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Research Shows You Can Improve Your Health by Adding These Three Things to Your Whey Protein

2 Feb

Surveys have shown that the vast majority of athletes take protein supplements, and more and more “regular” people (non-athletes) are taking them as well. But are they good for you, and should you be taking them?

Some experts claim protein supplements are important for both athletes and regular Joes, while others say they are a complete waste of money.

The purpose of this article is not to give you the complete answer as to whether or not you should take protein supplements; however, here is some great new information that can help you make an informed decision…

Dr. Algidas Liutkevicius and his colleagues recently tested two versions of a whey-based drink that included both vitamin D and prebiotic dietary fiber. One drink included calcium phosphate and the other version included calcium lactate.

Because it’s important for a “function beverage” to taste good, they tested the drinks on trained tasters to find out which drink they preferred based purely on taste.

The version of the drink that included calcium lactate won the taste test and was then tested on thirty subjects against a control drink to see how it affected their overall health.

Results

According to Dr. Liutkevicius, “After 21 days of drinking the beverage, the volunteers’ blood analysis showed a significant decrease in LDL-cholesterol (P < 0.01) and triglyceride (P < 0.01) concentrations—changes which would be likely to have a beneficial impact on their lives.”

It seems as though adding calcium, vitamin D, and prebiotic dietary fiber to a beverage containing whey protein may have huge health benefits for those who drink it. At least according to this study, whey protein with the addition of the compounds listed above is not a complete waste of money. But here is something to think about…

Vitamin D3 supplementation alone has been shown to have many health benefits. In fact, many experts state that most Westerners are vitamin D deficient and supplementation could help improve a large assortment of health problems.

According to an article by Dr. Chris D. Meletic, “The latest research, however, shows that 1,25-dihyroxy Vitamin D3 deficiency is linked to a surprising number of other health conditions such as depression, back pain, cancer, both insulin resistance and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, impaired immunity and macular degeneration.

“As it becomes clear that Vitamin D3 plays a wide role in overall health, it’s becoming equally clear that a large percentage of individuals are deficient in this important nutrient, which has hormone-like activity. The fear of skin cancer has stopped many individuals from obtaining beneficial amounts of sunlight.”

Additionally, studies have shown vitamin D levels have an inverse relationship with LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels.

So the question here is, was it the combination of whey and the other additives like vitamin D that caused the great results or would supplementing with vitamin D3 alone have had the same benefits? We don’t know the answer but either way, it’s clear most Americans don’t get enough vitamin D and improving your vitamin D levels will probably also improve your health.

Is a Vegetarian Diet Worse for the Environment?

Here is a recent headline: “Vegetarian and ‘healthy’ diets could be more harmful to the environment. Researchers say eating lettuce is ‘over three times worse’ in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon.”

Sounds contradictory to everything you may have heard up to this point about diets and their effect on the environment, doesn’t it?

It gets more interesting… According to Science Daily: “Following the USDA recommendations to consume more fruits, vegetables, dairy, and seafood is more harmful to the environment because those foods have relatively high resource uses and greenhouse gas emissions per calorie, say researchers. A new study measured the changes in energy use, blue water footprint and GHG emissions associated with US food consumption patterns.”

Dr. Paul Fischbeck, a Professor of Social and Decisions Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University writes, “Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon… Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery, and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.”

Michelle Tom, a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University adds, “There’s a complex relationship between diet and the environment… What is good for us health-wise isn’t always what’s best for the environment. That’s important for public officials to know and for them to be cognizant of these tradeoffs as they develop or continue to develop dietary guidelines in the future.”

The researchers further clarified their point in an interview for the Huffington Post: “You can’t lump all vegetables together and say they’re good… You can’t lump all meat together and say it’s bad.”

The article went on to read, “The researchers didn’t find that vegetarianism is bad for the environment. They found that not every plant product is more environmentally friendly than every meat product.”

Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief

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How Important Are Music and Art to Your Happiness?

5 Jan

Here is something you will find very interesting, especially if you like to listen to music or look at art.

Researchers have reported the first real-world demonstration of what happens in the brain when people observe artwork.

A team of University of Houston scientists analyzed brain activity data collected from more than 400 people who wore EEG headsets as they viewed an exhibit at the Menil Collection, offering evidence that useable brain data can be collected outside of a controlled laboratory setting.

The researchers said that conducting a study in the lab is artificial and they wanted to look at how to measure brain activity both in action and in context.

