Wellness

Sick all the time? Your gut health is important

Sick all the time? Your gut health is important

Your gut is a workhorse that you simply can’t do without. The average human’s digestive tract is about 30 feet long and plays a major role in your overall health. This muscular marvel allows you to take in food, and then breaks it down into its molecular components, which your body can absorb.

When it works perfectly, life is great, but about 70 million Americans experience some kind of digestive impairment. Common impairments include ulcers, Acid Reflux, herniations, blockages in the digestive tract or bile ducts, stone formations, polyps and cancers. Some people also experience chronic digestive problems like Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac Disease and Lactose Intolerance.

Your gut is filled with bacteria that live and thrive in your digestive tract. While the thought of bacteria in your body may be distressing, your gut depends on them! Your health depends upon having the right microbes in your gut, but many people suffer with an unbalanced microbiota.

Your gut flora reflects your diet. When you eat a diet filled with nutritional foods, you typically have a healthy balance of digestive flora. When you eat poorly, or consume a limited range of foods, your gut flora may become unbalanced and unhealthy. In this environment, your body may not be able to take full advantage of the healthier foods in your diet.

It’s important to recognize that your digestive system comprises about 70% of your immune system. When you take good care of your gut, you’re also boosting your body’s ability to fight disease. Conversely, poor eating habits can lead to a decrease in your body’s natural ability to fight illness and disease.

Managing your gut health

How can you manage your gut health and help it recover from a chronically poor diet? Reforming your digestive tract is not something you can achieve overnight, but you can begin to improve its function today. Learning to work with your gut and forming healthy eating habits can build the foundation for a happier, healthier you. Here are a few steps to get you started on the road to better digestive health.

Create an eating routine

Your digestive system works best during the day, so set an eating routine that respects this fact. Eat larger meals earlier in the day and reduce the size of your dinner. Establish a cut-off time at least an hour or two before you go to sleep; don’t eat anything after that.

Eat slowly

It takes a while for your stomach to signal the brain that it’s full. If you eat rapidly, you can overfill your stomach before it’s had a chance to tell you to stop eating! Make a conscientious effort to eat more slowly and drink more liquids during your meal. Take smaller bites and take time to chew your food thoroughly. This will give your stomach time to send up the white flag. It will also reduce the number of calories you take in during a meal. If you’re having trouble slowing down, try eating a meal with a companion and holding a conversation at the same time. If you usually sit at a table for one, read a magazine or newspaper while you’re eating. This kind of brain work can help you shift your focus from your fork! Slow eating is especially important during dinner – the last major meal of the day. By eating a smaller dinner, you’ll swallow less air and take a big step toward improving your digestive health.

Eat better foods

Processed foods aren’t good for your gut. Generally, the more processing a food requires before packaging, the less healthy it is for you. Gradually eliminate highly processed foods from your diet. Instead, substitute more fruits and vegetables (even as snack items) and drink more water. Learn about who grows, harvests and processes your food and how they do it. Eliminate poor quality foods and foods that receive heavy pesticide exposure while growing. This approach may mean that you spend more time preparing your own foods and spend more money on fresh foods. The results, however, will be entirely worth the investment. It’s tempting to make a major dietary switch immediately, but you’ve designed your gut to digest your old diet! Making changes gradually to your diet can help avoid discomfort and bloating while your microbiota tries to catch up.

Pay attention to what you eat

Your gut may not be able to manage all foods equally well. Some foods may cause irritation, inflammation, gas or bloating that you may never have noticed. Read labels carefully and look for reactions from your gut. When you find a food that offends your gut, eliminate it from your diet. You may also find that your taste preferences change when you start changing your diet. This will go a long way toward eliminating poor-quality foods you were certain you couldn’t live without!

