Exercising Your Body to Strengthen Your Brain, Part 2

bigstock Creative Brain Sign 67645594 300x300 Exercising Your Body to Strengthen Your Brain, Part 2In Part 1 of this post, we continued our discussion about the brain being the key to changing our behavior and transforming our bodies. I listed the various ways exercise can strengthen the brain as outlined by Dr. Daniel Amen in his book, Change Your Body, Change Your Brain.

Now, it’s time to discuss what happens to the body and brain when we don’t exercise. It’s not pretty.

Lack of exercise leads to obesity, which has reached epidemic levels in our country, especially with our children.

Studies have shown that obese children who become obese adults have an 80–90 percent chance of staying obese for the rest of their lives. We need to get our kids moving.

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Exercising Your Body to Strengthen Your Brain, Part 1

bigstock Creative Brain Sign With The B 66464716 300x300 Exercising Your Body to Strengthen Your Brain, Part 1For the better part of the last two months on this blog and my Proodian Healthcare By Design radio program, I’ve been discussing what we need to do to change our behavior and transform our bodies. At the center of change and transformation is the human brain.

That little three-pound organ that rests between our ears is a miracle that needs to be respected and protected.

Using the books Change Your Body, Change Your Brain by Dr. Daniel Amen and The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman as central resources, I’ve talked about the role that sugar, fat, caffeine and various brain foods play in maintaining proper brain chemistry.

Brain chemistry enables us to make better nutritional decisions, and what we eat has a direct impact on how we feel and how we think.

The single most important thing we can do to enhance brain function and keep our bodies looking young and feeling vibrant is exercise. As Edward Stanley, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, once said:

Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. Continue reading

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Feeding the Brain with Great Brain Food

bigstock feed your brain 23129873 222x300 Feeding the Brain with Great Brain FoodIn a previous post, I discussed the importance of maintaining the brain and what we can do to keep our brain chemistry balanced. After all, without a functioning brain, we cease to exist. When the brain isn’t firing on all cylinders, it can negatively affect every part of our lives.

While the brain can self-regulate, it needs our help. One of the simplest things we can do to maintain balanced brain chemistry is to eat great brain food.

As Dr. Daniel Amen says in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, food is a drug – a drug that needs to be taken to stay alive.

What food is considered great brain food?

Of course, you have to keep your brain hydrated, so drinking plenty of water is absolutely essential. Because the brain is 60 percent fat, we need to consume the right kinds of fats, like fatty fish oils.

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How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

bigstock Too much coffee 50668058 How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?According the National Coffee Association’s 2013 online survey, 80 percent of American adults drink coffee every day. The average cup of coffee is nine ounces.

Some scientific research has suggested coffee has antioxidants that can decrease the risk of Parkinson’s disease, type II diabetes, liver disease, depression and other conditions. Research also suggests coffee can improve cognitive function.

This has led many people to believe that unlimited coffee consumption is perfectly healthy, and caffeine really isn’t that bad for you.

Well, it’s true that one or two normal-sized cups of coffee per day – about eight ounces per cup – probably won’t cause a problem in most cases. Continue reading

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Fat Is More Than Fat

bigstock Close up of adult male hand us 12843650 200x300 Fat Is More Than FatIn last week’s post, I discussed why we need to maintain the brain, continuing the conversation about change and transformation. Dr. Daniel Amen points out in his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Body that the human brain, that little three-pound organ nestled between our ears, is the most complex organ and the greatest miracle in the universe.

In order to maintain our will power and self-control, we need to keep our brain chemistry balanced. If we want to change the body, we have to change the brain first. Controlling sugar intake is an essential part of maintaining or restoring proper brain chemistry.

Another important but overlooked factor is the role of fat, so let’s take a closer look at the role of fat in the human body.

60 percent of the human brain is fat. If someone calls you a fathead, consider it a term of endearment and drop that little nugget of knowledge on them.

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Why You Need to Maintain Your Brain

bigstock Vegetables And Fruits In Head 54821270 Why You Need to Maintain Your BrainFor the last several weeks, I’ve been discussing topics related to change and transformation. In order to maintain our body’s natural design and achieve optimal health, we need to set realistic goals and expectations and change our behavior.