Compared with baseline readings, they found significant increases in functional, or task-related, connectivity in localized brain networks when the subjects viewed art they considered aesthetically pleasing.

By looking at brain activity alone, the researchers could predict with 55 percent accuracy whether the participant was looking at a complex piece of art, a moderately complex piece of art, or a blank wall.

Researcher Dr. Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal notes, “I don’t think we will understand the mystery [of how art is created]. The conception of art is a very individual process, built on the artist’s experiences, skills, memories, values and drives. But we will know what happens in the brain. We might find that there are people who are very attuned to visual art, or to music, or poetry, and there might be an underlying common neural network. If we know that, we could optimize the delivery of art for therapy, for teaching.”

What About Music?

One thing is clear, our eyes are amazing and very complex. Here is something you probably know: Pupils reflexively adjust— getting bigger and smaller— based on the amount of light available at any given time. Light makes them contract and darkness makes them dilate.

Now for something you probably do not know: Pupil size is also controlled by thoughts, emotions, and mental effort. For example, pupils dilate when viewing an exciting image or while working on a difficult mental task—like a hard math problem.

Sounds can also affect the pupil. For example, pupils can dilate when a person listens to two people argue. Everyone knows that music can create strong emotional reactions in people, but pupil dilation in response to music had not been systematically studied until now. In a recent study, a joint research team from the University of Vienna and the University of Innsbruck, both in Austria, found that listening to a romantic opera dilated listener’s pupils.

In participants who claimed music plays an important part in their lives, the research team observed the participants’ pupils dilated to a greater degree during more arousing parts of the opera compared with calmer sections.

In other words, it seems the more importance you place on music, the more of an emotional impact it may have on your life. The team notes future studies will involve other musical genres so they could see how the results from this study extrapolate.

Lead researcher Dr. Bruno Gingras adds, “Our research clearly demonstrates that pupil size measurement is a promising tool to examine emotional reactions to music. Moreover, because pupil responses cannot be voluntarily controlled, they provide a direct access to listeners’ preconscious processes in response to music.”

What About Sad Music?

In 2013, a team of Japanese researchers found that sad music might actually evoke positive emotions… which is why such songs are so popular. The researchers explain that sad music evokes contradictory emotions because the participants in their study tended to feel sad music to be more tragic, less romantic, and less blithe than they themselves felt while listening to it.

According to the researcher team from Tokyo University of the Arts and the RIKEN Brain Science Institute: “Music that is perceived as sad actually induces romantic emotion as well as sad emotion. And people, regardless of their musical training, experience this ambivalent emotion to listen to the sad music… Emotion experienced by music has no direct danger or harm unlike the emotion experienced in everyday life. Therefore, we can even enjoy unpleasant emotion such as sadness. If we suffer from unpleasant emotion evoked through daily life, sad music might be helpful to alleviate negative emotion.”

It should be noted that other research has shown possible negative effects associated with listening to sad music in some people. According to researcher Dr. Suvi Saarikallio, “Analysis showed that anxiety and neuroticism were higher in participants who tended to listen to sad or aggressive music to express negative feelings, particularly in males. This style of listening results in the feeling of expression of negative feelings, not necessarily improving the negative mood.”

Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief.

Is This the Next “Superfood” Everyone Will Be Talking About?

3 Dec

In just a moment, you are going to read about a “superfood” you might want to add to your diet.  There is some pretty good research supporting this food’s benefits, benefits you probably are NOT getting right now.

But first, do you want to live longer, feel better, be stronger, and eliminate all the pain in your life?

If you do, then you are not alone.  Everyone seems to want those things.

That’s one big reason why “superfoods” are all the rage.

You’ve probably heard of various superfoods touted with all kinds of huge promises and claims like they supposedly boost energy, increase libido, and can even cure chronic disease.
What Is a Superfood?

The reality is “superfood” is not a scientific term. It’s a marketing term used to promote foods that have health benefits. That’s it.

Here is something very important to understand: all foods are chemical compounds the body breaks down and uses for whatever it needs.

Some foods have more usable nutrients than others, but your body is the real magician here.  For example, if you eat a pre-packaged piece of cake you purchased from a gas station convenience store, your body will break it down and use it for energy or to make hormones or whatever it can given what nutrients it can extract from the cake.

But if you eat fresh fruits and vegetables, there are a whole lot more readily available nutrients for your body to use.

So, the big idea to understand here is that you should eat the foods that give your body the best sources of the nutrients it needs.  Your body will create whatever you need from those building blocks.