Supplement as needed

Ideally, you should get all of your nutrients from the foods you eat, but realistically, that may not happen. Soils may become exhausted from over-farming, and that can diminish a food’s nutrient density. Harvesting practices, over-processing and delays can also reduce the nutritional value of food. Careful supplementation can provide your body with the nutrients it needs but isn’t getting from your diet.

A good strategy to improving your digestive health is, “Remove, replace, repair.” That is, remove the bad actors from your diet and your gut, and replace them with good actors. Under these conditions, your body will naturally begin to repair your gut and enable it to function more ideally.

If you’d like more information about repairing your gastrointestinal health, or you would like to consult with us to develop a gut health plan, please call us today at (509) 737-9355. We’ll be happy to assess your current health and determine whether you’re a good candidate for our gastrointestinal repair program.

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Weight Management: The Key to Long-Term Wellness

Weight Management: The Key to Long-Term Wellness

75% of American men and 60% of American women are either overweight or obese.
That’s a staggering statistic. Excess weight is a factor in a number of critical health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes – four of the top 10 causes of death in the United States. Managing your weight is essential to leading a long, healthy and active life. It’s also the key to avoiding conditions that rob you of your natural vitality.

The long-term effects of obesity

It’s impossible to overstate the seriousness of carrying around chronic excess weight. Obesity is a major contributing factor in heart disease, stroke, Type-2 diabetes and some cancers. Because body weight is generally controllable, this means that obesity-related deaths are largely both premature and preventable.

Obesity is also implicated in a number of other conditions, including arthritis, sleep apnea, osteoporosis, blood clots and hypertension. Some studies have even linked obesity to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

For many people, the decline into obesity is a self-perpetuating cycle. Weight gain makes it harder to move, which slows metabolism and encourages weight gain. Excessive weight encourages conditions like insulin resistance, which make it difficult for your body to produce enough insulin to break down and eliminate sugars. This can lead to Type-2 diabetes, which can damage all of your major organs and significantly degrade your quality of life.

It’s important to note that there is a difference between being overweight and obese. The Body Mass Index (BMI) provides a quick comparison of a person’s weight to height. Taller people can safely carry more weight than shorter people. A person with a BMI that is:

  • above 40 = extremely obese
  • between 30 and 29.9= obese
  • between 25 and 29.9 = overweight
  • between 18.5 and 24.9 = healthy weight
  • less than 18.5 = underweight

Scientists who have tracked the so-called “obesity epidemic” have noted that the percentage of US adults who are overweight has stayed relatively constant for nearly 60 years. Beginning in the mid-1970’s, however, the percentage of obese adults began to rise sharply. Prior to 1975, the percentage of obese adults hovered stably around 15%. Between 1975 and 2005, the percentage of obese adults shot up to 35%. Additionally, the percentage of adults who were “extremely obese” rose from about 1% in 1975 to nearly 7% in 2010.

Losing weight can seem to be a herculean task, especially once you’ve reached “middle age.” Many people swear that they diet and exercise to no avail. They may say, “It’s impossible!” The truth is that it’s very possible to lose weight, no matter your age. As you age, you need to employ different strategies for managing your weight. The right strategy at the right time can do wonders to help you shed pounds and keep them off.

Successful weight management involves a conscientious effort to change not only your movement habits, but also your eating habits. By taking a holistic approach to your health, you can reduce your weight successfully and limit your risk of premature illness and death. Fad diets rarely produce successful, long-term results. This is because they’re not balanced, and they don’t help your body consistently meet its nutritional needs over time.

Here are a few ways you can take charge of your health by managing your weight.

Eat

Believe it or not, starving yourself isn’t a good way to lose weight. Skipping meals and holding out during the course of the day can leave you cranky, distracted and just plain hungry. This actually encourages you to eat later in the day, which is bad. Eating three or more well-balanced, well-timed meals each day can help you lose weight over time. Eating a bigger breakfast and reducing the size of your remaining meals over the day can actually support your metabolism better than skipping meals can. Losing weight isn’t just about eliminating calories. It’s about making sure the calories you do take in will help your metabolism support your health goals.