If we’re going to make behavioral changes that enable us to change our bodies, we need to start by changing our brain chemistry.

Dr. Daniel Amen lays out “10 Principles to Change Your Brain and Your Body” in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body. Included among these principles is the fact that the human brain is the most complex organ in the universe, and we need to respect it.

The human brain is a three-pound organ between our ears that’s more complicated and powerful than the most advanced computers. It has more than 100 billion nerve cells – about the same number of stars found in the Milky Way – and each of these nerve cells has thousands of connections with other nerve cells.

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Beware of Sugar’s Many Aliases

bigstock The words too much sugar wri 64435177 Beware of Sugar’s Many AliasesIn last week’s post, I explained why detoxification must begin with sugar. I shared a number of mind-blowing statistics related to how much sugar is in products people consume every day, as well as the link between sugar and chronic disease.

I also want to encourage you again to go see Fed Up and take the Fed Up Challenge, which can help you correct your body and brain chemistry by going sugar-free for 10 days.

A major obstacle that we as individuals and parents must overcome is the deception of the food industry. A recent study from Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab found that the majority of cereals marketed to children feature characters (Cap’n Crunch, the Trix Rabbit, Lucky the Leprechaun, etc.) that look downward.

These boxes are designed to make direct eye contact with the target audience, which science has shown builds trust and positive feelings toward the brand. In other words, they’re trying to manipulate our children into asking us to buy cereal for them. Characters on cereals that target adults tend to look straight ahead.

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Why Detoxification Begins with Sugar

sugar cocaine screen shot Why Detoxification Begins with Sugar

Photo credit — Fed Up a film by Stephanie Soechtig

In last week’s post, I discussed the need to change our behavior in order to maintain the human body’s natural design and avoid chronic illness. This process begins with making the decision to change, and then establishing realistic expectations, understanding what influences our decisions, deflecting those things in our lives that are unimportant or unhealthy, and establishing a written plan.

Perhaps the most positive change we can make in order to avoid chronic illness is reducing bad sugars in our diets.

According to The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman, 12 percent of Americans were overweight in 1990. 35 percent of adults and one in five children are obese today.

This year, for the first time in history, more people will die from the effects of obesity than starvation.

There is also a growing body of evidence that points to the excessive intake of refined sugars having a role in the development of chronic illnesses like type II diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Are You Finally Ready to Change?

bigstock Old Life Or New Life 54040153 Are You Finally Ready to Change?Change is something that most of us have trouble accepting or managing. Even though you may not like it, you cannot prevent change. From the womb to the tomb, our bodies are in a constant state of flux – physically, psychologically, nutritionally and emotionally.

Think back to early childhood, adolescence, puberty and young adulthood, with all of the changes that occurred. These changes continue as we proceed through our 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.

As we go through these changes, we need to work hard to maintain our body’s natural design. This begins with refusing to accept mediocrity when it comes to our health. Our goal should be to achieve optimal health for ourselves, just like we strive to do for our children.

To achieve optimal health, we need to get out of autopilot mode when it comes to maintaining our bodies. We can do this by acquiring knowledge, eliminating unhealthy habits and seeking the help we need to make positive changes in our lives.

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More Proof that Big Food Profits by Making Us Unhealthy

bigstock Concept Image Of Food Money 383661281 300x268 More Proof that Big Food Profits by Making Us UnhealthyNothing infuriates me more than big food manufacturers getting richer by making people sick. Of course, they’ll deny this left and right, but they continue to use ingredients and sell products that scientific research has linked to chronic illness.

Why do they continue to get away with this?

They can afford to buy influence. They can afford to blast clever advertising campaigns into every home in America. They can afford to sweep bad publicity under the rug as if it never existed.

Consider these three examples:

1) Diet Coke Pulls Ads with Alleged Drug References

According to The New York Times, Diet Coke had been running ads for three months with the theme “You’re on,” which portrayed the soda almost like an energy drink to younger audiences.

In some of the ads, “You’re on” appeared above the Diet Coke logo, which many high-profile bloggers interpreted to mean “You’re on Diet Coke.” Because cocaine was once an ingredient in Coca-Cola, the perceived drug connection took on a life of its own.

