Archive for the ‘Healthy Living’ Category

Earth Cuisine for Longevity

**Ancient researchers discovered that the oils in the deep water fish were rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.  These early scientific observations spawned extensive studies that led to the current understanding of how important fish oil is to heart health.  

In the 1980’s, researchers began noticing the native Inuit (Eskimo) populations of Greenland and Alaska had a very low occurrence of heart disease despite a very high fat diet.  The researches discovered the oils in the deep water fish these natives consumed (and continue to do so this very day) are rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

While we generally think of fats as harmful, there are fats that have expansive health benefits.  The central objective of this article, is to assist you in sorting through the confusion that has grown from “diets” such as, The Atkins Diet, Sugar Busters Diet and other fads that have bombarded us with profit driven information.  Last week I publish the article entitled, Lipids, which covered fats as a whole, and was rather general.  I believe, it’s paramount to have an understanding of “healthy fats” and more specifically “Essential Fatty Acids” (EFA’s) and their role in cardiovascular health.

All natural fats are mixtures of different types of fatty acids.  Fatty acids are made up of carbon atoms comprised of short or long chains.  Each carbon atom has four bonding sites (think of imaginary arms) where it can attach to other atoms.  When all binding sites are attached to hydrogen atoms, the fatty acid chain is saturated.

When some binding sites on a carbon atom are attached to a neighboring carbon atom, made by a double bond, the fatty acid is unsaturated.  If a fatty acid chain has two or more double bonds, it’s referred to as polyunsaturated.  Polyunsaturated fatty acids are further classified by where on the carbon chain the double bond is located.  Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid with the first double bond located at the sixth carbon atom from the omega end; thus, it is an omega-6 fatty acid.  Linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, has it’s first double bond at the third carbon atom from the omega end.  Both linoleic and linolenic fatty acids are essential fatty acids.  These polyunsaturated fatty acids are needed to sustain life.  It is possible for some fatty acids to be made within the body, however, these cannot.  Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids must be consumed in the diet and/or through supplementation.

Monounsaturated fats are fatty acids that have one double bond in the fatty acid chain and all of the remainder of the carbon atoms in the chain are single bonded.  Fatty acid viscosity and melting point increases with the decreasing number of double bonds.  Therefore, monounsaturated fats have a higher melting point than polyunsaturated fatty acids.  This makes monounsaturated fats the ideal choice for cooking.  Common monounsaturated fatty acids are palmitoleic acid, cis-vaccenic acid and oleic acid.

Although polyunsaturated fats protect against cardiovascular disease by providing more membrane fluidity than monounsaturated fats, they are more vulnerable to lipid peroxidation (becomes rancid).  On the other hand, foods containing monounsaturated fats reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while increasing high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.  These are just a few examples of the cardiovascular and overall health benefits that EFA’s and monounsaturated fatty acids provide the body.  One other important thing I feel necessary to note; many more variants of polyunsaturated fatty acids exist, in this article I intended to highlight the specific fatty acids that were studied in the research of Native Inuit Eskimos.  Another objective in regards to the article content was to cover the cardiovascular benefits these fatty acids provide.

**The next logical question you are probably asking yourself is, “so what foods should I eat to incorporate these fatty acids into my diet?”  A full categorized list will be up this week….I got you guys!  No worries 😉

Recovery and Therapeutic Techniques- Part 2.

A spinal nerve with its anterior and posterior...

A spinal nerve with its anterior and posterior roots. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The article/blog post I wrote a few months back entitled, I Have a Message…Go Get a Massage received a good amount of interest, as well as feedback.  I had originally intended to cover several of the therapeutic and recovery techniques that I recommend and employ myself.  After awhile of editing and shortening, I realized there was just far too much info for a single post.  I suppose this could be considered the sequel, so without me rambling on and on (probably going off in a totally different direction in the process) lets get into some of the other therapy practices I believe in.

Perhaps the most polarizing of all “mainstream” healthcare practitioners’ are Chiropractors.  I’ve heard so many varying opinions when it comes to chiropractic care it’s mind boggling. The sentiment towards Chiropractors, at least from what individuals I’ve worked with over the years, ranges from, “Dr. Chiro allowed me to walk again” to “it’s all Dr. Chiro’s fault I’ll never walk again.”  I think this originates from a misunderstanding of what a Chiropractor intends to accomplish through his or her manipulation and adjustments to the effected area of the body.  Your nervous system controls and coordinates all functions with-in the body, when the signals being sent through the system get interfered with, parts of the body will not receive proper messages.  Therefore, impairing proper movement patterns, these impairments are not isolated ONLY to the directly affected area of the body.  That’s only the beginning, remember, the body is a kinetic chain working in harmony like a well conducted orchestra.  Just like an orchestra, the human body is harmonious until just ONE of the numerous possibilities is off tune or misaligned.  This can dramatically alter the sound and flow of the entire orchestra or human body.