Drink more water

Many people don’t drink enough water, although there’s no consensus on how much water humans should drink each day. Sometimes, people misinterpret thirst as hunger. As a result, they eat more than they need to. Their bodies may get water from the food they eat, but that comes at a big cost. Make a point of drinking water throughout the day. Not only will that turn off the thirst signals from your brain, it will also reduce your calorie intake.

Eat like you have diabetes

People with diabetes don’t produce enough insulin. Insulin helps your body break down some sugars. Your pancreas makes insulin, and a rise in your blood-sugar level tells your pancreas to get to work. People with diabetes actively control their blood-sugar level throughout the day. By injecting synthetic insulin, or sometimes just by avoiding foods that raise their blood-sugar level quickly, they manage their condition. Untreated, diabetes can damage all the body’s major organs. It can lead to heart disease, stroke, peripheral nerve damage, damage to the digestive system and even death.

The body doesn’t react the same way to all sugars. Some sugars – like the kind found in fruits and milk – don’t impact the body’s blood-sugar level the way processed or refined sugar does. By learning which foods raise your blood-sugar level rapidly, you can make consistently healthier choices when you eat. Researchers have measured the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) of many (if not most) foods. By knowing how a food is going to affect your blood-sugar level, you can eliminate those foods that will spike your blood-sugar level. This approach to food selection may offer a healthier alternative to your current diet. It can also help you make healthier long-term changes to your eating habits. As a bonus, becoming more “glycemic-aware” can also help you lose weight.

Move!

Increasing your metabolic rate – the rate at which your body burns calories – can help you lose weight. Physical exercise is one way to boost your metabolism. Contrary to what many people believe, “exercise” doesn’t have to mean spending hours each day at the gym. Simple movements like walking, yoga, stretching, aerobics and light weightlifting can all move your metabolism in the right direction.

Additionally, regular movement can help stabilize your blood pressure and heart rate and encourage your body to burn stored fat. Reducing your weight gradually can also make moving easier and relieve conditions like arthritis. New research also shows that people who exercise more naturally move toward healthier diets.

Not having a plan for weight management can be a set-up for failure. NewEdge Wellness offers weight-management plans that can help you better understand your body’s needs.

Our life coaches can design an individualized weight management plan just for you and start you on the path to a healthier, longer life. To set up an initial consultation, please give us a call at (509) 737-9355 today.

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Seeking Sciatic Relief? Look No Further!

Seeking Sciatic Relief? Look No Further!

Sciatic nerve pain (also known as sciatica) is a common symptom that affects more than 3 million Americans each year. Doctors estimate that as many as 4 in 10 adults will experience sciatica at least once in their lives. The pain, which can range from mild to intense, originates from the sciatic nerves and impacts the legs, back and buttocks. What can you do to treat this painful symptom and restore your well-being?

The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs down each leg from your lower back and ends just below your knee. It is the longest, widest nerve in the human body. Typically, sciatic nerve pain affects one leg or the other. It does not typically occur in both legs at the same time. This is because the pain results from pressure to or injury of the sciatic nerve after it has branched into each leg. It generally originates from an injury or irritation to the lower lumbar or lumbosacral spine. The pain can reach all the way into the foot and toes of the affected leg, depending upon where the sciatic nerve is being aggravated.

The symptoms of sciatic nerve pain

Symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Constant pain in the buttock on the affected side
  • Increasing pain or discomfort when sitting
  • A shooting pain that travels through the leg and back when standing
  • Tingling, numbness or burning sensations in the affected leg
  • Weakness in the affected leg
  • Difficulty moving the affected leg

Sciatica is not a condition by itself, but it is a symptom of other conditions, including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Muscle spasms in the back
  • Disc herniation
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis

The most common cause of sciatic nerve pain is a herniated disk in the lower lumbar or lumbosacral spine.