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8 Tips for Eating Gluten-Free

bigstock Gluten Free Text 23019818 8 Tips for Eating Gluten FreeAccording to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, one out of 133 Americans –about one percent of our population – has celiac disease, an immune response to gluten. Celiac disease can prevent important nutrients from being absorbed, causing malnutrition and damage to the lining of the small intestine. Symptoms include stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, anemia, bone pain and severe skin rashes.

The only treatment for celiac disease is a strict, gluten-free diet with no foods that include or even come in contact with wheat, rye and barley. Even small traces of gluten can harm someone with celiac disease.

Fortunately, sticking to a gluten-free diet isn’t as hard as you might think, and you don’t have to sacrifice taste for the sake of good health. You just have to be a little more careful. Most grocery stores, food markets and restaurants are doing their part by creating gluten-free sections and menus.

Here are eight tips that will help you choose the right foods, ask the right questions and identify potential problems.

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What’s in your Condiments?

Ketchup Oozing From Bot 26909 224x300 What’s in your Condiments?Barbecue season is almost here. While grilling is one of the healthier ways to prepare food – much better than frying food in unhealthy oils – most of us tend to make our grilled foods unhealthy by adding condiments.

Condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, sour cream, ranch and blue cheese dressing, and steak sauce are added passively, almost unconsciously, because they make our food taste better. We usually don’t even realize we’re doing it. In other words, we give our condiments a free ride.

Many of the most popular condiments are some of the worst substances that we can put in our bodies. But they don’t have to be unhealthy. We simply have to make better choices or make them ourselves.

Our bodies are designed to process naturally occurring foods and ingredients. Our bodies were not designed to process man-made food products that make up the main ingredients in most condiments.

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How to Make Senior Moments Less Frequent

bigstock Did You Forget Something Words 54765722 300x300 How to Make Senior Moments Less FrequentWhere did I put my keys? Didn’t I already pay this bill? I know you just told me five minutes ago, but what’s your name again?

We’re all susceptible to senior moments – minor cases of forgetfulness or confusion that are hardly limited to senior citizens. Sometimes senior moments are frustrating. Sometimes they’re funny.

Even though these mental glitches are usually harmless, they can make us wonder if we’re losing our mental capacity. Fortunately, we can follow a plan that can help minimize these senior moments. I like to call it your personal brain management program.

Step 1: Balance Fat Consumption

For most of us, that means increasing omega-3 fats, such as those found in cold-water fish, flax, and walnuts. It also means reducing consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like corn, cottonseed and safflower oils, and eliminating dangerous trans fats. Balancing the consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fats can be accomplished through dietary changes, and supplements are needed in many cases.

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What to Look For in a Pain Doctor

bigstock Physicians 3319077 What to Look For in a Pain DoctorMy wife and I are having our basement painted. With five kids, the basement is an important place in our home.

Without a second thought, we called the painter who we’ve used for years. He told my wife that he would send an estimate.

She said, “Why? It doesn’t matter. We’re hiring you.”

Isn’t it great when you get to a place where you unconditionally trust someone? We don’t have to worry about our painter taking advantage of us. We have no doubt that he’ll give us a fair price, show up on time and do a wonderful job.

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How Long-Distance Running Can Affect the Heart

Running Race How Long Distance Running Can Affect the HeartLast week, I discussed why exercise needs to be prescribed like medicine is prescribed, according to the specific needs of each individual. This is why it makes no sense to tell everyone who wants to lose weight to get on a treadmill or go outside and start running.

In fact, I’ve never endorsed long-distance running for exercise, even though a myth exists that running is good for the heart and the best way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

You may have heard the phrase “runner’s high,” a feeling of invincibility that helps runners overcome and ignore pain and lose sense of time. Runners have certainly heard of this.

However, new research has introduced the concept of runner’s plaque – coronary artery plaque – which can be caused by running long distances for a number of years, according to a study conducted by the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.

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Who’s Writing Your Prescription for Exercise?

bigstock Prescription Form Get Fit 6541772 300x276 Who’s Writing Your Prescription for Exercise?I never tell people to eat right and exercise. As a doctor, I’m not doing my job if I used such a vague expression. We need to undo the way we’ve been programmed our entire lives – programming that says the ticket to good health or weight loss is to simply eat right and exercise.

About three years ago, I hired a personal trainer. I told her certain things about me that I hoped she would take into account when training me. Unfortunately, she didn’t listen.

