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Reduce Sugar Intake

According to a recent study performed by the USDA, the average American consumes 134 lbs. of refined sugar every year. That’s approximately 20 teaspoons of sugar per day. It’s hard to imagine isn’t it? Keep reading:

• A 12 oz. can of PepsiTM contains 10 teaspoons of sugar

• A 2 oz. package of candy contains 11 teaspoons of sugar

• A 16 oz. cup of lemonade contains 13 teaspoons of sugar

• A cup of Frosted FlakesTM contains 4 teaspoons of sugar

Excessive sugar consumption plays a key role in obesity, Type II diabetes, and heart disease due to elevated triglycerides; as well as kidney stones, tooth decay, chronic fatigue and reactive hypoglycemia. Avoiding sugary soft drinks, candy, cakes and other sweets; and condiments such as barbecue sauces and relishes can help reduce the amount of refined sugar consumed. Check the labels in grocery stores and choose products sweetened with apple juice or SteviaTM  rather than sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.

Vitamin Supplements

Many people erroneously assume that vitamin supplements are unnecessary as long as they eat a balanced diet. While our cave-dwelling ancestors survived without the aid of supplements, keep in mind that they did not have toxic chemicals to contend with; nor were they exposed to the electromagnetic fields power lines and cell phone towers. Further, their diet did not consist of processed foods containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, In addition, they led active lifestyles—dodging dinosaurs and inventing fire and wheels. In short, our bodies are not intended for a fast-paced, high- stress, junk food lifestyle.

In reality, it is time that we take a proactive approach to staying healthy, and that includes vitamin supplements. You can learn more about the importance of vitamins by clicking here.

Go Toward the Light!

A vital nutrient for our minds and bodies speeds toward us at 186,000 miles per second from more than 93 million miles away: Sunlight! This essential nutrient is responsible for keeping our circadian rhythm and hormones in check, facilitates calcium absorption, which is vital for bone health. In fact, if we don’t get enough sunlight and our bodies become deficient the following symptoms may present:

• Seasonal depression (also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder)

• Insomnia

• Poor Work Performance (especially in night-shift workers)

• Melatonin Imbalance

• Depression

• Low immune function

Unfortunately, indoor lighting such as fluorescent, sodium and incandescent lights do not produce the full-spectrum sunlight our bodies require. Studies have shown that artificial light sources can cause irritability in schoolchildren, negatively affect factory worker production and cause lethargy in office workers. One study in particular found that calcium absorption declined among elderly housebound participants. Conversely, the elderly participants who spent time in the sunlight showed an increase in calcium absorption.

The benefits of full-spectrum light are limitless. In fact, getting the proper amount of sunlight can literally brighten your day! Spending time out of doors on a sunny day can enhance your outlook on life, reduce stress and improve concentration. Ensure that you are getting enough light in your life by engaging in the following doctor-recommended activities:

• Spend at least 15 minutes outdoors daily. Even if the sky is overcast, you can still reap the benefits of full-spectrum daylight.

• Use a light box during the fall and winter seasons, especially if you experience depression.

• Sunglasses cause us to view the world through an artificial lens. This unnatural type of light is not good for the eyes, so lose those shades! Wear them only to protect your eyes from debris, or in extremely bright light.

Keep Your Heart Healthy

Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death among adults in the United States. Sadly, most instances of heart disease stems from poor lifestyle choices. To maximize your health and reduce risk of heart disease, make the following lifestyle changes:

• Exercise regularly

• Maintain a healthy body weight

• Take your vitamins

• Stop Smoking

Just as exercise is crucial to neuromusculoskeletal health, so it is to the health of your heart. With regular exercise, your body will use oxygen and burn calories more efficiently, as well as stabilize your blood pressure. All of these serve to decrease stress and have a positive impact on the heart.

Another way to reduce the risk of heart disease is to decrease body fat. It takes approximately one-mile’s worth of additional blood vessels to support one pound of excess fat. If you are twenty, thirty or fifty pounds overweight, imagine the burden this places on your heart.

Vitamins E, C, and folic acid are the three most important nutritional supplements to maintain a healthy heart. Vitamin E is a commanding fat-soluble antioxidant, which helps to prevent the oxidization of the cholesterol in your blood. A high level of cholesterol in the blood, by itself, is not that big of a deal. Cholesterol becomes an issue, however, when it interacts with an oxidizing radical. Vitamin E aids in the prevention of this interaction.

Vitamin C strengthens the walls of the arteries and guards against plaque build-up. The arteries most likely to develop cholesterol deposits are those in proximity to the heart. When the heart contracts, it rushes blood through the arteries If the walls of the arteries are weak, they tend to balloon, briefly, causing small tears to the inside arterial wall. These small tears serve as a depository for platelets and cholesterol. Vitamin C reduces the number of arterial tears by strengthening the collagen tissues surrounding the arteries, thus preventing excessive ‘ballooning.’

The third vitamin is folic acid (Folacin), which is an important B-vitamin that reduces the homocysteine level in the blood. Homocysteine is a metabolic by-product that significantly contributes to the development of heart disease. So, when you take your multivitamin while you are on your way to do your exercises, make sure that it contains at least 400 IU of vitamin E, at least 500 mg of vitamin C (1000 is even better) and 40 mcg of folic acid.

Stop Smoking

If you are a smoker, you are sick of hearing this, but…. You really have to quit. Smoking throughout the day is akin to living inside a burning building. Smoking damages the collagen of your skin, which causes premature ageing. It also annihilates the cells inside your lungs, promotes heart disease, cataracts and cancer due to the oxidizing radicals released into the blood stream. It can also contribute to back pain by dehydrating the spinal discs.

Bone is a living tissue that is dependent on the functional support of the other body systems. When these systems perform abnormally, the natural rebuilding of bone is impeded. Proper bone formation is enhanced through physical exercise and hormonal activity, both of which are adversely affected by cigarette smoking.

Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and increases carbon monoxide levels. In addition, nicotine causes the small blood vessels to constrict, which shuts down the flow of nutrients to the spinal discs. Eventually, the constriction of blood can lead to disc dehydration and ultimately, degeneration. Further, smoking depletes the estrogen levels in perimenopausal and/or postmenopausal women, which can result in bone density loss and an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.

We at Joint Effort know that quitting smoking is no easy feat. In fact, it may be the most challenging and difficult lifestyle change you ever make. However, it is not impossible. People do it all the time. If you are ready to quit, numerous effective programs can assist. Many former smokers have found alternative therapies, such as hypnosis and acupuncture, to be quite successful.