Disc Herniations and Chiropractic

What is a disc/inter-verterbal disc?

Our spines are made up of bones called vertebrae. In between each of these bones, we have discs that cushion our vertebrae and act as shock absorbers. The disc has a tough outer layer, called the annulus, and a soft inner center called the nucleus.

What is a disc herniation?

A disc herniation is when the soft inner nucleus pushes out of the annulus into the spinal canal. The spinal canal only has limited space, so when the nucleus of the disc starts protruding into the spinal canal it can put pressure on the nerves within the canal. As a result, this can cause pain and other symptoms. Moreover, this can happen anywhere in the spine but usually occurs in the lower back or the neck.

What are the symptoms of disc herniations in the lower back?

Symptoms caused by a disc herniation in the lower back include lower back pain, numbness, pain, tingling, or burning. The burning starts in the buttock and radiates down the leg and sometimes into the foot. Usually, only one side is affected. In addition, pain is usually exacerbated by standing, walking, sitting, and straightening the painful leg.

What are the symptoms of disc herniations in the neck?

In the neck, symptoms include neck pain, pain in between the shoulder blades; numbness, pain, tingling, or burning. The burning starts down the arms and sometimes into the hands and fingertips. Moreover, the pain can be exacerbated by certain neck positions and movement. As well as coughing, sneezing, or straining. In addition, disc herniations can cause weakness in the affected limb.

An injury usually causes disc herniations to that area of the spine. Still, in people with degenerating discs, it can sometimes just take a small exertion or twist of the spine to cause a herniation. Risk factors for disc herniation include smoking, being overweight, incorrect lifting technique, repetitive strenuous activities, or a sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, 30-50 years old is the most common age to develop a disc herniation, but it can happen outside of this age range. In addition, men are twice as likely as women to experience a disc herniation2.

How can chiropractic help with disc herniations?

There are many ways that chiropractic care can help with disc herniations.

Prevention:

Firstly, by preventing them from happening in the first place. Chiropractic is all about optimizing nervous system function. This helps to make sure all of the muscles around our spine are activated and working at their best. As a result, when muscles around our spine aren’t working properly, this leaves our spine vulnerable and more susceptible to a disc herniation if we sustain an injury.

Proper Movement and Support:

Secondly, chiropractic can prevent a disc herniation by making sure the joint is moving properly. Chiropractic restores proper joint biomechanics, and when joints are moving properly this decreases the likelihood of degeneration. Importantly, as degeneration is a major risk factor for disc herniation, this is an important part of preventing disc herniations.

Improves healing:

Thirdly, it is important to try and prevent disc herniations from happening in the first place. However, you could still sustain an injury that causes a disc herniation. Chiropractic is beneficial in the healing process for this. As chiropractic impacts the nervous system, it impacts our body’s healing capabilities. As a result, a nervous system free of interference is able to better heal injuries such as a disc herniation fast and effectively. Therefore, chiropractic returns normal movement and function to the spine.

In addition, along with proper exercises and stretches, a spine that is moving and functioning properly is more likely to heal properly. In conclusion, this decreases the chance of needing surgery for the disc herniation.

Other options

There are many different types of surgery for disc herniations, which can involve removing bone, removing discs, or fusing multiple levels of the spine together. However, this is usually the last resort for extreme cases, as it is extremely invasive. Moreover, it can cause further issues down the road. Chiropractic is safe and non-invasive, and can drastically reduce your chances of needing surgery. As a result, your body is able to heal naturally, resulting in less chance of re-injury and further complications.

References:

  1. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. (2019). Herniated disc – Symptoms, causes, prevention and treatments. https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Herniated-Disc
  2. Southern Cross. (2017, December). Herniated disc – symptoms, treatment, surgery. https://www.southerncross.co.nz/group/medical-library/herniated-slipped-disc-symptoms-treatment-surgery
  3. Grassi, R. (2019, June 26). Chiropractic care for degenerative disc disease. Spine Universe. https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/degenerative-disc/chiropractic-care-degenerative-disc-disease
  4. Pietrangelo, A. (2017, April 21). Herniated disc surgery: What to expect. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/bone-health/herniated-disk-surgery#surgeries
  5. Santilli, V., Beghi, E., & Finucci, S. (2006). Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: A randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations. The Spine Journal, 6(2), 131-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2005.08.001

 

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Disc Herniation - Auckland Chiropractor

Posture and Chiropractic

 

What are the benefits of good posture?

