Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘healthy lifestyle’

Healthy Snacks: Nuts and Seeds

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, May 9, 2011

Research continues to reveal that nuts and seeds do not deserve their bad reputation. Absolutely, they are high in fat; but it’s the good fat, not the bad, and when eaten in moderation, their health benefits far outweigh the dangers of their fat content. The fact is, the more we learn about nuts and seeds, the more we realize that they’re one of the best snack-food options for children.

In 1996, the Iowa Women’s Health Study found that women who ate nuts four or more times a week were 40 percent less likely to die of heart disease. Since then, similar studies performed by the Harvard School of Public Health and Loma Linda University in California have found the same. And the Physicians’ Health Study (2002) determined that men who consumed nuts two or more times per week had a noticeably reduced risk of sudden cardiac death.

Studies performed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that three times as many people who were trying to lose weight were able to stick to a diet that included moderate fat content in the form of nuts and seeds. Researchers suggested that the fat, protein and fiber in nuts helped the dieters feel full longer, so many felt less deprived and ate less during the day.

Another study of women by the Harvard School of Public Health reported that there was a 30 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in those women who ate five or more 1-ounce servings of nuts per week as compared with women who rarely or never ate nuts.

Finally, studies published in the Journal of Nutrition and elsewhere have found that seeds, flax seeds in particular, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have proven benefits in the fight against heart disease, stroke and other circulatory diseases.

Nuts are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, with 1 ounce of Brazil nuts containing 780 percent of the recommended daily intake of selenium, and walnuts providing the most omega-3 fatty acids of any common nut. Almonds are a wonderful source of copper, magnesium and phosphorous, and provide 6 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving. And the June 2004 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reported that pecans contain the highest antioxidant capacity of all nuts.

In short, the worst thing you can do for yourself and your children is reach for junk foods when you need a snack. Nuts and seeds are a convenient, healthy snack food that takes the edge off hunger without the added carbohydrates and sugar of most other snack food options. Your doctor can tell you more about the health benefits of moderate nut/seed intake.

– excerpted from an article by Dr. Claudia Anrig of To Your Health magazine


Posted in General Health, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How Many Chiropractic Adjustments Do You Need?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How many visits does it take to have a well-adjusted spine? It depends on your definition of well-adjusted. For many patients who experience complete pain relief after their first adjustment, the answer might be one. But if you understand you can have a problem even without pain, you’ll see that it takes a lifetime of minor tune-up visits to be at your best. These minor tune-ups also prevent many of the problems that can show up in your 40s and 50s.

It‘s important to look at the big picture to understand what is going to take place during your lifetime. This can help you see how chiropractic can work to preserve many of your body’s functions and prevent degeneration of your spine.

Childhood and the Teen Years: In your first two decades of life, you will have indirect and direct stresses. Indirect stress is poor posture and direct stresses are sprains and strains from sports activities or other childhood traumas. These stresses, if left untreated, can lead to degeneration and other problems – such as arthritis – down the road.

Your 20s and 30s: This period of time is when your chiropractor can start to see the early stages of degeneration and arthritis that actually had its beginning in your childhood and teens. You may begin to experience diminished flexibility and joint aches and pains. Athletic performance typically begins to decline. The early signs of joint degeneration begin to appear on X-ray. These are all signs of long-standing physical decline, yet you still don’t have pain most of the time.

Your 40s and 50s: This is the time frame during which we start to see the effects of arthritis. Generally this is when your activities start to become limited because of reduced muscle flexibility and joint pain. Chronic pain is commonplace and destruction of cartilage in the knees and hips often results in joint replacement surgery.

How to Prevent or Slow the Damage: Using a combination of proper diet, exercise, regular chiropractic adjustments and custom orthotics if necessary, you can have an active role in preventing damage (or slowing down the wear-and-tear process). Your chiropractor or nutritionist can suggest what you should be eating, but it’s up to you to actually follow this plan and choose a healthy lifestyle. The five keys known to contribute to longevity are:

  1. Don’t smoke.
  2. Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  3. Drink plenty of water.
  4. Drink alcohol in moderation.
  5. Get regular exercise.

