23 Jan

Attention Headache Sufferers!

Its that time of the year when the weather is all over the place, we are stuck inside with little sunlight, generally not moving as much as we should be and the conditions are just right for us to get a headache. Headaches can be very common and quite difficult to diagnose as they can have a number of causes. Fortunately, most headaches do not require immediate medical attention and can gradually improve with time. However when headaches affect your daily life and quality of life it is time to seek attention from a qualified health professional.

Why Does my Head Hurt?

There are different triggers that can be causing your headaches. Most of these triggers are from physical stress and/or emotional stress. Examples of physical stress can be from sitting at your computer for 8+ hours a day in poor posture, or poor sleep habits (see our previous blog for sleep solutions!). Tension headaches account for 90% of all headaches. That means that most headaches are the result of muscle tension in your neck and/or upper back.  This is where chiropractors are perfectly lined up as a provider that can diagnose and treat the causes associated with most headaches. Pharmaceutical medications for the most part are ineffective in treating these headaches as they simply attempt to mask the problem or dull the pain. Even worse people have become conditioned to become overly reliant on products like Advil or Tylenol for dealing with their headaches and rely on them as their primary line of defence.

Help Yourself
The most important tip for resolving your headache is to remove the trigger that is causing it in the first place. Since the majority of headaches are based on tension in the neck and shoulders you need to work at removing the physical stress causing them to get tense. If you work at a computer and find yourself in poor postures throughout the day… work at taking mini “posture breaks”. Every hour get out of your seat and take a walk around the office or do some light neck  and shoulder stretches while at your desk. At home, work on releasing your tight muscles with self release techniques using a tennis ball or foam roller. Increase your water intake throughout the day rather then lining up for that third coffee of the day. There are many ways you can help yourself when it comes to dealing with your headaches.
We’re Here to Help!
If your headaches are persistent and not improving with some self help or if your tired of turning to products like Advil or Tylenol for your primary line of defence. its time to do something about the problem. Evidence has demonstrated that chiropractic care, including spinal adjustments, mobilizations, soft tissue therapy, and acupuncture can be an effective treatment for tension-type headaches. At Maximized Health our team is here to help get you back to the quality of life that you and your family deserve.
Call the office today to find out how our team can help!
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11 Jan

Hacking Your Stress to Improve Sleep

Are thoughts keeping you up in the night? Waking up to plan your day? Feeling stressed before bed? It’s time to look at how stress is impacting your sleep!

We all know that it is important for our health yet it is often one of the first things we compromise when we feel busy and overwhelmed. To make matters worse, stress is often the culprit when we find ourselves unable to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Let’s break down this relationship between your sleep and your stress levels.

To begin, sleep is regulated by a 24 hour sleep-wake cycle or an internal clock known as our circadian rhythm. This cycle is regulated by two major hormones – melatonin & cortisol.

Melatonin is regulated by light. When there is light out, melatonin is blocked and you should be awake. Melatonin should be low during the day and high during the night.

Cortisol has the opposite pattern. It is high during the day and low during the night. Cortisol helps produce energy to keep you going while you are awake. It has no business being there at night time. To make matters worse, if you are highly stressed during the day, you will use up all your energy stores and then later wake up in the middle of the night because your blood sugars are low.

Cortisol also suppresses the release of melatonin.

This leaves many of us with insufficient melatonin in the evening and even worse, way too much cortisol when were are trying to sleep.

Not to worry – Here are some easy and practical tips to hack your stress and improve your sleep:

  1. Get as much sunlight as possible

Your circadian rhythm is regulated by sunlight so getting sun during the day can help improve your wake & sleep cycle. Whether you are getting sun outside or through a window, any amount can help!

  1. Eat more protein and less carbs at dinner

Eating a carb heavy meal in the evening can cause your blood sugar to drop in the middle of the night, waking you up. Instead ensure your meal has a good amount of fat & protein and limit your starch in the evenings to help you sleep through the night

  1. Breath work or meditation

Take a deep breath and audibly sigh it out. Then breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for 4 seconds. Repeat this cycle 10-20 times before bed.

Meditation and breath work reduces your blood levels of cortisol helping you fall asleep. This is because deep breathing stimulates a relaxation nerve at the back of your throat called the vagus nerve. Stimulating this nerve causes full body relaxation – perfect for sleep!

  1. Write it down and let it go

Don’t let planning and worries keep you up at night. Write down your to-do lists and thoughts keeping you up and let them go for the night. They will be there in the morning after a good night sleep.

Another great writing strategy is to write down 3 things you are grateful for each day. It can be big things and it can be small things but gratitude also stimulates relaxation centres in your brain, helping you get to sleep better.

  1. Shut down that phone

Turn off your phone at least 1 hour before bed and download an app that decreases your exposure to blue light. Your phone tricks your brain into thinking it’s still day time, preventing your melatonin levels from rising.

