Archive for Healthy Lifestyle – Page 2

Sleep Deprivation and Heart Health – A Serious Link

Our busy lifestyles often leave us little time for rest, which has resulted in a major change in sleep patterns. Now people sleep an hour to two hours less than they did just 50 years ago. While some people might consider this great for productivity, it’s not a good situation for our health. Recent research indicates there’s a link between those shorter hours of sleep and an increased potential to develop heart disease.

Man with sleep deprivationIn the United States, heart disease is reported to be the leading cause of death and disability, with strokes being the number 4 cause. A major threat factor in both cases is high blood pressure.

The lack of sleep—or prolonged sleep—isn’t necessarily the cause of heart disease, but it definitely affects the heart disease risk factors in terms of arrhythmia, stroke and heart failure.

These are the kinds of statistics that research has revealed about sleep deprivation:

  • A 48% increase in the risk of getting or dying from coronary heart disease (CHD);
  • A 15% risk increase in developing or dying from stroke;
  • Interestingly, there is also a 38% risk increase of CHD in people who sleep too much, such as nine or more hours a night!

Just like the rest of your body, your heart needs rest. It never stops beating, so resting that reduces the heart rate and blood pressure is essential to its health.

Sleep Regulates Your Health!

While you sleep, your body regulates insulin levels, hormone levels,including stress hormones, and blood pressure. When you don’t get enough sleep it throws all of those things out of sync.

It’s those hormone levels, in particular, which affect your appetite and energy. When those decrease because you’re tired, you have a greater chance for weight gain, the development of insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of physiological and biochemical abnormalities associated with initiating cardiovascular disease. This is because it triggers inflammation, and studies have shown that inflammation causes high blood pressure. This explains why the risk of stroke or heart attack shoots up when you don’t get enough sleep.

If you already have a heart problem, even short-term sleep deficit is shown to be harmful. The effect of daylight saving time, which strips away that extra hour of additional sleep in spring, is known to increase the risk for heart attacks by a surprising 4%!

The depth of your sleep is also important. Along with shorter sleep, shallow sleep can result in hypertension. Without long periods of deep rest, the important chemicals needed to keep the heart rate and blood pressure lowered, aren’t activated. So, the longer you sleep deeply, the better rested you are and the better your heart feels.

Sleep Apnea

Not everyone suffers from sleep apnea, but the manner in which the condition affects heart health is one of the reasons the “sleep and hearth health” link has been identified.

Sleep apnea causes snoring and gasping for breath while a person sleeps. That condition results in the heart rate increasing, a rise in blood pressure, and frequently disrupted sleep. All of the bodily functions that normally slow down at night are forced to continue operating at a higher rate of activity. Over time, the higher blood pressure carries over into the day. Some researchers believe at least one-third of identified cases of high blood pressure among adults are due to sleep apnea. As mentioned above, high blood pressure during the day increases the chance for cardiovascular issues.

Sleep Deprivation Catches Up with You

No one intentionally decides they just aren’t going to get enough sleep. Even night owls require down time to rejuvenate, and people who thrive on activity and long hours are forced to sleep whether they want to or not. But in many cases it’s simply difficult to fall asleep, or to stay asleep when you finally manage to drift off. That can be due to external factors, such as work, children, emergencies, a middle-of-the-night phone call, a restless partner or pet, an uncomfortable bed, or to internal factors such as worry, anxiety, bad dreams, depression, excitement, or sundry other mental intrusions.

A lack of sleep causes “sleep debt,” which isn’t unlike being overdrawn at your bank. It catches up with your body, and your body won’t let you go without repaying the debt. People don’t adapt to getting less sleep. Eventually all of your functions are impaired and you have to react.

Here are a few tips to help with sleep issues:

  • Get a little exercise during the day
  • Keep regular bedtime hours
  • Refrain from late night snacks; especially caffeine and alcohol
  • Keep your bedroom dark and quiet
  • Limit your use electronics such as a tablet or a cell phone

If you need extra help, a cup of soothing herbal tea, accompanied by a a small dose (1 to 3 mg.) of melatonin may help you fall asleep.

