Magnesium – don’t overlook it!

Introduction

There are so many supplements and nutrients out there up for grabs nowadays. From Vitamin A to Zinc, there are just so many. Each of them has its own benefits and could help the body in many ways. But I feel there is one nutrient that we often overlook and that is magnesium. The team at Revolution often recommends you take magnesium and today we are going to discuss why.

 

The effects of magnesium and why to take it seriously

We chiropractors work with the spine and the nervous system. This is why the team at Revolution Chiropractic highly recommends magnesium. Magnesium preserves the health of the nervous system by having the ability to calm it down. This is because it works as a depressant. When magnesium levels are below the standard range, we lose control of muscle function, mental processes, and sometimes respiration. This can result in examples likes muscle twitches, cramping, irregular heartbeats, nervous fatigue, insomnia and irritability. This is because your nervous system will constantly be firing thus causing contractions and interactions continually being made.

Magnesium controls and limits the interactions in your nervous system by binding to gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) receptors. GABA is a hormone that helps calm nerve activity. Once restoring an adequate amount of magnesium in your body everything will be in under a lot more control; getting better sleep, decreased muscle tightness and less cramps are some of the changes.

 

Conclusion and recommendation

Magnesium is a versatile nutrient that we often overlook. It can help with many things such as sleep, cramps and pain. This is because it works with the nervous system. Many of us are magnesium deficient. Thankfully, the supplements aren’t expensive and plenty of food contains high amount of magnesium such as leafy greens, legumes and seafood. So start consuming more magnesium to help you and your nervous system out!

 

The effects of magnesium deficiency

 

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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 # 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.

 

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Whiplash – A Quick Guide

 

What is it?

 

Whiplash is caused by sudden hyperflexion (forward) and hyperextension (backwards) movement of the neck. This kind of quick movement stretches the soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments, in your neck beyond their usual normal limits, resulting in damage of these structures.

 

How is classified?

 

The Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) grading system

WAD I: Neck pain + stiffness or tenderness only. No physical signs.

II: Neck pain + musculoskeletal signs (reduced range of motion)

III: Neck pain + neurological signs (numbness or tingling, weakness, decreased or absent reflexes)

IV: Neck pain + fracture or dislocation of the vertebrae in the neck.

It can be difficult to tell which grade you have, but the most common grade of whiplash is WAD II

 

How does it happen?

 

Most people associate whiplash with car accidents, but it can also happen in contact sports, rollercoasters and even head banging too hard at concerts. It can basically happen in any situation where abrupt head movement is involved.

 

What are the signs and symptoms?

 

The following are some signs that you are experiencing whiplash.

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Vertigo

 

How long does it last for?

 

This answer is different for every person, but typically the average human recovers within 6 months. That being said, it may take years to recover for those with prolonged symptoms.

It depends on the severity of the injury, how soon your you start treatment, how well you stick to your treatment, if you’ve had a whiplash injury before and whether you have any pre-existing conditions.

 

How do you treat it?

 

Easy, the 10-10-10 Protocol.

Initial treatment of whiplash should consist of 10 minutes of ice application, removal for 10 minutes and reapplication for another 10 minutes. Then repeat.

A structural chiropractor can provide the proper treatment and exercises to restore function and get you back to your normal daily activities sooner. Delayed treatment may hinder overall recovery time, so the sooner you start treatment, the better!

 

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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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Could Cold Showers Be Good For you

It’s time to make friends with the cold. It may be hard to believe but there are quite a few benefits to having a cold shower. The idea of using cold water as a therapy has been around for thousands of years. Even after the Greeks developed running hot water for bathing they would still use cold bathing as a mental and physical therapy. Taking a dunk in an icy lake after a sauna is a common activity in Finland and the other Scandinavian countries and Rickson Gracie, a legend in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, would often sit in cold water as part of his training and recovery.

So what benefits might you gain from such a masochistic activity?

 

Physical benefits

 

The Thrombosis Research Institute of England put out a study with some evidence linking the increase in metabolism due to the body fighting the cold to a stimulation of the immune system, increasing white blood cell activity. The same study also indicates an increase in testosterone. A hormone essential for particularly for men in regard to libido, fertility, strength and energy, but also an essential hormone for similar reason in women.

Many athletes use various cold therapies to aid recovery and reduce inflammation caused by their training. Alternating between hot and cold in the shower can aid circulation. Because, cold water causes your body to restrict blood flow and send it to your organs and away from your extremities and hot water does the opposite.

Taking a cold shower daily can be a cheap (or should I say free) and less harmful (please read the warning at the end) than regularly taking anti-inflammatory pills if you suffer from chronic pain and inflammation.

 

Get started

 

I recommend you start by having a normal shower. Over the course of a week spend the final 15 seconds in a progressively cooler temperature until you are using the coldest possible water.

