4 Natural & Effective Ways to Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels is something that effects around 31% of the human population. Having a cholesterol levels can lead to high blood pressure, angina and kidney diseases. In more serious cases it can lead to strokes and heart attacks. This is because cholesterol builds up in our arteries and blood vessels. Due to this build up, it leads to a narrower vessel hence the increase in blood pressure and the increase likelihood of blockages. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, today let’s discuss 4 ways for you to lower your cholesterol.

 

  1. Reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet. This is because it contains high amounts of LDL. This is a type of cholesterol that is harmful for the body as it leaves build ups and is easily solidified in room temperature. Thus leading to narrower blood vessels in the body. We find saturated fats in many unhealthy foods such as pies, cakes and different types of pastries. This is because they are all made from some sort of animal products like butter and margarine. Another way to avoid food that contains high amount of saturated fats is to consume less processed meats. This is because it is often mixed with cuts of meat that contains high amount of animal fat.
  2. Consume food that is high in omega-3. Even though omega-3 is a fat it does not build up in the body as it is classified as an HDL. Think of it like this, omega-3 is the oil that keeps the mechanics well oiled. If everything in your body is well oiled, it’ll function smoothly and be kept in a better state. By keeping the arteries better oiled, it decreases the amount of plaque and fatty builds up from the LDL. As a result, even if you do have high cholesterol, it’ll lower your blood pressure. Leading to a lower likelihood of heart diseases.
  3. While we are sticking to recommended foods, it is highly recommended for people with high cholesterol to consume soluble fibres like beans, oats, citrus fruits and barley. This is because our body is not able to digest these foods. This create a small barrier where these soluble fibres are then attached to the cholesterol, preventing it from getting into the blood stream. In addition, soluble fibres helps your gut bacteria (probiotics) function better. So start consuming more fibre right now!
  4. Do some exercises. Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between exercise and lower cholesterol levels. This is because exercise stimulates a higher production of HDL levels. As we have mentioned it above, HDKL decreases the amount of plaque and fatty build ups in the arteries. As a recommendation, exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. It can be anything from brisk walking to playing a sport that you enjoy.

 

Here are 4 tips on how to reduce cholesterol. Remember, it won’t be decreased overtime. Try these tips for a couple of months and retest your levels after. Sometimes it may take even longer. But I guarantee that if you stick to it, results will show over time!

 

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Evening Exercise Benefits

 

Whether exercise is done first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day or late in the evening, it should be a staple in your daily routine. We have previously discussed about the positives and the negatives of working out in the morning. So I thought I should do the same but later in the evening.

 

Positives:

  • Your muscles are already at prime function. During the day your body would’ve had time to warm up and lengthen the muscles to optimal tension. Once we prep the muscles , the output would be much more. As a result, you will be able to lift heavier, sprint faster and jumper higher. In another word, you will be at your physical peak in the late afternoon/evenings.
  • Exercising in the evening can help you build muscle faster than working out in the morning. Firstly, this is because you are getting the most out of your workout as mentioned in the point above. Secondly, research has shown that working out in the evening stimulates more testosterone production compared to working out in the morning. Testosterone is one of the key hormones for building muscles.
  • It is a great time to relieve stress. At the end of the day, we are often very tired from our daily chores such as work and tasks. Most of us will have a lot of stress built up, a great way to release stress is to work out. Studies have shown that exercise is great for mental health because it releases endorphins and dopamine. Both hormones are responsible for metal positivity.

 

 

Negatives:

  • Although it is a great way of releasing stress, it is also very tempting to skip evening workouts. This is because by the end of the day most of us are very tired and we would just rather go home, curl up and watch Netflix. The best way to get past this hurdle is to force yourself to go to the gym before you enter the house and once you enter, you can treat yourself with something good.
  • Intense exercise late in the evening can cause a spike in heart rate and adrenalin. This may alter your sleep quality in the evening. We can see this in competitive sports or any high intensity work out. This is because your body will be in a fight or flight response and it has not settled down yet. To counter this problem, the best way is to try do something relaxing before you sleep to allow your body to calm down. Stretching is one of the best ways to calm your nervous system down and it is a great way to warm down your body.
  • Distractions may occur. This is because it is during this time when people are usually free. This means there will be plenty of gatherings, hangout sessions or some recreational activities. Due to these social aspects, we may forget or prioritise those events before exercising. To work around this issue, try set specific days and time dedicated to your exercise program. Those days will not be altered against most events. This will help you to create a healthy habit for you to get into.