That’s why you may want to think of superfoods as just foods that have certain great nutrients your body can easily use.  If you predominantly eat foods that are full of nutrients, you will be much healthier than if you did not.

Clearly, you are much better off eating fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats than processed junk and fast food.

One Food You Should Seriously Consider Adding to Your Diet…

Beets.  Yes, research has shown these little red roots are packed with nutrients that can produce several great health benefits.

According to an article on Science Daily posted way back in 2008: “Researchers at Barts and The London School of Medicine have discovered that drinking just 500 ml of beetroot juice a day can significantly reduce blood pressure.  The study could have major implications for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

“Led by Professor Amrita Ahluwalia of the William Harvey Research Institute at Barts and The London School of Medicine, and Professor Ben Benjamin of Peninsula Medical School, the research reveals that it is the ingestion of dietary nitrate contained within beetroot juice — and similarly in green, leafy vegetables — which results ultimately in decreased blood pressure.  Previously, the protective effects of vegetable-rich diets had been attributed to their antioxidant vitamin content.”

Then in 2010, researchers from Wake Forest showed that drinking beet juice can increase blood flow to the brain in older adults — a finding that could hold great potential for combating the progression of dementia.

Fast forward to 2015… Scientists from Penn State recently published an article titled “To Beet or Not to Beet?” The article discusses a study that found the arteries of athletes who consumed nitrate-rich beet juice prior to exercise were less stiff under resting conditions, potentially easing the heart’s workload.
More Proof…

In a study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, healthy male subjects who drank beet juice for 15 days had lower blood pressure and more dilated blood vessels both at rest and during exercise.

The blood vessels of those who drank beet juice also dilated more easily and the heart consumed less oxygen during exercise.

According to the researchers, the findings suggest that beet juice can be used as a dietary nutraceutical supplement to enhance oxygen delivery to the muscles and reduce the work the heart does during exercise.  They add, “[Exercise can be] performed at a given workload for a longer period of time before the onset of fatigue.”

In September 2015, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found drinking concentrated beet juice increased muscle power in patients with heart failure.  This study also showed that spinach makes you stronger, but it is the nitrates in spinach that are responsible, not the iron as previously thought.

Nitrates Seem to Be Key

Here’s how it works, when you eat beets, the bacteria in your tongue converts those nitrates into nitritines, and once in your gut, those nitritines are converted into nitric oxide.  Nitric oxide is a molecule deeply tied to cardiovascular health, a molecule that expands and dilates your arteries, and increases the flow of blood all around the body.

So, are beets a “superfood?”  Maybe – it depends what you consider a superfood.  What is clear is that beets are a great natural source of nitrates that your body can use for energy, strength, and all kinds of other potential health benefits.  Eating, juicing, or blending raw beets looks like it can be very beneficial to many people.

Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief.

Study Offers New Hope for Depression Sufferers…Research Shows Depression Linked to Inflammation!

3 Nov

If you suffer with depression  or know someone who does, then what you’re about to read may seem like it was written just for you.  But first…

Have you heard of Stephen Hawking?  He is widely regarded as the top mind in theoretical physics and possibly the best mind in any field.  In fact, it’s reported that his IQ score is around 160.  (Anything over 140 is considered “genius.”)

While IQ tests are great for measuring some parts on intelligence – like memory, mathematical ability, verbal reasoning, and logic – an IQ score only describes one part of the big picture.  In other words, someone with a high IQ may be smart, but it doesn’t necessarily make them wise.

But we’re going to go out on a limb and say that not only does Stephen Hawking have a genius-level IQ, he’s also extremely wise because he offers advice like this:

“However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”

While there is life, there is hope.  These are not hollow words from Hawking.  Here is why…      Hawking suffers from a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 and was not expected to live beyond age 25.  Most people diagnosed with ALS are over 50 years old and die within five years.

Hawking is still alive today at the age of 73. The disease has gradually paralyzed him, and he lost the ability to speak in the 80s.  In 1985, he began speaking through a computer system he could operate with subtle facial movements. Despite his physical limitations, Hawking spent 30 years as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge (the same position held by Isaac Newton), and he is currently the Director of Research at the school’s Center for Theoretical Cosmology.

While There Is Life, There Is Hope.

Here is a great example of why hope should never be lost.  According to an article in FEELGUIDE, “New research is revealing that many cases of depression are caused by an allergic reaction to inflammation.  Tim de Chant of NOVA writes: ‘Inflammation is our immune system’s natural response to injuries, infections, or foreign compounds.  When triggered, the body pumps various cells and proteins to the site through the blood stream, including cytokines, a class of proteins that facilitate intercellular communication.  It also happens that people suffering from depression are loaded with cytokines.’