Then go from spending 15 seconds to 30, then 45, then 1 minute and so on. I have found that once you get used to the cold it is no longer a shock to your body. Then you can start to actually look forward to the cold!

An extra bonus is that you can save on your water bill as I guarantee you won’t be spending as long in the shower!

BE WARNED: if you suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure then this may not be for you. The shock of using cold water can put extra strain on the heart. Please take extra caution and try doing progressively cooler showers instead of going straight to cold.

 

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How Smartphone Time Is Harming Your Children

At Revolution Chiropractic we take a structural correction approach to your spine and one of the big indicators of spinal dysfunction is forward head carriage. The head is basically a bowling ball balanced on the top of your spine and every inch it moves forward causes an exponential increase in how hard the muscle must work to continue to hold it up. The issues go much deeper than neck discomfort, this poor postural position increases the tension on your spinal cord, puts you at greater risk of a strain injury to your neck, speeds up the degenerative process of the spine and can cause nerve root impingement, which let me assure you is not fun at all.

What is really concerning is the number of children we are seeing with this postural issue. Chiropractors are seeing more and more children as patients with issues linked to forward head posture and a HUGE contributing factor is the amount of time they are spending on handheld screen devices. I have personally seen many children with their necks bent to 90 degrees as they stare at a tablet or phone on their lap.

According to the NZ Ministry of Health children age 5-17 should spend less than 2 hours per day sitting and using screens, and this time should not be continuous but rather broken up throughout the day.

 

Cont.

 

On top of smart devices creating postural problems, they are also reducing the amount of physical activity that kids are getting. Which reduces the creativity of tactile play. For the health of your children, we strongly recommend you reduce the amount of time they spend on devices, perhaps reward them with some screen time after some physical activity. It is much easier to raise strong children than it is to fix broken adults! Remember that kids imitate those around them, especially their parents, and let’s face it, we could all benefit from spending less time on our mobile devices.

When you are using your phone or tablet make sure you keep it at eye level for healthy posture. Your arms getting tired from holding them up is a great reminder to take a break!

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The Importance Of Sleep

It seems like everyone is so focused on their intense exercise regimens and nutritional plans to realize that they’ve forgotten about getting quality sleep!

Sleep is absolutely crucial to health and survival and the hard truth is that you’re not likely getting enough of it. Although most of us may feel like this is due to high work demands and our brains not being able to shut off, the real reason for lack of sleep is actually due to our own decision to delay our sleep over some other thing that we’re prioritizing. We go out with friends, we watch TV, we scroll through social media. This behavior is unique to modern society. The average duration of sleep 100 years ago was 9 hours.

Studies have shown that later bedtimes and shorter sleeping hours result in hormone release that triggers hunger and greater levels of body fat accumulation. This was even demonstrated in children as a study followed 9000 of them from birth and showed that those that slept the least at a younger age were more likely to be obese at a later age than the children who slept more. It’s not clear whether lack of sleep leads to obesity or vice versa, but one thing is for sure, staying up later means more opportunity for late night snacks and when you mix that with increased hunger hormones your caloric intake skyrockets.

It doesn’t just stop there. With that extra weight gain, you’re more susceptible to insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes. One study even showed that young healthy men who slept 4 hours each night for 6 nights straight had the insulin sensitivity of a 70 year old pre-diabetic! On top of that, getting less than 7.5 hours of sleep each night means that your risk of heart attack, stroke and sudden cardiac death is higher than those who get adequate amounts of sleep. Drowsiness can also interfere with your daily functions including your mood, cognition, and memory.

If that doesn’t make you want to get your sleep together, then I don’t know what will! But there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that sleep debt is cumulative. Meaning, the more nights you have with less sleep, the greater your risk of negative effects. The good news is that you can catch up with just a few consistent nights of adequate sleep.

Optimal sleeping pattern factors:

  • Consistency: keep a similar bedtime and wake up time every day
  • Light: keep the bedroom extremely dark when it’s bedtime
  • Noise: keep it very quiet or use something for white noise, like a fan
  • Routine: develop a routine before bed that helps you wind down. This can include meditation, stretching, camomile tea or whatever helps you! Check out our bedtime stretches on YouTube by clicking here.
  • Temperature:Keep the room slightly cool, between 18-22 degrees.

For more tips on sleeping better or getting a more restfully, check out our blog on the first pillar of health: “Napping Well” by clicking here.

You can also check out our “7 Tips To Improve Your Sleep” YouTube video by clicking here.  

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How Bad Posture Is Killing You!

