Posts for: December, 2012

December 21, 2012
Category: Feet
Tags: Untagged

Anyone who has experienced foot problems understands all too well that it can affect the rest of the body. The feet are your foundation, much like the foundation of a house. If that foundation suffers, the entire structure suffers right along with it; in some cases, it can come crashing down. Fortunately, that same logic applies in reverse: optimizing foot performance and health is like strengthening your foundation; the result can be a stronger, more durable you from the ground up.

A recent research review provides an excellent illustration of this principle. It involves the example of patients suffering from arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, which can rack the entire body with pain, stiffness and movement limitations. According to the review, biomechanical evidence suggests that “foot orthotics and specialized footwear may change muscle activation and gait patterns to reduce joint loading. Emerging evidence suggests that orthotics, specific shoe types and footwear interventions may provide an effective nonsurgical intervention in rheumatic diseases.”

The takeaway here seems clear: Support your feet and your feet will support you. An increasing body of research suggests foot orthotics can positively impact foot health (and thus whole-body health) in numerous ways. Talk to your doctor to learn more.

December 17, 2012
Category: Nutrition
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Most people don’t eat enough fiber, despite its health benefits – research evidence links inadequate fiber intake with conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, inflammation of the intestine and constipation, among other things. The current recommendation for dietary fiber intake for adults is 20-35 grams per day. However, the average person consumes only 14-15 grams of fiber a day.

Many people have more questions than answers when the topic of fiber even comes up. What foods are the best sources of fiber? How do we incorporate more fiber into our diets?

A key distinction to be aware of is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber. Fiber that partially dissolves in water is called soluble. Conversely, fiber that doesn’t dissolve in water is called insoluble.  Both promote health, but in different ways.

In terms of function, here’s a key distinction between soluble and insoluble fiber: Soluble fiber slows digestion and helps the body absorb vital nutrients, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, helping foods pass through the stomach and intestines. To help increase daily fiber intake, experts recommend eating whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices; replacing white rice, bread and pasta with brown rice and whole-grain products; eating whole-grain breakfast cereals; eating raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers and sweets when craving a snack; substituting legumes for meat in soups and chili; and trying Indian or Middle Eastern dishes that use whole grains and legumes as part of their main meal, salads and side dishes.

December 10, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
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Thin may be in, but flabby is definitely out. Some doctors now believe the fat surrounding organs such as the heart, liver and pancreas may be as dangerous (if not more dangerous) as the fat you can see from the outside.

Based on MRI scans of more than 800 people since 1994, Dr. J. Bell, a professor of molecular imaging in London, and his team found that as many as 45 percent of the women and nearly 60 percent of the men with normal body mass index (BMI) scores had excessive internal fat. The data suggests that if you maintain your weight through diet rather than exercise, you may have large deposits of internal fat, even if you are thin.

According to the BMI, a measurement comparing your weight and height, you are considered overweight with a score of 25 to 29, and obese at 30 or higher. But a recent study indicates that some people with a BMI approaching 28 actually have little body fat, and people with a BMI as low as 24 may have too much. (Don’t know your BMI? Check out the BMI Calculator at

When it comes to your health, experts say there is no shortcut. “If you just want to look thin, then maybe dieting is enough,” Bell said. “But if you want to actually be healthy, then exercise has to be an important component of your lifestyle.” So, no matter what your body type or weight, get out there and exercise!

December 03, 2012
Category: Nutrition
Tags: Untagged

Salt is America’s favorite seasoning for flavoring our food. Although our bodies require some sodium, adding a pinch of salt to spice up your vegetables, scrambled eggs or baked potato can lead to high blood pressure, potentially resulting in cardiovascular and kidney diseases.

The average American consumes approximately 11 percent of their daily sodium quota from adding salt or salty condiments to foods. But a whopping 77 percent of sodium comes from eating processed foods. So, even if you’ve stopped adding salt to your meals, you may still be consuming more sodium than your body can process.

Most health organizations recommend a maximum daily sodium intake between 1,500 and 2,400 milligrams per day. The best way to monitor sodium levels is to read food labels. Also, leave the salt out of recipes, use spices and herbs to flavor your food, and eat fresh foods rather than processed foods. If you stop adding that pinch of salt, you may discover the true flavors of your food.

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