 

“Sit up straight” or “don’t slump” is advice we have all probably heard at sometime during our lives, as someone is trying to tell us to fix our bad posture. But you may not understand why having good posture is so important, and all the benefits that good posture can bring about. Here are just some of the many benefits that having good posture1:

  • Less chance of pain in the neck or lower back – poor posture places stress on these areas and can cause pain
  • Decreased incidence of headaches – poor posture leads to increased muscle tension at the back of the neck which can cause tension headaches
  • Increased energy levels – when all of our joints are in their correct alignment this allows our muscles to work at their best, which stops them from using excess energy, so this energy can be used elsewhere in the body
  • Decreased risk of joint degeneration – poor posture places excess stress on some joints, which can eventually lead to degeneration
  • Increased lung capacity – slouching compresses your lungs, having good posture gives your lungs more room to expand
  • Improved circulation and digestion – just like your lungs, other organs can be compressed with bad positioning, good posture allows your organs to work at their best, helping with functions such as circulation and digestion
  • Improved core strength and reduce injury – good posture allows your core and back muscles to stay active and engaged, resulting in a strong core. This strong core protects our spine and minimises your chance of injury
  • Increased confidence – good posture can make you appear taller and more attractive to other people. Which also improves confidence and self-esteem

 

What can cause bad posture?

 

Numerous things can cause us to have bad posture including2:

  • Slouching when sitting or standing – this can place strain on your muscles and can also cause some of your muscles to stop working effectively, which could leave you more vulnerable to injury
  • Wearing high heels – this can cause an increased curve in you lower back, putting more stress on this area of your spine
  • Increased weight or pregnancy – excess weight around the stomach and pregnancy can also cause and increased curve in the lower back
  • Leaning on one leg when standing – this causes an imbalance to muscles, mostly around the pelvis, which can place extra stress on the pelvis and lower spine. This can also be caused by carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, carrying a child on one hip, or even sitting with your phone or wallet in your back pocket
  • Hunching over when at a computer or on your phone – this usually causes tight chest muscles and weak upper back muscles, which can cause pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back

 

How can chiropractic help?

 

Chiropractic is extremely beneficial when it comes to improving posture. The first way chiropractic can help, is through the chiropractic adjustment. By adjusting segments of the spine that aren’t moving properly, chiropractors can return the normal movement and function to the joints of the spine. Bringing  overall balance to the body. This helps with postural imbalances such as having one hip or shoulder higher than the other, or when the natural curve in your neck has started to straighten out.

When the joints of the spine are moving properly, this better enables them to sit in the correct position. Also allowing the muscles around them to activate work properly to support the spine, thus creating better posture3. However, chiropractic adjustments alone aren’t going to give you perfect posture. You will have to put in some work yourself. As chiropractors have so much knowledge on the spine and posture they can provide you with many stretches and exercises that will help to improve your posture. They can also provide lifestyle advice such as how best to set up your seat, computer, and desk at work. Chiropractic care along with the advice given by your chiropractor can have an amazing impact on your posture4.

 

 

 

References:

 

  1. Jonaitis, J. (2018, September 18). 12 benefits of good posture — and how to maintain it. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/posture-benefits
  2. (2019, July 10). Common posture mistakes and fixes. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/common-posture-mistakes-and-fixes/
  3. Physio Works. (2019, March 17). What are the benefits of good posture? https://physioworks.com.au/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=31641
  4. American Chiropractic Association. (n.d.). Posture. https://acatoday.org/content/posture-power-how-to-correct-your-body-alignment

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Poor posture affecting women | One of the keys in healing is… | Flickr

The Immune System and Chiropractic

What is the immune system?

 

The immune system is our natural defense against outside pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. It is constantly working to prevent us from getting sick or infected, or to help get us better as efficiently as possible if we do become infected. It can affect how often we get sick, how hard we are hit by sickness, and how long it will take to recover. When it does become infected by something, it keeps a record of this. So that it is better equipped to fight it if it ever returns again. The immune system contains many different parts. Including but not limited to: white blood cells, antibodies, skin bone marrow, spleen, lymphatic system, and the thymus. They all have their own role in preventing and fighting infection.

 

How can the immune system become weakened?

 

Some people are born with conditions that weaken their immune system. It can weaken from acquired diseases (such as HIV/AIDS), or through some types of medical treatment (such as chemotherapy)1. In addition, there are also lifestyle habits that can weaken our immune system such as prolonged stress, under or over-exercising, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor diet2.

 

How does chiropractic affect the immune system?

 

It is important to look at the lifestyle factors that may be weakening our immune system and modify these where possible. However, there are other ways we can help to strengthen our immune system. One of these ways is through chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is all about removing interference from the nervous system, which is caused by all the different stresses in our lives. When our nerve system is free of interference this allows our brain and our body to communicate more freely and accurately. If our brain and body are communicating well this allows the brain to be better. As a result, it is able to detect what is happening in the body, such as an infection, and to organize the necessary elements needed to fight this.