Introduction

Do you ever remember your mother telling you to sit up straight, that it was bad for you? Fast forward 20 years and now you have shoulder aches, neck pain and even lower back pain. You think hard as to why you might be experiencing this. Was mum right? Maybe my posture is affecting all of this. It is estimated that 65% of sitting employees suffer from a combination of neck, upper back and shoulder pain. It is clear that having bad posture while sitting down or even standing up can lead to various negative side effects. When we consistently leave ourselves in a vulnerable position we are preventing our body to function at its best.

Here are a few negative side effects caused by having a bad posture.

 

1) Limited ability to breathe

Our main organs responsible for breathing are the lungs. They are situated in the upper part of our chest and they help send oxygen to all areas of our body. When we slouch we decrease the space where our lung sits which limits the amount of air that we breathe in. It is said that we lose 30% of our lung capacity when we lean forward. Ultimately we get reduced oxygen levels to our heart and body. In the long run this can cause many serious health problems on its own such as; dizziness, fatigue and headaches.

 

2) Fatigue

Our body is designed to stay upright. However when we are slouching, our body is fighting to be in its correct position. Having to fight against poor posture requires more energy, leading us to feel tired and fatigued.

 

3) Headaches

When slouching forward this makes the muscles on the back of the head work harder. As this creates extra stress for the muscles it can become quite inflamed leading to pain. Also as these muscles become tighter it can put pressure through the head leading to headaches.

 

4) Lower Back Pain

You might be wondering why bad posture might cause lower back pain. As the muscles behind your neck tighten up it can create extra pressure through the spine at that level. Due to this extra stress that area may become more prone to injuries. To take that extra pressure off other area will try to compensate, especially through the lower back. Also when you slouch down you lose the natural curvature of the lower back. The curve of the spine acts like a spring which helps distribute weight. When you lose that curve all the forces go through the joints of the spine. With all these stresses put on the lower back, lower back pain is quite common for people with bad posture.

Having poor posture isn’t the end of the world. Like most things as long as you put effort into it, your posture can improve.

 

How to Improve Your Posture

Here are some basic exercises and stretches that can help improve your posture.

 

1. Cobra Stretch – This stretch helps you work out opposite muscles that assist in bad posture. Hold this stretch for 1 – 2 minutes.Cobra stretch

 

2. Hip Flexor Stretch – When we sit down our hip flexors are in a contracted state. Having tight hip flexors can lead to lower back problems. Hold this stretch for 1 – 2 minutes.Hip flexor stretch

 

3. Chin tuck – performing this for minimum of 3 sets of 10 reps daily.

Chin tuck

 

4. Thoracic extension – Put the block up higher by the base of your neck (in between your shoulder blades) and roll up a thick towel to put in your neck curve. Holding this position for up to 2 minutes or more if you can.

Thoracic extension

 

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The Health Benefits Of Ginger

What is Ginger?

Ginger is versatile and easy to use. Not only is it used for its many benefits, but it is also nutritious and packed with flavor. With many health benefits, it is one of the greatest “superfoods”. Ginger, also known as Zingiber Officinale is closely related to turmeric. Dating back 5000 years, the Chinese have been using ginger for many of its healing and medicinal properties. However, the healing properties go far beyond remedying colds.

Here I will discuss some of the health benefits and why you should have them every day.

 

Benefits of Ginger
Benefits of ginger

1. Powerful anti-inflammatory properties

The main bioactive compound in ginger is gingerol. This powerful compound is responsible for many of the medicinal properties. One of these properties includes its anti-inflammatory role in the body. As a result, ginger can help improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

 

2. Can help inhibit cancer growth

Shogaol is another active compound in ginger. In other words, combined with gingerol, they help fight against many types of cancers with its anti-cancer properties.

 

3. Antioxidant properties

Antioxidants help remove free radicals within our bodies. So what are free radicals? Free radicals are molecules that attack your cells and appear increasingly through age. They cause oxidative stress and can cause DNA damage. Antioxidants can help remove these molecules and they can promote good health. In some cases research has shown it can improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s. In conclusion, consuming powerful anti-oxidants can help inhibit inflammatory responses and help protect against age-related brain diseases.

 

4. Can help with nausea

People who are suffering from nausea, headaches and vomiting may want to try take ginger. Studies have concluded that pregnant woman with morning sickness found a decrease in symptoms.

 

Different Ways to Have Ginger

So how do you take advantage of this powerful superfood? Ginger can come in many different forms and can be used in many ways. Its roots can be juiced and freshly put into beverages, soups, or food. You can also use fresh cut ginger in tea or drink ginger tea (loose leaf and organic is best). An oil form is also available which can be taken internally for a boost in gingerol to fight off against free radicals and inflammation. You can also use powdered ginger in food.

Ginger is a superfood with many health benefits such as helping you fight against certain diseases, fight against cancer, and even helping take care of nausea. Not only it is full of health benefits but it is also full of nutrition. Everyone should have ginger and see all the positive benefits for themselves.

 

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