tomatoes in a row

Tomato Compound Reduces Risk of Cancer

A large study shows that participants measuring in the highest range of lycopene levels have a 64% lower risk of colorectal cancer. This group is compared to the lowest quarter. High lycopene levels have shown to reduce the risk of other cancers like ovarian and skin.

multiple tomatoes in a row

Tomatoes and Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men. Many studies show that lycopene, found in tomatoes, reduces the risk of prostate cancer. In many cases, the first treatment is hormone suppression. Hormones play a role in the growth of cancer cells.

Signal Disruption

The most abundant male hormones are testosterone and androstenedione. Lycopene reduces the risk of prostate cancer, but it also reduces the hormone signaling to normal prostate tissues. This is similar to breast cancer and the hormone estrogen. After a biopsy, the breast tissue will be tested for estrogen receptors. Essentially, receptors signal hormones to attach to a receptor site on tissue. If hormones attach to receptors on tumors, the tumor will grow. Lycopene disrupts this signal.

Lycopene Filled Varities

Different varieties of tomatoes will have more lycopene. Thus, if you have a green thumb plant Health Kick VFFA Hybrid, Tangerine (heirloom), and Jet Star VF Hybrid. If you don’t have the ability to plant, grocery store varieties will do.

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coconut with hole in middle

Coconut Oil, Butter, or Olive Oil?

What type of fat should I cook with? That may depend of a few variables. Does the recipe require a baking, sauteing, or searing? Each one has its pros, but there is one that is the healthiest. The best fat to cook with is coconut oil. Why?

Coconut with hole in middle

Coconut while solid at room temperature like butter is mostly made up of saturated fatty acid. That’s not good, right? Not necessarily. Coconut oil’s saturated fat is made up mostly of small to medium chain fatty acids. Long chain fatty acids can increase cholesterol levels. Despite its wonderful flavor, butter, is made mostly of long chain fatty acids.

The Best Types of Fat

A recent study shows coconut oil increases HDL-cholesterol and does not raise LDL-cholesterol compared to olive oil. LDL-cholesterol is the bad cholesterol while HDL-cholesterol is good. High levels of LDL-cholesterol is a potential risk for heart disease. Also, coconut oil decreases C-reactive protein levels. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation and potential disease.

Heat or No Heat

Olive oil is best used in cold applications. Olive oil is good for dressings and a finishing-oil on top of cooked foods. Coconut oil is more versatile for high heat cooking. Thus, it can be used in sauteing and baking.

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swimming in a pool

Exercise or Diet to Maintain Weight?

Diet or exercise. Which one is better at maintaining weight loss? There is much in question about which is best to keep weight off. Studies show it’s more important to stay active than count calories. This according to a new study. 

Physcial Activity and Weight

Certainly, diet is always important for health and optimal weight. There is no debate. This study stresses the importance of physical activity after weight loss. There is nothing more frustrating than losing weight only to gain it back. Similar results are correlated in the ‘Biggest Loser’ study, the hit television show.

Steps Matter In Weight Control

Successful participants maintained a reduced body weight of 30 pounds or more over one year. That is a lot of weight. Interestingly, weight-loss maintainers burned more calories than normal body weight controls. Also, weight-loss maintainers’ step count is significantly higher than overweight/obesity and normal weight participants. 12,000 steps compared to 9,000 and 6,500 respectively.

Exercise Over Calories

Weight-loss maintainers consume an equal amount of calories to overweight/obese participants, but activity levels remain higher. The study includes an interesting way to measure energy expenditure as well. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the water were ‘labeled.’ This is the gold standard of energy expenditure measure. Lastly, don’t ask me how they ‘label’ the water.

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bread with sesame seeds

Increase Metabolism By Fasting

We have always been told to eat three full meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, some studies show a simple break from eating (i.e. fasting) can improve your health. A recent study shows that fasting can boost metabolism, but what does that really mean for our health? Link here

Fasting Breaks Down Nutrients Faster

Fasting increases the process of energy utilization or breakdown. In short, boosting metabolism. When you increase your metabolism, your body will burn carbohydrates, fats, and protein faster. The body prefers to burn carbohydrates for energy or activity. However, in the absence of carbohydrates, the body will burn fat stores and proteins. Without carbs, the cells do not work as hard. When the body uses fat as energy, the breakdown of fat is more efficient.

