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Reasons to Eat More Blueberries

27 Jan

Not only are blueberries delicious and easily attainable at the supermarket but they are also incredibly good for you. But don’t take our word for it, let’s look at what researchers say…

A 2019 review looked at findings from eleven studies that involved blueberry interventions. The researchers found that blueberries benefit memory and executive function in both children and adults, and blueberries can improve psychomotor function in seniors, including those with mild-cognitive impairment. The authors also reported that blueberry intake reduces risks for developing metabolic syndrome (heart disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes), cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline.

In a 2018 study involving 215 older adults, researchers observed that those with the greatest cognitive impairments who consumed a daily 600mg polyphenol-rich grape and blueberry extract for six months experienced significant improvements with respect to episodic memory.

Not only are blueberries low in calories (only 84 calories per cup) but just one cup of blueberries contains four grams of fiber, 24% of the recommended daily allowance (RDI) of vitamin C, 36% of the RDI of vitamin K, and 25% of the RDI of manganese.

Blueberries are antioxidant rich, which can protect the body from the free radicals that are known to damage cells and contribute to aging and diseases, like cancer. These antioxidants can also reduce oxidization of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

There is research that suggests regular blueberry intake is associated with lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for heart attack.

Blueberries can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism—both of which can reduce the risk for diabetes and may even benefit diabetics.

Much like cranberries, blueberries contain anti-adhesive substances that can help keep bacteria from sticking around in the bladder and causing a urinary tract infection.

If you regularly exercise (you do, don’t you?), then the good news is that blueberries may reduce soreness and aid in muscle recovery following a strenuous workout.

BOTTOM LINE: Eat blueberries!

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

A Link Between Cold Sores and Alzheimer’s Disease?

25 Nov

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the #1 cause of dementia, representing an imminent threat to our senior population. It is one of mankind’s cruelest afflictions that causes patients lose their memory, personality, and eventually self-care skills. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 6 million people currently have AD with projections of this doubling in the next two decades. The 2015 Framingham Heart study reported that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will develop AD.

Though researchers have observed an association between beta-amyloid plaque build-up in the brain and AD, well-funded studies have failed to determine that beta-amyloid plaques are the cause of the disorder. Interestingly, two studies published nearly 40 years ago concluded that the virus that causes cold sores (HSV-1) may play a role in the development of AD. This suspicion was bolstered by a 2014 study that detected the virus in the brains of AD patients, particularly in the parts of the brain related to memory. Neuroscientists propose that the plaque build-up commonly seen in AD patients may a consequence of the immune system trying to battle the presence of HSV-1 in the brain.

This finding suggests that AD could potentially be treated, or even prevented, by therapies that target HSV-1. Dr. Robert Rubey notes that as far back as 1968, researchers have known that HSV-1 requires the molecule arginine for replication, which can be blocked by the presence of the amino acid L-lysine. Double-blinded studies have demonstrated L-lysine is effective at both preventing or decreasing/reducing the severity of HSV-1 outbreaks.

Dr. Rubey concludes that AD is a disease process, NOT an aging process. The importance of preventing viral reactivation leading to brain inflammation/damage is key in preventing AD. In 2010, Dr. Rubey speculated that supplementing with 1,500mg of L-lysine twice a day combined with a low-arginine diet (reduced intake of nuts, seeds, grains, and tofu) may protect against AD. However, more research is needed in this area before firm recommendations can be made.

Doctors of chiropractic often recommend anti-inflammatory diets and supplements for both aiding the recovery process from musculoskeletal injuries and living a healthier lifestyle.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

The Power of Music on the Mind

28 Oct

Using functional MRI, researchers have observed that music activates the visual, motor, and coordination centers on both sides of the brain. Research also shows that music affects deeper brain areas involving memory and emotion—more than almost any other stimulus. Additionally, music engages less used neural connections in the brain, strengthening them to potentially restore or improve impaired/lost functions.

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) notes that music therapists work with older adults to help with dementia, children and adults to reduce asthma episodes, hospitalized patients to reduce pain, children with autism to improve communication skills, premature infants to improve sleep patterns and increase weight, people with Parkinson’s disease to improve motor function, and more.

One of the most publicized music therapy cases involved Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. After a near-fatal head injury, Giffords suffered from aphasia, the inability to speak due to damage of the language pathways located on the left side of the brain. By layering words on top of melody and rhythm and with a lot of practice, new neuropathways were formed, allowing her to regain the ability to speak. Her music therapist, Meaghan Morrow, compared the process to a freeway detour, describing the brain’s ability to form new roads or paths around damaged areas (a process called “neuroplasticity”) so the information can reach the same part of the brain that the damaged freeway once provided.

Dr. Oliver Sacks’ book Musicophilia describes the role of music therapy in managing Parkinson’s disease, which spurred the book and film “Awakenings.” In his book, Dr. Sacks cites an 1871 article by neurologist Dr. John Hughlings Jackson entitled, “Singing by Speechless Children.”

In previous months, we’ve discussed how walking backward can improve memory recall. Other research has found that trying new things or performing activities in a different way can create new pathways in the brain, which may improve brain health. So next time your drive to the store, take a different route. Tomorrow, try holding your toothbrush or your hairbrush with your other hand.

