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The Benefits of Rhubarb

Rhubarb is definitely in abundance this time of year.  Check out the many health benefits that are associated with this vegetable –

1. Eases Digestion

As a high-fiber food, rhubarb can help ease digestion. A study was conducted of burn patients at the Burn Treatment Center of Shanxi Province at Tisco General Hospital in China and how rhubarb can possibly ease abdominal discomfort and promote a healthy and normal digestion process. The study focused on the relief of bloated stomach and discomfort, while providing regularity.

Researchers concluded that rhubarb can help protect the intestinal wall through the increased secretion of gastrointestinal hormones while providing normal contraction of the muscles that mix the contents of gastrointestinal tract.

2. Strengthens Bones and Prevents Osteoporosis

Because rhubarb packs a good dose of vitamin K, it can provide useful benefits that include a role in bone metabolism and potential protection against osteoporosis. Vitamin K is required for osteocalcin to occur. This is when the metabolically active tissue of the bone undergoes continuous remodeling by the process of bone formation and bone resorption. These processes rely heavily on the performance of osteoclasts (resorption), osteoblasts (formation) and osteocytes (maintenance). Under normal conditions, bone resorption and formation work in tandem to make sure that the amount of bone removed is equal to the amount of bone that is newly formed.

Vitamin K is important because it helps ensure that all of these important steps work in continuous support of the bones. Conversely, vitamin K deficiency can negatively affect these processes and ultimately raise the risk for osteoporosis development.

Beyond that, vitamin K strengthens bones overall. Studies and clinical trials conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Department of Human Biology, Nutritional Sciences and published in Nutrition in Clinical Practice show that vitamin K has a “positive effect on bone mineral density and decreases fracture risk.”

3. Staves Off Brain Disorders

When someone suffers from oxidative stress caused by numerous of disorders, including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the brain usually undergoes a great deal of trauma. This stress can lead to the formation of free radicals, which can cause neuronal apoptosis and the development of some types of chronic brain disease.

Research published in Molecular Medicine Reports evaluated the effects of varying concentrations of rhubarb extract on the neuronal damage caused by irradiation. Treatment with the extract significantly decreased irradiation-induced inflammation in the brain, which may prove the protective role of this extract against oxidative stress. This, in turn, potentially can help stave off brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, ALS and stroke, among others.

4. Fights Free Radicals

Rhubarb is a high-antioxidant food like the bilberry and the cranberry. It contains the powerful free-radical scavenger quercetin, among other potent antioxidants. Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant flavonoid that gives plants its color.

Research was conducted by the Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences to study rhubarb seeds. A free radical-scavenging method was used as the marker to evaluate the total antioxidant capability of the extracts. Ten free radical scavengers from extracts of the seeds were screened, five of which were identified and quantitatively analyzed, including epicatechin, myricetin, hyperoside, quercitrin and quercetin. All can be regarded as the major potent antioxidants in rhubarb seeds due to representing most of the total free-radical scavenging activity.

Ultimately, this research published in the Journal of Chromatographic Science confirms the seeds’ effectiveness in fighting free radical damage.

5. Relieves Constipation and Diarrhea

Rhubarb is often referred to for its purgative properties, which are used to provide ease with bowel movements. It’s been known to help reduce strain during bowel movements and, in turn, can help ease the pain of hemorrhoids or tears in the skin lining of the anal canal, known as anal fissures.

As an herbal medicine, it can also help treat gastrointestinal discomfort that comes from constipation and diarrhea. This can be done through eating rhubarb, but it’s typically done through medicinal methods, such as tinctures, extracts and powders made from the roots and stalks of the plant. It’s crucial that you review these methods with your doctor since overconsumption can aggravate any ailment. If taken properly, however, it can help relieve constipation naturally along with diarrhea.

6. Lowers Inflammation

Rhubarb has long been used in Chinese medicine due to its anti-infection properties and is known to help promote healthy skin, mucous membranes, good vision and possibly as cancer protection. All of this is due to its role as an anti-inflammatory food.