 

There are many positive and negatives when it comes to working out in the evening or morning. Personally, I’ve always been an early bird, so I like to exercise in the morning leaving the rest of the day free. I understand that not everyone is like me so I would say as long as you set yourself a specific time to exercise and stick to it, it is the most important thing.

 

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Whole Foods

 

This era has unlimited food on the supermarket shelves. We’ve got plenty of meats, vegetables, grains, oats, dairy products etc. However, not everything on the shelves is safe to eat in the long run. But there will always be one part of the supermarket that’s always going to be reliable and delicious; that’s whole foods.

 

So what are whole foods? Whole foods are a group of foods that has not been processed or went through minimum processing before being put on the shelves. Previously fresh meat and oils were also considered in the category. However, now that some meat contain antibiotics and hormones while we now know that even some oils are heavily processed before distributed. So nowadays, whole food are mostly fruits and vegetables that have not been processed or refined. Oats, legumes, beans are some of them.

 

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So why are whole foods recommended so much? Firstly, they are not processed. This means, there are no additives in there. This means that everything is natural. The human body is made for digesting natural foods. Due to these additives and extra processing, it causes gut inflammation. Since out gut is inflamed, it’ll slow down any other healing process and make it look like there is a belly. Secondly, it decreases the chance of cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and other health problems.

This comes back to it being unprocessed again. When processing food plenty of chemicals, MSGs, fats and oils are added to a product. This chemical mixture is like a time bomb that is going to explode in your body. A build-up of these may causes unhealthy reactions in your body leading to cancers. Finally, they overflow with healthy nutrients. These food were literally designed for the human race to keep us going! They are filled with everything we need. Don’t get me wrong, supplements are extremely useful when used correctly. But most of our daily nutrition is already lie in whole foods!

 

So next time you pick up something from the supermarket, think bigger picture than is it yum? Whole food can be just as tasty if prepped right! So make sure you read the label carefully and choose what’s best for you body!

 

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Stress And The Common Cold

Stress, colds, chiropractors

Stress And the Common Cold

Stress has a major influence on the function of your immune system. For instance, have you noticed you’re more likely to catch a cold when under a lot of stress? This is true both for acute stress, such as preparing a big project for work, and chronic stress, such as relationship troubles or grief. Both can deteriorate immune systems and leave us less able to fight off infection.

Researchers have now revealed that the hormone ‘cortisol’ may play an intricate role in stress and sickness. Concluding that high levels of stress can have such a detrimental impact on our immune systems.

The Perfect “Recipe” for Avoiding Colds

Chronic stress and vitamin D deficiency can be described as the perfect ‘storm’ for developing colds. If you’re facing these two scenarios and are exposed to a cold virus, then you guessed it! There’s a good chance you’re going to get sick.

Cold viruses can live almost anywhere. On pens, computer keyboards, coffee mugs, handbags.. so it’s easy to come into contact with such viruses in daily life. The important key to remember is that just by being exposed to a cold virus doesn’t have to mean that we catch a cold. If our immune system is operating at it’s peak, it should be quite easy for you to fend off the virus without ever getting sick.

If you want to join the ranks of people who rarely get sick, start with strategies listed below. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does give you a general idea of how to live healthy and avoid getting frequent colds and other infections. Other factors, like getting high-quality sleep and avoiding exposure to environmental toxins, are important too. Here are a few simple starters to boost your immunity straight away:

  • Reduce and Eliminate Stress in Your Life.
  • Optimise Your Vitamin D Levels.
  • Optimise Your Insulin and Leptin Levels by Avoiding Sugar, Fructose.

Eating sugar, fructose and grains will increase your insulin levels. This is one of the fastest ways to get sick and experience premature ageing. Leptin is another key hormone associated with disease and the ageing process. Similar to insulin levels, leptin levels can also become consistently elevated. If they do, our bodies can develop resistance to this hormone, which may wreak havoc in your body.