A subluxation refers to an incomplete or partial dislocation of a joint or organ.  More specifically a vertebral subluxation is when one or more of the bones of the spine move out of position and create pressure of irritation of spinal nerves.  Spinal nerves are the nerves between each of the bones in the spine.  The pressure or irritation causes these nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over the nerves.  It’s the responsibility of the Doctor of Chiropractic to locate subluxations and reduce or correct them.  This is done through a series of chiropractic adjustments designed to correct the vertebral subluxations in your spine.  A study conducted by Drs. Anthony Lauro and Brian Mouch, published in The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation(1991) indicated chiropractic care might improve athletic performance by 16.7% over a two week period.  Like I always say 1% of something, is better than 100% of nothing.  The report also concluded that subluxation free athletes react faster, coordinate better, and execute fine movements with improved accuracy and precision, amounting to an overall better athlete.  In closing, when the body is aligned properly, your nervous system is tuned allowing the kinetic chain to fire in unison.  This leads to peak performance, fewer injuries and faster recovery.

One practice in particular that I’d like to mention is acupuncture.  Acupuncture is a technique of inserting and manipulating fine filiform needles into specific points on the body with the aim of relieving pain for therapeutic purposes.  According to traditional Chinese acupuncture theory, the acupuncture points lie along meridians along which Qi (chi or ch’i) the vital energy flows.  Some of the benefits of acupuncture include a quick reduction in inflammation, as well as, releasing pressure form trigger points which greatly accelerates the healing process.  The importance of reducing any inflammation is that it prevents blood stagnation via release of osmotic pressure away form the injury, again creating a more efficient healing process.  Additional benefits form acupuncture include increased circulation, a boost to the immune system, many patients claim increased energy and serenity, and it has been found to be especially effective in treating ligament and tendon strains which are quite common among training athletes.  Regular acupuncture enthusiasts claim that it helps significantly in their training and performance.  A number of avenues such as building muscle mass, increased glycogen storage, improvement in fast twitch muscle fiber activation and overall energy which are paramount for a great performance.  To give you an idea of the athletic influence that acupuncture has take the 1993 Chinese National Games where a total of 9 women broke world records and claim to have only used legal Chinese herbs and the constant use of acupuncture treatments.  Acupuncture is becoming so respected that for the first time ever it was offered during the Beijing Olympics in 2008, for all athletes and officials to incorporate into their recovery, healing, medical and whatever other forms of treatment they desired (within the parameters of IOC guidelines of course).

Lastly, I want to briefly discuss TENS therapy which stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.  This type of therapy is performed by placing electrodes on a desired location of the body, either directly on an effected area, or at key points along the nerve pathway.  A small battery powered generator emits a milli-amp of electricity through wire leads to the electrodes.  TENS therapy is often used in pain management protocols as well as physical therapy, however I intend to discuss what I believe to be the benefit of TENS therapy for a high performance athlete.  As I discussed when we train we breakdown the muscle fibers and repair them through proper nutrition and so on.  Over the course of these processes we develop micro scaring in the muscles and I believe a TENS unit is great in assisting in the break up of the scare tissue.  One of the reasons for the excellent healing properties of TENS therapy is the increased circulation it brings to the area where the electrodes are placed.  In my experiences, I notice that TENS therapy tends to “open” the muscles fibers, what I mean is, I simply feel there is more volume to the muscle bellies after this type of a therapy session.  I wouldn’t say that there’s a time limit on transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, but I find thirty minutes to be sufficient.  If you plan on having any longevity in your sport of choice it’s imperative that you put just as much effort into recovery and healing your bodies as you do to training and practice.  Being at your absolute best is a 24/7 job, attention to detail is a must in order to achieve Ultimate Human Performance.

-Excerpt from an article I read, thought I’d share…link below*

Picture a morbidly obese mouse, you know, the ones companies use to show as the “before” picture when marketing certain products.  Anyhow, let’s call him Jumbo. Jumbo is unique – he’s an ob/ob mouse. This is a mouse that becomes a type II diabetic, can’t stop eating, and packs away body fat like crazy. No matter how much you feed him, he won’t stop.
Poor Jumbo has a mutation in the gene coding for leptin – he’s totally missing it! His fat cells can’t properly communicate with his hypothalamus because he has no leptin. If you inject Jumbo with leptin, he’ll stop eating and lose weight, but the solution isn’t so simple for us non-mutants.  Most obese people don’t have missing or mutated leptin genes – they can make plenty of it. The problem is that in spite of leptin still finding and binding its receptors all over the body, no downstream message is sent. The system that senses leptin is broken.
This is called leptin resistance, a condition in which the brain can’t determine when body fat is at an okay level. The fat cells are sending leptin out to the hypothalamus to signal that fat stores are full. Leptin binds the receptors, but no downstream messages are sent. It’s like knocking on the door when nobody is home. In spite of all the extra body fat mass, the brain perceives starvation and orders fat storage. The kicker is that you’re also very hungry, and continue to eat more and more.
If you know anyone who just can’t stop eating like Jumbo, as tempting as it may be to instantly judge them, it’s likely not entirely their fault. Many obese people have metabolic systems that are simply broken. You can’t outrun Mother Nature, and if the leptin signaling is messed up, you can only control yourself so much.

 

For full article by John Meadows CSCS check out:  <http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/control_leptin_and_control_your_leanness&cr=&gt;

Help me Help YOU!.

What the heck is a snack anyways? How many calories is it outside today?.

So you wanna transform your physique, huh!?.

Pancreas…Insulin…Body Fat! Ohh My!!.

Micronutrients…Make a Mega Difference!!.