She took the exact same approach with me that she took with everyone else. Because I have a weird form of anemia, I ended up getting sick and hurting myself. What happened to the “personal” in personal training?

Obviously, I fired her and found a new trainer.

Exercise is a prescription that needs to be prescribed just like drugs are prescribed. We need to specifically define what approach is best for each of us to reach our own individual goals.

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Tips for Maintaining a Healthy, Comfortable Pregnancy

bigstock Close up of a pregnant woman s 55878893 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy, Comfortable PregnancyI can picture the glare in the eyes of mothers as they read the title of this post. Comfortable pregnancy? There is no such thing! Spoken just like a man!

I will never claim to know what it’s like to be pregnant or that I can make all discomfort disappear. However, as a chiropractic physician for 20 years, and as a father who treated my own wife during five pregnancies, I’ve found great fulfillment in helping women remain as healthy, comfortable and stress-free as possible before, during and after their pregnancies.

A healthy pregnancy is the result of more than healthy eating, although nutrition takes on even greater importance in pregnant women. We need to address all three components of the Triad of Health during pregnancy – the physical, the nutritional and the psychological – through an integrated approach to wellness.

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Rutgers Research Shows Acupuncture Can Treat Inflammation

acupuncture ss 58914397 sml Rutgers Research Shows Acupuncture Can Treat InflammationAcupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years to restore and maintain good health by improving blood and energy flow, stimulating the body’s immune system and activating our natural healing powers. Although the effectiveness of acupuncture has been scientifically proven, the acceptance of acupuncture has been extremely slow in our country.

When you look at the American health system, which focuses on treating disease with medication and surgery instead of preventing disease through a wellness lifestyle, it’s easy to see why the medical establishment has been reluctant to embrace acupuncture. It doesn’t fit in with their way of thinking.

I hope new scientific evidence produced by researchers at Rutgers University, added to the mountain of evidence that already exists, will motivate them to change their way of thinking, especially as it relates to acupuncture.

The research established a direct connection between a form of acupuncture and relief from sepsis, an inflammatory disorder that can develop after an infection. Sepsis most commonly occurs in hospitals, claiming approximately 250,000 lives in our country each year. In other words, people don’t die from the infection. They die from sepsis.

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Want to Reduce Health Insurance Costs and Boost Employee Productivity?

bigstock Affordable Care Act Word Cloud 45113515 Want to Reduce Health Insurance Costs and Boost Employee Productivity?On January 1 of this year, the Affordable Care Act enacted new rules that make it possible for employers to reward employees for improving their health – or penalize them for failing to do so.

More specifically, an employer can implement a wellness program and offer financial incentives with the goal of improving the employee health. The most common incentive for meeting the standards of a wellness program is a discount on health insurance premiums. Some companies have offered cash rewards and gift cards.

Employees can also be forced to pay higher premiums for failing to adhere to an approved wellness program, although most companies prefer incentives over penalties. Of course, the more serious penalty is likely to come in the form of illness and chronic disease that could have been prevented if employees had embraced a wellness lifestyle.

Companies can reduce health insurance premiums for employees by as much as 30 percent if standards are met. In certain cases, like programs that involve reducing or stopping the use of tobacco, employees can have their premiums cut in half.

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Why Trans Fats and High-Fructose Corn Syrup Must Be Banned

bigstock Nutrition label highlighting t 53909272 Why Trans Fats and High Fructose Corn Syrup Must Be BannedLast week, I rattled off a list of food substances that are banned in other countries around the world but are shamefully used by food manufacturers in the United States. Today, I want to take a hard look at one ingredient that looks to be on its way out, and another that should be.

Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, more commonly known as trans fats, could be nearing their final days in the American food supply. These man-made substances are used to extend the shelf life of food and make it more flavorful. They also increase the production of bad cholesterol that leads to obesity, heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

Consumption of trans fats among Americans has dropped significantly in the last 10 years and food manufacturers have voluntarily reduced the use of trans fats. However, the risk is still serious enough for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to finally step in.

The FDA has ruled trans fats aren’t “generally recognized as safe” – the understatement of the year – and if this preliminary determination is finalized, foods with such unapproved additives would be illegal to sell.

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