Posts for: February, 2013

February 25, 2013
Category: Safety
Tags: Stroller  

We all want to include our young children in our outdoor activities, whether it’s biking, jogging or just walking in the park. There is a seemingly endless array of strollers, baby joggers, carriers and bike trailers that allow us to do this. But keep in mind that these baby carriers are not without their potential risks to both child and adult.

According to the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, spinal cord injuries are more likely to occur in developing children, especially in those under the age of 12 months. According to Dr. Gerard Clum, spokesperson for the foundation, “Parents should always be aware of how a device positions a child’s neck or spine, and follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions when using a stroller or comparable equipment.” Here are a few other tips from the foundation:

Make sure the child is always properly secured in the device. In addition, check to be certain that the child’s head is not bobbing around. This is why backpack-type carriers are not ideal; you can’t see if your child’s head is stabilized. Front-carriers are preferable, particularly for very young children. In addition, consider the size, weight and age of the child when selecting your carrier or stroller; it should be appropriate for the activity in which you wish to include the child.

Also be aware of your own safety when selecting a device or maneuvering your child in or out of it. Avoid carrying or pushing anything that may be too heavy for you, and always practice with the device before attempting to use it with the child. When lifting children to place them from a car into a carrier, don’t bend from the waist, stay as close to the car seat as possible, and place them into the carrier without reaching, stretching or twisting. The farther the child is from your body, the greater the strain on your spine.

February 19, 2013
Category: Nutrition
Tags: Untagged

Are you aware of the latest “bad word” in the dietary dictionary? Trans fat has been added to the list of ingredients to avoid, along with saturated fat and cholesterol. In addition to increasing the risk of heart disease, new research suggests trans fats may be related to increased infertility. Findings indicate that women who consume a mere 2 percent of total calories from trans fats have a doubled risk of ovulation-related infertility.

Also beware of increasingly popular trans fat alternatives like interesterified fats, which may raise blood sugar and lower good HDL cholesterol. Whether you’re pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or simply care about your health and the health of your loved ones, check nutrition labels for trans fatty acids and hydrogenated oils, and look for “fully hydrogenated oil” on products that claim to be “trans-fat-free.”

Of course, certain fats, when eaten in moderation, are important for proper growth and development. Here are some of the more common foods that often contain “bad” fats, along with healthier alternatives. For more information on good and bad fats, see “Cholesterol: Know the Facts” on page 24 of this issue.

Potential Food Sources of Trans Fats

Solid vegetable shortening
Fried foods
Crackers and chips
Cookies, cakes and pies

Good Sources of Healthy Fats

Olive and canola oils
Soybean, corn and sunflower oils
Nuts and seeds
Lean meats (skinless)
Whole-grain foods

February 11, 2013
Category: depression
Tags: Untagged

Depression affects approximately 18.8 million American adults (about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older) in a given year. With “black box” warnings and dangerous side effects of commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs, why not try natural alternatives? According to a number of recent studies, exercise can be as effective in treating depression as drug therapy.

In the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers report that 30-minute aerobic workouts of moderate intensity, performed three to five times per week, cut mild to moderate depression symptoms nearly in half. Researchers noted remission rates of 42 percent for those on antidepressant medications and 36 percent for those receiving cognitive behavior therapy. Low-intensity exercise cut depression symptoms by 30 percent compared to 29 percent for stretching/flexibility exercises alone. The ability to reduce depression through physical activity related to the intensity of the exercise and sustaining it for 30-35 minutes per day.

Another study, published in Psychosomatic Medicine, included 202 men and women age 40 and older who were diagnosed with major depression. They were broken into four groups: One worked out in a supervised, group setting three times per week; one exercised at home; one took Zoloft; and one took placebo pills. After 16 weeks, 47 percent of patients on the antidepressant, 45 percent of those in the supervised exercise group, 40 percent of those in the home-based exercise group and 31 percent of the placebo group no longer met the criteria for major depression.

Researchers believe exercise enhances mood by releasing norepinephrine and serotonin – the same nervous-system chemicals targeted by antidepressant drugs. Exercise also boosts feelings of self-efficacy and promotes positive thinking. If life’s got you down, try 30 minutes of moderate exercise to help you fight depression the all-natural way.

February 04, 2013
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

Everyone enjoys a good laugh. Why? The human body has a strong physical response to laughter – muscles in the face and body stretch, blood pressure and pulse rise and fall, and we breathe faster – which transports more oxygen through the body. Research shows laughter also strengthens the immune system, reduces food cravings and increases one’s threshold for pain. While preschool kids laugh up to 400 times a day, adults laugh a dismal 17 times per day on average. Here are a few reasons to fight for a few extra laughs each day.

Balance Hormones

Laughter boosts the body’s good hormones like endorphins and neuro-transmitters and reduces stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline and dopamine. Breath by breath, laughter builds the immune system by boosting the number of antibody-producing cells and enhancing the effectiveness of T-cells.

Improve Heart Health

Like exercise, a long bout of heavy laughter can burn calories and provide a physical and emotional release. A laughter workout tightens the abs, diaphragm and shoulders, and can even improve heart health. In a study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, researchers compared the effects of watching funny versus stressful films. Movies that elicited laughter caused blood vessels to relax and increased blood flow, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Keep Perspective

A positive outlook can do wonders for your health. If you can look at tough situations as a challenge rather than a threat and take the focus off your anger, guilt, stress and negativity, even if only for a few moments, you’ll have the perspective you need to make the most of hard times.

Make Social Connections

Laughter is contagious. Not only can a good belly laugh improve your health, it can improve the health of those around you. Sharing a laugh builds strong social bonds and a mutual sense of community.

Researchers are becoming more and more confident that positive emotional states are beneficial to health. While scientists are busy trying to back these theories with concrete evidence, there’s certainly no harm in filling your life with funny movies, comedy shows and good conversation with friends. Try the lighthearted approach to life’s frustrations: Worry less, laugh more – no prescription necessary.

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