There is an Irish proverb that says “A good laugh and good sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” An excellent perspective to embrace in order to keep your heart healthy!

Pregnancy, Chiropractic and Nutrition – One Woman’s Story

When Sarah found out she was pregnant, she knew she wanted to make changes in her health. It was just weeks into her pregnancy and her back was already hurting. And as a former smoker, she was concerned about the impact that cigarettes might have had upon her body.

Over the years, Sarah had relied on chiropractic treatment to take care her back pain, but now she wan’t sure if the combination of pregnancy and chiropractic was a good idea. Since Sarah’s entire family had been to Dr. Mixon for chiropractic care, she knew she could trust him to offer sound, honest advice.

Pregnancy and chiropractic treatment

Dr. Mixon explained that pregnancy and chiropractic treatment can make a world of difference in a woman’s comfort levels while pregnant. Treatment is perfectly safe during pregnancy even in the earliest weeks. In fact, chiropractic treatments can improve alignment in the spine and pelvis making the birthing process.

Dr. Mixon also explained that the physical rehab offered by their Garland chiropractic clinic would help strengthen her muscles and improve her range of motion. He also said she could add in therapeutic massage after her first 12 weeks.

Massage is known to help relieve sciatica pain in pregnant women. Massage can also help:

  • Reduce edema
  • Relieve anxiety and tension
  • Improve oxygenation in the muscles and soft tissues
  • Ease joint pain
  • Improve circulation

Once Sarah understood the safety of treatment, she began to visit the clinic each week. Soon the pain was gone. But Sarah received another surprising benefit from her visits to Texas Spine & Wellness.

The doctor recommended the professional grade prenatal vitamins they stocked in the office. Although she was already taking a prenatal vitamin, she was willing to give the new brand a try. She says that’s when everything changed.

A new prenatal vitamin changed Sarah’s health and energy

“Before I took the prenatal vitamins from Frontrunners Health, my hair used to come out in handfuls. I was really worried.” says Medders. “But after beginning Baby’s Best Start, I stopped losing my hair and it started looking thicker and shinier. People kept asking me about my shampoo, but I had to explain that my hair was different because of my prenatal vitamins. Even better than the changes in my hair was the amount of energy I had.”

Now, six months after the birth of her son, Sara says, I really believe the combination of vitamins and chiropractic treatment was the reason my baby, Obee, was born so healthy.”

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Prenatal vitamins with a difference

Kerrin Kuntzman, cofounder of Frontrunners Health explains, “The ingredients in our professional grade prenatal vitamins are different from the drugstore brands. Our formulation is designed to supply nutrients in their most natural and bioavailable forms. That’s why we use folate vs. the synthetic form of the vitamin, folic acid.

Folate is the vitamin that is so vital in preventing neural tube defects in a developing baby. We also use a methylated form of vitamin B-12, which is particularly important to support energy levels. Lutein is added for baby’s eye and brain development.”

The vitamin provides other key nutrients as well. Biotin, a costly supplement that supports healthy hair and nail growth, is often omitted from lesser quality supplements because of its high cost, whereas Baby’s Best Start provides 100% of the RDA. The vitamins are also free of artificial colors, flavorings or additives. In addition, its vegetarian formula is safe for those following a gluten-free diet.

“If an expectant mother wants to take the best possible prenatal vitamin, they should consider trying Baby’s Best Start. It’s great for use both before and after pregnancy.” Dr. Mixon adds.

Medders is a believer in both chiropractic care during pregnancy and her prenatal vitamins, “Even though I’ve had my baby, I still schedule monthly appointments with Dr. Mixon. And I still take my prenatal vitamins because I feel so much better and have a lot more energy. And believe me, I need plenty of energy to take care of a six month old baby boy who requires every minute of my time!”