A study was performed by the State Key Laboratory of Virology/Institute of Medical Virology at the Wuhan University School of Medicine in China to determine the antiviral effect of an extract from the roots and rhizoma. The results, published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, determined that the extract from rhubarb showed significant positive results in the healing of inflammatory cells when added after infection, confirming its anti-inflammatory properties.

Source – https://draxe.com/rhubarb/

Summer in the Sun – Sun Safety Tips

SUN SAFETY TIPS

The Government of Canada has a few safety tips to keep adults and children safe in the sun: 

  1. Cover up. Wear wide brimmed hats, sunglasses, and fabrics that are thin, light-coloured, and breathable and covers the areas of your body that get the most sun.
  2. Limit your time in the sun. The hottest part of the day is between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. If you’re out during this time of the day, take frequent breaks from the sun, whether that’s indoors or moving your kids into the shade. Even if your child is wearing sunscreen, the Government of Canada advises not to let children stay in the sun for long periods.
  3. Use the UV Index forecast. Don’t forget to use this as a guide for sunscreen use. Anything over a UV Index of 3 requires natural sunscreen, and over 8 needs some extra protection.
  4. Create a sunscreen habit. It’s important to get your children into the habit of wearing natural sunscreen when they go into the sun. From an early age, start developing a routine: get them to pay attention to the areas of the body that are most exposed to the sun, like the nose, lips, back of the neck, shoulders, arms, back, knees, and feet.
  5. Reapply natural sunscreen often. Use lots of it, apply it early in the day, and reapply often. Don’t forget to find one with a high SPF, which means SPF 15 or higher with “broad-spectrum” protection. 

Don’t overlook heat illness prevention!

In Canada, we get to experience the joys and pitfalls of both extreme cold and extreme heat. In the warmer months, when it comes to avoiding heat illnesses—such as heat stroke, rashes, cramps, fainting, edema, or exhaustion—protecting yourself from the sun and keeping the body cool are important for you, your children, and others in your care. Keeping hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day allows the body to stay cool.

EXTREME HEAT SAFETY TIPS 

Here are a few safety tips the Government of Canada provides to keep you and your kids safe in the extreme heat.

  1. Prepare for the heat. This includes listening to regular weather forecasts and finding ways to keep cool in advance—like keeping cool drinks accessible in your home or car, setting up a fan in your apartment, or making sure your air conditioner is operational. It also means finding nearby spots that are air conditioned on really hot days, like a mall or even a pharmacy or convenience store, during high peaks of heat in the day.
  2. Pay close attention to how you (and your children) feel. Keep an eye out for heat illness symptoms like dizziness, fainting, nausea, headache, rapid breathing, extreme thirst, decreased urination, and even changes in behaviour (particularly in children). If you notice these symptoms, try moving to a cool place, applying cool water to large areas of skin or clothing, and fanning the person as much as possible.
  3. Stay hydrated. This is an especially important step. Drink plenty of cool liquids, particularly water, before you even feel thirsty. This decreases the risk of dehydration, and the struggle to “catch up” on what your body needs once it’s reached such an extreme state. Remind yourself to eat more fruits and veggies and drink water before, during, and after physical activities.
  4. Stay cool. There are plenty of ways to do this: dress for the weather, take breaks from the heat, and keep your home cool. If you don’t have air conditioning, remember to use fans (standing or ceiling fans) and keep the air flowing, particularly in your direction. Find cool places nearby and spend an hour or two there to cool off if your home isn’t as cool as you need it to be.
  5. Avoid exposure to extreme heat when outdoors. Plan outdoor activities doing the cooler parts of the day, and reschedule activities that take place outdoors when the heat is at its peak. Avoiding sun exposure goes hand-in-hand with this tip: when your skin has a sunburn, you can’t sweat as effectively, which means it’s even harder for your body to keep cool and regulate its temperature. The more you know, the more you can protect yourself.

Staying regularly active is important for the health of your spine, muscle, and nervous system. Following these tips when you’re out in the heat and sun will help you stay safe!

Source – https://www.chiropractic.ca/blog/10-tips-to-keep-your-kids-safe-in-the-sun-and-heat/

Dealing with Sugar

Reducing Sugar Intake and Its Negative Impact on Our Health.

The ingestion of excess sugar in our diet can lead to many health issues including obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, just to name a few.  

