About Kerrin Kuntzman

Kerrin Kuntzman

Kerrin is the office manager at Texas Spine & Wellness. She often blogs about alternative medical care and nutrition. She is an ardent supporter of chiropractic medicine and uses chiropractic treatment not only for herself, but for her pets as well!

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7 Immune Boosting Foods You Need This Season

The first cases of flu are already making the rounds here in Dallas, Texas. So, it’s time to remind our family and friends of the natural ways to improve the immune system, your body’s first line of defense against nasty bugs and viruses.

While the hospital and ER room are a vital resource for health emergencies, the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” comes to mind. We can lower our chance of ending up in the doctor’s office or emergency room with a severe cold or the flu by keeping our immune systems strong.

Here are 7 foods and herbs that deserve to take a place in your “natural” medicine cabinet.

Garlic

This is one of the most readily available immune system boosters. For centuries, garlic has been used as a natural medicine. Garlic has sulfur compounds that act as antibacterial and antiviral agents.

Garlic, when taken as a tea sweetened with honey, is an excellent treatment for respiratory infections, colds, cough, and influenza. You can sweeten “garlic tea” with real honey, which also acts a throat soother. To try this recipe, simply add one crushed glove of garlic to a cup of hot water. Squeeze in the juice of half a fresh lemon and a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered honey and your home remedy for coughs and cold is ready to drink.

If having “garlicky” breath isn’t appealing, there are also natural garlic supplements. Kyolic brand products are one of our favorites because they are “de-odorized”.

Echinacea

immune boosting tea
Echinacea is a natural flowering herb that has been used in natural medicine for centuries. Chinese herbalists often recommend this herb for its immune-boosting properties. At the first signs of a cold or flu, try drinking echinacea tea.

Many herb teas will include additional immune-system boosting herbs and spices, such as licorice, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. For best results you should continue to take echinacea tea for a few days after your recovery.

Echinacea is also available in a tincture form and in a variety of immune support supplements. Tinctures can be taken in water. Don’t be surprised if you feel a slightly unusual sensation after swallowing. This is echinacea’s trademark “tingle’.

Vitamin C

Early sailors would spend months at sea without any fresh fruit. These sailors often suffered from scurvy, a very serious nutritional deficiency caused by a lack of vitamin C. The condition left them with bleeding gums and a shortage of energy. Fortunately, most of us don’t face anything this severe, however, since our bodies are unable to produce vitamin C on their own, it’s critical we get an adequate supply through food or supplements.  Surprisingly, you don’t need to rely on citrus fruit to supply your daily serving of Vitamin C. Green and red bell peppers, broccoli and kale all contain more vitamin C per serving than an orange! By ensuring an abundant intake of vitamin C, you’re supplying your body with strong antioxidants that can strengthen your body’s natural defenses.

Yogurt and Probiotics

The bacteria located in our gut is absolutely essential for effective and healthy digestion. The good gut flora breaks down the food for assimilation into our system.

Unfortunately, even a single dose of a powerful antibiotic can kill all the bacteria in our gut, both good and bad. To ensure proper and healthy digestion, it’s important to add good probiotics to your diet.

Probiotics or live active cultures, can dramatically increase white blood cells, which are part of the immune system’s “attack team”. The white blood cells search and destroy bad bacteria and viruses.

You can get probiotics by eating a daily serving of yogurt or kefir. If you’re choosing yogurt from a grocery store, avoid those with a high amount of sugar. One of the best ways to receive a therapeutic dose of probiotics is to buy a high-quality supplement.

Green Tea

picture of immune-boosting green tea.
The benefits of green tea in protecting our bodies and boosting the immune system are well documented. Green tea contains an important contains theanine, an important amino acid helpful in fighting illness. Teas are also a good source of antioxidants, which are another critical component of our immune systems. One added benefit of L-theanine is its ability to calm frazzled nerves.

Protein

Protein contains zinc, which the body uses to fight off infections. Zinc is also necessary for that critical immune system agent — white blood cells.

Pharmacies and drug stores will often have an entire row reserved solely for this important mineral supplement. Even a mild zinc deficiency reduces our immune protection.

High quality protein mixes added to milk or milk substitutes can add a substantial boost to your diet. Better yet, add the protein blend to a smoothie made with fruits and vegetables. For vegetarians, look for protein powders derived from peas.

Healthy Oils

Our bodies require healthy fats to function optimally. Without getting into too many technical details, health-conscious consumers should focus on heart healthy oils, such as olive oil and coconut oil. These two oils provide excellent sources of omega 3 fats. Avoid the “cooked” oils such as canola, safflower, vegetable, etc. These oils interfere with cell metabolism of sugar compounds, which can increase your odds of contracting diabetes. Many of these oils have also been produced from genetically modified foods.

Also check out the fatty fish sources of omega-3’s, such as sardines and herring. To boost your heart health, consider supplementing your diet with a professional grade fish oil.

