December 2011 - Advanced Physical Medicine
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Slow Down Your Brain’s Aging Process with the Food That You Eat

Our brain is one of the body’s five vital organs. These five organs are the most essential for the body’s survival and normal function. Because of this, you must maintain your brain’s health and youth. Though aging is inevitable, there are ways that you can do to slow down your brain’s aging process.

Your lifestyle has a great impact on how fast your body cells will age. Unhealthy lifestyle practices like smoking, chronic stress, unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle can all contribute in speeding up your cells’ aging - and brain cells are no exception. To slow down your brain’s aging process, you must make modifications to eradicate these unhealthy lifestyle practices. You can take brain supplements and brain boosting supplements but most importantly, you must modify your diet. When preparing for your everyday meals, make it a point to include those types of food that are known to slow down your brain’s aging process.

To preserve your brain’s youthful aptitude, you must be more selective in the food that you eat. Studies have proven that some foods can enhance your mental ability, as well as prevent your brain to age rapidly. Among those that were found to slow down your brain’s aging process are the following:

Foods that decrease free radicals in the body

In preventing your brain’s aging process, you would never go wrong if you include in your meals the different foods that can fight the free radicals present in your body. Free radicals are by-products of your cell’s processes. When these free radicals accumulate and increase in concentration in the blood stream, they can cause harmful effects in the body such as cancer, chronic diseases and rapid aging.

Thus, to prevent these harmful effects, especially if you want to slow down your brain’s aging process, you must take in foods that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to be effective in reducing the formation of free radicals. They can also prevent the existing free radicals in oxidizing the body’s normal biologic components. Thus, to prevent the harmful effects of free radicals, especially accelerated aging, you can eat this selection of foods that are rich in antioxidants:

Eggs – they are rich in the antioxidant, selenium, which can help in maintaining your brain’s health

Blueberries – they are rich in Vitamins C & E, which are powerful antioxidants

Mustard – they are rich in the antioxidants, turmeric, which can also help to slow down your brain’s aging process

Spinach – this is very rich in Vitamins C & E and also beta-carotene

Foods that protects the brain cells’ myelin sheath

Myelin sheath is the covering of the brain cells’ axons. It is the component of an axon that helps to speed up nerve conduction, thus, speeds up the brain’s functioning. It also helps the brain’s cells to function effectively with less energy expenditure.

Studies have shown that bee pollen can help protect the neuron’s myelin sheath. In that way, bee pollen helps in maintaining the brain cells’ health and it also helps to slow down your brain’s aging process. Take a few tablespoons of bee pollen daily. As you do this, you can also prevent neurologic disorders related to myelin degeneration, such as Multiple Sclerosis.

Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids help to slow down your brain’s aging process by maintaining a good flow of blood supply going to the brain. When the brain cells receive ample blood supply, then it also receives enough amount of oxygen, an important substance in all the body cells’ function. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to contain DHA, a molecule that aids the brain in transmitting impulses. Among those foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are the following: salmon, tuna, walnuts and beets. Appropriate natural brain supplement can help as well, if you know how to choose it wisely. Opt for natural, effective and affordable brain supplements that have undergone extensive clinical trials.

Most of the recommended brain foods above come from vegetables and fruits. There are more essential nutrients derived from this healthy food group, so you could eat generous servings of these “glow” foods. With their beneficial action, they would definitely slow down your brain’s aging process.

Alex Vandyke is author of this article and has a great deal of expertise and experience in many health areas, particularly brain supplements and brain boosting supplements

What Is Osteoporosis And How You Can Prevent It

Osteoporosis is a condition resulting in the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone mass over time. It is caused by excessive loss of calcium from bones. As a result, bones become fragile and break easily. During childhood, calcium is actively deposited in the bones to support growth and development. The bone stops growing in length and density at approximately age 20 for men and 16 for women. This is the point we achieve peak bone mass.

 

The greater the peak bone mass, the lower the risk of Osteoporosis. Women are generally at higher risk of Osteoporosis as they achieve peak bone mass at an earlier age. Pregnancy and menopause also increases calcium losses from the bone.

Calcium and bone health

Osteoporosis can be prevented through proper bone nutrition especially ensuring adequate calcium consumption. The best time to increase intake of calcium is during the developing years of a child when the bone is still actively growing and has yet to achieve peak bone mass.  However, adults can also benefit greatly from increasing their calcium intake to maintain adequate calcium supply preventing the body from dipping into the calcium reserves which is the skeleton.

