Stay Safe and boost your immune system

Introduction

Covid-19 is all around the place. However, just because it’s a new virus we shouldn’t be afraid of it. It’s a new virus and it’s going to stay just like the common cold. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t any ways to prevent that terrible thing from getting to you. So today, the team at Revolution Chiropractic put up a list of things that you can do to help you boost your immune system and stay safe!

 

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 drying it thoroughly, especially between the fingers. Bacteria love moisture so doesn’t give it a chance for it to grow. Washing our hands can help prevent the spread of bacteria.

 

Vitamin C

It is no secret that vitamin C can help with immunity. A strong immune system 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 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.

 

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 your sleep such as supplementation (ie magnesium) and staying off your screen 30 minutes prior to going to bed. To know more about sleep quality check out our other blogs!

 

Stay home

Stay home if you are sick! That’s the best way to prevent bacteria and viruses from being spread around the community. If you are home you can also get more rest to allow proper recovery too. If we can minimize 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.

 

Get Exercising

It has been proven that exercise can help your immune system function a lot better! In your bloodstream, there are many white blood cells. The function of the white blood cell is to get rid of the unwanted bacteria, viruses, and other yucky stuff that’s unwanted in your body. By exercising, it increases the speed of your blood flow. This results in white blood cells traveling around the body a lot quicker leading to an increased rate of detection and elimination.

 

Iron

This mineral is very useful for our body! The main job of iron is to help carry oxygen around the body through the bloodstream. However, not many people know it can help with the efficiency and function of the immune system. When there is too little iron in the body, it slows down the maturation and proliferation of the white blood cells, especially lymphocytes, thus exposing you to more danger. However, if you have too much iron in your body it can also facilitate the growth of pathogens and other cancerous cells. But don’t worry, nearly 80% of the world’s population is iron deficient. To increase the amount of iron in your body instantly, you can include dried fruits such as prunes, spinach, silverbeet, lettuce), beans and peas, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and some meats too.

 

Zinc

Another mineral that is often overlooked when it comes to nutrition and immunity. This mineral is often found in food such as whole grains, milk, red meats, oysters, poultry, beans, peas, and nuts! Zinc directly contributes to the immune system in two ways. Firstly, it prevents the binding of the virus to cells thus inhibiting the chance of the virus taking over the cell. Secondly, this mineral is crucial for the development of white blood cells in the body to help the innate immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria.

 

Water

Hydration is key to the human body. In fact, 60% of your body is made up of water. Our cells need and crave water to function. This is because just like iron, water acts as one of the carrying agents for oxygen around the body which is needed all around the body including the health of the immune system. Additionally, it prevents the build-up of toxins which could influence the body in a negative way. So make sure you get at least 2L of water in you every day.

 

Boost your immune system!

 

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Stress and Chiropractic

We live in such a fast paced society today that being stressed just seems normal. We are always busy and have so much input coming at us from everywhere. Stress isn’t inherently a bad thing. There are times where stress is important, such as if you have a deadline coming up for work, as stress increases our productivity levels. Stress is needed in situations where there is a threat or danger present, as it allows us to respond fast and appropriately.

Stress is also what allows us to feel excited when we do things such as ride a rollercoaster, or go on a first date. But while stress is important in some situations, long term, constant stress can be detrimental to both our physical and mental health. This is because our bodies are only designed for quick bursts, “acute”, not long term ‘chronic’ stress. While there are not always things we can do about what is causing our troubles, such as a stressful job, there are things we can do to manage our stress to make sure it doesn’t start taking a toll on our mind and body.

 

How can stress affect us?

 

Chronic stress has numerous effects on our mind and body. It can have negative effects on nearly every system in our body. Some of the effects it can have include1:

  • Problems with our mental health, such as irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and depression
  • Behavioural problems such as over or under eating, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal
  • Increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of having a stroke or hearth attack
  • Tensions headaches, tense muscles, and back pain
  • Issues with the digestive system such as acid reflux, diarrhoea, constipation, stomached, nausea, and vomiting
  • Extra blood sugar is released to help give the body extra energy, long term this can lead to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Weaken the immune system and slow down healing times

How can chiropractic help manage stress?

 

As chronic stress is such a common thing in today’s society, and quite regularly hard to avoid, people will be looking for ways to manage their stress and deal with any issues their stress may be causing. While it is impossible to completely remove stress from our lives, chiropractic care is a safe, healthy, and natural way to manage, and reduces its effects on the body, to help prevent long term damage:

 

Causes.