Summing up

As you experiment with adding these natural immune-boosting foods to your diet, remember to avoid foods that may slow down your efforts. Drinking too much alcohol, as well as a diet high-sugar diet can be very detrimental to your overall health.

Keep your immune system healthy and happy, and your body will sail through the year without a sneeze or a sniffle!

Garland chiropractor, Dr. Mixon and the staff of Texas Spine & Wellness take a holistic approach to health. In addition to the treatment of neck and back, and joint pain issues, we also offer bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and nutritional programs.  We stock a wide range of professional grade supplements at the clinic. If you would like more information about our chiropractic care or if we can help you with your nutritional needs, please give us a call at 972-840-2520.

Our Garland chiropractic office is centrally located and is easily accessible by Dallas, Richardson, Mesquite, Rowlett and Rockwall residents.

Are You Suffering with Joint Pain? Ease it with Collagen

Are your joints feeling a little stiff? Not moving with the easy fluidity you had in the past? Is it difficult to squat or run, or to simply toss a ball or pick up a child? You’re not alone. Studies indicate between 50 to 75 million people now suffer from painful swollen joints — and the number is increasing.

joint pain and collagen

It’s not that we don’t expect bouts with pain. Accidents and illness occur every day. It’s an obstacle course called ”Life.” Unfortunately, swollen joints are no longer unusual. And that kind of inflammation is associated with several types of disease: gout, fibromyalgia, lupus, and, of course, arthritis. In particular, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are two of the most damaging. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) inflames joints throughout the body. Osteoarthritis (OA) is specifically a physical condition resulting from the wear and tear on the joints. It’s literally a degenerative disease. Because everyone uses every joint every day, this has become the most common reason for swollen joints. It’s an aspect of aging that many can’t escape!

Texas Spine & Wellness understands joint pain treatment and is focused on helping clients achieve, if not a pain-free life, a manageable level that allows a more normal mobility. It can be done with a program of proper diet, exercise, and supplements. We recommend Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate because we’ve found it delivers the best results to ease joint pain and discomfort.

Let’s look more closely at joint pain and at collagen supplements when taken to  reduce inflammation.

How does arthritis attack the joints?

Some researchers suggest arthritis may result from a “confusion” that occurs in the immune system after the body has suffered an infection due to a bacteria or virus. The immune system suddenly begins to attack joints, an attack that can expand to other parts of the body. OA can flare up when an affected joint is injured or suffers some trauma. However, because RA is degenerative and associated with the immune system, only immune system changes can result in a flare-up.

As to why joints swell, there are two causes: the joint lining itself swells, or the amount of fluid in the joint increases. Swelling is a very active process. As white blood cells (also called inflammatory cells) and blood enter the joint, proteins are discharged into the soft tissues surrounding the area between the joints and the bones. Proteins are actually inflammatory molecules. Of course, that additional blood flow swells the joint and—doing what blood is intended to do—adds warmth. All those inflammatory materials increase the collection of fluids in and around the joint, and the swelling also increases. Initial swelling encourages more swelling. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy! The end result is damaged bone and cartilage.

How is life affected?

If you have, or have had, inflamed joints, you well know mornings are the worst time for stiffness. You’ve been in bed all night and when you try to bounce up out of bed—wow! You feel like a mannequin. If the stiffness lasts more than an hour, it’s likely inflammatory arthritis. Along with the stiffness is a dull ache you can’t shake, although, thankfully, not all stiffness is accompanied by pain. If you’re stiff after exercising, it’s more likely OA, which indicates the joints are beginning to fail. But you can also feel stiff after resting, such as when you sit after walking or sit just to relax after a long day. It takes some of the pleasure out of simple relaxation. An analogy often used to describe how stiffening joints feel, is to say the sensation is like gelatin setting, a process of gradual firming.

It’s an unpleasant condition for anyone, especially because it can affect any joint in your body: shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Even the jaw can be affected. It affects how you move, how you feel, and your mood. After all, how can you be upbeat when your mobility is limited and, in many cases, you ache as well?

Collagen: what is it and how can it help?

Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate
Collagen is a protein that makes up about a quarter of our body mass, which means It’s the most abundant protein within our bodies. It’s also the major component of our connective tissues, a part of the structure in our skin and bones, our hair and nails, and our tendons and ligaments. There’s a singular amino acid blend in collagen that contributes to joint health, muscle growth, and the glow that comes when we feel relatively healthy.

Nutritional supplements made from collagen are derived from animal materials such as beef, pork, or fish bones and skin. It’s processed to make digestion easier. All those amino acids of which it’s comprised are instrumental in building joint cartilage, and it’s believed to have  anti-inflammatory properties. By stimulating the production of joint collagen, Collagen Hydrolysate supplements can ease OA symptoms. And collagen is generally well tolerated, with no major side-effects.

