Eating anti-inflammatory foods may reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

Patrick B. Massey, MD, PH.D., medical director for complementary and alternative medicine at Alexian Brothers Hospital Network and president of ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy, in Elk Grove Village shared that the famous Greek physician Hippocrates is believed to have said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”This suggests that both the treatment of and probably the prevention of illnesses can be found in the quality and quantity of food we eat. Recent medical research has suggested a strong link between the autoimmune illness rheumatoid arthritis and our food choices.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune illness where the immune system begins to attack different parts of the body. RA most commonly destroys the joints, especially on the hand and fingers.

This illness can also be life-threatening as the immune system attacks the lungs and heart. The signs and symptoms of RA most frequently appear in middle age. RA is about three times more prevalent in women than men women. It is currently estimated that RA has been diagnosed in about 3 million Americans and accounts for almost 40,000 deaths annually.

Therapy for RA consists of strengthening and range of motion exercises for the hands and fingers, as well as very potent medications to suppress the immune system.

The downside to RA treatment is that it does not change the underlying illness and with a suppressed immune system, a person is more prone to serious viral and bacterial infections.

Recent medical studies have strongly suggested that there is a link between diet and both the risk of developing, as well as progression of symptoms of RA. One recent study, published in the medical journal Clinical Nutrition followed over 400 participants with RA over a six-year period. Half of the participants maintained the Mediterranean diet which is high in monounsaturated fats (olive oil). The other half acted as a control and ate their normal diet that was rich in saturated fats (butter). Read more

“Are we there yet?”

Schar, producers of gluten-free products shared that long car journeys with children are often exhausting, boring and take their toll on your nerves. But this does not have to be the case. With a bit of preparation and our ideas and suggestions, which are guaranteed to be gluten free, bad moods need never be an issue when you are on the way to your holiday destination.

  • Small children in particular often react sensitively if you disturb their routine. You should therefore consider your little ones’ sleeping and eating habits even when you are en route. On no account should you take the children out of their car seats when they are asleep; your offspring should never be in the car without their seat belts on.
  • Even though you have air conditioning, consider that the little ones need protection from the sun: The sun shades that can be attached to the windows using a suction cup are amusing to look at and keep the worst of the heat at bay.
  • One thing that is really important is provisions. Fruit is great to take on a trip because it is easy to digest and does not sit heavily in the stomach. Lovingly prepared gluten free bread rolls, such as Ciabatta or Deli Style from Schar, which can be filled with all kinds of delicious ingredients, are also ideal.
  • In order to ensure that things are not too “healthy”, think about taking something sweet as well – which, of course, can be gluten free; unfilled biscuits such as Shortbread cookies may be crumbly, but they do not leave behind any greasy marks so they are safe to take with you in the car. Lightly salted gluten free snacks such as Schar Table Crackers also work well.

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Healthy Body, Healthy Bones

Jessica Walter, a freelance health writer for  Shield My Senior shared that eating healthily and being an appropriate weight from childhood onwards can have profound and long-lasting effects on your life. By making sensible lifestyle choices from a young age, you could be setting yourself up for great health during your senior years. There are many troublesome conditions that elderly people can experience, including the pain of a fractured hip. Yet this could be prevented by following some sensible advice.

Osteoporosis – While a broken bone may seem merely to be an annoyance, it can be much more serious, especially as you get older. For example, a fractured hip in old age is extremely painful and debilitating in itself and can also lead to complications such as blood clots, infection, heart attacks and stroke. According to the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, 50 million Americans either suffer from or are at risk of osteoporosis, a disease where low bone density makes bones weak and more likely to break. It is more common in women, with 50% suffering a fracture as a result of osteoporosis.

The causes of osteoporosis – There are a variety of factors which increase the risk of osteoporosis. Several of them unfortunately cannot be influenced by individuals. These include a family history of osteoporosis, thyroid problems, a personal history of broken bones or rheumatoid arthritis and lactose intolerance. Age is also a major factor (women over 65 and men over 70 are more at risk) as is the menopause; women may lose 30% of bone mass during the first five postmenopausal years if they do not use hormone replacement therapy.

However, there are several factors in play which can be influenced by long-term lifestyle choices. Smoking, high caffeine, alcohol intake and long-term low consumption of calcium and vitamin D can contribute to the chance of experiencing osteoporosis, as can a lack of weight-bearing exercise. Being overweight can put extra stress on bones and joints and also lead to people exercising less.