In addition, to being great for pregnancy, Baby’s Best Start prenatals are wonderful for women who are breast feeding. They’re great hair and nail vitamins too! If you’d like to try a bottle of Frontrunner’s prenatal vitamins for yourself, you can take advantage of a $5.00 discount coupon code on your initial order. Just enter the code B8HWFE82 upon checkout. You can find the vitamins through the Texas Spine & Wellness office, the Frontrunners Health Solutions website or at Amazon.

Want to Protect Your Heart? Eat Red Meat Like Grandpa Used To

By now, if you follow the latest diet trends you might be a little confused. What’s the best way to eat if you want to be healthy? Should you follow a low fat, high carb diet or just the opposite? Should you eat like a caveman or live on protein shakes?

If you’ve always thought that Grandpa and Grandma ate what they wanted to and seemed to do just fine — you may be right.

image of a grilled steakOver the decades, many medical experts have led us to think that red meat, whole milk, eggs and bacon are enemies to good health and a healthy heart. But are these deeply ingrained beliefs really accurate?

It doesn’t seem so. A meta analysis (a review of research about previous research) of almost 400 studies indicate that saturated fat rich foods like beef and full fat dairy won’t increase your risk for heart disease..(1)

Another study, executed by the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Pennsylvania State University between 2007 and early 2009, showed that a daily serving (between 4 and 5.5 ounces of lean beef) actually reduced cholesterol levels when eaten alongside a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, fruit and whole grains.

Grass-fed beef delivers superior benefits

To ensure you’re getting the highest quality beef, look for grass fed and grass finished beef. The fat in cattle raised under these conditions delivers three to five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a powerful fatty acid, than the CLA in grain feed cattle.

CLA is also found in raw, grass-fed dairy.

The proven benefits of conjugated linoleic acid include:

  • Improvements in long-term weight management
  • lowered inflammation within the body
  • improvements in insulin resistance
  • reduction of tumor size in patients who have cancer
  • lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels

In addition to CLA, grass feed beef has higher levels of certain vitamins including vitamin E, thiamin and riboflavin and is higher in omega 3 fatty acids.

As for whole fat dairy, a frothy glass of ice cold whole milk could also benefit your heart. That’s because the calcium in the milk helps to lower blood pressure and the vitamin K2, found in whole milk has artery protecting benefits. Organic whole milk is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. And if you eat raw cheese, you’ll tap into even more of the benefits of conjugated linoleic acid.

So back to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s diet. (For you twenty and thirty year olds, you may need to think back one more generation.) If you’re like me, you may remember a relative who lived to a ripe old age. In my case, it was my grandmother, who lived to be one month shy of 98. She was very healthy, never fussed over her cholesterol levels and ate what she wanted to.

So what was the difference with this generation of healthy 70, 80 and 90 year olds? The answer seems pretty simple.

Your Nana and PawPaw, and my grandmother, ate lots of home cooked food, including meats, vegetables and whole grains. My grandmother started off each morning with yogurt and fresh fruit.

What they didn’t do was eat a shopping carts worth of highly processed foods like potato chips and crackers each week. Neither did they supplement their daily meals with McDonalds and Taco Bell. And if you were to monitor their sugar consumption, you’d probably find that they drank less soda pop and ate fewer desserts.

Vegetables were a stable of their diet. And exercise was a natural part of their daily routines, whether it took the form of gardening, raking leaves or walking to the store.

We know that it’s hard to let go of long held beliefs, so If you’re still afraid that a steak might not be good for you, then follow the American Heart Association recommendations — 6 ounces of lean meat a day. Lean cuts include chuck, loin, sirloin or round. In the context of healthy eating, there’s nothing wrong with adding red meat and whole fat dairy in moderation to your diet.

So, if you’re craving a succulent grilled steak, go fire up the grill. And if you’re accompanying that steak with a baked potato you might try adding some grated raw milk cheddar cheese to the top.

Go ahead, live a little! You deserve it.