: Apples, Peaches, Peppers, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Strawberries and Spinach to name a  few.

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Fruits and vegetables with thick skin, or vegetables that you peel tend to have fewer pesticides. These would be on the “Clean 15” list.
      Think: Avocado, Onions, Pineapples, Oranges, Sweetcorn, Kiwi, Mango and Grapefruit.

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The fruits and vegetables on “The Dirty Dozen” list, when conventionally grown, tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, with some testing positive for as many as 67.

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential no matter how they’re grown, but for the items with the heaviest pesticide loads, we urge shoppers to buy organic.


Got Inflammation?

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Do you ever feel like you’re doing everything right with your diet, and yet you can’t seem to button your favorite pants? Let me guess; you’ve been working out, cutting calories, avoiding those late night cravings and you even joined a yoga class at the YMCA? It’s defeating to try so hard with little to no result.

Did you know that certain foods can actually work against your efforts and cause chronic inflammation? Inflammation can being annoying, especially when over time you notice that not only have you packed on weight, but it hurts. It’s true; there are certain foods that in addition to weight gain can actually cause inflammation and pain.

Inflammation is our body’s natural response to protecting itself against harm. There is more than one form of inflammation, first is acute. Acute inflammation occurs when you hit your elbow or worse…a paper cut! What we’re talking about in this case though, is chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation occurs in response to unwanted substances in the body. These substances can be found in number of foods that I am sure you could easily find on your daily menu.

I’m sure it’s no surprise that at the top of the list of foods that cause inflammation we see refined carbohydrates (this includes flour, white rice, processed cereals, chips, crackers and french fries). Also, I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised if I said that sugar, caffeine and alcohol were on the list too. But would it shock you a little if I said lactose (milk and other dairy products), yeast and meats (beef, pork and less commonly poultry) were among the culprits too?

I know what you’re thinking, what’s left, right? Although there are many foods that we should avoid there are still plenty of healthy foods to enjoy. Consider the following:

     Breakfast – Try to avoid sugary processed cereal, cereal bars and bakery items. Instead try an egg, plain Greek yogurt, or      a daily shake. Instead of a glass of 2% milk, try coconut milk or almond milk.

     Lunch – Instead of having a sandwich with highly processed white bread, consider a wrap with fresh veggies and chicken.

     Snack – Try some mixed nuts or a handful of blueberries.

     Dinner – A nice salad topped with fruit, veggies, avocado or nuts could be a great way to end your day. Also a stir fry with      brown rice and vegetables is a wonderful choice.

When choosing foods, think about whole foods and don’t be afraid of colors. How about taking an alcohol or caffeine vacation? You may find that by eliminating some of the processed foods (even foods that say “low calorie or low fat), artificial sweeteners (diet sodas!), and refined carbs you may not only be able to squeeze into those pants but also feel better and more pain free at the same time!

Foods that fight inflammation-infograph
Photo Credit:Harvard health


Nutrition Before the Holidays

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Nutrition Before the Holidays Flier- 10-10-13


No sleep? It’s more dangerous than you think

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sleep on booksTrouble sleeping is nothing new but how do you solve sleeping issues?   While not getting a good night’s sleep is problematic for many families, the dangers are well known.  Could a lack of sleep actually be killing you?

While there are many causes for poor sleep, the health effects are well documented.   Impaired sleep can dramatically weaken your immune system making you more vulnerable to illness.   It has also been shown that poor sleep accelerates tumor growth.   In addition a lack of sleep can cause a pre-diabetic state, triggering food cravings and low energy.   There is also the well known factor of memory loss.  A recent report from Science Daily showed that people who suffer from chronic insomnia are 2-3 times more likely to die from any cause due to sleep impairment.  In short nothing positive comes from poor sleep.

A good night’s rest not only leaves you feeling refreshed but it physically recharges and heals your body.   Think of a poor night sleep as forgetting to charge your phone and then expecting it to perform well the next day.  So what can you do, naturally, to improve sleep?

What effect does Chiropractic care have on insomnia?   Let’s answer this by first stating that Chiropractic is not a treatment for any specific condition.   Chiropractic’s goal is to relieve areas of stress and misalignment in the spine.  If the insomnia is caused by or aggravated by misalignment’s in the spine then Chiropractic care would be very helpful.   To determine whether this is a Chiropractic case simply call your local Chiropractor and get an evaluation.   I have seen many cases where the patient reports less pain and better sleep following Chiropractic care.

What can I do naturally to improve my sleep?  These 5 things will get you on the right track to a good night’s rest.

Sleep in the dark.  It is incredibly important to sleep in a room that is both quite and completely dark.  Given the increase of electronics, there are plenty of distractions such as clocks, phones, computers and TV.  These need to be turned off, out of sight or put in another room.

Exercise regularly, 30 minutes 3-5 times per week.  A good workout decreases anxiety and can improve sleep.  Try to exercise in the morning, exercising to close to bed time can actually make you more alert.

