Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘heart disease’

Cholesterol Meds… Yes or No?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

As a chiropractor, nutritionist, and acupuncturist, I often get questions from my patients that, I think, are designed to pit my answer against that of their medical doctor. Let me start this by stating that I don’t think this is the way we should approach these kinds of questions. Your health care team should all be questioned with an open mind, and their answers considered, before making an informed health decision. Your health care professionals all come from different backgrounds, philosophies, and different specialties. Take advantage of the knowledge you are paying them for, and make the decision that is best for YOU. Don’t forget, the original Latin term for doctor referred to “teacher,” not dictator. Your health, methods of treatment, and all activities and decisions that affect your outcomes are your choice… and responsibility.

I’ve said for years that with prescription rights, statin medications are the one class of pharmaceuticals that I would never consider prescribing for my patients. However, with further research, my position has changed… slightly. First, we must define what is our purpose for considering statin use. Is it to lower cholesterol? No… cholesterol levels are merely one set of numbers used to evaluate how our body is functioning. The theory is that lowering one’s bad cholesterol levels will decrease one’s risk of death, heart disease or stroke. Therefore, the use of statin medications must be determined based on weighing how well it achieves those goals versus the risk of negative effects as a result of taking them.

Ultimately, the decision lies with the patient and I feel it would be my responsibility to clearly define the pros and cons of statin use. For example, I would point out that 1 of every 50 people who use statins develop diabetes. I would also point out that 1 in 10 develop muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis). About 1 of every 100 develop significant liver damage. Those are pretty strong negatives.

Now for the examination of proven benefits… For those with no history of heart disease,

  • 98% saw no benefit
  • 0% were helped by being saved from death
  • 0.96% were helped by preventing a heart attack
  • 0.65% were helped by preventing a stroke

For those with known heart disease,

  • 96% saw no benefit
  • 1.2% were helped by being saved from death
  • 2.6% were helped by preventing a repeat heart attack
  • 0.8% were helped by preventing a stroke

As a public health measure, this suggests that statins may have an identifiable effect, because while the chances of any one individual being affected are small (19 out of 20 people who took the drugs for five years saw no effect), when one million people who already have a history of heart disease take them roughly 45,000 people saw some benefit, while another 6,000 may see a harm.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior scientist at MIT, believes statins should never be given to anyone, but being generous one might justify the only two subgroups of people that might benefit from statins as:

  • Those at very high risk of heart attack (based NOT on your cholesterol levels, but on your heart attack risk factors)
  • Those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes you resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol

If you are not in one of those two categories, statin drugs are likely an unnecessary health risk you’re better off avoiding — and you definitely want to avoid the trap of taking them to lower your cholesterol when your cholesterol is actually well within a healthy range.

A better question would be: What are the alternatives to statins that will optimize my cholesterol levels and decrease my risk of heart disease, and stroke?

The most effective way to optimize your cholesterol profile and prevent heart disease is via diet and exercise. It’s actually quite simple too, as 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease at the same time.

The primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol, without the need for statin drugs that may damage your liver and your heart, include:

  • Reduce, with the plan of eliminating grains and fructose from your diet. This is the number one way to optimize your insulin levels, which will have a positive effect on not just your cholesterol, but also reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease, and most other chronic diseases. Use a nutrition plan to help you determine the ideal diet for you, and consume a good portion of your food raw.
  • There is also very good evidence that following a “Mediterranean Diet” (interesting because this diet emphasizes whole grains… be sure to choose the particular nutritional plan that fits for your metabolism) is more successful at normalizing cholesterol levels and decreasing heart disease than using statin medications, and achieves it without any negative effects.
  • Get plenty of high quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil, and reduce your consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (trans fats, vegetable oils) to balance out your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.
  • Include heart-healthy foods in your diet, such as olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
  • Exercise daily. Make sure you incorporate peak fitness exercises, which also optimizes your human growth hormone (HGH) production.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
  • Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Eat… Think… and Be Healthy… aka: Use Your Freakin’ Head

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Let’s face it… we all talk about “getting in shape,” or “eating better,” or “losing a little weight,” or “getting a little more exercise,” or “drinking more water,” or “going for a walk,” or blah, blah, blah.