 

  • Sleep – good quality sleep is such an important factor in dealing with chronic stress, as it lets our brain slow down and our body relax and heal. Insomnia is also one of the issues that can come around because of chronic stress. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown both to help with insomnia, and with improving quality of sleep. The better sleep we can get the better we can prevent and deal with stress2.
  • Muscle tension – when we are stressed, our muscles start to tense up in response. This creates a negative cycle, as when our muscle stay tense they start causing pain, which can end up causing more stress. Chiropractic care returns the normal motion to the spinal joints, which allows all the muscles in these areas to relax. This can help reduce pain levels, and reduces overall stress3.
  • Blood pressure – studies have been done that show that blood pressure is reduced following chiropractic treatment. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels4. Decrease blood pressure and more relaxed musculature helps the body feel more calm and allows the brain to switch of the flight or flight response that is constantly on during chronic stress4, 5.

 

Causes cont.

 

  • Immune system – chronic stress weakens the immune system and slows down healing time. Because chiropractic removes interference from the nervous system it allows the brain and body to communicate better. When the brain is receiving more accurate information, it can send out the messages that can improve healing and boost immune system function6.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors – by reducing stress levels with chiropractic care, this removes some of the temptation of dealing with stress in unhealthy ways, such as overeating or turning to alcohol or drugs. Chiropractic is a natural way of dealing with it that is safe and has little side effects.

 

 

References:

 

  1. Pietrangelo, A., & Watson, S. (2017, June 5). The effects of stress on your body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1
  2. Kingston, J., Raggio, C., Spencer, K., Stalaker, K., & Tuchin, P. J. (2010). A review of the literature on chiropractic and insomnia. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 9(3), 121-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2010.03.003
  3. Resources to Recover. (2019, March 12). Benefits of chiropractic care for anxiety and depression. Resources To Recover. https://www.rtor.org/2019/02/21/mental-health-and-chiropractic-care/
  4. Palmer College of Chiropractic. (2015, September 24). How can chiropractic care help alleviate stres? Palmer College of Chiropractic Blogs. https://blogs.palmer.edu/askpalmer/2015/09/24/how-to-alleviate-stress-with-chiropractic-exercises/
  5. Yates, R. G., Lamping, D. L., Abram, N. L., & Wright, C. (1988). Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 11(6), 484-488.
  6. Slosberg, M. (2011, May 6). Immune responses to spinal manipulation. The Chiropractic Resource Organisation. https://chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Immune_Responses_to_Spinal_Manipulation.shtml

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Stress Management – 3 Ways

Mindfulness and stress are on the tips of everyone’s tongue nowadays. Large corporations are investing millions on mindfulness rooms and practices for their employees to reap the benefits and increase productivity. Meditation and stress-reduction taught in school curriculums now, because they also know the effectiveness.

It seems the hustle and bustle of everyday life is getting to our heads. It’s not natural for our circuitry to be firing constantly for so long. So how can we help support this new way of life, or at least reduce the amount of stress that affects us?

Here are our 3 top tips:

  1. Exercise/Yoga: Studies have shown that regular exercise or yoga can decrease stress, pain, and even your risk of injury. Aiming to do either one of these 3-5 times a week is ideal and does wonders to support your mind by increasing blood flow to the brain and having your focus set on something other than a screen for at least half an hour.
  2. Diaphragmatic breathing (or belly breathing): this kind of breathing calms down the nervous system and reduces the noise that goes on by getting you to focus on your breathing. Studies have demonstrated breathing exercises can reduce fatigue and anxiety. To actually benefit from the practice, it must be performed 3-5 times a day for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Meditation: once thought of as a hippie ritual, mindfulness meditation is now common practice used to help people reduce stress, anxiety, chronic pain, headaches and depression. It’s widely accessible as there are many online guides as well as apps that can help guide you through a session and all you need is yourself and a peaceful environment.

Stress is just a part of life and how you choose to manage it is up to you. Keep these tips in mind to take care of your mental health and keep your mind sharp. If you have any questions or would like more tips on stress management, please consult with a health professional.

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Why Your Sleeping Position Matters

Sleeping

You spend roughly a third of your life in bed sleeping, or at least trying to sleep. Doing one activity for as long as 8 hours can impact your spinal structure so it is worth considering how to best go about setting up your sleep position.

Sleep is a vital time in which our brain and our body slows down enough to repair and recharge. If you have ever had periods of too little sleep you may have experienced that gross heavy feeling in your brain.

