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!
Spray being applied to crops.
Research just published this summer (article found here), links Monsanto's popular brand of herbicide, Roundup, to an increase in birth defects.
One of the chemical perpetrators, glyphosate, has been shown for decades to cause birth defects in both animals and humans. Way back in 2002, the EU published a report from its DG SANCO division outlining these connections.
This information follows on the heels of a past article written mid July, titled "Pesticides & Pregnancy: A Recipe for Lower IQ?" Both pesticides applied to conventionally grown produce and herbicides commonly applied to weeds and other unwanted garden plants are bad for the developing fetus. One is linked to lower IQ, one is linked to birth defects.
So the take home information here is that some chemicals we commonly use or unknowingly ingest are of real health concerns. With so many chemicals being found with serious health risk implications, why isn't there more consumer protection? I don't think Monsanto will be adjusting their formulas any time soon, so it's up to the consumer to be informed about ingredients and their potential harm.
Check back here to get more up to date information about health and the world around us. Thank you for reading, and please feel welcome to comment or suggest a topic.
It's smart to avoid pesticides!
Latest research looking into three studies found that there was a positive link between pesticide exposure while in utero and lower IQ scores when tested in childhood (last week's USA Today article here).
Those pesticides which correlated with lower IQ scores are currently sprayed on our nation's non-organic fruits and vegetables.
The research authors' solution? Wash your produce well. Well, how does one completely remove all pesticide residue from conventionally grown produce? Does any kitchen soap get rid of all the chemicals which have been sprayed on then soaked up by a fruit or vegetable? And would you even want scrub down all your fruits with Dawn?
Organic produce is guaranteed to come pesticide-free, as well as being free of fungicides, vermicides, GMO and a whole host of other unnatural chemicals which are applied directly to our food and wash into the water supply.
So, one may conclude that organic produce may just be a really smart thing for pregnant mothers to eat, though there's no need to stop eating organic when the baby comes!
Thanks you for reading. I appreciate the support, comments and questions I've received thus far.
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!
Parks and beaches are more relaxing settings than highways and airports.
Research looking at Tai chi versus heart failure-related education in recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (LA Times summary article here). When looking at lowering depression, increasing vigor, mood, quality of life and daily activities, who came out ahead?
Tai chi, on all counts!
This form of movement is part exercise, part meditation and part stress reducer. While practicing tai chi, one is moving, balancing and culminating the energy within and beyond the practitioner.
The control group for the tai chi research, education on heart failure, actually caused increased levels of depression and decreased levels of vigor by the participants.
So if you're looking to add a movement/meditative practice to your schedule, consider looking into local tai chi classes. If you're looking to maximize the tai chi ambiance, Portland's downtown chinese garden (recently renamed Lan Su) has weekly group tai chi practice, free with admission (information here).
Get that chi flowing, your body will thank you!
Comments? Questions? I'd love to hear it!