So, why is it that Americans are fatter than ever? Why are we less healthy than previous generations? Why is our life expectancy decreasing? Why is prescription medication use at an all-time high? If those prescriptions work so well, why do the rates of heart disease and diabetes continue to rise? We live with these facts… despite a multi-billion dollar fitness and self-help industry, and by far the highest health care costs in the world. WHY?!

Because, like politicians, everyone has an excuse.

I’m too busy. That doesn’t taste good. It hurts when I exercise. I’ll start next week. I was under a lot of stress. Those Pringles just looked too good. We had company. It was a holiday. No one else will do it with me. I’ve tried before. I don’t know where to start. On and on and on, you can keep talking yourself out of it and making excuses, but don’t kid yourself. You’re not fooling anyone… least of all yourself. So, enough is enough. The excuses stop now. Here’s how we’re going to do it:

  1. Use your freakin’ head. The first step towards true improvement is to start thinking honestly. You’ll never make anything better by lying to yourself. Be honest with yourself when you choose Froot Loops instead of eggs. Don’t make excuses when you choose chips instead of an apple. These are YOUR choices. With very few exceptions, if you are unhealthy, it is a direct result of the choices you have made and continue to make. Don’t flit through your day ignoring the consequences of your choices. You are not a politician. You’re not going to be able to do whatever you want, blame it on someone else, and let someone else pay for it. It’s on you. You are the one with high blood pressure. You are the one who ends up with diabetic neuropathy. Think.
  2. It’s not rocket science. Too often, I hear people who put off making life changing decisions merely because they’re so damned confused about their options. Low fat or good fats? Gluten-free or Mediterranean? Paleo or HCG? Salt-free or blazing spice? Weight Watchers or Slim-4-Life? At the end of the day, all of that is just hub-bub. If it helps you to follow one of those “diets,” then pick ONE and have at it. However, for the most part all you need to do is follow Step #1. Use your head. You know what’s healthy and what’s not. Don’t worry about it so much and just start making smarter choices. You know when you’re eating too much… put the fork down! You know when you shouldn’t eat something… don’t do it. You know when you’re being lazy… get off your butt.
  3. Two simple food rules. First, if it’s white, there is almost no nutritional value to it. And don’t let them fool you with food coloring. Read the ingredients and if you see “bleached flour,” it’s a white food that they’ve doctored up. For a more clear discussion of what to look for on labels, click here. Second, the faster a food will rot usually means more nutritional value. For example, fresh tomatoes that will last a week are much healthier than canned tomatoes that will last for three years. The hierarchy is thus: Fresh > Frozen > Canned > Boxed.
  4. A coffee cup will help you shed pounds. A standard coffee cup is 8 ounces. Now that we’ve decided to eat better foods, drink one coffee cup of water about a half hour before each meal. Not only will you increase your water intake for the day, but you’ll diminish your appetite making it easier to eat proper amounts. Stop over-eating! And, by the way… Never, never, never “Supersize” your meal at the drive-thru. It’s ridiculous and unnecessary.
  5. Place a Swiss ball in your front room. Sit on it while watching TV. You’ll soon find yourself doing shallow bounces, which means you’re contracting and relaxing muscles. This is good for the core, good for balance, and is a simple calorie burner that keeps the hypothalamus burning. As you get comfortable, start throwing in some clockwise rotations followed by counter-clockwise rotations. During commercials, roll down and do some crunches. When you show comes back on, roll back up and enjoy. Before you know it, you’ve done 30-60 minutes of exercise.

How’s that for an easy start? No more excuses! When in doubt, refer to Rule #1… Use Your Freakin’ Head.

– Dr. Gray

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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 »

More Facts About The Cholesterol Myth

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My last article referenced the myth regarding cholesterol, saturated fats, and heart disease. Well, here are some more facts to chew on:

  • There’s never been a single study that proves saturated fat causes heart disease.
  • As heart-disease rates were skyrocketing in the mid-1900s, consumption of animal fat was going down, not up. Consumption of vegetable oils, however, was going up dramatically.
  • Half of all heart-attack victims have normal or low cholesterol. Autopsies performed on heart-attack victims routinely reveal plaque-filled arteries in people whose cholesterol was low (as low as 115 in one case).
  • Asian Indians – half of whom are vegetarians – have one of the highest rates of heart disease in the entire world. Yup, that fatty meat will kill you, all right.
  • When Morgan Spurlock tells you that a McDonald’s salad supplies almost a day’s allowance of fat, he’s basing that statement on the FDA’s low-fat/high-carbohydrate dietary guidelines, which in turn are based on … absolutely nothing. There’s no science behind those guidelines; they were simply made up by a congressional committee.
  • Kids who were diagnosed as suffering from ADD have been successfully treated by re-introducing natural saturated fats into their diets. Your brain is made largely of fat.
  • Many epileptics have reduced or eliminated seizures by adopting a diet low in sugar and starch and high in saturated animal fats.
  • Despite everything you’ve heard about saturated fat being linked to cancer, that link is statistically weak. However, there is a strong link between sugar and cancer. In Europe, doctors tell patients, “Sugar feeds cancer.”
  • Being fat is not, in and of itself, bad for your health. The behaviors that can make you fat – eating excess sugar and starch, not getting any exercise – can also ruin your health, and that’s why being fat is associated with bad health. But it’s entirely possible to be fat and healthy. It’s also possible to be thin while developing Type II diabetes and heart disease.
  • Saturated fat and cholesterol help produce testosterone. When men limit their saturated fat, their testosterone level drops. So, regardless of what a famous vegan chef believes, saturated fat does not impair sexual performance.

Woo hoo! Three cheers for the mainstream, high-volume, low-quality, cheaply produced food industry! Say it with me folks… “Follow the money!” Refined sugars, vegetable oils, enriched grains, boxed or canned foods, fast food… what do they all have in common?

  1. They cost less to produce
  2. They result in more profits
  3. They last longer on the shelf
  4. They offer “convenience” to the consumer
  5. Most importantly… they offer the minimum amount of nutrition to be considered FOOD.

In our next article, I think I’ll list some words that we hear regularly and see on “food” advertisements… and then give you the true definitions. Until then, take care.

Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Myth

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, July 15, 2010

Did you know a leading heart surgeon is calling for a ban on butter? Seriously! He explains that obesity and rising rates of heart disease are because children are starting out the day with toast and butter. Okay… are you ready for it? Say it with me folks: FOLLOW THE MONEY! Turns out, this “respected authority” is associated with a major manufacturer of … margarine. Don’t you just love it when they make it this easy? A great question posed by contributing editor Jon Herring of Total Health Breakthroughs was, “Why the butter and not the toast? Two slices of bread contain the equivalent carbohydrates of five teaspoons of sugar. And elevated blood sugar has been directly associated with heart disease.”

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times… Cholesterol levels and saturated fats DO NOT correlate to the risk for heart disease! In fact, if you’ll recall, I previously wrote about the Framingham Heart Study which showed that after the age of 50 (when 90% of all heart attacks occur), lower cholesterol levels are clearly associated with a shorter life expectancy. I recently came across an article written by Mr. Herring titled The Greatest Scam in Medical History. Since he’s already done the hard work, I’ll credit him and repost a portion of his article here (emphasis and notations are mine). The entire article he’s written is worth the read, so click the link and check it out when you get a chance.

There have been about 30 long-term population studies that have attempted to link saturated fat to heart disease. Of those, only four have shown even the weakest association. And all four had major disqualifications: they were either too small to be significant, they did not isolate the variables properly, or they showed a slight decrease in heart deaths but an increase in death due to cancer.

But population studies are notoriously unreliable anyway. The gold standard among health studies are controlled, randomized trials. And not a single study of this nature has ever shown definitive evidence that saturated-fat consumption leads to heart disease. In fact, many have shown the exact opposite!

Authors of the MR-FIT trial were determined to prove the case. They enrolled 350,000 men, all of whom were considered at high risk of heart disease. In one set of participants, cholesterol consumption was reduced by 42%, saturated fat by 28%, and total calories by 21%.

What happened? Nothing. The authors referred to the results as “disappointing,” stating that “The overall results do not show a beneficial effect on Coronary Heart Disease or total mortality from this multifactor intervention.”

The Women’s Health Initiative was a huge government study, costing almost three quarters of a billion dollars. Among 20,000 women in the study who adhered to a diet low saturated fat diet for eight years, there was no reduction in the rates of heart-disease or stroke.

Then there was the Cochrane Collaboration, in 2000. This group rigorously selected 27 low-fat and cholesterol-lowering trials to review (more than 200 trials were rejected). Their conclusion was that diets low in saturated fat have “no significant effect” on heart attack mortality. Lead researcher Lee Hooper, PhD, said “I was disappointed that we didn’t find something more definitive.”