When the communication between the brain and the body has no interference, the brain can register what is happening faster. As a result, the body can start fighting any sickness or infection as soon as possible in order to minimize damage to the body and reduce the duration of sickness. Moreover, decreased nervous system interference also allows our brain and nervous system to better coordinate all body systems. When the immune and nervous system can coordinate their responses more efficiently this keeps our body more resilient and healthy. As a result, the more coordinated our immune and nervous systems, the more likely to beat sickness and infection fast, and with the least amount of damage to the body3.

 

Cont.

 

A great example of chiropractic helping boost immune function the impact that chiropractors had during the Spanish Flu. The Spanish Flu (1918-1920) was one of the world’s worst pandemics, with somewhere between 20-50 million people dying4. While it was a devastating time in history, something amazing happened when those affected went to see their chiropractor. In a city in Iowa, it was shown that every 1 out of 15 of those infected that went to medical doctors died. However, only 1 out of every 866 patients that went to a chiropractor died. Moreover, there were 233 cases that medical doctors had given up on, and after chiropractic care all but 25 of these cases survived. As a result, this amazing feat led to many licenses in the US5!

 

This all comes down to the fact that chiropractic clears interference from the nervous system. In addition, they allow all systems of the body to function at their best, including the immune system. Chiropractic is extremely beneficial for anyone looking to boost their immune function – it saves lives!

 

References:

 

  1. Better Health Channel. (2017). Immune system. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/immune-system.
  2. Everyday Health. (2015, June 17). 9 surprising ways you’re weakening your immune system. EverydayHealth.com. https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/9-surprising-ways-youre-weakening-your-immune-system/.
  3. Pure Healthcare. (2017, July 5). Boost your “flu-fighter” with chiropractic care. https://www.purehealthcare.co.nz/boost-your-flu-fighter-with-chiropractic-care/.
  4. (2010, October 12). Spanish Flu. History.com. https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic.
  5. Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Monmouth. (2020, March 13). 10 important studies on chiropractic and resisting a virus. https://getwellnj.com/immunity/.

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File:Organs of the Immune System by AIDS.gov.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

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.

 

cont.

 

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!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Whole Foods | Herry Lawford | Flickr

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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Coronavirus, School, and Prevention – Stay Safe

Coronavirus preventation 

Now that school is about to start, parents getting their kids ready for this new year and people gradually returning back to work, holiday season is now truly over. This is the time of the year where people especially kids start to have more human interactions again. As a result, this can lead to more bacteria being spread around. With the current coronavirus situation floating about I thought it would be a good time to remind us all about how to deal with flu again. Side note, New Zealand should be safe from the coronavirus as of February 2nd, foreign travellers who have left Mainland China will not be allowed in the country. That being said, there are still other germs and yucky stuff floating about.

  1. Wash your hands – Imagine all the stuff that we touch every day and the same object being touched by other people. We don’t know what the person before you who has touched the same object has. So to be safe wash your hands after you go to the bathroom, before and after you eat. Remember a rinse under the tap isn’t enough so use soap and give your hands a rub. After dry it thoroughly, especially between the fingers. Bacteria loves moisture so don’t give it a chance for it to grow. By washing our hands it can help prevent the spread of bacteria.
  2. Vitamin C – It is no secret that vitamin C can help with immunity. With a strong immune system it can prevent us from getting sick. This is because vitamin C helps your body stimulate more production of white blood cells which is designed to help your body to fight off bacteria. Plenty of fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C; oranges, kiwifruit, broccoli and berries are just a few. If you think you are not having enough or would like an extra boost, there are supplements available.
  3. Rest – Rest is the best way to cure any sickness. A lot of the time when we get sick is because our body is already weak, this makes it an easy target for bacteria to attack our body. The best way to rest is to sleep. While we are sleeping it provides an opportunity for our body to recover and strengthen. So it’s important to get 8 hours of quality sleep every day. There are several ways to improve on your sleep such as supplementation (ie magnesium) and staying off your screen 30 minutes prior going to bed. To know more about sleep quality check out our other blogs!
  4. Stay home – Stay home if you are sick! That’s the best way to prevent bacteria, viruses, and coronavirus being spread around the community. If you are home you can also get more rest to allow proper recovery too. If we can minimise the spread of the bacteria or virus, it will become less harmful and toxic. So do the community a good thing and stay home if you are feeling under the weather. This applies to kids as well, we don’t want other kids getting sick during this period of time.