Also consider switching your phone to airplane mode at night so you aren’t woken by notifications and other buzzing from your phone.

  1. Calm down that nervous system with GABA and L-theanine

Both of these are parasympathetic neurotransmitters which are a fancy way of saying relaxing signallers. The combination helps you calm your mind and sleep through the night.

Plus they have a relatively short effect in your body and there are endogenous substances so they won’t leave you feeling drowsy in the morning!

  1. Remember your sleep hygiene

The most ideal environment for sleep is cool & dark.

It is also important to keep the bedroom as a place for sleep and sex only! If you aren’t tired, you shouldn’t be going to bed. Start to relax outside of the bedroom and when you feel sleepy head into your room. This teaches your body that when you are in your bedroom, it is time to sleep!

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19 Nov

How to Stay Healthy During the Cold Season

 

It is that time of year when it seems everyone around you is sniffling and sneezing. Remember the importance of washing your hands regularly, especially after being in public areas. However, even if you are exposed to germs, a strong and healthy immune system will prevent you from sick!

Here are some easy tips to help prevent you from getting sick this winter

  1. Introduce vitamin D into your routine.

With less sunlight, our vitamin D levels start to drop. As Canadians, we tend to be deficient in vitamin D especially in winter months. Vitamin D is important for so many things, especially our immune function.

The daily recommended dosage is 1000 IU per day (usually a drop of the liquid forms), but it is worthwhile to have your vitamin D status checked to make sure you are getting the right amount. This is something we can do at the clinic!

  1. Increase your intake of vegetables while being mindful of your sugar intake.

There are tons of tempting treats around as the holidays near but unfortunately sugar tanks your immune system. Be mindful of your munching and increase your intake of green, leafy veggies to give your immune system extra support

  1. Contrast showers

Try this at the end of your showers:

30 seconds under warm/hot water followed by 10 seconds under cold water. Repeat 3-5 times being sure to end on cold. This circulates blood through your body and gives fires up your immune cells.

  1. Get moving!

Adding to the endless benefits of exercise – it also boosts the immune system. It can be hard this time of the year so my advice is to find something that your enjoy doing even if it’s going for a walk or vigorously cleaning house. Just get your body moving and your heart pumping.

  1. Use Echinacea at the first signs of a cold setting in.

This is my favorite herb for immune boosting especially when you feel yourself starting to get sick. It also helps decrease the length of time you are sick. Traditional Medicinal Teas has a great Echinacea blend to sip on when you’re feeling under the weather. Keep in mind that high quality echinacea will leave your tongue feeling tingly. If you are on medications, it is always a good idea to check in with a healthcare provider to ensure that echinacea is safe and effective for you!

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14 Mar

6 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

Are you waking up in the mornings feeling re-engernized and ready to hit the day with a spring in your step?
If not…this email is for you– it is time to look at your sleep “hygiene”. Sleep hygiene is a way of saying how your sleep environment is set up. This can include how your room is set up but also what pre bed habits you build to promote a better sleep. We know our sleep environment has a big impact on us, so therefore it’s important to make sure yours is optimized for you.
6 Ways to Improve your Sleep
1) Your body needs dark in order to produce the melatonin (more on that later) that induces sleep, so the darker the environment, the better. Black out blinds, a sleep mask or both could change your life.
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2) If you go to bed with a headful of overwhelming stress, this is a common place to lie and ponder/ worry. One thing you can try that has helped many people is write down all of your thoughts before bed as a way to do a “mind clear”. This will give you a to do list for the next day and allows you to clear your thoughts before bed.
3) The wrong room temperature is disruptive, keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees. Many people keep their homes and bedrooms too warm. Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may be the most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop that occurs during sleep.
4) Uncomfortable mattresses, pillows, or bedding can all have an impact. Find what you feel comfortable and don’t be afraid to experiment. Most reputable bedding companies and products are starting to offer money back guarantees if you are not satisfied with their products.
5) Keeping a sleep log for a few weeks an help to identify disruptive sleeping patterns. Caffeine and alcohol are to major culprits to affecting sleep. People believe alcohol may help them get to sleep easier but the quality of sleep will be poor. Limiting caffeine to the AM is another way to ensure you are creating better habits for sleep
6) Put your phone away. Not only does the light affect the ability to sleep but it also stimulates the brain and thought processes during a time we need to be unwinding. Avoid watching TV or using your computer at night– or at least about an hour or so before going to bed– as these technologies can have a significantly detrimental impact on your sleep. TV and computer screens emit blue light; nearly identical to the light you’re exposed to outdoors during the day. This tricks your brain thinking it’s still daytime, thereby shutting down melatonin secretion.
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Melatonin– An All Natural Sleep Aid
While sleeping pills will likely do more harm than good, you could consider taking a melatonin supplement, which will help boost sleepiness. Melatonin is a completely natural substance, made by your body, and has many health benefits in addition to sleep. In scientific studies, melatonin has been shown to increase sleepiness, help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep, decrease restlessness, and reverse daytime fatigue.
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22 Nov

The Power of Moringa Leaf

General Health 

When people are looking to turn their healthy lifestyle from an interest into a commitment, often times they’re looking for that one perfect ingredient to bring the whole enterprise together. It has to have the nutrients to make up for deficiencies, deliver hard-to-get yet essential minerals, and be easy to consume.

