Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Organic, Free Range Food: Reasons Consider It

1. Better for the health of the farm worker
2. Higher nutritional value
3. No pesticides
4. No growth hormone
5. No antibiotics
6. Leaner meat - the animal has to graze for the grass(grain fed is high in Omega-6, a pro inflammatory)
7. Better taste
8. Better support for the immune system
9. Decrease health care costs
10. Better for the environment

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nutrition and Inflammation

Inflammation is the process by which the body's white blood cells and chemicals attempt to protect us.  When we sprain an ankle and tear soft tissue inflammation occurs to set in motion the healing process and clean up the debris.  To reduce inflammation right away we ice it as the body tends to overreact and inflames too much.  Diet plays a key role in this inflammation.  A diet rich in processed foods, sugar, grains, grain fed meats, and dairy cause the inflammation process to react at a much higher degree than diets high in vegetable, fruits, and omega-3 rich foods.  Eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and omega-3 will reduce healing time as the amount and duration of inflammation will be decreased not too mention the pain process will be diminished.  Omega-3 for anti-inflammation can be found in both plant and animal based forms such as flaxseed for the former and cold water fish for the latter.  Eating a diet high in omega-3 will reduce inflammation thoughtout the body and reduce pain associated with inflammation.  For those patients with chronic inflammation and pain it is imperative to increase the omega-3 in the diet and reduce foods that cause inflammation as mentioned above.  For the athlete (anyone who is active in any sport) it is also recommended eating a diet low in the foods that promote inflammation and high in those that reduce inflammation. Injuries occur and it is best to have the environment set up before hand to be able to deal with the injury in the most efficient manner.  

Gym Ball as a Desk Chair

The "passive" core exercise as I like to call it. When sitting in a standard chair the muscles of the low back and core are not being challenged. We sit down, we slump, round the back, and literally hang on the spine. While sitting on the ball we are challenged to...well...sit on the ball. Muscles supporting the low back (in particular a group named the Multifidi) and core (in particular the Transverse Abdominus) will have to work meaning these muscles are contracting and relaxing to stabilize and keep you on the ball. Often in low back pain patients the multifidi and transverse abdominus are not functioning correctly (i.e. not responding in a coordinated manner or not responding at all) and are unable to respond to movements such as reaching over to simply pick up a piece of paper off the floor. "I was just reaching for _______ and my back went out and I had to lie down on the floor." Conditioning these muscles can be begin by simply switching out the chair at your computer for a gym ball.  Try it and you may be surprised how much stronger your core over time becomes by doing this "passive" core exercise.  

General Ball Sizing
Under 5'4" use a 55 cm ball.
Between 5'4" and 6'1" use a 65 cm ball.
Over 6'1" use a 75 cm ball.