Fasting Increases Anti-aging Compounds

Fasting has other health benefits in addition to an increased metabolism. Researchers have found certain antioxidants and muscle-maintaining compounds can appear. Because muscle mass declines as you age, this suggests that fasting could increase longevity. Antioxidants are also beneficial because they keep cells healthy.

Important Notes Before Fasting

If you are considering fasting, check with your primary care doctor. Certain conditions contraindicate fasting. The benefits detailed above were tested at a fasting length of 34-58 hours. The study did not report what participants drank during the fast.  

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pregnant belly caressed hand

Diet Rich in Fish Increase New Born Development

Fish and omega-3 can have a major impact on your health. Most studies show improvement in heart health and inflammation. As new studies come out, many other benefits appear. The most recent studies show how eating fish and taking an omega-3 supplement improve the health of babies and children.

Fish: Health Agency Approved

The American Heart Association advocates 2 3.5 oz of fish per week. Development of an unborn child’s brain is of utmost importance. Consequently, that’s why doctors will recommend prenatal vitamins to support optimal development. A recent study backs the importance of nutritional health during pregnancy.

The Brain On Fish

The first study cites the importance of fresh fish. Link here. At 2 years of age, an electronic visual test (pVep) was used to determine visual function. The best performances during the visual test were children whose mother ate at least 3 servings of fish during their 3rd trimester. Visual function is a great measure of the whole brain. For instance, people with degenerative brain disease like dementia can have abnormal visual testing.

Above all, always talk to your OBGYN for suggestions on prenatal vitamins with an omega-3 supplement. Most importantly, the best fish to eat during the last trimester of pregnancy are those of a small species. Refrain from large fish like tuna and swordfish.

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4 supplement pills

Improve Lean Body Mass Of Child Before Birth

There are thousands of supplements on the market. There are only a few I vehemently recommend. One of those being omega-3 fish oil. There is an abundance of research that shows the undeniable benefits. The pro research far outweighs the negative. In addition, the American Heart Association recommends 2 3.5 servings of fish a week. Simply, omega-3 is fish in a pill form. Why do I recommend omega-3? Studies show omega-3 taken during late stages of pregnancy increases lean and total body mass. These effects were seen through age 6. Link here.

four supplement pills with reflection

Omega-3 & Lean Body Mass

This is an important finding because birth weight is an important measure in the health of a newborn. When compared to consuming olive oil, omega-3 fish oil shows children with higher measures of lean mass, bone mass, and fat mass. Now, you may be raising an eyebrow at increase fat mass? Interestingly, with an increase in fat mass the percentage of fat did not increase. As you know, percentage takes into account other measures like muscle and bone mass. An increase in fat mass is normal with high muscle and bone mass.

What To Look For In Omega-3 Supplement

Not all omega-3 supplements are the same. Therefore high and low quality exist. No different than a grade of beef. Prime vs choice. I prefer to not get supplements from major grocery store brands or chains. If the supplement is a “deal” you may want to think twice. Most importantly, check to see if the omega-3 is molecularly distilled. Molecular distillation will remove metals and unwanted byproducts. Also, look for an omega-3 with at least one-thousand IU.

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mixed nuts and dried fruit

Nuts Improve Quality and Function of Sperm

Male fertility is not often discussed. As we all know, it takes two to tango, so it’s a vital part of the process. Optimizing health helps increase chances of fertilization. Recently researchers found a diet rich in nuts can improve sperm DNA as well as sperm motility, count, and shape. Link here.

healthy diet plus exercise optimizes weight loss. With that in mind, it’s reasonable to suggest that improving health can optimize sperm. The more healthy routines added the better. Thus, a diet rich in nuts is very doable. 4 parameters exist for sperm which are count, shape, vitality, and motility. The study includes 119 healthy men (18-35). The only difference in diet is the addition of hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds. Not only did the parameters improve, but sperm DNA damage was less likely.

Other studies show that omega-3, antioxidants, and folate improve the sperm parameters. Small dietary changes over a long period of time make big changes. It’s reasonable to suggest that exercise or less of a dietary guilty pleasure will improve chances of fertility. Improvements in health do take time. The first study took 14 weeks total. Thus, an increase consumption of nuts a week before conception will not help as much.