You know that feeling you get in your muscles after a hard workout or the feeling in your calves and legs after a long run? That is essentially waste products building up in the muscles from the high level of activity. Although the brain is not a muscle it is very active and requires a lot of your body’s resources to run during the day. When we sleep it is a chance for the brain to wind down and recharge so to speak, and until recently we didn’t know how the brain cleared waste products, they assumed that there was no lymphatic drainage.

Sleeping’s effects

Scientists have recently discovered what they call the glymphatic pathway, which is the drainage pathway of waste products from your brain and it is most active during sleep. Degenerative conditions of the brain like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia links with build up of waste products, which is why it is vital to get 7-9 hours sleep.

The other interesting discovery is that this pathway appears to be most active when sleeping on your side. Well, to be fair the study was done on rodents and not humans however the researches did speculate that this may also be true in humans considering that the natural resting and sleep position in most mammals is the side position.

Obviously when you are asleep it is rather difficult to monitor your sleep position since, well, you are asleep. But setting up right means you will spend at least some time in the optimal side sleeping posture. Make sure you have a pillow that supports your head and neck in the side position. Think Goldilocks, not too high a pillow, not too low a pillow, just right. I also like to sleep with a pillow between the knees to support to hips and lower back. Having a pillow behind your back may also provide extra support and stop you rolling onto your back while you sleep.

Hedok Lee, Lulu Xie, Mei Yu, Hongyi Kang, Tian Feng, Rashid Deane, Jean Logan, Maiken Nedergaard, and Helene Benveniste. The Effect of Body Posture on Brain Glymphatic TransportJournal of Neuroscience, July 2015 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1625-15.2015

 

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Netflixing Without Back Pain – Stretch

You know it happens. You go on to Netflix and promise yourself that you’ll only watch one episode and get off your butt… One episode turns into two… two turns into three… and before you know it you’re binging. 

Or maybe you’ve got a date arranged around an intense TV marathon that’s going to be epic. 

Before you decide to set out on a TV show marathon whether it be alone or with your partner, consider taking the right steps to take care of your spine and avoid any pain or injury that may come your way. 

Steps to Stretch:

  1. Plank beforehand:
    Before committing to your hours of absorbed fun, plank. The plank position helps engage your core muscles and take on the stresses of sitting for long hours. Nothing fancy here, go as long as you can and challenge yourself a bit! 
  2. Sit properly:
    Slouching can add additional stress on your back. Reset your posture periodically by backing your butt right back to where the backrest meets the cushion.
  3. Do NOT kick your feet up:
    Kicking your feet just adds more stress to your lower back and encourages slouching. It’s okay to do temporarily but not for an entire episode.
  4. Stretch it out:
    Try out a stretch break every hour. Here are the steps to what’s called the “figure four stretch”.
                 i) Slide to the edge of your seat
    ii)
    Cross one leg over the other into a figure 4
                 iii) Sit up tall and feel the stretch in your glutes
    iv)
    Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side
  5. Break? Get up and move:
    Whether you’re going for a bathroom break, refilling your wine or getting some more snacks, every step counts. Periodically, getting up and walking or stretching is an excellent solution to avoiding any back pain and should always be encouraged. 

 Try these out and impress your date with these helpful tips to take care of your bodies. 

 

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Don’t Get Sick This Winter

It’s coming into winter, often called flu season, and if you don’t want to get sick then follow this advice…

Okay, so there isn’t really a cure for getting the common cold but there a few things that you can do to reduce your chances of getting sick and to improve your recovery time if you do fall ill. Improving your body’s ability to fight sickness is how we look at things at Revolution, not just medicating symptoms.

Keep your nutrition high

This is important year-round but keeping your diet full of vitamins and minerals will help your body put up the good fight. Stay topped up with fresh vegetables and fruits with every meal.

Vitamin C heavily associates with immunity so up your intake to 5000-10000 milligrams a day. CAUTION: increase to this amount over a few days as high vitamin C doses can increase the frequency that you’ll need to sit on the porcelain throne if you catch my drift. Start with 1000-2000 milligrams and up it from there.

Vitamin D is another key player for your immune system and since we tend to spend a lot less time out in the sun in winter it’s harder for our body to make enough of it so you should look into supplementing it. The Vitamin D council recommends 5,000-10,000 IU per day.  Check out their website for more great information on vitamin D.