 

The recommended daily amount (RDA) of calcium is as follows:

Age group Male Female Pregnant & Lactating
0-6 months 200mg 200mg
7-12 months 260mg 260mg
1-3 years 700mg 700mg
4-8 years 1000mg 1000mg
9-18 years 1300mg 1300mg 1300mg
19-50 1000mg 1000mg 1000mg
51-70 1000mg 1200mg
71 and above 1200mg 1200mg

 

The main dietary sources of calcium include milk and milk products e.g. cheese and yoghurt. Calcium can also be found in soy products, sardines, nuts, dark leafy green vegetables and calcium fortified foods. As part of a healthy diet, it recommended to consume 2-4 servings of calcium-rich foods daily.  Choose low-fat/reduced-fat dairy as much as possible as dairy products are naturally high in saturated fat. As a guide, refer to the calcium content of the following calcium-rich foods:

 

Food Amount Calcium content
Dairy & Soy
Milk (skim, low-fat, whole) 1 cup 300mg
Buttermilk 1 cup 300mg
Nonfat milk powder 5 tbsp 300mg
Low-fat yoghurt 1 cup 450mg
Soy milk, calcium fortified 1 cup 200-400mg
Hard cheese (cheddar, jack) 1 oz 200 mg
Mozzarella cheese 1 oz 200mg
Parmesan cheese 1 Tbsp 70mg
Soft tofu 4 oz 200mg
Firm tofu, calcium set 4 oz 300mg
Vegetables
Broccoli 1 cup 180mg
Kale, raw 1 cup 55mg
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 240mg
Swiss chard, cooked 1 cup 100mg
Fish
Sardines, canned with bones 3 oz 370mg
Mackerel 3 oz 250mg
Nuts & grains
Almonds 1 oz 80mg
Sesame seeds 1 oz 280mg
Brown rice, raw 1 cup 50mg
Cereals, calcium fortified ½ cup 200-300mg

 

Tips to incorporate more calcium into your diet

ü  Use bones (e.g. chicken, beef, fish)  for homemade soup stock

ü  Add shredded reduced-fat cheese into pastas, salads & sandwiches

ü  Add minced dark greens such as kale and spinach to casseroles, soups and stews

ü  Use calcium fortified soy milk, non-fat dairy milk or buttermilk in your recipes instead of water in recipes such as pudding, oatmeal and mashed potatoes

ü  Add a hearty dose of legumes such as pinto beans or soybeans into your pastas and salads

ü  Enjoy sesame or almond spread on toast instead of your usual peanut butter and jelly

ü  Toss some fresh fruit into low-fat yoghurt as breakfast or even dessert

 

Calcium supplements

One can also consider calcium supplementation if there is difficulty in meeting the calcium requirement through food exclusively.  Calcium in the form of calcium citrate has a much higher absorption that calcium carbonate. However, they are generally pricier as well.

 

A more effective way of consuming calcium supplement is in spilt dosages. It is advisable not to exceed 500mg of calcium per dose as anything above 500mg cannot be effectively absorbed by the body.  Bear in mind that supplements as the name suggest are meant to supplement the diet and not intended as the only calcium source. It is very important to incorporate calcium-rich foods into your diet to protect your bones.

 

 

 

Vitamin D & bone health

Vitamin D is essential for bone health as the body requires vitamin D for calcium absorption in the intestines.  It also maintains the balance of calcium levels in the blood to prevent calcium depletion from bones. The general recommendation for vitamin D is 400-600IU daily for adults under 50 and 800-1000IU for adults over 50.

Vitamin D is present in very few foods. Foods rich in vitamin D include: Cod liver oil, animal liver, oily fishes and vitamin D fortified foods e.g. vitamin D fortified milk. Most of our vitamin D is produced by our own skin when exposed to UV rays in sunlight.  In general, 10–15 minutes exposure of hands, arms and face 3–4 times per week under moderately strong sunlight if climate permits is recommended for optimal vitamin D production.

Individuals who live in climates with low sun exposure or those who wear covered clothing are at risk of vitamin D deficiency.  They may consider taking a vitamin D supplement to achieve their daily recommended intake.  Most calcium supplements and multivitamins do contain vitamin D.  Alternatively, there are also pure vitamin D supplements available.

Dietary risk factors for increased calcium losses

(i)                  High phosphoric acid intake

Found mainly in carbonated drinks, phosphoric acid increases urinary calcium excretion. In addition, due to the acidity of phosphoric acid, the body uses calcium to neutralize the acid in order to maintain the blood pH. On a side note, carbonated soft drinks are loaded with sugar, so it is probably a sound choice to limit the intake of these beverages.