In addition to these conditions, your habits can create the right environment for sciatic nerve pain to occur. These include:

  • Not exercising
  • Being overweight
  • Sleeping on surfaces that are too hard or too soft
  • Wearing high heels frequently

You can successfully treat some of the causes of sciatic nerve pain, thereby eliminating it. Other conditions may make sciatic nerve pain a regular reality for you. However, you can learn to manage your pain!

Assessing sciatic nerve pain

Initially, it’s important to determine whether your sciatic nerve pain results from a temporary or resolvable condition. Therefore, it’s essential for us to examine the condition of your spine. Once we know where the pain originates and why it appears, we can develop a successful treatment plan to eliminate, minimize or manage your pain.

When your pain results from treatable, preventable or reversible conditions, you must address its underlying causes. If you sit for long periods of time at work or you do not exercise regularly, we can help develop a treatment plan to address these components of your wellness. Likewise, if your mattress is too hard or too soft, sciatic relief may also involve addressing this truth!

Women who wear high heels put themselves at a greater risk of developing sciatic nerve pain. If this describes you, we can show you why wearing high heels changes the alignment of your spine and opens you up to developing spinal nerve pain. By reducing the height of your heels or wearing flat shoes, you can allow your irritated spinal nerves to heal.

Improper weight management can also lead to the development of nerve pain. Carrying excess weight can put enormous stress on your legs, hips and lower back. By following a program of weight management designed to help shed pounds, we can not only help resolve your back pain, but also help you avoid other weight-induced common side effects.

Other conditions that can cause sciatica, like pregnancy, are temporary. If you experience sciatic nerve pain resulting from pregnancy, you can take comfort in the fact that your sciatica will resolve when you give birth to your baby. Until then, we can develop natural, non-invasive and non-drug therapies and interventions that can help relieve your pain.

Sciatic pain treatment

Making sure your spine is in good alignment can help relieve pressure on the discs in your back and allow an irritated disc to heal. We can provide effective sciatic pain treatment and relieve pressure on one or more affected discs, often in just a few visits.

Some patients also find sciatica relief in the form of alternating hot and cold compresses on the affected part of the spine.

Although it may not seem like it in the moment, exercises and light stretching can actually help relieve sciatica. By strengthening the muscles that support the lumbar and lumbosacral spine, you can diminish the nerve impairment. We can create a program of light stretching and exercise that can help strengthen your spinal muscles and keep your spinal vertebrae in proper alignment.

When your back pain results from chronic, degenerative conditions, we can provide a path to pain management that allows you to avoid the use of addictive, life-destructive pharmaceutical painkillers. Our treatments can help you manage your chronic pain naturally, and in some cases, help restore function and health that medical doctors may have told you was gone forever.

If you’re experiencing lower back pain symptoms consistent with sciatica, please give us a call today at NewEdge Wellness at (509) 737-9355 to set up an initial consultation.

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7 Steps to Regulating your Hormonal Balance

7 Steps to Regulating your Hormonal Balance

What Are Hormones?

Your endocrine system makes chemicals called hormones. A healthy body regulates the production and balance of its hormones, but some conditions can cause hormonal imbalances. Glands that produce the major hormones in your body include:

  • Adrenal
  • Hypothalamus
  • Ovaries/Testes
  • Pancreas
  • Parathyroid
  • Pineal
  • Pituitary
  • Thymus
  • Thyroid

Your pituitary gland is considered the “master gland” because it controls the function of all of the other glands in your body. Many people are familiar with the role of hormones in sexual development and reproductive health, but hormones can control many other endocrine functions like growth, heart rate, blood sugar control, the immune system, sleep, and the sensations of hunger and thirst.

You can see why hormonal imbalances can cause major problems!

Providing the proper environment for your endocrine system is essential for good health. Here are seven ways in which you can support your endocrine system.

7 steps to good endocrine health, plus one bonus!

Change the fats in your diet.