Avoid sugar: Sugar has been shown to reduce the ability of your neutrophils to attack invading pathogens. Neutrophils are white blood cells that essentially chase down and eat invading bacteria and other bad guys that can make you sick. We know sugar has many other negative effects on your health to so it’s definitely best to avoid. Yes, fruit has sugar but fruit also has vitamins, minerals and fibre that your body requires whereas a can of fizzy drink or a piece of cake has nothing to offer you except momentary pleasure.

Rest

The immune system takes a lot of energy to run which is why you get tired when you are sick, your body is slowing you down so it can put maximum resources into fighting off invaders.  Last winter I had a sore throat coming on and I knew I should take it easy but I went to the gym instead. I ended up very sick for the next few days.  I spent my energy lifting heavy barbells and I didn’t have enough in reserve.

Lesson learned, take it easy if you feel something coming on, dose up on vitamins and vegetables, stay hydrated and you might lessen the impact of the storm.

Sanchez, A. Et al. Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 26, Issue 11, November 1973, Pages 1180–1184, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/26.11.1180

https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

 

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Core: Bird Dogs (1/7)

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How To Reduce/Avoid Jet Lag

When flying for long hours (even just 3 hours), we can start to experience certain symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, confusion or just feeling zombie-like.

What is it?

This is called jet lag. It’s what happens when the part of your brain called the hypothalamus (centre that controls sleep cycles, appetite and temperature) is conflicted with its “inner time” and your new “outer time”. Further symptoms may include insomnia, GI problems, joint and muscle pain and stiffness, and reduced fitness.

A New Zealand survey from 1994 of international flight attendants found that, despite being used to long air travel, 90% had fatigue over the first 5 days of arrival, 94% had lack of energy/motivation, 93% had broken sleep and 70% had ear, nose or throat issues.

Scientists have estimated that it takes 1 full day to recover for every hour of time difference. Which means that if you took a flight from New Zealand to Singapore, it would take about 4 days before you feel right.

The direction you travel can affect how intense the symptoms are since it’s easier for our bodies to delay our “inner time” than to speed it up. Travelling east is more difficult on the body compared to travelling west.

 

So how do you manage it?

 

  1. Plan it out

    -You should expect symptoms to take place after long-haul flights and so you should always plant accordingly. If you have a meeting on Thursday morning, consider arriving 1-2 days in advance instead of getting there Wednesday night and possibly having to struggle through it.

  2. Nutrition

    -There is a fasting protocol that can minimize jet lag symptoms. It’s called the Argonne fasting diet. However, it is a little intense, so below is a modified version that you can try if you’re interested.

    -On the day of travel, eat normal meals leading up to your flight, then fast immediately before and during your flight while hydrating by drinking plenty of water. Eat soon after landing as close to local meal time as possible. Time your fast 14-24 hours before your next planned meal in your new time zone. Then have your normal eating schedule based on local time.

  3.  Exercise

    -Most preferably outdoors since it affects your circadian rhythm and improves mood. Light is the most powerful signal for our internal biological clocks, so it can help reduce jet lag.

    -It’s helpful to train at the same time you’d train at home. So if you normally workout at 9 am at home and you travel to London, try your best to train at 9 am London time and do it outside. This helps your muscles and tissues adapt to the new time zone.

    -If you’re feeling exhausted then a high intensity cardio workout might not be in the cards… but a light bodyweight workout or some stretching is definitely helpful. Do what you can, at your usual time, and again, preferably OUTSIDE.

  4.  Supplements

    a)Melatonin is a hormone in your body that helps control its circadian rhythm, which plays a role in when we sleep and wake up. Melatonin is dependent on the amount of light you’re exposed to. When there’s light, melatonin release is stopped. When it’s dark, melatonin release is stimulated.
    -The time you take it is important. Do NOT take melatonin before leaving for a trip or it will make the jet lag worse. Wait until you land in the new time zone to supplement 1 hour before normal bedtime at your new location. Continue for 3 nights or until you’ve adjusted.

    b)Pycnogenol has been studied for its effect of reducing jet lag symptoms. It reduces cerebral and joint edema or swelling, which leads to less short-term memory problems, fatigue problems, and cardiac issues. It has also shown to decrease deep vein thrombosis and superficial vein thrombosis, which are both common side effects of long flights.
    -Take it for 3 times a day for up to 5 days (max 7 days) after landing.

Our human bodies haven’t fully adapted to travelling long distances by air… and they probably never will. So jet lag remains a part of life if you’re exposing yourself to this kind of travel. Fortunately, with proper planning and preparation, you can reduce its effects and even prevent it from happening!

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Jet Lag Exhaustion | julie corsi | Flickr