Or how about something more recent?

This month, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a review of 21 studies. The studies ranged from 5 to 23 years in length and encompassed 347,747 subjects. In the authors’ own words: “Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD [coronary heart disease], stroke, or CVD [cerebrovascular disease].”

In 1988, U.S. Surgeon General’s office decided to end the confusion. They set out to finally prove the causal link between saturated fat and heart disease. After 11 years, the project was abandoned. The Surgeon General’s office stated that they, “did not anticipate fully the magnitude of the additional external expertise and staff resources that would be needed.” Sure! After more than a decade of trying, the government just “just didn’t have the resources.”

Scientists and researchers are supposed to have an open mind. They are not supposed to be dogmatic and swayed by politics and peer pressure. But that is exactly what the majority of scientists and doctors have proven of themselves. It is not terribly surprising. Massive industries and shining scientific careers have been built on this faulty theory.

If it were not so tragic, it would be funny to listen to them explain away contradictory findings and make excuses for why their studies don’t match their hoped-for conclusions. The most common excuses are that the “trial didn’t last long enough” or they “didn’t lower the saturated-fat intake enough.” It seems that option number three never crosses their mind… perhaps the entire hypothesis is wrong!

Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD has called the saturated fat theory of heart disease “one of the greatest and most harmful misconceptions in the history of medicine.” Dr. George Mann called it the “public health diversion of the century.”

And the problem is not just the wasted time and billions of dollars dedicated to an unscientific myth. The bigger problem is that undue focus on the saturated fat bugaboo has stolen attention from the REAL causes of heart disease. And perhaps even worse, is that many of the dietary recommendations to reduce heart disease have actually been shown to CAUSE heart disease (not to mention cancer, diabetes and obesity).

If you truly want to protect yourself from the nation’s number one killer, don’t smoke and reduce your stress levels. At least the medical authorities have gotten those two right. And when it comes to your diet, forget about saturated fat and cholesterol. Here is what you should do instead:

• Consume more monounsaturated fats from sources like olive oil, nuts, avocados and avocado oil

• Cut out the sugar and refined carbohydrates

• Consume more omega-3 fatty acids, from wild game, grass-fed beef and bison, sardines and wild (not farm-raised) salmon. And take an omega-3 fish oil supplement.

• And reduce as much as possible omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. These come primarily from conventionally raised meats, processed foods, fried foods and vegetable and seed oils (corn, soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, etc.)

Posted in General Health, Nutrition, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Laughter Truly Is The Best Medicine

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Everyone enjoys a good laugh. Why? The human body has a strong physical response to laughter – muscles in the face and body stretch, blood pressure and pulse rise and fall, and we breathe faster which transports more oxygen through the body. Research shows laughter also strengthens the immune system, reduces food cravings and increases one’s threshold for pain. While preschool kids laugh up to 400 times a day, adults laugh a dismal 17 times per day. Here are a few reasons to fight for a few extra laughs each day:

Balance Hormones: Laughter boosts the body’s good hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters and reduces stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline and dopamine. Breath by breath, laughter builds the immune system by boosting the number of antibody-producing cells and enhancing the effectiveness of T-cells.

Burn Calories and Increase Blood Flow: Like exercise, a long bout of heavy laughter can burn calories and provide a physical and emotional release. A laughter workout tightens the abs, diaphragm and shoulders, and can even improve heart health. In a study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, researchers compared the effects of watching funny versus stressful films. Movies that elicited laughter caused blood vessels to relax and increased blood flow, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Keep Perspective: A positive outlook can do wonders for your health. If you can look at tough situations as a challenge rather than a threat and take the focus off your anger, guilt, stress and negativity, even if only for a few moments, you’ll have the perspective you need to make the most of hard times.

Make Social Connections: Laughter is contagious. Not only can a good belly laugh improve your health, it can improve the health of those around you. Sharing a laugh builds strong social bonds and a mutual sense of community.