Holiday season is now over and we are now getting back into the swing of our usual lives again. This makes us susceptible to getting sick as people around the world are coming back home now. Hygiene, vitamin C, rest and staying at home are just a couple of ways to keep you and the community safe. So follow the 4 advice mentioned above and stay safe!

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 5 Sleep

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 5 Sleep

Sleep

Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…

If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.

Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.

The parents role

As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.

It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
younger years.

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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.

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 3

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 3: TOUGH LOVE

Many parents lament that they can’t get their children to eat certain foods or meals that they prepare…

Despite their best intentions, many parents today arrive at a stand-of with their children; the children dictate what they will and won’t eat, and then the parents become distressed when their kids fall ill with frequent colds and flus, ear infections and asthma, to name but a few repercussions of poor diet. Or in ever-growing cases, children acquire seemingly mysterious behavioral disorders with long labels that require medication. Even then, the link is often not made between diet and health.

Sometimes it seems a whole lot easier to just give into children and throw into their lunchboxes that vegemite, peanut butter or jam sandwich, a packet of chips, or a cupcake. There is no doubt that this type of approach to lunches is quick, simple, and easy. But the question is:

Is life simple and easy when we have hyperactive, angry or unwell children?

NO, it isn’t…full report

 …Life is draining physically, emotionally and financially.

 

We cannot pour soft drinks or additives onto a potted plant and expect it to survive… the same applies to our body.

There is a direct relationship between what we eat and our quality of life and health. In Lunchbox Solutions, I discuss a variety of approaches to retraining fussy eaters.

Every family must negotiate guidelines and boundaries around many facets of lifestyle and behavior, but there are none as important as diet, because what your children eat has an ENORMOUS IMPACT on the whole family. It’s exhausting when they are chronically unwell when they are irritable and friends and family don’t want to spend time with them. So I’d encourage you to pick your battles and be clear that the “food battle” is one you want to win!

Even if your child appears quite healthy, remember that the impact of poor food choices may have a long-lasting effect on their health as adults. The cumulative damage of refined sugars and processed foods can be an enormous contributor to illnesses including diabetes and heart disease. It is our role as guardians to empower our family with proactive and positive habits. 

Since my boys were very little they learned that they need to eat primarily wholesome foods and at times “sometimes foods.” It is vitally important that children learn how they can strengthen digestive power through eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible including a wide variety of fresh organic vegetables and fruits, raw or organic nuts and seeds, beans, whole grains; you get the idea.

Foods Cont.

Foods should nourish and heal the body. Eating foods in their most natural state ensures we receive the highest nutritional content. Whole foods contain naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, enzymes, essential fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Consuming food shouldn’t be a toxic event. By eating “whole foods” we also help our family to reduce their intake of harmful chemicals. Such as preservatives, synthetic nutrients, and other additives that are considered non-foods (which are added to most all processed foods.)

If you can — try to eat organic foods whenever possible. This will help to ensure you avoid harmful toxins such as antibiotics, synthetic hormones, pesticides, herbicides, GMO’s, and synthetic fertilizers. Purchasing organic food is not a luxury but rather an integral step in securing our health. Pollutants in our modern environment—for example, pesticides, heavy metals, herbicides and fumigants—have been linked to abnormalities in behavior, perception, cognition, and motor ability during early childhood, even when exposure is at so-called harmless levels.

The goal is to teach the child to make these good decisions themselves

Where possible encourage children to help you shop and prepare meals and take the opportunity to highlight the pros and cons of different foods and false foods.

Encourage your children from a young age to also be open to having supplements or “vitamin boosts” from time to time. For example, smoothies and homemade juices are a great way to add multi-mineral powders and probiotics into their weekly diet. High-quality probiotics can provide the necessary bacteria for a healthy gut, and they are an essential aid to digestive health for all children — I would recommend taking these a few times a week. It’s also a great habit to encourage them to randomly have zinc and vitamin C powder drinks or multi-mineral drinks particularly if they have been really busy or had a few late nights.

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Children Eating More Fruit, but Fruit and Vegetable Intake Still ...

Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 2 How?

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: How? Take an audit.

Whenever we want to set ourselves a new goal we have to know where we are starting. This allows us to look back in 6 and 12 months time and celebrate how far we have come. It’s hard work being a parent and it’s harder again to a parent who’s committed to healthy habits and rituals. So, it’s important to take stock and appreciate your efforts.

So let’s begin how to audit.