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect ingredient – if there were, it would be a lot easier to stick to a diet! Fortunately, many foods make your commitments a lot easier, providing a nutritional boost that is both effective and easy to take. Moringa leaf powder is one of them, providing plant-based nutrition that can help when one is deficient in important nutrients.

What Is Moringa Leaf?

Moringa Oliefera, also known as the drumstick or horseradish tree, is one of the 13 species of Moringa (and will be referred to here on out as the Moringa leaf, because it’s the most cultivated). This species is native to the sub-Himalayan region in India and Pakistan, but it’s drought-resistant and fast-growing properties have allowed it to thrive in hot, dusty locales around the world.

The entire plant is edible, but the most nutritious part is the leaves. Their power has made them an integral part of traditional healing, dating back to Ancient Egypt, where healers used the oil for cosmetic and skincare purposes. The Ayurveda medicine tradition holds that the Moringa leaves can cure or prevent over 300 different diseases, and traditional Siddha healers in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu have used it in their healing methods.[i]  The tree’s seeds are even being used to clean water in places where drinking water is often unsafe![ii] This reputation on its own would be good news, but for many people in subtropical areas, its versatility has been a blessing: in arid environments ravaged by drought, Moringa leaf provides year-round relief from malnutrition, and for nursing children and mothers, it’s used to promote lactation and boost the immune system.[iii] [iv]

In short, Moringa leaf is a source of key nutrients for many around the wor
ld, but is now just coming to our attention here in North America. What’s really in it?

What’s The Nutritional Profile of Moringa Leaf?

Moringa leaf is, to put it mildly, a great source of just about everything. It contains over 90 nutrients, a complete profile of the nine essential amino acids that make up protein,[v] preventative phytochemicals, and antioxidants.[vi] The latter are found mostly in fruits and vegetables, and the amount found in Moringa leaf has been found to be therapeutic, helping to prevent oxidation, protect cells and their macromolecular components (protein, DNA, and good fats), and fight free radical damage.

Moringa leaves contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, and minerals like potassium, calcium, and iron. [vii] [viii] These levels are so high that gram-for-gram, it contains more vitamin C than oranges, more potassium than bananas, more iron than spinach, and more protein than milk or eggs.[ix] Of course, because you’re not consuming Moringa leaf as a whole here in Canada, gram-for-gram comparisons with other foods don’t sketch a true picture of its benefits. However, using it to complement a healthy diet can improve the amount of nutrients you’re ingesting, and can be a great booster for the supplement-wary among us.

Moringa Leaf and Your Health

Adding the nutritional power of the Moringa as a nutrient booster can sustain health and well-being. More than just the aforementioned protection from oxidative damage, which protects against infections and degenerative inflammation,[i] the nutrient-rich Moringa can lower cholesterol levels and help reduce heart disease. Animal studies have shown that Moringa has a “hypolipidemic effect”[ii], as it can help lower the lipid or fat levels in the blood. Scientific research also seems to point to Moringa being effective at reducing blood glucose levels and helping those with diabetes.[iii]

Chronic inflammation is a problem that can manifest itself in many different ways, causing or worsening heart disease, degenerative brain diseases, and joint problems. Studies have shown that all parts of the Moringa Oliefera plant have immunosuppressive capabilities that can reduce inflammation in the body,[iv] and using it to supplement your diet with important nutrients can help your body overcome chronic inflammation.

Moringa comes in very easy to use forms. The roots taste very similar to horseradish (giving it the colloquial name mentioned above) but most Moring leaf powder you’ll find on the market come flavoured or in capsules. Without flavouring, it generally has a mild, earthy taste that some enjoy, but can just as easily be masked with other natural ingredients. Add it to a morning smoothie, drink it as a tea with a little honey, or mix it into an omelet.

If you’re new to Moringa leaf, just make sure to start slowly; too much at once can have laxative effects, so start with half a teaspoon to a teaspoon and work up slowly.

[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19904611

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12738086

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3290775/

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20435128

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4490473/

[1] http://news.psu.edu/story/358048/2015/06/09/research/researchers-study-inexpensive-process-clean-water-developing

[1] http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/16/6/12791

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4490473/

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25374169

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19904611

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233779289_Nutritional_Potential_of_two_leafy_vegetables_Moringa_oleifera_and_Ipomoea_batatas_leaves

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4471650/

[1] http://www.tfljournal.org/article.php/20051201124931586

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19904611

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12738086

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3290775/

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20435128

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