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Time For A Spinal Tune-Up

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, August 3, 2009

When you care about your car, you take it to the shop for the tuneups it needs – oil changes, tire rotations, new brakes, etc. Your spine is no different. It needs a regular “tuneup” as well, complete with chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic tuneups can serve three purposes:

  1. Evaluate the state of your body, even if you have no pain. Even people who feel fine have areas of their spine or extremities that are out of normal alignment. When we adjust those bones back into place, people feel better in some way. If we waited until we felt pain, we would all wait until we needed root canals or crowns before going to the dentist!
  2. Address major or minor pains you currently have, but haven’t been too worried about. Have you had any nagging discomforts or pains coming from your spine or extremities? Do these discomforts prevent you from doing the activities you enjoy? Instead of wondering if the pain will continue to get worse or stay that way for the rest of your life, give chiropractic a try. You don’t have to live with pain.
  3. Prevent future problems that can and likely will arise from your joints being out of alignment and not functioning at 100 percent. Our society is moving toward preventative health care. Chiropractic has been at the forefront of this concept since the chiropractic profession was founded in 1895. Arthritis, overuse injuries (like carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow), rotator cuff injuries and knee problems are just some examples of conditions that may be prevented with chiropractic care.

The most prevalent causes of death in this country are heart disease, cancer, and stroke. What is the first symptom most of those people that die of those diseases experience? … Death! Unfortunately, that’s true. Many that die of those diseases never know they’re sick until it’s too late. Think about it… how many people are walking around feeling fine, yet have a stage 3 cancer growing inside? We see cases on a daily basis where a lower back pain began with a simple movement, like getting in the car, or picking up a pencil, or mowing the lawn. Only after further investigation do we discover that they’ve had degenerative joint disease developing inside for several years.

Scheduling chiropractic tuneups allows you to take care of your body so that your machine functions as well as it possibly can. Please remember to make time to care for yourself; you are worth every penny. Call your chiropractor today.

Posted in General Back Pain, General Chiropractic, General Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What the Heck are “Superfoods?”… and Who Cares?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

“Superfoods”… Great. Another buzzword and miracle supplement to think about. Just what you need, right? Well, let’s try to shed a little light on the subject and figure out if you should care or not.

First, let’s define what “superfoods” are not. They are not the latest, greatest multi-level product to annoy your friends and family with. They are not miracle pills that are overpriced and underwhelming. They are not wonder powders that will cure everything from Alzheimer’s to yeast infections. They are not the diet of Batman, Spiderman, Superman, or any other superhero.

Simply put, superfoods are just regular foods that happen to be extremely high in beneficial vitamins & minerals and other health promoting nutrients. Including some of these foods in your regular diet will go a long way towards improving your overall health and general well-being. Eating these foods maximizes your return for the amount you take in. A ton of research has been done, and continues today, proving the health benefits of these foods, such as: improved immune system, detoxification of blood and soft tissues, supreme antioxidants, improved mentality, decreased risk of cancer, decreased risk of degenerative diseases, etc. No… these superfoods aren’t a miraculous cure-all. However, for thousands of years, the health benefits of these foods have been known and used medicinally in different cultures around the world.

  1. Sprouts (broccoli, brussels, alfalfa, etc.) – Although the mature plants are very high in nutritional value, the younger sprouts contain a higher concentration of phytochemicals and compounds.
  2. Pomegranate – The history of this ancient fruit may be evident in The Bible and Greek mythology, but it is modern science that is extolling the its virtues. It’s been shown to fight hardening of the arteries, diabetes, heart disease, and a particularly good fighter of prostate cancer.
  3. Barley – This cereal grain, similar to wheat, contains all eight essential amino acids and can aid regulation of blood sugar for up to 10 hours. (sorry guys… this does not include beer and whisky!)
  4. Green Foods – These can be things like wheatgrass and the like… basically bright green plants.
  5. Buckwheat – Buckwheat contains rutin, a medicinal chemical that strengthens capillary walls, reducing hemorrhaging in people with high blood pressure and increasing microcirculation in people with chronic venous insufficiency. Buckwheat contains D-chiro-inositol, a component of the secondary messenger pathway for insulin signal transduction found to be deficient in Type II diabetes and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It is being studied for use in treating Type II diabetes.
  6. Legumes (alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, peanuts, etc.) – Although the many different types of beans, lentils, peas, etc. have individual variances and health benefits, most are also great sources of protein and fiber.
  7. Hot Peppers – Chilis contain high amounts of vitamin C and carotene (“provitamin A”). In addition, peppers are a good source of most B vitamins, and vitamin B6 in particular. They are very high in potassium and high in magnesium and iron. Capsaicin is a safe and effective analgesic agent in the management of arthritis pain, herpes zoster-related pain, diabetic neuropathy, postmastectomy pain, and headaches.
  8. Nuts & Seeds – Nuts like walnuts and almonds are a great source for healthy fats and protein. Due to the high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, research has suggested these help in the prevention of heart disease, anti-inflammation, and others.
  9. Turmeric – This is an incredibly powerful spice that is most commonly associated with Indian cuisine. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. The health benefits of turmeric are widespread and ancient. Recent research is focusing on beneficial aspects with regards to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and liver disease. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, relieves the pain of irritable bowel syndrome, supports nerve growth, and is a natural selective monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Taking or eating turmeric with black pepper increases absorption by up to 2000% without any adverse affects.
  10. Allium Family (garlic, onions, chives, shallots, etc.) – Perhaps the most powerful medicinal plant and herb family known to man. Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antihelminic (worms), and its anticancerous properties are being researched.