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Stave Off Aging Coffee Tea and Chocolate Plus Zinc

As we age, our bodies begin a slow process of break-down. The combination of zinc and tasty treats like chocolate, coffee, and tea can combat this break-down. Link here. Zinc activates hydroquinone in chocolate, coffee, and tea. Also, it’s a trace material found in the body for optimal immune function.

Aging and Superoxide

Simply, most things will not work as well with age. A brand new 2019 car will inevitably need more check-ups in 2026. It’s a natural process. Small healthy routines or diet changes can combat the natural decline in our bodies, like skin aging or muscle fatigue. Superoxide is a compound found in the body that causes this natural break down. Furthermore, superoxide plays a role in aging, inflammation, illness, and neurodegenerative diseases.

cup of coffee on a plate

Zinc With Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate

Hydroquinone combined with zinc creates superoxide demutase enzyme (SOD). As a result, this compound protects the body from superoxide and oxidative stress. Therefore, SOD acts like an antioxidant found in many colorful fruits and vegetables. Researchers believe that coffee, teas, and chocolate could be enriched with small amounts of zinc in future products.

Sources of Zinc

Zinc is found in meats, shellfish, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Thus, if you eat a balanced diet, meeting the normal amount is definitely obtainable. I recommend decaffeinated coffee and tea after 12 PM. Drinks with caffeine, especially after 12 PM, can disrupt sleep. Also, I recommend a chocolate that is at least 75% dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has more healthy cocoa and less sugar.  Lastly, drinking alcohol will destroy any benefit of SOD. Sorry, folks.

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variety of sushi rolls on a platter. Fresh fish is good for the heart.

Heart Health And Omega-3 Fats

Heart function is of utmost importance. There is no debate. Exercise is good, but most forget a key component of heart health which is omega-3 fatty acid. Recent studies show participants in the upper echelon of omega-3 blood levels have a 39% lower risk of a cardiovascular disease. Additionally, participants have a 34% lower risk of death from any cause.  

Usually, there are no warning signs for most cardiovascular events. Unfortunately, CVD is abrupt and potentially catastrophic. Thus, eating fish or supplementation will improve omega-3 levels. Interestingly, there is no association from the above-mentioned lower risks with omega-6. Omega-6 is commonly found in vegetable oils and nuts. Usually, most western diets do not have a balanced omega-3 and omega-6 ratio. Typically, the ratio is closer to 1:10. This leads to inflammation and other health hazards.   

variety of sushi rolls on a platter. Fresh fish is good for the heart.

Instead of vegetable oil or olive oil to cook, I recommend coconut oil or grass-fed butter. Both are solid at room temperature and hold up to heat. Therefore, olive and vegetable oil work great with cold applications like salad dressings or marinades.  

Even the FDA recommends 3.5 oz servings of fish per week. Lastly, if eating fresh fish, I recommend smaller types of fish rather than larger ones. Large fish like swordfish and tuna can have higher levels of mercury.  

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nutritional label

Fat The Good and Bad Guide For Optimal Health

There is a lot of bad information about dietary fat. Many believe it’s awful and only increases the waistline. As a matter of fact, it’s essential for health. Good fat keeps skin, organs, blood and muscles functioning properly. Most importantly, nerves have a fatty protective layer to ensure proper function. It’s similar to the covering of wires to a bulb. 

close nutritional label with fat and carbohydrates

Of course, not all fat is the same.  Differences exist. Some are far more beneficial for your body than others. Thus, learning the difference between good and bad fat is important for optimal health. 

Trans Fat Is Bad

By far, the most dangerous is trans fat which is a byproduct of hydrogenation. The process turns liquid oils into solids to improve shelf life of packaged foods. On labels, you’ll see them as “partially hydrogenated oil.” Found primarily in processed foods, even small amounts can increase your risk of chronic disease. 

Eating foods with trans fat directly increases the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your bloodstream. Increases in LDL can lead to inflammation, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other conditions. Research shows every 2% of calories from trans fat increases risk of heart disease by 23%. Link here

Good Fat Equals Optimal Health

Foods like nuts, seeds, and some vegetables contain good fats. Monounsaturated fat includes common oils like olive, peanut, and canola while polyunsaturated fats are known as omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 and 6  can be found in eggs, fish, organ meats, and nuts. Keep in mind that omega-3 is the best type. 

Your body can not make mono or polyunsaturated fatty acids. Thus, you must obtain them from your diet. When eaten in moderation, both mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids help optimize health. 

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