Fat has gotten a bad rap. It’s important to remember that not all fats are created equal. There are good fats and bad fats. By substituting good fats for bad ones in your diet, you can give your endocrine system a major boost. You can find “good fats” in avocados, butter from grass-fed cows, chia seeds, coconut oil, flax seeds, herring, mackerel, olive oil, oysters, sardines and wild-caught salmon, among other sources. Omega-3 fatty acids are very good for you. Omega-6 fatty acids (found in safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil and vegetable oil) can cause inflammation in the body or aggravate inflammatory conditions.

Use adaptogenic herbs.

Adaptogenic herbs have natural pharmaceutical properties, and can relieve the effects of stress. Stress can cause very real damage to your endocrine system, so avoiding it or reducing its impact is key to balancing your hormones. Adaptogenic herbs can help combat fatigue, depression and neurological changes associated with stress. They can also enhance your focus and clear your thinking. Ashwaganda and Asian ginseng are particularly good at reducing long-term stress. For short term stress conditions and anxiety, adaptogens like rhodiola, Siberian ginseng and schisandra can help mellow fight-or-flight stress reactions. Holy basil (also called tulsi) has been used in India for thousands of years to treat respiratory problems like colds and the flu. Holy basil oil is also a strong antiseptic. In addition, holy basil has anti-depressive properties and can be used to treat acne, inflammation and respiratory problems.

Address emotional imbalances.

While emotions may seem wild and unpredictable, negative emotions can often be traced to hormonal imbalances. In addition, emotional responses often trigger reactions in the endocrine system, which can dump large doses of stress hormones into your body. By learning to control and calm reactive behaviors, you can reduce stress on your body and improve your overall hormonal balance.

Use essential oils.

Essential oils offer exceptional, natural benefits. Using essential oils can help you detoxify your body, calm your mind and relieve physical ailments. Consult with your wellness professional about the range of options available, and which oils can help you support your endocrine health. The Environmental Working Group website is a great resource for finding news, research, and consumer information. It is the go-to site for people who want to live a healthier life.

Use dietary supplements.

Ideally, you get the majority of your nutrition from the good, healthy foods you eat. Even with a healthy diet, you can sometimes encounter nutritional voids that make supplementation necessary. Whether you suffer from a chronic nutritional deficit or a temporary one, adding supplements to your diet can help boost your endocrine system and restore your hormonal balance. Consult with your wellness provider to help you determine where and how you might benefit from supplementation.

Ditch your birth control pills.

Birth control pills contain synthetic hormones designed to suppress your reproductive system. While that may be one outcome of using them, they can also wreak havoc on your body. In addition to suppressing ovulation, they can also raise your blood pressure, cause nausea, headaches and migraines, acne, weight gain, breakthrough bleeding and other unpleasant or unhealthy side effects. There are many non-pharmaceutical ways to prevent pregnancy, and control other reproductive system ailments without resorting to birth control pills.

Get more sleep!

There are no two ways about it – sleep does a body good! Committing to providing yourself 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night can do wonders for your health. In addition to helping your body recover naturally from the stresses of the day, a full 8 hours of restful sleep can help you lose weight, restore endocrine function, improve mental alertness and boost your immune system.

Attend to your nervous system.

This means receiving regular chiropractic care, including adjustments that enable your endocrine system to function like it was designed to. Relieving painful conditions and maladjustment can also enable your body to heal itself, and correct unaddressed damage that decreases your quality of life.

Another key ingredient – and this applies to any approach toward regaining your health – is to have a plan and work on it consistently. A trained wellness provider can work with you to identify conditions that prevent you from living a full, healthy and happy life. If you’re ready to commit to working to improve your life and health, call us at (509) 737-9355 to set up a consultation.

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Building a Titanium Immune System

Building a Titanium Immune System

A healthy immune system is one of the key ingredients to having a healthy and happy life. Whether you realize it or not, some of the habits you may have developed can compromise your immune system, making it harder for your body to avoid disease. Eliminating these bad habits and replacing them with ones that support your immune system can make a major difference in your life. Here are the most important things you can do to rebuild and support your immune system.