How to live well to avoid osteoporosis – A healthy diet is crucial to keeping bones strong. Being the right weight and consuming a varied diet is an excellent starting point. It is also vital to ensure that both adults and children get enough calcium and understand the importance of nutrition from an early age, so that they can carry this knowledge with them throughout life. Calcium-rich foods include milk, yoghurt and cheese as well as leafy green vegetables. Vitamin D is also crucial for bone health. Dietary sources include dairy produce and oily fish such as salmon and tuna, and another major source is sunlight.

Keeping active and exercising can also really help to prevent osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises help to build bones and keep them healthy. Examples of these include dancing, running, aerobics and tennis, all activities which both adults and children can enjoy.

Fewer heavy Americans are trying to lose weight

Overweight Brother and Sister Sitting on a Sofa Eating Takeaway Food and Watching the TV

The Daily Herald Newspaper shared recently that fewer overweight Americans have been trying to lose weight in recent years, and researchers wonder if fat acceptance could be among the reasons, The Associated Press report.

The trend found in a new study occurred at the same time obesity rates climbed.

“Socially accepted normal body weight is shifting toward heavier weight. As more people around us are getting heavier, we simply believe we are fine, and no need to do anything with it,” said lead author Dr. Jian Zhang, a public health researcher at Georgia Southern University.

Another reason could be people abandoning efforts to drop pounds after repeated failed attempts, Zhang said.

The researchers analyzed U.S. government health surveys over nearly two decades from 1988 through 2014. In the early surveys, about half the adults were overweight or obese. Those numbers climbed to 65 percent by 2014. But the portion of overweight or obese adults who said they were trying to slim down fell from 55 percent to 49 percent in the study.

Dr. Scott Kahan, director of a weight-loss clinic in Washington, said the study is important and echoes previous research. He acknowledged that it has become more acceptable in some circles to be overweight, but that many patients still feel stigmatized. He said many come to his center after repeated attempts to lose weight and some give up for a while out of frustration.

The study found obesity was most common among black women — 55 percent were obese in the most recent survey years, and there was a big decline in black women trying to lose weight. Whether that’s because of fat acceptance, dieting frustration or other reasons is not known.

Zhang said there’s a positive side to fat acceptance, if it means people feel less ridiculed for their weight. But obesity can increase risks for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other ailments.

Health Tip from Body & Brain Yoga

How you can become a Morning Person


“Do you set multiple alarms, press snooze, and hope you’ll wake up on time, just to be half asleep?  Well if you do, you’re not alone! So many of us struggle with getting up and being alert in the morning. But don’t worry, you can break the habit with just a few of these tips!”

Nighttime Prep – Don’t you just hate scrambling to get ready? The mornings where I’m rushing and looking for clothes to wear, breakfast to make, etc., it takes me a while to calm back down and get focused for the day. Preparing the night before, choosing an outfit, making your lunch, packing your bag, can help make your mornings run smoothly. Who knows, you may even get to sleep in a few minutes or enjoy a cup of coffee with the extra time you save by being prepared ahead of time.

Use this link to download the graphic: leesa_morning_person_x2_v3.jpg

Set a Bedtime – Sending yourself to bed at a decent hour is a great way to set yourself up for a productive morning. It might seem like an obvious tip, but setting a bedtime and sticking to it is harder than you think with distractions, like technology. So put down the cellphone and try going to bed a half hour earlier each night. This will help your body create a better sleep pattern and eventually you’ll reach your ideal bedtime.

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Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free: What Do They Really Mean?

Sandy Getzky, is the executive coordinating editor at The Global Nail Fungus Organization, a group committed to helping the 100+ million people suffering from finger and toenail fungus and is also a registered Herbalist and member of the American Herbalist’s Guild.  She was very gracious and wrote the following article especially for the Healthy Lombard blog:

Not all diets can get you the results that you need. Many fad diets that can be quickly completed only offer short-term results because you go back to eating normally after the diet period. If you’re aiming for a long-term solution, consider diets that offer permanent changes to your eating habits.