Exercise

If you are exercising regularly, the likelihood of acquiring a cold or other viral illness is significantly reduced. In one study, staying active cut the risk of contracting a cold by 50%, and cut the severity of symptoms by 31% among those who did catch a cold. The researchers noted that each round of exercise lead to a boost in circulating immune system cells that could help ward off a virus.

Did you know that exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood? The job of these cells is to neutralise pathogens throughout your body. The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at locating and defending against viruses and other pathogens that may opportunistically overrun the body.

Eat Plenty of Raw Food

One of the most important aspects of a healthy diet that is frequently overlooked is the issue of eating uncooked, natural raw food.

Unfortunately, over 90% of the food purchased by most New Zealanders is processed. When we consume these kinds of denatured and chemically altered foods, it’s no surprise we have an epidemic of chronic and degenerative diseases. Not to mention way too many cases of colds and flu. Ideally you’ll want to eat as many foods as possible in their unprocessed state. Typically organic, biodynamic foods that have been grown locally, and are in season. Even when you choose the best foods available we can destroy much of the nutrition if you cook them. Try to eat RAW as much as possible!

When to visit your Chiropractor?

A common question that chiropractors often hear: Should I get adjusted when I’m sick? My answer is almost always YES! The body’s ability to heal quickly and efficiently, are made up of many moments of positive choices. Healthy alignment of the spine is an extremely important factor to strengthening immunity.

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Chiropractic care for Headaches & Migraines

Chiropractic care for headaches & migraines

Frequent head and neck pain can be extremely debilitating. Especially for people who work long hours, or have ongoing responsibilities. For many of us, work duties and, or parental commitments cannot just be put aside each time we have a headache. A combination of many factors, such as a slouchy posture, poor diet, and bad habits, can all increase the likelihood of developing frequent headaches and migraines. We all know how we should improve our health: good strength, eating well, reducing toxin exposure, etc.. But did you know that regular chiropractic care for headaches & migraines is also critical?!

How can Revolution Chiropractors help me?

While the use of medications offer fast temporary relief of pain, they are not a cure. Also, many drugs can have serious long term and hidden adverse side effects. Chiropractic care is a gentle and safe treatment choice. It is widely considered one of the best long term preventative options for many headache sufferers.

Chiropractic care for headaches and migraines is performed using gentle spinal corrections and adjustments. After an initial assessment, we target specific areas of the spine, neck, and muscle tissue that is causing the pain. For example, one common possibility of tension headaches is reoccurring spasms. These spasms can irritate sensitive nerve endings at the base of the neck. By having a chiropractor correct subluxations in these muscles, spasm irritation can be relieved, eliminating the root cause of tension headaches.

In taking a holistic approach to health, we can control and eliminate many contributing aggravators of head and neck pain. So for anyone suffering the ongoing frustration of stress pains caused by this commonly misunderstood condition, we must take good care of ourselves and our bodies. Be sure to book a check-up with your local chiropractor today.

If you are struggling with headaches or migraines, consider booking an appointment with a trained specialist, Dr. Samineh Baktash, at Revolution Chiropractic in Auckland, Northcote.

 

chiropractic care - headaches and migraines

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 4 Immune System

By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 4: GET DIRTY – Benefits to the Immune System

Many of us have been led to believe that germs are the root of all evil. And that we should go to great lengths to avoid them…

Anti-bacteria hand creams, sprays, and wipes, fill our handbags and counters. Yet, compelling research tells us that we have gone too far. Some exposure to pets, dirt, and other children, for example, are vital for stimulating the immune system to work effectively. In experiments where we grow animals in completely sterile (germ-free) environments, their immune systems do not develop normally. In a conclusion, they develop severe immune diseases, including allergy and autoimmunity.

When our “microbiome” (our internal network of helpful and harmful bacteria) becomes imbalanced, our digestion, immune function, state of mind, and general health and wellbeing in time become compromised. Scientists now believe, an imbalanced microbiome to be one of the primary causes of several diseases and disorders. Such as:

  • Chronic infection
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cancer
  • Neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and schizophrenia.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal just a few months ago stated that “the disruption of the gut balance [is linked] to an increasing number of diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, and asthma.”