Critical keys to supporting your immune system

Get more sleep!Your body needs at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Good, restful sleep can do more for your body than you might realize. Sleep allows your body to heal itself, remove toxins from your system, and limit the effects of stressors like cortisol. Poor or inadequate sleep actually increases the stress on your body and can make you more likely to become sick or develop diseases. But not all sleep is created equal! If you’re serious about sleeping well, develop healthy sleep routines. These include going to bed at a consistent time, eliminating all light sources in your bedroom and relaxing before bed to allow your brain a chance to achieve deep, restful sleep.

Develop excellent nutritional habits.

Like sleep, compromised nutrition can weaken your immune system and leave your body open to illness and chronic disease. High quality food prepared in healthy ways should be the basis of your nutritional plan. While you should strive to get most of your nutritional needs from the food you eat, thoughtful supplementation can help you achieve your optimal nutritional balance. Consult with your wellness provider to determine which supplementation routines will yield the best benefit for your particular circumstances.

In addition, restricting your intake of unhealthy fats and sugars are two things you can do immediately to improve your diet. Replacing unhealthy fats (safflower oil, corn oil, canola, cottonseed oil, soybean oil) with healthier choices – like avocados, wild caught salmon, chia seeds, butter from grass-fed cows, coconut and olive oils – can yield immediate nutritional benefits. Eliminating sugars – even those touted as being “healthy” like fruit juice – can also have a major positive impact on your immune system.

Take care of your gut!

Your gut is filled with healthy organisms that help you digest food and extract nutrients. Poor eating habits, pharmaceuticals and bad nutrition can damage the environment these organisms need to help you stay healthy. Taking good care of your gut is essential to a healthy immune system. Establishing and maintaining healthy bacterial colonies requires time, patience and knowledge about what’s good (and not good) for your digestive system. Your wellness provider can help you learn about the habits that support (and compromise) excellent digestive health.

Exercise.

Your body is meant to move, and when you don’t move, you can set yourself up for poor health. Daily exercise offers benefits for your heart and lungs, your muscles and bones, and your joints. It also gives your immune system an added boost. Exercise even when you’re not feeling well. You don’t have to put in a full workout, but regular exercise can help you avoid becoming ill, and minimize the impact of illness when you do get sick.

Seek out chiropractic adjustments!

Chiropractic adjustments can help your body perform the way it was intended to. Chiropractic adjustments have a positive impact on blood pressure, reduce inflammation in the body and relieve skeletal and spinal pain. They can also improve your range of motion, making it easier to gain the full advantage from your exercise regimen. Chiropractic adjustment can also improve your digestion, allowing you to maximize your nutritional program. By relieving pain and inflammation, chiropractic adjustment can also boost your immune system and allow it to focus on fighting off illnesses and diseases more effectively. Chiropractic patients who maintain a regular adjustment schedule have fewer colds and respiratory infections than those who don’t.

Your body is designed to heal itself, and your immune system – when properly supported – can do just that. Stressors like lack of sleep and poor nutrition make it difficult – sometimes impossible – for your body to react appropriately to illness. Over time, lack of proper immune system support can allow your body to develop serious – even life-threatening – chronic illnesses and conditions. Bad nutritional and health habits can also damage your body so that it cannot effectively recover from serious diseases like cancer.

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to supporting your immune system, have a frank conversation with your wellness provider. Learn about how you can incorporate excellent sleep and nutritional habits, and which supplements can help boost or rebuild your natural immune system. Also discuss habits and practices that can compromise your immune system, and open the door to long-term health problems that your weakened immune system cannot repair.

If you’d like more information about repairing and supporting your immune system, please give us a call at NewEdge Wellness at (509) 737-9355 to set up an appointment today!

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