According to the American Heart Association 
(AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:

  • Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
  • Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).

To put that into perspective, one 12oz can of coke contains 140 calories from sugar, while a regular sized snickers bar contains 120 calories from sugar.

According a 2017 article published in the Globe and Mail, data from the  most recent Canadian Community Health Survey suggests that  kids consume 33 teaspoons of sugar a day, far above the World Health Organization’s recommendation that sugars ideally make up 5 per cent but no more than 10 per cent of a person’s daily calories.

The health consequences are troubling, to say the least, including an increased likelihood of everything from high blood pressure or heart disease to type-2 diabetes, sleep apnea and depression, as well as bone and joint problems. Obesity rates for children in Canada between the ages of 2 and 17 have tripled in the last 30 years, according to Statistics Canada.

Gulping down 33 teaspoons of sugar a day isn’t a direct route to any one of these conditions, but certainly gets kids pointed in the wrong direction.

The article goes on to share that  a single glass of apple juice contains the same amount of sugar as four or five apples do, without any of the fibre. “Have an orange for breakfast, don’t drink orange juice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees. In its strongest language yet on the subject, the organization declared that fruit juice has absolutely no essential role in healthy diets. “Essential means something you need to have. You simply don’t need fruit juice in your diet,” says Dr. Steven Abrams, chair of the AAP’s committee on nutrition.

And while fruit juice is most easy for parents to mistake for a smart choice, other drinkable sugars are also big problems: Don’t be fooled into thinking that “vitamin-enhanced” energy drinks, sports drinks, flavoured waters or drinkable yogurts are ever a better choice than water or milk.

Sources – https://www.theglobeandmail. com/life/health-and-fitness/ health/canadian-children-are- consuming-five-times-more- sugar-than-they-should/ article35207835/

Sugar Incognito:
Learn To Identify Various Sugars On A Food Label

Many processed foods are laden with sugar adding surplus calories to today’s meals. Soft drinks, fruit juice beverages, confectionary products, baked goods, breakfast cereals, and yogurt can all be culprits of calorie overload due to sugar.
 
High caloric intake is a known contributor to obesity and Canadian waistlines continue to expand.  The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that the rate of obesity in Canada is close to 25%.  Statistics Canada confirms that one in every five calories consumed by Canadians comes from sugar. 
 
Despite such concern, Health Canada has yet to recommend a limit on sugar consumption. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for Canadians to gauge – how much is too much?
 
Food labels present additional challenges that are far from sweet
  • Many different names identify added sugars. Some are more obvious, such as brown sugar and icing sugar, however, many are unassuming such as barley malt, evaporated cane juice, and agave nectar;
  • Sugars are rarely grouped together in the ingredient list. Listing them individually disguises their true prominence within a product and means they may appear further down in the list of ingredients where they may go unnoticed;
  • The total amount of sugar on the Nutrition Facts table does not differentiate between ‘naturally occurring’ sugars (i.e. sugars found in fruit, vegetables and milk) and ‘added’ sugars. Foods that contain ‘added’ sugars are typically higher in fat and/or calories and lower in nutrients than foods containing naturally occurring sugars;
  • In some cases, sugars may be completely hidden from an ingredient list due to loopholes in Canadian labelling regulations making the total amount of sugars declared on the Nutrition Facts table an important source of information. 
Shopping tips to help you identify sugar on labels:
  • Look for ingredient names that actually incorporate the word ‘sugar’ (i.e. liquid sugar, invert sugar, brown sugar, golden sugar);
  • Realize that ingredient names ending in ‘ose’ indicate sugars too (i.e. glucose, sucrose, fructose, glucose-fructose, lactose, sugar/glucose-fructose);
  • Note that honey, molasses, maple syrup and corn syrup are also added to sweeten foods;
  • Don’t be fooled by ‘concentrated fruit juice’ that sounds healthier than sugar but is typically added to processed foods as a sweetening agent;
  • Beware of the ingredient names ‘glucose-fructose’ and ‘sugar/glucose-fructose’ that are typically used in Canada for high fructose corn syrup;
  • Keep in mind that although cane sugar and organic cane sugar may sound more enticing, both contain 4 calories per gram – same as regular sugar.
  • Be cautious of ‘No Sugar Added’ claims. True – the product has no added sugars, however, it still can contain a lot of sugar (i.e. fruit juice). Products that display this claim may also contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame-potassium;
  • Look for the claim ‘Unsweetened’ to indicate a product is void of both added sugars and sweeteners;
  • Bear in mind that ‘Reduced in-’ or ‘Lower in-sugar’ claims simply indicate that a product contains at least 25% less sugar and at least 5 grams less sugar than a similar product that could be very high in sugar. Always reference the amount of sugars on the Nutrition Facts table for more accurate analysis. 