Studies now tell us that exposure to dirt and germs is incredibly essential. We need regular exposure to bacteria and viruses to strengthen our immune system. In our own homes, among our own families, we want to take the opportunity to build up our immune systems.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Letting children crawl on the floor is fine, playing in the dirt is a good thing; we encourage having family pets and sharing a spoon with your sister is, again, fine.
  • Cleaning away visible dirt or grime on any surface — sinks, floors, or door handles with thorough washing and cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals — is usually enough without constant sterilizing. And also using disinfectants such as bleach (which probably kills everything in the air around it, too!).
  • Washing our hands with simple soap dislodges and removes surface particles without stripping everything on the skin. Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad bacteria. They also strip the skin of the environment it needs to sustain good bacteria.
  • Be less concerned about germs but instead focus more on considering how strong is your child’s digestive power and immune system.

Looking for a Kids Chiropractor in Auckland? We’ve got you covered! 🙂

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WELLNESS – TOP 5 TIPS ON RAISING HEALTHY CHILDREN

In the next five blogs, I will reveal the top 5 tips on raising the wellness of children!

But first, I want to address an important question.

When it comes to raising healthy children, how would a chiropractor and a medical professional proceed?

There are two significant differences that exist between the ‘chiropractic wellness’ approach and the ‘medical approach’ to health as each sets a different goal and a different course of action.

Firstly the medical profession views the human body as a conglomerate of chemical and mechanical functions so that when a health challenge arises, doctors look specifically at the problem area and take a “we’ve got to fix it” approach. This might be through eradicating germs that they credit with creating disease or through offering drugs or surgery. The focus is to reduce symptoms and to address health issues in a disease-oriented model.

Wellness chiropractors see the body as a whole, acknowledging that the body works together. So that when we compromise, or tax one area of our body, other areas can, in time, become vulnerable.

Most of us are aware that our nervous system controls and coordinates every function of the body. Still, we may not appreciate that there a significant number of stressors that accompany our modern lifestyle, which taxes our spine and nervous system. These lifestyle factors move a body out of balance and threaten our health. Chiropractors ask questions like, “How can we help the body recreate balance and good function?” and “What part of this person’s environment is taxing their health?” Chiropractors take a vitalistic view of the human body, respecting the body’s innate or inner intelligence and adjust the spine to stimulate the body’s natural ability to recreate balance, order, and healing.

While current health issues are addressed, wellness chiropractors are most excited about helping clients become proactive about all facets of their health.

 

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Should I Quit Drinking?

The debate of whether a certain amount of alcohol is good or bad for you has been a long-standing one. Some of us enjoy the glass of wine with dinner. Others have a few beers on the weekend.  But do you need to quit it altogether to change your body or your health?

If you’re thinking that alcoholic beverages tend to show up a lot in life you’re not alone. Alcohol has become a huge part of the culture in New Zealand and in other countries around the world. Whether it’s a nice cold beer at the end of a workday or a bubbly champagne on New Year’s, it tends to add up. But how does that affect your health goals? Well, it’s kind of complicated.

You may have heard that drinking can be good for you as research has shown that moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lower risk of diabetes, gallstones and coronary heart disease. There have even been studies indicating that drinkers live longer than people who don’t drink.

However, it’s important to know that experts recommend that if you don’t already drink, don’t start. Why? Because no one actually knows if ANY amount of alcohol is good for you.

I’m not going to tell you not to drink. But it’s important to know that most of the research on the potential benefits of drinking alcohol doesn’t actually prove anything due to how the studies are designed. The research tends to be large, long-term population-based studies that can’t say that it CAUSES anything, but rather that it CORRELATES with something.

So what is a “moderate alcohol intake”?

  • Women: 7 drinks/week, no more than 3 in a single day
  • Men: 14 drinks/week, no more than 4 in a single day

In my opinion, this type of moderation will land you in a host of health problems. Let’s take it down to 1-2 times per week with only 1 drink per setting. That’s better 🙂

A single drink can be a 330 ml can of 4% alcohol beer or a 100 ml glass of 12.5% alcohol wine.