 

(ii)                High protein intake

Protein is essential for health. Be aware of how much protein you require and consume enough but not excessive. The metabolism of protein generates acids which again require calcium to neutralize. If the calcium supply is inadequate, the body will tap on the bone for calcium leading to bone depletion.

 

(iii)               High caffeine intake

For coffee addicts, it may not be good news to know that caffeine increases the excretion of calcium from the body. An intake of >300mg of caffeine per day has been shown to significantly increase calcium loss. To minimize the effects of caffeine on bone loss, it is advisable to limit yourself to not more than 2 cups of caffeine-containing beverages per day.

 

(iv)              High sodium intake

Like caffeine, high salt intake increases excretion of calcium in the urine even though the specific biological mechanism is different. Studies show that every extra gram of salt consumed per day will produce a 1% increase in bone loss yearly.  Sodium has a large potential to influence bone depletion. High salt intake is also associated with increased blood pressure. For both the bone and cardiovascular health, a low-sodium diet is highly recommended.

 

A nutritionally balanced diet is essential for the maintenance of healthy bone mass. However, diet is only one part of the equation. Exercise also plays an important role in supporting bone health. Weight-bearing exercises help to increase the strength of bone and support calcium deposition in the skeleton. There are many simple weight-bearing exercises that one can do in the comfort of your own home. One does not have to be a nutrition expert or a fitness instructor to build strong and healthy bones. All it takes some discipline and commitment.

 

About the author

Kelly Kims is a certified dietitian and nutritionist who has practiced as a clinical dietitian in major tertiary hospitals. Her clinical interest includes nutritional therapy for weight management, diabetes, cardiovascular  disease and  cancer. She is also an accredited sports dietitian who has experience in counseling athletes and fitness fanatics about sports nutrition. She is also co-owner and writes about nutrition and diets at quickeasydietsthatwork.com

 

 

 

5 Reasons Why Your Abdominal Muscles Aren’t Toning Out

Do you struggle with a stomach that just won't tone out the way you want it to? I personally struggled with that for so long and I just had no idea why. There are countless reasons why someone might not be able to reveal their abdominal muscles, but I'm going to cover the most prominent ones in this article.

Whether your body type is skinny and thin (like I am) or your body type is more heavy-set, these five powerful tips will help you achieve that flat, toned stomach. Everyone is different in body type, energy levels, and exercise knowledge, so these tips are designed to help each one of these different individuals as opposed to one specific audience.

I can personally attest that these different pointers will not only help you in the long run in developing that strong stomach, but will give you noticeable differences within the next day or two. Now this doesn't mean you'll see differences in your stomach appearance, but you will see differences in your overall health and ability to lose fat or gain muscle (depending on your body type and goals). So, without further delay, allow me to walk you through each of these different tips and show you how you can change them to maximize your results while decreasing your workout time.

1. You Aren't Hydrating Yourself Properly:

Many people forget to hydrate themselves and this can cause numerous problems. You won't just see problems during your exercises, but you'll see problems with your overall health if you don't hydrate correctly. This doesn't mean drinking a glass of water or two now and then throughout the day, but it means treating your body like a giant, refillable water bottle. As you're working out performing different exercises, you're losing those liquids that your body once had, and you need to constantly be replenishing those liquids so you don't pass out.

Without proper hydration your muscles don't get the maximized results they could be if you were providing healthy liquids for your muscles to rely on. Not only that, but your body relies on electrolytes and proper hydration to provide you with the energy needed to blast through exercises. This is why hydrating yourself constantly isn't enough. You need to be sure you're hydrating yourself the right way with the proper liquids.

The wrong kinds of liquids include energy drinks (Monsters, Red Bull etc.), caffeine (coffee, shots, etc.) and yes, even "electrolyte-replsnishing" drinks (gatorade, powerade etc.). You may agree with me when I say caffeine and energy drinks are absolutely terrible for workouts, but I bet you didn't guess drinks like Gatorade and Powerade aren't the best for exercising.

I could go deep into detail, but the main point is that drinks like Gatorade DO replenish you with electrolytes, but what comes associated with the electrolytes (food coloring, high fructose corn syrup etc.) is what tears your body down in the long run. The main point is that you need to hydrate yourself constantly and properly. Everyone is going to have to replenish their liquids differently because we all have different body types and workouts, but the main point is that you absolutely NEED to stay hydrated both in and out of the gym.