“Inflammation is caused by obesity, high sugar diets, high quantities of trans fats, unhealthy diets in general, and other causes.”

Caroline Williams of The Guardian writes: “The good news is that the few clinical trials done so far have found that adding anti-inflammatory medicines to antidepressants not only improves symptoms, it also increases the proportion of people who respond to treatment, although more trials will be needed to confirm this.  There is also some evidence that omega 3 and curcumin, an extract of the spice turmeric, might have similar effects.  Both are available over the counter and might be worth a try, although as an add-on to any prescribed treatment – there’s definitely not enough evidence to use them as a replacement.”

Some people even believe this finding may eventually lead to a possible cure for depression. Maybe, maybe not. But…

Is There Anything You Can Do Right Now?

At the very least, start eliminating as many of the things that cause inflammation in your body as possible like processed foods, sugar, trans fats, etc.  Just eliminating processed foods can go a long way in helping you reduce inflammation in the body (not to mention you’ll probably also lose weight in the process).

It’s amazing that most health problems are self-inflicted.  For example, a new study recently published in the journal The Lancet showed poor diet and high blood pressure are now the top risk factors for early death.

A huge 25-year international study of global causes of death showed that child and maternal malnutrition, unsafe water, poor sanitation, and lack of hand washing were the leading risks for death in 1990, but these have been replaced by dietary risks and high blood pressure.

Now it turns out inflammation caused by a poor diet may be a major player in depression as well.  It’s amazing how simply eating a healthy diet has the potential to dramatically improve your wellbeing and quality of life, not to mention the length of your life…

Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief.

Want a Quick, Easy, and Cheap Way to Decrease Your Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke?

12 Oct

Do you want the healthiest heart possible?  You probably do.  Unfortunately, most people do very little to improve their heart health until it is already too late.

That is mainly because, even though heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States, the first OBVIOUS symptom of heart disease for most people is usually a heart attack!

Well, if there was something very simple, easy, and inexpensive you could do that could probably decrease your risk for having a heart attack, would you want to know about it?

And if it was really so easy, would you start doing it immediately?  If so, then you are going to love this.  Here is why…

 
The “Heart Healthy” Diet

Healthcare professionals who are up on the current research know that the Mediterranean diet is “heart healthy” and has been shown to reduce an individual’s risk for heart attack and stroke.

According to The Mayo Clinic, “Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults after following a Mediterranean diet were associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.”

Here are the basics of the Mediterranean diet:

  • Eat primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
  • Replace butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil.
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods.
  • Limit eating red meat to no more than a few times a month.
  • Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week.
  • Drink red wine in moderation (optional).

A major component of the Mediterranean diet is polyphenol-rich olive oil, but you have to be careful when you go to the store.  This is NOT the olive oil you are probably buying from your local supermarket – the type of olive oil with a light taste found in many American kitchens.  The type of olive oil you want is the green kind that has a lot of flavor.  This “good” olive oil is artisanal, fresh pressed extra virgin from orchards in Greece, Spain, Italy, Southern France, and Portugal.

You see, the type of fats found in this type of olive oil are mono-unsaturated, and it is believed that mono-unsaturated fats are the source of olive oil’s heart-healthy benefits.

In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, 25 healthy (not at risk for cardiovascular disease) European men aged 20-39 consumed doses of olive oil that were either low or high in polyphenols.

In other words, the doses were either the green, strong tasting, unrefined type (high in polyphenols) of olive oil or highly refined (low in polyphenols) kind.  The researchers then checked the participants’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL or the “bad” cholesterol) levels for markers of atherogenicity. Atherogenicity is used to determine how likely your LDL is to cause cardiovascular disease.

 

Results

Those who consumed olive oil high in polyphenol experienced a 12% reduction in LDL concentrations.  Those who took the low polyphenol oil olive had a 5% decrease in LDL concentrations.  That is a pretty big difference, but it gets even better…

When researchers looked at a specific marker for atherogenisity called apolipoprotein b (apo b), they found there was a greater reduction in apolipoprotein b in the group that consumed the high polyphenol olive oil.

They also measured Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) gene expression. Lipoprotein lipase is an enzyme that breaks down cholesterol and fat cells and reduces cardiovascular risk.  LPL gene expression did NOT change in the group consuming the low polyphenol olive oil; however, the researchers found that the LPL gene expression increased 27% in the high polyphenol olive oil group!