Chances are, if you’re a human, you’re most likely underestimating your alcohol consumption. The occasional happy hour or birthday dinner can quickly take you from moderate to heavy drinker without you even realizing. The health risks for heavy drinking are much higher for major health problems, such as liver cancer, alcoholism, osteoporosis and a host of other diseases.

So how do you find a nice balance? What amount of alcohol gives you enjoyment while giving your body a chance to respond and recover from processing it? MY moderate alcohol intake guideline is a good start along with the following tips:

  • Keep track of your drinking habits. Do this for a week or two and ask yourself:
    • Am I drinking more than I thought? (Did you forget to count those couple of beers you like to have on Sunday afternoons?)
    • Are there patterns in my drinking? (Does your stressful job trigger your end-of-week binge drink?)
    • Is it helping me enjoy life or stressing me out? (Are you not sleeping well or feeling worried about drinking?)
  • Tune in to your body’s signals:
    • Do I feel good?
    • Am I recovering?
    • How do I feel afterwards?
  • Switch it up and experiment to break your routine:
    • Delay your next drink for 10 minutes and see if you still want it after.
    • Savour your drink. Look, sniff, and taste it.
    • Quality over quantity. Drink less, but have the good stuff.

Evaluate how drinking fits in with your goals. If you want six-pack abs, then that might mean skipping out on a few drinks at the bar. Taking part in Friday night “Happy Hour” means pushing back your Saturday morning workout. If you’re aiming for a more moderate alcohol intake then you’ll have to find a way to say “no” to certain stress/social triggers that make you want to drink more.

 

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Breathe Deep

In a given day how often do you breathe deeply? In a stressed out world you can unconsciously end up breathing short and shallow breaths, this can reduce oxygen intake and further drive the stress response.

Breathing is an interesting function of the body and arguably the only one that is both unconscious and consciously controlled. Think about it, until you start dreading this you were breathing without paying attention to it. It happens automatically. But you can also slow down or speed up your breathing pattern at your own will.

Rapid, shallow breathing is a natural response to a stressful situation. Deeper, slower breathing is a natural response when you are relaxed. Taking conscious control of your breathing during the day, especially when you are stressed, can help calm your nervous system so it can focus on healing, digesting and creativity.

Try this simple breathing exercise each day to calm you mind and body.

4-7-8 Breathing

This technique was developed by Dr Andrew Weil as a great technique to calm your body when lying in bed at night to assist you falling asleep or to calm your mind and body during the day.

  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth
  • Close your mouth and silently breathe in through the nose as you mentally count to 4
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7
  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth for a count of 8

Do this a total of four times and repeat twice daily to maximise the benefits of the technique. The ratio of the inhalation to exhalation is more important than the overall length of time. At first you may not be able to hold your breath very long so count faster but as your body becomes more efficient over time you will find that you can really slow the process down.

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2 Simple Tips For Reading Food Labels

If you are like most people you pick up a packet of food in the supermarket and turn it over to read the ingredients to see if it is good for you, all the while having no idea what you are reading. Eating healthy can seem complicated at first so let’s try and make it simple.

Putting the right fuel in your body is essential for your day-to-day wellbeing and performance as well as longevity. Poor diet is linked with many chronic health conditions. We encourage our patients to clean up their diet when undergoing structural chiropractic care to maximise their body’s ability to heal, recover, and re-structure. Think of it this way, if a builder uses cheap materials to build your home it probably won’t last long. Each day your body produces millions of new cells PER SECOND, so make sure you get the appropriate raw materials for your body to make the best cells it can.

Tips

  1. My first recommendation when it comes to reading a food label, is NOT to. Why? Because the food you eat shouldn’t need labeling since it has only one ingredient in it. Most of your diet should be made up of plants, lots of vegetables, fruit, legumes, and grains. If you buy carrots, there are only carrots in the pack. If you buy potatoes, same deal. As a rule of thumb, the more processing steps involved in getting a product from its source to your plate, the less good it probably does for you and the more potential harm it has.
  2. Okay so every now and then you will need products that do have a label on them. The simplest way to approach this is if you can’t read, pronounce or understand the ingredients list, it’s probably not good for you (this is a general rule, and with rules, there are always exceptions).

These two tips can be very helpful if you are new to eating better and you are trying to clean up your act. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the information out there, start simple and keep educating yourself!

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