2. Don't Settle For Average With Your Workouts

I don't know exactly what you do for your workout plan or what different muscles you work each day, but I do know one thing: that you need to push your body and not just settle for average during each exercise. There are so many things that incorporate into this amazing tip, but I'm only going to cover the absolute necessary points.

First off, we tend to get used to exercises after we've performed them for so long and it just becomes a second nature routine. When you reach this kind of "plateau" in your exercises, you need to increase the power of that exercise. How do you do this? You need to perform each exercise in a harder way that tests your body's limits even more than it used to. Here's an example: let's say you have been doing the same abdominal exercise everyday for the past month and feel as if it doesn't give you much of a workout, but you still perform it anyway just to get it out of the way for that day; now instead of just going through the motions, make it harder and turn it into a weighted exercise that fully concentrates all of the weight and tension straight to your abdominals. This is what it means to push your body past its usual limits and explore harder ways to make that specific exercise work you harder.

Secondly, switch up your exercise instead of going through the normal everyday routine. Mix up your workouts, make it fun, and create some new exercise that work best for you by exploring different options. For example, individuals tend to get bored of their boring cardio workout that consists of jogging, jump rope, and some jumping-jacks. Well, instead of making your workout seem like a chore, have fun with it and explore different variations to each exercise that make you think more and work harder. This might include turning a normal mile-jog into a fun 15 minute run where you pull one of your kids in a wagon up and down your street. Things like this will make it fun and you'll get exhausted way faster without even realizing your body is getting an insane cardio workout.

3. You Aren't Consistent With Your Diet Plan

Diet plans can be hard to follow, I understand that. However, when it becomes a normal thing where you "cheat" on your diet and have a cupcake or doughnut here and there, this becomes a problem. You need to write out your goals, post it on the cupboard door of your junk food cabinet, and remind yourself what this whole diet thing is meant to accomplish whenever you're about to cheat yourself.

Also, its hard to stay consistent with your diet whenever you don't have any idea what the upcoming day will bring your way. My suggestion is to write out a diagram or outline of your day to prepare yourself for whatever your day may bring your way. Plan your meals out the night before, all the way down the snacks in between. This can do huge things for you so you don't hit any unexpected "bumps" in the road and ruin your diet.

Remember, your goals are what's going to help you stay consistent with your diet plan, because your diet plan is meant to help you accomplish things you otherwise couldn't. Whether you're aiming to build muscle or lose body fat, everything starts with your internal environment. This means everything you eat or drink has some kind of effect on your body's internal environment, whether good or bad.

Let's make a healthy, good environment for your body to naturally accomplish whatever goal it is you're trying to reach.

4. You Are Focusing On One Abdominal Muscle Group

Whether you're meaning to do this or not, you may only be targeting one specific abdominal muscle group with your workouts. This is not a good thing when you're trying to tone out your entire stomach and get rid of abdominal fat. It's hard, and almost impossible, to develop a toned, flat stomach, when you only workout your upper abdominals group, or whatever muscle group it may be. You need to be sure you balance out your workouts and find exercises that tone all of your abdominal muscles at once, or at least workout one group after the other, making sure to balance it out.

For example, you could perform two exercises that target your upper abdominals, then perform two exercises that target your lower abs, and finish it off with two oblique abdominal exercises (love handles). This way you even out your exercises and don't strengthen certain abdominals more than the others. You may be able to prominently see your upper abdominals, while your lower abs are hidden by abdominal fat. This would be due to your unbalanced abs workouts.

Be sure to fix this to prevent an oddly-shaped stomach, because I actually use to struggle with this at first. I don't want you to make the same mistakes I did.

5. You Aren't Performing Weighted Exercises

If you are aiming to develop six pack abs, but don't know how, listen carefully. This is one of the easiest things to adjust and can do massive things for your stomach. Not only will you see faster results, but you'll honestly see abdominal fat diminish as you see your abdominals begin to unveil.

Here's my final tip: perform weighted abdominal exercises. More weight means more muscle is being developed and muscle is the one natural thing that destroys fat the fastest. When you have more muscle built being developed in your stomach area, you'll notice drastic differences as that abdominal fat will begin to become overrun by muscle. This is where your abdominal muscles begin to unveil themselves.

So, my tip to you is to add comfortable amounts of weight in each of your abdominal exercise, and perform those exercises until you know you blasted your stomach. This is my most helpful tip not only because you can easily begin to implement it right now, but because you'll notice drastic differences as opposed to the regular old "non-weighted" exercises. I recommend you start off with light weights for each exercise and slowly progress to heavier weights to build more abdominal muscle. Remember, muscle is the one thing that naturally destroys fat and you'll get awesome results if you implement this one powerful tip.