Q: How Much Sugar Do You Each Consume Daily

Without realizing it, most adults and children eat refined sugar for breakfast, lunch and dinner via processed cereals and grains. Most of us consume an average of 53 kg of sugar each year (approximately
29 teaspoons of added and natural sugar each day), and 75 percent comes from the packaged and convenience products we eat and drink.

I’d encourage you to investigate the health risks associated with eating too many sugars (in Lunchbox Solutions I discuss the dangers of sugars and outline what are healthier ways to sweeten recipes, so that’s a great place to start).

There are several reasons should we should avoid sugars, including that they raise our insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone
that our pancreas produces and its main function is taking up blood glucose (sugar) into the cells for energy. High insulin levels are thought to contribute to multiple health issues but for this post where we are focused on raising the health status of our children — let’s keep to three main issues.

Key issues with sugar

1 High insulin levels can depress the immune system weakening our ability to fight disease. This occurs because white blood cells need stacks of vitamin C to kill bacteria and viruses. So our white blood cells work to accumulate
and store vitamin C within the cell. The problem is that vitamin C and glucose have similar chemical structures so they then compete to enter the white blood cells. Guess what happens when we have lots of glucose in our blood from eating lots of foods that contain processed sugars? Glucose wins and our white blood cells become deficient in vitamin C compromising our ability to fight bugs.

2 Too many sugars also upset the integral balance of good and harmful bacteria in the gut. When we consume too many sugars we can create an overgrowth of harmful yeasts and bad bacteria which override our helpful “disease fighting” helpful bacteria — hindering our immune system.

3 Refined sugars also provide us with no vitamins or minerals. In order for them to be metabolized, they draw on the body’s reserves of vitamins and minerals, depleting our body’s nutrients.

ACTION: Start a food diary and observe just how much sugar find there way into your daily diet. Here’s a tip for when looking at products and packaging — sugars tend to be any ingredient ending in “ose” — sucrose, fructose, dextrose, lactose etc. Try it — it will shock you!

Drastically reducing sugar (initially this is not an easy task) not only lightens the load on your child’s immune system it also allows your children to get off the ‘blood-sugar rollercoaster’.

Here’s another tip — cutting back sugar … life just gets better. Sugar highs and lows, make us all irritable and grumpy.

Audit Cont.

Q: How many processed foods are in your pantry, fridge and child’s lunch box?
-Literally count the number of packaged items and take an audit. If a food item has more then 5 or 6 ingredients you can bet it’s refined, altered and damaged. If you can’t pronounce the names of the ingredients in the food item, mostly likely it’s full of chemicals. I’d encourage you to become a food critic and learn what all those numbers and complex sounding ingredients really mean. Please see “Become a Food Critic” and the “Poor Choice, Better Choice and Fabulous Choice” Table in “Empower Their Choices” in Lunchbox Solutions.

Q: How many pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables are you all currently consuming each day?

-Daily consistency is key here.

Q: How many glasses of water do you drink?

Q: What sort of water do you drink?
-And I don’t mean the wet kind. One of the simplest and most important things you can do is invest in a water filter to protect your family against chemically-treated water. Most of our drinking water today contains chlorine and chlorination by-products, as well as numerous other contaminants. Drinking good quality water via a high quality filter system — promotes detoxification, enhances nutritional uptake and ensures optimal hydration.

Help your children develop the habit of drinking water throughout the day rather than juices and soft drinks. A mere two per cent drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Many children are frequently dehydrated, suffering with concentration issues, constipation and digestive problems.

Q: How many prescriptions has your child had in the last twelve months and over their lifetime?
-With regular chiropractic care and addressing these other tips for raising healthy children, many parents delight in no longer relying on antibiotics and instead being able to rely on their child’s own immune strength.

Q: How many sessions of sweaty exercise would each family member perform each week?
-Ideally each of us should be raising our heart rate 5 times a week.

Q: How many harmful chemicals are in your personal care and cleaning products?
-Source brands that are genuinely wholesome — free of nasty chemicals and toxins which are readily absorbed through the skin and tax our body and its defence system.

It can be a “reality slap” to take an audit and look at where you currently sit along the “healthy” and “not so healthy” scale. Where you sit on the “fresh” and “disastrously preserved” scale. Remember though that every moment we make choices and have the opportunity and capacity to influence both our child’s — short and long-term health.

 

Looking for a Kids Chiropractor in Auckland? We Can Help 🙂

To Schedule Your Appointment at Revolution E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718. You can also book online.

You can follow us on Instagram Or Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn, become a fan on Facebook.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL FOR DAILY EXERCISE AND HEALTH ADVICE.

This blog is sponsored by Little Ninja & SPARTAFIT

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