So… superfoods… should you care? Absolutely. Make these foods a part of your regular diet and you will reap the benefits of their potent nutritional value. However, don’t fall for the hype coming from some product salespeople. If you’re asked to spend an asinine amount for a bottle of wonder juice that’ll cure anything you can throw at it… run the other way. You can likely find a near identical product at your local health food store at a more reasonable cost.

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

Tai Chi For Health

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tai chi is an ancient practice that combines breathing techniques, meditation and body movements performed in slow-motion. Although first taught as a form of self-defense, tai chi is now practiced by millions of people worldwide as a means of reducing stress, promoting balance and flexibility, and enhancing well-being.

A recent study examined the role tai chi can play in treating heart failure. In the trial, 30 patients with chronic stable heart failure (average age 64) were randomized to receive either “usual care” (consisting of drug therapy and diet/exercise counseling), or usual care plus 12 weeks of tai chi training. Tai chi training consisted of a one-hour tai chi class held twice weekly. To measure changes between groups, the researchers incorporated a variety of tests, including a quality of life questionnaire and an exercise capacity test.

At the end of 12 weeks, patients in the tai chi group had significantly improved quality of life scores compared to the usual care-only group (an average of 25 points higher among tai chi patients). In addition, patients in the tai chi group were able to walk longer distances without difficulty, and had lower levels of B-type natriuretic peptides (an indicator of heart failure) than usual care-only patients. The researchers concluded that tai chi “may be a beneficial adjunctive treatment that enhances quality of life and functional capacity in patients with chronic heart failure who are already receiving standard medical therapy.”

Here is a good picture of the general movements associated with a Tai Chi routine…

… Or, click here to watch a video of Tai Chi being performed.

Give it a try, or sign up for a class… you’ll be surprised at how much fun you have and at what a good workout it is!

Reference: Yeh GY, Wood MJ, Lorell BH, et al. Effects of tai chi mind-body movement therapy on functional status on exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Medicine Oct. 15, 2004;117(8):541-548

Posted in General Health, Other Pain Conditions, Stretches & Exercises | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Another Reason To Eat Your Veggies!

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Remember when your mother used to tell you to eat your vegetables because they were good for you? You might not have liked it, but increasing research shows just how right she was. The latest example: A study suggests that eating a healthy dose of vegetables each day is good for you by helping to prevent atherosclerosis, which in turn can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and other disorders.

In this study, researchers looked at the relationship between vegetables and atherosclerosis in a group of genetically altered mice. For 16 weeks, half of the mice were fed a diet in which 30 percent of the calories came from a mixture of broccoli, green beans, peas, corn and carrots. The rest of the mice consumed a diet free of vegetables. At the end of the study period, researchers found that, compared to the mice that didn’t eat any vegetables, the buildup of atherosclerosis was 38 percent less in the group of mice that ate the vegetable diet. In addition, blood cholesterol levels were 32 percent lower, and the mice in the vegetable diet group weighed an average of 7 percent less.

If you’re at risk of developing atherosclerosis, now might be the time to consider changing your diet to include more vegetables like the ones included in this study. Doctors of chiropractic are also well-versed in nutrition and can help create a diet program that increases your consumption of vegetables, fruits and other foods that are good for you.

Adams MR, Golden DL, Chen H, et al. A diet rich in green and yellow vegetables inhibits atherosclerosis in mice. Journal of Nutrition July 2006;136:1886-1889.

Posted in General Health, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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