 

Conclusion

Consumption of high polyphenol olive oil decreases LDL concentrations and also reduced the atherogenisity of the LDL in healthy, young men.  This may be a big part of why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy.

One of the biggest take-home messages here is to be careful when selecting olive oil.  Make sure you are buying and consuming olive oil that is artisanal, fresh pressed, and extra virgin so it is high in polyphenols.  This olive oil will also be more green and flavorful and often has a little sediment at the bottom.

You may be used to the much less flavorful olive oil and high polyphenol olive oil may take a little getting used to, but the health benefits seem to be potentially quite large.

Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief.

Some Physical Activities Help You Sleep Better and Some Can Keep You from Getting a Good Night’s Rest…

9 Sep

Do You Know Which Are Which?

Are you tired? Do you wake up more exhausted than when you went to bed? Do you gulp down coffee just to try to make it through the day?

If you do, you are not alone. In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data from 74,571 people and found: “35.3% reported <7 hours of sleep during a typical 24-hour period, 48.0% reported snoring, 37.9% reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month, and 4.7% reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month. This is the first CDC surveillance report to include estimates of drowsy driving and unintentionally falling asleep during the day. The National Department of Transportation estimates drowsy driving to be responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually in the United States.”

Not only that, experts from the CDC report that people experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.

There has been quite a bit of debate as to how many hours of sleep the average person needs. Some people need relatively little sleep while others need much more.

What Is the Optimal Amount of Sleep for You?

That is not an easy question, and it cannot be answered here. But here is something that can help you…

There is no doubt quality of sleep is more important than quantity of sleep. In other words, great sleep for a relatively short time can be much more beneficial than longer periods of poor quality sleep.

Waking up exhausted or even more tired than when you went to bed, even when you “slept” for eight to nine hours, is a perfect example.

Let’s face it, it’s easy for someone to give you advice to get more sleep. In reality, life just doesn’t work that way. There are only so many hours in the day.

That’s why maximizing the QUALITY of the sleep you get is so important. A new study sheds some interesting light on this…

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that physical activities such as walking, aerobics/calisthenics, biking, gardening, golfing, running, weight-lifting, and yoga/pilates are all associated with better sleep habits. In contrast, the study shows that activities like household chores and childcare are associated with an increased likelihood of poor sleep habits.

This information is important because “physical activity” has long been touted as beneficial to sleep. But now, according to this study, not all activities are equal and some, in fact, have a negative impact on sleep. Dr. Michael Grandner, an instructor in Psychiatry and member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Penn adds, “Although previous research has shown that lack of exercise is associated with poor sleep, the results of this study were surprising. Not only does this study show that those who get exercise simply by walking are more likely to have better sleep habits, but these effects are even stronger for more purposeful activities, such as running and yoga, and even gardening and golf. It was also interesting that people who receive most of their activity from housework and childcare were more likely to experience insufficient sleep – we know that home and work demands are some of the main reasons people lose sleep.”

The study did not discuss WHY these different activities affected sleep so differently, but here is one possibility that might help you get better sleep…

Most people don’t have the option of skipping on doing housework or caring for their children. But, it is distinctly possible that the mental aspect of these activities is what’s causing the problem.

In Other Words: Stress

Prolonged stress is, without a doubt, a killer. In a pinch, the stress response can save your life. But if you’re stressed all the time, it can have a detrimental effect on your body. Stress can increase your risk for obesity, high blood pressure, headaches, digestive problems, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking, and more. It can also cause you to lay awake at night staring at the ceiling.

Going for a walk, practicing yoga, and playing a sport are enjoyable, mentally relaxing activities. Childcare can be very stressful, and quite frankly, for most people, housework is not the most fun!

Here are two things you can do… The first is to stress less when doing those activities. Once again, easier said than done.

That’s why this second approach is probably more realistic: Start doing one or more “positive sleep activities.”

It is easier to find the time for a 20-minute walk than it is to find and extra two to three hours to try to sleep. Walking is one of the best things you can do for both your physical and mental health.

Because having back pain, neck pain, headaches, and other forms of musculoskeletal pain can make physical activity more difficult, if not impossible, seeking treatment from a doctor of chiropractic may help reduce your overall stress levels and help make exercise easier, both of which can help you sleep better.

Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to us. Contact us with your questions. We’re here to help and don’t enjoy anything more than participating in providing you natural pain relief.