Of course, continue to get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, avoid smoking, abstain from excessive drinking, and get regular chiropractic care to keep your mind and body in the best shape possible to give yourself the best chance of a long and happy life!

 

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Detoxing from Social Media and Electronic Devices

30 Sep

The ability to take out a small device and check email, take photos, interact with friends, play games, and answer almost any question seemed like a great idea when smartphones and social media debuted over a decade ago; but in recent years, several studies have looked at the downsides associated with heavy social media and device use.

For example, a 2018 study found that people who use social media platforms for extended periods of time are more prone to make risky decisions. Another study revealed an association between heavy social media use and an elevated risk for physical ailments. Most people are aware of the term “text neck”, which results from spending so much time looking down at the phone that it changes a person’s posture for the worse. Other studies have linked social media use with poor mental health, especially among teens and young adults. One study even suggests that the more someone uses social media, the more likely they are to consult with a plastic surgeon to “improve” their appearance.

The Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Joseph Rock notes that these issues associated with social media/device use may be due to both how social media changes the brain and the effects of sedentary activity on the mind and body. After all, if you’re staring down at your phone all day, you’re probably not moving your body enough.

One of the big problems with social media is that it produces feelings that keep luring people back for more—to the point where they have difficulty coping if they’re not glued to their device. The best way to determine if you’re using your device too much is to ask family and friends what they think, and if the answer is consistently “too much”, that’s a good indication of a problem. Dr. Rock recommends a “cold turkey” approach to test the addiction intensity. He warns, though it will be initially uncomfortable, it does gradually improve.

Not only will you find yourself spending more time having face to face conversations and smelling the roses, but you’ll probably increase your physical activity levels and take on a healthier posture. If you’re still experiencing some neck/shoulder discomfort, your doctor of chiropractic can show you some exercises that can help retrain your body to sit up straight, which can take a lot of pressure off your neck and upper back.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Walking Backward Boosts Memory

29 Aug

We previously discussed how walking backward can strengthen the low back extensor muscles, which can aid in both the treatment and prevention of back pain. According to a study published in the January 2019 issue of the journal Cognition, walking backward (or even watching a video simulating backward motion) may also improve one’s memory.

The study involved 114 people who participated in experiments focused on recalling images, word lists, and even details from a crime scene. Before the recall stage of each experiment, participants were instructed to walk forward, backward, sit still, watch a video that simulated forward or backward motion, or imagine walking forward or backward.

The results revealed that participants performed better in nearly every instance when they either physically walked backward, watched a video that simulated walking backward, or simply imagined doing so. Further analysis revealed that this memory boost lasted an average of ten minutes. While it’s unclear how walking backward benefits memory, psychologist Dr. Daniel Schacter of Harvard University hypothesizes that people may associate backward movement with the past, which may trigger a memory response.

When a crime has occurred, detectives will perform a cognitive interview with witnesses that involves walking them through the crime. Including a backward walking component to the process may allow witnesses to recall more details about the event, which may help solve the case.

Future studies will aim to uncover why this technique improves memory recall and if motion-based memory aids such as this can be applied to patients with cognitive impairments, either from dementia or brain injury.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

White Rice or Brown Rice or No Rice at All

29 Jul

In today’s world, consumers are inundated with contradicting news about foods that are good for them and foods that can be detrimental to their health. Rice is one such food. Is it good for you? Is it bad? Let’s find out…

In a 2019 study, researchers in India randomly assigned 169 overweight adults (aged 25-65 years) to consume meals that included white or brown rice twice a day, six days a week for three months. The research team used blood testing to measure glucose, insulin, HbA1c, insulin resistance, lipids, and inflammation. The results showed that those who consumed white rice had test results that suggested a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, while those who ate brown rice had blood test results that indicated less inflammation and a reduced diabetes risk.

In 2012 and 2014, Consumer Reports raised concern about the arsenic levels in US rice. In order to determine if rice consumption is associated with an increased risk for cancer, researchers evaluated data from several long-term databases that included dietary and health information involving 45,231 men and 160,408 women who were cancer-free at the start of the study and tested every four years for 26 years.

Overall, the data show that 10,833 men (23.9% of men) and 20,822 women (12.9% of women) developed cancer. Comparing participants who ate <1 serving of rice per week vs. those who ate ≥5 rice servings per week, there was NO significant difference or associations between those who did vs. those who did not get cancer, regardless of the type of rice, cancer type, BMI, smoking status, or ethnic background. Additionally, rice consumption was not associated with cardiovascular disease, which is another leading cause of death in the developed world.

Another interesting study reported that cooking brown rice under high water pressure increased the water absorbency of brown rice without nutrient loss.

Other studies have found that fermented brown rice and rice bran appears to reduce the risk of cancers of the colon, liver, stomach, bladder, esophagus, and lung. In animal models, fermented brown rice/rice bran was also observed to reduce tumor size, though this finding has yet to be confirmed in human subjects.

Doctors of chiropractic often encourage patients to live a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating more of the foods that are good for us and less of the foods that are not. So far, the science suggests that eating white rice in moderation may not hurt you and consuming brown rice may offer some additional benefits.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.