Which brings us to Great Lakes Hydrolyzed Collagen protein powder or gelatin supplement and why Texas Spine & Wellness recommends it as your best selection to bring relief to swollen joints. Beef hydrolyzed collagen combines a unique assemblage of 20 amino acids, concentrated in high enough levels to not only promote bone healing, but to provide joint care beyond what other proteins have to offer. It’s designed with a low molecular weight so digestion is easy, and, because of the hydrolization, assimilation is fast, with better hydration in connective tissues. Enrichment of the body’s proteins begins within minutes after taking it.

There are many additional benefits from collagen. Nitrogen balance is one. Nitrogen is believed to be an anti-aging product that supports collagen loss and damage to cartilage that comes with aging. It’s good for all those parts mentioned above: skin, hair, and nails on the outside, and bones, tendons and ligaments on the inside.

We guarantee the quality of this product, which is produced under very strict sanitary conditions, meeting standards established by the U.S. Pharmacopeia. The National Formulary regulates the Pharmacopeia. Having been rigorously tested for pH, strength, moisture and viscosity, Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate can be immediately introduced into various recipes to provide that needed collagen boost

Don’t let stiff joints change your life!

Aching joints and stiffness are often unavoidable due to aging, illness, or injury. But it’s not a condition you have to live with. You do have choices!  A selective diet and the right exercise suited to your age and overall condition are the first steps toward healthier joints. The next step is a supplement created purposefully to attack the issue, such as Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate. If you would like to purchase a can for yourself you can purchase it here. The big step after that? Set up regular checkups with your primary doctor and chiropractor, and follow their advice for a healthy life style plan. As a chiropractor in Garland, TX , Dr. Mixon specializes in the treatment of joint pain.

Healthy joints are necessary for a comfortable but active life. Visit Texas Spine & Wellness. We want to help you achieve and maintain the healthy joints you were born with!

Exercise Safety – 5 Ways to Begin Moving Again

Has it been a while since you were able to exercise? Even with the best intentions, life can get in the way. Before you know it, it’s been months since you were able to flex your muscles and build up a sweat. Now you’re eager to get back into the groove—but guess what? Your body isn’t too happy about the prospect of having to work again! You might need tips for exercise safety.

Senior citizens practicing exercise safety
Consider what happens to your body when you don’t exercise. When they aren’t used beyond the requirement to simply breathe, lungs tend to lose their elasticity. Lack of exercise causes your blood vessels to shrink, meaning decreased blood volume and less ability to draw oxygen from the blood cells. When that happens, your heart works harder just to get oxygen to your muscles. There goes your heart rate!

Equally important is how inactivity can lead to joint pain.

But even if you’re anxious to get back into shape, the last thing you need is to strain muscles or tendons in the effort. That would throw you right back out of the exercise mode and be painful, to boot.

Our Garland Chiropractic Clinic is all about being healthy and pain-free, so we have some tips to help you with exercise safety and ways to achieve your “back on the treadmill” goal.

  • Before you start any exercise program, Consult with your Doctor to determine your health ‘base line.’ Be sure you don’t have any underlying conditions that exercise could exacerbate.
  • Keep your goals realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure or disappointment by reaching for perfection. If you need to lose weight, go after the pounds a few at a time. Know your own body shape and accept that you might not end up like that model on a magazine cover. If you want to build muscle, strengthen yourself gradually and don’t focus on six-pack abs. The idea is to be slimmer, healthier, and energized.
  • Start Slowly! It took time to lose your physical edge; it’s going to take time to regain it. If you push yourself, you might stress parts of your body that aren’t ready for such attention. It’s OK to return to the same type of exercise you’re used to, but do so at a lower intensity. Intersperse your run with periods of walking. Break up aerobics with a few minutes of rest. If you do warm-ups, stretch them out so your body really has a change to loosen up. Same thing with cooling down. And keep the amount of time you engage in any exercise to a minimum until you’ve built up the strength and energy for longer periods.
  • Commit to a schedule. The easiest way to stick with a plan is to make it a habit. Select a time that works for you and try to keep it set aside strictly for that purpose.
  • Find an exercise buddy. You want exercise to be fun, so if you enjoy it more having a companion share the experience, then ask a friend to join you. It could make it easier to monitor yourself than if you do it alone. If you don’t have a human friend who can spare the time then bring along your dog if you’re running or walking.
  • Above all, be patient! Your body is adaptive, but don’t push it! And if you feel you have pushed it, ask your doctor to look you over to be sure you’re OK to keep exercising. He or she might recommend that you ease back, or they might recommend certain exercises that will help you get in shape without stressing your body.

Dr. Mixon and our staff at Texas Spine & Wellness know how everything connects in your body and can help you with exercise safety. We know common stress points and can help you avoid problems. Allow us to help you plan an exercise program that will enable you achieve your fitness goals without injury. Give us a call us at (972) 840-2520 and set up an appointment today.