Chinese herbal preparation.
A new report from the Health Services Research Journal showed that 75% of healthcare workers use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This is great, because integrating and facilitating a working relationship between healthcare fields works in the patient's benefit.
The report included in this statistic such areas as dieting, supplements, yoga, Pilates and massage, which helps explain such as large number (the general population usually scores about 31% in these statistics). But even when looking exclusively at healthcare services (alternative Western, Chinese, Chiropractic and Ayurvedic medicine practices), the number still holds firmly above the general population at 41%.
So this goes to show that when looking broadly, many healthcare workers are open to and most likely accessing CAM care or following a naturally-inclined diet/lifestyle program. The most popular reasons for seeking natural treatments and therapies was for neck, back and joint pain. And since there's many, many natural treatment options for these very common ailments, there's a lot of room for integrative care to step in this realm and provide some real, long-lasting benefits.
This report may be found on the hsr.org site. Thank you for reading!
So many choices, so many half-truth health claims.
Boosts your immunity. Good for digestion. Improves attention. These are some of the common claims made by major food companies to market their "functional food."
This phenomena has been explained by a recent NY Times article (5/14/11).
But how healthful are they? Is there actually science behind these claims?
Usually there is at least one scientific study which the companies use as a marketing springboard for their "functional food" product. But as far as how healthy the food item may be, the "for your health" advertising is often misleading and incomplete.
One such example is American Heart Association-approved Welches Grape Juice. It is approved because it is fat free (as opposed to those lard-laden juices?). Welches Grape Juice earns the AHA red "Healthy Heart" logo on the front of the juice containers, even though it contains 36 grams of sugar per serving (eight ounces). This amount of sugar falls somewhere between a Mountain Dew and a Pepsi- not what I'd call healthy, and probably not the best for your cardiovascular system.
In another particularly egregious use of research to promote "functional foods," Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats was marketing their cereal as improving children's attentiveness. These results were obtained by comparing children's attentiveness in the morning before their breakfast and after three hours. The control group got water for breakfast. Only half of the Mini Wheats kids showed better attentiveness than the water-fasted kids.
So it doesn't appear that concerned parents should be loading their kids up on those sugar bombs just quite yet. After whole wheat, the three remaining primary ingredients in Frosted Mini Wheats are sugar, high fructose corn syrup and gelatin. I can think of just a few better ideas for improving a child's attention than those food items.
So, how to tell what's what when grocery store items are being branded and sponsored by national disease associations faster than NASCAR drivers? First take a look at the ingredients, and turn a discerning eye to those which are "enriched" or include ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring (like red # 40). If the food has a longer ingredient list than you have an attention span for reading, the processed nature probably outweighs the health benefits.
Lastly, if the brand is a billion-dollar international company, they're probably not too concerned for your digestive health. Just look to that food critic in you to sift the food that's actually good for you from the bright colors and cartoon figures promising health benefits.
Thanks for reading!
Paleolithic people ate ten times more fiber than we do now.
An anti-Paleolithic Diet article in last week's Chicago Tribune is the latest to turn a skeptical eye to a diet shunning the great American food pillars: bread and dairy. The nutritionist they profiled, Dr. Keith Ayoob, has quite a few bones to pick with this diet, which focuses on produce, nuts, seeds and lean meats (the diet likely consumed by paleolithic people).
His major contentions are that this diet must be deficient in vitamins and minerals because it does not include grains and dairy, and is (in his view) too expensive to feed a teenage boy. That was actually a real argument on his part.
Those nutrients which are found in fortified grains (bread, pasta, rice) and dairy are found in much lower levels compared to the wide spectrum of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds your typical "paleolithic dieter" consumes.
Have questions as to whether you're getting the necessary amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from your diet? Consult a Naturopathic doctor- a doctor who's also an expert in nutrition! You deserve the best information and guidance, it's your health we're talking about here!
Thank you for reading, please contact me with questions, comments and feedback!
Take time to stop & smell the flowers.
Most people have more inflammation (what we may call "pro-inflammation reactions") happening than their body really needs. Too much inflammation increases the severity of all those diseases and medical conditions we discussed in Part 1 (few diseases are really free from inflammation's influence), as well as leading some seemingly minor health complaint (such as occasional achy joints or a mild skin rash) into more severe disease categories all together (developing Rheumatoid Arthritis or Ezcema).
High levels of inflammation also lead to other diseases or conditions hopping on for the ride and serve to worsen your overall health (high blood pressure, then coronary artery disease then heart attack). To combat this, one must identify what actions and circumstances lead to more vs. less inflammation.
Inflammatory causes are a lot farther reaching than simple traumas. Most of your body's inflammation actually comes from all those factors in your day to day life that stress you out and make you less healthy overall. These include dietary and exercise choices, as well as pretty much any thing you surround yourself with that exhausts you and makes you irritable and on edge (work? relationships? daily commute?).
And anti-inflammatory helpers include a much larger list than just that Aspirin or Aleve in your medicine cabinet. Every choice you make to lessen stress and strengthen your health are working on your side to decrease inflammation in your body. Calm, nutritious, leisurely dinner with loved ones? Put that in the anti-inflammatory column. Cramming down a burger and cola while fuming about the rush hour traffic you're trapped in? That is upping the inflammatory responses in your body.
So continue to make choices to support your health and lessen your stress.
Lastly, feel free to contact me any time to continue this discussion further. I'm also open to topic suggestions, particularly related to health in the news. Send me an article link, or other topics that have come to your attention, and I look into writing a piece about them here.
Thanks for reading!