Avoid work before bed time.   It is ideal to stop doing work at least 1 hour before sleep.  That hour or so will help calm and relax your mind.  Also try not to watch TV or use electronics during your unwind time as that can stimulate your mind.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine.   While some alcohol will may help you relax, alcohol has a sedative effect which helps you close your eyes but not truly sleep.  It can disrupt your sleep wake cycle, so when you awaken you still feel tired and groggy.  Caffeine can also delay sleep or cause you to wake up before you need to and is best to be avoided.

Consider a melatonin supplement.  Melatonin is a natural chemical in your brain that regulates sleep.  This chemical is normally regulated by sunlight or the lack sunlight.   Ideally sunlight first thing in the morning would trigger wakefulness and night time would trigger sleep.  With today artificial lights and electronics our melatonin production can be impaired.  A melatonin supplement can be a gentle way to increase sleepiness and sleep for a longer period of time.

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

Serving the greater Grand Rapids area; Standale, Walker, Wyoming, and Grandville

Grand Rapids, MI 49534

616.419.4996

DrDan@Hungerfordwellness.com

 


How much weight would you like to shed?

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Are you looking for a before and after photo?

How much weight would you like to lose?   Why do you want to lose weight?   What would a successful weight loss feel like?  Many Americans spend moments of their day wondering what life would be like if they were a healthy weight.  If I could lose even 10 lbs life would be so much better!   Losing weight is easier than you think but it does help to have an experienced coach in your corner.

Weight gain doesn’t happen overnight nor is it an overnight fix but in a couple months you could be a totally different person.  First off find out what is the powerful “why?”  Weight loss never works if it’s something temporary or superficial.   Is it to be there for your kids?  To lower medication?  To regain your athletic ability? To get a better job?  There are many good reasons to lose weight but you have to find out which one is uniquely yours.

Are you looking for a before and after photo?  Let me tell you about Tom.   Tom was having trouble losing weight.  His weight was keeping him from the career he wanted, he was fatigued easily and the weight had also affected his self esteem.  He had been overweight since high school and he wanted a new life.   He tried exercise and dieting but that was slow and difficult to manage.  Then he found something that worked.

Tom and his wife started the Take Shape for Life program.   The results were fast.   With the assistance of a health coach from Take Shape for Life Tom, lost over 20 Lbs his first month.   He went on to lose 70 Lbs over 16 weeks.   Now he has his life back and is pursuing his career in Law Enforcement.   He is able to run and has  energy to play with his kids.   If you know someone that wants to make a change, we can help.

I only need to lose 10 Lbs will this program work for me?   It will, I have used it myself.  Before going on vacation in 2011 I used TSFL to lose 11 Lbs in 2 weeks.   It was fast and easy to follow.    Losing 11Lbs without exercising is usually quite a challenge but with training and nutrition it was quite simple.

 

Tom Hungerford side by sideTom Hungerford final

 

Whether you are losing a couple pounds or making a significant change, we can help.  Give us a call today.

How did I gain this weight?  Here are the top 5 ways to quickly gain body fat.  If you wish to lose weight simply reverse or avoid these 5 things.  If you have questions please call our office, we would be happy to help.

-Eating food that is packaged and has a long shelf life.   Boxed food that can stay on the shelves for a while often is dense in Carbohydrates which trigger weight gain.  These foods are usually made with very little fiber which is necessary for healthy blood sugar.  This includes pop tarts, chips, crackers, pizza, and pasta’s to name a few.

- A food allergy or sensitivity.  Irritation from food sensitivities can cause weight gain, swelling and inflammation.  The 2 most common food sensitivities are dairy as well as gluten.  Dairy can be found in milk, yogurt, and cheese.  Gluten can found in anything with bread, dough or pasta.  To find out if your body is sensitive to these foods try eliminating them for a month and monitor the outcome.  

-A lack of sleep or poor sleep.  Sleep essentially recharges the body.   Depriving yourself of sleep can increase the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers weight gain.  It is important to allow 7-8 hours of sleep per 24 hour period.   If you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your Wellness Doctor to figure out a natural solution.

-Lack of exercise.  Exercise is vital for maintaining or losing weight.   At a minimum 15 minutes of exercise 3 times a week.  No time?  Try working out before you start your day.   30 minutes of exercise in the morning stimulates your metabolism as well as lowers anxiety and insomnia.

- Stress or depression.  Stress alters your body in all kinds of ways.  One way is to trigger excessive appetite and store body fat.  The key to breaking this cycle is first to identify what the stress is and then working with a Wellness Doctor to make a game plan.  It could be stress on your nervous system, chemical stress from food or medication or you could be physically drained from home or work.   Lowering or adapting to your stress can side step weight gain. 

 

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

Serving the greater Grand Rapids area; Standale, Walker, Wyoming, and Grandville

Grand Rapids, MI 49534

616.419.4996

DrDan@Hungerfordwellness.com


What’s stress go to do with it?