Getting exercise on a regular basis goes hand-in-hand with proper nutrition in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some easy tips to get you started:

  1. Start slow, gradually increasing the intensity of your workout.
  2. Always warm-up and cool down when working out.
  3. Drink plenty of water (8 ounces before you work out, 8 ounces while you work out and another 8 ounces after).
  4. Listen to your body – stop exercising if you experience pain or dizziness.
  5. Wear proper-fitting, supportive athletic shoes.

Being evaluated by your chiropractor even when you are pain-free can have a very valuable payoff in the later years. Healthy joints, muscle flexibility and a healthy nervous system will allow you to continue to exercise and be active, which we all know contributes to overall health. The key to a well-adjusted spine is starting early and continuing to keep your body in balance. This is a lifetime’s approach to overall wellness and health.

– Dr. James C. Gray

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Are Your Kids Couch Potatoes?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Do your kids spend too much time on the couch?… at the computer?… in front of video games?… sleeping in too late?… being lazy?

Here is the unvarnished truth… it is most likely YOUR fault!

Harsh words? Tough. Accept it because it’s the truth. The activities and lifestyles your children choose begin directly with the example you set, and what you expect of them. You can’t expect your children to suddenly become active if they see you slumped on the couch, TV remote in one hand and potato chips in the other. In a fast-food society of value meals and super-size options, convenience often takes precedence over nutrition, and adults are the first offenders. This couch potato example has created a generation of children who sit in front of their television playing video games about sports, rather than engaging in the sports themselves.

If you want your kids to be active… be active yourself. It’s time for you to start setting a good example. If you grumble and complain about exercise, how can you expect your kids to see activity and fitness as anything other than a chore? Take an aggressive and positive role in planning some family time for exercise. You will not only be setting the example of regular positive exercise, but it will give you a regular opportunity to TALK with your kids. The following are a few suggestions, but the choices are endless:

  1. Instead of circling the lot looking for the closest spot, park your car farther away from the front door of the store, and make the walk.
  2. Instead of the escalator at the mall, take the stairs.
  3. Have the entire family take the dog for a walk.
  4. Everyone pitch in to wash the car.
  5. Play catch.
  6. If your child prefers to paint or draw, go on a hike to find things for them to recreate on paper.
  7. Check out the local jungle gym, or climbing wall at the park.
  8. Make chores a competition. See who can clean their room, mow the lawn, or shovel the driveway first. Have fun with it!
  9. Have birthday parties at the park or backyard, instead of the pizza parlor. Relay races or lawn bowling are better options than tanking up on pizza and video games.
  10. Commercial-cize… make a commitment to perform some exercise each time the show you’re watching takes a commercial break. The first time, you could do ten jumping jacks. At the next break, you could do five push-ups. After that, you could run around the house and get back before the show starts.
  11. Go for a bike ride.
  12. Teach your kids basic calisthenics. Show them how to properly do jumping jacks, jump rope, stretch muscles, do push-ups or sit-ups.
  13. Take turns and let each child pick an activity of the day or week.

There are just a few examples… and none of them will break the bank. In fact, most of them are free! Here is the most important part:

Promote activity, not just exercise. I can’t stress how important it is to keep it fun. Dr. Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic said, “Every child is wired differently. We all have certain strengths and characteristics that influence our interests. The key is finding things that your children like to do.” Reward and praise healthy activities and dietary choices.

Remember… children do as you do. Set a good example for them, and expect them to make choices that will serve them well over a long, healthy lifetime.

OOOOHHH!!! Man, I almost forgot to put this in! Limit your children to no more than two hours of “screen time” per day! Screen time refers to TV, video games, computer, etc. Put the kids in charge. Let them know they’ve got the responsibility of choosing when and on what they want to use those two hours, but that you are going to enforce it… and then do it. You have to follow through. Once that time is used up, “Sorry, your time is up. Go outside and play, read a book, do a craft, etc.”

Posted in General Health, Stretches & Exercises | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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