Well, there they are. These are 5 powerful tips you can easily begin to utilize the moment you're done reading this article. These aren't just applicable techniques, but these are ones that will allow you to see noticeable, maximized results. Yes, we're trying to develop a toned stomach, but you'll see an increase in overall health and energy when you constantly implement these tips into your workout plan.

Jason Camacho is the guest author of this post and is also the owner of Ultimate Abdominals, which also contains Three Powerful Ebooks at no charge. Gain knowledge, implement secrets and tips, and optimize results instantly and permanently.

Peripheral Vascular Disease/Peripheral Arterial Disease

Poor circulation to the legs and feet is a very serious condition that has recently gained publicity.  PAD (peripheral arterial disease) or PVD (peripheral vascular disease) are common ways of referring to poor circulation or blood flow to the lower extremities (legs/feet).  There are two main arteries that supply the feet: posterior tibial artery and dorsalis pedis artery.  These two arteries are checked when you have a foot exam.

Poor blood flow means that there is either a blockage in one or several blood vessels or narrowing of the vessels so that blood does not flow easily through the vessels.  Sometimes, blood does not flow at all, if the vessels are completely blocked, and this is a very serious condition which often leads to limb loss.

Causes of PAD:  common causes of poor circulation include the following:  smoking, hypertension or high cholesterol, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, and other chronic, serious conditions.

Signs of PAD:  pain, color changes to the toes, cramping after walking a certain distance, toenail changes, thinning of the skin of the feet, lack of hair growth to the feet, and in the worst case, pain with rest or sleeping that is only relieved with dangling the foot out of the bed or walking around.  Often, the pulses of the feet are weak or not present.

Testing for PAD:  circulation tests or arterial doppler exams are ordered to assess the blood flow of the legs and feet. This test uses blood pressure cuffs to monitor the blood flow, and the blood flow of the ankle is often compared to the blood flow or pressure in the arm to determine an ankle brachial index or ABI.  The waveforms created by these measurements and the number of the ankle brachial index or ABI determine if a person has poor circulation and whether they need to be referred to a vascular surgeon or interventional cardiologist for a more extensive work up.

Treatment:  often, podiatrists refer patients to other doctors for treatment of severe cases of PVD/PAD.  Early forms of the disease are often treated with medication, exercise, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, controlling blood sugar levels, and cessation of smoking.  More serious disease may require surgery.

If you think you have poor circulation to your feet, please called Advanced Physical Medicine for an appointment with Dr. Bender, Oak Park and Chicago's premier foot and ankle specialist!

Tai chi exercises may be important for seniors

People are living much longer these days, and by and large, this is a positive development. However, for some it means they will likely be living for many years in poor health. An aging population is likely to be a less healthy one. For this reason, it is important for seniors to understand the benefits of tai chi exercises and to consider participating in a class.

Physical exercise is critical for maintaining good overall health, but many older individuals are unable to engage in vigorous physical activity. This may make most traditional types of exercise exceedingly difficult for them. For those who struggle with jogging or lifting weights, tai chi may be just the thing they need to get fit without straining themselves.

Cheryl Mildon, a tai chi student in Twin Falls, Idaho, told local news station KMVT that she was aware she needed to do more to increase her fitness levels. But at this stage of her life she has become less physically fit and poor health makes it difficult for her to engage in intense workouts. She has since benefitted from joining a local tai chi class.

"I have quite a few disabilities, and I'm able to do this, which has been really nice," she told the news source. "It gets me up and moving and out of the house, and it's very relaxing"

Other students in Mildon's class reported major gains in their overall health. Improved balance was one of the primary benefits several students claimed resulted from their participation in the program.

Improved balance is one of the most important benefits associated with tai chi. It is an area of health that often deteriorates rapidly with age, which is one of the leading causes of hospitalizations, loss of mobility and death. It is critical for seniors to find ways to maintain their sense of balance as they get older.

The benefits of tai chi do not stop there. Aside from the physical health improvements practitioners may see, there is also a strong mental component to the exercise. This may enable seniors to overcome the stress and anxiety they may feel about their overall physical health and allow them to pursue more rewarding lives.

While tai chi exercises can benefit just about anyone, they may be a perfect match for many of the issues faced by those in the latter stages of their lives.

Dahn Yoga is known worldwide as a Korean style of yoga that integrates yoga, tai chi, meditation and stretching. Dahn Yoga centers are located throughout the United States and the world.

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