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bang head here

“Humans today experience more stress in one day than their ancestors did in their entire lives. “  What effect is stress having on your life?  Are you noticing high blood pressure, food cravings, sleep disturbances, pain, trouble losing weight, or mental confusion?   How is stress changing your energy, mood, or posture?   If your stress is not where you want it to be, don’t worry improving your stress is easier than you think.

Your body is a reflection of how well you are adapting to all the stresses in your life.   Unresolved or uncontrolled stress always will lead to illness and disease.   We are told today that illness is caused by bad luck, bad germs or bad genes.    This is not true.   We are the product of our lifestyle choices, only a small percentage of poor health is genetic.  

The vast majority of health problems today are based in our environment and lifestyle choices.   We have more mental stress than ever before between the internet, email, phones, and television.   We have more chemical stress from environmental toxins, cheap food, always eating and drinking as well over-medication.  We also have more physical stress much of it revolving around long hours, poor posture and electronics.

So what is the solution?  Chiropractic, right?  Chiropractic is part of the solution but not the complete picture.   Chiropractic will help your body function better, which a large step in the right direction.   To truly get a grip on stress you need to lead a proactive lifestyle with proper nutrition, regular exercise, a good Chiropractic office, and constant social support.

If you would like to learn more about wellness stop by http://www.thewellnesspractice.com .   Here is a list of 5 easy things that can get you started on the right path, courtesy of Dr. James Chestnut.

Dr Chestnut’s Rules of Getting Started

- Start by adding sufficiency NOT removing toxicity.  It is much easier to add something good to your life than it is to take away something that is bad but desirable.

-  Eat fresh fiber first.   At each meal eat raw fruit or vegetables before consuming unhealthy food. You can still eat some junk food but just supplement it with healthy food at the same time.

- Incorporate activity into you work, family and social lives. Meet friends for walks or activities not coffee shops.

- Always shop on a full stomach. There is less chance of buying junk food and you won’t eat it if you don’t have it.

- Always judge your choices based on how you feel AFTER the choice, not before or during.

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

Serving the greater Grand Rapids area; Standale, Walker, Wyoming, and Grandville

Grand Rapids, MI 49534

616.419.4996

DrDan@Hungerfordwellness.com


Breathing easy past asthma

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“Mom I’m having trouble breathing.”   This is not something any parent wants to hear.   Asthma is one of America’s fast growing chronic health conditions.  In the US alone there are more than 15 million cases of asthma.  Asthma is also the #1 cause of childhood hospitalizations.   While the cause of asthma is not fully known, what is known is that asthma cases have doubled since 1994.  With new research coming out that traditional medical care for asthma may be making the problem worse, many doctors and concerned parents are turning to Chiropractic.

What is asthma?  Asthma is defined as “A respiratory condition marked by spasms in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing, usually resulting from an allergic reaction.”  Essentially the vessels in the lungs that are used to take in oxygen are swelled and closed off.  In essence the body is choking from the inside.

What causes asthma?  While the cause is not well known it is believed to be a combination of factors including genetics and contact with allergens in the environment.   While genetics and environmental allergens do play a role, the body’s response   is regulated by the nervous system.   Interference to the nervous system may cause asthma or make it worse.   Breathing is controlled by the brain which sends signals through the spine and into muscle in the lungs.   A disturbance to the nerves from the brain to the lungs can cause the lungs to contract inappropriately, contributing to symptoms of asthma.

A chiropractor is specially trained to look for areas of the spine that are not working correctly.   This is called a Subluxation.   When a subluxation is located and analyzed then a Chiropractor may gently adjust the spine and restore proper function.   Although some cases of asthma will not respond to Chiropractic care the majority of cases have a shown a benefit.   Research has shown that Chiropractic is effective regarding asthma is over 76% of cases.   Additional research from the Chiropractic Research Journal concluded that children under Chiropractic care enjoyed less ear infections, less asthma, fewer allergies and fewer cases of tonsillitis.

Here are some nutrition and supplemental changes to consider regarding asthma.  For more information please visit www.Mercola.com

Vitamin D- Vitamin D has health benefits beyond strong bones.  It is a vital nutrient to building a stronger immune system.   Patients who experience asthma often are deficient in Vitamin D.

Exercise with sunlight- Patients who Exercise on a regular basis have been shown to increase maximum ventilation and maximum heart rate.   Sunlight is a natural means of producing vitamin D.

Breast milk- For mothers who want children with a lower incidence of allergies and asthma, breast feeding is a must.   Breast feeding essentially gives the infant the mother’s immune system.

Omega 3 fish oil- Omega 3 fish oil is useful for restoring the proper balance of omega 3 to omega 6.   Diets that are higher in Omega 3 fish oil have been shown to have less incidence of asthma.

Avoid dairy- Dairy in almost all cases except for raw milk aggravates symptoms of asthma.  Avoid dairy if possible.

Butterbur- Butterbur is a naturally occurring plant that has been shown to decrease the symptoms of asthma.

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

Serving the greater Grand Rapids area; Standale, Walker, Wyoming, and Grandville

Grand Rapids, MI 49534

616.419.4996

DrDan@Hungerfordwellness.com