Vegan, Paleo, and Gluten-free, for example, are all diets that can change your lifestyle, even more so, if you follow them religiously. Many people adapt these lifestyles because of the nutritional benefits, such as getting more antioxidants and vitamins, that can boost your immune system. These can help reduce the risk of health complications such as diabetes, fungal infection, and arthritis.

Just like any major change in your life, proper planning and accurate information can help you reach your goal more efficiently. Consulting an expert is always a great first step – especially if you already have allergies or dietary restrictions. If you want to try a diet that entails a big lifestyle change, then read on to find out exactly what you may be getting into.

Veganism, A Way Of life

A Vegan diet means that all animal-derived ingredients are excluded from your meals. Yes, this includes meat, egg, and dairy products. Instead, a normal vegan diet usually includes dishes that have grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Popular food, such as ice cream, cheese, and hot dogs, have their own vegan versions that usually involve the use of soy milk and tofu.

In a vegan diet, you need to correctly plan out all of your meals otherwise you might be missing key nutrients such as protein, omega-3, calcium, and vitamin B12. More often than not, people who rush going through a vegan diet replace animal products with junk food, such as white bread and pasta, that have little nutritional value. Also, carefully read the labels of soy-based products to ensure that they are not laden with sodium and preservatives. Some complications arising from a poorly executed vegan diet include skin disease, tooth cavity, anxiety, and exhaustion.

While it is possible to get all the nutrients you need from a vegan diet, it is difficult to put into practice – often requiring lots of knowledge and discipline. If you are planning to start this diet, it is best to do it slowly while consulting a professional. Read more

Are you as fit as you should be for your age?

Victoria Hall, Acting Beauty Director for the Telegraph shared that according to Virgin Active’s latest research, 52% of British women between the ages of 25 and 34 would rather look slim and toned in their holiday photos than be fit enough to run a marathon. Those under 25 claimed that ‘looking good’ was the main reason that they worked out. It’s not until we hit our mid-thirties that the majority of us are more motivated to hit the gym for our health.

At the other end of the age-spectrum, those over 55 years tend to spend more time working up a sweat, exercising for around 4.8 hours a week compared to the national average of 4.3. However, it’s not just about the amount of time spent in the gym. Too many of us focus on one type of exercise, such as a weekly run or spin class, rather than having a varied exercise routine that covers strength, stamina and mobility. “Exercise won’t just help keep you slim, it’s also an important step to fighting the effect of ageing and improving your mental and physical,” says Tim Wright, fitness expert and the man behind Virgin Active’s latest service, Beyond Movement, which incorporates Pilates, sports massage and physiotherapy to ensure you are fit and healthy for your age. “Working out regularly has multiple health benefits at any age but becomes increasingly important as we get older.”

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Exercise can help lower dementia risk

The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences shared that new research has found that regular physical activity in older adults could increase brain size and decrease the risk of cognitive decline.

New research has found further evidence to support the positive association between exercise and dementia, finding that regular physical activity in older adults could increase brain size and decrease the risk of cognitive decline.

Carried out by researchers from UCLA, Calif., the team used the landmark Framingham Heart Study to look at an association between exercise, brain volume and the risk of developing dementia.

The Framingham Heart Study was set up to look at common characteristics that contribute to heart disease, but since it started back in 1948 it has also looked at factors that contribute to other physiological conditions including dementia.

For their study the team looked at the physical activity levels from the original group of participants in the Framingham Heart Study as well as their offspring who were age 60 or over.

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Five ways to manage arthritis

Arthritis is a painful problem that can interfere with your ability to do the things you enjoy.But you can take steps to manage arthritis by protecting your joints, reducing discomfort, and improving mobility.

Harvard Medical School offers these five suggestions to help with arthritis:

• Keep moving. Avoid holding one position for too long. When working at a desk, for example, get up and stretch every 15 minutes. Do the same while sitting at home reading or watching television.

• Discover your strength. Put your strongest joints and muscles to work. To protect finger and wrist joints, push open heavy doors with the side of your arm or shoulder. To reduce hip or knee stress on stairs, let the strong leg lead going up and the weaker leg lead going down.

• Plan ahead. Simplify and organize your routines so you minimize movements that are difficult or painful. Keep items you need for cooking, cleaning, or hobbies near where they are needed (even if that means multiple sets of cleaning supplies, one for your kitchen and each bathroom, for example).

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