Learning to Cut Out Sugar

 

Looking for tips on how to reduce your sugar intake?  Read through MINDBODYGREEN’s January 2018 article for some tips –

Eating lower sugar is an easy, obvious health commitment that many of us make in the New Year. The only problem? With sugar lurking behind every corner, it can be tricky to discern when you’re actually eating sugar. Beyond that, even if you have the willpower of an ox, you will, at some point in your low-sugar journey, find yourself unable to think about anything but sugar. Sugar is a real addiction—according to holistic psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Vora, it’s 20 times more addictive than cocaine—so step one is to allow that it’s a real struggle and forgive yourself for not easily letting go of the white stuff. After that, try these seven easy steps to make sure you’re aware of your sugar consumption and help you kick your cravings for sweets when you do have them:
 

1. Read labels.




The easiest way to break your sugar addiction is to know when you’re actually consuming the stuff. Even food that looks healthy and organic can pack a whopping amount of sugar. The shorter the ingredient list, the easier it is to find hidden sugars and know exactly what you’re getting, which is why we love brands like SKYR’s, which have simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar (plus a ton of delicious flavors to satiate any cravings you’re having).

2. Limit artificial sweeteners.
A huge part of cutting back on sugar is resetting your taste buds, and beyond health concerns about artificial sweeteners (including Stevia!), their powerfully sweet flavor makes it hard to acclimate your palate. While it’s tempting to go high-sweet, no sugar, try to just cut back on the amount of sweetener generally—you’ll be thankful at the end.


3. Add more fat.

Hopefully, in recent years, any fear of fat you’ve had has subsided, but beyond being a reborn health food, fat is a powerful ally in your fight to cut back on sugar. Fat fills you up, turns off your hunger hormones, and satiates you so that you’ll be able to say no to a plate of cookies in front of you. Go for full-fat food when given the option, add healthy fats like avocado and hemp seeds to your smoothie, and keep a stash of fat balls in your freezer to nosh on when sugar cravings strike.

4. Eat fermented food.

Photo: Jill Chen

Not only does fermented food help balance your gut bacteria, which will ultimately help you crave less sugar in the long run, the tangy flavor resets your taste buds in a way that instantly eliminates cravings. Reach for low-sugar, simple ingredient yogurts like SKYR’s, or keep a stash of your own fermented vegetables in the fridge. When sugar cravings strike, simply eat a tablespoon or two of your fermented food of choice and wait 10 or 15 minutes to see how you feel. You’ll be surprised by the difference!

Get Educated! Get Inspired! Take Action!

Dr. Will & Dr. Erin

Snow Shoveling Tips!

Winter weather can pack a punch and, with the season’s heavy snowfalls, injuries often result. Improper snow shoveling is often to blame. The Ontario Chiropractic Association has outlined some key tips to help prevent injury – 

But shoveling out after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore. With a little know-how, you can clear your driveway without the all-too-common back, neck and shoulder pain cramping your style. Here’s how:

Before You Start

  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer.
  • Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as you get warm.
  • Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
  • Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body. An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Also, if you spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant, the snow will slide off more easily.
  • Before beginning any snow removal, warm up for five to 10 minutes to get your joints moving and increase blood circulation. A brisk walk will do it.

All Set to Go – Push, Don’t Throw

Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.


BEND YOUR KNEES.

Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.

WATCH FOR ICE.

Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.
Once you’ve mastered safe snow shoveling techniques, you’ll be free to have fun and stay fit all winter.

Get Educated! Get Inspired! Take Action!

Dr. Will & Dr. Erin